National LGBT News Briefs: Good and Bad in Minnesota

Trans activist arrested, poll numbers positive and ExxonMobil shareholders vote against equality


Feinberg Arrested in Protest Supporting Cece McDonald

Transgender activist and author Leslie Feinberg was arrested June 4 in Minneapolis for participation in a protest action opposing the treatment of Chrishaun ”CeCe” McDonald, according to the Minneapolis-based Trans Youth Support Network.

McDonald, a transgender woman, was accused of murder after defending herself with a pair of scissors outside a Minneapolis club in June 2011, leading to the death of her presumed attacker, Dean Schmitz. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Schmitz was part of a group that taunted McDonald and companions with homophobic and racist slurs. A woman in Schmitz’s group also hit McDonald in the face with a glass, requiring 11 stitches.

After accepting a plea deal for a charge of second degree manslaughter due to negligence, McDonald was sentenced to 41 months in prison, at least initially in a men’s facility.

”Many people across the United States and around the world are watching, and history will record what happens on June 4, 2012,” a statement released by Feinberg read, in part. ”CeCe McDonald survived a fascist hate crime; now she’s sentenced as she struggles to survive an ongoing state hate crime.”

Poll Shows Minnesotans Favoring Marriage Equality Ahead of Vote to Amend Constitution

According to data released June 5, Public Policy Polling (PPP) is reporting that support for a proposed constitutional amendment in Minnesota to ban marriage equality is dropping.

”Minnesota’s constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage now appears to be in serious danger of failing, a reversal from a PPP poll four months ago when it led for passage by a 48/44 margin,” reads a PPP statement explaining the new polling data. ”Now only 43 percent of voters support the proposed amendment, with 49 percent of voters opposed to it.”

Minnesotans will vote on the measure, which would limit marriage in the state to opposite-sex unions, in November.

ExxonMobil Shareholders Fuel Discrimination

ExxonMobil shareholders overwhelmingly voted May 30 to keep gay and transgender employees excluded from the company’s nondiscrimination policy, the Dallas Voice reports.

The Voice quoted Daniel Cates of Get Equal, one of dozens of protesters outside Dallas’s Meyerson Symphony Center, inside which shareholders voted 80 percent in opposition of expanding the nondiscrimination policy of the world’s largest oil refiner, one of the largest companies in the world.

”They are clinging to antiquated business practices,” Cates told the Voice. ”It’s a matter of really learning that this is good for business.”

According to the Dallas Voice report, expanding the nondiscrimination policy has been proposed annually since Exxon and Mobil merged in 1999. Mobil already had such a policy in place, but it was rescinded after the merger.

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.

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