poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Westport's Unitarian Church Hosts Same-Sex Marriage Panel

Westport's Unitarian Church, whose five ministers have recently performed marriage ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples in New Paltz, N.Y., was the scene Friday night of a panel on same-sex marriage, according to today's The Advocate of Stamford/Norwalk.

The guests included New Haven attorney Maureen Murphy; Timothy Diehl, coordinator of the Fairfield County Chapter of Love Makes a Family; and Sue Bannay, a member of the Unitarian Church's Rainbow Task Force, the newspaper said.

Murphy told the group that, right now, because gay couples are not married in Connecticut, they are not covered by 588 Connecticut statutes and 1,038 federal statutes.

"This is a civil rights issue," Murphy said.


Judge rejects claims to sue Nickels over same-sex marriages
By Lornet Turnbull
Seattle Times staff reporter
A King County Superior Court judge yesterday rejected the claims of a group of Seattle area residents who sued Mayor Greg Nickels over his executive order recognizing same-sex marriages.

Judge Bruce Hilyer said the 12 plaintiffs — who filed two lawsuits that were later merged — failed to demonstrate that their case could succeed on its merits.

"Because of the nature of this controversy, the courts would have to be very circumspect in considering issuing (a ruling) against the chief executive of the City of Seattle," Hilyer said.

In March, Nickels issued an executive order recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere and ordered city departments to extend benefits to city employees in such marriages.


Proponents of gay marriage gather to voice support for rights
By Brian Lockhart

WESTPORT -- Moregan Zale has been in a relationship with the same person for 23 years, and the two were married in 1987.

Zale said their issues are the same as those of any typical married couple. Her spouse is a person of few words, a workaholic and will not stop for directions on road trips.

Her spouse is P.J. Schimmel, a woman. Their marriage in 1987 in Washington, D.C., was symbolic and not legal.

"When talking heads say gay couples aren't legitimate marriages, they don't know what they're talking about," Zale told the audience of 27 gathered at the Unitarian Church in Westport. "After 23 years with my wife, I can tell you anything you want about marriage."


Gay marriage lawsuit delayed

Gay couples who want the right to marry in New York state will have to wait at least another month for the next round in court.

Ten couples, including Nyack Mayor John Shields and his partner, filed a lawsuit March 12 against the state Department of Health and Orangetown Town Clerk Charlotte Madigan.

The suit was filed after the couples, who have dubbed themselves "The Nyack 10," were turned down when they went to Orangetown Town Hall to apply for marriage licenses.

The state and Madigan were to file a response to the lawsuit by Monday. The Health Department obtained an extension and must now file by May 24, a spokesman for the state Attorney General's Office, Paul Larrabee, said yesterday. The Attorney General's Office is representing the Health Department in the case.


Matthew Shepard Killer Seeks Lighter Sentence
by Newscenter Staff
(Cheyenne, Wyoming) One of the men convicted of murdering Matthew Shepard five years ago should not be given a chance to argue for a lighter sentence the Wyoming Attorney General has told a court.

In a bid to avoid the death penalty, Russell Henderson pleaded guilty murder and kidnapping in Shepard's death and received two consecutive life terms without parole.

Last month Henderson filed a petition alleging the state's appellate lawyers "failed even to consult with (Henderson) regarding any of his rights as provided by law following a guilty plea."

The petition also said Henderson should be allowed to argue that his sentence was disproportionate to others serving time for similar crimes.


For gays, adoption irony
Some countries may reject married couples' applications
NATICK—Lynette Sinclair and Michelle Cote started to build a family last November when they adopted a baby girl, Alana, from Eastern Europe. The next steps, they hoped, would be to marry in a small ceremony when same-sex marriage is legalized in Massachusetts and then to adopt a sibling for their daughter.

But now the Natick couple, like many gay couples across the state, have realized they could be forced to choose between formalizing their relationship and adopting a child from overseas. Many foreign countries forbid gay couples from adoption. If a gay couple declares married on the required adoption paperwork, specialists say, the couple’s application could be rejected.

‘‘It’s not right,’’ Cote said on a recent morning as she held 18-month-old Alana in her lap. ‘‘We finally get to do something we always wanted to do, that everyone else has the right to do, but yet again we have to wait.’’

Gay couples typically get around foreign countries’ prohibitions by designating one partner as the official parent. That partner truthfully registers as single, thus avoiding the likely scenario of having the bid rejected by a country unwilling to give a baby to an openly gay couple.


Maine Gay Marriage Ban Goes To Governor For Signing
by Newscenter Staff
(Augusta, Maine)  The Maine Senate has approved legislation barring the state from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples performed outside the state. The bill has already passed the House and now goes to Gov. Elias Baldacci.

The legislation was created after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled last year that gay couples may marry.  The ruling goes into effect May 17.

Maine already has legislation barring same-sex marriage, but supporters of the new bill say the existing law leaves open the possibility of gay couples crossing the state line and marrying in Massachusetts.

The new bill, however, raises the possibility of civil unions.  


Texas School Gives In, Allows Same-Sex Prom Dates
by Newscenter Staff
(Austin, Texas) A Texas high school has suspended its policy of refusing to allow students to bring same-sex dates to the prom.

Earlier this week Lago Vista High School was threatened with a suit after 16 year old Sherrell Ingram learned she would not be able to bring her best friend, another girl, to the prom. (story)

Civil rights group People for the American Way Foundation told the school that the rule is illegal under a federal law which bans any federally funded education program from discriminating on the basis of a person's sex and that it violates the constitutional rights of  the school's gay and lesbian students.

PFAWF gave the school until Friday to rescind the regulation.
Later Friday afternoon the school said it would suspend the policy.


Episcopal Bishop Sanctioned; Wed Gay Mate
Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO - The Episcopal Diocese of California has sanctioned a retired bishop for marrying his same-sex partner during a church ceremony in San Francisco, according to a published report. The diocese has revoked the Rev. Otis Charles' license to officiate and removed him as an assisting bishop, according to an article published Thursday in The Living Church, a magazine for Episcopalians.

Charles served as Episcopal bishop of Utah for 15 years. He came out as gay following his 1993 retirement at age 67 and now lives in San Francisco.

The decision to discipline Charles was made by Episcopal Bishop of California William Swing, who has been one of the faith's most outspoken proponents of allowing gay and lesbian Episcopalians to have their unions blessed.

Charles, 78, could not be reached for comment Friday, and the San Francisco-based diocesan office said both Swing and executive officer Rev. Canon Michael Hansen were unavailable.


Protest planned

    Gay and Lesbian Democrats and their supporters plan to protest during U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson's speech at the State Democratic Convention today.

    The Stonewall Democrats voted nearly unanimously in a caucus Friday night to stand up and turn their backs to Utah's lone Democrat in Congress because he says he will vote for the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

    The move was prompted by University of Utah Lesbian and Gay Student Union President Evan Done, who said Matheson had turned his back on gay supporters.
    Caucus Chairman Mike Picardi abstained from the vote because he questioned its purpose. "He knows we're pissed already," Picardi said.

    Matheson said Friday night that he has always believed marriage is between a man and a woman, but still respects the Stonewall Democrats viewpoint. "I respect the fact that we disagree on this," he said.


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