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  WINDY CITY TIMES

National Roundup
by Andrew Davis
2005-12-28

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Results of a national study conducted during President George Bush's most recent State of the Union Address revealed a range of responses from viewers, according to a release from HCD Research. The numbers showed that, for example, 21 percent of conservatives were sad or angry while watching the speech, as opposed to 87 percent of liberals and 35 percent of moderates. Regarding their strongest feelings, 64 percent of conservatives responded 'confidence'; 30 percent of moderates reported feeling 'suspicion and skepticism'; and 74 percent of liberals felt 'disgust and irritation.'

In Louisiana, a state appellate court ruled that the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Christian group, had no standing to try to block New Orleans from including same- or opposite-sex partners in employees' family health plans, KATC.com reported. An attorney for the city argued that the entity had the right to change the benefits it provides to its employees, just like a private company does.

Brokeback Mountain director Ang Lee will be accepting the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Equality Award Feb. 11 in New York City. HRC President Joe Solmonese said that the auteur's 'vision is changing hearts and minds.' See www.boxofficetickets.com/hrc.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III said that 'Intelligent design' cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, CNN reported. Jones, a Bush appointee, ruled that Dover Area School Board members violated the Constitution when they ordered that its biology curriculum must include the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause.

The U.S. House has passed a bill that endangers LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants, according to a Human Rights Campaign release. The House passed The Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act by a vote of 239-182. HRC President Joe Solmonese said that the measure 'threatens the rights of [ LGBT ] and HIV-positive immigrants and asylum-seekers and the American citizens who love and care for them.'

Some gay men are taking AIDS drugs ( like tenofovir ) instead of using condoms during unprotected sex, according to an item in the L.A. Times. Some HIV experts say that, among other things, the recreational use of the drugs might increase overall resistance to the medications.

The L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center has stopped using an oral HIV test after discovering that 13 people falsely tested positive. The center's announcement came a month after a testing facility in San Francisco made the same decision because the OraQuick Advance test incorrectly diagnosed 47 people there as HIV-positive.

The Mautner Project, a national lesbian health organization, announced the results of a survey of bars and restaurants that cater to LGBT clients and the effects of smoking in those establishments, according to a Witeck-Combs Communications press release. Among the biggest surprises was that 55 percent of respondents reported that their own bartenders complained about smoke.

The online editors of PlanetOut Inc. have tabbed Spain's prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, as its person of the year. They cited Zapatero's efforts in fulfilling the promise of marriage rights for gay couples that he made after becoming Spain's leader in 2004.

In Virginia, Democratic Gov. Mark R. Warner amended an executive order that for the first time explicitly bans Virginia state agencies from discriminating against gays in hiring and promotions, according to The Washington Post. The policy went into effect immediately, and a spokeswoman for Democratic Governor-elect Timothy M. Kaine said the incoming official plans to continue the policy by signing the same executive order when he is inaugurated Jan. 14.

According to a Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( SLDN ) release, the Arizona Daily Star reported that Private Kyle Lawson, a 19-year-old Tucson, Ariz., resident, was physically assaulted and threatened at Fort Huachuca Army Base after fellow soldiers learned he is gay—and is leaving the Army. The SLDN called on Army officials to hold the proper parties accountable and urged the Pentagon to implement an anti-harassment Action plan originally adopted in 2000.

LGBT individuals must overcome communication gaps when working together across generations, according to a new publication by the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies, an Amherst, Mass.-based think tank. Dr. Glenda Russell, a co-author of the report, said in a statement that 'LGBT adults tend to project their own experiences onto today's young people, when in fact the lives of today's young people are often quite different.'

The New York-based Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project ( CHAMP ) , in a statement, notified the AIDS community about widely held concerns about the Program Evaluation and Monitoring System ( PEMS ) , a CDC-backed set of new surveillance requirements for federally funded HIV prevention programs. CHAMP claimed that PEMS could cause many problems, from jeopardizing privacy to interfering with prevention efforts.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum—the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, the world's oldest synagogue for LGBT Jews—released a statement condemning the appointment of Archbishop Pietro Sambi as the Vatican's new representative to the U.S. Kleinbaum said that Sambi's appointment 'sends a strong message, affirming the church hierarchy's willingness to target our community for persecution and derision within the Catholic Church and align itself with other anti-gay religious extremists.'


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