NATIONAL BRIEFS

Posted on 03 Feb 2006 at 12:19pm
By Staff and Wire Reports

Military investigates paratroopers gay porn Web site appearances

A group of paratroopers from the elite 82nd Airborne Division have been moved from their regular barracks while military officials investigate allegations that they appeared on a gay pornography Web site.

The investigation is still at an early stage, division spokeswoman Maj. Amy Hannah said in a statement. The move was prompted by concerns for the soldiers’ privacy and rights, not for fears about their safety, she said.

The 82nd Airborne acknowledged the investigation last week but declined to say how many soldiers might have appeared on the military-themed porn site. A defense official speaking on condition of anonymity said last week that as many as seven soldiers were involved.

The paratroopers have been allowed to seek legal assistance, but no charges have been filed, the division has said.

There are no direct references on the Web site to the 82nd Airborne or its home base, Fort Bragg.

The 15,000 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne are among the Army’s most elite soldiers, all having volunteered to serve in a unit that trains to deploy anywhere in the world within 18 hours.

Colorado state senator backs limited protections for any couples

A Republican state senator who opposed attempts to create civil unions for gay couples said Tuesday he wants to create some limited protections for any two people who live together including roommates, grandparents and grandchildren, and same-sex couples.

“It’s not intended to create “‘marriage lite.’ It’s intended to solve practical problems for people who aren’t able marry,” said Senator Shawn Mitchell.
But supporters of a proposed referendum to allow same-sex couples to file as domestic partners say all the rights that Mitchell’s bill would provide can be obtained under current law if couples hire an attorney to do the paper work.

“It’s not really equality under the law,” said Representative Tom Plant, a Democrat.

Plant’s proposed domestic partnerships would automatically give same-sex couples those rights, without requiring an attorney. They would also give such couples other rights, such as the ability to sue for the wrongful death of a partner and file for divorce under state law, with child support, property division and other mandates.

Plant expects to introduce the domestic partnership proposal on the same day a coalition plans to submit to the secretary of state the final wording of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

If both groups are successful, voters would be asked to weigh in on both domestic partnership and gay marriage in November’s election.

Michael Brewer, public policy director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Colorado, said Mitchell’s proposal is a “political ploy” designed to draw attention away from the domestic partnership proposal.

Mitchell’s proposal has the support of the public policy arm of Focus on the Family, which opposes the Democratic proposal on grounds that it discriminates against people who aren’t gay.

Virginia legislators pass law to prohibit school groups that promote promiscuity

The House of Delegates passed legislation Tuesday allowing local school boards to prohibit the use of school facilities by groups they believe encourage promiscuity.

Opponents of Delegate Matthew Lohr’s bill claim its real purpose is to dissolve gay-straight alliances, which typically meet on campus. But Lohr, a Republican, said during debate Monday that the bill does not target any specific group.

Kansas senator claims he meant no disrespect with use of word “‘fruit’

Republican Senator Sam Brownback, a potential presidential candidate, said he meant no offense to gay men and lesbians when he used the word “fruits” in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

In a lengthy profile titled “God’s Senator,” the magazine quotes the Kansas Republican as criticizing countries like Sweden that allow civil unions between same-sex couples.

“You’ll know them by their fruits,” Brownback said, quoting a biblical passage from Matthew 7:16.

After gay and lesbian advocacy groups denounced the comments last week, Brownback issued a statement Monday saying his quote “was in no way referring to sexual orientation.”

His explanation was greeted with skepticism by Human Rights Campaign officials.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of February 3, 2006

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