HRC Counters Target Money in Minnesota
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Joe Solmonese told the Associated Press that the organization would donate a total of $150,000 to a Democratic-backed political fund, a Minnesota gay-rights organization, and Democratic candidates in response to Target Corporation’s donation to a group supporting antigay Republican Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Solmonese added that HRC might contribute more in Minnesota, as it sees the state as one of the next to legalize same-sex marriage. He said, “We’ve understood long before the Target situation that Minnesota was poised, as is New York, to be the next state to win marriage equality.”
Federal Judge Will Issue Order To Halt Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
US District Judge Virginia Phillips, who decided in September that the military’s ban on openly gay service members was unconstitutional, said she would issue an order to halt the ban. She ruled that the ban violates the US Constitution’s First and Fifth Amendment rights of gays and lesbians. Log Cabin Republicans initiated the case that led to the ruling. Lawyers for the federal government argue that the judge lacks the authority to issue a nationwide injunction. The Justice Department can appeal the ruling, but has not announced what it will do.
Gay Federal Workers Can Take Leave Without Pay
According to The Washington Post, changes by the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will allow gay and lesbian federal workers with a same-sex partner to take unpaid leave for family educational and medical needs. They have been able to take paid leave for sick or dying same-sex partners since July. OPM Director John Berry said, “Anything we can do to make our federal employees know that we respect them, and we want to treat them equally, we should be about doing.”
Gay Saudi Diplomat Seeks US Asylum
Agence-France Presse reports that Saudi Arabian diplomat Ali Ahmad Asseri is seeking political asylum in United States because he is gay, and is close friends with a Jewish woman. Formerly First Secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, he claims his diplomatic passport was allowed to expire and his job terminated after Saudi officials discovered the information. Asseri told NBC, “My life is in a great danger here, and if I go back to Saudi Arabia, they will kill me openly in broad daylight.” He posted a letter on a Saudi website criticizing the country’s “backwardness,” as well as threatening to make public embarrassing information about the Saudi royal family living in the United States.
Serbian Police To Protect Gay Pride Marchers
Serbian police have promised to protect gay and lesbian marchers during the country’s first Pride parade in a decade, scheduled for October 10. Organizers say they’ve received threats of violence from right-wing extremists. Similar threats forced the cancellation of last year’s parade. However, this year, Police Chief Ivica Dacic stated that authorities would not tolerate violence during the parade, and are taking a serious look into the threats.
HIV Spreading “Out of Control” Among French Gay Men
According to a published study, transmission of the HIV virus among gay men in France is “out of control,” despite an overall decline in the number of new HIV cases in the country. Scientists from the French National Institute for Public Health Surveillance found that nearly half of the 7,000 people newly infected with HIV in the country in 2008 were gay men, and the incidence among gay men is 200 times higher than in the heterosexual population. Experts hope the findings lead French authorities to implement new prevention strategies. The study appeared in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.