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    In the News: 5.4.2017

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    Supreme Court Lets Stand California Ban on Anti-Gay Therapy

    The Supreme Court has again rejected a challenge to California’s ban on so-called gay conversion therapy. The justices did not comment on May 1 in turning away an appeal from a San Diego minister and others who argued the law violated their First Amendment religious freedoms. The federal appeals court in San Francisco had previously upheld the law in dismissing the constitutional challenge. Governor Jerry Brown signed the ban into law in late 2012. Since then, the Supreme Court has rejected efforts to upend the California law and a similar ban in New Jersey.

    Chelsea Manning to be Released on IDAHOT 2017

    In one of his last moves in office, President Obama commuted all but four months of the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the Army intelligence analyst convicted of a 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world. As reported by the New York Times, “the decision by Mr. Obama rescued Ms. Manning, who twice tried to kill herself last year, from an uncertain future as a transgender woman incarcerated at the men’s military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction.” The date of the liberation coincides with the IDAHOT, on May 17, which turns this decision into a much broader acknowledgment of the situation faced by Trans prisoners in U.S. jails. This act will definitely constitute a way for President Obama to mark the IDAHOT once more even beyond his term.

    Rafael Mandelman Announces Run for Supervisor of District 8

    San Francisco Bay Times columnist Rafael Mandelman, who has served as a member of the City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees since 2013 and is Chair of the Board of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, has announced that he is running for Supervisor of District 8. The district includes the Castro, Noe Valley, and Glen Park neighborhoods. Mandelman previously ran a strong campaign for the seat in 2010, but lost to Scott Wiener, who is now a member of the California State Senate. “I often tell people that coming in second in the 2010 District 8 race was one of the most valuable experiences of my life,” Mandelman, who is also a Deputy City Attorney for the City of Oakland, shared in an e-mail to his supporters. “Learning from setbacks and using them to become a stronger person is something I take pride in. And that race taught me a lesson in what kind of leader I want to be and what kind of Supervisor District 8 deserves. Someone who will be the hardest working person in City Hall, who will be a fierce advocate for D8 Residents, and who isn’t afraid to stand up for common sense. I promise to be the hardest working candidate you’ve ever seen. I’m going to run a strong, community-minded and data-based campaign. I’m going to be out there knocking on every door, at every event, earning the votes and endorsements of my neighbors and sharing my vision for the future of San Francisco. I have the experience, I have the vision, I have the campaign team—now I need your support.”

    New Rainbow Font Pays Tribute to Pride Flag Creator, Gilbert Baker

    The recent passing of Gilbert Baker—the artist and advocate who created the first rainbow flag that is ubiquitous worldwide as the symbol of the LGBTQ community—inspired a community arts and media organization and the organizers of NYC Pride to create a fitting 21st century memorial. NYC Pride announced a new font created with the design team at advertising giant Ogilvy & Mather. The new font is called “Gilbert,” and was inspired by his greatest creation, the rainbow flag. “We wanted to create something special that would not just honor Gilbert and his iconic Rainbow Flag, but also give the LGBTQ community a fantastic tool to help them create their own banners, posters and signs. People can now raise the Rainbow Flag with every letter they type. By literally embedding the Rainbow Flag into the font, we made it possible for everyone around the world to type with pride.” The team indicated they’re hoping for feedback on the design. See the font at:

    Judge Blocks Trump Effort to Withhold Money from Sanctuary Cities

    A judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked President Trump’s efforts to starve localities of federal funds when they limit their cooperation with immigration enforcement—a stinging rejection of his threats to make so-called sanctuary cities fall in line. The judge, William H. Orrick of United States District Court, wrote that the president had overstepped his powers with his January executive order on immigration by tying billions of dollars in federal funding to immigration enforcement. Judge Orrick said only Congress could place such conditions on spending. “This is why we have courts—to halt the overreach of a president and an attorney general who either don’t understand the Constitution or chose to ignore it,” Dennis Herrera, the San Francisco city attorney, said in a statement. “Because San Francisco took this president to court, we’ve been able to protect billions of dollars that fund lifesaving programs across this country.” Orrick strongly signaled that San Francisco and Santa Clara County, the plaintiffs in the case, were likely to win a permanent victory.

    Consecration of Gay Bishop Against Church Law, United Methodist Court Says

    The United Methodist Church’s top court has ruled that the consecration of an openly gay pastor as bishop is against church law. But in a somewhat muddled ruling that could reflect the ongoing struggle to determine how great a role LGBTQ members can play in the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., the court also ruled that the Rev. Karen Oliveto, formerly senior pastor of Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, its first openly gay bishop, “remains in good standing.” The decision follows Oliveto’s consecration last July as bishop of the United Methodist Church’s Mountain Sky Area, which includes churches in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana, as well as one church in Idaho. The Judicial Council decided 6–3 that it was not lawful for any regional church body to consecrate a “self-avowed practicing homosexual bishop.”

    19 Senators Ask Trump Administration Why It Is Erasing LGBTQ People

    19 Senators sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to urge them to collect data on LGBTQ people. The draft copy of the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants was changed to remove a simple question asking if survey participants identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual. The survey is meant to find out who benefits from the Older Americans Act, which provides funding for elder care and support for caregivers. A draft copy of the Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living survey was also released, and it removed a question about sexual orientation and the option to choose “transgender” on the question about gender. The survey is used to measure the effectiveness of services for people with disabilities. In both cases, the only changes made to each draft survey was to remove references to LGBTQ people. The only Republican Senator to sign the letter was Susan Collins. The other signatories include openly lesbian Senator Tammy Baldwin and possible 2020 presidential contender Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as leftwing firebrands Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken.

    Report: Nearly All Fifty States Are Failing Transgender, Gender-Expansive and Gender-Nonconforming Youth

    A new report, “Safe Havens: Closing the Gap Between Recommended Practice and Reality for Transgender and Gender-Expansive Youth in Out-of-Home Care,” offers the first comprehensive analysis of the lack of explicit laws and policies in most states to protect transgender, gender expansive and gender non-conforming (TGNC) youth in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and runaway and homeless youth systems (“out-of-home care systems”). The report is co-authored by Lambda Legal, Children’s Rights and the Center for the Study of Social Policy. While in most places state law, policy and practice must catch up with professional standards and requirements of federal law, a growing number of providers are turning recommended practice into reality to the benefit of TGNC youth in their care. The report’s analysis offers reform recommendations from TGNC youth with positive experiences in care and tips from affirming service providers.

    Town Hall in SF Addresses California’s Role in Resistance to Trump Administration

    On Saturday, April 22, Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblymembers David Chiu and Phil Ting hosted a Town Hall at Mission High School to discuss California’s response to Donald Trump and the new Federal Administration. As the San Francisco Delegation to Sacramento, the three members discussed issues they are working on across a wide range of topics including immigration, healthcare, housing, transportation, education and climate change. At the Town Hall, the three members each provided opening remarks and then opened the floor to a Question and Answer session with those in attendance hosted by Melissa Caen of KPIX CBS 5. The Town Hall can be watched in its entirety at YouTube.

    Alabama Passes Law Allowing Adoption Agencies to Discriminate Against Gays

    Alabama lawmakers gave final approval to a bill protecting faith-based adoption organizations that refuse to place children with gay parents, or other households, because of their religious beliefs. The legislation would prohibit the state from refusing to license faith-based adoption groups that refuse placements because of their religious beliefs. Proponents argued that the measure is needed to make sure adoption groups can operate without being forced to violate their religious beliefs. Critics, including the state’s only openly gay lawmaker, called it blatant discrimination. The Alabama House of Representatives voted 87–0 to go along with a Senate change to the bill. The legislation goes to Gov. Kay Ivey for her signature. The governor has not said whether or not she will sign it.