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Equality Matters Picks Of The Week, October 10-14, 2011

October 14, 2011 6:36 pm ET by Equality Matters staff

Equality Matters staff offers our picks for the most interesting, outrageous, or thought provoking stories of the week:

  • Effort To Repeal CA FAIR Education Act Fails. Opponents of California’s FAIR Education Act failed to collect enough signatures to put a referendum to repeal the law on the ballot in 2012. Some in New York seem to have taken notice. On Tuesday, Queens City Council Member Daniel Dromm “introduced a resolution asking the Department of Education to implement such a curriculum and acquire the textbooks needed to teach it.”
  • Former “Ex-Gay” Leader Comes Clean. John Smid, former Executive Director of Love in Action, issued a powerful statement in opposition to the practice of “ex-gay” therapy, admitting that one’s sexual orientation is unchangeable and is in fact an intrinsic part of a person’s identity:

One cannot repent of something that is unchangeable. I have gone through a tremendous amount of grief over the many years that I spoke of change, repentance, reorientation and such, when, barring some kind of miracle, none of this can occur with homosexuality.

  • Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Gay Adoption Case. The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear a case concerning same-sex partners hoping to have both of their names appear on the birth certificate of the Louisana-born son they adopted in New York. One of the boy’s fathers appeared on MSNBC to talk about the case.
  • Frank Kameny, LGBT Civil Rights Pioneer, Dies At 86. LGBT civil rights hero Frank Kameny passed away on Tuesday. LGBT leaders and activists across the country mourned the loss of the man who coined the phrase “gay is good.” Remembering Kameny’s life of activism, the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart wrote:

Few people who set out to change the world actually succeed. Frank Kameny was one of those few. You most likely have never heard of him. But for gay Americans, he’s a Founding Father of the historic movement that pulled us out of the closet and into greater acceptance in the United States. What made Kameny a hero was that he demanded equity and fairness when it was literally him against the world. 

  • Lesbian To Be Awarded Citizens Medal For Hospital Visitation Advocacy. Janice Langbehn will be one of the 13 Americans to receive the Presidential Citizens Medal – the nation’s second-highest civilian honor – on October 20. Langbehn filed a federal lawsuits after being denied access to her partner, who suffered a brain aneurysm and died alone in 2007. Her activism resulted in an executive order which extends hospital visitation rights to same-sex couples.
  • FRC’s Tony Perkins Makes The Rounds On Major News Outlets. Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, has been jumping at the opportunity to appear on every major news channel. He’s appeared on every major network – including CNN and MSNBC – without ever having to worry about being labeled as the anti-gay hate monger that he is.
  • Groups Team Up To Combat “Ex-Gay” Therapy. The Southern Poverty Law Center and Truth Wins Out announced the launch of a national campaign to combat the practice of “ex-gay” therapy. According to Truth Wins Out’s press release:The campaign will begin with a series of community meetings in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., for survivors of the practice, which has been discredited or highly criticized by virtually all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations.”
  • Lesbian Confirmed To Federal Court In New York. On Thursday, Alison Nathan was narrowly confirmed (48-44) to become a federal judge on a New York court. Not a single Republican senator voted to confirm her. She will be the second-ever openly gay woman to sit on the federal bench.
  • Openly Gay Service Member Runs For Office. Brian Carroll is one of the first openly gay service members to run for elected office. A member of the Colorado National Guard, Carroll is running to represent District 28 in the Colorado State House of Representatives:

"Really, the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' provides that opportunity – not only for myself, but for so many other openly gay members of the military. This really is a historic moment, and I think the people are going to look back at this, and say, 'This is history in the making. This is when the entire ballgame changed.'"

  • Sen. Patrick Leahy To Schedule Committee Vote On DOMA Repeal. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that he plans to schedule a vote on the Respect for Marriage Act – a bill that would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act – in the Senate Judiciary Committee this November. Leahy called the effort to repeal DOMA “part of the nation’s continuing fight for civil rights for all Americans.”
  • Study Finds Fifty-Two Percent Of Gay And Lesbian Employees Are “Out.” A study conducted by the Center for Work Life Policy recently found that only about half of gay and lesbian employees in the U.S. are open about their sexual orientation at work. Those who don’t come out experience higher levels of stress and frustration with their career prospects.
  • Theodore Boutrous Discusses The Future Of Prop 8 Fight. During a recent discussion at Hofstra Law School, attorney Theodore Boutrous talked to Equality Matters’ Richard Socarides to discuss the current status of the legal battle over California’s Proposition 8 and how the U.S. Supreme Court might rule on the constitutionality of the gay marriage ban.