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Rep. Frank blasts Rice for snubbing Gays at UN
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Dec. 23 "strongly objecting" to the refusal by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations to join 66 other nations Dec. 18 in signing a statement affirming that international human rights protections include sexual orientation and gender identity.

It was the first time a statement condemning rights abuses against GLBT people was presented in the General Assembly. The declaration was read into the record by Argentine Ambassador Jorge Argüello.

Frank wrote: "Compounding the administration's failure to join virtually all of the other countries that genuinely believe in human rights in opposing acts of bigotry, the U.N. mission under your supervision issued a strikingly hypocritical justification. According to The New York Times on Friday, unnamed 'American diplomats and legal experts' incredibly said that you could not support this because 'it might be interpreted as an attempt by the federal government to override the states' rights on issues like Gay marriage.' I assume you are aware that the administration of which you are a part on several occasions sent to Congress and pressed for passage of a constitutional amendment that would have done exactly what this statement claims you and the administration are opposed to: the constitutional amendment on marriage would not only have taken away the states' rights to decide about same-sex marriage, it would have retroactively cancelled thousands of marriages that had occurred between loving people."

The statement by the 66 countries affirmed "the principle of non-discrimination, which requires that human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity," and denounced "violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization and prejudice ... because of sexual orientation or gender identity." It also called for the decriminalization of Gay sex, which is banned in at least 77 nations and punishable by death in at least seven.

The statement was signed by Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Fifty-seven nations signed an alternative statement, promoted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, that said universal human rights do not include "the attempt to focus on the rights of certain persons" because "the notion of orientation spans a wide range of personal choices that expand way beyond the individual's sexual interest in copulatory behavior with normal consenting adult human beings, thereby ushering in the social normalization, and possibly legitimization of many deplorable acts."

The U.S. did not sign either statement.

Calif. Lesbian gang-raped
A 28-year-old Lesbian in the East Bay city of Richmond, Calif., was gang-raped Dec. 13 by four men who indicated they knew she was Gay, police said in late December.

The attack began after the woman got out of her car, which had a rainbow sticker on it. One of the men hit her with an object, ordered her to strip and raped her on the spot, with assistance from the other men, police said.

The woman was then forced into her car and driven to a more remote location, where she was raped inside and outside the car. After about 45 minutes, the assailants left in the victim's vehicle with her wallet, leaving her naked at the scene.

Police are offering an $11,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the alleged attackers, two of whom are nicknamed "Blu" and "Pato," the victim reportedly said.

Police said Blu is in his early 20s and African American. Pato is 18 to 20 and Latino. The other two suspects also are Latino. One is 18 to 20 and one is in his 30s.

The alleged attackers are being sought on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, carjacking, kidnapping, robbery and sexual assault -- all with a hate-crime enhancement.

A fund has been set up to assist the victim, the Bay Area Reporter reported. To donate, send a check made payable to Community Violence Solutions to: JoAnn Douglas, Community Violence Solutions, 2101 Van Ness St., San Pablo, CA 94806. Write "To Richmond Jane Doe" in the memo line.

Lambda wins key Louisiana adoption case
In an important victory for same-sex parents nationwide, a U.S. district judge in Louisiana has ordered the state registrar to recognize the New York adoption of a baby boy by a same-sex couple, saying her refusal to do so violated the U.S. Constitution.

Lambda Legal represented Oren Adar and Mickey Smith, a Gay couple who adopted their Louisiana-born son in 2006 in a New York court, where a judge issued an adoption decree. Smith later applied to get a new birth certificate for the child, in part so he could add his son to his health insurance, and the office of State Registrar Darlene Smith told him Louisiana does not recognize adoption by unmarried parents.

Lambda's suit claimed Darlene Smith's action violated the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution, under which judgments and orders issued by a court in one state must be recognized as legally binding by other states.

U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey agreed Dec. 23 and ordered Darlene Smith to issue a birth certificate showing Adar and Mickey Smith as the boy's parents.

"It's been a long three years, but clearly we're very happy," said Adar, who now lives with Mickey Smith and their son in San Diego.

Lambda Senior Staff Attorney Ken Upton said the ruling "sends a strong message to state officials across the country that the Constitution requires them to respect the parent-child relationships established by adoption decrees regardless of the state where the decree is entered."

With assistance from Bill Kelley
picture top: Barney Frank
below: Gay activists at UN_

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