Slave masters jailed for 30 years

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Miami Dade State Court | 17067

In Florida, Gabor Acs (left) and Viktor Berki (right) were found guilty of human trafficking, conspiracy and racketeering in February and have now been sentenced to 30 years in prison. They preyed on young Hungarian men in their 20s who had moved to the US to start a new life.

They would meet their victims online, through social media sites, and would promise them a visa and free flights to the US if they carried out ‘legal escort work’ but the hopeful young men were forced into sex slavery and were made to perform multiple sex acts for up to 20 hours a day, either over webcams or with clients.

Five of the victims were forced to live in a one-bedroom apartment. While there they were fed extremely little, and were not paid. The abuse continued for years until the ring moved from Miami to New York. They attracted attention when they started a car washing service, presumably using their slaves to do the work.

Pair jailed for keeping countless men as gay sex slaves for years

US Court rules for gay workers

In a significant victory for gay rights, a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled Tuesday that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay workers from job discrimination, expanding workplace protections in the landmark law to include sexual orientation.

The ruling today comes as concern grows about the potential rollback of protections under President Trump. While the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, many other legal protections, including in employment and housing, have not been extended at all levels to gay people.

Gay flags at half mast

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Gilbert Baker | Pride Winnipeg | 17063

Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco-based activist and artist best known for creating the rainbow flag representing gay rights, has died at the age of 65. He was living in New York.

Baker, who was born in Kansas in 1951, was stationed in San Francisco in the early 1970s while serving in the US Army, at the start of the gay rights movement.

According to the website biography Baker began making banners for gay rights and anti-war protests, often at the request of Harvey Milk, who would become the first openly gay man elected to public office in California when he won the 1977 race for a seat on the San Francisco board of supervisors.

Milk rode under the first rainbow flags made by Baker at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade in June 1978.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/31/gilbert-baker-rainbow-flag-inventor-gay-rights-dies

Omelettes all round in Boston!

A South Boston veterans council, facing withering criticism, reversed course on Friday and extended an unconditional invitation to the group of gay veterans it had barred from marching in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

OUTVETS, a group of LGBT veterans, will now march in the March 19 parade with its rainbow banner and logo, a point of contention that the Allied War Veterans Council had cited when it voted on Tuesday to reject the organization.

The war veterans council on Friday night agreed unanimously to invite OUTVETS to the parade with no restrictions on the display of the rainbow flag.

And they have enough egg on their faces to provide plenty of free omelettes.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2017/03/10/parade-organizers-expected-reconsider-ban-group-gay-veterans/WXMJYWaH9ydN5aDCl8w8eK/story.html

Here we (don’t) go again…

Some of Massachusetts’s top politicians said today that they would not attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston after organizers told a group of gay and transgender military veterans that they would not be allowed to march on March 17. For two years they have been included in the event.

The parade organizers, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, voted 9 to 4 to exclude OutVets. Dan Magoon, the executive director of Massachusetts Fallen Heroes, resigned as the parade’s chief marshal over that decision.

The Allied War Veterans Council says the parade does not ban gay groups, but it “will not allow the advertisement or display of one’s sexual orientation as a topic that should in any way be depicted as a theme of our parade.”

Sponsors of the parade began to drop out today. The supermarket Stop & Shop said it would no longer sponsor the parade, and Anheuser-Busch said it was “evaluating” its continued participation in the event.

The committee may rethink the matter tomorrow.

Gay marriage in Texas Supreme Court

Seeking to stop government-paid benefits to same-sex spouses, opponents of gay marriage told the Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday that there is no fundamental right to insurance coverage.

While the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hughes didn’t create a right to benefits, it recognized a far more important and sweeping standard — the right for same-sex marriages to be treated equally, lawyer Douglas Alexander told the state court.

A ruling is expected by the end of June.

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/texas-supreme-court-hears-gay-marriage-case/4jcfKZ5XMziXXyE90FRZ8M/

Buttigieg gets attention

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Pete Buttigieg | Joshua Roberts/Reuters | 17046

The Guardian profiles Pete Buttigieg, a gay Mayor who is being viewed as a potential leader of the Democrat party.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Harvard- and Oxford-educated, served in Afghanistan as a lieutenant with the Navy Reserves – and is openly gay.

A 2014 Washington Post profile called Buttigieg “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of”. The next year, Buttigieg won his re-election bid with 80% of the vote, a wider margin than the first time around. In June, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni proposed: “The First Gay President?”

Since entering the race for chair of the DNC his crisp public performances have attracted the attention of influential Democratic party officials and donors.

Time will tell.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/23/pete-buttigieg-democratic-party-chair-candidate

Gay marriage is good for our lives

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Los Angeles high school students protest against the election of President-elect Donald Trump outside Los Angeles City Hall | Nick Ut/Associated Press | 17044

Research in America has revealed a decline in suicide attempts by GLBTQI students since gay marriage was introduced in their states.

Over 16 years, states that adopted laws allowing same-sex marriage saw an immediate decline in suicide attempts by gay, lesbian and bisexual high school students, a group in which attempted suicide is two to seven times more common than among their heterosexual peers.

In the year following any state’s adoption of marriage equality, rates of attempted suicide among such high schoolers in that state fell 14% below that group’s rate of suicide attempts in states that had not changed their policies on gay marriage.

From 1999 to 2015, same-sex marriage being legalised meant 134,000 fewer adolescents attempted suicide.

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-gay-marriage-suicide-20170221-story.html

Suddenly it’s 1969!

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Kwegyirba Croffie/Twitter | 17025

Thousands of LGBTQ New Yorkers rallied yesterday in front of the Stonewall Inn against President Donald Trump’s executive orders, a week after Trump issued an executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

A judge temporarily blocked the ban on Friday and the government has suspended enforcement of it.

“Let me remind people of why we’re here,” U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said. “The pioneers at Stonewall were alone, but they fought and fought and eventually they won. We are gonna do the same thing!” Schumer led chants of “Dump Trump” from the podium as a rainbow flag waved behind him.

New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman recalled the 1969 Stonewall Inn riots, when hundreds of gay New Yorkers rallied for equality in front of the iconic bar. He drew a parallel between the need to stand up for the rights of the marginalized then and now.

“It’s so appropriate that we are at Stonewall today, because we are here to say we stand up to oppression just like our LGBT brothers and sisters stood up to oppression that fateful evening: June 28, 1969,” he said, to cheers.

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Hundreds-Push-Back-Against-Executive-Orders-at-Stonewall-Inn-LGBTQ-Rally-412783683.html

Killer faces jail

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Kelly Schneider | KBOI/CBS | 17020

Kelly Schneider of Idaho pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime in the death of a gay man, hoping to get a 28-year sentence instead of a life sentence.

Schneider admitted he lured victim Steven Nelson to a remote area and used steel-toed boots to kick Nelson 20 to 30 times while Nelson begged for his life.

Schneider had placed a sex solicitation ad online to set up the meeting with Nelson.

Schneider admitted stripping Nelson of his clothes after the assault and stealing his car. Nelson was left alone in the isolated wilderness area and died after finding help at a home about half a mile away.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/idaho-man-admits-to-federal-hate-crime-in-gay-man-killing/