Saturday, February 03, 2007

GLBT DIGEST - February 03, 2007

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The Washington Post

Can a Gay Man Reconcile With His Catholic Upbringing?

Saturday, February 3, 2007; B09

On a recent trip to Philadelphia, I decided to duck into the magnificentCathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. As I entered I dipped my handinto the holy water and blessed myself. No sooner had I wiped off my wethand than I heard the quiet squeak of the new shoes I was wearing.

Well, maybe I was just being too self-conscious. I really didn't want todraw attention to myself. You see, I was with my partner.

That shouldn't be a big deal, right? The problem is I have always had tostruggle to reconcile my Catholic upbringing with my evolving sense of faithand values. I just can't abandon those deeply rooted family traditions.That's why it's still hard for me to pass a Catholic church without havingsome desire to peek inside. I've tried to admire the religion from adistance, acknowledge that it's not for me, and move on. But, when I told myvery Catholic family that I had decided to explore other faiths, in partbecause I am gay, they only reinforced feelings of shame and regret. I don'tsee them much now.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

The Boston Globe

Anti-gay marriage group raises more than $370K in 2006

January 28, 2007

BOSTON --A group pushing to put a proposed constitutional amendment banningsame-sex marriage on the 2008 ballot raised more than $370,000 in 2006 --more than double its contributions from the previous year.

A campaign finance report filed last week with the state Office of Campaignand Political Finance shows spent more than $389,000 lastyear, including money raised the previous year.

It also used in-kind donations worth more than $60,700 in legal fees andstaff time from the Massachusetts Family Institute, which helped to raise money for the ballot question.


The New York Times

February 2, 2007

Canadian and Swedish Gay Groups Frowned on at UN
Filed at 6:40 p.m. ET

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A U.N. committee rejected credentials of aCanadian gay and lesbian organization seeking consultative status with theUnited Nations and deferred the application of a similar body from Sweden,according to documents circulated on Friday.

Accreditation, which has been given to more than 2,000 groups, enables themto take part in U.N. conferences and offer advice in their field ofexpertise, such as human rights, health and humanitarian aid.

Envoys from the Canadian and Swedish U.N. missions criticized the U.N.Committee on Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) at its Wednesday meeting,with Canada's Nell Stewart expressing dismay at the panel's ``pattern ofdiscrimination'' in treating groups on sexual orientation.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

San Freancisco's Alternative Online Daily
February 1, 2007

Leno/Migden Showdown and the New Queer Politics

by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

The race for California State Senate that will pit a termed-out gay StateAssemblymember against the incumbent lesbian Senator is yet anotherindication of the way that gay politics has changed in the past decade. Moreand more queer energy and time is being spent electing and re-electing outqueer politicians than on tackling the big issues within the LGBT community,such as homelessness and the lack of affordable housing for youth, seniorsand people with AIDS.

The fact that State Assemblymember Mark Leno intends to run against StateSenator Carole Migden for the Third Senate District seat probably has asmuch to do with term limits as it does with the fact that he feels he is thebest candidate. Leno is playing the new political musical chairs. SupervisorTom Ammiano, termed out on the Board of Supervisors, is doing the samething: He's seeking the seat Leno is vacating. Ammiano has Leno's blessing.Obviously, Leno doesn't have Migden's.

It's not an issue of creating divisiveness in the community. Queers have runagainst queers before: Former supervisor Harry Britt opposed Leno in hisfirst bid for Assembly. Lesbian activist Eileen Hansen almost defeated theincumbent Leno for District 8 supervisor. No doubt the city's queercommunity will be divided by the Leno/Migden showdown, possibly the way itwas during the Willie Brown-Tom Ammiano race for mayor a few years ago.Considering how easily Leno won at the recent election of delegates to theCalifornia Democratic Party, there might be less of a divide than anyoneimagines. Unless Migden can rally her forces.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Sundance Special Jury Prize for Documentary Short of Dying Lesbian Cop'sFight for Equality

PARK CITY, January 28, 2007 - Cynthia Wade's nail-biting 38-minutedocumentary film Freeheld, chronicling New Jersey Police Lieutenant LaurelHester's struggle to transfer her pension to her domestic partner, StacieAndree, was awarded a Special Jury Prize last night at the 2007 SundanceFilm Festival.

The film is the only short documentary in this year's festival to receive aSpecial Jury Prize, an award that recognizes unique vision and excellence infilmmaking.

Detective Lieutenant Laurel Hester spent 25 years defending the citizens ofOcean County, New Jersey. In October 2004, doctors diagnosed Lt.Hester with terminal lung cancer.


The Washington Post

About Isabella
Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller got hitched and had a baby together. Vermontsays that's a simple tuth. Virginia said it was all null and void. Thefuture of a little girl hangs in the balance.

By April Witt
Sunday, February 4, 2007; W14


At least that's how Janet remembers it. "We had aconnection in the morning before we left," Janet said. Afterward, eager tokeep their tender connection alive amid the clinical setting of theinfertility specialist's office, Janet laid her hands upon her partner --one palm on Lisa's thigh, the other on Lisa's upper arm -- as a doctorinseminated Lisa with sperm from an anonymous man the two women knew only asdonor No. 2309. It was, according to Janet, a ritual the Virginia couplerepeated more than once before Lisa gave birth April 16, 2002, to a 5-pound,15-ounce baby girl named Isabella Ruth Miller-Jenkins.

"This baby was made in love," said Janet, now 42 and living in Vermont.

Lisa, 38, offers a dramatically different account of the begetting ofIsabella. According to her, Janet didn't even go with her to the fertilitydoctor's office on the day Isabella was conceived.


The Washington Post

Brokeback Mutton

By William Saletan
Sunday, February 4, 2007; B02

Just over the Montana border, closeted in their own private Idaho, the gaysheep are getting it on.

Well, it's not exactly private. They're doing it in front of scientists atthe U.S. Sheep Experiment Station. The scientists arrange the trysts. It'scalled "sexual partner preference testing."

According to an article by researchers involved in the project, here's howit works. In a 15-by-10-foot "arena," a young ram is offered four choices:two ewes in heat, and two rams. "The four stimulus animals are restrained instanchions so that they can only be approached from the sides and rear." For30 minutes, the unrestrained ram does as he pleases -- and the scientistskeep score.

A bare majority of rams turns out to be heterosexual. About one in fiveswings both ways. About 15 percent are asexual, and seven to 10 percent aregay.


The Wall Street Online

Gays Should Be Allowed to Serve
Openly in Military, Poll Finds

February 2, 2007

A new poll from Harris Interactive found that 55% of Americans think gaysand lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

By comparison, 19% of the 2,337 Americans polled said gays and lesbiansshould be allowed to serve "only if they keep their sexual orientation asecret," and 18% said they should "not be allowed to serve in the militaryat all."

The survey, conducted online between Jan. 11 and 18, also measured Americanattitudes toward the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't tell" policy, whichprohibits the military from asking personnel about their sexual orientation,but allows homosexuality to be a cause for discharge from the military.

Forty-six percent of respondents said they oppose the policy, unchanged froma Harris poll in 2000, and 36% said they favor the policy, compared with 34%in the previous poll. However, the policy is supported by far more men (43%)than women (29%). And among political parties, Republicans are more likelyto support this policy (51%) than Democrats (25%) or Independents (31%),while 18% of Americans remain undecided about the policy.

The poll also asked whether Americans agree with comments by John M.Shalikashvili, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who wrotein a recent New York Times editorial that if gays and lesbians served openlyin the U.S. military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armedforces. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they agree with hiscomments, compared with 31% who disagree.



Gay Rights Activists Introduce Initiative that Would Require Children inMarriages

Feb 1, 2007 11:16 PM

KENNEWICK, Wash.- A new initiative is turning heads around the state as thegay-marriage debate heats up again.

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed has accepted Iinitiative 957, aresponse by gay rights activists to a State Supreme Court ruling lastsummer.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled that the state could prevent gay andlesbian couples from marrying because the state has a legitimate interest inpreserving marriage for procreation.

In response, the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance filed theInitiative.

I-957 has five clauses that would have to be met for a legal marriage.


The Express Gay News

Editing Anderson Cooper's sexuality

A trusty Blade reader e-mailed an interesting tidbit to me today. It seemsthere's been a debate raging over at Wikipedia about the biographical entryfor openly closeted CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

The Blade and numerous other publications have written for years aboutCooper's sexual orientation. Cooper refuses to discuss his private life,even though he's more than happy to sit for endless interviews and to befeatured on magazine covers and in CNN's ubiquitous ad campaigns promotinghis show.

He told New York magazine in 2005, "You know, I understand why people mightbe interested. But I just don't talk about my personal life. It's a decisionI made a long time ago, before I ever even knew anyone would be interestedin my personal life. The whole thing about being a reporter is that you'resupposed to be an observer and to be able to adapt with any group you're in,and I don't want to do anything that threatens that."


Express Gay News

End the tax on DP benefits
Same-sex couples are treated unfairly by the IRS and it's time for the Demsto make changes.

Friday, February 02, 2007

End the tax on DP benefitsAS OF JAN. 1, 2007, for the first time in my adultlife, I am on someone else's health insurance. That someone else is thewoman with whom I've lived for 10 years and to whom I have made a lifetimecommitment. Still, it makes me uncomfortable to not be working for my ownhealth insurance.

I'm grateful, however, that she works for one of the larger companies in theUnited States thatoffers domestic partner benefits. I'm also pleased thatshe's over the rage at the amount ofpaperwork that she had to complete to"certify" that we are domestic partners when herheterosexual colleaguesneed only say that they are married.

There are tax consequences to this arrangement, of course. We consideredthem carefully prior to making this decision. After all, I could havepurchased health insurance independently. The benefits that I am providedwill be taxed as additional income for her. This will increase our annualtax bill, filed and paid separately, as the IRS doesn't recognize ourco-mingled financial lives.


Victoria News

Gay firing riles churchgoers

By Brennan Clarke
Victoria News
Feb 02 2007

Gay Firing riles churchgoers

Priest removed from position after refusing to fire allegedly gay employee

Bishop Richard Gagnon claims the recent termination of Father Michael Favero'semployment was "just, fair and reasonable."

But the congregation of Holy Cross Church isn't buying it.

Hundreds of hurt and confused parishioners are expected to gather at HolyCross this evening to discuss allegations that Gagnon forced Favero toresign for refusing to fire a gay employee of the Gordon Head church. Itwill be the second such meeting in just over a week.

Last Friday, more than 300 members of the congregation gathered to demand anexplanation as to why Gagnon fired their beloved pastor. So far, all they'vereceived is a letter from the bishop blaming the situation on "rumours andaccusations that have taken on a life of their own."


Supreme Court Of Canada Declines Transsexual Case
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: February 2, 2007 - 9:00 pm ET

(Ottawa) The Supreme Court of Canada on Friday declined to hear the case ofa transsexual woman who was denied a job at a rape crisis center because shewas not born biologically female.

For 12 years Kimberly Nixon has been battling the Vancouver Rape Reliefwhich turned her down for a job at its facility in Vancouver which providesa safe-house for battered and raped women, and a crisis phone line.

Nixon, who was born biologically male but underwent a sex-change operationin 1990, was ejected from a training session for volunteer counselors when astaff member learned she had not always been biologically female.

Nixon won a British Columbia Human Rights discrimination complaint and a$7,500 award. The provincial Supreme Court later overturned the ruling andher appeal was dismissed.


Mexican Bishop Denounces Civil Unions
by The Associated Press

Posted: February 2, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Piedras Negras, Mexico) Mexico's first gay civil union has upset a RomanCatholic bishop in the state where it occurred.

Bishop Alonso Garza of Piedras Negras said Friday that Mexico's first gaycivil union -- which occurred Wednesday in his state's capital of Saltilloon -- was "a disgrace" and "a show."

Karla Lopez and Karina Almaguer, both of Matamoros, across from Brownsville,Texas, became the first gay couple in Mexico to register a civil union,taking advantage of a Coahuila state law approved in January.

"This is a disgrace," Garza said, and he lamented that the state hadattracted international attention for "this kind of situation."


New Mexico Lawmakers Shelve Anti-Gay Proposals
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: February 2, 2007 - 9:00 pm ET

(Santa Fe, New Mexico) Two bills aimed at blocking same-sex couples frommarrying have been defeated.

The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted down both a proposedamendment to the state constitution, and a separate Defense of Marriage billthat each would define marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

The vote was along party lines - all four committee Democrats voted in favorof tabling the measures; the three Republicans against it.

The tide was against both bills. Even if they had been approved at thecommittee level both would need to be passed in both houses of thelegislature.


Bill Would Strengthen NYC Gay Partner Law
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: February 2, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(New York City) New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn hasintroduced a bill that would expand the city's domestic partner law.

In 1998 the city passed a domestic partner bill that was considered abreakthrough at the time but in the intervening time a number of loopholeshave been discovered.

The new legislation addresses that and expands the existing law.

While the City Council does not have jurisdiction over marriage, we do havelegislative authority over domestic partnerships," Quinn told Gay City News.

"[The Domestic Partners for Full Equality Act will] make sure New Yorkers indomestic partnerships have the same rights as married people with regard tocity benefits and services."


The Advocate

Senate chaplain cancels appearance at evangelical conference

U.S. Senate chaplain Barry Black has canceled his scheduled appearance at aChristian evangelical conference after he was pictured with columnist AnnCoulter and other prominent conservatives in a brochure promoting the event.Black told Senate majority leader Harry Reid he wouldn't be addressing nextmonth's "Reclaiming America for Christ" conference because his appearancewouldn't uphold the Senate chaplain's "historic tradition of beingnonpolitical, nonpartisan, nonsectarian," Meg Saunders, a spokeswoman forthe chaplain, said Thursday.

Saunders said Black, a Seventh-day Adventist and a former Navy chaplain, hadreceived "a very generic invitation" in the fall of 2005 to speak at theconference and had agreed because there was room on his schedule. Afterlearning more about the other speakers and the event's featured topics,Black became "concerned" and canceled his appearance, Saunders said. "Hefelt the information had been incomplete," she said.


The Advocate

McGreevey files for divorce

The nation's first openly gay governor filed for divorce Friday from hiswife of seven years.

Lawyers for James E. McGreevey filed a two-page document in Union Countysuperior court in Elizabeth, N.J., seeking to dissolve his union with DinaMatos McGreevey. A spokeswoman for the court, Sandra Thaler-Gerber,confirmed receiving the filing Friday.

The two have lived apart since November 2004, when McGreevey resigned as NewJersey's governor following a stunning public announcement that he was "agay American" who had had an affair with a male staffer.

"It's a sad day for everyone," McGreevey told the Associated Press Friday."It is something that had to be done. We are blessed with a wonderfuldaughter who remains our focus."


The Advocate

India to make "safe zones" to educate migrants about HIV

India will create "safe spaces" along migration routes in cities to protectmigrant workers from contracting HIV, reports Reuters, U.K.

The government plans to monitor migrant concentrations in cities and provideeducational programs about HIV for the migrants. The "safe spaces" will alsoset up HIV-testing centers and distribute condoms. India has an estimated5.7 million people living with the virus, and migrants are considered ahigh-risk group.

The new plan against AIDS will focus on the 12 to 15 million people whomigrate from their villages to high HIV-prevalence cities and back over ashort period of time. Experts claim the virus is spreading to the countryvillages because many male migrants from the countryside have sex withprostitutes in cities and later infect their wives. Over half of Indiansliving with HIV are in rural areas.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Feb. 02, 2007

Spending on Wisconsin gay marriage referendum neared $5 million

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. - Advocates for both sides spent nearly $5 million onthe November referendum in which voters approved a constitutional ban on gaymarriage, according to financial filings. Opponents of the ban spent most ofthe money.

The total is believe to be the most ever spent on a statewidereferendum, and one organization - run by former state Republican partychairman Steve King - apparently gave the largest contribution ever in astate referendum.

The pro-amendment Vote Yes for Marriage said it received nearly$392,000 in donations in late October from the Middleton-based Coalition forAmerica's Families, run by King.

Even with the donation, Vote Yes was vastly outspent by amendment foesFair Wisconsin, which poured $4.3 million into the campaign. Vote Yes spent$635,000 in total.


Gay players 'running in the shadows'

Opinions differ whether sexuality choice would still bring ostracism.
By Harvey Fialkov
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

February 3, 2007

As Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Esera Tuaolo approached, quarterbackJohn Elway knelt to end Super Bowl XXIII at then Pro Player Stadium in 1999.Then Tuaolo walked off the field filled with dread and anxiety.

Not because his Falcons were pummeled 34-19, but because he was afraid ofbeing recognized by a television viewer who might have picked him up in agay bar years earlier.

"One of my biggest fears I had was someone recognizing me and outing me,"Tauolo said from his home in Minneapolis. He was also pained watching otherplayers and their families enjoy public events, while he and his partner,Mitchell Wherley, "were running in the shadows."

"It's every football player's dream to get to the Super Bowl, but for me itwas a conflict of emotions. It was fear, anxiety attacks and depression witheverything going in my life.

"We live in a society that really doesn't like us; and definitely, the NFLis one of the most homophobic arenas out there."


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