Friday, November 02, 2007

GLBT DIGEST November 2, 2007

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The New York Times

Episcopal Church Suspends Pa. Bishop

November 2, 2007
Filed at 12:59 a.m. ET

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania has
been ordered to cease his duties until a church trial about accusations thathe concealed a relative's sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl in the 1970s, anewspaper reported Thursday.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told Bishop Charles E. BennisonJr. on Wednesday that he was to ''cease all episcopal, ministerial andcanonical acts'' as of Saturday night, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.The deadline will allow Bennison to lead Saturday's annual diocesanconvention.

The presentment, or church indictment, alleges that Bennison reacted''passively and self-protectively'' and ''failed to take obvious, essentialsteps to investigate (the relative's) actions, protect the girl from furtherabuse, and find out whether other children were in danger.''

A special church court is to hear the charges against Bennison sometime nextyear and decide whether he may resume his duties. Until that court acts, thediocesan standing committee is to assume Bennison's duties.

Bennison, 63, was rector of a parish in the Diocese of Los Angeles at thetime. He has been bishop for 11 years in the Pennsylvania diocese, which has80,000 members in Philadelphia and four suburban counties.

Bennison did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday night.

Last year, Bennison apologized to the diocese for ''lack of action on mypart.'' He told The Inquirer that he had told the relative ''to leave theparish's employ'' but did not report the matter to civil or churchauthorities because the girl's parents had not chosen to do so.

Diocesan conservatives have long criticized Bennison's liberal stances ongay marriage and gay ordination. The diocesan standing committee has soughthis removal for two years, accusing him of misusing diocesan assets.


The New York Times

In Rape Case, a French Youth Takes On Dubai

November 1, 2007

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 31 - Alexandre Robert, a French15-year-old, was having a fine summer in this tourist paradise on thePersian Gulf. It was Bastille Day and he and a classmate had escaped theJuly heat at the beach for an air-conditioned arcade.

Just after sunset, Alex says he was rushing to meet his father for dinnerwhen he bumped into an acquaintance, a 17-year-old native-born student atthe American school, who said he and his cousin could drop Alex off at home.

There were, in fact, three Emirati men in the car, including a pair offormer convicts ages 35 and 18, according to Alex. He says they drove himpast his house and into a dark patch of desert, between a row of new villasand a power plant, took away his cellphone, threatened him with a knife anda club, and told him they would kill his family if he ever reported them.

Then they stripped off his pants and one by one sodomized him in the backseat of the car. They dumped Alex across from one of Dubai's luxury hoteltowers.

Alex and his family were about to learn that despite Dubai's status as theArab world's paragon of modernity and wealth, and its well-earned reputationfor protecting foreign investors, its criminal legal system remains aperilous gantlet when it comes to homosexuality and protection offoreigners.

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The New York Times

Starting Over in Texas

November 2, 2007

Texas is reeling from the allegations of brutality, neglect and sexual abusethat have rocked its juvenile justice system. Heads have rolled and reformssigned into law this summer by Gov. Rick Perry have eased the crisis, forthe moment. The only real way to remedy the situation is to raze Texas'sdeeply flawed system and build a new one from the ground up.

The juvenile justice system's Blue Ribbon Task Force has laid out a sensibleand far-sighted plan for doing that. Unfortunately, it has gotten far toolittle support.

The panel rightly calls on Texas to replace its far-flung and understaffedarchipelago of youth prisons with small, local facilities that wouldconcentrate on rehabilitation and education. The proposed system would inmany ways emulate Missouri's juvenile justice system, which is the nationalmodel for how to deal successfully with troubled children.

The panel blames some of Texas's high juvenile detention rate on poorly runschools. In far too many communities, children with learning, achievement orbehavior problems that should be handled at school are probably beingsuspended or expelled, which makes them more likely to commit crimes. About40 percent of the children sent off to detention centers appear to havelearning disabilities that the schools have either failed to recognize ortreat - a disproportionately high number of those are black and Hispanic.

These detention centers also have little capacity for addressing thesechildren's problems. The tiny communities where the prisons and detentioncenters are located - sometimes more than a day's drive away from thechildren's families - must surely have trouble attracting teachers,psychologists and well-trained corrections workers. Not surprisingly, abouthalf of these young people end up back inside after being released.

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The Washington Post

HIV-Positive Soldier Guilty Of Assault

Associated Press
Friday, November 2, 2007; A13

FORT BRAGG, N.C., Nov. 1 -- An HIV-positive paratrooper pleaded guilty toassault Thursday for knowingly having unprotected sex with a teenager he metonline.

Pfc. Johnny Lamar Dalton, who is a member of the 82nd Airborne Division,entered his plea during a court-martial at Fort Bragg.

A military judge sentenced Dalton, 25, to 40 months in prison. The sentenceincluded a reduction in rank and a dishonorable discharge.

Dalton was ordered last November not to have unprotected sex after he wasfound to have HIV. State law also prohibits a person infected with HIV fromhaving sex unless condoms are used and sexual partners are notified.

Doctors discovered the 17-year-old had HIV during a routine blood test, andhis mother notified the military.

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Express Gay News

Anti-baggy pants song offends gay community
Fashion style could be equated to gay sex

DALLAS (AP) | Nov 1, 10:13 AM

The latest effort in a Dallas official's effort to ban sagging pants is ahip-hop song that's drawn criticism for equating the fashion style to gaysex.

The song "Pull Your Pants Up" is by Dwayne Brown, who performs as Dooney da'Priest. It targets the style of wearing pants so low that underwear isexposed. Brown wrote the song to support a crusade against the style byDallas Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway.

The lyric generating controversy mocks the style. It says:

"You walk the street with your pants way down low

"I dunno; looks to me you on the down low."

The phrase "on the down low" can mean a secretive gay encounter.

Cordey Lash is a Dallas-based board member of the Gay and Lesbian AllianceAgainst Defamation. He says he never considered the style to be linked tohomosexual behavior.

Brown says he's sorry for offending anyone and didn't mean for the song tobe anti-gay. Caraway said the campaign has made a difference in Dallas andbeyond.


Student Press Law Center

Student in N.Y. sent home for wearing pro-gay T-shirt

© 2007 Student Press Law Center
November 1, 2007

NEW YORK - A New York Civil Liberties Union representative attended a schoolboard meeting Oct. 23 to try and reach an agreement with the district on howto address the principal's "mistake" in sending home a student wearing ashirt with the message "gay? fine by me."

Spencer-Van Etten High School Principal Ann Sincock sent the student,16-year-old Heathyre Farnham, home on Sept. 21 because she thought it wouldinvite other students to wear anti-gay T-shirts and cause a disruption, saidJim Young, the school board's attorney.

The incident dates back to Sept. 21 when Farnham wore the T-shirt to school.She said it was the third time she wore the shirt.

"The principal came up to me at lunch and said it was inappropriate anddisruptive... No one was screaming or yelling about it; I wouldn't call itdisruptive," Farnham said. "Everyone was still learning."

The school board's attorney agrees that the shirt was not disruptive. Theprincipal did not interpret the laws regarding student expression correctly,Young said.

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To Be Young And Gay In Wyoming

By Steve Lopez/Laramie
Monday, Oct. 26, 1998

Winter is coming fast to Wyoming, and it will be as it always is--beautifuland wicked. You could feel it in the air last week as ships of clouds sailedthe blue sky above Laramie, snow-capped mountains rose in the distance, anda small herd of deer roamed the rocky ridge where Matthew Shepard, a gaystudent who loved Wyoming, was lynched.

They hold vigils and teach-ins in Laramie, a town searching its soul, butsome people climb the hill as if there is something to confront up there.They go to where a small basket of dry flowers hangs from the fence whereShepard, 21, was tied with rope, pistol-whipped and left in the cold. Thevisitors arrive in silence and leave in prayer, and the vigils go on--inLaramie, in Denver, in San Francisco, in Washington.

With his beating Oct. 7 and death Oct. 12, one day after National Coming OutDay, Shepard has ignited a national town meeting on the enduring hatred thatshames this country, a hatred so intense that even death didn't save himfrom it. While he lay dying at a hospital in nearby Colorado and thousandswired their support, college students there mocked Shepard with a scarecrowatop a parade float. While his family prepared for his burial and spoke ofShepard's gentleness and tolerant ways, a Kansas minister with a websitecalled made plans to do a grave dance at the funeral.

With Laramie at the eye of the storm, there is something to tell aboutWyoming. The cowboy state has its rednecks and yahoos, for sure, but thereare no more bigots per capita in Wyoming than in New York, Florida orCalifornia. The difference is that in Wyoming there are fewer places toblend in if you're anything other than prairie stock. It is toughbusiness--as Matt Shepard knew, and as his friends all know--to be gay incowboy country.

He had spent a few years in a bit of a fog, living abroad with his parents(his father now works in Saudi Arabia), attending a boarding school inSwitzerland. Somehow, he chose to return to where he grew up, to enroll inhis father's alma mater, the University of Wyoming, thinking of becoming adiplomat. Short and slight, he knew he fit a gay stereotype. And while open,he was cautious. But just days before he died, he told a friend that hefinally felt safe.

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Good as You

Westboro ruling: Both "YAY!" and nay
November 01, 2007

So as you might have already heard, Westboro Baptist Church was orderedyesterday to pay millions of dollars to a family of a slain soldier whosefuneral the Phelps clan has protested. And of course the immediate reactionthat comes to mind for all of those gays who are sick of Westboro blamingeverything from volcanoes to hangnails on homosexuality is:

And rightfully so. There is no group whose schadenfreudistic retribution ismore deserved or overdue. The natural reaction is to celebrate when acomeuppance is delivered their way.

However, our personal revelry is somewhat muted in this instance. When wetake our personal views and our prior knowledge of the family's actions outof the equation, we'd be lying if we said we didn't have major problems andconcerns with yesterday's verdict. In fact, we think it could ultimatelybackfire BIGTIME! Worse yet -- we fear it probably SHOULD backfire. Let usexplain.

Here at G-A-Y, we chat with some of the Westboro members on a semi-regularbasis. And if there is one thing we have learned about them, it's that theyhold the law into high regard. They are always meticulous in jumping throughall of the necessary hoops that are required of them before they embark onone of their disgusting protests. Many of the family members are trained inthe law, and they take it quite seriously. They know the statutes that havebeen passed to try and curb their pickets, and they are typically mindful oftheir limitations. They also understand what is and is not libel, and theyphrase themselves accordingly. Their hate is horrendous, but their actionsare rarely unlawful.

So looking at yesterday's court case: They were charged with "violating theSnyder family's expectation of privacy at the funeral and for intentionallyinflicting emotional distress." And yes, we agree that this and manyfamilies were forced to endure an unbelievably inhumane form of expressionas they attempt to lay their children to rest. And surely their words arecapable of causing a heightened degree of emotional distress. Trust us -- weget it! While much of America has only caught on to the family's actions inthe two or three years that their protests have been affecting them, thoseof us in the gay community have been dealing with the Phelps' pickets (ofAIDS victims, Pride parades, Matthew Shepard, etc) for almost two decades!So we are in no way insensitive to the plight of anyone who has had toendure one of their demonstrations. If anything, we are upset that it tookour country so long to start speaking out and countering their messages!

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The Bilerico Project

Free Speech vs. Hate Speech

Filed by: Steve Ralls
October 31, 2007 7:11 PM

How much of a free speech purist are you?

You may be put to the test when answering that question as you consider aruling today in Maryland against the notoriously anti-gay Westboro BaptistChurch and its leaders, including Rev. Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps. Phelps'protest outside of one soldier's funeral has cost him $11 million.

For my money, there's no question that Phelps and his followers are amongstthe most uneloquent hate speech spewers in the United States. But is theirright to say what they say - in this case, during a funeral on publicproperty - also protected by the First Amendment? It's a delicate questionfor some, especially as today's ruling, if not overturned, could havefar-reaching consequences on public protests, including anti-Westboroprotests organized by the LGBT community.

Albert Snyder of York, Pa., sued Phelps and his "church" after Westboro'ersprotested outside of the funeral for his son, Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder,who was killed in Iraq. The protest was not the first; the Phelps clan hasbeen staging numerous protests at military funerals since the war began,insinuating that service member deaths are God's retribution for an Americathat welcomes LGBT people.

Several states, and the United States Congress, have passed laws limitingsuch protests at funerals. And reasonable people can probably agree thatthose protests are in poor taste . . . disrespectful to mourning families .. . and beyond the pale.

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Express Gay News

Gay swim coach makes international waves
After directing local team to victory, Grzeszczak picked to coach

Nov. 01, 2007

About an hour into their Monday night practice, the members of theHammerheads Swim Club are starting to groan. During rests between sets of100-meter intervals, they are panting and holding onto the sides of thepool, all the while looking at the large screen digital timer for their cueto take off again.

As the seconds tick off the last moments of their rest, a far more dominantforce oversees the practice - the club's coach, John Grzeszczak.

"There's no reason why anybody should not be making your times," Grzeszczakbarks. "You have to go after it. Come on, get into it."

With the coach's goading, the swimmers pull their goggles in place, endtheir groans and attack the pool at Sunrise Middle School in Fort Lauderdalewith a flutter of strokes and kicks.

Grzeszczak towers over his team with equal parts love and discipline. Theclub has grown after more than seven years into a group of about 150swimmers - both gay and straight and from different backgrounds - whoconsider each other more than just teammates.

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Express Gay News

Fort Lauderdale hosts Florida Cup gay tennis tournament
South Florida Tennis Club offers a variety of events throughout the year

Nov. 01, 2007

Which city in Florida has the best gay tennis players? That question will beaddressed this weekend when Fort Lauderdale hosts the Florida Cup gay tennistournament.

Four Florida cities - Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Tampa and Orlando - will eachsend 16 players and three alternates to compete in the tournament. Thematches will be played Saturday, Nov. 3, and Sunday, Nov. 4, at VeltriCentral Park in Plantation. The singles matches will be played Saturdaystarting at 10:30 a.m., and the doubles matches will be played Sundaystarting at 9:30 a.m.

The South Florida Tennis Club, a Fort Lauderdale-based gay tennis group, ishosting this year's Florida Cup.

"We try to get the best 16 players from each city to compete," said PhilSokolov, regional tournament director for SFTC.

Throughout the year, the SFTC hosts other tournaments, including the SpringFling Round Robin tournament in May. The SFTC's biggest tournament of theyear is the Clay Court Classic, which takes place over Presidents DayWeekend in February. The event attracts players from all over the world andincludes a banquet.

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The Democrats Get Feisty

by Wayne Besen

With a wealth of good candidates - particularly on gay issues - manyDemocratic voters are still undecided going into the primaries. The onlything they are sure of is that they loathe President George W. Bush and noneof the Republican contenders present themselves as viable options. One-timeGOP moderates - like Mitt Romney, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani - arereinventing themselves as right wing conservatives who can't wait to appoint"strict constructionist judges." Even if one likes their policies on defense(I don't) the notion that they might stack the court with more Scalia-typesis too frightening to countenance.

Hillary Clinton is the current frontrunner, but it is clear that her lead istenuous and could evaporate with any serious missteps. At this week'sDemocratic debate, moderated by NBC's Tim Russert and Brian Williams, thechallengers vigorously worked to dethrone her. Some made headway, but no onedelivered a memorable blow to change the calculus of the race. Here is asnapshot on how the candidates performed in this crucial Democratic contest:

Hillary Clinton: She was targeted by nearly everyone on stage and portrayedas an untrustworthy, status quo candidate. However, she helped her case bycoming across as the Timex candidate: She took a licking and kept on

However, at times Clinton did seem too packaged and at some point she needsto answer questions more directly. She also mentioned Bush way too manytimes, and that strategy grated on my nerves after the first hour. But, shedid help herself in the general election - if she gets there - by talkingtough on defense. This debate generally bolstered Clinton's campaign becauseshe looked like a brawler - exactly what is needed against Republicans.

Barack Obama: While he began the debate comparing himself to Rocky, it isincreasingly clear that this man has no clue how to throw a punch. First, heacted surprised by the hype surrounding the debate - even though he is theone who hyped it in the New York Times, signaling that he would aggressivelychallenge the frontrunner. However, he looked unsure of himself, terriblyuncomfortable with political combat and withered under Clinton's piercingglare. He got better as the debate went on - but delivered no decisiveblows. The only thing rocky was his tepid performance in a crucial debate.

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Study: Closeted Workers Harm Selves, Employers

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 1, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(San Francisco, California) A survey of gay and lesbian employees across theU.S. has found that "fears about disclosing a gay identity at work had anoverwhelmingly negative relationship with their career and workplaceexperiences and with their psychological well-being."

The study, 'Making the Invisible Visible: Fear and Disclosure of SexualOrientation at Work' was based on a questionnaire of 500 LGB workers and theresults appear in The Journal of Applied Psychology.

"These findings were both striking and disturbing; those who reported morefear of the negative consequences of full disclosure had less positive joband career attitudes, received fewer promotions, and reported more physicalstress-related symptoms than those who reported less fear," wroteresearchers, Belle Rose Ragins and Romila Singh of the University ofWisconsin, Milwaukee and John M. Cornwell of Rice University.

For those working in what they perceived as a non-supportive environment,the costs of non-disclosure were significant, the study concluded.

Workers who feared more negative consequences to disclosure reported lessjob satisfaction, organizational commitment and lower satisfaction withopportunities for promotion and career commitment.

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Gay Man Kills Parents 'To Spare Them Grief'

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 1, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Cape Town, South Africa) A young gay man, despondent after his relationshipwith another man soured, shot his parents to death to spare them grief whenhe committed suicide - but he didn't die and now he's on trial for murder.

After killing Glenn and Deborah Harris he shot himself but recovered inhospital.

Following his arrest Grant Harris was sent to a psychiatric facility for anassessment.

Doctors concluded that although Harris deeply depressed he was fit to standtrial.

"He is able to appreciate the wrongfulness of the alleged offences and toact accordingly," the report said.

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Alabama Agrees To Ease Conditions Of HIV Prisoners

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

(Montgomery, Alabama) The Alabama Department of Corrections has agreed toallow prisoners with HIV greater access to prison facilities but is refusingto end segregated housing.

Following years of advocacy by the American Civil Liberties Union, AIDSAlabama and state legislators, the Alabama Department of Corrections onThursday said it would give HIV-positive prisoners greater access tovisitation, educational programs, substance abuse treatment programs, andreligious services.

Until now, HIV-positive prisoners have been denied these programs andservices offered to the general population of inmates.

Alabama is the only state in the union to segregate HIV-positive prisonersin housing and exclude them from some prison programs.

At Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama, female HIV-positiveprisoners continue to be housed in total segregation from the generalpopulation.

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The Advocate

Religious Rallies Ensue in Support of Iowa's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

November 02, 2007

From prayer rallies to political advocacy, Iowa churches are at theforefront of an escalating fight over a county judge's ruling thatoverturned the state's same-sex marriage ban.

About 1,200 people from local churches joined hands and sang the civilrights anthem ''We Shall Overcome'' at a recent rally in Des Moines urgingthe Iowa supreme court to reverse the judge's decision.

''This is more than a political battle,'' said the Reverend Keith A. RatliffSr. of the Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church. ''This is a spiritualbattle.''

Polk County district judge Robert Hanson ruled on August 31 that a state lawdefining marriage as only between a man and woman was unconstitutional andordered the Polk County recorder to allow same-sex couples to marry.

The next day, Hanson stayed his ruling while the case is appealed to thestate supreme court, which could take two years. Only one couple was able tomarry -- the ceremony was performed in a Unitarian pastor's front yard --before Hanson suspended his ruling.

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The Advocate

HIV Infection Rate Drops in Zimbabwe

November 02, 2007

Zimbabwe has registered a 2.5% decline in its HIV infection rate, and thenumber of AIDS deaths also is dropping, the government said Thursday,crediting its ''tireless efforts'' to fight the pandemic.

Quoting figures it said were verified by the United Nations, the Ministry ofHealth said the HIV rate dropped from 18.1% in people aged 15 to 49 yearslast year to 15.6% this year.

AIDS deaths also have decreased, down to 2,214 a week from around 2,500 aweek, according to the new statistics.

A researcher at London's Imperial College who helped work on the figuressaid the trends presented were as accurate as possible given the availabledata, according to college spokeswoman Laura Gallagher. The UNAIDS agencywas not immediately available for comment. (AP)


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Religion doesn't confer right to discriminate

Saturday, October 27, 2007
Last updated October 31, 2007 6:26 p.m. PT


(Editor's Note: This column has been altered. The original version of thiscolumn misstated the name of the group Concerned Women for America in theopening paragraph.)

Two bills -- HR 3685 and 3686, which should be one bill -- seek to givegays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered protection fromdiscrimination in the workplace. Naturally, President Bush indicated thathe'll veto the bills (assuming they go that far), a move groups such asConcerned Women for America applaud. A statement from the administration (on3685) indicates that his main issue with the bill is that it "isinconsistent with the right to the free exercise of religion as codified byCongress in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act." So, being a Christianmeans you get to deny people jobs based on what goes on in their pants whenthey're not at work?

"We would oppose any bill that would grant preferred suspect minority statusbased upon social sexual behaviors," says Matt Barber, a spokesperson forthe CWA. He adds that there's "no history of systematic discrimination"against the LGBT community, which he also calls a powerful political lobby.Oh, right. The Rainbow Mafia. A group so mighty that you can beat the tarout of one of them without getting charged with a hate crime. Now that'spower.

Although both bills provide exemptions for religious organizations (schools,churches, etc.), Barber feels that homosexual behavior is immoral, and thatit ought not be protected at the expense of freedom of religion. He doesn'tsay how working with a homosexual would violate his right to be a Christian,but he's certain that having to "associate" with one somehow would. I'dunderstand (though disagree) with his objection to gay marriage, but gayemployment?

Things are changing, though, says Walter Walsh, a University of Washingtonprof specializing in constitutional law. "The switch has been flipped here.The federal government ... wants to be protective of gays and lesbians," asopposed to just leaving it up to local governments. "And now the claims arecoming from the other direction." But first, it must be determined if a lawoutlawing sexual orientation discrimination in employment is capable ofviolating someone's freedom of religion. Walsh runs down a list of cases topoint out pockets of success for gay rights groups (at least in terms ofadvancing the dialogue) -- Bowers v. Hardwick, Lawrence v. Texas, Boy Scoutsof America v. Dale and Gay Rights Coalition v. Georgetown University. He'sworking on a book about the Georgetown case, where it was determined thatthe government had a compelling reason to eradicate discrimination based onsexual orientation, and that not doing so would rob (gay) students oftangible benefits. That, says Walsh, is the key: Does the burden imposed onChristians outweigh the tangible benefits of a gay or transgendered personbeing employed? What's the least restrictive way of balancing both?

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Prostitution charge possible for lawmaker gay sex in Spokane

Last updated November 1, 2007 7:31 a.m. PT

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Spokane city attorney says he would review a possiblesex solicitation charge against Richard Curtis if the county prosecutorrefers the case to the city.

The county prosecutor is looking at a possible extortion charge involving aman who said he had sex last week with the state lawmaker.

Curtis resigned yesterday from the Legislature and apologized for hisactions last week when he was in Spokane for a Republican party meeting.

He told police a man tried to extort $1,000 from him. The man, CodyCastagna, says Curtis owed him the money for sex and there was no extortion.

(with information from KXLY-TV)


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Nightclub dispute with transgender at impasse

Peter Corbett
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 30, 2007 04:46 PM

A potty political dispute in Scottsdale isn't going away.

The yearlong beef involving transgender nightclub patrons and their use of awomen's bathroom at Anderson's Fifth Estate is continuing despite efforts bya gay-rights group to negotiate a settlement.

Equality Arizona was unable to get Michele delaFreniere and nightclub ownerTom Anderson to resolve their differences over delaFreniere's allegationsthat Anderson discriminated against her and other transgender patrons inbarring them from his downtown Scottsdale bar.

Anderson, who denies delaFreniere's discrimination claim, has agreed todesignate a gender-neutral bathroom, said Sam Holdren, Equality Arizonafield organizer.

DelaFraniere, a transgender woman, still has concerns.

"It still doesn't address the issue of the original discrimination," shesaid in explaining why she declined to settle the dispute.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Ruling spurs moms to seek legal protection

Staff Writer

MOUNT VERNON -- Eli Eleftheriou Hopkins calls one of his parents "mommy" andthe other "mama."

One minute, he's eating a chocolate chip cookie. The next, he's playing witha plastic firefighter hat. He asks for attention from either parent -- andgets it from both.

For Eli, 2, the biggest challenge seems to be finding someone to play with.

For his parents, the biggest concern is making sure he is legally protectedin case anything happens to either one of them.

Last week, his biological mother and legal guardian, Carla Hopkins, and herdomestic partner of eight years, Victoria Eleftheriou, filed a petition inKennebec County Probate Court seeking to make them equal parents in the eyesof the law.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Expanded discussion of NJ case on loss of consortium claim

Here's the expanded story that I submitted to Gay City News today on the NJloss of consortium case that I discussed briefly yesterday:

A federal judge in New Jersey ruled on October 23 that the same-sex partnerof a woman who was injured on a theme park ride at Walt Disney World inOrlando, Florida, may not recover damages for "loss of consortium," which isdefined by New Jersey courts as the "right of a husband or wife to receivecompensation for loss of affection, comfort, companionship, society,assistance and sexual relations as a result of the other's personalinjuries." Brigando v. Walt Disney World Co., 2007 WL 3124702.

A claim for loss of consortium is based on the recognition that when aspouse is injured, that injury may also harm the other spouse throughdeprivation of their normal relationship as a result of hospitalization orthe restrictions imposed on the injured spouse's functioning due to theirphysical or mental injuries. The New Jersey Civil Union Act, which went intoeffect in February 2007, provides that civil union partners may sue for lossof consortium, but this case involves an incident that took place on June17, 2004, at which time the couple did not have any legal relationship toeach other.

According to the opinion by Judge Stanley R. Chesler, Marianne Brigandosuffered injuries while riding the Splash Mountain attraction at DisneyWorld. In April 2005, about ten months later, she filed suit against Disneyin New Jersey Superior Court, claiming negligence and seeking compensatoryand punitive damages. In addition, the complaint sought damages for loss ofconsortium on behalf of her partner, Pamela Joy Binder, with whom she hadfiled a domestic partnership registration several weeks before filing thelawsuit.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Abolish Capital Punishment in Iran - Stop execution of Makwan Moloudzadeh

(Toronto - October 30, 2007) Makwan Moloudzadeh, a 21 year old Iranian nowfaces the threat of execution. His crime is his sexuality, which is illegalunder the Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Many have been executed forsexual crimes such as extramarital and homosexual sex acts. Due to thelegal processes and procedures of the Judicial system of the IslamicRepublic of Iran and its complete lack of transparency, it is extremelydifficult to access the documents, witnesses, testimonies, and other factspertinent to the files of those accused, as a result of which it is almostimpossible to verify the confessions, complaints, evidence, and verdicts.

In recent years numerous individuals have been executed because of theirsexual and private relations in Mashhad, Gorgan, Arak, Kermanshah, andTehran, many of whom were under the legal age. Despite the currentcircumstances under which the Iranian Queer Organization, due toinaccessibility of evidence and testimonies regarding these cases, cannotprove homosexuality of those executed beyond a doubt, we believe that thetrue crime in these executions was sexual relationship (which is notconfirmed by the Iranian government). The Government of the IslamicRepublic of Iran punishes those with different sexual orientation and sexualrelations by death.

According to the Penal Code of the Islamic Republic, four witnesses arerequired in order to prove the perpetration of lavat (sodomy) which ispunishable by death. Western states reject asylum claims of lesbian, gay,bisexual, and transgender Iranians due to their assumption that it is almostimpossible to have four witnesses. The truth is that when private spaces ofLGBT Iranians are raided by the police, there are four clerics and videocameras already present. Moreover, a judge can use his own knowledge torule on a case regarding lavat; the alleged perpetrators may confess tolavat under torture; and medical examinations can prove whether anindividual has had anal penetration.

In Makwan Moloudzadeh case, the judge has ruled based on his own knowledgethat Makwan Moloudzadeh had committed lavat in accordance with article 120of the Iranian Penal Code. This is despite the fact that even internalrulings of Iranian authorities, including the fatwa of Ayatollah Sane'i andother clerics who are source of emulation state that a judge's knowledgecannot be used as a basis to prove crimes punishable by hadd usually capitalpunishment. Through carrying out such executions, the Government of theIslamic Republic of Iran not only violates the most basic internationalhuman rights standards, it also undermines the rulings and fatwas of Islamicclerics and sources of emulation who are recognized by the Islamic Republicof Iran.

The Iranian Queer Organization demands the Government of the IslamicRepublic of Iran to abolish death penalty and punish the accused andperpetrators according to minimum international human rights standards.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Pam's House Blend

The closet door of Washington State Rep. Richard 'Kink' Curtis blasted openin scandal

by: pam
Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 07:00:00 AM EDT

People, is there any end to the depravity of the hypocrites in the moralistGOP? They want to deny LGBTs basic civil rights while behind closed doorsthey engage in the kinds of behavior that the professional Values Voter setpublicly wrings their hands over.

GOP State Rep. Richard Curtis, a lawmaker who voted against domesticpartnerships for gay and lesbian couples and opposed an anti-discriminationlaw to cover sexual orientation, goes for the gold in this department. WhenI posted last night, Dan Savage over at Slog kept sending me kinkier andkinkier news on this Curtis, who "engaged in mutual sexual activities" withmale escort/porn actor Cody Castagna.

The legislator initially said that he was "helping out" Castagna with gasmoney (to avoid declaring that he was paying for sex). I found anotherupdate from Dan this AM, and Curtis got more than a "thank you" for the$100.

The police report shows that Curtis spilled the beans, as it were, and thegory details burst this homophobic pol's closet w-i-d-e open.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Irene Monroe Blows Up Barack's Spot
Did Obama Play On White Gay Myth?

No doubt Barack Obama wants the world to forget about his anti-gay gospelgaffe. Superstar Reverend Irene Monroe, however, keeps the scandal pipinghot with a scathing criticism of the presidential candidate:

Although the Obama campaign says it "decided to go with someone local," thereal deal is that Obama hid his fear of addressing the black LGBTQ communityby selecting a white minister to speak to a predominately black anti-gayaudience. That's because it is easier to maintain the myth many of theseblack evangelical voters hold - that queerness is a "white" thing - than toaddress the reality that his "big tent" message cannot presently accommodateanti-gay black ministers, gospels singers, and the black LGBTQ community.

Wait, there are black gay people? Who knew?!


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

We're prejudiced, now what?
Scientists now tell us bias toward others may be innate. But that doesn'tmean we have to behave like Bill O'Reilly.

By Robert Burton
Oct. 31, 2007 |

All good people agree,
And all good people say,
All nice people, like Us, are We
And every one else is They
-- Rudyard Kipling

I am stuck in rush-hour traffic. Maybe I can find a decent radio program todistract myself from the blasting horns, angry looks and cussing behindrolled-up windows. But the radio is worse than the traffic. On NPR, aWashington think tank guru is arguing that "my 30-plus years of studying theMiddle East has convinced me that democracy is more appropriate for somecultures than others." A second NPR station is airing a debate on themedical rights of "illegal aliens." On Fox, Bill O'Reilly is talking about arecent dinner in Harlem, N.Y., with Al Sharpton: "I couldn't get over thefact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any otherrestaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even thoughit's run by blacks."

Everywhere I turn, someone is honking at the other guy. Once upon a time,when psychology was king of the behavioral hill, I thought that prejudicecould be explained by upbringing, cultural influences, socioeconomicdisparities and plain old wrong thinking. Despite any hard evidence fromsoft sciences, I nursed the vaguely optimistic belief that education and theteaching of tolerance might make a dent in the bigotry and racism of"others." And yet sitting in stalled traffic, I cannot shake the irrationalfeeling that "those in the other cars" are different from "us in our car."If my mind seems intent upon making such ludicrous and meaninglessdistinctions, is there more here than meets the purely psychological I?

Psychologists have long talked about our tendency to form "in groups" basedupon skin color, accents (the Parisian vs. the "country French") andhairstyle (try to look at green spiked hair and a crew cut without drawinginferences of fundamental differences in personality). In his 1954 book,"The Nature of Prejudice," psychologist Gordon Allport observed that manywhite Americans live in a "state of conflict." On one hand, they may beideologically opposed to prejudice, but on the other, they possessunderlying tendencies to think and act in racially biased ways.

Neuroscience is now providing tantalizing hints as to how these tendenciesmight occur. In 2000, two fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging)studies allowed the first visualizations of the underlying neuroanatomy ofprejudice. In one study, Allan Hart, an Amherst social psychologist, foundthat when white and black subjects were given brief subliminal glimpses offaces of the other race, both showed increased activity in the amygdala, asmall set of nuclei within the medial temporal lobes, believed to beresponsible for processing the emotional significance of a stimulus.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Methodist transgender minister may stay

Last updated October 30, 2007 8:00 p.m. PT

BERKELEY, Calif. -- A council of the United Methodist Church has decided toallow a transgender minister to retain his job, but it stopped short ofaddressing whether a change of gender violates the denomination's rules.

At a session over the weekend in San Francisco, the United MethodistJudicial Council considered whether to remove the Rev. Drew Phoenix from hispost. The council allowed Phoenix to stay on the job, referring to a churchpolicy stating that a clergyperson in good standing can't be terminatedunless there has been administrative or judicial action, according to theruling, posted on the church's Web site.

"The adjective placed in front of the noun 'clergyperson' does not matter,"the council ruled. "What matters is that clergypersons, once ordained andadmitted to membership in full connection, cannot have that standing changedwithout being accorded fair process."

In a related ruling, the council said all name changes should be treated thesame regardless of the reason.

Phoenix, who learned of the ruling Tuesday, said he was "happily surprised."

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

The Evangelical Movement's Breakdown Ain't so Cute After All

By Susie Bright,
Posted on October 31, 2007, Printed on November 2, 2007

Is the religious right ready to get their hands out of America's underwear?Is the shame margin not paying off the way it used to?

New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick takes apart "The EvangelicalCrackup" in this past Sunday Magazine, in what is sure to be one of the mosttalked-about stories of the pre-election season.

He interviews a number of pastors and politicos from the conservativechurches -- the bedrock of the "Moral Majority" and the base that won theBush family their votes.

This is the movement that could be relied upon to do anything at the flickof an abortion-shaming or homo-hating switch. Get them on their high horse,with a sexy leather crop in their hands, and you had them sweating andfrothing their way to the finish line.

By Kirkpatrick's assessment, the coalition is now blown to smithereens, fora number of reasons. I was disappointed with his analysis, but the rawmaterial is fascinating to review:

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

San Francisco's gay families defy stereotypes.

While many people imagine same-sex founded families as white and wealthy, a
study shows that the majority of the Bay Area's gays are of color and make
considerably less than their straight counterparts, particularly those wholive in San Francisco.

A study released Tuesday by a group of Bay Area organizations servinglesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families found that same-sex couplesraising children in California are more likely to be people of color andthat their median household income is 17 percent lower than the income ofmarried couples with children.
In Alameda and San Francisco counties, the report found, a large proportionof gay and lesbian couples raising children were nonwhite. In addition, 69percent of same-sex parents were women. Those two factors could help explainwhy same-sex families have lower incomes, Appel said, because women andpeople of color earn less on average.

The median household income for people in Alameda clocks in at $70,000. Therich kids in San Francisco, meanwhile, rake in an estimated $83,000. Lifecan be so unfair!

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Gay Jesus Photos Spark Violence In Sweden
Sunday Aug 19, 2007

Violence broke out over a gay Jesus art show in Sweden Aug. 12. Thecontroversial images also appear in the new book "Art That Dares: Gay Jesus,Woman Christ, and More" by Rev. Kittredge Cherry.

The fight began when a group of young people tried to set fire to a posterat a cultural center that was showing photos of Jesus in contemporary queercontext. Staff intervened and as many as 30 people joined the fight,according to news reports. The conflict occurred in the Swedish city ofJonkoping, known as a center of evangelical Christianity.

Swedish photographer Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin created her "Ecce Homo" seriesby putting Jesus into a contemporary lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender(LGBT) context.

An online gallery of selected gay Jesus images, including Ohlson Wallin'swork, was recently added to Cherry's website,

"The violence in Sweden is the latest example of why the queer Christ isneeded," said lesbian Christian author Cherry. "People try to censor the gayJesus, but I compiled queer Christ images a book to show that Christ belongsto everybody, even the sexual outcasts. Jesus taught love, but now Christianrhetoric is being used to justify hate and discrimination against women andlesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people."

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Big & Rich Star Retracts Offensive Gay Marriage Comments

John Rich caused controversy when he dismissed same-sex unions as "prettyunsavory."
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Big & Rich star John Rich has apologized for his recent controversialcomments on gay marriage, insisting his views were not properly clarified.

The country singer caused controversy earlier this month when he dismissedsame-sex unions as "pretty unsavory."

In an interview with The Tennessean, he said: "I think if you legalize that(gay marriage), you've got to legalize some other things that are prettyunsavory.

"You can call me a radical, but how can you tell an aunt that she can'tmarry her nephew if they are really in love and sharing the bills? How canyou tell them they can't get married, but something else that's unnaturalcan happen?"

But Rich has now retracted his offensive remarks in a newly-releasedstatement, in which he blames his Christian upbringing as the reason for hisearlier outburst.

more . . . . .


To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News

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

I write to agree with Pastor Howe's proposal: "My proposal is this: removereligion entirely from 'legal marriage.' Let us follow France and otherEuropean countries and have marriages actually take place at the city hall.Religious celebrations and faith relationships would be entirely separate."His interpretations are his own opinions which I do not share, but hissolution is right. Clergy who agree with this can show support by refusingto act as an agent of the state of Vermont by requiring couples to first belegally married by a justice of the peace before solemnizing religiousmarriage vows.

Three advertisers are pulling their business from a Warrensburg, Mo.,newspaper and several readers are threatening to cancel their subscriptionsafter the publication of a same-sex engagement announcement. For John ScottJr., 29, and Elijah Davidson, 29, asking The Daily Star-Journal inWarrensburg to run a photo and announcement of their Nov. 13 commitmentceremony was all about equality. "I want people to know that he makes mehappy, and all we want is to be happy just like straight couples," Davidson,of Warrensburg, said during a telephone interview Wednesday fromWarrensburg, which is in Johnson County, southeast of Kansas City.

Rhode Island's General Assembly has overridden the veto of legislationproviding the domestic partners of public employees with the same pensionand retirement benefits as spouses. It was one of nearly three-dozen etoeslawmakers overturned in a one-day special session. When he rejected thedomestic partner bill Gov. Don Carcieri said the public did not want"unwarranted and unnecessary expansions of state employee benefits."

A priest in the diocese of Ontario has been disciplined and had his licenceto marry cancelled after officiating at the wedding of a same-sex couplelast August in a church in rural Ontario, where he is the incumbent. Rev.Michael Bury, rector of St. John the Evangelist church, in Stirling, Ont., asall village located about 190 km east of Toronto, confirmed in aninterview that his licence to perform marriages has been cancelled.


The Guardian - UK,,2203791,00.html

Guardian wins Stonewall media award
John Carvel, Social affairs editor

The Guardian was last night named publication of the year at theStonewall awards, rewarding "those who've done good things for gaypeople in the last 12 months".

The judges, including comedian Matt Lucas, sports presenter ClareBalding and disc jockey Paul Gambaccini, said the paper hadconsistently "provided a wealth of positive coverage of lesbian andgay issues", and praised it as "one of Fleet Street's strongestadvocates for equality".

In a night of mixed awards, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, the 104thBishop of Hereford, was named bigot of the year by Stonewall. Anemployment tribunal in Cardiff in April heard how youth worker JohnReaney, 42, was left feeling humiliated after a two-hour interviewduring which the bishop grilled him about a previous gayrelationship. The tribunal decided Mr Reaney had been a victim ofunfair dismissal and awarded damages against the Church of England.

Alan Johnson and Angela Eagle were named politicians of the year. MrJohnson was recognised for fighting, while education secretary, toinclude adoption agencies in regulations banning discrimination ongrounds of sexual orientation. Ms Eagle, described by Stonewall asthe only openly lesbian MP, was honoured for keeping the government"on the right path" on gay issues.

Antony Grey, former secretary of the Homosexual Law Reform Society,was made "hero of the year" for spearheading the campaign that led tothe first partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967. Otherawards went to writer Val McDermid, Hollyoaks, the Channel 4 series,singer Dan Gillespie Sells, and the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard.


Forwarded thanks to Bill Sterling

The Independent - UK

Gay 'marriages' soon to be legal

By Fionnan Sheahan Political Correspondent
Thursday November 01 2007

Gay couples will be recognised for the first time in the history of theState, but it will probably come at a cost to the taxpayer.

Same sex couples will be allowed to legally register their partnershipsunder new laws currently being drawn up.

The move will have implication for a "myriad" of people in other co-habitingrelationships.

Gay couples in civil unions will be allowed to register their partnerships,which will then gain legal protection.

But the Government is holding back from giving gay couples the same rightsas married couples.

more . . . . .


Forwarded thanks to Bill Sterling

The Irish Times

Lobby seeks equality for gay couples

Plans to grant legal recognition to same-sex couples should be based onprinciples of equality and introduced as soon as possible, according to theGay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen).


Forwarded thanks to Steve Krantz

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has justinitiated the Straight for Equality Program - it's objective is to havestraight allies stand up and support their LGBT family,friends andcoworkers.

Please go to and take the pledge!!

Please forward widely.

Thanks, Steve.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

H. Alexander Robinson
NBJC Executive Director & CEO

NBJC is still in talks with Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

We hope to meet face-to-face in order to heal the wounds torn open over Sen.Obama's use of the Rev. Donnie McClurkin and other openly homophobic gospelsingers who headlined the senator's Embrace The Courage Tour.

In addition, Dr. Sylvia Rhue, Director of Religious Affairs, has authored acommentary which studies gays in gospel music.

Further, I am happy to announce an addition to NBJC's staff. Earl Plantehas assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer primarily responsiblefundraising and donor development.

Finally, I invite you attend the upcoming Power of Us Events.


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