National

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Emory professor represents NFL stars in gay marriage brief to Supreme Court

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There’s an Atlanta angle to the friend-of-the-court brief filed by NFL stars Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings and Brendan Ayanbadejo of the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens urging the Supreme Court to sack California’s Proposition 8.

No, nothing to do with the Atlanta Falcons for fans still stinging from the team's lost chance at this year's Super Bowl. But one of the attorneys who filed the brief on behalf of the NFL players is an Emory University professor.

Timothy Holbrook, Emory's Associate Dean of Faculty and a professor of law, along with his friend Minneapolis attorney John Dragseth worked with the two players to file the brief.

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Carly Rae Jepsen to Boy Scouts: If you ban gays, don’t “Call Me Maybe”

Call me maybe

Carly Rae Jepsen, the singer known for the catchy pop tune "Call Me Maybe," announced Tuesday via Twitter she will not perform for the Boy Scouts based on the non-profit youth organization's ban on gay members and volunteers.

“As an artist who believes in equality for all people, I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer," Jepsen tweeted.

Jepsen and rock band Train were scheduled to headline the 2013 National Scouting Jamboree, set for July 15-24 at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia.

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March could be key month for gay marriage across the nation

Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two separate same-sex marriage cases in late March.

Arguments on Proposition 8, California’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, are scheduled to be heard March 26, while arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that forbids the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions, will be heard the following day.

“I’m very hopeful that the court will move us forward in our work to end marriage discrimination, but that’s something we can’t control,” Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry, told GA Voice.

At issue in the DOMA case is the law’s Section 3, which has been found unconstitutional eight times by federal courts on issues including bankruptcy, public health benefits, estate taxes and immigration.

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[Interview] Log Cabin Republicans look to the future with new executive director

Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory Angelo

The Log Cabin Republicans, a political organization that advocates LGBT inclusion in the Republican Party, announced late last week that interim Executive Director Gregory Angelo will continue in the role permanently.

“I started going to Log Cabin meetings in 2008,” Angelo tells GA Voice. “At the time, the local chapter was in the midst of rebirth of sorts and I saw an organization that was doing great work that I believed in, but I thought could benefit from having someone with media expertise that was able to amplify the work the organization was doing on the state level.”

Angelo eventually became the chairman of the New York chapter of the organization and helped work toward New York's marriage law, the only marriage equality bill that had ever passed under a Republican-controlled state legislature.

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Obama includes LGBT issues in State of the Union

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President Obama continued his trend of including references to LGBT people in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, but he drew mixed reviews from community leaders.

Early in the one-hour speech, Obama told Congress and the national television audience, “It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.”

Later, talking about the military, he said, “We will ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families – gay and straight.”

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LGBT activists among those invited to attend tonight’s State of the Union address

Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith

A lesbian activist who works to help military families is among First Lady Michelle Obama’s invited guests for tonight's State of the Union Address. LGBT Americans will also be listening to hear if President Obama includes marriage equality or other gay issues in the speech, as he did in his inaugural address last month.

Tracey Hepner, the co-founder of Military Partners and Families Coalition, is the wife of the military's first-ever lesbian general, Tammy Smith.

From the White House description of Hepner, distributed today: Tracey is a co-founder of the Military Partners and Families Coalition (MPFC), which provides support, resources, education, and advocacy for LGBT military partners and their families.  Outside of her work with MPFC, Tracey works full time for the Department of Homeland Security as a Master Behavior Detection Officer.  She is married to the first openly gay or lesbian general officer in the military, Army Brigadier General Tammy Smith.

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Boy Scouts keeps gay ban for now; task force to study impact of gay members

Boy Scouts of America: Reinstate Cub Scout leader who was removed for being gayNot even a recent statement of support made by President Barack Obama could persuade the Boy Scouts of America's board of directors today to lift the ban on openly gay scouts and organization leaders.

BSA announced last week that it would take up the issue at its next board meeting. A statement from the BSA released last week signaled a willingness to lift a ban on gay scouts, but such a ban continues.

“After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy,” the organization said via a prepared statement after their Board meeting concluded.

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Activists: LGBT communities must ally with others to ensure equality for all

Creating Change Conference

When President Barack Obama announced Tuesday in Las Vegas that now is the time for “common-sense comprehensive immigration reform,” he echoed a crucial portion of the national LGBT Creating Change conference in Atlanta.

Now is the time for immigration reform and now is the time for LGBT people to accept that immigration reform is part of their movement as well, said numerous activists throughout the Creating Change conference, held Jan. 23-27 at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Atlanta. The 25th annual conference, which is held in a different city each year, drew more than 3,000 activists from across the country as well as China and Taiwan.

While President Obama didn’t speak publicly about LGBT families during his Jan. 29 speech on immigration reform, he included provisions for bi-national gay and lesbian couples in his framework for reform, as well as the principles of the DREAM Act — “legislation that provides a streamlined path to citizenship for young people who came to the country as children and are going to school or serving their country.”

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CDC: Lesbian, gay domestic violence rates same or higher than heterosexuals

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New data released by the CDC on Jan. 25 shows what LGBT domestic violence educators already know: intimate partner violence is as big a problem for our community as for heterosexuals, though it is often not taken as seriously by the media or mainstream advocacy groups.

“We know that violence affects everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. This report suggests that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in this country suffer a heavy toll of sexual violence and stalking committed by an intimate partner.” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden in a press release about the report. “While intervening and providing services are important, prevention is equally critical.”

Today's report marks the first time the CDC has released national data about intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking broken down by sexual orientation.

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President Obama includes Stonewall, marriage equality in inaugural address

President Barack Obama specifically included LGBT rights in today's inauguration speech, part of a powerful appeal to "the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal."

Obama gave his second inaugural address after being sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts.

"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall," Obama said.

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LGBT angles to watch for at today’s Presidential Inauguration

President Barack Obama's inauguration is just another example of how he includes LGBT people among the fabric of America. Here are several specific LGBT moments to watch for today:

During the ceremony

Crowds began building hours ago, but the inauguration gets underway in earnest when First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and then President Obama are seated a little after 11 a.m.

Any of the speakers may choose to include LGBT people in their remarks, and we'll be listening closely for specific inclusion in Obama's inaugural address, which starts at noon.