Sunday, December 23, 2007

GLBT DIGEST December 22, 2007

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Study: Depression Worsens HIV Treatment

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: December 21, 2007 - 2:00 pm ET

(San Francisco, California) The largest study to examine the effect ofdepression on HIV treatment has found that depression significantly worsensa patient's adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy and clinicalmeasures.

It also found that effective antidepressant medication can reverse thisoutcome.

The study was done by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and theGroup Health Cooperative and appears in the current online issue of theJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS).

The researchers looked at 3,359 HIV-infected patients from seven KaiserPermanente regions nationwide and Group Health in 2000 to 2003 to measurethe effects of depression -- with and without selective serotonin reuptakeinhibitors (SSRI) use -- on adherence and changes in viral and immunologiccontrol in patients starting a new highly active antiretroviral therapy(HAART) regimen.

The researchers studied the patients' HAART adherence, viral loads, andchanges in CD4 T-cell counts over a 12-month period.

more . . . .


Bulgaria Most Homophobic Country In Europe?

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: December 21, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Sophia) Results of a poll on discrimination in Bulgaria have sent up alarmsignals within the European Union.

The survey found that 80 percent of of the population in the Balkan nationhave negative attitudes toward gays and 53 percent have attitudes that are"extremely negative.

Only 17 percent said they would be able to carry on a conversation withsomeone who is gay.

The poll, by the Skala Agency, also found that almost half of those surveyedwould not refuse to work with someone they believed to be gay

Nearly 70 percent said they would take their children out of school if theyfound one of the teachers was gay.

more . . . . .


School Apologizes To Lesbian Student Over Censored T-Shirt

by The Associated Press
Posted: December 22, 2007 - 7:30 am ET

(Richmond, Virginia) A high school official made a mistake by telling astudent to cover up a lesbian-themed T-shirt or face suspension the school'sprincipal now says.

The admission came Friday, a day after the ACLU demanded the schoolapologize to the teen. (story)

Bethany Laccone, 17, said she was asked to cloak a logo of two interlockedfemale symbols while attending a hotel management class this month at I.C.Norcom High School in Portsmouth. She's a senior at nearby Woodrow WilsonHigh School, where she has not faced a similar ultimatum.

In a letter sent Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginiaasked Norcom administrators to remove any mention of the incident fromLaccone's records and agree not to similarly censor other students.

ACLU leaders want administrators to clarify that students can expresspolitical views. The school's dress code prohibits "bawdy, salacious orsexually suggestive messages."

more . . . . .


Candidates Air Cheery Ads While Groups Slash Behind the Scenes


While Republican Mike Huckabee wishes voters Merry Christmas in a televisionad, a group organized by his supporters makes automated phone calls slippingthe knife into his opponents.

John Edwards, lagging behind his Democratic rivals in cash, gets more than amillion dollars in help from labor unions running parallel campaigns.

And Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is locked in a tight race in Iowa, haswell-organized and highly strategic assistance from labor backers andEMILY's List, the pro-abortion rights fund-raising group that aims to helpwomen candidates.

Presidential candidates are benefiting -- and sometimes being attacked -- byindependent groups that are only now beginning to make their presence knownin the early-contest states of Iowa and New Hampshire. These groups can bemore targeted and more negative, and can coordinate their activities in waysthat candidate campaigns cannot.

At the same time, the contenders themselves are operating on paralleltracks. Republican candidates in particular are stuffing mailboxes withnegative messages about their rivals while airing cheery holiday greetingson television.

more . . . . .


Washington Post


Presidential Politics Heads Reporters' List for 2007

Evangelical struggles to settle on a Republican presidential candidate andDemocrats' efforts to reach religious voters led the Religion NewswritersAssociation's list of top religion stories of 2007.

The results were based on votes from 80 reporters who cover religion in thegeneral-circulation press and are active members of RNA.

The rest of the top 10, in order: controversies over gay men and lesbians inthe clergy; global warming's emergence as a religious issue; illegalimmigration and faith; pro-democracy protests by Buddhist monks in Burma;conservative Episcopalians aligning with bishops in South America andAfrica; Supreme Court rulings involving religion, including the upholding ofa ban on certain late-term abortions; deaths of evangelical leaders JerryFalwell, Rex Humbard, D. James Kennedy and others; and the cost of the RomanCatholic Church's U.S. sex abuse crisis surpassing $2.1 billion.



IGLHRC Congratulates Nepali LGBTI Organizations on Supreme Court Victory

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)congratulates Nepal's LGBTI organizations on today's ruling by the NepaliSupreme Court recognizing the rights of LGBTI people in that country.

On November 21, 2007, the Supreme Court of Nepal heard a writ petitionsubmitted by Blue Diamond Society (BDS) and three other Nepali LGBTI groupsdemanding protection of their legal rights. Their demands were threefold: torecognize the civil rights of transgender people without requiring them torenounce one gender identity for another; to create a new law preventingdiscrimination and violence against LGBT communities; and to require thestate to make reparations to LGBT victims of state violence and/ordiscrimination.

In response to a request by BDS for legal observers to be present at thehearing, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)ommissioned a team of lawyers from India, Vivek Divan and Arvind Narrain,to serve as court observers and share legal strategy with BDS legal counsel.
IGLHRC's report can be viewed by clicking here. Below is a release by SunilPant of BDS announcing today's victory.
Congratulations again to our Nepali colleagues including BDS, IGLHRC's 2007Felipa de Souza Award winner. You have set a new standard for LGBTI rightsaround the world.

Great victory of Nepalese LGBTI !
Supreme Court of Nepal issued directive orders to the Government of Nepal toend discrimination against LGBTI and ensure equal rights as heterosexual menand women in Nepal.
Four LGBTI organizations including Blue Diamond Society had filed a writpetition in last April 2007(05/01/2064) demanding to defend and protectequal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexed (LGBTI)people of Nepal. After having heard 3 times over the last few months,Supreme Court of Nepal has recognized LGBTIs today as natural persons.

It is believed that LGBTI will enjoy, today onward, all the rights accordingtheir sexual and gender identities as other genders enshrined by theConstitution of Nepal and human rights conventions in which Nepal is a StateParty. The Court issued directive orders to Nepal government to ensurerights to life according to their own identities and introduce lawsproviding equal rights to LGBTIs and amend all the discriminatory lawsagainst LGBTI's rights as well.




Meet Richard Honaker, a former Wyoming state representative who is PresidentBush's pick for a lifetime appointment as a federal judge. Honaker:

* Tried THREE times to ban abortion in Wyoming.
* Publicly stated that abortion is "wrong, and no one should have the rightto do what is wrong."
* Belongs to the Federalist Society, a group which advocates for theoverturn of Roe v. Wade.

Does this man really sound like someone who can be a fair-minded judge? Wedon't think so!

The Senate is rampant with rumors that Honaker could get a hearing beforethe Judiciary Committee. Click here to tell senators that this nominationshould not move forward.

As the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade approaches, so much hangs in thebalance.

For 35 years, anti-choice organizations, lawmakers, and political candidateshave organized to restrict access to the full range of reproductive-healthoptions, laying the foundation for the eventual overturn of Roe.

Even though the 2008 presidential election is just around the corner,clearly Bush is going to continue his assault on a woman's right to chooseuntil a new president is sworn in.

Richard Honaker is one of Bush's most anti-choice nominees to date. He hasspent his career fighting to deny women access to safe, legalreproductive-health services. And now Bush has nominated him for a lifetimeappointment as a federal judge.

Will you tell the Senate to stand up to Bush?

Send your message telling the Senate that Bush's anti-choice nominee Honakeris too extreme for the federal bench.

Then please help us nip this nomination in the bud by spreading the word -click here to send a message asking your friends and family to join you incontacting the Senate about Honaker today.

Thank you for all you do. Together we will fight to protect a woman's rightto choose for the next 35 years-and beyond.

My best,
Nancy Keenan
President, NARAL Pro-Choice America


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Congress Cuts HIV Prevention Dollars


Ronald Johnson, from AIDS Action in Washington, and Gay Men's Health Crisis'Sean Cahill were both sharply critical of congressional AIDS spendingactions this week.

Ronald Johnson, from AIDS Action in Washington, and Gay Men'sHealth Crisis' Sean Cahill were both sharply critical of congressional AIDSspending actions this week.

AIDS and gay groups are reacting negatively to a federal budget bill thatincludes a small increase in Ryan White dollars, a major funding source forAIDS services, and a cut in the federal Centers for Disease Control andPrevention (CDC) HIV prevention budget.

"We are disappointed in the funding levels," said Ronald Johnson, deputydirector at the AIDS Action Council, a Washington, DC-based lobbying group."The new funding levels certainly do not reflect the domestic AIDS crisisand the growing numbers."

On December 17, the House approved a $516 billion omnibus bill that funded14 federal agencies for the 2008 fiscal year that began this past October 1.

The Senate approved the same bill, but with an additional $40 billion forthe Iraq war. The House was expected to pass that $555 billion bill onDecember 19. The White House signaled that President George W. Bush wouldsignthe budget bill though some Congressional Republicans have complainedthat the legislation is too expensive.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Ruling in Child-Porn Case Upholds Fifth Amendment Law

By Justin Bourne

BURLINGTON, Vt. - U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerome Niedermeier has ruled thatprosecutors cannot force Sebastien Boucher, a man charged with transportingchild pornography across the Canadian border on his laptop in 2006, to turnover the Pretty Good Privacy passphrase needed to access his hard drive.

According to Niedermeier, the Fifth Amendment gives Boucher the right to notturn over the passphrase in order to avoid self-incrimination. The judgethrew out a grand jury's subpoena ordering Boucher to provide "anypasswords" used on his Alienware laptop.

"Compelling Boucher to enter the password forces him to produce evidencethat could be used to incriminate him," Niedermeier wrote in an order datedNov. 29. "Producing the password, as if it were a key to a locked container,forces Boucher to produce the contents of his laptop."

Boucher and his father crossed the Canadian border to enter the UnitedStates at Derby Line, Vt., on Dec. 17, 2006, Neidermeier wrote. In a"secondary inspection," Officer Chris Pike found about 40,000 images on alaptop computer on the back seat, the judge added. Pike reportedly said someof the images "appeared to be pornographic, based on the file names."

The investigation was turned over to Special Agent Mark Curtis ofImmigration and Customs Enforcement because of his expertise in recognizingchild pornography. Curtis reported that the Z drive of Boucher's laptopcontained files named "2yo getting raped during diaper change," and "PreeTeen Bondage."



Orlando Sentinel,0,5474128.story

Navy agrees to pay Orlando-area woman's HIV bills

The Associated Press
December 21, 2007

WINTER SPRINGS - An HIV-positive woman whose infection is linked to the Navyhas prevailed in her two-year battle to have the military cover her medicalexpenses.

Richelle Starnes got the news in a personal call from the surgeon general ofthe Navy on Wednesday night.

"I just broke down and started crying. This has been very stressful for meand for my family, but there have been a lot of people who have made mecontinue to fight for what I was promised," Starnes said Thursday.

Starnes, 27, was born HIV-positive after her mother contracted the virusfrom a blood transfusion.

A Navy doctor missed signs that Starnes' mother was having complicationsduring her pregnancy, and she was later rushed to a non-Navy hospital, whereshe required the blood transfusion. Starnes was born later.

more . . . . .


Gay & Lesbian Leadership

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

Activists say cost of fighting Fla. marriage ban could reach $10M
Florida marriage-rights supporters anticipate that the campaign to defeat aproposed constitutional ban could cost as much as $10 million. Twoanti-amendment groups have been organized: Florida Red and Blue, which saysit has $2 million in the bank, and Fairness For All Families. WashingtonBlade (12/19)

Will marriage issue divide Maryland Democrats?
The liberal and conservative Democratic blocs in Maryland's General Assemblycould be at loggerheads over the marriage issue, which the state's highcourt ruled would be best decided by elected officials, according to thisarticle. The Gazette (Md.) (12/20)

Attend Harvard this summer!
Are you an openly LGBT elected or appointed official or senior-levelcommunity leader? Consider building your leadership skills as a Gay &Lesbian Leadership Institute Harvard Fellow. Since 2001, GLLI has grantedscholarships to select LGBT leaders to attend the Senior Executives in Stateand Local Government program at Harvard University's Kennedy School ofGovernment. The 2008 program will take place June 8-27 and July 6-25. Thedeadline to apply for the GLLI Fellowship is March 28, 2008. Click here tolearn more or apply.

Ryan White's attorneys call Huckabee's AIDS comments "incomprehensible"
In a letter to the editor of the Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier, RyanWhite's attorneys call it "incomprehensible" that Republican White Housecontender Mike Huckabee would stand by his 1992 position that people withAIDS needed to be quarantined, given how much their now-deceased client didto inform the general public about the epidemic. "That this man, who is soout of touch with reality, could run for president of the United States ismore than disturbing," write attorneys Charles R. Vaughan and Charles V.Vaughan. Read more at The Bilerico Project.


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:

Opponents of same-sex marriage in one of America's most populous states areconfident they have in fact gathered the more than 600,000 signatures neededto get a question on the November 2008 ballot calling for a ban on same-sexmarriage., a coalition of groups, has been trying toget the question on the ballot for three years. The Williams Institute atUCLA School of Law has released a new research study providing demographicand economic information for the almost 55,000 same-sex couples in Florida.
The study shows that 17% of the same-sex couples in Florida are raising morethan 17,000 children. Same-sex couples raising children have fewer economicresources and own homes at a significantly lower rate than theirheterosexual, married counterparts.In 2000, there were 41,048 same-sexcouples living in Florida. By 2005, the number of same-sex couples increasedto almost 55,000. 24% of same-sex couples are nonwhite, compared to 26% ofmarried couples.By 2005, there were almost 610,000 gay, lesbian, andbisexual people (single and coupled) living in Florida, approximately thesame number required to put the same-sex ban question on the 2008 ballot.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has informed LifeSiteNews.comthat after a meeting with Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, Father Leo Tibesar, ofSaint Frances Cabrini Parish in Minneapolis has agreed to remove from theparish website "any language from the St. Frances Cabrini parish websitethat is in opposition to Roman Catholic Church doctrine." Removed from theparish website was a page titled a "Statement of Reconciliation" whichbemoaned Church teaching on sexual purity and married chastity andmisrepresentied these teachings as a form of "oppression." The statementsaid the parish is committed to "Publicly bless the relationships of a samesex couple after the couple completes a process of discernment similar tothat completed by heterosexual couples before marriage." The item had anasterisk referring to a note on the bottom reading "not being implemented atthis time."

The British government has confirmed a new agreement between the UK andSpain regarding recognition of UK civil partnerships. The Spanish Embassy inLondon was unaware UK civil partners should now receive the same benefit asmarried couples in Spain, despite advice from the British government thatSpanish authorities should be contacted for guidance on the matter.Whencontacted by today Fernando Villalba, the Spanish Embassypress councillor, said: "This is the first time I have heard about that. Ihaven't seen it in the news." He said he had no advice for same-sex civilpartners wishing to claim marriage benefits but suggested contacting theSpanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who issued a note announcing the newslast month. Mr Villalba added, "I haven't heard of a register ofinternational marriage in Spain.


National Gay News

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

Holiday Homecoming For Gay US Soldier
The Christmas holidays will be a whole lot brighter for the Manzella family,who are looking forward to welcoming a very special guest home.SergeantDarren Manzella featured on last Sunday's US current affairs show 60 Minutesabout "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Ch. 3 Offers Olive Branch to Gays Over Lane Arrest
Anchorwoman Alycia Lane's TV station, Channel 3, and the local gay, lesbianand transgender community go way back, according to Mark Segal, publisher ofthe Philadelphia Gay News.
Channel 3 was the first in the nation to ditch the Dr. Laura show sevenyears ago, because of host Laura Schlessinger's homophobic remarks, eventhough the station's network, CBS, was syndicating the program, Segal saidyesterday. "That started a wave of TV stations around the country cancelingDr. Laura," he said.

Politics in 2007
The year 2007 started out with great hopes, politically, for the GLBTcommunity -- but ultimately ended as less productive and gratifying than hadbeen expected. November 7, 2006 -- election day last year -- was a good dayfor the Arizona GLBT community. We'd made history as the first and onlystate to reject an anti-gay-marriage proposition, and the Democrats capturedboth the House and the Senate. Across the nation, the anti-GLBT Republicanslost ground overall in Congressional races, in state legislatures, ingubernatorial match-ups, in local elections.


Soulforce Needs Your Ongoing Support in 2008!

A Special Message from the Executive Director

Happy Holidays from all of us at Soulforce!

In ReviewThanks to your loyal support, 2007 has truly been a year toremember:

The Equality Ride took fifty young adults to thirty-two Christian collegesand universities that currently ban LGBT students from attending, withtremendous impact as always. The Ex-Gay Survivor Conference & Initiative wasfeatured on CNN's Paula Zahn, National Public Radio, and the Los AngelesTimes, as it brought survivors together from all over the world to begin thehealing process and held press conferences in a dozen cities to expose thedamage caused by ex-gay ministries. The Right to Marry Campaign tookthirty-two young adults on four different routes across New York to connectwith residents and their legislators on the issue of marriage equality.

Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights covered twenty-six states andthirty-eight cities as straight allies demonstrated their support for thecivil rights of LGBT Americans. Our amazing team in Colorado continued ourFocus on the Facts campaign with several direct actions at Focus on theFamily and a powerful sit-in at the Denver county clerk's office to raiseawareness about the need for marriage equality.

Our founder, the Rev. Dr. Mel White, appeared on CNN's Larry King Live andAnderson Cooper 360 following the death of Jerry Falwell, was voted as oneof the top 40 most influential LGBT rights leaders in America by the readersof The Advocate, and was profiled with his son, Mike White, for this month'sedition of OUT magazine.
Soulforce Q Director of Outreach, Jarrett Lucas,was featured in a PBS special regarding his experiences with the EqualityRide. Finally - Dr. White, the Reitan family, Mary Lou Wallner, and our 2005direct action outside Focus on the Family were all highlighted prominentlyin the ground-breaking documentary, For The Bible Tells Me So, that sweptacross movie theaters this Fall and will continue to enlighten the publicfor many years to come.

Since I'm also a licensed psychotherapist in private practice, I wrote "Whatthe SCIENCE says - and Doesn't Say - about Homosexuality: Research basedanswers to ten of the most commonly asked questions about gay men, lesbianwomen, and their families." Simon LeVay, Ph.D., a neuroscientist and pioneeron the study of brain structures in sexual orientation, called it "Aconcise, accurate, and readable summary of scientific knowledge abouthomosexuality and gay people. This little booklet calmly and effectivelydemolishes the hateful myths and slurs spread by anti-gay forces in Americansociety." This new resource, which will serve as a companion piece to Dr.White's "What the Bible says - and Doesn't Say - about Homosexuality," is atthe printer now and will be available shortly after the holidays.

What a year!

Like you, we plan to share the Holidays with friends and loved ones beforegearing back up for action in 2008. But, we need your help.

Will you consider becoming a monthly donor in 2008? Just $25, $50, or $100each month will help us reach our goal of exposing religion-based oppressionand lifting the voices of fairness and equality around the country. To joinour dedicated ensemble of monthly donors please go to>

If you cannot yet afford to give monthly, please consider making an online"New Year" gift to amplify our impact in 2008. You can make a one-timedonation by going to>



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