poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Monday, May 24, 2004

Court of Appeals rejects request for August gay marriage vote
Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Missouri's secretary of state does not have to set an August election for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

The victory for Republicans hoping to decide the issue during the November presidential election is certain to be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of the court's Western District denied a request from Attorney General Jay Nixon to force Secretary of State Matt Blunt to meet Tuesday's deadline for placing the amendment on the Aug. 3 ballot.

Democratic Gov. Bob Holden wants the vote to take place during the August primary. The amendment is expected to attract large numbers of conservative Republicans to the polls, and such a heavy turnout in November could help GOP candidates in this swing state, including President Bush and Blunt, the likely Republican candidate for governor.



Civil Partnerships: amendment could save pension rights
Ben Townley, UK

An amendment to the Civil Partnership bill could help it steer nearer towards full financial equality for same-sex couples, a gay finance group is claiming.

The amendment, tabled to be discussed this week by the Lib Dem Peers Lord Lester of Herne Hill and Lord Goodhart at the House of Lords Grand Committee, would allow surviving partners to receive backdated pensions to 1988, if passed.

At present, although the bill strives for full equality for lesbian and gay couples that register, it does not allow retroactive surviving pension benefits. This issue has been the subject of protests from gay financial companies, who are calling for fully backdated benefits.


Storm brews over domestic benefits
By: Shawn Flynn, News 14 Carolina
Domestic Partner Benefits

A new group has formed in the Queen City to fight for the rights of gay government workers.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Some local workers recently formed an organization that will fight for the benefits of city and county employees who are in same-sex relationships.

The group is called Gay, Lesbian, or Bi-sexual Employees – GLOBE for short – and is pushing for benefits for same-sex couples, as well as adding sexual orientation to the city's non-discrimination policy.

Two members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department helped start the group. That say they just wanted to be treated fairly.

"We are tired of being treated as second-class employees and thought something needed to be done about it," said Officer Tim O'Brien.


Lawyer's gay rights strategy -- patience while public adjusts
Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau

Boston -- Mary Bonauto is a modest woman of modest background who calls herself a simple problem solver.

If that is so, it was a rather large problem she solved -- or to her critics, created. Nothing less than a court ruling that brought marriage rights to lesbians and gays for the first time in U.S. history, enshrining Bonauto's name in the history books and earning the respect of even her fiercest opponents.

As the lead attorney for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, Bonauto prevailed in Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health, the case that led to the revolutionary 4-3 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in November finding that the denial of marriage licenses to homosexuals violated the state constitution.

Bonauto also led the challenge to Vermont's Constitution in 1997 that brought about that state's passage of the nation's first civil union law.

Nearly seven years later, last Monday, the first fully legal same-sex marriages took place -- acts that vaulted the gay rights movement from piecemeal fights over employment law and hate crimes to the core issue of gay exclusion


Studies on Children of Gay Couples Spark Controversy
Morning Edition audio

May 24, 2004

The best interest of children is at the center of the debate over gay marriage. Some scientific studies show no developmental differences between children raised by heterosexual and homosexual parents. But critics charge these studies are conducted to support the legitimacy of same-sex marriage. NPR's Joseph Shapiro reports.


Same-sex case rests on obscure statute
Legality of mayor's move depends on reading of 1978 law

Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
More than 30 years ago, a train hit a car at a San Jose railroad crossing, killing two people. Today, the subsequent chain of events has created a formidable legal obstacle to same-sex marriages in San Francisco.

The state Public Utilities Commission's response to the crash, the state Supreme Court's response to the PUC, and the Legislature's and voters' response to the court produced Article III, Section 3.5 of the California Constitution. It prohibits public administrative agencies from declaring a state law unconstitutional, or from refusing to enforce it, until a state appellate court has overturned the law.

The provision has lain in obscurity for nearly 26 years. But it will be in the spotlight on Tuesday when the state's high court convenes in San Francisco to consider the legality of Mayor Gavin Newsom's decision in February to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

If the justices decide that Article III, Section 3.5 applies to local governments and their elected leaders -- an issue that no court has yet addressed -- they will almost certainly find that Newsom exceeded his authority by disregarding the state law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.


Klan protest has little effect - Dollywood visitors seem unfazed on 'Gay Day'
By:J.J. KINDRED, Staff Writer

"It's kind of awkward, especially with kids around," said a woman in the group, whose names were withheld. "We have no problem with gays or lesbians, as long as they keep to themselves," said one of the men.

"We don't care," another man said. "We just wanted to ride rides and have some fun."

The gay and lesbian group Tri-Cities Pride organized the Gay Day event, with no involvement from Dollywood. The group was in the middle of a controversy last month when Dollywood's attorneys advised them to stop advertising the event on the Internet as "Gay Day at Dollywood," and they complied.

Saturday seemed like a normal day at the park for patrons, who were going about their business, walking around, looking at the sights, riding rides, and having a good time. There was no sign of trouble, even as members of the KKK protested near the entrance of the park, holding up signs with various Biblical verses and derogatory saying on them, including one big red sign that read "God Hates Fags."


Angry gays ponder leaving Virginia
Activists say new state law that bars civil unions is too extreme

Gay activists in Virginia are toying with a new motto for the state: "Virginia is for lovers. Some restrictions apply."

Gays and lesbians are angry and even threatening to leave the state over a new law that will prohibit civil unions and could interfere with contracts between same-sex couples. Some legal experts call it the most restrictive anti-gay law in the nation.

"I won't buy a home in Virginia. I'm done," said Bo Shuff, a 30-year-old gay-rights activist who has rented in Arlington County for the last two years.

Added Edna Johnston, a lesbian who has scuttled plans to move her historic preservation consulting business from Washington to Northern Virginia: "It's not a signal, it's a message: 'You're not welcome.'"


Gay benefits issue hits Wichita
The Wichita Eagle

About 40 residents called City Hall on Friday morning, urging Wichita City Council members not to select a city manager candidate who supports domestic partner benefits.

Pat DiGiovanni said he will remain in the running and reiterated the importance of promoting a city's diversity.

Council members say DiGiovanni's defiant attitude while defending those views seriously damaged his chances of becoming the next manager.


Minister Protests Same-Sex Marriage Ban By Not Signing Licenses
Couples Must Get License Signed Elsewhere

FRANKLIN, N.H. -- As wedding season approaches, a Unitarian minister has joined several of her peers in refusing to sign marriage licenses.

The Rev. Tess Baumberger said she won't sign any licenses until she can sign them all. Doing otherwise would discriminate against same-sex couples, she said.

That means two people will handle wedding duties at the city's Unitarian Universalist Church -- Baumberger will perform the wedding, and a justice of the peace will sign the license.

"I love doing weddings," Baumberger said. "I'd be happy to do everything but sign the license."

Baumberger came to her decision slowly, she said, after a bisexual friend fell in love. Baumberger asked her friend if she intended to marry the man she'd been dating and was struck by her answer.

"She said no because if she had fallen in love with a woman, she couldn't legally marry," she said.


Judge Rules For Seattle Gay Benefits Plan
by Newscenter Staff

(Seattle, Washington)  A lawsuit that accused Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels of acting illegally in granting benefits to the spouses of gay city employees has been dismissed.

Nickels signed an executive order in March extending benefits to the spouses of gay and lesbian city employees who had married. Although the state of Washington does not provide marriage for same-sex couples many Washington gays had gone out of state to British Columbia, Portland, and San Francisco to wed.

The executive order was endorsed by city council as an expansion of an existing law passed in 1989 in which Seattle began offering its employees in registered domestic-partner relationships the same benefits it offers opposite-sex couples. 

Two conservative Christian groups sued claiming the mayor had violated Washington's Defense of Marriage Act. The groups were represented by American Family Association Center for Law & Policy of Tupelo, Miss., and Liberty Counsel of Longwood, Fla., both of which are involved in anti-gay marriage suits elsewhere in the country.


Romney faces boos at commencement speech
The Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Mitt Romney came to Suffolk University's commencement to deliver an upbeat message, but his appearance was marred by protests over his opposition to gay marriage.

When the Republican governor rose to speak, some in the crowd of 1,100 students turned their backs and booed. Others held up armbands symbolizing an equal rights campaign for gays and lesbians. A few protesters were escorted out of the FleetBoston Pavilion.

Monique Dyment, 23, a sociology graduate from Hingham who wore an armband, said, "He's one of the most biased politicians of the day."


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