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Gays splurge on phones, cosmetics and apparel
Published on August 25, 2005 - The Nation
Once regarded as taboo in society, Thailand’s gay population is increasingly being recognised as big spenders. A recent survey has shown that growing demand has made the market for gay products one of the hottest commercial sectors in the country. The survey, conducted by a Bangkok research company, Nano Search Co Ltd, found that in spite of the economic slowdown, sales of cosmetics, apparel and trendy mobile phones are on the rise partly because of demand from homosexual buyers.
The survey in Bangkok this year, was conducted in two phases. The first involved 220 homosexual and heterosexual respondents. The second phase involved a selected group of 300 gay men.
The results were revealed yesterday at a seminar on economic trends and impacts on purchasing power in the consumer durable goods industry, organised by GfK Marketing Services (Thailand) Ltd, the local arm of an international business and marketing surveyer.
“From our survey, we have seen tremendous potential in this gay product segment,” said Teerasak Wongpiya, a business consultant for Nano Search said. “Gay people have generated a dramatic demand for products serving this ‘rainbow gender’.”
Gay men tend to be image conscious. Moreover, they have higher purchasing power than family men because they don’t have to provide for children.
Teerasak said gay consumers enjoyed 25 per cent to 30 per cent more disposable income, on average, than heterosexuals.
On top of this, homosexuality has gained increasing acceptance from society, according to Nano Search.
“Based on our study, about 40 per cent of people say they don’t have negative feelings towards homosexuals,” Teerasak said. “Only 0.4 per cent of them dislike gays.”
Teerasak said that despite the trend, Thailand’s gay market remained untapped.
“We have not seen many businesses developing products specifically to serve this group of customers,” he said.
But, some businesses have begun to develop gay products, including cosmetics, apparel, movies, magazines and mobile phones.
Phusit Phensiri, executive vice president of Nano Search Co Ltd, said that gays have power within business organisations to devise and impart creative ideas. This creative capacity matches the latest marketing strategies, which have shifted from “the customer is key” to “the idea is king”.
Gay employees, who often have distinct views on design, fashion and creativity, and are able to create better value for products of the companies they work for. This capacity has resulted in higher salaries for gay employees, Phusit said.
He added that gay workers with bachelor’s degrees often enjoy double the salary of general office workers.
Phusit said that because gays often prefer not to reveal their homosexuality, the market for gay products and services had been perceived as a “secret” market. As a result, direct marketing has become a powerful force in the gay market.
Gays become big spenders in Thailand: survey
www.chinaview.cn 2005-08-25 13:46:51 - Xinhua
BANGKOK, Aug. 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Homosexual consumers have become big spenders in Thailand, boosting sales of certain products, a recent survey found out.
In spite of the economic slowdown, sales of cosmetics, apparel and trendy mobile phones are on the rise partly because of demand from homosexual buyers, concluded the survey conducted by the Bangkok research company Nano Search Co Ltd.
"From our survey, we have seen tremendous potential in this gayproduct segment," newspaper Nation on Thursday quoted the company's business consultant Teerasak Wongpiya as saying.
The company's survey was conducted in two phases, involving a mixed group of 220 homosexual and heterosexual respondents and 300selected gay men respectively.
Gay men tend to be more image conscious and have higher purchasing power, showed results of the survey released on Wednesday.
On average, gay consumers enjoyed 25 percent to 30 percent moredisposable income than heterosexuals, for they don't have to provide for children, said Teerasak.
The survey also found that the Thai society has adopted a more tolerant attitude toward homosexual.
"Based on our study, about 40 percent of people say they don't have negative feelings towards homosexuals," said Teerasak.
On the other hand, the business consultant in charge of the survey noticed that the gay market still an untapped sector in thekingdom.
"We have not seen many businesses developing products specifically to serve this group of customers," he said.
from Asia news in brief (San Jose Mercury News 2005/08/27)
Survey says young start sex at 20, reject gays
The first national survey on Vietnam's youth finds Vietnamese start having sex relatively late, reject gays but know about AIDS.
The average age of the first sexual encounter in Vietnam is 19.6, and only 60 percent of Vietnamese youth know about homosexuality, said the study, released Friday.
Four out of five Vietnamese who know about homosexuality said they would not accept a gay person as a friend, according to the survey of 7,584 people between the ages of 14 and 25.
Ninety-seven percent said they had heard of HIV/AIDS, and the same number agreed that condoms could prevent HIV if properly used.
However, 70 percent said condoms reduced pleasure.
Asia's Biggest Gay Fest Gets Green Light
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 27, 2005 12:01 am ET
(Phuket City, Thailand) Asia's biggest gay festival got the go-ahead on Friday despite concerns by area residents.
The Nation Party will be held in the Thai resort city of Phuket November 4 - 6 following a meeting between organizers, the Phuket governor and the mayor of the local council.
The annual party, which attracts thousands of people from around the world, was told earlier this year it was not welcome in Singapore.
For four years the Nation Party attracted thousands of gays from throughout Asia to Singapore, but earlier this year the government refused to give organizers a permit after an official linked the party to a spike in HIV/AIDS cases in the city nation.
Phuket officials instantly embraced the festival, but local residents were not so warm to the idea. (story) They cited concerns that the event may create a noise problem and thousands of gays could discourage straight families from vacationing in the area still getting over the effects of the tsunami that hit the area last December.
At a closed door meeting lat this week with Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura and Kata-Karon mayor Thawee Thongcham organizers of the Nation Party agreed to several restrictions including a 1 am closing each night.
Past Nation Parties have been all night events but the restriction means the festival will operate at the same time as other entertainment venues in the city and in Bangkok.
"Phuket has much to offer visitors in terms of hospitality and the city will work closely with the organised to ensure that the event is a successful one," said Governor Uswarangkura in a statement.
In a bid to increase the level of local participation, a working committee will be established comprising representatives from the city, the police, the hotel association and the organizers.
"Having such a large group of international visitors converge upon Phuket in November will also encourage more foreign arrivals in the following months," said Pattanapong Aikwanich, President of the Phuket Tourist Association.
As soon as the first word went out that the Nation Party would be held in the popular Thai resort people began making reservations.
Almost 80 per cent of the rooms at host hotel and party venue, Crowne Plaza Karon Beach Phuket, have already been booked.
Gay-marriage challenge seen defeated in Massachusetts
Fri Aug 26, 2005 06:13 PM ET
By Jason Szep
BOSTON (Reuters) - Opponents of same-sex marriage face near-certain defeat in their bid to overturn a ruling in Massachusetts allowing gays and lesbians to wed, a result that could influence debate on the hotly contested issue across the country.
Just over a year after Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to allow gay couples to marry, political support is fading for a state constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and allow only same-sex civil unions.
Massachusetts lawmakers vote on the proposal on September 14 in a constitutional convention. Approval would pave the way for a final hurdle -- a state referendum on the amendment in 2006. But a senior lawmaker expressed doubts it would get that far.
House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi said rejection was likely.
"At this point he thinks the way it looks now, the amendment will not proceed any further," said DiMasi spokeswoman Kim Haberlin.
DiMasi is the latest Massachusetts politician to signal dying political and public support for overturning the ground-breaking ruling by the state's highest court that struck down a ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional.
Advocates say more than 6,000 same-sex couples have been issued marriage licenses in Massachusetts.
But they see more fights ahead that could determine whether other states follow Massachusetts's lead, as conservatives and Christian groups keep pushing for an outright ban on both same-sex marriages and civil unions in the state.
Many gay rights activists oppose civil unions, which lack some of the federal benefits of a legal marriage.
The biggest challenge could come from a separate initiative calling for a state referendum in 2008 to ban gay marriage and not allow civil unions. The state's attorney general must decide by September 7 whether to certify or reject that.
"We believe we are on rock-solid ground," said Kristian Mineau, president of the conservative Massachusetts Family Institute that is leading the initiative.
If it gets a green light, Mineau's group would need to gather 66,000 signatures in a petition supporting the ban. Then they must win backing from at least 50 lawmakers in two legislative sessions to put it on the ballot.
That means more standoffs with activists such as Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, which is circulating its own petition of lawyers that says the challenge is legally flawed.
"We think the Massachusetts Constitution says pretty plainly that you cannot use a ballot initiative process to reverse a judicial decision. So we think we have a pretty strong argument," said Swislow.
Among her more powerful supporters is the head of the Boston Bar Association, Ellen Carpenter, who joined about 80 other lawyers in signing the petition before sending it the attorney general with nearly 50 pages of supporting documents.
"As far as I understand it, the provision cannot be amended to overturn a supreme judicial decision," Carpenter said. "And that letter is signed by real heavy hitters in the Boston and Massachusetts legal community."
But for some gay couples, like 37-year-old Amy Wyeth and her long-term partner Valerie who plan to marry in November, the frenzied debate is not enough to sway their wedding plans.
"It's been amazing to me that I have not encountered any prejudice or problems," said Wyeth, although she expressed some concern over the risk of the laws being reversed.
"It concerns me, but I also think that once psychologically you have something in place, it's harder to take that away."
’０５いばらき総選挙 ３、５区で討論会 (東京新聞・茨城版 2005/08/27朝刊)
衆院３区の立候補予定者、公開討論会 (読売・茨城版 2005/08/27朝刊)
’０５衆院選：３区 立候補予定者、公開討論で熱弁－－竜ケ崎 (毎日・茨城版 2005/08/27朝刊)
♪ ダメじゃん(^_^ﾒ) せっかくの政策アピールの機会なのに…
特集――衆院選公示前の情勢、北関東、群馬、栃木、茨城、比例北関東 (日本経済 2005/08/27朝刊)より
比例北関東 ◆前回獲得議席 民主８、自民８、公明３、共産１
【選挙区】（ ）内は前回議席を獲得した党派。補選があった場合は補選に勝利した党派。〈 〉内は当該選挙区の主な市・区・郡・支庁など
総選挙・茨城：決戦－選挙区情勢 ■３区■ 過去最多、５人激戦 (茨城新聞 2005/08/23)
Municipal officials ban gay parade in Bulgarian seaside resort
Wed Aug 24,11:17 AM ET
Beachgoers at the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Varna. The city of Varna has banned a gay parade at the nearby seaside resort of Saint Constantin, citing technical reasons(AFP/File)
SOFIA (AFP) - The Bulgarian city of Varna has banned a gay parade at a nearby seaside resort, citing technical reasons, the municipality said in a statement.
The town council's refusal to authorize the parade, which was to have taken place in Saint Constantin, came after Christian Orthodox church officials in Varna had threatened to hold a counter-protest.
"The identity of the petitioner (to hold the parade) was not clear ... and the nature of brochures and other material that were to be handed out was also not indicated precisely," the statement read.
The Bulgarian gay-rights organization Gemini confirmed that their parade had been banned.
"The inaugural event of the homosexual and transvestite days for which guests from Greece, Italy, Spain and Switzerland had been invited has been banned," Gemini spokeswoman Dessislava Petrova said on national television.
A church official, Father Ivan of Varna, said on television that the parade would have "encouraged youths to reject moral norms."
Petrova of Gemini, however, said: "Our objective is to inform homosexuals of their rights and to tell society that they are just like anyone else."
She lashed out at the church for opposing the gay-rights parade, after the clergy failed to protest against an erotic festival that was held in Varna last week.
Petrova said a transvestite beauty contest would still go ahead at a club Wednesday night, with the hope that a gay parade would be authorized next year.
The New York Times
Lone Woman on Committee Feels Pull of Further Duty in Roberts Hearings
By DEAN E. MURPHY
Published: August 26, 2005
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 25 - It was the sight of Anita F. Hill being brusquely questioned by an all-male Senate Judiciary Committee about her sexual harassment charges against Clarence Thomas, then a United States Supreme Court nominee, that helped propel Dianne Feinstein into the Senate in 1992.
In the years since, Mrs. Feinstein, a Democrat from California, has carved out an identity as a moderate who can work with both parties. She has backed some of President Bush's agenda while also remaining popular in her largely Democratic home state, where she typically earns the highest approval ratings of any elected official.
But now Mrs. Feinstein, 72, is the only woman on the Judiciary Committee as it considers the first conservative nominee to the Supreme Court and the first to be challenged by abortion rights groups and other liberal groups since Justice Thomas was confirmed in 1991.
That has placed Mrs. Feinstein at the center of a political maelstrom, with Democrats split over how aggressively to challenge the nominee, Judge John G. Roberts Jr., and some liberals saying they worry that Mrs. Feinstein is not the standard bearer they need to help turn the tide against him.
"I think Dianne is more interested in protecting her centrist credentials than her feminist credentials," said Representative Maxine Waters, a fellow California Democrat, who said she "expects nothing" of Mrs. Feinstein in the hearings because the judge's confirmation "has already been decided" behind closed doors.
"Her politics are centrist," Ms. Waters said, "or making sure she is not identified as being too strong a Democrat and making sure she has some Republican credentials. That's her political image and identification."
Mrs. Feinstein says she is not unnerved by the political crosswinds. "I have resisted pressure points," she said after delivering a speech on Judge Roberts here this week.
"I have rebuffed them from the beginning, and stay away," Mrs. Feinstein said of the various groups trying to influence her and the proceedings. "I'm not a newcomer to the committee. I have been through two Supreme Court hearings. I know what they are. I know what they should be. I know we have to do our due diligence."
But the pressure is certainly there, particularly from groups that favor abortion rights. Ellen R. Malcolm, president of Emily's List, a fund-raising and advocacy group for Democratic women who support abortion rights, said she had had several conversations with Ms. Feinstein about the Roberts nomination. Emily's List was instrumental in raising money for Mrs. Feinstein and the three other women first elected to the Senate in 1992, the so-called Year of the Woman for Democrats.
Ms. Malcolm said she was convinced that Mrs. Feinstein "will work very hard to understand what's at stake during this confirmation process." She offered no prediction of how Mrs. Feinstein would vote.
"I think she wants to hear what Mr. Roberts has to say," Ms. Malcolm said, adding, "A lot of people understand that Senator Feinstein believes in Roe v. Wade and are counting on her to make sure it's not overturned."
Colleagues and associates of Mrs. Feinstein say that she is poignantly aware of the expectations surrounding her unique position on the committee and that her mind is not made up on the Roberts nomination. Many of them also acknowledge that she has a strong independent streak and suggest that it would be foolhardy to regard her as a lapdog for any particular interest group or viewpoint.
"Dianne is at a stage in her life where she doesn't need to prove anything to anyone," said Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California, who appeared with Mrs. Feinstein this week in Silicon Valley. "I think there is very little chance that she will posture in a calculated way for political purposes."
Many of those concerned about Mrs. Feinstein have private rumblings that sound a similar theme: Though Mrs. Feinstein has always been a public champion of Roe v. Wade, she is not a sure vote on anything, including against a court nominee whose views on women's issues are anathema to many liberals.
"As much as it might drive us absolutely bananas," one prominent abortion rights activist said, "if you can convince Dianne Feinstein, you have a much better chance of getting a moderate Republican to follow her lead."
Some suggest Mrs. Feinstein has contributed to the anxiety by carefully parsing her words on Roe v. Wade, the case that made abortion legal in 1973 and that many abortion rights advocates fear Judge Roberts would undo. In speeches here and in San Jose this week, Mrs. Feinstein pronounced the paramount importance of determining Judge Roberts's views on the case, but did not pledge to vote against his nomination if he failed that test.
"It would be very difficult for me to vote to confirm someone to the Supreme Court whom I knew would overturn Roe v. Wade and return our country to the days of the 1950's," Mrs. Feinstein told a luncheon meeting of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
When asked after the speech why she was not more unequivocal - perhaps saying impossible instead of "very difficult" - she refused to elaborate.
"I am not going to go into that," she said. "I said what I meant."
Katherine Spillar, executive vice president of Feminist Majority, a group that has announced its opposition to Judge Roberts, said too much was being made of the wiggle room Mrs. Feinstein might have left herself.
"I think she is going to ask some very penetrating questions," Ms. Spillar said. "What we need to be concerned about is whether Judge Roberts will answer the questions honestly and fully."
The liberal consternation surrounding Mrs. Feinstein began in the very first days following Judge Roberts's nomination in July. The judge paid a visit to Mrs. Feinstein on Capitol Hill, and after an hour or so, they emerged for the cameras, all smiles.
Mrs. Feinstein told reporters at that time that she could not imagine Senate Democrats using a filibuster to block the nomination.
In her speeches this week, Mrs. Feinstein sought to shore up her credentials on women's issues important to Democrats, while stopping short of saying how she will vote.
Mrs. Feinstein insisted that the Senate would "not simply act as a rubber stamp" for the White House.
"As the only woman on the committee, I have an additional role to play in representing the views and concerns of 145 million American women during this hearing process," Mrs. Feinstein said.
She invoked the memory of the Thomas hearings and what she called the "demeaning treatment" Ms. Hill received.
"Well, that day is gone," Mrs. Feinstein said to a thunderous ovation in Los Angeles. "It will not occur again."
But the difficulty in professing to represent 145 million women was being illustrated even as Mrs. Feinstein made that promise. In Washington, groups supporting the Roberts nomination, including Women for Roberts, were calling on her to look beyond the base of her party.
"For too long, far-leftist organizations consumed with only one agenda, the pro-abortion agenda, have claimed they represent all women in general," Connie Mackey, a vice president at the Family Research Council, said at a news conference. "Message No. 1: They do not."
Feinstein: Roberts' abortion stance key
Powerful senator says her vote could hinge on single issue
James Sterngold, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Los Angeles -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, speaking to a large gathering of lawyers, made it clear Wednesday that maintaining a woman's right to have an abortion would be the litmus test she would apply in deciding whether to support Judge John Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court.
Feinstein, who has long supported abortion rights, has said Roberts' view of the landmark Roe vs. Wade abortion ruling would influence her decision on his nomination as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. But her comments to the lawyers and to reporters afterward marked the first time she has stated that her vote on Roberts' nomination would hinge on his position on this single contentious issue.
"It would be very difficult for me to vote to confirm someone to the Supreme Court whom I knew would overturn Roe and return our country to the days of the 1950s," the 72-year-old Democratic senator said.
Feinstein -- who has carved out a role as a political centrist and has distanced herself from some of the more critical remarks made about Roberts by liberal Senate Democrats, such as Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Patrick Leahy of Vermont -- has spoken highly of Roberts in the past and repeated her admiring comments Wednesday. She said he is bright, experienced and qualified for the job.
But, stressing the importance of the abortion issue, she also declared that "nothing's a slam-dunk" and that President Bush's choice of Roberts for the high court is still far from assured of confirmation. The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin hearings on Sept. 6.
Activists on both sides have stepped up their efforts to influence the Senate's view of Roberts as the hearings approach on the 50-year-old appellate court judge who served as a lawyer in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced its support for Roberts on Wednesday, while the liberal People for the American Way opposed the conservative judge. A number of abortion-rights groups also have announced their opposition.
In Los Angeles, Feinstein reviewed many legal issues she says are relevant to the Senate's consideration of Roberts' nomination to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, but she spent much of her time talking about abortion.
The senator spoke in highly personal terms of her experiences during college with classmates who she said had to rush secretly across the border to Tijuana for abortions, and of one friend who committed suicide because of an unwanted pregnancy.
"I believe the choice is clear," she said. "Government should not be allowed to interfere in personal, family decisions and overrule the most difficult choices a family can make. The question I have is how John Roberts will react to these real-life dilemmas when and if they come before him."
Feinstein's remarks may help define abortion rights as the most important question in the nomination battle taking shape in the Senate, and they also sent a message to Roberts and his Republican supporters that if he avoids articulating a position on the Supreme Court rulings that have guaranteed access to abortion, he is likely to lose her vote. Feinstein often has been viewed as a swing vote on contentious nominations in the committee of 10 Republicans and eight Democrats.
"They make a mistake if they stonewall the committee" about the legal right to abortion, she said in comments to reporters after her speech at a downtown hotel. She added that the fuzzier Roberts' answers on the subject, which many expect, the more inclined she and other Democrats will be to "assume the worst" and oppose him.
In her long and detailed speech to the Los Angeles County Bar Association and Public Counsel, a public interest legal group, Feinstein carefully analyzed the Supreme Court under Chief Justice William Rehnquist and expressed deep reservations about some of its decisions.
In many instances, Feinstein noted the swing-vote role played by O'Connor, whose retirement opened up the nomination battle, and Feinstein gave her a mixed report card.
Feinstein said O'Connor opposed several Supreme Court decisions that overturned federal or state laws, such as laws banning guns within 1,000 feet of schools, laws allowing victims of rape to sue their attackers in federal court and a California law that permitted limited use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Feinstein also fretted that the Rehnquist court has, in her view, been unusually activist in restricting the power of Congress.
But Feinstein praised O'Connor's role in affirming the basic right to abortion in the 1992 Casey vs. Planned Parenthood decision, and, eight years later, in voting to strike down a Nebraska state law banning a form of late- term abortion, known by the medical term intact dilation and evacuation.
"It is my hope that Judge Roberts would play a role similar to Justice O'Connor's on the court and bring with him a voice defined by temperance and open-mindedness," Feinstein said.
Feinstein added that, while she has "a feeling" Roberts would not vote to overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision, she still is uncertain where he stands, even after a one-hour private meeting in Washington earlier.
"I am really not sure what his views are," she said.
She acknowledged that it is highly unlikely Roberts will clearly spell out his views on abortion at the coming hearings. Thus, she said, much of her attention is focused on working with other Democrats to fashion questions that would allow them, through hints and suggestions, to ferret out Roberts' position.
"I did get a 'feeling' " Roberts supports abortion rights, Feinstein said, then added, "Well, you can't take a feeling to the bank."
Feinstein on court nominee.
What she said
"It would be very difficult for me to vote to confirm someone to the Supreme Court whom I knew would overturn Roe and return our country to the days of the 1950s.".
Feinstein has generally spoken highly of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, but she also noted that "nothing's a slam-dunk.".
The fuzzier Roberts is on the issue of abortion, the more likely she and other Democrats will "assume the worst" and oppose him.
E-mail James Sterngold at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Posted 8/24/2005 10:34 PM Updated 8/25/2005 7:38 AM
Sen. Feinstein looks to press Roberts on abortion
By Martin Kasindorf and Mark Memmott, USA TODAY
A prominent Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday that she'll press Supreme Court nominee John Roberts for his views on abortion rights and other women's issues at his confirmation hearings next month.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., indicated in a speech to two lawyers' groups in Los Angeles that she will measure Roberts against the record of retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, whom he would replace. The moderately conservative O'Connor, often the deciding vote on the divided court, played a key role in a 5-4 ruling in 1992 that preserved Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion legal nationwide.
"As the only woman on the committee, I have an additional role to play: representing the views and concerns of 145 million American women during this hearing process," Feinstein said. "It is my hope that Judge Roberts would play a role similar to Justice O'Connor's ... and bring with him a voice defined by temperance and open-mindedness."
Feinstein later told reporters that she hasn't prejudged how she'll vote on Roberts, a federal appeals judge whom she praised as having "a very fine, keen, sharp legal mind." She ducked a question on whether Senate Democrats are divided over whether to oppose President Bush's choice for the high court, but she left no doubt that her vote will be guided by what Roberts says about his views on abortion rights.
"It would be very difficult for me to vote to confirm someone to the Supreme Court whom I knew would overturn Roe and return our country to the days of the 1950s," Feinstein said.
Despite a private, one-hour meeting with Roberts recently, "I am really not sure what the views are," she said.
Roberts has said he regards the Roe v. Wade decision as "settled precedent," but as a government lawyer during the administration of the first President Bush he filed briefs urging the high court to overturn Roe.
Feinstein said she wants to know whether Roberts considers Roe "well enough settled" to refrain from seeking to exercise the Supreme Court's prerogative of overturning it.
In Washington, the media campaign over Roberts' nomination heated up, as a leading liberal group announced it would oppose him and a pro-business group said it would back him.
People for the American Way will oppose Roberts' nomination because his record as a lawyer in the Reagan and first Bush administrations suggests he would "dramatically shift the balance of the court to the right ... and turn back the clock decades" on civil rights, women's rights and privacy rights, group President Ralph Neas said.
Thomas Donohue, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said his group is supporting Roberts because of his "fairness, keen intellect, open-mindedness and judicious practice of the law."
Dianne Feinstein (US Senator D-California)
特集ＷＯＲＬＤ・女だけの話題：いまだかつてなく注目される女性候補者 (毎日 2005/08/26夕刊)
小国 元首相の娘でとんでもなく大きな屋敷に住んでいる田中真紀子さんですら、選挙の時には戦略として「普通の主婦」を前面に出し、オバサンたちの票を集めたわけでしょ？ 今回立候補する女性候補たちには「実力で男社会を生きてきたぜ」というタイプが多いから、記者としては有権者のどういった層から票を集めるのか興味があるな。それに政治家の娘やら妻やらを地元支援団体が担ぎ出すようなケースよりはずっと気持ちがいい。
毎日新聞 2005年8月26日 東京夕刊
Gay revolution puts red China in the pink
By Hamish McDonald Sydney Morning Herald Correspondent in Shanghai
August 27, 2005
Photo: Getty Images
The word "tongzhi", or comrade, used to be the unisex, equalising term of address in the socialist world of Mao Zedong's New China.
Type it into an internet search engine now, especially in a Chinese-language version, and today's China emerges in a whole new light - pink rather than revolutionary red.
In one of the more delightful linguistic subversions of this fast-changing country, the term has been appropriated by China's male homosexuals to refer to themselves and has spread widely into the general community with the same meaning.
The search generates an alternative map of Shanghai, the vast seaboard metropolis that is China's most socially avant-garde centre, mirrored less luridly perhaps in dozens of other cities.
From a plush Arabian-style restaurant with hookahs and divans in the centre of the city to discreet club-style bars in the backstreets of the old French quarter, from corners of certain parks to bathhouses, venues for gay encounters are quite openly advertised and tolerated.
"We never have any trouble from the police, and no gay-bashing," said Xiaohai (Little Sea), a 21-year-old from inland Jiangsu province who works as a host in the KM Bar, a gay haunt where he and other young men in tight jeans and singlet-tops chat with customers. "China is very safe for us."
Shanghai is still far from the decadence, excess and exploitation that the homosexual English writers W.H.Auden and Christopher Isherwood experienced in the 1930s. But it is leading China in acceptance of homosexuality.
In the latest breakthrough, the city's prestigious Fudan University has announced it will offer a course in Homosexual Studies to undergraduates from all faculties as a degree credit in the academic year starting next month. More than 100 students have enrolled.
Sun Zhongxin, an assistant-professor of sociology directing the course, said it would approach homosexuality from cultural, legal and other social perspectives. Previously, Chinese universities have only touched the subject, if at all, at graduate level in medical schools.
"It's not a radical approach," Professor Sun Zhongxin said. "But this could change society in a radical way."
In the Chinese hinterland, except in a few big cities such as Beijing and Chongqing, the gay emergence is more tentative but strengthening among a homosexual community that statistically must number some tens of millions.
In May, about 40 "comrades" attached themselves to a sports parade in Dalian, carrying placards calling for tolerance of gays. In June, others flew kites in front of Shenyang's city hall to mark a gay-awareness day.
Like heterosexuals, China's gays and lesbians have benefited from the retreat of the communist state from the puritanism that Mao forced on everyone except himself, and the official attitude that homosexuality was a "mouldering lifestyle of capitalism".
Legal reform in 1997 removed the all-purpose crime of "hooliganism", often applied to gay men arrested while looking for sex in public toilets and parks, along with the crime of sodomy - effectively decriminalising homosexuality. In 2001, it was removed from the official list of mental disorders.
And, as elsewhere, the need to control the spread of AIDS has led authorities, however reluctantly at first, to enlist the help of homosexual activists, while the internet has provided a medium of advice, confession and contact.
Chinese gays moved into a legal and social environment often described as the "three no's" - "no approval, no disapproval, and no promotion".
Li Yinhe, a leading researcher on homosexuals, has described China as "a half-heaven for homosexuals". Many scholars and gays think the country has moved back to a traditional ambiguity about sexuality.
On one hand, China's religions permitted diversity: Buddhism regarding all sexual desire pretty equally as something to be relinquished; and Taoism accepting that people could have differing balances of yang and yin (male and female).
On the other, Confucius pronounced that men should behave as men, and women as women, and that "there are three things which are unfilial and the greatest of these is to have no posterity".
In practice, it was often accepted that young men could have sex with each other as a part of friendship, and that married men could have sex with boys, or female concubines and prostitutes, or both, as long as they married and produced an heir. "The atmosphere for man-man sex has been quite free and loose in Chinese culture," says Tong Ge, China's leading gay novelist, who writes under this nom-de-plume. "It's not about sexual preference, but more about sexual roles and sexual identity. For example, if a man of high status had sexual relations with a man of low status like a barber or a waiter, people would not blame him and just regard him as a playboy. They would assume he was the inserter, rather than the insertee. This role-playing would be how they judge the issue."
At Shanghai's KM Bar, Xiaohai echoes this attitude. If a customer is nice, he will go off and spend the night with him. "They are usually well-educated, professional men and businessmen," he said, with a touch of pride.
Tong Ge, who is in his late 50s, said the haunts for homosexuals had changed dramatically in recent years. "Up until about 1998 we used to meet in public toilets and parks," he said. "Now there are bars, meetings, and even sports events."
Yet the writer's own life expresses the poignant half-world of China's homosexuals. His novels like Good Boy Luo Ge have not been published in the Chinese mainland, only in Hong Kong, under a still-prurient censorship policy that has also restricted exhibition of some fine Chinese and Hong Kong films dealing with gay and lesbian stories.
His first love affair was at age of 17 when he and a male friend were assigned to Inner Mongolia at the start of the Cultural Revolution. One night, the two got drunk and found each other.
"It was wonderful - everything happened," he said. "I felt like it was something I'd been waiting for a long time. I had no concept then of what homosexuality was - it was a period without reflection."
But his friend was assigned back to the city. After some years, Tong Ge's family found him a girl, and out of duty, he got married, producing a son within a year. The marriage settled into a tranquil, sexless relationship - as with many heterosexual couples, he observes - that he values for its its companionship. To this day, his wife and son (now a young man) do not know he is homosexual. In his home under his real name, he is an academic engaged in research on homosexuals and HIV/AIDS. On a circuit of seminars and gay community meetings, he is Tong Ge, the famous author.
"I don't want them to know even when I die," he said. "Because I have made a fantastic dream for my family. No matter what, from the understanding of my wife and my son, I am a good husband and a good father. If we say that life requires us to to play a certain role, I want to play that role."
Probably 80 per cent of Chinese homosexuals still enter heterosexual marriages to keep their families happy, researchers believe. And for all the advances Tong Ge has experienced, he can't envisage full equal rights for homosexuals and lesbians happening in his own lifetime.
"China is a land covered by the ice of bureaucracy, tradition and ethics," he said, adding with a wry smile: "We comrades can only try to melt the frozen land with our body warmth."
♪ "in the pink"には「（身体が）健康である」という意味もある。
Same-sex marriage bill clears committee
Revived measure removes gender from legal definition
Lynda Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
Friday, August 26, 2005
Sacramento -- A revived bill to allow same-sex marriage is headed for the Senate floor early next week after clearing the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said he is confident of passage in the Senate before the bill moves to the Assembly, where it was defeated once this year already.
"No legislative body has ever passed such a measure. It would be historic, " Leno said.
AB849 would make marriage as defined by law gender neutral by taking out the notion that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The committee approved the measure 7 to 4, with Sen. Dean Florez, D- Shafter (Kern County), joining the three Republicans on the committee in opposing the bill.
Leno's bill fell four votes short in the Assembly in June, as some moderate Democrats refused to support it. Leno said he believes there have been significant developments since then, including a recent court ruling giving gay and lesbian parents equal custodial rights.
"They are considered no different than married couples with regards to responsibility for children," said Leno, who added that he hopes to see the bill back in the Assembly before the end of next week.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not taken a position on the bill.
"We call upon Gov. Schwarzenegger to announce that he will veto this anti- marriage, anti-voter bill," said Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families. "It's high time for the 'Terminator' to tell California families where he stands on AB849."
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Calif. Gay Marriage Bill Heads To Senate For Vote
by Mark Worrall 365Gay.com San Francisco Bureau
Posted: August 26, 2005 8:00 am ET
(Sacramento, California) Legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry in California passed its last hurdle Thursday evening and now heads to the Senate floor for a full vote - likely early next week.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the measure by openly gay Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) On a 7 - 6 vote. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved it last month. (story)
The marriage bill was considered all but dead this spring when it was defeated by four votes in the Assembly (story) after a quarter of the Democrats in the House voted with Republicans to reject it.
But Leno was undeterred and succeeded in having the legislation attached to a Senate marine bill. If it passes in the full Senate, the measure would then return to the Assembly, as part of the marine legislation.
"Allowing same sex couples to access one another's health care plans, make joint medical decisions, inherit one another's property, file joint tax returns, and provide for their children without fear of them falling into foster care should one partner pass away is not only humane but fiscally prudent," said Leno, one of six openly gay members of the Legislature.
Called the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, the bill would require local clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples but allow people opposed to gay marriage to refuse to conduct weddings.
So far Gov. Schwarzenegger has sent mixed messages about whether he would sign the legislation if it were passed.
"Equal marriage rights will bring a much needed lifeline to our state economy," said Geoffrey Kors, Executive Director of Equality California.
"At a time when our state is unable to fully fund education, health care or sustain a balanced budget, we simply cannot afford the financial costs - let alone the moral costs - of discrimination in our civil marriage laws.
According to a study co-authored by the Williams Project, a think tank at UCLA School of Law, and the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Same-sex marriage would have a significant positive impact on California's state budget - a potential gain of up to $30 million each year. The study also found that California would benefit from a boom in tourism.
The study concludes that if marriage licenses were permanently offered, each year California would benefit from over $100 million in increased business revenues - generating over $7 million in sales tax revenues for the state.
The issue of same-sex marriage also is being waged in the courts.
In March, a San Francisco a judge ruled that it is unconstitutional for the state to deny marriage to gay and lesbian couples. (story)
Attorney General Bill Lockyer has appealed the ruling. Earlier this month the California Supreme Court declined to fast track the case. (story)
Both Lockyer and The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Lambda Legal had petitioned the Supreme Court to bypass the appeals courts and hear the case now. Once the appeals process is exhausted the case will likely end up in the high court in about a year.
By that time voters are likely to have weighed in on same-sex marriage. A conservative group called the "Voters' Right to Protect Marriage Initiative" has begun collecting signatures to have a proposed amendment to the California Constitution banning same-sex marriage placed on the 2006 ballot. (story) If approved by voters it would not only bar gays and lesbians from marrying but also void the state's landmark domestic partner law.