poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Covington stands alone for gay rights
By Mike Rutledge

A year after Covington's human rights ordinance extending anti-discrimination protections to gays and others was approved, Covington can become a lone beacon on the Ohio River, the chairman of the city's Human Rights Commission said this week.

"I think this new ordinance gives us a little bit more leeway to make Covington a really great place to live, to be a beacon on the Ohio River, when there is so much darkness surrounding us," said the Rev. Don Smith, who leads the Human Rights Commission and is pastor of Community of Faith Presbyterian Church.

The anniversary of Covington's ordinance is being celebrated against a backdrop of a national and regional debate over gay rights and same-sex marriage.

Supporters of Covington's ordinance, which was approved unanimously a year ago this week, often grimly note the contrast between their legislation and Cincinnati's controversial Article XII, which bars the Ohio city from adding gays to groups that are protected from discrimination.


Poll finds lawmakers divided on gay marriage
Oregon legislators tend to favor considering the extension of civil-union rights to same-sex couples

SALEM -- Oregon lawmakers are sharply divided over banning same-sex marriages, but are more open to offering civil-union rights to gay and lesbian couples.

Responding to a survey by The Oregonian, most Republicans in the Legislature said they favor a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman, while only one Democrat said she might support such an amendment.

One-third of lawmakers favor civil unions for same-sex couples. A small number support either no recognition or full marriage rights for same-sex couples. And roughly one-third of those who responded were undecided or declined to answer.

The survey, which reached 83 of the Legislature's 30 senators and 60 representatives, shows deep partisan splits that threaten another round of political gridlock the next time lawmakers convene.


Library gay-pride exhibit draws complaints
PUBLICITY: Posters at schools didn't provoke phone calls until spotlight fell on Loussac.

Anchorage Daily News

An exhibit about gay and lesbian public officials that leaves Loussac Library today has drawn relatively little ire compared to a gay pride exhibit in the library three years ago.

But some parents didn't like finding out only after the fact that the exhibit, "Out & Elected in the U.S.A.," also had been displayed in local high schools.

The exhibit was created by R.S. Lee -- the pen name of former Anchorage resident Ron Schlittler, who is now the policy director at Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays in Washington, D.C.

In 1974, while attending East High School, Schlittler has said, he realized he might not always have to hide his sexual orientation when he learned that an openly lesbian woman had been elected to the Massachusetts Legislature.


Forum targets bias against gay students
By Leonel Sanchez
SANTEE – Seventeen-year-old Katie Smith is tired of hearing mean comments about gays and lesbians at West Hills High School.

The high school junior yesterday saw that she's not alone in feeling that way.

Katie was among more than 30 students who participated in a lively discussion about tolerance at the campus, which has 2,300 students.

She told the group that words do hurt.

"Physical abuse is painful, but verbal abuse hurts more because it tears at your heart," she said.


Parents demand rights for gay children
by Ashley Harrell

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.


Gay advocates want protection in the workplace
Gazette Columbus Bureau

COLUMBUS -- Two months after failing to convince state lawmakers not to pass a bill denying marriage rights and survivor benefits to gay couples, advocates have set their sights on new workplace protections.

Timothy Downing, an employment law attorney from Cleveland and president of Ohioans for Growth and Equality, a gay-rights group, said he usually gets one call a month from someone who believes he or she was fired based on sexual orientation.

"I repeatedly have to tell these employees, 'Sorry, there's nothing I can do,'" he recently told a Senate committee. "Under Ohio law, there is no statute that provides them a legal remedy."

A bill prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation got its first hearing in a Senate committee this week -- a year after the bill was first introduced by Sen. Dan Brady, D-Cleveland.


Group creates Araujo memorial fund
Family, Bay Area foundation

The family of a transgender teenager slain in Newark has joined forces with a San Francisco philanthropic group to create a memorial fund to support school programs focusing on transgender issues.

The teenager -- who was born Eddie Araujo but lived and identified as a young woman named Gwen -- was beaten and strangled after four men learned that the 17-year-old was biologically male, authorities contend.

Three men are standing trial for murder in Araujo's death.

A fourth man pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the case last year and now is testifying for the prosecution.


Germany Expands Gay Partner Rights 
by Newscenter Staff
(Berlin)  A German court has ruled that the civil service and all government agencies must pay benefits to the partners of same-sex couples equal to those they pay to the married spouses of heterosexuals.

The decision by the federal labor court in effect expands the country's domestic partner laws without parliamentary approval.   

In their ruling, the judges said that there is no difference between a registered life partnership and marriage when it came to remuneration in the public service, with the court accepting that a Eingetragenelebensgemeinschaft, the German term for a registered domestic partnership, also meant family status.

A leading member of the parliamentary Green Party, Volker Beck hailed the judgment as a "big break-through".


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