Lynx center says she's homosexual
Van Gorp has never had orientation issues
BY ARON KAHN and SEAN JENSEN
At 6 feet 6, Michelle Van Gorp stood out among women, even female basketball players. On Friday, she stood out again, but for reasons having more to do with her heart than her height.
Van Gorp, a reserve center on the Minnesota Lynx basketball team, said she's a lesbian, and representatives of Twin Cities gay and lesbian groups cheered.
She didn't call a news conference, send out press releases or intend a big to-do in any way. She simply answered questions about her sexuality from a reporter for Lavender magazine, a voice of the gay and lesbian community. The article appeared Friday.
"It's just who I am,'' the 27-year-old Duke University graduate said to the Pioneer Press later in the day. "It's been publicly known by many, many, many people in the Twin Cities. I've never really had that much of an issue with it. There are gay people everywhere.''
Lesbians Want Country Club To Treat Them As Married
SAN DIEGO -- B. Birgit Koebke golfs alone because no one at her country club will play with her. She hits the links late in the day to avoid running into hostile club members.
If a group of golfers happens to be ahead of her, they don't let her play through.
"I just sit there and wait," she says. "They've made it impossible for me to enjoy the club."
Koebke, a 47-year-old television sales executive, is a longtime member of the Bernardo Heights Country Club. She is also lesbian, and her extended drive to win club golfing privileges for her partner of 12 years, Kendall French, has turned other members against her.
Arguments Heard In Gay Marriage Case Against Ministers
(New Paltz-AP) -- A prosecutor in the Hudson Valley says the case of two ministers charged for conducting same-sex weddings is not about the constitutional rights of the gay couples.
Instead, Assistant District Attorney John Rusk told a town court judge Friday that it's simply about whether the ministers violated state law by marrying couples without licenses.
Unitarian Universalist ministers Kay Greenleaf and Dawn Sangrey were charged in March with solemnizing 13 gay marriages in the village of New Paltz. Advocates say the two women appear to be the first clergy nationwide to be prosecuted for marrying gay couples.
The ministers' lawyer, attorney Stephanie Carvlin, argued that the charges be dismissed, saying the pair should not be prosecuted for laws that violate the constitutional rights of gay couples.
Miami OKs gay benefits
Same-sex partner policy covers faculty and staff
By Ari Bloomekatz
Enquirer staff writer
Nearly five months after publicly opposing Gov. Bob Taft's approval of the Ohio Defense of Marriage Act, Miami University President James Garland announced the university will offer benefits for faculty and staff in same-sex partnerships as early as next week.
The resolution extends benefits such as tuition discounts, health and dental insurance, recreational membership and sick leave.
Garland announced the decision during the university's last trustees' meeting of the year in Oxford. The board did not discuss the president's decision before unanimously endorsing it, and the item was not on the agenda.
Trustees are not required to approve changes in benefits, but Garland said he wanted to give board members an opportunity to voice their decision in public.
Gays in the mainstream
East Bay city ranks third in nation for gay and lesbian households
Jim Herron Zamora, Chronicle Staff Writer
A.J. Alfieri-Crispin and his partner had no idea when they bought their home in the Oakland hills four years ago that three of their immediate neighbors were gay or lesbian couples.
"It was totally random -- a big surprise for us,'' said Alfieri-Crispin, 40, whose block now has five same-sex households. "We moved to Oakland because it's a diverse, interesting city. We had no idea we were moving into this little lavender neighborhood."
Oakland, which is already one of the nation's most integrated cities, has quietly become home to more lesbian couples per capita than any other big city in the nation, and ranks third for gay and lesbian households combined, behind San Francisco and Seattle, according to census data.
"I know there are a lot of us here, but I had no idea we were No. 1," said Annie Dorn, who moved to Oakland's Temescal district in the early 1970s. "There's a huge network here. We're open, but we're low-key."
GOP seeks to build support for same-sex marriage ban
Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Washington -- House Republican leaders who fear they don't have the votes to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage -- are considering a test vote in July to gauge support for the measure.
Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas said this week he did not want to bring up the proposed amendment unless it can pass, and he doesn't think the Senate should do so, either. That was a jab at Senate GOP leaders who have scheduled debate on the Federal Marriage Amendment for the week of July 12, even though the measure's most ardent supporters think it will fall far short of the required two-thirds majority there and may not even get the 60 votes needed to overcome a likely filibuster.
"I personally think that the Senate really should vote on this when they have the votes to pass it," DeLay said. "That's what we are trying to do. We are looking at other alternatives, other kinds of votes that we might have on this to generate debate and generate support out in the nation." DeLay said Republicans have not yet decided what the test measure will be, but that it would provide "some sort of vote in July in anticipation of growing the vote so that we can actually pass a constitutional amendment."
He added that if the Senate votes on the amendment and it fails, "it is incumbent on the House to pass an amendment to put pressure back on the Senate to have a vote again."
Newsom named civil rights hero
Mayor Gavin Newsom was honored Thursday night in New York by that state's Democratic lawmakers as their "civil rights hero of the year'' for his work on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Newsom directed San Francisco officials in February to start issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. More than 4,000 couples tied the knot before the California Supreme Court in March ordered a halt to the weddings pending further court review of Newsom's action.
COUNCILOR WANTS TO DEFEND 'TRADITIONAL' MARRIAGES
By Ryan Blessing - The Sun Staff
CHARLESTOWN - A town councilor has found no support from his fellow members for a resolution that would defend "traditional marriage between a man and a woman."
Councilor Richard "Rippy" Serra tried to get the resolution on the agenda for the Jun. 21 council meeting.
But other members said Wednesday the resolution is not appropriate for Town Council business and that Serra's remarks at Monday's meeting went over the line.
Serra said he asked Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero to draft the "Defense of Traditional Marriage" resolution following a petition the council received in February from the Shannock Baptist Church. The church stated its "steadfast opposition" to governmental recognition or establishment of homosexual marriage or civil unions.
Tory Secret Agenda To Roll Back Gay Rights Uncovered
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
(Toronto, Ontario) As Canadians prepare to go to the polls Monday in the tightest race in modern history new details are emerging about Conservative Party plans to roll back hard fought gay rights.
Polls show that the opposition Conservatives are in a virtual dead heat with the governing Liberals, and whichever party triumphs it will likely have to contend with a minority government.
For weeks Liberals and LGBT civil rights advocates have been driving home the message that the Conservatives would use a clause in the Canadian Constitution that allows governments to override decisions by the courts with which they do not agree.
Tory leader Stephen Harper has consistently denied the nothwithstanding clause would be used to override gay laws or court decisions, but now a tape has emerged showing the man Harper is expected to appoint Attorney General if his party wins Monday saying the Conservatives would use the clause to block gay marriage.
Matthew Shepard Killer Loses Bid For Shorter Term
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
(Cheyenne, Wyoming) One of the two men convicted of murdering gay college student Matthew Shepard Friday lost an appeal for a shorter sentence.
Russell Henderson contended that he was denied effective legal assistance during his trial. Henderson claimed that his court-appointed lawyers were ineffective because they did not discuss potential appeals.
Prior to the trial Henderson made a deal with prosecutors to void the death sentence and pleaded guilty to murder and kidnapping in Shepard's slaying of the gay college student in 1998. He is currently serving two life sentences.
District Judge Jeffrey A. Donnell Friday rejected Henderson's argument.
GAY PRIDE FOR HARVEY MILK GRADS
By CARL CAMPANILE
The city's controversial Harvey Milk HS serving gay and lesbian students yesterday celebrated its first graduating class since becoming a fully-fledged high school following a tumultuous year.
Department of Education officials said 19 of the 21 seniors graduated at the public high school, and many are going on to college.
Proud students, parents and staffers were all smiles following a 90-minute ceremony at the Lucile Lortel Theatre on Christopher Street in the West Village — the focal point of tomorrow's Gay Pride Parade.
"These kids are pioneers," said William Salzman, the founding principal of the alternative transfer school, and one of the speakers who addressed the students.
"I told the kids that they're role models. They need to be mentors not only for gays and lesbians, but for all young people."
Rally against gay marriage ban
HUNDREDS of Sydneysiders today rallied against the Howard Government's ban on same-sex marriages, calling on Canberra to stop using gays and lesbians as political pawns.
About 400 people gathered at Sydney Town Hall Square to hear speakers demanding the Government overturn recent Marriage Act amendments which prevent gays and lesbians from marrying.
The rally was organised by the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, AIDS Council of NSW (ACON), New Mardi Gras and Sydney Pride Centre.
Rights Lobby co-convenor Somali Cerise told the crowd same-sex couples simply wanted the same rights as everyone else in the community.
President of Catholic bishops endorses Federal Marriage Amendment
Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, on Friday endorsed the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. He urged all Roman Catholics to lobby for its passage. In a letter this week to his fellow bishops, Gregory wrote that the Senate leadership had asked them to "formally register support" for the legislation. Introduced by Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), the Federal Marriage Amendment defines marriage as "the union of a man and a woman" and is expected to come before the Senate around July 12.
Gregory asked bishops to urge their senators to get behind the amendment and to encourage priests and parishioners to do the same. "This situation challenges Catholics--and all who seek the truth--to think deeply about the meaning of marriage, its purposes, and its value to individuals, families, and society," Gregory wrote. Catholics are the largest denomination in the country, with 63.7 million members. The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's second-largest denomination with 16.3 million members, has also backed an amendment against gay marriage, as have several other conservative religious groups. Conservative Protestants are organizing Marriage Protection Sunday on July 11, encouraging pastors and religious educators to address the topic and then mobilize their congregants to lobby their senators the next day.
Houston gay couple faces adoption challenges
An out lesbian who serves as Houston's city controller says that on the day she was set to adopt two foster children, the juvenile court judge refused to allow anyone in his court to preside over the adoptions. "[The judge] didn't think gays should adopt and that I ought to find another judge," Annise Parker said. She did
Thirteen-year-old Daniela and 9-year-old Marquitta had been in and out of foster care for years. Children's Protective Services had already approved placing the girls with Parker and her partner, Kathy Hubbard. Whether other openly gay Harris County residents have gone through a similar experience is difficult to gauge. Adoption records are sealed. But while Texas law neither prohibits nor protects adoption by gays--leaving the matter to local courts--gay rights activists say juvenile court judges in Texas have interpreted the law conservatively, giving the perception they discriminate against gays and lesbians. "Gays and lesbians have to jump through more hoops than heterosexuals, despite no proven scientific study that says [they] have any negative consequence on children," Randall Ellis, executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, told the Houston Chronicle for its Friday editions.
California governor not opposed to same-sex marriage
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told a crowd on Thursday that if gay and lesbian couples want to get married, he has no moral problem with it, according to the Los Angeles Times. His position is in striking contrast to that of many members of the Republican Party, including President Bush, who endorses the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, which would use the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
Schwarzenegger's remarks came during a question-and-answer session at a Romano's Macaroni Grill restaurant in the Sacramento suburb of Folsom as the governor urged lawmakers to pass his $103 billion state budget. The Times reported that gay attendee Peter Renfro of Sacramento, who has a partner, asked Schwarzenegger about his opinion on same-sex marriage. "My opinion is that I don't care one way or the other," the governor said. Renfro continued, "Oh. Without avoiding the question..." Schwarzenegger replied, "No, no, I don't care one