Friday, December 19, 2008

GLBT DIGEST December 19, 2008

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New York Times
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-Letters: Obama's Invocation Choice
To the Editor:
Re "Obama Selects California Evangelist for Invocation at His Inauguration"
How ironic that, in the name of inclusiveness, President-elect Barack Obama has invited the Rev. Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church to offer the invocation at his inauguration. According to the church Web site, gays and lesbians can attend services but are excluded from church membership.

-In a First, Gay Rights Are Pressed at the U.N.
UNITED NATIONS - An unprecedented declaration seeking to decriminalize homosexuality won the support of 66 countries in the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, but opponents criticized it as an attempt to legitimize pedophilia and other "deplorable acts."

Washington Post
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-Obama's Inaugural Mistake
By Joe Solmonese
It is difficult to comprehend how our president-elect, who has been so spot on in nearly every political move and gesture, could fail to grasp the symbolism of inviting an anti-gay theologian to deliver his inaugural invocation. And the Obama campaign's response to the anger about this decision? Hey, we're also bringing a gay marching band. You know how the gays love a parade.

-Vatican backs gay decriminalization, not U.N. measure
By Phil Stewart
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican Friday urged governments around the world to decriminalize homosexuality but said a proposed U.N. resolution on the issue went too far. Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said the Holy See's delegation explained the position at the United Nations late on Thursday, criticizing the wording of a European-backed text that champions decriminalization of homosexuality.

-US balks at backing condemnation of anti-gay laws
UNITED NATIONS -- Alone among major Western nations, the United States has refused to sign a declaration presented Thursday at the United Nations calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality. In all, 66 of the U.N.'s 192 member countries signed the nonbinding declaration _ which backers called a historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with any-gay discrimination. More than 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality, and in several of them homosexual acts can be punished by execution.

Wall Street Journal
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-Choice of Pastor Aims to Bridge Divide
In choosing evangelical pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, President-elect Barack Obama is associating himself with one of the most popular religious figures in the nation, reaching out to conservative America and proving he's willing to take some flak from the liberal flank of his party. It will be yet another high-profile moment for Mr. Warren, an evangelical leader who opposes abortion and gay marriage but has worked to broaden the Christian agenda to include issues of poverty, AIDS and the environment.

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-Preachers selected to pray at inauguration
By Rachel Zoll | The Associated Press
The clergy chosen by president-elect Barack Obama to pray at his inauguration fill separate symbolic roles: One is a nod to the civil rights activists who made Obama's election possible. The other is an overture to conservative Christians who rankles some Obama supporters. The Rev. Rick Warren, who will give the invocation, is one of the most influential pastors in the United States, and a choice that has already caused problems for Obama.,0,2225058.story

South Florida Blade
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-Strength of Wilton Drive
Wilton Manors: Gayborhood dollars buck recession trend
With the holidays rapidly approaching and the economy on everyone's mind, many people worry about the small businesses in our neighborhoods. On Wilton Drive are many boutiques and shops owned, operated and catering to the gay community. Exclusive clothing stores, gift shops and hard-to-find items are easy to find in just a few short blocks. Streets that were crammed with holiday shoppers in the past are much less crowded this year.

-No gays named to Obama's Cabinet
Victory Fund leader calls week's events 'disappointing'
Chuck Wolfe, executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, criticized President-elect Barack Obama today for failing to name an openly gay member to his Cabinet. "As we talk about either keeping or renewing America's promise, which the president-elect has been talking about, apparently it does not yet extend to gay and lesbian people in the Cabinet of the president," Wolfe said.

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-Calif. Gay rights leader rejects inauguration invite
The head of California's largest gay civil rights organization has declined an invitation to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama because Rev. Rick Warren will deliver the invocation.

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-UN: General Assembly Statement Affirms Rights for All
66 States Condemn Violations Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
In a powerful victory for the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 66 nations at the UN General Assembly today supported a groundbreaking statement confirming that international human rights protections include sexual orientation and gender identity. It is the first time that a statement condemning rights abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people has been presented in the General Assembly.
The statement drew unprecedented support from five continents, including six African nations. Argentina read the statement before the General Assembly. A cross-regional group of states coordinated the drafting of the statement, also including Brazil, Croatia, France, Gabon, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway. The 66 countries reaffirmed "the principle of non-discrimination, which requires that human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity." They stated they are "deeply concerned by violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms based on sexual orientation or gender identity," and said that "violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization and prejudice are directed against persons in all countries in the world because of sexual orientation or gender identity." The statement condemned killings, torture, arbitrary arrest, and "deprivation of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to health." The participating countries urged all nations to "promote and protect human rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity," and to end all criminal penalties against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

-Re: In a First, Gay Rights Are Pressed at the U.N.
The official American postion seems shamefully lame. The US federal government clearly has jurisidiction to pledge US support in international fora. In fact, as I understand the Cheney/Addington doctrine of the imperial presidency, Bush alone could do it without the support of Congress. It is remrakable that the president asserts the power to undermine human rights at Guantonomo Bay but disavvows the power to support human rights based on delicate questions of the rights of states within the US federation.
Moreover, I wonder how many other federations supported the statement?
Canada for one. What about Germany and Australia? We will expect more from Obama. Congratulations to all those responsible for this historic moment, and to the countries who supported us and the principle of human rights.
R. Douglas Elliott
Toronto, Ontario

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Gay Adventists boldly take landmark book to conservative evangelical communities
A new book published by gay Adventists and those who support their full inclusion within the church is making an impact on this conservative evangelical community and is opening doors. Gays and lesbians in the 15-million-member Seventh-day Adventist Church have attempted to share their experiences and opinions with the church for more than 30 years, often with little response in return. This year they received a collection of voices to help tell their personal stories and viewpoint to an even larger audience.

-Conservative AZ Attorneys Object to Adding 'Sexual Orientation' to Oath
The State Bar of Arizona is contemplating a revision to its existing oath of office for lawyers that includes a promise on the part of the attorney not to discriminate against clients based on factors such as race, age, and sexual orientation. But some lawyers see this as an infringement on their First Amendment rights. A Dec. 15 article posted at the Web site Intellectual Conservative condemns the revision, calling it a matter of Arizona's State Bar "Throwing our constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of association down the drain," and worries that the revised oath "would silence conservative viewpoints on gay issues."

-Obama's unity call falls on P.C. ears
by Chris Crain
It hasn't taken the gays long to find fault in the still-transiting Obama administration. You can almost guess from the level of fury that what's at stake isn't something real, like a retreat on policy or foot-dragging on a campaign promise. That's because content- and consequence-free is exactly how the politically correct crowd likes their controversies. Barack Obama's offense was to select Rick Warren, a conservative evangelical who opposes gay marriage, to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.
Never mind, for the moment, that Obama also opposes marriage equality, as did Hillary Clinton and every other viable presidential candidate. Warren also spoke out in favor of Proposition 8, but never mind that support for a constitutional amendment overturning a historic gay marriage ruling puts Warren in smack dab the same spot as presidential candidate John Kerry, who nonetheless received heaped praise from the Human Rights Campaign and other gay rights groups. And never mind that Warren was selected to deliver a prayer, not a political speech, and will no doubt say nothing at all relating to gays or marriage -- come to think of it, that kind of avoidance would have practically qualified Warren for a "strategery" role in the No on 8 campaign.

-A Bigot, Anti-Choice Pastor Picked for Obama's Inauguration
By Sarah Posner,
Now it has officially gone too far: Democrats, in their zeal to appear friendly to evangelical voters, have chosen celebrity preacher and best-selling author Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration. There was no doubt that Obama, like every president before him, would pick a Christian minister to perform this sacred duty. But Obama had thousands of clergy to choose from, and the choice of Warren is not only a slap in the face to progressive ministers toiling on the front lines of advocacy and service, but a bow to the continuing influence of the religious right in American politics. Warren vocally opposes gay marriage, does not believe in evolution, has compared abortion to the Holocaust and backed the assassination of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

-HIV infects women through healthy tissue: U.S. study
Instead of infiltrating breaks in the skin, HIV appears to attack normal, healthy genital tissue, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday in a study that offers new insight into how the AIDS virus spreads.

-Gays and lesbians are included in the European Union's new
anti-discrimination directive, but one recent same-sex marriage case suggests the rules could bring both gains and setbacks. The sticking point is that family law is still determined by member states.,1518,596929,00.html

-Administration protects health care workers who won't provide services that violate their beliefs.
The controversial rule empowers federal health officials to cut off federal funding for any state or local government, hospital, clinic, health plan, doctor's office or other entity if it does not accommodate employees who exercise their "right of conscience." It would apply to more than 584,000 health-care facilities.

-Gay Man Backed For Navy Secretary
Foes cite 'Don't ask, don't tell'
By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times
Some top retired military leaders and some Democrats in Congress are backing William White, chief operating officer of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, to be the next secretary of the Navy - a move that would put the first openly gay person at the top of one of the services. The secretary's job is a civilian position, so it would not run afoul of the ban on gays serving in the military, but it would renew focus on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy as President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office.
"He would be phenomenal," said retired Gen. Hugh Shelton, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001, pointing to Mr. White's extensive background as a fundraiser for veterans' and military causes.

-Wife who shot cop husband was driven mad by 'self-loathing' sexual deviant
The attorney for Barbara Sheehan claims to have "significant evidence" (below) of Sheehan's murdered husband's sexual deviance. A retired NYPD sergeant shot dead by his wife was a "self-loathing" sexual deviant who liked transvestite hookers and wearing ladies' clothing, the woman's lawyer said Wednesday. Sgt. Raymond Sheehan, whose wife Barbara admitted pumping him full of bullets from his guns inside their Howard Beach home last Feb. 18, was a "very sick man," lawyer Michael Dowd said.

Inside Higher Education

-A New Look at the Impact of Diversity
Major scholarly study finds positive impacts from having roommates from different backgrounds - and negative impacts from being members of groups largely of one race or ethnicity.

Truth Wins Out - TWO
by Wayne Besen

-Truth Wins Out Distressed Over Barack Obama's Selection of Divisive
Televangelist Rick Warren To Give Invocation at Historic Inauguration 'Obama's 'Olive Branch' To Evangelicals Feels Like Poison Ivy To The Gay Community, Says TWO
NEW YORK - Truth Wins Out expressed extreme dismay today over Barack Obama's selection of notorious televangelist Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the historic inaugural swearing-in ceremony. At this event, Warren will hold a Bible that he recently used to justify discrimination against gay and lesbian couples in California, where he was an outspoken supporter of Proposition 8.

The Advocate
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-U.S. Rejects U.N.'s Gay Rights Statement, Cites "Don't Ask"
A joint statement addressing homophobia and LGBT rights for the first time at the United Nations was tabled today, without the backing of the United States. "We urge states to take all the necessary measures, in particular legislative or administrative, to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention," the draft document read.

-LDS Church President as Gay Mag's Person of the Year?
Utah's most prominent gay and lesbian newspaper, QSaltLake, has named Latter-day Saints church president Thomas Monson as its person of the year.
Monson led the charge to pass Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the Golden State. Monson signed a letter, which was read at Mormon church services across California, that urged all LDS believers to do everything they could to pass Prop. 8 by donating their time and money. In response, church members gave tens of thousands of dollars to the cause and traveled to California knocking on doors, conducting phone banks, developing websites, and filming commercials.

Pink News - UK
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-Stonewall - our prayers have been answered over Ladele case
Britain's leading gay equality organisation has expressed delight at the employment appeals tribunal's ruling in the case of a Christian public servant who refused to deal with gay couples.

-Christian registrar loses employment tribunal appeal over civil partnerships
An employment tribunal appeal has ruled that Islington council is not guilty of either religious discrimination in the case of a Christian registrar

-Comment: Gays should give Obama a break over inauguration preacher
Forget for a moment Obama's attempts to reach across the political aisle by appointing Republicans to his Cabinet, probably the boldest and most potentially provacative move he has made so far.

-US general backs gay man for Secretary of the Navy
An openly gay man is on the shortlist for the role of Secretary of the Navy in the new Obama administration.


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