Transgender inmate seeks rare transfer to female prison

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CHICAGO (AP) — A 26-year-old transgender woman serving a 10-year sentence in Illinois for burglary is seeking a rarely granted transfer to a female prison where she says she’ll be less vulnerable to the kinds of sexual assault, taunting and beatings she’s been subjected to in male prisons.

Deon “Strawberry” Hampton describes in a lawsuit filed last year asking for the transfer how guards and fellow inmates would regularly single her out for brutal treatment at the high-security prison in southern Illinois, Menard Correctional Center, and earlier at Pinckneyville Correctional Center.

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Activists to copy Illinois ‘gay panic defense’ ban elsewhere

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CHICAGO (AP) — Starting in January, Illinois will bar a rare criminal defense allowing the use of a victim’s sexual orientation as justification for violent crime, a ban gay rights advocates say they will attempt to replicate in about half a dozen states next year.

Defense attorneys will no longer be able to mount the so-called “gay panic defense” in Illinois, the second state after California to prohibit the tactic. It isn’t common, but one study shows it has surfaced in about half of all U.S. states and has been used with some success. Advocates say bans are necessary because crimes against gay and transgender people are on the rise, but some attorneys remain skeptical, calling the ban politically motivated and unnecessary because the old-fashioned defense wouldn’t hold up in court today.

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Illinois governor signs 2 criminal justice measures into law including ban on “gay panic” defenses

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CHICAGO (AP) _ Illinois will allow authorities to prosecute out-of-state drug dealers for deaths caused by their sales under a measure signed recently by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The new law is named after Evan Rushing, a southwestern Illinois man the bill’s sponsor says died of an overdose after buying drugs from a St. Louis dealer.

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Federal prosecutors accused of misconduct for probing witnesses about ex-lawmaker Schock’s sexuality

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PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Lawyers for former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock on Tuesday accused federal investigators of misconduct in their probe of the once-rising Republican star, and want the charges of fraud against him dismissed.

Schock’s lawyers say in a motion filed in U.S. District Court that prosecutors and investigators repeatedly asked potential witnesses “irrelevant and highly invasive questions” about Schock’s personal relationships and sexuality, including whether he is gay.

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Illinois pastors fight gay ‘conversion therapy’ ban

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A group of pastors is suing over a law that bars therapists and counselors from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation, saying in a filing Aug. 11 that the prohibition violates free speech and religious rights.

The federal lawsuit seeks to exclude clergy from the ban that took effect Jan. 1, arguing that homosexuality is “contrary to God’s purpose” and a disorder that “can be resisted or overcome by those who seek to be faithful to God and His word.”

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Chicago families urged to adopt LGBT children

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Chicago (AP) – Illinois’ child welfare agency is urging more foster parents to take in homeless LGBT youth, describing the situation as a desperate one for thousands of young people.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services held a recruitment seminar July 9 to provide prospective foster parents with information about the process. It said it was specifically looking for foster and adoptive families within Chicago’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The event was held at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Gun Shop Raffling AR-15 to Benefit OneOrlando fund

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Mchenry, Ill. (AP) — A suburban Chicago gun shop is raffling a semi-automatic weapon to benefit victims of the nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Second Amendment Sports in McHenry, Illinois, is selling tickets for $5 to win an AR-15 rifle similar to the one gunman Omar Mateen used when he opened fire in a gay nightclub June 12, leaving 49 people dead and 53 injured. It was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

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Illinois church says gay congregants ‘bring new life’

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KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — Kankakee’s St. John’s United Church of Christ is no stranger to taking the road less traveled.

The small, brown-brick church at the northwest corner of South Rutledge Avenue and West River Street has called the city home since 1870.

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Illinois governor, gay rights activists find common ground

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CHICAGO (AP) – Putting election-year hostilities behind them, gay rights advocates said they emerged from a meeting with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner with a pledge the Republican will strictly enforce anti-discrimination laws and hope that he’ll also support their top legislative priority: a ban on gay conversion therapy for minors.

Representatives of Equality Illinois and other advocacy groups met with Rauner on March 20 for the first time since he took office in January.

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Gay therapy ban passes Illinois House committee

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gay conversion therapy opponents say the treatment causes harm to teenagers struggling with their sexuality and should be banned in Illinois.

Supporters of the treatment say certain methods work and are helpful when they are backed by proven techniques.

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Illinois gay community mourns Judy Baar Topinka

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CHICAGO (AP) — A gay rights group is mourning the death of Republican Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

Equality Illinois says in a Dec. 10 statement that Topinka demonstrated political labels shouldn’t be a barrier to reaching out to all citizens. Topinka died early Dec. 10 at age 70 after suffering a stroke.

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Gay marriage becomes focus of Illinois governor’s race

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CHICAGO (AP) – After weeks of focusing on Illinois’ mammoth financial problems, the governor’s race turned to the issue of same-sex marriage June 2 as gay couples took vows under the state’s new law.

Gov. Pat Quinn attended one wedding ceremony at a Chicago museum while advocates accused his Republican challenger, Bruce Rauner, of being against efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. The law officially took effect Sunday, but only a few county clerks’ offices opened to issue paperwork, leaving Monday as the law’s widespread rollout.

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