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News Briefs: October 2008

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Houston student joins Equality tour of Christian Colleges; Celebrity Couples Wed; and Barney Frank hails TG court decision.

By Nancy Ford

RICE UNIVERSITY STUDENT JOINS EQUALITY RIDE BUS TOUR OF CHRISTIAN COLLEGES

While most of her peers head back to school, this fall Caitlin MacIntyre says she will be taking a semester off   to explore college in a whole new way on the Soulforce Q Equality Ride. From October 1 to November 13, MacIntyre and 16 other young adults plan to travel on a bus to 15 faith-based universities with policies or campus climates that exclude GLBT students.

Since 2006, the Equality Ride has visited over 50 schools with a message of hope, safety, and inclusion. Participants in the 2008 ride intend to bring a message of hope to public forums to explore the Bible, share stories, and discuss differing viewpoints.

Texas schools included on the route are Dallas Baptist University (Oct. 24), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth (Oct. 27), and Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie (Oct. 29).

“Discrimination hurts everyone,” Mac- Intyre, a junior at Rice University,

says. “As a straight ally, I hope my time on the ride can demonstrate that in order for real conversation and change to be possible, everyone needs a voice. As a Christian, I want to share my faith and spread the message that God’s love is for all of us.”

Soulforce data says more than 200 U.S. colleges and universities have explicit policies that discriminate against GLBT students. A 2003 survey of 14 American universities   found that more than a third of all GLBT undergraduates had   experienced harassment in the past year.

Details: www.equalityride.com.

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CELEBRITY COUPLES ENJOYING OPTION TO MARRY IN CALIFORNIA

TakeiandAltman
George Takei (r) and Brad Altman tie the knot in Los Angeles.

Actor George Takei, 71, ( Heroes , Star Trek , The Howard Stern Show )   and Brad Altman, 54, were legally joined in marriage on September 14 before 200 guests in a ceremony in the Democracy Forum of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

Takei’s former Star Trek costars Nichelle Nichols (who played Uhura) served as “best lady” in the ceremony, and Walter Koenig (who played Chekov) served as “best man.”

The couple, together for 21 years, were the first to receive a marriage license in the city of West Hollywood when California began issuing them to same-sex couples on June 17.

In a more intimate setting, comedian Ellen DeGeneres and actor Portia de Rossi exchanged wedding vows on August 16 at their home in Los Angeles. Both brides, amid candles and flowers, sat on floor pillows along with author Wayne Dyer, who officiated the ceremony.

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CONGRESSMAN BARNEY FRANK HAILS DECISION IN SUPPORT OF TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

On September 23, Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank welcomed the thoughtful decision by U.S. District Judge James Robinson holding that the Library of Congress broke the law against sex discrimination by denying a job to an applicant solely because he transitioned from male to female.

“The Library of Congress dishonored us by rescinding its job offer to Diane Schroer that had been made to her when she was David Schroer,” Frank wrote in a statement. “Ms. Schroer was eminently qualified both before and after her transition to be a terrorism analyst, and I was very disappointed that the Library of Congress acted as it did. I did at the time try to persuade the director of the Library of Congress, Mr. Billington, to drop this act of discrimination, and I was troubled when he refused to do so. I have been working with legislative leaders to find a way for us to reverse this policy carried out by an institution that bears the name of Congress, and Judge Robinson’s decision hastens the process of extending justice to Ms. Schroer.

“I have written to the Library of Congress strongly urging that there be no appeal of this decision, and I will continue to consult with Congressional leaders to take the steps that we have to take to prevent such an appeal.”

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