Connect with us

National

National news in brief: June 24

Tracy Morgan returns to Tennessee to apologize, Michigan GOP try to eliminate domestic partner benefits, open lesbian up for Anthony Weiner’s seat and New Jersey Senate leader no longer opposed to marriage equality

Published

on

Tracy Morgan meets with GLAAD in Tennessee

NASHVILLE — LGBT media watchdog group the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation met with “30 Rock” star Tracy Morgan, Tuesday in Tennessee to discuss homophobia. Morgan addressed the media at the Nashville Convention Center, speaking out in support of LGBT advocacy.

“I apologize to Kevin and people that were at the show. I want to apologize to my friends, and my family and my fans … I don’t really see gay or straight, I just see human beings now.” Morgan said. Tracy also met with Kevin Rogers, the Tennessee man who first reported the incident on Facebook.

“Tracy was sincere and spoke from his heart today,” Rogers was quoted as saying in a statement by GLAAD. “I decided to speak out and use my voice to inspire others. The best thing that has come from this is a national conversation that anti-gay violence is unacceptable and that homophobia is outdated.”

Michigan lawmaker wants to ban partnership benefits

LANSING, Mich — A Michigan Republican who previously attempted to push a bill that stripped HIV/AIDS funding in favor of airport maintenance, has introduced legislation to prevent public institutions from offering domestic partnership benefits for the same-sex partners of lesbian, gay or bisexual employees.

Rep. David Agema of Grandville introduced into the House Oversight Reforms and Ethics committee two bills that would bar universities and other state-funded public institutions from offering the benefits that some advocates argue attract top talent to these institutions. Both bills passed out of the committee on Tuesday and now head for a full vote on the House floor.

According to the Michigan Messenger, HB 4770 would prohibit public employers from providing domestic partner benefits and HB 4771 would prohibit such benefits from being a part of union negotiations. Lawmakers are reacting to a move by the Michigan Civil Service Commission to uphold same-sex partner benefits.

Lesbian in running to replace Rep. Weiner

NEW YORK — A former New York City Council candidate, attorney Lynn Schulman, says she’s been asked to enter the special election race to fill Anthony Weiner’s seat.

According to the New York statewide politics show, “Capital Tonight,” a Time Warner Cable property, Schulman, a lesbian, took the second spot in a six-way 2009 race for term-limited Councilwoman Melinda Katz’s seat.

“Some people from the county organization asked me if I would be interested, and I said I would,” Schulman told ‘Capital Tonight.’ “So, my name is now in the mix. I’m very humbled about being asked in the first place because clearly there was a thought that I had the credentials to do this.”

Schulman may be joined by a familiar face in the race, as Melinda Katz has been proposed as another possible candidate.

N.J. Senate boss sorry for opposition to marriage

TRENTON — New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) on Monday announced his official support for same-sex marriage, and expressed regret for failing to support same-sex marriage in 2009, the last time the measure was up for a vote in that chamber during the tenure of pro-marriage former Gov. John S. Corzine.

“Seventeen months ago, I stood up here and made the biggest mistake of my legislative career,” Sweeney said in a statement on the Senate floor of his abstention on the same-sex marriage vote. “I made a decision based purely on political calculations not to vote in support of marriage equality.”

New Jersey became the third state in 2006 to offer civil unions to same-sex couples, but many of that state’s LGBT advocates have argued the two-tiered unions have created “confusion,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Meanwhile, last Thursday, the state’s only openly gay legislator, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), re-introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has vowed to veto a same-sex marriage bill.

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

National

65% of Black Americans support Black LGBTQ rights: survey

Results show 40% have LGBTQ family member

Published

on

(Logo courtesy of the NBJC)

The National Black Justice Coalition, a D.C.-based LGBTQ advocacy organization, announced on June 19 that it commissioned what it believes to be a first-of-its-kind national survey of Black people in the United States in which 65 percent said they consider themselves “supporters of Black LGBTQ+ people and rights,” with 57 percent of the supporters saying they were “churchgoers.”

In a press release describing the findings of the survey, NBJC said it commissioned the research firm HIT Strategies to conduct the survey with support from five other national LGBTQ organizations – the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Family Equality, and GLSEN.

“One of the first surveys of its kind, explicitly sampling Black people (1,300 participants) on Black LGBTQ+ people and issues – including an oversampling of Black LGBTQ+ participants to provide a more representative view of this subgroup – it investigates the sentiments, stories, perceptions, and priorities around Black values and progressive policies, to better understand how they impact Black views on Black LGBTQ+ people,” the press release says.

It says the survey found, among other things, that 73 percent of Gen Z respondents, who in 2024 are between the ages of 12 and 27, “agree that the Black community should do more to support Black LGBTQ+ people.”

According to the press release, it also found that 40 percent of Black people in the survey reported having a family member who identifies as LGBTQ+ and 80 percent reported having “some proximity to gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer people, but only 42 percent have some proximity to transgender or gender-expansive people.”

The survey includes these additional findings:

• 86% of Black people nationally report having a feeling of shared fate and connectivity with other Black people in the U.S., but this view doesn’t fully extend to the Black LGBTQ+ community. Around half — 51% — of Black people surveyed feel a shared fate with Black LGBTQ+ people.

• 34% reported the belief that Black LGBTQ+ people “lead with their sexual orientation or gender identity.” Those participants were “significantly less likely to support the Black LGBTQ+ community and most likely to report not feeling a shared fate with Black LGBTQ+ people.”

• 92% of Black people in the survey reported “concern about youth suicide after being shown statistics about the heightened rate among Black LGBTQ+ youth.” Those expressing this concern included 83% of self-reported opponents of LGBTQ+ rights.

• “Black people’s support for LGBTQ+ rights can be sorted into three major groups: 29% Active Accomplices, 25% Passive Allies (high potential to be moved), 35% Opponents. Among Opponents, ‘competing priorities’ and ‘religious beliefs’ are the two most significant barriers to supporting Black LGBTQ+ people and issues.”

• 10% of the survey participants identified as LGBTQ. Among those who identified as LGBTQ, 38% identified as bisexual, 33% identified as lesbian or gay, 28% identified as non-binary or gender non-conforming, and 6% identified as transgender.

• Also, among those who identified as LGBTQ, 89% think the Black community should do more to support Black LGBTQ+ people, 69% think Black LGBTQ+ people have fewer rights and freedoms than other Black people, 35% think non-Black LGBTQ+ people have fewer rights and freedom than other Black people, 54% “feel their vote has a lot of power,” 51% live in urban areas, and 75% rarely or never attend church.

Additional information about the survey from NBJC can be accessed at nbjc.org.

Continue Reading

U.S. Federal Courts

Club Q shooter sentenced to life in prison for federal hate crimes

Five people killed in 2022 mass shooting in Colo.

Published

on

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. (Justice Department YouTube screenshot)

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 24, formerly of Colorado Springs, Colo., was sentenced to 55 concurrent life sentences to run consecutive to 190 years in prison after pleading guilty to 74 hate crimes and firearms charges related to the Nov. 19, 2022, mass shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ establishment in Colorado Springs.  

According to the plea agreement, Aldrich admitted to murdering five people, injuring 19, and attempting to murder 26 more in a willful, deliberate, malicious, and premeditated attack at Club Q. According to the plea, Aldrich entered Club Q armed with a loaded, privately manufactured assault weapon, and began firing. Aldrich continued firing until subdued by patrons of the club. As part of the plea, Aldrich admitted that this attack was in part motivated because of the actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity of any person.

“Fueled by hate, the defendant targeted members of the LGBTQIA+ community at a place that represented belonging, safety, and acceptance — stealing five people from their loved ones, injuring 19 others, and striking fear across the country,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland. “Today’s sentencing makes clear that the Justice Department is committed to protecting the right of every person in this country to live free from the fear that they will be targeted by hate-fueled violence or discrimination based on who they are or who they love. I am grateful to every agent, prosecutor, and staff member across the Department — from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, to the Civil Rights Division, the ATF, and FBI — for their work on this case. The Justice Department will never stop working to defend the safety and civil rights of all people in our country.”

“The 2022 mass shooting at Club Q is one of the most violent crimes against the LGBTQIA+ community in history,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The FBI and our partners have worked tirelessly towards this sentencing, but the true heroes are the patrons of the club who selflessly acted to subdue the defendant. This Pride Month and every month, the FBI stands with the survivors, victims, and families of homophobic violence and hate.”

“ATF will not rest until perpetrators like this defendant are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Steven Dettelbach, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “I hope today’s life sentence brings at least some peace to the victims and survivors of this senseless, horrific tragedy. That this sentence should come during Pride month reinforces how far we have left to go before all communities, including all LGBTQIA+ communities, are safe here. It also shows how far ATF and all our partners will go to ensure hatred does not win.”

“The defendant’s mass shooting and heinous targeting of Club Q is one of the most devastating assaults on the LGBTQIA+ community in our nation’s history. This sentence cannot reclaim the lives lost or undo the harms inflicted. But we hope that it provides the survivors, the victims’ families, and their communities a small measure of justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Our message today should be loud and clear. No one should have to fear for their life or their safety because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. The Justice Department will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who perpetrate hate-fueled, bias-driven attacks.”

“Hate has no place in our country and no place in Colorado” said Acting U.S. Attorney Matt Kirsch for the District of Colorado. “I hope that today’s sentence demonstrates to the victims and those connected to this horrific event that we do not tolerate these heinous acts of violence.”

The FBI Denver Field Office, Colorado Springs Police Department, and ATF investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alison Connaughty and Bryan Fields for the District of Colorado and, Maura White of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.

related
Continue Reading

Federal Government

EXCLUSIVE: Robert Garcia urges US officials to protect LGBTQ people during Pride Month

Gay Calif. congressman sent letter to top authorities on June 12

Published

on

Participants of the Capital Pride Festival in D.C. on June 8, 2024. Gay U.S. Congressman Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) has urged U.S. officials to ensure LGBTQ people are safe during Pride Month. (Washington Blade photo by Emily Hanna)

U.S. Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) on June 12 sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray to work to ensure LGBTQ people during Pride events.

“Over the last several weeks, your respective agencies and departments have issued stark warnings, and travel advisories to the public over potential threats from foreign terrorist organizations (FTO), and their supporters during this year’s Pride Month,” said Garcia in his letter. “I understand that these steps have come after deeply concerning increases in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, calls for targeted violence, and foiled violent plots.”

The FBI on May 10 issued an advisory that warned of potential violence at Pride events and other LGBTQ-specific events. The State Department on May 17 — the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia — announced a similar warning.

“Ensuring that people can peacefully and safely celebrate Pride and the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community is of utmost importance,” wrote Garcia, a gay man who represents California’s 42nd Congressional District that includes Long Beach.

June 12 also marked eight years since a gunman killed 49 people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

The massacre at the time was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The gunman pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State, even though there is no evidence that suggests the extremist group ordered him to carry out the massacre. 

“This week marks the eight (sp) anniversary of the horrific Pulse nightclub Orlando shooting — during which the attacker deliberately and viciously targeted the LGBTQ+ community,” wrote Garcia in his letter. “It is important to put the recent escalation of extremist anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda and messaging in the context the Pulse nightclub shooter who was influenced by these same forces of extremism.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular