Thursday, May 29, 2008

GLBT NEWS - Ray's List Digest - Wednesday May 28, 2008

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New York Times
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-Pennsylvania: Scouts Group Sues City
The Philadelphia city government said it would fight a lawsuit by the local Boy Scouts organization that seeks to block the city’s efforts to evict it from rent-free premises because of alleged anti-gay policies. City officials say the policies violate a city ordinance and have told the Cradle of Liberty group to renounce its ban on gay Scouts, start paying $200,000 a year in rent or vacate its headquarters by May 31. “We are not going to subsidize the violation of our ordinance,” said Shelley Smith, the city solicitor. “It’s still our intention to take the legal action necessary to evict them.”

-California court to hear lesbian insemination case
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Guadalupe Benitez claims that after being treated with fertility drugs for nearly a year, her Christian doctors refused to inseminate her because she is a lesbian. She sued and a San Diego County trial judge sided with her. But an appeals court reversed the ruling, and her lawsuit is scheduled to be heard by the California Supreme Court this week. The case is closely being watched by civil rights and physician groups who think it could have consequences for other medical procedures, including abortion and end-of-life decisions. ''There is confusion among many health care providers who believe doctors have the freedom to pick and choose their patients,'' said Jennifer Pizer, an attorney with the gay rights legal group Lambda Legal who represents Benitez. ''But doctors' ethics may not be exercised in a discriminatory way.''
Benitez, now the mother of a 6-year-old boy and 2-year-old twin girls, sued Vista-based North Coast Women's Care Medical Group under a state law that prohibits for-profit businesses from arbitrarily discriminating against clients based on characteristics such as race, age and sexual orientation.

-Germany Remembers Persecuted Gays
A monument featuring two men kissing was unveiled by Germany in Berlin on Tuesday in memory of thousands of homosexuals who were persecuted, tortured and killed by the Nazis, Agence France-Presse reported. Designed by the Danish-born Michael Elmgreen and the Norwegian-born Ingar Draset, both based in Berlin, the memorial, situated in the Tiergarten park, near the Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust memorial, consists of a gray concrete slab about 13 feet high. Inside, at eye level, is a gap filled by a television screen that shows the kissing men, above. Bernd Neumann, Germany’s minister of culture, evoked the present when he said the monument was “also first and foremost an expression of our conviction that in our country there is no place for the discrimination of homosexuals, of people who think and live differently.” On hand for the unveiling was Berlin’s openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, but no survivors. The last known survivor, Pierre Seel, died in November 2005. Homosexuality was illegal in Germany until 1969 and not formally decriminalized until 1994.

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-A legal concept that's outlived its usefulness
It's time to dissolve the institution of marriage. No gay marriage, and no straight marriage, either. Since the California Supreme Court declined to overturn a constitutional provision promising equal treatment to all groups, it looks like gay marriage is on its way to California. So San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who unsuccessfully tried to bring same sex nuptials to a city already boasting more rainbow flags than Key West, is having his way, after all. The court switched California's tracks onto the trail blazed by Massachusetts. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay marriage, much to the chagrin of an awful lot of Americans. Soon California will join them, and places like Canada and Spain, and allow gays to marry. A handful of states, primarily California and chunks of New England, already created so-called "civil unions." That's pseudo-marriage giving gay couples the same legal rights as their married, straight brethren, but without actually using the m-word. Massachusetts and now California courts decided such separate-but-equal institutions are inherently unequal, and even the heterosexually-challenged should be able to wed. But marriage is a legal concept that has outlived its usefulness. "Civil unions for all," I say. If everybody gets civilly unionized, then no one is discriminated against but everyone enjoys the important legal benefits of the quaint institution of "marriage.",0,6820627.story

Steve Rothaus
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-Field Poll: Majority of Californians now support gay marriage
Click here to see the poll results
Signaling a generational shift in attitudes, a new Field Poll on Tuesday said California voters now support legal marriage between same-sex couples and oppose a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. By 51 to 42 percent, state voters believe gay couples have the right to marry, according to a May 17-26 poll of 1,052 registered voters. However, the same poll revealed a California electorate that remains sharply divided over gay marriage – split by age, political affiliation, religion and the regions where they live. The poll was taken after the May 15 California Supreme Court decision overturning a state ban on same-sex marriages. The results marked the first time in more than 30 years of state polling that a majority of Field Poll respondents favored making gay marriage legal.

Express Gay News
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-Gay activists march in Romania despite opposition
BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Around 200 gay activists marched through Bucharest on Saturday in a heavily policed pride parade that defied efforts by religious and far-right groups to have the annual event banned.
Earlier this week, anti-gay groups tried to get a court to rule against the march, Romania's fifth annual gay festival. Two counter-demonstrations were held ahead of the parade. At one, members of a far-right group chanted "Romania does not want you" in a protest they said was "against sin". Romania decriminalized homosexuality in 2001, but gay people often face hostility in this largely conservative country of 22 million where the powerful Orthodox church views homosexuality as a sin and a disease. Police said the gay rights march passed off without incident.

-Log Cabin Republicans announce endorsements
Org. supports six lawmakers for re-election
The Log Cabin Republicans, a national gay group, announced its first wave of endorsements for incumbent candidates in the House and Senate Tuesday. The organization endorses the following candidates for re-election: Senators Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Representatives Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), according to a press release. “We’re proud to endorse these six lawmakers for re-election,” said Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon. “They’re strong allies and they have excellent records on issues of basic fairness for gay and lesbian Americans. They have stood with us. We are proud to stand with them during the upcoming campaign. We look forward to helping them win re-election."

-Why the California Supreme Court decision granting marriage can withstand legal scrutiny
This article by HRC Legal Director Lara Schwartz on the California Supreme Court marriage decision was originally published by Legal Times (Click here to download the PDF ): Last week the California Supreme Court rolled in a 121-page blackboard and taught Americans a lesson in bread-and-butter constitutional principles. The court ruled that the state could not constitutionally maintain a legal distinction between gay and lesbian couples and their heterosexual counterparts. Noting that marriage has long been considered a fundamental right, the court restated the bedrock constitutional principle that in order to deny access to a fundamental right, not only must the state have a compelling interest but the denial must be necessary to achieve that interest. The court also concluded that crafting separate but purportedly equal legal statuses for families headed by gay and straight couples violates the state’s equal protection clause, in part because marriage alone gives the utmost dignity and respect to a family. The state cannot deny a fundamental right absent a compelling interest. The state cannot create distinctions in legal status among classifications of people absent a compelling interest.

-Phone calls for equality
John Aravosis at AMERICABlog writes that the religious right is flooding California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office with phone calls voicing their opposition to the same-sex marriage ruling.
Once you get past the busy signals, you can voice your support in a few easy steps. Please do! The office apparently has an automated system in place to count the calls. Call (916) 445-2841. If you get a ring, press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish. Then press 5 to voice your opinion on a hot-button issue. Press 1 again to choose the same-sex marriage ruling, and press 1 one last time to pledge your support for it.

-Rosen takes job at Huffington Post
Longtime activist to serve as D.C.-based editor-at-large
Hilary Rosen, the political and media consultant and former head of the Recording Industry Association of America, will take the reigns as political director and D.C. editor-at-large for the Huffington Post. Rosen, who is also a partner in a consulting firm, Berman Rosen Global Strategies, and a longtime gay rights activist, recently stepped down from her position as president of, the official lesbian social network of popular Showtime show "The L Word." Rosen co-founded OurChart with Ilene Chaiken, creator of "The L Word," and some of the actresses from the show. When Huffington Post creator Ariana Huffington heard that she was leaving the site, she said, "Let me fill your time," according to Rosen. Rosen will coordinate political and convention coverage, solicit new contributors and act as a liaison with elected officials and other groups. She'll head the small bureau in D.C., which has three other staffers.

-Does Obama Support Gay Marriage?
Barack Obama might be the first major candidate for president to support same-sex marriage.
He won’t say as much. His definition of a “new politics” is capacious enough to allow for pose and slipperiness (as long as he’s the one engaged in them). But his stance on a California supreme-court decision that ripped away any middle ground on the issue makes him operationally pro-gay marriage. In California, a domestic-partnership law gives gay couples, in the words of the decision, “virtually all of the legal rights and responsibilities accorded married couples under California law.” But that’s not enough. Marriage must be redefined to include same-sex relationships. Any arrangement short of this is comparable to segregation: famously progressive California as Bull Connor’s Alabama. In a carefully hedged statement, Obama said he “respects the decision of the California Supreme Court.” He respects a decision that disregarded the will of the people in California, as expressed by a 2000 referendum that defined marriage as between a man and a woman; he respects a decision that excoriated his own position of support for civil unions and (theoretical) opposition to same-sex marriage; he respects a decision that rejects the sort of political compromise he extols. It’s like a professed abolitionist in 1857 saying he “respects” the Dred Scott ruling. Obama’s tone noticeably differed from John Kerry’s in 2004. Kerry criticized the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage and said he’d support a constitutional amendment banning it.

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-U.S. Gay Activist Killed in Puerto Vallarta
(Puerto Vallarta, Mexico) Police in Puerto Vallarta are holding a Mexican man they say confessed to killing
an American.

-Libertarian Candidate Bob Barr Supports Calif. Decision
Former Republican Rep. Bob Barr, author of the Defense of Marriage Act, says on his website that he supports the California judicial decision to allow gay men and lesbians to marry.

The Advocate
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- International Ugandan Bank Denies Account to Trans Activist
Uganda's ban on homosexuality is playing out in the private sector, with a local branch of the U.K.-based Standard Chartered Bank denying account access to a trans activist.

National Gay News,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/
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-Army Settles Out of Court With Trans Soldier
A 43-year old woman who claimed she suffered sexual discrimination and was unfair dismissal from the British Army after transitioning has won a payout of £250,000. The Ministry of Defence decided to settle Jan Hamilton's case out of court.

-Slain Man's Mom to Help Fight Bigotry at City Banquet
Judy Shepard — the mother of Matthew Shepard, whose slaying 10 years ago sparked a movement within the gay community — will be in Oklahoma City on June 19 as part of a banquet sponsored by the Cimarron Alliance Foundation. "Shepard's visit to Oklahoma is not coincidental. Ten years ago, her son was robbed and murdered only because he was gay. In December, a fellow Oklahoman was brutally murdered only because he was gay,” said Richard Ogden, chairman of the Cimarron Alliance Foundation. "We should all have learned from Matthew's killing that climates of intolerance breed words of intolerance, which in turn breed actions of intolerance in the form of physical abuse, such as bullying, vandalism, assaults and even killings.”

-NBA Uniforms Still Not Gay Enough
When former NBA player John Amaechi became the first pro basketball player to announce that he was gay back in 2007, I was thoroughly impressed with his courage and hoped perhaps it was a beacon of light, an invitation for other homosexual athletes — who might have been living a double life — to reveal their true identity as Super Gay. But after some of the ambiguously gay responses from some of the league’s athletes at the time, I still wonder what effect his “coming out” actually had. It’s been over a year since the announcement, and the news has swiftly faded from the sports headlines like a Republican congressman who suddenly got his straightness back. Which makes me think The NBA could use a little Straight Guy For The Queer Eye makeover.

-Police Charge Pair With 'Crime Against Nature'
Raleigh police are charging two adults for sodomy in private, although the U.S. Supreme Court appears to have outlawed such charges five years ago. Police on Saturday charged two West Raleigh men with a "crime against nature" for having sex early that morning. Each faces up to two years in prison if convicted of the Class I felony.

Pink News - UK
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-Gay socialist "ready" to run for President of France
One of Europe's most high-profile gay politicians has indicated he is ready to run for leader of France's Parti Socialiste and possibly the Presidency. Bernard Delanoe has proved to be a popular Mayor of Paris.

-Ian McKellen and Gene Robinson to talk gays and religion at London festival
London's Literature Festival will feature an appearance by the only openly gay bishop in the Anglican communion, it has been revealed. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, will be at the festival in July.

-Nul points for Eurovision 2008
While relieved that the feared homophobic violence on the streets of Belgrade did not materialise, the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest failed to impress. And not just because our entry came last.

-Pornographer attacks Presidential candidate over gay rights
Former gay porn performer and current conservative activist Matt Sanchez has come out against Barack Obama, arguing that the Presidential hopeful not only has a pastor problem but a gay problem as well.

-Gay students abandoned by parents enter 'postcode lottery'
Two years ago at the age of 19, James left home after his stepfather repeatedly beat him because he was gay. As a result, he ended up spending a year living on the streets.

-Australian sporting hero named as Gay Games ambassador
Australian Michelle Ferris, one of cycling's all-time sprint stars, has been selected by the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) to be the newest Gay Games Ambassador.

Gay & Lesbian Leadership SmartBrier
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-Americans less interested in making war over gays, "culture" issues
With voters, especially those under 40, growing more comfortable with the idea of gay rights, it's unlikely that Republicans will be able to spark a new "culture war" over the California marriage decision, writes Richard Kim. "Now Starbucks lattes can be found in every small town, hip-hop is everywhere and homosexuals are here, queer and on the bridal registry -- all of which elicits a collective yawn from the under-40 set," Kim writes. The Nation (6/9)

-Group says Turkey offers harsh reality for LGBT people
The BBC tells the stories of Turkish LGBT people, whom Human Rights Watch alleges are the victims of "systemic" violence and abuse by strangers, family and the police. Neither the Istanbul police nor the governor's office would comment for this report. BBC (5/23)

-New guide is go-to resource for kids with trans parents
Blogger Donna Rose spotlights the "Kids of Trans Resource Guide," a new publication prepared by and for people with transgender parents from the group COLAGE. "It's something that anyone considering a transition who has children should read and use to help their kids," Rose writes. Read more at The Bilerico Project.
Editor: Yearbook photos of gay couples show "diversity"

-The controversial decision to include same-sex couples in the Clovis High School yearbook in New Mexico was made to show the school's "diversity," according to student editor-in-chief Maggie Chavez and staff member Jessie Hardison. "There [are] gay and lesbian couples in the school and they have a right to be in the yearbook just as much as anybody else does," Chavez said. The inclusion has been criticized by anti-gay religious groups and former Lt. Gov. Walter Bradley. Albuquerque Journal (N.M.)/Associated Press (5/23)
Leadership Spotlight

-Milk honored with bust in San Francisco City Hall
San Francisco officials last week marked what would have been the 78th birthday of gay-rights pioneer Harvey Milk with the unveiling of a bronze bust in City Hall. San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press (5/22)
Founder of gay police group remembered

-Charles H. Cochrane, the founder and first president of the Gay Officers Action League in New York, who died at age 64 this month in Pompano Beach, Fla., is remembered for his courage in coming out and leadership in starting the group. "I lost a good friend this month and the gay community lost a true hero," writes David Rothenberg. Gay City News (New York) (5/15)

Anything But Straight by Wayne Besen

-I'm Having Nunn Of It
When former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA) endorsed Barack Obama in April and announced he would serve as a national security advisor, pundits naturally began speculating on his vice presidential prospects. The argument in favor of Nunn is that he is a former Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, which would help negate one of the McCain campaign's largest advantages. Nunn's position is strengthened because he appears to be on the same rhetorical page as Obama. Last year, for example, he helped lead a bipartisan conference at the University of Oklahoma with the goal of ending political squabbling in Washington. In April, the conservative southern Democrat articulated his reasons for backing Obama: "Demonizing the opposition, oversimplifying the issues, and dumbing down the political debate prevent our country from coming together to make tough decisions and tackle our biggest challenges," said Nunn. This statement was curious, considering Nunn's crass conduct during the fierce 1993 "gays in the military" battle. Instead of leading in a contemplative manner, Nunn exploited his position of power to cheapen the national dialogue and dumb down the debate - the opposite of what he now says he stands for.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-The Secret Lives Of Married Men
This week's New York magazine cover story delves into why the Spitzer scandal came as no surprise to a lot of married men. As the author explains, When the Eliot Spitzer scandal broke in March, I had only sympathy for him: another middle-aged married guy tormented by his sexual needs. I'm 52 and have always struggled with the desire for sexual variety. Everyone gets an issue, and that's mine; it's given me pleasure and pain, and jolted my marriage. I'd only talked about my issue with any honesty over the years with about six or seven people, and when you leave out my wife and a therapist, they are all men.

-Sik World Clothing and Darklady Present the 7th Annual Portland Masturbate-a-Thon on May 31st, 2008
Sik World Clothing has partnered with Darklady Productions to present the 7th Annual Portland Masturbate-a-Thon on Saturday, May 31st, 2008 at the Mt. Tabor Theater in Portland, OR with proceeds going toward the Free Speech Coalition and Woodhull Freedom Foundation. The event will be hosted by transsexual porn powerhouse, Hot Wendy Williams and feature a wealth of self-indulgent pleasures and entertainments including Sik World giveaways, kinky & erotic play spaces, a silent auction, dancing girls, comedians, jugglers, porn stars, and Canada's naughty singing
sensation, The Wet Spots.

Nine of America's largest companies already agree with City's request this season to change policies to ban discrimination
New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr., on behalf of the New York City Pension Funds, today urged ExxonMobil shareholders to vote on Wednesday, May 28 in favor of their resolution calling on the company to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation. Shareholders will vote on the proposal at ExxonMobil's annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. The New York City Employees' Retirement System (NYCERS), New York City Teachers' Retirement System (TRS), New York City Police Pension Fund, ew York City Fire Department Pension Fund, and New York City Board of Education Retirement System filed the resolution - which is at - on November 27, 2007.


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