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January 10, 2014

Utah couples can adopt

Salt Lake City--The Utah Supreme Court rescinded its stay of a ruling allowing same-sex couples to jointly adopt childrens.

The stay dates back to May, when the court halted enforcement of several district court rulings ordering the Department of Health to issue birth certificates.

However, with the appellate court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage, the state stopped fighting against allowing same-sex couples to adopt.

After the Supreme Court refused to hear any of the same-sex marriage cases appealed to it early in October, the state of Utah dropped is appeal of a ruling ordering the state to recognize marriage, and asked the state Supreme Court to lift its stays.

Ebola is caused by gays, according to Liberians

Monrovia, Liberia--Gays are being harassed and attacked after religious leaders blamed them for the Ebola epidemic in the country.

Around 10,000 people have been infected by the hemorrhagic fever since March, and religious leaders claimed that the disease was hitting the country so hard because of its acceptance of homosexuality.

Liberia has been among the hardest-hit West African nations facing the disease. However, homosexuality is not particularly accepted in Liberia, the sex between members of the same-sex is classified as a first degree misdemeanor. Any conviction could carry a prison sentence up to a year and a fine up to $1,000 Liberian, which is about $14 American.

Bathhouse to offer free in-home HIV tests

Los Angeles--The AIDS Healthcare Foundation will begin offering free in-home HIV testing kits through vending machines in Flex Spas.

The program is kicking off in Los Angeles, the home of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and will spread to other cities soon. AHF already provides free condoms to Flex Spas in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Atlanta and Cleveland, where AHF has taken on the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland as an affiliate.

Cleveland is also the location of Flex� flagship spa, considered the largest bathhouse in the world.

The vending machines will dispense up to two OraQuick In-Home HIV Tests, which provide results in 20 minutes using an oral swab. It can detect HIV-1 and HIV-2. Customers will answer five demographic questions to get a code which, when entered into the vending machine, will dispense the tests.

The kits will also include information on testing, care providers and AHF�s 24-hour hotline number.

"AHF is excited to extend the reach of modern technology by placing at-home HIV testing kits in electronic vending machines. This innovative partnership with Flex Spas promotes convenient HIV testing 24 hours a day, including after hours when healthcare workers are not testing on site,� said Lori Mizuno, director of public health for AHF. �With the ease of buying a pack of gum, high-risk populations can now access free, in-home HIV testing kits from a vending machine and learn their status within minutes.�

�Flex Spas is excited to partner with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation on this groundbreaking effort,� stated Todd J. Saporito, president and CEO of Flex Spas. �We believe that Flex Spas has a unique opportunity to reach consumers, influencing health awareness and linkage to care. AHF�s strategy on delivering health services and care perfectly aligns with the overall business model of Flex Spas.�

Cowboys release Michael Sam

Dallas--Michael Sam, the first openly gay rookie in the National Football League draft, was released from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad on October 21.

Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, who cut him in August after preseason play. He was signed on September 3 to the Cowboys� practice squad, which did not involve him playing in actual league games.

Sam was an All-American at the University of Missouri, and had a great preseason showing, but both teams questioned whether he could be a successful defensive end in the league�s current construction.

He will likely shop himself around to other teams, since it was expected that he would be drafted far higher than he was, given his prominence in his college career.

Safety report out, schools get mediocre grades

New York City--The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network issued the latest iteration of their National School Climate Survey on October 22.

According to the study, 65 percent of LGBT students heard terms like �fag� or �dyke� often, and 85 percent said they were verbally harassed in the last year.

The 2013 survey found that almost 56 percent of LGBT students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, 38 percent because of their gender expression. Just under a third missed at least one school day in the last month because they felt unsafe, and over a third avoided single-gender areas of the school over safety concerns.

Over half, 51.4 percent and 55.5 percent, reported hearing negative comments from staff members based on sexual orientation or gender identity, respectively.

Over a third of LGBT students were physically harassed because of their sexual orientation, and over a fifth because of their gender expression. In addition, 16.5 percent and 11.4 percent were physically assaulted in the last year because of sexual orientation or gender expression, respectively.

Students who were more harassed showed a lower grade point average than those who were less harassed, and were twice as likely to say that they did not plan on continuing their educations past high school.









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