Friday, March 13, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - March 13, 2009

**IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US AT and we'll be happy to send the full article.

New York Times
Go to the links for the following articles:

-Obama Is on the Spot as Rulings Aid Gay Partners
Just seven weeks into office, President Obama is being forced to confront one of the most sensitive social and political issues of the day: whether the government must provide health insurance benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. In separate, strongly worded orders, two judges of the federal appeals court in California said that employees of their court were entitled to health benefits for their same-sex partners under the program that insures millions of federal workers.

-In Interview, Republican Chairman Strays From the Party Line on Abortion
This was supposed to be the week that Michael Steele, the beleaguered new chairman of the national Republican Party, got his groove on, as he might put it: From filling vacancies left by the mass-firing he conducted upon taking office to issuing 100-day plans on how to make the Republican Party competitive on fund-raising and the Internet, among other things.

Washington Post
Go to the links for the following articles:

-Anti-Bullying Law Debated in N.C.
A fight is brewing in the North Carolina legislature over protecting schoolchildren from bullies. Supporters of an anti-bullying proposal on Wednesday introduced a bill that would require school districts to adopt policies protecting students from violence and harassment. A similar proposal got hung up last year on the issue of identifying gay students as potential bullying targets. The House passed a bill that included them, but the Senate balked after social conservatives who opposed the measure flooded their offices with phone calls and e-mails.

-Testimony Heard on Gay Marriage
A House committee heard testimony yesterday about rival bills, one that would allow gay marriage in Maryland and another that would amend the state constitution to bar same-sex marriage. The General Assembly has debated gay marriage in past years and has declined to establish a route for same-sex unions or to place a ban on such unions in the state constitution. The Senate heard similar measures Wednesday. Both sides acknowledged that their arguments went over familiar ground. Supporters of same-sex marriage said barring it discriminates against gay citizens. Those backing civil unions include Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Travis Britt, whose wife, Sen. Gwendolyn T. Britt, championed the issue before she died in office last year. Foes called the unions sinful and harmful to children and said most residents oppose gay marriage.

Go to the links for the following articles:

-What can I do if my employer bounces my paycheck?
By Marcia Heroux Pounds
Q: I was laid off from employment and my last week they paid me, but the check bounced. I claimed my weeks with the unemployment stating that I was paid. What do I need to do to have this company pay me or can I call unemployment and let them know this company bounced its check? -- Rosa, Orlando.
A: Unfortunately, the Agency for Workforce Innovation says it can''t help you in this matter. You need to contact the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor about an employer bouncing a check. See Wage and Hour.,0,6220477.story

The Advocate
Go to this link for the following articles:

- Transgender Activist Murdered in Turkey
By Julie Bolcer
Ebru Soykan, a prominent transgender rights activist, was murdered in front of her home in central Istanbul on Tuesday. The LGBT rights group Lambda Istanbul says that she had reported being beaten and threatened on several occasions by the same man now in police custody as the murder suspect. Soykan, a leading figure in Lambda Istanbul, was the second member of the group to be murdered in the past year. Advocates attribute the violence in part to lack of legal protections and police inaction. No legislation exists in Turkey to protect people based on sexual orientation or gender identity. While homosexuality is not illegal in the country, municipalities have used morality laws to discriminate against the LGBT community.

- Milk Nephew to Rally for Gay Rights in Florida
By Julie Bolcer
Stuart Milk, the nephew of slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk, is scheduled to speak at a rally in Florida on Monday in support of gay rights. The "Rally in Tally," to take place at the state capital of Tallahassee, is being billed as the largest gay rights gathering in the history of the Sunshine State. The event aims to highlight anti-discrimination and domestic partnership bills introduced in the state legislature. The measures come on the heels of Amendment 2, the ban on gay marriage and equivalent unions, which voters passed with 62 percent approval in November. Despite the success of Amendment 2, recent polls show that 77 percent of Floridians support extending basic legal rights to unmarried couples.

Lambda Legal Update

-CA Supreme Court Hears Prop 8 Challenge
On March 5, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Prop 8 legal challenge. NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter delivered an incisive argument after months of preparation with Lambda Legal, the ACLU and other attorneys working on this historic case. To highlight the stakes for all minorities in California, we sought and received permission from the Court to provide time for oral argument from Attorney Raymond Marshall who authored an amicus brief on behalf of several prominent civil rights organizations, arguing that the initiative process cannot be used to strip minority communities of their fundamental rights by a simple majority vote. "Proposition 8 is no 'garden variety' amendment that changes a tax or zoning or safety rule," said Lambda Legal's National Marriage Project Director Jenny Pizer. "This is a radical attempt to strip a cherished constitutional right from just one targeted minority group and then to stop the courts from doing their most basic job of upholding the constitutional promise of 'liberty and justice for all'." In a thoughtful discussion after the arguments, Pizer explains why "equality with exceptions is not equality." The Court will issue a ruling within 90 days.

-What's Best for Children
In February, the Michigan State Court of Appeals reversed a trial court decision that put the safety of three adopted children in jeopardy. When Diane Giancaspro's relationship ended in 2007, Giancaspro asked a Michigan trial court to determine custody of the three children the women had adopted together in Illinois before relocating to Michigan. Congleton moved to dismiss the case, claiming that the adoptions were invalid under Michigan law and citing Michigan's antigay constitutional amendment. The trial court granted the motion, calling into question whether the children's relationships to both parents would be recognized in Michigan for any purpose. In 2008, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Michigan successfully urged the Michigan State Court of Appeals to reverse the trial court ruling, arguing that it violated the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which protects the validity of judicial decrees across state lines. February's decision recognizes that there is no gay exception to Michigan's child custody laws, and that courts must protect all children of couples who separate, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, or marital status of their parents.

-Antigay Adoption Service Shut Out of NY
On March 4, NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced that and, websites owned by two antigay Arizona-based companies, stopped doing business in New York following a civil rights complaint filed by Lambda Legal on behalf of a gay couple that was barred from one of their websites. Rosario Gennaro and Alexander Gardner sought to post their profile on, having obtained certification as "Qualified Adoptive Parents" from the New York City Surrogate Court. But the website's eligibility requirements allowed only couples that are "one male husband and one female wife" to use the service. The companies violated New York laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and marital status. Rosario Gennaro is thrilled: "No [New York] couple will have to experience what we did in our effort to become parents."

-Doctor Refuses Patient with HIV
Lambda Legal and the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Melody Rose, a woman who was refused surgery because of her HIV status. While in prison, Rose experienced serious health problems involving her gallbladder. Rose's physician referred her to a local medical facility to have her gallbladder removed, but when the doctor there learned that Rose had HIV he refused to perform the necessary surgery, stating that he was afraid she might infect him and his surgical team. Later, a doctor at another medical facility removed Rose's gallbladder in what is considered a routine surgical procedure. The lawsuit alleges that those asked to provide health care to Rose violated both federal and state law by refusing to do so based on her HIV status.

-No Love for Pride
Lambda Legal is challenging Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford for infringing on the free speech of Central Alabama Pride (C.A.P.) by refusing to provide the group with the city resources it needed to display banners in support of its annual Pride celebration. In 2008, Langford announced that he would neither sign a proclamation nor allow city workers to attach pride banners on city poles for gay pride based on his religious beliefs, which do not "condone that lifestyle choice." Lambda Legal joined the case as co-counsel after consultation with C.A.P. and its attorney. We are challenging the mayor's actions, claiming free speech and equal-protection violations for denying C.A.P. the same city resources that are available to other groups.

-A Legacy of Equality With Income Today!
Many supporters have already let us know that they have made Lambda Legal a beneficiary of their wills, retirement plans, life insurance, trusts or other estate-planning vehicles. Careful planning using charitable gift strategies can allow you to enjoy substantial tax benefits, gain the certainty of an income stream for yourself, and ensure your family's security after you're gone, all while building a legacy for equality. For more information about how to include Lambda Legal in your life and estate plans visit our website or contact Judi O'Kelley at As always, when it comes to estate planning, it's important that you consult with an attorney and/or financial planner for guidance.

Go to this link for the following articles:

-GOP chief Steele in more hot water over gays, abortion
By The Associated Press 03.13.2009
Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, said in a written statement that he was disappointed with Steele's remarks to the magazine on abortion and gay marriage. Read more...

-RachelWatch: Blue Dogs in Rachel's Doghouse
By Ali Davis, Contributing writer
Hey, remember the last eight years when we were setting key chunks of the Bill of Rights on fire to protect ourselves from scary, scary foreigners who might cross our borders with dirty bombs? Guess what?

-Tenn. gay-friendly church shooter hoped attack would spur more
By The Associated Press
An unemployed truck driver seething over liberalism told police he opened fire in a church last year because it harbored gays and multiracial families and he hoped others would follow his example. Prosecutors opened their case file Thursday on Jim David Adkisson, 58, who pleaded guilty a month ago to killing two people and wounding six others at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville. The file includes interviews with investigators and a suicide note Adkisson left in his car.

Pink News - UK
Go to this link for the following articles:

-Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman warns of rise of 'homophobic' BNP
By Jessica Geen
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Minister for Equality, Harriet Harman has said that the expected low turn-out in the European elections may lead to the "pressing forward of the far right" with groups such as the BNP gaining seats in the European parliament.

-Wales: Man avoids jail for homophobic threats
A man who smashed the door of a gay couple and threatened to kill them has escaped jail. Nathan Dally, 22, shouted: "I'm going to kill you, you faggots" as he kicked down the door of Daniel Smith and Gary Samuel's house in Rhondda, south Wales, as they slept.

-Eleven gay discharges in US military in January
Eleven gay servicemembers were discharged from the US military in January under the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy, including a human intelligence collector, a military police officer and four infantry personnel.

-Transgender activist murdered in Turkey
The killing of Ebru Soykan, a prominent transgender human rights activist on March 10th in Istanbul, Turkey, has led to calls for the Turkish government to protect trans people.

-Research group to address training in LGBT issues for medical staff
A group of students from the Stanford University School of Medicine are working on increasing training for medical students on LGBT healthcare concerns.

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
Contact for the full article

-Turkey: Transgender Activist Murdered
Government Should Prosecute Violence, Prohibit Discrimination The killing of Ebru Soykan, a prominent transgender human rights activist, on March 10, 2009, shows a continuing climate of violence based on gender identity that authorities should urgently take steps to combat, Human Rights Watch said today. News reports and members of a Turkish human rights group said that an assailant stabbed and killed Ebru, 28, in her home in the center of Istanbul. Members of Lambda Istanbul, which works for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and transsexual (LGBTT) people, told Human Rights Watch that in the last month Ebru had asked the Prosecutor's Office for protection from the man who had beaten her on several occasions and threatened to kill her. Lambda Istanbul was told that a few weeks ago police detained the man but released him two hours later. The same man is under police custody as the murder suspect.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
Go to the links for the following articles:
Contact if you can't access the article

-The unspoken silence Domestic Violence in same gender Relationship
Domestic violence in the GLBT community is a serious issue. The rates of domestic violence in same-gender relationships is roughly the same as domestic violence against heterosexual women. As in opposite-gendered couples, the problem is likely underreported. Facing a system which is often oppressive and hostile towards those who identify as anything other than "straight", those involved in same-gender battering frequently report being afraid of revealing their sexual orientation or the nature of their relationship. Additionally, even those who attempt to report violence in their alterative relationship run into obstacles.

-U.S. Food and Drug Administration Approves New Female Condom
Center for Health and Gender Equity Applauds Expansion of HIV Prevention Options for Women and Men Worldwide

-Trading on America's puritanical streak
Eliot Spitzer, one of the nation's most gifted and dedicated politicians, was hounded into resignation by a Puritanism and mean-spiritedness that are quintessentially American. My European colleagues (I write from an academic conference in Belgium) have a hard time understanding what happened, but they know that it is one of those things that could only happen in America, where the topic of sex drives otherwise reasonable people insane. In Germany and the Netherlands, prostitution is legal and regulated by public health authorities. A man who did what Spitzer did would have a lot to discuss with his wife and family, but he would have broken no laws, and it would be laughable to accuse him of a betrayal of the public trust. This is as it should be. If Spitzer broke any laws, they were bad laws, laws that should never have existed.

-Craigslist is No Pimp: Keep the Erotic Ads
What's really behind objections to the erotic ads on digital classified ad leader Craigslist.

-'American Idol' needs to open the closet door
Adam Lambert isn't the first contestant to have a back story that doesn't fit perfectly inside the homogenous whole the show tries to present.,0,5548765.story

-Florida: Bestiality, monkey husbands and Bullard. Oh my!
The act of bestiality is a step closer to becoming illegal in Florida now that a Senate committee voted to slap a third-degree felony charge on anyone who has sex with animals. Florida is one of only 16 states that still permit bestiality - a fact that animal-rights activist and Sunrise Sen. Nan Rich learned to her horror when a Panhandle man three years ago was suspected of accidentally asphyxiating a family goat with which he was copulating.

-Gay Pride Parade in Chiang Mai Broken Up by Red-Shirted Thugs
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.

-Extreme Defendants Plead Guilty
PITTSBURGH - In the longest running obscenity case in American history, Extreme Associate owners Rob Black (Robert Zicari) and Lizzy Borden (Janet Romano) today each entered guilty pleas to one count of conspiracy to distribute obscene material. Trial had been scheduled to begin with jury selection on Monday. The plea capped a legal battle, begun in 2003 with a 10-count indictment, that had promised to deal with cutting edge free speech issues, most notably the question of whether the Supreme Court's seminal decision regarding sexual privacy rights in Lawrence v. Texas could be applied to sellers of even obscene sexual material if the buyers were other consenting adults.

-Azerbaokam" Controversial Azeri Novel Takes On Double Taboos
A controversial romance novel about two gay men, one Armenian and the other Azeri, is flying off the shelves in Azerbaijan. What's behind the popularity of Ali Akbar's novel "Artush and Zaur," which has sold out at many bookstores? According to Akbar, the book's political and erotic content was guaranteed to hit a nerve in Azeri society.

-"Gay for Rachel Maddow": What a Hot, Smart, Lesbian Pundit Means for an
Uneasy America

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation - GLAAD

Best & Worst of National News


-Suze Orman Speaks Out About Marriage Equality on CNBC
Financial guru Suze Orman took an opportunity on her nationally televised CNBC show to broadcast an important message to the American public on Valentine's Day. During the Feb. 14 broadcast of The Suze Orman Show, the host denounced the recently passed amendments banning marriage for same-sex couples in Florida and California, calling them "a travesty." Orman stressed the critical need for gay people to be able to marry so they can protect their finances. "Every single one of us deserves to have the same financial benefits, whether we are gay or whether we are straight," she said. "Every single one of us deserves to be loved. Every single one of us deserves to love and every single one of us deserves to make the most out of the money that we have. That's my Valentine's Day wish for every single one of us." Orman, who is openly lesbian, has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to LGBT equality, and she will be honored with the Vito Russo Award at the GLAAD Media Awards in New York on March 28, 2009. You can find out more about the event here:
GLAAD urges you to contact Suze Orman and thank her for speaking out about the importance of marriage and its financial significance for all couples, gay and straight alike as well as congratulate her on receiving the GLAAD Vito Russo Award.
Suze Orman

-The Denver Post Publishes Editorial Supporting Protections for Same-Sex Couples in Colorado
On Feb. 19, the Denver Post published "The right thing for gay couples," an editorial supporting two bills currently before the Colorado Legislature that would extend a number of important legal protections to same-sex couples. One bill would allow two unmarried people to file paperwork with their county clerk when estate planning at a much lower cost. "[The bill] would make it easier and cheaper to do things such as giving a designee medical proxy or listing another as an insurance or retirement beneficiary. Much of that can be accomplished now by virtue of legal contracts, but it costs $500 to $1,000 to do so." The other bill would allow same-sex partners of state employees to be eligible for health, life and dental insurance benefits. The editorial concludes by calling for an end to divisiveness over LGBT-inclusive legislation. "We know these measures are going to be controversial. Sadly, anything involving rights for gay people tends to get ugly very quickly. But it's also the right thing to do for gay Coloradans."
GLAAD encourages you to contact Denver Post editorial writers and thank them for their thoughtful argument in support of two Colorado bills designed to help same-sex couples take care of their families and each other.
The Denver Post

-The Seattle Times Publishes Moving Column on Hospital Visitation
The Seattle Times highlighted the heart-wrenching story of Lacey, Wash. resident Janice Langbehn and her family in a Feb. 13 column entitled. "If her name had been Joe, her wife wouldn't have died alone." Syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald artfully tells Langbehn's story, replacing her first name with "Joe" in his retelling. He takes the reader through her traumatic hospital visitation ordeal in 2007 at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Langbehn and her children were barred from seeing her dying partner, Lisa Pond, until the moments before she passed away. "It strains credulity to believe Joe would have spent eight hours barred from his wife's bedside as Janice was from hers," Pitts wrote. "Politicians and alleged religious leaders have routinely invited us to hate gay people and call it morality. They have taught us to frame gay lives in cloudy abstracts of tradition and values. But this isn't abstract, is it? It would be good if someone remembered her next time we are invited to hate an abstract. And remember Janice, who could not ache more deeply even if her name was Joe." Pitts, who has written frequently on issues facing the LGBT community, was nominated for Best Columnist for the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. The winner will be announced on March 28 in New York.
GLAAD urges you to write to the Seattle Times and syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. and thank them for this powerful op-ed that highlights the personal story of Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond and starkly portrays the real life and death issues affecting same-sex couples who lack the legal protections and security that come with marriage. Please also congratulate Pitts for his 2009 GLAAD Award nomination for best columnist.
Leonard Pitts Jr.
The Seattle Times


-Sean Hannity Maligns Gay Kisses at the Oscars
Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity led an absurd discussion criticizing Sean Penn's acceptance speech at the Oscars after he won Best Actor for his portrayal of Harvey Milk. Hannity allowed one of his guests, Bo Dietl, former New York City police detective and frequent guest on Don Imus' syndicated morning radio show, to spout several crass anti-gay comments. Hannity then went on to falsely assert that the gay kisses shown during the Oscar broadcast hurt children. "You know, they keep showing the scenes of men kissing. And I'm thinking do we have to expose our children to more and more sex, more and more violence?" GLAAD responded by posting an online video that highlighted Hannity's claims while recapping the fourteen straight Oscar night kisses and the three gay kisses that occurred over the course of the broadcast. The video went on to say, "Even kids know that a kiss is just a kiss. Isn't it time Sean Hannity figured that out too?"
GLAAD encourages you to contact Fox News Channel and voice your opinion about Sean Hannity's off the wall commentary vilifying gay kisses at the Oscars.

-New York Post Sparks Outrage By Publishing Racist Cartoon; GLAAD Joins Chorus of Voices Denouncing the Paper's History of Offensive Coverage On Feb. 18, the New York Post ran a racist Sean Delonas cartoon depicting police having shot and killed a chimpanzee while making an implied reference to President Obama, saying, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." The cartoon sparked widespread anger and outrage, and community leaders coordinated ongoing protests of the New York Post. GLAAD joined the outcry against the Post and its parent company News Corporation, compiling two slideshows of past anti-gay Delonas cartoons and defamatory LGBT news coverage and calling on our members to contact the paper and NewsCorp. After a week of pressure from numerous community leaders and national advocacy organizations, NewsCorp Chairman Rupert Murdoch issued a carefully crafted personal apology over the racist cartoon, "to any reader that felt offended, and even insulted," acknowledging the mistake and vowing to "be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community ."
GLAAD urges you to continue to call on Rupert Murdoch to take real and appropriate measures to end the ongoing defamation at the New York Post.
News Corporation
Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive, News Corporation
Teri Everett, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Communications
Jack Horner, Director, Corporate Affairs & Communications

-Two Utah Newspapers Publish Defamatory Anti-Gay Ad
On Sunday, Feb. 15, a group calling itself "America Forever" took out full-page advertisements in two Utah papers, The Salt Lake Tribune and The Deseret News. The ad, titled "Stand Up & Stop the Homosexual Movement," makes a series of grossly anti-gay and defamatory assertions, comparing gay people to "hookers and druggies" and referring to gay relationships as "anti-species behavior." The ad goes on to say, "For example: by holding hands and kissing in the public area of: an apartment complex playground, in a family neighborhood, at a party, or to present one's self as a homosexual person in the workplace, is stating and displaying that he or she practices sodomy, and if backed by law, will force the acceptance of homosexuality as a relationship equal to a man and woman relationship." GLAAD issued a Call to Action urging our members to speak out about this ad's misleading, outrageous claims that create a hostile climate for gay and lesbian people and make them feel less safe and secure in their communities.
GLAAD strongly encourages you to write a letter to the editor to The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News and join the chorus that has already spoken out about this advertisement. Share your personal story and help illustrate why the defamatory claims made in the ad put members of our community in harms' way.
Salt Lake Tribune
To contact The Salt Lake Tribune, send your letter in the body of the email, not as an attachment to:
The Deseret News


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: