Trans-activists call the ruling a breath of fresh air. A Florida judge has given custody of two children to a F2M transgender man. The man's ex-wife, who knew about his gender reassignment before marriage, argued that the marriage was invalid because Michael Kantaras was born a woman. The judge ruled that while Florida law requires that marriage be between a man and a woman, the time at which gender is determined is not specified. The ruling may have limited national impact as a judge in Kansas ruled a similar marriage invalid.
As the state of Minnesota considers repealing its decade-old GLBT nondiscrimination act, Cincinnati activists hope they can repeal their city's 10-year-old Amendment 12—the law making it impossible to enact protections for gays and lesbians. Gary Wright, co-chair of Citizens to Restore Fairness told Gay People's Chronicle that passage of a hate-crime ordinance this month is yet another sign that the city may be ready to institute equal rights.
Conservative group Focus on the Family (FOF) is urging United Way donors to exclude Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America from receiving funds because of the organization's directive to accept gay and lesbian mentors, reports CNS News. Dr. William Maier from FOF told CNS News, 'Fatherless boys and motherless girls need healthy same-sex role models, but Big Brothers has decided to pair them with homosexual mentors.'
Nebraska legislators voted last week to kill Bill 441, the job discrimination bill that would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, according to Omaha World Herald. Four of the six voting members of the Business and Labor Committee voted to axe the bill.
Student senators at William Jewell College in Missouri may have renewed opposition in the next elections after refusing to allow students to vote on a gay-rights initiative, according to Sun-News of the Northland.
The state of Colorado is split on the issue of gay parents. According to the Denver Post, after judges in Boulder County started putting names of same-sex parents on birth certificates, Rep. Pam Rhodes introduced a ban to same-sex adoptions. The bill made it out of committee but died in the Senate. Last week, the same committee heard a dozen witnesses in favor of a bill that would allow same-sex adoptions. The bill was killed in committee.
The brother of one of the defendants in the murder case of Gwen Araujo testified that he saw Michael Magidson strangling Araujo at an October party, reports the Tri-Valley Herald. Emmanuel Merell told the court Magidson was strangling Araujo while yelling that she was a man. Magidson was described by his defense as compassionate toward GLTs.
Lawyers who represented the former Park Lane Hotel manager who won an $11 million dollar judgment against Leona Helmsley, filed court papers asking for nearly $2 million in legal fees from Helmsley, reports Newsday.
AIDS activists are concerned that all of the Bush administration money pledged to fight AIDS in Africa is going to come with strings attached. Just as with family-planning money that forbids discussion of abortion, the U.S. may require that all foreign NGOs certify, as a condition of receiving U.S. funds, that they neither perform nor promote abortion as a method of family planning. According to a leaked State Department memorandum, the plan will exempt from the restrictions those foreign non-governmental organizations which, while either performing or counseling abortions, maintain HIV/AIDS projects that are separately administered. This exemption policy is unworkable because in the vast majority of African settings family planning and reproductive health services are typically combined with HIV/AIDS services.
The Human Rights Campaign praised Congress for passing the fiscal year 2003 omnibus appropriations bill. The bill will provide the following increases: Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act, $96 million; the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, $80 million; and Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS, $14 million. Prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will receive a $34.7 million boost, the National Institutes of Health another $3.83 billion, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency will receive an increase of $98 million.
Illinois AIDS activists will gather Sunday, March 9, 1-4 p.m., at Sidetrack to learn about AIDS Foundation of Chicago's Caring for our Communities, a statewide lobbying effort in Springfield March 25-26. Call (312) 922-2322.
The current issue of International Security, a military journal edited and compiled by the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard, has published an analysis of the privacy rationale, the argument that lifting the gay ban would undermine heterosexual privacy in military barracks and showers. The study, 'A Modest Proposal: Privacy as a Flawed Rationale for the Exclusion of Gays and Lesbians from the U.S. Military,' was written by Aaron Belkin and Melissa S. Embser-Herbert. The authors say lifting the gay ban would not undermine heterosexual privacy for several reasons including a new program that is providing almost military person with private bedrooms and facilities. See www.gaymilitary.ucsb.edu/Publications/2003_BelkinEmbserHerbert2.htm
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