Thursday, September 04, 2008

News and Pop Culture Round-Up

Showtime's new show "Bi-coastal":
Now comes even more LGBT-centric programming news from the Showtime network. The inclusive cabler has just announced plans for an hourlong drama called "BiCoastal," which will tell the story of a man "who struggles to balance family life with his wife and kids in Los Angeles as he falls in love with a man in New York." MORE

Homosexuality still illegal in most countries:
Gay marriage remains illegal in most American states, with the exception of California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York - although the latter only recognises the marriages of gay couples who married legally outside the state. Massachusetts was the first US state to legalise gay marriage, in May 2004, and also issues licences to gay couples from New Mexico and Rhode Island since neither state explicitly prohibits same-sex marriage. In New Jersey, same-sex unions are classified as civil unions, but couples are granted the same rights as married heterosexual couples. A number of countries around the world allow same-sex partnerships or unions. These are Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. MORE

Gay man stabbed seven times in homophobic knife attack:
An attack on a gay man in east London is being treated as attempted murder. The 20-year-old, known only as Olly, was set upon by a gang of five youths in Boundary street last Thursday night as he walked with a female friend to the George and Dragon pub in Shoreditch. The police said the attack was being treated as homophobic. Olly was verbally abused, struck on the head with a glass bottle then stabbed seven times in the back and torso. He is in a critical condition at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. Three men have been arrested and released on police bail. Detective Inspector Howard Way told the East London Advertiser: "We are investigating this attack as attempted murder. "What we’re concentrating on is tracking down and bringing to justice the people who committed this evil crime."

Christina Aguilera: My son 'lights up my whole world':
Christina Aguilera is back at work on a new album, but 7-month-old son Max Liron is never far from her mind. "[He is] amazing, incredible," the singer, 27, tells Entertainment Tonight. "He just lights up my whole world every day with his laughs and his smiles." She reveals that Max has started crawling and is cutting his first teeth. "He's a mover and shaker. He's just a smiley, happy guy. I really lucked out," Aguilera tells USA Today, adding that on Labor Day, she and husband Jordan Bratman, 31, took Max to the superhero exhibit at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art for "his first museum experience."

McCain campaign threatens to sue National Enquirer over VP 'affair' story:
An American tabloid newspaper has alleged that the Republican party's nominee for Vice President had an extra-marital affair. It is the latest rumour about Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, who has already been forced to reveal her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant and faced questions about her links to Alaskan independence groups. The paper claimed today: "The National Enquirer's coverage of a vicious war within Sarah Palin's extended family includes several newsworthy revelations, including the resulting incredible charge of an affair plus details of family strife when the Governor's daughter revealed her pregnancy. Following our John Edwards exclusives, our political reporting has obviously proven to be more detail-oriented than the McCain campaign's vetting process." Republican Presidential candidate John McCain’s campaign called the National Enquirer story a smear and said they are considering legal action.

Gay couple reaches settlement with University of Hawaii:
A gay couple who were denied housing for married couples at the University of Hawaii have settled their dispute out of court, the Associated Press reported Sunday. Plaintiffs Joseph O'Leary and Phi Ngo said the school wouldn't allow them to return to the same housing area they had previously occupied because it was reserved for married couples. However, the university has now revised its family housing policies to include same-sex couples for this school year. Ngo and O'Leary have also received a $5,000 settlement from the school. Lambda Legal, which represented the couple, argued that the state supreme court previously ruled that denial of marriage-type benefits to same-sex couples was a violation of the Hawaii constitution.

A man confesses to brutally murdering 19-year-old gay student in his Manhattan apartment:
In a coldblooded move straight from a Hollywood horror flick, the alleged killer of a Pace University student sat in the victim's Chelsea apartment and watched the gory horror film "Saw" just moments after smothering the teenager in his sleep, police said today. Jeromie Cancel, 22, who allegedly confessed to the killing today, told cops he watched the bloody film early Saturday, as the lifeless body of honor student Kevin Pravia (pictured) lay in a bed nearby. "He's mentally imbalanced," Cancel's dad, Jesus Soto, told The Post today. "He seemed off-balance. He didn't seem right." Cancel allegedly told cops that he smothered and robbed Pravia, 19, after meeting him in Union Square at about 6 a.m. Saturday. As he was being led in cuffs from the 10th Precinct last night, a smirking Cancel said he killed Pravia "because I wanted to." "You got a problem with that?" he screamed out to reporters. The suspect, who was charged with murder, told investigators that he bought drugs from Pravia - a claim cops doubt. Sources said there may have been a discussion of drugs the night of the slaying, but there was no indication that any changed hands. Exactly why the pair then went back to the victim's West 15th Street apartment was unclear. After arriving, Pravia fell asleep, the suspect told cops. "There was no indication of any sexual contact," a police source said.

MacKenzie Phillips enters rehab:
MacKenzie Phillips has entered rehab, her attorney Blair Berk confirmed Wednesday. Phillips is seeking treatment following her arrest on Aug. 27 for alleged drug possession at Los Angeles International Airport. She was found "carrying what appeared to be heroin and cocaine in baggies and balloons," airport police said. Since then, the former One Day at a Time star has been formally charged with two felonies, for possession of heroin and cocaine, as well as a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized possession of a hypodermic needle or syringe. If convicted of all charges, Phillips faces three years and eight months in prison for the two felonies, and six months in jail for the misdemeanor, prosecutors said. Phillips's arraignment is set for Oct. 3.

90% of straight Americans OK with gay co-workers:
An annual US workplace survey has found that 79% of heterosexual adults think gay co-workers should be judged on how they do their job. The 7th national Out & Equal Workplace Survey also found that 71% of heterosexuals agree that how an employee performs at their job should be the standard for judging them and not whether or not they are transgender. Nine out of ten heterosexual adults said they would feel indifferent or feel positively upon learning that a co-worker was gay or lesbian, compared to one of ten who said that they would feel negatively. It also found that 75% of heterosexuals feel that spouses of married heterosexual employees and committed partners of gay and lesbian employees both should receive leave when they lose a spouse/partner or close family members. 64% said that spouses of married heterosexual employees and committed partners of gay and lesbian employees both should receive untaxed health benefits under federal law. MORE

Helen Mirren shocker: I 'loved cocaine' & was date raped:
"I was, yes. A couple of times," the Oscar-winning Queen actress says in the October issue, recalling her experiences being raped as a youth in London. "Not with excessive violence, or being hit, but rather being locked in a room and made to have sex against my will." And while Mirren defended a woman's right to say "no" at any point, she's not always in favor of reporting such attacks. "I don't think [a woman] can have that man into court under those circumstances," she continued, "It's such a tricky area, isn't it? Especially if there is no violence. I mean, look at Mike Tyson. I don't think he was a rapist." MORE

Log Cabin Republicans endorse McCain for President:
Pointing to his decision to break from the Republican majority and speak out against a federal amendment banning same-sex marriage, the Log Cabin Republicans on Tuesday officially endorsed John McCain for president. Log Cabin president Patrick Sammon (pictured) announced the endorsement to a little over 200 attendees of the Big Tent Event at the Republican National Convention. "Senator McCain stood with our community during its most critical attack in the last 10 years," Sammon said, referring to the Federal Marriage Amendment, "something it would have taken 100 years to fix in our Constitution. And Senator McCain paid a political price for that. He is distrusted by social conservatives in part because of his vote against the amendment. So we thought it was important to show our support for him because he stood with us."

HRC denounces Log Cabin Republicans endorsement of McCain:
Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese released a statement Wednesday taking Log Cabin Republicans to task for its endorsement of Republican presidential hopeful John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin. "John McCain claims to be a maverick who breaks with his party, but on matters of LGBT equality, he's shown that he's anything but,” Solmonese said. “The Republican Party, McCain and Palin's party, has declared in its platform that they want to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment,” Solmonese said in the statement. “Their party's platform also calls gay and lesbian Americans unfit for military service, supports policies that would allow faith-based organizations to deny us jobs and services using federal dollars, and attacks judges who acknowledge our equality under the law.” MORE