Thursday, November 20, 2008

GLBT DIGEST November 20, 2008

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New York Times
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-Tennessee: Ex-Officer Is Indicted
A former Memphis police officer faces civil rights charges in the jailhouse beating of a transgender woman being held on a prostitution charge. The beating was captured on video. An indictment accuses the ex-officer, Bridges McRae, 28, of using unreasonable force by repeatedly striking Duanna Johnson in the intake area of the Shelby County Jail. Mr. McRae pleaded not guilty. Ms. Johnson, a biological man who lived as a woman, was being booked on a prostitution charge. A videotape of the beating was shown on Memphis television and online in June, leading to the firing of Mr. McRae and his partner, James Swain. Ms. Johnson was shot to death this month on a Memphis street by an unknown assailant. The killing is still under investigation, and no arrests have been made.

-Adult Children, Aging Parents and the Law
At the end of my mother's life, for six months, a year at most, Medicaid paid for her care in a nursing home. She was broke by then, after living on a pittance since she was widowed at 58, using the proceeds from her house to pay for six years of assisted living and part of her nursing home stay and never seeing a penny from a long-term care insurance policy that cost a bundle but covered none of what she needed. She had given my brother and me no up-front money to hasten her eligibility for Medicaid and died with $26 to her name and nothing to leave to her children. The good news was we didn't even have to put her will in probate.

-Top Court in California Will Review Proposition 8
Responding to pleas for legal clarity from those on both sides of the issue, the California Supreme Court said Wednesday that it would take up the case of whether a voter-approved ban on same-sex unions was constitutional. The court, however, stopped short of suspending the ban, which California voters passed as Proposition 8 two weeks ago after an expensive and hard-fought campaign.

Washington Post
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-Calif. Supreme Court to take up gay marriage ban
California's highest court agreed Wednesday to hear several legal challenges to the state's new ban on same-sex marriage but refused to allow gay couples to resume marrying before it rules.

-Gay advocates upset at shelving of Chicago school
As far as Miguel Garcia is concerned, Chicago already has a gay high school. Jones College Prep, where the 16-year-old is a junior, has the city's largest Gay Straight Alliance, an organization of more than 100 students that he and other members say wields considerable influence at their downtown campus. When he heard about the now-scuttled proposal to open a gay-friendly high school, Garcia said to his classmates, "Don't we already have that?"

South Florida Blade
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-Amendment 2 blame game
Ego, turf wars hindered progress on marriage amendment battle
Florida's GLBT community is having a hard time being cheerful after the Nov. 4th election. Barack Obama's victory and the public's so-called mandate for change is overshadowed by the passage of Amendment 2, along with other anti-gay measures in California, Arkansas and Arizona.

The Advocate
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-Cynthia Nixon, Joy Behar Talk Prop. 8
Joy Behar guest hosted and Cynthia Nixon dropped by Larry King Live Friday to talk about Prop. 8. Check out what the Emmy and Tony winning actress had to say.

-Proposition 8: All Hands, Black and White, On Deck
The high number of African-Americans who voted to pass Proposition 8 may have surprised some people, but not the folks at the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering black LGBT Americans. NBJC's CEO offers some insights about the black-white divide and how to mend it going forward.

-Setting the Agenda ... the Gay One
COMMENTARY: Prior to the election of Barack Obama, the gay rights agenda risked becoming nothing more than a wish list. But after nearly 30 years during which no major piece of gay rights legislation has been passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president, it is time to make a a real push for true equality. Our time at the back of the bus must end. Now.

Marriage Equality News
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-President-Elect Obama's Plan To Strengthen Civil Rights Up On The Web -
Large LGBT Section
Source: Pam's House Blend
by Autumn Sandeen
President-Elect Obama's agenda for civil rights has been published by the Obama-Biden transition website Excerpts of the future President's civil rights agenda for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people:
. Combat Employment Discrimination: Obama and Biden will work to overturn the Supreme Court's recent ruling that curtails racial minorities' and women's ability to challenge pay discrimination. They will also pass the Fair Pay Act, to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

-Andrew Sullivan: California Scheming
Source: The Daily Dish | The Atlantic
by Andrew Sullivan
Full text by permission. Source retains copyright.
They will hear the challenge to Prop 8. The best pragmatic summary of the possible consequences (I'm leery of this and would prefer to challenge the ban at the ballot box next time) came from a reader. While I don't like this idea for philosophical reasons, he's pretty persuasive:
What are the possible forms a backlash might take if the CA Supremes overturn Prop 8 on procedural grounds? Opponents of gay marriage will be angry and have their own protests for awhile, but to what effect? Honestly, what's left for them to do to us?

-Commentary: A Marriage Manifesto... Of Sorts
Source: The Devil's Advocate | ReligionDispatches
by Tom Ackerman
I no longer recognize marriage. It's a new thing I'm trying. Turns out it's fun.
Yesterday I called a woman's spouse her boyfriend.

-Commentary: The NAACP Gets It
Source: Pam's House Blend
by Terrance Heath
Well, the NAACP has shut my mouth on this one. I was pretty hard on them this summer, when I got wind of a PFOX exhibit at an NAACP event. But it looks like the outcome off the proposition 8 vote has raised some alarm with civil rights groups, including the NAACP. [Via Kip.]
Meanwhile, five civil rights groups asked California's highest court Friday to annul the ban on the grounds that Proposition 8 threatens the legal standing of all minority groups, not just gays.

-Commentary: The Anti-Gay Blacklist
Source: Huffington Post
by Emma Ruby-Sachs
On November 12th, it was widely reported that Scott Eckern, the artistic director of the California Musical Theatre, resigned after the Yes on Proposition 8 donation list revealed his $1,000 contribution. Turns out, the idea of boycotting companies to get homophobic employees fired has caught on.
I spent Saturday at a rally in Chicago protesting Proposition 8 and the anti-gay marriage movement. One of the speakers talked about a blacklist of companies that donated to Proposition 8. Still high from the protest, I looked up the Anti-Gay Blacklist, a collection of names and affiliations lifted from the public record of political donations to the Yes on 8 campaign.

Pink News - UK
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-US braces itself for Day Without A Gay protest against gay marriage discrimination
The passing of a ballot measures banning gay marriage in California, Florida and Arizona earlier this month has led to a new surge in activism across the US, sometimes referred to as Stonewall 2.0. Individuals have been using mobile phones, social networking sites and other technology to organise and protest.

-BBC Radio documentary will chart how AIDS changed America
A special documentary to mark the 20th anniversary of the first World AIDS Day has been commissioned by BBC Radio 2. How AIDS Changed America will be presented by actor Paul Michael Glaser, of Starsky and Hutch fame, and will air on BBC Radio 2 at 10.30pm on December 2nd.

-Immigration activists target BMI over deportation of gay artist
A major airline faces a "day of action" organised by activists who oppose migration controls. No Borders South Wales wants people nationwide protest against BMI Airlines for their part in the forced removal of migrants from the UK.

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News
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-Iranian Refused Asylum
Dear Iranian Queer Alliances,
We are writing to draw your attention to the case of a gay Iranian man, who is refused his asylum, and about to be expelled from Cyprus and deported back to Iran. As is well known and documented, gay people in Iran are subjected to persecution and severe punishment, including execution. If the person returns to Iran, Cyprus will be committing a serious miscarriage of justice and a gross violation of human rights. We have asked you to sending support letter to Cyprus MEPs and Panayiotis Demetriou responded: "Following your letter, I have communicated with the Minister of Interior in Cyprus. Despite the fact that you did not disclose the name of the Iranian asylum seeker the Minister told me the following: (a) The deportation is duly reasoned. (b) The finding of the Immigration Office based on European Court of Human Rights is that homosexuality is not a reason by itself for execution in Iran. (c) Despite the above the extradition order for this person will be suspended."
More. . .

-I Feel Your Pain, Rosie, Ellen & Melissa
By Marsha West |
On November 4th California upheld traditional marriage by passing Proposition 8 by a half million votes, thus amending the state's constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. The homosexual community is not taking this lying down. Before the week was out bitter gay-rights activists challenged the will of the people with litigation.
OneNewsNow reports that: "The homosexual movement for special rights has become louder, and in some cases violent, in the aftermath of losses at the ballot box in Florida, Arizona, and California. Florida Family Association notes the increased intensity in rhetoric from the self-proclaimed 'champions of tolerance' and diversity."[1]
More . . . . .

-Letter: Let's Dialogue on Racism and Homophobia
MCC News San Francisco
As pastors serving within the GLBT and allied communities, we are concerned that the emerging discourse in the wake of the Obama presidential victory and the passage of Proposition 8 has exacerbated tensions between and among members of the communities we serve and the African American community in particular. The targeting of a segment of African American voters who voted for Obama and also in favor of Proposition 8 is leading to scapegoating and is doing nothing to create meaningful conversations about racism and homophobia. We urge all those we serve, and especially those of us in the GLBT community who are white, to consider these points:
1. It was church-going voters of every race who aided the passage of Proposition 8, and this is a painful acknowledgment on our part. As clergy we believe it is imperative that we find ways to engage Roman Catholics, Mormons and Evangelical Christians in face to face dialogue.

-Pope's New Edict on the Priesthood
Los Angeles Times
The Roman Catholic Church requires its priests to refrain from any sexual relationship, whether heterosexual or homosexual. So one might think that the sexual orientation of an aspirant for the priesthood would be a nonissue - especially in light of the distinction the church has drawn between homosexual conduct, which is considered sinful, and homosexual orientation, which is not.
One would be wrong. The Vatican recently issued a statement re-emphasizing that even chaste gay men are to be barred from the priesthood. Never mind that large numbers of gay priests - estimates range from 25% to 50% - already serve the faithful, with most adhering to their vow of celibacy.

-MA: 5 Years Later, Views Shift Subtly on Gay Marriage
By David Filipov, Globe Staff | Boston Globe
When the Supreme Judicial Court handed down its landmark decision five years ago tomorrow allowing same-sex couples to wed in Massachusetts, opponents warned that traditional marriage would be endangered, while supporters envisioned an equality movement that would spread across the nation. Over 11,000 same-sex marriages later, neither has happened. Massachusetts has yet to become, as former governor Mitt Romney predicted, the "Las Vegas of same-sex marriage." Gay marriage rates leveled off at about 1,500 a year - about 4 percent of all state marriages - in 2006 and 2007. The divorce rate in Massachusetts has remained the same - and the lowest in the country. And only one other state now allows same-sex marriage; 30 states have a ban against it.

-IL: Gay Friendly Schools
Chicago Tribune
If there's a high school student in your home, then you know that something as small ("You call that SMALL???") as a newly sprouted zit is reason enough to stay home sick, or try to. Teenagers have an astonishing capacity to wound, and to be wounded, and high school is a target-rich environment. Kids can be ostracized for showing up with nerdy glasses, for raising their hands too often in class, for revealing the wrong style of briefs in the locker room. When it comes to sexual identity, kids who are perceived as different are particularly vulnerable. A 2007 study by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network found that 86 percent of gay, transgender or "questioning" students reported being harassed by classmates because of their sexual orientation, and 44 percent said they had been physically harassed. More than half said they didn't feel safe in school; nearly a third had missed a day of class in the last month because of that fear. Their grade-point average was almost half a point below the norm. Other studies have found that up to 28 percent of gay students drop out of high school. Several years ago, a Chicago Public Schools survey found that gay and lesbian students were three times as likely as their straight peers to skip school because they felt unsafe. Those numbers are behind CPS chief Arne Duncan's plan to open a gay-friendly high school in 2010. Read more

-Admirals, Generals: Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
By BRIAN WITTE | Associated Press Writer | Seattle Times
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - More than 100 retired generals and admirals called Monday for repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays so they can serve openly, according to a statement obtained by The Associated Press.The move by the military veterans confronts the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama with a thorny political and cultural issue that dogged former President Bill Clinton early in his administration. "As is the case with Great Britain, Israel, and other nations that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, our service members are professionals who are able to work together effectively despite differences in race, gender, religion, and sexuality," the officers wrote. While Obama has expressed support for repeal, he said during the presidential campaign that he would not do so on his own - an indication that he would tread carefully to prevent the issue from becoming a drag on his agenda. Obama said he would instead work with military leaders to build consensus on removing the ban on openly gay service members. More . . . .

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-Belarusian Gay Activists Discuss Homosexuality with Homophobic Far Right Groups
Extraordinary seminar held in Minsk
Three of the leading gay activists in Belarus came face to face with representatives of the 'far right' at a seminar in Minsk yesterday. With the theme 'Do radical organizations have the right to exist', the seminar was organised by the Belarusian Helsinki Committee. "It was very good that we and our opponents could see each other face to face and to talk," commented Sergei Androsenko of the Belarusian Initiative for Sexual and Gender Equality. "We will continue broad presentation of LGBT movement during the events
GayRussia.Ru, UkGayNews.Org.Uk

-India: Stop 'Social Cleansing' in Bangalore
Illegal Mass Evictions Against a Transgender Community
Police in Bangalore forced about 100 hijras (working-class transgender people) from their homes on November 10, 2008, suggesting a spreading pattern of prejudice-driven violence and abuse in the city, Human Rights Watch said today in letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India and local authorities. Following the arrests on October 20 and 21 of more than three dozen hijras and human rights defenders, the incident points to an organized police campaign of social cleansing in Bangalore. To read the letter from Human Rights Watch to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, please visit:

-Anti-gay violence an almost daily occurrence in the Netherlands
Many more homophobic attacks than expected
More Police needed
In the first half of this year the police received more than 150 reports of violence against homosexuals. In total 1512 incidents of discrimination based on race, sexual orientation or religion were reported. That's the finding of a report on homophobic violence produced by the Ministry for Home Affairs and Justice. However, because of the reluctance of many people to report these kinds of incidents Minister Ter Horst believes the actual number of homophobic incidents to be much higher. This is the first time that police have specifically recorded anti-gay violence. It represents 10% of all discriminatory incidents which is much higher than expected. The police will now pay more attention to gay meeting places since it is now clear that physical violence is on the rise.
Best regards,
Rod Evan
Coordinator, Aputheatre

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Iowa: Gay marriage supporters, opponents prep for case
The battle to legalize gay marriage in Iowa is intensifying as both sides brace for a pivotal court battle next month that will decide whether gay couples can receive the same tax, medical and social rights as married heterosexuals. Same-sex marriage supporters continued their push Tuesday in Des Moines as they prepare for the landmark case before the Iowa Supreme Court. The case, Varnum v. Brien, will decide whether gays and lesbians in Iowa can legally marry and qualify for the same benefits given to heterosexual spouses.

-Today the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law reported that laws prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace are used as frequently by LGBT workers as laws prohibiting sex and race discrimination are used by women and people of color. Currently, twenty states and the District of Columbia prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; thirteen of those states also prohibit gender identity discrimination. Analyzing employment discrimination complaints filed with state agencies in states prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination, the study finds 5 out of 10,000 LGBT people in the workforce file sexual orientation employment discrimination complaints each year, compared to sex discrimination complaints filed by 5 out of 10,000 women in the workforce and race discrimination complaints filed by 7 out of 10,000 people of color in the workforce.

-The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) is pleased to announce the establishment of the Kay Longcope Scholarship Award. The scholarship award, to be given to a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) student of color who plans a career in journalism and is committed to furthering NLGJA's mission of fair and accurate coverage of the LGBT community, was created thanks to a generous gift from Longcope's estate and with the guidance of her partner Barbara Wohlgemuth. Deadline for applications to the Leroy F. Aarons Newsroom Internship program is Friday, December 12, 2008.
Media Contact:
Thomas Cashman Avila
202-588-9888, ext. 17

Creates Harmful Environment That May Affect Health, Well-Being Amendments that restrict civil marriage rights of same-sex couples - such as Proposition 8 that recently passed in California - have led to higher levels of stress and anxiety among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults, as well as among their families of origin, according to several new studies to be published by the American Psychological Association. One quantitative and two qualitative studies on the impact of anti-GLBT legislation appear in a special issue of the Journal of Counseling Psychology, published by APA. That issue of the journal, to be published in January, will be titled: "Advances in Research with Sexual Minority People."

-Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown urges high court to let Prop. 8 take effect
His office, which has the responsibility of defending the initiative, also asks justices to review the lawsuits against the measure 'to provide certainty and finality.',0,3163076.story

-Calif. Appeals Court Revives Transgender Inmate's Claim Against Prison System Breaking new ground in California, a state appeal court ruled Friday that prison guards owe their inmates a special duty of care, potentially exposing prison officials to negligence suits if they fail to protect their charges. The subject of Friday's unanimous decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal has been addressed by other states and federal courts, but never before in California. "Prisoners are vulnerable. And dependent. Moreover, the relationship between [jailers and prisoners] is protective by nature," wrote Justice James Richman. "This, we conclude, is the epitome of a special relationship, imposing a duty of care on a jailer owed to a prisoner, and we today add California to the list of jurisdictions recognizing a special relationship."

-Why Prop 8 Passed in California: The Myth of the Black/Gay Divide
In the wake of Barack Obama's historic victory, a false and reactionary narrative has emerged that blames Black voters for the gay marriage ban that passed by a 52 to 48 percent margin in California. While Florida and Arizona also passed same-sex marriage bans, the vote for Prop 8 in the politically progressive state of California is widely attributed to the enormous surge of Black voters, 70 percent of whom approved the ban reversing the state's May 2008 Supreme Court decision allowing lesbians and gays to marry. The exit polls showed that 53 percent of Latinos voted for the ban, as well as around 49 percent of white voters. The state's Black population is 6.2 percent, and it accounted for 10 percent of the overall vote. In other words, blaming African Americans for the referendum's passage ignores 90 percent of the vote.

-Ted Haggard claims he was abused as a child

-5 civil rights groups in CA seek to annullProp 8,arguing it threatens the legal standing of all minority groups,not just gays

Anything but Straight
by Wayne Besen

-Anything But Straight
I can understand why white gay people are angry. I certainly am. But, let's take a step back and look at this dispassionately. I believe our failure with the African American vote (70% voted in favor of Prop. 8) has more to do with education levels than race. In general, people with lower levels of education - of any race - do not vote for gay rights. White people are twice as likely to graduate college as black people. This accounts for the difference by race on Prop. 8. Think of it this way. 57 percent of white people with a college education voted No on Prop. 8. Yet, 58 percent of white people with no college voted yes on 8. In other words, uneducated urban black people vote very much like uneducated rural white people. Uneducated people - black, white and Hispanic - often derive their power from physical strength. They perceive being gay as weak and antithetical to real manhood. By voicing support for gay rights, they lose status and often fear rivals may perceive them as gay. The easiest way to gain status is dissing faggots. I see this attitude all the time in Brooklyn - in the gym and on the basketball court, where I often play. (Not the best sample, I realize this)

-A Petition to Punish Churches That Abuse Tax Exempt Status
A petition is circulating to support the legal effort to amend our tax laws such that the Mormon Church, and other transgressing churches, would lose tax-exempt status if they continue lobbying for state propositions.

Lambda Legal - Fighting Back
Lambda Legal, along with NCLR and the ACLU, has filed a lawsuit directly in the California Supreme Court on behalf of Equality California and six same-sex couples challenging Prop 8. The California Constitution makes clear that a major change in the roles played by any branch of government must first be approved by two-thirds of both houses of the legislature before going to voters - a process ignored by those behind the antigay proposition. In addition, California Attorney General Jerry Brown agrees that all marriages performed between June 16, 2008 and the passage of Prop 8 are still valid and must continue to be honored by the state. This latest battle comes on the heels of a major national upset, in which four antigay proposition battles were lost in the states of Florida, Arizona, Arkansas and California.

Detroit News
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-GOP needs to court gay votes
by Deb Price
British Tory party offers lesson in reaching out to new constituents
As Republicans sift through the ashes of their defeat, the data shard that Democrats probably most hope their battered rivals ignore is this one:
Voters aged 18 to 29 -- who cast nearly one in five ballots -- favored Democrat Barack Obama over Republican John McCain by 66-32 percent. In contrast, voters aged 65 and older -- about 16 percent of the 2008 vote -- favored McCain, 53-45 percent, exit polls show. Clearly, this old GOP elephant needs more than Botox and a hip replacement.

-Gay equality should be part of nation's change
by Deb Price
In his uplifting victory speech, President-elect Barack Obama told the story of 106-year-old Ann Nixon Cooper of Atlanta and the remarkable changes that have transpired during her lifetime. Born just one generation after slavery, when people like her were barred from voting both because of the color of their skin and their gender, she saw America overcome the Depression, crush the Nazis, dismantle racial segregation, land on the moon, and inspire freedom-seekers to knock down the Berlin Wall. "And this year, in this election," Obama said, "she touched her finger to a screen and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes, we can." For those of us who're gay, Ann Nixon Cooper's story is a well of hope to draw from as we continue our own difficult journey to equality after a bittersweet election.

Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn
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-Suit forces eHarmony to offer gay dating service
Online dating service eHarmony has agreed to create a new website for gays and lesbians as part of a settlement with a gay man in New Jersey, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General said on Wednesday. The website will provide a dating service with "male seeking a male" or "female seeking a female" options, the Attorney General's office said in a statement. eHarmony said it will launch the new same-sex dating site, named "Compatible Partners," by March 31. The settlement was the result of a discrimination complaint filed by Eric McKinley against eHarmony in 2005, which will be dismissed under the settlement agreement. eHarmony was founded in 2000 by evangelical Christian Dr. Neil Clark Warren and had ties with the influential religious conservative group Focus on the Family. The New Jersey complaint is not the only legal action to be brought against eHarmony for failing to provide a same-sex option. In March, lawyers in California brought a lawsuit against the company on behalf of San Francisco resident Linda Carlson, who was denied access to eHarmony because she is gay. "We believe that this case is now essentially moot, and we're confident that we will prove that in court," eHarmony vice president Antone Johnson said in a statement about the California case.

Forwarded from Leon VanDyke

-The Man Behind Proposition 8
by Max Blumenthal
The year of Rushdoony's death, Ahmanson gave $1 million to the Institute for Religion and Democracy, a conservative outfit in Washington focused on weakening the political influence of historically liberal mainline churches. The IRD immediately placed Roberta Ahmanson on its board of directors after receiving her husband's donation. Ahmanson's money was budgeted specifically to generate a smear campaign against the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop, Eugene Robinson. The campaign's spearhead came in the form of a 2004 column by Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes titled "The Gay Bishop's Links." Barnes, who neglected to mention his membership on the IRD's board of directors in his column, falsely alleged that the Web site of a gay youth group Robinson founded contained links to "a pornographic website," and claimed without independent sourcing that Robinson "put his hands on" a Vermont man "inappropriately" during a church meeting "several years ago." The IRD circulated the column to various cable news networks, but only Fox News-which also employs Barnes as a regular pundit and host of a talk show-agreed to broadcast it. Though a panel of bishops investigating the charges discredited Barnes' smear, it helped widen the rift within the Episcopal Church and divide it from its global affiliates.


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