November 23, 2011 | by Phil Reese
National news in brief: November 25

Texas Board of Education official comes out

DALLAS — Heading off an apparent ‘whisper campaign’ about his sexual orientation, a Republican Texas state Board of Education member seeking re-election has come out on his own, according to the Dallas Voice.

George Clayton, an academic coordinator at North Dallas High School, is seeking re-election to his position as Board of Education member from Richmond. Clayton sent an email to several news outlets last week in response to what Clayton called “the tyranny of misinformation and innuendo.” Clayton seized the seat in a 2010 Republican primary victory from long-time incumbent Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, who is seeking to reclaim the spot in 2012.

Coming out makes Clayton the first known openly gay elected Republican in Texas.

“It has come to my attention that one of my opponents in my bid for reelection to the State Board of Education and certain member(s) of the Golden Corridor Republican Women’s Club are questioning my sexual orientation,” Clayton said in his email.

“I wish to say that I, in fact, do have a male partner who lives with me in my home in Richardson, Texas. I hope this frank announcement satisfies Tincy Miller and the ladies associated with the Golden Corridor organization.”

New effort to end Calif. LGBT curriculum law

SACRAMENTO — Opponents of a new California law mandating the inclusion of historical figures from the LGBT and disabled communities in school curriculum have filed paperwork to begin collecting signatures supporting a ballot measure to gut the law, despite failing at an earlier attempt to collect enough signatures to place a referendum on the 2011 ballot.

The opponents are now seeking to convince 2012 voters to strip the LGBT language from the law, leaving the rest intact, according to Equality California.

“This initiative seeks to distort the history taught in California schools and present students with a censored, inaccurate view of our nation, which our coalition will not let stand,” James Gilliam, deputy executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, said in a statement last week.

N.C. Baptist church refuses to perform weddings

RALEIGH, N.C. — Breaking with other Baptist churches, the congregation at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church has voted to cease performing marriages in the church until same-sex unions are legal.

The congregation — led by lesbian pastor Nancy Petty — voted unanimously to prohibit the church’s pastor from performing legal marriage ceremonies for any couples unless the state ban on same-sex marriage is lifted, according to the website of the Raleigh-based publication, The News & Observer. The congregation also released a statement denouncing the proposed amendment to the North Carolina Constitution banning same-sex marriage in that state.

Language has qualified for the November 2012 ballot in North Carolina that would ban marriage rights and civil unions for same-sex couples in that state. Same-sex marriage is already barred in North Carolina state law.

The pastor will still be able to bless “holy unions,” which are open to all couples, but Petty is barred from signing marriage licenses required by the state to establish a legal marriage.

Russia cracks down on LGBT advocacy

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — The New York Times is reporting that members of the Russian LGBT community are fearful that a crackdown on LGBT visibility in the nation is intensifying after one of Russia’s largest cities approved a ban on “propaganda of homosexuality.”

St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city, has followed two smaller, remote Russian cities in approving a ban on “public actions aimed at propagandizing sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgenderism among minors.” According to the Times piece, “at least one prominent Russian singer has already expressed concern that the law may affect his and other artists’ ability to perform in front of audiences and to market their records.”

In a bizarre moment during the debate, a city councilor proposed banning all rainbows.

“On St. Petersburg day we had posters all over the city with portraits of Peter the Great and a brightly colored rainbow under it,” she ranted, according to the Times. “How can there be a rainbow, which is the international gay symbol? And we have day-care centers called Rainbow and drug stores called Rainbow all over the city! … We are going to die out soon.”

 

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