Merck joins companies phasing out chimp research in labs

Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 04 February 2014 05:27

Drugmaker Merck & Co. is joining two dozen other pharmaceutical companies and contract laboratories in committing to not use chimpanzees for research.

The growing trend could mean roughly 1,000 chimps in the U.S. used for research or warehoused for many years in laboratory cages could be "retired" to sanctuaries by around 2020.

Philip Seymour Hoffman dead at 46 of apparent overdose

Written by WiG Sunday, 02 February 2014 18:55

Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has died of an apparent drug overdose, according to Reuters and other news services.

Farmworkers welcome planned changes to protection standards

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Thursday, 30 January 2014 08:55

Farmworkers welcomed an announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it will soon propose revisions to the Worker Protection Standard, which provides minimal workplace protections against pesticide exposures for farmworkers.

A coalition of farmworker, public health and other nonprofit organizations has long urged the EPA to include stronger protections for farmworkers. More than 20 years has passed since the rules were updated and the EPA has admitted for more than a decade that the standards are inadequate.

A 92-year-old transgender woman denied survivor benefits by the Social Security Administration after her husband’s death is asking the agency to reverse the decision.

SSA denied Robina Asti benefits after it determined that she was “legally male” at the time of their marriage despite all the legal documents to the contrary, according to Lamba Legal, the LGBT civil rights group representing Asti in the complaint.

A narrow miss on marriage amendment, 163 years ago

Written by By TOM LoBIANCO,
AP writer
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 05:18

The debate raging in the Indiana Legislature over banning gay marriage has become the central political issue of 2014. But it’s not the first time the state has weighed defining marriage in the state constitution.

Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder, an amateur historian, recently unearthed what may have been the first attempt at a marriage amendment in Indiana, floated during the constitutional convention of 1851.

40 rights groups urge Olympic sponsors to act against discrimination

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Friday, 31 January 2014 16:53

Forty rights groups are calling on corporate sponsors of the Winter Olympics in Sochi to act against discrimination, harassment and threats against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Russia.

The call, in the form of an open letter, comes as athletes and their fans are headed to Sochi for the Games to begin next week.

Allies, activists want more executive action from Obama

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 30 January 2014 08:33

For some White House allies and progressive activists, the long list of executive actions President Barack Obama announced in his State of the Union address wasn't long enough.

LGBT civil rights advocates are criticizing Obama's refusal to grant employment discrimination protections to gays and lesbians working for federal contractors, safeguards they have been seeking for years because the House refuses to take up employment protections for all Americans.

Union membership holds steady in 2013

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 29 January 2014 07:30

The nation's union membership held steady at 11.3 percent last year, but losses among state and government workers suggest an ominous trend for the future of organized labor.

In a turnabout, there are now slightly more union members working for private firms than in government, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. That reverses a five-year trend.

Rate of steroid use higher among gay, bisexual boys

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Monday, 03 February 2014 08:37

A new study from The Fenway Institute published online in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, shows that gay and bisexual boys use anabolic-androgenic steroids at rates much higher than their straight counterparts.

Fenway researchers Aaron Blashill and Steven Safren used a nationally-representative dataset of 17,250 U.S. adolescent boys ages 14-18 to assess if there were higher rates of steroid use among gay and bisexual boys compared to heterosexual boys. The investigators found that 21 percent of gay and bisexual boys compared with 4 percent of heterosexual boys used AAS at least once in their lives.

Mayors in Florida sister cities criticize intolerance in Russia

Written by WiG Thursday, 30 January 2014 13:33

Three Florida mayors in Sister city relationships with Russian cities criticized Russian intolerance in a Jan. 30 letter to President Vladimir Putin.

The letter was sent to Putin as he and his nation prepare to host the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi next month.

Challenge to ex-gay therapy ban headed to Supreme Court

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 30 January 2014 08:21

A federal appeals court has refused to reconsider its ruling upholding a California law that protects LGBT youth by banning harmful "ex-gay" gay therapy for minors.

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said this week that a majority of its 27 judges voted against scheduling a new hearing. That leaves intact California's first-in-the nation law barring licensed counselors from offering treatment geared toward changing the sexual orientation of minors.

Lawmakers in 30 states push hikes in minimum wage

Written by AP
and Wig reports
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 07:23

Minimum-wage increase proposals are getting the maximum push from Democrats in statehouses in more than half of U.S. states, highlighting the politically potent income inequality issue this year.

Lawmakers in at least 30 states — including Wisconsin — are sponsoring or are expected to introduce wage hike measures. They hope to notch state-level victories as President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats remain stymied in attempts to raise the federal minimum wage above $7.25 an hour. The president called for a hike in the minimum wage in his State of the Union address on Jan. 28.