Athletes, coaches, fans and journalists will still be subject to law criminalizing support for LGBT equality
WASHINGTON – The day after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced it had received assurances from “the highest level of government in Russia” that foreigners visiting the country for the 2014 Olympics would be exempt from a newly-passed law prohibiting “homosexual propaganda,” the co-sponsor of the bill told reporters the law will remain enforced during the Sochi Games.
“I have not heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation but I know it is acting in accordance with Russian law,” said Vitaly Milonov, a Member of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg, according to Gay Star News. “If a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.”
“The co-sponsor of this hateful law said it clearly enough—until there is formal action to repeal the law, it applies to everyone within Russian borders,” said Human Rights Campaign vice president for communications Fred Sainz. “It ought to be clear to the IOC that verbal assurance from nameless Russian officials will do nothing to protect LGBT Olympians, visitors, and personnel during the Sochi games.”
Earlier this week, HRC President Chad Griffin called on the IOC to do more regarding the situation in Russia: “Mere verbal assurances from the Russian government that foreigners will be exempt from their repressive laws are not enough. The IOC must obtain ironclad written assurance from President Putin. But more importantly, they should be advocating for the safety of all LGBT people in Russia, not simply those visiting for the Olympics. Rescinding this heinous law must be our collective goal.”
In June, a law banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" was passed by Russia’s Federal Assembly and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. Under the guise of protecting children from "homosexual propaganda," the law imposes fines or jail time on citizens who disseminate information that may cause a "distorted understanding" that LGBT and heterosexual relationships are "socially equivalent." The fines are significantly higher if such information is distributed through the media or Internet.
Foreigners, such as those visiting Russia for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, will not only be fined but also face arrest and up to 15 days in jail, followed by eventual deportation, according to the new law.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Freelance writer Michael Luongo has been named Journalist of the Year by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.
The NLGJA 2013 Journalist of the Year is Michael Luongo, a freelance journalist, editor and photographer and New York University adjunct professor who teaches travel writing. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Bloomberg News, CNN, National Geographic Traveler, Gay City News, The Advocate, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure, Details, Man About World and other publications, with most of his travel writing and international correspondence work concentrating on the Middle East and Latin America.
One Excellence in Journalism Awards judge commented that Michael Luongo "gains amazing access to the Palestinian, Israeli, and Egyptian worlds. His ability to weave a narrative draws the reader into his stories, be they about pinkwashing in Israel, the difficulties of being gay in Palestine, or what became of the out, gay activists in Egypt's manifestation of the Arab Spring. He also shows versatility, reporting on both the gay world for the mainstream media and on the lesser known aspects of straight Arab society in Egypt and the just plain fascinating continued existence of Samaritans in Israel."
Another judge noted: "Luongo produces well-researched and sourced work that simply isn't done by many - even any - other news organizations. His travels potentially put him - and even his subjects - at risk as he pulls together his stories. His work focuses on many under-reported topics and underserved segments, especially of LGBT life."
2013 NLGJA AWARD WINNERS
Special recognition awards:
Journalist of the Year Award
- First: Michael Luongo, Freelance
- Second: Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed
Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBT Journalist of the Year
- First: Lila Shapiro, The Huffington Post
- Second: Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
Excellence in HIV/AIDS Coverage Award
- First: Oriol Gutierrez for "Healing the Hurt," POZ Magazine
- Second: Diane Anderson-Minshall for a series in HIV Plus Magazine
Excellence in News Writing Award
- First: Kate Sosin for "Generation Halsted, A Special Windy City Times LGBTQ Youth Investigation," with Erica Demarest, Bill Healy and Tracy Baim
- Second: Chris Johnson for a series on historic LGBT election wins, Washington Blade
- Third: Timothy Cwiek for his coverage of the Nizah Morris case, Philadelphia Gay News
Excellence in Feature Writing Award
- First: Mark Johnson for "Uniquely Human: The Science of Gender," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- Second: Joan Garrett McClane for "A tempest in my soul: A son's secret brings a Baptist minister to his knees," Chattanooga Times Free Press
- Third: Kathleen Wilkinson for "Close to Her Heart: Glenn Close's Passion Project," Curve Magazine
Excellence in Opinion/Editorial Writing Award
- First: Kate Riley for a series of same-sex marriage editorials with Lance Dickie, Thanh Tan and Sharon Pian Chan, The Seattle Times
- Second: Sean Bugg for an opinion writing series, Metro Weekly
- Third: Kerry Eleveld for "Why Barack Obama Will Be A Better Progressive In His Second Term," The Atlantic
Excellence in Online Journalism Award
- First: Blake Ellis for a series on same-sex couples financial challenges, CNNMoney
- Second: Alissa Bohling For "Transgender, Gender Nonconforming People Among First, Most Affected by War on Terror's Biometrics Craze," Truthout
- Third: Michael Luongo for "Gay Palestinians caught in the middle of conflict," Global Post
Excellence in Multimedia Award
- First: Olivia Ford for the video series "A Day in the Life," with Mark S. King, Becky Allen and Kellee Terrell, TheBody.com
Excellence in Photojournalism Award
- First: Preston Gannaway for "Teddy Ebony as a Young Man," The Virginian-Pilot
- Second: Scott A. Drake for "Gay Blades," Philadelphia Gay News
Excellence in Student Journalism Award
- First: Sarah Fournier for "Transition leads to Joy," Pavement Pieces
- Second: Alissa Brouillet for "The LGBT Mind," with Adam Ilenich, Kellie Rowe, Marcela Salvador and Justin Wan, Media Garden
Excellence in Network Television Award
- First: David Corvo for "Golden Star," with Kate Snow, Charmian Ling, Meghan Frank and Beverly Chase, NBCUniversal
- Second: Tommy Nguyen for "Josie's Story," with Hoda Kotb, Allison Orr Nicholas Capote and Liz Cole, NBCUniversal
Excellence in Local Television Award
- First: Joe Fryer for "Same-Sex Marriage in Washington," with Jeff Christian, KING-TV
Excellence in Radio Award
- First: Julia Scott for "Bon Voyage," KALW 91.7 FM
- Second: Bob Mondello for "Hollywood's History of Putting Gay Rights on Trial," with Sara Sarasohn and Sami Yenigun, NPR All Things Considered
Awards will be presented August 24 during the NLGJA Awards Reception at Boston: Uncommon, the 2013 NLGJA National Convention and 9th Annual LGBT Media Summit. For more information on the convention in Boston, visit www.nlgja.org/2013/
A previous version of this post incorrectly identified the author of a article on the Washington Blade website, "Fla. congresswoman meets with Cuban LGBT rights activists." That article was written by Michael K. Lavers.
Miami-based website Do You Remember has published a short profile of longtime South Beach mixologist Crispy Soloperto.
Do You Remember is a social networking site "where modern people indulge their nostalgic passions," according to the website.
Pictured from left: Lydia Martin, Soloperto, Elizabeth Schwartz, Mary D and Do You Remember's Eric Newill at The Raleigh Hotel's Martini Bar. (Via Facebook.)
MEXICO CITY -- Lawmakers in Mexico's western state of Colima have approved a change in the state's constitution that legalizes same-sex civil unions.
Colima state spokeswoman Cecilia Ramirez says the legislature approved the constitutional change late Monday after seven of the state's 10 municipalities approved the reform.
Ramirez says the law provides gay couples with numerous social benefits similar to those of married couples.
She says a survey found Colima residents opposed instituting same-sex marriage but did support giving gay couples some legal rights.
Currently, Mexican same-sex marriages are allowed in Mexico City, the southern state of Oaxaca and the state of Quintana Roo, home to the resort city of Cancun. The northern state of Coahuila began allowing same-sex civil unions in 2007.
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
SAVE Dade on Tuesday night selected Miami Science Museum Vice President Tony Lima as its new executive director.
"SAVE is an organization I really, really believe in," said Lima, who on Sept. 2 will begin directing Miami-Dade County's largest gay-rights organization. "I’ve been involved for four years now. I've been on the board for three years. I've become really ingrained in the issues."
Lima, 39, has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Florida State University and has completed Masters of Science coursework in Integrated Communications at Florida International University. In 2012, he completed the Miami Foundation Fellows program.
Brickell Magazine recently selected Lima as one of the Top 20 Professionals Under 40 in Miami.
After working as an account group supervisor at GolinHarris communications in Miami, Lima joined the science museum in 2007.
He has led the museum's marketing, communications and sales efforts, including the capital campaign and construction of the new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science at Museum Park. He also founded and managed the Miami Science Museum Young Patrons group.
His last day with the museum is Friday.
Lima succeeds C.J. Ortuño, SAVE Dade's executive director for five years who resigned in June to take a development job with City University of New York law school.
SAVE Dade's board met Tuesday and formally chose Lima as the new executive director.
"Tony is a natural leader," said Joseph Falk, SAVE Dade's former board chairman who led the group's search committee for a new executive director. "His passion, intelligence and drive will represent the LGBT community very well."
Lima said his immediate goal as new executive director will be to raise awareness of SAVE Dade throughout Miami-Dade County, not just in the cities of Miami Beach and Miami.
"My goal is to expand and educate as much as possible," he said. "I want to go north, I want to go south, I want to go west and I want to speak to as many people as I can in Spanish, as well."
BY KATHY MATHESON, ASSOCIATED PRESS
PHILADELPHIA -- State officials asked a court to stop a rogue county from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples on Tuesday, nearly a week after a clerk began granting them in violation of Pennsylvania law.
The petition filed by the Health Department in Commonwealth Court alleges that D. Bruce Hanes, the register of wills in Montgomery County, "repeatedly and continuously" flouted the law. As of Tuesday afternoon, the county had granted 34 licenses and registered six same-sex marriages.
"There is no limit to the administrative and legal chaos that is likely to flow from the clerk's unlawful practice of issuing marriage licenses to those who are not permitted under Pennsylvania law to marry," the lawsuit said.
Pennsylvania is the only northeastern state without same-sex marriages or civil unions. Hanes began issuing licenses to same-sex couples shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage of Act.
At the time, Hanes said he wanted to "come down on the right side of history and the law." He declined to comment Tuesday on the pending litigation.
BY DERRIK J. LANG, AP ENTERTAINMENT WRITER
LOS ANGELES -- Eileen Brennan, who played the drill sergeant in "Private Benjamin," has died at 80.
Brennan's manager Kim Vasilakis says Brennan died Sunday in a Burbank after a battle with bladder cancer.
Brennan got her first big role on the New York stage in the musical comedy "Little Mary Sunshine." It won her the 1960 Obie award for best actress. She played Irene Malloy in the original 1964 Broadway production of "Hello Dolly!" and co-starred in the 1971 film, "The Last Picture Show."
She went on to win fans for her sharp-tongued roles on television and in movies, including gruff Army Capt. Doreen Lewis in 1980's "Private Benjamin," aloof Mrs. Peacock in 1985's "Clue," and mean orphanage superintendent Miss Bannister in 1988's "The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking."
"Private Benjamin" brought her a supporting actress nomination for an Oscar. She won an Emmy for repeating her "Private Benjamin" role in the TV version.
BY DIVINE NTARYIKE AND ROBBIE COREY-BOULET, ASSOCIATED PRESS
DOUALA, Cameroon -- Police in Cameroon held two employees of a human rights organization for three days in connection with the killing of a prominent gay rights activist, their lawyer said, sparking criticism over how the investigation is being handled.
The two employees, Michel Engama and Cedric Mbarga, were released Tuesday afternoon without charge, said Michel Togue, a member of the legal team representing them as well as the family of the slain activist, Eric Ohena Lembembe.
Engama and Mbarga worked with Lembembe at CAMFAIDS, a human rights organization based in the capital of Yaounde, and were among the last people to see him alive on July 12, Togue said. Three days later, Lembembe's body was discovered at his home bearing signs of torture.
Lembembe's friends suspect he was killed over his activism. Just weeks before his death, he had warned about the threat posed by "anti-gay thugs" in Cameroon, one of the most hostile countries for sexual minorities in sub-Saharan Africa.
Human Rights Watch had earlier expressed doubt over whether law enforcement officials were willing and able to carry out a thorough, effective investigation of Lembembe's death, pointing out that previous incidents of anti-gay threats and violence had only resulted in the taking of statements.
BY DAVID DISHNEAU AND PAULINE JELINEK, ASSOCIATED PRESS
FORT MEADE, Md. -- U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning has been acquitted of aiding the enemy for giving classified secrets to WikiLeaks.
The military judge hearing the case, Army Col. Denise Lind, announced the verdict Tuesday. The charge was the most serious of 21 counts. It carried a possible life sentence without parole.
Manning was convicted of five espionage counts, five theft charges, a computer fraud charge and other military infractions.
Manning's sentencing hearing is set to begin Wednesday.
The gay 25-year-old Crescent, Okla., native acknowledged giving the anti-secrecy website hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and videos in early 2010.
Manning said he didn't believe the information would harm troops in Afghanistan and Iraq or threaten national security.