Wednesday, March 18, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - March 18, 2009

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New York Times
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-The Pope on Condoms and AIDS
Pope Benedict XVI has every right to express his opposition to the use of condoms on moral grounds, in accordance with the official stance of the Roman Catholic Church. But he deserves no credence when he distorts scientific findings about the value of condoms in slowing the spread of the AIDS virus.

-Vermont Lawmakers Consider Same-Sex Marriage Bill
Vermont legislators are holding hearings this week on a measure that could make the state the third to allow same-sex marriage. The state pioneered civil unions, becoming the first to grant them in 2000, but advocates of same-sex marriage have said civil unions are inadequate, and they are pressing for the further rights and recognition that such marriages could bestow.

Washington Post
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-Sources: US to sign UN gay rights declaration
The Obama administration will endorse a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexualitythat then-President George W. Bush had refused to sign, The Associated Press has learned. U.S. officials said Tuesday they had notified the declaration's French sponsors that the administration wants to be added as a supporter. The Bush administration was criticized in December when it was the only western government that refused to sign on. The move was made after an interagency review of the Bush administration's position on the nonbinding document, which was signed by all 27 European Union members as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico and three dozen other countries, the officials said.

-D.C.: From Bad to Worse
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is ravaging the District. WE'VE LONG known that HIV and AIDS stalk the District. But the startling "District of Columbia HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Update 2008" released Monday shows the breathtaking devastation that the disease with no cure has unleashed on the District. According to the report, in defining an HIV epidemic as "generalized and severe," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS have said that "the overall percentage of disease among residents of a specific geographic area exceeds 1 percent."


-Men are from Tyre,
Women are from Bethany
In 1969, sociologist Jeffrey K. Hadden warned of the "gathering storm in the churches," between an increasingly liberal clergy and a moderate to conservative laity. The new Mainline Protestant Clergy Voices Survey, however, shows a diminishing clergy-laity gap. In fact, over the last two decades, we show the clergy holding fairly steady in terms of political ideology and partisan affiliation, and the laity moving into closer alignment with that position over this period.

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-Armenia: Young guy could be raped at the army
We were informed by e-mail that a young guy ran away from the army on March 17th, because officers understood that he is gay and they wanted to rape him. The situation is out of control, he is hidden somewhere now and waiting that in the morning police will make a search. We are trying to clearify and in case to protect him.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-New Video Calls for Dignity and Safety for Transgender People
Alishia is a firefighter. Enoch is a university professor. Dana is a software engineer. Jesse is an HIV prevention educator. Each makes invaluable contributions in the work place and in the community. And each faces the threat of losing a job, being denied housing or health care, and suffering violence and harassment - simply for being transgender.

-Out NYC polItician to show Irish pride in nation's capital
Out New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn once again was unable to persuade the organizers of New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade to allow LGBT participation. The New York City St. Patrick's Parade and Celebration Committee in the past has invited Quinn to march in the event, with the stipulation that she not wear any gay-pride paraphernalia; she has refused to participate under those conditions. Quinn plans to mark St. Patrick's Day at a reception at the White House with Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen.

-State Dept: Targeted shootings of gays in Jamaica; Boycott developing
Another year goes by, and another frightening report from the US State Department is issued on the murders and human rights abuses of gays and people with AIDS in Jamaica.

Anything but Straight
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-Obama's Parent In The Pulpit Complex
George W. Bush longed to escape his daddy's shadow, while Barack Obama has turned to shadowy preachers in his long search for a father figure. His filial approach to faith began with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and has now taken a sharp turn right. The New York Times reports that the president has surrounded himself with a cadre of clerical crackpots known as the "Circle of Five." These holy men are: Rev. Joel Hunter, former head of the Christian Coalition; anti-gay Bishop T.D. Jakes; the ex-gay loving Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell; and Jim "waffling" Wallis, a protean progressive. The only Obama shaman who isn't shameless is the civil rights era preacher Rev. Otis Moss Jr. Rev. Jakes refers to homosexuality as "brokenness" and has claimed that he wouldn't hire a sexually active gay person. But it seems T.D. can't even keep his own son off the D.L. (down low). His "sexually broken" heir was arrested earlier this year for cruising a Dallas Park in search of gay men. Wallis, the chief executive of Sojourners, a Christian magazine, holds "traditional" views on homosexuality and abortion, according to the Times article. Although Wallis has taken some affirmative steps on GLBT equality, he prides himself on not being a part of "the religious left."

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-Obama administration reverses Bush policy on gay rights at UN
The Obama administration is formally endorsing a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality, a measure former President George W. Bush had refused to sign. The move was the administration's latest step in reversing Bush-era decisions that have been heavily criticized by human rights and other groups. The United States was the only western nation not to sign onto the declaration when it came up at the U.N. General Assembly in December.,0,6863317.story

South Florida Blade
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-Obama names lesbian as OPM counsel
Kaplan to serve under Berry
By LOU CHIBBARO JR, Washington Blade
The Obama administration has appointed lesbian attorney Elaine Kaplan as general counsel for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, where she will serve under the office's gay director, John Berry. Kaplan's appointment was announced Tuesday by OPM acting director Kathie Ann Whipple.

The Advocate
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-Anti-gay Bias Feared in Canadian Immigration Official
By Julie Bolcer
Gay and lesbian groups in Canada argue that a newly appointed immigration official should be removed because he has previously expressed anti-gay views. Doug Cryer, a Conservative Party booster, was appointed last month to a three-year term on the Immigration and Refugee Board for the Toronto district. His selection prompted an outcry because of his opposition to same-sex marriage and previous defense of the church's right to say that homosexual behavior is "sinful."

-Anonymous E-mail Accuses Diversity Program of Promoting 'Gay Agenda'
By Julie Bolcer
An anonymous e-mail potentially sent to thousands of parents accused the Castro Valley High School in California of promoting a "gay agenda" in its diversity program last week. The high school near San Francisco is the alma mater of lesbian MSNBC host, Rachel Maddow.

-'Rumored Gay' O.C. Officer Wins $1.2 Million
By Neal Broverman
On Tuesday a Newport Beach, Calif., police officer was awarded $1.2 million
by an Orange County jury who believed his claim that he was denied promotions partly because of false rumors that he is gay. The Los Angeles Times reports that Neil Harvey -- a 27-year veteran of the NBPD -- alleges he was passed over for lieutenant despite having more experience and more formal education than other candidates, and that former police chief Bob McDonell never promoted anyone perceived to be gay. Harvey also claimed he was unpopular in the department because he previously reported misconduct by fellow officers.

-Bill To Federally Fund Responsible Sex Ed Introduced
By Kerry Eleveld
Legislation to federally fund comprehensive, medically accurate sex education in public schools was introduced in both chambers of Congress Tuesday. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) submitted the Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act, which is titled, "A bill to provide for the reduction of adolescent pregnancy, HIV rates, and other sexually transmitted diseases, and for other purposes."

-Identical Twins, Gay Porn, and a Crime Spree
Keyon Goffney turned the modeling industry on its ear when it was discovered that the Nike and Ralph Lauren model and his identical twin brother were the "Twin Brother Bandits," wanted in three states for nearly a dozen burglaries. And that's just the beginning of the story. The twins also appeared in hard-core gay porn films together, making $1,000 dollars per scene and starring in films including BlackBalled 5. GQ recounts their story in the article "The Curious Case of Gay-Porn-Star Identical Twins."

-Do you think President Obama's stimulus plan is going to work?
Yes, it's time for this new plan of action. 76% It's a good idea, but he is changing too much too soon. 3% No, the money is just going to banks and executives who will keep it, and not give it to the people who need it. 19%

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-Bond nails it at the HRC dinner
By James Withers, contributing editor, 365Gay Blog
Occasionally on gay political blogs some commentators will leave missives about how black organizations are AWOL when it comes to gay rights. This type of rhetoric became even more heated after the Prop 8 vote.

Pink News - UK
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-New York senior official in bid to become first openly gay senator
Jon Cooper, the majority leader of the Suffolk County legislature in New York, has announced he is considering whether to challenge US senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the Democratic primary in 2010. Cooper, who is openly gay and has five adopted children, would be the first out senator if successful.

-Italian footballer calls homosexuality 'a sin'
Juventus defender Nicola Legrottaglie has denounced homosexuality as a sin and said it is "seen like fashion" these days. In his autobiography, released today, he discussed his Christian beliefs and recommended that gay people should read the Bible.

-LGBT workers call for 'dignity and respect' at work
The top priority of LGBT staff is "dignity and respect" at work, a Unite survey has shown. The union's Have Your Say survey also revealed that workers believe trade unions must use education to eliminate homophobia and tackle discrimination.

Daily Queer News
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-Comments on 'A Reconciliation on Gay Marriage'
Carlos T. Mock, M.D. | Windy City Times
Jack Drescher and Nan Hunter both addressed a supposed compromise on the issue of same-sex marriage. In a New York Times article published Feb. 21, Jonathan Rauch, a vocal conservative gay and same-sex marriage advocate, and David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values, a right-wing think tank, reached across the aisle to come to this compromise.
It would work like this:
"Congress would bestow the status of federal civil unions on same-sex marriages and civil unions granted at the state level, thereby conferring upon them most or all of the federal benefits and rights of marriage. But there would be a condition: Washington would recognize only those unions licensed in states with robust religious-conscience exceptions, which provide that religious organizations need not recognize same-sex unions against their will. The federal government would also enact religious-conscience protections of its own. All of these changes would be enacted in the same bill." I would like to address both Jack Drescher and Nan Hunter: Your idea is not a compromise! The case for allowing gays to marry begins with equality, pure and simple. Read more

-Civil Rights, Law - Anti-Gay Bias Feared in Canadian Immigration Official
Julie Bolcer | Advocate
Gay and lesbian groups in Canada argue that a newly appointed immigration official should be removed because he has previously expressed anti-gay views. Doug Cryer, a Conservative Party booster, was appointed last month to a three-year term on the Immigration and Refugee Board for the Toronto district. His selection prompted an outcry because of his opposition to same-sex marriage and previous defense of the church's right to say that homosexual behavior is "sinful." "If you want to appoint him, put him on the Wheat Board where he's not going to be making life and death decisions on refugee claims," Helen Kennedy, executive director of the gay and lesbian group EGALE, told the Edmonton Sun. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney defends the appointment, however, and notes that applicants have been appointed to similar positions from a variety of religious backgrounds. Read more

-International:Gay, Lesbian Employees Sue for Federal Spouse Benefits
STEPHEN LOSEY | Federal Times
Gay and lesbian federal employees and their spouses are suing the government for full retirement and health care benefits that are now denied them under the Defense of Marriage Act. The organization Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders filed the suit challenging section 3 of DOMA on March 3 in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. The 1996 law defines marriage as between a man and a woman. And it blocks federal spousal benefits, such as health and pension benefits, from going to legally married same-sex spouses of federal employees and retirees. The lawsuit concerns only couples who are legally married and have received marriage licenses. Massachusetts and Connecticut are the only states where marriage is legal for same-sex couples. The lawsuit does not address civil unions or other forms of domestic partnerships some gay and lesbian couples have adopted. Dean Hara of Boston, the husband of the late Rep. Gerry Studds, D-Mass., is one of the lawsuit's 19 plaintiffs. Since Studds died in 2006, Hara has not been able to receive his late husband's congressional pension, health insurance and other benefits, GLAD said in a release. Read more


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