Sununu takes heat for hate-crimes vote
By Joe Adler
PORTSMOUTH - Gay rights advocates are dismayed by New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu’s vote against hate crimes protection for gays and lesbians, which passed the U.S. Senate by a 65-33 vote last week.
"How heinous," Susan MacNeil, an AIDS services advocate from Keene, said of Sununu’s vote.
Currently, violent crimes based on a victim’s race, religion or ethnicity can be prosecuted by states or communities with the assistance of the federal government. Under the new measure, supported by Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., the federal government could also help local authorities prosecute crimes based on sexual orientation, gender and disability.
"Legislation that singles out certain violent crimes for special prosecution or additional penalties is unfair to the families of those victims whose murders are not given such special consideration," Sununu said in a statement.
Romney to speak before US panel
Hearing to target same-sex marriage
By Yvonne Abraham and Raphael Lewis, Globe Staff
Governor Mitt Romney is scheduled to testify before a US Senate committee on same-sex marriage this morning, joining the Republican Party's election-year effort to advance a federal constitutional amendment that would forbid marriage among gays and lesbians.
Romney, a Republican who supports state and federal constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, will be the first speaker at this morning's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, which is titled ''Preserving Traditional Marriage: A View from the States." Senate Republicans are hoping to bring the federal amendment to a debate just weeks before the Democratic National Convention in Romney's home state.
In his testimony, Romney ''will reiterate his call for a federal marriage amendment as the most reliable way to preserve and protect the traditional definition of marriage," said his spokeswoman, Shawn Feddeman.
''He will talk about marriage and what happened in Massachusetts," said Don Stewart, communications director for US Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican who is on the committee. ''The will of the people of Massachusetts and the Legislature was changed by the court, and the problem has become a federal problem now because of that. . . . Other states are in danger now."
Gay MPs take back seat over bill
By HELEN TUNNAH
Labour's gay MPs will limit their public enthusiasm for the contentious Civil Union Bill as the Government tries to prevent critics accusing it of pandering to the pink vote.
Associate Justice Minister David Benson-Pope has asked Chris Carter and Tim Barnett to let him front the potentially fraught debate on civil unions.
"I absolutely respect and understand how strongly they feel about this," he said yesterday. "But ... this is predominantly an issue about human rights, it's not about heterosexual rights or gay rights.
"It's helpful if they're not identified as the main supporters of the bill ... because that lends fuel to the fire that this is pandering to the gay community, which it isn't."
Gay Bishop Returns to Minnesota, Calls for End to Patriarchy
Things were a little quieter when Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson returned to the Twin Cities this weekend.
Robinson drew worldwide attention last year when the Episcopalians made him the first openly gay bishop in mainline Christianity during a meeting in Minneapolis. He came back Sunday to speak at an Episcopalian church.
Many in Robinson's denomination outside the U.S. opposed Robinson's appointment, and the feud still threatens to split the church.
Robinson says the battle over his ordination is a battle about the end of patriarchy in the church. He says that for centuries, straight white men have made all the decisions -- and his ordination shows that is changing.
European constitution an "important step" towards LGBT equality
Ben Townley, Gay.com UK
The European constitution could well be an important step towards the acceptance and protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across the Union, the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) says.
The constitutional treaty was tentatively agreed late last week, despite infighting and arguments across the 23 European Union (EU) member states. However, it still requires ratification, which, in the UK at least, is subject to an upcoming public referendum.
ILGA says ratification is vital if equality is to be enshrined in legislation across the EU.
It argues that, rather than a loss of power to Brussels bureaucrats, the constitution could help protect members of the LGBT European community more effectively.
A hot fight in Ohio over gay marriage
By ROB HOTAKAINEN
Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio - Even in gay-friendly Cleveland Heights, Mayor Ed Kelley has some advice for gays and lesbians who want Democratic Sen. John Kerry to defeat President Bush in November: Stop promoting gay marriage.
"I wouldn't be pushing the issue," said Kelley, who calls himself a conservative Democrat. "It helps Bush. It's exactly what Bush wants to have happen."
With polls showing most Ohio voters opposed to same-sex unions, many Democrats fear a high-profile fight over gay marriage will do nothing but damage Kerry's chances in a hotly contested swing state. Some are even calling Ohio "the Florida of 2004," the state that could well decide this year's election.
But many gays and lesbians in the Buckeye State say it would be a mistake to sit back, particularly as their opponents try to force a vote on a state constitutional amendment that would ban gay unions.
Mayor of London backs Jamaican vigil
Ben Townley, Gay.com UK
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has spoken of his support for the planned remembrance vigil for the murdered Jamaican gay activist Brian Williamson.
The vigil, due to take place next Wednesday, is intended to mark Williamson's death last week as well as pressurise the Jamaican government into updating its stance on homosexuality, which is still a criminal offence on the Caribbean island.
"I am proud that London continues to lead the way in moving towards lesbian and gay equality, but as the murder of
Brian Williamson shows, homophobia continues to have tragic consequences all over the world," he said yesterday.
Although he cannot attend the vigil, Lee Jasper is due to speak on his behalf, he added.
Gay killing arrest
June 22, 2004
By Anil Singh
Friends of gay rights activist Steven Morris hugged each other while his parents spoke of their delight at the arrest of his alleged killer.
Private investigators ended a two-month manhunt for his alleged murderer on the corner of Dartnell Crescent and Cross Street in Greyville yesterday. They spotted the suspect, and, with the help of police, carried out a citizen's arrest.
Morris, a Durban tour operator, was found stabbed to death in his flat in the Point area in April by his parents. The blood-spattered flat in Prince Street had been ransacked and valuables stolen.
Soon after the killing , police said they were anxious to make contact with Morris's flatmate and partner Sibonelo Magwaza.