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[Updated] Eddie Long sexual misconduct lawsuit ‘will be dismissed’

Bishop Eddie Long, head of megachurch New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, has apparently decided to settle lawsuits brought by four young men who alleged he sexually coerced them as teens.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported today that the attorney for New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and LongFellow Academy, also named in the lawsuits, said the lawsuits “will be dismissed, with prejudice, by close of business tomorrow.”

On Thursday, a "Resolution Statement" was posted on New Birth's website that read:

"After a series of discussions, all parties involved have decided to resolve the civil cases out of court. This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry.

"As is usually the case when civil lawsuits resolve out of court, we cannot discuss any details regarding the resolution or the resolution process, as they are confidential.

"This resolution is the most reasonable road for everyone to travel."

In a statement from the attorney representing the the four male clients:

"Regarding the lawsuits filed against Bishop Eddie Long, New Birth Baptist Church and the Longfellow Academy, plaintiffs' attorney BJ Bernstein's only comment is as follows: 'The matter has been resolved.'

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Lawsuit: Sheriff’s department took lesbian drug addict to evangelist instead of rehab

Lesbian Amanda Booker is suing Bartow Co.

A Bartow County lesbian is suing the Bartow County Sheriff’s Department and others after she alleges her constitutional rights were violated when she was taken to a private residence for ex-gay conversion therapy rather than to a court-mandated psychiatric hospital for her drug abuse.

The lawsuit, filed May 13 in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Georgia by Amanda Booker, names as defendants Bartow County, Bartow County Commissioner Clarence Brown, Sheriff Clark Milsap and sheriff department employees Mark Mayton, Nathan Gibbs, Pam Ploof and Amanda Pedifer. Individuals Gary Allen Covington, Chris McDowell and Donna Dupree McDowell are also named as defendants.

Sheriff Milsap told the GA Voice he had not seen the lawsuit and laughed at the allegations that were in it.

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GA Voice and Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau debut ‘Destination: Gay Atlanta’ today

Destination: Gay Atlanta coverThe city of Atlanta's first official LGBT travel guide, “Destination: Gay Atlanta,” debuts today in distribution locations across the city and online at www.gay-atlanta.com. The guide is a joint partnership of GA Voice and the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.

LGBT visitors to Atlanta now have a complete travel resource featuring neighborhood descriptions, major LGBT events, nightlife and bar listings, and friendly hotels, shops and restaurants to plan their vacations and trips to our city. “Destination: Gay Atlanta” will be published annually.

Also included in the guide are welcome letters from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and William Pete, president and CEO of the ACVB.The ACVB is in the process of revamping the city's gay travel website, www.gay-atlanta.com, which will soon feature entertainment, nightlife and community content provided by GA Voice. The digital version of “Destination: Gay Atlanta” resides on the site now in flip-book form and can be downloaded (or you can view it below).

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Mayor Reed: ‘Screen on the Green’ back on in Piedmont Park

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the Piedmont Park Conservancy today announced that the popular outdoor movie series “Screen on the Green” will be held at Piedmont Park this year. The Conservancy had previously canceled the series earlier this year when its main corporate sponsor, Peachtree TV, withdrew.

Comcast, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines and Georgia Natural Gas are the new corporate sponsors of the series which will continue during its traditional Thursday night timeslot during the summer. Delta will be the main sponsor.

“As you know, we thought we would have to cancel the 'Screen on the Green' series this summer,” Reed said during a press conference held at Piedmont Park's Magnolia Hall. “However, when four wonderful companies, who have always been strong advocates for the city, learned earlier this month that 'Screen on the Green' would not continue this year, they stepped up with really, really strong support.

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Outwrite pleads for customer support in light of economic downturn

Activists gather at Atlanta's Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse

Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, an institution in Atlanta's gay community, sent an email to customers this afternoon expressing concern over the store's future in light of a down economy and a changing landscape in the publishing industry.

According to Philip Rafshoon, owner and operator of the gay bookstore at the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue, Outwrite is in the midst of operational and organizational changes that it hopes will help sustain the business. Rafshoon, however, acknowledges that increased customer support is needed to keep the doors open in the long-term.

"Everyone says, 'we love your store and we love what you do for the community,' we just have to get more people in here and get them to stop taking us for granted," Rafshoon said in an interview.

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GA Voice journalists named finalists in Atlanta Press Club awards

Indulge us while we brag a little bit: The Atlanta Press Club recently announced finalists for its 2010 Awards of Excellence, and two GA Voice journalists made the list.

GA Voice Deputy Editor Dyana Bagby is one of two finalists in the category of Small Print Circulation / News. R. Robin McDonald of The Daily Report is the other finalist in the category.

GA Voice Editor Laura Douglas-Brown is one of two finalists in the Opinion category. Ann Woolner of Bloomberg is the other.

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Atlanta community forum to discuss needs for LGBT elderly

SAGE Atlanta is hosting a community forum on Sunday, May 22, at the Phillip Rush Center for a webcast with other activists to discuss ways to meet the needs of elderly LGBT people. The forum begins at 2:30 p.m.

SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), a national organization with 20 affiliates across the nation including the newly formed Atlanta affiliate, will be broadcasting a live meeting online from the New York LGBT Center to screens at the Phillip Rush Center.

Participants in Atlanta will have a chance to watch the meeting along with other affiliates and take part in a national conversation to learn about what SAGE is working for in its mission to finding ways to meet the needs of aging gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

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Rugby star and gay icon Ben Cohen selects Atlanta as home for his StandUp Foundation

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Atlanta will be the home for Ben Cohen's StandUp Foundation as well as his StandUp brand, it was announced today.

Cohen, the hunky — and straight — rugby star (now retired) from England, has been in Atlanta this week as part of his “Acceptance Tour 2011” to bring awareness about bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people and to find ways to stop it.


“I have a big following, I have a voice, I want to use it,” he said. “I’m in a privileged position and I want to set a precedent. Being gay is not a disease, it’s not a choice," he told the GA Voice in a recent interview.

Making Atlanta the home base for his foundation was a simple choice, Cohen said in statement released late Friday. Because Atlanta has been dubbed in the past as the “gayest city” in America by The Advocate and is home to the civil rights movement, the city "too busy to hate" was the best place.

“I can think of no better place to base our operations and make the differences we intend to make,” Cohen said.

Cohen said he is also the first straight athlete to focus his energy on LGBT causes and anti-bullying measures.

“The Foundation is believed to be the world’s first organization dedicated solely to the cause of anti-bullying, wherever and to whomever it occurs,” states a press release from the StandUp Foundation.

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Barrow deputy forced out after he uses Facebook to hate on Obama, gays

Lewis RusgroveWhen will people learn that what goes on Facebook stays on Facebook and can cost you your job?

That's what Barrow County deputy Lewis Rusgrove learned this week after he was at first suspended for posting incorrect info about his job title then forced to resign when an investigation into his Facebook postings revealed he called President Barack Obama "camel jockey" and "towel headed leader," according to a story in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Rusgrove was apparently writing about his displeasure with gas prices. Sure, they are pretty expensive and worthy of whining about. But then Rusgrove goes on to write, “Damocrats, blacks or African-Americans where is the outrage towards your towel headed leader.”