poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, April 09, 2004

Study: Dramatic spike in antigay state legislation

An unprecedented number of antigay measures were introduced during current legislative sessions in 44 states, according to a groundbreaking new study released to by the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign. The report, to be published on April 12, provides the most complete picture yet of a growing antigay legislative backlash in light of the increasing national debate over legal rights and protections for gays and lesbians. At least 230 gay-related bills were put forth in 2003-2004, compared with 140 in the 2002-2003 legislative sessions. "We have clearly seen a big jump in the number of bills at the state level," said Seth Kilborn, national field director for HRC. "And we are seeing a mixed bag of results in terms of how all of that legislation is dealt with. We were very disappointed in Georgia, where the legislature sent [a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage] to the voters. But, on the other hand, in Indiana and Arizona, legislators declined to consider an amendment."

Most of the bills getting attention in 2004 dealt with relationship recognition and marriage rights for same-sex couples. At publication of the report, there were 99 marriage-related bills introduced in 37 states. Ninety-one of those sought to restrict or ban marriage and other rights for same-sex couples. The other eight sought to provide some level of marriage equality. Sixteen states introduced resolutions urging Congress to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would write a ban on same-sex marriage into the U.S. Constitution, and two of those--Alabama and Virginia--passed theirs. One jurisdiction, the District of Columbia, has a pending resolution calling on Congress to defeat the proposed amendment.


Arizona debates penalizing clerks who issue marriage licenses to gay couples

Some opponents of gay marriage in Arizona want to impose criminal penalties on officials who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Their proposal to make issuing same-sex marriage licenses a misdemeanor, however, likely won't get off the ground in the legislature.


Gay Equality Measure Defeated At Banking Chain
by Newscenter Staff
(Cincinnati, Ohio) Shareholders at one of the largest regional banks in the country have rejected a call for the inclusion of sexuality in the company's human rights code.

The issue was voted on at the annual meeting of Fifth Third Bank which has 21,000 employees servicing 5.5 million customers in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, West Virginia, Tennessee and Florida.


Rally held in support of antigay amendment to Arkansas constitution

A Little Rock, Ark., minister spoke at a rally on the steps of the state capitol on Friday and declared that the country was strong because it values the traditional family, with an opposite-sex couple at its core. The rally, at which the Reverend Charles E. Williams spoke, was sponsored by the Coalition for Family and American Values, which supports a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriages.


Iowa governor's appointee to school board accused of pushing "gay agenda"

The Iowa senate education committee on Thursday questioned whether a Des Moines gay activist would try to push a "homosexual agenda" if appointed to the state school board.

"Absolutely not," was the response from Jonathan Wilson, a Des Moines attorney who was nominated by Gov. Tom Vilsack to sit on the nine-member board. "I hope that I would be able to put to rest some of those concerns, to give [lawmakers] both my credentials as an Iowan and my credentials in terms of public education and my commitment to public education," Wilson said. "They have got to strike that balance...between being political and being a leader." Vilsack has called the holdup of the nomination discriminatory.


Knight Backtracks On Gay Unions
by Mary Ellen Peterson Newscenter
(San Francisco, California) It isn't an epiphany, more likely the ability over a long political career in California to smell the winds of change, but longtime gay foe Pete Knight is sensing he can't win the battle against same-sex couples.

Twice in the past week the Republican state senator from Palmdale has indicated he would be willing to support domestic partnerships in California.  It isn't support for gay marriage, but for Knight, it is a major concession.


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