gay rights

On behalf of the U.S. State Department, John Kerry has issued a formal apology for the department's pattern of discrimination against LGBT employees during a period beginning in the 1940s and stretching for decades.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., had asked the secretary of state for such an apology in late November, calling the historical discrimination "un-American and unacceptable."

For the first time, a U.S. state has elected an openly LGBT governor.

The landmark was reached in Oregon, where the Associated Press projects that Kate Brown has won the gubernatorial election.

Brown was the incumbent in her race — but running for election for the first time.

For most of his career, Wall Street has been good to Rep. Scott Garrett (R, N.J.). Garrett is chairman of a powerful subcommittee that regulates banks, a job that traditionally comes with perks, including big political contributions from financial firms. But that was before Garrett made some controversial remarks about gays.

Representatives of the United Methodist Church have elected their first openly gay bishop, in defiance of church prohibitions on homosexuality.

Rev. Karen Oliveto, senior pastor of Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, was elected bishop of the church's Western Division at a conference Friday night in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Almost at the last minute, a federal judge has declared a controversial Mississippi law unconstitutional.

The law, HB 1523, would have protected religious objections to gay marriage, extramarital sex and transgender identities. The judge says it favors some religious beliefs over others and would codify unequal treatment of LGBT people.

The state's governor has said he looks forward to an appeal, but Mississippi's attorney general has expressed hesitation over appealing the case.

The backyard of Juana Zacharias's home hugs the railroad tracks snaking through the town of Oxnard, Calif.

Her room in the cozy three-bedroom house is decorated with strips of pink polka-dotted and leopard print fabrics. It's filled with lot of make-up.

Tons of it, according to Zacharias.

The 18-year-old also has boys on her mind.

"Everybody says dating a Latina is really hard," Zacharias says. "Give us the password to your phone, we'll be totally good."

Zacharias is a trans girl — the only one in the group home she shares with five boys.

Gay and lesbian activists gather at the White House on Thursday for a celebration marking LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Pride Month. It's become an annual event, tied to the monthlong commemoration of the Stonewall riots, which helped launch the modern gay liberation movement.

President Obama's years in office have seen a flowering of gay and lesbian rights, culminating a year ago when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the budget with two weeks left in the legislature bills to increase revenue are starting in the legislature while state agencies including health and education are making deep cuts and now a group of lawmakers want to cut all funding to the Department of Corrections over the consolidation of work centers.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

After North Carolina's governor filed a lawsuit asking federal courts to keep in place a controversial law that places limits on transgender access to bathrooms, the U.S. Justice Department responded with a lawsuit of its own.

Responding to criticisms over his state's controversial new law that voids cities' anti-discrimination rules protecting members of the LGBT community, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has issued an executive order that "seeks legislation to reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination."

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