Sunday, May 18, 2008

GLBT DIGEST May 18, 2008

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New York Times
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-Letters: Young Gay Rites
I was surprised and saddened to note that although some of the couplesmentioned (Benoit Denizet-Lewis, April 27) intend to have sex with multiplepartners, there was no reference to sexually transmitted diseases,especially AIDS. It doesn't matter whether a marriage is gay or traditional:
there is danger involved in such behavior. As The Times has reported,sexually transmitted diseases are increasing among just about every segmentof the population.

-California Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage Fuels a Battle, Rather Than EndingIt
Just hours after the California Supreme Court ruled on Thursday thatsame-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, Mathew D. Staver wasalready raising money to overturn the decision.
Mr. Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a Florida groupthat defends traditional marriage, flew to Dallas on Thursday night for alate dinner meeting with a fund-raiser. The topic was how to finance acampaign for the California Marriage Protection Act, a November ballotinitiative that would amend the state Constitution and effectively undo thecourt's decision.

-Ideas & Trends: Thinking About California. Maybe Gonna Get Married.
As soon as the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that gay men andlesbians had a constitutional right to marry, my partner and I startedgetting the calls: When would we head West to get hitched?
California Supreme Court Overturns Gay Marriage Ban (May 16, 2008)
Times Topics: Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic PartnershipsInthe euphoric wake of the decision, it sure seemed like a great idea. UnlikeMassachusetts, where a couple has to declare an intention to live in thestate, California has no residency requirement. Plus, we have a lot offamily there.

Steve Rothaus
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-'Brokeback Mountain' airs in primetime on Cuban state television

Miami Herald
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-Cuban government backs calls to combat homophobia
Cuba's gay community celebrated unprecedented openness - and high-rankingpolitical alliances - with a government-backed campaign against homophobiaon Saturday. The meeting at a convention center in Havana's Vedado district may have been the largest gathering of openly gay activists ever on the communist-run island. President Raul Castro's daughter Mariela, who has promoted the rights of sexual minorities, presided.

Express Gay News
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-Md. Lawmaker's Hope Renewed For Gay Marriage
A state senator says this week's California Supreme Court decisionlegalizing gay marriage gives him reason to be optimistic that same-sexcouples will gain the right to marry in Maryland. Senator Richard Madaleno notes that California was the first state to allow interracial couples to marry.

-A Legal Win for Gay Pride
When Heather Gillman, a normally reserved junior at Ponce de Leon HighSchool in the Florida Panhandle, found out that her openly lesbian cousin, aninth grader, had been suspended, along with 10 other students, forexpressing support of a lesbian senior who claimed to have been harassed,the straight 17-year-old was outraged. Gillman responded to thesuspensions - and the claim that the students had committed "illegalorganizing" - by wearing a rainbow T-shirt and her cousin's rainbow belt toschool. But soon after, when the school board prohibited expressionssupporting equal rights for gay people at the school, Heather's mother,Ardena Gillman, decided more serious action was called for. She talked tothe local branch of the American Civil Liberties union, which pursued thecase on the grounds that Gillman's First Amendment rights were beingviolated. This week, in a two-day trial that resulted in a rare, immediateruling from the federal bench, Gillman won her suit against the HolmesCounty school district.

-Many divided over whether ruling is about civil rights
There were times in America when black people couldn't go to the sameschools as white people, women weren't allowed to vote and interracialmarriage was illegal. Is same-sex marriage another chapter in America's civil rights struggle, taking its place alongside blacks not being allowed to drink from whites-only water fountains?

-Gay-rights group protests HIV-positive man's sentence
A gay-rights group is protesting a 35-year prison sentence given to anHIV-positive man who was convicted of spitting on a police officer, andpublic health officials say the risk of contracting the AIDS virus fromsaliva is extremely low.

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-Drag Queen Sentenced To 40 Years In Trucker Murder
A 28-year old gay Florida man has been sentencedto 40-years in prison for the slaying of a 45-year old trucker he met in aWest Palm Beach gay club in 2003.

-Health Warning Over HIV Drug Linked To Serious Liver Side Effects
Health Canada and pharmaceutical company Janssen-Orthoare warning people taking the HIV drug Prezista that the drug can causeserious liver side-effects.

-Minnesota Passes Gay Partner Benefits Bill
The Minnesota House has passed legislation that wouldallow local governments to to offer health and other benefits to thesame-sex partners of their workers.

-Gay Pride Organizers Appeal To Russian President
Organizers of a gay pride march appealed Friday to RussianPresident Dmitry Medvedev to overturn a decision by Mayor Yuri Lushkov toprohibit the event.

-Calif. Ruling Pushes Conservatives To Push Two States On Gay Union Bans
Conservative lawmakers in Arizona and North Carolina are usingThursday's California Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage topress for amendments to their state constitutions to prevent similarrulings.

National Gay News,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/
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-In Massachusetts, A Test Run For Same-Sex Marriage
For some, it is as simple as access to the vocabulary of marriage. "My wife"translates so much more readily to the general populace than "my partner,"said Marcia Hams, who traded vows with Susan Shepherd days afterMassachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage on May17, 2004. Other same-sex couples say marriage has produced more practicalbenefits. Gay and lesbian spouses can authorize emergency medical treatmentfor each other that once was off-limits because they were not husbands orwives. They can inherit property without mountains of paperwork explainingtheir relationship -- documents that often still were subject to challengeby biological relatives. And, as legally recognized families, they haveaccess to cheaper health insurance.

-The Finer Points of Assisted Male Orgasm
Since this is National Masturbation Month, it's a good time to point outthat the responsibility of your orgasm should never be completely dependenton, or might I say, completely in the hands of someone else. However, if youhave the good fortune of someone present and willing to help out, all thebetter. Oddly enough, we might know exactly how we like to "climb MountBaldy," but try to coax out someone else's joy jelly and we might be allthumbs (which can work nicely if your partner wants a digit up the wazoo).

Marriage Equality News
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-As soon as the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that gay men andlesbians had a constitutional right to marry, my partner and I startedgetting the calls: When would we head West to get hitched? In the euphoricwake of the decision, it sure seemed like a great idea. UnlikeMassachusetts, where a couple has to declare an intention to live in thestate, California has no residency requirement. Plus, we have a lot offamily there.
But do we really need to go to California? Although our relationship isn'tlegally sanctioned, we had a commitment ceremony with a great caterer and aflower girl and weeping parents. And we have been carefully building amarriage inside our filing cabinet. There, we have a New York City domesticpartnership certificate and the papers for the house and everything else weown together. We have wills, powers of attorney and medical directives. Wealso have the attorneys' bills. The tab is close to $10,000.

-By a provocative confluence of timing, the California Supreme Court issuedits May 15 decision finding that the state must allow same-sex couples thesame access to legal marriage as it affords to different-sex couples at thesame time that the office of Attorney General Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown wasscrutinizing petitions submitted by two organizations in support of aninitiative to amend the California Constitution to add the followingprovision: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognizedin California." The AG's office is expected to rule on whether sufficientvalid signatures were submitted to qualify this measure for the ballot bymid-June, around the same time that the Supreme Court's decision is expectedto take effect.

-The timing may be awkward for some political candidates, but it's perfectfor people planning summer weddings. On Thursday, the California SupremeCourt ruled 4-3 that Californians can marry, well, pretty much whomever theywant to marry. True, and we're delighted to note, important guidelines arestill in place involving age and one at a time, please. But someone gay orlesbian should be able to marry someone else gay or lesbian, the court said,in much the same way heterosexuals get to pick their mates.

-As a Unitarian Universalist minister, I am often called on by couples Idon't know to perform their wedding ceremonies. These couples generally arefrom different religions or one is divorced or they don't belong to a churchor synagogue. Before I will marry anyone, I ask to meet with them for acounseling session. It's a chance for them to meet me and decide if I am theright person to perform their act of marriage. It is my chance to meet themand decide if I feel that I can sanctify their marriage. In these sessions,

-The California Supreme Court's decision Thursday to allow gay marriage willhelp supporters in Vermont move the issue forward in the next legislativesession, Vermont Freedom to Marry chairwoman Beth Robinson said Friday.
Since becoming the first state to legalize civil unions in 2000, Vermont'sattempt to allow gay marriage has stalled. Over the past year, alegislative commission studied the same sex marriage issue. The reportstopped short of asking the Legislature to look at gay marriage in 2008, butafter California's ruling this week, Robinson said her group would beworking hard to see that it is put on the front burner when lawmakers returnto Montpelier in January.

-On Thursday, the California Supreme Court overturned the state's ban onsame-sex marriage.
I couldn't be more delighted. I've been marrying same-sex couples withoutbenefit of legal documents for more than 30 years. I'm looking forward tothe day when I can do it with marriage license in hand. The Californiacourt held that the ban on same-sex marriage violated equal protection andthat no compelling interest by the state was served by the separation ofsame sex versus opposite sex status. Hawaii's situation is somewhatdifferent, but the basic issues of fairness and equality are the same.
California Unitarian Universalist churches have been deeply involved ingetting the initiative overturned. That struggle was led by a UU minister,the Rev. Lindi Ramsden, and the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry,California. Ramsden said, "Loving, same-sex couples can now be treated withequal dignity and respect when we marry them in our congregations. Thosesame-sex couples who have been married religiously, but undocumentedlegally, will now be able to get legally married."

-It was 1964. Conservative groups across California, angered by a new lawaimed at discriminatory housing practices, mobilized to wipe the law off thebooks by amending the state constitution.
The initiative was a hit at the ballot box. Two-thirds of the state's votersapproved the change in the constitution. But the new law didn't stick - boththe California Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down,finding that it violated federal equal protection rights.
More than four decades later, that scenario could unfold again inCalifornia. This time, however, the issue is gay marriage, and California -because of its situation - may end up being the battleground that ultimatelypropels this modern day civil rights battle into the U.S. Supreme Court.

Pink News - UK
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-Pope re-voices gay marriage opposition following Californian judgement
Pope Benedict yesterday restated the view of the Catholic Church thatmarriage should only be between a man and a woman. Despite not referring tothe ruling of the Californian Supreme Court in favour of gay marriage,Vatican City watchers believe the restating of the Church's position was areaction the ruling.

-London Registrar sues for right not to marry gay and lesbian couples
A registrar will face her employer, Islington Council in an employmenttribunal this week as she demands the right not to marry gay couples.

-Moscow bans gays and lesbians from holding demonstration
A small group of gay men and women have been banned from holding a picket infront of the General Prosecution office in downtown Moscow on Saturday.

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-Gay group's anger at Tory amendment to IVF Bill
Gay campaigners criticised the Conservative Party last night after itshealth spokesmen attempted to force women to give the name of their spermdonor before being allowed IVF treatment. Stonewall, the gay and lesbiancampaign organisation, claimed that the Tories are limiting lesbian couples'access to in vitro fertilisation through an amendment to the controversialproposals which would require such children to have "a father or male rolemodel". The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill returns to the House of Commons for two days' debate tomorrow. The Government had believed it had headed off damaging internal divisions over the creation of hybrid animal-human embryos and "saviour siblings" by allowing Catholic MPs and ministers a free vote onthe most contentious elements of the Bill.

-TURKISH Cypriot gays will take to the streets of central Nicosia today tomark the International Day Against Homophobia and to raise awareness abouthomosexuality in general. "The World Health Organisation removedhomosexuality from the list of mental and behavioral disorders on May 17,1990, but attitudes and laws in this country, especially in the north,remain archaic," one of the organisers of today's "awareness campaign" told the Cyprus Mail. The group behind the campaign, which calls itself the Initiative Against Homophobia and boasts 20 "core members" and around 300 ympathisers, will be distributing a leaflet in Turkish, Greek and English outlining the significance of May 17. It also carries information on what it means to be gay, and how people come to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual.

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-Moscow Pride Organizer to receive award in Brazil
The world's largest Gay Pride - São Paulo - is to "twin" with Moscow Pride,it was announced on Friday. And Moscow Pride organiser, Nikolai Alekseevwill be flying in from Russia this week to take part, and to receive theBrazillian Pride's "Citizen Award for Respecting Diversity" in a ceremony onThursday afternoon. In ten years, São Paulo's LGBT Pride Parade hasdeveloped from 2000 people in 1997 to being the largest public event of itskind in the world. It unquestionably contributes to generate more respectfor diversity, and is considered a benchmark for social movements in Brazil,proving that to be political one need not forsake irreverence andspontaneity.

-France to urge UN to decriminalise homosexuality
PARIS (AFP) - France plans to ask the United Nations to push for
homosexuality to be decriminalised around the globe, a government ministersaid Saturday, as gays and lesbians worldwide marked the International DayAgainst Homophobia. Human Rights Minister Rama Yade told a delegation ofFrench gay and lesbian groups that Paris would push for "a Europeaninitiative calling for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality,"according to a statement. She said Paris would submit the initiative to theUnited Nations after it takes over the rotating six-month EU presidency inJuly -- a period during which France will speak for all EU member states atthe UN General Assembly. Rights groups regularly campaign for Westerngovernments not to deport gays or lesbians back to countries where they areat risk of persecution.

-Activists' Two Hours in Jail Leads to French Government Push on Gay Rightsat UN
PARIS, May 17, 2008 - Louis-Georges Tin was celebrating this evening. Thefounder and president of International Day Against Homophobia was arrestedand detained in police custody for two hours yesterday when demonstratingoutside the Presidential Palace in Paris against worldwide homophobia. Thetreatment of Mr. Tin and colleagues outraged the progressive politicalparties and non-government organis ations that immediately criticised thegovernment. The result was that today gay and lesbian groups had a meetingwith Human Rights Minister, Rama Yade. According to Agence France Presse,Ms. Yade told the delegation that Paris would push for "a Europeaninitiative calling for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality". Inaddition, the French government has agreed to officially recognise ofInternational Day Against Homophobia.
The news agency said the minister had promised to submit the initiative tothe United Nations after it takes over the rotating six-month EU presidencyin July - a period during which France will speak for all EU member statesat the UN General Assembly.

-Pictures and report on IDAHO in Chicago
Saturday was the inaugural International Day Against Homophobia (I.D.A.HO)event in Chicago. IDAHO was started a few years ago in Europe as a means tocall attention to the problem of anti-gay hate in countries around theworld, including here in the United States.


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