Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

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As 2012 draws to a close, PinkNews.co.uk takes a look back at the most important stories of the last twelve months.

We’ve already brought you the weirdest and most unexpected stories of 2012 and the most important UK stories of 2012, as well as the top international stories of 2012, now we bring you the most important stories from the USA.

While we cannot claim a thoroughly scientific approach to the rankings, the stories are ordered through a combination of how widely read they were, how much debate they provoked and our own editorial judgement as to the effect they will have on LGBT life.

15 – Judge rules that trans prisoner be given gender-reassignment surgery

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

In a landmark ruling, Judge Wolf, of Boston, Massachusetts ruled that Michele Kosilek, 63, would be given gender reassignment surgery in prison, as the “only adequate treatment” for her gender dysphoria. He also ruled that her legal costs should be covered.

He said: “there is no less intrusive means to correct the prolonged violation of Kosilek’s Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care.”

Ms Kosilek’s Attorneys had offered to waive their fees, excluding out-of-pocket expenses, on the condition that the Department of Correction did not appeal against Judge Wolf’s ruling.

The Department of Correction made clear that they were to appeal against Judge Wolf’s ruling on September 26.

14 – Video: Rick Santorum said if he had a gay son he would try to be a “good father” to a gay son

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

In an NBC debate, which featured former Preidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, when asked how he would feel if his son came out to him, Rick Santorum said: “I would love him as much as I did the second before he said it, and I would do everything I can to be as good a father to him as possible.”

Santorum had in the past talked of a “hate the sin, love the sinner” policy towards homosexuality.

He was a signatory to the National Organization for Marriage’s 2012 Presidential Pledge, vowing support for a national constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and preventing state judges from overturning what they deem to be discriminatory marriage laws.

He later joined the campaign against equal marriage in the state of Washington, and has said that if it became a reality, churches and families would be destroyed.

An unidentified artist also created an image of Mr Santorum made entirely out of gay porn. 

13 – One Million Moms was outraged by everything

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

The campaign group, One Million Moms, which describes itself as ”a network of Christian moms who have joined together to stand up for our children and families,” made several complaints this year.

Offence was taken by the group at things like a GAP advert featuring a gay couple, gay Marvel and DC comic book characters, A pilot for Jennifer Lopez’s new comedy-drama about a lesbian couple and their children, and Ellen Degeneres in a new advert for JC Penney which featured three Christmas elves. 

After anti-gay, “pro-family” campaign group attacked his new show, The New Normal, Glee creator Ryan Murphy has said they might like it if they try it.

12 – Hacker collective continues battle with ‘God hates fags’ church

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

The hackers collective, Anonymous, continued its battle with the Westboro Baptist Church, commonly known as the ‘God Hates Fags’ church, and among other things, claimed to have changed the desktop background on its spokeswoman’s computer to gay porn.

Anonymous also said they had successfully filed a death certificate for Shirley Phelps-Roper, the outspoken representative of the church, which would prevent her from using her social security number, as well as updating her PC desktop background to gay porn.

The hackers previously attacked the church’s website and begun posting the personal contact details of its main organisers after the church said it would picket the funerals of children murdered at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

11 – National Football League footballers become embroiled in arguments over marriage equality 

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

The Baltimore Ravens rejected a call from Delegate Emmett C Burns Jr, to reprimand Brendon Ayanbadejo, who recorded a video for a gay rights advocacy group last October.

Delegate Burns wrote to club owner, Steve Disciotti: “I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football League Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employees and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions.”

He also claimed to know of no other NFL players who supported equal marriage rights for gay people, but in a recent article, Jim Buzinski, of OutSports.com actually named 28 playerswho all support the LGBT community in some way.

Upon waking to find that Maryland had passed marriage equality, Mr Ayanbadejo said: said: ”I’m so stoked. It’s like I woke up and it’s Christmas.”

Chris Kluwe, a player for the Minnesota Vikings, penned a passionate letter to Delegate Burns, defending the constitutional rights of professional sports players to speak out in support of causes such as LGBT rights, or equal marriage. 

Mr Kluwe, who argued passionately for marriage equality, also quit his blog at an online daily newspaper, and said that the first openly gay NFL player would have the biggest marketing opportunity in 50 years. 

10 – Fast food chicken restaurant flip-flops on opposition to marriage equality

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

In July of this year Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, said the company was “guilty as charged”, when asked about its perceived opposition to equal marriage.

Later, it had appeared that Chick-fil-A moved to distance itself from the equal marriage row, after it was claimed that the company was prepared to stop political donations to anti-gay organisations.

However, Mr Cathy subsequently confirmed that the company had made no “concessions” over the issue of donations – despite a letter suggesting it had.

Long lines formed outside Chick-fil-A restaurants on an “appreciation day” and opponents countered with “kiss-ins” by same-sex couples. A University in North Carolina voted the chain off its campus, Mr Cathy said that the company supports “biblical families”, one branch manager said he would sponsor a gay pride event, and the creators of the Muppets called off all future partnerships with the chicken chain.

9 – Children take sides on the equal marriage battle

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

The  committee at the Maryland state senate, where equal marriage legislation was being considered, heard the birthday wish of a 14-year-old girl: to keep the ban on gay marriage.

Home-schooled Sarah Crank told lawmakers it “would be the best birthday present ever if you would vote no on gay marriage”.

Sorry to have ruined your birthday, Sarah.

Another little girl was surprised to get a reply to a letter she sent to President Barack Obama. She had written to tell him that she appreciated his acceptance of the love between same-sex couples. President Obama apologised for not having made dinner at her house, after she invited him.

8 – George Clooney said he wouldn’t deny rumours that he was gay, in case it could be construed that he was suggesting it was a bad thing

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

George Clooney said he would never deny rumours that he might be gay because it would be “unfair and unkind” to the gay community to give someone the opportunity to make it “seem like being gay is a bad thing”.

The actor, now 51, said he believed equality “will soon be the law of the land”.

On marriage, Clooney has made it clear that he believes it is a civil rights issue to give gays the same rights as straight couples.

7 – Video: A pastor called for the death of gay and lesbian people

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

A pastor from North Carolina was recorded, in opposing President Obama’s endorsement of equal marriage, calling for gay men and lesbians to be put in an electrified penitentiary and be ultimately killed off.

The pastor, who has been identified in the YouTube video as Charles L Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina, said in the video: “Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there…”

He continues in the video: “Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out…and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out…do you know why? They can’t reproduce!”

6 – Mormons show compassion towards gay people

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

Following 150 Mormons quitting the church in a mass resignation, leaders of the Mormon Church launched a new website which, despite saying the church is still opposed to same-sex marriage, encouraged churchgoers to be more compassionate in discussions over homosexuality.

The website also encouraged gay and lesbian Mormons to stay in the church. It is titled “Love One Another: A Discussion on Same-Sex Attraction,” and it claims to reflect the views of the higest authorities of the Mormon Church.

5 – US Supreme Court agrees to take on marriage equality cases

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

The US Supreme Court said it was to decide whether the bans on gay couples marrying across many parts of the United States are unconstitutional.

Having delayed twice, some have speculated that the court will rule on the Defense of Marriage Act next summer.

4 – Boy Scouts of America faces backlash after retaining its ban on gay members, volunteers and staff

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

In July, after a two year review, the BSA announced it would retain its ban on gay members, volunteers and staff.

Ryan Andresen joined the scouts when he was six, completed all of the requirements for the Eagle Scout Badge, which included building a 288-tile “tolerance wall” for victims of bullying, such as himself, but was refused the badge, once the work was completed.

Karen Andresen, 49, Ryan’s mother, had started a petition on Change.org to have her son awarded the badge, which contained around 430,000 signatures, and which was presented back to the BSA, in order to urge it to change its policy.

After appearing as a guest on the Ellen Degeneres Show, the 18-year-old Boy Scout was awarded a $20,000 (£12,476) scholarship towards his college fees.

The BSA subsequently lost funding from Merck, Intel, and UPS, as well as other major donors, on the back of maintaining the discriminatory policy.

3 – Cynthia Nixon claimed that she could “choose” to be gay

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

Cynthia Nixon caused controversy by announcing in an interview that she believed “her homosexuality was a choice”.

In an interview with the New York Times, the Sex and the City actress appeared to defy the sentiments of Lady Gaga’s hit record, saying she doesn’t believe she was ‘born this way.’

She said: “I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ They tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice.”

Ms Nixon later clarified her position, by saying that her bisexuality was not a choice, but her gay relationship was. 

2 – Three states legalised marriage equality, a fourth said no to a ban on same-sex unions

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

On a momentous night for LGBT equality, 6 November, the US west coast state of Washington followed Maine and Maryland in passing a referendum in support of marriage rights for gay couples, and Minnesota voted against outlawing equal marriage.

The Minnesotan group which led the campaign to vote “no” on the measure to ban equal marriage, has said it will now push to legalise same-sex marriages.

1 – Barack Obama was reelected as President

Feature: The top US LGBT stories of 2012

As well as being named Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’, Barack Obama was reelected on 6 November as US President.

Making hate crime a federal offence, overturning Don’t AskDon’t Tell (the ban on openly gay soldiers), abandoning federal approval of the Defence of Marriage Act, extending hospital visitation and care rights to gay spouses, and appointing a record number of gay officials, were all substantial achievements of the president’s first term in office.

In an unexpected move, New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, endorsed Barack Obama for the US presidential election, citing a need for strong leadership, and President Obama’s support for equal marriage.

Throughout the 2012 presidential race Republican challenger Mitt Romney repeatedly stated his opposition to equal marriage and civil unions and said same-sex marriage should be banned with an amendment to the US Constitution.