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Lambda Legal announces first post-DOMA marriage lawsuit — and it’s in the South

Lambda Legal Greg Nevins

First up: Virginia.

Lambda Legal today announced its intent to sue the state of Virginia alongside the American Civil Liberties Union in what will likely be the LGBT organization’s first new federal lawsuit over marriage rights since the U.S. Supreme Court found section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional.

"The end of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act opens a new chapter in our work to ensure same-sex couples and their families across the country are treated with dignity and respect," said Greg Nevins, supervising senior staff attorney in Lambda Legal's Southern Regional Office based in Atlanta.

"We know that many same-sex couples and their families have waited a long time and we are excited to announce that the campaign for the freedom to marry is coming South,” Nevins said.

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Anti-gay group claims it was target of IRS leak, announces lawsuit Internal Revenue Service came under fire late last week after allegations that it unfairly targeted conservative political groups. Prominent Republicans promised congressional hearings and even President Obama weighed in Monday, calling the actions “outrageous.”

Conservative groups are pissed. They have every reason to be pissed.

When it rains, it pours, apparently, for the IRS and its troubles.

The National Organization for Marriage this week announced plans to sue the IRS over claims that the tax agency stole and released its 2008 tax records, which were then leaked to the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay political group.

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Former Eagle raid officer says Atlanta police had arrest quotas

An Atlanta Police Department officer who was fired after a city investigation into the unconstitutional raid of the Midtown gay bar Atlanta Eagle has said in court documents that officers were required to meet arrest quotas, according to a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Cayenne Mayes, who was fired from the APD for lying during the investigation of the 2009 Eagle raid, was also part of another lawsuit filed by young men who said they were illegally strip searched by Mayes and other APD officers who were part of the now disbanded Red Dog Unit.

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Ga. appeals court upholds second-parent adoption in lesbian ‘divorce’ case

GA Court of Appeals

In a case that risked far-reaching consequences, the Georgia Court of Appeals recently upheld a second-parent adoption involving a lesbian couple, but avoided taking a stand on whether the state’s ban on same-sex marriage impacts the legality of second-parent adoptions overall.

First reported in the Fulton Daily Report, the case involves Nicole Bates and her former partner, Tina Bates. Nicole Bates became pregnant through an anonymous sperm donor in 2007 and she wanted her partner, Tina, to adopt the child so both could be legal parents.

The second-parent adoption was approved in Fulton County by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville. Although the couple did not live in Fulton County, their attorney said it would be easier to get a same-sex second parent adoption approved there.

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New generation of Atlanta LGBTQ youth speaks out


“My mom met my boyfriend today,” Gabriel Haggray said, seated at a patio table at Savage Pizza in Little Five Points with friends Chris Kontopidis and Casey Geyer. “She gave him a hug.”

A huge grin allowed a flash of his blue-tinted braces to shine. This was a huge step for Haggray, 24, a psychology major at Georgia Perimeter College who once had dreams of a ballet career and now hopes to become a criminal profiler for the FBI.

When Haggray came out in the 11th grade, his parents were a bit reluctant to understand and accept. It’s a different story today. Haggray said the support he receives from his family, especially his older sisters, is monumental.

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Lawsuit not over for ousted Ga. student council prez who wanted gay-inclusive prom

Reuben Lack, his father and attorney

A federal judged ruled Monday against an Alpharetta High School student's claim that he was sacked from his student council position after introducing an LGBT-friendly prom resolution. While the decision means Reuben Lack won’t get his leadership role back, his father stressed that the lawsuit against the Fulton County School District isn’t over.

Reuben Lack, 18, claimed in a federal lawsuit filed in March that he was removed from his position as the school's student body president after introducing a resolution during a February student council meeting that would have made the school's annual prom more inclusive to LGBT students by removing the prom “king” and “queen” titles and replacing them with more gender-neutral titles.

The school district, however, responded by saying Lack's removal had nothing to do with the prom resolution, and claimed that he was removed for canceling and rescheduling student council meetings with little or no notice, acting uncivilly and refusing to comply with direct instructions from the student council faculty advisers.

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Atlanta’s total cost for illegal police raid nears $3 million

Atlanta Eagle

Documents released by the city of Atlanta show that the city paid out more than $1.2 million for an independent investigation into the botched raid of the Atlanta Eagle.

The documents show that high-profile law firm Greenberg Traurig charged the city more than $1.2 million for its three-month investigation and 349-page report of what happened at the Eagle the night of Sept. 10, 2009, when the gay bar was raided by the Atlanta Police Department after anonymous allegations about illegal sex and drug use at the bar. No drugs were found and nobody was arrested for illegal sex.

The investigation was mandated as part of a $1.025 million settlement the city reached in December 2010 with 26 patrons of the bar who said their constitutional rights were violated when they were detained for no reason, forced to the ground and had their IDs checked.

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Alpharetta teen denied injunction, LGBT prom lawsuit moves forward

Reuben Lack, his father and attorney

Reuben Lack, the Alpharetta High School student who sued the school after being removed from his position as the school's Student Body President after introducing an LGBT-friendly prom resolution, will not regain his position before the end of the current school year, a federal judge ruled today.

The ruling likely means that Lack will end the school year before finalizing his suit. Lack, a senior, graduates in May.

Lack went before U.S. Judge Richard Story of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on Thursday, March 29 to plead his case. Just one day later, Judge Story issued his ruling denying Lack the injunction to regain his position during the ongoing legal battle.

Story ruled that while Lack's free speech rights may have been violated, the school presented sufficient evidence to prove that it would have removed Lack regardless of the LGBT prom resolution.

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Atlanta Eagle celebrates 25 years — and end to long legal battles

The Atlanta Eagle celebrates 25 years and an end to lawsuits

The Atlanta Eagle is ready to party.

In April, the gay bar in Midtown celebrates its 25th anniversary with a barbecue, balloon drop and giveaways, as well as the annual Leather Pride event.

The entire month of April is also booked with numerous other parties each weekend, including the celebration of Richard Ramey and Robby Kelley owning the bar for 15 years and MondoHomo’s popular WigOut party and fundraiser.

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LGBT youth form ‘JustUsATL’ as option to crumbling YouthPride

YouthPride executive director Terence McPhaul

As YouthPride continues to face obstacles including a funding crisis, a group of young people who have used its services before are now breaking off to begin forming their own organization.

The group, named JustUsATL, hosts a town hall forum on March 31 at Greater Smith Church at 7 p.m.

“LGBTQ young people including teens and young adults have come together in a consensus-based process to form a new organization,” the group stated in a press release on March 22, the day after a Fulton Magistrate judge ordered YouthPride vacate its premises as part of a settlement agreement with its landlord, Inman Park United Methodist Church.