News Briefs

Gay Bishop’s Consecration Scheduled

Canon Gene Robinson will be consecrated as Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire on Sunday, but not if conservatives follow through on their stated threats. The American Anglican Council has promised to disrupt the service at the University of New Hampshire, 365Gay.com reported. The Council met in Dallas earlier this month to organize a split in the American Episcopal Church over Robinson’s elevation.

“Rev.” Fred Phelps of God Hates Fags Ministries of Kansas will also be on hand to protest.

This week Robinson addressed a meeting of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement in Manchester, England, via videoconference. An earlier report that he would meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury prior to his consecration proved to be false.

On ABC-TV’s Sunday morning news show, “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos grilled Robinson demanding to know why the cleric would not forgo his consecration for the good of the church. Robinson stood his ground. Stephanopoulos is the son of the dean of the Greek Orthodox cathedral in New York and the sister of a nun in that church.

“I’m extremely at peace about this decision,” Robinson told the New York Times, insisting he doesn’t “relish” the upset in the church over it. “I believe that out of that pain, the church is going to be a better place.”

Robinson got some encouragement from the Episcopal Diocese of Utah this week where 200 delegates voted to support his consecration. The former bishop there, Otis Charles, came out after he retired, apparently sensitizing the diocese to gay concerns. South Carolina Episcopalians voted 159-141 against a motion to call on Robinson to step down.

——————————————

Davids on the Move

David Mixner, a prominent gay supporter of Bill Clinton in 1992, has taken a post as a co-chair of the presidential campaign of Rep. Dick Gephardt, a Missouri Democrat.

David Smith is leaving his post as director of communications for the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign and taking the same job with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.). Smith, who served at HRC for nine years, was said to have applied to replace outgoing executive director Elizabeth Birch at the gay lobbying group, but decided to move on when he was passed over.

——————————————

Catholic Bishops in Massachusetts Open Door to Gay Benefits

It may just be a political ploy or a stalling tactic, but at a hearing before the Massachusetts House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee, Catholic bishops said that they would “join the discussion” on benefits for same-sex couples but they will continue to oppose same-sex marriage and civil unions, the Boston Globe reported. House Speaker Tom Finneran, who has blocked domestic partnership bills passed by the Senate, said this marked a shift on the issue and he sees a “window of opportunity” to expand benefits for same-sex couples next year.

An upcoming decision from the state’s Supreme Judicial Court on same-sex marriage is long overdue. Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions, but is open to some benefits for gay couples. There is a movement in the state to codify tin the constitution a prohibition on same-sex marriage, but that effort is not expected until 2006.

——————————————

FBI and Anti-Hate Group Differ on Stats

The Federal Bureau of Investigation found that 17% or 1,244 of the 7,462 hate crimes in the U.S. last year were due to actual or perceived sexual orientation, an 11% decrease from 2001. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, however, recorded 1,968 such crimes in the same period in just twelve random regions.

“The deficiencies in the FBI’s survey point to a series of shortcomings with respect to hate crimes tracked by federal, state, and local officials,” said Clarence Patton, NCAVP’s director, noting there is no uniform standard for how state and local law enforcement agencies send such statistics to the FBI.

“Even in locales where there is a mandate to report, such as a hate crimes law,” he said. “Many jurisdictions are out of compliance. For instance, in New York State, only 63 or 12% of agencies submitted data. Though we’d love to believe that there were no hate crimes in 442 of 505 jurisdictions in New York State, experience unfortunately tells a different story.”

Patton offered to work with the FBI in improving tracking of hate crimes.

——————————————

Majority of Adoption Agencies Serve Gay Parents

A new survey by the Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York found that more than half of the nation’s adoption agencies accept gay men and lesbians as candidates for parenthood. Adam Pertman, the agency’s director, told the AP, “We started out near zero, and within the last decade we’re up to 60 percent. The reality on the ground is way outpacing the policy debate.”

While 60 percent of agencies accept applications from gay people, 40 percent have actually placed children with them and 19 percent encourage gays to apply. Jewish and Lutheran agencies were most likely to accommodate gay singles or couples as parents, unlike other church-based agencies. The survey of more than 300 agencies also found that those serving foreign children or children with special needs were more disposed towards placing children with gay parents.

——————————————

Clinton Brokers Deal for Cheaper AIDS Drugs

Bill Clinton, criticized during his presidency for inaction on AIDS, worked out a deal with four drug companies to supply generic, low cost HIV medications in Africa and the Caribbean, the New York Times reported. Clinton’s foundation brokered the deal with Aspen Pharmacare Holdings in South Africa, and Cipla, Ranbaxy Labs, and Matrix Labs of India.

——————————————

Maryland Governor Against Domestic Partner Benefits

Gov. Robert Ehrlich, Republican of Maryland, has pledged to veto Democratic attempts to extend health benefits to the domestic partners of state workers, the Washington Times reported. The Democrats control the House of Delegates and are leaning towards making the benefits available.

——————————————

Gay Man Stands Up to Teen Extortionist

During on online session, a Baltimore gay man, 26, sent nude pictures of himself to a Florida man who represented himself as another gay adult. The Florida recipient then revealed that he was 16 years old and would go to the police unless he was paid thousands of dollars. Instead, the Baltimore man went to the police who set up a sting operation to capture the junior extortionist.

The detective in the case said it was clear that the older man had been misled about the recipient’s true age, so he committed no crime in sending the pictures. The police are checking the teen’s computer to see if he attempted to blackmail other adult men.

——————————————–

Wisconsin Governor May Veto Anti-Gay Marriage Bill

Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, is expected to veto a bill that limits marriage to a man and a woman, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. An aide said that Wisconsin law already defines marriage that way and “this bill is just gratuitous piling on for political reasons.” It passed the Assembly 68-29 this week and is now in the Senate, but 11 Democrats who voted for it are said to be unlikely to override the Democratic governor’s veto.

——————————————

Wilde Trial Transcripts Now Available

An anonymous donor has given the actual transcripts of the three criminal trials of Oscar Wilde to the British Library. Previously, most of what had been known about the trials was from press reports and the transcripts were considered lost. Merlin Holland, Wilde’s grandson, has put together an edited version of the transcripts called “The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde,” put out by Fourth Estate, a publisher.

——————————————

Hitler’s Sexuality

Gabriel Rotello, former publisher of Outweek, is writing and producing a new documentary for HBO, “Hidden Fuhrer: Debating the Enigma of Hitler’s Sexuality.” Liz Smith reported that he is working with Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey on the project and that they are working on a new documentary on the porno industry.

——————————————

Phelps: Long Island “Hazing” Due to Gay Group

Members of Fred Phelps anti-gay Westboro (Kan.) Baptist Church took their road show to Mepham High School in Bellmore, Long Island, claiming that the establishment of a gay-straight alliance at the school three years ago caused the sexual assaults during summer football camp. “If you tell all those kids it’s okay to be gay, that is why you end up with a group of children treating each other this way,” Shirley Phelps-Roper told the New York Post. The Phelps troop was met by dozens of counter-protesters. One of the victims in the hazing, where older boys sodomized younger teammates with golf balls, pinecones and broomsticks, got into a fight with a classmate who was tormenting him with a derogatory name that a detective on the case said, “alluded to what happened to him.” No charges were filed in the dust-up.

——————————————

Reagans’ Homophobia Unveiled

The new CBS movie about Ronald and Nancy Reagan pulls no punches on the former president’s criminal neglect of the AIDS crisis that began with his presidency in 1981 and went unaddressed until 1987. “The Reagans” has the former president talking about AIDS as “biblical revenge” on gay people. It was previously reported that Reagan made AIDS “jokes” at cabinet meetings.

The script also includes an exchange between Nancy and her ultra-right stepfather who says, “I don’t know what you see in Hollywood. As far as I can tell, it’s nothing but Communists and drug addicts.” Nancy replies, “It didn’t used to be this bad, did it, Mother?” Edith, her stepmother, says, “Hell no. When I was there it was wall-to-wall Jews and queers.”

——————————————

Jed Mattes Memorial Monday

The celebration of the life and career of gay literary agent and AIDS activist Jed Mattes will take place on Monday, November 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of Cooper Union, 7th Street and Third Avenue. Mattes was chairman of the board at the Hetrick-Martin Institute and active in the AIDS movement since the onset of the crisis.

Andy Humm is co-host, with Ann Northrop, of “Gay USA” on MNN-TV. It is seen Thursdays at 11 PM on Time-Warner 34 and RCN 109 in Manhattan, as well as on Free Speech TV for those who have DirecTV. It is simulcast at www.mnn.org.

We also publish:

More from Around NYC