("This Just In" is a daily blog about news affecting the LGBT community. Check back often as the blog is updated when news breaks.)
California: Rules would let transgender athletes to compete
The proposed rules were discussed Monday by the California Athletic Commission, which oversees professional and amateur events in the state for boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts. Under the rules, transgender athletes would be required to have undergone hormone therapy for at least two years before competing. A testing procedure for transgender athletes would also be established.
Commissioner Christopher Giza said the rules attempt to strike a balance.
“Everybody has a right to participate in sports," he said. "But we need to find a way to allow them to participate safely, for both contestants, for both the transgender athlete as well as the non-transgender.”
Giza said the regulations would bring the Commission in line with other sports organizations,such as the Olympics and NCAA, which already have transgender polices on their books.
Public testimony will be heard in the next few months. The rules could take up to a year to go into effect.
Source: Capital Public Radio
Michigan: Governor open to talks on LGBT protections
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, responding last week to anti-gay comments made by Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema, called the remarks "discriminatory" and suggested they had no place in any political party.
Gay-rights advocates were quick to point out that Michigan law does not currently protect gays and lesbians from workplace or housing discrimination, but they expressed hope that Snyder's language may have signaled his willingness to update the law.
The Republican governor, sitting down with MLive last week for a year-end interview, said he is willing to participate in talks about the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act but does not plan to lead them.
Massachusetts: Homophobic pastor running for governor
Whatever your views on Scott Lively's philosophies, it would be difficult to argue he's cowed by controversy.
The anti-homosexuality, pro-life evangelist, who is currently being sued by a Ugandan civil rights group for crimes against humanity, has announced he's running for governor. Some of his platforms are predictable, given his previous public statements: stop public funding for abortion; repeal gay marriage and help homosexuals "repent;" and protect Second Amendment rights.
Lively, a lawyer who founded Abiding Truth Ministries in California, said he does not believe being the target of a 2012 lawsuit in federal court leveled by Sexual Minorities Uganda in connection with his anti-homosexuality campaign in that country will hurt his chances as a candidate.
"If anything, I think it will help me when people learn how ridiculous the lawsuit is," he said.
New Jersey: Marriage-equality bill put on hold
A newly introduced Senate bill that would write same-sex marriage into law - following a court order that let gay couples across New Jersey marry - was pulled from a committee's consideration Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D., Bergen), one of the bill's sponsors, said she held the bill in light of concerns raised by Lambda Legal, the gay-rights law group that successfully argued the marriage-equality case.
The group "felt the issue of religious exemption should not be opened up," Weinberg said. "I respect their opinion." The bill will not move forward this session, she said.
Weinberg and Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D., Union) last week introduced the bill, which Lesniak said would provide "an extra level of protection" after an October Superior Court ruling that allowed same-sex marriages.
Pennsylvania: Methodist minister says he can't uphold gay marriage doctrines
A United Methodist minister who was suspended for officiating at his son's same-sex marriage said Monday he would not voluntarily surrender his religious credentials even though he could not uphold his church's doctrines on issues relating to gay marriage.
The Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, Pa., was convicted by a church jury of violating doctrine by performing a same-sex marriage when he officiated at his son's nuptials in Massachusetts in 2007. On Nov. 19, he was suspended for 30 days and asked to agree to abide by church doctrine, as outlined in the United Methodist Book of Discipline, or surrender his ministerial credentials.
"My honest answer is: No, I cannot uphold the United Methodist Book of Discipline," Schaefer told a televised news conference in Philadelphia. "In fact, I don't believe anybody can. It's impossible to uphold the Discipline in its entirety because it is filled with competing and contradictory statements. It reflects the diversity of convictions we hold as United Methodists.... In particular, the Discipline contains discriminatory laws and language that is hurtful and harmful to our [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] brothers and sisters. That language denies them their full humanity."
Schaefer went on to say he would not surrender his credentials.
Source: Los Angeles Times
Chile: President-elect favors marriage equality
Chile's President-elect Michelle Bachelet, a populist who was first elected head of state in 2006 but legally could not serve in consecutive terms, will return to office with a progressive agenda.
Bachelet compaigned on a promise to legalize same-gender marriage and abortion in limited form, while her opponent Evelyn Matthei opposed those goals. Bachelet won with 62% of the vote in the runoff, but her New Majority coalition only won a thin majority in Parliament. This means Bachelet's coalition will have to reach across the aisle to achieve a supermajority vote needed to pass any marriage and abortion bills.
The center-left coalition seeks to align Chile with Argentina, Brazil and Uruguary, South American countries that have progressive social agendas and allow same-gender couples to marry.
Uganda: Former soccer coach detained on gay-sex allegations
The former head of Uganda’s national football team has reportedly been arrested for breaking the country’s laws against same-sex sexual activity.
Ghanasoccernet.com reports Chris Mubiru was arrested on Monday and interrogated for more than four hours before he was detained at Katwe Police Station in Kampala for allegedly carrying out a sexual act with one of his team players in 2012.
The Ugandan tabloid Red Pepper last year published pictures of Mubiru along with the caption “Smoked out! Uganda cranes boss nabbed sodomising players – Shocking pictures inside.”
Mubiru has denied the allegations.
Source: Pink Star News
Ethiopia: Conducting a war on homosexuals
In a bleak little apartment on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, nearly a dozen men in their 20s take turns trying on a pair of black skinny jeans and watching Project Runway episodes downloaded off YouTube. There’s no plumbing, Internet or furniture, but because the space is private, it’s paradise.
When friends enter, they’re greeted with chirpy Hiiiiis – an homage to RuPaul’s Drag Race – before joining the jumble of cute boys sitting on the floor, drinking tea, eating spaghetti, and sharing photos from a recent “glamping” (glam camping) trip. Boche ruffles his boyfriend’s hair – they share this apartment with a friend – as he tells me how they met. Victor shows me the cursive tattoo over his heart: B.T.W., which stands for Lady Gaga’s acceptance anthem Born This Way. Like most of his friends, Victor still lives with his parents, so he’ll be staying the night, as he does most weekends. A cold tile floor and threadbare cots have never seemed so cozy.
If these giggling, affectionate men acted this way – unabashedly, stereotypically gay – on the streets of Ethiopia’s capital, they could be expelled, beaten up, fired, disowned, or jailed. This is the reality of what it means to be gay in Ethiopia.
DR Congo: Gay sex ban may become law
Gay sex could be banned in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
National Assembly member Steve Mbikayi, who has drafted the bill, said the DRC must ban homosexuality in order to "preserve African values."
Same-sex sexual activity is legal in the DRC, one of the 13 African countries where there are no laws banning homosexuality. But being gay is still taboo. And Mbikayi wants to keep it that way.