12th October, 2001 (# 3) News Clippings Digest.
- 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
4. IRISH INDEPENDENT Poster for a new gay magazine is described by
the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) as "likely to
Associated Press, October 12, 2001
Groups protest domestic partner bill awaiting action by Davis
JIM WASSERMAN, Associated Press Writer
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A traditional family coalition,
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
and lesbian couples and senior heterosexual couples a dozen of the
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
people are finding something awful is happening in the Capitol."
Thomasson, standing with 40 supporters after similar rallies
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
he can become the biggest hypocrite in the state," Thomasson said.
The Campaign claims the bill would cost the state $1 million
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,
Francisco, say it's only fair that gay partners get more of the same
as heterosexual married couples.
Eric Astacaan of the California Alliance for Pride and
said, "These are critical tools that couples need in times of crisis."
Among them are rights to make medical decisions for
partners, sue for wrongful deaths, act as conservators and adopt a
child. Other rights include sick leave to care for a family member
provide partners with employer-based health care coverage.
Astacaan said, "They are very basic. You would think with all
things that are happening right now these things would not rile
The domestic partner bill follows Migden's 1999 legislation
a registry for domestic partners at the Secretary of State's office.
than 16,000 people signed up, giving them rights to visit partners in
hospital and negotiate state health benefits for partners. Astacaan
the city of San Francisco and corporations such as American Airlines,
Microsoft, Intel and Apple offer health benefits for domestic
Thomasson said Migden's bill undermines a March 2000 vote in
most voters said marriage should be between a man and woman.
Gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon also called on Davis to
. 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/ )
D.C. Gay Partners Benefit Advances
Like House, Senate Panel Drops Ban; Aides Say GOP Leaders May Block
By Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post Staff Writer
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted yesterday to end a
ban on the District's use of local tax dollars to extend health
After the Democratic-controlled panel's near-party-line vote,
13, to approve the District's $5.3 billion fiscal 2002 budget with the
change, Democratic aides said some Senate Republican leaders
derail the spending plan by not permitting it to reach the Senate
A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.)
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
moneys. They're fungible," Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska), ranking
Republican, said in opposing the measure. "They're spending United
taxpayer money on things that are contrary to the basic concepts" of
The opposition comes as city leaders and friendly lawmakers
sought to roll back congressional restrictions and expand home rule,
that includes legislation to shrink Congress's role in reviewing the
The House, prompted by Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.),
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
prohibition on the domestic partner benefit as well as congressional
the city's use of local funds for drug needle exchange programs, to
Congress and to support lawsuits to increase the District's voting
"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
District is allowed to use their own money for their own laws. . . .
is as much about Cleveland and New Orleans as it is about Washington,
that cities should make budgets and spend their own money as they
The domestic partner law would allow city employees to buy
insurance at group rates for their unmarried partners. It would allow
same-sex and heterosexual couples who live together to register with
city and claim family status at health care facilities, nursing homes
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
budget includes $398 million in federal funds and $1.7 billion in
The Senate panel authorized the city to spend $16.1 million on
emergency preparedness and for security planning for the canceled
meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
The House, which faulted the District's preparedness for the
attacks, voted to withhold half the money and other federal funds
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
within the District's Superior Court to focus on child abuse and
cases, and $34 million for drug treatment of criminal offenders who
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.
(R-Ohio) are supporting legislation that would end Congress's annual
of all local funding decisions by 2004.
In exchange, the city would make permanent financial reforms
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@... )
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
threats of physical violence were frightening, but they were seldom
than a shove. Except for that one time when a couple of neighborhood
teenagers caught him and threatened to make him do certain things,
they said they knew he liked. But Tareq says was lucky. In the end,
just punched him in the stomach and face until his eyes swelled
worst part was lying to his family that he didn't know who had beaten
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
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
her with suspicion, watching for proof that the accusations were
Neither Samira nor Tareq live in Lebanon any more. Like many,
have decided that for the foreseeable future at least, their country
nothing for them. But Samira and Tareq were not compelled to leave
economic or political reasons. They left because they are gay and
no way to reconcile their sexual orientation with their cultural
Tareq left in 1991, ostensibly to study in London, but he says
even before he got on the plane, he knew he was not coming back. Not
could help it.
Samira left more recently. She has been in Paris for three
now. At first she attended college. Then her funds ran out and her
expired and for the last six months she has lived in fear that the
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
an e-mail interview. "My family will never accept that I am gay and
they did, I am tired of hiding, and where would I find a partner who
prepared to live openly in Lebanon?"
Michel is also gay. Stories like Tareq's and Samira's are why
also believes he can only live his life outside Lebanon. Last year,
found a job in California and for the first time, he lives his life
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
into a Green Card marriage, he has opted for a bolder strategy to
residency. Earlier this year, he began an application for asylum on
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
men and lesbians who, over the last decade, have petitioned a handful
Western countries for asylum on the basis of their sexual orientation.
A relatively new addition to the list of provisions enshrined
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
To date, this article has been invoked to grant asylum to
and gay men in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany,
Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Belgium,
the US. Although none publish numbers of such cases, immigration
acknowledge that as word gets around, the number is rising.
Michel's experience appears to support this belief. "Since I
here, I've met many people of Arab descent, amongst them four
were granted asylum based on sexual orientation," he said.
The US-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights
runs an asylum project that acts as both a monitoring and information
service. Project coordinator Dusty Araujo says he knows of at least
cases involving Lebanese applicants since 1994, nine of which were
Another option, at least for those whose partner is a French
national, is to register as a same-sex couple under the 1999 Pacte
However they decide to do it, anecdotal evidence suggests many
Lebanon's lesbian and gays, especially the younger ones, are choosing
leave for good. Everyone who spoke to The Daily Star could name at
three gay friends who had already left and many more who were in the
"There isn't any reason to stay here if you're gay and things
getting worse," explained one woman who has decided to apply for
somewhere in Europe.
Factors motivating this exodus in part reflect the same
that move the Lebanese who emigrate each year, but additional factors
Lebanon's lesbians and gays include the fear of extortion, arrest and
The trial of a Mount Lebanon couple, who were arrested after
obtained a video of one of their sex sessions - made by a computer
from a video file he had discovered on their computer - will only
that desire to emigrate.
Even non-sexual encounters are risky. Places known to be
by lesbians and gays are often raided by police in search of easy
Worse still, some of the meeting places dish out abuse to their own
Danny, whose partner is seeking asylum in Europe, tells of a
nightclub where bouncers have been known to abuse patrons they
Danny knows all about harassment. His appearance, while tame
or Shibuya standards, singles him out for attack.
A few weeks ago, Danny was banned from Dunkin' Donuts on
Square. "The bouncer told me the manager had specifically told him
let in any 'gay-looking' or 'hippie-looking' person," he says.
When contacted for his reaction to these incidents, Wissam
assistant manager for the US-chain in Lebanon, could not have been
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
of trouble-makers . We told them to watch out for anyone like this
instead, they decided to stop anyone they didn't like the look of from
"It was so ironic this happened in Achrafieh," says Danny. "I
to go to this seedy little club in Ouzai . practically in drag, but I
For all the allure of living an openly gay life in the West,
move is not easy.
"It's not like people here are any more accepting," says
"Just because I am free to hold my girlfriend's hand in public
everybody accepts me as a lesbian."
Additionally, while their heterosexual compatriots can enjoy
comforts of Middle Eastern communities, lesbian and gay Arabs often
they are no more accepted in these communities than they are at home.
"I thought things were bad in Aleppo, but the community here
more narrow-minded than at home," says Ehab, a Syrian man who lives in
After he was spotted walking with his partner, within several
the news had made its way home. "The next thing I know, I get a
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
that Samira avoided even other gay Arabs in Paris. Now she is
moving to another part of Europe and applying for asylum.
"I have been here too long, I can't become a refugee now," she
"I wish I could explain to the government that I don't want to stay
make money, I want to stay here because in Lebanon, my life will be
. 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 )
Players kissing in gay ad may get red card
A controversial poster for a new gay magazine has been
the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) as "likely to
The poster for GI magazine, which is Irish-owned and published,
depicts two players in prominent GAA county colours - Tipperary and
Dublin and Kerry respectively - indulging in a passionate kiss.
Croke Park has been flooded with complaints about the poster
However, the GAA has refused to comment on the matter as their
Croke Park hierarchy including President, Sean McCaigue, General
Liam Mulvihill, and Corporate Affairs Director, Danny Lynch are in
for the International Rules Series.
If the advert is ratified as offensive by the ASAI's
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
ASAI decision represents a clear breach of the Equal Status Act
"That Act guarantees public access to specific groups and
the community under a number of headings and these include race, age
sexual orientation," he said.
Mr Kelly warned that if the GI publishers lodge a formal
with the equality authorities a prosecution of the ASAI must result.
"I know that the ASAI is not a statutory body and cannot force
to remove the posters.
"But if their ruling limits public access to the gay community
they are in clear breach of equal status provisions," Mr Kelly added.
Last night, the ASAI said it was not ordering or forcing
to remove copies of the controversial poster.
However, an ASAI spokesperson stressed that it was the
opinion of their secretariat that the poster would cause offence to
sections of the public.
They urged anyone with views on the GI poster to contact them
A final ruling on the acceptability of the controversial GI
will be delivered by an independent ASAI complaints panel whose
nominated by the Director of Consumer Affairs.
- Ralph Riegel
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