Wednesday, January 07, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - January 07, 2009

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New York Times
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-New Voices in Congress Will Change the Tone of the Democratic Majority
From a former Nixon aide to a former head of Common Cause, a liberal government watchdog organization, the freshman House class of the 111th Congress represents a diverse but decidedly moderate group. [...] The class also offers two new ethnic firsts: Steve Austria, a Republican from Ohio's 7th Congressional District, is the first Filipino-American and Anh (Joseph) Cao, the Republican who defeated William Jefferson in Louisiana, is the first Vietnamese-American. In addition, Jared Polis of Colorado is the first openly gay male candidate and non-incumbent to be elected to the House.
(While there are other gay members, notably Barney Frank, their orientation was not public at the time of their first elective bids, aides to the House said.)

-'The Real World'
The Show That Put the 'Real' in Reality TV
As Jon Murray, one of the executive producers, explains in "The Real World: Secrets Revealed," a special being shown this week anticipating the new season's start on Wednesday, this progenitor of reality television today was conceived as a scripted series about the lives of young people in New York called "St. Marks Place." The idea, though, quickly morphed into the notion of housing a group of 20-somethings under one roof (preferably with a hot tub) and installing cameras. [...] The bigger nonsecret secrets belong to others: Ryan, an Iraq war veteran who would prefer people not know that right away, and Katelynn, who started out life as a boy, began to live as a woman seven years ago and went to Thailand for gender reassignment surgery last summer. Initially, it is apparent only to J. D., a sweet and paternal dolphin trainer who is gay, that Katelynn wasn't born female. Katelynn is presumably supposed to shock everyone out of his or her prejudices, but it isn't clear that her roommates actually possess any. There is something about "The Real World" that feels permanently stuck in the early 1990s, when issues of sexual orientation were guaranteed to rattle. There's so little rattling, and seemingly so little prospect of sexual tension, that "The Real World: Brooklyn" threatens to sink to the innocuousness of "The Love Boat."

Washington Post
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-Ex-eBay CEO largely unknown amid Calif. gov.'s bid
Former eBay executive Meg Whitman brings intrigue and a big bank account to California's beleaguered Republican Party.

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-Suspects charged in gang rape of lesbian in San Francisco Bay area; Hate
crime alleged
Two men and a teenager were charged Tuesday in the alleged gang rape of a lesbian in the San Francisco Bay area. Humberto Hernandez Salvador, 31, and Josue Gonzalez, 21, were charged with kidnapping, carjacking and gang rape in the attack last month in Richmond.,0,4873181.story

Steve Rothaus
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-Florida gay groups form statewide federation
Several Florida gay rights leaders today announced formation of a "statewide federation" of local groups. They're calling the umbrella group OUT, Organizations United Together.

Miami Herald
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-Singing the wedding blues
In 1996, as a freshman House member, I wrote the Defense of Marriage Act, better known by its shorthand acronym, DOMA, than its legal title. The law has been a flash-point for those arguing for or against same-sex marriage ever since President Clinton signed it into law. Even President-elect Barack Obama has grappled with its language, meaning and impact. I can sympathize with the incoming commander in chief. And, after long and careful consideration, I have come to agree with him that the law should be repealed.

South Florida Blade
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-Va. GOP lawmaker sponsoring pro-gay bill
Would allow companies to offer life insurance to gay partners
A Republican in the Virginia House of Delegates is sponsoring a bill in the upcoming legislative session that would allow Virginia companies to provide life insurance to partners of gay employees, according to the General Assembly's web site.

-Oregon church to stop signing marriage licenses
Move protests lack of marriage rights for gay couples
The clergy at one Ashland church are refusing to sign marriage licenses until same-sex couples can legally tie the knot.

-Prop. 8 backers take on AG's gay marriage argument
Say Brown is 'advancing a far-fetched legal theory'
The sponsors of California's voter-approved gay marriage ban say Attorney General Jerry Brown is advancing a far-fetched legal theory to justify overturning Proposition 8.

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-Blame religion, not race
Researchers, in conjunction with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, released a report today that said that people who voted against gay marriage in California had four things in common:
1. They attended religious services weekly
2. They were Republicans
3. They were conservatives
4. They were born before World War II

-Ohio Supreme Court limits impact of gay marriage ban
By 365gay Newscenter Staff
The Ohio Supreme Court has let stand an appeals court ruling that said the state's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage cannot be used to terminate a child custody agreement between partners.

-Ken Starr tells us how it is
By Emma Ruby-Sachs
It wouldn't be 2009 without a little noise from our friends on the social conservative side of the spectrum. Ken Starr released a response yesterday to the California Attorney General's submission to the Supreme Court on Proposition 8.

-State supreme courts to rule in gay marriage cases
By 365gay Newscenter Staff
Supreme courts this year will rule on cases involving same-sex marriage in Iowa and California. The Iowa case involves the constitutionality of limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, while the one in California centers around Proposition 8, the voter-approved amendment to the state constitution that bars same-sex marriage.

The Advocate
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-Prop. 8 Exit Polling of African-Americans Way Off, Experts Say
A new study on California's Proposition 8 voting trends released Tuesday found that far fewer African-Americans voted to pass the gay marriage ban than the 70% suggested by exit polling and concluded that race was not the most significant factor affecting people's vote for or against marriage equality.

-Group Pushes For Gay Man As Commerce Secretary
The Boston-based group Equal Rep is now pushing for Fred Hochberg to be appointed secretary of Commerce upon Gov. Bill Richardson's withdrawal from consideration for the post, The Boston Globe reports. If tapped, Hochberg, who had originally been considered for the top post at the Small Business Administration, would be the first openly gay person to ever hold a cabinet position.

-Catholic Church in San Francisco Vandalized Over Prop. 8
A Catholic church in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood was vandalized with anti-Proposition 8 graffiti Sunday morning, even though the church is largely pro-gay. The Most Holy Redeemer church was defaced with black swastikas and impassioned messages, including one directed at San Francisco archbishop George Niederauer, who prominently supported Prop. 8, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

-Constructive Impatience
Stung by the Rick Warren decision, GLAAD's former executive director Joan Garry
offers the Obama transition team some sage advice.
By Joan Garry

-Fontainebleau Encore
The Advocates: Expert advice on life -- as you live it.
By Ed Salvato

-Let's Talk About Sex.
The Advocates: Expert advice on life -- as you live it. Why it's vital to get personal with your doctor.

Anything but Straight

-The Mess In The Middle East
As long as we refer to the Middle East as the "Holy Land" there will be war. For peace to prosper, extremists, on both sides, will have to he marginalized. This will require courage from Israeli and Palestinian leaders, who have failed to take aim at the religious roots of this festering fiasco.

Pink News - UK
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-Comment: We deserve more than an apology from the BBC for their homophobia
By Nick Henderson
After the the expose by that the BBC had broadcast a series of anti-lesbian slurs against Hollywood star Lindsay Lohan, reader Nick Henderson believes the BBC must start respecting LGBT rights and stop broadcasting homophobic content.

-Dutchman fined for gay "indecency" in Gambia
By Tony Grew
A 79-year-old man from the Netherlands has been found guilty of indecency with several Gambian men.

-Comment: Trans discrimination must no longer be tolerated
By Thomas Hammarberg
Thomas Hammarberg is the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights. He released this comment on trans rights on his website yesterday.

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News
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-Why Blacks Should Support Gay Marriage
by: Pam Spaulding | Pam's House Blend
Herndon Davis, a media analyst, consultant and writer who focuses on issues related to people of color, women, and the LGBT community penned a piece for that reshapes some of the messaging about marriage equality to "make the sale" to the portion of the black community that is on the fence or flat out against same-sex marriage (particularly with the Pay It Forward section).
An estimated 14 million children are being raised by same-sex parents who require the legal infrastructure marriage in order to protect their children because there are numerous restrictions placed on the co-parental rights of unmarried same-sex couples.

-Petitions Filed Wednesday in Opposition of New Kalamazoo Gay-Rights Ordinance
Kathy Jessup | Kalamazoo Gazette
Petitions seeking the repeal of a newly adopted city ordinance that extends discrimination protections to gays and lesbians in Kalamazoo have been filed. City Clerk Scott Borling said former city commissioner and current Kalamazoo County Treasurer Mary Balkema officially turned over 189 pages of petitions that circulators said contained about 1,600 signatures.Due to the New Year's Day holiday Thursday, Borling said certification of those signatures will begin Friday.

-TX: Students Working to Grow UT's First Gay Fraternity
By Jazmine Ulloa | AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF | American Statesman
When graduate student Armando Sanchez first entered the University of Texas at Austin as a freshman, he didn't think fraternity life was for him.
Latino, gay and somewhat introverted, he didn't think he fit the mold of thetypical pledge at the traditional predominantly white fraternities on campus. UT also has Greek organizations that are largely Latino, but Sanchez said he didn't think he could be himself and still fit in because of hissexuality. Then he heard that a group of students planned to start the first gay and bisexual fraternity chapter at UT - and one of only two in Texas. The other is at UT-El Paso.

-MN: Transgender People Often Face a Legal Labyrinth When Changing Gender on Identity Documents
By Emily Gurnon | | Pioneer Press
When Carrie PepinSmith wanted to become Cary PepinSmith, a Hennepin County judge had no problem granting the request. But when the 44-year-old transgender man wanted to change the "F" on his birth certificate to an "M," the judge balked. "He had no idea how to change the gender on my birth certificate,"
PepinSmith said. But he'd heard other people had gone to the same place, the Hennepin County Courthouse, and had both the name and gender designation changed at once. "So why is there no consistency in this?" he wondered.
People who move from one gender to another - with surgical changes or without - face a confounding maze of legal challenges. One of the greatest is changing identity documents, including birth certificates, driver's licenses, Social Security records and passports. Read more

-Separate, Unequal
Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish
Joe Carter responds to my post:
Extending the exact same benefits is not "codifying inequality." But for Sullivan, et al., it is not about benefits but about forcing the acceptance of gay sex as "normal" and equal to heterosexual sex. This is an absurd reason and nothing the government should be involved in.
Actually, it is about accepting gay love and commitment as indistinguishable in moral worth and social status as straight love. That's all. Civil marriage is not about sex as such, as any straight couple will tell you. You can have lots of sex without marriage. And you can have a marriage without much or any sex. But you cannot have a meaningful marriage without love and commitment. Only one tiny sliver of humanity is currently and deliberately prevented from having such love and commitment recognized under the law: homosexuals. That's the only reason anyone is having this discussion.
I should say I don't keep up with Carter as assiduously as I should, but it also strikes me that this new post is an evolution of his position. The last time I checked, Carter favored "an expanded form of the proposed reciprocal-beneficiary contracts [as] the model for civil unions in America." Now he favors the "exact same benefits" as civil marriage for civil unions, and backs extending the right to civil unions to every two-person relationship that does not currently qualify for civil marriage. Read more

-Interview with Mariele Castro on the Future of Sex and Socialism in Cuba
Anastasia Haydulia | Mr Zine Monthly Review
Anastasia Haydulina: One day your uncle Fidel Castro . . . is going to die.
Do you think his death will change the status quo of your Cuba?
Mariela Castro: First of all, the death of Fidel will bring great suffering for the Cuban people, and it will be an enormous loss. But as far as I can see, the Cubans are willing to continue on the path of socialism even when our Comandante is no longer with us, even when my father and other forefathers of the revolution are not. Our people want socialism. Of course, we're very self-critical, so what we need is a better and rich socialreform that will resolve most of the existing contradictions. People themselves are proposing actions necessary for the survival of our socialist society, a society that should always guarantee social justice, equality, and solidarity within the nation, as well as in relations with others. We want welfare, but not as exaggerated as that of consumer societies. I think that socialism in Cuba will survive and become what we have considered to be a utopia. more.......

-Write What's Right: Professors Pen Book on Homosexuality
By Mindi Westhoff | staff | | News Leader
HARRISONBURG - Reunited after two decades, it was realizing all the things they had in common that made Ted Grimsrud and Mark Thiessan Nation question their differences, especially when dealing with the difficult subject of homosexuality and the church.
They met at seminary more than 30 years ago, but it wasn't until they were both hired at Eastern Mennonite University that Grimsrud and Nation began looking into the controversial topic, of which they hold different views.
Grimsrud and Nation talk as if they're old friends, stealing a sideways glance or laughing sincerely when the other speaks. That congeniality was important for the two men while penning their new book, "Reasoning Together: A Conversation on Homosexuality."
The question of gays, lesbians and the church's acceptance of them is far reaching, the men said, dividing churches and whole denominations.
"It's an issue that many Christians are confronted about today," Nation said. "There's much debate over it."
In "Reasoning Together," Nation and Grimsrud present their differing views, Nation holding the more traditional belief that homosexuality is wrong, according to the Bible. Read more

-The Sexual Threat to Fundamentalism
By Michelle Goldberg | Religion Dispatches
During this holiday season-a time, ideally, of peace, empathy, kindness and transcendence-gays and lesbians have reason to feel themselves under siege by ostensible men of God. First there was the Rick Warren affair, with its concomitant message that, unlike racism or anti-Semitism, gay and lesbian equality is something decent people can disagree on. Then, just days later, in his Christmas greeting to the Roman Curia, the Pope saw fit to compare homosexuality-and, indeed, any deviation from binary gender roles-to the destruction of the rainforests.
The official English translation of the Pope's remarks hasn't yet been published, but an unofficial version disseminated online by English bishop Michael Campbell shows that Pope Benedict did not, on this occasion, draw analogies between the despoiling of nature and torture or war.
Gender-bending alone is singled out as a force rending the harmony of God's creation.
"What is necessary is a kind of ecology of man, understood in the correct sense," said the Pope. "When the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman and asks that this order of creation be respected, it is not the result of an outdated metaphysic. It is a question here of faith in the Creator and of listening to the language of creation, the devaluation of which leads to the self-destruction of man and therefore to the destruction of the same work of God. That which is often expressed and understood by the term 'gender,' results finally in the self-emancipation of man from creation and from the Creator." Such self-emancipation leads inevitably to a kind of destruction as dangerous as any threat to the natural environment. "The tropical forests are deserving, yes, of our protection, but man merits no less than the creature, in which there is written a message which does not mean a contradiction of our liberty, but its condition," said the Pope. Read more

-Barney's Great Adventure
Jeffrey Toobin | The New Yorker
Of the four hundred and thirty-five members of the House of Representatives, Barney Frank is the only one whose public remarks have been collected in a book of quotations ("Frank Talk: The Wit and Wisdom of Barney Frank," published in 2006). He is also the only congressman whose fight against the impeachment of President Bill Clinton has been the subject of a documentary, which was shown to acclaim at film festivals around the country ("Let's Get Frank," directed by Bart Everly). Frank is not the only member of Congress to have been the subject of a full-scale biography, but the account of his life, written by a former aide named Stuart E. Weisberg, to be published by the University of Massachusetts Press later this year, will likely rank among the more exhaustive and admiring books ever printed about a sitting member of the House, who is described as "arguably the most unique and fascinating, certainly the most entertaining political figure in Washington." Read more


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