poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Sunday, May 09, 2004

For towns that denied rights, altar is now set
By Yvonne Abraham, Globe Staff

In cities and towns where marriage licenses were refused to seven same-sex couples three years ago, municipal officials are now rolling out red carpets. All seven couples, who became plaintiffs in the case that legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts, plan to get married on May 17, the first day they are allowed to under a state Supreme Judicial Court ruling.

In Boston, the city's first marriage licenses will go to the three Boston couples in the case, including lead plaintiffs Julie and Hillary Goodridge, when the registrar's office opens on the morning of May 17. Mayor Thomas M. Menino -- probably joined by an enormous contingent of gay-marriage supporters, opponents, and reporters -- will be there.

"This is another barrier being broken down," Menino said. "We'll let TV cameras in to record this historic moment."

In Newton, two plaintiffs, Maureen Brodoff and Ellen Wade, will also find a warm welcome: Mayor David B. Cohen has invited them to be married in his office. And after their ceremony, the city will host a public "Celebration of Equality," at which Cohen will toast the newlyweds.


Lutherans urged to avoid vote on tough issues

MINNEAPOLIS - The Rev. Peter Rogness, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's St. Paul Area Synod and a respected national leader, recently sent an e-mail to his 425 pastors trying to defuse two of the most contentious issues the organization has ever faced.

The 16-year-old denomination will vote at its national assembly meeting in Orlando, Fla., in 2005 on whether to ordain sexually active gays and lesbians and to authorize an official rite to bless same-sex unions. However, the church is already deeply divided on the issues, and advocates on both sides are bracing for a major confrontation.

In his e-mail, Rogness promotes a way for the denomination to vote -- without voting -- on the two issues. He asked: "Can we agree that living with these differing perspectives for a time might be less harmful for the church than a divisive vote that does nothing to bring us together?"

Other mainline Protestant denominations also are torn by this issue. The United Methodists voted last week in their national meeting to keep their ban on gay clergy members, while at the same time a lesbian pastor was allowed by church courts to continue in her ministry. Many people left the Episcopal Church USA last summer after its national convention voted in Minneapolis to seat an openly gay man as bishop of New Hampshire. And the Presbyterians' 2002 national vote to ordain gays and lesbians was overturned by votes of its local presbyteries.



A Church minister hounded out of Stoke-on-Trent by the authors of an anti-gay hate mail campaign has been targeted in a new poison pen attack.

Turn to: page 8 Thousands of emails are understood to have been distributed to churches and religious leaders all over the UK about the private life of Reverend Mike Hall.

News of the fresh trouble comes just over a week after senior Methodist Church officials met with Mr Hall in London to discuss his future. He quit his post at churches in Burslem and Tunstall last November after enduring months of abuse as anonymous letters and emails were sent nationwide, criticising his friendship with another clergyman.


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