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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 1, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 40
National News
Section One
ALL STORIES
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National News

California Legislature calls for census count of LGBTs
The California Assembly passed a resolution August 23 urging Congress and President Barack Obama to require that the next census count LGBT Americans.
Introduced by Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, the measure passed 49-25. It previously passed the Senate 22-9.
'All segments of our nation's diverse population need to be counted by the U.S. Census," said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors. "By ensuring that the LGBT community is counted, our state and federal government will have the necessary information to address the needs of our community.'
Kehoe said, 'LGBT families and households are disproportionately underserved and more likely to live in poverty. We call on the U.S. Congress and the president to ensure that every person living in the U.S. is counted and has access to culturally competent health and human services. '
California Senate unanimously votes to repeal anti-Gay law
The California Senate on August 23 unanimously passed a bill to repeal a 1950s-era law that instructs the California Department of Mental Health to conduct research into the "causes and cures of homosexuality."
The repeal previously passed the Assembly and heads to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger after an Assembly concurrence vote.
"It is outrageous that California law requires the state to expend scarce resources in a futile attempt to 'cure' homosexuality," said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors. "This offensive code must be stricken from the books immediately."
Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach and sponsor of the bill, said the Legislature's overwhelming opposition to the law "speaks volumes about how far we've come since 1950."
California Legislature ups the ante in marriage wars
The California Assembly passed the Civil Marriage Religious Freedom Act on August 19 in a 46-25 vote. It previously passed the Senate 23-11 and is now en route to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Introduced by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and promoted by Equality California and the California Council of Churches, the bill redundantly protects clergy members from having to perform civil marriages that conflict with their religious beliefs.
It also redundantly protects religious institutions from losing tax-exempt status for refusing to perform any civil marriage, and deepens the distinction in state law between religious and civil marriage by defining the latter as a civil contract that requires a state-issued marriage license.
Both of the "protections" in the bill already exist throughout the U.S., including California.
"Opponents of marriage equality have falsely claimed that allowing same-sex couples to marry will force clergy to violate the tenets of their faiths," said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. "This bill should alleviate any concerns that restoring marriage equality will require clergy to perform weddings inconsistent with their faith."
Scott Long leaves Human Rights Watch
Scott Long resigned August 23 as director of Human Rights Watch's LGBT Rights Program.
In a note to friends, Long wrote: "In mid-July I suffered a pulmonary embolism of a fairly unpleasant sort. While running to catch a bus on a New York street, I saw a blinding effusion of white light, amid which several spangled and bell-bottomed figures vaguely resembling ABBA beckoned me to an eternal disco complete with spinning ball. Yanked back from their blandishments by a superior fashion sense, I spent a couple of weeks in intensive care. I had plenty of time lying in a bendable bed with an IV dripping, to compose, like Woody Allen, lists of the things that make life worth living: the last movement of Bruckner's Third Symphony; "Sit Down, I Think I Love You" as covered by the Staccatos, with that harpsichord and those violins; the closing pages of Lolita; W. H. Auden as sung by Cleo Laine. Somewhere in the middle of the lists, I realized that working for Human Rights Watch wasn't on them."
Long said he likely will pursue a fellowship at Harvard University, from which he received his Ph.D., and write a book "about what's moral and what's immoral about 'international solidarity,' and what's worked and what hasn't in campaigns for sexual rights."
"Scott's exemplary dedication and diligence has been an inspiration to us all," said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and a member of HRW's LGBT Advisory Committee. "His articulate and relentless defense of LGBT rights everywhere is unparalleled, and his tremendous efforts on this front have been a guiding voice for justice and equality."
In addition to amassing a long list of accomplishments during his eight-year tenure at HRW, Long occasionally sparked controversy. In June, HRW issued an apology to British Gay leader Peter Tatchell for what HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth called Long's "inappropriate and disparaging comments" about Tatchell in recent years.
With assistance from Bill Kelley

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