Monday, November 19, 2007

GLBT DIGEST November 19, 2007

**IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US AT and we'll be happy to send the full article.


The Detroit News

Michigan's first gay mayor wins by integration

Deb Price
Monday, November 19, 2007

If you've ever felt like busting loose and painting your hometown gay-friendly lavender, you might want to grab some painting lessons from Craig Covey, the first openly gay mayor elected in Michigan.

Covey's inspiring story -- and that of Ferndale, population 22,000 -- starts with a paintbrush. That would be the one in his hand in 1989, when for $56,000 he bought a house that -- like the Detroit inner-ring suburb where it's located -- needed "a little TLC."

"I selected Ferndale because it had a little kernel of a gay community," recalls Covey, then 32. "You put on a fresh coat of paint. You trim the bushes. You put in gardens."

Covey talked up the town's potential to gay friends, who started moving there with their own buckets of paint and hedge clippers.

Six years after arriving, Covey decided to take the next big step toward really belonging to a community -- being part of local politics -- and ran for City Council. Out of five candidates for two slots, he came in dead last.

A friend took him aside and said, "If you wish to be a councilman, here's what you've got to do: The people want to see you and talk to you. You've got to go to church events and join the Elks and get on boards and commissions."

That's what Covey did to demonstrate his commitment to making Ferndale a better place for everyone: He joined the Elks, the town's recreation commission and a youth assistance board. He and other members of a gay residents group donated a globe to the library.

"This stuff probably sounds hokey to someone in a big city. We weren't protesting outside city hall. We were joining the Beautification Commission, which picks the prettiest house on the block.

"We planted flowers at the Ferndale Historical Society. We started a pub crawl, and within a few years had 400 people joining us. We integrated with the straight community," he explains, adding that, as the town gentrified, the surge in the property values delighted homeowners.

When Covey ran again for City Council in 1999, he won. Four years later, he was re-elected. And on Nov. 6, he was among at least 32 victorious gay candidates ationwide.

The United States has 20 gay mayors, including in Providence, R.I.; Maywood, N.J.; ey Biscayne, Fla.; Palm Springs, Calif.; and my home town of Takoma Park, Md., ccording to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which helps elect gay candidates.

Covey's years in Ferndale are a gay how-to manual on transforming a town into a place where you really feel at home. He laughs with pride that as mayor he makes $8,000 a year and has a huge say in such things as sidewalk crack repairs and arbage pickup.

Last year his city, sometimes called "Fabulous Ferndale" and now about 15 percent ay, passed a gay rights ordinance 65 percent to 35 percent on the third try.

The lessons of Ferndale can be applied anywhere, Covey says: "Instead of separating into a gay ghetto) or demanding our rights, we are achieving what we wanted, eighbor by neighbor."

Ferndale and its new mayor -- what a fabulous example. Where's my paintbrush?

Reach Deb Price at (202) 662-8736 and


Oz Gays Hold Mass Ceremony

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 19, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Melbourne, Australia) Fifteen same-sex couples held a simulated massmarriage ceremony Sunday in Melbourne to draw attention to the Australiangovernment's foot-dragging on recognizing gay relationships.

The ceremony, called Loved Up, was held as part of the LGBT festival calledFeast.

"What we wanted to do as a festival was celebrate diverse love and put itout to the wider public so it can be recognized as equal to straightmarriage,'' Daniel Clarke, the Feast Festival's artistic director, toldFairfax Media.

"Of course it's political, but it's a very personal day and it's going to bea very, very moving day.''

Twelve of the couples were lesbian, and three gay.

more . . . . .


Lesbian Lutheran Pastor Ordained

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 19, 2007 - 6:30 am ET

(Chicago, Illinois) Jen Rude has become the first lesbian pastor to beordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since thedenomination voted last year to temporarily leave it up to individualbishops whether to maintain the ban on clergy in same-sex relationships.

The measure - the product of three years' work by a special church taskforce - was meant as a compromise that will satisfy both those who supportgay clergy and those who regard gay sex as sinful.

A final decision will be made in 2009.

Nevertheless most Lutheran bishops require gay and lesbian pastors to makemake a vow of celibacy before they can be ordained. Heterosexual ministersare not required to make a similar vow.

Rude, who said she is not in a relationship, refused to make the vow becauseshe considers it discriminatory and he suburban Chicago church, ResurrectionLutheran Church in Lakeview, stood behind her.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Womens eNews - Nov 16, 2007

Legislation to protect gay and lesbian Americans that passed the Houselast week fell short for transgender people and their advocates, JulieR. Enszer reports today. They wanted "gender identity" protections thatgot cut from the original version.

Legislative Bargain Frays Some in LGBT Community

By Julie R. Enszer - WeNews correspondent

(WOMENSENEWS)--While many of her political allies were celebrating lastweek's passage of a congressional bill to end workplace discriminationagainst lesbians and gays, Mara Keisling, executive director of theNational Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C., wasdistraught by the "watered-down, anemic bill."

While a Nov. 6 poll by Human Rights Campaign found that 70 percent of lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender, or LGBT, people expressed support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007, a significant faction say transgender people were singled out and left behind when the initial version of the bill was derailed in Congress.

In addition to banning discrimination against people based onhomosexuality, bisexuality or heterosexuality--as the bill passed bythe House of Representatives states--the initial version also protected"gender identity."

A less familiar idea than sexual orientation, gender identity iscrucial for transgender people because it recognizes that while much ofthe population may be "cisgender"--possessing a sense of genderidentity in sync with their sex organs at birth--not everyone is.

Providing gender identity protection would mean such things as notbeing fired for making a gender transition while employed or not havingto worry about being denied employment when birth certificates ordrivers' licenses don't reflect a person's gender presentation. Itwould also help people who live androgynously and are not easilyidentified as male or female.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


I'm writing on behalf of the Alliance against Homophobia and Discriminationof Sexual Minorities, an emergency coalition of South Korean LGBT rightsgroups against homophobia and the distorted Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB),which is soon to be legislated.

We've created an online petition at

Please sign it and tell others about it to show your support and to ensurethat the ADB is passed after the inclusion of the 7 deleted categories (including 'sexualorientation') as well as that of 'gender identity'.


To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News

Information, news, and discussion about the legal recognition of same-sexcouples and their families, including marriages, domestic partnerships,civil unions, adoptions, foster children and similar issues.

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

Five years after the University System of Georgia Board of Regents ignored adrive to obtain domestic partner benefits for unmarried couples, theUniversity Council at the University of Georgia has renewed the call.Last month, the council voted to join Georgia State University in asking theregents to extend the benefits to unmarried workers, allowing them the samehealth insurance and other benefits given to the partners of marriedworkers.

UK - Four out of five adults oppose Government plans that would make iteasier for lesbian couples to have fertility treatment, according to a poll.Campaigners say there is growing opposition to a Bill which removes adoctor's legal duty to consider "the need for a father" when decidingwhether to go ahead with treatment. The Human Fertilisation and EmbryologyBill - due to be debated in the House of Lords today - would also allowlesbian couples to be regarded as the joint legal parents of childrenconceived with donated sperm or eggs. Critics - including former Tory leaderIain Duncan Smith - say the Bill is the "last nail in the coffin for thetraditional family" and a blow to fatherhood. However, campaigners forhomosexual rights say the new law simply removes discrimination against gaysand affects only a small number of people. The Human Fertilisation andEmbryology Bill - due to start its second reading today - is poised to bethe most contentious and controversial of this Parliament.

Australia - Stuart Baanstra, a Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH)activist, is going to court over refusing to sign the 2006 Census. His firsthearing on November 6 resulted in a rescheduling of the hearing untilNovember 27. Baanstra refused to fill out the census because "itdiscriminates against queer people. Question six refuses to classifyhomosexuals as married. All same-sex relationships were to be categorised asde facto even when partners ticked the marriage box. I refused to sign .because it makes same-sex marriage invisible", Baanstra told Green LeftWeekly. He is being charged with "failing to comply with a notice ofdirection" by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The magistrate hasthe power to dismiss charges against Baanstra, given he accepts the optionof a guilty plea with mitigating circumstances. However, the magistratecould find against him as well. Possible penalties include a fine, courtcosts and requirement to enter into a good behaviour bond of up to threeyears.

By Jimmy Creech:
When clergy talk about marriage as a religious matter, it's understandable;but when presidential candidates do, it's confusing and perpetuates themisunderstanding that marriage is solely a religious matter. Marriage hasboth religious and civil significance, but it's not exclusively one or theother. It's time the presidential candidates talk about marriage as a civilinstitution and leave the religion talk to the clergy. They are, after all,seeking the highest office of civil, not ecclesiastical, government. Duringmy 29 years as a United Methodist pastor, I conducted marriage rituals forcouples within the context of the Christian tradition. In preparation foreach, I counseled the couple about the spiritual aspect of their marriageand the experience of grace that would unite and sustain them. I also talkedwith them about the civil aspect of their marriage, the legal rights,protections and responsibilities that they would be assuming for oneanother.

Australia -
Fifteen gay and lesbian couples declared their love for one another in amass ceremony in Adelaide, drawing attention to Australia's "backward"same-sex marriage laws. The ceremony, entitled Loved Up, was held as part ofthe state's gay and lesbian cultural festival - Feast Festival. The 12female couples and three male couples declared their love before hundreds offamily and friends who gathered on the city's Montefiore Hill. The hour-longceremony was performed by three celebrants. Event organiser and participant,Daniel Clarke said it was a personal and political event for theparticipants. "What we wanted to do as a festival was celebrate diverse loveand put it out to the wider public so that it can be recognised as equal tostraight marriage," Mr Clarke, the Feast Festival's artistic director, saidbefore the ceremony. "Of course it's political, but it's a very personal dayand it's going to be a very, very moving day."

Another textbook is to be withdrawn from the nation's secondary-schoolsystem. This time, the book is on the Education Ministry's approved list. Itwas found wanting during an ongoing audit commissioned by Minister ofEducation Andrew Holness. The audit was ordered after The Gleaner broke newsthat a home economics book with a controversial clause regarding same-sexunions was being used in schools. However, this latest book, which isauthored by Michael Keene and is entitled New Steps in Religious Educationfor the Caribbean Book 3, lists homosexual unions as a norm. "Many people dofind it difficult to accept that same-sex relationships are indeed normal,"reads a section in the book that ministry officials are most concernedabout. "It is on the approved textbook listing, so we are withdrawing ourendorsement of that text. We will, therefore, not distribute the book anylonger and it will be replaced for the next school year," says Dr. CharleneAshley, director of communications at the Ministry of Education. However,Dr. Ashley tells The Sunday Gleaner that the book would not be immediatelyremoved from the system. She explained that schools would be allowed to usethe book until the end of the school year and then it would be removed fromthe system.


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: