National

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Senate vote expected on repeal of military gay ban

Barely two weeks after a federal judge ruled the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy unconstitutional, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on repealing the ban on openly gay service members.

At press time, the Senate was expected to vote during the week of Sept. 20 on the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes an amendment repealing DADT.

The U.S. House approved in May a defense authorization bill that includes an amendment on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” although it delays repeal until after a Pentagon study on gays in the military is completed and military leaders determine repeal will not hurt troop readiness.

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GOP leader Ken Mehlman comes out to mixed reactions

The coming out of former Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman — who led the GOP at a time when the party was backing the Federal Marriage Amendment and marriage amendments in states throughout the country — is inspiring mixed reactions among LGBT advocates as some criticize him for his past actions and others welcome his new public support.

Mehlman’s announcement about his sexual orientation officially became public in an interview published Aug. 25 by the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder. According to the article, Mehlman told family and associates he’s gay and came to this conclusion fairly recently.

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By the numbers: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

13,500 Discharges under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” through 2009. 58 Arabic language specialists discharged from the U.S. military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” through 2003. 66,000 Additional gay Americans who it ...
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By the numbers: National Organization for Marriage

2,000,000 Size of the “army” Brian Brown, National Organization for Marriage executive director, claims his group is building to defend  marriage from gay couples. 750,000 The number Brown claims his army is “a...
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Prop 8 update: No gay marriage in Calif. until at least Dec.

Georgians gather to support Prop 8 ruling

In an historic, potent, and eloquent decision, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled Aug. 4 that California’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage violates the federal constitution’s guarantees to equal protection and due process of law.

But a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 16 that gay marriages cannot resume in California until after the court hears an appeal from the groups who fought to uphold Proposition 8. The appeals court scheduled an expedited hearing on the appeal for the week of Dec. 6, and ordered the sides to address the issue of who has standing to appeal the ballot measure that barred gay couples from marrying in California.

While the delay dashed hopes that same-sex couples would resume marrying in California as early as this month, Walker’s opinion still represents the first major victory for legal challenges against state bans on same-sex marriage in any federal court.

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Breaking: No gay marriages in Calif. until at least December

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that gay marriages cannot resume in California until after the court hears an appeal from the groups who fought to uphold Proposition 8.

The appeals court scheduled a hearing on the appeal for the week of Dec. 6, and ordered the sides to address the issue of who has standing to appeal the ballot measure that barred gay couples from marrying in California.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Prop 8 in a landmark ruling Aug. 4, holding that the ban on gay marriage violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of due process and equal protection.

On Thursday, Walker declined to permanently stay his ruling during the appeals process, but held that gay marriages could not resume in California before Aug. 18, giving the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals time to rule on a possible stay.

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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.