The big gay and lesbian news for the
week came from the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Gay marriage has
been legal in the state since 2004, but as of Thursday out-of-state couples may also wed there.
Massachusetts was the first state in
America to allow full marriage equality, but then Governor Mitt
Romney (R) cited an obscure 1913 law to prevent Massachusetts from
becoming what he called “the Las Vegas of gay marriage.”
Massachusetts' move comes after
California opened its door to non-resident gay couples in June. Soon
afterwards, New York and Rhode Island announced they would recognize
the California marriages, even though neither state offers gay
marriage. Massachusetts lawmakers quickly took notice of the
economic benefit headed to California. This legislation is an
attempt to funnel some of those gay dollars their way.
Gay groups praised repeal of the law.
“Couples across the country have reason to celebrate today, as
Governor Patrick and state lawmakers take one giant leap towards
opening the door to marriage equality for everyone,” said Steve
Ralls, Director of Communications for Parents, Families and Friends of
Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in an email to On Top Magazine.
“All of us at PFLAG salute those who made repeal of this antiquated
statute a reality.”
The AIDS epidemic has stabilized,
reports the United Nations. As proof it points to fewer deaths from
the disease (2 million, down from 2.2 million in 2005), a dramatic
rise in treatment (a ten fold increase over the last six years), and
an overall drop in new infections (2.7 million people versus a
previous high of 5 million).
But as the United States triples its
global investment in AIDS to $48 billion over five years, high risk
groups – gay men, intravenous drug users, and sex workers –
continue to be ignored.
In Asia, even the United Nations report concludes that these high risk groups continue to suffer with higher infection rates.
“We just don't know how to get
governments to do nice things for junkies, sex workers and gay boys,”
Elizabeth Pisani, a former UNAIDS epidemiologist who wrote the book
The Wisdom of Whores, told The Associated Press.
And as a conference on AIDS in Mexico highlights: Prejudice against the disease, and those infected,
continues to challenge health workers in many countries.
In Florida, a teen made a huge difference in the lives of the gay people she loves. Ponce De Leon
High Schooler Heather Gillman and the ACLU won a case against the
county school board after her principal banned all pro gay messages.
Principal David Davis refused to let students show support for a girl
who had been taunted for being lesbian. Davis also held a morality
assembly and suspended several students. Gillman's victory secured
First Amendment rights for the school's students, transferred Davis
to a classroom, and ordered the county school board to pay more than
$325,000 in damages and attorney fees.
Here's a picture of Davis at that morality assembly.
And it was our own Gay Entertainment Report that brought me news of the new gay bear documentary Bear Run premiering tonight on cable channel Logo. Bear hugs?
The Gay Slant pops-in most Saturdays at
On Top Magazine. Walter Weeks is a writer for On Top and can be
reached at email@example.com