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Gay rights group backs Charlie Crist for governor in Florida

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Thursday, 12 June 2014 14:39

Equality Florida Action PAC, the largest organization dedicated to electing pro-equality candidates in the state, has endorsed Democrat Charlie Crist for governor.

“The early endorsement reflects the urgency of electing a governor who will speed progress when it comes to equality, not stand in the way of fairness,” said Stratton Pollitzer, chair of the PAC. "Florida is at a critical moment in our struggle to end discrimination, and the next Governor will have a tremendous impact on the everyday lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our state. Charlie Crist has taken a clear stand for equality and fairness and is delivering a message that will inspire the growing pro-equality majority in our state to stand on the right side of history.”

Complaint alleges abuse of immigrant children by U.S. Customs

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Thursday, 12 June 2014 08:32

A complaint filed this week alleges widespread abuse of unaccompanied immigrant children at the hands of U.S. border officials. Human rights and civil rights groups say more than 100 children reported experiencing abuse and mistreatment while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the border enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

"Border Patrol agents are committing appalling abuses of children all along the border," alleged Ashley Huebner, managing attorney of the Immigrant Children’s Protection Project at the National Immigrant Justice Center. "Even worse, Border Patrol has been committing these abuses for years, and our organizations have notified the agency numerous times, yet nothing has changed. The recent increase in arrivals of young people at the border makes it especially urgent that CBP ensure all children in their custody are treated safely and humanely."

Moms staging Stroller Jam at Target shareholders' meeting to protest gun policy

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Wednesday, 11 June 2014 08:16

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America today is staging a "Stroller Jam" of mothers and children and stollers outside Target Corps' annual shareholder meeting. The protest is to call attention to the fact that Target allows the open carry of guns in its stores.

In less than a week's time, more than 160,000 people have signed petitions asking Target Corp CEO John Mulligan to prohibit the open carry of guns and Moms chapters in a number of states will also begin delivering petitions to Target stores this week.

Feds housing hundreds of migrant minors in makeshift center in Arizona

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 09 June 2014 09:39

Officials are working to improve conditions at a makeshift holding center in southern Arizona where immigration authorities are housing hundreds of unaccompanied migrant minors.

A federal official said that mattresses, portable toilets and showers were brought in over the weekend for 700 of the youthful migrants who spent the night sleeping on plastic cots inside the Nogales area center.

A group of 119 members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, called on Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to stop any further negotiations with the government of Brunei Darussalam on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement until Brunei addresses its human rights violations — part of its newly adopted a penal code.

An ever-growing coalition of groups — including LGBT and women's rights organizations — is calling for the U.S. to stop trade negotiations until Brunei revokes its criminal code.

Police officer who refused to work Utah Pride resigns

Written by The AP Thursday, 12 June 2014 08:17

A Salt Lake City police officer who rejected an assignment riding a motorcycle at the front of last weekend's gay Pride parade and was put on leave has now resigned.

Salt Lake City police officials said this week they received written notification of the officer's resignation. The officer, whose name is being withheld, was put on leave last week after police said he refused to provide traffic control at Sunday's parade. Police said they would not tolerate bias and bigotry.

Clinton says she urged end to Cuba embargo

Written by The AP Tuesday, 10 June 2014 04:40

In her new book, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says she pushed President Barack Obama to lift or ease the decades-long U.S. embargo on Cuba because it was no longer useful to American interests or promoting change on the communist island.

In excerpts of the book "Hard Choices" obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its release today, Clinton writes that the embargo has given communist leaders Fidel and Raul Castro an excuse not to enact democratic reforms. And she says opposition from some in Congress to normalizing relations — "to keep Cuba in a deep freeze" — has hurt both the United States and the Cuban people. She says the 2009 arrest by Cuba of USAID contractor Alan Gross and Havana's refusal to release him on humanitarian grounds is a "tragedy" for improving ties.

Under tea party influence, Texas GOP backs 'ex-gay' therapy in platform

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 09 June 2014 06:42

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did poorly in a straw poll in Texas.

The Texas Republican Party now endorses so-called "reparative therapy" for gays, under a new platform given final approval at its annual convention over the weekend.

AMA calls for modernizing birth certificate policies

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Thursday, 12 June 2014 11:30

The American Medical Association this week adopted a new policy supporting the elimination of any government requirement that an individual must have undergone surgery in order to change the sex indicated on a birth certificate.

Across the country, state laws governing changes to a person's gender on a birth certificate is granted to applicants who change their sex by "surgical procedure" and provide a court order to that effect. Only a handful of states allow corrections to gender markers on birth certificates on the basis of "clinically appropriate treatment," as opposed to surgery, according to the AMA.

US Catholic bishops keep focus on abortion, marriage in political guide

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 12 June 2014 08:01

The nation's Roman Catholic bishops meeting on June 11 renewed a focus on abortion and gay marriage under Pope Francis.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to make only limited revisions to a guide they publish every presidential election year on church teaching, voting and public policy. The bishops also reaffirmed their fight for broader religious exemptions to laws recognizing gay marriage and a requirement in the Affordable Care Act that employers provide health insurance covering birth control.

The 2016 presidential election: jockeying for position

Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 10 June 2014 03:44

Here's a look at the who, what, when and where of the 2016 presidential contest at the cusp of summer. Why? Because more is going on than you might think two years from the event.

To those who might run, 2016 is the day after tomorrow and there's no time to waste.

North Dakota gay couples sue for marriage equality

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Friday, 06 June 2014 13:51

Seven same-sex couples in North Dakota filed a lawsuit in federal court on June 6 challenging the state’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality.

The North Dakota case was filed by Minneapolis attorney Josh Newville, who recently filed a similar case on behalf of six South Dakota couples.