Sunday, January 25, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - January 25, 2009

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New York Times
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-Portland Journal
A Mayor's Lie Throws a City Into Turmoil
Tom Wood did not break stride as he shouted his sentiments at City Hall here this week. "He's a liar," Mr. Wood said. "He told a kid to lie so that he could get elected. He shouldn't be our mayor."

-NY: Gillibrand Is a Centrist With a Tenacious Style
She would seem the longest of long shots, this young, centrist Democrat from rural upstate New York who was just re-elected to her second term in Congress and is now inheriting the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton. [(Some already detect a bit of a shift: Though Ms. Gillibrand accumulated an 80 percent vote rating from a gay-rights group - the lowest in New York's Democratic delegation - the executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda said she had called him Thursday night and pledged her support for gay marriage.)]

Washington Post
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-Trial By Fury: Scandal Sentenced Ted Haggard to a New Life
By Karl Vick
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. Two years ago Ted Haggard vanished into the gap that separates righteous, evangelical America from righteous, liberal America. By chance this cultural divide was defined to a large extent by attitudes about gay sex even before a male prostitute announced he had been sleeping with the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and had sold him some methamphetamine.

-Disgraced pastor faces more gay sex accusations
Disgraced evangelical leader Ted Haggard's former church disclosed Friday that the gay sex scandal that caused his downfall extends to a young male church volunteer who reported having a sexual relationship with Haggard _ a revelation that comes as Haggard tries to repair his public image.

-Obama Ushers In An Era of Inclusion
By Adelle M. Banks and Kevin Eckstrom
When President Obama rose to speak between the prayers offered by evangelical megachurch pastor Rick Warren and civil rights veteran the Rev. Joseph Lowery, he indicated -- without ever saying a word -- the breadth of the religious outreach ahead in his administration.

-Portland mayor to decide soon whether to resign
About 400 supporters gathered Friday night outside City Hall to urge Portland's mayor to stay on the job despite an intensifying political storm over his sexual relationship with a legislative intern nearly four years ago.

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-Choose your spouse, not mine
I think the whole issue of gay "marriage" would be easier to settle if people understood all marriages are at their most fundamental level civil contracts. You can sprinkle all the religious fairy dust on it you want, but it isn't legal unless you have a marriage license issued by the state. I've yet to hear any explanation, not even a silly one, of how same-sex marriage would be a threat to the "sanctity of marriage." Marriages have been disintegrating since biblical times without any help from the gay couple next door. If you think same-sex marriage is wrong, then don't do it. But what do you think gives you the right to tell two consenting adults how they can live their lives? Do you want me to tell you how to live yours? I think not.
Claudia Krysiak, Tamarac,0,4231306.story

-TV today: Jan. 24
Sigourney Weaver marks her first performance in a made-for-TV film as she stars in Prayers for Bobby (9 p.m., Lifetime). Based on a true story and the book of the same name, it tells of a devoutly religious wife and mother in circa-1970s California who begins to question her faith after the suicide of her gay son.,0,2752950.story

Steve Rothaus
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-New York Senate appointee supports gay marriage equality, hate-crimes law, ENDA, repeal of don't ask, don't tell
There has been some discussion about the record of Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Governor David Paterson's pick to replace Hillary Clinton, regarding her stance on Don't Ask Don't Tell and additional LGBT issues. In particular, we'd like to clarify references to the Human Rights Campaign Scorecard for the 110th Congress. Although Kirsten Gillibrand did not co-sponsor legislation to repeal DADT, non-cosponsorship does not mean support for the policy or opposition to repeal. In fact, in conversations with her office the Human Rights Campaign has confirmed Gillibrand is in favor of repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell and supports full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. Additionally, HRC confirmed with Gillibran's staff additional points regarding her LGBT record:
· Supports marriage equality
· Cosponsored and voted in favor of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act
· Cosponsored inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and supports enactment of inclusive bill
· Voted in favor of ENDA
· Supports repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell
· Supports repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act
· Supports equal tax treatment of employer provided domestic partnership benefits
· Voted against allowing discrimination in hiring for the Head Start program
· Voted in favor of allowing Washington, DC to fund needle exchange programs with local funds
· Supports the Early Treatment of HIV/AIDS Act (ETHA) to allow states to provide Medicaid coverage for HIV-positive persons
· Voted against procedural attempts to derail ENDA and hate crimes
· Endorsed by HRC PAC in 2008

-Depression, isolation, rejection lead many gay youths to attempt suicide
Attorney Eddy McIntyre worked tirelessly for many South Florida groups and causes, including YES Institute, a nonprofit to prevent young gay people from killing themselves. What few knew: McIntyre himself suffered for years from depression and tried to commit suicide at least once in the early 2000s. The local gay community was shocked in 2007 when he hanged himself at age 47 inside his Miami Shores garage. His death illuminates an issue of particular concern to gays and lesbians.

South Florida Blade
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-Welcome home, Stonewall
New digs for America's largest GLBT library
On Monday, January 19, 2009, Stonewall Library & Archives (SL&A) moved to its new location at 1300 Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. It's been a long journey.

-So long, Boy George
Brit singer sentenced to prison, future U.S. visits unlikely
Dish hates to be the bearer of bad news during these happiest of days, in the wake of our glorious presidential inauguration. But she would be remiss if she did not mention the unfortunate plight of George O'Dowd, better known to the Karma Chameleons of the world as Boy George.

-Gay group once deemed a security threat
Police had Equality Maryland under surveillance
Equality Maryland, the state's largest gay civil rights group, was revealed this week to be among the many peaceful protest groups that were once designated a "security threat" by state officials.

-Obama dumps Dybul at AIDS office
Gay physician was asked to resign
The State Department confirmed Friday that President Barack Obama has decided to replace gay physician Mark Dybul, coordinator of the U.S. Global AIDS office. The development comes two weeks after Dybul, whose position holds the status of an ambassador, reportedly was asked to rescind his resignation and stay in his job. Dybul was appointed by former President George W. Bush.

-Gay fundraiser gets DNC position
Gifford helped Obama in California
A prominent gay fundraiser for President Barack Obama has been tapped to become the new finance director for the Democratic National Committee.

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-Corvino: Gene Robinson's scary prayer
By John Corvino
When Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson was invited to deliver the invocation at the inaugural kickoff event, I expected some conservative evangelicals to complain. And they did. Forget the fact that Robinson's invitation seemed like a token gesture after the controversial choice of evangelical pastor (and Prop-8 supporter) Rick Warren for the inaugural invocation-a far more prominent platform.

-Tests Show no Canadians exposed to HIV from tainted syringes
By The Canadian Press
(High Prairie, Alberta) Nearly completed tests on almost 1,400 patients have yet to turn up someone who contracted hepatitis or HIV from exposure to contaminated syringes, health officials in northern Alberta said.

-British soccer fans banned for homophobic, racist chants
By The Canadian Press
Four fans have been banned from soccer games for three years after pleading guilty to yelling indecent chants at Portsmouth defender Sol Campbell during a game against Tottenham, which was marred by racist and homophobic crowd behavior.

-Polygamy and Gay Marriage
by Ruby-Sachs
Earlier this week, a Canadian newspaper reported that the legal team for a pair of men from a polygamist community in British Columbia were intending to use gay marriage as the basis for their argument to legalize multiple person partnerships. It's not a surprising move. Anyone who has heard the slippery slope argument (if gay marriage, what's next? bestiality? polygamy?) was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

-"Milk" nabs best picture, actor, supporting actor, director, screenplay Oscar nominations
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the 81st Academy Awards, and Gus Van Sant's Milk scored nominations in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (Sean Penn), and Best Supporting Actor (Josh Brolin), Best Director (Gus Van Sant) and Best Original Screenplay (Dustin Lance Black). Also: Costume Design, Editing, and Score. That's a total of 8.

-First gay divorce hits Texas court
A Dallas man who married his longtime partner in Massachusetts is asking a Texas court to grant him a divorce. It is believed to be the first time that a court in Texas has been asked to grant a divorce stemming from a same-sex marriage, although a court earlier refused to dissolve a civil union that had been obtained by another couple in Vermont. In that case, the judge cited the Texas constitution, which bans same-sex marriage.

-Tampa Area city council vetoes gay partner benefits
A proposal that could have led to health benefits for the domestic partners of Hillsborough County employees has been flatly rejected. Openly gay commissioner Kevin Beckner proposed a motion calling for a study into the feasibility of the benefits. Beckner, who was elected in November, said he proposed the idea now because the county is in the process of taking bids for employee health insurance. That process happens only once every four years.

-NYS insurers ordered to recognize same-sex marriages
The New York State overseerer of insurance companies has told companies they must treat legally married same-sex couples the same as they treat opposite-sex married pairs. Although state law does not permit gay marriage within New York State, a Rochester court ruled that valid out-of-state marriages of lesbian and gay couples must be recognized. The state's highest court upheld the ruling.

-Sex scandal divides Portland gay community
A confession by Portland's first openly gay mayor that he lied about having sex with a teenager is dividing this famously progressive city, as well as its gay community. Just three weeks after Sam Adams was sworn in, many gays are questioning whether he is the man they want as their trailblazer.

-Virus vaccine maker seeks approval for males
Drugmaker Merck & Co. has asked federal regulators to approve use in males for its vaccine against the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical and other sexually transmitted cancers.

-Lawers argue Ohio Constitution bans gay co-parenting
Despite a ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court that the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage does not automatically bar same-sex partners from co-parenting rights, a second case has made its way to an appeals court.

The Advocate
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-Obama Lifts Global Gag Rule
President Barack Obama signed an executive order rescinding a ban on funding for certain family planning groups in foreign countries on the third day of his presidency. Services from these organizations include comprehensive sexual education, access to contraceptives, and information about abortions.

-Poll: Floridians Support Relationship Recognition, Adoption Rights
A new poll shows that a majority of Florida voters favor same-sex marriage or civil unions and also oppose the state's ban on adoption by gays. The Quinnipiac University study found that 27% of voters in the state support same-sex marriage, while 35% support civil unions, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

-AIDS Hero Martin Delaney Dies in California
Martin Delaney, the founder and longtime director of the HIV advocacy and education organization Project Inform, died Friday of liver cancer at his home in San Rafael, Calif. He was 63. In 1985, Delaney founded Project Inform, a national HIV treatment and public policy information and advocacy organization based in San Francisco, serving as its director until 2008. Delaney was involved in the development of today's widely used Accelerated Approval regulations and the Parallel Track system for providing experimental drugs to seriously ill people prior to formal Food and Drug Administration approval.

-When a Nod's Not Enough
By James Kirchick
Now's the time for Barack Obama to start delivering on his promise of change. But will your most important issues be among his top priorities? Click the byline to view more stories by this author.

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-Skin heads has attack gay in centre of Minsk
In evening of January 22 in one of the Minsk park (capital of the Republic of Belarus) skin heads has attacked gay. After strong beating, skins has throw boy in Svisloch river. After got traumas, the damage practically all internal organ, young person has lost the consciousness. The casual passer-by has seen the sinking boy and have rendered aid. The boy has delivered in reanimation of the second town hospital of Minsk. At present aggrieved stay at home after his application that he wrote in hospital, aggrieved. reported for the portal

-Cops closed case, but Newsweek interviewed assailant
The investigation into the attack on a German parliamentarian during the first Moscow Gay Pride has been re-opened, it emerged this morning. Volker Beck, an openly gay member of the German Bundestag, was beaten-up in Moscow's Tverskaya Street in front of Moscow City Hall on May 27, 2006. Mr. Beck had asked the Moscow authorities for a full investigation of the attack, as did the Gay Pride organisers.

-Obama to reverse abortion policy
President Barack Obama plans to sign an executive order ending the ban on federal funds for international groups that promote or perform abortions, officials told The Associated Press on Friday. The move, long expected in the Democratic president's first week in office, will be welcomed by liberals and criticized by abortion rights foes.

-GayRussia.Ru continues to fight for freedom of expression in Russia
When a professor of the Carleton University in Ottawa wanted to give an LGBT dimension to her course on International Human Rights Law, she could not miss the awkward situation that gay activists face in Russia. Indeed, the LGBT communities have become the symbol of the fight for Freedom of Assembly in Russia even though it never intended to be.

-Guest Commentary by Teo Valenti
Russian gay activists are pugnacious. They do not give up. While their country systematically bans any of their public action for at least 3 years in a row, they keep fighting. And not only in the streets. Over the last weeks, they launched their new battle within Europe??s top diplomatic circle. Last December, they opened the first front in Brussels. At their request, three Members of the European Parliament asked the European Commission whether it raised the issue of Human Rights violation and more specifically LGBT Rights with the Russian President during the EU-Russia summit of November. The answer, apparently, is still to come.

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-Supporters and Allies of IRQR and Iranian Queer Refugees, Toronto: We have just been informed that United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kuala Lumpur has finalized Ali's case and officially recognized him as a refugee. In December 22, 08 we call to action for Ali, an Iranian gay asylum seeker in Malaysia which you can find it on IRQR website in Queer Refugee page. Ali was so excited and happy when he called us today morning. He said: "my hands are shivering now and I can not believe it." And he continued "I do not know how I should thank IRQR and all people who supported me" This is wonderful news for Ali; for IRQR; and for supporters and allies of all queer refugees.

-Morocco: An Italian man was sentenced to 4 months in jail for operating a gay network in Morocco The Almaghrebiya newspaper reported that on Jan 19, the Criminal Chamber of the lower Court in the city of Marakesh, sentenced an Italian Citizen to 4 months in jail and a fine of 1,000 Derham on charges of "homosexuality, filming and possession of pornographic images" . Gian Paolo will be deported from Morocco at the end of his sentence. The detainee , an Italian resident of Morocco, confessed to the law enforcement officials that he headed a network of Moroccan and foreign homosexuals in Spain, Belgium , and the United States. He used to take pornographic images of "abnormal sexual situations" involving Moroccans and citizens of other countries, and posted them on the internet.

-Bahrain: Men's Barbershop Became a Cruising Gay Scene
Bahraini Newspaper, Alwaqht, Jan 14, 2009: 2 Asian men were sentenced to 6 months in jail with hard labour and deportation from Bahrain at the end of their sentence for practicing of debauchery. The accused were arrested by the Public Morality Police for committing prostitution with their barbershop clients. After the police was tipped off to their activities, undercover agents went to their place of business, pretending that they wanted to have sex with them. The accused agreed to have homosexual sex for 10 dollars. After their arrests, they confessed that they used to have sex with their clients for 10 to 20 dinars a trick.

-Egypt: The Capture of A Network of the Followers of Lot in one of Cairo's Streets.
Almoheet (Pan-Arab News portal) Jan 10, 2009: On Jan 5, The Egyptian Security Services destroyed a network of homosexuals, following complains to the Morality Unit of the Interior Ministry that the young men frequented an apartment in Ahmed Orabi Street. At the beginning, the detectives suspected that the place accommodates young girls with male clients, but the police soon found out that all people in the place were men. After surveillance, the detectives found out that all of the people who visited the apartment were gay, and the location was a place set up for gays to commit sodomy. The ringleaders of the gay prostitution operation were 4 people, including a top producer at Egyptian TV, a fabric merchant, an accountant, and a young man who worked with foreign press. Following the raid, 8 people were arrested and police confiscated gay pornography on the detainee's computers and on their cell phones.

-The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) announced today that it would award its 2009 Felipa de Souza Award to the Lebanese group Helem. IGLHRC's Felipa Award recognizes the courage and effectiveness of groups or leaders dedicated to improving the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) and other individuals stigmatized and abused because of their sexuality or HIV status. The first organization in the Arab world to set up a gay and lesbian community center, Helem's work has consistently broken new ground in a country that criminalizes homosexuality and where violence and abuse are persistent problems.

-Interview with Sunil Pant, Openly Gay MP from Nepal
Sunil Pant is an internationally well-known LGBT rights activist. He is the founder of the first and largest association Blue Diamond Society, which struggles for improving the conditions of LGBT people in Nepal, and he is the first MP of Nepal with his open gay identity. Due to his efforts of bettering the conditions of LGBT community both in Nepal and the world, he and his association was given the Felipe de Souza Human Rights Prize in 2007 by International Gay and Lesbian Rights Commission. You will be surprised when you read the attempts and achievements of both Sunil Pant and the Blue Diamond Society in terms of LGBT rights. The first open gay MP of Nepal answered the questions of our writer Kemal Ordek.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Prop 8 Ours to Lose? Nope - It Was Always an Uphill climb.
Filed by: Matt Foreman
A lot of people have been saying that Prop 8 was our side's to lose and that missteps by the No on 8 Campaign snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Those analyses ignore hard core obstacles and fundamentals underlying the contest, including how hard it is to hold and move opinions on marriage in the narrow confines of a campaign. I need to start by saying that I had nothing to do with the No on 8 Campaign. Because the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, where I work, has been so deeply involved in public education work in support of marriage equality, the law literally precluded any contact or coordination with the electoral campaign. So, as a purely armchair quarterback it's pretty easy for me to catalog things I - in my infinite wisdom - would have done differently. But I also know that even if everything- every single thing - had gone our way, it still would have been incredibly hard to win by anything more than a tiny margin. Here's why. Putting Minority Rights Up to a Popular Vote: the Difficulty of Winning

-Los Angeles Affiliate KABC-TV Refuses to Air Ad With Gay Families During Inauguration: 'Too Controversial, Families Will Be Watching.' Non-profit organization produced five 30-second commercials featuring gay and lesbian families, with the message "Marriage promotes families. Support marriage equality." The ads, while not tied to any current election, are the result of California's passage of Proposition 8 in November. The group aired the spots in 42 of the states' 58 counties -- everywhere the initiative passed by 50% or more -- during Tuesday's coverage of the Presidential Inauguration. KABC is the only station that refused to sell the ad space. The rejected ad profiles two African American men raising five children ages 6 through 25. Ironically, the family lives in Los Angeles.

-Supreme Court Kills COPA
Attorneys weigh in on demise of Child Online Protection Act
By Mark Kernes
It was just a one-line reference in today's Orders list from the U.S. Supreme Court, under the heading "Certiorari Denied": "08-565 MUKASEY, ATT'Y GEN. V. ACLU, ET AL." But what it meant was that the Child Online Protection Act, better known simply as COPA, signed into law by President Clinton in 1998 but never enforced due to injunctions issued by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, would never take effect. The last ruling on COPA was made on July 22, 2008, when a Third Circuit panel affirmed the trial court's decision that COPA was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad, and that technology had advanced to the point where end-user filtering software was a relatively effective method of protecting minors from exposure to sexually explicit materials - and in any case, a less restrictive method than the government had proposed in the original COPA legislation. (See our earlier story, Third Circuit Strikes Down COPA .)

ArtsUnited - Ft. Lauderdale
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-Ninth Annual GLBT Art Festival has lots to offer
ArtExplosion '09 has something for everyone this year. Beside two of the biggest names in comedy, Lea DeLaria and Lily Tomlin, it offers one of the biggest names in Lesbian Fiction, K.G. Macgregor, and a superstar of music, Desmond Child. In all there are over 30 different events in the two week festival. Kicking off the festival is the Visual Art Exhibit Opening Night Reception on February 7th at 6pm. The event this year has multiple stages for music and performances, an expanded Erotic Exhibit in the 411 Erotic Room, the Kai Martini Bar, wine and desserts, and music by DJ Johnny D. Of course, there will also be the wonderful selection of art this year, juried by Elayna Toby Singer, Director for Art in Public Places for Palm Beach County, and $1000 worth of prizes. Applications for both the juried exhibit and the erotic exhibit are available online.

Equality Forum
We've Launched a New Look!
Visit the new user-friendly Equality Forum Web site. You'll find everything you need to know about the 50-plus programs, parties and special events at Equality Forum 2009 - all organized to make your planning easier. Check out the weeklong schedule by day or by topic. Surf the featured events and parties. Learn about more than 40 participating national and international GLBT leaders, including four out gay mayors. You'll also find information about the organization and its other important high-impact initiatives, an image gallery, a store and more.

Mark's List
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-Ft. Lauderdale: The Largest Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Pride Festival In Florida
Indoor and Outdoor Events All Day Long March 21st and 22nd 2009
We're very excited about the upcoming 2009 PrideFest happening Saturday, March 21st and Sunday, March 22nd. Official PrideFest events kick off the week prior to the PrideFest weekend. These will be held at several of the nightclubs and venues throughout town beginning on Monday, March 16th and continue through Sunday night's After Pride T Dance. PrideFest is a celebration and tribute to the LGBT community and its unique culture. Taking place at the very popular Holiday Park / War Memorial Auditorium, it is a weekend long event which includes non-stop entertainment both days, local DJ's and many more surprises! Also featured are over 250 vendors, comedy shows, music, food, DJ's, and a dance tent which, as usual, has a great dance floor for your dancing pleasure! New for 2009, is the festive addition of an outdoor stage. That means that along with vendors, food and fun there will be great entertainment not only inside the air-conditioned War Memorial Auditorium, but outside as well. Come join the fun and show your PRIDE!-

Pink News - UK
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-Religious zealots find White House website's entry on gay rights
Homophobic Christian groups in America have discovered the new President's support for gay rights. A section on civil rights on the White House website contains information about the Obama administration's plans for the LGBT community.

-French government minister confirms he is gay
The French Secretary of State for Parliamentary Relations has revealed he is gay in an interview ahead of the publication of his autobiography. Roger Karoutchi is a close personal friend of President Nicholas Sarkozy and a former MEP and Senator.

-Hollywood cop turned reality TV star suspended amid porn accusations
By Tony Grew
A police officer in Hollywood, California has been taken off duty after it was alleged he starred in a porn film five years before he joined the force. Michael Verdugo, 34, has become well-known from his appearance on reality TV show Design Star.

-160 MEPs signed up for recognition of civil partnerships
By Tony Grew
All Labour and Lib Dem MEPs have backed a written declaration on civil partnerships at the European Parliament. However, it did not attract enough support to move to the next stage. In all 160 MEPs signed up.

-Texas attorney general vows to fight gay divorce case
A gay couple who legally married in Massachusetts may be denied the right to divorce in the current home state. The men, who have not been identitified, got married in Cambridge in 2006, two years after Massachusetts legalised same-sex marriage.

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News
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-Don't Ask Don't Tell: Two Military Men Tell Their Stories
Scott Stiffler | EDGE Contributor | EDGE Boston
Brett Edward Stout
One year from now, we may very well be able to look back upon this era as a less enlightened time in which the men and women of our all-volunteer military were not yet allowed to serve if they were openly gay or lesbian. But until that time, the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy-which mandates not confiding a serviceperson's sexuality and in return not being asked about it-continues to devalue, demean and discharge those who are anything other than avowed heterosexuals. EDGE recently spoke with two gay men who served and emerged from their experience with different perspectives on what it's like to be a homosexual within an institution that requires you to deny who you are-but has no trouble asking you to risk or give your life. Read more

-Deviant Transgender Day Coming to Nation's Public Schools
Laurie Higgins, DSA Director, Illinois Family Institute | Opposing Views
The Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has announced that in addition to the Day of Silence, it is sponsoring another day during which it encourages young impressionable and confused students to celebrate disordered thinking and immoral behavior. TransAction! Day will be held on Friday, Feb. 27, 2009. Clearly, GLSEN sees public education as their personal playground for propagandizing the nation's children. GLSEN jubilantly declares that: "This is a day for education and celebration of transgender and gender non-conforming people and experiences. A day to begin having dialogues about gender and to advocate for inclusive schools for all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. TransAction! encourages students to organize a workshop, panel discussion, or similar forum about gender, gender identity gender roles, and the broader transgender umbrella." Read more

-Political IQ: A New Gay Agenda
Diane Silver | Bay Area Reporter
We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take this anymore. If there is a clear message to come out of LGBT America's response to the fall election, that slightly modified line from the movie Network is it. Lesbian Christie Keith, who earns a living writing about pets, stepped out of her comfort zone to make that point in a Daily Kos diary. "We're no longer willing to settle for simply not getting beaten to death, for being able to live in our constricted safe zones without fear of baseball bats to the head and getting fired," she writes. This post-Proposition 8, post-Rick Warren fury is fueling Stonewall 2.0 activism. It is also one of the reasons we need a new gay agenda, especially in Washington, D.C. Our community's decades-old federal wish list is getting stale. It includes passing protection against job discrimination (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act), passing a hate-crimes bill, and repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy. Read more

-Poll Show Shift in Attitude Toward Gays
(Washington) New polls taken in two of the country's most socially conservative states indicate a shift in attitudes toward LGBT people. A Florida poll shows a majority of prospective voters in that state believe the state's ban on gay adoption should be repealed and that there should be legal recognition of same-sex relationships, though they disagreed on whether that should be marriage or civil unions. The other poll, in Utah, found that a majority support LGBT civil rights. Both states in recent years have seen a large influx of new residents, primarily from the Northeast and California. In Florida, the poll by Quinnipiac University found that 55 percent favor abolishing the state law that prohibits gays from adopting, while 39 percent said the law should be maintained. Read more

-OH: Lambda Legal Defends Lesbia Mother in Ohio Custody Matter
Out In Akron
In court papers submitted in the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals, Lambda Legal defended a lesbian mother in her fight to continue to parent her 11 and 8 year old sons. "These children have a right to the love and support of both of their parents," said Camilla Taylor Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago. "The Ohio Supreme Court already has said that Ohio's antigay constitutional amendment does not prevent a same-sex couple from sharing custody of the children they are rearing together. We shouldn't have to address this hurtful and discriminatory argument any longer. The trial court below in this case did the right thing by focusing on the needs of the children, and awarding shared custody to these women based on more than a century of Ohio case law allowing such orders." Lambda Legal represents Rita Goodman in her pursuit to continue to parent her two sons. Goodman and her former partner Siobhan LaPiana were in a committed relationship for 10 years. During that time the women planned and had two children. LaPiana gave birth to the children but both women equally parented the boys, who love and rely on both of them as their mothers. Before the birth of the first child, Goodman and LaPiana drafted and signed a parenting agreement detailing their intent to share all responsibilities of parenthood. After the couple split, LaPiana began restricting Goodman's time with the boys. In February 2007, Goodman filed a lawsuit, and in August, 2008, the trial court ordered visitation for Goodman. LaPiana appealed, arguing, among other things, that Ohio's antigay constitutional amendment prevents courts from entering orders permitting former lesbian partners to share custody, and that the court's order unconstitutionally infringed on her right to autonomy as a parent. Read more

-LA: Decision Upholds Benefits for Same-sex Partners of City Employees
Susan Finch, The Times-Picayune |
The city of New Orleans acted legally in the 1990s when it created a registry for same-sex couples and used it as a basis to provide health insurance for the partners of its gay and lesbian employees, a state appellate court ruled last week. In a unanimous decision, a trio of 4th Circuit Court of Appeal judges turned back claims by the Alliance Defense Fund on behalf of six New Orleans residents that the registry violates state laws against same-sex marriage and that local governments have no authority to govern such arrangements. In its 20-page ruling, the panel said the city's domestic partnership registry ordinance "has no effect on the (state) Civil Code articles relating to marriage, creates no obligations between the parties who choose to register and provides neither an enforcement mechanism nor a cause of action for which redress may be sought in courts of this state." Read more

-Victory Fund Endorses 10 Out Candidates
While President Barack Obama may have only been inaugurated yesterday, the Victory Fund has already endorsed ten out candidates whose elections take place in 2009. These endorsees include David Glasgow, who seeks to replace openly gay councilman Keith Durbin on the Nashville Davidson County Metro Council, and Coleman Prewitt, who is running for the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. Learn more about the candidates below (clockwise from upper left). Read more

Truth Wins Out - TWO
by Wayne Besen

-Truth Wins Out Calls On Authorities To Investigate Ted Haggard's Former Church
Hush Money Scandal Emerges From New Life's Closet, Says TWO
Truth Wins Out (TWO) today called on Colorado officials to investigate New Life Church, after the Associated Press revealed that New Life paid money to keep a male volunteer from publicly disclosing a romantic affair with the church's former minister Ted Haggard. According to the AP, New Life's current Senior Pastor, Brady Boyd, said that the church reached a legal settlement to pay the man for counseling and college tuition, with one condition being that none of the parties involved discuss the relationship publicly. "Until conservative churches stop shaming gay people and learn to accept them, we will see more tawdry scandals," said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "These calamities are a direct result of the closet." Rev. Boyd denied that New Life paid hush money and said, "Our desire was to help him. Here was a young man who wanted to get on with his life. We considered it more compassionate assistance - certainly not hush money." TWO called on Colorado officials to look into the matter.

From Nancy Keenan, NARAL Pro-Choice America
Thirty-six years after Roe v. Wade became the law of the land, President Barack Obama took swift and decisive action today to end one of George Bush's worst policies: the global gag rule. Let's respond just as quickly with our thanks and support.


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