Thursday, June 14, 2007

GLBT DIGEST June 14, 2007

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The Washington Post

Despite retired Gen. Colin Powell's assertion that "gays and lesbians shouldbe llowed to have maximum access to all aspects of society," he continuesto support he military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, saying: "I willnot second-guess the ommanders who are serving now" ["Powell Calls forClosure of Military Prison at Guantanamo," news story, June 11].

I am disappointed in Gen. Powell's lack of leadership on this issue. Ourgovernment has a constitutional duty to protect the liberty of citizens. Themilitary, an extension of our government, exists to help defend thatliberty, and yet we don't include all of our own service people under thisprotection of liberty.

How can the thousands of honorably serving gay soldiers, sailors, airmen andMarines ever trust commanders who are bound to operate under such adiscriminatory policy? Gen. Powell knows that military commanders mustfollow the orders of their civilian leaders. Many in the military leadershiponce did not like being ordered to integrate, but the government said theyhad to.

It is time for Gen. Powell to stand up and tell Congress that "don't ask,don't tell" is no longer an appropriate policy and that all service membersshould be treated equally.




The Washington Post

Late Gain For Sex Ed Committee

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 14, 2007; GZ09

The addition of one bit of guidance for teachers to the new sex educationlessons for Montgomery County public schools was a small 11th-hour victoryfor members of a citizens advisory committee who had felt shut out of theeducational process they were empaneled to advise.

Superintendent Jerry D. Weast on Monday told school board members that hisstaff would add a brief passage to the new sex education lessons that alsoinstruct teachers on how to answer a specific question if asked by astudent: "Is homosexuality an illness?" The answer: It is not, according tothe American Psychiatric Association.

Board members Tuesday approved the lessons, with that addition, effectivelyexpanding the two 45-minute lessons from a six-school pilot program to fullimplementation in eighth- and 10th-grade health classes this fall.

The last-minute tweak was a concession to the advisory committee, and itmight have helped Weast and his staff keep control of the curriculum.

Members of the committee, a group representing parents, educators and avariety of other stakeholders, lobbied Weast and board members intenselylate last week to make additions to the lessons, which they said offeredstudents too little information to counter misconceptions abouthomosexuality and homosexuals, such as whether sexual orientation is achoice and whether homosexuals can lead happy lives.


A Questionable Nominee
A prospective surgeon general's 1991 paper on gay men haunts him in 2007,and deservedly so.

Thursday, June 14, 2007; A26

PRESIDENT BUSH has nominated Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr. to be the nextsurgeon general of the United States. His would be the leading voice onhealth issues in the nation, and as such, he would be looked to for unbiasedinformation grounded in sound science and tailored to the common good.That's why a 1991 paper written by Dr. Holsinger titled "Pathophysiology ofMale Homosexuality" has raised red flags.

Dr. Holsinger has had a distinguished career. From 1969 to 1994 he worked inthe Department of Veterans Affairs, rising to undersecretary for health in1992. From 1994 to 2003, Dr. Holsinger was chancellor of the University ofKentucky Medical Center. He was appointed by Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) in 2003as Kentucky's chief of health and family services, a post he held untilDecember 2005 when he returned to the University of Kentucky. But hisactivity in the United Methodist Church has earned him the ire of gay groupsacross the country.

As a member of the church's Judicial Council, Dr. Holsinger voted with themajority to boot a lesbian from her post as a minister and to allowministers to deny church membership to gay men and lesbians. It is not ourplace to tell religions what their beliefs should or should not be. But thatstricture does not apply when bigotry masquerades as science. Dr. Holsingerprepared "Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality" for the Committee to StudyHomosexuality of the United Methodist Church, which was discussing whetherto end the church's stance of not condoning homosexuality. Pathophysiologywas defined as "abnormal function."

The six pages of prurient fascination with what Dr. Holsinger believes isgay sex paint all gay men as promiscuous beings who are riddled with diseasebecause of various sex acts (described in detail) that are in the extremefor both homosexuals and heterosexuals. To prove his argument that gay sexwas unhealthy and unnatural, Dr. Holsinger wrote, "In fact, the logicalcomplementarity of the human sexes has been so recognized in our culturethat it has entered our vocabulary in the form of naming various pipefittings either the male fitting or the female fitting depending upon whichone interlocks within the other." Is he a doctor or the ACE Hardware man?

Christina Pearson, spokeswoman at the Department of Health and HumanServices, said, "Dr. Holsinger remains focused on addressing the health ofall in need, including gay and lesbian populations, consistent with soundscience and the best medical practices." Senators who will meet with Dr.Holsinger when he makes the rounds on Capitol Hill this month need todetermine -- at a minimum -- whether his judgment of sound science and bestmedical practices has improved since 1991.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,1921425,print.story?coll=sfla-entertainment-headlines

From the Chicago Tribune


N.J.'s gay ex-gov trashes wife
Associated Press
June 14 2007

TRENTON, N.J. -- Former Gov. James McGreevey said he's not to blame for poorsales of his estranged wife's book.

In a letter to the family court judge handling his divorce, he attributed"the failure of her book" in part to "her awful appearance on the Oprah Show... appearing in an inappropriate and ill-fitting ball gown with a plungingneckline."

McGreevey, 49, who announced in 2004 that he was gay, also said her book was"poorly written" and "dull."

The letter was sent as Superior Court Judge Karen Cassidy mulls over whetherDina Matos McGreevey can continue to claim that McGreevey libeled anddefamed her when he called her homophobic.

Matos McGreevey contends McGreevey's characterization of her caused her tolose sales in the gay community and she wants him to pay her damages.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,1611256,print.story

Giuliani outlines his 12 top campaign promises

Iraq, guns and gay marriage not included in his speech
BY Tom Brune
June 14, 2007

BEDFORD, N.H. · Rudy Giuliani rolled out a list of 12 campaign promises aspart of an agenda-setting strategy for his Republican presidential campaigntoday, but he did not mention Iraq, gun control and gay marriage.

In a speech at Old Bedford Town Hall on Tuesday, Giuliani hit on many of hisfamiliar campaign themes, including fighting terrorism, basing health careon free market principles and taming Washington.

He put a new emphasis on education, calling for vouchers to give parents ofpublic school pupils the same kinds of choices of where to send theirchildren as parents of college-bound students.

And Giuliani listed many issues dear to the right such as tax cuts,increasing the size of the military and fighting child pornography, settingout his conservative markers at a time when polls show former Tennessee Sen.Fred Thompson luring away much conservative support.

"It's a group of promises that this campaign is going to be about and myadministration will be about," Giuliani said.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, Jun. 14, 2007
Military officers now targets on Hill

A Democratic challenge to Gen. Peter Pace indicates that uniformed officersno longer are exempt from the partisan fire on Capitol Hill once reservedfor civilian policymakers.

On Friday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates made the stunning announcementthat he would not recommend Pace to serve a second two-year term as thechairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Marine Corps four-star generalhad not been a target previously of Democrats' ire on the war, but Gatessaid lawmakers made it clear the confirmation process would be ugly.

"It would be a backward looking and very contentious process," Gates said ata Pentagon news conference.

The announcement was a surprise, particularly because the Senate in recentmonths confirmed other military officers with close ties to the Iraq warwith little fuss.

In January, Senate Democrats helped confirm Gen. David Petraeus to take overthe Iraq war despite their opposition to Petraeus' recommendation that theU.S. send thousands more combat troops into Iraq. The following month,Democrats endorsed Gen. George Casey as Army chief of staff after he led theIraq war for 2 1/2 years.


Beenie Man backs homosexuals
06/13/2007 7:00 PM, Yahoo! Music

Beenie Man and Sizzla are among the reggae acts to sign a deal welcoming allpeople to enjoy their music without fear of violence.

The agreement has been struck through the pioneering work of gay-rightsactivist Peter Tatchell and his Stop Murder Music campaign.

However, although a number of outspoken stars have backed the ReggaeCompassionate Act, a string of others have not.

The act states they "respect and uphold the rights of all individuals tolive without violence due to their religion, sexual orientation, race,ethnicity or gender.

"There's no space in the music community for hatred and prejudice, includingno place for racism, violence, sexism or homophobia.


Issue Date: 6/14/2007, Posted On: 6/14/2007

Lawmakers withdraw support for anti-gay proposal
Ethan Jacobs

A bill sponsored by the anti-gay group MassResistance to restrict discussionof LGBT issues in schools has lost the support of nearly half itsco-sponsors after a campaign by the group and itssupporters asking lawmakers to reject the bill. In an unexpected twist, someof the co-sponsors who withdrew told Bay Windows that their decision was nota change of heart; they claimed that they never agreed to co-sponsor thelegislation in the first place, and they were uncertain how their name wasadded to the co-sponsor list to begin with.

Kevin Shea, chief of staff for Rep. Paul Donato (D-Medford), said Donatoonly learned his name was on the co-sponsor list for Senate Bill 321 afterreceiving a call from a constituent who opposed the bill.

"He discovered that when somebody said to him, what's with S.321, and helooked at it and said, this isn't what he discussed with anybody," saidShea. He said prior to the bill's filing Donato had met with supporters ofMassResistance in his district who urged him to support the bill, but hemade no commitment to support it. And while Donato, a supporter of theconstitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, does not have a strongpro-gay voting record, Shea said after reading S.321 Donato has come out inopposition to the bill.

"He does not support that bill. It's a lot more than just a consent bill. It'sbeyond the pale," said Shea.

Indeed, the MassResistance bill goes much farther than the current state lawallowing parents to opt their children out of sex education classes. Itrequires schools to obtain written permission from parents to include theirchildren in any discussions of "alternative sexual behavior," which isdefined to include anything even remotely associated with LGBT issues.


Pa. bill to guide gay hiring has 'better' chance
By Brad Bumsted
Thursday, June 14, 2007

HARRISBURG -- Gays would be protected against discrimination in employmentand housing under legislation introduced Wednesday by state Rep. DanFrankel.

Frankel, a Squirrel Hill Democrat, insisted the bill has a better chance nowthan during the past two legislative sessions when it failed to garnerenough support.

What's different is that House Democrats now control the agenda, Frankel andother lawmakers said.

"What a difference a year makes," said Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Philadelphia,a supporter of Frankel's bill. Last year, when Republicans controlled theHouse, the issue up for consideration was a ban on gay marriages, she said.

Josephs, chair of the House State Government Committee, pledged to holdhearings on Frankel's bill.


Gay pride festival canceled
Intelligencer Journal

Published: Jun 14, 2007 12:55 AM EST


There will be no Lancaster Pride Arts and Entertainment Festival this year.

Organizers were forced to cancel the June 23 festival after learningMillersville University wouldn't allow the event to be held on its campus.

Phil Riordan, interim vice president for student affairs at MillersvilleUniversity, said "there never was a formal agreement, no signed paperwork,for the use of our facilities or services."

A June 8 Intelligencer Journal article reported festival organizers hadchanged the venue from Binns Park to the university campus after the cityhad rejected their event application due to an incomplete application andfailure to pay fees by the application deadline.

Riordan said a student who is part of MU Allies (the campus' gay-straightgroup) and also part of the pride festival steering committee tried toreserve a space on campus for a comedian at 7 p.m.


'Fag Bash' party draws complaints
by Matthew S. Bajko

It was meant to spice up the city's gay nightlife options and reclaim ananti-gay slur, but the promoters of the June 1 "Fag Bash" party stirred upmore than just electroclash and 1980s new-wave pop hits.

The party's name and poster imagery of two closed fists on a blackbackground elicited complaints. Promoters DJ Jeff Johnson and Kurt Coopersaid some people questioned their use of the word "fag" and thought it wasinappropriate.

"I have had a couple friends who said, 'I don't like that name.' Others saidthey loved the name," said Johnson, adding he has long thought the namewould be perfect for a dance party. "I intended it to spark some reactionand make people wake up and take notice."

Notice some did. One critic left an anonymous letter with the Bay AreaReporter about the poster images. The B.A.R. ran two ads promoting the partyheld at The Cat Club on Folsom Street featuring special guest DJ ReedMcGowan.

"I can't believe that you would call a club 'FAG BASH' - it's so wrong andin bad taste as to defy description," said part of the letter written on theback of one of the posters and left at the B.A.R.'s office.


Thursday, 14 June 2007 08:28
A Plea For Help For Iraqi Gays

Click here to download a scan (in PDF) of the original letter sent by BarneyFrank and Tammy Baldwin to Condoleezza Rice to stop the hate crimes in Iraq.


The Advocate

June 14, 2007
Lawmakers who legalized gay unions contemplate same for prostitution inMexico City

The leftist party that has already legalized gay unions and abortion inMexico City said it wants to make prostitution legal in the capital of thisoverwhelmingly Roman Catholic country.

Mexico City legislator Juan Bustos of the leftist Democratic RevolutionParty, who submitted the bill on Tuesday, said the move is necessary toprotect prostitutes from abuse and regulate the sex industry.

Corrupt police frequently use the current law not to arrest sex workers butas a threat to shake them down for bribes or sexual favors.

''These are issues that we are going to bring forward as part of a politicalplatform, because we feel it is part of our duty to society,'' Bustos saidWednesday.

However, he expects opposition. Spokesmen for the Roman Catholic church,which led marches against the abortion bill approved in April, were notimmediately available for comment.


The Advocate

June 14, 2007
Baptist global warming resolution sparks debate

Southern Baptists approved a resolution on global warming Wednesday thatquestions the prevailing scientific belief that humans are largely to blamefor the phenomenon and also warns that increased regulation of greenhousegases will hurt the poor.

The global warming debate has split evangelicals, with some not onlypressing the issue but arguing humans bear most of the responsibility forthe problem because of greenhouse gas emissions. Other evangelicals saytalking about the issue at all diminishes their influence over moretraditional culture war issues such as abortion, gay marriage and judicialappointments.

The SBC resolution, approved near the end of the denomination's annualmeeting, acknowledges a rise in global temperatures. But it rejectsgovernment-mandated limits on carbon-dioxide and other emissions as ''verydangerous'' because they might not make much difference and could lead to''major economic hardships'' worldwide.

Originally, the measure also backed more government-funded research intoglobal warming's causes and alternative energies to oil. But the resolutionwas amended to drop that language, in part over concerns that it wouldendorse strong government engagement in the issue.

The two-day annual meeting of the nation's largest Protestant denomination,which boasts 16.3 million members, ended Wednesday night. The gathering washighlighted by new steps to prevent child sexual abuse, calls for unity toreverse stagnant membership and a struggle over defining Baptist identity.About 8,500 ''messengers,'' or delegates, registered to attend.


The Advocate

June 14, 2007
New poll shows same-sex marriage not an issue for Republicans in NewHampshire

The results of a new CNN poll of likely Republican primary voters releasedthis week showed "gay marriage" barely registers on the Republican radar asan important issue to be considered in the 2008 election.

The poll asked likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, "In youropinion, which one issue is most important to your vote in the presidentialprimary?" The results of the survey showed the crowning issue for Republicanvoters in the state is the Iraq war followed by illegal immigration and theeconomy. Same-sex marriage ranked 17 on a list of 20 potential answers; 19and 20 were "other" and "no opinion" respectively.

"This poll of Republican voters confirms what many of us in the GOP alreadyknew-the GOP primary election should focus on the issues rank-and-fileRepublicans care about and same-sex marriage isn't one of them," said LogCabin Republicans President Patrick Sammon. "Republican candidates shouldfocus on issues that unite our Party, instead of using marriage as a wedgeissue in this campaign."

"This poll sends a loud and clear message to Republican candidates," saidSammon. "Our Party is hungry for leadership on the big issues of the daysuch as the war in Iraq, reforming immigration, homeland security, andkeeping our economy strong. If we are going to keep the White House in2008, we must focus on these issues instead of getting bogged down by thepolitics of division." The poll was conducted by the University of NewHampshire Survey Center for CNN and WMUR in New Hampshire. (The Advocate)


Israel's Tragic Miscalculation
by Wayne Besen

The Israeli Knesset is about to make a tragic mistake with far-reachingconsequences if it votes to ban Gay Pride rallies. This anti-democraticaction will alienate secular Jews - gay and straight - worldwide and forcestalwart defenders of Israel to rethink their allegiance. American Jewsoverwhelmingly reject the intolerance of our homegrown Christian Right, sothe notion that we will blindly support Jewish Pat Robertsons in Jerusalemis a dangerous miscalculation.

Recently, the Knesset proposed one amendment that would empower theJerusalem mayor to prohibit Gay Pride and other parades based on religioussensitivities or alleged threats to public order. A first reading of thisbill passed 40-23. In a second, more far-reaching bill, the Shas Partycalled for a ban on all pride parades throughout the country. This measure -which threatens freedom of speech and assembly - was approved by a vote of41-21.

According to Ynet News, final passage of the bills requires two more votes -which are unlikely to come prior to the June 21 Pride march in Jerusalem.Last year, authorities did not sanction the rally, claiming that they couldn't guarantee the safety of Pride marchers. The event was finally moved to analternative, secured indoor location after right-wing zealots threatenedparticipants.

This year, march organizers again have been met with threats of violence andintimidation by ultra-Orthodox Jews, who seem like Jewish versions of FredPhelps. One extremist group even put a hex on would-be participants and thepolice.

"To all those involved, sinners in spirit, and whoever helps and protectsthem, may they feel a curse on their souls, may it plague them, and may evilpursue them; they will not be [acquitted] of their transgressions fromheavenly judgment," reads the curse from Eda Haredit rabbis.


McGreevey Divorce Battle Turns Nastier
by The Associated Press
Posted: June 14, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Trenton, New Jersey) The estranged wife of former Gov. James E. McGreeveyclaims that his accusations of homophobia have hurt her book sales. Heblames her taste in clothing.

Dina Matos McGreevey, who is in the midst of a bitter divorce from theformer governor, has charged in court papers that his comments calling herhomophobic harmed the sales of her recently released memoir.

But in a letter to a family court judge, McGreevey blamed his wife's May 1interview on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," citing "her awful appearance" in "aninappropriate and ill-fitting ballgown with a plunging neckline."

He also called her book "poorly written" and "dull" and derided as"unbelievable" her assertion that she didn't know he was gay, according to astory posted online by The Star-Ledger of Newark.

The letter was sent as Superior Court Judge Karen Cassidy considered whetherMatos McGreevey can claim that her former husband libeled and defamed herwhen he called her homophobic.


Behind The Scenes In The Isaiah Washington Firing
by The Associated Press
Posted: June 14, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Los Angeles, California) Starring on one of TV's hottest series is anactor's dream, and Isaiah Washington fought hard to keep his role as Dr.Preston Burke on ``Grey's Anatomy.''

But after twice using an anti- gay slur, Washington was doomed to lose thebiggest role of his career because of timing, a track record of volatilebehavior and pressure within the industry.

While series creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes wept when she goton the phone last Thursday to tell Washington he was out (story), thedecision was a coolly calculated move by Rhimes' bosses at the network andABC Television Studios.

His ``pattern of behavior'' represented a potential liability that was toomuch risk for the Walt Disney Co.-owned companies, a source close to theproduction said. The source was not authorized to comment publicly and spokeon condition of anonymity.

The operation to remove Washington, 43, was quick and neat. The studiodeclined to exercise his contract option for another season _ Washingtonwould have earned about US$2.7 million in salary _ and he was dumped shortlyafter the May finale.


Rice Pressed On Iraqi Treatment Of Gays
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: June 14, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Washington) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is being urged toinvestigate reports that LGBT Iraqis are being rounded up by militias on thestreets of Baghdad and murdered.

In a letter to Rice the two openly gay members of Congress - Rep BarneyFrank (D-Mass.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) - cite a human rights reportissued by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq that says fromNovember 1 to December 31, 2006 there were open and violent campaignsagainst LGBT

"According to news reports, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the chiefspiritual leader of Iraqi Shia Muslims, issued a 'fatwa,' orreligiously-inspired legal pronouncement, in October 2005 calling for deathfor all gays and lesbians in 'the most severe way possible,'" the lettersays.

"While the fatwa was eventually removed from Sistani's website last May, itwas never revoked, and the decree has led to the deployment of anti-gaydeath squads by the military arm of the Supreme Council for the Islamicrevolution in Iraq, the Badr Corps. As a result, violence against gay Iraqissurged in 2006," the letter goes on to say.

It also refers to a speech made by the leader of an exiled Iraqi LGBT rightsgroup in London who said that hundreds of gay men and women have beenmurdered by the militias and the US-led coalition is doing little to stopthe killings. (story)


Subject: SAVE Holds "Marriage Amendment" Meeting in Fort Lauderdale

SAVE Announces Campaign Update on so-called "Marrige Amendment"

Saturday, June 16 ~ 10 a.m. to 4 p.m

Sunshine Cathedral

1480 SW 9th Ave ~ Fort Lauderdale

Reservations needed -- call 305-751-7283

In response to Florida4Marriage's attempt to pass the so-called "Marriage Amendment, an anti-gay ballot initiative, SAVE is sending out a call to interested individuals to attend a Campaign Update in Broward on Saturday, June 16th. The update is a working meeting for everyone interested in taking a role in the campaign. Working with Pride South Florida and other organizations SAVE is using its experience in grass-roots and political organizing to mobilize all fair-minded people to defeat this ballot initiative. "We need to turn out 400,000 voters in 2008's presidential election to ensure we get the 40% of the vote we need to win" says Kirk Arthur, SAVE's Field Director.

"It's a math game, we only need 40% to win, but until we get some new polling data, who knows if we would win today" says Arthur. These initiatives have passed in 22 other states and only been defeated in 1. What is the newest twist in this battle for marriage equality? The LGBT community is aware, and organizing a year and a half ahead of time. Attendance is limited. RSVP is required. Please Contact Kirk Arthur at 305-751-7283 or


Associated Press article showing what can happen in Florida if the amendment is passed

Ann Arbor school district joins Kalamazoo in ending gay partner health benefits
Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. - The City of Kalamazoo no longer will offer health insurance benefits to the partners of gay workers, becoming Michigan's first public employer to take away existing benefits in the wake of a 2004 ban against gay marriage.

Kalamazoo City Manager Kenneth Collard confirmed Monday that the city will eliminate domestic partner benefits for four non-unionized employees effective June 30. He cited a May 23 order from the Michigan Supreme Court.

Also Monday, the Ann Arbor school district said it will not include domestic partner benefits in future union labor contracts. About 15 employees will not lose those benefits now, though they will end when existing contracts expire, The Ann Arbor News reported.

Some public employers have said they will not take away domestic partner benefits until the case is decided once and for all.

The appeals court in February said Michigan's 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment against gay marriage also bars domestic partner benefits for the same-sex partners of public employees.

Kalamazoo has been at the center of the dispute over same-sex benefits in Michigan.

In March 2005, Republican Attorney General Mike Cox interpreted the city's domestic partner policy as violating the constitutional amendment, prompting a lawsuit by a Washington-based AFL-CIO group called National Pride at Work and others. Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm supports providing the benefits.

Up to 20 public universities, community colleges, school districts and local governments in Michigan have same-sex benefits policies. Universities, which employ most of those affected, argue that not being able to offer the benefits will hurt recruitment of faculty and staff.

At least 375 university and government employees in Michigan have partners who qualify for same-sex benefits


Stonewall Library & Archives to host acclaimed author Felice Picano


On Thursday, June 28th 2007 at 7:00 pm, at Stonewall Library & Archives,acclaimed author Felice Picano will be speaking and signing copies of hisnew book "Tales: From a Distant Planet."

Felice Picano's first book was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Sincethen he has published twenty volumes of fiction, poetry, memoirs, and more.Considered a founder of modern gay literature along with the six othermembers of the Violet Quill Club, Picano also founded two publishingcompanies: the Sea Horse Press and Gay Presses of New York. Among his manyaward-winning books, are the novels, LIKE PEOPLE IN HISTORY and THE BOOK OFLIES. Picano, with Charles Silverstein, also authored THE NEW JOY OF GAYSEX.


June 14

Students and Faith

Whether the source is God and Man at Yale or any number of more recentstudies, the conflict between a college education and the faith thatstudents bring to campus (secular campuses at least) is well accepted. Themore you pursue a higher education, the more likely you are to abandon yourfaith - at least that's what conventional wisdom holds.

"Actually we've just been wrong about this for quite a while," said Mark D.Regnerus, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Texas atAustin and one of the authors of a new study that suggests students whoattend and graduate from college are more likely than others to hold on totheir faith.

It's not that colleges necessarily encourage faith, he said, but for all thetalk about how intellectuals are out to destroy students' relationships totheir religions and God, the main obstacles to such relationships have to dowith maturing and how young people spend their time. "Some kids were boundto lose [their faith] anyway and they do," Regnerus said. But the evidencesuggests that college isn't responsible.


An update report about the birthday party in Esfahan

Translated by Ramin

Eighty seven young men were arrested and beaten by police at a birthday partyin Esfahan around 10:00 pm on May 10th, 2007. The police force while holdingshooting camera accompanied by four clergymen first entered the second floorof the home where the family members were gathered and arrested some of themin addition to a child. They were released the day after. Then they went tothe third floor where the party guests were gathered, turned off the lights,shot fake gunshots, forced everyone to lie on the ground, began beating themand walked over them. Then the police dragged either head-bags or theirblouses over the guests' heads, forced them to go to the street and pushedthem under baton impact into a protected car.

Despite the low capacity of this car (usually b/w 15-20 persons), the policestacked all 87 men in one car. The people who were witnessing the event on the treet reported that the clothes of the arrested men were torn and their faces were bleeding. One of the guests jumped out of the 3rd floor window and nowneeds operation on his two broken legs. Based on the received information,they were transferred to the Esfahan Dastgerd jail and were exposed to severe pressure and torture. The crime of the arrestees is not declared yet and nocondemnation is issued so far.

This attack is another example of the organized human rights violation and itis following the recent attacks to the women and workers movements which wereseverely condemned by the human right defending organizations as obvious casesof violating personal rights, privacy and individual freedom.


Reggae stars renounce homophobia

Beenie Man, Sizzla & Capleton sign deal

Historic agreement to stop "murder music"

London - 13 June 2007

Three of the world's top reggae / dancehall singers have renouncedhomophobia and condemned violence against lesbians and gay men.

Beenie Man, Sizzla and Capleton had previously released anti-gay hatesongs, including incitements to murder lesbian, gay, bisexual andtransgender people.

They have now signed up to the Reggae Compassionate Act (copy below),in a deal brokered with top reggae promoters and Stop Murder Musicactivists.

The agreement follows the three-year-long Stop Murder Music campaign,which resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of the singers'concerts and sponsorship deals, causing them income losses estimatedin excess of five million dollars.

"The Reggae Compassionate Act is a big breakthrough," said PeterTatchell, of the British gay human rights group OutRage!. Mr Tatchellis coordinator of the worldwide Stop Murder Music campaign. He helpednegotiate the deal with the three singers.

"The singers' rejection of homophobia and sexism is an importantmilestone. We rejoice at their new commitment to music withoutprejudice," said Mr Tatchell.

Contact if you would like the full article.


Russia: Gay Rights Under Attack

Attacks and Police Collusion Show Liberties Rollback

(Moscow, June 14, 2007) - The violent attacks on peaceful gay pride demonstrators in Moscow in late May show the rollback of respect for human rights in Russia, Human Rights Watch and the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA-Europe) said in a briefing paper released today.

Instead of protecting human rights and gay advocates who tried to assemble, Moscow police colluded with skinheads to break up the Gay Pride demonstration. The two organizations documented the violence and urged legal protections for freedom of assembly for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.

"When LGBT people tried to assemble on the Moscow streets, some 20 ended up in jail cells," said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, who witnessed the events in Moscow first-hand. "The violence and the arrests reveal how comprehensive the threats to basic freedoms are in Russia today."


Surgeon General Nominee Could Face Confirmation Fight Over Concerns FromGay-Rights Groups

James Holsinger, a Kentucky cardiologist who President Bush last monthnominated as the next surgeon general, might "be headed for a nominationfight," after lawmakers and gay and lesbian advocacy groups raised concernabout his position on gay-rights issues, CQ Today reports (Armstrong, CQToday, 6/8). According to some gay rights groups, Holsinger in 1991 wrote ina report for a United Methodist committee that gay sex is unnatural andpotentially leads to serious health issues (Alonso-Zaldivar,


New study shows rates of hate crimes against LGBT community similar to ratesagainst groups protected by federal hate crimes laws

By Rebecca Stotzer

June 2007

This report by Williams Institute Policy Fellow Rebecca Stotzer comparesvictimization rates for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals, who are notcurrently covered by federal hate crime laws, with groups who are covered.Results indicate that the hate crime rate against lesbian, gay, and bisexualindividuals is comparable to the rate of hate crimes against alreadyprotected groups. While the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programsreports an average of 213 hate crimes per year against LGB people, thefederal government has no system in place for documenting or collectingthese statistics. This study indicates a need for including gender identityin hate crime tracking laws, and extending legislative protection tolesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.



Don't Ask, Who Cares

Last week's forum of 10 Republican presidential hopefuls offered the countrysome troubling insight into the thinking of leading GOP candidates. Inparticular, the five who responded to questions about the Clinton-era "don'task, don't tell" policy governing military service by gays and lesbiansshowed a disturbing move away from conservative principles, in favor of whatsmells strongly of political expediency or timidity.

As a conservative Republican member of Congress from 1995 to 2003, I washardly a card-carrying member of the gay-rights lobby. I opposed then, andcontinue to oppose, same-sex marriage, or the designation of gays as aconstitutionally protected minority class. Service in the armed forces isanother matter. The bottom line here is that, with nearly a decade and ahalf of the hybrid "don't ask, don't tell" policy to guide us, I have becomedeeply impressed with the growing weight of credible military opinion whichconcludes that allowing gays to serve openly in the military does not poseinsurmountable problems for the good order and discipline of the services.

Asked about reconsideration of the don't ask, don't tell policy in favor ofa more open and honest approach, the simplistic responses by severalRepublican presidential candidates left me -- and I suspect many others --questioning whether those candidates really even understood the issue, orwere simply pandering to the perceived "conservative base." The fact is,equal treatment of gay and lesbian service members is about as conservativea position as one cares to articulate.


Girls, 14, ejected from Ore. bus for kissing

Planet Out, Tuesday, June 12, 2007 / 05:15 PM

SUMMARY: A Portland, Ore., driver throws a teen lesbian couple off a citybus, calling them "sickos," after another passenger complains about theirPDA.

A teen lesbian couple and their parents may file a complaint with thePortland, Ore., transit agency after the girls were kicked off a bus formaking a public display of affection.

Maika Rich and Jocelyn O'Neal, both 14, told KATU-TV that they were on a busheaded to the Sexual Minority Youth Recreation Center on June 8 when afemale passenger complained to the driver that they had been kissing. Thedriver told them to stop, calling them "sickos."

Maika said she gave Jocelyn a hug because the girl looked upset about theexchange, KATU reported. At that point, the driver stopped the bus andordered them off.

Maika's mother, Ronnda Zezula, later complained, telling the station shedidn't believe straight teens -- or gay adults -- would have been treatedthe same way.

A spokesperson for Portland's TriMet transit system said the agency has apolicy to never eject an underage or vulnerable person from a bus.Authorities are investigating the incident. (The Advocate)


Rabbis put curse on Jerusalem Pride

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 / 10:50 AM

SUMMARY: Ultra-Orthodox rabbis from the Eda Haredit sect, in addition totheir curse, plan a huge anti-gay rally to disrupt the event set for June21.

A group of ultra-orthodox Haredi Jews is attempting to thwart a gay rightsrally in Jerusalem, planned for June 21, by placing a curse on Prideparticipants. The group is also promi! sing a huge anti-Pride rally.

A group of rabbis from the Eda Haredit sect published a warning Sundaysaying, "To all those involved, sinners in spirit, and whoever helps andprotects them, may they feel a curse on their souls, may it plague them andmay evil pursue them; they will not be requited of their transgressions fromheavenly judgment."

The letter further threatened: "Know what happened to the evil persons whowere cursed, and thus feel in your souls that your end will be bitter."


Virginia Supreme Court Sets 18 Age of Consent for Sodomy

by New York Law School Professor Arthur S. Leonard, Leonard Link, June 11,2007

After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Texas Homosexual Conduct Act inLawrence v. Texas (2003), Virginia legislators considered a proposal toreform that state's sodomy law so that it would not raise constitutional DueProcess questions, but the proposal was rejected. As a result, Virginiacourts faced with sodomy prosecutions have had to figure out the extent towhich their sodomy statute has been rendered unenforceable as a result ofthe Lawrence decision.

In a ruling announced on June 8 in an opinion by Justice Donald W. Lemons,the court unanimously affirmed the conviction of William S. McDonald onsodomy charges, rejecting McDonald's argument that his conduct was protectedunder Lawrence because the teenage girls with whom he enjoyed oral sex were16 and 17 years old. (At the time of the incidents charged against him,McDonald was in his mid-50s.) Pointing to the state's "carnal knowledge"statute, he argued that the age of consent for sex in Virginia is 15, butthe trial judge rejected that defense, referring to the girls as "juveniles"and maintaining that sodomy between an adult and juveniles was illegal.

The Virginia Supreme Court's response to McDonald's appeal, was that the ageof consent for other kinds of sexual activity was irrelevant for purposes ofa Virginia sodomy prosecution. Simply put, the sodomy statute, which on itsface allows no consent defense regardless of the age of the parties, isapplicable up to the limits consistent with the Supreme Court's ruling inLawrence v. Texas.


New Sex-Ed Curriculum Is Urged for All Schools

Lessons Cover Homosexuality, Condoms

By Daniel de Vise, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, June 8, 2007; B02

Montgomery County schools Superintendent Jerry D. Weast recommendedyesterday that new health lessons on sexual orientation and condom use beexpanded to all middle and high schools in the fall with only minorrevisions, based on the results of field tests at six schools this spring.

The lessons are the fruit of five years of debate on how, if at all,homosexuality should be addressed in sex-education classes. Approved inJanuary and piloted in March, the teaching materials will reach all eighth-and 10th-grade health classrooms in the fall if Weast's recommendations areadopted Tuesday by the school board.

In a memo delivered yesterday to board members, Weast wrote that studentsand teachers seemed mostly satisfied with the lessons. He suggested nochange to their content.

Board members will have to weigh conflicting recommendations. Weast wantsthe lessons to go forward essentially as written, but a citizens advisorycommittee wants board members to add passages stating that mainstreammedical and mental health organizations have concluded that homosexuality isneither a disease nor a mental illness.


Gay Rights Groups Take Heart In Ruling That Struck Down Bans On Interracial

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: June 12, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Washington) LGBT civil rights groups marked the 40th anniversary of theSupreme Court ruling that struck down state laws banning interracialmarriage saying that ultimately bans on same-sex marriage also will be ruledunconstitutional.

The case, called Loving v. Virginia, began when Richard and MildredLoving, an interracial couple, were arrested in Virginia after they returnedfrom their wedding in Washington, DC.

They were sentenced to one year in prison.

The Lovings appealed the conviction all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court,which struck down restrictions on who could marry whom.

On June 12, 1967, the Court ruled that: "The freedom to marry has longbeen recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderlypursuit of happiness by free men."

Tuesday on Capitol Hill gay rights, civil rights groups and Rep TammyBaldwin (D-WI) held a news conference to point out the similarities betweenthe fight to end the prohibition of interracial marriage and the one againstbans on same-sex marriage.

The National Black Justice Coalition also unveiled a video available onYouTube featuring interracial couples pointing out that the interracial banswere "bigotry often justified disguised as religious truth." (The videointerviewed integrated couples Julian Bond & Pamela Horowitz, the Lovings,and a lesbian couple )


Russian activists begin effort to keep gays out of Moscow park

The Associated Press / International Herald Tribune

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

MOSCOW: Activists from nationalist and Russian Orthodox groups on Tuesdaylaunched a campaign to keep homosexuals away from a Moscow park they say isa popular meeting place for gays and lesbians, Russian media reported.

The campaign reflects confidence among anti-liberal activists that they willface no opposition from authorities in Russia, which liberals accuse oftolerating nationalist and extreme-right activists while taking measures tosilence Kremlin critics.

About 50 people from several organizations converged on the small park incentral Moscow near offices of President Vladimir Putin's administration,the Interfax news agency and Ekho Moskvy radio reported. Several prayed at amonument honoring 19th century Russian military heroes, led by a RussianOrthodox priest, Ekho Moskvy reported.

Interfax quoted a spokeswoman for a Russian Orthodox youth activist groupcalled Georgiyevtsy, Diana Romanovskaya, as saying the park is frequented bypeople "who boldly demonstrate their nontraditional (sexual) orientation,persuading everyone that it is normal. We believe that it is a vice and wantto remove all this from this site, which is sacred to Russians."


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