Gay adoption bill introduced
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) has introduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (HR 3827) which would codify sexual orientation non-discrimination in foster care placements and adoptions nationwide. According to reports, there are approximately 65,500 adopted children being raised by lesbian or gay parents. LGBT singles and couples are also raising an estimated three percent of children in the foster care system.
While Florida is the only state with an express ban on adoption by LGBT individuals, as of 2008, seven states either expressly restrict adoption by LGBT couples or had laws and policies that may have the effect of restricting LGBT parents from adopting. In addition, four states restrict LGBT individuals from becoming foster parents. These restrictions fly in the face of 30 years of scientific research which shows overwhelmingly that children raised in same-sex headed households do just as well emotionally and psychologically as children raised in heterosexual households.
“All decisions concerning the health and welfare of the country’s most vulnerable children should be made solely with their best interest in mind,” said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council, a national organization devoted to securing equality for LGBT families. “We look forward to working with Congressman Stark to educate members of Congress and the public about why non-discrimination in adoption is a national child welfare issue that needs to be addressed.”
Lesbian up for first gay marshal
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — President Barack Obama has nominated Minneapolis’ assistant police chief Sharon Lubinski as the next U.S. Marshal for the District of Minnesota, making her the first openly gay U.S. Marshal nominee. She has served in the Minneapolis Police Department for 20 years, and previously in the Dane County Sherrif’s Department in Madison, WI.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who originally recommended Lubinski, said her “mix of experience managing a large, urban police department and working in a more rural sherriff’s office sets her apart and makes her uniquely qualified to serve in this new role.”
Lubinski, who must still be confirmed by the Senate, would become only the second currently active female U.S. Marshal in the country. The 94 U.S. Marshals protect federal court officials, buildings and witnesses in each of their respective districts.
Students pledge LGBT support
NEW YORK, N.Y. — According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, thousands of students across the country pledged to address anti-gay bullying as part of the fifth annual Ally Week, Oct. 19-23. The event is highlighted by activities designed to encourage people to be allies against anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment at school. Ally week was created by students and is often organized by the more than 4,000 Gay-Straight Alliance student clubs registered from coast to coast.
The Ally Week pledge, which students and adults sign through pledge cards in school or online at www.allyweek.org, reads: “I believe all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression deserve to feel safe and supported. That means I pledge to not use anti-LGBT language or slurs; intervene, if I safely can, in situations where students are being harassed; and, support efforts to end bullying and harassment.
According to GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey of 6,209 LGBT students in middle and high school, nearly nine out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment at school and 61 percent feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.
Historic grant aids gay seniors
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Advocates for older LGBT people are hailing a decision by the U.S. Administration on Aging to award a highly competitive new grant to a local LGBT aging services program at the L.A. LGBT Community Service Center. The grant was one of over a dozen distributed to community organizations serving diverse older adult communities and the first ever for an LGBT service provider.
“More and more LGBT seniors have been coming to the Center for help as they’ve been battered by the bad economy,” said Lorri L. Jean, the facility’s chief executive officer. “This first-of-its-kind federal grant will help us significantly increase the vital services the Center offers to LGBT seniors who are often isolated and may lack the resources they need to make ends meet.”
Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE, the leading non-profit agency dedicated to serving LGBT older people, said, “For many years, the LGBT community’s programs for our elders have been ignored and shut out by federal funders. We are very pleased to see the Obama Administration right that wrong as a matter of policy and take an important step forward in recognizing the needs of LGBT older adults.”
Teacher rapped for classroom slur
GENEVA, Ill. — A teacher at Geneva High School has been disciplined for using anti-gay slurs during a class discussion on taxation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Consumer education teacher David Burk was reprimanded by the school district for asking students, “How would you feel about your tax dollars going to pay some black fag in New York to take pictures of other black fags?”
Jordan Hunter, a 17-year-old senior who was in the class, reached out to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation about the situation. He told GLAAD this was not the first time Burk had used the slur and requested help in bringing the story to the public. Hunter’s efforts resulted in The Chicago Tribune publishing two major pieces on the matter.
Geneva School District 304 responded by placing a letter of reprimand in Burk’s permanent file and the school board issued a written warning calling his behavior “unacceptable.” Burk issued an apology for his “innappropriate” remarks.