Wednesday, December 26, 2007

GLBT DIGEST December 26, 2007

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Libby Post Over

So Christmas is over and we've got a few more days before we can party againto ring in 2008.

Even though it started with such promise, we're certainly in a rush to get2007 over with. In New York, Day One pledged a new beginning. In DC,Democratic majorities in the House and Senate gave us hope. Despite the bestintentions, entrenched power had its way-it was not to be interfered with.

In New York, Day One turned into Day Two, Day Three, Day Four . . . thisMonday will be Day 365. Luckily, we get to start counting again on January1--Day One, 2008.

Down in D.C., our hopes for real change were dashed. The EmploymentNon-Discrimination Act and the Matthew Shepard Act were taken off theDemocrats' legislative docket. Although, they insist positive legislativechange for the LGBT community is still on their agenda.

What has happened in both the Empire State and the nation's Capitol areclear indications that getting elected doesn't mean you get the powereveryone says comes with the office. You still need to do the heavy liftingof continuing to build your base, forging bipartisan working relationshipsand refining the art of the political.

With any luck and some real strategy, 2008 could be the year that changesbusiness as usual to taking care of business.

Starting January 1, we'll have 11 months and a few days to make sure theRepublican stranglehold on the White House and all things DC is broken.

Change in the White House isn't a gay issue. It's a survival issue. If wewant our country, our constitution, our conscience as a nation of people whobelieve in democracy to survive, then we must make sure democracy isrestored.

For the past eight years, we've watched as the marionette president has hadhis strings pulled by Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. Like stealing candy from ababy, their cynical pronouncement of "Mission Accomplished" on the deck ofan aircraft carrier later proved to steal the hope of millions of Americanswho want to see their sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and neighbors comehome from the "War on Terror" alive and in one piece, physically andemotionally.

The lies this administration told in order to go to war are much worse thanthose of Richard Nixon. No one was killed because of Watergate yet TrickyDick had to resign-otherwise impeachment was his future. Yet, the cynicismthat invaded Washington, DC politics since 1972 has changed the nationaltolerance for deceit. Now, the president can get away with lying and thesubsequent dying without having to be held accountable for his actions.

It is up to us, the electorate, to just say no to that deceit. We can nolonger ignore it, make excuses for it or have a "that's just the way thingsare" attitude about it.

It is up to us to bring our government, our nation back to practicalpolitics. It is time to change the realpolitik of our government from onethat favors the few to one that cares for many. After all, it's much morepractical to govern with the economic interests of taxpayers in mind ratherthan Halliburton's stock price.

It's much more practical to govern a nation where healthcare is a rightrather than having the health care insurance industry profiteer at thedeathbeds of our loved ones. And yes, it is even much more practical toprotect everyone-regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity-fromdiscrimination than to let the talents of millions of Americans wither onthe vine.

When the century turned eight years ago, we rushed over the bridge to the21st century with enthusiasm and hope. But seven years of Republicandomination robbed us of the promise of a better life. Instead, we have a warwithout end, an economic downturn built on the backs of middle classAmericans, and a health care system that rewards cost-cutting rather thancompassionate care.

2008 gives us the opportunity to redefine the promise and reclaim the hope.This New Year gives us the opportunity to change the direction of ourcountry. Our democracy is not dead. It is just crying for fresh air, forclean water, for an educated electorate who puts practicality overplatitudes.

January 1, 2008 really is Day One. We're starting over! After all, do oversare so 20th century.

Libby Post is the founding chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and apolitical commentator on public radio, on the Web, and in print media. Shecan be reached at


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Bad News for Mehdi, gay Iranian teenager threatened with deportation from

Christmas Gift from Netherlands for Gay Iranian - One Way Ticket to UKCourt rules that Mehdi has to be retuned to UK where asylumapplication failed on appeal

LONDON, December 24, 2007 - It was not the Christmas present that a younggay Iranian wanted.

A court in the Netherlands has ruled that Mehdi, the gay Iranian teenager,has to be returned to the United Kingdom, where he faces deportation back toIran.

He fled England last spring when a Home Office tribunal dismissed his appealagainst deportation.

"I was refused the right to appeal of asylum in the Netherlands because ofthe Dublin Treaty," he said by telephone this afternoon.

The Dublin Treaty, or Convention, is a European Union law that preventsasylum applicants from applying in multiple members states.

"Obviously, I am very disappointed at judge's decision.

"My lawyer is making a final appeal to the Netherlands High Court," headded.

Mehdi, who is 19, said that he was worried that the early decision from thecourt - the decision was expected to be handed down early in the New Year -meant that his deportation to the UK would be made over the holiday period.

"My main fear at the moment is that the UK Home Office would disregardappeals and send me back to Iran before any offices reopened after theholiday," he said.

The young Iranian said he is frightened that he will be executed if he isreturn to Iran.

Before leaving Iran in 2004 to continue his education in England - he had astudent visa issued by the UK authorities, Mehdi had a boyfriend. It waswhile he was in the UK, he learned that the Iranian authorities had arrestedhis boyfriend, who had given interrogators Mehdi's name before beingexecuted. (Click HERE for Mehdi's full story)

One of the main reasons that Mehdi's asylum appeal failed was because thetribunal "judge" found that dates on Iranian paperwork did not tally withwhat the teenager had said, his uncle, who lives in southern England, toldUK Gay News.

The tribunal apparently refused to accept that the Iranian calendar isdifferent from the Western (Gregorian) calendar.



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:

Mike and Steve have been through this before. In 2004, they rushed toMultnomah County offices to get a marriage license after county officialsbegan granting same-sex marriages. There, the couple of eight years-handsshaking with excitement and cheered on by bouquet-bearing friends-eagerlypaid $60 to fill out their long-awaited marriage license. This year, theyreturned to that same office to register with Multnomah County as "domesticpartners," again for $60. The new designation didn't restore any of therights they lost when Oregon voters passed Measure 36 in 2004, banning gaymarriage in the state. But the ability to register their arrangement withthe county enabled Mike Pickrell, 55, to get on 59-year-old partner SteveIsaacson's health insurance plan at Portland State University. (Isaacson isassociate dean of PSU's Graduate School of Education.) The county mailedback their marriage registration check in 2004 once Measure 36 effectivelyannulled their marriage. But the two still have their vows, their matchingstar sapphire rings, and their marriage certificate from 2004.

PROVIDENCE, R.I.-Rhode Island lawmakers return to the Statehouse next weekfacing an old problem in the new year: Massive budget deficits. Closing anestimated $450 million shortfall could require a series of unpleasantchoices including cutting back on health care for the poor, raising taxes orfees, limiting welfare eligibility or curtailing tax credits for fixing upold buildings. In a series of interviews with The Associated Press,Republican Gov. Don Carcieri and Democratic leaders in the General Assemblysaid the state's financial health was by far their top concern. "This is themost important issue," Carcieri said. "It is the fundamental problem we haveas a state."

Chicago's immigrant rights movement was on the verge of making history, andNicole Perez was ready to lend her voice when she was told, with an angrysneer, that she was not welcome.That was March 10, 2006. Perez and herlesbian partner, Xiomara Santana, had joined more than 100,000 demonstratorsin the Loop for a march that kicked off a nationwide struggle for immigrantrights. Holding hands, the U.S.-born women looked at the Latino faces aroundthem and were reminded of their own families.Then an elderly man 2 feet awaycursed at the couple, spitting out: "Why are you here?" "I was like: 'We'reall here for the same reason. This is as much my issue as it is yours,'"Perez, 25, said, recalling her tears of anger as others at the marchlaughingly trotted away from a gay and lesbian banner nearby for fear ofbeing associated with the group.Almost two years later, the lesbian, gay,bisexual and transgender community is pushing for more recognition in animmigration movement that includes the Catholic Church and others withconservative views about sexual orientation.

For Hillary Clinton, it's none too soon to begin contemplating her potentialfirst days in the Oval Office. "I don't think it's presumptuous; I thinkthat it is sensible to say I intend to be elected president, I'm going torun a winning campaign against the Republicans, and here are some of thethings I'm going to do on day one, day two, day three," Clinton said in aninterview with Monitor editors and reporters Friday. Same-sex unions Onseveral culturally divisive issues, Clinton urged cautious change, notdramatic upheaval. Asked whether she would repeal the federal Defense ofMarriage Act - which Bill Clinton signed into law in 1996 - Clinton said no.
Rather, she said, she'd sign a repeal of sections two and three of the law.
As it stands, the third section limits marriage to heterosexual couples inmatters of federal law, so same-sex couples are denied the federal benefitsafforded heterosexual married couples. Clinton said she would repeal theprohibition on federal benefits, a change that would have particularrelevance for New Hampshire: On Jan. 1, New Hampshire will become the fourthstate to adopt civil unions. Massachusetts allows same-sex marriages.

Don't let her small voice fool you. Rebecca Lazarus - or "Becca" as shelikes to be called - is a fighter, and she's already had more experiencewith activism at age 13 than most 50-somethings managed to accrue during theVietnam War era. An eighth-grader at Sage Park Middle School, she waspresented with an award during a Board of Education meeting last month inrecognition of her community service and focus on civil rights. In herbattle for the legalization of same-sex marriage, Rebecca has beeninterviewed on National Public Radio, has spoken in front of several supportgroups, created a Connecticut chapter of COLAGE, which stands for Childrenof Lesbians and Gays Everywhere, and spoke in February at a news conferenceat the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. She told reporters at thenews conference that she lives with two fathers, Eric Lazarus and JasonCharette, who are in a committed relationship, but otherwise she's "like anyother kid."


National Gay News

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

Pennsylvania: Gay Teen's Plight Spurs Awareness, Action
Few days went by without him being punched, kicked or tripped by classmatesat Susquehanna Twp. High School. The teenager, an openly gay boy describedby friends as kind and compassionate, said he was constantly harassed,though he never reported it to anyone, not even his friends.

Wilton Manors: AIDS Healthcare Group to Help Fund Crosswalk
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has given the city $90,000 to install acrosswalk on Wilton Drive in front of Hagen Park. The foundation operates"Out of the Closet," a thrift store chain, which is opening a shop at 2097Wilton Drive in January.

Baghdad: Being Openly Gay Has Become Riskier
In a city and country where outsiders are viewed with deep suspicion andattracting attention can imperil one's life, Mohammed could never blend in,even if he wanted to. Mohammed, 37, has been openly gay for much of hisadult life. For him, this has meant growing his hair long and takingestrogen. In the past, he said, that held little danger. As is truethroughout the Middle East, men have always been publicly affectionate here.

David Beckham Loves Being a Gay Icon and His Wife Dresses Him
Former England captain, David Beckham has confessed that his wife, Victoria,likes to dress him and that he loves being a gay icon. The 32-year-oldtold BBC Radio 2's Lines of Enquiry: "I'm very honoured to have the tag ofgay icon...Maybe it's things like (the fact) I like to look after myself, Ilike to look smart and presentable most of the time."

Bill Richardson: An Energetic Troubleshooter
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is equipped with a thick resume, plenty ofenthusiasm and a disarming sense of humor in his campaign for the Democraticpresidential nomination. In some respects, Richardson has been thispresidential campaign's version of the "Happy Warrior." It's a label thatwas often used to describe Hubert Humphrey, the former vice president andMinnesota senator known for his cheerful yet passionate pleas on behalf ofsocial justice and advocacy for working people.

Gay Immigrants Fight to Join Movement
Chicago's immigrant rights movement was on the verge of making history, andNicole Perez was ready to lend her voice when she was told, with an angrysneer, that she was not welcome.

Marcellas Reynolds Talks About His New Show
I've been a fan of Marcellas Reynolds since I first saw him on Season 4 ofBig Brother. I recently got a chance to touch base with Marcellas and findout more about what he's been up to and his new Style Network show.

You first appeared on the CBS show 'Big Brother' in Season 3. How has yourlife changed since being on the show?


Tampa Tribune

Gay Marriage Not The Biggest Threat To Cherished Institution

The Tampa Tribune
Published: December 26, 2007

Twenty-seven states have passed constitutional amendments banning same-sexmarriages and next November, Florida could become the 28th.

But backers of the amendment shouldn't expect Florida voters, most of whomdo not approve of gay marriage, to be exercised about this issue during anelection year in which there are so many other important matters to talkabout.

Gay marriage is last season's politics.

Besides, Florida already has a law outlawing marriage between people of thesame sex, so formalizing a ban in the state constitution hardly meritsfront-burner status.

Florida law says a marriage made somewhere else between persons of the samesex is "not recognized for any purpose in this state." The language isclear.

more . . . . .


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