Category:  News

N.Y. eyes gay marriage legislation

Even as voters in California banned same-sex marriage in a tight referendum, Tuesday's election opened the door for the same debate in New York.

The pending shift in state Senate control away from Republicans removes one clear obstacle to legalizing gay marriage in New York, though opponents aren't conceding anything yet and advocates say they have work to do.    READ MORE »

Calif. marriage ban creates uncertainty

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets Thursday over California's new ban on gay marriage, amid deepening political turmoil and legal confusion over who should have the right to wed.

Legal experts said it is unclear whether an attempt by gay-rights activists to overturn the prohibition has any chance of success, and whether the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed in California over the past four months are in any danger.

California voters Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment disallowing gay marriage. The measure, which won 52 percent approval, overrides a California Supreme Court ruling last May that briefly gave same-sex couples the right to wed.    READ MORE »

Obama may benefit rights museum

The planned Center for Civil & Human Rights in downtown Atlanta might receive a boost from the election of the nation's first African-American president.

The gay-inclusive center, set to open in 2011 at Centennial Olympic Park, could benefit from Obama's election as it works to raise $125 million in private dollars for construction, center officials told the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The center's director, Doug Shipman, has said that the center will include gay and lesbian issues in "a couple of different places."

There's more after the jump.    READ MORE »

Melissa Etheridge: No more taxes

How mad is Melissa Etheridge about California's rejection of gay marriage? Mad enough to withhold her taxes.

The rocker, married five years to actress Tammy Lynn Michaels, posted a fiery blog Thursday about the passage of Proposition 8, which limits marriage to heterosexual couples.    READ MORE »

Gay protests continue in Los Angeles

Outside the gates of a Mormon temple, Kai Cross joined more than 2,000 gay-rights advocates in a chorus of criticism of the church’s role in a new statewide ban on same-sex marriage.

Once a devout Mormon who graduated from Brigham Young University, the 41-year-old Cross was disowned by his family and his church after he was outed as a gay man in 2001.

“They are on the losing side of history,” Cross said Thursday of the church’s opposition to gay marriage. Cross and other protesters blame leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for encouraging Mormons to funnel millions of dollars into television ads and mailings in favor of Proposition 8.

The ballot measure passed Tuesday, which was sponsored by a coalition of religious and social conservative groups, amends the California Constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual act. It overrides a state Supreme Court ruling that briefly gave same-sex couples the right to wed.

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Four gay bills may await new Congress

Three key gay bills currently before Congress — the Matthew Shepard Hate Crime Act, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — are likely to die when the current session ends, leaving it up to the new Congress to take them up.

The Matthew Shepard Hate Crime Act was named for the 21-year-old college student who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in Wyoming in October 1998. It would have added sexual orientation to the list of categories covered under federal hate crime law.

The bill passed the House in 2007 and the White House threatened to veto it. In an effort to get around a veto, the Senate version was tied to the 2008 defense authorization bill. It passed, but then went to conference, where it was stripped out.    READ MORE »

Many Obama supporters also back Prop. 8

Californians voted their religion, not their political party, when they pushed Proposition 8 to victory and banned same-sex marriage in the state, campaign officials and political experts said Wednesday.

With 100 percent of the state's precincts reporting, Prop. 8 leads by more than half a million votes, 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent. Experts don't expect an estimated 3 million uncounted mail and provisional ballots to alter the outcome.

"The result shows that this wasn't a partisan issue for people," said Frank Schubert, who ran the Prop. 8 campaign. "People have a strong attachment to traditional marriage, and that's the way they voted."    READ MORE »

Prop. 8 opponents file three lawsuits

After losing at the polls, gay rights supporters filed three lawsuits Wednesday asking the California Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8, an effort the measure's supporters called an attempt to subvert the will of voters.

"If they want to legalize gay marriage, what they should do is bring an initiative themselves and ask the people to approve it," said Frank Schubert, co-chairman of the Proposition 8 campaign. "But they don't. They go behind the people's back to the courts and try and force an agenda on the rest of society."

Lawyers for same-sex couples argued that the anti-gay-marriage measure was an illegal constitutional revision -- not a more limited amendment, as backers maintained -- because it fundamentally altered the guarantee of equal protection. A constitutional revision, unlike an amendment, must be approved by the Legislature before going to voters.    READ MORE »

Doraville approves trans protections

Doraville became the third metro-area city to include gender identification in its nondiscrimination statement with a unanimous vote on Nov. 3.

The city not only expanded its nondiscrimination policies to cover transgender workers, but also approved a set of policies that detail how a city employee seeking to transition genders should proceed.

The only change made to the policy before it was approved in a 6-0 vote was to require an employee provide a 30-day notice of intent to transition.    READ MORE »

Hetero bouncer wins case against gay club

A straight bouncer has been awarded damages after claiming she was being harassed while working as a bouncer at a gay club.

Sharon Legg from Bournemouth told an Employment Tribunal that she was called "straight" and "breeder" by her boss at Dream in The Triangle.

Mrs Legg was dismissed without warning after a dispute with another bouncer.    READ MORE »

City of Atlanta faces HIV-bias charges

Atlanta is generally considered a forward-thinking city with progressive elected officials, but city leaders continue to tiptoe toward the 1980s when taking certain positions on HIV and AIDS. For the second time in two years, city officials are allegedly “digging in their heels” to defend policies related to HIV/AIDS that have been discredited by science for decades.

In court papers filed this month, city officials denied that the Atlanta Police Department refused to hire an applicant because he tested positive for HIV, as alleged in a federal lawsuit. A former police recruit, who is identified in the lawsuit by the alias “Richard Roe,” claimed that in September 2006 a doctor who conducts physical examinations on behalf of the city informed him that he was HIV-positive, and that the police department does not hire HIV-positive individuals.

But a spokesperson for Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin said the man was not hired because he didn’t complete the physical, which is required for all city employees. After the applicant tested HIV-positive during the initial physical, “the physician attempted to contact the recruit several times” for a follow-up, said Franklin spokesperson Beverly Isom.

“For whatever reason, he chose not to go back to the physician,” Isom said. “He simply had to go back for a follow-up. This isn’t about HIV, this is about him [not finishing] the physical.    READ MORE »

Margin close in Calif. gay unions ban

Opposition to a ban on same-sex marriage has slipped below 50 percent in the latest Field Poll — the first time a major statewide poll has shown such a result in months — and the margin against the measure is now a scant 5 percentage points.

In its final measure of the electorate on same-sex marriage before Election Day, the poll released today shows the same-sex marriage initiative trailing with a margin greatly narrowed from a 17-point deficit in September. Completed a week before the election, amid opposing broadsides of television and radio ads, the survey found 49 percent planning to vote against the ban and 44 percent planning to vote for it, with 7 percent undecided.

But the same-sex marriage ban is winning among people who are voting early or by mail. That means it will likely pass unless there is a strong Election Day turnout of "No" voters — a fact that places the proposition's fate in the hands of supporters of Barack Obama, who tend to oppose the measure, said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll.    READ MORE »

Equality Riders arrested at Texas campus

Three members of a gay-rights group on a nationwide bus tour of faith-based universities were arrested Wednesday after going to a private campus that had banned them, officials said.

Three members of Soulforce were charged with trespassing after they tried to go to a chapel service at Southwestern Assemblies of God University, a 1,900-student Pentecostal school, according to the Waxahachie Police Department. Their bond was to be set at an arraignment Wednesday afternoon.

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Why one wedding isn’t enough for some

Daniel McNeil and Patrick Canavan joke they've been married four times -- to each other.

The "I do's" started with a Washington, D.C., church wedding in 1998. Since then, the two men, both 46 years old, have chased evolving laws across the U.S. to secure a civil union in Vermont, a domestic partnership in the District of Columbia and, in August, a marriage in California.

The serial ceremonies provoke ribbing. "My straight siblings are like: You're pandering for gifts," says Mr. Canavan, a clinical psychologist and chief executive of St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington.    READ MORE »

Rally held for beaten gay students in Wash.

Hundreds of students at the Washington State University wore red Tuesday to show support for gay students who were attacked earlier this month.

The students held a noon rally on the campus and then marched to the administration building calling for greater protections for gays at the university.

There have been no arrests in the three separate attacks.    READ MORE »

Conn. begins gay marriages next month

Officials are gearing up for the day next month when gay and lesbian couples can begin tying the knot in Connecticut.

Attorneys involved in the gay marriage case said Tuesday that couples can begin picking up marriage license applications sometime on or after Nov. 10. A judge at the New Haven Superior Court, where the case began in 2004, still must decide the precise date.

The state Supreme Court's decision allowing same-sex marriages became official Tuesday with its publication in the Connecticut Law Journal. The publication triggered a 10-day period when motions for reconsideration can be filed.    READ MORE »

Jerry Lewis still thinks you’re a ‘fag’

At a press conference in Sydney on Friday 83-year-old comedian Jerry Lewis decided to let fly with the word ‘fag’. And what’s even more shocking, a major Australian news outlet didn’t even feel the need to edit the word out before televising the interview.

While speaking with a journalist from Channel Ten News, Lewis was asked “What do you think of cricket?” His response was, “Oh cricket is a fag’s game!” Lewis then proceeded to flounce about, using camp, effeminate gestures, pretending to hold a bat with a limp wrist, squealing in a high pitched voice “Ah! The ball is coming towards me!”

He may have intended for it to be amusing, but not everyone is laughing.    READ MORE »

Marriage ban backers target businesses

Leaders of the campaign to outlaw same-sex marriage in California made an offer to businesses that have given money to the state's largest gay-rights group: Give us money or we'll publicly identify you as opponents of traditional unions

Supporters of same-sex marriage called the tactic "an attempt to extort people" and "a bit Mafioso."

ProtectMarriage.com, the umbrella group behind a ballot initiative that would overturn this year's California Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, targeted about 35 companies in the appeal, spokeswoman Sonya Eddings Brown said.

She called the letter "a frustrated response" to the intimidation felt by Proposition 8 supporters, who have had their lawn signs stolen and property vandalized in the closing days of the increasingly heated campaign.    READ MORE »

Gay marriage in peril in California

A state ballot measure to ban gay marriage in California is gaining momentum, with polls showing almost even odds of it passing after trailing by double digits a month ago.

In June, the state legalized same-sex marriages. The next month, Proposition 8, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, was put on the ballot for November. Initial polling showed that a majority of Californians were likely to vote against Proposition 8. A Sept. 18 poll by the San Francisco-based Field Poll found the measure losing 55% to 38% among likely voters.

But now the measure is favored 48% to 45% among likely voters questioned in an Oct. 17 poll by Survey USA of Verona, N.J. The poll's margin of error, four percentage points, means the results were a statistical tie.    READ MORE »

What we can learn from gay beetles

Gay sex – in beetles, at least – gives males a chance to indirectly fertilise females they may never encounter directly.

Homosexual copulations are common in insects, where they pose the same conundrum as in mammals: what evolutionary advantage, if any, might such apparently fruitless activity provide?

Over the years, biologists have proposed a range of explanations. Homosexual activity might, for example, help males practise for straight sex, or they might offer males a way to assert dominance over one another.

To test the explanations, Sara Lewis, an evolutionary ecologist at Tufts University in Boston and colleagues investigated flour beetles (Tribolium castaneum).    READ MORE »

 
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