San Francisco Senator Carole Migden says straight people deserve equal rights. She has introduced a bill to expand the stateâ€™s comprehensive domestic-partnership law, which currently applies only to gay couples, and to opposite-sex couples who are over age 62. Opposite-sex senior couples were included in the original law because remarrying can adversely affect their pension and Social Security benefits.
Migden says opening up the partnership law will give straight people of all ages equality of choice and opportunity on whether to live together as single, to be almost married, or to be fully married. A California domestic partnership bestows all state-level rights and obligations of marriage but the unions are not recognized by the federal government.
Navratilova Regains Czech Citizenship
Lesbian tennis ace Martina Navratilova has regained the Czech citizenship she lost when she defected to the U.S. from communist then-Czechoslovakia in 1975. Navratilova, 51, said she will retain her U.S. citizenship, as well, even though she said last year that sheâ€™s â€śashamed of what is happening in Americaâ€ť under President George W. Bush, according to Radio Prague.
â€śWe elected Bush,â€ť she told the Czech daily Lidove Noviny last year. â€śThat is worse. ... Nobody chose a communist government in Czechoslovakia.â€ť
In 2006, in a column published in the Ohio newspaper Gay Peopleâ€™s Chronicle, Navratilova also said: â€śI left my home country ... to live in a country where I would be free to chase my dream without the specter of a faceless and menacing government watching my every move, spying on my family, controlling my travels, and confiscating most of what I earned. Ironically, today, in the name of protecting our democracy and freedom, my chosen countryâ€™s government is behaving a lot like the totalitarian communist regime I left behind.â€ť
Navratilova, who won 18 Grand Slams and played in 354 tournaments before retiring in late 2006, has plans to launch a tennis academy for young players in the Czech Republic.
Nampa Bans Joy
Idaho is now a slightly less joyful state. The Nampa Public Library board voted 3-2 to remove the Joy of Gay Sex and the Joy of Sex from the shelves, KTVB reported March 11. Library patrons now will have to personally request the books from library director Karen Ganske, who will keep them in her office.
A majority of the 60 citizens who spoke at a March 10 open meeting argued for keeping the books on the shelves, KTVB said. The Joy of Gay Sex was checked out seven times last year, library records show.
Nampa, population 75,000, is 23 miles west of Boise.
HRC Action Center Gets Confused
If you receive an e-mail action alert from the Human Rights Campaign and forward it to a friend and your friend clicks on the link in the mail and takes action, thereafter HRCâ€™s database will associate your friendâ€™s identity with your e-mail address and send you future action alerts addressing you by your friendâ€™s name.
The glitch was discovered March 12 by this reporter (whom HRC addressed as â€śRobertâ€ť) and by blogger Joe.My.God. (whom HRC addressed as â€śGinaâ€ť).
Hereâ€™s how it works: (1) HRCâ€™s automated system sends an action alert to Rex Wockner at his address. (2) Rex forwards it to his friend Sally Smith. (3) Sally clicks and is greeted with a variation on â€śHello, Rex Wockner.â€ť (4) Since Sally is not Rex, she fills in her correct information and completes the process of taking action. (5) HRCâ€™s system then associates Rexâ€™s e-mail address with Sallyâ€™s full name and her personal information, and starts sending Rex action alerts that begin with â€śDear Sally.â€ť
If Sally forwards the original e-mail to yet someone else, the identity error repeats itself. Indeed, in the course of March 12, HRC stopped addressing this reporter as â€śRobertâ€ť and began addressing him as â€śBoris Dittrich.â€ť
The glitch is not only potentially embarrassing for the nationâ€™s largest gay rights group, but also raises questions of outing and of privacy of personal information.
HRC spokesman Trevor Thomas commented: â€śWouldnâ€™t this be in your same circle of friends? If Trevor forwards to you, Trevor should be comfortable because he made the decision to forward.â€ť
After further explanation, however, Thomas said, â€śObviously identity and all that is taken very, very seriously â€” the same reason Equality magazine is sent in a folder.â€ť"
Thomas said heâ€™d take the issue up with the organizationâ€™s tech staff.
The L Word To Wrap
Showtimeâ€™s hit lesbian series The L Word will have eight new episodes in early 2009, then call it a wrap. The series premiered in January 2004 and co-creator Ilene Chaiken says fan input will play a role in bringing closure to the showâ€™s storylines.
But â€śthis is by no means the end of The L Word,â€ť Chaiken told The Hollywood Reporter. â€śThe brand and the social network community, OurChart.com, will continue to live and be a destination for lesbians everywhere and a lasting tribute to what The L Word has accomplished,â€ť she said.
-Assistance: Bill Kelley