Big gay News 01/21/2009
Well, within minutes of Obama’s swearing-in at the Capitol yesterday, the office White House Web site was completely updated to reflect the new administration - including the President’s LGBT campaign pledges.
It includes a quote by president barak Obama from June 1, 2007 that states “While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It’s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.”
The Web site says that the President supports the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.
It also says that Obama would fight for civil unions and federal rights for same-sex couples and guarantee adoption rights. And it pledges to fight any attempt to pass an amendment to the Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage.
In addition, the site said the President is pledged to support for AIDS relief, both nationally and abroad. Not bad for day 1.
Gay Rights advocates were in a huge uproar earlier this week after HBO failed to air Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson’s prayer in their broadcast of The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial Sunday afternoon. HBO is saying they were not to blame for the exclusion.
The Presidential Inauguration Committee issued a statement saying, that they had always intended and planned for Robinson’s invocation to be included in the televised portion of yesterday’s program and that they regretted the error in making that happen.
The irony is that Robinson had helped diffuse outrage from the LGBT community After Obama endured a wave of criticism for selecting the Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the swearing in ceremony.
The committee’s statement doesn’t exactly come out and say the whole thing is their fault, but it does seem to verify HBO’s comments that they had nothing to do with Robinson’s exclusion from the broadcast.
Speaking of Rev. Rick Warren, several dozen gay rights activists protested Monday morning to counter Warren's keynote address at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Commemorative Service at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church. As churchgoers and political leaders filled the Ebenezer sanctuary, protesters led by the Atlanta Black LGBT Coalition and GLBT Atlanta carried signs including "We still have a dream. Equality," proclaiming Warren incompatible with the slain civil rights leader's dream of fairness and justice for all people. Other progressive activists joined in the effort, with signs decrying war and bigotry, and supporting equal marriage rights. Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California, is an outspoken critic of gay marriage and has compared it with incest and pedophillia.
The new Mayor of Portland apologized Tuesday for lying about a sexual relationship with a male teenager he was mentoring three years ago, but asked the city to consider it an anomaly in two decades of public service. Sam Adams was elected easily last year, making Portland the largest U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor. He was sworn in Jan. 1.
Rumors of the relationship had surfaced when the then-city commissioner was getting ready to run for mayor in 2007, but he and the teen both denied it at the time. In a statement he released Monday confirming the relationship, Adams said he lied then because the rumors claimed the teen was underage. He said the relationship did not begin until after the teen turned 18 in June 2005. the legal age of consent in Oregon.
At the time, the teen was a legislative intern whom Adams mentored on being gay and in public service. He is now 21 and has not made any public comments acknowledging any relationship with Adams. He did not return a request for comment Tuesday from The Associated Press.
Adams stressed the issue is about a public official lying, not sexual orientation, and he would work to regain the public’s trust. he said he would cooperate in any investigation and has no plan to resign.
In a massive medical trial on three continents, doctors are testing a controversial pill that could temporarily boost immunity against HIV before a person is even exposed to the virus. If the pill works safely, doctors must then address whether such a drug, if made widely available, could actually worsen the AIDS epidemic.
The pre-exposure pill undergoing testing seems promising, since HIV drugs taken within days after exposure to the virus have been shown to reduce the risk of infection by 80 percent. But public health officials debate whether people at high risk for the virus, such as men who have sex with men, would be more likely to set aside the use of condoms to instead rely on a drug regimen that doesn't provide full protection against the disease, which is spread by contact with the blood or semen of an infected person.
And that’s all for the news this Wednesday January 21st, 2009.