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May 4. 2012

News Briefs

WMMS host Dieter apologizes for ‘screw’ comment

Cleveland--Dominick Dieter, one of the hosts of the Rover’s Morning Glory drive-time show on WMMS 100.7 FM, was disciplined April 30 by the station for comments that seemed to advocate the rape of a lesbian teenager.

Dieter read an email during the previous Friday’s show from a man who said he had found his daughter kissing another girl.

“You should get one of your friends to screw your daughter straight,” was Dieter’s on-air response.

The comment brought immediate criticism from the show’s other hosts and a firestorm of anger from the LGBT community and its allies.

The Clear Channel station disciplined Dieter, who was suspended for at least two days as of press time, and played a recorded apology from him.

“And I just wanted to say, I understand why people are angry. I want to genuinely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by what I said. I regret what I did say. My comments were inappropriate. They were inexcusable, and just downright stupid,” Dieter said. “And I want to make it clear: There was absolutely no intention to promote physical or sexual violence.”

WMMS has also promised the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation that they would run public service announcements about the need to support LGBT youth.

Colorado Senate passes CU bill

Denver--The Colorado Senate passed a civil union bill on April 26 on a vote of 23-12.

The vote saw all 20 Democrats in the chamber supporting the measure, as well as the three female Republican senators.

A similar bill passed the state senate last year, but died in a House of Representatives committee. It may suffer the same fate this year, given that Republicans still hold a slim 33-32 lead in that chamber.

While Republican Sen. Kevin Lundberg claimed that the bill would redefine marriage, Democratic Sen. Morgan Carrol argued, “If you do not want or believe in a civil union, don’t get one, but, please, don’t hold back everybody else from having full legal equality,” according to the Denver Post.

All 50 states now have out electeds

Washington, D.C.--All 50 states now have openly gay elected officials for the first time in this nation’s history, according to the Victory Fund, a political organization committed to electing LGBT candidates.

The names of out officials in 49 states are already on the Victory Fund’s website, and they say they have identified an openly gay local official in Alaska who will soon be added, making the count official.

The Victory Fund expects to endorse a record 200 candidates in this election cycle, but it also focused on turning those already in office into major players. They are supporting Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin’s bid for the Senate seat being vacated by Russ Feingold.

The organization is also opening a western region office to help candidates in California, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana.

The USS Harvey Milk

San Diego, Calif.--The United States Navy should name a ship after Harvey Milk, who was a naval officer in the 1950s, according to San Diego’s Rep. Bob Filner.

He wrote to Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, saying that it would be a fitting tribute to Milk’s dedication to equality and a signal that the military was a truly equal place after the end of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Milk served aboard a submarine rescue vessel as diving officer, and was later stationed in San Diego as a diving instructor.

Filner is running for mayor of San Diego.

Sponsor drops ‘don’t say gay’ bill

Knoxville, Tenn.--A bill barring discussion of homosexuality in K-8 classrooms in the state is being dropped by its sponsor after state board of education officials assured him that the topic would not be taught at those grade levels.

Rep. Joey Hensley said Department of Education and board of education officials said they would send a letter to schools containing those grade levels telling them they cannot teach about homosexuality at those ages.

It already passed the state senate and the Tennessee House of Representatives Education Committee, and was awaiting approval from the Calendar Committee to schedule it for a final floor vote.

He said, though, that he might reintroduce it next legislative session if he sees any sign of “alternative lifestyles” being taught.

Bill would let spouses get Social Security

Washington, D.C.--Rep. Linda Sanchez of Los Angeles has introduced the Social Security Equality Act, which would grant same-sex couples the same benefits as heterosexual married couples if one member dies.

She cited numbers indicating that gay male couples get 18 percent less in Social Security benefits, while lesbian couples get 31 percent less benefits than heterosexual couples.

She held a press conference on April 26 in support of the legislation, which has 95 co-sponsors in the House. Hal Sparks, who starred in the American version of Queer as Folk, and George Takei of Star Trek both appeared at the event. Takei is gay, Sparks is not.

If the bill were to pass, which is unlikely in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, it could alleviate inequalities in four regards: the death benefit, which gives a stipend towards funeral expenses, retirement benefits, disability benefits and survivor benefits.

The bill was first introduced in 2010.

Jesus was probably gay, priest says

Wellington, New Zealand--Father Paul Oestreicher preached an unorthodox Good Friday sermon this year, asserting that Jesus was probably gay.

The Anglican priest saw the pain that his church caused LGBT people over the centuries, as well as how gay issues have divided it globally, and took the opportunity to lay out a message of inclusion, upon which he elaborated in an article in the Guardian newspaper in England.

“Was that divisive issue a subject for Good Friday?” he asked. “For the first time in my ministry I felt it had to be. Those last words of Jesus would not let me escape.”

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman behold your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home,” he quoted the Bible.

Oestreicher went on to point out that John, the disciple, is often depicted in paintings of the Last Supper with his head on Jesus’ chest, and that John was the only disciple to stay with Jesus.

He also pointed out that, while Jesus was a rabbi, he was unmarried, which is very unusual, and that there is no biblical evidence of a romantic relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

“Had he been devoid of sexuality, he would not have been truly human. To believe that would be heretical,” Oestreicher writes. “The intimate relationship with the beloved disciple points in that direction. It would be so interpreted in any person today. Although there is no rabbinic tradition of celibacy, Jesus could well have chosen to refrain from sexual activity, whether he was gay or not.”

“Many Christians will wish to assume it, but I see no theological need to. The physical expression of faithful love is godly,” he posits.

“Whether Jesus was gay or straight in no way affects who he was and what he means for the world today,” he concludes, noting that there are many LGBT people who remain faithful members of the church despite the poor treatment they receive. “Would the Christian churches in their many guises more openly accept, embrace and love them, there would be many more disciples.”

Out Olympic wrestler marries

Cedar Rapids, Iowa--Stephany Lee married her wife, Brigg McDonald, two days after qualifying for the United States Olympic Wrestling Team.

The trials being held in Iowa, which has full same-sex marriage, allowed for the service, which means Lee will compete in London this summer as a married woman.

In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, counted less than a dozen openly gay athletes; most gay Olympians come out after their careers have ended.

Gay Olympic gold medal swimmer Mark Tewksbury will also be in London, although not to compete. He will be Canada’s chef de mission, the point person for athletes, fans and media from Canada at the Games.

Tewksbury left the Olympics to become involved in LGBT sports organizations and corporate training, and is surprised to be heading back to the Olympics 12 years later.

Poll: 47% for, 43% against marriage

Washington, D.C.--Public opinion on same-sex marriage has changed sharply in the last 11 years, moving from opposition to guarded support, according to a new Pew poll.

The poll by the nonpartisan public research firm showed 47 percent of Americans in favor of same-sex marriage, with 43 percent opposed. In 2001, only 35 were in favor, with 57 percent opposed.

For those with strong opinions on the issue, it is tied at about 22 percent strongly opposed and 22 percent strongly in favor. Four years ago, twice as many people strongly opposed it as strongly supported it, and in 2004 it was more than three to one strongly opposed.

Among those born after 1981, support for same-sex marriage stands at 63 percent, indicating a strong generational shift in attitudes. Besides this, however, support for same-sex marriage has increased in all age groups in the poll.

Compiled by Brian DeWitt, Anthony Glassman and Patti Harris.















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