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Top Stories Today - 12.16.2008

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National News:

Associated Press: Hungarian Court Annuls Domestic Partnerships Law

Hungary's Constitutional Court has annulled a law allowing unmarried gay or straight couples to register their domestic partnerships, claiming the legislation is unconstitutional because it allegedly "downgrades" the institution of marriage.

Los Angeles Times: Obama to Pick Arne Duncan as Education Secretary

Chicago Public Schools Chief Arne Duncan is poised to join President-elect Obama's Cabinet as secretary of Education. Duncan "has gained a reputation as a reformer" and supported the yet-unrealized plan for a Chicago high school geared towards LGBT students.

The New York Times: Challenges and Perhaps More Influence for Chairman of Joint Chiefs

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will need to transition from one commander in chief to another after President-elect Obama is inaugurated. Mullen says Obama "has been pretty clear that he wants to address" the issue of DADT.

Los Angeles Times: Putting the Episcopal Rift in a Historical Context

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. says the current rift over the ordination of gay clergy mirrors past conflicts that the global church has managed to overcome: "The place of gay and lesbian people in the church is the latest expression of the ancient human struggle over who is 'the other.'"

Associated Press: Family of Fatally Beaten NY Immigrant Urges Action

A $27,000 reward is being offered for information on the murder of Jose Sucuzhanay, the Ecuadorian immigrant beaten to death in Brooklyn by assailants who shouted anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs.

Time Magazine: A Gay-Pride Revolution in Hong Kong

Time reports on Hong Kong's first official gay pride parade, which took place on Saturday and may become an annual event. The parade "emphasized celebrating diversity and equality, but also aired grievances with the Chinese government."

Regional News:

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin (NY): Council Passes Rights Law

The city council of Binghamton, N.Y., voted Monday to pass the Binghamton Human Rights Law, which will ban discrimination against transgender individuals: "It's simply the right thing to do. It's the human thing to do."

Des Moines Register (IA): Gay-Marriage Resolution in Sioux City Is on Hold

Members of the city council of Sioux City, Iowa, voted Monday to delay action on a proposal that would publicly oppose marriage equality, citing the need for advice from the state attorney general's office on "whether [they] have the jurisdiction and authority" to pass such a measure.

Newsday (NY): Leaders Call for Passage of Federal Hate Crime Law

In the wake of two immigrant murders in six weeks, N.Y. Hispanic leaders called yesterday for the passage of a federal hate crime law that would would allow the U.S. Justice Department to probe any violent crime linked to race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or gender.

Des Moines Register (IA): Ankeny Board Says No Limits on 'Tango'

The Ankeny, Iowa, school board on Monday denied a request by parents who said a children's books about two male penguins raising a chick together should be placed in a restricted area of the elementary school library's shelves.

Orlando Sentinel (FL): Out and About: TV gays

The Orlando Sentinel reports on the increased visibility of LGBT characters on broadcast television, noting specific networks whose shows are inclusive.

The Times of Trenton (NJ) : OP-ED: Pass Marriage Amendment

New Jersey Family Policy Council's Len Deo claims that "A state constitutional amendment is needed now for New Jerseyans to preserve marriage between one man and one woman, because it appears citizens cannot sit back and trust the fate of marriage to a few state government insiders."

The Desert Sun CA): Proposition 8 Foes Launch Group

A new Palm Springs, Calif., group called the Coachella Valley Marriage Equality Coalition has formed to advance marriage equality and "serve as the hub that links pro-same-sex marriage groups."

NBC4.com [Columbus] (OH): Council To Protect Transgender Workers

The city council of Columbus, Ohio, is expanding city employment protections to bar discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

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