The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, February 4
February 4th, 2014
Federal District Court to Hear Oral Arguments in Virginia Marriage Lawsuit: Norfolk, VA. Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the Federal District Court of Eastern Virginia will hear oral arguments today in the case of Bostic v Rainey, a case brought by two same-sex couples challenging the constitutionality of Virginia’s state constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. Representing the pro-equality side is Americans for Equal Rights, led by California Prop 8 lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies. Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, the same group that defended Prop 8 in Federal court, is again representing the anti-equality side. Oral arguments had originally been scheduled for last Thursday, but were rescheduled for today due to the snow storm that hit the East and South. Oral arguments begin this morning at 10:00 a.m EST, and is expected to last about two and a half hours.
Scottish Parliament to Hold Final Vote on Marriage Equality Bill: Edinburgh, Scotland. Members of the Scottish Parliament are expected to conduct a final vote today on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, a bill granting marriage equality to same-sex couples in Scotland. Before that final vote is taken, several MSPs are expected to offer amendments to the bill to provide special exemptions for those who oppose marriage equality. If the bill clears Holyrood, the British Parliament in Westminster will have to alter the UK marriage law before marriages can begin in Scotland. If all goes well, marriage may begin in Scotland by autumn, and perhaps as early as July. Meanwhile, same-sex marriages will become available in England and Wales on March 29, nearly nine months after Westminster approved its marriage equality bill.
TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:
The Bandit’s Den of Show Low, Arizona, was happy to announce its upcoming grand opening in the pages of the Arizona Gay News. But lest anyone forget the nature of the small, predominately Mormon town high on the Mogollon Rim, the ad reminds potential gay patrons that the clientele will be a “mixed group… be discreet.”
TODAY IN HISTORY:
AIDS Cases Discovered from 1976: 1988. Common wisdom today, even with all that we know about the history of the epidemic, often still sets the start of AIDS with the June 1981 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describing five gay men who had died of a mysterious disease in Los Angeles (see Jun 5). When the HIV virus was isolated in 1984 and a test for the virus became available in 1985, several avenues of research opened up to try to figure out where this virus came from. Doctors in Paris and Brussels, who had long been treating wealthy African patients from their former colonies bearing all of the hallmarks of the new disease, pointed to Africa as a possible source for the virus. On February 4, 1988, the New England Journal of Medicine published a report by Dr. Nzila Nzilambi from Kinshasa, Zaire and other doctors from Belgium and the CDC which strongly suggested an African source for the virus, and revealed that AIDS had been a persistent health problem in rural Zaire as early as the mid 1970s.
In 1976, there had been an outbreak of Ebola in the northeastern Zaire province of Équateur along the Congo river. In the course of the medical investigations, hundreds of serum samples were collected from people throughout the area. Those samples remained preserved Zaire and were flown to Atlanta for testing. Investigators then went back out to Équateur in 1986 and collected more samples from as many people as possible, 388 in all. Ninety of them had also been among the 659 samples collected in 1976. Five of the samples from 1976 tested positive for HIV. Two were still alive ten years later; one was healthy, but the other was already showing signs of a suppressed immune system. Three were dead. One woman tested positive in 1976 was confirmed dead, “after a prolonged illness characterized by weight loss, fever, cough, and diarrhea” — all common symptoms of diseases associated with AIDS. Another woman, the wife of one of the two HIV-positive men still alive, “died in 1981 after a long illness associated with fever, weight loss, skin rash, and oral lesions.” Again an apparent death from AIDS. The third was a child who was seven years old in 1976, who “died of pneumonia and weight loss at the age of 16.”
The doctors concluded: “The results of our study showed that HIV infection was already present in an isolated area of the Équateur province of Zaire in 1976 and that the prevalence of infection in the general population there did not change significantly over the 10-year observation period.”
[Source: Nzila Nzilambi, Kevin M. De Cock, Donald N. Forthal, et al. “The prevalence of infection with human immunodeficiency virus over a 10-year period in rural Zaire.” New England Journal of Medicine 318, no. 5 (February 4, 1988): 276-279.]
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And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?