Oregon: 15-Year Federal Prison Term For Medical Marijuana Grower

Steve Elliott | Hemp News | May 30, 2013

A medical marijuana patient and grower whose farms were raided back in October 2011 was sentenced on Tuesday to 15 years in federal prison.

Brian Wayne Simmons, 40, of Medford, was sentenced by senior U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner on charges of conspiracy and “manufacturing/distributing” marijuana, reports the Medford Mail Tribune. Simmons was convicted after a four-day jury trial in December 2012.

He owned and operated Brian’s Green Thumb Farm in Central Point, Oregon. Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and local police raided the farm in October 2011, confiscating 456 “large” cannabis plants. Agents seized 64 more plants at a second grow site near Medford.

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Op-ed: The Most Ignored LGBT Issue

Anthony Armstrong | Advocate | May 29, 2013

Within the wide scope of LGBT youth services offered at the Florida-based Zebra Coalition, and in many social service organizations, one of the most challenging and critical issues faced by young clients and their case management team is LGBT domestic violence. With so many social and legal issues that the modern day LGBT movement takes on, one of the most ignored is the inter-relationship violence that occurs in many LGBT couples. Even more overlooked is the lack of public policy, law entitlements and resources available to properly treat the issue and its root causes.

A young gay male reached out for help to the Zebra Coalition recently in need of emergency shelter and help to get away from his physically and emotionally abusive boyfriend.  Fortunately, the Coalition was able to provide him with a safe place to stay, case management and counseling to be able to live independently and in a safe environment.

The sad reality of this example however is that if there was not a safe bed and counseling available at the Coalition, this young man would have had nowhere else to go and nowhere to escape his abusive partner. Accessible and effective housing options for abused LGBT individuals are few and far between.

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No marriage equality vote before general election in Australia

Anna Leach

Australia's House of Representatives where the vote on same-sex marriage would have taken place

Marriage equality advocates in Australia are ‘disappointed’ that there will be no vote on marriage equality before the general election on 14 September.

Greens MP Adam Bandt had been pushing for a vote on his same-sex marriage bill next week, but the Labor and Liberal parties did not supporting holding a vote at this time.

A vote on a same-sex marriage bill last September was defeated in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

‘We are disappointed that the majority of Australians who support marriage equality won’t have their voices heard on June 6 as expected,’ said Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome.

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Florida Governor Rick Scott is Trying to Destroy Hurricane Insurance to Benefit Big Insurance Companies

| Forward Progressives | May 30, 2013

To this day, I have no idea how Floridians elected Rick Scott.

I mean honestly, the man was CEO of a company that was found guilty of 14 felonies for defrauding hundreds of millions from Medicare.

How you can be CEO of a company caught defrauding Medicare to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, and still get elected governor?  It’s truly pathetic that anyone actually voted for this man.

Many who might not have known about the fraud committed while he was CEO of Columbia/HCA might know him from the Florida voting fiasco where he closed polling places, and shortened early voting times, causing Florida voters to wait in ridiculously long lines to vote this past November.  Then followed that with an “investigation” into the voting process in Florida and the problems they had.

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Serbia to consider giving gay couples legal rights

Demitri Levantis

Serbian parliament will receive the draft law in a public hearing on 4 June.

Serbia’s parliament will be presenting a draft law on giving same-sex legal rights at a public hearing on 4 June.

It will introduce the right of inheritance for gay couples who have lived together for a long time.

Balkan Insight reports if the law is passed, an LGBT citizen will inherit the pension of a late partner in the case of death. Partners will also be allowed to visit one another in hospital as ‘immediate family’ members.

Authors of the law say the law is not a step towards gay marriage in the country.

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New web censorship rule bans gay content in Singapore

Anna Leach | Gay Star News | May 30, 2013

The sun sets on freedom from censorship for websites that report on Singapore

The Media Development Authority (MDA) of Singapore is introducing a tough new rule that will censor websites that are read from inside the country, even if they are not hosted there.

The new rule, which will come into effect on Saturday (1 June), will require local news websites and those that report regularly on Singapore and get at least 50,000 unique visitors from Singapore over two months to apply for an individual license.

The license will require the sites to comply with existing regulations that include banning ‘material [that] advocates homosexuality or lesbianism, or depicts or promotes incest, pedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia’.

Any content found to be in breach of those regulations will be expected to be removed within 24 hours, a statement from government agency MDA said. In addition the sites will have to pay a ‘performance bond’ of $50,000 (Singapore dollars, $40,000, €30,000).

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Science can now create ‘lesbian mice’

Joe Morgan | Gay Star News | May 30, 2013

'Lesbian mice' have been created by Chinese researchers.

Science can now create ‘lesbian mice’, a group of Chinese researchers have claimed.

In a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), it suggests the neurotransmitter serotonin plays an important role in determining your sexuality.

Researchers from Peking University in China bred female mice with a lack of serotonin, and they ended up choosing to prefer the company of other females.

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Still Think We Don’t Need Affirmative Action?

 | LA Progressive | May 30, 2013

Did you think it is time to end affirmative action in America?  On the eve of a big decision on affirmative action coming from the U.S. Supreme Court, perhaps a new report from the New York Times on the state of diversity in America will change your mind.

The glass ceiling continues to break and new milestones are made as African-Americans and others climb the ladder of success.  The nation even has its first black CEO in the White House.  Yet, despite the progress America has made in diversifying its workforce and its management ranks, the country is backsliding.

Minority groups have been disproportionately affected by the Great Recession, and to make things worse, since the economic downturn, it appears diversity has not been a priority for employers.  For those who care about racial inclusion in the professional world, the news is downright discouraging.

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Breaking Nigeria passes sweeping anti-gay legislation

Melanie Nathan | Oblogdeeoblogda | May 30, 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 9.58.53 AMToday in Nigeria, lawmakers passed a bill Thursday banning gay marriage and outlawing anyone from forming organizations supporting gay rights, setting prison terms of up to 14 years for offenders.

Nigeria’s House of Representatives approved the bill in a voice vote. In the meantime there may be  differences between the House and Senate versions, and so a joint committee of lawmakers will have to first reconcile the bill before sending it to President Goodluck Jonathan for him to potentially sign into law. It is not known whether he will sign. However what is known is that this will cause a huge outcry in the international community.

Both the United States and the United Kingdom raised concerns over this because is  put foreign funding for AIDS and HIV outreach programs in jeopardy.

nigerian parliamentAP reports note that Nigeria’s Senate previously passed the bill in November 2011 and the measure quietly disappeared for some time before coming up in Thursday’s session of the House. Under previous versions of the proposed law, couples who marry could face up to 14 years each in prison. Witnesses or anyone who helps couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

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