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LGBT band invited to march in inaugural parade

Written by AP Thursday, 20 December 2012 05:01

An LGBT band, along with spouses of servicemembers in the Armed Forces, college and military bands, service dog trainers and a drill team from Chicago are among the diverse groups invited to participate in next month’s inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has started sending out invitations to groups nationwide to march behind Barack Obama from his swearing in at the Capitol to the White House on Jan. 21.

Around world, massacres have spurred gun control

AP writers
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 08:03

If there’s anywhere that understands the pain of Newtown, Conn., it’s Dunblane, Scotland, the town whose grief became a catalyst for changes to Britain’s gun laws.

In March 1996, a 43-year-old man named Thomas Hamilton walked into a primary school in this central Scotland town of 8,000 people and shot to death 16 kindergarten-age children and their teacher with four legally held handguns. In the weeks that followed, people in the town formed the Snowdrop campaign – named for the first flower of spring – to press for a ban on handguns. Within weeks, it had collected 750,000 signatures. By the next year, the ban had become law.

Audit finds faults with Wisconsin’s job-creation agency

Written by AP Wednesday, 19 December 2012 05:25

Poor record keeping, a lack of basic accounting controls and high staff turnover all contributed to problems in the first year of Wisconsin’s premiere job-creation agency, according to an independent audit released this week.

The semi-private Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. was created in July 2011 by Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans to help boost the state’s job creation efforts. Walker promised during his 2010 campaign to create 250,000 new jobs, and the WEDC – with an $81 million annual budget – was the entity charged with spurring economic development.

Sen. Inouye, longtime LGBT rights advocate, dies at 88

Written by AP,
WiG reports
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 05:37

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, a war hero, a Hawaiian hero, a civil rights hero, died on Dec. 17. His last word, according to his office, was “Aloha.”

A senator since January 1963, Inouye was currently the longest serving senator and was president pro tempore of the Senate, third in the line of presidential succession. AP said his office said he died of respiratory complications at a Washington-area hospital.

Arbitrator: Disgruntled beauty queen defamed pageant, owes $5M

Written by AP Thursday, 20 December 2012 04:51

A beauty queen who claimed this year’s Miss USA contest was fixed has been ordered to pay the pageant organization $5 million for defamation.

In a decision signed last week, an arbitrator found that the comments from Miss Pennsylvania USA Sheena Monnin were false, harmful and malicious. Monnin had alleged that the five finalists had been selected in advance of the pageant’s live telecast.

Connecticut Sen. calls for assault weapons ban

Written by WiG Wednesday, 19 December 2012 05:46

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., in a floor speech days after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, called for a ban on assault weapons.

In the speech, he discussed his experience in Newtown, Conn., after the shooting and proposed policies to reduce gun violence in America.

House Republicans urged to stop spending for DOMA defense

Written by WiG Tuesday, 18 December 2012 15:03

LGBT leaders are urging the House Republican leadership to stop spending tax money to defend the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act in federal court.

Congressional Republicans decided to defend DOMA, enacted in 1996 after the U.S. Justice Department said that it could not defend in court an unconstitutional law.

Cameroon court upholds prison sentence for gay text message

Written by AP Tuesday, 18 December 2012 05:14

An appeals court in Cameroon on Dec. 17 upheld a three-year sentence against a man found guilty of "homosexual conduct" for sending a text message to another man saying: "I'm very much in love with you."

Activists said the court's ruling in Yaounde, the capital, marked yet another setback for gays and lesbians in Cameroon, widely viewed as the most repressive country in Africa when it comes to prosecuting same-sex couples.

RI Senate president expects same-sex marriage vote

Written by AP Wednesday, 19 December 2012 08:47

The Rhode Island Senate president said this week she anticipates a committee vote on same-sex marriage in the coming legislative session, despite her opposition to it, if the House of Representatives endorses it.

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, a Newport Democrat, said her opposition to same-sex marriage, which kept the legislation from being heard last year, has not changed but she expects the issue will be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee if the House advances a bill.

Ex-university official loses firing appeal over anti-gay op-ed

Written by AP Wednesday, 19 December 2012 05:30

A former University of Toledo administrator has lost an appeal over her firing for an opinion piece she wrote that a court said implied that gay people don’t deserve the same rights as black people.

A three-judge panel of the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that dismissed a lawsuit filed by Crystal Dixon against the university and its leaders.

Popularity of Caribbean island soars after gay wedding

Written by AP Tuesday, 18 December 2012 05:59

A speck of an island in the Dutch Caribbean has become increasingly popular with gay couples after legislators legalized same-sex marriages in a region still openly hostile to gays and lesbians.

Two men were recently married in Saba, marking the first ceremony of its kind in the region and setting off a frenzy of calls from gay couples in other Dutch Caribbean islands seeking to marry, said Julietta Woods with Saba’s Civil Registry office.”People keep calling me every second,” she said by telephone this week.

Montana court rules against domestic partner appeal

Written by WiG Monday, 17 December 2012 16:54

The Montana Supreme Court on Dec. 17 ruled against the ACLU’s request for immediate full domestic partnership protection for same-sex couples, but said the case could move forward challenging same-sex couples’ lack of protection in individual statutes.

The ACLU and six same-sex couples who were plaintiffs in the case plan to pursue legal options.