Wednesday, January 21, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - January 21, 2009

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New York Times
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-More Grins Than Grumbles at a Gay Ball
By Melena Ryzik
"I'm so tired of Rick Warren," Rufus Wainwright sang, tweaking the lyrics to his anthem "Going to a Town." ("I'm so tired of you, America.") "I'm so tired of California," he sang, earning a smattering of "woos" at the Human Rights Campaign's Out for Equality ball at the Mayflower Hotel on Tuesday night.

-Few Protesters at Inauguration
Protesters, a fixture of every inauguration since President Nixon's in 1973, were few and scattered on Tuesday as Barack Obama assumed the presidency. It appeared there were far more vendors looking to make a buck selling Inaugural Chocolate Bars and Obama Incense than protesters seeking to make a statement.

South Florida Blade
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-Warren speaks of 'justice for all' at inauguration
No mention of marriage, gays made during invocation
Rev. Rick Warren spoke of "justice for all" but made no comment specific toward gay Americans during his invocation Tuesday at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Obama's choice of Warren for the inaugural invocation dismayed many gay advocates because Warren opposes gay marriage.
He backed Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in his home state of California.

-Robinson looks forward to meeting Warren
Gay bishop will meet evangelical pastor today
After delivering a prayer at Sunday's inauguration concert in Washington, New Hampshire's Episcopal bishop is expected to meet the pastor who will give the invocation at the presidential swearing-in ceremony. Obama's choice of the Rev. Rick Warren for the inaugural invocation dismayed many gay advocates because Warren opposes gay marriage. The tables turned when Obama asked New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, to lead prayers at Sunday's kickoff concert. Robinson told Foster's Daily Democrat that he looks forward to meeting Warren on Tuesday.

-Obama's gay plan for America
Within hours of taking office, Obama releases agenda for GLBT rights
By Dan Renzi
As the community questioned why Obama chose Rev. Rick Warren to speak at the inaugration-seemingly in conflict with his previous support of the gay community, as Warren is a noted homophobe-we thought it might have been a consolation to the religious right, in preparation for Obama's plans for GLBT equality.

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-Local progress in California reminds us that National politics isn't always where it's at
By Emma Ruby-Sachs
I know today is the end of George Bush and the beginning of Barack Obama. I can't tell you how happy this transition makes me. Even if Obama is a huge disappointment, letting Bush retire to the plains of Texas warms my heart.

The Advocate
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-HBO Blames Robinson Snub on Miscommunication Within Obama's Team
HBO's failure to broadcast the Reverend Gene Robinson's invocation at the pre-inaugural celebration for President Obama at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday was due to a miscommunication within the Presidential InauguralCommittee, according to the cable network.

- Kennedy Collapses, Byrd Wheeled Out of Presidential Luncheon
Massachusetts senator Edward Kennedy suffered a seizure at a 200-person luncheon honoring President Barack Obama. Paramedics arrived at the scene and escorted him out of the room. According to Fox News, Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of fellow Massachusetts senator John Kerry, helped Kennedy into a reclining chair. Last summer the senator was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Reverend Daniel Coughlin, who gave the benediction at the end of the luncheon, said Kennedy responded well to treatment and is being taken to the hospital.

Pink News - UK
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-Christian firefighter wins damages over refusal to work at Pride
A Roman Catholic firefighter has received damages and an apology from his employers after he was disciplined for refusing to work at a gay Pride event. Nine firefighers refused to work at Pride Scotia in Glasgow in June 2006 where they were supposed to be distributing fire safety leaflets.

-Guatemalan trans rights advocate faces arrest warrant
A human rights group has questioned the decision of a public prosecutor in Guatemala to charge the director of transgender rights group with attempted murder. An arrest warrant has been issued for Jorge López.

-MEPs demand end to foreign aid to Nigeria over gay marriage ban
The European Parliament's Intergroup on gay rights has responded to moves to criminalise same-sex marriage in Nigeria by calling for a suspension of EU aid.

-Swedish MPs move to legalise gay marriage
A motion tabled in the Swedish parliament and backed by three of the four parties in the coalition government would legalise gay marriage.
"Regardless of sexual orientation, people in stable couple relationships have a need to manifest their feelings and their desire to live together," it reads.

-Tom Hanks attacks Prop 8 Mormons as un-American
A Hollywood star who won an Oscar for his portayal of a gay man has hit out at opponents of same-sex marriage. Tom Hanks focused his comments on the Mormon church.

-Four banned from football grounds for homophobic chants at Tottenham game
Eleven people have appeared at Portsmouth Magistrate's Court on charges of indecent chanting. The three accused under the age of 16 pleaded not guilty, along with four others.

-Gay rights agenda now on White House website
By Tony Grew
The new administration in the United States has already posted a lengthy statement on gay rights on the White House website.
The redesigned site is intended to "serve as a place for the President and his administration to connect with the rest of the nation and the world," said Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media for the White House.

-Malta's government accused of double standards on gay rights
By Tony Grew
An opposition MP in Malta has accused the government of ignoring the rights of gay people now they have been re-elected.
Evarist Bartolo of the Partit Laburista (Labour Party) said that at a pre-election meeting with Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) the government had said it was in favour of such an EU directive.

Daily Queer News
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-New White House Statement on Civil Rights
"The teenagers and college students who left their homes to march in the streets of Birmingham and Montgomery; the mothers who walked instead of taking the bus after a long day of doing somebody else's laundry and cleaning somebody else's kitchen - they didn't brave fire hoses and Billy clubs so that their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren would still wonder at the beginning of the 21st century whether their vote would be counted; whether their civil rights would be protected by their government; whether justice would be equal and opportunity would be theirs.. We have more work to do."
Barack Obama, Speech at Howard University, September 28, 2007

-Activist's 'Railroad' Helps Gay Iranians
Lesley Ciarula Taylor | IMMIGRATION REPORTER | The Star
Not quite three years ago, Arsham Parsi was an Iranian refugee in Turkey.
Today, he is executive director of the Iranian Queer Railroad, trying to help 200 people down the same road he took to Toronto. "Every day, people escape, people come here," he said yesterday in his downtown apartment.
"It's constant, like a railroad, always moving." On a recent trip to Turkey, he secured refugee status from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for 45 Iranian gays, but they are awaiting interviews at the Canadian and U.S. embassies. Parsi, 28, is lobbying on to get them out of Turkey where temporary residents must pay a $200 fee every six months. "People in Turkey say they're not homophobic and I say, `You've living in Istanbul. When you leave Istanbul, it's different.' Gays have been beaten on the streets in Turkey and the police do nothing." Read more

-HBO Adds Robinson to Re-Broadcast
Chris Crain | Citizen Crain
For all those who suspected some grand conspiracy between the Obama transition team and HBO to exclude openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson from the broadcast of the (ironically named) "We Are One" event, rest easy:
The cable network said that it had not been advised about what would go where in the two-hour live telecast. . The omission caused a pile of headaches for HBO and the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which received an estimated $2 million to give HBO the exclusive rights to the concert.
Whew. And even double whew:
HBO said late Monday that it will include an opening prayer from an openly gay pastor in subsequent telecasts of the "We Are One" inaugural concert, whose original live telecast began after the pastor's invocation.
No doubt gay activists will be watching like hawks to make sure HBO follows through on its promise. Will they watch with the same level of scrutiny to make sure Obama and Congress move forwarrd on legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask Don't Tell, or enact federal civil unions? Link

-Separate is Not Equal According to the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission
In December 2006, the New Jersey Legislature adopted a civil union law, permitting same-sex couples to enter into a legal alternative to marriage.
The legislature acted in the wake of a ruling from the New Jersey Supreme Court, holding that it did not violate the state constitution's guarantees of equal protection or due process for the state to exclude same-sex couples from marriage, as long as it offered them the benefits of marriage.
In its recently-released final report, however, the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission unanimously concluded that the alternative status is simply not as good. Rather, the report concludes, because the civil union alternative "invites and encourages unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children," the legislature and governor should change the law to permit same-sex couples to marry. Moreover, the Commission implored the state to act "expeditiously because any delay in marriage equality will harm all the people of New Jersey."
Though the national and international landscape on same-sex marriage is colorful, New Jersey provides a terrific case study of the many different stages, as well as the advances and setbacks for proponents, in the battle over same-sex marriage. Though the New Jersey Supreme Court has rejected same-sex marriage as a constitutional necessity, this latest development may set the stage, ultimately, for the legislative enactment of same-sex marriage in New Jersey. Read more

-Homosexual Portland Mayor Admits Past Relationship with Teen
Staff, Associated Press | CNSNews
Portland, Ore. (AP) - More than a year after denying it, the newly elected mayor of Portland has admitted having a sexual relationship with a male teenager in 2005.
Sam Adams, who is openly gay, acknowledged the relationship in a statement Monday, after the Willamette Week newspaper broke the story on its Web site.
In Washington, D.C., for the inauguration, Adams will cut his trip short to issue a public apology Tuesday afternoon in Portland, said Wade Nkrumah, his spokesman.
Adams, 45, said he and the teen were together in the summer of 2005, shortly after the teenager turned 18 in June, and when Adams was a city commissioner. The revelations come nearly a year and a half after Adams and the teen said rumors of a sexual relationship between them were false. Read more

-MI: Opponents of Kalamazoo City Ordiance are Fighting a Losing Battle Against Gay Rights
Julie Mack |
The Kalamazoo City Commission has backed off, at least temporarily, on its new ordinance outlawing discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender individuals. But even if the commission doesn't come back with a reworked proposal any time soon, my sense is that ordinance opponents are on the wrong side of history.The tipping point has been reached on the issue of gay rights. Sure, California voters passed Prop 8 in November. Yes, President-elect Obama is hedging on supporting same-sex marriage. True, the American Family Association of Michigan was able to get 1,300 Kalamazoo residents to sign petitions protesting the new ordinance. Yet slowly but surely, in a two-steps-forward, one-step-back fashion, the pendulum in swinging in a direction favoring the gay-rights movement. Eighty-nine percent of Americans - 89! - believe gays should not face job discrimination, according to Gallup, the poll organization. Vice President Cheney's lesbian daughter bore a child in 2007 with little fanfare; truth be told, the pregnancy of Bristol Palin seemed far more scandalous. A local Methodist spoke in favor of the anti-discrimination ordinance Monday. The days are long gone when "homosexual" was just another word for deviant. Read more


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