National & World NewsNational NewsPentagon Balks at Gay Spouse TravelThe Pentagon balked at US Representative Tammy Baldwin’s domestic partner accompanying her on a military flight for a Congressional trip to Europe, officials said. The Politico reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi intervened before Congress’s Easter break so the Wisconsin Democrat, the only openly lesbian member of Congress, could be joined by her partner. The Web site reported that House rules allow members of Congress to take their spouses with them on military flights if there is room for them, and when it is “necessary for protocol purposes.” But the Defense Department did not consider Lauren Azar a “spouse.” Pelosi reportedly urged Defense Secretary Robert Gates to follow the precedent established by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (Republican-Illinois), who allowed Azar to accompany Baldwin on trips. Gates said he would let Azar to travel on a military plane if Pelosi sends him a letter authorizing the trip. “This is not an issue of DOD regulations,” Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said. “Secretary Gates honored a request from Speaker Pelosi to make an exception to the House rules.”Inspector General Probes Lawyer’s FiringFederal investigators are looking into claims that a US Justice Department official fired a career attorney because of sexual orientation, officials said. The investigation into Leslie Hagen’s dismissal stems from a larger probe into the terminations of US attorneys while former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was in office, National Public Radio (NPR) reported. Numerous people questioned by the Inspector General’s office told NPR they thought the Attorney General’s office dismissed Hagen because of rumors that she was a lesbian. Officials reportedly have said Hagen’s contract was not renewed because her position is a privilege, and more people should have an opportunity to fill it. However, Hagen was not replaced until months after she left, NPR stated.Judge Allows Marital Fraud Claim To StandA New Jersey judge refused to throw out a claim that former Governor Jim McGreevey defrauded his wife by marrying her when he knew he was gay. Union County Superior Court Judge Karen Cassidy dismissed another claim, of emotional distress, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported. Cassidy found that McGreevey did not intend to harm Dina Matos McGreevey when he married her. The McGreevey marital breakup has been under way for more than three years, starting when the Governor announced his sexual orientation and his resignation at a news conference in 2004. Matos McGreevey contends that her husband deceived her, because he needed a wife as political cover.World NewsHIV-Positive Canadian Challenges US Travel BanA Canadian man in British Columbia is challenging the 1987 US law banning people with HIV from entering the United States. Martin Rooney was fingerprinted at the Washington State border, and told to return home to Surrey in November after he told an immigration official he was on disability because of HIV, The Globe and Mail (Toronto) reported. The United States is one of 13 countries, including China, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, that ban HIV-positive visitors and immigrants. HIV is the only medical condition singled out as a basis for inadmissibility under the US Immigration and Nationality Act. Senator John Kerry (Democrat-Massachusetts) told the newspaper in an e-mail that the restriction was ridiculous. He attached an amendment to the global AIDS relief bill to end the practice. It was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and still faces a full Senate vote before going to the House, he said.Italian General: Gays Not Suited for ArmyOne of Italy’s top generals says gays don’t belong in the military, though he states he never acted to get rid of any gay soldiers. General Mauro Del Vecchio told the Italian news agency AGI that “gays in the army are unsuitable. I respect any legitimate and lawful choice by a person, but I believe that in a structure like the army, where activities are always carried out together, it is advisable not to declare or reveal one’s homosexuality.” The general, related that he has “encountered homosexual incidents” during his military career, and “acted in such a way that these situations would not happen again,” AGI reported. He said he relocated those involved. “In any case, I have never dismissed anybody from the army for being gay,” Del Vecchio stated.© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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