poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Sunday, May 09, 2004

How Oregon Eloped
Gay couples in Massachusetts can legally marry next week. But they won't be the first. Here's how one county secretly changed the definition of marriage

You'll see gays kissing each other all week. Producers from the big networks will be in Massachusetts to broadcast what are billed as the first legal gay marriages in the U.S. But the stories won't be totally accurate: gay couples have already legally wed in the U.S., here in Oregon. In a little noticed decision last month, overshadowed by the news from Massachusetts (not to mention Iraq), Oregon Circuit Court Judge Frank Bearden ruled for the first time in U.S. history that a state must "accept and register" marriages of same-sex couples. In March and April, Multnomah County issued marriage licenses to 3,022 gay couples, some of whom sued after the state then refused to recognize those marriages. Bearden's ruling in their favor means that until a higher court says otherwise, those 6,044 lesbians and gays are as married as any heterosexuals who have tied the knot.

It was easy to miss the Oregon gay marriages. They began during a bewildering period earlier this year when four other localities — San Francisco; Sandoval County, N.M.; Asbury Park, N.J.; and New Paltz, N.Y.--also began recognizing same-sex marriages in one way or another. But the Oregon unions differ from the others significantly: no judge has authorized the other marriages, and in the four other states, authorities have intervened — in most cases swiftly — to stop the ceremonies. But in Oregon, a unique ruling upheld by the state supreme court in 1999 says government officials must meet an extraordinary burden to treat gays and straights differently — the same high burden required to justify disparate treatment of blacks and whites, or men and women.


DUP minister slams anti-gay Councillor

A SHAMED DUP man has been publicly cold-shouldered over his anti-gay antics - by a firebrand ally of Ian Paisley.

Free Presbyterian stalwart, the Rev Ivan Foster, has slammed Councillor Arthur Templeton's taunting of a gay man.

The Newtownabbey councillor was recently suspended from the DUP, after being convicted of harassing gay candidate, John Blair, during local elections.

But, if he thought the party's 'Save Ulster From Sodomy' old-guard might support him, he's been rudely awoken.


A mother's calling
Grand Blanc woman tackles gay rights on son's behalf
By Marjory Raymer

GRAND BLANC -- Mary Scholl's motivation is simple: She's a mom.

Nearly 20 years ago, she founded the Genesee County chapter of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, several years after learning her son is gay.

A retired school librarian with a soft-spoken nature, Scholl has since sparked a nationwide protest of the Salvation Army, organized major lobbying efforts in Lansing and serves as the area's leading voice on gay rights.

Now, the self-described "overly protective" mother is taking her mission statewide as Michigan advocacy coordinator for PFLAG.

It's a new position designed to get groups in all corners of the state working together to lobby lawmakers, fight discrimination and rally for causes from promoting gays' adoption rights to ending workplace discrimination.


Parents fight library's gay-themed books
By Nathan Isaacs Herald staff writer

Kristine Claybrook doesn't want to be surprised when she reads to her two children in the public library and finds gay-oriented characters or themes in a book.

"We feel the library should be a safe place for our children to browse without being exposed to this sort of lifestyle," said the 26-year-old mother. Her strong faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints anchors her and her family's values, she said.

She is shocked the Mid-Columbia Library District has put books such as King & King and My Two Uncles in its children's section. She believes the books, which address issues facing families that include homosexuals, should be kept in a separate section of the library.

She and other like-minded mothers have discussed the issue since one of them first came across one of the books in January.


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