Obama nominates gay man for ambassador position
President Barack Obama has nominated the fourth openly gay person to ever serve as a U.S. ambassador. Daniel Baer has been nominated to become the ambassador of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He is currently the assistant secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. State Department. The OSCE, which is based in Austria, is comprised of 57 European, Asian and North American countries that cooperate on security, terrorism, economic and human rights issues. The organization was formed in the 1970s during the Cold War.
Lawmaker moves to restore veteran benefits to gay service members
A New York Congressman is drafting legislation that would correct unfair discharge papers for gay and lesbian veterans. Rep. Steve Israel’s bill would allow service members who were dishonorably discharged from the military under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy to receive medical and other benefits. Israel said the bill would correct wrongs committed under previous policies and would honor the service performed by patriotic and honorable Americans and their spouses.
Gay Zambian couple put on trial
A gay couple “charged with the offence of sodomy or having sex against the order of nature contrary to the laws of Zambia” has gone on trial. James Mwape and Philip Mubiana were arrested after a family member reported the relationship to police in May. Human-rights activists are calling on the Zambian government to stop the trial and release the men. The trial is being held behind closed doors due to alleged “sordid revelations.”
HIV infection rates on the rise in Ireland
HIV infection rates have risen by 400 percent since 2005 in Ireland, according to the country’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network. There were 166 new cases of HIV among gay and bisexual men in 2012, according to a new report. Although there have been increased efforts in education and awareness, HIV infection rates are rising and men who have sex with men that are between 25 and 34 are at highest risk.