A “Romeo & Juliet" law in California keeps many young adults out of the state’s sex offender registry, but not in the case of two Romeos or two Juliets. Now, a new bill filed by state Sen. Scott Weiner, D-San Francisco, could end that inequity and prevent stigma on many LGBTQ young adults in the Golden State.
It’s illegal in California for an adult to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor and normally lands individuals on a registry if convicted. But a provision in the law says that in cases where one partner is age 15 or older and their partner is within 10 years of their age, the adult in the relationship won’t automatically go on a registry even if convicted of having inappropriate relations.
In other words, in an 18-year-old “Romeo” has vanilla, missionary sex with his 17-year-old “Juliet,” he can still be charged with a crime, but he won’t be branded in a public database as a sex offender automatically. A judge can still decide to do so if circumstances of the case warrant it, and this only applies with willing partners.
But if there’s any oral or anal sex involved, the provision goes out the window. Those wicked sodomite tricks land someone in the registry regardless of age or consent. The particularly complicates matters for Romeo-Romeo or Juliet-Juliet relationships where the partners may fall into the same age windows, but the law will consider sex acts so odious it will land the older partner of the registry regardless.
“SB 145 puts an end to blatant discrimination against young LGBT people engaged in consensual sexual activity,” Weiner said. “This bill is about treating everyone equally under the law. Discrimination against LGBT people is simply not the California way.”
Equality California has championed the shift in California law for years.
“There’s no reason for the law to treat a high school senior dating a high school junior differently because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “We’ve been working to make this common-sense fix and ensure LGBTQ young people are treated the same as their peers.”
Weiner makes clear the law seeks only to create equity. Sex with anyone age 14 or younger, same-sex or otherwise, still counts as statutory rape and automatically lands an adult on the registry. But it seeks to end California’s odd ranking of sexual sins that looked down upon acts practiced by gay, lesbian and bisexual partners.
“These laws were put in place during a more conservative and anti-LGBT time in California’s history,” Weiner said. “They have ruined people’s lives and made it harder for them to get jobs, secure housing, and live productive lives. It is time we update these laws and treat everyone equally.”
The San Francisco lawmaker already landed support from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
“Justice should be applied fairly and equally regardless of a person’s sexual orientation,” said Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles County District Attorney. “I support this bill to correct the unjust application of the law.” It may even lead to quicker plea deals for young adults in relationships with older teenagers and who fought charges for fear of being labeled “sex offenders.”
The change would also put in statute what used to be California case law. A 2006 state Supreme Court decision, People v. Hofsheier, had ruled treating oral sex as a worse offense than vaginal sex violated the equal protection clause. But a 2015 ruling in Johnson v. Department of Justiceoverturned that.
Written by: Jacob Ogles. 23 January 2019. The Advocate
19-year-old Daniel Jenkins and 24-year-old Michael Atkinson have been indicted by a grand jury in Dallas. The two have been indicted on 15 counts, including conspiracy to commit hate crimes, kidnapping and carjacking.
Jenkins and Atkinson used Grindr to kidnap nine men over a two-week period and subjecting the victims to homophobic abuse in what can only be described as a den of torture.
In the indictment the men used Grindr to lure their victims to an empty apartment, and proceeded to torture, rob and restrain the men.
The men range in age from 19 to 57. The alleged assaults took place over a two-week period in December 2017.
Both men appeared to take pleasure in shouting homophobic slurs and humiliating the victims while holding them men at gunpoint.
One of the victim’s reported that he was urinated on and then smeared with feces. Another victim stated that he was raped with an object and several of the victims were forced to drive to an ATM and withdraw money.
After being terrorized, the victims were robbed of their cellphones, cars, keys, and wallets before being thrown out of the building.
US Attorney of the Northern District of Texas, Erin Nealy Cox, cautions the Dallas Morning News: “Criminals are using apps like Grindr to single out victims based on their sexual orientation.”
“My office is committed to rooting out these despicable crimes motivated by hate.”
Eric K. Jackson, Special Agent-In-Charge of Dallas’ FBI office, adds: “As the lead agency for the investigation of federal hate crime violations, the FBI is committed to aggressively identifying and pursuing those using online apps, such as Grindr, to commit acts of violence or intimidation against an individual or community based on their protected class status.”
Jenkins’ attorney says his client denies all the accusations and plans to contest the hate crime charge. Atkinson’s attorney has not issued any comment.
This past Friday singer/ songwriter Usher filed for divorce from his wife, Grace Miguel. It comes two years of marriage and one year after the R&B singer was accused of exposing a man to herpes during a sexual encounter.
The singer is being sued $20 million dollars by three people-two women and one man- who has claimed that he exposed them to herpes during sexual encounters several years earlier.
In the lawsuit, the man, only know as John Doe, claimed that the hooked up at a Los Angeles spa in 2012. On June 2018, the man filed a motion with the court compelling the singer to submit details about his medical history, as well as any information regarding possible settlements in the past.
The request has since been withdrawn.
Whether or not the gay sex herpes scandal is what led to Usher’s divorce is unknown, but AOL News reports:
According to legal documents obtained by The Blast, Usher, 40, and Miguel, 49, separated on December 24, 2017, and the two reached a confidential settlement agreement.
Usher proposed to Miguel in January 2015. They quietly eloped that September before going on a romantic honeymoon in Havana, Cuba. They announced to Us exclusively this March that they had broken up.
Usher has repeatedly denied allegations that he gave anyone herpes. The $20 million lawsuit was eventually dropped after one of the accusers was caught on tape admitting she had lied about having unprotected sex with the singer.
A new ban on pornography will go into effect and will require individuals to use their ID’s to access any adult content. This past Monday the House of Commons announced that anyone using a British IP address will have to verify their age with official government documents (ID).
The Digital Economy Act 2017 will essentially block persons under the age of 18 from view all adult content online. The new law will require United Kingdom users to provide certain information from their credit card, driver’s license or a page age verification card.
The Act was delayed for a year so that the British Board of Film Classification could work out how to implement the new rules.
Porn sites that don’t adhere to the new rule could be fined £250,000 or have their site blocked from certain internet providers.
Stuart Lawley, CEO of AVSecure an age verification service confirmed the changes will go into effect around April 2019.
“The BBFC will look at the methods age verification systems use to verify people are 18, so for instance, a name and address wouldn’t be enough—but a scan of a driving license or a credit card and CVV number would be OK.”
Don’t feel left out!
Just last month Starbucks announced that it will begin blocking pornography at all of its U.S. locations. Starbucks will use a censor filter on its WiFi access and customers will not be able to access any adult content.
This past month Tumblr announced that it will no longer allow adult content after their filters failed to catch and delete child pornography. The new ban went into effect December 17thand users have left Tumblr in protest.
At Notre Dame University male students started a petition to create a porn filter for the entire campus. Harvard, Princeton, and UPenn are looking at blocking porn as well on their campuses.
It appears that internet censorship is taking hold in several counties. This might be a long and drawn out fight.
Donald Trump has discharged two U.S. Air Force service members for testing positive for HIV.
The in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia the two airmen filed a federal lawsuit against Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. The claim the Pentagon’s decision to discharge them violates the Constitution of equal protection clause and federal law.
Washington Post reports:
Both active-duty airmen said they tested positive for HIV last year during Air Force screenings. After they started antiretroviral treatments, their doctors deemed them asymptomatic and physically fit to deploy, and their commanders backed their continued service. They intended to pursue lengthy Air Force careers after serving for more than half a decade in logistics and maintenance roles.
To rub salt in the wound the airmen were discharged just days before Christmas.
“It’s disgusting that the Trump Administration is sending some men and women in uniform home for the holidays without jobs simply because of their HIV status,” Scott Schoettes, Counsel and HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal, says.
“These decisions should be based on science, not stigma. Lambda Legal is suing to stop these separations and will keep fighting until President Trump understands that there’s not a job in the world a person living with HIV cannot safely perform, including the job of soldier.”
Trump’s “Deploy or Get Out!” policy went into effect October 1. It orders the Pentagon to deny people living with HIV from enlisting in the Armed Forces and deems current soldiers living with HIV “non-deployable” then orders the Pentagon to discharge anyone who cannot be deployed outside of the country for longer than 12 consecutive months.
“What we’re really asking for here is that HIV be treated the same as any other medical condition in terms of evaluating whether or not you can deploy with it,” Schoettes says. “It shouldn’t be carved out and specifically categorized as ‘you are non-deployable once you have this.’”
“It’s disheartening to say the least,” one of the airmen tells Washington Post. “I know for a fact that I am very good. I know I’m good at what I do, and I’m not being afforded the opportunity to give the Air Force what I know I’m capable of doing.”
25-year-0ld Jayson Hastie has been sentenced to 20 months in prison for impersonating a police officer and extorting money from a man he met on Grindr.
Hastie apparently met the older man on the gay dating app using an alias “Alex”. After sending explicit messaged he offered to meet the victim at a beach called Bass Point, 70 miles from Sydney. The first scheduled meeting Hastie never showed up but managed to convince the victim to meet two days later.
Along with an accomplice the victim was confronted by the accomplice before Hastie arrived and declared himself to a police officer. The then made the victim to withdraw AU$2,000 (about $1,400 USD) from an ATM and then agree to weekly payments to keep the incident quiet. Hastie then threatened to expose the man publicly by leaking their chat messages and pictures and threatened him with violence.
The police are not releasing the identity of the victim. However, Jayson Hastie was charged with kidnapping, demanding money with menace and imprecation of a police officer. The court dismissed the kidnapping charge as part of a plea deal. Haste was sentenced to 20 months in prison.
James Rackover, 27 has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for the brutal murder of 26-year-old Joseph Comunale. Rackover is the lover to prominent Manhattan jeweler Jeffrey Rackover. According to the New York Post, the murder happened November, 13, 2016 at Jeffrey Rackover’s Upper East Side apartment.
Not-with-standing the strange relationship, James is the lover and the adopted son of Jeffrey Rackoover, 57.
Prosecutors argued that Rackover and a friend Larry Dilione, 30, murdered Joseph Comunale after a night of hard partying. Reportedly Dilione met Comunale for the first time that night, and the two then went over to Rackover’s residence for a late-night afterparty.
Apparently, an argument broke out because of a lack of cocaine, which somehow leads Rackover and Dilione beating Comunale unconscious, then dragging him to the bathtub where they stabbed him 15 times.
A former friend of Rackover’s, Louis Ruggiero, son of Fox5 “Good Day New York” host Rosanna Scotto, was called to the stand to describe a confession he received from Rackover the following day.
“I slit his throat and stabbed him,” Rackover told him.
In an attempt to cover up the crime, Rackover, Dilione, and a third man who was present that night but not part of the killing, Max Gemma, bleached the bathroom.
After ordering takeout of “organic burgers and fries”, they drove the body to Oceanport, New Jersey, poured gasoline over it and burned it in a shallow grave.
Rackover’s defense team argued Dilione was the real killer, and that Rackover only helped cover up the crime.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James Burke gave Rackover the maximum sentence available.
“This is precisely the rare kind of case that maximum consecutive sentences are reserved for, and no other lesser sentence would make much sense,” he said.
A judge unsealed grand jury transcripts earlier this week in a case about the death of a 10-year-old boy whose parents allegedly tortured and killed him after he came out.
Earlier this year, Anthony Avalos died after what investigators described as years of torture at the hands of his mother, Heather Barron, and her boyfriend, Kareem Leiva.
The director of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) said that Anthony had “said he liked boys” in the weeks leading up to his death.
The prosecution’s case involves both physical evidence and witness testimony. Assistant district attorney Jonathan Hatami told the grand jury about the coroner’s report, which found injuries all over Anthony’s body.
“There were injuries to Anthony’s side and his hip area, both his left hip and his right hip, and his arms, and even injuries to his feet,” Hatami said. There were also abrasions to his knees, circular marks on his stomach and torso, and bruises on his face, and blunt force trauma to Anthony’s brain and his body.
The grand jury also heard from Anthony’s 8-year-old sister, whose name was not released.
She described horrific abuse that Leiva meted out mostly to her, Anthony, and another brother.
She said that the kids were often forced to kneel on rice. Both of the parents would punish them with the rice, and sometimes Leiva would push on their knees with his foot.
The girl said that she was forced to clean up the rice. “Was there any blood on the rice?” the prosecutor asked. “Yes,” she responded.
“One time, Kareem dragged [Anthony] on the carpet and he got a rug burn,” she told the grand jury.
The kids were also sometimes forced to stand in a corner for hours after they got home from school.
“Sometimes we would like go in the hallway, the little wall between my room and my mom’s room, we would have to go there on our knees and carry books and with two weights on top tied all together and we would have to hold it for like ten minutes,” the girl said.
If the dropped the books, they had to start over for another hour. The parents also beat the kids with belts, according to the sister, and the prosecutor said there was evidence that they were hit with power cords and vacuum tubes, as well as by Leiva’s fists.
Leiva would also have the kids beat each other. “So the boys would be in trouble so Kareem would have me and [my other brother] beat up Anthony or me and Anthony beat up [my other brother]. Kareem would have us pinch him or sock him.”
The sister talked about how food was used to punish the kids. It was often withheld, and sometimes they were forced to eat things like a raw corn tortilla with peanut butter on it.
“Kareem would time us for two minutes or five to eat the tortilla or sandwich and if we didn’t get it on time because it’s nasty we would get sriracha or Tapatio on it,” she said.
Leiva put an alarm on the boys’ bedroom door because he caught them sneaking out to look for food at times when he was starving them.
They weren’t let out, even to use the bathroom. If they soiled themselves, they had to either sleep in it or on the floor.
“Kareem would hold their legs, make them lay down, and put their face in the pee,” the sister said.
Last, she talked about the days leading up to Anthony’s death. Barron found Anthony “acting weird” and saying he wanted to sleep. Later she noticed that he wasn’t breathing.
The sister said that Barron “told Anthony that they were gonna go to the hospital, Kareem picked him up from his armpits and dropped him on the floor. He did that about 10 times.”
The next morning, Anthony wouldn’t wake up and Barron called 911. He died the next day in the hospital.
When police showed up at their house, the girl said that she lied to them because her mother told her not to talk about Leiva. Barron said that Anthony’s injuries happened because he fell.
The prosecutor said that Leiva was primarily responsible for the injuries, but Barron also beat the children and did nothing to stop Leiva. Hatami also said that she should have taken Anthony to the hospital earlier.
Body camera footage of a deputy talking to Barron after Anthony’s death was also released. When she is told of some of the allegations of torture, she scoffs.
The date of the trial has not been set. Bail is set at $2 million each for Leiva and Barron.
Written by: Alex Bollinger. 07 December, 2018. lgbtqnation.com
The U.S. Department of Justice recently named a new director for the Office of Public Affairs. Kerri Kupec was named to basically be their spokesperson, and she just happened to work for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a LGBTQ hate group.
ADF is a legal group designated as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). It regularly takes on court cases representing clients who discriminate against LGBTQ folks. The ADF supports the criminalization of sodomy, Russia’s “gay propaganda” law and the right to fire or refuse service to LGBTQ people.
The ADF has asked the Supreme Court to hear two cases that just might roll back LGBTQ rights.
Kupec’s appointment wouldn’t be so concerning except for the fact that it continues the Trump Administration’s habit of advancing anti-LGBTQ bigotry in its ranks.
In May 2018, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), another SPLC certified hate group, was appointed onto the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a federal commission “dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.”
In July 2018, the Trump administration held a U.S. Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom led by the Secretary of State. During the ministerial meeting, Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, announced that African laws criminalizing LGBTQ identity are a form of “religious freedom.”
In January 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced its new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, which exists almost entirely to allow medical professionals to oppose abortion and discriminate against LGBTQ people.
These moves are largely bits of red meat that Trump throws to his religious conservative base. Remember, 81% of evangelical voters voted for Trump in 2016.
The Virginian-Pilot reported that a Norfolk firefighter was forced by city officials to leave after they learned he is gay. Scott Phillips-Gartner 55 apparently ran into trouble after marrying his longtime boyfriend.
Phillips-Gartner worked for Fire-Rescue, staring his career as a 911 operator and then eventually becoming an assistant fire marshal and bomb squad technician.
However, after his wedding, the department stripped away his rank and law-enforcement powers and assigning him a low-level desk job.
His attorney, Barry Montgomery, says Phillips-Gartner wound up retiring amid threats of being fired. “This was not the way he wanted to leave,” Montgomery says. “It was humiliating.”
With Montgomery’s help, he’s suing the city of Norfolk for creating a hostile work environment. The suit notes that Battalion Chief Roger Burris mocked Phillips-Gartner throughout 2015, treating him poorly and asking “Where is Ms. Gartner?” in staff meetings.
It also claims Phillips-Gartner was well regarded by superiors and colleagues until he informed the city’s HR department that he’d gotten married.
In 2016, Norfolk implemented a non-discrimination policy protecting city employees from being unfairly treated on the basis of sexual orientation.
City officials from Norfolk have declined to comment to the Virginian-Pilot on the story or the lawsuit.