WPTZ's David Charns covered the lawsuit brought against the town of Addison, VT. [here]
March 4, 2014
RU12? Community Center has learned of a case of alleged intense, prolonged, homophobic discrimination directed at two women, Barbara Supeno and Barbara Ernst, both of Addison, Vermont. On March 5th, Ms. Supeno and Ms. Ernst with their attorney, David Bond, filed a complaint in Addison Superior Court. The complaint outlines a disturbing set of allegations detailing discrimination in land use decisions motivated by anti-gay bias on the part of certain town officials.
Ms. Supeno and Ms. Ernst have been together for twenty-one years. They purchased their home on Lake Champlain in 2004, where they hoped to raise a family in a state where they would feel safe and protected. Little did they know that the fact they were openly lesbian would make them a target. Their dream life began to unravel shortly after their arrival in Addison.
The complaint alleged that, under the leadership of the Chair of the Selectboard, Jeff Kauffman, the town has issued baseless citations, levied unfair taxes, published defamatory statements, granted permits (without notice) allowing encroachment by neighbors, and attempted to rescind the permits it issued to those very neighbors after Ms. Supeno and Ms. Ernst purchased their land. The emblem for this campaign of discrimination has been spray-painted in the parking lot of the town office for over two years now – the message “I ♥ FAGS.”
Mr. Kaufman is a Baptist minister who, according to the lawsuit, has in the past maintained a website suggesting LGBTQ people are to be punished because “they are disease-carrying fornicators” whose “unnatural and animalistic wickedness … must be rejected by true Christians.”
In their lawsuit, Ms. Supeno and Ms. Ernst are seeking to bring a halt to the discrimination. In addition to asserting claims against various private defendants, they are suing Jeff Kauffman and the Town for violations of 9 V.S.A. section 4503(a)(12) which makes it illegal to discriminate in land use decisions or the permitting of housing because of sexual orientation; and 9 V.S.A. section 4506(e), which prohibits retaliation for opposing acts prohibited under section 4503, or for filing a complaint of discrimination under section 4503 with the State’s Human Rights Commission. Ms. Supeno and Ms. Ernst have asked the court to award them unspecified money damages. They have also requested that the court issue an injunction, barring the town from engaging in further discriminatory acts.
RU12? Community Center believes that LGBTQ people should be able to live without fear of harassment or intimidation. “At the Center, we devote significant resources to building safe communities in Vermont,” said Executive Director Kim Fountain. “It is our sincerest hope that Ms. Ernst and Ms. Supeno find the justice they deserve.”
Ms. Supeno and Ms. Ernst have expressed their hope that the lawsuit will be a catalyst for change.
If you are a member of the press, please contact:
David Bond, Law Office of David Bond, PLLC: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Kim Fountain, Executive Director, RU12? Community Center: email@example.com or
RU12? Community Center celebrates, educates, and advocates with and for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Vermonters. www.ru12.org
Come single to mingle, find your next ex, or just have a pants-off-dance-off!
It's the "Traffic Light" Party to the next level. Never been to one? Read up on the game rules here:
Check your clothes at the door and show off your booty in your undies, but pick your undie color choice wisely:
RED: Stop! I'm taken.
YELLOW: Let's talk about it...
GREEN: Good to go.
GoGo boys and girls!
Raffles and Prizes!
*$5 cover includes clothes check
*Proceeds benefit RU12? Community Center
One of the most awesome things about being a RU12? Volunteer is the opportunity to do extraordinary things. Last week (work week Feb. 24 – 28, 2014), I was honored to shadow RU12? Staff member and state-wide “let’s teach’em ‘bout them queers” trainer Jean Sienkewicz from the SafeSpace program as she presented to members Vermont’s police and sheriff’s departments from all around the Green Mountain State. A collaboration with T. J. Anderson, Training Coordinator for the Vermont State Police Academy, the curriculum was designed to “train the trainer” and participants will be taking back the knowledge gained to the various/far-reaching agencies they represent and passing along all the wisdom gained to their fellow officers.
I think the thing that really made this blogger’s heart sing with joy was the eager, earnest and openness with which those in attendance seemed to embrace the materials presented. If I had to sum up the overall attitude in the room in a single word it would have to be: engaged. As the officers present asked questions, participated in ongoing dialog and appeared determined to have an increased understanding of the LBGTQHA community they protect and serve.
June 28, 2014, will mark the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Riots that marked starting line for the modern LBGTQ movement in America. Those riots were a direct response to New York City Police discrimination, harassment and violence toward our community. In my lifetime, as I am 45, I can say without a doubt; things most definitely have gotten better. And with all the fine work that RU12? Is doing and continues to do on our communities’ behalf my heart is only filled with excitement and hope.
Please take 5 minutes to fill the survey out. We will wrap up this step of the process on Tuesday, March 11th.
Please let folks know about this survey! We need as many voices to be heard as possible.
The RU12? Name Change Committee
Johnny Cash tribute burlesque show.
your hosts and producers:
Quechee George and Jonathan B Itchman
featuring DJ Papi Javi
Special guests to entertain you:
...more to be announced!
go go dancers to keep the dance party going after the show!
Join RU12? Community Center for an evening of
socializing, networking, and fun
Saturday, March 29th
The Sugarbush Inn
buy tickets here: http://bit.ly/1jV4J1D
or pay in cash or by check at the door
Lite hors d’hoeurves, cash bar
Live auction with a range of fun items
If you would like to spend the evening, the White Horse in is offering a special: $89.00 for the evening, including breakfast
Bring your business card or fill out a ticket to enter a prize drawing
Questions?-please call Kim at 802.860-7812 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In keeping with his staunch support of LGBTQ communities around the world, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy has issued a strongly worded statement denouncing Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill. Senator Leahy called for a review of U.S. assistance to Uganda based on the signing of this bill into law, a sentiment that echoed a similar broader proposal that he made at the 2014 World Economic Summit in Switzerland.
BBC News Africa which has retained a copy of the bill that was signed into law and notes that while it remains oppressive, it is significantly different from earlier, stricter versions. This new law, according to the BBC, allows life imprisonment for act of “aggravated homosexuality” and criminalizes the “promotion” of “homosexuality.” Lesbians are, for the first time, also included in this law.
According to Aljazeera America, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway have all frozen or redirected government aid to Uganda as a result of this act of violence.
President Obama is quoted as warning that this legislation could “complicate” Washington’s relationships with Uganda, which receives about $400 million dollars in annual aid from the United States.
Senator Patrick Leahy's statement:
Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy
(D-Vt., President Pro Tempore,
Chairman Of The State Department And Foreign Operations
On Uganda President Museveni’s Signing
Of The Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014
“I am deeply concerned by the decision of President Museveni of Uganda to sign into law the anti-homosexuality bill. I support Secretary of State Kerry and others in calling for its immediate repeal. Much of U.S. assistance to Uganda is for the people of Uganda, including those in the Ugandan LGBT community whose human rights are being so tragically violated. But we need to closely review all U.S. assistance to Uganda, including through the World Bank and other multilateral organizations. I cannot support providing further funding to the Government of Uganda until the United States has undergone a review of our relationship.”
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GLAM Laser Tag will be postponed to a later date.
Drop-in HIV Testing hours are canceled. Please visit www.gettestedvermont.com for other testing locations. Testing will resume on Thursday from 12pm-6pm
Roy Event Center, 3rd Floor Dion Student Center
With an arresting blend of urgency and humor, Ash takes on topics like the crippling experience of being trapped in a closet, the difference between tolerance and acceptance, and the need to remove "gay" asa derogatory from our vocabulary. With wildly funny and poignant stories, and a tough yet deeply compassionate stance, Ash tells us how to take off the armor and be our authentic selves. She tells us how to GET REAL.
Are you, or a friend, HIV+ and just looking for a supportive group to discuss life with HIV with other POZ individuals?
A new Burlington-area social support group will be starting on March 6th. For more information, feel free to shoot a confidential email or call:
Tuesdays: 12pm - 6pm
Thursdays: 12pm - 6pm
By appointment: Evenings & Weekends