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    National News Map

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    Hollywood, CA – Matt Damon Did Not Deny Gay Rumors Regarding Ben Affleck – 12.14  
    Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s meteoric rise to fame with Good Will Hunting left behind a trail of tabloid speculation about their possible “bro-mance.” Damon, an avowedly straight man, did not address those rumors – until now. “I never denied those rumors because I was offended and didn’t want to offend my friends who were gay,” Damon said, “as if being gay were some kind of f–king disease. It put me in a weird position in that sense.” Although there is still progress to be made, Damon is happy with the recent advancements queers have made in the public arena. “The fact that Anderson Cooper and Ellen DeGeneres can come out so beautifully and powerfully, and it’s a big f–king deal that it turns out nobody gives a s–t,” Damon told Playboy.
    Damon is slated to portray Liberace’s lover Scott Thorson in the upcoming biopic Behind the Candelabra. “If Liberace were alive today,” Damon said, “everybody would love his music, and nobody would care what he did in his private life. Like with Elton John.” He added, “These two men were deeply in love and in a real relationship – a marriage – long before there was gay marriage. That’s not an insignificant thing.” 
    When Gus Van Sant, the openly gay filmmaker behind Milk and Good Will Hunting, had asked Damon to star in Brokeback Mountain, Damon replied, “Gus, let’s do it in a couple of years. I just did a gay movie and a cowboy movie. I can’t do a gay cowboy movie now.”
    Clackamas County, OR – Gay Employee Led Customers to Safety in Oregon Mall Shooting – 12.13

    Allan Fonseca, a gay man who works at the Macy’s in Clackamas Town Center, reportedly guided scared, confused customers outside to safety during the recent fatal shooting when a gunman opened fire there, killing two people before turning the gun on himself.
    Fonseca, who works at the Lancome makeup counter inside Macy’s at Oregon’s Clackamas Town Center Mall, guided customer Jocelyn Lay out of the building during Tuesday’s shooting. Once Lay was safe, Fonseca went back inside the mall twice more to help other shoppers escape safely.
    “I felt that if I knew how to get out of the mall and out to safety, then I should share that knowledge with everyone else, like the shoppers who don’t come here regularly and don’t know all of the exits,” Fonseca told ABC’s Good Morning America. “So I decided to go back up because I wanted to see if there was anybody in panic or didn’t know where to go.”  
    Fonseca has three times earned scholarships from the LGBTQ Greater Seattle Business Association’s Scholarship Association, most recently this year, when he received the Don Moreland Memorial Scholarship. According to the GSBA’s website, Fonseca served as the president of Eagle Pride and as vice president of VOX/Scary Feminists at Eastern Washington University, and hopes to study nursing. 
    Lay described the young man as “my hero,” and added, “It was my grand-baby’s first birthday yesterday, and I wanted to be around for that.” We congratulate Fonseca on his selfless bravery – for this and in choosing to be a nurse.
    Lansing, MI – No Licenses to Discriminate Will Be Issued to Adoption Agencies – 12.15

    Under pressure from thousands of Equality Michigan members, the Michigan legislature opted to kill discriminatory bills which would harm those most in need. The Michigan legislature did not hold final votes on House Bills 5763 and 5764, which would have provided adoption agencies with licenses to discriminate based on a moral or religious conviction, or on Senate Bill 975, which would have provided similar licenses to discriminate to healthcare professionals. “I was proud to be there for that moment, and today we celebrate with our supporters – along with all LGBT families across Michigan and our friends within partner organizations from Unity Michigan, labor, education, and other human rights movements,” said Equality Michigan Director of Policy Emily Dievendorf.
    The bills, introduced by extremists from both chambers, were three of many bills introduced this legislative session to promote an agenda of intolerance over compassion. While extremists in the legislature seem suspiciously motivated to keep hurling a wrecking ball at the rights of Michiganders, their colleagues recognized that Michigan citizens would not let harm to ANY families go unrecognized and unpunished, and heeded the call to put an end to these offensive bills. “You stood up for 14,000 foster care children in Michigan and defended the Hippocratic Oath,” said Dievendorf.
    Equality Michigan was proud to work with their allies in the women’s rights, labor, and healthcare reform movements in defeating these bills. It is clear that we should expect extremists serving in the Michigan Legislature to return to their cruel shenanigans when they begin the 2013-2014 session next January. But for now: victory!
    Tupelo, MS – One Million Moms Give Up on Ellen Boycott – 12.8

    The conservative group One Million Moms says it is “moving on” from its recent protest of Ellen DeGeneres and J.C. Penney. OMM, a media watchdog group founded by anti-gay, conservative Christian group American Family Association, spoke with The Christian Post about its ongoing protest of “strong gay activist” DeGeneres as a J.C. Penney spokesperson, telling the publication that the group is moving on from the most recent feud.
    The group made headlines this week after blasting the new JCP ad featuring DeGeneres. “JCP has made their choice to offend a huge majority of their customers again,” read a portion of the statement posted to the group’s website. “We’re not taking action, we’re moving on. We’ve already contacted the company,” OMM Director Monica Cole told The Christian Post. When OMM first criticized DeGeneres’ holiday commercial, in which she makes some clumsy “big” jokes in front of three tiny elves, many did not understand the underlying issue. OMM now claims it has a problem with “the agenda behind it.” With JC Penney viewed as a family store, many have found its embrace of a nontraditional family lifestyle offensive, Cole said. The company ran store flyers this past Father’s Day that featured two gay men. DeGeneres got support from fans and friends alike, including executive producer of The Ellen Show, Andy Lassner.
    In February, when the openly gay comedian was chosen to represent J.C. Penney in its advertising, the group demanded DeGeneres be fired. But the store’s CEO Ron Johnson supported DeGeneres. And nearly 50,000 advocates joined GLAAD’s StandUpForEllen campaign in support. Ha! Our gay agenda towards world domination succeeds again!  
    Washington, D.C. – Republicans’ Marriage Fight Price Tag Heads to $2 Million – 12.14

    The cost of House Republicans’ defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) could reach $2 million or more, thanks to a decision by leaders to extend their previous $1.5 million cap to allow for additional litigation costs. Since the Obama administration stopped defending the law in 2011, House Republicans have been funding its defense in several cases, including a 1996 suit by Edith Windsor of New York that is slated to be heard by the Supreme Court.
    House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren of California, without consulting Democrats, authorized an increase of the amount of money outside lawyers are authorized to spend to defend DOMA to $2 million. The news came just hours after Boehner even refused to say if the cap would be raised about $1.5 million, saying only, “If the Justice Department is not going to enforce the law of the land, the Congress will.”
    The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group — which consists of Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer — has taken all its actions to defend the law with the opposition of the two Democratic members. Pelosi, who has opposed the defense, attacked, “It’s bad enough that Speaker Boehner and House Republicans are wasting taxpayer dollars to defend the indefensible Defense of Marriage Act – and losing in every case. Now, they have reached a new low – signing a secret contract to spend more public money on their legal boondoggle without informing Democrats. Their actions are simply unconscionable; their decisions are utterly irresponsible.” Gee, aren’t Republicans always responsible?