News You Should Know, July 9

BTL Staff

BOISE, ID - A lawsuit was filed on July 7 by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Boise attorneys Deborah A. Ferguson and Craig Durham, on behalf of Madelynn Lee Taylor, a 74-year-old military veteran, challenging Idaho state laws prohibiting her from being buried in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery with her late wife, Jean Mixner. Taylor served in the navy for 6 years and in 2013 tried to make advance arrangements to have her ashes interred along with those of her wife in the granite columbarium; as many spouses are permitted to do. Cemetery employees have refused her request stating that Idaho law does not recognize their 2008 marriage . The filed lawsuit argues that Idaho's laws prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriages from other states violates the US Constitution.

SEATTLE - Two black gay men, Ahmen Said and Dwone Anderson-Young, were killed on June 1 in the Central District of Seattle. Law enforcement has yet to rule out the possibility of a double homicide powered by hate. The two men may have been targeted using an online dating or hook up app, Grindr, officials say. Said and Anderson-Young did not know their alleged killer, Ali Muhammad Brown who is still at large and is suspect in a recent car jacking. The National Coalition of Anti-violence Programs recently reported on May 29 that hate violence against the LGBT community, documented 18 anti-LGBT homicides in 2013. OF those victims, 90% were people of color.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The United Nations announced it would recognize the gay marriages of all its staffers. This major policy shift opens the door for spouses of LGBT employees to enjoy the same benefits as their heterosexual colleagues. Previously the U.N. only recognized the unions by staffers from countries where gay marriage is considered legal. LGBT spouses of U.N. employees may now get health insurance coverage and the change to accompany their spouses on home leave, every couple of years. UN-Globe, a group representing LGBT staffers at the U.N. had pushed for the U.N. to recognize gay staffers' marriages since 1997. The new policy will affect approximately 43,000 employees worldwide. Agencies such as the children's agency UNICEF and the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO are, however, not affected by the change, U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.

PHOENIX (AP)- Lawyers for Arizona and a group of gay and lesbian couples who sued over the state's ban on same-sex marriage want a judge to decide the case without a trial. The attorneys told U.S. District Court Judge John W. Sedwick on Monday they think he can instead rule based on arguments each side will file in the coming months. The couples argue that the U.S. Constitution's equal protection and due process clauses are violated by the state law barring them from being married. The case will be heard after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hears appeals from Idaho and Nevada in September on cases from those states. A federal judge struck down Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage in May. Another federal judge upheld Nevada's ban in 2012.

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