May 26, 2011 | by Staff reports
National news in brief: May 27

Tennessee anti-gay bill signed into law

NASHVILLE — A Nashville ordinance that barred city contractors from discriminating against LGBT people in employment was reversed Monday, when Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a bill that bans such ordinances.

HB 600, the “Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act,” was originally supported by the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce until LGBT advocacy groups across America issued statements pressuring Tennessee leaders to drop the bill, according to The Tennessean, a Gannett paper. Nissan, and other large Tennessee corporations attempted to push for a veto in the last days to no avail.

Also Monday, the Tennessee Senate passed a bill barring the discussion of homosexuality in elementary and middle schools, dubbed the “don’t say gay’ bill.  According to CBS 21 News, the bill’s sponsor believes the media has unfairly targeted the bill and misunderstood its intent.

“The media has hyped this up to banning a word and that’s absolutely not true,” he told the TV station. “It just says what is appropriate for real young children to be taught.”

Gay rights advocates are hoping to stop the bill from being signed by the Governor.

NBA player Joakim Noah ‘fine’ with $50,000 fine

CHICAGO — After being fined $50,000 for hurling an anti-gay slur at an abusive fan, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah is ready to face his penalty, calling it “fair.”

Unlike L.A. Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, who last month fought his $100,000 fine by the National Basketball Association, Noah is ready to atone for his behavior and put the incident behind him, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

LGBT advocacy groups had called for swift action by the basketball league in the wake of a spate of recent outburst by high profile professional athletes. The NBA had recently teamed up with the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network to record public service announcements urging viewers to “think before they speak” featuring the Phoenix Suns’ Grant Hill and Jared Dudley.

FDA clears Vertex’s Hepatitis C Drug

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Hepatitis C patients with liver damage will soon have a powerful new treatment that promises to “double” chances of curing the disease.

The FDA has given the green light to Incivek, a twice-a-day tablet by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, after approving a similar drug called Vicrelis by Merck just weeks ago, according to CBS News. The pill will be priced at more than $1,100 a week, making it a costly course of treatment for most patients. The life-threatening disease affects about 3.2 million Americans.

Bruni tapped by Times as first openly gay op-ed columnist

NEW YORK CITY — The “Old Gray Lady,” The New York Times, has made history in hiring its first openly gay op-ed columnist, Frank Bruni, the current chief restaurant critic.

Bruni, 46, has been with the Times for more than a decade and will be penning a new anchor feature for the Sunday Op-Ed pages, according to New York Times opinions pages editor, Andrew Rosenthal.

“This column … will be a sharp, opinionated look at a big event of the last week,” wrote Rosenthal in an e-mail to the staff, on Monday, “from a different or unexpected angle, or a small event that was really important but everyone seems to have missed.”

While writing for the Detroit Free Press, Bruni was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing and has penned two New York Times best sellers, after starting at the Times as a Washington correspondent.

ESPN radio’s Max comes out

Jared Max

Jared Max (Photo courtesy CBS New York)

NEW YORK CITY — Jared Max, popular sports radio personality, well known in New York for a decade, came out on his top rated morning sports talk show on Tuesday saying, “I think its time I released myself from these self-imposed shackles that have kept me living in fear for too long.”

According to blogging site Media Bistro, the announcement came as a total surprise not only to the 37-year-old host’s listeners, but to his colleagues and himself.

“I remember telling my cat Mush the night before, ‘I think something might happen tomorrow,’” he told the site in an interview.

Max’s revelation comes on the heels of several other very powerful self-outings in the media and sports world. Just prior to Max’s coming out, Rick Welts, president of the Phoenix Suns professional basketball team outed himself, as did CNN news anchor Don Lemon and former Villanova University basketball star Will Sheridan.

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