poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Louisville lobbied on gay marriages
City urged to oppose amendment banning same-sex unions
By Greg Avery, Camera Staff Writer

Two weeks after Boulder city and county governments came out against a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages, Louisville's City Council is being asked to take the same stand.

Local same-sex marriage supporters asked the Council to formally oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo. It would define marriage as "the union of a man and a woman" and, supporters say, would keep traditional family values from being eroded.

Opponents of the amendment argue that denying homosexuals the right to marry bars them from many legal rights available to heterosexual couples and is discrimination.

In letters to council members, a handful of gays and lesbians from the Louisville area asked the city to follow Boulder's example, officially opposing the amendment and urging state and federal representatives to do the same.


Courts set to hear arguments on same-sex 'marriage'
By Cheryl Wetzstein

Homosexual "marriage" battles continue this month with a Missouri court hearing today on the timing of a public vote on marriage, and a federal court hearing next week about whether Massachusetts judges had the right to legalize same-sex "marriages."
 In today's hearing, the Missouri Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments over whether a constitutional marriage amendment should be put on the ballot for the August primary or the November general election.

    Democratic leaders, including Gov. Bob Holden and Attorney General Jay Nixon, want the vote on the one-sentence amendment — which would define marriage as the union of a man and a woman — to be held in August. According to news reports, Democrats fear that if the amendment vote is held in November, it will benefit Republican candidates, including President Bush.

    The Missouri Constitution automatically places proposed amendments on the November ballot unless the governor sets an earlier special election. Mr. Holden has called for such a special election on Aug. 3, but Republican lawmakers and state officials have not processed the paperwork on the amendment, which passed May 14.



Euro MP hits out at Tebbit's anti-gay comments
Ben Townley, UK

A member of the European parliament has called for Conservative leader Michael Howard to punish Lord Tebbit, after he made comments last week linking obesity to "buggery".

Labour MEP Michael Cashman, who represents Labour and is the UK's only gay MEP, has written a letter to the party leader calling for him to condemn the comments or admit that his attempts to modernise the party were "hollow".

Last week Tebbit, an influential member of the Conservative party, told the BBC radio's Today programme that the child obesity crisis facing the UK is linked to the decline in "family values" and same-sex relationships, accusing the government of "doing everything it can to support buggery".

Cashman says Howard must move fast if he is to stick to his promise of making the Conservative party inclusive to all people, including those in the lesbian, gay and bisexual community.


Faculty at CSU push for same-sex benefits

A domestic partner, as defined in the resolutions is: "either a same-gender or opposite-gender partner and must share an exclusive, committed relationship with a CSU employee, be unmarried and have no other domestic partner."

Despite previous failed attempts, Colorado State University's faculty and staff are pushing a proposal to offer domestic-partner benefits to employees, including same-sex couples.

"Basically, we believe in fair treatment of individuals, and this seemed like a good way to do that," said C.W. Miller, chair of the Faculty Council and professor of biomedical sciences.

If the proposal from the CSU Benefits Committee and Faculty Council is approved by President Larry Penley, CSU would become only the second state college or university to offer benefits to domestic partners.


`Gay panic' in Araujo case doesn't justify lesser charge
By Sue Hutchison
Mercury News

If only Gwen Araujo had known when she went to a Newark house party on the night of Oct. 3, 2002, that she was walking right into the eye of a ``perfect storm.'' A storm that would batter her and leave her dead at the age of 17.

That's how the defense attorney of one of three men accused of killing Araujo that night described their lethal mix of immaturity, insecurity, ignorance, fear, bigotry and rage: a perfect storm.

Emblem for paranoia

By now, you've probably heard the story of Gwen Araujo, who was born ``Eddie'' but lived her life as a girl and was beaten to death after men she'd performed sexual acts with discovered she was anatomically male. She has become an emblem for the hellish high school existence faced by many gay and transgender teenagers who are still trying to stake out their own identities.

And that description of the perfect storm, better known in court as the ``gay panic defense'' -- or in this case, ``trans panic'' -- is used to claim that the reaction is so predictable that any dead body left in its wake should be considered manslaughter and not murder. It's yet another reminder that part of our society still sanctions the idea that being different can be a death sentence.


Berkeley religious center flies rainbow flag
By Randy Myers

The religious studies center Mary Tolbert helped create wears its rainbow stripes proudly, vigorously advocating for gays and lesbians sitting in pews and preaching from pulpits.

"Our role is really to work to change the public discourse around sexuality and religion in a way that works for the benefit of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people," said Tolbert, the center's executive director.

It's accomplishing that mission without any fuss at a Christian seminary, an institution where it would be more likely to encounter the most icy reception.

The warm welcome gays and lesbians receive at Berkeley's Pacific School of Religion even declares itself from a window at Benton Hall, an on-campus housing unit where a huge rainbow flag, the symbol of gay pride, hangs undisturbed.


Case of slain transgender teen could go to a jury this week
Associated Press

HAYWARD, Calif. - One night in October 2002, four young men allegedly set upon another member of their group in a slow and savage attack that ended with a beaten and strangled body buried in a shallow grave.

It sounds like a simple case of homicide, though it was anything but. The victim, known to most of her friends as pretty Gwen Araujo, had been born Edward Araujo Jr. and was still biologically male.

In weeks of often sad and sometimes sordid testimony in the trial of the men accused of killing Araujo, prosecutors have portrayed the death as a cold-blooded vendetta. Defense attorneys have blamed heated passions, the panicked reaction of drunken young men devastated by sexual deception.

On Tuesday, attorneys were to begin presenting closing arguments in the case, which has been closely followed by people who feel their sexual and biological identities are at odds.


Amnesty International calls for action in Jamaica over homophobia
Ben Townley, UK

Human rights organisation Amnesty International has issued an appeal to people across the world to fight homophobia in Jamaica.

The group is urging all people to write to the country's MP in a bid to help stop attacks in the country, which is fast becoming known for its anti-gay attitudes, and to ask him to repeal legislation that criminalises same-sex relationships.

The appeal follows increased reports of attacks across the country. Earlier this year, reports of a father inviting local children to beat his son after he suspected him of being gay sparked outrage across the international gay community, while Amnesty claims there is also an increase in corruption and vigilante action amongst the country's police force.

“We have talked to people who have been forced to leave their communities after being publicly vilified, threatened or attacked on suspicion of being gay. They face homelessness, isolation or worse," Amnesty UK Media Director Lesley Warner said today.


Labor trying each-way bet on gay marriage says Howard

LABOR was trying to have two bob each way by supporting a ban on gay marriages but opposing a ban on gay couples adopting foreign children, Prime Minister John Howard said today.

Caucus today endorsed a shadow ministry plan to vote with the government on the changes to the Marriage Act to confirm that marriage was a union between a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others.

Despite some backbench opposition, it also voted to oppose Family Law Act changes that would prohibit gay couples from adopting children from overseas.

Mr Howard said Labor appeared unwilling to take a firm position on the issue.

"I think the Labor Party on this issue is trying to have two bob each way," he told reporters.


Majority Of Americans Support Gay Couples Poll Shows 
by Doug Windsor Newscenter

(New York City) A new national poll shows that the majority of Americans believe same-sex couples deserve legal recognition, but they remain divided on what form that recognition should take.

The CBS News poll shows that 57 percent of Americans support legal status for gay and lesbian couples. Twenty-eight percent said same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, up slightly from a similar poll taken in March.  Twenty-nine percent said gay couples should be entitled to civil unions.

Forty percent of those polled said that gay couples should not be permitted to wed.

On the issue of permanently banning gay marriage with a constitutional amendment, 60% favor such an amendment, while 37% oppose such it.


Portrait of the Writer
Why is an Irish novelist obsessed with Henry James? RAY CONLOGUE reports

Irish writer Colm Toibin has never attracted much attention on this side of the ocean. His darkish novels, some set in Europe and others in the Irish countryside of his native Wexford, attracted respectable reviews and a loyal readership in Britain. But his reputation stopped there.

Until he wrote The Master, that is.

Now, to his considerable bewilderment, he is being hailed as a genius. And it's true that The Master is a piece of virtuoso writing. It sets out to tell the story of celebrated 19th-century American writer Henry James, explaining his lifelong celibacy as a desperate ploy to deal with repressed homosexuality.


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