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The South, Chinese conversion and how to not be horrible

Your Daily Package of newsy and naughty bits from around the world

Arkansas, Mississippi overturn marriage bans

You know the endgame is near when Mississippi gets gay marriage. Federal judges in both Mississippi and Arkansas overturned those states’ constitutional bans on gay marriage on Tuesday, Nov 26, although both put stays on the rulings pending further appeal. The Mississippi judge wrote in his ruling, “Though we cherish our traditional values, they must give way to constitutional wisdom. Mississippi’s traditional beliefs about gay and lesbian citizens led it to defy that wisdom by taking away fundamental rights owed to every citizen. It is time to restore those rights.”

Read more from the Associated Press.

1.2 million Americans live with HIV

The American Centers for Disease Control has released new numbers on HIV infection, estimating that 1.2 million people have the virus and that 14 percent of those infected are unaware of their status. Although men who have sex with men make up only four percent of the US male population, they account for 78 percent of new infections among men.

Read more from the CDC.

ISIS kills two men for alleged homosexuality

In two separate incidents, two Syrian men were stoned to death by ISIS fighters who claimed the men were gay. Syrian activists say the men were opponents of ISIS and the militant group used homosexuality as a pretext to kill them. The killings are ISIS’s first executions for homosexuality.

Read more from Agence France-Presse.

Chinese court avoids conversion therapy lawsuit

A Chinese man who was given illegal treatments at a conversion therapy clinic hoped to set an important precedent by suing the clinic for malpractice. While a district court surprised observers by deciding to take the case, it has now failed to issue a ruling for six months, the usual limit in China. Activists hoped the case signalled a willingness by officials to open up over gay rights. While homosexuality is no longer officially considered a mental illness in China, conversion therapy is still common, and gay rights groups often face official opposition.

Read more from the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.

Could being gay stop you from being a horrible person?

At Slate, Mark Joseph Stern asks why he should be thankful for being gay. His answer? Otherwise, he might have been a horrible person. Stern argues that being gay makes him instinctively recognize the pain of others. “Gay people are born with empathy for the underdog, whether we like it or not,” he writes. Life may be tough, but at least you won’t end up a troll.

Read more at Slate.

South African man convicted of “corrective” killing of lesbian

A South African court has sentenced Lekgoa Lesley Motleleng to 30 years in prison for the rape and murder of Duduzile Zozo, a 26-year-old lesbian. Motleleng killed Zozo last year and left her body with a toilet brush shoved into her vagina, a detail the judge said showed a connection to “corrective rape,” a common form of violence against lesbians in South Africa. Activists say that the judgment gives hope that the courts are beginning to take violence against lesbians seriously.

Read more at BuzzFeed.