November 2, 2011 | by Staff reports
National News in Brief: November 4

US Airways flight attendant murdered in Mexico

PHOENIX — The FBI announced that Mexican authorities have apprehended a suspect in the murder of Phoenix-based US Airways flight attendant Nick Aaronson, who was found strangled and beaten in his Mexico City hotel room over the weekend.

Jose Luis Ramirez, a convicted criminal out of prison on parole, also known as José Luis Cuellar and The Shadow, is in custody after being identified on bar and hotel security video, and after a handwriting match with a hotel sign-in log, according to multiple media reports. Authorities believe the murder was motivated by robbery and Ramirez was apprehended with Aaronson’s iPhone, which was GPS tracked.

Ramirez has told reporters that he only punched Aaronson, and did not murder him, blaming the death on another individual, a 15-year-old friend also in Mexico City.

Aaronson was active in the Phoenix gay advocacy community and participated in the popular NOH8 photo campaign.

Georgia’s Shorter University bans gay employees

ROME, Ga. — The Southern Baptist affiliated Shorter University has begun forcing its employees to sign a statement acknowledging they can be fired if they are found to be gay, lesbian or bisexual, according to OutQ News.

The “Personal Lifestyle Statement” was circulated to staff and faculty on Monday, and states that all employees must swear to reject “premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.” Failing to adhere to the policy may result in “immediate termination.”

OutQ spoke with a gay university employee who says — while he hasn’t been forced to sign the document yet — that he’s actively seeking a new job, and says the environment at the school has become “more tense.”

Chick-Fil-A gave $2 million to anti-gay groups

ATLANTA — Chick-Fil-A’s charitable arm, WinShape Foundation, donated nearly $2 million to “ex-gay” and anti-gay groups in 2009 alone, according to IRS filings uncovered by Equality Matters, the LGBT advocacy project of Media Matters.

Its 2009 tax forms indicate that WinShape — which has come under fire for barring same-sex couples from its retreat center in the past, and for supporting anti-marriage initiatives — donated to anti-gay advocates such as the Marriage and Family Legacy Fund, Focus on the Family, Exodus International and Family Research Council.

In response to controversy over sponsorship of anti-gay events in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island last year, Chick-fil-A president and COO Dan Cathy released a statement denying that Chick-Fil-A’s donation was an endorsement of traditional marriage, arguing that Chick-Fil-A has “no agenda against anyone,” and that the company would not “champion any political agendas” relating to marriages or families.

Lesbian veteran subjected to homophobic rant

DALLAS — A veteran Marine lance corporal who was seeking help for severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder says she wants to see the nurse that subjected her to a homophobic rant at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center fired.

According to a Change.org petition started by a friend of Lance Corporal Esther Garatie, who was wounded and honorably discharged from the Marines, a nurse practitioner told her that the source of her depression was her sexual orientation.

“She sat down and looked at me, and her first question was, ‘Are you a lesbian?’” Garatie told the Dallas Voice. “Her second question to me was, ‘Have you asked God into your heart? Have you been saved by Jesus Christ?’ This is when I realized that I was no longer a United States veteran in her eyes, I was just a homosexual.”

Calif. lesbian couple named homecoming king, queen

SAN DIEGO — Last week, a lesbian couple at Patrick Henry High School made history by being crowned homecoming king and queen, according to media reports.

During the homecoming pep rally Friday night, the school announced senior Rebeca Arellano as the student body’s selection for homecoming king.

“They were chanting my name and it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had,” Arellano told ABC News.

Her girlfriend Haileigh Adams was crowned queen at the dance the next day. The couple started dating in their sophomore year.

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