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Kathleen Womack named to State Bar of Georgia’s board of governors

Kathleen WomackKathleen Womack, past president of the Stonewall Bar Association and former chair of Georgia Equality’s board of directors, has been appointed to the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia.

The Board of Governors is a 160-member body that sets the policies of the State Bar.

Womack was appointed to the post by State Bar President-elect Robin Frazer Clark, according to a press release from the State Bar of Georgia.

Womack, who is openly gay, made an unsuccessful bid for Sandy Springs City Council in 2005 in the city’s first election after it incorporated. She was endorsed in this campaign by Georgia Equality and the national Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and also endorsed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Ga. Supreme Court upholds murder conviction of doctor who lured men with drugs for sex

Dr. Noel Chua

The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction and life sentence handed down to a doctor convicted of felony murder for prescribing pain medications to a gay lover who later died of an overdose.

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.

On Dec. 15, 2005, Chua called 911 and Carter was found dead in the bathroom. Police found loose pills, prescription drug bottles and physician drug samples. Medical experts testified at Chua’s trial in Oct. 2007 that Carter died of a combination methadone, oxycodone and morphine in his system along with other drugs.

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Atlanta drag personality arrested on human trafficking charges

Pasha Nicole faces legal troubles

Atlanta drag personality Pasha Nicole and gay bar go-go dancer Steven Donald Lemery were recently arrested in Douglas County, Ga., for allegedly “trafficking human beings for the purpose of sexual servitude.”

According to the Douglas County Sheriff’s website, which identifies Pasha Nicole as Christopher Thomas Lynch, the two are charged with trafficking minors and Lemery has been charged with trafficking an adult. Douglas County is located about 20 miles west of Atlanta.

“The investigation began at the end of January and continues today as Douglas County Sheriff’s investigators follow up leads and information that continues to come to the surface,” states the website under a news release dated March 11.

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Atlanta Eagle officers racked up large bar bills hours before raid

Atlanta police officers involved in the Atlanta Eagle raid spent a great deal of money on shots of liquor before the actual raid began, according to a news report.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that officer Bennie Bridges, the lead investigator of the raid and who was working undercover, spent $50 of APD funds on drinks on Sept. 10, 2009, the night of the raid. The AJC also states that Bridges spent another $60 on drinks on May 29, 2009, while working undercover into allegations of illicit sex and drug use taking place at the Midtown gay bar.

Another officer the night of the raid, Jared Watkins, also working undercover, spent $60 on drinks the night of the raid.

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Ga. Supreme Court to hear case of gay man convicted of murder

The case of Samuel Mitchell Abernathy goes before the Supreme CourtThe case of a gay man convicted of killing a man who allegedly called him and his boyfriend “faggots” will go before the state Supreme Court on Monday.

The state is appealing a White County judge’s ruling granting a new trial to Samuel Mitchell Abernathy. Abernathy was convicted of stabbing and killing Darrin Ramey after Ramey called Mitchell and his partner at the time, John Geren, “faggots.” The incident occurred in the parking lot of the Southside Bar in Helen, Ga., in January 2008.

Mitchell was convicted in November 2008 of malice murder and sentenced to life in prison.

According to a press release from the state Supreme Court, Abernathy said he was jumped by Ramey and acted in self-defense. Abernathy and Geren were both charged with murder but the state dropped its charges against Geren after he agreed to testify against Abernathy.

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Lambda Legal fights to keep trans woman’s court victory over Ga. legislature

Lambda Legal has filed papers before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit defending a lower court’s ruling that the Georgia General Assembly discriminated against Vandy Beth Glenn, a transgender woman who was fired from her job as a state legislative editor in 2007 after informing her superiors of her intention to transition from male to female.

In July of last year, the district court ruled that General Assembly officials discriminated against Glenn based on her sex. The General Assembly's legislative counsel, Sewell Brumby, fired Glenn because he thought her transition "was inappropriate, that it would be disruptive, that some people would view it as a moral issue, and that it would make Glenn's coworkers uncomfortable."

The state has since appealed the Vandy Beth Glenn wins lawsuit against Georgia General Assemblyruling.

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By the numbers: Uganda’s ‘top homos’

100 Pictures of ‘Uganda’s Top Homos’ published in October in the weekly newspaper Rolling Stone (not related to the US music magazine). 1,000,000 Children that the Ugandan newspaper claimed the “homos” planned ...
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Atlanta Eagle co-owner says bar is not $1 million richer after federal lawsuit settlement

Richard Ramey and Robby Kelley, owners of the Atlanta Eagle

A family came to the Atlanta Eagle gay bar on Ponce de Leon last night after apparently being sent there by a church seeking help to buy a car. A car would help the parents find a job in these tough economic times.

This incident has Richard Ramey and Robby Kelley, co-owners of the bar, distressed and they want people to know that while $1.025 million awarded in a lawsuit filed by patrons of the Atlanta Eagle the night it was illegally raided last September is a lot of money, the bar itself is only receiving $80,000 — enough to cover the losses the bar suffered in the past year. The federal judge in the case ordered the money be put into an escrow account of Lambda Legal.

"We took this family very seriously and it was very upsetting. We don't want people to think we have all this money and we're partying on the beach or something," Ramey said. "I don't want people to think the Eagle has a million dollars. We don't."

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Federal judge signs settlement agreement between city, Atlanta Eagle over gay bar raid

Attorney Dan Grossman and plaintiff Geoff Calhoun embrace after the Atlanta City Council voted to approve a settlement offer in the Atlanta Eagle raid case

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Batten has signed the settlement agreement between the city of Atlanta and plaintiffs of the Atlanta Eagle today, according to his clerk, making the more than $1 million settlement official and concluding the lawsuit over the botched gay bar raid.

The Atlanta City Council voted 14-0 on Monday to approve the settlement that included the $1.025 million monetary payout to the plaintiffs as well as ordering the Atlanta Police Department "to take certain actions in regard to their standard operating procedures" in the wake of the raid and lawsuit.

The settlement resolution includes $1.025 million to go into an escrow account with Lambda Legal, one of two nonprofit legal groups that joined attorney Dan Grossman in representing the Eagle plaintiffs. The Southern Center for Human Rights also joined the case. Patrons of the Atlanta Eagle filed the federal lawsuit against the city and dozens of Atlanta Police Department officers in November 2009 following the botched raid of the gay bar on the night of Sept. 10, 2009.

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City faces new complaint over Atlanta Eagle raid; investigations continue as lawsuit settles

Atlanta Eagle plaintiff Geoff Calhoun

Geoff Calhoun held his face in his hands during the Atlanta City Council meeting on Dec. 6, visibly nervous as he leaned forward in his chair in the council’s chamber at City Hall.

Calhoun was a patron of the Atlanta Eagle, a gay leather bar, on Sept. 10, 2009, the night it was raided by undercover Atlanta Police Department officers and the APD’s Red Dog Unit.

As a plaintiff in the federal civil rights lawsuit filed by patrons who were detained and searched during the raid, Calhoun was waiting anxiously to see if the council would vote to approve a settlement the city reached with the plaintiffs on Dec. 3.

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National anti-gay marriage group claims bias in Prop 8 hearing

The National Organization for Marriage released a statement regarding the federal appeals court hearing on California’s Proposition 8 yesterday, decrying the court panel as biased.

The anti-gay group is up-in-arms over the inclusion of Judge Stephen Reinhardt, whose wife works with the American Civil Liberties Union and has been involved in the case through her role at the ACLU. Reinhardt was one of three judges who sat on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals during yesterday's hearing.

"This hearing makes a mockery of the federal judiciary," said Brian Brown, president of NOM, in an internet posting. "Citizens are entitled to a guarantee of impartiality from their judiciary. Yet here we have the spectacle of a federal appeals court justice ruling on a case in which his wife represents a group that is a participant. A cynic would be left to wonder if the fix is in for marriage in the Ninth Circuit."