Speed Read: Monday 7 October 2013

1-    RUSSIA TO MONITOR ‘SENSITIVE WORDS’: Two investigative journalists have shared documents with The Guardian newspaper that reportedly indicate “newly installed telephone and internet spying capabilities” for the Olympic Games in Sochi will give the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) “free rein to intercept any telephony or data traffic and even track the use of sensitive words or phrases mentioned in emails, webchats and on social media.” In a report Sunday, The Guardian said that President Vladimir Putin has said people who wear rainbow pins will not be arrested under the country’s new laws against promoting homosexuality, but it said authorities will have the capability “to identify, tag and follow all visitors to the Olympics, both Russian and foreign, who are discussing gay issues, and possibly planning to organise protests.”

2-   PA GOV LIKENS SS MARRIAGE TO INCEST: Republican Governor Tom Corbett told a Harrisburg reporter Friday (October 4) that allowing same-sex couples to marry is like allowing brothers and sisters to marry. Ironically, he made the statement while trying to walk back an earlier “inappropriate analogy” in which he likened it to allowing children to marry. Within minutes of the interview, the governor’s office issued yet another apology plus a re-write of what Corbett actually said. In the re-write, Corbett said he was simply citing an example of categories of individuals barred from marrying under Pennsylvania’s marriage law. “Same-sex marriage is an important issue,” said the apology, “and the question of its legal status is one that will be heard and decided upon its merits, with respect and compassion shown to all sides.”

3-   BOOKER SUPPORTS MARRIAGE DECISION: U.S. Senate hopeful Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, reiterated his support for the right of same-sex couples to marry, saying “The ability to marry the person you love is one of the most fundamental liberties in America,” said Booker during a debate Friday with Republican opponent Steve Lonegan. Lonegan, referring to a recent state judge’s ruling that marriage licenses must be available to same-sex couples starting October 21, said such a decision should be left with the legislature. Lonegan has accused Booker of deliberately keeping his sexual orientation ambiguous in order to attract gay voter support. The latest poll, taken at the end of September, showed Booker with a 13-point lead over Longegan for the October 15 special election.

4-   VICTORY FUND BACKS GAY LT. GOV. CANDIDATE: It’s not a big surprise: The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund announced October 3 that it is endorsing openly gay Democratic activist Steve Kerrigan in his bid to become lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. The Victory Fund says that, if Kerrigan wins, he’ll become the first openly gay lieutenant governor in the country. “From his early days as trusted aide to Senator Ted Kennedy to his appointment by President Obama to run the 2012 Democratic National Convention and the 2013 Presidential Inauguration Committee, Steve has won the praise of some of our most celebrated leaders,” said Fund Executive Director Chuck Wolfe, in a press release.

5-   YOUTH AND CHILDREN WEBINAR: The Boston-based Fenway Institute is holding a free Webinar on “Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents,” Wednesday, October 9, at 2 p.m.



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