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Equality California Sponsors Resolution Urging an End to Gay Blood Donor Ban - VIDEO

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Equality California, the largest LGBT advocacy organization in the state, has partnered with Assemblymember Richard Bloom to advance an assembly joint resolution (AJR 50) urging President Barack Obama to compel the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to introduce blood donor policies that do not discriminate against men who have had sex with other men.

Currently, the FDA prohibits men from donating blood for life if they have even once had sex with another man since 1977.

Medical organizations including the American Red Cross and the American Association for Blood Banks have called for a reevaluation and/or repeal of the policy citing its excessively broad nature and advances in blood testing.

BloomThe Williams Institute think tank estimates that an additional 130,150 men would likely donate 219,200 pints of blood each year if the ban were lifted, helping blood banks which routinely operate with a short supplies.

Bloom said:

“The FDA's archaic exclusions are both discriminatory and unwise, considering the nation’s chronic blood supply shortages. It is time for the FDA to restructure its blood donor deferral policies to reflect sound science, not outdated social prejudices.”

The resolution, which passed the Assembly Floor yesterday with a final bipartisan vote of 58-15, will now move to the Senate for consideration.

Watch a report on a blood donor protest at the University of Cincinnati's Hoxworth Blood Center last month, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Wedding Video Of The Day: Ben And Daniel Tie The Knot

Ben&Daniel

Ben and Daniel met ten years ago; now, they've tied the knot in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains, and we are lucky enough to witness just how loving and sweet they are. While the vows are epic, it is their friends and family that really show how special these two are. 

You're invited, AFTER THE JUMP...

Ben&Daniel2

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Duke Mason Announces His Run For West Hollywood City Council

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With the posting of a video on his YouTube channel, Duke Mason has officially thrown his hat in the ring for a West Hollywood City Council seat. In the new clip, Mason, the openly gay son of singer Belinda Carlisle, points to the increase in the city's rental prices (which are driving out many of the people who initially helped shape West Hollywood's identity) as just one of the motivating forces behind his run.

Says Mason in the video:

"I am grateful to be a resident of West Hollywood. We should celebrate our city's legacy. But we also need to return to our roots and use that activist spirit to build for ourselves, for our future and for the next generation. We're still West Hollywood: the same West Hollywood with the audacity to stand up, to speak out and to fight for what we believe in. We are good but we can be great again. We can be proud again."

Mason first filed papers for a possible run in July.

You can contribute to the campaign on his official website here.

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Bill Mandating Condom Use On Porn Sets Voted Down in California

SuitupThe California Senate Committee On Appropriations has voted to dismiss AB 1576, legislation that would have modified California’s Labor Code to include protections for individuals working in  the adult film industry. Specifically, AB 1576 would have required adult film actors to wear condoms on set, a move that Assemblyman Isadore Hall III argues would have contributed to safer work environments.

“AB 1576 wouldn’t have changed existing law,” Hall intoned. “But it would have helped increase industry compliance in protecting its workers.”

While Hall remains committed to defending members of the adult film industry from the dangers of being exposed to STIs, opponents of AB 1576 have resolutely expressed their faith in the industry’s own methods of testing. The kinds of testing that AB 1576 called for, opponents asserted, veered precariously close to situations in which a performer’s HIV status could negatively impact their ability to work.

DukeExecutive director of the Free Speech Coalition Diane Duke [pictured right], which represents the adult film industry, insisted that AB 1576 was a slap in the face to the industry’s own stringent STI screening protocols.

“Out of this grows a stronger industry, one not intimidated by harassment campaigns like AB 1576. But the battle is not actually over, for we must always work to make sure our productions are safe and legal, that our performers have a strong voice in their own sexual health, and to keep a thriving industry in California.”

Measure B, similar legislation on a smaller scale, was passed in 2012, requiring all adult film actors performing in Los Angeles county to wear condoms during sex scenes. Following Measure B’s passing production of adult films has dropped by nearly 90% in L.A. county, as studios have decided to move their productions elsewhere.

“The state doesn’t need its own law and California doesn’t have the money to enforce it. I think it’s a waste of money for Californians.” said Dan Leal head of Immoral Productions, an adult film production studio in the L.A. county area.

Read the AIDS Healthcare Foundation motion summary, laying out the legal terms of their support for AB 1576 AFTER THE JUMP...

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Richmond Councilwoman Constant Target Of Anti-gay Hate Speech

Jovanka Beckles

Vice Mayor of Richmond, CA Jovanka Beckles is the city's first openly lesbian councilwoman and was elected to her position four years ago in 2010. Since then, she's has been the target of a constant barrage of hate speech, both from members of the public and from her fellow council members. Mark Wassberg took to the podium to call her filth and dirt, and that it's ok for him to say that because of the First Amendment. Last month, Ken Davis hurled so much hate that Beckles snapped, telling him to "get the fuck out of my face," an outburst that her fellow councilmembers felt was entirely appropriate.

She even receives grief from some fellow councilmembers, though, such as Corky Boozé, who engages in shameless victim-blaming and saying that Beckles invites the attacks on herself for having a short fuse and having a disagreeable lifestyle.

She's got a short fuse. Some people don't care for her lifestyle. I don't care for it myself, but she takes that in a homophobic way. I'm not homophobic - my ex-wife is a lesbian. She says she's a black Latina. Well, you're either African American or you're not. If she's really black, then why does she throw black people out of City Council chambers for speaking their mind? She just says she's black around election time.

The absence of logic is mind-numbing. Fortunately, Beckles takes it all in stride and is actually energized enough to run for re-election. Contact Beckles here to show her support, and contact Boozé here to let him (politely) know that hate speech is hate speech, no matter how many lesbian ex-wives one has.


Man Pleads Not Guilty In July Shooting Of Bisexual California Man: VIDEO

Dead

A 25-year-old Mecca, California man named Miguel Angel Bautista Ramirez (left) sits in jail as the lone suspect in the shooting death of his bisexual 20-year-old Pizza Hut co-worker Juan Ceballos (right).

According to KESQ News, on Sunday July 13 Ceballos texted his brother Sergio asking him to come outside and help bring in pizza that he had brought home for his family. Soon after, Sergio heard two gunshots and went outside to discover his brother dead.

Juan was the oldest brother to five siblings. Since he was murdered right outside his family's doorstep, the family moved away immediately after his funeral. At their new place, Juan’s mother keeps a candles lit by several of his pictures in the living room.

KESQ News reports that the criminal complaint against Ramirez says that he “waited for Juan outside his home and shot and killed him because of his sexual orientation.” Juan worked two jobs and was also a student who wanted a career so he could keep helping his family.

The Bilerico Project shares Sergio thoughts on the pointlessness of his brother’s murder:

”If it was because of that, that was a stupid reason... he said that he was he was looking for happiness in a world full of evil, maybe he was right. The world is full of evil, and I just don't know why they ever did this to him... He was our guide, everything that we have now, we owe it to him...I'm going to continue with all this, but I'm going to have to do it without him."

Though Ramirez has plead “not guilty” to murder, he also faces hate crime and lying-in-wait charges. He is being held without bail until he returns to court August 11. The local district attorney may seek the death penalty.

Watch the video AFTER THE JUMP...

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