Tuesday, July 01, 2008

GLBT DIGEST - July 01, 2008

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Washington Post
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-NEW LAWS: Less Bingo, More Health Coverage Start Today
Thousands of low-income parents will be eligible for health coverage underMedicaid starting today, and same-sex couples will have new rights, as 189laws take effect in Maryland. Also today, the hundreds of video bingomachines that have proliferated in St. Mary's County and other communitieswill become illegal. And, a new commission will conduct a wide-ranging studyof the death penalty in an effort to settle an emotional debate amonglawmakers over capital punishment, offering a recommendation to the GeneralAssembly by the end of the year on whether to repeal or maintain thepractice.

-Put Them Out to Pastor
The pilgrim is making little progress. In a futile effort to convincefaith-voters that he is one of them, John McCain paid a visit to the Grahamsof North Carolina -- father Billy and son Franklin. After the meeting, not aword was said about the Grahams' past indiscretions concerning Muslims orJews, and neither, for that matter, was an endorsement proffered. The nextguest was country singer Ricky Skaggs. He did better. He got lunch.

-BRITAIN: Archbishop Cites Risks
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, battling to avoid an Anglicanschism over the issue of gay clergy, warned conservatives on Monday of therisks in setting up an alternative council of bishops. "How is effectivediscipline to be maintained in a situation of overlapping and competingjurisdictions?" said the spiritual leader of the world's 77 millionAnglicans.

-Va. Couple Nearly Sidesteps State Ban on Gay Marriage
Without the aid of lawyers, advocates or lawmakers, a Virginia couple almostsucceeded in getting around the state's same-sex marriage ban. Almost.

Steve Rothaus
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-Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly affirms rights forimmigrants and same-sex couples
The 2008 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)concluded its five-day meeting [in Fort Lauderdale] by adopting resolutionson a broad slate of social justice issues, from opposing a US attack on Iranto advocating for a higher minimum wage. In addition to tending to officialbusiness, the 3,000 attendees from all fifty states and several foreigncountries worshipped, celebrated, rallied, and attended classes at "UUUniversity" to learn how to be more effective in their home congregations.

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-Obama To Expand Bush Faith Based Programs
Reaching out to evangelical voters, Democratic presidential candidate BarackObama is announcing plans that would expand President Bush's programsteering federal social service dollars to religious groups and - in a movesure to cause controversy - support their ability to hire and fire based onfaith.

-Bill, Barack Talk But Are They Ready To Kiss, Make Up?
Barack Obama and Bill Clinton have ended their mutual silent treatment, withthe Democratic presidential candidate reaching out and asking his formerDemocratic nemesis to help him win the White House.

-Irish PM Blasts Critics In Own Party Over Gay Unions
(Dublin) Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen says he will not be cowed bymembers of his own Fianna Fail Party who oppose civil partnerships.

-Traditions Strong At Gay Weddings
Since the state of California began issuing marriage certificates tosame-sex couples earlier this month, questions about wedding rituals andetiquette - not just politics - have grown faster than a wedding receptionguest list.

-Buffalo Area Gay Vet Fights To Change DADT
A Western New York native who served his country in Iraq and was been kickedout of the Army because of his sexuality says his new mission is protectingthe rights of homosexuals in the military.

-Malaysia's Anwar Again Accused Of Raping Male Aide
(Kuala Lumpur) Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim filed a defamationlawsuit Monday against a male aide who accused him of sodomy, vowing toclear his name in the second sex scandal of his life to have thrown thecountry's politics into turmoil.

Express Gay News
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-Archbishop of Canterbury warns breakaway Anglican movement
Conservatives are minority in 2.2 million-member church
The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke out Monday against plans by conservativeAnglicans to set up their own global fellowship of those who rejected theliberal teachings of north American and British churches. Rowan Williamssaid proposals to set up a separate global council of bishops who wouldtrain priests and interpret Scriptures would create more problems than theysolve.

-Oakley raises $30K, says he'll definitely run for office again
Openly gay former Dallas City Councilman Ed Oakley has come almost fullcircle after losing last year's mayor's race in a runoff. "The day afterthe race, all I could think about was getting away on vacation," Oakleysaid.

-Westboro damns puppet maker
True to form, the crazies at Westboro Baptist Church have faxed a pressrelease (why bother saving trees when the earth will be destroyed in anapocaplyptic blood bath, right?) saying that Kermit Love, whom I bloggedabout last Friday, is for sure in hell.

-"Tell All The Drag Queens to Stay Home"
A few years back, Bill O'Reilly suggested to me that gay pride parades werea big problem for the gay rights movement. These parades shoot your movementin the foot, he told me in front of his faithful viewers one night in June(including my mother). His argument of course, is that the more "normal" weappear and behave, the lower the "ick" factor, and the greater our chancesfor securing equality (I hope I have the chance to talk about the "normalcy"of marriage with him sometime).

The Advocate
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-She Still Bops
With Cyndi Lauper and a who's who of queer and queer-friendly talent, theTrue Colors tour is entertainment for all orientations and all generations. In a silver- and black-striped suit and her trademark smudged eyeliner,Cyndi Lauper in 2008 is the spitting image of herself in 1985, and she's gotthe 6,000-strong crowd at Los Angeles's Greek Theater in the palm of herhand. "Raise your hand if you're gay," she cajoles in her still-thick Queensaccent. The crowd obeys. "Raise your hand if you're straight." Scatteredhands. "Now, if you're a gay person sitting next to a straight person, hug 'em for coming here tonight." Mass hugs.

-Va. Will Not Seek Charges Against Same-Sex Couple
A couple who obtained a marriage license and exchanged vows in Virginiabefore officials realized both were biologically men will not face charges.Same-sex marriage is illegal in Virginia, and the pair had faced misdemeanorfalse information charges.

National Gay News
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-Wilton Manors, Florida: Spirit of Camaraderie Prevails at Festival
Wearing matching red "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" T-shirts that they got whilevacationing together in Florida, the couple of 16 years say they are whatgay pride is all about."People tend to focus on the drag queens and theextreme," said Glen Zahn, 40, sporting Thing 2. "They are an important partof the gay community, but it's more than that."

Marriage Equality News
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-LDS Professor Speaks Out Against Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment
Nielsen, who is Mormon but not gay himself, says marriage equality wouldstrengthen the institution of marriage. The professor says that whilereligious leaders have every right to speak out on moral issues, they can'tuse purely religious principles to mandate what public policy should be. "Wecan't just say, this is our religious faith, so it should become civil law,but we have to appeal to broader, general moral principles, and I just haveto ask myself, what is the moral principle you could appeal to that woulddiscriminate another person, against a gay or lesbian, against a woman, oragainst a person of color? I don't think there is one," he said.

-Political Scientists Stick With New Orleans, Face Boycott
The American Political Science Association moved its 2006 annual meetingfrom the original site of San Francisco, where hotels were then in the midstof protracted disagreements with unions, to Philadelphia. On Friday, theassociation announced that it was rejecting calls to move its 2012 meetingfrom New Orleans. Many gay and lesbian political scientists had called forthe convention to move because Louisiana has adopted one of the moststringent bans on gay marriage, applying the ban also to any proposed legalrelationship such as civil unions that could be seen as resembling marriage. Supporters of moving the meeting said that it is not safe for gay academicsor their partners to travel to cities where their relationships have nolegal status. A boycott is now being organized of the 2012 meeting.

-Commentary: 'McCain plays small ball in California'
On the evening of June 26, with the right kind of ears, a steady, collectivegroan could be heard from thousands of gay Republicans throughoutCalifornia.followed by an eerie silence. Their man, Senator John McCain,decided to play small ball in his quest for the White House, and came outwith a two-line endorsement of the anti-gay marriage ballot measure, nowofficially known as Proposition 8. It was a move, according to one politicalstrategist, to "solidify his base." But over the coming months, it caneasily be spun into something much more different. The statement wasreleased late in the weekly news cycle on a Thursday evening on a web sitefew people read. "I support the efforts of the people of California torecognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman,"McCain wrote to the honchos of the ProtectMarriage.com campaign, the leadinggroup behind the anti-gay marriage ballot measure, "just as we did in myhome state of Arizona. I do not believe judges should be making thesedecisions."

Pink News - UK
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-Homosexuality not a mental disorder, just an abomination says Iris
Northern Ireland's most famous female politician has said that she does notthink all gay people need psychiatric treatment.

-EU report highlights discrimination in Malta
Maltese law discriminates against the lesbians, gays, bisexuals andtranssexuals, according to a report drawn up by an EU agency.

-Retired general attacks McCain's military experience
John McCain's campaign has said it is "outraged" by remarks from retiredGeneral Wesley Clark that the Republican Presidential hopeful lacks commandexperience.

-Rosie O'Donnell denies breakup and "outs" gossip columnist
Big gay Rosie O'Donnell gave original gossip girl, 90-year-old Cindy Adams,a taste of her own medicine. And she didn't chase it with a spoonful ofsugar!

-Mitt Romney in the frame for Vice Presidential nomination
While Democratic eyes seem peeled solely on whether Barack Obama will nameHillary Clinton his Vice Presidential running mate for a so called "dreamticket," one name keeps getting repeated over and over again in John McCaincircles: Mitt Romney.

-Inequality for same-sex couples in different EU nations is "cause forconcern"
The European Union's Fundamental Rights Agency has said that greaterlegislative protection and wider support within the EU is required for gay,lesbian, bisexual and trans citizens.

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News
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-An Interview with Sergeant Darren Manzella
Openly gay Army Sergeant Darren Manzella was discharged on June 10 under the"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) law forbidding military service by openlygay, lesbian and bisexual Americans. Manzella spotlighted the injustice ofDADT when he was profiled by the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes in December2007. In that interview he told correspondent Lesley Stahl that he servedopenly during much of his time in the Army, with the full support of hiscolleagues and command. Manzella, 30, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2002 andwas twice deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was awarded the Combat Medical Badge for providing medical care to hisfellow soldiers, Iraqi National Guardsmen and civilians while under fire.

-Selena Blake Takes On
FROM HER home in New York City, Selena Blake keeps up to date with events inher native Jamaica. She is aware of the music scene and perennial crime, butchose to focus on an embattled minority for Taboo . Gay and Lesbian Yardies:
The Voices of Those Who Dare to Speak, her second documentary. Blake, 45,said she decided to take on the sensitive subject of Jamaican aggressiontoward gays last year. At a fund-raising event in New York City for Taboolast week, she said patrons were concerned that violence against homosexualswas still rampant in Jamaica. "I was speaking to someone who told me thatElton John has completely boycotted Jamaica because of this, and it's notjust him. Several prominent folks have decided not to do stuff in Jamaica,"Blake told The Gleaner.

-GA: Atlanta Pride's Human Rights Exhibit Focuses on Struggle for Equality
Human rights and motivating Atlanta's lesbians, gay men, bisexuals andtransgender persons to take action locally is the focus of the Human RightsExhibit on display during the Atlanta Pride Festival. The event, one of thelargest Pride celebrations in the U.S., opens on Friday and continuesthrough Sunday. The exhibit focuses on the challenges LGBT Georgians face inhealthcare, employment and relationships. Through a partnership with GeorgiaEquality, the exhibit provides ways for taking action through lobbyinglawmakers to pass gay-friendly legislation that would crack down on anti-gaybullying in schools and ban hiring and firing based on sexual orientation. In Georgia, it remains legal to fire someone based on sexual orientation andgender identity. "The struggle for gay equality is intertwined with thestruggle for human rights," says Cain Williamson, Atlanta Pride's HumanRights Committee Chair. "The idea behind the exhibit is to motivate LGBTpeople to consider their future and how they can ensure they attain all ofthe rights provided to non-LGBT citizens."

-Anwar Launches Counter-Attack Over Sodomy Cases
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, accusedof homosexual assault, planned to lead supporters to a police station onTuesday to complain evidence was cooked up against him on similar charges adecade ago. Police are investigating the former deputy premier forsodomizing a 23-year-old aide, the same charge that landed him in jail forsix years before the Federal Court overturned that conviction in 2004. Theallegation surfaced as the revitalized opposition under Anwar was makingmoves to engineer parliamentary defections aimed at bringing down PrimeMinister Abdullah Badawi's government. Anwar planned to lead hundreds of hissupporters to a suburban Kuala Lumpur police station on Tuesday afternoon tofile a report saying the current police chief and attorney generalfabricated evidence against him in the 1998 sodomy case when they were partof a team that investigated and prosecuted him.

-CA: Same-Sex Marriage Foes Quiet but Not to Be Discounted
When gay and lesbian couples started getting married in California lastweek, one set of voices was quiet among the choruses of "Here Come theBrides" - those of the conservative activists who put a same-sex marriageban on the November ballot. Instead of appearing in front of the televisioncameras that recorded joyful couples applying for marriage licenses, thesponsors of the California Marriage Protection Act remained on the sidelinesand cautioned their supporters against disrupting weddings.

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-Homosexuality: It isn't natural
PETER TATCHELL says biology is not destiny. One-sided genetic explanationsof homosexuality are crude, simplistic and doomed to failure. A few yearsago, Dr James Watson, the Noble Prize winner who co-discovered DNA, reopenedthe controversy over the so-called gay gene when he defended a woman's rightto abortion. He was quoted in The Sunday Telegraph as saying: "If you couldfind the gene which determines sexuality, and a woman decides she doesn'twant a homosexual child, well, let her (abort the foetus)". Much of thereaction to Dr Watson's statement focused on its homophobic versus freedomof choice implications.

-Belarusian deputy want to ban work gay-teachers with children
With proposals to ban working with children homosecuals, made the other daythe House of Representatives deputy Lilia Kashenkova, arguing that suchpeople danger for society. Belarusian LGBT activist Julia Mitskevichbelieves that such a law could lead to even more closed gay, as well ashomophobia. Lilia Kashenkova: In my view, homosexuals represent a realdanger for the common life of others. How to identify employers, homosexualpeople or not, the deputy didn't know, but is confident that in theworkplace, especially among children, especially homosexuals visible.

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-Lesbians Shun Swedish Sperm Donors
Many Swedish lesbian couples trying for a baby are shunning artificialinsemination in Sweden, despite it being available since 2005. They preferto go abroad for artificial insemination services, mainly to Denmark. Lesbian couples feel that Swedish wait times are too long and that dependingon where you live, you may even have to pay for a service that is free forheterosexual couples.

-LGBT Rights Organization sends a letter to the President of the Russianfederation
Today, on June, 30, the representatives of LGBT Rights, the movement for therights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals, have sent a letter forthe President of the Russian Federation, seeking protection of civil rightsof the representatives of LGBT community in Russia. The main reasons, whichcaused such kind of letter, were the words of the governor of Tambov region,Mister Betin O.I, which he said, addressing to the citizens of Russia onMay, 16th, 2008. On that day, the governor of the Tambov region, in hisinterview to Vladimir Vorsobin, the correspondent of the newspaper"Komsomolskaya Pravda", when asked about his opinion of sexual minorities -gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders and about his thoughts oftolerance, declared: " Tolerance?! Like hell! Gay people should be torn. Andtheir pieces should be thrown downwind!" And also mister Betin added that heis flatly against "distortions" and that it is necessary "to clean thisnasty herd!" as he had already officially declared.
Text of the letter:

-New EU report says tougher laws needed to fight homophobia, urges equaltreatment for gays
VIENNA, Austria: Tougher laws are needed to combat homophobia in theEuropean Union, a new report says, urging leaders across the 27-nation blocto grant same-sex partnerships the same rights and advantages as marriedcouples. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals enjoy significant legalprotections in only 18 member states, the Vienna-based EU Agency forFundamental Rights said in Tuesday's report. "Equal treatment is afundamental right that all members of our society should enjoy," agencydirector Morten Kjaerum said, calling homophobia and discrimination "a causeof concern for us all."

-EU's Fundamental Rights Agency: Wider powers and greater measures needed totackle homophobia
Equal protection by EU anti-discrimination law remains an ideal not a factfor Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals (LGBT) living in many partsof the European Union (EU). Greater legislative protection and wider supportwithin the EU is required. Legal analysis covering the EU 27 released todayby the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) identifies differences intreatment and protection by the law and a lack of full and equal enjoymentof rights in areas of EU competence, particularly with regard to same sexpartnerships. As the European Union begins its debate on non-discriminationwith the publication of a new Communication by the European Commission on 2July, the FRA believes that the equal right to equal treatment shouldunderpin the legislative direction.


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