National

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CDC report: More HIV tests than ever, but still 1 in 5 don’t know they have virus

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, CDC director

While more adults are being tested for HIV in the U.S. than ever before, there are still one in five, or 200,000 people, who have HIV and don't know it, according to new information released today by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention in Atlanta.

The news comes the day before World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

The CDC reported today that since 2006, when it recommended HIV testing become a routine part of health care for adults and adolescents and more frequent testing for those at high risk — including bisexual and gay men —that there has been an increase of 11.4 million people who have been tested for HIV.

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Pentagon study: Majority of military sees no negative impact from openly gay troops

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

The Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, answered questions today regarding the Pentagon's finalized report on the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Both Gates and Mullen thanked the authors of the study for their work over the last 10 months and reiterated their desire to see Congress pass a repeal of the law during the current lame-duck session.

"I fully endorse the report, its findings and the implementation plan," Mullen said.

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Support from military joint chiefs not needed to repeal gay ban?

President Barack Obama pledges to move forward on DADT without Joint Chiefs support

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Nov. 22 said he’s unsure whether the results of the Pentagon study on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will move the four service chiefs to support an end to the law as he suggested that unanimous support among the military leaders won’t be necessary for moving forward.

Asked by the Washington Blade, an LGBT newspaper, whether President Obama anticipates that the service chiefs will favor repeal following the completion of the Pentagon report, Gibbs said he doesn’t “want to presume” where they would stand after the study is finished, noting the president hasn’t yet seen it.

“I think the service chiefs as I understand it are meeting with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the secretary as we get closer to this report coming out in order to discuss where they are based on that survey,” Gibbs said. “The president has not yet seen that survey, so I don’t want to presume whether based on those results that would change their opinions on it.”

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Clay Aiken to Congress: Stop anti-gay bullying

American Idol alum Clay Aiken calls on Congress to address anti-gay bullying

“American Idol” singer Clay Aiken and two mothers whose sons committed suicide because of anti-gay bullying at their schools appeared at a Capitol Hill briefing Nov. 18 to urge Congress to pass two bills that would require schools to address bullying and harassment targeting LGBT students.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network organized the briefing as a means of drawing public attention to the two pending bills, the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

“Like many kids now in middle schools and high schools, I was bullied,” said Aiken, who came out as gay in 2008 after winning the runner up title of best singer on the widely viewed television show “American Idol.”

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Gays most likely to be victims of violent hate crimes

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that gay people, or those who are perceived to be gay, are far more likely to be the target of a violent hate crime than any other minority group in America.

According to a SPLC press release, gay people are twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews and African Americans, four times more likely to be violently attacked than Muslims and 14 times more than Latinos.

"As Americans become more accepting of homosexuals, the most extreme elements of the anti-gay movement are digging in their heels and continuing to defame gays and lesbians with falsehoods that grow more incendiary by the day," said Mark Potok, editor of the Intelligence Report. "The leaders of this movement may deny it, but it seems clear that their demonization of homosexuals plays a role in fomenting the violence, hatred and bullying we're seeing."

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Advocates, veterans supporting repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ arrested at White House

Thirteen activists and LGBT veterans were arrested today after handcuffing themselves to the White House fence to call for the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

The action, organized by GetEQUAL, was a call for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama to follow through with their promise of repealing the anti-gay policy. The vets and activists say the repeal can be done during the "lame duck" session that began today.

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Election: National results dim prospects for LGBT legislation

President Barack Obama

For two years, Democrats held the White House and the majority in both chambers of Congress. The window of opportunity for eliminating federal laws that treated LGBT Americans as second-class citizens was open. The window of opportunity for passing federal legislation to provide equal benefits of citizenship was open.

Some hoped the windows might be open for as long as eight years. But last week’s midterm elections are shutting those windows now — in fewer than eight weeks.

Republicans won back a majority of the U.S. House and it is an even more conservative Republican majority than LGBT citizens experienced in 1993 when Congress passed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gays in the military. Democrat Tom Foley was Speaker of the House then, Richard Gephardt was Majority Leader. It is even more conservative than the 1996 Congress that passed the Defense of Marriage Act. Republican Newt Gingrich was Speaker then, aided by Dick Armey.

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By the numbers: Gays in 2010 elections

106

Openly LGBT candidates endorsed by the Victory Fund who won on Nov. 2, meaning more were elected in 2010 than any year in history.

4

Openly gay members of Congress, after Democrat David Cicilline was elected to the U.S. House from Rhode Island on Nov. 2.

535

Total voting members of Congress, including 435 in the House and 100 in the Senate. There are no openly LGBT U.S. senators.

2

States that elected their first openly gay state lawmakers last week: North Carolina and Ohio.

2

Openly gay state lawmakers in Georgia; State Reps. Karla Drenner and Simone Bell were reelected without opposition on Nov. 2.

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DOMA faces new legal challenges

Two separate legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act were filed today. The first, brought forward by the Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), was filed today in Connecticut representing plaintiffs from Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire.

The lawsuit is challenging the constitutionality of DOMA’s Section 3, which prohibits federal acknowledgment of same-sex marriages performed where such marriages are legal. The lawsuit specifically addresses couples married in Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire, according to GLAD.

Same-sex marriages are legal in those states.

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By the numbers: New York City teenage sex statistics

6.9 Percent of sexually active male teens in a New York City survey who said they had sex either with males and females or only other males. 11.9 Percent of sexually active female teens in the survey who said t...