UNITED KINGDOM – Oxford University students will no longer have to wear gender-specific academic clothing after concerns it was unfair to the transgender community.
It will mean men can attend formal occasions in skirts and stockings and women in suits and bow ties.
The new rules come after a motion by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer society (LGBTQ Soc) was passed by the students’ union earlier this year.
The changes, to start from 4 August, have now been agreed by the university.
Jess Pumphrey, LGBTQ officer, said the change would make a number of students’ exam experience significantly less stressful.
Under the old laws on academic clothing – known as subfusc – male students were required to wear a dark suit and socks, black shoes, a white bow tie and a plain white shirt and collar under their black gowns.
Female students had to wear a dark skirt or trousers, a white blouse, black stockings and shoes and a black ribbon tied in a bow at the neck.
If a transgender student wanted to wear subfusc of the opposite sex they had to seek special dispensation from university proctors, who had the power to punish those who breached the rules.
An Oxford University spokesman said: “The regulations have been amended to remove any reference to gender, in response to concerns raised by Oxford University Student Union that the existing regulations did not serve the interests of transgender students.”
from The BBC
Archive for July, 2012
UNITED KINGDOM – Oxford University students will no longer have to wear gender-specific academic clothing after concerns it was unfair to the transgender community.
Two men who’ve had HIV for years may now be free of the disease following bone marrow transplants, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston announced Thursday.
The new research has some attendees at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. hopeful for a cure.
Both patients were being treated for cases of cancer. One of the patients underwent a bone marrow transplant two years ago at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston, the other had the procedure done four years ago at the same hospital. NBCNews.com reports that one of the patients is in his 50s and has been infected since the early 1980s towards the beginning of the AIDS epidemic and the other man, in his 20s, was infected at birth.
Both stayed on their antiretroviral medication regimens, the standard treatment of HIV, following the transplants.
The researchers discovered that overtime as the patients’ cells were replaced by cells from the donor, evidence of HIV in the patients’ blood tests disappeared. The researchers also said both patients have no signs of HIV in their DNA or RNA and levels of their disease-fighting antibodies have also decreased. The researchers think the medications helped allow these cells to be replaced.
“This gives us some important information,” one of the researchers Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, an infectious disease specialist at the hospital and Harvard Medical school said in a press release. “It suggests that under the cover of antiretroviral therapy, the cells that repopulated the patient’s immune system appear to be protected from becoming re-infected with HIV.”
The researchers themselves won’t call it a cure yet, saying they still need to check more tissues for traces of the disease. But they were surprised to see no signs of HIV beyond what’s seen in a blood test.
“We expected HIV to vanish from the patients’ plasma, but it is surprising that we can’t find any traces of HIV in their cells,” said co-resarcher Dr. Timothy Henrich, also of BWH and Harvard. “The next step is to determine if there are any traces of HIV in their tissue.”
The researchers’ announcement comes days after Timothy Ray Brown, the man known as the “Berlin Patient,” held a press conference in Washington, D.C., to say he’s still cured of AIDS five years after undergoing a bone marrow blood transplant.
However, the researchers noted differences in their two patients’ treatment compared to that of Brown.
In Brown’s case, his donor was specifically chosen because he possessed a genetic mutation that’s found in one person of Caucasian people that makes them resistant to developing HIV. But the donors for the two Boston patient were selected at random. Additionally, Brown had stopped taking his antiretroviral medications following his transplant, while the Boston patients have stayed on the drugs.
Traces of HIV have been found in Brown’s tissues, causing some to say the virus had returned, but he denied that at his press conference, saying those are merely dead remnants of the virus still in his body.
“We can’t say we’ve replicated the Berlin patient’s cure at this point because our patients remain on antiretroviral therapy,” Kuritzkes told NPR. He did add to the station that it’s “entirely possible” the two patients will remain disease-free.
Dr. Steven Deeks, an HIV researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, told The Washington Post, “Today might be considered a day when the research agenda moves from basic science and the lab into the clinic,” adding that “it is an absolutely critical advancement.”
Not all experts were impressed. Dr. Jay Levy, another HIV researcher at UC San Francisco, told The Boston Globe, “The real news would be if they could stop the drugs and not have the virus come back.”
from CBS News
MEADVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA – Brandy M. Stevens, 20, was still alive but probably beyond feeling pain when a woman she had loved helped to bury her.
Jade N. Olmstead, 18, and her new lover, Ashley M. Barber, told police that they invited Stevens to their Cochranton-area home on May 17 and then savagely beat and choked her and buried her in a grave they had waiting, state police Trooper Eric Mallory testified during a preliminary hearing for the two women Wednesday.
Both will stand trial on charges of homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide, Vernon Township District Judge Michael Rossi ruled. Mallory testified that Barber and Olmstead admitted to the killing and described their relationship and their relationship to the victim in separate interviews with police.
Olmstead greeted Stevens and lured her into the woods near the home that she shared with Barber and Barber’s parents in Wayne Township, to see a crude fort that she and Ashley Barber were building. Barber was hiding there. At the fort, the two women began punching and kicking Stevens and stuffed a “Saw” cap into her mouth to stop her pleading for her life and screaming.
“They said they were freaking out from her screams,” Mallory said.
Stevens was knocked to the ground by the two women. Barber put a rope around her neck and strangled her while Olmstead alternately hit her in the head with a shovel and helped to choke her, Mallory said.
Barber also repeatedly pounded Stevens’ head against a stump and told police that a bruise on her own forehead came from head-butting Stevens’ besides.
“She was on the victim’s back with her knee in her spine, pulling her head back with the rope … and letting it hit the stump,” Mallory said.
The two women rolled Stevens into a shallow grave that they had prepared for her at the fort. When they saw that she was still breathing, they threw a large rock onto her face and poured water into her mouth and nose.
“She said that her worst fear was being buried alive,” Mallory said of Barber. “She was trying to kill her.”
The results of an autopsy by Erie County forensic pathologist Eric Vey showed that Stevens suffocated on dirt, police Trooper Phillip Shaffer testified.
Barber and Olmstead originally told police that Stevens had come to visit, then left her car there and walked up the road with her belongings to meet a friend, Mallory said. Barber said that she’d gotten the bruise on her head in a fall down the cellar stairs.
She later told police that her father had killed Stevens because Stevens “looked like a boy” and her father wasn’t very tolerant of homosexuality, Mallory said. The women admitted killing Stevens after police told them that they’d found her grave.
Barber and Olmstead will also stand trial on an evidence tampering charge. The women burned some of the victim’s belongings as well as some of their own clothes that they bloodied during the killing, Mallory said.
They buried the bloody rock, one of the women’s blood-soaked Ohio State University hoodie and the “Saw” cap with Stevens.
“The black hat was used to pick up what she (Ashley Barber) referred to as meat or brains,” Mallory said.
Stevens’ grandmother, Kathy Stevens, sobbed during the graphic descriptions of the killing. She earlier sobbed on the makeshift witness stand in the Vernon Township Building meeting room. The hearing was moved there, from Rossi’s smaller courtroom, to accommodate families and friends of the victim and the accused.
Kathy Stevens described seeing her granddaughter for the last time when she left home on May 17. She reported her missing to Beaver Township police on May 19 after her granddaughter didn’t answer or return any of her phone calls.
Cell phone records and a relative’s tip shifted the search for the young woman to the Cochranton area, and to Olmstead and Barber. Police found Brandy Stevens’ car in a driveway at the Barber home and an unexplained stain nearby on Drake Hill Road and called for a cadaver dog.
“You could smell a certain odor of decay at certain times, depending on which way the wind was blowing,” police Trooper John Michalak said.
Stevens, also known as Brandy Stevens-Rosine, was a student at Youngstown State University, where she was studying sociology, according to her obituary in the Youngstown Vindicator.
“She was a wonderful person,” Tera Haines, of Boardman, Ohio, said. “She was nine years younger than me but was like a mother to me. She was very, very nice.”
Haines was at Wednesday’s preliminary hearing for Barber and Olmstead.
“I’m here for justice for my friend,” Haines said.
Barber and Olmstead are being held at the Crawford County Correctional Facility in Saegertown. Rossi on Wednesday denied a defense attorney’s request for bail for Barber.
Crawford County District Attorney Francis Schultz will decide whether to seek the death penalty for the two women.
“That’s something that I will decide before the arraignment,” Schultz said.
The women will be arraigned in Crawford County Court on Aug. 24.
from Go Erie
HANOI, VIETNAM – Dinh Thi Hong Loan grasps her girlfriend’s hand, and the two gaze into each other’s love-struck eyes. Smiling, they talk about their upcoming wedding – how they’ll exchange rings and toast the beginning of their lives together.
The lesbians’ marriage ceremony in the Vietnamese capital won’t be officially recognized, but that could soon change. Vietnam’s Communist government is now considering whether to allow same-sex couples to marry or legally register and receive rights – positioning the country to be the first in Asia to do so.
“Our love for each other is real and nothing changes regardless of whether the law is passed or not,” said Loan, 31. “But when it is passed, we will definitely go get registered. I can’t wait!”
Even longtime gay-rights activists are stunned by the Justice Ministry’s proposal to include same-sex couples in its overhaul of the country’s marriage law. No one knows what form it will take or whether it will survive long enough to be debated before the National Assembly next year, but supporters say the fact that it’s even being considered is a victory in a region where simply being gay can result in jail sentences or whippings with a rattan cane.
“I think everyone is surprised,” said Vien Tanjung, an Indonesian gay-rights activist. “Even if it’s not successful it’s already making history. For me, personally, I think it’s going to go through.”
Vietnam seems an unlikely champion of gay-rights issues. It is routinely lambasted by the international community over its dismal human rights record, often locking up political dissidents who call for democracy or religious freedom. Up until just a few years ago, homosexuality was labeled as a “social evil” alongside drug addiction and prostitution.
And Vietnam’s gay community itself was once so underground that few groups or meeting places existed. It was taboo to even talk about the issue.
But over the past five years, that’s slowly started to change. Vietnam’s state-run media, unable to write about politically sensitive topics or openly criticize the one-party government, have embraced the chance to explore gay issues. They have run lengthy newspaper stories and television broadcasts, including one live special that won a top award.
Video of Vietnam’s first publicized gay wedding went viral online in 2010, and a few other ceremonies followed, capturing widespread public attention. The Justice Ministry now says a legal framework is necessary because the courts do not know how to handle disputes between same-sex couples living together. The new law could provide rights such as owning property, inheriting and adopting children.
“I think, as far as human rights are concerned, it’s time for us to look at the reality,” Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong said Tuesday in an online chat broadcast on national TV and radio. “The number of homosexuals has mounted to hundreds of thousands. It’s not a small figure. They live together without registering marriage. They may own property. We, of course, have to handle these issues legally.”
Globally, 11 countries have legalized same-sex marriage since the Netherlands became the first to do so in 2001. Only a few U.S. states allow it, but President Barack Obama provided hope for many couples worldwide after announcing his support earlier this year.
The issue has remained largely off the table across Asia. In Thailand, many tourists see a vibrant gay, lesbian and transgender community, but it exists largely as part of the country’s lucrative entertainment industry, separated from politics and conservative Thai society.
Dick Cheney says he didn’t see the point of raising the issue of gay marriage in the 2000 presidential campaign, even though he supported it.
The former vice president suggested it wouldn’t have done much good and probably would have sunk President George W. Bush’s prospects for office. “Why?” he responded to ABC News when asked in a televised interview whether he should have pushed harder for gay couples to marry.
Cheney’s daughter, Mary, married her longtime partner this June.
Cheney said of the wedding: “I’m sure it was fine. We wished them well. She wanted to avoid having it be a media circus or having it become part of the political debate. So Lynn and I were very proud and happy and congratulated them.”
from The Associated Press
Mary Cheney Gets Married
Dick Cheney Doesn’t Have A Problem With Gay Marriage
NEW ZEALAND - A website dedicated to opposing gay marriage has been removed from the internet the day it was launched after it was the target of one of the “largest unprecedented attacks” on a website in New Zealand.
The “Protect Marriage” website, launched today by Family First, crashed in a matter of hours as a result of a “large-scale denial of service attack” according to the site’s webhost.
It was back up and running at 1pm, but had been removed completely by the webhosting company later this afternoon, to “protect its own servers”.
“Due to large scale Denial of Service attacks against this domain it has been decided to ensure the stability and security of our servers and network, this account has been removed,” said a message from 24/7 Hosting.
Launched to oppose MP Louisa Wall’s same-sex marriage bill drawn recently from the ballot, Family First director Bob McCroskrie said the site was apparently the target of “the largest unprecedented attack on a website in New Zealand history”.
McCroskrie said he had expected “a good amount of debate” on the issue, but the attack was “obviously a desperate attempt” at shutting down one side of the argument.
He said Family First were now working with an international webhosting company with advanced security and the website would be live again by tomorrow.
In another setback for the Family First campaign, US band Train has also reportedly requested the website cease using their song “Marry Me”.
Train caught wind their song was being used by Family First after a Twitter user alerted the band their song was being used on an “anti gay marriage website”.
A user named @Mikey_J_S6 tweeted the band last night saying: “Why does your music video appear on a homophobic lobby group’s website?”. Train responded saying “Didn’t know. Getting it off asap. Tnx 4 tip”.
McCroskrie said they had not yet heard from Train, but if they were asked to take the song down they would.
“We’re not going to go by some post on Twitter, but if the band contact us then we will certainly take it down.”
MASSACHUSETTS – It’s bad enough that the Catholic Church discriminates against gay people. But it’s poor form — and possibly illegal — to document the bigotry and then mistakenly email it to the victims.
This embarrassing etiquette lapse occurred as James Fairbanks and Alain Beret were pursuing the purchase of Oakhurst, a 44-bedroom mansion in Northbridge, owned by the Diocese of Worcester. Fairbanks and Beret had searched for two years for the perfect renovation project, and hoped to turn the run-down estate into a banquet facility. Previously, the pair had transformed mansions in Vermont and Barre into similar businesses.
“When we saw Oakhurst, we fell in love with it,” Beret said.
The asking price of $1.4 million was negotiated to $1 million. On May 18, the pair signed an offer to purchase with a $75,000 deposit. They paid $3,000 for a home inspection. They also met with various town boards, all of which expressed enthusiasm for the project because it would save the historic building from developers seeking to raze it.
“These men had a good plan,” said Barbara Gaudette, Northbridge Planning Board chairwoman . “They have the background and experience. We would welcome that.”
In early June, the pair was notified that a $240,000 sprinkler system would have to be installed. Concerned that the deal might fall through, the diocese’s broker suggested the men make a smaller counter offer for the mansion and some of the land, rather than the full 24 acres. So the men made a revised offer of $550,000 for the mansion and six acres, assuming everyone would be satisfied.
They were wrong. The next day, they received a brief email from the diocese’s broker, LiSandra Rodriguez-Pagan, saying that the diocese decided to pursue “other plans” for the property.
Beret and Fairbanks were stunned, but perhaps they should have anticipated rejection from the church. The men are gay and have been together for 35 years. They married in 2004 and live quietly in Sutton.
“It never occurred to me they’d walk away from the table,” said Beret, 60, a lawyer.
This week, Monsignor Thomas Sullivan, who oversees the sale of diocesan property, told me the deal fell through because of financing.
“They couldn’t come up with the money,” he said. “This happens all the time.”
I told him the potential buyers believed that he rejected the deal because of their sexual orientation, or the prospect of gay marriages someday being performed at Oakhurst. Was that an issue?
“No, it wasn’t,” Msgr. Sullivan said. “It was an issue of them not having the financing. That was all.”
As noted, if you’re going to discriminate, you should cover your tracks. Inadvertently attached to the email rejecting the counter offer is an email from Msgr. Sullivan to the diocesan broker:
“I just went down the hall and discussed it with the bishop,” Msgr. Sullivan wrote. “Because of the potentiality of gay marriages there, something you shared with us yesterday, we are not interested in going forward with these buyers. I think they’re shaky anyway. So, just tell them that we will not accept their revised plan and the Diocese is making new plans for the property. You find the language.”
Now, Beret is trying to find the language to react to the email, which he didn’t see right away because it was at the bottom of a long thread. Neither he nor his spouse ever disclosed their sexual orientation to the broker, but they assume she must have realized at some point that they were gay.
“Their message was, ‘These guys are gay. Get rid of them,’ ” Beret said. “I don’t argue with their right to stand on the pulpit and condemn. But they don’t have the right to chase me down with their poison.”
Their lawyer, Sergio Carvajal, said state law prohibits discriminating against buyers based on sexual orientation, and said the potential for gay marriages would exist regardless of the sexual orientation of the buyer.
“It’s outrageous in this day and age that the church would refuse to sell to someone because of their sexual orientation,” Carvajal said. “It’s reprehensible.”
Speaking of reprehensible, Oakhurst is perhaps best known as the former House of Affirmation, a treatment home for pedophile priests, which closed amid scandal in the late 1980s. Ironically, Beret was willing to overlook that history; he’s a devout Christian who at one time studied for the priesthood.
“I have plenty of sins,” Beret said. “But being gay isn’t one of them. This is not a fight I wanted to pick. But for the sake of my dignity, I’m not walking away.”
from The Telegram
Admittedly, when the review request came in for Elton John’s first novel, Love Is The Cure: On Life, Loss, and the End of Aids, I didn’t focus on the latter half of the title — thinking I’d be reading more about his iconic musical career. Rather, what I experienced was an astounding story of John addressing the personal milestones and struggles of his life and career within the larger context of the personal toll AIDS has taken on his life.
John uses personal anecdotes of his close friends including Freddie Mercury, Princess Diana, Elizabeth Taylor, but starts with the story of Ryan White. The thirteen-year-old White was a hemophiliac who received a tainted blood transfusion, contracted the HIV virus, and was ostracized by his own community. Seriously, the horror stories of his treatment will blind you with rage. But White was not to be deterred, he lived an inspiring life, brought national attention to the disease, and his devastating death led John to two realizations: His own life was a mess. And he had to do something to help stop the AIDS crisis.
The singer makes a compelling argument using government reports and information from healthcare foundations to suggest that we are much closer than we thought to winning the fight against HIV/AIDS, but yet, there is still no cure. He contends a large part fighting the battle against the disease is rooted in love. John says, “This is a disease that must be cured not by a miraculous vaccine, but by changing hearts and minds, and through a collective effort to break down social barriers and to build bridges of compassion Why are we not doing more?”
John has dedicated himself to overcoming the stigma of AIDS and finding a cure. For the past 20 years he has done this through the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which has raised and donated $275 million to-date to fighting the disease worldwide. His story is a powerful one of conviction and emotional force, which conveys the personal toll AIDS has taken on his life, and his infinite determination to stop its spread.
What you realize as you read this book is that while a cure would be magnificent — it’s more about fighting a larger battle of ignorance, fear, and hatred by our own peers, loved ones, and even more scary — our government officials and religious leaders. It’s pretty eye-opening.
The sale of Love Is the Cure will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation — thus furthering John’s commitment to the fight and raising awareness. Do you have to purchase this book to help? Not necessarily. You can do your part with love and tolerance, but purchasing this book does help you understand the larger struggle.
from The Round Table
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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – A vigorous supporter of California’s same-sex marriage ban was named Friday as the next Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco.
The Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI selected the Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, the presiding bishop of Oakland, to replace Archbishop George Niederauer in October. Niederauer, 76, is retiring.
As an auxiliary bishop in San Diego four years ago, Cordileone, 56, was instrumental in devising an initiative to strip same-sex couples of the right to wed in California and then raising Catholic dollars to qualify it for the ballot.
He also was part of a statewide network of clergy that promoted the measure, known as Proposition 8. Campaign finance records show he personally gave at least $6,000 to back the voter-approved ban.
Since last year, Cordileone has been chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
In an interview with the National Catholic Register last year, Cordileone said that same-sex marriage is “a very serious social experiment that will have dire consequences.” Opposing it is “not a matter of religion,” he said.
At a news conference at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco Friday, he said he thought the Roman Catholic Church had come a long way in addressing the issue of clergy sex abuse and reiterated his position on gay marriages.
“Marriage can only come about through the embrace of a man and a woman coming together,” he said. “I don’t see how that is discriminatory against anyone.”
Gay rights groups criticized the Pope’s choice of Cordileone to lead the San Francisco Archdiocese, which serves more than 400,000 Catholics in the city and neighboring Marin and San Mateo counties. As archbishop, he also will oversee the bishops in Honolulu, Las Vegas, Oakland, Reno, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Santa Rosa, and Stockton.
“While LGBT Catholics and their allies have worked relentlessly to create welcoming environments, the appointment of Bishop Cordileone sends a chilling message that, in the eyes of the hierarchy, same-sex relationships are not worthy of equal dignity and respect,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said.
A Field Poll released in February found that 51 percent of the Catholic respondents support same-sex marriages.
from The Associated Press
Glee’s Chris Colfer leaked the news via Twitter that his new children’s book The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell would debut at the top of one of The New York Times’ children’s best-seller lists for Aug. 4. The list will be released next week.
The actor tweeted, “#TheLandOfStories is debuting at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller’s list!!! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this. Thank you!!!”
The book also debuted at No. 3 on the Indie Best-seller list for children’s books.
Land of Stories is about Alex and her twin brother Conner, who use a magical book to travel to a place where fairy tale characters are alive. They encounter witches, wolves, goblins and trolls, but find struggle to find a way to return home.
Colfer first came up with the idea when he was in grade school but wrote the book between scenes on Glee.
He has also wrote the screenplay (and stars in) Struck by Lighting, a coming-of-age tale about a teen from a troubled family who dreams of going to Northwestern University. The move debuted at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival and is scheduled for release in December.
Colfer told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday at TCA that he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support he’s received from fans during his nationwide book tour. “I was really nervous no one was going to show up because I’ve never done anything just by my lonesome, I’ve always had my Glee stars with me on those things,” he said. “But it’s been fantastic and selling out some places. I couldn’t be happier.”
from The Hollywood Reporter
Chris Colfer Thinks Homophobes Need To Get A Hobby
Chris Colfer Of ‘Glee’ Writes A Book
Chris Colfer Of `Glee’ Writes His Hollywood Ticket
‘Glee’ Cast Reacts To Gay Kiss
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie announced a gift Friday of $2.5 million to the campaign to defend Washington’s same-sex marriage law.
Washington United for Marriage says it has raised more than $5 million for Referendum 74 on the November ballot. Last month Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and co-founder Bill Gates each donated $100,000 to the campaign supporting the law.
Referendum 74 was certified for the ballot in May after gay marriage opponents in the group Preserve Marriage Washington turned in more than 240,000 signatures.
The referendum seeks to overturn the law signed in February by Gov. Chris Gregoire. The law was supposed to take effect June 7 but has been put on hold.
A yes vote upholds the law and a no vote overturns it.
from The Associated Press
OMAHA, NEBRASKA – An alleged victim of a hate crime in Nebraska spoke out for the first time Thursday, the same day that more than a thousand people rallied in support of the victim that police say was assaulted by masked men who carved homophobic slurs into her body.
“I can’t adequately express how much it has meant to me that people are standing with me and people are standing for me,” Charlie Rogers, 33, said in an interview with CNN affiliate KETV.
Three masked men allegedly bound Rogers and carved the words into her skin Sunday, police in Lincoln, Nebraska, said. The incident has been classified as a hate crime because derogatory terms for lesbians that were used, said Officer Katie Flood, a spokeswoman for the Lincoln Police Department.
Rogers said she had tried to keep her identity secret after the incident. But she decided to go public Thursday because there have been allegations that the attack did not happen.
“For people to think this doesn’t happen here, it does. It did,” Rogers told the affiliate.
Rogers’ attorney, Megan Mikolajczyk, told CNN Rogers wanted to make it clear it was not “a hoax.” Asked if there was anyone specific they were addressing, Mikolajczyk said there was not, but that she wasn’t surprised there were naysayers.
“I don’t think it’s safe or necessary to point the finger at any one individual,” Mikolajczyk said. “I think its par for the course for any sort of high profile incident for people to question what happened.”
More than a thousand people gathered at a vigil in Omaha Thursday evening in support of Rogers.
After the attack on Sunday, Rogers was able to escape and run to her neighbors’ home. The neighbor, Linda Rappl, said she was horrified at Rogers’ injuries.
“I was in shock,” Rappl said. “She was naked, her hands were tied with zip ties. All I could see was a cut across her forehead and blood running down.”
First Boston. Then Chicago.
The next city to tell Chick-fil-A to keep out? San Francisco.
Edwin M. Lee, mayor of the progressive city, tweeted Thursday night: “Very disappointed #ChickFilA doesn’t share San Francisco’s values & strong commitment to equality for everyone.”
He also added a warning to his subsequent tweet: “Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”
Until Thursday, San Francisco had stayed mum on the debate, which began when Chick-fil-A’s president, Dan Cathy, went on the record as saying his Atlanta-based chicken chain operated on biblical values and opposed same-sex marriage.
He told an interviewer last week that the fast-food giant was “guilty as charged” of supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit,”
Since his comments, the reaction has been intense. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino told the Boston Herald that he no longer wanted Chick-fil-A in his city. Muppets creator Jim Henson Co. backed out of a partnership with the chain to make kids-meal toys.
Later, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement saying the company did not share “Chicago’s values.”
On Thursday, at a newly opened Chick-fil-A restaurant in Laguna Hills, customers were met by a group of protesters who urged them to buy fast food elsewhere.
Conservatives have been rallied by former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who has urged supporters to swarm into Chick-fil-A restaurants on Aug. 1. Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin blogged that Menino’s “beef with the beloved chicken sandwich supplier is as full of holes as Chick-fil-A’s trademark waffle fries.”
“When an elected public official wields the club of government against a Christian business in the name of ‘tolerance,’ it’s not harmless kid stuff,” Malkin wrote. “It’s chilling.”
Last week, Chick-fil-A issued a statement saying it would “leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.” The company added that it has always aimed to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
No reaction yet from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who supports same-sex marriage and is mayor to a city with a sizable LGBT population.
from The Los Angeles Times
Muppets Quit Chick-fil-A
Satire On Chick-Fil-A Anti-Gay Marriage Stance
Chick-Fil-A Confirms It Doesn’t Like Gays