Saturday, January 13, 2007

GLBT DIGEST - January 13, 2007

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Express Gay News

Former gay union foe now lobbying for equality
Activist hopes to see civil unions enacted in Hawaii
By JOSHUA LYNSEN | Jan 12, 5:28 PM

A woman who once led the charge against gay unions in Hawaii is now lobbyingfor their passage.

Debi Hartmann is working with gay activists and Democratic leaders in Hawaiito enact civil unions that carry the same rights as traditional marriage.The move represents a stark change for Hartmann, who once led Hawaii'sFuture Today, a conservative group of Mormons, Catholics and others whoopposed gay unions. In that role, the married mother of three railed againstgay marriage.

Hawaii's Future Today dissolved after a 1998 vote granted state lawmakersthe authority to ban gay marriage.

But in an exclusive interview with the Washington Blade, Hartmann said shenow believes that Hawaii should enact civil unions to protect gay couplesand their children.


Gay Foe To Lead Centrist Democratic Wing
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: January 12, 2007 - 3:00 pm ET

(Washington) Gay Democrats voiced "deep concern" Friday over the naming offormer Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. as Chair of the Democratic LeadershipCouncil.

The DLC is not an official party organization, but a non-profit organizationthat represents a coalition of centrist Democrats in Congress and at thestate and local level. Openly-gay Democrats have previously joined theleadership of the DLC as members of State Legislative Advisory Board andLocal Elected Officials Network.

During the 1990s the Council was led nationally by then-Governor BillClinton and includes Vice President Al Gore as a founding member.

Former Iowa Governor, and presidential candidate, Tom Vilsack announcedThursday that he is stepping down of Chair of the DLC while indicating hisreplacement by Congressman Ford, who possesses a poor record on issues thatimpact LGBT families.


Arizona GOP Makes New Bid To Pass Anti-Gay Amendment
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: January 12, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Phoenix, Arizona) A group of Republican lawmakers on Friday announced theywill attempt to put a "slimmed down" constitutional amendment on the 2008ballot to ban same-sex marriage.

Last November the state became the first in the nation to defeat aconstitutional ban on gay marriage. (story)

That amendment would have not only barred gays and lesbians from marryingbut also would have banned civil unions and prohibited state and localgovernments from providing marriage-like legal status to relationships otherthan marriage.

A survey taken following the vote showed Arizona voters were concerned aboutthe broad nature of the proposed amendment. (story) Groups fighting againstit had pointed out that it would affect thousands of unmarried opposite-sexcouples in the state.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Equality and 'Gen Next.'

January 10, 2007

A new study <> of "GenerationNext" (aged 18 to 25) by the Pew Research Center shows that today's youngadults are the most supportive of any generation on social and legal issuesrelating to gay people, and lead the way in their support for gay marriage:

Nearly six-in-ten (58%) say homosexuality is a way of life that should beaccepted by society. This compares with 50% of those over age 25. Onbalance, the public opposes allowing gays and lesbians to marry, but youngpeople are evenly split on the issue. Nearly half of Gen Nexters (47%) favorgay marriage, and 46% are opposed to it....

The public is more open to the idea of gay people adopting children, andhere too young people take a more liberal position. About six-in-ten GenNexters (61%) favor allowing gays and lesbians to adopt, compared with 44%of those over age 25.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Supreme Court again hears Ann Arbor same-sex benefits case

January 11, 2007
The Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court again heard argumentsThursday in a lawsuit challenging the Ann Arbor school district's same-sexbenefits policy.

But the justices didn't focus on the constitutionality of providing healthinsurance and other benefits to workers' gay partners.

The case involves whether 17 taxpayers followed the proper procedure tostop Ann Arbor Public Schools from offering benefits to gay couples.

The high court first heard the case in October and scheduled full oralarguments on whether the taxpayers had standing, or the legal right to sue.

The state appeals court dismissed the case in 2005 and ruled the taxpayersdidn't "demand" that the district stop providing the benefits to gaypartners before filing suit, as required under state law. They had sentletters to school board members asking them to stop the policy.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

University of Toronto - Hart House - Debate Room

The first Human Rights Symposium organized by theIranian Queer Organization (formerly PGLO) will takeplace in Toronto, Canada.

This symposium serves to highlight the systematic marginalizing,stigmatizing and violating basic human rights of sexual, ethnic, religiousand political minorities in Iran as well as women and children. It will alsoexplore the ongoing struggle for civil and civic rights in Iran andinvestigate the myriad forms of discrimination, persecution and torture andtheir consequences for people living at the margin of Iranian society.

Iranian law defines homosexuality as crime punishable by death, denieswomen's equal rights with men, persecutes political dissidents and civil andhuman rights activists, discriminates against Muslim minorities such asSunnis, brands Baha'is as heretics, harasses Jews as potential collaboratorswith the state of Israel, deprives ethnic and linguistic minorities ofspeaking in their mother tongues, refuses to ban death penalty for minorsand gives free hand to child abusers.


Republicans Vow To Defeat Wa. Gay Marriage Bill
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: January 13, 2007 - 12:01 am ET

(Olympia) The Washington state GOP says there will be no gay marriage billpassed this year, even though the party does not have control of eitherhouse in the legislature.

And many Democrats agree the time is not right to enact same-sex marriagelegislation. But most Democrats feel the time may have come for domesticpartner rights.

A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage and other that would supportdomestic partnership benefits were unveiled Thursday by the LGBT caucus inthe legislature. (story).

Republicans say they will vote against both measures.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

In Nigeria, a Bill To Punish Gays Divides a Family

Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2007
In Nigeria, a Bill To Punish Gays Divides a Family Theologian Is Pushing It;His Minister Son's Church Would Run Afoul of Law By MARK SCHOOFS

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Augustus Olakunle Macaulay founded the Bible universitythat trained his son in theology. He founded the evangelical ministry thatordained his son as a minister. And he is president of Nigeria's Associationof Christian Theologians, which counts his son as a member.

But now Prof. Macaulay supports a proposed law that could criminalize hisson's new Christian church and put him behind bars. That's because his son,the Rev. Rowland Jide Macaulay, has founded House of Rainbow, a churchthat caters to Nigeria's gay men and lesbians -- a first for Africa's mostpopulous


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Jan. 13, 2007


Pols question Romney on issues

Recognizing the possibility of an early presidential primary in Florida,
Republican Mitt Romney is determined to make inroads in the nation's largestbattleground state.


Florida's leading religious conservatives grilled Republican presidentialcontender Mitt Romney on Friday over his changed positions on gay rights andabortion, suggesting the former Massachusetts governor could be a tough sellfor the party's influential right wing.

Romney was pro-choice when he twice ran for governor in the liberal-leaningstate. When he campaigned for the U.S. Senate against Ted Kennedy in 1994,he told gay activists he would be a stronger advocate for equal rights.

Now, Romney says he is pro-life and against gay marriage. The poised speakerdidn't win over Orlando attorney John Stemberger, who is spearheading areferendum on same-sex marriage on Florida's 2008 ballot.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Metro Weekly, DC, January 12, 2007

Face to Face
Despite amendment loss, gay Virginians are taking the battle to the statelegislature by Yusef Najafi email

Virginia may have passed one of the nation's most restrictive constitutionalamendments banning gay marriage and civil unions last November, but thathasn't slowed down the state's gay rights advocates.

''We just go back to work,'' says Dyana Mason, executive director ofEquality Virginia. That's why Mason and more than 250 activists willconverge on the offices of Virginia's General Assembly on Wednesday, Jan.17, to make their cases directly to delegates and senators.

The timing of the Equality Virginia Lobby Day is apt -- on Jan. 16, theFamily Foundation will conduct its own activist effort, ''Religious Libertyin the Public Square Lobby Day.'' As followers of recent Virginialegislative sessions may expect, Mason says that there will be plenty ofbills hostile to the gay community -- and quite a few pro-gay bills as well.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Jan. 13, 2007


Florida's top school official resigns
Florida's top education offical abruptly resigned on Friday, leaving Gov.Charlie Crist to pick a new education commissioner.


TALLAHASSEE - John Winn, the veteran educator who rose to the job of stateeducation commissioner under former Gov. Jeb Bush and was a champion ofBush's education reforms, abruptly announced his retirement on Friday.

Winn said last year he had no plans to leave his job, but his departureappeared imminent after Gov. Charlie Crist announced earlier this week hewas removing two supporters of Winn from the state Board of Education. Theseven-member board has the power to hire and fire the educationcommissioner.

''I hope to continue to contribute to education as a private citizen andwill be available to Gov. Crist and his staff to assist in any way he findshelpful,'' Winn said in a statement released by the state Department ofEducation.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

National Stonewall Democrats

Stonewall Democrats Issue Strong Call of Convern over Harold Ford, Jr.
Pro-FMA Supporter Now Positioned to Head Democratic Leadership Council

Friday, January 12, 2007

Washington, DC - Today, the National Stonewall Democrats issued deep concernover the decision to name former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. as Chair ofthe Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). Stonewall also urged the DLC andthe lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to closelyscrutinize the record of Congressman Ford in light of the development. OnThursday, Former Iowa Governor, and presidential candidate, Tom Vilsackannounced that he is stepping down of Chair of the DLC while indicating hisreplacement by Congressman Ford, who possesses a poor record on issues thatimpact LGBT families.

"Congressman Harold Ford has demonstrated a lack of leadership and judgmenton family issues that causes our members great concern," said Joanne Wyrick,NSD Executive Director. "His willingness to lightly amend the U.S.Constitution and to exploit gay families for political gain should alarmDemocrats across the country. The Democratic Leadership Council is in needof leadership that supports and affirms all American families."


Marriage vs.
Civil Unions

What's at Stake?

Equality Florida and Becker & Poliakoff, PA, invite you to a discussion onthe legal differences between marriage equality and civil unions. Theevening will start with a reception, followed by a panel discussion. Thepanel will consist of leaders from Equality Florida, The Fusion Coalition,and The National Center for Lesbian Rights.

An ever-increasing number of States and foreign countries are moving towardfull marriage equality for all persons regardless of sexual orientation. Aneven larger number have gone part way, recognizing civil unions. Manymembers and friends of our local LGBT community have already decided whichoption they support in Florida. But understanding the differences betweenmarriage and civil unions is a daunting task. With the help of severalleading advocates from the LGBT community, we hope to enlighten allparticipants on the differences between marriage equality and civil unions.

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