National

article placeholder

Trans SEAL to run for office, Pride marshals & more Pride marshals and more

images/stories/8-3-13/kristinbeck.jpg

Trans ‘Warrior Princess’ Kristin Beck plans congressional bid in Fla.

Kristin Beck, who retired from the Navy SEALS in 2011 and made national headlines by coming out as transgender, was in Atlanta Aug. 3-4 visiting First Metropolitan Community Church where she shared her story at the Sunday service.

In an interview with GA Voice, Beck said she plans to run for a Congressional seat in her home state of Florida as a Democrat, with an announcement likely in 2015. Her hometown is Tampa and the seat she would be running for is the 14th Congressional District, currently held by Democrat Kathy Castor.

Beck also plans to write a new memoir with her best friend, Wendy Kelly. Beck’s current book, “Warrior Princess,” represents only a short part of her life, she said. The new book will include a more holistic approach to her life and beliefs.

article placeholder

Department of Defense clarifies rules on military benefits for gay couples

The U.S. Department of Defense today announced plans to extend benefits to spouses of same-sex uniformed service members and civilian employees in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision that found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

The DOD plans to make spousal and family benefits available by Sept. 3. Those benefits will be retroactive to the day of the court decision, June 26.

In a memo, dated Aug. 13 but released to media today, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel lays out the DOD's new rules for legally married gay and lesbian couples.

article placeholder

U.S. Senate race, Winter Olympic boycott and more

images/stories/7-23-19/michellenunn.jpg

Ga. Democrat running for U.S. Senate backs gay marriage

Michelle Nunn, a Georgia Democrat who announced July 23 her bid for the U.S. Senate, supports marriage equality for same-sex couples.

“I also believe that marriage is not only a legal construct, but a sacrament, and every religious institution has to be able to define it for themselves,” Nunn told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Nunn told the AJC she personally supports gay marriage but agrees with the recent Supreme Court decisions leaving the definition of marriage to individual states. Georgia voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2004 limiting marriage to one man and one woman.

article placeholder

ENDA advances out of committee, faces full Senate test next

Sen. Todd Harkin

Gay rights supporters in Washington have been trying to advance the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for years, but renewed momentum thanks to two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage cases have put a new focus on workplace protections for the country's LGBT workers.

The U.S. Senate's committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions today passed H.B. 815, the 2013 version of ENDA.

ENDA, in its current form, would prohibit employers from firing, refusing to hire or otherwise discriminating against workers solely based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

article placeholder

New HIV case map shows continued high infection numbers in South

HIV/AIDS map

Today, the Rolls School of Public Health at Emory University released an update to AIDSvu, a compilation map of reported HIV/AIDS cases collected from 20 cities across the country.

Emory says the map is the most detailed picture of new HIV/AIDS cases publicly available. Data is collected from a variety of sources and is compiled into a single map.

“Our National HIV/AIDS Strategy calls for reducing new HIV infections by intensifying our efforts in HIV prevention where the epidemic is most concentrated. AIDSVu provides a roadmap to identifying those high-prevalence areas of the HIV epidemic and showing where the local testing resources are located,” said Patrick S. Sullivan, PhD, DVM, professor of epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, and the principal researcher for AIDSVu, today via a media release.

article placeholder

ANALYSIS: Marriage equality wins at Supreme Court, but no immediate change in Ga.

images/stories/6-25-13/scotus.jpg

The Supreme Court handed down a pair of victories for marriage equality today, striking down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional and issuing a ruling in a challenge to California's Proposition 8 that should allow gay marriage to resume in that state.

The rulings do not give same-sex couples the right to marry in Georgia, but LGBT rights supporters here will join allies around the nation in hosting rallies tonight. The Atlanta rally is set for 5 p.m. at the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue.

“While we had hoped for a more expansive ruling that would immediately affect the legal status of couples here in Georgia, this is an important step towards the full legal recognition of our relationship.” said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, the state's largest LGBT political group.

article placeholder

Supreme Court: Prop 8 supporters had no standing to defend Calif. gay marriage ban

Supreme Court

In a second 5-4 decision on gay marriage today, the Supreme Court held that supporters of California's Proposition 8, the ballot measure that ended gay marriage in the state, did not have standing to defend the law in court. In a victory for gay Californians, the court remanded the case back to the district court, which had previously thrown out Prop 8.

"We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to. We decline to do so for the first time here," reads the majority opinion.

The decision should mean that same-sex couples will be able to resume marrying in California.

article placeholder

UPDATED: Supreme Court rules DOMA unconstitutional; law’s ‘principal purpose to impose inequality’

The United States Supreme Court

In a historic decision for gay and lesbian rights, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Defense of Marriage Act, which banned federal recognition of same-sex marriages, is unconstitutional.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority decision, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer.

The four justices who dissented were Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

article placeholder

Supreme Court to rule Wednesday on marriage cases

Supreme Court of the United States

The U.S. Supreme Court will rule tomorrow on two cases that could shape the fight for marriage equality for years to come. Decisions will be released starting at 10 a.m. LGBT rights supporters will then gather at 5 p.m. at the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue.

“Regardless of what those decisions entail, this will be a historic date for the LGBT community and will have a great impact on the ongoing struggle for equality in Georgia and around the country,” rally organizers stated in an open letter announcing the gathering.

The corner of 10th and Piedmont is in the heart of Midtown, Atlanta's gay mecca, and has played host to similar rallies in the past.