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NATIONAL ROUNDUP
by Amy Wooten
2008-02-13

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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Photo by Rex Wockner

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U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif.—the Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress—died Feb. 11 from complications of esophageal cancer, according to CNN.com. Lantos, 80, was serving his 14th term. Human Rights Campaign released a statement that said, in part, 'Congressman Lantos will be remembered as a tremendous advocate for all people, including the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. As the only survivor of the Holocaust to serve in Congress, he had a deep understanding of the consequences of hatred and discrimination.'

Regina Shavers, a Black lesbian activist and executive director of the N.Y.-based Griot Circle ( an organization focused on LGBT seniors of color ) , passed away Jan. 30 at the age of 69, according to a Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ( GLAAD ) release. Katina Parker, GLAAD's media strategist for communities of African descent, said in the statement, 'Regina, is a bold, dynamic force, and a lover of all people. I speak in the present tense because her compassion and commitment to bringing visibility to underrepresented people will live on in all of us who take up her pioneering torch. She will be greatly missed.'

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Black people make up almost half of the nation's HIV-positive individuals, according to DiversityInc.com. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) estimate that over 1 million U.S. residents are living with HIV—and 47 percent of them are African-American, with youths aged 13-24 accounting for 61 percent of those cases.

California's high court scheduled its gay marriage hearing for March 4, according to the Associated Press. California's Supreme Court will hear three hours of arguments on the gay marriage issue on that date, and will then have roughly three months to decide the issue.

Rev. Ted Haggard quit the 'recovery program' at New Life Church, reported 365gay.com. Haggard was outed in 2006 by a former male hustler, Mike Jones. He was fired from New Life Church, but entered the Colorado Springs church's 'ex-gay' recovery program. New Life Church, in a recent media statement, said that Haggard left the program too early, and should not be allowed to return to the ministry. According the Denver Post, Haggard has cut ties with his old church, and joined Phoenix's First Assembly of God.

A California teacher who claims he was forced to quit after coming out as bisexual to his fifth-grade students on the first day of school received a settlement. According to Bay Area News Group, the settlement is a year's salary. The teacher filed a sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit back in 2005 after resigning.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is still upset over what he perceived was a snub by current presidential candidate back in 2004, according to SFGate.com. Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown said that when he gave a fundraiser, Obama requested that he did not have his photo taken with Newsom, who was then in the middle of a same-sex marriage brouhaha. Obama's openly gay deputy campaign manager, Steve Hildebrand, dismissed the story, saying that the Illinois senator takes his picture with gay people constantly.

A former University of Utah employee, according to civil lawsuit recently filed, claims she was fired because she is a lesbian, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. The former employee also claims she was fired because of her appearance, and the fact that she 'cared for domesticated animals in her home instead of children.' Heidi Borjesson worked for the university's physics department, and was terminated in January 2005.

Experts say that the recent media hype over a San Francisco study about a drug resistant staph infection among gay men was overblown and misrepresented by the media, according to Sovo.com. The study stated that San Francisco gay men were 13 times more likely than the general population to develop the infection. Some misleading reports failed to mention that the study only looked at individuals in San Francisco, that the infection is found among many demographics. Some articles also inaccurately labeled the infection as a 'superbug.' Experts say that conservatives are using the misleading reports as anti-gay ammo.

A judge ruled that former Gov. Jim McGreevey, who is openly gay, doesn't have to reveal his partner's assets while he battles his ex-wife in court over child support and custody issues. The Judge did rule that McGreevey's partner, Mark O'Donnell, will have to turn over some financial statements, reported Newsday.com. McGreevey came out in 2004, and then resigned from his post as governor.

Wisconsin's Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision that municipalities cannot intervene to fight the ACLU lawsuit seekng domestic partner benefits for state employees. The ACLU filed the suit in 2005 on behalf of six lesbian couples. The ACLU is pleased with the decision, and in a recent press release, said that if municipalities had a right to intervene, 'the judicial system would grind to a halt if everyone who was concerned about an issue had a right to get involved as a party.'

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