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News: HIV, DADT, Brazil, Johnny Hazzard, Idaho

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d HIV infection in gay men aged between 25 and 34 in Ireland up sharply.

Dadt6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d New York Congressman will work to introduce a bill that gives medical benefits to military service men and women dishonorably discharged under DADT. 

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Anderson Cooper's partner Benjamin Maisani expands his business ventures into Hell's Kitchen: "Mr. Maisani and Pablo Raimondi, his business partner, will be teaming up together to open the 5,000-square-foot restaurant at 753 Ninth Avenue. The pair specifically sought after a location in the Hell’s Kitchen and Clinton area, likely because of the prominent gay community."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Ouch: Super-sized mosquitoes spotted in Florida.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Google buys mapping app Waze for $1.3 billion.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli advocates for LGBT rights - in front of a urinal.

Hazzard6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Gay porn star Johnny Hazzard on the spate of deaths in the gay porn world: "How did I survive? We all faced the same challenges, so why am I still here when my friends are not? Even after taking days to think about it, I still can't totally explain why I survived. Maybe it's because my family supported me, or maybe it's because I made good or lucky choices." 

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Ian Ziering made his Chippendales debut last night.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Anti-gay evangelical Christians grabbing more political power in Brazil: "Gay activism is moral garbage,” Malafaia roared into the microphone to a cheering crowd on the grassy esplanade of the Brazilian capital. “Satan will not destroy our family values."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Patrick Schwarzenegger pumps up for summer.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d The city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho passes anti-discrimination law: "The majority of the council said it felt compelled to protect all of its citizens and that by adopting the ordinance, it would ensure people who otherwise aren’t protected by state or federal laws would be protected inside the city."

Famous Gay Marine Pops the Question: Video


Brandon Morgan, the marine whose homecoming put the internet in a tizzy early last year, popped the question to his boyfriend. 

Watch his boyfriend's response AFTER THE JUMP...


Continue reading "Famous Gay Marine Pops the Question: Video" »

Activists Arrested in White House 'DADT' Protest Reunited This Morning in Support of Lt. Dan Choi: PHOTO

(image robin mcgehee facebook)

Powerful pictures from in front of the White House this morning as the 13 activists arrested on November 15, 2010 after chaining themselves to the White House fence in opposition of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' reunited in support of Lt. Dan Choi, who faces a judge this morning.

As I mentioned earlier this week, Choi faces 6 months in prison or a $5,000 fine for an obscure infraction of Parks and Wildlife federal regulations. The 12 other activists accepted a plea deal, agreeing to a guilty plea in federal court for which they would serve no jail time if not re-arrested within four months. Choi would not accept the deal.

Lt. Dan Choi, Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, Cadet Mara Boyd, Michael Bedwell, Scott Wooledge, Staff Sgt. Miriam Ben-Shalom, Sgt. Ian Finkenbinder, Robin McGehee, and Spc. Robert Smith are the 'White House 13' members pictured in these photos, posted to Facebook by McGehee, along with additional supporters. They then marched to an 8 am rally in front of the courthouse

Said Thomas when asked why she chose to attend Choi's trial, via press release:

"Dan is an honorable combat veteran who, when our nation came calling, stood the ground for many Americans, and not once did he ask them what was their ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation. I truly believe that he knows and practices that all humans are of value, and that all humans are made in the image of God. As a minister for the Century Project Veterans, I stand behind him as a person of God knowing that he exemplifies the true meaning of 'Love Thy Neighbor.'"


Lt. Dan Choi's Trial to Resume; 'DADT' Activist Could Get 6 Months Jail for Peaceful White House Protest: VIDEO


Lt. Dan Choi's trial, which began in August 2011 for protesting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" with 12 other activists on November 14, 2010, resumes on Thursday in federal court in Washington D.C.

Choi and the others chained themselves to the White House fence while chanting "I am somebody," "We do this for you" and "President Obama, Silent Homophobia."

Choi faces 6 months in prison or a $5,000 fine for an obscure infraction of Parks and Wildlife federal regulations. The 12 other activists accepted a plea deal, agreeing to a guilty plea in federal court for which they would serve no jail time if not re-arrested within four months. Choi would not accept the deal.

TatchellBritish activist Peter Tatchell is coming to Washington D.C. in support of Choi, attending the trial as a human rights observer.

Said Tatchell in a press release:

Generally, White House protestors are arrested and required to pay $100 fine to a municipal court, the equivalent of a parking ticket in the District of Columbia. Instead, in this case, the US Attorney’s Office is invoking a seldom-used federal level criminal charge called "Failure to Obey".

Choi’s case is the first time since anti-Iraq war protester Cindy Sheehan was prosecuted, that a protestor has been tried federally for demonstrating at the White House. 

The trial Judge, John M. Facciola, has already made a prima facie finding for "vindictive prosecution" in Lt. Choi’s case, prompting the prosecution to make legal history by pausing the trial for two years and embroiling Lt. Choi in a Writ of Mandamus fight.

Until this trial, such a radical and rarely used writ has never been granted in the middle of criminal proceedings. The writ orders the trial judge not to hear evidence concerning the selective prosecution and political targeting of the defendant.

Activists and supporters are planning peaceful actions in support of Choi on Thursday morning beginning with a meditation and interfaith prayer at 8 am and a speaking rally. Organizers report that several civil rights leaders will be on hand to voice support for Choi's efforts. The trial resumes at 9 am. Those wishing to support Choi should gather at:

United States District Court 
E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse 
333 Constitution Avenue, NW

You can also find out how to get involved to support Choi at the website

Choi talks about where he is in his case with Adam Kokesh, AFTER THE JUMP...


Continue reading "Lt. Dan Choi's Trial to Resume; 'DADT' Activist Could Get 6 Months Jail for Peaceful White House Protest: VIDEO" »

Chuck Hagel Confirmed as Secretary of Defense in 58-41 Vote

Former Senator Chuck Hagel has been confirmed as Secretary of Defense in a 58-41 vote four hours after the Senate invoked cloture in a 71-27 to end debate on his nomination.

Chuck_hagelThe Washington Blade reports:

Among those casting a vote in favor of Hagel was lesbian Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who previously told Washington Blade she had a “very good conversation” with him and would support his nomination. Last month, Baldwin said she had “tough questions” about his view of the post-”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military.

Hagel’s nomination was controversial in the LGBT community because of remarks he made in 1998, when he said the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, Jim Hormel, shouldn’t be confirmed to the post because he’s “openly aggressively gay.” Hagel also had a dismal voting record on LGBT issues during his tenure in the U.S. Senate. Just prior to his nomination as defense secretary, Hagel apologized for the anti-gay remarks.

Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson praised the Senate in a press release:

"We congratulate Senator Hagel for enduring an incredibly arduous confirmation process to become our next Secretary of Defense – this is a win for all service members, and for LGBT service members and their families especially. We thank the Senator for his commitment to equal treatment and equal opportunity, and we urge him to take swift action to include our service members in non-discrimination and anti-harassment protections. It has been reassuring to see Senator Hagel show the kind of clear, unambiguous leadership in support of our service members and their families he has demonstrated in recent months. Now he has the opportunity to turn his commitments into action, and we look forward to working with him to ensure our military embodies the same values of fairness and equality it protects."

According to Outserve-SLDN:

Unlike other minority groups, LGBT service members are not currently protected with an avenue of recourse outside their chain of command should they experience harassment or discrimination. Such protections are common elsewhere in the federal government and throughout the private sector, with 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies protecting employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Extends Benefits to Gay and Lesbian Servicemembers, Families

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta today extended benefits previously unavailable to gay and lesbian servicemembers and their families. The benefits are nearly the full extent permitted under current law.

PanettaPanetta's statement:

"Seventeen months ago, the United States military ended the policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  We have implemented the repeal of that policy and made clear that discrimination based on sexual orientation has no place in the Department of Defense.

"At the time of repeal, I committed to reviewing benefits that had not previously been available to same-sex partners based on existing law and policy.  It is a matter of fundamental equity that we provide similar benefits to all of those men and women in uniform who serve their country.  The department already provides a group of benefits that are member-designated.  Today, I am pleased to announce that after a thorough and deliberate review, the department will extend additional benefits to same-sex partners of service members.  

"Taking care of our service members and honoring the sacrifices of all military families are two core values of this nation.  Extending these benefits is an appropriate next step under current law to ensure that all service members receive equal support for what they do to protect this nation.

"One of the legal limitations to providing all benefits at this time is the Defense of Marriage Act, which is still the law of the land.  There are certain benefits that can only be provided to spouses as defined by that law, which is now being reviewed by the United States Supreme Court.  While it will not change during my tenure as secretary of defense, I foresee a time when the law will allow the department to grant full benefits to service members and their dependents, irrespective of sexual orientation.  Until then, the department will continue to comply with current law while doing all we can to take care of all soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and their families.
"While the implementation of additional benefits will require substantial policy revisions and training, it is my expectation that these benefits will be made available as expeditiously as possible.  One of the great successes at the Department of Defense has been the implementation of DADT repeal.  It has been highly professional and has strengthened our military community.  I am confident in the military services' ability to effectively implement these changes over the coming months."

View a copy of Panetta's MEMO, AFTER THE JUMP...

Outserve-SLDN reacted to the announcement:

Though Panetta’s announcement did not include a number of important items that could have been granted - including on-base housing, burial rights at national cemeteries and some overseas travel for spouses, which remain under consideration - Robinson called the package “substantive” and acknowledged that the Pentagon has done almost as much as it can with the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) still on the books.

“Secretary Panetta’s decision today answers the call President Obama issued in his inaugural address to complete our nation's journey toward equality, acknowledging the equal service and equal sacrifice of our gay and lesbian service members and their families. We thank him for getting us a few steps closer to full equality - steps that will substantively improve the quality of life of gay and lesbian military families,” said Robinson.

Continue reading "Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Extends Benefits to Gay and Lesbian Servicemembers, Families" »


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