Tuesday, February 13, 2007

GLBT DIGEST - February 13, 2007

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Obama Repeats Opposition To Same-Sex Marriage
by The Associated Press

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

(Durham, New Hampshire) Sen. Barack Obama's first trip to New Hampshire asan official Democratic presidential candidate came Monday with packedaudiences, enthusiastic crowds - and scant scrutiny.

Obama, who entered the race on Saturday in his home state of Illinois, cameto New Hampshire on the heels of New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Shefaced criticism last weekend for not saying her vote to authorize the use offorce in Iraq was a mistake.

Obama, by contrast, faced little of that skepticism. Even his sharpestquestioners began by offering praise and support.

"He hasn't gotten into specifics, but that'll come," state Rep. JeffreyFontas said after a Nashua house party with 60 activists. "It's early, sowe'll see more and more."




Russian Bill Calls For Prison For Gays
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

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

(Moscow) A bill introduced in Russia's lower house will impose a five yearprison sentence for anyone convicted of homosexuality.

Gay sex was illegal under the Soviets but was decriminalized in 1993 whenCommunism fell.

The legislation, introduced Monday by Deputy Nikolay Kuryanovich would bringback the old law, and make it a crime for gays to congregate - a provisionthat would bar gay pride parades or meetings.

How far Kuryanovich's bill will advance is unknown. As an Independent hedoes not have a party backing him but the measure has widespread supportfrom former Communists and parties allied to the Russian Orthodox Church.




February 13, 2007
Sex museum makes HIV lessons fun

A rare sex museum in Mumbai, India's teeming financial capital, is drawinghundreds of prostitutes and their regular clients who say they learn moreabout HIV/AIDS from its graphic exhibits than staid lectures on safe sex.

Antarang, which means "intimate" in Hindi, is a one-room exhibition of nudestatues, models of the human anatomy, and illustrations near a well-knownred light district in Mumbai. And it is India's only sex museum, accordingto its management.

Devoid of the glamour of sex museums of Amsterdam or New York City, Antaranggreets a visitor with a "lingam," a Hindu phallic-shaped symbol worshippedas one of the representations of Lord Shiva, Kama Sutra verses, and woodenand plastic models showing the act of conception and child birth as well asdescriptions of various sexual diseases.

"A sex museum is a better place to learn about sex and everything related toit," M.G. Vallecha, the chief of Antarang, entry to which is free, toldReuters.




Calif. Clerk's Gay Marriage Protest Spreads
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: February 12, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(San Francisco, California) Other county clerks in Northern California arejoining in a protest against the state's ban on same-sex marriage duringFreedom to Marry Day.

Same-sex couples will line up at local clerks offices across the country onFebruary 14 to request marriage licenses and as they have for each of theten past Freedom To Marry Days be turned down.

Earlier this month Yolo County clerk Freddie Oakley said she is tired ofturning away gay and lesbian couples for no good reason and that this yearshe will present the couples with "certificates of inequality". (story)




Marijuana lessens HIV nerve pain

HIV-associated nerve pain, including aching, numbness, and burning, isquelled by smoking marijuana, reports a new study in the journal Neurology.

In the study, 50 people with sensory neuropathy, the most common HIV nervedisorder, were randomly assigned marijuana or placebo cigarettes to smokethree times a day for five days. Results showed that those who smokedmarijuana experienced 34% less daily nerve pain; placebo smokers saw a 17%dip.

"Our findings show the amount of relief from smoking marijuana is comparableto relief provided by oral drugs currently used for chronic nerve pain,"said study author Donald Abrams of San Francisco General Hospital in astatement.

The study also found that the first marijuana cigarette reduced chronic painby an average of 72%, compared with 15% with the placebo. More than 50% ofthe people who smoked marijuana reported greater than 30% pain reduction;the placebo group reported 24%.




Indiana Senate Approves Anti-Gay Marriage Ban
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: February 12, 2007 - 9:00 pm ET

(Indianapolis, Indiana) The Indiana Senate, with almost no debate, lateMonday afternoon passed a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sexmarriage and blocking any recognition of unmarried couples.

The measure passed the GOP controlled Senate 39-10 along party lines. Sen.Brandt Hershman (R), the bill's author, said the vote will allow Indianaresidents “to decide the future of one of the most fundamental buildingblocks of our society.”

Indiana already has a law limiting marriage to opposite sex couples,something Hershman said could be overturned by the judiciary.

The lone voice against the measure, Sen. Tim Lanane (D), argued that itwould mark the first time the Indiana Constitution has been amended todiscriminate against a group of residents.




Gay Ontario Deputy Premier To Wed Partner
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

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

(Toronto, Ontario) Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman (L) is marryinghis longtime partner in a ceremony this summer.

Smitherman, who turned 43 on Monday, tells the Toronto Star he will marryChristopher Peloso, 33, August 5 at a wilderness resort in Northern Ontario.

The two have been together for the past 18-months, although they have datedon and off for the past 10 years. They were officially engaged on ChristmasDay.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Ontario in 2003 and the federal governmentpassed legislation in 2005 to extend that across Canada.




Washington Domestic Partner Bill Moving Forward
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: February 12, 2007 - 9:00 pm ET

(Olympia, Washington) Legislation creating a domestic partner registry forsame-sex couples in the state of Washington has cleared committees in theHouse and Senate and is moving toward a floor vote in both chambers.

But a second bill - one that would grant marriage to gay and lesbiancouples - has failed to gain steam and is unlikely to proceed this year.

The domestic partner registry would also be open to opposite sex senior whofor a variety of reasons are unable to marry.

The legislation would allow couples who register to have inheritance rightsto partner property, the right to visit partners in hospital, make medicaldecisions and insure the rights of partners when one dies without a will.


Maine Today


Gender lines blurring in college dorms
By JUSTIN ELLIS, Staff Writer

Micah Blizzard's belongings mingle with those of his roommate in theirPortland Hall dorm room -- DVDs, rows of textbooks, empty pizza boxes and afew unicorns.

His roommate, Hannah, admits she has a strange obsession with the mythicalanimals.

What's strange to their friends is not that a guy and girl are sharing aroom, but that two siblings who live together don't kill each other.

"A lot of people think it's weird that we can get along," Hannah Blizzardsaid.




Feb 11, 2007 6:46 pm US/Eastern

Baltimore Church Shows Support For Gay Marriage
Jessica Kartalija

(WJZ) BALTIMORE A Baltimore City church shows its support for same sexmarriage on the eve of a big day for Maryland gay rights activists.

The doors at First Unitarian Church in Baltimore are open to everyone.

"You are welcome in our church; you are welcome to our banner dedication,"said Co-Minister Phyllis Hubbell. "Men, women, gay, lesbian, transgender,kids, parents, everyone. People of almost every belief come together andstruggle together."

In an effort to show their support for equal rights, the congregation andministers unveiled a banner saying they support civil unions.




February 13, 2007

Mexican lawmakers file legal challenge to same-sex union law

State legislators from President Felipe Calderon's conservative NationalAction Party have asked Mexico's highest court to overturn a same-sex civilunion law in the northern state of Coahuila. Coahuila lawmaker FranciscoCortes said Saturday that the legal challenge filed with the supreme courtargues that the law, which grants registered same-sex partners rightssimilar to those of married couples, violates a constitutional clauseprotecting the family.

Article 4 of Mexico's constitution covers the rights of spouses, children,and the family and states that "men and women are equal before the law. Thiswill protect the organization and development of the family."

"By common sense, we all know that a family is integrated by a man and awoman with the objective of perpetuating the species," Cortes said.

The law was approved by Coahuila last month, and on January 31 a lesbiancouple in the state registered what officials called Mexico's first "civilsolidarity union." Television footage showed the couple smiling broadly andshaking hands with officials after the simple ceremony at a registrar'soffice.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


Professors: Tracking sex offenders is unconstitutional
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. - Portions of a new state law forcing sexual predators to weartracking devices for the rest of their lives is unconstitutional, accordingto a group of law professors.

The measure violates offenders' right to privacy and amounts to punishmentand warrantless searches when applied to sexual predators who aren't onparole or government supervision, the professors said in a letter sent toCorrections Secretary Matthew Frank on Saturday.

The letter came from University of Wisconsin-Madison law professors WalterDickey, Byron Lichstein and Meredith Ross.

The law, which takes effect July 1, requires the Corrections Department touse global positioning technology to track offenders found to be sexuallyviolent from the time they're released from prison until they die or becometoo feeble to present a threat. Also, anyone released after being convictedof first- or second-degree child sexual assault would have to wear a GPSbracelet for 20 years.




North Dakota senate passes cohabitation law change

Living together out of wedlock would be downgraded from a sex crime tofraud, and then only if the couple claims to be married, under a proposalthat passed the state senate in Bismarck, N.D., on Friday. The bill waschanged from an outright repeal of the state's anticohabitation law. Theamended proposal would make the false representation of marital status amisdemeanor crime for a man and woman who live together. Cohabiting coupleswho do not falsely claim marriage would not be penalized.

The proposal now goes to the state house. Since gaining statehood, NorthDakota has barred unmarried couples from ''openly and notoriously'' livingtogether as if they were married. It is one of seven states withanticohabitation laws.

The punishment would be the same, with a maximum 30 days in jail and a$1,000 fine. But the proposal would remove the blanket ban on cohabitation,which has not been prosecuted in years, and its listing among sex crimesincluding rape and child sexual abuse.

''This is, in fact, the 21st century, and I believe it's time to put to restthis 19th-century legislation,'' said state senator Tracy Potter.




February 13, 2007
Movie about gay hockey couple drawing heat

A conservative group is criticizing the Toronto Maple Leafs for allowing theuse of its name and logo in a movie about a gay former hockey player and hispartner. The Canadian Family Action Coalition and other followers arebashing the Maple Leafs and makers of Breakfast With Scot for "promoting thehomosexualization of small children."

"This is another attempt by certain individuals to normalize homosexualbehavior, and they assume that the Maple Leafs will will help the cause,"Brian Rushfeldt, cofounder and executive director of the group, told the LosAngeles Times. "I don't think it does much for the image of the NHL amongfamilies who may wan their children involved in hockey."

The film is based on a 1999 novel by Michael Downing that originallyportrays a magazine editor and chiropractor, the article said. For the filmversion, the lead characters were recast as an ex-Leaf and the team'sattorney who are a gay couple who become guardians to an 11-year-old boy.


The New York Times


February 12, 2007

N.J. Gay Marriage Foes Gather Signatures
Filed at 7:00 p.m. ET

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Gay marriage opponents launched a petition driveMonday in hopes of persuading lawmakers to amend the state constitution toinclude a definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The drive comes a week before New Jersey begins to allow gay couples tolegally unite in civil unions.

Legislative leaders have refused to allow lawmakers to vote on a proposal toamend the state constitution to include the traditional definition ofmarriage. Unlike other states where citizens can gather petitions and get ameasure on the ballot, New Jersey has no referendum provision.

John Tomicki, president of the New Jersey Coalition to Preserve and ProtectMarriage, said his group will try to get at least 20,000 signatures, hopingto persuade legislative leaders to allow a vote on the proposal.


The New York Times


February 12, 2007

Amaechi Says Tolerance Will Take Time

Since the news broke last week that John Amaechi, a retired center, becamethe first N.B.A. player to disclose he is gay, Amaechi said that he had beenoverwhelmed by the mostly positive responses from fans, former teammates andcollege professors.

But he also said that he was been disappointed with reactions from what hecalls a “noisy minority” and realized that tolerance would take time.

In an interview yesterday to discuss his book, “Man in the Middle,” to bepublished today by ESPN Press, Amaechi discussed his motivation for writingthe book and how his revelation one day may not be so rare.

“I know that there are gay players in the league — and they are in a lot ofprofessional sports,” said Amaechi, 36.


The Sun-Sentinel


SKOLNICK: NBA's silence speaks volumes

Amaechi gets no support from peers.
Ethan J. Skolnick
Sports columnist

February 13, 2007

The sheer volume of the reaction has stunned him. While he knew hisdisclosure would generate conversation -- primarily in the gay, bisexual,lesbian and transsexual community -- he insists he had no clue "it wouldopen up the discourse quite this wide."

His meech.org Web site was hit 100,000 times in 24 hours, with visitorssharing heart-wrenching and heartwarming stories, and others sending moresinister e-mails. He has received encouragement from "out athletes,"including Dave Kopay and Martina Navratilova and Sheryl Swoopes,trailblazers he deems far braver than himself.

Many people have been talking about John Amaechi.

How many of Amaechi's former teammates have reached out to talk to him sinceword spread that he had concealed his homosexuality while playing for threeNBA teams?


The Sun-Sentinel


Teen being teased in school breaks into classmate's Wellington home, getsshot

By Chrystian Tejedor
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

February 13, 2007

A 17-year-old was incensed enough about a rumor at school that he broke intothe home of a boy spreading the rumor and was shot in the chest by the boy'sfather, the Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies have charged the teen with burglary and criminal mischief. Heremains shackled to his gurney at Delray Medical Center with a sheriff'sdeputy watching over him after he was shot Saturday, family said.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel is not naming the teenager or his familybecause of his age and the nature of the charges.

The boy was rushed to surgery in Delray Medical Center early Sunday morning,where doctors worked for six hours to repair an artery that was torn openwhen the bullet struck him. The projectile remains embedded in his back,family said.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Updated 2/11/2007 6:34 AM ET

Gay teens coming out earlier to peers and family
By Marilyn Elias, USA TODAY

Kate Haigh, 18, a high school senior in St. Paul, recalls attending herfirst meeting at the school's Gay-Straight Alliance club when she was in theninth grade. "I said, 'My name is Kate, and I'm a lesbian.' It was soliberating. I felt like something huge had been lifted off my shoulders, andfinally I had people to talk to."

Zach Lundin, 16, has brought boyfriends to several dances at his high schoolin suburban Seattle.

Vance Smith wanted to start a club to support gay students at his ruralColorado school but says administrators balked. At age 15, Vance contacted aNew York advocacy group that sent school officials a letter about students'legal rights. Now 17, Smith has his club.

Gay teenagers are "coming out" earlier than ever, and many feel better aboutthemselves than earlier generations of gays, youth leaders and researcherssay. The change is happening in the wake of opinion polls that show growingacceptance of gays, more supportive adults and positive gay role models inpopular media.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


NHL breaks ice with role in gay-topic movie
Helene Elliott

February 11, 2007

Paul Brown, producer of the just-completed movie "Breakfast With Scot," saidhe wasn't trying to promote an agenda in this story of two gay men whobecome the guardians of an 11-year-old boy who's more out there than theyare.

"It's an entertaining film, not an issue-y film," Brown said.

His intent aside, the twist this Canadian production takes on MichaelDowning's 1999 novel may turn "Breakfast With Scot" into a culturalflashpoint.

In freshening the plot, partners Sam and Ed, originally a chiropractor and amagazine editor, respectively, were recast as a former Toronto Maple Leafand the team's lawyer. Delighting Brown, who grew up in Toronto, the NHL andits crown-jewel franchise allowed him to use their names, logos and actionfootage to enhance the film's authenticity.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Will Gay Players be Accepted in the NBA?

Former Player John Amaechi Says He Feared Teammates Discovering HisSexuality

Feb. 11, 2007 — - John Amaechi spent a total of six years in the NBA and atsix-foot-ten-inches and 270 pounds, he played center for four differentteams. All the while, he lived in fear that his teammates might learn hissecret: that he was gay.

"It's the machismo," Amaechi said when asked what worried him aboutteammates discovering his secret. "It's an amazingly … testosterone-riddledgroup. And it's not just the NBA; it's professional sports."

Amaechi told ESPN that he was afraid of how his teammates would react if heever admitted being gay.

"It, you now, knocks the deck, makes the music jump," he said. "Maybe theperson I really love and support is gay."

In all of pro baseball, basketball, football and hockey, Amaechi is only thesixth to publicly disclose that he's gay.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Terry Foster

First active pro athlete to announce he's gay will truly test society'smaturity

Former Lions wide receiver Herman Moore believes he may have played with twogay teammates during his 11-year playing career. The suspicions grew to thepoint that the two were confronted by teammates in the dressing room.

But Moore would never reveal the teammates' identities unless they admittedto it first.

"You hear things," said Moore who left the Lions in 2001. "It (the NFL) isits own society and its own fraternity. Whenever there is something goingon, you catch wind of it. There were several well-known and prominentplayers that were supposedly gay when I played. But no one really wouldchallenge that or go out on a limb because of the ramifications orinfringing on someone."

Several former Detroit athletes said news that former Utah Jazz center JohnAmaechi has admitted he is gay in an upcoming book called "Man in theMiddle" should be no big deal. But it is.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Gay-rights group targets two GR colleges
Sunday, February 11, 2007
By Charles Honey
Press Religion Editor

GRAND RAPIDS -- A busload of gay-rights advocates will come to two WestMichigan colleges this spring to speak against what they call"religion-based oppression" of gays.

Calvin College and Cornerstone University are among 32 schools slated to bevisited by the Soulforce Equality Ride in March and April. Twenty-sixgay-rights supporters will come to Cornerstone on April 23 and Calvin thefollowing day on a national tour targeting schools they charge have anti-gaypolicies.

"This is a social justice issue," said Bram Wispelwey, 22, a student fromVirginia who describes himself as "a straight, Christian ally." He iscoordinating the visit to Calvin, where his parents attended. "We're tryingto eliminate the negative effects of homophobia."

Calvin officials say they will provide an opportunity for the group to talkto students, though details are being worked out. The Equality Riders alsohave been invited to a student worship service.


The New York Times


February 8, 2007
Sports of The Times

A Player Serves Notice to Homophobic Sports Culture
Penn State Coach Rene Portland's gaydar is obviously haywire.

As the self-described Mommy Coach of Happy Valley, Portland has croppedhair, wears boxy game-day suits and squats on the basketball sideline inunladylike poses, but she knows a lesbian when she sees one.

Portland was sure Jennifer Harris was gay, and her player did not wear atool belt. The coach allegedly urged Harris to act feminine, sleuthed aroundher love life and ultimately dismissed Harris from the team in 2005 for hersexual orientation.

Except that Harris said she wasn't gay. If Portland whiffed on Harris, didshe miss on John Amaechi, too?

He was right under her nose. Same gym, same facility. As a brutish centerwith a British accent, Amaechi played on the Penn State men's team in themid-1990s before a five-year career in the National Basketball Associationwhere he was known for his manly effort and wit.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Closing the gap on gay mind-set

Sunday, February 11, 2007
Bill Livingston
Plain Dealer Columnist

When John Amaechi came out of the closet this week, some of his former peerstold him to go to the back of the bus.

Amaechi, who played with the Cavaliers and three other teams during afive-year NBA career, details his life as a gay athlete in hisautobiography, "Man in the Middle," to be released Valentine's Day.

Basketball was the last of the big three pro sports to have an ex-player sayhe was a homosexual, but he certainly wasn't the first such player in theleague. In the 1970s and '80s, some players' names surfaced in the rumormill. A well-known coach at the time would use a pejorative word for ahomosexual in the huddle as a way of challenging a suspected player. None ofit ever was more than innuendo.

In breaking the last taboo, Amaechi's revelation drew mixed responses aroundthe NBA. Commissioner David Stern said all that matters is whether you havegame, although, of course, it is not that simple.


The New York Times


February 12, 2007

Pope Hits Out at New "Marriage, Italian Style"
Filed at 9:44 a.m. ET

ROME (Reuters) - The 1964 classic ``Marriage, Italian Style,'' whereMarcello Mastroianni is duped into wedlock by his long-suffering mistress,Sophia Loren, suggests matrimony here has long fallen short of the RomanCatholic church's ideal.

But as Pope Benedict on Monday denounced ``subversive'' plans to recognizeunwed and gay couples, which he sees as an attack on the sacrament ofmarriage, new data showed a steady fall in the number of Italians botheringto plight their troth at all.

Only 250,000 Italian couples married in 2005 compared to a peak of more than400,000 in the early 1970s. The number of ``de facto'' couples who wouldbenefit from a new law more than doubled in a decade to half a million.

``The incidence of children born out of wedlock is now about 15 percent, ornearly 80,000 births a year, almost double the rate of a decade ago,'' thenational statistics agency added.


The New York Times


February 12, 2007

Study: Adoptive Parents Get High Marks
Filed at 5:25 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Adoptive parents invest more time and financial resourcesin their children than biological parents, according to a new national studychallenging arguments that have been used to oppose same-sex marriage andgay adoption.

The study, published in the new issue of the American Sociological Review,found that couples who adopt spend more money on their children and investmore time on such activities as reading to them, eating together and talkingwith them about their problems.

''One of the reasons adoptive parents invest more is that they really wantchildren, and they go to extraordinary means to have them,'' IndianaUniversity sociologist Brian Powell, one of the study's three co-authors,said in a telephone interview Monday.


February 12, 2007
Contact: David Thorpe, Director of Communications
212-967-1500 x159 | Thorpe@housingworks.org

$25,000 in grants awarded to HIV-positive activists; gala benefit slated forApril 12, 2007

New York, NY—Housing Works is proud to announce the winners of its thirdannual Keith D. Cylar AIDS Activist Awards. A benefit in their honor willtake place Thursday, April 12, at 6pm, at the elegant Prince George Ballroomat 15 E. 27th Street in Manhattan. The 2007 awardees are:

Gracia Violeta Ross Quiroga, Bolivian Network of People Living withHIV/AIDS, La Paz, Bolivia
International AIDS Activist Award; $10,000 grant

Michael Rajner, National Secretary of the Campaign to End AIDS, FortLauderdale, FL
U.S. AIDS Activist Award; $10,000 grant

Mark Hayes, Housing Works State and Federal Issues Organizer, Albany, NY
Housing Works AIDS Activist Award; $5,000 grant


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