Thursday, December 27, 2007

GLBT DIGEST December 27, 2007

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


Obama Accused Of Using Preacher Endorsements That Were Not Made

by The Associated Press
Posted: December 27, 2007 - 8:00 am ET

(Columbus, Missouri) Two black South Carolina ministers listed by BarackObama's campaign as endorsing his White House bid say they did no suchthing, and at least two others affirmed their support only after beingcontacted by campaign workers when questions were raised about theirendorsements.

Earlier this month, Obama's campaign released a list of what it said werenearly 130 senior pastors in South Carolina endorsing his run for theDemocratic nomination. But when contacted by The Associated Press, severalministers said they have yet to decide who will get their vote and wereunclear how they ended up on the Illinois senator's list.

"I really haven't decided to endorse him yet. I was thinking about it," saidthe Rev. Clifford Gaymon of Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church in ruralClarendon County.

An Obama spokeswoman said the list was created after campaign organizerscalled ministers and asked to release their names publicly.

"We used all our resources to ensure we had the most accurate and up-to-datelist, and we worked to check with everyone on the list," said South Carolinaspokeswoman Amaya Smith. "It's a pretty long list of people."

But some ministers

more . . . . .


Poll Shows Voters Still Examining Candidates

by The Associated Press
Posted: December 27, 2007 - 8:00 am ET

(Washington) Dig beneath the surface of the raucous Republican presidentialrace and you will find even deeper turmoil: Four in 10 GOP voters haveswitched candidates in the past month alone, and nearly two-thirds say theymay change their minds again.

Mike Huckabee, who has roared to a tie with longtime front-runner RudyGiuliani, has little reason to feel safe, according to an ongoing nationalsurvey conducted for The Associated Press and Yahoo News.

Half of all voters - including four in 10 Republicans - know too littleabout Huckabee to even say whether they have a favorable impression of him,let alone whether he is conservative, liberal or moderate. That could beominous, because it gives his rivals the opportunity to define him. WitnessMitt Romney's criticism of the former Arkansas governor on immigration andFred Thompson's contention that he raised taxes "like a Democrat."

The Democratic side is less chaotic, with Hillary Rodham Clinton maintaininga clear lead nationally over Barack Obama, though voters are still doingplenty of shifting. About one in five backs a different contender than inNovember, and nearly half say they still may settle on someone else,according to the poll conducted by Knowledge Networks.

This ground-level view of the 2008 race is made possible by an AP-Yahoo Newssurvey that will periodically question the same 2,000 people until ElectionDay, repeatedly seeking their views about politics, the country and theirown lives. That will produce a picture of how the campaign is playing outfrom the perspective of voters like Matthew Larson, 29, of Mankato, Minn.,who since last month has moved from Giuliani to Huckabee.

more . . . . .


Dutch Court Denies Iranian Teen's Asylum Plea

December 27, 2007

A court in the Netherlands has ruled that a gay 19-year-old Iranian mustreturn to the United Kingdom, where he faces deportation back to Iran,according to a report in the UK Gay News.

"I was refused the right to appeal of asylum in the Netherlands because ofthe Dublin Treaty," Medhi told the UK Gay News by telephone Wednesdayafternoon. "Obviously, I am very disappointed at judge's decision." Medhi'slawyer is making a final appeal to the Netherlands High Court.

The ruling was based on the Dublin Treaty, a European Union law thatprevents asylum seekers from applying in multiple E.U. states.

Mehdi says he's worried that the early decision from the court -- thedecision wasn't expected until the new year -- meant he'd be deported to theU.K. over the holidays.

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

While studying in England, Medhi learned that Parham, his former boyfriendin Iran, had been arrested by authorities. Before being executed, Parham hadrevealed Medhi's name to interrogators. Medhi fled to the Netherlands fromEngland last spring when a tribunal dismissed his appeal againstdeportation. According to Medhi's uncle, the appeal for asylum failedbecause the tribunal judge found that dates on Iranian paperwork did notmatch the young man's story. However, the uncle told UK Gay News the Iraniancalendar is different from that observed in the West. (The Advocate)



Anything But Straight
December 26, 2007

Florida Marriage Battle

With Republicans deeply dissatisfied with their presidential candidates theyhave turned to chicanery to try to steal the 2008 election. This time, theyhave recruited surrogates on the Religious Right to place a constitutionalamendment banning gay unions on the ballot. Although they deny theirintentions are politically motivated, it can hardly be a coincidence thatthe Republican Party of Florida was the largest contributor of the petitiondrive, funneling $300,000 of the $557,000 raised.

Such cynical manipulation worked wonders for the Republicans in 2004 - whenthey used this strategy to turn out right wing voters in droves. In total,there are now 27 states that have constitutional amendments prohibitingmarriage equality. The anti-marriage train seemed unstoppable until it wasderailed in Arizona, where voters narrowly rejected a ban by a 52-48 vote.

The key to this desert victory was that voters were persuaded that theproposed amendment would affect domestic partner benefits for unmarriedheterosexual partners - particularly senior citizens. This message couldresonate in Florida with its huge population of seniors. Indeed, informingthis demographic of the consequences of passing this amendment appears to bethe central strategy in defeating it.

"Because of how the laws are structured on Social Security, they've [seniorcitizens] set up their households together as opposed to getting marriedbecause they would be penalized in terms of eligibility," Bentley Lipscomb,AARP's 1999-2006 state director, told The Florida Times-Union. "The way thatamendment is worded, it would affect those individuals even though they'renot homosexual."

Unfortunately, John Stemberger, state chairman of the Florida4Marriage.orgcampaign has also studied the Arizona battle.

"They know from the 27 others states whose citizens passed marriageamendments, that if they debate homosexual marriage straight up, they willloose," said Stemberger. "Shame on them for such desperate tactics in tryingto scare Florida's most vulnerable and precious citizens - our seniors."

Stemberger is very good at distilling the argument and articulating his sideof the debate. He is also a polished presence on television, making him aforce to be reckoned with.


Forwarded from Donald Cavanaugh

The Palm Beach Post is looking for love stories - Today's Accent, page 1 atbottom

"Have the two of you overcome hardship and come out stronger for it? Haveyou been in love for so many years you can't imagine life without oneanother? Or are you a young couple just as head over heels but facingobstacles that test you - you're trying to adopt, you're kept apart bycircumstances, your child has special needs? Are you a husband taking careof a wife? A wife whose husband just returned from overseas? Have youexperienced loss together, or been so utterly lucky in love that you can'tbelieve your good fortune? Tell us what makes your relationship special.

We're looking for all kinds of couples with all kinds of love stories.Please mail your love stories to Gwendolynne Berry at Orsend your letters to Gwendolynne Berry, The Palm Beach Post, PO Box 24696,West Palm Beach, FL 33416. Please contact her by Jan. 7.

Of course there is a heterosexist assumption but our community has plenty oflove stories to tell so please think about submitting yours and pass thisalong to others who might be interested.

Thanks! And Happy New Year!

Donald Cavanaugh
561-582-0971 preferred


December 28, 2007
Make A Year End Donation to HeartStrong!

Hi Everyone...

Hope everyone is enjoying time spent with friends and family. After avery long year of outreach work and educational forums we are taking ashort break until the 1st of the year.

None of the work could have been accomplished without you, our faithfulsupporters. HeartStrong is one of the very few all volunteer, nationalGLBT non profit organizations left.

As religious school enrollments explode worldwide and thegroups/organizations/churches running them seem intent on continuing thefaith-based anti-GLBT bullying and persecution, the work of HeartStrongbecomes increasingly more relevant than when it began back in 1996.

The goal of HeartStrong for 2008 is for it to be the first year that weactually raise all of the money for our budget for the year. Theprojected budget for HeartStrong for one year is $152,000.00. It's a verysmall amount, yet there hasn't been one year in our ten year history thatwe've raised that amount in one year.

Generally we receive 1/3 to 1/2 of that each year. That means we couldmore than double the work if we only reached our goal.

There are about 23 of you who are already monthly or quarterly donors toHeartStrong. Without you, none of the lives we have saved and turnedaround over the past ten years would have been reached at all. We areextremely grateful to you for your unyielding support.

There are nearly 3,000 of you on this email list. I know that most of yousupport the work of HeartStrong and are encouraged by the things thisorganization has accomplished. I hear, see, and feel that as we travelthe country and meet with you at our various educational forums.

If you have never made a tax deductible donation to HeartStrong or, ifit's been a while since your last gift, I can't think of a better time tomake a donation. Your year end gift will help HeartStrong reach it's goalfor 2008. It's SO easy to do and you will receive a receipt to use foryour 2007 taxes.

What HeartStrong needs the most are monthly pledges. Donors like you whogift a consistent amount. Big gifts are always helpful but many of ourdonors give just $10, $25, or $50 a month. You can even have us set up amonthly donation from your credit/debit card so you don't even have toremember to mail a check every month. If you are interested in making apledge for a monthly donation, email me at andI'll work with you personally to set up your pledge.

If you are interested in making a onetime donation to HeartStrong you canclick on the link below and make your donation online using our securedonation page. (We use PAYPAL for our online donations but you don't haveto have a PAYPAL account to use this free service. Just follow the easyinstructions through the link below.)

You may also mail your donation directly to us and use your credit card,check or money order. Mail your donation to HeartStrong, PO Box 2051,Seattle WA 98122. (Note: In order for your donation to count for 2007 taxpurposes, HeartStrong needs to receive your gift no later than Monday,December 31. Making an online credit card donation or emailing me to setup your monthly pledge is the fastest way to give to HeartStrong.)

This is your way to be part of something exciting and life saving.
Imagine what it would mean to HeartStrong if EVERYONE reading this emailclicked on our donation link below
and made a donation right now.

Please think carefully about helping HeartStrong with a monthly pledge ora onetime gift to help us reach our budget for 2008. I believe it canhappen. I believed it more than ten years ago when I founded thisorganization and I still have faith today.

I hope to hear from you soon!

Thanks again for your support.

Marc Adams
Executive Director




Moscow Prosecutor Officially Accuses Gay Pride Organiser in Slander Case
First 'outing' of Russian politician goes to court

MOSCOW, December 26, 2007 ( - Nikolai Alekseev, the organiserof Moscow Gay Pride, will be in court soon facing charges of slander andinsult following his "outing" of a former State Duma (Parliament) deputy onlive national television.

The Moscow prosecutors department have completed criminal investigationagainst the Mr. Alekseev.

The investigation was started after a complaint by former State Dumadeputy Alexander Chuev, who accused the Pride organiser of slander andinsults.

Prosecutors today confirmed the accusation against Nikolai Alekseevbased on Articles 129 (slander) and 130 (insult) of Russian Criminal Code.

On June 21, Mr. Alekseev made the first ever outing of gay politician inRussia's history. Speaking on the NTV channel's talk show K baryeru!, heallegedly called deputy Alexander Chuev from Fair Russia party a "gay,coward and hypocrite".


The Boston Globe


A ban that helps no one

December 24, 2007

TWENTY YEARS ago, when fear and uncertainty still marked the public'sreaction to AIDS, the federal government banned HIV-positive travelers fromentering the United States. Since it has long been established that thevirus cannot be transmitted through casual contact and can be successfullymanaged, the ban serves no public health purpose. It is merelydiscriminatory, and it has disqualified the United States as a site for someinternational AIDS conferences. It should be dropped.

A step in this direction is a bill by Democratic Senator John Kerry ofMassachusetts and Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon. They wouldrepeal a 1993 measure that enshrined the ban in federal law. Authority overthe admission of HIV-positive visitors and immigrants would return to theDepartment of Health and Human Services.

Although the bill calls for the department to review the public healthaspects of restrictions on persons with the disease, some AIDS activists areskeptical that the department will come up with a policy that genuinelyopens US doors to HIV-positive individuals. If the Kerry bill passes, he andother members of Congress must ride herd on HHS to make sure that anypolicies it adopts are in line with the UN guidelines on HIV/AIDS and humanrights, which state that it is discriminatory and unjustifiable on publichealth grounds to restrict a person's movement or choice of residence basedon HIV status. The United States is one of just 13 nations that have HIVtravel bans. Others on this list include China, Iraq, Libya, and Sudan.

A particularly harmful effect of the current ban is that it undercuts theefforts of US programs in Africa and elsewhere to end the stigma associatedwith AIDS. Stigma often keeps individuals from getting tested for HIV.Testing is the first step toward treatment, and it can prompt people to stoppracticing unsafe sex or using contaminated syringes.

In 2006, President Bush recognized that the ban was self-defeating andcalled on the Department of Homeland Security to improve the current waiverprocess, which is extremely difficult to negotiate. Critics of the ban,however, believe that the proposed new requirements for waivers still putapplicants through humiliating hoops that shred their privacy rights. Theproposals place much authority in the hands of consular officials withlittle medical expertise.

"There have never been public health grounds for denying people living withAIDS admission to the United States," said Frank Donaghue, chief executiveof the Cambridge-based Physicians for Human Rights. At a time when publichealth officials all over the world are doing their best to normalize thetreatment of this disease, ending the ban is just what the doctor ordered.


From Nancy Keenan, NARAL Pro-Choice America

Meet Richard Honaker
Richard Honaker, Bush's latest anti-choice nominee to the federal bench,tried and failed THREE times to ban nearly all abortion care in Wyoming.Does this man really sound like someone who'll be a fair-minded judge? Tellyour senators that Honaker does NOT deserve a lifetime appointment to thefederal bench!

Help NARAL Pro-Choice America defeat Honaker!
President Bush nominated yet another staunch anti-choice activist for alifetime appointment to the federal bench. And he's counting on you notknowing about it! Help NARAL Pro-Choice America expose and defeat thisanti-choice nominee.


FAME: Good news about Plan B!
One year ago, Carrie Baker - a mother of two from Rome, GA - was unable tobuy the emergency contraceptive Plan B at her local Kroger pharmacy. Becauseof pressure from activists like you, Kroger has now assured us that itspolicy requires all stores to stock Plan B and have an on-site employee todispense it to any customer who requests it. Read More >>

SHAME: Gov. Blunt's "task force"
Missouri's rabidly anti-choice governor, Matt Blunt, has assembled a secrettask force composed entirely of anti-choice activists to "assess the impactof abortion on women." After the group's existence was revealed, NARALPro-Choice Missouri asked to participate in order to present medicallyaccurate data, but its request was denied. Learn More >>


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:

As Florida residents prepare to vote on a constitutional ban on same-sexmarriage, a new report gives snapshot of same-sex couples living in thestate. There are almost 55,000 same-sex couples living in Florida, accordingto a report from the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute.The amendmentis expected to appear on the November 2008 ballot. Opponents argue that theban is already adversely affecting children. There are 17,000 children inFlorida being raised by same-sex couples with fewer economic resources,according to the Williams Institute study. "Allowing same-sex couples tomarry might help to ameliorate some of this inequality," Romero said.
"Ultimately, it's the children that stand to benefit." Because it creates alegal connection, it not only secures the well-being of children but is asymbolic gesture, Romero said. "To deny kids the ability to say 'my marriedparents' is significant," he said. Other groups fear the amendment wouldaffect more groups than same-sex couples. Because its language is vague, it's going to extend to any unmarried couple, said Stephen Gaskill, spokesman forFlorida Red and Blue. Many municipalities have domestic partner registriesthat are used to share benefits for unmarried couples, gay or straight,Gaskill said. "It's clear that it opens up all those protections to legalchallenge," Gaskill said. Bentley Lipscomb, Florida's former secretary ofElder Affairs, believes it will hurt senior citizens. Lipscomb said manyelderly people cannot afford to get married because they'll lose SocialSecurity benefits.

Cuba: The veils, gloves, roses and dresses are white. Monica and Elizabethhold hands and exchange rings on this afternoon in Cuba overflowing withsymbolism, tears, laughter and hugs from people who have supported them overthe last two years."I loved you from the moment I first saw you. You werethe woman I was looking for, and I am the woman of your dreams," saysMónica, 19, who cannot help remembering the hard times their relationshipwent through. "We were on the point of living under a bridge, but there werealways good friends who understood and helped us." Elizabeth, 28, responds,moments before the ring and the kiss. "I always said that every day Idiscover something new about you. I'm still amazed at your attitude towardslife's challenges. I owe my strength to you. Because of you, I know where I'mgoing and what I want, and what freedom means. You are my bride, my friendand my lifelong partner."

January 1 will usher in laws in states at opposite sides of the country thatprovide rights for same-sex couples.
In New Hampshire, dozens of gay and lesbian couples will herald the New Yearby having civil unions. A special mass civil union ceremony is planned formidnight January 1 on the Statehouse steps. Other couples will haveceremonies in towns across the state. A new license was created for civilunions and became available at local clerk's offices in towns earlier thismonth. New Hampshire is the fourth state to grant civil unions after NewJersey, Connecticut and Vermont. Neighboring Massachusetts in 2004 becamethe only state to allow gay marriage.


National Gay News

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

Former 'Ex-Gay' Minister Speaks Out
Scott Harrison desperately tried to change his sexual orientation in various"ex-gay" ministries for eight years, three of them as a ministry leader inSouthern California. Most of his experience with ex-gay groups - Christianorganizations that see homosexuality as a choice that can be changed withproper therapy - was with Living Waters and Desert Stream, two curricula ofa national ex-gay network that has more than 80 branches today. WhenHarrison joined in 1982, he felt ex-gay ministers were then a band ofcompassionate outsiders attending to the first AIDS victims. But by the endof that decade, Harrison had taken note of the movement's increasingradicalism, symbolized for him by the minister at the Vineyard ChristianFellowship in San Pedro, Calif., who performed an exorcism on him in anattempt to cast out the "demons" said to be the cause of his homosexuality.

Queer Consumer Survey Surprises
We all know the popular myths about us: Gay men are rich, lesbians lovechildren and pets, and we all work as nurses. As it turns out, there's sometruth to those stereotypes.A recent survey of 25,000 gays and lesbiansrevealed some fascinating facts about lesbian and gay life. We vote a lotmore than straight people, for one thing. For another, lesbians do make lessmoney than gay men -- yet lesbians are slightly more likely than gay men toown their homes. And, yes, medicine is queer folk's career of choice.

Legislature Seen as Unlikely to Take up Gay Marriage Issue
Rhode Island lawmakers seem hesitant to wade any further into the gaymarriage debate during the 2008 legislative year. The issue resurfacedrecently when the state's highest court prevented a lesbian couple marriedin Massachusetts -- the only state where same-sex marriage is legal -- fromgetting divorced in their home state of Rhode Island.

The Gay Agenda in Congress
Political expectations were high at the start of the year. With Democrats incontrol of both houses of Congress, after more than a decade underRepublican majorities, now was the time to move the GLBT legislative agendaforward. But the year ended with little to show and growing frustration,even bitterness, within the community.


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: