Friday, March 27, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - March 27, 2009

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New York Times
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-Gay Marriage, Set Back in One State, Gains in a 2nd
The New Hampshire House voted Thursday to legalize same-sex marriage, narrowly approving a bill that faces an uncertain future in the State Senate and, should it pass there, most likely a veto by Gov. John Lynch.

-Britain Considering Abortion and Condom Ads
In an effort to reduce teen pregnancy rates, Britain may start allowing ads for abortion and condoms on both radio and prime-time TV, the AFP reports. The move is under consideration by the Committee of Advertising Practice and the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice watchdog groups; right now only one channel is allowed to run condom ads after 7 p.m.

-States Moving Towards Legalizing Medical Marijuana
More states are moving toward legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, in response to the Obama Administration's decision to limit prosecution of distributors, USA Today reports. New Jersey, Illinois and Minnesota are among states considering new laws

-Defeat and Some Success for Texas Evolution Foes
In an evenly split vote, the State Board of Education on Thursday upheld teaching evolution as accepted mainstream science.

Washington Post
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-Kansas Church Says It Will Protest at Whitman High in MoCo
By Anne Bartlett
A church based in Topeka, Kansas, is scheduled to demonstrate next month outside Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda because the school, which opened in 1962, is named for a man who may have been homosexual. Westboro Baptist Church has been drawing national attention for staging anti-homosexuality demonstrations at military funerals, on the theory that fallen troops are God's punishment for a country tolerant of homosexuals. The church Internet site says a picket is scheduled for the afternoon of April 24. A narrative on the event states that the school's name "certainly explains A LOT about Maryland." Whitman Principal Alan Goodwin sent a letter to parents Thursday pledging to hold a normal school day, even if protesters show up. "In his poetry, Whitman celebrates individual spirit, celebrates our nation as the center of democratic values, and celebrates nature," Goodwin wrote. "Unfortunately, there is a small group of persons who want to defile his name because Walt Whitman may have been homosexual." Goodwin notes the group announces protests all over the nation but "has rarely shown up." A church spokeswoman confirmed the planned protest in an e-mail, writing, "The children that attend that high school are taught Rebellion Against God 101 every day in every way."
-- Daniel de Vise

South Florida Blade
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-PrideFest of the Palm Beaches
March 28 and 29 in Lake Worth
By Dan Renzi
This weekend is PrideFest of the Palm Beaches-organized by Compass, the gay and lesbian community center of Palm Beach County. This 16th annual event is being held at Bryant Park in Lake Worth on March 28 and 29, and is open from noon to 6 pm. On Sunday, there will also be a parade prior to the festival opening, starting at L and Lucerne, 11:30 am. For more information, visit Tickets $7 at the door.

-Winter Music Conference plays to gays
Official events at Twist, Score bring headliner DJs
Winter Music Conference continues with events all over Miami-and while the music festival has long been a major draw of the GLBT crowd, this year several events are programmed specifically at gay venues. On Thursday, March 26, head to Score for "Future Anthems 2009," which will feature Kim English, and deejays Pride, Joe Bermudez, Trevor Simpson and Manny Lehman. That same night, Twist has Alan T live with his song "I Smell Ass!" as deejays Craig Mitchell and Manny Ward will spin.

-McCain strategist endorses same-sex marriage
Schmidt urges GOP to be more welcoming of gays
Steve Schmidt, chief strategist for U.S. Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign, came out in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples in an interview with the Blade last week while urging the Republican Party to be more inclusive of gays and lesbians.

-Finding a place at the federal government's table
Time to start making changes for the GLBT community
This issue of South Florida Blade features a story on Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a political watchdog organization fighting to eliminate the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" ban on openly gay or transgender people serving in the armed forces. Members of SLDN are holding a series of events in Fort Lauderdale to raise awareness about the implications of DADT, both in the military and for the community as a whole.

The Advocate
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-Gay Service Weekend Scheduled During Mormon Conference
By Julie Bolcer
The LGBT community in Utah plans to sponsor a weekend of service projects in conjunction with the upcoming general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The "General Service Weekend" is scheduled for April 4 and 5.

-Resolution Honoring Gay Men's Chorus Rejected in Missouri
By Julie Bolcer
A resolution honoring a men's chorus in Missouri has been rejected by the state senate leadership because it mentions gay men and fighting homophobia, says its sponsor. Democratic Senator Jolie Justus, of Kansas City, planned to present the courtesy resolution to the Heartland Men's Chorus at a performance on Saturday.

-Teen Charged for Killing Gay Journalist
The teenage boy accused of stabbing a New York journalist pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and weapons charges on Thursday. Sixteen-year-old John Katehis, who was arraigned Wednesday night in Brooklyn, is being held without bail.

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-Corvino: Why we need the Transgender Day of Visibility
By John Corvino, columnist,
March 31 is Transgender Day of Visibility. I'm supposed to participate in a panel that day. I'm a bit apprehensive.

-Outsourced condom production could shut US factory
By The Associated Press
The last U.S.-based supplier of condoms for global HIV/AIDS prevention programs could be forced to shut its doors because the federal government sent the work to cheaper suppliers in Asia.

Pink News - UK
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-The Lancet: Pope 'distorted science' with condom comments
Respected medical journal The Lancet has criticised Pope Benedict XVI over his recent comments on condoms and AIDS and demanded he make a retraction.

-'High number' of gay and bisexual domestic violence victims in Northern Ireland
The gay and bisexual community in Northern Ireland is suffering from disproportionate rates of domestic violence, an official report has claimed. The paper, published this week by the Northern Ireland Policing Board, concluded that a high percentage of those experiencing domestic violence are gay or bisexual men and women.

-Melbourne Catholic Church to 'test' potential priests for homosexuality
Melbourne Catholic Church has confirmed it is following Vatican recommendations to test would-be priests to ensure they are not gay. The head of the Vatican committee which released the guidelines has also stated that celibate gays must also be banned because homosexuality is ''a type of deviation''

-Comment: I'm not hungry - Gay men and eating disorders
Omar Hassan examines eating disorders in the gay community and explores issues such as peer pressure, low self-esteem and how the gay press presents beauty.

-HIV rates in gay men still at high levels
Around 7,370 new HIV diagnoses were made in the UK last year, according to latest figures from the Health Protection Agency. Thirty-eight per cent of all new diagnoses were probably acquired through sex with men.

Daily Queer News
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-Are Evangelicals Suffering from Buyer's Remorse with Obama?
Bill Berkowitz | Religion Dispatches
Are evangelicals who supported Obama or have agreed to work with his administration experiencing what religion writer David Gibson has termed "buyer's remorse," or are they getting what they expected out of Team Obama? Recently, some Christian evangelicals have expressed their disappointment in Obama's approach to the issue of abortion. In a USA Today column dated March 16 and titled "Mr. President, we need more than lip service," David P. Gushee wrote: Read more

-CA: San Diego Appeals Firefighter Gay Pride Ruling
365gay Newscenter Staff |
(San Diego, California) The city of San Diego will appeal a jury verdict that found four San Diego firefighters were sexually harassed for being ordered to participate in a gay pride parade and awarded them combined damages of $34,300. City Council voted 7-0 in a closed session to file the appeal. The firefighters - Alex Kane, Chad Allison, Capt. John Ghiotto and Capt. Jason Hewitt - claimed they were subjected to sexually charged conduct and lewd comments while riding a fire engine in the July 2007 parade, which drew about 150,000 spectators. The firefighters' attorney, Charles LiMandri, said during his closing argument that his clients were targets of vulgar gestures and catcalls while being forced to watch barely clothed men and women simulate sex acts and touch themselves and one another. Read more

-PCUSA Committee to Consider Removal of 'Homosexual Perversion' from Document
Lillian Kwon | Christian Post Reporter | Christian Post
Members of a committee in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will gather this week to consider proposed changes, including the removal of a negative reference to homosexual behavior, to a historic document. The General Assembly Special Committee on Correcting Translation Problems of the Heidelberg Catechism is scheduled to begin a two-day meeting on March 27. Last June, the General Assembly, which is the highest governing body of the denomination, approved a proposal to begin revising the Heidelberg Catechism - a document of the Reformed Christian faith that is part of the PC(USA)'s constitution. Presbyterians at the biennial meeting debated the current Miller-Osterhaven translation of the Heidelberg Catechism, which was adopted by the PC(USA) in 1967. Much of the controversy revolved around a reference to "homosexual perversion" among a list of sinful behaviors that is not found in the original German text. Read more

-Education Secretary Pledges Safe Schools for LGBT Students
Jennifer Vanasco |
(Washington) Education Secretary Arne Duncan has told a gay student advocacy group that he intends to make schools safe for every student, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Duncan made the pledge during a meeting with representatives of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and a delegation of students and teachers. It is the first time that a Secretary of Education has met with LGBT advocates. The Bush administration rejected calls to meet. "It was moving to witness these students and teachers sharing their personal stories of pain, rejection, resilience and hope with the nation's top education official," said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard who attended the meeting. Read more

The Petrelis Files
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-Boycott Jamaica
The Bay Area Reporter's guest opinion column this week is my column about the boycott of Jamaica I'm helping to pull together. Hoping to see lots of friends and activists on Saturday, at noon, at Harvey Milk Plaza, for the official launch of San Francisco's contribution to the boycott Jamaica campaign.

-Video of Jamaican tranny bashing

-Official Jamaica Boycott Site

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-Serbian lawmakers pass anti-discrimination law
BELGRADE, Serbia: Serbian lawmakers narrowly gave final approval Thursday to an anti-discrimination law that is part of pro-Western reforms but was strongly opposed by the Serbian Orthodox Church and other conservatives. Parliament passed the bill with a slim majority of 127 votes in favor to 59 against - one more vote than was needed for passage in the 250-member parliament. The remaining deputies did not attend. The law bans any kind of discrimination, whether based on race, religion, sexual orientation or gender or other factors.

-"MEPs congratulate France for the move to recognise foreign same-sex partnerships."
On 25 March the French Senate approved amendments recognising foreign same-sex partnerships in France. When the amendments pass the vote in National Assembly they will become law. "We congratulate the French Senate for finally moving forward to solve this unfair situation which is discriminatory on the grounds of nationality as well as a hindrance to freedom of movement within the EU," said Michael Cashman, President of the Intergroup. "We have been approached by many European citizens, especially British, who suffer discrimination because their same-sex partnership in not recognised in France. One man was forced to sell his house after his partner's death because he could not afford to pay 60% inheritance tax. Otherwise this tax is not applicable to same-sex married spouses or couples in a French partnership".

-UKCP and Pink Therapy "gravely concerned" about research into curing gays
The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and Pink Therapy are deeply concerned about the research by Professor Michael King of University College Hospital which demonstrates that 17% of psychotherapists and counsellors have been willing to help gay and lesbian clients eliminate their homosexuality. Homosexuality is not an illness and therefore is not curable" said Tom Warnecke, vice chair of UKCP. "These alarming figures confirm our view that more training opportunities are needed to ensure that psychotherapists and counsellors can respond appropriately to people who are distressed about some aspect of their sexuality. We have invited Pink Therapy to hold a joint conference with UKCP on this subject in London on 15 and 16 May, which will explore the mental health difficulties and distress experienced by sexual minorities and propose ways to address the issues that sexual minority clients bring to therapy."

-Pix: Day against Xenophobia in Belarus

National Equality Rally - Philadelphia - May 3

-Don't Be Afraid to Let Them Show... Watch it Now!
Click here to view the video, rate it, embed it on your site and share it with friends.

-National Equality Rally at Independence Hall Make History!

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Steps Toward Equality
Today the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs reviews the nomination of John Berry to be Director of the Office of Personnel Management, or OPM. If confirmed, Berry would face an urgent human capital crisis, with almost half of the federal workforce reaching retirement age in the next 10 years. He could use a number of much-needed reforms at OPM to attract and retain skilled employees, but the Center for American Progress hopes that Congress will give him an essential tool in this effort by passing the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act. Berry would become the highest-ranking openly gay official in any administration, and his support for the act could significantly improve the federal workplace for lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees.

-Spring 2009 issue of "mental health AIDS" now available

-Vermont: Douglas will veto gay marriage bill
Gov. Jim Douglas, calling the issue a distraction, declared Wednesday that he would veto the same-sex marriage bill working its way through the Legislature. "The speculation about my decision has added to the anxiety of the moment and further diverts attention from our most pressing issues, and I cannot allow that to happen," he said at an afternoon news conference. "I intend to veto this legislation when it reaches my desk." The move surprised many, as Douglas normally steadfastly refuses to comment on whether he will veto a bill until after it has made its way through the Legislature. The same-sex marriage bill passed the Senate this week, with a 26-4 vote, but the House Judiciary Committee had just started taking testimony Tuesday.

-Scalia Uses The Language Of Sin To Describe His Ideological Opponents

-The 2009 State of the States Report , published by the Federation and MAP, is the lgbt movement's guide to capacities and priorities of statewide lgbt advocacy organizations. Find Your State of Equality

In a desperate attempt to extend the failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that the federal government's own evaluation found to be totally ineffective, Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) is expected to offer an amendment in the Senate Budget committee tomorrow that would provide an opportunity to fund these failed programs. We NEED your CALLS URGENTLY to the below friendly Democratic offices. Urge them to vote NO on Bunning's amendment to try and fund failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. These offices need to hear from us.
Kent Conrad (ND), 202.224.2043
Patty Murray (WA), 202.224.2621
Ron Wyden (OR), 202.224.5244
Russ Feingold (WI), 202.224.5323
Robert Byrd (WV), 202.224.3954
Bill Nelson (FL), 202.224.5274
Debbie Stabenow (MI), 202.224.4822
Robert Menendez (NJ), 202.224.4744
Benjamin Cardin (MD), 202.224.4524
Bernie Sanders (VT), 202.224.5141
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), 202.224.2921
Mark Warner (VA), 202.224.2023
Jeff Merkley (OR), 202.224.3753

-Canada: The Harper government is prepared to defend the constitutionality of Canada's criminal ban against polygamy, arguing the practice represents a "clear challenge" to Canadian values, newly released federal documents show. In January, the RCMP charged Winston Blackmore and Jim Oler, two prominent members of a fundamentalist Mormon sect in Bountiful, B.C., with practising polygamy.

-God vs. Gay
On the heels of learning the San Francisco Presbytery will allow her to move forward in the process toward being ordained a minister, out lesbian deacon Lisa Larges weighs in on the concept of god vs. gay.
By Lisa Larges
Like a colonoscopy or head lice, the word Christian is a conversation killer among LGBTs. So I will admit up front that whatever it is you're thinking right now about Christians -- hypocritical, antigay, anti-sex, anti-women, anti-choice -- you've got plenty of evidence to back you up. Let's also say, while we're still here in the first paragraph, that whatever the church or its representatives did to you -- whatever abuse, whatever violation of trust, whatever was said to make you believe that you were not a child of God in your whole beautiful queer self, whatever the silence in which you did not hear how infinitely and immeasurably God loves you -- whatever drove you out of the church is simply inexcusable. But unless our community changes the "God vs. Gays" paradigm, we will never achieve full equality. Nor will it be possible for so many of us to live out our truths. My truth, strange as it may be, is a calling to ministry. It's also the truth of a lot of fierce and beautiful gay people I know, whose stories aren't told often enough.

Palm Beach Human Rights Council
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-Gay donors propose omnibus rights bill
Organizers of 'new approach' say activists too timid with Congress
The leaders of a nonprofit LGBT donors group in Florida are calling on members of Congress to introduce a far-reaching omnibus LGBT rights bill that combines all of the gay- and transgender-related bills that have been pending before Congress, some for as long as 30 years. Called the Equality & Religious Freedom Act, the combined measure also includes new provisions, including a clause that requires the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships legalized by states. "We decided that asking for our rights incrementally was not enough," said Juan Ahonen-Jover of Miami, a gay philanthropist and co-founder of "We feel the less you ask for, the less you get."

From Transgender Equality
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-Queer in Miami? Fear Not: There Are Three Places You Can Pee
When it comes to breaking the law in Miami, no place is sacred. The greasy claw of crime will dig its fingernails in anywhere. Churches and synagogues? Be damned. Schools and hospitals? Fair game. That apparently doesn't stop at the bathroom door. Our classy city's latest claim to fame: The least queer-friendly, most hate crime-prone public restrooms. According to -- a site that maps secure spots for transgender folks to tinkle -- Miami has the fewest safe toilets of all major U.S. municipalities. On the Safe2pee homepage, the group calls "harassment, violence, and discrimination" in the loo "a very real problem facing many in our society." It allows users to post addresses of gender-bending potties, where GLBT ladies and gents can squat freely together. Some are not marked with girl/boy signs. Others are labeled unisex. And the 1950s would so not approve.


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