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The Daily Agenda for Friday, March 22

Jim Burroway

March 22nd, 2013

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Events This Weekend: European Gay Ski Week, Alpe d’Huez, France; Exeter Pride, Exeter, UK; Florida AIDS Walk & Music Festival, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, London, UK; Black Party, New York, NY; European Snow Pride, Tignes, France; OutBoard, Winter Park, CO.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Suspensions Announced of Allegedly Gay Teachers in Florida: 1961. Pinellas County School Superintendent Floyd T. Christian confirmed at a school board meeting that five Pinellas County teachers had been suspended for “alleged homosexual practices.” The action came after accusations against the teachers were lodged by a state Legislative Investigative Committee which had been formed in 1956 to root out communists from government but switched its focus to look for gays among teachers and university professors. Superintendent Christian said that following the accusations from the state, the teachers were suspended last October “with the full knowledge and approval of the board.” The matter was referred to the state’s Cabinet Board of Education in Tallahassee for a decision on whether to revoke their teaching certificates. The state board revoked the certificates of three of the teachers, but that decision was overturned by the State Supreme Court in 1962, saying the state board didn’t follow proper procedures. The three teachers’ certificates were finally restored in 1963.

Superintendent Christian would go on to become the Florida Commissioner of Education from 1965 to 1973, which became an elected position with Florida’s new constitution in 1968. Christan’s career ended in scandal, and he spent several months in federal prison following a conviction for income tax evasion.

Montana Senate Requires Convicted Gays To Register With Police: 1995. In a 41-8 vote, the Montana Senate gave its approval to a bill that would require offenders of the state’s anti-homosexuality law (which prohibited “deviate sexual conduct”) to register for life with local law enforcement officials. The provision was a last minute amendment to a bill requiring registration for those convicted of murder, rape, aggravated assault, incest, sexual assault, and indecent exposure. During the debate, Sen. Al Bishop (R-Billings) said that homosexual acts, even consensual acts between adults, were “even worse than a violent sexual act,” a statement that drew outrage among women’s rape crisis advocates. Gay rights advocates quickly organized rallies in Helena, Billings and Missoula, and the entire state became the target of national scorn. By noon the next day, red-faced lawmakers were in full retreat mode, repealing the provision specifying “deviate sexual conduct” from the bill that they had just passed the day before in a unanimous voice vote with no debate.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

This your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

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