poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Monday, April 19, 2004

Judge rules to dismiss gay inmates case until later date
Associated Press Writer
A judge dismissed the case of two male inmates at Fountain prison who sued the state seeking a same-sex marriage. The ruling Monday left them the option of pursuing the suit when they get out of prison.

The inmates, Daruis Chambers and Jonathan Jones, had filed an April 13 motion to place their suit on inactive status until they complete their sentences.

Montgomery Circuit Judge Truman Hobbs Jr., in dismissing the suit, ruled that it can be refile whenever they wish.

Chambers, 34, is serving a 10-year sentence for second-degree theft of property and a 15-year sentence for second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument from Jefferson County. Jones, 27, is serving 20-year sentences for first-degr


Queers could help decide Bush's fate this fall
Close Call
by Richard Goldstein
1998 executive order issued by Bill Clinton and renewed by George W. Bush protects federal workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. When a lesbian or gay civil servant makes a bias complaint, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel investigates. But on January 27, Bush appointee Scott J. Bloch removed sexuality from the list of protected categories listed on his agency’s website.

Bloch based his reasoning on an arcane provision of a 1978 law barring discrimination against federal workers for personal conduct that doesn’t bear on job performance. Bloch's office insisted that the provision doesn’t apply to sexual orientation, only to activities such as attending a Pride Parade. Noting that 36 states allow discrimination against gay and lesbian workers, he felt entitled to follow suit. "The statute does not mention sexual orientation, and neither do the courts," Bloch declared at the time.

Though the OSC decision was scantily covered, gay groups got wind of it and responded in a coordinated fashion rare for queer politics. The Log Cabin Republicans joined forces with civil service unions, Connecticut Republican Chris Shays teamed up with Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, and the Human Rights Campaign, which goes both ways, put its gay lobbying operation in high gear. By March, a statement from 70 members of Congress skewered Bloch and forced the president's hand.

Fresh from declaring his support for a federal amendment barring same-sex marriage, Bush now risked alienating gays and moderate straights even further. Recall that in 2000 about a million queers voted Republican. Though that number represented only 25 percent of the out gay vote (with 70 percent going to Al Gore and 5 percent to Ralph Nader), it was located in key electoral states, such as Florida. If the 2004 presidential election is anywhere near as close as the previous one, queers could help decide Bush's fate. No wonder the White House effectively reversed Bloch’s call on April 1, declaring that "longstanding federal policy . . . protects federal workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation."


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