Former San Diego man wins spousal survivor benefits case

OAKLAND, California -- A gay widower, a former San Diego resident, has won his legal battle to collect spousal survivor benefits.

Darryl Kapple -- the widower of James Bland, who worked for the Department of the Navy -- had initially been denied spousal survivor benefits. But Chief Administrative Judge Benjamin Gutman of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board on Jan. 16 overturned the denial.

Kapple and Bland met in 2003 and became a couple, holding a commitment ceremony in San Diego the same year.

California: WeHo requires gender-neutral restrooms

WEST HOLLYWOOD, California -- West Hollywood has a new law that is winning praise from the transgender community.

Starting Thursday, single-stall restrooms in public places must become gender-neutral. The law will require businesses and restaurants to make separate men and women restrooms accessible to everyone.

“It’s a pretty simple fix. It’s just a plastic sign that we can take down and put back up,” said Maggie Crifasi of Pizza Rustica, which made the change last weekend. “Everybody here is so gay-friendly.”

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World's largest lesbian event, The Dinah, turns 25

PALM SPRINGS, California -- LGBT groups all over the globe have spent many years creating events that support our community. Few things compare to the Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs – the largest lesbian event in the world -- which will celebrate its 25th anniversary April 1-5.

California launches ethics inquiry of NOM and its major donors

SACRAMENTO, California -- The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has verified to Fred Karger that it will investigate the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and seven of its major donors as a result of his 35-page complaint filed late last year. NOM is the largest anti-LGBT organization in the country.

Supreme Court faced gay rights decision in 1958 over "obscene" magazine ONE

LOS ANGELES, California -- The road to gay rights at the U.S. Supreme Court began not in San Francisco or New York, but in a small downtown Los Angeles office, where volunteer writers and editors in 1953 launched a new "magazine for homosexuals."

ONE, as it was called, offered thoughtful articles, defiant editorials and none of the racy photos or sex ads often found in the gay press. "The first issue was sold in bars in the Los Angeles area for 25 cents, about the price of a draft beer," said Michael C. Oliveira, an archivist at the magazine's archives housed at the USC Library.

California: Transgender woman charged with attempted murder in "Mrs. Doubtfire" house fire

SAN FRANCISCO, California -- A transgender woman from Los Angeles has been charged with attempted murder in connection with the arson fire at the "Mrs. Doubtfire" house in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood.

Tyqwon Welch, 25, was arrested Wednesday in San Jose, according to media reports, and is now behind bars in a men's facility at a San Francisco County Jail, according to authorities. Bail was set at $2 million.

California: LGBT community welcomes new San Jose mayor

SAN JOSE, California -- South Bay residents are heralding the inauguration of Sam Liccardo as San Jose's 65th mayor as a sea change in relations between City Hall and the LGBT community.

After battling the previous mayor, Chuck Reed, for the past eight years over his refusal to back same-sex marriage, many LGBT residents had turned a cold shoulder to him. In contrast, even before he took his oath of office Jan. 1, Liccardo had signed on to the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry initiative, upholding a campaign pledge.

San Francisco police investigating arson at "Mrs. Doubtfire" home

SAN FRANCISCO, California -- Someone set two small fires at the "Mrs. Doubtfire" home in San Francisco, made famous by the film starring Robin Williams, and police are investigating a former patient of the homeowner as a possible suspect.

California: Gay man to lead state's employment and housing department

SACRAMENTO, California -- A gay civil rights lawyer has been selected by California Governor Jerry Brown to head the troubled state Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Brown announced the appointment of Kevin Kish, 38, of Los Angeles, in a news release last week. LGBT advocates expressed confidence in Kish's ability to lead the department, which aims to protect people against unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, and from hate violence. The agency has faced controversy for some internal issues.

BREAKING! California Sen. Barbara Boxer won't run for re-election

Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from California, today announced that she would not seek re-election.

Boxer is in the midst of her fourth term in the U.S. Senate, and her early announcement allows Democrats plenty of time to find a candidate to retain the seat. Republicans just took over control of the Senate, but will face numerous challenges in the 2016 election to hold on to that majority.

The Senator made her announcement in a charming YouTube video in which she allowed one of her grandchildren to "interview" her about her decision.

Check out the video below.

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