Sunday, October 28, 2007

GLBT DIGEST October 28, 2007

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The New York Times

New Jersey Civil Union Law Has Fallen Short in Its First Year, Commission IsTold

October 28, 2007

NUTLEY, N.J., Oct. 24 - Jodi Weiner, an electrician from Montclair, saidthat when she tried to get health benefits for her partner of nine years,she was told that her union's plans did not cover civil unions. It was onlywhen she mentioned that they had been married in Massachusetts that herpartner was able to get benefits.

"The words 'civil union' were not good enough for Sally and me to getequality in New Jersey, but the word 'marriage' is," she said at a hearingof the Civil Union Review Commission last month. "We can all talk about howthe civil union law is supposed to work just like marriage. But in my caseand others, it doesn't work that way in the real world."

In the last month dozens of couples spoke at three hearings of thecommission, which was created by the State Legislature to monitor theeffectiveness of civil unions. The hearings came a year after the New JerseySupreme Court ruled that gay and straight couples in New Jersey should havethe same legal protections.

Three of the seven justices said gay couples should be able to marry, andfour left it for the Legislature to decide. Lawmakers voted in December toallow civil unions, and since then, about 1,900 gay couples have had theirrelationships formally recognized by the state.

But most of those who spoke at the hearings said that civil unions had notprovided the protections they had hoped for. Many of them asked thecommission to call on state officials to pass a marriage equality law in NewJersey, which would make it the first to legislate such a solution.(Massachusetts allowed gay marriage in 2003 in accordance with a courtdecision.) Referring to last year's Oct. 25 Supreme Court decision in Lewisv. Harris, Cindy Meneghin, a plaintiff in the suit, addressed the commissionWednesday night here in Essex County.

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The New York Times

The Evangelical Crackup

October 28, 2007

The hundred-foot white cross atop the Immanuel Baptist Church in downtownWichita, Kan., casts a shadow over a neighborhood of payday lenders,pawnbrokers and pornographic video stores. To its parishioners, this haslong been the front line of the culture war. Immanuel has stood for SouthernBaptist traditionalism for more than half a century. Until recently, itspastor, Terry Fox, was the Jerry Falwell of the Sunflower State - the publicface of the conservative Christian political movement in a place where thatmade him a very big deal.

With flushed red cheeks and a pudgy, dimpled chin, Fox roared down fromImmanuel's pulpit about the wickedness of abortion, evolution andhomosexuality. He mobilized hundreds of Kansas pastors to push through astate constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, helping to unseat a handfulof legislators in the process. His Sunday-morning services reached tens ofthousands of listeners on regional cable television, and on Sunday nights hewas a host of a talk-radio program, "Answering the Call." Major nationalconservative Christian groups like Focus on the Family lauded his work, andthe Southern Baptist Convention named him chairman of its North AmericanMission Board.

For years, Fox flaunted his allegiance to the Republican Party, urgingfellow pastors to make the same "confession" and calling them "sissies" ifthey didn't. "We are the religious right," he liked to say. "One, we arereligious. Two, we are right."

His congregation, for the most part, applauded. Immanuel and Wichita's otherbig churches were seedbeds of the conservative Christian activism that burstforth three decades ago. In the 1980s, when theological conservatives pushedthe moderates out of the Southern Baptist Convention, Immanuel and Fox wereboth at the forefront. In 1991, when Operation Rescue brought its "Summer ofMercy" abortion protests to Wichita, Immanuel's parishioners leapt to thebarricades, helping to establish the city as the informal capital of theanti-abortion movement. And Fox's confrontational style packed ever morelike-minded believers into the pews. He more than doubled Immanuel'sofficial membership to more than 6,000 and planted the giant cross on itsroof.

So when Fox announced to his flock one Sunday in August last year that itwas his final appearance in the pulpit, the news startled evangelicalactivists from Atlanta to Grand Rapids. Fox told the congregation that hewas quitting so he could work full time on "cultural issues." Within days,The Wichita Eagle reported that Fox left under pressure. The board ofdeacons had told him that his activism was getting in the way of the Gospel."It just wasn't pertinent," Associate Pastor Gayle Tenbrook later told me.

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The New York Times

Vatican Beatifies 498 Spanish Martyrs

October 28, 2007
Filed at 9:15 a.m. ET

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican staged its largest mass beatificationceremony ever Sunday, putting 498 victims of religious persecution beforeand during Spain's civil war on the path to possible sainthood.

The ceremony has drawn criticism from some in Spain who see it as implicitcriticism of the current Socialist government as it takes a critical look atthe country's civil war past and the fascist dictatorship of Gen. FranciscoFranco, which was supported by the Roman Catholic Church.

Seventy-one bishops from Spain, a host of Spanish politicians and Spanishpilgrims massed in St. Peter's Square for the ceremony, waving Spanish flagsand breaking into applause after Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect ofthe Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints, declared the 498beatified.

Spain's 1936-69 civil war pitted an elected, leftist government againstright wing forces that rose up under Franco, who went on to win and presidedover a nearly 40-year dictatorship staunchly supported by the CatholicChurch.

Violence against clergy had been simmering since 1931, with leftist forcestargeting the institution they saw as a symbol of wealth, repression andinequality. Their attacks against the clergy gave Franco a pretext forlaunching his rebellion.

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The New York Times

Thompson Wary of Long - Term Iraq Presence

October 28, 2007
Filed at 2:59 a.m. ET

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Republican Fred Thompson warned Saturday thatsuggestions the U.S. could maintain a long-term presence in Iraq ''would notbe a good development,'' and he conceded that mistakes were made that areonly now being rectified.

President Bush has suggested there could be a long-term U.S. presence inIraq, very similar to what the nation has in Korea. But Thompson, who hasbeen a reliable supporter of the war in Iraq thus far, was leery of along-term presence in an interview with The Associated Press.

''It's hard to see that far in the future, but I would certainly hope not,that would not be a good development,'' the presidential candidate told TheAP. ''I would not want to predict that. I don't know why he did.''

While Thompson said there are U.S. troops on long-term deployments in placeslike Germany and Korea, he said ''of course not'' when asked if a similardeployment should happen in Iraq.

''I don't think that's desirable,'' said Thompson, though he did leave anopening. ''What might be necessary in the future, you can never tell,'' hesaid.

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The New York Times

Rudy, the Values Slayer

October 28, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

WITH the new president heading off to his Texas vacation during that slownews month of August 2001, I wrote a column about a man who would never bepresident: Rudy Giuliani. Banished from Gracie Mansion after dumping hissecond wife for Judith Nathan, New York's lame-duck mayor had been bunkingfor two months with a gay couple. No brand-name American politician had everpublicly done such a thing, so I decided to pay a visit to Rudy's home awayfrom home.

His Honor was out that day, but Howard Koeppel, a garrulous Queens cardealer, and his partner, Mark Hsiao, a Juilliard-trained pianist, weregracious tour guides to their 32nd-floor apartment on East 57th Street. Iasked Mr. Koeppel, a born comic, whether it was unexpected that Rudy wouldlive with an openly gay couple. "I don't know if it's any more unusual thanhim wearing a dress," he deadpanned. On a more sober note, Mr. Koeppel toldme that the connubially challenged mayor was an admirer of his and Mr. Hsiao's relatively "idyllic life" and had assured them that "if they ever legalizedgay marriages, we would be the first one he would do."

That this same Rudy Giuliani would emerge as the front-runner in theRepublican pack six years later is the great surprise of the 2008presidential campaign to date, especially to the political press. Since thedawn of the new century, it has been the rarely questioned conventionalwisdom, handed down by Karl Rove, that no Republican can rise to the top ofthe party or win the presidency without pandering as slavishly as George W.Bush has to the most bullying and gay-baiting power brokers of the religiousright.

When Rudy's candidacy started to show legs, pundits and family valuesactivists alike assumed that ignorant voters knew only his 9/11 video reeland not his personal history or his stands on issues. "Americans do not yetrealize how far outside of the mainstream of conservative thought that MayorGiuliani's social views really are," declared Tony Perkins, the FamilyResearch Council leader, in February. But despite Rudy's fleeting stabs atfudging his views, they are well known now, and still he leads in nationalpolls of Republican voters and is neck and neck with Fred Thompson in theBible Belt sanctuary of South Carolina.

There are various explanations for this. One is that 9/11 and terrorismfears trump everything. Another is that the rest of the field is weak. Butthe most obvious explanation is the one that Washington resists because itcontradicts the city's long-running story line. Namely, that the politicalclout ritualistically ascribed to Mr. Perkins, James Dobson of Focus on theFamily, Gary Bauer of American Values and their ilk is a sham.

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The Washington Post

A Call for Unity on Same-Sex Unions

By Annapolis Notebook
Sunday, October 28, 2007; C04

African Americans in Maryland are deeply divided over same-sex marriage, anissue that pushes many to weigh their commitment to civil rights againstpowerful religious convictions.

Black lawmakers are likely to confront the dilemma in the General Assemblywhen the legislature convenes for its 90-day session in January and isexpected to take up a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Advocates saythey'll turn to the legislature after their defeat in Maryland's highestcourt, which ruled that gays and lesbians do not constitute a protectedclass and urged lawmakers to debate the issue instead.

Take, for example, two Prince George's County Democrats, Sen. Gwendolyn T.Britt and Del. Dereck E. Davis. Davis has said he will be guided byreligious leaders who believe marriage is between a man and a woman. Britt,who plans to sponsor the same-sex marriage bill, echoes the messages of thecivil rights era that the Constitution protects everyone.

A group of black leaders, most of them heterosexual, last week announced theformation of the Maryland Black Family Alliance. The organizers pledge topush for legalizing gay unions with a campaign around the state and inAnnapolis -- and change the minds of black elected officials who reject aconnection between gay rights and civil rights.

"This is civil marriage, it's not just gay marriage," said Elbridge James,the group's leader and a former political action chairman for the Marylandbranch of the NAACP. "We're asking legislators to put their hand on theBible to protect the Constitution."

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To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:

Families formed by same-sex couples have been denied the basic protectionsall families deserve for far too long. Equality New Mexico is committed topassing the Domestic Partnership Bill early next year. If the DP bill is tobe passed in the 30 day legislative session that starts in January, we muststart now lobbying our legislators and growing our network of supporters.Today we ask you to start this process by signing our petition in support ofthe Domestic Partnership Bill. We'll immediately let your State Senator andState Representative know you signed the petition. After you sign thepetition you'll have an opportunity to send it to your friends and family.

Phoenix should create a domestic partner registry to ensure hospitalvisitation and other rights for gay and lesbian couples, City Councilcandidates said at a debate Wednesday night.Laura Pastor and MichaelNowakowski, who are running against one another to represent southwestPhoenix, expressed broad support for gay rights at a forum organized byEquality Arizona. In response to questions, Pastor and Nowakowski said theywould support a domestic partnership registry modeled after one establishedby Tucson in September 2003. Tucson's registry, which is open to allunmarried resident couples, ensures that one partner can visit another in ahealth care facility. It also extends the use of city facilities to partnersas if they were spouses, entitling them to purchase discounted familymemberships at city gyms, for example.


The Advocate

Obama Explains Why He's the Best Candidate for LGBT Americans


When the Obama campaign announced that Donnie McClurkin would be among thefeatured singers on the presidential candidate's gospel tour in SouthCarolina this weekend, it inadvertently ventured into the void betweenAfrican-American Christians and gays and lesbians.

McClurkin, an award-winning gospel singer who has also struggled with hissexuality for years, is a one-man personification of the craggy crossroadsbetween black gays and Christians. The fact that he has called homosexualitya "curse" that runs against "the intention of God" rips open the wounds ofso many gay African-Americans who have been "prayed over" for years byfamily and friends who endeavor to save them from their "shameful" fate.

As Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign put it once the din to pullthe controversial singer had reached a fever pitch midweek, "There is nogospel in Donnie McClurkin's message for gay, lesbian, bisexual, andtransgender people and their allies." There appeared to be two choices forObama's campaign: Keep McClurkin on the tour and disregard the cash-ladengay constituency that has bundled money with the best of 'em for Obama orditch McClurkin at the expense of sacrificing a precious bloc of votes fromSouth Carolina's black religious community.

But rather than oust McClurkin, the campaign found a third way, officiallyadding gay minister Andy Sidden to the tour on Wednesday.

The gospel tour is an apparent attempt to up Obama's numbers among a crucialsegment of black constituents that made up 47% of South Carolina'sDemocratic primary voters in 2004 and among whom Obama and Hillary Clintonare running neck and neck in recent polls.

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National Gay News

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:

There was once a time, in the not too distant past, when there wasn't a gaysocial function - whether held at a club, community center or festival -that didn't stock condoms seemingly by the truckload.
There was once a time, in the not too distant past, when many gay men -older men, teens, even gay porn stars - wouldn't think about havingunprotected sex, particularly with casual sex. Times have changed.

Following an investigation by, the Co-operative Bank haveannounced that they will include a "civil partnership" option on its bankingapplication forms. readers Joe and Neville Temple, who havecohabited for 42 years tried and failed to persuade Smile, the internetsubsidiary of the Co-Op Bank to add an option for the legal status of CivilPartner to its application forms.

I paid $8.50 for a matinee screening (and another $6 for parking in uptownMinneapolis) to see the documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So." But Isuspect, as did one reviewer, that "For the Bible Tells Me So" will find itsaudience when it comes out on video. That's when gay people will give a DVDof the documentary to their parents and declare, "This is what I've beentrying to tell you." And, it's when Sunday schools all over the country willset aside two hours to show the film and countless additional hours todiscuss it.

A Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ordered a Calgary woman to stop postinghate messages against minority groups on a U.S.-based white supremacistwebsite. The commission has fined Jessica Beaumont $1,500 for postingmessages that hold Jews, gays, lesbians, Chinese, blacks, aboriginals andother non-whites to hatred or contempt.

Girls were camping outside his hotel rooms, he was selling millions ofalbums and touring the world as part of 90s boy band 'N Sync. But Lance Basswas also living on $35 a day thanks to a miserly contract with formermanager Lou Pearlman and agonizing over how to hide his sexuality frombandmates and millions of teenage fans, according to his book "Out of Sync,"released this week.

SCHOOL WAS CLOSED due to a blizzard, and neighborhood kids filled thesidewalks, playing in mounds of snow. "Darrien," then 7, stood frozen for amoment, eyeing his new crush: a skinny boy with blond hair and blue eyes. "Isaw him, and I was just immediately amazed, and then I knew," Darrien says."He was just so amazingly hot that I just knew it." Darrien was young, headmits, maybe too young to be thinking about girlfriends and boyfriends. Buthis feelings were real, and even as he tried to bury them, they onlydeepened through the years. Now 14, he identifies himself as bisexual.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Gay Marriage Poll at PollingPoint - Please register your opinions.

Listed under Current Events - Should They Wed?


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Washington Blade

Advisers urge Bush to veto ENDA
Frank fears Dems will bump bill to '09; Kennedy to introduce Senate version

October 26, 2007

Democratic leaders postponed a vote this week in the House ofRepresentatives on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

The announcement came several hours after the White House issued a statementsaying that senior advisers have recommended that President Bush veto thegay rights measure if Congress were to pass it.

In a separate development, a spokesperson for Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.)told the Blade Wednesday that Kennedy intends to introduce ENDA in theSenate next week, when he returns to Washington after undergoing surgery inBoston to clear a blockage in a neck artery.

The spokesperson, Melissa Wagoner, did not say whether Kennedy's version ofENDA would include transgender protections. Some gay and transgenderactivists have speculated that the Senate would not vote on ENDA this year.

Kennedy's decision to introduce the measure at a time when ENDA supportersare engaged in a dispute over whether to include a trans provision in theHouse version of the bill suggests that Kennedy may be ready to reveal hisposition on the transgender question.


Scout backers crash Philly mayor's e-mail
Barrage of 150,000 messages after city hiked rent $200,000 due to 'gay'policy

Saturday, October 27, 2007
Posted: October 27, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

Philadelphia City Hall

Outraged citizens crashed the e-mail system of the Philadelphia mayor'soffice after the city accused the local Boy Scouts chapter of discriminatingagainst homosexuals and forced the organization to pay $200,000 rent for itscity-owned headquarters.

About 150,000 Boy Scout-related e-mails were removed from the city's e-mailsystem, reported the Bulletin newspaper of Philadelphia.

"We were deluged," said Terry Phillis, chief information officer for MayorJohn Street. "We pulled the messages off so they wouldn't take the systemdown. It had to be done to protect system integrity."

As WND reported, Philadelphia's city council voted to renege on a 1928ordinance allowing the Cradle of Liberty Council to have its headquarters ina building on a parcel of public land "in perpetuity" for $1 a year.

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Atlantis purchases rival gay line
By Spud Hilton
October 28, 2007

San Francisco Chronicle

Gay cruise company Atlantis Events recently bought out rival RSVP Vacations,but don't expect big changes coming from the merge, according to companyofficials and observers.

"Both brands will continue to be operated separately and distinctively.Future RSVP cruises will continue to be consistent with our heritage, ourculture and our guest expectations," the companies said in a letter tocustomers, signed by the CEOs of PlanetOut and Atlantis. "RSVP will not bemerged into Atlantis and (RSVP customers) will not be sailing on an Atlantiscruise."

PlanetOut, which owns, The Advocate and Out magazines, and whichbought RSVP in March 2006, has been struggling financially this year, inpart because of troubles with marketing and booking several big RSVP all-gaycruises, one on the Queen Mary 2. Atlantis will take over, but will likelylet RSVP be RSVP, somewhat the same way Carnival owns upscale, moresophisticated cruise lines that maintain their own identity.

What'll it mean for customers?

Most important is the financial stability of RSVP, according to JonathanKlein of Now Voyager, a travel agency in the San Francisco's Castroneighborhood that serves a largely gay and lesbian clientele.

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Co-op Bank change civil partner policy after expose

28th October 2007 00:12 writer

Following an investigation by, the Co-operative Bank haveannounced that they will include a "civil partnership" option on its bankingapplication forms. readers Joe and Neville Temple, who have cohabited for 42years tried and failed to persuade Smile, the internet subsidiary of theCo-Op Bank to add an option for the legal status of Civil Partner to itsapplication forms.

Following the expose on, the bank, which had previouslyclaimed they were under no legal obligation to include "civil partner"rather than "other" on forms, now says that they will change their policy:"As a leading ethical bank, over the last few months we have been reviewingthe initial decision not to include 'civil partnership' on our applicationforms.

In a statement, the bank added: "We are currently in the process of updatingour online application form to include the option 'married or civilpartnership' in the marital status field.

"When our paper application forms are reprinted, they will also be updated.Although this will take place when they are printed again, due to the largevolume of paper this involves and the effects it would have on theenvironment if we were to destroy those already in existence."

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Were Spain's two artistic legends secret gay lovers?
British actor stars as Salvador Dali in controversial film account of hisaffair with the doomed poet Lorca

David Smith
Sunday October 28, 2007
The Observer

As nights out at the cinema go, it sounds almost surreal. A new film isto depict a gay love affair between Salvador Dali, the eccentric master ofthe avant-garde, and his fellow Spaniard Federico Garcia Lorca, the doomeddramatist and poet.

Little Ashes, a UK-Spanish production, is set in the cultural andpolitical tumult of Twenties Madrid and follows the intense friendship ofthree revolutionary young artists: Dali, Lorca and the Surrealist film makerLuis Buñuel.

Described by its producers as 'racy' and 'sexy', the film will show Daliand Lorca's feelings deepen into a love affair which the sexually repressedartist tries and fails to consummate. As a substitute, Lorca sleeps with afemale friend, with Dali present as a voyeur.

The interpretation, by British screenwriter Philippa Goslett, is likelyto cause controversy among biographers and historians. Although aphysically intimate relationship between the men has long been rumoured,Dali told interviewers more than once that he rejected the homosexualLorca's attempts to seduce him.


By Donald Cavanaugh, Program Director
Safe Schools South Florida
Fort Lauderdale

Okeechobee school, district wrong to label, ban club

Regarding "Okeechobee district bans 'sex-based' clubs" (Oct. 11), theOkeechobee County School Board appears to be unjustifiably sexualizing itslesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students. Theissue for these students isn't sex. It's sexual orientation. Homosexualorientation is no more about sex than is heterosexual orientation. It'soften less - if you ever visit some public schools. Unfortunately, many inour society don't understand this.

GSAs (Gay Straight Alliances) are about visibility and equality, educationand enlightenment - things that appear to be lacking among the members ofthe school board and the Okeechobee High School administration.

As program manager for Safe Schools South Florida (formerly GLSEN SouthFlorida), an organization dedicated to making schools safer for allstudents, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, Iwork with students and educators who support LGBTQ students. All the GSAsI've encountered are concerned with providing a safe haven for students whoregularly are harassed and/or bullied while teachers and administratorsoften turn a blind eye.

The oppression LGBTQ students suffer at the hands of Okeechobee adults is aviolation of the school's "beliefs" from its online handbook that "a safeand comfortable school environment promotes student learning;" and "Studentslearn best when caring and committed teachers treat students with respectand dignity." How comfortable can LGBTQ students be in such a hostileenvironment? What respect and dignity are offered to students who areunjustly accused of starting a "sex club?"


Sweden: Moderates back gay marriage

Published: 27th October 2007 15:54 CET

Sweden's Moderate Party on Saturday gave its backing to gender-neutralmarriages. A large majority of the conference delegates were in favour of achange to the law.

The party agreed that the decision of whether to conduct same-sex marriagesshould be up to the local parishes. The party conference also agreed thatlesbian couples should be entitled to artificial insemination treatment atstate hospitals and that homosexuals can adopt children.

Six of parliament's seven parties have now given their backing to gaymarriage . Only the Christian Democrats are opposed and they have vowed tocontinue arguing against it.

A parliamentary inquiry's proposal to introduce a gender-neutral marriagecontract is currently under consideration with a response expected by themiddle of January.

There is broad support in parliament for a change in legislation. But theChristian Democrats and their leader Göran Hägglund say they will do theirbest to block the proposal.


Counterpunch - Oct 20, 2007

Deviants on Parade

Folsom Street Fair and America's 4th Sexual Revolution


For the last twenty-four years, gay and straight sexual deviants havemet in San Francisco during Leather Pride Week to celebrate the FolsomStreet Fair. This year, on Sunday, September 30th, betweenthree-hundred-and-fifty and four hundred thousand fetishists, theiradmirers and voyeurs gathered in what is considered the world's largestassembly of sexual deviants. While the street fair was the centerpieceof the week's adventures, almost every night featured a specialdeviant-themed event.

One night the Leathermen's Discussion Group hosted a "Fetish Fair" thatshowcased a variety of b&d/s&m demonstrations featuring "some of themost knowledgeable and respected experts in the community." Otherspecial events included an evening with erotic performance artists CleoDubois and Fakir; a formal gay-oriented uniform dinner, Roll Call 2007,sponsored by California Boots and Breeches Corp.; a male/male spankingget-together; and a host of after-hour private fetish sex parties forboth straight and gay male and female adventurers.

Folsom Street Fair is the premier event of a growing, nationwidenetwork of adult deviant sexual fantasy and play. It is a cornerstoneevent of America's 4th sexual revolution, this one pushing further therevolutions of the 1840s, 1920s and 1970s. In distinction from earliermovements for sexual reform, today's revolution remains unseen andunacknowledged, hidden behind a background of Christian evangelicalbattles over cultural values, Bush administration war againstpornography and media pursuit of sex offenders.



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