Names in the news, March 9

Posted March 08, 2012, at 4:55 p.m.

When country musician Chely Wright came out as a lesbian, radio stations stopped playing her songs, record sales dropped and venues stopped booking her. Despite the challenges she’s faced over the past two years, the performer known for hits such as “Single White Female” and “Shut Up and Drive” has no regrets, and she wants to help others facing similar challenges.

LIKEME Organization, a nonprofit group Wright started, is opening a community center in Kansas City, Mo., this weekend that will serve as a place for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their families and friends to meet. The location was chosen, in part, because Wright grew up 40 miles away, in Wellsville, Kan. “This just gives so much hope to these outlying areas, that your major metropolitan area has a gay and lesbian center,” said the 41-year-old Wright, who married LGBT activist Lauren Blitzer last summer. The center will be called the LIKEME Lighthouse. … Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says marijuana should be legalized and treated like alcohol because the government’s war on drugs has failed. The outspoken evangelical Christian and host of “The 700 Club” on the Christian Broadcasting Network said the war on drugs is costing taxpayers billions of dollars. He said people should not be sent to prison for marijuana possession. The 81-year-old became a self-proclaimed “hero of the hippie culture” in 2010 when he called for ending mandatory prison sentences for marijuana possession convictions. “I just think it’s shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had possession of a very small amount of a controlled substance,” Robertson said on his show March 1. “The whole thing is crazy.” Robertson’s support for legalizing pot appeared in a New York Times story Thursday.

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