Friday, August 31, 2007

GLBT DIGEST August 31, 2007

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Questions Surround Clinton Campaign Donations
by The Associated Press
Posted: August 30, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Washington) Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton Thursday defended hercampaign's efforts to investigate the backgrounds of its fundraisers afterit was disclosed that one of her top money-raisers is wanted on a felonyfraud charge in California.

Clinton also sidestepped questions of whether she would return the money thefundraiser, Norman Hsu, brought in, saying the campaign would analyze thecontributions and "take action if that's warranted."

At a press conference with New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer to promote there-authorization of the State Children's Health Program, Clinton said sheand her campaign had been "surprised" by the news first reported in the LosAngeles Times that Hsu appeared to be a fugitive from justice in California.In 1991, Hsu pleaded no contest to a single felony count of grand theft butfailed to appear in court for sentencing.

"I wish Mr. Hsu well in dealing with the problems he's confronting," Clintonsaid. "When you have as many contributors as I'm fortunate enough to have,we do the very best job we can based on the information available to us tomake appropriate vetting decisions."

Her campaign announced Wednesday it was donating $23,000 Hsu had directlycontributed to her Senate and presidential campaigns and her politicalaction committee to charity.


Maine High Court OKs Same-Sex Couple Adoptions
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 30, 2007 - 3:00 pm ET

(Portland, Maine) Maine's highest court, the Law Court, Thursday issued aruling allowing a lesbian couple to jointly adopt two siblings currently infoster care.

The unanimous ruling opens the door in Maine for other co-parent adoptionsby same-sex couples.

The case began in 2001 when children were removed from their home aftertheir biological parents were no longer able to care for them.

The children were placed with Ann Courtney, an attorney, and Marilyn Kirby,a counselor.

The children, identified in court documents only as M who is now 10 and who is six, had multiple emotional, learning, and developmental problems.


Tape Released Of Senator's Police Interrogation
by The Associated Press
Posted: August 30, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) The officer who arrested Sen. Larry Craig in a policeundercover operation at an airport men's room accused the senator of lyingto him during an interrogation afterward, according to an audiotape of thearrest.

On the tape, released Thursday by the Minneapolis Airport Police, the IdahoRepublican senator, in turn, accuses the officer of soliciting him for sex.

"I'm not gay. I don't do these kinds of things," Craig told Sgt. DaveKarsnia minutes after the two men met in a men's room at the airport on June11.

"You shouldn't be out to entrap people," Craig told the officer. "I don'twant you to take me to jail."

Karsnia replied that Craig wouldn't be going to jail as long as hecooperated.


Israeli Same-Sex Couples May Be Denied Rights
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 30 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Jerusalem) Under pressure from religious parties in the Knesset, Israel'sJustice Minister has reportedly revised a draft law on inheritance law forcohabitating unmarried couples to specifically exclude gay and lesbiancouples.

Haaretz newspaper reports that Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann made thechange in the draft bill this week following a meeting with theultra-Orthodox Shas party.

The original draft was gender neutral and approved by the cabinet.

The bill now defines a couple as "a man and a woman who lead a family lifein a joint household," Haaretz reports.

Friedmann's revision ignores the recommendations of a government commissionthat recommended partners in same-sex relationships have the same rights toinheritance as married couples when one partner dies without a will.


Haggard Slapped By Church Overseers Over Cash Plea
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 30 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Denver, Colorado) Ted Haggard has been warned he has violated an agreementover his departure from the church he led after admitting he had an anaffair and purchased drugs from a male prostitute.

Last week Haggard sent an email to KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs saying hewould become a counselor at a faith-based halfway house in Phoenix and wouldneed money while he and his wife pursue degrees. (story)

"It looks as though it will take two years for us to have adequate earningpower again, so we are looking for people who will help us monthly for twoyears," the e-mail said. "During that time we will continue as full-timestudents, and then, when I graduate, we won't need outside support anylonger."

When news of the email became public the overseers of the New Life Churcharranged a meeting with Haggard on Wednesday.

New Life Church overseer Mike Ware in a statement following the meting inDenver said that Haggard was told "his plan and his communications about itwere unacceptable."


Iowa Gay Marriage Ban Overturned
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 30, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Des Moines, Iowa) A Des Moines judge late Thursday afternoon stuck down thestate's law that prevents same-sex couples from marrying.

Judge Robert B. Hanson ruled that the state's so-called Defense of MarriageAct violates the Iowa state constitution.

In his decision, Hanson said, "Couples, such as Plaintiffs, who areotherwise qualified to marry one another may not be denied licenses to marryor certificates of marriage or in any other way prevented from entering intoa civil marriage pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 595 by reason of the factthat both persons compromising such a couple are of the same sex."

The case began in December 2005 when six same-sex couples were deniedmarriage licenses.

The couples are represented by Lambda Legal and former Iowa SolicitorGeneral Dennis Johnson who is now in private practice.


Thompson To Announce Bid Sept. 6
by The Associated Press
Posted: August 31, 2007 - 6:30 am ET

(Des Moines, Iowa) Republican Fred Thompson will officially launch hispresidential bid Sept. 6 in a Webcast on his campaign site, followed by afive-day tour of early primary states.

"I believe that there are millions of Americans who know that our securityand prosperity are at risk if we don't address the challenges of our time;the global threat of terrorism; taxes and spending that will bankrupt futuregenerations, and a government that can't seem to get the most basicresponsibilities right for its citizens," the former Tennessee senator and"Law & Order" actor said in a statement Thursday that laid out themes of hiscampaign.

Thompson, 65, is vying to be seen as the most consistent mainstreamconservative in the race.

Aides disclosed details about how he will formally enter the race in aconference call with supporters.

Evening house parties will be held nationwide on Sept. 6. A tour of Iowa,New Hampshire and South Carolina will quickly follow the Internetannouncement on , with later stops in Florida, anda homecoming event in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., on Sept. 15.


Anti-gay pol's a usual suspect
By Margery Eagan
Boston Herald Columnist

Thursday, August 30, 2007 - Updated: 07:04 AM EST

Yesterday's hot rumor: Embattled bathroom Sen. Larry Craig will pen a book,"If I Did It."

Many are sure he did, just like the original "If I Did It" author, O.J.

My own doubts were erased watching a replay of Craig's 1999 "Meet thePress" interview. Craig, calling for Bill Clinton's ouster, repeatedlycalled the embattled bedroom president "a bad boy." Then "a naughty boy."Then, with a salacious glee, which in hindsight should have given us pause,Sen. Craig repeated those odd adjectives, winding up with Bill Clinton is,"probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy!"

OK, gentlemen, when was the last time you referred to another grown manas a "bad boy" - never mind - oh, my - a "naughty boy?"

"I am not gay," said the embattled bathroom senator Tuesday about hisstall shenanigans. But really, who believes such denials anymore?


Pastor's Daughter Speaks Out On Father's Offer To 'Help' Gays
POSTED: 10:50 pm EDT August 29, 2007
UPDATED: 9:55 am EDT August 30, 2007

MILLVILLE, N.J. -- NBC 10 first told you Tuesday about the sign outside theCumberland County Community Church sparking controversy in Millville.

"I do not believe that people are born gay," Pastor Salvatore Roggio said,speaking in front of the sign advertising "Help for the Homosexual" at thisweekend's sermon.

Wednesday night, the controversy was hitting home for the church's pastor,NBC 10's Ted Greenberg reported.

The pastor's daughter said that she is a lesbian and just couldn't staysilent.

"It is with great sadness that I learned of the public statements my fatherhas made against my community," said Sharon Roggio.


Parent Doesn't Want Children to Learn of Teacher's Sex Change

A teacher at a Durham private school underwent a sex change over the summer,sparking a debate among school administrators and at least one parent overhow to approach the issue in class.

Leslie Webster has taught music at Duke School for Children for 12 years asa woman but started the new school year Wednesday as a man.

The parents of all 460 students at the private elementary and middle school,which isn't affiliated with Duke University, received a letter this weeknotifying them of Webster's sex change and outlining plans to informstudents on Sept. 4.

School headmaster Dave Michelman said in the letter that "children will betold that Leslie was born a female but felt like a male" and became a manwith doctors' help.

But Jim Gossett, whose 9-year-old daughter is in the fourth grade at DukeSchool, said the issue isn't appropriate to bring up in class.


August 31, 2007
Analysis: Democrats hit jackpot as GOP reels from scandals

When it comes to scandal, Democrats could be forgiven for thinking they hitthe political jackpot this summer. At Republicans' expense.

First came the disclosure that Louisiana U.S. senator David Vitter'stelephone number was listed in the records of an escort service.

Then Sen. Ted Stevens's home in Alaska was raided by federal agents as partof a corruption investigation.

Now Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho is recanting a guilty plea that grew out of apolice undercover operation in an airport men's room, adding ''I am notgay'' for emphasis.

''This is a serious matter,'' said the Senate Republican leadership, anunderstatement for the ages.


August 31, 2007
Romney criticizes Craig's conduct

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Thursday that Larry Craig'sconduct was ''disappointing and disgraceful,'' but he stopped short ofcalling for the Idaho Republican to resign from the Senate. SeveralRepublican lawmakers, including Romney's presidential rival John McCain,have said the three-term senator should step down.

The 62-year-old Craig pleaded guilty earlier this month to a charge stemmingfrom an undercover police operation last June in a Minneapolis airportbathroom. Craig said Tuesday he had committed no wrongdoing and shouldn'thave pleaded guilty. He also said he was not gay.

Campaigning in South Carolina, Romney was asked by a voter why Republicanswere distancing themselves from Craig.

''I think it's appropriate when there's been conduct that we think isdisappointing and disgraceful to indicate that. I don't think there's aresponsibility to try to gild the lily in a setting like this,'' said theformer Massachusetts governor. ''I think individuals across the countryexpect us to have the same expression that they feel, which isdisappointment.''

Later, Romney said he would not tell Craig what to do. ''I expressed my viewthat his conduct was disappointing, disgraceful, and at this stage, he has adecision of his own to make about his future. I'm not going to insert myselfbetween him and his conscience,'' Romney said during a stop in NorthCharleston.


August 31, 2007
Maine lesbian couple allowed to adopt children

A Maine lesbian couple will be able to adopt sibling foster children, thestate's highest court ruled Thursday. The decision overturns a lower courtruling that barred Ann Courtney and Marilyn Kirby of Portland from adoptinga 10-year-old girl and her 6-year-old brother, the Associated Press reports.

The couple became foster parents for the children in 2001 and then filedpetitions to adopt with the Cumberland County probate court, which rejectedthem.

Supreme judicial court judges cited the fact that state law does not forbidtwo unmarried people from adopting children in overturning the lower courtruling. (The Advocate)


August 31, 2007
Craig finding himself alone in GOP amid scandal

Idaho U.S. senator Larry Craig is finding himself increasingly isolated fromhis political allies as more Republicans call for him to resign over hisarrest in an airport men's room.

A spokesman for Craig, Sidney Smith, denied widespread speculation inWashington, D.C., that the three-term senator-up for reelection nextyear-was preparing to quit. Smith said Wednesday he had heard no suchdiscussion.

Republican Senate leaders pushed Craig from senior committee positions. AWhite House spokesman expressed disappointment in the 62-year-old lawmaker,who pleaded guilty earlier this month to a charge stemming from anundercover police operation in June in a Minneapolis airport bathroom.

Others in the GOP were more harsh. ''Senator Craig pled guilty to a crimeinvolving conduct unbecoming a senator,'' said Sen. Norm Coleman ofMinnesota. ''He should resign.''

Coleman, who faces a tough race for reelection next year, also turned overto charity a $2,500 campaign donation he received two months ago fromCraig's political action committee.


August 31, 2007
Anglican tensions continue as two U.S. bishops are consecrated in Kenya

Two American priests were consecrated Thursday as Anglican bishops inNairobi, Kenya-the latest in a string of conservative priests who aredefecting to African churches in a dispute over gay clergy.

Bill Atwood of Texas and William Murdoch of Massachusetts left the EpiscopalChurch-the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion-because it allowsthe ordination of gay priests.

''The gospel...must take precedence over culture,'' said Archbishop DrexelGomez of the West Indies, one of 10 Anglican leaders or representatives whoattended the ceremony in Nairobi's All Saints Cathedral. ''Homosexualpractice violates the order of life given by God in Holy Scripture.''

The spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury RowanWilliams, has asked African archbishops not to consecrate U.S. priests tohelp avoid a schism. Kenyan archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi said there had beenno direct communication with Williams over Thursday's ceremony.

Williams has no direct authority to force a compromise, because eachAnglican province is self-governing.


August 31, 2007
Iowa judge rules against same-sex marriage ban

Gay and lesbian couples in Iowa should have the right to marry despite astatute banning same-sex marriage, a district court judge ruled Thursday.Judge Robert Hanson said a 1998 statute defining marriage as a union betweena man and a woman violates the equal protection and due process clauses ofIowa's constitution.

"Couples, such as plaintiffs, who are otherwise qualified to marry oneanother may not be denied licenses to marry or certificates of marriage orin any other way prevented from entering into a civil reason ofthe fact that both persons comprising such a couple are of the same sex," hewrote in a 63-page decision.

Camilla Taylor and Kenneth Upton Jr., senior staff attorneys with LambdaLegal, argued for the plaintiffs alongside Dennis Johnson, a Des Moinesattorney.

"I think it shows that every state in the country can offer fair treatment,"Taylor told The Advocate Thursday. "Even in the heartland-especially in theheartland."

The ruling stems from Varnum vs. Brien, filed in December 2005 by sixlong-term couples-some with children-who were denied marriage licenses byPolk County recorder Timothy Brien. The couples sought the status ofmarriage to protect their families. According to Lambda Legal, which isrepresenting the couples, the words "husband," "wife," "spouse," or someform of the words "marriage" or "marry" appear in more than 540 sections ofthe state's laws, which exclude same-sex couples from many of the samerights as heterosexual couples.


Fighting the Anti-Gay Amendment

Florida - Fairness for All Families
July/August 2007 Campaign Update

The Fairness for All Families campaign is continuing to build momentum.Thanks for being part of our growing statewide team. We can defeat thismeanspirited amendment but it will take a diverse team of volunteers anddonors from every corner of the state. This is your campaign and this is ourmoment to stop a measure that will hurt real people, embed discriminationinto our state's Constitution and make it harder for people to take care ofloved ones by taking away essential benefits.
Help spread the word. Make a contribution today and volunteer in yourcommunity. With your help we will win.

Campaign Highlights

Student Organizing
We have a strong and growing network of student activists on 16 universityand college campuses statewide and our online student network has grown toalmost 6,000 in less than a month. Fairness is now identifying "CampusCoordinators" to build campus campaigns around the amendment. "CampusCoordinators" will galvanize students around this issue and use the nextyear to build grassroots infrastructure both on campus and in the communityto fuel campaign phone banks, canvasses, and other grassroots activities.
-----If you would like to help with Student Organizing, send an email

Faith Organizing
The Fairness Coalition has built strong inroads into the faith community. Weare working closely with MCC statewide the Florida Unitarian Universalistcommunity and our recent focus has shifted to bringing clergy together toengage the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC). FloridaUCC is a mainstream Christian denomination that has the potential to take astand on this amendment and help galvanize leaders from many other religiousdenominations.
-----If you would like to help with Faith Organizing, send send an email

The Fairness Coalition has initiated a major donor program and we areplanning 16 receptions in cities across the state during August andSeptember. We have begun building Fairness for All Families FinanceCommittees in each of these 16 cities that are comprised of volunteerleadership from a broad range of organizations and individuals invested inseeing this dangerous amendment defeated.


Wall Street Journal

Craig Scandal Pains Social Conservatives
August 30, 2007; Page A4

WASHINGTON -- The scandal over Sen. Larry Craig's airport arrest is rapidlyworsening for Republicans -- in particular for already dissatisfied socialconservatives.

Prominent Republicans distanced themselves yesterday from Mr. Craig, anIdaho Republican who pleaded guilty early this month to disorderly conductafter an encounter with an undercover police officer in an airport restroom.Senate Republican leaders removed Mr. Craig from top posts on the VeteransAffairs Committee and two subcommittees pending an ethics investigation. Atthe same time, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizonaand Sen. Norm Coleman (R., Minn.), who are seeking the support of socialconservatives as they head toward the 2008 elections, called on Mr. Craig toresign from the Senate. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R., Mich.) also called for hisresignation.

The rapid erosion of support for Mr. Craig came after a Tuesday newsconference in which he attempted to apologize to voters and clear his name,declaring he isn't gay and should have hired an attorney rather thanentering a guilty plea. Mr. Craig didn't address details of the airportencounter.

Bryan Fischer, head of the social-conservative Idaho Values Alliance, saidMr. Craig's public statement was "unconvincing and unpersuasive," and calledon him to resign.


The New York Times

Audio Link - Police Interview With Larry Craig


The New York Times

August 31, 2007
Tape Shows a Senator Protesting After Arrest

BOISE, Idaho, Aug. 30 - In the moments after Senator Larry E. Craig wasarrested in an airport men's room, he accused an undercover police sergeantof entrapping him, emphasized that he did not want to go to court or to jailand frequently said, "I don't recall," when asked about his reported sexualadvances to the officer.

The tense exchanges between Mr. Craig, Republican of Idaho, and the sergeantwere captured on a nine-minute audiotape made public on Thursday under theMinnesota public records law.

The officer, Sgt. Dave Karsnia of the Minneapolis-St. Paul InternationalAirport Police, read Mr. Craig his legal rights and tried to press him toconfess to soliciting sex, calling Mr. Craig's continued denialsdisrespectful and disappointing.

"Well, you're not being truthful with me," the sergeant said. "I'm kindadisappointed in you, Mr. Senator. I'm real disappointed in you right now."


The New York Times

August 31, 2007
Disowning Senator Craig

The Republican Party is in quite a rush to keelhaul Senator Larry Craig forhis run-in with the vice squad in an airport men's room. Disclosure of thesenator's guilty plea to disorderly conduct set off a frenzy to demand aninvestigation by the Senate's somnolent Ethics Committee and to strip Mr.Craig of his committee seniority. Some of the senator's peers simplydemanded that he resign.

No similar leadership chorus for judgment has been heard about any number ofother scandalous revelations on the party's plate.

There's the F.B.I.'s inquiry into whether Senator Ted Stevens swung aquid-pro-quo deal for a government contractor who eventually renovated hisAlaska home. There's also Senator David Vitter's presence on the client listof a Washington brothel. Mr. Vitter, a social conservative, pleaded guiltyto "sin" (heterosexual) and no leadership call ensued for a thoroughin-house ethics inquiry. Certainly, no Republican called for the resignationof Mr. Vitter, who comes from Louisiana, which has a Democratic governor whowould then replace him. Mr. Craig is from a safe state with a Republicangovernor.

Mr. Craig's explanation of his behavior may make little sense to the averagevoter trying to fathom how he was taken in by a police sting against lewdpublic behavior. The senator quietly copped a disorderly conduct plea aftertaking two months to consider his arrest and his options. Once it hit themedia, he claimed his judgment was clouded but his heterosexualityunblemished.

Being stupid as a member of Congress is hardly a reason to be ridden on arail from Washington. But Republican presidential campaigners are urging Mr.Craig to resign fast as a swift boat. One senator offered the ultimaterebuff between political pros by returning Mr. Craig's campaign donation.

Underlying the hurry to disown the senator, of course, is the party's brutalagenda of trumpeting the gay-marriage issue. To the extent Senator Craig, astalwart in the family values caucus, might morph into a blatant hypocritebefore the voters' eyes, he reflects on the party's record in demonizinghomosexuality. The rush to cast him out betrays the party's intolerance,which is on display for the public in all of its ugliness. But it alsobetrays their political uneasiness as the next election approaches.


The New York Times

August 30, 2007
Political Wives and Scandalized Husbands
Filed at 7:36 p.m. ET

She didn't say a word and she wore big sunglasses, but Suzanne Craig wasstanding by her man -- conservative Republican Sen. Larry Craig, who at thatmoment was denying he had propositioned a man in the stall of an airportbathroom.

She had walked hand-in-hand with her husband of 24 years to a newsconference in front of a Boise, Idaho, bank. She placed her hand on thesmall of his back as he maintained he'd nothing wrong, that he wasn't gayand that he'd mistakenly pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in thebathroom case.

Why do the wives of politicians willingly step into the frame of publichumiliation that only a sex scandal can bring?

Hillary Clinton did, though her appearance seemed more icy defiance thanunconditional support. So did Dina McGreevey -- initially, anyway. Latercame a tirade of name-calling between herself and her husband, JamesMcGreevey, who announced in 2004 on live television that he was steppingdown as governor of New Jersey and that he was a ''gay American.'' His wifestood next to him, looking shellshocked.

Even Wendy Vitter, after earlier saying she'd remove her husband's manhoodshould he ever stray, nonetheless stuck by husband David Vitter, aRepublican senator from Louisiana who recently admitted to using an escortservice.


The Washington Post

Police Release Audio Of Senator's Arrest
Craig, Officer Argue Over Details of Incident
By Paul Kane Staff Writer
Friday, August 31, 2007; A03

Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho) denied to police that he was soliciting sex inan airport restroom but told the undercover officer who arrested him that "Idon't want to be in court" to fight the charges, according to a policeinterview with Craig released yesterday.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Police distributed the audio andtranscript of the eight-minute interview, which was conducted immediatelyafter Craig's arrest on June 11. In the session, Craig disputed theofficer's account of the encounter, and both grew combative.

"I'm a respectable person, and I don't do these kinds of . . .," Craig said,prompting police Sgt. Dave Karsnia to cut him off near the end of theinterview. The officer called the senator's recollection of the events"unbelievable" and said that Craig was "embarrassing" himself with hisdenials.

Because of politicians like him, Karsnia told Craig, "we're going down thetubes."

Support for Craig in Idaho and on Capitol Hill has been sinking since newsof his arrest and guilty plea to a disorderly-conduct charge became publicon Monday. Several colleagues have called for his resignation, and SenateRepublican leaders, who demanded an inquiry by the ethics committee,stripped him of his senior positions on committees that are key to hispolitical survival.



Iowa Court OK's Marriage for Same Sex Couples

'This decision brings to life the Iowa Constitution's promise ofequality for same-sex couples and their families in Iowa.'

(Des Moines, IA, August 30, 2007) ---- A 63 page decision issued todayby the Iowa District Court for Polk County said that same-sex couplesmust be allowed to marry based on the Iowa Constitution's guarantee ofequal treatment under the law. The case was filed by Lambda Legal onbehalf of six same-sex couples and their families in Iowa.

"This decision brings to life the Iowa Constitution's promise ofequality for same-sex couples and their families in Iowa," saidCamilla Taylor, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's MidwestRegional Office in Chicago.

"This is a significant step forward in recognizing the constitutionalrights of all Iowans, and it's an amazing day for same-sex couples andtheir families all across Iowa," said Dennis Johnson of Dorsey andWhitney, co-counsel for the Plaintiffs with Lambda Legal. In hisdecision, Judge Robert B. Hanson said, "Couples, such as Plaintiffs,who are otherwise qualified to marry one another may not be deniedlicenses to marry or certificates of marriage or in any other wayprevented from entering into a civil marriage pursuant to Iowa CodeChapter 595 by reason of the fact that both persons compromising sucha couple are of the same sex."

In December 2005, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit with the Polk CountyCourt on behalf of six same-sex couples who were denied marriagelicenses in Iowa, arguing that denying marriage to same-sex couplesviolates the equal protection and due process guarantees in the IowaConstitution, and prevents these couples from taking care of eachother and their children. Today's decision comes after a hearing inMay of this year where both sides made arguments before the court.

The plaintiffs in this case include: Kate, 34, and Trish Varnum, 42,of Cedar Rapids, who have been in a committed relationship for nearlyseven years. In addition to the Varnums are David Twombley, 66, andLarry Hoch, 65, of Urbandale, both retired teachers who have been in acommitted relationship for over six years; Dawn and Jen BarbouRoske,39 and 37 respectively, of Iowa City, who have been together for morethan 17 years and their two children, McKinley, 9, and Breeanna, 5;Ingrid Olson, 29, and Reva Evans, 33, of Council Bluffs, who have beentogether for nearly 10 years and their son, Jamison, 1; Jason Morgan,37, and Chuck Swaggerty, 35, of Sioux City, who have been together for10 years; and Bill Musser, 49, and Otter Dreaming, 50, of Decorah, whohave been together for over six years.

Camilla Taylor and Kenneth Upton Jr., Senior Staff Attorneys at LambdaLegal are handling the case. They are joined by former Iowa SolicitorGeneral Dennis Johnson of Dorsey and Whitney in Des Moines.

The case is Varnum v. Brien.


Euro-Parliament takes up the case of Iranian lesbian facing deportation
30th August 18.29 / Gemma Pritchard

European Parliament President Hans Gert Pöettering has said he will write aletter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown regarding the fate of PegahEmambakhsh, the Iranian lesbian woman who risks expulsion from Great Britainto Iran.

His actions follow proposals by Italian MEP Giusto Catania (PRC),representing the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) Group inthe European Parliament during today's Conference of Presidents, and GrahamWatson, President of the Parliament's Liberal Group.

Pegah Emambakhsh, 40, who fled to Britain from Iran in 2005 after herpartner was arrested and tortured, is due to be expelled this week after herbid for residency was rejected, according to a British advocacy group.

If deported, Ms Emambakhsh risks physical violence and torture and apossible death sentence.

MEP Giusto Catania said in a statement:

"Pöettering has the task of explaining to Gordon Brown that Pegah'sexpulsion to Iran would constitute a serious violation of human rights andinternational conventions and bring shame not only on a country like GreatBritain but also on the European Union as a whole.

"I suggested to the President that he indicate Italy's willingness towelcome Pegah, who is not guilty of any crime.

"We strongly support Pegah and I am sure that all European parliamentarianswill continue to follow her case very closely."

The European Parliament Presidency has committed to sending the letterwithout delay.

Meanwhile, gay rights proponents and left-wing politicians rallied for hercause in a protest on Monday outside the British embassy in Italy.


National Gay News

Aug 30, 2007 8:30 am US/Eastern
NAACP Call Mayor's Remarks Against Gay Hateful

(CBS4) FT. LAUDERDALE Add the NAACP to the list of groups who have come outagainst Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle for his anti-gay remarks.

Local leaders with the civil rights organization said Wednesday the mayor'scomments against the city's gay community are a form of hate anddiscrimination.

Tuesday, Naugle was removed from the Broward Tourism Development Council forhis controversial remarks against the gay community which began overdiscussions of sex in public bathrooms across South Florida.

In recent weeks, the mayor also took a stand against housing the gayStonewall Library in a city building because he said it containedpornography, and questioned if the city and county should continue theirmarketing to gays and lesbians because of the increasing rate of HIVinfections in South Florida.

Broward County tourism officials estimate gay visitors account for about abillion dollars a year in tourist revenue.


Maine Today

Lesbian couple victorious in court

E-mail this page Reader Comments (below) By Trevor Maxwell Portland Press
Herald Staff Writer August 30, 2007 01:31 PM

PORTLAND - The Maine Supreme Judicial Court today ruled in favor of twoPortland women who have fought for the past six years to adopt two siblings,now aged 10 and 6.

Supreme court justices unanimously struck down a previous ruling by theCumberland County Probate Court, which did not allow Ann Courtney andMarilyn Kirby to jointly adopt the children.

The decision sends the case back to the Probate Court, with a detailedopinion from the justices that opens the door for the joint adoption.

The decision was hailed as a victory for same-sex couples seeking adoptionand other rights, according to the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. Anattorney with that group, Mary Bonauto, handled the appeal.

Joint adoption by same-sex couples is legal in 12 states, includingConnecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts.

"We're ecstatic," Ann Courtney said in a written statement. "We love thesekids, and their well-being means everything to us. Our daughter and son cannow know that we are a family, and we'll always be a family."


National Gay News

Gay Insurance Exemption Scrapped
Thursday, 30 August 2007 10:45

Insurers are set to scrap an exemption that allows them to treat gay couplesdifferently to heterosexual ones, a trade body has said.

The Association of British Insurers said insurers were currently able totake into account the fact that someone was in a civil partnership whenassessing premiums for life insurance and other protection products.



Nigeria's anti-gay witch-hunt - Update

Nigeria claims to be a democracy but its persecution of gay people ispure tyranny
By Peter Tatchell
London - The Guardian - Comment is Free - 29 August 2007

The arrest on 5 August of 18 men at a private party in the northernstate of Bauchi is the latest incident in a wave of on-goinghomophobic persecution in Nigeria - much of which is incited byChristian bishops and Muslim imams.

Bauchi is a predominantly Muslim region which has adopted Sharia(Islamic) law. Police officers acted on a tip-off from the HisbahIslamic anti-vice squad of the Bauchi Sharia Commission. They seizedthe men, aged 18 to 22, in rooms at the Benko Hotel in Bauchi.

Those arrested were alleged to have "dressed in women's clothing" andconducted a "gay wedding." The latter allegation continues to berepeated by Sharia officials and the Nigerian media, despite noevidence of wedding paraphernalia such as marriage certificates or thepresence of any minister of religion or marriage registrar.

The men were initially accused of vagrancy, cross-dressing andpracticing sodomy as a profession, contrary to Section 372, Subsection2(e), of the Bauchi State Sharia (Islamic) Penal Code. A sodomy chargecarries a sentence of death.

Fortunately, at their hearing on 21 August in the Tunda Al Khali Areacourt, Judge Malam Tanimu Abubakar ruled that the 18 men should not becharged with sodomy - only with vagrancy and cross-dressing.Nevertheless, even if they are found guilty of these lesser charges,they could face up to one year in prison and 30 lashes.


The Government of the United Kingdom condemns Pegah

The pressures of all the world are not enough for the United Kingdom, theIranian lesbian will be deported if she will not succeed to proof herhomosexuality. As everybody know, any Iranian woman can not speak abouthomosexuality and least of all to officially testify that Pegah is lesbian,because she wouldbe immediately condemned to the lapidation.

This unexpected decision of the English government transforms Pegah in avictim of the prejudgment, like the Jewish women during the Holocaust. Itis not possible to proof homosexuality for any human being, if not throughthe most serious violations of the dignity and the human rights. A newHolocaust is begun for those who will ask to the United Kingdom asylum aspersecuted.

We have tried to obtain testimonies of Iranian women who know Pegah ashomosexual, but is not a practicable way because those women would risktheir life.

The EveryOne Group asks the immediate, civil mobilization of all the personswhom, in the United Kingdom, still believe to the respect of the HumanRights and asks a clear position of the High Commissioner for the forRefugees of the United Nations (UNHC).

For EveryOne Group, Roberto Malini and Matteo Pegoraro


The Washington Post

So, What Made Me an Addict?
Experts Debate Whether Disease or Defect Is to Blame
By Maia Szalavitz
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, August 28, 2007; HE01

Many people think they know what addiction is, but despite non-experts'willingness to opine on its treatment and whether Britney or Lindsay's rehabwas tough enough, the term is still a battleground. Is addiction a disease?A moral weakness? A disorder caused by drug or alcohol use, or a compulsivebehavior that can also occur in relation to sex, food and maybe even videogames?

As a former cocaine and heroin addict, these questions have long fascinatedme. I want to know why, in three years, I went from being an Ivy Leaguestudent to a daily IV drug user who weighed 80 pounds. I want to know why Igot hooked, when many of my fellow drug users did not.

A bill was introduced in Congress this spring to change the name of theNational Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to the National Institute onDiseases of Addiction, and the National Institute on Alcoholism and AlcoholAbuse (NIAAA) to the National Institute on Alcohol Disorders and Health. Ina press release introducing the legislation, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr.(D-Del.) said, "By changing the way we talk about addiction, we change theway people think about addiction, both of which are critical steps ingetting past the social stigma too often associated with the disease."


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