Several AIDS organizations and people living with HIV/AIDS demanded that Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., the Senate majority leader and a medical doctor, apologize for and retract inaccurate statements regarding HIV transmission recently made on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. A press release jointly issued by the groups stated that, after telling Stephanopoulos he 'didn't know' if HIV could be transmitted through tears or sweat, Frist added that transmission of HIV through tears or sweat 'would be very hard ... I mean, you can get virus in tears and sweat but in terms of the degree of infecting somebody, it would be very hard.' However, the release stated that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 'contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.'
The National Black Justice Coalition ( NBJC ) , the country's only national African-American gay and lesbian advocacy organization, condemned an anti-gay march that took place this past weekend in Atlanta. In a statement, the coalition also issued a call to action to advocates of marriage equality to express their opposition to the march. NBJC board president Keith Boykin said that ' [ t ] o march from the King Center against the rights of gays is a slap in the face to the legacy of Dr. King.' Boykin pointed out that one of King's closest advisers, Bayard Rustin, was an openly gay man. In an official press release, the Human Rights Campaign also expressed deep concern over the march. The event, led by Bishop Eddie Long with Rev. Bernice King, daughter of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., focused on economic issues, education reform, and healthcare as well as the discriminatory amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban marriage rights for same-sex couples and the families.
In Utah, a principal who wants gay couples to get permission slips from their parents before they can attend school dances promised to re-evaluate the policy after four days of demonstrations. AOL News reported that Copper Hills High School Principal Tom Worlton issued the policy last month but agreed to revisit it. He said he saw the policy as a way to alert the parents to the dangers their children might face.
San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom said in a forum at the city's Grace Cathedral that he is not welcome in two of San Francisco's Catholic churches because he sanctions same-sex marriages, according to KPIX-TV. The mayor, who is Catholic, revealed that a priest has banned him from one of the city's most prominent Catholic churches and that another priest has made it evident that the mayor is not welcome in his church either. Newsom would not name names but denied regretting his position of gay marriage given the national firestorm.
In a strange twist of the legal controversy surrounding same-sex nuptials in New Paltz, New York, all marriage certificates issued by the town since Feb. 27 are useless for a Social Security name change—including those given to heterosexual unions, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal. Feb. 27 was the date New Paltz mayor Jason West performed two dozen same-sex weddings outside village hall. Hundreds of same-sex marriages have been performed in the village since, officiated by members of the clergy and village trustees. A state judge permanently banned any village official from certifying same-sex marriages on Dec. 9. West already had been permanently banned from doing so.
In New York, The Audre Lorde Project Center for Community Organizing for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Transgender People of Color Communities launched the new community organizing project, TransJustice, according to the center's press release. TransJustice is a political group primarily for transgendered people of color. The group's literature states that the organization will 'work to mobilize our communities and allies to action on the pressing political issues we face. These issues include gaining access to jobs, housing, and education; the need for Trans-sensitive healthcare, HIV-related services, and job-training programs; [ and ] resisting police, government and anti-immigrant violence.'
In response to a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union ( ACLU ) , the Housing Authority of Santa Monica agreed to allow a gay man on disability to live with his partner of 10 years. According to an ACLU press release, Gene Boccia, disabled since a 1974 hate crime in which he was shot in the face, has been living in the same housing complex since 1999. Boccia and his life partner Brett Crowley, who is also disabled, applied to live together almost immediately after learning that they could do so, but the housing authority failed to act on their request. Boccia contacted the ACLU, which submitted letters to the Housing Authority in October pointing out that both state and local law prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation.
A planning summit for a national AIDS march will take place Jan. 4-5 in Washington, D.C. More than 300 AIDS, community, advocacy, and faith groups will be invited. A national and international March to End AIDS will kick off in mid-April and converge on D.C. for four days of action, support, and prayer on May 1-4. To join, contact email@example.com or call the National Association of People with AIDS at ( 202 ) 898-0414.
The Triangle Foundation, in an open letter, thanked Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm for showing her support of domestic-partner health insurance in her letter to the LGBT community. The Detroit-based gay foundation's message stated, in part, that it wants to work with the governor 'to better represent the intentions of millions of voters in the state who want to see their neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members be treated fairly under the law.' The letter was signed by members of several organizations, including Detroit Black Gay Pride; Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center; and Pride Source Media. In Granholm's letter, she expressed that press reports were incorrect concerning her position on benefits for same-sex couples as negotiated in the contracts for state employees.
The Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index ( CEI ) currently has no companies with a score of zero following the announcement that ALLTEL Corp. has changed its non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation, according to an HRC press release. ALLTEL is a major cell phone, local phone, long-distance, and internet service provider based in Little Rock, Ark. The CEI is an annual rating of companies' treatment of LGBT employees, consumers, and investors. ALLTEL was the only company to receive a rating of zero on the Human Rights Campaign's 2004 CEI released Sept. 28, 2004.