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news in brief
Pope warns Spain not to confuse marriage
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI told the new Spanish ambassador to the
Vatican May 20 that family based on marriage should not be "replaced or confused"
by other institutions — an allusion to Spain's decision to marry same-sex couples.
Benedict .said he hoped his planned visit to
Valencia, Spain, in July to attend a church gathering dedicated to families would give him "an
opportunity to celebrate the beauty and fecundity
of the family based on marriage, its very high
calling and its essential social value." The pope
has been leading a church campaign in defense of
traditional families. He also reiterated church
opposition to abortion and euthanasia.
Ambassador Francisco Vazquez described the
meeting as "cordial and affectionate." Ties
between the Vatican and Spain have been strained
since Spain's Socialists took office in 2004 with an
agenda that included legalizing gay marriage and
making it easier for Spaniards to obtain divorce
in the traditionally Roman Catholic country. In
April, a senior Vatican official, Cardinal Alfonso Pope Benedict XVI may be visiting
Lopez Trujillo, condemned a Spanish bill author- Spain in July, despite his opposition to
izing gay adoptions. gay marriage in that country.
Harlem gay group protests
sex party banning condom use
NEW YORK (AP) — The invitation
arrived in Tokes Osubu's e-mail inbox
on May 15, and the contents astounded
him: Black and Latino men were being
invited to attend a gay sex party the following weekend where condoms would
be banned. Show up with a condom, the
invitation said, and you'll be asked to
leave. "I was shocked and disgusted,"
said Osubu, executive director of Gay
Men of African Descent, a Harlem-
based nonprofit group battling the
HIV/AIDS epidemic among black gay
men. Osubu sent the party's promoter a
letter urging him to reconsider the policy, and the group planned to protest outside the East Harlem building where the
party was scheduled to be held. The
party comes just weeks before the 25th
anniversary of the AIDS epidemic and
at a time when black men are facing
startlingly high HIV infection rates.
Another N.C. soldier pleads guilty
for role on gay porn site
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - A soldier
pleaded guilty May 16 to having sex on a
military-themed website for money and
was sentenced to three months in prison.
A number of Army soldiers from Port
Bragg, N.C, have been charged for
appearing on ActiveDuty.com, an adult-
oriented gay website with amateur military themed performances. Pfc. Wesley
K. Mitten, 21, pleaded guilty to sodomy,
conduct detrimental to the Army and
cocaine use. He will be discharged from
the service. "I am sorry for disgracing
my family name and my unit," he said,
according to the Fayetteville Observer.
Mitten is one of seven soldiers from the
82nd Airborne Division accused of
appearing on the site. Two others. I'yt.
Kagen B. Mullen and Pfc. Richard
Ashley, have also pleaded guilty and were
sentenced to prison.
Federal judge strikes down
Okla. gay adoption law
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal judge
May 19 struck down a two-year-old state law
that prohibited state officials from recognizing same sex adoptions from other states
or countries. In a 31-page decision, U.S.
District Judge Robin Cauthron ruled that
the measure violated the U.S. Constitution's
due process requirements because it
attempted to break up families without con
sidering the fitness of the parents or the
best interests of the children. Instead,
Cauthron wrote, the state statute "attempts
that break up only because the... adults are
of the same sex. Such an act cannot survive." The decision was attacked by supporters of the law, which was passed by the
legislature with bipartisan support in 2004.
"It's another case of an activist court trying
to legislate from the bench," said state Rep.
Thad Balkman (R-Norman).
Gay activist's killer gets
life in Jamaican prison
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Twenty-five year
old Dwight Hayden, who confessed to
killing gay rights activist Brian
Williamson, has been sentenced to life in
prison. Radio Jamaica reported May 19.
The newspaper vendor, who pleaded guilty
to the crime two weeks ago, will serve 15
years behind bars before becoming eligible for parole, the radio station reported.
The sentence was handed down May 19 in
the Home Circuit Court by Justice Basil
Reid. Williamson, the founding member of
the gay rights group Jamaica Forum for
Lesbians, All-Sexuals & Gays, was found
dead in his New Kingston apartment on
June 7, 2004. The medical report said he
was stabbed over 70 times. Human rights
groups said that gay people are frequent
targets of attacks and harassment in
Jamaica, and thai Williamson may have
been the victim of a hate crime.
From staff and wire reports