Category:  News

Gay chamber fetes ‘perfect’ firms

imageThe Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce held its Wow Wednesday last week to fete a handful of Atlanta-based companies that get it right when it comes to equality.

The Nov. 12 event celebrated companies headquartered locally that scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's recent Corporate Equality Index, including Cox Enterprises/Cox Communications, ING North American Insurance, Newell Rubbermaid, SunTrust Banks and United Parcel Service. Other Georgia companies that scored a 100 include Alston & Bird, ChoicePoint, Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Powell Goldstein, and Troutman Sanders. Read more about the report.

View the Project Q Atlanta photo album from the event. (Photos by Lynn McStatts/Personal Paparazzi ATL and courtesy AGLCC.)

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Calif. court urged to review Proposition 8

California’s attorney general is urging the state’s high court to take up lawsuits challenging a recently approved constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage in the state.

In his reply to four lawsuits filed against the measure, known as Proposition 8, Attorney General Jerry Brown on Monday called on the California Supreme Court to review the measure’s constitutionality.

“The profound importance of the issues raised by Proposition 8 warrants that this matter be reviewed and promptly resolved by the California Supreme Court,” Brown said.    READ MORE »

Admirals, generals back ‘don’t ask’ repeal

More than 100 retired generals and admirals called Monday for repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays so they can serve openly, according to a statement obtained by The Associated Press.

The move by the military veterans confronts the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama with a thorny political and cultural issue that dogged former President Bill Clinton early in his administration.

"As is the case with Great Britain, Israel, and other nations that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, our service members are professionals who are able to work together effectively despite differences in race, gender, religion, and sexuality," the officers wrote.    READ MORE »

Gay marriages begin in Connecticut

During an exuberant shopping expedition three years ago, Peg Oliveira made a spontaneous proposal in an aisle of Ikea, blurting, “Marry me!” to her partner, Jennifer Vickery.

Last fall, long before the Connecticut Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, the couple became formally engaged, with Ms. Oliveira explaining that she “wanted there to be a moment when we each consciously chose to be together for the rest of our lives.”

On Wednesday morning, with their 3-month-old daughter, Willow, in tow, Ms. Oliveira and Ms. Vickery became one of Connecticut’s first same-sex couples to wed, in a chilly breeze outside City Hall here. Surrounded by journalists and a few friends, they exchanged rings and shared the Ikea story during their vows, along with a slow, tender kiss.    READ MORE »

Rallies in Atlanta set for Saturday

imageIt’s been four years since gay marriage was a contentious issue in Georgia, but the hot button affair becomes front and center again on Saturday.

At least two events are planned in Atlanta as part of a national day of action through Join the Impact, a grassroots group that formed in the wake of the passage of Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex unions that California voters approved Nov. 4.

A rally is set for 1:30 p.m. at the State Capitol followed by a candlelight vigil at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue at 5 p.m. There is also an event in Athens at 1:30 p.m.

There's more after the jump.    READ MORE »

Calif. marriage defeat feeds gay infighting

California’s gay-rights movement has been beset by infighting and finger-pointing since the defeat of gay marriage at the ballot box, with some activists questioning the campaign’s mild tactics, including the decision not to show same-sex couples in ads.

The movement’s leaders “were very timid. They were too soft,” said Robin Tyler, a lesbian comic who created a series of celebrity public service announcements with the slogan “Stop the Hate, No on 8″ that were rejected because they were deemed too negative. “We were lightweights on our side.”

Proposition 8, a measure to stop gay marriage in California, passed with 52 percent of the vote last week in a painful defeat for gay rights activists. The ban overrode a California Supreme Court ruling last spring that allowed 18,000 same-sex couples to tie the knot over the past four months.


Manhunt makes moves against STDs

In an effort to combat the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, the online gay hookup site has hired an employee from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as starting a microsite promoting healthy sexual behavior.

David Novak -- who will leave his STD-prevention position at the CDC next month -- will serve as Manhunt's senior public health strategist and will oversee sexual health-related issues pertaining to the website. Manhunt already launched a microsite,, to address the needs of its members, many of whom pay around $30 a month to post profiles that advertise for sex partners.    READ MORE »

Gay couples to start to marry in Conn.

While there's anger and recriminations in California's gay-rights movement after voters there banned same-sex marriage, gay couples in Connecticut are at the opposite extreme: They're getting ready to exchange vows.

Superior Court Judge Jonathan Silbert has scheduled a hearing Wednesday morning to enter the final judgment in the case that allows same-sex marriages in Connecticut. Once entered, couples can pick up marriage license forms at town and city clerk's offices, and some plan get married immediately afterward.    READ MORE »

Activists rethink tactics after four losses

The fight over gay marriage is not over in California, or anywhere else in the U.S. Street protests dragged into the weekend in Los Angeles and other Golden State cities, and legal challenges are already asking the California Supreme Court to overturn the Nov. 4 statewide vote that made same-sex marriage in California not only illegal but unconstitutional.

On Sunday, gay-marriage supporters got an unexpected boost from Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The term-limited governor had always opposed the amendment but had not campaigned against it or come out in support of gay marriage. "They should never give up," he said on CNN, referring to proponents of gay marriage. "They should be on it and on it until they get it done."

He called the Election Day vote against same-sex marriage "unfortunate, obviously, but it's not the end. I think that we will again maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that, and then move forward from there and again lead in that area."    READ MORE »

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.


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 »