Thursday, June 05, 2008

GLBT DIGEST June 05, 2008

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New York Times
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-Gambia releases Spaniards accused of soliciting sex
BANJUL, Gambia (AP) -- Two Spanish men detained in Gambia for allegedly propositioning taxi drivers for sex have been released after five days in jail, a Spanish official said Wednesday. The men were released late Tuesday and have left the West African country, said Nicola El Busto, an official with Spain's embassy in Gambia. The Spaniards were arrested Friday after taxi drivers reported being solicited by them. Homosexual sex is illegal in Gambia, and those convicted of consensual homosexual acts face up to 14 years in prison. Gambian authorities could not be reached for comment. Last month, Gambia's president ordered gays to leave the country and threatened to ''cut off the head'' of anyone found to be gay. President Yahya Jammeh also threatened to close down hotels that rent rooms to gays.

Washington Post
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-Decline in Teen Sex Levels Off, Survey Shows
The nation's campaign to get more teenagers to delay sex and to use condoms is faltering, threatening to undermine the highly successful effort to reduce teen pregnancy and protect young people from sexually transmitted diseases, federal officials reported yesterday. New data from a large government survey show that by every measure, a decade-long decline in sexual activity among high school students leveled off between 2001 and 2007, and that the rise in condom use by teens flattened out in 2003.
Moreover, the survey found disturbing hints that teen sexual activity may have begun creeping up and that condom use among high school students might be edging downward, though those trend lines have not yet reached a point where statisticians can be sure, officials said.

-Gay couples cheer California high court ruling
SAN FRANCISCO -- Gay and lesbian couples around California are planning their nuptials following a refusal by the state's highest court to delay its decision legalizing same-sex marriage. The California Supreme Court's announcement Wednesday cleared the final hurdle for same-sex couples in the nation's most populous state to wed beginning June 17, when state officials have said counties must start issuing new gender-neutral marriage licenses.
Judy Appel, executive director of Our Family Coalition, a San Francisco-based group that advocates for same-sex couples with children, said she was thrilled by the court's refusal to stay the ruling.

-Lesbian kiss at Seattle ballpark stirs up gay-friendly town
SEATTLE -- Most of the time, a kiss is just a kiss in the stands at Seattle Mariners games. The crowd hardly even pays attention when fans smooch. But then last week, a lesbian complained that an usher at Safeco Field asked her to stop kissing her date because it was making another fan uncomfortable.
The incident has exploded on local TV, on talk radio and in the blogosphere and has touched off a debate over public displays of affection in generally gay-friendly Seattle. "Certain individuals have not yet caught up. Those people see a gay or lesbian couple and they stare or say something," said Josh Friedes of Equal Rights Washington. "This is one of the challenges of being gay. Everyday things can become sources of trauma."

-Hollywood sees cracks in gay "glass closet"
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood's "glass closet" may not be shattered, but with stars such as Ellen DeGeneres and T.R. Knight openly out and shows like "The L Word" proving popular in recent years, insiders say being gay or lesbian is no longer a career breaker for celebrities. The California Supreme Court on Wednesday gave a final approval for gay marriages in the state, clearing the way for talk show host deGeneres and her girlfriend of four years, actress Portia de Rossi, to marry as planned.

-Rosie says she's waiting to remarry Kelli
NEW YORK -- Ellen DeGeneres is doing it. So is George Takei. But Rosie O'Donnell isn't jumping at the chance to walk down the aisle. O'Donnell and her girlfriend, Kelli Carpenter, were married four years ago when the mayor of San Francisco allowed same-sex marriages. The California Supreme Court later declared such marriages invalid. Now the state's highest court has ruled that denying same-sex marriages was discriminatory, and many gay and lesbian couples, including DeGeneres and girlfriend Portia de Rossi and Takei and his partner, Brad Altman, are planning to tie the knot.

Express Gay News
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-Frank, Baldwin launch LGBT Equality Caucus
Co-chairs joined by 52 colleagues in new congressional effort
By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO, Washington Blade | Jun 4, 2:17 PM
The only two openly gay members of Congress announced Wednesday creation of he “LGBT Equality aucus,” comprised of 52 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who’ve taken the lead previously in introducing gay legislation, were joined by 13 of their colleagues at a news conference on Capitol Hill. Baldwin said the caucus will be both “symbolic and substantive” a nd “will serve as a resource for members of Congress, their staffs and the general public on LGBT issues.” “Our work this session on legislation combating hate crimes and employment non-discrimination highlighted the need and the desire people had for more information,” Baldwin said, referring to the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The House passed ENDA, but the Senate has yet to take it up this session. The hate
crimes measure was attached to the Defense authorization bill, but later yanked.

-Calif. court refuses to stay gay marriage ruling
Ruling will be final at 5 p.m. on June 16
California's highest court has refused to stay until after the November election its decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.
Conservative religious and legal groups had asked the California Supreme Court to stop its order from becoming effective until voters have the chance to weigh in on the issue. An initiative that would amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage has qualified for the ballot. Its passage would overrule the court's decision. The Supreme Court says its ruling will be final at 5 p.m. on June 16.

-In ROTC Address, Faust Quietly Criticizes 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
University President Drew G. Faust softly criticized the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy at the ROTC commissioning ceremony today, saying in her speech that all Harvard students should be allowed to serve in the military while declining to directly criticize the military's ban on openly-gay servicemembers. "I wish that there were more of you," Faust said to the five cadets and about 100 spectators on the steps of Memorial Church, in what amounted to the closest mention or condemnation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. "I believe that every Harvard student should have the opportunity to serve in the military, as you do, and as those honored in the past have done." The controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which is the basis for much of the opposition to ROTC at Harvard, bars openly gay individuals from erving in the armed forces. In the weeks leading up to the speech, Faust had rawn fire for her plans to criticize the policy from conservative and pro-military groups, including in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last month.

-Most say gay marriage private choice
Six in 10 Americans say the government should not regulate whether gays and lesbians can marry the people they choose, a survey finds. As same-sex couples line up to get marriage licenses in California on June 17, the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found that 63% of adults say same-sex marriage is "strictly a private decision" between two people. That the government has the right "to prohibit or allow" such marriages was stated by 33%, and 4% had no opinion.

- McCain "welcomes" anti-gay ballot initiative to revoke marriage in CA
"I welcome the news that the people of California will have the opportunity to decide on the question of the definition of marriage, rather than having that decision made by judicial fiat as the California Supreme Court asserted in their recent ruling." -- John McCain Seeing as McCain is on his second marriage, after having dumped his first permanently disabled wife for a rich trophy bride 17 years his junior, he knows a thing or two about marriage.

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-Will Fundraiser Scandal Taint Obama?
(Chicago, Illinois) A day after Barack Obama sealed the Democratic nomination for president, a corruption scandal involving a fundraiser who once bankrolled his campaign resurfaced to slightly dampen the festivities.

-Clinton Preparing To Concede (Washington) Hillary Rodham Clinton is ending her historic bid to become the first female president and will back rival Barack Obama on Saturday, capping a 17-month quest that began with the words "I'm in it to win it" with a more humble plea for party unity.

-Obama-Clinton Ticket: Dream Or Nightmare?
Picture a cozy weekend at Camp David for President Obama, Vice President Hillary Rodham Clinton and their lively spouses. -Wedding Plans Underway In Calif. As Foes Rally Offensive (San Francisco, California) Gay and lesbian couples around California are planning their nuptials following a refusal by the state's highest court to delay its decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

-Suspected Gay Serial Killer Charged With Murder
(Stockholm) A man suspected of a number of murders of gay men in Sweden has been formally charged with one of the killings. -Pittsburgh Mulls Gay Partner Registry (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) An openly gay Pittsburgh councilmember has filed legislation that would allow people living together in committed relationships to register with the city.

-Opposition Party Moves To Delay Gay Partner Legislation
(Canberra) Australia's opposition Liberal Party says it wants a full Senate inquiry into proposed legislation that would provide limited benefits to same-sex couples.

-NYS Assembly Passes Transgender Non Discrimination Bill (Albany, New York)
The New York Assembly has voted 102-33 to amend the state’s human rights law to include anti-discrimination protections based upongender identity and expression.

-House Members Form Gay Equality Caucus
Fifty-two members of the House of Representatives have formed a bipartisan LGBT Equality Caucus to lobby for civil rights. All but two of the members are Democrats.

National Gay News,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/
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-Pride South Florida Announces 2008 Grant Awards
Pride South Florida, Inc., the 501 © 3 non-profit organization run by unpaid volunteers that supports a variety of groups who work to promote charitable activities, educational programs, and cultural arts for the GLBT community, is delighted to announce their 2008 Grant Award recipients. Pride South Florida (PSF) produces the annual “Pridefest”, a week-long celebration and tribute to the GLBT community, held each year at FortLauderdale’s Holiday Park and War Memorial. The monies generated from Pridefest serve as the primary income producer for various Grant Programs and public benefit opportunities bestowed throughout the year. 100% of the proceeds from Pridefest are distributed via this Grant Program each spring.

-`Survivor' Winner Takes Case to Supreme Court
"Survivor" winner Richard Hatch has appealed his tax evasion conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court, his attorney said Tuesday. Hatch was convicted two years ago of failing to pay taxes on the $1 million prize he won on the debut season of the hit CBS reality series. The Newport man was sentenced to more than four years in prison.

Marriage Equality News
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-Six of the seven California Supreme Court justices were appointed by Republican governors, who lauded their conservative credentials. This same judiciary delivered the legal outcome dreaded by many members oftheir party -- the legalization of same-sex marriage in California and the simultaneous elevation of sexual orientation to the highest class of protection, making California the first state in the nation to adopt such astrict standard. "The great triumph of the gay rights movement has been to transform American culture so that acceptance of gay people isn't just confined to the latte-sipping, windsurfing Democrats," says Andrew Koppelman, a professor of constitutional law at Northwestern University and the author of "Same Sex,
Different States."

-These cases in which courts refuse to acknowledge the humanity of the gay litigants appearing before them are absolutely infuriating. Here is another, Stadter v. Siperko, a June 3 ruling by the Court of Appeals ofVirginia, holding that a lesbian co-parent has no right to seek visitation with the child whose conception she participated in planning, whose birth she attended, and with whom she bonded as a mother figure for the first year and a half of the child's life. See 2008 Westlaw 2235600. In this case, the birth mother, Jennifer Siperko, and the co-parent, Christine Stadter, had their child on January 10, 2003, and separated during the summer of 2004.

-The California Supreme Court denied a request today to put its rulingallowing same-sex marriages on hold until after the November election,clearing the way for gay and lesbian weddings to begin June 17.
Opponents of the court's May 15 ruling had asked the justices to stay thedecision until Californians vote Nov. 4 on a constitutional amendment thatwould overturn the court's decision.

-Same-sex marriage in California will undoubtedly make life more complicatedfor many other states. That's their problem, not California's, where thestate Supreme Court should let the marriages go ahead this month as planned.
Gays and lesbians have waited plenty long for their rights to be recognized,and those rights should not be held hostage to the convenience of attorneysgeneral across the nation.

Pink News - UK
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-More homophobia from Polish politicians
A gay parent who is in a sexual relationship should have their childrentaken from them, a politician in Poland has claimed.

-Questions over police behaviour at Riga Pride
Members of the European, Danish and Swedish parliaments have criticised thecivic authorities in Riga over the way this year's Pride event was handled.

-Gay campaigners storm AIDS conference in Uganda
Three people have been arrested after they forced their way into aninternational conference about HIV/AIDS prevention in Ugnada organised bythe UN.

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) today condemned the arrests of three Ugandan LGBT activists and called for their immediate and unconditional release. The three -- Onziema Patience, (an FTM transgender, 28), Valentine Kalende (female, age 27) and Auf (male, age 26) -- were arrested yesterday morning by the Uganda Police Force at the 2008 HIV/AIDS Implementers' Meeting currently taking place in Kampala, Uganda. Along with other LGBT and HIV and AIDS activists, they were peacefully protesting statements made by a Ugandan government official that no funds would be directed toward HIV programs targeting men who have sex with men. SMUG and IGLHRC have fears for the safety of the three activists.

-Deputy Speaker of the Polish Sejm Stefan Niesielowski (Civil Platform-PO) was in a televised debate on the recent court decision to have a lesbian mother depraved of the custody to her 4 year old daughter. During the debate, Niesielowski among other things said: "The court didn't bow down to the pressure of the aggressive homosexual community, which came to make a scene as they usually do. I'm very happy about that. What is this, that they dared to have an impact on the verdict? It seems from what the court said the mother was a drug addict and molested the child…". When he was corrected that she was not accused of molestation he went on "Ok, she didn't molest but she was addicted to drugs. This community is so compulsive that they tried to influence a court decision. In this case the court clearly stated that the mother's homosexuality did not play a role." "The child's interest should be most important. It's unacceptable for her to have two mothers or fathers. If they want to live together then fine. But get the hell away from children". Same-sex families are "abnormal", according to Niesielowski. "I refuse to agree to this and I'll fight with the serious pathology which is a pair of lesbians with a child. Not too long ago homosexuals said 'don't persecute us' and now they demand adoption and the right to raise children, and that will never be allowed". Niesielowski stated that he would support a law which would take children away from homosexuals if they "bring in another homosexual to the family and their home becomes a place of permanent deprivation".

-"Turkey's closure of an LGBT organisation - a step away from the EU."
On 29 May a local court in Istanbul has ruled to close the LGBT organisation Lambdaistanbul. The ruling comes after a complaint filed by the City of Istanbul, which states that the aims of the association are against public morality. The European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights calls upon Turkey to respect its obligations arising from the European Convention on Human Rights, particularly rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of association of every Turkish citizen. "This is an extremely worrying development", said Michael Cashman, President of the Intergroup. "This is a regressive step in terms of Turkey's accession to the European Union."


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