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12th October, 2001 (# 3) News Clippings Digest.

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  • grahamu_1999@yahoo.com
    12th October, 2001 (# 3) News Clippings Digest. 1. ASSOCIATED PRESS Group of busybody control freaks protests California domestic partner bill that awaits
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 15, 2001
      12th October, 2001 (# 3) News Clippings Digest.

      1. ASSOCIATED PRESS Group of busybody control freaks protests
      California domestic partner bill that awaits Gov. Davis' signature
      2. WASHINGTON POST D.C. Gay Partners Benefit Advances; Like House,
      Senate Panel Drops Ban; Aides Say GOP Leaders May Block Budget
      3. BEIRUT DAILY STAR (Lebanon) For some young Lebanese, staying
      means 'life will be over'; Increasing numbers are fleeing homophobic
      persecution
      4. IRISH INDEPENDENT Poster for a new gay magazine is described by
      the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) as "likely to
      cause offence"

      Associated Press, October 12, 2001
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
      file=/news/archive/2001/10/12/stat
      e1658EDT0104.DTL
      Groups protest domestic partner bill awaiting action by Davis
      JIM WASSERMAN, Associated Press Writer
      SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A traditional family coalition,
      claiming to
      represent a majority of the state's opinion, rallied at the Capitol on
      Friday, asking the governor to veto a domestic partners bill.
      The Campaign for California Families opposes a bill to provide
      gay
      and lesbian couples and senior heterosexual couples a dozen of the
      same
      rights given to heterosexual married couples. Supporters call it the
      biggest expansion of domestic partner law in the country.
      Campaign leader Randy Thomasson said Friday, "All over the
      state
      people are finding something awful is happening in the Capitol."
      Thomasson, standing with 40 supporters after similar rallies
      in five
      other cities this week, said Gov. Gray Davis should veto the bill for
      reasons he's used with others: that it's a drain on the budget.
      "He has a choice to be a man of his word and fiscally
      responsible, or
      he can become the biggest hypocrite in the state," Thomasson said.
      The Campaign claims the bill would cost the state $1 million
      per
      year, but the proponents say it would save money in tax benefits.
      Davis has until midnight Sunday to sign or veto the bill.
      Supporters of the legislation by Assemblywoman Carole Migden,
      D-San
      Francisco, say it's only fair that gay partners get more of the same
      rights
      as heterosexual married couples.
      Eric Astacaan of the California Alliance for Pride and
      Equality,
      said, "These are critical tools that couples need in times of crisis."
      Among them are rights to make medical decisions for
      incapacitated
      partners, sue for wrongful deaths, act as conservators and adopt a
      partner's
      child. Other rights include sick leave to care for a family member
      and
      provide partners with employer-based health care coverage.
      Astacaan said, "They are very basic. You would think with all
      the
      things that are happening right now these things would not rile
      people up."
      The domestic partner bill follows Migden's 1999 legislation
      creating
      a registry for domestic partners at the Secretary of State's office.
      More
      than 16,000 people signed up, giving them rights to visit partners in
      the
      hospital and negotiate state health benefits for partners. Astacaan
      said
      the city of San Francisco and corporations such as American Airlines,
      Microsoft, Intel and Apple offer health benefits for domestic
      partners.
      Thomasson said Migden's bill undermines a March 2000 vote in
      which
      most voters said marriage should be between a man and woman.
      Gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon also called on Davis to
      veto the
      bill.
      . Read AB25 at www.assembly.ca.gov.


      Washington Post, October 12, 2001
      1150 15th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20071
      (E-Mail: letterstoed@... )( http://washingtonpost.com/ )
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46599-2001Oct11.html
      D.C. Gay Partners Benefit Advances
      Like House, Senate Panel Drops Ban; Aides Say GOP Leaders May Block
      Budget
      By Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post Staff Writer
      The Senate Appropriations Committee voted yesterday to end a
      federal
      ban on the District's use of local tax dollars to extend health
      benefits to
      gay couples.
      After the Democratic-controlled panel's near-party-line vote,
      16 to
      13, to approve the District's $5.3 billion fiscal 2002 budget with the
      change, Democratic aides said some Senate Republican leaders
      threatened to
      derail the spending plan by not permitting it to reach the Senate
      floor.
      A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.)
      did not
      return telephone calls for comment yesterday afternoon. The House has
      already approved the District's domestic partner provision despite
      opposition from some top GOP leaders.
      "The District of Columbia is substantially supported with
      federal
      moneys. They're fungible," Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska), ranking
      committee
      Republican, said in opposing the measure. "They're spending United
      States
      taxpayer money on things that are contrary to the basic concepts" of
      many
      Americans.
      The opposition comes as city leaders and friendly lawmakers
      have
      sought to roll back congressional restrictions and expand home rule,
      a push
      that includes legislation to shrink Congress's role in reviewing the
      city
      budget.
      The House, prompted by Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.),
      chairman of
      the Appropriations subcommittee on the District, has already stripped
      roughly half of the more than 60 riders that have cluttered up the
      District's appropriations in past years.
      Yesterday, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), chairman of the Senate's
      Appropriations subcommittee on the District, led the effort to repeal
      the
      prohibition on the domestic partner benefit as well as congressional
      bans on
      the city's use of local funds for drug needle exchange programs, to
      lobby
      Congress and to support lawsuits to increase the District's voting
      representation.
      "It's not the specifics of the issue, it's the principle that I
      believe," Landrieu said. "I hope that we can begin a new era here
      where the
      District is allowed to use their own money for their own laws. . . .
      This
      is as much about Cleveland and New Orleans as it is about Washington,
      D.C.,
      that cities should make budgets and spend their own money as they
      want."
      The domestic partner law would allow city employees to buy
      health
      insurance at group rates for their unmarried partners. It would allow
      same-sex and heterosexual couples who live together to register with
      the
      city and claim family status at health care facilities, nursing homes
      and
      adoption clinics. The law also would cover relatives or unrelated
      caregivers who live together.
      In addition to $5.3 billion in general operating funds - raised
      through such levies as income, real estate and sales taxes - the
      District
      budget includes $398 million in federal funds and $1.7 billion in
      federal
      grants.
      The Senate panel authorized the city to spend $16.1 million on
      emergency preparedness and for security planning for the canceled
      September
      meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
      The House, which faulted the District's preparedness for the
      Sept. 11
      attacks, voted to withhold half the money and other federal funds
      until
      District leaders presented a new emergency response plan. The Senate
      dropped the withholding requirement.
      The Senate budget also includes $35 million to create a family
      court
      within the District's Superior Court to focus on child abuse and
      neglect
      cases, and $34 million for drug treatment of criminal offenders who
      have
      completed their sentences and are returning to society.
      Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Rep. Constance A. Morella
      (R-Md.), chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on the
      District, Landrieu and ranking subcommittee member Sen. George V.
      Voinovich
      (R-Ohio) are supporting legislation that would end Congress's annual
      review
      of all local funding decisions by 2004.
      In exchange, the city would make permanent financial reforms
      begun
      under the D.C. financial control board, which went dormant Sept. 30.


      Beirut Daily Star, 12 October 2001
      Marine Tower 6th floor, Rue de La Ste Famille,
      Gemaizeh, Achrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon
      ( Fax: 00961 (1) 561333)(E-Mail: editorial@... )
      http://www.dailystar.com.lb/features/12_10_01_a.htm
      For some young Lebanese, staying means 'life will be over'
      Increasing numbers are fleeing homophobic persecution
      Warren Singh-Bartlett, Special to The Daily Star
      Tareq says it's the spitting that hurt the most. The
      occasional
      threats of physical violence were frightening, but they were seldom
      more
      than a shove. Except for that one time when a couple of neighborhood
      teenagers caught him and threatened to make him do certain things,
      things
      they said they knew he liked. But Tareq says was lucky. In the end,
      they
      just punched him in the stomach and face until his eyes swelled
      shut. The
      worst part was lying to his family that he didn't know who had beaten
      him
      up.
      Samira has never been assaulted, but she has her own woes. For
      almost as long as she can remember, she says, her life was a living
      hell of
      pointed fingers and whispering voices. She has always known she was
      "different." She first realized her secret was out when her father's
      relatives told her mother she was "unnatural," something was "wrong."
      Samira was only 14. Daily life became a nightmare. By the time she
      finally, as she put it, fled home, even most of her immediate family
      treated
      her with suspicion, watching for proof that the accusations were
      correct.
      Neither Samira nor Tareq live in Lebanon any more. Like many,
      they
      have decided that for the foreseeable future at least, their country
      has
      nothing for them. But Samira and Tareq were not compelled to leave
      for
      economic or political reasons. They left because they are gay and
      can find
      no way to reconcile their sexual orientation with their cultural
      identity.
      Tareq left in 1991, ostensibly to study in London, but he says
      that
      even before he got on the plane, he knew he was not coming back. Not
      if he
      could help it.
      Samira left more recently. She has been in Paris for three
      years
      now. At first she attended college. Then her funds ran out and her
      visa
      expired and for the last six months she has lived in fear that the
      next
      knock at her door will end with a one-way ticket back to Beirut.
      "There is no way I can be who I really am at home," explains
      Tareq in
      an e-mail interview. "My family will never accept that I am gay and
      even if
      they did, I am tired of hiding, and where would I find a partner who
      is
      prepared to live openly in Lebanon?"
      Michel is also gay. Stories like Tareq's and Samira's are why
      he
      also believes he can only live his life outside Lebanon. Last year,
      he
      found a job in California and for the first time, he lives his life
      without
      the constant fear of being found out and the constant worry that his
      family's reputation would be destroyed.
      Michel has decided to try to stay in America. Unwilling to
      enter
      into a Green Card marriage, he has opted for a bolder strategy to
      secure
      residency. Earlier this year, he began an application for asylum on
      the
      grounds that as a gay man, he cannot live freely in his home country.
      Michel is one of a relatively small but ever-increasing number
      of gay
      men and lesbians who, over the last decade, have petitioned a handful
      of
      Western countries for asylum on the basis of their sexual orientation.
      A relatively new addition to the list of provisions enshrined
      in the
      1951 UN Convention that entitles a person to apply for refugee status,
      sexual orientation owes its inclusion to a growing understanding in a
      handful of countries that lesbians and gays constitute a distinct
      social
      group.
      To date, this article has been invoked to grant asylum to
      lesbians
      and gay men in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany,
      Switzerland,
      Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Belgium,
      France and
      the US. Although none publish numbers of such cases, immigration
      lawyers
      acknowledge that as word gets around, the number is rising.
      Michel's experience appears to support this belief. "Since I
      got
      here, I've met many people of Arab descent, amongst them four
      Lebanese, who
      were granted asylum based on sexual orientation," he said.
      The US-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights
      Commission
      runs an asylum project that acts as both a monitoring and information
      service. Project coordinator Dusty Araujo says he knows of at least
      36
      cases involving Lebanese applicants since 1994, nine of which were
      successful.
      Another option, at least for those whose partner is a French
      national, is to register as a same-sex couple under the 1999 Pacte
      Civile de
      Solidarite (PACS).
      However they decide to do it, anecdotal evidence suggests many
      of
      Lebanon's lesbian and gays, especially the younger ones, are choosing
      to
      leave for good. Everyone who spoke to The Daily Star could name at
      least
      three gay friends who had already left and many more who were in the
      process
      of leaving.
      "There isn't any reason to stay here if you're gay and things
      are
      getting worse," explained one woman who has decided to apply for
      asylum
      somewhere in Europe.
      Factors motivating this exodus in part reflect the same
      frustrations
      that move the Lebanese who emigrate each year, but additional factors
      for
      Lebanon's lesbians and gays include the fear of extortion, arrest and
      imprisonment.
      The trial of a Mount Lebanon couple, who were arrested after
      police
      obtained a video of one of their sex sessions - made by a computer
      repairman
      from a video file he had discovered on their computer - will only
      increase
      that desire to emigrate.
      Even non-sexual encounters are risky. Places known to be
      frequented
      by lesbians and gays are often raided by police in search of easy
      arrests.
      Worse still, some of the meeting places dish out abuse to their own
      customers.
      Danny, whose partner is seeking asylum in Europe, tells of a
      nightclub where bouncers have been known to abuse patrons they
      find "too
      gay-looking."
      Danny knows all about harassment. His appearance, while tame
      by Soho
      or Shibuya standards, singles him out for attack.
      A few weeks ago, Danny was banned from Dunkin' Donuts on
      Sassine
      Square. "The bouncer told me the manager had specifically told him
      not to
      let in any 'gay-looking' or 'hippie-looking' person," he says.
      When contacted for his reaction to these incidents, Wissam
      Diab, the
      assistant manager for the US-chain in Lebanon, could not have been
      more
      apologetic. "Yes we heard and we are so sorry for what happened," he
      explained over the phone. "We got some doormen in because there was
      a group
      of trouble-makers . We told them to watch out for anyone like this
      but
      instead, they decided to stop anyone they didn't like the look of from
      coming."
      "It was so ironic this happened in Achrafieh," says Danny. "I
      used
      to go to this seedy little club in Ouzai . practically in drag, but I
      always
      felt welcome."
      For all the allure of living an openly gay life in the West,
      such a
      move is not easy.
      "It's not like people here are any more accepting," says
      Samira.
      "Just because I am free to hold my girlfriend's hand in public
      doesn't mean
      everybody accepts me as a lesbian."
      Additionally, while their heterosexual compatriots can enjoy
      the
      comforts of Middle Eastern communities, lesbian and gay Arabs often
      find
      they are no more accepted in these communities than they are at home.
      "I thought things were bad in Aleppo, but the community here
      is even
      more narrow-minded than at home," says Ehab, a Syrian man who lives in
      London.
      After he was spotted walking with his partner, within several
      days
      the news had made its way home. "The next thing I know, I get a
      hysterical
      phone call from my sister, who was crying and telling me my father had
      threatened to kill me if I ever dared show my face again."
      It was fear that news might get home via the "Lebanese
      Telephone"
      that Samira avoided even other gay Arabs in Paris. Now she is
      thinking of
      moving to another part of Europe and applying for asylum.
      "I have been here too long, I can't become a refugee now," she
      says.
      "I wish I could explain to the government that I don't want to stay
      here to
      make money, I want to stay here because in Lebanon, my life will be
      over."
      . Some names have been changed.


      Irish Independent, October 12, 2001
      Unison, 3050 Lake Drive,
      Citywest Digital Park, Citywest, Co Dublin Ireland
      (Fax: +353 (0)1 411 2245) (E-Mail: content@... )
      ( http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent )
      http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?
      ca=9&si=576699&issue_id=
      5835
      Players kissing in gay ad may get red card
      A controversial poster for a new gay magazine has been
      described by
      the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) as "likely to
      cause
      offence".
      The poster for GI magazine, which is Irish-owned and published,
      depicts two players in prominent GAA county colours - Tipperary and
      Galway,
      Dublin and Kerry respectively - indulging in a passionate kiss.
      Croke Park has been flooded with complaints about the poster
      from GAA
      members nationwide.
      However, the GAA has refused to comment on the matter as their
      entire
      Croke Park hierarchy including President, Sean McCaigue, General
      Secretary,
      Liam Mulvihill, and Corporate Affairs Director, Danny Lynch are in
      Australia
      for the International Rules Series.
      If the advert is ratified as offensive by the ASAI's
      independent
      complaints committee, all advertisers will be required, under a strict
      industry code of practice, to remove the poster from public display.
      This could force the State equality authority to launch a legal
      challenge to the ASAI's stance.
      Last night, gay Cork councillor Peter Kelly (FG) claimed that
      the
      ASAI decision represents a clear breach of the Equal Status Act
      (2000).
      "That Act guarantees public access to specific groups and
      sections of
      the community under a number of headings and these include race, age
      and
      sexual orientation," he said.
      Mr Kelly warned that if the GI publishers lodge a formal
      complaint
      with the equality authorities a prosecution of the ASAI must result.
      "I know that the ASAI is not a statutory body and cannot force
      people
      to remove the posters.
      "But if their ruling limits public access to the gay community
      then
      they are in clear breach of equal status provisions," Mr Kelly added.
      Last night, the ASAI said it was not ordering or forcing
      advertisers
      to remove copies of the controversial poster.
      However, an ASAI spokesperson stressed that it was the
      considered
      opinion of their secretariat that the poster would cause offence to
      certain
      sections of the public.
      They urged anyone with views on the GI poster to contact them
      in
      writing.
      A final ruling on the acceptability of the controversial GI
      poster
      will be delivered by an independent ASAI complaints panel whose
      members are
      nominated by the Director of Consumer Affairs.
      - Ralph Riegel
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