March 29, 2012 | by Phil Reese
National News in brief: March 30

Despite a concerted push, a pro-gay effort supporting Starbucks is beating an anti-gay boycott in number of pledges by a factor of nearly 10 to 1. (Screen capture dumpstarbucks.com)

Pro-gay effort dwarfs NOM’s Starbucks boycott

SEATTLE — Despite an effort by an anti-gay group to pressure coffee retail giant Starbucks to change course on its stance supporting same-sex marriage, the push is severely lagging behind a pro-gay effort to thank the company.

After Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz stood by the company’s backing of an effort to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in Washington State, the National Organization for Marriage launched the boycott website called dumpstarbucks.com where visitors recorded their pledge to avoid the coffee retailer. However, with less than 25,000 pledges, the effort has been overshadowed by a pro-gay response in which nearly 300,000 have recorded their appreciation for Starbucks through the corporate accountability site, SumOfUs.org.

“Frankly, we were stunned,” Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of SumOfUs.org told the Washington Blade, saying she believes they’re on track to reach 500,000 signatures. “I think it shows that consumers really are for LGBT rights, and they really are for marriage equality.”

‘Bully’ to be unrated after petition protest

LOS ANGELES — After a public outcry, the MPAA has reversed its decision to rate as “R” a movie about the effects of bullying.

About 475,000 people signed Katy Butler’s petition on Change.org to urge the ratings group to change or lower the rating on the documentary, slated for a March 30 release, because of its message to teens to combat bullying. The “R” rating was applied due to some offensive language that appears in the film — language that advocates say reflects a small portion of what bullied kids actually hear in their schools every day. The movie will now be released unrated, according to the Weinstein Company.

7 in 10 hid orientation in Alaska: survey

ANCHORAGE — A recent Identity, Inc survey shows that more than 70 percent of LGBT respondents in Anchorage, Ala., hid their sexual orientation from an employer for fear of losing their jobs. Forty-four percent report having been harassed by an employer or co-worker for their sexual orientation.

The survey results, published in the Anchorage Daily News, come just ahead of a citywide vote on a proposed ordinance to extend job protections to citizens based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Alaska is one of 31 states where it is legal for private employers to fire someone solely based on sexual orientation. Anchorage votes on April 3.

 2 school districts face LGBT-related lawsuits

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The school district in the small town of Camdenton, Mo., faces a lawsuit by the ACLU after allowing students to visit anti-gay websites, while blocking safe, pro-gay sites.

The New York Times reports that students complained they could reach anti-gay websites, like those of “ex-gay” group Exodus International, but could not visit the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or the Gay-Straight Alliance Network. Though the blocking was done by software, the ACLU accuses the school of inaction after complaints were filed.

In another school in Atlanta, Reuben Lack is suing to be reinstated as Student Council president, after he was removed by administrators for proposing gender-neutral replacements to “Prom King,” and “Prom Queen” in an effort to be inclusive to LGBT students, according to TV station 11 Alive.

Philly to pay damages for evicting Boy Scouts

PHILADELPHIA — A judge has ruled the city of Philadelphia must pay the Boy Scouts nearly $900,000 after attempting to evict the group from a city building over the national organization’s policy of excluding gays as troop leaders.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the scouts won their case in 2010, but have been wrangling with the city over a settlement until now.

 

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