Gay-bashing ruling holds N.J. schools to rules of workplace
BY ROBERT SCHWANEBERG
In a ruling that gives students attending New Jersey schools greater protection against bias than their peers nationwide, the state Division on Civil Rights has awarded $50,000 to a boy who was slapped, punched and repeatedly taunted by classmates who perceived him as homosexual.
The Toms River Regional School District, which must pay the award, also was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $10,000 to the student's mother and to toughen its policies against gay-bashing.
State Civil Rights Director J. Frank Vespa-Papaleo, overruling an administrative law judge's decision, concluded the district's efforts to stop the bullying were "extremely limited" and allowed a "hostile school environment" to develop.
It was the first New Jersey case to determine how much school administrators must do to protect students from discrimination by other students. Vespa-Papaleo's ruling holds school officials to the same tough standards that employers must enforce in the workplace
Protest rally over attacks
March in city planned
By Brian Hutton
PLANS are afoot for a civil rights march in Londonderry to stamp out a growing campaign of homophobic and racist attacks in the city.
The Socialist Environmental Alliance (SEA) has approached representatives of the city's gay community and Derry Trades Council in a bid to organise a "broad-based group" to rally against the intimidation.
"This city has a proud tradition of standing up for civil rights," said SEA spokesperson Goretti Horgan.
"It is clear that we need to be on the streets again this time for the civil rights of gay and ethnic minority people."
Missouri first of several states to vote on gay marriage ban
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - There's nothing unusual about national political groups focusing efforts on the bellwether state of Missouri. But the attention this year is not only on the presidential race, but also a ballot proposal to enshrine a ban on gay marriage in the state constitution.
Tuesday's election will mark the first vote in the nation on the subject since Massachusetts' highest court legalized gay marriages last year. At least nine other states, and perhaps as many as 12, will vote on a similar amendment this fall.
The proposed amendment has prompted national gay-rights groups to send more than $100,000 to the Missouri organization fighting the ban, and they expect to spend millions of dollars around the country before the general election. Supporters have raised just a few thousand dollars but think public sentiment in this Midwestern state is on their side.
National groups expect Missouri's vote to be a test of which campaign strategies work, and which don't, as the battle spreads to ballot boxes around the United States.
Gay couple from Bucks ask court to throw out suit
Attorneys for two gay men from New Hope asked Bucks County Court yesterday to dismiss a lawsuit that they say is intended to prevent the couple from marrying.
The filing was on behalf of Robert Seneca, 49, a salesman at a glass-art gallery, and Stephen Stahl, 55, a playwright and Republican committeeman in New Hope.
On March 15, the men were denied a marriage license application at Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown. On May 14, 12 state representatives and a Bedford County firm filed suit in Doylestown, asking the county court to affirm the state's Defense of Marriage Act and marriage law. In asking for dismissal yesterday, the brief for the couple argued that the legislators' suit "amounts to an act of governmental intimidation and threatens core First Amendment values."
Motions filed in Sandoval county gay-marriage case
The Associated Press
BERNALILLO -- The attorney for a county clerk who wants to issue same-sex marriage licenses has filed motions seeking to block the attorney general's attempts to stop her.
Two motions filed Wednesday ask the court to dismiss Attorney General Patricia Madrid's request for a permanent injunction against Sandoval County Clerk Victoria Dunlap's issuing same-sex licenses.
Dunlap issued 66 same-sex licenses Feb. 20 but stopped late in the day after an advisory letter from Madrid declared such licenses illegal.
One motion contends Madrid has not tried to act against the couples whose marriages she is challenging, and the other contends she failed to state a legal claim for her request for an injunction.
Partner registry, first day: No protesters, just cheers
By JOSIE HUANG, Staff Writer
AUGUSTA — The last time Sara Jane Elliot did something this radical, she says, was when she declared her love for another woman in a private ceremony 23 years ago.
This time around, the Scarborough woman handed a $35 check and a notarized form to state workers seated in a small, dimly lit office.
A minute later, Elliot and her partner, Rita Clifford, emerged from the room Friday as one of the first couples to join Maine's new domestic partner registry.
"For me, this represents a step closer to the kind of legal rights we're seeking," said Elliot, a 64-year-old financial planner who was greeted with cheers and applause by other couples waiting their turn in the lobby.