Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/11/05)

March protests proposed ban on gay marriage
by: Elvia Díaz

An estimated 200 people, many of them religious leaders, took to the streets Monday to voice opposition to a proposed state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Dubbing their campaign No Longer Silent, the group marched from downtown Phoenix to the state Capitol to coincide with Gov. Janet Napolitano's unveiling of her legislative priorities for 2005.

Backed by conservative activists, state lawmakers will consider a bill to place the proposed ban on the 2006 ballot. A senator had scheduled the matter for consideration Wednesday but on Monday scratched it from a committee agenda. The issue will be considered later in the session.


Gay rights bill advances
By Ray Long and Christi Parsons, Tribune staff reporters. Tribune staff reporter Erika Slife contributed to this report

SPRINGFIELD -- For the first time ever, the Illinois Senate approved a controversial measure Monday that would ban discrimination against gays and lesbians in matters of housing and employment, clearing a long-standing hurdle to passage and inspiring one key sponsor to proclaim a victory for "fundamental freedom."

With only two days left in the term of the outgoing General Assembly, the Senate sent the House the proposal under pressure from Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago), Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the governor's sister-in-law, gay activist Deborah Mell.

Senators passed the bill 30-27, with one member voting present.


Point Foundation gives award to Texas senior expelled for being gay

by: www.advocate.com

The Point Foundation, a national nonprofit that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender college and graduate students, has awarded an academic honorarium to James Barnett, the 18-year-old honor student who was expelled in December from Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, Texas, in the greater Dallas metropolitan area. (Read The Advocate's interview with Barnett by clicking here.)

After Trinity Christian administrators discovered Barnett was gay and hosting My-Boi.com, a supportive Web site for GLBT youths, school officials reportedly outed him to his parents, who agreed to withdraw him from the academy at the school's request, Barnett said. His parents then threatened to withhold financial support for college in the fall, Barnett added, if he did not agree to go to a college in Texas. Barnett hopes to attend school out of state.

The amount of the Point Foundation award will be determined after a financial review in the spring, the foundation said in a press release. "We are pleased to present this honorarium to James, an outstanding student turned away simply because of his sexual orientation," Vance Lancaster, executive director of the Point Foundation, said in the written statement. "This is a sadly common and very real example of why Point Foundation scholarships are necessary."


Arizona Gay Murder Trial To Begin

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

The trial of a self-styled White Supremist charged in the killing of a gay man is set to begin today in Tucson.

On June 12, 2002 Philip Walsted, 24, was robbed and murdered in downtown Tucson, Arizona. Walsted, an openly gay man, had been beaten with a baseball bat in what was months later determined to be a hate crime.

David Higdon, arrested and charged with first degree murder has been incarcerated for over two years. In that time, he has been charged along with other inmates of criminal conspiracy to take over the jail in a white supremacist plot. This past June, Higden pled guilty to aggravated assault against another inmate and was sentenced to 2 years in prison.


Bill Could Ban Gay News From Virginia Libraries

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Richmond, Virginia) Two bills that would require any public library that receives state funds to install filtering software on its computers could result in a ban on sites providing gay community news and information.

The lawmakers who have proposed the legislation say it is necessary to protect children from unwittingly stumbling across pornography while using the Internet at their local libraries.

The House bill's sponsor, Del. Samuel Nixon, Jr. (R-Chesterfield) unveiled his bill at a press conference for the conservative Family Foundation. Nixon is also a backer of a state constitutional ban on same-sex civil unions. The Senate bill was filed by Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg).


Clue To Origin Of HIV May Offer New Insight To Treatments

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(London) British scientists have uncovered an important clue to understanding the origins of the AIDS epidemic. The work suggests that harnessing natural mechanisms of resistance to HIV infection might provide new methods for combating AIDS.

The research team at the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research pinpointed crucial differences in a gene found in rhesus monkeys that can prevent HIV infection, and its human counterpart, that cannot.

The differences indicate that HIV infection would not have become established in the human population if the form of the gene present in certain monkeys had also been present in humans. More importantly, the studies reveal that only a single change to the human gene is needed to enable it to interfere with the replication process of the HIV virus and prevent infection.


Iowa Supreme Court to Hear Lesbian 'Divorce' Case

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Des Moines, Iowa) The Iowa Supreme Court this week will hear a challenge to the granting of a dissolution of a civil union to two lesbians by a lower court judge more than a year ago.

The "divorce" had been granted to Kimberly Brown and Jennifer Perez. The Sioux City women had a civil union in Vermont in 2002 in Bolton, Vt. and then returned to Sioux City to live.

Neither of the women contested the dissolution, and Woodbury County District Judge Jeffrey Neary in November 2003 granted their petition.


Gay African American Students Hold First National Conference

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Washington) Gay African American university students will hold their first ever national meeting over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend.

Called the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students of Color National Summit, it will take place at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

The conference was organized with the help of the United States Student Association Foundation.


Gay Servicemembers Seeking Help Hit New High

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Washington) An organization that provides legal advice to gays and lesbians in the military said Tuesday that it received a record 1025 requests for assistance in 2004, up from 991 similar requests in 2003.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network also said that the number of gays being drummed out of the military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” despite a shortage of troops in Iraq and Afganistan.

“Service members continue to report to SLDN that they face a hostile military environment rife with anti-gay harassment and discrimination,” said SLDN Executive Director C. Dixon Osburn.


Oregon Gov. Calls For Anti-Homophobia Law

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Salem, Oregon) Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski is calling for gay civil rights legislation to outlaw discrimination against gays and lesbians.

In his "state-of-the-state" address to a joint session of the Legislature Monday Kulongoski said he would submit a bill this year to "defend social justice, tolerance and diversity."

The speech marked the opening of the 2005 session of the Legislature.


Democrats must seize faith issue, judge says

by: Stan Bailey

MONTGOMERY - Democrats must reclaim the faith issue from Republicans if they want to win elections again in Alabama, the state's only Democrat appellate judge told several dozen members of the Montgomery County Democratic Party here Monday night.

"We have conceded the area of faith without a fight," said Judge Sue Bell Cobb, who has served on the state Court of Criminal Appeals since 1994 and will be up for election again in 2006. "We must regain the high ground in the arena of faith."

Cobb, who also has been mentioned as a possible candidate for chief justice in 2006, said Democrats can take the homosexual marriage issue "off the table" because many Democrats as well as Republicans favor a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Supporting the gay marriage ban would be only part of the answer, however, Cobb said.

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