Friday, December 29, 2006

GLBT DIGEST - December 29, 2006

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Express Gay News

Rights groups win new status at U.N.
Change gives gays a 'seat at the table'

Friday, December 29, 2006

Three gay groups have won long sought inclusion at the United Nations.

The International Lesbian & Gay Association's European office, plus twoother groups, obtained the coveted consultative status Dec. 11. They are theonly gay groups among 3,100 organizations that have the status.

Consultative status enables non-government organizations to speak at U.N.meetings and lobby member nations.

"It grants them a seat at the table," said Mark Bromley, a spokesperson forGlobal Rights, an international human rights organization that supported themove.

"It allows them to submit documents and evidence of human rights abusesagainst LGBT communities in a formal way to the U.N. and many human rightsexperts."


Express Gay News

2006: A swan song for the closet
Politicians, performers step outside the walls of secrecy

Friday, December 29, 2006

Having confined and defined much, if not most, of modern gay existence, "thecloset" showed once again in 2006 that it is still a mighty force, albeit ashadow of its once powerful self.

In fact, some believe the closet is steadily inching toward irrelevance, assuccessive generations of gay and lesbian youth settle into their sexualorientation without first surrounding it with four walls of angst, denial,duplicity and shame.

Far from being a place that only harbors half-truths and paralyzing secrets,the 2006 version of the closet helped fuel best-selling memoirs and abreathtaking power shift in Congress. The closet opened its doors on the setof America's most popular primetime television series and inside one of thenation's most influential megachurches.

And whereas coming out of the closet was long considered social andprofessional suicide, in 2006 it proved anything but.


The Advocate

December 29, 2006

Meehan to push for repeal of gay soldier ban
Democratic congressman Marty Meehan of Massachusetts said on Wednesday thathe will reintroduce a bill to repeal the military's ban on openly gaysoldiers.

A Democratic congressman from Massachusetts said on Wednesday that he willreintroduce a bill to repeal the military's ban on openly gay soldiers. Rep.Marty Meehan said that 112 members of Congress from both parties have signedon to cosponsor the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would end thearmed services' "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

"I'll be working tirelessly to bring new members of both parties onboard ourcampaign to lift the ban," Meehan said in an end-of-the-year letter toconstituents released by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, whichadvocates for gays in the military. "I will also be asking for the firstcongressional hearings on gays in the military since 1993. I know that whenmy colleagues see and understand the evidence against "don't ask, don'ttell," they will be motivated to join me in the fight for repeal."


Express Gay News

All the talk
2006 in quotes
Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 could one-day be known as the year of transparency. Closetedcelebrities and politicians saw their secrets exposed, largely due to helpfrom news reporters and dogged bloggers.

It was American voters who made the loudest statement of all though, lookingpast, and, perhaps through, gay issues that once galvanized the right, andhanding the U.S. House and Senate back to a Democratic majority.

Here are some notable quotables by celebrities and politicians from 2006.

"I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights oflesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. .But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King, Jr., said, 'Injusticeanywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' . I appeal to everyone whobelieves in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream to make room at the table ofbrotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people."

Coretta Scott King, who died in February at the age of 78, at the 25thanniversary event for the Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund (March 31,1998)


Express Gay News

Stories you might have missed
Everyone knows about the Mark Foley scandal but did you hear about the newpro-gay 401(k) rule change?
Friday, December 29, 2006

WE ALL KNOW that Mark Foley sent lewd e-mails and IMs to young male pages.And that Ted Haggard resigned in a gay sex scandal as a leading voice of theevangelical Christians who work so feverishly to demonize gays and lesbians.And we know that most gays cheered the midterm election results.

But there were hundreds of other stories in the past year that you may havemissed. Here are just a few that merit repeating.

Late this summer, President Bush signed into law sweeping changes to thecountry's pension laws that altered 401(k) rules in significant ways forgays and lesbians.

The changes allow any 401(k) beneficiary to inherit those funds slowly,avoiding a full and immediate payment that would be subject to stiffer taxpenalties. Prior to the change, the slow payout option was available only tostraight, married couples.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Concord Monitor, NH , December 28, 2006

Editorial: No more study, please
Monitor staff

The 2007 Legislature will see at least two bills to make civil unions legalfor same-sex couples. In response, Gov. John Lynch has suggested, through aspokesman, that he may deploy one of the most potent weapons ever designedto kill time, a committee. He should not make good on that threat.

It's true the legislative commission former governor Craig Benson appointedto study the implications of legalizing same-sex marriage was fatallycompromised by the lack of objectivity of many of its members. The group'stempestuous meetings and bigoted conclusions embarrassed the state. But nomatter how fairly constituted the next group could be, its contribution tothe debate would be insignificant compared with the real-world experiencesof neighboring states.

Vermont made civil unions legal in 2000, and Massachusetts recognizedsame-sex marriage in 2004.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

NJ: Perform civil unions or nothing

Bridgeton News, NJ, December 28, 2006

Perform civil unions or nothing
By MATT DUNN, Staff Writer

HOPEWELL TWP. -- Mayor Hal Bickings Jr. takes great pride in the marriageceremony he has honed over the years.

He reads to the couple from 1 Corinthians 13, informally known as theBible's "love chapter," which states "Love is patient and kind; love is notjealous or boastful."

Then he offers some biblical advice.

"I tell them love is the cornerstone of a great marriage -- to beconsiderate of each other," Bickings said Wednesday. "I tell the husband,you must love your wife as Christ loved the church."

After rings and vows are exchanged, Bickings prays with the newlyweds.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


When Abba becomes Ima: Transsexuals in the Orthodox world

By Meira Maierovitz Drazin

TORONTO, Dec. 25 (JTA) - Mordechai, a 31-year-old Orthodox lawyer from Toronto, gave his wife a Jewish divorce this summer.

Then he began his life as Nicole, a woman.

Nicole isn't the first transgender person to live an Orthodox life, but asfar as anyone knows she is the first Orthodox person to transition publiclyand "in place."

Transsexuals may always face obstacles and taboos in mainstream Westernsocieties, but Orthodox Jews who make the transition face even greatercomplications.


The New York Times

December 29, 2006
Waiting List for AIDS Drugs Causes Dismay in South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. - More than 350 poor people infected with H.I.V. are on awaiting list for free life-saving drugs in South Carolina, by far thelongest such list in the country.

Four people waiting for drugs supplied by the state have died, said LyndaKettinger, the director of the state health department's H.I.V. division,and the wait is six months to a year.

The list is so long largely because the Legislature's contribution to the drug program is relatively tiny - less than one-twentieth of North Carolina's, for example - even though South Carolina has the ninth-highest AIDS rate andthe fifth-highest H.I.V. infection rate among states that record such data.

"There's only two ways to get off of the wait list right now," said KarenBates, one of a group of South Carolina H.I.V. patients who have demandedthat the state take emergency action. "One of them is if somebody else diesand you get their slot. The other is if you die."


The current issue of The Express Gay News is online


Gay victims of Franco era to win compensation

In the dying days of General Francisco Franco'sdictatorship, Antoni Ruiz found out for himselfwhat thousands of others had already suffered for being gay.

Antoni, then just 17, from Valencia, easternSpain, told his mother he was homosexual and hisfamily sought advice from a nun. "She wentstraight to the police and I was arrested and sent for trial," said Mr Ruiz.

"I spent three months in prison. I was rapedthere and in the police cells and psychologicallytortured by both the guards and the prison doctor."

Now, 31 years later, Mr Ruiz and a dwindling bandof others who suffered General Franco's ruthlessrepression of homosexuals, may finally be offered compensation by the state.

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