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Family & Medical Leave Act to include gay parents

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis

In a move praised by LGBT groups, the U.S. Department of Labor announced June 22 that it would expand the definition of “son and daughter” to make more gay families eligible for coverage under the Family & Medical Leave Act to care for sick children.

“No one who loves and nurtures a child day-in and day-out should be unable to care for that child when he or she falls ill. … The Labor Department’s action today sends a clear message to workers and employers alike: All families, including LGBT families, are protected by the FMLA,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

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Citizens Review Board weighs Atlanta Eagle cases

Citizens Review Board Chair Joy Morrissey

The Atlanta Citizens Review Board will discuss the cases of Atlanta Eagle co-owner Robby Kelley and doorman Ernest Buehl at its July 8 meeting. The two men allege that the Atlanta Police Department, including members of the notorious Red Dog Unit, used abusive language toward them during the Sept. 10 raid on the gay bar.

The CRB took up its first of a total of 14 Atlanta Eagle complaints on June 10 when it upheld manager David Shepherd’s complaint that he was falsely arrested during the raid. The board also recommended Officer B.E. Bridges be issued a written reprimand to go into his personnel file and Officer John Brock be punished with a three-day suspension for their roles in Shepherd’s arrest. Atlanta Interim Police Chief George Turner has 30 days to respond to the CRB recommendations.

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Military homophobia? Savannah beating prompts hate crime investigation

Protesters gathered in Savannah to bring attention to recent gay bashing

Under the shade of oak trees on Johnson Square in the historic district of Savannah, Ga., with City Hall as a backdrop, dozens of LGBT activists gathered June 20 to express outrage over the recent alleged beating of a gay man by two U.S. Marines.

While the incident remains under investigation, it raises serious questions about homophobia in the military — which will face significant scrutiny if “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is repealed — and whether Georgia needs to finally pass a state hate crimes law.

The purpose of the rally was to bring attention to the need for a state hate crimes law and to demand that city leaders address violence against LGBT people in Savannah, said Kevin Clark, Savannah chapter director for Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBT group.

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Why Ga. needs a state hate crimes law

Georgia is one of only five states that does not have a state hate crimes law. But now that President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Act into law in October, the federal hate crimes law should be enough, right?

No, say local LGBT activists.

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Augusta hosts historic first Pride festival

2010 Augusta Pride parade

Grammy winner Thelma Houston closed out the stage for Augusta Pride on June 19, but there was one more inspiring moment awaiting the hundreds who withstood the withering heat to be there for the festival’s finale.

As Augusta Pride organizers took the microphone to thank attendees and celebrate the success of the city’s first-ever gay Pride, a faint rainbow arched across the sky.

“That was like a sign from God,” Augusta Pride President Isaac Kelly said.

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By the numbers: Gay Malawi couple

20 & 26 Ages of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, gay men who held an engagement ceremony in Malawi 14 Years of hard labor in prison to which the two were sentenced for “gross indecency and unnatural ...
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LGBT activists found ‘Act Out Savannah’

Cody Patterson forms LGBT rights group in Savannah

Savannah LGBT activists are forming the group “Act Out Savannah” in response to recent attacks and alleged attacks on gay residents, according to a press release issued today.

“In response to the vile and vicious attacks on fellow members of the GLBT community of Savannah, and in response to the City and Police Department’s failure to maintain a safe and healthy environment for our community, the fiercest of Savannah’s activists have joined together to bring the fight for equal protection, equal rights and equal justice to the streets,” states the release.