Protesters rally against new antigay Virginia law
Gay activists rallied in cities across Virginia to protest a new law that critics say could nullify legal contracts between same-sex couples. The state law, which goes into effect July 1, prohibits civil unions, partnership contracts, or other arrangements "purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage."
Critics say it could be used to nullify medical directives, wills, joint bank accounts, and other agreements between gay couples. "[The law] clearly states that gay and lesbian people in this state should not feel welcome," said Dyana Mason, executive director of Equality Virginia, the state's largest gay rights organization. "It seeks to strip the only tool that gay and lesbian couples have to protect their families."
Mason spoke at a rally in Richmond on Wednesday that drew more than 400 gay activists and supporters to the capitol grounds. Simultaneous rallies were held in Norfolk, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Fairfax, Staunton, and Roanoke, drawing more than 1,000 people.
Virginia attorney general Jerry Kilgore has said the law provides a needed safeguard for the institution of marriage and does not deprive anyone of rights to enter into contracts such as wills or other agreements between gay couples. But Gov. Mark R. Warner, a Democrat, issued a statement condemning the law, which he refused to sign. "This law raises serious constitutional issues, and it places Virginia outside the mainstream of other states when it comes to respecting individual liberty," he said.
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE PASSES DOMESTIC PARTNER EQUAL INSURANCE BILL
Equality California Sponsored AB 2208 Now Moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee
SACRAMENTO – Late yesterday, the California State Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Insurance Equality Act (AB 2208) by Assemblymember Kehoe (D-San Diego) on a 5-1 vote. This bill, sponsored by Equality
California and Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, will amend the Insurance and the Health & Safety Codes to prohibit insurance providers from issuing policies or plans – including health, life, auto, renters and homeowners insurance, among others – that discriminate against registered domestic partners.
“The Insurance Equality Act is an important bill that deserves to become law,” said Assemblywoman Christine Kehoe. “I am confident that registered domestic partners will soon have full and equal access to insurance.”
AB 2208 is supported by a coalition of labor, civil rights, and LGBT organizations. After passing the Assembly, its continued success bodes well for final passage by the legislature and the Governor’s signature.
“We are really grateful to Assemblywoman Kehoe for her leadership on this issue,” stated Geoffrey Kors, Executive Director of Equality California. “Until the day we can legally marry, legislation like this will be necessary to protect our families from discrimination.”
Prison For Teens In Gay Slaying
by Peter Moore
(Belfast, Northern Ireland) Two Belfast teenagers have been sent to prison for the brutal killing of a 30 year old man in what the judge said was an unprovoked attack simply because of the man's perceived sexuality.
Ian Flanagan, 30, was battered with a car jack and then stabbed with a kitchen knife in a Belfast gay cruising park on 7 September 2002.
During their trial Raymond Taylor, 19, and 16-year-old Trevor Peel had claimed that Flanagan had tried to proposition them. The prosecution maintained that the pair had specifically gone to the park to find a gay man to beat and rob
A gas station attendant testified that a short time after the murder, the pair went to his filling station. He told the court that the teen's clothes were spattered with the blood and they were laughing.