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Charis to Gov. Deal: We will not comply with new immigration law

Lesbian-owned Charis Books & More is the first Atlanta business to sign on as a Buy Spot and Sanctuary Zone  to protest Gov. Nathan Deal's recent signing of the controversial immigration bill HB 87.

"We are agreeing to be noncompliant," programming director Elizabeth Anderson told CBS Atlanta on May 16. Deal signed the bill into law on Friday, May 13.

Buy Spots and Sanctuary Zones are being organized by a new group called We Are Georgia that is part of a movement including the Somos Georgia Campaign, the Georgia Latino Human Rights Alliance and the LGBT group Southerners On New Ground.

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Atlanta HRC Dinner tells ‘Our Stories’ to inspire fight for LGBT rights

Actress Mo'Nique was awarded the 'Ally for Equality' honor at the 2011 Atlanta Human Rights Campaign Gala Dinner

“Our Stories,” the theme for this year’s Atlanta Human Rights Campaign Gala Dinner, proved fitting May 14 as hundreds packed the ballroom at the Marriott Marquis for the annual black-tie fundraiser for the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group.

From national award winners to local honorees and HRC members, personal stories wove a compelling narrative of the power of coming out and the need for full equality for LGBT Americans.

Filmmaker Lee Daniels, who is gay and an adoptive father, summed up the evening succinctly when he told the cheering audience, “I am not asking for special rights, I am not asking for civil rights, I just want my fucking rights — my human rights.”

Daniels directed “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire” and attended the Atlanta dinner to present HRC’s national Ally for Equality award to talk show host and actress Mo’Nique, who won an Academy Award for her role in the film.

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[Video] 2011 Atlanta Human Rights Campaign Gala Dinner

“Our Stories,” the theme for this year’s Atlanta Human Rights Campaign Gala Dinner, proved fitting May 14 as hundreds packed the ballroom at the Marriott Marquis for the annual black-tie fundraiser for the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group.

From national award winners to local honorees and HRC members, personal stories wove a compelling narrative of the power of coming out and the need for full equality for LGBT Americans.

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Atlanta police arrest 50 male prostitutes in ‘Operation Summer Heat’

Atlanta Police Chief George Turner

An undercover six-day vice and narcotics operation in Midtown Atlanta that ended Sunday night resulted in the arrests of 50 male and 11 female prostitutes, according to the Atlanta Police Department.

Most of the arrests occurred in the Peachtree/Cypress Street and Ponce de Leon corridors, areas known for prostitution.

“We’ve received many complaints about hustling and prostitution in these corridors,” Chief George Turner said in a statement. “We hope these arrests send a signal to the community that the APD is listening, and to lawbreakers that we are not going to tolerate this conduct.”

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[Video] Atlanta Braves coach to gay fans: ‘I would like to apologize’

Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell addressed a small group of reporters today at Turner Field on his first day back to the club after a two-week suspension handed down by Major League Baseball after McDowell allegedly using anti-gay slurs against San Francisco Giants fans last month.

McDowell was also accused of threatening Justin Quinn, a father of twin daughters, who asked him to watch his language in front of children at the April 23 game at San Francisco AT&T Park. Quinn made the allegations against McDowell in a press conference with high-profile attorney Gloria Allred.

McDowell did not use the word “gay” at any time during the press conference nor did he admit or deny the allegations. He did, however, apologize again for his actions and said that kind of behavior would not happen again.

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Braves coach Roger McDowell to talk publicly about anti-gay incident

Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell

Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell is expected to speak out today about the recent incident where he allegedly shouted anti-gay slurs at San Francisco Giants fans and threatened a father.

A press conference was slated for 2 p.m. today at Turner Stadium. McDowell returns to the team today as the Braves take on the Philadelphia Phillies after a two-week suspension from Major League Baseball. McDowell was suspended after he was accused of shouting, “Are you a homo couple or a threesome?” at Giants fans on April 23. McDowell also allegedly used a baseball bat to simulate a sex act.

When a father, Justin Quinn, asked McDowell to watch his language in front of children, McDowell allegedly patted a baseball bat in his palm and asked, “How much are your teeth worth?”

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Spelman hosts historic summit on black LGBT students

Spelman College hosted historic LGBT summit

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, president of Spelman College, jump-started the Audre Lorde Historically Black Colleges & Universities Summit with a compelling bit of trivia.

“As we celebrate our 130th anniversary and founding by two women who lived, themselves, in life-long partnership, it seems appropriate that [Spelman] should be a leader in creating more inclusive environments for our LGBT students,” Tatum said.

That public acknowledgement that Sophia Packard and Harriett Giles, co-organizers of the acclaimed all women’s college, lived as domestic partners set the stage to explore the complex relationships LGBT people share in both attending and working for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Fast forward in time and it is clear how highly publicized incidents like the 2002 beating of a Morehouse student allegedly motivated by homophobia, combined with greater media attention surrounding suicide-related deaths among LGBT youth, have sparked much needed dialogue regarding issues of gender and sexuality at HBCU campuses.

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Organizers seek to raise awareness of restaurant chain’s anti-gay giving

GetEqual and Queer Justice League Atlanta protested the Chick-fil-A Leadercast Conference

Four people — two dressed in cow costumes wearing sandwich boards that read “Moor equality” and “What’s your beef wif gay people?” — showed up at the corner of Centennial Park across from CNN on May 6 to protest the Chick-fil-A Leadercast taking place at the nearby Georgia World Congress Center.

While the protest was scheduled from noon to 3 p.m., it ended at 1 p.m. because organizers had to return to work.

The small group of Queer Justice League and GetEQUAL GA supporters handed out “coupons” to passersby stating, “Reserve your free Bigot-fil-A Deluxe” with a list of some of the Atlanta-based fast-food restaurant’s anti-gay donations, including $1,000 to the Family Research Council, $5,000 to the Alliance Defense Fund and $15,000 to Serving Marriages Inc. The money is donated through the WinShape Foundation, the charitable arm of Chick-fil-A founded by owner Truett Cathy and his wife, Jeannette, in 1984.

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YouthPride screens classics for a cause

Dwight Eubanks of ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’

Atlanta LGBT youth organization YouthPride hosts its annual Night on the Boulevard fundraiser May 20 to benefit its HIV Prevention Department.

Attendees are asked to wear their best nightwear, pajamas or loungewear to the benefit held at Ansley Park Playhouse. There will be a red carpet from 7-7:30 p.m. open to all guests with photographers posing as paparazzi. Tickets to the fundraiser start at $100 and include admission as well as food and beverages.

Event co-organizer and YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul said the event began around 10 years ago as a gathering of friends to watch old movies.

“Before it was a private affair,” McPhaul said. “It really started as a slumber party.”

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Anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church to protest in Savannah

Savannah gay activists are gearing up for a rally when the “God Hates Fags” church rolls into town on May 22 to hold a protest at several local churches with plans to return to Savannah on May 27 to protest high schools.

Act Out Savannah, an LGBT activist group, is already organizing a “Rally Against Hate” to be held May 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, one of the churches WBC will be protesting.

“A peaceful protest against bigotry, prejudice and violence will be held in direct response and defiance of the Westboro Baptist Church’s continued mission to bring pain, suffering and humiliation to others in the guise of religion,” states a press release from Act Out Savannah.

Another group, Savannah Unite, plans a candlelight vigil on Wednesday, May 27, to protest Westboro’s visit to Savannah. The vigil will be at Forsyth Park at the Orchestra Stage from 6-9 p.m.

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By the numbers: Tyler Clementi

18

Age of Tyler Clementi when he committed suicide last fall by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after learning that fellow Rutgers University students filmed him having sex with a man and webcast it.

3

Years of a pre-trial intervention program that Molly Wei, 19, accepted when she pleaded not guilty May 6 for her role in the webcast. If she completes the program, charges against her will be dropped.

300

Hours of community service Molly Wei must also complete, in a deal accepted by Clementi’s parents. She must also testify against Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, who faces 15 counts of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation.

10

The length of the hearing, in minutes.

5

Maximum years in prison under New Jersey law for a count of secretly collecting images of nudity or sexual contact, then distributing them.