Speed Read: Thursday 26 December 2013
TENTH CIRCUIT DENIES STAY: In yet another significant victory for marriage equality, the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Tuesday refused to grant both an emergency stay and a temporary stay of a district court order that the state of Utah stop enforcing its ban on same-sex couples marrying. The appeals court order did agree, however, to expedite its consideration of the state’s appeal of Judge Robert Shelby’s decision, that the state ban on marriage for same-sex couples violates the federal constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. The Utah attorney general’s office is reportedly considering taking its request for an emergency stay to the U.S. Supreme Court. That request would go to Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Associated Press reported that more than 700 gay couples have obtained marriage licenses since December 20, when Shelby issued his initial decision.
WWII HERO GETS PARDON: The Queen of England on Tuesday gave a posthumous pardon “under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy” to computer scientist and World War II hero Alan Turing of his conviction for “gross indecency” after having acknowledged a homosexual relationship in 1952. As a result of his arrest, Turing lost his security clearance and was forced to undergo hormone treatment to eliminate his sexual drive. He died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning at age 41. But he is widely credited with having fostered computer science and having helped bring about the defeat of the Nazis by breaking their secret code. The British government formally apologized in 2009 for its prosecution of Turing. The queen’s pardon responded to a request from Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, who credited Turing’s work during the war with saving thousands of lives. “His later life,” said Grayling, “was overshadowed by his conviction for homosexuality activity, a sentence we would now consider unjust and discriminatory and which has now been repealed.”
UGANDA STEPS BACKWARDS: The White House issued a statement December 24, saying it is “deeply concerned” by the Ugandan Parliament’s passage of anti-homosexuality legislation. The Ugandan Parliament on December 20 passed a bill that calls for life imprisonment for anyone found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality,” including marrying a person of the same sex, and imprisonment for anyone found to be “promoting” homosexuality. “As Americans,” said the White House, “we believe that people everywhere deserve to live in freedom and equality – and that no one should face violence or discrimination for who they are or whom they love. We join those in Uganda and around the world who appeal for respect for the human rights of LGBT persons and of all persons.” Several human rights groups are urging President Yoweri Museveni to veto the measure. Museveni has given mixed signals, saying, “If there are some homosexuals, we shall not kill or persecute them but there should be no promotion of homosexuality.”
LGBT STUDIES SCARCE AT NIH: A report in the December 12 American Public Health Journal estimates that only one-tenth of a percent of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health deal with LGBT-related projects. When the University of Pittsburgh study looked at the 628 NIH-funded studies concerning LGBT health, it found that 82 percent concerned HIV and sex-related matters. The study concluded that “The lack of NIH-funded research about LGBT health contributes to the perpetuation of health inequities.”