Friday
January 12, 2007
SGN.org
Volume 35
Issue 02
 
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Rex Wockner
International News
SWISS PARTNERSHIP LAW TAKES EFFECT
Switzerland's same-sex civil-union law came into force Jan. 1 and the first couple tied the knot a day later in the southern canton of Ticino, Swiss public radio reported.

The men, ages 89 and 60, asked to remain anonymous. They have been together for 30 years.

The law extends spousal rights in the areas of pensions, inheritance, taxes and immigration. It does not grant rights to adoption or fertility treatment.

Other countries with nationwide civil-union laws include Andorra, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Greenland, a self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark, also has a civil-union law. There are state or local partnership laws in parts of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Mexico and the United States.

Full marriage is available to same-sex couples in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain and South Africa -- as well as in the U.S. state of Massachusetts.

Informal cohabitation of same-sex partners has become legally recognized in Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Hungary, Israel and Portugal -- and in parts of Australia, Italy and the United States.

200 CZECH COUPLES HAVE ENTERED CIVIL UNIONS
More than 200 same-sex couples have taken advantage of the Czech Republic's civil-union law since it came into force last July, local media reported Jan. 2.

The statute, which became law after the Chamber of Deputies overrode President Vaclav Klaus's veto, grants many of the rights and obligations of marriage but withholds equality in the areas of adoption, pensions, taxation and joint ownership of property.

Activist Jirí Hromada of Gay Initiative told the Mladá fronta DNES newspaper he was surprised that so many couples already had tied the knot but expects the number to increase dramatically as "media attention, which is unpleasant for many, fades away."

Hromada predicted that around 1,200 couples will enter a civil union in 2007.

U.K. AIR FORCE EMBRACES GAYS
The United Kingdom's Royal Air Force has paid to join the Gay lobby group Stonewall's "Diversity Champions" program in hopes of making itself more attractive to Gay and Lesbian potential recruits.

The force also is launching a major advertising campaign in the Gay press, with a budget of tens of thousands of dollars.

Member organizations of the Stonewall program are expected to do such things as sponsor Gay-pride events, create a Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual staff organization, and extend pensions to same-sex couples.

"The Armed Forces are committed to establishing a culture and climate where those who choose to disclose their sexual orientation can do so without risk of abuse or intimidation," an unnamed Ministry of Defence spokesman told London's Telegraph newspaper.

GEORGE MICHAEL CHARGED WITH UNFIT DRIVING
Gay pop singer George Michael is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 11 to face a charge of being an unfit driver.

Last October, Michael was found passed out in his car in a London intersection. He was arrested and later charged with the driving offense and "cautioned" for marijuana possession.

Meanwhile, Michael has received $3.5 million for a 75-minute performance at Moscow billionaire Vladimir Potanin's New Year's Eve party, London's Daily Mail reported.

That's about $46,000 a minute and $269,000 for each of the 13 songs he sang.

An entourage of 40 musicians and crew members accompanied Michael to the gig at a private estate outside Moscow. Around 250 people attended the lavish celebration.

Potanin is worth $8 billion and is believed to be Russia's ninth-richest citizen. He manages a company that is the world's largest producer of palladium and platinum, the Daily Mail said.

TURKISH GAY EDITOR'S TRIAL POSTPONED
The obscenity trial of Umut Güner, editor of Turkey's only Gay magazine, Kaos GL, was postponed on Dec. 28, activists reported.

Güner could face up to three years in prison over last summer's issue of the magazine, which critically analyzed the relationship between homosexuality and pornography in articles by several noted Turkish writers.

All copies of the issue were confiscated by police in July after the public prosecutor's Press Crimes Investigation Bureau sought and received approval for the seizure from Ankara's 12th Justice Court.

The Supreme Court later upheld the decision, which also was later backed by the Ankara First Instance Criminal Court. Kaos GL has said it will appeal the seizure and the criminal charges to the European Court of Human Rights.

COURT OKs THREE PARENTS FOR CANADIAN CHILD
The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled unanimously Jan. 2 that a Lesbian couple's 5-year-old son has three parents -- the biological mother and father and the mother's partner, who had requested the determination.

The father, a family friend, donated sperm to the unnamed, longtime couple and spends time with the boy twice a week.

A lower court previously had dismissed the case, ruling that it lacked jurisdiction, even though it supported the request.

But the appellate court declared: "Present social conditions and attitudes have changed. Advances in our appreciation of the value of other types of relationships and in the science of reproductive technology have created gaps [in the law].

"It is contrary to [the boy's] best interests that he is deprived of the legal recognition of the parentage of one of his mothers. ... Without a declaration of parentage or some other order, the surviving partner would be unable to make decisions for their minor child, such as critical decisions about health care."

The Institute for Canadian Values denounced the ruling as "naked judicial activism."

"The only explanation [for the ruling] is that the court saw this case as an opportunity to entrench so-called alternative family structures in law without submitting the idea to the rigours of the legislative process," the group said.
Quote / Unquote
"Vice President's Gay Daughter Pregnant"
--Headline that this column thinks proves we're not in Kansas anymore, Dec. 6. Mary Cheney and Heather Poe's baby is due in late spring.

"Dick Cheney's Sixth Grandchild Will Have Two Mommies"
--Headline on Mary Cheney's pregnancy, Dec. 6.

"The president congratulated them and said he is very happy for them."
--White House spokeswoman Dana Perino on Mary Cheney's pregnancy, Dec. 7.

"I think Mary is going to be a loving soul to her child. And I'm happy for her. ... Mary Cheney is going to make a fine mom and she's going to love this child a lot."
--President George W. Bush to People magazine, Dec. 15.

"[Mary] Cheney's no crusader; she has little interest in becoming the poster mom for Gay parenthood. But whether she intends it or not, her pregnancy will, I think, turn out to be a watershed in public understanding and acceptance of the phenomenon. This is the Ellen DeGeneres moment of national politics."
--Columnist Ruth Marcus, Washington Post, Dec. 8.

"Perhaps [Mary] Cheney's high-profile pregnancy will help the Republican Party come to grips with [the Gay] facts of life. If not, though, she's going to have to explain to her child what mommy was doing trying to help a party that doesn't believe in fairness for families like theirs."
--Columnist Ruth Marcus, Washington Post, Dec. 8.

"As it happens, in order to move closer to the vice president, Mary Cheney and her family have landed in Virginia -- one of the states with the fewest legal protections for Gay families like hers. Will she become an activist there to better defend her child's rights? Will the vice president? It would reflect badly on both if they didn't. Unassailable, though, is the Cheneys' success at an arguably tougher achievement: maintaining a strong family. Whether you respect their politics, in their personal lives they seem to have achieved an American ideal: a family that manages to respect each other's autonomy while supporting each other's highest goals."
--Houston Chronicle editorial on Mary Cheney's pregnancy, Dec. 10.

"She has not only injured her child, she has destroyed the work her father has done. She has acted in a way that denies everything that the Bush administration has worked for. She's essentially saying: 'In your face.'"
--Concerned Women for America spokeswoman Janice Crouse on Mary Cheney's pregnancy, Dec. 6.

"I'd love to marry Portia [de Rossi]. I pray that Portia and I are together the rest of our lives, and I believe we will [be] -- but I'd love to have a legalized commitment, obviously."
--Ellen DeGeneres to the British Lesbian glossy Diva, January issue.

"I still do things to keep my life as regular as I possibly can. I still go places; I don't have bodyguards with me all the time. I don't have to worry about that yet. I pump gas, I go to grocery stores, I go shopping -- I try to do things and live my life."
--Ellen DeGeneres to the British Lesbian glossy Diva, January issue.

"I grew up going to church, but I was raised by my uncle who passed away with AIDS a couple of years ago. He was my mother's best friend. And my mother's cousin. He brought me to school every day. He helped me buy my prom dress. He made my clothes with my mother. He was like my nanny. He was my favorite person in the world. And you know, I never really mixed Christianity with how I felt [about him]. I am about faith and spirituality more so than religion. Doing right by others and not judging."
--Singer Beyoncé on Gays to Instinct magazine, December issue.

"I try to stay away from churches who don't accept Gays. I mean, I can't be a part of phony. It's not God's way. You embrace all people. I think that's what God wants, for all of us to love all of us, no matter who we are, what we do or whatever. And it's not a sin to be Gay. So that's all I got to say. I have my feelings and I speak my mind."
--Singer Patti LaBelle, currently on a gospel tour of megachurches, to the Michigan Gay newspaper Between The Lines, Nov. 30.

"Paris Hilton ... doesn't really have a vocation. She is basically a celebutante. She changed fame by mining high-fashion poses learned from drag queens."
--Lesbian writer Camille Paglia to Us Weekly magazine, Dec. 7.

"Ah, abstinence education. Could there be a more dizzy, glaring example of a first-rate BushCo failure? Could there be a more insulting, demeaning program the sole intention of which appears to be to deceive humanity and undermine every succulent human impulse and shove sexuality back into the 1850s and induce 10 million teens to resent and mistrust adults even more than they already do? Verily I say unto thee, there is not."
--San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford, Nov. 29.

"In the long-term, Lesbian and Gay identity is doomed. And a good thing too. Like every other expression of human culture, homosexual and heterosexual identities are historically transient. They haven't always existed, and they won't last forever. Indeed, the weakening, blurring and eventual dissolution of the labels queer and straight will be final proof of the demise of homophobia."
--Key British Gay activist Peter Tatchell writing in The Guardian, Nov. 27.

"[They] wanted me to play this role and my agents and managers turned it down and said, 'I don't think he wants to wear a dress.' So they called back and they said, 'Would he play the Nazi?' And they called me and they said, 'Guess what, we got the role of the Nazi.' And I said, 'I don't want the Nazi, I want the guy in the dress.' And they said, 'Really?' And I said, 'Yes.' And my agent's Gay. I said to my agent, 'C'mon, man.' ... He said, 'I thought it would bother you.' I said: 'No, that's the gag. The gag is people would never expect me to come out in this and I can have a blast with this role. ... [It's] a natural progression: cars, women, Gay man."
--Actor David Hasselhoff (of Knight Rider and Baywatch fame) on his new role as the Gay cross-dressing director in a sit-down version of "The Producers" at Paris Las Vegas, to TheStripPodcast.com, Dec. 7.

"gettin a boner is good ... you have a nice dick ... so you like me ... are you as hard as i an [sic] now ... hard as a brick ... i would drive a few miles for a hot stud like you ... i always use lotion and the hand ... i have aa [sic] totally stiff wood now ... love to slip them off of you and gram [sic] the one eyed snake ... i just sprung wood ... rather large too ... are you bonered too ... we will make oyu [sic] successful as long as you dont [sic] mind me grabbing your dick once in a while ... i am sooo smitten with you ... so oyu [sic] do have a boner now ... wow what a sight wish i was under your desk ... i would at least pul [sic] it out and say hello to the big boy and the [sic] give it some happiness ... youd [sic] like me to blow you ... and wuld [sic] you let me drink all of your cum"
--From 100 pages of disgraced former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley's online instant messages with teenage boys and young men, newly posted at http://www.house.gov/ethics/Page_PDFs/Exhibit%2013.pdf.

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