US court backs gay marriage ban
The court backed the Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed in the state eight years ago to limit marriage to heterosexual couples.
Nineteen same-sex couples had challenged the law, but the court ruled against them by five votes to four.
The judges stressed that they were not ruling on the rights or wrongs of gay marriage itself, but only on whether the current law was constitutional.
The decision follows a string of setbacks for same-sex marriage advocates in other parts of the US.
Forty-five of the 50 states have passed laws or amended their constitutions to effectively prohibit same-sex marriages.
Indian health authorities call for scrapping of gay sex
NEW DELHI - Health authorities are calling for a repeal of a 145-year-old law that makes gay sex a crime, fearing it is causing HIV and AIDS to spread quickly in India’s homosexual community, officials said Wednesday.
The government’s main AIDS prevention agency has filed an affidavit in the Delhi High Court, supporting a request by an AIDS activist group to scrap the law.
The National AIDS Control Organization, part of India’s Health Ministry, argued in the affidavit filed last week that the 1861 law creates a public health risk.
So long as the gay community is forced to go underground, it limits the access to them and makes it difficult for the AIDS prevention campaign to reach them,” Sujatha Rao, who heads the AIDS Control Organization, also known as NACO, told The Associated Press.
Transgender politician quietly makes waves in central Missouri
CENTRALIA, Mo. - Politicians looking to launch high-profile careers awash in the cable news klieg lights and the Sunday network gabfests should avoid this town's Board of Aldermen.
Around here, the agenda is more likely to involve street closings, stop signs or a stern warning to go easy on the City Hall copier. The nuts and bolts of small-town government are hardly the stuff of headlines - which is exactly what Jessica Orsini prefers.
Advocates for transgender equality hail the public, albeit low-key, leadership role played by Orsini, who for the first three decades of her life was known as Jeff Orsini, an Air Force veteran and self-described computer nerd partial to role-playing war games.
As one of just two openly transgender politicians to win elected office in this country - the other, Michelle Bruce, is a City Council member in Riverdale, Ga. - Orsini is a trailblazer, said Mara Keisling, executive director of the Washington-based National Center for Transgender Equality.