Saturday, June 02, 2007

GLBT DIGEST June 2, 2007

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The New York Times

June 2, 2007
Proclaiming Liberalism, and What It Now Means

The struggle among conservatives to define their movement in the post-Bushera may be getting more attention these days, but liberal intellectuals andwriters are doing some soul-searching of their own. Not only are they tryingto figure out what "the L word" now means, but also whether it could becomea guiding philosophy in the 2008 presidential campaign by embracing the veryideas that are often seen as its greatest weaknesses: family values and aproactive government.

In several recent and forthcoming books (not to mention in bars andcountless blog posts) liberals have been arguing over their past and theirfuture. Al Gore's new book, "The Assault on Reason," with its mercilessdissection of the Bush presidency, is getting the most attention. Unlike Mr.Gore, however, most of the other liberal uthors are focused less oncriticizing those in power than in defending and evitalizing their ownphilosophy.

There is a "new opening for a more robust liberalism," said Michael Tomasky,editor at large of the liberal magazine The American Prospect. "It's a veryfascinating debate, because it's also playing out to some extent in theworld. Each of the three main Democratic candidates represents a specificand distinct place on the ideological continuum, from center to left, withHillary Clinton towards the center, John Edwards towards the left, andBarack Obama occupying a still distinct place in between."

While no one in the Democratic presidential field is exactly advertising asthe "liberal" candidate, and polls show only 20 percent of Americans arewilling to identify themselves as liberal (a number that has remained fairlysteady since at least 1992), deep dissatisfaction with the Bushadministration's handling of the war in Iraq, combined with other oliticaldevelopments, is giving liberals who dared not speak their name their voicesback. A whiff of an old-fashioned revival meeting, where believers stand upand unabashedly declare their faith, can even be occasionally detected.

Those writing now are "motivated by the same eagerness to see a revival ofsomething other than what we've had and could be described as liberalism,"Alan Brinkley, provost at Columbia University, said in an interview. He isone of 13 prominent writers and scholars who contributed to "Liberalism fora New Century," a collection of essays coming out next week.


The New York Times

June 2, 2007
Religion Journal
Split Over the Mormon Church, but Maintaining Some Ties

MILLVILLE, Utah - Janet and Lars Bergeson recently held a prewedding lawnparty for their son at their home, surrounded by farms on a bluff in sightof Mount Bergeson. The landmark, named for a Swedish Mormon who arrived in1860, is a reminder of their ancestors' religion.

The couple left the fold long ago, so they knew they would not be allowed toattend the temple wedding and eternal sealing of their son, Nils Bergeson,24, to Emily O'Hara, 25. The young couple are Mormons in good standing whohope to join the Peace Corps.

Despite years away from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,being shut out of a family affair in the temple rekindled dormant emotionsfor Janet Bergeson, 52, as the rest of the family prepared for the wedding.Comfort came from users of a Web site that Mrs. Bergeson began participatingin about six months ago,

"Just being able to discuss these things online, that's helped me shapewhere I am today," she said.

The Web site is the primary focus of the Post-Mormon Community, a nonprofitgroup founded in 2002 that tries to help those struggling after a loss offaith, said Jeff Ricks, the executive manager of the organization.

Some arrive at shunned by family members or doubting adoctrine. Some visitors are gay, many in heterosexualmarriages and with children, Mr. Ricks said. A few have been officiallydisciplined or excommunicated. The common denominator, though, is that theyseek an anonymous and confidential way to find support, he said.


The New York Times

June 2, 2007
Calif. Gay Inmates Get Conjugal Visits
Filed at 3:58 a.m. ET

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California has begun allowing overnight visitsfor gay and lesbian partners of prison inmates to conform to the state'sdomestic partnership law.

California is one of just six states that allow overnight family visits,which take place in trailers or other housing on prison grounds. Butattorneys, gay rights advocates and corrections officials said they know ofno other state that permits conjugal visits by same-sex partners.

''Historically, these types of requests were denied,'' said Terry Thornton,a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections andRehabilitation. ''Homosexuality is a touchy subject in prison. We don't wantpeople to come to harm in prisons, but we need to comply with the law.''

Since the 1970s, immediate family members have been able to visit manyprison inmates for up to three days at a time.

The privilege is being expanded to registered domestic partners under a lawsigned by former Gov. Gray Davis that took effect in 2005. It requires stateagencies to give the same rights to domestic partners that heterosexualcouples receive.


The Washington Post

What Voters Want
By George F. Will
Sunday, June 3, 2007; B07

One time, years ago, the veteran Baltimore newspaperman, H.L. Mencken, waschecking copy coming in from the night editor and sighing at the risingnumber of errors he was noticing, errors of fact but also of syntax, andeven some idioms that didn't sound quite right. He shook his head and said,as much to himself as to the editor at his side: "The older I get the more Iadmire and crave competence, just simple competence, in any field fromadultery to zoology."

-- Alistair Cooke,

"Memories of the Great

and the Good"

Accepting the 1988 Democratic nomination, Gov. Michael Dukakis, a carrier ofMassachusetts's political culture, allowed his fervent hope to be the fatherof his surmise when he said, "This election is not about ideology. It'sabout competence." His meaning was opaque -- how would he decide what tocompetently achieve? But perhaps today's events -- from Iraq to HurricaneKatrina to the irrationality of immigration policy -- have put Americansinto Mencken's frame of mind as they shop for a president. Which couldexplain why two among the parties' front-runners are who they are.

Hillary Clinton is hardly a fresh face. She has been in the nation's facesince the I'm-not-Tammy-Wynette expostulation of 1992. She is not even themost interesting novelty. Barack Obama is, and he is more charming. She is,however, seasoned. Americans hungry for competence seem to be resistingObama's request that, for his benefit, they should treat the presidency as anearly entry-level political office.

One or two persons were going to emerge as Clinton's principal rivals, andperhaps she is fortunate that they turned out to be Obama and the almost asinexperienced John Edwards, not, say, five-term Sen. Chris Dodd, six-termSen. Joe Biden or governor and former diplomat Bill Richardson. Clinton'spersona as the high school class grind may be this year's charisma.

Rudy Giuliani is crosswise with social conservatives, especially concerningabortion. Yet one reason he is in the top tier of the Republican field isthat, according to Pew Research Center polling, he is supported by nearly 30percent of social conservatives, who are 42 percent of the Republican vote.Perhaps some opponents of abortion are coming to terms with the fact thatthe party has written itself into a corner regarding that issue.

By 1972, 16 states with 41 percent of the nation's population hadliberalized their abortion laws, and the Republican platform did not mentionthe subject. The next year the Supreme Court ripped the subject away fromstate legislatures. In 1976 the Republican platform protested the court'sdecision, recommended "continuance of the public dialogue on abortion" andendorsed a constitutional amendment "to restore protection of the right tolife for unborn children."


The Sun-Sentinel,0,6177030,print.story

Samuel Garrison, defended Nixon
By Patricia Sullivan
The Washington Post
June 2, 2007

Samuel Alexander Garrison III, who as minority counsel for the HouseJudiciary Committee defended President Richard Nixon in the 1974 impeachmenthearings, died Sunday of leukemia at Friendship Healthcare Center inRoanoke, Va. He was 65.

Mr. Garrison, then 32, was the last-minute replacement chosen by thecommittee's 17 Republicans to present the minority view of the case againstNixon. With just days to prepare, he submitted a 41-page argument againstimpeachment.

"By all accounts, Sam Garrison did not exactly hit a home run," TheWashington Post reported on July 23, 1974. "But his performance satisfiedthe senior Republicans who wanted someone, for appearance's sake if nothingelse, to argue the soft spots in the Judiciary Committee's evidence."

"The question," Mr. Garrison said at the time, "is whether the publicinterest would better be served or not served by the removal of thepresident."

The House Judiciary Committee passed the first of three articles ofimpeachment, charging obstruction of justice. Nixon resigned Aug. 8, 1974.


The Sun-Sentinel

Calif. Gay Inmates Get Conjugal Visits

Associated Press Writer

June 2, 2007, 3:58 AM EDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California has begun allowing overnight visits for gayand lesbian partners of prison inmates to conform to the state's domesticpartnership law.

California is one of just six states that allow overnight family visits,which take place in trailers or other housing on prison grounds. Butattorneys, gay rights advocates and corrections officials said they know ofno other state that permits conjugal visits by same-sex partners.

"Historically, these types of requests were denied," said Terry Thornton, aspokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation."Homosexuality is a touchy subject in prison. We don't want people to cometo harm in prisons, but we need to comply with the law."

Since the 1970s, immediate family members have been able to visit manyprison inmates for up to three days at a time.

The privilege is being expanded to registered domestic partners under a lawsigned by former Gov. Gray Davis that took effect in 2005. It requires stateagencies to give the same rights to domestic partners that heterosexualcouples receive.


Philadelphia Moves To Evict Boy Scouts Over Anti-Gay Policy
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: June 1, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) The days of free rent on a city owned buildingmay be coming to an end for the Philadelphia branch of the Boy Scouts ofAmerica.

City Council has voted 16 - 1 to direct the city to end the lease, or forcethe BSA's Cradle of Liberty Council to pay full market value for the site,unless the scouts sign a pledge not to discriminate against openly gaypeople.

The Cradle of Liberty Council, the third-largest scouting group in thecountry. It has been battling with the city for more than three years overthe policy, which like the national Scouts organization forbids gays frombeing leaders.

The group has made its headquarters on a half-acre owned by the city in theupscale Philadelphia Art Museum area since 1928, when the city council votedto allow the Scouts to use the property rent-free "in perpetuity." TheScouts pay for building upkeep.

The City Council resolution, which was voted on without debate, gives thecity a year to reach a deal with the scouts.


Faith Playing Larger Role In 2008 Race
by The Associated Press
Posted: June 1, 2007 - 3:00 pm ET

(Washington) The personal faith of candidates has become a very public partof the 2008 presidential campaign.

Seven years after George W. Bush won the presidency in part with a directappeal to conservative religious voters - he cited Jesus Christ as hisfavorite philosopher during one debate - it seems all the leadingpresidential candidates are discussing their religious and moral beliefs,even when they'd rather not.

Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama have hiredstrategists to focus on reaching religious voters. Obama's campaign holds aweekly conference call with key supporters in early primary and caucusstates whose role is to spread the candidate's message to religious leadersand opinionmakers and report their concerns to the campaign.

Democrats in general are targeting moderate Roman Catholics, mainlineProtestants and even evangelicals, hoping to enlist enough voters for whomreligious and moral issues are a priority to put together a winningcoalition.

Next week, Clinton, Obama and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards arescheduled to address liberal evangelicals at a forum on "faith, values andpoverty."


Dems Use Gay Pride Month To Rally Support
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: June 1, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) Democrats buoyed by their victories in the House and Senatelast year, and sensing the White House is within grasp in 2008, are workingto solidify their LGBT base.

Friday, to mark the beginning of LGBT pride month, Democratic NationalCommittee Chairman Howard Dean joined openly gay members of Congress BarneyFrank (D-Mass.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) in issuing a PrideProclamation - something President Bush has declined to do.

"Today, we join Democrats across America in celebrating Pride month andhonoring the contributions that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgenderAmericans have made to our society," the Democrats' proclamation reads.

"Our Party's commitment to protecting the fundamental right of everyAmerican to live in dignity with equal rights and protections under the lawhas never been stronger."

"This year," the proclamation goes on to say, "instead of fighting backdivisive, discriminatory and politically-motivated attacks in the RepublicanCongress and Republican state houses across the country, together we aremaking tremendous progress toward building a more fair and just America."


Court Reverses Damages Ruling Against Anti-Gay Pastor
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: June 1, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Madison, Wisconsin) A fundamentalist pastor who was ordered to pay courtcosts after having a defamation suit against a Wisconsin LGBT group tossedout does not have to pay the $87,000 an appeals court has ruled.

Grant Storms of the Reformer Ministries in Marrero, La., claimed in thelawsuit that Action Wisconsin defamed him by saying remarks he made at a2003 anti-gay conference in Milwaukee advocated the murder of gays.

But in a ruling in January 2006 Milwaukee County Circuit Judge PatriciaMcMahon said the group's interpretation of the remarks was reasonable andthe lawsuit lacked merit from the day it was filed.

The judge also blasted Storms' lawyer, James Donohoo of Milwaukee, saying heshould have known the complaint was a waste of time.

Storms was one of several speakers at the "International Conference onHomo-Fascism," a gathering of anti-gays.


Friday, June 1, 2007

Contact: Wayne Besen
Phone: 917-691-5118




Holsinger's Founding of A Church That Tries To 'Cure' Gay People Makes Him
Unfit To Serve As Nation's Top Doctor

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Truth Wins Out announced its strong and committed opposition today to President George W. Bush's nomination for U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. James W. Holsinger, after it was revealed that he started a church in Lexington, Kentucky that has a ministry to "cure" gay people.

"Holsinger is an ideologue whose medical views on gay and lesbian people resemble sorcery more than sound science," said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "The last thing America needed was another deplorable nominee who isn't up to the job, but this is exactly what Bush delivered."

Holsinger's nomination will go before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, education, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) sidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) sit on this committee.

"It is clear that James Holsinger is to medicine what Alberto Gonzales is to stice," said TWO's Besen. "It will be interesting to see where the presidential candidates stand on this troubling nomination."


International Gay & Lesbian Review

by Wayne R. Besen

Jesse Monteagudo is a freelance author and activist who lives in South Florida. Reach him at

Book Review
by Jesse Monteagudo

In a perfect world, Wayne R. Besen would be as well-known as Andrew Sullivan; writing articles for "Time" and "The New Republic" and making periodic appearances on "The Chris Matthews Show" and "Real Time with Bill Maher." The author of "Anything But Straight" - both the book and the syndicated column - is certainly as intelligent, as talented and as committed as Sullivan, though not as controversial. But while Sullivan shines in the mainstream media, Besen only makes occasional appearances on cable news channels, where he is limited to discussing GLBT issues. And Besen's columns, though they deal with a wide variety of topics, appear mostly in GLBT publications. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Likewise, I fear that "Bashing Back," Besen's latest book, will be ghettoized in the "alternative lifestyle" sections of chain bookstores while in fact it belongs among "mainstream" books on politics and public affairs. Wayne Besen should be read by all, not just those of us who are L, G, B, or T.

"Bashing Back" is a collection of articles from the first few years of "Anything But Straight" (the syndicated column), arranged in alphabetical order by topic. If any single topic unites these widely disparate pieces, it is Besen's spirited defense of liberalism. Since 1980, conservative pundits and politicians have done their best to make "liberal" a dirty word. Besen hallenges these attacks, reminding us that "the left is the backbone of freedom, the defender of persona liberty, the guarantor of free speech and religious worship, and the nurturer of democratic movements across the globe."


Express Gay News

We've come a long way
Stonewall Library exhibit recalls how Bryant campaign attracted nationwide attention

Friday, June 01, 2007

Pride festivals and other events in June have tended to focus on the fun, tertaining side in recent year. But Stonewall Library & Archives has brought a more serious and educational focus to Pride month this year with its exhibit "Days Without Sunshine: Anita Bryant's Anti-Gay Crusade."

The 20-panel exhibit takes viewers on a journey back to the 1970s, when the
Save Our Children campaign repealed a 1977 Miami-Dade ordinance that
outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing
and public accommodation. The crusade was started by an unlikely source -
singer Anita Bryant.

The historical event took place in South Florida 30 years ago. Bryant's
crusade sparked a backlash against the gay and lesbian population, which, at
the time, was becoming more vocal in the world. The drama attracted a lot of ttention from the media and motivated the gay and lesbian community to come ogether and fight for their rights. The struggle between Bryant and Dade County gays and lesbians was featured in Newsweek and Time magazines. It was also all over the TVnews programs and newspapers.


Express Gay News

Gay nude go-go bar forced to close in W. Palm
County's Code Enforcement Division ends Cupid's unique entertainment

Friday, June 01, 2007

Cupids Cabaret, the only gay male go-go club in mainland South Florida that features totally nude dancers, is closing, the bar's owner confirmed this week.

The West Palm Beach club will stop featuring nude go-go dancers and will reopen under a new name, Lifestylez, on July 3, said Brandy Powell, owner of Cupids. Powell said she had no choice but to shut down Cupids after Palm Beach County's Code Enforcement Division issued a ruling earlier this yearstating that the club's nude dancing was in violation of a county ordinance. She said she had spent $50,000 fighting the county to try to retain Cupid's unique entertainment.

"I could have continued to fight, but I don't have the money to do so," Powell said.

Cupids has operated as a gay nude go-go bar for seven years. The club was called before the county's Code Enforcement Division back in 1999 and charged with operating an adult club without an adult license. At the time, Cupids lawyers argued that it was exempt from the county's nudity restrictions because it was operating as a private club. After a hearing and review, the county dropped the charges against Cupids. Powell provided the Express with a copy of a document signed by Terry Verner, director of the county's Code Enforcement Division. The document, which is dated Feb. 4, 2000, states that the charges against Cupids were dropped.

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