Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Democrat presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke outlines LGBTQ policy proposal

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke on Wednesday outlined his proposal to improve gay rights in the United States and to reverse what he called "discriminatory policies" under President Donald Trump. "LGBTQ+ Americans have made incredible progress over the past decade, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of activists and advocates — but too many LGBTQ+ people still lack protection under many states’ laws and the current Administration is encouraging rather than stamping out discrimination," O'Rourke, a former U.S. representative, said in a statement announcing the proposals.

Comedian Jon Stewart assails Congress for ignoring 9/11 first responders fund

Jon Stewart, the popular former host of the late-night comedy program The Daily Show, criticized members of Congress for not attending a hearing on Tuesday on renewing funding for a program that provides health care to first responders who were sickened responding to the Sept. 11 attacks. "Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak and no one," Stewart said, pointing to a mostly empty dais. "Shameful, it's an embarrassment to the country and a stain on this institution. You should be ashamed of yourselves for those who aren’t here but you won’t be because accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber."

Ex-Stanford sailing coach faces sentencing in U.S. college scandal

A former Stanford University sailing coach is set to become the first person to be sentenced in the U.S. college admissions scandal after admitting he agreed to help wealthy parents secure spots for their children at the school in exchange for bribes. Prosecutors plan to ask a federal judge in Boston on Wednesday to sentence John Vandemoer to 13 months in prison after he admitted he agreed to accept $610,000 in bribes to facilitate the admission of the children as sailing recruits.

Jury couldn't decide if Arizona activist broke law helping migrants

An Arizona jury on Tuesday said it was unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a U.S. human rights activist who was accused of hiding undocumented migrants, but said he was offering them humanitarian aid. The Tucson jury remained deadlocked after three days deliberating charges against Scott Warren, 36, stemming from his January 2018 arrest by U.S. Border Patrol in Ajo, Arizona.

Planned Parenthood sues U.S. to block rule that may limit abortions

Planned Parenthood and other nonprofits offering family planning services sued the Trump administration on Tuesday to block a new federal rule letting healthcare workers refuse abortions and other services because of religious or moral objections. The two lawsuits filed in Manhattan federal court said enforcing the "conscience" rule would encourage discrimination against women, minorities, the poor, the uninsured, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people by curbing access to legal healthcare procedures, including life-saving treatments.

Dominican police arrest second suspect in shooting of baseball star David Ortiz

Dominican police arrested a second suspect on Tuesday evening in the shooting of David Ortiz, the retired Boston Red Sox baseball star, the Boston Globe reported. The arrest came as Ortiz, 43, took his first steps in a Boston hospital room following a second round of surgery on Tuesday, news outlets reported.

Federal trial to begin for Illinois man accused of killing Chinese student

The federal trial of an Illinois man accused of kidnapping and killing a visiting Chinese scholar two years ago was set to begin on Wednesday, with prosecutors having already said they would seek the death penalty. Brendt Christensen, 29, has been held without bond since he was arrested in June 2017 for the abduction and presumed slaying of Yingying Zhang, a 26-year-old student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her body has not been found.

Forsaken transgender pioneers recognized 50 years after Stonewall

According to LGBTQ legend it was Marsha P. Johnson, a black transgender woman, who threw the first brick at the Stonewall Inn 50 years ago, sparking the modern gay liberation movement. Whether her act of rebellion was truly the first in the rioting is debatable, although she was "almost indubitably among the first to be violent," writes David Carter in "Stonewall," his 2004 book about the police raid on a New York gay bar that became a historic moment.

Pilot in New York chopper crash not certified for bad weather: FAA

The helicopter pilot killed when his chopper crash-landed atop a midtown Manhattan skyscraper in showers and fog was not licensed to fly the aircraft in bad weather, the Federal Aviation Administration said on Tuesday. Tim McCormack, the pilot, was the only person aboard when the helicopter slammed onto the roof of the 50-story office tower on Monday afternoon with enough force to jolt employees of the finance and law firms housed on the floors below.

Americans' perception of LGBTQ rights under federal law largely incorrect: Reuters/Ipsos

Almost half of all Americans incorrectly believe that federal law protects lesbian, gay and bisexual people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released this week. A month ago, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, which would codify anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in areas such as healthcare and housing into federal law.