Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/24 & 25/05)

Analysis Shows 47% of U.S. Population Now Protected From Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation
by: Roberta Sklar, Press Secretary (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force)

WASHINGTON -- January 25 -- With Illinois acting last week to ban anti-gay discrimination, 47 % of the U.S. population 138 million people now lives in a jurisdiction that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, according to an analysis by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. Ten years ago, the figure was 34%.

The analysis also found that more than one in four Americans - 27% now lives in a jurisdiction that bans discrimination against transgender persons, up from 4% ten years ago, and 5% just five years ago. Illinois's law also bans discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

"Thanks to the hard work of grassroots activists, the glass of basic fairness for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans is slowly filling up," said Sean Cahill, Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. "While we have a long way to go until all of us are protected from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, the progress is undeniable and unstoppable."


'No Name-Calling Week' at Nation's Middle Schools

By Susan Jones

(CNSNews.com) - This is 'No Name-Calling Week" at some of the nation's middle schools, an event sponsored by a homosexual advocacy group.

The New York-based Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, which organized the event, says this is a time to "draw national attention to the problem of name-calling in schools and to provide students and educators with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate name-calling in their communities."

According to GLSEN's website, last year's "No Name-Calling Week" - the first event of its kind -- was a big success, with educators at more than 600 schools around the country participating in some way. This year, GLSEN says, more than 5,000 educators from 36 states have registered.


Conservatives Threaten To Stall Congress Until Bush Reups Anti-Gay Amendment Push
by Paul Johnson 365Gay.com Washington Bureau Chief

(Washington, D.C.) A coalition of the nation's largest right wing "pro-family" organizations is reportedly threatening to stall the White House's plans for Social Security reform unless the President becomes more active in the push for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

The Arlington Group, in a letter to Carl Rove obtained by The New York Times, says that conservatives are angry that President Bush has placed Social Security reform ahead of the proposed amendment on its 'to do' list for Congress.

The letter, according to The Times, points out that many social conservatives voted for Bush because of his stance on same-sex marriage and reminds Rove that the President will need all the support he can muster to pass Social Security legislation.


Anti-Gay Textbook Bill Sparks Fiery Debate

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Little Rock, Arkansas) Proposed legislation banning any mention of gay families in Arkansas school books has been met with heavy criticism in state Legislature.

The bill, filed by Rep. Roy Ragland (R-Marshall) would force the state's school districts to purchase only textbooks which define marriage as between one man and one woman. Ragland said the legislation was aimed at bringing school books in line with the state Constitution when bans same-sex marriage.

The measure was endorsed by the House Education Committee last week, (story) but when it came to the floor of the House on Monday lawmakers balked.


Court Hears Gruesome Details Of Discovery Of Gay Man's Body

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Louisville, Kentucky) Two fishermen told a hushed court how they discovered the suitcase containing the body of a 36 year old gay man floating in a lake.

Lawyers for 22-year-old Josh Cottrell are attempting to use the so-called 'gay panic defense, claiming that Cottrell was so repulsed by advances made by Guinn "Richie" Phillips that Cottrell killed him in an act of "self-preservation".

Testifying for the prosecution, Kenneth Critchelow told the court that he and a friend, Aaron Pullen, were boating on Rough River Lake last June when they discovered the "new looking" suitcase floating in the water.


No Appeal In Federal DOMA Case

by Fidel Ortega 365Gay.com Miami Bureau

(Miami, Florida) Last week's ruling upholding the federal Defense of Marriage Act will not be appealed the attorney in the case announced Monday night.

"With the present Supreme Court not willing even to hear the Florida adoption case, and the possibility of newly appointed Supreme Court judges by the Bush administration being even more conservative, it would not be prudent at this time to continue this effort," said Ellis Rubin.

The case was the first legal challenge to federal DOMA.


Gay Marriage Foes Turn To Defeating Gay Civil Rights Bill

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Salem, Oregon) Two organizations that spearheaded the drive to amend Oregon's constitution to ban same-sex marriage have now turned its sights on a bill that would provide civil rights protections for gays and lesbians.

The Oregon Family Council and the Defense of Marriage Coalition say the legislation is unnecessary and have vowed to defeat it.

The legislation would ban on discrimination against gays in employment, housing and public accommodations.


Major HIV Vaccine Study Begins

by Jeffrey Gold, Associated Press

(New York City) A potential HIV/AIDS vaccine developed by Merck & Co. that uses synthetic genes to prepare cells to fight the deadly virus is moving into the second stage of testing.

An approved vaccine would be about a decade away if the trial and a third study are successful, said officials with the international coalition that is collaborating on the work.

"It is the most promising candidate that we've seen so far," said Sarah B. Alexander, associate director of the coalition, known as the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, or HVTN. She cautioned, however, "something better could come along tomorrow."


Gay Marriage Amendment Reintroduced In Senate

by Paul Johnson 365Gay.com Washington Bureau Chief

(Washington) Despite President Bush's belief there are not enough votes in Congress to pass an amendment banning gay marriage the measure returned to the Senate Monday.

The legislation was reintroduced this afternoon by Colorado Republican Wayne Allard.

"This amendment represents, I think, the democratic process or the democratic response to recent and widespread efforts by activist courts to change this age-old definition of marriage," Allard said at a late morning news conference.


Conservative Groups Denounce Tolerance Week In Schools

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(New York City) "No Name-Calling Week" began today at middle schools across the country with conservative groups denouncing it as an "excuse to advance the homosexual agenda".

The week, which was created two years ago by Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, seeks to promote tolerance of all minorities.

But, groups like Concerned Women for America says schools that embrace the program are treading on dangerous water.


Gay Politician Slams Enforcement Of Hate Crime Law

by Jeremy Hainsworth, Canadian Press

(Vancouver, British Columbia) In his first public appearance since stepping down as a member of Parliament, Svend Robinson called on B.C.'s attorney general to push prosecutors to apply hate-crime laws as they were intended to be used.

Robinson spoke at a rally Sunday calling for a hate-crime designation to be added to the sentences of those convicted in the November 2001 beating death of gay photographer Aaron Webster, 41.

``I find it sad, I find it incomprehensible and, yes, I find it shameful that the Crown throughout these proceedings . . . with four accused has not once challenged the accused about the reality of this crime being a gay bashing,'' Robinson said.


Pumper Judge Busted

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) An Oklahoma judge caught using a sex toy in court as he was presiding over a trial has been charged with three felony counts of indecent exposure.

Appearing in the courthouse where served almost 23 years Donald D. Thompson was released on his own recognizance pending a preliminary hearing March 22.

The investigation began last June after a court reporter filed a complaint with Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/23/05)

Gay Protest Ban Lifted For Homophobic Demonstrators
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) A Philadelphia judge has lifted a ban on four evangelists from demonstrating at gay events.

The ban was a bail condition for the four, members of the group Repent America, who are facing 47 years in prison for allegedly inciting a riot at a gay event in Philadelphia last year.

Common Pleas Court Judge Pamela Dembe called the ban an unreasonable restraint on free speech.


Utah Gay Positive Bill Advances

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff


(Salt Lake City Utah) Less than three months after Utah voters approved an amendment banning same-sex marriage the Legislature is considering a bill to give some rights to gay and lesbian couples.

The legislation was approved unanimously Friday in committee in the Senate. Even Republican Majority Leader Peter Knudson who moved for a vote said it is "a fine piece of legislation."

Under the proposed bill any two adults even siblings or a grandparent and child could register with the state Health Department.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/22/05)

Legislation Would Target Gay Parents
by The Associated Press

(Salem, Oregon) A bill that would require Oregon adoption agencies to give opposite-sex, married couples preference over same-sex couples or single people is being attacked as "outrageous" by a gay rights organization.

Basic Rights Oregon pledges to fight the measure that was introduced by Rep. John Lim (R-Gresham).

Lim said Friday that he has no intention of discriminating against gay or single parents with the measure, House Bill 2401.


SpongeBob Anti-Gay Attack Brings Shock And Ridicule

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

The producer of a pro-tolerance music video for kids, featuring scores of their TV heroes ranging from the Muppets to SpongeBob SquarePants, says he is astounded that the project has been assailed by some conservatives as a cunning attempt to advocate homosexuality.

"The only response is, 'Wow,'" said Nile Rodgers, a veteran musician and producer whose We Are Family Foundation plans to give away 60,000 copies of the video after it is aired next month on several television networks.

The video itself involves a rendition of the 1979 hit song "We Are Family," that Rodgers co-wrote, and contains no reference to gay rights or sexual orientation.


Mass. Gay Couples Face Tax Filing Nightmare

by The Associated Press

(Boston, Massachusetts) As if tax season isn't stressful enough, gay newlyweds in Massachusetts are pondering what should be a simple question: Do they check ``married'' or ``single'' on tax forms for the federal government that doesn't recognize their union?

A landmark court ruling made Massachusetts the first state to sanction same-sex weddings nearly a year ago, but gays and lesbians will have to untie the knot, on paper, by declaring themselves ``single'' to the IRS.

Or not, in some cases.


Gay Student Disciplined Over Shirt

by The Associated Press

(Longview, Washington) An openly gay high school student was sent home to change after he wore a shirt that said "Too Gay To Function" during homecoming week.

Billy Zepeda, a senior at R.A. Long High School, decorated the lime green shirt with marker-drawn rainbows and wrote the phrase from the teen movie "Mean Girls" on the front. He wore it Thursday during the school's make-your-own-shirt day.

A teacher told him the shirt was inappropriate and offensive to homosexuals, said Zepeda, 17.


Gene scan suggests homosexuality origin

David Ryan Alexander, PlanetOut Network

A new genetic study released Jan. 12 claims to "help explain why some men are gay and other men are heterosexual." The study, published in the biomedical journal Human Genetics, analyzed 456 individuals from 146 unrelated families with two or more gay brothers and claims to be the first full genome scan of sexual orientation in men.

"We found three chromosomal regions that are likely to have genes within them that influence sexual orientation," said Brian Mustanski of the University of Illinois, one of the six scientists from a number of institutions who conducted the study.

"I think we essentially found these regions that are likely to influence sexual orientation," Mustanski said. "We found some genes that influence hormones and brain development. The next step is to look at specific genes in a new family sample to see if those are the exact genes that affect sexual orientation."



Friday, January 21, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/21/05)

GLAAD about Monica
By: Dallas Voice

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation sure picked a winner to spotlight for Saturday’s nomination ceremony for the 16th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The media watchdog group will present restaurateur Monica Greene, a candidate for Dallas City Council, with a Dallas Leadership Award.

Born in Mexico City, Greene arrived in Dallas in 1974 at the age of 17. In 1995, Greene underwent gender reassignment surgery and began a new life with a new name, Monica. For more than 22 years, she’s lorded over some acclaimed eateries in Big D’s (Monica’s Aca Y Alla, Ciudad D.F., 8.0, Baby Routh and Pegaso).

According to a memo from the Dallas leadership committee, GLAAD is honoring Greene’s passion for community involvement, charity events and grassroots efforts — also for being “an effective voice for civic, business, and gay, lesbian and transgender issues.”


Students rally for gay rights

By JoANNE YOUNG

In the spirit of civil rights protests in the 1960s, about 200 students and supporters of gay rights marched from Lincoln High School to the state Capitol on Thursday afternoon.

"It's a very long skinny march," said Joe Gerstandt, as he walked with others down a narrow sidewalk lined with snow. Gerstandt came from Omaha to support the Lincoln public high school students who organized the Inauguration Day march and rally.

"I think it's important to show some unity," he said. "High school needs to be a safer place (for gay and lesbian students). We have a lot of work to do."


Gay Road draws lots of media stories

By Barbara Owens

MARQUETTE HEIGHTS -- Blair Williams is upset.

Williams, who initiated a petition to change the name of the road he lives on -- Gay Road -- was caught off guard by the firestorm of publicity generated after area media converged on his neighborhood.

"I want it to be fully known that the reason for this name change request isn't that we have any judgment on anyone's sexual preference," said Williams, who is also the spokesman for the other six households on Gay Road that signed the petition.

"I don't care who likes who, or what people think I like. I want to be able to give my address, be proud of my residence, and be able to give that address without having to give a history lesson."


Banning gay unions: fight looms

by: AP

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gay and lesbian activists are girding for a political battle to slow down or dilute a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Indiana. Even before the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a state law banning same-sex marriage Thursday, opponents and proponents of a constitutional ban were focused on legislation to amend the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman only.

The Indiana Senate approved such a measure last year but it died in the House, then controlled by Democrats. Republicans now control the House.

Amendment legislation is expected to easily clear the Indiana Senate this session, and House Speaker Brian Bosma predicted Thursday it will pass in his chamber as well. A proposed amendment needs approval from two separately elected General Assemblies before going to voters for their decision.


Gays and lesbians mark Inauguration Day with protests

by: Advocate

As President Bush began his second term in Washington, gay rights demonstrators joined others across the country to protest another four years of his administration. They marched through the streets of cities and towns, denouncing Bush's marginalization of gay people and his opposition to same-sex marriage. In Washington, D.C., thousands of protesters, including a number of gays and lesbians, were kept far from Bush, and about a dozen were arrested for trying to penetrate various barricades. Along the parade route from the Capitol to the White House, protesters roared boos and chants as Bush and then Cheney passed by in their limousines.

At a large protest in Seattle, lesbian activist Meighan Doherty, 25, said she found Bush's inaugural address hypocritical and was not impressed with his focus on freedom, liberty, and equality. "He willingly marginalizes groups such as pro-choice, the gay community, and people of color if they do not agree with his personal values, particularly in the world of religion," said Doherty, outreach director for Action Northwest. The Seattle-based group provides training and grants for organizations interested in women's reproductive rights, labor issues, civil rights, marriage equality, and socio-economic justice.

The Seattle protesters carried signs reading, "I am not a second-class citizen" and "Gay rights are civil rights," as well as posters reading, "Axis of Evil," with a photograph of Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice, Bush 's nominee for secretary of state. At Seattle Central Community College, students marched through buildings, pounding on doors and encouraging others to leave. About 1,000 demonstrators then marched from the community college to the downtown area, where several people gave speeches.


Judge lifts bail restriction on Christians who protested homosexual event

By Ron Strom

The four adult defendants who are part of the "Philadelphia 5," Christians who have been criminally charged for preaching at a homosexual event last fall, won a court battle today when a judge removed the bail requirement that they stay at least 100 feet away from any homosexual gathering.

"The judge dissolved the bail restriction," the defendants' attorney Scott Shields told WND.

Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe ruled the bail requirement was an "unusual restriction on a person's right to speech."


Illinois Court OKs Gay Fostering

by Steph Smith 365Gay.com Chicago Bureau

(Chicago, Illinois) The Illinois Supreme Court Friday overturned a lower-court decision that ordered a foster child removed from the home of his lesbian foster mother and her partner.

In rendering its decision the lower court awarded the child, (known only as "Austin W." in court documents) place in the guardianship of grandparents even though they had been indicated for abuse against him.

The lower court ruling was appealed by both the foster mother, Rosemary Fontaine, and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.


'Innocent' Pleas In Gay Teen's Beating

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Cleburne, Texas) Three teens charged in the vicious beating last October of a gay high school student pleaded innocent Thursday at their arraignment.

The name of the 17 year old victim is being withheld from publication at the request of his family and police.

He was beaten and then stomped on and kicked with steel-toe boots. His injuries were so severe he needed reconstructive face surgery and may have permanent damage.


Barney Frank: Gays & Poor To Feel Effects Of New Bush Term

by The Associated Press

(Washington) There were no cowboy hats, no cowboy boots.

The only fur coat on the rack was a fake one.

While 50,000 revelers celebrated President George W. Bush's inauguration Thursday night at nine official balls across Washington, a couple of hundred people chose the company of fellow liberals at an Alternative Inaugural Ball downtown.


No 'Gay Families' In Arkansas Schools

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Little Rock, Arkansas) Arkansas is considering following Texas in banning any mention of gay families in school books.

Legislation was introduced in the Legislature Thursday by Rep. Roy Ragland (R-Marshall) that would force the state's school districts to purchase only textbooks which define marriage as between one man and one woman.

The measure was approved by the House Education Committee despite concerns from some committee members that it could limit discussion in social studies and history classes.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/20/05)

Louisiana Revives Anti-Gay Ban
By ARTHUR S. LEONARD

The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled on January 19 that the enactment of the Marriage Amendment approved overwhelmingly by the voters on September 18, 2004, does not violate Louisiana’s constitution, so the amendment will go into effect.

Under the terms of the amendment, which went to the voters after resolutions were approved by both houses of the Legislature, Louisiana will neither sanction same-sex marriages nor recognize any enacted in other jurisdictions.


The amendment also provides: “A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized,” a critical element that shaped the arguments made by its opponents in court.


Conservative group targets 'pro-homosexual' SpongeBob video

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

WASHINGTON -- On the heels of electoral victories to bar same-sex marriage, some influential conservative Christian groups are turning their attention to a new target: SpongeBob SquarePants.

"Does anybody here know SpongeBob?" James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, asked the guests Tuesday night at a black-tie dinner for members of Congress and political allies to celebrate the election results.

In many circles, SpongeBob needs no introduction. He is popular among children and grownups as well who watch him cavorting under the sea on the Nickelodeon cartoon program that bears his name. In addition, he has become a camp figure among adult gay men, perhaps because he holds hands with his animated sidekick Patrick.


Pro-family group slams new GOP co-chair

By: WorldNetDaily.com

A pro-family group is criticizing the Republican National Committee for nominating as its new co-chair an Ohio Republican who the organization says is not only in favor of abortion rights but also has failed to oppose the homosexual agenda.

Joann Davidson was speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives for four years and, according to RNC spokesman Brian Jones, "one of the top grass-roots activists and leaders in the entire country."

The Pro-Family Network of Ohio, however, says Davidson "does not represent the values of the rank and file of the GOP."


Louisiana Supreme Court OK's Gay Marriage Amendment

by The Associated Press

(New Orleans, Louisiana) The Louisiana Supreme Court yesterday unanimously reinstated the anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in September.

The high court reversed a state district judge's ruling in October striking down the amendment on the grounds that it violated a provision of the state constitution requiring that an amendment cover only one subject.

"Each provision of the amendment is germane to the single object of defense of marriage and constitutes an element of the plan advanced to achieve this object," the high court said.


Gay Cop Seeks $10M In Harassment Suit

by Doug Windsor 365Gay.com New York Bureau

(New York City) A former Suffolk County police officer says that once it was discovered he is gay his whole world changed. For a decade, John Weeks says, he was a respected and decorated officer on the Long Island force.

In federal court this week Weeks testified that he had a long term relationship with another officer. When the relationship soured the man filed a complaint with Internal Affairs. The nature of the complaint was not revealed and the other officer has not been named.

But, whatever the complaint was it led to a raid on Weeks home. He told the court that one day in December 1999, Internal Affairs officers searched his home computer and found he had visited various gay Web sites.


SF Gay Group Fights Handgun Ban

by Mark Worrall 365Gay.com San Francisco Bureau

(San Francisco, California) A plan to ask voters to approve a ban on handguns in San Francisco has angered a gay firearms club.

In the past year San Francisco has seen a 28 percent increase in homicides during the past year. In response, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has proposed putting a question on this year's ballot that would bar residents from keeping handguns in their homes or businesses.

If passed it also would prohibit the sale, manufacture and distribution of any firearms or ammunition in San Francisco.


Second Term Begins Amid Anti-Gay Amendment Concerns

by Paul Johnson 365Gay.com Washington Bureau Chief

(Washington) George W. Bush took the oath of office for a second term Thursday as hundreds of anti-war protestors and gay rights advocates demonstrated nearby.

In a speech devoted almost entirely to foreign policy Bush “All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know [that] the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors,” he declared.

He also said, 'No human rights without human liberty", a line not missed by gay rights supporters.


Indiana Gay Marriage Ban Upheld

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Indianapolis, Indiana) The Indiana Court of Appeals on Thursday ruled that the state's so-called defense of marriage act is legal.

"What we decide today is that the Indiana Constitution does not require the governmental recognition of same-sex marriage," the court said in a written ruling, noting that "the Legislature is certainly free to grant such recognition or create a parallel institution under that document.''

Three same-sex couples asked the court to set aside a lower court ruling that also upheld the statute.


Company To Pay $3.5M To Settle AIDS Scam Charge

by Ed Welch 365Gay.com Los Angeles Bureau

(Los Angeles, California) An Orange County company has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle charges that it deceptively marketed a supplement to prevent or cure HIV/AIDS, cancer, and asthma.

Body Wise International sold the supplement under the brand name “AG-Immune”. The Federal Trade Commission, the Orange County District Attorney, and the California State Attorney General filed suit alleging the drug was useless in treating or preventing any of the diseases and violated a 1995 FTC order.

Under the settlement, Body Wise has agreed to pay a $2 million civil penalty to the FTC. California’s proposed settlement would require Body Wise to pay the State of California an additional $1.58 million in penalties and costs for allegedly violating the State’s Business and Professions and Health and Safety Codes.


Prison For 9-11Gay Conman

by Fidel Ortega 365Gay.com Miami Bureau

(Fort Lauderdale, Florida) A conman who claimed that his partner had been killed in the 9-11 terrorist attack in New York and got $68,000 in emergency aid from the Red Cross was sentenced to prison on Wednesday.

Patric Ian Henn, of Fort Lauderdale, pled guilty last week to grand theft.

Henn, 29, admitted in court that he concocted the heartbreaking story to get money from aid groups helping the survivors' families following the attacks.


NY Gov. Budget Slashes Medicaid For People With AIDS Group Warns

by Doug Windsor 365Gay.com New York Bureau

(New York City) The Gay Men’s Health Crisis had harsh criticism Wednesday for Governor Pataki’s proposed $1 billion in Medicaid cuts.

The cuts were announced Tuesday in Pataki's Executive Budget for the 2005-06 fiscal year.

GMHC said that the cuts will severely limit healthcare options for New York’s low-income individuals and families, including thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS.


Disney World Accused Of Segregating Transsexual Intern

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Orono, Maine) A transsexual student from the University of Maine says she is being segregated in a student intern program at Orlando's Disney World.

The woman, who wants to be identified only by her first name, Claire, was accepted last fall to the Walt Disney World College Program for a seven-month internship.

The 23 year old tells the Bangor Maine News that when she told Disney officials she is transsexual they said they offer only single-sex housing and gave her two options: Cut her hair and go back to living as a male, or live alone in a two-person apartment and pay double the amount of rent.


Federal Anti-Gay Marriage Law Upheld

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Tampa, Florida) A federal judge Wednesday upheld the federal Defense of Marriage Act dismissing a suit brought by a Tampa lesbian couple who were married in Massachusetts.

Rev. Nancy Wilson, a Metropolitan Community Church minister, and Paula Schoenwether, a family marriage counselor were married July 2 in Massachusetts, the only state where same-sex marriages are recognized..

The two have been together for 27 years.


Suitcase Gay Murder Trial Begins

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Louisville, Kentucky) Opening arguments began Wednesday in a case dubbed the Suitcase Murder. The body of Guinn "Richie" Phillips was found in a suitcase floating in Rough River Lake last June.

Prosecutor Susan Streible told the court Wednesday that 22-year-old Josh Cottrell killed Phillips because he was gay.

Phillips had been beaten and strangled with a belt . His corpse was then stuffed into a suitcase and dumped into the Lake. It was found eight days later.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/19/05)

Louisiana Supreme Court OK's Gay Marriage Amendment
by The Associated Press

(New Orleans, Louisiana) The Louisiana Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated the anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in September.

Without dissent, the high court reversed a state district judge's ruling in October striking down the amendment on the grounds that it violated a provision of the state constitution requiring that an amendment cover only one subject.

"Each provision of the amendment is germane to the single object of defense of marriage and constitutes an element of the plan advanced to achieve this object," the high court said.


Opposing Anti-Gay Amendments Had Little Effect On Incumbents

by Paul Johnson 365Gay.com Washington Bureau Chief

(Washington) State lawmakers who opposed constitutional bans on same-sex marriage fared extraordinarily well at the polls even though all the states where the proposed amendments were on the ballot voted to bar gay marriage a new national poll shows.

The survey released Wednesday by the Human Rights Campaign and the Equality Federation is almost identical to a smaller survey of five key states that was released last week. (story)

The HRC found that only 1.7 percent of 640 legislators in 28 states, including Massachusetts where gay marriage became legal last year, were voted out of office because they opposed measures banning marriage for same-sex couples.


1,800 Mile Walk For AIDS

by Steph Smith 365Gay.com Chicago Bureau

(Chicago, Illinois) A Fort Myers, Florida man is walking to Chicago. Axel Javier set off on Monday saying "I don't think of it as 1,800 miles, I think of it as one step at a time."

The 32-year-old AIDS activist said he hopes to meet with show host Oprah Winfrey and appear on her TV show to spread his message of AIDS awareness.

This isn't his first AIDS trek, but it's his longest.


'I'm Not Gay' Florida Attorney General Declares

by Fidel Ortega 365Gay.com Miami Bureau

(Tampa, Florida) The man fighting to preserve Florida's anti-gay adoption law is battling a widely circulating rumor that he is gay himself.

Attorney General Charlie Crist took the unusual step this week of calling a popular Tampa radio show to deny the rumor as he prepares to announce his candidacy for Governor.

It was clear from the onset that the call to WQYK-FM had been prearranged.


Lawyer In Landmark Gay Partner Ruling Dies

by Mary Ellen Peterson 365Gay.com San Francisco Bureau

(San Francisco, California) Robert Lazo, the lawyer who won the landmark California ruling that the surviving partners of gays and lesbians who die as a result of a crime can sue for wrongful death, has died of cancer. He was 41.

Remembered as a soft-spoken yet passionate attorney whose interests included jazz and science fiction movies, Lazo was the founder of San Francisco's Employment Lawyers' Group.

His most famous case was the wrongful death suit brought by Sharon Smith. Smith's partner, Dianne Whipple was fatally mauled by neighbors' dogs outside their Pacific Heights apartment four years ago.


Judicial Review Sought In No Makeup No Job Ruling

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(San Francisco, California) The full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has been asked to review a ruling that upheld the firing of a woman who refused to wear makeup at work.

Last month, a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court said that the woman had not been treated unfairly. (story)

In August 2000, Darlene Jespersen was fired from her position as a bartender at Harrah's Casino in Reno, Nevada, after the company enacted a new dress code, called the "Personal Best" program, requiring all women in the beverage department to wear makeup, specified as foundation or powder, blush, lipstick and mascara, applied precisely the same way every day to match a photograph held by the supervisor.


Gay TV Campaign Targets Bush Inauguration

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Washington) A new television ad campaign has been launched to coincide with President Bush's inauguration Thursday.

The ads, by the Human Rights Campaign underscores inconsistencies in what President Bush has said and what he has done regarding equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans during his first term. Asking "What will he do in the next four years?"

"We have seen two faces of George W. Bush in the last several months, and are wondering which one will take the oath of office on Thursday," said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg.


PFLAG Names New National Leader
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Washington) Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays announced on Tuesday that it had selected Jody Michael Huckaby to be its new executive director.

The announcement concludes a six-month search process by PFLAG's search committee, which reviewed the qualifications of more than sixty applicants.

"Under Jody's leadership, we know PFLAG will grow and prosper as an outstanding advocate of equality for our GLBT family members and loved ones," said Samuel Thoron, PFLAG's President. "In addition to his extensive qualifications, Jody brings a passionate commitment to our values, vision and mission."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/18/05)

Bid seen weakening to ban gay marriage
By Frank Phillips, Globe Staff

The slim majority that supported the proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage last year has been thrown into doubt with the recent resignations of three legislators who oppose gay marriage and a net increase of two gay-marriage supporters in the crop of newly elected legislators.

With the start of the new legislative session, a Globe analysis indicates that supporters of gay marriage appear to be gaining ground in their effort to defeat the proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The Legislature voted 105 to 92 for the amendment in March, but it would have to pass one more roll call to reach the 2006 ballot for voter consideration.

One leading gay-marriage opponent said he sensed a shift against the constitutional ban.


Standing my gay ground

By Alec Mapa

I am not moving to Canada. Believe me, I thought about it. One of my best friends in Vancouver is a celebrated seven-foot drag queen named Joan-E. I could’ve easily taken up residence in one of her shoes, but now is not the time for cowardice. I’m needed here to gay up the red states. To get the ball rolling, I’m going to drive through the heartland in a Subaru wearing a pink tutu and eating a bratwurst while my loudspeakers blare “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”

The bad news is, Bush is still president. The good news is, I’m still gay. In four years Bush will be gone. I, however, will still be a great big homo. Want to feel empowered? Try thinking of the most powerful man on the planet as a temporary inconvenience. I am not disheartened by the election results because, to a gay man, this kind of bigotry is old news. I don’t scare easily.

Let’s face it, we’ve been through far worse. When I was in the eighth grade San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk, one of the nation’s first openly gay elected officials, was assassinated by Dan White. This was an act of terrorism designed to intimidate us into permanent silence. All it did was inspire countless LGBT individuals to pursue public office on behalf of our cause. Milk’s murder inaugurated what has become our nationwide presence in politics. This past election, at least 41 openly gay and lesbian candidates in 20 states were elected to public office, and not just in the latte-drinking, sushi-eating states.


Kiss and tell
By John Corvino

I started off as a pleasant evening. I was visiting Austin while working on some writing projects. One night I ran into a friend at a coffee shop and we walked to the nearby Texas capitol grounds, where a number of people were biking, jogging, and strolling. We sat on a bench; I put my arm around him. At one point I leaned over and kissed him, then looked up and noticed a state trooper walking by.

The trooper looked rather flustered by our display of affection. I wasn’t surprised. As an Italian-American New Yorker currently living in Detroit, I am often reminded that Mid-westerners and Southerners have rather different ideas about personal space and public affection than I do. Especially between men.

About 10 minutes later my friend and I noticed three troopers in the distance—including the one who had passed us previously. “You don’t think they’re coming after us?” I joked.


Gay Survivor Winner Guilty OF Tax Evasion

by Brooke Donald, Associated Press

(Providence, Rhode Island) Richard Hatch, who became a millionaire when he won the first-ever "Survivor" series, has agreed to plead guilty to two counts of tax evasion for failing to report income including the $1.01 million he won on the show.

Federal prosecutors charged that Hatch, 43, filed false 2000 and 2001 tax returns, omitting his income from the CBS show, as well as another $321,000 he was paid by a Boston radio station.

The penalty could be up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine for each charge. However, as part of the plea agreement filed in federal court on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's office said it would recommend a lesser sentence.


Mass Gay Marriage Amendment Unlikely To Pass Survey Shows

by Michael J. Meade 365Gay.com Boston Bureau

(Boston, Massachusetts) A survey of Massachusetts legislators shows that a proposed amendment to the state Constitution is likely to fail.

To amend the Constitution the proposal must pass two consecutive sessions of the legislature and then go to voters. Last March the amendment passed the first phase, following heated debate, by only a handful of votes. (story) The proposed amendment would bar same-sex couples from marrying but would allow civil unions and convert those marriages already performed to domestic partnerships.

An analysis of lawmakers by the Boston Globe shows that following last November's election the State House now has more moderates and the amendment is unlikely to get the 101 votes votes needed. In March it was approved with only four votes to spare.


Montana Considers Civil Unions & Civil Rights Protections

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Helena, Montana) Montana legislators considered two gay rights bills on Martin Luther King Day - one that would allow civil unions, and one to extend civil rights protections to gays and lesbians.

The legislation to create civil unions was held in House Judiciary Committee while the Senate Judiciary Committee considered a civil rights bill. Both measures met with stiff opposition during packed hearings.

The civil unions bill would extend to same-sex couples the same benefits, protections and responsibilities afforded spouses in a marriage. Some of those benefits are group insurance, power of attorney in health care instances, and public assistance benefits under state law.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/17/05)

Still Just A Dream
by Doreen Brandt 365Gay.com Washington Bureau

(Washington) Gay African Americans will honor the memory of the country's most notable civil rights leader at events across the country today as the nation observes Martin Luther King Day, but for many Americans King's Dream remains elusive.

Of particular concern is the opposition by many black leaders to same-sex marriage. Last November, as Republicans energized the right by using gay marriage as an issue the black community was drawn into the battle.

Leaders who had lined up behind King a generation ago to push for civil rights denounced gays using King's memory to push for same-sex marriage. African American voters helped pass constitutional amendments in southern states to ban gay marriage.


Gay Straight Society Could Incite Violence Parents Claim

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Atlanta, Georgia) A parents group is demanding that the Gay Lesbian and Straight Society at Berkmar High School in Gwinnett change its name because the mere mention of the word gay could incite violence at the suburban Atlanta school.

"I submit to you the name itself is very sexually explicit, provocative and inflammatory," the group's spokesperson Faye Caldwell told the school board.

"People have very strong opinions about homosexuality. . . . There could be a confrontation. We must protect the well-being of the students."


Gays To Join Bush Inauguration Protests

by Beth Gorham, Canadian Press

(Washington) Not everyone is in a celebratory mood this week as President George W. Bush prepares to mark his second inauguration with a lavish bash.

Amid the flashy festivities - fancy balls, fireworks, a rock concert and a huge parade down Pennsylvania Avenue - protesters will be doing everything they can to disrupt the party.

Angry about the whopping price tag and Bush's policies, demonstrators from more than 40 states say they'll stage some 50 rallies and marches all over the city.


White House In Damage Control After Bush Gay Amendment Remark

by Paul Johnson 365Gay.com Washington Bureau Chief


(Washington) Conservative groups that supported President Bush's reelection wasted no time in reacting to his suggestion Sunday that he would not push for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in his second term.

Bush made the remarks in an interview with The Washington Post.

"The point is, is that Senators have made it clear that so long as DOMA is deemed constitutional, nothing will happen. I'd take that admonition seriously," Bush told the Post.


Ohio Gay Marriage Amendment Leaves Straight Unwed Abuse Victims Unprotected

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Cleveland, Ohio) The amendment to the Ohio Constitution to prevent gay marriage is being used to block the prosecution of people in unmarried heterosexual relationships who abuse their partners.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Cuyahoga County public defender's office has moved to dismiss domestic-violence charges against unmarried defendants since the amendment was passed by voters last November.

Ohio was one of 11 states to pass amendments to block gays from marrying. The wording in the Ohio amendment, known as Issue 1, says the state "and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage."


Gay Teen's Killers Seek Juvenile Court

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Bay Minette, Alabama) Three teenagers charged in the killing of a gay teen last July have asked a judge to order their trial held in juvenile court so they could escape the death penalty.

The two males and a female were charged with capital murder shortly after their arrest. If they were convicted as juveniles the court would be limited to sentencing them to three years each in prison.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Judy Newcomb said he would fight the application to move the case from adult court.


Building A Gay Village One City At A Time

by Nicholas K. Geranios, Associated Press

(Spokane, Washington) Gay activists in this staid Eastern Washington city are planning to create a neighborhood of gay-oriented homes, businesses and nightlife, which religious conservatives complain will be at odds with Spokane's family-oriented culture.

A gay district would signal that Spokane is tolerant and progressive, proponents contend, the type of community that can attract the so-called "creative class" that will build the economy of tomorrow.

"We're talking about an actual physical part of town we would like to establish as a gay district," said Marvin Reguindin, owner of a Spokane graphic design firm, who envisions an area similar to the Castro district of San Francisco or Capitol Hill in Seattle.


Foes set push to ban gay unions

by: Washington Times

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — Encouraged by the success of anti-homosexual "marriage" referendums in 13 states, same-sex union opponents say they plan to push for a state constitutional amendment banning homosexual "marriage."

Homosexual-rights supporters, meanwhile, are supporting legislation of their own. Both sides plan to rally Jan. 27 in Annapolis to try to sway lawmakers.

"National momentum can only go so far," said Carrie Gordon Earll, a spokeswoman for Focus on the Family, a traditional-values lobbying group. "Ultimately, it comes down to the people on the ground, in their counties, putting pressure on their legislators."


Gay Marriage Debate Comes To Navajo Nation
by: The Associated Press

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. -- The debate over same-sex marriage is moving to the Navajo Nation.

Tribal Council delegate Larry Anderson Sr., of Fort Defiance, has proposed legislation that would restrict a recognized union to a relationship between a man and woman.

Critics of the proposed legislation said Anderson is attempting to rewrite cultural history to parallel conservative Christian views of gay marriage.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/16/05)

Bush Drops Gay Marriage Amendment
by Paul Johnson 365Gay.com Washington Bureau Chief

Washington) President Bush said Sunday that he will not press the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Washington Post Bush said that he remains opposed to gay marriage but believes there aren't the votes in the Senate to ensure the amendment would be adopted.

"The point is, is that Senators have made it clear that so long as DOMA is deemed constitutional, nothing will happen. I'd take that admonition seriously," Bush told the Post.


GOP isn't giving gay marriage same sense of urgency now

By Michele McNeil

House Republicans once deemed the need for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage as "important," "critical" and even "grave."

Republicans considered passing that amendment so crucial last year that they walked off the job to make their point, killing dozens of pieces of legislation.

Two weeks into the current legislative session, with Republicans in control of the House, there's been no effort to advance this amendment -- even after they used the gay marriage issue against Democrats in the 2004 campaign.


Principal Kills Student Newspaper Stories On Gay Group

by The Associated Press

(Lilburn, Georgia) Berkmar High School students opened the school newspaper to a blank editorial page after the school's principal ordered the staff to yank two opinion pieces about a new club for straight and gay teens.

Gwinnett County school officials said Principal Kendall Johnson told the staff to remove the editorials because he felt it would disturb students during exam time.

"Mr. Johnson was not going to allow there to be distractions from what they are about teaching and learning," Gwinnett Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said. "The point/counterpoint was inflammatory in nature and could be disruptive."


Gay Ski Week causes stir in Telluride

By Janet Urquhart

Several Telluride representatives are expected in Aspen this week to check out the goings-on at Gay Ski Week with an eye toward the future of their resort's fledgling ski week.

Telluride is expecting perhaps 500 attendees for its second Gay Ski Week - as opposed to the 2,000 to 3,000 or so participants who are expected for the 28th annual Gay Ski Week in Aspen - but the Telluride event has not gone unnoticed.

A letter to the editor of the local newspaper, the Telluride Daily Planet, questioning why Telluride Mountain Village would sponsor the gay-oriented event, sparked a flood of replies in support of the village's involvement. Mountain Village is located on the opposite side of the ski area from the historic town of Telluride. The resort is located in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado.


The gay Lincoln controversy

By Christopher Capozzola

EVERY GENERATION, it seems, gets the Lincoln it deserves. And so C.A. Tripp's portrait of a Lincoln for the ''Queer Eye'' generation should come as no surprise. In ''The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln'' (Free Press), the therapist and former Kinsey sex researcher argues that Lincoln was homosexual in both thought and deed, with as many as five intimate lovers and a psychological outlook shaped by his same-sex desires. How timely to learn that the icon of the Republican Party once composed a poem about the marriage of two men. Having already provided potential talking points for Log Cabin Republicans and sketch material for ''Saturday Night Live,'' Tripp cannot fail to intrigue readers. But does he have what it takes to convince them?

Tripp was not the first to take up the question of Lincoln's sexuality, but he pursued it for the last 13 years of his life with unparalleled zeal and a breathtaking confidence in his own conclusions. By the time of his death in 2003, Tripp had amassed the world's largest database of Lincolniana, currently housed in the Lincoln Library in Springfield, Ill. As he pored over the textual fragments, he began to find what he was looking for.

In Tripp's book, Lincoln, described by one woman who rejected his marriage proposal, as ''deficient in those little links which make up the chain of woman's happiness,'' evades eligible women while panting after a dashing military officer and a handsome bodyguard. Tripp depicts a loveless nightmare of a marriage, even comparing Mary Todd Lincoln's lack of empathy to Hitler's. Lincoln sneaked sly references to same-sex desire into his bawdy humor, and penned passionate letters to Joshua Speed (signed ''yours forever,'' a phrase he never wrote to his wife), with whom he had for four years shared a single bed above Speed's store in Springfield. And Tripp puts forth this tidbit, recorded by Washington socialite Virginia Woodbury Fox in her diary in November 1862: ''Tish says, ‘there is a Bucktail soldier here devoted to the President, drives with him, and when Mrs. L. is not home, sleeps with him.' What stuff!''


What would Martin Luther King do?

by Brandt Williams

St. Paul, Minn. — Martin Luther King Jr.'s youngest daughter participated in a march in Atlanta in December 2004, in support of a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. The Rev. Bernice King has said she doesn't believe her father died to give homosexuals the right to marry.

She is not the only black religious leader who believes this.

"Most people want to say he was a great civil rights worker, but he was a great preacher," says the Rev. Bob Battle. "A preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ."


HCA HOSPITAL CHAIN: Benefits extended to gay partners

By PAUL HARASIM

At first, the benefits handout to employees from their human resource staffs at Sunrise, MountainView and Southern Hills hospitals in Las Vegas created about as much buzz as patient complaints about hospital food.

It appeared to be the same ol', same ol', the kind of material insomniacs read at night to help them nod out.

But included was a listing for a new eligibility category that HCA, the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain, made available to its nearly 200,000 employees at 190 hospitals across the nation, including its three in Las Vegas.


Saturday, January 15, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/15/05)

Bank of America survey asks workers about sexual orientation
David Lazarus

Bank of America is urging its more than 175,000 employees to fill out an online survey about job satisfaction. Question 64 asks respondents to "indicate which one of the following best describes yourself."

Clicking on the pull-down menu provides four choices:

-- Heterosexual

-- Bisexual

-- Homosexual

-- Transgendered

Human resources professionals say it's highly unusual for a company of BofA's size and stature to seek such information.


Spokane's 'creative class' plans to build a gay district

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

SPOKANE -- Gay activists in this staid Eastern Washington city are planning to create a neighborhood of gay-oriented homes, businesses and nightlife, which religious conservatives complain will be at odds with Spokane's family-oriented culture.

A gay district would signal that Spokane is tolerant and progressive, proponents contend, the type of community that can attract the so-called "creative class" that will build the economy of tomorrow.

"We're talking about an actual physical part of town we would like to establish as a gay district," said Marvin Reguindin, owner of a Spokane graphic design firm, who envisions an area similar to the Castro district of San Francisco or Capitol Hill in Seattle.


Reformed Groups, Pro-Gay Groups Criticize ELCA Sexuality Report

by Pauline J. Chang

Lutherans on all rungs of the theological spectrum criticized the recently released Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Studies on Sexuality for being either misleading or oppressive, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2005.

The long awaited report, released Thursday, essentially called for no change to the church’s standards prohibiting both the ordination of active homosexuals and the blessing of same sex unions, but simultaneously urged bishops to refrain from disciplining those who broke the policies.

According to reformed leaders, the report was a muddled attempt to maintain unity in the 5-million member denomination by appeasing both sides of the debate.


Target put on unwed, gay pairs

By Bill Bertolino, Tribune

About 50 municipal employees in Scottsdale and Tempe would no longer be able to extend health benefits to their domestic partners if activists succeed in their efforts to ban municipalities from offering such public benefits.

Tempe offers domesticpartner benefits to 32 employees, while 19 Scottsdale workers take advantage of the benefits. Neither city would give specifics about the number of those employees who are in same-sex or opposite-sex relationships.

The conservative Center for Arizona Policy, which opposes same-sex marriages, announced Thursday it would seek an amendment to the Arizona Constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. The initiative, targeted for 2006, also would prohibit domestic partners from receiving public benefits, including those offered to unmarried employees in heterosexual relationships.


Schwarzenegger: Go Slow On Gay Marriage
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(San Francisco, California) California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is suggesting a go slow approach to same-sex marriage.

In a meeting Friday with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle Schwarzenegger discussed a range of topics from his budget to education.

The paper reports that when Schwarzenegger was asked whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry the governor said he preferred domestic partnerships.

"I feel most comfortable with the way it is right now,'' the Chronicle reports Schwarzenegger said.


Student Drops Gay T-Shirt Suit

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Webb City, Missouri) A student who filed a lawsuit after he was prohibited from wearing a gay pride-themed T-shirt to class has dropped his suit.

Brad Mathewson filed papers Friday to have the case dismissed.

The suit had claimed that Webb City High School administrators had violated his constitutional rights.


Virginia Court Strikes Down Law Used To Target Gays

by Larry, O'Dell, Associated Press

(Richmond, Virginia) The Virginia Supreme Court on Friday struck down an ancient and rarely enforced state law prohibiting sex between unmarried people.

The unanimous ruling strongly suggests that a separate anti-sodomy law also is unconstitutional, although that statute is not directly affected. The justices based their ruling on a U.S. Supreme Court decision voiding an anti-sodomy law in Texas.

"This case directly affects only the fornication law but makes it absolutely clear how the court would rule were the sodomy law before it," said Kent Willis, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Virginia.


Court Hears Challenge To Georgia Gay Marriage Amendment

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Atlanta, Georgia) The first step began today in what is expected to be a long trek to the Georgia Supreme Court over the legality of last November's vote on amending the state constitution to ban gay marriage.

Gay rights advocates maintain the ballot question was illegal because it contained two issues: one was the issue of same-sex marriage itself, the other a ban on civil unions.

Under the Georgia constitution a ballot measure may only deal with one issue, and only the question of marriage was put to voters.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/14/05)

Lawyer argues for gay-marriage licenses
By WILLIAM KATES

ELMIRA, N.Y. -- An attorney for 25 same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses told a judge Friday that New York's opposition to gay marriage is similar to discrimination against women or minorities.

Mariette Geldenhuys, an attorney for the couples who sued the city of Ithaca in June, told state Judge Robert Mulvey that the state's position contradicts a 2002 New York law outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

"The basis of the opposition (to gay marriage) is that it goes against tradition," Geldenhuys argued. "If tradition carried on, we would still have slavery."


MTV's Gay Channel Held Back to Summer

By Cynthia Littleton

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - MTV Networks has pushed back the launch date of Logo, its nascent gay and lesbian-themed cable/satellite channel, to June from February, in order to secure additional carriage commitments and develop more original programing, executives said Thursday.

The Viacom-owned cable giant initially had projected a launch date of Feb. 17, but the new target is June 30. By then, the channel should launch with an initial subscriber base of at least 10 million cable households. MTV Networks confirmed it has struck carriage agreements for Logo with Time Warner Cable in Manhattan, RCN and Atlantic Broadband, and it is in final negotiations for an agreement with Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable-system operator.

"Until I got deeper into the planning for Logo, I hadn't realized the degree of pent-up demand there is for this channel," said Brian Graden, who was named president of the channel in July. "I want it to come out with a complete and diverse (program) slate, so that every gay and lesbian person can look at it and say, 'Oh, there I am."'


Gay-marriage headed for initiative
by Elvia Díaz

Supporters of a same-sex marriage amendment for Arizona said Thursday that they will skip the Legislature and launch a drive to put the measure on the November 2006 ballot.

The initiative also would prohibit domestic partners from receiving public benefits. Backers will need 183,917 valid signatures to place the amendment on the ballot.

The measure would define marriage as being between one man and one woman. The goal would be to prevent any judge from making same-sex marriages legal. They are banned under current state law.


Evangelists Cite 1st Amendment In Anti-Gay Protest

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Four Christian evangelists each facing up to 47 years in prison for inciting a riot at a gay event in Philadelphia last year will be back in court next week.

Their attorney, Brian Fahling, says they are not guilty and that the city is violating their First Amendment rights in prosecuting them.

Fahling says that Philadelphia "views the Biblical message of sin and repentance as hate speech."


More Gay Men Injecting Meth

by DUNCAN OSBORNE

Some New York City needle exchange programs that swap used syringes for clean ones have reported that they are seeing more gay and bisexual male clients who are injecting crystal meth.

Rafael Ponce, director of health promotion services at the Positive Health Project (PHP), said his group began seeing more gay meth injectors among its new clients in 2004.

“For the past four or five months, it’s been about 15 percent,” Ponce said.


Iowa Supreme Court Hears Lesbian 'Divorce' Case

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Des Moines, Iowa) The Iowa Supreme Court Friday heard a challenge to the granting of a dissolution of a civil union to two lesbians by a lower court judge more than a year ago.

The ruling was appealed to the high court by a group of conservative lawmakers who said the decision violated the state's ban on gay marriage. The group argued that in granting a "divorce", Woodbury County District Judge Jeffrey Neary was acknowledging same-sex marriage.

The dissolution had been granted to Kimberly Brown and Jennifer Perez. The Sioux City women had a civil union in Vermont in 2002 in Bolton, Vt. and then returned to Sioux City to live.


NY Suit Seeks Gay Partner Benefits
by Doug Windsor 365Gay.com New York Bureau

(Rochester, New York) The New York Civil Liberties Union Friday filed a lawsuit in the state Supreme Court on behalf of a Rochester woman seeking health care benefits for her female partner whom she married in Canada.

"Gay and lesbian couples make the same long-term commitments to each other as heterosexual couples," said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU. "This case highlights the fact that same-sex couples are entitled to the same protection under state law."

The NYCLU filed its lawsuit on behalf of Patricia Martinez against her employer, Monroe Community College, as well as Monroe County. According to the lawsuit, the college and the county are violating the state constitutional rights of Martinez and her spouse because they are a lesbian couple.


Dems Tell Bush To Lay Off Gays

by Doreen Brandt 365Gay.com Washington Bureau

(Washington) The Democratic Party launched a petition Friday telling the White House not to push for a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

The DNC in its Pride at the Polls newsletter to more than 100,000 party supporters calls on President Bush to abandon his call for the amendment and to tell House Majority Leader Tom Delay to " stop discriminating against Americans."

DeLay (R-Texas) has made it clear that it's at the top of the Republican legislative agenda, warning, "We will come back and come back until this is passed."


Evangelists Cite 1st Amendment In Anti-Gay Protest

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Four Christian evangelists each facing up to 47 years in prison for inciting a riot at a gay event in Philadelphia last year will be back in court next week.

Their attorney, Brian Fahling, says they are not guilty and that the city is violating their First Amendment rights in prosecuting them.

Fahling says that Philadelphia "views the Biblical message of sin and repentance as hate speech."


Pentagon Sought 'Gay' Bomb
by Paul Johnson 365Gay.com Washington Bureau Chief


Washington) The Pentagon tried to develop a bomb that would turn an opposing army "gay" according to newly declassified documents.

The papers, obtained by the New Scientist and the Sunshine Project - an organization that exposes research into chemical and biological weapons - show that during the Clinton presidency the military attempted to create a series of non-lethal chemical weapons that would disrupt discipline and morale among enemy troops.

One weapon that the Pentagon worked on is described as an "aphrodisiac" that would make enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to each other.


Episcopal Church Dithers On Gays

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Salt Lake City, Utah) Two days of meetings by the bishops of the Episcopal Church aimed at resolving a bitter battle over the role of gays in the church has produced few results.

In a statement released at the end of the House of Bishops conference, held in Salt Lake City, the bishops said that they expressed regret for pain caused by their decision to ordain Gene Robinson, an openly gay man as Bishop of New Hampshire. (story)

The wording was far from that demanded by Church conservatives who called for an all out apology for putting a gay man at the head of a diocese, and did not even mention Robinson, referring to his ordination as "certain actions of our church.".


Study Identifies Predictors Of HIV Drug Resistance

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(New York City) The best method for preventing HIV patients from developing drug resistance is a careful, dedicated adherence to their prescribed drug regimen, according to a long-term, large-scale study presented today in New York City.

Other key predictors of resistance include measures of how much virus was present in a person's bloodstream at the start of therapy and how much their immune status was compromised.

"We have a lot of studies showing that triple therapy works, as well as a lot of good information on the problem of resistance developing in triple antiretroviral therapy," said Richard Harrigan, Ph.D., director of the British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV Research Labs at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver and lead author of the paper. It was released at the American Medical Association Media Briefing, HIV/AIDS, The Drug Resistance Epidemic.


Opposing Gay Marriage Bans Had Little Effect On Incumbents Study Shows

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Washington) A new examination of how incumbents fared at the polls last November shows that lawmakers who opposed amendments to state constitutions banning gay marriage met with little opposition.

The study, prepared by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, shows that voters failed to heed a call from conservative groups to vote against lawmakers who did not support the amendments.

The study examined election results in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, where state legislatures had voted in 2004 on constitutional amendments seeking to ban marriage between same-sex couples, and in some cases, any form of partner recognition such as civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Florida Adoption Ban (1/14/05)

On Monday January 10, 2005 the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) refused to hear an appeal to the Florida ban on gay adoptions. The law was enacted in 1977 at the height of Anita Bryant's anti-homosexual campaign. The law states: "No person eligible to adopt under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual." The law's sponsor, Florida Senator Curtis Peterson stated that the law was enacted to send a clear message to homosexuals that said: "we're really tired of you. We wish you'd go back into the closet."

Those who supported and continue to support this law are contending that a state has the right to promote "traditional families", and those of us who aren't using buzz words are, rightfully, saying the law is excluding potential parents for thousands of children who are trapped within the foster care system. One cannot help but draw the conclusion that the Justices are either cowards, bigots or both.

In refusing to hear this appeal they've placed their stamp of approval on discrimination based on sexual orientation. Even worse, they've simultaneously condemned thousands of children to never know stable and loving parents. Even Mississippi, hardly what anyone would call the bastion of tolerance, allows single homosexuals to adopt children.

However, this does nothing to mention the glaringly obvious hypocrisy of the Florida law. Homosexuals, while not allowed to adopt, are allowed to become Foster Parents. So apparently we're good enough to watch over the children until the state can either find them a home or they become legal adults, all the while operating for all intents and purposes as their parents, but aren't good enough to sign a piece of paper that allows the children to call us legally "Daddy" or "Mommy". God forbid little Johnny from legally having the same two Daddies he's known since he was born because his mother was a drug addict. Or Amanda from having two Mommies she's known since she was 3 because her Father was molesting her. No, no, we can't have good homosexual parents in Florida, at least not legally, because it would look like we are giving them the stamp of approval to continue with their "distasteful and sinful lifestyle."

And really, we must admit that this is what it is all about. The far right fringe of America, or as I call them the "American Taliban", really don't care about the children. They'd rather see them languish in the system from birth to adulthood rather than see them in a stable and loving environment where they are safe and their basic needs are met. It's all about punishing us, the homosexuals, even if it is at the expense of innocent children who are already being placed in our care.

The Justices of the Supreme Court should be impeached. They took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Their fear, which is without a doubt well founded, of being called "Activist Judges" should hold no bearing over anything. They aren't there to be popular, nor are they there to make friends. This issue may be a touchy issue for many, and they surely would have received a wave of heated criticism, but as my mother always told me, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

They have a clearly defined duty, they are supposed to be impartial, placing their personal thoughts and feelings aside, avoiding the prejudism fabricated and created by a extremist sect of the American Public. Part of their job is also to ensure that the Government does not abuse its authority over the people, and to protect those in the minority from the populist inclinations of the legislature which is dictated by the easily manipulated opinions of the general public.

The measure of any civilization is the care and concern for the weak and helpless, and especially the children who are both. The dismissing of this appeal leaves homosexuals vulnerable to the whims of a populist legislature, and denies countless children the divine right to have a loving home where they will be protected and have their basic needs fulfilled.

Despite what the far right and the SCOTUS may think of the homosexual population personally, the children should come first. The far right should no longer be in command of any authority, least of all any that deals with the subject of "morality." Even cannibalistic salamanders, a lower form of life, spare their young; something which, unfortunately, cannot be said for the Justices, who were more than willing to feed them to a sect of rabid wolves. Thus, they've given their stamp of approval to the extremist right wing of America, which will allow them to continue sacrificing innocent young children on their bloody altar of bigotry and hate.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/13/05)

Pentagon Withheld True Number Of Fired Gay Linguists
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(San Francisco, California) Records obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request show that the military misled the public and discharged three times the number of gay Arabic linguists that it had said.

The records were obtained by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, a research unit of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Despite previously saying that under ''don't ask, don't tell'' it had discharged seven translators who specialized in Arabic the new documents show that between 1998 and 2004, the military actually discharged 20 Arabic and six Farsi speakers.


Survey Finds NY's Largest Firms Are More Sexually Diverse

By Daniel Wise of the New York Law Journal

Slightly more than 2 percent of the lawyers at 23 of New York City's largest firms identify themselves as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to a New York County Lawyers' Association survey.

The survey, the first of its kind, also found that the participating firms prohibit discrimination against employees because of their sexual orientation or identity. Those firms also uniformly reported extending family benefits coverage they provide to married couples to same-sex couples registered with the city as domestic partners.

Reviewing the responses received to the 15-question survey, the bar group's report concluded, "It is undeniable that New York's top law firms have made great strides in ensuring that [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] attorneys are welcome, valued and treated equally."


PFLAG Applauds ABC's Nightline
Newswire

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) applauds ABC's Nightline for Jan. 12's piece on Michael Shackelford, a gay teenager in rural Oklahoma. Nightline's thoughtful coverage of the isolation of being young and gay, the viciousness of religious bigotry and the care of a small community represents the kind of multi-faceted, complex coverage of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) issues so deficient in the mainstream media.

"Michael's story of isolation and condemnation in his own faith family is not unique," said Ron Schlittler, acting executive director of PFLAG. "There are many thousands of young people in conservative churches every Sunday who struggle with their same-sex attractions and they are terrified as they grow to recognize that they are different."

"On one hand," Schlittler continues, "they are taught values like honesty and personal integrity, and then they are told they must deny who they are if they hope to be welcomed and loved. Many suffer in silence as the subjects of condemnation from the pulpit, and many others face open hostility and rejection from congregations that have always been like family. We are encouraged by the journey taken by Michael's faith family, and hope they continue to re-think what it means to have valued members who are not heterosexual."


Gay rights row over US golf club

BBC News (World Editition)


A Georgia golf club that is resisting an order to grant spousal benefits to members in same-sex partnerships has sparked a battle over gay rights.

The Atlanta club's defiant stand has angered gay activists and prompted threats of criminal prosecution and fines from city officials.

Now a bill has been submitted to the local legislature which would repeal the city's anti-discrimination law.


22 gay, lesbian groups reset priorities in wake of losses

by Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau

Washington -- Twenty-two gay and lesbian rights groups, smarting in the aftermath of the November election and bracing for President Bush's second inaugural, issued a unity statement Wednesday insisting they are not backing off marriage equality but will simultaneously push for other "common priorities."

These include hate crimes legislation, employment protection, immigration rights for gays and lesbian partners, overturning the ban on gays in the military and continuing battle against constitutional bans on same-sex marriage in states and Congress.

The voting in the fall recorded a sweep of same-sex marriage bans in 11 states and the election of Bush, who supports a federal constitutional ban.


Stone Escapes America for France

by http://www.contactmusic.com/

Director OLIVER STONE is so distraught over the criticism targeted at his last two big screen projects, he's preparing to flee America for France.

The JFK movie-maker sparked controversy by meeting Cuban dictator FIDEL CASTRO for his 2003 documentary COMANDANTE - forcing TV network HBO to axe it from their schedule.

Stone's recent historical epic, ALEXANDER, was also subjected to scathing reviews in the US for portraying Macedonian warrior ALEXANDER THE GREAT as a bisexual.


Kansas Senate Passes Gay Marriage Amendment

by The Associated Press

(Topeka, Kansas) Senators adopted a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution on Thursday that bans same-sex marriage and prevents the state from allowing civil unions or granting other legal recognition to gay relationships.

The measure declares that only couples in a union of one man and one woman would be entitled to benefits normally associated with marriage.

The 28-11 vote sent the measure to the House. Supporters had one vote more than the two-thirds majority necessary for adoption in the 40-member chamber, and they're hoping for a statewide vote April 5.


Arizona Gay Marriage Foes Plan New Tactic

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Phoenix, Arizona) Arizona conservatives saying they don't trust Republicans or Democrats to push through a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage said Thursday they'll mount their own drive.

The Center for Arizona Policy, a coalition of conservative organizations, said it will draft its own version of a proposed amendment and begin collecting signatures to force the question onto the ballot.

"Marriage - the foundation of our society - is too important to politicize," CAP President Len Munsil said in a statement.


Move To Protect Gay Students In Texas
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Austin, Texas) Three Texas Democrats have filed a bill to protect students from discrimination based on such things as race, religion, and sexual orientation.

"Every Texas student has the right to a public education," said State Representative Garnet Coleman. Coleman was joined by Reps. Jessica Farrar, and Rafael Anchia.

"When students are discriminated against in school and the school does nothing about it, we are failing them in a very fundamental way. When we say, 'Leave no child behind,' we do not footnote that statement with, 'unless they are gay, lesbian, or transgender'. The Dignity for All Students Act will help set a tone in Texas that no type of discrimination will be tolerated in this state."


Baylor Sues Gay Student
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Waco, Texas) A Baylor University student who had his scholarship taken away after he came out is now being sued by the school.

James Matthew Bass is accused of sending lewd e-mails to employees and their families.

After his scholarship was withdrawn Bass was forced to quit the Baptist school.


Lutheran Report Calls For Maintaining Gay Ban

by The Associated Press

(Chicago, Illinois) Saying church unity is at least as important as resolving disagreements over sexuality, a panel recommended Thursday that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America officially maintain its position against same-sex blessing ceremonies and ministers involved in gay relationships, but "tolerate" those who believe and act otherwise.

The Lutheran body, with 5 million members, is one of several mainline Protestant denominations torn over the place of gays and lesbians in the clergy and church. The panel's job was to issue recommendations on how to settle the dispute at the church's August assembly, though it's conclusions are sure to be challenged from both the right and the left.

Existing Lutheran policy bars homosexual clergy involved with partners. Just in recent months, bishops expelled a congregation in San Bernardino, Calif., with an actively lesbian associate pastor and censured another in Minneapolis that installed a gay associate pastor.


Louisiana Gov. Backtracks On Gay Order
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Baton Rouge, Louisiana) In the face of opposition from GOP lawmakers Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco is backtracking on what her executive order prohibiting employment discrimination against gay and lesbian state workers exactly means.

Blanco's top lawyer now says that the order, signed the order last month, only covers workers in her office. The order which also extends to any business contracting with the government and requires those companies to have non-discrimination policies covering their lesbian and gay workers, had been touted as applying to any state agency.

Yesterday, two Louisiana Republicans, one a state senator and the other a member of Congress, said the order was illegal.