Monday, January 14, 2008

GLBT DIGEST January 14, 2008

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Forwarded from Joe Van Eron

New York Times

Editorial: H.I.V. Rises Among Young Gay Men

January 14, 2008

AIDS appears to be making an alarming comeback. The Journal of the AmericanMedical Association reports that the incidence of H.I.V. infection among gaymen is shooting up, following an encouraging period of decline. The rise ofinfections among younger gay men, especially black and Hispanic men, istroubling, and the study carries the clear implication that people at highrisk of contracting the disease are becoming less cautious.

Statistics gathered by New York City health officials show that newdiagnoses of H.I.V. infection - the virus that causes AIDS - in gay menunder age 30 rose 32 percent between 2001 and 2006. Among black and Hispanicmen, the figure was 34 percent. Most troubling, the number of new diagnosesamong the youngest men in the study, those between ages 13 and 19, doubled.

New York officials say increased alcohol and drug use may be partlyresponsible since they make unprotected sex more likely. Other basicprecautions, including finding out whether a potential partner is infected,are also apparently being ignored.

The one bright spot in this bleak picture was the 22 percent decline ininfections among men over 30 in the New York study. Awareness of the disease's devastating effects, as much as maturity, may explain the difference. Alarge number of these older men came of age when AIDS was all butuntreatable. They may have buried friends who died after being horribly ill.

When the disease was new and terrifying, the gay community helped changebehavior by preaching loudly against taking sexual risks. From San Franciscoto New York, bathhouses notorious for promoting casual sex changed the waythey did business or closed down. Condoms were encouraged, and so was H.I.V.testing. "Silence equals death" was the motto of the day.

Silence now seems to be winning the day. Nearly 6,000 gay men died of AIDSin the United States in 2005; still, many young men appear to have persuadedthemselves that the infection is no longer such a big deal. It is true thatantiretroviral therapy has improved the outlook for anyone who becomesinfected. But the treatments are still too new to know whether they can workmuch beyond a decade. Public health officials need to continue to distributecondoms, encourage testing and treat those who are ill. Leaders in thehardest-hit communities need to start speaking out again. The fight againstAIDS is far from over.


Detroit News

Partner benefits would let feds replenish work force

by Deb Price
Monday, January 14, 2008

A tsunami of empty desks is about ready to pound Uncle Sam.

Largely due to baby boomer retirements, the federal government is going tolose a third of its full-time work force during the next five years,according to the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service. That's astaggering 530,000 workers.

In the next two years, Uncle Sam needs to fill the spots of 23,000 nurses,3,000 air traffic controllers, 63,000 security or law enforcementofficials -- the list goes on and on.

If that weren't challenging enough, Uncle Sam pays about 23 percent lessthan the private sector for comparable jobs, according to the Federal SalaryCouncil.

Clearly, Uncle Sam can't afford to alienate talented potential employees.

And that's a reality at the heart of bipartisan congressional legislation tooffer partners of gay federal workers the same benefits, including healthinsurance, provided to spouses of married heterosexuals.

"Non-federal employers have told surveyors that they extend benefits todomestic partners to boost recruitment and retain quality employees -- aswell as to be fair," says Senate sponsor Joe Lieberman, the independentDemocrat from Connecticut.

"Government will always be at a disadvantage in competing for and retaininghighly qualified personnel if it cannot match the domestic-partner benefitsprograms provided by leading non-federal employers," adds Lieberman,pointing out that most Fortune 500 companies -- including the Big Threeautomakers, General Electric, IBM and AT&T -- offer partner benefits.



Detroit Free Press

The candidates' views on gay rights

January 13, 2008


Hillary Clinton

Doesn't support gay marriage. Would grant partners in civil unions samelegal rights, benefits and privileges as married couples. Would ask Congressto repeal military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

John Edwards

Opposes gay marriage. Supports civil unions for gay couples and equalrights, including survivor rights, for them. Would get rid of "Don't ask,don't tell" policy.
Mike Gravel

Supports gay rights and same-sex marriage. Would repeal "Don't ask, don'ttell" policy and apologize to all members of military who were forced tohide their sexual orientation.

Dennis Kucinich

Supports gay marriage. Would repeal "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Barack Obama

Said decisions about marriage should be left to states. Supports civilunions that would give same-sex couples same benefits as married couples.Said "Don't ask, don't tell" policy must be examined but didn't say he wouldchange it.


Rudy Giuliani

Opposes gay marriage. Supports domestic partnerships. Supports state civilunion laws for gay couples but said New Hampshire went "too far" because itgives legal equivalent of marriage and recognizes same-sex unions from other states."Don't ask, don't tell" policy should remain at least while nation is atwar.

Mike Huckabee

Supports passage of federal constitutional amendment that would definemarriage as between a man and a woman. "Don't ask, don't tell" policy worksand would leave it up to the military to decide whether to keep it.

Duncan Hunter

Cosponsored legislation that would amend Constitution to define marriage asunion between a man and a woman. Doesn't want homosexuals serving inmilitary at all and says "Don't ask, don't tell" policy is "too lenient."

John McCain

Favors allowing gay men and lesbians to "enter into contracts" but stoppedshort of endorsing civil unions. Supports "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Ron Paul

Encourages states to ban same-sex marriage. Position unclear on "Don't ask,don't tell" military policy; has said homosexual behavior in military thatis "disruptive" should be dealt with.

Mitt Romney

Wants constitutional amendment to define marriage as relationship between aman and a woman. Opposes civil unions for gays. Says there is no need tochange military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Fred Thompson

Doesn't support same-sex marriage, but doesn't favor a constitutional amendment banning it. Doesn't like civil unions, but thinks the issue should be leftup to states. Favors keeping "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

OUR VIEW: The editorial board's position

Gay Americans are no different than other Americans and are entitled toequal legal protection. So we opposed the amendment to the MichiganConstitution that limits the legal definition of marriage to unions betweena man and a woman. That forecloses gay couples from marriage and complicatesefforts to gain proper health benefits and legal rights for gaypartnerships. We also believe sexual orientation ought to be included inanti-discrimination and hate-crime legislation.


To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
Here's how inevitable gay marriage is in Maryland, in one form or another.
There was a debate on the issue last week in Annapolis, and the supportersdidn't even bother speaking. True, it wasn't actually a debate over amarriage or civil union bill; it was a General Assembly committee hearingabout insurance regulations, not ordinarily one of the more scintillatingshows in town. But make no mistake, this was about gay marriage. By a 12-4vote, a joint Senate-House committee approved inserting a definition of"domestic partner" into state insurance rules. And give them credit: Theself-appointed defenders of "family values" can see the writing on the wall.
Heck, Del. Don Dwyer, R-Glen Burnie, showed up to complain, and he's noteven on the committee. Is this, as the moralists fear, an end-run around thelegislature and the courts, which so far have declined to bring civil unionsor gay marriage to Maryland? Are administrative rules like this a way to dopiecemeal what lawmakers won't do in one fell swoop?
Absolutely, and it's going to work.
State legislators made significant gains last year in the fight to bringequal rights to the queer community, but there is still more work ahead.
That was the message Assemblyman John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, brought to abouttwo dozen people gathered Saturday afternoon at a forum called the State ofthe Queer Union: Think Globally, Organize Locally. "Overall, we did fairlywell," Laird said, though he acknowledged an obvious shortfall: the failureto pass legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in California. Laird andthree others on the panel -- attorneys Eileen Hamilton and Emily Trexel, andSanta Cruz Councilman Mike Rotkin, who represented the local chapter of theAmerican Civil Liberties Union -- explained recent changes to state lawsthat affect the queer community and what's on the horizon. As of 2007, statelaw offers the same legal rights and responsibilities as marriage tosame-sex couples registered with the state. The Domestic PartnershipRegistry affords gay and lesbian couples options such as filing joint taxreturns, making health care decisions for one another and sharing spousalinsurance policies.
WASHINGTON - In nearly seven years in the White House, President Bush hasnamed 294 judges to the federal courts, giving Republican appointees a solidmajority of the seats, including a 3-2 edge over Democrats on theinfluential U.S. appeals courts. The rightward shift on the federal bench islikely to prove a lasting legacy of the Bush presidency, since many of thesejudges, including his two Supreme Court appointees, might serve for decades.
And despite the Republicans' loss of control of the Senate, 40 of Bush'sjudges won confirmation this year, more than in the previous three years,when Republicans held the majority. "The progress we have made this year . .. is sometimes lost amid the partisan sniping over a handful ofcontroversial nominations," Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick J.Leahy (D., Vt.) said in a year-end statement. This progress is notaltogether welcomed by liberal activists, who have been frustrated in theirefforts to block more of Bush's nominees.


National Gay News

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
National Dance Institute Aims to Get Boys Interested in Ballet
An out-of-breath Stewart Ottersberg showed up late to ballet class onFriday. He was wearing jeans and sneakers. Stewart, a jovial and eager12-year-old, didn't realize he was breaking important rules. "Jeans, are youkidding me?" his instructor, Jefferson Baum, said to the whole class onseeing his attire.
Same Sex Couples More Likely to Have Satisfying Marital and Family RelationsGay and lesbian couples are more likely to have satisfying marital andfamily relations than straight couples, says a leading researcher in bothfamily issues and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)relationships. Robert-Jay Green, executive director of the Rockway Institutewhich is affiliated with the California School of Professional Psychology atAlliant International University, says that gay and lesbian couples appearto be better than straight couples in respect of two key factors thatpromote healthier relationships - flexibility about gender roles and equaldivision of parenting and household tasks.
Gay Pastor Reflects on Flock's Reaction
On a Sunday afternoon in October, the Rev. David Wagner made an announcementthat rocked his congregation. But even the standing ovation he received andthe groundswell of support from his flock wasn't enough to keep him at thepulpit from which he had preached for 10 years.
Naperville Student Told Again Not to Wear Anti-gay T-shirt
federal judge has once again ruled that a Neuqua Valley High School studentcannot wear an anti-gay shirt to school that reads "Be Happy, Not Gay."U.S.District Judge William Hart declined to issue a temporary injunction thatwould have ordered school officials to allow sophomore Alexander Nuxoll towear the shirt this April as a protest to the National "Day of Silence" whenstudents wear T-shirts, buttons and stickers showing support of gaystudents.



Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
Gay Ally Gwendolyn T. Britt Dies
(Baltimore, Maryland) State Sen. Gwendolyn T. Britt died in hospitalSaturday shortly after being admitted. She was 66.
NH Civil Unions Proving Popular
(Concord, New Hampshire) In the two weeks that New Hampshire's civil unionslaw has been in effect more than 100 same-sex couples have taken advantageof it.


Elections | 14.01.2008

Spanish Election Showdown Over Abortion, Gay Marriage

Gro├čansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Spaniards take to thestreets

With national elections looming, Spain's politicians have been sidestepping controversial issues such as gay marriage and abortion. Yet recent massdemonstrations and strikes show the issues aren't going away.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has developed an image as afirebrand ready to shake up Spain's conservative Catholic establishment. HisSocialist party passed Europe's most progressive same-sex marriagelegislation, introduced fast-track divorce and chipped away at religiouseducation in public schools.

But ahead of a fiercely-contested national election scheduled for March 9,Zapatero is trying to polish his credentials as a moderate. His nemesis,conservative Popular Party (PP) leader Mariano Rajoy, is doing the same.

Both parties are desperate to win over undecided voters. The Socialist partyis leading by only a few percentage points in the polls and it's likely thatthe race will remain close to the end. The PP won in 1996 and 2000, largelyby winning over moderates. But the Socialists attracted enough swing votesto win the last elections in 2004.

Going for the political middle

Bildunterschrift: Gro├čansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Howthese Spaniards will vote is anyone's guessSpain's swing voters are set to decide the elections again this year, saidpolitical scientist Pablo Onate of the University of Valencia. Spanishvoters have a history of punishing parties that are not seen as being closeenough to the center, Onate said.

"This is another case in which that is going to happen," he said. "Bothparties are trying to be center-orientated."



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