Friday, March 09, 2007

GLBT DIGEST March 09, 2007

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New York Times

March 8, 2007
AIDS Hits U.S. Blacks Harder Than Other Groups
Filed at 7:57 p.m. ET

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Black men in the United States are nearly seven timesmore likely to be diagnosed with HIV than their white counterparts, the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report released onThursday.

Blacks represent 13 percent of the U.S. population but account for nearlyhalf of Americans living with the disease, and 40 percent of AIDS deaths and61 percent of all new diagnoses of people aged 13-24 are black, the CDCsaid.

The report, which is based on 2001-2005 data, does not reveal a dramaticincrease in the rate of HIV infection among blacks and it shows asignificant decline in black mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

But it cements a picture of an epidemic that disproportionately affects theblack community, said Robert Janssen, director of the CDC's division ofHIV/AIDS prevention.

``What is beginning to happen is a recognition of the severity of theproblem,'' Janssen said in an interview.


The New York Times

March 8, 2007
Study Finds Age Divide on Gay Marriage

Filed at 12:16 p.m. ET

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The growing acceptance of same-sex marriage inCalifornia reflects generational differences more than changes in individualattitudes, according to a study released Thursday.

Two political scientists who analyzed two decades worth of Field Polls onthe subject found that age was the strongest factor influencing whethersomeone opposed gay unions, with people born in the 1970s and '80s more thantwice as likely to support them as those born before 1940.

''Californians born in each decade tend to be more accepting of gayrelationships and more willing to grant them legal recognition than thoseborn the decade before,'' said the study's authors, Gregory Lewis of GeorgiaState University and Charles Gossett of California State PolytechnicUniversity, Pomona.

The findings suggest that same-sex couples will one day be allowed to wed inCalifornia, if not the rest of the country, as older generations die off,said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll.

''It's just a matter of time before a majority of California will besupportive of same-sex marriage,'' DiCamillo said. ''It may take 10 years toreplace another decade within the age cohorts, but it's clear every youngergeneration seems to be more accepting of that.''


The Washington Post

After 15 Years, a D.C. Power Couple Decides to Go Their Separate Ways

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, March 8, 2007; C03

Elizabeth Birch and Hilary Rosen, Washington's first same-sex power couple,have called it quits after a 15-year relationship, according to people closeto them.

Birch, a savvy lawyer, and Rosen, a high-profile lobbyist, glamorized theimage of gay couples in the nation's capital. For almost a decade, Birch wasdirector of the Human Rights Campaign, the country's most influential gayand lesbian political lobby. Rosen, as head of the Recording IndustryAssociation of America, was one of the most effective corporate voices onCapitol Hill. As a couple, they were plugged into top social and politicalcircles, which made them two of the most prominent activists for gay familyrights.

Last year, Birch, 50, began commuting to New York City where she heads Rosie O'Donnell's production company, KidRo Productions, and O'Donnell'scharitable arm, the For All Kids Foundation. Rosen, 48, is now a consultantto the entertainment industry and regular political commentator on MSNBC; inJanuary, she launched, an online social site for lesbians.

Birch will continue to split her time between NYC and Washington. The twowomen, who declined to comment, will both raise their 8-year-old twins, Annaand Jacob.

A Heartfelt Nod to One Who Paved the Way

With a record number of women now in Congress, Tuesday's dinner for Women'sPolicy Inc. and the Women's Caucus was the kind ofbasking-in-the-glow-of-history event where Nancy Pelosi gave props toeveryone from Susan B. Anthony to Pat Schroeder. But who got the bigapplause? Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for vice president on amajor-party ticket back in '84.


The Express Gay News

Lutheran gay pastor in Atlanta continues job fight
Schmeling files appeal of ruling that would remove him from clergy roster
By ZACK HUDSON | Mar 8, 7:25 PM

An appeal of a Lutheran clerical panel's decision to defrock the gay pastorof an Atlanta church is the latest move in a showdown within the EvangelicalLutheran Church in America over whether pastors involved in same-sexrelationships should lead congregations.

After a four day trial in January, a 12-member jury of ELCA clerics decidedFeb. 7 that Bradley Schmeling, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church,violated ELCA pastoral conduct guidelines, which allow openly gay clergymembers to serve congregations, but condemn same-sex relationships assinful.

The decision criticized the prohibition on same-sex relationships, and gaveSchmeling until Aug. 15 before his name should be removed from the ELCAclergy roster - opening a six-month window during which Schmeling can appealthe decision and seek to overturn current policy.

In its ruling, the jury also asked the ELCA to reconsider its rulesregarding gay clergy members - which it termed "bad policy" that mayconflict with the church constitution - during its biennial ChurchwideAssembly, slated for Aug. 6-12 in Chicago. The ruling also noted the successof Schmeling's six-year tenure as pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church inAtlanta.

Schmeling took the first step in retaining his job this week by filing anappeal of the decision, which he says he mailed March 6.


Gay students create safe haven at school
Columbia High School alliance seeks to boost tolerance in community

Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Thursday, March 8, 2007

EAST GREENBUSH -- When high school student Helena Echandy came out as alesbian, she mostly spent time with her closest friends, cautious aboutdealing with the public at large.Now the 19-year-old senior at Columbia HighSchool is a gay-rights activist and a member of her school's newGay-Straight Alliance.

After months of existing as an unsanctioned club, the GSA received approvalfrom the East Greenbush school district's Board of Education this year. Thegroup was founded by 18-year-old senior Brittany Shoup, who got the ideawhen she began dating a girl who was the president of Troy High School'sGSA.

"Other schools go through so much more than we do," Shoup said. "The climatehere is pretty tolerant."

The Columbia group meets Wednesdays after school. As many as 40 people haveshown up for group discussions and sometimes just general socializing.

"The goal is to create a safe environment and create tolerance in the schoolcommunity," said club president Courtney Voss, an 18-year-old senior. "Wetalk a lot about self-image, and we have movie nights."


The Statesman Journal

Gay-rights supporters rally at Capitol

Bills introduced this year have a chance of passing

March 8, 2007

Gay-rights legislation, which withered and died in the Republican-led OregonHouse in past sessions, found new life Wednesday with a rally in front ofthe Capitol.

An estimated 500 people huddled under pewter-colored skies to hear lawmakersand gay-rights advocates cheer two new bills, one that would outlawdiscrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, theother to recognize civil unions for same-sex couples.

Speakers included Gov. Ted Kulongoski -- who, as a lawmaker in 1975,introduced the first Oregon House bill to eliminate discrimination based onsexual orientation -- and Christine Chávez, granddaughter of farmworkerorganizer César Chávez.

"In 1989, my grandfather, César Chávez, stood with hundreds of thousands ofthe G-L-B-T community ... His message was about equality, respect anddignity," she said. "Today, I stand with you and carry on his message to allfamilies in Oregon."

Eugene chemistry teacher Anice Thigpen said she and her partner moved out ofTexas four years ago.


Gays go soccer mad in Mexico
1.27, Tue Mar 6 2007

A gay Mexican football team is hoping to win a place at the 2007 Gay SoccerWorld Cup in Argentina.

The doctors, salesmen and hairdressers who make up the side see football asa way to show soccer-mad Mexico that gays live a normal life.

They hope to spread tolerance and social understanding when they compete.

Every weekend the team's 15 players train at a public park in Mexico City,hoping for a place in Argentina among 32 other gay sides.

Team captain Andoni Bello said: "Society still thinks that we (gay men) areonly looking for sex, that we only frequent dives or that we are effeminate.


The Advocate

Soulforce bus defaced and activists given citations

The Soulforce Q Equality Ride, a group of young LGBT activists headed toChristian campuses nationwide on a mission to open a dialogue about antigayschool policies, encountered roadblocks during their first day on the tour.

A group of young LGBT activists headed to Christian campuses nationwide on amission to open a dialogue about antigay school policies encounteredroadblocks during their first day on the tour. One of two buses fromSoulforce Q's Equality Ride was defaced Wednesday night in Sioux Center,Iowa, home of Dordt College. The group on the bus, headed toward campuses inthe East, encountered a group of harassers Wednesday night who circled theEquality Riders' hotel in their vehicles. Haven Herrin, young adult activismcodirector for Soulforce, told The Advocate that some of the Riders saw theharassers mooning them from outside the hotel lobby. On Thursday morning theactivists discovered their bus covered in antigay graffiti.

"The Riders were not sure whether the people were students or townspeoplewho defaced the bus," Herrin said.

According to its policy handbook, same-sex sexual activity is grounds todismiss a student or faculty member from Dordt.

Meanwhile, on a westbound bus carrying more Soulforce Q Riders, threeactivists were handed citations for their presence on the Notre DameUniversity campus in Indiana. According to a statement released Thursday,Equality Riders on the westbound bus were with gay students on campus whoattempted to speak publicly about their experiences in the cafeteria of thestudent center. A Notre Dame freshman, Eddie Velasquez, was announcingfurther opportunities for dialogue with the Equality Riders when anadministration official approached him and attempted to escort him away. Hisinformation was instead taken down by campus authorities.

Herrin told The Advocate that she was present for the incident at NotreDame, where she and two others received citations. On Thursday the threewill be joined by three other participants who will walk onto campus withwreaths to place on the Tom Dooley statue. "Campus police told us that wewould be arrested if we were to step foot onto the campus," she said.

Equality Riders received a similar welcome in Cleveland, Tenn., during lastyear's tour. There, community members wrote "fags-mobile" on the side of thebus.

Officials from each college were unreachable for comment at press time. (TheAdvocate)


The Advocate

Matt Sanchez: I'm "bad at being gay"

Right-wing darling Marine Cpl. Matt Sanchez, a.k.a. former gay porn starsRod Majors and Pierre LaBranche, fielded questions from bloggers Wednesdayon his deeply nonconservative past and appeared eager for more mediaattention to follow.

Sanchez told blogger Joe.My.God. he was "relieved" at the revelation of hispast, which led MSNBC's Countdown show on Wednesday night.

"I've moved forward a lot and this past stuff is not something I want todrag into my future," Sanchez, 36, a student at Columbia University, toldJoe.My.God. in an e-mail interview.

"I don't like porn, it reduces the mind, flattens the soul," he said on hisown blog and on

"That's not hypocrisy talking, that's experience.... I can tell you that bythe time I finished my summer tour of the major studios, I was prettydisgusted with myself," Sanchez said.

Not only is his porn past behind him, Sanchez said, but also any putativegayness: "Boyfriends: 0; fiancées: 2; wife: 1. I'd say I'm pretty bad atbeing gay."


Anti-Gay Benefits Bill Dies In Kentucky Legislature
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: March 8, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Frankfort, Kentucky) Legislation to prohibit publicly funded universitiesand colleges from extending domestic partner benefits to families of facultyand staff has been narrowly defeated in committee.

The House Health and Welfare Committee voted 8-8. Under the rules a tievote results in a defeat.

Bipartisan supporters of the bill said they have not given up. They saidthey will attempt to revive the matter later in the session, when ends thismonth. If they are unsuccessful they said they will bring it back nextyear.

Nevertheless the statewide LGBT group Kentucky Fairness Alliance said it waspleased with the committee defeat.

"I'm optimistic about the fact that fairness prevailed," said ChristinaGilgor, the executive director of Kentucky Fairness. "It wasn't theoverwhelming victory that we would have liked, but it's a victory."


Anglican Bishop: Christianity Needs A 'Better Theology Of Sexuality'
by The Canadian Press

Posted: March 8, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Ottawa) A leading Canadian Anglican bishop says the Christian church has adeeply flawed understanding of sex and is wrong in contending that sex onlyexists for the purpose of procreation.

Rev. Michael Ingham says the church's position has led to morally groundlessobjections to birth control, abortion, masturbation and homosexuality.

Ingham, the bishop for the Greater Vancouver Diocese of New Westminster,told an Ottawa conference Wednesday night that the church needs a ``bettertheology of sexuality.''

He said the church has misunderstood references to homosexuality in thebible and has wasted energy in persecuting those who have argued for a newunderstanding of sexuality.

Ingham has already outraged most Anglican leaders by authorizing theblessing of same-sex unions in his diocese.


Police Investigate Alleged Cover-Up Of Rapes, Abuse At Texas Youth Prison
by The Associated Press

Posted: March 8, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Austin, Texas) Police went to 22 Texas Youth Commission facilities and theagency headquarters this week to investigate claims that young inmates weresexually abused and that agency officials covered it up.

Jay Kimbrough, appointed by the governor to look into the allegations at aWest Texas youth prison, said the officers would conduct interviews at theprisons and halfway houses, secure equipment and collect documents ifnecessary.

He also issued a warning to agency employees.

"If you are part of this gig, you need to move on or we're going to find youand prosecute you," Kimbrough said.

The Texas Youth Commission houses about 2,700 offenders ages 10 to 21 whoare considered the most dangerous, incorrigible or chronic. Its new boardchairman pledged Tuesday that the agency would cooperate with theinvestigations.


Judge Responsible For Ending Disneyland Gay Ban Dies
by The Associated Press

Posted: March 8, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Los Angles, California) Retired Judge James Randal Ross, great-grandson ofoutlaw Jesse Woodson James and author of the book "I, Jesse James," hasdied. He was 80.

Ross died Monday of a heart attack at his Fullerton home, his third cousinEric James, president of the James Preservation Trust, confirmed Wednesdayfrom his home in Danville, Ky. Ross had been in failing health for a year.

Born in July 1926, in Independence, Mo., Ross was the closest livingrelative of outlaws Frank and Jesse James.

He was an Orange County Superior Court judge from 1983 to 1995, when heretired.

Of all the cases he handled, Ross was most proud of one involving Disneylandbanning gays from dancing at the Anaheim amusement park, Eric James said.

Disneyland had imposed the ban in 1957, when dancing was first allowed. In1980, a homosexual couple was kicked out of the park for dancing together.When the case made it to Ross' court, he ruled in favor of the gay couple.


Soulforce Equality Ride Faces Vandalism, Intimidation in the Heartland
East Bus is Defaced with Anti-gay Slurs in Iowa;Students Face Repercussions at Notre Dame

On the opening day of Equality Ride 2007, the 50 young Riders faced grimreminders of why they are on 2 buses, headed for 32 Christian colleges withpolicies that silence or exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgenderstudents. Last night the eastbound bus made its first stop in Sioux Center,Iowa, where Riders were harassed at their hotel. This morning they awoke tofind their bus defaced by graphic anti-gay graffiti.

The Equality Ride traveled to Sioux Center to visit Dordt College, a schoolthat counts "sexual activity with someone of the same gender" as possiblegrounds for "an employee's discharge or a student's dismissal." The EqualityRide's mission is to open a dialogue about the painful consequences ofdiscrimination and the religion-based prejudice that sustains it.

The bus full of young adults, including former students of conservativeChristian colleges, straight allies, and gay evangelical Christians, arrivedin Sioux Center in the early evening. On the night of March 7th, threevehicles circled the hotel where the Equality Riders were staying, harassingthe young adults who were staying inside. In the morning, anti-gay slurswere found written on the side of the bus, along with a hate-filled messageon a piece of cardboard: "God does not love feary f****"

To view uncensored pictures of the defacement click here - (Warning: Photos show obscenitiesand hate speech.)


Gay students create safe haven at school
Columbia High School alliance seeks to boost tolerance in community

Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Thursday, March 8, 2007

EAST GREENBUSH -- When high school student Helena Echandy came out as alesbian, she mostly spent time with her closest friends, cautious aboutdealing with the public at large.

Now the 19-year-old senior at Columbia High School is a gay-rights activistand a member of her school's new Gay-Straight Alliance.

After months of existing as an unsanctioned club, the GSA received approvalfrom the East Greenbush school district's Board of Education this year. Thegroup was founded by 18-year-old senior Brittany Shoup, who got the ideawhen she began dating a girl who was the president of Troy High School'sGSA.

"Other schools go through so much more than we do," Shoup said. "The climatehere is pretty tolerant."

The Columbia group meets Wednesdays after school. As many as 40 people haveshown up for group discussions and sometimes just general socializing.


HIV/AIDS Meds Rationed In Puerto Rico
by The Associated Press

Posted: March 9, 2007 - 7:30 am ET

(San Juan, Puerto Rico) The U.S. has halted payments to clinics that treatAIDS patients in Puerto Rico, forcing hundreds of poor people to go withoutfree medicine in a U.S. territory with an AIDS rate nearly double that ofthe mainland.

Puerto Rican officials blame the FBI, saying agents investigating fraudseized documents clinics need to get reimbursement for drugs and services.The FBI denies it is responsible.

Patient advocates blame the San Juan city government and other islandagencies, saying the problem is a result of mismanagement in a program thathas a history of corruption.

The 21 clinics, which are privately run under the administration of the SanJuan city government, say they stopped receiving reimbursement from the late 2006, but the rationing and cutbacks only began in recent weeks astheir budgets have started to run low.

Some clinics have reduced their hours, staff levels and the amount ofmedicine they distribute.


House panel backs same-sex adoption

Bill goes to full Colorado House for debate
DENVER (AP) | Mar 9, 8:00 AM

Same-sex partners and other unmarried people would be able to adopt childrentogether under a bill backed by a House committee.

The House Health and Human Services voted to send the measure to the fullHouse for debate.

Three others states already have similar second-parent adoption laws, whichallow any two non-married people to adopt a child. That could also include agrandparent and another adult or two co-habitating adults.

Currently in Colorado, gay people are able to adopt a child on their own buttheir partner can't adopt the child too.

Supporters say it makes sense to encourage children to have two parents,giving them more economic stability and access to benefits like healthinsurance. But opponents say it's really about promoting gay adoption. Nonecame to the hearing to speak against the bill though.


Anti-gay youth ministry tests San Francisco's tolerance

March 9, 2007
By Jesse McKinley San Francisco Journal

SAN FRANCISCO - It is the type of event that cities usually salivate over:more than 20,000 teenagers, all with a keen interest in pop culture, plentyof chaperones, and, of course, pockets full of disposable income.

But when the group in question is a Christian ministry from Texas thatcondemns homosexuality, and the place is San Francisco, often referred to as"the gayest city in America," the civic welcome wagon collapses prettyquickly.

A two-day event called BattleCry starts Friday at AT&T Park, the downtownbaseball stadium. Organizers say the gathering, which includes performancesby Christian rock bands and inspirational speakers, is a way for youngChristians to speak out against what they view as destructive culturalelements, including sex on television, obscene music and violent videogames.

"This culture is really hammering this generation," said Ron Luce, founderof Teen Mania, the Texas-based ministry that sponsors and promotesBattleCry. "Whether it's being accosted with horrible sexually suggestivemessages or the garbage in the video game world, corporate America is rapingand pillaging American teenagers. And everyone is just walking by."

But several prominent San Francisco political leaders say Luce's group isthe one doing the damage, using its young members as a conduit for a messageof intolerance.


HeartStrong Inc
PO Box 2051
Seattle WA 98111

Marc Adams, Executive Director


Seattle, WA - "Having the right to do something doesn't necessarily makeit right to do," says Marc Adams, executive director of HeartStrong, Inc.

"You would think that after all of the apologies our country has had tomake and all of the reparation checks they've cut that they would havelearned this lesson by now."

Adams is referring to the firestorm brewing after the recent firing by theMethodist Spring Arbor University of Dr. Julie Nemecek, Associate Dean ofAdult Studies. A calculated effort to make her disappear began almostimmediately after she informed the University of her diagnosis in 2005culminating with her termination last month.

"Spring Arbor University's attempt to seduce Dr. Nemecek in to thelifestyle they are comfortable with and firing her when she chose tofollow her own heart is sickening," Adams continues. "Religiouseducational institutions are not known for exercising real unconditionallove and this incident is no exception. SAU will now be known for thedisrespect of its employee and piety instead of an institution for higherlearning."

HeartStrong, Inc., is a national non profit co-founded by Adams more thana decade ago and its sole mission is to provide support to gay, lesbian,bisexual and transgendered students and others who are persecuted atreligious educational institutions worldwide. The HeartStrong OutreachTeam has self-driven more than 336,000 miles in eight years doing outreachand educational work.

In June of 2006, in standard religious school fashion, SAU issued Nemeceka restructured contract demanding adherence or face termination. The newcontract conditions punished her by cutting her salary by twenty percentand forced her to virtually disappear from campus and all SAU relatedactivities. The contract also required Nemecek to undergo Universitymonitored counseling presumably to try to keep her from continuing herjourney.

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