Thursday, December 06, 2007

GLBT DIGEST December 5, 2007

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Iran: Prevent Execution of Juvenile Offender

Prisoner Convicted on Recanted Testimony Now Faces Death

(New York, December 5, 2007) - The Iranian government should prevent theexecution of Makwan Mouloudzadeh, who was sentenced to death for crimesallegedly committed when he was aged 13, Human Rights Watch said today.Court authorities in the city of Kermanshah should follow the recent orderby the head of the Judiciary to allow judicial review of the case.

On May 25, 2007, Branch Seven of the Penal Court of the city of Kermanshahsentenced Mouloudzadeh, to death for raping three boys in 2000, even thoughall of his accusers had recanted their statements and he had repudiated hisconfession as being coerced by the police. Mouloudzadeh, now aged 20, wasconvicted as a juvenile offender since the crimes were allegedly committedwhen he was under age 18.

After the Supreme Court in July upheld the conviction, the head of Iran'sjudiciary, Ayatollah Shahrudi, exercised his authority to declare theconviction to be contrary to shari'a (Islamic law). An order by Shahrudi onNovember 3 requires that a branch of the Review and Follow-up Unit of theJudiciary investigate the case and then refer it back to the Penal Court ofKermanshah.

On December 3, Mouloudzadeh's lawyer told Human Rights Watch that theKermanshah court had informed him that the sentence could now be carried outeven though the required judicial review had not been completed.

"The court authorities in Kermanshah are legally obligated to follow theJudiciary's order and halt the execution," said Sarah Leah Whitson, MiddleEast director at Human Rights Watch. "They are rushing to execute a youngman for crimes that even his accusers now admit never took place."

Mouloudzadeh's conviction followed a trial filled with irregularities Iranian lawsconcerning "crimes of chastity" such as rape divest the prosecutor of someof his traditional prerogatives. These laws transfer authority to the penalcourt to question the accusers and arrange for examination by a physician,and to decide whether to bring the case to trial. Acting in defiance ofthese laws, the office of the public prosecutor in Kermanshah conductedthese investigations and decided to take the case to trial.

During the trial, all of Mouloudzadeh's accusers recanted their accusationsagainst him and Mouloudzadeh himself testified that any confessions that hehad made to the police about the alleged crimes were coerced and false. Thejudge did not accept their testimonies and sentenced Mouloudzadeh to death.

Under Iranian law, "crimes of chastity" such as rape are not subject to theregular appellate process, and are instead sent directly to the country'sSupreme Court for review. On July 19, Iran's Supreme Court approved thedeath sentence for Mouloudzadeh, allowing the authorities to carry out thesentence at any time.


Iran leads the world in executing juvenile offenders - persons under 18 atthe time of the crime - and is known to have already executed two juvenileoffenders this year ( Mohammad Reza Mousavi Shirazi, 20, was executed in Adel Abd prison inthe city of Shiraz on April 22, for a murder he was found to have committedwhen he was 16. Sa`id Qanbar Zahi was executed in Zahedan on May 27 for acrime he was found to have committed when he was 17.

Human Rights Watch opposes capital punishment in all circumstances becauseof its cruel and inhumane nature. In particular, in imposing death sentenceson people for crimes committed before the age of 18, Iran flouts clear andspecific human rights obligations. Two key human rights treaties that Iranhas ratified, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights andthe Convention on the Rights of the Child, bar the imposition of the deathpenalty for such offenses. These provisions reflect the reality thatchildren are different from adults. They lack the experience, judgment,maturity and restraint of an adult.

Iranian officials claim that legislation pending in parliament since July2006 would end executions of juvenile offenders. In fact, the legislationwould only offer the possibility of reduced sentences in a small minority ofcases.

For more information, please contact:

In New York, Scott Long (English): +1-212-216-1297; or +1-646-641-5655(mobile)


Suit Vs. Transgender Georgia. Politician Thrown Out

By GREG BLUESTEIN, Associated Press Writer
3:29 PM PST, December 3, 2007

ATLANTA -- A judge dismissed lawsuit Monday that had claimed atransgender city councilwoman tried to fool voters by running as afemale, and the candidate was set to seek re-election Tuesday.

The ruling cleared the way for a runoff to include Michelle Bruce, whois running for a second term on the city council in the suburbanAtlanta town of Riverdale.

"It was a waste of taxpayers' money and the court's time for afrivolous lawsuit," said Bruce, 46. "They're trying to derail the wishof the voters."

City Attorney Deana Johnson said the decision means the runoff slatedfor Tuesday will be held as scheduled, barring a ruling otherwise fromthe Georgia Supreme Court.

Bruce landed one of Riverdale's four council seats in 2003 afterrunning unopposed. She was believed to be the state's firsttransgender politician. She has declined to say if she had surgery tochange her gender.

Bruce captured 312 votes in the Nov. 6 election, not enough to avoid arunoff against Wayne Hall, who earned 202 votes. Third-place finisherGeorgia Fuller, who collected 171 votes, filed a lawsuit.

The complaint, identifying Bruce as "Michael Bruce," claimed shemisled voters by identifying herself as a female and asked a judge torule the vote results invalid and order another general election.

Fuller and her attorney Mike King did not respond to phone calls Monday.

King has said her female name gave her an "unfair advantage" becausethe town's voters tend to vote for females -- particularly incumbentfemales


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Brazil to Dispense Condoms in Schools

AP) -- Brazil's government announced plans to put condom-dispensing machinesin public schools to help teenagers reduce the spread of AIDS.

The health and education ministries and the United Nations sponsored anationwide contest for students to design the dispenser. Three potentialmodels were selected on Friday, the government news agency Agencia Brasilsaid.

Condom machines are to be installed in 100 public schools in 2008, officialssaid.

The head of the National Program of Sexually Transmitted Diseases,Mariangela Simao, said part of the project is educational and aims not to"banalize" the use of condoms. She said 100,000 schools were involved withthe anti-AIDS program.

Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao this week said young Brazilians between13 and 24 were the target of Brazil's anti-AIDS campaign this year. Nearly70,000 cases of AIDS were registered among Brazilians under 24, or about 16

Brazil provides free AIDS drugs to anyone who needs them and hasaggressively pushed drug manufacturers to lower prices.


Equality California

California Legislators Make History on EQCA's 2007 Scorecard

Majority of Lawmakers Vote for EQCA-sponsored Bills 100 Percent of the Time;Governor Receives 88 Percent Score

SACRAMENTO - A majority of the state's lawmakers voted for the rights oflesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians 100 percent ofthe time in 2007, marking the most yes votes cast for LGBT rights in EQCAhistory.

A total of 61 out of 120 legislators earned perfect scores on EqualityCalifornia's 2007 Legislative Scorecard, released today. In all, Californialawmakers cast nearly 750 votes in favor of LGBT equality.

"EQCA's experienced government affairs staff, working closely with keylegislators, the LGBT Legislative Caucus and EQCA members across the state,did what some thought was impossible - passed each and every EQCA-sponsoredmeasure that was introduced during the 2007 legislative session," said EQCAExecutive Director Geoff Kors. "We are only at the midway mark of the2007-2008 legislative session, and already we are seeing record-breakingsuccess in the Legislature with the support of lawmakers who believe in thefair and equal treatment of LGBT Californians."

"As we enter 2008, we are closer than ever to achieving full equality forall Californians," said Assemblymember John Laird, Chair of the LegislativeLGBT Caucus and author of the Civil Rights Act of 2007, sponsored by EQCA."Thanks to the leadership provided by Equality California and my manycolleagues in the Legislature, we are moving California forward by extendingto LGBT people some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections inthe nation."

In 2007, EQCA introduced a record 10 pieces of legislation designed toadvance the rights of LGBT people. It was the largest and most comprehensivelegislative agenda ever for EQCA - and for the LGBT community. TheLegislature passed all 10 measures.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed all but one of the bills sponsored byEQCA, despite fierce opposition from anti-LGBT extremists, giving him ascore of 88 percent, one of the highest ever. The governor scored 71 percenton the 2005-2006 Scorecard, a slight improvement from the 60 percent ratinghe earned in 2005. Gov. Schwarzenegger has only earned a 100 percent ratingonce - on EQCA's 2004 Scorecard, when he signed all three of theEQCA-sponsored bills that went to his desk.



John Edwards talks with LGBT Granite Staters

by Laura Kiritsy
associate editor
Thursday Nov 29, 2007

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards chatted up a small crowd ofLGBT Granite Staters at the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition'sConcord headquarters on Nov. 25, an unusual move for a top-tier candidatewith the state's all-important primary just around the corner on Jan. 8.

Taking a seat on a wooden chair before a group of about 25 people shortlyafter 5 p.m., Edwards skipped his stump speech and told the group, "I'm gladto talk about anything you want to talk about." After fielding severalgeneral questions about his universal healthcare plan, which he said wouldprovide affordable healthcare for all individuals and families, preventdiscrimination based on pre-existing conditions and create parity betweenmedical and mental health coverage, among other things, Edwards was asked bya woman in the audience if his plan would enable transgender people to getcoverage for hormone treatments. The woman explained that there is a billcurrently pending in the New Hampshire legislature that would require healthinsurers to cover the cost of such treatments, since with few exceptionstransgender patients are required to pay for them out of their own pockets.

"I've never been asked [about that], but I'm for it," said Edwards. He lateradded, "It's equality."

Immediately after that, the discussion turned to Edwards' position on legalprotections for same-sex couples when another woman asked the former NorthCarolina senator to "explain how it is that you don't support gay marriagebut you believe in parity for all the federal benefits that gays are notcurrently eligible for?"

"Yes. Can I explain? Not well," he acknowledged with a laugh, which in turndrew chuckles from the audience. As he has stated before, Edwards said hedoes not personally support gay marriage though it's been a source ofinternal conflict for him. "Secondly, I do believe though that thesubstantive rights that are available to heterosexual couples should beavailable to all couples and that's why I'm for civil unions, and I am forthe federal government recognizing and making available every single right"under federal law to same-sex couples. "That's why I think DOMA was wrongwhen it was enacted and I think it's wrong today and I will do everything inmy power to get the Defense of Marriage Act eliminated. It's why I will end'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' on the first day I'm in office. Because I thinkthose things are overtly discriminatory," said Edwards.


Gay & Lesbian Leadership

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

Anti-marriage activists take campaign to Pa. billboards
A coalition of Pennsylvania religious and conservative groups, via abillboard campaign funded by a $300,000 grant from the Knights of Columbus,is trying to revive a failed effort to place a marriage ban on the ballot.The Republican-controlled House and Senate last year approved competingversions of a constitutional ban, but couldn't agree on whether to allowcivil unions; the ban is unlikely to regain momentum with Democrats nowcontrolling the state House. The Philadelphia Inquirer/Associated Press (12/1)

Video, news from gay, lesbian leadership conference
Pam Spaulding offers this video interview with out U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin,D-Wis., and other snippets from the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute'sannual conference held last week in Las Vegas. See the video of the fullinterview at Pam's House Blend.

State Dept. showing lack of diplomacy towards officers' partnersThe State Department and its leader -- Secretary of State CondoleezzaRice -- are facing internal and external criticism for the unequal treatmentof gay officers' same-sex partners, who reportedly are denied medical,security and evacuation benefits available to partners of straightofficials. Read more at and The New York Times' Board blog.

Gates: The more people come out, the less anti-gay politics will workDemographer Gary J. Gates attributes the failure of Kentucky Gov. ErnieFletcher's election strategy -- to convince voters his challenger wanted toturn the state into the "new San Francisco" -- to the state's increase insame-sex couples. "Politicians beware -- playing the gay card may justassure a losing hand," writes Gates, a senior research fellow at the UCLASchool of Law's Williams Institute. The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.)


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:

Is a family broken by divorce preferable to a family with same-sex parents?
Is a family in which one parent has died preferable to a family withsame-sex parents? Mitt Romney thinks so. During a campaign appearance Nov. 1at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, Romney used these examples to callattention to his support for a federal constitutional amendment "to limitmarriage to the relationship between one man and one woman."
During his remarks, Romney was quoted by M.E. Sprenglemeyer of The News assaying "I believe that the development of children is enhanced by having amale and a female as part of their upbringing in their home. Even when there's a divorce, you still have a mom and a dad. And even where one member of thepartnership may pass away, the memory and the characteristics of thatgender, of that partner, influence the development of a child." Romney iscertainly entitled to his beliefs, but this may be an opportunity to pointout that the overwhelming majority of scientific research into this subjectshows the facts do not support him.

The fight over the domestic partnership law passed by the Oregon Legislatureearlier this year is heading to the courts. The Alliance Defense Fund, anArizona-based group formed to fight same-sex marriage, filed a lawsuit infederal court Monday seeking to force the secretary of state to put theissue on next year's ballot.

Jamaica's Ministry of Education has ordered a ban on any book that mentionshomosexuality in a favorable light. The directive followed a decision toremove a book on home economics that has a four sentence mention of familiesheaded by same-sex partners. "It is unfortunate that four sentences on pagefour in the text under the sub-heading family forms, were used to label thetotal text as a gay book; we are very angry about that because that was notthe intention," author Rita Dyer told the Caribbean Media Corporation. "Itsays there is much discussion about what constitutes a family, there seemsto be a broadening of a traditional definition of a family structure andwhen two men or women live together in a relationship as lesbians or gaythey may be considered as a family; they may adopt children or have themthrough artificial means," Dyer said. Jamaica has what has been described asthe worst record of any country in the New World in its treatment of gaysand lesbians.

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope says he will not back down on gay unions, andhas warned his federal Labor colleagues against interfering in the ACT'sbusiness.His strong stance is an early challenge to Prime Minister KevinRudd, who does not support gay marriage.Mr Rudd can use his territory powersto quash the progressive ACT laws, as the previous Liberal administrationdid twice on ACT gay unions.But Mr Stanhope made it clear yesterday he wouldbrook no such intervention from the new Prime Minister. "I expect mycolleagues federally to accept [the legislation] ... I have to say I will bedeeply disappointed if they don't," he said yesterday. We will do what weneed to do to have it passed."Mr Stanhope said he would contact Mr Rudd'soffice this week to arrange a meeting.The ACT Government wants to allowceremonies in which same-sex couples make a legal pledge to each otherbefore an official. Such ceremonies are not allowed anywhere in Australia.Couples could come from other states to marry in the ACT.Gay lobby groupshave warned the bid could fail because Mr Rudd had opposed such ceremoniesduring the election campaign, saying marriage should be between a man and awoman.



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

Celebrating a Decade of Relentless Nonviolent Resistance
Soulforce is pleased to announce our 10th Anniversary & Reunion Gala at7:30pm on Friday, April 25, 2008, at the Marriott Dallas/Fort Worth AirportHotel - near Fort Worth. The evening will be an opportunity for us toconnect with old friends, share stories from direct actions duringSoulforce's first decade, and think ahead about the challenges we face inthe next decade. This upbeat evening will include refreshments, video,music, and guest speakers, with an opportunity to celebrate our historybefore we join together to begin the more serious and focused work ofchallenging the injustice within the United Methodist Church on Saturday andSunday.

Direct Action at the 2008 UMC General Conference

Soulforce will continue our history of resisting injustice within the United
Methodist Church with a direct action at the 2008 General Conference in FortWorth, Texas. The decision makers that Soulforce needs to reach are the 1000clergy and lay delegates of the General Conference.

The United Methodist Church, a global denomination, is the second largestProtestant denomination in the United States. The denomination expresses itsopenness to a broad range of viewpoints in the church with its officialslogan of "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors." Many United Methodistsrecognize the insincerity of this declaration in light of the exclusion ofLGBT persons.

The current U.S. Surgeon General nominee, James W. Holsinger, presides overthe Judicial Council ("Supreme Court") of the United Methodist Church whichissued "Decision 1032" in 2006. In Decision 1032 the highest church court inthe United Methodist Church granted sole authority to local United MethodistChurch pastors to deny church membership to LGBT persons.

Progressives and moderates in the United Methodist Church have rallied inopposition to Decision 1032. But progressives are now on the defensive --with little hope of pressing for LGBT ordination, they are now forced topetition General Conference to overturn the anti-LGBT membership "law"established by the UMC Judicial Council.

Your presence is vital to creating a visible presence and strong voice forjustice. Come to Fort Worth and be a part of continuing Soulforce's historyof seeking justice within the United Methodist Church.For more information and to register please go


National Gay News

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

Dallas, TX: Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez filed to run for re-electionMonday morning as the county's top cop, saying she has made great strides infixing an overcrowded and understaffed jail during the last three years.Sheriff Valdez said she inherited an agency with no accountability and a"badly broken" jail system that wasn't close to meeting the state'srequirements. "This is not the case today," she said. Sheriff Valdezannounced her re-election effort flanked by other Democratic electedofficials during a news conference at her party's Dallas headquarters.Monday was the first day candidates could officially file to run for office.The sheriff's race is shaping up to be one of the county's most watchedcontests, with six candidates so far. The filing deadline is Jan. 2. SheriffValdez's surprise win against a politically connected and heavily financedopponent in 2004 made national headlines. At the time, she was a politicalunknown - a career federal agent who is openly gay. She became the firstLatina sheriff in Dallas County's history.

Outgames Headed to Vancouver? Vancouver will be quite gay in the summer of2011 if civic leaders stumping for the North America Continental Outgamesand Human Rights Conference have their way.Some 3,500 gay, lesbian, bisexualand transgendered athletes and up to 2,500 delegates to the conference couldattend, Vancouver Pride Society president John Boychuk said yesterday.

Ireland: Brian Lenihan, Ireland's Minister for Justice, Equality and LawReform, will make his first address to a lesbian and gay audience today whenhe launches the annual report of the Gay Lesbian Equality Network. The GLENreport outlines the considerable progress towards legal recognition forsame-sex couples and the advances made in other areas including communitysafety strategies with the Gardaí (Irish police).

Is the US ready to join Britain, Israel, most NATO nations, and othercountries in allowing gay men and lesbians to openly serve in the armedforces? Most likely not any time soon. But the US military's longstandingaversion to having such service members among the ranks seems to beshifting, reflecting public opinion.


Ban on 'anti-gay' music?

Brighton has become the first place in the UK to ban music that "inciteshatred towards minorites".

The seaside town has a big gay population and clubs could lose their licenceif they play music with homophobic lyrics.

The new rule could stop some hip hop and reggae acts from putting on gigs inthe city.

A club in Brighton cancelled a concert by controversial dancehall artistBuju Banton last year. The Jamaican singer wrote a song, Boom Bye Bye, in1992 which featured homophobic lyrics.


Trans Politician Loses Runoff

by The Associated Press
Posted: December 5, 2007 - 6:30 am ET

(Riverdale, Georgia) A transgender city council member lost a re-electionbid in a runoff Tuesday after a lawsuit that claimed she tried to foolvoters by running as a woman.

Michelle Bruce said that even though a judge dismissed the lawsuit the daybefore the vote (story), the suit served its intended purpose.

"It was a personal attack," said Bruce, who was seeking a second term. "Itwas aimed at getting me out."

Bruce got 223 votes, compared to 308 votes for Wayne Hall, election returnsshowed.

Bruce, 46, landed one of Riverdale's four council seats in 2003 afterrunning unopposed. She was believed to be the state's first transgenderpolitician. She has declined to say if she had surgery to change her gender.

more . . . . .


High-Profile Sex Scandals Linked by Same Male Escort

December 05, 2007

One of the rising stars of evangelical Christian politics resigns afterallegations that he had sex with a man. More than a year later, aconservative U.S. senator is embroiled in a similar scandal.

The allegations against the Reverend Ted Haggard and Sen. Larry Craig have acommon thread: A 50-year-old former prostitute from Denver named Mike Jonesclaims he had sex with both.

''I'll put my credibility up against Larry Craig's,'' Jones told theAssociated Press on Monday. ''Here's a man that doesn't know the differencebetween innocence and guilty.... I think people know he's been a liar. Andmore than a liar, so much in denial."

Craig maintains he is not gay and has denied the latest allegations. Hisspokesman called Jones a liar who is trying to sell a book about hisinvolvement with Haggard.

Jones is among eight men quoted in the Idaho Statesman newspaper, allegingsexual encounters with the Republican senator. Jones was among four men whoagreed to be identified by name.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Helicopter Parenting Turns Deadly
Tags: lori drew, megan meier, teen suicide

November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm

Megan Meier, a 13-year-old from Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, killed herselflast year after an online relationship she believed she was having with acute 16-year-old boy named Josh went very sour. What she didn't know - whather parents would learn six weeks after her death - was that "Josh" was thefictitious creation of Lori Drew, a then-47-year-old neighbor and the motherof one of Megan's friends.

Or former friends. Megan had, essentially, dropped the other girl when she'dchanged schools and tried to put an unhappy chapter of her junior highschool life - fraught with weight problems and depression - behind her.Drew's daughter, one assumes, would have eventually gotten over it. But Drewdidn't. Instead, she got revenge.

She created a fake MySpace profile (she later told police she'd done so to"find out what Megan was saying online" about her daughter, according to asheriff's report). Working with her daughter, she led Megan to becomeinfatuated with "Josh." And then she delivered the blow. "I don't like theway you treat your friends," Drew wrote. According to Megan's father, "Josh"'s last e-mail to his daughter read, "You are a bad person and everybody hatesyou . The world would be a better place without you."

The Meier case got massive play in the national media this past week, comingas it did on the heels of a major new survey showing that up to one in threechildren in the United States have been harassed or bullied online.

But for me the tragedy highlighted another troubling issue that threatensour homes just as steadily as poisonous online communications. That is thedisturbing degree to which today's parents - and mothers in particular -frequently lose themselves when they get caught up in trying to smooth out,or steamroll over, the social challenges faced by their children.

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The New York Times

A Church Is Divided, and Headed for Court

December 5, 2007

SAVANNAH, Ga. - For 274 years, there has been one Christ Church here, and itis a congregation with a proud history.

Started with a land grant from King George of England and led by famousnames like John Wesley and George Whitfield, Christ Church has been thespiritual home of some of this city's most notable residents, includingJuliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts.

So it was unsettling, to say the least, for some longtime members whenChrist Church, which is believed to be the first church established inGeorgia, voted recently to part ways with the Episcopal diocese it had beena part of for more than 200 years to join an Anglican diocese in Uganda.

"I just feel a tremendous loyalty to this church, and I am confused aboutthis situation," said Frances R. Maclean, 85, a member of Christ Church for55 years who saw her children baptized and then married in its century-oldchapel. "What is this business about Uganda?"

Since 2003, when the Episcopal Church affirmed its first openly gay bishop,roughly 55 parishes nationwide have split with the denomination to affiliatewith more conservative Anglican dioceses in Africa, according to recordskept by the national church.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Cardinal Tells of Assault Over Sexual-Abuse Cases

December 5, 2007

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 4 - Cardinal Roger Mahony, the leader of the Archdioceseof Los Angeles, told fellow priests that he was assaulted last summer by aman who yelled angry statements about the sexual abuse of children by RomanCatholic priests.

Cardinal Mahony first spoke about the attack at an annual gathering of localpriests in October, according to priests who attended the meeting. Thecardinal described being approached last July by an unidentified man outsideOur Lady of Angels Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles, said the Rev. MichaelGutierrez, who was at the meeting.

"He went down there to drop something off at the mailbox when this guyapproached him, saying some stuff," said Father Gutierrez, pastor of St.Anne Catholic Church in Santa Monica. "Then, boom, the guy was on him."

The attack, according to Father Gutierrez and others, occurred days after aLos Angeles Superior Court judge approved a $660 million settlement betweenthe archdiocese and more than 500 local victims of abuse by the clergy. Thesettlement is the largest of its kind in the country.

No report about the assault was filed with the Los Angeles PoliceDepartment, a police spokesman said. "We don't know if the assault did ordid not happen," said the spokesman, Sgt. Lee Sands, who said Tuesday thathe was trying to get in touch with Cardinal Mahony.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Brolin, Hirsch, Franco Got "Milk" Roles

Filed at 4:26 a.m. ET
December 5, 2007

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch and James Francoare in final negotiations to join Sean Penn in a movie about Harvey Milk,the country's first openly gay elected official.

"Milk," from director Gus Van Sant, stars Penn in the title role as a SanFrancisco city supervisor who was assassinated in 1978 by a political rival.

Brolin will play the rival, Dan White, who shot both Milk and San FranciscoMayor George Moscone to death at City Hall. Hirsch has been cast as Milk'spolitical ally Cleve Jones, a gay-rights activist who went on to found theNAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Franco will play Scott Smith, Milk'slover and campaign manager.

Principal photography is set to begin in January in San Francisco. FocusFeatures will distribute worldwide.

Brolin is in theaters with both "No Country For Old Men" and "AmericanGangster" and Hirsch with the Penn-directed "Into the Wild." Francoco-starred in "Spider-Man 3" and "In the Valley of Elah."


The New York Times

In Macho Argentina, a New Beacon for Gay Tourists

Buenos Aires Journal
December 3, 2007

BUENOS AIRES - Home to the sexy tango and strapping meat-eaters, this SouthAmerican capital has long been thought of as a bastion of macho attitudes.But a new hotel here is adding to the city's growing image as a bastion ofgay-friendliness.

The Axel Hotel, a Spanish import that opened in November, has come tosymbolize Buenos Aires's increasingly aggressive effort to court gay dollarsand euros. It is Latin America's first luxury hotel built exclusively withgay customers in mind.

That Buenos Aires would be chosen for such a marketing experiment is aresult of a marked change over the past several years in the acceptance ofgay men and lesbians in Argentine society. This city of three million peoplehas come a long way from the years of military dictatorship, when beingopenly gay could lead to jail. Five years ago this was the first major LatinAmerican city to legalize same-sex unions, and this summer it was host to aWorld Cup for gay soccer players, a first in the region.

"There is so much more freedom these days," said Mauricio Urbides, a28-year-old fashion designer, who sipped red wine with two male friends atthe hotel recently. "You see gays on television here, in government. Just 15years ago it was a completely different situation."

The three friends were among a mixed crowd of homosexuals and heterosexualswho laughed as Kyra and Sharon, drag queens from Barcelona, Spain, poked funat Argentina's president-elect, Cristina Fern√°ndez de Kirchner, and sang aMarilyn Monroe-inspired "Happy Birthday to You" to a male guest.

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UK Court Blocks Jerry Springer Blasphemy Case

Filed at 8:39 a.m. ET
December 5, 2007

LONDON (Reuters) - The High Court ruled on Wednesday that a Christianactivist may not prosecute a BBC executive under blasphemy laws over thecorporation's screening of "Jerry Springer - The Opera."

Based on U.S. television host Jerry Springer's brash talk show, the musicaldepicts Jesus being referred to as "a little bit gay" and features Eveattempting to fondle his genitals.

The British public broadcaster's decision to air the show in 2005 sparkeddemonstrations, a record number of complaints from viewers and a heateddebate about whether freedom of expression was more important than religioussensitivities.

Stephen Green of the Christian Voice group went to London's High Court totry to overturn a decision by a district judge not to allow him to pursuehis case against BBC Director-General Mark Thompson and Jon Thoday, themusical's producer.

But in a ruling handed down on Wednesday, two senior judges said the showdid not contravene blasphemy laws.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

One-Third of HIV-Infected Gay Men Have Unsafe Sex: CDC

By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter
Tuesday, December 4, 2007; 12:00 AM

MONDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Two new U.S. studies of gay and bisexualmen who know they are infected with HIV show that more than one-third haverecently had unprotected intercourse.

In many cases, these men are engaging in unprotected sex with otherHIV-infected men -- a practice called "serosorting," where partners with asimilar, HIV-positive blood test status decide to forego condoms.

However, "we also found that almost a third of the men -- 31.4 percent --said that they had had unprotected anal intercourse with at least onepartner of unknown serostatus, and almost a quarter had unprotectedintercourse with a partner who they knew was HIV uninfected," said the leadauthor of one of the studies, Dr. Kenneth Mayer, medical research directorat Fenway Community Health, in Boston.

He and other researchers in HIV/AIDS presented their findings during ateleconference Monday, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control andPrevention's National HIV Prevention Conference, in Atlanta.

"There are now more than one million people estimated to be living with HIVin the United States, more than ever before," said Dr. Kevin Fenton,director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD andTB Prevention.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

Ex-Ambassador Criticizes Rice
Envoy Unhappy With State Department's Treatment of Gays

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 5, 2007; A27

Michael E. Guest, a tall, soft-spoken man with salt-and-pepper hair, looksevery bit the diplomat. At the young age of 43, at the start of the Bushadministration, he was named ambassador to Romania, and since he returned in2004 he has trained new ambassadors before they ship out overseas.

But last month, after 26 years in the Foreign Service, he did something uncharacteristically undiplomatic.

Guest resigned from the State Department, giving up a career he loved, inorder to protest rules and regulations that he believes are unfair to thesame-sex partners of Foreign Service officers, giving them fewer benefitsthan family pets. He had spent the years since his return from Bucharesttrying to win changes in policies, appealing directly to Secretary of StateCondoleezza Rice, but said his proposals were met with indifference andinertia.

"I've felt compelled to choose between obligations to my partner, who is myfamily, and service to my country," Guest told a crowd of 75 senior StateDepartment officials, a few steps from Rice's office, at his retirementceremony on Nov. 20, according to a transcript of his remarks. "That anyoneshould have to make that choice is a stain on the secretary's leadership,and a shame for this institution and our country."

Within the State Department, gay men and lesbians are widely accepted, incontrast to the military, where an admission of homosexuality is grounds fordismissal. But Guest and others say the State Department's regulations havenot kept pace with the department's culture, especially as Foreign Serviceofficers overseas face increasing dangers.

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Chicago Tribune,1,3069912.story

New sex allegations test Sen. Craig's boldness

By Paul Kane
Washington Post
11:28 AM CST, December 4, 2007

On Labor Day weekend, Sen. Larry E. Craig, R-Idaho, told the nation he wouldresign within weeks because of the uproar over his arrest in a sex sting inan airport men's room. To stay and fight, Craig said in a news conferencecarried live by cable news channels, would be "an unwanted and unfairdistraction" from his work as a senator and his responsibilities to hiscolleagues.

This week, three months later, Craig returns to Congress in the wake of themost lurid allegations about his conduct to date, vowing yet again to finishout his term, having long since abandoned his promise to step down quietlyfor the good of his constituents and his party.

Far from hiding in disgrace, Craig carries on with his odd new normal: Afterdodging television cameras in the early days of the scandal, he now quietlyattends political fund-raisers, meets with Cabinet nominees and attends toconstituents.

Craig will, in fact, end his week on Capitol Hill on Thursday by casting hissecret ballot in GOP caucus leadership elections -- contests that can bedecided by a single vote -- then take off on a military jet to Bali,Indonesia, at taxpayer expense, part of a congressional delegation to aUnited Nations summit on global warming.

This stay-the-course approach comes as Craig battles detailed allegations ofhomosexual acts that conflict with his adamant statement that he is "notgay," made in August after news broke of his arrest in a sting conductedafter complaints of lewd behavior in a Minneapolis airport restroom. Craigpleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

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