October 28, 2011 | by Staff reports
National news in brief: October 28

Growing awareness of anti-gay bullying

WASHINGTON — After a year of high-profile bullying-related teen suicides, increased media attention is spurring greater awareness of anti-gay bullying, according to the Washington Post.

“Awareness of anti-gay bullying is increasing as acceptance of gay people has grown in society,” reads the Post piece. “Gay marriage is legal in several states, gays are now permitted to serve openly in the military and, in California, schools will soon have to teach gay-rights history.”

Part of that growing awareness generated a campaign last year to encourage advocates and allies across the country to wear purple on Oct. 20 to raise awareness about anti-gay bullying. Media companies like CNBC, journalists like Katie Couric and politicians like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supported the campaign.

This year, with a blitz of promotion by media watchdog group Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, hundreds of media companies, reality TV stars, network news anchors, sports stars and commentators, and politicians from across the nation and even President Obama wore purple on Oct. 20 for “Spirit Day,” advocating for schools to work harder to tackle bullying.

N.H. House to vote on marriage repeal in 2012

CONCORD, N.H. — Despite a vow by Gov. John Lynch to veto any bill that repeals marriage equality in New Hampshire, the state House Judiciary Committee passed language 11-6 that would do just that.

The bill’s author, Rep. David Bates (R-Windham) says that although marriage should be restricted to a man and a woman, civil unions would still be allowed for same-sex couples. “We have heard for a number of years that the government needs to get out of peoples’ bedrooms,” Bates told the Nashua Telegraph. “This does not contemplate the sexual relationship of the parties involved.”

Lawmakers would vote early next year on the bill, and would have to garner enough support to override a governor’s veto to suspend new same-sex marriages in the state. The proposed language would also leave intact the marriages of those couples who have already married in New Hampshire.

Seattle paper publishes Ref. 71 petition names

SEATTLE — Despite a court order preventing the state from releasing the names of signers of a petition to roll back Washington State’s comprehensive domestic partnership law, Seattle Weekly has published the image files of the actual petition documents.

The documents were public for five days prior to the injunction being issued, allowing the publication to get a copy of the 2.7GB file and make it available for download from its website.

The group that sponsored the failed measure, Protect Marriage Washington, used the petition pages to collect more information from signers than is required by law, including email addresses, many of which are now visible to anyone who downloads the file, according to the blog Pam’s House Blend. Many observers have speculated that the email addresses were requested in an effort to use the petition drive to build Protect Marriage Washington’s email list.

Chaz Bono voted off ‘Dancing’

HOLLYWOOD — Chaz Bono left ABC television’s ‘Dancing With The Stars,’ on Tuesday, after six weeks of surviving the judges’ scrutiny.

After dancing a tango to the theme of “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway night, the judges panned the performance by the 42-year-old transgender son of superstar Cher and her late ex-husband, Sonny Bono.

“It was like watching a cute little penguin trying to be a big, menacing bird of prey,” “Dancing” judge Bruno Tonioli said of Bono’s performance, which drew some boos from the audience, according to ABC.com.

Cher — an avid online social network user — tweeted about the result, “I Have Got 2Hold my TEMPER ! MY Tears R OK ! Congratulations Chaz I’m SO PROUD OF U ! This was YOUR Quest…& u Followed your Star.”

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