VOLUME 3, ISSUE 344 | October 28 – November 3, 2004
Jesse Helms’ Granddaughter Outed
Former U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, a leading anti-gay crusader of his generation, is campaigning on behalf of his closeted lesbian granddaughter, Jennifer Helms Knox, who is the Republican nominee for a district judgeship in Raleigh, North Carolina, according to a report released Thursday on BlogActive.com and RawStory.com. BlogActive is the Web site run by longtime activist Mike Rogers, who lives in Washington D.C., that has in recent months broken several major stories about closeted gay politicians who have taken anti-positions in their public lives. Veteran Virginia Congressman Edward Schrock, Republican, bowed out of his race for re-election less than two weeks after Rogers reported his homosexuality. Schrock never acknowledged the truth of Rogers’ report but said, “After much thought and prayer, I have come to the realization that these allegations will not allow my campaign to focus on the real issues facing our nation and region.”
Earlier this year, state party chairman Ferrell Blount returned money to the Log Cabin Republicans for a table at the party’s convention with a letter saying “homosexuality is not normal and should not be established as an acceptable ‘alternative lifestyle.’”
When the number listed for the Knox campaign is called, the message says, “Hi, this is Jen and Shields,” presumably their home number.
Asked why he is going after such a low-level candidate, albeit one with a prominent right-wing pedigree, Rogers said, “This is where it all begins. No one starts off as a senator or congressman. What is important to realize is that Ms. Knox is a solid candidate for reporting even if she was not Mr. Helms’ granddaughter. She is running on the GOP ticket, with one of the most homophobic platforms in the nation. Her professional work for Mr. Helms and former Senator Lauch Faircloth qualify her case without question.”
McGreevey’s Parting Shot
Maybe governors should come out and resign more often. New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, who leaves office on November 15, just issued an executive order setting up three needle exchange programs to stem the spread of HIV, citing a “public health emergency,” the Newark Star-Ledger reported. There was no word on whether the incoming acting governor, Senate President Richard Codey, will let the order stand.
McGreevey’s second and current wife, Dina, found her own house to live in this week in Springfield Township, though the couple has yet to separate formally. The governor is said to be considering a pad in Hoboken.
Meanwhile, New York Post columnist Cindy Adams wrote this week that Golan Cipel, the alleged lover of McGreevey whose appointment to an advisory post contributed to the governor’s downfall, “fled to his home in Israel where there’s family, friends, an old boyfriend and a safe haven in his sexual life.” Cipel has denied being gay.
The FBI is still investigating whether Cipel tried to extort McGreevey.
Out in Idaho
Boise may send the first out lesbian or gay person to the state legislature on Tuesday. Nicole LeFavour, 40, a lobbyist and writing teacher, is the favored candidate from the 19th District in Boise. She is running for a seat in the House, which passed a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage this year. The more moderate Senate blocked the bill, the Associated Press reported. LeFavour’s $65,000 campaign war chest is considered huge by Idaho standards.
Gay Youth Up in Smoke
A new survey on adolescent health in the U.S. found that students in grades 7-12 who say that they have same-sex attractions are 40 to 60 percent more likely to smoke than their non-gay peers, a difference that is also evident in surveys of adults. Dr. Kenneth Haller, president of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, told Gay.com, he “hopes the conclusions will help catalyze the community.”
Syphilis and Oral Sex Linked in Chicago
One in five cases of syphilis among gay men in Chicago was transmitted through oral sex, that city’s Department of Public Health found, versus one in sixteen being transmitted that way among heterosexuals. Chicago has the highest incidence of syphilis in the nation, AIDSmap reported, with 1,582 cases reported between 1998 and 2002. Twenty percent of the gay men infected said they had no other risk factor than oral sex.
New STD Scare in London
An outbreak of shigellosis has been identified among 14 gay men in London by the Health Protection Agency, reportedly the third outbreak of “unusual sexually transmitted infection in gay men in as many weeks,” AIDSmap News said. Shigellosis “is highly infectious, can cause severe, prolonged and bloody diarrhea, and can be more serious in HIV-positive people.” The earlier outbreaks were of hepatitis A in London and lymphogranuloma venerum, a rare form of chlamydia, throughout Europe, the report said.
European Union Stalls Anti-Gay Appointment
The new president of the European Union’s Parliament, Jose Manuel Barroso, has stepped back from his appointment of Rocco Buttiglione, his Italian countryman, as head of the Union’s Justice Commission. Buttiglione was bitterly opposed for his anti-gay views and close ties to the Vatican. The move means the appointment of all the new members of the Commission will be delayed and the current commissioners will continue serving until an agreement on new members can be reached.
British Partner Bill Includes Pension Rights
The Civil Partnership Bill working its way through the British Parliament has been amended to include the right to give survivor pensions to one’s partner just as spouses do. It will apply to all pension benefits accrued since 1988. Passage of the final bill by a November 18 deadline is not assured due to wrangling over other amendments between the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
AIDS an International Security Problem
Former CIA Director George Tenet said in a Michigan speech last week, “In 2010, one hundred million people outside of Africa will be infected with HIV. The secondary implications of this are staggering.” The Herald-Palladium reported, “Tenet said a developing nation’s low per capita income, high unemployment among young men, and high infant mortality strongly increase its likelihood of becoming a ‘terrorist safe haven.’”
More on Anglican Split
Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, one of the loudest protesters against the U.S. Episcopal Church’s consecration of out gay Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, is unhappy with the Anglican Communion’s report on how to keep together despite differences over homosexuality. “The Western world is embroiled in a new religion which we cannot associate ourselves with,” he told the Scotsman. “We have to find a way of developing our own theology.”
Akinola said he no longer wants to send his people to Virginia to train to become ministers, because the seminary accommodates same-sex unions.
Tough Choice for Gay Couples in Nova Scotia
Under court order, Nova Scotia became the latest Canadian province to allow same-sex couples to marry. But officials there are insisting that they be pronounced “man and wife,” because that is the language in the statute. Norman Carter and Gerald Veldhoven, together for 30 years, became the first gay couple to marry there on October 18, but found the pronouncement “disconcerting and a little bit odd.” Some other gay couples won’t go forward with their nuptials until the language is corrected.
“It’s an insult to put a gender on our relationship,” Ron Garnett-Doucette told Canadian Press. “I’m hoping it’s an oversight.”
Bishop Willie Walsh, a Roman Catholic from Killaloe, Ireland, told Clare FM, “I have no difficulty in relation to recognizing the civil liberties of people of a homosexual orientation.” He said that partner rights of gay couples should be respected and acknowledged that his church “may have promoted homophobia,” the story said. He balked at supporting marriage for same-sex couples, but has said enough to get him into hot holy water with the Vatican, which has been on a crusade against any form of partner recognition for gay people.