Va. Board of Counseling backs guidance against conversion therapy for minors

By : James Wellemeyer OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Virginia Board of Counseling on Feb. 8 voted in favor of issuing guidance and documents that recommend a ban on licensed counselors from practicing so-called conversion therapy on minors.

WWBT, a Richmond television station, reported counselors in the state who continue to engage in conversion therapy will receive “a finding of misconduct and disciplinary action” from the board.

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Bill to ban physical conversion therapy treatments for minors killed in Va. Senate

By : James Wellemeyer of The Washington Blade, Courtesy Of The National Gay Media Association
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A bill in the Virginia Senate that would have banned physical treatments in so-called conversion therapy for minors was effectively killed when it was sent back to the Education and Health Committee.

Senate Bill 1778, which state Sen. Stephen Newman (R-Lynchburg) introduced, originally passed with a vote of 20-19. The state Senate on the following day, however, reconsidered the vote on the bill and referred it back to committee.

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Pence calls criticism of wife’s anti-LGBT school ‘deeply offensive’

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Vice President Mike Pence, who’s notorious for his anti-LGBT record, responded Jan. 17 to criticism over his wife Second Lady Karen Pence teaching at a school that excludes LGBT teachers and students, calling criticism of the Christian institution “deeply offensive.”

Pence made the remarks during an interview with EWTN Global Catholic Network in response to reporter Lauren Ashburn’s inquiry over the criticism.

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Karen Pence accepts teaching job at school that bans LGBT students, families

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Second Lady Karen Pence has accepted a position as an art teacher at the Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Va., which does not allow LGBT students or families to enroll and will not offer employment to LGBT applicants.

The school’s guidelines are listed in its “parent agreement” which states Immanuel Christian School “can refuse admission to an applicant or to discontinue enrollment if the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home, the activities of a parent or guardian, or the activities of the student are counter to, or are in opposition to, the biblical lifestyle the school teaches.”

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Congresswoman displays transgender pride flag outside office

By : wire report
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WASHINGTON (AP) | A newly elected Virginia congresswoman is displaying a transgender pride flag outside her Washington office.

Rep. Jennifer Wexton is a Democrat from the 10th District in northern Virginia who was sworn in Jan. 3. The pink-, blue- and white-striped flag is displayed at the door to her office, along with the U.S. and Virginia flags.

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Va. man sentenced to 15 years for murder of gay activist

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A Virginia man was sentenced on Dec. 14 to 15 years in prison for the murder of longtime Virginia gay activist Bruce Garnett, 67, who was found stabbed to death in his apartment in Chesterfield County near Richmond in April 2017.

Chesterfield Circuit Court Judge David E. Johnson sentenced James M. Wheeler, 56, to 40 years in a state penitentiary then suspended 25 years, requiring that Wheeler serve 15 years. The judge also sentenced Wheeler to “indefinite” probation upon his release from prison.

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Retired firefighter alleges discrimination because he’s gay

By : wire report
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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) | A former firefighter in Virginia claims the city of Norfolk discriminated against him because he’s gay.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Nov. 29 that 55-year-old Scott Phillips-Gartner is suing the city for allegedly creating a hostile work environment. He claims he was forced to retire and endured verbal abuse after marrying his longtime boyfriend.

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Transgender Colo. House candidate declares victory

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A transgender woman declared victory in her race for the Colorado House of Representatives Nov. 10.

Media reports indicate Brianna Titone has nearly 400 more votes than her Republican opponent, Vicki Pyne, in the race to represent the state’s House District 27, which includes the Denver suburb of Arvada.

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Transgender student’s treatment during safety drill blasted

By : wire report
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STAFFORD, Va. (AP) | Officials at a Virginia middle school are facing criticism after allegedly barring a transgender student from using the boys’ or girls’ locker rooms during an active shooter drill.

The LGBTQ rights group Equality Stafford said that during the drill, the girl was forced to sit on the bleachers and later in the hall while other students in her physical education class took shelter in locker rooms. The group said the teachers were apparently debating which locker room would be appropriate.

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Virginia man arrested for 2017 murder of gay activist

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Police in Chesterfield County, Va., on Aug. 6 arrested a 56-year-old Virginia man for the April 2017 murder of longtime Virginia gay activist Bruce Garnett, 67, who was found stabbed to death in his apartment in a section of Chesterfield near Richmond.

Police charged James M. Wheeler, a resident of the town of Stuarts Draft near Staunton, Va., with second-degree murder in connection with Garnett’s death after he confessed to the murder, according to Maj. Edward Carpenter of the Chesterfield Police Investigations Bureau.

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Kansas governor signs ‘religious freedom’ anti-LGBTQ adoption law

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed anti-LGBTQ adoption legislation making his state the latest to enact a “religious freedom” law enabling taxpayer-funded agencies to deny placement into LGBTQ homes.

Colyer signed the legislation, Senate Bill 284, into law on Friday, according to a local media report. The Washington Blade has placed a call in with Colyer’s office seeking confirmation that he signed the bill.

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Kansas, Oklahoma approve religious veto on LGBTQ adoptions

By : wire report
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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State lawmakers in Kansas and Oklahoma have approved legislation to grant legal protections to faith-based adoption agencies that cite their religious beliefs for not placing children in LGBTQ homes.

Supporters of such measures argued that the core issue is protecting a group’s right to live out its religious faith, while critics saw them as attacks on LGBTQ rights. Both Kansas and Oklahoma have GOP-controlled legislatures and governors, but in Kansas, the proposal split Republicans.

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