Gay pride march banned in Serbia
September 30, 2011, 1:50 PM
(Belgrade, Serbia) Serbian authorities have banned a gay pride march and an anti-gay protest planned in the nation's capital this weekend to avoid violence.
When two similar events occurred side by side in Serbia's capital last year, about 100 people were injured, cars were burned and shops were looted in clashes between police and the anti-gay, far-right extremists.
So the gay pride march and the anti-gay protest planned in Belgrade on Sunday have been banned "to avoid bloodshed," Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said Friday.
Anti-gay prejudice is widespread in Serbia, a predominantly conservative Balkan country. The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, has called gay pride marches a "parade of shame" that are "foreign to our history, tradition and culture."
But Serbia has been urged by the West to protect the human rights of gays and other minorities, if it wants to one day join the European Union.
On Friday, Serbia's President Boris Tadic backed the ban of Sunday's events, saying it was imposed to "prevent violence and the possible loss of lives."
Gay pride organizers said the ban represents a defeat for the state and shows that authorities have not cracked down on the far-right extremists since the clashes a year ago.
"It is totally unbelievable that police have not clamped down against the extremists," said Goran Miletic of the organizing committee. "We have spent four months preparing the gay pride march, and the authorities have done nothing."
But the ultranationalist Obraz, or Honor, group said that the ban presented a "victory for the Serb patriots."
Police said anti-gay extremists had planned to set buildings on fire in the suburbs of Belgrade on Sunday and to clash with police in the center of the capital.
Foreign diplomats had planned to attend the gay pride march in a show of support for human rights in Serbia.
Minister Dacic said the ban would prevent a possible repeat of the burning of U.S. and other Western embassies in the capital that occurred in 2008 during protests against Kosovo's declaration of independence.
Withers: This is it
September 30, 2011, 10:00 AM
For this final post, let's return to the first. It was September 2007. We were Visiblevote then. The staff was me, Jay , Pauline Park , and John Polly of NewNowNext . My first post was a disaster. Our writing program kept jamming, the photo didn't format correctly, and the writing was drivel. Screamed at the computer that entire morning. The insanity was so over the top that poor Billie  looked at me, slowly got up, and found a more comfortable spot to dream of snacks and tennis balls.
In that September, Democrats and Republicans were gearing up for the 2008 primary season. The lines were drawn in the sand. Anything we wrote that was remotely negative about then Sen. Hillary Clinton was quickly dismissed as "Hillary hate." Words that weren't supportive of the guy with the funny name, and big ears, were called press releases from Camp Clinton.
Despite those partisan charges, our coverage of the 2008 election season matches anything done. Anything. Jay, John, and Pauline made me a better writer and thinker. I thank them for that.
While the thanks are being dispensed, I must talk about Ali Davis . If you need to listen to a crazy man  bring Ali along. She wears the best shoes. Sooooooo many Beck fans asked me about her sneakers. Ali: I better get an invite to the commitment ceremony between you and Melinda. She loved you!
Also want to give thanks to John Culhane, Lisa Neff, John Corvino, and Emma Ruby-Sachs. I've learned much from your words.
Have to give Jay a big hug. She's unparalleled as an editor. Always willing to listen. Here is what you need to know: any decent post of mine is because of her. All the lousy ones? My sole responsibility. This site's success is due to her efforts.
Before this turns into the last episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show  (don't mock Polly!), kudos to those who gave us your time. I can be found here . Drop by and cuss me out.
Best of luck. Keep keeping on. Peace.
 http://www.365gay.com http://davisexmachina.wordpress.com/
Goodbye, from Ali Davis
September 30, 2011, 9:34 AM
During the run-up to the 2008 election, I started phone banking to try to stop Prop 8. I’m an introvert, and phone banking involved plunging into a room full of strangers to call more strangers to talk about one hell of a touchy political issue.
Also there was occasional motivational chanting.
I called my friend Jenny Hagel and ran out her voicemail wondering why I do these things to myself. After she was done laughing at me, Jenny suggested I get in touch with the wonderful Jennifer Vanasco and send her a piece about what it was like.
Jay said my article needed to be at least 350 words long. I believe I sent her five pages. And thus one of my favorite freelancing relationships ever was born.
In addition to working with one of my favorite editors ever, I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the site.
365Gay is the first place I turned when Prop 8 passed to try to make sense of things. It was a place to get real information, to see the story covered by the people it affected most, and to see the huge spectrums of reaction across the LGBT community.
Reading 365Gay helped me sort out the difference between productive and unproductive anger and decide what I was going to do about it.
I also got an education on how broad the LGBT political spectrum can be. Checking out the responses to articles – or simply discovering that a substantial portion of our audience hated, hated, hated “RachelWatch” – was interesting, funny, and infuriating. And it was a level of diversity in the community that I needed to know about.
365Gay is why I went to Washington for the Equality March and met so many cool readers… And then went back again to compete with the hilarious James Withers for Most Conspicuous Reporter at the Glenn Beck rally. It has tested my ability to research, explain, and make jokes on tight deadlines. And it has cemented my belief that making fun of bigots is good for the soul.
365Gay been a haven, a touchstone, and a place where I am schooled just when I think I have a handle on things.
Thanks for the warm welcome, 365Gay staff, contributors, and readers. I will miss this place.
Stay strong, smart, funny, and fabulous. I hope I see you on the outside.
US: military chaplains may perform same-sex unions
September 30, 2011, 9:21 AM
(Washington) The Pentagon has decided that military chaplains may perform same-sex unions, whether on or off a military installation.
The ruling announced Friday by the Pentagon's personnel chief follows the Sept. 20 repeal of a law that had prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
Some members of Congress have objected to military chaplains performing same-sex unions, saying it would violate the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
The Pentagon says a military chaplain may officiate at any private ceremony, but isn't required if it would conflict with his or her religious or personal beliefs.
The Pentagon also says Defense Department property may be used for private functions, including religious and other ceremonies such as same-sex unions, as long as it's not prohibited by state or local laws.
Where should you go for LGBT news?
September 30, 2011, 5:30 AM
That's the question we've been hearing over and over, once we announced that 365gay was closing.
There is Twitter, of course, which is a great way to get the absolute latest in news. But here are my suggestions of LGBT news-focused sites to read regularly, based on a combination of what I read, what people I know read, and accepted wisdom. Note that I have NOT included mainstream sites like the NY Times, though they do a very good job of covering gay issues.
And I'm limiting it to news (or news-ish) sites.
I'm sure I've left folks out - be sure to put your faves in the comments.
Support your local - and internet - gay media so they can support you!
The Advocate: http://www.Advocate.com 
The Washington Blade: http://www.washingtonblade.com 
Philadelphia Gay News: http://www.epgn.com 
Steve Rothaus' Gay South Florida: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/ 
Gay Voices (new site for the Huffington Post): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gay-voices/ 
Good Regional pubs
Metroweekly: http://www.metroweekly.com/ 
Gay City News: http://www.gaycitynews.com/gay_city_news/front/ 
L.A. Frontiers: http://www.frontiersla.com 
Bay Area Reporter: http://www.ebar.com 
The Wisconsin Gazette: http://www.wisconsingazette.com/ 
Windy City Times: http://www.windycitytimes.com/ 
LGBT/POV: http://www.lgbtpov.com/ 
Americablog Gay: http://gay.americablog.com/ 
Towleroad.com: http://www.towleroad.com 
Pam's House Blend: http://pamshouseblend.firedoglake.com/ 
Queerty: http://www.queerty.com 
Bilerico Project: http://www.bilerico.com/ 
Plus - Follow our contributors!
Jennifer Vanasco: @JenniferVanasco http://www.Twitter.com/JenniferVanasco  (LGBT news from around the web)
http://www.JenniferVanasco.com  (soon to be a new site...)
James Withers: http://whattheworlddoesnotneed.blogspot.com/ 
John Culhane: http://wordinedgewise.org/ 
Ali Davis: @Ali_Davis http://twitter.com/#!/Ali_Davis 
http://www.afterellen.com/tv/gay-girls-goggles-dancing-with-the-stars-snap-cap-13-2  (Dancing with the Stars recaps)
Jon Fairbanks: http://www.Twitter.com/JonFairbanks 
David Badash: http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/ 
Lisa Keen: http://www.keennewsservice.com/ 
Michael Derry (Troy)http://www.troycomics.com/ 
Ask the Expert (Joe Kort! Herman Chan! Shawn Hollenbach!) lives on at: http://www.NewNowNext.com 
Culhane: One last salvo against the misuse of religion
September 30, 2011, 5:00 AM
My last column is kind of an angry one.
Once again, I’m compelled to write about the collision of religious beliefs and civil rights, and – as has become typical – the tension arises in a case involving marriage equality.
As this story  details, the town clerk in the small village of Ledyard, New York, has unilaterally decided that she won’t issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. So she now requires that all couples (gay and straight) make an appointment for her deputy (who seems to work part-time) to do the job that she’d previously done.
On the surface, this accommodation might look reasonable. The woman gets to honor her own religious beliefs, and now all couples are being treated equally. Everyone has to wait for an appointment. And in general, I support creative means of conflict resolution as long as they neither stigmatize a legally protected class nor cause undue inconvenience. If, say, there were several clerks working different lines in a large city and one objected to issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples, an unobtrusive switch of clerks would bother no one.
Beyond that kind of practical accommodation, though, allowing this kind of refusal would be a terrible mistake, and one that would sets very dangerous precedent. Consider this example:
State A passes a marriage equality law. The Attorney General’s religious beliefs are offended by the bill, and he decides that all marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples are without legal force. Of course, such an AG would likely be swiftly fired, or in any event overruled by a court. But until that happened, one might expect him to argue that he simply “couldn’t” do otherwise, as same-sex marriages were against God’s law.
But God’s law – whatever it might be in this case, and there’s no clear agreement among religions on this or any other issue – is beside the point. The AG has a civil law responsibility that he’s failing to discharge.
Much further down on the government food chain, the Ledyard clerk, one Rose Marie Belforti, is doing much the same thing. The similarity can be hard to see, because her refusal to comply with the law – unlike the AG's – can be sidestepped. But in both cases, we have a public official deciding for themselves when and whether to recognize a law of general application. The AG wouldn’t be able to stay in office were he to insist on his own, law-defying interpretation of what God’s law requires; and the result should be no different here. If Belforti couldn’t figure out a way to do this behind the scenes, too bad for her.
And the consequences of allowing religious beliefs to interfere with clear civic responsibilities can’t be limited to the issue of same-sex marriage licenses. What if a clerk didn’t want to marry two people who’d been divorced? Who’d had sex before marriage? And what would those defending Ms. Belforti say about a judge who granted men, but not women, a unilateral divorce because of his belief that that Sharia law required that interpretation?
We expect judges to follow the prevailing law. We have the right to expect clerks to do the same.
I could respect Ms. Belforti if, like several other clerks with religious objections to same-sex marriages, she resigned from her job. But I have nothing but contempt for the rhetoric being put forward by the likes of Maggie Gallagher and Robbie George. Read this article , which details how the pair is trying to turn back marriage equality by appealing openly to the idea that religion should take precedence over equality. Gallagher likens New York state’s insistence on having its laws followed in the clerk cases to the dictates of Caesar, “forgetting” that the democratically elected legislature passed the marriage equality law. But the reference to this dictator is a way of making her point about the supposed religious persecutions.
George, co-author of the much-downloaded, but intellectually dishonest, article “What is Marriage?, ” continues to rail against schools that teach about the existence of (let alone the positive results linked to) families headed by gay and lesbian parents. It’s just too bad for parents who don’t want their children “indoctrinated” into this world, he says.
Worse, he “loathes” the “bad faith” of our “strategy” of demonizing people like Belforti by deploying the “weapons” of anti-discrimination law. But to insist that validly enacted laws, like New York’s, be interpreted in a way that favors no religion over another is only to follow the rules of democracy itself. George and Gallagher are so sure of their own (rigidly Catholic) version of God that they fail to understand that the best way to respect religion is to insist on its separation from the civil, legal sphere.
For once religion is allowed to set the rules, there’s no guarantee that the faith chosen will be one either of them would endorse. It might even be Muslim.
I can’t end this column without a last goodbye to my faithful readers (some of whom I know by user name; others of whom simply read without weighing in). I’d love for you to follow me over to my own site, Word in Edgewise , where I promise to keep up the fight. (And I might soon be blogging for another site; you’ll have to go to WiE to find out if and where.) I hope to see some of you tonight! And a fond farewell to JV and JW. Thanks to both of you. Excelsior!
John Culhane  is Professor of Law and Director of the Health Law Institute at Widener University School of Law. He has edited and contributed to a book on “hot” legal and social issues , and just taped a show for The American Law Journal on the legal rights of unmarried cohabitants (gay and straight). It will be available for viewing on this website  by late October. Follow him on Facebook  and Twitter .
Appeals court tosses gays in military lawsuit
September 29, 2011, 3:20 PM
(San Francisco) A federal appeals court refused Thursday to decide the constitutionality of the military's now-repealed "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning openly gay troops, saying the issue has been resolved since Americans can enlist and serve in the armed forces without regard to sexual orientation.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco tossed out a lawsuit that had challenged the military policy as a violation of gay service members' civil rights. In doing so, the appeals court also dismissed a Southern California trial judge's year-old ruling that the policy was unconstitutional.
The gay rights group Log Cabin Republicans filed the lawsuit in 2004 challenging the policy. The group's lawyer, Dan Woods, said he would ask the full 9th Circuit to review the panel's decision.
The group recently argued the lower court ruling, which also barred enforcement of "don't ask, don't tell" should remain in effect despite this month's repeal because future administrations and lawmakers could reintroduce a ban on gay service.
The three judges strongly disagreed in their Thursday opinion, saying the case is moot because there is nothing left to challenge regarding the policy enacted as section 654.
"This suit became moot when the repeal of section 654 took effect on Sept. 20," the ruling said. "If Log Cabin filed suit today seeking a declaration that section 654 is unconstitutional or an injunction against its application (or both), there would be no Article III controversy because there is no section 654."
The panel specifically rejected Log Cabins' assertion that the appeals court should decide the underlying constitutional issues to prevent future limitations or outright bans on military service by gay and lesbian Americans.
"We cannot say with virtual certainty that the Congress that passed the Repeal Act - or a future Congress whose composition, agenda, and circumstances we cannot know - will reenact don't ask, don't tell," the judges said. "We can only speculate, and our speculation cannot breathe life into this case."
Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said he was disappointed, noting that the favorable ruling his group obtained in the lower court played a major role in persuading policy makers to repeal "don't ask, don't tell."
"Log Cabin Republicans v. United States said more than `don't ask, don't tell' should be repealed - it stood for the fundamental constitutional rights of service members not to be discriminated against by the nation they serve," Cooper said. "This decision by the 9th Circuit denies more than 14,000 discharged gay and lesbian service members an important means of obtaining justice for the wrong perpetuated against them under the ban, and leaves open the possibility of future violations of service members' rights."
One of the three panelists, Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain, went out of his way in a concurring opinion to dispute that either the U.S. Constitution or the Supreme Court's interpretation of it provided "a member of the armed forces (with) a constitutionally protected right to engage in homosexual acts or to state that he or she is a homosexual while continuing to serve in the military."
O'Scannlain also criticized the lower court judge who invalidated "don't ask, don't tell" last year, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips. He accused Phillips of willfully failing "to apply established law" so she could issue a ruling "that invalidated a considered congressional policy and imposed a wholly novel view of constitutional liberty on the entire United States."
Thursday Watercooler: The last one
September 29, 2011, 9:48 AM
Pepper spray is not a condiment. Have you been paying attention to the Wall Street protests ? A New York police officer is accused of using pepper spray against a few protesters. From the videos it looks like there was no earthly reason for the cop's actions. Plus, after he used the stuff, the dude just walked away. This caused Atlantic Monthly writer James Fallows  to call the guy "pepper spraying coward cop." Writer Jeanne Mansfield was on the scene Check out her story at the Boston Review .
Cain is no Perry fan. Look at Herman Cain. He wins the Florida straw poll , and starts acting like a front runner. The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza (ewwwwwwwwww) said that as of now he could not support Gov. Rick Perry if the Texan gets the nomination. Why? According to Mr. racialist , Perry is too soft on immigration. This statement is worthless, but whenever Cain is talking silly comments should be expected.
Rick Welts finds a new gig. Remember Rick Welts ? He was the Phoenix Suns executive who came out in early May. A few weeks back he resigned from that job. He wanted to be closer to his partner, who lives in Sacramento. The Golden State Warriors  went the smart route and picked Welts to be their team president. Now if the NBA can avert a strike, everything will be right the world. Hey, Mr. Welts?! If you need people in your communications department give Jay and me a call. She's not really a sports fan, but don't worry about that.
Research, research, research. Dear homophobic legislators: if you come up with crazy bills, be able to defend them publicly. North Carolina state Sen. James Forrester  sponsored an amendment proposal banning same sex marriage. Michelangelo Signorile  had the senator on his radio show. The interview lasted only 22 minutes, and the politician was unable to back up one of his claims (gays have shorter lives, etc., etc.). When pressed on how gay marriage impacted the straight institution, the senator decided to end the conversation. "I think I’m going to end this conversation right now because I see you’re completely negative, on the other side, trying to set me up." Thanks to Think Progress.
No more Watercooler. No tears. No tears (smile). This slice of the 365 experience has frustrated the most. Mainly because it reminded me how many stories we missed. Remain proud of the work done here, but the site missed too many stories. Unfortunately that was inevitable. Jay is the only full time employee. The rest of the team consists of freelancers and/or interns. Hard to keep up with staffing like that. Don't worry. This is not going to be a rant about corporate media (grin). Changing gears completely, if you are in New York tomorrow please come by for a goodbye drink. Here is the info . Tomorrow Jay will be listing places you can go for that news fix. In case you want to follow the mess in my head, please check my blog What the world does not need. Fair warning. The site is a list of my obsessions. Those include some of the following: gay porn, clips of The Wire  and Homicide , peach cobbler, cherry pie, complaints about drunken queens at sports bars, some news, and musings about culture. Working on a post on why I'm suddenly obsessed with Rene Fleming . I can also be found on Twitter and Facebook . My last 365 post will share what I really think about Jay (grin).
With NY gay teen’s suicide come spotlight, caution
September 29, 2011, 8:25 AM
(Buffalo, NY) Taunted since grade school for hanging out with girls, 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer told his parents things were finally getting better since high school started. Meanwhile, on a blog his parents didn't know about, he posted increasingly desperate notes ruminating on suicide, bullying, homophobia and pop singer Lady Gaga.
A few days later, he hanged himself outside his home in suburban Buffalo, quickly gaining a fame like that described in one of his idol's songs. Activists, journalists and Gaga herself seized on the suicide, decrying the loss of another promising life to bullying. A cherubic school picture of him pervaded the Internet and television, as well as a video he had posted earlier about his experience.
But what the incomplete and conflicting portrait of Rodemeyer's life did not convey were the complexities of the teenage mind and the reality that bullying is rarely the sole factor at work. It also highlighted the risk of creating an icon at the price of glamorizing suicide as an option for other bullied or attention-seeking teens.
"If we portray it as something that is admirable and very sympathetic, vulnerable youth may hear that as, `Look at the attention this case is getting and everyone is feeling sorry and praising this individual,' and it can form a narrative that can be compelling," said Ann Haas, senior project specialist at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Like in other prominent teenage deaths linked to bullying or intimidation - notably Phoebe Prince, an Irish immigrant in Massachusetts taunted by classmates after she dated a popular boy, and Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University freshman whose roommate is accused of spying on his same-sex encounter via webcam - police are investigating to see whether any bullying constituted a crime.
Tracy Rodemeyer said her son was hurt deeply by words from the time he was very young. Boys started picking on him in elementary school, she said.
"People would say, `Oh my god, you're such a girl. What are you, gay? That kind of stuff," she told The Associated Press in an interview last week.
By middle school, the bullying was overwhelming, she said. His friends would report the abuse, and school officials would pull the boy and the alleged bullies into the office. Rodemeyer also regularly saw a school social worker, who would call his mother after meetings.
"People would be like `faggot, fag,' and they'd taunt me in the hallways and I felt like I could never escape it," he said in a YouTube video posted in May as part of columnist Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" project, which seeks to give voices and hope to bullied gay and lesbian teenagers. The teen's video has now been viewed more than a million times.
He had talked about suicide in the past but denied recently that the bullying had carried over to high school, which he started shortly before his death, his mother said. He was making plans to attend dances with girlfriends and had talked about the next family vacation and Halloween.
His parents monitored his Facebook posts but said they didn't know about a separate Tumblr blog, on which he identified himself as gay, filled with troubling posts like "Stop bullying people. Maybe they won't commit suicide" and "Ugh today makes me wanna kill myself."
His final blog and Twitter posts on Sept. 18, the day he died, thanked Gaga. He also wrote: "I pray the fame won't take my life," possibly a reference to her song and album "The Fame."
When Gaga projected his image on a screen during a concert in Las Vegas last weekend and dedicated a song to him, his celebrity status was undeniable.
When a Gaga song began playing at the school homecoming dance the day of the teen's wake, his sister and her friends began dancing and chanting, "Jamey." Some schoolmates responded by yelling that they were glad he was dead, his father, Tim, told the AP. School officials are investigating.
Neither Savage, who appeared on network news shows after the suicide, nor Gaga have responded to AP requests for comment. Gaga has promised to push President Barack Obama to make a law in his memory.
If he does, Rodemeyer wouldn't be the first gay suicide victim to be memorialized with such legislation. Two New Jersey lawmakers are pushing a federal anti-harassment and cyberbullying bill bearing Clementi's name.
New Jersey's own anti-bullying laws were tightened following the death of 18-year-old Clementi on Sept. 22, 2010, who jumped off the George Washington Bridge between New Jersey and New York amid a rash of suicides nationwide that brought attention to the problem. Clementi's roommate has been charged with a hate crime and invasion of privacy.
The death of Prince, a heterosexual teen who killed herself in Massachusetts in January 2010, resulted in civil rights charges against five of her classmates and then plea deals, as well as state legislation called "Phoebe's Law" to crack down on bullying.
Suicide prevention and human rights groups, saying some of the news coverage of those and other deaths was oversimplified or sensationalized, collaborated last year on guidelines for talking publicly about suicide with the hope of preventing copycat deaths.
The problem has occurred to Tracy Rodemeyer, who wrestled with whether to continue her son's anti-bullying message.
"You don't want to glorify this and make it where the kids are going to be copycats," she said, describing conversations she had with her son's peers while dropping off his no-longer-needed rented cello at school.
"All the kids I talked to at school, I said: `Look at this, children. Would you want your family to have to have to go through this?'"
David McFarland, acting executive director and chief executive of the Trevor Project, a help line for LGBT teenagers who may be contemplating suicide, said the focus should be on educating families, schools and communities.
Anti-bullying curriculums in schools are not without controversy, as in the case of Minnesota's Anoka-Hennepin School District, whose policy came under criticism after six students committed suicide in less than two years.
In July, five current and former students sued, saying a policy requiring staff to remain neutral when sexual orientation is discussed in the classroom prevents teachers from effectively protecting kids perceived as gay. School officials have defended the policy as a reasonable way to balance the family ideologies seen in the suburban Minneapolis district.
McFarland urged looking beyond the individual.
"There's the personal story about Jamey and his family, and our hearts go out to them and that community," McFarland said, "but as a whole, this is an issue facing youth across this country, particularly LGBT youth."
The boy's mother said she does want other children to know about help lines like the Trevor Project when contemplating suicide.
"The very second Jamey made that decision and followed through was the very second he found out it was a mistake, but there's no going back," she said she told her son's schoolmates. "I want to say I know my boy's at peace with himself, but there are other ways" to handle life's problems.