Media Trail

Gay-friendly middle school to open

U. S. News reports the Milwaukee Public School System will expand the services provided by its gay-friendly high school and become the nation’s first school system to create a gay-friendly middle school.

At a recent meeting, a subcommittee of Milwaukee’s Board of Education unanimously approved the Alliance School’s proposal to serve sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. The proposal gained unanimous approval from the full board by default at a Dec. 16 meeting.

The public charter school immediately began accepting applicants eligible for middle school in the 2009-10 school year.

Phoenix grants partner visitation

The Arizona Republic reports that Phoenix has become the second city in Arizona to grant hospital-visitation rights to unmarried gay or straight couples who live together.

The City Council unanimously voted on Dec. 17 to create a domestic-partner registry, following the lead of Tucson, which launched a similar program in 2003.

The registry guarantees only that domestic partners have the right to visit each other in Phoenix hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and other healthcare facilities.

Medical rule could harm LGBT patients reports the Bush administration has issued a federal rule reinforcing protections for healthcare workers who refuse to provide procedures because of religious or moral objections.

Critics say the protections limit a patient’s right to get care and accurate information.

“The refusal clause goes beyond women’s health and a woman’s right to an abortion or birth control,” said openly gay Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin. “Under the new regulations, a doctor may also refuse to treat a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person.”

The Human Rights Campaign also expressed concern over the new regulations, saying they could be used by a provider to administer an HIV test to a gay patient.

Under the regulations, a pharmacist could refuse to fill a prescription for hormone therapy if he or she has a religious objection to transgender people.

The regulations override many state laws protecting patients’ access to medical services.

— Larry Nichols