There will be some new faces in Lambda Legal’s Atlanta office. The LGBTQ legal team’s Transgender Rights Project Director, Senior...
YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul is no stranger to lawsuits. Since becoming executive director of YouthPride in June 2009, he has personally filed three lawsuits handled in federal court — including one showing that he began searching for other jobs within months of taking the helm of the youth group.
Like McPhaul’s recent lawsuit in Fulton County against a car dealership, the federal lawsuits are all filed “pro se,” or with McPhaul representing himself instead of having an attorney. The lawsuits are filed on behalf of McPhaul as an individual, not as a representative of YouthPride. One remains pending.
Court records show McPhaul has filed six lawsuits handled by the federal court system since 1994, all representing himself without an attorney. Defendants include at least four of his previous employers, including three prominent Atlanta nonprofits: AID Atlanta, National AIDS Education & Services for Minorities, and St. Joseph’s Mercy Care.
Many people don’t realize you can be fired in Georgia for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. But being on the forefront of accepting LGBT employees is a priority for some companies, and Out & Equal Atlanta can help them ensure their practices are culturally competent as well as good business.
“As part of Out & Equal Atlanta we are trying to deliver relevant and quality programming,” says Sibby Tansill of SyBIC Consulting and co-chair of the local chapter of the national Out & Equal nonprofit organization.
“We work with affinity groups and human resources groups … to show how to be more inclusive,” she adds.
Companies Out & Equal works with include Turner, Newell Rubbermaid and Coca-Cola — all major companies that have excellent records with the national Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.
Kathleen 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.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this morning that the First Amendment protects anti-gay picketers Westboro Baptist Church from tort liability, according to the American Bar Association.
The decision was eight to one. Only Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented.
Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kansas, is led by Rev. Fred Phelps and his family members. The church frequently protest the funerals of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq with signs featuring messages like “God Hates Fags” and “Fags Doom Nations.” WBC has also protested Jewish groups, high schools and even the Catholic Church.
The 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.
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."
The U.S. Senate today confirmed the appointment of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, but not without complaints from nearly every Republican opposing her nomination about her actions concerning Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
The vote was 63 to 37, with only five Republicans voting for Kagan and one Democrat voting against.
The Senate’s newest Republican member, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, voted against Kagan.
U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled Wednesday that California’s ballot measure banning same-sex marriage violates the federal constitution’s guarantees to equal protection and due process of law. A few minutes after issuing the decision, Walker also issued a temporary stay of its impact and directed attorneys challenging the initiative to respond to request by August 6.
The 136-page decision, which has been much anticipated by both sides of the same-sex marriage debate, says supporters of Proposition 8 failed to establish any rational or legitimate reason for prohibiting same-sex couples from having marriage licenses.