FDA to Weigh Lifting Ban on Gay Men Donating Blood

Photo Credit: Fox News

Photo Credit: Fox News

Advisers for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will meet next week to discuss lifting a 30-year-old ban that prohibits gay men from donating blood.

Long-time critics of the ban, including some members of Congress, say the Dec. 2 meeting is a step in the right direction.

“We’ve got the ball rolling. I feel like this is a tide-turning vote,” Ryan James Yessak, an LGBT activist who founded the National Gay Blood Drive and will speak at before the Blood Products Advisory Committee, told The Hill. “There’s been a lot of feet dragging and I think they’re realizing it now.”

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Obama Refuses to Add Religious Exemption to Homosexual Employment Mandate

Photo Credit: Christian News

Photo Credit: Christian News

Barack Obama has refused to include a religious exemption in an executive order that he plans to sign today, which mandates that federal contractors hire homosexual and transgender persons.

According to White House representatives, Obama will sign the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on Monday without any provisions for religious entities. The order prohibits federal contractors from refusing to hire prospects on the basis of their gender identity or “sexual orientation.”

“Following on his pledge for this to be a year of action to expand opportunity for all Americans, the president has directed his staff to prepare for his signature an executive order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” an unnamed White House official told Time last week.

“The action would build upon existing protections, which generally prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. This is consistent with the president’s views that all Americans, LGBT or not, should be treated with dignity and respect,” they stated.

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Nobody is ‘Born that Way,’ Gay Historians Say

Photo Credit: REUTERS / Andrew Winning

Photo Credit: REUTERS / Andrew Winning

Sexual orientations cannot be innate

Journalists trumpet every biological study that even hints that gayness and straightness might be hard-wired, but they show little interest in the abundant social-science research showing that sexual orientation cannot be innate. The scholars I interviewed for this essay were variously dismayed or appalled by this trend.

For example, historian Dr. Martin Duberman, founder of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, said “no good scientific work establishes that people are born gay or straight.” And cultural anthropologist Dr. Esther Newton (University of Michigan) called one study linking sexual orientation to biological traits ludicrous: “Any anthropologist who has looked cross-culturally (knows) it’s impossible that that’s true, because sexuality is structured in such different ways in different cultures.”

While biology certainly plays a role in sexual behavior, no “gay gene” has been found, and whatever natural-science data exists for inborn sexual orientations is preliminary and disputed. So to date, the totality of the scholarly research on homosexuality indicates gayness is much more socio-cultural than biological.

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Mexico’s World Cup Coach Defends Homophobic Chant

Photo Credit: Ian MacNicol / Getty ImagesMexico coach Miguel Herrera downplayed a homophobic chant that Mexican fans hurl at opposing goalkeepers during matches, arguing that it’s just a “folksy” part of the game, and is not being used in discriminatory fashion.

Herrera told Mexico’s Radio Red on Friday that fans who chant the word “puto” during Mexico games are not attempting to offend homosexuals.

“This is something that’s used to pressure the opposing team’s goalie…it’s something that we’re not really worried about,” Herrera said from Mexico’s training camp in Brazil.

“FIFA should be worried about more serious things,” the Mexican coach added in his interview with Radio Red.

Puto translates roughly into faggot, in English, though in Mexico the word is also used to describe someone who is cowardly.

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Kerry: Foreign Gov’ts Must Accept Same-Sex Spouses of US Personnel Stationed Abroad (+video)

Photo Credit: AFPThe U.S. is leading by example in promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) rights at home and around the world, Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday.

He said the federal government recognizes same-sex marriages of foreign diplomats stationed in the U.S., and it expects all other countries to do the same in their treatment of U.S. personnel deployed abroad.

“Let me be clear: We oppose any effort by any country to deny visas for spouses of American staff,” he said. “It’s discriminatory, it’s unacceptable, it has no place in the 21st century.”

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Obama to Bar Gay Discrimination By Federal Contractors

Photo Credit: APPresident Barack Obama plans to sign an executive order barring federal contractors from hiring or firing employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, senior administration officials said Monday, in a move that could energize Democratic voters in November’s midterm elections.

The White House announcement is a curtain raiser to Mr. Obama’s appearance Tuesday at a Democratic fundraising gala with gay-rights supporters in New York.

Mr. Obama isn’t expected to sign the executive order for weeks, as the White House finalizes details, including possible exemptions for religious nonprofit organizations. Administration officials said Mr. Obama decided to act unilaterally in the absence of momentum for legislation with broader protections, and said he intends to use the issue to draw a contrast with Republicans.

“An executive order along these lines would not be a substitute for robust congressional action,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. “Unfortunately this is yet another example of Republicans blocking Congress on the kind of issue that has pretty strong support all across the country.”

House Republicans have declined to allow a vote on legislation that would bar most employers, not just federal contractors, from discriminating against gay, lesbian and transgender workers, saying it could lead to frivolous lawsuits and affect the religious liberty of employers.

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Alaska Supreme Court says Tax Exemptions Cannot Be Denied to Gay Couples

Photo Credit: Mel Green / Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Mel Green / Creative Commons

Same-sex couples in Alaska must receive certain property tax exemptions given to married couples, despite a ban on gay marriage, the state Supreme Court ruled on Friday.

The decision in a lawsuit brought by three Anchorage same-sex couples represented a blow to the state, which had prevented gay and lesbian couples from taking advantage of a tax break for senior citizens and disabled veterans that, in some circumstances, takes into account marital status.

The ruling follows high-profile victories in recent months by gays and lesbians seeking the right to wed in several U.S. states.

Marriage rights have been extended to gay couples in 17 states and the District of Columbia in a trend that gained momentum when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last June that legally married same-sex couples nationwide are eligible for federal benefits.

In 1998, Alaska voters amended the state’s constitution to restrict marriage to between a man and a woman.

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Advance for Kansas Bill Allowing Denial of Services to Gay Couples Based on Religious Beliefs

Photo Credit: John Hanna/APGay rights advocates are outraged over a bill — passed by Kansas lawmakers earlier this week — that would allow businesses and state government employees to deny services to same-sex couples if “it would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The bill — H.B. 2453 — passed the GOP-led House in a 72 to 49 vote on Wednesday and now heads to the Republican-controlled state Senate. If it succeeds there, it could then be signed into law by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

Supporters say the legislation would protect business owners and state employees who don’t agree with gay marriage from potential discrimination lawsuits.

“Discrimination is horrible. It’s hurtful,” GOP Rep. Charles Macheers said during a debate on the house floor. “It has no place in civilized society, and that’s precisely why we’re moving this bill.

The law, Macheers said, would put Kansas “on the right side” of history.

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Pope ‘Shocked’ By Gay Adoption, Urges Bishop to Speak Out Against Legislation Permitting It

Photo Credit: Sunday Times of Malta

Photo Credit: Sunday Times of Malta

Pope Francis is “shocked” about legislation in Malta that would allow homosexual couples to adopt children and encouraged the auxiliary bishop of that island nation, Charles J. Scicluna, to “speak out” against the proposal, the bishop told the Sunday Times of Malta on Dec. 29.

In his Christmas Day sermon, Bishop Scicluna had defended the Catholic Church’s teaching against same-sex “marriage” and gay adoption. When asked why he would discuss such a topic as part of a Christmas homily, Bishop Scicluna said he had met with Pope Francis on Dec. 12 and the pope advised him to speak boldly on the subject.

“We discussed many aspects,” said Bishop Scicluna. “And when I raised the issue that’s worrying me as a bishop [gay adoption], he encouraged me to speak out.”

“[T]hat is exactly what I did in my Christmas sermon,” said Bishop Scicluna. “My sermon was not about the rights of gay people but about children’s rights.”

In his Christmas Day homily, the bishop had said, “The message of Christmas remains always a current message. It beckons and invites us to seek and recognize the true Wisdom that the manger of our Lord Jesus embraces ….

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Christian Photog Who Refused to Shoot Gay Wedding Finds Widespread Support

Photo Credit: Charisma News

Photo Credit: Charisma News

Prominent libertarian supporters of redefining marriage are among the parties that filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court Friday in support of a New Mexico photographer who declined to use her artistic expression to communicate the story of a same-sex ceremony. Also supporting the photographer in the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) case are 18 other professionals in her industry and attorneys general from eight states.

In August, a concurrence accompanying the New Mexico Supreme Court’s ruling against Elane Photography said that the owners, Jon and Elaine Huguenin, must abandon their freedom as “the price of citizenship.” Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys asked the U.S. Supreme Court last month to review the case.

“The First Amendment protects our freedom to speak or not speak on any issue without fear of government retaliation,” says ADF senior counsel Jordan Lorence. “All Americans should oppose unjust laws that force citizens—under threat of punishment—to express ideas against their will. As those who filed supportive briefs in this case understand, a government that forces any American to create a message contrary to her own convictions is a government every American should fear.”

The Cato Institute and legal scholars Dale Carpenter and Eugene Volokh filed one of the friend-of-the-court briefs. Wedding photographers from across the country and state attorneys general from the states of Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia filed the other two briefs.

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