Tuesday, December 23, 2008

GLBT DIGEST December 23, 2008

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New York Times
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-The Vatican: In Speech, Pope Calls Homosexual Behavior a Violation
Pope Benedict XVI spoke out Monday against homosexual behavior, calling it a violation of the natural order. In an address to the Vatican hierarchy, the pope called for an "ecology of man" to protect man from "the destruction of himself." He added, "The rain forests deserve our protection, but man as a creature indeed deserves no less." The Vatican opposes same-sex marriage and considers homosexual acts sinful.

Washington Post
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-A Gamble for Obama . . . And a Risk for Rick Warren, Too
By E. J. Dionne Jr.
By inviting Pastor Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation, President-elect Barack Obama has alienated some of his friends on the left. By accepting, Warren has enraged some of his allies on the right. Obama and Warren have helped each other in the past, and both know exactly what they're doing.

-Warren On? Party Off.
By Richard Cohen
Not that he was planning to attend, but Barack Obama should know that my sister's inauguration night party -- the one for which she was preparing Obama Punch -- has been canceled. The notice went out over the weekend, by e-mail and word of mouth, that Obama's choice of Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation had simply ruined the party. Warren is anti-gay, and my sister, not to put too fine a point on it, is not. She's gay.

-Rick Warren's biggest critics: other evangelicals
-Rick Warren is in a place he never expected to be: at the center of a culture war. The pastor chosen by President-elect Barack Obama to give the inaugural invocation backed Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in his home state of California. But he did so belatedly, with none of the enthusiasm he brings to fighting AIDS and illiteracy.

-A Disappointing, Divisive Choice
John Bryson Chane
Quite frankly I am disappointed and very concerned with president-elect Obama's decision to invite the Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. The president-elect has stated his intention to engage and work with people he may not necessarily agree with. Yet, Warren's comments and political maneuvering in support of California's Proposition 8, his public support of the assassination of a foreign leader and his alliance with Anglican Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda, a bishop who seeks to "purify" the Anglican communion, of which my diocese is a member, by driving out gay and lesbian Christians and their supporters is shameful. Orombi preaches a Gospel of hate that equates homosexuality with bestiality.

-We Don't Need Rick Warren's Blessing, Or Anyone Else's
by Deepak Chopra
Since God didn't vote for President, why should he get a seat on the inauguration platform? In the midst of controversy over picking Rick Warren to offer an invocation, it's been overlooked that reality is shifting in America. We are a largely secular society where the vast majority of people do not attend church. When religion enters the picture, we are a pluralistic society, not a Christian one. The right wing may posture as if Christianity deserves special privilege and pride of place. Their posturing has convinced a lot of people for the past twenty years, but it's high time we threw the whole charade out the window. Barack Obama got in trouble with Jeremiah Wright and now he's in more trouble with Rick Warren. He should take this as a lager lesson. Anyone he chooses to invoke God at his inauguration will be divisive, either overtly or covertly. For two generations Billy Graham seemed safe enough for any President to touch without getting shocked. But if all of Billy Graham's private views were aired publicly, I doubt that many non-Christians would feel welcomed by him, and probably not a great many Catholics and Jews. The essence of evangelism is to save the lost and fallen, which means every person in the world who doesn't adhere to your (usually narrow) conception of God. If Obama can't bring himself to do the right thing and keep God away on Jan. 20, he should be as ecumenical as those moving services at Yankee Stadium in the wake of 9/11. They were ecumenical because when the going really gets rough, petty differences about God fade away. Aren't we in crisis mode now? Everyone seems to think so. I understand Obama's justification for inviting Warren -- it's a gesture of non-divisiveness, a chance to pull right-wing Christians closer to the center. Maybe that outweighs the wounded feelings of gay Americans, who looked to Obama (even though he opposed gay marriage himself during the campaign). But the larger point, I think, is that religion has been a toxic element in U.S. politics for so long that it would be a relief to clean house and reinstate this country's secular virtues, chief among them being tolerance for all. Even God might be grateful.

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-Police in San Francisco Bay area investigate brutal gang rape of lesbian by 4 strangers
A woman in the San Francisco Bay area was jumped by four men, taunted for being a lesbian, repeatedly raped and left naked outside an abandoned apartment building, authorities said Monday. Detectives say the 28-year-old victim was attacked Dec. 13 after she got out of her car, which bore a rainbow gay pride sticker. The men, who ranged from their late teens to their 30s, made comments indicating they knew her sexual orientation, said Richmond police Lt. Mark Gagan.

-Celebrities share adoption stories for TV special
Etheridge, a mother of four, adopted two children with former partner, director Julie Cypher. It wasn't lost on Etheridge that her involvement in the special came just days after Arkansas voters approved a law banning gays from adopting children. "Our homes are good homes," Etheridge said, who also has twins with current partner Tammy Lynn Michaels. "We're hard-working people. We love. We live. We can raise people to be members of society. It is a crime to keep children who could be in a loving home away just because those two parents are of the same sex. It's a crime. It's just a shame."

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-The 8 top gay videos of 2008
By Jennifer Vanasco
From Tina Fey to Jon Stewart, Ellen to Prop 8: The Musical! - here's what we watched this year online. Check out the videos.

-Arizona Bar Assoc. mulls gay equality pledge
A conservative legal group is calling on lawyers to oppose a proposed revision to the Arizona Bar Association oath of office that pledges equal representation to LGBT clients.

-Gay in 2008
By Emma Ruby-Sachs
Writing the year-end wrap-up today is hard and sad. Hard because this has been an incredibly eventful year for gay rights, sad because many of us, myself included, are so angry about Reverend Rick Warren, giving thanks for the wins might be harder than we would like. That said, here is a list of important successes and failures for the year: The law of equality is evolving

-Tis the Season: Finding a safe space for spirituality
By Allison Steinberg
Tis the season to be shopping, overeating, running around like a chicken without a head and deferring sleep until the 26th of December. Tis also the season, though, to take time to reflect on the past year and upcoming New Year, the time to reach out to help others who might be in need, and, for some of us, the season to connect with the religious part of ourselves. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, or Bodhi Day, you can find services where you don't have to worry about being turned away because of your sexual identity.

-Rev. Warren meets with Etheridge
By James Withers
Melissa Etheridge, who once informed us that her son thought the language for Proposition 8 was "lame,", was on the same stage with Rev. Rick Warren this week-end. At least that is the story scholar Juan Cole is telling.

National Gay News
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-Battle in the Prop 8 Fight Continues
A gay-rights organization said a group that ran an ad defending the Mormon church and others' right to support California's same-sex marriage ban is lying about the nature of demonstrations against the ban. Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Truth Wins Out took out a full-page advertisement Thursday in The Salt Lake Tribune under the headline, "Lies in the Name of the Lord." It's a response to another full-page ad placed in the New York Times on Dec. 5 about the fallout from passage of a California constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

-South Florida Blade Publisher Kevin Hopper Promoted to New Post
Kevin Hopper, 30, Publisher of the South Florida Blade and 411 Magazine has been promoted to a new position at parent company Window Media, in which he'll also be publisher of Southern Voice and David Magazine. Formerly published under the moniker of the Express Gay News., Kevin has been with the newspaper since its creation in December of 1999. The Publisher of the Express, now the owner of this site, ww.nationalgaynews.com, Norm Kent, sold the paper to Window Media in 2003, and Mr. Hopper remained on in an administrative capacity, which culminated last year when he was named the newspaper's publisher. Kevin and his partner, Greg Walker, who owns an IT company, live in Fort Lauderdale.

Pink News - UK
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-Pope Benedict's latest outburst "justifies" homophobic bullying and attacks
The head of the Roman Catholic Church has claimed that the existence of gay people is as great a threat to humanity as the destruction of the rainforest.

-Comment: Pope Benedict learnt nothing from his time in the Hitler Youth
Imagine if a world leader said that Jews were a threat to humanity. Imagine the outrage such a provocative statement would be, especially if that leader was German.

-New York Times admits publishing fake letter from gay Mayor of Paris
One of America's most respected newspapers has had to apologise after it published a letter they claimed was written by the Mayor of Paris.

-ILGA defends gay family exhibition at Euro Parliament as second MEP complains
A leading gay rights group has said it "regrets" that two MEPs have objected to an exhibition highlighting the legal and social discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-led families.

-UNAIDS: Decriminalisation is key to universal access to HIV treatment
The United Nations agency responsible for coordinating global efforts to combat HIV and AIDS has called for "enhanced action to promote and protect the human rights of men who have sex with men."

-Vatican claims sexual orientation is not legally defined
The Roman Catholic Church's representative at the United Nations has explained why it opposed a statement on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News
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-Activist Deliver More than 27,000 Letter to LDS Church
Aaron Falk | Deseret News
Gay rights activists hand-delivered more than 27,000 letters to the LDS Church's downtown Salt Lake headquarters Monday in the latest effort to earn the church's support in the fight for equal rights. Members of the Human Rights Campaign abandoned technology for old-fashioned paper and ink after discovering that an e-mail filter was preventing thousands of messages from reaching The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "We wanted to make sure they got there," said Jerry Rapier of the Human Rights Campaign. The move was the latest attempt by activists to get church leaders to publicly support the Common Ground Initiative, a set of five bills aimed at securing civil protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Those measures will come before the Legislature next year. Read more

Gender-bending concert of show tune favorites, Broadway Backwards 4, benefiting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, announces 2009 date and first list of performers. Read more

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-Humanity must be saved from homosexuality - Pope
By Phil Stewart - The Independent
'The tropical forests deserve protection but man deserves no less' Pope Benedict said yesterday that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction. "(The Church) should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed," the pontiff said in a Christmas address to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration. "The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less." The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are. It opposes gay marriage and, in October, a leading Vatican official called homosexuality "a deviation, an irregularity, a wound".

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Does Sex Addiction Have Any Basis in Science?
By Cristian Bodo, American Sexuality Magazine
Things used to be pretty straightforward: You were involved in a stable and fulfilling long-term relationship, but nevertheless the temptations were many and practicing strict monogamy proved way too hard. Eventually, you were caught and you had to decide whether to call it quits or to go back to your partner, admit your full responsibility, beg for forgiveness, and promise that it was never going to happen again. Nowadays, however, there may be a third option: You can claim that you are a victim of sexual addiction, simply unable to manage your sexual urges despite what you know is best for you.

-The Glass Feels Half Empty Today
In my family, I am the leader of the "Half Full Glass" club. I don't have to try hard -- it comes kind of naturally. I am a silver-lining kind of gal. But not today. I think I've just had it. The New York Times reports this morning that 66 countries around the world supported an unprecedented declaration seeking to decriminalize homosexuality. Let's take a short quiz, shall we? I will list five countries. Pick the country that did NOT sign the declaration. Ready?
1. Cuba
2. Czech Republic (that country John McCain kept calling Czechoslovakia)
3. Ireland
4. United States
5. Mexico
OK, time's up. The correct (and reprehensible and sad and demoralizing) answer is the UNITED STATES. I know I am supposed to be thrilled at the precedent setting nature of this declaration, but the truth is that I'm fed up.

-Study Looks at Male Circumcision as HIV Prevention Among Black Men in Baltimore

-VIDEO: Moving Testimony on Recent Hate Crimes
There were hearings on December 12th in Washington, DC on hate crimes. The following is a video about a hate crime. It's quite compelling.

Truth Wins Out - TWO
by Wayne Besen
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-The Rick Warren Whirlwind
It could be that Barack Obama is simply smarter than the rest of us. The first black president of the Harvard Law Review has made a career of turning conventional wisdom on its head. When people said that America was not ready for an African American president, he ran anyway - and won. He was counseled by countless talking heads to "go negative" against Hillary Clinton in the primaries and then John McCain - but he largely stuck to his strategy of staying positive - and won. In the middle of the campaign, Obama hit an iceberg named Rev. Jeremiah Wright, injecting race into a campaign that had desperately tried to shy away from this explosive issue. Obama discarded advice to spin the crisis and instead delivered a lecture on race relations that has gone down as one of the greatest speeches in the history of American politics - not to mention it saved his campaign. So, at this point in his rocket-propelled career, it is unwise to bet against the political instincts of Barack Obama. Still, choosing pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration seemed like a gaffe that has served, if nothing else, as a distraction to Obama's central message of unifying America. This olive branch to evangelical Christians, who largely supported John McCain, felt more like poison ivy to gay and lesbian voters, who overwhelmingly cast ballots for Obama.

Detroit News
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-Activists pin hopes on Obama banning transgender bias
by Deb Price
Six months ago, a highly decorated retired Army colonel told Congress of instantly going from "hero to zero" in the eyes of a prospective employer when she disclosed that she was in the process of changing gender. Since that hearing, Congress has done nothing to protect transgender workers, despite evidence of outrageous job discrimination. But a federal judge has stepped in to say that the Library of Congress broke the law against sex discrimination by rescinding the job offer it had made before learning David Schroer was becoming Diane.


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