St. Paul, MN. -- Minnesota is set to become the 12th U.S. state where gay couples can get married after a final legislative vote Monday that will let the weddings start on Aug. 1.Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has pledged to sign the bill, and scheduled a ceremony at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the front steps of the Capitol in St. Paul to do so. Minnesota is now the first state in Midwest to legalize gay marriage by legislative vote, and the third nationwide in just 10 days, joining Rhode Island and Delaware. Thousands of gay marriage supporters thronging the Capitol erupted into deafening cheers after the Senate's 37-30 vote; the House passed it last week on a 75-59 vote. Supporters and opponents were close to evenly matched during the House debate, but Monday was dominated by gay marriage backers.
Boston, Massachusetts – Many LGBT folks participated in the Boston Marathon, both as runners, volunteers and first responders. Adrian Budhu, who was running to raise money for the Theater Offensive, was on Boylston Street when the first of two bombs placed along the route exploded. “At that time the spectators are cheering everyone because you can see the finish line, you can see the big clock,” Budhu told the Washington Blade on Tuesday as he recalled the scene on Boylston Street. “Everything you’ve put in this race is about to happen [and then] everyone just stopped. It was just surreal.”
Dallas, TX - If Khalil (his last name is being withheld out of fear of reprisals) is forced to return to his native Jordan, he says he’ll have a choice: go back into the closet, or risk imprisonment or death because of his sexual orientation. Fortunately, Khalil recently won a reprieve from an immigration judge in Dallas, who, in a compromise agreed to by Khalil, denied his application for asylum but granted him a waiver of removal from the U.S. Judge Richard R. Ozmun’s order allows Khalil to stay, but it does not allow him to seek a green card, which he could get if it weren’t for the federal Defense of Marriage Act. He can apply for a work permit, return to school, get a driver’s license and remain with his partner, Alex. But he won’t see his parents or have a path to citizenship.
Copenhagen, Denmark - HIV patients who obtain good treatment but who smoke lose more years of life to tobacco than to the virus, a new Danish study has found. The study, which looked at nearly 3,000 Danish HIV patients from 1995 — the year antiretroviral triple therapy became standard — to 2010, was published online last month by the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Washington, D.C. – In a one-two punch against anti-gay discrimination, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) called on the Obama administration to ban discrimination by federal contractors, and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) “will move this year.” Murray joined 36 other senators in a letter released February 14, calling for an executive order barring companies that do business with the federal government from discriminating against LGBT employees and jobseekers. Maryland’s two senators, Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, signed the letter.
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