Arnold signs "gay panic" bill, vetoes bully ban
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger continued sending mixed messages to LGBT Californians when he signed into law three gay-positive bills but vetoed another.
On Thursday, the Republican governor signed into law a bill that would make it more difficult for defendants to use the "gay panic" defense. The brutal 2002 murder of transgender teen Gwen Araujo spurred the new legislation, called the Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act.
"The enactment of this bill will help keep bias and hatred out of our courtrooms," said the bill's author, Democratic Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, in a statement. "All Californians -- regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or ethnicity -- should be treated fairly by our
Coming out in Arabic
Brian Whitaker reports on a lesbian group's struggle for acceptance in the Middle East
When Rauda Morcos heard there was an emailing list for lesbian Palestinians, she couldn't believe it at first.
"I thought it was a joke," she said. "Until then, I thought I was the only lesbian who speaks Arabic."
The list was certainly not a joke but, in a society where same-sex relations are still taboo, its members guarded their privacy. The only way a newcomer could join was by personal recommendation.
"Eventually I got in," Ms Morcos recalled, "and I found a lot of other [lesbian] women who couldn't be out."
After corresponding by email for a few months, she thought it would be good to talk with some of the invisible women face to face, so, in January 2003, Ms Morcos and her flatmate called a meeting.