Tuesday, September 19, 2006

GLBT DIGEST - September 19, 2006



Workplace Becoming More Gay-Friendly Survey Shows
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
September 19, 2006 - 9:00 am ET

(Washington) Gays and lesbians are finding the workplace increasinglygay-friendly according to a new national survey of America's largestcompanies.

The report, released Tuesday by the Human Rights Campaign, shows majorcorporations are increasingly competing to expand benefits and protectionsfor their LGBT employees and consumers.

HRC prepares an annual Corporate Equality Index. In this, the fifth report138 major U.S. companies earned the top rating of 100 percent. That numberis up from 101 in 2005, and has grown ten-fold in four years, the reportstated.

"I am incredibly encouraged and optimistic about the findings in thisreport. Companies are not only working to improve their scores, they areactively competing to be ranked the most inclusive and fair-minded in theirindustry," said Human Rights Campaign President, Joe Solmonese.


The New York Times


September 19, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

The Deep Roots of AIDS

It was about 70 years ago, evidence suggests, that a man somewhere in this remote forest area of southeastern Cameroon butchered a sick chimpanzee - and the AIDS virus was born.

Chimpanzees here carry a strain of simian immunodeficiency virus (the monkey version of H.I.V.) that is genetically close to the main human variant. So the scientific betting is that the virus jumped to humans here and then traveled with human hosts by river south to Kinshasa, Congo, and then eventually to the wider world. The first proven case dates from Kinshasa in 1959.

I'm traveling with Casey Parks (see her blog and video), the student who won my contest to accompany me on a reporting trip, and we've been talking to people about AIDS here in its possible birthplace because the world can't address global poverty unless we tackle AIDS effectively - and in places like this, it's obvious that still isn't happening.


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AR: Episcopal priest blesses denomination's first gay union in Ark.

Associated Press, September 18, 2006


Episcopal priest blesses denomination's first gay union in Ark.

LITTLE ROCK - An Episcopal priest who was the first to bless a gay couple inArkansas says it was not his intent to be the first to perform such a ceremony.

The Reverend Ed Willis says his purpose was to recognize two men who -- quote -- "discovered God's presence in a redeeming life-giving way"over the last 15 years.

Wills is the pastor at St. Michael's in west Little Rock. He blessed therelationship of Ted Holder and Joe van den Heuvel on Saturday night in aservice before about 200 people.



The Advocate
September 19, 2006

Gay prince has a happy birthday

India's prince Manvendra Singh Gohil celebrated his birthday Sunday in his customary fashion-by holding a music and arts festival in his family's Rajpipla palace-having apparently patched up months of family strife sparked when he came out in the media as gay, The Times of India reported.

For the past eight years, Manvendra has celebrated his September 17 birthday by organizing the music festival, where several prominent classical singers perform.

"The idea is to provide an opportunity to young performers," Manvendra, who turned 41 over the weekend, told the Times.

The festival was organized under the banner of the Lakshya Trust, the local AIDS/HIV nonprofit in Gujarat state, of which Manvendra is patron. After announcing the event Wednesday, he politely avoided questions regarding his being disowned by the royal family on coming out. However, the Times noted, the scenario has improved, and the family has largely sorted things out: Manvendra said they would be attending the event. (The Advocate)


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US: Infighting--Gay Marriage; Two progressives debate marriage's importance in the LGBT movement. Day 1: Why Marriage Shouldn't Be First on the "Agenda" Campus Progress, DC, September 18, 2006


Infighting: Gay Marriage
Two progressives debate marriage's importance in the LGBT movement.

By Kat Lewis and Rob Anderson

Day 1: Why Marriage Shouldn't Be First on the "Agenda"
By Kat Lewis

When I agreed to participate in this Infighting debate, I secretly hoped Iwouldn't have to go first, since frankly, I had no idea how to start. Whynot gay marriage as a main focus of the LGBT movement? The good news is alot of explaining has already been done for me. Last month, a group of over250 activists and academics released a comprehensive statement outlining theprofound pitfalls and limitations of the current debates around same sexmarriage. Entitled "Beyond Same-Sex Marriage," the piece decries the rightwing "family vales" attack on virtually all nontraditional families in theU.S., regardless of sexual orientation.


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Gays on the outside looking in?

By New York Law School Professor Arthur S. Leonard, Legal Issues,
September 16, 2006

So, how is the state of gay rights around the country? I ask this questionnot to focus on the big picture, as such, but to ask what is happening tofolks on a practical level? In 2003 the Supreme Court overturned sodomylaws, and quite a few states have adopted laws banning sexual orientationdiscrimination, but how goes the situation for the ordinary gay person onthe street? How good a job does our legal system do in protecting rights?

Not such a good job, to judge by the flotsam and jetsam that pops up as Iconduct my period searches for new judicial decisions on-line for mynewsletter, Lesbian/Gay Law Notes, for my occasional articles in Gay CityNews, and for this blog.


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Long-Fought Win for Gay Rights

Missouri State University's board on Friday added sexual orientation to thelist of factors on which the institution barred bias. The 5-3 vote followeddebate that included denunciations of the gay "sexual lifestyle" and yearsof intense discussion of the issue.

Missouri State's board - pushed by the university's former president - hadfor years rejected the idea that the university needed to protect its gaystudents and employees from discrimination. And the board did not act evenwhen a letter from the former president surfaced in which he calledhomosexuality a "biological perversion."

With Friday's vote, Missouri State joins hundreds of colleges - 562according to the latest study by the Human Rights Campaign - that bar biasbased on sexual orientation. That group includes Missouri's flagship, theUniversity of Missouri at Columbia.


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"The New York Times" on the gay aspect of Germany's weekend election


" . . . One of the few winners on Sunday was Mr. [Klaus] Wowereit,who was given a strong mandate as mayor of Berlin, with the choice ofrenewing his coalition with the Party of Democratic Socialism or forming anew one with the Greens, the largest vote-gainer since the last election, in2001.

"The victory may foretell a greater national role for Mr. Wowereit,a 52-year-old lawyer who has become a star in Berlin. His party-going styleseems to suit his late-night town, and his disclosure before the lastelection that he is gay only added to his appeal. On Sunday, Mr. Wowereitappeared on stage with his partner, Jörn Kubicki, a neurosurgeon...."

Paul Moor
D-10715 Berlin
Telefon (4930) 8639-5784
Telefax (4930) 8639-5785


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Daily Herlad, UT, September 17, 2006


Ex-BYU professor teaching at UVSC
AARON FALK, Daily Herald

At Boston College, where former-BYU professor Jeffrey Nielsen earned hismaster's degree, there's a saying that all good theologians get condemned atleast twice.

"Most philosophers who play that gadfly role get in trouble," he says."If you are going to be good and provocative, then you are going to raisesome questions that make people uncomfortable. Hopefully in the long term,people realize that's a good thing."

For Nielsen, whose contract at Brigham Young University was not renewedafter he published an editorial opposing The Church of Jesus Christ ofLatter-day Saints's stance on gay marriage, he is already seeing positives.


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Call for Nominations for IGLHRC's 2007 Felipa Award

From: Paula Ettelbrick [mailto:executive_director@iglhrc.org]

September 18, 2006

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) calls onthe international LGBTI, human rights and sexual rights communities tosubmit nominations for the 2007 Felipa Award.

Purpose of the Award and General Guidelines

The Felipa Award honors an organization or an individual whose work has madea significant contribution toward securing the full enjoyment of the humanrights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse onthe basis of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity orexpression, and/or HIV status, anywhere in the world. The award commemoratesFelipa de Souza, a woman who was convicted and tortured in Brazil by thePortuguese Inquisition in 1591 for having sexual relationships with other


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US: Opposition Research--Harry Reid's crusade against polygamy

WorldNet Daily, September 18, 2006


Harry Reid's crusade against polygamy
Joseph Farah

It must be an election year.

The reason I know this is because the Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, is trying to curry favor with traditional marriage defenders by launching acrusade against polygamy.

The reason Reid feels safe doing this is clear: There is little electoralsupport, even among Democrats, to legalize polygamy.

It isn't based on principle. It's based on polls.

Reid last week called for a federal task force to investigate polygamistcommunities in Utah, Arizona and Nevada.


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Commentary: Dave Peyton: Legislators should make and un-make law

If co-habitation shouldn't be a crime, then change the law

By Dave Peyton, Charleston Daily Mail, Monday September 18, 2006

WHAT are the chances that the West Virginia Legislature will remove theanti-cohabitation law from the state code?

Actually, there are two chances -- slim and none.

West Virginia is one of only seven states that have laws on their booksbanning unmarried people from living together. And the state Supreme Courtin one of those states -- North Carolina -- ruled that state'santi-cohabitation law unconstitutional in July.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Many Straight Men Have Gay Sex
Nearly 10% of Self-Proclaimed 'Straight' Men Only Have Sex With Men
By Daniel DeNoon
WebMD Medical News

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
on Monday, September 18, 2006

Sept. 18, 2006 -- Nearly one in 10 men who say they're straight have sex only with other men, a New York City survey finds.

And 70% of those straight-identified men having sex with men are married.

In fact, 10% of all married men in this survey report same-sex behavior during the past year.

This means safe-sex messages aimed at straight and gay men are likely missing this important subgroup, suggest Preeti Pathela, DrPH, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and colleagues.

"To reduce the burden of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection among men who have sex with men, it is of utmost importance for [health care] providers to take a sexual history that ascertains the sex of a partner," Pathela and colleagues report. "Asking about a patient's sexual identity will not adequately assess his risk."


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Daily Queer News


Missouri Governor Blasts University's Anti-Discrimination Policy


Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt called the clarification of Missouri State University's non-discrimination policy "unnecessary and bad."

"Today's decision bows to the forces of political correctness," Blunt said in a statement issued after the school's Board of Governor's vote Friday.

Blunt has rarely, if ever, issued opinions about board actions concerning policies, but Spence Jackson, the governor's spokesman, said the governor had a right to speak out against a policy "like any other citizen in the state."

Blunt said the board wasted time taking up the issues, and Jackson added that any time spent on a non-discrimination policy protecting gays and lesbians is "too much time."

"He was pro old policy," Jackson said.

Most Missouri universities have sexual orientation included in their policies, but Jackson wouldn't say if Blunt would recommend those policies eliminate those protections.


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Daily Queer News


Monday, September 18, 2006

Lesbians & gays in Rural Kansas: "We just want equal footing."
By Diane Silver

We are everywhere; I mean everywhere in Kansas. In fact, there are lesbiansand gays in every one of the 105 counties in this state.

That's the word from the U.S. Census and a Hutchinson News story detailingthe lives of lesbians and gays in rural, southwestern Kansas.

Noting that compromises sometimes have to be made, the average Kansansinterviewed in this article do a good job of talking about life as a lesbianor gay person living in Garden City, on a ranch and in small towns in thearea.

One person interviewed was Anne Mitchell, chair of the Southwestern Kansaschapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition. Anne ranches with her lifepartner.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Orbitz Takes On Lesbians, As Women's Media Shifts

By Michael Wilke
September 15, 2006
Capitalizing on the efficiency of lesbians with tools, online booking site Orbitz rolls out its fourth gay-specific commercial featuring a female couple in the latest installation of a mock game show competition.

The spot starts in an overcrowded airline terminal, where a flight has just been canceled for weather. Host Wink Martindale appears and a straight couple and a lesbian couple are suddenly in a game show set competing to find a hotel room from opposing podiums.

While the straight couple clumsily gets out a telephone book, the lesbian couple wins by quickly booking on a cell phone, then kiss each other to celebrate.

"We're not shy about them being a lesbian couple, you can see they're not just friends," notes Tom Russell, vice president of brand marketing for Orbitz in Chicago. The women are intended to be "likeable, friendly, attractive -- you want them to win" and the losing couple are supposed to be "uptight, too confident."

The commercial from Y&R began running on gay network LOGO in August, and will soon roll out to Bravo, BBC America and other networks. It follows another game show spot from 2005 featuring a new gay male couple competing against a gay travel agent for fastest online booking.


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Daily Queer News


Trans conference lures corporate sponsor
Military supplier says event matches its company values

Friday, September 15, 2006

For the first time in its 16 year history, the Southern Comfort Conference for transgender people and their families has attracted corporate sponsorship, including money from a company which provides U.S. military forces with missiles and airplanes. The move marks a shift by conference organizers toward empowering attendees beyond the transition process, raising visibility in public and the workplace.

"This is the first year that we've ever attained meaningful corporate sponsorship. This is just really the start of what we think is going to migrate into the next generation of what this conference should be," predicted Kristin Reichman, chair of the 2006 event, which kicks off Sept. 19 at the Sheraton Colony Square hotel in Midtown.

Organizers advertise Southern Comfort as "the world's largest transgender conference." Reichman said that approximately 650 reservations had been booked by press time, and expected more as the conference begins.

Attendees pay between $100 and $325 to join the conference, and Reichman said that the Southern Comfort board had awarded 92 scholarships for free and reduced cost attendance at the 2006 conference.


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Daily Queer News


Jerusalem Post
Gay Parade to take place in November

Dan Izenberg and MATTHEW WAGNER, THE JERUSALEM POST Sep. 18, 2006

The Jerusalem Gay Parade will be held on November 10, according to a compromise agreement reached by the state and High Court petitioners on Monday.

Representatives of the police, the state prosecution, the Jerusalem Municipality, leaders of the Open House - which represents the homosexual population of the city - and members of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) negotiated for three hours until they reached an agreement.

Open House and ACRI petitioned the High Court on September 10, after police failed to answer a letter by the homosexual organization offering six different dates on which to hold the parade and asking the police to choose what was most convenient for them.


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Daily Queer News


3 religious groups back gay rights

Ballot measure would grant status similar to marriage

Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav, with B'nai Havurah, blows a shofar - a ram's horn - in a call to action as he and other clergy members gather Thursday at the Denver City and County Building to support

By Myung Oak Kim, Rocky Mountain News

September 15, 2006

Three state religious organizations endorsed a ballot measure Thursday that would grant gay couples many of the legal rights and responsibilities of married couples.

Among the groups backing Referendum I is the Colorado Council of Churches. It is the largest Christian coalition in the state, representing a dozen Protestant denominations and close to 1,000 churches, including the United Methodists, American Baptists and the United Church of Christ, according to Council executive the Rev. Jim Ryan.

The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado and Colorado Clergy for Equality in Marriage, representing about 200 clergy statewide, also announced support for Referendum I during a news conference on the steps of the Denver City and County Building.


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Daily Queer News


5 gay candidates advance in Md. (Gay)
Trans, black gay candidates fall short in bids

Friday, September 15, 2006

Maryland is poised to have its first openly gay state senator and two new openly gay delegates after Tuesday's Democratic Party primary.

Delegate-turned-senate candidate Rich Madaleno advanced in Senate District 18 (Montgomery County), as did House non-incumbents Heather Mizeur in District 20 (Montgomery County), and Tim Quinn in District 37B (Dorchester and Wicomico counties).

Quinn said his primary win represented an unprecedented step toward equality on Maryland's usually conservative Eastern Shore."I'm thrilled," he said the morning after votes were counted. "You just can't imagine what kind of footing that puts us on out here. We truly broke a barrier last night."

Equality Maryland Executive Director Dan Furmansky said Quinn did well because he's a skilled community leader.


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Daily Queer News


Gay activists urge concert be canceled

By Mark Brown, Rocky Mountain News
September 19, 2006

Gay activists have demanded the cancellation of a concert Wednesday in Boulder, saying that Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton hasn't repudiated a 1992 song that calls for violence against gays and lesbians.

But a representative for Banton said that Boom Bye Bye, part of a reggae subgenre dubbed "murder music," was written when Banton was 15 and that the star has since become one of Jamaica's most prominent AIDS activists.

"This is not a case of freedom of speech. It's the case of a nightclub giving a forum to this violent hate speech," said Michael Mills, interim executive director of Boulder Pride. He called for the Fox Theatre to cancel the show and threatened a protest outside if it is held.

Tracii McGregor, vice president of Banton's label, said in a statement that the song has since "haunted his career."He added that a "public portrait that has been painted of Buju as an artist who has espoused violence, hatred and negativity his entire career is one of absolute fraud."