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Marriage on the march

Two international developments bring marriage equality to two more countries: Austria and Australia. The Supreme Court of Austria has ruled that marriage equality will be the law by January 2019 and gave the Austrian Parliament until then to change the laws or the Court will act on its own.

After a mail-in nonbinding poll showed the majority of Australians support marriage equality, the Parliament has passed legislation to take effect by Christmas, 2017. One ardent proponent of marriage equality took the occasion to propose marriage to his LTR during the debate on the floor of the Australian House of Commons, proving the Utah Legislature has no corner on inappropriate grandstanding.

Another dough-faced conservative busted

A hetero-married and self-proclaimed conservative, Republican Ohio state legislator Wes Goodman has resigned after he admitted to having consensual sex with a man in his legislative office. On social media, Goodman describes himself as “Christian. American. Conservative. Republican.” Now he can add Sodomite.

Transgender and the autism spectrum

Mounting evidence over the last few decades points to an increased correlation between autism spectrum disorder and children and adults experiencing dissonance with and the gender assigned at birth. ASD characterizes as difficulty with social interaction and communication as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior. Approximately 1-2 percent of the population is estimated to meet criteria for ASD, about twice higher in men than women. The potential link between ASD and gender issues was noted by researchers as early as 1981 when 10 percent of 30 children with a clinical diagnosis of autism had trouble answering a gender identity question (“Are you a little boy or a little girl?”). Nine additional studies, beginning in 2010, have reinforced the recognized links.

Goodbye, Gomer — best thing to come out of Alabama

Comedian Jim Nabors, who rose to fame in the 1960s playing bumbling Gomer Pyle on two hit sitcoms, died at the age of 84 at the Honolulu home he shared with his husband, Stan Cadwallader, his partner of 38 years. Nabors was born in Sylacauga, Ala. He became famous when he turned a wide-eyed “rube” character he developed into Gomer Pyle on the CBS sitcom The Andy Griffith Show during the show’s third season.

Stagnant budget threatens AIDS research progress

The overall NIH budget for biomedical research has increased slightly, but not enough to break new ground when it comes to finding cures for diseases like HIV/AIDS, funding for which has held steady at around $3 billion for the past three years. This discourages AIDS researchers, said Warner Greene, co-director of the University of California, San Francisco Center for AIDS Research, fearing fewer younger researchers will enter the field. The crunch in funding pits research programs against each other, explained Judith Auerbach, science and policy consultant at UC San Francisco’s school of medicine. Given HIV’s reputation as a chronic but manageable condition, it’s at higher risk of seeing funding cut in favor of other “crisis” diseases.

LGBT Republicans come out against Roy Moore

The National Log Cabin Republicans issued a statement and produced a video condemning Alabama senatorial candidate, Roy Moore. LCR President Gregory T. Angelo said, “Roy Moore has spent his entire career using his bigoted brand of Christianity. Moore’s blind faith prevents him from seeing that a significant number of LGBT individuals are devout Christians themselves. Regardless of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, it’s time for good Christians to do what good Christians do: Reject Roy Moore.”

Kentucky Supreme Court to hear discrimination case

Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. has ordered a review of the case where a company cited religious beliefs in its refusal to print T-shirts for a 2012 Pride festival in Lexington. The Lexington Human Rights Commission ruled the company violated the city’s fairness ordinance. An appeal to the Fayette Circuit Court ruled in the company’s favor and was upheld by an appellate court. No date is yet on the docket for the hearing.

Freddie Mercury biopic suspended

Apparently, it matters to The BBC that director Bryan Singer failed to return to the set on the Freddie Mercury biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” following Thanksgiving break. The BEEB suspended production of the film starring Mr. Robot Rami Malek. Singer then was fired by the production company. Singer said he needed time away for family health reasons. In the past, he has faced accusations of sexual harassment and assault. Recent allegations include sponsoring pool parties where teenage males were fondled and harassed by Singer and his male guests.

Karma strikes Kentucky county clerk

David Ermold, a professor at a Kentucky college and director of an LGBT organization, who was denied a same-sex marriage license by county clerk Kim Davis in 2015, is running against her in 2018. Ermold married his partner of nearly 20 years in a different county after Davis refused to issue the couple a marriage license. Davis was jailed for contempt of court during the dust-up, announced she is running for reelection. Previously elected on the Democratic Party ticket, she has changed parties, but alas, not hairdressers.

SCOTUS split: Is a wedding cake art/speech?

Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission arguments opened the beginning of the 2017-2018 term of the U.S. Supreme Court. The case regards a wedding cake baker refusing to create a cake for the wedding of two men. Originally thought to be arguments about religious liberty turned into a Freedom of Speech case. The plaintiff doesn’t argue violation of his freedom of religion since a former Supreme Court ruling held that religious belief is not grounds to ignore public accommodations laws. Instead, he claims that his freedom of speech is in jeopardy. Justice Kennedy who wrote the Marriage Equality Opinion is also a Free Speech advocate and apparently is the key to what observers think will be a 5-4 decision.

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