Backlash Vanquished in Massachusetts

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 344 | November 4 – November11, 2004

NEWS

News Briefs

Republican Department of Dirty Tricks

In Michigan, supporters of Pres. George W. Bush made recorded phone calls to voters this past weekend pretending to be Kerry supporters. “When you vote this Tuesday,” the message said, “remember to legalize gay marriage by supporting John Kerry.” The call also called same-sex marriage “a basic Democratic principle. Without John Kerry, George Bush will stop gay marriage.”

In Florida, New York attorney Darren Rosenblum, who is there to make sure people get to exercise their right to vote, has observed Kerry opponents holding up signs by roadsides saying, “Support Gay Adoption” and “Abortion: Our Choice, Our Right” on poles with Kerry-Edwards signs.

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Time to Stock Up on Crest

The right-wing American Family Association and Focus on the Family are so angry with the Proctor & Gamble Co. for supporting a ballot measure in Cincinnati to repeal the ban on gay rights laws there that they have called for a nationwide boycott of Crest toothpaste, Tide detergent, and Pampers, three of its products. The company says that their position in favor of diversity and against discrimination is being misrepresented as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.

A spokesperson for P&G said that they will not withdraw their support for the ballot initiative. The conservative groups are talking about extending the boycott beyond the election.

On Election Day, Cincinnati voters passed the repeal measure by a 54-46 margin.

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Brave Gay Protest in North Dakota

Even though passage of a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage was a foregone conclusion in North Dakota, students at UND, the state university there, didn’t let it pass without a protest. At least 60 students walked out of classes at midday Monday to attend a rally against the amendment. Jessica Buri, a sophomore from Bismarck, walked out and told the Grand Forks Herald, “Even if people would have looked at me funny, I wouldn’t have cared anyway.”

The mayor of Grand Forks, Mike Brown, joined the rally. Demonstrations were also held at North Dakota State University in Fargo and Concordia College in Moorehead.

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Troops Support Gay Soldiers

A new Annenberg poll of U.S. military personnel found that support for letting gays and lesbians serve openly in the military is now up to 50 percent. A similar survey taken in 1992 found that 16 percent of male soldiers and sailors were supportive of their gay comrades in arms. In the general U.S. population, 67 percent support lifting the ban on gays in the military.

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N.J. Marriage Appeal Scheduled

Arguments in the New Jersey lawsuit seeking the right of gay couples to marry will be heard by the Appellate Division in Trenton on December 7 at 11 a.m. The appeal has been brought by Lambda Legal Defense. The state’s high court recently rejected an appeal by Lambda to go directly to them to settle the case.

The state’s gay governor, James McGreevey, who is leaving office on November 15, has yet to come out in favor of the right of same-sex couples to marry, though he did sign a limited domestic partners law earlier this year.

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Gay Men: Watch Out for LGV

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has issued a warning for physicians and clinics to be on the lookout for an outbreak of Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) among gay and bisexual men. The sexually transmitted infection, caused by strains of chlamydia, is rare but has recently been spreading among gay men in Europe. It is marked by “genital ulcers, swollen lymph glands, and flu-like symptoms,” Reuters said. Dutch victims of the disease have reported gastrointestinal bleeding, inflammation of the rectum, and colon problems. It can be treated with antibiotics, but is “easily misdiagnosed.” It is not yet classified as an officially reportable infection in the U.S.

Men who have sex with men are being urged to bring LGV to the attention of their doctors if they experience burning during urination or discomfort from a bowel movement or swelling from the groin, Dr. Ken Haller, former president of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association told Planet Out.

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Book on Lincoln’s Homosexuality Called “Blockbuster”

Doug Ireland of L.A. Weekly broke the embargo on the late C.A. Tripp’s “Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln” in time for the election, calling it a “stunning rebuke to the Republican Party’s scapegoating of same-sex love” and a “blockbuster that will change America’s history.” Tripp, a noted sexologist, died in May 2003 and release of the book has been delayed due to wrangling over his estate.

In addition to Lincoln’s well-known devotion to Joshua Speed, with whom he shared a bed for four years in Springfield, Illinois, the book includes evidence of Lincoln’s homosexuality in adolescence and as president. His stepmother once said that he “never took much interest in girls” and Tripp includes what Ireland calls “a gay marriage poem” written as a teen.

As president, Lincoln seduced David Derickson, the captain of his bodyguard company, and shared a bed with him at the summer White House, an affair that was “common gossip in Washington’s high society,” according to Tripp’s book.

Tripp, a former colleague of Alfred Kinsey, wrote that on the Kinsey Scale of 0-6 for sexual orientation, Lincoln was a “5” or almost entirely gay.

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British PM’s Wife Attacks Bush on Gay Rights

Cherie Booth, the wife of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, condemned Pres. George W. Bush for his human rights violations at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and for his support for sodomy laws. At a speech at Harvard University promoting her new book, Booth praised the U.S. Supreme Court decision throwing out the Texas sodomy law, which Bush supported, “a model of judicial reasoning.”

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Anti-Gay Murder in London

A multi-cultural gang of six teenagers assaulted and killed a gay man on the South Bank of the Thames River in London right outside Festival Hall Saturday around 3:30 a.m. in what police say was an anti-gay attack, though anti-gay slurs were not used.

David Morley, 37, had been sitting and chatting with an unidentified male friend, 29, for hours when two white boys, two white girls, and two black boys set upon them, kicking them repeatedly. Morley was struck 40 times, the Guardian reported, and died from fractured ribs and a ruptured spleen. The gang then attacked a group of men and one woman, some of whom were French, the newspaper said. Two men aged 29 and 25 were attacked nearby by the same gang prior to the murder.

The site of the attack is just across the Hungerford Bridge from Heaven, a gay nightclub under Charing Cross Station, and other West End gay clubs and pubs.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone said in a statement, “London’s lesbian and gay community and visitors to the city must be totally free of fear of hate crime. The Metropolitan Police will have my full support in bringing the thugs who murdered Mr. Morley to justice.”

Morley, a London resident for 16 years, was working as the manager of the Admiral Duncan pub on Old Compton Street in Soho in April 1999 when a nail bomb planted by David Copeland, who hated gays, blacks, and Asians, exploded killing three and injuring seventy. Morley went back to work in the bar, despite suffering burns from the blast. This past December, he took a job as an assistant manager at Bromptons in the Earls Court neighborhood in part, his friends told the newspaper, to get away from the Duncan and the trauma he experienced there.

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Deadly Sexism

An Egyptian man distraught at having seven daughters and no sons, stabbed four of the girls to death in their sleep Monday and wounded the others. Abdel Nasser Ibrahim, 47, who works as a prayer caller at a mosque in the town of Pima, 214 miles south of Cairo, was arrested and told police that he had gone temporarily insane out of fear that his daughters would become promiscuous when they grew up. None of the girls was allowed to attend school, neighbors said.

The dead children were Samar, age 15; Isra, 10; Fatima, 8; and Zeinab, 7. The man’s wife of 18 years had left before the killing after an argument over her “failure” to bear a male child.

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Virginia School Supervisor Blocks Anti-Bullying Policy

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who vetoed the city’s Dignity for All Schools Act, was overridden by the City Council, and now is stalling on implementing the law, isn’t the only official who thinks anti-bullying policies for schools are “silly.” Eugene Delgaudio, the school supervisor of Loudon County, Virginia wants the category of “sexual orientation” removed from his district’s policy, calling the anti-bullying program a “politically correct” tool of “special interest lobbies” and a waste of time and money. Riki Wilchins, director of GenderPAC, said that the Republican official showed “a complete ignorance about the severity of school bullying.” Wilchins said, “Anti-gay epithets aren’t just about sexual orientation, but about enforcing schoolyard codes of masculinity through public humiliation and intimidation.”

GenderPAC reported that a recent survey by Michael Kimmel, a “masculinities expert,” found that more than 90 percent of recent school shooting involved “boys who were mercilessly taunted, picked on and threatened with anti-gay epithets—because they were gay, but because they were seen as artistic, quiet, shy, or simply different.”

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Lawsuit Over Gay Student Harassment in L.A. and Missouri

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the Los Angeles schools for failing to protect gay and lesbian students and for turning a blind eye to anti-gay harassment. One 17-year-old male said security officers attacked him for kissing another boy. Others said they were treated like “criminals” by school staff. The school district considers itself a national leader in dealing with gay issues in schools, having established Project 10 in 1985 to reach out to gay students and train staff on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth concerns.

The ACLU is also defending Brad Mathewson, a high school junior, who was sent home twice from Webb City High School in Missouri for wearing a T-shirt with gay pride messages on it. “The principal cited concerns that other students may be offended,” the ACLU said in a release.

Bumper stickers in favor of the recently passed state amendment against same-sex marriage were “ubiquitous” in the school’s hallways and parking lot. “I understand they have a right to express what they think,” said Mathewson, “but I have a right to do the same thing.” One of his T-shirts read, “I’m gay and I’m proud.”

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Arafat and AIDS

Speculation has arisen that Yasser Arafat, the ailing Palestinian president, has AIDS. 365Gay.com reported that with cancer ruled out, “the list of possible diseases is narrowing” and that his “low blood platelet count is a sign of a weakened immune system.” The Web outlet says that the Paris hospital to which Arafat was just taken “has some of France’s best HIV/AIDS doctors” and that rumors of his being “bisexual” have been around for several years.

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Gay Goya

A new book on Spanish artist Francisco de Goya says that he had “’a homoerotic relationship with his friend Martin Zapater’ whom he painted twice,” the UK Independent reported. In a letter to Zapater festooned with sketches of male and female genitalia, Goya wrote, “My Martin, I am desperate to go with you because I like you so much, and we suit each other so well, and it’s impossible to find anyone comparable, and I imagine what and I imagine what my life would be like if we could be together and hunt and drink chocolate and spend the 23 reales I have in your company … it would be the greatest happiness in the world.”

Goya often signed his letters to Zapater, “He who loves you more than you think.” The two met at school before Goya married and fathered 20 children, only one of whom survived, and his infatuation and affair with the Duchess of Alba.

The book is by Spanish art historian Natacha Seseña.

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Breakthrough in Columbia, Setback in Honduras

While the U.S. Permanent Partners Immigration Act languishes in Congress, the Constitutional Court in Columbia has ruled that foreign partners in same-sex couples have the right to permanent residence. The case was brought by a bi-national gay couple from the island of San Andres where the governor denied the permit. The high court said, according to Caracol, “that gay couples had the right to due process and the right to freely develop one’s personality since ‘the [island’s governorship’s] administrative decision created an obstacle to the intent of maintaining a stable relationship as a gay couple.”

In Honduras, the Congress has banned same-sex marriage and adoption by gay people in a constitutional amendment that was approved unanimously. It must be ratified again in 2005 to become part of the constitution.

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Love Exiles

American Martha McDevitt-Pugh married her partner Lin in 2001 in Holland, but cannot bring her to the US. To aid similar couples and work for changes in the law, she has established the Love Exiles Foundation for binational couples with chapters in the Netherlands, Germany, Britain, and Canada, Radio Netherlands reported. Sixteen countries recognize same-sex partners for purposes of immigration.

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Limited Adoption for German Gay Couples

The German Parliament approved legislation to allow gay couples united under law to adopt a child brought into the union by either partner, DPA reported. The new law also allows for formal engagements for same-sex couples and strengthens pension rights.

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