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YFFN LAUNCHES MARRIAGE EDUCATION CAMPAIGN

Your Friends Family and Neighbors (YFFN) announced an ad campaign to educate Idahoans about the realities of gay marriage.

The campaign, called "The Comfortable Marriage Campaign," features Idahoans talking about how that they are comfortable with their family, their relationships and their faith to allow gay marriage. The goal of the campaign is to counter the fear tactics religious conservatives are using to try and restrict the rights of gay and lesbian couples.

YFFN is a Boise-based nonprofit organization founded in 1990 that promotes respect, understanding, and tolerance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. For more information, go to www.yffn.org.

ARCHAIC AND UNJUST U.S. SEX LAWS STUDY

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and Federation announced last week the launch of a joint project to analyze sex laws throughout the United States The project will serve a dual purpose to educate Americans about the prevalence and abuse of antiquated and unjust sex laws in the nation, and to give grassroots activists policy and organizing tools to work to change these laws.

"This project will be a significant step toward eliminating unjust laws that are used almost exclusively for the purpose of persecuting minorities," said Dr. Mary Frances Berry, Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and WFF board member. "Most Americans are unaware of the sex laws in this country and how those laws are used to selectively persecute individuals simply for their private and consensual sexual expression. We believe that once people are educated on these issues, they will demand change."

The laws which the project will address range from the archaic--like Michigan's law prohibiting unmarried people from having sex and living together--to the grossly unjust--like Kansas' differing age of consent laws based on the gender of the persons involved--to those addressing facially valid public policy concerns--like laws against public lewdness, but which are routinely misused to persecute and prosecute people who participate in non-traditional forms of sexual expression.

The project will have two phases. The first, a study of the laws and case studies of how the laws have been selectively used to target minorities will be released at the Task Force's 17th Annual Creating Change Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, November 11-14. The second phase will include policy analysis, recommendations and strategies for grassroots activists to use in overturning the laws or changing the way in which they are enforced.

For more information on the study, go to www.TheTaskForce.org.

MAJORITY OF AMERICANS SUPPORT GAY COUPLES

A new national poll shows that the majority of Americans believe same-sex couples deserve legal recognition, but they remain divided on what form that recognition should take.

The CBS News poll released this week shows that 57 percent of Americans support legal status for gay and lesbian couples. Twenty-eight percent said same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, up slightly from a similar poll taken in March. Twenty-nine percent said gay couples should be entitled to civil unions.

Forty percent of those polled said that gay couples should not be permitted to wed.

On the issue of permanently banning gay marriage with a constitutional amendment, 60 percent favor such an amendment, while 37 percent oppose it.

Groups most likely to support same-sex marriage include those under age 30, those living in the Northeast and college graduates.

Democrats and independents are more likely than republicans to favor same-sex marriages. Men and women have similar views on the legal recognition of same-sex couples.

The poll also asked about the role same-sex marriage would play in the November election.

Fifty-six percent of likely voters say they could vote for someone who disagrees with their position on same-sex marriage, while 35 percent say they could not vote for such a candidate. In March, voters were more evenly split--45 percent said they could vote for someone who disagreed with them on same-sex marriage, but 44 percent said they could not support a candidate who held a different position.

Most voters said there were more pressing issues facing the nation than same-sex marriage.

Seventy percent of voters said the issue should have no part in the campaign. Twenty percent say same-sex marriage should have a minor role in the campaign, and only nine percent think it should have a major role. (Source: 365Gay.com Newscenter)

HRC LAUNCHES WEEKLY ADDRESS TO GLBT COMMUNITY

The Human Rights Campaign launched a weekly video address last Friday to the GLBT community.

"I hope the new weekly address helps everyone in our community understand the issues that face us," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "As we fight an effort to write discrimination into the Constitution, the address will be one more important tool to help educate our community about this threat."

HRC's Web site recently received the Webby People's Voice Award in the activism category.

"People across the world turn to our Web site as a way to get involved and get informed about GLBT issues," said Jacques. "We will use this new communication tool to talk about our current work on the Federal Marriage Amendment but also the entire range of issues for which we advocate, from anti-discrimination protections to fighting HIV/AIDS and ending hate crimes."

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country.

New streaming video is posted every Friday at www.hrc.org.

GAY TV TIMES TWO

The airwaves will soon be home to two gay television networks

Q Television Network announces the launch of a subscriber channel for the gay and lesbian community in July 2004 and MTV and its parent company Viacom announced the launch of LOGO on February 17, 2005.

"This is built by and for the gay community. Rather than a smattering of stereotyped gay characters offered because current market projections indicate it would be profitable, we offer a channel that will unite the gay and lesbian audience through a network that educates, entertains and informs--a network of real value," says Steven Grunberg, executive vice president for Q Television Network.

Q Television Network will offer a combination of original and acquired programming, which includes sports, fashion, travel, health and fitness, talk shows, plays, documentaries and movies. It will also bring breaking stories of interest to the network's audience via access to bureaus in Washington, D.C., New York, London, Paris, Moscow, Jerusalem and Iraq.

The network will broadcast 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Providing distribution via satellite ensures availability of the network across the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

LOGO will provide a mix of original programming and content from other Viacom networks, including Showtime, CBS News, VH1, MTV, Comedy Central and TV Land. Offerings include entertainment, documentaries and news.

"Creating a network specifically for the LGBT community is something we've wanted to do for a long, long time, and it's an idea we feel is overdue," said Tom Freston, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks. "Despite our nation's progress on civil rights and the growing visibility of gay people in business, society and even in television programming--what has been missing is a full-time home for this important and influential audience on television."

LOGO will launch on cable systems in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and San Francisco. The company says additional distributors will be announced in the coming weeks.

Market researchers estimate the 15 million gays and lesbians have a projected buying power of $485 billion, making group a prime target for many Fortune 500 companies.

--Compiled by Cynthia Sewell

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