Monday, March 19, 2007

GLBT DIGEST March 19, 2007

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The New York Times

March 18, 2007
Gates Sidesteps Question on Pace Apology

Filed at 12:15 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates declined to say Sundaywhether the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should apologize for hisremark that homosexual acts were immoral or whether it was a slur on gaymembers of the armed forces.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace made the remark last Monday in an interview with theChicago Tribune. The next day, following criticism from several lawmakersand gay-rights groups, Pace said that he regretted having stated a personalopinion but did not apologize.

''I think General Pace has made pretty clear that he wished he had avoidedhis personal opinion,'' Gates said on ''Face the Nation'' on CBS. Thesecretary said he did not plan to ask Pace to do anything more in regard tothe remark.

Asked if Pace's comment was a slur on members of the armed forces, Gatessaid: ''I think I'll leave it at the fact that I don't think this is anissue where personal opinion has any place.'' As far as Pace apologizing,Gates said, ''I think we should just move on from this point.''

Gates said Pace was a man of enormous principle and integrity and tremendousskill. ''I think the American people are lucky to have him as chairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff,'' he said.


The Washington Post

Clinton, Obama Slow to Respond to Questions on Homosexuality

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, March 18, 2007; 11:42 AM

Do the two leading Democrats running for president think homosexuality isimmoral? That question arose this week after Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton(N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) seemed slow to criticize remarks by Gen.Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that "homosexual actsbetween two individuals are immoral."

Clinton was asked by ABC News about the morality of homosexuality onWednesday morning. She responded, "I am going to leave that to others toconclude." Obama didn't respond to repeated questions about his position onWednesday after an appearance in Washington. With a torrent of complaintsfrom the gay community coming in, both candidates soon released statementssaying they don't think it's immoral to be gay. (See Clinton talking aboutthe issue.)

But the episode was viewed with some concern by gay activists and political observers. Kenneth Sherrill, who teaches courses on gay politics at the City University of New York, said Obama and Clinton seemed "afraid to say homosexuality is not immoral." He added, "They are afraid of backlash. Ifyou look at the polling data, you find a fairly large percentage ofAmericans think homosexuality is wrong even though they support equalrights."

Presidential elections tend to crystallize the position of gays in Americanpolitics, though sometimes in unexpected ways. In 1992, Bill Clintoncampaigned saying he would allow gays to serve openly in the military. Hewas forced to back away from that position and accept the compromise "don'task, don't tell" policy. In 2004, Republicans -- including President Bush'steam in Ohio -- made anti-gay marriage appeals that seemed to galvanize partof the GOP base.

Just more than two years later, though, the gay community arguably has astronger place in American politics than ever before. A network of gaypolitical donors is exercising an unprecedented role in supportingcampaigns, as Joshua Green of the Atlantic chronicled recently. Most of theleading presidential contenders favor civil unions, which were consideredcontroversial just a few years ago.


Ft. Lauderdale - Sunshine Cathedral,0,1382462,print.story

Area church helps Jamaica's lesbian, gay community

By Alva James-Johnson
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

March 19, 2007

When members of the Sunshine Cathedral heard reports that gays and lesbianswere being abused in Jamaica, they extended their reach from Fort Lauderdaleto the Caribbean island.

The church at 1480 SW Ninth Ave. now has a branch in Jamaica 83 membersstrong, church leaders said.

The congregation established the Jamaican church in December in response toa 2004 Human Rights Watch report that alleged police and citizens werepersecuting gays, sex workers and people with HIV/AIDS, according to thechurch pastor, the Rev. Grant Lynn Ford.

Church leaders have traveled to the island to support gay men and lesbiansand challenge homophobic attitudes among government and religious officials,he said.

"The government says it's not happening. They attribute the death of everygay man and lesbian woman to domestic violence or a trick gone bad," hesaid. "But it's not that. It's a homophobic mob mentality."

Sunshine Cathedral is an affiliate of Metropolitan Community Churches, aSarasota-based denomination that provides spiritual support for gays andlesbians worldwide.

Ford said the Jamaica initiative is part of a 10-year plan to establishchurches in diverse communities throughout South Florida and the Caribbean.

He said the gay and lesbian community in Trinidad and Tobago alreadyexpressed interest in starting a congregation.

The church also hopes to plant a church in post-Castro Cuba and is planningfor congregations in the Pompano-Deerfield Beach, Coral Springs and MiamiBeach areas to cater to gays and lesbians from Brazil and other LatinAmerican countries.

The Jamaican church is divided into four groups, one each in Mandeville,Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, church leaders said.

Worshipers rotate locations for fear of attack. They meet once a month for anational gathering and three times a month for local services. The cathedralprovides bus transportation, worship leaders and other resources.

Human rights organizations list Jamaica as one of the world's mostinhospitable countries for gays and lesbians. Homosexual acts are prohibitedby law on the island and punishable by years in prison.

Alva James-Johnson can be reached at or954-356-4546.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,3191169,print.story?coll=sfla-news-editorial


South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board

March 19, 2007

Adoption ban remains a Florida shame

The truly sad thing about the proposal to repeal the ban on gay adoptions inFlorida is that even the sponsors aren't optimistic about its passing.

Barring a miracle during the legislative session, Florida will shamefullyspend another year with the most sweeping law in the country against gapadoption. Gays and lesbians can be foster parents, but if they want to adoptthose foster kids whom they have raised -- heaven forbid!

The law is a relic from the Anita Bryant homophobic days of 30 years ago,but old prejudices die hard in Florida.

The South Florida sponsors of repeal include: Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston; andReps. Kelly Skidmore, D-Boca Raton; Mary Brandenburg, D-West Palm Beach;Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach; Martin David Kiar, D-Davie; and Ari Porth,D-Coral Springs.

Rich and Skidmore hope introducing the measure will move Florida closer torepeal. It's embarrassing that "closer" is all they can realistically hopefor.


The Express Gay News

McGreevey says people must learn early to be open about their sexuality
Former N.J. governor criticizes 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) | Mar 19, 7:10 AM

Former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, who resigned after revealing that hewas gay, says culture is outpacing politics in the acceptance ofhomosexuality.

McGreevey, who was in Santa Fe this past weekend to speak at a fundraiserfor the Human Rights Alliance, called his decision to come out "one of themost painful but honest decisions of my life."

Even though the revelation of being gay can hurt family and friends,McGreevey said Friday that people must learn at an early age to be openabout their sexuality.

"Hopefully, this generation will be the last generation of American youththat has to choose between their heart and their career, between love andacceptance," he said.

McGreevey also addressed comments made earlier this week by the Pentagon'stop general. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs,remarked that homosexual acts are immoral and said the military should notcondone homosexuality by allowing gay personnel to serve openly.


The New York Times

March 19, 2007
Partner Adopted by an Heiress Stakes Her Claim

NORTH HAVEN, Me., March 13 - On an island liberally sprinkled with theaffluent and well-connected members of such clans as Bush, du Pont,Rockefeller and Cabot, the Watson family occupies a special place.

The family, descendants of Thomas J. Watson Sr., the founder of I.B.M., ownsmore than 300 acres worth nearly $20 million on the northern tip of thissea-splashed idyll 90 miles northeast of Portland. Over four decades,various Watsons summering here have flown helicopters and other aircraft;driven antique cars and collected scrimshaw. The family has held an annualsquare dance at their compound, Oak Hill.

Recently, though, the Watson name has surfaced in a different context, aost unusual lawsuit. It concerns Olive F. Watson, 59, granddaughter of theI.B.M. founder and daughter of Thomas J. Watson Jr., the company's longtimechief executive; and Patricia Ann Spado, 59, her former lesbian partner of14 years.

In 1991, Ms. Watson, then 43, adopted Ms. Spado, then 44, under a Maine lawthat allows one adult to adopt another. The reason, Ms. Spado has contendedin court documents, was to allow Ms. Spado to qualify as an heir to Ms.Watson's estate.

But less than a year after the adoption, Ms. Watson and Ms. Spado broke up.Then in 2004, Ms. Watson's mother died, leaving multimillion-dollar trustsestablished by her husband to be divided among their 18 grandchildren.


Romney defends general, 'don't ask, don't tell' policy

Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer
Saturday, March 17, 2007

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney -- who in past campaigns has arguedhe would be a better advocate to the gay community than Sen. Ted Kennedy -- said Friday that he would not ask the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffto apologize for calling homosexuality "immoral,'' saying that "people areentitled to believe what they want to believe.''

"I think he's already expressed his regret for what he said, and I'm notcalling on any further action by him,'' the former Massachusetts governorsaid of Gen. Peter Pace's remarks. "I think people are entitled to believewhat they want to believe, but what they say in their official and secularroles should be an expression of tolerance and respect for people regardlessof our differences.''

Romney was asked about gays in the military and the current "don't ask,don't tell'' policy, saying he strongly supports it.

"When I first heard ("don't ask, don't tell), I thought it sounded silly andI just dismissed it and said, well, that can't possibly work. Well, I surewas wrong. It has worked,'' Romney said during a telephone interview Fridaywith The Chronicle. "It's been in place now for over a decade. The militarysays it's working and they don't want to change it ... and they're thepeople closest to the front.

"We're in the middle of a conflict right now,'' Romney said. " I would notchange it.''


The Express Gay News

More Local News
Nadine Smith arrest sparks new website

Mar. 16, 2007

The Feb. 27 arrest of Florida gay rights activist Nadine Smith at a publichearing in Largo, Fla., has prompted the creation of a website,

The site was sponsored by the Triangle Foundation, a Michigan gay rightsorganization. The site contains photos of four police officers arrestingSmith as the activist is lying on the floor. According to witnesses, Smithwas taken into a room, shoved to the floor and arrested after she handed aflier that said "Don't Discriminate" to a hearing attendee.

The hearing was scheduled after right-wing groups pressured the city to fireCity Manager Steve Stanton because he plans to undergo gender reassignment.At the meeting, the Largo City Commission voted 5-2 to begin the process offiring Stanton.

Largo police had prohibited the distribution of fliers in the public hearingbecause they believed it would be disruptive. Police say Smith becamedisruptive after an officer told her to take back a flier she had handed toa hearing attendee. Smith's attorney, Bruce Howie, has denied that theactivist was disruptive at the meeting. Smith also contends that she was notdistributing the fliers but merely handing them to people who asked forthem, Howie said.

Smith has been charged with resisting arrest with violence and disrupting apublic assembly. Her arrest has prompted a nationwide outcry.


Express Gay News

Link to image:

This photo on the new Justice in Largo website shows four Largo policeofficers holding gay rights Florida activist Nadine Smith on the ground while they
arrest her Feb. 27. According to Witnesses, Smith was taken into a room,shoved to the floor and arrested after she handed a flier that said "Don'tDiscriminate" to an attendee at a public hearing.


Ga. Senate committee passes hate crimes bill
Measure would toughen penalties for crimes based on sexual orientation,gender identity

Friday, March 16, 2007

A gay- and transgender-inclusive hate crimes bill muscled its way past thefirst test in its long, uphill battle to become law by gaining broadbipartisan support during a state Senate Judiciary Committee meeting March13.

Senate Bill 212, sponsored by state Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), clearedthe Judiciary Committee by a 7-2 vote and now heads to the Senate RulesCommittee. If it passes there, it would then go to the full Senate for avote before undergoing a similar process in the state House of

Senate Rules Committee Chair Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville) did not respondto interview requests by press time.

"I'm just gratified that a bipartisan group of senators voted to get thisbill out of committee and on to the next step," Fort said after the hearing."For the second year, Democrats and Republicans have passed a hate crimesbill out of the Senate Judiciary Committee - that's a big deal, and I think,hopefully because it's the second time, it'll get out of Rules so we can getan up or down vote on the floor."

The full state Senate passed a hate crimes law last year as an amendment toanother piece of legislation, after Fort's original hate crimes bill wasbottled up in the Rules Committee. Fort drafted a hate crimes law that wasadopted and signed into law in 2000, but the Georgia Supreme Court ruledthat legislation "unconstitutionally vague" in 2004 because it didn't listspecific groups of protected people.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

The Petrelis Files

Saturday, March 17, 2007

White House: Bush "Appreciates the Sacrifices" of Gay Soldiers in Iraq?

Am I reading this right? At the March 13 White House press briefing withBush advisor Dan Bartlett, the administration acknowledged the honorable gayand lesbian members of our forces in Iraq and also stated the presidentappreciates their sacrifices?

This seems like a small symbolic step forward in the struggle to bring USmilitary policies over homosexuals on par with those of other NATOcountries, without America suffering in her security one bit. I'll make thegood people at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, who are doing theheavy lifting required for equality in the armed forces, aware of Barlett'sstatement, just in case they missed it. My mind wonders if there have beenother Bush advisors who've made similar supportive remarks about ourbrothers and sisters in Iraq.

Well, if gay and lesbian bodies, and blood, are good enough for Bush toappreciate in his war on Iraq, why the hell can't the ban on gays in themilitary be lifted?

Actually, that's a weird sentence, since I really don't want to do a thingto help Bush get more meat for his grinding wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,but you get my point about gay equality and the military.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List



Raleigh, NC - Jimmy Creech, Executive Director of Faith In America, releasedthe following statement today:

"While General Pace just tried to clarify his remarks by aligning hiscomments with standing military policy, a major issue remains unexplained.General Pace needs to clarify what in his upbringing defined homosexualityto be immoral to him. Was it his civil life, his schooling, his religionthat taught him that? This is the question parents, teachers, clergy and themedia should ask. If it was his religious upbringing, we already know thatreligion has a history in the teaching of discrimination and hate.

"It is ridiculous to think that General Pace could curb his personal viewswhen dealing with military policy. His comments exposed more than simply'don't ask, don't tell' policy for the military, but exposed a very realpractice in our society: bigotry against the lesbian, gay, bisexual andtransgender community. When a person in such a position of power as GeneralPace uses a word like 'immoral,' the person owes the country an explanationabout how he comes to thosepositions. General Pace owes this country, especially those people who servein the military, an explanation for attributing his outrageous statements tohis upbringing."

Faith In America Inc., a non-profit advocacy group founded in 2005, haslaunched a nationwide effort to educate about the injustice ofreligion-based bigotry against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender(GLBT) people in America. The mission of Faith in America Inc. is to endlegal and spiritual discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual andtransgender (GLBT) people in America and to gain full and equal rights forthose citizens. A web site ( has been established toprovide information about religion-based bigotry and its historicexpressions, and to help people become active with other lesbian, gay,bisexual and transgender advocacy organizations.


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