Louisiana ditches gay marriage ban amendment
A Louisiana judge on Tuesday threw out that state's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, less than three weeks after it was overwhelmingly approved by voters.
District judge William Morvant said the amendment was flawed as drawn up by the legislature because it had more than one purpose: banning not only gay marriage but also civil unions. The courts had rejected a similar argument before the September 18 election, saying it was premature.
Michael Johnson, an attorney for supporters of the amendment, said he will appeal the ruling. Some 78% of those voting favored the amendment. The Louisiana legislature pushed through the proposed ban in its session this spring. Louisiana already had a law against gay marriage, but conservatives warned that unless it was put in the state constitution, a Louisiana court could, in theory, one day follow the Massachusetts example and legalize same-sex marriage.
Christian conservatives launched a vigorous grassroots campaign to secure passage of the amendment. A gay rights group challenged the amendment on several grounds, arguing among other things that combining the question of gay marriage and the issue of civil unions in one ballot question violated state law.
EU official defends stand on homosexuality
Italy's conservative nominee to become the European Union's justice and home affairs commissioner vowed Tuesday that he would defend the rights of gays even though he considers homosexuality "a sin."
Rocco Buttiglione also defended plans to have the 25-nation EU help operate processing centers for asylum seekers in North Africa during a heated confirmation hearing at the European Parliament. Legislators pushed the Christian Democrat to come clean on his conservative religious views, which many fear could influence his job in drafting antidiscrimination rules.
When pressed by Dutch Green Kathalijne Buitenweg on his views on homosexuality, Buttiglione said he does not "hide the fact" that he is a practicing Roman Catholic and has close links to the Vatican. But he insisted his personal views would not influence his new position in promoting human rights in Europe.
"I may think that homosexuality is a sin, and this has no effect on politics, unless I say that homosexuality is a crime," Buttiglione said. "The rights of homosexuals should be defended on the same basis as the rights of all other European citizens. I would not accept the idea that homosexuals are a category apart."
Arkansas Anti-Gay Foster Care Law Back In Court
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
(Little Rock, Arkansas) After a six-month delay a legal challenge to an Arkansas policy that prevents lesbians and gays and anyone living in a household with a gay adult from being foster parents resumed today.
"The state has put up nothing but outdated, baseless myths to justify denying Arkansas's foster children potential homes," said Rita Sklar, Executive Director of the ACLU of Arkansas which is fighting the law. "There may be a new witness taking the stand, but the state is going to be singing the same old song."
Doctor Sued After Refusing To Treat Patient With HIV
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin) A 54 year old Wisconsin man who says his doctor illegally discriminated against his patient by refusing to perform surgery when he learned the man has HIV Tuesday launched a civil suit.
Steve Spera says he went to Milwaukee orthopedist James Cain seeking relief for severe and debilitating back pain. Spera says that he received care from Dr. Cain for nearly two years and was given a series of pain management procedures but with little success.
Dr. Cain finally recommended spinal fusion surgery, and Spera submitted to a blood test to enter the hospital as a patient for surgery. The blood test showed that Spera has HIV, and Dr. Cain informed Spera of his status and said he would not perform the surgery. Spera says that he had previously tested negative for HIV.
"Doctors have an ethical and legal obligation to treat people with HIV," said Jonathan Givner, AIDS Project Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal which is representing Spera.
Gay, Lesbian 'Economic Walkout' Friday
ATLANTA (AP) -- A middle school music and choir teacher says he wasn't a gay rights activist until Georgia politics forced the issue.
Prompted by a proposed constitutional gay marriage ban on the state's November ballot, Dale Duncan is doing something to try to unify gays and lesbians. He has turned to a tactic used during the civil rights movement -- a work stoppage and economic boycott.
On Friday, the Boycott for Equality is calling for gays and lesbians across the nation to drop out of the U.S. economy for the day by staying home from work, not shopping and not using cell phones. The boycott also asks people to withdraw $80 from their bank accounts and hold onto the money to symbolize the average daily contribution of gay and lesbian people to the economy.
It's a grass-roots effort being spread by word of mouth and e-mails. A Web site set up to outline the boycott had 1.6 million hits as of Tuesday, Duncan said.
Group opposing marriage amendment launches media campaign
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A group opposed to a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage has launched a media campaign in Louisville.
The Fairness Campaign is mailing thousands of postcards and has sponsored a billboard off Interstate 65 at the Nov. 2 election nears.
The billboard, sponsored by the Fairness Education Fund, depicts the U.S. Constitution in the background and proclaims that gay and straight Kentuckians each "deserve equal protection under the law."
Liffrig staffer leaves over gay marriage ads
By DEENA WINTER/Bismarck Tribune
U.S. Senate candidate Mike Liffrig's press secretary has left the campaign in frustration over a provocative television ad campaign that accused his opponent, Byron Dorgan, of supporting gay marriage.
Chris Morrola was Liffrig's press secretary from July 1 until last week, when he returned to Virginia. Morrola said he left largely due to the TV advertisements that were broadcast over his objections. He said he opposes gay marriage, but the ads were inflammatory and only hurt Liffrig's polling numbers.