Compiled by Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
Bush nominates gay man to Cabinet post
WASHINGTON – On June 24, the New York Daily News reported that George W. Bush has nominated a gay man, Israel Hernandez, as assistant secretary of commerce. According to the report, Hernandez has “been a Bush acolyte” since Bush’s run for governor of Texas in 1994, and has worked with Bush adviser Karl Rove.
According to the report, Hernandez declined to mention his partner when introducing other family members during a June 23 confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Justices uphold California domestic partner law
SAN FRANCISCO – On June 29 the California Supreme Court upheld a new law granting registered domestic partners many of the same rights and protections of marriage under state law except the ability to file joint income taxes.
The unanimous justices upheld appellate and trial court rulings that the measure, which went into effect Jan. 1, does not conflict with a voter-approved initiative defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The domestic partner law is the nation’s most comprehensive recognition of same-sex domestic rights short of the legalization of equal marriage in Massachusetts and civil unions in Vermont and Connecticut.
NGLTF pays reward for arrest and conviction of Wanda Alston murderer
WASHINGTON On June 27 the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announced that it had paid $10,000 to two individuals who provided information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man who murdered District of Columbia LGBT rights advocate Wanda Alston on March 16. The murderer, William M. Parrott Jr., subsequently pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on April 21 and is scheduled to be sentenced July 29.
LA school district settles discrimination suit
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles school district and the ACLU on June 29 announced the settlement of a federal lawsuit that accused employees at a high school of harassing gay and lesbian students and staff.
The settlement will require anti-discrimination training for students and staff at Washington Preparatory High School in South Los Angeles as well as for middle school students. Additional details about the settlement were not released.
Review finds federal AIDS agency ‘troubled’
WASHINGTON – The federal government’s AIDS research agency “is a troubled organization” and its managers have engaged in unnecessary feuding, sexually explicit language and other inappropriate conduct that hampers its global fight against the disease, an internal review found. The review for the National Institutes of Health director’s office, obtained by The Associated Press, substantiates many of the concerns that whistle-blower Dr. Jonathan Fishbein raised about the agency’s AIDS research division and its senior managers.
The division suffers from “turf battles and rivalries between physicians and Ph.D scientists” and the situation has been “rife for too long,” the report concluded.
Nonetheless, the NIH formally fired Fishbein on June 30 over the objections of several members of Congress. In a series of recent stories the AP has reported, among other things, that NIH-funded researchers used foster children to test AIDS drugs since the late 1980s.