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Dwyer sentenced in drunken boating, driving cases

Judge sentences anti-gay Republican to 60 days in jail, three years probation



Don Dwyer, Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade
Don Dwyer, Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade

Maryland state Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel County)

An anti-gay state lawmaker on Friday was sentenced to 60 days in jail after pleading guilty to two drunken boating and driving charges.

Retired Harford County Circuit Court Judge Emory Plitt, Jr., sentenced state Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel County) in connection with an August 2012 crash on the Magothy River in Pasadena that left him, two other adults and four children injured. Dwyer on Friday also pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol after Anne Arundel County police pulled over his car on Route 100 in Pasadena in August.

Dwyer, 55, in May pleaded guilty to operating his boat while under the influence of alcohol.

The Anne Arundel County Republican was to have received probation under the plea deal he reached with prosecutors, but Anne Arundel District Court Judge Robert Wilcox rejected it. He sentenced him to 30 days in jail and a year’s probation and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine.

Dwyer appealed the sentence, but he once again pleaded guilty to the charge in August.

Dwyer, 55, has been among Maryland’s most outspoken opponents of marriage rights for same-sex couples.

He said before lawmakers in 2012 approved the state’s same-sex marriage bill that nuptials for gays and lesbians in Massachusetts indoctrinated the commonwealth’s public school students into homosexuality.

Dwyer in 2006 tried to remove Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdoch from the bench after she found Maryland’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The Anne Arundel County Republican in 2010 sought to impeach Attorney General Doug Gansler, who formally announced his gubernatorial campaign last month, after he announced the state would recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions.

Dwyer told the Maryland Gazette in January that then-Del. Tiffany Alston (D-Prince George’s County) and two Republican delegates who voted for the same-sex marriage bill contributed to his alcohol abuse.

The Maryland Gazette reported Dwyer must begin serving his sentence by Nov. 9, but he is allowed to serve them consecutively and on weekends.

Plitt also sentenced the Anne Arundel County Republican to three years probation on the drunken boating charge. The Maryland Gazette said the judge also ordered Dwyer to complete an alcohol counseling program, attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and agree to random testing to prove he is not drinking.

The newspaper further reported Plitt agreed to suspend a $1,000 fine against Dwyer.

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  1. Ross Ostrander

    October 26, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    special sentence for a law maker, anyone one else would have been jailed right then, and not of been able to serve his time on just weekends! He also should have been fined more as far as I am concerned. He is a lawmaker and therefore, it is not like he does not know the state's laws.

  2. Rick Mangus

    October 26, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Nothing but a drunken creep, who should go to jail for three years, PERIOD!

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Loudoun County removes LGBTQ book from school libraries

Superintendent overrules committee that called for retaining ‘Gender Queer: A Memoir’



A Loudoun County, Va., School Board committee on Jan. 13 voted to uphold a decision by Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott A. Ziegler to remove from the school system’s high school libraries a controversial LGBTQ-themed book called “Gender Queer: A Memoir.”

The book is an illustrated autobiography by non-binary author Maia Kobabe that contains descriptions and comic book style drawings of sexual acts that e uses to tell the story of eir journey and struggle in discovering eir gender identity.

Although the book has received an American Library Association award for its relevance to young adults, critics in school systems throughout the country have said its sexually explicit content is not suitable for school libraries.  

The action by the School Board committee came after Ziegler asked a separate school system committee to review the book to determine if its content was appropriate for school libraries. Loudoun Public Schools spokesperson Wayde Byard told the Washington Post the committee, in a split vote, recommended that the book be retained in high school libraries.

According to Byard, Ziegler overruled the committee’s recommendation and ordered that the book be removed from the libraries. Byard said that decision was then appealed to a School Board appeals committee, which voted 3-0 to uphold Ziegler’s decision.

The decision by Ziegler to remove the book from school libraries took place about two months after Fairfax County, Va., Public Schools officials decided to return “Gender Queer” and another LGBTQ-themed book called “Lawn Boy” to their high school libraries after temporarily pulling the two books in response to complaints by some parents and conservative activists.

Two committees appointed by Fairfax school officials to review the two books that consisted of educators, school officials, parents, and students concluded that, while the books contained sexually explicit content, it did not cross the line as pornography or depictions of pedophilia as some opponents claimed.

“The decision reaffirms Fairfax County Public Schools’ ongoing commitment to provide diverse reading materials that reflect our student population, allowing every child an opportunity to see themselves reflected in literary characters,” a statement released by Fairfax school officials explaining their decision to retain the two books in their libraries said.

“Both reviews concluded that the books were valuable in their potential to reach marginalized youth who may struggle to find relatable literary characters that reflect their personal journey,” the statement says.

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Va. bill would restrict transgender students access to school bathrooms

State Del. John Avioli (R-Stanton) introduced House Bill 1126



The Virginia Capitol (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A Virginia lawmaker has introduced a bill that would restrict the ability of transgender students and school board employees to use bathrooms and other facilities in public schools that are consistent with their gender identity.

House Bill 1126, which state Del. John Avoli (R-Stanton) introduced, would require “each school board to adopt policies to require each student and school board employee to have access to restrooms, locker rooms and other changing facilities in public school buildings that are shared only by members of the same biological sex; lodging accommodations during school-sponsored trips that are shared only by members of the same biological sex; and a single-user restroom, locker room, or other changing facility in a public school building, upon request, if the school can reasonably accommodate such a request.”

Avoli introduced HB 1126 on Jan. 12 on the same day the Virginia General Assembly’s 2022 legislative session began with Republicans in control of the House of Delegates. Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin took office on Jan. 15.

State Sen. Travis Hackworth (R-Tazewell County) last month introduced Senate Bill 20, which would eliminate the requirement that school districts must implement the Department of Education’s trans and non-binary student guidelines. State Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas), who in 2018 became the first openly trans person seated in any state legislature in the U.S., told the Washington Blade last week that she expects SB 20 “would be dead on arrival” in committee.

Equality Virginia, a statewide LGBTQ rights group, on its website notes HB 1126 is among the bills that it opposes.

Democrats still have a 21-19 majority in the state Senate, and they have signaled they will oppose any effort to curtail LGBTQ rights in Virginia. Outgoing Equality Virginia Executive Director Vee Lamneck last week said their organization “will work with the Senate’s pro-equality majority to act as a crucial back stop against harmful legislation and efforts to roll back our hard-earned wins passed during the last two years.”

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Equality Virginia announces new executive director

Narissa Rahaman will succeed Vee Lamneck



Narissa Rahaman (Photo courtesy of Equality Virginia)

Equality Virginia on Saturday announced Narissa Rahaman will be the organization’s new executive director.

Rahaman, who was previously the Human Rights Campaign’s Associate Regional Campaign Director, will succeed outgoing Executive Director Vee Lamneck on Feb. 2. Rahaman was born in Barbados and raised in Florida.

“Narissa also has 10+ years of experience in long-term strategic planning, multi-state organizing efforts, coalition management, and staff development, which make her an exceptional individual for the role of executive director,” said Equality Virginia in its announcement. “We are confident that under her leadership, the organization’s success and impact will continue to flourish as will our commitment to racial justice.”

Equality Virginia announced Rahaman will succeed Lamneck on the same day that Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin took office amid concerns he will seek to curtail LGBTQ rights in Virginia.

Equality Virginia’s annual lobby day will take place virtually on Jan. 25. The organization’s annual Commonwealth Dinner is scheduled to take place in Richmond on March 26.

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