Wednesday, March 11, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - March 11, 2009

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Washington Post
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-Wash. Senate OKs domestic partner rights expansion
Same-sex domestic partners would have all of the rights and benefits that Washington offers married couples under a measure passed by the state Senate.

-Proposal to strike 'marriage' from California law
The Associated Press
California's top election official says supporters can start collecting signatures for a proposed ballot measure to strike the word "marriage" from all state laws. Supporters of this ballot measure want to replace it with the term "domestic partnership," while keeping all the rights of marriage in place.

-Doubling Down
By Richard Leiby
A new administration, a new opportunity to anoint new Washington power couples. (It's just what we do around here.) But identifying them proves a bit harder than we thought. Rule No. 1 about power couples: They deny that they are power couples.

-Virginia & Maryland In Top 10 Porn-Rich States
By Marc Fisher
Ask most folks which population is most likely to buy a lot of pornographic material and the near-universal response will be people not like themselves. Just the other day, a religious Christian in Virginia made the case to me that your heavy porn users are your social liberals, seeing as how they think anything goes. From the other side of the red-blue divide, secular types in the District argue that of course it's the conservatives who keep the porn industry going, because their public quest to impose one set of morals on others is driven by their knowledge of their private shortcomings.

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-Supporters can gather signatures for California measure to strike 'marriage' from state laws
California's top election official says supporters can start collecting signatures for a proposed ballot measure to strike the word "marriage" from all state laws.,0,240817.story

-Democrats close in on a Palm Beach retort to Rush
One of five responses to 'I hope Obama fails' will get billboard space
By Howard Goodman
The national Democratic Party has come up with five ideas for needling Rush Limbaugh on a West Palm Beach billboard and is asking Democrats to vote for their favorite. Out of "tens of thousands of submissions," party leaders have picked these five top contenders, Jen O'Malley Dillon, Democratic National Committee executive director, said in an e-mail sent Tuesday to supporters.
."Americans didn't vote for a Rush to failure"
."Hope and change cannot be Rush'd",0,7711728.story

Steve Rothaus
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-Washington state Senate OKs domestic partner rights expansion
By RACHEL LA CORTE, Associated Press
Same-sex domestic partners would have all of the rights and benefits that Washington offers married couples under a measure passed by the state Senate. Supporters of the bill said it offers same-sex couples fairness that has been denied them under the state's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, which restricts marriage to unions between a man and woman.

South Florida Blade
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The Advocate
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-Advocate Hits the Trail With the L.A. Frontrunners
Every Saturday, the Los Angeles Frontrunners - a running group for the LGBT community -- get together to bond while they break a sweat. But as Advocate contributor Derrick Shore found out when he hit the trail with this athletic crew of people, being a frontrunner is about much more than getting in shape - it's a chance to make friends, be social and, for a lucky few, even find a significant other.

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-Neff: Insecurity about Social Security
By 365gay Newscenter Staff
Month to month my partner and I save several hundred dollars to invest in our retirement. We don't earn much money - we're two women in pay-by-the-hour jobs in a state not known for being super friendly to labor. So we don't have a lot to save or invest.

-Vermont mental health groups back gay marriage
Vermont mental health professionals are backing legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry. The Vermont Psychiatric Association, the Vermont Psychological Association, the Vermont Mental Health Counselor Association and the Vermont chapter of the National Association of Social Workers said in a joint statement that arguments by opponents of same-sex marriage who claim it is not in the best interest of children to allow gays and lesbians to marry are wrong.

-Concerns mount over Ohio adoption rules
Butler County commissioners have asked the county prosecutor to review a new rule by the Children Services Agency that could be used to discriminate against gay and unmarried couples. Butler County is in suburban Cincinnati.

-Federal appeals court asked to revive case against Baptist childcare agency
A federal appeals court was asked Tuesday to reinstate a lawsuit accusing a Baptist childcare agency of proselytizing youngsters in its care and firing gay employees. The lawsuit was brought by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Pink News - UK
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-Update: Missing teenager caught on CCTV
More information has come through on teenager William Wright, who went missing after a night out with friends in Manchester's gay village at the weekend. William, 19, from Crick, Wales, was last seen by his friends at 4:20am on Saturday, March 7th outside the View bar on Canal Street. Click here for full article

-Islington registrar denied right to appeal over civil marriages ruling
The Islington registrar who refused to carry out civil partnerships has been denied leave to appeal against the latest ruling. Lillian Ladele, 48, from Finsbury, was threatened with the sack after she told Islington borough council she could not carry out the ceremonies due to her Christian beliefs. Click here for full article

-Robbie Williams to star in Little Britain sketch
Former Take That star Robbie Williams is to appear as a little girl in a Red Nose Day special Little Britain sketch. "It's hard to say no when asked to take part in a Little Britain sketch for Comic Relief," said Williams. Click here for full article

-Iowa senator introduces gender-neutral civil marriage legislation
Openly gay Iowa state Senator Matt McCoy (Democrat) has introduced legislation that would make civil marriages in Iowa gender neutral. The bill would remove words such as 'husband' and 'wife' from the state's laws, replacing them with 'spouse'. Click here for full article

-US mental health experts support gay marriage
Leading mental health organisations in Vermont, US, have come out in support of gay marriage, claiming it will validate relationships, increase benefits for the families and could reduce discrimination. Click here for full article

-Pet Shop Boys wax lyrical on Blair, Obama and Kylie
Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys has criticised "gestural" politics, saying that comfort and convenience are what drives the political agenda. In an interview with Attitude magazine and bandmate Chris Lowe, he compared Tony Blair and Barack Obama for their inclusivity, calling them "big tent" people. Click here for full article

-Home and Away to introduce lesbian romance
Australian soap Home and Away is set to show a lesbian relationship. The storyline will see tough policewoman Charlie Buckton, played by actor Esther Anderson, falling in love with Joey Collins, played by Kate Bell, who works on a trawler. Click here for full article

-Event to raise funds for homophobic bullying campaign
An event to raise money for Stonewall's Education for All campaign to stop homophobic bullying in schools will be held next month at the Paramount Club, at the top of the Centre Point Tower in London. Click here for full article

-Homophobic bullying 'rife' in schools
A survey of UK teachers has found a "deeply alarming" amount of homophobia in schools. The report, released today by Stonewall, is the largest ever survey of both primary and secondary school teachers on the issue of homophobic bullying. Click here for full article

-US mental health experts support gay marriage
Leading mental health organisations in Vermont, US, have come out in support of gay marriage, claiming it will validate relationships, increase benefits for the families and could reduce discrimination. Civil unions for same-sex couples in Vermont were legalised in 2000.

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-155 Banned Moscow Gay Pride Marches Appealed to European Court of Human Rights

-IRanian Queer Railroad - IRQR
Across the floor of the Geneva human rights conference, Arsham Parsi spotted the Iranian government representative. This was his chance. Parsi fled Iran in 2005. Despite keeping his advocacy work underground, the police had found out he was a homosexual rights activist. But Geneva was not the Islamic Republic. Homosexual rights are mired in controversy worldwide. Currently, there are 58 countries that punish homosexuality - nine with death. The regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is so horrifying, the 28-year-old Parsi has dedicated his life to fighting its extreme brutality. "A friend once told me I didn't decide to become an activist," says Parsi. "Society forced me to."

-We request your assistance with an urgent case involving Mehdi N., a 29-year-old gay
Iranian who seeks asylum in Germany.
"In Iran, one of my biggest challenges was having to deny my sexual orientation. Now, in Germany, the hardest challenge is to prove it," Mehdi N. wrote in his letter to the IRQR. Mehdi N. is in an unjust situation and needs your urgent action. Please visit our website (www[dot]irqr[dot]net) to read his full story and show your support by writing to the Deutsch government to urge them to grant refugee status to Mehdi N. You may copy and paste the sample letters into an email and send it to the provide emails or you may write your own letter in support of Mehdi N. In addition, if you or your organization is interested in hosting an event to support Mehdi and other Iranian gay refugees, please contact us as soon as possible.
Thank you for
your support.

-Serbia: Pass Anti-Discrimination Law
Restoring Bill to Legislative Agenda Will Guarantee Rights
(Brussels, March 10, 2009) - Serbia's government should ensure that an anti-discrimination law is passed, rebuffing efforts to delay its progress, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the vice-prime minister for European integration, Bozidar Delic. The government withdrew the draft law from consideration on March 4, 2009. Media reports in Serbia have said the law was withdrawn because of a last-minute objection by the Serbian Orthodox Church and other religious denominations to two of its provisions - one prohibiting discrimination based on religion (article 18), and the other barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (article 21).

-UK: LGBT university staff and students face 'high levels' of discrimination
A survey has suggested that many gay, bisexual and trans staff and students in UK higher education institutes suffer homophobia and discrimination. The research, led by Professor Gill Valentine at the University of Leeds, found that 20 per cent of LGB students and 28.5 per cent of trans students had been forced to suspend their studies due to homophobia and transphobia. Although over 90 per cent of gay and bisexual students were out to their peers, 46.8 per cent said they had been subjected to negative comments, while others said they felt they couldn't participate in certain activities such as sports, as they felt other students may be wary of being phsyically close to them.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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Religiosity and Perceived Intolerance of Gays and Lesbians
People living in countries where more people say religion is important in their daily lives are much more likely than those living in countries where fewer people say religion is important to report that their communities are not good places to live for gays and lesbians.

-Ark. judge allows group to help defend foster law
An Arkansas judge has ruled that a conservative group behind a successful ballot measure banning unmarried couples from fostering children can help the state defend the ban in a lawsuit. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza on Friday granted the Arkansas Family Council's request to help the state defend the measure it helped put on the November election ballot.

-Yes, College Students Have Sex. So Why Deny Them Information?
When I decided to attend Boston College, a private Jesuit university, I didn't think to ask whether they provided comprehensive health care for women. But as I soon learned, Boston College's reproductive health services fell far short of those typically offered on secular or some other religiously affiliated college campuses across the country. While some may see the university's decision as a valid extension of its religious affiliation, it is worth understanding the consequences. Not providing condoms, pregnancy testing, and information about sexually transmitted infections doesn't stop students from having sex. It does, however, prevent them from making informed decisions about their health and lives.

-CA: Field Poll shows voters evenly divided on gay marriage ShareThis
Four months after the passage of Proposition 8, a new opinion poll released today shows California voters almost evenly divided over same-sex marriage but significantly more accepting of it than just three years ago. "It's a general progression toward accepting same-sex marriage over time," said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll. The survey asked how respondents would vote if a new constitutional amendment allowing same-sex marriage qualified for a future ballot.

-Kiss Thailand's Tolerance for Gays Goodbye
More than two hundred red-shirted followers of ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra introduced homophobia for the first time into Thailand's festering political scene when on Saturday, February 21, they forced cancellation of a lawful and peaceful gay pride parade and rally in Chiang Mai. The disruption was organized by Rak Chiang Mai 51, the local faction of Thaksin-supported United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD). Despite reassurances by local authorities that the parade would be allowed, the police made no effort to provide a buffer separating the disrupters from the marchers. Many of the disrupters wore red masks to avoid being recognized.

-American Religious Identification Survey
Evangelical or born-again Americans make up 34 percent of all American adults and 45 percent of all Christians and Catholics, the study found. Researchers found that 18 percent of Catholics consider themselves born-again or evangelical, and nearly 39 percent of mainline Protestants prefer those labels. Many mainline Protestant groups are riven by conflict over how they should interpret what the Bible says about gay relationships, salvation and other issues.

-Can people unlearn their naked shame?
Once we were all happy to walk around naked, now we're not. But can an experiment in nudity help us understand why we are so embarrassed by being seen in the buff and help shed our inhibitions? It's a classic anxiety nightmare - you're standing in front of a room full of work colleagues, your boss is there, maybe even that new colleague you've been trying to impress. And you're stark naked. Ouch. Why are we so ashamed of being seen naked? Is there something deep in human nature that finds naked skin abhorrent? Some prudishness inherited from our Victorian ancestors?

- Sexual Abuse of Minors OK But Not Floral Sales to Gay Couples
There are some days when the lunacy and disingenuousness of the Roman Catholic Church just simply goes off the charts. Here we have an institution that has (i) a worldwide problem with the sexual abuse of who knows how many thousands of minors, (ii) paid out literally billions of dollars in damages to abuse victims with no end of finacial hemmoraging in sight, and (iii) to date still failed to discipline any of its hierarchy that enabled and/or covered up the abuse of minors. But what are the Catholic Bishops in Connecticut worried about? Oh the horror! That with same sex marriage now legal in that state that florists might be forced to sell flowers to same sex couples getting married. I kid you not.

-THE Legal Challenge to DOMA (the "Defense of Marriage Act") is Filed!
Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders has filed a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a provision of federal law that requires the federal government to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages, or to treat the partners in same-sex marriages as spouses, for any purpose of federal law. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Boston under the name of Gill v. Office of Personnel Management on March 3, brings together the claims of fifteen plaintiffs, all of whom were lawfully married in Massachusetts soon after the Goodridge decision went into effect on May 17, 2004.

-New Web Site Seeks to Fight Myths About Circumcision and H.I.V.

-Sex in Spain: is 13 just too young?

Raw Story
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-Recent poll showed Bush with higher favorable rating than Limbaugh
Republicans appear to be bowing down left and right to conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh, even though most Americans view the radio talk show host unfavorably.

Huffington Post
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Why I'm Not Now and Have Never Been the Democrats' "Rush Limbaugh"
by Michael Moore

Anything but Straight
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-Religion and Republicanism Losing Converts
In pandering to the fanatical and the fearful - both religion and Republicanism may have compromised their future. First, the Republican Party seems in an awfully big rush to implode with Rush Limbaugh as its mercurial mouthpiece. The GOP's other savior, Michael Steele, is just a big mouth who seems more suited to Limbaugh's talk show gig than chairman of the Party. The GOP's first African American leader, Steele, promised a "hip hop makeover" that would attract even "one armed midgets." It is Steele, however, who is the incredibly shrinking chairman, with his promised "Big Tent" turning into a circus act.


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