GLBT Newz 



The most up to date news for the GLBT community.


Saturday, May 18, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 05/18/02 Information is power!

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NEWS from the Human Rights Campaign

919 18th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
Friday, May 17, 2002 Phone: (202) 216-1580
Pager: (800) 386-5997
Vote a Big Victory for Transgender Philadelphians, Says HRC
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today commended the Philadelphia City
Council for voting 15-2 to add gender identity to a city ordinance
prohibiting discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and
employment. The vote is a major victory for transgender residents living in
one of America's largest cities, says HRC.
"This vote is a big victory in favor of fairness and equality for
transgender Philadelphians," said Seth Kilbourn, HRC's national field
director. "This positive outcome is the result of the combined efforts of
OutFront, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, the Pennsylvania
Gender Rights Coalition, the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition and
other organizations."
"Statewide protections do not exist," said Stacey Sobel, executive
director for the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights. "Therefore, it is
incumbent upon local jurisdictions to do the right thing by protecting all
of its most vulnerable inhabitants and visitors. This legislation is fair.
It is needed. It is just."
"OutFront is proud to have joined with a coalition of groups including LGBT
community members that worked to add gender identity to the Philadelphia
Fair Practices Code," said Doug Shaps, executive director of OutFront.
Mayor John F. Street has pledged to sign the updated ordinance into
law. Two other major cities - Dallas and New York City- in the past month
have passed nondiscrimination ordinances that included gender identity.
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.

U.K.: Commons Votes To Let Gay Couples Adopt

The Guardian Unlimited
MPs voted in favour of giving same sex couples adoption rights equal to those of married people last night after an impassioned debate across party lines.
The Commons voted by a majority of 155 in favour of an amendment opening adoption to all couples - at present only single people and married couple are allowed to adopt.
The bill was delayed for four months as the government decided whether to support backbench moves to liberalise adoption law. Alan Milburn, the health secretary, only confirmed his support last week and promised a free vote.
Single gay people are entitled to adopt, but gay couples, like unmarried couples, are not. Campaigners say the restriction can cause problems where the legal adopter becomes unable to care for the child.
But many Conservatives and Christian organisations have lobbied furiously against changes which they say undermine marriage and risk moving children from institutional care into unstable relationships where children are denied "normal" role models.
David Hinchliffe, the senior Labour backbencher and former social worker who led the campaign for change, denied it would damage the institution of marriage. "I have a deeply held belief in marriage," he said, stressing his one single concern was the interests of vulnerable children.
But the Tory frontbench spokesmen accused the government of putting the interests of adults ahead of children to satisfy the demands of political correctness. They said the delays in the system that the government wanted to end could be eliminated by down-playing issues of race, religion, culture and language.
Peter Lilley, the former social security secretary, said married couples would find it even harder to adopt: "Children are not trophies," he said. "Children are not and should not be tools for social engineering, either for the politically correct agenda or for those of us who believe in marriage."
But in the first serious revolt faced by Iain Duncan Smith, three members of his shadow cabinet - Tim Yeo, shadow culture secretary, John Bercow, shadow chief secretary, and Peter Ainsworth, shadow environment secretary - defied a three line whip and abstained.
Four more backbenchers, including the former chancellor Ken Clarke, the ex-central office strategist Andrew Lansley and the former Agriculture minister David Curry voted against.
Mr Lansley, who openly criticised the party leadership for insisting on a three line whip, and the backbencher Robert Walter, support giving unmarried couples adoption rights. But they are backing an amendment to be voted on next week which would ban homosexual couples from adopting. The bill will face opposition in the Lords.
The health minister, Jacqui Smith, denied that political correctness slowed the adoption process. She said it was important that issues of ethnicity, religion and culture were taken into account owing to "life-long issues of identity".
Although more than 4,000 children were successfully adopted last year, only 2,700 of them came from the 58,000 in institutional care. There is evidence that many who are not adopted end up on the streets.
It can take years from applying to adopt through to a successful adoption. One in 10 children in care waits more than three years before an adoptive family is found.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002

Police Defend Raid on Mich. Gay Club

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
by Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press
Police said there was nudity, cocaine dealing and liquor sales to minors at a Ferndale, Michigan, nightclub frequented by gay people.
But Ferndale City Councilman Craig Covey said the cops raided Cobalt at the instigation of gay-bashing residents who wanted the club closed.
Either way, the short-lived dance bar closed about two weeks ago. At a hearing today where Ferndale police will sit ready to testify, Cobalt's owners will ask state regulators to put their liquor license in escrow, allowing them to sell it and recoup part of their million-dollar investment.
If the state revokes the license, the city will lose it permanently -- "it goes into thin air," said Neil Hilton, one of Cobalt's five partners.
The reason is that Ferndale exceeds its state quota for liquor licenses, so a revoked license can't be revived in the form of a new restaurant or club. Some call that a potential blow to the momentum of the city's reviving downtown, although the police chief and some residents said Ferndale won't miss another licensee.
"We have too many bars now," said Kay Watson, 56, who has spoken out against Cobalt at City Council meetings.
In February, another Ferndale nightspot that appealed to gays closed it doors. Pronto 2, formerly the Temple, had sparked vigorous complaints of noise from neighbors.
Tens of thousands of dollars in fixtures from the club are to go up for public auction Thursday at the former nightspot on 9 Mile just west of Woodward. The club's state-of-the-art sound system, said to cost nearly $300,000, has already been sold, said co-owner Jim Domanski.
City officials insist the two closings won't slow Ferndale's growth as an entertainment mecca. But the clubs' short and stormy histories show how volatile it can be to regulate bars when attitudes are complicated by opposition to gays, said Covey.
"The strongest advocate to close down that bar did come from our police chief, and then from some of the ultra-right residents who don't like anything gay in the city at all," said Covey.
"I know that Cobalt isn't the first club in Oakland County to have a drug problem," Covey said.
Ferndale Police Chief Michael Kitchen doesn't deny that there is drug use in other bars. But at Cobalt, he said, "People were lined up to buy cocaine and ecstasy in the ladies' room.
"It was totally open."
In addition, in four months of undercover checks last fall, Ferndale police lodged violations with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission of giving away alcohol, of a patron, dancer and bartender exposing themselves on separate nights and of the sale of liquor to a minor, according to state records.
The 390-seat Cobalt has been highly successful, the first nightclub in the region to provide what Hilton called "a circus atmosphere -- with fire breathers, midgets, dance-recording artists and drag-queen performers." Before his group bought the former Doug's Body Shop restaurant, the deteriorating building had sat empty for years.
But city officials are happy that another building and its liquor license have a clearer future.
The license for Pronto 2 will move one door away, to the acclaimed Assaggi Mediterranean Grill, city officials said.
And the closed nightspot soon will be sold to a computer software company, City Manager Tom Barwin said.
"We feel good about that, because that's a key location in our downtown," Barwin said.
"Obviously, we want something to go in there."
(c) 2002, Detroit Free Press. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

Gay U.S. airman convicted in killing

A military court convicted a gay U.S. airman from Hawaii of premeditated murder Friday for strangling an Air Force chaplain's aide late last year on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.
Airman First Class Damien G. Kawai had pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of unpremeditated attempted murder. But a panel of officers at Okinawa's Kadena Air Force Base was persuaded by prosecutors' evidence that the 19-year-old Kawai had carefully thought out the crime. Kawai strangled 20-year-old Airman First Class Charles F. Eskew Jr., a jet propulsion specialist and volunteer chaplain's aide, and then smothered him with a pillow in Eskew's base dormitory room on November 17.
Kawai testified Thursday that the crime took place after he walked in on Eskew with another man. Kawai, who had also been sexually intimate with the third man, said he feared his homosexuality would be exposed if he hadn't silenced Eskew.
Kawai, who has been held in confinement since November 19, faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without parole, a dishonorable discharge, and forfeiture of pay.

Ford may bring back former vice chairman Gilmour

Ford Motor Company is expected to pull former vice chairman Allan Gilmour out of retirement to become chief finance officer as part of its turnaround effort, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. Gilmour, 67, retired from the company in 1995 and several years later acknowledged that he is gay.
Gilmour would replace current CFO Martin Inglis, who would move to a new position with responsibility for coordinating corporate strategy and the turnaround, according to the Journal.

Cleveland Heights DP benefits repeal effort fails

Conservative activists in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, failed to gather enough signatures to qualify a measure for the ballot that would repeal the first city ordinance in the state that extends health benefits to same-sex partners of city workers.
On April 15, the city council approved the ordinance, which allows gay men and lesbians who work for the city to have their domestic partners covered by the city's insurance plan as if they were married. A citizens group then started a petition campaign to put the issue to a vote. Mayor Ed Kelley said the petition drive was the first he had seen in nine years on the city council, during which time more than 1,200 ordinances were passed. The group needed to collect 5,355 signatures in order to qualify the measure for the ballot, according to John Gibbon, law director for the Cleveland suburb of Cleveland Heights, which has 51,000 residents.
Late Wednesday the group handed 5,287 signatures over to the city, according to Tracie Moore, a spokeswoman for the citizens group. Gibbon said at least 600 of the signatures are invalid because they were improperly filed.

UC extends retirement benefits to same-sex partners

Cheers broke out on Thursday as the University of California regents voted to extend retirement benefits to same-sex and and opposite-sex domestic partners of university system employees.
"I am delighted by the realization of what this will mean in our lives and the symbolic significance in the state and beyond," said Shane Snowdon, coordinator of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resources at the University of California, San Francisco, among those celebrating the Thursday vote, which took place on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles.
In 1997 the move to extend health coverage to domestic partners of either sex passed by only one vote, 13-12, over the vigorous opposition of then-governor and board member Republican Pete Wilson. The measure passed Thursday attracted much less attention. "I think that in five years there has really been a change in our culture and more acceptance of gay and lesbian partnerships and families," Snowdon said

Lesbian Wall Street Journal columnist gives birth to baby boy

The New York Post's Page Six reports that Wall Street Journal columnist Kara Swisher and her partner,'s Megan Smith, are new mommies. Swisher gave birth to Louis Benjamin Smith Swisher nine months after being impregnated with sperm from an anonymous donor. "I am happy he doesn't look like a meatloaf," says Kara.

Germany Pardons Gay Holocaust Victims

by Jon ben Asher Newscenter
(May 18, Berlin) The German government has issued pardons to 50,000 gay men interned by the Nazis in concentration camps.
Many of the men were pardoned posthumously.
The Nazis began rounding up gay men in 1935.
"The new state...must firmly counter all unnatural sexual urges," the preamble to the 1935 law said.
Hitler believed gays were alien to the state's aim to create a "super-race". Lesbians were unaffected by the law.
If found guilty gay men were sentenced to 10 years in prison but most ended up in concentration camps, where thousands died.
The Nazis conducted medical experiments on the prisoners. Many were castrated, sterilised, or had lobotomies performed on them .
The anti-gay legislation passed by Hitler remained on the books in Germany until 1969.
The legislation wiping out the convictions was passed by the German parliament on Friday, and was hailed by gay rights activists.
"Finally victims will be rehabilitated, even if many are already dead, this will make things easier for their relations and descendants," Farid Mueller, a Hamburg activist said in a statement.

Gays Step Up Pressure On Premier To Resign

by Newscenter Staff
(May 18, Cape Town, South Africa) GLBT activists are refusing to accept a so called apology from from the premier of South Africa's Western Cape state.
Peter Marais said, last week, that a gay lobby in the Democratic Alliance was seeking to destroy him because of his views on homosexuals.
He made the claim after being named in a series of sexual harassment claims by female New National Party colleagues. He later sought to defuse growing controversy over his remarks by saying he respected gays and lesbians as part of the "colourful rainbow nation".
But, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance said nothing less than Marais' resignation is acceptable.
The group announced plans for a three-day protest against Marais to begin June 1 with a demonstration outside his office, and will climax on June 3 with the handover of a letter demanding his resignation.
In between, said GLA spokesman Andre Baxter, organisers are planning "numerous surprises for him".
"The people are really very furious about this," he said.
"We've just got nothing to lose in this situation. It's going to be the first opportunity in South Africa where gay people show their force."

MP Severs Tie With Far-Right Mag After Anti-Gay Ad

for UK
17 May 2002
Andrew Hunter, a senior Tory MP, announced that he had cut his links with a far-right magazine, Right Now!, following an anti-gay ad.
Conservative Central Office welcomed the decision by Mr Hunter, MP for Basingstoke, to resign formally as a patron of far right publication Right Now!.
The magazine shares a postal address with the Monday Club, the hard-right group suspended by Iain Duncan Smith last autumn for the "racist" nature of its website and its support for voluntary repatriation. reports the Independent.
Mr Hunter, a deputy chairman of the Monday Club, was one of three MPs forced to resign from the club by the party leadership in October.
In a letter to the magazinethis week, Mr Hunter states he can no longer be associated with the publication "in any way".
He objects specifically to an advertisement in the latest issue from the Conservative Democratic Alliance (CDA), a new group threatening legal action against the Tories over the Monday Club suspension. The advertisement states it is "horrified by Tory frontbench spokesmen advocating gay lifestyles and New Labour ideas".
Mr Hunter goes on to say that he supports Mr Duncan Smith and has been appalled by the "antics"of the CDA.
A spokesman for Mr Duncan Smith said: "We welcome Andrew's decision, which will send a clear message that the party has changed on these issues."
The Monday Club, however, has promised it will fight back.

Rosie Wins Sixth, Last Daytime Emmy

Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - Rosie O'Donnell ended her reign as queen of daytime television with a sixth consecutive Daytime Emmy award for best talk show host.
O'Donnell took home the award at the 29th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, just days before the farewell edition of ``The Rosie O'Donnell Show.''
``I don't feel sad at all,'' she said backstage. ``I have had the most amazing six years of my life creatively. I didn't want to continue doing it just because I could.''
O'Donnell was named best talk show host every year she was nominated, sharing the award with Oprah Winfrey in 1998 and Regis Philbin in 2001.
O'Donnell said it was ``overwhelming'' to hear her name called for a sixth time. ``I thought it was going to be (Live with Regis and Kelly),'' she said. ``They've been number one in the ratings. I really thought they were going to win.''
Earlier Friday, ``The Rosie O'Donnell Show'' was named best talk show for the fifth year in a row. The host said she is leaving daytime television to raise a family and pursue other interests.
``I have enough money and when you have enough money and you miss out on your family, then you're missing the whole point of life,'' she said.
ABC's ``One Life to Live,'' which has been on the air since 1968, was named best daytime drama for the first time.
``We are stunned and amazed,'' said Gary Tomlin, the show's executive producer.
In an awkward moment for CBS, the camera cut to ``All My Children'' actress Susan Lucci after announcing the best actress award. But it was Susan Flannery of ``The Bold and the Beautiful'' who actually won.
Lucci, who has been nominated 21 times and won once, appeared shocked and confused for a few moments until Flannery walked onstage to receive her award.
Peter Bergman of ``The Young and the Restless'' won best actor in a daytime drama, his third award and first since 1992.
It was a night of firsts for several soap opera stars as Josh Duhamel of ABC's ``All My Children'' won best supporting actor and Crystal Chappell of ``Guiding Light'' won best supporting actress.
Duhamel rushed into the back of the audience to hug his parents. Fighting back tears backstage, Duhamel told reporters, ``I didn't think I was going to win. I was this kid back in North Dakota just two years ago.''
Jennifer Finnigan of ``The Bold and the Beautiful,'' who won best younger actress, also thanked her parents.
``You have supported me for my entire life. This is for you,'' she said, clutching her trophy. ``But I'm keeping it.''
``Sesame Street'' was named outstanding preschool children's series. The PBS children's show has won a staggering 79 Daytime Emmys.
LeVar Burton, who has worked on PBS' ``Reading Rainbow'' since 1983, won his fifth Daytime Emmy as best performer in a children's series.
``Proof positive if you hang around long enough, good things happen to you,'' he said.
``Jeopardy!'' was named best game show for the eighth time. Veteran Bob Barker, who was host of the Daytime Emmy ceremony, was named best game show host for the 12th time. A few years ago he boycotted the ceremony because he felt game shows weren't getting enough attention.
The mood of the night was partly patriotic, with several references to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. ``All My Children'' actress and ``Live with Regis and Kelly'' co-host Kelly Ripa was joined onstage with a New York City firefighter, police officer and a Port Authority officer to present the award for outstanding performer in a children's special.
Actress Melody Thomas Scott of ``The Young and the Restless'' opened the show wearing a billowing gown adorned with the stars and stripes. Asked backstage what designer made her dress, Scott joked, ``America made it. Betsy Ross made it.''
The Emmys are given out by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Friday, May 17, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 05/17/02 Information is power!

On the web: or www.glbtnewz/


IL: Gay Rights Group Takes Banner Cause to Capitol

The State Journal-Register Springfield, IL
by Bernard Schoenburb
A group protesting Illinois Senate inaction on a bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation unfurled a banner from the gallery during a legislative session Thursday and sang lyrics promoting gay rights.
They left the Senate gallery under threat of arrest.
"We just kept on singing and singing until an officer told us if we didn't leave, we would be criminally trespassing," said Kimberlie Kranich, 36, of Champaign.
She is co-founder of The 85 Percent Coalition, which is described in its literature as an organization "dedicated to using direct action to secure civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of Illinois."
The group says the name comes from 1998 survey results indicating more than 85 percent support in Illinois for equal rights for gays. She said the survey was done by the Survey Research Center at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
The group backs House Bill 101, which would make it illegal to discriminate because of sexual orientation in most transactions involving employment, housing, public accommodations or credit.
Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, the Senate sponsor, last month said he would hold up action on the bill until the fall because of a lack of GOP support in the Senate. Senate President James "Pate" Philip, R-Wood Dale, opposes the bill.
Kranich said the sign read: "Pate, stop the hate. Pass HB101."
She said the group of five people also sang a gay-rights song to the tune of the "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" with the words: "Glory! Glory! Hallelujah; equal rights are coming to ya. It's time to stop the hate; let us not discriminate. Gay rights in Illinois."
Opponents of the change in law say it would provide special rights to homosexuals and could lead to many lawsuits.
Backers of the bill say it would not afford special rights, but would add sexual orientation to characteristics already protected from discrimination by state law, including race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, age and marital status.
Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Philip, said that while Philip personally opposes the bill, it is "absolutely untrue" to say he's blocking its passage. She said the bill has been scheduled for committee hearings five times over two years, and it was the choice of the sponsor each time not to call it for a hearing.
A year ago Thursday, Secretary of State Police arrested five women, including Kranich, on charges of trespassing when a similar protest, including chants, was staged at a Senate Executive Committee. Kranich said the women were acquitted at a trial in Sangamon County Circuit Court in August.
Tracey Sidles, sergeant-at-arms of the Senate, said he told the women in the gallery Thursday that they must stop their protest or they would be arrested.
"The whole confrontation lasted less than five minutes," Sidles said. "They were fairly cooperative."
Sidles said he confiscated their banner but arranged to have them retrieve it on the first floor.
"We're aware that we create a tension," Kranich said. "Civil disobedience is about creating a nonviolent tension between those who have power and those who are seeking redress through the law."
(C) 2002 The State Journal-Register Springfield, IL. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

Sperm Donor Shortage Alarms New Zealand Lesbians

Sunday Star-Times
by Robyn McLean
An increasing number of New Zealand lesbians want children, but sperm donors are unwilling to donate to same-sex couples. Apart from lengthy waits for couples wanting sperm, there are also fears New Zealand's small donor pool many have dangerous consequences.
Many children of same-sex couples socialise with each other as they grow up, raising the possibility that as adults, some may enter relationships not realising they share the same father.
Doctor Liz Harding admits the issue raises fears among lesbian mothers and hopes more sperm donors will come forward to reduce the chance of this happening.
Fertility Plus laboratory manager Margaret Merrilees said to combat the problem they allow the sperm of each donor to be given to a maximum of three lesbian couples.
As a lesbian, Harding never thought she would have the opportunity to have children. "When I first came out as a lesbian one of the sad things for me was that I thought I'd never have children, I thought families were out of the question for me."
However, five years ago, she gave birth to twins after being artificially inseminated at a fertility clinic. Harding said the children brought endless joy to her and her partner of 11 years, Diane.
Fertility Associates director Richard Fisher said an increasing number of their clients were lesbian couples and they were always looking for men who would agree to their sperm being donated to same-sex couples.
Merrilees said they were in a similar situation.
"We haven't had many new donors recently. We are definitely getting to the point where before long we won't be able to offer the service to (lesbian women)."
Of the 10 men who donated sperm to the clinic Harding and Diane went to, nine had refused to let their sperm go to a lesbian couple--something the couple found surprising.
"I do feel that people should have a choice where their semen goes to, but I wonder whether that was maybe an instinctive reaction to say no when faced with the option on the questionnaire."
Harding believed it would be helpful if potential donors were given an option to meet lesbian couples with children.
(C) 2002 Sunday Star-Times. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

Fortuyn's party comes in 2nd in Dutch vote

Ann Rostow, / Network
Thursday, May 16, 2002 / 04:57 PM
SUMMARY: Holland's main conservative party won Wednesday's elections closely followed by the party of assassinated gay conservative Pim Fortuyn.
The center left coalition that has governed the Netherlands since 1994 disintegrated in Wednesday's national elections, returning the conservative Christian Democrat Appeal (CDA) to power after eight years. The CDA, which won 43 of the 150 parliamentary seats at stake, was followed in second place by the newly-formed party of openly gay Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated May 6. Fortuyn's party (List Pim Fortuyn, or LPF) won 26 seats. The outgoing Labor party (PvdA) tied with the free-market Peoples Party (VVD) at 23 seats each.
Wire services report that the CDA will attempt to form a new governing coalition with the LPF and the VVD, led by the CDA's Jan Peter Balkenende, the presumptive prime minister. According to an Associated Press dispatch, Balkenende, 46, has "voiced distaste" for some of the country's liberal social policies, including last year's legalization of same-sex marriage, but his spokesman said the CDA has no plans to turn back the clock. "Balkenende sees [gay marriage] as an irreversible fact," spokesman Hans van der Vlies said.
Pim Fortuyn, who was shot dead last week by an animal rights activist, was well known in the Netherlands as a columnist and outspoken talk show guest before he recently took the reins of a new political party called "Livable Netherlands." The flamboyantly-gay 54-year-old was ousted from the party for attacking the nation's Muslim immigrants, but surged back with a strong showing in his hometown of Rotterdam at municipal elections last February. He then formed his own party for the national elections, List Pim Fortuyn, running a slate of hand-picked, novice candidates on a platform that included tax cuts, smaller government, a freeze on immigration, the repeal of Dutch anti-discrimination laws, and a crackdown on crime.
A former academic, Fortuyn was also the author of "Against the Islamisation of our Culture," a book which outlined his objections to the rigidity he perceived in the Islamic faith. "For Muslims," he wrote, "as a homosexual, I am less than a pig. I am proud that in the Netherlands I can come out for my homosexuality, and I'd like to keep it that way, thank you very much." Although Fortuyn himself applauded the diversity of the Netherlands and protested the labels "racist" and "right wing," his opinions certainly appealed to voters with a nationalist streak. Ironically, one third of Fortuyn supporters were themselves immigrants, who agreed with his widely-quoted remark: "Holland is full up."
The rise of Fortuyn, a charismatic man with no political experience, followed a trend to the right throughout Europe, where conservatives have recently won power in Portugal, Denmark and Italy. Last month, the far right National Front's Jean Marie Le Pen edged veteran Socialist Lionel Jospin for a spot in the French Presidential run-off, (where he was trounced by center-right incumbent Jacques Chirac).
"Voters are turning savagely on center-left parties," said Thursday's London Times, "which have made passionate claims about improving public services, but have failed so far to deliver." The left-wing French daily Liberation, in turn, called the Dutch election "surreal," and described "the sudden rise of a decapitated party, with no history, no organization and without any defined ideology."

A win for Indiana's gay parents

Jen Christensen, / Network
Thursday, May 16, 2002 / 05:12 PM
SUMMARY: The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that gay parents who live with their partners should not lose visitation rights or custody of their kids just because of their sexual orientation.
The Indiana Court of Appeals handed the state's gay community a victory Wednesday. The three-judge panel ruled that gay parents who live with their partners should not lose visitation rights or custody of their kids just because of their sexual orientation. The unanimous ruling said that a child's best interest, rather than a partner's sexual orientation, should be the determining factor in custody cases.
"This is great news for our community," said Dan Neff who works at Indianapolis' gay bookstore, OutWord Bound. "We have a growing community of gay and lesbian parents here. I know they'll be relieved when they hear about this."
"I don't know a gay or lesbian person who wouldn't want a custody case to be based on what is in the best interest of a child," said Sarah Patterson with Indianapolis Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. "Your sexual orientation shouldn't matter."
But sexual orientation did matter in the case before the Indiana Appeals Court. Venessa Downey had to fight her husband, Todd Muffley, to keep custody of their two children. Downey had initially been granted custody, but a Marshall County court forbade Downey to live with her same-sex partner if she were to keep custody.
"I know that case is not an isolated one," Patterson said. "I've heard people say they can't go to gay pride with their kids, because a judge told them not to expose their kids to the gay community. That's just devastating to the community."
This is not the first case affirming gay parents' rights in Indiana. In 1999, the Indiana Courts of Appeals ruled that sexual orientation alone may not be used as the sole reason for denying parents visitation or custody of their children in divorce cases. In that case, a Tell City mother initially lost custody of her child because she was in a relationship with a woman. The Appeals Court ordered a new trail saying they had to prove the mother was unfit as the custodial parent, "rather than merely attacking (her) homosexual orientation."
Legal scholars said this latest case makes it clear that in Indiana, custody should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Detroit to settle gay entrapment suit

The city of Detroit will settle a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and several men who say police used vague city ordinances to unfairly entrap gay men at Detroit's Rouge Park.
The Detroit city council approved the $170,000 settlement Wednesday. The ACLU filed the lawsuit in December in U.S. district court in Detroit against the Detroit police department. As part of the out-of-court settlement, the council said it also plans to revise the "annoying persons" and "solicitation and accosting" ordinances to prevent future lawsuits.
"This is a very, very good step forward, and we are very optimistic," Jeffrey Montgomery, executive director of Michigan gay rights group the Triangle Foundation, told the Detroit Free Press.
The suit alleged that officers in the department enticed and arrested about 500 men during four months of sting operations at the park and then impounded the cars of many of them. Police spokesman Ricardo Moore said Wednesday that the annoying persons ordinance is rarely if ever used now at Rouge Park. He said the park still has a problem with lewd activity, though to a lesser degree. "I know that we have had some dialogue, positive dialogue, on this particular issue" with the Triangle Foundation, Moore said. "So I would have to say those talks have had some positive effect."
The 1964 annoying persons ordinance was meant to deter obnoxious, indecent, or lewd behavior in public places.
Some of the men targeted at Rouge Park said they were arrested for simply sitting in a car and talking with another man, flirting, or blowing kisses at undercover officers--sometimes while being aware that they were officers. In one instance a man was arrested for giving an undercover officer a phone number. Many of the men ticketed under the ordinance, which is a misdemeanor offense, also had their vehicles impounded and had to pay at least $900 to reclaim them unless they fought the ticket in court and won.

U.S. airman claims gay blackmail in murder defense

A U.S. airman stationed in Okinawa, Japan, on Thursday told a court-martial that he killed a fellow serviceman at the request of an acquaintance who threatened to out him if he did not commit the murder.
Prosecutors have presented testimony from investigators meant to show that Airman First Class Damien G. Kawai of Hawaii carefully thought out the murder of 20-year-old Airman First Class Charles F. Eskew Jr., who had been the base chaplain's assistant, before allegedly strangling him and smothering him with a pillow.
But Kawai, 19, testified Thursday at his trial at Okinawa's Kadena Air Base that he killed Eskew only after being threatened by a third man. Kawai said he found the man naked in Eskew's room, with Eskew passed out nearby, on the night of the killing November 17. The man said he would hurt Kawai's pregnant girlfriend and reveal Kawai's homosexuality if anyone learned of the incident, Kawai said.
The man, who was holding a knife, then "told me to finish [Eskew] off," Kawai told the court. Kawai said he was afraid of the man, admitting that he had engaged in sex with the man previously. Kawai said he strangled Eskew and cut his wrists with a pocketknife before noticing a fourth man standing in the room. Kawai said he left the two men in the room with Eskew's body. The other two men have not been charged with any role in the murder.
Military prosecutors had intended to use testimony from investigators Wednesday to back their charge of premeditated murder against Kawai. But Kawai's startling testimony Thursday appeared to complicate the prosecutors' case. Investigator Bret Palmer testified Wednesday that before carrying out the deed, Kawai told a friend he was "going to have to put [Eskew] away." Kawai also told his girlfriend, "I'm going to do something I don't want to do."
Palmer's testimony was based on statements Kawai made while in police custody just four days after Eskew was found dead in his Kadena base dormitory room. When asked by prosecutors Thursday why his testimony differed from what he told investigators, Kawai said he feared for his girlfriend's welfare and his own reputation.

Philadelphia to add gender identity to discrimination law

The Philadelphia city council voted 15-2 on Thursday to add gender identity to its fair practices ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing. Mayor John Street has promised to sign the measure into law.
OutFront, a local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization, praised the council's vote. "Today marks yet another milestone for the city council and for the city of Philadelphia," said OutFront chairman Michael Williams. "Philadelphia's long commitment to the fair and equal treatment of all of its citizens continued with council's passage of this legislation."
In the past several weeks two other major American cities have voted to include transgender-specific language in antidiscrimination ordinances. On May 8 the Dallas city council added coverage for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered residents to its antidiscrimination law, and on April 30 New York City's mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into effect an amendment to the city's Human Rights Law adding explicit coverage for transgendered people. Other jurisdictions that have passed antidiscrimination ordinances this year, simultaneously adding sexual orientation and gender identity language, are Tacoma, Wash.; Erie County, Pa.; and Allentown, Pa.

Anchorage mayor sets new exhibit policy

Anchorage, Alaska, mayor George Wuerch on Tuesday broke a nearly yearlong ban on nonlibrary exhibits at the city's public library by introducing a new policy, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The new policy, which takes effect immediately, limits nonlibrary exhibits to the library's first floor, which is beneath the main floors. It prohibits altogether certain types of exhibits, including those that "advocate or editorialize personal, commercial, or political subjects except the importance of voting" as well as those that are interactive. The city's exhibit policy became an issue last June when Wuerch objected to a gay pride exhibit at the Loussac Library and city officials removed the display.
Assemblyman Allan Tesche called the new proposal "repressive." "It sends a chilling message to the free expression of thoughts, ideas, and opinions," Tesche said.

Bisexual biker hired to snitch on Quebec Hell's Angels

A trial involving the Quebec Hell's Angels has uncovered that the Quebec provincial police hired a bisexual biker to spy on his colleagues, reports The Edmonton Sun.
Hell's Angels member Dany Kane received $63,000 for mortgage payments, motorcycle repairs, and even his monthly Hell's Angels dues, police constable Gaetan Legault told Quebec superior court. The bizarre revelations came to light during the trial of 17 Hell's Angels members and associates charged with gangsterism, two counts of drug trafficking, and conspiracy to commit murder.
Kane, 31, was found dead a year after beginning his undercover work. Police believe he asphyxiated himself in his car garage in August 2000, leaving behind a suicide note that suggested he couldn't reconcile his dueling sexual orientations or his conflicting allegiances to the Hell's Angels and police. "Am I heterosexual or gay?" the note said. "Am I a biker? Am I good or bad?"
Legault provided details of Kane's police contract under cross-examination by defense lawyer Jacques Bouchard, who attempted to show that police were willing to spend freely to build their case against the bikers. Legault, Kane's police contact, said the biker became an informant in September 1999, receiving between $500 and $1,000 a week, depending on the quality of the information he provided on his gang.

Fox cancels Dark Angel, Titus, That '80s Show reports that Fox has canceled two series with lesbian characters and another that featured a female bisexual character. The action series Dark Angel and the sitcom Titus both had regularly appearing lesbian characters (played by Valarie Rae Miller and Rachel Roth, respectively), while the cast of the comedy That '80s Show included Brittany Daniel as a voracious bisexual. Also canceled by the network was the midseason replacement Greg the Bunny.

New Twists in NYC Gay Media Rivalry

Tuesday, 14 May 2002
NEW YORK -- When the owners of the Washington Blade, brought their brand of award-winning national gay political news to the New York market five years ago with the debut of the New York Blade, a local rival, LGNY, blasted the new weekly as a dull and overly conservative also ran.
Even worse, said LGNY's editor and publisher Troy Masters at time, the Blade was run by a straight-owned news media company.
How times change. As the New York Times reported over the weekend, LGNY, founded in 1994 as Lesbian Gay New York, has been sold to (the straight-owned) Community Media and renamed Gay City News. The company also owns The Villager and Downtown Express, two other weeklies distributed in Lower Manhattan.
"My initial reaction was to laugh," Chris Crain, The Blade's executive editor, told The Times. "I don't want to pass judgment, but the press release I saw said that LGNY was planning to pool editorial resources with the straight-owned chain. That's something The Blade never did."
What goes around, keeps going around.
Both the New York Blade and Washington Blade are now owned by Window Media, an arrangement Masters also at one branded as part of a more sinister trend of corporate conglomeration.
The Blade is now being published on alternate Fridays and has a free circulation of 45,000, the Times reports. Gay City News, with a circulation of 35,000, will go from an alternate weekly to weekly schedule next month, though the the slump in ad revenue in the New York media market has shown no sign of abating.
The softness of the market was cited by Windows in cutting back to an alternate weekly schedule. LGNY's founder, Troy Masters, who is associate publisher of Gay City News, said his decision to sell to Community News was financial.
Though Masters told the Times the editorial direction and content of Gay City News will remain independent, John Sutter, president of Community Media said that as publisher, he wields "ultimate editorial responsibility" for the paper.

Showdown Looms Over Gay Adoption

by Jon ben Asher Newscenter
(May 17, London) Conservatives in the House of Lords are vowing to battle gay co-parenting until the issue is dead.
Thursday the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted to allow gay and lesbians couples to adopt children.
At present only married couples or single people can adopt. Those in unmarried or same sex relationship cannot adopt a child as a couple. However, single gays and lesbians can adopt.
The government moved up the vote by three days in an effort to surprise opponents. In a free vote, the Commons backed the adoption bill by 288 to 133 votes.
Prime Minister Tony Blair voted in the Yes line. But the battle in the Commons is not over. On Monday Tory MPs were also expected to force a fresh vote on a further amendment to the Bill specifically excluding same-sex couples
Tory health spokesman Tim Loughton attacked supporters of the amendment for trying to promote a politically correct "gay rights agenda".
It is expected the legislation will survive intact. The real war is set to take place in the Lords and the Blair government is fearful of a replay of the nasty fight over abolishing Section 28, the law which forbids "the promotion of homosexuality" in schools.
If the Lords throw out the amendment, the government has the power to force it through over a period of time if it is determined to.
Currently in Britain, 5,000 children are awaiting adoption.

Toronto Pride May Be Scaled Back

by Newscenter Staff
(May 17, Toronto) The third largest Pride celebration in North America may be significantly scaled back this year.
The city of Toronto requires a minimum of $2 million dollars in liability insurance. In the past, Pride has paid about $5,000 to have liability of $5 million. But, Toronto gay newspaper Xtra reports that the carrier has decided to get out of the events policy business.
Other insurance companies want between $50,000 and $500,000 to provide insurance to the festival which attracts about a million people.
Pride organizers say there is no possibility the event will be cancelled. But, co-chair Kyle Knoeck said: "We're going to have to take it out of resources for the parade, media coverage, that kind of thing."
Gay city councillor Kyle Rae told the paper;" This just seems like an outrageous inflation. It's an outrageous gouge by the industry."

MP Severs Tie With Far-Right Mag After Anti-Gay Ad

for UK
17 May 2002
Andrew Hunter, a senior Tory MP, announced that he had cut his links with a far-right magazine, Right Now!, following an anti-gay ad.
Conservative Central Office welcomed the decision by Mr Hunter, MP for Basingstoke, to resign formally as a patron of far right publication Right Now!.
The magazine shares a postal address with the Monday Club, the hard-right group suspended by Iain Duncan Smith last autumn for the "racist" nature of its website and its support for voluntary repatriation. reports the Independent.
Mr Hunter, a deputy chairman of the Monday Club, was one of three MPs forced to resign from the club by the party leadership in October.
In a letter to the magazinethis week, Mr Hunter states he can no longer be associated with the publication "in any way".
He objects specifically to an advertisement in the latest issue from the Conservative Democratic Alliance (CDA), a new group threatening legal action against the Tories over the Monday Club suspension. The advertisement states it is "horrified by Tory frontbench spokesmen advocating gay lifestyles and New Labour ideas".
Mr Hunter goes on to say that he supports Mr Duncan Smith and has been appalled by the "antics"of the CDA.
A spokesman for Mr Duncan Smith said: "We welcome Andrew's decision, which will send a clear message that the party has changed on these issues."
The Monday Club, however, has promised it will fight back.

CNN Seeks London Gay Couples Who Have Adopted

for UK
17 May 2002
In response to the media coverage of the new adoption plan voted for by the Labour government on Thursday, May 16, CNN's weekly programme 'Inside Europe' has decided to back up the decision by presenting our viewers to a slice-of-life-report with a gay/lesbian couple, who have adopted.
The programme looking for people in the London area, who will be comfortable with a camera around them and who are willing to share their experience as gay parents with the viewers.
Producers are mainly looking for families with a slightly older child (primary school +) to follow around in their daily routines, while getting an insight into the a gay family pattern and the pro/con's it may bring along.
If you believe that you and your family fit the above criterias please contact Katrine Lundgreen as soon as possible via email:

Scotland's First Gay Rugby Team

May 15, 2002, 2dayuk
Scotland is to form its first ever gay rugby team to play competitively around Scotland and against the UK's other two gay teams.
Colm Cunningham, an Edinburgh City Council social worker hopes to form a Scottish team that would be able to take part in next year's international Gay Rugby World Cup.
He says he has received a strong interest from players who worry about having to conceal their sexuality, or who face prejudice in mainstream clubs.
Mr Cunningham, 34, came up with the idea after unsuccessfully trying to find a gay club specialising in a team contact sport.
After discovering gay rugby teams had been set up in London and Manchester, he decided to look into setting one up in the capital.
He said: "It goes against the grain of a lot of what I believe in to say it's only open to gay men, but this is about offering them a safe and comfortable environment to train together and play rugby.
"Once we're good enough the intention is to register with the Scottish Rugby Union and join a competitive league."
Tim Hopkins, a spokesman for the Equality Council said: "I'm sure there must be quite a lot of gay or bisexual men who'd like to join a rugby club, but are worried about facing discrimination."
Scottish Rugby Union president, Graham Young, said: "I have to admit this is all news to me but I wouldn't have thought we'd have anything against it."
To see more of 2dayuk go to .
(c) 2002 2dayuk. All Rights Reserved.

Asia's Silence on Gays in Military Broken by Taiwan

May 15, 2002, AScribe
Following an announcement by the Taiwanese Military that it would end a policy banning gays from guarding high level officials and government installations, scholars and military officials said the decision signaled a bold step for an Asian military force. The policy change was announced after a local newspaper revealed the discriminatory practice, prompting protest demonstrations in Taipei, the nation's capital.
According to scholars, activists and sources familiar with military practices in China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan, the status of gay soldiers in Asia has been largely unregulated due, in part, to a continued refusal to acknowledge the existence of homosexuality. "We never had a real discussion about this because we never heard about this kind of situation," said Lt. Col. Louis Liu, Assistant Naval Attach in the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Washington. "We don't have a policy in writing." Col. Liu said that most gays in Taiwan remain closeted, "so if someone doesn't mention that (he is gay), no one knows except him." He added that, while sexual orientation may have been considered in promotional decisions in the past, he was not aware of anyone ever being discharged or prevented from serving because they were gay.
Military officials said that the policy governing gay soldiers in Taiwan does not refer specifically to homosexuality but to "sexual orientation impairment," which traditionally has been interpreted to include homosexuals. In 1994, the defense ministry stopped treating homosexuality as an illness, but that same year, the military agreed to exempt men from conscription if psychiatrists concluded they were homosexual, according to a China Post report. Eddy Chang, Lecturer of English at National Taipei College of Business and a writer at the Taipei Times, said that since 1994, the nation's army, navy and air force have not had a policy of screening out homosexuals.
In clarifying the policy on homosexuals in Taiwan, officials at the Ministry of Defense said gay men are not exempt from conscription. The announced modifications thus amounted to a new interpretation of "sexual orientation impairment" rather than an outright change in policy. "Previously, gays were viewed as having a psychiatric illness," said a Colonel from the Ministry of Defense who requested anonymity. "But since we have to consider human rights, we now think that gays, if they abide by military discipline and regulations, of course they can serve in the military." Yet Wang Ping, Secretary General of the Gender Sexuality Rights Association of Taiwan, said even the new policy is not that clear. "Now they will not not allow gay men," she said, "but that doesn't mean they will allow them."
Though there is little Western scholarship on gays in the Taiwanese military, some lessons may be drawn from research into Japanese military culture. Sabine Fruhstuck, Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has conducted extensive research into the experiences of gay soldiers in Japan. Fruhstuck explained that the Japanese military has no policy governing gay troops, partly because Japanese officials insist there are no homosexuals serving there. But, as in Taiwan, the official policy in Japan is hard to pin down. "If there is some kind of procedure to exclude gays," she told researchers, "it wouldn't be classified as a gay policy."
Despite, or perhaps because of, Japanese culture's refusal to recognize homosexuality, gay Japanese find themselves in a peculiar situation: they are hardly welcomed into mainstream cultural institutions; but at the same time, there is little organized opposition against them. "Overall in Japanese society, [homosexuality] is not a high-profile issue, so they don't have much of a public policy about it," said Fruhstuck. "Men in general don't talk about their families" in professional settings. This emphasis on personal privacy can work in favor of gays. Unlike in the U.S., where the gay ban is often defended on the grounds of heterosexual "privacy rights," in Japan, "the view would be that it would be a violation of [the gay] person's privacy to make their sexuality an issue." Indeed, Fruhstuck's interviews with Japanese military personnel suggest that few people would oppose letting gays serve as long as it did not interfere with their performance.
Nathaniel Frank, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, a research unit of the University of California, Santa Barbara, said that Japanese and Taiwanese military policy toward gays had limited relevance to the situation in the U.S. "Japanese and Taiwanese attitudes toward homosexuality reflect the cultural norms of societies where gay communities are still largely underground," he said. "While some nations in Asia appear to have liberalized legal and social restrictions on homosexuality, the relative freedom that gays now enjoy there is partly based on their willingness to operate off the public radar screen."
Nevertheless, Frank said, the experiences of foreign militaries are instructive. "No government in Asia has as restrictive an official policy on gay soldiers as the one in the U.S. military," he said. "As twenty-three nations-but not the U.S.-have now recognized, the most sensible policy for gay soldiers is no policy at all. They are just like straight soldiers." Frank added that the Taiwanese "are taking important steps to honor the principles of democracy and human rights. The Pentagon and U.S. Congress could learn a thing or two from them."
Col. Liu of the Taiwanese Naval Attach said that ending the ban on gays in the military police was "a good thing for a democratic society like ours. I don't think this is really a big deal," he said. "It just means Taiwanese society is more open and there are different choices now. If you're gay and you can do the job, that's fine."
The Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military is an official research unit of the University of California, Santa Barbara. The Center is governed by a distinguished board of advisors including the Honorable Lawrence J. Korb of the Council on Foreign Relations, Honorable Coit Blacker of Stanford University and Professor Janet Halley of Harvard Law School. Its mission is to promote the study of gays, lesbians, and other sexual minorities in the armed forces.
(c) 2002 AScribe News, Inc.

Medical Matters: Homosexual Health

May 15, 2002,
Homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) teens appear to be at a higher risk for physical and sexual abuse, substance abuse and mental health problems than their heterosexual peers, new study findings show.
Bryan N. Cochran, a doctoral student at America's University of Washington in Seattle, and his colleagues investigated the challenges of being homeless in a 1995-1998 study of 84 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Seattle youth aged 13 to 21.
For comparison, the study also included 84 heterosexual youth.
GLBT youth left home almost twice as often as their heterosexual peers and were more likely to cite physical abuse at home as a reason for leaving.
GLBT youth reported having sex for the first time at much younger ages than their peers and having almost twice as many sexual partners, the report indicates.
Copyright 2002 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Accused Priest Apparently Kills Self

Associated Press Writer
AP/ [11K]
SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) - In the latest tragic turn in the abuse scandal that has embroiled the Roman Catholic church, a priest was found hanged at a psychiatric hospital less than three weeks after resigning from his parish amid allegations of sexual abuse.
The priest, identified by church officials as the Rev. Alfred J. Bietighofer, was sent to the hospital to undergo psychiatric evaluation after the allegations surfaced and he resigned from his Bridgeport, Conn, parish.
It was the second apparent suicide of a clergyman since the sex abuse scandal engulfed the Roman Catholic Church.
Bietighofer, 64, was found hanging in his room Thursday at St. Luke Institute in suburban Washington, according to Prince George's County police. A nurse found the body, said the Rev. Stephen Rossetti, a psychologist who directs the center.
``I am profoundly saddened by the tragic death of Father Alfred Bietighofer,'' Bridgeport Bishop William Lori said in a statement. ``To parishioners and to all those whom Father Bietighofer assisted during the course of his priestly ministry, I extend my sincere sympathy and prayers.''
Two men told diocesan officials that Bietighofer abused them when they were boys in the late 1970s and early 1980s, church officials said. Bietighofer, who was assistant pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Bridgeport, resigned April 29.
``The allegations from the two gentlemen were credible enough to warrant immediate action, in line with our policy,'' Lori said at the time the priest resigned.
Bridgeport attorney Jason Tremont, who represented Bietighofer's two accusers, said about eight others also have claimed Bietighofer abused them. He is investigating their allegations.
The Connecticut Post reported that the men accused Bietighofer of fondling them when they were children when he was assigned to Blessed Sacrament Church in Bridgeport.
Bietighofer told the Post he didn't know anything about the allegations. Church officials said they weren't aware of the allegations until seeing the newspaper's story.
Church officials did not report the allegations against Bietighofer to authorities, but said they would cooperate if asked for information.
Bietighofer had served in the Bridgeport diocese since he was ordained in 1965, except for two yearlong stints in Peru in the 1970s and 1980s.
St. Luke treats priests and nuns for a variety of mental health problems, including alcoholism, depression and pedophilia. About a quarter of the institute's 65 beds are used by clergy undergoing treatment for sexual abuse problems. Its residential programs are open to the religious; outpatient programs are open to anyone.
It has become one of the best-known treatment centers and is used heavily by U.S. and some international dioceses.
Tremont said his clients had mixed emotions upon learning of the priest's death.
``It's certainly something we're not happy about. The victims think that any loss of life is unfortunate,'' Tremont said. ``The victims are still glad they came forward. Their goal was to prevent sexual abuse from happening again to any minor.''
Rossetti said every incoming patient is screened to determine if he is a suicide risk. Those deemed at risk are placed under ``steady surveillance,'' he said.
At least 177 priests have been dismissed or resigned across the country since the sex abuse scandal erupted in Boston early this year.
Last month, the Rev. Don Rooney, 48, of the Cleveland Diocese shot himself to death after being accused of molesting a girl. On Monday, the Rev. Maurice Blackwell was shot and seriously wounded outside his Baltimore home, allegedly by a man who accused him of abuse nine years ago.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 05/16/02 Information is power!

On the web: or


NEWS from the Human Rights Campaign

919 18th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
Wednesday, May 15, 2002
Contact: David M. Smith
Phone: (202) 216-1547
Pager: (800) 386-5996
Contact: Wayne Besen
Phone: (202) 216-1580
Pager: (800) 386-5997
Amendment's Sponsors Attempt to Write a Group of Americans Out of
the Constitution, Says HRC
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today condemned the introduction of
an anti-gay constitutional amendment in Congress that would preclude
recognition of same-sex marriages and prevents courts from requiring that
marital benefits be conferred on unmarried couples. The amendment could
deprive gay families of fundamental protections such as hospital visitation
rights, inheritance rights and health care benefits, says HRC.
"The U.S. Constitution is a revered document and should not be used for
cynical election year posturing. This amendment is designed to create a
divisive anti-gay wedge issue," said HRC Executive Director Elizabeth Birch.
"At a time when not a single gay couple can marry in any state of this
nation, and as our country faces much larger challenges, this is hardly the
kind of sideshow anyone needs. In the America ultimately envisioned by the
U.S. Constitution, no family should be left behind."
The House and Senate introduction of the "Federal Marriage
Amendment" was announced at a press conference today by a group of religious
political activists known as the Alliance for Marriage. HRC currently
understands there to be six House co-sponsors - 3 Democrats and 3
House co-sponsors of the proposed constitutional amendment are Reps.
Ralph Hall, D-Texas; David Phelps, D-Ill.; Chris Cannon, R-Utah; Sue
Myrick, R-N.C.; Jo Ann Davis, R-Va. and Ronnie Shows, D-Miss.
"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a
man and a woman," reads the proposed amendment. "Neither this constitution
or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be
construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be
conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."
On July 13, 2001, Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said in the Omaha
World-Herald that he would oppose a federal amendment.
"I don't think the Constitution was ever written and set up for
those kinds of amendments," Hagel said. "I think those kinds of issues are
better left to the states."
Passing a constitutional amendment requires two-thirds of both
houses of Congress voting in favor of the amendment. If this is
accomplished, then three-fourths of the states must ratify the
constitutional amendment before it takes effect.
"Our opponents face significant built-in constitutional obstacles in
their attempt to get this amendment enacted, so we must put this threat in
its proper context," said Birch. "The amendment currently has little support
and is nowhere near passage, but we must remain ever-vigilant and work with
our allies in Congress to ensure the Constitution continues to represent all
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.
** Correction: Passing a constitutional amendment requires two-thirds of
both houses of Congress voting in favor of the amendment. If this is
accomplished, then three-fourths of the states must ratify the
constitutional amendment before it takes effect.

Gay Priests Fear Scapegoating, Accusations

The Record, Bergen County, NJ
by John Chadwick, The Record, Bergen County, NJ
For years, a priest in Pennsylvania has struggled to reconcile two powerful inner passions: his devotion to the Catholic Church, and his attraction to other men.
Lately, he fears his private balancing act will spell the end of his career.
With the church reeling from sex abuse scandals, the priest said his activism in the gay community and his friendship with other gay adults make him vulnerable to accusations of misconduct.
"All it takes is one call to the diocese from some mean-spirited person," said the priest, who works in a parish and requested anonymity.
"Is this the time that it's all coming home to roost, and I'm going to have to come clean, and step aside, and look for another job and life?"
The nation's Catholic leaders are publicly discussing what just a few years ago was considered taboo: the prevalence of gays in the priesthood, which some estimate at 30 percent to 50 percent. But the tone of the discussion is troubling for some who fear the church is blaming gays for the serial molestation of boys by priests, acts that have plunged Catholicism into a crisis.
"It seems like scapegoating," said Robert Brescia, a lawyer in Jersey City who is both gay and Catholic. "It's a great way to protect the organization. Just blame it on those gays." Yet that is only one issue. Many church officials including moderates who dismiss any link between homosexuality and child abuse say the crisis is bringing to light a longtime concern over gay priests, their numbers, and whether they are staying celibate.
Indeed, the priest from Pennsylvania acknowledged that he has had sexual experiences with adult men seemingly a violation of celibacy, but which he does not apologize for. For him, the experiences were a natural response to years of suppressing his sexuality.
"They were the kind of things that in the straight world, people would have experienced as adolescents," he said. "But it took me a long time to recognize them as appetites in myself, to give myself permission to acknowledge them."
The Rev. Kenneth Lasch, a highly visible priest in Mendham who has criticized the hierarchy for its handling of abuse cases, said the current scandal should spur the church to thoroughly examine all issues of sexuality in order to avoid an even larger crisis.
"The reality is we have these gay priests and we need to ask ourselves, "What's our response? " Lasch said. "But I don't have the confidence the current leadership can do this."
Gay priests are not new. Catholic scholars say the promise of a celibate life in an all-male community has for centuries attracted homosexuals. Catholic teaching holds that homosexual behavior is a sin, but that gay men should be accepted into the church and the priesthood if they stay celibate.
"The church has always distinguished between the orientation and the act," said Chris Shannon of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame.
There are no official statistics on the number of gay priests and almost no research focusing on priests and their sexuality. A. W. Richard Sipe, who conducted one of the largest studies on priests, estimates that 30 percent of Catholic priests are gay. Shannon and others say the percentage of gays at seminaries appears to have dramatically increased because fewer heterosexuals are joining the priesthood.
In the current abuse scandal, conservatives such as the Rev. Richard Neuhaus blame seminaries for accepting homosexual men incapable of staying celibate.
"It seems 95 percent of the abuse cases involve adult men and teenage boys," said Neuhaus, editor of the journal First Things. "In ordinary English, this is homosexual, same-sex activity."
Some of the nation's highest-ranking clerics seemed to stake out similar positions in their remarks during and just after last month's Vatican summit meeting. The U.S. cardinals also called for an investigation of seminaries "with particular emphasis on the need for fidelity to the church's teachings, especially in the area of morality." Still, it's uncertain whether Catholic leaders will take any action on gay priests at their national convention in Dallas next month, when they are expected to draft rules for handling child- abuse cases.
"I'd be surprised if this comes up, because it's a red herring, and it gets away from the real issue, which is child abuse," said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Others, meanwhile, agree the problem of abuse starts to develop at the seminary but is more complicated than a priest's sexual orientation. Sipe, a former priest and psychotherapist who has treated and studied abuser priests, speaks of the secretive culture of the priesthood and seminary a world in which sexuality isn't discussed or dealt with and that can produce men who are psychosexually immature.
Priests who abuse minors behave like deprived children desperate for intimacy, Sipe says. "To say, Oh, it's these gays who are the problem is absolutely superficial and false."
Some Catholic parents of gay children are particularly disturbed by the focus on homosexuality as a way to explain child abuse. Ann Falstrom, a Pequannock resident who attends Mass every Sunday wearing an "I love my gay child" pin, said church leaders seem to want to shift attention from their handling of the scandal.
"It seems like they came up with this conclusion very fast," said Falstrom, whose son is gay. "I'd like to know if they've done any studies. It doesn't seem they really investigated it."
The priest in Pennsylvania sees the abuse scandal as an opportunity for the church to hold frank discussions on sexuality.
He entered a high school seminary in part because of his awakening sexual feelings, which at the time he didn't understand. "It was a safe house for me," he said. "It relieved me of having to go to high school and act heterosexual in a predominantly heterosexual environment." In the seminary, he said, he was taught to put his sexuality aside. But he said those feelings eventually bubbled up to the surface, creating a personal crisis.
"Only in my 30s did I identify myself as a gay man," he said. "I didn't tell that to another person until I was 40."
Now 50, he said he has come to terms with his sexuality and his religious calling. Despite his fears of being exposed, he said: "I love my vocation more than ever. Jesus loved outcasts and sinners. He loved people who were not toeing the line. Not abiding by the status quo.
"Jesus has great compassion for people wounded by society."
(C) 2002 The Record, Bergen County, NJ. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

Helping Latinos with HIV

The Arizona Daily Star
by Carmen Duarte
From his St. Mary's Hospital bed, the small-framed, 34-year-old man said he never reported the kidnapping and attack by three men who left him for dead in an abandoned apartment complex.
Rick Martinez was hooked up to an IV earlier this month as he talked of the brutal assault and rape 13 years ago -- not far from the glittering lights of the Las Vegas night life.
Martinez is gay, was a prostitute and now suffers, he said, from HIV as a result of the attack.
The Cochise County native relinquished his privacy because he wants to help other gay and straight Latinos know they are not alone and to understand they must become educated about AIDS and HIV. So must their families, he said, who need to show compassion for their loved ones who come out of the closet, and those who may be diagnosed with AIDS or HIV.
Martinez is aided by Proyecto Conexión - Project Connection - a three-year, $1.5 million federally funded program. It aims to provide substance-abuse prevention and HIV and AIDS education in Latino communities throughout Southern Arizona, said Oscar Hinojosa, the project's manager. Hinojosa is with the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation - one of six agencies that teamed to form Proyecto Conexión.
Fliers about the program will be circulated in gay bars and given to agencies that deal with the issues. Workers will knock on doors of families who have been referred to the program. "Families need to know how their lives and their loved ones' lives will be impacted. They need to learn about health care and medical regimens, and its importance," Hinojosa said.
Norma Sotomayor, Proyecto Conexión's care coordinator, said only two in 10 Latino patients she deals with have told their families they have HIV. "It still is difficult for many of them to open up. But, I will help them deal with their families, doctors and get them connected to community services."
From 1989 through last year, 1,331 Latino women and men were diagnosed with HIV and another 1,661 had AIDS, the Pima County Health Department said.
In 2000, Latino men across the United States were more than three times as likely to have AIDS than white men, Hinojosa said.
Martinez went to get tested in 1989 by happenstance. He shared his story after receiving Holy Communion from a Eucharistic minister in his hospital room and had since been released from the hospital.
"I was waiting at a downtown bus stop when a flier blew onto my leg and wrapped itself around it. I grabbed the flier and it had information about AIDS and HIV testing," said Martinez, who absorbed the information and got his nerve up to go get tested.
"Back then, they didn't give you much hope. First you were HIV positive, then came AIDS and then you died. I was scared, but I realized I had been to hell and back. I lived through the rape and the beating," he said.
"It was as though I had a battle with the devil and I won," said Martinez, who eventually learned he tested positive for HIV. "I didn't react. I didn't cry. I didn't act hysterical. I remember being very calm and wanting to know what I needed to do to live."
Martinez attended rape counseling sessions, followed a strict health regimen and found peace through God. He educated himself about the disease that attacks the body's immune system and served on the board of directors of a local AIDS group. He also began working at the county-operated Theresa Lee Clinic, 332 S. Freeway Road, where he was tested, and later went to work in Nogales, Ariz., educating the community about HIV and AIDS.
Martinez said much of society is still clueless about the disease. "People need to understand that HIV and AIDS does not discriminate based on color, sex and religion. It can happen to anyone. I hope Proyecto Conexión truly makes a difference in Latino and other minority communities."
Hinojosa said one of Proyecto Conexión's goals is to get as many people tested as soon as possible - especially those in high-risk groups - gay or bisexual Latino men, drug users who share needles and those with HIV.
He also would like to see recruitment efforts seeking minorities to participate in AIDS drug trials. According to a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, minorities participate in AIDS drug trials at a much lower rate than whites, leaving minorities out on treatments that could add years to their lives.
"It is not surprising," Hinojosa said of the study. He questions the lack of recruitment and in training medical staffers and others about differences in language and culture in minority communities.
© 2002 The Arizona Daily Star Online. All Rights Reserved.

Gays Part of the Rainbow Nation: Marais

Africa News Service
Cape Town, May 14, 2002 (South African Press Association/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- Western Cape premier Peter Marais on Tuesday sought to defuse growing controversy over his views on homosexuals by saying he respected them as part of the "colourful rainbow nation".
In a statement issued after two days of criticism from gay lobby groups -- and his political opponents and allies -- Marais said remarks he made at the weekend had been misinterpreted.
Marais claimed a gay lobby in the Democratic Alliance was seeking to destroy him because of his attacks on homosexuals.
He made the claim after being named in a series of sexual harassment claims by female New National Party colleagues.
Marais said on Tuesday that he respected the Constitution and the rights it gave all citizens, including freedom of sexual orientation.
"My statements were not aimed against homosexual people, but were meant to show that a particular homosexual pressure group in the DA had taken control of the DA leadership and was busy with political plotting and a vendetta against me," he said.
"This radical activist pressure group's vendetta against me began in the DA when I did not want to actively promote their agenda on homosexual rights."
He said DA leader Tony Leon had pressured him when he was Cape town mayor to make the city a homosexual tourist destination and to allow gay parades.
His standpoint was that everyone was welcome in Cape Town, but that taxpayers' money should not be used to promote a particular sexual agenda.
This view had led to a very negative reaction from Leon and the pressure group.
"I acknowledge our homosexual community as part of the colourful rainbow nation of the Western Cape and South Africa," he said. "I respect the Constitution and the rights it gives to all individuals and minority groups."
Earlier on Tuesday, the African National Congress in the Western Cape said it planned to discuss Marais's anti-homosexual statements at a meeting with him on Thursday.
ANC provincial secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha said on Tuesday the meeting was one of a series of regular consultations between the leaders of the coalition partners in the province.
However, the ANC could not ignore the premier's controversial views.
"We'll definitely be raising this particular issue," he said.
In a statement after a meeting of the ANC's provincial working committee on Monday night, Skwatsha said his party's position on the matter was clear.
"The ANC condemns without reservation discrimination against any group, including homosexuals, and reaffirms the protection afforded them under the Constitution."
The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project on Tuesday added its voice to the outrage expressed by other gay and lesbian groups at Marais's comments.
It said Marais was facing serious sexual misconduct charges.
"We believe his statements regarding (a) homosexual plot against him, harks of similar attempts by the likes of (Zimbabwean president Robert) Mugabe and (Namibian head of state Sam) Nujoma to divert attention from their own lack of performance and misconduct."
The project called on Marais to immediately withdraw and apologise for his "offensive" remarks.
(C) 2002 Africa News Service. All Rights Reserved

Challenges Faced by Homeless Sexual Minorities

American Journal of Public Health
by Cochran, Bryan N; Stewart, Angela J; Ginzler, Joshua A; Cauce, Ana Mari
Homeless youths represent a diverse population that reaches the streets for a variety of reasons and whose numbers have grown in recent decades. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) homeless youths face the obstacle of survival on the streets as well as the stigma of sexual minority group membership.
It is difficult to estimate the proportion of GLBT youths in the street population. The National Network of Runaway and Youth Services estimates that about 6% of homeless adolescents are gay or lesbian. However, the few studies assessing sexual orientations of homeless adolescents have revealed rates ranging from 11% to 35%.
Among adolescents in general, GLBT youths are more vulnerable to health and psychological problems than are heterosexual youths. Many are victims of parental physical abuse, are substance abusers, and have both mental and general physical health problems. These problems may be amplified for GLBT youths who become homeless.
Homeless youths are vulnerable to victimization, including robbery, rape, and assault. Also, homelessness often leads to initiation or escalation of substance use. High rates of externalizing and internalizing problems, including psychosis, have been found among this population. Moreover, high rates of risky sexual behavior, including prostitution and survival sex (sex in exchange for money, drugs, or shelter), place these young people at risk for victimization and sexually transmitted diseases.
The current study was the first of its kind to examine psychosocial outcomes for GLBT homeless youths. The objectives of the study were to identify risks faced by GLBT homeless youths and to determine whether these risks transcend those of their heterosexual counterparts. Our hypothesis was that GLBT homeless youths would have more negative indicators of psychological and physical well-being than do heterosexual homeless adolescents.
The sample consisted of 375 adolescents aged 13 to 21 years (mean: 17.14 years); data were collected between 1995 and 1998. Youths were recruited for the Seattle Homeless Adolescent Research and Education project at street locations or social service agencies in the Seattle metropolitan area. Youths were eligible to participate if they spoke English, had not lived in the residence of a primary caretaker for at least 1 week, and had no stable home in which to live.
Trained outreach workers informed youths of their right to refuse participation, skip individual questions, or stop participation at any time. Informed consent was obtained from all participants, and youths were offered $25 for taking part. The overall response rate was 95%. The sampling methods were described in full in an earlier report.
The majority of study participants identified themselves as White (52.5%). Other participants self-identified as American Indian or Alaska Native (18.9%), African American (17.6%), Hispanic/Latino (7.2%), or Asian/Pacific Islander (2.7%). About half of the sample was female (45.1%).
Self-reports of sexual orientation (heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, or transgender) were used to classify the majority of participants. In a few cases, youths did not select one of the choices (n = 9) or selected multiple choices (n= 12). Questions about same- and opposite-sex attraction were used to classify these individuals as members of sexual minorities (n = 6) or as heterosexuals (n= 15). Individuals who both rated their same-sex attraction higher than the midpoint on a 7-point Likert scale and reported samesex sexual behavior were classified as sexual minorities.
The majority of the 84 sexual minority youths identified themselves as bisexual (n=71). Only 4 female and 8 male youths self-identified as exclusively lesbian or gay, and 1 youth self-identified as transgender. GLBT youths were matched in terms of age and gender with an equal number of selfidentified heterosexual participants; thus, the study included a total of 168 participants.
Private, face-to-face structured interviews (1.5 to 2 hours in duration) were conducted with each youth. Participants were asked about their reasons for leaving home, street victimization, alcohol and drug use, and sexual behaviors. In all, 21 reasons for leaving home were provided, and youths were asked to select any reason that influenced their decision to leave. Youths were also asked whether they had encountered any physical or sexual victimization after they had left home, and if so, how often it had occurred (e.g., how often they had been assaulted or forced to have sex).
In the substance use section, participants were asked how often they had used all major forms of drugs and alcohol in the previous 6 months (ratings were made on a 7-point scale ranging from not at all [0] to every day [6]). Sexual behavior questions focused on areas such as number and gender of sexual partners and frequency of safe-sex practices. Depressive symptoms were measured with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), and other behavior problems were assessed with Achenbach's Youth Self-Report (YSR). A full description of measures is available from the authors.
Data Analyses
Given our primary goal of determining how GLBT youths differed from heterosexual youths in several domains, we had no a priori multivariate predictions about the relationships among variables. Therefore, we conducted primarily t tests (for continuous variables) and, in some cases, chi^sup 2^ tests (for dichotomous variables).
Pathways to Homelessness
By and large, GLBT youths left home for reasons similar to those of their heterosexual counterparts. However, GLBT youths left home more often than did heterosexual youths (means of 12.38 times and 6.69 times, respectively; t^sub 160^=1.91, P=.058). The most common reasons reported by youths for leaving home were family conflict (59.9%), desire for freedom (51.5%), and difficulties with a family member (48.5%). GLBT youths were more likely to leave as a result of physical abuse in the home (chi^sup 2^= 3.6, P=.044), and there was a trend toward more GLBT youths leaving as a result of alcohol use in the home (chi^sup 2^ = 3.2, P=.055). Twelve (14.3%) GLBT youths indicated that they had left home because of conflicts with their parents over their sexual orientation.
GLBT youths experienced higher levels of physical victimization than their heterosexual counterparts. When analyses were conducted separately by gender, this effect was significant for male youths during the preceding 3 months and for female youths since the onset of their homelessness. Also, GLBT youths had more often been sexually victimized since the time they had first become homeless. When examined by gender, this effect was found among male youths but not among female youths. In addition, GLBT youths reported an average of 7.4 more perpetrators of sexual victimization than did heterosexual youths.
B.N. Cochran conceptualized the project, conducted data analyses, and contributed to the literature review and the writing of the manuscript. A. J. Stewart contributed to the study design, to the literature review and data analysis, and to the writing and review of the manuscript J. A. Ginzler assisted with the substance abuse outcome data analysis and the literature review and linked findings to the risk amplification model. A.M. Cauce contributed to study design and implementation and to the writing and review of the manuscript.
This study was supported by a research grant (AA10253-03) from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
We thank Brynn Malone for her contributions to the editing of the manuscript and Kevin Wruck and Yvette Lohr for their conscientious data collection efforts.
(C) 2002 American Journal of Public Health. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

Antigay amendment to U.S. Constitution proposed

Conservative group Alliance for Marriage on Wednesday introduced to Congress a proposed constitutional amendment declaring that marriage "shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman." House cosponsors of the proposed amendment are representatives Ralph Hall (D-Tex.), David Phelps (D-Ill.), Chris Cannon (R-Utah), Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.), and Ronnie Shows (D-Miss.).
"Gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose," said Matt Daniels, Alliance for Marriage executive director. "But they don't have a right to redefine marriage for our entire society." Daniels said Alliance for Marriage created the Federal Marriage Amendment because "our nation cannot go forward unless our laws send a positive message to our children about marriage, family, and their future."
Gay activists in Washington questioned the motives behind the proposal, the second time in so many years that such an amendment has been floated. "This measure should not be taken seriously by members of Congress of either party," said Rich Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, a gay political group. "It is unlikely to advance in this or any Congress, nor should it be allowed to advance. It is merely a fund-raising ploy by people on the extreme end of the political spectrum at the expense of more serious and important issues facing our nation."
National gay rights advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign also condemned the proposal, saying it would deprive gay families of fundamental protections such as hospital visitation rights, inheritance rights, and health care benefits. "The U.S. Constitution is a revered document and should not be used for cynical election-year posturing," said HRC executive director Elizabeth Birch. "This amendment is designed to create a divisive antigay wedge issue. At a time when not a single gay couple can marry in any state of this nation and as our country faces much larger challenges, this is hardly the kind of sideshow anyone needs. In the America ultimately envisioned by the U.S. Constitution, no family should be left behind."
To become law, the amendment would have to win two-thirds majorities of both houses of Congress and then be ratified by three fourths of all state legislatures.

Ohio "gay flirting" law ruled unconstitutional

The Ohio supreme court ruled Wednesday that the state's importuning law, which criminalizes expressions of sexual interest between people of the same sex, is unconstitutional.
Under the Ohio statute, it was a first-degree misdemeanor for someone to make a sexual advance toward a person of the same sex, should that advance be found offensive. The penalty could include up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The law covered advances that involve nothing more than words, but only if the words are directed at somebody of the same sex. In a unanimous decision, Ohio's highest court ruled that the law violates the equal protection clauses of the United States and Ohio constitutions.
"This is a stark rejection of antigay discrimination in criminal laws," said attorney Heather C. Sawyer of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund's Midwest regional office, who authored a friend of the court brief arguing that the law violated guarantees of equal protection and free speech and needed to be taken off the books. "We don't throw men in jail for making passes at women, and there can be no double standard for gay people doing the same thing."

Alabama sex law challenged

Attorneys on behalf of two lesbians and two gay men on Monday filed a complaint in Montgomery, Ala., federal district court challenging the constitutionality of the state's deviate sexual practices law, which criminalizes gay sex.
The four plaintiffs are remaining anonymous to protect their privacy. The complaint, authored by attorneys James Garland and David Gespass, charges that Alabama's deviate sexual practices law violates the plaintiffs' rights of free expression and association and the equal protection guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as liberties protected by the Alabama constitution.
Since the 1970s, Alabama law has legalized all penile-vaginal sex, even between unmarried people, and has legalized oral and anal sex between any two people who are married to each other, according to Garland. The current law prohibiting "deviate sexual practices" criminalizes any oral or anal sex between unmarried persons, even if that sex is consensual.
Gespass told The Advocate that he had discussed challenging the law with his clients for years but that it was the recent remarks by Alabama chief justice Roy Moore, who called homosexuality "an inherent evil" in a March court ruling denying a lesbian mother custody of her children, that finally spurred them to action. "[Moore's] remarks were completely inappropriate," said Gespass. "It kind of pushed us over the edge."

Gay-bashing N.J. students punished

One student has been expelled and three others suspended for their roles in the brutal beating of a fellow student at a New Jersey high school last month.
Scott Lipich, 17, suffered a fractured nose and a chipped tooth when he was beaten on April 30 at Hillsborough High School. Authorities believe the attack was linked to a long-running feud over the victim's sexual orientation.
The fight started when Lipich and the 16-year-old student who was expelled began arguing and Lipich tossed pudding at him. Authorities say the student pushed Lipich onto a cafeteria table and started pummeling him, with four other students joining in, until three teachers were able to step in and stop the fight.
The Somerset County prosecutors office has filed simple assault and bias charges against the student who was expelled. The other three students who were suspended will face simple assault charges.

Cincinnati Presbyterians vote on gay clergy issue

The Presbyterian Church's governing body in Cincinnati has been asked to decide whether a congregation should be told to leave the denomination unless it stops ordaining gay and lesbian lay ministers.
Members of the Cincinnati Presbytery were to vote on the issue at a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday evening. Madeira-Silverwood Presbyterian Church filed the request asking that Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church be told to follow church law or leave the denomination. Mount Auburn began ordaining gays and lesbians as lay leaders in 1991. The Cincinnati-based congregation has been a consistent supporter of permitting gays to occupy leadership positions within the church.

Canadian sues government for same-sex partner pension benefits

A provincial civil servant is suing the Alberta government to ensure that his same-sex partner of 22 years will be able to collect pension benefits when he dies, according to the Calgary Herald. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Robert Lawrence contends that provincial laws violate the Charter of Rights because they treat same-sex couples differently than opposite-sex couples.
The case could affect a portion of the 18,000 nonmanagement provincial employees covered by the Public Service Pension Plan--everyone from secretaries to correctional officers to department economists. "It is profoundly hurtful and demeaning to have my relationship rendered meaningless under the law," Lawrence said in a court affidavit. "It is also very unfair that I am required to pay the same contributions to my pension as any person involved in a heterosexual relationship but am not entitled to receive the same benefits."

Russian lawmaker wants lesbianism outlawed

A Russian lawmaker on Tuesday proposed introducing a ban on lesbianism--weeks after another official called for reinstating the Soviet-era ban on male homosexuality. Alexei Mitrofanov, a nationalist member of the lower house of parliament, told reporters that he and other lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make lesbian relations a criminal offense.
Mitrofanov said the measure would help solve the problem of Russia's rapidly declining population. "If a woman doesn't observe moral, ethical norms, then there were will be no growth in the birth rate," he said.
In April, Gennady Raikov, the leader of a pro-Kremlin parliamentary faction, said he and other legislators had drafted a bill that would reinstate criminal punishment for homosexuality. According to media reports, that bill calls for prison sentences of up to five years for men who engage in gay sex.

CBS axes The Education of Max Bickford

The Los Angeles Times reports that CBS has canceled The Education of Max Bickford. The drama series, which starred Richard Dreyfuss, featured a lesbian subplot as well as regular appearances by Helen Shaver as the title character's transgendered best friend. Max Bickford started in strong ratings in the Sunday night post-60 Minutes slot, but the numbers soon dropped substantially, a situation not helped when the show's creators left the show a few weeks into the run over differences regarding its creative direction.

Rosie O'Donnell admits her partner's pregnant

Rosie O'Donnell made her first public acknowledgement that her partner, Kelli Carpenter, is expecting a child. The New York Daily News's Rush & Molloy note that on her talk show Tuesday, O'Donnell quipped, "There's a pregnant woman in my house, and it's not me." The columnists also mention that O'Donnell's final episode on May 22 will be a Broadway extravaganza featuring appearances by Liza Minnelli and Nathan Lane as well as live performances in Times Square by the casts of various current musicals.

Slain Gay's Party Makes Stunning Gains

by Jon ben Asher Newscenter
(May 16, Amsterdam) The party of gay populist Pim Fortuyn was swept into second place in Dutch elections Wednesday.
Fortuyn was assassinated as he left a radio station after an interview on May 6. Police have arrested a 32-year-old animal rights activist whose motive remains unclear.
Anti Muslim, Fortuyn blamed immigrants for rising crime rates in The Netherlands.
In one of his last interviews he told a reporter one of the reasons he opposed Islamic immigration was the religion's opposition to gays and lesbians.
Fortuyn's three-month-old party of political novices won 26 seats, according to the preliminary results.
The Christian Democrats won the largest number of seats, trouncing Prime Minister Wim Kok's three-way coalition.
The final numbers will be released May 21 when the overseas ballots are counted but political observers in the Dutch capital said it appeared Fortuyn's party had won a place in a new coalition government.

Sweden Moves To Outlaw Anti-Gay Hate Speech

by Newscenter Staff
(May 16, Stockholm) The Swedish parliament has passed legislation that would change the constitution to protect gays and lesbians from hate speech.
For the constitutional amendment to take effect, it will need to be passed a second time. The government said it hopes to have the amendment in place next year.
Freedom of speech is protected in Sweden except in cases involving hate speech against groups of people because of their race, skin colour, national or ethnic origin or religious faith is banned.
The bill adds sexual orientation to that list.
Violations are punishable by up to two years in prison.
Opponents of the Constitutional amendment say it could be used against religious leaders, especially Muslims reading passages condemning homosexuality from religious texts like the Quran.

Gays Make Advances In Network Visibility Study Says

by Newscenter Staff
(May 16, Los Angeles) A study by the advocacy group Children Now says gays and lesbians have gained increased visibility on network TV. But, the study found most roles go to whites, and most are in situation comedies.
The group said the the networks have done little to increase ethnic diversity in programming, especially in shows aimed at young viewers.
"Fall Colours 2001-02," the group's third annual study of prime-time programming, examined the first two episodes of each evening series airing last fall on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, UPN and WB.
The report said that shows in the 8 p.m. hour were the most segregated on prime-time TV. It said that the hour is the time period when most young viewers do most of their prime-time viewing.
A majority of young white characters are shown interacting with their parents, compared to a fourth of Hispanic youths.
Black families are almost exclusively shown as the focus of comedies, and black households headed by professionals are portrayed as more affluent than white ones, the study found.
Minorities are much more likely than whites to be portrayed as service workers, unskilled labourers and criminals.
In 1999 the major networks pledged to include more minorities in prime-time series. Children Now said the promise has largely gone unfulfilled.

Bulging Underpants Billboard Stops Traffic

by Peter Moore Newscenter
(May 16, London) A 60 foot poster of a hot model with a bulging crotch that caused numerous fender benders had been cleared of being "demeaning to men".
The ad, for Calvin Klein underwear features Australian model Travis Fimmel. When it first went up in London's Oxford Street, the 60 foot poster stopped traffic.
Gays came to stare longingly. Women drooled. And, a citizens group complained to the Advertising Standards Authority.
The complaint said the ad was indecent, sexually suggestive and demeaning to men.
Klein removed the ad while the industry watchdog ASA investigated but the clothing maker maintained it's billboard was art.
The Ad Authority agreed. It ruled the picture was relevant to the product and "was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence."
This week, the giant billboard is going up again.
Similar ads are up in New York and Los Angeles.
As for Fimmel, he thinks the ad flap is silly. When his agency asked him to go to the Calvin Klein casting, he told them: "No way mate, I'm not wearing jocks."
Only a year ago he was reportedly shy about taking off his shirt for a camera shoot. When he was starting out modelling in Australia he was often late for castings because he would have to milk cows at his father's dairy farm.

Gay Tourists Target In New Orleans, Say Locals

for UK
16 May 2002
Crime continues to rise in the French Quarter of New Orleans, with locals claiming many of the victims are gay.
Locals say they are losing business because of crime, but it is not the fault of the Police Department as many victims do not report attacks. They claim criminals are taking advantage of the situation be targeting gays, who would rather cut short their holiday than report the crime.
Locals maintain crime figures are much higher than those quoted by police when you factor in the victims who don't report crimes because they fear being "outed" or ridiculed by police.
"It seems more blatant when they come right here where the tourists are, and they target them because they're easy prey," Andre West-Harrison, who owns a B & B told the New Orelans Channel.
"If they are preying on gay people, maybe they can beef up the police presence in the gay areas," he added.

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