A Detroit woman filed complaints with the Detroit Police and with SMART, the Detroit public transportation system, for insults and injuries she allegedly received from a SMART driver, reports News 4. Joann Johnson says she and her girlfriend were passed by twice while waiting for a bus in August. The next day the couple walked to a more populated stop and boarded the bus. When they were exiting the bus, Johnson says she asked why the driver did not stop for them the previous day. He allegedly said he did not cater to lesbians and physically pushed Johnson out of the bus. Johnson received medical attention.
An attorney for the state of Florida notified the federal appeals court of a new rule by the state's Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) that could change the way courts view Florida's ban on gay adoptions, reports AP. DCFS no longer prohibits cohabitating unmarried couples from adopting nor do they express a preference for married couples over single individuals. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says this change in policy removes the state's original argument that gays cannot adopt because the state only allows married couples to adopt.
Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund welcomed Kaiser Permanente's announcement that it has reconsidered its initial rejection of a kidney transplant for a Denver-area man with HIV and will now cover the procedure. Late last month, Lambda filed a formal appeal with Kaiser, asking the HMO to reverse its denial in light of a range of scientific data and John Carl's personal health history and experience. A recent study of 45 liver and kidney transplant recipients with HIV on anti-retroviral medications showed that after one year, the patients and their new organs survived at rates similar to HIV-negative transplant recipients.
Pullman Memorial Hospital and Dr. Charles Guess have agreed to pay a former employee $75,000 for harassing and illegally firing her solely because she is a lesbian. The case, which the American Civil Liberties Union successfully appealed to the state's Court of Appeals, helped establish important law protecting lesbian and gay government employees from anti-gay discrimination. 'I am relieved that I can finally put this painful experience behind me and move on with my life,' said Mary Jo Davis, a former sonographer at Pullman Memorial Hospital. Davis worked in the Radiology Department at the hospital near Spokane for about two years. Dr. Guess, the chief radiologist, harassed her routinely.
The American Civil Liberties Union is urging the Washington Court of Appeals to recognize the parental rights of a lesbian mother who has separated from the biological mother of her daughter. The ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project and the ACLU of Washington jointly submitted a friend of the court brief in the case. The mother is represented by the Northwest Women's Law Center. 'Being a parent isn't just about DNA. Someone who loves, cares for, raises and supports a child from birth can be just as important to that child as the person who gave birth,' said Leslie Cooper, staff attorney with the ACLU's Lesbian & Gay Rights Project. Sue Ellen Carvin lived with another woman in a marital-like relationship for 12 years. During that time they decided to have a child together, with her partner becoming the biological mother. Carvin stayed at home serving as L.B.'s primary caregiver, and their child called her 'Mama.' When the child was almost six years old, the couple separated. Her ex-partner eventually cut off all contact between Carvin and the child.
Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund said a stroke patient who was rejected by six Louisiana nursing homes because he has HIV has been admitted by one of the facilities, Kentwood Manor in Kentwood, La. Under the agreement, Lambda Legal plans to drop legal action against Kentwood Manor, but continues discrimination claims against the five other nursing homes that refused to admit the man, causing him to live hours from his family.
As expected, a state court in Arizona dealt another blow to same-sex marriages. AP reports that the three-judge appellate court panel ruled that the state has an interest in defining marriage as that between a man and a woman and that homosexuals do not have a fundamental right to marriage. The panel said, because the state has a valid interest in same-sex marriages, the elected officials in the state must make decisions regarding marriage, not the courts.
A task force of HIV-prevention and AIDS service organization workers in King County, Wash., expect some controversy around their new 'manifesto,' according to the Seattle Times. The new manifesto tells gay and bisexual men that they need to be accountable for the spread of HIV disease. 'Transmitting HIV knowingly is an act of violence,' they wrote. HIV infections rose 40 percent last year in King County.
A Republican political powerhouse in Florida left his Episcopal faith to become a Baptist because of the Episcopal stance on gays in the church, reports the Sun-Sentinel. Johnnie Byrd, the speaker of the Florida House and a U.S. Senate hopeful, said he left the church when it was apparent that the church left him. Specifically, Byrd did not approve of openly gay Gene Robinson's ascension to power.
Last Saturday was National Coming Out Day and this week is Marriage Protection Week, sponsored by groups like Concerned Women for America. While President George W. Bush has refused to sign proclamations for gay pride month saying he 'does not believe in politicizing people's sexual orientation,' he did proclaim Oct. 12-18 as Marriage Protection Week. Among other points, the proclamation reads 'Marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and my Administration is working to support the institution of marriage by helping couples build successful marriages and be good parents.'
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