poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, May 07, 2004

Oregon A.G. Wants Gay Licenses Trashed
by Newscenter Staff

(Salem, Oregon) Oregon's Attorney General has asked a Portland court judge to suspend his ruling that the state must recognize more than 3,000 same-sex marriages.

Circuit Judge Frank Bearden said in an April 20 ruling that the state was acting illegally in refusing to register the marriages. Bearden also ordered that no more marriage licenses be issued to gay couples until the courts and the legislature determine how to proceed. 

In a motion filed Thursday, Attorney General Hardy Myers said that while the courts and legislature decide the future of same-sex marriage in the state the licenses of those couples already married should remain sealed.

If the legislature moves to block same-sex marriage, or if the courts rule against gay and lesbian couples, by registering the 3,000 marriages already performed there would be inequity.


Judge asked to stay gay license order

SALEM, Ore. - The state asked a Multnomah County judge Thursday to suspend his order to recognize more than 3,000 same-sex marriages, Attorney General Hardy Myers said.

The order was part of Circuit Judge Frank Bearden's overall ruling on April 20 that the state's marriage law unconstitutionally deprives same-sex couples of equal rights.

Bearden barred Multnomah County from granting more marriage licenses to homosexual couples.

But he also directed the state's vital records office to accept as valid the 3,022 same-sex marriage licenses issued by Multnomah County after it started issuing licenses to gays and lesbians on March 3.


Senate Approves Changes To Gay Marriage Bill
Committee Will Examine Civil Unions

CONCORD, N.H. -- The Senate approved changes Thursday night to legislation that would block recognition of gay marriages performed out of state.

The bill now goes to the governor. The legislation, originally proposed by Sen. Russell Prescott, was a response to a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision giving gay couples the right to marry there starting May 17.

Prescott and others argued that state law included a loophole that could force it into honoring gay marriages performed in other states if couples then moved to New Hampshire. Gay marriages are already prohibited in New Hampshire.

The House version changed Prescott's legislation, removing his definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. It also added a committee to look at what state laws need to be changed to allow civil unions between gays and lesbians.

The Senate agreed to the changes Thursday night without discussion.

Prescott said afterward he was happy that the loophole had been closed even if the wording of the bill had changed.


Transgendered Attorney Makes Partner
New York Lawyer

Civil rights and transgender activist Phyllis Randolph Frye is the first transgender attorney in the country, and possibly the world, to be made a full partner of a law firm, The Triangle reports.

Frye is joining a Houston firm headed by partners John Nechman and Jerry Simoneaux. The firm has issued a mission statement vowing to be lawyers for Houston’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community.


Message of gay activists falls upon deaf ears in Lee County and Iowa
Gerry Baksys/Staff Writer

The issue of gay marriage might be causing a stir along the coasts, but the heartland of America is still sleeping on the issue.

Rick Johnson, the state coordinator of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) but based in Burlington, said that Iowa is so far behind the times that gay marriage is not even an issue.

"Right now gay marriage isn't even on our agenda," Johnson said, "Iowa is so far behind the curve we're trying to get basic civil rights. We're trying to lobby city council to end discrimination in housing and lending issues."


Most Americans ‘dissatisfied’ with acceptance of gays
Poll shows Republicans, Democrats split on gay issues

A Gallup poll released last week shows sharp contrasts in the way Democrats and Republicans view the acceptance of homosexuality in the United States.

The poll asked participants to voice their level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with about two dozen contemporary issues, including the quality of education and the environment. For the fourth year in a row, the annual poll included a question about homosexuality. Responses were also separated by the participants’ political parties.

“Please say whether you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied … [with] the acceptance of homosexuality in the nation,” the poll asked.


Hate crimes rise nationally, but down in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — Although hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people increased nationally last year, such incidents decreased in the Bay Area, a survey released last week by a San Francisco group shows, the Bay City News reported. Community United Against Violence, a 20-year-old project that battles anti-gay crimes, worked with the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs on the new survey, the newspaper reported. The study found that there were 2,051 anti-gay crimes reported in 2003, up 8 percent from the 1,903 such incidents nationally in 2002, the Bay City News stated. In the Bay Area, however, hate crimes against gays decreased 7 percent from 357 incidents in 2002 to 317 such reported crimes last year, the News reported. But some officials fear that the reporting of incidents, not the number of actual crimes, has decreased, San Francisco Deputy Police Chief Greg Suhr said. Suhr said he hopes that the inclusion of a transgendered woman, former Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club Co-Chair Theresa Sparks, on the new city Police Commission will help with the city’s anti-violence efforts, the News reported.


Marriage protest set for District
Couples to demand licenses; GLAA calls effort ‘misguided’

In a rebuke to two of D.C.’s more prominent gay rights groups, a small band of local gay activists is planning a protest in which same-sex couples will apply for marriage licenses at the D.C. Superior Courthouse on May 17, the day the nation’s first state-sanctioned gay marriages are set to begin being issued in Massachusetts.

The group, known as Don’t Amend-D.C., is organizing the protest, despite efforts by members of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club and the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance to persuade Mayor Anthony Williams and the City Council to avoid any same-sex marriage initiatives until after the November election.

“The No. 1 purpose of this rally is to raise the visibility of the issue, and to say without dispute that there are couples in D.C. ready for us to move forward on this issue,” said David Mariner, one of the group’s organizers. “We have a supportive City Council and a supportive mayor, so what are we waiting for?”

Williams and at least eight of the 13 City Council members have indicated they support extending marriage benefits to gay couples in the District. But members of GLAA and the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club have asked the city to delay addressing the issue because of fears that conservative members in Congress might retaliate against the city by banning gay marriage in the D.C. Charter and possibly rolling back pro-gay measures already on the books.


Site urges Va. boycott over C.U. law
Seattle couple angry over new anti-gay law

A gay Web site developer and his partner have launched, a site dedicated to urging a boycott of Virginia-based companies and their products and services, in response to a recently passed anti-gay law in the state.

The site’s name pokes fun at the longtime Virginia travel slogan, “Virginia is for lovers.”

Jay Porter and his partner David Smith, both residents of Seattle, were motivated to create the Web site after the Virginia General Assembly passed a measure in April that not only prohibits the state from recognizing civil unions but also bans “any partnership contract or other arrangements that purport to provide the benefits of marriage.”

The Human Rights Campaign called the measure, “one of the most discriminatory and restrictive bills in the country.”


Gays organize locally for political voice
Staff Writer

It's been a gradual process for Jennifer Nash to feel comfortable telling people she's a lesbian, but a year of debates over gay and lesbian rights — some taking place in her hometown — has made a big difference.

Nash, 35, a Nashville resident, wants to become a lobbyist on gay and lesbian issues.

Tomorrow, she will take part in a training to learn how to be a spokeswoman, influence legislation and identify and promote candidates for political office, among other things.

The ''Institute for Leadership Change,'' as the first-time event is called, was organized by the Nashville Association of Professional Persons, or NAPP.


Lacking legal license to adopt kids jointly
Karina Bland
The Arizona Republic
Whether gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt has been a part of the ongoing national debate over same-sex marriage. The reality is, the couples are forming their own families anyway.


Gay teachers cautious
By Dana Hull
Mercury News

Teri Gruenwald wanted to share the big news that she got married with the people she works with every day: her eighth-grade students. But what she had to tell them was no simple story.

Gruenwald and her partner, Karen Cohn, who have two sons, were among the first same-sex couples to marry in San Francisco, and she worried her students at Cesar Chavez Middle School in Union City would react badly to the revelation that she was a lesbian. Instead she got smiles -- and a flurry of questions.

Said one student: ``Yeah, but does your husband know?''

``She doesn't have a husband,'' another student shot back. ``She has a wife.''

As the national debate over same-sex marriage ricochets from California to Massachusetts, students, teachers, administrators and parents are scrambling to define how to discuss the issue on campus -- and whether to incorporate the subject into lesson plans.



Whose God does Bush serve?The president should stop worshipping the God of political expediency and take a look at the God of love.

WITH HIS ENDORSEMENT of an anti-gay constitutional amendment, President Bush fired the opening shot in a brand new culture war.

This new war — launched ironically by the president who promised to be a “uniter, not a divider” — has not only divided the larger culture, but has also created a divide between faith groups.

Fundamentalist and conservative religious groups have become the foot soldiers in this new culture war — a war in which LGBT families are the declared enemy.

How did this happen, after four decades of struggle, advancement and activism for our civil rights? It’s happened in part because the president has blurred the lines that separate church and state.

Perhaps the most worrisome part of this debate is the president’s repeated appeal to “protect the sanctity of marriage.” “Sanctity” is a word with a religious connotation; it means “holy or religiously sacred.” How in heaven did our government get involved in that?


Experts leery of new Va. anti-C.U. law
Ban on contracts between gay couples may be unconstitutional

RICHMOND, Va. — By adding the words “civil union” to its Defense of Marriage Act, Virginia joined the ranks of two other states officially and specifically banning the legal alternative to same-sex marriage.

But additional language in the Virginia legislation far surpassed even Texas and Nebraska — as well as the other 47 states — in the limitations it placed on legal recognition of same-sex couples, according to national advocacy groups.

The Marriage Affirmation Act, passed by the Virginia General Assembly late last month and set to become law in July, outlaws “any partnership contract or other arrangements that purport to provide the benefits of marriage,” in addition to prohibiting the state from recognizing civil unions.

Both gay rights advocates and independent legal scholars agreed the nation’s now most strongly worded anti-marriage statute could have considerable impact on the ability of same-sex couples to enter into legal agreements with each other.


Changing mores of China

Rural China becomes the unlikely stage for a transsexual’s wedding, writes PETER HARMSEN. 

WHEN Zhang Lin was carried in a bridal sedan chair down a 300m dirt road to her future husband’s home, she was no different from generations of Chinese women before her. Except that until a year ago, Zhang was a man. 

Thousands of farmers watched with a mixture of curiosity and disbelief as the 38-year-old bride and her groom Yang Qizheng, four years her junior, celebrated their wedding last weekend deep in China’s conservative countryside. 

“It’s a bit strange,” said Liu Guifa, a peasant woman who had come to the village of Fenghuang in south-western Sichuan province to witness the country’s first public wedding of a man turned woman through a sex-change operation. 


Unionist Councillor Accused over 'Anti-Gay' Remarks
By Ian Graham, PA News
Belfast’s Lord Mayor today requested an urgent investigation into alleged homophobic comments by a prominent unionist councillor during a meeting to discuss proposals to hold a civic reception for the city’s gay community.

SDLP Mayor Martin Morgan asked the chief executive of Belfast City Council to carry out an immediate investigation into remarks said to have been made by Democratic Unionist Sammy Wilson – himself a former Lord Mayor.


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