GLBT Newz 



The most up to date news for the GLBT community.


Friday, February 22, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 02/22 - 02/24 Information is power!
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GLBT NEWZ will be off line this weekend. The newz will resume on Monday, the 25th. Also Gay TV Listings will be sent on Monday.

Thursday, February 21, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 02/21/02 Information is power!

On the web: or


NEWS from the Human Rights Campaign

919 18th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2002
Contact: David M. Smith
Phone: (202) 216-1547
Pager: (800) 386-5996
Original Stonewall Protester was a Pioneer of the Gay Liberation Movement,
Says HRC
WASHINGTON -- The Human Rights Campaign today mourned the passing of Sylvia
Rivera, a pioneer of the gay liberation movement and one of the original
protesters who stood up to police at the Stonewall bar in June 1969. Rivera,
a noted transgender activist, left an enduring footprint on the gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement and for decades played a key role
in moving the cause forward, says HRC.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Sylvia Rivera, a brave
pioneer who helped pave the way for future generations of GLBT Americans,"
said Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign. "At
HRC we are thankful for the indelible mark she left behind and the historic
role that she played in our movement's history. We are proud to honor her
enduring legacy."
Rivera, 50, died yesterday at St. Vincent's Manhattan Hospital from
liver cancer. A resident of Brooklyn, Rivera worked at the Metropolitan
Community Church where she was coordinator of the food pantry. Her partner,
Julia Murray, who was with her yesterday at her death, survives her.
According to the book "Stonewall" by author Martin Duberman, Rivera
played a pivotal role in the confrontation at the Stonewall bar that is
credited with kicking off the modern GLBT movement.
"I'm not missing a minute of this - it's the revolution!" Rivera shouted to
her partner, according to the book "Stonewall", on the morning of June 28,
1969, the day Stonewall Inn patrons fended off police in a raid of the bar.
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.

Presbyterian Church Rejects Ordination of Gays

Post-Dispatch Religion Writer
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Patricia Rice
Gays and lesbians won't be legally ordained as ministers, elders or deacons within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) soon. The idea of ordaining homosexual leaders was rejected Tuesday and stands to be more strongly put aside than it was five years ago when the 2.5 million-member denomination last voted on the issue.
The Presbytery of South Louisiana gathered in Baton Rouge on Tuesday afternoon and cast the deciding vote, defeating an amendment to the Book of Order, the denomination's church law. The Louisiana regional church body became the 87th, a majority of the 173 presbyteries, to defeat the measure since September.
The vote means that ordination in the nation's largest Presbyterian denomination will continue to be limited to those spelled out in the Book of Order, who practice "fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness."
The amendment also would have allowed unmarried people who are living with a heterosexual partner to be ordained.
Forty presbyteries, including the one in the St. Louis region, approved ordaining homosexuals. The Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery of St. Louis voted 115-106 on Jan. 12 for the amendment. That presbytery governs the St. Louis area's 27,400 members in 100 churches in St. Louis, southeastern Missouri and the Metro East area.
Despite the amendment's approval here, there is no change in local church law unless the measure is approved nationally.
Five years ago, the presbyteries defeated a similar measure 114- 57.
All last summer, many Presbyterians who want the ordination of homosexuals held up great hope. In June, 60 percent of the elected commissioners to the denomination's annual General Assembly approved changing church law to allow ordination of homosexuals.
"The General Assembly thought that they had come up with a middle way," said the Rev. Terry Epling, Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery Stated Clerk. "But when it went out to the church, they totally had a different read."
Some say those elected to the General Assembly in June did not represent the church at large.
"I think that that General Assembly was an anomaly, not at all representative of where the our church is on this issue," said Rev. Tom Pfizenmaier, pastor of Bonhomme Presbyterian Church in Chesterfield and an opponent of the amendment. "This vote is consistent with the Reformed tradition of John Calvin and of the Presbyterian tradition."
Pfizenmaier said that when Giddings-Lovejoy passed the measure by a slim majority, he took it as a signal that the measure would be defeated nationally.
"St. Louis pastors are much more liberal than the church is nationally, " he said.
The Rev. Kelly Allen, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of St. Louis in University City, was disappointed that the amendment failed.
"I am very discouraged," said Allen, a longtime advocate of the amendment.
She said many in her church believe that "morality can be expressed in a covenant relationship of two people of the same sex."
Many members think it's time for their church theologians to study the issue. Last summer, the Rev. Paul Reiter, then presbyter of the John Calvin Presbytery in Springfield, Mo., suggested that the church have a 17-member theological task force to deal with various issues, including ordination of sexually active homosexuals.
The task force was approved. It has begun its work and will meet next weekend. In the fall, Reiter became presbyter of the Giddings- Lovejoy Presbytery.
The task force has until 2005 to come up with recommendations.
"My guess is that next summer the Assembly's sentiment will be to let the theological task force grapple with (homosexual issues)," said Jerry L. Van Marter, a denominational spokesman, from his office in Louisville, Ky. (C) 2002 St. Louis Post-Dispatch. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

TV Queens Miffed by Rosie Rift Rumors

NY Post 2/21/2002
ABC News stars Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer yesterday denied any rift between them over an interview in which talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell is expected to discuss her homosexuality for the first time publicly.
Walters, however, said she should have been more sensitive to any perception that she was trying to undermine Sawyer.
Sawyer landed the much-sought interview with O'Donnell, which is to air on ABC's "Primetime Thursday" on March 14. O'Donnell will reportedly talk about her sexuality in the context of opposing a Florida law restricting the adoption of children by gay couples.
Last Thursday - the day Sawyer taped her interview with O'Donnell - Walters and her co-hosts on ABC's "The View" talked briefly about the case. In doing so, they publicly asserted O'Donnell is a lesbian.
"What concerns Rosie is not just this case but that she has three adopted children and a foster child herself, and she, because she is gay, would not be allowed to adopt this child," Walters said on "The View."
Walters said she had not competed with Sawyer to land a prime-time interview with O'Donnell.
"This had nothing to do with getting an interview with Rosie." 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.

U.K.: Police to Debate Gay Mag Furor

Coventry Evening Telegraph 2/21/2002
by Hayley Cuthbertson
A DELEGATE from Ryton Police Training College will discuss its recent, controversial decision to remove gay magazines from open display, at a meeting of the Coventry and War-wickshire Lesbian and Gay Policing Forum tomorrow.
The national training centre came under fire last month from gay rights campaigners and the Lesbian and Gay Police Association after copies of Gay Times were removed from display on shelves in the college's community resource centre and put inside boxfiles.
Campaigners who picketed the Ryton college accused police bosses of censorship.
It will be just one of the issues discussed at tomorrow's meeting, which starts at 7pm at Rainbows, in Short Street.
The regular meetings, chaired by vulnerable victims' officers from the three Coventry police stations, were set up at the end of last year to monitor and tackle homophobic issues in the city.
PC Nadine Whiteford, from Little Park Street police station, will be speaking at the meeting about the latest research carried out by local police, which suggests homophobic crimes are still under- reported.
She said: "One of the things I want to discuss at the forum is why that is, and how we can improve matters.
"Until we have a clear picture of the scale of the problem, neither we, nor other agencies, can act to make things better."
The police recently introduced self-reporting forms, available from Rainbows and organisations such as Victim Support and the Terence Higgins Trust, for people who feel uncomfortable reporting at a police station. (C) 2002 Coventry Evening Telegraph. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

Gay nonprofits tighten belts for recession

Ari Bendersky, / Network
Wednesday, February 20, 2002 / 04:18 PM
SUMMARY: While some say the economy is moving out of recession, GLBT nonprofit groups are still feeling the effects, but are moving in the direction of recovery.
While five months have past since the Sept. 11 attacks kicked an already faltering economy into a tailspin, GLBT nonprofit groups are still feeling the effects, but are moving in the direction of recovery.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) recently announced a reorganization and program shift that will focus on educating regional media outlets around the country through the use of strategically placed volunteers. To launch this effort, GLAAD will close offices in Atlanta, Kansas City, Mo., and Washington. However, no staff members will be laid off, according to Glennda Testone, GLAAD's regional media director.
Testone explained that the employees in those three cities -- one each in Atlanta and Kansas City; the D.C. staff member already works out of New York -- were given the option of moving to GLAAD's "media hubs" in Los Angeles or New York, but declined for personal reasons. She said GLAAD has put together severance packages for both employees since they won't be moving with the organization.
In addition to filling these two recently vacated positions, GLAAD will add two more positions to oversee focused local activity and have volunteers in key cities reporting back to the main office.
GLAAD was able to reorganize because the group foresaw the impending recession. GLAAD, as well as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), started to take measures before Sept. 11.
"The general economy began to be a challenge about a year ago, so we've been more conservative in our budget process," said Elizabeth Birch, HRC's executive director. "We're growing, but more conservatively. We're going to keep doing everything we're doing."
GLAAD's Executive Director Joan M. Garry echoes Birch's message and said that during this downturn, it's imperative for gay groups to stay in strong contact with their members and to keep talking about the work they're doing.
"After Sept. 11, we actively reminded (our members) about the connection they've had with this organization over the long haul," Garry said. "It's important to have strong national organizations. It's important to our movement."
Recovery is the goal for some
On the flipside, not all groups were able to prepare for the recession and subsequent World Trade Center attacks. Some are still recovering.
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a national group working toward securing civil rights for gays and lesbians, felt a crunch in its development budget to the tune of nearly $500,000. Lambda's offices are mere blocks from ground zero and were closed for two weeks following the attacks; mail service was shut down for nearly a month. The combination of lost funds and lost time has set Lambda back, but Kevin Cathcart, the group's executive director, is optimistic that 2002 will still be a good year.
"We've postponed growth that otherwise would've happened by now and delayed a variety of new positions," Cathcart said. "I'm hopeful that we'll be able to fold much of that expansion back in." Cathcart admits there's a large demand for his group's work and that growth is still in their forecast. In fact, Lambda is slated to open a regional office in Dallas this June.
Smaller, regional GLBT groups, however, haven't fared as well as the large, well-funded gay nonprofits. Take San Francisco-based Positive Resource Center, for example, a 15-year-old group that assists approximately 2,500 lower income people annually living with AIDS and HIV. In December, PRC leaders announced they had to lay off five staffers after learning they'd lost a major government contract around the same time that private donations started drying up.
But, like many GLBT groups, PRC remains devoted to its mission and its clients.
"Since 1987, our clients have relied on us to assist them in getting their disability and health care benefits, and ultimately rejoin the workforce," Mark Murphy, president of PRC, said in a statement at the time. "We will not abandon our commitment to them. In fact, we're more determined than ever to continue to provide for the community."
The overall effects of Sept. 11 and the poor economy on GLBT groups won't likely be fully known until the end of the year, according to Nancy Cunningham, executive director of Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues, which advocates for increased support of GLBT issues within organized philanthropy. "One challenge for LGBT groups and our community is to create a stronger culture of philanthropy," Lambda's Cathcart said. "It's more important now. There's no reason why all of our organizations shouldn't be able to raise more money and grow. The community has to look to itself."

Gruesome details begin Whipple trial

A prosecutor Tuesday showed jurors gruesome pictures of Diane Whipple as she lay fatally mauled outside her San Francisco apartment, while a sometimes tearful defense attorney portrayed her client, Marjorie Knoller, as risking her life trying to rescue Whipple from the dogs that attacked her.
"I know you've seen terrible pictures of Diane Whipple today," said attorney Nedra Ruiz. "But the evidence will not show that Marjorie [Knoller] stood back and let that terrible thing happen to that beautiful girl." Ruiz got on the floor to demonstrate the attack and blamed one of Knoller's dogs, named Bane, instead of its owners. Ruiz referred to the dog as "this berserk beast" and "the berserko crazy dog."
Knoller, who according to the defense had taken Bane out at the time of the attack, is charged with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and having a mischievous animal that killed a human being. Her husband, Robert Noel, was not present at the time of the attack and faces only the latter two charges. No dog owner has been convicted of second-degree murder for a fatal mauling in California.
"Marjorie was covered in blood," Ruiz said, showing photos taken of the defendant when she was interviewed by police following the attack. She insisted that Knoller threw her own body over Whipple's. "No one is sorrier that Marjorie Knoller could not save Ms. Whipple than Marjorie Knoller, who risked her life to try to save Ms. Whipple," Ruiz said. Her remarks followed a presentation from San Francisco assistant district attorney Jim Hammer, who told jurors they must decide whether Knoller and Noel were warned how dangerous their dogs were and whether they did anything to protect others from them. Hammer said he would show at least 30 instances in which Bane and the couple's second presa canario, Hera, attacked other people, including an incident in which one dog severed Noel's finger. The prosecutor added there was no proof Knoller tried to stop the attack and described her as doing nothing to help the victim. While Whipple lay dying, he said, Knoller went into her apartment to find her keys.

Activists call for Alabama judge's dismissal

Gay rights organizations in Alabama and Washington, D.C., on Tuesday called for the resignation of Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama supreme court, who in his judgment awarding custody of a lesbian mom's three children to their father wrote that homosexuality is "abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature's God."
Two Alabama gay rights groups, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Alabama and Equality Begins at Home of Central Alabama, have requested that Moore leave the bench. "He has shown there is no way he can fairly judge any cases involving gay and lesbian citizens of Alabama or their family and friends," said Ken E. Baker, chairman of Equality Begins at Home. National gay rights groups the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force also have condemned Moore's statements and called for his resignation. Meanwhile, at a vigil commemorating the third anniversary of a gay Alabama man's murder, activists protested Moore's decision. About 100 people gathered Tuesday at the state capitol in Montgomery to hold a vigil for Billy Jack Gaither, who was murdered in Sylacauga in 1999 by two men who claimed he made sexual advances toward them. "It's very irresponsible for a person in a position of power to use language that is so inciteful, and it will lead to more vigils like this one," said Baker.

Investigation into Montana arson resumes

Fire investigators in Missoula, Mont., armed with a search warrant picked through the blackened interior of a lesbian couple's house Tuesday as part of a continuing arson investigation.
After consulting with the Missoula County attorney, police lieutenant Gregg Willoughby said investigators asked for and received a district court warrant to search the scorched residence of Carla Grayson, Adrianne Neff, and their toddler son. Willoughby emphasized that the decision to seek the warrant does not mean investigators consider the women themselves as suspects. "We believe there is evidence in there still," he said. "There's no one item we're looking for in there, but we are looking for things to support the arson. This doesn't put any greater suspicion on [Grayson and Neff] or anyone else," Willoughby said. The fire has raised suspicions since it occurred on February 8. It came a few days after Grayson, who is a University of Montana psychology professor, and Neff joined other plaintiffs in filing a lawsuit against the University of Montana, charging that the university system is violating the state constitution by not providing health insurance and other benefits to same-sex partners of gay and lesbian school employees. The plaintiffs, including Grayson and Neff, reportedly received death threats after the lawsuit was filed.

Providence mayor appoints new gay liaisons

The mayor of Providence, R.I., tapped two gay rights advocates on Tuesday to act as the city's liaisons to the gay and lesbian community. Alexis Gorriaran and Lorianne Green were named special assistants by Mayor Vincent Cianci Jr., succeeding W. Fitzgerald Himmelsbach, the city's liaison to the gay and lesbian community since the post was created in 1997.
Himmelsbach announced he would resign earlier this month amid reports that four Massachusetts men may have contracted syphilis at the gay club he runs in Providence. Cianci said he does not believe anything illegal took place at the club, considered the largest in New England with 15,000 members. However, Cianci said, the reports of syphilis among its customers "had an [appearance] of something that we did not want to be involved in." Himmelsbach will remain in his job until Gorriaran and Green begin their duties on February 25.

Michael Douglas to play gay cop on Will & Grace reports that Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas will guest-star as a closeted gay cop who secretly has the hots for Will (Eric McCormack) on the April 24 Will & Grace. Molly Shannon will also return as the high-strung Val on the episode, titled "Fagel Attraction."


Five AIDS quilt chapters disband

At least five of the 30 regional chapters of the Names Project, the organization that maintains the national AIDS quilt, are disbanding, with three of the chapters citing new regulations from the national office in Atlanta as the reason for closing, the Southern Voice reports. Among the new rules are a prevention of local groups from soliciting individual donors, the imposition of fees to use quilt panels, the required adoption of a uniform name by all the chapters, and a dissolution of individual chapter identities in favor of a unified, national image.
"The way the national office treats the chapters is criminal," said Don Coombes, display coordinator for the Long Beach, Calif., chapter, the only Names Project chapter in Southern California. "We're out. We're through. We've had enough." Chapters in Houston and southern New Jersey also are among those folding, with chapters in Washington, D.C., Ohio, and Massachusetts not yet signing the new contract from the national organization. "We don't want to see anyone go," said Names Project managing director Julie Rhoad. "But we have to have rules, and this contract was drawn up by two elected chapter representatives. The vast majority of the chapters returned their contracts with no complaints." The national AIDS quilt currently has about 46,000 panels representing men, women, and children who have died of complications from AIDS. Portions of the quilt are displayed in about 3,000 venues each year.

Adoption Study in Sydney Breaks New Ground

Wednesday, 20 February 2002
SYDNEY -- A first-of-its-kind study conducted by the Australian Medical Association has found no basis for the stubbornly persistent belief that gay parents have a detrimental impact on their kids.
The study complied more than 25 years of research conducted on gay and lesbian parenting in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and Europe and concluded there is no measurable ill-effect on children raised in households headed by gay men or women.
Religious conservatives, particularly in the U.S., jumped on a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Southern California and published in the American Sociological Review which found children raised by lesbian or gay parents show more empathy for social diversity, are less confined by gender stereotypes and are probably more likely to explore same-sex sexual activity.
Among the differences noted, researchers found that the daughters of lesbians tend to be less bound by traditional notions of masculine and feminine. They tend to express themselves more freely in dress and play, show a greater diversity of interests and have higher career aspirations in occupations that are not traditionally female.
Sons of lesbians, conversely, tend to be less aggressive, more nurturing, more demonstrative and more affectionate than boys raised by heterosexual parents.
Noting that these were the only qualitative behavioral differences found in a quarter century's worth of data, the researchers felt confident in releasing their conclusions. The report was prepared by Dr Kerryn Phelps, the president of the Australian Medical Association.
Phelps unveiled the study on Sunday at the Mardi Gras Fair Day in Sydney's Victoria Park. She said she hoped it would dispel "misinformation and propaganda" leveled by conservatives about the "dangers" of gay parenting.
"The fact is that the sexuality of the parents has very little to do with how well the children do in those families," Phelps said."The greatest weapon of the bigot is misinformation. The greatest weapon we have to combat that propaganda is the truth, evidence."
In the United States, a flood of research has come to the same conclusions. The American Academy of Pediatrics said recently that, "a growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with 1 or 2 gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual."
The American Psychological Association reports "not a single study has found children of gay or lesbian parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents."
And the Child Welfare League of America, the nation's premier child advocacy organization, states that "in considering gay and lesbian prospective adoptive parents, sexual orientation and the capacity to nurture a child are separate issues and should not be confused." The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the North American Council on Adoptable Children also support full adoption rights for gay parents.

UK Trade Union Congress Endorses Gay Rights

Wednesday, 20 February 2002
LONDON -- The Guardian reports Britain's Trade Unions Congress, an umbrella group that gives guidance and policy direction to the country's labor unions, said on Friday that the British government had to do more to protect the rights of gay and lesbian workers.
Trade Union Congress
In laying out broad demands for increased government investment in industry, worker training and productivity, TUC general secretary John Monks said the civil rights of all workers must be protected and that these protections necessarily extend beyond the workplace.
The Blair government is currently examining ways of writing gay civil rights reforms into employment law. Under directives set down by the European Union, Britain must include gay men and women in its anti-bias laws by 2003. The current amendments, as proposed, so far do not cover laws on pensions, inheritance or next-of-kin rights.
The TUC says any revisions to labor laws have to be all inclusive and must take into account such beneficiary arrangements. "This new law gives the government the opportunity to provide the gay and lesbian community with comprehensive legal protection against discrimination on sexual grounds," Monks said. "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 confusing signal," he added.

Mainstream Children's Groups Urge End To Florida Gay Adoption Ban

by Fidel Ortega Newscenter in Miami
(February 21, Atlanta) Some of the nation's largest, oldest and most respected children's groups Wednesday told a federal appeals court that Florida's law banning gay adoption hurts kids, in a brief filed in support of the American Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit challenging the adoption ban.
Florida's law - by far the toughest adoption ban in the nation - "not only has no child welfare basis whatsoever, but it also affirmatively hurts children awaiting adoption by depriving them of the opportunity to be adopted by lesbians and gay men who are willing to provide them with loving families," the groups said in legal papers filed Wednesday at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta.
"Today, the nation's most respected voices for children have made it clear that this law is not helping anyone," said Matt Coles, Director of the ACLU Lesbian & Gay Rights Project.
"In fact, it's hurting thousands of people - most urgently the 3,400 kids in foster care in Florida who could be adopted right now if qualified parents came forward."
The brief was filed by the Child Welfare League of America, an 80-year-old organization with 1,000 public and private member agencies serving more than 3 million kids and their families yearly, along with other groups.
Last week, the ACLU filed its written arguments in the appeal, charging that the Florida law unconstitutionally discriminates against lesbians and gay men and deprives children statewide of permanent homes with loving parents.
In their 27-page brief, the children's groups said, "No child welfare basis exists for categorically excluding lesbians and gay men from adopting children. Social science research unanimously demonstrates that lesbians and gay men can be and are good parents, and being raised by lesbian or gay parents is not harmful to children."
The children's groups note that by reducing the pool of qualified adoptive parents, the state of Florida is causing some children to be left with no parents at all. Case-by-case determinations - factoring in each child's individual needs and whether each prospective parent can meet them - is the widely accepted standard for adoptive placement, the groups explain.
The court filing comes comes just two weeks after the American Academy of Paediatrics issued a policy statement supporting "second-parent" adoption by same-sex partners of lesbian and gay parents.
In the Florida case, the ACLU represents three families in a federal lawsuit challenging the gay adoption ban.
Steven Lofton and his partner Roger Croteau are raising five children, including three Florida foster children. Although the kids -- ages 14, 10 and 14 -- have never known another family, they cannot be adopted by Lofton or Croteau because of Florida's law.
Doug Houghton has raised a 10-year-old boy for six years but also cannot adopt him because of Florida's law. When a lower court dismissed the lawsuit last year, the judge said that Houghton and the boy are just as close as biological parents and their children. W
Wayne Smith and Dan Skahen provide foster care to various children as needed, but cannot adopt any children because of Florida's law. The ban on gay adoption was passed by the state legislature in 1977.

Remembering A Victim Of Hate

by Newscenter Staff
(February 21, Montgomery, Alabama) More than 100 people marked the third anniversary of the murder of Billy Jack Gaither with a vigil at the State Capitol Tuesday night.
Gaither was killed by two men who claimed he made homosexual advances toward them. He was beaten to death and his body was burned on a pile of kerosene-soaked tires.
Two men are serving life sentences for the killing.
Speakers at the vigil used it to denounce a decision, last week, by the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Roy Moore, in refusing to grant a lesbian custody of her children, wrote the woman's relationship with another woman made her an unfit parent and that homosexuality is "abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature."
Ken Baker, chairman of Equality Begins at Home of Central Alabama called Moore's remarks, "very irresponsible for a person in a position of power to use language that is so inciteful, and it will lead to more vigils like this one."
Lambda Legal on Wednesday filed a formal complaint with the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission and called for a full investigation of state Chief Justice Moore, saying he is unfit because of his shockingly prejudiced statements against gay people in a recent legal opinion.
"Chief Justice Moore's statements make it abundantly clear that he is incapable of giving any lesbian or gay person in Alabama their fair day in court. Rather than displaying a fair and open mind when addressing legal claims regardless of anyone's sexual orientation, the judge blindly condemns gay people and explicitly refuses to rule based on the actual evidence in a case," said Hector Vargas, regional director of Lambda's Southern Regional Office, which serves communities in Alabama.

Gay Travel Flies In Face Of 9-11 Fears

by Newscenter Staff
(February 21, Los Angeles) Gay travel is one of the major forces in helping the United States recover from the aftermath of September 11 a new survey shows.
The gay tourism business in the US is estimated at $54 billion a year. Following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington travel in general plummeted. But not so for gay and lesbian travel.
Out of the tragedy of the terrorist attacks has come a realization by many tourist destinations that they need the pick buck.
Next month a record number of travel companies and gay friendly destinations will descend on Los Angels for the third International Conference on Gay & Lesbian Tourism.
It is not by chance the organizers of the trade show are calling it: "Opening Doors Around the World for Gay & Lesbian Travelers".
In an online survey of 510 gay and lesbian travelers, taken October 1-15, 2001, respondents indicated they'd be taking as many vacations in the coming 12 months as in the past 12. For 66% of them, that means three or more vacations per year.
This year's travel show will be held March 4-6 at the Wyndham Bel Age Hotel in West Hollywood and will include more than 100 leaders in the tourism industry, including government tourism offices, convention & visitors bureaus, airlines, cruise lines, tour operators, accommodations, events and media.
Virtually the whole world will be represented at the conference, from Tahiti to Sweden. The keynote address will be given by Canadian Olympic Swimming gold medallist Mark Tewksbury. The out Tewksbury will be speaking on Montreal's successful Gay Games 2006 bid.

Robbie's Album Check For Gay Messages

A gay magazine in the US has been checking out Robbie William's latest album for gay messages.
An article in The Advocate magazine discusses whether his album 'Swing While You're Winning' contains messages about his sexuality.
The Advocate, columnist Larry Flick says: "Despite Williams's assertions of heterosexuality, queer listeners-have been scouring his recordings for glimmers of proof of the opposite".
"The tiny morsel offered during Me And My Shadow (which includes Williams ad-libbing, 'We're closer than Ricky to confessing he's gay') only adds fuel to the fire." The debate on Robbie's sexuality continues.

Panama Gays Fight Homophobia

The gay community in Panama are fighting homophobia in a struggle to be accepted for society.
In Panama you can lose your job for being gay. There are no gay lobbyists, no openly gay politicians and no local gay magazines.
Society in Panama is unashamedly macho society and it is not uncommon to hear homophobic music on the radio, according to a report by Reuters.
During Panama's pre-Lenten carnival, however, the country's gay population are granted permission to run their own floats in a carnival and choose a carnival queen.
"Carnival is the only time that we as Panama's gays can be open about our sexuality," Jorge, a gay marketing student told Reuters.
Outside carnival time homophobia is rife and gay tourists have been told to avoid Panama.
Although consensual homosexual relationships between adults are legal, attempts to form legitimate gay organisations in Panama have so far been blocked.
Panama's first lesbian and gay organisation, Asociacion Hombres y Mujeres Nuevos de Panama, was denied legal registration in January last year. An effort to launch a gay political party has also sunk. There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. Last year several TV soap operas introduced gay characters and more gay bars and clubs are opening in Panama City. Society, however, is still unwilling to accept that any of its business heads or politicians may be gay. There are rumours that some may be, but none have been willing to 'come out' publicly.

Latino Gays Are Finding Life a Little Easier

February 19, 2002, Knight Ridder/Tribune
They come from a culture that prefers to keep their sexual orientation hush-hush - the type of suffocating environment where townsfolk point fingers and cluck disapprovingly because a person is gay or lesbian.
It's a culture that sends them fleeing from Latin America, into what they believe will be the welcoming arms of U.S. society.
"All the messages about gays in Latin American countries are negative messages," says Juan Martin Castillo, bilingual project coordinator for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG, of Orange County, Calif.
Hispanic gays are ostracized by a macho culture that dictates men should be strong, silent, sexually potent partners with the opposite sex but certainly not the same sex, Castillo says. They are told they are sick, they are sinners and they are going to hell. They even face resistance from Catholic teachings, which disapprove of homosexuality, he says.
"They come fleeing from their sexual orientation. They come as if to hide here because in their countries they aren't accepted," says Castillo.
So imagine their disappointment, their anger, their frustration in finding the same resistance among U.S. Latinos.
Back in the 1990s, I met playwright, poet and performing artist Luis Alfaro during a performance at my college. I was impressed by his in-your-face humor and candid observances of life's ironies.
But most of all I felt the deep pain he projected after being rejected by the Latino community because he was gay.
Later, as I followed his career, I would recall Alfaro's sadness when I read of other artists calling Alfaro a plague on the Latino community.
How could our culture, based on a religion that preaches acceptance, cast out a brilliant artist?
The rejection wasn't limited to Alfaro. For many years, though Latino gays and lesbians worked in our midst, lived in our neighborhoods, I saw other Latinos deny their existence, turn them away, close the door.
That is, until, recently.
Last fall, Showtime's "Resurrection Blvd.," a drama about an East L.A. Mexican family, featured an episode about a Latino coming out of the closet. "Saliendo" or "Coming out," as the episode was titled, revolved around Tommy Corrales (Doug Spain) and the Thanksgiving weekend where he revealed to his parents that he is gay.
Last month, PFLAG of Orange County, which for 20 years has facilitated the coming-out process for gays and lesbians, held its first regular meeting for Spanish-speaking members. It's the first PLFAG en Espanol in the nation.
And just a few weeks ago, on his Saturday-afternoon radio talk show "Cafe California," host Cris Franco moderated a debate on gay and lesbian marriage rights, featuring an all-Latino panel.
Describing the topic as unmined territory, Franco says he was inspired to do the show, having never seen the topic broached from the Latino perspective and in English.
"We find ourselves in an American society where it should be all right to talk about these things," Franco says. "But our culture is still with us, which is the purpose of Cafe California."
Latinos, he says, aren't like Irish or Italian immigrants. Because of the proximity of Latin American countries, there is a constant influx of new immigrants who keep the culture alive.
"Even though we're being inundated by American culture, we still hold on to our culture," Franco says.
Case in point: An electronic e-poll conducted by Cafe California and the Web site asked Southern California residents, "Do you find American Latino culture to be more, less, or equally accepting of homosexuals than the U.S. predominantly Anglo culture?"
The results: 9 percent said American Latino culture is more accepting; 75 percent said it was less accepting; and 16 percent said it was equally accepting.
There are many Latinos who would agree with Franco's panelist, Art Pedroza Jr., a Republican activist in Orange County, who spoke against teaching about homosexual issues in our schools.
But as Franco also points, more and more Latinos are beginning to speak up and counter the Pedrozas of the community by teaching tolerance of sexual orientation. He received many e-mails from viewers who expressed the need to break down the walls of silence.
The cultural barriers may take generations to overcome, but as Joshua Stern, writer and supervising producer for "Resurrection Blvd." discovered, even just placing the issue in the open helps overcome the silence.
After a special screening of the episode at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, Stern says several gay Latinos approached him and told him the show was like a replica of their own lives. A few teens also confided they were going to watch the show with their parents to gauge their reaction.
The episode's inspiration came from creator and executive producer Dennis Leoni, whose brother was gay and died of AIDS. Stern says he tried not to end the episode with a conveniently wrapped conclusion.
"It was quite a fissure within this (`Resurrection Blvd.') family that they will have to deal with this season, and ending it that way to me spoke to real life," Stern says. ``(Homosexuality) is not a topic that's easy for anybody, in any culture, to talk to with their parents."
(Yvette Cabrera is a columnist for The Orange County Register. Write to her at The Orange County Register, P.O. Box 11626, Santa Ana, Calif. 92711 or send e-mail to ) (c) 2002, The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.).

Most French would not be shocked by Gay President; Poll

February 20, 2002, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa)
Nearly three out of four French adults would not be shocked by a homosexual president, according to a survey released on Wednesday in Paris.
The survey, carried out by the public research company SOFRES for Wednesday's edition of the magazine Tetu, found that 73 per cent of its respondents would accept a homosexual president, a significant increase over 1997 (46 per cent) and 1981 (30 per cent).
On the other hand, 26 per cent of those asked found the idea of a homosexual French president shocking. In 1997, that figure stood at 52 per cent, and was at 61 per cent in 1981.
None of the announced candidates for this spring's presidential elections, which will take place April 21 and May 5, is a declared homosexual.
The survey was carried out in early February with a representative sample of 1,000 French adults. Copyright 2002 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

Warning Over Gay Opera Scenes

The English National Opera has warned its patrons about their new production of Verdi's 'A Masked Ball' over its inclusion of a gay rape scene.
The ENO issued the warning to the public in its season brochure, which read: "Those who prefer something more traditional should be warned that there will be some violent and adult scenes as well as black humour and, in Verdi`s words, `fire, excitement, disorder`."
The production has already hit setbacks and controversy with the withdrawal of one of its leading performers. Julian Gavin, the tenor originally cast in the leading role of King Gustavus, resigned on "moral and artistic grounds". Gavin said he could not appear in a production to which he felt unable to bring his children.
A spokesman for the opera said that although it did not appear in Verdi's original staging, the rape reflected the brutal political environment against which the production is set. He said. "It`s not about sex, it`s about aggression and violence."
The production is directed by Calixto Bieito. It originally opened in Barcelona, where it was jeered at the première. © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.

Inquest Hears of Gay Student Death

An inquest has heard the case of a student who was killed when he fell under a train just hours after coming out as gay to his parents.
Westminster coroner`s court heard how Frederick Hodder, of Cambridge University, left home in a "distressed state" after revealing his sexuality to his family.
Police Inspector Anthony Lodge said Hodder`s parents, Roland and Monroe, described their son as a gifted and happy young man who had a tendency to "over-analyse".
Lodge said Hodder's coming out "Caused some family arguments during that afternoon. The son had been very depressed and showed strange behaviour, barricading himself in his room."
Hodder's parents last saw their son when they returned home from a party. Lodge said: "He was in a distressed state. They called for him to come back, but he left the area." Roland and Monroe Hodder discovered their son's death from the US embassy the following day.
According to Professor Sir Colin Berry, Hodder had a large amount of alcohol in his system when he fell under an Underground train at South Kensington London Underground station shortly before midnight on 29 December last year. Berry explained the level of alcohol in itself could have proved fatal.
Hugo Pinto, the Tube driver, told the court he noticed Hodder standing at one end of the platform, walking towards the edge. "He sat down on the platform with his legs hanging over. I was worried I would hit his legs. I started blowing the whistle and slammed on the emergency brake," Pinto said, adding: "It was inevitable I would hit the person."
The cause of death was multiple head injuries, including a fractured skull.
Recording an open verdict, Dr Paul Knapman, the coroner, said: "This is a person with such a high level of alcohol. Can it be truly said that, on the evidence, the deceased formulated the intention he should end his life that evening at the age of 21? I think the evidence is insufficient to say that is so beyond reasonable doubt." © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.

Gay Penguins Spotted at Zoo

Zookeepers in New York have discovered a pair of gay penguins.
Wendell and Cass, a pair of 14 year-old black-footed penguins, have been mating with one another in their enclosure at the New York Aquarium.
The black-footed penguins have been together for about eight years. Staff only recently found out that the pair were both male after performing blood tests on the birds.
Angie Pelekedis, a spokeswoman for the aquarium, said: "They`re one of the most dedicated couples in the penguin enclosure. They sleep in the same nest. They even have sex, though I don`t know how successful that is."
Penguin keeper Stephanie Mitchell added: "I was only seeing one mate with the other, but then one of the other keepers saw it happen the other way round. We did a blood test that proved they were both male."
She continued: "Cass tends to be a rather aggressive bird. Wendell is very nervous; always has been. He`s on edge all the time. They`re currently in a dispute with another couple over their nest. It seems to be one of the most desirable places in the penguin enclosure." © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 02/20/02 Information is power!

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In response to the information on Jerry Falwell, and why he apologized

By: (The Rev.) Chet Thompson, former Nazarene Associate Pastor

The reason is because of the Liberty Baptist Church
College-Age Pastor, who is also a Professor at Liberty University,
who is involved in a MAJOR GAY SCANDAL and COVER-UP, that has been
reported in the "Potty Papers", but has also been reported in the
Fundamental Evangelical Churches News Forums, including the Church of
the Nazarene, with a request for prayer that this scandal will not
break open into open warfare against the Evangelical Churches.
It has been covered up by Falwell, his cohort in Crime, Pat
Robertson, who also asked for prayer, and the Assemblies of God, as
well as, the other members of the Religious Right Church
Denominations. They are attempting to keep this very quiet, becaused
it involves this Assistant of Falwell's, and upwards from 80 male
students! This man is a personal protege of Falwell, and has been
promoted by Falwell in the last few years. He is 36 years old and
admitted it and turned in his resignation to Falwell, who immediately
shut down all Public Relations News Releases unless signed by him,
and the information started coming out at the end of September, and
early October. The main reason why it hasn't been reported more is
the facts about the "American Taliban", and the Enron Scndal. GW Bush
knows about this possible additional torpedo to his administration,
and has shut down any comments as well. Bush doesn't want this to
come out at a time when he is trying to make the American Public that
his Religious Right backers are still ok even though Kenneth Lay of
Enron is one of them.
Many investigative reporters have tried to get more information out
of LBU, but Falwell informed the Student Body that anyone caught
giving information to the Press without his specific approval would
be expelled from the University. By the Way, from the sources I have
the Pastor was NOT allowed to leave or resign. I presume that is so
that Falwell, can keep the lid on longer. Anyone from a Religious
Press Credentialed Source might have a better chance of finding out
more information at the University.
I will continue to pursue information as well and pass it on.
(The Rev.) Chet Thompson, former Nazarene Associate Pastor


NEWS from the Human Rights Campaign
919 18th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
Tuesday, Feb.19, 2002
Contact: David M. Smith
Phone: (202) 216-1547
Pager: (800) 386-5996
Judge Has Contempt for both Modern Science and the U.S.
Constitution, Says HRC
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today called remarks about gay and
lesbian people made by Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore
"contemptible" and a "disgrace" to the legal profession. In his concurrence
with a 9-0 legal decision that denied custody of three children to their
lesbian mother, the Justice gratuitously attacked lesbian and gay families,
said HRC.
According to the judge, homosexuality is an "inherent evil, and if a
person openly engages in such a practice, that fact alone would render him
or her an unfit parent."
"Judge Moore's remarks are contemptible and he ought to recuse himself from
future cases involving gay issues because he is clearly prejudiced and unfit
to make unbiased rulings," said Seth Kilbourn, the Human Rights Campaign's
national field director.
"Chief Justice Moore's homophobic diatribe reveals an ignorance and judicial
intemperance not befitting a chief justice of a state supreme court. He is
not worthy of his position," added HRC Legal Director Tony Varona.
"Justice Moore's disparaging comments are offensive, reprehensible and a
violation of public trust," said David White, state coordinator, Gay and
Lesbian Alliance of Alabama. "We are calling for an ethics investigation
because he obviously cannot impartially hear a case involving gay and
lesbian citizens."
Moore's remarks about gay people as parents are ill-informed and erroneous,
according to Lisa Bennett, who runs HRC FamilyNet, the family project of the
Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
"Earlier this month, the American Academy of Pediatrics joined a growing
body of child welfare organizations that have issued policy statements
asserting that a parent's sexual orientation is irrelevant to his or her
ability to raise a child," Bennett said. "In addition, leading psychological
organizations, such as the American Psychological Association, have declared
that sexual orientation is not a determinant of good parenting."
Moore has a history of imposing his theocratic opinions on all of
Alabama's citizens. Moore once defied a fellow Alabama judge's order to
remove a plaque of the Ten Commandments from his courtroom. For this action,
Moore became a Religious Right celebrity, receiving awards and appearing in
their media as a hero. In 1999, Moore received the Family, Faith, and
Freedom Citation presented by the anti-gay group the Family Research
Council. He also appeared on Pat Robertson's 700 Club, D. James Kennedy's
Coral Ridge Hour and James Dobson's Focus on the Family.
On Feb. 4, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement
supporting legal and legislative efforts to provide second-parent or
co-parent adoptions to same-sex couples. The academy based its position on a
review of scientific literature, which led it to conclude that such
adoptions are in the best interests of children.
The policy statement is published in the February 2002 issue of Pediatrics,
a peer-reviewed academic journal. It urges AAP members to "support the right
of every child and family to the financial, psychological and legal security
that results from having legally recognized parents who are committed to
each other and the welfare of their children." The statement is accompanied
by a technical report that provides details from the best available
scientific studies of children who grow up with gay or lesbian parents.
More information on adoption laws is available at .
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.

We want our gay TV

Showtime and MTV partner to create a gay cable channel-but will they be first across the finish line?
By Erik Meers
From The Advocate, March 5, 2002
While studying the feelings of gays and lesbians about the idea of creating a gay cable TV channel, Showtime senior vice president Gene Falk and MTV consultant Matt Farber got some surprising results. "It blew our researchers away," recalls Falk, describing the data collected for their parent company, media powerhouse Viacom. "The magnitude of the response was the best they have ever seen for a premium service. I'm out. Matt's out. So it wasn't like we were in the dark about this. The gay community is a vastly underserved market in mainstream media."
Viacom agreed. In mid January the conglomerate announced that it is planning a 24-hour premium gay-oriented cable channel, a joint venture between Showtime and MTV-two networks already known for their gay-friendly fare. "The gay market is a large, diverse market, and it's willing to pay for programs, for a voice of its own," says Farber. "Will & Grace is wonderful, but it still needs to conform to make sure it's a top five show. By having a dedicated channel, you can show a diversity of story lines. But there's no question we wouldn't be here without Queer as Folk being a success, without Will & Grace being in the [coveted] Seinfeld time slot."
There's no scheduled launch date (although published reports have speculated at early 2003), but Falk and Farber are hard at work developing a business plan for the yet-unnamed channel. The model calls for charging a modest flat monthly fee for the service, with additional revenue generated through PBS-style program sponsorships.
"The gay community probably represents something north of 10 million adults," says Farber. "That represents significant buying power. Whenever you connect with and give a voice to people, it's always a good business plan."
Predictably, the right wing has come out swinging against the very concept of a gay TV channel. In a recent appearance on Fox News, conservative battle-ax the Rev. Jerry Falwell commented, "If we are going to go that route, then when are we going to create a channel for those who enjoy kiddie porn? When are we going to do a channel-a legal channel-for those involved in or submitting to bestiality?"
Gay activists have been quick to join the fray, countering that because the channel would require users to subscribe and pay for the service, no one who doesn't actively seek out the channel will see it. After all, cable already works on the principle of niche marketing, as Lifetime TV for women and Black Entertainment Television attest.
Nevertheless, observes Joan Garry, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, "it's not surprising to me that the Right has come out against this. They've been loudly opposed to any images of gay people." Garry, who has worked for Showtime and MTV, adds, "[Both networks] have done groundbreaking work before, and it has proved to be both smart business and the right thing to do."
Though no specific programs have yet been selected, planners have plenty of ideas on how to fill the 24-hour slate. "We're going to acquire movies and documentaries that aren't available in video stores," says Farber. "There are potential series. There will be news, talk shows, relationship shows. No doubt, it's going to be a challenge."
Part of the difficulty will be in appealing to all the elements of the wildly diverse gay community in a single channel. "I don't think it's possible for an organization to represent everyone all the time," says Falk. "You try to represent people as fairly as you can. But I think there are things gay people share-coming out and living in a straight world. I hope that by having a 24-hour community channel, we can appeal to lots of different kinds of audiences."
Some observers have their doubts. "How are they going to be representing the gay community?" wonders Charles Ignacio, executive producer of In the Life, the 10-year-old public television series that explores the lives of gays and lesbians. "Our mission is to make sure we are showing the face of the different parts of the gay community. We don't have the same economic drives as a cable channel. So we're very committed to educating the audience. But we're happy about [Viacom's channel], because we think the more, the merrier."
Indeed, the Showtime-MTV channel won't be alone in competing for gay viewers. David McKillop, a veteran of the Discovery Channel, has cofounded MDC, a company that plans to launch its own gay cable service, ALT1-TV. The company is currently seeking investors but says it plans to air commercials and run on basic cable.
Another business model is being floated by indie distributor Regent Entertainment, which produced cable's Twilight of the Golds and distributed such low-budget films as Speedway Junky. In January, Regent launched Here Releasing, which among other things aims to present two gay-oriented films per month via pay-per-view and video-on-demand cable.
Whoever wins the race in the U.S. market, Canada is already getting its gay TV. PrideVision, which launched in September 2001, calls itself the first successful channel serving the GLBT community. It's available on all major cable and satellite channels in Canada-and judging from Locker Room, PrideVision's raunchy half-hour sports show, U.S. viewers will be clamoring to hook up. But can we see PrideVision in the United States? "Not legally," says Anna McCusker, vice president of marketing for the channel. "We've heard of some people getting it, but we can't figure out how." PrideVision does, however, plan to expand. "We are applying to be on all the major service providers in the U.S.," McCusker says. "It won't be long." Given those plans, how does PrideVision feel about Viacom's venture? "We feel great," she replies. "We believe that we were the catalysts."
Still, with Viacom's megabucks behind it, the MTV-Showtime channel remains the lavender elephant in the cable box. Since Viacom's studies indicate that the gay and lesbian audience feels starved for news about the community, the new channel will offer an array of current-events programming. Falk and Farber also promise that the service will function as a sort of national town hall for gays and lesbians. "We want to make it part of the community," says Farber. "We want to make it inclusive of the existing institutions as well as making room for new voices. It's going to be very, very exciting." And Falk, a founding member of GLAAD's national board of directors, hopes there will be room for some of the guilty pleasures that are signatures of its parent networks. "You find that gay people want their schlock just like everyone else does," he says. "You want to see sappy, romantic movies. Just imagine what a gay Temptation Island would be like, a Real World where all the people are gay except one straight one in the background."

U. Michigan Kiss-In Rally Met with Little Protest

U-WIRE 2/18/2002
by Karen Schwartz and Samantha Woll
(U-WIRE) ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- This year there were no protesters, there were no small children holding signs bearing anti-gay messages and the Michigan Peace Team members did not have to intervene in any potentially violent or dangerous situations.
While not as riotous as last year's Kiss-In when members of the anti-gay Reverand Fred Phelps' congregation came to protest against the demonstration, peace team member Sheri Wander said the annual Queer Visibility Rally and Kiss-in gave participants a chance to voice their views without any sentiments of fear.
"We weren't asked to intervene in any confrontational situations as opposed to last year when we had to intervene in a dozen or so," Wander said. "I think it was really important that this year people felt they could speak out and be visible with less immediate risk."
The Kiss-In concluded Queer Visibility Week and addressed awareness and activism as well as changes speakers said should be made with regard to the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
Rally speaker Dave Garcia acknowledged what he said were many positive initiatives taking place with regard to the LGBT community on campus, but said he has "had enough of the wait-and-see mentality" on certain issues.
"We will not accept this University's support of the United Way campaign. ... This administration has a responsibility to adequately fund the LGBT Affairs Office, to drop the Boy Scouts of America ... to drop support of the United Way campaign," he said.
The University donates funds to the Washtenaw County United Way, which supports the Boy Scouts of America, an organization that does not allow homosexual scout leaders.
Garcia addressed this and other discriminations facing homosexuals in today's society. "Until I can hold the hand of a young person and it not be assumed that I am anything more than a friend and a role model, I will not be satisfied," he said.
LSA senior Jennifer Gallinat said she skipped biology class to attend the event and show her support.
"This is worth skipping a lot of things for because gay rights are not special rights, they're human rights," Gallinat said. "If one group of people can lose their freedom and their right to life then it's only a short step before all of us lose our freedom and right to life."
She added that it was important "to show the rest of the world that we will not be silent and that we are here among you."
"Every single day of the year is heterosexual visibility," she said.
Defend Affirmative Action Party representative Agnes Aleobua, who also spoke at the event, said despite potential controversy, it is essential for members of the LGBT community to be strong in their beliefs and opinions.
"History has taught us that in order to make change in society we have to stand up and fight. ... There can be no successful movement in our society that is not prepared to stand up against the oppression," Aleobua said.
She emphasized the connection between sexism, racism and homophobia and asked that others "demand real social equality in all aspects of society."
She also urged those attending the rally to "send a message to the University community - we're going to be out, we're going to be loud and we're going to be proud."
Following the rally on the Diag, 25 students protested outside the Fleming Administration Building to show their disfavor with the University's continued involvement with the Washtenaw County United Way and to get the University Board of Regents' attention, LSA senior Pierce Beckham said.
After finding out the regents were not in the building, five protesters went up to the president's office where they engaged in an hour-long discussion with interim President B. Joseph White.
Beckham said they discussed issues such as campus safety for LGBT students, the inability of the Office of LGBT affairs to function properly and support students due to funding issues and the University's involvement with the United Way.
"President White was receptive to our comments," Beckham said.
"He seemed to understand the various dynamics of the issue and I feel that he's working on it to the best of his ability. My own personal feeling is that if he had his way, change would come relatively quickly."
Beckham said he considered the day to be success. "I think we accomplished more than the goals we set out for the day," he said. (C) 2002 Michigan Daily via U-WIRE

Dog-maul trial begins in Los Angeles / Network
Tuesday, February 19, 2002 / 05:08 PM
SUMMARY: In opening remarks, the prosecutor argued that the dogs' owners had been warned about their dangerous pets, which killed Diane Whipple.
In opening statements in the criminal dog-mauling trial in Los Angeles, the prosecutor argued on Tuesday that the dogs' owners had been warned about their dangerous pets, which fatally attacked lacrosse coach Diane Whipple last year.
Promising to present at least 30 examples of such warnings, San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Jim Hammer also told jurors that one of the presa canario dogs owned by the defendants, Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller, had bit off part of Noel's finger, the Associated Press reported.
Hammer also noted that one of the dogs had previously bitten Whipple on the hand.
Jurors were shown photos of Whipple's injuries from the attack, which occurred in the hallway of her San Francisco apartment building on Jan. 26, 2001. Whipple's domestic partner, Sharon Smith, reportedly left the courtroom when the photos were displayed.
Nedra Ruiz, defense attorney for Knoller, countered by saying that her client was not accustomed to violent behavior from the dogs, AP reported, and that she threw herself on Whipple to protect her.
Both Noel and Knoller are charged with involuntary manslaughter and owning a mischievous animal that killed a human being. Knoller, who was walking the dogs at the time of the attack, is also charged with second-degree murder. Both dogs have since been destroyed. The trial was moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles because of extensive publicity about the case.

Ex-seminarian sues over priests' advances

Tom Musbach, / Network
Tuesday, February 19, 2002 / 05:15 PM
SUMMARY: The New Jersey Supreme Court will hear the case of a former Catholic seminarian who is suing the Diocese of Camden because he was allegedly sexually harassed by priests.
The New Jersey Supreme Court has decided to consider the case of a former Catholic seminarian who is suing the Diocese of Camden because he was allegedly subject to repeated sexual harassment from priests.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Christopher McKelvey, 39, says that he was harassed so often after entering the seminary in 1985 that he was forced to abandon the priesthood.
The high court's unprecedented decision follows rejections by two lower courts that refused to hear the case because it reportedly violates the First Amendment by asking the court to interpret matters of church doctrine.
McKelvey's lawyer, Stephen Rubino, told the Inquirer that the case involves "neutral principles of law" that do not blur the separation of church and state.
McKelvey, a resident of Atlantic City, is reportedly suing for unspecified damages, and his lawsuit claims that diocesan leaders "permitted and encouraged inappropriate sexual conduct" while ignoring his complaints. He says three priests made sexual advances, asked him intimate questions about masturbation and repeatedly invited him to gay bars.
A spokesman for the Camden diocese said that its investigation into the matter found McKelvey's sexual harassment allegations "not credible."
All Catholic priests take a vow of celibacy before ordination, but recent publicized incidents suggest that a growing number of priests are getting caught breaking that vow. Last month a Boston priest was convicted of indecent assault on a 10-year-old boy, and the Boston Archdiocese subsequently handed over to prosecutors the names of 80 other priests accused of sexual abuses.
In his book "Sex, Priests and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis," psychotherapist Richard Sipe, who counsels Catholic clergy, estimates that 2 percent of priests actually achieve celibacy. Sipe is also a former priest. The high court will decide later this month whether McKelvey's suit can go to trial, the Inquirer reported.

Canada lawmakers get marriage petition

Ben Thompson,
Tuesday, February 19, 2002 / 05:18 PM
SUMMARY: A petition demanding an end to discrimination against same-sex couples was handed to four members of Parliament Tuesday morning.
OTTAWA -- A petition demanding an end to discrimination against same-sex couples was handed to four members of Parliament Tuesday morning.
The petition, organized by EGALE, Canada's national GLBT rights organization, was signed by 15,000 people.
EGALE Executive Director John Fisher told a morning news conference on Parliament Hill that the petition was signed on Valentine's Day.
"As Canadians celebrated Valentine's Day last week, many couples did so knowing that their relationships continue to be stigmatized by their own government as unworthy and inferior."
The petition was given to National Democratic Party Member of Parliament (MP) Svend Robinson, Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett and Bloc Québécois MPs Réal Ménard and Caroline St.-Hilaire.
The federal government's definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman is being challenged in both Ontario and Quebec courts. It is expected the issue will end up in the Supreme Court.
While Canada has extended partnership rights to gay and lesbian couples, it has refused to grant full marriage.
"The government's refusal to let us marry undermines our ability to celebrate our love and our lives on equal terms with our heterosexual counterparts; it denies us the freedom to make our own choices; and it sends a message to all Canadians that we do not deserve to be treated with equal dignity and respect," Fisher said.
Fisher pointed to public opinion polls showing two-thirds of Canadians support equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. The Canadian Law Reform Commission, a government-funded advisory board, has also endorsed legislation legalizing gay and lesbian marriage.
"The 15,000 Canadians who signed this petition are calling upon Parliament to put an end to discrimination. The protection of true family values requires that all families be respected equally," Fisher said.
Svend Robinson, one of two openly gay MPs, said: "It's now up to the new Justice Minister to recognize the right of gay and lesbian partners to have the equal choice of marriage."
The New Democratic Party MP said: "The government should stop wasting tens of thousands of taxpayers' money in fighting equality in the courts, show leadership and amend the law now." The other out MP, the Bloc Québécois' MPs Réal Ménard, said: "The federal government's refusal to recognize same-sex couples' right to marry reinforces attitudes of intolerance and discrimination and is inconsistent with the values of equality, dignity and respect."

Lesbian mom will appeal to Supreme Court

A lesbian mother trying to get custody of her three children will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse last week's Alabama supreme court decision awarding the children to their father. On Friday the nine-member state supreme court ruled unanimously in favor of a Birmingham man and against his ex-wife, who lives with her gay partner in Southern California. The Alabama supreme court reversed a lower court decision that had awarded custody to the mother. The parents weren't named in court documents to protect the identity of their teenage children.
Birmingham attorney Wendy Crew, who represents the mother, said Monday that she will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider an appeal because the case represents a conflict between two states' laws. "The state of California has legitimized my client's relationship," Crews said in reference to her client's registered domestic partnership, which is legal in California. "Judge [Roy] Moore has said her relationship is criminal. You've got a horrible conflict of law here. Judge Moore is failing to give full faith and credit to California law," Crew said.
The Alabama supreme court's main decision did not mention the domestic partnership, but the chief justice's concurring opinion did. Moore wrote that the mother's homosexuality makes her an unfit parent and that homosexuality is "abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature." Meanwhile, an Alabama state representative said Sunday that he will file an ethics complaint against Moore over his ruling. Rep. Alvin Holmes said language in Moore's 35-page opinion that claims all homosexuals are inherently evil violates the state judicial ethics canon and that Moore should be removed from office. "The statutes of Alabama, the constitution of Alabama, and the Constitution of the United States do not designate blacks, Hispanics, gays, Jews, lesbians, Asians, Muslims, or others as evil," Holmes said. "It's almost inconceivable the chief justice of the state would take a position like that."

Cincinnati boycott causes rift in gay PAC

A gay rights advocacy group's decision to support a boycott against the city of Cincinnati has caused four of its members to quit in protest.
Three committee members of the Greater Cincinnati Stonewall Political Action Committee Inc. have resigned and another plans to quit this week to protest the group's decision to support a racially motivated boycott of Cincinnati.
Last week Stonewall cochairs Roy Ford and Heidi Bruins joined black activists, who demand that Cincinnati officials improve race relations, to announce their support for the boycott. Civil rights group Coalition for a Just Cincinnati advocated the boycott since riots in April, which were sparked when a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man who had fled police trying to arrest him on misdemeanor charges. The four resigning members say Stonewall's support of the boycott could threaten the group's primary objective of removing a provision from the city's charter that voters approved in 1993. The provision makes Cincinnati the only city in the country to prohibit its city council from passing gay rights legislation. To repeal the provision, Stonewall needs a broad coalition of support, including the black and business communities, the dissenting Stonewall members said. "My concern is the boycott issue may alienate more people than it makes us friends, and could make the repeal...more difficult," said Freeman Durham, one of the members resigning from the committee.

Convict pleads gay panic in murder of cell mate

Jurors in Muskegon County, Mich., on Thursday heard conflicting accounts of Michael Glenn Keep, a 31-year-old prison inmate on trial for the April 2000 death of 43-year-old Paul Edward Chmiel, who shared a cell with Keep at Muskegon's Brooks Correctional Facility. Prosecutors say Keep brutalized his much smaller cell mate, while the defense contends that Chmiel's sexual aggressiveness toward Keep pushed the larger man over the edge.
Keep is charged with open murder. That means that any possible conviction could range from first-degree premeditated murder to involuntary manslaughter, according to the Muskegon Chronicle.
Keep--calling Chmiel a "drag queen homosexual" who repeatedly propositioned him, smelled bad, and tried to steal from him--had tried numerous times to get a different cell mate, he said in a written statement to police the day after Chmiel's death. The killing reportedly happened after Chmiel offered to perform oral sex on Keep in return for cigarettes. Keep in his statement said that he got angry, slapped Chmiel, and then--after Chmiel stood up and tried to fight Keep by "flailing his arms"--grabbed him, turned him around, and pushed him against the bunk until he stopped struggling.
Prosecutors drew attention to the difference in size between the two men. According to Department of Corrections records, Keep, a weight lifter, is 6-foot-4 inches tall and weighs 250 pounds. Chmiel was 6 feet tall and weighed 144 pounds. "Paul Chmiel was a wisp of a person," said county assistant prosecutor Victor A. Fitz. "The motivation of the defendant was not fear of this 144-pound person. The motivations were some of the most ancient and primitive motivations of man...anger, selfishness, and irritation." Court-appointed defense lawyer Joseph A. Fisher presented a distinctly different picture of his client, saying Keep was driven beyond endurance by his sexually aggressive cell mate and may have unintentionally caused his death while trying to subdue him in a fight.

Oregon school apologizes for pro-gay speakers

Officials at a high school in the Portland suburb of Gresham, Ore., apologized Friday for not allowing students to leave classes featuring gay and lesbian panelists as part of the school's annual diversity week. Several speakers from Vanguard Youth Services, a Portland organization that offers programs for sexual minority youth, visited the high school's English, drama, and health classes. About two dozen parents complained to Centennial High School that their children were forced to listen to discussions on homosexuality without first obtaining their parents' permission. "We didn't set an appropriate staging for this issue to be addressed in a right way," principal Curt Heath said Friday. "I'm not saying this shouldn't be covered, but it does not represent our curriculum. This is kind of new stuff that public schools shouldn't jump to. The issue is so political and reaches into the religious value systems of so many families."

Lesbians On Arson Suspect List

by Newscenter Staff
(February 20, Missoula, Montana) Police say the lesbian couple whose home was torched (story) after they joined a discrimination suit against the University of Montana are considered suspects in the fire.
Lt. Gregg Willoughby said investigators are pursuing two scenarios: that someone broke into Carla Grayson and Adrianne Neff's house and started the fire or that the women set the February 8 fire themselves.
Willoughby said investigators "will continue to interview people and examine evidence."
The fire occurred days after Grayson and Neff filed the lawsuit against the university system because it does not provide benefits and health insurance to same-sex partners of gay and lesbian employees. Grayson is a psychology professor at UM.
Willoughby said the investigative team would like to talk to Grayson and Neff again. The women were cooperative during initial discussions with police, but have not been interviewed since the day after the fire.
"It's just a matter of the guys setting up an interview and getting together with their attorney," he said. "From our perspective, we just want to learn all the facts." Willoughby also said Investigators want to talk to other potential suspects, including an unidentified person who police say has made derogatory remarks about gays and lesbians in the past and recently had made statements about the fire.

Bible Thumping Legislator Helps Gay Students

by Fidel Ortega Newscenter in Miami
(February 20, Tallahassee, Florida) About 80 gay and lesbian students from across Florida gathered at the Capitol this week to support a measure by two Broward County legislators designed to protect them from harassment and abuse in public schools.
There are no laws prohibiting harassment of any kind in Florida schools. The Florida Dignity for all Students Coalition says bullying of gay and lesbian students goes unchecked and is an everyday occurrence in schools.
"How can we ask our students to go to school, get a good education and be productive when we cannot ensure that they will be safe and treated with dignity at all times?" said Rep. Ken Gottlieb, D-Miramarone one of the sponsors of the bill.
"We must work toward a day when no child is left to fend for themselves in school and every child is made to feel human all of the time."
Florida Dignity for all Students Coalition's Chris Vasquez, says he feels the bill has a good chance of passing thanks to a right-wing, Bible thumping Republican.
Last year when Vasquez , and a handful of other gay students went to the capitol to lobby for legislation, Rep. Allen Trovillion told the group to stop sinning or face the wrath of God.
Trovillion told the students that gays did not need "special treatment" under state law. Then, he told them to change their ways, pointing out that, in the Bible, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuals.
His remarks brought rebukes from fellow lawmakers from Tallahassee to Washington.
"It's gotten a lot further this year because of what happened with Trovillion last year," said Vasquez.
But, the legislationt still may not get to the floor of the legislature.
The "Dignity for All Students Act" seeks to extend anti-discrimination laws specifically to public schools and any private schools that receive any state funding. Schools would be required to train teachers and other school personnel to recognize and deal with harassment in classrooms.
Rep. Fred Brummer who chairs the State Administration committee must sign off on the proposal before it gets to the House Floor.
Brummer said there was no way he would let it be heard in his committee. The students say will keep coming back and building support until the legislation is passed, no matter how long it takes.

Australia Anti-Gay Protest As Parliament Debates Rights

by Peter Hacker Newscenter in Sydney
(February 20, Perth, Western Australia) Debate continues today in the Western Australia state parliament on a bill to grant limited partnership rights to gays and lesbians and lower the age of consent.
Legislators debated late into the night Tuesday as the opposition parties attacked the bill.
Liberal and One Nation members expressed their objections to the proposed legislation, particularly the lowering of the age of consent for gays to 16, the same as it is for heterosexuals.
The two parties also chastised the government for provisions which would allow same sex couples to adopt children and have access to in-vitro fertilisation treatment.
One Nation member John Fischer claimed the changes would open the door to legal challenges by children who he claimed would be "brought up in dysfunctional families."
Liberal Robyn McSweeney said she was ashamed to be standing in Parliament talking "about homosexual practices which are just not normal."
Tuesday afternoon, more than 1,000 protestors demonstrated outside Parliament House to protest the legislation.
One speaker at the rally warned the Government would lose the support of tens of thousands of people, if it pushed ahead with the changes. The government said it is committed to passing the legislation in this session.

US Presbyterians Reject Gay Clergy

Doreen Brandt Newscenter in Washington
(February 20, Washington) Conservatives within the Presbyterian Church have successfully blocked a move to end the faith's ban on noncelibate gays.
Liberal and moderate Presbyterians had sought to overturn a 1977 church law that says clergy and lay officeholders must "live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness."
Last year, the church's General Assembly recommend a reversal of that law. Over the past five months the various regions of the church, called presbyteries, have been voting on the ban.
Tuesday, the church said it appeared the right-wing of the church will carry at least 75 per cent of the votes.
Joe Rightmyer, executive director of the conservative Presbyterians for Renewal, said he was encouraged by the vote.
"Hopefully, this strong vote will conclude the decades old repetition of attempts to alter the church's position on these matters."
Despite the reject of gay clergy, the church has made some advances.
Gays and lesbians are not excluded from church membership, and the church judiciary has allowed congregations to conduct blessings for same-sex couples, so long as they aren't called marriages. Liberals say they will continue to press to have the ban on GL clergy lifted.

VH1 special peers inside the `hate rock' business

By Julie Salamon
The New York Times
February 19, 2002
Far more dispiriting than the freakish, tattooed skinhead bands blurting white supremacist lyrics is the image of two pristine-looking little blond girls throwing their arms in a Nazi salute and singing, "Strike force, white survival." They are all under the influence of so-called hatecore, music that proselytizes an ugly neo-Nazi message in clubs, on CDs and on the Internet.
This week VH1 offers a smartly produced special, Inside Hate Rock, that alerts viewers to how music is used to promote racism. (The next broadcasts are at 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. tonight, and 3 p.m. Friday.) While white supremacist rock is not a huge movement, it is insidious because it appeals to the vilest sentiments. Among the milder lyrics are these, from the band Carolina Sons: "When I walk down the street I don't like what I see. A sea of foreign faces staring back at me."
On the Web site for Resistance Records , the main distributor of this music, you find an advertisement for a video game called Ethnic Cleansing. The player runs through a cyberghetto and kills blacks, Hispanics and Jews.
This documentary offers interviews with band members, defectors from the movement and people warning against hate rock. Tattoos and shaved heads predominate, though there are also clean-cut musical hatemongers.
The issue of First Amendment rights arises briefly, and whether such bands should be banned from performing.
The hate rockers, direct descendants of the skinhead movement in Britain, got their own record label in 1993, Resistance Records. Several years later the label was bought by William Pierce, leader of the racist National Alliance (and, under the name Andrew Macdonald, author of The Turner Diaries, an inspiration of Timothy McVeigh).
In the program, Pierce discusses the value of hate rock as a marketing tool for racism. In the same corporate language, another Resistance exec talks about expanding into other genres, such as country and neo-classical.
The documentary does not overplay how many people follow hate rock. Record sales are in the thousands, not the millions. But the Internet gives such groups an extended reach and generates an outsize sense of power in their audiences. They may be the fringe, but they should not be dismissed. Copyright © 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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Miami's Gay Love Hate Relationship

by Fidel Ortega Newscenter in Miami
(February 19, Miami) "They Want you. They want you not." Miami is like some lovesick youth pulling the petals from a flower.
The trouble is this is real life, and the youth is Miami-Dade.
One the one hand Miami needs gay tourism money and is going after it with a vengeance. On the other, religious fundamentalists are portraying "the Gay Riviera" as Sodom with an equal vengeance.
One the very day that Take Back Dade, a right wing coalition, was announcing it had forced a referendum for this fall, on the city's gay rights bill, Miami's tourist bureau was announcing a major advertising campaign to attract the pink buck.
"Our gay-friendly environment extends beyond our local businesses to our government officials and policies," says the glossy brochure, published by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Across town Take Back Dade was calling civil rights protections for gays and lesbians "an affront to decent people."
When told the city was launching an ad campaign to lure gays to the city, Anthony Verdugo, chairman of the Miami-Dade Christian Coalition, was delighted.
Verdugo said the marketing campaign will aid the repeal effort by mobilizing voters who object to spending taxpayer money on the promotion of what he called "sexual tourism."
Verdugo said: "The amendment has created a climate that encourages the promotion of tourism based on sexual behaviour," 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 ad campaign is being closely watched by Heddy Peña. She's the chairperson of SAVE Dade, which led the GLBT fight to get the ordinance and now is battling to retain it.
Peña said she initially feared the marketing effort might galvanize amendment opponents. But, she says now she is now convinced it will serve as a reminder to voters of the importance of keeping the welcome mat out for all people.
For the city, the gay tourism dollar could mean the difference between just surviving, and thriving.
Since September 11 tourism has been down significantly, except for gay and lesbian resorts.
Marketing studies have shown that gays not reluctant to travel in the wake of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The gay tourism business in the US is estimated at $54 billion a year.

Gays Less Immoral Pollster Says

by Jack Siu Newscenter in Toronto
(February 19, Toronto) A new poll shows Canadians believe homosexuality is less immoral than a decade ago.
The Leger Marketing poll on Morality shows that 32 per cent of those surveyed believe gays and lesbians are immoral.
Ten years ago, a similar poll showed slightly more than 40 per cent believed gays to be immoral.
The Leger poll also indicated that near 75 per cent thought their fellow Canadians have strong morals.
Shoplifting had the highest immorality rating, with 89.3%. It was followed by infidelity (80.8%), hard-core drug use (79.2%), tax evasion (77%), prostitution (68.4%) and alcohol abuse (66.1%).
In the middle of the list was suicide, with 61.8%, followed by working under the table (52.8%), taking soft drugs such as marijuana (47.5%), abortion (41.8%), gambling (41.4%) and swearing (40.2%).
Homosexuality was found to be immoral by 32.1% of respondents. Next was doctor-assisted suicide (31.3%), followed by pre-marital sex (27.3%), being an atheist (26.2%) and divorce (22.3%).
Toronto gay activist George Hislop credits the higher visibility of gays for a drop in the "Immorality Reading". Hislop says: "It's the devil you know as opposed to the one you don't. Once they [the general public] see you don't have horns and aren't a lot different than they are, they begin to accept you."

Australia TG Marriage Challenge

by Peter Hacker Newscenter in Sydney
(February 19, Sydney) The Australian government is challenging the right of the transgendered to marry.
Attorney-General Daryl Williams is appealing a lower court decision that declared valid the 1999 marriage of a female to male transsexual to a woman.
The surnames of the couple were not released by Family Court.
The court was told Kevin, born in 1965, underwent male hormonal treatment in the mid 1990s.
He met Jennifer met in October 1996 and a year later they commenced an IVF program through which Jennifer became pregnant and gave birth to a son.
In 1998 he was granted a new birth certificate showing his sexuality as male.
In August 1999 the couple was issued a marriage certificate. A judge declared the marriage valid last October.
The government appealed, maintaining Kevin is legally a woman, and same-sex marriages are not legal in Australia.
The government's lawyer told the court that the judge in the original case was trying too hard to be politically correct and erred in law.
Henry Burmester told the court that the definition of man was to be guided by legislation and "not by reference to desirable social policy," he told the court.
It was not up to the court "to change social attitudes," he said. The full Family Court is hearing the appeal.

Cinci Boycott Divides Gay Activists

by Newscenter Staff
(February 19, Cincinnati) A boycott of Cincinnati has deeply divided the city's Stonewall Political Action Committee. Four board members opposed to the boycott have resigned, throwing the future of both the boycott and the organization into question.
In a statement the four said Stonewall's position on the boycott could threaten the group's primary objective, to remove Article XII from the city's charter.
The Article, passed in 1993 makes Cincinnati the only city in the country to prohibit its City Council from passing gay rights legislation.
Freeman Durham, one of the members to quit said, "To repeal Article XII, we need a broad coalition. We need the African-American community. We need the business community. We need soccer moms. My concern is the boycott issue may alienate more people than it makes us friends, and could make the repeal of Article XII more difficult."
Stonewall's boycott is part of a larger one, organized by the black community in the wake of last year's racial turmoil.
Since the boycott began, Stonewall has seen its membership decline. Heidi Bruins, another of the board members who resigned said: "There has been a lot of name-calling going on this past week, and it's really gotten ugly."

Maine Rights Under Attack

by Newscenter Staff
(February 19, Bangor, Maine) Less than four months after Bangor approved adding sexual orientation to the groups protected by human rights laws in the city, a movement has begun to repeal the legislation.
On the weekend, a Baptist minister said he intends to begin a petition to collect the 1,874 voter signatures needed to put the ordinance to a citywide referendum.
The Rev. Dr. Jerry Mick, pastor of Bangor Baptist Church, said that it was "not in the city of Bangor's best interest to condone behaviour that God does not condone as wholesome."
Michael Heath, executive director of the Maine Christian Civic League, who praised the repeal effort.
Heath said the ordinance would lead to "domestic partnership" benefits and advance what he called a "campaign to destroy traditional society wide understandings and agreements about sexual morality."
Kate Neale president of gay rights group Speakout said: "It just strikes me as a sad day when one group spends so much energy trying to deny people in the community basic civil rights."
"It's so tiring to hear them (oppose gay rights) in the name of Christianity," Neale said. "That's what I find so galling the hypocrisy of it." Bangor became the 11th Maine municipality to adopt a gay rights law. Challenges to similar legislation in other Maine cities have had mixed results.

Kansas Dems Go Pink

by Newscenter Staff
(February 19, Topeka, Kansas) The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) Caucus has made history, being officially recognized as an ancillary organization by the Democratic Party of Kansas.
The recognition, which passed the party's general committee unopposed, took place during the Democratic Party's annual convention in Topeka.
Caucus President Steve Brown said: "Fundamentally, this means that the Democratic Party in this state recognizes that we, the LGBT voters and activists, are an integral part of the party."
Along with nine other ancillary organizations in the state party, the LGBT Caucus will assist with the drafting of the Kansas Democratic platform, including working towards the addition of an anti-discrimination clause covering sexual orientation and gender identity.
The caucus will also sponsor voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, and will support Democratic candidates for office in Kansas. Caucus members met over the weekend to work on plans to press for the adoption of a hate crimes laws in Kansas and the repeal of the state's sodomy law. As part of its recognition, the caucus will also be represented on the state Democratic Party's Executive Committee and on the General Committee as well.

Trial Launched in U.K. To Test Gel Against AIDS Virus

The Government was today launching a multi-million pound trial into developing a gel for women to protect themselves from the virus that can cause AIDS.
The Department for International Development (DFID) said microbicides gels or foams applied vaginally that can block the virus would put HIV prevention in the hands of women.
The £16 million programme will include small scale safety studies in healthy female volunteers and a large-scale effectiveness trial involving a placebo or "dummy'' gel.
There is no cure for AIDS and more than 33,000 adults aged 15 to 59 live with HIV in the UK, one third of them unaware of their condition.
Clare Short, Secretary of State for International Development said: "We need to increase the range of products available that would give women the ability to protect themselves from HIV in ways that they can control".
DFID is sponsoring the £16 million, five-year international collaboration of institutions in South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Zambia and the UK to develop the drug. The research will be carried out in the UK by the Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Trials Unit and London's Imperial College. Work has being going on in the US to develop a gel that could be used both by females and males to protect themselves against the HIV virus. It is several years of being marketable, however.

Australian Government Grants Tatchell Visa

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has finally been granted a visa to visit Australia after six months delay and obstruction.
He received his visa at the Australian High Commission in London on Tuesday 19 February 2002.
Mr Tatchell, who was born in Australia but lost his citizenship when he took out British nationality in 1989.
"My visa was granted just over a week after I let it be known that Geoffrey Robertson QC had agreed to bring a legal action on my behalf against the Australian government," explained Tatchell
"The mere suggestion that Geoffrey was going to fight my case seems to have persuaded the Immigration Department in Canberra. They apparently wanted to avoid a legal challenge from an internationally-renowned human rights lawyer, and feared that his adoption of my case would generate damaging publicity".
"Being a peaceful human rights campaigner, there was never any lawful basis for excluding me under legislation that was intended to bar war criminals, terrorists, drug traffickers and murderers".
The visa has come too late for Tatchell to visit Australia for the Commonwealth summit in Brisbane. It is now unlikely, however, that President Mugabe will attend, given that the Zimbabwe Presidential elections are close.
"Although I won't be going to Brisbane, I will be joining a hunger-strike outside the Zimbabwe High Commission in London to demand comprehensive Commonwealth sanctions against the Mugabe regime," Tatchell said. This hunger-strike will coincide with the Commonwealth summit, from 2 to 5 March 2002.

Transsexual Loses Discrimination Case In Wales

Dian Parry, formerly known as the Reverend Bill Parry, has lost her discrimination case in court.
Parry was attempting to sue Alex Ashton of the Vine Christian Centre in Maesteg for refusing to allow her to attend women`s prayer meetings and to use the women`s toilets. She told Cardiff County Court she was also banned from attending most of the other prayer groups.
In telling Parry she did not have a case Judge William Gaskell said: "I`m afraid there is no provision in law that enables her to force her presence on fellow members of the Vine Christian Centre if they don`t want her." He added: "Frankly it`s a source of sadness. I would have hoped that the Christian Centre could look at her with understanding."
Gaskell continued: "I simply express my regret that the two parties could not be a little bit more understanding of one`s position. There is no course of action against the defendant, and her claim must fail. It would be no kindness to her to allow that action to continue." Alex Ashton issued a statement after the hearing saying: "Mr Parry wants the church to treat him as a woman. But while he may have had reconstructive surgery, Bill is, and has always been, a man. A person`s sex is not socially constructed. It`s fixed at birth and ordained by God."

"In The Life" Newsmagazine Receives 2002 LAMBDA Liberty Award

February 18, 2002,
In the Life Media, Inc.
"In the Life," America's award-winning gay and lesbian cultural newsmagazine series will be honored by the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund with a 2002 Lambda Liberty Award.
In recognition of "In the Life" and its ten-year contribution of providing critically acclaimed stories on public television for and about the gay and lesbian community, the Lambda Liberty Award will be presented to the program's Executive Producer, Charles D. Ignacio and Executive Director, Morgan Gwenwald at the 2002 Liberty Awards Ceremony and Dinner. This gala event will be held at The Regent Hotel in New York City on Monday, May 6, 2002.
The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, and people with HIV/AIDS through impact litigation, education, and public policy work. Founded in 1973, Lambda is the oldest and largest gay legal organization. The Lambda Liberty Award marks the anniversary of the passage in 1986 of the New York City law that outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation. With the Liberty Award presentation, Lambda recognizes those who have contributed to the advancement of the concepts embodied in that 1986 statute. Other 2002 honorees are American hero and "Person of the Year," Mark Bingham and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anna Quindlen.
"In the Life" was founded in 1992 and is produced by In the Life Media, Inc., a not-for-profit, member-supported educational corporation. "In the Life" chronicles the history and contemporary experiences of the gay and lesbian community and has received, among its numerous honors, an Emmy nomination for "outstanding educational programming." Since its inception, "In the Life" has been the broadest reaching television media project of its kind specifically about gays and lesbians. Currently, "In the Life" serves a national viewership on 130 public television stations in 31 states in the United States as well as Canada.
October 2001 marked the beginning of "In the Life's" 10th Anniversary season, and with the June 2002 episode will mark a full decade of "In the Life" and its contribution to making a visible difference for gays and lesbians through national public television. "In the Life" is presented by Thirteen/WNET in New York and distributed nationwide by American Public Television. For more information about "In the Life" visit .

No Rush for Finnish Partnership Registration

February 18, 2002, M2 Communications
There has been no rush among same-sex couples to register their partnerships after the Finnish law that approves partnership registration was passed.
According to current figures, 30 couples have reserved an appointment for the registration of their partnership under the law that steps into force on 1 March this year. Finland was the last Nordic country to approve same-sex partnership registration.
The interest in partnership registration is largest in the greater Helsinki area, according to the YLE teletext news. (C) 1998-2002 M2 Communications Ltd

University Sex Course Suspended

A university has suspended a course in male sexuality after allegations were made that some participants took part in an orgy and performed at a sex club.
Students allegedly watched their tutor have sex at a gay strip club.
The class, part of the University of California at Berkeley's "democratic education" course, has now been suspended.
University spokeswoman Marie Felde told the Sacramento Bee: "Those sorts of activities are not part of the approved course curriculum."
A female sexuality course is also under review.
Christy Kovacs, a student who attended a party where an orgy allegedly took place, said: "It was just a fun, harmless get-together. Anything weird that did go on was kind of behind closed doors, and no one really knew about it."
The party was held to introduce students from other sections of the course and was not mandatory, Kovacs said.
Some partygoers also took photographs of their genitalia, to show that their bodies were not disgusting, Kovacs said. The shots were viewed at the party in a "respectful way," she said. © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.

Gay Cop in Anarchy Controversy

Britain's highest ranking openly gay police officer has admitted posting comments on an internet message board for anarchists.
Brian Paddick, the Metropolitan Police`s high profile commander in Lambeth, posted his views on drugs and other policing issues at The site is popular with anti-globalisation activists and anarchists.
In one posting Paddick said: "The concept of anarchism has always appealed to me".
Paddick confirmed in an interview with The Big Issue that he had posted the messages.
On the site Paddick describes his interests as "police, gay issues, drugs". His screen name is "Brian: The Commander".
Paddick's comments on the messageboard have drawn praise from other contributors. Paddick said earlier this year that he had earned the respect of people in the local community "from being open and honest."
Paddick is responsible for the loosening of drug laws in south London. He led a campaign to target drug dealers, whilst users and addicts would receive treatment and a caution instead of arrest or prosecution. © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.

Medicaid cuts deep for Key West AIDS patients

The county's neediest AIDS patients have fallen prey to the latest round of Tallahassee budget cuts, which were made to a Medicaid program known as Project AIDS Care that provides services to clients who would otherwise require hospitalization.
Robert Walker, executive director of AIDS Help Inc., learned the details of the cuts Monday, but had known they were coming for the past few months and had prepared the agency's staff and board of directors to brace for the impact that will affect about 200 clients.
"This will have a pretty sharp impact," Walker said, perusing a letter from the Agency for Health Care Administration, which was charged with eliminating $5 million from the Project AIDS Care program between March 1 and June 30.
The deepest cut comes in the case-management category for clients who qualify for the program, meaning they are at risk of hospitalization and earn less than $1,635 per month.
Many AIDS patients meet with their case manager once a week to coordinate services and programs, and to discuss treatments and side effects. AIDS Help was able to bill Medicaid $44 for each hour of case management provided to clients.
But the new reductions to the program allow only a flat monthly rate of $76 per client, meaning a client is eligible for less than two hours of case-management services per month.
"From this reduction, it looks like a loss of about $32,000 in case management," said Joe Pais, of AIDS Help. That means if the agency continues providing the same level of case-management services to its clients, then there will be $32,000 in bills that will no longer be paid by the Project AIDS Care program.
"But our board will work to make sure our clients continue to receive the same level of services," Walker said, adding that alternative funding sources are being sought, and private donations from fund-raisers can be directed to alleviate the strain of the cuts.
The reductions also slash the number of home-delivered meals a client receives from 62 to 27 meals per month.
Walker was appalled at the meal reduction as it is often one of the most crucial services and the one that keeps patients out of hospitals and nursing homes, allowing them to remain at home.
Many patients receive two home-delivered meals each day, but the new regime would mean one per day, and about three days each month without any food being delivered.
The agency will recruit volunteers and seek alternative funding sources to compensate for the lost funding and services, Walker said, confident in the community's continued support.
Volunteers will also be needed to make up for some services that were eliminated completely from the program, including companion programs, day health care and housekeeping services for the sickest clients too fatigued to keep up with housework.
The cuts are effective March 1, and each AIDS Help Project AIDS Care client will receive a letter in the coming weeks detailing the reductions and explaining the implications.

80 gay students lobby in support of bill banning harassment

By John Holland Staff Writer
February 19, 2002
TALLAHASSEE -- They're young, self-conscious and gay -- perfect targets for high school bullies, they said.
On Monday afternoon, about 80 gay and lesbian students from across the state gathered at the Capitol to support a measure by two Broward County legislators designed to protect them from harassment and abuse in public schools. Whether the bill can be protected from hostile opponents in the House remains uncertain.
"How can we ask our students to go to school, get a good education and be productive when we cannot ensure that they will be safe and treated with dignity at all times?" said Rep. Ken Gottlieb, D-Miramar. "We must work toward a day when no child is left to fend for themselves in school and every child is made to feel human all of the time."
Flanked by Sen. Skip Campbell, D-Tamarac, Gottlieb pointed to a 2001 Department of Education study showing that harassment in Florida's schools increased 27 percent in the past three years, even while other crimes fell. And he said gay students are so overwhelmed at school that they are much more likely to drop out or skip school and have a suicide rate at least four times higher than their peers.
There are no laws prohibiting harassment of any kind in Florida schools, Gottlieb said, adding the measure would protect students regardless of race, religion or gender. The "Dignity for All Students Act," HB157, has been pushed before, most notably last year when the children sought support from Rep. Alan Trovillion, R-Winter Park. Instead, Trovillion blasted them as sinners who were destined for eternal damnation.
This time, support for the proposal is a bit stronger, especially in the Senate, Campbell said. Conservative Education Commissioner Charlie Crist and Attorney General Bob Butterworth support the plan, which would provide training for all public school teachers and create a system for better tracking incidents of abuse.
But Gottlieb said progress in the House has been limited.
John Holland can be reached at or 954-385-7909. Copyright © 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

$1 million in AIDS money lingers unspent in Broward

By Scott Wyman Staff Writer
February 19, 2002
Almost $1 million in federal assistance to care for people suffering from AIDS in Broward County has gone unspent for at least a year, even as the area has struggled with one of the highest infection rates in the nation.
Some of the money had been earmarked for new health care initiatives that did not succeed, including programs to reach out to minorities with AIDS and help patients adhere to complicated drug regimens. Other funds went unused because small nonprofit groups had trouble meeting the complex bureaucratic rules that come with the aid.
More than $615,000 of the unspent money was given to Broward in March 2000 under the federal government's Ryan White program that helps those metropolitan areas disproportionately affected by AIDS. Another $314,000 has gone untouched since being received in March 2001.
The County Commission has moved to redistribute the money in recent weeks, putting a large part of it into buying AIDS medication for the poor. That helps make up for recent state budget cutbacks, but the delay in spending the money has commissioners and some AIDS activists seething.
"We have waiting lists everywhere, and we have people coming in every day without clothes or shoes or who need food or who are about to be evicted from their apartment," said Greg Scott, who heads up the People with AIDS Coalition. "This money should be spent on those who need it as quickly as possible."
Recently released data from the Centers for Disease Control show that the county had the third-highest infection rate among the nation's metropolitan areas last year, with 22,950 infected with HIV and 13,332 reported AIDS cases. The disease was more widespread only in Miami and New York City.
At the same time, President Bush's proposed federal budget calls for AIDS care funding to remain flat next year and Gov. Jeb Bush has reconfigured the state Medicaid program in a way that will require poorer AIDS patients to pay more of their hospital and pharmacy bills.
Political infighting
The wrath of the county commissioners is being directed at their HIV Planning Council, a group of political appointees from various AIDS care organizations who oversee how the $13.8 million in assistance is spent each year. Commissioners charge that the council has become too politicized and has failed to distribute the money as carefully as it should. "We have all these people suffering and yet agencies are turning back money," said commission Chairwoman Lori Parrish. "It doesn't make any sense. I want to know what's the problem."
But the council and county health care administrators argue that the delays are not unusual and that Broward is within the national norm for how well it spends its aid. According to the county's Substance Abuse and Health Care Division that manages the Ryan White fund, federal officials have long considered Broward to have one of the nation's best-run AIDS programs.
The county administrators said the money will get to those in need, but that they had to give agencies a chance to make their programs work before redistributing the aid. The federal government also must agree on shifting money between initiatives. By moving $600,000 of the unspent money to drug assistance now, the county is able to get medicine to about 240 new and existing HIV-positive people.
The planning council's chairwoman, Naomi Parker, said the group has had its share of political infighting, but that it has not affected the distribution of money. She said she shares the concerns about how much was held up and is working to ensure projects are reviewed more carefully for this year's Ryan White money.
"There are a lot of people not in care and something like this impacts them greatly," Parker said of the spending delays. "Every dollar matters. It matters in terms of getting people to good medical care and it matters in reducing the infection rates in the county."
Blaming the feds
Health care administrators said a large part of the $615,000 left over from Ryan White money given to the county in March 2000 was unspent because of delays in getting criteria from the federal government on minority AIDS initiatives.
Among the 2000 grant money returned was $132,000 for Broward House, $22,000 for Hispanic Unity, $136,000 for Parents Information & Resource Center, $41,000 for Poverello, $27,000 for Think Life and $44,000 for the Wansiki Foundation.
The County Commission's redistribution of the $314,000 of unspent March 2001 money marked the second time that the board shifted funding received last year. Another $321,000 was redistributed last fall.
The breakdown of last year's unspent grant money includes:
$130,000 of a $437,000 grant to Broward House for a substance abuse program.
$42,000 of a $62,000 grant to Community Healthcare/Center One for a substance abuse program.
$52,000 of a $82,000 grant to Family Central for a child day care program.
the entire $62,000 grant to Hispanic Unity for a food bank program.
$54,000 of $61,000 in grants to Minority Development and Empowerment for mental health projects and support group services.
$20,000 of a $70,000 grant to Care Resource for an outpatient medical care program.
and $37,000 of a $56,000 grant to the Wansiki Foundation for a project aimed at helping patients adhere to their treatment.
Some of the projects, like those of Hispanic Unity and Minority Development and Empowerment, were set up in response to the growing concern last year about AIDS infections in black and Hispanic areas of Broward.
With black and Hispanic patients making up more than two-thirds of new infections, the county shifted money to focus more on minority groups fighting the disease. Officials hoped the change would break down cultural barriers that have hampered efforts to treat and prevent the disease among minorities.
Hispanic Unity wanted a food voucher program that would let minorities shop at local grocery stores rather than rely on traditional food banks serving the AIDS community. But the group dropped the project because of the unwieldy amount of administrative work needed to handle the county grant money.
One of Minority Empowerment's mental health contracts was to hire a Creole-speaking counselor to work with Haitians who are HIV-positive, but the group could not find such a person until last month.
The county also had trouble meeting a new federal goal of establishing programs to persuade people to stick with their drug regimen. Wansiki won its grant after suggesting a program to deal with anxieties and fears about AIDS medications through case management by doctors and counseling by mental health professionals. But the project failed to produce results.
Alan Tiano, Wansiki's deputy executive director, said the redistribution of the grant shouldn't be viewed as negative. He said the project seemed to be a good idea and that the money was returned as soon as administrators saw it wasn't succeeding.
Avoidable suffering
"It shows money is being managed and allocated thoughtfully," Tiano said. "They'd rather roll it into next year than waste it."
But county commissioners like Ben Graber, who is a doctor, and some AIDS activists fear that the long delays in getting money spent means some are suffering more than they should and that others are dying.
Take the case of Poverello, a food bank program operated out of Wilton Manors. Its funding was cut last year to make money available for new programs at other organizations. It is now receiving $39,000 of the redistributed money.
"You hear too many horror stories about what people go through to get help when they need it," said Felix deBruin, who helped restart to the AIDS political action group ACT UP. "There are people who are suffering or who are sicker because money wasn't spent quickly. There is so little money that we must make sure it's used as efficiently as possible."
Scott Wyman can be reached at or 954-356-4511. Copyright © 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

$5 million cut from program for at-home AIDS patients

State health-care administrators are trimming $5 million from a program designed to allow mostly bedridden AIDS patients to remain in their own homes, and advocates fear the cuts will force hundreds into much more costly nursing homes.
As part of a statewide effort to slice $1.3 billion from the current year's budget, officials with the Agency for Health Care Administration trimmed $5 million from a total budget of $24 million. The program uses both federal Medicaid dollars and state general revenue to provide home-care services for Floridians with advanced AIDS.
If many Floridians are admitted into nursing homes or other institutions as a result of the budget reductions, taxpayers will end up paying significantly more. Social workers say it costs twice as much to house someone in a hospital or nursing home as it does to help care for them in their own home -- costs generally borne by the state.
About 6,000 Floridians are enrolled in the program, said Bob Maryanski, who oversees the Medicaid program.
''It seems like they have almost deliberately gutted this thing,'' said Paul Gallotta, a case manager at Broward House who supervises care for about 60 Broward men and women enrolled in the program. ``They say they are giving us half a loaf. But, in actuality, half a loaf is almost no loaf.''
Said a 45-year-old Fort Lauderdale man who will lose several services when the cuts take effect: ``A lot of people will wind up in institutions. It's going to affect a lot of people who will lose their independence. A lot of people are going to be in trouble.''
Officials with the healthcare agency acknowledge the cuts may be onerous on program clients. However, the administration was forced to make reductions, as was virtually every state agency.
''Keep in mind we did the best job we possibly could to maintain medical services,'' Maryanski said. Officials left registered nursing care services entirely intact, and worked hard to allow clients at least two hours of therapeutic massage every month, he said. Money for prescription drugs was left intact, as well.
Moreover, after talking with both clients and some caseworkers, the department left case management services largely intact, believing the social work efforts were the core of the Medicaid program, Maryanski said. ``We were able to restore some cuts, and take some money from elsewhere. We wanted to have as much case management as we could.''
''This is a very vulnerable and fragile population, which makes it even more difficult,'' Maryanski said. ``We tried to do it in a way to minimize the pain as best we could.''
''No matter how you cut it, what reduced and what was eliminated was going hurt somebody,'' Maryanski said. ``We realized that.''
Gallotta says the ''scariest'' cut largely eliminates personal care for Floridians with AIDS who are homebound. Several clients got help in their homes for about three hours each day, Gallotta said. Now, they can receive personal care visits for no more than five hours a month.
''By reducing this service to five hours per month, what are we telling someone? Sorry you're incontinent, but you must wait another week till your personal care attendant shows up,'' Gallotta said. ``Regrettably, given the demographics of this disability, a lot of clients don't have family, and, for those that do, it's not easy when you have parents in their advanced years take care of someone that sick.''
Among other cuts: Clients can receive no more than 27 prepared meals a month, and no more than two hours a month of skilled licensed practical nursing care. Physical therapy, home cleaning, respiratory therapy, health assessments and respite care services were eliminated, records show.
The reduction in payments to caseworkers likely will mean that some case managers will get out of the field, said Katy Yankie, director of case mangement for the Wansiki Foundation Clinic, which offers an array of services to people with the virus. Wansiki recently had begun efforts to case manage clients, but the agency is now reconsidering.
The new reimbursement rate, a flat payment of $76 a month for each client, ''just barely covers the cost of the program,'' Yankie said. ``We're considering whether it's worth our while.''
© 2001 miami and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

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