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Blood donations, legal tussles and Mister Rogers

Your Daily Package of queer headlines and quirky stories from around the world

Puerto Rican judge shoots down same-sex marriage (Puerto Rico)

A Puerto Rican judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the territory’s law restricting marriage to one man and one woman. United States District Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez based his decision on a 1972 Supreme Court refusal to hear a Minnesota gay marriage lawsuit, a precedent that most judges now see as outdated. In that case, Baker v Nelson, the Supreme Court said gay marriage was not a federal issue. Perez-Gimenez went further, saying gay marriage eroded the “fundamental unit of the political order.” Dale Carpenter at The Washington Post writes that Perez-Gimenez’s decision to base his arguments on the old, mostly disregarded Baker v Nelson might force the US Supreme Court to decide the issue once and for all.

Read more at The Washington Post.

Human Rights Watch: Jamaican gays face unchecked violence (Jamaica)

According to a new report from Human Rights Watch, gay men and lesbians in Jamaica are frequently harassed, insulted, beaten, raped or killed because of their orientation. Authorities do not step in to protect gay people, the report says, because police forces are often equally homophobic, and “buggery” laws still criminalize same-sex sexual behaviour. “LGBT people in Jamaica face intolerable levels of violence and cannot rely on the police,” Human Rights Watch director Graeme Reid says.

Read more at Human Rights Watch or watch the video here.

Photographer captures 1980s gay couples at home (USA)

David Rosenberg at Slate profiles photographer Sage Sohier’s book At Home with Themselves: Same-Sex Couples in 1980s America. Sohier captured pictures of gay couples at home in the midst of the AIDS crisis, when gay families were still highly stigmatized and hidden. Many of her subjects “seemed excited at the idea of being seen, and wanted their relationships to be recognized and valued,” she told Slate.

See Sohier’s photos at Slate.

Michael Long: Mister Rogers wasn’t gay, just nice (USA)

In an essay at The Huffington Post, writer Michael Long argues that American children’s entertainer Fred Rogers was not gay, just remarkably accepting. Long sifts the evidence for Rogers’s homosexuality: lack of machismo, close gay friends, sympathy for gay rights and once counselling a gay co-worker to stay in the closet to preserve his career. Rogers, Long concludes, was not gay, just a pioneer in accepting people just the way they are.

Read more at The Huffington Post.

MP: Lift ban on sexually active gay men donating blood (UK)

Conservative British MP Michael Fabricant says the UK’s ban on sexually active gay men donating blood is outdated and medically unfounded. Under current policy, gay men in the UK must be celibate for 12 months before donating blood. Fabricant says good testing is a better policy than discrimination. “How can it be logical that a straight promiscuous man who might have two different partners each night of the year can donate blood while a gay man in a monogamous, loving relationship cannot,” he says.

Read more at the Telegraph.

Gay blogger accused of contempt of court for pointing out discrimination (Singapore)

Singaporean gay blogger Au Waipang appeared in court Oct 21 on charges of contempt of court for criticizing discrimination against gay people in Singapore’s legal system. Au, writing about a court case involving a man who was forced to resign from his job for being gay, said he had low hopes because he lacked confidence in Singapore’s judiciary. Prosecutors say that by criticizing judges, Au was suggesting that Singapore’s legal system is not just or fair, amounting to contempt of court. The crime of “scandalizing the court” is based on a long-rejected English law but is still used in Singapore.

Read more at Au’s blog, Yawning Bread.

Photo credit: Human Rights Watch