President Obama on Monday announced he would sign an executive order protecting federal employees from being discriminated against on the basis of gender identity. Discriminating against federal employees based on sexual orientation is already banned.
Obama made the announcement at a Pride Month Celebration in the East Room of the White House, where the president and his wife, Michelle, recognized gay Americans who have been influential in their lives. He recounted the steps he has taken to advance gay rights, including signing hate crimes legislation and working to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military.
The executive order is Obama’s latest use of his administrative powers in this area. Earlier this month, he announced he would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Obama had called for passage of federal legislation prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but Congress has declined to pass it.
— Zachary A. Goldfarb
A judge Monday dismissed the defamation lawsuit filed by George Zimmerman against NBC and three reporters, saying the former neighborhood watch leader failed to show the network acted with malice.
Judge Debra Nelson said the malice standard was appropriate because Zimmerman became a public figure after he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford in February 2012, generating a national conversation about race and self-defense laws.
Zimmerman was acquitted last year for Martin’s shooting. He said he shot Martin in self-
defense when the teenager attacked him. Martin was black. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.
In his lawsuit, Zimmerman said NBC’s editing of a story on the shooting made it sound as if Zimmerman voluntarily told an operator that Martin was black. He was actually responding to a dispatcher’s question about the Miami teen’s race.
Zimmerman said the broadcasts made his seem like a racist and exposed him to public ridicule and threats.
— Associated Press
A transgender Middletown police officer who complained for more than a year that she had been the target of harassment by fellow officers has been fired, the city’s mayor said Monday, adding the action was not the result of the gender change.
The officer, who was hired seven years ago by the Middletown Police Department as Frank Quaranta and became Francesca Quaranta after a sex-change operation two years ago, submitted complaints last year to the city and the state’s human rights commission that fellow officers had made disparaging comments that she said created a hostile work environment.
Quaranta said she would fight her termination. Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew said Monday the officer was fired because she failed a fitness-for-duty evaluation earlier this year, refused to take another exam this month and had run out of paid leave.
Boy dies of gunshot at camp for Boy Scouts: A 12-year-old boy at a Boy Scout camp in San Diego died from a gunshot wound to the head Monday morning, and police were investigating whether the shooting was intentional or accidental. Police received a call at 7:36 a.m. Monday that a boy had shot himself in the head at the camp on Fiesta Island, police said. Officers found a gun in the boy’s tent. It’s not clear yet where the gun came from or how it got into the camp.
Marine deserter returned to N.C. base: A Marine corporal who was declared a deserter nearly 10 years ago after disappearing in Iraq under mysterious circumstances was held Monday at a North Carolina brig after being apprehended in the Middle East, a spokesman said. Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, 34, was returned to Camp Lejeune, said Lt. Col. Cliff W. Gilmore of the II Marine Expeditionary Force, the unit Hassoun was assigned to. Hassoun was born in Lebanon and is a naturalized American citizen.
— From news services