Monday, January 19, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - January 19, 2009

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New York Times
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-Marriage Ban Donors Feel Exposed by List
In many ways it is a typical map, showing states, highways, cities and streets. But also dotting the online display are thousands of red arrows, marking spots from Bryn Mawr, Pa., to Jamacha, Calif., identifying the addresses of donors who supported Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in California.

Washington Post
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-Gay rights advocates protest outside Warren church
Gay rights supporters marched outside the church of evangelical pastor Rick Warren, protesting his selection as an inauguration speaker.
About 100 protesters waved rainbow flags Sunday and voiced their displeasure at Warren for his opposition to gay marriage and at President-elect Barack Obama for choosing him to give the invocation at Tuesday's ceremony.

-The Stars Align, With Egos in Check
Celebrity-Studded Concert Offers Heady Mix of History & Hollywood
By Richard Leiby and DeNeen L. Brown
Some things we learned yesterday at the "We Are One" concert, the official welcoming celebration for Barack Obama at the Lincoln Memorial: Jamie Foxx does a pretty spot-on Obama impersonation; wiseacre Jack Black can look completely serious when he's paying homage to Theodore Roosevelt's conservation achievements; Garth Brooks can somehow pull off a medley of "American Pie," "Shout" and "We Shall Be Free"; and musical superstars seem okay with singing in trios -- at least in the case of Usher, Shakira and Stevie Wonder, who did a rousing version of "Higher Ground" that had the president-elect and his wife, Michelle, on their feet and dancing.

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-Pastor who opposes gay marriage urges crowd to follow example of Martin Luther King
The impending inauguration of the nation's first black president is a huge step toward realizing Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of racial equality, but there is still work to be done, King's nephew told a large crowd Monday at the church where the civil rights leader once preached.,0,3702638.story

Steve Rothaus
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-Gay men's chorus sings at Inaugural opening concert
Backed by The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, Josh Groban performs with Heather Headley, right, during the We Are One: Opening Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Sunday.

Miami Herald
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-California Dems push gay rights in wake of Prop. 8 vote
By Aurelio Rojas
Democratic lawmakers are moving forward with legislation expanding rights and recognition for gays and lesbians in California while the state Supreme Court considers the fate of same-sex marriage. Assembly Bill 103 by Assemblyman Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, would allow two people, including same-sex couples, who co-own a home to avoid having their property tax reassessed and raised when one dies.

South Florida Blade
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-Google takes a stand for gay marriage
Company files legal brief, to support keeping marriages legal
By Dan Renzi
From the site, which we have no idea how we found but we're glad we did: Google has filed an amicus brief in several legal challenges to Proposition 8, which make gay marriage illegal in California.

-'Error' caused gay bishop's TV blackout
Robinson's inaugural prayer came before broadcast began
Gay Episcopal Bishop Eugene Robinson's opening prayer at President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural celebration Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial was not televised due to an unspecified "error," according to a spokesperson for the inaugural committee.
"We had always intended and planned for Rt. Rev. Robinson's invocation to be included in the televised portion of the program," Josh Earnest, director of communications for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said in a statement.

-Where was Gene Robinson?
By Rebecca Armendariz
Complaints that openly gay bishop Gene Robinson's speech was cut out of broadcasts of the We Are One concert abound on the gay blogosphere today. reached out to HBO for comment, and HBO responded that the Obama team is responsible for the edit, and not the network.

-Gay band refines performance for inauguration
LGBA members practice marching, songs
By CHRIS JOHNSONMembers of the Lesbian & Gay Band Association practiced playing their instruments and marching in lockstep Monday in an effort to refine their performance for their parade appearance on Inauguration Day.
The band, which is slated to be the first gay contingent to march in a presidential inaugural parade, had its dress rehearsal at St. Elizabeth's, a federally operated psychiatric hospital, and marched around the facility's grounds.

-Black pastor asks gays to 'move beyond' Prop 8 furor
Forbes says dialogue more important than blame
By AMY CAVANAUGHIn the aftermath of last year's vote to ban gay marriage in California, Rev. James Forbes Jr. is calling for an end to the hunt for "somebody to blame" for the passage of Proposition 8. Forbes, a senior minister emeritus of the interdenominational Riverside Church in Manhattan, said that "society seems always to need somebody to blame," but people should resist that urge.

-Frank talks gay rights at inauguration event
Wins award Sunday at People's 'Gayla'
Adorned in tuxedoes and cocktail dresses, a few hundred people laughed and danced their way toward equality Sunday at the People's Inaugural LGBT Gayla.

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-The celebration at the Lincoln Memorial
By Jennifer Vanasco
One thing that Obama's people have always done well is using spectacle to impart a sense of myth. They certainly did that today with the kickoff ceremony - really a concert - at the Lincoln Memorial.
There were Marines. Gospel choirs. Two (two!) live bald eagles. A lot of songs about America. And a wall of American flags that parted over and over again to reveal blockbuster musical artists like Mary J. Blige, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Garth Brooks (one of the best performances of the afternoon - even the press corps was dancing) and Beyonce.

-Bye, bye, Bush
By Lisa Neff
Time to say bye, bye to George W. Bush. As he leaves for Texas, do you think he's thinking, "Mission accomplished"?

-Will Obama Prosecute?
By Emma Ruby-Sachs
Today and tomorrow it is all about hope. Still, there has been a lot of chatter about the not so inspiring past. And many, including Speaker Pelosi, are hoping for a little retribution.

The Advocate
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-Bishop Robinson Talks Obama on Rachel Maddow
Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show Wednesday night and discussed President-elect Obama, the Rick Warren controversy, and other topics with the MSNBC host. Robinson, the gay bishop of New Hampshire, will give the opening invocation at Obama's inaugural festivities this Sunday and said -- once again -- that he's disappointed in the incoming president's selection of Warren to conduct a prayer on Inauguration Day.

Pink News - UK
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-Lesbian Congresswoman to serve as honorary inauguration co-chair
By Tony Grew
President-elect Barack Obama has named the only out lesbian in Congress as one of 16 honorary co-chairs for his inauguration tomorrow.
Tammy Baldwin will be seated "in the Obama family-and-friends box across from the White House during the parade, along with her partner Lauren Azar, a member of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission," reports

-Corporations and trade unions condemn California's ban on gay marriage
Major corporations and groups representing Mexican-Americans, Christians, and African-Americans have filed friend of the court briefs in California in support of gay marriage.

-Gene Robinson: God, we give you thanks for your child Barack
By Staff Writer
Yesterday Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, led prayers at the start of a free outdoor celebration concert in Washington DC.
The opening Inaugural event was held at the Lincoln Memorial, and international stars such as U2 and Beyonce took part. Barack Obama will become the 44th President of the United States when he takes the oath of office tomorrow at noon.

-Nigerian MPs vote to ban "immoral" gay marriages
By Tony Grew
The House of Representatives in Nigeria has voted unanimously in favour of a new legislation banning same-sex marriage.
The bill "prohibits marriage between persons of same gender, solemnisation of same and other matters related therewith."

-Analysis: Obama's comprehensive support for gay equality
By Tony Grew
What can lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans Americans expect from the new President of the United States?
Barack Obama, who will take the oath of office tomorrow afternoon at noon (5pm GMT), is the most gay-friendly politician to lead America.

-South African gay couple plan legal action after wedding refusal
By Felicity Baker
A gay couple in South Africa were allegedly told they could not get married because their relationship was "not normal," it has been reported.
Alexander Bruce, 25, and Jaco van der Walt, 19, had decided to marry after being together for a year and had gone to the Home Affairs office for an initial appointment on December 17th.

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News
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-Rick Warren's African Allies Tied to Massacres, Sex-Slavery, Forced Labor, Concentration Camps
Bruce Wilson | Talk 2 Action
Critics of Barack Obama's choice to include Rick Warren in the upcoming January 20, 2008 presidential inauguration ceremony have focused on the celebrity evangelist's religious beliefs and at least one report has traced his ties to reactionary African religious leaders. Media coverage of Rick Warren has failed to note, however, his friendship and alliance with two African presidents accused of perpetrating terrorism and massive human rights violations including massacres and assassinations, mass-rape, slave labor, sex slavery, large scale concentration camps, and the use of child soldiers.
A December 12, 2008 UN report charges Warren's African allies, Rwanda's President Paul Kagame and Uganda's President Youwerie Museveni, with continuing to fuel the conflict in the Congo by supporting the renegade army of Laurent Nkunda, whose recent military offensive has created hundreds of thousands of refugees.
Rwanda and Uganda have been indicted, in a series of consecutive United Nations reports presented to the UN Security Council, released between 2001 and 2003 [see this UN page for all 5 reports], for repeatedly invading and violating the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of The Congo, and supporting renegade armies in that country, in order to loot the Congo's immense natural wealth. The more than one decade long running conflict has claimed an estimated 5.4 million civilian lives. Read more

-UT: Good Proposals for Gay Rights?
Daily Herald | Herald Extra
A group called Equality Utah, an advocate for gay rights, is pushing a series of legislative measures under what it calls its Common Ground Initiative. The group says the proposals will provide fairer treatment for gays, transgendered people and others.
. One measure calls for a change in state policy to allow state employees to add another adult to their health care coverage. Advocates say this will ease the health care crisis by allowing more people to get health insurance.
It's an administrative change, so it doesn't need an act by the Legislature, though of course lawmakers must approve anything that would impact the budget. And this year, elected officials may be leery of adding any expenses.
. In the Legislature, Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck and Sen. Scott McCoy, both D-Salt Lake, are backing the Support Forever Homes for All Children Act. It would allow unmarried couples, gay or straight, to be considered for adoption.
The measure would give priority to married couples, but would allow authorities to consider an unmarried couple of any orientation. Advocates say this measure would give children a chance of being adopted by a couple if no married couples are available. Read more

-Gay Marriage Still Linchpin Issue for Evangelicals
James Kirchick / | Detroit News
Last month, the National Association of Evangelicals fired the Rev. Richard Cizik as its vice president for governmental affairs. As one of the Christian right's top lobbyists in Washington, Cizik promoted the cultural conservative position on issues ranging from abortion to prayer in school.
He's been one of the most prominent figures in the religious right since its ascendance as a national political force three decades ago, and the reason for his firing from the umbrella organization representing some 45,000 churches portends much about the "culture wars."
In a post-election interview with Terry Gross on National Public Radio's "Fresh Air," Cizik stated his support for gay civil unions. "I'm shifting, I have to admit," he said when asked about same-sex marriage. "In other words, I would willingly say I believe in civil unions. I don't officially support redefining marriage from its traditional definition, I don't think."
Cizik's couching of his support for civil unions - a position shared by at least half of the American electorate, including an increasing number of evangelicals - within his opposition to gay marriage was not a sufficient hedge to save his skin. "He no longer represents the view of evangelicalism," concluded Tom Minnery, a senior vice president of Focus on the Family. Try as Minnery might to make it sound as though evangelicals speak with one voice on a range of issues, serious fissures are beginning to emerge among this vital electoral constituency. Read more

-Warren Taps Right-Wing Lawyer for Inaugural Defense
Kyle | Right Wing Watch
We've written a few posts about the lawsuit brought by Michael Newdow, the American Humanist Association, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and others seeking to remove the phrase "so help me God" from the oath of office during the Inauguration. Among the defendants in the case are Chief Justice John Roberts, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Major General Richard J. Rowe Jr., the Reverend Rick Warren and the Reverend Joe Lowery.
Now it looks like Warren has tapped a lawyer to represent him in court - a lawyer from the right-wing Pacific Justice Institute:
Kevin Snider, Chief Counsel of Pacific Justice Institute, will appear in federal court Thursday in Washington, D.C. to defend Pastor Rick Warren against a lawsuit seeking to halt prayers at the inauguration of Barack Obama . At his request, PJI Chief Counsel Kevin Snider will appear in court tomorrow and ask a federal judge to allow the time-honored inaugural prayer to proceed.
If you are not familiar with the Pacific Justice Institute, maybe you are familiar with this video of PJI President Brad Dacus proclaiming that failure to pass Prop 8 was akin to failing to stand up to the Nazis: Read more

-Mike Huckabee: Affably Anti-Gay
Kyle | Right Wing Watch
A.J. Jacobs has a interesting profile of Mike Huckabee in Esquire on how this funny and seemingly nice former presidential candidate is, at heart, a militantly anti-gay culture warrior.
Jacobs reports that Huckabee is utterly charming and the "most likable politician I've ever met" . until he joins Huckabee for a book-signing and fundraiser for the right-wing New Jersey Family Policy Council where the theme is "no compromise on gay marriage" and Huckabee proclaims that gays getting married will lead to polygamy and bestiality and likens homosexuality to alcoholism:
We say the Pledge of Allegiance. We eat our chicken and baby carrots. We listen to a series of speeches with phrases like "swamp of moral decay" and "assault on the sacred institution of marriage." One man says that given the choice between winning the White House and winning the three anti-gay-marriage propositions, he'd choose to lose the White House . more.

-Jim Carrey's Hot Gay Role!
In the aftermath of all those Mormon dollars supporting Prop 8, the Utah-based 2009 Sundance Film Festival was in the queer spotlight last month after calls by some in the gay community for a boycott of the uber queer-friendly event.
That boycott message was countered by immediate and effusive objections, and expressions of Sundance support, from such venerable queer film luminaries as: producer Christine Vachon, distributor Marcus Hu and director Gregg Araki (see Araki's eloquent piece in the current print issue of The Advocate) or, since that isn't available online, you could read my Bay Area Reporter Guest Opinion piece, "Yes On Sundance."
With the festival getting underway from January 15 - 25 in Park City, Utah there are bound to be some picketers outside the Cinemark-owned Holiday Village Cinema (one of the main venues at Sundance). But community leaders -including the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and Outfest who both made official announcements of support for Sundance - seem to have moved on towards focusing on the films themselves and embracing the festival for being the longtime champion of LGBT cinema that it is. Read more

Fort Report
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-Effort to surmount polarizing debates backfires on pastor
Rick Warren arrives in Washington this week in the midst of the culture war he has spent years trying to transcend.
The California pastor, who wrote the best-selling hardcover book in US history and built up from scratch one of the largest churches in the nation, is widely considered the most visible and successful champion of a new form of political engagement for evangelicals, one that is less partisan, and concerned about more issues, than the abortion-and-gays-focused religious right associated with Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson.

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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Humanists in Nigeria have condemned the vote by the country's House of Representatives banning same sex marriage.
The Bill "for an Act to prohibit marriage between persons of the same gender, solemnization of same and other matters related therewith" has been passed unanimously by the Lower House of the country's Parliament. All the members who spoke in favour of the Bill condemned such marriage, saying that it was immoral, against African tradition and God's design for human beings. One noted that this was a sign of moral decadence in any given society and went against God's purpose of creating the institution of marriage. He stressed that such acts as stated in both the Islamic and Christian religions were ungodly. Another member argued "it is against my faith to have same sex marriage. It is against our penal code to even engage in activities between man and man, as well as woman and woman. It is time for us at to think back and look at the scourge of HIV/AIDS. The greatest means of transmitting this disease is through the act of sodomy".

Truth Wins Out - TWO
by Wayne Besen

-TWO Urges Team Obama To Explain Why Bishop Gene Robinson Was Bumped From
HBO's Inauguration Broadcast
Warren Gets Prime Time, Robinson Gets No Time, Says TWO Truth Wins Out today urged the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) to explain why openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson was excluded from a Home Box Office airing of inauguration festivities. He gave his sermon on Sunday, but HBO did not air it, leaving America wondering why he was bumped from the broadcast. Additionally, Robinson's microphone wasn't turned on until his prayer was nearly over, so the crowd was also unable to hear him.

-Dr. Phil's Poison Pill
In 38 years, I've only once dressed in drag. It was my senior year of high school and my friend Alex's father was out of town. While gone, he placed Alex in charge of his clothing shop, which was in a small hotel mini-mall. I swung by one evening to keep him company. Business was slow and we were looking for creative ways to pass the time. [...] I'm confused as to why people are still "confused" about transgender Americans. For years, they have said that the birth sex on the outside does not match the opposite sex they believe is on the inside. Modern science confirms that sexuality has as much to do with what is inside our heads as what is between our legs. This concept is not rocket science, nor is it difficult to understand. There is nothing homogeneous about our species, and this includes sexuality and gender. Unfortunately, talk show hosts are still using this issue for cheap laughs or to boost ratings. The latest example is the annoying and supremely talentless Dr. Phil. The talking (very large) head had an opportunity to educate the public by presenting the latest science.


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