Thursday, December 04, 2008

GLBT DIGEST December 02, 2008

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Washington Post
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-Vatican attacked for opposing gay decriminalization
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Gay rights groups and newspaper editorials on Tuesday condemned the Vatican for its decision to oppose a proposed U.N. resolution calling on governments worldwide to de-criminalize homosexuality.

-Univ. of Toledo official fired over column sues
The firing of a college administrator over her criticism of gay rights has sparked a debate about free speech and whether universities have the right to regulate what employees say outside of their jobs. Crystal Dixon filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court seeking to be reinstated to her University of Toledo job, which she lost after writing in a newspaper column that gay rights can't be compared to civil rights because homosexuality is a choice.

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-Most Americans favor gay adoptions, survey says
Floridians seem out of step with most Americans, three-quarters of whom favor marriage or civil unions for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, according to a new national survey by Harris Interactive. The Pulse of Equality survey, commissioned by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and released today, shows a majority of Americans favors a broad range of policies and protections for gays, as well as supporting them as adoptive parents.,0,2429620.story

-Despite Milk movie, gays still seek rights
Dianne Feinstein is not sure she'll ever be able to watch the movie Milk, even though she's in it. There is 1978 footage of a stricken Feinstein in the opening minutes of the new Gus Van Sant biopic of Harvey Milk, her colleague on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the first openly gay elected official in U.S. history. "I was the one who found his body," the California senator told me last week. "To get a pulse, I put my finger in a bullet hole. It was a terrible, terrible time in the city's history.",0,3862157.story

-Gay adoption ruling favors good parenting over sexual orientation
I would like to take a moment to let Attorney General Bill McCollum know how one Florida family feels about the ruling last week regarding the two foster children and their dads in Miami. As a parent myself, all I can do (and it is not enough) is commend Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman for a fair and just ruling, which put the welfare of those two boys first. The idea for me, that there are children whose birth parents are unwilling, or unable, to care and provide and nurture them, is just sad. Sadder still is the idea that the great state of Florida would deny these same children a loving, supportive, stable environment in which to live.,0,1147881.story

The Advocate
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-Resolution Opposing Prop. 8 Introduced in California Legislature
Members of California's senate and assembly introduced a resolution Tuesday, the second day of the 2009-2010 session, opposing the passage of Proposition 8. With the resolution, sponsors Sen. Mark Leno and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, both San Francisco Democrats, suggest that Proposition 8 represents an improper revision of the state constitution. They maintain that both houses of the California legislature must approve any proposed revision to the constitution by a two-thirds vote before it can even go on the ballot, which was not the case with Prop. 8.

-Vatican: Gays Don't Need Protection Laws
The Vatican has come out against a United Nations resolution that calls on all governments to decriminalize homosexuality. The resolution, Archbishop Celestino Migliore said, would "add new categories of those protected from discrimination" and could lead to the decline of heterosexual marriage, Reuters reported Tuesday.

-Seattle Rallies for Marriage Equality
The massive protest rally and march for marriage equality in Seattle began Saturday morning with a moment of silence at 11 a.m. to observe the "extinguishment of our freedom to marry in California." An impassioned lineup of speakers followed, including Washington State senator Ed Murray, state senator Joe McDermott, King County executive Ron Sims, and Seattle mayor Greg Nickels.

National Gay News,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/
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-Gay Marriage Debate Returns To Two States
It was on the day of August 31, 2007 when Sean Fritz and Tim McQuillan, a pair of Iowa State University undergraduates, became the only gay couple to legally wed in Iowa. Their union was blessed by a First Unitarian Church of Des Moines pastor after an Iowa District Court judge ruled the state's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. But the opportunity to gay marry quickly evaporated when a Polk County attorney filed an appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.

-AIDS Monument Dedication NYC 2008
On November 30, 2008, the eve of World AIDS Day, a small group gathered at Pier 49 on the Hudson River walk to dedicate the AIDS Monument. The project of the AIDS Monument Committee took 14 years to come to fruition. Located on the Hudson River Park at Bank Street, the memorial is a 42-foot long, 2-foot tall, 12-inch deep curved granite bench. An inscription on the side facing the river says: I can sail without wind, I can row without oars, but I cannot part from my friend without tears. For more information go to

-Collective Denial
"I felt lost as a queer artist in the world," laments Smitty Amabilis. "I didn't feel like I had any mentors." To combat the "erasure" marginalized artists face, Amabilis founded the Portland, Oregon art cooperative Collective of Geniuses (CoG), which is premiering their latest work, Denial of Self this first week of December. CoG aims to empower artists to create economically sustainable art and challenge hierarchies of class, gender and privilege.

-World AIDS Day 2008: Much accomplished, much to do
When we commemorated the first World AIDS Day on December 1, 1988, we had little to celebrate. The number of reported AIDS cases in the United States was nearing 80,000 and rising rapidly. Untold thousands more in this country were living with the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. Globally, AIDS cases already had been reported from more than 135 countries. An AIDS tsunami clearly was looming, but we had few defenses at our disposal.

Marriage Equality News
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-Day Without Gays Protests California's Gay Marriage Ban
Link: The Philadelphia Inquirer
The nationwide movement, alternatively called "Day Without a Gay" and "No Gays for a Day" on the Internet, is another backlash from California voters' decision to support Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage. "We need to keep educating people that just because you don't think it's OK to be gay doesn't mean gays don't deserve to have equal rights," said Brandi Fitzgerald, who plans to take the day off Dec. 10. Last month she helped pull together a post-Prop 8 protest march at City Hall that drew 6,000 people. She expected 200. "It's just a matter of time before it becomes an issue for every state." With no one organization leading the charge, "Day Without a Gay" is very much a grassroots movement - or "grass Web," says Sean Hetherington, who with his partner created the Web site The two-week-old site has garnered thousands of hits and international attention. The site urges people not only to call in gay but to use the day, which is also International Human Rights Day, to make a positive difference by doing volunteer work.

Pink News - UK
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-New bill announced in Queen's Speech will "drive forward equality"
The government will introduce a new Equality Bill in the coming session of Parliament, the Queen has confirmed. In a speech from the Throne in the House of Lords Her Majesty set out the legislative programme for next year, a total of 13 Bills.

-Boy George declines to give evidence at his trail
Pop singer and DJ Boy George will not to give evidence at his trial for allegedly imprisoning a male prostitute at his London flat. The star, real name George O'Dowd, denies the charges against him.

-Time runs out for Catholic adoption agencies over gay couples
The Charity Commission has told two Roman Catholic-run adoption agencies they cannot change the purpose for which they were created in order to avoid dealing with homosexual couples.

-THT rejects Tatchell criticism and reveals work with blood service
A leading sexual health charity has said it is working with the National Blood Service on the current ban on men who have had sex with men donating blood. Terrence Higgins Trust has been accused of colluding with "stereotyped and prejudiced assumptions" that bar gay men from giving blood by campaigner Peter Tatchell. The NBS claims that it targets sexual behaviour and not sexual orientation, but there is a lifetime ban on donations from men who have had sex with men.

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News
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-LGBT Groups Unite to Support EFCA
Pride At Work
A broad coalition of national lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender organizations is gearing up to push for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would remove obstacles for workers who want union representation. The LGBT organizations supporting the bill include some of the community's largest and most influential. They are: the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), Pride at Work, AFL-CIO, National Stonewall Democrats and, most recently, the Human Rights Campaign.

-NH: Representative Hopes for Same-sex Marriage
By LAUREN R. DORGAN | Monitor staff | Concord Monitor
The lawmaker who sponsored New Hampshire's civil union bill will push next year to bring same-sex marriage to the state. Meanwhile, though opposition to civil unions has been muted since last year, legislators who opposed the law are vowing to at least pare it down. Rep. Jim Splaine, a Portsmouth Democrat who sponsored the civil union bill that passed in 2007, says that civil unions give same-sex couples about 90 percent of the benefits and obligations that heterosexual couples get through marriage. This year, he said, he's filing a bill for same-sex marriage, which he sees as the only way for same-sex couples to attain full equality. More

-CT: Same-sex Partners of State Workers Could Lose Benefits Next Year
Republican America
Same-sex partners of state employees and their dependent children are losing pension and health benefits because gay marriage is now legal in Connecticut. An arbitration award that established the benefits eight years ago was conditioned on same-sex marriage remaining illegal here. Read more

-President-elect Obama Commemorates World AIDS Day
Official statement from the Obama-Biden Transition Team to mark the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day is a day of both commemoration and promise for the many millions of people around the world who are affected by HIV/AIDS. This year's theme, Leadership, is a particular reminder to me that World AIDS Day cannot be confined to a single day of the year. For that reason, I have committed my administration to developing and implementing a comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reduce HIV infections, increase access to treatment and care and reduce HIV/AIDS-related health disparities.

-A Glance at Iranian Queer Asylum Seeker's Life in England
Translated by Ava | Iranian Queer Railroad
At 2 am on Saturday 15th November, Saeed attempted suicide by swallowing many pills. He was taken to the emergency room at the hospital. He was in critical condition and in a coma. Due to his comatose state the doctor did not wash out his stomach. They could not give him a vomit-inducing agent because of the potential danger. The deep coma could prevent him from vomiting. Since he had overdosed and the amount of pills he had taken was so large they did not want to take any risks. They transferred Saeed to ICU so he could be placed in intensive care. They attached an oxygen mask to him until Sunday morning close to noontime when he gained consciousness. The risk of side effects to the kidney and lungs was high so they kept him under treatment and monitoring. He was given antibiotics to prevent infection.

-FL: Action Alert: Gay Rights Protest Planned for Gov. Crist's Wedding
Catherine Dolinski | The Tampa Tribune |
TALLAHASSEE - Gay rights activists plan to demonstrate outside Gov. Charlie Crist's wedding to Carole Rome this month. The group Impact-Florida has called on its members to gather in pink T-shirts outside First United Methodist Church of St. Petersburg on Dec.12 to "congratulate" Crist and Rome while their wedding takes place inside. The demonstration will continue outside the wedding reception at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in downtown St. Petersburg. "After the positive congratulatory observance, there will be a candlelight vigil close to the [Vinoy] in downtown St. Pete to mourn the loss of gays right to get married," the group's Web site states, referring to a gay marriage ban that passed by ballot initiative in November. Crist endorsed Amendment 2 prior to its passage by 61.9 percent of state voters; it needed 60 percent to become part of the state Constitution.

-More Non Sequitur Arguments from the Christian Right's Dogma of Duplicity
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D. | Online Journal Contributing Writer | Online Journal
The "Yes on 8" campaign in California that, for the time being, succeeded in revoking some citizens' basic civil right to a civil marriage used scare tactics and non sequitur arguments based on misrepresentations, distortions, and deceptions. And they're still at it.
The "Yes on 8" campaign - funded primarily by the Mormon Church
($20,000,000), the Catholic Church ($1,300,000 from the Knights of Columbus and "priceless" pulpit politicking by Catholic priests) as well as the minions of the Protestant Christian Right, such as James Dobson's Focus on the Family ($622,000 in monetary and non-monetary contributions) and Don Wildmon's American Family Association ($500,000) - flooded Californians' television screens with ads claiming that if the Prop 8 failed, kindergarten children would have to be taught about homosexuality and gay marriage. They were misrepresenting, distorting, and deceiving:

-Neglected Children Deserve Loving Homes
Deb Price | Creators
Martin Gill and his partner, licensed foster parents in Florida, were planning to move, so they told a state child-placement official it wasn't a good time for them to take in two needy boys. They put out the welcome mat, though, after the official begged them to give baby "James" and his 4-year-old brother, "John," a special Christmas. When the brothers arrived, the couple were heartbroken at the confirmation of the "neglect" designation. James had a terrible ear infection, and his medicine was spoiled. John had such awful ringworm that he looked bald. Traumatized and silent, little John had been his infant brother's caretaker. One of the first orders of business for his new foster parents was teaching him that it was their job - not his - to change James' diapers.

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-Bloody bigots
The National Blood Service claims it wants to protect patients from HIV, but its indiscriminate ban on gay donors is flawed.
Oddly, this ban is supported by gay-led HIV charities in the UK, such as the Terrence Higgins Trust and Gay Men Fighting Aids. Disappointing or shameful?

By Peter Tatchell
The Guardian It is World AIDS Day and many gay people overseas are donating blood. Encouraged to donate by their national blood services, they are doing their civic duty, alongside their heterosexual families and friends, to help ensure that there are plentiful blood supplies for patients and accident victims who need emergency transfusions. But this is not happening in the UK. Gay blood has been officially declared queer, tainted and a menace to the health of the nation. Gay and bisexual men are banned as blood donors by the National Blood Service (NBS). We all now carry the mark of the HIV 'Anti-Christ'. Every single same-sexer in Britain is categorised by the NBS as a potential purveyor of death and destruction.

-A new leaflet produced by the Catholic Church in England and Wales urges priests and churchgoers to be respectful and welcoming towards lesbian and gay people. It also acknowledges and rejects the "oppression" suffered by homosexuals; and suggests that Catholics "express appreciation for the gifts that homosexual Catholics bring to their faith community." Catholic traditionalists have condemned the leaflet's liberal message and accused the English and Welsh Church of defying Vatican orthodoxy. "This leaflet is a welcome, positive initiative which will bring great comfort to gay Catholics and their families. Its sympathetic, understanding message is a big improvement on the stern, uncompromising homophobia of most Vatican pronouncements on homosexuality," said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!, the UK lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights campaign. See a copy of the leaflet here:

-No Discrimination Against the Discriminators: The Compassionate Christianity of Papa Ratz
This is not exactly the freshest news in the world: For at least two years, France has been considering a proposal to the United Nations requiring the decriminalization of homosexuality in member countries. As early as November 2006, French activist Louis-George Tin announced his intention to present the UN with a draft resolution to that effect. In September 2008, just slightly less than two years later, the French Junior Human Rights Minister, Rama Yade, told a conference of NGOs at UNESCO that she would submit such a resolution to the UN General Assembly in December, with the aim of effecting universal decriminalization of homosexuality. In the meantime, every single country in the European Union has signed on to France's draft declaration, which will be presented officially on December 10, the sixtieth anniversary of the UN's Declaration of Human Rights.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Atlanta's Intersex Police Officer Seeks Awareness
As the Atlanta Police Department's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Liaison, Officer Darlene Harris has served as a symbol assuring fair treatment and greater protection since 2005, when she was appointed to this post. When she disclosed she is intersex in July 2008, Harris garnered attention for her bravery and for drawing focus on the subject of intersex identity and experience.

Gay men who are not considered sexually desirable are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior according to new research out of the University of Toronto. They may also develop psychological problems as a consequence of feeling undesirable.

-Marriage, yes; benefits, no.
Ruling to cost state workers' same-sex partners health coverage
Same-sex partners of state employees are losing pension and health benefits because gay marriage is now legal in Connecticut. An arbitration award that established the benefits eight years ago was conditioned upon same-sex marriage remaining illegal here. The state Supreme Court's recent recognition of same-sex marriage means the state government no longer must provide this coverage to same-sex partners and their dependent children. State Comptroller Nancy Wyman notified the heads of all state agencies on Friday that the benefits will cease Nov. 30, 2009, unless the partners marry or enter into a civil union. Under federal law, unmarried partners and dependent children may continue coverage at the group rate for 18 months, and possibly longer under certain conditions. There was no immediate reaction from Love Makes A Family, a gay rights group that led the efforts to legalize same-sex marriages through the state courts and the legislature. Executive Director Anne Stanback didn't return telephone calls seeking comment on Friday.

-Study says HIV could be eliminated in a decade
LONDON (AP) - The virus that causes AIDS could theoretically be eliminated in a decade if all people living in countries with high infection rates are
regularly tested and treated, according to a new mathematical model. It is an intriguing solution to end the AIDS epidemic. But it is based on assumptions rather than data, and is riddled with logistical problems. The research was published online Tuesday in the medical journal, The Lancet.


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