National News Briefs

BTL Staff
By | 2005-07-14T09:00:00-04:00 July 14th, 2005|News|

Compiled by Dawn Wolfe Gutterman

Politics

Bill introduced to protect LGBT workers
WASHINGTON – On June 30, U.S. Reps. Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) and a bipartisan group of co-sponsors introduced the “Clarification of Federal Employment Protections Act” to affirm that federal employees are protected from employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Federal civil service law has been understood and enforced to protect federal employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for thirty years, however in May George W. Bush’s special counsel appointee, Scott Bloch, testified that the federal government lacked the legal authority to enforce these protections.

Speak OUT!

Contact our U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative and urge them to support the Clarification of Federal Employment Protections Act to protect gay and lesbian federal employees.
Senator Carl Levin – 269 Russell Office Building, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510-2202. Call 202-224-6221. Email Senator Levin by visiting the Contact Center on his website at http://www.senate.gov/~levin.
Senator Debbie Stabenow – 133 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510; Call 202-224-4822 or TTY: 202-224-2066 or e-mail senator@stabenow.senate.gov.
To find your U.S. Representative, visit Project Vote Smart at http://www.vote-smart.org or call the U.S. Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

American Family Association targets Allstate
On the heels of their unsuccessful right-wing boycott campaigns against Disney and Ford, the American Family Association is now urging its followers to “Please contact your Allstate agent and ask him or her to contact Allstate and ask Allstate to stop supporting homosexual advocacy groups.” At issue are donations that Allstate has given to pro-gay groups, including PRIDEChicago. The AFA is also responding to the allegation of self-identified Christian ex-employee who claims he was fired for writing an anti-gay article on his own time. Allstate denies the employee’s allegations.

Speak OUT!

Contact local Allstate agents and the national organization to tell them that the LGBT community appreciates their support. For contact information and to find an agent, visit http://www.allstate.com.

Law

AIDS patient wins in McDonald’s case
CLEVELAND, Ohio – A jury has ruled that McDonald’s Corp. discriminated against a restaurant manager who claimed he was forced out of his job after the company learned he had AIDS.
The jury awarded Russell Rich of Akron $490,000 in damages in the second trial on his claim against the fast-food chain. Rich, 41, won $5 million in a 2001 trial but that verdict was overturned on appeal.

Court O.K.’s transgender discrimination
SALT LAKE CITY – On June 24, a Utah U.S. district judge dismissed a lawsuit by Krystal Etsitty, who sued claiming that she was unlawfully fired by the Utah Transit Authority due to discrimination based on her gender identity. The district judge who dismissed the case claimed that laws that prohibit sex discrimination only apply to a person’s biological sex.

Cities want to intervene in D.P. lawsuit
MADISON, Wis. – The city of Green Bay and seven other local bodies will fight a lawsuit seeking health benefits for partners of gay state employees, saying they will be forced to provide similar perks if the lawsuit succeeds.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in April on behalf of six state workers, claiming state government’s refusal to provide health insurance to their gay partners violates the equal protection clause of the Wisconsin constitution.

Health

AMA acknowledges LGBT health needs
CHICAGO – On July 6, the Windy City Times reported that at its June meeting, the American Medical Association passed a number of LGBT-health related resolutions. Resolution 445, entitled “Health Disparities Among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Families,” recommends that the AMA “work to reduce the health disparities suffered because of unequal treatment of minor children and same-sex parents in same-sex households…,” according to the Times report. Resolution 323 supports the right of student groups to “meet on-site to further their education … without regard to their gender identity, sexual orientation…” Another resolution called on medical schools to train new doctors “to take thorough and non-judgmental sexual history[s] in a manner that is sensitive to the personal attitudes and behaviors of patients…”

New restrictions to groups fighting AIDS
WASHINGTON – U.S. groups fighting AIDS overseas are being given an ultimatum by the government: Pledge your opposition to sex trafficking and prostitution or do without federal funds. The new rule has created confusion among health groups that wonder how it will affect them, and has drawn criticism from others that say it infringes on free speech rights and could do more harm than good.
The rule will affect about $2.2 billion in AIDS grants and contracts this year.
Besides the pledge, the new rules require AIDS groups to inform clients of condom failure rates. Another requirement is that the federal government must now give equal opportunity to funding applicants that have “a religious or moral objection” to a particular AIDS prevention method or treatment program, such as condoms or needle exchanges.
“We want to build trust and reduce stigma,” one health expert said of dealing with the high-risk population of prostitutes. “This policy flies in the face of what we know works.”

Evidence that gays and lesbians are ‘Born Gay’
LONDON – Two British scientists have examined the evidence, and in a new book tell the world that gay and lesbian people are indeed born, not made.
“Born Gay: The Psychobiology of Sex Orientation,” by Dr. Glenn Wilson of the University of London and Dr. Qazi Rahman of the University of East London summarizes research done during the past decade and concludes that sexual orientation is fixed in the womb as a combination of genetics and hormonal influences.
For more information or to order, visit Peter Owen Publishers at http://www.peterowen.com/pages/nonfic/borngay.htm.

NAPWA thanks Trojan for pulling ad; works with company on new campaign
SILVER SPRING, Md. – On June 9, the National Association of People with AIDS thanked Church & Dwight Company for pulling a television ad that claimed that “40 percent of people who know they are HIV-positive don’t tell their partners.” On the same day, the AIDS organization announced that they had been consulted by the condom manufacturer on a new ad stressing the importance of condom use.

Media

Black Gay TV talk show debuts
LOS ANGELES – Reaching into nearly 16 million households, the world’s first black gay/lesbian, TV news/talk show will debut across America on DirecTV channel 227.
The Herndon Davis Reports, hosted by its creator and namesake, is a one-hour long, black gay/lesbian focused news program. The show tackles a variety of socioeconomic and political issues impacting the gay/lesbian community but from a distinctly black gay/lesbian affirming perspective.
The show can be seen on Sunday mornings beginning July 17 from 8 – 9 a.m.
The show is already looking to expand its 16 million households to other cable and satellite networks as well. At the show’s website, http://www.herndondavis.com, visitors are encouraged to use a template letter to email or fax to their local cable providers requesting that the show be added to their programming schedule.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.