poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Coretta Scott King condemns marriage ban
by Barbara Tannenbaum / Network

Civil right leader Coretta Scott King denounced the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage during a speech on Tuesday, saying, "Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union."

The widow of slain civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. has often spoken against discrimination based on sexual orientation during the last 10 years. Her Tuesday speech, at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, came after 30 black Atlanta-based pastors signed a declaration of support for the constitutional ban and the Congressional Black Caucus argued against comparing the struggle for same-sex marriage with the civil rights movement.

"I am delighted that Coretta Scott King has spoken out on this issue," said Professor Lawrence D. Bobo, acting chair of the African and African-American Studies Department at Harvard University. "There is an important and understandable streak of conservatism within the black church. That said, this is a civil rights issue. I believe our higher angels will ultimately win out on same-sex marriage, not only in the church but in society at large."

Rev. Cecil Williams, former pastor and now CEO of San Francisco's Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, praised King's message, saying, "It certainly points to her stature as a national and international leader."


True colours of the Rainbow Nation?
By Clifford Bestall
Producer, World Weddings: Gay on the Cape
They are fighting for rights they claim should be theirs - marriage rights included - and already, they smell victory. Homosexual couples here have won the right to adopt children, cross-dress if they feel like it and have sex with one another.
Gay on the Cape

In apartheid South Africa, none of these were allowed.

Sodomy, for example, was a crime in which a private citizen had the right to use lethal and deadly force to make an arrest. The law derived from English common law dating from the reign of Henry VIII.

A 1957 statute in South Africa even made it a crime for men to engage in any erotic contact.

Now, with all of that gone, it is small wonder that the "pink set" at the tip of Africa are in celebratory mood.


Racist crime soars 400%
By Jenny Watson Daily Post Correspondent

THE number of people reporting racist crimes across Merseyside has risen by 400% in the last two years, it has been revealed.

The Mersey Racial Harassment Prevention Unit, which runs a hotline for people to report incidents if they don't feel able to go directly to police, received 650 calls last year.

In St Helens in the last year alone, the number of racist crimes being reported to police has increased by 500%.

Police say crime figures in St Helens have fallen by a fifth overall and the rise in racist crime figures is because more people feel


House Bill 99: Equality the American way

We should all work for equality and the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans. How sad it is to see and hear of the suffering and humiliation to which gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people are subjected. How pathetic that this persecution happens so often in a country that espouses that all are created equal.

Our government seems to function selectively in regard to giving all people equal rights under the law. All minorities have suffered through the painful history of discrimination and hatred. Citizens who fear anyone different than they are have inœicted this for generations. When today's children are taught about Dr. Martin Luther King and the African-American struggle for equality and protection, they are stunned. They have been educated to realize that the only difference in white and black people is the color of their skin. They cannot comprehend why anyone would have treated them badly. If children are educated to view a variety of people in a positive and loving manner, our country will be a much better place. Teaching and granting equality and compassion toward GLBT people will not change anyone's sexual orientation any more than recognizing the equality of African-Americans will turn their skin black. Only when everyone is given equality and when hatred, fear, and prejudice are replaced with caring, acceptance and understanding, will we be putting into practice the rights of equality guaranteed to all under our Constitution. Hatred, bias, polarization and closed-mindedness weaken and fragment our society. There is no room for these characteristics if we are to make progress as a unified nation. Cooperation, understanding, education, and open-mindedness strengthen society.

We would be so much more productive and content if we were united through love for each other as Jesus taught. After all, God created us all in His own image. Sexual orientation is genetic and is established before birth. It is not a conscious preference or choice. Laws should encourage people to celebrate the diverse ways in which God created them. No one has the right to question God's plan for anyone's life.

The claim that all citizens now have legal equality is false. It is not equality when GLBT people can be evicted from their homes when they are living in a way that is natural and is the way that God created them. It is not equality when someone is in intensive care and his or her loved one is denied visitation rights because they are not "family." It is not equality when two people commit their lives to each other and the government does not approve of their choice of partners and therefore denies legal recognition of their love and devotion to one another. It is not equality when partners are denied civil unions and thus cannot be claimed dependents on their partner's insurance because no legal union exists. It is not equality when one partner must endure the loss of his or her loved one, while at the same time being forced to sell their home in order to pay inheritance taxes. It is not equality when someone can be fired because his or her employer does not approve of the way he or she was created by God. It is not equality when a loving couple is refused custody, adoption, or foster parenting rights to needy, unloved, and abused children because the government cannot accept the way in which these people love one another.


Africa's gays persecuted as cause of ills
Even blamed for drought, homosexuals are widely condemned, increasingly threatened
By Laurie Goering
Tribune foreign correspondent

WINDHOEK, Namibia -- As a boy, Telwin Owoseb wanted to wear lime green. His mother told him blue was for boys and pushed him out the door to play ball, over his protests.

At the end of high school, he told his family he was gay. While his mother accepted the news, his brothers and family friends were horrified.

"A man should be a man and marry and have kids," he remembers them saying.

Since then he has been called a "moffie"--an Afrikaans slur for homosexuals--on the streets of
Namibia's capital, and he has faced trouble finding work and a partner in this nation where being gay is considered unnatural, un-Christian and un-African.


Valley clergy group condemns statements that reject gays
Michael Clancy
The Arizona Republic

Valley clergy in favor of gay rights on Tuesday denounced statements that use "religion to sanction the condemnation and rejection" of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.

At a Tuesday news conference, members of No Longer Silent: Clergy for Justice said they wanted to reach leaders of all denominations but particularly Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Roman

Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, who in the past month has challenged the group and the priests who signed a pro-gay document, the Phoenix Declaration, in 2003.

The group, responding to Olmsted's actions, capped off Tuesday's conference by nailing the Phoenix Declaration to a door, as Martin Luther did with his 95 Theses in 1517 to kick off the Protestant Reformation.

"We refuse to let prejudice, in the form of religious fundamentalism and society's bigotry, plant seeds of exclusion and violence," the group said in a statement read by the Rev. Jeff Proctor-Murphy, pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Phoenix.


Is Reagan's legacy still hurting gays?
Gay men and lesbians have renewed the longstanding debate about what impact Ronald Reagan's policies had on AIDS and gay rights. While some mark his early sympathy for gays, many continue to blame the late president for countless deaths and current antigay crusades.
By Chad Graham
An exclusive,

The legacy of President Ronald Reagan--who died Saturday of complications from Alzheimer's disease at age 93--continues to provoke a powerful rage among many gay men and lesbians across the country, while others choose to remember the Republican's positive accomplishments.

As the 40th U.S. president is lionized at memorial services from Simi Valley, Calif., to the U.S. Capitol this week, countless gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Americans--especially those with horrific memories of friends and family members lost to AIDS--still wonder: Did the Reagan administration do enough to stop the disease at the beginning? Do the former president's policies and allies continue to hold back gay equality?

"I shed no tears at the passing of Ronald Reagan," wrote Philip Hitchcock, an openly gay sculptor from Venice, Calif., in a letter published Monday in the Los Angeles Times. "My tears are and were for the hundreds of thousands of Americans with HIV on whom Mr. Reagan turned his back. I weep for the scores and scores of men whose names, one by one, I blacked out of my address book. At a time when he could have shown real leadership in the face of a crisis, Mr. Reagan could not even say the word 'AIDS' publicly his first four years in office."


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