NATIONAL Marriage equality, minister and trans journalist die, HRC – 583 – 2020-10-12 Windy City Times

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LGBTQ-rights advocates are warning of a renewed threat to marriage equality, NBC News reported. President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ignited fears of an increasingly conservative court rolling back recently gained LGBTQ rights. Fuel was then added to the fire Oct. 5 when two of the court’s conservative justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, mounted a fresh attack on the landmark 2015 decision Obergefell v. Hodges, which made same-sex marriage legal across the United States.

The Mennonite minister whose church stripped him of his credentials for officiating the wedding of his gay son has died, noted. Chester Wenger passed away Oct. 2, in Lititz, Pennsylvania, with his family caring for him. He made history in 2014 when he officiated the wedding of his son Phil, who had been ex-communicated from the Mennonite church for being gay, and his partner Steve Dinnocenti. Wenger was 102.

Monica Roberts—a national figure who created awareness in the media of issues impacting the trans community including the high risk of violence faced by trans women of color—has died, Houston Public Media noted. Houston elected officials and organizations from across the country remembered the transgender activist best known for her groundbreaking journalistic reporting on the blog TransGriot, dedicated to telling stories from the trans community—particularly among people of color in the community. “The passing of Monica Roberts is a tremendous loss,” said former NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists Vice President of Print Ina Fried in a statement. “Monica has been a tireless voice for the trans community, in particular the Black trans community. Countless stories, otherwise untold, were heard because of her strong, unwavering voice.”

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation celebrated the 32nd annual National Coming Out Day ( NCOD ), which was on Oct. 11, a press release noted. To mark the occasion, the organization released new Coming Out resources to help LGBTQ people come out and live openly at home, at work and in their community. The resources are at

Oscar-nominated and Emmy winning actress Patricia Clarkson, RuPaul’s Drag Race alumna Nina West, and drag performer La Tina Turner join forces to get out the vote, according to a press release. Under the direction of actor Mike Doyle, Clarkson and the divas sing their support for Kamala Harris and the Biden campaign, putting their spin on the Lieber/Stoller classic “I’m a Woman.” The one-minute video is at

A proposed state constitutional amendment on the ballot in Virginia in the Nov. 3 election calling for a bipartisan commission rather than the governor and state legislature to decide on changes in congressional and state legislative districts has created a rift between Virginia’s four LGBT members of the legislature, The Washington Blade reported. Gay state Sen. Adam Ebbin ( D-Alexandria ) and lesbian House of Delegates member Dawn Adams ( D-Richmond ) have spoken out in support of Amendment 1; however, transgender State House of Delegates member Danica Roem ( D-Prince William County ) and gay House of Delegates members Mark Levine ( D-Alexandria ) and Mark Sickles ( D-Fairfax County ) have joined the state’s Democratic Party in expressing strong opposition to the proposed amendment.

John Mandt Jr., a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, resigned from his office after screenshots of him using anti-gay slurs and disparaging the LGBTQ+ community surfaced on Twitter, noted, citing KDKA. Screenshots appear to show the Cabell County politician making gay jokes, using the antigay slur “faggot,” criticizing fellow Republicans for being “sponsors of a queer bill,” and personally insulting other state lawmakers. Mandt initially denied making the statements in a now-deleted Facebook post.

A man died at an unofficial Atlanta Pride event this past weekend, LGBTQ Nation reported. Videos of the unofficial parties show hundreds of men packed into clubs without face masks or social distancing. Social-media users have blasted the venues and party promoters as irresponsible. The man died in the basement of a club named BJ Roosters during a 3-7 a.m. circuit party called Xion. The man’s partner told WXIA-TV that he had taken Ecstasy pills at the event.

Montgomery County—the largest county in the state of Maryland—is the first city or county in the state to pass an LGBTQ+ bill of rights, reported. The bill, which was passed unanimously, expands the county’s anti-discriminaton laws to include gender expression and HIV status, and also bans LGBTQ+ discrimination in nursing homes and healthcare and personal care facilities.

LGBTQ Victory Fund and Equality California condemned San Diego mayoral candidate Barbara Bry for repeatedly refusing to denounce homophobic and false attacks on her openly gay opponent, California Assemblymember Todd Gloria, a joint press release stated. The assemblymember is now receiving threats of physical violence—including death threats—on social media. “Just like Donald Trump refuses to condemn white supremacy, Barbara Bry is refusing to condemn homophobia,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur. “Barbara Bry’s willingness to lie about civil rights legislation supported by law enforcement and survivors’ advocates and to pander to far-right, anti-LGBTQ+ extremists says a lot about her character.”

Elisabeth Moss is attached to play former Congresswoman Katie Hill in an adaptation of her memoir from Blumhouse Television, Deadline reported. The Handmaid’s Tale star will play Hill in the project, which is being developed as a movie for a streaming service. Hill said, “I wrote [She Will Rise: Becoming a Warrior in the Battle for True Equality] to try to take back my story from those who have exploited and twisted it.” The book follows Hill’s rise as California’s first openly bisexual Congressperson and her eventual resignation from office after her intimate photos were leaked and her relationship with a campaign staffer was revealed, Vulture noted.

Wayne LaPierre, the longtime head of the National Rifle Association ( NRA ), is under investigation by the IRS on suspicion of criminal tax fraud, The Hill noted, citing the Wall Street Journal. LaPierre, who has led the organization since 1991, is already the subject of a lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James. In the lawsuit, James alleged the gun-rights organization did not include some personal benefits in compensation paperwork, allowing LaPierre to “file false personal tax returns with the IRS.”

The Southern California LGBTQ enclave of West Hollywood is poised to become the first city in the country to create a drag laureate position, The Bay Area Reporter noted. If it does, it will beat San Francisco in establishing a post that LGBTQ community leaders in the Northern California city had first proposed two years ago. WeHo officials readily acknowledge they got the “innovative programming” idea from their municipal counterparts.

Rapper/mogul Kanye West was slammed for encouraging fans to write him in for president on 2020 election ballots, potentially siphoning votes from Democratic nominee Joe Biden, The New York Post reported. West tweeted a photo of his name penned on a mail-in ballot with the caption “friends writing me in”—sparking outrage from onlookers.

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