'Dear Abby' Says She's for Gay Marriage
October 9, 2007
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 8:23 p.m. ET
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- For years, rumblings have surfaced on the Internet,conjecture about her casual references to ''sexual orientation'' and''respect.'' Now, Dear Abby is ready to say it flatly: She supports same-sexmarriage.
''I believe if two people want to commit to each other, God bless 'em,'' thesyndicated advice columnist told The Associated Press. ''That is the highestform of commitment, for heaven's sake.''
What Jeanne Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren, finds offensive and misguidedare homophobic jokes, phrases like ''That's so gay,'' and parents who rejector try to reform their children when they come out of the closet.
Her views are the reason she's being honored this week by Parents andFriends of Lesbians and Gays, a national advocacy group that providessupport for gay people and their families. The original Abby, Phillips'89-year-old mother, Pauline, helped put PFLAG on the map in 1984 when shefirst referred a distraught parent to the organization.
Jeanne Phillips, who formally took over the column when her mother wasdiagnosed with Alzheimer's disease five years ago, has continued pluggingthe group, as well as its affiliate for parents with children who identifyas transgender, and a suicide hot line aimed at gay teenagers.
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Sexual Stereotypes, Civil Rights and a Suit About Both
By JENNIFER 8. LEE
October 10, 2007
Women have been thrown out of men’s bathrooms, men who identify as womenhave been thrown out of women’s bathrooms and, of course, men have beenknown to get into trouble in men’s rooms. But women minding their ownbusinessinside women’s rooms have rarely been an issue, until now.
Yesterday, a New York woman filed suit against a West Village restaurant forbeing thrown out of a women’s room there by a bouncer who, she said, did notcare she was really female.
The woman, Khadijah Farmer, 28, who lives in Hell’s Kitchen, said in aninterview that she was at the Caliente Cab Company restaurant on SeventhAvenue with her companion and a friend after the gay pride parade on June 24when she left the table to go to the women’s room. While she was there, amale bouncer burst in.
“He began pounding on the stall door saying someone had complained thatthere was a man inside the women’s bathroom, that I had to leave thebathroom and the restaurant,” Ms. Farmer said. “Inside the stall door, Icould see him. That horrified me, and it made me feel extremelyuncomfortable. I said to him, ‘I’m a female, and I’m supposed to be in here.’
“After I came out of the bathroom stall, I attempted to show him my ID toshow him that I was in the right place, and he just refused to look at myidentification. His exact words were, ‘Your ID is neither here nor there.’”
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New films put focus on sexuality, spirituality
By John Horn
Los Angeles Times
October 10, 2007
The battle for gay and lesbian equality has been fought at the ballot box,within the government and military, through the courts and on the streets.But arguably the most dramatic and divisive clashes are now unfolding insidechurches — and a group of independent filmmakers is taking notice.
Several new documentary and dramatic works are exploring the explosiveintersection of spirituality and sexuality. Although diverse in story andtone, the movies are linked by a common argument: That God and Jesus wouldwelcome every member of the human family into their realm, regardless ofsexual orientation. Since good storytelling involves conflict, though, thereare any number of people in these films, including Scripture-quotinganti-gay activists and not-in-my-house Pentecostal parents, taking adramatically different view.
Music is at the heart of two documentaries: The Believers, about atransgender gospel choir in San Francisco; and We're All Angels, followingthe young Christian pop duo Jason & DeMarco. They're a committed couplepreaching, through song, that you can be a loving couple finding comfort,rather than condemnation, in God.
Save Me is a fictional story exploring a love affair inside Genesis House, aministry aimed at turning gays into straights. "Christians are standing upfinally and saying there's something wrong with a theology which condemnsand scapegoats gay and lesbian people for political power," says Save Mestar Chad Allen, who is gay. "We will not allow our faith, and our beliefand love of Christ, to be used in that way."
Another drama, Rock Haven, which will screen next week at the FortLauderdale International Film Festival, is a look at a budding relationshipbetween two young men, one of whom is raised in a conservative Christianhousehold.
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In pop culture, nice is out and cruel is the rule
By Joann Klimkiewicz
October 10, 2007
In a recent issue of Us Weekly, comedian Sarah Silverman tells the celebrityglossy she can't understand the public fuss over the biting monologue shegave moments after Britney Spears' now-infamous performance at the mostrecent MTV Video Music Awards.
Among the stand-up's string of off-color, debatably humorous remarks: Thatat 25, Spears had accomplished everything in her life that she ever wouldand that her two young sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline "are the mostadorable mistakes you will ever see." The quip drew wide criticism for itsundue aim at Spears' children. Yet, Silverman told the magazine she actuallyconsidered the joke one of her more harmless.
"It never occurred to me that it would be deemed hurtful or over the line,"she said.
And why would it? The sort of stinging humor is right in line with thecurrent snapshot of popular culture, where frankness rules and civilityseems dated. There's a venomous new edge in the air, even among formerlybuttoned-up public figures who once contorted themselves to bite theirtongues.
Last month, Columbia University president Lee C. Bollinger, speaking beforea public audience during the campus visit of Iranian President MahmoudAhmadinejad, suggested that his guest was "a petty and cruel dictator."
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Freedom of Speech has taken a beating
October 10, 2007
Like long nails scratching a blackboard, don't the words of people sayingthings you don't like make you want to scream? Doesn't it make your bloodboil that those blankety, blank, blanks should be able to write what theywant, when it disgusts you? Wouldn't you love to shut 'em up?
Well, get over it — or move to Moscow! It's kindergarten civics, butAmericans seem always to need to be reminded: Our constitutional guaranteeof freedom of speech isn't about your likes and dislikes. Our foundingfathers didn't give a hoot about what makes you holler. They and people theyknew could have been hanged for their speech. Floridians' patter about theirpreferences is child's play.
That said, the bad news is that, Constitution-wise, too many Floridiansaren't good Americans. From Gainesville to Fort Lauderdale, St. Petersburgto Miami-Dade, they try to gag our sacred, bedrock right, the one legalprotection that more than any other has given us bragging rights amongnations.
In a Stalinesque moment, recently, Andrew Meyer, a student at the Universityof Florida who was questioning Sen. John Kerry publicly, was Tasered by acop while being pinned to the ground by no less than six police. The youngman's only indiscretion appears to have been being long-winded and using anunspecified profanity —as though college students' pure ears had to beprotected from "bad" words. Kerry was willing to answer Meyer, but the copsreacted like thugs.
An "investigation" is pending. But a video shows all the evidence anybodywith a Constitutional conscience should need to draw the obvious conclusion:The police felt free to use excessive force to stop someone from the heinousact of speaking — an unthinkable scenario anywhere in America, butespecially on a university campus.
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Study: AIDS-related virus causes cancer
Published: Oct. 9, 2007 at 1:54 PM
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. medical scientists have discovered howKaposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpes Virus, or KSHV, subverts normal cellsinto causing cancer.
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers determined a KSHVprotein called latency-associated nuclear antigen, or LANA, helps the virushide from the immune system in infected cells. When LANA takes the place ofother proteins that control cell growth, it can cause uncontrolled cellreplication.
"This is the first report of LANA interfering with the crucial cellularprotein called intracellular Notch," noted lead author Professor ErleRobertson, who said Notch is a signaling molecule that triggers celldevelopment and maintains the stability of cells in many organs, such as thebrain, heart, blood, and muscle.
The findings appeared in a the Proceedings of the National Academy ofSciences.
Gay church loses members as acceptance spreads
October 08, 2007
By JIM HAUG
DAYTONA BEACH -- Metropolitan Community Church began in 1968 as analternative for gays who felt alienated by most churches' condemnation ofhomosexuality.
After a contentious summer in which the denomination suspended local worshipfor a month and revoked the credentials of the local pastor, the Rev. BeauMcDaniels, Hope Metropolitan Community Church members are doing what manycongregations do after a fight with church headquarters.
They are thinking about joining another denomination. The United Church ofChrist, a liberal Protestant church that has ordained openly gay clergy andaffirmed same-sex marriage, is mentioned as a possible successor to theUniversal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.
Vikki Del Fiacco, a former Metropolitan member in Daytona Beach, has alreadyswitched over. She is training for the ministry with Port Orange UnitedChurch of Christ.
Del Fiacco likes the United group because "it's open and affirming ofeveryone." She noted Metropolitan founder Troy Perry "never thought MCCwould last long term."'
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PFLAG Launches 'Straight for Equality' on October 11
Tuesday, 09 October 2007 20:18
National Press Club Hosts Cyndi Lauper Urging Straight America to SpeakOut for Gay Friends, Dear Abby Kicks-Off Straight for Equality at PFLAGNational Convention, Washington D.C.
From October 11-14, 2007,
hundreds of families and allies of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender(GLBT) people will be in Washington, D.C., for the Parents, Families andFriends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National Convention, presented by IBM.
The national event marks the official launch of Straight for Equalityhttp://www.straightforequality.org), an entirely new project that aims tomotivate the vast audience of fair-minded Americans who wish to moreactively support equality in their daily lives. Straight for Equalityempowers people who may not have GLBT family members but who nonethelesswant to curb homophobia in their daily lives-from speaking up when hearingan anti-gay joke to openly supporting equality in their workplaces totaking action to change anti-GLBT policies.
Straight for Equality October 11 Launch NEWS CONFERENCE Featuring Cyndi
When: Thursday, October 11 at 9:30 am EDT
Where: National Press Club, First Amendment Lounge (13th floor)
529 14th Street N.W., Washington, DC
Who: Award winning musical artist Cyndi Lauper,PFLAG National President John Cepekand PFLAG Executive Director Jody Huckaby
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New California Ads Promote Same-Sex Marriage
Oct 8, 2007 5:30 pm US/Pacific
(CBS 5) SAN FRANCISCO Advocates for same-sex marriage are launching an adcampaign to try and change the stance of Californians who oppose allowinggay couples to wed.
The campaign comes as Governor Schwarzenegger plans to veto a billlegalizing such marriages.
The ad, from the gay-marriage group Equality California, is unusual becauseit doesn't feature gay people. We see a bride at a traditional wedding,meeting one obstacle after another on her way to the altar.
Finally, a tag line reads, 'what if you couldn't marry the person you love?Every day gay and lesbian couples are prevented from marrying.'
Geoff Kors runs Equality California, which will start running the ad thisweek in major media markets all over California.
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Gay issue could get bishop to boycott Anglican meeting
Says church has not adequately dealt with protests over gay bishop Robinson
LONDON (AP) | Oct 9, 10:58 AM
A senior Church of England bishop says he would have difficulty joining U.S.Episcopal bishops at a gathering of global Anglican leaders next yearbecause they have not repented for consecrating a gay bishop, according to anews report published Monday.
The Daily Telegraph quoted Michael Nazir-Ali, the bishop of Rochester, assiding with African bishops who believe the American church has notadequately dealt with protests about the installation of V. Gene Robinson asbishop of New Hampshire.
The dispute has caused some Anglican leaders to threaten to boycott nextyear's Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade gathering of Anglican bishopsfrom around the world.
"My difficulty at the moment is not with a particular person, such as GeneRobinson, but with those who felt it right to approve and to officiate athis ordination," the newspaper quoted Nazir-Ali as saying.
"Unless they are willing to say that what they did was contrary to theGospel, and we all of us from time to time need to repent about what we havedone wrong, I would find it very difficult to be with them in a council ofbishops."
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Gay performing artist tackles gay rights, equality issues with humor
By: Megan Svoboda
The New York Times described Tim Miller, performance artist and gayactivist, as "a charming and wildly energetic storyteller! Funny, forceful,and full of vigorous gay pride!"
Audiences can expect that and much more when Miller performs two of hisone-man shows at the Lied Center for Performing Arts, 12th and R Streets,tonight and Oct. 17.
Miller is also the author of "1001 Beds," a collection of essays,performances and touring stories.
Tonight's show, "Glory Box," and the Oct. 17 show, "Us," both start at 7:30p.m. in the Lied Center's Johnny Carson Theater.
"People can expect the work to be really funny and engaging," Miller said."It's a chance for people to value gay people's lives."
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Straw moves to ban incitement against gays
Tania Branigan and Alan Travis
Tuesday October 9, 2007
Inciting homophobic hatred will become illegal, the justice secretary, JackStraw, announced last night, following a campaign by gay rights groups. Theintroduction of an offence of rallying hatred against gays and lesbiansfollows similar measures to tackle religious hate crime, which were passedearlier this year after lengthy rows over freedom of speech.
"It is a measure of how far we have come as a society in the last 10 yearsthat we are now appalled by hatred and invective directed at people on thebasis of their sexuality. It is time for the law to recognise this," said MrStraw, introducing the second reading of the criminal justice and
The offence is technically defined as inciting hatred on the grounds ofsexuality, protecting bisexuals and heterosexuals too. Mr Straw said hewould consider whether protection should be extended to transgendered anddisabled people.
The proposal is likely to run into opposition in the Lords. EvangelicalChristian groups have argued that Christians who criticised gay sex could bejailed for up to seven years and warned it would be used to censor theexpression of religious beliefs. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justicesaid: "The new law would not prohibit criticism of gay, lesbian and bisexualpeople, but it would protect them from incitement to hatred against thembecause of their sexual orientation."
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the gay rights campaign Stonewall, said:"We refuse to accept that there's no connection between rap lyrics callingon people to kill homosexuals, or BNP literature describing gay people aspaedophiles, and the epidemic of anti-gay violence taking place on Britain'sstreets."
Black Pastors Step Up HIV/AIDS Fight
by The Associated Press
Posted: October 10, 2007 - 6:30 am ET
(New York City) Black ministers called on the federal government Tuesday todeclare HIV/AIDS among blacks a public health emergency and proposedlegislation to address the disease in their community.
Almost half of all new HIV diagnoses are among blacks. Black men werediagnosed with the disease at a rate eight times that of white men, whileblack women were diagnosed at a rate almost 23 times that of white women,according to 2005 figures, the most recent available, from the U.S. Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention.
The church leaders also pledged to promote HIV/AIDS testing and awarenessamong their congregations.
"Just as African-American clergy fervently came together 50 years ago tofight for civil rights, we are banding together today to bring an end toHIV/AIDS and its potential to obliterate our community," said Bishop T.D.Jakes, leader of the Dallas megachurch, The Potter's House.
Jakes spoke at a two-day conference of black clergy organized by theNational Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. The event drew more than 150members of the clergy, politicians and medical professionals.
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Majority Of States Bar Routine HIV Tests
by The Associated Press
Posted: October 10, 2007 - 9:00 am ET
(Atlanta, Georgia) More than 30 states have laws barring doctors fromheeding a call by U.S. health officials to routinely test Americans for theAIDS virus, researchers report. And states don't seem to be in any rush tochange that.
None have chosen to remove all barriers since the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention announced new testing guidelines last year, theresearchers said in a new study Tuesday.
"I think if they were going to change, they would have done so by now," saidLawrence Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University. He wasnot involved in the research but agreed with its findings.
But CDC officials disagreed. They cited more than a half-dozen states thathave made some kind of law change to simplify HIV testing. Other changesappear to be pending in California and other states, they said.
"I don't think it's a done deal," said Dr. Bernard Branson in CDC's HIV andAIDS prevention division.
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Being LGBT Shouldn’t Be a Job Hazard
October 09, 2007
The American Civil Liberties Union weighs in on why LGBT Americans need thesame employment protections provided to other groups.
By Deborah J. Vagins and Joel P. Engardio
Being LGBT in America shouldn’t be a job hazard and yet, today, it’sperfectly legal in 30 states to fire someone just for being gay orlesbian--and there’s nothing you can do about it. If you’re transgender, youhave no recourse in 38 states. Yet according to a recent poll, 89% ofAmericans believe that gay men and lesbians should have equal rights in heworkplace, and a majority believes the same for transgender employees.
But that certainly didn’t prove true for Diane Schroer. Schroer had adistinguished military career before she transitioned, eventually becoming acolonel in the Special Forces. Schroer logged 450 parachute jumps into someof the world’s most dangerous places and received numerous decorations. Shewas chosen to lead a classified national security operation and even briefedVice President Cheney on the global war on terror.
After retiring from the military, Schroer decided it was finally time toacknowledge being transgender and make the transition from male to female.As a civilian, Schroer applied for a job with a large federal agency libraryas a senior terrorism research analyst. She received an offer shortly afterthe interview and accepted the position.
But before starting, Schroer invited her new boss to lunch to explain thatshe was transgender and would like to begin the job as a woman. The nextday, the director rescinded the offer, saying Schroer wasn’t a “good fit.”Our own government passed up the person it deemed most qualified for aposition to help combat terrorism -- a person who spent 25 years in thetrenches fighting terrorists -- just because that person happened to betransgender. (Video of Schroer can be seen here.)
While there are already federal protections against job discrimination onthe basis of race, sex, national origin, religion, age, and disability, nouniform federal law protects LGBT workers. But Congress is consideringmaking a historic change. Important legislation in the House ofRepresentatives, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, would make itillegal for employers to make discriminatory decisions about hiring,terminations, promotions, and compensation based on sexual orientation andgender identity.
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Equality California Airs Pro-Marriage TV Ad in Major Markets
October 10, 2007
A California organization is spending millions of dollars on a televisionadvertising campaign, hoping to open “hearts and minds” to same-sexmarriage, according to The Sacramento Bee.
The 60-second advertisement, coordinated by Equality California, will beginto air Thursday in Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, andPalm Springs. The advertisement shows a traditional wedding ceremony, with aflower girl, a groom, and a large crowd. A guest trips the bride as shemarches down the aisle, and text appears on the screen: “What if you couldn’tmarry the person you loved?”
“The long term goal is to have the majority of Californians support thefreedom to marry—to change the climate here,” Geoff Kors, executive directorof Equality California, told The Sacramento Bee.
To complement the advertising campaign, volunteers will reportedly holdhouse parties, canvass neighborhoods, and give speeches.
The legislation to allow same-sex marriage in California rests with Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has said he will veto it, as he did two yearsago.
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Queer Eye by Canadian Guys
October 09, 2007
Canada's OUT TV is set to launch two new style gurus with Chris & John tothe Rescue.
By Michael Diamond
Of all the wonderful things Canada has to offer -- Montreal, universalhealth care, Anne Murray -- what could be more charming than two cute, wittygay boys offering affectionate advice to those in need? Enter John Simpsonand Chris Carter, hosts of Chris & John to the Rescue, a bubbly realityprogram currently seen on Canada’s Out TV. The two come across as likable ifunnervingly upbeat, the types that end every statement with an exclamationpoint! That relentless and bald-faced optimism may prove to be an asset whenpositioning themselves as life-changing fairy godmothers. Season 3 sees theboys coming to America, as they descend on the legendary gay resortdestination of Provincetown, Mass., working their benevolent magic at thisNew England seaside getaway.
“Provincetown seemed like a great fit because it’s this picturesque colonialvillage on Cape Cod with a very heavy gay presence,” says Simpson. “And welove colonial villages in Cape Cod.” Adds Carter, “There are a lot of peoplein P-Town who were in dire need of our unique services. I honestly thinkthat if we didn’t come to that town and help those people out that thingswould have gone downhill, fast. I’m talking John Carpenter’s Escape From NewYork downhill. You’d be surprised about how effective our services can be.”
The two twinks from up north (Simpson is 23, Carter, 22) met in the 1990s,when they were both studying drama and dance in Toronto. They quickly becamebest friends, and their simpatico comedy sensibility is evident in theiron-screen chemistry. They tease and cajole their hapless rescue cases with ahealthy dose of double entendre and the sort of guileless moxie that is theprovince of youth. Of the utmost importance is finding candidates willing toplay long. “Choosing our ‘rescue contributors,’ as we like to call them, isa bit of a tricky process,” explains Simpson. “People contact us, tell uswhat their problem is; we confer with one another and decide if it’s theright thing to do. Sometimes we get a lot of obscure requests...for therecord, just so everyone is clear, I am in a committed relationship, andChris can’t bend that way.”
The dynamic duo sprinkle their magic pixie dust on a variety of rescuecontributors in P-Town (a.k.a. Problemstown). Among them is “Deidre,” a faghag in need of a new fag. “She was looking for someone who would go to aKathy Griffin show with her,” the hosts explain, “who had a great sense offashion, who could make a great sandwich and mix a great drink.”
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Public, Private School Kids Achieve Equally
Study: Family Involvement Matters More Than School
POSTED: 6:10 am EDT October 10, 2007
UPDATED: 6:58 am EDT October 10, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Low-income students who attend urban public high schoolsgenerally do just as well as private-school students with similarbackgrounds, according to a study being released Wednesday.
Students at independent private schools and most parochial schools scoredthe same on 12th-grade achievement tests in core academic subjects as thosein traditional public high schools when income and other familycharacteristics were taken into account, according to the study by thenonpartisan Center on Education Policy.
While the finding is in line with a handful of recent studies, it's at oddswith a larger body of research over the years that has found private-schoolstudents outperform those in public schools. Some of that research found aprivate-school advantage even when income levels are taken into account.
However, the new study not only compared students by income levels but alsolooked at a range of other family characteristics, such as whether a parentparticipates in school life.
"When these were taken into account, the private-school advantage wentaway," the report states.
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Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
October 9, 2007
"FAMILY PRIDE" CHANGES NAME TO "FAMILY EQUALITY COUNCIL"
LEADING LGBTQ FAMILY GROUP EXPANDS VISION, CONTINUES TO GROW AND ADVOCATE
FOR ALL LOVING FAMILIES
Cathy Renna: 917.757.6123, firstname.lastname@example.org
Syd Peterson: 917.621.6411, email@example.com
October 9, 2007, Washington DC.The Family Equality Council - formerly knownas Family Pride - today announced its new name and expanded mission inadvance of celebrating the changes at its annual National Awards Dinner inLos Angeles on October 13th. The Family Equality Council will continue to bethe only organization in the country that is dedicated specifically toadvocating at a national level for equality for families headed by lesbian,gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) parents.
"While we continue to have pride, our new name more accurately reflects ourpurpose: achieving family equality," said Jennifer Chrisler, ExecutiveDirector of the Family Equality Council. "Our new name and expanded visionreinforce our commitment to working across communities and issues and tojoining forces with other progressive advocacy groups to create meaningfulchange for all loving families," Chrisler continued.
Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
SPLCenter.org is the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofitorganization dedicated to seeking justice, monitoring hate, and promotingtolerance. To learn more about the Center, you can visit its website,
The Latvian Connection
West Coast Anti-Gay Movement on the March
By Casey Sanchez
A furious anti-gay movement in Latvia, marked by huge rallies inthe capital city of Riga, has spilled over into the United States.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — On the first day of July, Satender Singh wasgay-bashed to death. The 26-year-old Fijian of Indian descent was enjoying aholiday weekend outing at Lake Natoma with three married Indian couplesaround his age. Singh was delicate and dateless — two facts that did not gounnoticed by a party of Russian-speaking immigrants two picnic tables away.
According to multiple witnesses, the men began loudly harassing Singhand his friends, calling them "7-Eleven workers" and "Sodomites." The Slavicmen bragged about belonging to a Russian evangelical church and told Singhthat he should go to a "good church" like theirs. According to Singh'sfriends, the harassers sent their wives and children home, then used theircell phones to summon several more Slavic men. The members of Singh's party,which included a woman six months pregnant, became afraid and tried toleave. But the Russian-speaking men blocked them with their bodies.
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JAIL THREAT TO VICARS UNDER GAY HATE LAW
Tuesday October 9,2007
Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Correspondent Daily Express
VICARS could face up to seven years in jail for simply preaching from theBible under Government plans to criminalise incitement of homosexual hatred.
Jack Straw yesterday announced proposals similar to the controversialincitement of religious hatred laws to target those who stir up hostilitybased on sexual orientation.
The Justice Secretary is considering extending any new law to includeincitement against transexuals.
Religious groups warned it could lead to preachers being prosecuted foremotionally expressing their firmly-held beliefs and will restrict freedomof speech.
They said gay rights were being given priority over Christian values andthat believers felt under threat.
Ministers insisted any new law is aimed at extremists, and that peoplewould not be prosecuted merely for expressing an opinion.
But sources admitted it would be up to police and the Crown ProsecutionService to decide whether charges should be brought in any individual case.
Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
Same-sex marriage backers go to TV
New ads ask viewers to 'open hearts and minds' on the issue.
By Jim Sanders - Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 12:00 am PDT Monday, October 8, 2007
Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A4
Frustrated in efforts to legalize same-sex marriage through legislation orlitigation, proponents will launch a multimillion-dollar advertisingcampaign this week to "open hearts and minds" in Sacramento and other majorcities.
The 60-second ads will run in the capital, San Francisco, Los Angeles, SanDiego and Palm Springs as part of a monthslong campaign to prod families toopenly discuss same-sex marriage.
"The long-term goal is to have the majority of Californians support thefreedom to marry -- to change the climate here," said Geoff Kors, executivedirector of Equality California, which is coordinating the campaign.
Benjamin Lopez, spokesman for the Traditional Values Coalition, whichopposes same-sex marriage, called the effort "grasping at straws."
"This notion of a redefined marriage goes against the laws of God andagainst nature," he said.
The same TV spot will run in all five cities, beginning Thursday.
The ad depicts a traditional wedding, with an excited crowd, a flower girltossing petals and a tuxedoed groom. As the bride walks down the aisle, sheis tripped by a spectator and sprawls onto the floor. These words fill thescreen:
"What if you couldn't marry the person you loved?"
Forwarded from Wayne Besen
Anything But Straight
October 9, 2007
The Last True Conservatives
Author A.J. Jacobs just released his new book, "The Year of LivingBiblically: One Man's Quest to Follow The Bible As Literally As Possible."For 365 days, the agnostic Jacobs skipped around in a robe and sandals whilegrowing a Moses-like beard. He herded sheep, and refrained from sins, suchas gossiping and lying.
While reading a review, it occurred to me that this faux fundamentalist maybe the last one in America who actually walks the walk - in sandals - anddoesn't talk the talk, while caught up in tawdry scandals.
In the latest outrage, Louisiana Republican Joey DiFatta withdrew from hisState Senate race after police detained him twice for looking to hook-up inpublic restrooms. Of course, like Sen. Larry Craig and Florida House memberBob Allen, DiFatta swears he isn't gay. Isn't it time that the GOP justadmits what modern conservatism really stands for by holding the RepublicanNational Convention inside a giant domed commode?
It is all starting to make sense as to why senate colleagues applauded Sen.David Vitter (R-LA) when he returned to work after admitting a tryst with afemale hooker? The fact that the GOP has at least one politician thatverifiably likes women was enough to earn him a well-deserved standingovation.
The most spectacular fundie-fiasco is the alleged plundering of Oral RobertsUniversity by the school's president Richard Roberts and his greedy wifeLindsay. This is the Bible Belt school made famous by a 60 foot bronzestatue of praying hands and immortalized after ORU's founder and namesakeonce said God told him to raise $8 million dollars or he would be "calledhome."
From: Dave Noble [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 10:20 AM
To: Dave Noble
Subject: [United ENDA] We are being heard!
That's the number of e-mails sent to the Hill in the last week - just fromEquality Federation members. Wow. That doesn't include the number ofcalls, which go unrecorded. Nor does it include action taken by members ofthe Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, PFLAG, the NationalCenter for Transgender Equality, or the other 273 organizations in ourcampaign to keep transgender protections in ENDA. No wonder we're beingtold by staff on the Hill that we're being heard!
That's the percentage of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals who said in a pollthat it was important to include protections for transgender employees inENDA, even though it was possible that including transgender employees mightdelay passage of the Act. Our community stands with us as we continue thisfight.
Some of you may have heard by now that Rep. Frank spoke on the floor latelast night about ENDA. He said that there hasn't been enough education onthe Hill around transgender issues, and that Congress should go ahead andvote for a sexual orientation-only bill because it would be wrong to "giveup."
We know that our community agrees that it is not time to give up - we seeproof every hour as more and more people take action to save transgenderprotections. Rep. Frank spoke about how there are people "burstingforward", and that "all of a sudden, the cavalry [has] mounted up." Well hesure is right about that. We're engaged like never before because webelieve that we can't quit educating people about the life and death issuesat stake for transgender people if they are cut out of this bill. We'reready to shore up votes for equality and we will keep advocating for ourfull community. We believe that supporting a strategy that cuts outtransgender people would mean we are "giving up." And we will not give up.Not now - when almost 300 organizations have joined together to speak forour community with a united voice. Not now - when our community is callingand e-mailing Congress like never before, because it cares so much aboutthis issue. We're making real progress.
We are being heard.
Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
1325 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
GenderQueer: Notes from a Sissy
Filed by: Waymon Hudson
October 9, 2007 8:00 AM
Genderqueer is defined as: "a gender identity of both, neither or somecombination of "man" and/or "woman". The term genderqueer is alsosometimes used in a broader context as an adjective to refer to anyperson who challenges gender roles and binary notions of gender."
As someone who can easily fit the above definition of genderqueer, Ihave been both surprised and disappointed by the "controversy"surrounding ENDA, as well as the debate on trans-inclusion and rightsin general. The fact that some in the community are questioning ifgays and lesbians actually have anything in common with trans-peopleis dumbfounding. Maybe I am missing some glaring part of the equation,but aren't we all, on the most basic level, genderqueer?
The language "gender expression and gender identity" really applies toall of us. As LGBT people, none of us really fit into society's narrowview of gender. Of course this is easiest to see within thetrans-community, which challenges "traditional" gender roles. Yet as agay man, don't I, by definition, challenge those views just the same?Even the most "straight-acting" among us sleep with the same sex,something society views as outside of how we should act for ourgender. They think men should not show affection to men. That issimply too "girly." The same is said about lesbians: that they arewomen taking on what society typically sees as a man's sexual role. Bysimply being gay, we are already bucking most people's traditionalnotions of gender.
Dear Abby' says she's for gay marriage
By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer
SAN FRANCISCO - For years, rumblings have surfaced on the Internet,conjecture about her casual references to "sexual orientation"and "respect."
Now, Dear Abby is ready to say it flatly: She supports same-sexmarriage.
"I believe if two people want to commit to each other, Godbless 'em," the syndicated advice columnist told The AssociatedPress. "That is the highest form of commitment, for heaven's sake."
What Jeanne Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren, finds offensive andmisguided are homophobic jokes, phrases like "That's so gay," andparents who reject or try to reform their children when they comeout of the closet.
Her views are the reason she's being honored this week by Parentsand Friends of Lesbians and Gays, a national advocacy group thatprovides support for gay people and their families. The originalAbby, Phillips' 89-year-old mother, Pauline, helped put PFLAG on themap in 1984 when she first referred a distraught parent to theorganization.
Jeanne Phillips, who formally took over the column when her motherwas diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease five years ago, has continuedplugging the group, as well as its affiliate for parents withchildren who identify as transgender, and a suicide hot line aimedat gay teenagers.
Leaders in the U.S. House say we can't pass a version of ENDA that includesall gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. They say they just don'thave enough votes.
We have 10 days - or less - to prove them wrong.
But we have our work cut out for us. We still need to change the hearts andminds of more than a few Members of Congress. We succeeded in getting theHouse to delay their vote for no more than 10 days - so we have a very shortwindow of opportunity.
Can you get 10 of your friends to make a call to Congress in the next 10days?
I pledge to join the "10 in 10" campaign and get 10 friends to call
The issue at hand is which version of ENDA will pass the House. Theinclusive version? Or the new version that leaves part of the GLBT communitybehind?
Since last week, when House leaders decided to move a version of ENDA thatincludes sexual orientation only, we have been working around the clock tomake sure the original bill, HR 2015, which includes sexual orientation andgender identity, is the version that Congress considers.
Supporters like you have generated 80,000 emails, calls, letters, and visitsto members of Congress to support the right version of ENDA - the inclusiveversion - and we thank you! We have 10 days or less to show Congress thatour community will not be divided.
Take the pledge and get 10 friends involved!
There's lots of news today from Sheffield, England, on our Iranianlesbian friend Pegah and her campaign to avoid being deported back tothe Islamic Republic. Many thanks to Lesley Boulten and all the peoplewho comprise the Friends of Pegah Campaign around the world. Let's allcontinue to call attention to Pegah's situation and maintain ourcautious optimism that the UK immigration authorities will do theright thing and allow her to remain in the country. -michael
Please see briefing below for update on the current position.
Friends of Pegah Campaign
Pegah Emambakhsh: update briefing for supporters of her
9th October 2007
1. Legal matters
A bail application was made to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunalwhich was heard on 11 September 2007. The Border and ImmigrationAgency (BIA) strongly opposed Pegah being released but the Asylum andImmigration Tribunal (AIT) decided to grant bail, and she returned tostay with friends in Sheffield that day. Opposition was based aroundthe perceived threat of a public disturbance on her release and beliefthat Pegah is unlikely to maintain official contact while on bail.
2. Application to the Court of Appeal
An application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal,against the decision of the AIT of 21.2.07, refusing Pegah's asylumappeal, was submitted to the Court of Appeal on 10.9.07.
Islamists slander and threaten Tatchell
Al Quds protest backs fundamentalist terror groups
London - 10 October 2007
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was threatened and slandered as apaedophile when he attended the Al Quds pro-Palestinian march and rally inLondon last Sunday, 7 October 2007.
The Al Quds demonstration was supported by the left-wing Respect Party, 1990Trust, Muslim Association of Britain, Islamic Human Rights Commission, Hizbut-Tahrir and the Federation of Student Islamic Societies.
The post-march Trafalgar Square rally was addressed by the Respect Party MP,George Galloway, and the former Daily Express journalist, Yvonne Ridley.
“The Al Quds protest was supposed in support of justice for the Palestinianpeople,” said Peter Tatchell.
“That’s a cause I support. I am against Israel’s illegal occupation of theWest Bank and its divisive Berlin-style wall.
“But I object to the way the Al Quds demonstration also supports thetyrannical, anti-Semitic Iranian regime and its fundamentalist, terroristoffshoots, Hamas and Hezbollah.
International Campaign for Stop Execution in Iran
Please support this campaign by your signature and post our link on yoursite.
Stop Capital Punishment
Capital Punishment is an inhuman retribution and contributes to the vaincircle of violence and retaliation within society. So far, no country inthe world has shown signs of decrease in crime by enforcing capitalpunishment, especially when totalitarian regimes use execution as alegitimate means to oppress, diminish and murder their opponents andopposition groups. On the other hand, psychological side-effects ofexecutions, in short and long terms, are damaging to the victims’ survivorsas well as to the executers of the punishments. Add to this the fact thatexecution reduces society’s sensitivity against violence and violentbehavior. For the foundations of a civil society, for democracy andestablishment of human rights, to respect the rights and the safety ofalternative and freethinkers and to promote a non-violence culture, theomission of capital punishment is the first and foremost step.
We, the undersigned of this statement, may have different political, socialand cultural believes and objectives, but we all have come to agree on onepoint, and that is, the importance of abolishment of capital punishment forthe sake of Iranian society.
We urge everyone to get involved actively in a wide spread war againstcapital punishment in Iran and help achieve this national goal throughjoined efforts of all Iranians.
Editorial: Ugandan Gays Can't Leave With Empty Hands
By Viktor Zimmermann
Recently, the Ugandan Minister for Ethics and Integrity repeatedly hassuggested that Gays will not be tolerated in the Ugandan society and thatall Gays should leave Uganda, presumably to places where they will betreated in a less hideous way. ?Let them go to another country, and nothere,? the Minister was quoted by the pro-government newspaper New Vision.If we accept this notion for a moment, than let us consider all theimplications of such an exodus of Gays from Uganda.
To make it clear, we are not talking about the 10 to 20 individuals ofSMUG who had the courage to stand up and speak out for their rights, no --we are talking about all the Ugandan Gays, whom the Minister apparentlyhas in mind. That?s a population segment strong of 6 to 8 percent, whichamounts to approximately 1.6 - 2.2 millions individuals. Those millionsare as diligent and hardworking people as anybody else in Uganda, and manyof them possess houses, land and businesses. Now the minister can?tseriously assume that all those homosexual Ugandan citizens will leave thecountry, voluntarily abandoning their possessions to the very people whoallegedly hate them so much? Let?s talk straight about the issue ofproperty:
Resistance to homophobia in Ukraine
The homophobic event of one of the charismatic churches "The Embassy of theBlessed Kingdom of God For All Nations" with a played out slogan "LoveAgainst Homosexualism" occurred on 5 October 2007 in the very centre of KievUkraine). It is hard to say why Nigerian, Latvian and Armenian preachersare so much worried about Ukrainian Homosexualism. It is most probably thatthe true purpose of the event was far beyond the announced slogans – thusthey tried to demonstrate their unity on the eve of the City Meyerre-elections, who is at the same time a parishioner and a lobbyist of theabove-mentioned church.
On 5 October 2007 simultaneously with the charismatic church therepresentatives of LG organizations (IEC "Women's Network", "Gay-Alliance","Our World") alongside with the gay-friendly youth anti-fascistorganizations (internet project www.zaraz.org) held their own Action ofResistance to Homophobia. Its slogan was "Love Against Prejudices". Thebanner with this sign was hang out on the homophobes' way to the building ofPresident's Administration, while the LG activists were giving theinterviews to the journalists and handing out the anti-homophobic leaflets,created by "Women's Network" and anti-fascists, to the people who werepresent there.
The more rated national mass media showed the vivid interest to this event,what resulted in series of rather tolerant to gays and lesbians TV coverageson "STB", "Tonis" and "Channel 5".
You can watch video of this event (in Ukrainian) here:
IEC "Women's Network"
Former UK deputy PM in 'anti-gay' walk-out
Former UK deputy prime minister John Prescott has condemned ‘anti-gay’
comments by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Addressing the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, Patriarch Alexy II, Russia’ssenior religious leader, assailed homosexuality as a sin and an illness.
In a 50-minute appearance, he focused mainly on the need for Europe torediscover its Christian values and abandon moral relativism.
"No-one should force me or my brothers and sisters in faith to keep quietwhen we call something a sin."
Homosexuality is, he said, “an illness” and a “distortion of the humanpersonality like kleptomania.”
But his comments sparked a walkout by some members, including Prescott,making his first appearance in the parliamentary assembly.
He has also signed a statement which urges the Patriarch to “avoid the useof language inciting intolerance and to respect, rather than seek to deny,the fundamental rights of sexual minorities.”
Prescott, a former MEP, was this week elected a vice president of theassembly, which enables him to chair plenary sessions, held four times ayear.
Europe fights capital punishment
Europe is marking its first anti-death penalty day, despite moves fromPoland to block the event, calling for it also to condemn abortion andeuthanasia.
The day was taken over by the Council of Europe, a human rights body, afterPoland's veto threatened to derail an EU-sponsored event.
The event is being held in conjunction with a global anti-death penalty day.
Capital punishment is banned in all 27 EU states but Poland's presidentcalled on the EU to reintroduce it last year.
Poland, Ireland and Malta are the only EU member states where abortion isillegal.
Last month, Poland was the only member state to oppose an EU-sponsoredEuropean Day Against the Death Penalty, with Deputy Justice Minister AndrzejDuda saying the EU "should approach the subject in a broader way and debatethe protection of life".
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE by ILGA and ILGA-EUROPE
10 October 2007
For immediate release
World Day against Death Penalty:
7 countries still put people to death for same-sex acts
Today is World Day against Death Penalty. This is also the first EuropeanDay against Death Penalty as proclaimed by the Council of Europe on 27September 2007.
The Council of Europe is the only region of the world de facto free from thedeath penalty as all its members have either abolished the death penalty orinstituted a moratorium on executions. Belarus (outside the CoE) is the onlycountry that still has the death penalty actively on its books.
The death penalty is still carried out in other regions of the world and inseven countries the death penalty is applied for consensual sexual actsbetween adults of the same sex.
These countries are:
United Arab Emirates
Nigeria (death penalty applies to 12 Northern provinces with Sharia law)
ILGA and ILGA-Europe welcome and encourage the debate on the completeabolition of the death penalty and draw attention to the fact that 7countries punish consensual sexual acts between adults of the same sex.
Philipp Braun, Co-Secretary General of ILGA, said :
“The value and dignity of every human being is the centre of the universalhuman rights philosophy. Each person is unique and entitled to the mostprecious right guaranteed by Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of HumanRights – the right to life. The very existence of the death penalty is indirect contradiction with these principles and completely diminishes thedignity and value of a human being. Sentencing people to death for loveand/or affection towards persons of the same sex is even more barbaric anddraconian. ILGA calls on the seven countries which kill people simplybecause they fall in love with persons of the same sex to immediately revisetheir laws and to abolish the death penalty for consensual acts betweenadults of the same sex.
"The Scotsman" (Edinburgh): "Why we need new gay hatelaws" ("Patrick Harvie is a Scottish Green Party MSP")
Wednesday, 10th October 2007
BACK before the onset of devolution, legislation was passed to requirecourts to take account of racist motives when sentencing offenders. Therewas a clear case, following the murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence and therecognition of institutional racism, for ensuring the police and courtsresponded to the prejudice which lies behind so-called "hate crime".
With devolution, Scotland gained the opportunity to develop legislationmore tailored for our own experiences. Arguments began to be put that hatecrime laws should be extended to cover offences motivated by sectarianism.This idea was debated at length, and ultimately enacted toward the end ofthe first session of the new devolved Parliament, as an amendment by DonaldGorrie MSP to the Criminal Justice Bill.
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