Pastors' political activity, group's response, draw AG into fray
TOPEKA, Kan. - The Rev. Jerry Johnston says building Overland Park's First Family Church kept him busy enough in recent years that he didn't feel he had time for Kansas politics.
But he says he and other pastors received a wake-up call this spring when the Kansas House rejected a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would have banned gay marriage and denied legal benefits associated with marriage to other domestic arrangements, such as civil unions.
He and dozens of other clergy are now part of a statewide effort to register 100,000 new voters and send them to the polls to protect what they call traditional values.
But their activities also attracted the notice of the Mainstream Coalition, a Johnson County group that says its biggest issue is keeping church and state separate. The coalition recently promised to send volunteers into churches to see that ministers do not violate federal laws governing the political activity of nonprofit groups.
GAY TEEN SUES CITY FOR $4M OVER BUST ORDEAL
By HEIDI SINGER
A Harvey Milk HS student has filed a $4 million suit against the city, claiming she was wrongly arrested last year in a melee outside the nation's first gay high school.
Erica Simon, 18, says cops arrested her for no reason when she tried to file charges against her attacker — cuffing her to a door for 22 hours without food, water or access to a phone.
She claims cops treated her cruelly because she's gay.
"I felt like they treated me like I was dog doo-doo," the Coney Island native said of her reason for filing the federal suit.
Governor, Gay Advocates Celebrate New N.J. Partnership Law
Law Gives Some Legal Rights To Couples
Calling it a victory for social justice, New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey hosted a reception at the governor's mansion Friday to celebrate the state's new domestic partnership law.
Several communities plan to open municipal offices on Saturday to mark the first day gay partners and unmarried heterosexual couples age 62 and over may register. The law will give some legal rights to registered couples, including the ability to make medical decisions for the other.
Gay rights advocates joined the governor at the private celebration, which was not announced until it was over. McGreevey has championed the partnership law since the measure was first introduced.
"I am proud that the day is finally here when New Jersey will guarantee individuals who have entered into an enduring emotionally and financially committed relationship, the basic fundamental rights they deserve," McGreevey said in a statement.
Marketers come out of the closet to target gays.
Mainstream advertisers find that the once-neglected niche has nearly half a trillion dollars in spending power.
By Allyce Bess
Of the Post-Dispatch
For years, companies have tried to crack the often-misunderstood gay market. By placing ads in gay-specific media, including magazines such as Genre or The Advocate, corporate marketers have skirted controversies and high advertising rates.
For example, Anheuser-Busch Cos. has been marketing to gays for nearly 25 years, but you might not know if you're not gay. Most of its gay-focused advertising has been in gay publications or at gay events.
But with the success of cable-television shows such as "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "The L Word," to name a couple, observers say marketers can come out of the closet, too.
"The only thing (marketers) have left to fear is the right wing. No one wonders anymore what the middle thinks," said Michael Wilke, founder and executive director of the Web site www.commercialcloset.org, which tracks and rates gay representation in advertising.