Sunday, February 18, 2007

GLBT DIGEST - February 18, 2007

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Shaq: I'd protect a gay teammate
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 17, 2007

LAS VEGAS — Former Heat guard Tim Hardaway has become a lightning rod forcritics because of his anti-gay comments, but Heat center Shaquille O'Nealsaid he would protect a gay teammate if he was made a target.

"I was always taught as a youngster to never judge people, so I never judgepeople and to each their own," O'Neal said Friday during All-Star Weekendmedia sessions.

"If he was my teammate and people ridiculed him and jumped on him, I wouldprobably have to protect him."

Other people around the NBA are afraid to discuss Hardaway's remarks.


Express Gay News

Gay border panic!

Our activists should stand with Hispanic allies in demanding comprehensiveimmigration reform.
Friday, February 16, 2007

I HAVE COME to the conclusion that most of our leaders in the GLBTQcommunity at the national level are spineless.

I recently had a conversation with Kevin Bourassa. He and Joe Varnell are alegally married couple and prominent spokespeople who work hard for marriageequality in their home country of Canada and the world.

Joe and Kevin refuse to travel into the United States because of an incidentthat happened in 2003 when they were required to fill out separate customsforms (families are only required to fill out one form). The demand by U.S.immigration officers was based on a custom official’s assertion that,“The United States does not recognize same-sex marriages.”

Having a “Rosa Parks” moment, as Kevin describes it, the couple decided thatthey would not enter the U.S. under false pretexts (i.e. as single men).Ironically, they were on their way to a civil rights conference in Atlantathat would start with a speech by the late Coretta Scott King. Since then,Kevin and Joe have refused to set foot in the United States until they cando so as a married couple. They were characterized as “domestic terrorists”in an article sent out by Focus on the Family’s cheerleaders, ConcernedWomen for America.


The current issue of The Express Gay News is online


The New York Times

February 18, 2007
With One Word, Children’s Book Sets Off Uproar

The word “scrotum” does not often appear in polite conversation. Or children’sliterature, for that matter.

Yet there it is on the first page of “The Higher Power of Lucky,” by SusanPatron, this year’s winner of the Newbery Medal, the most prestigious awardin children’s literature. The book’s heroine, a scrappy 10-year-old orphannamed Lucky Trimble, hears the word through a hole in a wall when anothercharacter says he saw a rattlesnake bite his dog, Roy, on the scrotum.

“Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you havethe flu and cough too much,” the book continues. “It sounded medical andsecret, but also important.”

The inclusion of the word has shocked some school librarians, who havepledged to ban the book from elementary schools, and reopened the debateover what constitutes acceptable content in children’s books. Thecontroversy was first reported by Publishers Weekly, a trade magazine.

On electronic mailing lists like, dozens of literary blogs andpages on the social-networking site LiveJournal, teachers, authors andschool librarians took sides over the book. Librarians from all over thecountry, including Missoula, Mont.; upstate New York; Central Pennsylvania;and Portland, Ore., weighed in, questioning the role of the librarian whenselecting — or censoring, some argued — literature for children.



Virginia Bill Targeting Gay Clubs Officially Dead
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: February 17, 2007 - 4:00 pm ET

(Richmond, Virginia) Legislation that would require students in publiclyfunded schools to obtain their parent's written permission to participate inschool clubs has died in a Senate committee and is unlikely to be revived inthis session.

The House version had passed on an 82 - 15 vote after temporarily dying in acommittee in that chamber on a tie vote. A second version of the billpassed through committee and then the House.

But members of the Senate Education and Health Committee had reservationsthe measure would place undue paperwork on school administrators, andquestioned whether the issue of clubs should not be left to individualschool boards.

The committee rejected the bill on a 9 - 6 vote.



Kentucky Bill To Ban Gay Partner Benefits Advances

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: February 18, 2007 - 12:01 am ET

(Frankfort, Kentucky) Legislation to prohibit publicly funded universitiesand colleges from extending domestic partner benefits to families of facultyand staff is headed to a vote on the floor of the Kentucky Senate.

The measure passed the Local Government Committee on an 8-0 vote afterlittle discussion on the issue.

The bill was prepared after the University of Louisville decided in July tooffer the benefits - making it the first publicly funded college in thestate to do so. (story)

The University of Kentucky board of trustees is expected to vote on a planto give health insurance to domestic partners this spring. A universitycommittee has recommended approval. Northern Kentucky University also isconsidering a similar plan.

Prior to the committee vote University of Louisville President James Ramseypleaded with senators to reject the legislation saying schools in the stateare finding it hard to compete for the best faculty and researchers.

"We do believe in diversity, and we are competing against schools that dooffer that benefit," Ramsey said.


The Express Gay News

N.J. says it will recognize gay unions from other states, nations
Attorney general makes announcement 3 days before new law takes effect
MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (AP) | Feb 16, 7:20 PM

Gay couples who are married in Massachusetts, Canada or other places wheresame-sex marriage is allowed will have all the rights of married people inNew Jersey as of Monday, the state Attorney General's Office decided Friday.

marriages, Attorney General Stuart Rabner said in the opinion for the stateDepartment of Health and Senior Services, which is responsible forregistering civil unions.

Civil unions, which will be available in New Jersey starting Monday, grantall the benefits of marriage — but not the title — to gay couples.

Gay rights activists had mixed reaction to the decision. They were happy tohave the clarity and to learn that the civil unions will be grantedautomatically, but also voiced concern about possible discrimination.


Two West Palm Beach gay couples merge their lives, homes and love to raisetheir children

The result is two dads, two moms and two children living side by side.
By Patty Pensa
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

February 18, 2007

The kids come first, and always will.

In this family, like so many others, life is a jumble of school activities,kids' birthday parties and family getaways. Moments of sweet embracealternate with defiance and discipline.

Ember Carianna, Tom Davis, Mark Rutherford and Mimi Waddell wouldn't tradeit for anything. The four parents so wanted their blended family to workthey tore down the stone wall between their neighboring homes and created apathway into each other's lives.

Now, by virtue of being a family, they quietly are tearing down anotherwall, the cultural divide between gay and straight parents that says one isacceptable, the other not. Ember and Mimi. Tom and Mark. They are committedand raising two kids. Two couples. Together.

"It's an act of faith to have a family," Ember said, "and so far, it hasworked out beautifully. ... But we don't take it for granted. We pinchourselves, `Is this real?'"


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sun, Feb. 18, 2007

Gay couple says civil unions aren't enough

New Jersey is poised to become the third state in the nation to allowsame-sex unions, but some gays say the new law is an unacceptablecompromise.
Associated Press

ASBURY PARK, N.J. - With a solemn exchange of vows and a kiss, LouisNavarrete and Ric Best became the first same-sex couple to marry in NewJersey.

Just hours after the ceremony, their marriage was over -- not because theydidn't love each other anymore, but because the state told them their unionwas illegal.

Three years later, New Jersey still doesn't allow same-sex couples to marry.But beginning Monday, the state will become the third in the nation to allowcivil unions.

Many of the estimated 20,000 same-sex couples living in New Jersey view thelaw as a step in that direction.

Navarrete and Best, who now live in Philadelphia, say the law is anunacceptable compromise that still places gay men and women in a''less-than'' category. They have no plans to move back to New Jersey toseek a civil union.


The Miami Herald

Amaechi's own words

While much of the attention regarding the public ''coming out'' of formerMagic player John Amaechi will now unfortunately be diverted to the rantingsof ex-Heat star Tim Hardaway, some comments Mr. Amaechi made should not gounaddressed.

Mr. Amaechi gets it right when he argues that the media, and by way of themedia, the public, should be aware that gay men come with a variety ofshapes, sizes and mannerisms (including masculine/athletic). But inresponse, one wonders what is so ''wrong'' with gay men who fit the Jackfrom Will and Grace stereotype? Does the roundballer deny -- or is heashamed -- that gay people sometimes break down rigid societal gender roles?Let's hope that when Amaechi has grown in his maturity as an ''out'' gayman, he will see things differently and express them in another way.



The Express Gay Magazine

Utah Supreme Court denies visitation rights to lesbian
Trial court had granted access and ordered financial support
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | Feb 18, 9:35 AM

A woman has no legal right to see the daughter of her former lesbianpartner, even if the child was born during their relationship, the UtahSupreme Court said Friday in overturning visitation.

Eighteen months after hearing arguments, the court in a 4-1 decision saidKeri Jones, under Utah law, does not have perpetual rights that survive theend of her relationship with Cheryl Pike Barlow.

"Although we have no reason to doubt the sincerity of Jones' parentalfeelings for the child, we are unwilling to craft a doctrine which wouldabrogate a portion of Barlow's parental rights," the court said.

After Barlow and Jones selected a sperm donor, Barlow gave birth in October2001. In 2002, they obtained a court order designating themselves asco-guardians.

Barlow and Jones ended their relationship in October 2003 around the child'ssecond birthday. Barlow moved out with the girl, and Jones' role asco-guardian was terminated.

A judge subsequently allowed Jones to see the girl, saying it was in thechild's best interest. She was also ordered to provide financial support.


The New York Times

February 18, 2007
Sports of The Times

Running Out of Breath? If Only It Were True
Las Vegas

Only in the pro basketball theater of All-Stars and the absurd canhomophobia be addressed in an interview moments after the subject of acharity match race between a portly former All-Star and a 67-year-oldreferee whose body is a temple.

See Dick (Bavetta) and Charles (Barkley) run while the N.B.A. distancesitself from Tim (Hardaway). And welcome to All-Star weekend, Las Vegas,where America’s most scrutinized sporting hedonists are walking a fine linealong the Strip. Where a popular Beatles show reminds us that all you needis love — and in accordance with the new N.B.A. mantra, regardless of one’ssexual orientation.

“Those comments show it’s a struggle; there’s a long way to go,” Kobe Bryantsaid in response to Hardaway’s application of a four-letter word — hate — togay people during a recent radio interview.

Not exactly the splash that Commissioner David Stern was hoping to make.Hardaway, another former All-Star and the retired kingpin of the crossoverdribble, started a brushfire and was swiftly banished from the weekend’sfestivities by Stern.


The New York Times

February 18, 2007
Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’ (1 Letter)

To the Editor:

Re “Reining In Desires Proves Complex, at Best” (news article, Feb. 12):

There is a growing body of research showing that “conversion therapy” notonly does not work but can also be extremely harmful.

In one study of more than 200 people who attended “ex-gay” programs,published in the peer-reviewed journal Professional Psychology: Research andPractice in 2002, only eight participants reported successful “conversion,”and seven of them were providers of ex-gay counseling.

The majority of those who failed to change reported a variety of negativemental health outcomes, including low self-esteem, depression, suicideattempts, and isolation from family, friends and faith.

While the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality mayclaim secular motivations, religious ideology has clearly influenced JosephNicolosi, its president and co-founder.

Mr. Nicolosi opened his Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic in 1986 to“offer therapy in harmony with Catholic teaching.”


The New York Times

February 18, 2007

A Kiss Too Far?

THE spot was only 30 seconds, almost a blur amid the action at the SuperBowl. Yet the hubbub after a recent commercial showing two auto mechanicsaccidentally falling into lip-lock while eating the same Snickers bar went along way toward showing how powerfully charged a public kiss between two menremains.

Football is probably as good a place as any to look for the limits of socialtolerance. And the Snickers commercial — amusing to some, appalling toothers and ultimately withdrawn by the company that makes the candy — hadthe inadvertent effect of revealing how a simple display of affection growsin complexity as soon as one considers who gets to demonstrate it in public,and who, very often, does not.

The demarcation seemed particularly stark during the week of Valentine’sDay, when the aura of love cast its rosy Hallmark glow over card-store cashregisters and anyone with a pulse. Where, one wondered, were all thesame-sex lovers making out on street corners, or in comedy clubs,performance spaces, flower shops or restaurants?

“There’s really a kind of Potemkin village quality to the tolerance andacceptance” of gay people in America, said Clarence Patton, a spokesman forthe New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. “The idea of it isO.K., but the reality falls short.”


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Hossein Alizadeh, 212-430-6016 ,

(New York, NY, February 17, 2007) - Nigerian lesbians, gay men, bisexualsand transgenders speak out against a proposed law in a new report by theInternational Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). The report,"Voices from Nigeria" provides personal accounts of homophobic attacks,arbitrary arrests and detentions, and increased levels of homophobia thathave already begun as a result of the introduction of the legislation,referred to as the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act.

Introduced to the Nigerian National Assembly in January 2006, the Actlaunches a vigorous attack on freedom of expression, assembly, andassociation in Africa's most populous nation. If passed, the law wouldcreate criminal penalties for engaging in same- sex marriages orrelationships and for advocating for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexualsand transgenders. Simply taking part in a gay or lesbian club or supportgroup would be illegal. Public hearings on the bill were held on February14, 2007, by the Women's Committee of Nigeria's National Assembly and itcould be voted into law as early as next month.

"Ultimately, it is the lives of LGBT Nigerians that will be affected by thislaw," said Cary Alan Johnson, IGLHRC's Senior Specialist for Africa. "Thereport is meant to turn up the volume of those voices."

Contact for the full article


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Joking Congressman Offers Rice a Serious Suggestion

Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.) went after the Pentagon's "don't ask, don'ttell" policy on gay people in the military yesterday, jokingly tellingSecretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the administration seems to fear a"platoon of lesbians" more than terrorists.

Ackerman was reacting to Rice's testimony that there is a foreign-languagedeficit at the State Department. He noted that the Pentagon had firedinterpreters and language experts who were gay.

"Well, it seems that the military has fired a whole bunch of people whospeak foreign languages -- Farsi and Arabic, et cetera. After they trainthem . . . for 63 weeks, and presumably they all passed all kinds ofsecurity things," Ackerman said. "For some reason, the military seems moreafraid of gay people. . . . And if the terrorists ever got a hold of thisinformation, they get a platoon of lesbians to chase us out of Baghdad."


The Telegraph - UK

Cardinal's permission for gays' Mass dismays Catholic traditionalists

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Sunday Telegraph 18/02/2007

Homosexual rights campaigners have gained permission from the head ofthe Catholic Church in England and Wales to hold Mass for gay parishioners.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor will allow a gay group to hold fortnightlyMasses in his Westminster diocese

While the Church has allowed celibate gays to receive holy communion,traditionalist Catholics believe that practising homosexuals shouldbe barred from the sacramental rite because their way of life defiesChurch teaching.

Now, however, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has taken thecontroversial step of allowing fortnightly Masses in his Westminsterdiocese specifically for homosexuals.


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