Saturday, December 19, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - December 18, 2009

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New York Times
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Gay Rights
On June 17, Mr. Obama signed an administrative memorandum extending some partnership rights to federal workers in same-sex relationships. It allows administration personnel to take leave to care for sick partners and requires the government to recognize their partners as household members when determining overseas housing allocations for State Department employees, among other things.

Mayor Set to Sign DC's Gay Marriage Bill
Same-sex marriages in the nation's capital will come one step closer when Washington's mayor signs the bill at a public ceremony.

Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnerships
For over a decade, the issue of same-sex marriage has been a flashpoint political issue in the United States, setting off waves of competing legislation and ballot initiatives attempting either to legalize or ban the practice. Rifts have also opened among religious groups over the decision to recognize same-sex marriage or condemn it.

Washington Post
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BBC boss: Sorry for online debate on killing gays
The Associated Press
LONDON -- A senior BBC executive apologized Thursday for hosting an online debate over whether gays should face capital punishment in Uganda. The broadcaster drew criticism from some lawmakers and users for the discussion forum, which ran under the headline: "Should homosexuals face execution?"

Portuguese govt aims to permit gay marriage
LISBON, Portugal -- Portugal's Socialist government has drawn up a proposal that would make Portugal the sixth European country to allow gay marriage. The law is almost certain to pass, as the center-left Socialist government has the support of all left-of-center parties, who together have a majority in Parliament. Right-of-center parties oppose the measure.

Snow White and 175 Faeries
The first half of the annual show by the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington is delivered with sincere affection for the season, but in the second half, the camp comes out as the chorus retells the "Snow White" story like you've never heard it (the seven dwarves, for example, are Pushy, Nasty, Nancy, Cuddly, Spanky, Hose and Bitter). Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. George Washington University, Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. 202-293-1548 or $20-$50.

Faith, folly and Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill
By Michael Gerson
It is sad when someone you care about threatens to do a foolish and destructive thing. In this case, it is not a relative or a friend but a country. Uganda has endured the rule of a psychotic -- dictator and cannibal Idi Amin -- and a pandemic that decimated a generation. Its people responded with courage and faith, and the two are related. When I think of cheerful compassion in the midst of suffering, my examples are Ugandans.

World Digest: Spanish lawmakers move to ease abortion restrictions
Abortion restrictions likely to be eased
Lawmakers voted to ease Spain's abortion law Thursday, approving a bill to allow the procedure without restrictions up to 14 weeks of gestation. The change would bring this traditionally Roman Catholic country in line with its more secular counterparts in Northern Europe.

Fenty to sign same-sex marriage bill at church in NW D.C.
By Nikita Stewart
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty will sign legislation Friday to legalize same-sex marriage in the District at a bill-signing ceremony so historic that his staff scrambled to find the perfect location Thursday.

Mayor set to sign DC's gay marriage bill
The Associated Press
Same-sex marriages in the nation's capital will come one step closer when Washington's mayor signs the bill at a public ceremony. The city council approved the measure this week legalizing gay marriage. It still has to go for review to Congress, which has the final say over D.C.'s laws. The district's nonvoting delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, has said she expects no opposition there.

Wall Street Journal
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There Isn't Much Gradualism in the New Testament
Andrew Klavan's "Pride and Prejudice in the Episcopal Church" (op-ed, Dec. 10) is a well-reasoned and passionate cry for moderation over the issue of full inclusion for gay and lesbian people in the Episcopal Church. It is a matter of intense pain and often fear for many as the Episcopal Church takes this route. Mr. Klavan's argument for moderation and slowing down is the same argument that kept racial segregation alive for far too long. While my rational, logical, sequential brain agrees with Mr. Klavan that "more haste, less speed" might sound like a good idea, and that a radical rush to inclusion in some instances harbors a display of moral one-upmanship, the other part of me remembers that without some members of the Episcopal Church taking a radical stand on the ordination of women and their equality as full members of the Church we'd still be mouthing the platitudes of "gradualism" which, Victor Hugo notwithstanding, may, or may not, be the whole method of God. I for one am uncomfortable with claiming to know so clearly the ways of the Holy One.
Zara Renander

Mr. Klavan fails to mention that at the Episcopal Church's last general convention in July both the House of Bishops and the House of (Lay) Deputies voted by more than a two-to-one margin to lift the moratorium on promoting gay clergy to the episcopate. I must also disagree with Mr. Klavan and Victor Hugo that "gradualism is the whole method of God." While over time change may appear to take place gradually, it seldom does in the short term. Nor is gradual change a prominent biblical theme. Jesus did not make reasoned arguments to recruit his disciples. He simply walked up to them and said, "Follow me." Astoundingly, having only just met the man, they immediately dropped whatever they were doing and did so. St. Paul was not gradually convinced to stop persecuting the early Christians—he was struck blind on the road to Damascus and radically transformed.
Patricia A. Robinson
Appleton, Wis.

Filling Legal Gaps For Same-Sex Couples
By Taylor Smith
The state says we’re married, the feds say we’re not. What gives?Massachusetts-based financial planner Dana Levit regularly fields that question from clients. That’s because in 2004 the state of Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, but gay couples who have tied the knot there still aren’t recognized as married by U.S. federal authorities.“For those people, there’s an added level of complexity when it comes to financial planning,” says Levit. “Gay couples have the same problems paying the bills as other people, but have a lot of other challenges as well.”Non-traditional families–gay couples and straight couples who have chosen not to walk down the aisle–face roadblocks that the average married couple simply doesn’t have to worry about. Non-traditional couples can’t file joint taxes, and a partner’s Social Security benefits are off limits. Splitting up presents tricky issues, and death brings even trickier ones.Levit has become fluent in financial planning for non-traditional couples, who now make up more than a third of her client base. She says focusing on that particular niche has been good for her company, Newton, Mass.-based Paragon Financial Advisors. “It’s a great way to get business,” she says.Levit also likes the challenge of finding solutions to problems most financial advisers never encounter. For instance, her non-traditional clients won’t ever be able to rely on a partner’s pension or Social Security benefits. So to provide a chunk of cash when one partner dies, Levit looks to life insurance policies. “You have to pay premiums on insurance that you wouldn’t need otherwise, so there’s an added cost for same-sex couples,” she says.Other solutions aren’t as straightforward. One half of a couple Levit works with makes a lot of money, the other half doesn’t. Now that they’re planning to have a child, the low earner plans to stay home. The stay-at-home partner won’t have any income to contribute to her retirement savings and can’t count on tapping her spouse’s 401(k), so Levit recommended that the high earner make additional retirement provisions in the other’s name. Levit also advised the couple to title as much of their property jointly as possible to avoid complications passing on assets if one dies.“Planning for same-sex couples is all about equalizing the estate, because there isn’t the same opportunity to split up the assets in death or divorce,” says Levit.Levit also made sure the clients had healthcare-proxy documentation in place. “I recommend that couples keep a copy of their healthcare proxy or power-of-attorney with them even when they’re traveling, because other states may not recognize them as spouses,” she says.Still, Levit says that specializing in financial planning for non-traditional couples isn’t all about circumventing roadblocks. “There are plenty of ways where you can save these people money through smart planning,” she says. “You can help unmarried couples so much by doing that.”The state says we’re married, the feds say we’re not. What gives? Massachusetts-based financial planner Dana Levit regularly fields that question from clients. That’s because in 2004 the state of Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, but gay couples who have tied the knot there still aren’t recognized as married by U.S. federal authorities.

The Adam Lambert Problem
"Wrong track" poll numbers aren't just about the economy.
By Peggy Noonan
The news came in numbers and the numbers were fairly grim, all the grimmer for being unsurprising. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll reported this week that more than half of Americans, 55%, think America is on the wrong track, with only 33% saying it is going in the right direction. A stunning 66% say they're not confident that their children's lives will be better than their own (27% are).

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Poll finds Jerry Brown still leads race for California governor, but Republicans gaining
By Juliet Williams
Democrat Jerry Brown may still be the presumed front-runner in next year's California governor's race, but a new poll indicates he shouldn't take that position for granted.,0,3365766.story/

Calif. parks department to address equality for women, gays in response to lesbian ranger suit
By Associated Press
The California Department of Parks and Recreation is forming a task force to address equality issues for its women and gay employees. Parks officials said Thursday the move is part of a settlement with a lesbian park ranger who filed a harassment lawsuit in San Diego County.,0,3430283.story/

Steve Rothaus
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Video | North Carolina official in hot water after calling fellow commissioner’s late son ‘a homo’
During a debate about domestic partner benefits in Mecklenburg County, N.C., Commissioner Vilma Leake spoke passionately in favor, revealing that her son had been gay and died of AIDS. Fellow Commissioner Bill James leaned to Leake and responded: "Your son was a homo?"

Video | ‘A Single Man’ director Tom Ford singled out for Oscar buzz
AP video:
Fashion director turned director Tom Ford talks about his debut feature film, A Single Man, which is nominated in 3 categories at the Golden Globes.

Reggae star Banton will be transferred to Tampa
By JENNIFER KAY, Associated Press
Grammy-nominated Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton will fight a drug charge against him in Tampa instead of Miami.

Video | HIV/AIDS Community Discussion held Nov. 20 at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale
The White House has posted a video of its HIV/AIDS Community Discussion held Nov. 20, 2009, at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale:

New report documents ‘Decade of Progress’ on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in America
News release from the LGBT Movement Advancement Project and the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr., Fund:
Study points to dramatic gains between 2000 and 2009
SAN FRANCISCO – As the decade draws to a close, a new report shows the past 10 years have been a period of dramatic gains in equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in America. Two-thirds of the 36 statistical indicators compiled in A Decade of Progress on LGBT Rights showed significant advances, including sharp increases in the number of LGBT Americans protected by nondiscrimination and family recognition legislation at the state level. Less than one quarter of the indicators were negative, and four showed mixed results. The report is a joint project of the LGBT Movement Advancement Project and the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr., Fund.

Miami Herald
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Spanish lawmakers vote to ease abortion law
MADRID -- Lawmakers voted to ease Spain's abortion law Thursday, approving a bill to allow the procedure without restrictions up to 14 weeks. The change would bring this traditionally Roman Catholic country in line with its more secular neighbors in northern Europe.

The Advocate
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Antigay Sen. DeMint's Website Hacked?
By Julie Bolcer
Unusual content on the campaign Web site for U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican who recently said he found the idea of a gay president “immoral,” raised questions about whether the site was hacked.

Hate Crime Suspected in Puerto Rico
By Julie Bolcer
Investigators in Puerto Rico are questioning whether hate motivated the murder of an unidentified man believed to have been gay who was found dead inside the Motel Las Colinas in Ponce on Wednesday. The victim's throat had been slit.

Tot Suspended Over Hair Length, Misses Classmates
A prekindergarten student in Texas has been sent to in-school suspension because his hair was deemed too long.

Gately Widower Files Columnist Complaint
By Julie Bolcer
The civil partner of deceased British singer Stephen Gately (pictured) has filed a formal complaint about Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir, who called the circumstances of his death “sleazy” and criticized same-sex partnerships in an article published one day before the funeral.

Prop 8 Case Could Be Televised
By Julie Bolcer
The federal challenge to Proposition 8 could be televised under a new experimental program authorized by the Judicial Council of the 9th Circuit.

Auschwitz Sign Stolen
By Julie Bolcer
Police reported Friday that the infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work Sets You Free”) sign over the gate to the Auschwitz memorial in Poland had been stolen. According to The New York Times,the Polish police believe the iron sign was taken between 3:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. by unscrewing it on one side and pulling it off on the other.

BBC Sort of Sorry for Headline
By Neal Broverman
After a poll appeared yesterday on the BBC's website that initially asked "Should Homosexuals Face Execution?" the director of BBC World Service, Peter Horrocks, apologized if it caused any offense.

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Groups spend $9.6 m in Maine gay marriage vote
By The Associated Press
Campaign finance reports show that the two sides in the ballot fight that overturned Maine’s gay marriage law spent $9.6 million.

RuPaul as….Sarah Palin?
By 365gay Newswire
From John Polly at our sister site ‘Tis the season for another hot-topic-worthy ready shot of RuPaul, and this time she’s “Going Vogue!” Watch out, Grandma Palin. Ru’s got on her red anorak and she’s ready to govern! And I’m guessing Ru knows her way around a lumberjack. Plus, I’m sure Ru also knows all about laying some serious Alaskan pipeline.

Corvino: A story of comfort and joy
By John Corvino, columnist,
Allow me to share a favorite holiday story. It was late-November 1989, a year after I first came out. I had been dating a guy named Michael for over a month, which made him (in my mind, at least) my first “real” boyfriend. I was twenty and he was turning twenty-two, and we decided to drive into the city to celebrate his birthday.

Pink News - UK
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Gay Europe minister Chris Bryant attacks BBC's 'ludicrous mistake' on gay execution debate
Minister for Europe Chris Bryant has attacked the BBC for holding a debate on whether gays should be executed. Bryant, who is gay, told he would be writing to the BBC's World Service director Peter Horrocks to demand an explanation.

Convictions for homophobic hate crime increase
Figures from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have shown a ten per cent rise in four years in the numbers of people being convicted for homophobic and transphobic hate crimes.

Ugandan parliament to debate anti-gay bill today
Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill will be discussed in the country's parliament today. It is thought that this debate will follow a second reading and a vote will be taken in January after a third reading.

Canadian MP's Christmas card attacked by homophobes
A gay Canadian MP who sent out a Christmas card featuring himself and his husband has been attacked by homophobes on the internet. Nova Scotia Liberal MP Scott Brison's personalised card shows him and husband Maxime St Pierre on a walk with their dog.

Gay club owner goes into administration
Popbarz, the owner of gay clubs such as Ghetto in London, has gone into administration. Its administrators Ideal Corporate Solutions said it had suffered a “significant downturn in trade” .

Man who killed gay council worker has sentence reduced
A man who murdered a gay council officer has had his prison sentenced reduced by two years. David Meehan, who was 19 at the time, admitted murdering James Kerr, 51, in a public park and leaving him for dead while he and his accomplices went to a party.

Former drag queen accuses boss of homophobia
A gay man who once worked as a drag queen is suing his boss for unfair dismissal and sexual orientation discrimination. Dean Awford claims David Gray was homophobic and referred to him as "she" in front of customers.

Stephen Gately's widower makes official complaint about Jan Moir column
Stephen Gately's civil partner has made an official complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir's article on his death. Andrew Cowles cited breaches of accuracy, intrusion into grief or shock and discrimination.

Portugal tipped to allow gay marriage
Portugal's government is drawing up a law to allow gay marriage. According to Associated Press, the legislative change would remove any references to gender and if passed, would come in to force by April.

Daily Queer News
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Fairfax race to replace Cuccinelli a study in contrasts
By Harley Dennett
Virginia Partisans, the state’s gay Democratic group, was slated Thursday to endorse Del. David Marsden to fill incoming Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s state Senate seat. Marsden told DC Agenda that he was “proud to accept” the group’s endorsement.

Calif. man could become first openly gay dad in Congress
by Chris Johnson
The mayor of Palm Springs is making a bid to become the first openly gay member of Congress who’s married with children. Steve Pougnet, 46, a Democrat, is seeking to oust Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack next year to represent California’s 45th district in the U.S. House. A win for Pougnet would make him the fourth sitting openly gay member of Congress.

Parker’s win hailed as major breakthrough
By Chris Johnson
Gay rights advocates are heralding the victory of a lesbian official in her bid to become mayor of Houston as a triumph for LGBT Americans. Annise Parker, a Democrat and city controller for Houston, won the city’s Dec. 12 mayoral election by taking 53 percent of the vote. Her win marks the seventh time she’s won a citywide election in Houston and makes the city the most populous in the country to elect an openly LGBT mayor. She takes office Jan. 4.

Cameras In Court OK'd In California: Gay Marriage Trial Could Be First Up
Erin Geiger Smith
The must-see TV of David Boies, Ted Olson & The Gay Marriage Debate could soon be hitting your flatscreen.

German referee takes legal action after homophobic rant by Arminia Bielefeld coach
German referee Georg Schalk is taking legal action against Arminia Bielefeld assistant coach Frank Eulberg who allegedly called him a "dirty homosexual" after a second division match last week.
By Telegraph staff and agencies
Following his team's 3-2 defeat at Dusseldorf, Eulberg went over to the referee to vent his fury, before telling the press that "the dirty homosexual" laughed in his face.


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