National & World News

National News 

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Impacts Women

The Army and Air Force have discharged lesbians at higher rates than gay men under the US military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy, statistics show. The policy in place bans openly gay individuals from serving in the armed forces. While females account for 14 percent of Army members, 46 percent of people discharged by way of the rule last year were female, according to Pentagon information gathered by an advocacy group. While 20 percent of Air Force members are female, 49 percent of people discharged by way of the rule last year were female, The New York Times reported. A Freedom of Information Act request permitted the Service Members Legal Defense Network (SMLDN) to collect the data, the report stated. “Women make up 15 percent of the armed forces, so to find they represent nearly 50 percent of Army and Air Force discharges under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is shocking,” SMLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis said.

Woman Can Sue Ex-Husband for HIV Fraud

A California court has approved for trial a case in which a wife is suing her ex-husband for allegedly giving her HIV after assuring her he was virus-free. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that a 42-year-old woman, identified only as Bridget B., could move forward with a suit against her ex-husband, John B., for fraud and negligence under state law. It continues a six-year legal battle between the two, the Los Angeles Times reported. In testimony, Bridget B. tearfully recounted how she had no reason not to believe John B.’s assurances that he wasn’t HIV-positive after they were married—he had tested negative for the virus twice, once before their honeymoon, and again in 2000, when Bridget discovered she herself was HIV-positive. But later, she found he had had sex with at least two men, and John B. ultimately admitted he also had sex with men before the marriage, the newspaper reported. In 2002, Bridget B. filed suit against John B. In 2006, the case went to the California Supreme Court, which decided that someone could be held liable for not informing a new partner of previous risky sexual activity.

Sacramento Same-Sex Weddings Mostly Female

A tally of marriage licenses issued in Sacramento County indicates more female than male same-sex couples are getting married. The Sacramento Bee, which took an informal tally of the paperwork, determined that, initially, 60 percent of same-sex couples getting married in the county were female, while 40 percent were male. “Women want to be married more than men do,” Gary Gates, a demographer at the UCLA Law School, said. “The idea of partnering is more attractive to women.” He added that statistics nationwide showed female couples in “committed” relationships outnumbered male couples by a 2-1 margin. On the other hand, according to Gates, lesbian relationships tended not to last as long on average as those between gay men. The Bee reported that of 170 couples who applied for marriage licenses in Sacramento County, 133 were homosexual, based on the first names of the applicants.

World News

Gay Men Tied to Population Growth

Italian scientists say they’ve found that the same genetic factors leading to male homosexuality also lead to increased fertility in the homosexuals’ mothers. The researchers said male homosexuality is associated with a phenomenon called “sexually antagonistic selection,” in which a genetic factor confers a reproductive advantage. University of Padova Professors Andrea Camperio Ciani and Giovanni Zanzotto, along with Paolo Cermelli of the University of Torino, stated the persistence of gay men in a population isn’t easily explained by Darwin’s theory of evolution, because men who possess genes predisposing them to homosexual behavior are much less likely to reproduce. Gay men’s lower rate of reproduction would be expected to lead to their eventual disappearance from a population, according to the researchers. Empirical studies, however, have revealed steady rates of gay men in populations. The researchers screened a large set of explanatory models, and eliminated those inconsistent with observed data. They concluded that male homosexuality benefits populations by promoting female fecundity. Gay men, therefore, give rise to an increase of the fecundity of the whole population. The study is reported in the online journal PLoS One.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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