Sunday, February 03, 2008

GLBT DIGEST February 3, 2008

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From Transgender Equality


Diversity Co-Chairs -- Congratulations to our own Diego Sanchez, HRCdiversity co-chair of the Boston SC, for being the first transgenderindividual to be named to a Presidential convention committee! We're soproud of you, Diego! - Cuc

Transgendered Delegate Makes DNC History

by Laura Crimaldi

Diego Sanchez, LGBT Advisory Council member and AIDS Action Committee of
Mass. staff member, is the first transgender individual to be named to a
presidential convention committee.

Wednesday 01.30.08

When Diego Sanchez attends the Democratic National Convention in Denver thisAugust, he'll be making history.

Sanchez, the director of public relations and external affairs for AIDSAction Committee of Massachusetts, is the first transgender person to benamed to a convention committee.

"I think that it shows that the Democratic Party is committed to fullinclusion, and looking at the seven LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual,transgender) people, they didn't select quiet people. They selected leaders.People who are leaders in their area of expertise, who are avid andexperienced as well as strong purveyors of policy," said Sanchez.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean nominated Sanchez, 51, toserve on the convention's Platform Committee. The position will require himto travel the country for "listening sessions" to develop a party platformthat will be voted on at the four-day convention. Sanchez was also named anat-large delegate.

"Gov. Dean's appointment of a record seven LGBT members to the conventioncommittees, including the first transgender member, is an importantrecognition of the Democratic Party's diversity and our commitment toequality," said DNC spokesman Damien LaVera.

Sanchez, of Lawrence, said he first told his parents that he believed he wasin the wrong body when he was 5 years old. It took him 20 years to make themedical and legal transition into life as a man.

He said he plans to use his new position to push for a national AIDSstrategy, promote anti-discrimination laws to protect the rights of gays,lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, and improve immigration policy.

Sanchez also is a member of the LGBT Advisory Council assembled by Sen.Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.


Deseret News - Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Gender identity bias bill headed to interim study

Fighting workplace discrimination is focus of legislation

By Deborah Bulkeley
Deseret Morning News
Published: Saturday, Feb. 2, 2008 12:20 a.m. MST

A bill to add protection against workplace discrimination based onsexual orientation and gender identity is headed to interim study.Without debate, the House Business and Labor Committee on Fridayoptedto hold HB89 for more in-depth research after the current legislativesession.

Rep. Stephen Clark, the committee's chair, said the move was theresult of an agreement reached that "there are a lot of issues thatneed to be looked at" and there isn't sufficient time during thesession.

The bill would expand the Utah Antidiscrimination Act, which alreadyincludes protected categories such as race and religion.

Sponsor Rep. Christine Johnson, D-Salt Lake, thanked the committeeFriday for being willing to "evaluate the merits of this much neededbill. ... Utahns as a whole should be proud of what this committeehas

HB89 wasn't on the committee's agenda, but was brought up as part ofcommittee business.

During an earlier hearing, the committee had opted against voting onthe bill, after hearing emotional public testimony. On one sidepeople sought legal protections, while critics said it would grant legalrecognition to gays, lesbians and transgender individuals.

Johnson told the Deseret Morning News she's optimistic about thediscussion to come this summer.

"I'm very optimistic because my colleagues on the other side of theaisle exhibited an altruistic intent to respect the process andrespect the legislation, " Johnson said. "This really was anegotiation, the legislative process at its best. Rather thanshutting the door on something unfamiliar, we are opening the door. I thinkthat's great."

The move was viewed by Michael Thompson, executive director of thegay rights advocacy group Equality Utah, as a step forward.

"By going to interim for further study, we are allowed valuable timewith lawmakers," Thompson said in a statement. "We have theopportunity to educate on a deeper level."

Meanwhile, Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake, said she's hopefulthat a bill she's sponsoring is being considered for a committeehearing. HB318 would give cohabitating couples, gay and straight, theability to adopt and be foster parents. That bill was pulled from theJudiciary Committee earlier this week.


ACLU of Florida Files First Amendment Lawsuit Against Ponce de Leon HighSchool To Protect GLBT Expression

Lawsuit Claim: Anything Gay Illegal In School

(Ponce De Leon, Florida) A Florida high school is "trampling the FirstAmendment rights of students who support equal rights for gay people",according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday by the American CivilLiberties Union.

In its lawsuit, the ACLU describes what it calls an atmosphere of fear andcensorship at Ponce de Leon High School, where the school board's attorneyallegedly has said that expressions like a rainbow sticker may mean studentsare members of an "illegal organization."

"All any of us wants to do is be able to talk about gay rights issueswithout having to be scared," said Heather Gillman, a 16-year-old junior atthe school.

"Nobody should have to worry about being kicked out of school just forhaving a rainbow sticker on your notebook."

The dispute began last fall said Gillman.

The ACLU sent a letter in November to the school board's attorney on behalfof Gillman, asking for clarification as to whether a variety of symbols andslogans, such as the rainbow flag or "I support my gay friends," would beallowed at the school.

The school district replied that it would not allow any expressions ofsupport for gay rights at all because such speech would "likely bedisruptive." The district then said that such symbols and slogans were signsthat students were part of a "secret/illegal organization." according to theACLU.

The ACLU became involved after Gillman and other students approached itsaying there was atmosphere at the school in which students said they wereroutinely intimidated by school officials for things such as writing "gaypride" on their arms and notebooks or wearing rainbow-themed clothing.

According to students, problems began in September when a lesbian studenttried to report to school officials that she was being harassed by otherstudents because she is a lesbian. Instead of addressing the harassment,students say the school responded with intimidation and censorship.

"Because the Supreme Court has held that students have a right to freespeech at school unless that speech disrupts the educational process, manyadministrators think they can just slap the label 'disruptive' on anythingthey don't like and get away with stomping on students' First Amendmentrights," said Benjamin James Stevenson, a staff attorney for the ACLU ofFlorida.

"The law doesn't work that way," said Stevenson. "School should be amarketplace of ideas, where students share new ideas and learn aboutthemselves and others. Just talking about gay rights or any other topicoutside of class isn't inherently disruptive."

In the complaint filed Thursday, the ACLU asks the court for an injunctionto stop Ponce de Leon High School officials "from suppressing students'First Amendment rights in the future."

"Writing something like 'I support gay rights' on your notebook doesn't meanyou're part of some secret conspiracy or shadowy organization," saidChristine Sun, a staff attorney with the ACLU's national Lesbian GayBisexual Transgender Project.

"Schools shouldn't be in the business of trying to frighten students intosilence."

Ponce de Leon is located halfway between Pensacola and Tallahassee, inFlorida's panhandle. According to the school's website, about 400 studentsare enrolled there.


Florida to vote on gay-marriage ban in November
Petition drive beats Friday deadline

By Aaron Deslatte | Tallahassee Bureau
February 2, 2008

TALLAHASSEE - Florida voters will be asked to decide in November whether towrite a ban on same-sex marriage into Florida's Constitution.

The state Division of Elections made the surprise announcement late Friday,after the signature-petition drive launched more than two years ago bysocial conservative groups managed to beat the signature deadline to makethe presidential election ballot.

The group pushing the ban collected more than 649,000 signatures - well overthe 611,000 required to place a citizens' initiative before votersstatewide.

How will you vote?

Do you approve or disapprove of the citizen initiative to ban gay marriage?

Go to the Sun-Sentinel poll:,0,6272376,post.poll

- I approve of the initiative to ban gay marriage
- I disapprove of the initiative to ban gay marriage
- I am undecided on the issue
- View current results


Miami Herald

The old GOP used to include moderates

Posted on Sun, Feb. 03, 2008

This is for those who think I forgot the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

But first, let me tell you why I respect former Sen. Robert Dole. During hislast campaign for the presidency, he spoke at a black journalists conventionwhere he was politely, though not enthusiastically, received. Doleacknowledged that the audience had reason for reserve, given that he's aconservative Republican, and conservative Republicans have historicallyshown little regard for the concerns of black people. He asked for theirsupport anyway and promised that, if given a chance, he would improve thatsorry record.

Dole never got that chance, but I've always admired him for the moralcourage it took to come before that audience and say what everyone knows,but some of us have not the guts to admit.

Which brings me back to the Civil Rights Act. A week ago, in response to areader's question, I wrote that black voters do not support the RepublicanParty because conservatives have never supported them. Dozens of youchallenged that. You sent e-mails asking how I square that judgement withthe fact that the Civil Rights Act had significant GOP support.

In a word: easily. See, I never said Republicans have never supported blackpeople. I said that conservatives -- ''whether you're talking Democrats ofthe 19th and early 20th centuries or Republicans now'' -- never have. Yes,these days Republican equals conservative. But back in the era of the act,there existed a creature -- it seems mythical as the kraken these days --called the moderate Republican.

That's who lent support to black people. But social conservatives ofwhatever party? Not so much. The Civil Rights Act bears that out. About 100of the 126 nay votes in the final House tally were cast by representativesfrom that foundry of conservatism, the South. This would include Rep. ThomasG. Abernethy of Mississippi, who said the act granted ''dictatorial,gestapo-like'' power to the government.

Thankfully, 289 lawmakers stood up for the principle of equality. Know howmany were from the conservative South? Twenty-one.

So, with all due respect to my correspondents, what we have here is one ofthe older rhetorical tricks in the book: If you can't refute what the personsaid, pretend he said something else and refute that.

They are interested in having an argument about Republicans versusDemocrats. I'm not. Those are just brand names, insignificant except insofaras they convey ideology. As noted, the Republican brand once includedmoderates; Democrats were the more socially conservative party. Thatchanged, largely as a result of Lyndon Johnson's support for the CivilRights and Voting Rights acts.

Angered by this affirmation of democratic principles, Democraticconservatives fled their party in droves, running to a GOP that welcomedthem with open arms. President Johnson is said to have foreseen that outcomeeven as he signed the bill. ''We have lost the South for a generation,'' hereportedly said.

Which was true and then some. These days the GOP is so thoroughly dominatedby conservatism that a rare moderate like John McCain is regarded withwariness and hostility by the party faithful.

Credit where it's due: I respect social conservatives for pushing the issueof fatherless families into the mainstream when many of us didn't want totalk about it. But on issues of human rights, they have consistently beenwrong. They were wrong on women's rights. History will someday show theyhave been wrong on gay rights. And yes, where African Americans areconcerned, I repeat: Conservatives -- of whatever party -- have beenconsistently, repeatedly, stubbornly wrong.

The fact that no one has refuted that judgment strongly suggests that no onecan.


Washington Post

For a Custom-Tailored Trip, Whatever Your Niche

A number of resources can help make a trip easier for pets and their owners,with health tips, lodging lists and more. You're out to conquer the world,one vacation at a time. And to help you along the way, we scoped out nicheresources covering 10 popular travel categories, from dietary (vegan toursto Italy, anyone? Anyone?) to pet-friendly (including info on pet sitters).Here are umbrella organizations, travel agents, Web sites and phone numbersto help you plan the Next Great Trip.

Gay and Lesbian

* The nonprofit International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association(800-448-8550, has a searchable database ofGLBT-friendly tour operators, events worldwide and cities' convention andvisitors bureau Web sites.

* PlanetOut Inc. is a multimedia company that publishes magazines and Websites with travel-specific info, such as (, ( ( The annual PlanetOutTravel Awards, listed on the site, go to winners in 10 categories, includinggay resort towns, tour operators and cruise lines.


National Gay News

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
Obama Endorsed by Four Gay Newspapers
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, the junior senator fromIllinois, racked up endorsements from four gay papers on both coasts thisweek as he heads into a showdown against New York Senator Hillary Clinton onSuper Tuesday next week.
Gay Marriages From Elsewhere
A New York appellate court ruled Friday that valid out-of-state marriages ofsame-sex couples must be legally recognized in New York, just as the lawrecognizes those of heterosexual couples solemnized elsewhere. Lawyers forboth sides said the ruling applied to all public and private employers inthe state.
Hamburger Mary's Concept Coming to Cedar Rapids
With the slogan "open-air bar and grilles for open-minded people," CedarRapids' first restaurant targeting gay, lesbian and transsexual diners willopen next month. The restaurant, slated to open at 222 Glenbrook Dr. SE,will be Iowa's first franchise of Hamburger Mary's, which originated in SanFrancisco in 1972. It will fill a building that has been home to asuccession of different night clubs behind Taco John's across from LindaleMall.


To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News

Information, news, and discussion about the legal recognition of same-sexcouples and their families, including marriages, domestic partnerships,civil unions, adoptions, foster children and similar issues.

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
Gay groups rally for relationship recognitionGay lobby groups have rallied
in Canberra to support the ACT [Australian Capital Territory] Government's
fight to have same-sex relationships recognised. The ACT Government wants
to introduce legislation allowing gay couples to enter into civil
partnerships and have an official ceremony. The Territory's first attemptto pass similar legislation was quashed by the former Federal Government andthe new Government has raised concerns about some aspects of the proposal.
More than 100 people rallied outside the Legislative Assembly this afternoonin support of the plan.
ACT [Australian Captial Territory] wants resolution to gay stand-off The CTgovernment has told a gay-rights rally it expects a disagreement with hecommonwealth over its plan to allow same-sex civil unions to be resolved bythe end of March, but neither side are giving any ground. The ACT also usedthe rally to announce plans to give gay couples equal access to parentalleave.Laws that would allow homosexual couples to form civil unions -giving them the same rights as heterosexual de-facto couples - wereoriginally scheduled to be debated in parliament this month, but the ACT inDecember came under pressure from the new federal government. Thecommonwealth is pressing the territory to accept a "registration" modelsimilar to that in place in Tasmania, but the ACT wants a system of civilunions that would allow gay couples to hold a ceremony. ACT Attorney-GeneralSimon Corbell said the territory would "not compromise on the fundamentalprinciple around providing for a civil union or a partnership of some sort",but would keep working with the federal government to resolve the issue. Thefederal government has the power to disallow any laws the ACT LegislativeAssembly passes, which the former Howard government did in 2006 to stop theACT's first attempt at allowing civil unions. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd inDecember said it was Labor policy not to interfere with state and territorylegislation. But Mr Corbell said the comments did not necessarily mean thecommonwealth would ultimately have to accept the ACT's position. "Theproblem with the bill the ACT was working on is it mimics marriage in someways, and ... we are committed to marriage remaining between a man and awoman," he told AAP.
On December 28, 2007 a temporary restraining order was granted by JudgeMichael Mosman in the U.S. District Court in the matter of Lemons vBradbury. This decision delayed the implementation of the Oregon FamilyFairness Act and domestic partnerships for same sex couples. The Judge haslifted that order and Multnomah County will begin certifying domesticpartnerships in accordance with the law starting Monday, February 4.Domestic partnerships will be certified at 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
California's registered domestic partners are sailing in uncharted territorythis tax season. For the first time, a landmark state law requires them tofile their taxes as married couples - even though federal tax laws don'trecognize such unions. On a practical level, the new law will double thefiling workload because partners essentially must do their taxes twice -once as a married couple under California rules, then as separate taxpayerson their federal returns. But the collision between state and federal rulesalso has created a snarl of tax issues that are confounding taxpayers,professional preparers, academics and even the tax agencies. "There are somany issues that come up . . . where there really is no answer," saidKathleen Wright, director of the graduate tax program at California StateUniversity-Fullerton. "There is so much gray area and complexity." Theproblem has been building for years. In 1999, California became the firststate to create a registry for domestic partners, which comprises bothsame-sex couples and unmarried heterosexual couples with at least onepartner older than age 62. Later laws gave registered partners many of therights and responsibilities of married couples. But until now they've beentreated as single on their state and federal tax returns.
Seventy-one percent of Swedes favor moving beyond the nation's 14-year-oldregistered-partnership law and granting gay couples access to full marriage,a new poll has found. The Sifo poll questioned 1,000 people in mid-January,asking, "Do you think homosexual couples should be able to legally wed andget married or do you think they should not be able to get married?"
Argentine gay activists Cesar Cigliutti and Marcelo Suntheim got married inSpain on Jan. 21 and plan to demand that Argentina recognize their marriage.
The Argentine capital of Buenos Aires and the province of Rio Negro havesame-sex civil-union laws, but there is no established mechanism anywhere inthe nation for recognizing same-sex marriages from the six countries thatallow them. Anyone from the European Union can marry in Spain. Suntheim andCigliutti were able to tie the knot because Suntheim has dual Argentine andGerman citizenship.
Minnesota: New legislation has been proposed for the 2008 session thatwould protect elderly same sex couples from losing their home if one of themreceives public assistance and requires nursing home care.
As of now the state can seize and sell private homes to pay off medicalbills of a deceased nursing home resident, though married nursing homeresidents' surviving spouses are protected from losing their home untiltheir own death. No such protection exists for same sex domesticpartners -- surviving partners can be forced out of the home by the state.
After four years together, my same-sex partner and I got engaged and wantedto share the news with my family. But it did not elicit joy. Instead, I got"there will be no gay wedding" from my mother; my father said, "at thispoint, I do not know if I will participate"; and my tearful grandfathersaid, "I never want to hear about it again." Ironically, we are not areligious family and I have been out for more than 10 years. Despite talkingto or seeing my parents at least once a week, I have not spoken with themabout the wedding since. My partner and I are setting the wedding date forthe fall (her large Catholic family has been extremely supportive, but heraged parents have said they may not come). What do I do next? I feel that myparents ought to be kept informed at least, yet I dread talking about itwith them. This is supposed to be a happy day.
THE ANSWER - Maybe it's a blessing in disguise.
Look at it this way: You have the world's first "self-weeding" wedding. Allthe crabby crustaceans who might otherwise have spoiled the ceremony withtheir pinched faces and snappish cracks have "outed" themselves in advanceand declared they won't be coming. "Beautiful! More smoked salmon andchampagne cocktails for the rest of us! We'll send you a copy of the videoand here's the address where you can send your presents and cheques!"
Seriously, though, or at least semi-seriously, I've always felt you cangauge a person's spiritual development by how well they understand that ifyou're not the one getting married, then it's really not about you.
Whenever a crackpot cousin or unhinged uncle waxes divalicious in the rollup to a wedding, I want to grab them by the lapels and say: "Hey. It's notabout you. For one day, stop squawking and flapping your feathers. Shower,shampoo, show up on time. Don't get too drunk, keep your comments andobservations to a minimum and everything will be just ducky. Crystal?"Hopefully, your relatives will likewise come around in time. In any case,there's no point in having onfrontations, starting feuds or stirring up badblood. Because you can never shake your relatives. You will always have todeal with them, one way or another. Relatives are like Whac-a-Moles: Nomatter how much you may think (or wish) they've disappeared forever intotheir little holes, they always pop back up again. So just pour a little ofyour drink on the floor "for absent homies," get the DJ to spin theturntables, pump up the volume and get jiggy. I'm sure you'll still raisehell and rock the rafters without Mr. and Mrs. (and Grandpa and Grandma)Poopy Pants. Anyway, end of sermon. Hallelujah. You may now kiss the bride.
A bill that would grant marriage rights to Maryland's gay couples is winningstrong early support. The Religious Freedom & Civil Marriage Protection Act,known in the General Assembly as Senate Bill 290 and House Bill 351, wasintroduced Jan. 25 with the backing of 49 legislators. "This is the civilrights issue of our time," said Del. Jeff Waldstreicher (D-MontgomeryCounty). "I don't want to look back 20 years from now and regret being onthe wrong side of history. Marriage equality is the right thing to do, andnow is the right time to do it." Del. Ben Barnes (D-Anne Arundel and PrinceGeorge's counties) agreed. "When we deny civil rights to one group ofcitizens, we demean and debase our entire society," he said. "Just as theJim Crow South is a scar on a great nation, so too is denying theprotections of marriage to gay and lesbian families." Written to make validmarriages of "two people," the act also makes clear that churches maycontinue to choose whom to marry. It was drafted after Maryland's highestcourt in September upheld a state law restricting marriage to straightcouples. Long supported by Equality Maryland and the Maryland Black FamilyAlliance, the act also is drawing support from the Human Rights Campaign,which announced last week the hiring of two lobbyists to help advance theproposal. "Right now, loving and committed same-sex couples in Maryland andtheir families are denied the more than 1,000 basic legal rights that amarriage license provides," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Thislegislation would remedy this unequal treatment and ensure that all Marylandfamilies receive, under Maryland law, the equal rights they deserve." Buteven with one in four state lawmakers sponsoring the bills, the proposalfaces an uphill battle. Neither Senate President Mike Miller (D-Calvert andPrince George's counties) nor House Speaker Michael Busch (D-Anne ArundelCounty) supports the marriage act.
Leah Daughtry, the Democratic National Committee's chief of staff, opposessame-sex marriage, according to transcripts of her deposition in theHitchcock lawsuit. "I believe, as the church believes, that marriage isintended for one man and one woman," Daughtry said in transcripts obtainedby the Blade this week. Despite her stance, Daughtry noted in thetranscripts that she has not advised Dean to oppose same-sex marriage.Daughtry is a Pentecostal minister to a small congregation in Washington.She has said that she speaks in tongues and considers the practice "a giftgiven by God." According to the transcript, she denied that her religiousbeliefs impact her work at the DNC. "People know that I am a reverend but itis completely separate from the work at the DNC," she said.
The Ball State University Faculty Council voted to oppose the proposed gaymarriage amendment Senate Joint Resolution 7.Beckie Adams, a professor inthe Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, said the Faculty Council wasstrongly opposed to the state constitution amendment. According to theIndiana General Assembly's Web site, SJR7 would define marriage as beingonly between a man and a woman. Same sex couples or heterosexual couples whoare not married also could not receive the same benefits as a marriedcouple, according to the proposed amendment.On Tuesday the Indiana Senatevoted 39-9 Tuesday in favor of the proposed amendment.Adams, who teachesmarriage and family relationships, said when she brought her resolution tothe Faculty Council to oppose SJR7 there was not much debate. "Because ofthe affect it'd have on the hiring of faculty, the recruitment of studentsand even businesses coming to Indiana, we felt it was an important thing forus to do," she said.
Chances are, Lt. Laurel Hester never planned to make headlines. Long beforeshe became nationally known as a dying gay woman who wanted to leave herpension benefits to her partner, Laurel Hester was a cop. A good cop. Butmost people in Ocean County who had heard of Laurel Hester knew only of herfight to leave her pension benefits to Stacie Andree, her loving companionof more than five years. And more people know her now, since hergut-wrenching struggle with both rapidly advancing lung cancer and astubborn Ocean County Board of Freeholders has been chronicled in"Freeheld." The 38-minute documentary by Cynthia Wade won a special juryprize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. That honor was followed by manyothers, including an Academy Award nomination in the "Best Documentary ShortSubject" category. Wade did not plan on making a film about Laurel Hester.She had just given birth to her second child and was directing and shootingother projects. But when she read an article about Hester, she decided toattend a freeholder meeting where Hester planned to speak. She brought hercamera. "From that initial meeting, during which I introduced myself toLaurel and Stacie, I rapidly fell into their story, struggle and theirlives," Wade said.
Florida: The man says he tried to sign he and his partner up for AAA's autoclub, but found the rates were different for gays.A policy for a married manallows him to have his wife on the membership at half-price.In Florida, agay man and his partner must both pay full price."They do not offer a policyfor homosexuals. If I were married I'd be able to do it, but since I'm gayI can't," the man says. The Florida policy has been in place for some timeand AAA says a domestic partner is not a spouse."What is a spouse as definedby your policy?" asks Holmes."We use the Florida law spouse which describesa husband and wife, and it's a man and a woman," says Florida AAA VicePresident John Imming. The Florida policy is also contrary to the benefitsoffered by many other states.From liberal California to the wilds of Texas,from the remote Dakotas to Hawaii, most states allow gays to have theirdomestic partner on their membership at a reduced rate."Other clubs are freeto make their decisions based on the needs of their area," says Imming.


The Advocate

"Don't Audition for American Idol"

In Omaha and Miami, singing cattle are led to the meat packing plant andturned into ground entertainment.

By Dave White
An exclusive posted February 1, 2008

I can only assume that Fox was too cheap to go hire some actual aliens tomake a show-opening American Idol logo crop circle in the middle of Omaha(part of what people in television call "the flyover states"), where Tuesdaynight's audition show takes place. It's undoubtedly the work of some poorpostproduction drone in Santa Monica who sat in front of a computer until 4in the morning making a cornfield look authentic and was then expected to beback in the office by 9 the next day to digitally erase age spots from JackNicholson's face for the Blu-ray DVD release of The Bucket List.

The credits roll. And no, I wasn't mistaken, The Boogie's head is completelychopped off of his torso as the fame elevator rises past shots of the otherIdol winners. And I don't think it's too paranoid to say that this isclearly intentional. Why, I don't know. And really, I don't care all thatmuch. But I think it's odd. I'm sure the folks on "The Boogie Board" haveopinions on the subject. Oh, yes, no lie. It's called "The Boogie Board." Ijust learned this recently. Someone started a fan board and my stupidnickname for Taylor Hicks is responsible. You really never know who's payingattention. Naturally, I'm honored.

The camera pans over wide-open fields and rolling clouds. Eek. Rollingclouds now remind me of that frightening "Anonymous" video that's goingaround, the one that's making ominous robot-voiced threats to the Church ofScientology. It took someone even scarier than Tom Cruise to make thatvideo. and now I don't know whose side to be on. But that has nothing to dowith this show -- for now -- so I'll get back on topic.

It seems that there are no buildings where people can go to do things inOmaha, because when Seacrest does his little voice-over about the strongmusic and art communities that exist there, the camera cuts to (a) threekids playing violins on a sidewalk and (b) some dude wearing a belt andsuspenders and an apron painting on a canvas that's sitting on an easel. Inthe middle of a brick road. His painting is of a building. The title of thatpainting is "This Is My Now. And Right Now What I Need Is a Building to DoThis in So That When It Rains My Painting Won't Get All Wet."

more . . . . .



Best. Gay. Week. Ever. (February 1, 2008)

by Michael Jensen, Editor
January 31, 2008


This Sunday brings us Super Bowl XLII wherein New England quarterback TomBrady and his Patriots will try to make history against Eli Manning and theNew York Giants by becoming the first team to finish a season 19-0 andthereby winning their fourth Super Bowl in seven years.

Battle of the Hunks

Debonair Tom Brady, quarterback New England Patriots versus All-American EliManning, quarterback New York Giants

While those of us in the gay community know it's a big fat lie that all gaymen hate sports, it is true that a lot of gay men couldn't care less aboutthe Super Bowl, World Series, etc. I should know - my partner is one of themwhile I am a pretty big football fan who will watch the big game on Sunday.

Undoubtedly ours isn't the only mixed marriage out there and more than onefootball-hating gay man is going to find himself dragged to a Super Bowlparty on Sunday where he will know next to nothing about what is going on.Relax my gay brethren. I'm here to help and will explain things in termslikely to be much more familiar. You may still not care who wins, but atleast you'll understand why the emotions of your straight male friends arerunning so high.

more . . . . .


Euro-Queer - UK

Honeymoon is over for gay weddings
Ceremonies fall by 55 per cent after a boom year

Denis Campbell
Sunday February 3, 2008

The Observer

The number of gay weddings has plummeted by more than 50 per cent in the past year. Civil partnerships became legal for homosexuals in December 2005, allowing them to acquire the same sorts of tax and pension rights as straight married couples.

Initially, thousands of gay and lesbian couples held ceremonies. However, a survey by the Local Government Association found that all the 40 councils across England they surveyed had experienced a fall in the number taking place - the figures show an average drop of 55 per cent in 2007 from 2006.

The largest fall was 90 per cent in Bracknell, Berkshire, and the smallest was 31 per cent in Barnet, north London. Brighton recently celebrated becoming the first place to host 1,000 civil partnerships. But while 636 gay couples tied the knot in Brighton and Hove in 2006, only 320 did so in 2007. 'The introduction of civil partnership legislation prompted an initial rush for couples who wanted to register as soon as possible,' said a council spokeswoman. 'Civil partnerships have become an accepted part of our society and we're very happy to have played a part helping couples to achieve this.'

Singer Elton John, broadcaster Clare Balding and government ministers Ben Bradshaw and Angela Eagle are among those who have exercised their rights under the Civil Partnership Act.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics confirm the downward trend. They show that while 16,100 couples formed a civil partnership in the UK in 2006, at an average of 4,000 every three months, just 4,060 did so in the first half of last year. 'One reason for the decline may be that some gay people aren't interested in formalising their relationship,' said Tony Grew, editor of the website. 'Some don't want to have all the formality of a civil partnership because they think it's the death knell of a relationship.'

Some highly political gays, such as activist Peter Tatchell, see civil partnerships as part of a process of 'assimilation' or integration into wider society that they reject in favour of a proudly 'queer' lifestyle. Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the gay rights lobby group Stonewall, aid: 'There was a big pent-up demand from couples in long-term relationships to form a civil partnership, which is why so many did it early on after the law changed in late 2005, so a tailing-off would be logical.'


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