Tuesday, March 17, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - March 17, 2009

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-Vermont debates gay marriage bill
The Associated Press
Nine years after it played host to a bitter fight over civil unions, Vermont's Statehouse is again a gay rights battleground. More than 200 same-sex marriage opponents, cheering and wearing buttons that read "Marriage - A Mother & Father for Every Child," converged Monday on Montpelier as lawmakers began a week of hearings on a bill that would allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. If approved, Vermont would join Massachusetts and Connecticut as the only U.S. states that allow gay marriage.

South Florida Blade
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- Lambda Literary Awards nominees announced
Ceremony to take place May 28
From Washington Blade staff reports
The Lambda Literary Fountaion has announced the nominees for the 21st annual Lambda Literary Awards. This year, 105 finalists representing 72 publishers are competing for awards in 22 categories.

-Ind. school district allows girl to wear tux to prom
Senior student had filed lawsuit last week
The Lebanon school district has reversed its policy that barred a female student from wearing a tuxedo to her school's prom. The unidentified 17-year-old Lebanon High School senior filed a lawsuit last week. Court filings said she is a lesbian and does not wear dresses because she believes they represent a sexual identity she rejects. Superintendent Robert L. Taylor said formal attire will be required at the prom, but the requirements won't be "gender-based." He said the School Board would have to vote Tuesday to accept the agreement. American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana legal director Ken Falk, who was the girl's attorney, told The Indianapolis Star that the teen is pleased with the decision and will attend the April prom in a tuxedo.

- Vermont begins hearings on same-sex marriage bill
Supporters say passage would give couples insurance, health care rights Vermont lawmakers are starting a week of hearings on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. In 2000, Vermont became the first state in the U.S. to adopt civil unions. House and Senate leaders want to pass the gay marriage bill this legislative session, which ends in May.

The Advocate
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-Cuadra to Serve Life in Prison
By Michelle Garcia
Harlow Cuadra, who was convicted last week for the 2007 murder of gay porn producer Bryan Kocis, was sentenced on Monday to life in prison without parole.

-Grant Gay Immigrant Couples Equal Rights
By Michelle Garcia
Congress should pass an act to allow gay and lesbian citizens the same right to sponsor committed same-sex partners for U.S. citizenship that heterosexual citizens already enjoy as a benefit of federal marriage, The Washington Post said Monday in an editorial.

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-Is Uncle Sam over-charging gay couples?
By Matt Simonette
Early last year, Chicagoan Victoria Stagg Elliott was relieved to put her spouse, Karen Shoffner, on her employer's health coverage. But there was a catch. Stagg Elliott found out she would be taxed on the portion of Shoffner's coverage paid for by the employer. She estimated that the coverage represents about $100 worth of monthly income, meaning she has to declare about $1,200 more in income each year than a straight married colleague with an equivalent insurance package.

-Queerty steps in it
By James Withers
I love my Queerty.com brothers. Visit the site everyday and like their take on things. While I'm on the confessional tour, my Querty ardor would be the same even if they didn't let me write a few things for them back in the day. So serve me Queerty juice chilled thank you. However, yesterday the site crossed the line. Stepped in a big pile of mess they could have easily avoided. The topic was radio host Don Imus and his prostate cancer announcement. Queerty decided to say this:

-RachelWatch: You can't spell bonus without "on us"
By AliDavis
Outrage. AIG is back in the news. How come no one at any of the FOUR public relations firms they have on the payroll figured out that now would be a bad time to give out millions of dollars in bonuses?

Pink News - UK
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-Oklahoma teacher resigns over gay film
A teacher in Oklahoma, US, has lost her job after showing students The Laramie Project, a film about murdered gay teenager Matthew Shepard. Debra Taylor resigned from Grandfield High School after showing the film and allowing students to film their own short clips about it. Click here for full article

-Mexican politician hopes to be first gay mayor
An openly gay Social Democrat Party (PSD) politician is to stand for mayor of Guadalajara in Mexico. Miguel Galán, 31, will discover whether his party will put him forward as the official candidate at the end of this month, reports The Argentimes. Click here for full article

-Opponents seek to repeal gay and trans protection provisions in Florida
Voting has begun today on whether to repeal a Gainesville, Florida, ordinance that gives protection to LGBT citizens. If passed, the Charter Amendment 1 will make the ordinance conform to the Florida Civil Rights Act, cancelling the anti-discrimination protections Gainesville extends to gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people. Click here for full article

-Homophobic hate crimes 'linked to Prop 8'
A surge in anti-gay hate crimes has been linked to Proposition 8, the initiative that banned same-sex marriage in California. Homophobic incidents accounted for more than half of hate crime cases last year - 56 per cent up frpm 15 per cent in 2007. Click here for full article

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-Sen. To AIG Execs: Quit Or 'Commit Suicide'
Iowa Senator Says AIG Execs Should Apologize
Lawmakers from both parties are joining President Barack Obama in blasting insurance giant AIG for its millions of dollars in executive bonuses, but some are more livid than others. Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley suggested that AIG executives should take a Japanese approach toward accepting responsibility for the collapse of the insurance giant by resigning or killing themselves.

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-According to an article in Jamaica's leading newspaper, The Gleaner, in early March the prime minister, Bruce Golding, renewed his campaign against gay people when he opposed a legislative effort to decriminalize the sodomy statutes: [Golding] described gay advocates as "perhaps the most organised lobby in the world", but has vowed not to yield to pressure to wipe buggery from the books as a crime. "We are not going to yield to the pressure, whether that pressure comes from individual organisations, individuals, whether that pressure comes from foreign governments or groups of countries, to liberalise the laws as it relates to buggery," Golding said in Parliament yesterday. ... But Golding made it clear that his government was not prepared to accept suggestions or demands for the crime of buggery to disappear from the books. ...

-Urgent Action: Germany Threatens to Deport Mehdi N. to Iran
We request your assistance with an urgent case involving Mehdi N., a
29-year-old gay Iranian who seeks asylum in Germany. Mehdi N. escaped from Iran at the beginning of 2007 due to his well-known fear of persecution on the basis of his sexual orientation. He stayed in Istanbul, Turkey for six months, but was unaware of his ability to apply for refugee status with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Turkey. At that time, he was also uninformed about the existence of the IRanian Queer Railroad and our ability to support him. Mehdi N. was lonely in Turkey. His biggest fear was that Turkish police would arrest him and deport him back to Iran. Eventually, someone took him to Germany where he sought to claim asylum. "When I got to the airport, I introduced myself to police. I told them that I am gay and am seeking asylum. The police officer then shouted, 'what are you doing here?!' I feared death, and then started to cry," Mehdi N. wrote in his letter to the IRQR.

-BELGRADE -- The Gay Pride parade that has been announced in Belgrade will be supported by the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights. This is according one of the secretary of state with the ministry, Marko Karadzic, who spoke last night in a B92 TV talk show. The Constitution, Karadzic explained, guarantees each citizen a right to peaceful assembly. Gay Pride parades are meant to draw attention to the problems that are faced by persons of different sexual orientation in their daily lives.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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A leading Nigerian Humanist has roundly condemned the latest homophobic outburst from the country's Anglican Archbishop. Archbishop Peter Akinola, the champion of Anglican conservatives worldwide, wants all witnesses to gay weddings to be sentenced to a year in jail. In a position paper submitted by the church to a Nigerian parliamentary committee which is planning a law against gay marriage, the Archbishop says: "Same sex marriage, apart from being ungodly, is unscriptural, unnatural, unprofitable, unhealthy, un-cultural, un-African and un-Nigerian. It is a perversion, a deviation and an aberration that is capable of engendering moral and social holocaust in this country. It is also capable of existincting [sic] mankind and as such should never be allowed to take root in Nigeria. Outlawing it is to ensure the continued existence of this nation. The need for doing this is urgent, compelling, and imperative."

-Obama could tip appeals courts to Dems
by Deb Price
Want a hint of how much President Barack Obama's eventual appointees will change the federal appeals courts? Take a peek at a tip sheet offered by a scholar at the Brookings Institution. Before the November elections, Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and court watcher, calculated what impact the victor could have in one term over these powerful federal courts. A John McCain presidency, he estimated, would result in all 13 federal courts of appeals having Republican majorities, with 11 of those being "solid majorities." McCain -- under Wheeler's projections based largely on anticipated retirements, eventual creation of 14 appeals court judgeships and confirmation of the president's nominees -- would have left the appeals courts with more Republican appointees call- ing the shots: 74 percent Republican to 26 percent Democratic.

-The Culture Warriors Get Laid Off
SOMEDAY we'll learn the whole story of why George W. Bush brushed off that intelligence briefing of Aug. 6, 2001, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." But surely a big distraction was the major speech he was readying for delivery on Aug. 9, his first prime-time address to the nation. The subject - which Bush hyped as "one of the most profound of our time" - was stem cells. For a presidency in thrall to a thriving religious right (and a presidency incapable of multi-tasking), nothing, not even terrorism, could be more urgent. When Barack Obama ended the Bush stem-cell policy last week, there were no such overheated theatrics. No oversold prime-time address. No hysteria from politicians, the news media or the public. The family-values dinosaurs that once stalked the earth - Falwell, Robertson, Dobson and Reed - are now either dead, retired or disgraced.

-Colorado: Trans murder trial faces hurdle; media makes a sideshow of pronouns
A Colorado man is set to go on trial next month for the murder of 18-year-old Angie Zapata - though that trial is now facing a potentially serious snag after the judge ordered the defendant's confession thrown out because of overreaching by police. The local Greeley Tribune has covered the story extensively; the quality of their coverage has been mixed. (Compare this to a very professional and respectful profile of the case by ABC News.) Today they an unfortunately sensational article devoted to the use of pronouns in the case.

-I'm pleased to announce the names of the 105 finalists representing 72 publishers for the 21st Lambda Literary Awards. Winners will be announced on Thursday, May 28, at a ceremony in New York, and tickets are now on sale --
I hope you can join us!


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