Thursday, April 09, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - April 09, 2009

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New York Times
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-Humanity Even for Nonhumans
One of the historical election landmarks last year had nothing to do with race or the presidency. Rather, it had to do with pigs and chickens - and with overarching ideas about the limits of human dominion over other species.

-Iowa's Family Values
IF it weren't for Iowa, my family may never have existed, and this gay, biracial New Yorker might never have been born.

-Advocates on Both Sides Seek Momentum on Same-Sex Marriage
A marriage license is just a Metro-North ride to Connecticut away for same-sex couples in New York City. For those who live in the Hudson Valley, it is a short drive over the state line into Massachusetts.

Washington Post
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-For Cryin' Out Loud
By Howard Kurtz
Stephen Colbert had a fine time the other day making fun of Glenn Beck's blubbery-yet-apocalyptic brand of commentary. But Beck -- a big ratings draw for Fox News who was profiled last week on the New York Times front page -- is hardly the only guy emoting for the cameras. He just does it with more tantrums and tears than your average cable guy. And I don't see many programs showing footage of marching Nazis while the host is talking about Obama.

-Advancing Marriage Equality
I am looking forward to the day when I can tell my children stories about how in the past gay couples were not allowed to marry and watch them laugh or gasp at the ludicrousness of denying a basic right to U.S. citizens for no good reason. My own marriage, which I treasure as an endless source of love and strength, seems somehow diminished when other loving couples are told they are unworthy of the institution. Marriage equality is, quite simply, a civil rights battle, and I suspect that one day oppositionists will feel great shame for having stood in the reception hall door. Kudos to Vermont and the District for being the latest to move equal rights forward
Silver Spring

-Iowa, Vermont gay marriages spark debate in Calif.
Both sides of the gay marriage ban approved by California voters are debating how Iowa and Vermont's recent moves to allow same-sex unions will affect their state's running legal battle

-Timing Is Seen As Key in D.C., Vt. Votes on Gay Marriage
By Nikita Stewart and Tim Craig
D.C. Council member David A. Catania and Peter Shumlin, president pro tempore of the Vermont Senate, met at Sarducci's restaurant in Montpelier two weeks ago and discussed gay marriage legislation in their jurisdictions.

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-Time for bigoted Florida to recognize gay marriage
By Gary Stein
There might be a chance for Florida to undo some of the bigoted, mean-spiritedness it showed last November when it constitutionally banned same-sex marriage. Florida is still a Neanderthal area, but four states now
allow gay marriage -- the latest being Vermont, where the legislature itself legalized it this week. Connecticut and Massachusetts allow it.,0,2740880.htmlstory

The Advocate
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-N.Y. Gov. to Renew Same-sex Marriage Push
By Julie Bolcer
New York Governor David Paterson said on Wednesday that he would re-introduce legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. According to reports, the legislation will mirror a program bill for same-sex marriage introduced in 2007 by former Governor Eliot Spitzer. Paterson will introduce the legislation before an annual gay rights lobby day scheduled for April 28 in Albany, the state capital.

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-Gay, HIV groups call for end of Bush health care rules
By 365gay Newscenter Staff
A coalition of 38 LGBT and HIV advocacy groups is calling for the removal of an eleventh-hour Bush Administration expansion of federal rules prohibiting discrimination against health care workers on the basis of religion. The groups, which include Lambda Legal and the National Coalition for LGBT Health, call the rules "unnecessary and confusing" and say they endanger public health.

-Obama Administration Launches Campaign To Refocus Attention On HIV/AIDS
By 365gay Newscenter Staff
The Obama White House, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced today a new five-year national communication campaign to combat complacency about the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States.

Pink News - UK
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-Confusion grows over reports of gay executions in Iraq
Human rights organisations are working to establish whether a number of men have been executed in Iraq for being gay. Homosexuality is not illegal in Iraq but is seen as a taboo. Last week, six gay men were shot and killed in the Baghdad Shiite slum of Sadr City. Click here for full article

-Samoa bans film on Harvey Milk's life
The Samoa Censor Board has banned Milk, a film depicting the life of gay rights activist Harvey Milk. The decision was made by principal censor Leiataua Niuapu Faaui, who rejected an application for the film to be rented and sold in Samoan outlets. Click here for full article

-Bishop of Manchester calls on faith schools to tackle homophobic bullying The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Reverend Nigel McCulloch has voiced his support for an initiative that tackles homophobic bullying in Manchester's secondary schools. Click here for full article

-New Hampshire House reverses trans discrimination decision
The New Hampshire House has opted to pass a bill extending discrimination protections to trans individuals. The bill will allow the words "gender identity" or "gender expression" to be added to current laws protecting from discrimination on the basis of sex, age, race, creed, colour, sexual orientation or religion. Click here for full article

-Rupert Everett: 'Gay men who have children are egocentric and vain'
Actor Rupert Everett has launched an attack on gay men who father children and get married, calling them "egocentric and vain". Click here for full article

-New Zealand comedian let off over joke about prime minister being a communist lesbian
A comedian who made comments about former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark being a lesbian and a "bloody communist" has escaped censure after a broadcasting watchdog ruled he had not breached regulations. Click here for full article

Daily Queer News
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-Gay Marriage Ruling has Iowans Weighing Their Values
Mark Guarino | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
DAVENPORT, IOWA - In the two days since the highest court in her state ruled to allow same-sex marriages starting in late April, Sheila Engel of Davenport, Iowa, found herself rethinking an issue about which she had assumed she'd made up her mind. "One part me says it's against my Christian beliefs. Another part of me says they should have equal rights," Ms. Engel said Sunday while paused in a grocery aisle of her local Wal-Mart. "There has to be a middle road here." Her rumination is being shared by many Iowans who are coming to terms with a controversial issue that, until last week, was safely confined to America's distant coasts. With Friday's ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court, the state became the third behind Connecticut and Massachusetts to permit gay marriages. Read more

-HI: Civil Union Bill Revision is Proposed
Derrick DePledge | Advertiser Government Writer | Honolulu Advertiser
Gay rights advocates have suggested a new draft of a civil-unions bill that would give both same-sex and heterosexual couples the option of entering into civil unions. The draft also explicitly says the intent of the bill is not to revise the definition of marriage under state law, which is reserved between a man and a woman. The draft removes references to marriage and instead refers to the marriage chapter in state law. The draft would still give same-sex couples who enter into civil unions the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as married couples under state law, but gay rights advocates hope that by offering civil unions to heterosexual couples, and softening the connection to marriage, the bill will be more palatable to skittish senators. Read more

-Celebrating the Secular: Obama Says US Is Not a Christian Nation
Rob Boston | Talk 2 Action
The United States was not founded as a Christian nation. Nothing in the Constitution grants Christianity favored status. In fact, Article VI bans religious tests for federal office, and the First Amendment bars laws "respecting an establishment of religion" while protecting "the free exercise thereof" - for all faiths. It's good to hear political leaders remind us of this fact from time to time, as President Barack Obama did yesterday during a press conference in Turkey. "I've said before that one of the great strengths of the United States is - although as I mentioned we have a very large Christian population - we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation," Obama said. "We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values." Read more

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-Congressman: State Dept Action Needed on Gay Iraqis;
HRC, NGLTF Silence Grows Louder
I'd like a round of bravos for gay US Representative Jared Polis for having concerns about and bringing media attention to the plight of gay Iraqis. This Denver Post story, appearing in today's paper, provides a good overview of his action on behalf of Iraq's gay population, and how he's pushing the State Department to take action. While Polis is taking the lead on the gay Iraqi situation, and trying to move levers of US power to investigate the deaths of gays in Baghdad, the usual lame gay political groups, Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, steadfastly remain silent about the abuses of our brothers and sisters in Iraq.

-Ryazan court finds gay activists guilty of popularizing homosexuality
Ryazan, April 6, Interfax - A court in Ryazan has found the organizers of two public events protesting homophobia guilty of popularizing homosexuality and ruled they be fined 1,500 rubles each (34 Eur). Nikolay Bayev and Irina Fet were found guilty of popularizing homosexuality among minors and the court ruled to fine them 1,500 rubles each, an organizer of the Moscow gay parade Nikolay Alexeyev told Interfax. On March 30, the gay activists staged public event demonstrating posters reading, "Homosexuality is normal" and "I am proud of my homosexuality." The judge ordered the posters be destroyed.

-Iraqi Murder Campaign of Gays Spurs Vigil, Rally In NY
Gay and Human Rights Groups To Demand Immediate Investigation and Diplomatic Intervention from Pres. Obama, Sec. Clinton., Other Officials On 'Sexual Cleansing'
(NYC) LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and human rights groups, increasingly alarmed about reports by the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters on the continuing harassment and murder=2 0of gay men, including 6 last week, and of the fate of an estimated 128 men on death row (many convicted for the 'crime' of homosexuality), will hold a protest and vigil outside the Iraq Mission, 14 E. 79th Street in Manhattan, Friday, April 10, 2009 at 12 Noon.

-Iraq's Gay Killings Condemned in San Francisco;
Fox, CBS Locals Send Crews
San Francisco's newly formed Gays Without Borders chapter, which is affiliated with the Gays Without Borders group on Yahoo, earlier this evening gathered 15 concerned gay and straight Americans to consecrate the base of the rainbow flag pole at Harvey Milk Plaza as the symbolic Tomb of the Unknown Gay. We took this action because of wire reports from Baghdad about the murder of at least six gay men in the last two weeks, killed because of their homosexuality and repugnant religious hatred stirred up by Muslim clerics. The names of the dead have not been reported in any news accounts, hence, the designating of the area for unknown and unnamed gays.

-URGENT - Iraq: Letter From a Member of Iraqi LGBT who Pleads for Help
"Before It's Too Late"
Member of Iraqi Gay Group Pleads for Help "Before It's Too Late",
Is there anyone to help me before it's too late? That is the question asked by a member of Iraqi-LGBT in Baghdad, who says he is to be executed, in a letter released at the weekend by Iraqi-LGBT in London. The handwritten letter in Arabic was received by the group in London last week, the writer claiming that he has received the death sentence for belonging to Iraqi-LGBT - a banned organisation in the country.

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-Tony Blair has challenged the "entrenched" attitudes of the Pope on homosexuality, and argued that it is time for him to "rethink" his views. Speaking to the gay magazine Attitude, the former Prime Minister, himself now a Roman Catholic, said that he wanted to urge religious figures everywhere to reinterpret their religious texts to see them as metaphorical, not literal, and suggested that in time this would make all religious groups accept gay people as equals. Asked about the Pope's stance, Mr Blair blamed generational differences and said: "We need an attitude of mind where rethinking and the concept of evolving attitudes becomes part of the discipline with which you approach your religious faith." The Pope, who is 82, remains firmly opposed to any relaxation of the Church's traditional stance on homosexuality, contraception or any other area of human sexuality. He has described homosexuality as a "tendency" towards an "intrinsic moral evil".

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Republican State Legislators Making History!
In six northeastern states, Republican legislators are making the difference for marriage equality. In the past three weeks, America has witnessed:
* On March 23, the Vermont Senate passed marriage with the support of a majority of the Republican Conference.
* On March 26, twelve Republicans provided the margin of victory for marriage equality in the New Hampshire House.
* On March 30, three Republicans on the Connecticut legislature's Joint Committee on Judiciary voted to codify the state's marriage equality ruling.
* On April 3, six Republicans joined their colleagues in the Vermont House to send marriage equality to the Governor.
* On April 3, the Iowa Supreme Court recognzied the right to marry in an opinion written by Republican-appointed Associate Justice Mark Cady.
* And on April 7, the Vermont House and Senate successfully overrode a governor's veto to make Vermont the first state to enact marriage equality without the order of a court - and six courageous House Republicans provided the margin of victory. Whether in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York or Vermont, every day our party is becoming more and more accepting of marriage equality. And as the polling and recent legislative victories demonstrate, the fight for full equal rights is quickly gaining ground across the Northeast.>

-Los Angeles - Today the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law released a new research study predicting that same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia would have a positive impact on the local economy, generating $52.2 million in new spending over the next three years. This new spending will generate 700 new jobs.

-Study sheds new light on young-adult and religious attitudes toward same-sex marriage
A recent analysis of public opinion data by the organization Public Religion Research ( reveals some interesting findings about Americans' attitudes toward same-sex marriage:
* Younger Americans are much more supportive of marriage equality. Almost half (46%) of young adults (age 18-34) support same-sex marriage, compared to less than a third (29%) of all Americans.
* Attitudes on same-sex marriage are shifting significantly among young people. In 2006, the American Values Survey found that 37% of young adults (18-34) supported same-sex marriage. Two years later, almost half (46%) of young adults now support same-sex marriage, an increase of 9 points.
* Support for same-sex marriage is significant among some young religious Americans. Among young (18-34) white mainline Protestants and Catholics, close to half (48% and 44% respectively) support same-sex marriage. Among young evangelicals (18-34), a majority favor either same-sex marriage (24%) or civil unions (28%), compared to a majority (58%) of evangelicals overall who favor no legal recognition of gay couples' relationships.
* Having close friends and family members who are gay or lesbian increases support for same-sex marriage. Among Americans who are gay or lesbian or have a close friend or family member who is gay or lesbian, nearly half (48%) say they support same-sex marriage. Among those who have more distant relationships with gay or lesbian people (i.e. acquaintance, coworker), support drops to just 30%. And among those with no relationship with a gay or lesbian person support for same-sex marriage is only 14%.
* Addressing religious liberty concerns significantly increases support for same-sex marriage. When asked whether they would support allowing gay couples to marry "if the law guaranteed that no church or congregation would be required to perform marriages for gay couples," support for legalized same-sex marriage climbed 14 points, from 29% to 43%.
* Religious groups that are more likely to hear negative messages about homosexuality are far more likely to oppose same-sex marriage. White evangelicals, for example, hear much more negative messages about homosexuality than white Mainline Protestants. The difference between these two groups on support for marriage equality is stark. Nearly 6-in-10 (58%) white evangelicals say there should be no legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples, compared to only 26% of white mainline Protestants.

-At U-Md., XXX-Rated Show Goes On
Despite Funding Threats, Students Host Panel Discussion and Porn Viewing A portion of a pornographic film was screened last night on the University of Maryland campus despite a new threat from a state legislator to deny the school construction funds unless it develops an "acceptable" policy on pornography on campus. About 200 students turned out for sexually explicit excerpts of "Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge" and a discussion of free speech and pornography in a lecture hall at the College Park campus. The event was sponsored by a coalition of student leaders. At times it felt more like a rally than a panel discussion, with loud applause for lawyers and professors as they spoke before a thicket of TV news cameras about the importance of free speech.

Texas: Waxahachie arrestsThis past fall many of you supported the third annual
Soulforce Q Equality Ride as it visited fifteen schools throughout the South. And much like previous years, some places were receptive and hospitable while others shut their doors. Sadly, Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas falls into the latter category. In addition to policing gender expression, Southwestern explicitly states that "homosexuality and lesbianism may incur a fine from $50 up to $250 and could result in an appearance before the Student Conduct Committee and possible termination from the university." (These regulations can be found under the Residential

-The Global Politics of LGBT Rights: Contemporary Politics special issue
I want, in a somewhat self-interested spirit, to draw attention to a great new special issue of the journal Contemporary Politics, on "The Global Politics of LGBT Human Rights," edited by Matthew Waites and Kelly Kollman. I say self-interested because the issue contains an article by me, on "how Western activists (mis)recognize sexuality in Iran": a detailed and reality-based critique, as they say in Washington these days, of the claims and rhetoric about Iran by non-Iranian activists in recent years, as well as of their unfortunate consequences.

-The Lambda Literary Foundation has named Leslie Feinberg,
Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, and Edmund White as this year's recipients of its Pioneer Award, to be presented at the Lambda Literary Awards Ceremony on May 28, 2009 in New York City.

-MELBOURNE'S Catholic Church has embraced a Vatican suggestion to test potential priests for sexual orientation. Those who "appear" gay will be banned.
The head of the Vatican committee that made the recommendations has made it clear celibate gays should also be banned because homosexuality is ''a type of deviation''. Archdiocese of Melbourne spokesman James O'Farrell confirmed Carlton's Corpus Christi Catholic seminary had started adhering to the guidelines, but refused to comment further.,23739,25250874-952,00.html

-You might be interested in the following story from
Obama appoints open homosexual to faith-based office
The head of a conservative activist group says President Obama's appointment of a leading homosexual activist to his faith-based council is an ominous sign that he may enforce a "pro-homosexuality orthodoxy" on religious groups receiving federal funds, which is itself a form of bigotry.

-News in Iowa continues to be good except that calls to the Govenor are still running 2 to 1 against. If you can, email the Governor being sure to honest about being out of state.
Email Governor Culver at the website:

-Judge: State can't force dispensing 'morning-after' pill
SPRINGFIELD -- A central Illinois judge has ruled that the state can't force two pharmacists with religious objections to abortion to dispense emergency contraception. Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Belz issued a temporary restraining order Friday until he can hear arguments against the rule from druggists who object on religious grounds.

-Focus on the Family Staffer Caught in Teenage Sex Sting
A Colorado man who works for Evangelical group Focus on the Family has been arrested after he solicited sex online from an investigator posing as a teenage girl, police have said.
"Juan Alberto Ovalle, 42, thought he was corresponding with a girl under the age of 15, but instead it was undercover officers with the Jefferson County district attorney's office, according to court documents," reported the Denver Post.

-No campus-provided condoms, university presidents tell bishop
The area's four Catholic universities do not provide condoms or oral contraceptives at their campus health centers, their presidents announced Monday in a letter to Bishop Joseph F. Martino. The letter came as a response to a request made from the bishop last week to King's College, Misericordia University, Marywood University and the University of Scranton for information on whether their health centers provide or encourage use of contraceptives, which is against the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

-Rick Warren lies about his homobigotry on Larry King Live

-First Documentary on gay youth's murder to be screened in Fort Lauderdale
Lateisha Green's Murder Classified as Hate Crime

-Sweden OKs gay marriage
Sweden on Wednesday became the seventh country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Following a five-hour debate in Parliament, the legislation was overwhelmingly passed on a 261 to 22 vote, with 16 abstentions. The new law will go into effect May 1, replacing a 1995 law that allowed civil partnerships.

-Federal Judge Strikes Down Maryland Ban on Exotic Dancers
A federal judge in Maryland yesterday struck down a state statute meant to ban strip clubs, finding it would place unconstitutional limits on free speech while violating the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection.

-Elder and Disabled Porn Targeted By Massachusetts Lawmaker - Proposal Goes Too Far
Massachusetts State Rep, Kathi-Anne Reinstein (D) is targeting adult entertainment involving models over the age of 60 as well as private sexual communications between the elderly (if you can call 60 "elderly" anymore) and private sexual communications among the disabled. See State Puts Porn Pervs in Sights, Boston Herald. The measure misses the mark and as it is an affront to the dignity of the elderly and the disabled alike with a heaping helping of unconstitutionality to round out the bad legislation buffet.

-How tepid is this? (via The Advocate):
"The President respects the decision of the Iowa Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage. Although President Obama supports civil unions rather than same-sex marriage, he believes that committed gay and lesbian couples should receive protection under the law." So, let's should be left to the states so that as gay couples travel across state lines, they are married, not married, civil unioned, domestic partnered...yeah that sounds like equal protection under the law. Oh wait -- the press release didn't use the word EQUAL, did it?

From Transgender Equality
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-Florida: Transgender candidate picked as new Lake Worth city manager
LAKE WORTH - Susan Stanton, who served 16.5 years as city manager in Largo, will be the next city manager in Lake Worth. Commissioners interviewed four finalists and today picked Stanton, the former Steve Stanton who was fired from his Largo job in 2007 after announcing plans to change his gender. Stanton also served 3.5 years as city manager in Berea, K.Y.


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