Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/19/05)

Louisiana Supreme Court OK's Gay Marriage Amendment
by The Associated Press

(New Orleans, Louisiana) The Louisiana Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated the anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in September.

Without dissent, the high court reversed a state district judge's ruling in October striking down the amendment on the grounds that it violated a provision of the state constitution requiring that an amendment cover only one subject.

"Each provision of the amendment is germane to the single object of defense of marriage and constitutes an element of the plan advanced to achieve this object," the high court said.

Opposing Anti-Gay Amendments Had Little Effect On Incumbents

by Paul Johnson Washington Bureau Chief

(Washington) State lawmakers who opposed constitutional bans on same-sex marriage fared extraordinarily well at the polls even though all the states where the proposed amendments were on the ballot voted to bar gay marriage a new national poll shows.

The survey released Wednesday by the Human Rights Campaign and the Equality Federation is almost identical to a smaller survey of five key states that was released last week. (story)

The HRC found that only 1.7 percent of 640 legislators in 28 states, including Massachusetts where gay marriage became legal last year, were voted out of office because they opposed measures banning marriage for same-sex couples.

1,800 Mile Walk For AIDS

by Steph Smith Chicago Bureau

(Chicago, Illinois) A Fort Myers, Florida man is walking to Chicago. Axel Javier set off on Monday saying "I don't think of it as 1,800 miles, I think of it as one step at a time."

The 32-year-old AIDS activist said he hopes to meet with show host Oprah Winfrey and appear on her TV show to spread his message of AIDS awareness.

This isn't his first AIDS trek, but it's his longest.

'I'm Not Gay' Florida Attorney General Declares

by Fidel Ortega Miami Bureau

(Tampa, Florida) The man fighting to preserve Florida's anti-gay adoption law is battling a widely circulating rumor that he is gay himself.

Attorney General Charlie Crist took the unusual step this week of calling a popular Tampa radio show to deny the rumor as he prepares to announce his candidacy for Governor.

It was clear from the onset that the call to WQYK-FM had been prearranged.

Lawyer In Landmark Gay Partner Ruling Dies

by Mary Ellen Peterson San Francisco Bureau

(San Francisco, California) Robert Lazo, the lawyer who won the landmark California ruling that the surviving partners of gays and lesbians who die as a result of a crime can sue for wrongful death, has died of cancer. He was 41.

Remembered as a soft-spoken yet passionate attorney whose interests included jazz and science fiction movies, Lazo was the founder of San Francisco's Employment Lawyers' Group.

His most famous case was the wrongful death suit brought by Sharon Smith. Smith's partner, Dianne Whipple was fatally mauled by neighbors' dogs outside their Pacific Heights apartment four years ago.

Judicial Review Sought In No Makeup No Job Ruling

by Newscenter Staff

(San Francisco, California) The full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has been asked to review a ruling that upheld the firing of a woman who refused to wear makeup at work.

Last month, a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court said that the woman had not been treated unfairly. (story)

In August 2000, Darlene Jespersen was fired from her position as a bartender at Harrah's Casino in Reno, Nevada, after the company enacted a new dress code, called the "Personal Best" program, requiring all women in the beverage department to wear makeup, specified as foundation or powder, blush, lipstick and mascara, applied precisely the same way every day to match a photograph held by the supervisor.

Gay TV Campaign Targets Bush Inauguration

by Newscenter Staff

(Washington) A new television ad campaign has been launched to coincide with President Bush's inauguration Thursday.

The ads, by the Human Rights Campaign underscores inconsistencies in what President Bush has said and what he has done regarding equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans during his first term. Asking "What will he do in the next four years?"

"We have seen two faces of George W. Bush in the last several months, and are wondering which one will take the oath of office on Thursday," said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg.

PFLAG Names New National Leader
by Newscenter Staff

(Washington) Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays announced on Tuesday that it had selected Jody Michael Huckaby to be its new executive director.

The announcement concludes a six-month search process by PFLAG's search committee, which reviewed the qualifications of more than sixty applicants.

"Under Jody's leadership, we know PFLAG will grow and prosper as an outstanding advocate of equality for our GLBT family members and loved ones," said Samuel Thoron, PFLAG's President. "In addition to his extensive qualifications, Jody brings a passionate commitment to our values, vision and mission."


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