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Gay Atlanta men attacked in St. Lucia hate crime

st lucia house where atlanta men robbed

Michael Baker will never forget the last night of his recent vacation in St. Lucia. He recalls the sunset as the best yet of his trip, but what happened next may haunt him for the rest of his life.

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[Video] Customers at Macon, Ga., club say were turned away because they are gay

Gay customers at a new Macon, Ga., club said they were not allowed entrance because the owner was catering to a straight crowd and did not want people who "act gay" to scare others off.

According to a Saturday late report by WGXA-TV in Macon, the new club, Club Element, held its grand opening on Friday, March 4. The club on Cherry Street was formerly Synergy, a gay club.

On opening night, customers said they were turned away because they were gay.

"One of the bouncers pulled us out of the line and to the side and said this a straight club now and you aren’t allowed to act gay when you are in there," Colby Cain, a former Synergy customer, told WGXA-TV.

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Atlanta LGBT immigration advocates fight copycat Arizona bills

Approximately 30 activists gathered at the Phillip Rush Center March 3 to discuss ways the LGBT and queer communities can come together to fight Arizona copycat anti-immigration legislation in Georgia.

On March 3, the state House passed HB 87, also known as the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011. The vote was 113-56 in a mostly party line vote in the Republican-controlled House. The bill now goes to the Senate.

“Like the groundbreaking law Arizona enacted last year, HB 87 would authorize state and local police to verify the immigration status of certain suspects. A federal judge halted a similar provision in Arizona last year after the Obama administration argued it is pre-empted by federal law. Arizona is appealing that judge’s decision,” reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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By the numbers: Same-sex marriage in America

80,000

Estimated legally married same-sex couples in the United States.

30,000

Legally married gay couples in the United States who wed in other countries.

85,000

Estimated same-sex couples in legally recognized civil unions or domestic partnerships.

29

States that have amended their state constitutions to ban gay marriage.

40

Percent of the U.S. population that resides in a jurisdiction that offers gay couples some form of state-level protection. Georgia does not.

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Turning point? Obama won’t defend Defense of Marriage Act

President Obama's administration announced it would no longer defend DOMA in court

President Obama’s administration made a blockbuster announcement Feb. 23, saying it has concluded that one part of the Defense of Marriage Act will not be able to pass constitutional muster in the 2nd Circuit and the Department of Justice would not defend that part of the law in two pending cases in that circuit.

“The president and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under state law, Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner.

The decision does not automatically overturn DOMA and does not mean that gay couples will now receive the federal benefits of marriage. The law still has to be repealed by Congress, which is unlikely in the near future, or struck down as unconstitutional by the courts.

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Obama DOMA decision could have major impact

Speaker of the House John Boehner expects the House to defend DOMA in court

Political decisions are a lot like oceanic earthquakes. First, there’s the quake, and then there’s the wave. Nobody can tell just how significant the wave is until it reaches land. Sometimes, the wave has greater impact than the earthquake; sometimes, it’s just a swell.

So it is with the decision by the Obama Department of Justice to call the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. The news was a political earthquake for the LGBT community. Now, there’s the wait-and-see for how big an impact the announcement will have.

In this case, there are two waves to watch for: the legal and the political.

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DOMA: Reaction from the left and right

Left

“This is a monumental turning point in the history of the quest for equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.”

Jon Davidson, Lambda Legal, Defense & Education Fund

“The president’s leadership on this issue has forever changed the landscape for LGBT people in this country … This is the beginning of the end, not just for the mean-spirited and indefensible Defense of Marriage Act, but for the entire panoply of laws that discriminate against same-sex couples.”

Kate Kendell, National Center for Lesbian Rights

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Think twice before traveling to get married

Does the recent good news about gay marriage make you want to say “I do”?

Getting legally married can be tremendously meaningful for your relationship and commitment to each other. But it also brings complicated legal consequences, especially since Georgia bans same-sex marriage and will not recognize such marriages from out of state.

You also still will not receive the federal benefits of marriage, because President Obama’s decision to no longer defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act does not automatically overturn DOMA. That will have to come from Congress or the courts.

In the meantime, Lambda Legal recommends that you consider these issues before traveling to another jurisdiction to marry your same-sex partner.

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LGBT Oglethorpe students to protest lecture against gay marriage

LGBT students at Atlanta's Oglethorpe University plan to protest Monday during a lecture by Matthew J. Franck, a leader of a conservative group that opposes gay marriage.

“I was just getting so infuriated that he was coming to our school,” Oglethorpe junior Brittany Weiner told Project Q Atlanta. “Nothing is more personal to me than saying I can’t marry the person I love. Oglethorpe is such an accepting community that I couldn’t believe it."

Weiner is planning the protest with her partner, Jess Graner, and OUTlet, the campus LGBT group. Details are posted on a Facebook page with the slogan "Marriage is a Human Right, Not a Heterosexual Privilege."

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Outwrite’s Philip Rafshoon first out gay person to win Ga. Tech Alumni Legacy Award

Philip Rafshoon, the owner of Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse and the unofficial “Mayor of Midtown,” has been named the winner of the 2011 Alumni Legacy Award by Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

Rafshoon, who graduated from Georgia Tech in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management, is the first openly gay person to receive the award, he said.

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Doctor who lured men with drugs for sex appeals murder conviction to Ga. Supreme Court

Noel Chua

A Georgia doctor convicted of felony murder for prescribing pain medications to a gay lover who later died of an overdose is appealing his case to the Georgia Supreme Court. Oral arguments in the case will be heard Monday.

According to a press release from the Georgia Supreme Court, Dr. Noel Chua, who was in his mid-40s, began treating James Bazley Carter III, 19, in Sept. 2005 for debilitating headaches. Chua prescribed Carter such medications as morphine, methadone and oxycodone.

A month later, in October, Carter moved in with Chua in his home in Camden County, nearly 6 hours south of Atlanta near Jacksonville, Fla., while he continued to attend community college.