Saturday, March 10, 2007

GLBT DIGEST March 10, 2007

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Express Gay News

Dordt College officials apologize to harassed gay activists
Soulforce's bus vandalized
with anti-gay obscenities
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) | Mar 10, 8:12 AM

Officials with Dordt College in Sioux Center have apologized to a gay
organization that was harassed there earlier this week.

One of the anti-guy obscenities written on the Soulforce bus.

The group, Soulforce Q, says it is part of a national organization that
works to end political and religious oppression of gays.

Sioux Center was the group's first stop on an Equality Ride 2007, aimed at
bringing a message of equality and inclusion to Christian colleges like
Dordt. The college's faculty and student handbooks say the school 'holds as
uacceptable sexual relations with someone of the same gender.'

"We're prepared to run into things like this, but we didn't expect it on the
first night," Soulforce Q spokesman Kyle DeVries said.

Shortly after arriving in Sioux Center from Minneapolis Wednesday night, the
group was harassed by people making lewd comments and gestures. The group's
bus was also vandalized with anti-gay slurs.

College officials were "saddened" to learn about the vandalism, said Dordt
spokesman Norlan De Groot. The school apologized to the group and the
incident was reported to police.

"We don't want to see that happen here," De Groot said.


Express Gay News

House passes bill to increase unmarried partner benefits
Measure would extend state and county health coverage to couples
HONOLULU (AP) | Mar 10, 7:49 AM

Same-sex partners and family members who live together could receive similar
health benefits as married couples under a bill passed yesterday by the
state House.

The bill would extend state and county health coverage to couples who aren't
legally allowed to marry. The measure passed by a 34-to-6 vote, with eleven
representatives absent. It now advances to the state Senate.

The measure was proposed as a replacement for legislation that would have
allowed gay couples to enter into civil unions. That proposal failed to make
it out of committee last week.

Gay rights advocates had argued against the reciprocal benefits bill because
they said it undermined their push for civil unions.


Express Gay News

Indiana Univ. faculty council supports same-sex benefits
Constitutional amendment raises concerns
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) | Mar 9, 2:24 PM

The Bloomington Faculty Council has endorsed a resolution expressing support
for Indiana University's policy of offering health care benefits to its
employees' same-sex domestic partners.

The council's leaders said they took the action because some faculty and
staff worry that a proposed state constitutional amendment prohibiting gay
marriage could bar partner benefits.

The resolution passed Tuesday expresses the council's "continuing support"
for IU's domestic-partner policy and its "confidence" that the policy will
continue, regardless of the gay marriage amendment.

IU's trustees adopted the policy in September 2001. Currently, 119 IU
employees have registered their domestic partners with the university, and
most take advantage of university benefits.

Alex Tanford, a law professor and council member, said the proposed gay
marriage ban would have no impact on IU's domestic-partner benefit policies
if it becomes Indiana law.


Nigerian Activist Slams Anti-Gay Bill

By Gilbert da Costa
09 March 2007

da Costa report

A leading gay activist in Nigeria has denounced current government efforts
to ban homosexuality in the country. For VOA, Gilbert da Costa reports the
Nigerian government is facing substantial international pressure over the

A controversial bill that would ban homosexuality in Nigeria could become
law this month.

Among other things, the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act 2007 assigns a
five-year prison term not only for practicing gays, but for those who
support them. The legislation has passed two readings in both houses of the
National Assembly, and will become law if it passes a third reading and is
approved by the president.

The Nigerian parliament will go into recess later this month as the country
prepares for elections in April.

Activists fear politicians will push through the bill to score political
points, despite serious concerns about the implications for human rights.


Gov Quietly Signs Bills on Gay Clubs and Ritalin
Mar 09, 2007 by Julie Rose

(KCPW News) Governor Huntsman quietly signed the so-called "Gay Clubs Bill"
late Friday afternoon. Spokesman Mike Mower says the Governor would have
vetoed prior versions of the bill, "but this legislation simply codifies
items already in the State Board of Education rules and makes clear that it
is not targeting any one club or organization."

Instead, House Bill 236 establishes a list of rules all student clubs must
follow, and empowers a school district to disband a club that does not
comply. It was originally created to prohibit gay and lesbian support groups
from meeting as official school clubs. The State School Board asked Huntsman
to veto the measure. But Mower says the Governor liked the bill because it
requires parental permission for a child to participate in a school club.

Huntsman also signed the so-called "Ritalin Bill," which the State School
Board and many local medical professionals hoped he would veto.


Cinequest Film Chronicles Bay Area Transgender Murder

POSTED: 11:10 am PST March 8, 2007
UPDATED: 4:24 pm PST March 9, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO -- An infamous Bay Area murder is the subject of a documentary
that makes its world premiere in San Jose this weekend.

The film "Trained In The Ways Of Men" follows the case of murdered East Bay
teenager Gwen Araujo. The film screens Saturday and Sunday at the Cinequest
Film Festival.

Araujo was a transgender boy who lived as a girl. Araujo was killed at a
party in 2002 after a group of men -- some she had sex with -- discovered
her secret.

Araujo's story inspired a film directed by filmmaker Sherry Prevost, who is
also transgendered.

"I went from being seen as a man to being seen as a female," Prevost said.

That's the reason she felt she should tell Gwen's story, Prevost said.


March 9, 2007

Ohioans favor gay and lesbian equal rights

Two-thirds would support LGBT anti-bias law, poll finds, but only 34% are
for marriage

by Anthony Glassman

Columbus--The vast majority of Ohioans support at least some rights for
same-sex couples despite a 2004 constitutional amendment banning marriage,
according to a poll released on March 7 by Equality Ohio.

The survey, conducted in mid-November by the Glengariff Group in Chicago,
polled 800 registered voters across the state.

It found that 91% of those polled support hospital visitation rights for
same-sex couples, with only 6% opposed.

Even with the 3.5% margin of error, that means that roughly nine out of ten
people believe that gay men and lesbians should be able to visit their
partners in hospital with the same unfettered access as biological families.

Over two-thirds of those surveyed favored laws banning discrimination by
sexual orientation in housing and employment, with 68% for such laws and 27
opposing them.


Nadine Smith arrest outrages activists
Equality Florida chief taken into custody after handing a flyer to supporter at public hearing

Mar. 09, 2007

The arrest of Florida gay activist Nadine Smith at a public hearing in Largo, Fla., Feb. 27 has brought swift condemnation from two national gay rights groups.

The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and the Human Rights Campaign issued a rare joint statement condemning Smith's arrest and calling for the state attorney's office to drop the charges against her.

Smith, the executive director of Equality Florida, was arrested at a Largo City Commission hearing after she testified in favor of allowing City Manager Steve Stanton to keep his job. Stanton has been under attack from religious conservatives since it was revealed that he planned to undergo a gender-change operation. At the meeting, the commission voted 5-2 to begin the process of firing Stanton (see related story, page 15).

Largo is a suburb of St. Petersburg with a population of about 75,000.

Smith was arrested after she handed a flyer that said "Don't Discriminate" to a hearing attendee who had requested it, witnesses said. Earlier, Largo police had decided to prohibit the distribution of flyers and the display of placards inside the hearing because they believed it would be disruptive, a police spokesman said. When Smith was asked to stop distributing the flyer, she first asked why and then became disruptive, according to Largo police. She was then taken into a room, where four officers subdued her and arrested her, police said.


Clinton promises gays 'open door' to White House
Dem frontrunner touts ENDA support; silent on marriage

Mar. 09, 2007

In an unannounced speech before the nation's largest gay rights group, Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in Washington last week said gays "would always have an open door to the White House" if she is elected president.

Clinton, who is ahead in the polls among Democrats running in next year's election, told more than 400 Human Rights Campaign leaders and volunteers that she supports gay adoption and wants gays to be able to serve openly in the military.

She also told of how she worked closely behind the scenes with HRC and other gay groups to develop the strategy that helped defeat a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

"I want you to know this is exactly the kind of partnership we will have when I am president," she said, drawing loud applause and cheers.

"I want you to know that just as you always have an open door to my Senate office, you will always have an open door to the White House," she said. "Together, we will continue our struggle against hatred and our stand for equality."


Helping our Jamaican friends

Mar. 09, 2007

Once during an interview, I asked Steve Kane, a local conservative religious activist, if he could name one country with strict prohibitions against homosexuality that is not a violent society. He did not have an answer for me.

That phone interview comes to mind while contemplating the latest news out of Jamaica, where three men were attacked in a pharmacy on Valentine's Day apparently for committing the heinous sin of appearing effeminate. An angry mob of about 2,000 people gathered outside the pharmacy demanding that the men be turned over to them and threatening to kill them. As the men were scorted away by police, one of them was hit in the head with a rock, according to media reports. The men were subjected to anti-gay taunts, and one of the men was rifle-butted by a police officer, according to media reports and a statement by the Metropolitan Community Church's Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale. Two days later, there were two more anti-gay attacks reported in Jamaica, according to the MCC statement. A gay man was beaten in Montego Bay and another was beaten in Kingston.

These latest incidents are just part of a pattern of anti-gay violence on the island. Since 2004, two of Jamaica's most prominent gay activists, Brian Williamson and Steve Harvey, have been brutally murdered. In late 2004, Human Rights Watch published a report titled "Hated to Death: Homophobia, Violence & Jamaica's HIV/AIDS Epidemic." The report documented numerous anti-gay attacks, beatings and murders in Jamaica, including incidents in which police participated or refused to investigate anti-gay hate crimes. One of them was the murder of Victor Jarett in 2004. According to HRW, "police participated in the abuse that ultimately led to this mob killing."

The anti-gay lyrics of Jamaican reggae singers such as Beenie Man, who has been accused of inciting violence against gays, has been blamed for creating a cultural breeding ground for Jamaica's anti-gay neurosis.

But it's not just gay people who are the victims of violence in Jamaica. According to numerous media accounts, Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Is there a link between an obsessively homophobic culture and a high rate of general violence? It would appear so, if you look at the other countries around the world where homosexuality is strictly prohibited and gay people are treated with intolerance. The most homophobic countries of the Middle East, for example, are also racked with violence, sectarian strife and civil wars. Are the conservative religious people who are perpetuating Jamaica's homophobia actually digging the graves of their straight sons? They should ponder that question the next time they denounce the "battymen" among them.


Express Gay News

Don't rush to Hillary's corner
Sen. Clinton's speech on gay rights was a welcome sign of progress but it's far too early for gays to line up behind any '08 candidate.

Friday, March 09, 2007

IT'S NOT CLEAR why Sen. Hillary Clinton's speech to the Human Rights Campaign last week was kept under wraps and closed to the media.

It all seems unnecessarily secretive, especially considering HRC distributed a press release about it just after the speech. A full video of the speech was later posted online.

Whatever the motive, Clinton's remarks represent a welcome call for equality - and specific legislation - from a top presidential candidate. No serious White House contender would have dared to make such a speech in 2004.

In her remarks, Clinton endorsed gay adoption, a federal hate crimes lawinclusive of sexual orientation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and repeal of her husband's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which she rightly described as a failure.


The current issue of The Express Gay News is online


The Advocate

One apology, six arrests for Soulforce members

While one group of Equality Riders received an apology from Dordt College officials in Iowa for antigay graffiti on their bus, another group was subjected to arrest when Soulforce members entered the campus of Notre Dame on Friday.

Officials at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, have apologized to members of Soulforce Q after the bus they were riding as part of this year's Equality Ride was vandalized Wednesday night. The Soulforce members are visiting Christian colleges across the country in an attempt to open dialogue regarding the schools' antigay policies. Dordt College was the first stop on the itinerary for one of two Soulforce buses. The Des Moines Register reports that college officials were "saddened" to learn about the vandalism and apologized to the group after the incident was reported to the police.

On Thursday a second Soulforce Q group, visiting Notre Dame University in Indiana, was cited and asked to leave campus. On Friday, six of the members were arrested for returning to campus in a show of support for gay and lesbian equality. The Soulforce members were joined by two Notre Dame students.

"As a gay Catholic man who was once in seminary," said rider Delfin Bautista in a press release, "I walked onto Notre Dame today to help make my church a universal church. I did as Jesus Christ did and went all the way for love."

The participants who were arrested were released hours after being detained by police with a date set to appear in court. (The Advocate)


The Advocate

March 10, 2007
Rape case spotlights Pentagon policy

As investigators pursued an Air Force officer they suspected of drugging and raping other servicemen, the military's ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy hung over their case.

Testimony during the court-martial that resulted in Capt. Devery L. Taylor's conviction revealed an investigation made more complicated by the 1993 law prohibiting the military from asking about the sex lives of its members but equiring the discharge of those who acknowledge being gay.

Among other things:

- Taylor says that to save his career, he initially lied in denying he was gay, and that made him look guilty to investigators. He also claims some of his victims saved their careers by falsely accusing him of rape rather than admit they had consensual sex.

- Military investigators had to step around the law, telling servicemen they interviewed that their job wasn't to uncover consensual gay activity but that their answers would be reported to their commanders.

- One of Taylor's victims and another man left the military after being interviewed by investigators. The first man testified that he was gay and that Taylor raped him. The second man was forced into early retirement after he told investigators he had a consensual relationship with Taylor.


The Advocate

March 10, 2007
Foreman: Sanchez is not the hypocrite

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said he saw "no inherent contradiction between Matt Sanchez being pro-military and being part of the adult film industry."

"I don't see any hypocrisy in Matt Sanchez's actions," Foreman said Thursday in a written statement on the marine reservist outed this week by bloggers as a gay porn actor. "As is his right, he spoke out against what he believed was bad treatment by Columbia's 'radical anti-military students.'

"Porn-gay or straight-has no ideology. Porn stars and porn consumers are Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, atheists and evangelicals," Foreman said.

Rather, he said, the real hypocrisy lies in "the failed 'don't ask, don't tell,' [which] requires Matt Sanchez and thousands of other loyal Americans to hide their sexual orientation to serve in the military," and in right-wingers "who lift a man to hero and spokesperson status until-gasp!-he is found out to be a 'faggot.' "

"The important 11 inches in this story?" Foreman asked, referring to Sanchez's reputed porn qualifications. "That is the approximate distance between berths on U.S. naval submarines, so defamatorily measured in front of TV cameras by then-senator Sam Nunn in 1993, who immorally intimated that openly gay service members could not be permitted to bunk next to straight service members.


Hawaii House Passes Gay Partner Benefits Bill
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: March 9, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Honolulu, Hawaii) A bill that would extend health coverage to the unmarried artners of state and county workers who are part of the state health fund has been passed by the Hawaii House.

The legislation passed 34-6 vote, with 11 representatives absent. It now advances to the state Senate.

In addition to covering same-sex partners the bill also would provide coverage to interdependent pairs not in a domestic relationship.

The bill was introduced after the legislature effectively killed a proposal to create civil unions for gay couples by declining to vote on the legislation

Civil unions had been suggested as a way for the state to sidestep a controversy over gay marriage, but they proved to be nearly as contentious.


Gay Villages Disappearing
by The Associated Press

Posted: March 9, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(San Francisco, California) Even on a weekday in winter, the Castro district vibrates with energy, most of it male. Men holding hands, walking dogs and lounging at cafes have long been the main attraction in a neighborhood known as a gay mecca the world over.

Yet where visitors see a living monument to gay pride, longtime community leader Brian Basinger sees a cultural enclave at risk of becoming a faded museum piece _ or worse, a place where men who love men may one day feel like they don't belong.

"When I see a stroller now, I see it as someone who evicted a person with AIDS, right or wrong," said Basinger, president of the Harvey Milk Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transexual Democratic Club.

For more than 30 years, most big cities have had a district either explicitly or implicitly understood to be the place to go if you were gay _ the West Village and Chelsea in New York City, Washington's Dupont Circle, Boston's South End.



Opposes Gay Marriage But Newt Admits To Extramarital Affair
by The Associated Press

Posted: March 9, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Washington) Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged he was having an extramarital affair even as he led the charge against President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, he acknowledged in an interview with a conservative Christian group.

"The honest answer is yes," Gingrich, a potential 2008 Republican presidential candidate, said in an interview with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson to be aired Friday, according to a transcript provided to The Associated Press. "There are times that I have fallen short of my own tandards. There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards."

Gingrich argued in the interview, however, that he should not be viewed as a hypocrite for pursuing Clinton's infidelity.

"The president of the United States got in trouble for committing a felony in front of a sitting federal judge," the former Georgia congressman said of linton's 1998 House impeachment on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. "I drew a line in my mind that said, 'Even though I run the risk of being deeply embarrassed, and even though at a purely personal level I am not rendering judgment on another human being, as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law, I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept ... perjury in your highest officials."

Widely considered a mastermind of the Republican revolution that swept Congress in the 1994 elections, Gingrich remains wildly popular among many onservatives. He has repeatedly placed near the top of Republican presidential polls recently, even though he has not formed a campaign.


Canadian Tories Ahead In Polls
by The Canadian Press

Posted: March 9, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Ottawa) A new poll suggests the federal Conservatives have regained support among women and city-dwellers, crucial demographic groups that are key to any hope of a Tory majority.

The Decima survey, provided to The Canadian Press, suggests the trend is the reason for the Conservatives' six-percentage-point lead nationally over the Liberals _ 35 to 29.

There is one silver lining for the Liberals, who are far ahead of the Tories in Quebec and in a virtual tie with the Bloc Quebecois after having trailed the sovereigntist party for three years.

The poll conducted last weekend placed the NDP at 15 per cent nationally, the Green party at 11, and the Bloc Quebecois at seven.

Most of the survey's findings will come as good news to the Tories, who for the first time since last fall matched the Liberals in support among women, with the parties tied at 31 per cent.


From HRC

Demand That Fox News, NBC, CNN
Stop Promoting Ann Coulter

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today urged community members and allies to call on NBC News, CNBC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News Channel to publicly state that they will refuse to continue providing a platform for Ann Coulter's vulgar anti-gay prejudice.

During her March 2 appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. - which aired on C-SPAN - Coulter said, "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' so I'm - so, kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards, so I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions."

This was the second time in the past year that Coulter, who is represented by the William Morris Agency, had used this slur against a public figure. After claiming during a July 2006 appearance on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews that former President Bill Clinton is gay, Coulter said, "He may not be gay, but Al Gore, total fag."

Following considerable public condemnation of Coulter's on-air use of the slur at the Conservative Political Action Conference - including criticism by three leading Republican presidential contenders - Coulter used her March 5 appearance on Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes to defend her use of the slur and claim that the epithet is not offensive or anti-gay: "It's a schoolyard taunt."


For the full article, contact


ILGCN Information Secretariat - Stockholm
(International Lesbian & Gay Cultural Network)

PRESS RELEASE March 5, 2007

Applications for 2008 stages coming from North America, Eastern Europe:

ILGCN World Conferences 2007 to Start in Vilnius

Vilnius/Stockholm - The 2007 ILGCN (International Lesbian & GayCultural Network) world rainbow cultural conference stages in 2007 willbegin with Vilnius on May 18th , continue to Toronto for the "Iran-inExile" stage in June and to Paris/Marseille in October for the"Algeria in Exile"stage.

The Mauritius stage originally planned for 2007will be postponed for a future date.

"We're happy to see applications already coming in for 2008 worldrainbow cultural conference from Eastern Europe and North America,"says Bill Schiller, secretary general of the ILGCN InformationSecretariat in Stockholm. "This is in keeping with our desires tosee stages shared by both East and West -- and to share with differentcities on a large geographic scale knowing that many do not have theability to organize a mega event on their own."

ILGCN "titles" Without Payment

"This is also why we fully support the Polish initiative to shareEuro pride 2008 between Stockholm and Warsaw, and plan to give our fullsupport to the crucial Polish event," adds Schiller.


The Guardian - Comment Is Free - 7 March 2007

Why is much of the left and the liberal media ignoring the struggle for democracy and women's rights in Iran?

Tomorrow - 8 March - is International Women's Day and the women of Iran are growing bolder and more defiant than ever. Last Sunday, a group of courageous women's rights activists staged a vigil outside the Engelab Court in Tehran. They held banners demanding: "We have the right to hold peaceful rotests".

These gentle, unthreatening women - armed only with words, ideals and paper placards - were violently attacked by the police, on the orders of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime. One woman had her head battered against the side of a police bus, shattering her teeth.

Another demonstrator, Nahid Mirhaj, accused the police chief of "using obscene words and describing us as 'misfits'".

The BBC correspondent in Tehran, Frances Harrison, says police and plain-clothes security men arrested at least 32 women, including nearly all the leaders of Iran's women's movement. They were shoved into curtained buses and driven away. Unbowed, they are now on hunger strike in Evin prison, which is notorious for torture and deaths in custody. Their families and friends have begun a vigil outside the jail.


Italy's Gays To Rally For Rights

02:07 PM, March 9th 2007
by Playfuls Team

Tens of thousands of gay activists plan to gather in a Roman square onSaturday to campaign in favour of a bill granting new rights to same-sexunions that has split Romano Prodi's centre- left government and CatholicItaly, reports said Friday.

The so-called Dico bill would allow de facto couples of any sex toofficialize their relationships and access a series of rights andobligations, including inheritance and mutual assistance in case of need.

The bill is strongly opposed by the Vatican and Catholic lawmakers, whoargue that it will undermine traditional family values and encouragehomosexuality. Gay activists say it doesn't go far enough.

Its approval by the Senate is highly uncertain as Prodi enjoys only awafer-thin majority in parliament's upper house and faces strong resistancefrom Catholics within his nine-party coalition, which ranges from communiststo Christian Democrats. Italy's centre- right parties also oppose the bill.


Latvia's homophobia hard to explain: Minister

Mar 05, 2007
From wire reports

The Baltic Times

The Latvian Special Minister for Society Integration, Oskars Kastens, saidhe found it difficult to explain why gay rights issues have become sotopical in recent years.

"It is hard to explain this phenomenon. The gay issue has not been sotopical in Latvia since the restoration of Latvia's independence. Iremember, in the mid-1990s a Latvian and a German girl holding a weddingceremony by the Freedom Monument in Riga, people were watching, but therewas no fuss about it," Kastens said in an interview with the Latvian dailynewspaper Neatkariga on Mar. 5.

He said he believed it was a mistake for gay activists to attend a churchservice as part of the first pride parade in 2005. Such a move may havestirred up antagonism amongst Latvians, 80 percent of whom claim to beChristian believers, he said.

"I think it insulted the believers and aroused a negative reaction."


From Scott Long
Human Rights Watch

Following on yesterday's partial analysis, here is a rundown of referencesto abuses based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status inall country sections of the US State Department's 2007 report. Apologies inadvance for anything we may have overlooked. Again, the usefulness of thiswill very much depend on how much credibility the US's own human rightsrecord leaves it in your own country or community. If there are significantoversights here that you feel should have been addressed, or references leftout that you would have been able to use for advocacy purposes, please letus know and we will raise them with the State Department.

Thanks to Jessica Robertson, HRW's intern extraordinaire, for conducting theanalysis.

Scott Long
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program
Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY USA 10118
Tel. +01 (212) 216-1297
Fax +01 (212) 216-1876

All excerpts from US Department of State 2006 Report, alphabetized by regionand country.

key word searches: homosexual, lesbian, gay, msm, wsw, sodomy, HIV

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law criminalizes sodomy. HIV/AIDS was openly discussed. In December 2005President Dos Santos inaugurated a new building for the National Institutefor HIV/AIDS and was supportive of HIV/AIDS awareness and preventioncampaigns. However, discrimination against homosexuals and those withHIV/AIDS occurred. The government promulgated a law that criminalizesdiscrimination against those with HIV/AIDS, but lack of enforcement allowedemployers to discriminate against and treat unfairly those with thecondition. There were no reports of violence against those with HIV/AIDS.Local NGOs had been established to combat stigmatization and discriminationagainst people living with HIV/AIDS. The FAA implemented educationalprograms to discourage discrimination against HIV-positive militarypersonnel and prevent the spread of the disease.

No Mention

The following human rights problems were reported during the year: poorprison conditions, lengthy delays in the judicial process, restrictions onpress freedom, violence against women, child abuse, discrimination againsthomosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDs, and restrictions on trade unions.

Contact for the full list (attachment) in WORD or goto the website for the fulllist.


Russia's flawed democracy

The struggle for the right to free expression and the right to protest

Talking With Tatchell - TV

Russian democracy is flawed and failing, as evidenced by the suppression of
Moscow Gay Pride

Russia's transition to pluralist democracy is at best shaky and at worstbeing reversed. The relatively liberal Yeltsin era has been eclipsed by anew wave of authoritarianism. The electoral system is fixed to block theemergence of new parties and anti-establishment candidates. Press freedomis constrained by threats, intimidation and even the murder of journalists.Human rights abuses are widespread and often unchecked.

Symptomatic of these abuses is the banning of the Moscow Gay Pride march bythe city's Mayor, Yuri Luzhkov. He has denounced the march as "satanic."

The first attempted Moscow Gay Pride march in 2006 was violently set upon byriot police, far right extremists, ultra-nationalists and Russian Orthodoxfundamentalists.


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The Washington Post

Giuliani's Private Life May Hurt His Run

The Associated Press
Saturday, March 10, 2007; 2:26 AM

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Ronald Reagan was divorced, had chilly relations with some of his children, and still easily won two terms as president. Rudy Giuliani has been thrice married and twice divorced, has chilly relations with his children, and wants to be elected president.

Twenty-seven years after Reagan became the only divorced candidate to win the presidency, the former New York City mayor is hoping that when it comes to family values, voters will be as accommodating.

They may not be.

Republican strategists say Giuliani's troubled family relationships are likely to hinder his standing among conservatives who already have questions about his positions on social issues. They say the estrangement could raise a question in voters' minds: If Giuliani can't keep his family together, how will he keep the country together?

In fact, Giuliani's support for abortion and gay rights, his backing of gun control measures and his very New Yorkness already had given conservatives pause about his candidacy. He has also marched in gay pride parades, dressed up in drag and lived temporarily with a gay couple and their Shih Tzu.


The LA Times,1,2167634,print.story?coll=la-news-politics-national

Evangelicals battle over agenda, environment

Global warming and other causes stray too far from battles on abortion, gay rights and similar 'great moral issues,' some leaders say.
By Stephanie Simon
Times Staff Writer

March 10, 2007

A struggle for control of the evangelical agenda intensified this week, with some leaders declaring that the focus has strayed too far from their signature battles against abortion and gay rights.

Those issues defined the evangelical movement for more than two decades - and cemented ties with the Republican Party. But in a caustic letter, leaders of the religious right warned that these "great moral issues of our time" were being displaced by a "divisive and dangerous" alignment with the left on global warming.

A new generation of pastors has expanded the definition of moral issues to include not only global warming, but an array of causes. Quoting Scripture and invoking Jesus, they're calling for citizenship for illegal immigrants, niversal healthcare and caps on carbon emissions.

The best-known champion of such causes, the Rev. Jim Wallis, this week challenged conservative crusader James C. Dobson, the chairman of Focus on the Family, to a debate on evangelical priorities.

"Are the only really 'great moral issues' those concerning abortion, gay marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence?" Wallis asked in his challenge. "How about the reality of 3 billion of God's children living on less than $2 per day? . What about pandemics like HIV/AIDS . [and] disastrous wars like Iraq?"

A Focus on the Family vice president, Tom Minnery, said he would be happy to take up that debate. Dobson himself, Minnery said, is busy writing a book on child rearing.


USA Today

Pentagon struggles to find fresh troops

By Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Military leaders are struggling to choose Army units to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan longer or go there earlier than planned, but five years of war have made fresh troops harder to find.

Faced with a military buildup in Iraq that could drag into next year, Pentagon officials are trying to identify enough units to keep up to 20 brigade combat teams in Iraq. A brigade usually has about 3,500 troops.

The likely result will be extending the deployments of brigades scheduled to come home at the end of the summer, and sending others earlier than scheduled.

Final decisions - which have not yet been made - would come as Congress is considering ways to force President Bush to wind down the war, despite his vow that he would veto such legislation.


USA Today

Pentagon struggles to find fresh troops

By Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Military leaders are struggling to choose Army units to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan longer or go there earlier than planned, but five years of war have made fresh troops harder to find.

Faced with a military buildup in Iraq that could drag into next year, Pentagon officials are trying to identify enough units to keep up to 20 brigade combat teams in Iraq. A brigade usually has about 3,500 troops.

The likely result will be extending the deployments of brigades scheduled to come home at the end of the summer, and sending others earlier than scheduled.

Final decisions - which have not yet been made - would come as Congress is onsidering ways to force President Bush to wind down the war, despite his vow that he would veto such legislation.

In the freshest indication of the relentless demands for troops in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of coalition forces in the north, toldreporters Friday that his troops have picked up the pace of their attacks on the enemy in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad.


Cheney's still dangerous

By Robert Kuttner | March 10, 2007
ONE BUMPER STICKER proposes: Impeach Cheney First.

Vice President Dick Cheney has now suffered back-to-back humiliations, with the conviction of his former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, and the wresting of key foreign policy decisions by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. But if anything, he is even more dangerous wounded.

The Bush administration keeps handing the opposition party loaded guns, the latest being the clumsy, politically motivated firings of eight US attorneys, a rare oasis of professionalism. These prosecutors are appointed by the president, but, unlike ordinary presidential appointees, they are not normally removed except for cause.

In every case, the purpose seems to have been either to punish a prosecutor who did not capitulate to political pressure or to open up a slot for up-and-coming politicians. All this will now be laid bare in congressional investigations.

In another new case of lawlessness, the Justice Department's own inspector general issued a withering report on how the FBI has issued thousands of "administrative" subpoenas, fishing for information without the knowledge of the target. These are permitted under the Patriot Act, subject to narrow guidelines and special "exigencies," but the FBI has not been following its own internal rules.

With Democrats now in the congressional majority, the administration has lately been running on two tracks. On one track, grown-ups seem to have regained a measure of control. Rice was able to negotiate a long-delayed deal with the North Koreans to limit that nation's nuclear ambitions in exchange for the beginning of normalized relations. The deal has been available for six years. Rice was able to win its approval only by keeping Cheney out of the loop and requesting National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley to take the agreement directly to President Bush.

This weekend's regional diplomatic conference on Iraq, with representatives of the Iranian government sitting with US envoys, also represents a victory of pragmatists over extremists. The US line, dictated by Cheney and former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, had been that we can't talk directly to Iranians as long as they are pursuing nuclear weapons. That strategy had produced a stalemate, and US threats to bomb Iran -- which mainly frightened the Europeans and our few remaining Middle East allies. Bush has pulled back from that course, and is now willing to try direct diplomacy -- another setback for Cheney.


Falwell invites Gingrich to give address
March 10, 2007

LYNCHBURG, Va. --Newt Gingrich's admission of an extramarital affair as he pursued President Clinton's impeachment in the Monica Lewinsky scandal has won praise from another conservative Christian leader: the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

It's also helped to gain Gingrich an invitation to deliver the commencement address at Falwell's Liberty University. Gingrich is considered a possible republican presidential contender, although he has not announced any intention to run.

In an interview with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson that aired Friday, Gingrich admitted to the affair in 1998. In 2000, he divorced his second wife, Marianne, after his attorneys acknowledged his relationship with Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide now his wife.

"He has admitted his moral shortcomings to me, as well, in private conversations," Falwell wrote in a weekly newsletter sent Friday to members of the Moral Majority Coalition and The Liberty Alliance. "And he has also told me that he has, in recent years, come to grips with his personal failures and sought God's forgiveness."

Gingrich, 63, a former Georgia congressman who served as Republican speaker of the House after leading the party to its first House majority in 40 years, has been married three times. He has supported a family-values agenda as a candidate, and his two divorces have sparked reports of extramarital affairs as well as charges of hypocrisy from critics.


The New York Times

March 10, 2007
Congressional Memo: Democrats Steer the War in Iraq in Fits and Starts

WASHINGTON, March 9 - Over the next few weeks, the new Democratic Congressional majority will try to translate public discontent with the war in Iraq into actual policy, with a series of votes on the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq - the party's most consequential votes yet.

But the Democrats face some extraordinary political and institutional hurdles, which explain why Congress wades so reluctantly - and at times so achingly incrementally - into matters of war, veteran lawmakers say.

In the House, the Democratic majority stretches from nervous centrists and onservatives, reluctant to encroach on the prerogative of the commander in chief, to an antiwar contingent that wants to force the president to begin an immediate withdrawal. Democratic strategists say they hope and believe they have found a legislative formula for an Iraq spending bill that can hold that sprawling majority, with a timetable for withdrawal of American combat troops in 2008.

But it has been a close call.

Some on the left are anguished, believing that years of struggle against the war should now pay off, without further delay. "This is a true vote of conscience for me," said Representative Lynn Woolsey, a California Democrat who voted against the Iraq war resolution in 2002 and against every spending bill for the war since. She plans to do so again. If the Republicans stand united against the spending measure, as their leaders are threatening, the Democrats cannot afford to lose more than a dozen or so of their 233 votes.


Posted on Sat, Mar. 10, 2007
Spring forward a bit earlier this year

A traditional rite of spring, setting the clocks forward, comes early this year.

Most of the nation switches to daylight saving time early Sunday morning. The change comes a few weeks earlier than it used to, thanks to a change in the law. Daylight time will last until Nov. 4 this year.

It's also a good time to put new batteries in warning devices such as smoke detectors and hazard warning radios.

Some parts of the country don't observe daylight saving time. Those include Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.


Posted on Mon, Mar. 05, 2007
Slave link points to problem that never goes away

Somewhere, the gods of irony are laughing.

Can you blame them? Last week came news that, a genealogical website, had documented a startling link between two very unalike men. It turns out an ancestor of the late South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond once owned an ancestor of the Rev. Al Sharpton. Two icons of 20th century racial politics -- the one a strident foe of integration, the other regarded by some as a boogeyman of racial activism -- linked by ownership.

Somewhere, the gods are amused.

Sharpton is not. He has pronounced himself torn by conflicting emotion: humiliation, anger, pride, and, above all, shock.

The reaction from Thurmond's family, meanwhile, has been characterized by that curious shrug of shoulders, that ambivalence and eagerness to change the subject, one often finds in white people when slavery gets personal.


Posted on Fri, Mar. 09, 2007
Does bipartisanship have a chance?

It was not nostalgia or the desire for companionship that brought four former Senate leaders together in a meeting room on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning -- but rather a sense of alarm at the breakdown in civility and at the fierce partisanship that has infected Congress and blocked action on national priorities.

Politely but firmly, not wanting to criticize their successors in what styles itself as a great deliberative body, the two Republicans and two Democrats who once tried to run the place warned that something had gone awry.

With a 51-49 division in the Senate, neither party has been able to advance an agenda. The war issue has stalemated debate on any other topic. Republicans have filibustered Democratic resolutions aimed at limiting the war, while the Democrats have banned the GOP from even offering its alternatives.

Meantime, the House, after a fast start rushing through noncontroversial items, has slowed to a crawl, filling time with investigations.

Howard Baker of Tennessee, one of the four former leaders, said that ``there is a growing view, and certainly it's my view, that while partisan debate is ssential to our system, it has grown so hostile . . . that it has now had a corrosive effect on our ability to govern.''


The New York Times

March 10, 2007
Comedians as Activists, Challenging Prejudice

In the strange calculus of race, white people never seem to suffer as a group when their members are disproportionately involved in bad things, according to at least one Arab-American comedian. You know: corporate scandals, presidential assassinations, Nascar.

But Arabs and other Middle Eastern people "are the new Soviet Union," until some other group replaces them, jokes Dean Obeidallah. He is a half-Arab and half-Sicilian comedian (by way of New Jersey), and the one who came up with the racial calculus. He joins three other comedians with Middle Eastern origins for "Axis of Evil Comedy Tour Special," an hour of both gentle and acerbic yuks that flits from Islam to the erosion of civil liberties, to be shown tonight on Comedy Central.

The comedians say they see themselves in the tradition of black, Jewish and gay comedians who have wielded jokes as a weapon against prejudice.

"There's a sense of activism," Mr. Obeidallah said, speaking of his "Axis" role. He also helped create the four-year-old New York Arab-American Comedy Festival and Comedy Central's "Watch List," a new series of stand-up and sketch snippets shown on the "We want to show the talent and try to do something for positive media coverage in mainstream media."

Mr. Obeidallah, 37, shares the stage with Maz Jobrani (Gourishankar on the new ABC series "The Knights of Prosperity"), an Iranian-American; Ahmed Ahmed (of "Punk'd" and "Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show"), an Egyptian-American whose name matches an alias used by an Osama bin Laden associate; and Aron Kader (Hrach on "The Shield").

The stand-up routines are knit together by the comedian Loni Love, playing an airport security monitor who confronts each man as he is introduced onstage by going through a metal detector. Ms. Love - herself a plus-size African-American who plays the part with high-volume vulgarity - takes on stereotypes of both security screeners and Middle Easterners.


The New York Times

March 10, 2007
Court Rejects Strict Gun Law as Unconstitutional

Interpreting the Second Amendment broadly, a federal appeals court in Washington yesterday struck down a gun control law in the District of Columbia that bars residents from keeping handguns in their homes.

The decision was the first from a federal appeals court to hold a gun control law unconstitutional on the ground that the Second Amendment protects the rights of individuals, as opposed to the collective rights of state militias. Nine other federal appeals courts around the nation have rejected that interpretation.

Linda Singer, the District's acting attorney general, said the decision was "a huge setback."

"We've been making progress on bringing down crime and gun violence," Ms. Singer said, "and this sends us in a different direction."

By contrast, advocates of gun rights praised the decision, by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, saying it raised the prospect of a national re-evaluation of the meaning of the Second mendment and the rights of gun owners. They said the District of Columbia would have to begin procedures to allow handgun possession in private homes unless yesterday's decision was stayed.


The New York Post

March 10, 2007
Stung by Remarks, Nevada Democrats Cancel Debate on Fox

WASHINGTON, March 9 - Citing comments made by the chairman of Fox News about Senator Barack Obama, and under pressure from liberal groups and blogs, Nevada Democrats announced on Friday night that they had decided to cancel a debate in August on Fox News.

Criticism had been mounting ever since the Aug. 14 debate for Democratic residential candidates was announced last month. Liberal blogs and groups as well as some Nevada Democrats had demanded that Fox be removed as a sponsor, arguing that its coverage was slanted toward Republicans.

Nevada's Democratic leaders had stood firm against pressure over what had become an unpopular decision, until the Fox chairman, Roger Ailes, made a remark about Mr. Obama on Thursday night at an awards banquet here. In a series of jokes about various public officials as part of a speech, Mr. Ailes said, "It is true that Barack Obama is on the move. I don't know if it's true that President Bush called Musharraf and said, 'Why can't we catch this guy?' "

As the comparison, however made in jest, traveled around the Internet on Friday, the calls for Nevada Democrats to sever ties with Fox News intensified. Activists and bloggers also cited Fox's broadcasting last month of inaccurate statements that Mr. Obama had attended a radical Muslim school while a child in Indonesia.

In a letter to Marty Ryan, an executive producer of Fox, the state's two top Democrats, Tom Collins, head of the party, and Senator Harry Reid, said Mr. Ailes's comments "went too far."


The New York Times

March 10, 2007

TXU Announces Plans for 2 Coal Plants Designed to Be Cleaner-BurningBy CLIFFORD KRAUSS and MATTHEW L. WALD

HOUSTON, March 9 - The TXU Corporation announced on Friday that it was making plans to build two power plants in Texas that would use advanced technology intended to capture carbon dioxide before it escapes into the atmosphere.

The plan for the so-called integrated gasification combined cycle, or I.G.C.C., plants comes almost two weeks after TXU announced that several private equity groups led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and the Texas Pacific Group proposed to acquire TXU for $45 billion.

Before the deal was announced, TXU, the largest utility in Texas, had proposed building 11 coal-fired plants to meet the state's growing energy needs, but none would have included the new cleaner technology. Under growing pressure from senior Texas politicians and environmental groups, the company shelved eight of the plants under the terms of the buyout deal, leaving a hole in the state's future energy capacity.

The planning for the two new clean-coal generators would potentially help fill the gap for a state where the population is expected to grow by 20 percent, to nearly 30 million people, over the next decade. But it also may signal a shift in the thinking of utilities that depend on coal to generate energy to try to develop a challenging technology that is accompanied by high construction costs.

These plants would convert coal to gas and separate the carbon dioxide, which would then be injected into existing oil fields.


The New York Times

March 11, 2007
The Real Riddle of Changing Weather: How Safe Is My Home?

BY now it is no longer news that people are jiggling the planet's thermostat.

One response is to go green: New Yorkers who were terrified into action by Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," are shaping up their lives and homes with a compulsion formerly reserved for the Atkins diet.

All this carbon cutting is a boon, and it certainly provides a moral high ground. But it fails to address one pesky truth: no matter how green New York City becomes, it remains hostage to huge amounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions already in the pipeline and from the future environmental transgressions of others, facts made clear in the bleak conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released last month in Paris.

With no obvious savior in the wings, there is a growing urgency that global warming be understood at a local level, right down to the block, starting with: How could a rising sea level and pummeling storms affect the trillion dollars' worth of property New Yorkers call home?

"It's all pointing in a bad direction," said Stuart Gaffin, an associate research scientist at the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University. "There's nothing good to encourage you to think we're going to avoid long-term flooding events."


The Washington Post

Report Details Missteps in Data Collection

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 10, 2007; A01

Over a three-year period ending in 2005, the FBI collected intimate information about the lives of a population roughly the size of Bethesda's -- 52,000 -- and stored it in an intelligence database accessible to about 12,000 federal, state and local law enforcement authorities and to certain foreign governments.

The FBI did so without systematically retaining evidence that its data collection was legal, without ensuring that all the data it obtained matched its needs or requests, without correctly tallying and reporting its efforts to Congress, and without ferreting out all of its abuses and reporting them to an intelligence oversight board.

These are the conclusions of the Justice Department's uncontested examination of one of the most sensitive and widely used intelligence-gathering tools of the post-Sept. 11 era -- the national security letter (NSL). A report released yesterday by the department's Office of the Inspector General offers the first official glimpse into the use of that impressive tool, and the results, according to the report, are not pretty.

"We believe," the inspector general's office said in a summary of whether and how often the tool might have jeopardized the privacy of U.S. residents, "that a significant number of NSL-related violations are not being
identified or reported by the FBI."

The 199-page report, which Congress ordered the inspector general's office to produce over the Justice Department's objections, does not accuse the FBI of deliberate lawbreaking. But it depicts the bureau's 56 field offices and headquarters as paying little heed to the rules, and misunderstanding them, as they used the USA Patriot Act and three other laws to request the telephone records, e-mail addresses, and employment and credit histories of people deemed relevant to terrorism or espionage investigations.


The Washington Post

Breaking Putin's Cordon

By Masha Lipman
Saturday, March 10, 2007; A19

The Kremlin has been sending persistent signals that autonomous political activism will not be tolerated. As a result, political action on the streets has become highly risky in Russia, and those venturing to participate in events unwelcome by the government should be prepared to get in trouble.

Authorities are anxious to ensure a smooth transfer of power after elections this year and in 2008, but enhanced restrictions on the freedom of assembly are creating problems as the political opposition manages for the first time in years to muster thousands in the streets.

Last weekend, in an unusually large political protest in St. Petersburg, several thousand people defied a government ban on their rally, broke through police cordons and marched along the streets of Russia's second-largest city. The event was organized by Drugaya Rossiya (Other Russia), a medley of small opposition groups headed by political opponents of President Vladimir Putin such as former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov and former chess champion Garry Kasparov.

The marchers decried Putin and the policies of the St. Petersburg government. Many of them were beaten by police, and about 100 people were detained.

"I congratulate you for overcoming your fear," Kasparov told the crowd. The ictorious mood was echoed in some marchers' online postings. The demonstrators had a good reason to celebrate: This latest rally was clearly more successful than their December event in Moscow.

Then, Drugaya Rossiya protesters were also forbidden to march and were forced to stand in place: The 2,000 who gathered were surrounded by at least 4,000 riot police, who blocked off the area. This time police failed to contain the protesters, and, savoring their success, the protesters are planning a march in Moscow next month.


The Washington Post

Where's Karl Rove?

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Friday, March 9, 2007; 3:08 PM

Denis Collins, a juror in the Scooter Libby trial, wasn't just channeling his fellow jurors on Tuesday when he faced the microphones and asked: "Where's Rove?"

Collins's point was that Libby, who he had just helped convict on obstruction-of-justice charges, was quite obviously not the only person involved in the politically motivated outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Rove managed to wiggle off prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald's hook in June with a just-in-time recanting of earlier testimony in which he -- just like Libby -- misinformed investigators about his role. (See my June 13, 2006 column, Fitzgerald Leaves Questions Unanswered.)

And in spite of President Bush's assurances that anyone involved in the leak of Plame's identity to journalists would be fired, Rove -- who eventually admitted confirming Plame's identity to Robert Novak and volunteering it to Matthew Cooper -- is still on the White House payroll.

But since the Democratic sweep in the November elections, the "architect" of the previous three Republican victories has been largely out of public view.


The Washington Post

China to Create Huge Fund To Invest Part of Reserves

By Joe McDonald
Associated Press
Saturday, March 10, 2007; D01

BEIJING, March 9 -- China will soon create one of the world's largest investment funds, with ramifications for global stock, bond and commodities markets and for how the United States finances its budget deficits.

Finance Minister Jin Renqing said Friday that the aim is to make more profitable use of China's foreign-currency reserves, which exceed $1 trillion and which have piled up as China has posted huge trade surpluses year after year. Most of that money is now parked in safe, but relatively low-yielding, U.S. Treasury securities and other dollar-denominated assets.

"We can achieve more profit from the investments," Jin said at a news conference. "We are now preparing the organization of this new corporation."

Jin said Beijing may follow the lead of Singapore's Temasek Holdings, which manages nearly $90 billion in government pension funds and other assets. It owns stakes in Singapore Airlines and Singapore Telecom, as well as in banks, real estate, shipping, energy and other industries in India, China, South Korea and elsewhere.

Analysts have speculated for some time that China would create an investment company, and authorities have said repeatedly they want to make better use of the country's reserves.


The Washington Post

E.U. Raises Bar in Fight Against Global Warming

By John Ward Anderson
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, March 10, 2007; A15

PARIS, March 9 -- European Union leaders agreed Friday to take the 27-country bloc beyond the targets of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming, agreeing to legally binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy.

During a sometimes contentious two-day meeting in Brussels, the leaders agreed to cut the gas emissions by at least 20 percent from 1990 levels in the next 13 years. They set binding targets for renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydro power, to supply 20 percent of the union's power needs and for biofuels to be used in 10 percent of the bloc's road vehicles by 2020.

European governments have been a major promoter of the Kyoto pact, which attempts to counter trends that are warming the Earth's climate. The United States and some developing countries have withheld support from the pact, saying it is likely to harm economic growth and is based on inconclusive science.

The agreement in Brussels was reached after months of negotiations within the bloc. Leaders said they hoped the aggressive measures would help persuade some of the world's biggest polluters, including the United States, China and India, to follow their lead.

"We assume leadership with this unilateral reduction," said French President Jacques Chirac. "This is part of the great moments of European history."


The Washington Post

U.S., Allies Agree to Drop Proposed Iran Travel Ban

By Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 10, 2007; A15

UNITED NATIONS, March 9 -- U.S., British, French and German diplomats agreed in a closed-door meeting Friday to drop a proposal to impose a mandatory travel ban on Iranian officials linked to the country's most sensitive nuclear activities, Security Council diplomats said.

The concession was aimed at securing Russian and Chinese support for a Security Council resolution that would further penalize Iran for its refusal to halt its enrichment of uranium and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.

The Security Council has been pressing Iran for nearly a year to suspend those nuclear activities and begin talks with the council's major powers about the dispute. In December, the 15-nation council voted unanimously to restrict Iran's trade in sensitive nuclear materials and to freeze the assets of 22 Iranian officials and institutions.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported last month that Tehran had ignored a Feb. 21 Security Council deadline to halt its operations. As Iran presses ahead with an industrial-scale nuclear enrichment program, the council's major powers have been unable to agree on a common response.Iran maintains it needs to enrich its own uranium to guarantee a secure source of nuclear fuel for its civilian power plants.


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FLORIDA DIGEST March 10, 2007

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Express Gay News

S. Fla. marks 30 years of Pride
Over the years, Pridefest has changed and endured controversy

Friday, March 09, 2007

THERE HAVE BEEN a lot of changes in Pridefest in its 30 years of existence in South Florida.

"It has become less political and more celebratory," says Jesse Monteagudo, a Pride historian and contributor to the Express. "There is also more participation from non-GLBT businesses and politicians."

The festival has become less political through the years because the world has become more accepting of the GLBT lifestyle, Monteagudo says. Although that is an improvement, Monteagudo says he misses some of the old fight.

"The activist in me still yearns for the old political speeches," he says. "But on the whole, the Pridefest has improved over the years."

Pride South Florida began in 1977 as a committee of the now-defunct Dade County Coalition for Human Rights and became an independent entity in 1980, Monteagudo explains.

Saturday, March 11, and Sunday, March 12
Noon to 8 p.m.
Holiday Park/War Memorial Auditorium
800 N. Federal Hwy.
Fort Lauderdale
$8, $5 for students



The Largest Pride Festival In Florida

Join Us Celebrate 30 Years of Pride
At The #1 Gay & Lesbian Destination in The USA

We Have Added an Extra Tent
Contact (954) 561-2020

Indoor and Outdoor Events All Day Long

Two Stages

Fabulous Merchandise & Vendors - Food - Dancing - Non Stop Entertainment

Great DJ's - GLBT Support & Education Info., Carnival Games & Rides, Country
Western Dance Tent, AIDS Memorial Quilt, ArtsUnited's Art Pavilion, and
Demonstrations by The Broward Sheriffs Office.

Holiday Park/War Memorial Auditorium
800 N. Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale

12:00 noon to 8:00 pm (Both Days)
$8.00 and $5.00 for students with valid ID


Express Gay News

Mutual Benefits Corp. pleads guilty to racketeering

Friday, March 09, 2007

Mutual Benefits Corp., once the largest viatical settlement company in the country, has pled guilty in Broward County Circuit Court to criminal charges of racketeering and numerous counts of investment fraud, the Florida Attorney General's Office and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced last week.

The company will be placed on probation and will be administratively monitored by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, the Attorney General's Office said in a written statement.

Mutual Benefits was shut down in May 2004 amid a Securities & Exchange Commission investigation. Mutual Benefits sold life insurance policies to investors at less than the face value of the policies. Viatical investments pay out upon the death of the insured individual, who is often terminally ill when the policy is sold. They are profitable if the terminally ill person dies within a period of time, which is supposed to be determined based on a doctor's medical evaluation.

Authorities discovered that during the bidding process for the policies, principals of the company were setting the life expectancy of the insured persons prior to any medical review and sending backdated life expectancy letters to the investors, the Attorney General's Office said in its statement. As a result of the fraudulent scheme, policies were not maturing as promoted in marketing materials, officials said.

"This company intentionally defrauded thousands of people, offering the 'once-in-a-lifetime' deal," Attorney General Bill McCollum said.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Mar. 10, 2007
Miami cool to Romney's stance

A little-known presidential candidate seeking a toehold in the nation's biggest battleground state, Mitt Romney railed against Cuban leader Fidel Castro but did not repeat prior calls for a crackdown on illegal immigration in a speech Friday to the Miami-Dade Republican Party.

''As president, I will stand side by side with the members of this community in fighting the menace of the Cuban monsters,'' Romney told about 500 activists at the local party's annual Lincoln Day fundraiser.

But the Cuban-American politicians Romney reached out to in his speech don't agree with his strict stance on illegal immigration.

Sen. Mel Martinez and U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario and Lincoln Díaz-Balart all support efforts to allow illegal immigrants to work toward itizenship.

Romney has said such legislation -- sponsored last year by rival John McCain -- amounts to ``amnesty.''


The Sun-Sentinel,0,3023201,print.story?coll=sfla-news-legislature

Local officials expect trouble over tax cuts
By Mark Hollis
Tallahassee Bureau

March 10, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - Jails could close and school-crossing guards be laid off. Halfway houses for drug-dependent teens and foster kids could shut down. Meal programs for seniors would suffer. There'd be fewer police and firefighters, and new fees for anyone using libraries and parks.

That was the bleak scenario painted Friday by some of Florida's mayors, city and county commissioners, sheriffs and local government lobbyists describing the supposed downside of some of the tax-cutting initiatives being touted in Tallahassee.

Their warnings, or what some legislators said they interpreted as threats, surfaced at a Florida House hearing as legislators debated one of the deals being proposed for the state's tax-beleaguered residents: Big breaks on real estate taxes paid by home- and business owners in exchange for more sales tax for everyone and reduced services from local governments.

House Republicans, who are pushing the plan, want to slash the property tax rates for cities, counties and special districts. And they would put an inflation- and growth-adjusted cap on local government spending. But leaders of cities and counties hope lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Crist take a deep breath before enacting tax-cutting schemes.

"The public deserves to understand the effect that there will be on the quality of life," said Chris Holley, executive director of the Florida Association of Counties. "The perception they're trying to preach, that local government hasn't been responsible with the resources, is not right."


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Mar. 10, 2007
Priest tied to huge theft tried to avoid audit

(AP) -- A priest accused along with another clergyman of stealing more than $8 million from their church once griped that an audit of parish funds was ''a waste'' of money that ''should be spent more wisely,'' according to court documents.

Three years before the Revs. Francis Guinan and John Skehan were arrested on charges that they spent money on gambling trips, rare coins and a girlfriend, Guinan wrote the Diocese of Palm Beach to oppose the review.

''My reasons for this request are as follows: It is demeaning, embarrassing and humiliating. It accomplishes nothing that could not be accomplished in a more dignified fashion,'' Guinan said in the October 2003 letter. ``The money spent on an audit is a waste and should be spent more wisely.''

The letter was among documents released Thursday by Palm Beach County prosecutors that included notes from Guinan protesting the 2003 audit of St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church that eventually revealed the priests' alleged isdeeds.

Diocese policy calls for a parish audit whenever there is a change in pastors. Guinan had just taken over St. Vincent from his close friend, Skehan, who was retiring after 40 years.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Mar. 09, 2007
Senators hesitant over early primary

A proposal to bump up Florida's presidential primary was in legislative limbo Thursday, reflecting the overall disarray of the 2008 election calendar.

Several states, tired of taking a back seat to Iowa and New Hampshire, are jostling to hold their presidential primaries and caucuses earlier. The bill considered by the state Senate Ethics and Elections Committee Thursday would move Florida's primary from the second Tuesday in March to Jan. 29, one week after New Hampshire.

''My intention is not ego-driven,'' said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Jeremy Ring, a Margate Democrat. ``It is to make Florida relevant. . . . Candidates will not just be campaigning for our money, but they are going to have to campaign on issues that are important to Florida.''

The bill is a priority for House Speaker Marco Rubio, a West Miami Republican, and was expected to pass both chambers quickly. But it stalled Thursday when the Senate committee's chairman, Lee Constantine, said he was concerned about Florida getting lost in the crowd of states racing to the front of the line.

Constantine, a Republican from Altamonte Springs, suggested Feb. 19, when the only other states voting, he said, would be Minnesota and Wisconsin. That would allow Florida to escape penalties from the national parties, which have threatened to strip convention delegates from states that hold their primaries before Feb. 5.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Mar. 09, 2007
The 'Anti-Murder' bill

Violent criminals who violate the terms of probation or community control would be returned to prison under the state's new ``Anti-Murder Act.''

Those convicted of the following crimes -- whether or not adjudication is withheld -- would fall under the new law:

. Murder or manslaughter
. Burglary
. Robbery
. Aggravated assault
. Rape or attempted rape
. Kidnapping
. Lewd and lascivious battery or molestation


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Mar. 10, 2007
Traffic can make visitors wish they weren't here

When George and Sue Kremer left Michigan for a South Florida vacation, they didn't expect to spend quite so much of it inside a rental car.

''What should take 15 minutes, takes 45 minutes,'' George said of navigating the traffic between his family's rented condominium in Miami and the sands of Miami Beach. Added Sue: ``I think the drivers here are crazy.''

Surveys show traffic has overtaken crime as the top concern among Miami visitors, a milestone in the region's evolution from edgy tropical outpost to booming metropolis.

Last year, 19 percent of Miami-Dade County's overnight visitors named traffic or overdevelopment as their main gripe about the destination, according to a recent report from the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. That's up from 11 percent in 2004.

Only 1 percent of the 5,400 tourists surveyed cited safety -- a significant shift for a vacation spot shaken by the murder of a German vacationer in 1993.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,1026057,print.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

South Florida AIDS workshop to focus on teens
By Bob LaMendola
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

March 10, 2007

There were no balloons or cigars for one birth at Plantation General Hospital last week. The mother is 14. The father is in his late 20s and not around. He gave the girl HIV, and she may have passed it to her baby.

An uncommon tragedy, but health officials said teens contracting HIV/AIDS through unprotected sex with older men and sexual abuse has become a persistent problem, especially in South Florida.

The men want underage partners, health officials said, while the teens -- usually girls but also some boys -- are drawn in by the attention, thrills or material things the men offer. Few men get caught and fewer get prosecuted, officials said, because teens seldom file charges against them.

"It's a tragedy," said Dr. Ana Puga, an HIV/AIDS specialist at the Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Fort Lauderdale who will be treating the Plantation girl. "These guys take advantage of a child's mind and they get away with it. We had a girl 13 infected by a man who was 52."

At least 776 Florida teens ages 13 to 17 have been infected with the virus since mid-1997, about 2 percent of the statewide total of 37,250. About half of the teens come from South Florida, state figures show.


GLSEN South Florida, UTD GLS Caucus and M-DCPS Student Services present:


Earn 10 Master Plan Points
Includes 3 hours independent activity

March 16, 2007
(Administrator's Approval Required)

Palmetto Middle School
7351 SW 128th Street
Miami, FL 33156

8:00 - 12:00 Morning Session
12:30 - 3:30 Afternoon Session

This training will provide awareness about issues that impact the safelearning environment of schools with particular emphasis on issues affectingsexual minority youth in secondary schools. The morning portion of theworkshop will include a discussion by youth about their school experiences.

The afternoon portion will focus on effective strategies for establishing asafe classroom learning environment through supportive instructional designin various academic disciplines. The workshop includes a structuredindependent activity to be planned and implemented at the participants'school sites.

To sign up for the workshop go to and click onProfessional Development under Employees. For more information call305-576-2126


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Friday, March 09, 2007

GLBT DIGEST March 09, 2007

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New York Times

March 8, 2007
AIDS Hits U.S. Blacks Harder Than Other Groups
Filed at 7:57 p.m. ET

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Black men in the United States are nearly seven timesmore likely to be diagnosed with HIV than their white counterparts, the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report released onThursday.

Blacks represent 13 percent of the U.S. population but account for nearlyhalf of Americans living with the disease, and 40 percent of AIDS deaths and61 percent of all new diagnoses of people aged 13-24 are black, the CDCsaid.

The report, which is based on 2001-2005 data, does not reveal a dramaticincrease in the rate of HIV infection among blacks and it shows asignificant decline in black mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

But it cements a picture of an epidemic that disproportionately affects theblack community, said Robert Janssen, director of the CDC's division ofHIV/AIDS prevention.

``What is beginning to happen is a recognition of the severity of theproblem,'' Janssen said in an interview.


The New York Times

March 8, 2007
Study Finds Age Divide on Gay Marriage

Filed at 12:16 p.m. ET

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The growing acceptance of same-sex marriage inCalifornia reflects generational differences more than changes in individualattitudes, according to a study released Thursday.

Two political scientists who analyzed two decades worth of Field Polls onthe subject found that age was the strongest factor influencing whethersomeone opposed gay unions, with people born in the 1970s and '80s more thantwice as likely to support them as those born before 1940.

''Californians born in each decade tend to be more accepting of gayrelationships and more willing to grant them legal recognition than thoseborn the decade before,'' said the study's authors, Gregory Lewis of GeorgiaState University and Charles Gossett of California State PolytechnicUniversity, Pomona.

The findings suggest that same-sex couples will one day be allowed to wed inCalifornia, if not the rest of the country, as older generations die off,said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll.

''It's just a matter of time before a majority of California will besupportive of same-sex marriage,'' DiCamillo said. ''It may take 10 years toreplace another decade within the age cohorts, but it's clear every youngergeneration seems to be more accepting of that.''


The Washington Post

After 15 Years, a D.C. Power Couple Decides to Go Their Separate Ways

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, March 8, 2007; C03

Elizabeth Birch and Hilary Rosen, Washington's first same-sex power couple,have called it quits after a 15-year relationship, according to people closeto them.

Birch, a savvy lawyer, and Rosen, a high-profile lobbyist, glamorized theimage of gay couples in the nation's capital. For almost a decade, Birch wasdirector of the Human Rights Campaign, the country's most influential gayand lesbian political lobby. Rosen, as head of the Recording IndustryAssociation of America, was one of the most effective corporate voices onCapitol Hill. As a couple, they were plugged into top social and politicalcircles, which made them two of the most prominent activists for gay familyrights.

Last year, Birch, 50, began commuting to New York City where she heads Rosie O'Donnell's production company, KidRo Productions, and O'Donnell'scharitable arm, the For All Kids Foundation. Rosen, 48, is now a consultantto the entertainment industry and regular political commentator on MSNBC; inJanuary, she launched, an online social site for lesbians.

Birch will continue to split her time between NYC and Washington. The twowomen, who declined to comment, will both raise their 8-year-old twins, Annaand Jacob.

A Heartfelt Nod to One Who Paved the Way

With a record number of women now in Congress, Tuesday's dinner for Women'sPolicy Inc. and the Women's Caucus was the kind ofbasking-in-the-glow-of-history event where Nancy Pelosi gave props toeveryone from Susan B. Anthony to Pat Schroeder. But who got the bigapplause? Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for vice president on amajor-party ticket back in '84.


The Express Gay News

Lutheran gay pastor in Atlanta continues job fight
Schmeling files appeal of ruling that would remove him from clergy roster
By ZACK HUDSON | Mar 8, 7:25 PM

An appeal of a Lutheran clerical panel's decision to defrock the gay pastorof an Atlanta church is the latest move in a showdown within the EvangelicalLutheran Church in America over whether pastors involved in same-sexrelationships should lead congregations.

After a four day trial in January, a 12-member jury of ELCA clerics decidedFeb. 7 that Bradley Schmeling, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church,violated ELCA pastoral conduct guidelines, which allow openly gay clergymembers to serve congregations, but condemn same-sex relationships assinful.

The decision criticized the prohibition on same-sex relationships, and gaveSchmeling until Aug. 15 before his name should be removed from the ELCAclergy roster - opening a six-month window during which Schmeling can appealthe decision and seek to overturn current policy.

In its ruling, the jury also asked the ELCA to reconsider its rulesregarding gay clergy members - which it termed "bad policy" that mayconflict with the church constitution - during its biennial ChurchwideAssembly, slated for Aug. 6-12 in Chicago. The ruling also noted the successof Schmeling's six-year tenure as pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church inAtlanta.

Schmeling took the first step in retaining his job this week by filing anappeal of the decision, which he says he mailed March 6.


Gay students create safe haven at school
Columbia High School alliance seeks to boost tolerance in community

Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Thursday, March 8, 2007

EAST GREENBUSH -- When high school student Helena Echandy came out as alesbian, she mostly spent time with her closest friends, cautious aboutdealing with the public at large.Now the 19-year-old senior at Columbia HighSchool is a gay-rights activist and a member of her school's newGay-Straight Alliance.

After months of existing as an unsanctioned club, the GSA received approvalfrom the East Greenbush school district's Board of Education this year. Thegroup was founded by 18-year-old senior Brittany Shoup, who got the ideawhen she began dating a girl who was the president of Troy High School'sGSA.

"Other schools go through so much more than we do," Shoup said. "The climatehere is pretty tolerant."

The Columbia group meets Wednesdays after school. As many as 40 people haveshown up for group discussions and sometimes just general socializing.

"The goal is to create a safe environment and create tolerance in the schoolcommunity," said club president Courtney Voss, an 18-year-old senior. "Wetalk a lot about self-image, and we have movie nights."


The Statesman Journal

Gay-rights supporters rally at Capitol

Bills introduced this year have a chance of passing

March 8, 2007

Gay-rights legislation, which withered and died in the Republican-led OregonHouse in past sessions, found new life Wednesday with a rally in front ofthe Capitol.

An estimated 500 people huddled under pewter-colored skies to hear lawmakersand gay-rights advocates cheer two new bills, one that would outlawdiscrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, theother to recognize civil unions for same-sex couples.

Speakers included Gov. Ted Kulongoski -- who, as a lawmaker in 1975,introduced the first Oregon House bill to eliminate discrimination based onsexual orientation -- and Christine Chávez, granddaughter of farmworkerorganizer César Chávez.

"In 1989, my grandfather, César Chávez, stood with hundreds of thousands ofthe G-L-B-T community ... His message was about equality, respect anddignity," she said. "Today, I stand with you and carry on his message to allfamilies in Oregon."

Eugene chemistry teacher Anice Thigpen said she and her partner moved out ofTexas four years ago.


Gays go soccer mad in Mexico
1.27, Tue Mar 6 2007

A gay Mexican football team is hoping to win a place at the 2007 Gay SoccerWorld Cup in Argentina.

The doctors, salesmen and hairdressers who make up the side see football asa way to show soccer-mad Mexico that gays live a normal life.

They hope to spread tolerance and social understanding when they compete.

Every weekend the team's 15 players train at a public park in Mexico City,hoping for a place in Argentina among 32 other gay sides.

Team captain Andoni Bello said: "Society still thinks that we (gay men) areonly looking for sex, that we only frequent dives or that we are effeminate.


The Advocate

Soulforce bus defaced and activists given citations

The Soulforce Q Equality Ride, a group of young LGBT activists headed toChristian campuses nationwide on a mission to open a dialogue about antigayschool policies, encountered roadblocks during their first day on the tour.

A group of young LGBT activists headed to Christian campuses nationwide on amission to open a dialogue about antigay school policies encounteredroadblocks during their first day on the tour. One of two buses fromSoulforce Q's Equality Ride was defaced Wednesday night in Sioux Center,Iowa, home of Dordt College. The group on the bus, headed toward campuses inthe East, encountered a group of harassers Wednesday night who circled theEquality Riders' hotel in their vehicles. Haven Herrin, young adult activismcodirector for Soulforce, told The Advocate that some of the Riders saw theharassers mooning them from outside the hotel lobby. On Thursday morning theactivists discovered their bus covered in antigay graffiti.

"The Riders were not sure whether the people were students or townspeoplewho defaced the bus," Herrin said.

According to its policy handbook, same-sex sexual activity is grounds todismiss a student or faculty member from Dordt.

Meanwhile, on a westbound bus carrying more Soulforce Q Riders, threeactivists were handed citations for their presence on the Notre DameUniversity campus in Indiana. According to a statement released Thursday,Equality Riders on the westbound bus were with gay students on campus whoattempted to speak publicly about their experiences in the cafeteria of thestudent center. A Notre Dame freshman, Eddie Velasquez, was announcingfurther opportunities for dialogue with the Equality Riders when anadministration official approached him and attempted to escort him away. Hisinformation was instead taken down by campus authorities.

Herrin told The Advocate that she was present for the incident at NotreDame, where she and two others received citations. On Thursday the threewill be joined by three other participants who will walk onto campus withwreaths to place on the Tom Dooley statue. "Campus police told us that wewould be arrested if we were to step foot onto the campus," she said.

Equality Riders received a similar welcome in Cleveland, Tenn., during lastyear's tour. There, community members wrote "fags-mobile" on the side of thebus.

Officials from each college were unreachable for comment at press time. (TheAdvocate)


The Advocate

Matt Sanchez: I'm "bad at being gay"

Right-wing darling Marine Cpl. Matt Sanchez, a.k.a. former gay porn starsRod Majors and Pierre LaBranche, fielded questions from bloggers Wednesdayon his deeply nonconservative past and appeared eager for more mediaattention to follow.

Sanchez told blogger Joe.My.God. he was "relieved" at the revelation of hispast, which led MSNBC's Countdown show on Wednesday night.

"I've moved forward a lot and this past stuff is not something I want todrag into my future," Sanchez, 36, a student at Columbia University, toldJoe.My.God. in an e-mail interview.

"I don't like porn, it reduces the mind, flattens the soul," he said on hisown blog and on

"That's not hypocrisy talking, that's experience.... I can tell you that bythe time I finished my summer tour of the major studios, I was prettydisgusted with myself," Sanchez said.

Not only is his porn past behind him, Sanchez said, but also any putativegayness: "Boyfriends: 0; fiancées: 2; wife: 1. I'd say I'm pretty bad atbeing gay."


Anti-Gay Benefits Bill Dies In Kentucky Legislature
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: March 8, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Frankfort, Kentucky) Legislation to prohibit publicly funded universitiesand colleges from extending domestic partner benefits to families of facultyand staff has been narrowly defeated in committee.

The House Health and Welfare Committee voted 8-8. Under the rules a tievote results in a defeat.

Bipartisan supporters of the bill said they have not given up. They saidthey will attempt to revive the matter later in the session, when ends thismonth. If they are unsuccessful they said they will bring it back nextyear.

Nevertheless the statewide LGBT group Kentucky Fairness Alliance said it waspleased with the committee defeat.

"I'm optimistic about the fact that fairness prevailed," said ChristinaGilgor, the executive director of Kentucky Fairness. "It wasn't theoverwhelming victory that we would have liked, but it's a victory."


Anglican Bishop: Christianity Needs A 'Better Theology Of Sexuality'
by The Canadian Press

Posted: March 8, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Ottawa) A leading Canadian Anglican bishop says the Christian church has adeeply flawed understanding of sex and is wrong in contending that sex onlyexists for the purpose of procreation.

Rev. Michael Ingham says the church's position has led to morally groundlessobjections to birth control, abortion, masturbation and homosexuality.

Ingham, the bishop for the Greater Vancouver Diocese of New Westminster,told an Ottawa conference Wednesday night that the church needs a ``bettertheology of sexuality.''

He said the church has misunderstood references to homosexuality in thebible and has wasted energy in persecuting those who have argued for a newunderstanding of sexuality.

Ingham has already outraged most Anglican leaders by authorizing theblessing of same-sex unions in his diocese.


Police Investigate Alleged Cover-Up Of Rapes, Abuse At Texas Youth Prison
by The Associated Press

Posted: March 8, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Austin, Texas) Police went to 22 Texas Youth Commission facilities and theagency headquarters this week to investigate claims that young inmates weresexually abused and that agency officials covered it up.

Jay Kimbrough, appointed by the governor to look into the allegations at aWest Texas youth prison, said the officers would conduct interviews at theprisons and halfway houses, secure equipment and collect documents ifnecessary.

He also issued a warning to agency employees.

"If you are part of this gig, you need to move on or we're going to find youand prosecute you," Kimbrough said.

The Texas Youth Commission houses about 2,700 offenders ages 10 to 21 whoare considered the most dangerous, incorrigible or chronic. Its new boardchairman pledged Tuesday that the agency would cooperate with theinvestigations.


Judge Responsible For Ending Disneyland Gay Ban Dies
by The Associated Press

Posted: March 8, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Los Angles, California) Retired Judge James Randal Ross, great-grandson ofoutlaw Jesse Woodson James and author of the book "I, Jesse James," hasdied. He was 80.

Ross died Monday of a heart attack at his Fullerton home, his third cousinEric James, president of the James Preservation Trust, confirmed Wednesdayfrom his home in Danville, Ky. Ross had been in failing health for a year.

Born in July 1926, in Independence, Mo., Ross was the closest livingrelative of outlaws Frank and Jesse James.

He was an Orange County Superior Court judge from 1983 to 1995, when heretired.

Of all the cases he handled, Ross was most proud of one involving Disneylandbanning gays from dancing at the Anaheim amusement park, Eric James said.

Disneyland had imposed the ban in 1957, when dancing was first allowed. In1980, a homosexual couple was kicked out of the park for dancing together.When the case made it to Ross' court, he ruled in favor of the gay couple.


Soulforce Equality Ride Faces Vandalism, Intimidation in the Heartland
East Bus is Defaced with Anti-gay Slurs in Iowa;Students Face Repercussions at Notre Dame

On the opening day of Equality Ride 2007, the 50 young Riders faced grimreminders of why they are on 2 buses, headed for 32 Christian colleges withpolicies that silence or exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgenderstudents. Last night the eastbound bus made its first stop in Sioux Center,Iowa, where Riders were harassed at their hotel. This morning they awoke tofind their bus defaced by graphic anti-gay graffiti.

The Equality Ride traveled to Sioux Center to visit Dordt College, a schoolthat counts "sexual activity with someone of the same gender" as possiblegrounds for "an employee's discharge or a student's dismissal." The EqualityRide's mission is to open a dialogue about the painful consequences ofdiscrimination and the religion-based prejudice that sustains it.

The bus full of young adults, including former students of conservativeChristian colleges, straight allies, and gay evangelical Christians, arrivedin Sioux Center in the early evening. On the night of March 7th, threevehicles circled the hotel where the Equality Riders were staying, harassingthe young adults who were staying inside. In the morning, anti-gay slurswere found written on the side of the bus, along with a hate-filled messageon a piece of cardboard: "God does not love feary f****"

To view uncensored pictures of the defacement click here - (Warning: Photos show obscenitiesand hate speech.)


Gay students create safe haven at school
Columbia High School alliance seeks to boost tolerance in community

Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Thursday, March 8, 2007

EAST GREENBUSH -- When high school student Helena Echandy came out as alesbian, she mostly spent time with her closest friends, cautious aboutdealing with the public at large.

Now the 19-year-old senior at Columbia High School is a gay-rights activistand a member of her school's new Gay-Straight Alliance.

After months of existing as an unsanctioned club, the GSA received approvalfrom the East Greenbush school district's Board of Education this year. Thegroup was founded by 18-year-old senior Brittany Shoup, who got the ideawhen she began dating a girl who was the president of Troy High School'sGSA.

"Other schools go through so much more than we do," Shoup said. "The climatehere is pretty tolerant."

The Columbia group meets Wednesdays after school. As many as 40 people haveshown up for group discussions and sometimes just general socializing.


HIV/AIDS Meds Rationed In Puerto Rico
by The Associated Press

Posted: March 9, 2007 - 7:30 am ET

(San Juan, Puerto Rico) The U.S. has halted payments to clinics that treatAIDS patients in Puerto Rico, forcing hundreds of poor people to go withoutfree medicine in a U.S. territory with an AIDS rate nearly double that ofthe mainland.

Puerto Rican officials blame the FBI, saying agents investigating fraudseized documents clinics need to get reimbursement for drugs and services.The FBI denies it is responsible.

Patient advocates blame the San Juan city government and other islandagencies, saying the problem is a result of mismanagement in a program thathas a history of corruption.

The 21 clinics, which are privately run under the administration of the SanJuan city government, say they stopped receiving reimbursement from the late 2006, but the rationing and cutbacks only began in recent weeks astheir budgets have started to run low.

Some clinics have reduced their hours, staff levels and the amount ofmedicine they distribute.


House panel backs same-sex adoption

Bill goes to full Colorado House for debate
DENVER (AP) | Mar 9, 8:00 AM

Same-sex partners and other unmarried people would be able to adopt childrentogether under a bill backed by a House committee.

The House Health and Human Services voted to send the measure to the fullHouse for debate.

Three others states already have similar second-parent adoption laws, whichallow any two non-married people to adopt a child. That could also include agrandparent and another adult or two co-habitating adults.

Currently in Colorado, gay people are able to adopt a child on their own buttheir partner can't adopt the child too.

Supporters say it makes sense to encourage children to have two parents,giving them more economic stability and access to benefits like healthinsurance. But opponents say it's really about promoting gay adoption. Nonecame to the hearing to speak against the bill though.


Anti-gay youth ministry tests San Francisco's tolerance

March 9, 2007
By Jesse McKinley San Francisco Journal

SAN FRANCISCO - It is the type of event that cities usually salivate over:more than 20,000 teenagers, all with a keen interest in pop culture, plentyof chaperones, and, of course, pockets full of disposable income.

But when the group in question is a Christian ministry from Texas thatcondemns homosexuality, and the place is San Francisco, often referred to as"the gayest city in America," the civic welcome wagon collapses prettyquickly.

A two-day event called BattleCry starts Friday at AT&T Park, the downtownbaseball stadium. Organizers say the gathering, which includes performancesby Christian rock bands and inspirational speakers, is a way for youngChristians to speak out against what they view as destructive culturalelements, including sex on television, obscene music and violent videogames.

"This culture is really hammering this generation," said Ron Luce, founderof Teen Mania, the Texas-based ministry that sponsors and promotesBattleCry. "Whether it's being accosted with horrible sexually suggestivemessages or the garbage in the video game world, corporate America is rapingand pillaging American teenagers. And everyone is just walking by."

But several prominent San Francisco political leaders say Luce's group isthe one doing the damage, using its young members as a conduit for a messageof intolerance.


HeartStrong Inc
PO Box 2051
Seattle WA 98111

Marc Adams, Executive Director


Seattle, WA - "Having the right to do something doesn't necessarily makeit right to do," says Marc Adams, executive director of HeartStrong, Inc.

"You would think that after all of the apologies our country has had tomake and all of the reparation checks they've cut that they would havelearned this lesson by now."

Adams is referring to the firestorm brewing after the recent firing by theMethodist Spring Arbor University of Dr. Julie Nemecek, Associate Dean ofAdult Studies. A calculated effort to make her disappear began almostimmediately after she informed the University of her diagnosis in 2005culminating with her termination last month.

"Spring Arbor University's attempt to seduce Dr. Nemecek in to thelifestyle they are comfortable with and firing her when she chose tofollow her own heart is sickening," Adams continues. "Religiouseducational institutions are not known for exercising real unconditionallove and this incident is no exception. SAU will now be known for thedisrespect of its employee and piety instead of an institution for higherlearning."

HeartStrong, Inc., is a national non profit co-founded by Adams more thana decade ago and its sole mission is to provide support to gay, lesbian,bisexual and transgendered students and others who are persecuted atreligious educational institutions worldwide. The HeartStrong OutreachTeam has self-driven more than 336,000 miles in eight years doing outreachand educational work.

In June of 2006, in standard religious school fashion, SAU issued Nemeceka restructured contract demanding adherence or face termination. The newcontract conditions punished her by cutting her salary by twenty percentand forced her to virtually disappear from campus and all SAU relatedactivities. The contract also required Nemecek to undergo Universitymonitored counseling presumably to try to keep her from continuing herjourney.

Contact for the full article.


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