April 12, 2012 | by Phil Reese
National news in brief: April 13
Tammy Baldwin, gay news, gay politics dc

Rep. Tammy Baldwin Tweeted (D-Wisc.) this week the results of her first-quarter fundraising. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Baldwin raises $2 million in 1st quarter

MADISON — In a message via Twitter on Wednesday, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) announced she secured $2 million in the first quarter of 2012 from 24,260 supporters in her bid to become the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate.

“The support for our campaign to fight for the middle class and stand up to the powerful special interests is humbling and invigorating,” Baldwin wrote in a subsequent tweet.

Baldwin — who is seeking to replace Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) — says she’s in a “strong position” with $2.7 million in cash on hand and more than 40,000 individual supporters for her campaign, and has in previous cycles outraised her closest Republican rival, former Gov. Tommy Thompson, by a factor of four.

GLAAD, Miss Universe agree on trans inclusion

NEW YORK — After initially barring Jenna Talackova from competing for the Canadian Miss Universe title, the organization behind the pageant has reinstated the trans beauty queen and said it will no longer bar trans contestants from participating, according to GLAAD.

“For more than two weeks, the Miss Universe Organization and Mr. Trump made it clear to GLAAD that they were open to making a policy change to include women who are transgender,” said GLAAD spokesperson Herndon Graddick. “We appreciate that he and his team responded swiftly and appropriately”

“Jenna and all of the LGBT advocates who have called for this change and spoken out in support of transgender women are to be commended,” Graddick continued. “At a time when transgender people are still routinely denied equal opportunities in housing, employment and medical care, today’s decision is in line with the growing levels of public support for transgender people across the country.”

Pro-Prop 8 witness opposes N.C. amendment

RALEIGH — A central witness for the proponents of Proposition 8 in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger federal case has used a News & Observer editorial to advocate against North Carolina’s proposed constitutional amendment banning state recognition of same-sex couples.

David Blankenhorn and Elizabeth Marquart began the piece by asserting their opposition to same-sex marriage, but go on to say the proposed amendment goes too far and could have far-reaching legal consequences not yet known.

“For one thing, it means that North Carolina could not, now or ever, take any step or devise any policy to extend legal recognition and protection to same-sex couples,” the pair write. “No domestic partnership laws. No civil unions. Nothing.”

Polling for the amendment has been mixed recently, and some advocates are optimistic that this could be the first such ballot measure defeated since such a measure was voted down in Arizona in 2006, before a less stringent version passed two years later.

Lambda Legal sues Ohio school over T-shirt

WAYNESVILLE, Ohio — When Maverick Couch wore a T-shirt to school reading, “Jesus is not a Homophobe” on the 2011 National Day of Silence, the school threatened him with suspension.

Couch, however, researched his free speech rights and came to the conclusion the school could not bar him from wearing the shirt, so the high school student challenged the school.

A year later, Lambda Legal announced it would represent Couch as he sues the Waynesville school district for the right to wear the shirt.

“Schools should be in the business of educating students about First Amendment freedoms, not trampling on their right to express themselves,” said Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal.

Earlier this week, the school agreed to allow Couch to wear the shirt as the case proceeds through the courts.

 

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