Tuesday, February 05, 2008

GLBT DIGEST February 5, 2008

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Sleepy Spokane Shows Its Sordid Side

Associated Press Writer
3:46 AM EST, February 5, 2008

The resignation of a conservative politician who claims he was shaken downby a gay hustler has again exposed the seamy underside of this ostensiblystaid city.

Former state Rep. Richard Curtis, who went to Spokane in late October for aRepublican conference, got into trouble when he also stopped at an adultbookstore, picked up a man named Cody Castagna, and brought him to his hotelroom for sex.

Castagna, 26, later demanded $1,000. Curtis refused to pay, and claimsCastagna and his associates tried to blackmail him by threatening to revealthe married lawmaker's sexual practices.

Witnesses told police that Curtis was a regular patron of the adultbookstore, liked to dress in women's lingerie, and was observed having sexin an upstairs room with a man with a cane.

It was the latest scandal in a lurid decade for Spokane, an outwardlyconservative city of 200,000 residents about 270 miles east of liberalSeattle.

Since 2000, the city has been rocked by a family man who killed 10prostitutes and had sex with some of their corpses; the outing of formermayor Jim West as a closeted homosexual who offered city jobs to young menin exchange for sex; and the bankruptcy of the Roman Catholic diocese overlawsuits brought by victims of sexual abuse by priests.

more . . . . .


The Guardian


Bishop of Liverpool apologises for opposing gay cleric

Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent
Tuesday February 5, 2008

One of the country's most senior bishops has argued that the Biblesanctions same-sex relationships, using the bonds between Jesus and John thedisciple, and David and Jonathan as examples.

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev James Jones, a conservativeevangelical, expressed the views in a book, A Fallible Church, in which heapologised for objecting to the appointment of the gay cleric Dr JeffreyJohn as Bishop of Reading. He was one of nine bishops to sign a publicletter criticising the proposed consecration.

The bishop also apologised for his conduct and its effect on John, whoeventually withdrew his acceptance of the post after bowing to pressure.

Jones said: "I deeply regret this episode in our common life. I stillbelieve it was unwise to try to take us to a place that evidently did notcommand the broad support of the Church of England but I am sorry for theway I opposed it and I am sorry too for adding to the pain and distress ofDr John and his partner."

He called for Anglicans to "acknowledge the authoritative biblicalexamples of love between two people of the same gender most notably in therelationship of Jesus and his beloved [John] and David and Jonathan".


Catholic World News


Polish Catholic university bars discrimination on sexual orientation

Krakow, Jan. 31, 2008 (CWNews.com) - The Catholic University of Lublin--where Pope John Paul II (bio - news) once taught theology-- has bannedemployment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, the Polishnewspaper Nasz Dziennik reports.

While the newspaper article says that in the future, Poland's only Catholicuniversity will hire active homosexuals, university spokeswoman Beata Gorkasays the new labor regulation seeks to ensure only that homosexuals aretreated with respect. Gorka claimed that the policy mirrors the teaching ofthe Catechism of the Catholic Church in calling for compassionate treatmentof homosexuals.


Soulforce Email Update - February 4, 2008


Gil Caldwell's Call to Action at the United Methodist Church Conference

A few years ago I saw the Slave Narratives, a presentation of some of thestories that were told by my African ancestors who were slaves. There werenine words in that presentation that I will take with me to my grave; "Theyused the Bible like a stick against us." This was a graphic way of sayingthat Christian slave masters living in what is called the "Bible Belt," usedthe Bible to commit unspeakable crimes against slaves. Paul's, "Slaves beobedient to your Christian masters..." became justification for demandingobedience and exerting punishment, whenever a Black slave did not please thewishes and needs of his/her master.

When I heard those words I reflected upon how anti-Semitism, sexism,classism, punishment of Methodist clergy who smoked and consumed alcohol,and of course slavery and racial segregation, all of this and much wereperpetrated by those who used sections of Scripture as justification fortheir prejudices and acts of discrimination. In time most Methodistsrealized it was a desecration of the Bible to use it to support and sustainpersonal and cultural prejudices. But sadly, the United Methodist Churchcontinues to utilize a narrow Biblical literalism and prejudicialinterpretation of Scripture to justify its Book of Discipline language thatdemeans same gender loving persons.

I first heard Martin Luther King, Jr. at a Prayer Pilgrimage in May of 1957in Washington, DC. That exposure to him motivated my participation in theCivil Rights Movement. I am convinced that Dr. King, who spoke out againstthe Vietnam War and initiated the Poor People's Campaign and spoke so manytimes of the necessity to create the "Beloved Community," if he were alivetoday, would challenge the Church and Government for their insensitivejudgmental approach to LGBT persons.

I will be participating with Soulforce at the General Conference in Ft.Worth as we seek to contribute to the liberation of the United MethodistChurch, urging it, "To be the Church." Martin Luther King asked more thanonce, "Why is the Church always the taillight and not the headlight" (onissues of human justice)? I am saddened that as a fourth generationMethodist, my United Methodist Church (in the 21st century!) desecrates themission and ministry of Jesus in its attitudes and actions toward LGBTpersons.

I invite all persons, especially persons of color and women who haveawareness and experience of the Church "using the Bible like a stick" uponthose before them and upon them personally, because of race and gender, tobe present with me and Soulforce in Ft. Worth.

--Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell (retired)


Soulforce Email Update - February 4, 2008


What the Science Says - And Doesn't Say - About Homosexuality

This new resource is already very popular and we are shipping orders as fastas possible. Be sure to get your copy today.

Here's the foreword by Jack Drescher, MD, Distinguished Fellow of theAmerican Psychiatric Association:
It can be difficult to negotiate the terrain of science and faith. Thatscientific findings do, in fact, shape and change religious beliefs, isproven by history. Such changes can take a long time and spark socialturmoil. Consider the example of Galileo Galilei, a scientist whose researchdemonstrated the earth revolved around the sun.

Though no Christians today argue about whether the earth is round, fivehundred years ago most Christians, based on the Bible, believed the sunrevolved around a flat earth. They could not integrate their reverence forthe authority of Scripture with Galileo's scientific work. The Church triedGalileo and condemned him for heresy in 1633, banning the publication of hisscientific work. Still under house arrest, Galileo died in 1642. Yet in thefollowing century, as the weight of scientific evidence proved the earthrevolved around the sun, Galileo was reburied in hallowed ground, and theChurch allowed his scientific work to be published. In 1992, 350 years afterhis death, Pope John Paul II expressed regret for Galileo's treatment by thechurch.

Similarly in our own time, people of faith find themselves challenged by newscientific findings. For example, while the causes of homosexuality (or heterosexuality, for that matter) are unknown, research strongly suggestsboth a biological and environmental component to the development of aperson's sexual orientation. Such findings have troubled those whosereligious leaders and perspectives teach that heterosexuality is theGod-ordained standard; that homosexuality is unnatural; and that no one is"born gay."

Ultimately, however, science cannot decide the moral question of whether oursociety should treat same-sex relationships as a normal form of humanexpression. What we do with scientific discoveries is always mediatedthrough culture. Even if science were to one day prove an incontrovertiblegenetic basis for homosexuality, those who disagree might then simply labelhomosexuality a genetic disease or disorder.

Despite this limitation, both sides of the culture wars over homosexualityrely heavily on what the science says. Ironically but predictably, they theninterpret the science differently. Some, however, go further, knowinglydistorting scientific findings when those findings contradict theirreligious or political beliefs. Such activities should concern both sides.Our scientific methods demand a shared set of assumptions around scientificintegrity. Science provides us all with life-saving technologies andelevated standards of living, but when a society tolerates the underminingof scientific findings in one area because of personal or political beliefs,it puts the integrity of the entire scientific enterprise at risk.

Consequently, this review by Jeff Lutes of what the scientific literaturedoes and does not say about homosexuality is both critical and timely.Obviously, many people of faith will feel challenged by some of today'saccepted scientific facts about homosexuality. And, of course, all the factsare not yet in.

Yes, science poses to people of faith the dilemma of generating data thatcan challenge current religious understandings and teachings. However, asGalileo shows us, suppressing or distorting such data for that reason isneither truthful, nor does it ultimately strengthen one's faith. Theacceptance of the scientific discovery that the earth revolved around thesun did not destroy the church. Today, committed believers read parts of theBible, which, in a literal sense, directly contradict that discovery. We nowsee those parts of Scripture as products of their time.

Science helped people of faith understand that the earth revolves around thesun. Just as people of faith have come to reconcile the clash of science andScripture over this issue, I believe the same is possible when it comes tothe mystery and diversity of human sexuality.


Soulforce Email Update - February 4, 2008

The young adults at Soulforce Q have partnered with students from ACT-OUT ofVassar College, Sexual Orientation Ubiquity League (SOUL) of SUNYPlattsburgh, and groups at SUNY Binghamton to work on the Right to Marrycampaign in New York State. Local events will take place throughout thespring focusing on the outreach to community business leaders. Visitwww.soulforce.org/righttomarry for more information


Queer Muslim Revolution


Sunday, February 03, 2008

UAE to Soon Have Woman Judges
From the Middle East Times

January 8, 2008

Women in the United Arab Emirates will soon be allowed to become judges,breaking a male monopoly over the profession in the conservative monarchy,the justice minister said on Sunday.

Women are currently being trained at the Judicial Institute to become judgesand prosecutors across the UAE once the law is amended, the English dailyGulf News reported, quoting minister Mohammad bin Nakhira al-Dhaheri.

"At present the law states that only a Muslim man is entitled to assume theposition of a judge," he said, without specifying when the law will bechanged.

The proposed law, which should cover the judiciary in the seven-memberfederation, would make the UAE the second Gulf country after Bahrain toallow women to become judges.

Women hold nine seats in the 40-member Federal National Council, with eightappointed by the UAE president to join the half-elected advisory body.


Queer Muslim Revolution


Women Moving Democracy: Israel's Parliament Has Lowest Percentage of Women
Women moving democracy

January 13, 2008

Women's political participation plays an ever more important role in effortsto advance democracy around the world. Which of these countries has thelowest percentage of women in its national parliament?

A. Tunisia B. Pakistan C. Italy D. Israel

D. Israel is correct. Women account for 14 percent of the members of theKnesset, Israel's parliament, giving it a rank of 77th in the world. In theMiddle East, it ranks behind Afghanistan (27 percent), Iraq (26 percent),and the United Arab Emirates (23 percent). After Israel, the next highestlevel reached in the region is in Syria, where 12 percent of the parliamentis made up of women. Still, Israel's participation rate puts it ahead ofsome European nations, including Ireland (13 percent) and Hungary (10percent). In addition, Israel is ranked quite high, 36th in the world out of128 countries, in terms of overall equality for women, according to theInter-Parliamentary Union.

Women account for 23 percent of the parliament in Tunisia, and 21 percent inPakistan.

The Globalist Quiz is produced by The Globalist, a Washington- basedresearch organization that promotes awareness of world affairs.


Queer Muslim Revolution


Single Mothers in Saudi Arabia Face Immense Obstacles in Raising TheirChildren

From ArabNews.com
Arjuwan Lakkdawala, Arab News

JEDDAH, 29 January 2008 - Raising a child as a single parent is a laborioustask. Many single Saudi mothers not only face the challenges of bringing uptheir children single handedly, but have to deal with countless everydayobstacles created by ignorant members of society who cannot accept a motherplaying the role of both parents.

"My husband divorced me and then shamelessly refused to provide financialsupport for our children. Even though he lives very close to us, he refusesto let our children visit him," said Bader, a 38-year-old Saudi divorcee. "Ihave five sons and four of them are teenagers. It is very difficult for meto play the father figure that my boys need," she added.

"My eldest son has become very temperamental. He stays out late, his gradesare dropping, and he doesn't accept my advice. He's hurting because of hisfather's rejection," she added.

Bader said that she has often pleaded with her ex-husband to take someinterest in their children. He refuses to do so.

Umm Hatim, another divorced Saudi mother, said she is worried about herthree children and is particularly concerned about her teenage son'sfriends. "It's very difficult to raise teenagers as a single parent,especially if they're boys. The moment my son steps out of the house,there's very little I can do to stop him from mingling with people who couldget him into trouble," said Umm Hatim.

She added that there are people in society who feel that a woman should stayat home and that such people look down on the advice given by women. "When Igive my son advice he doesn't take it the same way if his father had toldhim. This is because of the negative mindset he has developed because ofcertain sections of society," she added.

Fahmia, a widow, said she has had a hard time preventing her teenage sonfrom getting involved with people, who she suspects are involved in drugs.Fahmia went to the extreme of moving home and relocating to an expensiveflat in a different neighborhood.

Saudi social worker Suzan Al-Mashhadi told Arab News that single mothers inSaudi Arabia face immense obstacles while raising their children. Sheattributed their problems to people, who do not have proper religious orsocial education, and irresponsible ex-husbands.

"Some men will try to get revenge from their ex-wives by neglecting theirchildren and not providing for them. Some will pamper their children. Forexample if it's a boy then the father would buy him a car at a very youngage, give him lots of money and simply spoil him, leaving the mother to dealwith the problems," she said.

"The Saudi single mother's troubles are doubled if she's raising a teenageboy, because she won't even be able to visit his school without causing himunbearable embarrassment. This is considered a father's job. But what can amother do when the father fails in his responsibilities? When there istrouble at school, who will talk to teachers? She'll be resented by her sonjust for trying to be a good parent," said Al-Mashhadi.

"And it's because of irresponsible fathers and ignorant people in societywho are quick to judge a woman... what is a mother to do when she is leftalone with responsibilities meant to be shared by two parents?"


Queer Muslim Revolution


Sharp Rise in Number of Kuwaiti Working Women

From the Kuwait Times
Published Date: January 23, 2008

KUWAIT: Kuwait is in the forefront of Arab countries in view of women'sparticipation in labor force by 42 per cent in line with 2006 statistics, anArab economist said here yesterday.

The percentage of Kuwaiti women's involvement in labor force is continuouslyon the increase, having recorded roughly 37 percent and 42 percent in 2003and 2006 respectively, Riyad bin Jalili, an economist at the Arab PlanningInstitute (API), told a symposium on women and development in the Arabworld.

Most working women, who are university graduates, are concentrated in thepublic sector by around 95 percent, he said. In spite of the high percentageof Kuwaiti women's participation in labor force, leading state posts areoften inaccessible to them, having stood up at merely six percent in 2004,Jalili added.

Kuwaiti working women's diversified presence in the labor market is stillmeager if compared to other Arab countries, he said, arguing that the upwardtrend of women's education has a limited impact on their diversifiedinvolvement in the labor market. They account for 45 percent inadministrative professions, 24 percent in teaching and just four percent inmedicine and science.

However, divorced women were more active than married ones in terms ofeconomic activities in 2006, he said. Joblessness among Kuwaiti females andmales hit 5.2 percent and 2.7 percent respectively in 2006, he added. ---KUNA


Queer Muslim Revolution


UN Report: Saudi Women Face Systematic Discrimination

From AFP (in the Kuwait Times)
Published Date: February 02, 2008

GENEVA: Women in Saudi Arabia are the victims of systematic and pervasivediscrimination across all aspects of social life, a United Nations reportsaid yesterday.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women urgedthe Saudi government to take concrete steps to enforce gender equality andend violence against women.

The committee overseas the application of the Convention on the Eliminationof All Forms of Discrimination against Women, a UN treaty regarded as aglobal bill of rights for women.

Neither the Constitution nor other legislation embodies the principle ofequality between women and men," the committee said in a report.

Saudi Arabia is governed by Wahabism, a strict interpretation of Islamthat-in the name of Sharia law-imposes almost complete separation of thesexes.

As such, it is illegal for a woman to be in the company of a man who is notin her immediate family.

Women suffer from domestic violence, poor healthcare provision and highlevels of illiteracy, the committee said in its report.

They are also shackled by the obligation to have a male "tutor" or guardianto accompany them for many daily tasks, it found.

The concept of male guardianship contributes to the prevalence of apatriarchal ideology with stereotypes and the persistence of deep-rootedcultural norms that discriminate against women," the report said.

The level of representation of women in public and political life, at thelocal, national, and international levels and in particular indecision-making positions, is very low," it added.

The committee also expressed concern about female domestic migrant workersin the kingdom, who are vulnerable to economic and sexual exploitation anddo not have ready access to the law.

Earlier this month, a Saudi delegation told a meeting of the committee inGeneva that "Saudi society is still largely a tribal society and changes inmentality allowing new ideas to be accepted take time".

Riyadh also claimed that "Islam, as a realistic religion, admits that totalequality between man and woman is contrary to reality, as various scientificstudies on their psychological differences have shown". --- AFP




Poll: Do you support a ban on gay marriages?

Go to the website and vote!

Voters will decide in November whether Florida's Constitution should containa ban on gay marriages. What's your opinion on the proposed ban?

I support the ban. I oppose the ban. I'm undecided.

I support the ban. (1539 responses) 16.5%
I oppose the ban. (7627 responses) 81.8%
I'm undecided. (162 responses) 1.7%


From Paul Moor



By Robert Cottrell
Created 26/01/2008 - 00:01

A KEY FOR THE PRURIENT | January 28th 2008

Leo Reynolds/Flickr [1]

Evan Zimroth has been researching the life of J.M. Keynes and decipheringthe great man's sex diaries. One is easy (a lot of Duncan Grant). Theother uses a code which, if nothing else, helps break the ice at parties ...Special to MORE INTELLIGENT LIFE

Last week at a drinks event at the Oxford and Cambridge Club on PallMall, I had the good fortune to chat about Israel with an eminent professorof ecclesiastical history. His family had always been pro-Israel, he assuredme, but now, sadly...things are different. So we had the usual dust-up.Champagne in hand, I jumped in headlong and called him an anti-Semite and he(ditto) countered with the speech that begins "You Americans always ..."

After the skirmish, though, it turned out that we share a sceptical viewof Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, me for the goodArchbishop's positions on Israel and my ecclesiastical friend for Williams'support of the Church's official position on homosexuality. "Rowan," he saidwith evident familiarity, or maybe irony, "doesn't care for my partner."Aha. "I'd like to ask you something about John Maynard Keynes," I said."Keynes kept these sex diaries ..."

A little more champagne and we were talking about cock-sucking.

Keynes was never a closeted homosexual, although his colleagues atBretton Woods in 1945 didn't always realise it, perhaps because at thoseconferences he was accompanied by the Russian ballerina Lydia Lopokova, hiswife of twenty years. By then he was the eminent economist and statesman,and possibly no longer on the prowl.

In earlier days, though, from 1901 to 1915 when he was mostly a20-something, he cruised constantly and kept two sex diaries of his success.Luckily Keynes was a pack-rat, so we have both of these documents, among amass of J.M. Keynes memorabilia housed in the modern archives at King'sCollege, Cambridge. (They are reproduced in "Maynard Keynes: An Economist'sBiography [2]", by D. E. Moggridge, albeit in an appendix labelled "A Keyfor the Prurient.")

Keynes obsessively counted and tabulated almost everything; it was alife-long habit. As a child, he counted the number of front steps of everyhouse on his street. Later he kept a running record (not surprisingly) ofhis expenses and his golf scores. He also counted and tabulated his sexlife.

The first diary is easy: Keynes lists his sexual partners, either bytheir initials (GLS for Lytton Strachey, DG for Duncan Grant) or theirnicknames ("Tressider," for J. T. Sheppard, the King's College Provost).When he apparently had a quick, anonymous hook-up, he listed that sexpartner generically: "16-year-old under Etna" and "Lift boy of Vauxhall" in1911, for instance, and "Jew boy," in 1912




Arrests of Gay Men in Senegal: LGBT Groups Express Outrage and Concern

For Immediate Release
Contact: Hossein Alizadeh, IGLHRC Communications Coordinator, 212-430-6016

(New York, Monday February 4, 2008)- In a letter to Senegalese Minister ofJustice, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)and PAN-Africa ILGA have demanded the immediate and unconditional release ofup to 20 gay men believed to have been arrested on suspicion ofhomosexuality in Senegal in the past week.

At least 7 and perhaps as many as 20 gay men have been arrested in Dakar,the Senegalese capital, since the morning of Sunday 3 February after apopular local magazine, Icones, published photographs of a marriage ceremonybetween two Senegalese men. The wedding is believed to have taken place in adiscrete location in Dakar more than a year-and-a-half ago. Sources reportthat the photographs were sold to the sensationalist magazine by thephotographer for 1,500,000 ($3000) CFA francs. The arrests were reportedlyundertaken upon the orders of Mr. Asane Ndoye, head of the SenegalesePolice's Division of Criminal Investigation. It is unclear where the men andwomen are being held.

"Mass arrests of people simply because they are gay terrorize the entirecommunity," said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC's executive director. "The inhumantreatment of gay men and lesbians must stop. We call upon the worldcommunity to enforce international human rights law." The U.N. Human RightsCommittee affirmed in its decision in Toonen v. Australia (1994) thatexisting protection against discrimination in Articles 2 and 26 of theInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) incorporatessexual orientation as a protected status.

"We are afraid for our lives, especially those of us shown in thephotographs," said Jean R., a Senegalese gay activist who spoke to ILGA andIGLHRC from a hotel where he is seeking refuge. "Some of us have gone intohiding and others are fleeing the country."

Senegal is one of the few Francophone African countries that penalizehomosexuality. Under Article 3.913 of the Senegalese penal code, homosexualacts are punishable by imprisonment of between one and five years and a fineof 100,000 ($200) to 1,500,000 ($3,000) CFA francs. While there areoccasional arrests and convictions of gay men under the Article, socialstigma and blackmail are the most prevalent abuses faced by gay men in thecountry.

"Many consider Senegal to be one of the most progressive African countrieson the issue of homosexuality," said Joel Nana, IGLHRC's Program Associatefor West Africa. "The government has included a commitment to fighting HIVamong men who have sex with men in its national AIDS response plan since2005. That's why we found these arrests to be very distressing."

Senegal has strong political and economic ties to a number of conservativeIslamic governments and institutions, and will be hosting the summit of theOrganization of Islamic Conference in March. The OIC has invested heavily inthe rehabilitation of Dakar's infrastructure in preparation for the Summit.

Under the circumstances, IGLHRC and Pan-African ILGA expressed concern as towhether Senegal is well-suited to host the upcoming International Conferenceon AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), scheduled to take place in Dakar inDecember 2008.

"There will be no room for an open and inclusive discussion on the humanrights dimensions of HIV in the face of such harassment," said Danilo daSilva, co-chair of Pan-African ILGA, a federation gathering over 40 lesbianand gay groups from all parts of Africa. "We expect more from a leadingcountry like Senegal."
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is aleading human rights organization solely devoted to improving the rights ofpeople around the world who are targeted for imprisonment, abuse or deathbecause of their sexuality, gender identity or HIV/AIDS status. IGLHRCaddresses human rights violations by partnering with and supportingactivists in countries around the world, monitoring and documenting humanrights abuses, engaging offending governments, and educating internationalhuman rights officials. A non-profit, non-governmental organization, IGLHRCis based in New York, with offices in Johannesburg and Buenos Aires. Visithttp://www.iglhrc.org for more information




The 7th Annual NSRC Summer Institute on Politics, Sexuality, and Educationis a three-wee intensive, interdisciplinary education program in SanFrancisco, a city with a unique and influential sexual history.

Track I: Three-week session for undergraduate students and practitionerswith less than two years experience working in the field of human sexuality(July 7-25, 2008).

Track II: Three-week session for graduate students and practitioners withadvanced sexuality training (July 14-August 1, 2008). Fee includes allcourse reading materials and attendance at all Summer Institute guestlectures and special events.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

New York, February 4, 2008 - With the 11th annual Freedom to Marry Week,

February 10-16, 2008


Just 6 days away, the number of events scheduled
across the country to speak out, and seek support, for marriage equalitycontinues to grow!

"Every year, right around President Lincoln's Birthday and Valentine's Day,gay and non-gay people around the country gather to talk about our lives,our loves and our families, celebrate the victories from the year before andcontinue the fight for the freedom to marry." said Evan Wolfson, executivedirector of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters: America,Equality and Gay People's Right to Marry. "As Al Gore and a unanimousappellate court in New York have both just shown, the more people are askedto think through how the denial of marriage harms couples and their kids,the more they rise to fairness."

Wolfson is referring to Al Gore's endorsement of the freedom to marry inJanuary and last Friday's New Yorkappellate court ruling


Freedom to Marry Week activities around the country include:



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

What Man and What Woman?


Filed by: Guest Blogger

February 3, 2008 2:00 PM

Editor's note:] This guest post is by Mark Casey, a cultural and politicalcommentator whose work can be seen in such places as the Baltimore Sun, TheSanta Monica Daily Press, and The Flyer Group. He welcomes comments and canbe reached via his website, www.MarkCaseyOnline.com

On August 14, 1956, Brian Sullivan was born to two loving parents in NewJersey. When
he was eighteen months old, at the advice of Brian's doctor, his parentspacked up and moved to a new town. There, they renamed him Bonnie Sullivan,and raised him as a girl.

Years later, Bonnie found out that just before the move, her gender had beensurgically assigned by her parents. At her birth, it was unclear whether ornot Bonnie was a boy or a girl.

Around the same time, in 1966, 18-year-old Erika Schinegger was the reigningworld champion in female downhill skiing. Then, the International OlympicCommittee discovered through medical testing that Erika had male chromosomes(XY) and disqualified "him" from competition-to Erika's complete surprise.

Both Bonnie and Erika were born with a condition known as sexualambiguity-or intersexuality-which is an umbrella term for a wide variety ofconditions where physical or chromosomal traits, which typically define aperson as a male or female, are unclear at birth.

Bonnie has since changed her name to Cheryl Chase, and is a vocal advocatefor intersexed people. And with good reason. According to the AmericanAssociation for the Advancement of Science, as many as one in every 4,000births displays some degree of sexual ambiguity.

Yet, despite these thousands of cases across America, the promise of keepingmarriage between "One man and one woman" is still a major talking point forpoliticians everywhere-even to the point of amending our constitution toenforce it.

No policy debate in the last fifty years has been more discriminatory orinsulting.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Abercrombie & Fitch posters removed from mall -obscenity charge


Racy ads for store removed from mall
The Abercrombie & Fitch posters were in Lynnhaven Mall.

By Samieh Shalash
February 3, 2008


Two large posters depicting partial nudity were confiscated from theAbercrombie & Fitch store in Lynnhaven Mall by Virginia Beach PoliceSaturday, and the manager was issued a citation on obscenity charges.

Police acted on several citizen complaints about the displays, said policespokesman Adam Bernstein. "An officer went and looked at them, and thoughthimself that they were pretty racy," he said.

The store manager was given a copy of City Code Section 22-31, Bernsteinsaid. The code specifies that it is illegal to display any obscene materialin a business that is open to juveniles.

One poster shows a group of males running through a field, with one eitherpulling or pushing his pants down. "You can see the whole top portion of hisbuttocks," Bernstein said. "The other sign includes a female who's toplessfrom the waist up, and you can see her breasts, with her hands covering thenipple portion."

When the officer returned to the mall Saturday and the posters were stillup, he cited the store manager and removed the posters.

"We strive for voluntary compliance, but when they weren't taken down we hadto issue a summons," Bernstein said. "This is steps our city takes, becausewe have a reputation of being a very family-friendly city."

The posters are part of Abercrombie & Fitch's national advertising campaign,and are displayed at stores throughout the country. The officer told themanager he knew it was a corporate campaign, and that it could be legal todisplay the posters in California, New York or even Norfolk, but thatVirginia Beach's ordinance simply prohibits it.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


Don't Say "Gay"

A proposed state law would ban any discussion of homosexuality in elementaryand middle schools.


Playwright Tennessee Williams was gay. Poet Lord Byron had severalhomosexual affairs in his day. And artist Leonardo da Vinci was charged withsodomy at the age of 24.

But public school students in Tennessee won't learn that information if abill passes barring teachers from discussing homosexuality.

Representative Stacey Campfield of Knoxville filed a bill last week thatwould prevent public elementary and middle schools from allowing "anyinstruction or materials discussing sexual orientation other thanheterosexuality."

"This is the kind of bill that you would have seen introduced back in the1990s as a reaction to SpongeBob SquarePants or Heather Has Two Mommies,"says Tommie Simmons with the Shelby County Committee of the TennesseeEquality Project. The group advocates equal rights of gay, lesbian,bisexual, and transgendered people.

Campfield says the bill was a response to a National Education Associationresolution that suggests schools provide information on diversity of sexualorientation and gender identification in sex-education classes.

"I think the schools should stick to the basics: reading, writing, andarithmetic. And maybe some civics," says Campfield. "But teachingtransgenderism to middle school students ... I don't think that's the roadwe should go down. I think that's what parents should be doing."

Currently, individual school boards decide whether or not sexual orientationand gender identity will be discussed within the sex-ed curriculum. MemphisCity School officials are currently considering a new curriculum that wouldaddress sexual orientation and gender identity. Shelby County Schoolofficials did not return phone calls by press time.

"Why does [Campfield] feel the need to take control of what's taught in aschool system away from local boards of education and away from localcommunities?" asks Earl Wiman, president of the Tennessee EducationAssociation. Campfield's bill allows discussion of heterosexuality becausehe wants students to learn biology and the science of reproduction.

"If I were to say 'Jack and Jill went up the hill' or 'George Washington andMartha Washington were husband and wife,' there are groups out there thatwould say we were pushing a heterosexual agenda. To keep those lawsuits fromcoming, I thought we should still be able to talk about that side of it,"Campfield says.

Over the years, Campfield has proposed other controversial legislation, suchas replacing the state's food tax with a tax on pornography and requiringthe state to issue death certificates for aborted fetuses. In 2005,Campfield compared the state's Black Caucus to the Ku Klux Klan when theyrefused to let him join because he is white.

Though Campfield's bill is intended to deal with instruction, opponentsworry that it would have a chilling effect on students' free speech.

"Let's say you have an eighth-grade writing class with an open-ended essayassignment. What if a student chooses to write about a current issue onsexuality?" says Chris Sanders, president of the Tennessee Equality Project."This bill could be misinterpreted. It's overly vague and far-reaching."

Wiman worries the bill could lead to further alienation of gay students orstudents of gay parents.

"We have such a high adolescent suicide rate, and a large number of thosekilling themselves are struggling with sexual orientation," Wiman says."It's a real concern for us that we be able to help boys and girls withoutsome kind of arbitrary restrictions."

Date created: 01/31/2008
URL for this story: http://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/Content?oid=38592

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Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Neuroscience Explains Why You Get Pleasure From Hurting Yourself


It turns out there is a neurological explanation for why peoplescratch and cut themselves, and spank each other for pleasure. Inflictingsmall amounts of physical pain, whether from scratching your skin vigorouslyor doing something more extreme, deactivates the parts of your brainassociated with unpleasant or painful emotions. Though scientists have longspeculated that there was some kind of neurological payoff fromself-inflicted pain, a study published yesterday demonstrated precisely whyyour brain gets a reward when you hurt your body.

The study focused on scratching, which is a common, slightly-painful thingthat everybody does to relieve itches. Researchers stuck people in an MRIbrain imaging machine and scratched their legs with brushes for fiveminutes, watching to see which parts of their brains were active ornon-active. Areas associated with painful feelings became less active, aswell as areas associated with memory. The researchers say:

We know scratching is pleasurable, but we haven't known why. It's possiblethat scratching may suppress the emotional components of itch and bringabout relief.

It's also possible that the pain of scratching, or more intense pain fromcutting, suppresses painful memories too.

The researchers suggest that further study might reveal a way to produce adrug that has the same effects as scratching or cutting does on the brain --thus preventing physical damage while providing the same relief.


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Hillel: LGBTQ Resource Guide Released

December 18, 2007

Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life has released a newprofessional resource for welcoming LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender and Queer) Jews on campus.

Hillel LGBTQ Resource Guide.
Hillel LGBTQ Resource Guide.

Introduced on Tuesday, December 18 during Hillel's Professional StaffConference in Washington, D.C., the Hillel LGBTQ Resource Guide is the firstof its kind to be published by a Jewish student group.

The resource guide is designed to help Hillel professionals reach out to andengage the LGBTQ Jewish student population and provides tools for welcomingand working with this growing population.


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Got a crush on Brady?
From talk radio to bars, guys are not afraid to say, 'Dude, I love you, man'

By Rex W. Huppke
Tribune reporter
February 3, 2008

The standard Super Bowl recipe -- one part chili, 99 parts testosterone --has been spiced up this year with a pinch of "man crush."

The heterosexually acceptable term, aimed with increasing frequency atHollywood-handsome New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, has risenfrom awkward obscurity to become a comfortable part of everyday dudespeak.

It permits anyone, from male sports talk radio hosts to the chubby fellow atthe end of the bar, to openly admit their affection, or even infatuation,with another man and his manly life.

Take, for example, die-hard Chicago Bears fan Jeff Hughes, co-founder of aWeb site called Da' Bears Blog. On the blog, Hughes wrote about his mancrush a couple of years ago on retired Bears wide receiver Tom Waddle.

"To an entire generation of Bears fans, he's something of a folk hero, kindof like a Paul Bunyan," Hughes said wistfully. "I wonder if he knows it."

He might, but Waddle is presently preoccupied. On his ESPN 1000 morningradio show, the receiver, legendary for his on-field toughness, hasrepeatedly confessed to having a man crush on Brady.

Hughes said he understands, and isn't jealous.

The term "man crush" doesn't carry any sexual implication -- it's just oneman's acknowledgment that another man is attractive and leads an enviablelife. Take Brady -- rugged good looks, a supermodel girlfriend in GiseleBundchen, tons of money, can do no wrong. It echoes back to the days whenmen longed for the lady-draped lifestyles of Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin.

Of course men back then didn't call it a crush or devote much time toexamining the phenomenon. Which raises a question: Is admitting to a mancrush just smart-alecky, modern-day barroom banter, or does it reflect aloosening of the normally uptight American male's sexual mores?

Eli Coleman, director of the Program in Human Sexuality at the University ofMinnesota Medical School, said language often signals a shift in sexualattitudes. In this case, it could suggest another step away from homophobia.

"If this term is legitimizing that it's OK for a straight man to findanother man attractive in a non-sexual way, then I would hope it would besomething that would help break down barriers," he said. "I think it's veryhealthy. Our men have traditionally had difficulty emotionally connectingwith other men, and underneath that the difficulty has always been the fearof homosexuality."

When the good-looking "Broadway" Joe Namath was tossing the pigskin for theNew York Jets in Super Bowl III, it's unlikely many gents in Newark weretalking about their crush on the QB. But now, sky's the limit. Man crusheson George Clooney, Brett Favre and Brad Pitt abound.

"We have not in the past found men, even in an open kind of way,acknowledging how attractive another guy is," said Rick Garcia, politicaldirector of the gay rights group Equality Illinois. "Women could say, 'Ohlook at Sophia Loren, isn't she gorgeous?' But years ago you never heardguys say, 'Rock Hudson is so handsome, isn't he great looking?' People arejust much more comfortable with same-gender feelings."



Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Pasco County Florida


Group Supporting Gays, Lesbians And Transgenders Started

By Cheryl Bentley
Published: January 15, 2008

It is now out in the open. Steven Gabbard and Chuck Weidman can finallyacknowledge to family members they are gay.

They share an apartment with Weidman's mom, Glendajean Grieco, who isaccepting of their relationship.

But being gay has not always been so harmonious for the couple.

Gabbard did not "come out" until he was 25 and Weidman until he was 30.

Weidman's stepfather died without ever speaking to him again after Weidmansent him and Grieco a letter telling them of his sexual orientation. Thestepfather hid Weidman's letters to Grieco, who was OK with her son's beinggay, and would not give her his telephone messages.

more . . . . .


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Daily Queer News


When Coming Out Makes or Breaks a Family
Press Reports Say Cher, Bono Pitch Reality Show to Help Parents and GayChildren

Jan. 9, 2008 -

When the glamorous singer and actress Cher -- who had bedded Warren Beattyand other lotharios like Richie Sambora and Gene Simmons -- found out herteenage daughter was a lesbian, she "went ballistic."

Cher threw her daughter out of their New York City apartment and even senther to a psychiatrist to try to change her orientation, according to twomemoirs by Chastity Bono.

The actress -- who had several female trysts in the 1970s and held gay iconstatus with her over-the-top Bob Mackie costumes -- eventually accepted herdaughter's sexual identity.

Now, London's Daily Mail and the gay press are reporting that themother-daughter duo is pitching a reality show to help gays come out totheir parents.

Cher's agent, Liz Rosenberg, said the story is "not true," but the celebritypress is buzzing about the concept -- "Coming out With Cher and Chas."

more . . . .


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Daily Queer News


Austin gay groups create collaborative coalition

Austin Business Journal
Friday, January 25, 2008

Banding together for the first time under one umbrella, eight different gayand lesbian organizations in Austin have formed a unique alliance they hopewill galvanize the resources of the local LGBT community.

The Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce has organized the PrideCoalition, an effort designed to help the different membership groupscoordinate with one another to achieve mutual goals.

"We will no longer be limited or defeated by our own political infighting orallow ourselves to be self-sabotaged by not creating a culture of open andhonest communication," says Jimmy Flannigan, president of AGLCC.

In addition to the AGLCC, which promotes networking and support forgay-owned and gay-friendly businesses, other members of the coalitioninclude:

Allgo, which envisions a just and equitable society that celebrates andnurtures vibrant LGBT people of color.

more . . . . .


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Daily Queer News


Feminist leader sides with Obama over Clinton

by Mark Silva

In the tug of loyalties between Sen. Hillary Clinton's appeal to women andSen. Barack Obama's appeal to a vote for change, Kate Michelman, one of thestalwarts of the women's rights movement, has cast her support to Obama.

Michelman, former president of the National Abortion Rights Action League,had been backing former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, and then hewithdrew. Now Michelman explains, in a column published at The HuffingtonPost, why she will remain in the camps of Democrats attempting to denyClinton the Democratic Party's nomination.

"The question I have been asking myself and others during my entire life inpublic policy and throughout this 2008 presidential campaign -- the questionwhich tens of millions of women and men have also been asking -- is how dowe best bring America together in shared purpose, prosperity and,especially, equality,'' Michelman writes.

"Those of us who until last week worked for Sen. John Edwards to becomepresident were always fighting for something bigger than any of us andbigger than all of us. We were also part of a movement with the objective,John's objective, of lifting up all Americans.

"John Edwards is not going to be president, and so what we who were helpinghim must do is now elect the individual who has deep in his core John'sprinciples and vision for this country. And so today, with every passion andenthusiasm I have, I am endorsing Senator Barack Obama to be president ofthe United States,'' she writes.

more . . . . .


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Daily Queer News


Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline

By Booth Gunter and Jamie Kizzire, Southern Poverty Law Center
Posted on January 31, 2008, Printed on February 5, 2008

Darius was only nine when he was locked up. For two months, he languished ina juvenile facility -- alone, frightened. He missed his 10th birthday party.He missed Thanksgiving. He missed his stepfather's funeral.

His offense: He had threatened a teacher with a plastic utensil.

Unfortunately, Darius's early introduction to the juvenile justice system isnot that uncommon.

Across America, countless school children -- particularly impoverishedchildren of color -- are being pushed out of schools and into juvenilelockups for minor misconduct that in an earlier era would have warrantedcounseling or a trip to the principal's office rather than a courtappearance.

The problem is particularly acute in the Deep South, where one in fourAfrican-Americans lives in poverty.

more . . . . .


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Daily Queer News


Pro-gay bills advance in Virginia Legislature
Insurance, medical decision-making measures win early approval

Feb. 01, 2008

Despite one key setback, Virginia gay rights advocates celebrated a handfulof legislative victories last month.

The state Senate on Jan. 23 approved a bill that would allow localgovernments to offer health insurance benefits to same-sex couples. Itpassed 23-17.

Senate Bill 51, sponsored by Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D-Arlington), wouldallow any locality that self-funds an employee health insurance program toextend that coverage to a person agreed upon by the locality and thepolicyholder.

The House version of the bill, House Bill 1415, now waits for approval inthat chamber.

Last year, Whipple submitted an almost identical bill that was approved inthe Senate but failed in the House.

Whipple did not return calls seeking comment.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Gays and lesbians: Out of isolation

By Jonathan Starkey
Special to Newsday
10:23 AM EST, February 1, 2008

Arlene Zucker says she is one of the lucky ones.

Members of the congregation and her colleagues at the Bay Shore JewishCenter, where she is the part-time cantor, know she is a lesbian and aresupportive. Zucker, 57, of Babylon, is also open at her other job as thecontroller at Temple Sinai, a reform congregation in Roslyn Heights whereshe was ceremonially married on June 4, 2006.

And despite glares and whispers in public, Zucker, who expects equaltreatment, says she refuses to hide her affection for her partner to avoiduncomfortable situations. "I'm just an ordinary person who happens to love awoman," Zucker says. "My feeling is, get over it, this is who I am."

Zucker is one of the gay baby boomers in their 50s on Long Island unwillingto hide their sexual orientation to protect against prejudice.

Unfortunately, experts and advocates say, many gays, especially among thoseolder than Zucker, are not anywhere near as comfortable. These older gayslive with fear, isolation and feelings of inequality and discrimination.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Lawmaker wants to make Harvey Milk's birthday state holiday

Friday, February 1, 2008
(02-01) 16:21 PST San Francisco (AP) --

A California lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would make pioneeringgay politician Harvey Milk's birthday an official state holiday.

Milk was the nation's first openly gay man to hold a prominent politicaloffice when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in1977. He was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone by a fellowsupervisor a year later.

Assemblyman Mark Leno says that because the state is running a deficit hewon't ask the government to shut down on Milk's May 22 birthday the way itdoes to honor other dead leaders. Instead, Leno said Friday he hopes thedate would motivate people to learn about and celebrate his legacy.

A crew has been in San Francisco recently filming a biography of Milk's lifethat stars Sean Penn.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Founder of gay rights group OutFront Minnesota stepping down

Originally printed 01/31/2008
Between The Lines Newspaper
From issue number 1605

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The founder of Minnesota's largest gay rights group isstepping down after 21 years.

Ann DeGroot started what became OutFront Minnesota in 1987, and her tenureas executive director saw Minnesota amend its Human Rights Act in 1993 tocover gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.

From 2004 to 2006 she also fought a state constitutional amendment to bangay marriage. That effort, along with caring for her partner during a battlewith ovarian cancer, made the 52-year-old DeGroot realize she needed to slowdown.

Her last day at OutFront Minnesota will be Feb. 8.

"The last few years have been pretty intense," she said. "I felt like thisis the time when I know the work is going to continue. That made itpossible."

She said OutFront Minnesota will form a search committee to find a newexecutive director.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


First They Came for the Gays

by Bruce Bawer
January 29, 2008 12:30 AM

One day last month, I gave a talk in Rome about how the supposedly liberalideology of multiculturalism has made possible the spread in Europe of thehighly illiberal ideology of fundamentalist Islam, with all its brutalityand - among other things - violent homophobia. When I returned to my hotel,I phoned my partner back home in Oslo only to learn that moments earlier hehad been confronted at a bus stop by two Muslim youths, one of whom hadasked if he was gay, started to pull out a knife, then kicked him as he goton the bus, which had pulled up at just the right moment. If the bus hadn'tcome when it did, the encounter could have been much worse.

Not very long ago, Oslo was an icy Shangri-la of Scandinavianself-discipline, governability, and respect for the law. But in recentyears, there have been grim changes, including a rise in gay-bashings. Thesummer of 2006 saw an unprecedented wave of them. The culprits, verydisproportionately, are young Muslim men.

It's not just Oslo, of course. The problem afflicts most of Western Europe.And anecdotal evidence suggests that such crimes are dramaticallyunderreported. My own partner chose not to report his assault. I urged himto, but he protested that it wouldn't make any difference. He was probablyright.

The reason for the rise in gay bashings in Europe is clear - and it's thesame reason for the rise in rape. As the number of Muslims in Europe grows,and as the proportion of those Muslims who were born and bred in Europe alsogrows, many Muslim men are more inclined to see Europe as a part of the umma(or Muslim world), to believe that they have the right and duty to enforcesharia law in the cities where they live, and to recognize that anyaggression on their part will likely go unpunished. Such men need not beactively religious in order to feel that they have carte blanche to assaultopenly gay men and non-submissive women, whose freedom to live their livesas they wish is among the most conspicuous symbols of the West's defiance ofholy law.

Multiculturalists can't face all this. So it is that even when there arebrutal gay-bashings, few journalists write about them; of those who do, fewmention that the perpetrators are Muslims; and those who do mention it takethe line that these perpetrators are lashing out in desperate response totheir own oppression.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


The matter of civil unions

January 27, 2008

The Maryland General Assembly will soon consider legislation to remove thestate's ban on same-sex marriage. We wholeheartedly support the effort.

Numerous are the rewards - to the individuals involved and society as awhole - that spring from this vital social institution. The broad range ofbenefits (and obligations) that come with marriage should not be deniedcertain people because of sexual preference.

But it would be foolish not to recognize that the proposal has little chanceof passage this year. Too many lawmakers, particularly in the state Senate,actively oppose it.

Public opinion is also running strongly against it. A recent Sun poll foundthat only about one out of five Maryland voters supports same-sex marriage.Currently, only Massachusetts permits same-sex marriage, and a sizablenumber of states ban all legal recognition for same-sex relationships.

That's why we believe the time may be right for Maryland to authorize civilunions for same-sex couples. Admittedly, it is not the same thing asmarriage. It would require creation of a separate legal structure - perhapseven an unwieldy one - that is unlikely to offer all the benefits ofmarriage.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Obama Offers Presidential Leadership Among the Ruins

By Gary Hart, AlterNet
Posted on February 4, 2008, Printed on February 5, 2008

It is one thing to seek leadership of a nation at rest and at peace. It isquite another to seek the confidence of the people in a mass democracy of300 million at war, in debt, and uncertain of its future.

There are many reasons why the Barack Obama candidacy has achieved suchstartling success against great odds. A forming majority of progressiveDemocrats, disgruntled independents, and disaffected Republicans is comingto understand that Senator Obama approaches the immense challenge ofgoverning America from a different point of view.

Finally, we are approaching the close of an era characterized by thearrogance of power, a bizarre theory called the "unitary executive," anddisdain for a Constitutional system of checks and balances. Great damage hasbeen done to our carefully constructed system of government. The principaltask of our next president will be to restore order to the House ofWashington, Adams, Madison, and Jefferson.

Equally important will be the need to restore accountability to the WhiteHouse. Senator Obama makes it abundantly clear not only that he honors andrespects the Constitution of the United States -- he was, after all, aConstitutional law professor -- but that he also is pledged to hold himselfaccountable to the people of this nation.

These commitments alone qualify him for the ultimate leadership position.But he goes beyond these core commitments. He sees over the horizon."Leadership" is usually discussed in the abstract. But leadership iscomposed of three elements: a sense of strategy; the ability to inspireconfidence; and seeing farther ahead than others -- trivialized by Bush I as"the vision thing."

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


So goes Florida's anti-gays, so goes queer liberty

Are you a fan of equality? Do you think the anti-gay sentiment that has beencultivated by the Bush administration is symbolic of all that is wrong withthat flawed presidency? Does it make you sad to see any of our nation'sstates voluntarily installing a hurdle which their good name and reputationfor treating all of their citizens fairly will have to someday overcome? Andpersecution of a minority sect at the hands of religious extremism -- isthat a concept that makes you weep?

Well we've got bad news, all you fans of those radical concepts known aspeace and harmony. Those folks in Florida who have been working to have apotential gay marriage ban placed on the November ballot have succeeded inobtaining the petition signatures they needed to bring the anti-gay ballotquestion to Sunshine State voters:

Florida to vote on gay-marriage ban in November [Sun-Sentinel]This means that come November, when the nation goes to the polls tohopefully work toward healing the wounds that have been caused by 7+ yearsof right-wing executive rule, the crucial state of Florida will have acertain ballot question that will certainly bring out millions of would-beAnita Bryants. So not only is there now the obvious fear that grown adultsare going to make the childish choice to write discrimination into theirstate's most precious governing document, but there is also the possibilitythat the far-right rally cry will bring out, en masse, the sort of SunshineState voter whose vision of "change" would lead to a gay man living in assex-less marriage with a female. It's scary stuff.

But let's not think about that dire possibility for now. For now let'sremain hopeful that from Pensacola to Coral Gables, locals residents haveconnected the dots of bias to see how flawed and dangerous these sorts ofmarriage amendments truly are.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Pentecostal Preacher Pledges Holy War Against GOP Senator

By Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report
Posted on January 29, 2008, Printed on February 5, 2008

It hasn't generated a lot of headlines, but in the world of religion andpolitics, it's a pretty big deal. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the rankingRepublican on the Senate Finance Committee, recently asked six high-profile,hyper-wealthy Pentecostal televangelists for their financial records, underthe suspicion that they're using their ministries for personal gain.(Imagine that.)

Not surprisingly, most of the televangelists' ministries have been loath tocooperate with the inquiry. One in particular is pledging a holy war.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has gone after more than a few iconicnonprofits during his tenure atop the Finance Committee, including the RedCross, Smithsonian and Harvard University.

But now the Finance ranking member and former chairman may have met hismatch: televangelist Kenneth Copeland of the sprawling Kenneth CopelandMinistries based in Newark, Texas.

In a Jan. 22 closed-circuit broadcast of his 2008 Ministers' Conferenceobtained by Roll Call, Copeland pledges a holy war against "BrotherGrassley" and the Senate for attempting to get a look at the controversialministry's finances. Grassley wrote a Nov. 6 letter to Copeland and fiveother prominent ministers requesting a variety of financial information.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Speaker sees success for anti-abortion movement

By Kara Rhodes

Janet L. Folger said the anti-abortion movement is closer to success thanmost think.

"We're one election, one Supreme Court judge away," Folger said in aninterview before her keynote address to a group of about 500 anti-abortionactivists gathered at the Avalon Hotel for a prayer breakfast Saturday."We're closer to winning than anyone realizes."

Folger, the founder and president of Faith2Action, is a nationalanti-abortion spokeswoman, hosting a daily radio show and authoring severalbooks, including "True to Life."

She's been involved in some high-profile, controversial moves by theconservative movement, including coming up with the idea for full-pagenewspaper ads in 1998 that showed "former homosexuals" who "overcame" theirsexual orientation through prayer and the help of Christian ex-gayministries.

Folger talked of the presidential campaign during her address Saturday,saying that Republican candidate Mike Huckabee is the only candidate whosupports both the conservative movement's human life amendment and amarriage protection amendment.

The human life amendment would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Courtruling that legalized abortion, and the marriage protection amendmentdefines marriage as a union of a man and woman.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Former gay priest finds new life in hospice care

Lawn Griffiths, Tribune
February 2, 2008 - 8:49AM

As a gay priest, Leonard Walker could no longer endure the Roman CatholicChurch's growing hostility to homosexuality. But he wanted to leave quietly,"without notice and certainly without scandal."

In his final year at Queen of Peace Parish in Mesa, Walker commonly told hisbrother priests and friends, "I literally felt like a Jew wearing a Naziuniform."

Walker left the parish in November 2005, after 31 years as a priest. Heobjected strongly to a new Vatican policy to vigorously screen out gay menfrom getting into Catholic seminaries.

But his leaving was anything but quiet. His action generated wide newscoverage, even in the international media.

Now living in Kingman where he shares a home with a partner, the 59-year-oldWalker recently reflected on his departure from the church and his life now.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Gay man restored to ministry in test of new Presbyterian rules

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Minnesota Presbyterians have voted to restore the ordination of an openlygay man who has refused to pledge celibacy, the latest test of revampedpastoral guidelines in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Paul Capetz, a seminary professor, asked to be removed from ministry in 2000after the PCUSA voted to require that ministers be married to a member ofthe opposite sex or remain celibate.

But changes made in 2006 to the Presbyterians' Book of Order allowcandidates for ordination to declare a conscientious objection to churchrules.

Local presbyteries, or governing bodies, then must decide whether theobjection "constitutes a failure to adhere to the essentials of Reformedfaith and polity." On Jan. 26, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities voted thatCapetz' objection, or "scruple," did not violate the "essentials" andrestored his ordination as a minister of word and sacrament.

Earlier this month, the Presbytery of San Francisco became the first to testthe "scruple" policy when it voted to allow Lisa Larges, a lesbian, tocontinue on her path to ministry.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Between The Lines Newspaper
From issue number 1603

LGBT mental health forum 'Lights the Way'

by Shaun Hittle
Originally printed 01/17/2008

KALAMAZOO - There was no shortage of inspirational and heartbreakinganecdotes at a recent LGBT mental health panel at the Wesley Foundation inKalamazoo - but one story stood out.

Vincent Rager, a Western Michigan University student and LGBT suicideprevention advocate, recounted his painful experience of having an exorcismperformed on him by members of his church. The exorcism was an attempt to"cure" Rager from his homosexuality after he first came out as gay in highschool. Rager went on to discuss his suicide attempts, depression andfrequent inability to deal with life's problems, all due in large part tothe lack of available support for LGBT youth.

Rager's story was one of several told at the event, titled Project Light,that was organized by LGBT advocate Adam Taylor in response to the Octobersuicide of Holland transgendered youth Ian Benson. Taylor said he organizedthe event with the theme of "lighting the way" for LGBT youth who "don'tknow where to go" for help dealing with mental health issues. "Where arekids supposed to go when they don't have support?" Taylor asked.

The panel of speakers that Taylor and others organized shined some light onthe positive benefits of a supporting environment for LGBT youth.

Mike Neubecker, Vice President of the national Parents, Families and Friendsof Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), highlighted some of the programs PFLAG now hasin place to assist families when supporting a loved one dealing with LGBTissues. Neubecker became an advocate after learning that his own son wasgay, coming full circle in his own acceptance of the issue.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


HIV/AIDS Advocacy Groups, Scientists React To Swiss Claim AboutAntiretrovirals, HIV Transmission

01 Feb 2008

Some HIV/AIDS advocacy groups and scientists on Wednesday reacted withconcern to a claim by a Swiss state commission that HIV-positive peopletaking antiretroviral drugs cannot transmit the virus during sex if they areadhering to their treatment regimens and have suppressed HIV viral loads forat least six months, AFP/Yahoo! News reports.

The Swiss AIDS Commission on Wednesday in a report based on four studiessaid that couples with one HIV-positive partner do not need to use condomsto prevent HIV transmission provided the above conditions are met and theHIV-positive partner does not have any other sexually transmittedinfections. One of the studies -- published in the Swiss Bulletin ofMedicine -- was conducted in Spain between 1990 and 2003 among 393heterosexual couples with an HIV-positive person. The study found that noneof the HIV-negative partners contracted the virus from an HIV-positiveperson taking antiretrovirals. Another study conducted in Brazil found thatout of 93 couples, 43 with an HIV-positive partner, six people becameHIV-positive. All six of the new HIV cases in the Brazil study wereattributed to the HIV-positive partners not following their treatmentregimens, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. The two other studies -- one conducted inUganda and the other conducted among pregnant women -- had similar results,Bernard Hirschel, co-author of the Swiss report and an HIV/AIDS specialistat University Hospital in Geneva, said.

more . . . . .


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Daily Queer News


Scientists Study How HIV Hides in Body

AP Medical Writer

The AIDS virus has hideouts deep in the immune system that today's drugscan't reach. Now scientists finally have discovered how HIV builds one ofthose fortresses _ and they're exploring whether a drug already used tofight a parasite in developing countries just might hold a key to break in.

Researchers have long struggled unsuccessfully to attack what they callreservoirs of dormant HIV, and the new work is in very early stages.

But University of Rochester scientists say it may be fairly straightforwardto attack one of these reservoirs, blood cells called macrophages that HIVhijacks and turns into viral hideaways.

The new discovery shows the exact steps that HIV takes to do that _ andfound that some existing drugs, including a long-used treatment forleishmaniasis called miltefosine, can block the main step and thus causethese cells to self-destruct.

"It's a very smart virus," said lead researcher Dr. Baek Kim. "They have tohave a very good fence to protect their house for a long time. ... Get ridof the fence, and now their house is gone."

more . . . . .


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Daily Queer News


Nature vs. Nurture: Research & Ideology Clash in Search for Roots ofHomosexuality

by Cody Lyon
EDGE Contributor
Tuesday Feb 5, 2008

Over the years, there have been countless theories and studies seeking tofind some sort of biological or genetic factor that might play a role indetermining sexual orientation. Debate over the validity of such studies andhow they might impact the gay community in its quest for acceptance andgreater equality has gone on for nearly just as long.

Some proponents of this sort of research hope the results reveal ascientifically conclusive genetic component in homosexuality whereby thehope is that social conservatives and other groups, especially those whocall sexual orientation a "choice" might temper or silence some of theircriticisms.

Dr. Alan Sanders is one of the researchers working on this cutting-edge--andhighly controversial--issue. Sanders is looking for gay brothers--the bloodkind, not the "girlfriend" kind.

"We've been aiming to get about a thousand pairs of gay brothers," said Dr.Alan Sanders, the lead researcher of an ongoing study at EvanstonNorthwestern Healthcare Research Institute near Chicago. So far, they'verecruited about 700 pairs. Parents as well as heterosexual brothers, withthe exception of identical twins, are also being recruited for the study,which expects to release findings at the end of this year.

"We're trying to use genetics as a tool to better understand the developmentof sexual orientation," said Sanders noting that he and his team ofresearchers are just as interested in how genetics contribute to someonebeing straight as well as being gay.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Memorial to gay Beatles manager gains support

1st February 2008 15:35
PinkNews.co.uk staff writer

LGBT activists in Liverpool have begun a campaign to honour one of thecity's most prominent gay residents.

Brian Epstein was one of the most influential figures in the 'Mersey Beat'movement in the early 1960s.

As well as managing The Beatles until his death in 1967, he launched thecareers of Cilla Black and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Gary Everett, artistic director of Liverpool's annual LGBT arts festivalHomotopia, told the Liverpool Echo:

"The time is right for Epstein's vast legacy, to the city and to the world,to be remembered.

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The full report may be found at:



. Approximately 4,477 of Oregon's same-sex couples would enter domesticpartnerships in the short term.
. State expenditures on means-tested public benefits programs will fall atleast $100,000 and as much as $1.2 million annually.
. State income tax revenues will rise approximately $765,000 when same-sexcouples file jointly.
. Any impact on inheritance tax revenue will be negligible, approximately$91,140 annually.
. Administrative cost increases will be less than fees generated.
. No increases in court system expenditures are likely to result fromsame-sex domestic partnerships.
. The impact on the cost of State employee retirement benefits will be negligible, approximately $20,000 per year.
. In total, same-sex domestic partnerships will have a positive impact onOregon's biennial budget of $1.5 million to $3.7 million.

The full report may be found at:

. In 2000, there were 8,932 same-sex couples living in Oregon. By 2005, thenumber of same-sex couples increased to 10,899.
. There are an estimated 121,645 gay, lesbian, and bisexual people (singleand coupled) currently living in Oregon.
. Same-sex couples live in every county in Oregon and constitute 1.1% ofcoupled households and 0.7% of all households in the state. Multnomah Countyreported the most same-sex couples with 3,263 couples (1.20% of allhouseholds in the county), followed by Lane County with 957 couples (0.73%),and Washington County with 943 couples (0.56%). The counties with thehighest percentage of same-sex couples are Multnomah County (1.20% of allcounty households), Lane County (0.73%), Lincoln County (0.70%), and JacksonCounty (0.65%).
. Oregon's same-sex couples are as racially and ethnically diverse as theirmarried counterparts: 10% of same-sex couples are nonwhite, compared to 11%of married couples.
. Despite the military's historic policies of excluding gay men and lesbiansfrom service, individuals in same-sex couples have served in the military:
9% of individuals in same-sex couples are veterans, compared to 19% ofmarried individuals.

. Same-sex parents in Oregon have similar financial resources to supporttheir children to married parents. The median household income of same-sexcouples with children is $60,000, compared to $56,900 for married parents.
The average household income of same-sex couples with children is $66,350,compared to $69,100 for married parents.
. While 56% of same-sex couples with children own their home, asignificantly larger percentage of married parents (73%) own their home.

. Individuals in same-sex couples in Oregon are significantly more likely tobe employed than are married individuals: 80% of individuals in same-sexcouples are employed, compared to 65% of married individuals.
. Contrary to a popular stereotype, the annual earnings of men in same-sexcouples are significantly lower than those of married men. On average, menin same-sex couples in Oregon earn $36,756 each year, significantly lessthan $45,317 for married men. The median income of men in same-sex couplesin Oregon is $33,000, or 8% less than that of married men ($36,000).
. Women in same-sex couples in Oregon earn an average of $30,672 per year(with a median of $30,000), more than married women, whose earnings average$23,908 (with a median of $20,000). Women in same-sex couples earn less thanmarried men as well as men in same-sex couples.


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:
The Indiana Senate has demonstrated that it will spend its limited timeduring this short session on those matters most important to -- whom,exactly? At a time when public passions are at a boiling point over ourdysfunctional tax system, when citizens are demanding that we streamlineIndiana's wasteful, overlapping government structures, the Senate hasdecided to take decisive action to ban same-sex marriage. By this point, thearguments against Senate Joint Resolution 7 are well-known. It "solves" aproblem that doesn't exist, by denying gay couples access to legal rightsthat heterosexual citizens enjoy. Those include the right to be appointed asa guardian of an ailing or injured partner, the right to take family leave,and the right to half of the partnership's accumulated property if therelationship dissolves. Same-sex partners pay more taxes because they aren'tentitled to spousal gift and estate tax exemptions and deductions. Theycan't seek damages for a partner's wrongful death. There are other rightsenjoyed by heterosexuals married two days but denied to gays who have beenpartners for 30 years.
Seeing Mayor Gavin Newsom on the national stage with former president BillClinton on Monday night is a reminder of how political winds can change. Onthe eve of the biggest night of the presidential primaries, Newsom sharedthe spotlight during a town hall meeting staged and broadcast on cable TVand satellite radio by the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign. But just fouryears ago, current Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is said tohave declined to have his picture taken in San Francisco with Newsom, whowas then at the center of a national uproar over his decision to allowsame-sex marriage in San Francisco. "I gave a fundraiser, at his (Obama's)request at the Waterfront restaurant," said former San Francisco MayorWillie Brown. "And he said to me, he would really appreciate it if he didn'tget his photo taken with my mayor. He said he would really not like to havehis picture taken with Gavin." Today, of course, Obama's people arebackpedaling away from that account like crazy. His deputy campaigndirector, Steve Hildebrand, who lives with his partner as an openly gay man,calls it "a ridiculous story."
Minnesota: When state lawmakers open the new session next week a new groupwill try to rekindle the debate over whether same-sex couples should havethe same rights as men and women who are married. Project 515 focuses on 515state laws that it says discriminate against same-sex couples and families.Some affect couples in their professional lives, others in times of tragedy.When Tim Reardon looks back on his life, he thinks of the best of times andthe worst of times he and his partner, Eric, experienced together. "That'swhy I'm telling this story. It's hard to tell the story. I have to relivethe pain of what we went through," said Reardon. Reardon and Eric fell inlove and expressed their devotion to each other six years ago at acommitment ceremony. Through a surrogate mother, they brought Tess into theworld. Life could not have been better until the dreaded day when Eric foundout he had a brain tumor. That was just the start of even more battles forthe couple. "We did a power of attorney. We had a will drawn up. We had ahealth care directive. We had a partnership agreement. We did everythinglegally we could, and in the end, it wasn't enough," said Reardon. He talksof the medical examiner's office not recognizing their relationship, and thecremation society not considering Reardon next of kin with the right to makedecisions about Eric's remains.Same-sex couples in Oregon lined up toregister as domestic partners after a federal judge lifted an ordertemporarily blocking legislation authorizing it.People in line at theMultnomah County Building Monday cheered as newly registered couples emergedwaiving their new certificates. Many had been together more than 20 years.




Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
Super Tuesday Polling Lasts A Week For Americans Overseas
(Jakarta) Americans living overseas started lining up in hotels and coffeeshops Tuesday to vote for Democratic candidates in the 2008 U.S.presidential elections, while others - for the first time ever - castballots online.
Biggest-Ever Primary Day Poses Hurdles
(Washington) Long lines, a shortage of poll workers and unprecedentednumbers of mail-in ballots could delay vote counts in the biggest-ever SuperTuesday in American politics - a day in which nearly half the nation willcast ballots.
DNC Urged To End Fight Over Delegates
(Tallahassee, Florida) The woman who oversaw the documentation of voter disenfranchisement during the disputed 2000 presidential election has askedthe Democratic Party to settle a fight with Florida and Michigan to avoiddamage to the party.
Anglican Anti-Gay Showdown Turns Violent In Zimbabwe
(Harare) Two churchgoers were assaulted when thugs aligned to a dissidentbishop attempted to prevent his successor from being installed in Zimbabwe'sAnglican cathedral.
Judge Slashes Damages Phleps Clan Must Pay
(Baltimore, Maryland) A federal judge on Monday upheld a jury verdict thatfound the Rev. Fred Phelps and his two daughters had invaded privacy withintent to inflict emotional distress on the father of a Marine whose funeralPhelp's Westoboro Church had picketed.
California Could Be First State With Gay Holiday
(San Francisco, California) California could be the first state in thenation to have a holiday commemorating an openly gay person.
Parents To Ask Supreme Court To Take Gay Book Case
(Boston, Massachusetts) Two sets of parents whose lawsuit over the use of agay-themed book by a Lexington, Mass. public school was dismissed by afederal appeals court say they will take the case to the US Supreme Court.
Fight Looms Over Global AIDS Program
(Washington) A five-year, $15 billion effort to combat AIDS in Africa andother areas - arguably the most important and popular international programof the Bush presidency - may become a political battleground as it comes upfor renewal.


National Gay News


Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
National Politics a Focus at Equality Forum 2008
Two Governors, Three Congressmen and Other Elected Officials Participate -The federal elections and political issues will be a focus at Equality Forum2008, April 28 to May 4 in Philadelphia. The annual Equality Forum is thelargest annual national and international GLBT civil rights forum.
Congregation Etz Chaim Honors Fischer, Friedlander and Jewish Federation
Congregation Etz Chaim, located in Wilton Manors, will honor Rita Fischer,Larry Friedlander and the Jewish Federation of Broward County at its 34thAnniversary Gala Dinner/Dance, to be held Saturday, April 5, in the NewRiver Room of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.
Festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a reception on the veranda followedby a sumptuous dinner and dancing.
Arrests for Senegal 'Gay Wedding'
Police in Senegal have arrested several men following the publication ofpictures claiming to depict a wedding ceremony between two men. The pictureswere published in Icone magazine, whose editor, Mansour Dieng, has sincereceived death threats.
Keyes to Romney: Gay Marriage Your Fault
Republican presidential aspirant Alan Keyes says he holds fellow candidateMitt Romney responsible for passing the Massachusetts same-sex marriage lawin 2004. In a Thursday posting on his website, Keyes, who openly expresseshis antigay opinions, argued that despite common belief that theMassachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court ordered the existing marriage laws tobe changed immediately, "the court merely issued an opinion stating that, inits view, the existing marriage law was unconstitutional because it failedto allow persons of the same sex to marry.
Ohio Health Department to Study Tobacco Habits of Gay Teens
Ohio health officials will use a federal grant aimed at preventing tobaccouse among minorities to study why gay and lesbian teenagers smoke at ahigher rate than their straight peers.Health officials are allocating$60,000 to identify the smoking habits of those teens and develop atobacco-prevention campaign for them.
Gay Rights Documentary Runs at Hipp
The theater seats squeaked and whispers floated through the air as anaudience composed of community members settled in at the Hippodrome StateTheatre on Saturday afternoon to watch the documentary, "For the Bible TellsMe So." Continue to 2nd paragraph The documentary, directed by DanielKarslake, has been shown several times this week at the Hippodrome and washeld over for two showings Saturday, each followed by discussions.


Express Gay News


Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
Couples exchange rings at Ore. domestic partnership registry
Ore. is ninth state to approve spousal rights
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) | Feb 4, 3:39 PM
D.C. chief calls police graffiti 'malicious act of hate'
Writing centered on an officer's sexual orientation
By LOU CHIBBARO JR. | Feb 4, 1:01 PM
Court: Gay couple's marriage legal in N.Y.
Canadian couple gets N.Y. recognition
ROCHESTER (AP) | Feb 4, 9:57 AM
Judge upholds gay rights law
Activists predict a flurry of couples to register as domestic partners
PORTLAND (AP) | Feb 4, 9:52 AM


Washington Post


Attorney General Reverses Curbs On Gay Group at Justice Department

By Darryl Fears
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 5, 2008; A17

Five years after a gay advocacy group was told that it could no longer usethe e-mail, bulletin boards and meeting rooms at the Justice Department,Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey has reversed that decision and issued arevised equal-employment-opportunity policy barring discrimination againstany group.

Mukasey informed leaders of DOJ Pride last week that the department wouldgive it the same rights as all other DOJ employee organizations, said thegroup's president, Chris Hook. In a statement, Mukasey said the departmentwill "foster an environment in which diversity is valued, understood andsought" and maintain "an environment that's free of discrimination."

DOJ Pride and its 110 members had been barred from holding an annual Gay andLesbian Pride Month celebration since 2003, when then-Attorney General JohnD. Ashcroft told the group that the Bush administration observed anunwritten policy of not sponsoring events without a presidentialproclamation, Hook said. The group also was told it could not post noticesof general meetings and events on department bulletin boards, he said.

The policy continued under Ashcroft's successor, Alberto R. Gonzales, Hooksaid.

"I do not know of any other employee-recognized groups that were deniedaccess under these same conditions," Hook said. As a result of "what somewould term a hostile environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenderemployees, the membership rolls have suffered."

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Express Gay News


Major news coverage of Westboro Baptist

Posted by Rebecca Armendariz, Online Editor
Feb. 4 at 4:17 PM

'Anti-gay church says God hates Reno,' and 'Group protests memorial of Md.family killed in Ohio' are two headlines used by the Associated Press in themonth of January. When the hate-filled Westboro Baptist Church decided topicket Heath Ledger's memorial because of his role in 'Brokeback Mountain'and their belief that Hollywood enables gay people, FOX, MSNBC and ABCpicked up the story.

Those of us in the queer community know all-too-well of the antics of FredPhelps, Shirley Phelps-Roper and their army of lunatic offspring. Wheneverthey decide to protest a soldier's funeral and use the twisted logic thatwe're at war because God is punishing the country because of the gays, Iignore it.

But when the mainstream media covers these clowns, they get attention. Theattention they get fuels them, and, since they're deluded, they thinkthey're spreading their message to America. So please, news outlets, stop! Iknow, they're an interesting bunch considering they're nuts and they devotetheir entire lives to protesting funerals and hating gays, but really,they're not making any sort of impact on policy. They're just upsettingmourning families. Putting that in the paper just makes everything worse.


New York Times


Editorial: A Victory for Same-Sex Marriage

February 5, 2008

In a decision at once common-sensical and profound, a New York State appealscourt ruled Friday that same-sex marriages validly performed in otherjurisdictions are entitled to recognition in New York. It was common sensebecause it simply accorded same-sex marriages the same legal status as othermarriages. It was profound because of the way it could transform the livesof gay people.

The plaintiff in the case, Patricia Martinez, a word-processing supervisorat an upstate college, married her longtime partner, Lisa Ann Golden, inCanada in 2004. When Ms. Martinez applied for health care benefits for herspouse, the college denied the application on the grounds that New York didnot recognize the marriage.

The court, by a 5-0 vote, declared that the college was wrong. Employers inthe state must accord same-sex couples the same rights as other couples. Toreach that result, it simply applied New York's "marriage recognition rule."Under this century-old common-law rule, marriages validly contracted out ofstate must be accorded respect in New York, and parties to such unionstreated as spouses, regardless of whether the marriage would be allowed inNew York.

The rule applies unless the Legislature explicitly prohibits recognition orrecognition would be abhorrent to public policy. Unlike many states, NewYork has not passed a law denying recognition to same-sex marriagesperformed elsewhere. The court rightly decided that recognizing same-sexmarriages would not be "abhorrent."

The ruling is particularly welcome because it follows a regrettable decisiontwo years ago by New York's highest court. That decision said thatprohibiting same-sex marriages from being performed in New York does notviolate the State Constitution. Honoring same-sex marriages validlyperformed out of state is a wholly separate legal issue, a point that NewYork's attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, usefully underscored in afriend-of-court brief.

The new decision still leaves considerable work to be done. New York's banon performing same-sex marriage remains in force. And there is a chance thatthe marriage-recognition decision will now be appealed.

Still, the ruling marks important progress toward changing laws andattitudes that deprive gay people of equal rights and deny the dignity ofNew York's many gay families. They should be able to live, marry and raisechildren with the same respect and the same rights as anyone else.


New York Times


Barack Obama: In His Own Words

February 5, 2008

At the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J.:

" I have always been convinced that change in America does not happen fromthe top down. Change happens from the bottom up. So I believed that if wecould get the voices of the American people to join together, people fromall walks of life: black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay,straight, North, South, East, West, rich, poor, young and old, we couldgather our voices to challenge the special interests that have come todominate Washington. But also challenge ourselves to be better. There was noproblem we could not solve, there was no destiny we could not fulfill.

And I am here to report to you, New Jersey, that after a year ofcrisscrossing the country, after engaging in a conversation with theAmerican people, my bet has paid off and my faith has been vindicatedbecause the American people, they are ready to rise and create a newAmerica. They are ready to turn the page and write a new chapter in theAmerican story. I know this because I've been in a conversation with theAmerican people and they are desperate for change, because the stories theytell me are all too often stories of hardship and stories of struggle."


The Advocate


Time to Pull the Lever

February 05, 2008

Buoyed by cheering crowds and bolstered by more than $1.3 million a day inTV ads, Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton raced through thefinal hours of an unpredictable Super Tuesday campaign across 22 states. TheRepublican race turned negative on the eve of the busiest day in primaryhistory.

''We're going to hand the liberals in our party a little surprise,'' boastedMitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, criticizing John McCain forhis positions on tax cuts, gay marriage, and immigration and predicting anupset win in delegate-rich California.

McCain struck back a few hours later Monday with a television ad that showedRomney in a 1994 debate against Democratic senator Edward M. Kennedy, sayinghe was ''an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I'm not trying toreturn to Reagan-Bush.''

Outwardly, McCain projected confidence, not only about wrapping up thenomination but about November's general election as well. ''I can lead thisnation and motivate all Americans to serve a cause greater than theirself-interest,'' he said while campaigning at a fire station in New Jersey.

Unwilling to leave anything to chance, both men hastily rearranged theirschedules to make one more late stop in California, the largest state, with170 delegates.

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Candidates on the Issues

Associated Press Writer
1:54 PM EST, February 4, 2008


The stands of these 2008 presidential candidates on a selection of issues:New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama,Democrats; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Arizona Sen. John McCain andformer Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Republicans.

ABORTION: Favor abortion rights?

Clinton: Yes.

Obama: Yes.

Huckabee: No. Favors constitutional amendment banning abortion rights.

McCain: No. Says Roe v. Wade should be overturned.

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