National

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Obama cites ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in first debate

The first Presidential Debate

No questions concerning LGBT issues were posed during the first presidential debate Wednesday night, but President Obama made a direct reference to one.

Near the end of the 90-minute debate, responding to a charge from Republican challenger Mitt Romney that he has not worked well with Republicans, President Obama pointed to a number of examples where his administration worked with Republicans with success. One example he cited was repeal of the ban on gays in the military.

Immediate reaction from many commentators — mainstream and LGBT —held that Romney dominated the debate and that Obama failed to take some political shots he had at his disposal.

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Emory HIV team lands $6 million Gates Foundation grant

Gates Foundation

A team of researchers at Emory University has been awarded a $6 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to aid in finding an effective vaccine for HIV/AIDS, the university announced today.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was created by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, to combat global poverty and to enhance healthcare across the world.

The grant was awarded as part of the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery, an international network of researchers devoted to creating a variety of HIV vaccination candidates with the ultimate goal of advancing the most promising candidates to clinical trials.

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Out in the military: One year without ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

One year without DADT

On Sept. 20, the United States military will mark the one-year anniversary of the official repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the 1993 law that barred gays and lesbians from openly serving in the armed services. As the milestone nears, gay military members are thrilled to be able to be out, but note that inequities remain.

“During DADT, I did not ever hang out with other gays or even act on doing anything in fear of being caught so I waited until it was repealed to come out,” said Joshua Gravett, a gay Georgia native and sergeant in the U.S. Army currently stationed in Afghanistan.

Before repeal, Gravett — who enlisted at age 17 — planned to leave the Army. Now, he is considering completing the 20-year military career that would allow him to retire from the service at age 37.

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Why we’re sick of the ‘chikin’ controversy (and why it matters anyway)

Chick-fil-A protest

By the time this newspaper hits stands, it will be more than two weeks since thousands lined up outside Chick-fil-A restaurants, answering the call of Mike Huckabee, the failed GOP presidential candidate turned conservative commentator, to celebrate “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” Aug. 1 to thank the chain for being “willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse.”

It will be about two weeks since LGBT people held their own counter-protests, ranging from kiss-ins at Chick-fil-A restaurants (Aug. 3) to a day of support for Starbucks and other gay-friendly corporations (Aug. 7), and even a day dedicating to backing locally owned “gay-loving” businesses instead (Aug. 8).

In that time, gay couples haven’t broken up and turned heterosexual, Christian marriages haven’t suddenly grown stronger, and public opinion hasn’t been shifted from its seemingly inexorable — though slow — progress toward justice for LGBT people.

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Romney VP pick Paul Ryan backed bans on gay marriage, adoption

GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s chosen running mate, supports amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage and has voted to stop gay couples in Washington, D.C., from adopting children.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and presumptive Republican presidential nominee, announced Ryan as his vice presidential nominee Aug. 11. The sparked criticism from LGBT political groups concerned about Ryan’s record as a U.S. congressman from Wisconsin.

The Romney-Ryan ticket “could roll back much of the progress we’ve seen toward full equality,” the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT political group, argued in a press release.