Judge retires after handling notorious juvenile cases

By : wire report
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MIAMI (AP)| For the past three years, Judge Cindy Lederman has walked by a half-dozen statues of playful bear cubs every day on her way up to her high-ceilinged, top-floor office looking out toward Miami’s waterfront. On a shelf behind her desk, below rows of glass awards and family photos, sit two teddy bears. In six months, she’ll take them with her and walk past the statues for the last time.

The stuffed bears are from a program the retiring judge helped start 20 years ago to give every child who came to juvenile court a teddy bear. The building, Miami-Dade County’s three-year-old children’s courthouse, and its bear statutes _ meant to be played with by those same unlucky children who find themselves needing court hearings _ were a project she began working on with colleagues more than a decade ago to replace Miami-Dade’s previous and notoriously horrible children’s courthouse.

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LGBT advocates fear Kavanaugh’s votes on gay-rights issues

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WASHINGTON (AP) | Gay-rights supporters who thronged the Supreme Court plaza after justices declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right expect to have little to celebrate if Brett Kavanaugh replaces Justice Anthony Kennedy, the author of all the court’s major gay-rights rulings.

None of Kavanaugh’s roughly 300 opinions as an appellate judge deals directly with LGBT issues, but his approach to judging leads some scholars and activists to believe he is unlikely to echo Kennedy’s votes.

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Window and neon sign smashed at gay landmark Stonewall Inn

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NEW YORK (AP) | A teenager has been accused of smashing the front window and iconic neon sign at New York’s Stonewall Inn, a landmark in the fight for gay rights.

Police say the 19-year-old was upset he had been thrown out of the historic gay bar and destroyed the window with a baseball bat early Saturday, causing about $6,000 in damage. The teenager faces charges of reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal mischief.

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Attorneys who argued gay rights cases reflect on Kennedy legacy

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: From left, Jean DubofskyPaul SmithRoberta Kaplan and Mary Bonauto (Photo of Dubofsky courtesy of Dubofsky, Washington Blade photos of Smith, Kaplan and Bonauto by Michael Key)

U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy is stepping down from the U.S. Supreme Court after writing four milestone cases in favor of gay rights over the course of his 30 years on the bench.

The Washington Blade contacted the attorneys who argued each of those cases — Romer v. Evans in 1996, Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, U.S. v. Windsor in 2013 and Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 — for their reflections on those decisions and LGBT rights in the aftermath of Kennedy’s retirement.

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Hong Kong court upholds ruling in favor of same-sex couple

By : Wire report
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HONG KONG (AP) – Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal ruled Wednesday that the same-sex partner of a British expatriate is entitled to equal treatment under immigration law, marking a significant step for gay rights in the Chinese territory.

The unanimous judgment said the woman identified only as “QT” should be issued the same dependent visa that spouses and children of other foreigners working in the Asian financial hub are entitled to.

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Justice Kennedy announces plans to step down from Supreme Court

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy — the author of major U.S. Supreme Court rulings in favor of gay rights — has announced plans to step down from the bench.

Major media outlets reported Kennedy — appointed by President Reagan in 1988 — announced plans to step down Wednesday afternoon as the court’s 2017-2018 term came to a close. The Washington Blade confirmed Kennedy’s plans for departure with the Supreme Court.

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Gay-owned company brings Parkland shooter’s brother to Va.

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Zachary Cruz was arrested for trespassing at the school where his brother allegedly killed 17 people. Photo courtesy Broward County Police.

A Virginia-based company founded by a gay businessman last week arranged for the release from jail of the brother of the Parkland, Fla., shooting suspect who had been arrested in March for trespassing on the grounds of the school in which his brother allegedly killed 17 people.

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Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy skip Olympic athletes visit to the White House

By : wire report
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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump welcomed Team USA Olympic athletes to the White House on Friday, congratulating them on representing the U.S. at the 2018 winter games.

“You made us very proud,” Trump said to the rows of young men and women standing on the White House’s north portico in matching windbreakers. “You overcame setbacks, you powered through obstacles. And I will tell you this, because of your hard work and your sacrifice, you were given the greatest honor in sports: to represent the United States as an Olympic athlete.”

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Gay parade permit sparks major debate in Mississippi

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — At first, the plan to hold a gay-pride parade here didn’t seem like such a big deal. Such festivals aren’t that unusual even in the traditionally conservative Deep South, and Starkville, “Mississippi’s College Town,” made a name for itself as the first community in the state to pass a resolution denouncing discrimination against people for sexual orientation.

But when organizers applied for a permit, they ran into a roadblock: A majority of Starkville’s aldermen voted it down, transforming what had been envisioned as a relatively small-scale event into a constitutional confrontation over free speech and equal rights.

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Hugh Hefner championed gay rights pre-Stonewall

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Playboy founder Hugh Hefner died from natural causes at his home, the Playboy Mansion, on Wednesday. He was 91.

A pioneer for the straight sexual liberation movement, Hefner was also one of the early advocates for gay rights tracing back to the 1950s.

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Libya LGBT activist receives asylum in Germany

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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An LGBT rights activist from the Libyan city of Benghazi has received asylum in Germany.

The activist, who asked the Washington Blade not to publish his name, on Monday said during an exclusive interview from Berlin that he arrived in Germany in May.

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Idaho high court: Unmarried gay partner has no custody right

By : Wire Report
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BOISE, Idaho (AP) – The Idaho Supreme Court has denied custody and visitation rights to a gay woman who raised a child with her former partner, reflecting state laws that have not been updated since same-sex marriage became legal in 2014.

The couple raised the child together after splitting up in 2012. But their relationship deteriorated two years ago, and the child’s biological mother barred her former partner from contacting the child, who is now 7.

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