Anti-gay Ark. school board member resigns after FB rant
PLEASANT PLAINS, Ark. — A school board member who urged bullied gay and lesbian youths to “commit suicide” has quit his post, CNN and other media outlets reported this week.
Clint McCance, the vice-president of the Midland School District in Pleasant Plains, Ark., apologized for the comments which caused public outcry. He had posted them on Facebook in response to Spirit Day on Oct. 20, when people were asked to wear purple in recognition of bullied gay youths after several suicide.
McCance apologized on CNN during an interview with Anderson Cooper. He’d written on his Facebook page and said, “Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers killed themselves,” McCance wrote. “The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I can’t believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin.”
McCance told Cooper his statements were ill-chosen and not indicative of his true feelings. He attributed the posts to a lapse in judgement.
McCance’s comments had been savaged by his peers.
Tom Kimbrell, Arkansas commissioner of education, said, “I strongly condemn the statements that appeared on Mr. Clint McCance’s Facebook page. The divisiveness and disruption of these comments cause me to seriously question the ability of Mr. McCance to remain as an effective member of the Midland School Board.”
A statement signed by Midland School headmaster Dean Stanley, distanced the school from McCance’s remarks but school officials said they didn’t have the authority to fire McCance since he was an elected official.
D.C. gayest U.S. region: report
WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia leads the country in male same-sex households and Massachusetts is tops in lesbian-led homes, Washington Times has reported citing a university-based research center report.
Overall, there were 581,300 gay-couple-headed households in the United States in 2009, the National Center for Marriage & Family Research said in this month’s Family Profiles report, citing data from the 2009 American Community Survey.
This is somewhat smaller than the 594,391 same-sex couples identified in the 2000 census, but potential misclassifications mean “these differences should be interpreted with caution,” the Center report said.
About 26 percent of the nation’s 581,300 gay households, or 152,121, were led by married couples in 2009.
Census Bureau data also showed that, when it came to weddings, lesbians significantly outnumbered gay males — 85,847 to 66,274 or 56 percent to 44 percent. But this broad-based number was less dramatic than other studies that have suggested that lesbians marry at twice the rate of gay men.
Geographically, the report identified about a dozen places where at least one in 10 unmarried couples are gay (whether the gay couples are themselves unmarried or married), the Times article said.
The District came in No. 1 in the nation, with 31 percent of the city’s unmarried couples identifying themselves as same-sex. This high representation was overwhelmingly due to the men — gay male households make up 26 percent of all unmarried households, compared with 4 percent that were led by lesbians.
However, Massachusetts was the top choice of lesbian couples, who represented nearly 8 percent of the state’s unmarried couples. Gay males were about 6 percent of the Bay State’s unmarried households.
The Center’s Family Profiles are summaries of the latest statistics on a variety of family issues. The center was established in 2007 at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, and receives support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
LGBT domestic violence up 15 percent nationwide
CHICAGO — LGBT domestic violence is up 15 percent from 2008 in the U.S. according to a report released last week from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.
The findings — which cite six 2009 murders related to LGBT domestic or intimate partner violence, represents a 50 percent rise since 2007 — come at a time when gay-specific programs are losing staff or closing due to the sluggish economy.
“Member programs face sharp increases in calls from LGBTQ survivors, while sustaining 50 percent or more in cuts to staffing and program closures because of the financial crisis,” said Lisa Gilmore of Chicago’s Center on Halsted Anti-Violence Project. “We know that LGBTQ survivors need specific and culturally competent services to stay safe, and our primary recommendation is that funding for LGBTQ-specific anti-violence programs is needed now more than ever.”
From 2008 to 2009 there was a 99 percent increase in calls for police assistance and a 135 percent increase in arrests, though misarrests and reports of police misconduct also rose dramatically in LGBT households, the report said.
“Police are 10 to 15 times as likely to make a dual arrest in cases of same-sex domestic/intimate partner violence than in heterosexual ones,” said Kelly Clark at the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley’s Community Safety Program. “This report demonstrates the critical need for LGBTQ-specific cultural competency for first responders, such as law enforcement, to prevent re-traumatizing the survivor of violence.”
Chicago Jewish group in spotlight after terror plot
CHICAGO — About two dozen members of the Congregation Or Chadash were enjoying their usual Friday evening dinner before services at their Edgewater neighborhood headquarters when they got the startling news that they were apparently the target of an international terrorist plot, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The small congregation for LGBT Jews that started with an alternative newspaper ad in 1976 had gotten used to a life of relative obscurity — too small with about 100 members to afford its own building or build much of a profile.
How a terrorist in Yemen who’d rigged printer cartridges with explosives would know who and where they are sparked as much puzzlement as fear, congregants said last week.
“I thought ‘Wow, I didn’t know we had such visibility,’” congregation member Marvin Levin said.
But that’s what the tight-knit group got as federal officials announced last week that a woman in Yemen had been arrested in the alleged terrorist plot that sent several packages to the U.S. loaded with the industrial explosive, PETN.
Authorities have not said which two Chicago addresses the packages were mailed to, but a source told the Tribune both were Jewish congregations on the North Side, home to a thriving Jewish community. Chicago police said they were making increased checks in areas with a high number of synagogues, including Edgewater, Rogers Park and West Rogers Park.
Or Chadash leaders said they learned that their group was an intended recipient of one of the Yemen packages from Emanuel’s Rabbi Michael Zedek.
“It was just a surprise,” said Rabbi Larry Edwards of Or Chadash. “When I was first hearing news (about the packages), I assumed there were probably bigger targets. We’re a small congregation. Either we were selected at random or it’s because we’re a mostly gay congregation.”