National News: April 2014

CrossfitCrossfit Sued for Discrimination

A transgender woman in California is suing the company behind the popular CrossFit workouts for refusing to let her compete in the female division of its annual fitness competitions.

The Associated Press reported that Chloie Jonsson, 34, was born male but has been living as a woman since she was a teenager. Jonsson underwent sex reassignment surgery eight years ago and, per California law, she has satisfied the state’s requirements for her to be recognized as female.

A letter provided by CrossFit’s attorney, which defended the company’s decision, argued that regardless of surgery, Jonsson still has “genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women.”

Colleges Punished for Gay-Themed Books

The South Carolina House voted to reduce funding for the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate because the schools assigned materials with GLBT themes.

According to The State, $52,000 has been deducted from the College of Charleston’s budget and $17,142 from USC Upstate. The cuts are only a fraction of the universities’ proposed state funding for next year but the decision to penalize the schools have drawn outrage from students, faculty, and alumni from both institutions.

The House’s minority Democrats attempted to pass amendments that would restore the money, but were rejected soundly by nearly 2-to-1 margins in the GOP-controlled House.

Michele Bachmann Bachmann: Gays “Bully” Americans

Michele Bachmann accused the gay community of “bullying” the American people and politicians in an appearance on The Lars Larson Show.

The Minnesota Representative was speaking in reference to the veto of an Arizona bill that would have allowed any businesses that asserted their religious beliefs the right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.

“The thing that I think that is getting a little tiresome is, the gay community thinks that they’ve so bullied the American people and they’ve so intimidated politicians that politicians fear them, and so they think that they get to dictate the agenda everywhere,” Bachmann said. She added that intimidation by gays should not be used to take away her religious liberties, but that they could follow the constitutional process by advocating for changes.

Governor Jan Brewer, who vetoed the bill, said the bill was “wrongly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences.”

HIV Can Spread Through Sex Between Women

It rarely happens, but it is possible for HIV to be transmitted by sexual contact between women.  This is a recent finding, according to a paper published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that looked at a particular case.  The virus was spread through sexual activity that included unprotected sex, the use of sex toys, and sexual contact while menstruating. The CDC said this is the first confirmed case of its kind.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the women were in a monogamous relationship and other risk factors like intravenous drug use, transfusions or transplants, were absent.

The CDC recommends that all couples where one person is HIV-negative and one person is HIV-positive should receive counseling regarding safer sex practices, even if both parties are female.

gaymarriage1Alabama Lesbian Couple Denied Divorce

A married lesbian couple can’t get divorced because they live in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage. reported that a Madison County Circuit judge dismissed the divorce request, citing state law that does not recognize same-sex marriage, or same-sex marriages performed in other states. The couple lives in Hunstsville, but was legally married in Iowa. The lawyers plan to appeal.

Illinois Attorney General Says Gays Can Marry

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that county clerks across the state can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately, despite the fact that the state’s marriage equality law does not take effect until June of this year.

Madigan said that her office would intervene on the side of the plaintiffs and argue that the denial is unconstitutional.

Majority of Americans Say Gay Marriage is ‘Constitutional Right’

Support for gay marriage and adoption rights for gay couples in the U.S. is at an all-time high. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 59 percent of Americans back marriage equality.  Additionally, people overwhelmingly oppose the right to refuse service to gays, even if based on religious grounds.

Oregon Republicans Endorse Gay Marriage Bill

Republican activists and officials at the annual Dorchester Conference in Oregon urged the party to shift its stance on marriage equality, warning that they are “driving young voters away.”

The attendees at the conference voted to endorse the state’s gay marriage ballot measure 233-162. Those in support of the measure argued the issue threatens to make the GOP irrelevant in the state if the party refuses to reform.

At present, two lawsuits have been filed to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage ban and a voter referendum on the issue is moving forward.

by Rachel Roth

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