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Saturday, April 06, 2002

 
GLBT NEWZ 04/06/02 Information is power!

On the web: www.spacecoasteagle.com or www.glbtnewz.blogspot.com

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Vermont GOP rattled about civil unions

Ann Rostow, Gay.com / PlanetOut.com Network
Friday, April 5, 2002 / 03:45 PM
SUMMARY: A Vermont anti-gay activist is aggressively turning up the heat on Republican lawmakers in an effort to force a showdown on civil unions.
Vermont conservative activist Rev. David Stertzbach is aggressively turning up the heat on Republican lawmakers in an effort to force a showdown on civil unions.
According to yesterday's Rutland Herald, Stertzbach, who heads the Vermont Defense of Marriage Committee, sent off a no-holds-barred letter to state Sen. Julius Canns, R-Caledonia, with copies to every member of the state Legislature. The letter demands that Canns revive a bill to repeal the same-sex marriage law, which is presently languishing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Canns was the sponsor of the bill, and has been trying to decide whether to make a long-shot effort to get it back on the legislative track through a roll call vote, the Herald reports. In the last few days, Canns decided not to push the repeal, a decision that incensed Stertzbach.
"Civil union was a moral Sept. 11 for both major parties," wrote Stertzbach. "I will not go back to the 'partisan politics as usual' that left us morally unprepared for this disaster."
Stertzbach, who lobbies Vermont voters with radio spots and direct mail, made what the Herald called a "veiled threat" to fight against the re-election of Republicans who stand in the way of a civil union repeal.
Civil unions were a campaign issue in 2000, when Republican foes of the policy gained ground, winning control of the House and nearly winning a Senate majority as well. But, as the Herald reports, many Republicans would now like to see the Legislature and the state put the issue of civil unions aside and move on to other matters.
"I've talked with members of my constituency," said William Corrow, a Republican who won his seat in 2000 by opposing civil unions. "I have credibility. I don't lie to my people. I think civil unions remain an issue. But I think there are other concerns like the economy and education where people are feeling the pinch."
Other Republicans were openly hostile to Stertzbach's attack. State Rep. Patricia O'Donnell of Vernon called the man "fanatical" and "dangerous," while state Sen. Gerry Morrissey of Bennington said Stertzbach and his followers were "extremists," who were "off their rockers."
Last year, a bill to replace civil unions with a poor substitute passed the GOP-controlled house, but became mired in the Senate Judiciary Committee, a final resting place for many conservative proposals. Civil unions, which provide the exact state benefits of marriage to same-sex couples, were enacted in 2000 by implied order of the state Supreme Court. The justices, in Baker v. State, ruled that Vermont's marriage law unconstitutionally discriminated against same-sex couples, and directed the Legislature to remedy the inequality. Lawmakers were faced with very little leeway, choosing civil unions as an alternative to legalizing same-sex marriage. Had they not acted, the court would have acted for them, presumably authorizing civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples.
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Preacher tries to bully Vermont lawmakers into repealing civil unions

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Vermont on Thursday criticized a conservative minister who they say is trying to bully them into overturning the state's civil union law, according to the Rutland Herald.
In a letter addressed to Sen. Julius Canns (R-Caledonia) and copied to all Vermont legislators, the Rev. David Stertzbach, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Williston, warned that unless Canns and other lawmakers take steps to repeal the state's civil union law, he would target them in the election this year.
"This is an issue of no compromise for me," wrote Stertzbach, who leads the Vermont Defense of Marriage Committee. "Civil union was a moral 9/11 for both major parties. I will not go back to the 'partisan politics as usual' that left us unprepared for this disaster." Stertzbach also said in the letter that his group would use phone banks, mass mailings, and radio to pressure Republican lawmakers to repeal the law.
The letter was addressed to Canns because he sponsored a bill last year calling for the repeal of civil unions, though he has since decided not to proceed with the bill. "I don't like being intimidated in this manner," Canns told the Burlington Free Press Thursday. "I guess that would make me a little more hardened on the matter. Go ahead and threaten."
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NGLTF releases study on black GLBT people

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force this week released a comprehensive national survey examining the priorities and demographics of African-American gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people.
"Say It Loud: I'm Black and I'm Proud" is a collaboration among nine black GLBT pride organizations, a team of African-American researchers, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. It is the largest national, multicity sample of black GLBT people ever surveyed on such a wide array of topics.
Among the survey's findings: Half of the respondents said racism is a problem in the white GLBT community, and two thirds reported that homophobia is a problem within the black community. Respondents also identified the most important issues facing black GLBT people as HIV/AIDS, hate violence, and marriage-domestic partnership. A high prevalence of parenting was revealed: 40% of women, 18% of men, and 15% of transgender people reported having at least one child. "[The report] contains significant policy implications for the predominantly white GLBT community and for the predominantly straight African-American community," said lead researchers Juan Battle and Cathy J. Cohen in a statement. "This report also provides much-needed data on an underserved and understudied population which is an integral part of both the black community and the GLBT community. "
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Allentown extends antidiscrimination protection for gays

The city of Allentown, Pa., on Wednesday voted to amend the city's human relations ordinance, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law's list of protected characteristics. "It is time for the city to do this," said Allentown city councilwoman Gail Hoover, who introduced the bill to the council two weeks ago. "It's important for the protection of all people in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community that both sexual orientation and gender identity be recognized as protected classes."
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Mississippi high court adopts new judicial conduct rules

The Mississippi supreme court on Thursday adopted new rules of conduct that prohibit bias or prejudice "based upon race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status" by judges and those who practice law in Mississippi courts. The revised code of conduct also provides for investigations of alleged campaign misconduct and allows parties to challenge judges sitting on cases involving campaign donors. Chief Justice Edwin Lloyd Pittman said the state's code of judicial conduct has not undergone an extensive revision since it was adopted in 1974. "The adoption of these rule changes, first, give the public some protection that Mississippi's system of justice will remain a system of integrity and honor, and, secondly, they protect the individual judge's environment so that the judge may contemplate concerning the application of law and have the protected environment to arrive at just decisions," Pittman said.
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Gay Dutch Conservative Slips in Polls

Friday, 5 April 2002
AMSTERDAM -- Pim Fortuyn, the openly gay conservative politician who has alternately shocked, angered and roused the famously tolerant Dutch for his plain-spoken opposition to the country's liberal immigration policies, has experienced an erosion of popular support, the latest polls show.
Fortuyn, or "Professor Pim" as his supporters like to call him, captured a whopping 36 percent of the vote in Rotterdam's municipal elections last month. He has since published a book that became an instant best-seller and is making a run for Prime Minister.
Campaigning on an anti-immigration and anti-welfare state platform, Fortuyn has seen his newly formed party slip from third to fourth in national opinion polls, the Reuters news agency reports.
Translated into votes, the outspoken politician has seen his political appeal fall by some 20 percentage points in the last two weeks. Now instead of capturing an expected 29 seats out of 150 in the national parliament, his candidates can expect to capture something nearer to 23.
Nevertheless, Fortuyn's party has expressed interest in joining a junior coalition of parties clustered on the right, allowing Pim supporters and other conservatives to join right-leaning moderates in their attempt to oust the ruling Labor party and form a new national government.
Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok's Labor party has been rattled by the latest polls which showed it could lose up to a third of the 45 seats it currently holds. The slippage in Fortuyn's fortunes of late can be at least partially attributed to recently invigorated center-left campaign efforts.
His opponents have declared him to be the Dutch equivalent of Austria's Joerg Haider, a far-right leader whose election several years ago provoked riots in its cities and earned the country international sanction. Fortuyn has received heavy criticism for pointing to what he calls the sexist and homophobic pronouncements made by Muslim clerics preaching in the Netherlands. "Islam is backward," he said, earning him racist and xenophobic labels.
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Gay TV Provides Fizz for Pepsi

Friday, 5 April 2002
Source: Commercial Closet
NEW YORK -- The Pepsi-Cola Company could become the choice of a gay generation as it eases into the new world of gay TV, making it the first soft drink brand ever to target the gay market.
One of the first major sponsors of PrideVision, the 24-hour gay TV network launched last fall in Canada, Pepsi is putting its support behind the "Urban Fitness" show with Pepsi and Diet Pepsi commercials. "Urban Fitness" began in January and Richard Burjaw, Pepsi-Cola Canada's director of marketing, says it "has all the energy and youthful spirit of the brand. Attitudinally, it's a good fit."
While its start is modest, Burjaw says Pepsi may add support to other PrideVision programs, and though he has decided to use mainstream commercials now, it's "absolutely a possibility" that gay-specific commercials could appear later.
The company has also been broadly eyeing the U.S. gay market since 1997, when it was advised by a gay marketing agency to expand its policies for gay employees first. It added an inclusive non-discrimination policy then but has not yet made any corporate marketing moves here, though an independent Pepsi bottler is said to be interested in supporting a Pride parade in California this summer.
Gay TV Race to the U.S.
As reported by the Commercial Closet column last September, PrideVision has plans to expand its viewership into the U.S. by fall 2002, and Viacom's Showtime and MTV also intend to launch their own American gay network soon, once enough local cable carriers are committed.
With neither network available yet in the U.S., it looks to be a race to launch. Showtime/MTV's still-unnamed gay network was tested among gay focus groups in Houston, Boston and Miami and Showtime researcher Kim Lemmon says, "This (gay-themed) concept has done incredibly well, perhaps better than any others."
But before it gets off the ground, local cable companies must be convinced to pick up the offering and it is taking some convincing. "The trick is getting distribution, which will determine a lot about the future of this channel," says Gene Falk, senior vice president of digital media at Showtime.
Pepsi eyes a thirst gay market.
In Canada, PrideVision is doing well as a premium choice on cable channels nationally, and interest from American audiences has been strong too. According to Michael Serapio, a program producer for PrideVision, over 40% of its web site visitors are from the U.S.
Both are to offer a dual-revenue plan between viewer subscription and sponsorship or advertising. Matt Farber, who is leading up the Showtime/MTV effort with Falk, says "you can't rely on advertising alone to reach the gay and lesbian community in this day and age." Farber referred to magazines, which have a combination of subscriptions with advertising, and web sites like gay.com, which have turned to paid personal ads and online retail for alternative revenues.
But with no precedent for any gay network - let alone two - some worry if there's room for both. MTV's Farber simply offers that "competition makes things move faster," and Showtime's Falk adds, "Competition is a great thing."
Pepsi Trouble Down Under
But even as things get started in Canada, Pepsi has run into a snag with a mainstream commercial airing in Australia since February that has offended some. It features a wrestler who tries to kiss a female fairy. Their lips almost touch but, as he comes out of his dream, she disappears and turns into his real male opponent, who he then violently head-butts. Complaints from Victoria's gay community resulted in an investigation by the country's Advertising Standards Bureau.
The ASB has asked for a copy of the ad and Pepsi's comments, but no action has yet been taken. Michael Barnett, who registered the complaint, told the Melbourne Star the commercial "conveys a somewhat unsubtle message that it's okay to be violent if a guy tries to kiss you if you're male. The message it is giving is none too subtle and reinforces homophobic attitudes."
Darren Borg, marketing director of Pepsi Australia, defends the ad as "less gender-specific and not about that at all - it's a competition between two wrestlers." Borg notes that independent local bottlers in Australia have been supportive of the gay community as sponsors of gay events - but not corporate Pepsi, and the commercial in question will continue to run for now.
This inconsistent result - initiating outreach to the gay community while offending it elsewhere - is reminiscent of United Airlines' launch into the U.S. gay market in 1999, when it simultaneously challenged a San Francisco law that requires corporations to offer domestic partnership benefits to employees. The importance of coordinating interest in the gay market, along with treatment of gay employees and larger mainstream moves by the company, cannot be underestimated, a lesson quickly learned by United. Invariably, companies today are compelled to think about all their marketing messages and employee policies more closely when approaching the gay community. Sensitivity can dictate the difference between fizz and fizzle.
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Elton John's Death Songs

April 4, 2002, World Entertainment News Network
SIR ELTON JOHN has secret song-writing fantasies - he hopes nasty politicians die so he can compose songs about them.
The outspoken gay singer despises homophobic Zimbabwean leader ROBERT MUGABE and Iraqi dictator SADDAM HUSSEIN, and admits he's even planned the songs he would like to release on the occasion of their deaths.
He says, "I was dreaming about writing a song last night called RADIO DEAD about all the people I can't bear: 'I read in the papers today that you have passed away/ hooray, hooray you're dead/ I'm celebrating you're dead.'
"It would have a long list of people: 'Robert Mugabe and Saddam Hussein/ I'm glad to say that they've both gone down the drain.' "That's why I don't write my lyrics!"
And the CANDLE IN THE WIND star is so incensed at the leaders' inhumanity, he's like to take them to task himself - man to man.
He adds, "I'd like to fight Robert Mugabe. He's be my favourite. He is an a**hole. His name backwards is 'Trebor Ebagum'." (c) 2002 World Entertainment News Network
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The Space Coast Eagle, Cocoa Beach, Fl. www.spacecoasteagle.com
GLBT NEWZ archives www.groups.yahoo.com/group/glbtnewz
Our e-mail is cyberqueer@hotmail.com
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Friday, April 05, 2002

 
GLBT NEWZ 04/05/02 Information is power!

On the web: www.spacecoasteagle.com or www.glbtnewz.blogspot.com

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Slash victim, family criticize Denver police

Ann Rostow, Gay.com / PlanetOut.com Network
Thursday, April 4, 2002 / 04:13 PM
SUMMARY: One week after April Mora was attacked with razor blades, the Denver teen and her girlfriend's mother criticized the police's actions.
One week after 17-year-old April Mora came home with razor slashes, bruises and the word "dyke" carved into her arm, the Denver teen-ager and her girlfriend's mother, Roberta Quintana, told the press that the police have treated her story with suspicion and rudeness.
Mora, who lives with the Quintana family, did not appear before cameras, but Quintana read a statement from Mora and answered a few questions. The press conference came a couple of days after the local newspapers reported that police called Mora's injuries "superficial" and asked Mora to take a lie detector test, which she declined to do.
At the conference, Quintana said the medical staff who treated Mora would be happy to testify that her wounds could not have been self-inflicted. Quintana described one bruise "the size of a plum" on Mora's ribcage, and others on her back and the back of her head.
When police arrived to take a statement on the day of the attack, Quintana said, they ransacked the room Mora shares with her daughter Dominicque, and even checked the freezer for signs of the razor used in the assault.
On March 26, Mora told police that three white teen-age males had stopped their car, a low-slung black Honda, two had gotten out of the car, and one had held a knife to her throat while the other carved words and slashes on her face, body and arms. After calling her a dyke and threatening to rape her, Mora said the driver called them off, and the men kicked and beat her before getting back in the car.
According to local news articles, the police report indicates four men, not three, were involved the attack, but Mora insists that she told the officers there were three men from the start, and that the error was made by the officers doing the paperwork.
Mora has been the victim of two other reported attacks, and told police last year she was a member of a gang, the press says, but there is no reason this history should keep police from investigating a new crime.
Police are no longer commenting on the investigation, although Captain Timothy O'Leary told the Denver Post that they "are continuing to investigate leads," and that the department takes all crime reports seriously. Mora is expected to go to the police station on Thursday to help a sketch artist with a description of the men.
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Oregon right-wing leader gets jail break

Gay.com / PlanetOut.com Network
Thursday, April 4, 2002 / 04:26 PM
SUMMARY: Lon Mabon, leader of several Oregon Citizen Alliance (OCA) initiatives to restrict gay rights in the state, was released temporarily from jail on Wednesday.
Lon Mabon, leader of several Oregon Citizen Alliance (OCA) initiatives to restrict gay rights in the state, was released temporarily from jail on Wednesday so that he could collect deposition and prepare for another court case.
Mabon was put in a Portland, Ore., jail on Feb. 20 after a judge ruled he was in contempt of court for not attending a debt hearing to pay a lesbian activist court-ordered damages, according to the Oregonian newspaper.
OCA had been ordered in 1992 to pay Catherine Stauffer $30,000 because an OCA staffer used "unreasonable force" in ejecting her from a ballot measure meeting.
OCA, however, has only paid $1,100 of the fee, the Oregonian reports, so Stauffer is now suing for fraud.
A hearing for the fraud suit will take place on Friday, and a judge will decide on Monday whether Mabon must return to jail.
Upon his release, Mabon, founder and chairman of OCA, told a local television station that the food in jail is "lousy," and "they make you wear pink underwear." Mabon also said the OCA hopes to collect enough signatures to put the Student Protection Act II on the November ballot. The measure is reportedly similar to the failed "Measure 9" from 2000, which would have restricted what public schools taught about homosexuality.
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Canada high court to consider books case

Gay.com / PlanetOut.com Network
Thursday, April 4, 2002 / 04:32 PM
SUMMARY: A school board's rejection of "One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dads, Blue Dads" -- along with two other books about same-sex parents -- will be challenged in the Supreme Court of Canada in June.
A school board's rejection of "One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dads, Blue Dads" -- along with two other books about same-sex parents -- will be challenged in the Supreme Court of Canada in June.
Gay teacher James Chamberlain has been leading the effort to have the books available as "learning resources" for kindergarten and first-grade students since 1997, when the school board in Surrey, British Columbia, rejected the books.
According to the Canadian Press, the school board decided that having the books available in classrooms would infringe on parents' rights to morally guide their children.
After two different rulings in British Columbia courts, Chamberlain and his supporters are now asking the country's high court to decide if the school board's action infringes on equality rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"Asha's Mums" and "Belinda's Bouquet" are the other titles that were banned. The case is scheduled for June 12.
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Nebraska high court to hear another gay adoption case

The Nebraska supreme court is being asked to decide if a lesbian who legally adopted a child in another state is eligible to apply for child support in Nebraska.
The high court was scheduled to hear arguments Thursday at Creighton University's School of Law involving Serenna Russell, whose partner, Joan Bridgens, adopted a baby boy in 1996. Russell and Bridgens jointly adopted the boy the following year while living in Pennsylvania. The couple has since split, and Russell, who now lives in Nebraska, is asking the Nebraska court to recognize the adoption so she can gain legal custody of the boy and petition Bridgens for child support.
No Nebraska court has ruled whether a gay couple can adopt a child, but Douglas County district judge Joseph Troia rejected Russell's request, saying the state of Pennsylvania lacked jurisdiction to recognize the adoption as valid. Last month Nebraska's high court rejected an attempt by a lesbian to adopt her partner's child but avoided deciding whether same-sex couples would be barred from joint adoptions in the state.
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South Carolina school district pulls novel

A book about a gay male couple's struggle for acceptance in an Arkansas town has been removed from eight schools in Horry County, S.C., while district officials review it.
The Drowning of Stephan Jones, by Bette Greene, was removed after a parent complained about its content. Eugene Carroll Craig of Myrtle Beach sent a letter to superintendent Gerrita Postlewait and members of the Horry County board of education outlining his objections to the book, which he says promotes homosexuality. "I did not feel that the book should be afforded the dignity of a review board," Craig said. "I looked upon it as a rattlesnake that had crawled into the living rooms of everybody's home in Horry County and needed to be killed right then and right there."
David Bell, Horry County Schools' coordinator of media services, decided to remove the book until a panel of educators could read it and determine its fate. "As a parent, when I looked at some of the language, it was my opinion that it's kind of rough language for middle school children," Bell said. The 1991 book is ranked number 96 on the American Library Association's list of the most frequently challenged books of the 1990s.
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Hate Cost High For Montreal Neighbours

by Jean-Pierre O'Brien
365Gay.com Newscenter in Montreal
(April 5, Montreal) Two Montreal men have learned an expensive lesson about hate.
The Quebec Human Rights Commission has ordered the pair to pay their gay neighbours $36,000.
Roger Thibault and his partner Theo Wouters have lived in suburban Pointe Claire for more than a quarter century without problems, but five years ago new neighbours made it clear that they did not like living on the same street as gays.
The trouble started with suggestions by Robert Walker that Thibault and Wouters should move from a "family neighbourhood" over time the situation became increasingly unbearable.
Another neighbour, Greg Inglis joined Walker in his campaign.
Next came the threats, then their flower beds were destroyed. Finally, Walker allegedly tried to run over the couple with his car.
The commission ruled that the two neighbours infringed on the couple's "dignity and reputation, right to privacy -- and their personal security and integrity."
Walker, who lives next door to the couple, was ordered to pay $30,000. Inglis, who does not have property bordering that of the couple, has been ordered to pay $6,000.
The commission does not have the power to enforce the payment. But if Walker and Inglis do not turn over the money by April 19, the commission's lawyers will take the case to the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal, an independent judicial proceeding that could make the payment legally binding.
"We think there is a case there that could be declared discriminatory by a court," commission spokesman Robert Sylvestre said.
Thibault and Wouters were pleased with the ruling.
"Obviously, we're extremely relieved that the commission has ruled in our favour," Wouters told the Montreal Gazette.
"This is the message we've been waiting for, not just for us but for the entire gay community. The message should now be clear: harassing someone simply because they're gay is not to be tolerated. We have a number of laws in place to protect people on the basis of sexual orientation. The commission just showed how those laws can and will be used to protect us."
But, the legal actions are not over. Inglis is suing the couple and the TVA television network for defamation of character, and Walker faces multiple charges of harassment in Quebec Superior Court. His trial is to begin Oct. 10.
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UK Gay Protections Called Toothless

by Jon ben Asher
365Gay.com Newscenter in London
(April 5, London) British gays are calling the Blair government's new human rights protections for gays and lesbians "a toothless tiger."
The legislation will come with a "loophole" that could mean gay and lesbian workers or even single parents could be fired if their lifestyles are deemed at odds with the "ethics" of their employers.
It would provide an "out" for churches, religious schools and charities to refuse employment, to discipline, or fire people whose "lifestyles" conflict with their views.
Spokespeople for gay rights groups have called the exemption outrageous.
Evan Harris, a Liberal Democrat, said it "opened the door" for gay people to be targeted if they brought their partner to school or were open about their sexuality.
"The danger is that teachers could be sacked, demoted or not appointed simply on the basis of private, legal conduct." The Government believes the directive will provide sufficient protection but lawyers say it is sure to be tested in the courts, possibly under human rights law. The clause could also be used against single mothers, unmarried couples or others whose lifestyles conflict with religious values, they warn.
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Human AIDS Vaccine Trials Begin

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
(April 5, London) Human tests have begun in London on an AIDS vaccine that researchers hope will be a cheap immunization against one of the commonest strains of HIV.
26 British volunteers began receiving injections of the experimental vaccine this week.
The vaccine was developed by the Medical Research Council, the Imperial College in London, the International Aids Vaccine Initiative in the US and the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
A spokesperson for the group said the vaccine harnesses the power of the body's own natural defences.
The first phase of the vaccine contains no live HIV material.
It uses genetic information from HIV to trick the body into defending itself against the virus before it is actually present.
Then, a booster shot is given, called MVA (modified vaccinia ankara), which contains the same genetic information and has a powerful ability to stimulate HIV-killing T-cells, is then used to keep the immune system responding. The aim is to give the body a head start in fending off HIV to stop it overpowering the immune system and taking hold.
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Bestiality Considered Safe Sex ?

An animal rights charity is investigating claims that a group of boys in a remote area of South Africa have turned to bestiality as a method of safer sex.
The National Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals said that it is investigating allegations that boys of Mamvuka Village in Nzhelele Valley in the far north of the country have sex with goats to avoid getting AIDS.
Although no official complaints have been made, a South African television company interviewed youths from the area who admitted the practise.
One youth told the programme makers that he and his friends had sex with goats up to four times a week. He said: "We know about AIDS and we are very afraid of it. That is why we are having sex with these goats. Goats don`t have AIDS."
Another youth said: "We see people in the village dying everyday. It`s because they have slept with one another and infected each other. Goats can`t get those infections. We would therefore rather have sex with them."
He added: "It`s obvious that if I`m not sick there is nothing I can transmit to goats and goats to me. We won`t become HIV-positive because goats don`t get AIDS. We often share the same goat and don`t get each other`s diseases."
The NSPCA issued a statement which said: "Bestiality is a criminal offence. Charges can be laid under the Criminal Procedure Act and also in terms of the Animals Protection Act." They appealed to people with information to come forward.
Sinah Musekwa, a goat farmer, said that the allegations had destroyed his business. He said: "Since we`ve learnt that these rumours are true people don`t want to be associated with these goats. No one wants anything to do with their meat or milk. I`m going to have to destroy my goats." © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.
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US Debates Gay Censorship Software

A US court is debating the use of internet software that blocks pornographic material. The case follows incidents where non-pornographic gay websites have been blocked from public internet terminals by unreliable software.
The trial over the Children`s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is being heard at a Philadelphia court, under the jurisdiction of District Judge Harvey Bartle III.
The law, signed by President Clinton in 2000, requires public libraries to install web filtering software if they are to receive certain state subsidies.
Critics of the law, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Library Association, say that web filtering technology is inexact, and that the removal of subsidies amounts to "economic censorship" for libraries serving poor areas. They believe that CIPA takes content decisions away from the libraries and their patrons and gives them to the federal government.
Last year the ACLU represented websites such as PlanetOut.com, Planned Parenthood, Safersex.org and Afraidtoask.com, all of whom have had non-pornographic gay content censored by web filtering systems such as Websense.
easyEverything, the world's largest chain of internet cafés, also uses web filtering software which routinely censors gay websites with no explanation given to their customers.
Andy Scahill, editor of Out in America, a gay website, said of such software: "The definition of indecent is so broad, it's filtering out important educational information."
The judges will give their decision on the case by early May, and the law may go into effect at the end of July. © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.
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Teen Killed Friend in Gay Row

A teenager has been found guilty of killing his friend in a row over an alleged gay relationship.
A court in Texas found John Paul Marsh, aged 17, guilty of killing 14 year-old Nathan Mayoral.
Mayoral's body was found beaten to death last March in a field in Harris County.
Marsh made a statement during a pre-trial hearing in which he said that he and Mayoral had a consensual sexual relationship, which caused Marsh to hate himself.
Marsh admitted the killing, but his defence lawyers insisted that at the time he was temporarily insane after taking the prescription drug Paxil.
Marsh, who was 16 at the time of the murder, was certified to stand trial as an adult. He faces life in prison and will be sentenced shortly. © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.
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The Space Coast Eagle, Cocoa Beach, Fl. www.spacecoasteagle.com
GLBT NEWZ archives www.groups.yahoo.com/group/glbtnewz
Our e-mail is cyberqueer@hotmail.com
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Thursday, April 04, 2002

 
GLBT NEWZ 04/04/02 Information is power!

On the web: www.saloonmen.com or www.glbtnewz.blogspot.com

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Gay Bay Staters Poised To Make Gains On Beacon Hill

US Newswire
4/4/2002
WASHINGTON, Apr 3, 2002 (U.S. Newswire via COMTEX) -- Patrick Guerriero's withdrawal from the Massachusetts lieutenant governor's race is a sad reminder that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Bay Staters remain underrepresented at all levels of government, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund said today.
The organization also said there's good news, noting that openly gay and lesbian candidates continue to mount strong campaigns for other state elective offices, including Sen. Cheryl A. Jacques, who is up for re-election; Rep. Jarrett T. Barrios, who is running for a Senate seat; Rep. Elizabeth A. Malia, who is up for re-election; and Rick Musiol, a former aide to Sen. Therese Murray, who is making his first bid for a House seat. Guerriero is a Republican; the other four candidates are Democrats.
"Patrick Guerriero has been an outstanding public servant, and we hoped he'd become lieutenant governor," said Victory Fund Executive Director Brian K. Bond. "While his withdrawal is a setback, we're working hard to increase gay Bay Staters' voice in their government. Guerriero's pull-out shouldn't hurt the other candidates; in fact, we need to fight that much harder to help them win."
Bond also said helping elect local-level candidates and first-timers like Rick Musiol is important because they gain experience in a state where there is room for gay officials to advance politically.
"Leaders like Barney Frank and Patrick Guerriero have to get their start somewhere," said Bond, making a reference to U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, one of only three openly gay members of Congress. "If we want there to be more top-tier gay officials, we need to support local-level and first-time candidates."
Before Guerriero made his bid to be the state's second in charge, he served as the mayor of Melrose for two terms and as a state representative for three terms. He never lost an election.
"Guerriero came up through the ranks, ran well, and stepped aside with class," Bond said. "He has made history, but he is not history."
The Victory Fund, whose endorsements cross party lines, is the only national organization working to elect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered candidates on the federal, state and local fronts. Since its beginning in 1991, the organization has raised about $3 million for candidates and has helped to quadruple the number of openly gay officeholders to more than 200. (C) 2002 US Newswire. All Rights Reserved
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Scandal in Zimbabwe: Gay Issues Back in the News

Inter Press Service (IPS/IMS)
4/4/2002
by Lewis Machipisa
HARARE, Apr 3 (IPS) - After two years in which the issue had largely dropped out of the headlines, homosexuality in Zimbabwe is once again making the news.
The issue resurfaced after Alum Mpofu, the chief executive officer of the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), was reportedly caught by security guards at a Harare pub over the weekend in "a compromising position with another man."
The country's main newspapers have given prominent coverage to the scandal. And in the streets of the capital Harare, people have been talking about the incident.
Mpofu resigned on Tuesday following the publication of the story.
"He did the right thing to resign. Homosexuality is a foreign thing to Zimbabwe. It is alien to us," said one Harare worker, without waiting for Mpofu's side of the story.
The Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) also has attacked Mpofu for failing to protect gay people when he was head of the ZBC.
Keith Goddard, the most prominent gay activist in Zimbabwe said that Mpofu was fair game for attack.
"It's unfortunate that he was caught with his pants down, so to speak," said Goddard, programmes manager of the GALZ.
"I find it difficult to understand how a man who was in a position of authority could allow members of his own community to be stigmatised in such a way by the president. Surely he should have resigned," he added.
President Robert Mugabe has repeatedly denounced homosexuals, describing them as "worse than pigs and dogs."
Although his resignation is said to have been voluntary, Mpofu could see his dismissal coming.
His boss, Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's information minister, hates gays.
In Zimbabwe, the life of gays and lesbians is an unhappy one. Families disown gay relatives, while some employers refuse to hire homosexuals.
Homosexuality is not openly discussed in Zimbabwe, a largely conservative African country.
The issue came to prominence in the media a few years ago during the high-profile trial and conviction of former Zimbabwean President, Canaan Banana, on 10 charges of sodomy and sexual assault against his bodyguard.
"In the past if we knew that somebody was homosexual, like Canaan Banana, and working within the political system, we would have kept quiet," said Goddard.
"Now that Alum Mpofu has resigned one has to consider the fact that within his work at ZBC he had 10 golden rules through which it was illegal to swear, or to marginalise minorities or unfortunate groups," complained Goddard.
"But the president of this nation was allowed to stigmatise gays and lesbians during the (Mar 9-10 presidential) elections. He was allowed to stigmatise white people, he was allowed to make racial statements and all of this was openly broadcast on TV and radio for weeks and weeks on end," said Goddard.
White people make up less than one percent of Zimbabwe's 14 million inhabitants.
Mpofu, who is 43 and married with three children, has not commented about his sexuality. He was recruited to the ZBC from the South African Broadcasting Corporation last year.(END/IPS/AF/IP/LM/MN/02) . Copyright © 2002. Inter Press Service. All rights reserved.
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Lesbian Files Landmark Job Appeal

NY Post
4/3/2002
by Kenneth Lovett
ALBANY - A lesbian who quit her job to move out of state with her partner is fighting for New York unemployment benefits normally afforded to married couples in the same situation.
Jeanne Newland filed an appeal yesterday to the state's unemployment review board, which will consider such an issue for what's believed to be the first time.
Newland, who has been with her partner, Natasha Doty, for four years, was initially told by the state Labor Department she was ineligible for benefits because she isn't married to her partner.
Newland said the law is unfair because New York does not allow gay couples to marry.
State Labor Department spokeswoman Betsy McCormack said there isn't much that can be done, since New York doesn't provide unemployment benefits related to common-law marriages between a man and woman either. 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.
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ABC Postpones Nightline Series on Gay Life

Roanoke Times & World News
4/3/2002
by Mike Hudson
On, off, on, now off again.
The long-delayed ABC "Nightline" series on gay life in Roanoke has been postponed yet again--this time due to the continuing Israeli-Palestinian violence in the Middle East.
Last week ABC News had announced that it had rescheduled the five-night series for April 8-12. But on Monday, ABC officials decided to once again postpone the series, including a live "town meeting" scheduled for April 12.
Given the situation in the Middle East, ABC News spokeswoman Su- Lin Nichols said, it was likely that "Nightline" would have to interrupt the gay-life series to cover breaking news there. She said "Nightline" officials decided Monday that it was better to put the series off until they can find an open block of time.
She said people at ABC News feel strongly that the series is an important one, and "they just didn't want to do a disservice to the series by putting it on the air when it might be interrupted."
New air dates will be set later.
The series, which includes four nights focusing on Roanoke, had originally been scheduled to air last fall. But the events of Sept. 11 and their aftermath forced "Nightline" to push the series back. (C) 2002 Roanoke Times & World News. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved
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Task force will consider condoms for jails

Randy Dotinga, Gay.com / PlanetOut.com Network
Wednesday, April 3, 2002 / 04:06 PM
SUMMARY: Could safer sex be making an appearance behind bars? A federal committee on HIV issues will consider recommending condom distribution in prisons.
Could safer sex be making an appearance behind bars? According to the AIDS Law & Policy journal, a federal committee on HIV issues will consider recommending condom distribution in prisons.
The March 15 issue of the journal quotes Scott Evertz, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, as saying that a task force made up of Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson will evaluate the condom issue.
In a departure from conservative philosophies, Powell has supported condom use.
Two million Americans are in jail or prison. According to AIDS Action, the rate of HIV infection in individual prisons ranges between 1 and 20 percent of prisoners; a study found that 2-3 percent of prisoners tested in California were HIV-positive.
But the exact number is unknown because many prisons and jails don't test inmates for HIV.
An estimated one in three male prisoners engage in sexual activity with other men. Even so, the rate of HIV infection in prison is actually higher among women than men, a fact attributed to a higher rate of prostitution and intravenous drug use.
According to experts, condoms are only distributed in county jails in Washington D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco and in state prisons in Vermont and Mississippi.
Los Angeles County began distributing condoms last year to the 300 inmates who live in a gay-only section of one of its jails. At the time, an expert on AIDS in prison said the county had taken a "bold" step.
"Almost everybody tacitly acknowledges that same-sex behavior goes on. Most is consensual, and some of it is forced," said Dr. Frederick Altice, director of the HIV in Prisons program at Yale University. "If there is going to be risk going on, and you have an option to decrease transmission, we should be doing whatever we can." However, Alice acknowledged that no one knows if condom distribution does indeed reduce the rate of AIDS in prisons and jails.
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Maryland county approves marriage tax benefit for gay couples

The Montgomery County council in Maryland on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to give same-sex couples the same real estate tax break that married heterosexual couples receive.
The bill would allow domestic partners to transfer property into each other's name without having to pay a real estate tax levied when property changes hands. In order to qualify, gay couples must prove that they share a close personal relationship, are responsible for each other's welfare, and have shared the same legal residence for at least one year and that their finances are intertwined. County executive Douglas Duncan is likely to sign the measure, his spokesman said, and it would take effect immediately thereafter.
"This is a recognition of the fact that we're living in the 21st century, not the 19th," said council president Steven A. Silverman. Montgomery County is the fourth jurisdiction in the nation to grant real estate transfer tax breaks to gay and lesbian residents. Philadelphia, Sacramento, and Oakland, Calif., are the others.
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Gay employee sues U.S. Postal Service

A gay mail carrier in Belmont, Mass., sued the U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday for civil rights violations, charging that his supervisors failed to stop homophobic harassment against him, according to the Boston Herald.
"The atmosphere within the Belmont station consists of a daily barrage of vehemently antigay comments and sexually explicit discussions regarding the sexual practices of gay men," reads the suit filed by Christopher S. Varner, who became a postman in 1988 and has since left the Belmont office. The suit contends that some postal employees would "speak with a lisp or singsong tone" and "mimic anal intercourse with one another."
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Des Moines challenges YMCA membership policy

Officials in Des Moines are threatening to block city money from the YMCA of Greater Des Moines because it charges same-sex couples more to join than heterosexual married couples. Des Moines added a sexual orientation clause to its antidiscrimination ordinance last year. The ordinance outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, or use of public accommodations within the city limits. "Anybody that does business with the city must comply with that policy," said city councilwoman Christine Hensley. "It's clearly stated. If there's a loophole, I'll be sure to close it."
Legally married couples who live together may join the Des Moines YMCA for $57.50 a month. Gay couples living together are not eligible for the family package and must join at single adult rates, which are $38.50, $19.50 more for each couple. Vernon Delpesce, president of the YMCA of Greater Des Moines, says the facility is not discriminatory because its policy is based on Iowa's definition of marriage, which does not recognize same-sex unions. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with membership, he said. Delpesce added that the YMCA will review the policy within two months.
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Prom Battle Taking Toll On Gay Student

by Jack Siu
365Gay.com Newscenter in Toronto
(April 4, Toronto) In his first press conference, a Toronto area teen banned from going to a high school prom with his boyfriend, broke down in tears saying he felt betrayed by the school he loved.
Marc Hall said: "I felt rejected. I felt like my school just kind of caved down on me"
The lanky 17-year old is fighting a decision by the Durham Catholic District School Board that to allow him to bring his boyfriend to next month's prom would be a violation of church teachings on homosexuality.
"I'm not an activist. I am not making a political statement. I just want to go to the prom with my date," he told a packed media studio at the Ontario legislature.
The news conference was called by George Smitherman, the out member of the legislature for downtown Toronto. Smitherman called on the board to "do the right thing."
"The board dug itself in early in this but there is still time to make things right," Smitherman, said.
Hall was flanked by Buzz Hargrove, the president of the powerful Autoworkers union on one side, and by Marilyn Byers of PFLAG, on the other.
Several times the youth had to stop speaking, overcome with emotion and was comforted by Byers.
Hargrove said that the autoworkers have been involved in civil rights for more than 30 years when it exposed racism by Toronto landlords and went on to require GLBT rights packages in union contracts.
"Our union came to grips with human rights and sexuality many years ago. I think this young man has a tremendous amount of courage to say this is who I am, accept me for that."
The Durham board is the only Catholic school board in Southern Ontario to tell gay students they could not bring same-sex partners to proms.
Byers rejected the idea that Hall was attempting to challenge the church. "This isn't about the church. This is about one board."
Byers taught in the Catholic school system in Toronto for 30 years and is the mother of a gay son.
The school board will hear a plea from Hall at its next regular meeting, Monday. In a brief to school trustees that they reconsider their ban, he said: "In my grade 12 Religion class we discussed homosexuality at length and we were taught what Catholic teaching is on the subject. The Church may condemn homosexual acts, but is supposed to be welcoming of homosexuals. Gay people can attend Mass and even become priests. But, it seems that we can't go to our school prom."
The turmoil is taking a toll on the teenager.
Hall told reporters that he is "very stressed out."
Hall, who came out a year ago, said: "I'd rather be doing my homework and getting a better grade in school but I believe what I'm fighting for opens minds for other people."
Asked if the controversy has shaken his faith, the A student said; "No, only my faith in the Board of Education."
His father, Audy, said he is proud of his son. "His mother and I will stand by him for as long as it takes." But, the 67 year old said he is concerned about Marc's health. "No child needs to go through this. There are enough pressures on teenagers."
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Police Release Dog Maul 911 Tape


by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
(April 4, San Francisco) The bone numbing 911 tape made the day Diane Whipple was killed by two huge attack dogs has been released to the media.
The tape was not allowed at the trial where Whipple's neighbours, the keepers of the Presa Canario dogs responsible for the attack were convicted.
The judge in the case ruled that the recording was hearsay.
Marjorie Knoller was found guilty of second-degree murder and Robert Noel was convicted of manslaughter. They are set to be sentenced next month.
The 33-year-old lacrosse coach was attacked by the dogs in her San Francisco apartment building last January.
The 10-minute tape begins with Whipple's neighbour Esther Birkmaier's first call to 911. In the background can be heard barking and frantic screams.
The 75-year-old Birkmaier, her voice cracking with emotion told the emergency operator: "Please send police to 2398 Pacific Ave., corner of Fillmore. We have two dogs rampaging out in the hall up on the sixth floor and I think they have -- their -- even their owner cannot control them. They are huge."
"OK, the owner knows that the dogs are in the hallway?" the dispatcher asked.
"I think they're attacking the owner too, I reckon -- she's screaming right now, and I don't dare open the door 'cause the dogs are huge."
Birkmaier who initially believed it was Knoller who was being attacked, was asked to describe the dogs for the dispatcher.
"Well I -- you know I don't know -- they're bigger than a police dog."
"Please hurry! I hear her screaming and I don't dare open the door, these dogs are ferocious."
The dispatcher then radios a patrol car but does not say that an attack is underway, only that two large dogs are out of control.
During the trial Birkmaier testified she peered through the peephole in her door as she waited for police.
She told the court she could hear Whipple crying "Help me! Help me!"
Several minutes after Birkmaier called 911, a second call was placed. That one by a New York man staying with a friend in the building.
David Kuenzi, using a cell phone told the 911 dispatcher that he heard a woman screaming and a dog barking and believed the woman was being attacked.
The dispatcher told the man not to leave the apartment.
"I wouldn't go up there because you never know what you might get into." She told him that officers were on their way.
Five minutes after her first call, with no sign of police, and while Whipple was being mauled by the dogs which weighed over 120 pounds each, Birkmaier called 911 again.
"We're on our way ma'am, you just have to be patient. You only called five minutes ago."
The first police officers arrived moments later and seeing the Whipple in a pool of blood and with her throat ripped open put in a Code 3 urgent call for an ambulance and animal control officers. Whipple died of massive injuries a short while later.
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High School Given Gay Lit Gift

by Beth Shapiro
365Gay.com Newscenter, in New York
(April 4, Trenton, NJ) A Trenton high school will get a GLBT section in its library thanks to a gift from a community organization.
The Trenton Gay and Lesbian Civic Association (TGLCA) is giving Trenton Central High School library $1,600 worth of books.
TGLCA Vice President Peter Frycki said the idea to provide gay-themed books sprang from conversations that members of his organization had with several teachers at the school.
He said the teachers reported the high school can be a threatening place for sexual minorities.
"For kids who feel alone, just knowing there is literature out there, that there are communities out there, is important,'' Frycki said.
"They see (depictions of gay people) on TV, but they might not know there are people like them in their own community. That can be very liberating and positive.''
School Superintendent James Lytle said he has no idea how many students identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual but said there is no question some would benefit from positive portrayals in literature of people who share their sexual orientation.
"If you've got a community with 2,000-plus kids, there are going to be some who need these services,'' he said.
A list of age-appropriate books with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered characters and themes with the help of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). "I think this effort is to be commended,'' said GLSEN spokesman Jim Anderson. "The presence of information in school libraries can provide a lifeline to young people, just as the absence of information can be devastating and aggravate their isolation.
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BBC To Air Controversial Frankie Howerd Documentary

The BBC is to air an controversial documentary about comedian Frankie Howerd.
Since the gay comedian's death 10 years ago, rumours have circulated about is promiscuous private life. They have been continually denied by his sister, Betty Howerd, and his manager, Dennis Heymer.
The programme, to be shown this summer, is said to examine the private life of Howerd in detail, including his alleged promiscuity. Both Howerd and Heymer have refused to have anything to do with the documentary. Howerd's biographer, Mick Middles, admits that Howerd had a number of short-term liasons.
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Philadelphia Memories for Tom Hanks

April 3, 2002, World Entertainment News Network
TOM HANKS can no longer watch his OSCAR-winning performance in PHILADELPHIA because so many of his co-stars in the film are now dead.
Of the 53 gay men who appeared in scenes in the film, only 10 were still alive a year after the film wrapped - and Hanks admits he finds it hard to watch.
He says, "In the first transfusion scene I happened to be seated next to a guy who was way down the line and I was just chatting to him one day about his family. I asked how he was living and where he worked.
"He worked at a noodle company in a factory and he said, 'They've been the most wonderful group of people you can imagine. I went to work everyday - even when I was on my tank of oxygen.' "It's a hard movie for me to watch now because I remember the guy from the noodle factory. He is right there. They last forever these movies." (c) 2002 World Entertainment News Network
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Ammerman opposes gay-rights law

By Mark Schlueb
Sentinel Staff Writer
April 4, 2002
Just where does Orlando City Council member Don Ammerman stand on gay rights?
Ammerman's campaign opponent, Phil Diamond, called a news conference Wednesday to slam the incumbent for "playing political games" with the gay-rights issue.
"He is telling one group one thing and another group something else," Diamond said.
On Feb. 21, the Metropolitan Business Association asked City Council candidates to sign a pledge in support of a proposed ordinance to ban employment and workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Ammerman didn't show up for a candidates' forum sponsored by the MBA, an organization made up of gay and gay-friendly merchants. But he did sign the pledge and faxed it to MBA representatives. His position surprised MBA members; in 1998, he opposed allowing gay-pride flags to fly downtown.
Diamond said he supports expanding discrimination protections to include gays, but he did not sign the pledge because he wants to see the legal language first.
The ordinance would prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation, landlords from refusing to rent to gays, and public places like restaurants and hotels from barring gays.
Businesses with six or fewer employees, landlords with fewer than four rental units, religious organizations and private clubs will probably be exempted from the ordinance, if it is adopted.
But despite going on record in support of the anti-discrimination ordinance in February, Ammerman said in a campaign flier this week that he opposes the measure.
Ammerman said Wednesday that he's against the proposal, which he thinks would subject employers to legal action by disgruntled workers.
"I really believe in equal protection. People need to be hired and promoted based on ability and performance, not sexual orientation," Ammerman said. "But this is an effort by a politically active group of people who want special rights, and that's wrong."
So why did he sign the pledge? Ammerman said he thought he was backing a non-discrimination policy for city employees only, not the private sector.
He said the proposed ordinance could be a "defining difference" between Diamond and himself.
The two meet in a runoff election on Tuesday. Orlando's Human Relations Board will hold a public hearing to gather input on the proposed ordinance at 6 p.m. April 16 at City Hall.
Mark Schlueb can be reached at mschlueb@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5417. Copyright © 2002, Orlando Sentinel
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GLBT NEWZ archives www.groups.yahoo.com/group/glbtnewz
Our e-mail is cyberqueer@hotmail.com
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Wednesday, April 03, 2002

 
GLBT NEWZ 04/03/02 Information is power!

On the web: www.saloonmen.com or www.glbtnewz.blogspot.com

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Zimbabwe media chief faces gay inquiry

Angus Shaw, Associate Press
Tuesday, April 2, 2002 / 04:31 PM
SUMMARY: The government plans to investigate the powerful head of the state broadcast station on allegations of homosexuality, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
HARARE, Zimbabwe -- The government plans to investigate the powerful head of the state broadcast station on allegations of homosexuality, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
The inquiry was prompted by allegations Alum Mpofu, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp., caused a disturbance Thursday at a Harare nightclub after being caught "in a compromising situation" with a man, the state Herald newspaper reported Tuesday.
Mpofu has refused comment.
President Robert Mugabe is reviled by gay activists around the world for outlawing homosexual acts and describing same-sex partners as "worse than pigs and dogs."
The accusations against Mpofu came two years after Zimbabwe's former ceremonial president, Canaan Banana, was jailed for committing homosexual acts and indecent assault on members of his presidential guard in a case that deeply embarrassed Mugabe's government.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said Mpofu, a ruling party loyalist appointed to lead the state broadcaster ahead of last month's presidential elections, "will be given a fair hearing and allowed time to tell his side of the story," The Herald reported.
Moyo said the broadcasters' board of directors was asked to determine the truth behind the alleged incident at a night club owned by a ruling party lawmaker.
Moyo recruited Mpofu, a Zimbabwean working at the South African Broadcasting Corp., last July to head changes at the ZBC that streamlined its role as a government mouthpiece.
Mugabe, declared the winner in the disputed March 9-11 presidential election, scoffed in his campaign at homosexuality in Britain, the former colonial power he accused of backing the opposition.
He repeatedly said British Prime Minister Tony Blair led "a government of gay gangsters and lesbians" who needed biology classes on human reproduction.
Moyo said Mpofu's alleged behavior was "totally unacceptable" from a public official, regardless of whether a man or woman was involved.
But Moyo also condemned homosexuality. "Sexual perverts need to be told once again that homosexuality is unnatural," he said. "The only people who accept homosexuality are liberals who think it is a way of getting votes."
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Gay candidate drops bid for lieutenant governor

Patrick Guerriero, the 34-year-old openly gay Republican seeking to run for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, dropped out of the race on Tuesday. No reason was immediately given.
Acting governor Jane Swift had chosen Guerriero as her running mate, and although Swift withdrew her campaign last month, Guerriero was expected to continue his bid for lieutenant governor. As recently as Monday he was expected to receive endorsements from some 30 state Republican officials. Guerriero instead threw his support Tuesday to state GOP chairwoman Kerry Murphy Healey. Healey joins former state Republican Party chairman James Rappaport and former state representative Donna Fournier Cuomo as Republican candidates for lieutenant governor.
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Off-duty officers accused in beating

Police officials in Portland, Ore., are investigating whether two off-duty Portland police officers assaulted a man outside a downtown bar in late January. The criminal investigation was spurred by an anonymous complaint to the Independent Police Review Division. The two officers--who reportedly yelled gay epithets during the fight--were placed on administrative leave in March.
Police chief Mark Kroeker said the division is reviewing why the investigation was not begun January 24, the night of the incident. Kroeker met Monday to inform members of the division's Sexual Minorities Roundtable, an advisory group to the division and to gay and lesbian officers. Kroeker has been working to repair relations with Portland's gay and lesbian community since taped antigay remarks he made more than 10 years ago were found for sale on a Christian ministry Web site and publicized in 2000.
"I'm concerned that we do not endanger any of the trust that has been built or retrench in any way, especially after all the work that has been done across the two years in outreach and building relationships," Kroeker said. The victim, who is in his 30s, has not been named. He was treated at the scene and is cooperating with the investigation, assistant chief Andrew Kirkland said. The FBI has opened a preliminary inquiry into the incident to determine whether any civil rights violations occurred.
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School reverses denial of aid for loans over military duty

Law professors wanted to take stand against services' anti-gay policy
By Stephanie Simon
Special To The Sun
March 31, 2002
ST. LOUIS - The letter writer did not mince words. "Have the faculty members who endorsed this decision been on the planet Earth since 9/11?"
The object of her scorn: the law professors at Washington University. The reason: their decision to help pay off the student loans of graduates who take jobs serving the public - unless those jobs are in the U.S. military.
In an effort to encourage more students to consider low-paying jobs such as prosecuting criminals or advising nonprofit groups, the law school faculty this month voted to help graduates in such "public service" posts with their often-staggering student debt. But, on a 12-11 vote, they excluded graduates who go to work for any organization that discriminates.
And that, in their view, left out the military, which has ousted homosexuals from the ranks under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
The decision drew immediate criticism. Irate alumni bombarded the dean's office with complaints. Veterans proclaimed themselves insulted. Indignant letters filled the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , calling the move "ludicrous," "disgraceful" and "downright anti-American." The paper's editorial board, on most issues proudly liberal, declared that the faculty had gone too far.
The pressure was tremendous. And last week, law school Dean Joel Seligman bowed to it. "This has been an agonizing issue," he said. "I cannot overstate that." Then he announced that he was overruling the faculty. The debt relief program would be open to graduates entering the military.
The response has been more anger. Students and faculty have been pressed to examine - and defend - their views on patriotism, principle and justice. Many are finding that the sands have shifted: Even on a liberal campus that for years has criticized the military's stance on homosexuality, it's no longer considered politically correct to bash the Pentagon during a war on terrorism.
Some faculty members are fearful of speaking on the record, lest they alienate colleagues on the bitterly divided campus.
Aftershocks of Sept. 11 "have colored this debate in a really unfortunate way," said T.J. Hill, president of Outlaw, the school's gay and lesbian organization.
The fault lines run like this:
People who back the dean argue the need to treat all students equally. It would have been hypocritical, they say, to discriminate against aspiring military lawyers in the name of protesting discrimination. And it would be unfair to punish students for a personnel policy set by Congress and the Pentagon.
"Just because someone is patriotic and opts to serve their country, I don't think that in any way suggests that they personally want to discriminate against homosexuals," said Randy Soriano, a third-year student who came to Washington University after serving in the Marines as an infantry captain.
"I sacrificed 7 1/2 years of my life to serve my country. For the school to imply that's wrong ... is a slap in the face," Soriano said.
Others counter that standing up for the rights of homosexuals must trump any other consideration. A law school committed to justice, they say, should not reward students who choose to work for an organization that discriminates, whether it's the Ku Klux Klan or the Marines.
Even - or perhaps, especially - in this era of surging patriotism, they argue that it's important to hold the government to task when its policies seem unjust.
"We wouldn't be tolerating this if it were about racial discrimination," rather than discrimination based on sexual orientation, said Professor Richard Kuhns. Excluding the military, he said, would have been "an important, if small, step making the point that discrimination is wrong."
On average, five law school graduates a year go into the military - out of a class of 200. Fewer still would qualify for debt relief because their expected incomes of about $41,000 a year (including benefits such as housing allowances) are relatively high for public-service jobs.
Pete Milne, the law school's business manager, estimates that most graduates taking jobs as military lawyers would be entitled to write off at most $3,000 in debt each year for several years. In contrast, students earning less than $25,000 a year could have their entire loans forgiven. (Most graduates would fall somewhere in the middle. The median starting salary for a public interest job is $34,000, which would qualify a student to get half his debt waived.)
But the amount of relief is not the point for Josh Girton, a student who hopes to serve as a Marine Corps lawyer. With tuition exceeding $27,000 a year, Girton expects to have "a ton" of debt by the time he graduates.
He could make the money to pay it off fairly quickly in private practice, where the median starting salary is $80,000. But Girton is committed to the Marines "out of a sense of indebtedness to my country," he said. So, he was stunned to learn that his professors did not deem the military a public service job worthy of subsidy.
"I was outraged," he said. "It was disrespectful."
His classmate Hill could say the same - only he would say it about the dean's decision to put the military back on the subsidy list. "It's very painful," he said. "For a few days, I was so proud to go to a university that really stood by its principles. Now I see it's like any other institution, subject to political pressure. It devalues my degree."
Stephanie Simon is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing newspaper. Copyright © 2002, The Baltimore Sun
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Majority Of Americans Support Gay Adoption

by Beth Shapiro
365Gay.com Newscenter, in New York
(April 3, New York) A new poll shows that the majority of Americans support giving gay and lesbian couples the right to adopt.
47 per cent said gays should be permitted to adopt. 42 per cent were opposed, according to the ABC.com survey
It is the first time in a decade of polling that a plurality has supported adoption rights. The last survey, in 1998 showed that 57 per cent opposed gay adoption. In 1994, there was 64 per cent opposition.
The drop in the number of people against gay and lesbian couples adopting was 23 per cent since 1994.
The survey was conducted March 27-31, after Rosie O'Donnell came out on the network, taking up the cause of gay adoption.
The telephone poll sampled 1,031 adults randomly selected across the US. The results have a three-point error margin.
Most younger adults, women, and those with more education support gay and lesbian adoption. Older adults, men, and the less-educated don't.
There are also regional differences. Majorities in the East and Midwest are supportive; most in the South are not. Partisanship plays a large role in these views. Most Democrats and Independents support adoption by gays, while Republicans oppose it by a 2-1 margin.
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Chrysler To Target GLBT Market

by Jack Siu
365Gay.com Newscenter in Toronto
(April 3, Toronto) DaimlerChrysler is the latest big car maker to see pink gold.
The company has invited two dozen agencies to compete for a diversity marketing campaign worth an estimated $4-6 million (US).
Industry publication Ad Weekly quotes Chrysler Group representative James Kenyon as saying that the company is focusing on the gay, Jewish, black and Hispanic markets.
Prospective campaigns are expected to be worked up this week.
The company has already given its African-American marketing campaign to Don Coleman Advertising in Southfield, Mich., while Montemayor y Asociados in San Antonio handles Hispanic target advertising, but Chrysler now wants to put all of its diversity marketing under one roof. Saab and Ford are already marketing to gays and lesbians.
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Schools Told To Move Beyond Gay-Straight Alliances

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
(April 3, Boston) A report on gays and lesbians in the school system says that it is time to move beyond gay-straight clubs and start thinking about creating safe school environments.
The study was prepared by the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies, an independent think tank based in Amherst, Mass.
The report, called "Going Beyond Gay-Straight Alliances to Make Schools Safe for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students," is based on a study by principal investigators Drs. Pat Griffin and Mathew Ouellett.
It says that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth are benefiting from the existence of Gay-Straight Alliances. However, it says, they are only the beginning of what is really needed.
The report looked at schools participating in the Massachusetts Safe Schools Program, now in its tenth year.
"With this study, IGLSS has substantiated the role that Gay-Straight Alliances play in creating safer school environments for LGBT youth," said Stacy Roth, executive director of IGLSS.
"Currently there are at least 12 states considering safe schools-type legislation including Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, and Washington. This study provides critical information for advocates and scholars in these states," Roth said.
Although several states have voluntary school and community-based GSAs, Massachusetts was the first to create a Safe Schools Program and is the only state to include funding.
According to recent studies, many LGBT youth and youth perceived to be LGBT face psychological and physical danger in the school setting.
Other studies also reveal that without appropriate support LGBT youth may struggle in isolation with important developmental tasks such as intimacy and self esteem.
"Recent studies show that LGBT youth are at risk for harassment and bullying by their peers. Schools must create policies that address these concerns," said Griffin.
"With regular turnover of student leadership and adult advisors, and without policies and support from school principals and other administrators, the lasting effects of a good GSA will be limited. The entire school setting must be involved," says Griffin. "There is no single strategy that can be employed to create safer schools," stated Roth. "There are many ways to try to help LGBT youth in today's high schools. GSAs are only the tip of the iceberg and are only doing part of the job."
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Heat On For Scouts

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
(April 3, Syracuse, NY) Air conditioning giant Carrier Corp. has turned up the heat on the Boy Scouts. Carrier has ended its support for a fundraising dinner that supports upstate New York scout troops.
Last year, the company was responsible for combined donations and corporate dinner ticket sales of $42,025.
The annual fundraising event has been held in the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University but last year, the university told the Scouts that it could no longer use the stadium because the organization's ban on gay leaders was in conflict with the school's policy on diversity.
The move forced Carrier to look at its own support for the Boy Scouts of America.
Chip Eschenfelder, a company spokesperson said: "We have limited community support dollars, and it was decided we would use them to support organizations that operate under the same diversity guidelines as we do."
A spokesperson for the BSA said the group regretted Carrier's decision, and added it was the only company to pull out. Ray Sander, the local council's district executive said that other companies have made up the difference.
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Man Dies After Sex Change Operation


by Peter Hacker
365Gay.com Newscenter in Sydney
(April 3, Tokyo) Japanese police are investigating a hospital in Osaka after a man died hours after undergoing a sex change operation.
The 35-year-old from Tokyo underwent the male to female gender reassignment operation in February.
"At this point, we only know the fact that the person died after the surgery," a police spokesperson said.
The man is the second patient to die at the clinic at the same time. A woman died after undergoing cosmetic surgery on her jaw.
"We don't know if there is any criminal element" to the cases, t he spokesperson said, declining to comment further. Autopsies show both died from oedema, a condition in which water accumulates in the lungs.
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Savannah Moves To Protect Gay Workers

by Fidel Ortega
365Gay.com Newscenter in Miami
(April 3, Savannah GA) Savannah, Georgia is expected to add sexual orientation to it is nondiscrimination policy, possibly as early as the end of this week.
Gay and lesbian civic workers have been lobbying for the inclusion for more than a decade.
The latest attempt began last November when the First City Network, a local gay and lesbian advocacy group petitioned city council.
City Human Resources Director Beth Robinson researched the data, and drafted a proposal for City Manager Michael Brown, who can make the change without City Council approval. Robinson said she expects Brown to approve the change. The change would add sexual orientation to a list that includes race, colour, creed, national origin, age, sex and physical handicaps. It does not extend health benefits to a city employee's gay partner.
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Lesbian Files Landmark 'Job' Appeal

April 2, 2002, NY Post
A lesbian who quit her job to move out of state with her partner is fighting for New York unemployment benefits normally afforded to married couples in the same situation.
Jeanne Newland filed an appeal yesterday to the state's unemployment review board, which will consider such an issue for what's believed to be the first time.
Newland, who has been with her partner, Natasha Doty, for four years, was initially told by the state Labor Department she was ineligible for benefits because she isn't married to her partner.
Newland said the law is unfair because New York does not allow gay couples to marry.
State Labor Department spokeswoman Betsy McCormack said there isn't much that can be done, since New York doesn't provide unemployment benefits related to common-law marriages between a man and woman either. 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.
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Lesbian Couple Seeking to Manufacture a Deaf Child

April 1, 2002, PR Newswire
In a cover story for their Sunday magazine, The Washington Post featured an 11-page profile of a lesbian couple that has done all they can to ensure their newborn son will be deaf. Sharon Duchesneau and her partner Candace McCullough, both of whom are deaf, specifically sought out a sperm donor with a history of deafness in his family to increase the chances of their son being deaf.
The women's local sperm bank would not help them because congenital deafness is a trait that disqualifies a potential donor. The couple then sought out their own donor due to their belief that it would be easier for them to raise the child if it were deaf.
"This couple has effectively decided that their desire to have a deaf child is of more concern to them than is the burden they are placing on their son," said Connor. "To intentionally give a child a disability, in addition to all the disadvantages that come as a result of being raised in a homosexual household, is incredibly selfish."
The Post story says the women deny they are "trying" to have a deaf child, even though McCullough admits as much by saying, "I would say that we wanted to increase our chances of having a baby who is deaf."
"These women are taking the idea of creating so-called 'designer babies' to a horrible new level," said Connor. "We've seen many parents try to ensure they create children possessing a certain trait, however, this couple has sought to create a child so that he does not possess a certain trait -- in this case, the ability to hear."
"One can only hope that this practice of intentionally manufacturing disabled children in order to fit the lifestyles of the parents will not progress any further," said Connor. "The places this slippery slope could lead to are frightening."
For more information on this subject, visit www.frc.org . Copyright (C) 2002 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved.
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Gays Earn More Than Straights

A new study has found that openly gay couples earn significantly more than their heterosexual counterparts.
The research was based on figures supplied by the Office of National Statistics' Labour Force Survey. It found that although gay couples received on average 20% more than heterosexuals, it was still less than they should be earning given their levels of education.
The study found that 36% of openly gay people who are employed and living with a partner have a degree, against only 16% of married heterosexuals.
The report`s authors, Alan Marin and Jonathan Wadsworth of the London School of Economics and Reza Arabsheibani of the University of Wales in Aberystwyth, suggested that the difference in education indicated that gay couples should earn 23% more than heterosexuals.
The authors argued that higher levels of educational achievement in openly gay couples might reflect a tendency for gays in higher-earning jobs to reveal their sexuality. © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.
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Bigots Duped by Gay April Fool

An April Fool joke has duped a group of homophobic "small-minded conservatives" on a website devoted to right wing politics.
On 1 April, RainbowNetwork reported that "Inning" had been identified as a "new gay fad". The report quoted Lora Folip, head of the fictitious Institute of Homosexuality, as saying that gay men and lesbians were fed up with their flamboyant lifestyles and were seeking a quieter life in the closet. Folip's name is an anagram of April Fool.
Members of Free Republic, a neo-conservative political website based in the US, did not get the joke.
One member said that going back inside the closet "Sounds like a realistic approach in reducing the spread of self imposed death." Another member opined: ""Homosexuality has been 'hip' the last few years, but it`s run its course, and it is going the way of pet rocks, mood rings, leg warmers, and Bobby Sherman."
Eventually the group realised that the report was "some fruit's idea of an April Fool's joke" and warned each other not to believe it because "it makes us look like idiots!"
Finally, a member argued: "Listen to yourselves, how stupid you are. Your remarks are ignorant. Only racists and small minded conservatives that post on this board would fall for this. The ploy worked for it has made all of you sound like the stupidest, racist people you are. You say homosexuals are a disgrace to America? Hell no, YOU ARE!"
Humorous and untrue news stories are a traditional means of celebrating April Fools Day on 1 April. © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.
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The Space Coast Eagle, Cocoa Beach, Fl. www.saloonmen.com
GLBT NEWZ archives www.groups.yahoo.com/group/glbtnewz
Our e-mail is cyberqueer@hotmail.com
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Tuesday, April 02, 2002

 
GLBT NEWZ 04/02/02 Information is power!

On the web: www.saloonmen.com or www.glbtnewz.blogspot.com

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Gays Pin Hopes on Job-discrimination Bill

Omaha World-Herald
4/2/2002
by Robynn Tysver
For 24 years, D. Moritz avoided talking with co-workers about her weekends.
Moritz is a lesbian. She was worried about getting fired from her job as an Omaha Public Schools counselor before the district passed a nondiscrimination policy.
So it's no surprise that the retired Omaha educator is supporting a bill in the Nebraska Legislature that would ban discrimination against gays in the workplace.
"No one should have to go to work and fear they could lose their job based solely on sexual orientation," Moritz said.
It's unclear whether enough time is left in the session for lawmakers to tackle the sure-to-be-controversial Legislative Bill 19 - or whether Gov. Mike Johanns would veto the measure, sign it or let it become law without his signature.
The proposal is Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers' priority bill for this session.
Opponents say the bill is unnecessary, and they object strongly to the state's protecting a sexual orientation that some religious faiths believe is sinful.
Besides, there is no evidence that gays or lesbians are being summarily dismissed from work because of their orientation, said Al Riskowski, executive director of the Nebraska Family Council.
Right or wrong, Riskowski said, homosexuals are becoming more accepted in society.
"Why should this group get protected-class status?" he asked. "What is the compelling reason that we should grant that?"
There are only 12 working days left in this year's session, and the bulk of them will be spent balancing the state budget and considering tax increases to plug a $226 million budget gap.
"Time is running short, but it does look like LB19 may be heard right before the end of the session," said M.J. McBride of Citizens for Equal Protection, a group pushing for the bill's passage.
She thinks the bill's chances are good.
McBride noted that last year, an amendment prohibiting discrimination against gays in housing was advanced on a 27-16 vote. However, the measure, attached to a bill updating real estate law, was vetoed by Johanns.
This year, a glimmer of hope for the gay community might be found in the governor's comments on LB19. Johanns, through a spokesman, did not say outright that he would veto the bill.
"Governor Johanns has not read the legislation and has not had time to focus on much legislation besides budget and revenue issues," said Chris Peterson, his spokesman.
Twelve states and the District of Columbia have laws banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation in the private sector.
The proposal in Nebraska would apply to businesses that employ 15 or more people and to all state agencies and political subdivisions. It would not apply to churches or their affiliates.
In many ways, the bill is another bellwether for the gay community.
Two years ago, the community saw Initiative 416, a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions in Nebraska, pass with 70 percent support.
Moritz said another defeat for the gay community could reinforce the prevailing belief that homosexuals are not welcome in Nebraska. She said it would be "one more message that we really don't want you in the state of Nebraska, we really don't want you to be a part of the state. It's a constant message."
Riskowski said he worried about another message being sent to Christians and others who believe that homosexuality is a sin and should not be sanctioned by the state. The government should not be passing laws that are contrary to the moral convictions of some business owners, he said. (C) 2002 Omaha World-Herald. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved
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California Gays Seek to Change State GOP

Sacramento Bee Capitol Bureau
4/1/2002
by Kevin Yamamura
Three openly gay men will run as Republican candidates this fall for seats in the state Assembly and Congress, one of the largest such showings in a California general election.
They face long odds, competing on shoestring budgets against Democratic incumbents in districts where Republican voter registration is low. But even if they lose, they should gain appointments within the state party by virtue of winning March primaries.
Backed by the state's Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP coalition of gay and lesbian activists, the candidates are part of a small movement to moderate the party, said Jeffrey Bissiri, an architect competing in the 42nd Assembly District in Los Angeles County.
"The state is an extremely diverse state with an extremely diverse electorate, and the party needs to reflect that," Bissiri said. "Embracing that diversity is a strength, not a weakness, and it's a road to victory."
Elsewhere, Matt Munson, a college student from Ontario, is vying for the 61st Assembly District seat in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. The third candidate, Michael German, is a deputy attorney general from San Francisco running for Congress against House Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi.
Bissiri and Munson ran unopposed in the primary and sparked little party interest, a reflection of how heavily Democratic their districts are, they said. German beat one opponent to win his primary, but he faces Pelosi in a district where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1.
While much has been made of the fact that two Democratic Assembly candidates -- Mark Leno and John Laird -- are expected to become the state Legislature's first openly gay male members this November, the three Republicans have gone virtually unnoticed.
Openly gay Republicans have sought California office in the past, though none has been elected.
For now, Log Cabin Republicans will settle for gaining spots among the state party leadership.
GOP legislative primary winners receive as many as nine appointments to the state committee, depending on how they fare in the general election, said Rob Stutzman, a party spokesman. Those who win get the full nine appointments, while those who suffer a close loss get six. A big loss gets none, though Stutzman said that is rare.
The central committee has 1,400 members, with 60 percent to 70 percent appointed through electoral outcomes.
While a gain of several seats may prove insignificant considering the committee's size, gay Republicans hope to build a coalition with other groups they consider mainstream, said David Hanson, president of the Log Cabin Republicans.
"We haven't been effective enough at changing the state GOP, and it has been on a self-destruct mission," Hanson said. "So if we can get on the inside with more members to change the bylaws and be effective, that's what our goal is."
The Log Cabin Republicans formed in 1977 to seek help from Ronald Reagan in opposing a ballot initiative that proposed banning gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools. The initiative failed, and the movement has grown, now maintaining a national office and chapters in each state.
The state Log Cabin organization has 400 members, Hanson said, but one gay activist group estimated as many as 25 percent of California's 910,000 gay and lesbian registered voters cast ballots for President Bush in 2000.
Stutzman contended that the state Republican Party has been inclusive, with Chairman Shawn Steel attending a Log Cabin event last year.
"I think that's a pretty strong indication that nobody is automatically shut out of the Republican Party," Stutzman said of Steel's appearance. "It's a sign the chairman is committed to growing the Republican Party."
Log Cabin members generally support Republican principles of limited government and a strong military. But they also back domestic partnerships, an issue that Republicans have opposed in the state Legislature.
Log Cabin members particularly object to part of the California Republican platform that calls heterosexual marriage "the only stable relationship upon which to build a society."
"I'm (conservative Republican Assemblyman) Dennis Mountjoy on economics but (Democrat) Gloria Negrete McLeod on social issues," Munson said.
Assembly Republican leader Dave Cox called the three Log Cabin candidacies a "non-story," and said that his caucus ignores the sexual preferences of GOP contenders.
"I don't go around asking people about their sexuality," Cox said. "That's just not the way I start a conversation."
When told that Log Cabin Republicans considered their efforts a significant step, Cox responded, "So?"
But state Senate Republican Whip Ray Haynes commended the Log Cabin candidates for pursuing Republican nominations in areas where nobody else would.
"Some of these guys I may disagree with on a philosophical level, but if they're out there working and pushing, I've got to give them credit where credit is due," Haynes said. "I think it's something Republicans need to do all over this state, in areas that are predominantly Hispanic, in areas predominantly black, in areas they don't traditionally think of as quote-unquote Republican." Copyright 2002 Sacramento Bee. All Rights Reserved.
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Drugs jeopardize White Party's future

Gay.com / PlanetOut.com Network
Monday, April 1, 2002 / 04:46 PM
SUMMARY: The White Party weekend in Palm Springs closed with reports of fewer drug overdoses than last year, but its future remains uncertain.
The White Party weekend, one of the country's largest gay events held annually in Palm Springs, Calif., closed on Sunday with reports of fewer drug overdoses than last year, but its future remains uncertain.
The local Desert Sun newspaper reported that, as of late Sunday, this year's overdose tally was two, but drug-related arrests increased to five. Two of the arrests were for suspicion of possessing Ecstasy and Ketamine, sometimes referred to as Special K.
Palm Springs Mayor Will Kleindienst had put the White Party on notice after last year's event recorded 13 drug overdoses and one drug-related arrest.
The mayor is assessing reports about last weekend's activities before deciding whether the White Party will be allowed to return next year, the Sun reports.
The annual circuit party, founded and produced by Jeffrey Sanker, has been a boon to the local economy. This year an estimated 20,000 men attended the weekend's centerpiece party on Saturday night, according to the Associated Press. Pop star Jennifer Lopez was the headline performer at Saturday night's event.
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Connecticut partner bill may get vote

365Gay.com
Monday, April 1, 2002 / 04:51 PM
SUMMARY: Connecticut's partnership bill may get a second life.
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut's partnership bill may get a second life.
Last Monday, the state Assembly's Judiciary Committee approved legislation to provide same-sex couples expanded legal protections, but the bill missed a filing deadline and is technically dead.
On the weekend, Speaker of the House Moira K. Lyons said there is support from both sides of the aisle to bring the bill to the floor.
"I believe that you'll probably see it in a bill that stresses basic human rights that everyone should have," Lyons said.
"These are basic rights we all should have."
The bill, written so as not to directly mention same-sex couples, would have allowed people to make written contracts to provide many rights that gay and lesbian partners are not allowed.
It would allow people to make health-related decisions for their partners, including life-support, autopsy, organ-donation and cremation commitments.
It would also allow for partners to visit private nursing homes and file wrongful death claims and have victim status in the event of a murder.
Supporters of the legislation say Lyons' support is tantamount to a green light for the amendment to be raised within the next couple of weeks.
Proponents said that they would revive the legislation as an amendment on the House floor.
Guerriero gets boost from fellow Republicans
Openly gay Republican Patrick C. Guerriero's campaign for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts was expected to get a boost Monday, with about 30 local Republican officials scheduled to appear alongside him at a downtown Boston campaign event, reports The Boston Globe. Guerriero, formerly mayor of Melrose, Mass., was set to receive the endorsement of all three of the state's Republican mayors--including Boston mayor Thomas Menino--and a smattering of other GOP officials at the Omni Parker House. They planned to emphasize Guerriero's strong ties with local officials and members of the legislature, where Guerriero served for four years before becoming mayor.
Guerriero, who was tapped by acting governor Jane Swift to be her running mate, has continued his campaign even though Swift dropped out of the governor's race two weeks ago. Mitt Romney, the only Republican candidate for governor, has vowed to stay out of the lieutenant governor's race, saying that he wants to allow the Republican Party rank and file to choose his running mate.
So far, Guerriero's only competition in the race for lieutenant governor is James F. Rappaport, the former state Republican Party chairman. For more information on Guerriero--who appears on the cover of the April 16 issue of The Advocate--read "The New Face of Gay Conservatives."
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Florida lawmaker sends out antigay Easter messages

Florida state representative Randy Ball sent out a letter on government stationery Thursday that included a religious diatribe against gay people--part of his increasingly public defense of a state law that prevents lesbians and gay men from adopting children. Ball's letter, sent to Florida newspapers, said a "transcendent God" oversees the world and "condemns homosexuality as an abomination." The letter also stated that "[h]omosexuals lead very unstable lives as a rule."
On March 15, Ball also sent out a series of E-mails on his state computer, invoking Jesus Christ and condemning the idea of gay adoption as "dangerous."
Ball said he sent his letter to the press Thursday in order to get his message out for Easter. "This is a theological matter," he said. "This gives me a chance to get the truth out, uncut. This country runs and operates on the Judeo-Christian ethic that comes from the Bible." He also defended using government stationery and computers to spread his religious message. "It's a policy issue of whether we do or do not have a ban on gay adoptions," he said. "Engagement in politics does not require me to be a hypocrite and leave my religious values at home." "When you see some of what he's saying, it's surprising to see this go out on state letterhead," said Eric Ferrero, a spokesman for the ACLU, which is organizing opposition to Florida's adoption law. "He gets to believe whatever he wants, and we would fight for his right to his beliefs. We just don't think you get to base state law on your disdain for gay people."
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Lesbian teen won't take polygraph

A 17-year-old Denver lesbian who reported that a group of men beat her and carved antigay epithets in her flesh declined a police request Thursday to take a polygraph test, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Police would say only that they are actively investigating the incident.
On Wednesday, April Mora showed her injuries, which included the word dyke cut into her left forearm in inch-high letters and the letters RIP scrawled across her stomach with a razor. Mora said three men attacked her about 2 p.m. Tuesday after they noticed her staring at their black Honda Accord as she walked down an alley behind her house. In their report, police say Mora told them four men attacked her. The report also says the cuts on her stomach and arm were superficial and made with a small razor. Before leaving, the men punched her and kicked her in the stomach, according to the report.
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Missouri porn theater bust targets gays

Police in Jefferson County, Mo., arrested several patrons of an adult video store for having sex in the store, but only those people engaging in gay sex have been charged, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Six men have been charged with "deviate sexual intercourse with another person of the same sex," a rarely used misdemeanor. The men were arrested earlier this month in a raid on Award Video, a High Ridge, Mo., business that sells adult videos and shows pornographic movies. Those patrons who were arrested were having sex in the theater at the time of the raid. If convicted, the men could face fines and serve up to a year in the county jail.
County prosecutor Bob Wilkins said he was hesitant to use the controversial statute, which he called "obscure," but he said that it was necessary to stamp out the "open and notorious activities" at Award Video. "It is not my intention to judge the conduct of consenting adults," Wilkins said. "This is not about throwing homosexuals in jail; this is about trying to prevent future conduct." Wilkins added that he would like to prosecute those who were engaging in heterosexual acts, but he said they weren't violating state law. Under Missouri law, homosexual sex is illegal, though rarely prosecuted. Heterosexual sex can be a crime if it causes someone alarm or affront, which, Wilkins said, "did not likely happen at this establishment."
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Local YMCA chapters not gay-friendly

A Seattle-based community organization says a local YMCA chapter is reneging on a verbal invitation to host a workshop on its campgrounds because the group is for gay and bisexual men.
In September Seattle's Gay City Health Project held its sixth annual Gay City CAMP--a weekend retreat for gay and bisexual men--at the Yakima Family YMCA's Camp Dudley. More than 150 men attended the 2001 retreat, and GCHP says the weekend workshop was so well-received by the YMCA staff that the facility extended a verbal invitation to Gay City staff to return again in 2002.
According to GCHP executive director Fred Swanson, when it came time for the Yakima Family YMCA to send GCHP a contract for the 2002 retreat, the contract included a new "Rental Group Conduct" clause, which had not been part of the 2001 contract. The clause mandates that in order to renew its rental agreement with the YMCA, GCHP would have to relinquish control of "any references (verbal, written, or through any media) to Camp Dudley, the YMCA, or the activities to be held during any rental or event" to the Yakima YMCA.
"To have to gain approval for the exact wording and descriptions we use in our marketing materials...is clearly censorship," says Swanson. "Asking us not to mention Camp Dudley or the YMCA in our materials seems reasonable; we never mentioned them last year. But to have to alter our camp's entire marketing campaign just to appeal to the Yakima YMCA undermines our effectiveness and integrity. Gay City Health Project's marketing needs to be culturally appropriate. It needs to appeal to gay and bisexual men."
Meanwhile, a member of the YMCA board of directors in Fargo, N.D., says he will ask the board of the Fargo-Moorehead Family YMCA to reconsider its family membership policy in the wake of charges that the organization discriminated against a lesbian family. The Fargo-Moorehead Family YMCA must rework the policy to include all families, whether headed by a husband and wife, grandparents, gay parents, or adults who care for aging mothers and fathers, said Ben Anvary. "I'm hoping the other board members will see that [the family policy] needs to be changed," Anvary said.
The Fargo-Moorehead Family YMCA's family membership policy provides cheaper membership rates to only those families headed by a husband and wife or by a single parent. A Fargo lesbian couple with two children say they were told on at least two occasions that they could join only as a single parent and single adult and must pay $94 instead of the $60 family rate. In late March the local gay rights group Pride Collective called for a boycott of the Fargo YMCA and has started a petition drive to urge the organization to expand its definition of family to include gay families.
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Thom Fitzgerald's upcoming film gets acquired for distribution

THINKFilm, a newcomer in the independent distribution world, has acquired worldwide rights to the next film from gay director Thom Fitzgerald (The Hanging Garden, Beefcake), reports indieWIRE.com. The Event, which is still in production, stars Parker Posey, Olympia Dukakis, Don McKellar, Sarah Polley, Jane Leeves, and Brent Carver and is described as "an intense relationship drama that takes the form of a mystery...[and] centers around a series of unexplained deaths that occur among the gay community in New York's fashionable Chelsea district." THINKFilm previously acquired out filmmaker's Gus Van Sant's latest, Gerry.

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Gruesome Murder in Self-Defense Man Claims


Monday, 1 April 2002
Source: Houston Voice
Robert Durst
GALVESTON, Texas -- A cross-dressing millionaire charged in the murder of an elderly neighbor says the killing was in self-defense, according to his attorney.
In a case that has drawn national attention, new media reports allege that the suspect routinely lured young men to his Galveston apartment for drugs and sex.
This week, a Houston lawyer who represents New York real estate heir Robert Durst said in court that Durst will admit to the killing but will plead not guilty by reason of self-defense and accident.
Durst, 58, is charged in the murder of Morris Black, 71. Black's dismembered body was found Sept. 30 in Galveston Bay. The planned June trial in the case has been postponed to September.
In court Wednesday, defense attorney Dick DeGuerin said Durst's intent to enter a plea admitting to the slaying would negate much of the need for DNA evidence.
But DeGuerin did not yet enter a plea on Durst's behalf.
Also, DeGuerin asked for a trial delay, saying he has not received the autopsy report on Black, a South Carolina native. He also said that reviewing the hundreds of pieces of evidence in the case would require a delay in the trial.
State District Court Judge Susan Criss approved a three-month delay for the murder trial to Sept. 9.
Chief Medical Examiner Charles M. Harvey said the autopsy report could be complete next week, adding the delay is due to the nature of the case.
Harvey said the report probably would list Black's death as a homicide, caused "by unknown means."
The proposed plea from Durst is the latest turn in a case that has garnered national attention, largely due to Durst's status and background. Criss issued a gag order in the case in December, barring attorneys, police, potential witnesses and others involved in the investigation and trial from talking about it to the press.
Still, many details of the crime and investigation already were made public, including allegations that Durst disguised himself as a woman while he lived in Galveston.
Evidence led to apartment
Black's torso and body parts -- minus the head -- were found last fall floating in Galveston Bay.
Police later found garbage bags containing Black's limbs and other items, which investigators traced to an apartment house in the 2200 block of Avenue K in Galveston, according to the Galveston Daily News.
After officials identified the body parts as the remains of Black, a South Carolina native who lived in that apartment house, and collected other evidence, they arrested Durst on Oct. 9. Police believe the suspect lived in an apartment across the hall from the victim, according to the Daily News.
Police said they found a bloody knife and boots in the unit where they believe Durst lived. Also found was blood on the apartment's front door, the carpet, kitchen floor and the kitchen's walls, according to police affidavits.
The Daily News reported that the apartment was rented for $300 a month to a mute woman who called herself Dorothy Ciner and claimed to be Durst's sister-in-law.
In mid-October, police began to investigate the possibility that the renter was not who she claimed to be.
"There is a Dorothy Ciner who went to high school with Mr. Durst," Galveston police Lt. Michael Putnal told the Daily News last fall. "She called us after hearing her name was in the papers, and said, 'I've never even been to Galveston.'"
No women's clothing or other female items were found in the apartment, police said.
Klaus Dillmann, who owns the apartment building, told police he never saw Durst and Ciner at the same time, the Daily News reported. The woman claimed to have a throat problem and only communicated with him through notes, Dillmann said.
He also told police that Ciner appeared to be wearing a wig and appeared to be about the same size and build as Durst, according to the Daily News.
"We're not ready to say anything conclusively, but these things certainly might suggest that's a possibility [that Ciner and Durst are one person]," Putnal told the Daily News in October.
After his arrest, Durst posted $300,000 bond, but became a fugitive on Oct. 16 when he failed to appear at a court hearing in the case. A grand jury indicted him on charges of murder and jumping bail, and police in Pennsylvania arrested him in late November after a nationwide manhunt.
Durst was returned to Galveston in January.
Durst allegedly lured gay men
The millionaire New Yorker lived in Galveston as a transvestite who used drugs to lure young men to his apartment for sex, according to press reports from earlier this month.
A cross-dressing male prostitute identified in a magazine article only as Frankie claims to have provided the crack cocaine that Durst used as bait to land dates with men.
"That man got money," said Frankie, according to the GQ article. "He could pull people. He didn't get it on his merits, his attitude or his attributes."
The GQ story details Durst's double life in Galveston, where he lived for nearly a year before Black was slain.
Durst frequently would don dresses and wigs and spend time at gay bar Garza's Kon Tiki, using the name Roberta Klein, according to the story. A bartender at Kon Tiki told the New York Daily News that there had been rumors that Durst was a customer but couldn't confirm GQ's account.
Frankie claims to have trolled busy Seawall Boulevard with Durst, according to the magazine story. He allegedly helped Durst attract men, who would then be lured with drugs and money to Durst's nearby apartment.
But Durst dressed normally for a family wedding in Houston a week before Black's murder, the article states.
A New Orleans landlord said Durst used a ruse similar to what Galveston police believe he used -- posing as a woman -- to rent an apartment in the Crescent City, according to media reports.
Missing pieces in the case
Medical examiners said determining a cause of death is almost impossible while the victim's head is still missing. DeGuerin said neither he nor his client knows the whereabouts of Black's head.
"Everyone's looking for the head," DeGuerin told the Daily News Wednesday. "The prosecution's looking; we're looking, and I believe there are some third parties looking as well."
Durst remains in custody. Heightening publicity in the case, New York officials want to talk to Durst about the 1982 disappearance of his wife, Kathleen. Los Angeles police want to question Durst about the September 2000 shooting death of one of his friends, crime author Susan Berman.
Berman, a longtime friend of Durst's, was found dead in her home weeks before she was to talk to New York state police about the disappearance of Kathleen Durst, according to press reports. She had been shot once in the back of the head.
The Associated Press contributed to this story. --by Penny Weaver
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Financial Giant Sees Pink

by Jan Prout
365Gay.com Newscenter in Toronto
(April 2, Toronto) Canada's largest financial institution has become the first North American money company to target the GLBT market.
Royal Bank Dominion Securities, in an exclusive arrangement with 365Gay.com, has created a website that provides information specifically for gays and lesbians. The "Your Money" Section of 365Gay.com was officially launched Monday.
It includes information for same-sex couples on mortgages, investing, what to look for in preparing a will so that your spouse is protected.
Dominion Securities VP Terrie Miller said: "This is not only the right thing to do. It is also good business."
At approximately 10% of the population, gays and lesbians are one of the largest minority groups of investors in Canada.
Miller said; "RBC Investments believes it can meet the special financial planning needs of the various communities of citizens across the country, and gays and lesbians are one of those communities in our society."
Miller said that the "Your Money" section will be a work in progress, evolving over time to include a number of other financial services to the gay community.
RBC Financial Group is the largest bank in Canada. It operates the Royal Bank in Canada, and under the RBC banner, Centura Bank in the US, and investment firms Dominion Securities in Canada and Dain Rauscher in the United States.
The corporation came under fire from a number of right wing groups when it refused to open a bank account by an organization which is attempting to pressure the government to cancel the Gay Games slated for Montreal in 2006.
The group is supported by the Christian Heritage Party and Campaign Life Coalition for Quebec and called the games an invitation to bring widespread AIDS into Canada.
The bank in its refusal to open the account said the organization was discriminatory and possibly breaking legal human rights protections.
The organization was able to get the issue on the floor of RBC's annual meeting in Toronto in February. Shareholders upheld the bank's decision by a vote of more than 90 per cent.
365Gay.com publisher Rob Sands called the company's decision to specifically target the GLBT market "a groundbreaking move that will help insure the economic future of gay and lesbian families." "The information that they have created is the most complete single resource on what people in our community need to know about finances and family law, taxes, and estate planning."
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Viet Pride Draws Official Condemnation

by Peter Hacker
365Gay.com Newscenter in Sydney
(April 2, Saigon) Vietnam's first Pride celebrations have drawn fire from the communist regime.
Hundreds of gays flocked to a hotel in the southern city of Long Hai.
The festivities included a gay fashion parade complete with drag queens, and at least one man in full leather. The day long event ended with a dance.
The government used an official daily to chastise the gays. Thanh Nien , the daily paper aimed at Vietnamese youth described it as "a monstrosity."
The paper said it was an "abnormal phenomenon which is foreign to Vietnam's cultural tradition." But, while the government disapproved it did nothing to prevent the celebration from taking place.
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Pennsylvania To Hear Co-Adoption Case

Doreen Brandt
365Gay.com Newscenter in Washington
(April 2, Philadelphia) Two Pennsylvania couples, one gay, the other lesbian, are taking the state's ban on co-parenting to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Their suit challenges a 2000 lower court ruling that said because gays and lesbians cannot marry they cannot jointly adopt children. The decision also affects heterosexual couples living common law.
The case is being handled by Pittsburgh civil rights attorney Christine Biancheria.
The one couple, Jeff and Joey G., have been together for 21 years and are raising a 10-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl after Joey adopted them as infants. Jeff tried to adopt them in 1999 and was rejected.
The other couple is composed of two women who have been together since 1983 and are raising twin boys who were born in 1997 through in vitro fertilization to one of the women. Her partner tried to adopt them jointly in 1998 and was also turned down by the courts.
75 organizations, from child welfare agencies to gay activist groups, have signed on to the appeal as "friends of the court."
Among the groups is the American Civil Liberties Union which is involved in legal challenges nationwide of state laws banning gay adoption
The ACLU's Ferrero said while the Pennsylvania law appears not to target sexual orientation, "it's very clear to us that's what these laws do."
"It's unconstitutional to have a law for the purpose of expressing disapproval of gay people," he said. A conservative group, the Pennsylvania Family Institute, has filed a brief opposing joint adoption.
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Barebacking More Common Than Previously Believed

by Jack Siu
365Gay.com Newscenter in Toronto
(April 2, Toronto) A new report from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says that the number of gay men engaging in unprotected sex is considerably higher than previously estimated.
The CDC said that one of the major causes for concern is that many of these men are engaging in barebacking with men other their primary partner.
In the study, the investigators found that 70% of gay or bisexual men interviewed were familiar with the term "barebacking." Of this group, 14% reported that they had barebacked at least once during the past 2 years.
Dr. Gordon Mansergh and his colleagues write in the report: "Intentional unprotected anal sex with non-primary partners is a health concern for gay communities because of the risk of transmitting HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to uninfected men, including treatment-resistant strains, and the potential risk of superinfection in HIV-positive men."
Mansergh and his team interviewed 554 gay and bisexual men living in San Francisco.
All of the men were asked about their HIV status and, if they practiced barebacking, why they did so.
Of the men who reported barebacking in the previous 2 years, 22% said they were HIV positive and 10% identified themselves as HIV negative.
"The reason most frequently cited for barebacking was to experience greater physical stimulation; feeling emotionally connected with a partner was also a relatively common reason," the authors write.
There were no differences in the prevalence of barebacking by race or ethnicity, education or income, the report indicates. The CDC report, which appears in the March issue of the journal AIDS, calls for new health promotion strategies to reach men who bareback.
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Aerospace Giant Pressed On Gay Rights

by Beth Shapiro
365Gay.com Newscenter, in New York
(April 2, New York) A college founded in Pennsylvania by Quakers is pushing Lockheed Martin Corp. to adopt a nondiscrimination policy based on sexual orientation.
Swarthmore College is using its stockholder status to get the issue on the floor at the next shareholders meeting, scheduled for April 25 in San Diego.
The college's Committee for Socially Responsible Investing, established four years ago and made up of students, college administrators and other officials, drafted the resolution.
It marks the first time a college or university has solely initiated a resolution since schools nationwide campaigned against companies who invested in South Africa before apartheid was lifted in 1994.
Carolyn Mathiasen of the Washington-based Investor Responsibility Research Centre, which monitors shareholder and management proposals said: "These resolutions never get very large votes - it's good if you get a 15 percent vote [in favour of] a social issue - but don't think that means corporations don't pay attention to them."
Swarthmore has $950 million (US) in it's portfolio. It is not known how much of that is invested in Lockheed Martin.
Lockheed Martin already has a nondiscrimination policy in place but it does not explicitly mention sexual orientation. The company's competitors, including Boeing, Honeywell and Raytheon, already have such policies in place.
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UK Force Supportive Of TG Cop

by Peter Moore
365Gay.com Newscenter in London
(April 2, London) A woman police officer, undergoing sex-reassignment, says she is overwhelmed by the support she is receiving from her fellow officers.
Pc Tanya Robbins, who is now known as James wrote to her colleagues telling them she has begun the transformation which will end with gender altering surgery.
Robbins who serves with the South Yorkshire Police said concerns that members of the rural force might not be understanding have proved unfounded.
Robbins is the first officer in the South Yorkshire force to undergo sex reassignment, although there are at least four other forces where officers have changed sexes.
The officer is now living as a man and plans to undergo corrective surgery later this year.
In a statement Robbins said: "Having had medical advice, and with the support of South Yorkshire Police, I now feel very positive about the changes I am about to make in my life and the future I have as a man.
"I enjoy my work as a South Yorkshire police officer and see no reason why this change should affect my professional duties. I will continue to serve the community with the same enthusiasm and dedication as before." A spokesperson for the South Yorkshire Police said: "Police are giving him their full support and are doing as much as they can to help him adapt to the change."
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Boy George To Join Taboo Cast

Boy George, not one to stay out of the spotlight, is to join cast of his own show
Boy George will play '80s performance artist Leigh Bowery in the West End musical Taboo, which is about the star's life.
George will take over the role when Matt Lucas leaves the show at the end of April. The show is at the new London theatre The Venue, on the site of the old Notre Dame Hall off Leicester Square.
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US Scientists Find Treatment For 'Sleep Sex' Problem

Californian scientists have come up with a treatment for a disorder which causes people to commit sex acts in their sleep.
Patients affected by the problem have been known to assault their partners or masturbate so violently they cause themselves serious harm.
A study by a Stanford University team has found anti-epilepsy drugs can ease symptoms in most cases, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Experts found that in most cases the symptoms were controlled when the patients were treated through counselling and the use of drugs.
Stanford psychiatrist Christian Guilleminault said it was impossible to say how many people suffer from the disorder. He said: "People feel so ashamed of their behaviour and the patients and their spouses have great difficulty in describing it. Often the patients are in internal denial that the events occur, and it's the spouses who insist on consultation."
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Hate Mail Over Sham Marriage Fails to Deter Gay Activist Couple

April 1, 2002, South China Morning Post, by Chow Chung-yan
Gay activist Tommy Chen No'el has received hate mail following his controversial sham marriage to a lesbian last week, carried out in order to gain the right to apply for public housing and other benefits.
But Mr Chen, who is no stranger to public controversy, has taken the criticism in his stride.
The 28-year-old, who was born in Taiwan, said he started to become used to stares and sneers years ago. His campaign for equal rights for homosexuals can be traced back to his undergraduate years, when he founded the first student gay group in Hong Kong, Tongzhi Culture, at the Chinese University in 1997.
A year later Mr Chen, his partner Ken Cheung Kam-hung and fellow activist Justine So founded Rainbow Action, which champions sexual minorities of all kinds and is known for its high-profile protests.
Last August Mr Chen, dressed in sado-masochistic leather garb, tied himself to the gates of Central Police Station in protest against a police raid on the Fetish Fashion sex shop in Central. In February, he and four other activists were fined $2,500 each for the protest by a court.
Critics had a field day last week when Mr Chen and a lesbian friend got married so they could be entitled to claim welfare benefits.
"We know other homosexual groups attack us on their Web sites. They say we have damaged the image of gays and lesbians. Some accused us of exploiting the legal loophole for personal gains," Mr Cheung, 27, said.
Even lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan, who has been fighting in the Legislative Council for the rights of homosexuals, disagreed with the behaviour of both couples.
But Mr Chen, who said he had received hate mail after last Monday's "marriage", said he and fellow activists had no choice.
"Hong Kong society is conservative and there is not the slightest hint by the authorities that they will bring in any change in the law for homosexuals in the near future," he said.
"We have to have an affordable place to live, that is a basic right for anyone. If we don't help ourselves, who can we rely on?"
Mr Cheung hoped the sham marriage could help illustrate the absurdity of the law in Hong Kong regarding homosexuals.
"We are the deprived group. If we don't make a noise, the public will never hear us. We have to let people be aware of us," Mr Cheung said.
"Slowly and hopefully, society will become more tolerant and open to voices outside the mainstream culture."
Since the formation of Rainbow Action and sister group Rainbow of Hong Kong - founded three years ago - more than 600 members have joined, from a 14-year-old schoolboy to a 60-year-old man.
The two activists said the misery and discrimination suffered by these people had encouraged them to continue their campaign.
Mr Chen said: "I have a very pessimistic view. I don't believe I will see the day when sexual minorities in Hong Kong get fair treatment. "We have some secondary school boys who were kicked out by their family after their sexual preference had been discovered."
Mr Cheung is more optimistic and could sense a change in the younger generation's attitudes towards gays and lesbians.
"We have got many schools inviting us to give talks to students and we have been very well received. People are interested but they could not find people to talk to them," Mr Cheung said. (C) 2002 South China Morning Post. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved
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Swedish Archbishop Rejects Gay Marriage

The head of the most popular church in Sweden has spoken out against lesbian and gay marriage.
Archbishop Karl Gustav Hammar, the head of the Lutheran Church in Sweden said that despite reports indicating that the church was changing its stance on gay marriage, same-sex couples would not be able to tie the knot in the near future. Hammar said that this was because the church continued to be divided by its views on homosexuality.
The Archbishop said in a Swedish radio interview: "It`s not anything that is on the immediate agenda." He remarked: "What is needed is an understanding of same-sex love so that one sees that this is something that God is involved in. And I can`t say that we have a consensus about that in our church."
The church recently released a report on homosexuality in which it pledged not to condemn or discriminate against gay men and lesbians. The report added that sexual orientation would not affect the ordination of priests and raised the issue of gay and lesbian marriage.
Sweden already recognises legal partnerships between gay men and lesbians. A vote on adoption rights for same-sex couples is scheduled for a parliamentary vote in June. © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.
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Slain Tampa officer's gay partner appeals denial of benefits

The Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. - The longtime companion of a slain gay police officer has appealed a pension board's decision to deny benefit payments for her partner's death.
The Tampa Fire and Police Pension Board last month denied the request because officer Lois Marrero had never named a beneficiary for her pension.
She was killed just days before the pension changed its policy to let unmarried officers name beneficiaries.
In the lawsuit filed Monday in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, Marrero's companion, Mickie Mashburn, said that they lived together for 11 years and had participated in a "holy union ceremony" in 1991.
Mashburn and Marrero "remained permanently committed to each other until Marrero's death," the lawsuit said.
Marrero was fatally shot in the line of duty by a fleeing bank robber July 6.
Survivors of unmarried employees are eligible to collect money paid into the plan, about $50,000, in death benefits for 10 years.
Marrero's family objected to Mashburn getting the pension. They described the couple's relationship as growing increasingly rocky and said Marrero was involved with another woman in Texas shortly before she died.
The lawsuit requests that a circuit judge throw out the board's order March 1 denying Mashburn the benefits and direct the board to determine who Marrero's beneficiary would have been. A court date has not been set. Information from: Tampa Tribune
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Wuornos can hasten her death, court says

By Beth Kassab
Sentinel Staff Writer
April 2, 2002
DAYTONA BEACH -- Aileen Wuornos, thought to be the nation's first predatory female serial killer, is competent enough to fire her attorneys and hasten her execution, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Monday.
In its two-paragraph ruling, the court found a lower court was correct in deciding that Wuornos' request to die by lethal injection was "knowing, voluntary and intelligent."
Peter Cannon, an attorney with Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, an agency that represents death-row inmates during appeal, helped fight to keep Wuornos' appeals alive while she sought death. He said the court's decision would likely hasten her execution if Gov. Jeb Bush decides to start signing death warrants again.
"There's years of litigation that will all be cut out," he said. "It's very unfortunate, and we hope Ms. Wuornos will change her mind in the future."
Bush stopped issuing death warrants in February after the U.S. Supreme Court halted two Florida executions while it determines the constitutionality of having a judge -- not a jury -- decide on death sentences.
Known as the "highway hooker," Wuornos robbed and shot to death six men as she hitchhiked across Florida in 1989 and 1990.
During her trials, Wuornos insisted that she shot the men out of self-defense because they tried to rape her. She has been on death row since 1992.
Recently, after claiming that she found religion, Wuornos admitted to the killings. During a July hearing to determine her mental health and whether she should be allowed to drop her appeals, she said she was "as cold as ice" when killing her victims because she has "hated human beings for a long time."
She told Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson, "I'd kill again. My stay of 10 years on death row was senseless. Too long."
Cannon said attorneys at the Capital Collateral Regional Counsel don't think Wuornos' mental condition is healthy enough for her to make a decision about dying.
"I respect the court's decision," he said, "but I'm not entirely in agreement with the court's decision."
State Attorney John Tanner, who prosecuted Wuornos, applauded the court's decision and believes Wuornos when she says she is ready to die.
"She knows what she's doing," he said. "She seems to be at peace with her decision."
Beth Kassab can be reached at bkassab@orlandosentinel.com or 386-822-6802. Copyright © 2002, Orlando Sentinel
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GLBT NEWZ archives www.groups.yahoo.com/group/glbtnewz
Our e-mail is cyberqueer@hotmail.com
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