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Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor

From Fox News:

Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.


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Williams Sentenced to Maximum Term in Shooting of Gay Man


(August 8 - Detroit) - David Williams, the shooter of Salvagio Vonatti, was sentenced today to a maximum of ten years in prison for his role in the senseless attack on Mr. Vonatti last January. He was also sentenced to an additional two years for his use of a firearm in the incident.

The sentence was pronounced by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge David Allen, after the judge announced that he would exceed the typical guidelines in such cases.

Mr. Vonatti remains unresponsive and on life support in Windsor. His brother and sister, Firas and Jenane Abouzeki, addressed the court, expressing their family's calamity in trying to come to terms with the severe emotional impact of the attack and of Mr. Vonatti’s grave condition. They also spoke passionately about the promise and future that was taken from Mr. Vonatti, who, coincidentally, turned 32 today.

"We are grateful that Judge Allen demonstrated courage and integrity in sentencing this shooter to the maximum term possible," said Jeffrey Montgomery, Executive Director of Triangle Foundation and who was present with the family at every phase of the trial. "Today's result went some distance to correct a flawed jury verdict and was the best outcome for a case that took many strange and challenging turns as it progressed. Without this conscientious judge and an admirable case put across by the prosecutor, Suzette Samuels, this outcome could have been disastrous," said Montgomery.
In a sentencing statement, Judge Allen was clear that he regarded the shooting outside of a popular Detroit gay nightspot as a cold-blooded anti-gay attack, recalling that Williams shot Mr. Vonatti at close range and calling the victim a "faggot" and other anti-gay epithets.

In addressing Williams directly the judge said, "It haunts this court, Mr. Williams, that you choose to harm someone so vulnerable.... Like you [Mr. Vonatti] is a son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend and lover. He loved and was loved and was on this earth to be left alone in peace and happiness. Who and how he loved was none of your business and was no threat to you and the community... Let's also get one other thing straight that came up in trial. Homosexuality is not a 'lifestyle' or 'choice.' Homosexuality is no different than the color of your eyes or hair; you come out of your mother's womb with no choice in the matter. After all, would anyone in their right mind choose to be homosexual with predators like you shooting them in the head for being gay? Defying the issue as one of choice only makes it easier to hate, condemn and harm as you so illustrate."

Montgomery added: "While today's sentencing concludes this legal chapter in a hideous episode, we remain heavy-hearted over the uncertain future of Sal Vonatti and the pain that he and his family will continue to endure. We hope that they have found some degree of satisfaction that the one responsible was found and will pay some measure of accountability in the matter."

Triangle Foundation is Michigan's anti-violence advocacy organization representing the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.


 

 

 

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