poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Fight goes on for gay couples

Gay couples say Switzerland’s new law recognising same-sex partners as next-of-kin falls short, because it does not allow for marriage or adoption.

But with a referendum looming on the new law, they say the fight for more rights will have to wait.

Parliament on Thursday cleared the last hurdle for a new law allowing gay couples to register their partnerships.

In the case of the death of one partner, the other can inherit shared property without paying a huge tax bill.

But the law does not confer rights to marry, adopt children or undergo invitro fertilisation.


$100,000 Lawsuit Over Stopping Gay Boyfriend From Catholic School Prom Begins October 11
Oshawa Catholic School Board Ready to Fight for Freedom of Religion

OSHAWA, June 9, 2004 ( - The Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB) has issued a clarification of its position in the Marc Hall case after the airing of the made-for-TV movie which it says "took serious liberties with reality." In the spring of 2002, Marc Hall, a grade 12 student at Msgr. John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School in Oshawa, won a court battle that forced the Durham Catholic District School Board to allow him to bring his homosexual date to the prom.

After winning his battle to bring his male "partner" to the prom, Hall is suing the Board for $100,000 with the help of Ontario Health Minister and homosexual activist George Smitherman. In a press release, the DCDSB gives the date on which the trial will begin: October 11, 2004. "We are a Catholic School Board offering education that authentically and fully reflects the teachings of the Catholic Church. This is a matter of freedom of religion and of conscience," said Mary Ann Martin, Chair of the Board. "It is also our constitutional right," she added.

Mrs. Martin went on to say, "We welcome and foster respect and compassion for all persons regardless of race, creed, religious or sexual orientation. The Catholic Church accepts individuals who are homosexual as persons who should be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity, like any other person. At the same time, however, the Church teaches that same-sex romantic activity is immoral. Students with a same-sex orientation are welcome in all Catholic schools, but we insist that they follow the moral teachings of the Catholic Church in school-related activities."

The case has highlighted the split within the Canadian Catholic Church and its institutions over doctrinal discipline and and faithfullness to Catholic moral principles. A large number of self-professed Catholic individuals and organizations rallied to Hall's side including the recently elected Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty; Toronto City Councilor, Joe Mihevic who served on the organizing committee of World Youth Day; then-federal Industry Minister, Allan Rock and the Ontario Catholic Teachers Union. Official representatives of the Roman Catholic Church were late and faint with their support of the Board.


National Front protests over gay priest
Ben Townley, UK

The National Front is planning to protest over the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John next month, claiming the appointment of a gay priest is a "subversion" of the Church of England.

The group, an extreme right wing organisation that calls for white racial supremacy across the UK, is planning to march past St Albans Abbey on the 2nd of July, when John will be installed as dean of the Cathedral.

According to an article in the St Albans Observer, the group will also distribute leaflets claiming the decision to appoint John as dean goes against biblical teachings and that the Church's message is being "watered down".

"As Christians we are concerned that the Church is failing as an institution," Deputy chairman Bernard Franklin told the newspaper.


Reports find pervasive and increasing sexual abuse in the US military
By Joanne Laurier

Female service members in the US military stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait have reported more than 100 cases of sexual assault or misconduct by male soldiers. Complaints have been filed against members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

Prompted by these allegations, the Army assembled a task force in February and released a report in May concluding that incidents of sexual abuse in the service have climbed steadily over the past five years. Data released separately by the Army Criminal Investigative Division also revealed that the number of sexual assault cases reported to the division increased yearly from 1999 to 2003.

The data, obtained by the Washington Post under a Freedom of Information Act request, represents the first military-wide annual tallies made public since 1998. The figures show that the total number of reported cases of sexual assault involving Army personnel increased by 19 percent from 1999 to 2002—from 658 to 783—with annual increases ranging from 2 percent to 13 percent. During the same period, the number of reported rapes increased by 25 percent—from 356 to 445.

“The Army acknowledges that these tallies probably understate the magnitude of the problem. Advocacy groups say that sexual assaults are routinely underreported, and that the military victims are further inhibited by rules that bar confidentiality. A Defense Department report on the problem in May, based on visits to 21 military locations, provided data indicating rising sexual assaults from 2002 to 2003, which a Defense official said probably represented a fraction of the total in those years,” according to the Post.


Rape trial’s Jane Doe has widespread support
By Ari Bloomekatz

Nearly two weeks after jurors deadlocked in the trial of three men accused of raping a UCLA student a year and a half ago, some campus groups have organized efforts in support of the alleged victim.

The jury acquitted defendants Chuwan Anthony, DeShawn Stringer and Jamar Dawson on some charges on May 27, and could not come to a decision on others.

The three were accused of raping the student while visiting UCLA on a field trip with their high school on Dec. 5, 2002. The only way the men can now be found guilty is if the district attorney chooses to retry them, and they are unanimously convicted on the charges on which the original jury could not decide.

Christina Chala, a women's studies and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies student, made 1,000 buttons in support of the woman after she heard the verdict. The court called the alleged victim Jane Doe to protect her identity.


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