poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, June 04, 2004

Gay rights advocates fear losing benefits
Marriage ban could have side effects
By Susan Finch

If the Louisiana Constitution is changed to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, gay rights advocates say, domestic partnership registries and health insurance benefits that some employers extend to same-sex partners could be in jeopardy, too.

They are concerned that the "defense of marriage" amendment, which is awaiting final passage by the Legislature, could have broader, unintended consequences. Lawmakers are divided on the question, and employers -- public and private -- that offer such benefits are watching the matter closely.

Representatives of the city of New Orleans, Lockheed Martin and Tulane University, all of which offer health insurance to same-sex domestic partners, said last week they don't think the proposed amendment will affect their programs.

Shell Oil, meanwhile, isn't sure what impact the amendment would have on its employee health plan, which also covers same-sex domestic partners, spokeswoman Mary Dokianos said.


Gay marriage divides France
By Alexandra Fouché
BBC News Online

Ever since a mayor in the south-west of France announced he would celebrate the country's first gay marriage in his town hall, a fierce debate has raged in the country over whether it was right.

The plan, condemned by the right-wing government, has opened rifts within political parties, sparked objection from Roman Catholic authorities and caused dissension within the town council in Begles, where the marriage is to be held on

Sociologists, psychologists and politicians have all been chipping in with their opinion as to whether it was appropriate to allow gay people to marry - and whether gay marriage opened the path to parenting rights.

A similarly heated debate occurred five years ago when gays were legally allowed to enter a civil union called the Pacs, which gave more rights to cohabiting couples, regardless of their sex.

A recent poll suggested that 64% of French people supported same-sex weddings.


‘Faith-based’ AIDS head
Grogan said to be administrator, not policy maker

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson has named an attorney in charge of one of President Bush’s faith-based initiative programs as the new executive director of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Joseph Grogan, an official with the Compassion Capital Fund, began work at his new job at the presidential AIDS panel last month, according to members of the panel. The Compassion Capital Fund is an HHS program that helps religious groups apply for federal funds to provide social services to low income people.

The executive director of the panel, known as PACHA, traditionally has served as an administrator, with the co-chairs of the panel acting as policy makers. But one of PACHA’s recent executive directors, Patricia Ware, emerged as a strong advocate for conservative causes, including abstinence-only programs for HIV prevention.

Sources familiar with PACHA said controversy surrounding Ware’s actions prompted the White House to instruct Thompson to transfer her to another job at HHS last year. Thompson replaced her with Josephine Robinson, who has been acting as the panel’s interim executive director.

HHS spokesperson Bill Pierce said Grogan expects to serve in an administrative support capacity at PACHA similar to his work on the HHS faith-based program


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