August 4, 2011 | by Staff reports
National news in brief: August 5

Anti-gay group’s tax-exempt status yanked

CHICAGO — Despite long being certified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group,” Illinois-based Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality has maintained its tax-free non-profit status since 2006, and its president, Peter LaBarbera, has continued to bill himself as a credible source to media outlets on LGBT issues.

However, as of June 10 donations to the organization will not be considered tax-exempt after losing 501(c)3 status for “failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years,” according to LGBT blog and watchdog group, ExGayWatch.

Tea Party group accused of voter fraud in Wis.

MILWAUKEE — Tea Party activist group, Americans for Prosperity and anti-LGBT group Wisconsin Family Action are accused of voter fraud after allegedly mailing absentee ballots with inaccurate deadline dates and wrong return addresses to Democratic voters in districts where two Republican senators face recall.

Several voters reported receiving the ballots with instructions to return “by August 11,” two days after the actual Aug. 9 deadline, and asks for ballots to be mailed not to the County Clerk, but to “Application Processing Center,” at a mailing address belonging to the anti-gay WFA, all according to the Minnesota Independent online newspaper.

“I’m sure the liberals will try to make a mountain out of a molehill in an attempt to distract voters’ attention from the issues,” Wisconsin state director of Americans for Prosperity, Matt Seaholm told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, calling the mistakes “typos.”

S.C. paper prints same-sex wedding announcement

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The State, a prominent South Carolina newspaper, this week published the New York wedding announcement of two men native to South Carolina who have been together since 1984. It was the first time the paper has published a same-sex wedding announcement.

Gregory Smith and William Hasty III, who were both commissioned officers in the Army, met in Columbia S.C., raised two sons, and were finally married in Mamaroneck, N.Y. on July 26, 2011, two days after same-sex marriages began to be recognized. The paper developed a policy of printing same-sex wedding announcements of local couples who marry in states where such marriages are legal.

3 reports show state of LGBT acceptance

WASHINGTON — Three separate reports released on Wednesday show significant gains and ongoing challenges for the LGBT community in terms of college campus inclusively, television responsibility and equal access under the law.

Campus Pride released its annual “LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index,” which seeks to help campuses assess their ongoing efforts to provide a more “inclusive, welcoming and respectful,” college experience. According to the report, campuses receiving a perfect 5-star rating rose from 19 in 2010 to 33. However, Campus Pride also found that only seven percent of American colleges have institutional support for LGBT students, only thirteen percent include sexual orientation in campus non-discrimination statements, and only six percent include gender identity in those same statements.

Also on Wednesday, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation released its annual Network Responsibility Index, grading television networks on positive LGBT portrayals. ABC Family is only the second network ever to receive an “excellent” rating in the report, with positive LGBT impressions included in more than 55 percent of all programming hours.

CW topped broadcast networks at 33 percent of programming hours and A&E, TBS received failing grades. CBS was named “least improved” broadcast network over the course of 5 years.

Finally, the Movement Advancement Project released its biennial Momentum report, highlighting “challenges among accelerating change.” The report cited public opinion supporting marriage equality, as well as significant gains in relationship recognition with marriage expanding from two to six states and civil recognition extended in six new states in two years. The report also celebrated a tremendous increase in LGBT-inclusive policy at the federal level, repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” striking of adoption bans in Arkansas and Florida, strengthening of employment protections in four states, and anti-bullying laws in six states.

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