poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Sunday, May 16, 2004

U.S. Gays Start Final Steps Toward Legal Marriage
By Greg Frost

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuters) - Hundreds of gay couples on Monday began untying the final strands of red tape separating them from something they never thought possible -- the right to legally marry in the United States.

After months of anticipation, debate and protest, Massachusetts on Monday became the first and only U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage, an election-year milestone likely to fuel legal and political battles nationwide.

At the stroke of midnight, cheers erupted among hundreds of gay and lesbian couples waiting to apply first thing in the morning for marriage licenses at City Hall in the famously liberal community of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

It is expected the first legal gay weddings will take place after courthouses open across the state.


Couples gather in Cambridge as Massachusetts prepares for gay weddings
JENNIFER PETER, Associated Press Writer

Like fans anxious for concert tickets, same-sex couples waited in line for hours Sunday outside Cambridge's City Hall for an event they once thought they'd never get to experience: marriage.

Marcia Hams, 56, and her partner, Susan Shepherd, 52, of Cambridge, showed up at midnight Saturday -- a full 24 hours ahead of time -- to stake out the first spot in line where the city clerk was to hand out the nation's first state-sanctioned gay marriage applications.

"People do this for Red Sox tickets, concert tickets," said Hams, a health care advocate who has been with Shepherd, a graduate student, for 27 years. "Certainly we can do it for this."

By late Sunday night, about 1,500 people had gathered outside Cambridge City Hall, cheering and clapping as city workers opened its doors to let about 75 couples inside ahead of the midnight deadline. Many in the crowd were family and friends who wanted to join in the festive atmosphere. There were also scores of reporters, and a few protesters stood across the street.


May 17: Day of celebration, day of struggle

By LeiLani Dowell

Monica Roundtree, a Black lesbian, met her partner two years ago on the job in Chicago. She recalls, "One of the first things she told me was, 'I'm going to marry you.' I thought it was just another pickup line." Later they moved in together, and after a couple of months, her partner--with her seven-year old son--sat Roundtree down and proposed marriage. She accepted.

On May 15, they will travel to Canada to get married. Their marriage will not be recognized in the United States, and they will not receive any of the economic or legal benefits that marriage bestows on people in the U.S. Roundtree says it's scary what few rights they have, should anything happen to one of them.

Because of the wedding, Roundtree and her partner will not be present for actions in the U.S. surrounding the weekend of May 17. This is the day that Massachusetts has been ordered by the state's Supreme Judicial Court to begin granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Since that ruling in November, and subsequent rulings that "separate-but-equal" institutions such as civil unions are not equal, thousands of couples and activists across the country have gone on the offensive, participating in civil disobedience and protests demanding the right to marry. Actions have occurred in Oregon, Texas, Minnesota, New Jersey, Michigan, Georgia, California, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Colorado and other states.

In response, the right wing has whipped up a campaign of reaction to defeat the gains of the lesbian, gay, bi, trans movement. A group called Liberty Counsel--which previously worked against the limiting of right-wing picketing at abortion clinics--has filed more than a dozen lawsuits challenging states' attempts to legalize same-sex marriage.

Actions will be held on and around May 17 in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Ga.; Manhattan and Brooklyn, N.Y.; Chicago, Ill.; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Davis, Calif.; Hartford, Conn.; Portland, Ore.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Tampa, Fla.; Tucson, Ariz.; Washington, D.C., and other cities.


Gay Marriage Opponents in Massachusetts Keep Low Profile

BOSTON, May 16 — To some parishioners attending the Trinity Evangelical Church near here, the advent of same-sex marriage called to mind the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Over coffee and doughnuts after the 8:30 a.m. service, Anthony Radzikowski predicted "confusion." He contended that opponents of same-sex marriage would ultimately prevail in passing an amendment to the State Constitution banning the practice.

"What do you tell the people who were married?" he asked.

Peter Grasso, another parishioner, interrupted. "It makes me ashamed," he said. "This used to be the most moral state in the union. You couldn't even have a dirty picture in the state until the liberals got into it."


Wisconsin Faces Issue of Same-Sex Marriages
By Jason Allen

Just after midnight, on Monday morning, gay couples in Massachusetts can tie the knot and do it legally. It makes the United States only the fourth country in the world to allow gay marriages, albeit not nationwide.

Last November, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that homosexual couples have the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples have under that state's constitution. However, the court ruled that marriages could not take place for six months, to allow time for appeals.

During that time, opponents tried to overturn or block the decision but failed. The U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to step in and block same-sex marriages in Massachusetts.

In northeast Wisconsin, supporters of same-sex marriages-- gay and straight alike-- plan to celebrate the Massachusetts law on Monday, but some are still cautious with their optimism.


Woodcock victims talk of being ostracised
Students abused by Alan Woodcock say he told them they were homosexual or threatened to cane them

Students at the schools where Alan Woodcock worked knew he was having sexual relationships with their classmates.

The 55-year-old has pleaded guilty to 21 charges of sexual assault at the Upper Hutt District Court today.

A summary of facts has revealed that victims who told their fellow students about their abuse were ostracised.


Catholic schools studying gay unions
Promise to follow court on weddings
By Rhonda Stewart, Globe Staff  |  May 16, 2004

With a landmark court ruling allowing same-sex marriage set to take effect tomorrow, officials at area Catholic colleges say that while the ruling conflicts with church teachings, they are prepared to follow it.

''Right now, Regis policy provides that anyone who is married gets health benefits for themselves and their dependents," said Marjorie Arons-Barron, a spokeswoman for Regis College. ''The college is studying the implications of the pending gay marriage law."

The issue has already prompted discussion on the Weston campus of the liberal arts women's college, thanks to a debate and forum held in late March.

Sociology professor Alex Liazos organized the debate, where author E.J. Graff spoke in favor of same-sex marriage and attorney Daniel Avila of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference spoke against it.


Thou shalt bite thy tongue
Christian groups fear they will be muzzled by changes to hate propaganda laws to protect gays They fear being called homophobes

Christian groups claim amending hate propaganda laws to protect gay, lesbian and bisexual people will silence their opinions about sexuality. The Senate passed Bill C-250 on April 28. It added sexual orientation to the identifiable groups listed in the Criminal Code.

The gay, lesbian and bisexual communities celebrate their relationships while the Catholic Church and some Protestant denominations call their sexuality sinful. All express their ideas over the radio, on television and in print.

"Everyone in a free democracy produces materials with their views, so the question is, do we live in a liberal democracy in which people are free to share their views because Bill C-250 criminalizes a view," argues Darrel Reid, president of Focus on the Family Canada.

No belief is a crime but some belief-motivated activities are illegal. Subsections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code make it a crime to incite genocide or the assault of people of any religion, race or ethnicity and promote hatred of those expressing "an opinion based on a belief in a religious text."

EGALE,, a national organization promoting equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-identified people, considers gay, lesbian and bisexual people a chief target of hate propaganda in Canada. EGALE's director of advocacy Laurie Arron quotes a letter signed by the Anti-Gay and Lesbian Coalition of North America that states it is "for the cleansing of North America and the world of all gays, lesbians and deviants."

Arron says suggestions that the gay community wanted this protection to persecute Christians are unfounded.


Westport Minister Joins Hartford Rally Supporting Same-Sex Marriages

The Rev. Marian Visel: rallied in clerical garb. Cablevision News-12 photo A Westport minister who performed same-sex marriages in New Paltz, N.Y. and was later served with a warning letter was among hundreds of people who converged on Hartford today for a rally on the eve of legalized gay marriages in Massachusetts.

The Rev. Marian Visel of Westport's Unitarian Church said she attended the rally in clerical garb because she felt it important to make a statement that religious leaders favor gay rights.

"Civil marriage is a civil right," Visel told Cablevision News-12. "I want everyone's rights to be honored in the state."

Two months ago, Visel was given a warning letter by a local district attorney after participating in the marriage of gay couples in New Paltz, N.Y. No further action was taken.

Subsequently, the other four ministers at the church also participated in similar ceremonies in New Paltz.


Rhode Islanders discuss impact of Bay State's gay marriage move
The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - As their neighbor to the north prepared itself for the nation's first state-sanctioned gay marriages, residents of Rhode Island gathered to discuss how the change in Massachusetts would impact the Ocean State.

In a meeting hosted by the Providence Public Library Sunday afternoon, panelists said they believed gay marriage was not far away in Rhode Island.

"It will take one general election cycle for my colleagues and newly elected members to become convinced that this isn't an issue that their constituents are radically opposed to," said Rhode Island Rep. Edith Ajello. "By and large, constituents would urge us to be fair and treat all citizens justly. We will get there in Rhode Island, and we will get there soon."

Panelist Kate Monteiro of the Rhode Island Alliance for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights said she was focused on securing same-sex marriage rights in Rhode Island, rather than traveling north to tie the knot.


Suspect arrested at gay marriage rallies

A 50-year-old Hartford man is under arrest after a suspicious cannister forced authorities to evacuate an area outside the state Capitol in Hartford.

   The evacuation came at the end of rallies in favor and against gay marriage.

   Police say Edgardo Rivera put the cannister of liquid on the north steps of the Capitol. He was held on a ten-thousand dollar bond.  

   Authorities donned hazardous material suits, removed the cannister and took it to a state laboratory for testing. Police do not know what the liquid was.


Nation faces years of legal tangles over same-sex marriages
By Maeve Reston, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

BOSTON -- When a slim majority of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts legalized gay marriage last November, the lead counsel for the seven couples involved in the case called the decision the first of many legal battles to come.

As Massachusetts begins processing same-sex marriage licenses today, that may be the only thing advocates on both sides of the issue can agree on.

The Massachusetts decision has not only set off a blizzard of legislation aimed at putting gay marriage back in the bottle or letting it loose, it has also produced a national legal tangle that could take years to unravel.


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