Thursday, November 01, 2007

GLBT DIGEST November 1, 2007

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Rowling Says Goodbye to Potter With Fairy Tales

November 1, 2007
Filed at 6:46 a.m. ET

LONDON (Reuters) - J.K. Rowling is to say goodbye to Harry Potter with ahandwritten set of fairytales mentioned in her last wizard saga that shewill auction for her children's charity.

Fans hoping for another dose of Potter will be disappointed as the taleswill not be published, but Rowling said on Thursday she was half-way throughwriting another children's book.

A copy of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" with illustrations by the author isto be sold at auction next month to raise money for The Children's Voicecharity she set up.

"Writing it has been the most wonderful way to say goodbye to a world I havelived in for 17 years," said the author of the teenage wizard stories thathave sold more than 350 million copies and made her the first billionaireauthor.

"The Tales of Beedle the Bard" are mentioned in the last Potter book ashaving been left to Harry's friend Hermione by their head teacher AlbusDumbledore, recently outed by Rowling as being gay.

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Missing Compassion

November 1, 2007

To the Editor:

Gail Collins (column, Oct. 25) raises a great question: Why do so-calledvalues voters find a genuine compassionate conservative like Mike Huckabeeobjectionable? Perhaps it's because social conservatives have assigned theirown meanings to phrases like "moral leadership" and "family values," andconcern for the well-being of those less fortunate simply isn't part of theequation.

Of course, compassion should certainly be embedded in the definition ofthese phrases. But conservatism as practiced by the religious right has cometo mean fighting against perceived threats to society: abortion rights, gayrights and so on. As a result, compassion is left at the churchhouse door,and the truly needy must look elsewhere for help.

To borrow a phrase from the social conservatives themselves, what could bemore "morally objectionable" than that?

Niels Aaboe

New York, Oct. 25, 2007


Lance Bass Says He Got Hitched in Vegas

November 1, 2007
Filed at 12:28 a.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Lance Bass, who is openly gay, says he once married agirlfriend in Las Vegas.

''People do stupid things in the heat of the moment,'' the 28-year-oldsinger told E! News in an article published Tuesday on its Web site. ''I'vebeen in Vegas where I've gotten married for like five minutes, but no onetalks about it, though.''

Bass, who was part of the boy band 'N Sync, says he got hitched in ''1999 or2000,'' and the bride was ''just a friend.''

''In fact, the only reason we did it is because we wanted to get free drinksall night ... and we didn't get one,'' he says. ''We're like, `we just gotmarried,' and they're like, `ah, whatever.'''

Bass, who has been promoting his new memoir, ''Out of Sync,'' can now beseen on Broadway in the long-running musical ''Hairspray.'' He stepped intothe role of TV ance show host Corny Collins in August.

Bass announced in July 2006 that he is gay. He has said that he didn'treveal this earlier because he didn't want to affect 'N Sync's popularity.


On the Net:

E! News:


Quiet Halloween night in San Francisco

Posted on Thu, Nov. 01, 2007

A heavy police presence in the city's Castro district seemed enough to spookrevelers away from what was once home to the San Francisco Bay area'slargest Halloween street party.

City officials canceled the event after nine people were shot at last year'scostume bash.

On Wednesday night, bars and restaurants closed early, public transportationhalted nighttime service to the area and sidewalk barricades were set up todiscourage pedestrians from spilling into the road. The landmark CastroTheatre stood with its lights shut off, guarded by barricades and ninepolice officers.

However, more than 250 uniformed officers patrolling the area weren't enoughto keep some people from checking out their favorite Halloween haunt. Alight crowd of costumed revelers wandered through the neighborhood Wednesdaynight, and six people were arrested for public drunkenness, said police Sgt.Steve Mannina.

The party, which began in the 1960s as a spontaneous and unsanctioned eventin the heart of the gay and lesbian community, was taken over by the cityafter 2002, when five people were stabbed and police found a man wielding achain saw among the crowd of nearly 500,000.

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LAPD ordered to reinstitute gay bias ban

By Rick Orlov Writer, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 10/31/2007 11:25:12 PM PDT

In a major concession involving a 14-year-old case alleging harassment inthe hiring and promotion of gays and lesbians in the Los Angeles PoliceDepartment, the City Council agreed Wednesday to reinstate policies banningdiscrimination.

In a 12-0 vote, the council also agreed to pay $695,000 in attorneys feesfor former LAPD Sgt. Mitch Grobeson, the first openly gay police officer whowon a suit in 1993 requiring the department to change its policies.

"This is a great day for the City of Los Angeles and a great day for the gayand lesbian community," said Theresa Traber, Grobeson's attorney.

"The city will finally live up to the agreement it reached in 1993 on sexualharassment based on sexual orientation."

Grobeson, 48 - who was briefly reinstated to his post before taking adisability retirement in 1995 - is seeking to be reinstated to his job at atrial scheduled to start Nov. 13, where he is also seeking back pay anddamages. In his initial case, Grobeson and two others split $700,000 indamages.

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Rep. Richard Curtis resigns over gay sex scandal

Associated Press and
06:41 PM PDT on Wednesday, October 31, 2007

OLYMPIA, Wash. - A state legislator from southwest Washington resigned hisseat Wednesday amid revelations that he had sex with a man he met at anerotic video store while in Spokane on a Republican retreat.

The move comes days after state Rep. Richard Curtis, R-La Center, insistedto his local newspaper that he was not gay and that sex was not involved inwhat he said was an extortion attempt by a man last week.

But in police reports Curtis alleges he was being extorted by a man he hadsex with in a Spokane hotel room. The other man contends Curtis reneged on apromise to pay $1,000 for sex.

Curtis released the following written statement:

"Today I submitted my letter of resignation to Governor Gregoire effectiveimmediately. While I believe we've done some good and helped a lot of peopleduring the time I served in the Legislature, events that have recently cometo light have hurt a lot of people. I sincerely apologize for any pain myactions may have caused.

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Castro party was dead on arrival

Wyatt Buchanan, Heather Knight,Robert Selna, Chronicle Staff Writers
Thursday, November 1, 2007

(11-01) 00:35 PDT San Francisco -- San Francisco got the quiet Halloweennight it had hoped for Wednesday as revelers stayed clear of the Castrodistrict's no-party zone.

"People are behaving well. We're happy," Neville Gittens, a policespokesman, said late Wednesday evening. "All of the city's planning andnotification is paying off."

By midnight, city workers had taken away the metal police barricades thathad lined parts of Castro and Market streets and the crowds had dwindled toabout 100 people. Even the city streetsweepers had rolled through theneighborhood.

Many of the neighborhood's bars and restaurants closed early in response tothe city's efforts to shut down this year's Halloween bash to avoid a repeatof the rowdiness and violence that led to the shootings of nine people lastyear. Then an estimated 200,000 people had crowded into the area for theannual party that's often described as "the gay Christmas."

Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who represents the Castro district, was one of theleaders of the effort to kill the party. He walked through the areaWednesday night, his only costume a baseball cap pulled low over hisforehead.

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Running of the drag queens

By: Aya Mueller
Posted: 11/1/07

Men dressed as Audrey Hepburn, Pocahontas and other famous females were onfull display Tuesday night at the annual high heel race in Dupont Circle.

Hundreds of spectators - including D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty - gathered to seemen dressed in drag sporting high heels running through the streets. Morethan 100 drag queens hurled the short stretch between JR's Bar and Grilleand Trio Restaurant, vying for the grand prize of a $50 bar tab at JR's, thede facto organizer of the race.

The event is a famed pre-Halloween social gathering that unites the locallesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups, along with anyone else whocares to join.

"I think every neighborhood needs something like this," said Mike Wilson,30, a first time volunteer at the event. "You get thousands of people out onthe street having fun in the middle of the week. It's just one of thoseevents that can bring the community together."

The first onlookers arrived around 6 p.m., quickly crowding bars andsidewalks and then competing for spots in the front row. Meanwhile,contestants - headed by a mixed-gender team of cheerleaders - flaunted theircostumes under flashing cameras.

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Gay basketball star asks for allies and friends

1st November 2007 10:26

Retired professional basketball player John Amaechi is the star of a20-second public service announcement (PSA) released today in the US by theGay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to mark the beginning ofthe 2007-08 professional basketball season.

The PSA is the fifth installment of GLAAD's new public education campaignthat encourages viewers to "Be an Ally & a Friend."

The British-born athlete made history in February when he became the firstformer NBA player to come out publicly.

Over a six-year period, Amaechi played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, OrlandoMagic and Utah Jazz.

In his bestselling autobiography, Man in the Middle, he describes hisjourney from being an overweight kid in England to a revered Penn Statebasketball player to his years playing professional basketball, all whilediscovering his sexuality and being a closeted gay man.

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Irish government to introduce civil partnerships

1st November 2007 10:45
Tony Grew

The Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has announced thatthe government will introduce a bill to legalise civil partnerships by March2008.

While opposing a similar bill put forward by the opposition Labour partyyesterday, Brian Lenihan said that details would follow soon.

He confirmed that the special place of marriage in the Irish Constitutionthere would be no moves to legalise gay marriage.

The Green party, who are partners in the coalition government with FiannaFail, put pressure on their colleagues to advance civil partnerships.

When a similar proposal was put forward by Labour earlier this year, theGreens voted in favour of it.

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Funeral war pickets lose verdict: Anti-gay church protested at memorial forMarine killed in Iraq

MSNBC News Services
updated 8:45 p.m. ET, Wed., Oct. 31, 2007

BALTIMORE - A grieving father won a nearly $11 million verdict against afundamentalist church that pickets military funerals out of a belief thatthe war in Iraq is a punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality.

Albert Snyder sued the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church for unspecifieddamages after members demonstrated at the March 2006 funeral of his son,Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

The federal jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. Itreturned in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitivedamages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotionaldistress.

Snyder's attorney, Craig Trebilcock, had urged jurors to determine an amount"that says don't do this in Maryland again. Do not bring your circus of hateto Maryland again."

Church vows appeal

The defense said it planned to appeal, and one of the church's leaders,Shirley Phelps-Roper, said the members would continue to picket militaryfunerals.

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Becker, Buhler discuss SLC's Marmalade area
Mayoral debate surprise: Could it be a beautiful day in the 'Gayborhood'?

By Rosemary Winters
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 10/31/2007 06:41:52 AM MDT

Click photo to enlargeKUTV's Rod Decker mediates a between Salt Lake Citymayor... (Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune)«1»Salt Lake City mayoralcontenders Ralph Becker and Dave Buhler have sparred over a number of issueson the 2007 campaign trail: the environment, education, public safety and soon. But a new topic shook up one of their final debates Tuesday night.

How about a "gayborhood?"

In a live debate hosted by The Salt Lake Tribune and KUTV Channel 2 oneweek before Election Day, the candidates were asked if they would support a"gayborhood" taking root in the Marmalade district that boasts gay-ownedbusinesses, according to a recent issue of Q Salt Lake magazine, whichcaters to a lesbian and gay audience.

"I haven't read the article," said Buhler, a two-term city councilman."We have a lot of people in our community who are very diverse . . .. Thisis a very welcoming community."

He said he would lend the same support to small businesses in the areathat entrepreneurs receive elsewhere in the city.

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Cobb student editor defends publishing anti-gay column

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 10/31/07

A gay-bashing, student-written editorial published last month in Kell HighSchool's student magazine met with sharp rebuttal in Wednesday's edition inan opinion column and a defense of the publication in the letter from theeditor.

The original opinion piece, headlined "Homosexuality: Beyond the Bible" andwritten by football player Thomas Benjamin, referred to homosexuals as"diseased" and a "mistake of evolution."

Inkwell editor-in-chief Sarah Antonuccio wrote in the Wednesday edition thatshe and her staff were frustrated that their morality and ethics werequestioned for publishing Benjamin's editorial.

"Because we made high-schoolers stop and think about something other thantheir weekend plans and focus on a national issue, we were questioned....Wehad a right to do what we did, and we were questioned," she said.

Publication of the Benjamin column kicked off debate over whether studentpublications should be censored by school administrators. Cobb school systemofficials said Kell principal Trudie Donovan was aware of the content beforepublication and decided to let it be published.

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Royal To Be Tried For Assaulting American Who Refused His Sexual Advances

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: October 31, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Geneva) Swiss officials announced Wednesday they will try the brother ofthe ruler of the United Arab Emirates for allegedly assaulting an Americanman who rebuffed his sexual advances in a Geneva hotel.

Sheikh Falah bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, 37, is accused of attackingSilvano Orsi, 39, with a belt in the posh La Reserve hotel four years ago.

Swiss prosecutor Daniel Zappelli said Wednesday that the case will be heardbefore a three-man tribunal.

If convicted the Sheikh could be sentenced up to two years in prison.

Al-Nahyan was charged last year, but Zappelli did not indicate why it tookthree years for a charge to be filed and an additional year to get to trial.

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Arkansas Poll Shows Tight Fight Over Gay Adoption Ban

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: October 31, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Little Rock, Arkansas) LGBT rights groups in Arkansas say they believe avoter initiative that would bar gays and lesbians from adopting or becomingfoster parents can be defeated follow the release of a new poll.

The poll, conducted by University of Arkansas, found that 53 percent ofprospective voters would approve the ban, while 42 percent would reject it.Five percent of those questioned either had no opinion or refused to answer.

The random poll surveyed 754 adult Arkansans by telephone between Oct. 7-18and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

The Family Council, a conservative Christian group that was largelyresponsible for the passage of an amendment to the Arkansas Constitutionbanning gay marriage and which is behind the adoption measure said the pollis good news and that it will succeed in having the ban adopted.

But LGBT rights groups say that with the error or margin in the poll only asmall number of people have to be convinced the measure would bediscriminatory.

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For Clinton, Risks In Sidestepping

by The Associated Press
Posted: November 1, 2007 - 7:30 am ET

(New York City) It could be a long two months for Democrat Hillary RodhamClinton if she continues to sidestep questions on big issues.

With just seven weeks to go until the leadoff Iowa caucuses, the New Yorksenator has become the target for her Democratic rivals, especially BarackObama and John Edwards, who are openly questioning her candor, integrity andelectability.

Clinton has fought back using a classic front-runner's playbook, trying toavoid direct confrontations with the other Democrats while taking her fightto Republicans, especially President Bush.

But by avoiding questions on important issues - from Social Securityoverhaul to driver's licenses for illegal immigrants - Clinton risks playinginto a narrative her rivals are eager to establish: that she is slippery,evasive and overly political.

"Whether it's accurate or not, people have this sense that she has an 'endsjustify means' approach to being accurate and consistent," said DennisGoldford, a political scientist at Iowa's Drake University. "That's hervulnerability, and it's where Edwards and Obama will go nuclear eventually."

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Phelps Clan To Appeal $11M Verdict

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 1, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Baltimore, Maryland) A lawyer for the Rev. Fred Phelps says that Phelpswill appeal the nearly $11 million verdict awarded to the father of a deadmarine whose funeral was picketed by fundamentalists who claim the war inIraq is a punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

Albert Snyder of York, Pa., sued the Westboro Baptist Church, of Topeka,Kansas for unspecified damages after members demonstrated at the March 2006funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

On Wednesday the jury awarded Snyder $2.9 million in compensatory damages,$6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million forcausing emotional distress. (story)

Phelps's attorney, Jonathan Katz, said the verdict will be taken to afederal appeals court.

Even if the verdict is upheld Snyder has little chance of collecting.

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Two Emirati Men Accused of Assaulting French Teenage Boy

November 01, 2007

Two Emirati men are accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old French boyin Dubai, a case that has raised questions about the protection offoreigners and the fairness of a legal system where male rape does not existas a crime.

The defendants -- aged 35 and 18 -- briefly appeared in court Wednesdaywhere one was appointed a new lawyer. The other defendant's attorney did notappear in court for the hearing, which lasted a few minutes.

The two are accused of kidnapping two French boys and sexually assaultingone of them in July. A third defendant, also accused of taking part in theassault and also Emirati, is being tried in a juvenile court where theproceedings are closed to the public.

Last week, the two adult defendants pleaded not guilty to charges ofkidnapping with deceit and illicit sexual intercourse.

According to court documents, the 35-year-old defendant has been identifiedas HIV positive.

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Olivia Presses Forward Despite Lawsuit

November 01, 2007

Olivia founder and president Judy Dlugacz announced Tuesday that the companyis moving forward despite a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by fourformer employees: former CEO Amy Errett, former CFO Dianne Dubuis, formerchief business development officer Brad Lande, and former chief marketingofficer Sabrina Riddle.

Errett filed for a civil case to dissolve the lesbian travel and eventsbrand. On October 18, the San Francisco superior court denied the request,and the court rejected the former employees' request to give them "leave toamend."

Olivia has filed a cross complaint against Errett for a breach of financialduties to repay a loan the company made to her, according to the statement.(The Advocate)


McGreevey Divorce Proceeds With Little Progress Toward Settlement

November 01, 2007

Former New Jersey governor James McGreevey, the first openly gay governor inthe United States, and his estranged wife, Dina, continued proceedings indivorce court on Monday but made little headway toward resolving their case,according to the Associated Press.

Superior Court judge Karen M. Cassidy presided over three hours of privatetalks with the couple's lawyers in an attempt to avoid a trial that could betraumatic to the McGreevey's young daughter. But when Cassidy took the benchto speak to the attorneys and their clients, she said she was "deflated andexhausted," according to the AP.

"To say I've had little success would be understated," she said. "You'llhave to decide if you want to try this case and let it become the spectacleit's bound to be."

McGreevey, however, told reporters he remains hopeful for a settlement.

"It's in everyone's interest to settle and stop the excessive legal costsand personal pain and aggravation," he said. "And move on with our lives."

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Xtian magistrate loses homophobic appeal

Gay couple adoption appeal lost

An ex-magistrate who says he was forced to resign because he would not placechildren for adoption with gay couples has lost his appeal.

Andrew McClintock, 63, of Sheffield, claimed he was discriminated againstfor his Christian beliefs.

An employment appeal tribunal heard Mr McClintock believed gay adoption wasan "experiment in social science".

He said he was "deeply disappointed" with the decision, but would now takehis fight to the Court of Appeal.

New laws

Mr McClintock stood down from dealing with family cases in Sheffield afterhe was refused permission to opt-out of cases which could result in asame-sex adoption.

The father-of-four, who was a member of the Christian People's AllianceCouncil, had served as a magistrate in the family courts in Sheffield for 15years, but the new civil partnership laws meant he could have inadvertentlysanctioned the removal of a child from its natural family to be placed inthe care of a gay couple.

He said this contradicted both his personal religious beliefs and his dutyas a magistrate.



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Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge
Teresa Carr Deni.

She dropped all the sexual assault and assault charges against DominiqueGindraw, even though he stood accused of forcing a prostitute to have sexwith him and three other men.

At gunpoint.

But Deni didn't let Gindraw entirely off the hook. Because he didn't pay herwhat he'd agreed to pay her for sex, and since she was in the business ofproviding sex for money, Deni let stand a charge of theft of services.

Deni told me she based her decision on the fact that the prostituteconsented to have sex with the defendant.

"She consented and she didn't get paid . . . I thought it was a robbery."

The prostitute, a 20-year-old single mother, agreed to $150 for an hour oforal and vaginal sex on Sept. 20, according to assistant district attorneyRich DeSipio. The arrangements were made through her posting on Craigslist.

She met the defendant, Dominique Gindraw, 19, at what she thought was hishouse, but which turned out to be an abandoned property in NorthPhiladelphia.

He asked if she'd have sex with his friend, too, and she agreed for another$100.

The friend showed up without money, the gun was pulled and more men arrived.

Got that? Because she agreed to have sex with Gindraw and his friend for aset price, and because that price wasn't paid and Gindraw drew a gun andforced the complainant to have sex with not only him and his friend, butalso with two other guys, that's not rape, that's robbery. Because it's thesame as stealing your neighbor's cable.

Well, fortunately, the fifth guy who showed up asked the victim why she wascrying, and got her dressed and out of there. He was a hell of a lot morecompassionate than the judge, who couldn't seem to grasp that the victim,despite having consented to sex under one set of circumstances, did not giveblanket consent to every sexual act involving that particular customer.



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Judge Strikes Down Part Of Internet Sex Law

October 30, 2007

NEW ORLEANS -- A judge in southwestern Louisiana has struck down a portionof the state's online sex solicitation law as unconstitutional.

In a ruling from the bench Monday, state District Judge Wilford Carter ofLake Charles sided with Ray Hatton Jr., who was arrested two years ago andcharged with online solicitation of a minor.

That's according to J. Rodney Baum, Hatton's attorney.

Hatton, in court papers, argued that his constitutional right to equalprotection was violated by a provision of state law that denies a "consentdefense" when the person at the other end of the online chat is a policeofficer.

The state attorney general's office, which prosecuted the case and has madecracking down on alleged Internet predators a key focus, declined comment,except to say that the case would be appealed to the Louisiana SupremeCourt.

Under state law, someone charged with computer-aided solicitation of a minorcan make a consent defense -- that is, that the chat was consensual -- ifthe person the defendant chatted with is at least 16 years old.

However, a defendant can't use that defense if "the person reasonablybelieved to be under the age of 18 is actually a law enforcement officer orpeace officer acting in his official capacity."

The age of consent in Louisiana is 17.

The Lake Charles American press reported that Carter said the law lets lawenforcement "search out" potential offenders and that there are other meansfor catching offenders.

Hatton is currently free on bond.


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October 31, 2007

N.J. Voters Evenly Split On Gay Marriage


New Jersey voters remain evenly divided over whether gay couples should begiven the right to marry in the state, according to a poll releasedWednesday.

Voters are clearly comfortable, however, with something the state alreadydoes: allow gay couples to join in civil unions, which offer the legalbenefits of marriage, but not the title.

According to the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, two-thirds of poll respondents saidthey favor civil unions.

The results are similar to those of an Eagleton poll conducted in June 2006.

"Usually change is news. But in this case, no change in public opinion isthe real news, given all that has happened in the past year," said TimVercellotti, the polling director at the Eagleton Institute of Politics.

"The consistency of public opinion on these issues suggests these are deeplyheld beliefs that do not shift easily."

The poll was conducted about one year after the state Supreme Court ruledthat gay couples had to be given the legal rights of marriage.

Late last year, the state Legislature responded by adopting the nation'sthird civil unions law.

It gives couples benefits in many areas, including inheritance and adoptionrights and the right to health insurance for partners, just like marriedpeople can get.



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Child porn law at center of free-speech case
By Joan Biskupic, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court Tuesday took up a First Amendment test ofCongress' ability to tackle child pornography in the digital age.

Justice Department lawyers defending a 2003 law that criminalizes theadvertising of purported child porn say such Internet ads fuel the marketfor smut and hurt children even when the advertised pictures are fake.

Challengers to the law, including the National Coalition Against Censorshipand the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, counter that itsweeps too broadly. They say it threatens the marketing of Lolita and otherfictional depictions of adolescent sex.

At stake is Congress' latest attempt to prohibit sexual content on theInternet. Backed by 28 states, U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement stressesthe need to curtail the marketing of child porn to protect the childrenabused to create it.

Clement, who argued the case, stressed in a written filing that because ofthe Internet "the distribution of child pornography has expandedexponentially." He said even fraudulent offers to buy or sell child pornfeed the market.

On the other side, backing a Florida man convicted for promotingpornography, are free-speech advocates who say the law could be used againstmarketers of mainstream literature or movies.

"Consider . the promotional speech on the DVD cover of the film CruelIntentions that talks of the 'ultimate challenge to . deflower theheadmaster's beautiful, virgin daughter,' played by Academy Award winnerReese Witherspoon," wrote New York lawyer Michael Bamberger, on behalf ofthe American Booksellers Foundation and other publishing groups.

For the past decade, Congress has aggressively targeted sexual materials onthe Internet to shield children. Legislation has divided into two generalcategories: laws intended to stem the tide of illegal child pornography, asin the current case, and laws aimed at keeping pornography containing adultimages away from children who roam the Web. Unlike pictures of minors,pornographic images of adults are legal.


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Court asks if porn law covers mainstream films

Justices express doubt anti-child porn act would affect 'Titanic,' other


Updated: 2:49 p.m. ET Oct 30, 2007

WASHINGTON - Several U.S. Supreme Court justices expressed doubt on Tuesdaythat a law barring child pornography could be applied to popularaward-winning movies like "Lolita," "Traffic," "American Beauty" and"Titanic."

The justices appeared to support the pandering provision of a 2003 federallaw that makes it a crime to promote, distribute or solicit material in away intended to cause others to believe it contains child pornography.

They were hearing arguments in a case brought by the Bush administrationurging them to uphold the law, after a U.S. appeals court struck down thatprovision on the grounds the government cannot suppress lawful free speech.

Bush administration lawyer Paul Clement argued that the law does notillegally infringe on free-speech or other rights guaranteed by the U.S.Constitution.

He said the law does not inhibit legitimate creative expression, and drew adistinction between mainstream movies and illegal child pornography.

"If you're taking a movie like 'Traffic' or 'American Beauty', which is notchild pornography, and you're simply truthfully promoting it, you havenothing to worry about with this statute," Clement told the justices.

"Traffic" has a scene with the high-school daughter of the nation's drugczar appearing to have sex with a drug dealer; "Lolita" portrayed amiddle-aged man's obsession with a young girl; "Titanic" depicted a loveaffair by a young couple on a doomed ship; and "American Beauty" involved a42-year-old man's attraction to his daughter's best friend.

Chief Justice John Roberts asked the attorney who is challenging the lawabout the government's distinction between legitimate films and illegalchild pornography.

Lawyer Richard Diaz is representing a Florida man, Michael Williams, who wasarrested in 2004 after he traded messages in an Internet chat room with anundercover federal agent posing as a woman.



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SSU drops Army as athletic department sponsor

Faculty objects to receiving funding from armed forces due to 'don't ask,don't tell' policy

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT Sonoma State University canceled the Army's athleticsponsorship -- the sports department's largest cash sponsor -- amidconcerns over the "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gay soldiers,university officials said Monday.

SSU maintains an anti-discrimination policy that extends to contractswith outside entities and severed its ties to the Army after complaintsfrom the faculty.

The Army was committed to spending $15,000 on the Ron Logsdon BasketballClassic, a four-team tournament in December. The event would have beenrenamed the Ron Logsdon Classic presented by the U.S. Army, AthleticDirector Bill Fusco said.

SSU Provost Eduardo Ochoa said the administration will provide the lostfunding for this year's tournament, but the athletic department will haveto find a replacement sponsor for future tournaments.

"This campus has a long-standing position against discrimination thatincludes discrimination against sexual orientation," Ochoa said. "This isnot an action that is meant to, in any way, disparage the armed forces orexpress a view on the Iraq war."

People who are openly gay are prohibited from serving in the armedforces. Under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy adopted in 1994, themilitary permits gays to serve as long as they remain silent about theirsexual preference.



Saudi King to meet Pope on Tuesday
Web posted at: 11/1/2007 7:6:43 [American date format!]
Source ::: Agencies

Rome -- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosquesing Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia willmeet Pope Benedict XVI next week for talksexpected to centre on Christian-Islam relations, the Vatican said yesterday.

The first talks between a Saudi monarch and aPope will take place on Tuesday (November 6). TheSaudi king, currently in Britain, will be inItaly to meet government officials.

The Vatican does not have formal diplomatic tieswith Saudi Arabia and relations have beenstrained. The Vatican has often called forgreater rights for the tiny Christian minoritythere. The Christians, mostly guest workers, arenot allowed to practise their faith in public, the Vatican says.

King Abdullah will meet Italian Prime MinisterRomano Prodi later that day. Last month the Popemet the Saudi foreign minister at his summerresidence outside Rome to discuss the Middle Eastand the "defence of religious and moral values" ­as well as the political and religious situation in Saudi Arabia.



The Struggles of Homeless Trans Youth
by Charlsie Dewey

Homeless LGBT youth face increased difficulties compared to theirheterosexual counterparts both on the streets and within the shelter system,according to a study the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force report,"Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness,"which was released in January 2007.

According to the report, LGBT homeless youth are more vulnerable to mentalhealth issues, substance abuse, risky sexual behavior and victimization. Thereport states, "A study of homeless youth in Canada found that those whoidentify as LGBT were three times as likely to participate in survival sexthan their heterosexual peers," and The National Runaway Switchboardreported, "LGBT homeless youth are seven times more likely than theirheterosexual peers to be victims of crime."

Shelter systems do not ease many of these risks for LGBT teens. "Themajority of existing shelters and other care systems are not providing safeand effective services to LGBT homeless youth," the report states.



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