At least for now Hiram Monserrate  is on permanent leave from Albany. The disgraced politician was easily beaten in tonight’s 13th State Senate District special election . With 35 percent of the vote counted, he pulled in 34 percent while Senator elect Jose R. Peralta garnered 60. Republican challenger Robert Beltrani was third with six percent.
We’ve covered the whole Monserrate mess, from the misdemeanor assault conviction of his former girlfriend to his tacit support of anti-gay fliers, so I’ll repeat nothing tonight. It’s good to know this guy is gone from doing the people’s business.
We’ve written about the two small kids who were kicked out of a Catholic school by the Archbishop of Denver because their parents are lesbians.
Now the parents are speaking out in their own words.
Here’s a statement from the parents released anonymously through Boulder Pride; it’s long, but worth reading.
The following is a message from the parents of two children being denied re-enrollment at Sacred Heart of Jesus School
We are normal people. We have two children, a nice house, and a dog. We both hold professional jobs in the community.
You would likely pass us on the street and not take much notice.
We work hard, and enjoy spending time with our family, traveling, and being outdoors. What makes us different is that we are a lesbian couple. We are not activists by nature. You have never seen us at protests or marching in parades. Up until this point, we have taken the typical passive approach of voting for candidates that represent our viewpoints and directing our charitable donations to
organizations whose missions we support. We live in a liberal community, where we have always felt safe, comfortable, and accepted.
Certainly over the years there have been times when our sexuality has been an issue, but they have been relatively minor. We had to hire a lawyer to ensure both of our names were on our children’s birth certificates, to protect our rights to inherit each others assets, and establish medical durable power of attorney.
Luckily, we had the financial means to pay the thousands of dollars to do all of this. In the years that we have been in Colorado, laws have since been changed to protect some of these basic rights. We file our taxes as single. We filled out our census as ‘unmarried partners living together’ since we are not able to legally marry. Upon returning from vacation, US Customs would not process us together because we ‘did not qualify as a family’.
These are things that gay and lesbian people deal with every day.
Recently, we found ourselves in the middle of a political firestorm. We went to enroll our oldest child in kindergarten at Sacred Heart of Jesus School, and were told that our children would not be welcome to continue their education there long term because of our sexual orientation.
This came as a shock to us because our children had been attending preschool at Sacred Heart for three years. We had been open about our family situation from the start, and had always felt welcomed by parents and teachers. The past weeks have been very difficult for our family. We were initially very hurt and angry.
We met with school and church administrators to discuss the situation. We were told that families and students need to uphold church doctrine in order for children to be admitted. We were also told that our children would feel uncomfortable when taught about the “family unit”, and teachers might feel too intimidated by their presence to teach church beliefs.
Our answer to this is that there are many families that do not live their lives according to church doctrine. There are divorced parents, children of parents born out of wedlock, non-Catholics, and non-practicing Catholics. Their eligibility has not been questioned. There seems to be a subjective rating system of which sins are more unacceptable.
Regarding the school’s teaching about the ‘family unit’, we are unconcerned. Our children know that their family is different than most. They are well aware that many families have a mom and a dad, and we discuss different family models openly. We have a good understanding of the church’s position on gay and lesbian people. We have never sought approval from the church of our relationship and we would never ask that the school modify its teachings to accommodate our family. We are not threatened by our children hearing different points of view on any issues.
Next page: It is wrong to punish a child for who it’s parents are
(New York) New HIV infections are increasing among gays, drug users and prostitutes who don’t seek help because of laws that criminalize them, the head of the U.N. AIDS agency said Monday.
Michel Sidibe, the head of UNAIDS, said “it is unacceptable” that 85 countries still have laws criminalizing same-sex relations among adults, including seven that impose the death penalty for homosexual practices.
He called a proposed Ugandan law that would impose the death penalty for some gays “very unfortunate” and expressed hope it will never be approved.
At a time when UNAIDS is scaling up its program and seeking universal access to HIV treatment, Sidibe said he was “very scared” because bad laws are being introduced by countries making it impossible for these at risk groups to have access to services.
“You have also a growing conservatism which is making me very scared,” Sidibe added.
“We must insist that the rights of the minorities are upheld. If we don’t do that … I think the epidemic will grow again,” he warned. “We cannot accept the tyranny of the majority.”
Sidibe told a group of journalists at a luncheon hosted by the United Nations Foundation that in countries from China to Kenya and Malawi, about 33 percent of new HIV infections are in men having sex with men, a significant increase.
By contrast, he said that in the Caribbean where most countries don’t have repressive laws, only between 3 and 6 percent of HIV infections are in male homosexuals.
Even in the United States, where laws are not restrictive and the gay community was the first to tackle AIDS, Sidibe said it is “shocking” that more than 50 percent of new HIV infections last year occurred among homosexuals. And he said in the 19-25 age bracket the infection rate was even higher.
“It seems like we have come full circle” in the United States, he said. “After almost no cases a few years ago we are seeing again this new peak among people who are not having access to all the information, the protection that is needed.”
In addition to failing to adequately deliver the right messages about AIDS prevention, Sidibe blamed complacency in a new generation that has access to treatment.
He added that this was not just a problem in the U.S. but in Europe and in Africa as well.
Sidibe said drug users are also getting the HIV virus that causes AIDS in high numbers.
“You have 70 percent of new infections occurring in Eastern Europe and Central Asia among drug users, but they are criminalized,” he said. “They don’t have access to services. They have to hide themselves and go underground.”
Of the 16 million people in the world who are injecting drugs, almost 3 million are HIV positive, and among them less than 4 percent have access to treatment and less than 8 percent have access to services, Sidibe said.
“It’s the same for men having sex with men,” he said.
In Nigeria, where there are 1,000 new HIV infections every day, over 30 percent are in vulnerable groups – drug users, sex workers and homosexuals, he said.
Sidibe called for “a prevention revolution” including a campaign in major cities around the world like the anti-smoking campaigns launched in recent years.
Senegal criticized for treatment of LGBT’s
Circumcision may not fight HIV
Florida city votes for LGBT protections
CO LGBT survey results
A judge found employees arrested in the Atlanta Eagle gay bar raid not guilty.
Two Reps are backing a proposal to expand the Fair Housing Act to include LGBT people.
A school that cancelled prom to keep lesbians out is being sued by the ACLU.