poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Senate OKs constitutional gay marriage ban

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Fearing the state's Supreme Court might someday OK gay marriages, a Louisiana Senate committee voted 5-2 Tuesday to place a ban on same-sex marriages and civil unions in the state constitution. State law has long held that people of the same sex cannot marry, and Louisiana does not recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

However, backers of the proposed amendment by Sen. John Hainkel, R-New Orleans, said the existing laws might some day be overturned by the state Supreme Court because of the Louisiana constitution's "due process" clause.

Katherine Spaht, an LSU law professor and backer of the proposal, said the state clause is often interpreted similarly to the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees equal protection under law. "It puts our marriage statute at risk," Spaht said. Backers pointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriages there as an example of what could happen in Louisiana. Hainkel's bill goes next to the full Senate.

It will need approval from two-thirds of the Senate, two-thirds of the state House and the state's voters before it becomes part of the constitution. During more than two hours of debate, including often emotional testimony from witnesses for and against the bill, each member of the committee expressed opposition to gay marriage


Gwen Araujo Fund has almost $10,000
Kelly St. John

A memorial fund named for slain transgender teen Gwen Araujo has received nearly $10,000 for school programs promoting understanding of transgender people and issues.

Julie Dorf, director of philanthropic services at Horizons Foundation, the nonprofit that established the fund, said the first grants will go to Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties because the group's research shows that violence against gays, lesbians and transgender individuals is worse in those places than elsewhere in the Bay Area.

"We hope to do something in Newark where Gwen was going to school. Where there's a crack in the door, we want to open it up," Dorf said. The Gwen Araujo Memorial Fund for Transgender Education is named for Araujo, 17, who was born Edward Araujo but lived and identified as a girl. Araujo was beaten and strangled in October 2002, after her biological gender was revealed at a party.
Michael Magidson, 24, of Fremont and Jose Merel and Jason Cazares, both 24 and of Newark, are on trial for murder. Jaron Nabors, 21, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in exchange for testifying against his friends.

For information or to donate, contact Horizons Foundation, 870 Market St., Suite 728, San Francisco, 94102 or call (415) 398-2333. Information also is available at


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