Friday, November 28, 2008

GLBT DIGEST November 27, 2008

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Happy Thanksgiving!!

New York Times
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-The Plight of Gay Veterans
To the Editor:
One group of veterans who face added but avoidable economic distress are the thousands of gay men and lesbians who serve their country but cannot avail themselves of military benefits for their families. Because of "don't ask, don't tell," these Americans are limited in which family members they can even list on military paperwork, resulting in forfeited benefits that are available to their peers. Making the policy even more stupid, the United States has spent an estimated half a billion dollars since 1994 enforcing the unnecessary ban on open gays, money the troops deserve to have spent on them.
Nathaniel Frank
Santa Barbara, Calif., Nov.

Washington Post
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-Debating California's Proposition 8
Regarding Stephen Stromberg's Nov. 24 op-ed column, "Mormons' Uneasy Victory": Since when does defending the traditional family (in which one man is married to one woman and they raise their children together) mean being "outside the mainstream"? Where I live, that is the mainstream.

-Out for Obama: Gay Rights Group Plans Mega Inaugural Shindig
The "Out for Equality" ball (though its gay-rights organizers don't want to call it a ball) is shaping up to be one of the single hottest tickets on inauguration night. And you don't have to be L, G, B or T to want in on this action.

Steve Rothaus
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-White Party Week Video Guide 2008
A guide to events and parties hosted by Mario Trejo of Twist:

Wall Street Journal

-Gay Marriage and the California Courts
Democracy loses if Prop. 8 is overruled. If it walks like a culture war, squawks like a culture war, and has all the ugliness of a culture war, surely it is a culture war -- right? Maybe not. It's true that we've seen some wild things in the days since California voters approved Proposition 8 -- a measure on the state ballot prohibiting same-sex marriage. We've had the burning of the Book of Mormon. The mailing of envelopes filled with white powder to Mormon temples. And activists marching on Mormon churches with signs and shouts of "hate" and "bigot" directed at anyone who might have a difference of opinion.

South Florida Blade
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-An insider's guide to South Beach
Skip the tourist traps during White Party Weekend Welcome to another edition of South Florida Blade. In the coming week we welcome thousands of guests to our corner of the globe: this weekend is Thanksgiving, which means in South?Florida, it's time for the White Party. Come one, come all. The White Party is a major fundraiser for Care Resource, the largest HIV/AIDS organization in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area. Most of the party revelers are local regulars, but the event draws visitors. For those who may be new to the area, we here at the Blade have compiled our "insider's guide" to navigating the wilds of South Beach. The White Party events will keep you busy; you won't have time for everything. But this is a good guide in general, should you ever come back. Here we go:

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-60 percent in Iowa support gay couple rights
A majority of Iowans support gay couples, but are divided on whether they should be allowed to marry or have civil unions. Two weeks before the Iowa Supreme Court hears arguments in a challenge to the state's ban on same-sex marriage, a new poll indicates a majority of people in the state support gay couples, but are divided on whether they should be allowed to marry or have civil unions.

-Federal lawsuit filed over HIV+ student bullying
(Indianapolis, Indiana) A school district in the state where HIV-positive Ryan White fought for the right to attend classes two decades ago is being sued by the family of a 14-year-old girl who says she was bullied so badly over her positive status that she left school.

The Advocate
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-Olbermann and Candace Gingrich Talk Proposition 8
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann talked to Candace Gingrich, the lesbian sister of conservative stalwart Newt Gingrich, Tuesday night on Countdown With Keith Olbermann. In the opening segment, Olbermann discussed a recently released poll from Survey USA indicating that 8% of California voters who had voted to ban same-sex marriage had changed their mind on the measure following nationwide protests that ensued. The poll had a +/- 4.3% margin of error for that specific question. The margin by which the gay marriage ban passed was just over 4 points.

-Same-Sex Marriage in New York a Complicated Affair
Gay rights advocates in New York thought same-sex marriage was a done deal after the Democrats captured a majority in the state legislature November 4, with Gov. David Paterson already having said he would sign gay marriage legislation if it landed on his desk.

-Democratic Supermajority No Guarantee for Gay Progress
The 2008 election may already be one for the record books, but triumphant Democrats are still vying for an elusive political prize -- the 60-seat supermajority required to overcome Republican filibuster attempts and advance their legislative agenda swiftly beginning in January. But what are the odds of actually getting 60 seats -- and will it really push gay rights to the front of the line?

National Gay News,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/
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-Why the Marriage
Amendment Mattered to Florida
The wrath of Amendment 2 coming to a gay household near you
By Norm Kent, Publisher,
In 1997, the Florida legislature enacted Florida Statute 741.212, which banned marriages between persons of the same sex. Section 3 of that law even reads that for the purposes of interpreting the statute, 'marriage' would mean only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. With that law in effect, a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was clearly redundant and unnecessary. So why did they do it? Because your enemies do not just want you down and out. They want to stomp on your throat.

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-"European Commissioner shocked; set to discuss Burundi legislation with the government."
On 26 November, at the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Port Moresby, the President of the European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights Michael Cashman MEP condemned the newly adopted law in Burundi which criminalises sexual relations between consenting same-sex adults. He raised the issue directly with the European Commissioner for development and humanitarian aid Louis Michael and called upon the European Commission to raise the issue with Burundi government. "The Commissioner expressed that he was shocked to learn of this law and stressed that this is a very serious issue. He told the Assembly he will travel to Burundi and discuss his concerns with the government." said Michael Cashman. In his intervention, Michael Cashman also stressed that this is a concern for the human rights of homosexuals in many countries, where rights are not respected or upheld and Burundi is just the latest example of pernicious legislation.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Open for Service by Nathaniel Frank
Why, when Barack Obama decides to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," he'll have a much easier time of it than Bill Clinton did in 1993.

-Young evangelist attacked by angry homosexual
The case of an assault against a young Christian by a homosexual in San Francisco is garnering national headlines.
On November 14, Promised Land Fellowship church sent 13 members to the Castro District of San Francisco, a neighborhood known for its large homosexual population. The young people gathered at a street corner, joined hands, and began singing "Amazing Grace." During an interview on Fox network's The O'Reilly Factor, Christine Cloud described the group's intentions. "We are not trying to convert gay people into straight people, but we are down there telling them about Jesus Christ in hopes that they would have that revelation," she explains.

-California: Head of Festival Quits
The director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, Richard Raddon, has resigned after the revelation that he donated money to support a ballot measure that outlawed same-sex marriage in California.

Los Angeles Times

-Ann Coulter's jaw wired shut! We're sooo sad....
Page Six is reporting that right-wing agitator and controversy-seeker Ann Coulter's jaw is wired tightly shut. I know, I know. If the report is true, It's almost as if our prayers have been answered. Apparently it was broken, but by whom, no one seems to be sure. We could hazard a guess, but why throw roses yet. The blogosphere is already aquiver over the idea of a forced Coulter Moment of Silence. Finally, the Right Wing Barbie Doll has to shut up. This is, after all, the woman who called 2004 VP nominee John Edwards the F-word in 2007 while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab ifyou use the 'gay hate word' " so I'm -- so, kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards, so I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions." The rehab reference was a right-wing joke (and we use the term loosely) about actor Isaiah Washington using that word for his "Grey's Anatomy" co-star T.R. Knight and been forced by the network to undergo psychological treatment. But her unfunny comments drew criticism from all fields, Democrats, Republicans and gay rights groups. But here's the best part about the Coulter broken jaw news. No really, this is really good: Seems she has a brand new book titled "GUILTY" due out in early January and, of course, was all booked on TV and radio talk shows to discuss the "much-needed reality check on a Left gone wild," declares the book's jacket. Her latest work reportedly exposes and mocks the media's love affair with all things Democrat and all things President-elect Barack Obama. Too bad Ann won't be able to say a word about her new book.That's just a gosh darn shame.

Anything but Straight

-The Future of Religion In America
By Wayne Besen
On Sunday, New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof discussed religious and cultural extremism in Pakistan, where a new cabinet member, Israr Ullah Zardari, defended the torture-murder of five women and girls who were buried alive (three girls wanted to choose their own husbands, and two women wanted to protect them.) The Times had another article on Monday about an all-girl rock band in Saudi Arabia that is forbidden from playing live concerts because of their gender. At home, former Arkansas governor and pastor, Mike Huckabee, appeared on ABC's "The View" and said that gay and lesbian equality was not the same as civil rights because homosexuals have not had their skulls cracked and were not hosed down by police. Apparently, he is unaware of the latest FBI hate crime statistics that show bias attacks based on sexual orientation making up 15.5 percent of all reported hate crimes. In Rome, Pope Benedict XVI is being criticized this week for questioning the usefulness of Interfaith dialogue in a letter he wrote to Italian politician Marcello Pera. What the Pope fails to point out is that thanks to intransigent absolutists, like the pontiff, finding common ground is nearly impossible.

Marriage Equality News
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-Prop 8 involvement a P.R. fiasco for LDS Church
Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Although they live a continent away from California, LDS Church members Gregory and JaLynn Prince, of Washington, D.C., still have felt the backlash from their church's involvement in the traditional marriage initiative known as Proposition 8. Their daughter, Lauren, a Boston University student, has lost friends over the issue, while their son, an LDS missionary in San Bernardino, Calif., has had a disproportionate number of potential converts cancel appointments.

-Art Leonard: The Florida Adoption Opinion from Miami-Dade
Source: Leonard Link
by Arthur S. Leonard
Full text by permission. Source retains copyright.
Here's the draft I've submitted to Gay City News for this week's issue: For the second time in just a few months, a Florida trial judge has ruled that the state's statutory ban against adoption of children by "a homosexual" is unconstitutional. Ruling on November 25 on an adoption petition by Frank Martin Gill, a North Miami man, to adopt half-brothers John and James, age 8 and 4, for whom he has served as a foster parent together with his partner for the past four years, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy S. Lederman held that the statutory ban violates the equal protection requirement of the Florida constitution and directly contradicts the state's articulated policy of seeking "permanent placements" for children. In the Matter of the Adoption of John Doe and James Doe, [Case No. Redacted] (Fla. 11th Dist. Cir. Ct., Nov. 25, 2008).

-Art Leonard: Will Florida Officials Flunk the Intelligence Test and Persist in Defending Their Gay Adoption Ban?
Source: Leonard Link
by Arthur S. Leonard
Full text by permission. Source retains copyright.
Florida state officials have been handed a basic intelligence test by Circuit Court Judge Cindy S. Lederman in Miami-Dade County, who ruled this morning that the state's statutory ban on "homosexuals" adopting children is unconstitutional and in basic conflict with the state's own statutorily articulated goal of achieving permanent placements for children who are wards of the state, preferably through adoption.

Pink News - UK
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-Sir Elton and David donate £20k to Liberal Democrats
Pop legend Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish are among a list of donors to the Liberal Democrats published yesterday by the Electoral Commission.

-Burundi activists seek internal solution to new law on homosexual acts
HIV groups in the African nation of Burundi have met with the country's health minister to discuss parliamentary moves to criminalise homosexual acts.

-Serbian government funds LGBT information website
The Ministry of Culture in Serbia has given financial support to an online news website dedicated to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and transgender population within the country and the Serbian Diaspora.

-HIV-positive man faces jail sentence for deliberately infecting partners
A judge in Victoria, Australia said that an HIV-positive grandfather from Melbourne preyed on "vulnerable" gay men when he tried to infect them with the virus.

-Graham Norton to join La Cage Aux Folles next year
TV presenter and comedian Graham Norton is to take the role of Albin in the London stage production of La Cage Aux Folles.

-Boy George's rent-boy "sexed up" false imprisonment story, court told
The male escort who claims that Boy George falsely imprisoned him wanted to be placed in hand cuffs and "sexed up" his story a court has heard.

-Cyprus grants resident status to gay Iranian asylum seeker
MEPs have welcomed the decision of Cyprus interior minister to grant resident status to an gay Iranian asylum seeker.

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News
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-Asylum for a Gay Man from Russia
Immigration Equality
Pro bono attorneys at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP won asylum for 22-year-old "Nikolay," a gay man who feared abuse and mistreatment in Russia.
From an early age, Nikolay was harassed because he was perceived as effeminate. As he got older, classmates regularly attacked him because they assumed that he was gay. In the summer of 2005, Nikolay and two gay friends were arrested by police, specifically targeted because they were seen as too effeminate. Shortly thereafter, Nikolay fled to New York through a study-abroad program. After a fellow Russian student outed him to his friends and family, Nikolay knew he could never return home. Nikolay was also terrified of being forced into his pending mandatory military service in the Russian army, as recruits are notorious for attacking and even murdering gay soldiers. In July 2008, Nikolay found Immigration Equality, and we placed his case with pro bono attorneys at Milbank. According to lead attorney Sofia Khan, Nikolay "had already been harassed, beaten and arrested in Russia because he was gay. When I met him, he just wanted to live a free and happy life with his boyfriend . . . It was such a great feeling to be able to help [him] start his life here in the United States, not having to hide who he is and live in fear." Immigration Equality is thankful to Sofia and all of the Milbank staff who worked on Nikolay's case. Thanks to their efforts, Nikolay no longer has to live in fear of abuse. Help make asylum possible for more LGBT and HIV-positive people by making a donation today.


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