Due to an overload in our "To Do List," we will not send National/World and Florida Digests today. Hopefully, we'll get back on schedule soon....
Inflight E-Mail Takes Off With JetBlue
Matt Hamblen, Computerworld
Thursday, December 06, 2007 4:00 PM PST
The first free U.S. inflight e-mail and instant messaging service willlaunch next Tuesday aboard a JetBlue flight leaving Kennedy Airport in NewYork.
JetBlue Airways is working with Yahoo Inc. and Research In Motion Ltd. onthe "BetaBlue" flight that will also carry passengers to San Francisco,according to The Wall Street Journal.
A JetBlue spokeswoman would only say that the carrier will releaseinformation on the "innovative onboard product" on Tuesday. Spokesmen forYahoo and RIM could not be reached immediately for comment.
After several months of trial flights on the A320 aircraft, JetBlue willdecide whether to install the system fleetwide. Wi-Fi-equipped laptops withYahoo Mail or Yahoo Messenger clients will be able to send and receivee-mail and messages to people on the ground, while Wi-Fi-ready BlackBerrysmart phones, including the 8820 and the Curve 8320, will be able to accessBlackBerry e-mail and instant messages.
JetBlue conducted a test flight yesterday on the East Coast, in which aJetBlue spokesman was able to send an e-mail to a Journal reporter andreceive a reply. Several airlines have discussed pilots of similar servicesand what to charge for them, but JetBlue's system is the first to take offwith passengers.
Huckabee Wanted to Isolate AIDS Patients
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 8, 2007
Filed at 9:54 a.m. ET
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Mike Huckabee once advocated isolating AIDSpatients from the general public, opposed increased federal funding in thesearch for a cure and said homosexuality could ''pose a dangerous publichealth risk.''
As a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in 1992, Huckabee answered 229questions submitted to him by The Associated Press. Besides a quarantine,Huckabee suggested that Hollywood celebrities fund AIDS research from theirown pockets, rather than federal health agencies.
''If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with theAIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of thisplague,'' Huckabee wrote.
''It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is thefirst time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuineplague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which thisdeadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rightsissue instead of the true health crisis it represents.''
The AP submitted the questionnaire to both candidates; only Huckabeeresponded. Incumbent Sen. Dale Bumpers won his four term; Huckabee waselected lieutenant governor the next year and became governor in 1996.
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Everything's Perfect, Except ...
By GAIL COLLINS
December 8, 2007
The peak of my sympathy for Mitt Romney came when he was being battered onone side by Christian fundamentalists who think his faith is a cult and onthe other by fellow Mormons, who were irate when he fudged the fact thatthey believe Jesus will return to earth and build a new Jerusalem in JacksonCounty, Mo.
This week, Mitt made his much-anticipated religion speech, and stood up forhis rights not to be discriminated against for his beliefs, and not to haveto explain the part about Jackson County. Good for him on both counts.
... Except that you have to wonder why he felt compelled to dip into dogmajust long enough to assure voters that he believes "Jesus Christ is the Sonof God and the Savior of mankind."
Romney's message, which boiled down to let's-all-be-religious-together, wascertainly different from the John Kennedy version, which argued that acandidate's religion is irrelevant. But then Kennedy was speaking to thecountry, while Romney had his attention fixed on the approximately 35,000Iowa religious conservatives who will tip the balance in thefirst-in-the-nation Republican caucus.
Can I pause here briefly to point out that in New York there areapproximately 35,000 people living on some blocks? If my block got to decidethe first presidential caucus, I guarantee you we would be as serious aboutour special role as the folks in Iowa are. And right now Mitt Romney wouldbe evoking the large number of founding fathers who were agnostics.
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Defining Domestic Partners
A little-noticed regulation defining domestic partnerships in state lawlooks like it could be the opening act for the General Assembly's upcomingdebate over same-sex marriage.
The regulation was released by Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration thisweek in time for a new law on health insurance coverage to take effectJan..1. The law, passed in the final hours of the legislature's wintersession, requires health insurers to offer coverage to domestic partners iftheir employers ask for it.
The measure handily passed the House of Delegates. But to overcomeresistance in the more conservative state Senate, its sponsors stripped outthe definition of domestic partners and left it to the Maryland InsuranceAdministration to come up with language in a regulation.
The definition has incensed some Republicans. Domestic partners can bestraight or gay and must be living together and in a "committed relationshipof mutual interdependence" for at least six consecutive months, says theproposed regulation. The couple can verify their union with three documents,choosing from among other items a will, a joint bank account and a driver'slicense listing a common address.
Del. Michael D. Smigiel Sr.Ö (R-Cecil County) called the regulation'sissuance "a purely political move" by Democrats in Annapolis to lay thegroundwork to legalize gay marriage when the legislature convenes for its90-day session next month.
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Romney Recasts Record on Abortion
Saturday, December 8, 2007; A06
Announcer: When it wasn't politically correct, he stood up for life inMassachusetts. When it wasn't politically correct, he fought for English inthe classroom. When it wasn't politically correct, he said marriage shouldbe between a man and a woman.
Mitt Romney: You strengthen the American people by strengthening theAmerican family. Marriage must come before children, because every childdeserves a mother and a father.
Announcer: A stronger America.
This Iowa ad attempts to defuse criticism of Mitt Romney as a flip-flopperwho changed his stance on key social issues. But it engages in revisionisthistory to do so.
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Elections? Here's How You Do It, Mate
By John Barron
Sunday, December 9, 2007; B01
From our downunder perspective here in Australia, the United States is allabout choice. Everywhere you look, there are so many options. The hugevariety of breakfast cereals in the average American supermarket is enoughto make me feel like I've just escaped the Soviet Union circa 1958. It's thesame with your presidential politics; the spectrum of candidates andpolitical ideologies you have to choose from is positively dazzling.
By contrast, Aussie politicians mostly tend to follow the Henry Fordprinciple, slightly modified: "Any color you like, as long as it's beige."
We recently had an election here, and the whole thing was like that, prettybeige. We had precisely two candidates, and they were barelydistinguishable, except that one headed the Liberal Party (the mainconservative group) and the other was the candidate of Labor (founded by theunion movement). Our entire federal election campaign lasted exactly sixweeks -- a long slog, according to pundits and voters alike. After a month,most people were moaning, "I just want it to be over!"
So you can see why, to us Aussies, your two-year process, from candidateannouncements to Inauguration Day, might seem a tad excessive. If notdownright, well, absurd.
This past summer in Iowa, I had the chance to size up most of the currentcrop of U.S. presidential candidates, and I had to wonder how on Earthyou're going to choose from this most diverse field ever of would-bepresidents. Gadding about the Hawkeye State, I saw Rudy Giuliani and JohnMcCain working the crowd with one-liners, Bill Richardson cornering peoplein dark alleys at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, and Sens. Chris Dodd and JoeBiden explaining how the six or seven candidates ahead of them in the pollswere going to crash and burn just like Howard Dean in 2004.
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Broward County ponders charging cities jail fees for holding homeless
County would charge cities to confine those arrested for municipal offenses
By Scott Wyman and Alexia Campbell
December 8, 2007
A new front has opened up in the political battle over cities arresting thehomeless and poor on minor municipal charges from loitering to having anopen container of alcohol.
Broward County commissioners are exploring whether to charge cities to holdthose arrested in jail. The proposal was disclosed nine months after PublicDefender Howard Finkelstein announced his office no longer would representpeople charged solely with violating city ordinances, potentially shiftingthat cost as well to cities.
The jail charges that cities would owe the county would be at least $90 aday per inmate. City officials were surprised by the proposal and say thecounty would be shirking a responsibility.
"I thought it was an obligation of the county to run a jail to keep ourresidents safe," said Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper, president of theBroward League of Cities. "People in the county are taxed for that, and thecounty should provide that service."
An estimated 1,500 people a year are arrested on municipal charges.
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Broward Judge Alemán's case talk of legal circles
BY TRENTON DANIEL
Posted on Sat, Dec. 08, 2007
Some judges at the Broward County Courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdalehave become known for less-than-exemplary behavior. Smoking marijuana in apark. Using offensive language in court. Weeping over a deceased Playboypin-up.
So when a judge rips a paper motion in half and gets dragged before theJudicial Qualifications Commission -- a very rare occurrence -- one isinclined to ask: What gives?
A few of those errant judges resigned, avoiding the scrutiny of the JQC --and the possibility of public testimony.
On Thursday, the JQC wrapped up three full days of testimony in its reviewof the misconduct charges against Broward County Circuit Court Judge CherylAlemán. Appointed to the bench by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2001, Alemán was accusedof violating a few judicial canons -- chiefly, that she actedunprofessionally and unfairly held, or threatened to hold, lawyers incontempt of court.
Observers say Alemán's case highlights the JQC's important role: It keepsthe judiciary in check, even if the independent agency -- which operatesoutside of the state court system -- conducts its investigations in secret.
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Survey: Robocalls Run Rampant
by The Associated Press
Posted: December 8, 2007 - 7:30 am ET
(Washington) Next time you phone Aunt Betty in Des Moines and she answerswith a bark, don't take it personally. Folks in Iowa, New Hampshire andSouth Carolina have gotten lots of unsolicited telephone calls and visitslately from presidential campaigns. So says a telephone poll.
Eight in 10 Iowa Republicans and Democrats say they have gotten recordedphone calls about the 2008 contest, according to a poll of three earlyvoting states released Friday by The Associated Press and the nonpartisanPew Foundation. It's close to seven in 10 in New Hampshire and four in 10 inSouth Carolina, where the primaries are slightly later.
Almost two-thirds of Iowa Democrats and more than half from the party in NewHampshire say they've been called by actual people about the campaigns,compared with nearly half of Republicans in the two states. In SouthCarolina, it's closer to one-fifth for members of both parties.
If that's not enough, about one-third of Democrats in Iowa ap nd NewHampshire say they have been visited at home by campaign workers. Thefigures are more like one in 10 among Republicans in those states, and veryfew in South Carolina.
Often, people actually seek out campaign activity, the poll shows.
Forty-five percent of Iowa Democrats and 28 percent from New Hampshire saythey have attended campaign events. Among Republicans, 28 percent from Iowaand 20 percent from New Hampshire have done so. It's more like one in 10 inSouth Carolina.
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Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
New York - Pride Agenda
Winter 2008 Newsletter
Our winter 2008 newsletter is available online now. Download a PDF version
In it, we talk about building momentum across the state to pass the GenderExpression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) so that once and for alldiscrimination against transgender people is outlawed in New York State.Executive Director Alan Van Capelle also talks about how to build a pro-LGBTmajority next year in the State Senate.
Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
UN'S TOP RIGHTS CHIEF SPEAKS OUT AGAINST EXECUTION OF A MINOR IN IRAN
New York, Dec 7 2007 8:00AM
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has spoken out againstthe execution of a minor in Iran, calling on the Tehran Government torespect the international consensus against meting out capital punishment tojuvenile offenders.
Louise Arbour expressed her "grave concern" on 6 December over the executionof Makwan Moloudzadeh the previous day in a prison in Iran's KermanshahProvince, according to a statement released by her office.
Makwan Moloudzadeh was convicted of the rape of three boys seven years ago,when he was 13 years old. "It was reported that the execution was carriedout, despite his alleged victims withdrawing their accusations, and the Headof the Judiciary issuing an order to stay the execution pending a furtherjudicial review of the sentence," Ms. Arbour observed.
Iran is a party to both the International Covenant on Civil and PoliticalRights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child -- treaties which placea legal obligation on States parties not to impose the death penalty forthose under the age of 18 years at the time of the commission of the crimes.
The High Commissioner called on Iran "to respect its international legalobligations and the strong international consensus against the execution ofminors."
Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
Iran: Funeral of hanged youth draws 6,000 people
Tehran, 7 Dec. (AKI) - An estimated 6,000 people - almost the entirepopulation - from the Kurdish Iranian town of Paveh, have attended thefuneral of Makwan Moloudzadeh, 19-year-old Iranian youth hanged at dawn onWednesday.
A video of the event distributed by the committee campaigning for theabolition of the death penalty in Iran showed 300 cars entering the town'scemetery after the funeral on Friday. Many young people attended the funeralceremony.
As the funeral took place on Friday, the United Nations High Commissionerfor Human Rights, Louise Arbour, condemned the execution and called on Iranto respect international conventions against executing juvenile offenders.
Arbour expressed her "grave concern" about the execution of Moloudzadeh.
Nineteen-year-old Makwan Moloudzadeh was hanged on Wednesday, while Iranian authorities had promised to review the sentence.
He was hanged in Kermanshah prison for having had a homosexual relationshipwhen he was aged 13. He reportedly had a relationship with a boy a yearyounger than him. He was also convicted of the rape of three boys, eventhough the accusations against him were later withdrawn.
"It was reported that the execution was carried out, despite his allegedvictims withdrawing their accusations and the head of the judiciary issuingan order to stay the execution, pending a further judicial review of thesentence," Arbour said.
His lawyer, Saiid Eghbal, told Adnkronos International (AKI) on Thursdaythat neither he nor Makwan's family had been warned of the imminentexecution and had been assured of a review.
The head of the Judicial Authority, Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi, had toldseveral humanitarian groups and Molouzadeh's lawyer that the death sentencewould be postponed.
In Iran homosexuality is forbidden and is punishable with the death penalty.
Since the beginning of the year, 210 people have been hanged in Iran. BothHuman Rights Watch and Amnesty International have criticised Iran for itsrecord - one of the highest execution rates in the world.
Iran is a party to international treaties which place a legal obligation onstates not to impose the death penalty for anyone under the age of 18.
Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
KENNEDY AND LEVIN ON FAILURE OF HOUSE TO BRING HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION TO AVOTE
December 6, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, DC- Today, Senators Edward M. Kennedy and Carl Levin releasedthe following statement in response to the United States House ofRepresentatives failure to vote on the Conference Report of the Defensebill, due to the hate crimes provision being included. Senator Kennedy isthe author of the hate crimes legislation that was passed in the Senate, andSenator Levin is the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"We are deeply disappointed that the House has decided not even to have avote on the Conference Report on the Defense bill if it contains the hatecrimes provision. With this decision, we've lost the best opportunity toenact hate crimes legislation in this Congress. This provision was adoptedby the Senate with a vote of 60-39 during debate on the bill.
The inclusion of the hate crimes provision in the Defense bill wasappropriate. Our military stands for America's ideals and fights forAmerica's ideals. At a time when our ideals are under attack by terroristsin other lands, it is more important than ever to demonstrate that wepractice what we preach, and that we are doing all we can to root out thebigotry and prejudice in our own country that leads to similar violence hereat home. Now more than ever, we need to send a strong message here at homeand around the world that we will strengthen our laws against hate crimes.
The hate crimes bill would have advanced those values and goals, and we'recommitted to getting it enacted. It's long past time for this measure tobecome law."
Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
PUTIN VOTE RIG SNARES GAYS
by Doug Ireland
GAY CITY NEWS, 12/06/2007
The harsh crackdown on dissent in Vladimir Putin's Russia that accompaniedSunday's parliamentary elections also targeted gays, as more than a dozengay activists - including Nikolai Alexeyev, the young lawyer who is thechief organizer of Moscow Pride - were arrested on December 2 inside apolling station in that nation's capital.
Alexeyev and his fellow activists were attempting to cast ballots which theyhad deliberately spoiled by writing "No to Homophobes" on them. Two weekspreviously, a group of LGBT activists had called for such a spoiled-ballotprotest to underscore that no political party running in Sunday's electionssupports gay and lesbian rights.
"Our arrest was ridiculous - we did not shout slogans, we carried noplacards, we were simply there to cast our ballots of protest," Alexeyevtold this reporter by telephone from Moscow on Monday night following acourt appearance. Police neglected to bring the proper papers charging him,so the hearing was put off for one week.
The widespread repression targeting political dissidents and opponents ofPutin during the election campaign, Alexeyev told Gay City News, "shows thatthere is no real freedom of expression in Russia now - and it is gettingworse and worse."
"It is obvious now that our society is ill, that it is being exploited bythe authorities and by the media who belong to those authorities," Alexeyevadded.
Alexeyev and his fellow activists had chosen that particular pollingstation, which usually serves as a school, for their protest because thatwas where Moscow's notoriously homophobic Mayor Yuri Luzhkov - who has twicebanned Moscow Pride demonstrations as "satanic" - was scheduled to vote.(See this reporter's May 17-23, 2006 article, "Moscow Pride Banned Again."The web urls to this and other past Gay City News stories on the gay rightsstruggle in Russia appear at the conclusion of the online version of thisstory at gaycitynews.com.)
Alexeyev said that there was a lot of media, including foreign press and TV,at that polling station, which was filled with police, militia, and FederalSecurity Bureau agents, and surrounded by five law enforcement buses.
"We think we were arrested because the police and Luzhkov's people fearedwe'd stage some sort of provocation in front of the media," Alexeyev said,adding, "We were wearing rainbow flag badges, and Luzhkov's press secretary,Sergei Tsoi, pointed us out to police. Tsoi knows me, and he'd passed rightin front of me."
RIGHTS: Fight Against Homophobia Moves to World Stage
By Rajiv Fernando
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 6 (IPS) - On Aug. 9, as South Africans celebratedNational Women's Day, which marks the 51st anniversary of women's resistanceto the apartheid-era pass system restricting free movement, three lesbianswere brutally murdered in two separate incidents.
Although authorities refused to speculate on whether the women's sexualorientation was a factor, one of them, Sizakele Sigasa, was openly lesbianand an activist for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, as well aslesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people's rights.
The case, which drew international condemnation from human and gay rightsgroups, is emblematic of a global culture of intolerance and often outrightviolence toward sexual minorities, activists say.
Seventy-seven countries have laws on the books penalising homosexuality, andin seven countries -- Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United ArabEmirates, Yemen and Nigeria -- homosexuality can incur the death penalty.
Last month, the South Korean cabinet dropped language from a proposedanti-discrimination bill that that extended protection to sexualorientation, under pressure from a coalition of Christian right members ofthe National Assembly.
In Uganda, members of President Yoweri Museveni's government have called forenforcement of the country's draconian sodomy law, which punishes consensualsame-sex acts with up to life in prison, and have reportedly threatened topass new laws expanding the reach of punishment.
And the list goes on. Boris Dittrich, advocacy director for the Lesbian,Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Rights Programme at Human Rights Watch(HRW), told IPS: "Those countries that have penalised homosexuality arereally a target for us because criminalisation of homosexuality leads todiscrimination."
In November 2006, a distinguished group of 29 human rights experts from 25countries met in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to develop a broad range of humanrights standards and discuss their application to issues of sexualorientation and gender identity.
The so-called Yogyakarta Principles spell out concrete steps for governmentsand other parties to end violence, abuse, and discrimination againstlesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and ensure full equality.
Dutch government to fight for gay rights, at home and abroad
THE HAGUE (AFP) - The Dutch centre-left government has made the fightagainst homophobia a priority at home and abroad in a move applauded bygay-rights activists here.
"Never before has a government done so much for the emancipation ofgays," said Frank van Dalen, president of the Dutch national gay rights COC,the world's oldest such organisation set up in 1946.
"Homosexuality has never before played a role of importance in foreign development coöperation," he told AFP.
To form his fourth coalition government, in power since February,Christian Democrat Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende teamed up withLabour. This new centre-left team is focussing more on social issues thanits left-wing predecessors.
In a letter last month to parliament about Dutch foreign aid strategy,Development Coöperation Minister Bert Koenders stated emphatically that "theNetherlands will promote equal rights for gays as much as possible."
In 18 of the 36 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia, that theNetherlands supports with development aid, homosexuality is an offence, withpenalties ranging from a fine to a prison sentence.
The Dutch will plead in bilateral contacts for the legalisation ofhomosexual contacts, said Koenders, adding: "We will not shy away fromdifficult discussions."
Relative to its population size, the Netherlands is one of the biggestinternational donors, giving 0.8% of its gross domestic product (GDP) or4,200,000,000 euros ($6,100,000,000) in 2006.
A few days after Koenders' announcement, fellow cabinet member RonaldPlasterk, minister of education, culture and science who also hasemancipation issues in his portfolio, officially presented his plans to setaside 2,500,000 euros between 2008-2011 to promote equal treatment forhomosexuals.
Noting that while gays and lesbians have the same rights asheterosexuals in the Netherlands, "socially the acceptance is not automaticamong certain ethnic minorities or people who follow a more orthodoxreligious lifestyle."
The money is intended for campaigns targetting young people, mostlyMuslims in schools, sport clubs or neighbourhood associations.
"Here again the government is progressing: we have our own ministerwhereas in previous governments we only had a secretary of state chargedwith gay rights," said Van Dalen.
French Teen's Rape Case Exposes Dubai's Dark Side
Alleged Victim Tells His Story of Violent Sex Crime in Modern ArabMetropolis
Dubai -- with its world famous luxury hotels and what will soon be theworld's tallest building -- is the Arab world's most modern oasis. Butbeyond the sandy beaches and tourist attractions, the western dress and thebustling buildings, Dubai is struggling to modernize one aspect of itsconservative Muslim culture: the taboos and treatment of sexual violence.
16-year-old French-Swiss Alexandre Robert and his mother Veronique were theperfect example of Dubai's cosmopolitan makeup. Alex was living in Dubaiwhen he says he was gang raped at knifepoint, beginning an ordeal that hasshed light on how Dubai's justice system treats victims of violent sexcrimes.
"Before, I felt like it was paradise, it was honestly paradise," Alex saidof the city. "Today I feel like they lied to me, they treated me likenothing, like a toy. And they played with my life and I don't know,they&they destroyed me."
What happened to Alex has thrown a worldwide spotlight on the dark side of acity where a victim can be treated as a criminal, where homosexuality isoutlawed and where AIDS is buried under a layer of shame.
"Homosexuality is taboo, rape is taboo, and AIDS is taboo," said VeroniqueRobert.
Saturday July 14th of this year was just another summer day in paradise.Then 15-year-old Alex spent the day at the beach with his friend. When itwas time to go home, a local teenager they barely knew offered to give thema lift when they couldn't find a cab. He called two older friends who had acar.
Alex and his friend accepted the ride and got in the car. Alex says the manbehind the wheel drove past the turnoff to his house, beyond Dubai'slandmark Mall of the Emirates, and into a desolate stretch of desert.
Gay & Lesbian Leadership
Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
Journalist: No justice in Iranian man's trial: The June conviction ongay-sex charges of the 21-year-old Iranian man executed this week was basedon a confession and witness statements reportedly obtained through tortureand later recanted, according to Iranian journalist Mitra Khalatbari. "Therewas no other evidence," Khalatbari said. Gay City News (New York) (12/6)
Top Democrats: Hate-crimes bill on hold until 2008
A gay- and transgender-inclusive federal hate-crimes measure reportedly hasbeen dropped from the Senate version of the National Defense AuthorizationAct at the request of out U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and other HouseDemocratic leaders. The combined bill, designed to head off a likely veto ofa stand-alone hate-crimes measure by President George W. Bush, faced alikely defeat in the House, due to the objections of about 30 liberalDemocratic lawmakers opposed to funding the Iraq war and more than 150Republicans against the hate-crimes provision. Washington Blade (12/6)
Will Maryland choose nation's first trans state lawmaker?
Dana Beyer, who is among those applying to fill an open seat in the Maryland
House of Delegates, could become the first transgender state lawmaker in thenation. The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee is acceptingapplications through Monday to replace Democratic Delegate Jane Lawton, whodied Nov. 29, and will make its decision on Tuesday. Washington Blade (12/4)
Ex-coach loses first case under Maine's anti-bias law
In the first lawsuit in Maine under its 2006 anti-discrimination law, ajudge has ruled that a lesbian high school girls softball coach was firednot because of her sexual orientation but because she allegedly condonedand/or engaged in "hazing" of players. The former coach, Kelly Jo Cookson,plans to appeal the decision, according to this article. 365Gay.com (12/6)
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:
Today the Rhode Island Supreme Court announced its 3-2 decision in Chambersv. Ormiston, holding that the Rhode Island Family Court may not "recognize"for purposes of the state's Family Court Act the marriage between twolesbians that was performed in Massachusetts in 2004 for purposes ofgranting them a divorce. The opinion for the court is a triumph of legalformalism, sharply criticized by the dissenters as leaving the parties in a"legal limbo."Margaret Chambers and Cassandra Ormiston were married in FallRiver, Massachusetts, on May 26, 2004, shortly after the MassachusettsSupreme Judicial Court's decision in the Goodridge case went into effect.
They had to move fast, because then-Governor Mitt Romney was threatening tosue local clerks who issued licenses and performed weddings for out-of-statesame-sex couples. Subsequent litigation in Massachusetts, however, resultedin the rather odd situation that residents of Rhode Island, but of no otherstate, may contract same-sex marriages in Massachusetts. The problem,however, is in getting unhitched.
Today the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that just because you get marriedin Massachusetts doesn't mean you can get divorced anywhere else. Oops! Butwhy is this maybe, just maybe, a good thing? We asked a lawyer, and thensynthesized his 15 minute lecture. You see, each state recognizes the(heterosexual) marriages and divorces granted by the other states (as wellas certain other things) because of Article IV, Section 1 of theConstitution, a.k.a, the Full Faith and Credit Clause. However, Slick Willie'sDefense of Marriage Act allows states to actively not recognize - and barsthe federal government from recognizing - same sex marriages. According toour lawyer friend, that great liberal legal scholar Justice Antonin"Masturbation Hurts the Baby Jesus" Scalia has suggested that litigation onthis point (perhaps by a same sex couple married in one state unable to getdivorced in another) would be the exact way that states would be forced torecognize same sex marriages and the DOMA would be ruled unconstitutional.
(London) A study released to coincide with the second anniversary this weekof civil partnerships in Britain has found there remain significantdisparities with marriage.The financial public service organization CitizensAdvice found that the term "civil partnership" has created a second classthat results in same-sex couples being inadvertently "outed" owing to thegeneric nature of corporate and bank forms.It also found that because of thedifference in terms, despite both marriage and partnerships having the samelegal status many people still don't know how to refer to their circumstancein social situations."Social discomfort with homosexuality is brought intosharp focus as individuals struggle to communicate," the study said."Someindividuals still find it difficult to discuss their same-sex relationshipwith friends and family, so confusion in communication compounds what isalready for some, quite a delicate situation."The study does not concludethat civil partnerships should be changed to be called marriage but doesrecommend a dialogue.
By: ANDY HUMM 12/06/2007 It's a year away, but most of us are longing fornext November when we can finally select a replacement for the man manyregard as The Worst President Ever. But November is coming early next yearin a new comedy of that name by David Mamet about a fictional WorstPresident Ever, played by Nathan Lane, and taking up the hot issue ofsame-sex marriage -- along with Native American casinos, presidentialpardons, funding presidential libraries, and more. Turkeys -- real ones --also play a central role."November" begins previews at the Barrymore Theatre(138 West 48th Street) on December 20 for a 20-week limited engagement withan official world premier opening of January 17.The cast had its firstread-through of the script under out gay director Joe Mantello at the 42ndStreet Studios and the press was invited in afterward to find out how itwent."It made me laugh out loud," said Lane, who has starred in suchBroadway hits as "The Producers" and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way tothe Forum," not to mention such Terrence McNally classics as "Lips Together,Teeth Apart," "Lisbon Traviata," and "Love! Valour! Compassion!" But this ishis first play by Mamet, known for such scabrous dramas as "AmericanBuffalo" and "Glengarry Glen Ross."
Israel: An American-Israeli lesbian couple who weren't registered as dualmothers of their son despite a Court's ruling, will bring their case before Israel'sSupreme Court.On Sunday Nicole and Ruti Berner Kadish's case will berepresented in Jerusalem by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel(ACRI) before a panel of nine High Court judges.The judiciary will be askedto order the Interior Ministry to continue executing a 2000 ruling, whichhad endorsed the registration of the couple as dual mothers of their childMatan, Ruti's biological son, adopted by Nicole under Californialaw.Following the 2000 ruling, the Interior Ministry submitted a petitionclaiming that clerks could not be forced to register an adoption in contrastwith Israeli values and norms, but the Court dismissed the request, allowingNicole to adopt Matan.But since then the Ministry has challenged the orderand numerous same-sex couples have been left without any legal relation totheir partners' children.
Our society's insistence that gender must be binary - either male orfemale - poses special difficulties to those people born into sexualambiguity, sometimes referred to as intersexuals, well illustrated by aDecember 4 decision by the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin in a casedescriptively titled "In re the Modification of the Birth Certificate ofStephanie Tia Calewarts," 2007 Westlaw 4233759.Stephen Thomas Calewarts wasborn in 1949 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the original birth certificatedidentified Calewarts as "male." At birth, Calewarts had "ambiguousgenitalia," according to documents filed in the case as discussed by theWisconsin State Journal in a December 5 article by Robert Imrie that iscarried by the Associated Press. There was tissue for both a penis and avaginal opening. Neither the news article nor the court opinion casts anylight on how Calewarts lived with this condition for the next fifty years.
To address the unique legal dilemmas raised in part by the state'slegalization of same-sex marriage in 2003, Harvard Law School has opened alegal clinic that will represent low-income clients.
The student-run Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Law Clinic willprovide free and low-cost legal services in cases involving divorce,custody, child support, adoptions, wills, school-related matters, and otherfamily-law and estate planning issues.***For about the past two years,Harvard has offered similar services through the Family Law Clinic at itsLegal Services Center. But school administrators recently concluded therewas enough demand for discounted legal work among low- and middle-incomeGLBT clients to establish a freestanding clinic.This semester, the clinic isstaffed by five second- and third-year law students, each of whom work 10 to20 hours a week.
SAME-SEX Australian couples may be able to have their relationship formallyrecognised as early as next year, after New Prime Minister Kevin Rudd saidhe would not overrule laws permitting civil unions. But the privilege couldbe restricted to couples in the Australian Capital Territory.Mr Rudd saidyesterday that he would not override ACT legislation allowing for civilunions because it was a matter for states and territories.The ACT hasalready tried twice to introduce civil partnership laws. But the formerHoward government used its power over Australian territories to veto orthreaten to scrap the legislation.Yesterday, Mr Rudd indicated he would notdo the same. "On these matters, state and territories are answerable totheir own jurisdictions," he said.
The French government has recently taken advantage of the reform of the lawof succession (June 23, 2006) to reform the Pacte civil de solidarité whichallows for a form of civil partnership between two adults (same sex andopposite sex) and provides a legal status for their relationship. Theintroduction of Pacs in 1999 was controversial but since then it has becomepopular, mainly with heterosexual couples. Gradually same-sex couples arebeing granted more rights and heterosexual couples are taking advantage ofthese changes so that the institution might be seen as becoming closer tomarriage. This article argues that, while the flexibility of Pacs shouldremain for those who do not want commitment, a legal status should becreated for same sex couples which would give them the same rights andprotections as a married couple.
Romney is singing the praises of the proposed gay marriage ban in an e-mailto Florida supporters today. The former Massachusetts governor professes heknows "first-hand" that "traditional marriage is under assault by liberal,activist judges in many states." "In Florida, a ballot initiative has beenproposed that would give constitutional protection to the definition ofmarriage as one man and one woman and prevent un-elected activist judgesfrom trying to invent and impose new laws that disregard the will of thepeople," his statement reads. "I strongly support this initiative."
National Gay News
Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
New York City: Center for homeless gay youth honors namesake - Ten yearsago this month, Ali Forney - a gay man who for years had struggled withhomelessness and drug use - was fatally shot in the head.His deathhighlighted the issue of homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual andtransgender youths and young adults, and it led to the opening of anorganization that provides housing and other help for them.
Spokeswoman Bans Questions About AIDS
The spokeswoman for the White House banned questions about AIDS during apress briefing, telling a reporter to, "Just stop it, stop it." Thequestions were coming from Les Kinsolving, WND's correspondent at the WhiteHouse, who keyed off this week's World AIDS Day as well as federalstatistics that had been publicized by Robert Knight of the Media ResearchCenter. The dialogue between Kinsolving and Dana Perino, the White Housespokeswoman, went like this:
Bob Kohler Dead at 81
Bob Kohler, who in a life that spanned eight decades was a tireless advocatefor civil rights, peace, gay liberation, and dignity for everyone frommid-20th century black actors to people with AIDS to homeless queer kids,died in the Charles Street apartment where he resided for 45 years onDecember 5.Kohler, who was born in Queens on May 17, 1926, was 81. The causeof death was lung cancer that was only diagnosed in October.
Jeffrey Ray Nielsen-the well-connected Orange County conservative activistwho claimed the so-called liberal media, specifically the Weekly, was out toget him by publishing a series of exposés on his pedophile activities-finally admitted on Dec. 5 that he used two boys for sex sincethe early 1990s.In open court, a somber Nielsen, who has extensive personalties to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Orange County Republican Party bossScott Baugh, gave Superior Court Judge David Thompson signed guilty pleasacknowledging two felonies: committing lewd acts on a 12-year-old Virginiaboy and 14-year-old Orange County boy.
Grenada Relents on Gay Cruises
Cruise ships carrying gay passengers will be permitted to dock in Grenadathis winter, the Caribbean island's tourism minister says.
Several hotels received visitor cancellations after the Toronto Starreported last week that the country was questioning whether to allow entryto gay cruise ships, tourism minister Clarice Modeste-Curwen said in astatement yesterday.Some protesters also wrote the Canadian governmentasking that aid be cut to Grenada's Port of St. Georges where cruise shipsdock, she added.
Congress Drops Hate Crimes Bill
The Senate has dropped its insistence that Congress pass legislationexpanding hate crime laws to include attacks on gays, after it became clearthe measure wouldn't pass the House, according to congressional aides.Houseand Senate negotiators agreed on Thursday to drop the provision from a majordefense policy bill. The legislation authorizes the military to spend some$150 billion in money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and providesdetailed policy guidance on the Pentagon's multibillion weapons programs.
Forwarded from Libby Post
by Libby Post
When I was in high school, one of my dreams was to live on the banks of theHudson River right where the Tappan Zee Bridge begins its span from Rocklandto Westchester County and zip my way into Manhattan to work at the UnitedNations.
I was really involved in Model UN all throughout high school. I loved beingassigned a country, as long as it wasn't ours, researching the nation'spolicies and then being a delegate in one of the UN's myriad deliberativebodies. It was fun. I learned a lot. And, my parents paid for it every stepof the way because it was a "learning experience."
Well, like many high school dreams, my desire to work at the UN faded overtime as I realized that no matter how I cut it, I'd end up having torepresent the United States in some way. While I love my country, I don'tlove its policies--especially those of the foreign ilk.
I knew that when I came out in my freshman year of college, being open aboutmy sexuality and being a member of the Foreign Service wouldn't necessarilyjive-the "in my hand I have a list" witch hunt of Senator Joseph McCarthywhose goal it was to root out all homosexuals and communists from the StateDepartment was part of my consciousness growing up. I may have not put allthe pieces of my life together at 18 but I certainly knew which mountainswere harder to climb.
Michael Guest, our country's former Ambassador to Romania, didn't get thesame memo about mountain climbing as I did. I don't know how long Guest wasout as a gay man during his 26 years in the Department of State's ForeignService but he made headlines this week when he resigned in protest.
He wasn't protesting our government's foreign policy. No, he resigned from acareer he loved in order to protest the rules and regulations regardingsame-sex partners of Foreign Service officers.
STATE MURDER FOR SEX AT 13 IN IRAN
For Doug Ireland's exclusive Gay City News interview with the courageousIranian journalist who for months covered the case of Makwan Moloudzadeh --who was executed yesterday -- click on:
No Gotham Welcome Wagon For HRC
By: DUNCAN OSBORNE
After repeatedly defending the Human Rights Campaign strategy forpassing the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) withoutprotections for transgendered people, a senior HRC staffer said thelobbying group would have employed a different strategy had it knownits efforts would result in an angry response.
"We probably would not have played it out the same way," said David M.Smith, HRC's vice president of programs, when asked what HRC would doif the group got a "do-over."
Smith's comments came at the close of a 90-minute town meeting held atthe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center on December 5.
Smith and Sultan Shakir, HRC's regional field director, facedwithering and often angry questioning about the organization'sshifting positions on ENDA - that went from supporting transgenderinclusion, to neutrality after transgender protections were tossedout, and finally to aggressively backing the bill before its November7 vote.
ENDA, which passed the US House by a vote of 235 to 184, bans jobdiscrimination based on sexual orientation. It was first introducedin 1994 and gender identity and expression, classes seen as protectingtransgendered people, were added for the first time in 2007.
Smith said the bill, even with the transgender protections gone, hadlittle chance of passing in the Senate and was even less likely toavoid a veto if it reached the White House.
When HRC saw in late September of this year that ENDA would fail withgender identity and expression included, the group decided to back thebill with just sexual orientation as a first step toward getting alater "inclusive" bill, or one that has transgender protections, Smithsaid.
"When it was likely the bill was coming to the floor we thought it wasimportant to pass that bill and build on that success," Smith said."We're not going to stop until an inclusive bill passes and gets to apresident who will sign it."
HRC had lobbied for a transgender-inclusive bill in 30 to 40congressional districts and had spent hundreds of thousands of dollarsto win support. Had the House voted down transgender-inclusion as aseparate ENDA amendment, that would have damaged future efforts toinclude such protections, Smith said.
"That would have done enormous harm to the cause of transgenderequality for many years to come," Smith said.
The community members and activists who came to the meeting simply didnot believe Smith and Shakir. Audience members repeatedly said theydid not trust HRC and did not believe that the group had actedhonestly in the run-up to the vote.
"I want to know why transgendered people have to be sacrificed on thealtar of political expediency," said Joann Prinzivalli, a lawyer forthe New York Transgender Rights Organization.
Pew Research Center
Go to the website above for the following articles
Latinos Reverse Course; Move Away from GOP
Gains made by the Republican Party among Latinos earlier in this decade have issipated in the past year, according to a Pew Hispanic Center survey of Latino registered voters released today. Though they make up only a small share of the nationwide electorate, Hispanics comprise a larger share of voters in four of the six "swing states" that President Bush carried by small margins in 2004. Read morel
Public Still Getting To Know Leading GOP Candidates
While 86% of the public can name Rudy Giuliani as the former NYC mayor, only about half as many correctly identified Mitt Romney as a Mormon and even fewer knew that he was a former Massachusetts governor. Knowledge of key facts about other Republican candidates is similarly sparse. Read more
What Americans Think About Mormons
Mitt Romney's speech today emphasizing the role of religion in American public life, addressed a public among which many harbor doubts about his Mormon faith. Read more
GOP Race Unsettled in Politically Diverse Early States
Likely Republican voters in the three politically disparate early primary states -- Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina -- express less enthusiasm about their field of presidential candidates, and many voice only modest support for their choices. Read more
Clinton Pressed in Iowa, But Leads Elsewhere
Democrats enter the presidential primary campaign upbeat about their candidates and united on major issues. Democrats rate the field of candidates far more positively than at this point in 2004 and are also in broad agreement about the importance of major issues. Read moreGlobal Attitudes
How People Around the World Rate Women as Political Leaders
On Dec.10, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will become Argentina's first female president, joining 11 other women who now hold the position of prime minister or president in their countries. But a Pew Global Attitudes survey finds world publics hold mixed opinions about women political leaders, although in most countries majorities say that as political leaders women are equally good as, or even better than, men. Read moreThe Daily Number
5 out of 6 Nations: Chavez's Unpopularity in Latin America
Large majorities in many of Venzuela's Latin American neighbors say they have little or no confidence in Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, who suffered a substantial setback in last Sunday's elections in his own country. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more
From Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director ACLU
On January 11, 2002 the first prisoners from Afghanistan arrived at the prison at Guantánamo Bay.
In the six years since, the prison has been a mark of shame for our country. In fact, three years after the military tribunals were first established there, there has yet to be a single trial completed for any person in custody.
Every day that the prison at Guantánamo stays open is an insult to our values and makes a mockery of our commitment to justice and the rule of law.
That's why on January 11th, the ACLU is leading a nationwide movement calling on people of conscience to wear orange and demand an immediate end to the injustice at Guantánamo Bay. By standing in solidarity we can shift the debate on this national disgrace. So, we're teaming up with organizations across the country to demand the prison be closed and asking ACLU activists to get involved.
To help you participate in this national day of action, we're asking ACLU activists to wear an orange "Close Guantánamo" armband on January 11. You can get a "Close Guantánamo" armband when you make a contribution to the ACLU today.
The fact is the Bush Administration decided to hold prisoners at Guantánamo because it believed the offshore location would be beyond the reach of our courts. This turned Guantánamo into a laboratory for indefinite detention and cruel treatment.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard two cases that challenge the Bush Administration's policy of holding prisoners without charging them. As we stated in our brief to the court, "[T]heir confinement in military custody without charges or trial for more than five years violates fundamental principles of due process of law." And, at Guantánamo Bay, the ACLU continued to monitor the latest kangaroo court-style hearing.
Guantánamo has become a stain on our nation's honor. That is why it is so important you join hundreds of thousands of Americans who are demanding the closure of the prison at Guantánamo on January 11th. You'll soon be hearing about the January events happening across the country and online. In the meantime, you can take the first step to get ready for the January 11 events by making a contribution to the ACLU and get a "Close Guantánamo" armband.
Thank you so much for your involvement today as we fight to reclaim our constitutional heritage and restore the full vibrancy of our democracy.
Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director ACLU
Express Gay News
Words from the infected - and affected
Gay writers to read AIDS stories at open mic event
By JUAN CARLOS RODRIGUEZ
Thursday, November 29, 2007
By definition, World AIDS Day is a day to remember all people who have beenaffected, not just infected, with HIV.
With the help of Tuesday's Angels, the members of Lavender Writes, a localgay writers group, are opening their microphone to the masses at their WorldAIDS Day reading. Writers will share their short stories, poetry,autobiographical pieces or fictional fare on Saturday, Dec. 1, at BordersBooks and Music on East Sunrise Boulevard. A receptive crowd of readers andwriters is expected to attend.
While some new faces are expected at the open mic, two Lavender Writesregulars will be on hand to tell their stories. Local writers Mauro Montoya,president of Lavender Writes, and longtime columnist John Siegfried havecommitted to expressing their unique points of view at the reading.
For Montoya, the reading has special significance. He is like many men andwomen in the community who lived through the early days of AIDS when itseemed everyone was sick or dying. Montoya is tapping memories of his ownexperience working as the legal director for the Whitman Walker Clinic inWashington, D.C. as the basis for an autobiographical book. It was then thathe discovered that writing was not only his talent but also a means ofunderstanding the overwhelming loss caused by AIDS.
From Ron Mills
The Florida Democratic Party remains committed to participating fully in the state-run Presidential Preference Primary on January 29, 2008. We strongly urge all Florida Democrats to get out and vote in this fair and open election.
Read the Full Story http://fladems.com/content/w/party_remains_committed_to_january_29_primary
December 6, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Broward Log Cabin Club of Florida
P.O. Box 1281, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33302
(954) LCR -1995
GOV. CRIST SEES LeMIEUX MOVE ON AND EICHENBERG MOVES IN
Fort Lauderdale, FL, December 6, 2007. The members and friends of Florida's Gold Coast Log Cabin Republicans regret the decision of George LeMieux to return to private practice and leave behind his stellar service to the citizens of the Sunshine State as the Chief of Staff for the Governors' office.
LCR members and friends here in the Tri-county area have enjoyed a very warm and cordial association with George LeMieux commencing with his membership in the Young Republican Club of Broward and moving on to leadership positions within the Republican Party's Executive Committee. He has always been a dedicated worker, an honest and credible individual , a great family man, and an individual ready to listen to the people he served regardless of the leadership hat being worn.
We likewise applaud Governor Crist on his choice of Eric Eichenberg who not only served well as a member of the Broward County Republican Executive Committee but also patiently listened to the people's voices while Chief of Staff in Congressional Representative E. Clay Shaw's office. We will never forget Eric's support in saving the Miami Names Project display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt when a waiver of convention center fees was rejected by the Dade power to be thereby threatening the timely opening of the exhibit.
The members and friends of Florida's Gold Coast Log Cabin Republicans wish George LeMieux, Eric Eichenberg and their respective families our good wishes in the months and years ahead and thank them for honorable and credible service.
On Wednesday, December 12, 2007, Care Resource and Bill's Filling Station present the 3rd Annual "Holiday Stocking Affair" to benefit people in South Florida affected and infected with HIV/AIDS.
The event is open to the public, begins at 6:30 pm and is an evening of fun holiday music, drinks, performances and an appearance by a very sexy Santa and his elves.
Throughout the evening, attendees will have the ability to bid on stockings which are made by local businesses, celebrities and individuals and filled with lots of goodies.
Bill's Filling Station is located at 2209 Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors and the event will run till approximately 9:30 pm at which time the winner of each stocking will be announced, and they will have the ability to pay for their stocking and take it with them.
If you or your business would like to create a stocking or donate items from your store to be placed in a stocking please contact Shane Rogers at 305-576-1234 x 236 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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