Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Morning Sweep

Openly gay Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell met with Gov. Paterson to talk about the open U.S. Senate seat on Monday. He put his odds of being appointed at about one in 10, or “about the same as the population of gay people in the world.”

More gay year-in-review roundups: The Advocate breaks it down by month and Bilerico goes for the top 10 approach.

USA Today’s “Year in Religion” review includes the battle over gay marriage.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Morning Sweep

The New Jersey State Division of Civil Rights has ruled that a lesbian couple can go forward with its discrimination complaint against the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association for refusing to let them use an oceanfront pavilion for their civil union ceremony. The pavilion, although owned by the religious organization, has often been made available to the public for ceremonies such as weddings.

Last week, President Bush signed a bill that makes it mandatory for businesses to roll over retirement benefits to a same-sex partner in the event of an employee’s death.

Time for the year in review: EDGE has its top 10 gay news stories of 2008, and Gay Wired has its political highlights of the year.

The first-ever head of the 13-year-old United Nations AIDS program is retiring, and the New York Times highlights some of his accomplishments, including giving a voice to marginalized groups such as gay men in poor countries.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Morning Sweep

New York Times columnist Frank Rich writes against Obama’s choice of Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration. Warren now claims on his church’s website that his positions on homosexuality are not as extreme as he has stated in the past.

CNN reports that an increasing number of single men – both gay and straight – are becoming fathers through surrogacy.

The shooting of Leeneshia Edwards in Memphis on Christmas Eve marks the third crime against trans women there in the past six months.

In its “Snapshots of 2008” series, a Ventura County newspaper profiles a gay couple married before Prop. 8 passed and a 20-year-old active Prop. 8 supporter.

A new study has found a direct link showing that gay teens rejected by their families are more likely to be suicidal and engage in risky behaviors.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Morning Sweep

Caroline Kennedy, who is in the running to replace Hillary Clinton as U.S Senator from New York, stated her support over the weekend (through a spokesperson) for full marriage equality for same-sex couples.

The Times editorializes in favor of marriage equality over civil unions. It calls to task New Jersey's state legislature, which continues to drag its feet on passing a marriage bill, even though Gov. Corzine has promised to sign the bill into law.

Openly gay Congressman Barney Frank expressed his displeasure with President-Elect Obama's selection of Rick Warren to give the invocation at Obama's inauguration.

North Country Public Radio's blog examines Obama's choice of Rick Warren within the larger framework of divisions within the Democratic Party. Ultimately when it comes to equality for LGBT people, says the blogger, political leaders cannot have it both ways.

Towleroad has coverage of of the "Light Up the Night for Equality" candlelight vigils that took place around the country on Saturday.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Morning Sweep

For the first time ever, the issue of gay rights was brought before the UN General Assembly. Pressing for an "official declaration," more than 60 countries--mostly from Europe and Latin America--supported decriminalizing homosexuality. Shamefully, the United States did not support the declaration, citing "legal and technical" reasons.

President-Elect Obama responds to concerns from the LGBT community over his selection of anti-gay pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.

LGBT activists across the country are taking a new approach to their opponents by helping several traditionally anti-gay faith-based organizations (like the Salvation Army in this case) with their holiday food drives.

New York native Bill White, the openly gay president of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, is being considered by Obama for Secretary of the Navy. If appointed, it would be the first time an openly LGBT person will be in charge of a branch of the military (which raises some obvious questions about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell")

The Victory Fund is not happy so far with Obama's cabinet selections, saying that "openly LGBT people are accepted and involved in nearly all aspects of American life, but they still will not have a place at the table at the highest reaches of their government" (via Joe.My.God)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Morning Sweep

Rick Warren, anti-gay marriage pastor of the Saddleback Church, will deliver the invocation at Obama’s inauguration, sparking the anger of many gay marriage activists. Towleroad has the Obama camp’s talking points on the reasoning behind their choice.

The City of Phoenix has established a domestic partnership registry to guarantee that same-sex couples have hospital visitation rights.

A new poll shows that 52% of Connecticut residents believe their state’s Supreme Court made the right ruling in legalizing same-sex marriage.

A British Columbia study has found that lesbian and bisexual youths are more likely to get pregnant than their straight counterparts.

A rewrite of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is cause for controversy among many, including some transgender advocates.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Morning Sweep

The New York Times editorial board writes that the anti-gay, anti-Hispanic murder of Ecuadorian immigrant José Sucuzhañay is “a reminder that bigotry can be deadly, not just to the groups intentionally targeted, but to anyone unfortunate enough to cross its path.”

The L.A. Times profiles a young gay Muslim woman from Queens seeking acceptance from her family.

As a follow-up to its cover story on the biblical case for marriage equality, Newsweek has a debate between a pro-same-sex marriage pastor and the anti-same-sex marriage vice president for public policy and research from the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

Time magazine writes on Ivy League schools rethinking their policy of banning ROTC from campus – a move made largely because of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Morning Sweep

The Binghamton City Council has passed a law to outlaw discrimination against transgender individuals.

Several Central Islip legislators are calling for the passage of a federal hate crimes bill after the two brutal immigrant killings that have happened in the past six weeks.

Queerty has an interview with the R.N.C’s Online Communications Manager, who says he believes his party has failed to embrace "the emerging role of gays in the Party and society at large – not as outcasts, but as equals."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Morning Sweep

Governor Paterson's marriage recognition directive continues to bear fruit: it was reported over the weekend that birth certificates will now recognize the married partner of the woman carrying a baby--regardless of what the partner's gender is--as the fully legal second parent.

As New York's first female High Court Chief Judge steps down, the Times editorializes on why Judith Kaye was exceptional, noting some of her decisions that espoused justice for LGBT people.

Hundreds attended a rally memorializing an Ecuadorian immigrant who was beaten to death because of his ethnicity and because, as he was walking arm-in-arm with his brother, he was perceived to be gay.

The Binghamton City Council is set to vote on a Human Rights Law that would make it illegal (among other things) to discriminate against transgender people. The bill is expected to pass.

The Buffalo News reports on an Episcopalian faith community that is moving from its old home and into a new, temporary facility after breaking from the diocese because of the Church's decision to consecrate an openly gay Bishop. The reporter, in my opinion, fails to capture the important other side of the story--the voices of the families within the congregation who support inclusion of LGBT people.

A columnist for The Forward discusses the non-issue of (relatively new) LGBT acceptance within the Conservative movement and then proceeds to artfully compare the Hanukkah holiday with coming out of the closet.

Shrek the Musical opened on Broadway last night, and Reuters noted some gay pride themes running throughout the show.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Morning Sweep

The New York City Anti-Violence Project says hate crimes against LGBT people may be on the rise for 2008.

Following the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission’s recent report, Gov. Jon Corzine said that the state’s civil unions law "hasn't done enough to narrow the gap" and that same-sex marriage should be established in New Jersey "sooner rather than later."

The vice president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals has resigned following backlash to his comments in support of civil unions for gay couples.

The West Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case in which a lower court judge ruled that two lesbian foster parents are unfit to adopt the 2-year-old they’ve cared for since birth because they are a “homosexual household.”

Gay rights advocates are critical that the U.S. has not signed on to the proposed statement calling on the United Nations to condemn discrimination and persecution based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Morning Sweep

Police in Buffalo are investigating anonymous anti-gay hate mail that was sent to several Elmwood Village businesses, possibly in connection to their inclusion in a LGBT-friendly shopping guide.

Police have now launched a homicide investigation in the case of the Ecuadorian man who died on Tuesday after he was brutally attacked while walking hand-in-hand with his brother in Brooklyn.

Obama’s pick to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Nancy Sutley, is the first openly gay person appointed to a senior role in his administration.

Despite the lack of participation in yesterday’s “Day Without A Gay” protest, many activists supported the concept.

The New York Times writes on what’s being called a new generation of LGBT activists.

The Times also has the details of Tuesday’s Supreme Court hearing on Iowa’s same-sex marriage ban.

New Jersey’s Civil Union Review Commission has concluded that the state's civil union law doesn't do enough to give same-sex couples the same protections as straight married couples, and that the legislature should pass a same-sex marriage bill.

Despite the Catholic Church’s opposition, the EU is still hoping to convince the U.N. to support a resolution to decriminalize being gay in countries where laws against it still exist.

Toe-tapping Senator Larry Craig’s latest attempt to appeal his guilty plea has failed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Pride Agenda Responds to Sen. Malcolm Smith’s Press Conference on Leadership Negotiations

Today we released the statement below following Senator Malcolm Smith's comments at a press conference discussing State Senate leadership negotiations. We'll keep you updated on this issue.

Statement by Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle

December 10, 2008 - “We applaud Senator Malcolm Smith’s ongoing efforts to lead the new Senate Majority that voters chose during the recent elections. By stating that reform in the Senate cannot include bargaining away civil rights, Senator Smith has once again demonstrated his commitment to standing up for all New Yorkers.

The Pride Agenda looks forward to continuing to work with Senator Smith when the legislative session starts. In the meantime we will be working with legislative leaders—Democrats and Republicans—and continuing to do what we’ve been doing all along: working with our community and our allies across New York, including those from communities of faith and organized labor, to earn the votes we need to bring the marriage equality bill to the floor of the Senate for passage.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Morning Sweep

New York police are investigating a possible hate crime that occurred in Brooklyn on Sunday when two brothers who were walking arm-in-arm were brutally beaten. Their attackers, who used anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs, may have attacked the brothers because they thought they were gay.

The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a ruling that the state of Virginia must enforce a Vermont court order awarding child-visitation rights to the former partner of a child’s mother.

An international health organization has officially recommended the use of hormone blockers for children and teens diagnosed with gender identity disorder.

The Lesbian and Gay Band Association has been accepted to march in Obama’s inaugural parade as the first LGBT group to ever participate.

Lawrence King’s killer has been ruled competent to stand trial as an adult.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Morning Sweep (PM Edition)

A NY appellate court has rejected a Broome County trial judge’s denial of a name-change petition for a transgender woman. Although a court order isn’t required for a name change, it can be crucial for transgender individuals seeking official documents such as driver's licenses, social security cards and other forms of identification that reflect their gender identity.

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear arguments against the state’s same-sex marriage ban tomorrow.

This week’s Newsweek cover story focuses on religion and same-sex marriage and deconstructs many of the Biblical arguments against it. The issue also features a Newsweek poll that finds increasing national support for relationship recognition for same-sex couples.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a legal challenge to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” can proceed.

An appeal to a Miami judge's ruling that Florida's same-sex adoption ban is unconstitutional will be filed on behalf of the state Department of Children & Families.

Socially conservative Anglicans in the U.S. and Canada are proceeding with plans to create their own branch of the church, despite warnings that official recognition could take years. The split from the Episcopal church comes in part due to the conservative members’ opposition to same-sex marriage.

The AP profiles the difficult life and untimely death of Duanna Johnson, the Memphis transgender woman who was beaten by the city's police and recently murdered on a street corner near her home.

The New York Times has an interesting story about the town of Juchitán in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, where the local people are accepting of residents they call "muxes" - transgender women who express their gender identities in many different ways.

In two separate cases, a US Appeals Court has found that gay men from Iran and Guatemala who have been denied asylum here should have their cases reheard.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Morning Sweep

Tis the season to be busy! We apologize for no Sweep yesterday. Here’s an update on what we missed and today’s news:

The Ali Forney center for homeless LGBT youth, formerly in danger of closing due to loss of NYC funds, will be able to stay open thanks to new Ryan White funding.

A NYC firefighter who was critically injured in a 2003 fight with a colleague after being targeted with anti-gay slurs for years has reached a $3.75 million settlement with the city.

Huffington Post provides an update on the progress in repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Mark Begich, Alaska’s new Democratic Senator, opposes amending the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage and supports same-sex partner benefits.

A new poll finds that religion and economic status were the biggest factors in voters’ decisions for or against Prop. 8. Age and race played a less significant role.

GLSEN’s “That’s so gay” ad campaign, which aims to educate young people about homophobic language, has won an award from the national Ad Council.

For the first time ever, the U.K. will collect information on sexual orientation in its next population survey.

An Iraqi journalist has been jailed for violating public decency laws by writing a story about homosexuality.

India’s federal government has told the Delhi High Court that homosexuality is the result of a “perverse mind” and should not be decriminalized.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Morning Sweep

On Joe.My.God., The Pride Agenda highlights our work on marriage equality and our goals for the future in response to the New York Times' claim that we are in a "quiet period."

Time magazine writes on the Vatican’s opposition to a proposed U.N. declaration calling for countries worldwide to end discrimination against gay people.

A new GLAAD poll finds that 75% of U.S. adults favor marriage, domestic partnerships or civil unions for same-sex couples.

Although Arizona voters rejected a same-sex marriage ban two years ago, this analysis aims to explain why they approved it in November.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Morning Sweep

Gotham Gazette covers civil rights legislation that has been passed by the New York State Assembly and may pass in the newly Democratic Senate, with a big focus on same-sex marriage legislation and the politics surrounding the issue.

The Binghamton City Council listened last night to local advocates speak about the need for a proposed law that would protect against discrimination based on gender identity.

The Vatican is experiencing backlash over its announcement that it will oppose a proposed U.N. resolution calling on worldwide governments to decriminalize being gay.

The AP profiles retiring Massachusetts Justice John Greaney, who wrote an eloquent concurring decision in the state’s Supreme Judicial Court’s landmark ruling making Massachusetts the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Virginian-Pilot writes on same-sex couples who have religious commitment ceremonies, despite the state’s 2-year-old same-sex marriage ban.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Morning Sweep

Today is the 20th annual World AIDS Day. Towleroad has a great roundup of related news, including this New York Times story about a new memorial to those who have died of AIDS .

The AP asks the question: are gay rights civil rights?

As the Iowa Supreme Court prepares to hear a case on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage next week, a new poll shows that 28% of Iowans support same-sex marriage and 30% support civil unions.

Haiti’s World AIDS Day march yesterday was a first opportunity for many openly gay people to show their pride.