September 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm EDT | by Staff reports
National news in brief: September 1
Tammy Baldwin

Rep. Tammy Baldwin is expected to announce her candidacy for U.S. Senate shortly after Labor Day. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Anti-gay Republican to challenge Baldwin for Senate

MADISON, Wisc. — Though she’s yet to announce plans to run to replace outgoing U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) is already the target of a Republican hopeful for the seat.

According to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, while announcing his candidacy Monday morning, former Rep. Mark Neumann said, “I believe our opponent is Tammy Baldwin and I believe it is essential that we bring Tammy Baldwin’s record to the forefront.”

Neumann made headlines for once telling the Christian Coalition he would not hire a gay staffer.

“If somebody walks in to me and says, ‘I’m a gay person, I want a job in your office,’ I would say that’s inappropriate, and they wouldn’t be hired because that would mean they are promoting their agenda,” he said during the 1997 speech. “The gay and lesbian lifestyle [is] unacceptable, lest there be any question about that.”

Equality Calif. gets tough on teaching bill opponents

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Calling them “hate groups,” Equality California got tough this week in an effort to undermine efforts by conservative groups in California to repeal a state law mandating the inclusion of LGBT history and disabled peoples’ history in California curriculum.

“Last week the Family Research Council, a virulent anti-LGBT organization with ties to the Ku Klux Klan and recognized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, joined the effort to overturn the FAIR Education Act in California and released a video message to fundamentalist churches on behalf of the campaign,” the strongly worded Equality California press release began.

“I don’t believe any fair-minded parent would find friends of the KKK a trustworthy protector of their children,” said Roland Palencia, executive director of Equality California in the statement.

‘Prop 8’ plaintiffs ask for tapes to be released

SAN FRANCISCO — Lawyers for the group seeking to overturn California’s anti-gay Proposition 8 in federal court sought this week to have videotapes of the trial testimony released publicly, saying defendants are afraid of being exposed for putting up a “weak case.”

The videotapes belong to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and lawyers for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group sponsoring the case, have argued that they should be a matter of public record. The lawyers for the plaintiffs successfully argued their case and saw Proposition 8 overturned, which ended same-sex marriage in California. The case is now being appealed.

Proponents of Proposition 8 have been seeking to keep the videotapes from being released.

“The Proponents have been utterly unable to explain why the public should be barred from seeing and hearing for themselves what happened in a public trial,” said lawyer Theodore Boutrous in a release from the organization. “The real reason … is [they] do not want the world to see the powerful evidence we submitted showing that Proposition 8 flatly violates the Constitution and the extraordinarily weak case that they put on trying to defend this discriminatory law.”

Kressley, Chaz Bono tapped for ‘DWTS’

LOS ANGELES — One of America’s most popular TV shows, “Dancing With The Stars,” will welcome next year the transgender son of Sonny Bono and gay icon Cher.

The show announced that Chaz Bono will be among the stars dancing this year. Bono will also be joined by former “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” Carson Kressley for the 13th season of the show.

“With both gay and transgender contestants represented on this upcoming season, ABC will send viewers a strong message about the diversity within the LGBT community,” said Herndon Graddick, senior of director of programs for media watchdog group, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. “At a time when transgender representation in the media is sorely lacking, Chaz Bono joining the cast is a tremendous step forward for the public to recognize that transgender people are another wonderful part of the fabric of American culture.”

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