Friday, April 03, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - April 03, 2009

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Des Moines Register
Unanimous ruling: Iowa marriage no longer limited to one man, one woman
The Iowa Supreme Court this morning upheld a Polk County judge's 2007 ruling that marriage should not be limited to one man and one woman. The ruling, viewed nationally and at home as a victory for the gay rights movement and a setback for social conservatives, means Iowa's 5,800 gay couples can legally marry in Iowa beginning April 24. There are no residency rules for marriage in Iowa, so the rule would apply to any couple who wanted to travel to Iowa. Shelly Wolfe and Melisa Keeton, who waited for word of the ruling outside the Polk County Recorder's Office, immediately called their pastor anyway to make plans.

From Lambda Legal
Iowa Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry
What a thrilling day! The Iowa Supreme Court ruled this morning that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in Iowa. This historic decision fulfills the Iowa Constitution's promises of liberty and equality. We are so proud of the courageous plaintiffs and their families who stood up for love, dignity and equal treatment under the law. The Iowa Supreme Court is the fourth state high court to rule that excluding same–sex couples from civil marriage is unconstitutional, after Massachusetts, California, and Connecticut. In their powerful unanimous decision, Justice Cady wrote: "We are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective. The legislature has excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification." Lambda Legal filed this case in 2005 on behalf of six same–sex couples who were denied marriage licenses in Iowa, and on behalf of three of their children. Dawn and Jen BarbouRoske of Iowa City are one of our wonderful plaintiff couples. They have been together more than 18 years and have two children, McKinley and Breeanna. After Jen delivered McKinley eight weeks early, they realized that Dawn could be prevented from being with their daughter in the hospital because she was not legally related to either Jen or the baby. Because they were not married, they had to leave their daughter in the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital to seek the help of an attorney. This experience drives home just how important it is to be able to marry. In the coming days, we will provide more analysis about the decision, and will soon make available a fact sheet with basic information about getting married in Iowa. Check our website periodically for more information. We look forward to talking with you more about this case and its impact. Monday, April 6 at 3:00 pm EST (2:00 pm CST) we will host a members–only teleconference featuring the architect of the case, Lambda Legal Senior Staff Attorney Camilla Taylor, and her colleague on the case Senior Counsel Ken Upton. This victory has meaning beyond Iowa — it sends a positive message to the whole country about standing up for the values of equality and fairness and family. Winning an important ruling like this re–energizes us at Lambda Legal for the fights ahead and reminds us how lucky we are to be working together for justice and dignity for LGBT people and people with HIV. Thank you for all your support.

New York Times
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-At the End of Life, Denial Comes at a PriceLike the rest of us, doctors struggle to talk about dying. These conversations with patients occur haltingly, awkwardly and often not at all. But a study published recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests just how costly that silence may be, both in health care dollars and in patients’ suffering. A team of investigators, led by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, interviewed 603 patients with advanced cancer. They asked the patients, who had about six months left to live, whether their doctors had discussed their wishes for end-of-life care. The majority — 69 percent — said those conversations had not taken place. And in the last week of life, those patients who had talked with their doctors wound up with medical bills that were on average 36 percent lower — $1,876 compared to $2,917 — than those of patients who did not have end-of-life conversations with their doctors.

-Women Erased in Israel, Flogged in Pakistan and Restricted in Afghanistan
The news this week has been bad for supporters of women’s rights in at least three parts of the world. On Friday, The Associated Press reported that Israeli newspapers “aimed at ultra-Orthodox Jewish readers” digitally manipulated a photograph of the new Israeli government, to remove two female cabinet ministers, Limor Livnat and Sofa Landver. The photograph was taken at an official ceremony welcoming the new Israeli leadership on Wednesday at the residence of the president of Israel, Shimon Peres. Two versions of a photograph of members of the new Israeli government, posing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres (both seated) on Wednesday, April 1 in Jerusalem. The image at top is the original, the one below was the digitally altered version that appeared in the Israeli ultra-orthodox newspaper Yated Neeman.

-The report starts with scenes we filmed of a man accused of having gay sex being flogged in public, followed by the now-famous mobile phone footage of the young woman being held down and beaten outside her home for alleged adultery.

-Mobile phone footage of a teenage girl being flogged publicly in Pakistan’s
Swat Valley is now circulating widely

Washington Post
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-Vermont House gives final approval to gay marriage
The Vermont House has given final approval to a bill that would legalize gay marriage in the state. But the 94-52 vote for final passage on Friday falls short of the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override a veto promised by Gov. Jim Douglas. The state Senate is expected to concur with the House action on Monday. The governor's office says he will then veto the bill quickly. Legislative leaders say they could bring the bill up for veto-override votes in the House and Senate as early as Tuesday.

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-Moscow Pride Organizers Ask Spain and Slovenia to Help Solve Freedom of Assembly Issue
Moscow authorities hinted they will ban Slavic Pride march on Eurovision final day
Spain is presiding in the Council of Europe until 12 May when it will pass the rotating presidency to Slovenia, few days before the forth Moscow Pride. Russian activists said they will host their forth Moscow Pride on May 16th, the day when the Eurovision Song Contest Final will be held in the Russian Capital.

-Mumbai: The upcoming Lok Sabha elections and the world wide Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) movement may not have anything in common but keeping in mind the fact that homosexuality is illegal in over 80 countries with India being one of them, international pressure groups are urging that the rights of this marginalised community be seriously addressed this election season. On Wednesday, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) with a coalition of four countries in the South Asian region, where homophobia and discriminatory laws against homosexuality is rampant, chaired their first meeting in the city. Countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India in coalition with SIDA will work collectively to ensure that rights of this minority community are looked after seriously.

-Romania: Civil Code Sub-Committee Bans Homosexual Couples From Adopting Kids;4129223

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia will be celebrated this year again on May 17th. Like every year, the “IDAHO” (as it is usually called), will see actions and initiatives take place in many countries and contexts and on many different issues. All these activities and initiatives are a very strong signal to all, decisions makers, public opinion, civil rights movements, human rights defenders, etc… throughout the world that our fights for our Rights as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, intersex, etc… is vibrant ! The Day provides all different kind of actors with a very powerful opportunity to express their demands and to advocate for their case. The Day has already been officially ecognized by Mexico, Costa Rica, France, the UK, Belgium, the European Parliament, etc.... and the list keeps getting longer every year. This provides a forceful argument to engage initiatives even in contexts where authorities might not be supportive.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-European Parliament backs new anti-discrimination directive


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