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Saturday, April 13, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 04/13/02 Information is power!

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NEWS from the Human Rights Campaign

919 18th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
Friday, April 12, 2002
Contact: David M. Smith
Phone: (202) 216-1547
Pager: (800) 386-5996
Contact: Wayne Besen
Phone: (202) 216-1580
Pager: (800) 386-5997
Well-Known Out Musicians, Including Melissa Etheridge, k.d. lang and Michael
Stipe, Help Promote Living Honestly
WASHINGTON - "Being Out Rocks" - celebrating openly gay, lesbian, bisexual
and transgender musicians - is the theme for this year's National Coming Out
Project, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation announced today.
Melissa Etheridge, Ani DiFranco, the Indigo Girls, k.d. lang,
Michael Stipe and RuPaul are among the 19 openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or
transgender musicians who have lent their names to a poster heralding the
2002 theme. The poster's tag line is, "You may feel like just a face in the
crowd but coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender makes you a
"Coming out to the world was one of the most freeing events in my
life, and I'm proud to support HRC's National Coming Out Project and
National Coming Out Day," said Grammy award-winning artist Melissa
Etheridge. "I hope that efforts such as this one will help teen-agers feel
that they can be themselves and not worry that their sexual orientation may
be made an obstacle to their success."
Other artists who signed their names to HRC's "Being Out Rocks"
poster are: The Butchies, Catie Curtis, Lea Delaria, Jade Esteban Estrada,
Janis Ian, Lisa Koch, Bob Mould, Chuck Panozzo, Pet Shop Boys, SONiA, Suede,
Rufus Wainwright and Cris Williamson. The poster, which will be distributed
nationwide, can be downloaded by visiting the National Coming Out Project on
HRC's website at .
National Coming Out Day is celebrated every Oct. 11, marking the anniversary
of the 1987 march on Washington for gay and lesbian equality. Each year
since, thousands of GLBT people and allies have celebrated National Coming
Out Day in schools, churches and businesses nationwide through workshops,
speak-outs, rallies and other events aimed at showing the public that GLBT
people are everywhere. HRC's National Coming Out Project supports these
events by providing event ideas, materials and themes.
"We have long recognized the power of public figures to inspire and
influence the general public," said Candace Gingrich, HRC's National Coming
Out Project manager. "This year, we are especially excited by the great
number of respected artists who have lent their names to our efforts. All of
them are tremendous role models for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
Americans, showing that you can live an out, open and successful life."
Among the other celebrities who have supported HRC's National Coming
Out Project in the past are: Olympic champion diver Greg Louganis and actors
Mitchell Anderson, Amanda Bearse and Dan Butler. Betty DeGeneres, author and
mother of comedian Ellen DeGeneres, became the first straight spokesperson
in 1997. Gingrich became a spokesperson in 1995, shortly after her brother
Newt Gingrich became speaker of the House.
The National Coming Out Project is operated by the Human Rights Campaign
Foundation, the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign. For more
information on National Coming Out Day, call 1-800-866-NCOD or visit .
The Human Rights Campaign is the nation's largest national lesbian and gay
political organization with members throughout the country. HRC effectively
lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to
ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

Judge: Put Gays in Mental Institutions

Ethics Violation Complaint Filed
A Mississippi judge has come under fire from gay rights groups after he wrote a letter to a local newspaper saying that gays and lesbians "should be put in some type of mental institute" rather than be given the right to marry.
Equality Mississippi, a statewide gay rights group, with the support of Lambda Legal, a nationwide gay rights organization, was ready to file an ethics violation complaint today against George County Justice Court Judge Connie Wilkerson, arguing that the letter is evidence that the judge cannot be impartial.
"The letter is a clear statement of prejudice against gays and lesbians that calls into serious question whether the judge can decide cases fairly and impartially," Greg Nevins, a staff attorney in Lambda Legal's southern district office, said.
"In my opinion, gays and lesbians should be put in some type of mental institution instead of having a law like this passed for them," Wilkerson said in a letter to the George County Times that ran on March 28. The letter was referring to a California law that gives gay partners the same rights to file wrongful death suits as spouses or other family members have.
Wilkerson, 65, who has been a Justice Court judge for six years, said he was sorry his comments about gay people have stirred up so much controversy, but maintained that his views do not affect his performance on the bench.
"I wish somebody that's been offended would come up and let me show them what I think of them, the individual. I have no feelings against them," Wilkerson said. "I don't ask a fellow if they're a homosexual or a lady if she's a lesbian when they come in front of me. That has nothing to do with my judging."
'I'm Trying to Help'
Wilkerson said he meant no harm with his letter.
"I've wrote letters throughout my life, and I probably just wasn't thinking about the problems that it might cost my fellow man," he said. "I'm sorry it's caused anybody any problems. I'm trying to help."
He said gay people should look for help with their "disease" in the Bible.
In his letter, Wilkerson wrote, "You need to know as I know, that God in heaven is not pleased with this, and I am sounding the alarm."
Jody Renaldo, the executive director of Equality Mississippi, said that Wilkerson should have kept his opinion to himself. Now that he has gone public with his feelings about homosexuals, he has violated the Mississippi Code of Judicial Conduct, which says judges should avoid "expressions of bias or prejudice," Renaldo said.
"Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but there's a line that you just do not cross, especially when you're holding a judicial position," Renaldo said. "Because we pay his salary to sit on that bench, I think we deserve a little more respect than what he's giving us."
Invoking the Bible
As for Wilkerson's contention that he can serve on the bench fairly, Renaldo said the judge's words are ample evidence of the strength of his opinions, and make it inconceivable that he could be impartial on any case that involved sexual orientation that came before him.
"He's already given his opinion in advance about how he feels about gays and lesbians and how he feels about these rights issues," Renaldo said.
Wilkerson referred to a section from the Bible, Romans 1:31 and 1:32, where it says that those who break God's law and those who approve of those people are "worthy of death."
"The fact of the Bible scripture that he quotes in his letter really scares a lot of us," Renaldo said. "He's basically saying that we should be put to death, and those who approve of it should be put to death. ... Here's a judge using scripture to promote the death of gays and lesbians."
In the face of the criticism, Wilkerson said he considers himself a fair and honest judge, but he said he probably made a mistake by writing the letter.
"I probably wouldn't write it, seeing as much trouble as it's caused people," he said. "I didn't know it was going to cause problems."
The filing of the ethics complaint comes on the eve of the first state gay pride rally in Mississippi since 1979. The event, organized by Equality Mississippi, was scheduled to be held in Jackson on Saturday.
The state has no law against discrimination based on sexual orientation, and there are no local ordinances barring such discrimination. Copyright 2001 All rights reserved.

Florida school board vilifies gays

Jen Christensen, / Network
Friday, April 12, 2002 / 03:24 PM
SUMMARY: Florida's Bay County school board members denounced homosexuality as a "sin" and vowed not to support gay-related issues.
When Nadine Smith grew up in Panama City in Bay County, Fla., and realized she was gay, she knew not to say anything about it.
"I went to elementary school, junior high, high school and college in Bay County," said Smith." I was the class of '83, which wasn't too long ago, and at that time, you just did your best to be invisible."
Not much has changed. On Tuesday, all five Bay County School Board members denounced homosexuality, calling it "a sin" -- even though there was no GLBT issue on the agenda.
"They don't know what they oppose," said Smith, who has written a letter to the local newspaper criticizing the board's comments. "Some parents stood up and said they opposed anyone bringing up homosexual issues in the classroom, but they didn't have anything specific to protest. They just want to keep gays and lesbians unsafe and invisible."
Smith is the executive director of Equality Florida, a Tampa-based organization fighting for equality for Florida's GLBT community. She wants to help GLBT kids feel included in her hometown's school district, but that aim has just become more difficult.
The board members did not return phone calls from the Network. But member Mike Gavlak told the local paper, the News Herald, that the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy would also be appropriate for his district.
Parents had brought the issue up in response to publicity about the National Education Association's guidelines on gay and lesbian issues.
The new NEA guidelines include a non-discrimination goal, which reads, "increasing respect, understanding and sensitivity towards individuals and groups . including . gays, lesbians and transgendered people and eliminating discrimination."
The board said it would oppose any curriculum that included gay and lesbian issues.
Equality Florida's Smith said the board's decision would not deter her wish to change attitudes in her home school district. "Gay and lesbian teachers and students hear this kind of ugliness in the hallways and in public every day," said Smith. "It makes me sad, but it also redoubles my commitment to use this ugly situation to do some real education in this area about the importance of welcoming everyone, including gays and lesbians, who live in the community."

Suspect in hiker murder may have attacked others

Riding her bicycle along western Virginia's Skyline Drive on July 9, 1997, Yvonne Malbasha felt something slam into her back. It was a can of soda. At the same moment, she skidded off the road to avoid a pickup truck that had pulled up alongside her. She looked around and stared into the eyes of Darrell David Rice. She saw nothing but rage.
"There was no doubt in my mind that he was going to kill me," Malbasha told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "I have never been so certain of anything in my life." (Malbasha has asked that the name of her hometown not be revealed.) Malbasha's account of what followed provides a glimpse into the actions of the Columbia, Md., man charged with the Shenandoah National Park slayings, 13 months prior to Malbasha's ordeal, of two young women he thought to be lesbians.
Federal authorities unsealed capital murder indictments against Rice on Wednesday for the 1996 slashing deaths of Laura "Lollie" Winans, 26, and Julianne Marie Williams, 24. Authorities have invoked hate-crime statutes, alleging that Rice, 34, attacked the women because of their "actual or perceived sexual orientation." Rice told authorities that the women "deserved to die because they were lesbian," according to prosecution documents filed in court.
A little more than a year after those crimes and 15 miles south of where Williams's and Winans's bodies were discovered, Rice encountered Malbasha. "I just don't really remember what I said to her," Rice told park rangers later that day after being arrested. "I remember feeling aggressive toward her sexually."
A highly conditioned athlete who has competed in Ironman triathlons and is now "30-something," Malbasha told authorities that Rice ordered her to expose herself as he left the cab of his truck and rushed toward her, screaming. Malbasha, wearing cycling cleats on her shoes that make walking ungainly, couldn't run. She threw her water bottle at Rice and tried to fend him off with her bicycle.
"He was cold and mechanical and knew what he wanted," Malbasha said. "I knew I had become his target because I was a woman."
Rice turned away, got back into the truck, and drove a short distance. But he turned around and roared back, directly at Malbasha. "I kept thinking about my training as a paramedic," she said. "They teach you never to lose your concentration, that you have to remain calm under any circumstance."
As the truck came toward her, Malbasha jumped behind a fallen tree. Rice tried to ram her four or five times, she later testified in court. Rice finally pulled away for good, leaving the Lewis Mountain area for the Swift Run Gap entrance station eight miles to the south. But first he stopped to place his license plates back on the truck. He'd removed them when he first saw Malbasha. And he changed clothes. Authorities later found plastic bindings and a length of rope in the truck.
Malbasha stopped a passing motorist who had a cell phone. A park ranger was on the scene within minutes. Using Malbasha's description, rangers detained Rice within sight of the Skyline Drive entrance station. Charged with attempted abduction, Rice pleaded guilty and was sentenced by a federal judge to about 11 years in prison.
Much of the investigation of Rice in the hikers' slayings has occurred during his prison term. Rangers zeroed in on Rice's possible involvement in the slayings of Winans and Williams on the day of the attempted abduction of Malbasha. According to court papers, Rice told a ranger he had heard that the women were lesbians. Asked why he thought they were killed, he said, "Well, as soon as you hear that they were maybe more than friends..." Rice had been hiking with friends in the park the day the women's bodies were found, but he never left his friends' side, said Rob Ruckert of Crofton, Md. Ruckert said he and his wife had asked Rice to go hiking at the park. "Darrell was with us the whole day," Ruckert said. Rangers started looking for the women on May 31, 1996. Their bodies were found the next evening, but it's unclear when they were slain.

Gay Road renamed Green Apple Road

Some Union Township, Ohio, residents, tired of snide remarks about their street address, have convinced county commissioners to change the name of Gay Road to Green Apple Road. "The repercussions of living on a road called 'Gay' are not pleasant," wrote Sharon McKinney, 48, one of 19 residents who signed a petition. "The snide remarks and thoughtless comments about one's address being 'Gay' are intolerable."
McKinney and other residents say they are not making a statement against homosexuality. But gay rights activists say the residents' problem with the street name is telling. "Here are nongay people who can't even take the harassment of living on a street called Gay, much less being gay," said Jim McCarthy of Dayton. "Wouldn't it be nice if the gay and lesbian community could simply petition to have themselves named the 'green apple community' and we could eliminate the harassment, intimidation, and hatred that we experience on a daily basis." Betsy Gressler, a spokeswoman for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said residents "clearly understand the sting of homophobia if they perceive there to be a stigma of living on Gay Road." Some residents said the road name came from the surname of a family that once lived there.

Elton John appointed to head historic London theater

Out pop star Sir Elton John has been appointed as chairman of a trust that owns London's historic Old Vic theater, reports BBC News. The trust bought the 180-year-old building in 1998 to rescue it from demolition, and John joins actor Kevin Spacey on the trust's board. The Old Vic was run by Lord Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson after World War II. the theater's chief executive, Sally Green, said she hopes that John's involvement will "energize and enthuse the theatergoing public." "I am immensely excited about contributing to the future of this great theater," said John. "The Old Vic is one of the most important theaters in Great Britain, having been the home to some of the greatest actors and companies of the last century."

Colorado Nixes Co-Parent Ban

by Newscenter Staff
(April 13, Denver, CO) Legislation that would have banned co-parenting in the state of Colorado has been rejected by the Senate's Judiciary Committee.
After hearing 30 minutes of testimony on the bill, which has already passed the House, the committee voted to indefinitely postponing any action on it, effectively killing it.
"This is all about the kids. This is not about gay issues," said Kim Martinelli, who attended the hearing with her partner, Sharon Dody, and their 31/2-month-old daughter, Carson. "It's about children and their rights and people who want to take responsibility for them."
The bill sailed through the lower house after Republicans objected to judges began allowing same-sex couples to put their names on birth certificates. If the bill had passed, those co-adoptions would have been declared invalid.

Controversial nightclub faces unclear future

A controversial nightclub that caters to a young clientele has become the subject of rumors and allegations in recent months, with some members of the public voicing displeasure with the behavior of the club's 18-and-older patrons and calling for the nightspot to be closed down.
Even the owners of the building that houses Club Epoch -- John Costelli and Joel Meisel -- disagree about whether the club should continue to exist at its current location at 623 Duval St.
The Epoch night club in the 600 block of Duval Street has been the subject of controversy.
The building is in foreclosure, and is for sale. But until it is sold, it remains under the guidance of local trustee Imogene Synon, who is charged with collecting the monthly rent from Club Epoch and determining the fate of the club until the building is either sold or publicly auctioned, said Martin Saturn, who represents Meisel.
Meisel would like to cancel the monthly lease held by Club Epoch, Saturn said Friday.
"We want the club closed immediately," Saturn said. "We don't feel the tenant operating the business is the optimal tenant that we want in that building -- we have no interest whatsoever in seeing the current tenant operate there."
Saturn cited recent reports of anti-gay taunting and attacks that took place in the 600 block of Duval Street --but not inside the club -- as one of the reasons for wanting the club closed.
He also voiced concerns about the possibility of underage drinking taking place at the club, although Lt. Dave Banks of the state's Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco reported no violations of underage drinking laws for the club.
"The income is not worth the liability," Saturn said. "If it was up to me, I'd come down and put padlocks on the building tomorrow."
But the decision is not up to Saturn, who expects to plead his case in front of Judge Richard Payne in coming weeks. Payne will offer a recommendation to trustee Synon as to whether the liability issues concerning Saturn and Meisel are enough to warrant an eviction of Club Epoch from the property.
The judge's involvement stems from the inability of Meisel and Costelli to agree on the future of the tenant -- Costelli is in favor of continuing the lease to Club Epoch until the building is sold.
"As far as I know, they are in compliance with every law, and as far as I know, they're running a clean ship there and people need to stop picking on them -- whatever problems there have been near there have been on the street, not inside the club," Costelli said Friday.
'Trying to run a business'
Louie C. Rock, Club Epoch's owner, echoed Costelli's sentiments and emphasized the club's clean record from the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.
He acknowledged people's concerns about the crowd that tends to congregate in the area outside the club, but said that his employees are instructed to make those who are not in line to enter Club Epoch leave the area. He also added that his doormen are equipped with an electronic ID scanner to detect fake IDs and said that 90 percent of his business inside comes from people 21 or older, although those outside are not always of legal drinking age.
"I'm just a guy trying to run a business," Rock said. "If we really had such repeat problems, wouldn't we have been closed down by now?"
He also voiced dissatisfaction with the Key West Chamber of Commerce, which circulated an e-mail message earlier in the week alluding to the fact the Club Epoch would be closing.
"The Chamber has no business stating anything negative about a business without knowing the facts," Rock said. "I pay my dues to be an above-board business and have been a member for two years."
Rock said he would like to see the police presence on Duval Street more widely distributed rather than concentrated in the 200 block of Duval Street. Additional officers in the area would deter people from loitering the area, he said.
"I don't get any help from the city of Key West because they just don't have enough manpower," he said, adding that he spends money Saturday nights to hire an off-duty, uniformed police officer to be positioned near the entrance.
Differing opinions
Police chief Buz Dillon is aware of the controversy surrounding the club, and recently heard that it could be closing.
"The closing will get rid of a real nuisance for us on Duval Street, and I'm glad the owners of the property are doing the right thing to rid us of this issue," Dillon said, joining Meisel and Saturn in the desire to see the club close.
But others in the community think Rock and his business have been treated unfairly by the community.
Joel Weinstein owned the popular Copa, which previously operated at the same location. He brought Rock into the business after a fire gutted the Copa.
"I took the chance and brought him in in 1998 and he did a hell of a job," Weinstein said. "I think he's been the victim of a political war -- I think he's always been treated unfairly by the local powers that be."
Weinstein also offered his opinion about why public opinion is seemingly anti-Epoch.
The Epoch crowd
"There's been feelings against Epoch because it's not the Copa and because the crowd isn't the same as the Copa. Yes, there's been a few fights in the streets -- he certainly doesn't have the nicest clientele you would want in a club."
But Weinstein said he understood the change in the customer base from a predominantly gay clientele in the Copa to a younger, straight crowd at Epoch. He cited increased competition for the gay market with the opening of three more gay clubs once the Copa closed.
Jim Gilleran, co-owner and manager of the 801 Bar and Bourbon Street Pub, is also the former manager of the Copa, and is familiar with the challenges that come with running a business in such a large space.
"It's a large space and requires a lot of management to maintain it, but to blame the social ills of the community on one location is wrong," Gilleran said. ""It's difficult to manage teen-agers in general, and our town lacks a place for them to go."
Kids are going to go somewhere to be around each other, he said, remembering that the roller rink was the gathering spot for kids who either were or were not up to no good when he was young.
"Dealing with a teen-age population is very difficult, and the city of Key West, although making strides, still needs to offer other opportunities for kids such as video arcades and bowling alleys," he said, mentioning that he has spoken, on occasion, with Rock and suggested adding increased lighting outside the club, and making an effort to move the crowd quickly into the club to lessen the volume of people on the sidewalk.
"Any place that draws a late-night crowd is going to have some problems," said attorney Ed Horan, who represents Rock. "My whole position is step up law enforcement -- I think Epoch has been singled out unfairly in a lot of circumstances."
The decision about whether to continue the club's lease still is pending, and trustee Synon declined to comment on the matter.

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Friday, April 12, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 04/12/02 Information is power!

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Firefighter Loses EMT License After Hate-Motivated Assault

The Arizona Daily Star
by Joseph Barrios
The Arizona Department of Health Services has decided to revoke the emergency medical technician license of Franchot Opela, a Tucson firefighter convicted of misdemeanor assault.
Opela was convicted in July and placed on one year of unsupervised probation for what prosecutors said was a hate-motivated beating of another man, Fabian Padilla. The two fought in February 2000 outside the Risky Business bar, 6866 E. Sunrise Drive.
Padilla testified that Opela, who was off duty, called him a "faggot" and the dispute escalated into a fight. Only felonies, not misdemeanors, can be charged as hate crimes in Arizona. Opela and Padilla have filed civil lawsuits against each other and the bar seeking damages stemming from the fight.
The Arizona Department of Health Services sought to revoke Opela's license, arguing an administrative rule allows his EMT's license to be revoked if he is on probation.
Last month, administrative law judge Eric Bryant submitted a recommendation stating Opela should be allowed to keep his license because the rule actually states the department can only deny certification to applicants, not revoke certification for those who already have licenses. The rule "makes no mention of those already certified," Bryant states in his ruling.
While the department says it has revoked the licenses of four other technicians under the rule, Bryant says, "Those orders do not bind the director in this matter. Moreover, consistency is not a virtue when error is the constant."
In a ruling dated Tuesday, Health Services Deputy Director Danny Valenzuela ordered Opela's certification revoked. Valenzuela cited another rule that states an "applicant for recertification" must comply with the same requirements as new applicants. Valenzuela also determined Opela can reapply after he completes his sentence.
Todd Hale, Opela's attorney, said the department "gutted and negated" the substance of Bryant's opinion. He said the department rule allowing for licenses to be suspended for those EMTs on probation is not legal. He said he will appeal the decision and expects the matter will be argued in Pima County Superior Court.
"Hopefully we'll get a fair view of what the law really is," Hale said. "Their position is they've done this in the past. Consistently doing something wrong doesn't mean you're doing something right."
Kent Burbank, executive director of Wingspan, Tucson's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community center at 300 E. Sixth St., said the department acted "prudently and wisely" in making its decision. Now the city should simply fire Opela, he said.
"We continue to be baffled and amazed the city has not taken enough action to ensure this person has been sufficiently punished," Burbank said.
Battalion Chief Randy Ogden, a fire department spokesman, said the department is waiting to hear what happens during the appeals process before making a decision.
* Contact Joseph Barrios at 573-4241 or . © 2002 The Arizona Daily Star Online. All Rights Reserved.

Showtime's New Program Block May be Road Test for Gay Network

Daily Variety
by Susanne Ault
Showtime Networks is launching a block of gay-themed programming on its digital multiplex channel Sho Too.
The four-hour Night Out on Sho Too, running Wednesdays at 9 p.m. starting May 22, will include weekly episodes of "Queer as Folk" plus films such as "Chuck & Buck" and "Kiss Me Guido." The block will repeat on the web Saturdays at 10 p.m.
Move may be a road test of Showtime and MTV's planned gay cable net. Neither a launch date nor any content has been unveiled for the prospective web.
But likely programmming includes series in the vein of the cult hit "Queer as Folk" and gay-friendly movies such as Kevin Kline starrer "In & Out," which was produced by Showtime sister company Paramount.
Night Out on Sho Too will be hosted by various personalities, including performance artist Tammy Faye Starlite and theater company Five Lesbian Brothers. Copyright ©2002 Reed Business Information. All Rights Reserved.

Drew Barrymore Gets Sexy with Heather Graham at Leo's House

World Entertainment News Network
Following her public lesbian escapades last month, DREW BARRYMORE is now boasting a new conquest -- fellow actress HEATHER GRAHAM.
The RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS star, who split with husband TOM GREEN at the end of last year (01), locked lips with the 32-year-old AUSTIN POWERS beauty at LEONARDO DiCAPRIO's home -- much to the disapproval of the TITANIC hunk, according to American magazine US WEEKLY.
A source recalls, "They were going at it in front of a group of people. Leo was annoyed because they were out of control and he didn't want that in his house."
And, according to the source, DiCaprio was so annoyed with Barrymore, 27, and Graham's public display amid what was a quiet gathering of friends "that he kicked them both out of the house."
CHARLIE'S ANGELS star Barrymore was spotted kissing passionately with two females on a night out at Hollywood hot spot AD just weeks beforehand. (RGS/US/CPT) (c) 2002 World Entertainment News Network

Elton John urges Senate for AIDS funds

Danny Freedman, Associated Press
Thursday, April 11, 2002 / 04:56 PM
SUMMARY: British pop singer Elton John, testifying before Congress, said America has an obligation to use its vast resources to stop global AIDS.
WASHINGTON -- British pop singer Elton John, testifying before Congress Thursday, said America has an obligation to use its vast resources to stop the spread of AIDS around the world.
"No nation, corporation, foundation or individual has the money you have," Sir Elton told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. "No one even comes close."
"This is the government of the richest nation in history, and I'm here asking you for more money to stop the worst epidemic in history."
John said 8,000 people are dying every day from AIDS. "You have the power to end this epidemic," he told the senators. "Please end it. Please end it."
John appeared before the panel, chaired by Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., wearing dark-tinted glasses, and an uncharacteristically conservative black suit. The singer is founder and chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
He was greeted by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y, with a kiss on each cheek, which he returned. "I asked Chairman Kennedy if we couldn't just get a piano in and he could sing his testimony," Clinton said.
John's appearance came as Congress considered a proposal to add $500 million to fight AIDS overseas to an emergency spending package aimed at helping pay for the war on terrorism.
The spending has the backing of Sen. Jesse Helms, the conservative from North Carolina who is the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kennedy said that 40 million people have HIV/AIDS, with the overwhelming majority living in poor countries. He said his committee was working on legislation to fund research and treatment and increase the participation of agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health in the global battle against AIDS.

Boston priests oppose gay marriage ban

Tom Musbach, / Network
Thursday, April 11, 2002 / 04:38 PM
SUMMARY: While Catholic leaders in Massachusetts are encouraging lawmakers to ban gay marriage, three priests broke rank on Wednesday and spoke in favor of it.
While leaders of the Catholic Church in Massachusetts are encouraging lawmakers to ban gay marriage, three priests broke rank on Wednesday and joined several civic leaders who spoke in favor of it.
The three men were among dozens of participants who spoke Wednesday at the Statehouse in Boston, where a hearing was conducted on H4840, a possible amendment to the state Constitution banning gay marriage.
As reported in the Boston Globe, the priests cited teachings on Catholic social justice, discrimination concerns and lessons learned from the current sexual abuse scandal, which is centered in the Boston Archdiocese but afflicts many others.
"Especially in light of the present crisis of abuse, we want to make sure that all children are protected and receive equal rights," the Rev. Walter F. Cuenin, pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Newton, Mass., said in a prepared statement. "This amendment would certainly deprive some children of their rights simply because their parents were not legally married."
The Rev. Richard Lewandowski, pastor of St. Camillus parish in Fitchburg, said of the proposed amendment, "This does nothing, nothing to protect family life. It only weakens it."
The director of Jesuit Urban Center in Boston's South End, the Rev. Thomas J. Carroll, also spoke against the amendment, the Globe reported.
Several other opponents of H4840, dubbed "SuperDOMA," spoke at the hearing, including state Sen. Cheryl Jacques, AFL-CIO treasurer Kathleen Cassavant and Dr. Valerie Fein-Zachary, co-chair of the Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts.
"The proposed amendment," said Fein-Zachary, "is a crass attempt to make gays and lesbians second-class citizens by writing a provision into the state's Constitution that would mandate discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation."
In support of the amendment, C.J. Doyle of the Catholic Action League said gay marriage would compromise the "integrity of the family" and weaken "the moral and legal barriers erected against bigamy, polygamy and incest."
Gerry D'Avolio, a lobbyist for the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, told the Globe: "This is a critical issue and the church is very insistent and very consistent that, while no individual should be without protection, marriage where a mother and a father are present in a child's life is the ideal situation." The Legislature will consider H4840 in a constitutional convention next month. One-quarter of the assembly's 200 members must approve it this year and at next year's convention before the measure can appear on the ballot in 2004.

Marriage debate heats up in Massachusetts

Claire Humphrey sounds like a typical suburban mom when she talks glowingly about her 7-month-old daughter, Lucy. Then Humphrey, who is gay, starts outlining the challenges she and her partner, Vickie Henry, face in caring for Lucy. Those challenges, Humphrey said, would multiply if lawmakers and voters in Massachusetts approve a change to the state constitution defining marriage as a union solely between one man and one woman. Massachusetts does not recognize gay marriage.
''I wouldn't be able to sign a permission slip for a school field trip, let alone make medical decisions,'' Humphrey said. Humphrey was among dozens of opponents of the ballot initiative who crowded a statehouse hearing Wednesday.
Supporters of the measure say they aren't targeting gay men and lesbians but just want to protect traditional marriage, which they say is under attack from gay activists and popular culture. ''There's nothing wrong with loving each other,'' said Chester Darling, a lawyer for Massachusetts Citizens for Marriage, the group pushing for the initiative. "There's something terribly wrong with destroying 4,000 years of a traditional relationship. [Marriage] shouldn't be marginalized or trivialized by a bunch of people who hate it.'' The initiative would also deny marriage benefits to other kinds of relationships, although supporters were unable to say what kind of benefits the measure would ban. Opponents fear the measure would block expanded legal rights to same-sex relationships and roll back benefits some gay couples and unmarried heterosexual couples now enjoy, including the right to adopt children, the chance to receive health benefits under their partner's insurance, and the ability to receive their partner's pension benefits after death. The initiative faces a long road to the ballot. Because it seeks to change the constitution, the question must win the backing of 25% of two back-to-back sessions of the legislature. The earliest it could get on the ballot is 2004.

Idaho students admit to trying to burn gay flag

Three student senators at the University of Idaho in Moscow have resigned after admitting to police that they broke into the Gay Straight Alliance office on campus, stole the group's flag, and then tried to burn it. Matthew Henman, Kevin R. Smith, and Joel A. Sturgill on Wednesday informed the other school officers of their resignations. Criminal charges are pending against the three, and administrative sanctions could range from a warning to expulsion, dean of students Bruce Pitman said.
According to police reports, the three used Smith's student government card to enter the alliance's office early on March 31. They said they felt the alliance flag is a desecration of the U.S. flag and should be burned. (The 3- by 5-foot flag resembles an American flag, with stars set on a blue field. But the 13 red and white stripes are replaced with the six colors of the rainbow to represent diversity.) The trio took the flag to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house, where they attempted to burn it, police said. However, the material, being fire-resistant, wouldn't burn, so they discarded it in a Dumpster. In statements to police, the three said they did not consider what they had done to be a hate crime. The men were caught after the discovery of a note that Henman had left in the alliance office. In his message Henman didn't say that he took the flag but said he knew who did and that the culprits would pay for a new one. The alliance, however, called for Henman's ouster. Alliance cochair Selena Lloyd said the incident has left many members feeling hurt and intimidated. The university's Office of Human Rights and Diversity purchased a new flag for the alliance so that the group would have one for its largest function of the year, a dance billed as the Senior Prom You Never Went To, which was held last week.

Michigan fraternity suspended for antigay T-shirts

A Michigan State University fraternity has been temporarily suspended by its national chapter after some members strode into residence hall cafeterias wearing T-shirts mocking gay men. Earlier this month some students pledging Pi Kappa Phi fraternity wore pink sleeveless T-shirts in their dormitory cafeterias. The national chapter handed down the suspensions Wednesday. "The chapter was suspended as a result of alleged actions taken by individual members that directly violate our standards and expectations," Pi Kappa Phi chief executive officer Mark Timmes said in a written statement. "This type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated or condoned within Pi Kappa Phi."


Gay Couples Given Adoption Rights In NFLD

Derwin Parsons East Coast Bureau Chief
(April 12, St. Johns, NF) Gay and lesbian couples have been given the right to adopt in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The sweeping reforms to the province's 50 year old adoption statute will come into effect in June. The legislation provides for co-parenting and also gives adoptive children more rights.
Adoption records can be opened if all parties agree, new medical facts can be shared, and children as young as five will be counselled about adoption.
Judith Grove, executive director of the Adoption Council of Canada, says the legislation is progressive, especially in its inclusion of common-law and same sex couples.
"We need a great variety of potential families and I think taking applications from anyone who is interested is the best way to find those families," said Grove.
She says Newfoundland's revised law could have an effect on adoption in other provinces. "That's something a lot of us have been talking about but nobody's ever actually put into legislation, so this is a first. We'll be watching it very closely I think."

Fed Cab Mins Honour Gay Teen Barred From Prom

by Ben Thompson National Editor
(April 12, Ottawa) Marc Hall, the 17 year old Toronto area student told he could not take his boyfriend to the prom was honoured Thursday night at a ceremony on Parliament Hill.
Hall received the Community Service Award from EGALE, at the national GLBT rights organization's annual gala in the Parliament buildings. The award was presented by Alan Rock, the federal minister of trade.
Rock said: "Marc, we are all deeply touched by the courage and strength of conviction that you've shown in pursuing your quest for fair and equal treatment.
"You've shown us what the word "dignity" truly means. You serve as a role model to other young people -- whether gay or straight -- teaching them to hold their heads high, respecting themselves and rightfully demanding respect from those around them."
Rock has been a strong supporter of the GLBT community throughout his political career and is being touted as a leadership contender to replace Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
The other main leadership contender, Finance Minister Paul Martin unable to attend because of a prior commitment sent a representative.
Chretien, who has led the party to three consecutive majority governments has not announced when he will step down.
Justice M. Réal Ménard sent his Parliamentary Secretary, MP Paul Macklin, and Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham and Art Eggleton, the Minister of Defence were also represented by high ranking aides.
New Democrat MP Libby Davies, who came out publicly last year, and gay Bloc Quebecois MP Scott Brison were also there. Svend Robinson, the gay NDP member for Burnaby BC, was unavailable.
Every political party was represented at the Gala except the Canadian Alliance.
But, it wasn't only politicians and activists who came out.
Two of the stars from Showcase's Queer As Folk; Jack Wetherall (Uncle Vic Grassi) and Sherry Miller (Jennifer Taylor) were among the 300 people who attended.
Hall, accompanied by his boyfriend, J. P. Dumond, said he has been "overwhelmed by the support I have been given."
The A student was told by his principal at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School, in Oshawa, that the Catholic Church could not permit a same-sex date at the prom. The decision was upheld by the school board and endorsed by the Toronto archdiocese.
Wednesday, Hall's lawyer David Corbett filed an injunction in Superior Court to prevent the board from barring the teen from bringing Dumond to the prom.
Rock told Hall: "Your actions remind us all that equality and social justice must be pursued day by day, month by month, year by year. That we must never blindly accept the status quo. That we must never simply accept the conventional wisdom of the day."
EGALE Executive Driector John Fisher told that "It sends a strong message when senior cabinet ministers stand up and say what this board of education is doing is wrong." Earlier in the day, the Globe and Mail newspaper published a reader poll showing 64 per cent support for Hall. Only 36 per cent said he should not be allowed to take his boyfriend to the prom.

Party Leader Says Gay Slur Is Non-Issue

by Jan Prout Newscenter
(April 12, Ottawa) Canadian Alliance Leader Stephen Harper has refused to reprimand MP Cheryl Gallant for hurling an anti-gay remark at Foreign Affairs Minister in the House of Commons.
During a heated debate in Question Period on Wednesday, Gallant shouted: "Ask your boyfriend!"
Thursday, MPs from all parties, except the Alliance demanded Gallant apologize but a Harper aide dismissed the slur as a "non-issue".
Party House Leader John Reynolds said he spoke to Gallant about the remark, and said there would be no apology.
"There's nothing to apologize for," Reynolds said.
He said the remark was "not an issue for us." Reynolds said that because House Speaker Peter Milliken didn't hear it and no one raised a point of order about it at the time, the remark didn't officially happen.
Conservative Party Leader Joe Clark called Reynolds reasoning "inexcusable" and labelled Gallant's remark "deeply offensive."
"What is surprising to me is Mr. Harper has not acted already to require an apology on her part," Clark said. "He should have done it by now."
Two out members of the New Democratic Party also condemned the remark, and the Alliance's lack of action.
Svend Robinson said the remarks reinforced the party's image of intolerance.
"It's just unbelievable that Gallant doesn't understand that this kind of comment is deeply offensive and she owes him an apology," he said.
NDP MP Libby Davies echoed Robinson.
"I think as the new leader (Harper) has got to send out a very clear message that those kinds of comments are not acceptable, and that there are consequences if those kinds of comments are made," she said.
Liberal and Bloc Quebecois MPs also attacked Harper for not acting.
Gallant did not appear in the Commons on Thursday, and, the man the slur was directed at says he did not hear it. "I didn't hear what Miss Gallant said, so I'm not going to comment on that," he said outside the House. "I understand she said something on the other side of the House; that's amongst them."

18 Months For Making Gay Porn Video

by Newscenter Staff
(April 12, Delphi, Indiana) A 33 year old Indiana man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for making a gay porn video with a 17 year old.
Under a plea agreement, Kevin W. Lane, 33 was sentenced to the maximum under the state's child exploitation law.
Lane said that he did not think he was breaking the law. In Indiana the age at which a person may consent to sex is 16, so the sexual activity between Lane and the teen was legal. But the age for appearing in adult material is 18, and constituted child exploitation..
Court heard that Lane made the tape using a laptop computer owned by his employer.
There was no indication Lane was intending to sell the tape.
Judge Joseph Carey of Carroll Circuit Court said a sentence less than the maximum would have "depreciated the seriousness of the crime." If convicted without a plea agreement, Lane could have faced up to three years in prison.
In addition to the 1 1/2 years in jail, Lane must pay $129 in court costs and register as a sex offender when he is released.
The pornographic video came to light after a fellow employee, who was doing maintenance on the server, found a folder that contained photographs that appeared to be pornographic. Lane said he met the youth through a personal advertisement on a gay Internet site.

Airline Workers Form Gay Association To Fight Discrimination

by Newscenter Staff
(April 12, Erlanger, KY) Gay and lesbian employees at Comair are fighting for job protections and partner benefits.
The airline is the largest carrier in North America which does not recognize GLBT workers. Ironically, Comair is a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Airlines, which has had job protections for gay employees for the past decade.
Last October, Delta extended Domestic Partner Benefits to its full-time GLBT employees.
Pride Of Delta At Comair was organized to provide GLBT workers at the airline with social and professional support.
The group said in a statement Thursday that Comair has consistently refused to recognize the need to include gays and lesbians in its non-discrimination policy.
Captain Russell Stark, a Quebec native who works for the airline said: "It has been frustrating in educating a management team that considers itself to be conservative and unresponsive to its own diversity."
Stark said that "Comair's reasons for non-compliance are based solely on two points; The United States federal and Kentucky state laws do not require employers to provide protection for GLBT employees and Comair does not recognize life time, same sex partners of its GLBT employees as valid dependents." Comair provides turboprop or jet service to the eastern two-thirds of the U.S., from Dallas, Texas to Bangor, Maine, from Key West, Florida to Montreal, Quebec and from Nassau, Bahamas to Des Moines, Iowa.

'Act Of Love' Killer Goes Free

A man in Australia who killed his former lover in an 'act of love' walked free from court after receiving an 18-month suspended sentence.
Melbourne Supreme Court judge, Justice John Coldrey, said he didn't see any reason why Raymond John Hood should go to prison for what he did.
Hood, originally charged with murder, pleaded guilty to aiding or abetting Daryl Colley's death in April 2000. A pathologist found that Colley died from a drug overdose.
The court heard that Colley believed he was suffering from inoperable brain tumours, although these were not found during an autopsy. Colley invited friends and family to a "wake," after which he took a lethal combination of dring and drugs. Hood waited for the cocktail to take effect and finally helped Colley to die by covering his nose and mouth. He said he had to stop after 30 seconds, however, because it made him feel sick. Justice Coldrey said the court was not there to debate euthenasia. Hood's counsel said that his actions were "both courageous and an act of love". The judge added: "Accepting that description of what you did, it was, nonetheless, misplaced courage and misguided love".

Robbie Williams Set To Move To LA

Singer Robbie Williams is planning to settle in Los Angeles.
The star has moved into Ringo Starr's old home which he is renting until he can find a place to buy in the area.
Robbie believes that the clean LA lifestyle will help him kick his problems with dring and drugs for good.
In January the star was ordered by record executives to take a six-month break from showbusiness and the London lifestyle to relax and recuperate. He headed straight to LA. He attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every day. Robbie's new neighbours include Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Will Young Looks For Fame In US

Pop Idol winner Will Young, who recently came out, is looking for stardom in the US.
Simon Cowell, who helps look after Will's career, says they are talking about launching him in the US, but that he will have to change his musical focus for the market stateside. He told the Daily Express: "Will is so unique that he will definitely have longevity. I think he will move from the pop world to singing soul. It's all about having the right songwriters for Will".

Entrepreneur Finds Niche for Women

April 12, 2002, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Defining lesbians as her target audience has well served entrepreneur Judy Dlugacz.
Dlugacz, president of Olivia Cruises & Resorts, has grown the California company she founded in 1990 into a major provider of vacations for lesbians, last year generating $12 million in sales. Dlugacz also owns Olivia Records, an independent record company specializing in female artists.
Dlugacz, a lesbian, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Gay & Lesbian Economic Symposium on April 18 in Sarasota. The Southwest Florida Business Guild, an organization of mostly gay and lesbian business owners and professionals, will present the event.
Guild President Turner Moore said the purpose of the event is to show concrete examples of launching successful businesses and managing their growth. Many entrepreneurs overlook the lucrative gay and lesbian market because they underestimate its size, he said.
"It's big, but it's kind of behind the scenes," Moore said. "Most gay people I know prefer to keep the money in the community. They would rather give their money to gay and lesbian businesses if those businesses serve their needs." (C) 2002 Sarasota Herald-Tribune. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

USA: Nation's First Grand Jury on Sex Abuse by Priests to Convene

April 12, 2002,, by Julia Mead (New York Law Journal)
District Attorney Thomas J. Spota III has been granted permission by the courts to empanel the nation's first special grand jury to investigate allegations of sexual abuse and child molestation by Roman Catholic priests.
To be convened within a month, the special grand jury will have an unusually broad mandate to investigate allegations of abuse and of any cover-up by the Long Island, N.Y., diocese, as well as any false allegations made against the clergy.
Spota held a press conference Thursday as national attention has turned toward a rapidly growing number of public complaints about priests in Boston, New York and elsewhere molesting children, mostly boys. Increasingly, those complainants allege church leaders knew about the abuse and covered it up by re-assigning the accused priests to other parishes and not notifying law enforcement.
In recent weeks, the Suffolk County district attorney's office has received "dozens" of calls from alleged victims, a majority reporting the abuse of young boys, and some complaining of recent abuse while others recounted events occurring years ago, said Spota's spokesman, Robert Clifford.
While Spota confirmed his office has been investigating those complaints for the past three weeks, and had subpoenaed related documents from the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., he seemed equally concerned Thursday about the potential for false accusations.
"I think it's important to recognize that an overwhelming number of priests perform their sacred ministry with honor, dignity and integrity and are innocent of any wrongdoing," he said. He added that he believed that in addition to the young victims, "the priests who are innocent of any wrongdoing are suffering as well."
He stressed that his chief assistant, John L. Buonora, and Emily Constant, chief of the Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Bureau, would ferret out the false accusers: "The integrity of the grand jury process is always paramount."
The order permitting the special grand jury to convene was approved earlier this week, said David Bookstaver, the Office of Court Administration spokesman. Starting on March 25, it passed up the necessary chain of command from Suffolk's administrative judge, Justice Alan D. Oshrin, to the presiding justice of the Appellate Division, 2nd Department, Gail Prudenti, and the deputy chief administrator of all courts outside of New York City, Joseph J. Traficanti Jr.
The last special grand juries to be convened in Suffolk, about two years ago, investigated allegations of official corruption in the county sheriff's department and in Babylon Town government. Spota's predecessor, James M. Catterson Jr., was thought to have been granted such approvals about a dozen times in the past 10 years, said Buonora.
A normal grand jury hears multiple, unrelated cases, and its mandate expires at the end of a month. A special grand jury is convened when needed for a longer period of time and to make a more extensive investigation that, like Suffolk's, typically involves multiple cases with a common theme, but could also hear unrelated cases as the need arises.
Buonora said Suffolk's special grand jury order expires after six months, but could be extended. The order permits the panel of 23 jurors to sit in Hauppauge, Central Islip or Riverhead, N.Y.
Rule 128.17 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator (22 NYCRR 128.17) empowers the chief administrative judge and presiding judge to designate the number of grand juries empanelled each term.
The statute does not make any distinction for special grand juries or set criteria for approving a request for one. The district attorney's request was boilerplate, saying one was needed to conduct "investigations into a number of complex criminal matters which are expected to last several months," and that such a task would overburden a regular grand jury, said Buonora.
Spota said Thursday that his office had served the Diocese of Rockville Centre with a grand jury subpoena and received "a number of documents" in return.
The diocese attorney, George Rice, of Spellman Walsh Rice Schure & Markus in Garden City, N.Y., said the diocese contacted both Spota and Nassau District Attorney Denis Dillon "to work out what they needed and how we could get that to them," even before the subpoena arrived from Suffolk. He said the diocese was still in the process of fulfilling its demands and had more documents to deliver.
If a grand jury is empanelled, Rice acknowledged that "no one is immune from a subpoena," including the bishop.
Last month, Bishop Murphy faced down the growing criticism by announcing that he had reviewed the records of every active priest in the diocese, and found that no priest was on active assignment against whom any "credible" allegation of child abuse had been made.
Spota said his office had received "a broad range of information from credible and reliable sources," and he was "thus far not at all satisfied that with the credibility of the public assertions by the church that it is properly policing its clergy."
He said that was his main reason for seeking permission to empanel a special grand jury which, in addition to handing down indictments, could issue a report calling for "legislative, administrative, or executive action."
At his own press conference on Wednesday, District Attorney Dillon urged lawmakers to be more careful in wording a pending bill that would require clergy to report sexual abuse. He said the problem in the Roman Catholic Church is related to homosexuality and not pedophilia.
To see more of, or to subscribe, go to . Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved.

Ellen Gets New Talk Show

Ellen DeGeneres, the lesbian comedian and actress, has been signed to host a daily talk show by the producers of the 'Rosie O'Donnell Show'.
The syndicated show is set for broadcast in the autumn of 2003 and will run for an hour.
Telepictures, who are producing the show, said that it will highlight DeGeneres` standup comedy background and "everywoman" approach to life`s situations.
Jim Paratore, president of the company, said that they had been interested in signing DeGeneres for a long time. He remarked: "Ellen`s name came up when she did some guest work on Rosie`s show. She was natural and funny. It was something we were thinking about, and something she was thinking about independently, so it was a little bit of kismet."
DeGeneres' latest television sitcom, 'The Ellen Show,' was pulled by CBS from its schedule earlier this year after disappointing ratings.
Paratore continued: "To have someone of Ellen`s stature is a coup for us and a coup for stations. She`s known, audiences like her, she`s a major talent that will bring a unique point of view, a sense of humour and big stars in a way we haven`t seen in a while."
Dick Robertson, president of Warner Bros. Domestic Televison Distribution added: "While there are very few sure things in television, I`d place a big bet on this one." © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.

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NEWS from the Human Rights Campaign

919 18th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
Wednesday, April 10, 2002
Contact: David M. Smith
Phone: (202) 216-1547
Pager: (800) 386-5996
Contact: Wayne Besen
Phone: (202) 216-1580
Pager: (800) 386-5997
Justice Department for First Time Invokes Sentencing Enhancement Act, Says
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today applauded Attorney General
John Ashcroft and the Justice Department for invoking the Hate Crimes
Sentencing Enhancement Act in the indictment of Darrell David Rice for the
1996 slaying of two female hikers in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. The
indictment marks the first time ever that the Hate Crimes Sentencing
Enhancement Act was invoked to charge someone with a hate crime based on
sexual orientation or gender.
"Today's murder indictment specifically invokes a federal sentencing
enhancement enacted to ensure justice for victims of hate crimes," said
Ashcroft in a statement he read today.
"With this indictment, the federal government has recognized the
horrendous nature of this hate crime and that it should be prosecuted to the
fullest extent of the law," said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg.
The Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act could be used in this case
because the murders took place on federal land. "Congress must build on
this recognition and pass the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act,
(LLEEA)so other cases can be handled fairly and be brought to justice."
On June 1, 1996, Julianne Marie Williams and Laura Winans were
discovered dead in Virginia's mountainous Shenandoah National Park, bound
and gagged, with their throats slit. Yesterday, Rice was indicted by a grand
jury in Charlottesville, Va., charged with four counts of capital murder,
two of which allege that he chose his victims because of their gender and
sexual orientation.
According to the indictment, "The United States maintains that the
defendant hated women and lesbians and that hatred was a motive for his
killing..." Additionally, the indictment charged, "The defendant stated
intent that he intentionally selected women to intimidate and assault
'because they are more vulnerable than men.'" And it also charged that, "The
defendant's stated intent that he 'hates gays' and that Julianne Williams
and Laura Winans 'deserved to die because they were lesbian whores.'"
If these murders had occurred almost any other place in America this statute
could not have been used, says HRC.
"We are grateful that federal jurisdiction could be exercised in this case.
Law enforcement ought to have the tools they need to investigate and
prosecute hate crimes no matter where they occur," said Stachelberg. "Until
LLEEA is passed, however, many hate crime victims and their families may not
receive the justice they deserve."
The Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act was passed as a part of the
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. This law directs the
U.S. Sentencing Commission to provide sentencing enhancements of "not less
than three offense levels for offenses that the finder of fact at trial
determines beyond a reasonable doubt are hate crimes."
The FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2000 - the latest year for which
statistics are available -showed that as overall serious crime decreased
slightly nationally, with the Crime Index at its lowest level since 1978,
reported hate crimes have continued to rise and increased 2.3 percent from
1999 to 2000.
Reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation have more than
tripled since the FBI began collecting statistics in 1991, and comprise 16.1
percent of all hate crimes for 2000 at 1,299. Hate crimes based on sexual
orientation continue to make up the third highest category after race and
religion, which make up 53.8 and 18.3 percent, respectively of the total,
8,063. For 2000, the greatest percentage of hate crimes took place in a
residence/home or on a highway/road/street/alley, according to the FBI.
Sadly, FBI statistics only give a glimpse of the problem. It is widely
recognized that hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation often go
unreported due to fear and stigmatization. Additionally, federal reporting
of hate crimes to the FBI by state and local jurisdictions is voluntary,
resulting in no participation by many jurisdictions each year.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay
political organization, with members throughout the country. It effectively
lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to
ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

Ashcroft: Hate crime law holds in '96 case

Ann Rostow, / Network
Wednesday, April 10, 2002 / 05:13 PM
SUMMARY: Attorney General John Ashcroft will seek federal hate crime penalties against the suspected killer of two lesbian hikers found dead in 1996.
In a press conference Wednesday morning, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that he will seek federal hate crime penalties against Darrell David Rice, the suspected killer of two lesbian hikers murdered in the summer of 1996 in the Shenandoah National Park.
According to Human Rights Campaign Communications Director David Smith, today's announcement marks the first time that the 1994 Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act has been applied to a case of violence based on sexual orientation.
The act, an amendment to a large crime bill passed under a Democratic House and Senate, is the only federal law that addresses violence against gay men and lesbians. It is limited, however, by the fact that it only covers hate crimes that take place on federal property.
Earlier Wednesday, Ashcroft told the press that he met with the parents of Julianne Marie Williams and Laura "Lollie" Winans, recent college graduates who were found bound and gagged with their throats cut at their mountain campsite.
"This morning," he said, "I am announcing the indictment returned yesterday in the Western District of Virginia against Darrell David Rice for these brutal killings. Rice is charged with four counts of capital murder, two of which allege that he intentionally selected his victims because of his hatred of women and homosexuals."
As Ashcroft explained, Rice was picked up in 1997 after trying to abduct another woman in a different part of the same national park. He has been serving a 135-month federal prison sentence, and at some point confessed to killing Williams and Winans, telling investigators that the women deserved to die because they were lesbians.
The Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force were surprised, but pleased, with Ashcroft's decision. "We applaud the Attorney General," said HRC's Smith, "for understanding and realizing that crime is motivated by hate, and hatred on the basis of sexual orientation is a motive, and the fact that he's invoking this is quite a step forward."
By using the 1994 law, Smith said, the severity of the crime is increased three levels. It also allows prosecutors to introduce motive and other additional types of evidence.
A far more extensive hate crimes bill has been introduced in several consecutive sessions of Congress and passed the Senate two years ago. Stalled after Sept. 11, the legislation would allow federal law enforcement agencies to investigate and charge bias crimes on the basis of sexual orientation and other factors, regardless of where such a crime was committed.
Asked about his support for the bill, Ashcroft said the Justice Department was continuing to review the legislation. "We're inclined to prosecute hate crimes like this one -- prosecute them to the fullest," he added. "The utilization of the sentencing enhancement procedures that relate to both gender and homosexuality in this instance are key to our ability to request the death penalty in cases like this."

Los Angeles could get gay police chief

David Kalish, an openly gay deputy chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, has been named one of the top candidates to replace Chief Bernard Parks, whose bid for a second term as head of the LAPD was turned down by the city's police commission Tuesday night. Kalish, who began his LAPD career as a police officer in 1975, later served as department spokesman. He was promoted to deputy chief by Parks in 2000.
Despite the commission's 4-1 decision against a second term for Parks, Parks said Tuesday that he is not about to step down. In fact, the embattled police chief, who says he is a victim of politics, has vowed to take the fight to keep his job to the city council. The council could override the commission's decision if at least 10 of its 15 members back Parks. If the decision is not overturned, Parks said he would remain on the job until his term is up on August 12. Commission president Rick Caruso said the commission ruled against Parks because he has failed to deal with low morale, understanding, and other problems that have plagued the LAPD. In announcing the commission's decision, Caruso declared that the department is suffering "a profound loss of confidence." He added, "Today, the Los Angeles Police Department is in crisis." Also named as a possible replacement for Parks is Portland, Ore., police chief Mark Kroeker, a longtime LAPD commander. Kroeker has recently come under attack by gay activists for remarks he made to a Christian law enforcement group more than a decade ago, calling homosexuality "a perversion." Kroeker has since said his views have changed on the subject and that he is opposed to all kinds of bias.

Ohio lesbian couple asks court for common surname

A lesbian couple wants the Ohio supreme court to allow them to change their individual last names to one they created so they can share a common family name with the children they are raising. Lower courts refused to approve the name changes, saying that allowing the changes would violate the state's public policy against recognizing same-sex relationships. Attorneys for Belinda Lou Priddy and Jennifer Lane Bicknell will ask the supreme court during oral arguments Wednesday to clarify the proper role of courts in reviewing name change requests. They argue in court documents that the Butler County probate court and the 12th Ohio district court of appeals denied the couple's requests arbitrarily and violated their right of equal protection under the law as well as their right to raise their children as they determine appropriate.
The Ohio supreme court previously has held that anyone has the right to adopt any name they choose as long as the name change is not fraudulent. "There is no fraud here," said Heather Sawyer, an attorney with Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, which is assisting with the case. "To deny these two lesbian parents the very simple thing of being able to communicate to their children their commitment to them as a family is harmful." Priddy and Bicknell filed individual applications in 1999 to have their last names changed to Rylen. The couple, who had lived together for nine years when they applied for the name change, created the name by combining several letters from each of their last names. Priddy was artificially inseminated last year and gave birth to twin girls in September. The children have the last name Rylen.

N.Y. committee votes to broaden definition of family

On Wednesday the New York state senate's judiciary committee voted 17-2 to open up family court in the state to domestic partners, including same-sex and unmarried opposite-sex partners, according to a press release from the gay rights group Empire State Pride Agenda. Presently in New York many victims of domestic violence are locked out of family court and its protections because the definition of family is limited to those who are currently married or share a child. Any couple that is not legally married or does not share a child must instead rely on criminal court, which is not nearly as well equipped for orders of protection and other protective legal devices.
The practical effect of a case's falling under the jurisdiction of one versus the other is significant, according to ESPA. For a married couple in an abusive relationship, the spouse being abused can obtain an order of protection from family court without initiating criminal procedures (which most abused parties do not wish to do). Family court also has the ability to issue orders of protection that exclude the abuser from the common residence and can mobilize other types of social services aimed at addressing the situation. Long advocated by the state's domestic-violence prevention community, this broadening of family court jurisdiction to include domestic partners may have its best chance ever this year of becoming law, ESPA added. With Monday's vote, both the senate and the assembly versions of the bill have completed the committee process. The next step for both bills is a floor vote in their respective chambers. Governor Pataki is expected to sign the measure if passed.

Park board won't consider lesbians a couple

The Mandan, N.D., park board has decided that the requirements for family membership at its Community Center will not change for now, despite the request of a lesbian couple. The couple asked in February to be allowed to purchase a family membership at the center. The Community Center defines a family as a married man and woman and does not recognize same-sex couples. The board had been looking into the possibility of changing the center definition of family, but it voted Monday to remove the item from immediate consideration. Board president Tom Bair said that if the issue comes up again, a committee would be assigned to study the situation. A family membership at the Community Center costs $320 per year, compared with $565 for two adults and a child.


Sponsors skittish about FX's gay-inclusive The Shield

While critics are lauding the new FX series The Shield--which features a closeted gay cop coming to terms with his sexuality--the new drama is too hot for some sponsors, according to The Hollywood Reporter. So far, Burger King, Office Depot, New Balance, and Tricon Global Restaurants (which owns Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell) have pulled out of the show due to its envelope-pushing content. "We want programming that appeals to our consumers and reflects our brands," said a Tricon spokeswoman. "We've asked our media-buying representatives to make sure that our commercials don't air on the program." FX officials contend that the show carries a content advisory warning and that the demographic ratings for The Shield--96% of all viewers of the show are 18 years old or older--prove that the advisory is keeping younger viewers from the program's strong depiction of violence, its language, and its sexual situations. "Whenever you've got a show that pushes buttons, you'll have advertisers who'll be squeamish," one media buyer tells the Reporter. "Remember NYPD Blue? Advertisers dropped it but then later, when [the controversy] died down, came back."

School Board To Fight Gay Injunction

by Jack Siu Newscenter in Toronto
(April 11, Toronto) Ontario Superior Court has been asked to grant an emergency injunction against a suburban Toronto Catholic school board which has barred a student from bringing his boyfriend to the prom.
The application for the injunction was filed Wednesday afternoon. The court said it would set a date on April 19 to hear arguments from both the board and from lawyers for Marc Hall, the 18 year old who is challenging the ban.
The A student was told by his principal at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School, in Oshawa, that the Catholic Church could not permit a same-sex date at the prom. On Monday, the Durham Catholic District School Board upheld the decision., and on Wednesday, Suzanne Scorsone, a spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, which includes the school, said taking a date to a prom is "exploration that will lead to a decision about marriage," and is therefore subject to the Church's unequivocal proscription of homosexuality.
"People have a choice as to whether they attend a Catholic school or not. There are other options available to them, and for people to choose to be practising Catholics ... [is to] acknowledge the rightness of the teachings themselves," she said.
Christine Bilas, a spokesperson for the board refused comment to Bilas would only acknowledge that it had received a legal notice from Hall's lawyers.
Canada's leading civil rights lawyer, David Corbett is representing Hall.
Corbett told a news conference shortly after the legal papers were filed that he is seeking two rulings from the court: That the board be restrained from preventing Marc from attending the prom, and that the board be enjoined from cancelling the event altogether.
"We would hate to think that just to prevent Marc from going to the prom the board would deprive all of his classmates of the most important social event of their year," Corbett said.
He also said that he was seeking damages and a declaration from the board that its decision was in violation of Canada's Bill of Rights.
Corbett said that he had decided on court action, rather than going to the Ontario Human Rights Commission because "time is of the essence." The prom is scheduled for next month.
The Roman Catholic school system enjoys special constitutional privileges and courts have been reluctant to rule in cases involving human rights and the church. But, this is believed to be the first legal challenge brought by a student.
Corbett said Hall's challenge does not involve church teachings, but the policy of one board.
He said that the board violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Constitution which guarantees equal rights for gays and lesbians. He also said it was in violation of Ontario's gay rights laws, and he said, it is in direct conflict with the Ontario Code of Conduct for Boards of Education receiving public money.
The Roman Catholic school system in Ontario receives tax dollars from the provincial government.
Because Hall is a minor, gay Member of the Ontario Parliament, George Smitherman has agreed to be his litigation guardian. Should Hall loose, it would mean Smitherman, the MPP for downtown Toronto, would be on the hook for all costs related to the case on both sides.
Smitherman told he is not worried. "I am confident that should financial resources be required the broad community that supports Marc will step in."
Tonight Hall will receive a Community Service Award from EGALE, Canada's national GLBT rights organization. The award will be presented by Allan Rock, the federal minister for trade at a gala on Parliament Hill.

School Board Held Responsible For Gay Taunts

by Rich Peters Newscenter, Vancouver
(April 11, Vancouver) The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has ordered a school district to pay a former student $4,000 after the board failed to stop repeated homophobic taunts and physical attacks by his classmates.
It is the first case in Canada where a school board has been held responsible for not protecting a student from homophobia.
The case dates back to the mid 1990s. The tribunal heard that Azmi Jubran was taunted, harassed, punched and slapped throughout grades 10, 11 and 12.
Jubran was repeatedly called "homo," "faggot" and "gay" . He was spat on, kicked, and, on one occasion, set his shirt on fire during a physical education class.
Terry Shaw, the principal at Handsworth High told the tribunal he had never seen a student harassed to the extent that Jubran was. Mike Rockwell, vice-principal at the time, said the school did not have the resources to prevent bullying.
Tribunal member Carol Roberts found that the North Vancouver School District " had inadequate tools to work with and insufficient training and education to deal with the harassment." "The school board did not seek assistance from those with particular expertise in the field of harassment, homophobic or otherwise, until Mr. Jubran filed his human rights complaint," she said in her ruling.

New Alliance Same Old Homophobes

by Ben Thompson National Editor in Ottawa
(April 11, Ottawa) A Canadian Alliance MP attacked Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham, Wednesday in the House of Commons.
Graham, the MP for Toronto Rosedale, the riding which includes Toronto's gay village, was in a heated debate with the Alliance's foreign affairs critic Stockwell Day.
During the heckling by both Liberal and Alliance members, Alliance MP Cheryl Gallant shouted: "Ask your boyfriend" at Graham.
Graham, who is married, has been linked in several Toronto newspapers to a former male hustler and recovering drug addict.
The MP has never publicly spoken about the relationship, which reportedly ended several years ago. An Aide to the minister said she did not believe he heard Gallant. "It was a very lively debate," she said.
Alliance party officials later denied the remark had come from the opposition benches, but it was clearly picked up by the microphones in the House and heard on the televised broadcast of Question Period. Since electing Stephen Harper as the party's new leader the Alliance has been attempting to shed its racist and homophobic image.

Announcer Calls Football Team Raging Faggots

by Fidel Ortega Newscenter in Miami
(April 11, Jackson MS) A charity football game has turned into an embarrassment for the University of Mississippi.
The annual Sigma Nu Charity Bowl to raise money for Christopher Reeve's paralysis research foundation was held at Vaught- Hemmingway Stadium.
The football game was started by Sigma Nu fraternity after the injury and death of Ole Miss football player Chucky Mullins, has raised more than $555,000 for spinal cord injuries over the past 12 years. Christopher Reeve was present to accept this year's contribution for his charity.
Chip Reynolds, the announcer who was calling the game over the public address system, repeatedly referred to some of the players as "raging faggots" when they made less than desirable plays.
"It's disturbing that while one minority - the disabled - was being helped, another - gays and lesbians - was being insulted in the process all because of one man's attempt at humour, said Jody Renaldo, executive director of the Mississippi statewide gay and lesbian civil rights organization Equality Mississippi.
Among the invited guests, along with Reeves, were Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove, Mississippi US Senator Trent Lott, and Mississippi US Representatives Roger Wicker and Chip Pickering.
Renaldo said: "It's a bad representation for one of the finest universities in the world and really uncalled for. Reynolds should have been immediately removed from his duties of calling the game. We encourage Chancellor Khayat to take immediate action to see that something like this never happens again. This must not go untouched."
The Ole Miss Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Association (GLBA), along with Ole Miss Students Envisioning Equality through Diversity (SEED) and Lafayette/Oxford/University National Organization for Women (LOU NOW), has sent a letter to the Sigma Nu fraternity, with a copy to Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat stating their concern over the incident.
"This incident was a terrible insult to your fellow gay, lesbian, and bisexual colleagues on campus, as well as their friends, families, and allies, and only adds to an unwelcoming atmosphere for this group of people at this University and in your fraternity," the letter said. It is the second report of an attack on gays and lesbians in as many days. Tuesday, Lambda Legal denounced a letter to a newspaper by a Mississippi judge suggesting that gays and lesbians be institutionalized

Giving Hate The Silent Treatment

by Beth Shapiro Newscenter, in New York
(April 11, New York) Thousands of students went mute Wednesday, to protest anti-gay discrimination. Students from more than 1,600 schools participated in the "National Day of Silence," an event billed as one of the largest acts of civil disobedience by youths.
Created by a University of Virginia student in 1996, NDS went national a year later. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) assumed leadership last year.
During the eight-hour event, students take a vow of silence and hand out cards explaining why they've opted to go speechless.
This year, for the first time, the United States Student Association, which represents college kids nationwide joined the Silence.
"This day is especially relevant to our university communities," says Joie Taylor, USSA Vice President, "schools with a serious commitment to diversity and inclusivity need to address the structures and attitudes on campus that threaten LGBT students. USSA is sure that this national queer day of action will help to create positive change on campuses nationwide."
In Phoenix, Arizona, students at several schools held hands as they maintained their vow of silence.
"People need to be aware that gay and lesbian kids are harassed every day," said Jasmine Williams, a senior at Carl Hayden High School. "I had a friend assaulted recently because she's gay. This needs to stop."
A 2001 survey conducted by GLSEN showed that 84 percent of gay and lesbian students heard anti-gay slurs at school.
About 82 percent of them said teachers or school staff hadn't intervened.
In Albany, N.Y., half of the 1,600 students at Bethlehem Central High School pledged silence for the entire school day. At Hellgate High School in Missoula, Mont., about 150 students amounting to a few in each class did not speak.
But, while students in most communities across the US observed the day, an Iowa school board was refusing to add sexual orientation to the school district's nondiscrimination and harassment policies.
Emotional pleas to the Gilbert School Board failed to influence the board .
The board, without taking a vote, unanimously agreed to uphold the district's current policy that prohibits harassment to students or staff based on "race, colour, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age disability, marital status or any other form of harassment."
The school board reviewed the policy after Jerryn Johnston, a senior at Gilbert High School, asked it to include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination policies. He said his tires were slashed five times and the lug nuts loosened on the wheels of his car because he's openly gay.
"They've murdered me, in part," Johnston said during an emotional appeal to the board. "I don't think they're right. I hope you don't feel that way either." "I'm ashamed of how they handled the issue," Johnston said after the four-hour meeting.

Gay Men - Increased Risk Of Eating Disorders, Says Study

Gay men appear to be at greater risk of developing eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, than heterosexual men, according to a study. "Homosexuality is associated with increased body dissatisfaction, attempts to lose weight by restricting food intake, and disordered eating patterns such as binge eating and purging," study co-author Dr. Pamela K. Keel of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, told Reuters Health.
In the current issue of the International Journal of Eating Disorders, the researchers report that both body dissatisfaction and eating disorders were much more prevalent among the gay men than among the heterosexual men they interviewed.
Among gay men, nearly 14% appeared to suffer from bulimia and over 20% appeared to be anorexic. Among heterosexual men, however, researchers found that none were bulimic and only one was anorexic.
The researchers also found that gay men reported higher levels of depression, lower self-esteem and greater discomfort with their sexual orientation than the heterosexual men.
Keel told Reuters Health that the association between eating disorders and gay men was surprising. She suggested that prevention and research efforts to help women combat a culture that promotes body dissatisfaction could be extended to help gay men. SOURCE: International Journal of Eating Disorders 2002;31:300-306.

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NEWS from the Human Rights Campaign

919 18th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
Tuesday, April 9, 2002
Contact: David M. Smith
Phone: (202) 216-1547
Pager: (800) 386-5996
Contact: Wayne Besen
Phone: (202) 216-1580
Pager: (800) 386-5997
Scorecard Features Record Number of Members who Earned a Perfect Score, Says
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today released its scorecard for the
first session of the 107th Congress. This scorecard, which can be downloaded
at, is considered a critical tool for judging how members of
Congress vote on gay and lesbian issues and assessing the level of support
for these issues in Congress, says HRC.
HRC's scorecard shows an encouraging trend towards more broad-based
support for gay and lesbian issues on Capitol Hill. This growth in support
is apparent as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S 1284, HR 2692) and
the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act (S 625, HR 1343) boasts the
highest number of co-sponsorships in history. Additionally, there are 198
members of Congress who scored a perfect 100 percent on this scorecard, up
from 161 in 2000 and 136 in 1998. It is also clear from this scorecard that
support for gay and lesbian issues is coming from both sides of the aisle as
14 Republican members of Congress scored an 80 percent or above.
"The marked increase in supporters from both parties, as well as
members of Congress with perfect scores shows real progress on Capitol
Hill," said Winnie Stachelberg, HRC's political director. "This growing base
of allies creates a strong foundation on which HRC can build winning,
bipartisan coalitions."
In this scorecard, HRC included co-sponsorship of both ENDA as well
as the LLEEA, formerly known as the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Additionally, office non-discrimination policies and important votes on
issues like domestic partnership benefits in the District of Columbia and
needle exchange programs were all evaluated in the scoring process.
"This scorecard is a snapshot of how members of Congress have voted
in the first half of this session," said Stachelberg. "At the conclusion of
the 107th Congress we will send out another scorecard with the complete
voting records for the entire session."
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay
political organization, with members throughout the country. It effectively
lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to
ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

NEWS from the Human Rights Campaign

919 18th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
Tuesday, April 9, 2002
Contact: David M. Smith
Phone: (202) 216-1547
Pager: (800) 386-5996
Innovative Program Offers Intensive Campaign Training for Budding
Politicos, Says HRC
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign announced today that applications for
Youth College, HRC's intensive political campaign training for young men and
women, are now available. The nationally recognized program is a tremendous
opportunity for young politicos to learn key skills and work for candidates
in real campaigns, says HRC.
"Youth College is one of the premier programs in the country for
those who desire inside knowledge and hands-on experience in politics," said
HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. "HRC's program is extremely
competitive, so we urge aspiring participants to get in their applications
as soon as possible."
Every election cycle HRC chooses twenty talented, energetic participants,
ages 18 to 24, to come to Washington for a week of interactive training on
how to run a winning campaign. Nationally recognized political professionals
and HRC's seasoned staff conduct workshops on all aspects of campaigns,
including writing a field plan, how to raise money and getting out the vote.
During the training, groups of participants complete a hands-on simulation,
implementing the workshops and running their own mock campaigns.
After mastering the basic skills, participants spend two and a half months -
from late August through Election Day - in regular staff positions in
targeted political campaigns or ballot initiatives around the country.
Graduates are supported during the campaign with stipends and housing from
"Graduates provide their newfound expertise to campaigns in any way
needed, such as, helping with media relations, fund raising, field
organizing and getting out the vote," said Stachelberg.
When the campaigns are over, Youth College graduates gather one more
time in Washington for a retreat to learn from their experiences. They focus
on their future, learning how to put their new skills to work on the job or
in further education. Youth College alumni have gone on to work for elected
officials and advocacy organizations in Washington and around the country
including Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the American Civil Liberties Union,
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the Democratic National Committee and the
Smithsonian Institution.
The application deadline is May 1. For more information, or to
apply please go to or call (202)
216-1537 or email .
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay
political organization, with members throughout the country. It effectively
lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to
ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

Sesame Street Threatens Lawsuit Over Gay Muppet Rumors
Just like Tom Cruise, Muppet stars Ernie and Bert are threatening to sue to prove that they're not gay.
Rumors have long dogged those two felt legends. They're roommates. They tend to sing a lot of silly songs. One of them has a curious obsession with his rubber ducky. But all that doesn't mean anything.
Not that there's anything wrong with being a gay Muppet, but the Children's Television Workshop has threatened to take legal action against Peter Spears, the director of Ernest and Bertram, a documentary spoof of two male puppets who become heated lovers.
The 8-minute movie ends with a distraught Ernie shooting himself in the head.
At Sundance several weeks ago, Ernest and Bertram generated some buzz and seemed destined to play at similar film festivals. But with lawyers threatening, Spears says that's in serious jeopardy.
Rumor-Mongering on Sesame Street
Hoping to negotiate one more showing of the film, Spears hesitated to be interviewed and lawyers for Ernie and Bert would do no more than acknowledge that they've targeted Spears.
Even before this incident, Ernie and Bert have been under constant attack. In 1993, TV Guide received dozens of letters railing against Sesame Street for condoning a homosexual relationship. Shortly after, a North Carolina preacher began a campaign on his radio show to ban them for their immorality.
In Hollywood Urban Legends, critic Richard Roeper traces the rumors of Ernie and Bert's sexuality to Spy magazine founder Kurt Anderson, who once joked that "Bert and Ernie conduct themselves in the same loving, discreet way that millions of gay men, women and hand puppets do. They do their jobs well and live a splendidly settled life together in an impeccably decorated cabinet."
The situation grew so unpleasant that the Children's Television Workshop had to issue this 1993 press release:
"Bert and Ernie, who've been on Sesame Street for 25 years, do not portray a gay couple, and there are no plans for them to do so in the future. They are puppets, not humans. Like all the Muppets created for Sesame Street, they were designed to help educate preschoolers. Bert and Ernie are characters who help demonstrate to children that despite their differences, they can be good friends."
Bert's Taliban Connection
The Muppet duo have other image problems. Just last year, only weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, anti-American demonstrators in Bangladesh brandished a poster of Osama bin Laden with a sneering Bert -- who had seemingly lost his conical little mind and joined the Taliban.
Images of Bert and Osama side by side flashed across TV, Internet all across the world.
How did the protesters get their hands on such a vile image? They downloaded it from the Internet, of course.
It was doctored photo, created by Brad Fitzgerald, for "Bert Is Evil" -- a now-defunct Web humor site that linked Bert as the sinister force behind every dark moment of the 20th century.
At the JFK assassination, Bert is shown standing near the president's motorcade just before the shooting. The Muppet is also pictured marching with Hitler, smoking dope at Woodstock, and making passionate love to Pamela Anderson.
Fitzgerald claimed that Bert and Lee Harvey Oswald plotted JFK's demise after they met in North Korea.
As for Bert's involvement in the KKK, Fitzgerald reported that Bert was a founding member. "The Klan's pointed cowl was actually patterned after Bert's head," according to the Web site.
The site also pictured Bert with Osama, tying the Muppet to various acts of terrorism. A Bangladeshi poster shop didn't realize the image was a joke when they printed up 2,000 posters for Anti-American protesters.
'It's OK to Be a Gay Muppet'
Fitzgerald's site had actually been closed several months before the protests, after lawyers for the Children's Television Workshop threatened to sue him. However, was so popular that images had been floating around the Internet.
"I still think I had the right to do what I did. It was all in fun, just parody," he said. "But I'm just one guy and I can't take on a multi-million-dollar corporation, so I stopped."
Fitzgerald says he's not surprised that the Children's Television Workshop is after a filmmaker who wants to take on Ernie and Bert's sexuality. But he thinks the Muppet should be free to chose his own lifestyle.
"There's no doubt Bert had a role in JFK's assassination," Fitzgerald said. "But I don't think Bert did it because he's gay. He had deeper, darker motivations and the folks at Sesame Street can't keep this conspiracy covered up forever." Copyright 2001 All rights reserved.

Few Complaints Filed Using Orientation Law

The Pantagraph Bloomington, IL
by Mary Ann Ford
NORMAL - Joe Garibay is in the midst of arranging a conciliation meeting in a recently filed discrimination case.
The town's human resources director has gone through the process several times throughout the years, but this case is different: It's the first formal complaint alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The case comes about six months after the city council approved adding sexual orientation as a protected class to the town's human relations ordinance, which covers housing and employment.
It alleges discrimination in housing, but Garibay would not discuss details because it has not reached the hearing level. Normal's human relations policy provides first for conciliation. If the parties cannot agree to a settlement, the case goes to a formal hearing that is open to the public.
Garibay also has received three inquiries about the ordinance "that appeared to be related to sexual orientation," he said. He didn't receive any calls before the language was added to the ordinance.
"The community seemed to know Bloomington-Normal didn't have this protection," he said.
Garibay isn't surprised about the scarcity of complaints, believing most people do not discriminate and don't consider sexual orientation an issue.
Dave Bentlin of the Advocacy Council for Human Rights agreed.
"I'm not surprised there's not an outpouring (of complaints)," he said. "I believe a majority of the property owners and business owners do not want to discriminate."
However, a few incidents surfaced when the council considered adding sexual orientation to the existing ordinance last year, said Bentlin, who hopes those few now "understand it's the law and that they need to follow it."
Jyl Josephsen, president of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said the amendment was important no matter how many complaints the town receives.
"There aren't many complaints in any of the categories," said Josephsen.
"But people know it's there ... that Normal is an inclusive community," Josephsen said. "They feel much better living in Normal."
Bentlin agreed. "It's a more welcoming place."
Garibay said the current case is only the second formal complaint this year. The other, also in the conciliation stage, alleges racial discrimination in "public accommodations," he said.
Because sexual orientation is so personal, none of the three anticipate an influx of complaints - even if discrimination is occurring.
Josephsen said gay men and lesbians who have not come out to their families would be reluctant to share their personal lives since a public hearing is a possibility.
"It's different than when a person is black or brown or male or female," agreed Garibay, who thinks some gays and lesbians also may wait to see how the system works. More complaints could surface once they feel comfortable about it, he said.
Meanwhile, the fight continues to get sexual orientation added to the human relations ordinance in Bloomington and on a state level.
Bentlin and Josephsen are encouraged by the positive public sentiment. Recent Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University polls each showed 57 percent of registered voters support adding the class, and mayors Kent Karraker and Judy Markowitz have voiced their support.
But it is not a done deal.
Only two Bloomington aldermen - Karen Schmidt and Mike Matejka - have publicly said that they support the amendment. Markowitz would only vote if there is a tie.
Probable "no" votes include aldermen Jim Finnegan, Skip Crawford and Tom Whalen. Aldermen Rich Veitengruber, Mike Sprague and Jim Fruin have not publicly stated their positions.
The Bloomington measure, expected to be voted on in May or June, requires five votes to pass. (C) 2002 The Pantagraph Bloomington, IL. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

Abuses Against Sexual Minorities in India Denounced at the UN

UN Officials Lend Ground-Breaking Support
GENEVA - Today Mr. Aditya Bondyopadhyay denounced the treatment of sexual minorities in India at an NGO Briefing of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Mr. Bondyopadhyay described cases of discrimination, harassment, arrest, and torture, and he called on the UN to hold the government of India responsible for such abuses.
High ranking UN officials made a historic appearance at the briefing and affirmed the importance of defending sexual rights as part of the UN human rights work. Speaking at the Briefing were Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special, Rapporteur on Violence Against Women; Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, and Jan Doerfel, the assistant to the Special Rapporteur on Torture.
Ms. Jahangir stated that "there are lesbians and gays in every country of the world, and I believe there is no country in which they do not face abuse."
Mr. Bondyopadhyay presented a detailed complaint of the "Lucknow 4" case, in which four HIV prevention workers were charged with conspiring to commit "unnatural sexual acts" under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code , and were kept in detention without bail for periods from 45 days to seven months.
"The arrested four were beaten, denied food, forced to drink sewer water, abused regularly, and refused treatment when they got sick." stated Mr. Bondyopadhyay. "One of the arrested had his glasses stamped on and broken and had to spend 45 days' incarceration with impaired vision."
"It is essential for the United Nations to hear the voices of the stigmatized and the marginalized directly," said Scott Long, Program Director at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the organization that brought Mr. Bondyopadhyay to Geneva to testify. "Courageous UN officials, such as Ms. Coomaraswamy and Ms. Jahangir, should be supported by all governments in the UN, as they continue to draw attention to these abuses."
The NGO Briefing was sponsored by IGLHRC as well as by the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), the International Lesbian and Gay Law Association, Pink Cross (Switzerland), the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), Amnesty International, and the International Service for Human Rights.
The Briefing was chaired by Mr. Yves de Matteis (Pink Cross and ILGA). In addition to Mr. Bondyopadhyay, Mr. Long, and the three UN officials, the briefing included remarks by Ignacio Saiz (Amnesty International), Helmut Graupner (International Lesbian and Gay Law Association), Alex Whinnom (Press for Change, United Kingdom), and Claudine Ouellet (ILGA). Copyright 2002 GayWired. All Rights Reserved.

April 10: National Queer Day of Action

Students Nationwide Take Action to Call Attention to LGBT Issues
Washington, DC -- The U.S. Student Association (USSA), its members and students from across the country are taking steps to increase access to underrepresented students on their campuses. On April 10, 2002, students will participate in the Day of Silence Project to call attention to problems that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people face in universities. Students are organizing for changes on campuses to make communities safer, more open environments.
In these campaigns students are demanding changes on their campuses such as the creation of LGBT Resource Centers, the implementation of educational and sensitivity trainings for campus administrators, and the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in nondiscrimination policies.
"This day is especially relevant to our university communities," says Jo'ie Taylor, USSA Vice President, "schools with a serious commitment to diversity and inclusivity need to address the structures and attitudes on campus that threaten LGBT students. USSA is sure that this national queer day of action will help to create positive change on campuses nationwide."
The Day of Silence Project began in 1996 at the University of Virginia. This is the first year that USSA will participate in the day of action. "This day is a very important tactic in students' campaigns to win concrete victories of LGBT people on college campuses", says Caeden Dempsey, Director of the LGBT Student Empowerment Project at USSA.
WHO: The United States Student Association
WHAT: Day of Silence Project
WHEN: April 10, 2002
WHERE: Over 300 Colleges and Universities across the country (Call 202-347-8772 to find one near you.) Copyright 2002 GayWired. All Rights Reserved.

Gay man vies to be California city mayor

Ann Rostow, / Network
Tuesday, April 9, 2002 / 04:16 PM
SUMMARY: Voters went to the polls Tuesday in the Southern California port city of Long Beach, where a gay man, Dan Baker, has a good shot at the mayor's seat.
Voters went to the polls Tuesday in the Southern California port city of Long Beach, where a gay man, Dan Baker, has a good shot at the mayor's seat.
If Baker is successful, Long Beach will become the largest city in the country with an openly gay mayor. Portland, Maine, has held that position since November.
With a population of about 461,000, Long Beach is California's fifth largest city. According to the Los Angeles Times, the town is one of the most diverse in the country, split evenly between middle-class property owners and low-income minority residents, who have been hit hard by last year's economic downturn and the defense cutbacks of the last decade.
Seven candidates are running for the mayor's office, including the popular incumbent, Beverly O'Neill, who is forced by term limits to run a write-in campaign. Baker, 36, is presently on the city council, where he was elected vice mayor by his council colleagues. He leads the pack, in part thanks to his advantage in cash, estimated by the Long Beach Press-Telegram at over $200,000.
He also benefits from the inherent difficulty of running a write-in campaign. O'Neill, 71, would likely win hands-down if her name were on the official ballot, the local press reports.
If no candidate wins 50 percent of the vote, the two front-runners will fight it out in a June runoff. But O'Neill will stay in the mix regardless of today's vote. Although the rules prevent her from making a direct bid for a third term, she is allowed to run as a write-in candidate in any election, even in the runoff, regardless of where she places today. O'Neill, the Times reports, is credited with eight years of lower crime, civic improvement and higher national visibility for the city of Long Beach.

Documents show Catholic witch-hunts

Court documents released Monday in the case of a Massachusetts priest accused of sexual abuse in the 1980s provide rare insight into the early efforts of the archdiocese of Boston to keep gay men from entering the priesthood. In a 1979 letter to the Vatican, the late cardinal Humberto Medeiros expressed alarm at the burgeoning gay rights movement and disclosed that he had spent five years weeding out gay men from area seminaries.
"The danger in seminaries, Your Eminence, is obvious," Medeiros wrote to Cardinal Franjo Seper in Rome. "Where large numbers of homosexuals are present in a seminary, other homosexuals are quickly attracted. Other healthier young men tend to be repelled." Medeiros noted that some priests had publicly revealed they were gay and were asserting that "homosexual acts" may not be sinful. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that engaging in gay sex is wrong. The cardinal, who died in 1983, wrote that he had encouraged seminary spiritual directors to "exercise their influence to remove from the path to the priesthood young men who are homosexuals." The cardinal proclaimed the effort a success. "We have a seminary which has now--within a five-year period--become almost fully transformed into a community of healthy, well-balanced young men," Medeiros said. "Our numbers are much smaller, but now we will attract more young men who will be the right kind of candidates."
The issue of gays in the priesthood remains a pressing one among Catholics, as does distinguishing between gay priests and pedophile priests. Estimates of the number of gays currently among seminarians and the more than 45,000 Catholic clergy members in the United States vary dramatically, from 10% to 50%.
"The atmosphere of seminaries is so gay that the few heterosexuals entering the seminary feel the culture and environment of the seminary is alienating," the Rev. Richard McBrien, a theologian at the University of Notre Dame, said in a recent interview. "It is an extraordinarily convenient occupation for someone who will never marry. It gives respectability to the unmarried state."
Medeiros's letter was written in response to Vatican questions about the Rev. Paul Shanley, who is accused of repeatedly raping a boy in the 1980s. The Boston archdiocese knew Shanley had spoken in favor of sex between men and boys at a 1979 meeting that apparently led to the founding of a national group advocating the practice, according to court documents. Medeiros lamented that some of the men he rejected for the priesthood in Massachusetts had been accepted in seminaries elsewhere. The cardinal said he was working with U.S. bishops to ensure that seminaries nationwide were aware of the problem. Seper congratulated Medeiros for his attention to the issue. "Your perceptive analysis would seem to indicate the need for specific measures on the part of the American hierarchy, especially those in urban centers similar to your own," Seper wrote.

Portland, Ore., schools to allow military recruiters

The Portland, Ore., school board has unanimously cleared the way for military recruiters to enter high schools for the first time in seven years. Portland had banned military recruitment at its high schools since 1995 because of the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring gays from revealing their sexuality. In January, President Bush signed an education bill requiring school districts to give recruiters access to students or jeopardize funding. With Portland schools already facing severe money troubles, the new policy passed Monday with little discussion.
Recruiters will be given the same access that college representatives and employers are allowed at job and education fairs, said Jollee Patterson, the district's general counsel. Next school year, families will be able to decide if they want their children contacted by recruiters, she said. Recruiters predict that the policy will be a boon for students. John Murphy, commanding officer for the Navy Recruiting District in Portland, said his office has offered 65 full college scholarships this school year to students in the seven Western states in the district. He said he can't recall a scholarship's being awarded recently to any Portland Public Schools student. "There's a lot of people that aren't interested in the military, and that's fine," Murphy said. "I'm sure there's kids in the Portland area that need those opportunities."

N.Y. assembly passes antiharassment bill

The New York state assembly on Monday in a 144-2 vote passed a measure aimed at combating bullying, discrimination, and violence in the state's public schools. The bill, called the Dignity for All Students Act, prohibits harassment--including bias-related harassment based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex.
"Today the assembly said in no uncertain terms that bullying and violence in our schools is a serious problem and that steps should be taken to prevent it," said Joe Grabarz, executive director of the statewide gay group Empire State Pride Agenda. "We thank the assembly for passing this bill. The amazing show of bipartisan and near-unanimous support sends a strong message to the rest of the political community that this bill is urgently needed and should be made law." Grabarz added that the bipartisan support the bill received in the assembly will aid in lobbying efforts in the senate, where support for the bill is less clear.
Iowa school board won't change harassment policy
The Gilbert, Iowa, school board will not change the district's discrimination and harassment policy to include sexual orientation as a protected characteristic. The board reviewed the policy Monday after Jerryn Johnston, an openly gay student at Gilbert High School, requested that sexual orientation be included in the policies. Johnston's request came after someone slashed his tires and loosened the lug nuts on the wheels of his car. He said he is disappointed that the board didn't change the policies. "I feel that their lack of action is just as bad as the stuff that happened to me," Johnston said.
Board member Marcia DeZonia said the district's policies are adequate. "I feel the policy is very clear that all forms of harassment are not tolerated," she said. And some parents said they believe the district's policy is good enough. "I personally believe nonharassment means nonharassment," said Larry Werner, who has a son attending Gilbert High School. "The fact is, the policy, as it is, is fine." He said his son's receiving detention for using the word "fag" at school shows that the policy works. However, Sarah Carlson believes the school district needs to do more to protect students. "These things wouldn't be happening if our current policies were adequate," she said of the vandalism to Johnston's car.

California group loses director

The California Alliance for Pride and Equality, a statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lobbying organization, announced Monday that executive director Jean Harris has resigned. Harris will stay on to assist with the national search for a new executive director.
Under Harris's leadership, CAPE has become the country's fastest-growing statewide gay rights advocacy group, with a budget of more than half a million dollars and a database of almost 1 million supportive registered voters. "Jean has done an outstanding job building CAPE into one of the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations in the country," said Nicole Murray-Ramirez, cochair of the board of directors. "Although it was a difficult decision," Harris said in a statement, "I am proud to leave CAPE knowing that what was a fledgling grassroots organization just two years ago is now one of the strongest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations in the country."

Nigerian gay student beaten to death

A secondary-school student from northern Nigeria has been beaten to death by his schoolmates, who accused him of homosexual acts, according to Agence France-Presse.
Classmates of Inuwa Yakubu, 22, at the Government Science Secondary School in Birnin Kudu woke him up from his sleep in the early hours of Thursday morning and gave him a severe beating. News reports say he was accused of seducing junior male students. "The gang seized him and took him to a nearby bush, giving him a thorough beating, which led to his death," Radio Jigawa said. The Jigawa state deputy governor, Ubale Shitu, has ordered the education ministry to investigate the murder and apprehend those responsible, the report said. The police have arrested 14 suspects so far, the Vanguard newspaper reported Saturday.

Anti-Tax In Loudoun, Anti-Gay Everywhere

Local Supervisor Leads National Lobbying Effort
By Michael Laris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 8, 2002; Page B01
In Loudoun County, Supervisor Eugene A. Delgaudio is best known as an ardent critic of his board's efforts to cut home building and control growth in the sprawling suburb.
But Delgaudio has another public life, one that many of his constituents, critics and local campaign contributors are unaware of.
The local GOP politician has spent two decades and millions of dollars warning that gays are dangerous.
Off the dais, Delgaudio is executive director of Public Advocate of the United States, a lobbying group that reports spending more than $5 million between 1997 and 2000 on a nationwide campaign that has often vilified gays as pedophiles and violent criminals.
"You'll see men hand-in-hand skipping down to adoption centers to 'pick out' a little boy for themselves," read a 1998 letter from Delgaudio seeking money to fight gay adoptions.
Delgaudio targets "pro-homosexual" politicians from both parties, using media-ready skits that he calls "conservative political street theater." Past productions include a "Man-Donkey Mock Wedding Ceremony" outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and a "Perverts for Cellucci" rally to protest President Bush's nomination of then-Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci to be ambassador to Canada.
Most recently Delgaudio has focused his efforts closer to home -- in Montgomery County. Last month, between budget deliberations and zoning controversies in Loudoun, he sent thousands of postcards across the Potomac promoting his work as "Defender of the Boy Scouts."
"Today, the Scouts are under attack in Montgomery County," he proclaimed, referring to the fact that Montgomery County has begun charging the Boy Scouts -- along with the Girl Scouts -- to use school facilities, something long required of thousands of other groups. But Delgaudio says the new fees are evidence that Montgomery officials are punishing the Boy Scouts for banning gays and gay troop leaders.
As part of his protest, Delgaudio made a show of delivering candy to county officials on Valentine's Day -- the same day he filed a federal discrimination suit with the U.S. Department of Education, which is pursuing the allegation.
In his newsletter, Delgaudio argues that "forcing the [Scouts] to hire homosexuals is the same as being an accessory to the rape of hundreds of boys."
Delgaudio said his roles as public official and "Public Advocate" are complementary. Both offer a platform for standing up against liberals and hypocrites, he said. "I would go crazy if I was doing anything else," he said, adding that his approach to each is the same.
"All I do is take a position that is counter to what the establishment is thinking, and I know the truth of my position because it's based on what the average person really believes," Delgaudio said.
When he campaigned for office in Loudoun -- an affluent community with a fierce debate about suburbanization, not homosexuality -- Delgaudio emphasized an anti-tax pledge. Ever since he stood on a Sterling corner holding a big "thank you" sign for two days after the 1999 general election, in which he ran unopposed, the New York native has left his imprint on local politics.
Delgaudio has relished his role as gadfly, cheerfully skewering his colleagues and often casting the sole "no" vote on a board stacked with eight supervisors elected on pledges to slow growth.
But the details of Delgaudio's other job have jolted some of his backers. Several contributors to his campaign for supervisor said they knew nothing about his activities at Public Advocate, which Delgaudio has described as a lobby for limited government and reduced taxes, among other things. The group paid him $120,000 in 2000, the last year for which public records are available.
J. Randall Minchew, vice chairman of Loudoun's Republican Committee, said that though he doesn't share Delgaudio's views on gays, they are not relevant locally.
"I've never seen a vote on gay rights come up before the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors," he said. "I'm kind of a big tent person. I think people ought to be able to have views that are non-mainstream."
Republican Michael Huber owns a furniture company in Sterling, and his family owns a large piece of developable land, leaving him squarely in the property rights camp Delgaudio has championed. But he said he wishes his cause had a more moderate standard-bearer.
"That scares me, really," Huber said. "I'm not gay, however I support gay rights completely. . . . That's somebody I don't think should be allowed in public office."
Delgaudio sees himself as a latter-day Samuel Adams, mastermind of the Boston Tea Party -- the epitome of political street theater. He has added the modern techniques of direct mail fundraising.
During the Clinton years, his skits lampooning the president, including the "Clinton Snowjob Removal Squad" performed outside the White House, helped net millions in donations for a second lobbying group he heads, the Council of Volunteer Americans.
At Public Advocate, Delgaudio sent his "Kennedy Thought Control Police" routine on tour to thwart hate crimes legislation. English bobbies corral prisoners as they sing, "Thought control is lovely" to a "My Fair Lady" tune.
"The stuff I do is funny," Delgaudio said. "If it isn't funny, then what's the point of public discourse in Washington?"
Delgaudio's mailings over the past decade -- including fundraising letters, political postcards and newsletters -- take what industry experts call a "hard sell" approach.
"As homosexuals die off due to AIDS, the remaining AIDS carriers prey on children to replenish the 'Homosexual Community,' " a 1991 Delgaudio letter reads. "I absolutely must find $73,575 before the end of next month to pay for printing, telephones, research, and postage."
A 1995 letter reads: "Just imagine a world where the police allow homosexual adults to rape young boys in the streets."
Delgaudio said, "My style is fairly singular and unique in the industry, the conservative movement industry."
Delgaudio has passionate supporters.
"Mr. Delgaudio is a patriot, a virtuous man -- mirthful and happy -- a warrior toiling for our Declaration [of Independence], our Bill of Rights, and the creator named in our declaration," said John Shepard, a director of the Conservative Forum of Northern Virginia, at a Ronald Reagan birthday banquet last year where Delgaudio was honored. Delgaudio "displeases" Republicans who care more about low taxes than "the public morality," he said.
Public Advocate was established in 1978 as a tax-exempt lobby focused on "the ordering of national priorities," according to IRS filings. Ronald Pearson, the group's founder, president and -- along with Delgaudio -- one of its four board members, said early projects included opposing efforts to ban saccharin, fighting the creation of the Department of Education, and combating the federal funding of elections.
He hired Delgaudio as executive director in 1981. The group now has 40,000 contributors, Delgaudio said.
Pearson runs a political consulting firm in Washington and was an aide to Rep. William E. Dannemeyer (R-Calif.), known for his strident anti-gay speeches. Pearson lobbied for the South African government in the 1980s, and more recent clients include an anti-immigration lobby and a Virginia group pushing for "homosexual content" warnings on television.
Public Advocate spends most of its budget on mailings, though Delgaudio said he is not sure how much mail the group sends out. Between 1997 and 2000, the group reported spending more than $4.5 million out of total revenues of $5.6 million on a joint educational and fundraising campaign.
Pearson and Delgaudio said they are frugal and do not benefit from the group's spending. They declined to release detailed financial statements or a list of companies that handle their mailings.
Political opponents say Public Advocate has been ineffective.
"This Eugene Delgaudio character just pops up in direct mail. We haven't seen him in the fights. He seems to use the anti-gay rhetoric to raise money," said David Smith, a spokesman for Human Rights Campaign, a Washington-based gay rights lobby.
But Delgaudio said his group's successes have gone far beyond direct-mail campaigns, and he points to the enactment of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the defeat of efforts to include sexual orientation in national hate crimes legislation.
Delgaudio, 47, began life as an activist at age 9, making the case for Barry M. Goldwater in a Queens grammar school. By 14, he was raising the U.S. flag -- and an effigy of Ho Chi Minh -- in Central Park "and having my head handed to me by peace demonstrators." Lunch with William F. Buckley Jr. at 17 was an inspiration.
Politics has always been in the family. His father was a conservative campaigner. Delgaudio's brother, Richard, also runs multiple lobbying groups in Northern Virginia that have championed conservative causes.
By 1972, Eugene Delgaudio began campaigning for Reagan and in 1982 married a political researcher in the Reagan White House. Sheila and Eugene Delgaudio have six children, ages 5 and up, he said.
Delgaudio won't say what first compelled him to focus his activism on gays, though he does say that he became "God fearing" at some point years ago.
"God saved me. I didn't always have a life where I toed the line," he said. "I have not always been a fiercely virtue-seeking man. I was young once. I wasn't married either."
Pearson said "the question of family issues versus gay rights issues" became a bigger focus for Delgaudio "once he had a family. That motivated him. . . . It just started concerning him more."
Delgaudio said he's stunned at accusations that he is appealing to bigotry in his activism. He is proud of his work, which targets government action, not private behavior, he said.
"You're not going to ask Ralph Nader, 'Why are you fixated on air quality?' " Delgaudio said. © 2002 The Washington Post Company

Second Judge Attacks Gays

by Fidel Ortega Newscenter in Miami
(April 10, Jackson, Mississippi) Lambda Legal, Tuesday, strongly denounced a letter to a newspaper by a Mississippi judge suggesting that gays and lesbians be institutionalized and agreed to represent Equality Mississippi, a statewide civil rights group, in an ethics complaint against the judge.
"The letter is a clear statement of prejudice against gays and lesbians that calls into serious question whether the judge can decide cases fairly and impartially," said Greg Nevins, staff attorney in Lambda Legal's Southern Regional Office.
The George County Times on March 28 published a letter to the editor from Mississippi Justice Court Judge Connie Glenn Wilkerson in which the judge writes: "In my opinion, gays and lesbians should be put in some type of mental institute instead of having a [domestic partnership] law like this passed for them."
Judge Wilkerson was referring to a recent Associated Press article about the ability of gay and lesbian survivors to sue for the wrongful death of their partners. "I got sick on my stomach as I read the news story?," Judge Wilkerson wrote. The judge also invoked the Bible and Romans 1:32, which suggests that those who break God's law "are worthy of death."
"Judge Wilkerson's letter shows that the era of bias and prejudice by Mississippi judges is not yet over, particularly for gays and lesbians," said Jody Renaldo, executive director of Equality Mississippi, which works to advance the full equality and civil rights of Mississippi's LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community. "The state is not served when its officials express bias against any group of people, and Judge Wilkerson needs to catch up with the times," Renaldo added.
The Mississippi Code of Judicial Conduct specifically calls on judges to avoid "expressions of bias or prejudice," including demeaning remarks based on "sexual orientation."
The judge's remarks come on the heels of an opinion by Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in which he called gay people "abhorrent," "immoral," "detestable," "an inherent evil," and "inherently destructive to the natural order of society." Lambda Legal filed an ethics complaint against Chief Justice Moore, but the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission rejected that complaint, claiming Moore's comments are protected because they are part of a judicial opinion. Lambda Legal disputes this rationale, pointing out that even judicial opinions may not violate ethics requirements.
"We are extremely concerned about the rash of anti-gay statements from judges who are duty-bound to give a fair hearing to all," said Hector Vargas, regional director of Lambda Legal's Southern Regional Office. "These kinds of statements make gays and lesbians feel that the justice system is closed off to them," Vargas added. Lambda Legal is currently litigating a case in Hinds County, Mississippi on behalf of a four-year-old boy who has been denied a birth certificate by Mississippi officials because his adoptive parents are a lesbian couple.

NYC Suburb Considers Partnership Registry

by Beth Shapiro Newscenter, in New York
(April 10, New York) Toney Westchester county is considering a Partnership Union Registry. The county, north of New York City, would be the first community on the East Coast, outside of Vermont, to give official recognition of gay and lesbian couples if the legislation is passed.
The bill went before the county legislature this week.
The registry would not give unmarried couples any of the rights associated with marriage, such as the right to inherit a partner's estate or to visit a partner at a hospital or jail. Instead, its intention is to provide unmarried couples with a place to declare their partnership, which would allow them to claim domestic partner benefits from employers who offer them. In Westchester, that includes IBM Corp., the towns of Eastchester and Greenburgh, and the county itself.
During a 90 minute hearing 30 speakers, including a Methodist cleric and an Episcopal pastor, a high school teacher, four gay couples, a transsexual and the leaders of a half-dozen local gay organizations, supported the proposal.
Most of them said the bill does not go far enough calling for next-of-kin rights for couples who register.
One of the speakers, Carol Fessler stood beside her gay son Nicholas Mendoza.
Fessler said she is the mother of twins. Nicholas is gay. His brother is straight.
She told the packed chambers of the legislature: "The hopes that I have for my sons are identical. I want them to grow into adulthood, and I also want them to enjoy a mutually supportive, loving relationship."
Only five speakers opposed the measure. The bill has bipartisan support and legislators were to have voted following the public meeting, but sent it back to committee instead, as they customarily do when a bill draws criticism at public hearings.

Top Gay Cop May Sue Force

by Peter Moore Newscenter in London
(April 10, London) Brian Paddick, the highest ranking gay police officer in the UK is threatening to sue the London Police force for discrimination.
Paddick has the rank of commander. He is under investigation for allegedly smoking marijuana, and was recently reprimanded for allegedly saying in an internet chat room that he finds some aspects of anarchy "attractive".
Paddick said that if the inquiry into charges of drug-taking fails to exonerate him he may use the Human Rights Act to show that the force made no effort to curb a campaign of discrimination that was being waged against him.
Paddick, 43, has been investigated on more occasions than any other senior officer in the UK, mostly following anonymous calls to Crimestoppers. He has been cleared every time.
He maintains that he has evidence that another senior Met officer was behind two previous potentially damaging allegations against him. But the officer has not been formally investigated, even though the force found there was no substance to either of those claims.
Paddick was removed as borough commander for Lambeth three weeks ago following allegations in a Sunday tabloid, which paid his former boyfriend James Renolleau $200,000 (CDN) for an exposé of their life together. Renolleau claimed that he and Paddick shared more than 100 cannabis joints during their five-year relationship.

TG Activist Gives Lesson To Drs

by Peter Hacker Newscenter in Sydney
(April 10, Tokyo) A 38 year old transgendered man has been hired to lecture doctors at a Japanese medical school.
"I'm looking forward to sharing with the students my experience of undergoing a sex-change operation and the various problems that transsexuals face, such as altering gender in our family registers," Masae Torai said.
The freelance writer from Tokyo underwent female to male gender reassignment surgery in the US in the late 1980s.
"This will be my first experience as a formal lecturer," he said.
The position, at Mie University, is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.
Takeo Shimazu, a physiology instructor at the university said that he knows of a transgendered medical student who decided to become a doctor after being unable to find anyone in the medical profession with an understanding of it.
Torai said that six people, including himself, who have undergone sex-change operations have filed civil suits at the Tokyo Family Court and two other family courts seeking to have their new genders recorded in their family registers. "I am planning to submit a video of my lecture at the medical school to the court as proof that a public institution accepts the existence of transsexuals," he said.

Accused Priest Co-Owned Gay Hotel

A priest accused of molesting children in Boston, US, more than two decades ago bought a gay hotel after he was transferred to Southern California in 1990, property records show. The Rev. Paul R. Shanley and another former priest bought the four-room Cabana Club Resort in December 1990. Shanley left the San Bernardino Diocese in 1993 and sold the hotel two years later.
"We were neighbours. We were in the same business together," John Kendrick, who owned the Inn Exile which also served a gay clientele told Associated Press. "As far as Paul goes, it never occurred to me that he might have been a priest.
Shanley, 71, now lives in San Diego. White later returned to Boston where he lived in retirement quarters at St. Mary's Church.
In Boston, several lawsuits have been filed against Shanley, including one by Gregory Ford, 24, who alleges the priest repeatedly raped him in the 1980s. Documents released Monday by Ford's attorney show Shanley spoke in favour of sex between men and boys at a 1979 meeting where a national group advocating the practice - the North American Man Boy Love Association - apparently was formed.

Shepard Discusses Portrayals of Gays in the Media

April 10, 2002, U-WIRE, by Tiara Jewell
By now most of us are familiar with the media's portrayal of gays. They are flamboyant white men who love Barbara Streisand, disco and fashion.
"I know a dozen Jacks," Judy Shepard said Monday night in Goldstein Auditorium, referring to the character on NBC's "Will and Grace" who fits this stereotype. While she admits most depictions of gays and lesbians bare heavy stereotypes, she is glad the images of them are out there.
"Three years ago they wouldn't have been on TV," Shepard said.
Shepard has had to deal with the media's representation of her gay son, Matthew, since his murder in 1998. Recently, there has been a barrage of television movies about the issues surrounding his death. MTV premiered "Anatomy of a Hate Crime" in January 2001. Last month HBO released "The Laramie Project" and NBC showed "The Matthew Shepard Story."
"They are three totally different perspectives," Shepard said. While she tried to stop MTV from airing the movie, she is thankful it reached a teen-age demographic. "Anatomy of a Hate Crime" juxtaposes Matthew's life with that of his murderers, Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney. Shepard praised Cy Carter, who played Matthew in the movie. However, she didn't like the script.
"It was taken from public record. I can tell you each of the articles those lines came from. What they couldn't find, they made up," she said.
The film generated a great deal of positive correspondence from young people, though. "I got letters that said 'I didn't know I was a part of the problem,' " she recalled.
Shepard said MTV should be more consistent in its messages against hate. "MTV does wonderful things against bias. But then they show Eminem and praise him, then show my message," she said. Shepard did agree that both the NBC and MTV movies "got Matt's wardrobe just right."
"The Matthew Shepard Story" focuses on his parents' struggle to decide whether to ask the jury to sentence their son's murderers to death. Shepard was involved with NBC's "The Matthew Shepard Story" until "it became something I didn't recognize," she said. The film stars Stockard Channing as Judy and Sam Waterson as her husband, Dennis. Shane Meier played Matthew. Judy and Meier have since become close. "He scarily resembles Matt," she added.
Shepard cites HBO's "The Laramie Project" as the best of the three movies about her son. It takes place in Laramie, Wyo., where Matthew went to school. Moises Kaufman wrote and directed the movie about the making of the play by the same name, which he also wrote. It retells the trip he and the Tectonic Theater Project took from New York City to Laramie to conduct more than 200 interviews with the town's residents. Rather than dramatize Matthew's life and death, "The Laramie Project" looks at how his murder affected the town and the people who live there.
Shepard said while she doesn't condemn any of the movies, she is not terribly pleased with them either. "They all fall into the same category of not being quite right," she said. "None of the movies are 100 percent true."
During her speech at Goldstein, Shepard expressed that she would like the media to portray gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people more accurately.
"I wish the media would stay for the whole gay pride parade, not just the exotic groups in the front, although I do love drag queens," she said. "They need to show the gay and lesbian parents, bankers and teachers at the back of the parade. The people that are just like us."
She is glad there are images of gays on TV, including "Will & Grace," but has just one problem with Will. "Will disappoints me," Shepard said. "Why won't they just give him a boyfriend!" (C) 2002 Daily Orange via U-WIRE

Police arrest teen-ager sought in hate crime

The Key West youth wanted in conjunction with a hate crime that occurred in early March surrendered himself to police on Monday.
The 17-year-old is accused of attacking two Minnesota men as they walked hand in hand past a Duval Street nightclub. The youth allegedly was part of a trio of young men who yelled gay-related slurs to the passing tourists. After a verbal exchange, the youth allegedly punched one of the victims in the face, breaking his nose, and then began to swing at the other victim who had tried to separate the two men.
The youth fled before police officers could question him, but detectives later identified him as the attacker through follow-up investigation and witness statements. Detectives interviewed him on April 2, but did not have enough information to arrest him, police spokeswoman Cynthia Edwards said.
Upon gathering enough evidence for an arrest, a judge signed an arrest warrant that resulted in the youth surrendering to authorities.
He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center, and was turned over to officials from the Department of Juvenile Justice on Monday evening. Representatives from that department cannot comment on the specifics of a case involving minors, but said that after the arrest, a judge uses statutory guidelines to determine whether to release the accused to a responsible party, or order him to be held at a juvenile detention center in Miami while awaiting trial.
The youth in the Duval Street incident is charged with felony battery and with evidencing prejudice while committing the offense, which makes the incident a hate crime that could result in stricter sentencing guidelines.

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