School Lifts Ban on Pro-LGBT T-Shirt

When 16-year-old Maverick Couch of southwest Ohio wore a T-shirt to school that said “Jesus is Not a Homophobe,” his principal asked him to turn it inside-out. One year later, the Waynesville High School student has been given permission to wear the shirt for one day. While he can wear the shirt on April 20, the national Day of Silence, a movement to raise awareness about the bullying of gay teenagers, the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that Couch has decided to sue.

“A student’s First Amendment rights are not restricted to one day of the year,” Christopher Clark, Couch’s lawyer, told the Enquirer. “We will continue to fight until Maverick is allowed to express who he is on any day he chooses.”

According to the Enquirer, school officials told Couch the shirt violated rules against clothing that is “indecent or sexual in nature.” A meeting is scheduled between Couch’s lawyer and the attorneys representing the Warren County school officials is scheduled for May 2.

Proposed Change to US Customs Policy Benefits LGBT Families

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is proposing to expand the definition of a family on Customs Declaration Forms to include “two adult individuals in a committed relationship…and couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships.”

The current rule requires same-sex couples to go through customs separately, making them legal strangers.

Equality Florida, the largest civil rights organization in Florida dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, applauds the proposed change as a significant step forward for LGBT couples and their children.

“This is a huge step forward, one that will avoid putting U.S. citizens through the indignity of denying their families in order to return to their own country,” said Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith. “We should never have to explain to our child why the person at the desk says we’re not a family.”

NC Could Join Southern Neighbors in Marriage Ban

North Carolina, the only Southern state without a same-sex marriage ban on the books, may be joining its neighbors. On May 8, voters will have the chance to voice their opinion on adding an amendment to the state’s constitution that would limit marriage to heterosexual couples. According to an article on Boston.com, part of the reason North Carolina has remained the “vale of humility” for so long is largely due to Democratic control of the state’s legislator. In 2010, for the first time in nearly 140 years, Republicans took control.

HUD Awards $33 Million to HIV/AIDS Housing Programs

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced that more than 1,200 extremely low-income people living with HIV/AIDS will continue to receive permanent housing as a result of nearly $33 million in grants. The funding is offered through HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program (HOPWA) and will renew HUD’s support of 18 local programs in 17 states. According to HUD, the majority of the money will be distributed using a formula that determines which cities have the most need based on the number of AIDS cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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