Wednesday, January 16, 2008

GLBT DIGEST January 15, 2008

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[GaysWithoutBorders] Videos of Makwan's Death


New York Times

New Bacteria Strain Is Striking Gay Men

January 15, 2008

A new, highly drug-resistant strain of the "flesh-eating" MRSA bacteria isbeing spread among gay men in San Francisco and Boston, researchers reportedon Monday.

In a study published online by the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, thebacteria seemed to be spread most easily through anal intercourse but alsothrough casual skin-to-skin contact and touching contaminated surfaces.

The authors warned that unless microbiology laboratories were able toidentify the strain and doctors prescribed the proper antibiotic therapy,the infection could soon spread among other groups and become a widerthreat.

The new strain seems to have "spread rapidly" in gay populations in SanFrancisco and Boston, the researchers wrote, and "has the potential forrapid, nationwide dissemination" among gay men.

The study was based on a review of medical records from outpatient clinicsin San Francisco and Boston and nine medical centers in San Francisco.


Washington Post

Columbus Carried Syphilis From New World to Europe, Study Suggests

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter
Monday, January 14, 2008; 12:00 AM

MONDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A new analysis of the genetics ofsyphilis provides support for the theory that the disease hitched a ridewith Christopher Columbus from the New World back to the Old World.

But in a new wrinkle, the research suggests the disease may not have beentransmitted through sex until it adapted to the environment in Europe.

"It evolved this whole new transmission mode, and it didn't take very manygenetic changes," said study lead author Kristin Harper, a graduate studentat Emory University. "What this tells us is that new transmission modes mayevolve pretty rapidly. This is important to us today, because we're worriedabout things like avian influenza going from human to human."

Syphilis is usually easily treated today, typically with antibiotics such aspenicillin. But U.S. health officials have failed in their efforts toeliminate it; minorities and gay men have been among those most likely to beinfected.

Then there's the long-running controversy over how syphilis found its way toEurope, where it spread havoc for centuries. One theory holds that thedisease was already in Europe before the explorer Columbus returned, butpeople didn't diagnose it correctly, Harper said.



Washington Post

Obama's Christian Appeal

By Perry Bacon

GREENWOOD, S.C. -- The brochure being handed out in South Carolina shows apicture of the candidate with his hands together and eyes closed. In largeletters, it reads "ANSWERING THE CALL."

Inside, voters learn of a candidate who was "CALLED TO CHRIST" and evenlarger letters is a "COMMITTED CHRISTIAN" and is quoted saying, "I believein the power of prayer."

Barack Obama's campaign in South Carolina is targeting black voters, and oneof the ways he's doing it is appealing to a connection based on sharedreligious faith. Obama, a Christian who attends a United Church of Christcongregation in Chicago, has talked about his faith in Iowa and otherstates, as well, but his campaign literature is particularly focused on hisreligion here, where he depicts himself, in one picture, before a pulpit,and, in another, praying with an African American man.



Express Gay News

Sponsor of Maryland marriage bill dies
Activists to 'move forward' without Sen. Britt

By JOSHUA LYNSEN | Jan 14, 1:15 PM

A state legislator who strongly backed marriage rights for gay and lesbianMarylanders has died.

Sen. Gwendolyn Britt (D-Prince George's County) died Saturday from heartfailure or stroke, according to news reports. She was 66.

Britt, who has long fought for equality issues, was to become the leadSenate sponsor of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Actwhen it's introduced this month in the Maryland General Assembly.

"This is a devastating loss, because Sen. Britt was a leader on the issue,"said Dan Furmansky, executive director at Equality Maryland. "But this issueis about more than just one person. It's about the dignity and worth ofthousands of Maryland residents."

Written to make valid marriages of "two people," the bill also makes clearthat churches may continue to choose whom to marry. It was drafted afterMaryland's highest court in September upheld a state law restrictingmarriage to straight couples.

Furmansky said the bill would go forward without Britt.

He said that gay Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) would back thebill, but it was not immediately clear whether Madaleno would succeed Brittas the bill's lead Senate sponsor.

Madaleno, the state Senate's only openly gay member, could not immediatelybe reached for comment.

"This issue transcends Equality Maryland, Dan Furmansky, Sen. Britt and Sen.Madaleno," Furmansky said. "Ours is a movement that simply won't die withthe loss of an amazing advocate. It will be strengthened because herconvictions and spirit will be with us as we move forward. And that's justwhat she would have wanted."



Miami Herald

Same-sex marriage ban may not make ballot

Posted on Mon, Jan. 14, 2008

A proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage inFlorida may not make it to voters this year, after organizers -- whoproclaimed a month ago they had gotten it on the November ballot -- foundout Monday they haven't collected enough signatures after all.

A counting glitch -- which has the state pointing fingers atMiami-Dade County -- has resulted in falling 22,000voter signatures short of the 611,000 needed to place the amendment on theballot.

The group has a tight deadline -- Feb. 1 -- to get the signatures tostate election officials.

A month ago, backers of the amendment declared they had met their goaland began attacking groups that had formed to fight the amendment. OnMonday, the leader of the effort said he had little time to figure out whathappened, but said he would push volunteers to start gathering petitionsagain.

''There's a real temptation in pointing fingers, but we're interestedin getting the job done,'' said John Stemberger, an Orlando attorney andchairman of ``We will immediately jump into action.I'm confident if every petition is counted that is submitted prior to Feb. 1then we should have no problem.''

While has relied on volunteers, it may face toughgoing, because campaign finance records show that the group is broke. Theorganization had received financial help from the Republican Party ofFlorida, but since Gov. Charlie Crist came into office, the party hasstopped giving the group money.

State law already bans same-sex marriage, but Stemberger and othersupporters contend a constitutional amendment is needed to keep the lawprotected from a legal challenge. Opposition groups have organized andraised money to try to defeat the amendment, which would need approval from60 percent of voters.

To get on the ballot, organizers must get 611,000 signatures,including a certain amount in half of Florida's 25 congressional districts.
State officials ordered a new count of all petition signatures last weekafter acknowledging a glitch in the state's $23 million database system thatis supposed to tally the information electronically.

Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for Secretary of State Kurt Browning, saidthe new count showed that Miami-Dade had somehow ''double-counted'' 27,000petition signatures for the amendment that had been turned in before Jan. 1,2007, when the new system went online.

But Miami-Dade Elections Supervisor Lester Sola said the errorhappened on the state's end, saying that for months his office had warnedthe state the numbers its system was showing were in error. Sola even sent aletter on Dec. 21 to Browning saying the number of signatures fromMiami-Dade were being ``recounted.''

''The bottom line is that their system doubled the number of petitionsthat some counties were submitting,'' Sola said.

Ivey, however, insisted that the problem happened because theMiami-Dade system ''uploaded'' an incorrect number into the state computer.

''The numbers in the system were incorrect because their vendoruploaded more signatures than they verified,'' Ivey said.


To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
The first stage of legal developments concerning same-sex marriage isessentially over. The central question so far has been how any given statewould define marriage. Four distinct approaches have emerged. One state,Massachusetts, recognizes same-sex marriage. Several others have created newlegal regimes for same-sex couples (like civil unions in Connecticut anddomestic partnerships in California) that are very much like marriage. Athird group has extended only a few of the rights and responsibilities ofmarriage to same-sex couples. Finally, many more states have rejected legalrecognition for same-sex couples. But what happens when these different lawscollide, for example, when a same-sex couple that married in Massachusettsmoves to a state that only recognizes civil unions? Does their legalrelationship dissolve at the border? What about custody of children?
Inheritance? Divorce? The legal term for these questions is "conflicts oflaw." Such conflicts will dominate future legal arguments about same-sexmarriage.
A key Statehouse Republican's call for a constitutional amendment banninggay marriage sparked controversy even before the first speeches weredelivered this morning on the Legislature's first day.House Minority LeaderChristopher Rants, a Sioux City Republican, handed out copies of his openingremarks before they were delivered. He urged legislators to move ahead withlegislation that would define marriage as between a man and a woman."I thinkthat it is worth one hour of debate time," Rants told reporters a fewminutes before he gave his remarks. "If we can spend an hour debatingpropane tank regulation, I think we have one hour that we can debate out ofa hundred days to debate the value of traditional marriage." House SpeakerPat Murphy, a Dubuque Democrat, said legislative action on Iowa's marriagelaws is premature.
Good news here as signatures came up short, but the fundies will still get achance to turn in more sigs to get the measure on the ballot. From Fairnessfor All Families: Apparently the "glitch" at the Division of Electionscaused an over count of 27,000 signatures for the marriage petition. Insteadof hitting the 611.009 mark, the opposition is at 589,020 as of Jan 10th.
HOWEVER, they have until Feb 1st to turn in signatures and that means theJan 29th Primary gives them an obvious focus to ID the last wave ofsignatures. In addition, there will be legal battles if they fall short toplace this on the ballot that will leave this an open questions and one wewill have to continue to organize against. Many states that put all theirhopes in defeating this via legal intervention ended up ill prepared when an11th hour ruling placed it before voters.Primary day is January 29th, andFairness for All Families is asking for volunteers to work the polls andexplain the ramifications of the amendment to voters.
In many ways, when it comes to the presidential primaries, I feel like I"don't have a dog in this fight." But it's interesting to me that somepeople are already declaring the Democratic primaries a two person race.
And, apparently, to some gay voters the candidate's differences on DOMA are"minor."
As Georgia voters prepare to head to the polls on Feb. 5 to take part inwhat's been dubbed Super Duper Tuesday, when more than 20 states hold theirpresidential primaries, many local gay leaders are speaking out with publicendorsements. With Hillary Clinton fresh off a crucial win in New Hampshireand Barack Obama still riding on his win in Iowa, local gay votersacknowledge they are torn between the two. Both Democratic presidentialcandidates claim nearly the same stance on gay issues such as repealing"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" as well as providing legal protections for gaycouples. But John Edwards, also a strong gay rights supporter, seems to havelost his footing in the race, according to University of Georgia politicalscience professor Charles Bullock.
The same-sex partners of workers in the civil service in Nevada could soonhave health and insurance benefits. The board of the Nevada Public EmployeesBenefits Program has voted to expand coverage to unmarried couples and theirdependents. The measure, which includes same-and opposite-sex couples wholive together, still needs to go through public hearings and then receivethe approval of the legislature.
One of the oldest Anglican parishes in North America has become the first toapprove holding weddings for same-sex couples. The vote by parishioners ofToronto's Church of the Holy Trinity poses a direct challenge to the leadersof the Anglican Church of Canada, which tonight begins its annual synod inWinnipeg.
The resolution says that the parish will "continue to exercise itsconscience and bless same-sex unions and marry same-sex couples."


National Gay News

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
San Francisco's Gay Community Hit By New Form of Staph Infection
A new variety of staph bacteria, highly resistant to antibiotics and
possibly transmitted by sexual contact, is spreading among gay men in SanFrancisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles, researchers reported Monday.
Cool Reception For Asia's Gay Workers
Lehman Brothers, the US investment bank, recently ?held an unusualrecruitment event at Hong Kong university. Lehman's invitation wasspecifically aimed at gay and lesbian students who aspire to be bankers.
Encouraged by the success of the presentation and buffet dinner for 50students, Lehman is planning to extend its initiatives targeting the gaycommunity this year. It will include the bank's first pro-gay activities inSingapore, the city-state that has become one of Asia's leading financialcentres but where sex between men is illegal.
Thousands of Schools to Participate in GLSEN's No Name-Calling Week, Jan.21-25
Thousands of schools across the country next week will take part in thefifth-annual No Name-Calling Week, a project of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian andStraight Education Network, and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, incollaboration with nearly 50 national education and youth service
Tami Sortman Named Person of the Year by Philadelphia Gay News
The Philadelphia Gay News recently named Tami Sortman Person of the Year.
Sortman, a vice president at the Altus Group, earned the honor for hervisionary work with the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus and for hercommitment to building Philadelphia's reputation as a gay-friendly traveldestination. "I can think of no one more deserving of this honor," saidDavid Jefferys, president of the Altus Group and a Board Member of the PGTC.
"Her unwavering efforts on behalf of Philadelphia and her ability to forgerelationships in the travel industry are amazing."
Washington DC Reception Tomorrow Night!
Dear Red and Blue Supporter: Our campaign fighting Florida's "marriageprotection" amendment has become a national effort. People all over thecountry are joining Florida Red and Blue to stop this "unneeded" (SouthFlorida Sun-Sentinel), "unsettling" (Daytona Beach News-Journal), and"mean-spirited" (St. Petersburg Times) constitutional amendment.
Legal Clinic for the 'Ignored'
After coming to terms with her transgender status, Wendy Moretz spent morethan a year representing herself in a custody battle over her son during adivorce. Legal services would have helped her tremendously, the 37-year-oldBaltimore County resident said.
Star of First Show for Kids in Gay and Lesbian Families Sets Sail on RosieCruise
Production company Pink Pea announced that the star of Dottie's MagicPockets -- the first children's program for kids in gay and lesbianfamilies -- will appear on the R Family Vacations Cruise to the MexicanRiviera, March 15-22, 2008.Following the highly successful launch ofDottie's Magic Pockets in September 2007, the live appearance by "Dottie"(Jen Plante) will mark the first time LGBT families and friends from acrossthe country will be entertained by the main character of a kids' show thatis set in a lesbian household.
HIV/AIDS in Films Without Being "Preachy?"
It's an obvious thing that HIV is an important subject when you're talkingabout the black gay community. And I knew it was something I wanted toaddress in some way.I saw a lack of representation of gay people of color inentertainment media, and being a black gay man, that's an area thatinterested me. So I just stopped waiting around for Hollywood to decide toreally portray our community and, as a producer and film maker, I tried tomake a series on my own terms that explores who we are as black gay men.
So You Like to Watch?
Bump! became an international hit on DVD in December 2007 with the first tworeleases featuring Mexico and Great Britain. With 16 DVD titles releasingjust in 2008, the gay community will take a complete trip around the worldin just one year. They'll learn about popular gay destinations as Bump!
highlights the culture, common tourist spots, gay history, food, prides,bars, and nightlife in every city.



Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
Albuquerque Police, Gays Struggle To Find Motive In Brutal Slaying
Albuquerque, New Mexico) A 33-year old man is charged with murder in thebrutal killing of Patrick Murphy regarded by most in Albuquerque's LGBTcommunity as a drag icon.
Gay Man's Killer Gets Additional 25-Years
(Juneau, Wisconsin) A man in prison for killing a gay man in 1991 pleadedguilty on Monday to holding a woman hostage at the Waupun CorrectionalInstitution in Wisconsin.
Florida Anti-Gay Amendment In Trouble
(Miami, Florida) Backers of a proposed amendment to bar same-sex marriage inFlorida are scrambling to find 20,000 signatures to get the measure onNovember's ballot after the Secretary of State announced Monday that acounting mistake put them well short of the required 611,000 signaturesneeded.
Parish Votes To Defy Ban On Gay Weddings
(Toronto, Ontario) One of the oldest Anglican parishes in North America hasbecome the first to approve holding weddings for same-sex couples.
Nevada Moves To Give Public Workers Domestic Partner Benefits
(Carson City, Nevada) The same-sex partners of workers in the civil servicein Nevada could soon have health and insurance benefits.
Spanish PM Hails Gay Marriage As One Of Its Key Triumphs As Re-ElectionCampaign Begins
(Madrid) The Spanish government called general elections for March 9,formally launching Monday what is shaping up as a close race between theruling Socialists and opposition conservatives.
Gay Rights Legislation On Agenda As Congress Returns
(Washington) Members of Congress began returning to Washington on Mondaywith three LGBT rights bill still in play - the Matthew Shepard Hate CrimeAct, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and repeal of Don't Ask, Don'tTell.
Gay Vote Seen As Crucial
(Washington) The LGBT vote is considered a decisive electoral force andaccording to exit poll data make up approximately 4 percent of the votingpopulation. This year LGBT civil rights activists hope to increase thatpercentage and the Human Rights Campaign and National Stonewall Democratshave specifically targeted four states - Florida, Minnesota, Nevada andSouth Carolina.
Clinton, Obama Clash Over Race Issue
(New York City) Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton suggests Barack Obama'scampaign injected racial tension into the presidential contest, saying hehad distorted for political gain her comments about Martin Luther King'srole in the civil rights movement.
NJ Joins Move To Reform Electoral College
(Trenton, New Jersey) New Jersey on Sunday became the second state to entera compact that would eliminate the Electoral College's power to choose apresident if enough states endorse the idea.


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