Minnesota Says Student Faced Teachers’ Gay Slurs
The Anoka-Hennepin School District agreed to settle the case of a high school junior who allegedly was harassed by two teachers because of his perceived sexual orientation. According to a Minnesota Department of Human Rights investigation, two teachers repeatedly made antigay comments about the student in front of classmates. The department stated that teacher Diane Cleveland told a class the boy’s “fence swings both ways.” Another teacher, Walter Filson, allegedly told students the boy “enjoys wearing women’s clothes.” The school district denied it violated Minnesota’s Human Rights Act, but has agreed to pay the boy’s family $25,000.
White House Says DOMA “Unfair,” But Will Defend in Court
Although the Obama Administration filed legal papers recently claiming the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) discriminates against gays and lesbians, Justice Department lawyers say they still will defend the law. Department spokesperson Tracy Schmaler stated, “The administration believes the Defense of Marriage Act is discriminatory and should be repealed,” but the department is obligated “to defend federal statutes when they are challenged in court. The Justice Department cannot pick and choose which federal laws it will defend based on any one administration’s policy preferences.”
Antigay Attacks on the Rise in Iraq
According to a new report from the advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW), murder and violence against men perceived to be gay continues to rise in Iraq. Hundreds of men reportedly have been murdered since 2004. Human Rights Watch researcher Rasha Moumneh said in the report, “These killings point to the continuing and lethal failure of Iraq’s postoccupation authorities to establish the rule of law, and protect their citizens.”