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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Help End California’s Search for the “Gay Cure”

As hard as it is to believe, California law still instructs the State Department of Mental Health to conduct research into the supposed "causes and cures of homosexuality."

Yesterday, with overwhelming bipartisan support (only one member voting no) the California Assembly passed AB2199, an EQCA-sponsored bill to repealing this law.

However, the anti-gay right-wing groups are already activating their base to put an end to this bill. Why? Because they know that when people realize that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be "cured," they are much more likely to support full equality for the LGBT community.

The Traditional Values Coalition has made defeating this bill a priority, they want the state to support their dangerous position that sexual orientation can be changed. The Traditional Values Coalition has added this bill to their “Target List” of bills to be defeated saying:

“AB 2199 would forever strike from the Welfare and Institutions code the requirement that the State Department of Mental Health conduct research on the ’causes and cures of homosexuality.’ Right now, this is required in the law. But homosexual advocates do not want the state to study ways to help people leave the homosexual lifestyle. They want the world to think that people are ’born gay.’”

Please urge Governor Schwarzenegger to support this legislation so that California law will treat LGBT Californians with the dignity and respect they deserve. Please sign EQCA (Equality California) petition urging the Governor to support repealing this offensive law!

Click here to sign the petition!

And please tell everyone you know asking them to contact the Governor today!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Law Suit Claims Elderly Gay Couple Were Forced Apart

I just read this article in the NY times today and was appalled, especially since I live in this area. I cannot believe this happen here, in such a liberal county. So I thought I would share this article with you and get your thoughts.

Clay M. Greene’s story, as recounted in his recent lawsuit against Sonoma County, is a tale of loss, doubled and redoubled. For gay men and lesbians, the series of events outlined in the complaint hits very close to home.

Mr. Greene, a 78-year-old gay man from Sebastopol, has filed a lawsuit against Sonoma County after saying he sustained a spate of indignities at the hands of officials during a bizarre estate battle that took place when his partner, who was 88, fell and became hospitalized in 2008.

News of Mr. Greene’s complaint came as President Obama was making headlines for his order extending hospital visitation rights and decision-making authority to same-sex partners.

The detailed complaint was filed on March 22, but news of it began ricocheting around the Internet, beginning on gay and lesbian sites Sunday and reaching venues like Daily Kos by Monday.

Mr. Greene’s troubles began when Harold Scull, his partner for more than 20 years, fell down the steps of their home in April 2008. At the time, the complaint said, Mr. Scull was showing signs of mental impairment.

County officials successfully petitioned the court to gain some powers of conservatorship. Then they “sold, kept, converted to their own use, and otherwise disposed of” almost $500,000 worth of belongings from the home shared by the two men — including furniture, art objects, memorabilia from the years Mr. Scull spent working in Hollywood, as well as a truck and two cats, the lawsuit alleges.

Mr. Greene said that he and Mr. Scull had previously specified each other as executors in case either became incapacitated, but the county ignored the legal documents and the history of their relationship, and at one point referred to Mr. Greene as Mr. Scull’s “roommate.”

Citing the state of Mr. Greene’s mental health, county officials then moved him against his will into a nursing home and sold the rest of his belongings, the suit charged. He was not allowed to visit Mr. Scull, who died several months later, in August 2008.

The nursing home, Agua Caliente Villa of Sonoma, is named as a defendant in the case. So is the auction company that sold the couple’s belongings.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights has joined the lawsuit, calling the situation an example of why “same-sex couples need full equality.”

Gay and lesbian elderly individuals, in particular, are vulnerable because “they are often estranged from their family and don’t have a legally recognized relative,” said Shannon P. Minter, the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “Even here, where they had filled out legal documents, because their relationship is so thoroughly invisible and disrespected, it didn’t protect them.”

Mr. Minter said Mr. Greene’s situation was far less likely to happen to the surviving spouse of a heterosexual marriage.

Messages left at the office of Sonoma County’s legal counsel seeking comment were not returned. A message seeking comment left at the office of Anne Dennis, Mr. Greene’s lawyer, was not returned. Mr. Minter said Mr. Greene was unavailable for comment because he was in a “fragile” psychological state.

Embedded in the legalese of the complaint were stark anecdotal nuggets. At one point, as county officials moved through the couple’s home, the complaint alleged, they commented on the “quality” and “desirability” of the furnishings. They also mocked Mr. Greene, he said, calling him a “crazy old man,” said he had “dementia” and was a lost cause, laughed at him, and told him to “shut up and go to your room.”

On another instance, Mr. Greene claimed that employees acting as the county’s Deputy Public Guardians rolled their eyes and said in his presence, “you know how those gay boys are” and later expressed “displeasure at dealing with expressions of grief by a gay man who had lost his longtime partner.”

The case will go to trial on July 16, Mr. Minter said.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Melissa Etheridge and Wife Tammy Call It Quits

PEOPLE just announced that Melissa and Tammy have ended their almost 9 year relationship.

"Melissa and Tammy Etheridge are saddened to announce that they are now separated," Melissa's rep told PEOPLE magazine.

"We ask for consideration and respect for our family as we go through this difficult period," the former couple said in a statement to on Thursday.

Melissa, 48, and Tammy, 35, exchanged vows in 2003, and in 2006 Tammy gave birth to their twins, son Miller and daughter Johnnie Rose.

Melissa became one of the first out lesbian celebrities in 1993, and she and Julie Cypher, who left husband Lou Diamond Phillips for Etheridge, were one of the first "OUT" lesbian celebrity couples. Etheridge is also the mother of two children, Bailey, 13, and Beckett, 11, with former partner Julie Cypher.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lesbian Superhero Gets Her Own Comic Book Series

DC Comics heroine Batwoman, who was originally introduced in 1954 and then reintroduced as a lesbian in 2006, is finally getting her own series later this year.

Batwoman, whose her alter ego is wealthy socialite Kate Kane, has recently been the lead feature in Detective Comics, while Batman (Bruce Wayne) has been lost in time. Her starring role in that series was all part of DC’s strategy.

"I'd like to think of it as not a big step, but really something that's well deserved," said Dan Didio, DC's executive editor.

"We had some negativity at the early stages when we first introduced her, but people have really embraced the character over the past three years."

“We wanted to make sure she was introduced properly and that people got to know the character,” said Dan DiDio, who is co-publisher of DC Comics with Jim Lee. “The response has been so strong that we decided to spin her out to her own series.”

The Detective stories, by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams, received a GLAAD Media Award last month for Outstanding Comic Book and included a look at Ms. Kane’s past service in the military and her discharge for being a lesbian.

The move by marks the first ongoing series by a major comic book publisher with a lesbian character in the title role.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Martina Navratilova Reveals She Has Breast Cancer

On Wednesday, tennis legend Martina Navratilova announced she was diagnosed with a noninvasive form of breast cancer and that her doctors say that the prognosis is very good.

In an interview on Wednesday Navratilova said that a routine mammogram in January found a lump, and a biopsy showed that it was ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, which is the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer. In March, Navratilova had a lumpectomy and will start six weeks of radiation therapy in May.

"It was such a shock for me," Navratilova said. "It was my 9/11."

Wednesday in an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America," Navratilova told interviewer Robin Roberts, a breast cancer survivor herself, "It is just in that one breast. I'm OK and I'll make a full recovery."

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 50,000 women each year are diagnosed with DCIS, in which abnormal cells have not left the milk duct to penetrate breast tissue. It is removed because it is a risk factor for developing invasive cancer.

Navratilova said she initially wanted to keep her diagnosis quiet but then decided she could help others by going public. She regrettably admits having waited 4 years between her mammogram appointments, when women 40 and older should be getting a mammogram every 1-2 years. Navratilova said she felt lucky that the doctors were able to catch the DCIS at such an early stage and is thankful that she hadn't waited longer to make her appointment.

Her hope is that by sharing her story with the public she will help to educate more women about breast cancer and perhaps even motivate them to get their yearly mammogram.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lesbian Virtual Dating is HERE!

For the last 15 years or so the online dating industry has become the "norm" for anyone looking for a date. Every day millions of people visit dating sites in search of that special someone, but how many of us are truly successful?

Recently, a group of researchers from Harvard University, Duke University and MIT investigated ways to improve online dating and what they came up with is adding virtual dating to the mix.

What they found was that online dating failed to meet some user expectations because people often wish to screen potential partners by experiential attributes such as sense of humor or shyness, but most online dating web sites only allow a search by "searchable" attributes like body shape, income, religion, etc. In their beta testing they found that people who go on virtual dates first tend to like each other more when they meet in person and are two times more likely to go on a second date.
(Click here to read the entire study findings.)

So in light of this information, we have decided to add Virtual Dating to our own online personals website.

So how does it all work you ask?
It is actually quite easy. Virtual Dating is a lot like your typical IM chat. You interact through a photo-realistic 3D characters known as Avatars, which respond naturally to the typed text and provide a fun dating experience (e.g., typing LOL makes your avatar laugh). You can even blow a kiss or reach over and touch the hand of another avatar. Virtual dating is 100% browser-based and does not require users to install any software.

Plus this Thursday, April 8th, is FREE VDATE Thursday. So anyone can tryout Vdate for FREE! It is as simple as finding a member online that you are interested in, inviting her on a dating and starting the date.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Texas Court OK's Lesbian Divorce

On Wednesday a judge in Austin Texas gave final approval to a divorce decree sought by a lesbian couple who had married in Massachusetts in 2004.

State District Judge Scott Jenkins declined to consider Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s request to intervene in the divorce case, Austin American Statesman reports. Attorneys from Abbott’s office had argued that a Texas judge cannot legally grant a divorce to a gay or lesbian couple because state law defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

After they were married, Angelique Naylor, 39, and Sabina Daly, 42, returned to their home in Austin and adopted a son, who is now 4.

The couple separated last year and Naylor filed for divorce in December. Naylor continues to live in Austin, while Daly moved to San Antonio with their son.

The divorce petition, which Daly originally opposed, landed in Jenkins’ court. Throughout the case he has been focusing on finding a solution that would be in the best interest of Naylor’s and Daly’s child. During a hearing in February, Jenkins urged the two parents to think of their child, according to lawyers for each of them. After two days of discussion with Jenkins, Naylor and Daly agreed to share custody of their son and agreed on how to divide their property.

The American Statesman reports on his final order:

Jenkins noted in granting a final divorce decree to the couple that family law cases involving children are the hardest he considers. He said he always conjures a mental image of the child involved when hearing them and had done so with Daly and Naylor’s son. He recited the boy’s birthday from memory.

Jenkins said that even when the children are not told about the litigation, “there is potential for collateral damage” to the children involved.

“I feel that children feel stress and pick it up in the very air they breathe,” he said.

He said children are what “we are supposed to be concerned about as lawyers and as judges.”

Then, speaking about the attorney general’s office, he said: “The wise and merciful thing to do in this case is to simply leave these parties alone.”

In a separate case, involving a divorce granted to a gay male couple in Dallas, an appeals court is considering arguments from Abbot that divorces cannot be granted to gay or lesbian couples. Jenkins ruled that that case could supply legal precedent without the need to delay finality for the Daly/Naylor family.


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