TV & Radio
The New York Times
June 26, 2007
Poll Shows Liberal Ideas Gaining With Young People
By ADAM NAGOURNEY and MEGAN C. THEE
Young Americans are more likely than the general public to favor a government-run universal health care insurance system, an open-door policy on immigration and the legalization of gay marriage, according to a New York Times/CBS News/MTV poll. The poll also found that they are more likely to say the war in Iraq is heading to a successful conclusion.
In a snapshot of a group whose energy and idealism have always been as alluring to politicians as its scattered focus and shifting interests have been frustrating, the poll found that substantially more Americans between the ages of 17 and 29 than four years ago are paying attention to the presidential race. But they appeared to be really familiar with only two of the candidates, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, both Democrats.
They have continued a long-term drift away from the Republican Party, and although they are just as worried as the general population about the outlook for the country and think their generation is likely to be worse off than that of their parents, they retain a belief that their votes can make a difference, the poll found.
More than half of Americans between 17 and 29 years old — 54 percent — say they intend to vote for a Democrat for president in 2008. They share with the public at large a negative view of President Bush, who has a 28 percent approval rating with this group, and of the Republican Party. They hold a markedly more positive view of Democrats than they do of Republicans.
Among this age group, Mr. Bush’s job approval rating after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was more than 8 in 10. Over the course of the next three years, it drifted downward leading into the presidential election of 2004, when 4 out of 10 members of young Americans said they approved how Mr. Bush was handling his job.
At a time when Democrats have made gains after years in which Republicans have dominated Washington, young Americans appear to lean slightly more to the left than the general population: 28 percent described themselves as liberal, compared with 20 percent of the nation at large. And 27 percent called themselves conservative, compared with 32 percent of the general public.
Forty-four percent said they believed that same-sex couples should be permitted to get married, compared with 28 percent of the public at large. They are more likely than their elders to support the legalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The findings on gay marriage were reminiscent of a survey of voters leaving the polls on election day 2004: 41 percent of 18-to-29-year-old voters said gay couples should be permitted to legally marry, according to an exit poll at the time.
In addition, 62 percent said in the current poll that they would support a universal, government-sponsored national health care insurance program; 47 percent of the general public holds that view. And 30 percent said that “Americans should always welcome new immigrants,” while 24 percent of the general public holds that view.
Their views on abortion mirror that of the public at large: 24 percent said it should not be permitted it all, while 38 percent said it should be made available, but with greater restrictions. Thirty-seven percent said it should be generally available.
In one potential sign of shifting attitudes, respondents, by overwhelming margins said they believed that the nation was prepared to elect as president a woman, a black or someone who admitted to having used marijuana. But they said they did not believe Americans would elect as president someone who had used cocaine or a Mormon.
Mr. Obama has suggested that he used cocaine as a young man. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and a candidate for the Republican nomination, is a Mormon.
By a 52 to 36 margin, young Americans say that Democrats, rather than Republicans, come closer to sharing their moral values, while 58 percent said they had a favorable view of the Democratic Party, while 38 percent said they had a favorable view of Republicans.
Asked if they were enthusiastic about any of the candidates running for president, 18 percent named Mr. Obama, of Illinois, and 17 percent named Mrs. Clinton, of New York. Those two were followed by Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican, who was named by just 4 percent of the respondents.
The survey also found that 42 percent of young Americans think it is likely or very likely that the national will reinstate a military draft over the next few years — and two-thirds said they thought the Republican Party was more likely to do so. And 87 percent of respondents said they opposed a draft.
But when it came to the war, young Americans were more optimistic about the outcome than the population as whole. Fifty-one percent said the United States is very or somewhat likely to succeed in Iraq, compared with 45 percent among all adults. Contrary to conventional wisdom, younger Americans have historically been more likely than the population as whole to be supportive of what a president is doing in a time of war as they were in Korea and Vietnam, polls have shown.
The nationwide telephone poll — a joint effort by the New York Times, CBS News, and MTV — was conducted from June 15 to June 23. It involved 659 adults from the ages of 17 to 29. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points for all respondents.
The Times/CBS News/MTV Poll suggests that suggests that Americans are conflicted in their view of the country. Many have a bleak view about their own future and the direction the country is heading: 70 percent said the country is on the wrong track, while 48 percent said they fear that their generation will be worse off than their parents But the survey also found that this generation of Americans is not cynical: 77 percent said they thought the votes of their generation would have a great bearing on who becomes the next president.
By any measure, the poll suggests that young Americans are anything but apathetic about the presidential election. Fifty-eight percent said they are paying attention to the campaign. By contrast, at this point in the 2004 presidential campaign, 35 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds said they were paying a lot or some attention to the campaign.
Over the past half century, the youth vote has, more often than not, gone with the Democratic candidate for president, though with some notable exceptions. In 1984, Ronald Reagan won his second term as president by capturing 59 percent of the youth vote, according to surveys of voters leaving the polls, and George H.W. Bush won in 1988 with 52 percent of that vote. But this age group has supported Democratic presidential candidates in every election since.
The percentage of young voters who identified themselves as Republican grew steadily during Reagan administration, and reached a high of 37 percent in 1989. That number has steadily declined ever since, and is now at 25 percent.
“I think the Democratic Party is now realizing how big an impact my generation has and they’re trying to cater to that in some way,” Ashley Robinson, 21, a Democrat from Minnesota, said in a follow-up interview after she participated in the poll. “But the traditional Republican Party is still trying to get older votes, which doesn’t make sense because there are so many more voters my age. It would be sensible to cater to us.”
The fact a significant number of respondents said they were enthusiastic about just two of the candidates — Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton — to a certain extent reflects the fact that both candidates have been the subject of a huge amount of national attention and have presented the country with historic candidacies: Mr. Obama is running to be the first black president and Mrs. Clinton to become the first woman. Other candidates could begin drawing attention from this group as the campaign takes a higher platform.
More significant, though, at least for Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama is the impression this group has of them. In the poll, 43 percent of respondents said they held an unfavorable view of Mrs. Clinton, a number that reflects the tide of resistance she faces among voters nationwide. By contrast, only 19 percent said they had an unfavorable view of Mr. Obama.
Marjorie Connelly, Dalia Sussman and Marina Stefan contributed reporting.
NY Times/CBS/MTV Poll (PDF)
47. Which comes closest to your view?...Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry, gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry, there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship?
3/7-11/07 All adults
Civil unions 32
No legal recognition 35
6/15-23/07 Age 17-29
Civil unions 24
No legal recognition 30
48. Do you think being homosexual is something people choose to be, or do you think it is something they cannot change?
10/5-8/06 All adults
Cannot change 53
6/15-23/07 Age 17-29
Cannot change 50
Elizabeth Edwards declares support for gay marriage
Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle Political Writer
Monday, June 25, 2007
Elizabeth Edwards, starring at the kickoff event of San Francisco's Gay Pride Parade, came out in support of legalized same-sex marriage Sunday -- taking a position that she acknowledged is at odds with her husband, presidential candidate John Edwards.
"I don't know why somebody else's marriage has anything to do with me," she said. "I'm completely comfortable with gay marriage."
Edwards' comments came after her keynote address before a standing-room-only breakfast attended by 300 people at the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Democratic Club, a key organization in the powerful gay political base in San Francisco.
The appearance by the candidate's wife -- witnessed by many local politicians, including Mayor Gavin Newsom, District Attorney Kamala Harris and City Attorney Dennis Herrera -- was hailed as a milestone in the 30-year history of the Gay Pride event, which had never been visited by a major presidential candidate or spouse.
California's presidential primary is Feb. 5, making it one of the earliest races in the country and a frequent stop for candidates and their families.
Edwards' embrace of same-sex marriage puts her in a position that differs markedly from her husband, the former North Carolina senator. Edwards said her husband, though having a "deeply held belief against any form of discrimination," supports gay civil unions, but does not support gay marriage.
"John has been pretty clear about it, that he is very conflicted," she said. "That's up against his being raised in the 1950s in a rural southern town. I think honestly he's on a road that a lot of people in this country are on. ... They're struggling with this. Most of the gay and lesbian people I know ... have seen their friends and family walking down that same road.
"It's frustrating, I know," she added, "but it's a long distance from where we are now to the pews of a Southern Baptist church. So, John's been as honest as he can about that."
Edwards said she has come to the conclusion that the marriage of another couple "makes no difference to me," just as it would make no difference in her opinion of a neighbor if he painted his house a different color.
"If he's pleasant to me on the street, if his children don't throw things in my yard, then I'm happy," she said. "It seems to me we're making issues of things that honestly ... don't matter."
Many at the breakfast where Edwards was enthusiastically received noted the stark differences between Democratic and Republican presidential candidates on issues that matter to gay and lesbian voters.
All Democratic candidates support the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gay people in the military, while none of the Republican candidates said they would support such a change.
All Democrats also support a measure recently passed in New Hampshire that allows civil unions. But the leading candidates -- Edwards, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama -- remain opposed to same sex marriage.
Only Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Ohio, and former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska support same-sex marriage, but they are considered to have virtually no chance of winning the Democratic nomination.
In 2004, Mayor Gavin Newsom decided to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of the state law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The state Supreme Court has barred such marriages until it issues a final decision in the case. That decision is still pending.
This article appeared on page A - 9 of the San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle Sections CommentaryNews
Chicago embraces Gay Pride
By Jeff Long
Chicago Tribune staff reporter
June 24, 2007, 6:14 PM CDT
Mike Erickson stood with his two young daughters in the heart of Boystown on Sunday, enjoying the Gay Pride Parade for the first time-even though his brother had come out to the family more than 10 years ago.
Erickson, 49, of Evergreen Park, and his daughters, Ceili, 12, and Phoebe, 10, watched the dancers and marchers and floats, and wandered through the friendly crowd with grins of appreciation.
"I haven't seen anything yet that I wouldn't want them to be exposed to," said Erickson, as a float with bare-chested men dancing in tight shorts cruised by. "If you want to see a wild parade, come down to the South Side St. Patrick's parade."
"It's fun," Phoebe said of her day at Pride.
The girls' grins seemed to have as much to do with having a fun day in Chicago with their uncle Jon as anything else. They stayed with their dad at their uncle's place the night before, watching movies and visiting.
Jon Erickson, who would only say he is not yet 50 when asked his age, has lived in the Boystown area for about 15 years. He said Sunday that he was proud to have his nieces and brother there with him amid a crowd that city officials estimated 450,000.
"It's really more than a family thing," Jon Erickson said of having his nieces attend Pride. "Their first question was, 'What does the rainbow flag mean?' And I told them how everyone's welcome. And that gay people are everywhere. So, to have my family join me along with my larger family is what the Pride Parade is all about."
Police and organizers said Sunday afternoon that they knew of no major problems or disturbances during the parade, which began at about noon, wending north on Halsted Street from Belmont and back south on Broadway.
There were 250 registered entries for the 38th annual event-floats, decorated vehicles, and marching groups-according to parade coordinator Richard Pfeiffer.
Former NBA center Jon Amaechi, who retired in 2004 after five seasons in the league and came out earlier this year in an autobiography titled "Man in the Middle," was the parade's grand marshal. The theme of the parade was "United for Equality."
Mike Erickson had always talked about attending the Pride Parade with his brother, but just never got around to it. He's glad that he did this year.
"I do things with my other brothers," he said. "This is a chance to do something with him, in his neighborhood." Elsewhere on the parade route, Taysha Bronaugh, 34, was enjoying the sights with her girlfriend, Demetria Jamison, 26.
"I come out here to show support," said Jamison. "And get support. I love the parade."
"I love it," added Bronaugh. "I love coming down. I like looking at the half-naked bodies, I'm not going to lie. Everybody's enjoying themselves. They're having fun."
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune
Religious groups lead New York gay pride parade
The Associated Press
Sunday, June 24, 2007
NEW YORK: Religious groups including Christians, Jews and Buddhists led the New York gay pride parade, lending gravity to the often outrageous event that celebrates the night patrons of a gay bar in Manhattan resisted a police raid.
"We stand for a progressive religious voice," said Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of New York City's Congregation Beth Simchat Torah. "Those who use religion to advocate an anti-gay agenda I believe are blaspheming God's name."
Kleinbaum, who heads the world's largest predominantly gay synagogue, and the Rev. Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, were the parade's grand marshals Sunday, waving from his-and-hers convertibles.
The march took place days after the New York State Assembly passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, which Governor Eliot Spitzer supports. Although the bill is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled state Senate any time soon, parade-goers said they were cheered by the Assembly's action.
"This is one very important step toward full equality for all New Yorkers," Kleinbaum said.
As in past years, there was exhibitionism on display as the parade inched down Fifth Avenue and into Greenwich Village. Revelers gyrated in bikini briefs and marched in spike heels.
But the placement of the religious organizations near the head of the march — ahead of AIDS service groups and political advocacy groups — gave them unaccustomed prominence.
A Buddhist group carried signs that said "Construct Dignity in Your Heart" and "Don't Block Your Buddha."
The gay Roman Catholic group Dignity had a float and a giant rainbow flag. Jeff Stone, secretary of the New York chapter, said he was hopeful that the church would someday change its stance opposing homosexuality.
"We see that the opinion of ordinary Catholics is changing," he said. "Eventually what happens at the grass roots percolates up in the church."
Toni Cinanni of Perth, Australia, said she was surprised at the prominence of the church groups.
"I thought the religious groups had hijacked the parade," she said. "I couldn't put it together, religion and sexuality."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg marched with officials including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is one of the most prominent openly gay elected officials in the United States.
There were contingents of gay police officers and firefighters as well as ethnic gay groups including South Asians, Haitians and American Indians.
The annual gay pride parade, one of dozens that takes place around the world, commemorates the 1969 Stonewall riots when patrons at a Greenwich Village gay bar fought back against a police raid.
In California, Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, kicked off San Francisco's annual gay pride parade Sunday by splitting with her husband over support for legalized gay marriage.
"I don't know why someone else's marriage has anything to do with me," Mrs. Edwards said at a news conference before the parade started. "I'm completely comfortable with gay marriage."
She made the remark almost offhandedly in answering a question from reporters after she delivered a standard campaign speech during a breakfast hosted by a local political organization.
She conceded her support puts her at odds with her husband, a former senator from North Carolina who she said supports civil unions among gay couples — but not same-sex marriages.
"John has been pretty clear about it, that he is very conflicted," she said. "He has a deeply held belief against any form of discrimination, but that's up against his being raised in the 1950s in a rural southern town."
No serious presidential candidate for the 2008 election from either major political party has publicly supported gay marriage.
The New York Times
June 25, 2007
The Empire Zone
Personal Victory for Assemblyman on Gay Marriage
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE
ALBANY — His sister Rosie is the celebrity in the family. (You may have caught her in “A League of Their Own” or on “The View.”) But Daniel J. O’Donnell, a Manhattan assemblyman, got his own dose of fame during the climactic Assembly debate last week over a bill seeking to legalize same-sex marriage.
Mr. O’Donnell, the bill’s sponsor, who is gay, fielded more than an hour of questions from his colleagues, many of them hostile. Then he gave an impassioned and highly personal speech that was by turns comic (“I want a license that all of you have; some of you have had it two or three times”) and poignant (“All gay people, when they realize who they are, live in fear”). His companion, John Banta, stood nearby, and they embraced after Mr. O’Donnell, below, finished the speech.
Not everyone was convinced. Assemblyman Brian M. Kolb, a Republican from Canandaigua, said he felt personally “threatened” by the legislation; Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat from Brooklyn, suggested including a provision to legalize incest.
But the bill passed, 85 to 61, making New York only the second state in which one or both houses of the legislature have approved same-sex marriage legislation without being compelled by a court to do so, according to Empire State Pride Agenda, a gay rights advocacy group. (In the first, California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill.)
Though Gov. Eliot Spitzer supports the bill, Senate leaders declined to take it up. Still, gay rights advocates have hailed the Assembly vote as a huge symbolic victory.
“I mostly just thought about it as I was lying in bed at night,” Mr. O’Donnell, 47, said of his speech. “We walked on the floor with 79 votes. So to get to 85, people who were noes or maybes had to be swayed by the debate.” Afterward, he said, “some people told me that they couldn’t vote against me personally. Some people said they figured out that all the reasons to vote ‘no’ were political, and that they had decided to let their personal views dictate their vote.”
Boons for Consumers
At least two new pieces of law, should the governor approve them, are likely to make New Yorkers happy. One is the Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights, introduced by Assemblyman Michael N. Gianaris of Queens after the nationwide flight delays in February. The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. of Long Island, requires that airlines provide water, fresh air, food and clean bathrooms if loaded planes are kept on the ground at New York airports for more than three hours.
“Passengers have long complained about declining service on airlines, but this is ridiculous,” said Mr. Gianaris, above, noting that during the February delays, some passengers were stuck on planes at New York City-area airports for hours at a time. “People in prison camps don’t get treated this badly.”
The second piece of legislation eliminates the 4 percent sales tax the city charges on clothing and shoes costing more than $110. City officials and business leaders argued that the tax gave an advantage to retailers in neighboring states that do not levy such a charge. The bill, sponsored in the Assembly by Herman D. Farrell Jr. of Manhattan and in the Senate by Frank Padavan of Queens, passed on Thursday — and will soon take effect at a department store near you.
City Lobbyists Weigh In
New York City officials managed to stall legislation that would have made it harder for them to lease buildings for school space as part of the city’s five-year capital plan.
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan of Queens persuaded her colleagues to approve a bill that would require leased school facilities to go through the same approval process as newly built schools — including approval by the City Council and the state’s stringent environmental review process. Community and environmental advocates, citing past cases in which the city leased buildings on polluted or contaminated ground, said the reviews were necessary.
But city lobbyists have insisted that the more than 30 leased facilities in their plan do not require Council or state environmental approval, and that the buildings in question have been carefully inspected for any potential danger to the students who would occupy them. They also said that a lengthy review process would make it impossible to close leasing deals with the property owners. And they persuaded Mr. Padavan, left, the Senate sponsor of the legislation, to hold off.
“Contrary to what has been asserted, the School Construction Authority already conducts thorough environmental reviews as set by the State Department of Environmental Conservation,” said Farrell Sklerov, a spokesman for the city.
Advocates for the bill thought they had reached a compromise in the waning days of the session. The deal would have exempted the leases from the state environmental review process and instead required an expedited review involving testing water, soil and air on the properties.
“We had worked out what I thought was a kind of sensible compromise,” said David Palmer, a staff attorney with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.
But the city eventually balked again. The sticking point? The bill’s supporters insisted that the City Council have a role in the approval process. “An environmental review process without a political process is almost worthless,” Mr. Palmer said.
Mr. Sklerov said the city “will continue to work with members of the Legislature and the environmental community to address any of their concerns.”
2007年06月24日 07:25 発信地:ベルリン/ドイツ
2007年6月23日、ベルリンのクリストファー・ストリート・デイ（Christopher Street Day、CSD）の参加者たち。(c)AFP/DDP/NIGEL TREBLIN
자식원하는 준비된 부모 어린이 인권도 생각해야
JUNE 12, 2007 04:50
지난달 19일 결혼한 트랜스젠더 연예인 하리수가 네 명의 아이를 입양해 기르고 싶다는 뜻을 공식적으로 밝힌 후 인터넷에는 트랜스젠더의 입양권을 둘러싼 논쟁이 일고 있다. 하리수의 입양 의사를 보도한 인터넷 기사의 댓글과 포털사이트 게시판에는 연일 찬반논쟁이 줄을 잇고 있다.
본보 취재 결과 트랜스젠더 부부가 비공식적으로 입양을 한 사례는 국내에도 이미 있는 것으로 확인이 됐다. 국내 트랜스젠더 인구는 통상 1200여 명에서 많게는 4500여 명으로 추산되지만 지금까지 입양지정기관을 통해 공식적으로 입양에 성공한 트랜스젠더는 없다.
입양기관들 거부감 표시=현재 법적으로 트랜스젠더의 아이 입양에는 아무런 문제가 없다. 입양자격요건에 성적 소수자에 대한 제한 규정은 없을뿐더러 지난해 국내입양 활성화를 위해 정부가 입양 규정을 완화하면서는 독신자도 자녀 입양이 가능해졌다.
그러나 본보가 접촉한 20여 개의 국내 입양기관 모두는 아무리 다른 조건을 다 갖췄다 하더라도 트랜스젠더인 부모라면 입양이 어렵다는 반응을 보였다. 문의를 해 오면 자격요건에 대해 설명은 해 주지만 현실적으로 입양에 동의해 줄 수는 없다는 것.
한 입양기관 관계자는 입양기관은 특별한 가정이 아니라 입양아동이 보통의 아이들처럼 클 수 있는 평범한 가정을 찾는 것이라며 편견이라 할 수도 있겠지만 트랜스젠더 가정이나 동성애자 가정이 일반적인 성장환경이 아닌 것은 사실이지 않으냐고 말했다.
뜨거운 감자로 떠오를 듯=국내 입양기관들의 거부감 표시에 대해 전문가들도 의견이 엇갈린다.
익명을 요구한 복수의 정신과 의사들은 트랜스젠더의 입양은 성적 소수자의 인권 외에도 어린이의 인권을 생각해야 한다며 반대했다.
반면 김붕년 서울대 소아정신과 교수는 폭력을 행사하고 아이를 돌보지 않는 등 부모로서의 자세를 갖추지 못한 (비트랜스젠더) 부모보다는 아이를 간절히 원하고 사랑해 줄 준비가 돼 있는 트랜스젠더 부모가 더 좋은 부모가 될 수 있다고 주장했다.
논쟁이 계속되는 가운데 트랜스젠더를 비롯한 한국의 성적 소수자들은 자녀와 가정을 가질 권리를 포함해 사회적, 법적 권익을 보호받기 위한 움직임을 점차 키워가고 있다.
민주노동당은 이번 대선 공약으로 동성애자의 혼인, 입양 등 가족구성권을 보장하는 법안 발의와 함께 성소수자 인권보호를 위한 기본계획 수립을 내세울 예정이어서 이를 둘러싼 논쟁은 앞으로 더 뜨거워질 전망이다.
Adoption by Transgenders?
JUNE 12, 2007 04:50
Ha Ri-soo, a newly wed transgender entertainer, expressed her will to “adopt four children,” causing a heated debate on the right to adoption by transgenders. Mixed reactions are posted on bulletin boards of portal sites.
The Dong-A Ilbo found that some transgender couples have unofficially adopted children in Korea. The country’s transgender population is estimated at 1,200 to 4,500. But none of them have adopted a child through an official channel.
Opposition from Adoption Agencies-
Adoption by transgender couples is totally legal in Korea. There are no regulations on sexual orientation in the qualifications for adoptive parents. Also, a single can adopt a child, as the government eased regulations on adoption last year in an attempt to facilitate domestic adoption.
However, all of some 20 domestic adoption agencies that the Dong-A Ilbo talked to said, “Transgender couples have difficulty adopting a child, even if their qualifications are perfect.” They added that they can offer explanations about qualifications to inquiring transgender couples but cannot agree on their adoption.
An adoption agency official said, “Agencies look for ‘ordinary families’ where adoptees can live a normal life just like other children, rather than ‘special families.’ Some might call it prejudice, but it is true that transgendered or same-sex parents are not ordinary parents.”
A Potential Hot-Button Issue-
Experts offer mixed reactions to the opposition from adoption agencies.
On condition of anonymity, some psychiatrists shared the agencies’ stance, saying, “Adoption by transgendered parents is not just about the human rights of sexual minorities, but about the human rights of adopted children.”
However, pediatric psychiatry professor Kim Boong-nyun at Seoul National University argues, “Transgender parents who are eager to have a child and ready to love them could be better than those (non-transgender parents) who do not qualify as good parents, using violence on children and neglecting them.”
Amid heated debate, the country’s sexual minorities, including transgenders, are increasingly seeking protection of their social and legal rights, including the right to have children and a family.
The Democratic Labor Party plans to include the submission of bill about protecting homosexuals’ right to marriage, adoption, and having a family, and the establishment of basic plans for human rights protection for sexual minorities in its presidential election pledge, which could lead to a more heated debate.
After 30 years as a closet Catholic, Blair finally puts faith before politics
Outgoing PM seizes early opportunity to convert free of dilemmas of public role
Stephen Bates, religious affairs correspondent
Friday June 22, 2007
His spiritual awakening goes back at least 30 years, to his time as an undergraduate at Oxford, but due to political considerations Tony Blair's conversion to Catholicism has been a long time coming.
He has been attending Catholic mass, often with his family but also occasionally alone, since long before he became prime minister. His wife, Cherie, is a lifelong and practising Catholic, and in accordance with church rules their children have been brought up as Catholics and were sent to church schools.
More than 10 years ago Mr Blair was slipping into Westminster cathedral and occasionally taking communion, until the late Cardinal Basil Hume told him to stop because it was causing comment as he was not a Catholic - an injunction that bemused him at the time.
Since then he has regularly attended services conducted by Canon Timothy Russ, parish priest of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Great Missenden, the nearest Catholic church to Chequers.
He is also known to have had discussions with priests such as Father Timothy Radcliffe, former head of the worldwide Dominican order, now at Oxford, and with Father Michael Seed, who has shephered a number of high-profile figures, including Ann Widdecome and, allegedly, Alan Clark, towards conversion. Fr Seed, an engaging if indiscreet figure, has claimed to have paid regular backdoor visits to Downing Street to talk religion, if not necessarily to advise the prime minister.
So why has it taken so long? Almost certainly because of Mr Blair's sensitivity about the place of Catholicism in British public - and particularly its constitutional - life. The only positions specifically barred to Catholics are marriage to the sovereign or heir to the throne, or becoming sovereign themselves, a legacy of the Act of Settlement that followed the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the deposition of the last Catholic monarch, James II; there has never been a Catholic prime minister.
In the last 40 years Catholics have entered many senior positions in British public life, generally without comment except among the wilder fringes of Protestant Calvinism: in the civil service, the Foreign Office and industry, as MPs and ministers in Conservative and Labour cabinets. The current director general of the BBC, Mark Thompson, is a Catholic and, briefly, four years ago, with Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Iain Duncan Smith, leader of the Tories, so were the alternative prime ministers.
But the motives of Catholic politicians have traditionally been regarded with suspicion by non-Catholics, both here and in the US, based on the allegation that they take their orders from the Vatican rather than the electorate. Catholic political leaders have always denied it - but the recent antics of some bishops in the US during the 2004 presidential campaign when they threatened to deny John Kerry communion because of his support for abortion rights and, recently, Cardinal Keith O'Brien's warning that he would do the same in Scotland, have tended to confirm old suspicions.
A number of potentially divisive moral issues would have been much more difficult if Mr Blair had been known to be a Catholic, even though his personal beliefs have not necessarily intruded into the government's decisions.
Ministers have enacted civil partnerships for gay couples and this year faced down demands, particularly from the Catholic church, for exemption from equality provisions enabling gay couples to adopt children, even though the prime minister favoured compromise.
Equally, the government has not attempted to limit abortion rights - an issue regarded as long settled in Britain except by some mainly Catholic groups - or pushed for reduced time limits, even though the church regards abortion as a sin. And it has permitted stem cell research without conceding to Catholic opposition.
Mr Blair, like President George Bush, ignored the condemnations and warnings of the Pope and all other church leaders over the war in Iraq.
He has been keen to expand the number of faith schools and church-supported academies, in the face of strong opposition from secular groups, but here again seemingly not for reasons of religious indoctrination but because of their parental popularity.
The criticism of Ruth Kelly when she was education secretary because of her membership of the lay sect Opus Dei - at a time when the novel The Da Vinci Code had made the group more widely known - also showed that the old prejudice could still be deployed. Mr Blair probably thought he could do without the extra hassle.
He has kept his personal religious views largely out of his political life. Ostentatious religiosity does not go down well in Britain. He dropped his wish to end a prime ministerial broadcast on the eve of the Iraq invasion with the words: "God bless" on the advice of Alastair Campbell, who famously told him "We don't do God".
Explainer: Becoming a Catholic
The path to purification
Converting to Catholicism is not a straightforward or easy process, as Tony Blair will have realised. It takes time - though how long depends on the candidate's readiness and aptitude - and is based on the church's assessment of their sincerity and commitment. The process is described in a 44-page document called the Rite of Christian Initiation.
When there was a rush of conversions from Anglicanism in the early 1990s, after the Church of England's decision to ordain women priests, there was considerable murmuring among lifelong Catholics that the conversion of defectors such as John Gummer and Ann Widdecombe had been too easily sanctioned by Cardinal Basil Hume, the leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales.
That is unlikely to be the case with Mr Blair since his conversion is clearly the result of a long period of consideration and is not due to a particular grievance.
Adults wishing to convert undergo a period of doctrinal and spiritual preparation with a priestly adviser to become catechumens, preparing for admission to the church. They are no longer required to make an abjuration of previous heresy but they do make a profession of faith and belief that they "consciously and freely seek the living God and enter the way of faith and conversion as the Holy Spirit opens their hearts."
The rite says candidates are to receive help and attention, so that "with a purified and clearer intention they may cooperate with God's grace."
The process takes several stages of indeterminate duration: after the period of evangelisation there follows acceptance into the order of catechumens, then election, when the church ratifies candidates' readiness. A "period of purification and enlightenment" follows, usually on the eve of Easter, followed by the sacraments of initiation and then catechesis as the candidates are allowed to participate fully in the sacraments, such as communion.
Although conversions usually take place during the Easter period and in public ceremonies, this need not necessarily be the case if there are special circumstances - which the church could probably find for a former prime minister.
Japanische Lesbe will ins Parlament
20. Jun 09:43
Homosexuelle Frauen werden in Japan nach wie vor diskriminiert. Eine Oppositions-Politikerin kämpft jedoch für mehr Toleranz.
Jahrelang hat Kanako Otsuji innerlich mit sich gerungen. Als Teenager spürte die Japanerin, dass sie lesbisch ist. Doch aus Angst vor Diskriminierung behielt sie es lange für sich. «Ich konnte es selbst nicht akzeptieren», erzählt die inzwischen 32-Jährige.
Heute sitzt sie als Politikerin der größten Oppositionspartei des Landes, der Demokratischen Partei Japans (DPJ), in ihrem Wahlkampfbüro in Tokios Schwulen-Viertel im Stadtteil Shinjuku und kämpft für die Anerkennung von Homosexuellen in ihrem Land. Ungeachtet kontroverser Meinungen hat ihre Partei sie als Kandidatin für die Ende Juli geplante Oberhauswahl aufgestellt.
Sollte Otsuji ins nationale Parlament einziehen, wäre sie dort der erste offen bekennende homosexuelle Politiker in der Geschichte Japans. «Es ist im alltäglichen Leben in Japan noch immer schwierig, sich zu outen und zu erzählen, was für Probleme Homosexuelle in der Gesellschaft haben», sagt Otsuji im Gespräch.
Kultur der Scham
Zwar gibt es in großen Städten lebendige Schwulen-Szenen, gegenüber ihren Familien oder Arbeitgebern aber verheimlichen viele ihre sexuelle Orientierung. In Japan ist Homosexualität an sich zwar seit langem akzeptiert, doch wird nicht darüber diskutiert.
Im Mittelalter war Homosexualität zum Beispiel unter Samurai ein offenes Geheimnis. Japan sei eine Kultur der Scham und auch Homosexualität habe bisher als etwas gegolten, wofür man sich schämen müsse, sagt Otsuji. Auch wenn es keine offene Feindseligkeit gegenüber Homosexuellen gebe, hinke Japan doch beim Bewusstsein sexueller Vielfalt hinter vielen westlichen Ländern her.
Als sich Otsuji vor zwei Jahren als Abgeordnete im Präfekturparlament von Osaka anlässlich einer Gay-Parade «outete», hätten die meisten ihrer Kollegen keine Reaktion gezeigt, erzählt sie, sondern das Thema einfach ignoriert.
Regierung setzt auf traditionelle Familie
Ihr Wahlkampfeinsatz für die Rechte von Homosexuellen erfolgt zu einer Zeit, da die Regierung des rechtskonservativen Ministerpräsidenten Shinzo Abe im Volk moralische Werte und das Bild von der traditionellen Familie stärken will.
In Otsujis Büro steht ein kleines Foto, das sie mit ihrer Partnerin zeigt, beide im weißen Hochzeitskleid. Sie haben kürzlich geheiratet, rechtlich jedoch werden Homosexuellen-Ehen nicht anerkannt. Es gebe kein Gesetz gegen Diskriminierung, beklagt Otsuji. Auch hätten homosexuelle Paare nicht die soziale Absicherung wie andere Ehepaare.
So sei es schwierig, einen homosexuellen Partner als Begünstigten einer Lebensversicherung zu benennen. Auch hätten Homosexuelle kein Recht auf das Erbe ihres Partners. Zudem gebe der Staat bisher kein Geld für die Vorbeugung gegen Aids aus, beklagt Otsuji. «Wir verstehen das als Ausdruck von Aversion gegen Homosexualität im Gesundheitsministerium», klagt die Politikerin.
Keine Möglichkeit zum Reden
Als Abgeordnete in Osaka setzte sie sich mit ihrer Mutter für Angehörige Homosexueller ein. «Familienmitglieder haben da unter Tränen erzählt, wie ihre Erwartungen an ihre eigenen Kinder enttäuscht worden seien, dass sie aber bisher nirgendwo sonst darüber reden konnten», schildert Otsuji.
Während es zwar unter männlichen TV-Stars bekennende Schwule gebe, seien Lesben in der Öffentlichkeit bisher gar nicht präsent, sagt die Politikerin. Männer würden bei Lesben allenfalls an Porno-Filme denken. Mit ihrer Kandidatur für die Oberhauswahl will die Japanerin denn auch vor allem erreichen, dass ihre Landsleute überhaupt erst einmal wahrnehmen, dass es Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Beziehungen gibt.
«Wenn ich gewählt werde, würde die Zeit enden, in der man Homosexualität ignoriert hat», sagt Otsuji. Sollte sie allerdings scheitern, sei es ungewiss, wann es wieder einen Parteikandidaten gebe, der für die Rechte von Homosexuellen kämpft. (Lars Nicolaysen, dpa)
Lesbian politician to open closet for Japan's homosexuals
By Chie Matsumoto
Jun 22, 2007, 13:11 GMT
Tokyo - Kanako Otsuji wants to open the closet for Japan's gay and lesbian community in order to increase their visibility and help them gain their basic rights as citizens.
The nation's first openly lesbian politician is running for a seat in upper house parliamentary elections in July under the banner of the major opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).
'I wanted to change Japan through politics, and to do that we (homosexuals) have to become visible,' Otsuji told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa at her campaign office in Tokyo's Shinjuku Nichome district, known as a hub of the homosexual community.
Otsuji, then a member of the prefectural assembly in the western Japanese province of Osaka, officially announced her sexual orientation at a Tokyo gay pride parade in August 2005 and in a book published on the same day.
Since Japan has no law banning discrimination against homosexuals, many of them fear a backlash and do their best to hide under the blanket of pseudonyms or anonymity.
Many Japanese homosexuals feel more comfortable coming out of the closet with their close friends but resist revealing their sexual orientation to their immediate families or to their professional colleagues, Otsuji said.
After the 32-year-old politician announced her sexual orientation in 2005, her colleagues at the Osaka prefectural assembly began avoiding her.
'They just didn't know how to react, and they ignored me,' Otsuji said. 'I have met many Japanese people who just regarded us as 'weirdos.''
In Japan, violent hate crimes mostly target gay men, Otsuji said, as seen in a murder case about 10 years ago, when a Japanese gay man was robbed and killed.
But lesbians, who tend to be more invisible in society, may just be ignored or, at worst, receive prank calls.
Although Otsuji, a Taekwondo master, has not experienced any violent harassment since she announced her candidacy, her campaign office has dealt with protest calls from voters.
Otsuji thinks the prejudice against gays and lesbians in Japan lies in how people perceive homosexuality only as 'something to do with what happens in bed,' and not a lifestyle variation.
That generates the feeling of shame. When people criticize, they express sympathy for the parents of homosexuals, who they think must feel ashamed of their offspring.
Otsuji's mother received bouquets of flowers when her daughter won a seat in the assembly, but no congratulatory messages reached her when Otsuji married her partner.
Both women wore white wedding dresses and veils for the wedding earlier this month. The couple received a telegram from the DPJ leader, Ichiro Ozawa, and blessings from their families and friends after they exchanged vows and rings at the ceremony held at the Nagoya Lesbian & Gay Revolution 2007 event in the central Japanese city of Nagoya.
'Japan's discrimination against homosexuals is not based on religion but morality,' Otsuji said in an interview. 'That's why I think the nation can turn 180 degrees as soon as it learns to accept the concept.'
Japanese society and the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe need to realize that forms of family are becoming more diverse, she said.
To do that, Otsuji said she must make her presence known in the political arena and try to amend legal protection for more than a million of homosexual Japanese to help them feel secure.
'It is a typical attitude in Japan to try to eradicate differences, but we must realize that we need to flex our sense of values because diversity enriches society,' Otsuji said.
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
2007年06月11日 17:00 発信地:サンパウロ/ブラジル
【6月11日 AFP】サンパウロ（Sao Paulo）で10日、世界最大規模のゲイパレードが行われ、ゲイやレズビアン、女装や男装など異性の装いを嗜好（しこう）するトランベスタイトなど約300万人（主催者発表）が、市内いっぱいにカラフルな行進を繰り広げた。
Millions stage gay parade in Sao Paulo
Sun Jun 10, 7:02 PM ET
An estimated 3 million gays, lesbians and transvestites paraded down the main avenue of Brazil's business capital Sao Paulo on Sunday, showing their pride in a blaze of color and festive music, organizers said.
"We want people to address machismo, racism and homophobia ... which still exists in Brazil," Nelson Matias Pereira, president of the parade told the official news agency Agencia Brasil, adding that many families took part.
The Sao Paulo Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transvestites (GLBT) Parade Association said balmy temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) helped draw more than last year's 2.5 million marchers and that the turnout would be a world record.
A police estimate was unavailable, but nearly 900 officers were on duty to help maintain order.
On a five-day visit to Brazil, the world's most populous Catholic country, Pope Benedict attracted less than 1 million to listen to his calls to reinforce traditional family values.
During Sunday's parade, bands played on 23 "trios eletricos," or huge trucks, with their music blasted from massive loudspeakers.
For their 11th parade, the gays received official backing for the first time.
Brazil's ministers for Tourism and Sport, Marta Suplicy and Orlando Silva, attended the parade. The governor of Sao Paulo state, Jose Serra, and city mayor Gilberto Kassab were also there.
Sponsors included Brazil's state energy company Petrobras and the state-owned Caixa Economica Federal bank.
The parade is seen as a major cash cow, attracting large numbers of Brazilian and foreign visitors, who boost the receipts of hotels, restaurants and shops.
A study this year by consumer research consultants Insearch found that Brazilian gays were above-average wage earners and spent 40 percent more on leisure than heterosexuals.