National News Notes
Gay Obama supporters launch site
PORTLAND, Ore. — LGBT supporters of Sen. Barack Obama for president have launched an online community portal for information and discussion about the campaign and easy to use tools for getting involved. The website, LGBTforOBAMA.com, is the brainchild of longtime gay activist and Democratic Party loyalist Terry Bean.
“After devouring many polls and talking to friends, it was apparent that many GLBT people were unaware of the stark differences on our issues between Barack Obama and John McCain,” said Bean. “I was appalled that George Bush got 24 percent of the GLBT vote in 2000 and again in 2004 and vowed to do all that I could to prevent that from happening again with John McCain.”
According to Bean, the website has garnered support from community leaders, online bloggers and celebrities, who will provide daily content and commentary. He said the LGBTforOBAMA.com team currently includes: John Aravosis (americablog.com), Chad Allen (actor), Eric Marcus (bilerico.com), The Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson, Michangelo Signorile
(signorile2003.blogspot.com) and Pam Spaulding (pamshouseblend.com) among numerous others.
Voters support gay marriage
MONTCLAIR, N.J. — A slim majority of New Jersey voters favor marriage for same-sex couples over civil unions and an even bigger majority “would be fine” with public officials changing the state’s civil union law to marriage equality, according to a new Zogby Poll commissioned by Garden State Equality. By 59 to 36 percent, New Jerseyans said they wouldn’t mind if public officials changed the civil union law to marriage equality. A stunning 69 percent believe marriage equality is inevitable in the state.
“No one should doubt the meaning of these numbers,” said Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality. “New Jersey wants to end discrimination in marriage, and is ready for our public officials to do it right now. The civil union law is one the greatest civil rights failures of our time. New Jersey sees that and understands that justice delayed is justice denied.”
In one of the poll’s most interesting results, 53 percent of respondents said insurance companies unfairly discriminate against transgender people by not covering the medical treatments that doctors deem vital to gender transition. Thirty-six percent felt this denial by insurance companies is fair.
Court: Docs can’t discriminate
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — In a sweeping victory for healthcare equality, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling Aug. 18 declaring that the physicians of the North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group cannot deny medical treatment to individuals based on their sexual orientation. In 1999, North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group refused to provide fertility treatments to Guadalupe Benitez because she is a lesbian in a same-sex relationship.
In 2004, the trial court held that the medical group must comply with California’s anti-discrimination laws, rejecting the doctors’ claim that they were exempt based on their fundamentalist Christian beliefs. After the California Court of Appeal set aside that decision, Lambda Legal sought review from the California Supreme Court.
“It’s wrong and shocking that some doctors felt their religious beliefs allowed them to ignore the law and discriminate,” said Benitez, who is now a mother of three children. “Anyone could be the next target if doctors are allowed to pick and choose their patients based on religious views about other groups of people.”
Gay Pakistani man seeking asylum
FALLS CHURCH, Va. — The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center have filed an amicus brief with the Board of Immigration Appeals on behalf of a number of other LGBT, HIV/AIDS and immigrant-rights organizations in support of a Pakistani man seeking asylum and withholding of removal. The gay, HIV-positive man, identified as S.K., said he fears persecution based on his sexual orientation and HIV status.
Under Pakistani law, being gay is punishable by death. Even so, the Immigration Judge denied the application for asylum on the grounds that S.K. could avoid persecution by hiding his sexual orientation, marrying a woman and having children. The Board of Immigration Appeals originally upheld the decision but agreed to review the case a second time.
“No one should have to live in fear that just by being themselves they could be punished with prison or death by their own government,” said Shannon Price Minter, legal director of NCLR. The case is pending at press time.
D.C. lands soccer world tourney
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The International Gay Lesbian Football Association has awarded the Federal Triangles Soccer Club of Washington, D.C. the 2009 Gay Soccer World Championship. The tournament is scheduled to take place June 14-21, 2009. This will be the second time that the Federal Triangles have hosted the tournament.
Federal Triangles Soccer Club President Jim Ensor said, “We are thrilled to have the prestigious IGLFA tournament returning to our wonderful city . … The men and women traveling to our city to take part in the Championship will find a city rich in history, a region full of exciting sights, and a culture of acceptance that will make them feel welcome.”
The 2008 World Championship was held in London last month with participation from close to 40 teams representing more than a dozen countries.