News You Should Know July 29, 2014

BTL Staff

INDIANA - Announced on Friday the Indiana chapter of the ACLU will not file a lawsuit to compel the state to recognize same-sex weddings that were performed when marriage equality was briefly legal. In an unsigned blog the ACLU says it has opted to not pursue litigation because of the U.S. Supreme Court stay to block state benefits to same-sex couples. The stay was submitted without dissent or opinion. "If we won," the blog states, "a stay would likely be entered immediately and nothing would change." For now, we wait to hear from Attorney General Holder.

WHITE HOUSE (Washington Blade)- More than a dozen advocacy organizations on Friday urged President Obama to highlight LGBT rights during an upcoming Africa summit that will take place in D.C. early next month. "Unfortunately, across much of the African continent today, the contributions of LGBT communities are denied or denigrated; their relationships and organizations are criminalized," wrote the organizations that include the Council for Global Equality, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and Amnesty International in a letter to Obama. "Hostile political rhetoric seeks to deny their rightful place in African society." Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is among those who are expected to attend the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit that will take place at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington between Aug. 4-6. Nigeria is among the dozens of African countries in which consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal. Homosexuality remains punishable by death in Mauritania, Sudan and portions of northern Nigeria and Somalia.

NATIONAL - Gays are leaving the Gayborhood, The Advocate reports. Historic neighborhoods like Chelsea in New York, Boystown in Chicago and Castro in San Francisco have seen an 8 percent decrease in gay men and a 13 percent decrease in lesbian residents in these locations. The research was done in the U.S. led by University of British Columbia sociologist Amin Ghaziani. The research is collected in his new book "There Goes the Gayborhood" and suggests that heterosexual households are joining in to replace gays and lesbians. Ghaziani is warns the LGBT community that abandoning our gayborhoods could result in the loss of shared culture, community and political clout. "Gay neighborhoods have been crucial to the struggle for freedom, and have produced globally important contributions, from politics, to poetry, to music, and fashion," he said. "The growing acceptance of same-sex couples underlying these findings is extremely positive, but it is important that we continue to find meaningful ways to preserve these culturally important spaces."

DELAWARE (Washington Blade) -The Cape Henlopen School Board, which represents students living in the LGBT -friendly resort towns of Rehoboth Beach, Lewes and Milton, last week abolished a recommended summer reading list after a controversy over a lesbian-themed book. The board in June removed that book, "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" by Emily Danforth, which tells the story of a teenage girl from Montana who loses her parents in an auto accident and moves in with an "old-fashioned" grandmother and conservative aunt. When they learn she is a lesbian they send her to a religious conversion camp. Although the board voted not to use the entire suggested book list, called the "Blue Hen List," provided by the Delaware Library system, the vote last week restored "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" to the summer reading list and upheld the reading and essay writing requirements of both college prep students and honor students. At issue was The Blue Hen List, which contains books recommended for summer reading by state librarians for young adults aged 14-18. Ten books were recommended, but only Danforth's book was removed from the list on June 12 by a vote of 6-1, with lesbian board member Roni Posner voting against the action.

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