National

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Judge: Calif. gay marriages resume Aug. 18 unless appeals court acts

There were cheers outside San Francisco City Hall at 12:24 Pacific time Thursday afternoon as news emerged that U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker had denied a request to delay enforcement of his ruling against Proposition 8. But those cheers were mitigated a few minutes later when details of the judge’s order were revealed: Walker continued to delay enforcement of his decision until August 18, giving the Yes on 8 supporters of the measure ample time to seek a stay from the 9th Circuit or even the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.

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Tenofovir found safe among gay, bisexual men in new study

A Phase II study of 400 gay and bisexual HIV-negative men who took tenofovir daily through pill form showed no serious safety concerns and could be a resource in the future for the prevention of the spread of the virus, according to researchers.

The study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, was presented at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, on July 23. The study was conducted by the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta, the San Francisco Department of Public Health and Fenway Community Health in Boston.

Tenofovir is an oral drug, also known by its brand name Viread. It is used alone or in combination with other antiviral drugs to treat HIV. Tenofovir is not a cure nor is it known for sure if it will prevent the spread of HIV to other people, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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Senate confirms Elena Kagan

The U.S. Senate today confirmed the appointment of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, but not without complaints from nearly every Republican opposing her nomination about her actions concerning Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The vote was 63 to 37, with only five Republicans voting for Kagan and one Democrat voting against.

The Senate’s newest Republican member, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, voted against Kagan.

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Prop 8 victory, but stayed

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled Wednesday that California’s ballot measure banning same-sex marriage violates the federal constitution’s guarantees to equal protection and due process of law. A few minutes after issuing the decision, Walker also issued a temporary stay of its impact and directed attorneys challenging the initiative to respond to request by August 6.

The 136-page decision, which has been much anticipated by both sides of the same-sex marriage debate, says supporters of Proposition 8 failed to establish any rational or legitimate reason for prohibiting same-sex couples from having marriage licenses.

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Breaking: Prop 8 ruled unconstitutional

Proposition 8, the ballot measure that halted same-sex marriage in California, is unconstitutional, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker ruled this afternoon.

Here is the conclusion of the 135-page ruling:

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples.  Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

The case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, is expected to be appealed and eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court. A stay on marriages has been issued as the case continues through the appeals process.

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Prop 8 ruling expected Wednesday

A San Francisco federal judge is expected to rule Wednesday on the long-awaited Proposition 8 trial that will determine if gay marriage is legal in California. Atlanta LGBT groups plan to gather in Midtown to either celebrate or protest the decision.

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Obama AIDS strategy targets gay, bisexual men

A long-awaited National HIV/AIDS Strategy document the White House released July 14 calls for devoting more funds and attention to HIV prevention programs that target four high-risk population groups, especially gay and bisexual men.

The 45-page strategy document that took 15 months to prepare says state and federal AIDS prevention programs have so far failed to adequately target gay and bisexual men and transgender people.

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Federal judge rules portion of DOMA unconstitutional

A federal judge in Boston ruled July 8 — in two separate lawsuits — that a critical part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

In one lawsuit, Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Health and Human Services, Judge Joseph Tauro, of the U.S. District Court in Boston, ruled that DOMA violated the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by taking from the states powers that the Constitution gave to them. In the other lawsuit, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, he ruled that DOMA violates the equal protection principles embodied in the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment in an effort to “disadvantage a group of which it disapproves.”

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By the numbers: Gay marriage in California and beyond

58 to 42

Margin, in percent, by which California voters passed Proposition 8, which ended gay marriage there. In what could be a landmark case, a federal judge is now weighing a challenge to the law; a ruling is expected as soon as this month and the case may eventually reach the Supreme Court.

18,000

Same-sex couples who were married in California.

42

States with laws or constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Georgia has both.

5

States, plus the District of Columbia, where gay marriage is legal.