December 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm EST | by Phil Reese
National news in brief: Dec. 9

O’Donnell to marry girlfriend over holidays

Rosie O'Donnell

O'Donnell will marry her girlfriend over the holidays, according to reports. (Photo by Jason Chatting)

NEW YORK — Talk show host Rosie O’Donnell plans to marry her girlfriend of 4 months during the holidays.

O’Donnell said in an October interview “my gaydar was way off,” when she met her future wife Michelle Rounds this summer at a Starbucks. The two went public in September. Rosie was married from 2004-2007 to television executive Kelli Carpenter, whom she met in 1997. Carpenter and O’Donnell have four children together.

Raleigh Council condemns anti-gay ballot measure

RALEIGH — The Raleigh City Council joined outgoing mayor Charles Meeker in strongly condemning the impending 2012 ballot measure seeking to ban marriage rights for same-sex couples in North Carolina.

Speaking at a Unity Day forum at the Raleigh Convention Center, Meeker derided the proposal as “discriminatory in nature, trying to put one group down and somehow [figuring] that’s going to help the rest of us. But it never helps our community when a group is put down.”

The statement came just before a Tuesday 6-2 vote by the Raleigh City Council approving a resolution recommended by its Human Rights Commission opposing the ballot measure.

Ind., Missouri towns pass pro-LGBT ordinances

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Joining Howard County Maryland on Monday, Evansville, Ind. and college town Columbia, Mo., both passed ordinances barring bias in employment, housing and public accommodations that include gender identity.

The Evansville ordinance, which passed by a unanimous vote, includes language barring discrimination against both gender identity and sexual orientation, as well as age.

Columbia, which already barred discrimination based on sexual orientation, added gender identity protections to its non-discrimination law.

“The Columbia City Council took an important step forward tonight moving us closer to a society that judges people ‘by the content of their character,’” Rep. Stephen Webber told Missouri LGBT newspaper, Vital Voice. “This is a major victory for our city, one that hopefully the rest of the state and country emulates.”

Columbia joins the municipalities of Saint Louis City, Kansas City, University City, Olivette and Clayton in barring gender identity discrimination.

Gay ‘Laugh-In’ star Alan Sues dead at 85

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — The over-the-top star of ‘Laugh-In’ and Peter Pan peanut-butter commercials died Monday at 85 while at his West Hollywood home, according to the L.A. Times.

Alan Sues was joined by lesbian comedian Lily Tomlin in the long-running sketch comedy show cast. Sues played over-the-top campy and effeminate characters like Big Al the sportscaster and Uncle Al, the perpetually hung-over children’s show host.

Sues only came out later in life, despite his flamboyant persona on television. Sues had a long career on both stage and television. The comedian recently completed recording a soon-to-be released audio book of anecdotes from his long career.

Maine advocates collect signatures for initiative

AUGUSTA, Maine — Advocates for extending marriage rights to same-sex couples in Maine delivered to the state more than 100,000 signatures in support of a 2012 ballot initiative. An initiative needs only 35,000 to qualify.

“Not only were we incredibly successful at gathering signatures at the polls today, but volunteers all over the state met voters who have changed their minds on this issue in the last two years,” EqualityMaine executive director Betsy Smith, said in a statement.

The successful signature drive may see a 2012 initiative to legalize same-sex marriage on Maine’s ballot.


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