Second Virginia Beach Man Challenges State's Anti-Sodomy Law
By JUSTIN BERGMAN
Associated Press Writer
(AP) - A Virginia Beach man convicted of soliciting sex in a department store bathroom is challenging the state's sodomy law, which prosecutors have continued to enforce a year after the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Lawrence v. Texas.
Lambda Legal, the gay rights group that handled the Lawrence case, filed a petition to appeal Monday on behalf of Joel Singson, who was convicted of solicitation of sodomy last year.
His challenge follows a similar petition to appeal that was filed by another Virginia Beach man in May, and a case involving two inmates that was appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court earlier this year.
At issue in each of the cases is whether the ruling that struck down a Texas law against sodomy in private settings invalidates Virginia's law. Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore maintains that Virginia's law is still enforceable against sodomy in public places, while opponents say the law should be stricken entirely.
Smith's support of marriage ban irks activists
By Matthew Daly
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - As a conservative Republican, Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith may seem an improbable hero for the gay and lesbian community. His efforts to give gays and lesbians protection under the federal hate crimes law have been hailed from Portland, Ore., to Portland, Maine.
But Smith's support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage has put his credibility with gay-rights activists on the line.
Smith said he plans to vote in favor of the Republican proposal, which could come up for a vote in the Senate during the coming week. Smith, a Mormon, called the proposed amendment an important protection for traditional marriage.
Local gay rights groups react to gay marriage ban debate
A controversial debate begins today in the Senate. Lawmakers will discuss the proposed Constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriages.
Gainesville Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network co-chair, Staci Fox, says it's chilling that some want an amendment to take rights away. Fox adds local gay advocacy groups have received a lot of support from the community and not always from the most obvious of places. Local church congregations and other religious organizations have voiced support. Fox says the religious organizations that have shown support see this issue as less about religion and more about civil rights. She notes the best way for residents to voice their opinions on the issue of gay marriage is to contact the offices of Florida Senators Bob Graham and Bill Nelson.