Friday, March 20, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - March 20, 2009

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New York Times
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-Benefits for Gay Couples
To the Editor:
Re "Obama on Spot Over a Benefit to Gay Couples" (front page, March 13):
The Defense of Marriage Act does indeed harm gay federal employees who cannot get health and other benefits for their spouses as their straight co-workers can. But the damage of the act extends far beyond that.
In Gill et al. v. Office of Personnel Management et al., our lawsuit filed on March 3, we represent federal employees and retirees and others in Massachusetts harmed by the Defense of Marriage Act, including widowers whose grief the federal government compounded by denying them all Social Security benefits intended to ease the loss of a spouse.
We also represent married couples with young children who are unable to file their federal tax returns jointly - and thus pay thousands more in taxes.
The federal government acknowledges that there are 1,138 laws in which one's marital status is relevant. The path of destruction of the Defense of Marriage Act is wide. It must be removed from our laws, whether by litigation or legislation.
Gary Buseck
Legal Director, Gay and Lesbian
Advocates and Defenders
Boston, March 13, 2009

-To the Editor:
I believe that extending health benefits to spouses of gay federal employees is a matter of fundamental fairness.
I am a 20-year federal government employee. I have been with my partner for 11 years. We have two children - neglected children we adopted. I pay taxes, I own a home, and I support my kids' school. But how does the government treat my family?
When I enter my federal workplace, my partner becomes an absolute stranger to me. I cannot provide him with benefits. We constantly worry that he might lose his job and, with it, the only chance for him to have benefits.
In my office, spouses of straight couples receive benefits and can choose to stay home and watch the kids. That is not an option for us.
We do not ask for a handout. We do not ask for special favors. And we gladly and lovingly accept taking care of children cast away by others. All we ask is to be treated like everyone else.
I hope that before people reflexively criticize extending benefits to us, they listen to the stories of real-life families like mine. We are no threat to anyone; indeed, we are constructive - dare I say conservative? - members of society.
Thomas Dahdouh
San Francisco, March 13, 2009

Wall Street Journal

-How Can Greens Make Themselves Less White
A few days after Barack Obama's inauguration, the newly appointed head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, gave an interview to Essence magazine. Ms. Jackson explained that she planned to "elevate the issue" of "environmental justice" during her tenure. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, environmental justice is the sweet spot where the green movement meets the racial grievance industry. As the Essence interviewer put it: "The practice of locating polluting industries in minority communities -- and the consequent health impacts -- is well documented. African Americans are almost 80 percent more likely than White Americans to live in neighborhoods near hazardous industrial pollution sites."

Steve Rothaus
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-Disgraced pastor Ted Haggard, wife to appear on TV's 'Divorce Court'
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Former evangelical pastor Ted Haggard and his wife are planning another TV appearance, this time to talk about their marriage. The two are in Los Angeles taping an appearance on the syndicated Twentieth Television show "Divorce Court," to be broadcast nationally April 1. The show's presiding judge, Lynn Toler, is interviewing the couple about how their marriage survived after a male prostitute from Denver alleged a cash-for-sex relationship with Ted Haggard in November 2006, executive producer Mark Koberg said.

The Advocate
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-Bishop Denounces College for OK'ing Gay Speaker
By Michelle Garcia
Scranton, Pa.'s bishop said Wednesday that he will not set foot on a local Catholic university's campus because it invited a gay speaker to talk about LGBT issues and rights. Author and speaker Keith Boykin visited Misericordia University in February for a program held by the school's Diversity Institute, according to the Scranton Times Leader. The day before he appeared, Bishop Joseph Martino of the Diocese of Scranton issued a statement, saying that Boykin's stance on marriage equality is "disturbingly opposed to Catholic teaching."

-Gay Dads Must Appear on Birth Certificate, Judge Rules
By Julie Bolcer
A federal judge has given Louisiana 15 days to add the names of two out-of-state fathers to the birth certificate of the Shreveport-born son they adopted. U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey maintains that because the adoption by Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith became formal in New York, the adoption law of that state applies. Gay couples can list both names on their child's birth certificate in New York.

-With Love, Yoko
Yoko Ono speaks out on behalf of gay rights, has had four dance mixes reach number 1 in the past decade.and she Twitters. Now, how many septuagenarians can you say that about?
By Graham Kolbeins
You wouldn't think it'd be this way, but the seemingly simple concepts of peace, love, and equality have often been viewed as ridiculous, radical, even dangerous ideas. It hasn't always made her popular, but Yoko Ono has been championing these causes for more than five decades, interweaving her convictions into groundbreaking conceptual art and an awe-inspiring body of music. Ranging from enigmatic free-jazz abstraction to deeply personal pop music about feminism, loss, and cultural identity, Ono's music is widely varied -- never safe or conventional.

-Florida Says No to Bestiality
Gays and lesbians can't adopt in the state of Florida. Transgender people are being branded as sexual deviants and will likely soon be barred from using bathrooms appropriate to the sex they identify with. And now, Florida's state senate agriculture committee has finally taken a small step into the 21st century and voted unanimously to charge anyone who has sex with animals with a third-degree felony, according to the Miami Herald. Florida was one of 16 states with no official law on the books banning bestiality. "There's a tremendous correlation between sexually deviant behavior and crimes against children and crimes against animals," Sen. Nan Rich, a Democrat from Sunrise, told the Miami Herald. "This is long overdue. These are heinous crimes. And people belong in jail." The bill is likely to pass later this year.

-New Charges Filed Against Mormon Church
The California group that in November charged the Mormon Church with failing to report the full extent of its financial involvement in Proposition 8 added to its complaint on Thursday. Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate filed charges with the California Fair Political Practices Commission accusing the church of creating the National Organization for Marriage as a front group for its efforts in the state, and failing to report the costs as required by law.

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-Leadership, at last
By Lisa Neff
Thanks to Obama, America is ready to join the rest of the West in condemning the killing, torture and arbitrary arrest of GLBT people. Read more...

-Getting rid of the "fourth gender"
By Emma Ruby-Sachs
The United Arab Emirates has launched a public campaign to rid the country of "manly women." Read more...

Pink News - UK
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-God Hates Fags preachers target London primary school
Preachers from the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church have said they plan to picket a London primary school which ran lessons about gay relationships. A picket schedule on their website announces they will be at the George Tomlinson School in Leytonstone next Friday.

-Rowan Atkinson attacks gay hate law
Comedian Rowan Atkinson has criticised hate speech legislation, saying that the House of Lords must vote against a government attempt to remove a free speech clause in a homophobic hatred offence.

-Orange County school sued over homophobic and sexist threats
Corona del Mar high school has been accused of failing to protect a female student who was targeted with gay slurs and threatened with rape and murder.

-Critics slate Lesbian Vampire Killers film
Lesbian Vampire Killers, the comedy-horror film by Gavin and Stacey stars James Corden and Matthew Horne, has been almost universally panned. The movie, which features the duo as a pair of friends trapped in a village and surrounded by lesbian vampires, has been slated for its lads mag humour and "moronic" script.

-Gay man de-baptises himself
A man has asked to be 'de-baptised', saying that he was too young to decide his religion at the age of five months. John Hunt, 56, says that he wants his 1953 baptism at the St Jude and St Aidan parish church in the Southwark diocese, south London, cancelled because he was not consulted and does not believe in God.

-LGBT advice centre chief admits to looking at child porn
The boss of a centre offering advice to young LGBT people has blamed his sex addiction for trawling the internet looking for porn. James Rennie, 38, chief executive of the Leith-based LGBT Youth Scotland admitted he had looked at child porn.

-Dictionary redefines marriage to include gays
US dictionary-maker Merriam-Webster has redefined the word 'marriage' to include gays and lesbians. It added that the term also applies to "the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage".

-Court told gay man was burnt to death by ex-boyfriend
Kingston Crown Court has been told the final moments of a gay man who was doused in petrol and set alight outside his home. Charlie Davies, 23, was attacked on June 14th last year. He died 12 days later in hospital.

-Hundreds gather to debate gay marriage in Vermont
More than 500 people flocked to the house chamber in Montpelier, Vermont, last night to testify on same-sex marriage in the state. Amidst a week of hearings, the public debate last three hours and saw 115 people testify in favour of gay marriage and 85 against it.

-Lesbian continues fight to be Presbyterian minister
A lesbian in San Francisco who has been a candidate for the Presbyterian ministry for 22 years is to have her case heard in church court this week. Lisa Larges' candidacy for ordination has twice been approved by her regional church authorities.

Daily Queer News
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-More Signs that Times are Changing in DC for LGBT Americans
Bilerico Project
Editor's Note: Guest bloggers Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications in Washington, and Wes Combs, President of Witeck-Combs Communications, advise Fortune 100 companies and nonprofit organizations on gay business and market research issues. Together they wrote the first business book on marketing to the GLBT market entitled "Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand-Loyal Gay Consumers" (Kaplan Publishing, September 2006). The impact of diversity and full inclusion in any organization is strengthened when its leader "walks the walk" while "talking the talk." As business owners and residents of the Washington area, we are witnessing how the early actions of our current President are sending tangible signals to those in the nation's capital and around the world about the true meaning of diversity and its importance to successfully defining and promoting its policies. This week, we witnessed first hand how the Obama administration is renewing its early commitment to diversity and equal participation. We were fortunate to be among seven LGBT small business owners invited to attend a White House briefing when President Obama announced his administration's small business initiative. The President, joined by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, announced that the Treasury Department will purchase up to $15 billion in securities backed by Small Business Administration loans in an effort to unfreeze the secondary market for SBA loans. What this means to us and the other small business owners like us is that it should free up capital to make new loans to assist with business growth - and in this shattered economy, for many fragile businesses to ensure their survival too. Read more

-Over 1000 Gather as the Battle Over Prop 8 Continues
Kimmie Osborne | Somona State Star
It was only a fifty-two percent majority that banned marriage between same-sex couples and challenged civil rights for many Californians. That slight majority allowed Proposition 8 to pass in Nov. 2008. Although the proposition passed, the two sides are at it again. Each presented their case in front of seven justices at the Supreme Court hearings on Thurs., March 5. Members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community joined forces with people from many walks of life to strike down Prop. 8 in November of last year. Their efforts fell just short of a victory, with a 52 to 48 percent vote in favor of Prop. 8. "My family actively participated in the protests against Prop. 8 once it passed last November," said Don Romesburg, professor in the Women's and Gender Studies department. Since the proposition was put on the ballot last year, relentless protests, demonstrations, rallies and even lectures have taken place spreading the word about the inequality of Prop. 8. Read more

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-UN: Act Now to Support LGBT Rights Worldwide
Sign the petition urging the United Nations to call for an end to criminalizing people because of who they are or whom they love.

-KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tues. Mar. 17, 2009: A 25-year-old man was yesterday found guilty of manslaughter in the murder of former Jamaica trade ambassador, Peter King. Sheldon Pusey was found guilty by a 12-member jury who arrived at a manslaughter verdict. Pusey, of St. Mary, was charged in 2007 with the March 20, 2006 murder of King. King was found with 32 stab wounds at his home in Waterloo, St. Andrew. During the trial, the court heard tapes of alleged homosexual acts at the victim's home and testimony as to the slain ambassador's sexual lifestyle. Pusey is set to be sentenced on April 1. He admitted to stabbing King because the former ambassador, he said, tried to drug him and then have sex with him.

-Radicals distribute anti-gay posters in parliament
BELGRADE -- Serb Radical Party officials have been handing out offensive posters in parliament depicting the president of the Queeria NGO, Boban Stojanovic. The poster has a picture of Stojanovic in underwear and black leather trousers, carrying a whip and a nun's habit. The poster states that the anti-discrimination law is "poofy" and states that Queeria received EUR 2,725 of funding from the Serbian budget. "While Serbs are being made redundant, look who Boris Tadic and the Serbian government are financing," is the slogan on one of the posters. SRS official Aleksandar Martinovic told journalists that the party had received the posters from the Nasi association from Arandelovac and the 1389 Movement. "These photographs prove that this is not about evil and corrupt fundamentalists persecuting poor, unfortunate homosexuals, but an open war against the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) and against all traditional moral values," Martinovic said. He said that the law was a "persecution of Christians," and that this type of behavior should be dealt with by the state institutions because it "imperils the rights of all religious citizens in Serbia that not only belong to the SPC, but to other churches as well."

-Since 2006 over eight million Europeans have exercised their right to reside in another EU Member State. However, the Member States have erected many obstacles to the free movement of the EU's citizens, according to the EP Civil Liberties Committee. The public still has little awareness of its rights, including the right to vote in local and European elections in the country where they live, say MEPs in two reports.

-End "Corrective" Rape of Lesbians in South Africa
Target: South African Presidnet Kgalema Motlanthe
A new ActionAid report describes the shocking rise of "corrective" rape in South Africa - in which South African lesbians are being raped in an effort to "cure" them of their sexual orientation. Support groups in Cape Town say they see 10 new cases of "corrective" rape every week. And it's even more widespread around the rest of the country.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Chicago Frat Boys Protest Antigay Bigots!
Hey check out this video! Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church (the same folks who run the god hates fags website and protest soldiers funerals because they say they died defending the Homosexual agenda of the USA) came to the University of Chicago and were met by gay rights protesters. They were also met by protesters of an unexpected sort. Frat boys in solidarity with the gay rights protesters rallied in front of thier frat house and danced, dressed in their underwear only when the bigots marched past. They also dropped a banner from the frat house that read "NO Tolerance for INtolerance". F*****g awesome!

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-Soulforce Spring 2009 Catholic Action
This April we are making evident the critical nature our demand to the Vatican that the Roman Catholic Church support the safety and well being of LGBT people. Our requests to Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Permanent Observer to the United Nations, are two-fold. First, we ask that the Archbishop take a personal stand against harmful language and attacks against LGBT people from leaders in the Roman Catholic Church, including Pope Benedict XVI. Second, we ask that the Archbishop work in open and good faith to push the Vatican to sign on to the United Nations Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. You are invited to join in solidarity actions this April with Soulforce. Click here to learn more, begin your participation and register to join the New York City solidarity actions.


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