National

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Historic gay marriage decisions expected by end of June

Atlanta DOMA protest

The U.S. Supreme Court will issue decisions this month that could change the fight for marriage equality for a generation or more.

The last scheduled session for the current Supreme Court term is June 24. At press time June 4, gay marriage supporters and opponents alike were anxiously watching the court for decisions that could impact marriage rights for same-sex couples in California and around the country.

Meanwhile, activists around the country are planning “Day of Decision” demonstrations, including a gathering scheduled for the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue in Atlanta.

“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,” reads an open letter to the LGBT community signed by leaders of eight local LGBT and LGBT-supportive organizations.

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Will stigma fade as major pro athletes come out?

Jason Collins

Angel McCoughtry, star player for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, sat at a table with reporters in the belly of Phillips Arena during the basketball team’s recent media day.

Reporters asked her about playing overseas, about how the former Louisville star felt about her college being represented in the NCAA championships (the men won the title and the women lost the championship game to University of Connecticut) and her predictions for the upcoming Dream season.

When asked if she knew any gay players, she laughed knowingly.

And then she said she doesn’t care if a player is gay or straight.

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Experts seek clues to how Supreme Court will rule next month

Ruth Bader Ginsberg

LGBT activists view U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a likely vote for equal protection in the two pending major cases involving marriage for same-sex couples.

But mainstream media outlets recently jostled that confidence by noting that she continues to express the view that the landmark abortion rights decision, Roe v. Wade, went “too far too fast.”

If the court’s most veteran supporter of equal rights for women believes Roe moved “too far too fast,” could she be urging an incremental approach to another controversial issue – marriage for same-sex couples?

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Minnesota governor to sign marriage equality bill today

minnesota state capitol via governor office

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is scheduled to sign a marriage equality bill into law today at 5 p.m. at the state capitol, making Minnesota the 12th state to allow same-sex couples to marry.

The legislation, approved by the state Senate yesterday, continues an unprecedented momentum toward marriage equality, with Minnesota being the sixth state to approve marriage equality in the past six months and the third to do so in the past two weeks.

Rhode Island’s legislature and governor approved a marriage equality law May 2. Delaware’s legislature and governor did so May 7.

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‘Shock and disbelief’ after HIV vaccine trial halted

HIV vaccine

Nearly 200 metro Atlanta gay men participated in the national HIV vaccine trial named HVTN-505, known locally as Life Forward, before it was stopped last month after an oversight committee saw in preliminary results that people were being infected despite being vaccinated.

For Dr. Mark Mulligan, principal investigator of the Life Forward vaccine trial at Emory’s Hope Clinic, the news came as a huge disappointment.

“I was like, ‘Oh, wow.’ I felt a sort of shock and disbelief and disappointment. And there was some emotion,” he said.

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News in brief: Boo for Gov. Deal, kudos to Rhode Island

Ga. governor changes day against ‘homophobia’ to ‘mistreatment’

Ga. Gov. Nathan Deal has done it again. For the second time in as many years, Deal’s office issued a proclamation requested by organizers of the International Day Against Homophobia — but only after sanitizing it into “Mistreatment Awareness Day” and removing any reference to LGBT rights.

The renamed event is sadly ironic, Georgia organizer Betty Couvertier observed last year.

“They couldn’t even use the word homophobia,” Couvertier, who asked for the proclamation, said then. “This [proclamation] is a documentation of homophobia.”

Organizers launched a Change.org petition to get Deal to issue a proclamation honoring the real observance, but at press time May 7, he hadn’t obliged. Meanwhile, plans for Atlanta’s International Day Against Homophobia start with and culminate with an evening event with speakers and performers May 17.

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Gay Atlanta adoptive parents join Rep. John Lewis for press conference on Every Child Deserves a Family Act

John Lewis

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) are leading a group of lawmakers in the House and Senate preparing to introduce legislation that would prohibit anti-LGBT bias in adoption and foster care services.

The legislation, known as the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, would restrict federal funds for public child welfare agencies if they have laws or practices allowing for discrimination in adoption on the basis of marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill would also prohibit discrimination against LGBT children seeking families.

Gillibrand emphasized the importance of the legislation on Tuesday during a news conference on Capitol Hill as a means to ensure LGBT families seeking to adopt can do so without fear of anti-gay bias.