poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Monday, May 17, 2004

Same Sex Binational Couples Still Waiting for Their Day of Celebration

PRNewswire/ -- Today history is being made in Massachusetts as, for the first time ever in the United States, gay and lesbian couples are being permitted to lawfully wed and enjoy all of the benefits of marriage afforded by the state of Massachusetts. For gay men and lesbians in binational couples, however, there is little cause for celebration because a marriage recognized at the state level, but not at the federal level, will do nothing to confer immigration benefits on the couple.

"I feel like there's a party going on that I haven't been invited to," says "Brian" a resident of Massachusetts who is in a relationship with "Ken" a citizen of Great Britain. "I feel like the government is letting us down."

Under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, marriage is defined as the "legal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife, "meaning that the marriages performed in Massachusetts will result in state-based marriage rights for the couples but not in federal-based marriage rights. Immigration is governed entirely by federal law. Making matters worse, foreign nationals who marry U.S. citizens, may be denied future visas because their strong ties to the U.S. could be interpreted as "immigrant intent," or an intent to remain in the U.S. permanently.

Unless there is a change in federal law, couples like "Brian" and "Ken" will be unable to secure immigration rights. The Permanent Partners Immigration Act, currently pending in both houses of Congress (H.R. 832 and S. 1510) would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act by adding the term "permanent partner," wherever "spouse" currently appears. This would allow gay and lesbian U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their permanent partners for immigration to the U.S. Immigration Equality estimates that there are 35,000 same sex binational couples currently living in the U.S.


Same-sex marriage debate intensifies in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- The same-sex marriage debate intensified Monday in Michigan.

A group backing a petition drive to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman in the state constitution announced it has campaign directors in 65 of Michigan's 83 counties.

Meanwhile, groups that support gay marriage started a campaign urging people not to sign the petition that would put the issue on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Both groups were ramping up their campaigns as Massachusetts on Monday became the first state to allow gay marriages.


Six gay Tampa couples try to get marriage licenses, turned away
Associated Press Writer

TAMPA, Fla. -- Six gay couples marked the historic day of Massachusetts allowing homosexuals to wed by attempting to get marriage licenses themselves Monday, expecting to be turned down but still wanting to make a point.

The couples, who ranged from such walks of life as a bartender and a church minister, showed up at the Hillsborough County Courthouse for the afternoon protest and were politely and apologetically denied licenses by clerks who handed them a copy of Florida law banning such unions.

The results were not unexpected, but still emotional for some couples who said they dream of a day when the law would formally recognize their relationships.

Clifton Wright broke into tears and hugged his partner of seven years, Thomas Kantos, when the St. Petersburg couple was turned away.


Chicago activists stage sit-in to demand gay marriage
Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) -- About 30 activists staged a brief sit-in Monday at the Cook County Clerk's office, demanding Illinois follow Massachusetts' lead and legalize same-sex marriage.

"Marry us or marry no one," protesters chanted in the small room they shared with clerks and a dozen police officers.

On the same day that Massachusetts began issuing licenses to same-sex couples, 28-year-old Jennifer Widd and 30-year-old Michelle Baladad, both of Skokie, attempted to get a Cook County marriage license. But their $50 license fee remained uncollected on a counter behind them.

"They told us same-sex couples can't register," Widd said. "It hurts. We live and work in Cook County. We deserve our rights in Cook County."


Marriage Opponents Keep up the Fight With Meager Opposition News

As delighted gay and lesbian couples were married throughout Massachusetts today, gay-marriage protestors continued to make their objections to the unions known.

Starting late afternoon yesterday, a half-dozen protesters from the Westboro Church in Topeka, Kan., had gathered outside St. Peter's Cathedral in Cambridge, led by the daughter of Westboro Rev. Fred Phelps, whose Web site,, demonizes homosexuality and anyone who supports gay rights.

"The churches today will tell you God loves everyone ... (but) it's a fable to think you can live like the devil and go to heaven," said Shirley Phelps-Roper, an attorney for the group and daughter of Fred Phelps, who, with her group shouted antigay epithets at passersby.

Just after midnight, the tiny group was escorted away from a cheering crowd of thousands outside city hall by police.


its non-discrimination policy

Kalamazoo County officials are considering adding two more classes -- "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" -- to the county's non-discrimination policy.

The recommendation comes from County Administrator Donald C. Gilmer and is part of a proposed revision to a wider affirmative action and equal employment opportunity personnel policy.

The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners will review that proposal at Tuesday's 3 p.m. Committee of the Whole meeting at the County Administration Building, 201 W. Kalamazoo Ave.

The non-discrimination policy already prohibits discrimination in recruitment, employment, training, promotion, wage or discipline because of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, marital status, height, weight or disability.

"In my own personal view, we are talking about being more tolerant," said Gilmer. "As long as the person is qualified, just do your job, who cares what their sexual orientation or gender identity is?


Transsexuals (sic) get Olympic nod

Lausanne, Switzerland - Transsexuals (sic) have been cleared to compete in the Olympics for the first time.

Under a proposal approved on Monday by the IOC executive board, athletes who have undergone sex-change surgery (sic) will be eligible for the Olympics if their new gender has been legally recognised and they have gone through a minimum two-year period of postoperative hormone therapy.

The decision, which covers both male-to-female and female-to-male cases, goes into affect starting with this summer's Athens Olympics.

The IOC had put off a decision on so-called transgender athletes in February, saying more time was needed to consider all the medical issues.


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