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    March 31, 2010

    A queer way to Queer the Census

    Posted by: Chris

    Queer the census gay ngltf
    Though I wouldn't put it anywhere near the top of the Gay Agenda, the movement to "Queer the Census" to make sure single gay folks are counted makes good sense. After all, the Census is designed to get an accurate count of the demographic sweep of this great nation, and this year marks the first time that gay couples are being permitted to mark themselves as "married."

    Even though these same-sex do not specfically have a "gay" box to check, the fact that they mark themselves as having the same gender will make that clear for them. Gay couples who are unmarried but cohabitating are also indirectly counted the same way -- by marking their gender as the same and indicating they are unmarried partners. But there's no way for gay and bisexual Americans to be counted as part of the survey.

    Enter the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, which in somewhat typical fashion takes a good idea and decreases its appeal and effectiveness. First of all, they chose to call their effort "Queering the Census," choosing a word that many gay folk would never use to describe themselves.

    Second, rather than ask that the Census ask a question about sexual orientation that determines whether each person is straight, bisexual or gay, the Task Force opted to give another option: "lesbian." Maybe this was just the way they're marketing their queer effort, but wouldn't this make more sense:

        Are you:

    • Heterosexual
    • Lesbian or Gay
    • Bisexual

    I also wonder where exactly the "gender identity" question would fit in -- including it as a third option after male and female would be offensive to many -- though not all -- transgender Americans. But it doesn't fit with a question about sexual orientation either, since gender identity is an entirely different concept -- something the good folks at the Task Force regularly forget in lumping us together as "LGBT persons."

    Perhaps all this could be worked out by the bureaucrats at the Census Bureau, but it seems to me a pretty queer way to ask that you be taken seriously if you haven't thought through such basic questions. The closest the Task Force comes to offering an answer is to offer an apology that, wait for it, "queer" isn't being pushed as a choice:

    With the huge bureaucracy that is the federal government, progress comes one small step at a time. The language on our stickers was very specifically chosen because it has been tested in other survey settings and has accurately collected data. This is the exact language we are advocating as part of the Census (minus "straight ally"). Some of our members don't like it and are writing in Queer on their stickers! It's a write-in on a write-in campaign. We encourage everyone to self-report in a manner that feels best for them. This is the case with all Census questions; it's about how you choose to identify yourself!

    March 26, 2010

    Do you get misty-eyed at bigotry?

    Posted by: Chris

    Fresh off news that a church in Gainesville, Fla., is preaching politics with a "No Homo Mayor" campaign against openly gay candidate Craig Lowe, a prominent Republican in Kansas City, Mo., is going after a lesbian state senator for the sole reason that she got married.

    Jolie Justus has represented Kansas City in the Missouri Senate since 2006, and went on to marry her partner Shonda Garrison last year in Iowa, which permits same-sex unions. That simple act of personal commitment was too much for Bob Gough, who heads up a local Republican group called the Greater Kansas City Pachyderm Club, who sent out this email:

    Jolie justus lesbian marriage flier bob gough kansas city greater pachyderm club
    Justus has already written about the gay-baiting flier on her own web site and encouraged supporters to donate to her re-election campaign via the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. As of now Justus doesn't seem too endangered, since her district is among the most reliably Democratic in the state.

    Ironically, any Republican who enters the race at this point does so with the taint that their candidacy came in response to a direct appeal to the basest instincts among the GOP faithful.

    March 24, 2010

    Homeless but not dateless for prom

    Posted by: Chris

    Derrick martin bleckley high school cochran georgia gay prom It seems us old fogeys weren't the only ones impressed by the courage it took Constance McMillen to force her Mississippi high school to let her bring her girlfriend to prom. (Constance won her legal battle and although the school prom has been canceled, the judge ordered her not to be excluded from a substitute prom some parents are putting on.)

    Also taking note was Derrick Martin, an 18-year-old in Cochran, Ga. (pop. 5,200), who asked to bring his boyfriend to the Bleckley High School prom. School officials initially said no but apparently thought better of it and relented.

    Happy ending, right? Not so much. Martin's parents apparently couldn't take the heat from the media publicity and kicked him out of the family home. Apparently they'd rather to be known for abandoning their son rather than having a gay one. Derrick is currently staying with friends.

    Take a minute and join the Facebook page set up to support Derrick. College scholarship fund, anyone?

    One down, seven to go...who's next?

    Posted by: Chris

    Speaking of effective activism, the kind that gets your attention and produces results, the Gill Action Fund folks behind Fight Back NY are back with another viral video, fresh off their lopsided defeat of ousted state Sen. Hiram Montserrate.

    Last time around featured "Sex and the City's" Cynthia Nixon with a make-my-day attitude that would make Clint Eastwood blush. This time around it's a Jaws theme, designed to put on edge the other 36 senators up for re-election who voted against marriage equality. Particularly in the hotseat are those eight, now seven, who promised beforehand to vote for the gay marriage bill but switched sides when time came to be counted.

    Can anyone imagine the D&G crowd at the Human Rights Champagne producing something this much fun...and this effective?

    Service + sacrifice > Dolce + Gabbana

    Posted by: Chris

    Joe solmonese elegant activist dolce gabbana Following up on my post yesterday about the stark contrast between the "elegant activism" of Joe Solmonese and the direct action activism of Dan Choi, a reader pointed me to some recent data about the salary on which Solmonese affords his Ann Demeulemeester, Billy Reid and D&G.

    According to a Washington Blade report based on 2008 numbers, Solmonese was paid $338,400, a staggering sum that practically doubles the measly $176,000 that Kim Gandy got paid that year to run the National Organization for Women. The Solmonese salary is a good deal higher even than the governors of all 50 states -- Arnold Schwarzenegger tops the list at $206,500, though he waives compensation. Even the President of the United States earns only slightly more, at $400,000.

    The point isn't just how much Solmonese rakes in or the types of clothes he wears. Especially given the FAIL he has to show for the millions he has already earned at HRC, the image he projects is symbolic salt in the wound for the LGBT Americans who he supposedly represents. It is a mixed message to say the least for one of Washington's highest paid lobbyists to be leading a movement of people who claim to suffer from discrimination in the workplace.

    More importantly, Dan Choi's message of service and sacrifice is far more empowering and inspiring than Solmonese's message of Dolce and Gabbana.

    We can only imagine how things might look if Dan Choi were at the helm of the Human Rights Campaign.

    March 23, 2010

    Equality by way of 'elegant activism'?

    Posted by: Chris

    Dan choi white house fence dont ask dont tell

    Joe Solmonese favors Dolce & Gabbana. Dan Choi favors your equality. The two images could not contrast more completely:

    On the one hand, there's West Point graduate Dan Choi in uniform, handcuffed to the White House fence in the form of Jesus on the cross, sacrificing his career for the fight against Don't Ask Don't Tell. On the other, there's Joe Solmonese, paid a cool million every couple of years to run the Human Rights Campaign, named "The Elegant Activist" in the 2010 Fashion Awards in the new issue of Washington Life magazine.

    Joe solmonese elegant activist washington life Solmonese, perched next to Count Renault de Viel Castel, tells Washington Life that he favors designers Ann Demeulemeester, Billy Reid, and Dolce and Gabbana.

    Tellingly, Choi had asked Solmonese and comedienne Kathy Griffin to walk with him from a Don't Ask Don't Tell rally in Freedom Plaza, actually a filming of Griffin's reality show, for the two-block walk to the White House. They declined.

    Choi hit the nail on the head in an interview with Newsweek:

    Within the gay community so many leaders want acceptance from polite society. I think there's been a betrayal of what is down inside of us in order to achieve what looks popular, what look enviable. The movement seems to be centered around how to become an elite.

    There is a deep schism [in the gay-rights movement], everyone knows this. But this shouldn't be about which group has better branding. There is a tremor right now in every gay and transgender youth that these groups are not grasping. I would say to them—you do not represent us if all you are looking for is a ladder in to elite society.

    I would take that a step further. It's not just about becoming an elite for Solmonese and his fellow travelers at HRC; it's about access.

    Access is power in a town that truly deserves its nickname as "Hollywood for ugly people," and for Solmonese and David Smith and many of those at the top of the staff and board level for HRC, the access they have with the Democrats who run Washington right now is worth too much than risking it on the actual mission of the organization they are entrusted with gazillions from our community to run.

    In years past, the void created by HRC's cloying corporatism was filled by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, or even Queer Nation and ACT UP. These days, those organizations are either gone or have so marginalized themselves by focusing on the fringe of the fringe of our community that they are no longer players.

    The grassroots group Join the Impact, which organized those nationwide protests in response to Prop 8's passage, reenergized the movement, even if HRC and the existing architecture of Gay, Inc., was too calcified to notice. Last fall's march on Washington has since given birth to GetEQUAL, which was behind the sit-ins at Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office over her failure to give the Employment Non-Discrimination Act a vote in the House.

    There's no reason why the two forms of activism could not co-exist, of course, forming the sort of good cop/bad cop combination that worked so effectively in the early days of the AIDS crisis, when those with access used the ACT UP street theater as leverage with the CDC and Big Pharma to push through earlier availability of HIV medications and greater commitment to research for treatments.

    But good cop/bad cop requires an effective activist on the inside, able to move the ball forward with politicians who naturally look for cover, not for opportunities to stick their own necks out. Unfortunately, there's no indication that Solmonese's elegant activism approaches that level of effectiveness, unless progress is measured by the number of invitations he gets to White House cocktail events, or by the number of D-List celebrities turn up at black-tie fundraisers.

    As Choi put it:

    We all know the political reality now. The only way for the repeal to go through is for the president to take leadership and put it in the Defense Authorization Bill. There's a sunset on this, and it's happening quickly. Obama told us at the HRC dinner last year, you need to put pressure on me. I was there at that dinner, in uniform. So this is my mission; the president said to pressure him and I heard that as a warning order.

    March 21, 2010

    The week on GNW (March 14-20)

    Posted by: Chris

    Here are the five biggest stories from Gay News Watch over the last week:

    1. Dutch reject faulting gay soldiers for Bosnia genocideDutch reject faulting gay soldiers for Bosnia genocide: QUICK LOOK: Dutch officials have reacted with anger and bemusement to the claim by a retired American general that their nation’s soldiers failed to prevent the Srebrenica massacre... (MORE)
    2. CIA 
sought out closeted gay Al Qaeda spy informantCIA sought out closeted gay Al Qaedda spy informant: QUICK LOOK: During the run-up to Sept. 11, there was a previously undisclosed, covert C.I.A. effort to recruit a spy to penetrate Al Qaeda a year and a half before the planes crashed... (MORE)
    3. Gay Iraq 
vet arrested in White House DADT protesGay Iraq War vet arrested in White House DADT protest: QUICK LOOK: A gay Army lieutenant and two others were arrested Thursday outside the White House in an unannounced protest against the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that bars gays from... (MORE)
    4. Episcopal Church name second out gay bishop in L.A.Episcopal Church names second out gay bishop: QUICK LOOK: The Episcopal Church gave final approval Wednesday to the ordination of an openly gay bishop in Los Angeles, putting a face behind a policy that has divided the church... (MORE)
    5. Tea Partiers call Barney Frank 'faggot' in Hill protestTea Partiers call Barney Frank 'faggot' in Hill protest: QUICK LOOK: Abusive, derogatory and even racist behavior directed at House Democrats by Tea Party protesters on Saturday left several lawmakers in shock. Preceding the president's... (MORE)
    6. Gay 
rights bills caught in Obama, D.C. stagnationGay rights bills caught in Obama, D.C. stagnation: QUICK LOOK: The Obama administration’s passive approach to guiding Congress and health reform sucking up all the air in the room has stalled other legislation, including LGBT bills... (MORE)

    And here are a few of the most popular from the last week:

    • Who
 are top 10 anti-gay activists who like to hook up?Who are top 10 anti-gay activists likely to hook up?: QUICK LOOK: In light of prominent anti-gay activist Roy Ashburn recently being caught walking out of a gay bar, and proving once again that conservative voters have little to no... (MORE)
    • Swiss
 gay man stuck naked outside trans brothel fireSwiss gay man stuck outside trans brothel fire: QUICK LOOK: *WARNING: original source NSFW*: A Swiss newspaper's front page today features a naked man, desperate to cover his face, clinging to the 4th floor balcony of a brothel... (MORE)
    • Miley 
Cyrus quit tweeting after anti-gay hate mailMiley Cyrus quit tweeting after anti-gay hate mail: QUICK LOOK: Miley Cyrus has revealed that one of the reasons the pop star closed her Twitter account was due to the amount of hate mail she received after she said she supported... (MORE)
    • Blogger
 threatens to out Pa. reps who ban marriageBlogger threatens to out Pa. reps who oppose marriage: QUICK LOOK: Pennsylvania's senate judiciary committee will take up a bill Tuesday that could constitutionally ban same-sex marriage — and a blogger is prepared to out any gay politician... (MORE)
    • WATCH: WATCH: 'Ugly Betty's' Justin gets first same-sex kiss: QUICK LOOK: With Ugly Betty winding down its run, producers have decided it's time for Betty’s young nephew Justin (Marc Indelicato) to experience his first kiss ... with another... (MORE)
    • Elton John says religious conflict led ex to kill himselfElton John says religious conflict led ex to kill himself: QUICK LOOK: A former gay lover of  singer Elton John committed suicide by throwing himself in front of a lorry it’s been revealed this week. Elton says he’s been deeply affected... (MORE)


    These were the five stories on Gay News Watch with the biggest buzz over the last seven days, along with some of the most popular stories from the last week. You can also view the stories with the biggest buzz factor from the last month or year, and the most popular from the last month or year.

    March 15, 2010

    Don't Ask, Don't Hold Your Breath

    Posted by: Chris

    Barney frank house chairman gay rights dont ask dont tell
    Stop me if you've heard this before. Once again, Democrats in Congress are blaming President Obama for putting the brakes on Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal, as if the White House introduces legislation that the House and Senate can then vote on.

    This time around, the finger-pointer is none other than Barney Frank, he that refuses to co-sponsor repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, in an interview with The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld:

    But just as the White House has pushed other legislation into the forefront only to back away and watch the congressional fireworks from afar, so it seems to be with ending the military’s gay ban. As Rep. Barney Frank told me Friday, “I’m disappointed with the administration talking about delaying legislation for a year. But I’m working with Patrick Murphy [the lead sponsor of the House repeal bill] on it and I’m hoping we can push ahead.”

    Frank has pinpointed the National Defense Authorization Act as “the only vehicle” for overturning the ban legislatively. When I noted that the White House has failed to designate the defense authorization bill over a stand-alone bill as its preferred method for repealing the policy, Frank responded, “That’s because they don’t want it done this year, not because they want it done separately.”

    Yes, it's frustrating and disappointing that the president hasn't continued to push DADT repeal as companion legislation for the just-launched Pentagon review of the gays in the military issue. And yes, that Pentagon review could have been been launched a year ago.

    But why does Barney Frank, of all people, need leadership from the White House to get the ball rolling on including DADT repeal in the Defense Authorization bill. Is this the same openly congressman who controls the fate of financial reform legislation from his post as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee?

    Barney frank finger pointing Stop pointing the finger, Barney. Tell the president his Wall Street reform goes nowhere without a full-court press from the White House for including DADT repeal in Defense Department bill. 

    Barney and Andrew Tobias and the gay Democratic elite have been telling us for years that if they controlled Congress, gay rights bills would receive a big push. When they won control in 2006, they said the big push would have to wait until a Democrat won the White House.

    Enough with the waiting, and enough with the finger-pointing. Show some leadership, Barney. It's your civil rights at issue here, not Barack Obama's. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

    March 14, 2010

    When comedy can't imitate life

    Posted by: Chris

    Eric massa saturday night live tickle fight
    The abrupt resignation of New York Congressman Eric Massa seemed ideal for a SNL send-up, replete with stories of naked shower chats with Rahm Emanuel, tickle fights with his all-bachelor flatmates, self-described "Caligula orgies" naval initiations, and -- of course -- the allegations of "snorkeling" his fellow sailors.

    Possibly for that very reason, or because it's more painful than humorous to watch the slow-motion trainwreck that is Massa's career and personal life, the skit that opened last night's SNL was among the least funny I can recall.

    Anyone want to wager how long it takes Republicans to capitalize on Massa's Navy hijinks as an example of why lifting the ban on service by openly gay service members can undermine unit cohesion?

    The week on GNW (March 8-13)

    Posted by: Chris

    Here are the five biggest stories from Gay News Watch over the last week:

    1. Gay couples begin 
to wed in Mexico CityGay couples begin to wed in Mexico City: QUICK LOOK: Five same-sex couples wed in Mexico Thursday as Mexico City became the first Latin American city to defy religious taboos and macho stereotypes by legalizing gay marriage... (MORE)
    2. Judge 
annuls Buenos Aires' first same-sex marriageJudge annuls Buenos Aires' first same-sex marriage: QUICK LOOK: A judge has annulled the marriage between two men in Buenos Aires last week, which marked the second time a gay couple in Argentina had legally tied the knot. capital,... (MORE)
    3. Same-sex wedding bells toll across Washington, D.C.Same-sex wedding bells toll across Washington, D.C.: QUICK LOOK: *VIDEO after jump*: Mayor Adrian M. Fenty congratulated three gay couples who became among the first to officially marry in the District of Columbia, in wedding ceremonies... (MORE)
    4. Sex abuse 
scandal in Germany closing in on popeSex abuse scandal in Germany closing in on pope: QUICK LOOK: A widening child sexual abuse inquiry in Europe has landed at the doorstep of Pope Benedict XVI, as a senior church official acknowledged Friday that a German archdiocese... (MORE)
    5. Meet
 the world's four newest gay rights battlegroundsMeet the world's four newest gay rights battlegrounds: QUICK LOOK: The struggle for gay rights in the United States has been going on now for decades. In other parts of the world, however, the fight is in much earlier stages. Here are... (MORE)

    And here are a few of the most popular from the last week:

    • Sandra 
Bullock includes gays in Oscar win speechSandra Bullock includes gays in Oscar win speech: QUICK LOOK: The Oscars have been called the Gay Super Bowl, but the night's only major gay highlight was an acceptance speech by best actress winner Sandra Bullock, who took home... (MORE)
    • Brazilian actor to sue for pics on 'GayTube' XXX siteBrazilian actor to sue for pics on 'GayTube' XXX site: QUICK LOOK: The family of Caio Castro, 22, says the Brazilian actor is the victom of an Internet scam that resulted in photos of him appearing on the gay porn site Gay Tube, (MORE)
    • Washington Post defends front-page gay kiss photoWashington Post defends front-page gay kiss photo: QUICK LOOK: The Washington Post stands by its decision to publish a front-page photo of a gay couple kissing that generated a high volume of complaints from readers. The newspaper... (MORE)
    • Adam 
Lambert's racy show at Sydney Gay Mardi GrasAdam Lambert gives racy show for Sydney Gay Mardi Gras: QUICK LOOK: *VIDEO after jump*: Adam Lambert had a gay ol’ time at Sydney’s legendary Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Party, Australian media have reported. San Diego’s famous glam rocker... (MORE)
    • Police officer to sue over being fired for gay porn rolePolice officer to sue for being fired over gay porn role: QUICK LOOK: When 22-year-old Michael Verdugo performed in a gay bondage flick called Rope Rituals in 1996, there was no XTube or Facebook. But when the out Hollywood, Fla., police... (MORE)


    These were the five stories on Gay News Watch with the biggest buzz over the last seven days, along with some of the most popular stories from the last week. You can also view the stories with the biggest buzz factor from the last month or year, and the most popular from the last month or year.

    March 11, 2010

    A new twist on 'blame the homo'

    Posted by: Chris

    Souleymane_ndene_ndiaye prime minister homosexuality anti gay Give Senegal's Prime Minister Souleymane Ndiaye some credit. The usual pattern we see in "blame the homo" is to explain some natural disasters or social decline -- or the threatened destruction of human civilization -- by pointing the finger at the gays.

    Ndiaye turned that little tradition on its head, explaining that the worldwide financial crisis of recent years is to blame for the gays:

    Ndiaye last year called homosexuality "a sign of a crisis of values." He said it was due to the world's economic problems, and that government ministries as well as society as a whole should fight against homosexuality.

    So according to the gaynesian economic theories of the prime minister, expect homosexuality, like unemployment figures, to be a trailing indicator of the budding economic recovery.

    One final bit of irony, since practiced readers in anti-gay politicians are already expecting it: Yes, there's some tricky hypocrisy at work here. No word whether Ndiaye himself is a closet case, but the man who calls homosexuality a "crisis of values" is defending his government's attempt to bribe an IMF official and blackmail an international cellular phone company to the tune of US$200 million.

    March 10, 2010

    Don't f**k with Miranda's marriage

    Posted by: Chris

    "We tried the carrot. Now it's time for the stick."

    That's the message from Cynthia Nixon, Miranda of "Sex and the City" fame, in a simple yet powerful new PSA for the fledgling group Fight Back NY, which exists for the sole purpose of voting out of office those state senators who voted against marriage equality a few months back.

    As the dysfunctional New York legislature was winding down for the Christmas break, hopes for same-sex marriage never seemed brighter. The state Assembly had already approved the measure and embattled Gov. David Paterson (D) was vocal in his support. The last piece of the puzzle was the Senate, where a majority or close to it had given private assurances to activists that they would supply the votes needed for passage. Instead, same-sex marriage went down to defeat by a lopsided 38-24 margin.

    With big-time political backing by Tim Gill and others, Fight Back NY was born, and convicted girlfriend abuser Hiram Montserrate (D-Queens) has been named the first target for his high-profile vote with Republicans against marriage equality.

    Cynthia Nixon asks for donations to Fight Back NY's PAC, and with a smile on her face, makes it clear that it's no more ms. nice gay for her:

    Amen, Miranda!

    March 09, 2010

    A capital case for gay marriage

    Posted by: Chris

    Buenos aires gay marriage casamento gay
    Last week was one for the history books in the movement for gay civil rights worldwide. As of last week, same-sex couples are marrying in the capitals of four of the five most populous countries in the Americas, and each city offers an important lesson about what works in making progress on the mother of all items on “the gay agenda.”
    In Mexico City, Buenos Aires and, of course, Washington, D.C., gay couples are now registering or entering into civil marriage, accessing a fundamental right already enjoyed by same-sex couples in Ottawa and throughout Canada. The only country missing from the Americas’ Top 5 is Brazil, where a patchwork of common law and judicial rulings extend some legal recognition to gay relationships in the capital Brasilia, and across the country.
    The U.S. capital of Washington, D.C., grabbed most of the headlines last week, as the conservative Chief Justice John Roberts refused a last-minute attempt to block a gay marriage law adopted by the duly elected representatives of the District of Columbia. So much for the argument that “activist judges” are imposing gay marriage on their citizens; in D.C., it was gay marriage opponents who appealed to unelected judges to thwart the will of the majority.
    Primary credit for that mammoth electoral achievement goes to a grassroots effort by a group called D.C. for Marriage, who tired of the snail’s pace and incremental progress made over many years by long-time activists and pushed the envelope with local politicians who had given lip service to marriage equality but still ducked for cover whenever possible.
    If you agree with that aggressive strategy, then take a moment to check out the national org Freedom to Marry, where Michael Crawford, one of D.C. for Marriage’s founders, is now heading up online organizing.
    The other key player in the fight for marriage in our nation’s capital was David Catania, first elected as a gay Republican to a citywide seat on the D.C. Council and later quit his party when President Bush introduced a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage nationwide.
    Allies are crucial to the fight, of course, but we have seen time and again that having one of our own at the table makes all the difference. The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund has taken the leadership role in electing out LGBT politicians to office, and has consistently maintained some of the highest non-profit ratings for putting donor dollars to use in actually accomplishing that mission.
    As important symbolically as gay marriage is in Washington, D.C, the real impact is dwarfed by the availability just two days later of marriage to same-sex couples among the 20 million-plus living in Mexico City, the most populous city in either North or South America.
    As in D.C., marriage equality was achieved in Mexico’s Districto Federal by the locally elected legislature, which defied last-ditch conservative attempts to veto the new law in court. Despite dire threats about a national backlash, the center-left Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), which is a minority party at the federal level, pushed the gay marriage bill through.
    The same courage hasn’t been displayed of yet by the center-left party that in firm control of the federal government here in the land of the free and home of the brave. Despite Barack Obama’s pledge during the primaries that, unlike Hillary Clinton, he would support full and total repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, a bill to do just that has languished for months in Congress.
    Even Barney Frank, the powerful gay Democrat, is acting like he is a Democrat first and a gay man second, refusing even to co-sponsor the legislation for fear it would pressure Nancy Pelosi into actually expending some political capital on our behalf. After years of broken promises to push gay rights legislation through Congress, the Democratic Party at a minimum owes LGBT Americans the immediate repeal of the two anti-gay law signed by a Democrat, Bill Clinton: DOMA and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
    Finally, and for only the second time, a gay couple in the beautiful Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires has tied the knot, after a deadlock in rulings by local judges was broken. Now that events in D.C. and Mexico City have put the lie to that old conservative saw about “activist judges” being the target of gay marriage opposition, rather than gay folks ourselves, it’s important to redouble our efforts here in the U.S. in the courtroom.
    The most promising case is a lawsuit brought in San Francisco to challenge Proposition 8, which could lead to universal gay marriage rights throughout the country. The suit, brought by conservative legal kingpin Ted Olson and liberal David Boies, is itself a rogue effort associated with the newly founded American Foundation for Equal Rights.
    Still, the good folks at Lambda Legal continue to achieve groundbreaking results that can’t be matched by any other national gay group, to forego the black tie dinners for once and get more equality bang for your buck.

    March 07, 2010

    Catholic Charities had another choice

    Posted by: Chris

    Archbishop donald wuerl gay marriage catholic charities
    Brace yourself.

    Many of us were already disgusted that Catholic Charities of Washington, D.C., chose to axe health coverage for all spouses rather than include same-sex spouses, who as of this week can enter into civil marriage in the nation's capital. The move was gratuitous for any number of reasons, since the Catholic agency had no trouble covering the spouses of divorced and remarried employees, despite that flagrant violation of church teaching.

    What's more, the D.C. chapter could have followed the example of the San Francisco archdiocese and replaced spousal coverage with an option for domestic partners, defined to include spouses or any other family member or significant other with whom the employee shared a residence.

    Now comes word that there was an even easier option, one that wouldn't have required Catholic Charities to change current coverage at all. All the archdiocese had to do was "opt into ERISA," the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which allows private employers like Catholic Charities who self-insure to define "spouse" any why they want:

    Catholic Charities of Maine Inc. opted into ERISA in July 2003 in response to a 2002 city of Portland ordinance requiring all employers that accept housing and community development funds from the county to provide domestic partner benefits.

    The trade journal Business Insurance asked Catholic Charities of Washington, whose self-insured plan is administered by Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield, why it didn't opt into ERISA instead of discontinuing all future spousal coverage, regardless of gender. They declined to answer.

    I'll answer for them: Because that administerial change wouldn't have carried the same political bang for the buck, and Catholic Charities of Washington is part of a growing rightward trend by the Roman Catholic Church to influence public policy in a way that is hostile to gay rights, abortion rights.

    How bitterly ironic, then, that as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops claims to support universal health care, the archdiocese of Washington has prioritized scoring political points over the health care of the families of its own employees.

    (Photo of Archbishop Donald Wuerl (left) via Life Magazine)

    The week on GNW (Feb. 28-March 7)

    Posted by: Chris

    Here are the five biggest stories from Gay News Watch over the last week:

    1. Gay 
marriage in D.C. influences Mid-Atlantic regionDay One dawns on gay marriage in U.S. capital: QUICK LOOK: D.C. Superior Court officials are expecting scores of same-sex couples to pack the courthouse Wednesday morning, vying to be among the first in the city to apply for marriage licenses and certificates... (MORE)
    2. Gay marriage comes
 today to Mexico CitySame-sex marriage comes to Mexico City: QUICK LOOK: A law allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry comes into effect today in Mexico City. The law, which was passed by the city's local assembly in December, gives gay... (MORE)
    3. A second 
gay couple happily marries in ArgentinaA second gay couple marries in Buenos Aires: QUICK LOOK: Damian Bernath and Jorge Salazar werer “married on Wednesday in Buenos Aires at a civil registry office and decided to do it completely privately,” reported Maria Rachid,... (MORE)
    4. Portugal's 
parliament OKs gay marriagePortugal gay marriage bill gets final approval: QUICK LOOK: The final wording of a gay marriage bill approved by Portugal's Parliament received approval on Wednesday, Portugal's IOL Diario reported. The government's Committee for Constitutional Affairs unanimously... (MORE)
    5. U.K.
 lords lift ban on civil partnerships in churchesU.K. Lords lift ban on civil partnerships in churches: QUICK LOOK: The House of Lords voted to lift the ban on civil partnership ceremonies in churches and other religious premises last night. Peers voted by 95 to 21 - a majority of... (MORE)

    And here are a few of the most popular from the last week:

    • Papal aide, Vatican men's choir in gay prostitution ringPapal aide, Vatican men's choir in gay prostitution ring: QUICK LOOK: "Put on some music, swallow a Viagra, and adelante!" That's the headline in Europe today following reports that a papal aide used an intermediary in an elite Vatican... (MORE)
    • Turin, 
Italy mayor symbolically marries gay coupleTurin Italy mayor symbolically marries gay couple: QUICK LOOK: Sergio Chiamparino, the mayor of Turin, Italy, 'married' a lesbian couple who have been together for nine years in a symbolic ceremony at the Rotonda de Valentino on... (MORE)
    • Conservative Calif. pol faces DUI bust leaving gay barConservative Calif. pol faces DUI bust leaving gay bar: QUICK LOOK: *VIDEO after jump*: A Republican state senator from Southern California with a vocal history of opposing gay rights was arrested for allegedly driving drunk after leaving... (MORE)
    • Gay BBC 
host may have died in sex game gone badGay BBC host may have died in sex game gone bad: QUICK LOOK: Kristian Digby, the BBC presenter found dead at his home, may have died as the result of a sex game that went wrong. Police are investigating his death in "unexplained... (MORE)
    • Radcliffe answers rumors that he and his face are gayRadcliffe answers rumors that he and his face are gay: QUICK LOOK: "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe has again addressed rumours that he is gay. The 20-year-old star is becoming known as a gay rights activist for his support of the... (MORE)


    These were the five stories on Gay News Watch with the biggest buzz over the last seven days, along with some of the most popular stories from the last week. You can also view the stories with the biggest buzz factor from the last month or year, and the most popular from the last month or year.

    March 06, 2010

    The return of Mark Foley

    Posted by: Chris

    Eric massa mark foley gay sexual harassment
    I launched this blog way back in October 2006, just weeks after leaving the Washington Blade and moving to Brazil, as the Mark Foley scandal was breaking. Having overseen years of coverage about Foley, a longtime GOP closet case, I had too much I wanted to say about the man, the gay staffers who surrounded them, and the scandal more broadly.

    More than three years later, I've moved back to D.C., the Blade may soon be reincarnated, and Foley-gate has resurfaced in the form of Eric J.J. Massa, a New York Democrat who will quit his congressional seat on Monday in the midst of sexual harassment accusations by young male staffers.

    The similarities with 2006 don't end there. Corruption charges leveled at powerful Charles Rangel finally forced the New York Democrat to step down as chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, something he should have done months ago when it became clear he was part of the "swamp" that Nancy Pelosi promised she was going to "drain."

    With voter anger at incumbents on the rise, many see the charges against Massa as the Foley-esque straw that may break the camel's back, producing a "throw the bums out" midterm election in November, just like in 2006, when Democrats retook Congress from the GOP.

    Not so fast, says John Mercurio of National Journal's Hotline:

    The media is cuing up the Massa = Foley meme this p.m. to set the stage for a mantra about how '10 increasingly resembles '06, when House Dems rode a wave of GOP ethics scandals back to power. To be sure, there are similarities between the two campaign cycles. Massa isn't one of them.

    Foley was forced to resign in '06 after he admitted making inappropriate sexual advances to underage House pages. Massa's conduct may have been egregious. But there's no evidence so far to suggest the male aide he harrassed was younger than 18. More importantly, the Foley case erupted into a partywide scandal only when it was revealed that House GOP leaders had been aware of his conduct weeks before it was reported, but did little to address it. Nothing so far suggests Pelosi et al responded similarly.

    Apparently, his Hotline colleague Reid Wilson didn't get the memo. Under the headline "Shades of '06 for Shell-Shocked Dems," Reid reports:

    GOPers knew their efforts to keep control would fail, however, in late Sept. of '06, when Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) resigned amid allegations he had inappropriate contact with House pages. …

    [Now,] Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) said he would retire after a single term in office; Capitol Hill buzzed with rumors that the ethics committee is investigating alleged harrassment of a male staffer, though Massa denied those reports and said a recurrence of cancer had forced him to step aside.

    Mercurio has it right, in my view, and Rangel was also pressured by fellow Democrats to step down much more quickly than was Tom DeLay (R-Texas), for example, whose GOP colleagues changed the rules to keep him as Minority Leader even after being indicted. DeLay eventually resigned, and the public revulsion over DeLay, Foley and the House Republican leadership combined with rising frustration over Iraq to produce the 2006 midterms.

    Things may not go well for Democrats this year, especially if they can't close the deal on health care reform and produce tangible improvement in unemployment numbers, but it's not 2006 all over again.

    March 04, 2010

    Rising tide of gay relationship recognition

    Posted by: Chris

    Us map gay relationship recognition
    The Washington Post editorial page had it right yesterday when they wrote, "the tide of history is moving … toward a recognition that gays and lesbians, no less than heterosexuals, are entitled to sanctify their love in marriage, and that society will be better off when that right is universally extended." I wouldn't use the word "sanctify," since it conflates civil and religious marriage, but the tide, she is a-rising.

    A new analysis of existing laws by Timothy Kincaid at Box Turtle Bulletin shows that nearly half of all Americans live where there is at least some form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples. Some 140 million Americans (46% of the total U.S. population) live where gay couples can either marry or enter into civil unions or domestic partnerships:

    • 5.1% (15.5 million) live in jurisdictions with same-sex marriage: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and (as of yesterday) the District of Columbia.
    • 19.2% (58.4 million) live in states with either civil unions or their domestic partnerships equivalent, offering basically all the rights and responsibilities of marriage without the name: California, New Jersey, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington.
    • 8.3% (25.2 million) live in states that recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere: New York and Maryland.
    • 4.7% (14.2 million) live in states that offer domestic partnerships with limited, itemized rights: Hawaii, Colorado, Wisconsin, Maine and Rhode Island.
    • 4.7% (14.2 million) live in dozens more counties and cities with some form of limited local recognition and benefits: Salt Lake City, UT; Phoeniz AZ; Tuscon AZ; Duluth, MN; Minneapolis, MN; St. Paul, MN; Lawrence, KS; Columbia, MO; Kansas City, MO; St. Louis, MO; Ann Arbor, MI; Cook County, IL (Chicago); Urbana, IL; Cleveland, OH; Cleveland Heights, OH; Toledo, OH; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Harrisburg, PA; El Paso, TX; Travis County, TX (Austin); Eureka Springs, AR; New Orleans, LA; Carrboro, NC; Chapel Hill, NC; Clarke County, GA (Athens); Fulton County, GA (Atlanta); Broward County, FL (Fort Lauderdale); Key West, FL; Miami-Dade County, FL; and West Palm Beach, FL.

    Add up the first three categories and fully one-third (32.6%) of the U.S. population is located in jurisdictions where gay couples can either marry or have their marriage recognized or enter into civil unions or domestic partnerships with basically all the same rights and responsibilities of marriage without the name. That's still inversely related to public opinion surveys, which repeatedly show that two-thirds of Americans support marriage or civil unions for gay couples, but it's impressive nonetheless.

    Still, let's not forget in all the excitement one more important statistic:  0%

    That's the percentage of Americans who live in places where the federal government offers any form of recognition whatsoever for gay couples who are married or have entered into civil unions or domestic partnership. That final statistic is why repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and enacting federal civil unions ought to be at the very top of "the gay agenda" in Washington.

    The damage done by DADT

    Posted by: Chris

    Mike almy dont ask dont tell iraq air force major gay
    My friend Mike Almy did a fantastic job on Rachel Maddow's show tonight, putting the lie to claims by John McCain and Joe ("You Lie!") Wilson that Don't Ask Don't Tell is working. Mike was discharged as a major in the Air Force in the midst of a deployment in Iraq during the height of the insurgency and replaced by a junior officer ill-prepared for the command thrust upon him.

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    The victim of DADT wasn't just Mike, and his 18-year-career, but the cohesion of his unit, the troops under his command, and their mission at a critical time during war. Mike's story turns on its head the claim that now is not the time to repeal DADT "in the midst of two wars," though one of those is drawing to a close. The disruption comes from the continued existence and enforcement of the policy, not from its repeal.

    March 03, 2010

    Roberts rules but leaves the door open

    Posted by: Chris

    I speculated yesterday that must not have been easy for a conservative Catholic like Chief Justice John Roberts to deny a stay that would have blocked gay couples from lining up this morning to apply for marriage licenses in the District of Columbia. Apparently, I was right.

    I haven't yet reviewed Roberts' three-page ruling (available here), but the well-respected SCOTUSblog indicates that he left plenty of wiggle room for the Supremes to revisit gay marriage in the nation's capital once local courts have ruled on a challenge designed to put the matter directly before voters:

    Even while saying a delay was not now legally justified, Roberts noted that the challengers may still try to undo the new D.C. marriage provision by attempting to put it on the ballot asking local voters to repeal the law.  That separate maneuver is now under review in the D.C. Court of Appeals, Washington’s highest local court. …

    Roberts said the opponents’ legal challenge “has some force.”  … And, he noted, the potential to pursue the  initiative process will not cease to exist even though the marriage law does take effect Wednesday.

    The opponents still have the option of asking another Justice, or the full Court, to consider their plea for delay, but Roberts’ action makes success unlikely on any such plea.  Ultimately, the legal questions may reach the Court in a future test case after the Court of Appeals rules on the initiative maneuver.

    The issue isn't as cut and dried as some gay bloggers have suggested, portraying the suit as desperate and baseless. In an effort to prevent these sorts of referendums, the D.C. Council amended the city's Human Rights Act to provide that it could not be altered in by referendum in a discriminatory way. As much sense as this makes in principle, it is unusual for a simple ordinance to be used as a mechanism for blocking a referendum process provided for in the D.C. home rule charter.

    More on this later, when I've had a chance to look at the arguments myself, but it's enough to put a bit of a damper on today's festivities here in Washington. My advice to couples ready to the knot is get thee to the altar, lest you miss your opportunity a la Prop 8 in California.

    (Photos of Darlene Garner, left, and her partner, Candy Holmes, via AP).

    March 02, 2010

    Roberts gives gay marriage go ahead

    Posted by: Chris

    Chief justice john roberts dc gay marriage stay This can't have been too easy for the conservative Catholic chief justice of the United States:

    Chief Justice John Roberts rejected the request of gay marriage opponents to stay the effective date of the District of Columbia's marriage equality bill. He wrote: "Without addressing the merits of petitioners’ underlying claim, however, I conclude that a stay is not warranted."

    Roberts specifically noted the argument advanced by the District that the Supreme Court generally defers to the local D.C. courts for "matters of exclusively local concern." He also noted the fact that Congress did not act to disapprove of the law during the 30-day review period and the remaining availability of the initiative process in reaching his decision not to grant the stay.

    Bishop Harry Jackson, along with others opposed to marriage equality coming to Washington, filed a last-minute request at the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, March 1, seeking to stop the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009 from becoming law on March 3 so that he can proceed with his referendum effort.

    Aided by lawyers from the national organization Alliance Defense Fund, Jackson filed a request for an immediate stay of the law with Roberts because the chief justice is responsible for hearing appeals coming from the District.

    It's nice to see that sometimes the ministers of Judicial Restraint actually practice what they preach.

    A third way for the Prop 8 case

    Posted by: Chris

    Judge vaughn walker gay marriage prop 8 case
    With all that's been written about the case brought by Ted Olson and David Boies challenging the constitution of Proposition 8, you would think that the outcome there will decide gay marriage nationwide. In fact, it well could, if the U.S. Supreme Court agrees that it's a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law to deny gay Americans the fundamental right of marriage to the person of their choice.

    We're a long way from that day, obviously, with the matter still before (semi-closeted gay) Judge Vaughn Walker in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. However Walker decides the case, it will be appealed as of right to a three-judge panel of the fairly predictably liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which could then decide to hear the case en banc (with all judges participating) if enough of them are unhappy with how the panel rules. Then comes the appeal to the Supreme Court, which will only hear it if a minimum of four justices want to.

    One factor that may help determine whether the nation's high court gets this gay marriage case is how broadly Judge Walker rules, if he strikes down Proposition 8. If he issues a sweeping ruling that gay marriage violates the 14th Amendment and that's upheld in the 9th Circuit, then odds are very strong the Supremes will take the case.

    But David Levine, a law professor at the University of California's Hastings College of Law, points out a third possibility:

    If [Walker] writes a more boring factual opinion of the special situation California is in, that would have the least impact nationwide. That argument is that there’s no rational reason to have three categories of unions in the state: heterosexual married people, domestic partners and the 18,000 same-sex married couples who were married in California.

    He could argue, what’s left that separates domestic partners and married couples in the state? If there’s no legal difference, then what is the rationale for saying there needs to be a distinct group?

    Keep in mind that even with Prop 8 in place, gay couples in California can enter into domestic partnerships that carry all the rights and responsibilities of marriage except the name (and the automatic portability to other states and countries). Also, California presents the unique situation where gays could marry for eight months and remain married still. Proposition 8 allowed the voters to amend the state constitution to take away existing rights from a single class of people, making it much more like the notorious Amendment 2 in Colorado that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in Romer vs. Evans in 1996.

    Those unusual facts are very different than those presented by a gay couple in Georgia, for example, who could never marry in the years before the voters there amended the constitution to limit marriage to straight couples, and different also from gays in Maryland, for example, where the constitution is silent on the question and the state recognizes gay marriages from elsewhere.

    Judges (and justices) often like to decide lawsuits on the narrowest possible ground, following the principle of judicial restraint and reducing the risk they'll get reversed or overturned down the road.

    Given the strength of the presentations made at trial in the Prop 8 case, and the predilections of Judge Walker, I would be very surprised to see him choose this narrow, third way. The silver lining of such a narrow ruling, at least from some quarters, would be to stave off the day the Supremes get the gay marriage question, allowing for the possibility that President Obama might fill in some timely vacancies.

    Catholic charity doesn't begin at home

    Posted by: Chris

    Gay marriage catholic archdiocese of washington
    The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has engaged in another round of shenanigans today in its continuing battle against recognizing the civil marriage of same-sex couples. Catholic Charities axed all spousal benefits for its employees rather than be forced to extend those same benefits to married gay workers.

    Some complain the change is cynical, hypocritical and contrary to Catholic values. Let us count the ways:

    1. The "dilemma" faced by the Catholic Charities does not impinge on religious freedom, as anti-gay groups like the National Organization for Marriage have charged. The Catholic church may refuse to marry -- or even refuse communion -- gay parishioners. It simply may not "suck at the teet" of District government -- to the tune of $22 million annually -- and simultaneously flout District law.
    2. Something other than a mere desire to conform to papal teaching on homosexuality is at work here, since Catholic Charities happily provided spousal benefits for years to employees who had divorced and remarried, a sin that is every bit as severe, if not more so, than same-sex love.
    3. Catholic Charities chose the cheap way out. The Washington Archdiocese could have followed the example of its San Francisco counterpart, which eliminated spousal benefits while expanding the definition of domestic partner to include a spouse, parent, sibling or anyone else who in the household.
    4. By eschewing the San Francisco example, D.C. Catholic charities missed an opportunity to set a Christian example that says to its employees, gay and straight, that whatever the church's teaching on gay marriage or divorce, the church as employer wants to assist each worker to provide health care for a member of its household.

    March 01, 2010

    Hip, hip, WTF!?

    Posted by: Chris

    Mass gay wedding ceremony
    Sometimes it seems the greatest obstacle to same-sex marriage in our nation's capital has been those who claim to support the effort. It was an unnecessarily long and winding road to get here, and now that our happy day has almost arrived, a cockamamie scheme threatens to crash the reception.

    Even with a super-majority on the D.C. Council and the mayor on record supporting marriage equality, an older generation at the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance stayed an absurdly conservative course, incrementally adopting a few extra "domestic partnership" rights each year, year after year. Even after Congress was firmly in Democratic hands after the 2006 election, GLAA gave District pols and their DNC pals the cover to do nothing.

    Finally, a fresh crop of activists and outside pressure dragged D.C. to the altar, the last legal hurdles to full marriage equality have been surpassed, and the congressional veto deadline is nigh. In just two days, on March 3, same-sex couples may apply for marriage licenses at the D.C. Superior Court.

    How best to celebrate? How about a mass wedding ceremony of the type made famous by the Moonies that would trivialize the very institution we are finally -- finally -- allowed to participate in? For that ridiculous notion, we have to thank Event Emissary, a for-profit "destination management company."

    Event emissary mass wedding packages Ignoring the horrible light that a mass wedding would shed on gay marriage, Event Emissary saw gold in them there civil rights, and is offering an array of "packages" for the occasion.

    For the pleasure of joining in the mass wedding, the same-sex spouses-to-be need only pay the low, low, ok not so low, price of $300.00 per couple. If you want to invite up to four friends along for the reception, that'll be $1,050.00.* Note the asterisk -- only the couple may actually attend the group ceremony.

    For those yearning for something a bit more private, the "Forever Yours Private Ceremony," lasting a grand total of 15 minutes, will set you back $500.00, or $1,750.00 with the reception tickets included. Or double the bang from your buck and schedule an eternally long (30-minute) "Eternal Love Private Ceremony" for $900.00 per couple, or $6,250.00 including tickets for the mass reception.

    We shouldn't cast aspersions on companies offering services to the gay community, including the newly-minted freedom to marry in Washington, D.C. But it's quite another to create a public spectacle that damages the cause of marriage equality elsewhere, and expect to cash in to boot.

    AIDS, the gay retro virus

    Posted by: Chris

    Hiv aids rates among msms
    More sobering news that the retrovirus that causes AIDS has itself gone retro, impacting much gay men in percentages that rival the disease's devastation in sub-Saharan Africa:

    In several U.S. urban areas, the HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men is as high as 30%—as compared with a general-population prevalence of 7.8% in Kenya and 16.9% in South Africa.

    The reason, according to research in the New England Journal of Medicine, is that the epidemic is "generalized" among African populations, but not so here in the U.S., where it's not just concentrated geographically but within particular social networks.

    That's led to a rethinking of HIV prevention efforts, which for years have focused on specific high-risk transmission behaviors, like unprotected sex, IV drug use, promiscuity and the like. We've all heard that, among gay men in particular, "the use of drugs such as crystal methamphetamine — especially at sex parties and in venues such as bathhouses — has contributed to risky behavior and HIV acquisition."

    But now AIDS researchers are, in some senses, going back to where they started, looking at whether the strongest indicator of whether a person is at high risk of being infected is his "social-sexual network," especially in big cities in the Northeast and West Coast, as well as the South.

    The extent of the risk of acquiring HIV in the United States today is largely defined by a person's sexual network rather than his or her individual behaviors. Understanding the context and settings in which risk is increased may lead to more robust and effective preventive interventions.

    For example, black men who have sex with men are at increased risk for HIV infection in part because of its high prevalence in their sexual networks and their likelihood of choosing racially similar partners; they have also been shown to be less likely than their white counterparts to be aware of their HIV status and thus are more likely to unknowingly transmit HIV. Moreover, even those who are aware of their HIV infection may be less engaged in HIV care and less likely to avail themselves of antiretroviral therapy — behavior that limits the potential benefit of such therapy as a preventive strategy. …

    Research is also needed to identify interventions that will persuade men who have sex with men to undergo HIV testing, facilitate their disclosure of their HIV status to sexual partners, and promote negotiations for safer sexual practices; such interventions need to be implemented in the settings where such men may meet (e.g., in bars or on the Internet). 

    Manhunt_loginMore research, yes. But while we wait for more data, the time is now for the government and the non-profit groups that make up AIDS, Inc., and Gay, Inc., to launch aggressive new prevention campaigns that meet gay men where they are, and give them the information they need to lower their risk of infection.

    Enough with the tired safe-sex messages that the younger set especially stopped listening to long ago. Handing out condoms in bars won't cut it anymore. What we need are creative prevention campaigns that are deployed on the social networks like Facebook, Twitter and the sites where gay men meet to hook up -- from Manhunt to Adam4Adam to Craigslist.

    It's high time for HIV/AIDS prevention to enter the 21st century.

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