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National News

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

Fort Worth police under fire over violent Stonewall 40 bar raid
Fort Worth police and agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission raided a Gay bar June 28 - the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots - and roughed up several patrons, including one who is hospitalized with a life-threatening blood clot on his brain.

The reason for the raid: To be sure no one was too drunk. Seven people were arrested for alleged intoxication.

Patrons of the Rainbow Lounge say four or five officers tackled Chad Gibson, who patrons say wasn't drunk, and banged his head on the wall and on the floor for no reason. The police have said Gibson fell down later outside and hurt himself, because he was drunk.

Police Chief Jeff Halstead also says Gibson groped one of the officers, yet Gibson was not charged with any sort of assault.

"You're touched and advanced in certain ways by people inside the bar, that's offensive," Halstead said. "I'm happy with the restraint used when they were contacted like that."

That Gibson groped a uniformed cop is, of course, improbable. As Rainbow Lounge owner J.R. Schrock put it: "The groping of the police officer - really? We're Gay, but we're not dumb. That is a lie, and I am appalled by it."

The Police Department also has said that other patrons "made sexually explicit movements" toward uniformed officers. Patrons have said that nothing of the sort occurred, and that the notion is asinine.

At press time, the Police Department remained under heavy fire for the raid - from news reporters, newspaper columnists, bloggers, activists and local politicians.

"Jeff Halstead can't be allowed to use the Gay Panic Defense," wrote Gay syndicated columnist and frequent national-TV talking head Dan Savage. "His officers weren't groped, no one was 'touched and advanced.' Homophobic cops raided a Gay bar, roughed up the patrons, and a young man is in the hospital and may die."

"This is exactly the kind of state-sponsored violence that Gays and Lesbians fought back against at Stonewall 40 years ago," Savage said. "Gay men all over the country are going to have to speak up and defend the patrons of the Rainbow Lounge. We can't allow the chief of police in Fort Worth to use the Gay Panic Defense or exploit stereotypes about Gay men - so sexually reckless that they can't even keep their hands off cops during a raid! - to get away with violating the civil rights of Gay men in Fort Worth."

Dallas freelance writer John Selig reported June 30 that President Barack Obama is aware of the raid.

"Jesse Garcia, who has been active in Stonewall Democrats for years and was recently head of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, mentioned the incident to the president and asked him to pray for Chad Gibson," Selig wrote. "President Obama told Jesse that he was aware of the situation and that he would pray for Chad."

The exchange occurred at Obama's June 29 White House gathering with 300 GLBT leaders to mark the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

SC Lt. Gov. Bauer isn't Gay
South Carolina Lt. Gov. André Bauer isn't Gay, he told The State newspaper June 30, introducing the topic himself.

Bauer could become governor if Gov. Mark Sanford resigns in the wake of his June disappearing act, during which he was continuing an extramarital affair with his "soulmate" in Buenos Aires.

"One word, two letters. No," Bauer said, in response to his own question. "Let's go ahead and dispel that now. Is André Bauer Gay? That is now the story. We're a long way from where we were a week ago. We have diverted what the real topic should be here: Is the governor capable for carrying on the duties for which he was elected?"

Bauer, 40, has never married.

Obama invites 300 GLBT leaders to White House for Stonewall 40
President Barack Obama - under heavy fire for talking the talk but not walking the walk on numerous Gay-rights promises - had 300 GLBT leaders over to the White House on June 29 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which, in 1969, jump-started the modern Gay-rights movement.

"I know that many in this room don't believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that," Obama said. "It's not for me to tell you to be patient, any more than it was for others to counsel patience to African Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half-century ago. But I say this: We have made progress and we will make more. And I want you to know that I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises I've made, but by the promises that my administration keeps."

Obama also defended his decision not to issue an order stopping the military's expulsions of openly Gay members, suggesting, again, that such an approach wouldn't work out in the long run.

"As commander in chief in a time of war, I do have a responsibility to see that this change is administered in a practical way and a way that takes over the long term," he said. "That's why I've asked the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a plan for how to thoroughly implement a repeal. I know that every day that passes without a resolution is a deep disappointment to those men and women who continue to be discharged under this policy - patriots who often possess critical language skills and years of training and who've served this country well. But what I hope is that these cases underscore the urgency of reversing this policy not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it is essential for our national security."

With assistance from Bill Kelley

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