Monday, April 21, 2008

GLBT DIGEST April 19, 2008

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New York Times
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-Gay Men Breaking Ground at a Jewish Seminary
Aaron Weininger stood in the ballroom of a Florida hotel last April, acollege senior given the compliment of leading the Passover Seder for anaudience of university administrators. He reached the sentence in theHagaddah that implores each generation to feel that it was the one liberatedfrom Egypt. There were few passages in the liturgy he had known better orlonger. In this particular moment, though, the words rippled with newmeaning. One week earlier, the leading seminary of Conservative Judaism haddropped its longstanding ban on admitting, teaching or ordaining openly gaystudents to be rabbis. Ten days later, Mr. Weininger had his interview atJewish Theological Seminary, seeking to be the first person to break thosebarriers.

-Rangers Answer Concerns of Gays
Representatives from Madison Square Garden and the Rangers met Wednesdaywith gay advocacy groups and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn toaddress concerns about anti-gay slurs that are regularly shouted at Rangersgames. "The Rangers and MSG/Cablevision agreed to implement a specificaction plan based on the recommendations we made at the meeting," said KevinJennings, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight EducationNetwork. "We are very excited about their willingness to engage in dialogue,take actions and become an active participant in creating a less hostileatmosphere at Madison Square Garden." The meeting came one month after aNew York Times article detailed gay hockey fans' frustration with what theydescribed as a homophobic atmosphere at Rangers games, as well as anunwillingness of team officials to address the problem. Jennings, who is aregular at Rangers games, said the atmosphere became so uncomfortable thathe stopped attending, and others complained that they were once booed whenthe name of their group, the New York Gay Hockey Association, was shown onthe monitors above the ice.

Washington Post
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-A Less Cruel Punishment
A Supreme Court ruling shouldn't end the debate on the methods or morals oflethal injection.
THE SUPREME Court has spoken: The current method of injection to executeinmates does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. But thisdeclaration, delivered in a splintered, 97-page opinion Wednesday, shouldnot end the public debate about capital punishment -- nor about whetherstates, as long as executions continue, should consider alternatives thatmay be more humane and reliable and less likely to impose unnecessary pain.

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-Lance Bass doesn't want others to stay silent as he did.
So he's made a public service announcement for the Gay, Lesbian & StraightEducation Network (GLSEN). The spot, which is being distributed virallyFriday, debuts in advance of the 11th annual National Day of Silence onApril 25, when students take a vow of silence to protest bullying,harassment and discrimination in schools. "I think it's time for me to standup ... and help educate, because I'm lucky enough to have been given a voiceto be able to talk and grab the attention of people," said the 28-year-oldsinger, who's gay.,0,3334592.story

-Slain West Palm Beach man was leader among gay community
By the time police announced Friday that the slain man found in a West PalmBeach home was, indeed, interior designer Scott Graham, his many friends andfamily already knew. But the gay community is now left to contemplate thedeath of three community leaders and contributors in just over a month. "Alot of people were impacted by the deaths of these three men," said TonyPlakas, former executive director of Compass Inc., the county's gaycommunity center. "We are talking about people who were the basic buildingblocks of establishing a tolerant community that people wanted to live in."
Graham, who ran his successful interior design firm with clients around thecountry, helped launch the Palm Beach Human Rights Council in 1988, bringinghis professional success and business expertise to the table for a communitytrying to gain footing in South Florida, said longtime friend and a founderof the council, Rand Hoch. Graham was a strong supporter of gay causes whomfriends described as warm and engaging and who led more by example thanactivism.,0,5078773.story

Express Gay News
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-Newark triple murder involved sexual assault, 'penetration'
One of four college students shot execution style in a Newark, N.J.,schoolyard in August 2007, the day before they planned to attend a Gay Pridefestival in New York, was sexually assaulted during the incident, accordingto new charges filed today against a defendant in the case.

-Lawmaker uses short people to question gay-bias bill
The debate on the Senate floor over a bill that would expand the prohibitionof sexual orientation-based discrimination became personal and emotionalthis morning after a senator offered a rhetorical amendment to bandiscrimination against short people. Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, withdrew thestunt amendment after arguing that there is no need for the bill because hehas not seen evidence that gays and lesbians are discriminated against whenseeking a job or a home. "What I'm talking about is economicdiscrimination, political discrimination, employment discrimination," Brophysaid. "I find no pattern of any of those." Brophy's comments outragedDemocrats, who took turns at the lectern denouncing his argument with angryand sometimes shaking voices.

-UMC must cease 'spiritual violence' against gay people
Many voices from across The United Methodist Church are suggesting there isno way forward in the 36-year-long dialogue about the role and status oflesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the church.
Declaring an impasse, these voices call for an end to this dialogue in thename of peace and unity. Forty-five years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther KingJr. wrote a now-famous letter from a jail cell in Birmingham, Ala., to agroup of white clergy (including two Methodist bishops) who--in the name of"unity" and "peace"--had publicly called on King and his allies to ceasetheir disturbing nonviolent protests against racial segregation.

-States of Equality scorecard
Equality Giving posted a States of Equality scorecard where a person can seeif they are considered to be a second-class citizen in any of the 50 states.
The organization explains: " The score indicates the number of EqualityGoals that have been reached in that state. Each "YES" gives 1 point. Halfa point is given for partial achievement of an Equality Goal. One of theseven Equality Goals (repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell") can only be achievedat the federal level. Therefore, at the state level, the maximum score is6."

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-Mob Ransacks Rome Gay Center
(Rome) Rome police are searching for members of a mob of youths who burstinto the city's LGBT center, ransacking the building.

-Colombia Court Gives More Rights To Gay Couples
(Bogota) Colombia's Colombia's Constitutional Court has ruled that thegovernment must extend pension benefits to same-sex partners.

-Nasty Lesbian Custody Case Rambles On
(Richmond, Virginia) A nasty custody case that has raged on for two yearsand involved courts in two states may be nearing an end.

-Massive LGBT Rights Rally At Minnesota Capitol
(St. Paul, Minnesota) In what is described as the biggest rally so far thisyear at the Minnesota Capitol, thousands of LGBT activists and supporterslobbied for domestic partner rights and protections of gays students.

-Students, Young Workers Have Different Priorities
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) The Democratic presidential hopefuls havebounced from city to city in Pennsylvania hoping to nab some much-neededvotes in Tuesday's primary.

Pink News - UK
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-Neo-Nazi who attacked gays loses appeal
The leader of a neo-Nazi group in southern Sweden, jailed for beating fivemen at a gay rights party, lost his appeal yesterday. National SocialistFront (NSF) leader Simon Lindberg, had the three month sentence handed downby a district court confirmed by the Court of Appeal

Anything But Straight
by Wayne Besen
California: The Huffington Post reports that the California Supreme Courtmay overturn Proposition 22, a referendum passed in 2000 that prohibits gaypeople from marrying. The article suggests that the court may also come outin favor of same-sex marriage as early as May 23. Anticipating a favorableruling, the right wing is working to place a constitutional amendment on theballot to ban gay marriage. However, these efforts were set back when Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger pledged to fight against the potential measure andcalled it "a total waste of time" at the Log Cabin Republicans NationalConvention. The Log Cabin Republicans deserve credit for getting thegovernor's stance on the record. With the latest poll showing only 51% ofCalifornians against gay marriage, Schwarzenegger's support will likelyembolden moderate fence sitters to side with equality.

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-Events in recent weeks in relation to the "National Programme to PromoteTolerance, 2009-2013" no longer allow us to keep quiet about thehypocritical nature of Latvia's public integration policies. One specificgroup - homosexual and bisexual people - are consistently excluded from thisprocess. If that was a process which took place in secret until recenttimes, then now Minister Kastens has been expressing his open and scornfulattitude both in words and in deeds. We believe that this is purposefulpolicy on the part of the First Party of Latvia/Latvia's Way (LPP/LC), whichthe minister represents, and that this policy has been pursued ever sincethe 2006 parliamentary election campaign. It is very ironic that thegovernment has entrusted the issue of promoting tolerance in society to aminister who represents Latvia's most intolerant political party. Webelieve that this strategy is dangerous, because it splits society, promotesvarious manifestations of hatred and, at the end of the day, creates evengreater public distrust in the country's political and governing structures.

-The United Nations Department of Public Information/Non-GovernmentalOrganization (DPI/NGO) is organizing its annual conference in Paris,September 3-5, 2008 on the topic of Human Rights to commemorate the 60thanniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. DPI/NGO willconsider the topic of Human Rights for the first time since 1994. The HumanRights Conference is to be sponsored by the United Nations DPI/NGOCommittee, UNESCO, the UN Human Rights Commission and the Government ofFrance. I serve on the Outreach Planning Committee. I have worked hard toget LGBT rights included in the conference. LGBT rights now seem to be onthe agenda, but nearly as a footnote. I would hope that LGBT activistswould use their contacts to insure that this conference adequately coversthe important topic of Human Rights for the LGBT community. If you havecontacts with the DPI/NGO Committee, UNESCO, the UN Human Rights Commissionor the Government of France, I urge you to use those contacts to ensure thatthis conference adequately covers LGBT Human Rights.

-CWA President Wendy Wright just returned from Kosovo. She was there with adelegation of pro-family groups to draw attention to some serious "timebombs" in the proposed constitution of the region which recently declaredindependence. Those little language loopholes place Kosovo at the mercy ofradical feminists and globalists at the United Nations and the EuropeanUnion, as it gives those international entities authority over localdecision-making. While the flawed constitution was adopted, Wright says thepro-family groups from the U.S. and Europe were able to advise Kosovarleaders on how they can protect their nation from attempts to forceabortion-on-demand and homosexual marriage onto their culture.

From People for the American Way

-Senate Majority Harry Reid needs to hear from you now.
Republican senators and conservative activists are applying intense pressureon Senator Reid to move the president's appellate-level judicial nomineeswho haven't been confirmed. Senator Reid needs to resist that pressure.
Under the long-standing tradition known as the "Thurmond Rule,"controversial judicial nominees should not be brought up for considerationthis close to a presidential election. Call Senator Reid now (202) 244-3542and tell him to do everything he can to block the most dangerous Bushjudicial nominees.

-Here are some of the nominees of most concern:
..Peter Keisler, a co-founder of the Federalist Society and former clerk torejected Reagan Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, who has been nominated tofill a seat on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals -- arguably the second mostpowerful court in the land behind the Supreme Court. When President Clintontried to fill this very seat, Republicans blocked his nominee saying thecourt's caseload was too small to fill the vacancy. Well its caseload iseven smaller now!
..Robert Conrad (nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the FourthCircuit), who has a disturbing record on reproductive freedom, theenvironment and workers' rights, and has criticized the notion of safe sexas a way to avoid contracting AIDS.
..Steve Matthews (also nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the FourthCircuit), who served for years on the board of the Landmark LegalFoundation, a group which in 2007 nominated Rush Limbaugh for the NobelPeace Prize.

Soulforce Email Update

-Gender Identity and Justice in Fort Worth: United Methodist GeneralConference to Make Policy on Ordination and More
In 2007, the United Methodist Church's Judicial Council ruled that anewly-transitioned transgender pastor, Rev. Drew Phoenix of St. John'sUnited Methodist Church in Baltimore, could continue to serve his church, ashis congregation desires. However, because church law makes no reference totransgender people, the Judicial Council referred the broader question ofwhether transgender ministers are eligible for clergy appointments to thechurch's main legislative body, the United Methodist General Conference,which will convene in Fort Worth, Texas, April 23-May 2. ....
Unfortunately, anti-LGBT organizations have proposed legislation that ismisinformed and discriminatory. One such proposal comes from the leader ofan ex-gay ministry: Planning to Come to Fort Worth But Haven't Registered?
Last Chance to Reserve a Seat on the Bus.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Research Request
We are writing to inform you about a research study being conducted at theUniversity of Maryland on beliefs about sexual orientation held by same-sex attracted people. You areencouraged to participateif you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, bi-curious, queer, questioning,or otherwise same-sex attracted. Even if you prefer not to label yourself,we are interested in your experience!Participation involves the completionof several online questionnaires and will take approximately 20-30 minutes.
If you are interested in participating in this study please follow the linkprovided below

Pew Research center
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-An Overview of the Same-Sex Marriage Debate
Polls show that frequency of worship service attendance is a factor in theopposition to gay marriage. According to an August 2007 survey by the PewForum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People &the Press, 55% of Americans oppose gay marriage, with 36% favoring it. Butthose with a high frequency of church attendance oppose it by asubstantially wider margin (73% in opposition vs. 21% in favor). Oppositionamong white evangelicals, regardless of frequency of church attendance, iseven higher -- at 81%. A majority of black Protestants (64%) and LatinoCatholics (52%)3 also oppose gay marriage, as do pluralities of white,non-Hispanic Catholics (49%) and white mainline Protestants (47%). Onlyamong Americans without a religious affiliation does a majority (60%)express support. However, a 2006 Pew survey found that sizable majoritiesof white mainline Protestants (66%), Catholics (63%) and those without areligious affiliation (78%) favor allowing homosexual couples to enter intocivil unions that grant most of the legal rights of marriage without thetitle. The general public also supports civil unions (54% in favor vs. 42%in opposition). As with gay marriage, white evangelicals (66%), blackProtestants (62%) and frequent church attenders (60%) stand out for theiropposition to civil unions.

GLAAD's "The Best and Worst of National News"
-Hartford Courant Spotlights the Tax Challenges Faced by Gay Families
In April, millions of Americans share in the stress of preparing taxreturns. However, as the Hartford Courant explained, gay couples can faceadditional challenges when filing their

-The Baltimore Sun Shares Stories of Clergy Who Support Marriage for Gay andLesbian People
The media has been paying increasing attention to the many religious leaderswho support equality for LGBT Americans.,0,2635397.story

-The New York Times Shares Inspiring Story of a Homeless Transgender Woman
The lives of homeless transgender and gay people are often renderedinvisible in the national media. However, The New York Times has been doinga great service by introducing readers to the stories of homeless LGBT youngadults during recent years.

-The Oklahoman Publishes Unbalanced Report About Sally Kern Controversy
Since Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern made headlines in March aftertelling a group of supporters "the homosexual agenda is destroying ournation," she has been the subject of continuing local media attention.

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News
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-The Trans Fag
On a cold winter night I take my 20-year-old friend Hunter to an EastVillage gay bar -- his first time in a New York City watering hole where hecould wade among other cute gay men like himself. I convince the bartenderto let us in by pretending that Hunter is my little brother who just turned21 and came out but had his wallet and ID stolen on the subway. The barkeepgrudgingly lets us stay, and we take a seat in the rear. It's a pretty emptyweeknight, but a few guys start throwing looks over shoulders and cruisingHunter, and he whispers that he thinks one of them is cute-thestraightest-looking dude in the room.

-Former Reagan Official Blasts 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'
Ronald Reagan's former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Lawrence J. Korb,urged Congress Apr. 16 to strike down the military ban on openly gaytroops.The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network issued a press release thatsame day to announce that Korb had urged lawmakers to "get rid of outmodedsocial restrictions" like "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and provided writtentestimony in which he suggested that the ban was "counterproductive tomilitary readiness."

-Where will Atlanta gays grow old?
Developer discusses possibility of local gay retirement home
Joe O'Brien, 63, wants to know where he and his partner can go if theinevitable frailties of old age force them from their Lake Claire home.

-Court denies lesbian Alimony
KARLSRUHE, Germany - Germany's highest court has rejected an alimony claimby a mother of five children because she had left "an intact marriage" tolive with another woman.

-Argentina: May 17th will be "Fight Against Discrimination Based on Sexual
Orientation or Gender Identity Day" in Buenos Aires
Not to be left behind today, the Buenos Aires legislature voted thisafternoon to designate May 17th as the "Fight Against Discrimination Basedon Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Day" (doesn't necessarily roll offthe tongue as easily as other commemorations but I guess they wanted to bespecific about it).

-Nigeria: Hotbed of Homophobic Violence
Even in Africa--a continent not known for its gay-friendly cultures orgovernments---Nigeria stands out for the virulence and violence against gaymen in particular as well as lesbians.

-Pressure growing for new laws after gay sperm donor loses case
PRESSURE is growing on the Government to bring in laws on "assistedreproduction" after a gay sperm donor was denied access to his biologicalson in the High Court.

-Consequences of homophobia
The world cannot afford discrimination in the fight against AIDS
THIS WEEK AN Egyptian court sentenced four men each to three years in prisonbecause they are gay and HIV-positive. Taken into custody during a sweep ofrecent arrests of suspected homosexuals, the men were publicly shamed,forced to submit to HIV tests and tortured by Egyptian authorities. Thistype of treatment not only violates international human rights standards, itundermines efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

-Kristof: Closed-mindedness afflicts both liberals and conservatives
If you're a Democrat, your candidate won in Wednesday night's presidentialdebate - that was obvious, and most neutral observers would recognize that.
But the other candidate issued appalling distortions, and the newscommentary afterward was shamefully biased.

-New Web site launches for GLBT community
Worldwide launch to be held in Nashville and Atlanta
A Nashville couple has launched a new Web site that will serve as an onlinesocial network Web site serving a global GLBT community.
Gregory Fry and Shane Moore with GS Enterprises, Inc., have that will allow users to search, connect and chat withother GLBT people in "a simple, easy-to-navigate web environment."

-North Ga. welcomes Camp Lickalotta's 'Bushstock'
Controversial lesbian music fest finally finds a home
After being run out of rural North Carolina by opponents not amused with alesbian campground named "Camp Lickalotta" and its planned "Bushstock '08"music fest, the founders of the controversial event have found a home inDahlonega, Ga.

-Charting the distance between church and state in America
Christian evangelicals have become a powerful influence on our nation'spolitical and cultural landscape. Energized by passionate, biblicallyinspired opposition to gay marriage, abortion, and Darwinian evolution,faith-based advocacy groups like Focus on the Family helped deliver the 2004Presidential election to George W. Bush.

-Roommate story resonates strongly across racial lines
Catherine Donnelly and Alice Brown did something few of us are willing to doin a story in last Sunday's AJC: talk openly about racial attitudes that areshaped in large part by how we are raised.
Staff writer Brian Feagans stumbled on Donnelly's story about rooming withMichelle Obama at Princeton University while making political small talkduring a real estate closing. Donnelly mentioned having Obama as a roommate.
When contacted later, she talked about Alice Brown's horror upon learningher daughter's roommate was black.


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