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Saturday, February 16, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 02/16/02 Information is power!

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NEWS from the Human Rights Campaign

919 18th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
Friday, Feb.15, 2002
Contact:Wayne Besen
Phone: (202) 216-1580
Pager: (800) 386-5997
With HIV Cases Rising, Prevention is now More Important than Ever, Says HRC
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today praised Secretary of State
Colin Powell for his comments last night on MTV expressing his support for
effective, proven prevention methods to fight against the spread of
HIV/AIDS. His remarks came after a Catholic teenager asked Powell about his
thoughts on the Vatican's opposition to condom use.
"I certainly respect the views of the Holy Father and the Catholic
Church," said Powell. "In my own judgment, condoms are a way to prevent
infection, and therefore, I not only support their use, I encourage their
use among people who are sexually active."
"Colin Powell should be applauded for his remarks that echo the
sound advice of most leading medical experts," said HRC Political Director
Winnie Stachelberg. "When used properly, condoms are an effective way of
limiting the spread of HIV and saving lives. We hope others in the Bush
administration follow Powell's bold example and advocate for comprehensive
HIV/AIDS programs, including prevention."
In the United States, between 200,000-400,000 individuals are
thought to be unaware that they are infected with HIV, with an estimated
40,000 Americans getting infected with HIV each year. Last year, there was
an eight percent increase in new AIDS cases and the disease continues to
disproportionately impact communities of color. According to the Centers of
Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of new infections occur among
blacks, though they only represent 13 percent of the U.S. population.
Hispanics who make up 12 percent of the population represent 19 percent of
Around the world, approximately 25 million people have died of AIDS
since the beginning of the epidemic, 5 million were children. Experts
predict that more people will die of AIDS in the next decade than have died
in all of the wars of the 20th century.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay
political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively
lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to
ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

Vandals hit home, car of female impersonator

By: Cindy Swirko, Gainsville Sun
A popular Gainesville female impersonator has filed a
police report after finding homosexual slurs written
with red lipstick on his apartment door and car. The
tires of his car also had been vandalized.
William Moorehead, known as Lady Pearl, said the slurs
are a frightening crime.
"This is a hate crime. Anytime someone threatens a
homosexual's life it becomes a hate crime," he said.
"I thought we were past this in Gainesville. I've been
in this town 12 or 13 years with a show that I've
worked very hard with to bring straights and gays
together. To have someone do this, it's saddening. And
actually, I'm scared."
A Gainesville Police report was made.
Moorehead performs regularly at the University Club as
Lady Pearl.
He has helped raise more than $150,000 for the North
Central Florida AIDS Network, children's toy drives
and other charities. ....Cindy Swirko

National Group Comes To Defense of Homosexual Officer

The News and Observer
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) -- A national organization that fights for the rights of homosexual service members has come to the defense of a Fort Bragg soldier whose superiors refuse to let him resign.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network says that if the Army does not approve Capt. David Donovan's resignation, it is going against its own 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
'It is a contradiction to the policy," said Steve Ralls, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based network. 'Our position is that it is in violation of the regulation."
Donovan's statement that he is bisexual should be enough for his discharge, Ralls said. The Army regulation governing homosexual conduct says that 'credible information exists" for discharge when a soldier says 'that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual."
But the Army says Donovan's case is not that simple. Army spokeswoman Martha Rudd says that soldiers who make admissions of homosexuality may be required to provide proof.
'If there is reason to doubt the credibility of the admission, the request to separate from the service may be denied," she said.
Donovan has made four requests that the Army allow him to resign. But he has been reluctant to provide details of his homosexual conduct for fear of incriminating himself -- homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under military law.
But Donovan said he has provided the military with letters from a licensed psychologist and a close friend supporting his position that he is bisexual.
Fort Bragg officials, including Lt. Gen. Dan. K. McNeill, said Donovan should be discharged under 'other than honorable" conditions and have to repay the Army for his college education.
The Army said Thursday that the denial of Donovan's request was not a reversal of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
'The policy has not changed," Rudd said. 'The Army Review Board Agency did not have sufficient information to support Capt. Donovan's admission. The Board could reconsider the request if sufficient information were provided."
Donovan can retire in three years with a military pension. He has agreed to pay back his college money if the military accepts his resignation. He would also give up his veteran's health benefits.
'Money is not the real issue," Rudd said. 'Individual cases must be decided on the basis of supporting information."
Donovan said the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell" forces soldiers to hide their sexual orientation. He believes soldiers should not be judged on their sexual preference, but on their ethics.
'It seems to me honesty would be a better trait than sexual preference," he said. © Copyright 2001, The News & Observer All material found on is copyrighted The News& Observer and associated news services.

AIDS Gets a Boost from Cocaine Use
by UCLA; Reuters
Cocaine is widely known for the astounding lack of judgment it inspires from those who use it. "Reckless" is a kind term for the behavior of those under its spell; people often engage in unsafe sex and expose themselves to HIV while under its influence, among many other equally un-sound judgment calls.
A new study shows that there is yet another unintended "benefit" of using the drug: in addition to making it likely that the cocaine user will engage in unprotected sex and thus greatly increase their chances of contracting HIV. The drug also seems to provide the perfect "kick-start" for the virus, increasing the potency and speed at which the virus attacks the drug user's system.
Dr. Gayle Baldwin is an AIDS researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles who led a study following the affect of cocaine on HIV infected people. She told Reuters that the use of the drug had a "direct and profound" impact on AIDS.
Cocaine was as thorough as it was devastating. Their study found that mice infected with the human AIDS virus that were injected with cocaine had virus cells that reproduced 200 times faster than those HIV infected mice who did not use the drug.
This is known as the "viral load" and has a direct correlation to how sick the infected person becomes, and how quickly it happens. Remember, cocaine is not usually even injected into the body, unlike IV drug users who give their drugs direct access to their bloodstream.
The drug also annihilated CD4 "T-cells"-those soldiers who attempt to fight off the virus. Cocaine users had 9 times fewer the T-cells than their non-cocaine using peers. Exactly why this is true has not been determined, there are several different ways cocaine might be influencing the body's defenses or cell growth and research continues to determine exactly what methods the virus uses to accomplish this.
Regardless of the exact methods, the outcome is astonishing. The combination of having the virus spread through the bloodstream 200 times faster than normal in a body that is 9 times less equipped to deal with such a predator is a deadly and efficient one-two punch for those affected by it. © 1999-2002

Babs Outs Rosie

NY Post
by Adam Buckman
IT hardly seems necessary for Rosie O'Donnell to state publicly that she's a lesbian now that the gals of "The View" have done it for her.
With speculation growing that Rosie is preparing to jump on the Ellen Degeneres bandwagon and make a big deal out of her homosexuality-possibly in a new memoir due out in April-"The View" ladies took up the subject yesterday, apparently with Rosie's blessing.
As the conversation began, Barbara Walters explained how she talked it over with Rosie on the phone before the show, acting on a suggestion first made by Star Jones.
"We all love Rosie," Barbara said, prefacing the conversation in which Rosie would, for all intents and purposes, be outed. "Rosie is a very special and wonderful, wonderful woman."
She then spoke matter-of-factly about Rosie's sexual orientation-something Rosie herself has never done, either on her own show or anyone else's, although her sexuality isn't exactly the world's best-kept secret.
Speaking on Rosie's behalf, Barbara said Rosie isn't all that worried about the public reacting negatively if she speaks out about her sexuality.
Instead, she's more concerned about the possibility that she will not be able to adopt a foster child now in her care because the state of Florida, where Rosie has a home, prohibits adoptions by gay men and women.
"What concerns Rosie," Barbara said, "is . . . that she has three adopted children and a foster child herself and because she is gay, would not be allowed to adopt this child [in Florida]."
Barbara said it, but it was Joy Behar who put it in perspective when she said, "First Ellen came out. Now Rosie. It's in the mainstream. Pretty soon, Anne Heche will be back!"
And even then, the question will remain: Who cares?
The answer is: Few of us, now that this coming-out business has become old hat.
But that won't stop Rosie from making the most of it to drum up interest in her book (titled "Find Me").
Whether she uses her own show to talk about the book or the revelations it might contain is beside the point. I predict she'll open up in a much more widely watched arena-prime time.
And the frontrunners to interview her will be Katie Couric, to whom Rosie gave an exclusive back in November 2000 when she told Katie on the "Today" show that she was ready to quit her daytime talk show, and Barbara Walters, whose campaign to land that prime-time interview likely began yesterday in a well-timed phone call before "The View." NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc. NYPOST.COM, NYPOSTONLINE.COM, and NEWYORKPOST.COM are trademarks of NYP Holdings, Inc. Copyright 2002 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

Rosie Comes Out Fighting

Secretly Worked For Months To Battle Gay Adoption Ban
by Beth Shapiro Newscenter, in New York (February 16, New York) It's official. Rosie is OUT! And, she's fighting mad. The talk show host and actress has been the subject of rumours about her sexuality for years, with it escalating to a frenzied pitch as the publication date for her autobiography approaches. was the first GLBT publication with the news the popular star would come out in her book.
Now we can tell you she has been working with the ACLU for months to battle Florida's ban on gay and lesbian adoption.
O'Donnell has a home in Florida, and an adopted son.
The ACLU's Lesbian & Gay Rights Project has been battling the Florida law in the courts for three years.
This week it filed a 43-page brief filed Thursday at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta and oral arguments are expected later this year.
On March 14, O'Donnell will appear with one of the gay families the ACLU is representing for an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer.
The interview was taped this week in New York.
In it, O'Donnell and the Florida family talk about their lives, their families and how they are affected by Florida's law.
A spokesperson for Rosie O'Donnell confirmed the interview had taken place.
Matt Coles, the ACLU Director of the Lesbian & Gay Rights Project said: "We are eager for America to see and hear why Florida's law prohibiting adoption by all gay people is discriminatory - and how that bigotry hurts families and children." Coles said, "We have been working with Rosie O'Donnell since last year on the fight against Florida's gay adoption ban.

ACLU Asks Circuit Court to Overturn Florida Ban on Gay Adoption

February 15, 2002, Knight Ridder/Tribune
The American Civil Liberties Union wants a federal appeals court to do what a U.S. District Court Judge in Miami would not: overturn Florida's law that bans gay people from adopting.
The ACLU on Thursday filed an appeal asking the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to reverse a decision issued by U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King of Miami in August. In that decision, King said Florida's Legislature has the power to create laws that determine that youngsters belong with traditional married couples.
The ACLU contends the law violates the right to equal protection of lesbians and gay men who seek to adopt, and of children raised by lesbian and gay caregivers who cannot be adopted by them.
The appeal was filed on behalf of four gay men, who are either a foster parent or legal guardian to children placed in their South Florida homes by the state. The men are suing for the legal rights and security an adoption would give them and the children, who are all either developmentally disabled or HIV positive.
Florida law provides no proof that gays cannot be stable parents, the appeal states. It is based only on "expressing disapproval toward gay people."
"There no question that's what Florida is doing and it's exactly what the Constitution meant to prevent," said Matt Coles, director of the ACLU Lesbian & Gay Rights Project.
Casey Walker, a Vero Beach lawyer who defended the law last year on behalf of the state Department of Children & Families, argued that the law is constitutional because it served two government interests: It expressed the belief that children need to be raised by a married mother and father, and the state's moral disapproval of homosexuality.
Walker could not be reached Thursday night to comment on the appeal.
The adoption ban was passed in 1977, at the height of the anti-gay crusade launched by singer Anita Bryant when Miami-Dade County granted gays and lesbians protection from discrimination. Considered the toughest in the nation, it has survived several challenges in state court.
Gay-rights activists thought they had a good chance of overturning it in federal court. They planned to call witnesses who would testify that these men provide loving, stable homes and are in every way parents to these children. And they planned to introduce as evidence several national studies that found children raised by gay parents had no more risk of social and developmental problems than children raised by heterosexuals.
The activists thought a favorable ruling would send a message nationwide, while other states were considering toughening laws that dealt with gay adoption rights.
But they never got the chance to delve into the issues. King dismissed the case, concluding that the courts do not have a license to "judge the wisdom, fairness or logic of legislative choices."
Now the ACLU hopes that for the first time a federal appeals court will review the issue.
Included in the appeal is the deposition of plaintiff Steve Lofton, a registered nurse who gave up his career 10 years ago to care for several HIV positive children the state placed in his home. In 1998, the agency that placed the children on behalf of DCF created a foster parent of the year award and named it after Lofton and his partner Roger Croteau, the first to receive the honor.
Last June, Lofton received a telephone call from someone at DCF informing him that his foster care is not supposed to be permanent. The state said it planned to take a boy that he wants to adopt from his home. The DCF worker asked whether he knew anyone who wanted to adopt the boy, since Lofton isn't allowed.
The state has refused Lofton's request to postpone any move to take the boy from his home until the lawsuit makes its way through the courts.
"In the state of Florida today, there are 3,400 children in foster care who could be adopted right away if qualified parents came forward," Coles said. "They wait while Florida uses the child welfare system to make a political statement about lesbians and gay men." (c) 2002 South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Survey: Oral sex could be spreading STDs

Randy Dotinga, / Network
Friday, February 15, 2002 / 04:36 PM
SUMMARY: A survey of the sex habits of gay and bisexual men living in the nation's capital suggests that oral sex may be boosting incidents of sexually transmitted diseases.
A large survey of the sex habits of gay and bisexual men living in the nation's capital suggests that having at least six partners per year is common, and that oral sex may be boosting incidents of sexually transmitted diseases.
Nearly one in three reported having sex with more than 10 men in the previous year, while just 18 percent only did it with one man, according to the survey results.
The survey of 3,523 gay and bisexual men in Washington, D.C., also found that the men reported that they protect themselves against HIV in a variety of ways, but just 2 percent always use condoms during oral sex.
Nearly 10 percent of those who took HIV tests reported that they were positive.
Volunteers from the Whitman-Walker Clinic gave the survey questionnaires to men between June and November 2000. They found them at gay bars and dance clubs, supermarkets, farmer's markets and street fairs. The clinic reported the results on Feb. 8.
Fifty percent of the men reported having between two and 10 sex partners within the last year. Only 2 percent said they had no sex partners, while 5 percent -- one in 20 -- reported more than 50.
Two-thirds of the men reported having sex while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol during the past year, with alcohol their most common choice (79 percent), followed by poppers (39 percent), marijuana (30 percent) and Ecstasy (28 percent).
The researchers suggest that oral sex is playing a role in spreading sexually transmitted diseases. Ten percent of those surveyed had been treated for an STD within the past year. While more than 80 percent of those said they always or usually wear a condom during anal sex, very few wear condoms during oral sex. Clinic officials said they will use the study results to find better ways to serve gay and bisexual men.

Mexicans turn out for gay marriage rally / Network
Friday, February 15, 2002 / 04:38 PM
SUMMARY: More than 100 Mexican gay and lesbian couples took wedding-like vows on Thursday as part of a Valentine's Day rally for same-sex couple rights in Mexico City.
More than 100 Mexican gay and lesbian couples took wedding-like vows on Thursday as part of a Valentine's Day rally for same-sex couple rights in Mexico City.
According to Reuters, an unknown number of supporters joined the couples in a downtown location of the city, where they demonstrated in favor of a bill that would recognize the rights of same-sex couples.
The legislation would allow couples to form "unions of cohabitation" that entitle partners to share insurance and inherit property rights. City lawmakers will consider the bill later this year, Reuters reported.
"This is completely natural, and it is not true that in Mexican families there are no gays," said Angel Rodriguez, alluding to Mexico's reputation for being a macho, male-dominated society. Homosexuality is not illegal in Mexico.

Montana police rebut claim they are investigating lesbian couple

Police in Missoula, Mont., are dismissing a radio talk-show host's claim that investigators of a fire set at a lesbian couple's home last week are now focusing on the couple themselves as suspects. John Stokes, owner of KGEZ-AM in Kalispell and host of The Edge talk show, told listeners that his police sources in Missoula say investigators are "now starting to look at the couple as the ones who committed this arson."
Lt. Gregg Willoughby denied Stokes's claims and said Thursday that the investigation has not focused on anyone. He also said Stokes had not been in contact with any official police source in the investigation. "I don't know who his sources are, but they aren't anyone in this department who has knowledge of the case," Willoughby said.
In a telephone interview with the Associated Press, Stokes initially stood by his comments but later said he could have been "misled" by his sources.
Human rights groups condemned Stokes's comments as insulting and outrageous. "That's a man who has no sense of boundaries," said Ken Toole, program director for the Montana Human Rights Network. "I don't know if he's psychotic or what." Christine Kaufmann, a Democratic state representative and codirector of the Human Rights Network, said Stokes's comments amount to gay bashing.
Stokes's allegations were made during the same program on which he offered a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest in the arson case. "In the very same show that he announced the reward he accused [the couple] of burning down their own house," Kaufmann said. "Now he may not call that gay bashing, but it certainly is."
The couple, Carla Grayson and Adrianne Neff, told authorities that they were awakened by a smoke alarm before dawn on February 8 and found the inside of their home in flames. They were able to escape with their young son through a window, but they lost everything. Police said all indications suggest that someone entered the home, spread a flammable liquid, and set the house on fire. Police are treating the case as an attempted triple homicide. But Willoughby added that, as with any investigation, authorities also are looking at other possible motives for the fire, a procedure he said is standard in any investigation. Stokes has frequently butted heads with environmental and human rights groups in comments he's made on his radio show. He has called environmentalists "green Nazis," called the Human Rights Network "nitwits," and once berated a Holocaust survivor for failing to "stay and fight for his country."

Gay liaison resigns in Providence, R.I.

W. Fitzgerald Himmelsbach, the Providence, R.I., liaison to gays and lesbians, has resigned following reports that four Massachusetts men may have contracted syphilis in a gay club he runs. Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. said he recently met with Himmelsbach and expressed concern that the private club reflected poorly on his administration.
"Even though it's legal, which it apparently is, it was not in the best interest of the administration," Cianci said. "He has done a good job, and I commend him. But I didn't think it was right for him to be my liaison and run a club like this." Cianci said that Himmelsbach has submitted his letter of resignation. Himmelsbach declined to comment to The Providence Journal.
Himmelsbach's club, the Megaplex, came under scrutiny from health department officials after four Massachusetts men tested positive for syphilis last fall. Roseanne Pawelec, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Health Department, said her agency received reports from doctors that four men contracted the sexually transmitted disease last summer or fall. "They had a common link," said Pawelec. "All four had admitted to having unprotected sex at the Megaplex." Himmelsbach is the president of the club, which is described as a "men's entertainment facility." Himmelsbach met with health officials from Rhode Island and Massachusetts and agreed to adopt a series of measures to promote safe sex at the club, which has about 15,000 members, according to state health officials. Officials said the 20,000-square-foot Megaplex is believed to be the biggest gay club in New England.

Priest expelled for marrying gay couples

An Italian priest who scandalized the Roman Catholic Church by officiating at the commitment ceremonies of dozens of same-sex couples has been expelled from the diocese and stripped of his priestly duties, church leaders said Thursday. Despite years of warnings, Father Franco Barbero, 63, of the northern Italian city of Pinerolo, married not only divorcees but more than 30 gay couples, forcing the church to take action, the local bishop said. "His moral stance and the celebration of pseudo-marriages among homosexual people are, basically, in serious contrast to the doctrine of the Catholic Church," Bishop Pier Giorgio Debernardi said in a statement quoted by Italian media. The Vatican has in the past strongly attacked moves in Europe and abroad to allow same-sex marriages and to give gay couples the same rights as heterosexual married couples. The church teaches that homosexual tendencies are not sinful but homosexual acts are.

Portland emergency workers get DP benefits

The same-sex partners of police officers and firefighters in Portland, Ore., are now eligible to collect pension benefits if their partner is killed in the line of line of duty, The Oregonian reports. The city council voted unanimously Wednesday to change the city's charter to extend the benefits. The change came about after lesbian police officer Katie Potter raised it with Mayor Vera Katz and gained her support. "My family should be valued as an entity worth protecting as much as any family," Potter told the council. She and her partner, who is also a Portland police officer, have a 2-year-old daughter. "Please tell our daughter that her parents are as deserving as other families in Portland."


Clovis, Calif., school allows gay-straight alliance

The school board in Clovis, Calif., voted 5-2 Wednesday to allow the formation of a gay-straight alliance at Clovis High School, the Fresno Bee reports. The vote came despite threats from parents who said they would pull their children from the school if such a club were allowed to meet there. About 200 people attended the meeting Wednesday night, with about 30 people speaking on both sides of the issue. "These people are the most segregated. They need a place to go where they feel safe," said Mira Minton, a 17-year-old student at Buchanan High School, adding that she hopes to form a gay-straight alliance at her school as well. But Athena Cruz, a 16-year-old sophomore, said after the vote that she plans to leave Clovis High and be home-schooled. "I don't want to be anywhere in their influence," she said.


UK Labour Group Calls For Wider GLBT Rights

by Jon ben Asher Newscenter in London
(February 16, London) Britain's Trade Unions Council, an umbrella organization for the country's labour unions, said Friday that the government must do more to protect the rights of GLBT workers.
The TUC said civil rights must extend beyond the workplace.
The Blair government is currently examining ways of adding GLBT protections in employment law to bring it in line with the rest of the European Union. This must be completed by 2003, under EU requirements.
But, the proposed amendments do not cover laws on pensions, inheritance or next-of-kin rights.
The TUC says any revisions to labour laws have to be all inclusive.
TUC general secretary John Monks said: "This new law gives the Government the opportunity to provide the gay and lesbian community with comprehensive legal protection against discrimination on sexual grounds." "To limit the protection to employment, while allowing discrimination to continue to be legal in the provision of goods and services, would only send a confused signal," Monks said.

Toronto To Host National GLBT Choir Festival

by Jack Siu Newscenter in Toronto
(February 16, Toronto) 20 choruses from Vancouver to Halifax will descend on Toronto this summer for the Canadian GALA Choral Festival.
The festival will be held between June 21 and 24 and will be hosted by the city's four choruses. It will end with the opening of PrideWeek 2000.
Organizers say the festival will be one of the largest gatherings of Lesbian & Gay arts groups ever held in Canada.
They already have commitments from gay and lesbian choirs from across North America and from as far away as Australia and Europe.
As many as 500 singers will remain in the city after the Festival ends to take part in the annual Pride flag raising at Toronto City Hall. The 4 host choruses from Toronto include: Singing OUT!, the Lesbian & Gay Chorus of Toronto; Forte, the Toronto Men's Chorus; Iris, the Toronto Women's Chorus and Rainbow Voices of Toronto.

America's Oldest Jeweller Finds Gay Gold

by Newscenter Staff
(February 16, Boston) Shreve, Crump & Low is the oldest jewellery store in the United States. For generations it was the only place the daughters of Boston Brahmans shopped for bridal gifts.
The tradition laden store across from the Public Garden has changed little over its 205 year history. Until now.
The store where Jackie Kennedy bought a diamond watch, and where Winston Churchill picked up a cigar cutter has discovered the old families are dying off and it needed to find a new market.
Splashy print ads are now making their way to gay publications across new England showing off a $900 to $5,250 line of ''commitment rings.''
The company spent tens of thousands of dollars on focus-groups to determine what the gay community wanted, and what effect a gay targeted campaign would have on its "old customers."
''We are responding to the increasing demand for wedding rings for gay and lesbian couples,'' said Shreve president Richard Wycherley.
Wycherley said the idea to go after the gay market came after he discovered gay and lesbian couples were using Shreve's gift registry. ''We're always looking for ways to better the business. We don't want to be thought of as a stuffy jeweller.''

Transgender Toilets Urged For US Colleges

The United States Students Association is urging the nation's colleges and universities to provide "gender neutral" toilets for transgender students to protect them from harassed and attacked.
Kristy Ringor, spokeswoman for USSA, a Washington, D.C.-based national association of college students said; "we believe access to education should be open to all, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexual identity".
Ringor said that transgender people are often assaulted in toilets. "If a person is not safe [in a toilet on a college campus], that person won't necessarily be able to go to college". Because of those concerns, USSA's National Congress passed a resolution last summer committing the organisation to support "gender neutral" toilets, reports The Washington Times.

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Friday, February 15, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 02/15/02 Information is power!

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ACLU challenges Florida adoption ban

Ann Rostow, / Network
Thursday, February 14, 2002 / 03:43 PM
SUMMARY: Two legal developments this week in Florida and Delaware could have a national impact on policies related to GLBT parents who adopt.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a 43-page brief before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in the case that challenges Florida's ban on gay adoption.
Florida is the only state in the country that prohibits any gay man or woman, single or partnered, from adopting a child. The policy, enacted during the heyday of Anita Bryant in the late 1970s, was attacked in lower court by three gay families, but the judge dismissed the case, ruling among other things that foster parents have no expectation of permanency.
Two out of the three plaintiff families are gay male foster fathers, and the third, Doug Houghton, has raised a 10-year-old boy for six years with the consent of the boy's biological dad.
One of the plaintiff couples, Steven Lofton and his partner, have five children, including one foster son whom the state of Florida is trying to place in adoptive home. The boy is 11 years old, and has spent his life with Lofton and his partner, Roger Croteau. Nonetheless, Florida not only refuses to allow Lofton and Croteau to adopt their son, but the state is actively seeking a new family to take him in.
"Every day," writes Lofton in court papers, "I wake him up in the morning and help him get dressed and ready to go to school; I help him with his homework when he comes home from school; we have a family dinner every night, cooked by Roger. Â. I make sure he is safe. He calls me 'Dad.' ... I love him deeply and want to protect him."
Finally, Wayne Smith and Dan Skahen have cared for a number of foster kids, but, like the others, have not been permitted to become legal fathers.
In its appeal, the ACLU will not have to prove the underlying case against the Florida law. Instead, the lawyers must convince the appellate panel that the case involves constitutional and other issues that cannot be swept aside as a matter of law, but must be resolved in trial.
If successful, the 11th Circuit will send the case back to court for a trial on the actual claim. The state of Florida has 30 days to respond to the ACLU's brief, and oral arguments will follow later this year. The ACLU has pressed this particular case against Florida since 1998.
Co-parent ruling sets Delaware precedent
In a separate family law matter, a Delaware woman has been deemed a legal parent to the biological child of her former partner, in a case which sets legal precedent in the state. Unlike many of these contests between former lesbian partners, the non-biological mother in this instance was not trying to be recognized as a second parent.
Instead, her ex-partner was seeking child support for the 4-year-old boy they both planned for and cared for. Up until the Feb. 5 Family Court ruling, Delaware law did not put a legal burden on the non-biological parent in a broken same-sex relationship.
Karen Chambers, the boy's biological mother, was pleased to make legal history. "Now, he is going to be supported the way he should be," said Chambers. "And she is not going to be able to bring babies into the world and not have any responsibility for them."

California AIDS cases hit 15-year low / Network
Thursday, February 14, 2002 / 03:45 PM
SUMMARY: The number of reported AIDS cases in California fell to a 15-year low in 2001, but health officials aren't exactly rejoicing, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
The number of reported AIDS cases in California fell to a 15-year low in 2001, but health officials aren't exactly rejoicing, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
Data released by the state's Department of Health Services showed 4,227 new cases of AIDS reported in 2001, down 11.2 percent from 2000.
Officials credit the decrease to the success of protease inhibitors and other drugs, which have been able to keep many HIV-positive people from developing full-blown AIDS for 10 years or more.
Recent studies have shown, however, that HIV infections rates are on the rise in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, especially among young, gay and bisexual men of color. HIV infections jumped to 1,122 last year from 499 in 1997 in San Francisco, for example, with more than 800 of those cases involving men who had sex with men.
"It's a very tricky balance to maintain," Gunther Freehill of the Los Angeles County Office of AIDS Programs and Policy told the Times. "You want people to know that there's hope, yet you don't want them to take risk. It's really much better not to get HIV in the first place."
California's AIDS decline is unique, the Times reported, largely because of demographics. HIV/AIDS is more prevalent in the gay and bisexual male population of the state, and a high percentage of men in this group seek testing earlier and have good access to health care. These factors delay the overall cases of AIDS, state public health officials said. Many other states, by contrast, have a higher percentage of cases among minority women and injection drug users, many of whom may not seek treatment or have access to it.

Smith to hear opening testimony in dog-mauling case

A judge ruled Wednesday that the partner of dog-mauling victim Diane Whipple will be allowed to hear opening statements in the trial of a San Francisco couple facing charges in the death, even though she will be a witness. A defense objection to the presence of Sharon Smith in court for next week's opening statements was overruled by superior court judge James L. Warren.
Attorneys Marjorie Knoller, 46, and her husband, Robert Noel, 60, have been charged in the death of Whipple, 33, who was mauled January 26, 2001, when she encountered Knoller walking two huge dogs in a hallway of their San Francisco apartment building. The trial was moved to Los Angeles because of extensive publicity.
Warren made his ruling after prosecutor Jim Hammer said that Smith and Whipple had lived together in a loving relationship for seven years and that Smith wanted to be present. Defense attorneys Nedra Ruiz and Bruce Hotchkiss were against the idea. An emotional Ruiz said the objection was based on the fact that Smith will be giving "material evidence" and "not because she is a gay woman." The lengthy jury selection process will conclude Friday, when the final panel is chosen. Knoller is accused of second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and having a mischievous animal that killed a human being. Noel faces just the latter two charges.

Montana governor denounces arson attack

Montana governor Judy Martz has denounced the arson attack on a Missoula lesbian couple last Friday as an act of prejudice and violence that "should not be tolerated.... Any act that displays such hate and disrespect for private property and human life is wrong," she said in a written statement. "These crimes are covered under state law, and I have faith in our state's law enforcement professionals to find those responsible."
Someone broke into the home of Carla Grayson and Adrianne Neff early last Friday morning, spread a flammable material throughout the house, and set the house on fire, police said. Grayson, Neff, and their 22-month-old son escaped through a window, but the fire gutted the interior of the home. The attack came four days after they and another lesbian couple filed a publicized lawsuit against the state university system, claiming illegal discrimination because the system doesn't provide health insurance for same-sex partners. Martz declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit, saying it's a "question between the board of regents and the individuals involved." The Republican governor also said she does not plan to propose changes to the state Human Rights Act that would forbid discrimination against Montanans because of their sexual orientation. "If the legislature chooses to pass a proposal doing so, we will review the bill based on its merits," she said.

Finnish clergy won't bless legal unions

Months after Finnish lawmakers legalized same-sex partnerships, bishops of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church have decided not to bless gay unions in church. At an Episcopal conference on Wednesday, Archbishop Jukka Paarma said priests can visit and pray with gay couples in their homes but cannot offer a blessing. "We should avoid any kind of action that could be interpreted in such a way that the church, or a representative of the church, is blessing such a relationship," Paarma said. Paarma also said that the Lutheran Church, to which 85% of the country's 5 million citizens belong, will not publish an official stand on gay partnerships. The Finnish Lesbian and Gay Association criticized the outcome of the Episcopal conference. "The fact that they could not take a stand on gays just goes to show that there are differing views within the church," association chairwoman Tiia Aarnipuu said.

Funding Gay AIDS Prevention A Waste, Watchdog Group Says

by Paul Johnson International News Editor in Washington
(February 15, Washington) Citizens Against Government Waste, the largest group that watches government spending in the US, says federal money to AIDS groups, especially those targeting gay men is wasted.
In a report released Thursday, the non-partisan, non-profit organization called on Washington to order a complete audit of the $13 billion in federal money currently allotted for AIDS-related programs.
The report, titled "AIDS Programs: An Epidemic of Waste" lists programmes it says illustrate how government money is wasted on preventing AIDS in gay men.
Among the list were a $20,000 grant to the Vermont Department of Public Health from the Twin State Women's Network (TSWN) to be used for a weekend retreat. Topics for the weekend included "Toys 4 Us" and "Self Loving/Self Healing: Discussing the Role of Masturbation as a Tool for Healing."
It condemned Stop AIDS Project of San Francisco, which received nearly $700,000 from the CDC in fiscal 2001, for sponsoring "GUYWATCH: Blow by Blow." The report cites an advertisement for the seminar which reads, in part: "What tricks do you want to share to make your man tremble with delight?"
The report also attacked AID Atlanta, Inc., which received more than $3.5 million from the government in fiscal 2000 and only $1.2 million in private contributions. It attacked the organization for sponsoring "Deeper Love: A Workshop for Gay and Bisexual Men of African Descent" that addresses such subjects as dating, relationships, and erotica.
While some items in the report may give legitimate cause for concern (calls to phone sex lines and trips to Disney World by some workers in programmes) most of the several dozen items detailed in the report what educators in AIDS prevention call front line programmes specifically targeting gay men.
"It is unfortunate that this report singles out prevention programs targeted to gay and bisexual men," said Human Rights Campaign Political Director Winnie Stachelberg.
"Gay and bisexual men still account for half of new AIDS cases, so it is clear that prevention programs are more important than ever."
"The Human Rights Campaign strongly condemns any abuse or misuse of funding, particularly when these life saving funds are already scarce," said Stachelberg.
"We should not, however, let a divisive report distract us from the overwhelming need to provide a comprehensive response to HIV and AIDS that includes prevention, care, treatment, research and prevention."
In the United States, between 200,000-400,000 individuals are thought to be unaware that they are infected with HIV, with an estimated 40,000 Americans getting infected with HIV each year.
Last year, there was an eight percent increase in new AIDS cases and the disease continues to disproportionately impact communities of colour. According to the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of new infections occur among blacks, though they only represent 13 percent of the U.S. population. Hispanics who make up 12 percent of the population represent 19 percent of infections."

Princess Remembered For AIDS Work

by Jon ben Asher Newscenter in London
(February 15, London) A private funeral will be held today for Princess Margaret at Windsor Castle. The royal casket was brought to Windsor Thursday from her home in London.
Princess Margaret's work with the AIDS has been praised by the Lighthouse and Terrence Higgins Trust.
The Princess was the patron of the AIDS charity.
She became involved with London Lighthouse in 1987, opened the centre in 1988 and took a continuing interest in its progress, visiting a number of times and sending messages of encouragement to staff over the years.
When the charity merged with the Terrence Higgins Trust in October 2000, she agreed to become its patron.
Princess Margaret died Saturday following a stroke. She was 71, and had been in ill health for several years.
David Wakefield the Chairman of the trust said: "As a public figure, she showed her support for a cause which is still unpopular today and did much to change public attitudes towards HIV and Aids.
"Our sympathies today are with her children, the Royal family and her many friends.
"In some ways we were absolutely delighted and not a little surprised she agreed to become involved when in many sectors in society it was an epidemic people just did not want to know about.
"So to say we have Princess Margaret as our patron was a considerable door-opener.
"It stamped the royal seal of approval on what we were doing and took some of the stigma away from this awful disease. "It gave the staff such an enormous boost that she was interested, informed, and made us aware she knew what we were doing and encouraged us."

Bush "Agrees With Boy Scout Ban"

Doreen Brandt Newscenter in Washington
(February 15, Washington) For the first time the White House has publicly stated that President Bush agrees with the Supreme Court decision that allows the Boy Scouts of America to bar gays.
Following a meeting with BSA leaders this week in the Oval Office, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said: "The president views this, as the courts have held, which is that it's a private organization."
Bush defended the scouts during the presidential campaign, but this is the first statement on the subject since he became president.
The president's meeting with scouting leaders is an annual tradition dating back to President Regan.
The Boy Scouts of America got a federal charter in 1916 as a " patriotic, charitable and education organization."
While it confers no specific benefits, receiving a federal charter is a mark of prestige and national recognition.
A rider to last year's Education Bill signed by Bush would deny federal money to school which deny access to its facilities to scout troops. The rider, written by Sen Jesse Helms was aimed at municipalities which have civil rights protections for gays and lesbians.

Priest Fired Over Gay Weddings

by Peter Moore Newscenter in London
(February 15, Rome) A 63 year old priest in northern Italy has been fired after ignoring warnings not to perform Acts Of Union for gays and lesbians.
Father Franco Barbero was expelled from his diocese and stripped of his priestly duties Thursday.
Over the past several years Fr Barbero performed ceremonies for more than 30 gay and lesbian couples in his church in the city of Pinerolo .
A statement Thursday from Bishop Pier Giorgio Debernardi said Barbero's "moral stance and the celebration of pseudo-marriages among homosexual people are, basically, in serious contrast to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.
"Franco no longer in communion with the church and the ecclesiastic community...he will no longer exercise any recognised pastoral ministry."
The Vatican has in the past strongly attacked moves in Europe and abroad to allow homosexual marriages and to give gay couples the same rights as heterosexual married couples. Last week, the first Spanish priest in modern times to come out was also defrocked.

University Rallies For Arson Victims

by Newscenter Staff
(February 15, Missoula, Montana) More than a thousand University of Montana students have showed their support for professor Carla Grayson and her partner, Adrianne Neff.
The couple's home was burned to the ground in an arson attack police are calling a hate crime.
The fire was started shortly after Grayson and Neff joined a suit against the state university system for not granting partner benefits.
Police say the fire was attempted homicide on the women and their infant son.
UM President George Dennison organized the event as a forum for student to speak against homophobia.
Student Council President Peterson said the fire might never have happened if the university had provided benefits for same-sex couples.
Peterson urged people to send postcards to the Board of Regents called for action on the benefits.
He also called on people to send donations to a relief fund for Grayson and Neff, who are paying for security guards.
Peterson asked people to join him in wearing the pink triangle of support for gays and lesbians.
Missoula mayor Mike Kadas immediately pinned on his jacket.
Kadas told the rally the attack was fundamentally against the values of the city.
"It is not acceptable to burn someone out of their house because of what they believe or who they love," Kadas said. "That's just fundamental."
In Billings, Gov. Judy Martz denounced the arson attack as an act of prejudice and violence that "should not be tolerated."
So far there have been no arrests in the attack. Last weekend residents of Missoula packed a church to show their support for the women.

Cocaine Speeds Up HIV, Says Study

Experts have long known that cocaine makes people behave in a wreckless fashion, including unsafe sex, but they've also found it can kick-start the HIV virus, according to a study.
Tests on mice showed that cocaine speeds up the spread of the HIV virus in the body, killing off more immune cells and reproducing 200 times faster than usual.
"Cocaine not only influences risky behaviours, it also has a direct and profound effect on the AIDS virus," Dr. Gayle Baldwin, an AIDS researcher at the University of California Los Angeles who led the study, said in a statement.
"The cocaine increased HIV's efficiency so dramatically that it nearly wiped out the CD4 T-cells. We found nine times fewer CD4 T-cells in the cocaine-treated mice than in the animals that received the placebo," Baldwin told Reuters.
"This means that the cocaine produced a spectacular double outcome," she added. "Not only did the drug double the number of HIV-infected cells, it produced a nine-fold plunge in the number of T-cells that fight off the virus."
"This is important, because cocaine use--specifically crack cocaine--is a significant public health problem, and it's particularly significant in populations at risk for contracting HIV," said researcher Dr. Gayle Baldwin, of the University of California, Los Angeles. Baldwin and her team published their findings in the March issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Toronto lesbian author Elizabeth Ruth nominated by Writers' Trust of Canada

February 13, 2002, PrideVision TV
The Writers' Trust of Canada announced today finalists for literary awards encompassing Canadian fiction, non-fiction, poetry and biography. Totaling over $80,000, seven of the Trust's national awards will be announced on March 5 at the inaugural Great Literary Awards 2002---resulting in one of the richest awards nights in Canada.
"This year's finalists truly capture the Canadian spirit - they represent every literary genre as well as every corner of the country," said John MacFarlane, Chair of the Writers' Trust. "We imagine Canada as the best country in the world in which to be a writer, and these prizes provide essential encouragement for such creativity to flourish."
Finalists, publishers, members of the literary community and Trust supporters will gather for the Great Literary Awards at the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto where winners for the following will be announced:
Sponsored by Rogers
Alice Munro for Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage A Douglas Gibson Book published by McClelland & Stewart Ltd.
Elizabeth Ruth for Ten Good Seconds of Silence published by The Dundurn Group
Margaret Sweatman for When Alice Lay Down with Peter published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada
Timothy Taylor for Stanley Park published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada
Thomas Wharton for Salamander published by McClelland & Stewart Ltd. The Writers' Trust of Canada is a unique national charitable organization providing a level of support to writers unmatched by any other non-governmental organization or foundation. Through its various programmes and awards, it celebrates the talents and achievements of our country's novelists, poets, biographers and non-fiction writers. The Writers' Trust of Canada is committed to exploring and introducing to future generations the traditions that will enrich our common literary heritage and strengthen Canada's cultural foundations. For more information on the Writers' Trust of Canada, please visit .

Singing OUT! Conductor wins prestigious music prize

February 14, 2002, PrideVision TV
Dominic Gregorio (24), Artistic Director of Singing OUT!, the lesbian & gay chorus of Toronto has just won first prize at the Westminster Choir College, Graduate Competition.
Mr. Gregorio was the only Canadian competing in this competition. He was competing against 14 other graduate student competitors from all over the United States.
This prestigious prize includes a $6000.00 scholarship to Westminster Choir College in Princeton.
Sadly Mr. Gregorio will end his 2 year term with Singing OUT! at the end of June 2002 in order to complete his masters program at Princeton. Prior to this, Mr. Gregorio will produce Singing OUT!'s first studio CD, conduct our 10th anniversary concert on June 1st and conduct Singing OUT!'s entry into the Canadian GALA choral festival in Toronto, June 21-24, 2002.
More about Dominic Gregorio:
Dominic Gregorio is an aspiring young singer, voice coach, artistic
director and conductor born and raised in Guelph. For more information on Singing OUT!, go to

Poland: Left-wing Deputies Prepare Cohabitation Bill

February 14, 2002, BBC Monitoring European - Political
Excerpt from report by Polish radio on 14 February
[Presenter] The parliamentary floor group of the [ruling] Democratic Left Alliance [SLD] has prepared a bill to give legal recognition to any kind of cohabiting partnerships, including homosexual one.
[SLD] Deputy Joanna Sosnowska said that the head of the parliamentary group, Jerzy Jaskiernia, wanted the bill to be debated after the EU referendum which is to take place next year. Joanna Sosnowska said that the bill was based on French regulations...
The opposition finds legal recognition of homosexual partnerships unacceptable . Deputy Sosnowska argued that we must adjust our law to EU standards, where discrimination against sexual orientation is banned.
Lech Kaczynski, leader of the [opposition right-wing] Law and Order [party] has a different view.
[Kaczynski] As far as homosexual cohabitation is concerned, I can only say that this is laughable. I have no intention to persecute homosexuals, some people happen to be like that, but, giving them legal rights is a road which leads to undermine our civilization.
[Presenter] Roman Giertych of the [extreme right-wing] League of the Polish Families emphasized that the constitution protected family. Zyta Gilowska, deputy of the Civic Platform, also thinks that legal regulations provided for marriages should not include homosexual marriages...
[Presenter] According to the bill, registration of cohabitation would take place at a registry office through a joint statement of both parties. However, in order to dissolve a contract only one side's will would be required, who only had to notify the other side of his intention three months in advance. (C) 2002 BBC Monitoring European - Political. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

Portia de Rossi to Wed Later This Year

February 14, 2002, World Entertainment News Network
The confusion has finally been cleared up over PORTIA DE ROSSI's reported marriage to her lesbian lover FRANCESCA GREGORINI.
Earlier this month (05FEB02) British tabloid THE DAILY STAR claimed the ALLY McBEAL blonde had tied the knot with her longtime girlfriend, who's the daughter of BOND GIRL BARBARA BACH and step-daughter of former BEATLE RINGO STARR.
But is has now emerged that the pair only became engaged - and plan to wed later this year (02).
A source explains, "The two celebrated their engagement and Portia's birthday at Portia's home in LA on 1 February (02) with a handful of close friends."
The source adds that at the party, Gregorini and De Rossi discussed their plans to have a wedding ceremony later this year - even though California doesn't recognise same-sex marriages. (c) 2002 World Entertainment News Network

Killer Admits Another Gay Murder

A convicted murderer on Texas' death row has confessed to killing more people, including one victim who was shot "because he was a homosexual".
Angel Maturino Resendiz, also known as the Railroad Killer, told a local news reporter that he had killed three more victims in addition to the 25 murders to which he is already connected.
Resendiz said he committed the crimes when he lived in San Antonio between 1985 and 1986.
He said one of his victims was a Cuban man who practised the Santeria religion. Resendiz remarked: "He was bragging about how he could come back. Especially in three pieces. I don`t think he could come back."
Resendiz said he killed his second victim at an abandoned house near a nightclub. He continued: "I just shot him. He was a homosexual. He was gonna have sex with somebody there and I just shot him."
Authorities have not found any evidence to substantiate Resendiz' claims, although his third confession has reopened another investigation.
A badly decomposed woman's corpse was found in 1986. The victim was never identified but Resendiz said that she used to accompany him on target practise sessions. He said that she threatened to cast a spell on him, adding: "When she was there she started mentioning something about Santeria and that`s what really got me really pissed off."
Resendiz said that he feels no guilt or remorse for the three murders. He added that he would be taking other secrets to his grave. © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.

Thieves Target Barrymore Wife

The ex-wife of gay television star Michael Barrymore has been targeted by thieves, who stole £150,000 of jewellery from her home.
The jewellery is thought to have been stolen during building work at Cheryl Barrymore's mansion. Police believe the thieves may have posed as labourers.
Items stolen included the couple's £100,000 diamond engagement ring.
A friend told The Mirror: "Cheryl is completely devastated by the theft of the ring. Even though she was divorced from Michael she loved it and wore it every day. Michael is very upset as well. It vanished from a bedroom and the earrings were also taken. Anyone could have walked in off the street and taken it."
A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that the theft was being investigated.
Cheryl and Michael Barrymore's 21 year relationship ended four years ago when the star came out as gay. The pair reconciled briefly before ending their partnership for good.
Cheryl acted as her husband's manager during his early career. She received a £5 million settlement when their divorce was finalised. The couple remain close friends and business associates. © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.

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Gay men spark mile-high scare

Flight attendants on board an American Airlines flight from London to New York City on Friday confused two men who were engaging in sex in the rest room with potential terrorists, airline officials announced Tuesday. The flight attendants complained to the captain that two men were making several trips to the rest room together, and the captain requested that New York authorities meet the men at the gate at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, an airline spokesperson told the New York Daily News. Air Force officials apparently overheard the captain's discussion with authorities in New York and decided to send two F-16 jets to escort the plane across the Atlantic Ocean. "The captain requested that that not happen because he didn't believe the situation was that serious, but it happened anyway," the spokesperson said. The two London men, whose names were not released, had no idea they had attracted any attention until they were met by authorities in New York. At that point they admitted to smoking crack cocaine in the rest room and engaging in sex. They were then denied entry into the United States and put back on a plane bound for London.

Arrest order against Mabon lifted

An order for the arrest of Oregon antigay crusader Lon Mabon has been withdrawn because of a technical glitch. Mabon and his wife, Bonnie, were supposed to be in court last Thursday at 8:45 a.m. for a case involving gay rights activist Catherine Stauffer. But the notice they received put the time at 11 a.m. Another hearing is set for February 20. Stauffer had gone to court to force the Oregon Citizens Alliance to pay its share of a 1992 $30,000 court-ordered judgment against two of its operations, the nonprofit education foundation and the political committee created to support a 1992 antigay initiative. She was awarded the money after being roughed up by an alliance official at an antigay event. Mabon says the foundation and the political committee have no money to pay Stauffer. He said last week that he had not intended to appear at the original hearing. "I can't receive justice in Multnomah County circuit court," Mabon said. "I'm holding out for due process." Mabon says he is still deciding whether to attend next week's hearing. He said the judge who ordered his arrest is not a valid judge because his oath of office does not match the wording in the Oregon constitution.

Sundance Channel screens Aimée & Jaguar and Maurice for Valentine's Day

In celebration of Valentine's Day, cable's Sundance Channel will be running a marathon of romantic films, including two titles of interest to GLBT viewers. The lesbian romance Aimée & Jaguar, based on the true love story between a Jewish resistance fighter and the wife of a Nazi officer, and the lush E.M. Forster adaptation Maurice will both screen on Thursday, February 14. For showtimes, visit .


Marine Corps Toon Homophobic

by Paul Johnson International News Editor in Washington
(February 14, Washington) Gay servicemen and women are demanding an apology from the Marine Corps after it published an anti-gay editorial cartoon in the Marine Corps Times.
The cartoon, by Phillip Thompson, appears on the editorial page of the February 11 issue of the Corps' official publication.
Titled "In the Trenches", the cartoon refers to an Associated Press photo taken aboard the USS Enterprise last year, which had the phrase "Highjack This Fags" scrawled across a United States bomb onboard the aircraft carrier.
Following the incident, the Servicemembers Legal Defence Network called on Navy leaders to hold accountable service members who were involved in writing the epithet. In response, Rear Admiral S.R. Pietropaoli issued a statement calling the graffiti "inappropriate." Rear Admiral Pietropaoli pledged the Navy's commitment to ensuring that such statements were not used in the future.
Thompson's cartoon, which depicts a service member writing on a bomb, includes a caption saying:
Dear [Censored],
We can't write "inappropriate" notes on
Bombs anymore, but we're still
Going to kick your [Censored], you
[Censor]ing [Censored]
Love, U.S.M.C.
The SLDN Wednesday said the cartoon "clearly implies that the artist considers anti-gay [slurs] acceptable in the armed forces."
"Our men and women in uniform deserve better than the second class treatment this cartoon advocates," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of SLDN.
"The message behind this cartoon - that anti-gay sentiment is acceptable in our military, contradicts Pentagon policy," Osburn said. "Mr. Thompson would, we hope, never suggest that a racial epithet or disparaging remark against religious groups is acceptable." There has been no response from the Marine Corps or Marine Corps Times editors.

No GLBT Student Centre For Georgetown U

Doreen Brandt Newscenter in Washington
(February 14, Washington) One of America's most prestigious universities has rejected a GLBT students centre.
The Vice President for Student Affairs at Georgetown University said the centre would violate the teachings of the Catholic Church.
In a two-page letter Juan Gonzalez said: "We cannot create or support a centre whose mission would unavoidably lead to advocacy of sexual behaviour outside the context of traditional marriage."
The decision came as a blow to students who had lobbied for the centre.
Gonzalez said the centre inevitably would find itself promoting untraditional sexual practices, which would challenge the church's teaching. Gonzalez told the students, though, that the university would be "respectful, accepting, embracing and loving of individuals, not wanting in any way to discourage them or discriminate against them."

Only Lawyers Win In Battle Over Partner Rights

by Peter Hacker Newscenter in Sydney
(February 14, Sydney, AU) When 44 year old Stephen Chuck died from a heart attack on March 15, 2000 his estate was worth $154,000.
But, by the time his partner and family were finished battling over the money, the lawyers had eaten up $112,00 of it.
When Chuck died his will left his estate to his parents. Tim Devonshire, 23, Chuck's partner, sued under an Australian law which grants partner rights in estates.
In Court, the parents denied their son was gay. Devonshire not only had to prove Chuck was indeed gay, but that he was his partner.
A special court master said that after legal bills the estate was worth only $32,000. The family got $22,000 and Devonshire was left with $10,000.
Outside court, lawyers for Mr Devonshire said Chuck's family had spent $75,000 on trying to prove their son had not been in a homosexual relationship.
Devonshire's legal team clocked up $50,000 in legal fees countering those claims. But, the fight does not end there. Devonshire has yet to find out where the ashes of his late partner were interred.

Delaware Court Affirms Co-Parent Rights

by Newscenter Staff
(February 14, Wilmington, Del) A court ruling on co-parenting could set a legal precedent. If the ruling is upheld on appeal it would recognize co or joint parenting and legalize the rights and obligations of both partners in child custody cases involving gay and lesbian couples.
The case involved a lesbian being sued by her former partner for child support. A family court commissioner ruled she should be considered a parent even though she and the boy have no biological connection
Commissioner John Carrow said both women should be considered mothers to the 4-year-old boy they chose to have through in-vitro fertilization,
The women are identified only by their first names under a court order.
Karen, the biological mother, said she was relieved by the ruling.
"Now, he is going to be supported the way he should be, and she [her ex partner] is not going to be able to bring babies into the world and not have any responsibility for them," said Karen, who sued her ex-partner, Carol, for $550 a month in child support in 2000.
Carol's attorney, Felice Glennon Kerr, said Carrow went too far in interpreting state law.
Kerr had argued that because the women's relationship was not legally recognized as a marriage in Delaware, the state should not force her to help support the boy. Commissioner Carrow has ordered both women to attend a child support hearing later this year.

Battle For Dade Focuses On State Attorney

by Fidel Ortega Newscenter in Miami
(February 14, Miami) A group fighting for the repeal of Miami-Dade's gay rights law has turned its sights on state attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
Gay rights organization SAVE Dade is pushing Rundle to investigate alleged irregularities in the gathering of the signatures required to put the recall on this fall's ballot.
SAVE Dade alleges that the petitions collected by Take Back Miami-Dade contained duplicate signatures, signatures that may have been forged and pages that were not properly notarized.
In December, shortly after the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections certified the petitions, the State Attorney's Office subpoenaed coalition members and people who signed the petitions.
Take Back Dade, the Christian fundamentalist group pressing to have the civil rights protections overturned, accuses Rundle of trying to use her powers to derail the referendum by intimidating those who signed the petition. Take Back Dade says it will go to court, if necessary, to block her investigation.

Rabbis in the Middle On Homosexual Issues

February 13, 2002,
Three hundred and fifty rabbis from the Conservative branch of Judaism are in Washington for a convention this week, and a bunch of them have slipped off to the movie.
Not the movies. The movie: "Trembling Before G-d," a documentary about gay male and lesbian Orthodox Jews that has caused a furor in the Orthodox community in the United States but ultimately may have more impact on the much larger Conservative movement.
The rabbinical word of mouth is very good.
"Poignant," says Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
"Very touching," says Rabbi Kassel Abelson, chairman of the Conservative movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards.
"Very powerful," says Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, rector of the University of Judaism in Bel Air, Calif.
They should know, because all three are major players in the long-running debate within the Conservative movement over whether to ordain gay men and lesbians as rabbis and perform commitment ceremonies for gay couples.
Homosexuality is not a hot issue for the other main branches of American Judaism, the Orthodox and Reform.
At theaters in Baltimore and some other U.S. cities, Orthodox protesters have denounced "Trembling Before G-d," along with homosexuality in general, as an abomination. Orthodox rabbis, with very few exceptions, are not bending on this question. The Book of Leviticus forbids homosexuality, and that's the end of the matter.
The Reform movement, on the other hand, already ordains gay men and lesbians as rabbis. Many Reform rabbis also perform commitment ceremonies.
That leaves the Conservative movement to struggle -- alone among Jewish groups, though in plenty of company with Methodists and other Protestant denominations -- with its orientation toward sexual orientation.
Leaflets advertising "Trembling Before G-d" are piled on the registration desk for the convention, held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Conservative movement. Founded in 1902 by Solomon Schechter, a Romanian-born Jewish scholar, the movement claims 44 percent of all American Jews who belong to synagogues. Reform congregations account for 46 percent and Orthodox for fewer than 10 percent.
Gay issues are not on the convention's agenda. But most evenings this week, Conservative rabbis wearing knitted yarmulkes in a blaze of colors -- red, white and blue now vies for popularity with the Israeli flag's light blue and white -- stroll or taxi from the Marriott down Connecticut Avenue to Visions Cinema to see "Trembling Before G-d."
The documentary, which filmmaker Sandi Simcha DuBowski took six years to put together, is an emotional portrait of Orthodox Jews who have been shunned by their families and religious communities because they are gay.
The Conservative rabbis are quick to point out that this is not the problem their movement faces. More than a decade ago, they adopted a resolution welcoming gays into Conservative synagogues, abhorring violence against homosexuals and supporting their full civil equality.
"Within our movement, there is no excommunication of gays and lesbians. They are accepted as individuals," Abelson says. "The question is, do we ordain them as rabbis, and do we sanctify this type of relationship?"
What "Trembling Before G-d" contributes to this debate is heartfelt testimony that there are Jews who are both traditionally observant and homosexual, and who cannot give up either their Judaism or their sexual orientation, even though some try.
Why can't such a person be a rabbi?
In a hallway outside a ballroom where other rabbis are discussing "the synagogue of the future," Schorsch, the seminary chancellor, looks pained -- and gives two answers.
"One is practical: There is no doubt that such a step would fracture the movement, and in a very severe way. If you want to see the end of the Conservative movement, that's the step to take now," he says.
The other reason, Schorsch says, is "theoretical." It would require a major break from Halakha, or Jewish law, as understood for many centuries.
"For me, personally, it raises the question of whether you can be politically liberal and religiously conservative," he says. "You will find many Conservative Jews supporting domestic partnership and gay rights, but the movement is different."
Schorsch acknowledges that the majority of students at his seminary favor ordination of homosexuals. "They come from American universities and they reflect those values -- multiculturalism and no discrimination, a reluctance to make distinctions," he says.
Dorff, the California rabbi, is one of the prime movers for change. As a young rabbi in 1973, he first counseled a gay man who was also an observant Jew.
"We talked for three hours, and he gave me an education about what it is like [to be gay and religious], and for the first time, maybe the only time, in my life, I was suddenly ashamed of my tradition," Dorff says.
Dorff and a few other Conservative rabbis have tried to find a way to reconcile homosexuality and the Bible. In 1989, Rabbi Bradley Artson of Los Angeles wrote a rabbinical opinion arguing that loving, monogamous homosexual relationships did not exist until the 19th century.
In biblical times, Artson wrote, homosexual relationships were of three types -- cultic, oppressive or licentious -- and that is why Leviticus condemned them. Today, he said, Judaism should judge homosexual relationships just as it does heterosexual relationships, and approve those that are loving and monogamous.
The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards debated that opinion, and several opposing ones, for two years in a series of meetings that Dorff calls "the most gut-wrenching discussions I've ever had."
Ultimately, the committee of 25 rabbis rejected Artson's argument but approved four other opinions, including one by Dorff, who argued that sexual orientation is not a matter of choice for most gays. "I said the God I believe in is not so cruel as to create people who can never have legitimate sex in their lives," he recalls.
In a consensus document, however, the committee decided that Conservative rabbis should not perform homosexual commitment ceremonies and that seminaries should not "knowingly" ordain gay men and lesbians.
The result, Dorff said, is a "don't ask, don't tell" situation in which several students have gone through the seminary and later, after ordination, have revealed their homosexuality. The movement has not tried to remove them, although in at least one instance it refused to place such a rabbi in a permanent job, and he ended up leaving the rabbinate.
The conservatives among the Conservatives argue that the majority of rabbis feel the issue has been settled. "It is an ongoing subject of debate, obviously. But I do not sense a tremendous or even widespread push to change the traditional position," said Rabbi Joel Meyers, the Rabbinical Assembly's executive vice president and top staff official.
Meyers notes that several of the Orthodox rabbis who appear in "Trembling Before G-d" expressed "compassion and caring" for gays, but that none suggested changing Jewish law.
"They didn't see a way out of this, and neither do we," he says. "We may be dealing with an issue that only generational change will affect." Copyright 2002 The Washington Post Company

Melissa Asks Lover to Move in

February 13, 2002, World Entertainment News Network
American rocker MELISSA ETHERIDGE is missing her lesbian lover TAMMY LYNN MICHAELS so much as she tours Europe, the singer has asked her partner to move in with her.
The couple plan to set up home together next month (MAR02) when Etheridge's immediate touring commitments are completed.
The lovestruck singer says, "There's no doubt it's the real thing and a true thing and a good thing.
"It has been almost a year that we've been dating and together but right now I'm in all those cold European places with very rich food." (c) 2002 World Entertainment News Network

Beach Ball 6: A Sexy, Soaking Wet Good Time

Beach Ball, Dance1 and PM Entertainment Team Together
ORLANDO-Beach Ball is recognized worldwide as a not-to-be-missed annual gay and lesbian event. The Friday night kickoff party for Gay Day Weekend has sold out the past three years, packing more than 6,000 bathing suit-clad partiers into the spectacular Typhoon Lagoon Water Park at Walt Disney World.
Each year, people leave the event asking, "How can they possibly top that?" And the event's producers-Watermark Entertainment Group, Inc. (WEGI)-take that challenge seriously. This year, WEGI has partnered with two exciting companies-GSociety/DANCE1 and PM Entertainment-to spike Beach Ball to the top of the party roster.
The GSociety Family of Companies- , , , , -is recognized worldwide as the leading media/entertainment company serving the gay and lesbian market. GSociety offers premium entertainment value to viewers and visitors through a variety of distribution channels including on-line websites, events, interactive media and video such as DANCE1-a music video series showcasing the circuit scene to over 2.2 million viewers monthly.
PM Entertainment owns nightclubs and restaurants throughout the U.S. market, and also produces innovative events that have attracted tens of thousands of gays and lesbians worldwide. PM Entertainment's Michael Mazer was the founder and originator of Salvation South Beach known world wide as "The World's Only Weekly Circuit Party."
These three powerhouse producers are pleased to announce a strategic partnership for Beach Ball 6 to be held this year on Friday, May 31, 2002 from 9PM-3AM. This year's event promises to be a sexy, soaking wet good time for all featuring over-the-top sound and visual displays set throughout this lush, tropical water park paradise.
"Taking Beach Ball's track record, and adding PM Entertainment's party-planning skills and GSociety's resources, means we can take the event to an entirely new level," said WEGI president Keith Peterson. "I think even those who've attended each of the past five years will be surprised by Beach Ball 6. Together we're going to introduce ideas and elements that have never been seen before during Gay Day Weekend."
Lark Bennett, VP of Entertainment for GSociety, Inc., added, "Collaborating on a world-class event such as Beach Ball offers GSociety, DANCE1 and PM Entertainment an exciting opportunity to utilize our entertainment industry background plus proven gay & lesbian marketing expertise to complement this one-of-a-kind party". Bennett adds, "If there's one event on the circuit calendar that you don't want to miss, especially this year, it's Beach Ball."
Beach Ball 6 takes place on Friday, May 31, 2002, from 9 PM to 3 AM at Walt Disney World's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Orlando. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 1-866-283-2958 (toll free). (C) 2002; All Rights Reserved

Will & Grace Star Expecting

February 13, 2002, World Entertainment News Network
WILL & GRACE star ERIC McCORMACK may play a homosexual on TV - but in real-life he's married and expecting his first child.
NBC confirmed the hunky actor's wife JANET HOLDEN is four months pregnant and is due in July (02).
Canadian-born Eric married assistant director Janet in September 1997. (c) 2002 World Entertainment News Network

New leader vows to unify gays in fractious Dolphin Democratic Club

By Buddy Nevins Political Writer
February 14, 2002
A Fort Lauderdale civil rights lawyer grabbed control of the sharply divided gay and lesbian Dolphin Democratic Club and vowed to make his first goal the defeat of Republican Gov. Jeb Bush.
Dean Trantalis was elected president of the club, the largest and most influential gay and lesbian political party club in Florida. He immediately pledged to end the conflict that has threatened to rip apart the club.
Democrats feared that the divisive elections on Wednesday could damage the Dolphin's effectiveness at a time when the party needs every volunteer in the tough governor's race.
Broward Democratic leader Mitch Ceasar was so worried he called various Dolphin members this week and warned them to reconcile after the election or face his wrath.
Ceasar sent Mike Moskowitz, Broward's Democratic state committeeman, to oversee the election and make sure it was conducted honestly.
"I'm just like a mini-Jimmy Carter, a peacemaker," Moskowitz quipped. Trantalis apparently got the message. He said his first goal would be to help state Democrats defeat Bush, who is running for re-election.
"We have a challenge. We have a [Democratic] governor to elect," Trantalis told the club.
Percy Johnson, the president of the club whose re-election bid was thwarted by Trantalis, agreed that the Dolphins should now turn their attention to winning the fall elections.
"We're all staying involved. We're Dolphins and Democrats," Johnson said.
The Dolphin Club is fabled across the state for turning out hundreds of volunteers to work on Democratic campaigns. Dolphins ran a phone bank the day of the 2000 presidential election, contacting several thousand Democrats and encouraging them to vote.
Political consultant Barbara Miller thinks the Dolphins are so important she steered Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill McBride to the club's annual dinner in the fall.
Several of the club's members were sporting McBride stickers during Wednesday night's election at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Fort Lauderdale.
"This is a very effective group for Democrats," Miller said.
The bitterness of the campaign for president apparently kept many club members from voting. Trantalis defeated Johnson 66 to 43, a total of only 109 votes in a club with about 200 members.
The candidates and their supporters traded accusations, and the campaign was featured in articles in gay newspapers.
Johnson was accused of letting the club languish during his year in office, while Trantalis was alleged to be using the club as a steppingstone to run for the Fort Lauderdale City Commission next year.
But Johnson, the club's first black president who forged ties with minority Democratic organizations, could not offset Trantalis' fame in the gay and lesbian community.
Trantalis was the former president of the Dolphins and is regularly quoted in the mainstream media as a spokesman for gay and lesbian causes.
He co-wrote the county's 1999 domestic partnership law, which provides health benefits to unmarried couples, along with his new club Vice President Robin Bodiford, who also was elected Wednesday night. He and Bodiford also helped beat back attempts last year to repeal Broward's laws forbidding discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Trantalis will serve a one-year term.
Whatever happened in the election, Trantalis said, "We're all back together and we're all Democrats. Our goal now is to elect Democrats."
Buddy Nevins can be reached at or 954-356-4571. Copyright © 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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G & L Internet Bank Announces Plans to Cease Operations

PENSACOLA, Fla., Feb 12, 2002 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Emphasizing that the organization is financially sound and deposits are not at risk, the Board of Directors of G & L Bank, F.S.B., the nation's only financial institution created specifically to serve the gay and lesbian community, has announced plans to dissolve the organization.
Citing recent economic conditions coupled with the challenges of generating income-producing assets faced by all stand-alone Internet banks, G & L Bank joins Wingspan Bank, Compubank, USABancshares, and Security First Network Bank in shutting down, pulling back, exploring their strategic options, or selling, which leaves a small number of Internet Banks to develop this pioneering Internet model.
G & L Bank's dissolution has been approved by the regulatory agencies and management intends to work closely with customers to facilitate comfortably the liquidation of customer deposits. All deposits (up to $100,000 per account) remain insured by the FDIC's Savings Association Insurance Fund.
Kay Griffith, chairman and CEO of G & L Bank, said: "The support from shareholders and customers through this difficult time has been tremendous. I particularly want to recognize the leadership of the G & L management team in handling the challenges faced in the uncharted waters of the Internet. I always will appreciate their unfailing commitment, their energies, their loyalty and their talents.
"I am grateful, too," said Griffith, "that the G & L Board of Directors and management have made difficult decisions in order to ensure a return to investors, something that has not always happened with the closing of other Internet companies." Copyright (C) 2002 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved.

Egypt: Man jailed, activists call on Bush U.K.
Tuesday, February 12, 2002 / 05:17 PM
SUMMARY: A man in Egypt has been sentenced to three years in prison, convicted of "immoral practices" for putting an ad on the Internet soliciting gay sex, according to local press reports.
A man in Egypt has been sentenced to three years in prison, convicted of "immoral practices" for putting an advert on the Internet soliciting gay sex, according to local press reports.
A court in Cairo sentenced computer engineer Zaky Sayed Zaky Abdel Malik on Feb. 7 to three years in prison, followed by three years' probation for "promoting immorality."
Police allegedly monitored Malik's ad, which he used to make contact with men for sex, for several months before arresting him.
Earlier this year a number of men were arrested on a raid in Egypt for "immoral practices." They are being held, awaiting a trial date.
"We have documented cases that all follow the same pattern: entrapment, unjust accusations with fabricated evidence, police beatings, biased courts and media -- all leading to heavy sentences," said Scott Long, program director for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).
"We fear we have only seen the tip of the iceberg," he added.
On Feb. 12, IGLHRC called on the Bush administration and the European Union to pressure Egypt to release the imprisoned men.
"Homosexuality is not a crime and is not obscene," Long said in a written statement. "Jailing and torturing innocent people is both, and the United States and the European Union need to make that distinction perfectly clear."
In November last year a state-security court imposed sentences ranging from one to five years on 23 young men charged with immorality and disrespect for religion. They were part of a group of 52 men who were arrested in a raid on a riverboat in Cairo. Human rights groups around the globe, including Human Rights Watch, have condemned Egypt for their actions. Human rights groups within Egypt, however, are too frightened to speak out in support of the gay community for fear of losing what little human rights exist in the country.

'Europe & US Bankroll Persecution of Egypt's Gays' Group Charges

by Jack Siu Newscenter in Toronto
(February 13, Toronto) The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Tuesday, accused the Bush administration and the European Union of sanctioning the persecution of gays in Egypt.
The charge came as yet another Egyptian gay man was sentenced to prison with hard labour for "immorality".
A court in Cairo sentenced computer engineer Zaky Sayed Zaky Abdel Malik to three years in prison followed by three years' probation .
His crime was having a personal web site seeking other men for sex.
In January 8 more men were arrested and last year 23 men were convicted to hard labour sentences because of their presumed homosexuality.
"We have documented cases that all follow the same pattern: entrapment, unjust accusations with fabricated evidence, police beatings, biased courts and media -- all leading to heavy sentences," said Scott Long, IGLHRC's Program Director.
Long said, "We fear we have only seen the tip of the iceberg."
Long, on behalf of the IGLHRC, issued a call to the Bush Administration and the European Union to pressure Egypt's government to end the campaign of persecution and to release the men now in prison.
"The US and The European Union cannot ignore the human rights records of their allies," stated Scott Long, IGLHRC's Program Director. "Because of charges about their consensual sexual conduct, scores of innocent people are tortured and sent to prison or hard labour in Egypt," he added--"and the Egyptian government is rewarded with hard cash."
Long released documents showing the European Parliament approved on November 30 an Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement for economic cooperation between Egypt and the European Union.
On February 6, the US and the European Union, together with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, gave Egypt a pledge of $10.3 billion in aid over the next three years.
Some of the money is earmarked to policing and security, money that will support the arrests of gay men.
Long said the US government has remained silent on the purge of gays in Egypt. The EU and European governments remain silent as well, except for small symbolic gestures. In Europe, French President Chirac's voiced his guarded "concern" to Egyptian President Mubarak at a meeting in Paris.
In the US and in some European countries small groups of politicians, including gay Rep Barney Frank (D. Mass) have lodged protests as well. "Homosexuality is not a crime and is not obscene," added Long. "Jailing and torturing innocent people is both, and the US and the EU need to make that distinction perfectly clear."

Pro-gay billboards hit Salt Lake

People traveling on Interstate 15 in Salt Lake City--including those who are visiting the city for the Olympic Games--are being greeted with the message "Someone you know and love is gay," The Salt Lake Tribune reports. The message is part of two billboards placed along the interstate by the group Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. "There are lots of people who don't know that someone they know is gay," said PFLAG member Boyer Jarvis. "This is not just a reminder for them, it's a revelation." The billboards cost the group $30,000. And while Jarvis said PFLAG didn't plan to have them up for the Olympics, he is pleased with the coincidence.


Hundreds show for Connecticut civil union hearing

At a legislative hearing on same-sex unions in Hartford, Conn., on Monday, gay couples described legal barriers they have faced in the state, while more than a dozen religious leaders showed up to voice their support for same-sex unions. But opponents, wearing stickers with the message "Marriage has meaning," told lawmakers that same-sex marriages and civil unions undermine the institution of marriage. Several hundred people attended the daylong hearing, conducted by the legislature's judiciary committee. The committee is considering two bills on same-sex unions this session: one to allow same-sex marriage and another to create civil unions similar to ones in Vermont that legally recognize gay couples. Supporters, wearing their own bright yellow "Equality" stickers, said legal recognition is a civil rights issue. By not allowing same-sex unions, state law is denying gay couples more than 390 marriage rights, including sharing a spouse's insurance benefits, filing joint income tax returns, and receiving worker's compensation and veteran's benefits, supporters said.

Baldwin gets antigay competition, again

Ron Greer, a former congressional candidate who was backed by religious-right leaders Gary Bauer and James Dobson, has announced that he will challenge out lesbian Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) a second time, Roll Call reports. Greer, a former Madison firefighter, attracted national attention in his campaign against Baldwin in 1998, when he sent out fund-raising letters calling her "a left-wing lesbian."


Rosie to come out in Rosie

New York magazine reports that Rosie O'Donnell will come out in her own magazine, Rosie, before her memoir hits the stands. Find Me will hit stores on April 23, but by that time the May issue of her magazine will contain a letter from the editor in which O'Donnell will discuss the positive reaction her readers had to a story about adoptive gay parents Jon and Michael Galluccio. "She doesn't want to go into great detail," says a source. "She's just going to say something like, 'I'm gay like them too.' " That issue of the magazine will also contain an excerpt from the book.


Is Rosie Ready?

February 12, 2002, NY Post
WILL Rosie O'Donnell "come out" on her TV show?
News has already leaked out that she will reveal that she is gay in her autobiography, "Find Me," due out in late April.
And this week, New York magazine reports O'Donnell is ready to talk frankly about her sexuality even before then - in the edition of Rosie magazine that comes out in early April.
Now comes questions about whether she may tell viewers she is gay sometime earlier still - on her own TV show.
"It's a daily, live chat show, and we never know what Rosie is going to talk about," says O'Donnell's personal publicist, Cindi Berger. "She speaks spontaneously."
The timing and tone of Rosie's expected announcement has, in recent weeks, taken on the trappings of a political campaign. O'Donnell is expected to make the publicity talk-show rounds - where Topic A is bound to be her decision to go public with her sexual orientation - once "Find Me" is published.
"She'll be doing something - exactly what, I'm not prepared to say," says Berger. "She will certainly be promoting the book."
O'Donnell will have to begin dealing with her coming out at around the same time she is winding down her popular morning TV show.
She is slated to do her final live "Rosie" show on May 22. Pre-taped new "Rosie" shows will run through June, and the show will be in repeats in July and August.
"Rosie" premiered in 1996 and was an immediate hit, earning O'Donnell the sobriquet "Queen of Nice" for her fluffy, personality-driven interviews that recalled her talk-show heroes, Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin.
However, over the past several years, "Rosie" slowly lost its ratings luster, and O'Donnell announced last year she would call it quits when her contract expires in May. NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc. NYPOST.COM, NYPOSTONLINE.COM, and NEWYORKPOST.COM are trademarks of NYP Holdings, Inc. Copyright 2002 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

Freedom To Marry Day

Mary Ellen Peterson Newscenter in Los Angeles
(February 13, New York) North Americans observed "Freedom to Marry Day" Tuesday.
In Canada, gay and lesbian couples in Ontario and Quebec awaited court decisions on a Constitutional challenge to the federal government's definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
The cases were heard in courts in Montreal and Toronto last fall, but decisions were reserved. It is not known when the judges will make their rulings known.
In the United States, the day was marked in communities from California to Maine.
In Los Angeles couples at West Hollywood Presbyterian Church heard clergy from several religions call for full marital status for gays and lesbians.
In Santa Monica, the LA Gay Men's Chorus on the Third Street Promenade.
In Augusta, Maine gays and lesbians gathered on the steps of Capitol building to call on the legislature to pass partnership union legislation.
There was a Freedom to Marry Reception and Bake-Off, and a Marriage Resolution signing in Chicago.
Urging support for the freedom to marry, wedding parties in wedding dresses and tuxes strolled through several Chicago neighbourhoods.
One of the poignant examples of the need for gay and lesbian unions to be recognized came Tuesday night in Los Angeles when Keith Bradkowski described the inequities he faced after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
Bradkowski's partner of 11 years, Jeff Collman, was a flight attendant killed in the attacks.
"Jeff and I got as close to marriage as we could with our domestic partnership," said Keith Bradkowski. "But it wasn't protection enough, and now I am legally vulnerable in ways I never imagined."
Lambda Legal represents the Novato, California, resident as he struggles for fair treatment from government and private compensation programs.
In December, a special mater released regulations for the Federal Fund that leave the door open to compensation for surviving lesbian and gay partners, although they did not explicitly acknowledge gay partners in the same way as married spouses.
This left survivors like Bradkowski confused and worried about whether he will receive appropriate recognition.
"In times of crisis, we see how important legal protections are for families," said Lambda Senior Attorney Jennifer Pizer. "The plight of Keith and other surviving gay partners shows how desperately our families need the secure safety net of the civil marriage laws."

New Zealand To Include Gays In Hate Crime Bill

by Peter Hacker Newscenter in Sydney
(February 13, Auckland) The New Zealand government is considering tough new hate crime laws which would include the crimes against the GLBT community.
"Prejudice based on someone's race or sexuality or disability, or religion then there's an arbitrary nature to that, anyone from that group is actually vulnerable to that offender attacking them," Tim Barnett Justice Select Committee Chair said Tuesday.
Under the proposed legislation people convicted of gay-bashing, racist attacks or other "hate crimes" face tougher sentences. It is part of a sweeping reform of sentencing and parole conditions
Leaders of the gay community welcomed the reform. Eugene Moore, who earns a living teaching police how to spot whether an assault or murder might be driven by homophobia, said that the law will help raise awareness and give victims more rights.
"If you don't know what to spot you don't see it and if you don't see you don't solve the crime and people go unpunished and they continue committing the crimes," Moore said. Not everyone is in favour of the legislation. The opposition says is filled with loop holes.

Scouts Put Homophobia In Stone

by Beth Shapiro Newscenter, in New York
(February 13, New York) For the first time, the Boy Scouts of America has put its ban on gay scout leaders into a formal resolution.
It says, in part, that gays and atheists are deemed unfit and unacceptable role models for scout youth and removes from local scout councils the right to chose leaders at odds with the national organization's decisions.
The resolution is seen as an attempt by BSA leadership to show its muscle to some local scouting associations which had called for change.
These Councils were fighting to maintain their right to choose their own membership and leadership, even if this included leaders and scouts who happened to be gay.
Scouting For All, a group trying to reform the BSA immediately condemned the resolution.
"The new resolution strikes down local authority and autonomy and in effect says that parents and volunteers cannot be responsible for choosing the best leadership for their own children," Scouting For All Said in a media release.
"It is ironic that the BSA core value of respecting diversity is not practiced within the organization," said Scott Cozza, president of Scouting for All. "And it is a shame that the BSA National Office is turning a deaf ear to its own members."
"If the BSA wants to continue to symbolize bigotry," said Cozza, "let it do so, but without the support of Americans and individual Scout Councils who oppose bigotry and discrimination.
Scouting for All also called on President Bush to step down as the Honorary President of the BSA.
" He stated in his State of the Union Address, 'to leave no child behind,'" Cozza said. " Lets see if our President will stand by his own words."
Gay Show & Tell At Disney Stockholders' Meet

by Newscenter Staff
(February 13, Miami) A right-wing Christian group says it will attempt to get Disney shareholders to cancel Gay Days at Disney World and Disneyland.
The group took videos of last year's Gay Days at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The video will get its first "official" showing next week when Disney shareholders meet in Hartford Connecticut.
Phillip Vaught, executive director of the Forest, Va.-based Christian Action Network said the group has rented a hotel room across from the civic centre where the Disney annual meeting will be held.
Vaught said the group will encourage shareholders to stop by and view the video.
"I don't think shareholders realize what goes on down there at that time," Vaught said.
The footage shows gays and lesbians holding hands, kissing and cuddling during the annual party.
Walt Disney World doesn't sponsor Gay Days, although many of its events are held on its property.
Gay Days founder Doug Swallow said he welcomed shareholders' viewing the video.
"If shareholders saw the video, I would hope they would see thousands of people in the parks having a good time, spending money and increasing the value of their shares," Swallow said. Gay Days started more than 11 years ago when Swallow and his friends from a gay computer bulletin board service decided to get together informally at the Magic Kingdom. They agreed to wear red shirts so they would be easily identifiable. Since then, Gay Days has swelled to a multi-day event that attracts more than 100,000 gays and lesbians to Orlando's theme parks and nightclubs during the first weekend in June.

Gay Killer Returned To New York

by Newscenter Staff
(February 13, New York) A 73 year old man convicted in absentia of killing his partner's lover has waived extradition from Florida.
Louis Katz had been on the run for 13 years. He was captured last week in Panama and returned to Miami on the weekend.
Katz is the former owner of the Uncle Charlies chain of gay bars in new York and Miami.
He was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and assault for stabbing Michael Moriarty to death in Brooklyn in 1986. Detectives said Katz was enraged that his partner had left him for Moriarty, 37.

Blair Government Denies Support For Gay Marriage

The Cabinet Office has denied reports that the Blair government is to introduce legislation allowing gay marriage.
Newspaper reports yesterday suggested that Cabinet Office Minister Barbara Roche had asked civil servants to draw up blueprints for the partnership register ready for the autumn.
However, a Cabinet Office spokeswoman told that the government has "no plans to introduce gay marriage".
Earlier this week the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Lester of Herne Hill announced that he would be dropping his Civil Partnerships Private Member's Bill that would have legalised partnership unions in Britain.
Instead Lord Lester said he had recommended a select committee to examine the whole issue of partnership unions. The government made it clear from the onset that they did not support Lord Lester's bill, but were keen to write their own legislation. Insiders believe Lord Lester made his decision based on the fact that the government was going to move on the issue.

"Invisible Condom" Not Far Away

An "invisible condom", made up of a cream or gel-like substance that could prevent STDs, including HIV, could be only five years away if funding for research continues.
But the U.S. government and private funding would need to invest $100 million each year for five years to get the product to market, the report, by activist groups and the philanthropic Rockefeller Foundation, found.
"It's doable," Lori Heise, director of the Global Campaign for Microbicides, told a news conference. "We can see a first-generation microbicide available ... in five years."
Condoms are the best protection against the HIV virus available. But people don't always use them. A so called microbicide would protect people against STDs without hindering sex, which is the complaint many have against condoms. The report was sponsored by the International Center for Research on Women, the Global Campaign for Microbicides and the Alliance for Microbicide Development, as well as the Rockefeller Foundation Microbicide Initiative.

Australia: Confronting Images From A Graphic Campaign

February 11, 2002, Sydney Morning Herald
There's a discreet sign at the entrance of the Powerhouse Museum's new exhibition advising visitors they may be shocked. Inside the cordoned-off area are some of the most sexually confronting images ever displayed in an Australian public institution.
Bodies Positive, which opened on Sunday to run parallel to this year's Mardi Gras, charts the history of Australia's HIV and AIDS awareness posters in the 21 years since AIDS was first discovered in North America.
Most of the posters are graphic in both senses of the word. One, Rubber Me the first specifically aimed at gay men, dating from 1985 is so explicit it has been withdrawn since the catalogue was printed.
Few of the 16 which remain on show could be shown in the Herald, though often the words are more hard-hitting than the images. Most, unlike the Grim Reaper TV campaign of 1987, were never intended to be viewed by the general public but were specifically commissioned for display in gay clubs, saunas, HIV clinics or drug venues.
The exhibition has been curated by Leong Chan, senior lecturer in design studies at the University of NSW, and Dr Raymond Donovan, lecturer in sociology at the University of Newcastle, as part of an eight-year research project the Australian Socio-Graphic AIDS Project.
``Much of the material was ephemeral, mainly leaflets, posters and flyers which were thrown away afterwards,'' says Chan. ``There was no national archive. We look at this as a cultural history of the epidemic, rather than the medical side. This material was used to convey messages to different communities.
``Over the years of the epidemic, the tone of the message changed, and so have the style and content of the posters. We're interested in what influenced those changes.''
Early posters tended to be aimed exclusively at gay men but the exhibition shows how the campaign widened to include bisexuals, heterosexual women, the Aboriginal community, drug users, and teenagers exploring sexuality.
One of the most striking posters, Our Love Means Safe Sex, pairing a Muscle Mary with a Drag Queen, is part of a sequence of four issued by the AIDS Council of NSW in 1992 that were intended to show the diversity, but shared responsibilities, of the gay community. Though the image of the unlikely pair on the motorbike is light-hearted, the copy which accompanies it pulls no punches. Humour was also used in the 1987 ``Condoman'' campaign, which was aimed at the Aboriginal community but caused a stir when it was displayed at the 1991 Easter Show. The idea of Condoman, featuring in a number of subsequent comic books, came about after consultation with Aboriginal health workers who felt a cartoon would succeed in getting the message across far better than realistic photographs.
Another poster, Do You Think Your Partner Could Be Having Sex With Men?, shows a woman caught unknowingly in the middle of two male lovers. Commissioned by the AIDS Council of NSW in 1994, it came about after a 1992 survey of Australian men who have sex with men found that 30 per cent also have sex with women.
Is the museum expecting a controversy? ``No,'' says Megan Hicks, the museum's curator of health and medicine, who has supervised the exhibition. ``We did a similar exhibition on birth control not so long ago. Australians are very accepting. They don't mind having their horizons expanded.'' Coming in 48 Hours. Copyright of John Fairfax Group Pty Ltd

Elton and David are Most Romantic Gays

Elton John and David Furnish have been voted Britain's most romantic same sex couple by members.
In an online Valentine's poll, Sir Elton and Furnish were supported by 31% of voters.
The pair met at a dinner party in 1993 and within a few weeks were being seen out in public together.
Furnish has said that he loves Sir Elton, although he can be difficult to live with at times. The couple established the film production company Rocket Pictures and in 1996 Furnish made 'Tantrums & Tiaras,' a warts-and-all fly-on-the-wall documentary about his lover. The film was later nominated for a Bafta award.
George Michael and his long term partner Kenny Goss were runners up, with 28% of the vote. Their private relationship is said to have blossomed after the singer was publicly outed as gay in 1998 following his arrest on public sex charges.
The actress Sophie Ward and her partner Rena Brannan were found to be the most romantic lesbian couple. 19% of RainbowNetwork members voted for the pair, who made headlines in 1996 when Ward came out and left her husband. It was a move that mirrored that of a character she played in an adaptation of Joanna Trollope`s `A Village Affair` a year earlier. The couple have since held a commitment ceremony.
Sandi Toksvig, the comedian and television personality and her partner Alice Arnold, the radio presenter, scored 14% of the vote for their relationship. The couple live near to Toksvig's ex-girlfriend and the three children that they share.
Peter Mandelson and Reinaldo De Silva received only 8% of votes. The MP for Hartlepool was forced to resign his ministerial position last year over the Hinduja passport affair. Questions were also asked about his intervention in his Brazilian partner's attempts to gain British residency. © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.

Miami beckons to gays: Visit the Gay Riviera

By Maya Bell Sentinel Staff Writer
February 13, 2002
MIAMI -- Just as Christian conservatives are making a fresh run to repeal Miami-Dade's gay-rights ordinance, local officials are joining hands with the gay community to market Greater Miami as the Gay Riviera.
"Our gay friendly environment extends beyond our local businesses to our government officials and policies," says a purple pamphlet published by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau to lure gay and lesbian travelers. "Come see why Greater Miami is truly the Gay Riviera."
The $40,000 brochure is part of a broader strategy to expand gay tourism and commerce to Miami Beach and the rest of Miami-Dade County.
The effort includes a new Web site,, sponsored by the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and has been in the works for more than a year.
But it debuted just as opponents to two words in Miami-Dade's human-rights ordinance achieved a long-sought victory: a Sept. 10 referendum on whether to repeal an amendment barring discrimination based on "sexual orientation." The ordinance had already prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender and several other categories.
The Miami-Dade County Commission, which narrowly passed the amendment in 1998, reluctantly scheduled the referendum after the Miami-Dade Christian Coalition and Take Back Miami-Dade collected enough signatures to place the question on the ballot for the second time in 25 years.
Mayor Alex Penelas and many in Miami's business and civic communities had hoped to avoid a repeat of the divisive battle that convulsed Dade County in 1977, when singer Anita Bryant launched an anti-gay crusade that led voters to repeal the county's first gay-rights ordinance.
Tourism officials say the timing of the new marketing campaign was purely coincidental, but it underscores just how important Miami-Dade's gay community has become to the area's economy during the past quarter-century.
Not only is the new gay and lesbian chamber a trustee member of Greater Miami's chamber, but, as the 20-page brochure notes, Miami-Dade is home to two popular gay fund-raising festivals. The White Party and Winter Party, as well as a gay and lesbian film festival, draw thousands of visitors and pump millions into the economy every year.
"The decision was based purely on sales and marketing," said Rolando Aedo, vice president of marketing and tourism at the convention bureau. "We didn't give any thought to whether it would help one side or the other."
But Anthony Verdugo, chairman of the Miami-Dade Christian Coalition, has thought a lot about it. And he predicted that the Gay Riviera campaign will aid the repeal effort by mobilizing voters who object to spending taxpayer money on the promotion of "sexual tourism."
"The amendment has created a climate that encourages the promotion of tourism based on sexual behavior," he said. "We don't do it for polygamists or bigamists. We don't do it for people who cheat on their spouses. Why should we do it for homosexuals?"
The chair of SAVE Dade, which led the 1998 fight to reinstate the ordinance and now is battling to retain it, conceded she initially feared the marketing effort might galvanize amendment opponents. But now, Heddy Peña said she's convinced it will serve as a reminder to voters of the importance of keeping the welcome mat out for gays and lesbians.
"My first impression was this may not be a good time for this to happen, but I have since found people here want tourism not only to survive, but thrive," Peña said.
Surveys show gay travelers can make the difference between surviving and thriving, especially during tourism slumps like the one that has plagued Florida since Sept. 11.
Estimated at $54 billion a year, the gay travel market in the United States has stood out for its stability and resiliency in a post-Sept. 11 world. Gay-oriented travel magazines and trade groups report that gays, who travel more often and spend more than the general population, have been less willing to cancel travel plans and more willing to make new ones since the terrorist attacks.
"It boils down to two things: dual income and no kids," said Thomas Roth, president of Community Marketing, a San Francisco firm that helps the travel industry market to gays and lesbians. "People with money and no responsibility for kids have two spending priorities -- shopping and travel. When you start adding up the comparisons, you see why tourist offices and CVBs [convention and visitors bureaus] are interested in reaching out to the gay market."
Miami-Dade is not alone. Neighboring Key West and Fort Lauderdale have been marketing to gays for years -- and Roth said it's a new and rapidly growing trend in other places. Just 10 years ago, he said, one or two tourism organizations targeted gays; today, dozens around the world do.
The Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau is not among them, concentrating instead on families and empty-nesters, a spokeswoman said.
Maya Bell can be reached at or at 305-810-5003. Copyright © 2002, Orlando Sentinel

Miami-Dade state attorney draws fire in gay-rights fight

By David Cázares Miami Bureau
February 13, 2002
Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has become caught up in the fight over whether voters should repeal an amendment that bans discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Members of Take Back Miami-Dade, a coalition of groups calling for the repeal of the 1998 amendment to the county's Human Rights Ordinance, say Rundle's connection to a gay-rights group that endorsed her should disqualify her office from investigating allegations of fraud in the process that led to a referendum.
For months, supporters of the amendment, led by the gay-rights group SAVE Dade, have pressed county prosecutors to investigate alleged irregularities in the gathering of 51,026 signatures. They claim that the petitions collected by Take Back Miami-Dade contained duplicate signatures, signatures that may have been forged and pages that were not properly notarized.
In December, Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections David Leahy certified the petitions, prompting the Miami-Dade County Commission to set a Sept. 10 referendum on the amendment.
About the same time Leahy made his decision, the State Attorney's Office subpoenaed coalition members and people who signed the petitions. Coalition members say Rundle is trying to use her powers to derail the referendum by intimidating those who signed the petition.
"Investigators have been sent to people's homes at all hours of the day and night," said Eladio Jose Armesto, a spokesman for Take Back Miami-Dade. "The investigators asked them why they had signed, why they were interested in repealing the amendment. To us that is a clear case of harassment and intimidation."
Rundle could not be reached for comment. But David Maer, Rundle's chief of staff, said the state attorney's only motivation is enforcing the law.
"It is unfortunate that anyone feels that they have been harassed," Maer said. "Investigations are not conducted to harass people, they are conducted to determine whether or not any violations of law have occurred."
Maer said prosecutors began looking into the petitions before Leahy certified them. He said a preliminary inquiry by prosecutors persuaded them to proceed.
Members of Take Back Miami-Dade, however, aren't satisfied. They've zeroed in on an endorsement of Rundle by SAVE Dade's political action committee a year and a half ago, when she was in the midst of a fierce fight with Republican challenger Alberto Milián. Take Back Miami-Dade also says Rundle is a supporter of the gay-rights group, and as such, she and her office have a clear conflict of interest.
"We've sent a letter to the state attorney asking her to disqualify herself," said Anthony Verdugo, chairman of the Miami-Dade Christian Coalition, who said he received a subpoena for a sample of his handwriting. "We don't have a problem with the investigation. The right thing for the state attorney is to resign from the investigation and to assign it to an independent investigator."
Maer acknowledged that Rundle had received SAVE Dade's endorsement. But he said prosecutors are not concerned with the arguments of the amendment's proponents or detractors.
"The integrity of the electoral process is what matters," Maer said.
David Cázares can be reached at or 305-810-5012. Copyright © 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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