FDA opens door to ending gay blood donation ban

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration signaled Tuesday that it is reevaluating its policy on blood donations by gay and bisexual men, less than a year after changing its former policy and less than two months s...
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[Video] Anti-bully bill needs revision but finds support in Ga. House education subcommittee

Keisha Waites

Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) fielded questions on her anti-bully legislation, HB 429, today before a Georgia General Assembly education subcommittee.

As written, HB 429 would expand the state's anti-bullying laws and require schools to issue annual reports on instances of bullying where a student is disciplined. Waites is one of three openly gay members of the Georgia General Assembly.

Committee members, including Education Committee Chairman Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth), questioned the need for additional punishments against students who bully, but seemed favorable to the idea of requiring schools to submit annual reports on instances of bullying.

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[Updated] Ga. Democrats to take on anti-gay discrimination in state funding for private schools

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Democrats in the Georgia General Assembly rolled out their legislative agenda for 2013 today which includes a bill “to prevent student scholarship organizations from funding private schools that discriminate against Georgia’s children.”

Dubbed the Anti-Discrimination Act, the bill is sponsored by Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) and Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens), according to Emily Oh, spokesperson for the House Democratic Caucus.

Bell is the first openly lesbian African-American state lawmaker in the country.

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R.I. House votes for marriage equality; bill also introduced in Hawaii

R.I. Gov. Lincoln Chafee

The Rhode Island House of Representatives today approved a bill that would allow legal marriages between same-sex couples. The vote was 51-19.

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an Independent, last week urged his state's legislature to move forward on marriage and to give him a bill to sign. Democrats listened and quickly advanced a marriage equality bill through the House.

“Rhode Island, as you all know, has a legacy of tolerance. It is the ideal upon which we were founded,” Chafee said Jan. 14. “It is time to honor and affirm that legacy by ensuring that same-sex couples can enjoy the same fundamental rights, benefits and privileges as all other citizens of our state.”

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Anti-gay boobs on the Hill, or DOMA defense renewed thanks to House Republicans

US House

Today marks the first official day of the 113th session of the United States Congress. With new appointments, incoming freshmen legislators and the drama of the fiscal cliff behind them, things are returning to what Washington considers “normal.”

One of the first acts of the Republican leadership in the House was to extend funding to continue the legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in its court challenges.

The Supreme Court announced in December that it would hear a challenge to the 1996 law that forbids the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions. Lower court rulings have consistently found the law unconstitutional. The Department of Justice announced last year it would no longer defend DOMA in its many court challenges.

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Anti-gay Ga. congressman tapped for key House budget subcommitee

Jack Kingston

While Congress is wrapping up its 112th legislative session by dealing with the fiscal cliff and Hurricane Sandy emergency funding, plans are already underway for the upcoming session, set to kick off tomorrow.

In local news, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) has been named as the chair of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education under the House Committee on Appropriations.

Last year under its Republican leadership, the subcommittee worked to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), more commonly called ObamaCare, and tried to cut Planned Parenthood funding unless it ceased providing abortions.

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‘Legitimate rape’ lawmaker attempts to thwart military gays

Todd Akin

I just looked outside. The sky is not falling. And if you don't subscribe to the notion that the Mayans predicted the end of the world on Dec. 21, things appear to be chugging right along as they always have.

But if you asked outgoing U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), the recent repeal of the military's “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy, in addition to recent marriage victories achieved in the last election, prove the world is surely in its last days.

You remember Akin. He's the guy that tried to justify his position on abortion by saying that women who are legitimately raped have a way of shutting down their body to prevent pregnancy. That statement caused him to lose any credibility in his race for U.S. Senate against incumbent Claire McCaskill.

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Georgia Democrat state rep switches to GOP over gay marriage

State Rep. Rick CrawfordState Rep. Rick Crawford of Cedartown has decided to switch to the GOP over the issue of gay marriage.

Atlanta Unfiltered first reported that Crawford said if he wins reelection on November he will switch parties and become a Republican. Why? He doesn't believe in same-sex marriage.

From Atlanta Unfiltered:

Crawford, who had been pondering his party affiliation for a while, said Democrats’ endorsement of same-sex marriage pushed him over the edge. “I thought, ‘My time here is done,’” he said.

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Georgia Equality makes early endorsements of gay candidates in state House races

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Georgia Equality has issued early endorsements for state Representatives Karla Drenner, Simone Bell and Keisha Waites as well as candidate Ken Britt. All are openly gay.

The state LGBT advocacy group has endorsed Bell and Drenner in their past elections. Britt, who is running in his first race, is a former board member of Georgia Equality. Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, said today no endorsement of gay State Rep. Rashad Taylor has been made. He is facing strong LGBT ally and incumbent Pat Gardner for re-election.

The announcement of the early endorsements was made at an LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party on Saturday held at the Democratic Party Headquarters. House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams attended the meeting to urge members and supporters to work hard this election season, especially before the July 31 primary, to ensure progressive candidates are elected.