Monday, December 17, 2007

GLBT DIGEST December 17, 2007

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The Washington Poswt

Dividing Lines: Exploring the split between enlightened and evangelicalChristianity.

Reviewed by Stephen Prothero
Sunday, December 16, 2007; BW05

HEAD AND HEART: American Christianities

By Garry Wills
Penguin Press. 626 pp. $29.95

Denominational lines no longer matter much in the United States, not leastbecause few Americans know any more what distinguishes a Baptist from aMethodist or a Lutheran from a Presbyterian. As the furor over homosexualityin the Episcopal Church demonstrates, the issues cracking open U.S. churchestoday are political rather than theological -- gay marriage and abortionrather than baptism and Holy Communion.

In his latest book, Head and Heart, Garry Wills surveys the fault lines inU.S. Christianity and argues that the real fracture is between "Enlightened"religion (of the head) and "Evangelical" religion (of the heart). ThroughoutAmerican history, he writes, Christians have oscillated between these "twopoles of religious attraction." Wills is a liberal Catholic and an outspokenchampion of the separation of church and state, so it should not besurprising that his sympathies run with the enlightened camp. But the geniusof American religion, he argues, lies in our promiscuous mixing of the headyand the heartfelt, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow. And America's saints --among them, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and the Quakerabolitionist Anthony Benezet (to whom the book is dedicated) -- are thosewho synthesize the two most effectively.

A popular history of American Christianity, Head and Heart starts in NewEngland with Puritan ministers, then lingers over the Unitarians of Bostonand the Transcendentalists of Concord before jumping rather abruptly intothe "culture wars" of the 20th century. Throughout, Wills focuses almostexclusively on the thinking of white men. Head and Heart reads, therefore,like U.S. religious history books of an earlier generation -- beforeinterest in Buddhism challenged the preoccupation of historians withChristianity, before historians of the West challenged our preoccupationwith New England, before scholars of ritual upended our preoccupation withreligious thought, and before women and blacks made places for themselves atthe historiographic table.

Another peculiarity of this book is its frequent shifting between historicaland biographical modes. Head and Heart contains more than 30 subsectionsdevoted to individual thinkers, so at points it reads more like anencyclopedia of American religious biography than a narrative of Americanreligion.

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Inside Higher Education

Averting Assault

Dec. 17

A new study finds that fraternity members who participate in a one-hour rapeprevention program are significantly less likely to report committing asexually coercive act during their first year of college than are fraternitymen in a control group.

The study is unusual in that it documents evidence of actual behavioralchanges in a campus setting, in addition to attitudinal changes (which havebeen the focus of most prior studies). "That has been something that peoplein the rape prevention community have sought to do for decades," said JohnD. Foubert, an assistant professor of higher education at the College ofWilliam and Mary and lead author of the study, which was scheduled to bepublished Saturday in the National Association of Student PersonnelAdministrators Journal.

The study evaluates the Men's Program, a prevention program offered by thenational nonprofit founded by Foubert, "One in Four," that maintainschapters at about 30 college campuses and also hires educators who travel byRV to offer the program at another 50 campuses per year. The study tracks565 men - 90 percent of males in the freshman class at a "mid-sized campusin the Southeast" - throughout the course of the academic year. Students inthe control group participated in a program that reiterated information onsexual assault already communicated during orientation, Foubert said, whilethe balance of students participated in the Men's Program.

The idea behind the Men's Program, Foubert said, "is that you're going toget a lot farther with men if you treat them as potential helpers ratherthan potential perpetrators." The Men's Program includes a screening of avideo that describes a male-on-male rape to foster empathy for survivorsamong the male participants, and focuses on how men can support survivorsand intervene to prevent possible assaults. The program has been the subjectof some controversy, as outlined in this 1999 Journal of College StudentDevelopment article, particularly because of concerns about the use of avideo depicting male rape to foster empathy for female survivors andobjections to the program's appeal to the "men-take-care-of-women archetype."

In the U.S. Department of Education-funded study, Foubert bolsters resultsfrom an earlier research finding that participation in the Men's Program isassociated with long-term attitudinal changes, in addition to behavioralones. Focusing on fraternity members, he finds that participants who went onto join fraternities as freshmen were more than three times more likely thanpeers to report committing a sexually coercive act - defined as everythingfrom unwanted touching to rape - during their first year of college. Foubertfound that 8 percent of freshmen who joined fraternities reported committinga sexually coercive act their first year of college, compared to 2.5 percentof men who did not join fraternities.

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Forwarded from EuroQueer

New gay rights group voices concerns

Adam Harvey
Irish Times, 17 December 2007

A new group calling for gay civil marriages has vowed to "make a lot ofnoise" about the issue and held true to their word on Saturday, when theyenlisted gay choir Glória to help make their point.

At a carol session outside the Gaiety theatre, the choir was in full voiceas about 50 protesters from the new group, Lesbian Gay BisexualTransgendered (LGBT) Noise asked passersby to sign petitions.

Protesters wore pink badges and held placards with messages like: "Don'tbelieve in gay marriage? Don't marry a gay person" and "You don't have to begay to support gay rights".

LGBT organiser Mark McCarron (28) said the organisation hoped to drawattention to the lack of rights for gay couples.

"There's no obvious public protests for gays campaigning for civilmarriage," he said. "A lot of people say 'we don't hear from gay peopleabout this issue'. Well, here we are," said Mr McCarron. The group has aFacebook page and about 300 e-mail addresses of supporters, he said.

The Government has said that it will introduce some form of gay partnershiplegislation next year, but LGBT co-organiser Paul Kenny said that no oneknows what the Bill will contain.

Currently, said Mr Kenny, gay couples do not have the same rights asstraight couples when it comes to issues like pensions, wills, inheritanceand the care of children.



EU pressures member states on discrimination

11th December 2007 16:40 staff writer

The European Commission is examining replies from three member states afterit had warned them to transpose into national law a 2000 directive againstdiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The Commission had sent letters of formal notice to Italy and Latvia onDecember 15th 2006 and to Finland on January 3rd 2007.

Two members of the EU Parliament, Marco Cappato and Sophie In't Veld, lastmonth asked for the intervention of the Commission, which had given December2003 as a deadline to approve anti-discrimination legislation.

Cappato warned that there could be further action, including a ruling by theEU Court of Justice and subsequent fines, and urged the countries' lawmakersto comply with the EU rulings.

The infringement against Italy did not specifically deal with sexualorientation, but rather general problems covering all grounds ofdiscrimination.



Forwarded by Bill Stirling

Los Angeles Times,1,6312451.story

Like fathers, like son

A gay couple succeed in becoming fathers of a baby boy. Their quest for achild was chronicled in a Los Angeles Times series last year.

By Jenny Jarvie
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 17, 2007

ATLANTA - At last, Chad and David Craig's quest to become fathers is over.They say they feel more happy, and more tired, than they have ever been.

The gay couple, whose attempt to create a pregnancy through a gestationalsurrogacy arrangement was followed last year in a Los Angeles Times series,welcomed their son, O. Jansen Hodge Craig, into their lives nine weeks ago.

"We just look at him and think he's a miracle," Chad said last week as hedrew Jansen, clad in a snug jumpsuit, close to his chest. "It's something wejust always believed in. Finally, he's here."

Chad and David's attempt to bring a child into the world involved a womanthey barely knew. After fertilizing her eggs in vitro using both men'ssperm, another woman would carry the resulting embryos to term. They had noidea whose DNA would carry the day.

Jansen's birth marked the end of a four-year journey that involved three eggretrievals, 65 eggs, seven fertilization attempts, three surrogates and morethan $200,000 in expenses.

There were many ups and downs. In June 2006, Chad's sister, who had agreedto take on the role of surrogate mother, gave birth to twins, Asher andHolland. But the tiny siblings were premature and lived for only three andsix days respectively.

Chad and David came out of that experience with enough hope to keep trying.They signed on with a new doctor, arranged for a third retrieval fromJessica -- the egg donor who had helped them produce the twins -- and founda new surrogate, a school crossing guard and mother of three fromMassachusetts.

Finally, they had found the right components to make it work.

Jansen was born Oct. 13 at Massachusetts General Hospital, weighing 8 poundsand 2 ounces. When a nurse read out the time of birth -- 6:16 p.m. -- hisfathers burst into tears. The time echoed the date of the twins' birthday:June 16.



The International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO)


UK rallies against international homophobia.

2007 sees unprecedented support for IDAHO campaign.

The International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) campaign which is marked inover 50 countries on and around May 17th was highlighted by over 100initiatives and events in the UK this year. For the first time all parts ofthe UK were involved, as the IDAHO habit gripped such cities and areas asLiverpool, Southampton, Bradford, Northampton, Bristol, Lancaster, Tyne andWear and Yorkshire. Meanwhile, IDAHO veterans in London, Brighton, Oldham,Manchester, Sheffield, Surrey, Gloucestershire and Kent marked the day withbigger than ever events. IDAHO initiatives in Scotland were marked by amassive and enthusiastic contribution from LGBT Youth and an AmnestyInternational campaign. IDAHO was also celebrated for the first in NorthernIreland and Wales.

"Yes to Education, no to Homophobia" was a suggested theme for IDAHO eventsaround the world and this was reflected in several events in the UK.Students at the University of Arts in London designed posters celebratingthe diversity of the LGBT community, and addressing world homophobia. Thewinning posters were displayed at a major event on May 17th attended by 200people. Manchester's Lesbian and Gay Foundation announced "a new majorinitiative aimed at ending homophobia through education", called "ExceedingExpectations" and showcased this initiative at a major event at ManchesterTown Hall. The subject of homophobic bullying was also tackled indevelopment workshops commissioned and co-produced by "Queer up North" and"Stonewall". The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) held a paneldiscussion on "Introducing Gay Families to Schoolchildren".

Hate Crime was a major concern of IDAHO campaigners, and this was reflectedin many events and initiatives. The BBC reported that there had been aseries of hate crime arrests to mark IDAHO. New campaigns to tackle hatecrime were launched in Brighton, Newcastle and Middlesbrough. 120 peopleattended a major event organised by Gay Surrey to highlight these issues. InBrighton campaigners released 77 lanterns, on the seafront, to mark the 77countries where homosexuality is a crime around the world. Campaigners inSouthwark, Lambeth and Wandsworth marked the day by remembering the victimsof homophobic and transphobic abuse in imaginative ways and in Camden,campaigners marked the day by planting pansies where homophobic andtransphobic hate crime had occurred, in collaboration with "The PansyProject". Community Safety Events were also arranged by the "East London OutProject", who also organised a major vigil outside Walthamstow Town Hall,and workshops with 4 local authorities.




Interview: Peter Tatchell's 40 years of campaigning

PinkNews by Peter Tatchell
should be of interest:

This extract from a recent interview given to the UK What do you think about the Vatican and its attempts tohamper protection and recognition for gay people?

PT: The sooner someone outs Pope Benedict, the better. His homophobicpolicies remind me of the Inquisition, and the Hitler Youth, of which he wasa member.

All the closeted homophobes in the Vatican should be outed, they aredestroying the lives of LGBT people worldwide. A few days ago, the pope said that gay people threatenpeace, how would you respond to that?

PT: These are the rantings of a semi-deranged Christian fundamentalist and atheocrat, whose ego is so enormous that he believes he has a hot-line toGod.

If any ordinary person in the street did it, they'd probably put them in amental asylum. It is amazing the indulgences that are allowed for theso-called "men of God."

Pope Benedict is the ideological inheritor of Nazi homophobia. He'd liketo eradicate homosexuality, but since he can't put LGBT people in physicalconcentration camps, he is doing his best to put them in psychologicalconcentration camps.

To read the full text of the interview, go to

George Broadhead
Vice-President, UK Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA)


Palm Beach Post

Effort to nix same-sex unions lacks torch carrier

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 16, 2007

We here in Florida get to beat up on gays during the next presidentialelection.

We're pretty late to the party.

In this case, we even have to catch up to Mississippi.

Most other states brought out their gay bunker-buster artillery during theGeorge W. Bush midterm election three years ago.

And next year's election bogeyman has already been booked. We're supposed tobe afraid of that horde of foreign-tongued, brown-skinned invaders from thesouth who mow our lawns, tar our roofs and clean our toilets forbargain-basement wages.

But Florida, as it is in so many endeavors, is behind the curve. So we'restill dealing with the gay menace, which is apparently a threat to my27-year marriage.

The state's Republican Party is the big financial backer for a group thatannounced last week that it has collected nearly all the 611,000 signaturesrequired to give voters next November the chance to amend the FloridaConstitution to protect marriage by defining it as "the legal union of onlyone man and one woman."

The state already has a law banning same-sex marriage, but theconstitutional amendment, its proponents say, would guard against "activist"judges.

Double-bagged for your protection.

Rudy-mentary plan for marriage

The hilarity of all this is that the same-sex-marriage amendment couldn'tcome at a more inappropriate time for its supporters.

I'm sure that nobody had an inkling three years ago, when this effort began,that Florida would turn out to be so family valueless.

All state polls agree that, in next month's political primary, Rudy Giulianiis the favorite among Republican voters. The latest Quinnipiac Universitypoll showed Florida's Republican primary voters preferred Giuliani to hisnearest contender, Mitt Romney, by 18 percentage points.

How could this be? These primary voters are the same people who are beingcounted on to enshrine the glories of heterosexual marriage.

If Giuliani ends up his party's nominee, Florida may have the distinction ofhaving an amendment on the November ballot that gins up fear of same-sexmarriage while having a presidential candidate that should make everybodyafraid of heterosexual marriage.

Giuliani is on marriage No. 3 to Judith Nathan, who was his mistress duringhis mayoral days in New York. Giuliani's second wife learned of theirupcoming divorce at a news conference, and the taxpayers of New York paidfor police protection of Giuliani's then-mistress.

That's just the short version of Giuliani's problems with the M word.

Serial marriages don't help cause

To his credit, Giuliani did, in answer to a question on national TV, say itwould be inappropriate for the Secret Service to provide protection for anyhypothetical presidential mistresses.

To make matters worse, Florida now has a governor that is in no position tochampion heterosexual marriage, either.

Three years ago, when the initiative started, Florida had a marriedgovernor.

But now we have Charlie Crist, whose one marriage lasted for six months, andwho, despite his good looks, position of power and occupancy of a big, emptymansion in Tallahassee, can't seem to land a steady girlfriend.

He's no help at all. And even though he signed a petition to support thesame-sex-marriage ban while he was running for office, he says he's notinterested in pushing the issue anymore.

"It's not something that moves me," he said last week.

Even Florida resident Rush Limbaugh, that go-to gas bag of sanctimony, willhave to sit this one out because of a hamstring injury of three failedmarriages.

So, who exactly is supposed to rally Floridians to be afraid of gaycommitment?

Don't look at me. I'm too busy brushing up on my Spanish.


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:

Legendary international and Spanish LGBT rights advocate Jordi Petit hastied the knot with his partner of seven years, Frenchman Yves Bohic, in aceremony held yesterday in Barcelona that was officiated by the city'smayor, Jordi Hereu (yes, there are lots of Jordis in Spain).The wedding wasattended by more than 200 people (partial guest list here) including membersof Mr. Bohic's family who traveled from France to celebrate the couple'swedding.Jordi has been in the trenches as back as the 1970's when Spain wasstill under dictator Francisco Franco's rule and gays and lesbians werebeing persecuted (Jordi had already been arrested a few times for hispolitical involvement by the time he became active in the LGBT-rights in thelate 1970's).

It is dismaying that the Rhode Island Supreme Court has ruled againstletting people of the same sex who were legally married in Massachusettsdivorce in the Ocean State. The ruling essentially locks homosexual couplesinto marriage in Rhode Island unless one or both members of the marriagemove back to Massachusetts and institute divorce proceedings there. That isnot equal justice under the law. After all, heterosexual couples who weremarried in the Bay State are allowed to divorce in Rhode Island. Of course,the larger issue is legalizing gay marriage in Rhode Island itself. Thestate would be better off - and would be doing the right and just thing - toextend full marriage rights to its homosexual residents. But until that daycomes, the state should at the very least recognize legal marriageselsewhere for the purposes of divorce proceedings. That can and should bedone quickly by enacting a clear statute on the issue - in the upcomingsession.

Israel: In a few weeks, Yonatan and Omer Gar are scheduled to go to Mumbai,India, in order to take part in the first fertilization attempt of asurrogate mother who will bear their child. Yonatan, 29, who works inGreenpeace and Omer, 30, who works as a psychologist, signed a partnershipagreement about a year ago. In the past few months, they completedprocedures to locate a surrogate mother and an egg donor in India, withwhose aid they will bring their firstborn child into the world. "We've beentogether for over five years. About a year ago, we decided that we wanted toexpand the family and began examining our options. As fate would have it,neither of us has a womb. We would really like to adopt a child in Israel.The fact that this legal option does not exist in Israel is shocking. Thestate prefers that children grow up in a hostel or on the street, as long asthey don't grow up with same-sex parents."

BOSTON - Gay-marriage advocacy group MassEquality will throw its weightbehind Rep. Barbara A. L'Italien, D-Andover, and other state lawmakers whoface election challenges in November and earlier this year voted to defeat aproposed gay-marriage ban.Marc Solomon, the group's campaign leader, saidMassEquality would mobilize its more than 200,000 members statewide to workfor those candidates. The group, which spent more than $1 million in 2006 todefeat the gay-marriage ban, also will ask its members to write checks tosupport the re-election bids of gay-marriage supporters, he said.

New Jersey: Kenny Polnasek and Michael Kellison exchanged vows in a privateceremony 17 years ago, and since that time they've always consideredthemselves to be married, even though the state they lived in didn'tconsider that designation -- "marriage" -- to be legally valid. But inOctober 2006, the state Supreme Court ordered the state Legislature to granthomosexual couples the same rights it extends to heterosexual marriedcouples. The resulting legislation, a bill creating civil unions, tookeffect in February. "I'm a Jersey boy, born and raised, and when it (civilunions) came here I was like, 'Yeah, let's do it,'" said Polnasek, who saidhe had been holding out for gay marriage up until that time. So on Sept. 29,their 17th anniversary, Polnasek and Kellison exchanged vows again, thistime at their civil union ceremony.

Elizabeth MacKenzie embodies the typical Canadian, according to Angus Reidpollster Andrew Grenville. Ian Smith, Vancouver Sun] "I am the cliche ofwhat it means to be a Canadian," says Elizabeth McKenzie.
And The Vancouver Sun's morality quiz shows the east Vancouver artist andmother is right. McKenzie, 52, is an Accepting MOR (Middle of the Road), thetype that Angus Reid pollster Andrew Grenville says embodies the typicalCanadianHer moral convictions echo those of the country, the values embeddedin Canadian laws and customs. McKenzie, a feminist, is relaxed aboutpersonal sexual ethics, but critical of prostitution and pornography. Likemost Canadians, she's open to homosexuality and sex outside marriage, butconcerned about animal cloning. "It's almost embarrassing how Canadian Iam," she says. "Canadians are very moderate people, and I almost feel that'sthe way I was brought up to be."

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey's well organized gay rights advocatesare finding their adversaries are also getting prepared for a cominglegislative debate over gay marriage. The National Organization forMarriage, established earlier this year in Princeton, made itself known overthe past few weeks with radio advertisements urging people to call theirlawmakers to tell them that allowing gay couples to marry would underminethe institution. The group set up in left-leaning New Jersey because it isone of a few states where there's a realistic chance in the next few yearsthat lawmakers will vote to allow gay marriage. That makes it a battlegroundfor the issues nationally.

Australia: The Sunday Telegraph can reveal that several MPs, who are nowministers, promised during the election campaign that Labor would formallyrecognise same-sex relationships in government as well as removediscriminatory legislation. Former Australian Medical Association presidentProfessor Kerryn Phelps said she had received the commitment from severalsenior Rudd Government ministers. "Their reaction to it was they werecommitted to eliminating discrimination and ensuring real equality and not awatered-down version. Not proceeding with gay marriages or civil unionswould be a watered-down version of equality," she said.


National Gay News

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

Gay 4 Pay: Gay Obsession with Straight Guys in Porn
It's a phrase gay men use to describe themselves or to express an attributethat they seek in others. But what exactly does it mean? For some, theinterest in straight guys is just to find someone who isn't overtlyflamboyant. But for others, like Randy Blue, Sean Cody, Mike Hancock andCorbin Fisher, gay man's obsession with straight guys has created a boomingInternet business that is raking in the cash.

Marriage in the Nation's Capital?
Here is a great article on a new campaign to win marriage rights inWashington, D.C. The residents of D.C. are in a unique position in that thecity's mayor and an overwhelming majority of council members supportmarriage equality, but the federal government has the authority to "review"all legislation passed by the city council. This means that even if the D.C.passed a marriage bill the big fight would be with members of Congress whowill attempt to nullify the council's decision. As icing on the cake, wealso do not have voting representation in Congress.

Single and the Holidays & Compromising Couples
The Holidays can bring warm images to mind like Norman Rockwell. But as aclient of mine put it, the reality for many is more like Norman Bates.Perhaps no one knows better the pain of planning your whole weekend around atrip to the food mart, spending a holiday alone, or being so starved fortouchthat an accidental brush from a stranger gives you a hard on.

Canada: Coming up Rosie
A few years ago a soft spoken and unassuming lady did something very bravein the Halifax business community. he put on a red and white headscarf and ablue shirt and rolled up her sleeves. She said it was just a bit of a joke,but Rosemary Porter knew she was unofficially announcing and promoting hersexuality to the world.

Transgendered Lawyer Claims NDP Dumped Her
A lawyer from Quebec City says she was dumped as a federal New DemocraticParty candidate because she is transgendered. Micheline Montreuil allegesshe was told by an NDP official her sexuality hindered party attempts to woonew Quebec candidates into the fold.

The World's Sexiest Athletes: Andy Roddick
He just helped earn the United States their first Davis Cup victory in overa decade with his amazingly focused all court game and shockingly powerfulserves. The name Andy Roddick has become almost synonymous with Americantennis over the past few years as one of the top ranked men in the world whocan compete with the unstoppable Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. He is atough, intense, aggressive competitor on the tennis court, but it is hischarm, charisma, comedic behavior and incredible cuteness that have made hima fan favorite and one of the world's sexiest athletes.


The Detroit News

Truth squad exposes Giuliani's gay policy shifts

Deb Price
Monday, December 17, 2007

Then: New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani signed a sweeping domesticpartnership bill into law in 1998, explaining that he hoped it would "helpto move society more in the direction of equal treatment for everyone."

Now: Republican presidential candidate Giuliani appeared on Oct. 17 on FoxNews Channel's "Hannity & Colmes" and said any rights for gay couples"should just be contractual," parroting the buzzword of those socialconservatives who absurdly claim that gay couples can essentially get therights of marriage by signing a contract at a lawyer's office.

Flabbergasted by this kind of "then and now" change in tone and substance byGiuliani on a host of gay issues -- hate crimes, civil unions and domesticpartnership, a federal anti-gay marriage amendment -- a New York gay-rightsgroup recently launched "The Giuliani Files," which documents Giuliani'shistory (go to:

"I had seen this man change his positions in the amount of time it takes tofly from (New York's) La Guardia Airport to Des Moines," says Empire StatePride Agenda executive director Alan Van Capelle.

"With today's technology, we don't have to call Rudy Giuliani a'flip-flopper.' We can literally put up letters and videos from his eightyears as mayor and let people draw that conclusion for themselves."

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