August 2013 hardly looked like ”dog days.” Things got rolling right away as the ACLU, ACLU of Virginia, law firm Jenner and Block, and Lambda Legal on Aug. 1 announced they would be filing a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of two lesbian couples to bring marriage equality to Virginia.
The legal front was already improving for LGBT youth, particularly in California, where Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Aug. 12 approved the School Success and Opportunity Act to provide transgender youth equal access to all school programs. California’s law protecting youth from ”ex-gay” therapy was upheld in federal court Aug. 29, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed a similar ”ex-gay” ban for his state Aug. 19.
In another legal arena, a military judge sentenced Chelsea Manning — then recognized as Bradley Manning — on Aug. 21 to 35 years in prison for her role in the ”Wikileaks” leak of classified documents.
Another veteran, Darren Manzella, one of the best-known faces in the fight against ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” died in a car accident Aug. 29. Just 36, Manzella had married his husband, Javier Lapeira-Soto, less than two months prior. Manzella’s death wasn’t the only one to shake the community in August. Stephen Sasser, longtime HIV/AIDS activist and the partner of Michael Kaplan, head of AIDS United, died in D.C. at 44.
Through the good and bad of August, one event helped provide perspective – the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom – with special emphasis finally going to Bayard Rustin, a gay man and critical architect of the 1963 event.