Friday, December 21, 2012

Around The Nation

Florida City Unanimously Appoints 17-year-old Openly Gay Teen To Community Relations Board 
BOCA RATON, FL -- A seventeen year old openly gay resident of this city 50 miles north of the Miami-Dade-Broward metropolitan area has been appointed to the city’s community relations board.  
According to the South Florida Gay News, Tyler Morrison introduced himself to the City Council at its November 14 meeting arguing for the council to update its 46-year-old anti-discrimination policy to include protections for the city's LGBTQ residents and employees.
In January of 2011, the city had passed an ordinance that opted-out itself from protecting its LGBT employees making it the only municipality in Palm Beach County, Florida, to do so. 
Impressed by Morrison's articulate arguments, city council member Constance Scott supported Morrison for an open seat on the community relations board. The council unanimously appointed Morrison to the city’s community relations board at their December 11 meeting.
“He seemed like such an articulate and dedicated young man who wanted to get involved,” Susan Haynie, Boca’s Deputy Mayor, told SFGN after the meeting. 
“And I suggested that serving on one of the city’s advisory boards was the perfect vehicle for him to get involved with our community.”
Rand Hoch, the President of the Palm Beach Human Rights Council (PBCHRC), congratulated Morrison via a Facebook comment writing;
“This makes you, probably, the youngest openly gay appointed public official in Florida. Congrats."
The PBCHRC has been lobbying the city's council members to rescind the opt-out ordinance and update its policy.
Morrison says he'd like to wants to run for Mayor of Boca Raton in 2014. 
“I think he’s got to put in his time, before he becomes a viable candidate for Mayor,” Hoch said. 
“One of the ways you do that is to run for city council and one of the ways you do that is to be on the community relations board. But there’s a lot of time between now and March 2014, when the election is. Who knows, with his experience on the community relations board, he could be a viable candidate.” 
In the meantime, Morrison is focused on using his new position to expand LGBT rights in the city. He’s starting with the anti-discrimination policy. 
“Absolutely, absolutely, 100 percent, there’s not a doubt in my mind it should be updated,” Morrison said. ~ The South Florida Gay News
U. S. Court Of Appeals Grants Temporary Delay of CA Law Protecting LGBT Minors From Conversion Therapy  
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Friday temporarily delayed the start date of a new California law that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth from therapists who try to change their sexual orientation despite warnings by medical experts that these discredited practices put youth at risk of serious harm.  
The new law was set to take effect on January 1, 2013. Today’s decision temporarily postpones that date until the court rules on the underlying appeal of a decision earlier this month by Judge Kimberly Mueller of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Judge Mueller denied a request by an anti-LGBT organization to stop the law from going into effect. The Ninth Circuit has put the case on a fast track and will rule on that appeal early next year. 
Senate Bill 1172 was authored by Senator Ted Lieu and was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown, (D) on September 29, 2012.
Judge Mueller earlier this month also granted a motion by EQCA to intervene in the lawsuit in order to defend the law alongside California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who represents the State of California defendants. Equality California is represented in the case by NCLR and the law firm of Munger Tolles & Olson LLP.
"Every leading medical and mental health organization has warned therapists and parents that these practices do not work and put young people at risk of serious harm, including depression and suicide," said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter. 
"No young person should be subjected to these dangerous practices, and no licensed therapist should be permitted to engage in practices that cause such serious harm. We are pleased that this case is on a fast track so that this lifesaving law can take effect as soon as possible."
Added Equality California Executive Director John O’Connor: 
"Equality California is proud to have sponsored this important law, which will ensure that state-licensed therapists can no longer engage in these dangerous and unethical practices. California regulates medical providers to protect consumers from all kinds of harmful and fraudulent practices. 
The California Legislature passed Senate Bill 1172 based on the warnings of the country’s leading medical organizations that these archaic practices have no medical or scientific basis and put youth at risk of serious harms. 
We want every LGBT youth in this state to know that the law values their lives and protects them from this dangerous abuse."