News You Should Know July 21, 2014

BTL Staff

NEW YORK, (AP) - The rate of HIV infections diagnosed in the United States each year fell by one-third over the past decade, a government study finds. Experts celebrated it as hopeful news that the AIDS epidemic may be slowing in the U.S. The study was released online Saturday by the Journal of the American Medical Association and is based on HIV diagnoses from all 50 states' health departments, which get test results from doctors' office, clinics, hospitals and laboratories. The data span a decade, making this a larger and longer look at these trends than any previous study, said another study author, Amy Lansky of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings: 16 out of every 100,000 people ages 13 and older were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2011, a steady decline from 24 out of 100,000 people in 2002. How could new infections be holding steady when diagnoses are falling? Perhaps the infection count might be buoyed by the expanding epidemic in young gay and bisexual men, said Sullivan, the Emory researcher.

OAKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a federal judge's ruling striking down Oklahoma's gay marriage ban, which had been approved by more than 75 percent of voters in 2004. The court put its 2-1 ruling on hold pending an appeal, meaning same-sex couples won't be allowed to marry in Oklahoma for now. Friday's decision marks the second time the federal appeals court has found the U.S. Constitution protects same-sex marriage. In June, the same three-judge panel ruled that Utah's ban on same-sex marriage violates the Constitution, a decision that is also on hold. That was the first time an appellate court determined that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act meant states couldn't deny gays the ability to wed.

DENVER (AP) - Colorado's Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Denver County clerk to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples while the state's ban against the unions remains in place. Denver Clerk & Recorder Debra Johnson, one of three county clerks in Colorado who began issuing licenses to same-sex couples recently after a string of legal victories for gay marriage in the state, responded on Twitter: "Disappointed, but respect ruling." The court's decision also named the clerk in Adams County, which hasn't issued gay marriage licenses but was included as part of a lawsuit on the constitutionality of the state's gay marriage ban.

UTAH (AP) - More than 1,000 same-sex married couples in Utah will have to wait longer for state benefits after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that state officials don't have to recognize the marriages until their appeal is heard. The couples were wed during a 17-day stretch in December when same-sex marriages were legal before the nation's highest court put the practice on hold. They had been set to get benefits Monday. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert applauded the Supreme Court's decision. "I believe states have the right to determine their laws regarding marriage and, as I have said all along, that decision will ultimately come from the United States Supreme Court," he said in a statement. This case regarding state benefits for the Utah couples is separate from the ongoing judicial review of the constitutionality of the state's same-sex marriage ban. In that case, the 10th Circuit recently upheld the December opinion from a federal judge in Utah who overturned the ban. Utah state officials plan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

SINGAPORE (AP) - UPDATE: Two children's books dealing with gay subjects won't be destroyed after all and will be restored to Singapore's public libraries, an official said Friday. Minister of Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim had said in mid-July he supported the state-run National Library Board's decision to pulp three books deemed to have inappropriate content. But many people in the conservative Southeast Asian city-state objected.


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