- The ACLU has sent letters to the Columbus City School Disctrict urging them to stop blocking LGBT web content. The ACLU is targeting schools nationwide as part of its “Don’t Filter Me” campaign. The initiative is intended to stop schools from blocking access to LGBT websites, dening helpful information to gay-straight alliances and other support groups that could be vital for troubled LGBT youth. According to the ACLU, the school district’s Websense filter currently blocks all ““Gay or Lesbian or Bisexual Issues.” A statement from the ACLU says, “Programs that block all LGBT content violate First Amendment rights to free speech, as well as the Equal Access Act, which requires equal access to school resources for all extracurricular clubs.
- Attorney General Eric Holder filed a request to vacate a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in the case of a bi-national couple in a civil union. Josh Vandiver of Colorado and Henry Velandia of Venezuela were married in Connecticut and live in New Jersey. Velandia is facing deportation. Holder requested “that this matter be referred to me for review.” With the constitutionality and defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) up in the air, Holder is asking the BIA to consider, among other things, if New Jersey law considers the couple “spouses,” and if DOMA were not in effect would Velandia be considered a “spouse” under the Immigration and Nationality Act. A hearing is scheduled to take place on Friday, May 6. Attorney Lavi Soloway, a co-founder of Immigration Equality told Metro Weekly, “”This development could be a sign that the Obama administration is looking for a way to protect gay and lesbian bi-national couples who are currently barred from the regular marriage-based immigration process by the Defense of Marriage Act.”
- Former President Bill Clinton is officially endorsing the legalization of gay marriage in New York state. In a statement he said, “Our nation’s permanent mission is to form a ‘more perfect union’ – deepening the meaning of freedom, broadening the reach of opportunity, strengthening the bonds of community. That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them. Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in New York, with marriage equality. For more than a century, our Statue of Liberty has welcomed all kinds of people from all over the world yearning to be free. In the 21st century, I believe New York’s welcome must include marriage equality.” The issue of same-sex marriage could hit the New York legislature as early as June of this year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has stated that he is “optimistic” that a marriage equality bill can pass.
- Brazil’s supreme court has ruled unanimously in favor of allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. Supreme court minister Luiz Fux said that he believes that being gay is not a choice and that there was no reason to deny gay couples from having a family. He added that civil unions might help couples “get out of secrecy and confidentiality, [and] to overcome hatred and intolerance in the name of the law.”
- Country music star, and current judge on The Voice, Blake Shelton has apologized for a homophobic tweet made earlier this week. He tweeted, “Re-writing my fav Shania Twain song.. Any man that tries Touching my behind He’s gonna be a beaten, bleedin’, heaving kind of guy … ” He has since back-tracked, saying that he was still writing from a female perspective and not advocating anti-gay violence. After GLAAD requested an apology, Shelton posted a series of tweets. ”Hey y’all allow me to seriously apologize for the misunderstanding with the whole re-write on the Shania song last night…It honestly wasn’t even meant that way… I now know that their are people out there waiting to jump at everything I say on here or anywhere But when it comes to gay/lesbian rights or just feelings… I love everybody. So go look for a real villain and leave me out of it!!! @glaad hey I want my fans and @nbcthevoice fans to know that anti-gay and lesbian violence is unacceptable!!!!! Help me!!!! And DM me…”
- Arthur Laurents, the award-winning director and playwright, passed away at the age of 93 after a brief illness. Laurents is best-known for writing the books for the Broadway musicals Gypsy and West Side Story. He also won a Tony for directing La Cage aux Folles in 1983. His 2001 memoir, entitled Original Story, candidly discussed his homosexuality. He was preceded in death by his partner of 52 years, Tom Hatcher, who passed away in 2006.
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