From Paul Moore
Registrar who says she won't do gay weddings ... and is now taking councilto a tribunal
By MARTIN DELGADO - Last updated at 21:07pm on 12th January 2008
A crucifix worn prominently around her neck, this is the marriageregistrar at the centre of a landmark legal case over her opposition to gayweddings.
Lillian Ladele has launched proceedings against Islington Council inNorth London, claiming that to officiate at civil partnership ceremoniesbetween same-sex couples is incompatible with her religious principles.
Her refusal to supervise such unions has brought her into conflict withthe council, where she has worked for more than ten years.
Now she is taking her case to an employment tribunal, claiming"discrimination or victimisation on grounds of religion or belief".
Until last month, Britain's 1,700 registrars of births, marriages anddeaths worked, in effect, on a freelance basis under the supervision of theRegistrar General.
This gave them the freedom to opt out of civil partnership ceremonies ifthey chose to do so.
But their employment status was changed on December 1 by a new law, theStatistics and Registration Act, which brought them under the control oftown halls.
As local government workers, they must now carry out council officers'instructions.
Survey: Transgendered persons' encounters with police
My name is Creaig Dunton I am conducting a study at the University atAlbany School of Criminal Justice in order to examine transgenderedpersons' encounters with police, as well as their perceptions of crime andlaw enforcement. If you identify as transgender by any definition of theword, I would greatly appreciate your input into the survey. It iscompletely anonymous, and absolutely no identifiable information iscollected. Depending on your responses, it may take between 30 minutes toan hour to complete. Your participation is greatly appreciated, and willhelp society as a whole gain a greater understanding of what it means tobe transgendered.
To complete the survey, please enter the following URL into your webbrowser:
When prompted for a user name and password, please use the user name"tgsurvey" and password "Spring08". Please do not use the quotationmarks, and note that both the user name and password are case sensitive.The survey consists of multiple choice questions and a few free responsequestions, and requires only a basic knowledge of web browsing tocomplete.
If you have any questions or concerns about the survey before beginningit, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at email@example.com.
Thank you for your time,
Creaig A. Dunton, M.S.
School of Criminal Justice
University at Albany
Albany, NY 12222
New York Times
Rebel Summit Could Herald Anglican Schism
Filed at 4:19 a.m. ET
January 13, 2008
LONDON (Reuters) - Conservative Anglican leaders are to stage a breakawaysummit in Jerusalem that could irretrievably fracture the 400-year-oldchurch over a dispute with liberal clergy about homosexuality.
The timing could not be worse for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams,who is struggling to maintain unity among the world's 77 million Anglicansover the issue.
The clergy, headed by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, are due to meet inJerusalem six weeks before July's Lambeth Conference in Britain -- the10-yearly gathering of all Anglican leaders.
"It does look like a mess. It is another nail in poor old Rowan's cross,"said religious commentator and broadcaster Clifford Longley.
"I do see it breaking up," he said, contemplating the future of a churchwhich, unlike the regimented hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, is runby broad consensus with Williams as first-among-equals.
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Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
Regional updates from Euro-Queer
BULGARIA: found to be the most homophobic country in Europe. A recentlyconducted poll on discrimination in Bulgaria revealed an alarming level ofhomophobia among this Balkan society. Bulgaria appears to be the mostprejudiced country against sexual minorities in the European Union. Thesurvey indicates that in total as much as 80% of Bulgarians carry negativeattitudes towards gays, lesbians and transgendered people and more than ahalf are even extremely negatively oriented towards homosexuals.
CROATIA: Substantial decrease in abortion rates. There is a huge decline inthe number of abortions performed in the country. The factors underlyingthis significant drop are not obvious. Statistics say that during the last20 years the number of abortions performed annually dropped from 50 to 4thousands. Experts struggle to explain this unexpected and enormous change.
In 1989 the number of deliveries almost equaled the number of terminations.
Nowadays, women gave over 40 thousands births a year and the number ofofficially performed abortions is up to ten times smaller. It is claimedthat the Croatian society has become more religious in the past two decadesafter communism collapsed and this fact might have a reflection in thedecreased number of abortions. Furthermore, the position of the CatholicChurch grew in power and the religious leaders became more socially visibleand politically influential.
GERMANY: Demographics again on the agenda. Recently conducted study providednew data on the demographic trends that link with the constantly discussedGermany's population decline. It has been showed that the average age of thefirst childbirth is constantly on the rise. Nowadays it amounts 26 and thereis a growing tendency among German women to delay first pregnancy. It alsocoincides with the fact that more and more young people postpone thestarting of the family till late twenties. Furthermore, an increasing numberof women decide to stay childless. Statistics indicate that every fifthwomen aged 40 - 49 does not have children. This trend is especially vivid inwestern Germany where the level of education of women is also higher. Intotal twenty one percent of women in their forties who went through highereducation resign from motherhood.
HUNGARY: The parliament legalizes same-sex partnerships. On 17th of Decemberthe Hungarian Parliament passed a bill legalizing civil unions for bothhomosexual and heterosexual couples. It provides the same legal status forsame-sex partners as it is in the case of traditional marriages. The billnormalizes the right of inheritance, tax regulations but does not providelegal basis for child adoption, which still remains illegal in Hungary. Thenew law was passed with 185 votes while 154 parliamentarians opposed and 9abstained.
LITHUANIA: A threat of total ban on abortion in the country. Just before thewinter holidays, conservative parliamentarians in Lithuania presented adraft anti-abortion law. It is proposed to bring it up for discussion andvoting in the spring session of the Parliament. The author of the law,Wladyslaw Tomaszewski, is of Polish origin and represents the Polishminority in the Lithuanian Parliament. If the Parliament accepts this legalproposal in the third reading, there will be extreme backlash in the countryand Lithuania will be among three other countries in Europe (Ireland, Malta,Poland) with the most restrictive anti-abortion law. Anti-Choiceparliamentarians are exerting severe pressure on MPs with more progressiveperception of family planning by appealing to ideological and religiousarguments. One of the most passionate defenders of women's reproductiverights in the Parliament will even be questioned by the ParliamentaryCommission on Ethics because of her liberal views on abortion.
POLAND: Political initiative to subsidize in vitro fertilization (IVF) facesstrong opposition from the Catholic church. Newly appointed Polish ministerof health finally proposed to subsidize IVF from the state budget. Until nowPoland has remained an exceptional example of a country that does notprovide financial support to infertile couples. The initiative of the newgovernment raised strong protest among Polish bishops, who are undertakingefforts to undermine the idea of the state refunded IVF. IVF remains ahighly controversial issue in public debate and the Catholic churchpropagates extremely conservative perceptions of this method of infertilitytreatment. In the official letter addressed to Polish parliamentarians, thenational episcopate compares IVF to a 'sophisticated' way of abortion andcalls upon decision makers to reject all proposals aiming at providingsubsidization of IVF. The pressure from the Catholic church unfortunatelydoes not remain unnoticed. The parliament announced that it is going tofurther discuss the issue with the episcopate - a declaration that is reallypuzzling in light of the fact that Poland is believed to be a secularcountry.
POLAND: New initiative to further restrict abortion in Poland. The PolishOmbudsman Janusz Kochanowski is considering filing the complaint to thePolish Constitutional Tribunal against the article of the anti-abortion lawallowing for abortion on therapeutic grounds. He believes this article isnot constitutional due to the lack of precision . His intention is to limitaccess to abortion if health problems are not serious enough. Thisinitiative is being considered on the eve of the 15th anniversary of theintroduction of present restrictive anti-abortion law which was passed bythe Polish Parliament on January 7th 1993. His attempt to limit access tolegal abortion is grounded in the recent decision of the European Court forHuman Rights in the case of Alicja Tysiac according to which denial ofaccess to legal abortion on medical grounds was a breech of her right toprivacy under the European Convention of Human Rights.
From Nikki - Transgender Equality
Last night I had the opportunity to view the documentary "Call MeMalcolm". It was being shown by a GLBT Christian Church group thatmeets at the GLCC in Ft. Lauderdale. In short, the movie was amazingand deals with a comprehensive host of issues that Trans people dealwith in transitioning and life after transitioning. It also includesa study guide that I thought you might find useful for reflection..The movie is 90 minutes and excellent for teaching purposes. Youcan go to www.callmemalcolm.com to see the Study guide and reviewthe movie. It was made by the United Church of Christ.
I had the opportunity to meet Rev. Malcolm Himschoot about 3years ago. I was considering moving to Atlanta and was therechecking out property and the city. My visit to Atlanta coincidedwith the national conference on GLBT inclusion by the United Churchof Christ at Emory University. I was invited to one of theirdiscussion sessions by Rev. Erin Swensen, a MtF TS minister with thePresbyterian Church (the first in the Presbyterian denomination) . Iwas so impressed by both Malcolm and Erin and have been looking forthe documentary "Call Me Malcolm" ever since. I was so excited tofinally get to view it and it was really the best movie that I haveseen on the subject of Gender Identity/ Expression. While it doeshas a spiritual emphasis, it deals with so many other issuesrelevant to Trans people such as family, employment, medical issues,legal issues such as marriage and family definition, adoption,safety and hate crimes. It really opens up so many issues fordiscussion. I hope you take a look at the Disscussion guide atleast. It's a perfect DVD to use to educate friends and family aboutbeing Transgender.
To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News
Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
The only political discussion I've heard recently that I found interestingtook place on Larry King's show the other night. He was interviewingcelebrity financial adviser/author Suze Orman (baby boomer, same age as I),and he asked her who she liked among the candidates. I honestly don'tremember which Democrat she liked best, but she made it clear that she wasvoting for a Democrat for one important reason: estate taxes. I'membarrassed to tell you that hidden in this reason is a little bit ofcelebrity trivia that had completely escaped this columnist. And I callmyself a pop culture expert. You see, Suze has had a same-sex partner for 7years. She and her partner are millionaires, but because they can't marry,whichever one of them survives the other will lose 50 percent of everythinginherited to estate taxes.If they were a regular old married heterosexualcouple, there would be no inheritance taxes - their wealth would be mutuallyowned. Now this is a campaign issue that had never occurred to me, but itharkened back to a time in my single life.When I was a commercial flightattendant I had pass privileges to fly anywhere Northwest went for apittance. If I had a husband and minor children, they could go with me.
Alas, I was single and had no one to bestow this gift upon. I rememberthinking how unfair this rule was to single people and gay people who wouldnever have a spouse.
There's ambiguity about whether or not an Aug. 31 ruling on same-sexmarriage, currently on hold, will be overturned, if left to the Iowa SupremeCourt in April, said Randy Wilson of the Family Research Council, based inWashington, D.C., during a talk with area ministers Thursday afternoon inMt. Pleasant. Wilson, along with Chuck Hurley, president of the Iowa FamilyPolicy Center in Pleasant Hill, were addressing the ministers and otherconservative activists at Faith Christian Outreach Church. A 2003 decisionto grant a lesbian couple a divorce in northwest Iowa and the Iowa SupremeCourt's (ISC) approval of that ruling set a legal precedent for the state'sacknowledgment of same-sex marriage, Wilson said. Since then, a case hascome before the ISC that is scheduled to be heard in April. The caseinvolves Polk County Judge Robert Hanson who overturned a decision by thePolk County auditor to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples saying theformer decision was unconstitutional. Hanson issued one marriage license andlater put a stay on his own decision.
Psychological studies of lesbian and gay couples reveal two key factors thatpromote healthier relationships and provide examples for all couples: (1)flexibility about gender roles, and (2) equal division of parenting andhousehold tasks. "It all comes down to greater equality in the relationship," says Robert-Jay Green, PhD, executive director of theRockway Institute and a nationally recognized researcher in both familyissues and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender relationships. "Researchshows that lesbian and gay couples -- by virtue of being composed of twopartners of the same gender -- have a head start in escaping the traditionalgender role divisions that make for power imbalances and dissatisfaction inmany heterosexual relationships." Green is Distinguished Professor at theCalifornia School of Professional Psychology at Alliant InternationalUniversity, the nation's largest nonprofit training institution for doctoralclinical psychologists. In a series of studies he conducted with MichaelBettinger, PhD, and Ellis Zacks, PhD, lesbian couples were found to beemotionally closer than gay male couples who, in turn, were found to beemotionally closer than heterosexual married couples.
The main opposition party in Spain has made a bid for conservative andCatholic votes by promising to establish a new "family" ministry if they winthe elections in March.Addressing a rally in Toledo yesterday the leader ofPartido Popular, Mariano Rajoy, suggested that the "traditional family"needs extra protection. The incumbent Socialist government has legalisedsame-sex marriage, eased divorce laws and repeatedly clashed with the RomanCatholic Church. Despite their appeals to devout Spaniards and theirconservative stance, PP have not indicated they intend to amend or abolishgay marriage should they come to power. Meanwhile El Pais newspaper reportsthat deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told agathering of legislators that Spain "does not need to be lectured aboutmorals" and accused the Roman Catholic hierarchy of lacking respect for thedemocratic process and the government.
Late last year, House Bill 2007 passed through Oregon's legislative process,granting domestic partnerships to same-sex couples. As always, this drew theattention of the usual spread of anti-gay groups, who spared no time inhitting the streets to gather enough petitions to halt the bill.
Unfortunately for them, they fell short of the required amount of signaturesto do so. And so for a time, it seemed that Oregon was finally andprogressively striding into the future.Now the issue has once again gracedour newspapers, as well as voters. It seems that a concern has been raisedin regard to how people in Oregon conduct petition gathering and counting.
U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman has suspended the law. He has set a dateof Feb. 1 for each side to make their case, which will state that themethods we use and have always used to gather and legitimize petitionsignatures is lawful. If it ends up that Oregonians have been in error allthis time, then the law will surely be suspended into the ether.
A Winnipeg School Division teacher who placed a photo of his same-sexmarriage partner on his classroom desk has educators scrambling to decidehow much teachers can tell kids about their personal lives.
The family of a Grade 7 student is trying to transfer to another schoolbecause the boy's teacher has placed a photo of his partner on his desk, andis answering students' questions about his personal life, said a sourcewithin the division. "The administration has already gone in to look at thesituation" and talk to the school's principal, said the source, who askednot to be identified. The source said that the classroom teacher is notaware yet that anything is happening, and would not name the school, thefamily, or the teacher. The administration is reportedly carefully avoidingbringing sexual orientation into the situation, but is looking at how muchof the teacher's personal life the teacher is discussing with students, andhow frequently. However, said the source, the family involved has citedsexual orientation as an issue, in raising complaints about the teacherwhich could eventually reach the school board.
AUSTIN -- It's no secret that evangelical voters helped Republican Gov. RickPerry win re-election in 2006. But critics now allege that the effort to getcongregants to the polls ran afoul of federal tax laws, and they say thesame tactics are being used to promote former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee'sGOP bid for the White House. A top Perry aide calls the accusations baseless"conspiracy theories." At issue is the Texas Restoration Project, areligious organization that urged evangelicals to stand up for Christianvalues at the ballot box. According to the Texas Freedom Network, a liberalgovernment watchdog group, the mobilization was bought and paid for by majorRepublican donors in apparent violation of federal tax laws. On Thursday,the group called for an IRS investigation.
Petrozavodsk, January 11, Interfax - A Karelian branch of the Youth HumanRights Group addressed the deputies of the republic's parliament anddemanded to adopt the law on homosexual marriages and to introduce legalresponsibility for discrimination of gays, lesbians and transsexuals. Thehuman rights activists also suggest revising fundamental bases ofmatrimonial relations. 'Recognition of same-sex marriages by the state andsociety give to the same-sex couples some important positions. Legalizationof the same-sex marriages transfer them from the sphere of damnable to thezone of acceptable and normal.
5 December 2007 marked the 2 year anniversary of the introduction of theCivil Partnership Act 2004 ("CPA"). This groundbreaking law enables same sexcouples to enter into a civil partnership, thereby providing legalrecognition of the relationship. Running alongside the CPA are theEmployment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 (the "SexualOrientation Regulations") which have been in force since 1 December 2003.
The Sexual Orientation Regulations prohibit discrimination against employeesin the work place on the grounds of their sexual orientation. The SexualOrientation Regulations follow a similar pattern to the more established SexDiscrimination Act 1975 and Race Relations Act 1976. The rights under theCPA coupled with the Sexual Orientation Regulations, confirm the government's drive to protect the rights of persons who are lesbian, gay and bisexual,particularly in their role as employees. The CPA is still in its infancy buthow effective have the Sexual Orientation Regulations been so far and howcan employers stay within the law?
National Gay News
Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
Cops Accused of Ignoring Gay-Hate Crimes
Gay Hate crimes are on the rise in Sydney, with activists warning violencemay spiral out of control in the lead-up to the 30th year of Mardi Gras. TheAIDS Council Of NSW said it had received 22 reports of homophobic violencein the past six weeks alone, compared with 30 over the previous five months.
Less Than Two Weeks in, N.H. civil Union Count Nears 100
Nearly 100 same-sex couples have been joined in civil unions since theybecame legal in New Hampshire on New Year's Day.William Bolton, director ofthe state Vital Records Administration, said 183 civil union licenses havebeen issued since Dec. 10, when the paperwork became available; most - 171 -were issued to New Hampshire residents. The licenses are valid for 90 days.
Officials know of 95 ceremonies that have taken place and 63 happened onJan. 1, the day the civil unions law went into effect.
HIV in Puerto Rico From a Puerto Rican Perspective
Growing up gay in Puerto Rico adds several problems and prejudices to GLBTPuerto Ricans' lives. Three traits define the GLBT community in Puerto Rico:religion, machismo, and strong family/nationalistic ties. The Puerto Ricanpopulation is 95% Catholic. The Church is strong with a fundamentalChristian base to the morals of the culture. In 1964, the Catholic Bishopsformed a political party and threatened excommunication for anyone whodidn't join their party. Abortion was illegal (until Roe v. Wade) andhomosexuality was illegal until the Supreme Court Lawrence decision.
Homosexuality is, to quote my mother, "an abomination".
The Workaholic's 30-Minute Workout
Feeling your best means eating right and sweating hard-but what do you dowhen you just don't have the time? Don't despair. If you can spare 30minutes a day-a measly half an hour-we can give you a healthy, strong bodythat looks good to boot. To help come up with this fast and furious workoutfor guys who barely have time for the gym, we turned to Devin Wicks, afitness operations director at the University of California, Berkeley, andspecialty strength coach for some of the University's premier sports teams,to create a workout plan that gives you the most possible benefit in just 30minutes per day, six days a week.
Lifetime Pushes "Naked" Makeovers
Fads and fashions are so fickle they ultimately undo the people who tried tobe the tastemakers. The Bravo cable network reality show "Queer Eye for theStraight Guy" was all the rage for a season or two, but it collapsed afterfive seasons when the insulting schtick of ultra-hip gay men improving the"style-deficient and culture-deprived straight man" annoyed its last viewer.
St. Maarten is a Warm Mix of Cultures, Sexual Orientations
St. Maarten-The gay men of St. Maarten are looking forward to meeting you.
"We welcome the season," says activist Bevil Byam, "because out of season wesee the same damn faces all the time." I'm at the Turtle Pier Restaurantoverlooking the Simpson Bay Lagoon, enjoying local food and friends.
Black LGBT Presidential Forum, January 23 in L.A.
African-American LGBT voters have a chance to come together on Wednesday,January 23, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to hold a presidential election forum.
"It's a Black Thang! The Black LGBT Vote '08" will be held in L.A.'shistoric African-American community of Leimert Park at the Lucy FlorenceCoffee House and Cultural Center, located at 3353 West 43rd Place.
Contenders from the Republican and Democratic parties have been invited tojoin the event.
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Dissident Episcopal Bishop Suspended
(Fresno, California) The Episcopal Church has banned a California bishopfrom practicing his religious duties until March after he led hiscongregants to secede from the national church.
Petition Drive To Repeal Calif. Bully Law Fails, Legal Threat Continues(Sacramento, California) A conservative Christian group has failed tocollect enough signatures to force a vote to repeal a California lawprotecting students from discrimination, harassment and bullying inpublicly-funded schools.
Economy Tops War As Top Issue
(Washington) The faltering economy has caught the Iraq war as people's topworry, a national poll suggests, with the rapid turnabout already showing upon the presidential campaign trail and in maneuvering between President Bushand Congress.
Fate Of Edwards Supporters Could Be Key
(Washington) Democrat John Edwards placed second in Iowa, third in NewHampshire and faces even longer odds of pulling off a win in upcomingstates.
Light Crowd Greets Romney In Mich.
(Warren, Michigan) Despite embracing Michigan as the heart of his bid torevive his campaign, Republican Mitt Romney was greeted by anemic crowds ashe began his final push for votes in the crucial primary.
Moscow Court Acquits Gays Arrested In Election Protest
(Moscow) A Moscow judge on Friday acquitted 13 gay activists arrested lastmonth for staging a protest outside a polling station during nationalelections.
Maryland Defines Domestic Partners
(Annapolis, Maryland) Maryland lawmakers have moved to plug a potentialloophole in a state health insurance law that affects domestic partners.
Palestinian Doctor Claims Libyan Torture
A Palestinian doctor jailed for eight years in Libya along with fiveBulgarian nurses for purportedly infecting children with the AIDS virus hasfiled a complaint with the United Nations charging he was tortured incaptivity, his Dutch lawyer said Wednesday.
Ashraf al-Hazouz and the Bulgarians, who were pardoned and freed in July,have said their convictions were based on forced confessions.
International medical groups and European governments had championed theircause, charging that the medical workers were made scapegoats for unhealthyhospital conditions in Libya. Libyan authorities accused the workers ofdeliberately infecting more than 400 children with HIV.
Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld expressed hope Libya would formally admit wrongdoingand reach a financial settlement with al-Hazouz, but said the suit filed atthe U.N. Human Rights Committee in Geneva on Tuesday was necessary.
''Without a case, you don't have any leverage,'' she said.
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Democrats Take Campaign West; Republicans Debate Ahead of S.C.
Democratic front-runners Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton were takingtheir campaigns to the West on Friday in their tight race for their party'spresidential nomination, while Republican contenders vied for support in adebate that focused on Americans' anxiety about their nation's economy.
Clinton, following her unexpected triumph Tuesday in New Hampshire'sprimary, visited Las Vegas neighborhoods Thursday and led a discussion ofthe mortgage crisis -- an especially strong issue in Nevada, a state thathas led the U.S. in foreclosure rates 11 months in a row. She also spokeabout the economy Friday at a Los Angeles rally, where she detailed amassive economic-stimulus package that she said she would introduce inCongress.
On Thursday Obama received a boost from Sen. John Kerry, the party's 2004residential nominee. The Illinois senator came to Las Vegas Friday for arally with members of the Culinary Workers Union, which endorsed him earlierthis week.
Obama also secured the endorsement of Arizona's Democratic governor JanetNapolitano. The endorsement is a major gain for Obama, since Napolitano isthe most prominent Democrat in Arizona and her support could be significantin a state now regarded as winnable by a Democratic presidential candidateafter decades as a near-lock for Republicans. The Arizona primary is onFebruary 5, when more than 20 states will hold primaries or caucuses.
Both candidates are seeking a victory in the Nevada caucuses on January 19as they try to build up momentum heading into the February 5 contests. Theirnext race after Nevada is in South Carolina, which holds its Democraticprimary on January 26, a week after the Republican primary there.
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New York Times
Op-Ed Contributor: Sex and the Teenage Girl
By CAITLIN FLANAGAN
January 13, 2008
THE movie "Juno" is a fairy tale about a pregnant teenager who decides tohave her baby, place it for adoption and then get on with her life. For themost part, the tone of the movie is comedic and jolly, but there is a momentwhen Juno tells her father about her condition, and he shakes his head indisappointment and says, "I thought you were the kind of girl who knew whento say when."
Female viewers flinch when he says it, because his words lay bare thebitterly unfair truth of sexuality: female desire can bring with it a formof punishment no man can begin to imagine, and so it is one appetite womenand girls must always regard with caution. Because Juno let her guard downand had a single sexual experience with a sweet, well-intentioned boy, shealone is left with this ordeal of sorrow and public shame.
In the movie, the moment passes. Juno finds a yuppie couple eager for ababy, and when the woman tries to entice her with the promise of an openadoption, the girl shakes her head adamantly: "Can't we just kick it oldschool? I could just put the baby in a basket and send it your way. Youknow, like Moses in the reeds."
It's a hilarious moment, and the sentiment turns out to be genuine. Thefinal scene of the movie shows Juno and her boyfriend returned to theircarefree adolescence, the baby - safely in the hands of his rapturous andresponsible new mother - all but forgotten. Because I'm old enough now thatteenage movie characters evoke a primarily maternal response in me (myquestion during the film wasn't "What would I do in that situation?" but"What would I do if my daughter were in that situation?"), the last scenebrought tears to my eyes. To see a young daughter, faced with the terriblefact of a pregnancy, unscathed by it and completely her old self again wasmagical.
And that's why "Juno" is a fairy tale. As any woman who has ever chosen (orbeen forced) to kick it old school can tell you, surrendering a baby whomyou will never know comes with a steep and lifelong cost. Nor is an abortionpsychologically or physically simple. It is an invasive and frighteningprocedure, and for some adolescent girls it constitutes part of their firstgynecological exam. I know grown women who've wept bitterly after abortions,no matter how sound their decisions were. How much harder are theseprocedures for girls, whose moral and emotional universe is just takingshape?
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New York Times
Riding the Change Horse
By David Ignatius
Sunday, January 13, 2008; B07
Back in 1972, a University of Chicago research project called the GeneralSocial Survey began asking the following question: "If your party nominateda black for president, would you vote for him if he were qualified for thejob?" The first year, 75 percent of Americans said yes.
Over the next two decades, there was steady progress in racial tolerance. By1996 the percentage willing to vote for a black candidate reached 93percent, so close to unanimity that the survey dropped the question.
Tom W. Smith, who directs the biennial survey, tells this story to make apoint -- not so much about the electability of Barack Obama as about howsocial change works in America. It's gradual, he says, but once a trendbegins, it is inexorable. That has been the case on major social issues,from the role of women to racial equality to civil liberties. "Americansvery much believe in progress," says Smith. "But most change in America isthe slow and steady kind."
This snapshot neatly captures the twin pulls for the Democratic Party inthis extraordinary election campaign. The country instinctively embraceschange messages such as Obama's. But Americans want their change in gradual,digestible bites, and they like the experience and steadiness that HillaryClinton claims to represent.
"Change is really a difficult horse to ride," explains Richard Morin, asenior editor with the Pew Research Center. "It's easy to get on but hard tostay on. As soon as you get specific about change, you make enemies."
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