poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

School gay club seeks recognition
Bucks County Courier Times

North Penn schools - By the time Alexis Gordon starts her junior year at North Penn High School in September, she is hoping the school's 2-year-old Gay-Straight Alliance will be a fully sanctioned organization.

Gordon, the club's president-elect, said GSA's 50 members want the designation so their faculty adviser - social studies teacher Dave Hall - can receive extra-duty pay and to earn the organization a sense of permanency. Hall would earn about $800 a year if the board approves the club.

"The club basically looks to increase safety for students at school by promoting tolerance for everyone," Gordon explained. "It's to increase awareness. Its aim is to make it safer for not only those identified as gay, lesbian, transgender, but also safer for their friends and allies."

But the issue has already generated impassioned pleas from residents on both sides of the issue even though the school board, which will ultimately decide the matter, is not scheduled to discuss it until its July 22 meeting.


The Africana QA: Gay Activist Keith Boykin, Commentary,
Kim Pearson, Jun 29, 2004

When Keith Boykin describes himself as "one of America's leading commentators on race and sexual orientation," he's not bragging. Currently president of the National Black Justice Coalition, an organization established late last year to marshal African American support for same-sex marriage rights, Boykin has become the face and voice of a movement that some see as a logical extension of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and that others see as its usurpation.

Boykin, 38, has the pedigree of a national leader: a Harvard Law School classmate of Democratic Senate candidate Barack Obama a former Special Assistant to President Clinton on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, and the former director of the National Black Gay and Lesbian Leadership Forum. He is also a successful author (One More River to Cross: Black and Gay in America and Respecting the Soul: Daily Reflections for Black Lesbians and Gays), a syndicated columnist, publisher of an influential website and a sought-after speaker.

A native of St. Louis who moved with his family to Clearwater, Florida, at the age of 15, Boykin has been a public figure of sorts since his days as a high school columnist for the St. Petersburg Times. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1987, he worked for Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis' presidential campaign as a press aide. As a second-year Harvard law student, he was part of a group that filed a lawsuit charging the school with discriminatory faculty hiring practices. The suit bolstered a protest by the school's first tenured black professor, Derrick A. Bell, Jr. who took an unpaid leave of absence over the failure to grant tenure to qualified women of color.

While Bell eventually left Harvard for New York University Law School, Boykin graduated, practiced law briefly, then joined the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign as Midwest regional press director. His first job in the Clinton Administration was as director of news analysis for the White House communications office. His appointment as liaison for African American and gay and lesbian issues followed soon after, making him the highest-ranking openly gay person in the Clinton Administration. In 1995, Boykin left the White House to assume leadership of the now-defunct National Black Gay and Lesbian Leadership Forum.


Gay pride event turns violent

SEATTLE – A Seattle man says he was beaten during this weekend's Gay Pride celebration because he is gay.

Micah Painter still shows the painful wounds of an attack that left him battered and bruised.

"They're hitting me in the face, bottle in my left shoulder," he said.

Painter said he was targeted by three men and two women early Sunday morning just outside Timberline Bar in Seattle.


SEIU Passes Marriage Equality Resolution

WASHINGTON - June 28 - Pride At Work, AFL-CIO applauds the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on passage of a marriage equality resolution at their convention last week. SEIU, representing 1.7 million members and 120,000 retirees, is the AFL-CIO's largest and fastest growing union. This move by SEIU follows the adoption of the similar resolutions by several of their local unions around the country.

The resolution introduced by the SEIU International Executive Board states:

"This contention affirms SEIU's commitment to equal rights for all our members regardless of sexual orientation.

SEIU will make it a collective bargaining and legislative goal to ensure that all members enjoy equal rights and benefits.


Gays plan to protest same-sex measure
Groups will rally at noon at Rotunda to express views
Of The Patriot-News

Ginny Rogers wanted Rep. Jerry Birmelin to see her family's faces.

Birmelin, R-Wayne, is sponsoring a measure that would ban Pennsylvania counties and towns from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"I decided he needs to meet with us. He needs to hear my story," said Rogers, 36, who's been with her partner, Josie Byzek, 37, for 16 years.

In March, Rogers showed Birmelin a photo of their union in 1998 and a story her daughter, Dawn, had written in first grade. Rogers worried how Dawn would handle the assignment to write about her family, but she wrote: "Me and Josie and my mom love each other."

"I wanted him to see that if a small child could define family so easily, why are adults making it so difficult?" the Lancaster woman asked.


Presbyterians To Vote On Gays

RICHMOND, Va. -(AP) Martha Juillerat served as pastor of her small Presbyterian church in rural Minnesota for 15 years until she came out as a lesbian and was forced to step down.

She urged fellow Presbyterians who gathered Monday at the church's national legislative assembly to lift the ban on ordaining gays and lesbians as ministers, elders and deacons in the church.

"Sometimes it is more than I can bear that this church has decided to discriminate against an entire class of people," Juillerat urged a committee considering a proposal to eliminate the ban. "I know that this church can do better."

The committee was scheduled to make a recommendation on the matter Tuesday. The full assembly was expected to vote on that later this week.


Homosexuality a punishable offence in 70 countries: Amnesty
Agence France-Presse

Homosexuality and transsexuality continue to be punishable offences in 70 countries around the world, the human rights body Amnesty International has said.

"Some 70 countries still prosecute homosexuals under their law", said Amnesty Spain's coordinator of sexual minority issues, Leonardo Fernandez during a press conference on World Gay Pride Day on Monday.

"The majority of Muslim countries have bans in place as does much of sub-Saharan Africa", added Fernandez, noting that the absence of the word homosexuality in a country's penal code does not mean they are not repressed through "legal hairsplitting" methods, such as in Egypt.

Of the 70 countries that punish homosexuality, nine punish it by death, according to Amnesty, saying that in 2002 "Saudi Arabia condemned 44 people and executed four for the crime of homosexuality."


Hate crime victim's memory inspires fund
The State News

Beginning in the spring semester of 2005, the university will award scholarships to student activists who work with issues relevant to students of color who are also a part of the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender community.

The death of 15-year-old New Jersey resident Sakia Gunn, which resulted from a 2003 hate crime, became the motivation for a scholarship. Gunn was stabbed during a night out with her friends when two men found out she was a lesbian.

LaJoya Johnson, an interdisciplinary studies in health sciences junior, said the scholarship is a way to draw light to a growing community of people identifying with more than one minority group. Johnson is a part of the Alliance of LBGT Students.

"I felt like the media wasn't paying enough attention to Sakia's death because she's African American and a lesbian," said Johnson, who proposed the scholarship.


Gays in region unite against new law
By DEBBIE MESSINA, The Virginian-Pilot
© June 29, 2004

Gays and lesbians have long known that the state’s slogan “Virginia is for Lovers” does not apply to them.

Virginia has never recognized same-sex marriages. But a new law that goes into effect on Thursday goes too far, gay-rights advocates charge. They say it not only prohibits civil unions but also could void other contracts between same-sex couples such as wills, child-custody agreements and medical directives.

That scares them.

Scares them so much that what’s usually a fairly quiet, non confrontational gay and lesbian community in Hampton Roads is becoming more vocal and more visible in protest of the law.

More than 340 gay-rights supporters attended a Make Love Legal forum earlier this month.


Gay-marriage petitions invalid, group says
Complaints come in just before 100,840 signatures are due
The Associated Press

Supporters of a gay-marriage ban pressured people into signing petitions and failed to witness voters’ signatures, according to complaints filed Monday by a Portland-based gay-rights group.

Basic Rights Oregon says it has been monitoring the petition drive by the Defense of Marriage Coalition for weeks, watching for violations of election law.

But a spokesman for the Portland-based Coalition said volunteers have been careful to follow the rules, calling the complaints “insulting and inflammatory.”

The filing comes three days before the group must turn in at least 100,840 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The proposed measure would amend Oregon’s constitution to legally define marriage as between a man and a woman.


Gay law 'to make moral wasteland'
From correspondents in Wellington

A HOTLY debated Bill that would bolster the rights of same-sex couples was part of the erosion of values turning New Zealand into a "moral wasteland", the country's top Catholic official said today.

Catholic Archbishop Cardinal Thomas Williams likened reforming politicians to "modern barbarians" who aim to "tear down existing standards, and to debase ideals that have come to characterise a society built on sound moral principle".

In an essay, The Spiritual Bankruptcy of Liberalism, in today's New Zealand Herald newspaper, the church head also attacked reforms in the past two decades that had legalised prostitution and homosexuality, reshaped the economy and liberally amended abortion law.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said the cardinal's views were sad. She told radio station NewstalkZB that politicians reflected the direction in which society moved and she was "frankly sad that that sort of language has been used".


NYC Council Overrides Mayor's Veto & Passes Gay Bill
by Beth Shapiro Newscenter
New York Bureau 

(New York City) A day after some gay New Yorkers booed mayor Michael Bloomberg as he marched in the Gay Pride Parade city council voted 41 - 4 to override the mayor's veto and pass the Equal Benefits Bill.

The legislation requires contractors that do more than $100,000 of business each year with NYC to offer the equal benefits. It is expected to make health coverage available to tens of thousands of additional people in the New York City region and hundreds of thousands across the country.

The original bill was passed by council in May, but early this month Bloomberg vetoed it.

Today's override vote was more than the two-thirds needed.  Even though Bloomberg's own media company has a benefits package in place the mayor said that the council measure would restrict companies wanting to do business in New York.


Liberals Squeak By As Canada Elects Minority Gov't 
by Ben Thompson Newscenter
Ottawa Bureau

(Ottawa) A week ago Canada's governing Liberals were being written off as pollsters predicted a Conservative landslide in Monday's general election, but as the Conservative Party policies on same-sex marriage, health care, and defense became apparent, voters became nervous.

Monday Canadians reelected the Liberals but handed them only a minority government one which will be forced to wheel and deal with the country's two smaller parties, the New Democrats and the Bloc Quebecois.

The electorate shaken by Liberal scandals wanted to punish the party, but not enough to elect the new Conservative party which as the campaign wore on looked more and more like the old extreme rightwing Canadian Alliance. The Conservatives were formed by an amalgamation of the Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives.   

During the six-week campaign Conservative leader Stephen Harper attempted to say little about same-sex marriage, other than that his government would oppose it.  He would not say whether he would use the notwithstanding clause in the Constitution which allows governments to override court decisions.   But, the man who was touted as the party's likely justice minister was eager to talk.


Nebraska senators react to ad opposing gay marriage

Chuck Hagel and Ben Nelson, the U.S. senators from Nebraska, are taking issue with a half-page ad run in the state's largest newspaper calling for them to support a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

The ad was paid for by Focus on the Family Action, the lobbying arm of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based evangelical group Focus on the Family. It ran in Monday editions of the Omaha World-Herald. "Why don't Senators Hagel and Nelson believe every child needs a mother and a father?" the ad says. Pictured in the ad is a forlorn-looking young boy.

"I'm not sure where they got that," Hagel, a Republican, responded Monday. "I am a father, and my children have a mother. The whole thing starts out in a misleading way."


Mayors set aside resolution opposing federal gay marriage ban

A deeply divided gathering of the nation's mayors was unable to reach consensus Monday on a proposed resolution opposing a federal constitutional ban on gay marriage. The U.S. Conference of Mayors voted 46-44 to table the resolution, with opponents arguing that the organization should send forth resolutions on which there is widespread agreement. An attempt to revive the resolution was also defeated by a mere two votes, 47-45.

Stamford, Conn., mayor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat running for governor in his state, said that he suspected that the Federal Marriage Amendment is an issue that mayors don't want to deal with right now, with many facing election this fall. He said he opposes the constitutional amendment and voted against the motion to table the resolution. The close votes, he said, also indicate that "there is no broad-based support in the nation to amend the Constitution of the United States to discriminate."


Newspaper refuses to run ad of two men kissing

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune--arguably the most influential newspaper in Minnesota--refused to run a gay pride ad because it showed two men kissing, according to a Minneapolis 5 Eyewitness TV news report.

Ben Taylor, the newspaper's senior vice president of communications, told the station: "Our feeling was that this was an advertisement for an event, and two men kissing was clearly meant to be inflammatory. It was not in good taste in the context of what it was advertising."

However, Jim Kelley, president of GLBT Pride, told the station that "to say the image of two men kissing is inflammatory in the city of Minneapolis, where we have a nondiscrimination policy for sexual orientation, is just appalling." Pride organizers say the paper runs other ads that show people kissing or locked in an embrace.

According to 5 Eyewitness, the Star Tribune says it looks at each ad on an individual basis. The paper gave organizers a chance to submit a different ad, but they declined.


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