Friday, December 26, 2008

GLBT DIGEST December 26, 2008

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New York Times
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-Eartha Kitt, a Seducer of Audiences, Dies at 81

-A Parting Shot at Women's Rights
The law has long allowed doctors and nurses to refuse to participate in an abortion, but new regulations elevate the so-called right to refuse beyond reason.

-Let New Jersey's Couples Marry, All of Them
To the Editor: Re "Separate and Not Equal" (editorial, Dec. 20):
Bravo for calling on New Jersey's governor, Jon S. Corzine, to honor his promise to grant same-sex couples the right to marry.
It is beyond frustrating for me, as a lesbian, a taxpayer and a contributing member of our state and society, to know each and every day that my relationship is unequal to a heterosexual couple's relationship.
As a parent, I find it extremely difficult to explain to my child why I cannot "get married." He does not understand what a "civil union" or "domestic partnership" means. He does not understand how politics work. He does not yet understand bigotry, bias and small-mindedness.
So many of us are told to be thankful for the progress we have made - yet it is simply not enough. Our committed relationships are exactly like heterosexual committed relationships, with the same potential for joys, challenges and rewards. They are, indeed, marriages and deserve equal nomenclature along with equal rights.
Elizabeth Schroeder
Montclair, N.J., Dec. 20, 2008

-To the Editor:
All state-sanctioned unions between two people - currently termed marriages - essentially are and should be called civil unions.
Churches and other religious institutions could continue to grant marriages "under God," but the government should stick to what it is actually supposed to be doing: approving a legal contract between two individuals who also happen (one hopes) to be in love.
Then maybe people would finally leave God out of this and let people unite in peace.
Charlotte Martin
Forest Hills, Queens, Dec. 20, 2008

-To the Editor:
Re "Top Lawyer in California Urges Voiding Proposition 8" (news article, Dec. 20):
While the California Supreme Court is considering whether Proposition 8 violates the State Constitution, it might also consider whether the effort to invalidate 18,000 gay marriages violates the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution as well.
The Eighth Amendment prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment." If it serves to protect convicted criminals, it certainly should extend to persons who are guilty of nothing other than engaging in a marriage ceremony at a time when it was legal to do so. Could there be anything crueler to those couples than to now invalidate their marriages?
I have read all of the moral and biblical justifications for Proposition 8, as well as the arguments for and against sustaining it, but I find it incredible that the "victors" should want to inflict such further hurt on a group whose marriages have injured no one.
The Constitution prohibits invidiously discriminatory punishment. The invalidation of these marriages solely based upon the fact that the participants are gay clearly would be an act of invidious discrimination.
H. Lee Sarokin
Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., Dec. 21, 2008
The writer is a retired United States Circuit Court judge.

Washington Post
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-Rick Warren's Invitation
I thank E.J. Dionne Jr. and Richard Cohen for their Dec. 23 columns on the invitation of the Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration. They helped me -- a gay man in a 34-year relationship, an early supporter of President-elect Barack Obama and an activist for civil-marriage equality -- to understand my disappointment in the response of leading advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. Mr. Obama has consistently focused on the transformational potential of hope, reconciliation, redemption and community-building. Mr. Dionne focused on this hope and the hard and risky work of changing hearts and minds. In contrast, Mr. Cohen focused, as have many leading GLBT activists, on disillusionment and betrayal. Did we understand Mr. Obama during the campaign, and do we understand now? I see the invitation through a lens of hope -- hope for finding common ground and building trust, and for changing the divisive politics of "the culture wars" as usual. I trust that Mr. Obama supports full equality for GLBT people. I trust, but I will verify. Let's judge the wisdom of this invitation by how both a President Obama and the Rev. Warren assert the moral leadership called for by Mr. Cohen in support of the civil rights of GLBT people.
Takoma Park

-Maybe Kathleen S. Rochelle ["Rick Warren and the Obama Inaugural," letters, Dec. 20] was on to something when she wrote so knowingly about homosexuality violating "the intentional design of human beings created in the image of God to procreate and fill the world with more human beings." And so maybe now, with overpopulation choking our planet, He's pushing homosexuality. Just a thought.

-'Sopranos' actor 'Johnny Cakes' dead in suicide
Police say the actor who portrayed the gay lover of a closeted mobster on "The Sopranos" has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in New York.

-'I Couldn't Take Any More'
In Togo, girls as young as 5 suffer physical, sexual abuse amid global surge in domestic worker trade.

Steve Rothaus
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-New book from John J. McNeill: 'Sex as God Intended'
A new book from John J. McNeill: Sex as God Intended. McNeill will be signing books Jan. 11 at Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale. Here's the news release: Lethe Press is proud to release the latest work from the acclaimed Biblical scholar John J. McNeill. "Sex as God Intended It will make you think. It will make you question everything you've heard in the media or in church about homosexuals and God. It will make you question the rightness or wrongness of gay marriage. It will make you take a closer look at your faith and your beliefs. It is a book that encourages spiritual and intellectual growth, and a book that all Christians should read, even if your pastor or minister or priest tells you it is evil." -- Jack Gardner, Edge Boston [...] McNeill is a former Jesuit priest who clashed with Church officials over his compassionate and sex-positive teachings about homosexuality. McNeill is available for interviews and limited speaking engagements. He can be reached at

Miami Herald
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-RELIGION AND POLITICS: Pastor Warren, beware the pitfalls of access to power
These days everything is political, or can be made so; even an inaugural prayer. That isn't exactly correct. The inaugural prayer in question is not the Rev. Joseph Lowery's benediction, but Rick Warren's invocation. Lowery favors same-sex ''marriage,'' and Warren does not.

South Florida Blade
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-Many suffered from anti-gay violence in 2008
Advocates say increase in gay visibility may have spurred crimes
From a series of street bashings in Seattle to the baseball bat murder of an Ecuadorean immigrant in New York, episodes of anti-gay violence punctuated a year now ending with police investigating the alleged gang rape of a lesbian near San Francisco.

-Divorced Tenn. mother appeals night ban on partner
Restriction called a paramour clause
A same-sex couple is asking the Tennessee Court of Appeals to lift a judge's restriction in a child custody agreement that prevents the divorced mother's partner of nine years from staying overnight. The Tennessean reports The American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief Tuesday with the Court of Appeals in Jackson on behalf of Angel Chandler, a divorced mother with two kids.

-Whitman-Walker's 'Christmas massacre'
Clinic ousts senior staff, triggering lawsuit threats
Pat Hawkins, 68, started volunteering at the Whitman-Walker Clinic in 1984. She joined the staff five years later and continued to serve as one of its longest tenured employees. Mary Bahr, 54, has worked at the Clinic in various roles for more than 19 years, most recently as the director of administration.

-Cities vie for major gay sports event
Tourist boards, gay leaders eager to host Gay Games in 2014
Is Miami ready to host the world's largest gay sporting event that will bring in an estimated 15,000 gay visitors spending beaucoup gay bucks in less that six years?

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-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

The Advocate
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- Mormons Gone Wild
By Dan Allen
After one man undresses missionaries for his calendar, LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University strips him of his degree. When they weren't busy promoting the passage of California's Proposition 8 in recent months, Mormon leaders tried their best to make Chad Hardy's life hell. Riled by his "Men on a Mission" calendar of shirtless returned missionaries, elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints excommunicated Hardy -- a lifelong Mormon -- in July. Then in September, officials from the Provo, Utah-based Brigham Young University informed the 32-year-old entrepreneur, who had participated in the school's graduation ceremony a month earlier, that his diploma would be denied. BYU says Hardy's expulsion from the church placed him outside of the "good honor-code standing" necessary to award him his degree, which has been placed on nonacademic hold; Hardy contends that since he completed his coursework prior to excommunication, the rule should not apply. Meanwhile the 2008 skin-baring calendar has sold more than 10,000 copies, and Hardy -- who eschews sexual labels himself -- says the just-released (and "a little bit sexier") 2009 incarnation is already "flying off the shelves."

-Rick Warren Does the Gay Rights Shuffle
In the wake of gay rights activists taking President-elect Barack Obama to task for including Yes on 8 mouthpiece Rick Warren in his inauguration, the Saddleback Community Church pastor has taken to the web to explain his position on gay rights.

-Man Avoids Hate Crime Charge, Gets 5-1/2 Years in Prison
A 25-year-old New York State man was sentenced Tuesday to 5-1/2 years behind bars after pleading guilty to attacking a gay man in March. Judge Richard Keenan added a year and a half to the sentence that Jesse Parsons was originally expected to receive after he made a plea agreement in September, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. He pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, which, as a hate crime, would have landed him up to 15 years in prison.

-Campbell Stands Behind Advocate Ads, Doesn't Cave to AFA
Despite demands from the American Family Association calling for e-mails to Campbell Soup Co. urging the company to stop "pushing the gay agenda," the icon of all things American is standing behind a decision to advertise in the gay and lesbian market.

-Ugandan Judge Cites Rights for Lesbians
Two Ugandan women were awarded $7,000 Monday after a judge ruled their rights were infringed upon when they were arrested for being suspected lesbians in 2005. According to lesbian and bisexual rights organization Freedom and Roam Uganda, or FARUG, Yvonne Oyoo and Victor Juliet Mukasa had been waiting for 17 months for a verdict.

National Gay News,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/
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-The President's First Mistake:
Tell Ric Warren to Preach Somewhere Else
By Norm Kent
It is my obligation as the publisher of a national gay newspaper ( to weigh in on the President-Elect's selection of Pastor Ric Warren to deliver an invocation at his inauguration. This is change we can't believe in. As a spokesperson for the gay community, I want to make it clear that I find it offensive. Mr. Obama is not being inclusive and 'post-partisan.' He is being divisive. He is 'swift boating' us. After Jeremiah Wright, you have to wonder about his selections for Divine Guidance.,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/

-Finally a Gay Male Character on Battlestar Galactica
Apparently my geek antennae haven't been properly tuned as there have already been four special Battlestar Galactica webisodes aired. And as a special bonus the show's first gay man is revealed in the first few minutes. And, as many already suspected, it is the aptly named Felix Gaeta who gets to be the pioneer. This token gift from BSG creators for a gay character, which gay fans have been screaming for since the show's beginning (nay, since the dawn on sci-fi TV) is both refreshing and a bit annoying. I don't mean to complain because I am glad to finally have some acknowledgment, but it comes in the form of an addendum. Yes, BSG watchers are almost all fanatical enough that we would all watch webisodes as well as regular episodes but you can't disavow that it was clearly an afterthought. Read More...

-Disbarred Attorney Calls Gays 'Perverts'
Thompson Has a History of Fighting Gays
By Robbie Gaye
Forget Pastor Ric Warren for a moment, the Coral Gables attorney permanently disbarred earlier this year by the Supreme Court of Florida posted an opinion on a justice association blog last week that homosexuals are 'sexually perverse.' Jack Thompson, convicted of 27 counts of professional misconduct, including knowingly lying to a judge, and numerous acts which constituted violations of the Florida ethical rules, made the post on J.A.A.B. blog, a Broward County legal website. Thompson was a Dade County lawyer before his removal from the profession. Read more...

-Many Suffered From Anti-Gay Violence in 2008
From a series of street bashings in Seattle to the baseball bat murder of an Ecuadorean immigrant in New York, episodes of anti-gay violence punctuated a year now ending with police investigating the alleged gang rape of a lesbian near San Francisco. Advocates said Tuesday they do not know whether the threats, beatings and murders reflect a true rise in attacks or increased reporting of hate-based crimes that persist even as gays gain greater visibility and legal protections. Read More...

-2009: A Sneak Peek at the
Trans Year to Come
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall
In a world where stories like Thomas Beatie's pregnancy can capture world-wide attention overnight, it's difficult to foretell what the biggest transgender stories of 2009 will be. But here are a few of the stories-and trans folk-to watch next year.
Following our massive, community-wide sigh of relief after the 2008 Presidential elections some of us may think the hard work is over. But there's still plenty to fight for nationally-like ENDA-and locally, as in Gainesville, Florida, where last year's City Council authorized transgender individuals to use women's bathrooms in the city's businesses and public facilities. The ruling is at risk during March's elections when a ballot measure may amend the city charter to eliminate accommodations for transgender individuals. Read More...

Pink News - UK
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-Government criticises Channel 4 for homophobe Ahmadinejad's Christmas message
The Government and the Conservatives have criticised Channel 4's decision to broadcast an Alternative Christmas Message by homophobic, anti-Semitic Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

-US federal judge orders Louisiana registrar to recognise out of state adoption
An organisation that furthers gay rights through litigation has hailed a federal court decision on same-sex adoption as "a major victory for same-sex parents."

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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Ever since the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia, within its tender to co-finance projects/programmes in the field of public information, decided to grant 256,500.00 dinars (3000 EUR) for, a gay-lesbian website belonging to "Queeria Centre", a non-governmental organization from Belgrade, our collaborators and activists have been constantly receiving death threats and threats of physical violence. Every day threats are being sent to the website's official email address to the effect that the website is going to be hacked, that we are sick people who should be treated, that all of us (LGBT population) should be killed... Such threats are also uttered in the comments made on the website.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Rick Warren Is an Unapologetic Christian Radical -- And There's No Need to Apologize for Opposing Him
By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
..AMY GOODMAN: President-Elect Barack Obama is drawing criticism from many supporters for his choice to deliver the invocation at next month's inauguration. Obama selected the Rev. Rick Warren, a leading evangelical opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage. Warren supported California's recent gay marriage ban and has compared abortion to the Nazi Holocaust. In a recent interview with the Web site
, Warren said he thinks gay marriage is comparable to incest, polygamy and child abuse.
..RICK WARREN: I'm opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage. I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I'm opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.
..STEVEN WALDMAN: Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married? ..RW: Oh, I do. I just say, for 5,000 years, marriage has been defined by every single culture and every single religion. This is not a Christian issue. Buddhists, Muslims, Jews -- you know, historically, marriage is a man and a woman.

From Transgender Equality
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-LGBT inmates face unusually high risk of sexual assault in prison
By Meghann Myers
It's been 60 years since the United Nations General Assembly issued the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, affirming the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of all people. Yet prisoners are often denied the most basic protections of the law. Rape is still a brutal reality in prison, a problem that disproportionately affects LGBT inmates. In 2003, Congress unanimously passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), creating federal mandates to fight sexual assault in prisons. But its implementation has been slow. This year, the Bureau of Justice Statistics conducted the first national survey of violence in the corrections system. It found sexual orientation to be the single greatest determinant for sexual abuse in prisons - 18.5 percent of homosexual inmates reported sexual assault, compared to 2.7 percent of heterosexual prisoners. Though PREA aims to reduce these figures, prisoners and their advocates have been waiting on its official guidelines, which are set for release in 2009.


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