Sex sting charges unsupportable
Dunnings: Most cases at rest stop won't hold up
By Kelly Hassett
Lansing State Journal
Most of the charges used to arrest 12 men during a Holt-area rest stop sex sting are unsupportable, Ingham County's top prosecutor said Tuesday.
Fewer than six of the 12 men arrested this month at the U.S. 127 rest stop will be charged with misdemeanor indecent exposure, Stuart Dunnings III said.
The two other charges pertaining to criminal sexual conduct and soliciting immoral acts used by Michigan State Police during a June 10-11 raid are unlikely to hold up in court, he said.
"If I felt that there was a charge I could bring, I would do it," Dunnings said.
Lesbian & Gay Couples Ask Ellis Rubin to Sue Palm Beach County for Denying Marriage Licenses
PALM BEACH, Fla.,
At 11:30 AM on Thursday, July 1, at the Palm Beach County Courthouse, (Main Entrance) on North Dixie Highway, attorney Ellis Rubin will file a lawsuit on behalf of Ruth Berman & Constance Kurtz, Sheldon Woller and Michael Nagle and five other long term lesbian and gay couples, to challenge the Florida Statute that prohibits marriage between same sex partners and that defines marriage as a union only between a male and a female.
Ruth & Connie, now residents of West Palm Beach, were the subject of the award winning Documentary, Ruthie & Connie, Every Room in The House, shown around the World and on HBO/Cinemax. These two Jewish women from a tightly knit Brooklyn Neighborhood became pioneers, when they left their husbands and children and announced they were in love. In 1994 Ruth and Connie, along with 2 other gay couples, successfully sued the New York City Board of Education and won domestic-partner medical and dental benefits for gay and lesbian couples, not just in the schools, but for all New York City employees. Today, they are the Palm Beach co chairs of DontAmend.Com, the National grassroots organization to stop the Federal Marriage Amendment, and any other State constitutional amendment against same gender marriage.
They are suing, they say, because "We have a 29 year loving, caring, and responsible relationship and we are entitled to marriage, and receiving all of the benefits, protections, and responsibilities, afforded every heterosexual married couple in Florida, and the USA."
Robin Tyler, the Executive Director of The Equality Campaign -- www.dontamend.com, says "The best defense, is a good offense, and we will encourage lawsuits to flood the courts. We are very grateful, that a nationally famous attorney, Ellis Rubin, would be willing to take these cases in Florida, and that his law firm is doing them pro-bono."
Gays unite against new state law
Rallies to protest Virginia's banning of contractual rights for same-sex couples take place today.
BY LAUREN WILLIAMS
Gay-rights activists across the state are planning rallies today - including one in Norfolk - to protest a new state law that critics call the most extreme anti-gay-marriage law in the country.
The law, which was passed by the General Assembly and takes effect Thursday, bans same-sex couples from all contractual rights associated with marriage and prohibits the state from recognizing any rights granted to same-sex couples in other states. Gov. Mark R. Warner has called the law unconstitutional. Nationwide, many harsher critics call it discriminatory and hateful.
A Seattle-based couple, Jay Porter and David Smith, have launched a Web site - www.Virginiaisforhaters.org - that promotes boycotts of Virginia-based companies and discourages tourists from visiting the state. They have gotten e-mails from all over the country, said Porter.
"The law was just upsetting enough that even though it didn't do anything to us personally we thought we should do something," Porter said. "It's the most serious anti-gay law that anyone really knows about."
New ban on gay unions to begin
By Christina Bellantoni
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
A ban on civil unions will become law in Virginia tomorrow, and homosexual- rights activists are planning statewide protests as well as a legal challenge.
The law, passed by an overwhelming majority, amends the state's Affirmation of Marriage Act to prohibit recognition of same-sex unions performed in other states. It bans civil unions, "partnership contracts" or other arrangements between homosexuals.
Homosexual-rights activists have planned seven coordinated protests statewide today at state government centers and at the state Capitol in Richmond.
Dyana Mason, executive director of homosexual-rights advocacy group Equality Virginia, said a legal challenge is in the works. She said the group has help from Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Episcopal church votes to allow same-sex unions
The Associated Press
The governing board of an Episcopal church here has voted unanimously to allow the blessing of same-sex unions among members of its congregation.
The 12-member governing board, or vestry, at St. Philip's Episcopal Church has been discussing the question of same-sex unions over the past year. The board encouraged conversation among the congregation, and set aside time at meetings to discuss the issue.
A summary of the discussions was presented at a congregational meeting June 6, and the vestry voted June 21.
Church Rector Scott Benhase said opinions ranged from those who felt very uncomfortable about having any kind of liturgical rite for gay couples to others who felt from the beginning that it was what the parish should do.
Antidiscrimination bill dies in Senate
By PATRICK JACKSON
Dover Bureau reporter
A bill to prohibit discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation is dead for this year, Senate President Pro Tem Thurman Adams Jr., D-Bridgeville, said Tuesday.
Adams said no vote would be held on House Bill 99, which has languished in the Senate Judiciary Committee since June 2003, after it was approved 21-18 in the House. The committee chairman, Sen. James T. Vaughn, D-Clayton, never allowed a vote to bring the bill to the Senate floor.
The bill defines sexual orientation as heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual - real or perceived. That means it protects all who classify themselves in one of those ways. There is no federal law banning sexual orientation-related discrimination.
The lack of a state law makes it legal to deny people things such as homes or jobs because of their sexual preference, no matter what it is.
City police to track down hate mail
New policy will follow up on complaints by reporting to DA.
By Scott Kraus
Of The Morning Call
The Allentown Police Department has implemented a new policy for investigating hate mail following a series of incidents in which gay activists, minority groups and city officials received such mail dating as far back as 2000.
The policy — in effect April 29 — requires officers to retrieve the hate mail from the home of the recipient, file a detailed incident report and notify their shift commanders.
The Police Department then would consult the district attorney on whether to conduct an investigation.
''We can't investigate every time someone sends a letter disagreeing with someone's opinion on something,'' said Police Chief Joseph Blackburn. ''We are a law enforcement agency. If a law is broken we will conduct a criminal investigation.''
Police fear finding man's attackers will be 'tough'
Victim assaulted by trio after leaving Seattle gay bar
By HECTOR CASTRO
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
A Seattle man was beaten and slashed with a broken bottle last weekend by a group of men who allegedly called him a "faggot" before the attack.
Seattle police spokesman Scott Moss said information is scant about the attackers.
"It's going to be tough finding them," he said.
The assault happened just before 2 a.m. Sunday at Howell Street and Yale Avenue, according to a police report.
Location: Menomonie, (WI)
It's summer vacation, but a Menomonie High School student club is still causing controversy. A meeting about a gay-straight alliance was held Tuesday. The club would be open to all students. The purpose is to provide a safe place for students, encourage communication between students and faculty, and to promote diversity and tolerance. Memorial High School has had a similar club for several years. "The average high school student hears anti-gay slurs 26 times a day at school, and so a club like this existing is really important to help fight that homophobia that's engrained in us," says Beth Franklin, Memorial High School teacher. Twenty students from Menomonie are working to get the club started. The school board has to approve the club for it to become a school-sponsored group. That means the group would be allowed to meet on school grounds and hold fundraisers. The board votes July 12.