Call for More Video Cameras Spotlights Debate on Use

JENNIFER VALENTINO-DEVRIES And GEOFFREY A. FOWLER | Wall Street Journal | April 20, 2013

The spread of technology from security cameras to smartphones in every pocket, has proved helpful to criminal investigations—including the one focused on this week’s Boston Marathon explosions, Joel Schectman reports on digits. Photo: Getty Images.

Video cameras played a critical role in helping authorities track suspects in this week’s Boston bombings. Now calls for increased camera surveillance in the U.S. are putting a spotlight on the technology and the debate about its use.

Authorities Thursday distributed video footage and still images of suspects in the Boston case, drawing from surveillance video from a store, restaurants and other areas. Some lawmakers think use of a better-connected system of cameras controlled or monitored by law enforcement might have helped speed the suspects’ identification.

“They had to piece together I don’t know how many thousands of videos,” said Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican who is on the House Committee on Homeland Security. “I think CCTV [closed-circuit television] cameras are much more needed in urban areas.”

But privacy advocates remain concerned about pervasive, and potentially invasive, surveillance technology.

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Judge rules lesbian immigrant can challenge DOMA

Associated Press | USA Today | April 20, 2013

LOS ANGELES —   A lesbian couple facing immigration troubles has the standing to challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act because it violates the constitutional rights of immigrants in same-sex marriages, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall also ordered Friday that the lawsuit, filed last year on behalf of Philippines citizen Jane DeLeon and her spouse Irma Rodriguez, can proceed as a class-action case.

DeLeon claimed in the lawsuit that she was eligible to obtain a green card, but wasn’t able to get a waiver she needs to obtain residency here because the U.S. government doesn’t recognize her same-sex marriage to an American.

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Australia: Liberals look for post-election push on same-sex marriage

Judith Ireland | The Age | April 20, 2013

Rally for gay marriage equality at Town Hall that led to a march to Taylor Square. 12th May 2012.Pressure mounts for a conscience vote on same sex marriage. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Liberal MPs are quietly lobbying to change the party’s position on  same-sex marriage to ensure a conscience vote on the issue, but are not pushing  for a result before September’s federal election.

MPs are privately raising concerns with Opposition Leader Tony  Abbott about the Coalition’s stance against same-sex marriage, but are aware  that any major push to alter the party’s position before the election could  damage its campaign.

There is also a view that the party room is not yet ready to back a  conscience vote and if MPs were forced to make a decision before September, it  would lock in a status quo position.

But supporters are optimistic that post the election, the chances  of the party room agreeing to a conscience vote would be boosted by new MPs in  the parliament and growing support within Liberal ranks.


It understood that the number of MPs who currently support a  conscience vote is significantly greater than those who have publicly stated  their position, such as communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull, South  Australian senator Simon Birmingham and Melbourne MP Kelly O’Dwyer. It is also  understood that when the matter last went before shadow cabinet, the decision  was close.

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Australia: Mental health groups point finger at churches over gay aversion therapy

Jill Stark | The Age | April 21, 2013

Beyondblue and other mental health groups say Australia’s Christian  leaders should be doing more to reduce high rates of suicide and self-harm among  gay and lesbian parishioners, and criticised attempts to ”cure”  homosexuals.

The national depression agency’s chief executive, Kate  Carnell, wants churches to take responsibility for the damage caused when gay  members are rejected or encouraged to undergo ”conversion” programs.

”It’s incumbent on churches not only to not discriminate but to  support people who are doing it tough in their communities,” she said. ”We  know that discrimination is a major contributing factor to mental health issues  in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex community, so if their  own belief structure is also being undermined by their church and they’re being  excluded on the basis of their sexuality, it’s a double whammy.”

It comes after Fairfax Media last week reported on growing concern about ”gay religious  suicide” following the death of Damien Christie, a homosexual man  who was rejected by his Pentecostal church and took his  life.

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Mayor of Columbus, Ohio, publicly supports lesbian teacher fired from Catholic high school

Greg Hernandez | Gay Star News | April 20, 2013


Fired lesbian high school physical education teacher Carla Hale has gotten some high-profile support in her quest to get her job back.

Michael Coleman, the mayor of Columbus, Ohio, has tweeted his support of Hale who was fired from Bishop Watterson High School by the Columbus Diocese over her sexuality.

‘I stand with Carla Hale,’ Coleman wrote. ‘No one in Columbus or in the United States should be denied employment because of their choice of who to love.’

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Calls for gay men to get vaccinated against meningitis in Washington DC

Andrew Potts |Gay Star News | April 20, 2013

Washington DC

Photo: Wendy Harman

There have been further calls in the United States for men who have sex with men to get vaccinated against bacterial meningitis, also known as meningococcal disease, after a series of deaths from the disease in gay men.

New York City officials began warning men who have sex with men who are not in committed relationships to get vaccinated in March after there were 22 cases of invasive meningococcal disease in the city since 2010, with seven of those fatal – and West Hollywood City councilman John Duran has been calling for gay men to get immunized after three gay men died from the disease in California since December.

Washington DC based LGBT heath provider Whitman-Walker Health has now proactively urged sexually active gay men in the district to also get immunized to prevent any deaths from the disease there.

‘Whitman-Walker Health recommends that all gay and bisexual men who meet the criteria set forth by the New York City Department of Health be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis,’ the organization posted on its website.

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‘Humiliated’ transgender patient lodges complaint against Hong Kong nurse

Derek Yiu | Gay Star News | April 20, 2013

Angel in front of the Chinese characters that mean 'Mr'

By the SCMP

A transgender person awaiting surgery to become a woman has complained to the Equality Opportunities Commission in Hong Kong how a nurse kept on calling her ‘Mr’.

Angel, a rights advocate in her 20s with Rainbow of Hong Kong, said the nurse’s loud use of the male honorific had drawn attention to her gender identity disorder, leaving her humiliated.

‘She called me ‘Mr’ loudly. Everyone addresses me by “Ms” or calls me Angel as they can tell I’m a woman by seeing me,’ the SCMP quoted Angel as saying.

‘I felt I was humiliated and my condition of having gender identity disorder was deliberately exposed by my being called ‘Mr’ in front of everyone in the lobby.’

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Florist slammed with second lawsuit for refusing gay wedding

Jean Paul Zapata | Gay Star News | April 20, 2013

Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman faces two discrimination lawsuits for refusing to do a gay wedding.

A Washington state florist who refused to service a gay wedding is facing two discrimination lawsuits.

Barronelle Stutzman is already being sued by the state attorney general for telling Robert Ingersoll and his partner Curt Freed last month that she couldn’t do their wedding because of her ‘relationship with Jesus Christ’.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a human rights lobbying organization, has slammed Stutzman with a second discrimination lawsuit seeking damages on behalf of the gay couple.

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Societal Abuses, Discrimination and Acts of Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Indentity

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and  Labor
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for  2012


Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of  Violence

Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender  Identity

There was a marked increase in discrimination,  social stigma, and violence against LGBT individuals who experienced  discrimination in education, the workplace, and access to medical treatment and  to information on the prevention of HIV/AIDS. The government took no significant  action to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender  identity.

During the year parliament approved on the first reading  legislation that would restrict the rights of all Ukrainians to advocate for the  human rights of LGBT individuals by making it a criminal offense to publish,  broadcast, or otherwise distribute so-called “homosexual propaganda.” The bill  did not become law. LGBT rights groups expressed concern that lawmakers  continued their efforts to pass the bill.

The LGBT rights group Our World  (Nash Svit) monitored rights violations against LGBT individuals in selected  regions of the country and documented 86 cases of human rights violations,  discrimination, and hate-based actions during the year. Violations included  physical violence, abuse, threats, property damage, theft, extortion, bullying,  workplace discrimination, discrimination in educational settings, and divulging  of personal information.

On May 17, approximately 20 men who said they  belonged to the Svoboda political party prevented a screening of the  LGBT-focused film “Milk” at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. They demanded to see the  license that authorized the screening. The screening was legally licensed, but  organizers could not immediately produce the document. Fearing for their safety,  the organizers acceded to the men’s demand not to show the film. Later, the  Svoboda Web site reported that its activists “did not permit the showing” of the  film.

On May 20, organizers of a gay pride march were forced to cancel  the event after extremist groups engaged in coordinated efforts to stop the  march through intimidation and violence, and police stated they would not  protect participants if the march went forward. Five masked persons assaulted  two event organizers after a press conference announcing the event’s  cancellation. A third organizer was attacked and beaten a month later.

In  September Our World released a report that analyzed the government’s failure to  implement the Council of Europe’s (COE’s) 2010 recommendations for combating  LGBT discrimination. According to the report, the authorities took no actions to  implement any of the recommendations, collected no information about  discrimination based on sexual orientation, and took no steps to combat  homophobia and transphobia. The government failed to translate the COE’s  recommendations into the national language or disseminate them. The researchers  noted that homophobic rhetoric among local authorities and members of the  national parliament continued to increase.

On December 8, extremists  harassed, attacked, and used tear gas and violence to disperse a peaceful  demonstration by LGBT activists and allies in Kyiv. At least two activists were  beaten after the demonstration. Several extremists identified themselves as  members of the Svoboda political party, which took credit on its Web site for  breaking up the demonstration. Six demonstrators and two Svoboda members were  detained and fined. A court later fined the protest organizer, Olena Shevchenko,  850 hryvnia ($106) for allegedly failing to notify authorities of the  demonstration correctly in spite of the notification she had filed.

Boston Marathon Bombing 2 Perspectives Enemy Combatant or Murderous Criminal

Melanie Nathan | Oblogdeeoblogda | April 20, 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 11.08.59 AM

After a 102 hour manhunt ending in the backyard of a Watertown residence, the capture of the Boston Marathon Bomber, yields many questions yet to be answered and  charged still to be filed.  Here are 2 of many Statements circulating in social media today commenting on the judicial process that ought to be applied:

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham

Just put out this statement with John McCain about the suspect captured in Boston and whether they should be held as an enemy combatant.

“We truly appreciate the hard work and dedication of our law enforcement and intelligence communities.

“It is clear the events we have seen over the past few days in Boston were an attempt to kill American citizens and terrorize a major American city. The accused perpetrators of these acts were not common criminals attempting to profit from a criminal enterprise, but terrorist trying to injure, maim, and kill innocent Americans.

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