poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Monday, May 24, 2004

Nixon takes gay marriage election case to state's highest court
Associated Press
A partisan fight over the timing of a statewide vote on banning gay marriage raced up the court system today, with Attorney General Nixon asking the Missouri Supreme Court to decide the issue.

Nixon filed the motion just one hour after the Missouri Court of Appeals' Western District refused to order Secretary of State Matt Blunt to place the proposed constitutional amendment on the Aug. 3 ballot. There was no immediate indication of when, or if, the Supreme Court might hear arguments.

Blunt and his fellow Republicans who control the Legislature want the issue on the November ballot, when it is likely to bring large numbers of Republicans to the polls.

Democratic Gov. Bob Holden has called for putting the issue before voters on the day of the state's August primary elections, which typically see lower voter turnout.


U.S. military fires gays for online profiles
by Tom Musbach
PlanetOut Network

At least six gay, lesbian and bisexual U.S. military members are facing discharges this year because of their online profiles, or personal ads, in what appears to be an emerging trend for enforcing the military's policy against gay soldiers.

According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), online personal ads prompted at least one gay-related firing per month so far in 2004. The Washington, D.C.-based agency, which serves GLBT military personnel, said the pattern marks a "significant shift," as the number of discharges based on online profiles in prior years was "not significant enough to track separately," said SLDN spokesman Steve Ralls.

The known cases make up 21 percent (six out of 29) of the "outing" incidents monitored by SLDN this year, Ralls added. The category refers to situations in which a service member's sexual orientation is revealed (or "outed") by another individual without the member's consent.

The circumstances of the cases are similar: A soldier has a falling-out with a coworker, an acquaintance or a former love interest, and that person reacts by alerting the soldier's commander to the online profile that identifies the soldier as gay or bisexual.


Bush and Kerry Both Lag on Civil Rights for Gays
by Thomas Oliphant

WASHINGTON -- PRESIDENT BUSH and Senator John Kerry each made revealing errors last week as they tried for political reasons to skate past the uncomfortable but unavoidable fact that the anniversary of the US Supreme Court's outlawing of school segregation coincided with the commencement of legal marriage between gay people in Massachusetts.

Each attempted to treat the moments as if each had occurred on a different planet, not because each considers them completely disconnected events in the long history of civil rights, but because each is afraid of acknowledging the connections that exist.

With one statement, Bush used boilerplate language to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the decision in Brown v. Board of Education as a victory for the idea embodied in the Constitution that every citizen has the right to the equal protection of law. And with another, he used boilerplate language to repeat his call for an amendment to that Constitution which would create an exception to that basic right so that gay people can be discriminated against.

Kerry, on the other hand, coupled his own celebration of the Brown decision with an almost comical effort to avoid acknowledging that what was happening all over Massachusetts that Monday was in fact happening.


Present at the Revolution
by Katherine Ozment
From the May 2004 issue.
The real battle over same-sex marriage wasn't waged inside the State House. The real battle took place outside, on the street,between two factions of absolute believers.

Jesse Posner wants to hear the music. So when the Brookline High School senior steps out of the Park Street subway station, she veers left, toward a stage. Within minutes, she realizes her mistake. The songs coming from the stage are hymns, the throngs of people surrounding her, fundamentalist Christians. She starts to cry. Three men surround her and ask what's wrong. Then they see her sign, the computer-generated one she safety-pinned to the back of her vest. It reads, "I [heart] My 2 Moms."

"You're a sinner," the men yell. "Your parents are going to hell." Others try to help. "How dare you!" she says, even to the kinder ones. "How dare you be here and be so hateful!" Looking down, she spins away.

"My friends love my moms," Posner explains later when her eyes have dried. "They're going to be married, and then I can be legally bound to both of them." She has planned for a month to be here, outside the State House, during her free periods in the morning as legislators inside debate the issue of gay marriage, "This is probably the most important day of my whole life," she says.

Posner is one of thousands of protesters and activists who have gathered on Boston Common and along Beacon Street to argue for or against a proposed constitutional amendment that would nullify the state Supreme Judicial Court's decision to make same-sex marriage legal. Walk up the path that parallels Park Street and see their signs at the top of the hill: "Jesus is the Lord," "Separate is never equal," "Let the people vote." It takes only about a minute to understand that anyone wearing a round yellow sticker is against same-sex marriage, and anyone wearing a rectangular white sticker is for it. There is no one here who hasn't taken sides. The people who are here are here because they've taken sides.


Preventive Governance
by Dennis Roddy
One of the more dazzling contributions to homoerotic literature landed in the courts of Pennsylvania last week. The case of Egolf vs. Seneca described with vivid indignation the objections of 12 state legislators and a Bedford County plastics manufacturer, to an attempt by two gay men in Bucks County to purchase a marriage license.

The suit cites, among reasons for upholding the law, social prosperity, child welfare and the preservation of families.

In paragraph 28 the document exudes steam. The legislators assert that, "Human physiology is designed for sex between males and females." To establish this point they go into detail about the mechanics of anal sex and its risks. The tamest line in the paragraph would seem to be this one: "Even a woman who has sex with another woman is at substantial risk for sexually transmitted diseases."

How a court brief came to resemble "Letters to Penthouse" dates to 1996 and a heart attack.


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