Wednesday, August 08, 2007

GLBT DIGEST August 8, 2007

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

34 Young Adults Traverse N.Y. State for 'Right to Marry'
Aug. 03, 2007

It's an exercise in the power of old-fashioned footwork, when undertaken bymembers of the IM generation (that's "instant message" for you old geezers).

A new strategy to promote marriage equality involves the following steps:Take a group of enthusiastic, articulate, charismatic young people, arm themwith information and confidence in their own ideas, and set them loose onthe citizens and political leaders of a state.

Soulforce Q-the young adult arm of Soulforce, an activist organizationpressing for religious acceptance of lesbians and gays-recently wrapped up atwo-week "Right to Marry" canvass of New York State.

At the group's last meeting, July 27, in New York City, they assessed theirefforts and tossed around ideas for the next such outing. The planned stopafter New York is California. Both states have come close to passinglegislation legalizing gay marriage and have historically been leaders inchange. These traits make them prime targets for activist agitation,accodring to Soulforce Q.

"It's very clear that these two states move in tandem," said Haven Herrin,25, one of the directors of the campaign. "They influence each other as wellas the rest of the country."


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Published August 6, 2007
YMCA rewrites rules for lesbian couple

A Des Moines lesbian couple has won their battle to be called a "family" bythe Greater Des Moines YMCA.

M and Sandra Patton-Imani, who were joined in a civil union in Vermont in2000, said today they will sign a conciliatory agreement with the YMCA thatchanges the nonprofit organization's definition of family from aheterosexual couple to include cohabiting adults. The couple filed acomplaint with the city's human rights commission when their YMCA familymembership was revoked after an employee found that the same-sex couple didnot meet the traditional "family" definition.

The city's human rights commission in February determined there was"probable cause" to believe the policy violated a city ordinance thatprohibits discrimination in public accommodations based on sexualorientation, race, religion or disability.

YMCA officials said they were all encompassing and created a "member plus"program that costs the same as a family membership and allows a member toadd another person to their membership plan. The city of Des Moines decidedthat wasn't good enough and forced the nonprofit organization to change itspolicy or lose a $102,000 federal grant for its housing program.

"Changing the definition was the most important thing to us," SandiPatton-Imani said. The Patton-Imanis want to return to the YMCA and will askfor a free lifetime family membership as a result of the change.

Vernon Delpesce, president and chief executive officer of the YMCA, saidlast week the group was trying to satisfy the human rights commission, buthe would not discuss details of any agreement that had been reached becausethe issue was supposed to be confidential.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Hillary's DOMA Dilemma
Filed by: Lane Hudson
August 7, 2007 9:26 PM

Here is a response that Hillary Clinton gave in response to a question posedby Paul Hogarth of BeyondChron:

Secondly, DOMA, I believe that DOMA served a very important purpose. I wasone of the architects in the strategy against the Marriage Amendment to theconstitution, and DOMA gave us a bright line to be able to hold back thevotes that were building up to do what I consider to be absolutelyabominable and that would be to amend the constitution to enshrinediscrimination. I believe marriage should be left to the states. I supportcivil unions as I've said many times with full equality of benefits and so Ithink that DOMA appropriately put the responsibility in the states where ithas historically belonged and I think you're beginning to see states takeaction. I think it's, I think part three of DOMA needs to be repealedbecause part three stands in the way of the full extension of federalbenefits and I support that. So that's the first.

She pretty much said that banning equal marriage is discrimination, whichmakes me wonder why she isn't better on issues of equal rights. But, that'sa completely different issue.

Continue reading "Hillary's DOMA Dilemma" »


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Senator Al Franken? No Longer a Longshot
By Jon Wiener,
Posted on August 6, 2007, Printed on August 7, 2007

The latest poll of Minnesota voters shows Republican Senator Norm Coleman,up for re-election in 2008, with 49 per cent, and Democratic challenger AlFranken at 42 -- a seven-point spread. Four months ago, Coleman was ahead by22. The reason for Coleman's shocking collapse in the polls? He's beensupporting Bush on the war.

Any incumbent with less than 50 per cent in the polls a year before theelection is considered to be in trouble. Coleman is in trouble, according tothe SurveyUSA poll released July 30, especially with women, independents andTwin Cities voters.

Defeating Norm Coleman would be a particularly sweet victory for theanti-war movement. In his college days at Hofstra, Coleman was a prominentopponent of the Vietnam war. The school suspended him in 1970 forparticipating in a sit-in protesting the Kent State killings. He first wonoffice in St. Paul as a Democrat, chaired the 1996 Senate campaign of PaulWellstone, and then switched parties and ran for the Senate in 2002 againstWellstone. Wellstone died in a plane crash a week before that election, andNorm Coleman went to the Senate.

Coleman's support for the war has made him the target of both the nationalDemocratic party and independent antiwar groups. The Democrats are alreadyrunning a TV ad campaign criticizing him for opposing the troop pullout votein the Senate on July 12. Al Franken ran a full-page newspaper adhighlighting the same vote. (He also has a terrific YouTube video, showinghis mastery of the new medium -- he knows he's talking to one person at atime, rather than to 200 million at once.)

Coleman has also been targeted by organizers from the antiwar group IraqSummer, which, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, has persuaded twodozen of Coleman's neighbors in St. Paul to put up lawn signs condemning hissupport for the war. Americans United for Change is also running a strong TVad attacking his support for the war.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Atlanta gay pastor to speak at churchwide meeting in Chicago
Rev. Schmeling had previously been asked to resign because of gay relationship
ATLANTA (AP) | Aug 7, 1:11 PM

The openly gay pastor of Atlanta's oldest Lutheran church will host a paneldiscussion on gay clergy at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Americachurchwide assembly tonight in Chicago.

The Reverend Bradley Schmeling was removed from his denomination's clergyroster in July for being in a same-sex relationship. But Schmeling, with thesupport of his 350-member congregation, has not left the pulpit of St.John's Lutheran Church, and he and his supporters hope the ELCA will changeits rules on gay relationships.

Schmeling told St. John's and his bishop that he is gay before he was chosenas pastor in 2000. But last year, when Schmeling announced he had found alifelong companion, Bishop Ronald Warren of the ELCA's Southeastern Synodasked the 44-year-old pastor to resign.

When Schmeling refused, Warren started disciplinary proceedings against him,leading to a closed-door January trial in which a disciplinary hearingcommittee dealt with the case.

The committee said they felt the church rule left them no choice but todefrock Schmeling, effective August 15. But the committee also wrote that,if not bound by the rule, it "would find almost unanimously that PastorSchmeling is not engaged in conduct that is incompatible with theministerial office" and would order no discipline.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Jonathan Falwell: Here Comes The Son
By Bill Berkowitz Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 03:30:46 PM EST
topic: All Topics section:Dominionism in the military

Kicking it into high gear after his father's death, Falwell defends AnnCoulter, and appears at a historic evangelical Christian/Muslim meet-up inWashington

The Rev. Jonathan Falwell appears to be picking up from where his father,the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, left off.

In his first contribution as a regular weekend columnist for theconservative online publication, WorldNetDaily, Falwell issued a dad-likeattack on the liberal media while making a spirited defense of best sellingauthor/provocateur Ann Coulter.

Falwell accused the traditional media of consistently distorting herremarks. Volunteering his support for the embattled Coulter, Falwell wrote:"As long as you continue to contradict the policies of the mainstream will carry a target on your back. This is a truth my dad, Jerry Falwell,experienced almost daily throughout his 51 years in ministry."

Is it possible that Jonathan Falwell's viewpoint is even more radical thanhis father's?


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

An Ad in Which Boy Gets Girl ... or Boy
Levi's Targets Gay, Straight Consumers With Alt Endings
By Andrew Hampp
Published: August 06, 2007

Marketers have on occasion created different versions of the same adtargeted toward different audiences -- Sony's Bravia TV being billed as thefirst TV campaign with spots for men and women earlier this year comes tomind. But even less frequent are those ads geared toward gay and straightaudiences. Enter Levi's.

A spot from the jeans maker features a young, attractive male in hissecond-floor apartment slipping on his Levi's. The motion of yanking up hispants inexplicably causes the street below his apartment to get pulled up aswell, crashing through his floor and bringing with it an equally attractivefemale in a telephone booth. In the end, the guy gets the girl. But if youwatch the ad on Logo, MTV's gay cable network in more than 27 million homes,the same guy with the magic jeans is greeted by a fetching blond gentleman,and the two of them run off together in the same manner as theirheterosexual counterparts.

While it's not the first time a marketer has pulled a two-for-one for thegay audience -- Orbitz executed a similar feat in 2003 for a pair of adswith marionettes -- the Levi's campaign represents what Logo President BrianGraden said is a first in his network's three-year history. The spots madetheir debuts on Logo two weeks ago, and will roll out on other lifestylecable networks later in the season.

Reaching gay community

Having seen previous success with Levi's and its agency Bartle, Bogle &Hegarty last year when the denim outfitter truncated its "Straight Walk" adfor the network, Mr. Graden met with Robert Cameron, the brand'sVP-marketing, to see how they could expand their creative relationship inreaching the gay community.

"Levi's has always been a very progressive company in this area with theirown team; they're coming from a very credible place," said Mr. Graden, a10-year MTV vet who also serves as president of the MTV NetworksEntertainment group. "We think [speaking to the gay audience specifically]is a smart way for marketers to go. We have research that shows our audiencehas a much greater affinity for advertisers on Logo that have made aconscious decision to reach them."


Washington Post

Prime-time TV not gay enough: study

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Are U.S. television networks gay enough? Not yet, but ABC is getting close, according to a gay-rights group. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has given the Walt Disney Co.-owned network the highest marks of any of the five major broadcast networks in the group's first-ever report rating depictions of gay, lesbian and transgender characters and issues on prime-time TV.


Obama and Clinton Take the Gloves Off In AFL-CIO Debate
Democratic Hopefuls Court Union Support
By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 8, 2007; A02

CHICAGO, Aug. 7 -- Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton came under sharp attack from their Democratic presidential rivals in a highly spirited debate here Tuesday night, with Obama rebuked as irresponsible on foreign policy and Clinton accused of being too cozy with corporate America and Washington lobbyists.

The debate, which was sponsored by the AFL-CIO, turned into the most animated encounter of the Democratic campaign, suggesting that the battle for the party's nomination may be entering a new phase, one that is likely to grow increasingly contentious after Labor Day.

The candidates appeared far more willing to challenge one another directly, and in more pointed language, than in previous debates. Elbows flew throughout the night, and the challengers appeared more eager to mix it up, stoked perhaps by the enthusiasm of a large and boisterous audience.

Obama (Ill.) and Clinton (N.Y.) held their respective ground when the criticism came their way. Clinton deflected it by arguing that she is the candidate best prepared to defeat the Republicans in 2008 and lead the Democrats back to the White House.

"For 15 years I have stood up against the right-wing machine, and I've come out stronger," she said. "So if you want a winner who knows how to take them on, I'm your girl."


Lauderdale Mayor Naugle's words affect gays everywhere
August 7, 2007

Re the July 29 letter, "Naugle's critics," in which the writer complained that many of those protesting Mayor Jim Naugle's comments about gays were not from Fort Lauderdale: Where was the letter writer standing at the rally? To my recollection, most of the speakers were local.

Why would he not think that Mr. Naugle's words would have no impact on gay men and lesbians everywhere?

Money spent on anti-Naugle memorabilia is a drop in the bucket to what we spend on hate and war. In my opinion, this money would be better spent on community unity and health care for all.

Mike Eagle
Wilton Manors


The Advocate

August 08, 2007
Giuliani's daughter backs Obama

The daughter of Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani signaled she was supporting Democrat Barack Obama, then backed off when faced with questions.

On her Facebook profile, 17-year-old Caroline Giuliani listed herself as a member of Obama's Facebook group, ''Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack).'' She left the group Monday morning after the online magazine Slate sent an inquiry and later in the day, a spokeswoman said she did not intend to comment on the 2008 race.

''Before the presidential campaign got under way, Caroline added herself to a list on Facebook as an expression of interest in certain principles,'' said the spokeswoman, Joannie Danielides. ''It was not intended as an indication of support in a presidential campaign, and she has removed it.''

Her profile can be viewed by Facebook users who have access to New York City's Trinity School or Harvard University networks. Caroline, who is Giuliani's daughter with his second wife, Donna Hanover, recently graduated from Trinity and will attend Harvard in the fall.

Slate posted a screen shot of her profile, which uses a slightly different last name. She lists herself as having liberal political views.


The Advocate

August 08, 2007
Evangelical Lutheran leader reelected

Presiding bishop Mark Hanson was overwhelmingly reelected Tuesday as leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Hanson won on the second ballot with 888 out of about 1,000 votes at a national church assembly in Chicago. He will serve for six more years.

The ELCA is among many liberal-leaning American Protestant groups with shrinking membership rolls. The denomination reported a 1.6% decline in congregants between 2005 and 2006, to 4.8 million members. Only 30% of Evangelical Lutherans attend worship weekly.

Hanson, 60, is making evangelism a central theme of this week's meeting, which will also take up the long-running debate over whether the church should ordain noncelibate gays.

In the convention's opening sermon Monday, Hanson said he feared that shrinking membership, and divisions over homosexuality, have made the group ''a church body with low expectations for what the Holy Spirit is doing and can do in our lives and through our ministries.''


The Advocate

August 08, 2007
Lutherans stage mass coming-out

As U.S. Lutheran clergy gather in Chicago this week to consider issues including relaxing their rules on gay and lesbian clergy, 83 pastors staged a mass coming-out Tuesday to help colleagues change their minds.

Among them was the Reverend A. Dale Truscott, formerly of Saline, Mich., who hid his sexuality-and his partner-for as long as he served his church.

"I retired a couple of years sooner than I needed to because of this," Truscott told The Ann Arbor News on Monday from his new home in Orlando, Fla. "I have been quiet and tried to keep the peace, and it's very painful. You finally get to the point in your life where you're tired of the pain."

Truscott, an ordained Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pastor for 37 years, was among 83 clergy who came out by having their names published in support of a proposal to allow partnered gay and lesbian clergy to serve. The denomination now ordains gay men and lesbians, but requires that they be celibate.

In a high-profile case, the Reverend Bradley Schmeling of Atlanta was removed last month from the ministerial rolls after he advised his superiors that he had found a partner.


The Advocate

August 08, 2007
Firefighters protest forced participation in pride parade

Four San Diego firefighters have filed a state-level complaint, alleging they were forced to participate in the local gay pride parade, where they say they were sexually harassed, according to a statement released Monday .

Their battalion chief allegedly ordered Capt. John Ghiotto, engineer Jason Hewett, and firefighters Chad Allison and Alex Kane to drive a fire truck through the July 21 parade against their will. They objected but were ordered to participate to avoid disciplinary action.

They claim that the department failed to protect them from becoming targets of sexual gestures and taunting, and also did not act immediately to address the problem.

"You could not even look at the crowd without getting some type of sexual gesture," one unnamed firefighter said in the statement. "If any crew member were to hang up pictures at the station of what we saw, we would be

Their attorney from the Thomas More Law Center, a Christian public interest firm, sent a letter to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing on August 1, seeking permission to sue the city's Fire-Rescue Department.


Poll: Women Prefer Hillary, Men Thompson
by The Associated Press
Posted: August 7, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Washington) Women are flocking to Hillary Rodham Clinton's Democratic presidential candidacy and men are doing the same for Republican Fred Thompson.

Yet for all that support, both candidates are showing early vulnerabilities wooing voters of the opposite sex.

Thompson, the former Tennessee senator and tough-guy actor on television's "Law and Order," gets 68 percent of his support from males as he edges toward a run for the GOP presidential nomination, far more than other hopefuls, according to recent Associated Press-Ipsos polling. While he and front-runner Rudy Giuliani each draw nearly a quarter of the Republican malevote, he significantly trails his chief rivals among women.

"He seems to be closer to the conservative that I am," said Richard Bussa, 60, a Thompson supporter and retired newspaper writer from Minford, Ohio. "Playing on the police shows he's on, he does present a hard-nosed, law-and-order-type guy."

On the Democratic side, Clinton is showing a mirror-image weakness, though one less stark than Thompson's.


Anti-Gay Phelps Clan Challenges Nebraska Flag Law
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 7, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Omaha, Nebraska) The daughter of homophobic preacher Fred Phelps has filed a constitutional challenge to a Nebraska law that makes it a crime to mutilate or trample the American flag.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, who also serves as the attorney for Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka Kansas, says in the lawsuit that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down laws forbidding flag desecration. She says the Nebraska law is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was filed as a challenge to a charge against Phelps-Roper of negligent child abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, flag mutilation and disturbing the peace over an anti-gay protest at the funeral of a soldier in June.

Phelps-Roper, 49, was arrested in Bellevue, Nebraska, after her 10-year-old son stomped on an American flag during a protest at the funeral of a National Guardsman killed in Iraq. (story)

She and about a dozen other members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas carried signs denouncing homosexuality and stating that military deaths in Iraq were God's retribution for America being permissive of gays.


Oregon Pension Plan Ties Hands Of Gays
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 7, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Salem, Oregon) Because a domestic partnership is not a marriage gays and lesbians who are covered by Oregon's Public Employees Retirement System cannot remove their ex-partners as beneficiaries to their pension plans.

Barbara Pinkerton and Katharine English signed up their same-sex partners as eneficiaries while they were employed by the state - Pinkerton as a teacher and English as a juvenile court referee.

But both relationships soured and the Pinkerton and English are now retired.

To their surprise both found they could not remove their partners as beneficiaries. The reason: the Public Employees Retirement System, or PERS, has a regulation that only married couples are allowed to remove a beneficiary from their state pension, and then only after a formal divorce.

Since same-sex couples are unable to marry they are unable to legally divorce, the PERS board ruled.


Dems Court Organized Labor
by The Associated Press
Posted: August 8, 2007 - 8:00 am ET

(Chicago, Illinois) This was supposed to be John Edwards' chance to shine, with 17,000 union members eager to be impressed, especially by a presidential candidate who has been actively courting labor support ever since his failed vice presidential run in 2004.

But Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama used the AFL-CIO's Democratic residential forum Tuesday night at Soldier Field to fend off their primary rivals hoping to move up in the polls, impress organized labor and maybe land an early primary endorsement.

"I thought the candidates left the forum in exactly the same condition they came in," said Marick Masters, professor of business administration with the Katz Business School at the University of Pittsburgh. "Clinton and Obama are still the front-runners. The race is still between them. I don't think Edwards got in any major hits in this stadium."

Edwards has long staked his campaign on the labor vote, telling the crowd that he has walked 200 picket lines in the past two years. At stake is a possible primary endorsement from the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor ederation, or its individual member unions.

Sen. John Kerry's 2004 candidacy got a major boost from the International association of Firefighters, whose endorsement kept him in the race after favorites Howard Dean and Richard Gephardt flamed out in the early primaries.


Broward Commission blasts Fort Lauderdale mayor's anti-gay comments
By Scott Wyman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
August 8, 2007

Broward County commissioners sought Tuesday to stem the impact FortLauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle's spate of inflammatory comments abouthomosexuality could have on the area's $1 billion-a-year gay tourismbusiness.

Using words such as bigoted and despicable, commissioners united inchastising Naugle, then signed letters that will be sent to gay news Websites and convention planners reaffirming their commitment to diversity. Thesymbolic reproach individually by the nine commissioners, though, stops shyof them formally voting to censure him, which is what some gay politicalactivists want.

The county's tourism czar, Nicki Grossman, said Tuesday's actions were vitalin light of the growing national tumult over Naugle's views. She and othertourism executives had hoped the area's long-standing reputation as agay-friendly destination would avert any negative effect.

"It gets as pretty close to a censure as you can get under thecircumstances," County Mayor Josephus Eggelletion said. "Mayor Naugle'scomments were his comments and did not represent the county or theConvention & Visitors Bureau or, I believe, the sentiment of more than themajority of the citizens of Broward."

In the past month, Naugle has charged the city has a problem with gay sex inpublic restrooms, said gays are unhappy and contended a gay librarycollection should not be housed in a public building. He also questionedwhether the county should market to gay tourists because of the high rate ofHIV infections in the area.

Naugle said Tuesday afternoon that he was unaware of the countycommissioners' comments, but he said their feelings would have no influenceon him. The county has no authority to discipline or remove a city mayor.

"I have only spoken the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts but it needs tobe said," Naugle said.

An estimated 950,000 gays visited Broward last year and spent $1 billion,according to the visitors bureau. That makes it a major part of the area'stourism-based economy, considering 10.4 million people overall visited thearea and spent $8.8 billion.

The letter that commissioners are sending cites the county's domesticpartnership law, the more than 100 gay-owned businesses in the area and adecade-long marketing campaign to encourage gay tourism.

It is signed by Grossman, all nine commissioners and Scott Newton, the mayorof Wilton Manors. Wilton Manors is key because it's the center of the area'sgay community and a majority of the City Commission there is gay.

"Greater Fort Lauderdale is a warmly welcoming destination that is safe,unbiased and gay friendly," the letter states. "We stand united and proudthat our destination has long been enjoyed by gay visitors and supported bythe local gay community."

The County Commission was on its summer recess when Naugle's comments firstmade headlines last month. Three commissioners - Ken Keechl, Stacy Ritterand Diana Wasserman-Rubin - joined more than 800 people at a protest rally.

Michael Albetta, a leader of the Naugle protest, questioned whether thecounty's actions Tuesday went far enough to prevent a decline in gaytourism. He said a formal censure would have been better.

"When they see the economic impact it will have, they will wish they hadgone further," Albetta said.

Scott Wyman can be reached at or954-356-4511.Copyright © 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel


Anything But Straight
August 7, 2007
Election Decade
by Wayne Besen

This week, the Democratic presidential aspirants will appear at a gay forumin Los Angeles sponsored by The Human Rights Campaign and broadcast on Logotelevision. While I am interested in where the candidates stand on theEmployment Non-Discrimination Act, what I really want is anENDA-this-campaign.

Iraqi Parliament members have taken heat this month for vacationing toescape the Baghdad heat. However, after watching the tedious, never endingpresidential race in America, I think they might be on to something. Ourpresidential candidates could desperately use a vacation as much as we needan extended holiday from them. Even a political junkie, like myself, isafraid of an overdose.

I propose we declare August, "National Freedom From Politicians Month," andcarve out a forced respite. With a little R&R, maybe the campaigners canremember that their spouses and children are people, not props, to betrotted on-stage for photo ops.

Don't get me wrong, we should be engaged on the issues. But, this sure feelslike a marriage with all the candidates sharing only one position: In myface. Election season has become a soap opera, and the candidates dominatethe Days of Our Lives. Indeed, this week several candidates announced theywill be on The Daily Show, but it is hard to get excited when I have to seethese campaigners daily.

Let's step away from my political pouting momentarily to applaud the HumanRights Campaign for arranging this historic debate. The gay community shouldbe proud that we have enough clout to make the candidates, of at least oneparty, walk on eggshells for two hours. We expect our Washington lobbygroups to exert influence and HRC's Executive Director Joe Solmonese hascreated a terrific way to gauge the candidates stances' on gay and lesbianissues. At the very least, we can watch otherwise articulate contenderssquirm and stammer like George W. Bush while they claim they are forequality, while opposing equal marriage rights.

Whatever the Democrats' shortcomings, at least they agreed to appear infront of a gay audience. Thanks to the right wing's histrionic overreactionto the marriage issue, everything short of the M-word now seems like amoderate position, including the once third-rail of Civil Unions.


National Gay News

Democrats Court Gay Vote On August 9!

In a crowded primary field, every vote counts. So it's probably notsurprising that six of the eight Democratic presidential contenders for 2008plan to participate in the first debate devoted entirely to gay, lesbian,bisexual and transgender issues on Aug. 9 in Los Angeles. (Senators JoeBiden and Chris Dodd declined to attend, citing scheduling conflicts) Still,the event's sponsors, the Human Rights Campaign and Viacom's Logo cable TVnetwork, are touting the event as an historic opportunity for the gaycommunity to raise its issues on a national stage. The forum, moderated byMargaret Carlson of Bloomberg News, will run from 9-11 p.m. ET on Logo (The sponsors say they invited GOP candidates to participate intheir own gay debate, but that none signed on.)



Contact: Wayne Besen
Phone: 917-691-5118


Capitulation Wrongly and Recklessly Puts The Health of GLBT Students AtRisk, Says TWO

WASHINGTON - Truth Wins Out today called a lawsuit settlement betweenParents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) and Arlington County (Virginia)schools a capitulation that puts the health and well being of students atrisk. The agreement allows PFOX to hand out pseudoscientific fliers atmiddle schools that will urge students to visit a website that refers themto a troubled counselor who was permanently expelled from the AmericanCounseling Association.

"Arlington County failed in its responsibility to protect students andensure that they are not harmed by disreputable therapists or dangerouspractices," said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "Thecontent provided by PFOX is medically reckless and morally reprehensible andno school system should have a hand in its distribution."

Truth Wins Out contends that by focusing on the phony question of equalaccess, Arlington County missed an opportunity to win this case by pointingout that PFOX is a discredited group that is driven by Richard Cohen, abizarre therapist who was permanently expelled by the American CounselingAssociation. Cohen's peculiar brand of therapy includes banging a tennisracket while yelling a parent's name, caressing clients who sit on his lapand blaming the angry spirits of dead relatives for causing homosexuality.

"It is clear that if the methods practiced by Cohen had been made central tothis legal battle, PFOX would have been railroaded out of court," saidBesen. "Even conservatives would have recoiled when they saw Cohen's methodsas displayed on national television. Arlington County could have made astrong case that they have a duty to protect vulnerable children from thepredatory therapies promoted by PFOX."

Cohen displayed some of his bizarre "therapy" earlier this year on The DailyShow with Jon Stewart, CNN Now with Paula Zahn and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live.After his appearance on The Daily Show in March, right wing groups distancedthemselves from Cohen, including PFOX. However, a Truth Wins Outinvestigation revealed that Cohen is still a primary PFOX referral.

Every major medical and mental health organization also warns that attemptsto change sexual orientation may be counterproductive and even dangerous. Ina 1998 position statement, the American Psychiatric Association said,"potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression,anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment withsocietal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred alreadyexperienced by the patient."



Dear MoveOn member,

The Democratic-controlled Congress did the unthinkable on Saturday night:They gave President Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales moreunchecked power to wiretap Americans without a warrant.1 Yes, that's thesame Attorney General who is currently mired in scandal and probablycommitted perjury on this very issue.2

Why'd they do it? Because the president used fear to intimidate them and itworked.3

Enough is enough. We have to send a strong message to Congress that there isno trade-off between fundamental liberties and security. Preserving ourConstitution is essential to our security-we can't lead on freedom aroundthe world when we're actively undermining the rule of law at home.

A good place to start is by having hundreds of thousands of us sign on tothis petition demanding that Congress reverse their capitulation to Bush andthe politics of fear. You can read the petition statement in the box on theright. If enough of us speak out we'll send a clear message that Americansaren't buying the administration's scare tactics. Clicking here will addyour name:


National Gay News

GLBT Lutheran Cergy Proclaim Sexuality to Church
Tuesday, 07 August 2007 11:00

Dozens of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered Lutheran clergy andseminarians on Tuesday openly proclaimed their sexuality to church membersmeeting at Navy Pier for a national assembly.

A devotional booklet titled, "A Place Within My Walls, is being handedout to the more than 1,000 voting members of the Evangelical Lutheran Churchin America, a 4.8 million-member denomination headquartered in Chicago.

Read More


National Gay News

Monday, 06 August 2007 16:41
Christian Mayor Rejects 'Gay Pride' Flag

Motivated by Christian beliefs, a Canadian mayor refused to flya rainbow "gay pride" flag at his town hall.

The decision by Bill Mills was backed by the town council ofTruro, Nova Scotia, with a 6-1 vote Friday, reported the Canadian televisionnetwork CTV.

"There are writings in the book of Romans chapter one, to name afew - basically I have to go with that conviction, and I know it's not apopular one," said Mills, who leads a town of about 12,000 people.



South African Gay People 'Not Safe'
Tuesday, 07 August 2007 10:25
South African Gay People 'Not Safe'

Within the last four weeks, three women in their early twenties havedied in South Africa. One was founded naked and had a number of severe headwounds, the other two were raped and tortured before being murdered. Therewas one thing in common with each of the three ladies which ultimatelyproved to be the motive for their deaths; they were all gay.

The deaths highlight results released from a survey conducted by theJoint Working Group. The study had over 1,800 respondents from numerouslocations across South Africa. Results indicated that gay people in thecountry are likely to experience homophobia.



Forwarded from Ron Mills

August 7, 2007

Colleen Murray


Chapel Hill, North Carolina - Senator John Edwards released the followingstatement in response to President Bush's threat to veto pending federalhate crime legislation.

"Every American is entitled to live in dignity without fear of violence. Nocommunity should feel that they can be targeted with impunity. But untillaw enforcement has the tools to aggressively investigate and prosecute allhate crimes, some Americans will doubt that the government is on their side.President Bush's threat to veto hate crime legislation sends just thatmessage.

"With 25 hate crimes committed every day by the FBI's count - one everyhour - it is embarrassing that the White House says stronger law enforcementtools are 'unnecessary'. Nine years after the heinous murders of MatthewShepard and James Byrd, Jr., I know these tools are more necessary thanever. As president, I will sign the hate crimes law and make sure lawenforcement has all the resources it needs to protect every community inAmerica."


Forwarded from Michael Emanuel Rajner
National Secretary - Campaign to End AIDS

August 2, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced a bill that would endan unjust ban that prevents people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) fromtraveling or immigrating to the United States. The National Association ofPeople with AIDS strongly supports the bill, the HIV Nondiscrimination inTravel and Immigration Act (H.R. 3337) and urges you to ask yourrepresentative in the House to support it.

Under current U.S. law, HIV infection is grounds for denying admissionof noncitizens, both visitors and immigrants, to the United States. Someclasses of visitors and immigrants may apply for a waiver to this policy,but waivers can be difficult to get. Furthermore, the waiver process singlesout PLWHAs for unnecessary and stigmatizing hardship.

Since 1990, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has hadauthority to determine the list of communicable diseases that are consideredto have public health significance for the purposes of inadmissibility. DHHSproposed removing HIV from that list in 1991, under the first PresidentBush, and again in 1993, under President Clinton. In 1993 Congress passed abill that ordered the inclusion of HIV on the list "regardless of anysubsequent public health or other DHHS determination that might be made." Noother disease is treated this way.

The ban on PLWHAs traveling or immigrating to the U.S. has long beenopposed by major public health authorities, including the American MedicalAssociation, the American Public Health Association and the World HealthOrganization. The United Nations International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS andHuman Rights state that restricting movement or choice of residence based onHIV status is discriminatory and unjustifiable on public health grounds.

NAPWA considers the current travel ban an outrageous violation ofhuman rights and commends Congresswoman Lee and the bill's cosponsors forseeking to end it.

more ....


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Task Force, Inc., urges Congress to reject Southwick nomination

"It would be unconscionable for Congress to confirm Leslie Southwick to alifetime seat on the federal bench."
- Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force,Inc.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., is urging the United StatesSenate to reject the nomination of Leslie Southwick to a lifetime seat onthe U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Senate JudiciaryCommittee last week voted 10-9 to send the nomination to the full Senate forconsideration, which it is expected to do following the August recess.

[ Read the full press release


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

National groups call upon Ft. Lauderdale and Broward County commissions torepudiate mayor and reaffirm welcome of gay people

The Task Force organized a coalition of 16 national LGBT rightsorganizations to urge the City Commission of Fort Lauderdale and the BrowardCounty Commission to pass resolutions condemning Ft. Lauderdale Mayor JimNaugle's recent anti-gay comments and reaffirming the area's well-knownwelcome and support of LGBT people.

The coalition's Aug. 2 letters, endorsed by the largest and most prominentnational LGBT organizations, state that since Naugle made his defamatorycomments in his official capacity, it is up to the commissions to officiallyand formally respond and assure the public that the mayor's comments do notreflect the views of either Ft. Lauderdale or Broward County.

Photo: Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman speaks out against mayor'sremarks at July 24 rally in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Read the press release


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Submit a workshop proposal for the 2008 Creating Change Conference!

The Task Force invites you to submit a workshop proposal for the 2008Creating Change Conference, the premier political, leadership andskills-building conference for the LGBT movement. The Task Force andCreating Change will celebrate 20 remarkable years of training thousands ofactivist leaders when we gather for Creating Change in Detroit, Mich., onFeb. 6-10, 2008.

The Task Force seeks proposals for 90-minute sessions and 3-hour sessionsthat deliver skills, inspiration and real-world practical learning tostrengthen our leaders and organizations. Teach your colleagues your bestpractices in community organizing, campaigns, legislative lobbying,communications, research and policy analysis, organizational management andbuilding a broad and inclusive movement to win full equality.

Find out how to submit a proposal


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Britons embarrassed about condoms

A third of Britons find talking about condoms so embarrassing it puts themoff using one, a survey suggests.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

ABC tops at GLAAD
Study: Network boasts most LGBT portrayals

ABC boasts the most extensive portrayal of lesbian, gay,bisexual and transgender characters, while Fox offers the least, accordingto a new study by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

The first-ever "GLAAD Network Responsibility Index," which the org willrelease today, is GLAAD's most extensive account to date of how thebroadcast webs and cable handle the still-sensitive issue of depictinglesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (or LGBT) individuals on TV.

"We continue to be incredibly underrepresented on the networks," said GLAADprexy Neil Giuliano. "The announced 2007 fall schedule does nothing to allaythese concerns. The bright spot, however, is that the quality of LGBT imagesseems to be improving."

GLAAD kept tabs on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW from June 1, 2006, throughMay 31, 2007, and tallied the "quantity, quality and diversity of images"from all 4,693 hours of programming. Any major or minor LGBT portrayal --even if only inferred, or if the characters weren't even human (i.e., onanimated shows like "The Simpsons") -- was examined.

The org then assigned grades to the nets, either excellent, good, fair orfailing.

ABC was given the top marks -- "good" -- thanks to shows such as "UglyBetty" and "Brothers & Sisters." Overall, 15% of ABC's programming includedLGBT impressions.


The New York Times

August 8, 2007
Court Rejects the Right to Use Drugs Being Tested

A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that patients with terminalillnesses do not have a constitutional right to use medicines that have notyet won regulatory approval.

The 8-to-2 decision by the Court of Appeals for the District of ColumbiaCircuit came in a closely watched and emotional case that pitted desperatepatients willing to try unproven, even risky, therapies against thosearguing that drugs should be proved safe and effective before they are madeavailable.

The decision preserves the current regulatory system. If it had gone theother way "it would have undermined the entire drug approval process," saidWilliam B. Schultz, a former deputy commissioner of the Food and DrugAdministration, who wrote an amicus brief arguing against the early accessto drugs.

The case was filed against the Food and Drug Administration in 2003 by theAbigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs, a group foundedby a man whose daughter Abigail died from cancer after a long battle toreceive treatment with experimental drugs that were eventually approved.


The Miami Herald

Activist: Allen Should Be Forced to Resign
News release from Min. Paul Scott of Durham, N.C.:

A NC activist is calling for the resignation of Florida Representative, BobAllen, who was arrested last month for solicitation.

Min. Paul Scott,a Durham NC activist says that if Allen is that scared ofblack men that he "assumed the position" then he should be in no position ofleadership.

"This guy should not be in charge of creating policies that could affect thelives of thousands of black boys."

On his blog, No Warning Shots, in an article call "Thug-o-phobia,"Scott calls for the removal of Allen and discusses how prevelent the fear ofblack men is in America.

Min. Paul Scott is a writer and activist in Durham NC. He has been a guestshow on talk shows across the country including Fox New's Hannity and Colmesand MSNBC discussing how African Americans are portrayed in the media. Hefirt gained national attention in 1998 when he lead a successful protestagainst Phat Boy Malt Liquor.

For more information contact (919) 451-8283


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