Saturday, October 07, 2006

GLBT DIGEST - October 7, 2006


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

First Slovenian gay partnership branded 'awful'

James Phillips

A gay couple this Friday became the first to enter into a civil partnership within the Balkan country of Slovenia.

Unfortunately for Mitja Blazic and Niki Kern the partnership hasn't got off to a great start after the couple branded the ceremony "humiliating" and ''awful''.

The accusation is in response to the Slovenian clause in the civil partnership law which prohibits couples from having friends and family present. Only the couple and the registrant can be present.

In July Slovenia's Parliament passed legislation allowing same-sex ceremonies.

The law allows gay and lesbian couples to register their unions and give partners access to each others' pensions and property.

Mr Blazic and Mr Kern signed their vows at a municipal registration office in a state building, yet emerged to tell waiting reporters that the ceremony was cold and without feeling.


Rep. Barney Frank talks about the Foley scandal

One of the few out politicians on Capitol Hill, Democratic congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts (who survived his own scandal involving a male prostitute in 1989) gives us his take on Foley and on being a gay politician in Washington.

By Matthew Link

An exclusive posted October 4, 2006

Even though at least two other members of Congress have dallied with pages in the past (Democratic representative Gerry Studds of Massachusetts, with a male page in 1973, and Republican representative Dan Crane of Illinois, with a female page circa 1983), Mark Foley's current scandal and admission of being gay seem to have set the D.C. closet on fire.

One of the few out politicians on Capitol Hill, Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank (who survived his own scandal involving a male prostitute in 1989) gives us his take on Foley and on being a gay politician in Washington.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Star Tribune - Minneapolis

Ann Lowry: Don't let Mark Foley be a poster boy for gays

He does not represent gay people any more than a heterosexual child predator represents straight Americans.

Ann Lowry

It's one of those things you dread, like bad news from the doctor.

On Tuesday, former Florida Rep. Mark Foley's attorney announced that he is more than just a suspected child predator. He is also a gay American. Since he is a Republican and I am a Democrat, I want very much to demonize him. Since he sent really awful e-mails and instant messages to underage boys, I want the FBI to figure out which laws he broke and have him sent to prison for years.

But most of all, as a gay American, I want to say "No, we really don't want you. Go back in the closet where you belong. We have enough image problems without you tarnishing our image even more."

In spite of those thoughts, I must admit that I feel sorry for him. He is a victim of a culture where homophobia is rampant -- so rampant that coming out becomes an act of desperation, in a moment of extreme shame.Owning one's true self should not have to happen under these circumstances.

The unfortunate thing about owning one's identity is that sometimes it becomes all that you are. When some people find out I am a lesbian, I become the "lesbian friend" or the "lesbian teacher" or the "lesbian mom." It is true that when I first came out, being gay was at the forefront of my identity. Now I really don't think about it that much.

I act like a lot of straight women my age. I act like many of my straight colleagues and neighbors and people I know. In fact, some of my best friends are straight people! My partner and I act like a lot of straight couples we know who have been together for as long as we have been together.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Words to live by: Live and let live
Zamna Avila (ZAVILA@RGJ.COM)
October 6, 2006

The debate of nature vs. nurture may never be solved, but one thing I knew even as a toddler is that I had an innate passion for reading, writing and current events.

My mother placed a pencil and a pad in my hands when I was only 2 years old. Since then, I've witnessed five presidents take the oath of office, major economic fluctuations in the nation, the threats and demise of the Cold War, a growth in health awareness in the United States and other parts of the world, a few wars, and several advances in technology.

So I am amazed at how much and how little we've evolved in our thinking and the freedoms afforded in our declaration of independence: ""»that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."


Gay ceremony may block judge's rise

By Sam Hananel and Ken Thomas
The Associated Press

October 7, 2006

WASHINGTON · A judge's elevation to the federal bench could be derailedbecause she helped preside over a commitment ceremony for a lesbian couplefour years ago.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., has placed a hold on the nomination of MichiganCourt of Appeals Judge Janet T. Neff, saying her presence at the 2002Massachusetts ceremony raises questions about her views.

"It seems to speak about her view of judicial activism," Brownback saidFriday. "It's something I want to inquire of her further."

Brownback, a vehement opponent of gay marriage, said he wants to knowwhether Neff might have presided over "an illegal marriage ceremony" thatskirted Massachusetts law. He has asked the Justice Department for a formallegal opinion on Neff's conduct.


6th October 2006

Youth and diversity sets new government apart

Published: 6th October 2006 16:46 CET


The youngest Swedish prime minister for more than 80 years, Sweden'sfirst gay minister, first black minister, and the first male minister tosport a pony tail - Sweden's new government contains plenty of novelties.


Slavery undermined the Bible, historian says

By Richard N. Ostling
The Associated Press

October 7, 2006

Human slavery, America's original sin, developed into a moral crisis,culminating in a Civil War that cost 518,333 lives. That exceeds the deathsin every other U.S. war, from the Revolution through Iraq.

Slavery also damaged the nation's religious underpinnings and the Bible'sauthority, says Mark A. Noll in The Civil War as a Theological Crisis(University of North Carolina Press). Noll is a leading evangelicalProtestant historian.

Noll's theme: America was built upon the Bible as the sole moral authority.But slavery caused "an unbridgeable chasm of opinion" about what the Biblemeant. Devout Bible believers reached starkly different conclusions, whichundermined assurance that the Bible gives clear guidance readily availableto all.

That's a pertinent point in 2006 as the religious left and religious rightdispute what the Bible says about abortion and gay rights, among other issues.


Mark Foley

South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board

October 7, 2006

ISSUE: Foley's excuses are unacceptable.

For years, when it would have helped the gay community to be embraced by a powerful Republican, Mark Foley furiously refused to acknowledge hissexuality, calling reports that outed him "revolting."

So it is curious timing that Foley chose a press conference, held by hislawyer while he is in treatment, to admit what most already know -- that heis gay. Hardly a courageous statement at this late date, or one that topsthe list of answers the public needs.

What the world really wants to hear now, after Foley quit Congress indisgrace amid publication of lurid emails he sent to teenage boys, is thathe gets the depth of his depravity and will get help. It also would havehelped, as long as he was acknowledging his homosexuality, to put it intosome context by pointing out that one had nothing to do with the other.

Instead, in by-the-way fashion, with no point of relevance, his lawyer saysthat Foley "is a gay man." The lack of essential context only feeds the myththat homosexuality somehow leads to pedophilia.

That was only part of the collateral damage caused in a sorry pressconference that suggests Foley, a master of spin, is as consumed byrehabilitating his public image as he is his personal problems. Take thisbombshell, dropped by attorney David Roth: Foley was molested as a teen by a clergyman.


Speculation Centers on a Republican Former Page

By Elizabeth Williamson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 7, 2006; A07

Likable and popular with female pages, a committed Republican who even as a teenager knew how to parlay chance meetings into political friendships,Jordan Edmund has emerged as a key figure in the Foley page scandal.

The former House page has been targeted by conservative blogs as the youngman on the receiving end of former representative Mark Foley's sexuallyexplicit online instant messages, which have engulfed the GOP in a scandalthat could affect the outcome of the Nov. 7 congressional elections.

Edmund has hired a lawyer, Stephen Jones, who will not acknowledge whetherhis client was the one who corresponded extensively with Foley for nearly ayear. Jones said he is going public with his client's name to help Edmundfend off conservative attacks and a barrage of media inquiries. He said hewill represent Edmund when he is interviewed early next week by the FBI.

"I did not discuss the messages with him," Jones said. "I'm not saying they're his. At this time I don't know."


October 7, 2006

Film on Pedophile Priest Revives Focus on Cardinal

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 6 - A documentary film featuring an extraordinarily candid interview with a former priest convicted of molesting children hasheightened interest among law enforcement officials here in considering acriminal case against Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, says a prosecutor who has been investigating sexual abuse cases involving priests.

In the documentary, "Deliver Us From Evil," the former priest, Oliver O'Grady, describes how he abused young boys and girls across central California over20 years, including a period in the 1980's when Cardinal Mahony was hissuperior as the bishop in Stockton.

The former priest, who lives in Ireland, said he was able to continueabusing children in part because of actions by Cardinal Mahony, who nowheads the country's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, here in Los Angeles,and is among the church's most influential American leaders. Mr. O'Gradysays in the film that as bishop in Stockton, the cardinal moved him fromparish to parish in the face of abuse accusations.


October 7, 2006
Gay Unions Get Strong Support From Spitzer

By saying on Thursday night that he will push to legalize gay marriage,Attorney General Eliot Spitzer put himself at the vanguard of the effort torecognize such unions, staking out a position that most prominent Democrats,including Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, have shied away from.

Mr. Spitzer, who is running for governor and holds a commanding lead in thepolls, made his strongest declaration yet in support of gay marriage in hisremarks to the Empire State Pride Agenda, the state's leading gay lobbyinggroup. He told the audience, "We will make it law in New York."

If elected, Mr. Spitzer, a Democrat, would be the most prominent stateofficial in the nation to call for the legalization of gay marriage, thoughDemocratic candidates for governor in California and Massachusetts have alsoexpressed support. Many prominent Democrats, including Senator Clinton, havesupported gays on other issues but not on this one, which has led tofriction in their relations with gay leaders.


Forwarded from Ken's List <>

Counterpunch - Oct 5, 2006

A Psychotherapist on the Hysteria Over Foley

The Radical Right, the Myth of the Gay Child Abuser and You


As soon as the Foley story broke, I knew it was just a matter of time. Sure enough, The People for the American Way reported that Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, said the real concern about Foley's sexual predatory behavior toward an underage congressional page is "the link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse." Not just Perkins, manyother right wing mouthpieces are disgorging similar rhetoric.

The radical right, at the helm of its mighty cutter boat, the U.S.S. Wedge Issue, is chipping and tacking its way through the towns and psyches ofour country yet again. I'd yawn at such a hackneyed conflation -homosexualityequals child sexual abuse - but those guys'll take advantage of anyopening they can get and I feel sure they'd ram the bow of their boat rightthrough my mouth on its way to the voting booths in November. Besides, Iknow thatcutter can do some serious damage.


Forwarded from Ken's List <>

Showdown looms as same-sex marriage heads to California justices

DAVID KRAVETS Associated Press

October 6, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court has a mixed record on gayrights and a tendency to give deference to existing law, which makes it anopen question how the justices will rule now that the same-sex marriageissue is heading its way.

Reversing a San Francisco trial judge, a divided appeals court on Thursdayupheld the state's existing marriage laws, saying they did not discriminateagainst gays and lesbians because they get all the rights of marriage thestate confers by registering as domestic partners.

Lawyers for 20 same-sex couples and the city of San Francisco are appealing,putting the case on course to get to the Supreme Court three years afterMayor Gavin Newsom put the marriage debate in the national spotlight byallowing same-sex couples to get married at City Hall.


Irish Independent, Saturday 7 October 2006

No difference if children raised by lesbian parents, court hears

STUDIES have shown that the welfare of children is not adversely affectedwhen raised by lesbian parents, the High Court was told yesterday.

The quality of the parenting, not the sexual identity of the parent, is theessential ingredient of effective parenting and in the best interests of thechild, a US psychiatrist said.

Professor Richard Green rejected suggestions by State counsel that it was"premature" to draw any long-term conclusions from existing studies as tothe long-term development of children raised by lesbians, or that themethodology used in such studies was flawed.

He was giving evidence - by video link from the UK where he is researchdirector at the Gender Identity Clinic at Charing Cross Hospital, London -in the action by a lesbian couple, Dr Katherine Zappone, a public policyconsultant, and Dr Ann Louise Gilligan, an academic, aimed at having theirCanadian marriage recognised here.


Spanish restaurant refuses gay wedding

A restaurant in Madrid may face charges for refusing services to ahomosexual couple wanting to schedule their wedding feast.

Friday, October 06, 2006
by Martin Barillas
Spero News

A restaurant in Spain refused to take a reservation from a pair of malehomosexuals in order to hold their wedding and a banquet to follow.According to the management of "La Favorita" of Madrid, this was accordingto "company rules". Located in a fashionable neighborhood of Madrid, thepair had hope to use the location whose owners then refused.

A spokesman for the owners insisted that there was no illegal discriminationin this case, but insisted that the opinions of the entire public must berespected. The management gave assurances that it did not intend to disturbanyone and that it does respect the opinion of the homosexual pair inquestion.


October 06, 2006

Investigating "the congressional closet"

In September 1996 The Advocate ran a story by J. Jennings Moss titled "Onthe record," which has been repeatedly cited as the deliberate outing ofcongressmen Jim Kolbe (pictured) and Mark Foley. Decide for yourself. Here'sthe original text of that now infamous investigation.

By J. Jennings Moss

On the record

Heated debate over House approval of the antigay Defense of Marriage Actshines a wary spotlight on the congressional closet.

They spoke to their colleagues-and the nation-from experience. They arguedthat by passing a bill that defines marriage strictly as a union between aman and a woman, the House was trampling on the civil rights of gays andlesbians. They were talking about their own rights as gay men. And everybodyknew it.

Steve Gunderson, Barney Frank, and Gerry Studds made their status as gay men relevant to the debate that took place in July.Arguably, the marital status and sexual orientation of every member ofCongress was at issue when the House voted 342-67 to approve the Defense ofMarriage Act (DOMA), a bill that would allow states to avoid recognizingsame-sex marriages granted in other states. (Hawaii could be the first tolegalize such unions.)


Foley's pathetic blame game

Hey, Mark Foley! Stop using sexuality to explain away why you're so screwedup. You're screwed up because you were a mess to start with, not because youdrink too much (allegedly). You're a creep. Live with it.

By Karel

Our president lies about WMDs in Iraq and launches an unjust and unnecessarywar. We are in debt beyond belief. Home prices are plummeting. Governmentspending is out of control. A woman's right to choose is under attack. Gaysare bashed regularly by members of Congress and the President. Americans aredying as we speak. We've lost the war in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden hasnot been captured, the Chinese basically own us, and goodwill towardAmericans is at an all-time low. There can be no doubt there's lot to talkabout and a lot of upsetting events.

But what's got the media on their heads?

Ex-Representative Mark Foley: a pervert. a congressman, a Republican fromFlorida who likes to hear about how 16-year-old boys masturbate, a leaderwho used his own power to seduce young pages and ex-pages. A man whose party




Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Oct 6, 12:40 PM (ET)



Guards at Guantanamo Bay bragged about beating detainees and described it as common practice, a Marine sergeant said in a sworn statement obtained by The Associated Press.

The two-page statement was sent Wednesday to the Inspector General at the Department of Defense by a high-ranking Marine Corps defense lawyer.

The lawyer sent the statement on behalf of a paralegal who said men she met on Sept. 23 at a bar on the base identified themselves to her as guards. The woman, whose name was blacked out, said she spent about an hour talking with them. No one was in uniform, she said.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

President asserts power to edit privacy reports

Bush defies Congress, says he has right to change Homeland Security bills

The Associated Press

Updated: 6:01 p.m. ET Oct. 5, 2006

WASHINGTON - President Bush, again defying Congress, says he has the power to edit the Homeland Security Department's reports about whether it obeys privacy rules while handling background checks, ID cards and watchlists.

In the law Bush signed Wednesday, Congress stated no one but the privacy officer could alter, delay or prohibit the mandatory annual report on Homeland Security department activities that affect privacy, including complaints.

But Bush, in a signing statement attached to the agency's 2007 spending bill, said he will interpret that section "in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch."


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Olbermann's Special Comment: It is not the Democrats whose inaction in the face of the enemy you fear

By: John Amato on Thursday, October 5th, 2006 at 6:30 PM - PDT

Olbermann: And lastly tonight, a Special Comment, about - lying. While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved, march through a cesspool. While the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a book with a glowing red cover.

The President of the United States - unbowed, undeterred, and unconnected to reality - has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies of freedom: The Democrats.

Yesterday at a fundraiser for an Arizona Congressman, Mr. Bush claimed, quote, "177 of the opposition party said 'You know, we don't think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists."
The hell they did.

177 Democrats opposed the President's seizure of another part of the Constitution*.

Not even the White House press office could actually name a single Democrat who had ever said the government shouldn't be listening to the conversations of terrorists.

President Bush hears. what he wants.


Unhitch politics from religion

George Lucas
Hallandale Beach

October 7, 2006

I am asking Republican leaders to consider setting religion free in America.They've succeeded in making religion synonymous with politics.

Many of our religious institutions have become political vehicles fueled byreligion. It's impossible to think of religion today without thinking of thepolitics of abortion choice, prayer in schools, creationism, birth control,reproductive counseling and equal rights for gay men and women.

These issues were once important personal issues, which were governed by ourpersonal values, our personal morals and our religious beliefs, not by ourpolitical parties. These issues belong in our churches, and in our hearts,not on political platforms and ballot boxes.

They've duped us into voting on these issues and finding ourselves waking upafter election day, and wondering what has happened to our educational andschool systems, our health-care costs, our medical insurance, our jobs, oursalaries, our environment, our quality of life. (Between you and me, I mustadmit, however, it's not all bad news. Corporate profits are up, the drugcompanies, the oil companies are doing well.)


The New York Times

October 7, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Death by Instant Message

So now we have our first IM scandal.

We knew it was coming, all this personal information zinging back and forth across cyberspace at the speed of write, all this constantly streaming technology being inexorably adapted to the needs of desire.

IM-ing is like whispering, perfect for furtive, racy exchanges - or slimy, perverted ones. It's as if your id had a typewriter. In a world where everything is instant, the delaying and censoring mechanisms that contributed to a civilized life are gone.

In the old days, there was a chance that career- or marriage-destroying letters would be, upon further consideration, thrown into the fireplace. IM's, e-mails and BlackBerry billets-doux, more perilous forms of drunk dialing, have the wings of Mercury and the indestructibility of mercury.


October 7, 2006

Kicked While Down

In a blow to labor unions, the National Labor Relations Board recentlyexpanded the pool of workers exempted from union membership. Specifically,the labor board found that registered nurses who assigned others to someshifts or tasks were supervisors, and thus not eligible to join unions. Itwas a bad decision, not only because of the specifics of the case, but alsoin its broader ramifications.

There are good reasons to bar managers from unionizing. It is extremelydifficult to run a large organization efficiently if the people at the topare unable to easily hold their managers accountable for overall success orfailure. But responsibilities like making out a schedule do not amount tomanagement. If they did, interns would be the only non- managers in many oftoday's workplaces.


October 7, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor

We Can't Go Home Again
By Sam Bahour
Ramallah, West Bank

THIRTEEN years ago, I left a comfortable life in the United States for anuncertain future in the West Bank. Israel and the Palestinian LiberationOrganization had just signed the Oslo Accords. Like many others, I saw anopportunity for Palestinians to finally build a society and economy thatwould lead to freedom - to a thriving Palestine alongside Israel.

As a Palestinian-American businessman, I was determined to do my part. So Imoved to the West Bank city of El Bireh, where my family has lived forcenturies. There I helped create a $100 million telecommunications company,which today employs more than 2,000 Palestinians. I earned an M.B.A. throughTel Aviv University. Then I developed a $10 million shopping center - thefirst of its kind in the Palestinian territories, employing more than 220Palestinians. I married and had two beautiful daughters.

Now the Israeli authorities have decided that my life here has come to anend.


What's Wrong With Washington: Exhibit A

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, October 7, 2006; A23

The powers that be, from Capitol Hill to the White House, will deny it, butthe face of Washington these days is former Florida Republican congressmanMark Foley and the House GOP leadership, represented by Speaker J. DennisHastert. Together the two men serve as proxies for much that is wrong withthis town.

Figuring in any discussion of what's wrong with Washington is the matter ofhow the powerful prey upon the vulnerable. Foley pops up as Exhibit A. Heused his membership in the House to disarm and gain access to childrenentrusted to the care of Congress, and he did it for his own lasciviouspurposes. Were he not a congressman, those young boys would have been safelybeyond his reach.

And while the full story of this sordid affair is still unknown, it seemsclear that Foley didn't exploit that access just once or twice. He may havebeen at it for years.


Of Elections, Judges and Stupidity

By Andrew Cohen
Special to
Saturday, October 7, 2006; 12:00 AM

Election season this year means open season on judges around the country. InMontana, riled-up citizens tried to get onto the ballot a measure that wouldallow state court judges to be recalled from office at any time for anyreason. In South Dakota, an initiative is set to be voted upon in Novemberthat would allow citizens to sue and otherwise punish judges for unpopulardecisions. And in Colorado, a conservative group is fighting to impose sweeping term limitsupon all of the state's appellate court judges.

Let's take the last one first. Colorado's Amendment 40 would remove fromoffice at the same time five of the state's current Supreme Court justicesand seven of its current 19 intermediate appellate court judges. The state'sjudiciary thus would lose on one day a vast reservoir of institutionalknowledge and experience -- not to mention by definition the best judgesthat Colorado has to offer.


Staffer Cites Earlier Role by Hastert's Office
Confrontation With Foley Detailed

By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 7, 2006; A01

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's chief of staff confronted then-Rep. MarkFoley about his inappropriate social contact with male pages well before thespeaker said aides in his office took any action, a current congressionalstaff member with personal knowledge of Foley and his behavior with pagessaid yesterday.

The staff member said Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, met with theFlorida Republican at the Capitol to discuss complaints about Foley'sbehavior toward pages. The alleged meeting occurred long before Hastert saysaides in his office dispatched Rep. John M. Shimkus (R-Ill.) and the clerkof the House in November 2005 to confront Foley about troubling e-mails hehad sent to a Louisiana boy.


Article published Oct 7, 2006
Drug relief
Customs confiscation eased

Come Monday, Americans who are bringing prescription medications back fromCanada in small amounts and for their personal use will no longer risk beingstopped at the border and having their medications seized by U.S. Customsagents.

In just the last year alone, some 40,000 Americans have experienced thisindignity for buying commonly prescribed legal medications that are simplymuch cheaper in Canada.

While not many Floridians have frequent occasion to cross the Canadianborder and deal with this situation, Sen. Bill Nelson said this week that hehas been working to stop this level of involvement by U.S. Customs andBorder Protection officials on behalf of constituents who receivedmedications from Canada by mail order. Specifically, a Mount Dora couplewhose shipments startedbeing intercepted by the postal carrier motivated the senator to investigate and push for change.



Same song, different scandal
By Robert Kuttner | October 7, 2006

THROUGHOUT THE Bush era, voters have not always connected the dots. TheFoley scandal now enveloping the House Republican leadership offers abelated opportunity for voters to make some connections. Yes, the scandal isabout the disgrace of a congressman sending disgusting messages to teenagepages, and the failure of leaders to act on escalating warnings. But it is so much more.

Mark Foley was chairman of a House caucus on missing and exploited children. This was a party that literally put a pedophile in charge of pedophilia.

Does that have a vaguely familiar ring? It should. It's the same party thatput the oil companies in charge of energy policy, and invited the drug andinsurance industries to write the Medicare prescription bill for their ownmaximum profit. As investigations have revealed, it put lobbyists forpolluting industries in charge of environmental protection. So there is aconsistent theme here of the fox guarding the chicken coop.


The Washington Post

Rove Aide Linked To Abramoff Resigns
Scandal Claims Its First West Wing Job

By Peter Baker and James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, October 7, 2006; A01

A top aide to White House strategist Karl Rove resigned yesterday after disclosures that she accepted gifts from and passed information to now-convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, becoming the first official in the West Wing to lose a job in the influence-peddling scandal.

Susan B. Ralston submitted her resignation to avoid causing political damage to President Bush a month before the midterm elections, officials said. "She did not want to be a distraction to the White House at this important time," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

A congressional report showed last week that Ralston accepted sometimes-pricey tickets to nine sports and entertainment events from Abramoff while she provided him with inside White House information. The bipartisan report said there is no evidence that Rove knew of or approved of Ralston's actions, and sources said yesterday that the White House was surprised by the report's revelations.


FLORIDA DIGEST October 7, 2006


272 Broward County felony cases were kept from the public

Chief judge has them reinstated to county's record

By Jon Burstein
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

October 7, 2006

Dozens of felony cases in Broward County -- ranging from burglary tomurder -- had their existence wiped from the public record until recently,the South Florida Sun-Sentinel has learned.

All traces of 272 criminal cases dating back to 1988 vanished from citizens'view. The defendants' names and their criminal charges became public againlast month after Broward Chief Judge Dale Ross issued an order instructingBroward Clerk of the Courts Howard Forman on how to handle the records.

Before the order, anyone checking those defendants' backgrounds foremployment, housing or other reasons, would not have been told about thecases by the Clerk of the Courts' Office.

Forman said any mention of those cases had been removed from his publiccomputer system after judges issued orders sealing them. That was theoffice's policy long before he became clerk of the courts in 2001 and it hadbecome clerical procedure, he said.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Palm Beach Gardens to Study Domestic Partner Benefits
Press Release
Rand Hoch
Palm Beach County Human Rights Council
Oct 6, 2006

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL-Palm Beach Gardens is considering offering City employees with domestic partners the same health insurance, sick leave, bereavement leave, family medical leave and other family benefits currently available only to married employees.

Last month Rand Hoch, Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) was invited by the City Council to make a presentation at tonight's meeting.

PBCHRC is a nonprofit organization which has been successful in encouraging public employers through out the County to offer domestic partner benefits.


Foley's loyal sister crushed
E-mail scandal `is killing her family,' husband says

By Liz Doup
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

October 7, 2006

She was always by his side.

At news conferences, on the campaign trail, even at the Lake Worth ChristmasParade.

And when her brother, former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, resigned from thepolitical post they fought so hard to win, she was there.

Donna Winterson, Foley's oldest sister, helped push him up the politicalladder during his nearly three decades in public office. She was hiscampaign manager, travel companion and confidante.

And now ...

"I don't think she can even talk about it," says her husband, Stu Winterson,a retired police sergeant who steps from their Lake Worth home to explainhis wife isn't doing interviews. "She has a heavy heart. The whole thing iskilling her family."


Jim Davis gets a little help from Illinois' star senator Barack Obama

By Madeline Baro Diaz
Miami Bureau

October 7, 2006

MIAMI GARDENS · U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, a rising star in the DemocraticParty, brought some celebrity power to South Florida on Friday to boost hisparty's gubernatorial candidates.

Obama, of Chicago, energized a crowd of about 400 at a rally held forgubernatorial candidate Jim Davis and running mate Daryl Jones at FloridaMemorial University. Former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek of Miami and otherDemocratic dignitaries joined them.

"He's real young," said junior Bill Walls, 20, who registered to vote thisweek. "I love the way he speaks. I just look at him like, `Man, I hope oneday I can speak as well as he does.'"


Victim Advocates, Fla. Diocese Urge Foley to Name Alleged Abuser

By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 7, 2006; A06

The Roman Catholic diocese of Palm Beach, Fla., and national advocacy groupsfor victims of sexual abuse called yesterday for former representative MarkFoley (R-Fla.) to give police the name of the clergyman who allegedly abusedhim as a teenager.

"He should absolutely report the perpetrator, living or dead," said DavidClohessy, national director of the 7,000-member Survivors Network of ThoseAbused by Priests. "He should do it now, not when his civil lawyer says itis convenient. Every day that a molester walks free is a day when he canhurt other kids."

Foley's attorney, David Roth, told reporters Tuesday that the formercongressman, who was raised as a Catholic, was molested by a clergyman whenhe was 13 to 15 years old. But Roth did not name the clergyman, and Palm Beach police said they have not received any report of the abuse.


Delray priest admits taking Easter collections and other church money, says warrant

Retired cleric claimed he was not paid properly, police say.

By Jerome Burdi and Chrystian Tejedor
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

October 7, 2006

Delray Beach · Greeted by police set to arrest him on grand theft charges atPalm Beach International Airport last month, the Rev. John Skehan "blurtedout that he had misappropriated money" from St. Vincent Ferrer CatholicChurch, a search warrant released Friday shows.

Skehan admitted several times that he misdirected money from the church, buttold investigators he saw himself as the CEO of a multimillion-dollarcompany who wasn't properly compensated, the warrant shows.

"Skehan gave his opinion that he was never properly paid by the diocese, hewas running a big business and getting nothing for it," the search warrantsays. " ... He took what he had coming to him, as the diocese was cheap andnever paid for his education."


Link to Broward Voter Registration Form



GOP's hoping Foley mud bath won't sink Shaw


The nation's electricity bill must be going through the roof, consideringthe amount of light and heat expended on former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley'stransgressions.

Democrats wrench their backs stretching to broad-brush Foley's wrongdoingover the whole GOP. Republicans throw each other under the bus to steerclear of any blame. Gay bashers point to Foley as evidence ofhomosexuality's dark side.

And everyone gets on TV.

There's not a shower out there long enough or hot enough to counter the mudbath, between Foley's lurid Internet messages to teens, check-in to alcoholrehabilitation, and claim that he was molested by a clergy member. Now thequestion is who else gets dirty -- besides Speaker of the House DennisHastert, accused of sweeping hints of Foley's conduct under the rug.


Davis works the fundraising circuit

By Aaron Deslatte

When Charlie Crist didn't show for a forum at the Florida Children's SummitFriday, Democrat Jim Davis quickly chided theRepublican was more "committed to finding enough money for his TV ads."

But Davis has been no slouch himself on the fundraising circuit.

The Democratic nominee for governor reported on Friday that he raised justmore than $419,000 last week.

Crist, the Republican nominee, raised $548,000 for the same period, but theshowing is the closest Davis has come to matching his better-funded opponentsince the first week after the primary.

Republicans control all the levers of power in Florida politics andtraditionally have had deeper-pocketed supporters.


Harris attack on Nelson is insult to faith
Darryl E. Owens

October 7, 2006

Legend has it that just before the battle at Mulvian Bridge near Rome, afiery cross blazed in the sky above Constantine the Great.

Constantine saw it as a sign and adopted the cross as his insignia.

In a skirmish that historians view as the turning point for Christianity,Constantine triumphed.

Maybe U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris was going for some of that Constantinekarma this week. The Republican senatorial candidate took up a cross and setafire the notion that incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson was truly a manof faith.

Nelson "claims to be a Christian," she told a Christian news service, sayinghe must answer for a voting record that is "completely contrary to what wesay we believe."


Posted on Sat, Oct. 07, 2006

Around Broward County

Shaw, Klein to debate at open forum Tuesday

A debate between two congressional candidates in one of Florida's tightest races is scheduled for Tuesday in Coral Springs. U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw, the Republican incumbent, will go head-to-head with Democratic state Sen. Ron Klein.

The District 22 seat includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The debate is open to the public and is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Broward and Palm Beach counties. Michael Putney, a reporter for WPLG-ABC 10, will moderate.

It will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts, 2855 Coral Springs Dr.

For information, call 954-735-1311 or log onto


Early Voting - October 23-November 5


African-American Research Library
2650 Sistrunk Blvd. (NW 6 Street)
Fort Lauderdale , FL 33311-8658

Davie/Cooper City Branch Library
4600 SW 82 Avenue
Davie , FL 33328-3708

Deerfield Beach North Regional Satellite Courthouse
1600 W. Hillsboro Boulevard, Room 170
Deerfield Beach , FL 33442-1655

Deerfield Beach , Percy White Branch
837 E. Hillsboro Boulevard
Deerfield Beach , FL 33441-3521

Hallandale Beach City Hall
400 S. Federal Highway
Hallandale Beach , FL 33009-6433

Hollywood Branch Library
2600 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood , FL 33020-4807

Hollywood Satellite Courthouse
3550 Hollywood Boulevard , Room 180
Hollywood , FL 33021-6893

Imperial Point Branch Library
5985 N. Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale , FL 33308-2660

Lauderhill Mall
1241 N.W. 40 Avenue, Bay 80-K
Lauderhill , FL 33313-5894

Main Library
100 S. Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale , FL 33301-1830

North Regional Library/BCC
1100 Coconut Creek Boulevard
Coconut Creek , FL 33066-1647

Northwest Regional Library
3151 University Drive
Coral Springs , FL 33065-6134

Oakland Park Library
1298 N.E. 37 Street
Oakland Park , FL 33334-4569

Parkland City Hall
6600 University Drive
Parkland , FL 33067-2500

Pembroke Pines City Hall
10100 Pines Boulevard
Pembroke Pines , FL 33324-6037

Plantation West Regional Courthouse
100 N. Pine Island Road , Room 130
Plantation , FL 33324-7805

Pompano Beach Library
1213 E. Atlantic Boulevard
Pompano Beach , FL 33060-7405

Southwest Regional Library
16835 Sheridan Street
Pembroke Pines , FL 33331-2008

Tamarac Branch Library
8701 W. Commercial Boulevard
Tamarac , FL 33321-4310

Weston Branch Library
4205 Bonaventure Boulevard
Weston , FL 33332-2111


Link to request an absentee ballot - Broward County

Absentee ballots are mailed approximately 30 days prior to each election tothose voters who have requested an absentee ballot.

ABSENTEE BALLOTS CANNOT BE FORWARDED. If you will not be at your BrowardCounty address, please complete the MAIL BALLOT TO portion of this form withthe address to which you want the ballot mailed.


Stealth group gives GOP largest check of year

By Aaron Deslatte

Floridians for Truth and Integrity in Government, the stealth group that raised millions of dollars to blow Republican Tom Gallagher out of the gubernatorial primary, has cut state Republicans their biggest check of the year.

Known as an electioneering communications organization, the soft-money group whose biggest contributors included U.S. Sugar Corp., TECO Energy and Cape Coral developer Greg Eagle gave $1.1 million to the state Republican Party on Sept. 22, records show.

The largest single check the state party had previously received was $1 million from the Republican Governors Association on Sept. 6.

"We've gotten donations from thousands of groups across Florida, and we're enthusiastic about the support there has been for the party," GOP spokesman Jeff Sadosky said.


Foley, in closet, quietly championed gay rights
By Larry Lipman

Palm Beach Post Washington Bureau
Saturday, October 07, 2006

WASHINGTON - It was on a Wednesday night in July 2001 that then-Rep. Mark Foley brought the U.S. House to a screeching halt on a gay-rights issue.

The issue was whether faith-based initiatives should be exempt from local ordinances, such as those in Palm Beach County and West Palm Beach, that prohibit hiring discrimination based on race, gender or sexual orientation.

Foley opposed the proposed exemption and led a rump revolt of moderate Republicans that delayed the measure for more than a day, though ultimately it was unsuccessful.

Although it was widely seen as a gay issue, the Fort Pierce Republican portrayed it as a fight over local and state anti-discrimination laws. It was typical of how Foley sought to publicly obscure his sexual orientation.


Friday, October 06, 2006

GLBT DIGEST - October 6, 2006


The Express Gay News

Gay governor: Courageous or cowardly?
Former N.J. Gov. James McGreevey releases memoir and more debate
Sep. 30, 2006

Rarely has political theater felt as dramatic as on Aug. 12, 2004, when James and Dina McGreevey stood behind a glass podium that bore the state seal of New Jersey, and for the first time in the nation's history a sitting governor said, "My truth is that I am a gay American."

James McGreevey's stunning departure from the closet drew immediate support from national gay rights groups, but also left many people - gay and straight - wondering whether McGreevey cloaked himself in a gay identity to distract attention from a governorship beleaguered by allegations of shady campaign contributors and ethical lapses within his administration.

McGreevey, a Democrat, shies away from being considered a gay hero, but insists that his biggest transgression during his two-and-a-half years as governor was deceiving himself, his family and the residents of New Jersey about who he truly was.


The Express Gay News

Don't blame the closet

The pain of hiding being gay doesn't explain either Mark Foley or Jim
McGreevey's transgressions - and it's an explanation we invoke at our peril.

Friday, October 06, 2006

It's déjà vu all over again, or so the fractured saying goes.

Just as the frenzy over former N.J. Gov. James McGreevey's tell-all memoir began to ebb last week, the media got a new closeted gay politician to obsess over: U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, the six-term Republican from Florida, abruptly resigned as ABC News prepared to expose damaging e-mails and instant messages sent from the 52-year-old lawmaker to male congressional pages as young as 16.

But unlike McGreevey, who called a press conference to announce his resignation and admit he cheated on his wife with a man, Foley offered only a terse written apology for actions he declined to specify.

"I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent," Foley said in statement released Sept. 29, announcing that he had resigned from Congress effective immediately.


The current issue of The Express Gay News is online


Oct. 6, 2006, 12:32AM

For gay Republicans, these are uneasy times
Some think the GOP is becoming increasingly hostile toward them

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON - At the Republican National Convention in 2000, Rep. Mark Foleythrew a late-night bash at a Philadelphia gay bar, where an acquaintancesnapped a photo of an attractive young intern sitting on the Floridacongressman's lap.

Months later, according to the acquaintance, when she offered to send himthe photo, Foley looked anxious.

The intern, "male or female?" he inquired.

"Female," was the reply.

"Oh, thank God," Foley responded. "Send me that photo, I might need itsomeday."


The Washington Post

GOP Bigotry That Backfired

By Eugene Robinson
Friday, October 6, 2006; A23

Let's deal with the circumstance that dares not speak its name: How much of the Mark Foley scandal's impact is due to the fact that he's a gay man who preyed on young boys?

The basic story line -- powerful man exploits children -- would be the same if Foley were straight and underage girls had been the subject of his lurid attentions. But would the intensity of the scandal be the same? Would there be all this unseemly finger-pointing and hand-washing among the House leadership? Would Dennis Hastert be fighting to keep his job; would Christian conservatives be so apoplectic; would the whole Republican Party look as if it were on the verge of a nervous breakdown?

I doubt it. There would still be a scandal, but I think Foley's now-acknowledged homosexuality was crucial in turning a crisis for the party into a potential catastrophe. In a perfect world that wouldn't be the case, but you might have noticed there's not a lot of perfection in Washington these days.


The New York Times

October 6, 2006

Gay Marriage Advocates Vow to Appeal
Filed at 8:29 a.m. ET

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Gay marriage advocates vowed to appeal a state appeals court ruling upholding California's ban on same-sex weddings -- a decision that would be a critical defeat for their cause if it stands.In reversing the March 2005 ruling of a San Francisco trial judge, the 1st District Court of Appeal on Thursday dealt another setback to the movement to expand gay marriage beyond Massachusetts.

This summer, high courts in New York and Washington state also refused to strike down laws prohibiting same-sex marriage.

But unlike in those states, gay activists in California still have another chance to get the state's marriage laws overturned. They and their opponents have said they expect the California Supreme Court to settle the issue.



by Libby Post

I like to joke around that as Jews, we get off easy. All we have to do is spend a day fasting and praying in synagogue on Yom Kippur, and we'll haveatoned for all our sins in the previous year. No weekly confessionsnecessary.

But, if it was only that easy . . . as my rabbi reminds me it's not enoughfor me to remember and confess my sins to God but I must ask those whom Imay have offended or transgressed against for their forgiveness. I actuallyhave to face someone, say I'm sorry and ask to be forgiven. Not an easything to do.

Despite what some listeners and readers may think, I try my best to do theright thing. My directness about the Pope, the Radical Christian Right, theRepublican Party and other homophobic entities has been seen as meanspirited and hateful by some. I'm sorry if I have offended but I won't askfor forgiveness. What I say here is an extension of my politics- the alignment of my heart, my head and my soul-and the actualization of what Ibelieve God put us here to do-to make the world a better place.


Foley Fallout

by Wayne Besen

The biggest misnomer in the Mark Foley fiasco is that his transgressionswere caused by the closet. We hear that his career ended in tragedy becauseliving in secrecy warps the mind and leads to sleaze on the sly. This, ofcourse, is often true, as in the case of former New Jersey Gov. JamesMcGreevey, but Foley doesn't fit the script.

For one, it seems every gay man in West Palm Beach has at least one MarkFoley story. For someone supposedly on the down low, Foley attended gayparties and was brazen enough, on one occasion, to introduce his longtimepartner to a news reporter.

In Congress, if Foley wasn't officially out to the Republican leadership, itwas certainly Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The congressman had been "outed"repeatedly in the gay press and rumors swirled on the Internet. It just isn'tcredible to believe that in the gossip mill known as Capitol Hill, thesewhispers did not circulate to the top echelons of power.


A Note from Marc Adams

I am passing along this article from Sunday's protest. It will bereprinted on the HeartStrong website eventually as well. We are almostdone with the photos from the protest as well. I'll let you know whenthat is ready for viewing.

Thanks! And, feel free to let me know your thoughts about this by signingour HeartStrong guestbook


Mountain Democrat

Placerville, CA

Gay speaker draws dueling protests

By Eric Laughlin, Democrat staff writer

Several protesters and supporters came to the corner of Main Street andCedar Ravine Road Sunday evening to express their views on homosexualityand a Placerville church's decision to invite a gay speaker to its houseof worship.

The presence of both groups coincided with the scheduled arrival of MarcAdams, the openly-gay lecturer and founder of the organization"Heartstrong," which reaches out to gay, lesbian, bisexual andtransgendered youth attending religious schools. Adams spoke to a packedhouse at the Federated Church in Placerville.

Dick Otterstad of Garden Valley's controversial "Church of the Divide"donned a devil costume to voice his outrage for what he called acontradiction on behalf of the church in their welcoming of Adams.

Otterstad and others, including his son Luke, have made their presenceknown throughout the county on multiple previous occasions to protesthomosexuality.

"I care about the kids much like Jesus did," the younger Otterstad said."They're in a formative stage right now and who knows how this person willaffect them."

Please contact us at for the full article.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News,0,6256037.story

Court upholds California gay marriage ban
Judge's ruling is reversed on 2-1 appeal

By Howard Mintz
San Jose Mercury News

October 6, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO · Jolting the gay rights movement back a step, a dividedCalifornia appeals court Thursday upheld the state's ban on same-sexmarriage and warned that judges should steer clear of solving thecontroversy and let voters and legislators decide whether gays and lesbianscan wed.

In a 2-1 ruling, the First District Court of Appeal in San Franciscooverturned a trial judge's decision last year finding the ban on gaymarriage unconstitutional, concluding that California has a right to definemarriage as a union between a man and a woman.

It is the state's first appeals court ruling directly addressing same-sexrestrictions in marriage laws and sets the stage for a long-anticipatedshowdown in the California Supreme Court.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

October 04, 2006

JAMAICA, ISLAND OF HATE -- Its Leading Gay Activist Speaks

I wrote the following article for Gay City News -- New York City's largestgay weekly newspaper -- in whose new edition it appears tomorrow:

"Jamaica is not a safe environment for gay people to survive in, eitherphysically, emotionally, or psychologically," says Gareth Williams, the29-year-old leader of the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays(J-FLAG), the country's LGBT group.

"The climate here is very, very hostile to gay people. We have been huntedand beaten and killed because of who we are," Williams added. "Families turnagainst their own members because of sexual orientation."

Williams spoke to Gay City News from Montreal, where he had gone last weekto receive the International Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rightsgiven jointly every year by Human Rights Watch and the Canadian HIV/AIDSLegal Network.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Bible-Spouting Group Plans to Picket Amish Funerals
By Susan Jones Senior Editor
October 04, 2006

( - A Kansas-based group that says "God hates fags" plans topicket the funerals of the Amish girls killed by a disturbed man inLancaster County, Pa.

The Westboro Baptist Church -- described as a hate group by theAnti-Defamation League -- has made a name for itself by picketing thefunerals of U.S. troops killed in Iraq. The troops are dying as punishmentfor America's tolerance of homosexuality, the group says.

The Westboro group says the Amish school girls were "killed by a madman inpunishment for Gov. Ed Rendell's blasphemous sins against Westboro BaptistChurch.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Jewish community leader in Ukraine resigns over issue of same-sex unions
By Vladimir Matveyev
October 3, 2006

ACROSS THE FORMER SOVIET UNION Jewish community leader in Ukraine

resigns over issue of same-sex unions By Vladimir Matveyev KERCH, Ukraine, Oct. 3 (JTA) -- The resignation of a longtime leader of one of the largest Reform congregations in Ukraine has thrown the spotlight on a bitter controversy over homosexuality within the post-Soviet Reform movement.

Boris Kapustin, 70, founder and chairman of the Reform congregation in the Crimean town of Kerch, quit his post in September.

While Ukrainian Reform leaders cite Kapustin's age and health concerns as reasons for his resignation, Kapustin told JTA his resignation stemmed from his opposition to the movement's acceptance of same-sex commitment ceremonies.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

October 03, 2006

Schwarzenegger vetoes bill to distribute condoms in California prisons

The landmark California Assembly Bill 1677, which would have allowed public health organizations and officials the opportunity to distribute condoms to state correctional facilities in order to control the staggering rate of HIV infections among inmates, cleared its final legislative hurdles only to be vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday.

"The HIV infection rate in our state correctional facilities is many times higher than in the general population. With the average duration of incarceration being just two years, HIV infections in our state correctional facilities quickly spread to communities on the outside with high incarceration rates. Sadly, the governor's veto of condoms in prison will result in thousands of people both inside and outside of prison being infected with HIV at a staggeringly high cost in both human lives and taxpayer dollars," noted Assemblyman Paul Koretz of West Hollywood, author of the bill.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

'Gay Spin' On Foley Scandal Outrages GLBT Advocacy Groups


By Troy Espera

Gay rights advocacy groups expressed outraged this week over the 'gay spin' they say the Republican leadership has put on the Mark Foley email scandal involving underage Congressional pages, emphasizing that the ex-congressman's actions had nothing to do with sexual orientation.

"It is completely unacceptable, regardless of party or sexual orientation, for an adult to engage in this kind of behavior with a minor," said Joe Solomonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender political organization, in a media statement issued Tuesday. "The American people deserve leaders who confront problems and take responsibility, not leaders who excuse their corruption by trying to pin it on others."


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Polish Ministry will ''not support cooperation of homosexuals organisations"

James Phillips

The Polish Ministry has rejected a youth proposal from Polish LGBT organisation Campaign Against Homophobia with the words ''the Ministry does not support actions that aim to propagate homosexual behaviour and such attitude among young people.''

This decision violates article 13 of the Amsterdam treaty, which explicitly forbids the discrimination of sexual minorities in the European Union.

The homophobic rejection comes in relation to a European Union (EU) scheme, which the Polish LGBT group had applied.

The European Youth programme is run by the European Commission and designed to facilitate cooperation across Europe between youth aged 18-25.

The youth programme is designed to be equally opened for all, but this Polish example shows this is certainly not the case.


Press release from the Intergroup on gay and lesbian rights of the European Parliament
October 4th 2006
For immediate release

"When the EU becomes a pawn
in homophobia's game"

European Union citizens' fundamental rights are being violated by the national government in Poland. European projects, such as the European Youth Programme, and the European Voluntary Service, are being used as the main weapons in wilful actions aimed against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.

The Polish Selection Committee refused the application from a Polish LGBT organisation to send a volunteer to Sweden in the context of the European Voluntary Service. Its justification was solely on the grounds that it was the policies of the government not to promote homosexuality[1]. Following this shameful decision, and justification, the European institutions are facing the risk of becoming pawns in the Polish Ministry of Education's homophobic game.

For the full article, contact us at


September 28, 2006

Trans woman's asylum case re-opened
by Zak Szymanski

A transsexual woman who was arrested last month in San Francisco and facedimmediate deportation to Indonesia has won the right for her asylum case tobe re-opened, the United States Board of Immigration Appeals announced onSeptember 20.

Michelle Saraswati will get a new asylum hearing in San Francisco, likely tobe scheduled for several months from now, and also may be released from theSanta Clara County jail where she has been held since August 8. It is notyet known whether her release from jail will require a public hearing or abond payment, said her attorney Zach Nightingale with the law firm Van Der Hout, Brigagliano, and Nightingale.


The New York Times

October 5, 2006

A Complex and Hidden Life Behind Foley's Public Persona


PALM BEACH, Fla., Oct. 3 - Mark Foley, until last week a fixture on this town's lofty social circuit, once recounted a party at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump's fabled estate. "Miss Germany was my date," he told a writer at Washingtonian magazine for an article about "How to Date a Congressman."

It was one of the many hints Mr. Foley dropped to mask the realities of a deeply compartmentalized life. Over 12 years in Congress, he became extraordinarily adept at projecting a magnetic public persona - helped along by loyal aides and a sister he breezily called his surrogate wife - while conducting a private life fraught with more secrets than anyone imagined.

Whatever whispers there might have been about his sexuality - friends in South Florida and Washington knew Mr. Foley was gay but never discussed it with him - no one fathomed that he was sending sexually explicit e-mail messages to Congressional pages as young as 16, news of which led him to resign last week.


6 October 2006

For immediate release

ILGA-Europe publishes a Toolkit on organising Pride events in hostile environments

This Toolkit is a response to hostile and violent opposition to the firstlesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride events in some Easternand Central European countries during last few years. The Toolkit isintended to provide ideas, information and resources for those wanting toorganise Pride events in a hostile environment. In drawing heavily on theexperiences and successes of Pride organisers, and matching this input withinformation on support available from the European institutions and the LGBTcommunity internationally, it aims to underpin the consolidation of progressmade so far, and provide the initial know-how for those wishing to arrangeevents in countries and towns where no Pride events have yet been held.

The Toolkit was prepared in close cooperation with Pride organisers invarious countries. At the Pride against Prejudice conference duringEuroPride 2006 in London last July, over 100 activists from 28 countriesprovided valuable input and suggestions for the Toolkit. The Toolkit will bepresented at the end of October at the ILGA-Europe 10th Annual Conference inSofia.

For the full article contact us at


Irish Independent, Friday 6 Octiber 2006

Homosexuality is not abnormal, court told

DISCRIMINATING against gay and lesbian people and depriving them of socialsupport leads to loss of self-esteem and can make them more vulnerable tomental illness, the High Court was told yesterday.

Dr Harry Kennedy, clinical director at the Central Mental Hospital and aconsultant psychiatrist, called as an expert witness by a lesbian couple whowant their Canadian marriage recognised here, said homosexuality is acondition considered today to be no more abnormal than childhood, old age orpregnancy. Each of those conditions may be the subject of specialist medicalstudy and medical care, and each may at times give rise to discomfort,dysfunction or distress but all were normal aspects of human naturalhistory.

In cultures where social stigma, discrimination and adversity attached tohomosexuality, it may be associated with increased rates of mentalillnesses, he said.

For the full article contact us at


Irish Independent, Friday 6 October 2006

Marriage is privileged, mostly for the sake of the children

Friday October 6th 2006

CAN marriage be anything at all? Can it involve two men, two women, a manand a woman, two men and three women? Or it is something in particular,namely what we have now, the publicly- recognised union of one man and onewoman?

There are only some of the questions to be considered by the High Court in acrucial, landmark case involving a lesbian couple, Ann Louise Gilligan andKatherine Zappone, who want their Canadian marriage to be recognised underIrish law.

Gay activists have a relatively simple argument when pressing their case.They say that to prevent a homosexual couple, whether male or female, fromgetting married is discrimination, and probably an expression of bigotry aswell. Reaching for the heart strings, they say they have as much right asstraight couples to have their love recognised by the law.

For the full article contact us at



Hastert Must Go

His leadership of the House was already bad enough before the Mark Foley scandal.

October 6, 2006

DENNIS HASTERT SHOULD RESIGN as speaker of the House of Representatives. Not necessarily because he failed to act quickly when shown evidence suggesting that Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) was abusing his power with teenagers - not all the details are known, though the ones that are don't look good. No, the Illinois Republican should resign because he's an unimaginative politician and an uninspired legislator. Unfortunately, these days that just makes him a typical congressional Republican.

At his job-preserving news conference Thursday, Hastert said, "The buck stops here," then proceeded to blame some of this Republican scandal on the Democratic Party. "I haven't done anything wrong, obviously," he added.

That sound you hear is Harry Truman rolling over in his grave. Still, it was an improvement over the speaker's contention Monday that critiquing his oversight amounted to nothing more than "woulda, coulda, shoulda."



Courtesy of GOP, voters finally get 'it'
Ellen Goodman
October 6, 2006

IF I HAD my druthers, this election would have turned on the war in Iraq. I hoped that when the voters finally got it, ``it" would have been the disaster that's turned this war zone into a recruiting ground for terrorists.

Instead, we have the self-described party of family values caught enabling or at least ignoring a sick puppy of a congressman, Mark Foley, who was sex-talking electronically to teenage pages. Instead, we have Speaker J. Dennis Hastert dismissing such an exchange as merely ``over- friendly" and White House press secretary Tony Snow describing the messages as ``naughty." We even have right-wing webmaster Matt Drudge blaming the teens themselves as ``16- and 17-year-old beasts."

This scandal is what has registered on the political Richter scale. This is what voters are asking their representatives about. Well, I wouldn't have chosen to play on this field, but I will take it.

The late political scientist James David Barber once said that nobody understands the word ``deficit," but everyone understands the word ``adultery." Maybe nobody knows what to think about solving the problem of Iraq, but they know what to think about the then Florida congressman, Maf54, instant- messaging a teenage page: ``how's my favorite young stud doing?"


The New York Times

October 6, 2006

Pentecostal and Charismatic Groups Growing

A survey of Pentecostal and charismatic Christians in 10 countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas shows they are gaining converts and are more politically engaged than experts had thought.

Only 100 years since the birth of Pentecostalism in a street revival in Los Angeles, the movement has grown to include one in four Christians worldwide - or about half a billion people, according to the study. It was released Thursday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a research group in Washington.

Pentecostals are Christians who belong to denominations that practice what they call "the gifts of the Holy Spirit," like speaking in tongues, prophesying and praying for divine healings. Charismatics have adopted some Pentecostal practices, but belong to other churches, mostly Roman Catholic and Protestant. The Pew survey used the word "Renewalists" as an umbrella term to describe Pentecostals and Charismatics.


The Washington Post

Inquiry To Look At House, Not Foley
Ethics Panel to Focus on Handling Of Early Warnings

By Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 6, 2006; A01

The House ethics committee launched a wide-ranging investigation into Congress's handling of information about a Florida lawmaker and teenage pages yesterday, as Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) vowed to keep his job, saying, "I haven't done anything wrong."

The ethics panel approved nearly four dozen subpoenas for documents and testimony from House members, officers and aides. Its leaders said they plan to complete the inquiry in a matter of weeks, but not necessarily before the Nov. 7 congressional elections.

"Our investigation will go wherever the evidence leads us," Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) told reporters at the Capitol. The committee is evenly divided between the two parties, and Hastings and Rep. Howard L. Berman (Calif.), the top Democrat, promised to conduct an impartial investigation into the House's handling of warnings about the conduct of then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.).


The Washington Post

Instant Messages, Lingering Paper Trail
HP, Foley Cases Illustrate Risk

By Mike Musgrove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 6, 2006; A06

People who think their instant messages disappear after being sent should think again.

As the recent scandals involving former Republican congressman Mark Foley and Hewlett- Packard Co. have brought to light, text messages sent in real time via computer can be saved and retrieved.

Instant messaging has been growing in popularity, with nearly 79 million users of instant- messaging programs in the United States during August, according to research firm Nielsen- Net Ratings. The most popular instant-message programs are from AOL, Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. and can be used on computers and mobile gadgets such as cellphones and BlackBerrys.


The Washington Post

How the Democrats Can Step Up

By David Ignatius
Friday, October 6, 2006; A23

It's too late for the Democrats to forge coherent positions on Iraq or tax policy before the November elections. But fortune has presented them with a mission that can be summed up in a simple sentence: They must be the party of accountability and reform.

The pollsters report that nearly two-thirds of the country now believes that America is heading in the wrong direction. The events of the past several weeks offer a devastating argument for the Democrats of why that is so. With the Republicans in control of the executive and legislative branches, arrogance has become a way of life. In a series of widely disparate cases -- from ignoring the ethics problems of former House majority leader Tom DeLay to refusing recommendations to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to covering up the egregious conduct of Rep. Mark Foley -- the Republican leadership's instinct has been political self-protection rather than accountability and effective government.


At Large
Amid scandal, the GOP shows its two faces

By Leonard Pitts

So, anybody up for a chat about family values?

The term has been a registered trademark of the GOP -- the self-styled Morals Party -- for years, a bludgeon against Democrats who, by implication,oppose families and have no values. Like most political language, it's acode, intended to be understood by those with ears to hear. ''Familyvalues'' means the pol in question has God on speed dial and can be countedupon to oppose gun control, the so-called ''homosexual agenda'' andabortion, while pushing schools to teach, as Tina Fey once put it, that Adamand Eve rode to church on dinosaurs.


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The Plain Dealer

U.S. court blocks part of voting law
Judge stops provision on proof of citizenship for naturalized Americans

Thursday, October 05, 2006
Mike Tobin
Plain Dealer Reporter

A federal judge on Wednesday blocked part of a new state law that allowed poll workers to demand proof of citizenship from naturalized Americans trying to vote.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Boyko blasted the provision during his ruling, saying it had the potential to treat naturalized citizens as "second-class Americans."

"This gives poll workers the uninhibited right to choose the person to challenge based on their accent, look, manners or whatever they feel like on that given day," Boyko said.

The provision, which took effect in June, is part of a broader law that overhauled how elections are conducted in Ohio.


The Washington Post

New Star Among the Democrats

By David S. Broder
Thursday, October 5, 2006; A33

BOSTON -- The buzz here this autumn is all about the newcomer to elective politics who is threatening to break the hold that Republicans have had for an unusually long time on the governorship of this overwhelmingly Democratic state.

His name is Deval Patrick. Barely two years after he moved back to Massachusetts from a business career that had taken him to New York and Atlanta, he beat two better-known and better-financed opponents for the Democratic nomination in last month's primary. Now he is favored over Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, the Republican nominee to succeed Gov. Mitt Romney, who is moving on to pursue the presidency.

In its long history, Massachusetts has never elected a woman or an African American as governor. This year it will have one or the other, and the betting is heavily on Patrick to be the one to break the mold.


The Washington Post
Rationing Education

By Jennifer Booher-Jennings
Thursday, October 5, 2006; A33

In dire circumstances -- a battlefield, a devastating natural disaster or an overcrowded emergency room -- we accept the rationing of scarce resources as a necessary if regrettable choice. We triage. We divide patients into three groups: the safe cases, those suitable for treatment and the hopeless. And we ration resources in an effort to do the most good for the largest number.

But there are areas of life where we have rejected the idea of triage. Public education, an institution charged with disbursing equality of opportunity for all children, is certainly one of them. In our loftiest moments, we see public education as one place where we dispense with the blunt, utilitarian logic of triage and seek equal treatment for all. But try as we might, deep inequalities persist and belie our rhetoric.


The Washington Post

Waterboarding Historically Controversial
In 1947, the U.S. Called It a War Crime; in 1968, It Reportedly Caused an Investigation

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 5, 2006; A17

Key senators say Congress has outlawed one of the most notorious detainee interrogation techniques -- "waterboarding," in which a prisoner feels near drowning. But the White House will not go that far, saying it would be wrong to tell terrorists which practices they might face.

Inside the CIA, waterboarding is cited as the technique that got Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the prime plotter of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to begin to talk and provide information -- though "not all of it reliable," a former senior intelligence official said.

Waterboarding is variously characterized as a powerful tool and a symbol of excess in the nation's fight against terrorists. But just what is waterboarding, and where does it fit in the arsenal of coercive interrogation techniques?


The New York Times

October 6, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor

The War Against Wages

Should we be cheering over the fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has finally set a new record? No. The Dow is doing well largely because American employers are waging a successful war against wages. Economic growth since early 2000, when the Dow reached its previous peak, hasn't been exceptional. But after-tax corporate profits have more than doubled, because workers' productivity is up, but their wages aren't - and because companies have dealt with rising health insurance premiums by denying insurance to ever more workers.

If you want to see how the war against wages is being fought, and what it's doing to working Americans and their families, consider the latest news from Wal-Mart.


The Washington Post

The Safety in Loaning Nuclear Fuel

By Richard Weitz
Special to's Think Tank Town
Thursday, October 5, 2006; 12:00 AM

The recent thwarted transatlantic terrorist attacks underscore the need to strengthen international defenses against catastrophic terrorism. At the July 2006 G8 summit in St. Petersburg, U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a global initiative to combat nuclear terrorism and opened negotiations on bilateral civil-nuclear-energy cooperation. These complementary steps toward enhancing global security deserve broad international support.

Despite their differences on other issues, Russia and the United States play a unique role in helping avert nuclear terrorism. In their February 2005 Bratislava summit declaration, Bush and Putin affirmed that their countries "bear a special responsibility for the security of nuclear weapons and fissile material." Along with existing threat-reduction projects, their recently announced collaboration on nuclear energy and nuclear terrorism demonstrates substantial progress toward meeting this commitment.


The New York Times
October 5, 2006

Hastert to Try to Calm Furor Over Page Scandal
Filed at 11:43 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House ethics committee approved nearly four dozen subpoenas Thursday as its investigation of a page sex scandal sprang to life with a promise by its leaders to go ''wherever the evidence leads us.''

Speaker Dennis Hastert said he accepted responsibility for any earlier failures to investigate complaints of inappropriate behavior by Rep. Mark Foley toward teenage male pages. But he resisted pressure to step down.

''Ultimately ... the buck stops here,'' the Republican speaker said, borrowing the famous phrase of a Democratic president, Harry Truman.

Hastert held to his assertion that he did not know about Foley's e-mails and instant messages to former pages until the scandal broke last week. In the past several days, several Republican lawmakers and staff members said they were aware of the messages. Democrats were not notified.


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Hastert says he won't step aside over Foley scandal

BATAVIA, Illinois (CNN) -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert on Thursday said that he has "done nothing wrong" and that he will not step down over the controversy surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley.

"I'm going to run and presumably win in this election, and when I do I expect to run for speaker," the Illinois Republican told reporters at his district office outside Chicago.

Hastert has been the subject of fierce criticism since Foley, a six-term Republican congressman from Florida, resigned Friday amid allegations that he wrote e-mails and lurid instant messages to teenage congressional pages. (Watch how the scandal is threatening Speaker Hastert's leadership -- 2:07)

Top GOP leaders have stood by Hastert, saying he should not give up his speakership.


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Court Allows Warrantless Wiretapping During Appeal

Associated Press
Thursday, October 5, 2006; A18

CINCINNATI, Oct. 4 -- The Bush administration can continue its warrantless surveillance program while it appeals a judge's ruling that the program is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court panel ruled Wednesday.The president has said the program is needed to fight terrorism. Opponents argue that it oversteps constitutional boundaries on free speech, privacy and executive powers.

The unanimous ruling from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit gave little explanation for the decision. In the three-paragraph ruling, judges said that they balanced the likelihood an appeal would succeed, the potential damage to both sides, and the public interest.

The Bush administration applauded the decision.


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Rice's Lost Credibility
John Prados
October 05, 2006

John Prados is a senior fellow with the National Security Archive in Washington. His new book is Safe For Democracy (Ivan R. Dee Publisher).

"Mushroom Cloud" Condi is at it again. In Sept. 2002, when then-nationalsecurity adviser Condoleezza Rice shilled for the Bush war policy byretailing the fantasy that the warning on Iraqi nuclear weapons might wellbe a mushroom cloud over America, her president was highly vulnerable oncharges of having done nothing about terrorism warnings before 9/11, andIraq was a suitable diversion. Fantasies evaporate, of course, and Iraq hasturned into a nightmare, but the shilling goes on.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Ms. Magazine Lists Women Who Had Abortions

Over 5,000 Sign Petition for Cover Article Saying They Are Unashamed of Decision


NEW YORK (Oct. 4) - At a pivotal time in the abortion debate, Ms. magazineis releasing its fall issue next week with a cover story titled "We HadAbortions," accompanied by the names of thousands of women nationwide whosigned a petition making that declaration.

The publication coincides with what the abortion-rights movement considers awatershed moment for its cause. Abortion access in many states is beingcurtailed, activists are uncertain about the stance of the U.S. SupremeCourt, and South Dakotans vote Nov. 7 on a measure that would ban virtuallyall abortions in their state, even in cases of rape and incest.

"All this seems very dire," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the FeministMajority Foundation, which publishes Ms.


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Harassment Accuser Faces Court-Martial

Associated Press
Thursday, October 5, 2006; A18

FORT LEWIS, Wash., Oct. 4 -- A soldier who said she was sexually harassed by noncommissioned officers and refused to return to Iraq will face a military trial.

Fort Lewis's commander referred Army Spec. Suzanne Swift's case to a special court-martial, Army officials said Wednesday. She faces a one-year

Swift, 22, of Eugene, Ore., was charged Sept. 27 with missing movement and being absent without leave. She said she had been harassed or abused by three noncommissioned officers. She alleged that her supervisor in Iraq coerced her into a sexual relationship.


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Bush signings called effort to expand power
Report sees broad strategy

By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | October 5, 2006

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's frequent use of signing statements to assert that he has the power to disobey newly enacted laws is ``an integral part" of his ``comprehensive strategy to strengthen and expand executive power" at the expense of the legislative branch, according to a report by the non partisan Congressional Research Service.

In a 27-page report written for lawmakers, the research service said the Bush administration is using signing statements as a means to slowly condition Congress into accepting the White House's broad conception of presidential power, which includes a presidential right to ignore laws he believes are unconstitutional.

The ``broad and persistent nature of the claims of executive authority forwarded by President Bush appear designed to inure Congress, as well as others, to the belief that the president in fact possesses expansive and exclusive powers upon which the other branches may not intrude," the report said.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
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Harvard Tops List Of World's Best Schools
America Dominates List Of 200 Best
POSTED: 6:09 am PDT October 5, 2006

LONDON -- America dominates a new list of the world's top 200 universities, with Harvard in first place.

It's followed by two British schools, Cambridge and Oxford, in second andthird, respectively. American schools MIT and Yale tie for fourth.

In all, the United States has 11 universities in the top 20 and Britain hasfour.

The editor of the annual list said the presence of so many British and American schools shows the dominance of the English language in academics and business.


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Daily Queer News

Attacks in Baghdad Kill 13 U.S. Soldiers in 3 Days

Officials Cite Troops' Increased Exposure in Capital

By Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 5, 2006; A01

BAGHDAD, Oct. 4 -- Thirteen U.S. soldiers have been killed in Baghdad since Monday, the American military reported, registering the highest three-day death toll for U.S. forces in the capital since the start of the war.

The latest losses -- four soldiers who were killed at 9 a.m. Wednesday by small-arms fire -- are part of a recent spike in violent attacks against U.S. forces that have claimed the lives of at least 24 soldiers and Marines in Iraq since Saturday, the military said.

The number of planted bombs is "at an all-time high," said Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, a military spokesman, defying American efforts to stanch the vicious sectarian bloodshed in Baghdad that threatens to plunge the country into civil war.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
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Democrats lead in 11 of 15 key House races
October 5, 2006 6:29 AM | Politics | 2 Comments

Democrats lead in races for 11 of 15 crucial Republican-held U.S. House seats a month before Nov. 7 elections, putting them within reach of seizing control of the chamber, according to Reuters/Zogby polls released Wednesday.

Republican incumbents are at particularly high risk, the polls found, with seven of nine trailing their Democratic challengers in the high-stakes battle for control of the U.S. Congress.

Democrats must pick up 15 seats to reclaim control of the House, and the polls found Republicans were also behind in four of six open seat races in districts they won in 2004.

"This is a dismal showing for Republicans," pollster John Zogby said. "Republicans ought to be very, very nervous."


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Daily Queer News

'Just a Comma' Becomes Part of Iraq Debate

Opponents See Bush's Words on War as Insensitive or as Code for Religious Right

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 5, 2006; A19

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Oct. 4 -- When the president speaks, every word can be subject to scrutiny. Even the punctuation marks.

As he heads out on the campaign trail, haunted by an unpopular war, President Bush has begun reassuring audiences that this traumatic period in Iraq will be seen as "just a comma" in the history books. By that, aides say, he means to reinforce his message of resolve in the long struggle for Iraqi democracy.

But opponents of the war have seized on the formulation, seeing it as evidence that Bush is indifferent to suffering. To them, it sounds as if the president is dismissing more than 2,700 U.S. troop deaths as "just a comma." And a lively Internet debate has broken out about the origins of the phrase, with some speculating that Bush means it as a coded message to religious supporters, evoking the aphorism "Never put a period where God has put a comma."


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Iraqi education system on brink of collapse

Peter Beaumont in Baghdad
Wednesday October 4, 2006


Iraq's school and university system is in danger of collapse in large areas of the country as pupils and teachers take flight in the face of threats ofviolence.

Professors and parents have told the Guardian they no longer feel safe toattend their educational institutions. In some schools and colleges, up tohalf the staff have fled abroad, resigned or applied to go on prolongedvacation, and class sizes have also dropped by up to half in the areas thatare the worst affected.

Professionals in higher education, particularly those teaching the sciencesand in health, have been targeted for assassination.