In response to the scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley, the U.S. House of Representatives overhauled the board that supervises its teenage pages, Gay.com reported. The House voted 416-0 to equalize the political membership of the House Page Board, whose Republican chairman never told two board colleagues that he believed that Rep. Mark Foley was a 'ticking time bomb.' The expanded board also will include a former page and the parent of a current or former page.
In Arizona, State Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa—who proposed a same-sex marriage ban—announced that he will not follow through with the bill this session, according to the Associated Press. Pearce decided against pushing the bill, which would amend the state's constitution to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples. Last November, Arizona became the first state to defeat a same-sex marriage ballot initiative.
The Rhode Island supreme court issued a request for more information to be provided regarding an LGBT couple's divorce before a lower court can claim jurisdiction over the case, the Associated Press reported. Margaret Chambers and Cassandra Ormiston of Providence filed for divorce last year with the Rhode Island family court, but the court then asked the supreme court to decide if Rhode Island judges have authority to grant divorces to same-sex couples. In Rhode Island, the law is unclear on whether same-sex marriages are valid; however, couples can cross the border to Massachusetts and marry.
In the first protest of its kind in this country, Madison, Wis., leaders will be able to denounce the state's new constitutional ban on gay marriage when they take their oath of office, according to GazetteExtra.com . The city council voted 13-4 to allow hundreds of elected and appointed officials to add a statement saying they are taking the oath under protest because the amendment 'besmirches our constitution.'
In Massachusetts, two lawmakers who are strong backers of same-sex marriage plan to file legislation that would amend the constitution by prohibiting initiative petitions that limit civil rights, according to the Cambridge Chronicle. Rep. Alice Wolf, D-Cambridge, plans to file the proposal with Rep. Byron Rushing, D-Boston. Wolf said the citizen petition banning gay marriage, which was signed by 170,000 people, was the initial reason for filing the measure.
Chemicals known to change the sexual characteristics of fish and other animals have been found in West Virginia tributaries of the Potomac River, which runs through Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The chemicals contain endocrine disrupters, which can cause birth defects and sexual abnormalities in species ranging from frogs to alligators and, perhaps, humans as well.
In New Mexico, Rep. Gloria Vaughn, R-Alamogordo, has introduced a resolution seeking to change the New Mexico Constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, The Farmington Daily Times reported. Vaughn introduced a bill in 2005 that would have specifically banned gay marriage in New Mexico statutes. This year she is seeking a constitutional change, which would cement the prohibition of gay marriage within the state's Constitution.
A first-of-its-kind summit entitled 'Out of the Shadows Into the Light' is being held to allow clergy and church laypeople to have an open dialogue about gay and lesbian topics within the context of the church, according to a press release from the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado. The event will be held at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Feb. 14-16. The cost is $250 per participant. People may register online at www.shadows2light.com or by may call 719-527-4294 before Jan. 31.
In Washington, D.C., the 39-year-old Washington Free Clinic has closed its doors for good and is transferring its 1,800 clients and 12 employees to the gay-oriented Whitman-Walker's facilities. The Washington Blade reported that the development marks yet another milestone in Whitman-Walker's evolution from the 1970s-era Gay Men's V.D. Clinic to its current $22 million operation that provides medical care and AIDS-related services to the gay community and non-LGBT communities.
In New York, Aaron B. Charney filed suit in state court against his employer, Sullivan & Cromwell—one of the nation's most prestigious law firms. 365Gay.com reported that Charney, a fourth-year associate at the firm, claims there was a systematic campaign of discrimination and retaliation against him because of his sexuality. Charney is seeking a jury trial and $15 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
It turns out that a drug-resistant, virulent form of staph can be transmitted by sexual activity—a method U.S. researchers said was previously unrecognized, according to an United Press International item. Scientists at Columbia University Medical Center identified three cases when sexual activity spread the bacteria known as community-associated MRSA. The report is the first to document MRSA transmission through heterosexual activity.
The Rev. Bradley Schmeling, a minister who disclosed that he was gay before Atlanta's oldest Lutheran church hired him as its pastor, could now be defrocked for announcing he has a partner, according to 365Gay.com . Schmeling was chosen in 2000 to lead St. John's and last year, the 350-member congregation threw a party for him and his partner. However, Bishop Ronald Warren asked the 44-year-old pastor to resign. When Schmeling refused, Warren started disciplinary proceedings against him for violating church rules banning sex outside of marriage.
In Virginia, legislation that would require students in publicly funded schools to obtain their parent's written permission to participate in school clubs died in committee, 365Gay.com reported. Although it did not specifically mention gay-straight alliances, LGBT opponents of the bill—sponsored by Del. Matthew Lohr, R-Harrisonburg—said its intent was to make it impossible for the gay support clubs to organize.
The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) will return to Fashion Week with the release of its 'Heatherette Hearts HRC' shirt, designed exclusively for the organization by celebrated design duo Traver Rains and Richie Rich of the Heatherette fashion label, according to an HRC release. The shirt will debut as a gift to guests in the first three rows of the Heatherette Fashion Show on Feb. 6 during Olympus Fashion Week in New York, and will be featured in the gift bag available to performers and presenters of the 49th Annual Grammy Awards held in Los Angeles on Feb. 11. Fashion star Marc Jacobs designed an exclusive 'Marc Jacobs Heart HRC' shirt for HRC last year.
In Phoenix, the Rev. Chris Carpenter—a Roman Catholic priest who frequently clashed with Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted over the role of gays in the church—has left the priesthood, 365Gay.com reported. Carpenter's disagreements with Olmsted date back to 2004 when Carpenter and eight other priests signed a letter called the Phoenix Declaration, which affirmed the right of LGBT people to fully participate in the Catholic Church. Olmsted ordered the priests to remove their signatures.
The estranged wife of former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey is writing a memoir about life with her gay husband, according to KCTV5.com . Dina McGreevey says she's had lots of interview requests but wanted to stay out of the public eye. Her book, entitled Silent Partner, is scheduled to be published this spring by Hyperion Books.