Handpicked News: Ireland to Elect Gay President, Hunger Strike, 2nd Annual Day in Gay America, Homophobic Joke…

by Accidental Bear

DAVID NORRIS X390 (SOURCED) | ADVOCATE.COMIreland to Elect Gay President? Irish Independent senator and presidential candidate David Norris, who happens to be gay, comes out ahead in the nation’s latest polls. The election is not until October, and Norris has not yet secured his party’s nomination, but many Irish are already leaning towards the 67-year-old gay rights activist and James Joyce scholar. Norris won the support of 25% of likely Irish voters, four points ahead of the second most popular candidate. Norris gets much of his support from Dubliners, as well as those aged 35-49.

Save the Date: The 2nd Annual Day in Gay America Last year tons of you sent your photos, sharing your lives from every corner of America, whichADIGA 2011 TEASER X390 | ADVOCATE.COM
we then featured in our August 2010 issue. The response was terrific, and we’re putting together a big LGBT photo album again for 2011.  So get your cameras charged and ready, because we want to see what happens in your lives from dawn to late at night all over America on Friday, August 12, 2011. We want to see every aspect of gay life, from the mundane to the insane, from the glamorous to the gritty, whether you’re on an adventure or experiencing a quiet moment of solace. 

Iowa Gay Group: Homophobic Joke No Laughing Matter

Bob Vander Plaats X390 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COM

An Iowa gay rights group has launched a petition demanding that antigay activist Bob Vander Plaats apologize for an incident, captured on video, that shows him enjoying a derogatory joke about gay people. Leaders of One Iowa told Des Moines TV stationKCCI that they had collected 1,000 signatures on the petition in less than 24 hours. “The bullying tactics of Bob Vander Plaats and the Family Leader have gone too far,” said Troy Price, One Iowa executive director. “The overwhelming response we have seen shows just how Vander Plaats’s actions have hurt loving, committed couples and their families across the state. This type of language has no place in the conversation about marriage. Bob Vander Plaats must apologize to the thousands of Iowans he has offended with his actions.”

Hunger Strike Puts Focus On Calif. Prison Conditions A three-week hunger strike by prisoners in CaliforniaDemonstrators hold up a sign during a rally in front of the State Building in San Francisco on July 1 to support prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison. Inmates in an isolation unit at the prison went on a hunger strike to protest conditions they describe as inhumane. The hunger strike later spread to other facilities. further highlighted perceived problems with the state’s huge prison system. This protest was chiefly driven by demands for an end to long-term solitary confinement. And while prison officials have shown some willingness to compromise, advocates for prison reform say there are much wider problems to address — many of them related to the way the gang system pervades the prisons. (Note: Officials with the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation say inmates have started eating again after some of their demands were met. Advocates for prisoners say they can’t confirm that the strike has actually ended.)

The Agony Of The Heat The eastern U.S. felt the full, blazing brunt Thursday of a heat wave that began in the Plains and has strained tempers and electricity grids from Tulsa to Boston amid record temperatures and stifling humidity. “So far this month we’ve seen more than 1,000 record highs set across the country,” National Weather Service spokesman Chris Vaccaro told NPR. “This is going to be one of the more significant heat waves in the last five years.”

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