Wednesday, August 15, 2007

GLBT DIGEST August 15, 2007

**IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US AT and we'll be happy to send the full article.


Sweden: Exhibit showing gay Jesus inspires fracas

JONKOPING, Sweden, Aug. 15 A melee broke out in Sweden outside a photographyexhibit depicting Jesus as a homosexual.

Artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin created the Ecce Homo exhibit 10 years ago,and it has been controversial ever since.

On Sunday, a group of young people tried to set fire to a poster at theJonkoping Kulturhuset, The Local reported. Staff members tried to stop them,leading to a fight involving about 30 people, said Tony el Zouki, thedirector of the Kulturhuset.

Jonkoping is a major center of the Swedish Evangelical movement.

"If this is some Christian group, then I really do not understand them. Themessage of Christianity is that people should understand and love eachother," el Zouki said. "I really can't see how this can have a Biblicalexplanation."


News: Australia Refugee Tribunal Tells Man, "You're Not Gay"

July 25, 2007
by Harley Dennett

Despite a High Court rebuke and assurances to the Senate, immigrationauthorities are still finding ways to ignore pleas for protection on thebasis of anti-gay persecution.

Egyptian-born Mohamed (Mike) Sarhan is the latest in a string of cases wherebigoted assumptions by the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) and the ImmigrationDepartment are putting gay people at risk of torture.

Sarhan and his Australian partner Brad Calderon celebrated their secondanniversary last week with rings and a ceremony at Sydney Town Hall, but theRRT accused them of faking homosexuality.

"How on earth can you prove that you are gay or not? I told her everythingduring the interview but she threw it out," Sarhan said.

When Sarhan first applied he thought the case would be open and shut as hefled Egypt in 2004 after being found in his underwear with another manduring a police raid.

Homosexuality is punishable in Egypt under debauchery laws, but Sarhanclaims he escaped prosecution because the other man was a British citizen.

Fearing he would be further targeted by police or killed by his father,Sarhan came to Australia where relatives had accepted his sexuality.


Op/Ed: Australia Tribunal Needs Reviewing

August 2, 2007

Anyone who read Harley Dennett's report on gay Muslim asylum-seekers lastweek ("Refugee tribunal: you're not gay", SSO 877 ) will be outraged at someof the shocking judgments being handed down by the Refugee Review Tribunalboard. But the case of Mohamed Sarhan and his Australian partner is just thelatest in a string of mystifying Tribunal decisions going back years.

Immigration officers and Tribunal members have time and again shown afrightening lack of understanding of the situation these men face and anappalling narrow-mindedness when it comes to the realities of global gayidentities.

A few years ago, in trying to determine if an applicant was genuinely gay,Tribunal members asked a Persian-speaking Iranian man questions about OscarWilde and Madonna and then refused him when he said he had no idea who theywere. When this case was reviewed by the Federal Court, this line ofquestioning was actually upheld, the argument being that similar questionswould have been reasonable in determining a claim based on religiousaffiliation.

Nor do they seem to understand the risks and cultural sensitivities involvedfor such men, even those who face returning to countries where homosexualityis not explicitly illegal.

Being a gay Muslim and proud of it or rejecting or changing one's faithbecause of issues of sexuality may be interpreted by religious hardliners as"apostasy", one of the worst transgressions in Islam and one traditionallypunished by execution. Such men may also risk being the victims of honourkillings by family members.


Gay & Lesbian Leadership

Little momentum in bid to recall Ore., gay-rights laws

With seven weeks left until a deadline to collect signatures for a recalleffort for two Oregon gay-rights laws, activists are far short of the 55,179signatures needed to quality the measure for the November 2008 ballot. TheOregonian (Portland)/Associated Press (8/14)


Gay & Lesbian Leadership

Salt Lake mayoral candidates seek gay vote, cash

Some mayoral candidates in Salt Lake City are courting the vote -- andpolitical donations -- of LGBT citizens and groups. Their pro-gay stancereflects both the LGBT community's political activity and its financialstrength -- gay activist Bruce Bastian and group Equality Utah are among thetop three Utah donors per candidate, according to this article. The DeseretNews (Salt Lake City, Utah) (8/12)


Ray's note:
I wonder if Mayor Naugle is from Treviso?


Italian Politician Calls For Ethnic Cleansing Of Gays
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 12, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Rome) A call by the deputy mayor of Treviso for the ethnic cleansing ofgays from the region, in the north of Italy, has sparked a massdemonstration.

Nearly a thousand people turned out in front of the city hall on the weekendto demand the resignation of Giancarlo Gentilini.

Last week the rightwing politician told a local television station that hewould order police to put an end to gay cruising which he claimed was out ofcontrol.

"I will immediately give orders to my forces so that they can carry out anethnic cleansing of faggots," Gentilini told the station in an interview.

"The faggots must go to other [places] where they are welcome. Here inTreviso there is no chance for faggots or the like."

The politician's remarks brought back memories of the Mussolini dictatorshipwhere Jews, gays and other minorities were rounded up and sent toconcentration camps - mostly in Axis-controlled countries where many diedduring World War Two.



Sunday, August 12, 2007
by Michelangelo Signorile
Merv Griffin's Dangerous Closet

The Hollywood mogul Merv Griffin died at the age of 82 over the weekendafter a battle with cancer, and I was amazed to see The New York Timesactually discuss his sexual orientation, the palimony lawsuit and themale-on-male sexual harassment lawsuit. I'm thinking perhaps the Timeseditors really took it to heart when many of us criticized them after SusanSontag's death and the obituary cover-up of her sexual orientation and herrelationship with Annie Liebovitz. So far, in the the rest of the obits onGriffin (Reuters, Associated Press) I've seen nothing about hishomosexuality.

And yet, it is very important for reasons far beyond visibility or meregossip. Merv Griffin was an example of how dangerous the closet can be --and how the closet and power are a combustible combination that adverselyaffects so many other lives. We should point to his life for GLBT youth andsay, "Don't let this happen to you. Don't let your closet compromise you tothe point where you are actively harming your own people, even though youhave the power to do so much good."

Griffin never acknowledged he was gay, though it became widely known inHollywood, even as Eva Gabor played his beard. Yet, it was nothing discussedin the media and, apparently, in many of his own circles, particularlystraight political circles. Though he'd quietly led a gay life -- and hadhis pool parties filled with hot young men in years past, as well as aparade of boyfriends -- that was viewed as "private" information that wasnot discussed in mixed company. I had interviewed many gay men who'd knownGriffin as gay, as well as men who told stories about how his closet had himdoing horrendous things -- and how he was threatened by openly gay people.

First off, Griffin's closet kept him shockingly silent while he had accessto the president of the United States as his own people were dying. This manwas intimate with the Reagans (and Nancy Reagan in particular) during theheight of the AIDS epidemic in 80s, with few treatments available andfear-mongering having gripped the media.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

National Religious Leadership Roundtable responds to Evangelical LutheranChurch in America decision on LGBT pastors

Delegates to the Tenth Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical LutheranChurch in America voted Saturday to urge bishops to refrain fromdisciplining LGBT pastors in committed relationships. The vote was a victoryfor advocates of equality in this important Protestant denomination with 4.8million members, but it falls short of changing the church's policy ofdiscriminating against LGBT pastors who have families.

"At such a time as this, when the winds of justice and gospel truth areblowing all around us, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America hasresponded with timidity."
- Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, Program Director, Institute for Welcoming Resources

Read responses from NRLR members>


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Task Force, Inc., responds to White House threat of veto of hate crimeslegislation

White House spokesman Tony Fratto last week said that President Bush plansto veto any bill to which the Matthew Shepard Act is attached. "Thequalifications [in the bill] are so broad that virtually any crime involvinga homosexual individual has potential to have hate crimes elements. Theproposals they're talking about are not sufficiently narrow," Fratto said.

"The provisions of this legislation are extremely narrow, however not asnarrow as the minds of the current administration."
- Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force,Inc.

Read the response from the Task Force, Inc.>


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

[euro-queer] New homophobic education minister appointed in Poland

Polish President Lech Kaczynski fired yesterday all four ministers from theruling party's two junior partners, effectively ending the three-waycoalition government and bringing early parliamentary elections a stepcloser.

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Roman Giertych, who is chairmanof the Polish Families' League, was fired along with fellow League memberRafal Wiechecki, the maritime affairs minister. Kaczynski also dismissedLabor Minister Anna Kalata and Construction Minister Andrzej Aumiller, bothof the Self Defense party.

Ryszard Legutko, a Law & Justice senator, was appointed education minister.He is publicly known of his extremly homophobic declarations.

/Groups of homosexual activists have gained the status of 'saint cows'these days and the way they are treated is considered to be the mostimportant moral and legal test for a political system. It is the issue ofinterest for the highest international institutions. Even Mr Barroso himselfcouldn't help it and made an allusion to this during the conversation withMarcinkiewicz, as if the Prime Minister had nothing else to do but concernhimself with the relations between the Mayor of Poznan and homosexualactivists /[referring to the police pacification of the peaceful EqualityMarch in Poznan in 2005 - RB] (.)

/It's impossible to claim that heterosexual and homosexual relationships areequal, without falling into an absurd ideology of total egalitarianism. Thelatter - forgive me for stating the obvious - preclude procreation, have nobackup in natural law, have always been treated at best as an eccentricityand have never fulfilled basic socializing functions, as they simply are notcapable of doing this.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Harassed gay students call on schools to keep them safe

Allison Frantz, left, of Atlanta, and her mother Rhonda ecker, right,listen to Jord n Becker, 16, talk about her "blossoming nto a gay flower"while they hang out in her room in Hudson, Illinois, Wedsday night

August 8, 2007). (Pantagraph/B Mosher)
Monday, August 13, 2007 12:15 AM CDT
By Edith Brady-Lunny

BLOOMINGTON -- When Jordan Becker was in eighth grade, she learned her firstlesson about how gay people can be treated in the classroom and in life.

Three years ago, Becker was an openly gay student at Olympia Middle Schoolin Stanford. She got A's in her classes and was president of the studentcouncil. Things changed, said Becker, after her girlfriend's mothercontacted school officials about the relationship.

"The teachers pulled my friends out of class and said they couldn't befriends with me. At one point it got so bad the school had to call incounselors to help me," said Becker, now a junior at Normal Community WestHigh School. At one low point during the ordeal, Becker said she consideredsuicide.

Becker's mother, Rhonda Becker, said school officials rearranged herdaughter's schedule to separate the two girls. Teachers followed Becker inthe hallways and into the bathroom.

"When she was kicked off the student council without a reason, that wasthe last straw," said Rhonda Becker.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

August 12, 2007
Syphilis Cases on the Increase in New York City

It was a scourge of centuries past, a disease that ravaged the body andbrain, drove geniuses to madness and slowly brought its victims to aterrible death.

But syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease that was so rare by 1998 thatfederal health officials had planned to declare it eliminated by 2005, hasmade a troubling comeback in New York City and across the nation. In thefirst three months of this year, more than twice as many syphilis cases werediagnosed than were in the first quarter of 2006, according to the cityDepartment of Health and Mental Hygiene.

In recent years, the disease has been most common in men who have sex withmen. But now, health officials say they are concerned about an increase incases among women in New York, following a trend seen nationally beginningin 2005. After a decade with almost no female cases, health officials saidthe jump among women was possibly fueled by an increase in the number of menhaving sex with both men and women.

City health officials said they were receiving more reports of bisexualbehavior among men. And Dr. Stuart Berman, an epidemiologist at the federalCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, said that in the last few years,New York men with syphilis had reported engaging in bisexual behavior moreoften than men with the disease in other cities.

Syphilis is highly contagious and can be hard to detect, but is easilycurable with antibiotics. Untreated in pregnant women, it can causestillbirth, severe birth defects and infant death.


The New York Times

August 15, 2007
On Education
Lessons on Homosexuality Move Into the Classroom

After five years, one legal defeat and a challenge on the way, MontgomeryCounty, Md., is at the frontier of sex education in the United States. Thisfall, barring last-minute court action, the county will offer lessons onhomosexuality in its 8th- and 10th-grade health education courses.

To school officials, the lessons are a natural outgrowth of sex educationand of teachings on tolerance and diversity. They consist of two heavilyscripted, 45-minute lessons for each grade and a video demonstrating how toput on a condom. The lessons' central message is respect and acceptance ofthe many permutations of sexual identity, both in others and in one's self.

School officials said they were not seeking to promote a political agenda,beyond tolerance and a kind of cultural literacy. "Our charge starts witheducating students," said Betsy Brown, who supervised the curriculum'sdevelopment in consultation with the American Academy of Pediatrics. "Thisis part of education."


The New York Times

August 15, 2007
Poland Entertained by Its Twin Leaders
Filed at 5:29 a.m. ET

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- What do you get when two identical twins who gainedfame as impish child actors become president and prime minister of theircountry? In Poland, political vaudeville.

Ever since Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski won elections in 2005, Poland'spolitical scene has become so loony that some humorists are hailing it agolden age of political entertainment.

''Life just surpasses my capabilities as a satirist -- very many of thethings that have happened in Poland in recent years could not have beenthought up by the best satirists,'' said cartoonist Szczepan Sadurski.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski last year brought two unpredictablepopulist parties into the coalition in an effort to shore up hisgovernment -- an uncomfortable alliance that was an endless source ofpolitical farce until it collapsed this week.

Parliament at one point held a special Mass to pray for rain during adrought. A ruling party official called for investigating the children's TVshow ''Teletubbies'' because the character Tinky Winky appeared to be gay.And two eccentric Cabinet ministers showed up at a news conference withstuffed toy foxes.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski drew ridicule in May for revealing that he has no bankaccount and instead deposits his money in mother's account.


Palm Beach Post

Lawmaker facing sex charge may lose committee positions
Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau
Tuesday, August 14, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - A Florida lawmaker accused of soliciting sex from anundercover officer should consider the best interest of the state RepublicanParty when deciding whether to resign, state GOP Chairman Jim Greer saidTuesday.

Rep. Bob Allen, a former head of the Martin County Economic Council accusedof offering a male officer sex for money, was prepared for more bad newstoday when House Speaker Marco Rubio is scheduled to announce his 2008committee assignments.

Allen, R-Merritt Island, said he doesn't expect to return as chairman of theHouse Energy Committee because Rubio wants to give younger lawmakers thechance at leadership positions.

But key House members, who spoke on the condition of confidentiality, saidRubio is expected to remove the term-limited Allen from all of hiscommittees, and the changes would be a result of the criminal charge.

Allen, however, said he was told that House leaders "wouldn't do anything tohurt my defense." "I know the Speaker has talked about giving other youngerlegislators a chance," Allen said. "It's tough to gain experience in theeight years before term limits, and some senior members might serve inanother position." Meanwhile, Greer told reporters Tuesday that Allen shouldconsider the best interests of the GOP, as well as his family andconstituents, in deciding whether to resign.


Queer eye for the mayor guy
August 15, 2007

Unless you've been on a month-long crack binge, you're probably aware thatFort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle has a bit of a PR problem. Seems thathizzoner has gotten himself in some hot water with members of the gaycommunity over injudicious statements such as all gays are unhappy and hischampioning of automatic toilets to prevent gay public sex. Oopsy!

Of course, we here at City Link are concerned with helping, um, turn themayor around. So in the interests of helping "J.Naug" rehabilitate hisimage, we offer these suggestions.

Become a judge on Bravo's Top Chef.

Throw a champaign tailgate party at this week's Kathy Griffin concert.

Hold the next City Commission meeting at Scandals.

Two words: Teacup puppy.

While jogging, wear an "Eat, Drink and Be Mary" T-shirt.

Belt out a few numbers from La Cage aux Folles during cabaret night atMonkey Business.

Bring back the Fort Lauderdale slogan "Where the Boys Are."


Palm Beach Community College refuses to offer domestic partner benefits
Staff Report
August 15, 2007

Palm Beach Community College will not offer domestic partner benefits to gayand unmarried couples after a split vote Tuesday by its Board of Trustees.

Trustees Susan Baumel and David Talley voted in favor, while Kenneth Kirbyand Carolyn Williams voted against, college spokeswoman Grace Truman said.There is a vacancy on the five-member board.

Some trustees wondered whether the extra use of the system would forcecollege employees to spend more over time and because the state did notoffer a similar plan for its employees, Truman said.

Adding domestic partner benefits would not have cost the college anythingbecause it pays only for employee benefits and not the benefits of anemployee's spouse or child.


Gay, Lesbian Consumers Want Commitment
August 14, 2007
By Eric Newman

NEW YORK For the lesbian and gay communities, successful branding meanscompanies must put their money, and practices, where their mouth is.

Some 88 percent of gay men and 91 percent of lesbians claim that a brand'ssponsorship or support of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender)events favorably influences their buying decisions, according to a studyreleased today from Community Marketing, San Francisco. The study also foundthat 89 percent of gay men and 91 percent of lesbians said that the way acompany treats its gay and lesbian employees is also a crucial decidingfactor in purchasing decisions and their future business with a brand.

"Authenticity is very important to the gay and lesbian consumer," said JerryMcHugh, senior director of research at Community Marketing. "How a companytreats their gay and lesbian employees and their sponsorship of LGBT eventsreally holds up that authenticity for the consumer."

McHugh said that gays and lesbians were acutely aware of the businesspractices of companies they considered purchasing from, often reading up oncorporate profiles through equality indexes. "Anything they find that isnegative they become very aware of and that affects their feelings about acompany," he said.

The study gathered data from an online survey of more than 22,000 lesbianand gay adults from April 13-May 16, asking participants to answer a seriesof questions related to their buying habits and lifestyle.


Italian politician calls for "ethnic cleansing" of gays
13th August 2007 18:35 writer

The northern Italian city of Treviso has witnessed mass demonstrations afterthe deputy mayor called for the ethnic cleansing of homosexuals.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the city hall at the weekenddemanding his resignation.

Giancarlo Gentilini, told a local television station on Wednesday: "I willimmediately give orders to my forces so that they can carry out an ethniccleansing of faggots.

"The faggots must go to other (cities) where they are welcome. Here inTreviso there is no chance for faggots or the like."

The clip was posted on the website - click here to view.


Business Basics
How Open Is Your Office?
Tara Weiss, 08.14.07, 1:00 PM ET

Chris Crespo led the proverbial "double life" for eight years. At her homein Pittsburgh she lived with her partner of eight years and at Ernst &Young, where she was in the tax practice, she was a closeted lesbian whocalled her girlfriend her roommate. "It was a fearful time," says Crespo,who worried that her co-workers and clients would shun her if they learnedshe is gay.

That double life ended in 1992 at a gathering for a colleague's going awayparty. The conversation became political--and heated. A male co-worker wasgay bashing and Crespo reached her boiling point. "I stood up and said,"You're talking about 'those' homosexuals but you're talking about peoplelike me,'" says Crespo."I called my partner and said, 'I'll probably befired today.' "

Times have changed--many workplaces now have nondiscrimination policies andsame-sex partner benefits. But people interviewed for this article say thatdeciding to come out at the office and then figuring out how to do itcomfortably is an issue they deal with every time they switch jobs.Obviously there is not a one-size-fits-all method. But several people whocame out at the office say certain things have worked for them.

As for Crespo, she wasn't fired or shunned. Instead, her homophobicco-worker came under fire. Crespo's colleagues rallied around her and shebecame closer with many of them as a result of her honesty. Many said theytruly got to know her for the first time.

As Crespo moved up the corporate ladder, the issue resurfaced. One thingthat worked for her was looking for clues from new colleagues. For instance,during discussions about current events, a co-worker might say he or shesupports gay marriage. That's when she knows that it's comfortable (or not)to talk about her partner.


Gay neighbors move in on 'Housewives'TV Guide says storyline has couple moving to Wisteria Lane from big city
Access Hollywood
Updated: 5:39 p.m. ET Aug 14, 2007

LOS ANGELES - Move over "Desperate Housewives," and bring on the desperatehouse-husbands.

"One Life To Live's" Tuc Watkins has signed up to partner with Kevin Rahmformerly of "Judging Amy," as Wisteria Lane's first gay couple.

The recurring roles, according to TV Guide, will find Watkins and Rahmplaying a couple who are moving from the big city to a smaller, homelierplace. Watkins' character Bob is more of a "country mouse," while Rahm'scharacter Lee is his "bitchy partner," the mag notes.

Watkins has played the character of David Vickers for years on ABC's popular"One Life To Live," most recently turning boy-toy lover of one of the soap'sgrand dames, Dorian Lord. He also had a part in 1999's "The Mummy."

Rahm played Kyle McCarty from 2001-2004 on "Judging Amy." He has also hadguest parts on popular series including "Friends," "CSI: NY" and "Grey'sAnatomy."


August 15, 2007
Boom Boom Room's closure imminent

In less than three weeks, famed Laguna Beach, Calif., gay club the Boom BoomRoom may shut its doors forever unless a buyer comes to its rescue.

The property's owner, Steven Udvar-Hazy, and the operators of the Boom BoomRoom and the adjoining Coast Inn were apparently unable to reach anagreement to keep the bar, restaurant, and hotel open beyond the comingLabor Day weekend, according to an open letter from preservation group Savethe Boom! Udvar-Hazy wants to demolish the property to make way for a largerhotel.

Save the Boom! is campaigning to find a buyer who will keep the 60-year-oldestablishment afloat. The group began its campaign in 2006, gathering ,000signatures in three months to preserve the gay institution. (The Advocate)


August 15, 2007
Malaysia's first openly gay pastor holds controversial service

Malaysia's first openly gay Christian pastor conducted a controversialworship service Sunday, calling on mainstream churches not to discriminateagainst gays.

The Reverend Ouyang Wen Feng, an ethnic Chinese Malaysian who was ordained aminister in the United States in May, told a congregation of nearly 80people, mainly gays and lesbians, to ''reclaim our faith and celebrate oursexuality.''

''For some of us, especially our gay brothers and sisters, we haveexperienced firsthand that Christianity has been used to persecuteminorities,'' Ouyang said during the service in a Kuala Lumpur hotel.

Ouyang, 37, has sparked concerns among Malaysian Christian community leadersafter he recently declared that he hopes to set up a church in thispredominantly Muslim nation, which has large Christian, Buddhist, and Hinduminorities.

A church that accepts same-sex relationships would face stiff oppositionfrom both Muslim and Christian conservatives in Malaysia. Althoughhomosexuality is not specifically a crime in this Southeast Asian country,it is covered under a law prohibiting sodomy, which is punishable by up to20 years in prison and whipping.


August 15, 2007
Gay online ad company launched

A new ad company is cashing in on the 33% boom in LGBT online ad dollars.The Gay Ad Network launched Tuesday and plans to be featured in Web sitesfor gay newspapers, magazines, and social networking.

Mark Elderkin, former president of PlanetOut Inc. (parent company of TheAdvocate) and founder of, is head of the network.

"Independent Web publishers have been successful in creating great qualitycontent and attracting loyal and passionate audiences, but they have beenless effective in attracting national advertisers due to their limitedindividual size," Elderkin said in a statement.

Launch partners include !!omgblog!!,, and Window Media,owner of the Washington Blade, Southern Voice, and New York Blade.

According to Harris Interactive/Witeck-Combs Communications, 64% of LGBTconsumers are more likely to buy products that are directly marketed to themin gay media. (The Advocate)


August 15, 2007
Oregon group running out of time to block pro-gay laws

Opponents of two recently passed pro-gay laws in Oregon are running out oftime to gather signatures that would put the measures to a popular vote.Defense of Marriage and Family, Again!-a self-styled political actioncommittee-has collected just between 5,000 and 10,000 signatures, far shortof the 55,000 it needs to place the state's new antidiscrimination anddomestic-partnership laws on the November 2008 ballot, according to theAssociated Press.

If the anti-marriage equality group gathers the necessary signatures withinthe next seven weeks, the measures, signed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski andscheduled to become effective January 1, would be suspended until after theresults of the November 2008 election could be tabulated. (The Advocate)


August 15, 2007
N.J. church sues over civil union ceremony

A church group sued New Jersey on Monday over the state's investigation of acomplaint that the group refused to allow a lesbian couple to hold a civilunion ceremony at a beachfront pavilion it owns.

The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a Methodist group, alleges that byfinding enough reason to investigate the complaint, the state's Division onCivil Rights is threatening to prosecute the group in order to force it toallow such ceremonies to take place.

The investigation is the first of its kind for New Jersey, which beganallowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions in February.

Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster of Ocean Grove filed the complaint afterthe association rejected their application to use the pavilion and returnedtheir $75 deposit. The group said it rejected the application because thechurch does not recognize same-sex unions.

''In an apparent distortion of the First Amendment, they are claiming thatthey have the right to discriminate against people who do not share theirreligious tenets,'' Bernstein said.


August 15, 2007
Soldier who faces expulsion allegedly targeted for being gay

A military police officer assigned to the U.S. Army's Old Guard unit facesdismissal from service after he was targeted by investigators for possiblybeing gay, says his legal counsel, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

Christopher Mastromarino, who served in Korea before being recommended forduty with the prestigious Old Guard-a unit that performs ceremonial dutiesfor the president and guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier-has undergonethree investigations that his legal advocates believe were prompted when hiscommand learned other soldiers thought he was gay. Emily B. Hecht, the SLDNattorney assigned to Mastromarino's case, said the investigations thatresulted in criminal assault charges amounted to "an antigay fishingexpedition" into Mastromarino's personal life. Mastromarino may bedischarged later this week if his command elects to follow through on thethree court-martial convictions.

"Rumor, hearsay, and homophobia have jeopardized the career of a soldierwith an otherwise sterling service record," said SLDN's Hecht. "There isstrong evidence to suggest the charges against Mastromarino have beentrumped up and exaggerated in order to drum out a member of the Old Guardwho the command believes is gay."

Hecht noted that one of the assault charges stemmed from an incident inwhich the alleged victim, another soldier in Mastromarino's unit,acknowledged there would have been no presumption of assault had theincident occurred with any other service member.

Army investigators brought Mastromarino to court-martial in May over thatassault allegation. During the course of the investigation, SLDN saysmilitary investigators specifically questioned other male troops in the OldGuard about their interactions with Mastromarino and learned that many ofhis fellow soldiers believe Mastromarino is gay. Mastromarino, who wasultimately convicted at court martial, now faces expulsion from the Army anda conviction that would prevent him from continuing his law enforcementcareer in the civilian community.


Gay Presidential Forum Largest Attracted Historic Online Audience
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 14, 2007 - 3:00 pm ET

(New York City) Last week's forum of Democratic presidential contendersattracted what Logo television says was the largest LGBT online videoaudience in history.

The network, which owns said Tuesday that it recorded more than180,000 users at for the forum.

"This historic event brought our community together in a powerful andimportant way," said Lisa Sherman, Senior Vice President and General Managerof Logo in a statement.

The network also said that anecdotal evidence, including extensive mediacoverage, community viewing events across the nation and online chattersuggest Logo's television broadcast garnered the network one of the largestLGBT television events of all time, although Logo's television audience isnot yet measured by Nielsen.

"We hope this launch event for Logo's continuing election coverage engagesour community like never before," Sherman said.


Brazil's Gay Soccer War
by The Associated Press
Posted: August 14, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Sao Paulo, Brazil) The director of a prominent soccer club insinuates onnational television that a player on a rival team is gay. The player suesfor slander and goes on TV to deny being homosexual. A judge causes anuproar by saying gays don't belong in Brazilian soccer.

With a narrative like a Latin American telenovela, a controversy over thequestioned sexual orientation of Sao Paulo midfielder Richarlyson has shakenone of Brazil's most hallowed institutions - soccer - with insults, blanketaccusations of homophobia and unsolicited defences for supposedly closetedgay teammates.

It all started in June when Palmeiras club director Jose Cyrillo Junior wasasked on a national TV program whether it was true that a soccer player fromhis team was negotiating for an exclusive television interview to announcethat he was homosexual.

Cyrillo denied the report, but added ``Richarlyson `almost' played forPalmeiras,'' suggesting the 24-year-old ninth-year pro was gay.

Cyrillo later apologized, but Richarlyson - whose father playedprofessionally and whose brother played for Sporting in Portugal and is nowwith Brazil's Cruzeiro - filed a criminal complaint for slander, saying hewas wrongly accused of being gay.


Key Gay Marriage Foe Facing Revolt In His Megachurch
by The Associated Press
Posted: August 14, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Nashville, Tennessee) The Rev. Jerry Sutton, a prominent Southern Baptistpastor who lost a bid to become president of the denomination, is now facingan upheaval in the megachurch he leads, including complaints that he spentchurch money on his daughter's wedding.

For nearly 21 years, Sutton has served as leader of Nashville's Two RiversBaptist Church, which sits just across the highway from the Grand Ole Opry.The church hosted the "Justice Sunday II" rally in 2005, where then-HouseMajority Leader Tom DeLay and others attacked same-sex marriage andcriticized judicial activism via satellite to a national audience ofevangelical Christians. (story)

But now, some Two Rivers members are accusing Sutton of failing to abide bychurch rules and punishing those who question his authority.

"We have a fractured fellowship. Somehow, with the Lord's help, we need toput this church back together," Harry Jester, who's been in the congregationfor 32 years, said at a church meeting July 28.

One of Sutton's former administrative assistants has also said Sutton lookedat pornography on his church computer and had an affair with a church staffmember - charges that the church denies. The church's executive pastor,Scott Hutchings, said human resource officials at the church investigatedthose charges and found no evidence that Sutton had looked at porn or had anaffair.


Catholic School System Told It Can't Fire Gay Principal
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 14, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(London) British equality laws trump church teachings in employment theRoman Catholic Church has been told.

The Archdiocese of Liverpool had threatened to fire Charles Coyne, theprincipal of St Cecilia's primary school after it discovered he was gay andhad entered a civil partnership with another male teacher.

Some parents at the school had demanded that both be fired.

The conservative Family Education Trust called the situation a scandal.

"It is not unreasonable for parents sending their children to a faith schoolto expect the headteacher to be living according to that faith," saiddirector Norman Wells.


Firefighters Claim Threats Following Complaint Over 'Forced' Gay PrideAppearance
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 14, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(San Diego, California) Four San Diego firefighters who have filed a humanrights complaint alleging they were "forced" to take part in the city's gaypride parade say they are receiving threatening phone calls.

The firefighters were not specific on the threats but say they have askedpolice to investigate.

The four claim they were were told they had to take part in the parade andwere subjected to sexual taunts by crowds on the street.

Their attorney, Stephen Stirling, of the Michigan-based Thomas More LawCenter - a conservative Christian law practice - has asked the CaliforniaDepartment of Fair Employment and Housing for right-to-sue notices, a firststep toward a lawsuit.

The firefighters claim they followed the order fearing that if they refusedthey would be suspended or punished.


Hate Crime Charges Dropped Against Second Teen In Anti-Gay School FlierIncident
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 14, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Woodstock, Illinois) Hate crime charges have been dropped against a 16 yearold girl as part of a plea agreement in which she pleaded guilty todisorderly conduct and resisting a peace officer.

The teen, who cannot be named because of her age, had been charged withfelony hate crimes following the distribution of anti-gay fliers at CrystalLake South High School in May.

She will be sentenced September 19.

Assistant McHenry County State's Attorney Robert Windon said the judge has arange of punishment possibilities, all the same as if the hate charge hadremained. But Windon acknowledged that the plea agreement took thepossibility of incarceration off the table.

The plea agreement is the same as one agreed to in June by the other 16 yearold female defendant. (story) She will be sentenced next week.


Presidential Race Hits Breakneck Pace
by The Associated Press
Posted: August 15, 2007 - 8:30 am ET

(Concord, New Hampshire) Late-night conference calls, Sundays spent in theoffice and a diet served in takeout bags are the hallmarks of the finalweeks of a presidential primary campaign.

They're already the norm in the early voting states of New Hampshire andIowa - and it's only August.

"We think it's nonstop now?" says Mike Dennehy, Sen. John McCain's nationalpolitical director. "Once we hit Labor Day, it's going to be blazing fast."

And it's not just McCain sprinting. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's14-hour campaign days begin at 7 a.m.; to save time, he carries a gallonZiploc bag of granola - made by his wife, Ann - to double as breakfast andsnacks.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani flew to Iowa for a recent debate,landing less than two hours before it began. And Sen. Hillary Rodham Clintonflew from New Hampshire to Chicago and back in less than 24 hours,sandwiching an AFL-CIO forum between twin policy addresses here.


[Send your comments about articles to]


No comments: