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News: Clay Aiken, Cleveland, T.R. Knight, Manila, Pink Christmas

road.jpg T.R. Knight to be discharged from Grey's Anatomy? Love life still going strong.

Reedkellyroad.jpg Clay Aiken has a new man, and he's bendable.

road.jpg Newsweek Poll: Support grows for same-sex marriage. "Americans continue to find civil unions for gays and lesbians more palatable than full-fledged marriage. Fifty-five percent of respondents favored legally sanctioned unions or partnerships, while only 39 percent supported marriage rights. Both figures are notably higher than in 2004, when 40 percent backed the former and 33 percent approved of the latter. When it comes to according legal rights in specific areas to gays, the public is even more supportive." Poll PDF HERE.

road.jpg Cleveland, Ohio votes 13-7 to create domestic partnership registry: "But several council members reported intense pressure from local pastors, who oppose domestic partner benefits on religious grounds. At one point Monday afternoon, a rattled Kevin Conwell, a co-sponsor of the legislation, seemed ready to change his position. 'I had more than 70 calls over the weekend,' Conwell said."

road.jpg Supreme Court declines to hear Miller case: "The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a ruling that Virginia must enforce a Vermont court order awarding child-visitation rights to a mother's former lesbian partner."

road.jpg Lesbian and "ex-gay" former partner locked in custody battle for their daughter Isabella.

road.jpg Gay Idaho man who shot and killed his partner has charges reduced from murder to involuntary manslaughter.

Marcus_charlieroad.jpg Survivor's Charlie Herschel on the crush he said producers built between him and fellow contestant Marcus: "Literally, every interview I had with a producer—every interview, even ones when he was gone, they would ask me, ‘Do you have a crush on Marcus?’ And in every interview, I would say, ‘I do not have a crush on Marcus.’ … I’m used to building a wall in my mind between me and people I cannot date; Marcus is a straight man, and it never even crossed my mind. I just don’t go there when it’s not a possibility."

road.jpg Newsweek draws fire for article about Bible's pro-gay marriage stance.

road.jpg Is Bush pushing through an eleventh-hour rule that would allow pharmacists to discriminate against gays?

road.jpg Oprah mad at herself.

Cogmanroad.jpg Boo-Hoo: Christian policeman who was sacked for his homophobia says the firing has 'devastated' his family. "In the service in general there is a feeling of fear. There is a definite bias against faith – any faith – if it takes a critical view of homosexual sex. The easy option for me would have been to keep quiet but when there is such prejudice towards one point of view, how can that be right? That doesn’t sound like equality and diversity to me. I don’t have any worries with what people do in their private lives – if they are gay, that’s fine. I haven’t gone after anyone maliciously.' Mr Cogman, backed by the Police Federation, is appealing against his sacking and is planning to take his force to an employment tribunal next year, funded by the Christian Legal Centre."

road.jpg Guardian: UK defended right of Austria to discriminate against gays when it comes to partnership rights and unions.

road.jpg Gay pop star Will Young says coming out lead to his smoking habit.

road.jpg Joseph Kerekes pleads guilty in stabbing death of northeastern Pennsylvania porn producer Brian Kocis.

road.jpg Gay group in Amsterdam planning 'Pink Christmas'. To feature manger with two Marys and two Josephs.

road.jpg Remembering Randy Shilts.

road.jpg Manila gay pride celebrations hit by first-ever anti-gay protests: "The local church community would never engage in this manner," said a local LGBT activist Ferdinand Buenviaje, alluding to the fact that despite its strength and influence the Church never resorted to such tactics here in the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines. The presence of foreigners leading the anti-gay group highlights how more aggressive forms of resistance to the gay movement are being spurred by outside influences, namely American-style fundamentalism. A cross-fire ensued when members from the local branch of the progressive and gay-affirmative Metropolitan Community Church, marching under banners emblazoned with the apt retort 'Would Jesus discriminate?', took their fundamentalist opposition to task."

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Comments

  1. While I admire Randy Shilts very much, the linked-to moving salute begins with the unfortunate myth, wrongly popularized by the current film in which it is stated twice, that Harvey Milk was the first out gay elected to public office. Even major news dailies, such as the LA Times and the SF Chronicle have already had to print retractions after repeating it.

    Repeat: for the record, Kathy Kozachenko was the first out person elected to public office in the US when she was elected to the Ann Arbor City Council in 1973 or early '74.

    Elaine Noble was the second when she was elected to the Massachusetts state legislature in Nov. of '74. Allan Spear was the third when he was reelected to the Minnesota state legislature in 1976 after having come out shortly after his initial election in '74.

    Thus Harvey was the fourth. The first in California; the first in a "major city"; the first male non-incumbent but not the first first.

    This takes nothing away from his many accomplishments but I'm confidant he would not want credit for something he didn't do.

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Dec 9, 2008 5:19:59 PM


  2. Indigenous Philippine culture has always accepted the fluidity of gender. It was only with the introduction of Catholicism that non-'normative' gender identities were demonized. In the 1500's the Jesuit pre-expeditionary missionaries were astounded to encounter cross-gender local priests called bayoguin. These were male and female priests who assumed a pan-sexual identity that was regarded as divine. Even the supreme god of the Tagalogs, Bathala, was hermaphoditic.

    This American-style religous fundamentalism is foreign and imported and truly un-Filipino.

    Posted by: Bading | Dec 9, 2008 5:49:39 PM


  3. I'm trying to understand what this police officer did that was wrong. I just don't see it. I vehemently disagree with everything that he believes, but if he has truly was only responding to initiatives and other emails, I think he right to an opinion should be protected. People don't get fired for technical misuse of internet communication servers. While I also believe his statement that he was "bombarded" with emails is probably dramatic, I can't help but wonder if he were a gay officer and the department allowed for the internal email system to be used to promote Christian Tolerance, it could feel oppressive and if that gay officer in response "replied" all and said that not everyone is a Christian or holds such beliefs - that gay officer should not be fired either. It does seem very reversed the logic behind this. He wasn't advocating ANYTHING beyond his beliefs. We can't monitor believes - it seems fair game that if PARTY ONE is allowed access that PARTY TWO should be allowed equal. I'm always weary of the party that tries to curb dissent.

    Posted by: PERSPECTIVE | Dec 9, 2008 6:44:27 PM


  4. I wonder how long it will be until the OH Supreme Court strikes down Cleveland's DP registry because of the state's broadly worded marriage exclusion amendment.

    Posted by: MAJeff | Dec 9, 2008 7:10:31 PM


  5. Andy -- it is happening again --

    I got an ad from the Austrian tourist board in the banner -- while looking at this item that says UK supported Austria in a less than civil union situation...

    How does this happen?

    Admittedly I am sensitive to this -- but wouldn't anybody notice?

    Posted by: David B. | Dec 9, 2008 7:27:17 PM


  6. Your argument regarding so-called "freedom of speech" only makes sense if you assume every legal system in the world is designed to mimic the American one. I assure you that isn't the case. And I must say, it is extremely egocentric and arrogant of Americans to presume that it should be so.

    In the United Kingdom, you don't have an absolute legal right to an opinion. In fact, the phrase "freedom of expression" was only incorporated into British law with the passage of the Human Rights Act in 1998. And the scope of this legislation is fairly limited (as it cannot explicitly overrule any other Act of Parliament). The freedom of expression granted by the HRA is, therefore, understood to flow from the Queen's majesty rather than any inherent and inalienable "right" given by some divine power. You're allowed to express yourself only because the Sovereign and Parliament has deemed it appropriate to grant you that privilege.

    As such, permission is revocable by other legislation. For instance, speech that "glorifies terrorism and religious extremism" is illegal under the Religious and Racial Hatred Act (2006). The Sexual Orientation Regulation Act (2007) bans "hatred and invective directed at persons on the basis of their sexuality." Britain also has the most restrictive libel and defamation laws in the West. If a suspicious claim is deemed "factually untrue" by a judge, the defendant has the burden of proof rather than the plantiff. That means the defendant has to prove he/she didn't act maliciously (rather than the other way around).

    Just because American fundamentalists seem to have a "right" to spew their lies and hate in their own country, doesn't mean it has to be tolerated everywhere else.

    Posted by: John | Dec 10, 2008 12:17:11 AM


  7. thank you, JOHN. we 'mercuns tend to be rubes. we idealize truths that are self-evident while denying rights to those who most need them. we allow all kinds of hate-filled propaganda from religious groups and grant them tax free status, while marginalizing the voices of the truly downtrodden. it is always good to hear another perspective.

    Posted by: nic | Dec 10, 2008 2:51:11 AM


  8. David B, Andy has a ton of Javascript running on this site loaded from ad vendors. That code is most likely scanning the text loaded looking for words to fire ads. Welcome to trying to make money on the Internet.

    Posted by: Pecos Bill | Dec 10, 2008 4:18:31 AM


  9. Smoking isn't a habit, it's a drug addiction.

    Posted by: Pecos Bill | Dec 10, 2008 4:21:39 AM


  10. John-
    Thank you for the clarification. It would be amazing if more of our "openly" gay elected officials or GLBT national organizations incorporated more of your legal language into our laws. As an American the "freedom of Speech" is an excuse to promote hate/intolerance and bigotry. It sounds like your country has set the bar MUCH higher then the USofA. Hell, gays supposedly have all this power in the US and yet our own government won't support the UN resolution. We still have a long,long,long way to go.

    Posted by: SFshawn | Dec 10, 2008 10:58:30 AM


  11. John - I'm not sure - because it wasn't specifically referenced - but I feel like your response may have been directed to my posting. If not, feel free to ignore the rest. If so, please let me assure you that I'm completely aware that America and the UK are governed by a different set of protected rights and that the very definition of what constitutes "rights" may be as vastly different as how we define bisquit/biscuit. I didn't use the term FREEDOM of SPEECH in my post - nor did I claim knowledge or make assertion as to whether someone's rights in the UK were inalienable or revocable. Though we should note that while American's may deem their "rights" inherent to a divine power - as you correctly stated - the majesty of the queen was also founded on the concept of divine right. The difference being ultimately the use of a middle man (majesty) between the subjects/constituents and the higher power and of course their revocable nature.

    I always try to read text as objectively as possible - as inflection and interpretation are so highly subjective. But I assure you, that I am not an arrogant American nor do take an egocentric viewpoint of the American system. I applaud any country's limitations of speech to exclude advocating violence and extremism. An in my life I am often citing how other countries and cultures seem to have a better grasp on things then Americans do. My goal, is always to objectively see the best solution and the most unbiased approach to a problem, situation, regulatory issue, law, right or conflict. No one is served by blind nationalism and every country and culture may have a better way of dealing with a variety of given subjects than their neighboring country/culture.

    Also, I do wholeheartedly agree with Nic that religious organizations SHOULD BE (in this instance in America) taxed if they become a political entity as the LDS had become in this past election cycle.

    But all that said - the points raised in this post were:

    (speech that "glorifies terrorism and religious extremism") which is not the case here

    (Britain also has the most restrictive libel and defamation laws in the West.) which is also not the case here - but I do think, based on the most surface understanding, seem like much better laws than in the American system.

    Which leaves us with...

    (The Sexual Orientation Regulation Act (2007) bans "hatred and invective directed at persons on the basis of their sexuality." ) --
    Now - in my opinion - I don't think that would he was doing was promoting hatred (again, based on what I read in the article) and I wouldn't bet life or limb on Britain's legal definition/interpretation of "invective" - but I am imagine it would be a broad definition to conclude that based on the evidence that is equal to that stated in the article.

    But again, I come to this simple point - I believe in equality for all and what the means in terms of speech. I make no apologies for this nor do I believe this makes me "arrogant" or "egocentric". I believe if PARTY A is legally protected and granted the privilege of use and access that PARTY B needs to be as well. The road will be long and hard and whether we are on the right side of the argument (which I believe we are) the inherent dangers of oppression - which we could easily be on the wrong side of given one paradigm shift - are too great.

    I don't believe in or agree with anything that officer said or believes. I just do not see how his use or access when compared with the other party is egregious.

    Respectfully, humbly, and ego-lessly...

    Posted by: PERSPECTIVE | Dec 10, 2008 5:30:21 PM


  12. "I vehemently disagree with everything that he believes, but if he has truly was only responding to initiatives and other emails, I think he right to an opinion should be protected."

    He still has a right to his opinion, but he may not have the right to air it via his workplace e-mail system. After reading the article one distinction I see is that the policeman was responding to announcements of events (not opinions), and instead of simply choosing not to participate in the events, or delete the e-mails, he chose to harass people with his religious beliefs and ex-gay propaganda. Should anti-gay propaganda have a place in the workplace? How much Gay History Month should be part of the workplace is an open question, but it, unlike what he was doing, was not negative but affirmative. It wasn't Gays Think Christians are Immoral Month. If an announcement of Christian History Month was circulated, presumably it would also be forbidden to send anti-Christian propaganda, suggesting that Christians are evil for believing in God, or notes about helplines run by atheists, thru the messaging system. There's nothing hateful about Gay History Month or rainbow ribbons. There is something hateful about suggesting that the lives of some of your colleagues and people you are supposed to protect are sinful. But I agree the difference between free speech and harassment, whatever the laws, can be a fine line.

    Posted by: Ernie | Dec 10, 2008 6:25:19 PM


  13. ERNIE - thank you. thank you. That was a great response that I really appreciate.

    I think your last use of the term harassment is exactly what I would use to objectively consider your use of it the first time.

    I do think you make a very good point regarding the distinction between EVENTS and OPINIONS. It also begs the discussion that certain events are governed by implicit shared values -- in America (let's be clear cuz I don't want to thought arrogant or egocentic) it is the protection of 'collective association' -- so you can't simply divorce the opinion or the belief from the event. We know what we are getting with the KKK and we know what we are getting with the NCJW.

    Where I do agree with you was his course of action or response. He did not have to respond all. He could have advocated for the inclusion of the announcements of more Christian events to have the same right of use and access of others. I still do not personally believe he should have been fired or pressured to quit etc., but you are right in your implication that he had another course.

    That course would have then begged the same 'tolerance' from people who disagree with his christian beliefs (or events - as they are inseparable).

    And it is a very fine line. For example - your designation of what is "negative" and what is affirming -- is a subjective one. While I agree with you - meaning - we want the same result - it wouldn't be unexpected for someone to interpret an affirmation of one belief to be a negation of another. On a purely personal note - I know I dread when "religious" speak is offered to me on any level - because I wonder how far back I have to trace it to hit the impass of my beliefs, their beliefs and intentions. And my assumption that there is an impass might be erroneous as well.

    Hate is so closely tied to "fear" that I don't want to quibble about the definition vs. practice in a real world context. But I do offer, in its purest intent - however misguided - there are those that don't hate us but - for reasons of ignorance (in it's most literal form) fear for us (meaning: of the unknown, well-intentioned fear for our souls) but truly believe they love us and sadly don't support our cause.

    Also - we can't assume (forgive if I missed it in the article as I don't remember the word EVIL coming into it) that a Christian means EVIL when he says sin. Many many Christians, believe they are equally sinners and by design we are all equally imperfect. Many many Christians would might call us sinners but would never ever call us EVIL. This I know.

    And worth saying - I don't agree with any part of the belief that gay = sin. But I'd be a fool to not acknowledge that their belief exists. I also think I'd be a fool to assume everyone thinks I'm EVIL because they are a Christian.

    I believe that legislation, whether divine proclamation or grace of majesty, can protect us (and should protect every one equally) but I also believe that the real war will be won by our friends, family and neighbors realizing we aren't a threat to them (and when we genuinely don't feel threatened by them).

    Thanks Ernie.

    Posted by: PERSPECTIVE | Dec 10, 2008 7:26:14 PM


  14. I take your points, PERSPECTIVE, but I still think he crossed the line when, despite repeated warnings, he sent explicitly anti-gay sentiments thru the workplace. Even if he doesn't support Gay History Month and wearing ribbons in support of it (he shouldn't have been required to, and I don't see evidence he was), he could have chosen less hurtful and confrontational ways to express his discomfort with e-mails announcing gay positive events. Though he may interpret it that way, Gay History Month is not anti-Christian (many gay people are Christians, after all), yet his response was distinctly anti-gay, even if he sincerely meant it in a loving way. (I just can't interpret the "‘Love the sinner, hate the deed’" line as anything but intolerant.) If he was a great officer, perhaps the punishment was overly harsh, but it seemed clear he wasn't prepared to become more tolerant, and I'm not impressed by his argument that the announcement of gay-affirming events infringes on his religious rights. His actions cast doubt on his ability to treat gay people equally in his job. If someone expressed equivalently anti-Christian views in the workplace, similar doubts could be raised about their ability to protect religious people from harm, but the announcements he objected to don't strike me as remotely equivalent.

    Though we may quibble, I think we hold similar ideals, so I thank your for inspiring the civil discussion.

    Posted by: Ernie | Dec 10, 2008 8:15:38 PM


  15. Ernie. Yes. Good points again. Many gay people are Christians, and I'm certainly not arguing whether you can be GAY + Christian.

    I agree - Love the sinner, hate the deed is intolerant. But we should recognize that it isn't the same as HATE the person. And maybe we could recognize that someone might be trying to be a good person whilst having those erroneous beliefs.

    I agree - that he shouldn't feel his religious rights are treaded upon by receiving those emails no more than if gay marriage wouldn't force a devout christian into entering or attending. With freedom of religion there should be equal freedom from religion. That said - I don't think that a gay man who was receiving information on Christian events (to keep the context from before the same) should feel harassed either (assuming they had equal access and use to the method of disbursement.) I would offer the same advice to the gay person - just delete the emails. However, to follow that thread - if a gay person replied "all" with a quote etc... I don't think I'd fire that person either - even if it were multiple times.

    So - I'm just trying to see it as balance.

    One last point. Doubt can not be assumed to be proof. Doctors and lawyers are often called upon to protect the lives of unsavory individuals and I think they are able to put their greater responsibility before their personal beliefs. We should give the officer the same benefit. Yes, if there would be immediate need for disciplinary action or removal if he were found to be compromising the safety of the public or worse just certain members of the public. But I don't think such was the case - or did I miss something on that? If I did - my apologies and screw him to the wall. But if not - then I see a separation.

    Again, I see the flawed reversed in the way gays have been systematically discriminated against and the internment of the Japanese. The doubt held with regards to their integrity, simply because of their nationality was used as reason enough to remove them from their jobs and ultimately their homes etc. Now, I know religion is more of a choice than origin of birth - but it wasn't the origin of birth - it was a fear of their thoughts - (are their thoughts loyal to Japan and not America - so really it became about their beliefs and they were more easily identified then italians or germans who blended into society more)

    We should only take action on evidence not on doubt. Doubt may warrant further scrutiny and investigation to seek the truth and proof. But doubt which in this concept is equal to suspicion is not enough to take action.

    Again - thanks for the enjoyable exchange.

    I hope this is still up tomorrow. LOL

    Posted by: PERSPECTIVE | Dec 11, 2008 12:19:17 AM


  16. "Doubt can not be assumed to be proof. Doctors and lawyers are often called upon to protect the lives of unsavory individuals and I think they are able to put their greater responsibility before their personal beliefs."

    Yes, I agree. Many people are able to keep their personal beliefs separate from their professional duties. (Not all, alas, I've heard some horror stories about doctors, but that's another topic . . . ) It's quite possible that, despite his personal beliefs about homosexuality, he would put them aside in the call of duty and treat gay people with as much respect as straight people. His e-mails call that into question, but only someone who worked closely with him (i.e. not me) could make a sound judgment. (His firing may have been a consequence of more than what is in this article, which was presently mainly from his side.) Based on what I've read--which is obviously incomplete--I come down on him more harshly than you do, but I think we agree more than disagree on the principles behind the case. Cheers. Hope you'll weigh in on other threads, if you aren't already.

    Posted by: Ernie | Dec 11, 2008 10:45:26 AM


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