Sunday, May 10, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - May 09, 2009

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New York Times
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-Gay Marriage and Our Leaders
To the Editor:
Re "Gay Issues in View, Obama Is Pressed to Engage" (White House Memo, front page, May 7):
It is deeply troubling that President Obama - whose parents could not wed in many states - supports the special exclusion of gay and lesbian couples from equal marriage rights. Surely his parents must have spoken of the difficulties of being treated as "less than" by society? How can he fail to see the parallel between that racial wrong and this one? In proposing to work for gay partner rights without marriage, he is advocating what was called for people of color "separate but equal," which, as we know, was anything but equal. I hope President Obama will soon recognize the injustice of denying gay and lesbian couples the fundamental civil right of marriage. Religious beliefs are no more a legitimate excuse for continuing marriage segregation than they are for denying racial equality. It is intolerable that a class of citizens be legally treated as second-class citizens under federal and state laws - discriminated against for the fundamental right to marry, with its associated implications for social acceptance, spousal health care, inheritance rights and a host of other legal protections for lawfully married couples.
Ken O'Neill
New York, May 7, 2009
The writer is the author of the forthcoming novel "The Marrying Kind."

-To the Editor:
Barack Obama flatters himself that he is a "fierce advocate of equality" for gay and lesbian Americans. Yet the facts don't match the rhetoric. President Obama is opposed to gays and lesbians' enjoying the same right to legally marry that straight Americans take for granted, even though this right is undeniably a basic civil and human right. He let the first 100 days of his presidency pass without lifting a finger to end "don't ask, don't tell" or to push Congress to pass the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. And he plainly has played down whatever support he has for gay rights of any kind, lest his advocacy interfere with his appeal to those voters who oppose equal rights for their gay neighbors. A president who, as your headline acknowledges, must be "pressed to engage" efforts to end discrimination and inequality against a community can hardly be described as that community's friend, much less its "fierce advocate."
David B. Goroff
Wilmette, Ill., May 7, 2009

-For Gay Couples, Obstacles to Health Insurance
"IT'S not easy being gay," said Mary Jo Hudson, director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. She wasn't referring to political opposition and other obstacles, but the plight of same-sex couples who are trying to get and keep health insurance.

Washington Post
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-Week 816: Googillions
Susan Boyle, the latest Pussycat Doll: 4,910,000 hits
I want to pay Mayor Barry's taxes: 1,510,000 hits
Marriage is between a Republican and a Republican: 15,900,000 hits

-D.C. Council member Marion Barry, in justifying his opposition to marriage equality, said that most of his constituents were black but that there are only a handful of openly gay residents ["Uproar in D.C. as Same-Sex Marriage Gains," front page, May 6]. It may be true that Ward 8 has few openly gay residents, but they still deserve consideration, as do other gay residents of the city. Mr. Barry should also remember that during the civil rights movement, white people and others stood up and risked their lives to end segregation and ensure voting rights for black citizens. Today, some heterosexuals are standing up for the rights of gay people to have the same marriage rights as people like Mr. Barry (who has been married four times). I also hope that members of Congress, such as Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), will stand aside and realize that this is a District issue, not a national issue, and that allowing the District to recognize these unions will not affect the lives of his constituents one bit.

-Mr. Barry's Ugly Words
The D.C. Council member chose politics over principle in a vote against recognizing same-sex marriages. THE D.C. COUNCIL'S approval of a bill recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere in the country was lopsided. Twelve of 13 members, including representatives of wards on both sides of the river, voted for the measure. So it was distressing to see the debate framed along racial, and troublingly divisive, lines. More . . .

-Lebanese gays take fight for their rights public
The Associated Press
BEIRUT -- In the Arab world, where several nations have seen killings of gay men in recent months, it can be startling to see a rainbow flag unfurled in public.

-Gay marriage effort stalls in heavily Catholic RI
The Associated Press
Gay marriage could soon become the law of the land across New England _ except in the heavily Roman Catholic state of Rhode Island. A string of sudden successes for gay marriage advocates has left Rhode Island a political outlier. Maine became the fourth state in New England to legalize same-sex unions on Wednesday, while New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch is now deciding whether to sign similar legislation.

-Feeling Lost, Republicans? Follow Britain's Lead.
By James Forsyth
LONDON A shrinking base, a high-profile defection skilfully managed by the other side, an idiotic delight at how the party is becoming "purer" -- that's the GOP today. And to British ears, it all sounds very familiar. It is distinctly reminiscent of the Conservative Party in Britain during the Tony Blair years.

Wall Street Journal

-Proudly Pro-Choice on Education
New York's archbishop on schools and the challenges facing the Catholic Church.
New York: 'The child is not a mere creature of the state. Parents have the primary responsibility to see how and where their children are educated." For thousands of lower-income New York children caught in the city's failing public school system, any high-profile advocate for choice in education might seem to be heaven-sent. Perhaps this one is. His name is Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the newly appointed spiritual leader of New York's 2.5 million Catholics.

-Notre Dame's Invitation to Obama Sparks Protests and Soul-Searching
For more than a century, a statue of the Virgin Mary has presided over the University of Notre Dame here from the top of the iconic golden dome in the center of campus. This week, a different image dominates the sky above: an airplane trailing a giant photograph of a fetus aborted at 10 weeks.

Pink News - UK
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-Sex and the City star uses bisexual surrogate mother
Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick have reportedly chosen a bisexual woman to act as a surrogate mother. Michelle Ross, 26, is thought to be carrying twin girls for the couple.

Gay & Lesbian Leadership SmartBrief

-Marriage now the law in Maine, but faces possible statewide vote
Maine on Wednesday became the fifth state to offer equal marriage rights after Gov. John Baldacci, who previously opposed marriage equality, signed a Legislature-passed measure into law. However, the law could be stayed pending the outcome of a drive by marriage opponents to place a referendum on the November ballot. Portland Press Herald (Maine) (5/6) , Bangor Daily News (Maine)/The Associated Press (free registration) (5/8)

-Gay groups hopeful about Supreme Court slot
News that President Barack Obama may be considering two openly gay law professors -- Kathleen Sullivan and Pam Karlan -- for a slot on the Supreme Court is winning plaudits from gay advocacy groups including the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. ABC News (5/8) , Bloomberg (5/8)

-Sen. Jeff Sessions: Out Supreme Court pick would get due consideration:
Saying being gay is not "an automatic disqualification," U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicated he would give full consideration to an out nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Hill (5/6)

-D.C. marriage bill's fate up to Congress, Obama
A measure that would grant Washington, D.C., the authority to recognize marriages of same-sex couples from other jurisdictions is now in the hands of federal lawmakers, after Mayor Adrian Fenty gave it his signature. Congress has 30 days to review the bill, which to become law must be approved by both the House and Senate and receive President Barack Obama's signature. Washington Blade (5/7)

-Pelosi: Economy is priority over marriage, civil rights issues for time being
The Detroit News/Washington Bureau Blog (5/6)

-Opposing an out high-court pick could be risky for conservatives
Conservatives risk being seen as anti-gay bigots if they object to an out nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, writes Richard Just. Given Americans' support for LGBT rights in the workplace, conservatives might "think twice about raising sexual orientation during a confirmation battle," Just writes. "And if they decided to do it anyway, it could become one of those defining moments where the American political center gets a glimpse at the fundamental ugliness undergirding a particular crusade -- and turns decisively in the other direction." National Public Radio/The New Republic (5/7)

-Poll results
On Tuesday, we asked how you rated the likelihood that President Barack Obama will name an out nominee for the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy. Check out the results, and watch for a new poll Tuesday.

-Harvey Milk High School gets push from Levi's, media partners Levi Strauss & Co., along with digital shop Razorfish and media partners such as AOL, Hulu and MSN, is spearheading a major fundraising effort for the nonprofit Hetrick-Martin Institute and its beneficiary, New York's Harvey Milk High School, which is mainly for LGBT students. The "Give Them Hope Now" campaign is trying to raise $500,000 via banner ads, e-mail solicitations, social media, pre-roll ads and news articles. Advertising Age/GoodWorks blog (5/6) News

-Poll: Half of Latinos in 6 Northeastern states back marriage, civil-union rights
Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) (5/5)

-Ousted National Guard member discuses military ban on "Rachel Maddow Show"
MSNBC (5/7)

-Greek couples plan to appeal after court rules marriages illegal
Reuters (5/5)

-Out politicos make "Forty Under 40" list
Six LGBT political types -- out U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.; Obama administration staffer Jamie Citron; Charleston, S.C., school board member Nick Shalosky; New York City mayoral aide James Anderson; fundraiser Aisha C. Mills; and DNC member Jason Rae -- are featured on The Advocate's "Forty Under 40" list. The Advocate (6/2009)

-TV anchor loses cool during segment on outing anti-gay politicians
Doug McKelway, a co-host of "Let's Talk Live" on WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., lost his cool during an interview with out blogger Michael Rogers about the new documentary "Outrage." McKelway had such strong objections to the film, which outs allegedly closeted politicians with anti-gay voting records, that at one point he threatened to "take [Rogers] out back and punch him across the face." DCist (Washington, D.C.) (5/7)

Ft. Lauderdale: Gay voters express frustration with pace of change under Obama
Gay and lesbian activists on a national level have been expressing angst over the glacial progress they've achieved since Barack Obama became president, and the Democratic National Chairman got a taste of that Friday in Fort Lauderdale. Speaking at a "listening" eve nt at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Fort Lauderdale, Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was asked why Obama hasn't changed the military's "don't ask-don't tell" policy that bars openly gay members of the armed forces. "I don't know," Kaine responded. "While I don't know the timing, I do know this is a matter under very serious discussion at the White House." Linda Jain, vice president of the Dolphin Democrats gay and lesbian political club, counts herself among the activists who are concerned about the pace of change under Obama. While gay marriage gets lots of attention, Jain said lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are concerned about hate crimes, immigration, adoption and the military's don't-ask-don't-tell policy. "We have a lot of issues that are critical to our safety as LGBT people," she said. "He can fix these things. The LGBT community worked tirelessly for Obama, particularly here in South Florida, and we believe in him and what he can do, and there needs to be a willingness to do it." Todd Hoover, an Episcopal seminarian from Fort Lauderdale who's been partnered for 20 years, wondered if Kaine could get Obama to change his position on marriage and be willing to approve of marriage between gay couples. Kaine said he wasn't going to try to change Obama's mind on anything, but said he would deliver the questioner's message. "He [Obama] is strongly in support of civil unions and recognition of same-sex couples," Kaine said. That wasn't good enough for Hoover. "The momentum is there and Obama is behind the tide, and we're afraid that he's going to put us under the bus as the Clintons did," he said.

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-Henry decries US boycott of Jamaica
A BLIND APPROACH. Gareth Henry says the US-led boycott of Jamaican tourism and products is a bad idea, especially without the support of gay and lesbian people living in Jamaica. A Jamaican gay activist living in Toronto is speaking out against a US-based boycott of Jamaican tourism and products. Gareth Henry, who fled Jamaica to Canada last year because of antigay violence, attempted a similar boycott in 2008. But because of what he calls "lessons learned," he tells Xtra he does not support the current boycott, launched Mar 28 in San Francisco.

-Today, a Riga City Council's Committee on Demonstrations and Pickets gave its permission for the March organised by Mozaika, the Latvian Alliance of LGBT People and Their Friends. The March is a finale of the first Baltic Friendship Days which are taking place in Riga between 15 and 17 May. The manifestation and the March will take place next Saturday, 16 May 2008, between 12:00 and 16:00 at Vermanes Darzs.

-Kitsch song contest is Russian gays' secret weapon against hatred
Moscow's persecuted homosexual population hope that Eurovision will highlight the prejudice they experience

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Now That Gays Can Marry, I'll Stay Married Anyway: Ann Woolner

-Huffington Post: Obama to Fire His First Gay Arabic Linguist

-Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry warns of racial divide over marriage

-South Carolina's Attorney General Threatens Craigslist
"It appears that the management of Craigslist has knowingly allowed the site to be used for illegal and unlawful activity after warnings from law enforcement officials and after an agreement with 40 state attorneys general," McMaster wrote in a letter Tuesday to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster. McMaster told Buckmaster to eliminate "portions of the Internet site dedicated to South Carolina and its municipal regions which contain categories for and functions allowing for the solicitation of prostitution and the dissemination and posting of graphic pornographic material" within 10 days or "the management of Craigslist may be subject to criminal investigation and prosecution."

-US cyberbully bill 'a threat to free speech'
Proposed law could threaten valid online criticism, say bloggers

-White House Speechless on Marriage Progress
When the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that it was unconstitutional to deny the freedom to marry based on sexual orientation, the White House issued the following statement: 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. It was quickly noted that the statement lacked the word 'equal' or any variation of it. Under quick and heavy criticism from the gay community, the White House either issued a correction, completing the phrase, 'equal protection under the law'. I sarcastically joked that what was missing in the statement was an entire sentence: President Obama, a brilliant constitutional law professor, supports the separate but equal policy that is increasingly being ruled unconstitutional by State courts. The statement was messaged to death and probably signed off by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs or one of his deputies. I can't help but think that the gay staffers in the White House wouldn't have cautioned that such a response would not be well-received. When the Vermont legislature dramatically overrode the veto of Republican Governor Jim Douglas, the White House had nothing to say.

-Outrage - Kirby Dick's doc about closeted gay republicans is too knee-jerk for genuine discourse
By Armond White
An amazing Q&A session followed the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Outrage, Kirby Dick's documentary condemning closeted gay Republicans. Instead of the usual self-congratulatory asskissing in question form, the choir that Dick preaches to through his hot-topics docs nearly rebelled. There was genuine inquiry about Dick's facile, scattershot methods. At a film festival! In gay Chelsea!

-Florida's GOP Governor Crist to Be Outed in Explosive Documentary Released Today

Steve Rothaus
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-Bob Cole, prominent philanthropist and longtime Miami gay activist, dies at 66
Bob Cole, a prominent South Florida gay activist and nationally recognized philanthropist, died May 2 at Doctor's Hospital in Coral Gables. He was 66 and had suffered for years from HIV, skin cancer and a broken hip. Through the years, Cole donated thousands of dollars to YES Institute, which works to prevent gay-teen suicide, and other gay nonprofits. "It's an immeasurable loss to the whole community," said Martha Fugate, founding director of YES Institute in South Miami. "What a great guy."

-Lebanese gays take fight for their rights public
BEIRUT -- In the Arab world, where several nations have seen killings of gay men in recent months, it can be startling to see a rainbow flag unfurled in public. But the region's only overt gay rights organization, based in Lebanon, says it is slowly making progress in preventing discrimination and violence. Now the group, Helem, is preparing for a campaign to overturn the law that makes homosexuality illegal.

Miami Herald
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-5 years on, gay marriage debate fades in Mass.
Twenty years after he met the love of his life, nearly five years after their wedding helped make history, it took a nasty bout of pneumonia for Gary Chalmers to fully appreciate the blessings of marriage. "I was out of work for eight weeks, spent a week in the hospital," Chalmers said. "That was the first time I really felt thankful for the sense of the security we had, with Rich there, talking with the physicians, helping make decisions. ... It really made a difference."


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