poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Marriage debate spreads to Eastern Europe
Gay advocates face prejudice, church opposition
By Brian Whitmore, Globe Correspondent

PRAGUE -- Katarina Benova and Irina Vychopenova didn't want to wait for politicians to decide whether they could marry.

With the Czech parliament scheduled to debate a bill on same-sex civil unions this month, the lesbian couple donned veils and wedding dresses and held an unofficial wedding ceremony on Prague's historic Old Town Square. On a cloudy Saturday morning before dozens of friends and some local media, Benova and Vychopenova, who have lived together for several months, exchanged vows, rings, and embraces as curious tourists and other passersby looked on.

"We are here to show that we love each other and care for each other just like a heterosexual couple," Benova, 32, said after the ceremony. "The promise we made here was intimate and important."

The couple hope they can soon make those same vows again -- in a civil ceremony recognized by their government.


OUTRAGED! - British gays use Brian Williamson's death to push agenda
By Andrew Clunis, News Editor

BRITAIN'S LEADING gay rights group, OutRage, wants Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson to repeal the island's tough anti-gay laws immediately. The group is also calling for an international ban on dancehall lyrics that incite the murder of gay people and for the introduction of an education programme in local schools to combat homophobic prejudice.

OutRage, which represents gays across the United Kingdom, is also pressuring British Home Secretary David Blunkett to make the asylum application process easier for gays and lesbians fleeing persecution.

The calls come following the savage murder of Jamaica's most

public and vocal gay figure, Brian William-son, last week.

Williamson, founder of Jamaica's gay rights movement, Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), was found butchered at his home in the upscale New Kingston area last Wednesday. According to police reports, the 59-year-old who had multiple chop wounds was seen meeting two men at his home earlier in the morning.


Group marches in support of same-sex marriages

DAYTONA BEACH -- A group about 75 strong walked into the middle of an average Saturday in Daytona Beach and created a rare sight: a rainbow flag-waving march in support of same-sex marriage rights.

Carrying signs that said things such as "Band Together For The Right To Say I Do," and "Liberty And Justice For All," the group took a sweltering walk under the high noon sun along Beach Street, Main Street, Halifax Avenue and International Speedway Boulevard.

"Gay Christians?" asked one motorist as he leaned out his window.

"You bet!" one of the marchers shouted back.


Making waves in new venture

Gathering 24 teammates in a circle, Shannon Graham uses American Sign Language to talk pre-race, in-boat strategy with the Silent Dragons team.

Silent Dragons' roots date to December, with a call for organizing by Deaf & Hearing OUT Reach, a Southeast Portland-based nonprofit organization. It can be reached at

Natalie Tracy, a board member and Silent Dragons paddler, said the 2-year-old organization works to build community among deaf and hearing gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered people, as well as supporters who are straight.

Ages range from early 20s to late 30s. Teammates such as Tracy can hear and can communicate in sign language with those who are deaf, such as Jeska Duckworth, board chairwoman of Deaf & Hearing.


Hundreds support gay union ban
Dover Bureau reporter

With a sign that read "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," hundreds gathered Saturday on Legislative Mall in Dover for a rally on behalf of traditional marriage and family.

The event, organized by the Delaware Family Foundation, was timed to shore up 11th-hour defenses against House Bill 99, which would add sexual orientation to other categories protected by the state's anti-discrimination laws.



-- People wanting to change their gender, including teens in the city's foster-care system, are getting pricey opposite-sex hormones for free through Medicaid — even though the practice is barred, The Post has learned.

Doctors and clinics that treat transgender New Yorkers have helped them obtain hormones through Medicaid by listing other diagnoses, sources said.

Medicaid, which is taxpayer financed, is now trying to halt the payments by using its computer system to detect whether estrogen is being sought for males, or testosterone for females.

Transgender advocates defend the deception, saying the treatment is vital to their well-being, and that the state is discriminating against them.


Gay marriage divides Episcopalian priests, bishops

In 2003 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church voted to allow the blessing of same-sex unions. It did not authorize the solemnization of same-sex marriages. As far as the official teaching of the Episcopal Church is concerned, marriage is still an institution restricted to one man and one woman.

The decision to bless same-sex unions seemed at the time to be on the liberal cutting edge of the culture wars. But that was before Massachusetts and, for a brief time, San Francisco extended marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Liberal Episcopalians, who thought in 2003 they were ahead of the curve of social change, discovered in 2004 they were behind it.

The Episcopal bishop of Boston, the Rt. Rev. Thomas Shaw, long an enthusiastic supporter of gay rights, found himself caught between the conservative rules of his church concerning marriage and the innovative social policy of Massachusetts. He therefore forbade priests in his diocese to conduct gay marriages, claiming that the administration of the rite of holy matrimony to gay and lesbian couples would transgress the laws of the Episcopal Church. He also forbade priests to sign legal certificates of marriage for gay couples, though he had no objection to priests blessing same-sex couples wed in church by a justice of the peace — provided, of course, the service of blessing could not be mistaken for the rite of matrimony.

The ban on gay marriage seemed intolerable to some liberal priests in Boston, two of whom, the Rev. Carter Heyward and the Rev. William Blaine-Wallace, subsequently broke it.


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