October 20, 2011 | by Phil Reese
National News in Brief: October 21
Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is being accused of betrayal by LGBT leaders in Chicago. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Chicago mayor cuts longtime LGBT liaison post

CHICAGO — Despite strong primary election promises to the LGBT community, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has eliminated the position of director of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues, which has existed since 1984, according to the Windy City Times.

The position was established by Mayor Harold Washington when he appointed straight ally Kit Duffy to direct the gay and lesbian advisory council as a volunteer. The position later became funded and is currently filled by Bill Greaves, whose employment will be terminated. Several other Advisory Councils and directors were eliminated or replaced as well in the mayor’s new budget.

Speaking with the Windy City Times, chair of the LGBT Advisory Council, Beth Kelly called the move an “affront to LGBT communities in Chicago” and a “symbolic erasure.”

Equality California chief resigns after 3 months

SAN FRANCISCO — Equality California is coming under scrutiny after failing to deliver on a transition plan since newly minted executive director Roland Palencia suddenly stepped down after only three months on the job.

According to the Bay Area Reporter, the departure came a mere week after the organization’s board of directors announced the decision to not return to the ballot in 2012 to repeal Proposition 8, which bars same-sex marriage in the Golden State.

In addition to Palencia, finance director Steve Mele, government affairs director Mario Guerrero, and marriage and coalitions director Andrea Shorter will also leave. Spokesperson Rebekah Orr told the Bay Area Reporter that the organization would soon release a transition plan, however as of press time, no plan has surfaced.

Gay service members running for office post-DADT

DENVER — Less than a month after gay and lesbian service members were allowed to serve openly, several are jumping into elections around the nation as openly gay members of the military.

Brian Carroll — who has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and one in Iraq with the Colorado National Guard — will face off against current state House 28th district Rep. Andy Kerr (D) in the primary race for the suburban Denver district election next year, according to the Huffington Post. Before Sept. 20, openly gay military personnel like Carroll would have been discharged for coming out on the campaign trail, as he has. Today, service members on the trail are coming out and speaking up.

“Ultimately, what this comes down to, I believe, is standing up and providing an opportunity for leadership,” Carroll told the Huffington Post.

Carroll is not alone in 2012. The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund has endorsed Stephen Keblish, the gay captain of the Military Police Battalion in Auburn, N.Y., who is seeking re-election for Herkimer County legislator as a Republican. Keblish has served in the Army National Guard since 2005, and has been deployed to Afghanistan, and came out in the wake of “Don’t Ask” repeal.

‘Ex-gay’ leader Smid comes out, apologizes

MEMPHIS — The former director of America’s largest “ex-gay” ministry, came out as gay in a blog post last week, and said he does not believe sexual orientation can be changed.

John Smid, who worked with Love in Action for 22 years before resigning in 2008, apologized in 2010 saying his program “further wounded teens that were already in a very delicate place in life.” The former director of the reparative therapy camp now says, while he loves his wife, his sexual orientation is unchanged. He has invited former Love in Action clients that he has “wounded” to contact him so he can personally apologize.

 

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