Big Gay News

GLBT-Inclusive Immigration Bill Reintroduced in US Senate

The Human Rights Campaign’s Back Story reports that in June, a group of Democratic senators reintroduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011, which includes the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). The bill would allow citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex partners. Currently, 26 other countries recognize same-sex couples.

Arkansas Paper Omits Partner from Gay Man’s Obituary

Reuters reports that the Batesville Daily Guard newspaper in Arkansas is now considering changing its obituary policy after allegations that it discriminated against a local gay man. Terrence James said the paper omitted his name from the obituary of his partner, John Millican. Oscar Jones, a spokesperson for the paper, said it has a policy of not listing names of unmarried partners, regardless of sexual orientation, in free obituaries. Jones said that since James’s complaint, he has talked with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) about changing the newspaper’s policy.

AT&T Defends GLAAD Donations

The Boston Herald reports that AT&T is denying that its $50,000 donation to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) was meant to win the group’s support for a proposed merger with T-Mobile. The controversy has led to the resignation of GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. GLAAD and several other organizations, including NAACP, are being criticized for publicly supporting the AT&T/T-Mobile merger after receiving substantial financial contributions from the company.

Coming Out Most Beneficial in Supportive Environment

Psych Central reports on a new study that suggests coming out in a supportive environment has more emotional benefits than previously thought. The study was published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science. Nicole Legate, a doctoral student at the University of Rochester who led the study with Ryan and Netta Weinstein from the University of Essex in England, said it shows that “environment plays a huge role in determining when coming out actually makes you happier.”

Republican Presidential Candidate Would “Respect” New York Same-Sex Marriage Law

According to the Huffington Post, former Utah Governor and Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman said in June that if he were elected President, he would respect the decision of states to legalize same-sex marriage if they chose to, and wouldn’t seek to override those laws with a federal ban. The decision sets Huntsman apart from his fellow Republican presidential candidates.

New Jersey Senate President Regrets Abstaining from Same-Sex Marriage Vote

The Lexington-Leader reports that New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney announced publicly in June he felt his decision last year to withhold support for same-sex marriage legislation was the “biggest mistake” of his career. “I made a decision purely based on political calculation to not vote for marriage equality,” Sweeney said. Advocates are expected to make a renewed push for same-sex marriage legislation in New Jersey this year.

WHO Urges Equal Access to HIV Services for Gay Men

The Associated Press reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) is urging world governments to help gay men get equal access to HIV-prevention and treatment services. Gottfried Hirnshall, Director of WHO’s HIV Department, says that in some countries, 40 percent of gay and bisexual men are HIV-positive. He also urged governments to develop antidiscrimination laws.

Wisconsin Domestic Partnership Registry Ruled Constitutional

According to the Associated Press, a Wisconsin judge ruled in June that the state’s domestic partnership registry does not violate Wisconsin’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Circuit Judge Daniel Moeser said in his ruling, “The state does not recognize domestic partnership in a way that even remotely resembles how the state recognizes marriage. Moreover, domestic partners have far fewer legal rights, duties, and liabilities in comparison to the legal rights, duties, and liabilities of spouses.” Wisconsin Family Action, the socially conservative organization that brought the suit last year, says it will appeal the decision.

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