Catholic School President Caught in Public Sex Sting
Joseph M. Peschges, the 63-year-old President of St. Hill Murray Catholic High School in St. Paul, was arrested recently after allegedly fondling an undercover police officer in the parking lot of Crosby Farm Regional Park. He was booked on suspicion of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct. St. Paul Police say they conducted the sting after a “high number of complaints from citizens of men engaged in lewd sexual acts with other men in the park.” A spokesman for the school confirmed that Peschges was relieved of his duties as President.
Charges Dropped Against DADT Protesters
According to the Associated Press, all charges against Lt. Dan Choi and James Pietrangelo, who were arrested after chaining themselves to the White House to protest Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, have been dropped. Prosecutor Christine Chang declined to comment on why the government did so.
Constance McMillen Wins Settlement Over Prom Dispute
The Mississippi school district sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) after its high school refused to let Constance McMillen attend prom with her girlfriend has agreed to pay $35,000 in damages, and adopt a nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation. The agreement ends a lawsuit by ACLU on behalf of McMillen. She said in a statement, “I’m so glad this is all over. I won’t ever get my prom back, but it’s worth it if it changes things at my school.”
Gay Mormons Condemn Church’s Role in Argentina
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Affirmation, a support group for gay and lesbian Mormons, is criticizing the Mormon Church for its effort to stop the legalization of gay marriage in Argentina. The country recently legalized same-sex unions, becoming the first in South America to do so. The Mormon Church denies playing an official part in the opposition, but according to reports in Argentina, a church representative attended a meeting with leaders from a number of Christian denominations opposed to gay marriage. David Melson of Affirmation said, “This is another appalling example of the LDS [Church of Latter Day Saints] trying to dominate government decisions being made by democratically elected officials.”
Argentina Gay Marriage Law Signed by President
Argentina President Cristina Fernandez signed landmark legislation on July 21, making the country the first in South America to legalize same-sex marriage. She said at a signing ceremony, “Today, we are a society that is a little more egalitarian than last week.” The first same-sex ceremonies are set to take place August 13.
Gay Rights Group Gets UN Accreditation
According to the Associated Press, the United Nations Economic and Social Council voted in July to accredit the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). US President Barack Obama issued a statement praising the move, saying, “With the group’s inclusion, the United Nations is closer to the ideals on which it was founded, and to values of inclusion and equality to which the United States is deeply committed.” Commission officials said the group now will be able to attend UN meetings, submit statements, and collaborate with both government and UN agencies on human rights for GLBT people.
UN Says Antigay Laws Spreading HIV in Asia-Pacific
A new report from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) indicates that laws criminalizing gay sex in the Asia-Pacific region are partially responsible for an alarming level of HIV/AIDS infections. In the region, 19 of 48 countries criminalize sex between men. The report concludes, “These laws often taken on the force of vigilantism, frequently leading to abuse and human rights violations. Correspondingly, HIV prevalence has reached alarming levels among men who have sex with men and transgender populations in many countries of the region.”