poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, April 30, 2004

‘Sen. Weathervane’ defends Md. votes
Giannetti says he wanted trans protections in hate crimes bill
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Prince George’s County senator who cast the deciding vote last year killing a measure that would have added sexual orientation to the state’s hate crimes law was also instrumental in watering down this year’s hate crimes bill, which was pulled from the Senate floor just before the Assembly adjourned for the year.

Sen. John A. Giannetti (D-Prince George’s County) had said he supports a hate crimes bill that includes protections based on gender identity and expression. But he nonetheless voted in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to postpone consideration of a trans-inclusive hate crimes bill introduced by Sen. Sharon M. Grosfeld (D-Montgomery County), after fellow committee member Robert J. Garagiola (D-Montgomery County) voiced concerns that Grosfeld’s bill lacked the votes to get out of committee.

“I thought it was an absolute mistake [to postpone] because I wanted the bill to have transgender protections in there, but Garagiola decided to postpone the vote because he believed we were going to lose two of the votes in the committee if the bill was debated further,” Gianetti said.

“We even talked to the folks at Equality Maryland and had significant conversations with Rob Garagiola and we all said the bill would not pass on the floor if you included transgender individuals.”


Gay, trans Dems elected to national convention
Three from Atlanta area to serve as Kerry delegates
Friday, April 30, 2004
Among the delegates representing Georgia at the Democratic National Convention this summer will be two gay men and the first transgendered person ever to be elected as a delegate from the South.

Delegates were announced April 17 after voting was tallied at caucuses of the 5th and 11th congressional districts.

Monica Helms, a transgendered war veteran who serves as executive director of Trans=Action, an Atlanta-based transgender advocacy group, was elected to represent the 11th Congressional District, which includes parts of 17 counties west of Atlanta. Helms said she was inspired to run for the position by Jane Fee, who in 2000 became the first known transgendered delegate to be named to a national convention.


Same-sex wedding ceremony set for Sunday
Sentinel staff writer
SANTA CRUZ — The flowers are on their way and a triple-layered lavender cake has been ordered for a much-anticipated wedding reception Sunday in Santa Cruz.

An estimated 30 to 40 same-sex couples will celebrate their relationships at a ceremony and reception at First Congregational Church.

Among those expected to attend are couples married in San Francisco in February, when the mayor there directed the county clerk to issue marriage licenses in defiance of state law.

"This is a time of blessing, celebration and joy," said Sandy Hulse, associate pastor at First Congregational Church. "We’re celebrating the joy of commitment."


Gay couples vow City Hall isn't last stop in bid to wed
Albany city clerk says he will again deny marriage licenses, but weddings continue
By ERIN DUGGAN, Capitol bureau
ALBANY -- The firestorm over same-sex marriage might have died down in recent weeks, but couples are still getting hitched in New Paltz and looking for marriage licenses in Albany.

Today, same-sex couples from the Capital Region and beyond will head to Albany City Hall to ask City Clerk John Marsolais for marriage licenses. Marsolais, like other city clerks around the country, said he's going to turn them down.

For same-sex couples already planning to wed, it will be a big roadblock in their quest for a legal marriage but not the end of their journey. With state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer already advising that New York law does not allow marriages between same-sex partners, couples said they're prepared for disappointment today.

"We're expecting that," said Nora Yates, 26, of Albany, who plans to wed her girlfriend of five years, Erika Lewis, in September. "We have the support of our friends and family and the support of our workplace colleagues and everybody locally, so this is the last part. But it won't change the ceremony."


Déjà vu all over again for Mass. gay activist
Isaacson once embraced civil unions, now fights for marriage
Gay men and lesbians in Massachusetts would be hard pressed to find a more tireless advocate for gay rights than Arline Isaacson, co-chair of the Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus.

Emerging this year as one of the leading voices opposing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, Isaacson has actually been lobbying on behalf of gay rights in the Bay State for nearly 25 years and shows no signs of quitting anytime soon.

Josh Friedes, political director for the Massachusetts Freedom to Marry Coalition, calls her “the most brilliant tactician” he has ever worked with in his nearly 20 years of public advocacy.

“Arline has an intimate knowledge of every legislator and is therefore able to craft persuasive arguments for each individual legislator,” Friedes said. “One doesn’t develop this kind of knowledge overnight, and Arline’s power in the legislature and the respect that people have for her outside the building is based in part on her historical knowledge not only of legislators but of past legislative battles.”


Activists say focus amendment fight on Constitution, not gays
Panelists say public debate should not focus on gay marriage itself
Activists at a Human Rights Campaign Houston forum on gay marriage argued that the best way to fight a federal amendment banning gay marriage was to focus on the Constitution and not on the more controversial issue of gay marriage itself.

While the discussion, last Tuesday at Stages Repertory Theatre, served as an introductory dialogue into the issue of the proposed Constitutional amendment, some lesser known, underlying issues gave attendees more to consider.


Former pastor wants conviction reversed
By Denise Smith Amos
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MAUMEE, Ohio: - A panel of Presbyterian Church (USA) leaders is expected to deliberate today in the case of a minister found guilty of marrying same-sex couples in his former church.

The Rev. Stephen Van Kuiken, 45, former pastor of Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, argued before a 10-member judicial commission Thursday that his conviction should be overturned. He has said that ministers have a right to call union ceremonies of gay couples "marriages."


Refused license, 2 women wed by minister outside courthouse
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) -- Minutes after a clerk refused them a marriage license, two women recited their vows and were wed by a minister just outside the Oakland County courthouse.

Heidi Barnette, 30, and Angela Kurtz, 24, of Clarkston also tried to get a marriage license in February.

"You didn't think it was going to be different, did you?" Barnette asked onlookers at Thursday's ceremony.

The ceremony, performed by the Rev. Deb Dysert of Clarkston's Divine Peace Metropolitan Community Church, was held to highlight "International Day of Clergy Support For Same-Sex Marriage."


Parents demand rights for gay children
 The only people more concerned that gays and lesbians be granted the privilege of saying “I do” are their parents, according to several Boca Raton moms who say they want to see their children awarded the same rights as everyone else.

Mother and PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) representative Carol Benowitz spoke Wednesday night to the Democratic Club of Greater Boca Raton Wednesday about the dreams she has for her son.

Although Neil Benowitz has been with his boyfriend Paul for more than 13 years and the couple has even celebrated their union with a commitment ceremony, the two do not have the right to get married in the state of Florida.

Along with marriage comes more than 1,000 rights, said Benowitz, who is disgusted by the denial of those privileges her son and his partner, and even more so by the potential of President Bush’s endorsed amendment to the constitution to ban gay marriage.


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