Tuesday, July 31, 2007

GLBT DIGEST July 31, 2007

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Florida Times-Union


The Florida Times-Union
July 30, 2007
Should state ban same-sex marriage?
By J. Taylor Rushing,
Capital Bureau Chief

TALLAHASSEE - From where John Stemberger sits, the prospects for putting asame-sex marriage ban in the Florida constitution are very bright.

Stemberger is an Orlando attorney leading Florida4Marriage.org, the groupworking to send voters a proposed constitutional amendment on the subject onthe November 2008 ballot.

"There are boxes and boxes of petitions piled as high as the ceiling in thehallway outside my office," said Stemberger, also head of the Orlando-basedFlorida Family Policy Council Inc. "We're definitely going to have way morethan we need."

Sometime in the coming weeks, Stemberger said his group intends to submitthe petitions - a total of 611,009 signatures are required, but Stembergerestimates he has 750,000. The Florida Supreme Court has already approved theamendment's language.

Launched in February 2005, the proposed amendment "protects marriage as thelegal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and providesthat no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantialequivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized." To pass, it must receive60 percent of the vote.

The proposal appears to have galvanized an unlikely coalition of opponents.They include the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, the Florida chapterof the NAACP and the Florida Consumer Action Network, in addition togay-rights groups such as Equality Florida and First Coast Pride, whichrepresents Jacksonville's gay community.

Their concern: Banning same-sex marriage could cause courts to strip awayother rights, such as domestic partnership benefits for heterosexual coupleslike elderly Floridians who may live together outside of marriage forconvenience, economic or security reasons.

Their proof: A decision earlier this year by a Michigan appeals court thatMichigan's ban on same-sex marriage, adopted in the November 2004 election,may bar cities from offering health care for same-sex partners of publicemployees. That has quickly prompted legal battles in other states as well.

On the defensive

Opponents of the amendment concede that it will make the November 2008ballot, and have already shifted their attack to an "awareness campaign"highlighting the recent court decisions and the potential legal impactbeyond the gay community.





State voyeurism law put to test
Michael A. Scarcella
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
July 30, 2007


A woman in a green dress was shopping for groceries at a local Wal-Mart whena man behind her, armed with a cell-phone camera, snapped a picture andwalked away.

The woman, a 42-year-old Bradenton resident, was incensed that a strangertook a photo underneath her dress. Keith W. Wilson, the picture-taker, wascharged with one count of voyeurism, a misdemeanor, for secretly recordingthe woman with lewd intent.

But did the woman have any right to privacy while standing there in Aisle 5of Wal-Mart? The question is central to Wilson's case, which could becomepart of the national debate on privacy rights in public places.

Wilson's attorney, William Price III of Bradenton, is pushing to have thecharge dismissed, saying a person does not have an expectation of privacywhile shopping in a local store. Privacy rights, Price suggested, do notextend beyond restrooms and fitting rooms.

Florida's voyeurism law is vague and insufficient because it does not define"public place," Price said. Other Florida laws, however, say a person'sprivacy rights are protected anywhere a person can disrobe and feelcomfortable that someone is not taping.

Voyeurism cases are increasing across the country as more and more cellphones are equipped with cameras that record still images and videos,according to articles published in legal journals.

The Washington State Supreme Court in 2002 reversed two voyeurismconvictions because state laws were insufficient to prove a picture taken inpublic was a crime.


St. Petersburg Times


Schools tackle cyberbullies

The new year, in Hillsborough, also brings new rules on cell phone use,cheating and homework.
By LETITIA STEIN, Times Staff Writer
Published July 30, 2007

TAMPA - School bullies no longer are confined to the cafeteria or ballfields. Through e-mails and text messages, they can find your child at home.

But if they keep up the harassment the next day in school, teachers can dosomething about it. Beginning this year, the Hillsborough school districtwill punish cyberbullies just like they do the old-school variety.

Technology is driving changes to the student rule book for the school yearthat begins Aug. 20.

Along with cyberbullies, administrators are cracking down on cell phonesused to cheat on tests. Other changes are designed to make sure elementarystudents don't get overwhelmed with homework and high schoolers who excel inscience have a chance to earn an extra exam exemption.


St. Petersburg Times


No-sex lesson rules Florida
The state is second to Texas in federal money for a wait-till-marriagemessage.
Published July 30, 2007

In Florida, teenagers are likely to hear the following message over andover: abstain from sex.

Just ask Ashley Galloway. She's heard it about a dozen times during the lastcouple of years in school and at the community center where she spends hersummers.

Depending on who's talking, they'll tell her to wait until marriage or amonogamous relationship.

Ashley's had a boyfriend for two months, three weeks and six days, as oftoday. "I'm a virgin and I'm 14 years old," said the soon-to-be aninth-grader at Jefferson High School in Tampa.

"My parents want me to wait until marriage, but for me, I want to wait untilI'm comfortable."

Across the country, abstinence education programs are in jeopardy. Elevenstate health departments have rejected them. A national study in the springshowed that they don't prevent teens from engaging in sex. And Congress isdebating whether to renew some of its funding.

This past year, Florida ranked second only to Texas in the amount of federalmoney -- $10.7-million -- it received to spread theabstinence-until-marriage message. That's $11.25 spent for every Floridateen ages 14 to 17.

A revelation last week gave opponents of abstinence-only education even moreground to criticize.


The Palm Beach Post


Stay of the death penalty
Palm Beach Post Editorial
Monday, July 30, 2007

Florida remains closer to no more executions than to the next one.

On July 18, Gov. Crist signed the first death warrant since former Gov. Bushsuspended capital punishment. In December, the Department of Correctionsbotched the lethal injection of Angel Diaz by injecting drugs into his softtissue, not his veins. The usual 15-minute execution took more than twicethat long. A special panel recommended procedural changes, so the statewould not violate the Eighth Amendment ban on "cruel and unusualpunishment."

But since medical personnel won't participate in executions, it seemedunlikely that the changes would satisfy the courts. Sure enough, last week ajudge in Marion County issued a stay of execution and asked for a rewrite ofthe state's death-penalty protocols. The case does not involve the inmatewhose death warrant the governor signed, but the judge's order may hold upall executions, including the one now scheduled for November.

Support for capital punishment nationwide has been slipping. In Florida,which leads the nation in exonerations from Death Row, more juries arehanding down assured sentences of life without parole. There always will becases that rekindle the spark for the death penalty. But then there's thedifficulty of writing a law to cover all cases, and of devising a system tocarry out the punishment. Florida is failing in both areas.


The New York Times


July 31, 2007
United Parcel Service Agrees to Benefits in Civil Unions

United Parcel Service said yesterday that it would offer health benefits toits employees' partners in civil unions in New Jersey, 10 days after Gov.Jon S. Corzine wrote a letter urging it to comply with the state'sfive-month-old civil union law.

The policy decision was a reversal for the company, which had said it couldnot offer such benefits because the couples were not legally married, andwill affect an unspecified number of United Parcel's 8,700 employees whobelong to the Teamsters union.

Two couples, through a lawyer, formally appealed to the company in recentmonths to give them benefits. One of the employees, Tom Walton, received aletter yesterday from the claims review committee, telling him that his andhis partner's request had been approved.


The New York Times


July 31, 2007
Time Running Out for Voting Reform

Before the House of Representatives takes its August recess, it owes it tothe voters to pass a bill that would finally fix the problems withelectronic voting. And there is a good bill ready, sponsored by Rush Holt,Democrat of New Jersey, that would go a long way toward making electionsmore secure.

Electronic voting machines in their current form simply cannot be trusted.Just last week, a team of computer scientists from California released astudy of three different voting systems that once again showed how easy itis to hack into electronic systems and alter the count.

The most important protection against electronic voting fraud is thevoter-verified paper trail, a paper record that the voter can check to makesure that it properly reflects his or her choices. There should then bemandatory audits of a significant number of these paper records to ensurethat the results tallied on the voting machines match the votes recorded onpaper.

Mr. Holt's bill would require that every voting machine produce a paperrecord of every vote cast in a federal election, and it would mandate randomaudits. It would also prohibit the use of wireless and Internet technology,which are especially vulnerable to hackers.


The New York Times


July 31, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Edwards, Obama and the Poor

Suppose you were going to decide your vote for president entirely on theissue of who could best reduce poverty. Who would you vote for?

You'd start by focusing your attention on the candidates who have investedthe most time in the issue, John Edwards and Barack Obama.

You'd find that both have a multilayered view of poverty. We used to havedebates in which liberals emphasized the lack of jobs and conservativesemphasized personal behavior. But in the post-welfare-reform world, it'spretty obvious that everything feeds into everything else. For Edwards andObama, poverty flows from a lack of jobs and broken families, bad schoolsand bad role models, no training and no self-control.

For both candidates, you have to attack everything at once. You have toholistically change the environment that structures behavior. The questionis how to do it.

Obama and Edwards agree on a lot, but in this matter they emphasizedifferent things. As Alec MacGillis of The Washington Post observed, Edwardsemphasizes programs that help people escape from concentrated poverty. Obamaemphasizes programs that fix inner-city neighborhoods.


The Advocate


July 31, 2007
Philadelphia refines its pitch to gay tourists

When Philadelphia rolled out a national ad campaign aimed at gay touristsfour years ago, some of the commercials featured same-sex couples inColonial costumes.

''Come to Philadelphia,'' the ads said. ''Get your history straight and your nightlife gay.''

Since then, the city has become more sophisticated in its effort to attractpart of the annual $55 billion gay tourism market, targeting subgroupswithin the gay and lesbian community.

''Destinations will need to further refine what they're offering the gaytraveler. No longer will it be enough to say, 'Hey, we're gay-friendly. Youshould come here,''' said Jeff Guaracino of the Greater Philadelphia TourismMarketing Corp.

Philadelphia has been focusing recent marketing efforts on lesbians, who areless likely to have visited the city than gay men, according to DeborahDiamond, director of research and strategy for the Greater PhiladelphiaTourism Marketing Corporation.


The Advocate


July 31, 2007
Clergy abuse: Beneath the bond of friendship was their darkest secret

They were best friends, the kind who shared everything but their darkestsecret: sexual abuse at the hands of the same Roman Catholic priest.

Twenty years later, their abuse is no longer hidden. The three boyhoodfriends will each receive $1.5 million from a $660 million settlementbetween the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and abuse victims.

Yet that money will never undo the guilt that comes with silence. It willnever replace the innocence the three teens shared before a new and terriblebond brought them even closer together.

The stories of Troy Gray, Jim O'Brien, and Mike Moylan are hardly unique,but together they give voice to the untold numbers of clergy abuse victimswho thought they suffered alone, only to learn years later that thoseclosest to them-sisters, brothers, friends, and classmates-hid the samesecret.

The Associated Press does not normally identify victims of sexual abuse, butin this case the three men agreed to have their names released.


Express Gay News


French actor Michel Serrault dies
Best known for role in 'La Cage Aux Folles'
PARIS (AP) | Jul 30, 2:11 PM

French actor Michel Serrault, whose hit performance as a transvestite in thefilm and stage versions of 'La cage aux folles' (The Birdcage) catapultedhim to international stardom, has died, his priest said Monday. He was 79.

Serrault died Sunday of cancer in his home in the northwestern city ofHonfleur, Rev. Alain Maillard de La Morandais said.

Serrault appeared in more than 130 films during a career that spanned half acentury. After debuting as a comic actor, Serrault became one of France'smost versatile stars, playing a serial killer, a grizzled farmer, a crookedbanker and accused rapist.

'I'm against those who only want to entertain,' Serrault said in 2002. 'I amvery happy with all the roles I've played, and I take responsibility forthem all.'

French President Nicolas Sarkozy paid homage to Serrault's 'impressivefilmography,' calling the actor a 'monument of the world of the theater, thecinema and the television.'

Born on Jan. 24, 1928, in Brunoy, south of Paris, Serrault initially set hissights on the priesthood, briefly entering a seminary. He dropped out, helater explained, because of the vow of chastity.

After studying acting in Paris, Serrault began as his stage career playingin cabarets.




Judge Orders Hormone Therapy For Transsexual Inmate
by The Associated Press
Posted: July 31, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Boise, Idaho) An inmate who castrated herself with a disposable razorblade after prison officials refused to treat her for gender identitydisorder should have female hormone therapy paid for by the state, a federaljudge said.

Jenniffer Spencer, who was born biologically male, sued the Idaho Departmentof Correction and its physicians, claiming that her constitutional rightswere violated and that she was subjected to cruel and unusual punishmentwhen the doctors failed to diagnose gender identity disorder and treat herwith female hormones. Instead, the department and its doctors repeatedlyoffered Spencer the male hormone testosterone.

A trial over the lawsuit has not been scheduled, but U.S. District JudgeMikel Williams ruled Friday that the state must provide Spencer withpsychotherapy and estrogen pending trial. Williams also noted that Spenceris scheduled for release in two years, and that getting the lawsuit to trialcould take that long or longer.



Cohab Question
When "Marriage" Actually Means "Marriage"
by Lisa Neff

I live in an older Florida community, the kind of place where you can expectto encounter a number of heterosexual people divorced from a first spouseand settling in with a new partner. I say "settling in" because, forfinancial reasons, they've chosen to enter cohab before entering marriage.

You see, it's common knowledge in the straight community that if youremarry, you lose your benefits - AKA alimony - from the first marriage.Leaving a marriage can be like losing a job. For good reason, a legalnetwork exists to assist an ex-spouse until a new marriage.

"Marriage" is the key. The law doesn't account for a date, an affair, asteady or even a live-in until "live-in" comes to mean common law marriageand common law husband and wife.

And that's why California Judge Michael Naughton's ruling requiring RonGarber to continue paying alimony to ex-wife Melinda Kirkwood makes sense.Garber and Kirkwood amicably divorced after an 18-year marriage, with Garberagreeing to pay alimony for five years. Kirkwood is in a registered domesticpartnership with Kristin Kirkwood and Garber is remarried and seeking tostop making alimony payments. But California's marriage laws state thatalimony ends when a new marriage begins for an ex on the receiving end ofthe check. If straight society seeks to bar gays and lesbians from"marriage," then straight society is going to pay the price - about $1,250 amonth in this case.




Daytona Killing Not Being Investigated As A Hate Crime
Posted: July 30, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Daytona Beach, Florida) Daytona Beach Police Monday said that the weekendkilling of a man in women's clothing is not being investigated as a hatecrime.

Oscar Mosqueda, 34, was shot in the head in the parking lot of a localrestaurant early Sunday morning. Mosqueda died in hospital several hourslater.

Two men have been charged in connection with the killing. Police say thatCesar Villazano, 18, shot Mosqueda after Mosqueda "came on" to him.

Following his arrest, police said that Villazano was approached by Mosquedain the restaurant which had been featuring a Latino night.

Villazano told investigators that he became angry because he is not gay andthe two exchanged words in the parking lot.

He then pulled the gun and shot Mosqueda.

Villazano is charged with second-degree murder. The second man, 21-year-oldLuis Acosta, alleged to have been the getaway driver is charged withpossession of cocaine.


The New York Times


July 31, 2007
Chief Justice Is Hospitalized After Seizure

WASHINGTON, July 30 - Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was hospitalizedMonday after suffering a seizure at his summer home in Maine, the SupremeCourt announced.

The episode, described as a "benign idiopathic seizure," was similar to onehe suffered 14 years ago, according to the court's press release. Idiopathicmeans that the cause of the seizure remains unknown.

He had no lasting effects from the earlier incident and was "fully recovered" from the seizure he suffered about 2 p.m. Monday, the courtsaid, adding that the chief justice had undergone "a thorough neurologicalevaluation, which revealed no cause for concern."

He was to remain overnight "as a precaution" at Penobscot Bay Medical Centerin Rockport.

The seizure caused a fall, in which he "experienced minor scrapes," thecourt said.


The Washington Post


Alaska Senator's Home Is Raided
Stevens Scrutinized In a Wide Inquiry Into Corruption in the State
By Dan Eggen and Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer and Washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 31, 2007; Page A01

Agents from the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service raided the Alaska homeof Sen. Ted Stevens (R) yesterday as part of a broad federal investigationof political corruption in the state that has also swept up his son and oneof his closest financial backers, officials said.

Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator in history, is underscrutiny from the Justice Department for his ties to an Alaska energyservices company, Veco, whose chief executive pleaded guilty in early May toa bribery scheme involving state lawmakers.


The Washington Post


Obama and the 'They' Sayers
By Eugene Robinson
Tuesday, July 31, 2007; Page A19

Are white Americans really, truly prepared to elect an African Americanpresident? Seriously, is a nation with such a long and shameful history ofbrutal slavery, Jim Crow segregation and persistent racism actually going toput a black man in the White House?

One of Barack Obama's principal tasks in the coming months may be convincingAfrican American voters that this whole phenomenon -- a black candidate witha well-financed campaign, proven crossover appeal and a real chance towin -- isn't just another cruel illusion.




Gay Canadian Cabinet Min. In AIDS Cycle
by The Canadian Press
Posted: July 30, 2007 - 3:00 pm ET

(Toronto, Ontario) Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman has joined abicycle rally on a six day trip from Toronto to Montreal to raise money forthose with HIV and AIDS.

More than 250 cyclists are taking part in the ninth annual Friends for Liferally to raise roughly $800,000 for the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation.As of departure time, more than $750,000 has already been pledged.

``I know people have been really dedicating themselves in an extraordinaryway, and it's so necessary,'' Smitherman said.

``We all know that the People With AIDS Foundation supports a lot of thepeople we love in our community. Because of the advances in medical science,folks are with us for way longer, which is awesome, but we've got more andmore work to do at PWA to support them.''

Murray Jose, executive director of the foundation, said the organizationprovides direct practical support services, food, income support, andtreatment and health information. The programs for men, women and childrenliving with HIV and AIDS are offered at little to no cost.




Unitarians Call For End To Anti-Gay Military Policy
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: July 30, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(New York City) The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations iscalling for an end to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" the ban on gays serving openlyin the military.

The Association at its annual conference in Portland, Oregon passed aresolution calling on Congress to repeal the law. It was approved by anoverwhelming number of the 6000 delegates to the conference.

The resolution calls on individual members to pledge themselves to work forrepeal of DADT.

The Unitarian Universalist Association consists of over 1,010 congregationsin the United States, with over 220,000 members, and is served by more than1,100 ministers.

"The action of the General Assembly puts the Unitarian UniversalistAssociation at the forefront of the national effort to improve our nation'ssecurity by embracing America's best and brightest, including lesbian gaybisexual and transgendered Americans who have answered our nation's call toduty," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (Ret.) VincentPatton, a Unitarian minister and member of Servicemembers Legal DefenseNetwork's Advisory Board.




Gingrich Predicts Clinton-Obama Ticket
by The Associated Press
Posted: July 30, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Washington) Democrats will nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton for president in2008 and Barack Obama will be her running mate, former Republican HouseSpeaker Newt Gingrich predicts.

The GOP will have three "formidable" choices in Mitt Romney, Rudy Giulianiand Fred Thompson, said Gingrich, who is considering whether to get into therace.

Gingrich is ruling out John McCain's chances among the Republicancontenders.

The Arizona senator "has taken positions so deeply at odds with his party'sbase that I don't see how he can get the nomination," Gingrich said Sundayin a broadcast interview.

Gingrich said he had dinner recently with Thompson, the former Tennesseesenator and actor who has set up a political committee that allows him toraise money for a presidential bid. An official launch is likely inSeptember, after the Labor Day holiday.

Gingrich said he expects Thompson will enter what is shaping up as acompetitive race for the GOP nomination against Romney, a formerMassachusetts governor, and Giuliani, a former New York City mayor.

"I think that either Mayor Giuliani or Governor Romney or Senator Thompsonwould be a very formidable opponent for what I expect will be aClinton-Obama ticket, and I think that there's a possibility that willwork," Gingrich said.


Ft. Lauderdale
Cong. Etz Chaim holds annual Yom Kippur food drive (September 21-22)

The Board of Directors of Congregation Etz Chaim, a spiritual home for "Jewsof the Rainbow" in South Florida, has announced plans for its Annual FoodDrive to benefit the Poverello Food Center. The Congregation organizes theFood Drive each year as part of its observance of the Jewish High Holy Days.The Poverello Food Center, located on Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors, servesthe Nutritional Needs of People Living with HIV/AIDS. People who would liketo contribute to the Food Drive should bring non-perishable foods to EtzChaim's Kol Nidre or Yom Kippur Services, which are being held at theReligious Science Center, 1550 NE 26th Street, Wilton Manors, FL 33305, onFriday, September 21, 2007 at 8:00 PM, and Saturday, September 22, 2007 at10:00 AM.

This Annual Food Drive is coordinated by the Synagogue's Tzedakah & TikkunOlam Committee, which in Hebrew means Charity and Repairing the World.Deborah Posner, Chairperson of the Committee, is hoping that this year'scollection will exceed 200 bags of non-perishable food. "This year we willcelebrate our thirty-fourth historic year as a spiritual home for GLBT Jewsin South Florida. With the guidance of Rabbi Harold F. Caminker as ourSpiritual Leader, we look forward to a promising new era of growth anddevelopment, and we are asking the members of our wonderful Congregation aswell as the Community at-large to be generous in their donations of food forthis worthy Agency."

For additional information on Etz Chaim's High Holy Day Services, pleasecontact the Synagogue's Office at 954-564-9232, or visit www.etz-chaim.com.




[al-fatiha-news] Article: The Saudi 'Sex and the City'?
Nam Y. Huh / AP
Rajaa Alsanea

Sex, Shopping and Social Change in Saudi Arabia

Rajaa Alsanea knew she was in for trouble when she published her novel aboutaffluent young Arab women - what she didn't foresee was how much support shewould receive.

By Christina Gillham

July 20, 2007 - When Rajaa Alsanea's "The Girls of Riyadh" hit bookstoresin the Middle East in2005, it caused a furor. Referred to by some as a "Sexand the City" for Saudi Arabia, the book delved into the social,romantic-and sometimes sex-lives of its four female characters. Publishedfirst in Lebanon-and published in the United States this month-the bookalmost immediately made its way to Saudi Arabia, where it was denounced byreligious conservatives as immoral and hailed by reformists as amuch-needed condemnation of Saudi Arabia's restrictive society. Alsanea, 24years old at the time, was propelled to stardom, making appearances on TV,receiving supportive phone calls from the royal family and an endorsementfrom no less a figure than the king's labor minister and close adviser,Ghazi al-Gosaibi.

"The Girls of Riyadh" explores the lives of four young women-Lamees, Sadeem,Gamrah and Michelle. Their stories are told by a narrator in a series ofpostings on an Internet chat room. The women, like their creator, areupper-class Sunni Muslims whose lives revolve around various romanticentanglements, shopping, school and struggling against their society'sstrict moral code. Alsanea wrote the book while in college, where shestudied dentistry. Now living in Chicago, she is doing her residency inendodontics (root canal) and studying for her master's degree in oralsciences. She spoke to NEWSWEEK's Christina Gillham.

Complete article and interview...


The Miami Herald


Steve Rothaus,
Sex in public places: How big a problem?

When Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle linked the purchase of new toilets forbeach parks to gay sex in public places, he uncorked a torrent of protest.But just how prevalent is public sex?

No one keeps detailed statistics on sex in public restrooms and parks. SouthFlorida law enforcement agencies say they receive occasional complaints andmake a few arrests, but they don't spend much time cracking down on it.Since 2005, Fort Lauderdale has reported two arrests for sexual activity ina public restroom.

''I don't know whether it's the perception or the reality, but it doesn'tseem like it's that much of a problem,'' Broward Sheriff's Office spokesmanJim Leljedal said.

Miami-Dade Police cracked down on public sex at Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40thSt., in August 2001 and made 17 arrests. Police spokesman Juan Villalba saidhe knows of no current sting operations.

American University anthropology Professor William Leap has spent more thana decade researching male sex in public places. In 1999, he edited anacademic compilation called Public Sex/Gay Space. His conclusion is that upto half of the men who seek this kind of sex are not gay.

''We are talking about a recreational, erotic activity that involves alldifferent kinds of men,'' he said. ``That fact has got to get burned intopublic consciousness. If we are going to demonize individuals, then we needto be looking at a broad category of men. That includes ministers and cityofficials, all kind of respectable, upscale people.''

To read more, click here.



National Gay News


Gay Woman Fails to Win Seat in Japan
Monday, 30 July 2007 12:29

The first openly gay candidate in Japanese national politics failed to win aseat in upper house elections, but vowed to continue her fight for minorityrights.

Kanako Otsuji, 32, backed by the main opposition Democratic Party, hadcampaigned in front of rainbow-coloured flags, with loudspeakers declaringto passers-by she was a lesbian.


National Gay News


First Gay Couple For Desperate Housewives
Monday, 30 July 2007 11:45

American TV struggles with gay characters. The idea of another way of life,often at odds with the white picket fence ideal endorsed by middle America,can seem a bit scary to TV bosses. This fear of the unknown can reduce gaycharacters to silly stereotypes and marginal sideshows, with the likes ofEllen DeGeneres and Will in Will and Grace providing rare cases of TV folkthat avoid the insulting, yet all too easy clichés. And so it is with thisless than stellar track record, that one of the top US shows has announcedit's decision to go gay.

Marc Cherry, (right with Teri Hatcher), creator of Desperate Housewivesrevealed during the ABC Press Tour that Wisteria Lane will become home toits first gay couple in season 4. "We're going to have the first maledesperate housewives," said Cherry. "They will move into the old Applewhitehouse and one of the gay men will just have a fractious, hatefulrelationship with Teri Hatcher. We just started writing the episodes so Iprobably won't start casting for another few weeks."

This storyline is said to be auto-biographical with Cherry, an openly gayman, using his personal experiences of life in the suburbs as his startingpoint. "I just decided to have them move onto the street and have as manyissues as any other couple. Susan wants to be so politically correct andshow how open-minded she is and she puts her foot in her mouth instantly andit goes downhill from there. I'm basing it a little bit on my relationshipwith my neighbors."

Amusingly, when questioned on her character Susan clashing with the one ofthe gay characters, actress Teri Hatcher was quick to defend herself againstany perceived homophobia: "Not over being gay!" Cherry swiftly looked tohelp his leading lady by adding "She doesn't know what they fight over yet.These [the actors] are the last person you want to go to about thestorylines."

Could this newfound reluctance to include the actors in their character'sfuture developments be due to Eva Longoria famously blabbing about unairedstorylines? Just a thought.


National Gay News


Warning Shot for Hotels Over Gay Couples

UK - Muslim or Christian guest house owners who refuse to accept homosexualcouples must impose a "sleeping together ban" on all other guests, theGovernment says. As the holiday season gets under way, Meg Munn, a juniorminister, has emphasised that it is illegal to allow married couples toshare a room at a guest house or hotel while not allowing homosexuals thesame right.



Florida Red and Blue


Group touts $1M to fight ban on same-sex marriage
Orlando Sentinel

TALLAHASSEE - A group battling a proposed constitutional amendment thatwould ban same-sex marriage in Florida said Tuesday that it has raised morethan $1 million in the past two months for what could be a vigorous ballotfight next year.

"This is about all Floridians, not just some Floridians," said Jon Kislak, aNorth Miami financier who is chairman of Florida Red and Blue Inc., formedto fight the measure.

The organization, which leaders say is attracting Democrats and Republicans,will report contributions from 375 donors this week -- a quarterly deadlinefor state campaign reports.

One-third are self-identified Republicans, Florida Red and Blue leaderssaid, including Palm Beach philanthropist Don Burns, who put up a $250,000challenge grant matched by other donors.

The same-sex marriage ban looks like a sure bet to be on the November 2008presidential ballot.

Florida4Marriage.org, which is pushing it, will finish collecting the611,009 signatures needed to get on the ballot within 30 days, said chairmanJohn Stemberger, an Orlando lawyer.

"This will inevitably be the most robust, well-funded marriage amendment inthe history of these ballot initiatives across the country," Stemberger saidwhen told of the Red and Blue fundraising total.

Florida4Marriage has raised $438,613, campaign-finance records show. Most ofthe money has been spent on the petition drive.

The Florida Republican Party gave the group a total of $300,000 in late 2005and early last year.


National Gay News



Monday, 30 July 2007 00:02

Naugle Supporters Run You Tube Tribute
Distort Gay Position on Social Issues


National Gay News


Young and Out on the Field
An emerging generation of gay athletes in high school and college ischanging the rules.

The teenager with the powerful build and close-set eyes had to be careful.He hung back ever so slightly when teammates shot the breeze, talking aboutgirls. "You get tired of constantly watching what you say, constantlywatching how you act," he said. "You're almost paranoid." Goodman felt souneasy that he finally told the Green Lake Crew his secret: He is gay.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

According to a Zogby/Game Show Network (GSN) survey released July 23, 2007:

* 87 percent of Americans agree that gays and lesbians should haveequal employment opportunities and protection from workplace discrimination.Strong support for equal employment practices is found in a number of otherpolls as well, including a May Gallup poll which found that 89 percent ofAmericans support equal rights for homosexuals in terms of jobopportunities;

* The Zogby/GSN poll also concluded that 66 percent disagree that gaysand lesbians can be "cured" of their sexual orientation; and

* 58 percent say they would elect a gay person for President.

The survey follows-up a new television series, "Without Prejudice?" and ispart of an effort by GSN to promote a "national dialogue on intolerance andbigotry."

This poll was conducted online from June 22 to June 25, 2007 with 10,387respondents interviewed. The margin of error is +/- 1 percentage point.

For more information visit:

For the full report:


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Czech Republic:
Prague increasingly popular for gay tourism

By ÈTK / Published 30 July 2007

Prague, July 27 (CTK) - Prague, along with Budapest, has become adestination popular for homosexual tourists, Czech analyst Jaromir Beraneksays, adding that more than 600,000 tourists annually visit Prague to useservices aimed at their minority sexual orientation.

Although some world travel agents have focused on homosexual clients sincethe 1980s already, in Prague this type of tourism started developing in the1990s only, Beranek told journalists.

Prague has quickly acquired the reputaion of a friendly town amonghomosexuals from all over the world.

"Czech society have always been quite tolerant where it comes for sex andsexuality-related issues, compared with the neighbouring countries," Beraneksaid.

Local businesspeople have quickly adapted themselves to the demand,therefore Prague now offers a broad range of services related to homosexualorientation and night life, such as gay clubs, wine bars, hotels, saunas,trips and sightseeing tours.

A large number of Prague tours for homosexuals are presented as get-togetherones.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

[euro-queer] Police okay gay parade in Estonian capital
Police okay gay parade in Estonian capital
20:14 | 30/ 07/ 2007


TALLINN, July 30 (RIA Novosti) - Estonian police said Monday they haveauthorized a gay parade in the center of Tallinn August 11 following initialopposition to the event based on security concerns.

Police suggested in mid-July that organizers reroute the march away from thecity center, saying six participants in the 500-strong Tallinn Pride paradewere seriously injured when attacked by Estonian nationalists last year.

Several organizations representing sexual minorities in the ex-Soviet Balticstate of 1.4 million approached the president, prime minister and othersenior government and city officials for assistance after the policerefusal.

The issue was resolved when organizers agreed to hire security guards toensure the marchers' safety in line with police recommendations.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

[euro-queer] BBC radio documentary focuses on homophobia in Jamaica

Audio stream/download at:


First broadcast July 2007

Homosexuality is one of the world's biggest taboos.

It has led to riots in Russia, huge splits in the Anglican Church, and was alarge factor in the re-election of President Bush.

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe famously proclaimed that homosexuals were"worse than pigs and dogs."

Now in the first of two programmes, Clare English explores what it is liketo be gay and asks why some societies are more tolerant than others.

Part One: Jamaica

Jamaica is a very homophobic country.

There have been calls for a gay eradication day, mob violence towardshomosexual people is tolerated by the police, and there is a lot ofignorance and fear.

Gay rights are not on the agenda and are unlikely to be in the future. As aresult, many homosexuals stay firmly in the closet.

But what happens when people choose to come out under such hostile socialcircumstances?


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


ACLU Tells Federal Court It Can Protect Both Gay Students and Free Speech

The American Civil Liberties Union told the U.S. Court of Appeals for theSixth Circuit on Wednesday that a school policy designed to protect lesbian,gay, bisexual and transgender students from harassment went too far insquelching the right of some religious students to express their views onhomosexuality. The group insists, however, that schools can protect studentsfrom anti-gay harassment constitutionally.

"We've always believed that it's entirely possible for schools to enactpolicies that keep gay and lesbian students safe while still respecting theFirst Amendment rights of students who hold anti-gay beliefs," SharonMcGowan, a staff attorney with the ACLU's national Lesbian and Gay RightsProject, said in a release. "There's a huge difference between tellingstudents that they shouldn't harass or attack others and censorship. Schoolshave a constitutional obligation to respect all students' right to be andexpress themselves."

The anti-harassment policy was implemented as part of the settlement in alawsuit the ACLU brought on behalf of several students who were preventedfrom forming a GSA club at Boyd County High School in Ashland, Ky. Theschool district agreed to implement training and a policy in 2004 after afederal judge found there was a widespread problem with anti-gay harassmentin the school, including one incident in which students in an English classstated they needed to "take all the fucking faggots out in the back woodsand kill them."

Present at the courthouse were three of the students who first requested toform a gay-straight alliance club to counter rampant anti-gay harassment atthe school in March of 2002. "We wanted to be here for the hearing becausewe want to remind people what this whole thing is all about," said LibbyFugett, a former Boyd County High School GSA founding member who is now acollege sophomore with plans to attend law school. "Harassment against gaystudents and their friends is a huge problem at Boyd County High School, andwe want the court to remember that all students need to feel safe atschool."


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


A truce in the sex ed wars?
By Jonathan Zimmerman
New York

Right now, both sides of the sex education debate still insist thateducation can change sexual activity. As best as we can tell, they're bothwrong.

Hey, check it out: Abstinence education doesn't work!

It's fun to be right, that's for sure. So my fellow liberals have beengloating since last April, when an exhaustive five-year study showed what wealways suspected: Kids receiving "abstinence education" are no more likelyto delay sexual intercourse than their peers.

Politicians are starting to notice, too. Although the federal governmentcontinues to finance abstinence education, 11 state health departmentsrejected it this year. Even more, three states are considering laws thatwould ban any sex education program that isn't supported by "science" or"research."

But here's what most liberals won't admit: We don't have solid evidence forour own favored forms of sex education, either. So if the law requiresscience-based sex ed, we might have to change our entire approach.

Sex education started about a century ago, when fears of venereal diseaseseized the American middle class. Newspapers carried lurid stories ofwell-to-do men who acquired VD from prostitutes, then infected their wives.So physicians and educators created curricula to warn children about thesedangers and discourage any sex outside marriage.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


Advocates: Sex abuse misconceptions abound
In all but a fraction of child assault cases, offender knows victim
By Wendy Harris
Post-Crescent staff writers

Professionals who work with sex offenders and victims say the push foroffender residency restrictions is grounded in myths, and they would rathersee education and other forms of prevention.

Kathleen Lhost, executive director of the Sexual Assault Crisis Center inAppleton, sees firsthand the emotional scars that sex offenders inflict ontheir victims.

But she opposes residency bans. Lhost stresses it's not because she is softon offenders.

"Everyone has a deep desire to protect their children, but they don'tunderstand the problem," she said.

Less than 10 percent of child sex abuse victims are abused by a stranger.The general public, however, still tends to believe "the rape myth," Lhostsaid.

"People fear the person who is lurking on street corners waiting for them towalk by and then assault them in the bushes."

The fear of "stranger danger" is often perpetuated by high-profile cases.

Community notification laws now in place in all 50 states are often referredto as Megan's Law based on advocacy that followed the 1994 rape and murderof 7-year-old Megan Kanka.

Those cases are the exception.

Predatory pedophiles - the sex offenders parents fear most - represent lessthan 1 percent of offenders on Wisconsin's Sex Offender Registry, Lhostsaid.


Detroit News


Debt-free dream strengthens couples

Growing up a tomboy, I hated the pointy-toed sneakers my mom forced me towear. I ached for Keds high-tops.

Years later, when as a college junior I giddily found myself holding my veryfirst credit card, I knew exactly what my first purchase would be -- andrightly reckoned this was a momentous adult milestone.

But as I signed the credit slip and laced up those high-tops, I had no ideathat I'd just bought a painful -- and costly -- learning opportunity: I'dentered the debt lifestyle.

At first, it seemed harmless to pay an item's purchase price, plus a bit ofinterest. But as the years clicked by and I settled down with my spouse,Joyce, I came to feel like a frustrated gerbil -- always running but gettingnowhere financially. What had us spinning was the amount of our income beingdiverted to interest payments -- on credit cards, cars, our mortgage andhome equity loans (taken out to pay off credit cards that we ran right backup).

But, now nearly three decades -- and a lot of peanut butter sandwiches --after my Keds purchase, Joyce and I owe not one cent. And we don't payinterest. Money, rather than being a crowbar, has become a sweet glue thathelps bond us to each other and our shared dreams.

Money tears many couples apart. MONEY magazine surveyed 500 married coupleslast year and found money caused more fights than sex or in-laws. Most -- 84percent -- said money creates tension in their marriage, and they said themain reason was because they don't agree on financial priorities.

Having been taught by our goof-ups that we were money dummies, Joyce and Isat down eight years ago and designed a roadmap out of debt. We started bycreating a specific picture of our ideal future with the help of MichaelGelb's timeless book, "How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci."

Once we came up with a shared, detailed dream of retiring in Hawaii, wefound it easier to make the smart choices required to get us off the awfulgerbil wheel.


Saturday 28 July 2007
Derry paints the wall pink for gay and lesbian festival
George Jackson

One of Northern Ireland's most iconic landmarks, the Free Derry Wall in theBogside, has been painted pink in preparation for the gay and lesbian FoylePride Festival next month.

The words "You Are Now Entering Free Derry" were first painted on the thengable end wall by local resident James Casey in January 1969 as a symbol ofresistance against the then RUC and B-Specials.

Yesterday, members of the gay men's health promotion agency the RainbowProject painted the wall pink in the run- up to the festival which starts onAugust 13th. Festival organiser David McCartney said the idea came from the07 Féile committee, whose members include members of the wall's managementcommittee.

"It is a very positive and visual gift from them to us. Some people maycriticise it, but the wall has always been about civil rights and civilliberties. The theme of the festival is 'Free To Be Me' and people from allover Ireland will be attending it.




Farsi Version: http://www.irqo.net/IRQO/Persian/pages/052.htm

Press Release
June 27, 2007

Within the past two weeks, following the rightful objection of the Iranianpeople in regard to ever-increasing government pressures, a new wave ofrepression and suppression has begun inside Iran.

As part of an interview with the TV program Kooleh Poshty on July 24th, in an emphasized and detailed account Mr. Saeed Mortazavi names every group andindividual targeted by the new wave of government violence and murder inIran.

In these comments, he clearly outlines groups allegedly violating officialIslamic laws and speaks in detail about various forms of dress, makeup, andhairstyle deemed unacceptable and unforgivable. Meanwhile, so as to coverthe poison of his violent threats, Mr. Mortazavi considers that in the eventtheguilty party is not aware of the meaning and message of his/her appearance,he/she will not be punished upon the first arrest and instead receivewarning and guidance. Apparently during his discussion Mr. Mortazavi doesnot referat any point to images and repeated reports of the method of punishmentutilized by the authorities to deal with those they consider guilty ofso-calledimmoral offences.

Considering the circumstances in which respect for the rule of law andpeople's fundamental rights is the least matter of concern for the judicialsystem, a situation where as soon as an individual is targeted he/she isdealt with in a brutal and violent manner, for the purpose of intimidationverbally and physically attacked, and in many cases before the accused hasbeen able to respond to the accusation(s) against him/her all that remains of them isa bloodied and battered body - Mr. Mortazavi's words cannot warm the heartsand inspire confidence among listeners.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Young and out on the field
An emerging generation of gay athletes in high school and college ischanging the rules.
By David Wharton
Times Staff Writer

July 28, 2007

Seattle - THE guys in his boat took to calling him "Badger" because of thegrimace he wore during races. Part of a junior rowing club that ranked amongthe fastest in the nation, Lucas Goodman was relentless on the water.

It was a different story on land.

The teenager with the powerful build and close-set eyes had to be careful.He hung back ever so slightly when teammates shot the breeze, talking aboutgirls.

"You get tired of constantly watching what you say, constantly watching howyou act," he said. "You're almost paranoid."

Goodman felt so uneasy that he finally told the Green Lake Crew his secret:He is gay.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


July 27, 2007
Most large firms now have gay job bias rules, report finds
by Anthony Glassman

Washington, D.C.--Almost 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies now includesexual orientation in their antidiscrimination policies, according to theHuman Rights Campaign's latest report on workplace issues.

Over half of the companies now offer domestic partner benefits, and fifteentimes as many companies now include gender identity in anti-bias codes thandid in 2003. A full 25 percent of Fortune 500 companies now protecttransgender employees.

Ohio companies on the Fortune 500 got a mixed report card, however.

Six companies did not include either sexual orientation or gender identityin their equal employment policies, and also did not offer domestic partnerbenefits to employees.

They are AK Steel Holding Corporation of Middletown, American FinancialGroup of Cincinnati, Hexion Specialty Chemicals of Columbus, LubrizolCorporation of Wickliffe, the Timken Company of Canton and Western andSouthern Financial Group of Cincinnati.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


New archbishop led anti-gay 'witch hunt'
O'Brien, opposed to gays serving as Catholic priests, to head Baltimoreregion
Jul. 20, 2007

Some gay Catholics are criticizing Baltimore's new archbishop for takingwhat they call "ignorant" and "absurd" stances on gay issues.

Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, who was named last week to succeed the retiringCardinal William Keeler, staunchly opposes gays becoming priests.

"I think anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity, or who has stronghomosexual inclinations, would be best not to apply to a seminary and not tobe accepted into a seminary," he told the National Catholic Register in2005.

O'Brien also has suggested that gays fail to provide "a strong role model ofmaleness," and are therefore unfit to become priests.

"That shows a very ignorant understanding of homosexual orientation," saidFrancis DiBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministries, a Marylandorganization that advocates for the inclusion of gays in the CatholicChurch.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Woman raped before "honor killing": court
Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:54AM EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - A Kurdish woman was brutally raped, stamped on andstrangled by members of her family and their friends in an "honor killing"carried out at her London home because she had fallen in love with the wrongman.

Banaz Mahmod, 20, was subjected to the 2-1/2 hour ordeal before she wasgarroted with a bootlace. Her body was stuffed into a suitcase and takenabout 100 miles to Birmingham where it was buried in the back garden of ahouse.

Her badly decomposed body was found in April 2006, three months after thekilling.

Last month a jury found her father Mahmod Mahmod, 52, and his brother AriMahmod, 51, guilty of murder after a three-month trial. Their associateMohamad Hama, 30, had earlier admitted killing her.

On Thursday at a pre-sentence hearing for Hama, the Old Bailey heard detailsabout Banaz's last moments.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Disabled GI Feels Abandoned by Army
Stars and Stripes | Nancy Montgomery | July 23, 2007

HEIDELBERG, Germany - If you're a soldier reporting to Special ForcesAssessment and Selection, "You should be at 100 percent physical abilitywith zero percent stress level," the Army says.

Sgt. Archie Hennessey was.

He had trained for months before going on temporary duty from the HeidelbergMilitary Intelligence Detachment, 2nd MI Battalion, 66th MI Group, to themonthlong selection program at Fort Bragg, N.C., in September and was readyfor the challenge.

"I could put 70 pounds on my back and run for 20 miles," he said. "I couldpick up [my daughter] with one arm and my wife with the other."

But a week or so into the course, an accident changed everything.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Openly Gay General, Officers to Speak in Chicago Against 'Don't Ask, Don'tTell'

Army Brig. Gen. Keith H. Kerr, Army Colonel Stewart Bornhoft, Navy CaptainJoan E. Darrah (all retired) and five other former military officers willspeak out against the military's anti-gay 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy ata program benefiting the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) inChicago on Aug. 3.

General Kerr was one of three senior military officers-two generals and anadmiral-to "come out" in the New York Times in December 2003 to help boostawareness of the negative impact of the military's anti-gay policies. Theirstory has helped increase pressure upon the military and Congress to abandonthe decade-old policy.

The 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy makes the United States Military the onlyemployer in the nation which must, by law, fire someone because they arelesbian, gay or bisexual. More than 11,000 service members have beendischarged under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' including dozens of Arabiclinguists and hundreds of people with skills for which the military isexperiencing critical shortages. The policy has cost over $360 million intax payer funds between 1994 and 2003.

"'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' prohibits and discourages loyal Americans who wantto serve their country from doing so," General Kerr has said. "Americans whoare interested in serving their country should be given the opportunity todo so." General Kerr (retired) entered the military as a Private in 1953 andretired as a Brigadier General in June of 1996 after 43 years of service tohis country.

"In theory 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' allows lesbians and gay men to serve ifthey keep quiet about their sex lives," said Jean Albright, a retired AirForce Master Sergeant and member of the SLDN Advisory Board. "In practice itforces them to lie, undermines trust, and is an insult to those who arewilling and able to serve. The policy ruins lives and careers and underminesmilitary readiness at a time when even the most conservative know that weneed all hands on deck."


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Saugatuck Activists Discuss Ordinance
by Amy Wooten

The township of Saugatuck, Mich., a gay tourist attraction and populardestination for many LGBT Chicagoans, unanimously passed a new ordinancethat prohibits sexual orientation discrimination on July 11.

A small group of people petitioned the township in April, pushing for anordinance in this small town. The following month, the board expressedwanting a resolution instead, due to concerns. The idea was tabled untilJuly, but local activists continued to stress the importance of getting aprotective law on the books.

Jon Helmrich, co-chair of the Saugatuck Stonewall Democrats, said thatalthough he is surprised it took so long for this diverse community and gaytravel destination to pass such an ordinance, he is very pleased. "It wasexciting to see the board go from voting 3-2 or whatever at that firstmeeting, to passing the ordinance unanimously two weeks ago," he added.

Individuals claiming discrimination have 30 days to file a writtencomplaint. If a person admits to violating the ordinance, they will be fined$100 for the first violation, $250 for the second violation and $500 for thethird and subsequent violations.

If the accused denies the allegation, their response is placed on file inorder to keep a public record.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Travelers Face Greater Use of Personal Data
Pact Covers Passengers Flying From Europe to U.S.

By Paul Lewis and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, July 27, 2007; A07

The United States and the European Union have agreed to expand a securityprogram that shares personal data about millions of U.S.-bound airlinepassengers a year, potentially including information about a person's race,ethnicity, religion and health.

Under the agreement, airlines flying from Europe to the United States arerequired to provide data related to these matters to U.S. authorities if itexists in their reservation systems. The deal allows Washington to retainand use it only "where the life of a data subject or of others could beimperiled or seriously impaired," such as in a counterterrorisminvestigation.

According to the deal, the information that can be used in such exceptional circumstances includes "racial or ethnic origin, political opinions,religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership" and data aboutan individual's health, traveling partners and sexual orientation.

Airlines do not usually gather such data, but officials say it could wind upin passenger files as a result of requests for special services such aswheelchairs, or through routine questioning by airline personnel and travelagents about contacts, lodging, next of kin and traveling companions. Even arequest for a king-size bed at a hotel could be noted in the database.

The data now stored includes names, addresses and credit card information aswell as telephone and e-mail contacts, itineraries, and hotel and rental carreservations.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Alarm at US right to highly personal data

Religion and sex life among passenger details to be passed on to officials
Jamie Doward, home affairs editor
Sunday July 22, 2007
The Observer

Highly sensitive information about the religious beliefs, political opinionsand even the sex life of Britons travelling to the United States is to bemade available to US authorities when the European Commission agrees to anew system of checking passengers.

The EC is in the final stages of agreeing a new Passenger Name Record systemwith the US which will allow American officials to access detailedbiographical information about passengers entering international airports.

The information sharing system with the US Department of Homeland Security,which updates the previous three-year-old system, is designed to tackleterrorism but civil liberty groups warn it will have serious consequencesfor European passengers. And it has emerged that both the Europeanparliament and the European data protection supervisor are alarmed at theplan.

In a strongly worded document drawn up in response to the plan that willaffect the 4 million-plus Britons who travel to the US every year, the EUparliament said it 'notes with concern that sensitive data (ie personal datarevealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious orphilosophical beliefs, trade union membership, and data concerning thehealth or sex life of individuals) will be made available to the DHS andthat these data may be used by the DHS in exceptional cases'.

Under the new agreement, which goes live at the end of this month, the USwill be able to hold the records of European passengers for 15 yearscompared with the current three year limit. The EU parliament said it wasconcerned the data would lead to 'a significant risk of massive profilingand data mining, which is incompatible with basic European principles and isa practice still under discussion in the US congress.'


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