Thursday, May 10, 2007

GLBT DIGEST May 10, 2007

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Report from Scott Long:

When I was in Paris in early April, just before the premier tour of theelection, I found the moving and pathetic statue of Colonel Dreyfus witha broken sword. Originally, in Chirac's first term, it was located inthe Tuileries; now, after protests from an unrepentant Right that it wasan unnecessary reminder of national shame, it has been moved to anobscure square near the Jardin de Luxembourg.

In his victory speech, Sarkozy gloated about how he would "break withthe ideas, habits and behaviors of the past, rehabilitate work,authority, morality, respect and merit. I want to give our nation andnational identity their honor back. I want to give back to the Frenchtheir pride to be French and do away with repentance which is a form ofself-hatred."

Chirac's tentative willingness to come to terms with France's legacy ofanti-semitism and colonialism is part of that "self-hating repentance"Sarkozy so loathes. In addition to allowing a monument to themistreatment of Dreyfus, Chirac at least hesitantly acknowledgedFrance's role in the deportation of Jews in the Second World War, andFrench massacres of Arab Muslims during the Algerian war. Sarkozy istoo morally minuscule a man to acknowledge historical responsibility,and too implicated in racism to be remotely concerned with equality. Andif he dismisses one minority sweepingly as a "racaille," he is hardlylikely to be friendlier to LGBT people. A person so contemptuous of thepast is not going to give gays much of a future.

Scott Long
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program
Human Rights Watch
New York, NY USA


US Anti-Gay, Other Conservative Groups Meet In Poland
by The Associated Press
Posted: May 9, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(New York City) Many prominent U.S. conservative groups are shifting theirattention overseas this week, organizing a conference in Poland that willdecry Europe's liberal social policies and portray the host nation as avaliant holdout bucking those trends.

The World Congress of Families is expected to draw more than 2,500 peoplefrom dozens of countries to Warsaw's Palace of Culture and Science fromFriday through Sunday.

The chief organizer is a Rockford, Ill.-based conservative think tank, theHoward Center. Co-sponsors include more than 20 other U.S. groups allied inopposition to abortion, gay marriage and other policies they blame forweakening traditional families in Western Europe.

"Europe is almost lost - to demographic winter and to the secularists," saysa planning document for the congress. "If Europe goes, much of the worldwill go with it. Almost alone, Poland has maintained strong faith and strongfamilies."

Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who will address the congress, heads aconservative government that has tangled frequently with European Unionofficials over such issues as gay rights and his nation's tough abortionlaws. Last month, after Polish officials proposed firing teachers whopromote homosexuality, the EU parliament asked its anti-racism center toexamine "the emerging climate of racist, xenophobic and homophobicintolerance in Poland."


National Gay News

Gay Pride Thwarted Again in Moldova

And other international news from Rex Wockner

Gay pride didn't go well in Moldova for the third year in a row.

Authorities in the capital, Chisinau, banned all public pride activitiesagain, despite a Supreme Court ruling that last year's ban was illegal.

The city says pride events threaten public order, offend Christian valuesand promote sexual propaganda.

Despite the ban, gay activists attempted to lay flowers April 27 at amonument to victims of repression. They were stopped by police, who said apermit was required for the action.

The flowers were then deposited at the officers' feet, said BorisBalanetkii, head of the pride organizing group GenderDoc-M.

"Police [said] GenderDoc-M has to have official permission of the City Hallto hold this event [but] later a representative of City Hall commented in aninterview ... that the actions of the police were not correct and in orderto lay flowers there is no need for any permission," Balanetkii said.



The President's Disingenuous Arguments Against Expanding the Federal HateCrime Law
Wednesday, May. 09, 2007

The original version of this column neglected to note the ThirteenthAmendment objection. Professor Dorf added discussion of this issue inresponse to a thoughtful note from Georgetown Law Professor MartinLederman. -- Ed.

With the House of Representatives poised to enact a bill that would expandcoverage of the federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated byanimosity on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, anddisability, quick Senate approval is also expected. But last week, PresidentBush threatened a veto. The law, his Administration said in an Office ofManagement and Budget (OMB) statement, is unnecessary, unfair, andunconstitutional.

The White House's objections are not entirely without merit. Hate-crime lawsdo raise difficult questions about the proper role of mental states inassessing criminality. Further, federal hate crime legislation raisesimportant questions about the proper division of responsibility between thestate and national governments. However, as I shall explain in this column,these cannot be the real grounds for the President's opposition--for if theywere, they would also provide reasons for repealing the existing federalhate crime law, which criminalizes hate crimes based on race, color,religion and national origin, but not gender, sexual orientation, genderidentity, or disability.


The Hidden Costs of America's Hypermasculine Culture
By Mark Dery, AlterNet
Posted on May 9, 2007, Printed on May 10, 2007

This article first appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

So there's a smoking crater where Don Imus used to sit. That's fine withthose of us who never understood the appeal of his grizzled-codger shtick,which, to me, always sounded like Rooster Cogburn reading The TurnerDiaries.

But if we're going to administer a ritual flaying to every blowhard who
channels the ugly American id, how is it that a hate-speech Touretter likeAnn Coulter has escaped the skinning knife? She called Democraticpresidential candidate John Edwards a "faggot" at the Conservative PoliticalAction Conference; insisted on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch that BillClinton's "promiscuity" is proof positive of "latent homosexuality"; quippedon Hardball Plaza that Al Gore is a "total fag"; and wrote, in hersyndicated column, that the odds of Hillary Clinton "coming out of thecloset" in 2008 are "about even money."

Obviously, racism -- slavery, lynching, institutionalized discrimination --has taken a much greater toll, in this country, than homophobia. Accordingto the most recent FBI report on hate crimes (2005), most such attacks (54.7percent) were racially motivated; only 14.2 percent were inspired by thesexual orientation of the victim.


National Gay News

Gay Rights Taking Two Historic Steps in OR

One (bill) grants domestic partnerships. The other protects individuals fromdiscrimination based on sexual orientation at work, in housing or in publicplaces -- no matter where in the state they live. Both are expected to besigned by Gov. Ted Kulongoski.



AIDS Ignorance Revealed by Chinese Gay Hotline

China Daily has highlighted the work of a Guangzhou-based free hotline forhomosexuals. "Many of them call us repeatedly, asking everything they canthink of about AIDS despite the fact that they have tested negative forHIV," Xiao Shen told China Daily.

read more....


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Religious right at political crossroads

By Alexandra Alter
The Miami Herald
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

When nearly 1,000 Christian activists gathered in Fort Lauderdale two yearsago for the Center for Reclaiming America's annual political conference, themood was triumphant. Speakers hailed President Bush's reelection and theleaders rolled out ambitious plans:
launching a Capitol Hill lobbying arm, opening a dozen regional offices ndrecruiting activists in all 435 congressional districts.

No more. The center -- one of the country's leading Christian grass-rootspolitical organizations -- closed its Fort Lauderdale doors last month,sparking speculation about what its sudden demise means for the future ofthe religious right.

'It's a big loss,' said the Florida Prayer Network's Pam Olsen, who led aprayer rally Thursday to mark the National Day of Prayer at the stateCapitol. Olsen, who served as the state chairwoman for social conservativeoutreach for the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, vowed a comeback: ``You will seethe Christian-values voters rise again.'


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Lawful incest may be on its way

Lawful incest may be on its way
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | May 2, 2007

WHEN THE BBC invited me onto one of its talk shows recently to talk aboutthe day's hot topic -- legalizing adult incest -- I thought of RickSantorum.

Back in 2003, as the Supreme Court was preparing to rule in Lawrence v.Texas (,a case challenging the constitutionality of laws criminalizing homosexualsodomy, then-Senator Santorum caught holy hell for warning that if the lawwere struck down, there would be no avoiding the slippery slope.

"If the Supreme Court says you have the right to consensual sex within yourhome," he told a reporter(,"then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you havethe right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right toanything."

It was a common-sensical observation, though you wouldn't have known it fromthe nail-spitting it triggered in some quarters. When the justices, voting6-3, did in fact declare it unconstitutional for any state to punishconsensual gay sex, the dissenters echoed Santorum's point

"State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution,masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are . . .called into question by today's decision," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote forthe minority. Now, Time magazine acknowledges: "It turns out the criticswere right."


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

North Carolina Supreme Court Rules on Teen Sodomy
by New York Law School Professor Arthur S. Leonard, May 09, 2007 in LegalIssues

The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled on May 4 that although severalcriminal sex crimes statutes of the state specifically provide that it isnot a crime for young teens within three years of age to engage in variousforms of consensual sexual activity, this exception does not apply under thestate's antique "crime against nature" sodomy law. The ruling in Matter ofR.L.C., 2007 WL 1299443, drew a dissenting opinion from two justices, whocriticized the result as contrary to the intentions of the legislature.

When an Alamance County Deputy Sherrif, Bobby Baldwin, was investigating afight between young O.P.M. and another student at her school, he learnedfrom O.P.M., then 13, that the prior year she had engaged in sexual activitywith R.L.C., a boy a few years older than her. Baldwin then questionedR.L.C., who admitted that the prior summer O.P.M. had, as phrased by thecourt, "performed fellatio on him 'two [or] three times.'" Furtherinvestigation revealed that R.L.C. and O.P.M. were sitting in O.P.M.'sparents' car, which was parked in the lot next to a bowling alley, where theparents were busy bowling. According to the description by Justice Brady inthe opinion, the two were dating during that summer of 2003, R.L.C. being 14and O.P.M. 12. "During this relationship, the two juveniles had sexualintercourse and engaged in two separate incidents of fellatio in or aroundJuly and August of 2003 in the back seat of O.P.M.'s mother's sport utilityvehicle, which was parked in a bowling alley parking lot. O.P.M.'s parentswere inside bowling at the time of the sexual activity."


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

US Asylum - Yes to Slovakia, No to Indonesia

by New York Law School Professor Arthur S. Leonard, Leonard Link, May 9,2007 in Legal Issues

In two opinions issued last week, unanimous panels of the U.S. Court ofAppeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the refusal of asylum to a gay man fromIndonesia, but reversed the Board of Immigration Appeals and orderedreconsideration of an asylum petition for a gay man from Slovakia.

The Slovakia ruling (2007 Westlaw 1296716) came on May 2. According to theunpublished memorandum opinion for the court, the petitioner "was kipnaped,beaten, and harassed by Slovak police on two occasions. Both encounterswere because of his sexual orientation. He fled to the United Kingdom andAustria before briefly returning to Slovakia. He then traveled to Mexico.He never applied for asylum while in Austria, the United Kingdom, or Mexico,nor attempted to gain lawful entry into the United States. Instead, [he]obtained a fake passport and was intercepted by border agents whileattempting to enter the United States illegally. He was charged withremovability... During a hearing before the IJ, [the petitioner] concededremovability and applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and CATrelief."

According to the court, the IJ found the petitioner to be credible, but "hedenied asylum relief because [the petitioner] never reported the beatings toSlovak authorities and therefore could not establish that the Slovakgovernment condones or acquiesces in such activities. The IJ additionallynoted he would deny asylum as a matter of discretion. The IJ also deniedthe withholding of removal claim, incorporating by reference the asylumanalysis, and CAT relief because [the petitioner] could not demonstrate thatit was more likely than not that he would be tortured if returned toSlovakia. The BIA affirmed the IJ's decision without comment."


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

May 8, 2007

CONTACT: Ali Bay, Communications Manager
PHONE: (916) 284-9187 EMAIL:

Senate Committee Calls for End of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Resolution Authored by Sen. Kehoe and Sponsored by EQCA Asks FederalGovernment to Stop Discrimination Against LGBT Service Members

SACRAMENTO - Lawmakers on Tuesday approved a resolution calling on thefederal government to end the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policythat prevents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people fromserving openly in the military.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed SJR6, authored by Sen. ChristineKehoe, D-San Diego, and sponsored by Equality California, urging Congressand President George W. Bush to adopt the Military Readiness Enhancement Actof 2007 (H.R. 1246). The federal bill would prohibit discrimination in themilitary based on sexual orientation.

SJR6, which passed the committee by a 3-2 vote, is co-authored by a total of10 California lawmakers. The resolution is part of EQCA's "Empowering OurCommunities" legislative agenda.

"The U.S. military continues to discriminate against an entire community ofservice members simply because they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual ortransgender," said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. "This blatantlydiscriminatory policy not only prohibits able and willing people fromdefending their country, it weakens our national defense by dischargingtalented and highly capable individuals."


The New York Times

May 10, 2007
Metro Briefing | New York

Manhattan: Gay Festival in Jeopardy

The organizers of PrideFest, the gay-themed street fair that generallyaccompanies the city's gay pride parade on the last Sunday in June, voted onTuesday night to tell city officials that they would cancel this year'sfestival unless they could find a better location. The members of Heritageof Pride, which organizes the festival and the parade, have said that theprevious site, in the West Village, was cramped and dangerous, and that theywanted to move to Chelsea. On April 27, city officials denied permission forthe change and urged the organizers to keep the event at the original site.The city's comptroller, William C. Thompson Jr., has sent the mayor a letterurging the city to reconsider


The New York Times

May 10, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor
A Player Who Never Found His Stage

A LITTLE over a decade after he came in as the young hope of a New Britain,Tony Blair, who is expected to announce his resignation date today, is afigure vilified and loathed by his own party and disliked by people inBritain at large.

There is, however, one good legacy he bequeaths us, and we should not beungenerous in recognizing it. That is peace in Ireland. Both sides in theNorthern Irish dispute hate the English, and both have good reason to do so.This hatred was a substantial reason successive British prime ministers,many of them doing their very best to undo the mistakes of the past, gotnowhere with the Irish.

But the hatred was only part of the reason. Another was the phenomenon oflanguage. The Ireland of James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, IanPaisley and Gerry Adams is a place where words bounce, and fly and sing,often meaning several things at once, sometimes meaning nothing at all.Expecting the various parties in Northern Ireland to negotiate with suchsolidly Aristotelian figures as Margaret Thatcher simply wasn't fair. Herword was her bond. Of course, both sides became entrenched behind barricadesnot only of barbed wire but of discourse.

Mr. Blair, however, is a boundlessly superficial person, and he wasperfectly happy to swim about in the weird world of Irish politics wherewords could mean anything you liked. Most of his sentences would beuntranslatable. They were even delivered in quite different accents, asthough he was more than one person, which in a way he is.

This multifaceted quality was very useful in Ireland. He is a naturallypleasant, polite person. And he has courage. These qualities have been anessential ingredient in the Irish peace process. They have led to the Alicein Wonderland situation we now have, in which the government of NorthernIreland has been placed in the hands of two sworn enemies - the extremeProtestant minister Ian Paisley and the former I.R.A. guerrilla MartinMcGuinness.


The New York Times

May 10, 2007
Oregon Domestic Partnerships

Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski signed into law legislation creating "domesticpartnerships" for same-sex couples starting Jan. 1. Mr. Kulongoski, aDemocrat, also signed into law a bill that outlaws discrimination based onsexual orientation, effective the same date. The domestic partnership lawenables same-sex couples to enter into contractual relationships with manybenefits of marriage. The other law bans discrimination against gay men,lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people in employment, housing andaccess to public accommodations.


The New York Times

May 10, 2007
Oregon Gov. Signs Domestic Partner Bill
Filed at 12:09 a.m. ET

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon on Wednesday joined a growing list of statesprepared to offer gay couples at least some of the benefits of marriage.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed legislation creating ''domestic partnerships''for gays and lesbians in the state starting Jan. 1. He also signed a billthat outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation, effective the samedate.

Kulongoski, a strong backer of both measures, said they would ''transformour state from one of exclusion to one of complete inclusion.'' The measureshad been attempted before but were always blocked by the Legislature untilthis year.

Opponents of the two bills said they planned to launch a signature-gatheringcampaign next week to try to refer both measures to the November 2008ballot.

The domestic partnership law will enable same-sex couples to enter intocontractual relationships that carry many of the benefits offered to marriedcouples. The other law will ban discrimination against gays, lesbians,bisexuals and transgendered people in employment, housing and access topublic accommodations.

So far, only Massachusetts allows gay couples to marry. Vermont,Connecticut, California, New Jersey, Maine and Washington have laws allowingeither civil unions or domestic partnerships, and Hawaii extends certainspousal rights to same-sex couples and cohabiting heterosexual pairs. TheNew Hampshire Legislature also recently approved a civil unions measure thatGov. John Lynch has said he will sign.


The New York Times

May 10, 2007
Blair Legacy: Reform, Peace, War
Filed at 9:29 a.m. ET

LONDON (AP) -- For Tony Blair, a decade of achievements faded into theshadows of the Iraq war.

The boyish-looking leader nicknamed ''Bambi,'' just 43 when he became primeminister a decade ago, has gone gray, his furrowed brow making him appearworn.

Each crease represents a difficult chapter in the past decade -- PrincessDiana's death, suicide bombings in London, scandals leading to the arrestsof top aides, the unpopular war in Iraq that has cost nearly 150 Britishlives.

''Hand on heart, I did what I thought was right,'' Blair said Thursday,surveying his time in power before announcing he would step down June 27.

The mood today could not be more different from the euphoria that greetedBlair's arrival at 10 Downing St.

Returning his Labour Party to power after 18 years under ConservativesMargaret Thatcher and John Major, he pledged to make Britain prosperous,boost the working class, make the government accountable and restoreBritain's standing on the world stage. He seemed a breath of fresh air, arock 'n' roll fan. No sooner was he elected than he and his wife, Cherie,had a baby.


The New York Times

May 10, 2007
Britain PM Tony Blair Plans to Step Down
Filed at 3:00 a.m. ET

LONDON (AP) -- The bitter end is near for Tony Blair, whose decade ofachievements have faded into the shadows of the Iraq war.

The boyish-looking leader nicknamed ''Bambi,'' just 43 when he became primeminister a decade ago, has gone gray, his furrowed brow making him appearworn.

Each crease represents a difficult chapter in the past decade -- PrincessDiana's death, suicide bombings in London, scandals leading to the arrestsof top aides, the unpopular war that has cost nearly 150 British lives.

''In government you carry each hope, each disillusion ... ,'' Blair saidlast September, near the beginning of what has been a long, slow marchtoward an announcement Thursday that he will step down to allow for a partyleadership contest that will likely end this summer. Gordon Brown, histreasury chief, is expected to become Britain's next prime minister; generalelections won't be held until 2009, at the earliest.

''The truth is,'' Blair said, ''you can't go on forever.''


The New York Times

May 10, 2007
Led by Democrats, New Hampshire Updates Image
Filed at 7:18 a.m. ET

CONCORD, New Hampshire (Reuters) - From backing gay civil unions to electinga Democratic legislature and governor, New Hampshire is moving politicallyand socially closer to its New England neighbors, signaling trouble forRepublicans.

In a region where the mountainous state was long dominated by Republicans,the Democrats' first sweep of the legislature in 132 years in November isushering in new policies and a new image to the state with the first U.S.presidential primary.

``The state is becoming more Democratic and I would expect in five to 10years it will be pretty much a solidly Democratic state just like the restof New England,'' said Andrew Smith, director of the University of NewHampshire's Survey Center.

Behind the political shift are changing demographics in a state that oftendefies the liberal New England stereotype with prohibitions on income andsales taxes, and with a proud libertarian streak expressed by its motto``Live Free or Die.''

Smith traces the changes to a 1990 recession that hammered small factories.Service industries sprouted, drawing degree-holding workers from moreDemocratic regions and swelling the population by 11 percent between 1990and 2000, the fastest such growth in New England.


Out to pull just one heartstring, defendant is hitting a sour note

Michael Mayo
News Columnist

May 10, 2007

As courtroom drama goes, it's hard to top a death-penalty defendant takingthe stand.

Especially a defendant who hasn't disputed killing a Broward sheriff'sdeputy at close range, detailed a long-simmering feud with an undercoverofficer who made life miserable for him and his child pornography-obsesseddomestic partner, and spent part of his time touting his charitable natureand strong religious and moral fiber.

"I like who I am," Kenneth Wilk said at one point Wednesday. "I like helpingpeople."

Josephine Fatta, mother of slain deputy Todd Fatta, bit her lip when sheheard that part. The large contingent of Sheriff's Office personnel watchingin U.S. District Judge James Cohn's courtroom, including 10 uniformeddeputies, looked unmoved.

The opinions of the 12 jurors who will decide Wilk's fate weren't so easy toread.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, May. 10, 2007
U.N. study sees subtle discrimination

The disabled, gays and lesbians, and people living with HIV/AIDS aresuffering from new and more subtle forms of workplace discrimination, theU.N. labor agency said Thursday.

Despite major advances in the fight against discrimination, gender, race andreligion continue to determine how people are treated in the employmentmarket and at the workplace, the International Labor Organization said inits flagship report on global working conditions.

Women are especially prone to labor discrimination, the ILO said inoutlining only a mixed bag of success since the last installment of its"equality at work" series four years ago.

"It's striking to see how everywhere in the world, irrespective of how richor how poor a country is, or what type of political system it has,discrimination is there," said Manuela Tomei, author of the 127-page report.

"Discrimination is a never-ending story of human nature. But it's somethingthat society can no longer tolerate."

While more women are joining the work force around the world, they continuein every geographical region to be paid less than men for the same jobs, thereport said.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, May. 10, 2007
Blair legacy: reform, peace, war

For Tony Blair, a decade of achievements faded into the shadows of the Iraqwar.

The boyish-looking leader nicknamed "Bambi," just 43 when he became primeminister a decade ago, has gone gray, his furrowed brow making him appearworn.

Each crease represents a difficult chapter in the past decade - PrincessDiana's death, suicide bombings in London, scandals leading to the arrestsof top aides, the unpopular war in Iraq that has cost nearly 150 Britishlives.

"Hand on heart, I did what I thought was right," Blair said Thursday,surveying his time in power before announcing he would step down June 27.

The mood today could not be more different from the euphoria that greetedBlair's arrival at 10 Downing St.


HIV Meds Scams Part Of Massive Medicare-Bilking Schemes
by The Associated Press

Posted: May 10, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Washington) After documenting more than $140 million in Medicare fraud insouth Florida, federal officials say they will take a more thorough look atother providers of medical equipment.

An investigation in the Miami area has led to 38 arrests, including 20 onTuesday.

Many defendants set up sham medical equipment dealerships. The defendantsare accused of stealing the Medicare numbers of beneficiaries or buyingtheir numbers, and then billing the government for power wheelchairs,walkers, or kits for testing blood sugar levels, said Health and HumanServices Secretary Mike Leavitt.

"Unfortunately, that's exactly what's been happening in several areas aroundour country," Leavitt said.

Leavitt said increased enforcement efforts will cost about $20 millionannually, but could save taxpayers and beneficiaries about $2.5 billionannually. Home health agencies also will be reviewed more thoroughly.


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