Hearing This Week for Official Who Scammed Florida Same-Sex Partners
GRUNDY CENTER, IA — The initial court appearance was rescheduled for this week in the case of a rural official charged with falsifying information on the marriage license of two gay Florida men. Brigitte Van Nice is charged with two counts of forgery and one count of perjury.
Investigators say that Van Nice, a Deputy Clerk with the Grundy County District Court, accepted $150 from the two men, who wished to take advantage of the state’s marriage equality statute, but didn’t want to travel to Iowa for the nuptials as state law requires.
On the documents, Van Nice claimed that she officiated at a February 14, 2012 ceremony for the men in Waterloo, Ia., and forged the signatures of Joseph Parker and Joab Penney of Williston (Fla.). The clerk’s actions came to light when Penney contacted an attorney about obtaining a divorce.
Hate Crimes Charges to be Filed after Kentucky Acquittal
LEXINGTON, KY – The U.S. Justice Department Civil Rights Division will file hate crimes charges in a case that ended with not-guilty verdicts for two Kentucky men accused in an assault on a gay man. Last week, a federal jury acquitted Anthony Ray Jenkins and David Jason Jenkins in the April 2011 attack on 29-year-old Kevin Pennington.
The men, who are cousins, were convicted of kidnapping charges in that case. The trial was the first under 2009 federal hate crimes law revisions that include assaults motivated by sexual orientation.
In April, Alexis Leeann Jenkins, 19—Anthony Jenkins’ wife—and Mable Ashley Jenkins, 19—the men’s cousin—pleaded guilty to kidnapping and aiding others in causing bodily injury to the victim because of his sexual orientation.
New York City Mayor Campaigns for Marriage Equality
BALTIMORE, MD – New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in Baltimore on Friday, campaigning for passage of Maryland ballot Question 6, the statewide initiative that asks voters to uphold or reject the same-sex marriage law approved this year by legislators.
Appearing with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), Bloomberg—an Independent serving an unprecedented third term as mayor of America’s most populous city—said, “When two people commit their lives to each other, government has no right standing in their way.”
Bloomberg, 70—the 10th richest man in America according to Forbes—personally donated $250,000 this month to help secure passage of Question 6. In an opinion piece in The Baltimore Sun that was penned with O’Malley, Bloomberg wrote, describing passage of same-sex marriage in New York State, “Nothing has changed, except now thousands of committed couples, parents and their children can enjoy the same equal protection under the law.”
Log Cabin Republicans Endorse Mitt Romney for President
WASHINGTON, DC – Last week, the nation’s largest gay conservative organization gave their endorsement for President of the United States to Mitt Romney. In a statement, the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) said that its support for the former Massachusetts governor reflects the “gravity of the economic and national security issues currently at stake.”
LCR Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said that Romney’s support for the Defense of Marriage Act and his endorsement of a proposed Constitutional amendment to forbid marriage equality doesn’t disqualify the Republican nominee from the group’s support.
“There’s no appetite to pass or even consider that amendment,” Cooper said, calling Romney’s support for the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment “an empty promise made to a vocal but shrinking constituency.”
In a statement, the Romney campaign said that the GOP nominee is “pleased to have the support of the Log Cabin Republicans, and looks forward to working together for the future of our country.”
Critics say that the endorsement is an affront to LGBT rights, and fails to take into account both Romney’s history on gay rights, and the LCR’s own record.
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the most senior openly-gay elected official in America, called the endorsement “a concession by the Log Cabin Republicans.” Frank told radio station WBUR (Boston) that the LCRs have always argued that, “voting the way they recommended was a good way to advance LGBT rights. They are now, in effect, conceding that’s not true.”
In 1994, during his campaign for the U.S. Senate, Romney told the LCRs that he would support LGBT rights better than the incumbent, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. But the LCRs have since repeatedly accused Romney of “flip-flopping” in his support for civil unions and domestic partner benefits. And after he promised, as Massachusetts governor, not to lead the charge against a ruling that legalized marriage equality, Romney wrote a Wall Street Journal piece that called the decision “deeply mistaken.”
In 1992 and 2004, the LCRs refused to endorse the GOP nominees, incumbent presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, both times on the grounds of their poor records concerning LGBT rights.
Gay Republican Claims Assault Was Motivated by Politics
MADISON, WI – A gay Republican who was assaulted last week says the attack was motivated by his personal politics. Kyle Wood, 29, claims that on October 24, he responded to a knock on his front door. He told conservative Website the Daily Caller, “I opened it, and a guy wrapped a ligature around my neck, slammed my head into the doorway, and smashed my face into a mirror, telling me ‘You should have kept your [f*******] mouth shut.’” He claims to have then been beaten.
The alleged victim, Wood, is a volunteer for the congressional campaign of Republican candidate Chad Lee. Lee, who is straight, is running for the open House seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, an openly-gay Democrat who is running for U.S. Senate. Like Baldwin, Marc Pocan, Lee’s Democratic opponent, is openly gay.
According to the Madison Police Department, “investigators believe this was not a random crime.”
Wood also claims that his car was vandalized last week, having graffiti painted on the side that “included the phrases ‘house-trained Republican faggot,’ ‘traitor,’ and ‘ur like a jew 4 hitler [sic].’” Wood says that he has posted on Facebook, “I will not be bullied into voting for a gay man simply because I am gay.”
Gay conservative activist Jimmy LaSalvia, the founder of GOProud, told the Daily Caller that Wood’s assault is an example of “hate and vitriol directed towards a gay conservative from gay liberals.”