poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, April 30, 2004

California has long history of progressive marriage laws
Ventura County Star
As California's Supreme Court justices move toward the day when they will be forced to confront the most unsettling civil rights issue of the day _ gay marriage _ they will find themselves on a path their predecessors have trod before.

One thing they will find along that path is an eloquent expression of the prevailing justification for a ban on gay marriages, written by former California Supreme Court Justice John W. Shenk.

In an opinion written in a landmark case, Shenk declared: "The right of the state to exercise extensive control over the marriage contract has always been recognized. The institution of matrimony is the foundation of society, and the community at large has an interest in the maintenance of its integrity and purity."

Shenk wrote that on Oct. 1, 1948, in defense of a California marriage law that stated "no license may be issued authorizing the marriage of a white person to a Negro, mulatto, Mongolian or member of the Malay race."


LGCM warns of "coup" over gay clergy
Ben Townley, UK
The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) has warned that the Anglican Church is suffering from a "power vacuum" that could result in it splitting over the issue of gay clergy.

Speaking as a new challenge to the appointment of gay canon Dr Jeffrey John as Dean of St Albans was launched by evangelical clergy, LGCM's Revd Richard Kirker warned that the Church is on the brink of a "coup" that could see liberal members excluded in favour of the more right wing believers.

He warned that because Anglican Mainstream have demanded to see the Prime Minister, the question of where the power lies in the Church of England must be raised.

“Those who have gathered together under the banner of Anglican Mainstream have tasted blood, and they want more,” he said today.


Kansas wants more than just a marriage ban

Legislative negotiators have agreed that a proposed amendment to the Kansas constitution banning same-sex marriage should also deny legal recognition to other same-sex arrangements such as civil unions. The language, drafted Thursday, is similar to a proposed amendment adopted in March by the house. The senate last month rejected a narrower version that addressed only gay marriage. Two thirds of both chambers must approve the same language for a proposed amendment to the constitution to be placed before voters in November. Negotiators were also drafting an explanation of their proposal for voters, to appear on the ballot with the proposition. The task required additional talks.

Senate negotiators said they do not know whether the compromise language would win approval in their chamber, which would consider the measure first. House adoption is considered likely. But senate president Dave Kerr (R-Hutchinson) said, after negotiators met Thursday, "I think that it has a good chance." Supporters of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions said they were satisfied with the new language. "It sounds like they're coming out with a strong amendment to put before the people," the Reverend Terry Fox, senior pastor at Wichita's Immanuel Southern Baptist Church, said Thursday. "Frankly, we will not compromise on anything less than a strong amendment." The Reverend Joe Wright, senior pastor at Wichita's Central Christian Church, said a ban would be meaningless if same-sex couples still could receive the benefits normally associated with marriage through a civil union or domestic partnership. Wright and others have argued that preserving a special legal status for traditional marriages is important because they form the strongest families--the foundation of American society. "Government didn't establish holy matrimony--God did," Wright said after Thursday's meeting. "That's the healthiest relationship for a child to grow up with."

Tiffany Muller, chairwoman of Topeka's Equal Justice Coalition, said supporters of gay rights are "opposed to any language that is discriminatory being put in the constitution and on the public ballot." "Trying to preclude any future granting of any rights or equality is reprehensible," Muller said. Some critics, including Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, have questioned whether a constitutional amendment is necessary. Kansas is among 39 states that have laws on their books asserting that they recognize marriage as existing only between one man and one woman. Four states have "defense of marriage" provisions in their constitutions: Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Nevada.


Gay ceremony draws protesters
By: Emily Nantz, News 14 Carolina
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Four homosexual couples made commitments to each other Friday night as part of this weekend's Charlotte Pride event.

Bridget Neal and Nova Pedro drove three hours to be a part of the ceremony. They said they would not have been able to do this where they are from.

“This isn’t afforded to us in our hometown,” Neal said. “It’s not nearly as open as this area.”

Richard Rinehardt, the marketing director for Charlotte Pride, said the commitments are not legally binding. But he thinks legal gay marriages will happen sooner or later.


Black, Christian and gay: Couple fight religious bias, legal hurdles
Knight Ridder Newspapers
(KRT) - Michael Belcher and Walter Houston stand in the cold outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in Detroit. Surrounded by strangers, they're in the midst of a gay marriage rally.

For months, Belcher, 33, and Houston, 43, have watched similar rallies on television. They've seen the crowds of mostly white men and women holding picket signs, shouting for equal rights, lining up for marriage licenses.

That's fine for San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, they say.

But they live in Detroit - a city that's more than 80 percent African American, heavily soaked in a Christian tradition and chilly toward the gay community.

"We're gay and we're black and we're Christian," Houston says, back at the couple's first floor flat in northwest Detroit. "God wants us to do this. This is something we prayed for."


Her Beautiful Mind
by Joyce Marcel
What could be behind the Bush Administration's decision to censor the photographs of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq? Could it really be, as the government says, to respect "the privacy of the families?" Or is it to hide the realities of war for political reasons? Or is it to protect the delicate sensitivities of the ruling class as Americans die to build them an empire?

As the argument over this censorship continues, I hope people remember a widely-quoted remark made by the president's mother, Barbara Bush, last year during the build-up of the war - the lying time.

"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths," Barbara Bush said on ABC's "Good Morning America" on March 18, 2003. "Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"


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