Saturday, August 25, 2007

GLBT DIGEST August 25, 2007

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Rainbow flag snub sparks human rights complaint
'There is some form of homophobia in the works there'
Last Updated: Friday, August 24, 2007 | 1:35 PM AT
CBC News

A gay rights group has filed a human rights complaint over the Town ofTruro's refusal to fly the rainbow flag.

Charles Thompson, with Truro Pride, said the discrimination complaintcentres on the fact the town council has agreed to fly flags for othercommunity organizations and groups.

"Which leads us to believe that there is some form of homophobia in theworks there," he told CBC News Friday.

Earlier this month, Truro town council voted 6-1 against raising therainbow-coloured flag to coincide with gay pride activities in PictouCounty.

Some councillors said the request from Truro Pride came in late and therewas no time for a debate. But Mayor Bill Mills said as a Christian he couldnot agree to the raise the flag.

Thompson said he was waiting for the town's mayor to contact his group toresolve the matter. But since that didn't happen, he said Truro Pride tookthe next step and filed the complaint with the Nova Scotia Human RightsCommission.


BANG Showbiz
Aug. 24, 2007 08:08 AM
George Michael helped homeless people write songs about poverty whileserving his community service.

The 'Careless Whisper singer - who was sentenced to 100 hours service inJune for being unfit for driving through tiredness and taking prescriptiondrugs - gave residents a masterclass in songwriting during his time atLondon's St Mungo's homeless hostel last Monday.

One resident at the Euston shelter, Andrew Gilmour, told Britain's DailyExpress newspaper, "When he arrived, nobody knew who he was. He was in abaseball cap, shirt and trainers and spoke to anyone and everyone and didn'tact special.

"He was dressed down more than me. But then he helped people write songs,some about poverty, some about people in hostels."

Andrew believes the 44-year-old star's visit had a positive effect on allthe residents.


Lawyers Attack In IRS Sex Change Case
Govt. Disallowed Woman's Deduction
POSTED: 5:45 am EDT August 24, 2007

BOSTON -- Lawyers for the woman who deducted the $25,000 cost of her sexchange operation on her federal taxes attacked the credibility of ahigh-profile government witness on Thursday who testified that genderidentity disorder is not a disease.

The Internal Revenue Service disallowed Rhiannon O'Donnabhain's deduction,claiming that her sex change operation was cosmetic, and not medicallynecessary.

O'Donnabhain is suing the IRS to get the deduction accepted in a otentiallyprecedent setting case that could affect thousands of people a year in theU.S. who undergo similar operations.

Both sides rested their cases on Thursday before a tax court judge who willdecide the case.

O'Donnabhain, 63, said her case is about more than just money.


LA Fitness sued for alleged assault, slander
Plaintiff claims anti-gay intimidation at local gym
Aug. 24, 2007

An Atlanta attorney says he was subjected to an anti-gay diatribe and thethreat of assault during a visit to his health club. Now, Seth Persily, whois gay, is suing L.A. Fitness in Fulton County Superior Court for damagesover the alleged incident to sharpen the point that gay men and lesbiansneed not stand for abuse.

"I don't think any company, especially ones with a large gay clientele,should tolerate that kind of behavior from its employees," Persily said in astatement released through his attorney, Steve Koval.

Persily said he had been a member of the Lenox/Buckhead location of L.A.Fitness for about six months on July 18, the date of his last visit, whenthe events described in the lawsuit unfolded.

The suit, filed Aug. 7, accuses L.A. Fitness International and a gymemployee identified only as "Willy" of assault, slander and inflictingemotional distress on Persily.

Calls to the Lenox/Buckhead gym and L.A. Fitness International executiveoffices in Irvine, Calif., were not returned by press time. No response tothe lawsuit had been filed on behalf of L.A. Fitness by Aug. 21. SeveralAtlanta L.A. Fitness locations, including Ansley Mall, are very popular withgay patrons.


Mayor defends Halloween shutdown
by Matthew S. Bajko

Defending his decision to shut down the Castro Halloween party this year,Mayor Gavin Newsom said last week that he fears allowing the event tocontinue could lead to the death of a partygoer.

"We made the decision so we don't have something tragic happen. It is almostpredictable that somebody would get killed this year. We have already hadeverything else happen," Newsom told Castro residents and merchantsfollowing a meeting held Thursday, August 16 with business owners in thecity's gay neighborhood. "This thing is just huge and it is held in a verysmall area. I am just scared someone is going to get killed."

Newsom acknowledged that the city cannot prevent everyone from showing up inthe Castro come Halloween night. But he said the city can try to persuade asmany people as possible not to show up.

"No. We can't shut it down this year. People are going to come down here,"said Newsom. "The idea here is to mitigate the crowds and send a messagethat the Castro is not open."

Newsom arrived at the Eureka Valley Recreation Center as the meeting hadjust ended. He spoke on the steps to the building surrounded by critics whohave complained about the lack of a public process in planning for thisyear's Halloween, as well as merchants equally upset with City Hall due tothe way civic leaders have handled preparations for this year's holiday.

Newsom attacked those who "want to politicize" the debate over Halloween,though he conceded "everyone has a right to be upset about this."


Judge rules gay porn actors will be tried for murder of film executive
By Mallory Simon, Court TV
Fri Aug 24, 3:41 PM ET

(C ourt TV) - Two gay porn actors will go to trial on charges they murdereda rival porn executive in a dispute over a coveted actor after a judge'sruling Thursday.

District Magisterial Judge James E. Tupper ruled that, based on thetestimony of 14 witnesses during a two-day hearing, there was enoughevidence against Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes for both men to go totrial. They are charged with murdering Cobra Video executive and gay pornkingpin Bryan Kocis.

"It sucks," Harlow Cuadra said to reporters when asked how he felt as heleft the courtroom. "I didn't do it. I didn't kill that man."

Police say Cuadra and Kerekes killed Kocis because of a dispute involvingactor Sean Lockhart, known in the adult film industry as Brent Corrigan.

Police say Cuadra, 25, and Kerekes, 33, went to Kocis' Dallas, Pa., homeJan. 24 and slashed his throat, nearly decapitating him. After he was dead,they stabbed him 28 times and burned his body and home to hide the crime,according to police documents.


Florida Republican Pleads Not Guilty To Gay Sex Solicitation Charge
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 24, 2007 - 3:00 pm ET

(Tampa, Florida) State Rep. Bob Allen (R) has pleaded not guilty to chargeshe offered an undercover police officer cash for sex.

Allen, a longtime foe of LGBT rights in Florida, was not in court - optinginstead to submit his plea in writing.

His attorney is expected to ask a judge on Monday to dismiss the case. Ifthat is unsuccessful, the lawyer said he will submit a motion to have anaudio take recording suppressed of an interview Allen gave to policefollowing his arrest.

In taped statements made by Allen to police following his arrest andreleased by the force Allen admits to soliciting the male officer but claimsthat it was the result of being nervous by the high number of black men inthe park.


Insults turn violent outside bar; Man assaulted in front of downtown gay andlesbian night club
Joel Desbois
Friday, August 24, 2007 - 09:00

Local News - The staff and patrons of Zig's, Sudbury's only gay and lesbianbar, are used to the insults and name-calling.

It's rare, however, that the homophobia turns violent, but that's whathappened last Friday night to a young Sudbury man. Brent Jason, 26, says hesuffered three fractures to his left cheekbone when he was confronted by agroup of passersby outside the Elgin Street bar. Jason was at Zig's bar -where he regularly works as a casual dancer - at 11:30 p.m. with three ofhis friends when a passerby made a comment about one of his friends.

The comments, Jason says, were about his female friend's physical appearanceand were followed by a homophobic comment about how they should "steal" herfrom her boyfriend, who was also among Jason's group.

After the brief altercation, the passersby started to leave, but a man fromthe group looked back to see Jason looking at them, turned around and cameback.

"They started walking away and I sort of took a few steps in theirdirection, just watching them and glaring at them," Jason says. "Then one ofthem came back towards me and said, 'what are you looking at, goof?' and Iwas like, 'oh God, nothing, so just keep going.' "

From there, Jason and Crystal Abouhanna, 26, another friend, said the manbegan yelling profanities, mocking Jason's sexuality. After another briefverbal altercation, where the man threatened to "knock out" Jason, the grouponce again started to walk away.



Aussie former "ex-gay" leaders denounce conversion therapy

Five former leaders of "ex-gay" ministries Down Under have publiclycondemned converstion/reparative therapy, according to the Sydney StarObserver.

The Aussie leaders said they were inspired to make their comments by therecent apologies of three former "ex-gay" leaders at an "ex-gay" survivorsconference in Los Angeles.

"There was not one person that I met or worked with who, in any genuine way,achieved the fundamental transformation from homosexual to heterosexual,"Paul Martin, former leader of Exodus in Melbourne, told the Observer.

According to some of the former "ex-gay" leaders, conversion therapyteachers in Australia believe men become gay because they had emotionallydistant fathers. Their therapy included "minders," who would follow theenrollees to make sure they were behaving themselves.

"Some people have suicided," Anthony Venn Brown, who spent 22 years tryingto be straight, told the newspaper. "But most people have now come to termswith their sexuality. There is no success rate [with conversion therapy]." (The Advocate)


Fortune 500 companies: 92% provide gay nondiscrimination policies

Equality Forum, a Philadelphia-based GLBT rights organization, has announcedthat more than 92% (463) of the 2007 Fortune 500 companies include sexualorientation in their employment nondiscrimination policies.

According to the press release, when Equality Forum began contacting Fortune500 companies in the fall of 2003, only 323 companies-or about 65%- providedsexual orientation protections. Equality Forum, along with professors LouisThomas of University of Pennsylvania and Ian Ayres of Yale Law School,contacted 177 CEOs and human resources directors of companies that didn'toffer nondiscrimination policies. By the fall of 2004, 405 (81%) had adoptedprotections.

Of the 37 Fortune 500 companies that have not adopted protections, 38% (14companies) are headquartered in Texas, the press release noted.

A Gallup poll in May found that 89% of U.S. citizens believe that gays andlesbians should have protection against workplace discrimination. (TheAdvocate)


D.C. pride organizers receive refund for security fees

The Washington, D.C., city government is refunding its annual gay pridefestival organizers more than $14,000 in fees that were paid fpr policeovertime and extra security costs for this year's event. After city councilmember Phil Mendelson raised questions about the fee, Darrell Darnell of thecity's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency refunded the fee,according to the Washington Blade.

The returned fee went to the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the chief sponsor andorganizer of the Capital Pride parade and festival. (The Advocate)


Minister guilty for role in gay weddings

A Presbyterian minister was found guilty of violating church law forofficiating the weddings of two lesbian couples, the minister's defense teamsaid Friday.

A regional judicial committee of the Presbyterian Church (USA) ruled 6-2that while the Reverend Jane Spahr of San Rafael, Calif., ''acted withconscience and conviction,'' her actions were still at odds with thechurch's constitution, her defense team said in a statement.

The ruling, delivered late Thursday to lawyers for Spahr and the church,reversed a lower court's decision in March 2006 that found Spahr actedwithin her rights as an ordained minister when she married the couples in2004 and 2005.

Spahr was the first minister of her faith to be tried for officiating theweddings of gay couples. She has since retired. (AP)


Gays, allies mobilize to protect Oregon laws

A group that has fought antigay initiatives in two states by publicizingpetition-signers' names this week extended its efforts to Oregon, where tworecently passed LGBT civil rights laws are under attack.

When a marriage supporter in Oregon contacted Aaron Toleos, codirector ofMassachusetts's, the group added that state to itsgrowing list of battlegrounds. This week promised tolaunch a new Web site that will list the names and addresses of peoplewho've signed petitions to put a measure before Oregon voters to repeal tworights bills.

Such petitions are public records, as many signers in Massachusetts andFlorida found to their chagrin, Toleos told

The two Oregon bills, passed by the legislature this spring and signed May 9by Gov. Ted Kulongoski, create strong domestic partnerships for Oregon gaymen and lesbians and outlaw discrimination against LGBT people in theworkplace, public accommodations, and housing.

The Constitution Party and Restore America are two known groups behind thepush to invalidate the Oregon Family Fairness Act (House Bill 2007) and TheOregon Equality Act (Senate Bill 2).


August 23, 2007
Police: Allen initiated station talk

Rep. Bob Allen initiated the talk in which he explained the "hugemisunderstanding" at a park men's room to assistant Titusville police chiefJohn Lau -- statements Allen's attorneys now want suppressed.

That's according to a statement by Lau, released Wednesday as part of theevidence in Allen's sex-solicitation case. Allen's attorneys say thepolitician had not been read his Miranda rights, despite asking earlier tospeak with a lawyer. Allen has pleaded not-guilty.

Excerpts from the assistant chief's statement:

"... I entered the booking room with a digital recorder in my front pocketand approached Mr. Allen. I acknowledged Mr. Allen by shaking his hand andasking him if he remembered me from a benefit we met at approximately oneyear prior. Mr. Allen first said he wanted to compliment our officersbecause the were just doing their job and he appreciated the good job thatthey do."

"Without any questions or prompting from me, Mr. Allen started to explain tome his side of events in the park. He stated that he walked into thebathroom at Spaceview Park and then walked out ... Mr. Allen then statedthat he walked back into the bathroom because he did not want to get struckby lightning from a storm front that was coming in."


Video Targets Giuliani's Positions on Gay Issues
Friday , August 24, 2007
By Greg Simmons

Zeroing in on concerns among some groups of gay voters, a videodirected by a New York writer, theater director and part-time politicalactivist takes aim at Rudy Giuliani and raises questions over the formermayor's support for gay Americans.

The 52-second video features three young, gay actors who all praiseGiuliani's record on gays - with more than a hint of sarcasm.

One, wearing yellow-tinted sunglasses, a white-brimmed hat and a blue shawlsays: "I am also so grateful for Rudy for the (New York) domesticpartnership plan that he has implemented in this city because I have had noless, no less, than five domestic partners."

. Click here to watch the video on

The purpose, says Ryan Davis, the director, is to point out what he callsthe disconnect between what Giuliani has stood for in the past and what heis saying on the campaign trail. Davis, a gay Democrat, never has supportedor worked for Giuliani (he worked for Howard Dean's presidential campaign in2004), but he said at least he used to respect Giuliani's positions.


Veto threat looms over hate crimes bill
White House mum on ENDA position; Pelosi expects fall vote
Aug. 24, 2007

Supporters of a gay- and transgender-inclusive hate crimes prevention billsay they will continue to call on the Senate to pass the legislation when itreturns from its summer recess next month despite a recent statement by theWhite House that President Bush plans to veto the bill.

A White House spokesperson told the Washington Times on Aug. 6 that thepresident would veto the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate CrimePrevention Act, even if it were attached to a defense authorization billthat the president wants Congress to pass.

"The qualifications [in the bill] are so broad that virtually any crimeinvolving a homosexual individual has the potential to have hate crimeselements," White House spokesperson Tony Fratto told the Times.

"The proposals they're talking about are not sufficiently narrow," the Timesquoted Fratto as saying.

The White House did not respond by press time this week to an inquiry by theBlade about what, if any, changes the president would like to see in thebill in order for him to sign it.


Semantics tricky when editing trans stories

Several weeks ago in the Blade, we ran a letter to the editor from MaraKeisling, executive director of the National Center for TransgenderEquality. She wrote to take us to task for the way an AP news brief about atransgender prisoner was edited.

I only became aware of the letter when I saw the page galley which passed bymy desk to be proofed. I would have liked to have made a few editor's notesin response to it then, but the page was already done and time didn't thenpermit me to research the matter and address Keisling's concerns.

I was reminded of the issue again this week when I contacted Keisling abouta story I wrote about a woman who was mistaken for a man and sent to the men's
unit of the D.C. Jail. I called Keisling, who graciously took my call thoughshe was on vacation, to get a transgender perspective on prison issues.Although I don't know Keisling well, I've seen her quoted and heard herspeak often enough to realize she does know what she's talking about. I haveno doubt, in fact, that her knowledge of transgender issues far exceeds myown.

However I do want to share a few thoughts that occurred to me after herletter to the editor ran that I think are valid, and also explain why theoriginal AP brief was edited the way it was.

The brief that Keisling wrote about ran in our July 6 edition and, under aheadline that said "Inmate's bid for sex-change surgery draws big costs,"told of a "Boston man serving a life prison sentence" and was about whetherthis person should be entitled to get a "sex-change operation at taxpayer'sexpense." The inmate has twice sued the Massachusetts Correction Departmentclaiming that its refusal to allow the operation violates the EighthAmendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.


School Promises Army Of Conservative Christian Lawyers
by The Associated Press
Posted: August 24, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Baton Rouge, Louisiana) Louisiana College plans to establish a law schoolwith a "biblical worldview" that aims to train defenders of conservativeChristian values.

Louisiana College, a 1,000-student school in Pineville, expects to hire alaw dean next year and enroll up to 40 students in 2009, eventually buildingenough capacity to enroll 300 students. The school will seek accreditationfrom the American Bar Association.

Other conservative Christian law schools include Liberty University Schoolof Law, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, and Regent University Schoolof Law, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson. Both those schools are inVirginia.

The Louisiana College law school will be named for Judge Paul Pressler, aleader in the conservative takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention overthe last few decades. He served in Texas on the state's district court andappeals court.

Louisiana College, founded in 1906, is run by trustees chosen by theLouisiana Baptist Convention and requires faculty members accept Christ astheir savior.


Groups Denounce Appearances By Anti-Gay Reggae Artists In NYC
by The Associated Press
Posted: August 25, 2007 - 6:30 am ET

(New York City) A reggae festival in New York which was created to promotepeace among cultures is being denounced by gay and lesbian groups forallowing performers with a history of anti-gay lyrics.

The Reggae Carifest, which will be held Saturday at Randall's Island, in theEast River, promises performances by Buju Banton and Bounty Killer, amongseveral other acts at the daylong event. Gay and lesbian activists areplanning to protest the performers outside the show to educate sponsors andconcertgoers on the dangers of anti-gay lyrics, said Rashid Robinson, aspokesman for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, GLAAD. He saidthe performers have a right to free speech, but so do protest groups.

``We as an organization value free speech. It gives us the right to stand upto vulgar anti-gay lyrics which promote violence,'' he said.

Earlier this week, hip-hop radio station Power 105.1 quietly withdrew itssponsorship of the event. The station, owned by radio giant Clear ChannelCommunications, Inc., would not specify the reason, but a spokeswoman saidthe station does not usually play reggae, and never plays Banton or BountyKiller. The station had never planned to broadcast the show live.

Calls to record labels for Banton and Bounty Killer were not immediatelyreturned Friday. Concert promoter Team Legendary did not immediately returnmessages seeking comment.


The New York Times

August 25, 2007
Minister Guilty in Gay Marriage Case

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 24 (AP) - A Presbyterian minister was found guilty ofviolating church law for officiating the weddings of two lesbian couples,the minister's defense team said Friday.

A regional judicial committee of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ruled 6 to2 that although the minister, the Rev. Jane Spahr of San Rafael, "acted withconscience and conviction," her actions were still at odds with the church'sconstitution, her defense team said in a statement.

The ruling, which was delivered late Thursday by certified mail to lawyersfor Ms. Spahr and the church, reverses a lower tribunal's decision in March2006 that she acted within her rights as an ordained minister when shemarried two lesbian couples in 2004 and 2005.

Ms. Spahr, 65, who in 1978 publicly stated that she is a lesbian, was thefirst Presbyterian minister tried for officiating the weddings of gaycouples.

Her legal team said it would appeal.

Ms. Spahr is retiring at the end of this month.


The New York Times

August 25, 2007
Experts: U.S. Childbirth Deaths on Rise
Filed at 7:21 a.m. ET

ATLANTA (AP) -- U.S. women are dying from childbirth at the highest rate indecades, new government figures show. Though the risk of death is verysmall, experts believe increasing maternal obesity and a jump in Caesareansections are partly to blame.

Some numbers crunchers note that a change in how such deaths are reportedalso may be a factor.

''Those of us who look at this a lot say it's probably a little bit ofboth,'' said Dr. Jeffrey King, an obstetrician who led a recent New Yorkstate review of maternal deaths.

The U.S. maternal mortality rate rose to 13 deaths per 100,000 live birthsin 2004, according to statistics released this week by the National Centerfor Health Statistics.

The rate was 12 per 100,000 live births in 2003 -- the first time thematernal death rate rose above 10 since 1977.


The Washington Post

Nowhere Man
Brian Epstein helped make the Beatles a phenomenon. Forty years after hisdeath, why is his contribution forgotten?
By Glenn Frankel
Sunday, August 26, 2007; W18

THE OLD WAREHOUSE DISTRICT AROUND MATHEW STREET IN CENTRAL LIVERPOOL IS ASSACRED TO BEATLES FANS AS THE VIA DOLOROSA IS TO CHRISTIANS. At one end isthe Cavern, the rebuilt but authentically dank former vegetable cellar wherethe band played 274 times in the early 1960s. Nearby is the Wall of Fame,where bronze disks commemorate each of Liverpool's No. 1 hit records; thestatue of the early John Lennon in trademark leather jacket; and the plaquesoutside the Grapes and the White Star, the blue-collar pubs where the boysand their mates hoisted many a cheap pint. But there's nothing to mark thenondescript storefront on Whitechapel Street that was once the North EndMusic Store, known as NEMS, a record shop and appliance emporium owned byHarry Epstein and his wife, Queenie.

It was from this shop that their first-born son, Brian, set out just beforenoon on November 9, 1961, to catch the lunch-hour show at the Cavern a fewhundred yards away. He made his way past a queue of teenage girls inbeehives and boys in skin-tight drain-pipe trousers, and down 18 damp stonesteps into the catacombs to check out four sweaty young men playing guitarsand drums. .........

......... He was a gay man in an era when homosexuality was illegal, and heled a classic double life, lying about his sexuality even while pursuingmen, gay and straight, with reckless abandon. He left no wife or children toprotect his legacy or promote his name. The Beatles themselves, afterBrian's death, grew increasingly critical of his management. A handful ofdevoted friends have mounted a campaign in recent years to induct him intothe Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- so far to no avail.


The Washington Post

About That Vote By the Lutherans On Gay Clergy
Saturday, August 25, 2007; B09

Below are excerpts from "On Faith," an Internet feature sponsored by TheWashington Post and Newsweek. Each week, more than 50 figures from the worldof faith engage in a conversation about an aspect of religion. This week,panel members were asked: "What do you think of the Evangelical LutheranChurch in America's vote to urge its bishops to refrain from discipliningclergy who are in "mutual, chaste and faithful committed same-genderrelationships"?

God Embraces Faithful Relationships

Fifty years from now, most religious communities will look back withastonishment on the controversy over same-sex relations the way we do todayon yesterday's bans on miscegenation.

A substantial majority of Americans favor marriage or civil unions. Growingnumbers of church members favor recognition of gay marriage, support civilrights for gays and object to discrimination against gays in the workplace.It is no wonder that these tens of millions of church members feelincreasingly comfortable with clergy who are in committed faithfulrelations, whether heterosexual or same-sex. It is no wonder they supporttheir religious leaders. Prejudice and discrimination are irreconcilablewith the religious values of most Americans.

-- Rabbi David Saperstein, director, Religious Action Center of ReformJudaism

Clear Instructions, Clear Choices

The Evangelical Lutheran Church bishops have embraced trendiness andabandoned the very scriptures that are their basis for evangelizing. Ifthese bishops choose to violate God's instruction book, church members havetwo choices, should they wish to continue to honor the authority ofscripture and its Author: They can remove the bishops from office or theycan leave the denomination. To remain in the denomination and do nothingmakes members co-conspirators in the bishops' apostasy.

-- Cal Thomas, syndicated political columnist



South Florida
Naugle swamped with e-mail as gay controversy rolls on
By Brittany Wallman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
August 25, 2007


In tiny Columbia, Ky., Mayor Jim Naugle has a small fan club. Lee and KathyKrug wrote to ask him for a "signed photograph or poster." It "would occupyan honored place in our home," they promised, "and we will tell all who askabout it (and those who don't) what you are so courageously doing."

Here on the home front, Elaine Schulze is so happy with the mayor, she hunga banner on her day care center thanking him "from the children of FortLauderdale."

As the mayor is pilloried by local officials, gay residents and activists asa "bigot" and "homophobe'' for his recent comments about gays, his e-mailfile bulges with support. From all over Fort Lauderdale, far-flung citiesacross the United States and as far as Ireland people are patting the mayoron the back, electronically.

Thousands of e-mails poured into the mayor's in-box. The South FloridaSun-Sentinel requested e-mails to and from the mayor about the latestcontroversies, and received 6,475 electronic missives to review.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Aug. 25, 2007
Many have set back the cause of women

So we gather once more to pay homage to our foremothers by celebrating Aug.26, the anniversary of the passage of suffrage. What a year it's been sincewe last met. We've seen the first woman speaker of the House, the firstwoman president of Harvard University, and who can forget Bill Clinton,striving to become the first First Laddie?

Nevertheless, we continue our time-honored tradition, celebrating this dayby announcing the cherished Equal Rites Awards to those who have laboredover the last 12 months to set back the cause of women. As always, ourone-woman committee worked hard to sift through all the candidates. Thus,without further ado, the envelopes please:

. We begin by looking to Japan where the Abe government wins the Knights inTarnished) Armor Prize. There, the prime minister refused to apologize forthe Japanese army's use of ''comfort women'' as sexual slaves in World WarII. That was after his health minister called women ''baby-makingmachines.'' And finally, the bodyguard for his gender-equality minister wasarrested for molesting a college student on a train. We send the land of therising sun a sunset clause.

. What can we give the winner of this year's International Ayatollah Award?Our man is Ezzat Attiya, the creative Egyptian cleric who issued a fatwasaying that there was one way around the religious taboo against unmarriedmen and women working together. Women can breast-feed their male co-workersand legally become family. We would offer Attiya a special breast pump toaccompany his fatwa, but we don't want him to milk the idea.

. Ah, but in some pockets of the Middle East, there is progress towardgender equality. Take Iran, winner of our Dubious Equality Award. Why, justlast month a man was stoned to death for adultery. We send the judges therean en graved citation for equal brutality.

. Unfortunately, we must return home for the Patriarch of the Year Prize. Itgoes, with disappointment, to Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose opinionrestricting abortions rested on the retro notion that women needed to beprotected from ''regret,'' ''grief'' and ''sorrow,'' even if it meantprotecting them from their rights. We send the paternalistic justice a hookto bring him back to the 21st century.



Local 10 News
S. Florida

WPLG Editorial: Naugle Should Step Down (8/25/07)
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Spreading Bigotry

The time has come for Fort Lauderdale's mayor to step down.

Local 10 believes Jim Naugle's ongoing abrasive style, along with thisweek's public tirade, renders him ineffective as a public servant.

Instead of implementing policies to combat health and safety threats such asAIDS, the mayor used his position to spread bigotry.

This week, the mayor aligned himself with a local religious leader who hasalso in the past outraged the community with his controversial comments.

To be sure, there are people who support Naugle's anti-gay rhetoric, butthat does not validate Naugle's abrasive style from a man elected torepresent all the people.

Local Ten feels that Mayor Naugle should forfeit the remaining two years ofhis term.

That's our take on things. Let us know what you think.


August 24, 2007


Campaign to Ends AIDS national secretary Michael Rajner shouts downhomophobia in Florida

When Campaign to End AIDS National Secretary Michael Rajner attended Ft.Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle's press conference this Tuesday, he intended tobite his tongue and merely listen to Naugle and his cronies spew ignoranceabout the "public health crisis" of men having sex in bathroom stalls. Butwhen Faith2Action conservative radio host Janet Folger started laudingNaugle's family values, Rajner simply couldn't take it anymore.

Rajner pointed at Folger, Naugle and their allies from the group HealthyPublic Places and began loudly decrying their press conference. He thendeclared, "I am a person living with AIDS and what you are saying is wrong!How you're demonizing people is wrong!" A heated exchange followed withFolger calling for Rajner to be removed. After a fed-up Rajner walked off,Folger said, "We care for those in the homosexual community. A few yearsago, a gentleman came up to me and said, 'Janet, I was one of the peoplethat protested you. I was in the homosexual community, but because of yourboldness and ability to stand for the truth, I am now free fromhomosexuality.' So there is hope for change."

Rajner's disruption of the press conference earned widespread presscoverage, including a piece in the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and segmentson local NBC, CBS and ABC affiliates. It also had the national gay pressbuzzing. Rajner appeared on the Michelangelo Signorile Show on SiriusSatellite Radio on Thursday. (Click here to watch the original pressconference.) "I'm proud to have been a disruption," Rajner told the Update."It needed to be done."



August 24, 2007

The following 7 links were forwarded fromGay and Lesbian SmartBrief

Anti-gay mayor roils Sunshine State,0,5727199.story

In his latest anti-gay salvo, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Mayor Jim Naugle joinedwith a group of conservative clergy to hold a press conference to sharetheir belief that gay sex poses physical and moral risks to participants.Some gay activists accused Naugle of "demonizing AIDS" and potentiallyfomenting hate crimes against LGBT people with his rhetoric. Sun-Sentinel(Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) (8/22)

Conservative group seeks to ban Arkansas adoptions

After failing in a bid to convince the Arkansas state legislature to pass aban on gay and lesbians becoming adoptive or foster parents, the ArkansasFamily Council is looking to put a similar measure up for a vote in theNovember 2008 general election. Arkansas News Bureau (8/24)

Some 5,500 ILWU members now eligible for partners' pensions

Some 5,500 Northern California members and retirees of the InternationalLongshore and Warehouse Union have won the right to leave their pensionbenefits to their surviving partner, thanks to the determination of MarvinBurrows, to receive his late partner's retirement payments. After Burrows'initial claims were rejected, the union decided to renegotiate its contractto make the disbursement possible. San Jose Mercury News/MediaNews (8/23)

Statue of ex-San Diego mayor to be focus of gay picket

Clergy have no First Amendment claim against hate crimes act,0,7046013.story?coll=lanews-

Both the language used in the hate crimes bill, and First Amendmentprecedent, would shield preachers from being charged with a hate crime forpreaching that homosexuality is a sin, according to University of Chicagolaw professor Geoffrey R. Stone. "There might be rational reasons toquestion the wisdom of this legislation," Stone writes. "But the argumentthat it endangers the 1st Amendment rights of these pastors is certainly notone of them." Los Angeles Times (free registration) (8/23)

Some Ugandans blame messenger for publicizing anti-gay attitudes

A U.S. journalist reporting on the struggles of Uganda's LGBT community togain some semblance of rights was the focus of a rally attended by hundredsof anti-gay activists who called for the deportation of 22-year-oldKatherine Roubos, an intern at the Daily Monitor. Roubos denied being a gayadvocate, saying: "I just present facts. None of my personal opinions are inthe stories." Yahoo!/Associated Press (8/21)

Why the unwrapped Advocate is a good thing

The decision by The Advocate to allow readers to decide whether they want toreceive their copy with or without a privacy wrapper is a "small step" inthe right direction toward a more open society, according to writer andcolumnist James Kirchick. USA TODAY (8/22)

He should think a little bit more before he speaks. But the scary part is,maybe he is thinking."--Oakland Park, Fla., Mayor Larry Gierer on fellowMayor Jim Naugle, as quoted in the Sun-Sentinel.


Forwarded from Sunshine Cathedral - Ft. Lauderdale

Homophobia is not Love
By the Reverend Durrell Watkins, M.A., M.Div.

A response to recent remarks made against the Fort Lauderdale Gay Communityby the Reverend Durrell Watkins, M.A., M.Div.

We read in the Christian bible "Slaves obey your masters..." and "Wivesshould be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord." I do not believethat either of these biblical passages justifies the evils of slavery ormisogyny, and I do not believe that finding these sentences in the bible"proves" that God condoned slavery or that God privileges men over women. Inmy theology, any text that dehumanizes people cannot stand alone as if itwere a message from on High to be uncritically embraced. Similarly, when thebible is quoted to promote prejudice against gay and lesbian people, I mustobject.

The mayor of Fort Lauderdale continues his anti-gay verbal assaults. Butwhat concerns me even more is that religious leaders are suggesting that themayor is somehow speaking for God! It's an age-old trick for a group to saythat their enemies are also God's enemies, but I hope in the 21st centurynone of us will fall for that anymore.

Those who dare to suggest that God shares their homophobic prejudices claimthey are motivated by love. The targets of their inflammatory speech,however, probably disagree. You see, you can't judge me to be a sinner andthen claim to love me. You can't use language that dehumanizes me and claimit is for my good. As the saying goes, "Please don't spit on my boots andcall it rain." There may be a lot in this world I don't know, but thedifference between being loved and being condemned is easy enough to figureout.

Those who are spewing the homophobic rhetoric lately may believe they areright, and they are certainly entitled to their opinions, but they can'tbelieve that what they are doing is kind or loving. You see, according tothe very bible they use to justify their anti-gay rhetoric, "Love is patientand kind... [and] never rude..." (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).

Let's be clear - the venom being spewed at the gay community in FortLauderdale is not about love, righteousness, or even public safety. Therecent attacks are just what they appear to be: unkind, prejudicial,divisive remarks meant to justify homophobia; and homophobia is not love.


Friend & Foe
Aug. 23, 2007
Travel columnists Donald Pile and Ray William

Our Friends of the Week are syndicated travel columnists Donald Pile and RayWilliams. Pile and Williams are the authors of "Gay Travelers," a columnthat appears in more than 20 gay newspapers and on several websites.

In the press statement issued last week, Pile and Williams said they havereceived numerous e-mails from readers wondering if they should boycott FortLauderdale because of Mayor Jim Naugle's recent anti-gay remarks. They haveanswered those e-mails with a resounding no, they said in the press

"A boycott is not the answer. In fact, just the opposite should happen," theduo said. "You should intentionally make a point of visiting FortLauderdale.. A national boycott against Fort Lauderdale would only destroythe gay community there..."

Kudos to Pile and Williams, who visit Fort Lauderdale every year. Theyobviously understand the demographics of the area and realize that Naugledoes not speak for the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. While Fort Lauderdaleis one municipality, the area includes several other gay-friendlymunicipalities such as Wilton Manors and Oakland Park.



ILGA-Europe has published an update of its document -- "Freedom ofAssembly -- Diary of Events by Country". This sets out, for each of 11European countries where there have been problems with LGBT peopleexercising the right to freedom of assembly, a detailed history of eventsfrom 2000 onwards. It also includes a summary listing 12 key types of event(pride marches banned, violence against demonstrators, failure by the policeto protect demonstrators, failure by courts to uphold freedom of assembly,etc). This permits a rapid understanding of the kind of problems faced bypride organisers, and also some of the positive developments that have takenplace.

The document starts with an overview of events, summarising developmentseach year. From this a number of conclusions are reached:

* In most countries involved, particularly those in the EU, a fairly rapidprogress towards recognizing the right of the LGBT community to freedom ofassembly is possible. This progress results from a combination ofdetermined advocacy at national level, international support, particularlyfrom European parliamentarians and institutions, and support by the courts.

* Attempts to establish the right to freedom of assembly in aparticular country for the first time are almost invariably opposed by cityauthorities. As there are still many countries in Central, Eastern and SouthEastern Europe where there have been no Pride events, national andinternational campaigns to support LGBT freedom of assembly are likely tocontinue for many years.

* Where LGBT marches are permitted, where politicians and faithleaders avoid inflammatory language, and where the police provide properprotection, violent opposition ceases, or is much reduced, thusdemonstrating that the public order arguments used by some authorities injustifying the banning of marches is not generally valid.

a.. However, even in cities where a good track record of peaceful eventshas been established, a recurrence of violence cannot be ruled out,underlining the need for continual vigilance by organisers, city authoritiesand the police.

The report will be used, amongst other things, as input to the Legal Affairsand Human Rights Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council ofEurope, which is preparing a report on LGBT freedom of assembly.

The Diary of Events can be found at:


ILGA-Europe makes submission to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
Europe on Suicidality among LGBT youth

The Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee of the ParliamentaryAssembly of the Council of Europe is preparing a report on child and teenagesuicide.

ILGA-Europe has submitted a report to the Committee drawing attention tothe need for governments to take action to address the factors which resultin a relatively high degree of suicidality among LGBT youth.

The report builds on earlier research by IGLYO and ILGA-Europe published ina document, "Social exclusion of young lesbian, gay, bisexual andtransgender people in Europe". It draws attention to the extensive evidenceof above average suicidality among LGBT youth, and to the finding that thisphenomenon is a consequence of the marginalisation, stigmatisation anddiscrimination which they face.

It demonstrates that, where governments, schools etc have taken steps tocounter these factors, significant improvements in the well-being of youngLGBT people can be achieved.

The report concludes that the measures needed to bring about theseimprovements are well understood, and that the main barriers to theirimplementation are likely to be lack of information or misinformation, andin some instances, opposition from the social forces and institutions whosehostility to LGBT people contributes to the environment which jeopardisesand excludes LGBT youth in the first place. It concludes with a list ofdetailed recommendations addressed to governments.

The report is available at


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Donald E. Wildmon [American Family Association]
Founder and Chairman>

Ford ups gay support with more cash donations

Just announced by Human Rights Campaign, Ford Motor Company donates $25,000to aid group in its fight to defeat a Federal Marriage Amendment.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest homosexual activistorganization, is acclaiming Ford Motor Company as its top-tier sponsor of anupcoming October 6 "Gala Dinner" in Washington, DC.

HRC uses event sponsorships to fund their agenda, and is largely recognizedas the frontline political lobbying group for homosexual marriage inAmerica.

In addition, the Seattle, Washington branch of HRC announced a separate$5,000 sponsorship donation from Ford Motor Company.

Here's a partial list of Ford's 2007 track record in support ofhomosexuality:


Italy asks Britain not to deport Iranian lesbian

John Hooper in Rome Guardian Unlimited Friday August 24, 2007,,2155893,00.html

The British government was today under mounting pressure from Italy not to expel an Iranian lesbian who, campaigners say, faces death by stoning if forced to return to her own country.

The case of Pegah Emambakhsh, 40, has become front-page news in Italy while going almost unreported in Britain. Today, a leading member of the rightwing pposition, led by Silvio Berlusconi, joined a government minister in proposing Ms Emambakhsh should be given asylum in Italy if Britain insisted that she had to leave.

Article continues
She was due to be put on a flight to Tehran on August 16. But her removal was delayed to allow for further representations.

Italian lesbian, gay and civil rights groups have called for a sit-in outside the British embassy in Rome on Monday. Tonight, campaigners are due to hold a meeting with the British ambassador, Edward Chaplin.


Police take lead in Pride parade

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/08/25 14:11:40 GMT

More than 130 police officers and staff from forces around the country havetaken part in the parade at Manchester's Gay Pride festival.

A police band made up of officers from Greater Manchester, Cheshire andMerseyside led the procession.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexualand Transgender (LGBT) festival over the August Bank Holiday.

A police spokesman said it was a "privilege to be leading this weekend".

'Diverse cities'

PC Darren Haslam, chairman of Greater Manchester Police's (GMP) Lesbian andGay Staff Affiliation, said: "It's a clear demonstration of the commitmentof GMP and forces across the country to lesbian, gay, bisexual andtrans-sexual communities.

"We want to show that we are both representative and supportive of all thecommunities we serve.

"This is the largest ever police presence in a gay Pride parade and I amdelighted that it is happening in Manchester, one of the world's mostwelcoming and diverse cities."


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