October 23, 2011

Sunday News Briefs: San Francisco Hate Crimes, Marriage Equality And Top Chef Just Desserts


San Francisco Shaken By 2 Hate Crimes During The Past Week


Eight men attacked 3 gay men in the Mission District last week, at 12:30AM, near Taqueria Cancún on Mission near 19th Street. The San Francisco Examiner is reporting that:

“According to police, four men were walking north on Mission Street and stopped in front of the taqueria. When one went inside for a bite, the other three were attacked by five men outside the eatery, police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said.

No weapons were used in the attack. But the 25-year-old man who endured the brunt of the assault was briefly knocked unconscious and had to be taken to the hospital with head injuries, Andraychak said.”

The SFPD’s hate crimes unit is investigating the case. The inspector in the unit said there has been a slight increase in hate crimes in The City recently, Andraychak said. But Andraychak said the frequency of hate crimes appears random.

The San Francisco Police Department posted an ad on Craigslist, seeking any possible witnesses to the attack. If you or someone you know has any information, please contact SFPD’s anonymous tip line at 415-575-4444 or text message your tip to TIP411.



Last Wednesday a couple were walking a double stroller with their 21 month old son, and three year old son, at 8th and Market Streets near the Civic Center Bart Station. Hosea Matavao, 48, is alleged to have made a comment about the race of the children. The children’s mother is black, while their father is white.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Matavao then allegedly began punching the woman in the face after she responded to the comment, according to police. Her husband tried to hold Matavao back, who then punched him in the nose.

The woman tried to leave with her children, but Matavao allegedly followed them and kicked in the stroller's tarp, which hit the 3-year-old child's head.

Matavao also allegedly punched a witness who tried to help the family, police said.

All the victims are expected to fully recover from their injuries.

Judge Andrew Cheng ordered Matavao held on $500,000 bail, Talai said. He is scheduled to return to court Nov. 3.

Hate crimes are unusual in San Francisco, and this is the first time I’ve ever heard of two in a week. I hope that someone will come forward to help the SFPD find the gay bashers, and that all of the victims are doing OK.
Proposition 8 Proponents Lose Again But Vow To Appeal Ruling
The supporters of the Proposition 8 ballot proposal, to ban same-sex marriage in California, filed suit in Federal Court, seeking an exemption from a state law that requires publicizing the names of anyone who donated $100.00 or more to the campaign.

Federal Judge Morrison England dismissed the lawsuit. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

The suit said Prop. 8 supporters had been subjected to harassment, vandalism, hate mail, boycotts, assaults and death threats.

"Some groups and individuals, certainly a minority, have resorted to advancing their cause ... by discouraging participation in the democratic process through intimidation," James Bopp, a lawyer for Protect Marriage and the National Organization for Marriage, said in court papers.

He cited Supreme Court rulings that allowed the NAACP and the Socialist Workers Party to conceal their membership or contribution lists after encountering public hostility. Bopp also argued that California's $100 disclosure threshold, set in 1974, had been eroded by inflation.

In reply, state officials and San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera's office argued that the high court had exempted only small and relatively powerless organizations from disclosure and that no such protection was needed for a winning campaign that had attracted 7 million votes.

England agreed in a January 2009 ruling that refused to block disclosure of the Prop. 8 contributors and reached the same conclusion from the bench Thursday, promising a written decision in the near future.

Attorneys for NOM and Protect Marriage vow to appeal the ruling to a higher court.


Washington State Releases The Names Of Those Who Signed Petitions To Repeal Domestic Partner Law


In a battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the Justices issued a ruling that the petitions related to Referendum 71, a ballot measure that would have repealed the “everything but marriage” law, were not exempt from the state’s public disclosure law.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The high court left room for those who wanted to repeal the law to argue that there were special circumstances that made their signers particularly vulnerable and exempt from disclosure.

U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle in Tacoma rejected that, though, in a ruling Monday that concluded there was no “reasonable probability” of reprisals, threats or harassment as a result of the release of names from petitions signed two years ago.

Protect Marriage Washington "has not supplied competent evidence or adequate authority to support its claim that the R-71 signers constitute a fringe organization with unpopular or unorthodox beliefs or one that is seeking to further ideas that have been 'historically and pervasively rejected and vilified by both this country’s government and its citizens,' " as required by the legal standard, the judge concluded.

The Secretary of State in Washington, Sam Reed, issued a statement:

"This is a victory for transparency and open disclosure in our state's referendum and initiative process," Reed noted. "Voters of Washington want their government operating in open, transparent and accountable ways, and treating petitions as a public record is in keeping with that desire. When voters sign petitions, they are trying to change state law. We believe that changing state law should be open to public view."

Michigan LGBT Activists Begin Campaign For Non-Discrimination Protections

In honor of National Coming Out Day, Michigan LGBT civil rights groups began a campaign they are calling "Don't Change Yourself. Change the Law," to encourage the state legislature to extend employment protections to LGBT residents. In the state of Michigan, LGBT citizens can be fired from their jobs because of their sexuality.

Chicago’s Windy City Times reports:

"The campaign is a project of the Unity Michigan Coalition," Hoadley said. "There have been a lot of really good groups in Michigan that have been working on gay and transgender issues for a while, but they came together over the last year and said, 'We really want to kick this up into high gear. How do we work together to tackle some really big projects?' We decided to go all in and have a coalition, share expenses, work efficiently and tackle these really big projects. We chose to work [ first ] on non-discrimination issues."

The timing could not be better given that the day before the campaign launched state Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, proposed a bill that would forbid civil-rights protections that go beyond Michigan's current law—in effect, rolling back protections that at least 18 local governments have enacted dealing with sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill would also prohibit school districts and state agencies from offering enhanced protections.

"I think that the current political climate is a wake-up call for anyone who wants to say that, in Michigan, discrimination doesn't happen," Hoadley said. "If that's the case, then why do opponents of equality feel the need to introduce legislation that would prohibit us from creating a solution? What is clear, based on the responses to the polling that we've seen, is that Michigan wants to be a fair and welcoming state—and if our leaders are out of touch, this issue might be that wake-up call that gets them reconnected to the people that put them in office in the first place."


Top Chef Just Desserts Season One Contestant Charged WIth Possession of Child Porn

Morgan Wilson, of Plano Texas was indicted October 6th on 3 counts of second-degree felony charges of possession with intent to promote child pornography. He was a finalist on Top Chef Just Desserts in the first season of the Bravo produced show.

The Plano Courier Star reports:

Morgan was arrested Dec. 7, 2010 after undercover investigators received several file transfers from Wilson's computer via Limewire in September 2010. The files allegedly contained images and videos of children as young as toddlers engaged in sexual acts.

I remember Morgan Wilson vividly - because he didn’t get along with the other cast members, and made a number of homophobic and snide remarks directed toward gay contestants during the course of the season.

Openly gay San Francisco resident Yiğit Pura defeated Morgan Wilson for the Season One crown.


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