Category:  News

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 »

AIDS Walk Atlanta draws thousands

imageThousands of people joined the 18th Annual AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run on Sunday, hoping to raise $1 million for nine beneficiaries that work with people affected by HIV.

Some 9,000 people walked — dozens even ran — the route that began on 10th Street and stretched through Midtown with the theme “Every Life Deserves Hope.”

The annual walk benefits AID Atlanta, which stages the event, and eight other organizations including AIDGwinnett, AIDS Alliance for Faith and Health, Aniz, Home But Not Alone, Jerusalem House, Positive Impact, Project Open Hand and SisterLove.    READ MORE »

Mormon calendar maker loses diploma

Brigham Young University has yanked the diploma of a man who created a calendar featuring shirtless Mormon missionaries and was later excommunicated from the church.

Chad Hardy of Las Vegas attended graduation ceremonies Aug. 15 after finishing up his last four units of study online in June. But on July 13, in between completing his studies and the graduation ceremony, he was excommunicated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A Sept. 30 letter from Norman B. Finlinson, the school's executive director of student academic and advisement services, said a nonacademic hold was placed on Hardy's record after the church-owned university learned of the excommunication.    READ MORE »

Lawmakers want trans suit dropped

imageA trio of Georgia lawmakers wants a federal judge to drop a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee who says she was fired after announcing her gender transition.

Vandiver Elizabeth Glenn (photo) argues she was fired from her position as a legislative editor last year when the lawmakers learned of her transition from male to female, according to Southern Voice. She named House Speaker Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram), Senate President Pro-Tempore Eric Johnson (R-Savannah), Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, lawyer Sewell Brumby and Robyn Underwood, the state’s legislative financial officer, in her lawsuit.

There's more after the jump.    READ MORE »

Atlanta police sued by HIV-poz recruit

A man is suing the Atlanta Police Department, charging that he was secretly tested for HIV and dumped when the department discovered he is HIV-positive.

The man filed a federal lawsuit that also alleges that Atlanta police have a policy of not hiring people with HIV, though the department says that's not true. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, though, says internal police documents appear to contradict the department's claim.

There's more after the jump.    READ MORE »

Soulforce activists arrested at Ala. campus

Three gay rights activists were arrested for trespassing at a Christian university on Friday after attempting to deliver letters advocating for the acceptance of LGBT students. The activists, all women, are affiliated with Soulforce's Equality Ride, which is touring university campuses across the South this fall to promote religious tolerance of gay students.

The Equality Riders met with one student during their stop at Heritage Christian University in Florence, Ala., who described the atmosphere on campus as a "homophobic panic." Faculty and students had been warned by school administrators not to communicate with the Riders.    READ MORE »

Village People surface in Miss. campaign

A tight race for Trent Lott's old U.S. Senate seat is getting nasty, with the Republican incumbent slamming his Democratic challenger in a television ad that uses actors dressed like the Village People to represent a gay rights group.

Republican Roger Wicker and Democratic former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove are longtime friends who shared an apartment while serving together in the state Legislature. They're competing in a Nov. 4 special election to fill the final four years of Lott's term in heavily Republican Mississippi.

Lott retired last December to become a lobbyist, and Republican Gov. Haley Barbour moved Wicker from the U.S. House to replace him temporarily.    READ MORE »

Suze Orman: No on Proposition 8

Financial expert and best-selling author Suze Orman has come out publicly against Florida's Amendment 2, which if passed by voters next month, would constitutionally ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state.

Orman -- who is gay and hosts a financial advice show on CNBC -- warned that Amendment 2 would have far-reaching effects for unmarried couples and seniors, as well as gays and lesbians. Pension and health care benefits could be eliminated for these groups should Amendment 2 pass.    READ MORE »

Black gay couples fall behind on earnings

As Californians prepare to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in the state a new study shows a wide gap between the incomes of same-sex African American couples and straight black couples.

The study, by the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles, found there are approximately 55,000 lesbian, gay, and bisexual black adults living in California and the state is home to 7,400 black men and women in same-sex relationships.

At 9 percent, it makes California home to the second-largest percentage of the nation’s coupled black men and women.

The study also shows that nearly 55 percent of black women and 11 percent of back men in same-sex couples in California are raising children.

But when compared to opposite-sex black families, gay families have far lower incomes.    READ MORE »

Is Gavin Newsom a tool for marriage ban?

Gavin Newsom has always played a starring role in the same-sex marriage debate, but in recent weeks that role has turned decidedly unheroic.

The mayor has become the reluctant face of the campaign opposing same-sex unions with the help of a prominent Yes-on-Proposition-8 television ad. Conservative blogs have been atwitter about Newsom last week officiating at the wedding of a lesbian teacher whose class of first-graders took a field trip to celebrate with her.

In many ways, Newsom has become the single best campaign tool for proponents of Prop. 8 - and that might have been inevitable, political experts said.    READ MORE »

Ellen tapes new ad for ‘No on Prop. 8’

Ellen DeGeneres has stepped up her participation in the No on Prop. 8 campaign by recording a TV ad asking voters to oppose the proposed antigay constitutional amendment.

Patrick Guerriero, campaign director for No on 8, made that announcement during a phone conference with LGBT press on Tuesday.

"She's filmed an ad that could be used in ways that we'll determine over the next day or so. Certainly you'll see it on the Web and virally, and potentially on TV," said Guerriero, who read a transcript that he said is close to the finished product.    READ MORE »

Radio jocks claim Magic Johnson faking

Magic Johnson has criticized a pair of talk show hosts for accusing him of faking AIDS but said he didn’t want them to be fired.

Chris Baker and Langdon Perry of KTLK in Minneapolis made the remarks during Baker’s conservative radio show last week. After Johnson condemned the statements, the station said it regretted “some offhand remarks” by the pair.

“We can’t have people out here making false statements and putting out bad information, because this battle is too big when it comes to HIV and AIDS,” Johnson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

“I poured my life into it and a lot of other people have poured their life into it, into getting out the right information so people can protect themselves and know what HIV and AIDS is all about.”    READ MORE »

Gay museum to open in West Hollywood

They read like dispatches from the controversy over Proposition 8, the current ballot initiative that would ban marriage between same-sex couples in California.

"Homosexual Marriage?" asks one magazine headline in large white type. Another takes a more aggressive approach: "Let's Push Homophile Marriage," accompanied by an illustration of muscled men in amorous poses.

But a closer look at these magazine covers reveals something rather unexpected. They were published in 1953 and 1963, respectively -- decades before same-sex marriage became a national lightning rod, let alone a rallying point for gay rights activists.

Copies of these yellowing periodicals were scheduled to go on display Saturday at the ONE Archives Gallery and Museum, a new space in West Hollywood that appears to be the first museum in Southern California solely dedicated to gay history.


McDonald’s dumps national gay chamber

After months of pressure from an anti-gay-marriage group, McDonald's Corp. has given up a director's seat and will stop sponsorship of a national gay business organization.

Richard Ellis, who until last month was vice president of communications of McDonald's USA, has resigned from the board of directors of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, franchisees were told in a Sept. 23 memo.

McDonald's USA, which had made a $20,000 donation to the chamber and became a 2008 chamber sponsor, said it would not sponsor the organization in 2009.    READ MORE »

Orlando mayor: Vote no on Amendment 2

On the 10th anniversary of the murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard and a few weeks before Floridians vote on an amendment to restrict gay rights, Orlando's "Come Out With Pride" event Sunday was as much about self-preservation as pride.

Emotional pleas from the parents of slain gay men were followed by emotional pleas from political activists to defeat Amendment 2, which would put a ban against gay marriage into the Florida Constitution. Opponents say it would also jeopardize domestic-partner benefits for unmarried couples.

"I don't want to beat it by 40 percent. I want to show the majority of Floridians are against the discrimination that Amendment 2 represents," said state Rep. Scott Randolph.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer also voiced his opposition to Amendment 2, which requires 60 percent of the vote to win.

"It's two weeks and two days before the election. We need to work hard to defeat Amendment 2," said Dyer, who was a week off in his countdown to the Nov. 4 general election.    READ MORE »

Marriage ruling not end to debate in Conn.

The marriage debate in Connecticut is not over.

Now that the Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled same-sex couples have the right to wed, opponents of gay marriage are pinning their hopes on an infrequent ballot question in a longshot bid to block the unions.

Every 20 years, voters can force a convention during which delegates can rewrite the entire constitution. It’s a long, painstaking process that could cost millions and, by coincidence, it’s on the ballot this November.    READ MORE »

Conn. Supreme Court OKs gay unions


The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry, making the state the third in the U.S. that allows gay unions.

The 4-3 ruling says that gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry under the state constitution, and Connecticut's civil unions law does not provide those couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.    READ MORE »

Poll: Marriage bans gain ground in FL, CA

New polls in both Florida and California show that support for constitutional amendments barring same-sex marriage is gaining strength.

In Florida, a Mason-Dixon poll found that 55 percent of likely voters supported the gay-marriage amendment, while 34 percent were against it. Eleven percent were undecided.    READ MORE »

Potty bust revisited: Day Three

A Clayton County prosecutor now says she's ready to move forward with a potty sex case arising from an arrest at the Atlanta airport. No matter that the case sat stagnant since Ed Wall's arrest in March 2007 until media reports this week that Wall was hired by Clayton County for financial advice.

There's more after the jump.    READ MORE »