Wisconsin has finally decided to appeal the ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban, the AP reports:
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled on June 6 that the ban, approved by voters in 2006, was a violation of gay couples' equal protection and due process rights. More than 500 same-sex couples got married in the state before Crabb put her ruling on hold a week later, pending the expected appeal from Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.
The case now heads to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
Wisconsin had until July 21 to file an appeal but decided to do it now to keep pace with Indiana's which is also at the 7th Circuit, and has been expedited.
Michael Johnson made international headlines earlier this year after being arrested for allegedly engaging in bareback sex with a number of partners and surreptitiously recording the encounters. Johnson, a 22 year old college student from Missouri, is HIV positive and is being accused of having withheld that information from his partners, a felony in Missouri.
Initial coverage of Johnson’s arrest focused heavily on the story of a predatory, HIV-positive man knowingly endangering the lives of unwitting men, but Buzzfeed’s lengthy dive into Johnson’s life and the circumstances surrounding his arrest paint a complex picture of racial politics, poz phobia, and the consequences of entire community’s sex-negativity.
Writes Steven Thrasher:
"Indeed, the community around Johnson — his sexual partners, many of his fellow students, and his university — turned a blind eye to HIV until it had the perfect scapegoat: a gay, hypersexual, black wrestler with learning disabilities who went by the nickname Tiger Mandingo."
Johnson, who has been diagnosed as dyslexia and is profoundly illiterate, was a student at Lindenwood University with a help of a wrestling scholarship. For Johnson, writes Thrasher, his body was both a vehicle to academic opportunity and a means for him to explore Missouri’s ball culture, competing in a number of pageants.
From his experiences wrestling and walking Johnson would come adopt a constructed identity, Tiger Mandingo, that in many ways lies at the heart of his story. Tiger Mandingo, a combined reference to a lucky t-shirt and the sex of pervasive cultural stereotypes concerning black male sexuality, came to be the monicker Johnson used across a number of his social media presences. Its ubiquitousness, Thrasher explains, very much influenced the narrative that followed Johnson’s arrest.
"[N]o one presents themselves exactly the same way on LinkedIn as they might on Grindr or Facebook. But there is perhaps no better word than “Mandingo” to encapsulate how black male sexuality, especially regarding interracial sex, has historically been criminal (and always been suspect) in America.
There’s a racial dynamic to who is prosecuted for exposing others to the virus and how they are sentenced, research shows. A study published in the journal AIDS and Behavior, looked at 10 years of HIV prosecutions in Nashville. It found that “Persons who were black were more likely to be convicted of criminal HIV exposure related to a sexual interaction than persons who were white,” and that “individuals who were black received significantly longer sentences than those who were white.”
Rather than targeting the virtually non-existent HIV prevention programs in place at Lindenwood, the St. Charles Police Department's gross misconduct in handling the case, Thrasher explains, Johnson’s community seems concerned solely with demonizing him for his actions.
Glee actor Chris Colfer recently stopped by The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to discuss his Twitter account getting hacked, the publication of his third book, his drowsy purchase of suggestively shaped corkscrews and meeting Hilary Clinton at a book signing.
He also stuck around to play a rousing round of Charades with Halle Berry.
Watch his interview and the games AFTER THE JUMP…
Conservative talking head Elisabeth Hasselbeck recently called into Fox News chat show Fox & Friends to discuss the leftover beef she has with her former The View co-host and frenemy Rosie O’Donnell.
Hasselbeck and O’Donnell used to regularly butt heads, and now that O’Donnell has returned to the show, Hasselbeck has some words:
“Talk about not securing the border! Here comes into The View the very woman who spit in the face of our military, spit in the face of her own network and really in the face of a person who stood by her and had civilized debate for the time that she was there, coming back with a bunch of control ready to regain a seat at The View Table. Not surprising…”
Hasselbeck claims that O’Donnell took credit for producing a recent episode of The View that bid adieu to beloved long-time co-hostess Barbara Walters, and that O’Donnell actually intended the episode as her own return to the popular daytime talk show.
Hasselbeck continued by saying that that whoever else joins the show as a roundtable regular will likely be chosen by O’Donnell herself. Rumor is that the show is eyeing Abby Huntsman, Meghan McCain, and Margaret Hoover as possible conservative co-hosts.
Joy Behar, another former co-hostess of The View recently denounced Hasselbeck's comments about O'Donnell as "hate-filled."
Hear Hasselbeck’s beef and Behar's response AFTER THE JUMP…
KSFY reports that late last Thursday night, Minneapolis-based Lawyer Joshua Newville (pictured) filed a request with the state of South Dakota to resolve the state's gay marriage ban in a different way. In lieu of the current lawsuit going to trial, Newville argues that the judge should bypass the trial and declare the marriage ban unconstitutional.
Newville emphasizes both the importance of fast action for families whose fate hangs in the balance, and legal precedence — he points out that: "Of the 22 or 23 cases that have been decided in the last year, the vast majority of them have been decided this way [by a judge]."
The court has 21 days to reply to Newville's request.
For video of Newville's comments, as well as those of South Dakotans, check out the video via KSFY embedded AFTER THE JUMP...
Filmmaker and activist Ryan James Yezak has organized the second annual National Gay Blood Drive, scheduled to take place this Friday. Yezak first became interested in creating the drive after being denied the opportunity to speak to to the Food and Drug Administration about the ban on blood donated by men who have sex with other men for his upcoming documentary Second Class Citizens.
“The ban perpetuates inaccurate stereotypes and a negative stigma about the gay male population.” Yezak said in a press release. “The policy is outdated, and as a result, otherwise eligible gay and bisexual men are unable to contribute to the nation’s blood supply and help save lives.”
Despite last year’s blood drive focused on drawing support from gay and bisexual male communities Yezak was surprised to see overwhelming support from lesbians and heterosexual allies alike. Inspired, he’s decided to expand the Gay Blood Drive’s presence into 60 cities around the country this year:
“This year, the drive’s goal is to get everyone involved – including our ally donors – to speak with a collective voice. Eligible allies can donate in place of the gay and bisexual men who cannot so that we not only raise awareness about the ban but also help contribute to the more than 41,000 blood donations needed every day.”
Watch the promotional video for this year’s blood drive AFTER THE JUMP...