poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Monday, May 17, 2004

PFLAG Congratulates Massachusetts Couples

WASHINGTON, May 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) offers enthusiastic congratulations to the couples who will be married today in Massachusetts. We are deeply gratified for the equality and justice afforded to these gay and lesbian men and women. These couples, their families and their allies have proven that discrimination will not stand in America.

"This is a particularly wonderful day for our families and friends," said Ron Schlittler, PFLAG's Director of Policy. "Gaining access to marriage is in some ways such a simple step, but it signals an end to a powerfully unfair form of discrimination -denying gay and lesbian people the full social and legal supports they need to care for one another and their kids, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health."

PFLAG would also like to congratulate the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders who have worked so hard to beat back oppression and prejudice and make equality a reality for gay and lesbian families. PFLAG recognizes that the battle for our families must still be won in many hearts and minds all across our nation.

"We at PFLAG know all of this is unsettling for some people, and we know that is OK because it is just part of working through something new," said Alice Leeds, Director of Communications. "Our families have been here before and we are confident that as America sees the faces of commitment, sincerity, joy and dignity of couples getting married that they too will come to understand that marriage equality is a good thing -- good for the couples, their children and good for their communities."


Court dismisses challenge to New Orleans' domestic partners law
The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- A judge threw out a lawsuit challenging a 1999 New Orleans law that allows same-sex domestic partners of city employees to be included in their family benefits plans, a lawyer involved in the lawsuit said Monday.

The lawsuit had been filed by Shreveport resident Mike Johnson of Shreveport and was backed by the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Christian group. They argued that providing benefits to gay or lesbian partners conflicts with the definition of marriage under Louisiana law as being between a man and woman.
The suit was thrown out on pretrial motions.

"I think it's very important that the court recognized the impropriety of this suit seeking to take away benefits designed to treat gay and lesbian employees equally," said Brian

Chase, an attorney for a couple who would have been affected if the law was overturned. "There's been a tremendous amount of anti-gay activity going on in the far right as a result of marriage equality, so we always take these threats very seriously."


Cherokees unwittingly thrust into gay marriage debate
" It's not our issue"
Sam Lewin

A lesbian couple asked for and received a marriage application from the Cherokee Nation-prompting Principal Chief Chad Smith to state his opposition to same sex marriage. A tribal judge has issued a stay on the application.

“We believe the definition of marriage is only between a man and woman," Smith told the Daily Oklahoman. "Any other marriage application would not be valid."

Despite those comments and the attention they have received, tribal spokesman Mike Miller said it is incorrect to think that gay marriage is a big concern for the tribe.

“ It’s not our issue,” Miller told the Native American Times. “ It’s not on the Chief’s agenda and it is not on the tribal council’s agenda. We are focused on health issues, affordable housing, building communities, revitalizing our language and education. This is someone else’s issue. The tribal council didn’t dream up a law for same sex marriage and neither did the Chief.”


Same-sex marriage protests in Chicago

Chicago, IL, May. 17 (UPI) -- Dozens of gay activists marched outside Chicago's City Hall demanding the right to marry as the first same-sex couple was legally wed in Massachusetts.

Gay activists led by the group Equal marriage NOW! scheduled a lunchtime rally in front of the Cook County Clerk's office. Several other gay rights rallies were scheduled nationwide.

Cook County Clerk David Orr, who personally supports gay rights, has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it would violate the law.

"We have offered to pay the $500 fine if Orr is busted for issuing a same-sex marriage license, but he still refuses to do the right thing and treat our community as equals," said activist Gary Naham.


Nebraska group pushes for ban of gay marriages
LINCOLN - Barring last-minute action, city clerks in Massachusetts will issue the first legal marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples today.

Bennington business executive Art Taylor hopes others won't follow.

Taylor is president of Families for America, a Nebraska-based group aimed at getting states to call a constitutional convention to preserve the traditional definition of marriage.


Local Gay Rights Activists Hopeful

Gay rights activists in Central Texas are hopeful about what the move in Massachusetts could mean here. With cautious optimism, dozens of gay and lesbian couples, their family, and supporters cheer on the steps of the state capitol.

This rally marks a turning point for lesbian and gay Texans, who believe they should be treated equal to other couples.


Anti-gay marriage rally planned for noon at Arizona State Capitol

Opponents of gay marriages will hold a rally Monday at the state Capitol in Phoenix. It's set for noon at Wesley Bolin Plaza.

Saturday, some 40 gay couples exchanged vows in ceremonies conduct at a central Phoenix resort. The weddings were part of an offensive against Arizona's ban on same-sex marriages.


Archbishop backs state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage
The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- The Catholic archbishop of New Orleans has voiced his support for a proposed amendment to the Louisiana Constitution defining marriage as "the union of one man and one woman."

Archbishop Alfred Hughes declared his stand publicly on Sunday, one day before gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts.

"When the Catholic Church takes a stand on public policy, it's not because it's something the church teaches," Hughes said. "It's because it sheds light on and reinforces the truth present in the world. It is the natural law that transcends any differences in religious teachings or the teachings of any group."


Gay marriage debate continues, despite legal status in Massachusetts
Undated-AP -- A Massachusetts woman planning to wed her female partner says gay marriages are a matter of respect.

Susan Shepherd tells N-B-C's "Today" show marriage is the way relationships are respected in our society. And that's why she and Marcia Hams are tying the knot after 27 years together.

They were first in line at midnight as city officials in Cambridge handed out the first marriage-license applications to gay couples.

Hams tells "Today" that a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage would be a "travesty."

Meanwhile, Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defense Fund vows his group will keep challenging gay marriage efforts around the country.

Lorence calls it "an attack on something that's been a consensus of world culture since the dawn of time."


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