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Local News

Edina City Council Approves Domestic Partner Registry

The Edina City Council voted unanimously in May to create a domestic partnership registry, becoming the first suburban municipality in Minnesota to do so. Gay and unmarried straight couples who share a home can pay a $25 fee to have their partnership recognized by the city. In addition, city employees who have a registered domestic partner will receive the same sick and bereavement leave rights as married employees. Edina is only the fourth city in Minnesota to have such a registry, after Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth.

Gay St. Cloud Police Officer Alleges Discrimination

According to the Associated Press, former St. Cloud police officer Sean Lathrop, 27, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the St. Cloud Police Department discriminated against him because he’s gay. He resigned from the department in April. He alleges that he often was recognized for his work until May 2009, when officials learned he was gay. He said he then became the victim of antigay comments from police officials, and had his responsibilities reduced. The department issued a statement that “the city vehemently denies” the allegations, and looks forward to addressing them in court.”

National News

Ban on Gay Men Donating Blood Upheld

CNN reports that the Federal Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability voted 9 to 6 in June to recommend to the Food and Drug Administration that it not lift the US ban on blood donations from gay men, However, the committee called the rule “suboptimal.” The American Red Cross expressed its disappointment with the decision, saying that “while the Red Cross is obligated by law to follow the guidelines set forth by the FDA, we also strongly support the use of rational, scientifically based deferral periods that are applied fairly and consistently among donors who engage in similar risk activities.” A report from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law found that about 220,000 more pints of blood would be available each year if the FDA lifted the ban.

Illinois Treasurer Extends Benefits to Some Gay and Lesbian State Employees

Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias signed an executive order in June extending family leave benefits to gay and lesbian State Treasurer’s Office employees in domestic partnerships. The new policy allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a sick partner or relative, in addition to time off for the birth or adoption of a child. Currently, Giannoulias is running as a Democrat in a US Senate race against Republican US Representative Mark Kirk. Giannoulias said, “This is the right thing to do. It’s the only reason that I’m doing this. It’s about fairness and equality. It’s not about politics.” The State Treasurer’s Office is the first in the Illinois government to adopt such a policy, which could be repealed by the next state treasurer.

World News

German Court Rules in Same-Sex Marriage Case

A Berlin court has ruled that a same-sex marriage performed in Canada between a German citizen and his Spanish partner only can be considered a civil partnership. Andreas Boettcher, 37, said he accepted the ruling, although it wasn’t ideal, adding, “I could fight it, but it would take a lot of time and a lot of money.” German law defines marriage as exclusively between men and women, but allows civil partnerships.

Spanish Clinic Probed for Offering To “Cure” Gays

According to Agence France-Presse, the government in Spain’s Catalonia region said it was investigating a Barcelona clinic that allegedly offers treatments to “cure” homosexuality. Spain’s El Pais newspaper reported that the Policlinica Tibidabo offers medication and psychiatric treatments to “convert” gay people. A spokeswoman for the regional government’s health department stated it was investigating the clinic. She noted that the clinic could face fines if the so-called treatments are taking place.

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