Thursday, January 13, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/13/05)

Pentagon Withheld True Number Of Fired Gay Linguists
by 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

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


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 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 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 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 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.


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