Taking their suspension
Alleged gay-bashing incident leads to suit but some still ducking sensitivity training
None of 14 volunteer firefighters who were suspended two weeks ago for failing to complete a new sensitivity training course have come forward to appeal the decision as of Wednesday, City Administrator Anthony Iacono said.
The sensitivity training was instituted after two Secaucus residents who live next door to one of the volunteer firehouses filed a bias complaint in April with the town, saying that they were harassed by the firefighters because they are a gay couple. Town officials said that the sensitivity training is standard for Town Hall department heads, and would be instituted for police and firemen and their supervisors. But they said that it wasn't because of the alleged gay-bashing incident.
However, 14 of the volunteer firefighters failed to complete the training recently, either because they didn't believe it was necessary or because they simply didn't show up.
Fighting for a Married Life Together in Md.
Pair Facing Immigration Hurdle Join ACLU Lawsuit on Same-Sex Unions
By Susan Kinzie
Washington Post Staff Writer
Donna Myers and Maria Barquero like to play roller hockey, go to the movies, go to the beach or just drive around and make up silly songs. "You bring out the best in me," Barquero told Myers one recent morning, and Myers nodded as they echoed one another, finished each other's sentences and laughed together.
"Life is just better," Myers said. "Life is just better when she's around."
On June 30, Donna Myers and Maria Barquero went to the St. Mary's County clerk's office and asked for a marriage license.
They felt strongly about the principle -- that they are in love and should be allowed to marry -- but were sorry to put the woman in the clerk's office on the spot because they knew full well the law would allow marriage only between a man and a woman. They both hate confrontation. "I don't like making people feel bad," Myers said. And Barquero added, "She was very nice about it."
Annual gay parade draws By Donna Jackel
(July 18, 2004) — A wedding party was emerging from Third Presbyterian Church on East Avenue just as the annual Gay Pride Parade began Saturday.
In this year of intense debate over same-sex marriage, the opposite-sex wedding participants gave friendly waves to the parade-goers as if to encourage them.
Not that they particularly needed encouragement. The banners and signs on display reflected a rainbow alliance of gay pride: “Love makes a Family,” “Men of Color Health Awareness Project,” “Celebrating Catholic Families with Lesbian Daughters and Gay Sons,” a few of them read.
The approximately 400 who joined the parade ranged from preschoolers pulled in wagons to retirees on scooters. Bill Kress, a spokesman for the event, said the parade draws more participants each year, with the crowd swelling to at least 2,000 for a festival at Manhattan Square Park after the parade.
Gay unions gaining in Europe
BY TOM HUNDLEY
DE KWAKEL, Netherlands — As Earl Carr and Peter Stroex walked down the aisle in their tuxedos, the gospel choir launched into a soulful rendition of "O Happy Day."
"It really was a happy day," said Carr, 41. "My mother was crying the whole time. I was crying for the first half of the wedding, but fortunately Peter was cool, calm and collected. Peter is the stabilizer in our relationship."
Carr and Stroex were married last August in a civil ceremony that has become routine in the Netherlands, the first country to fully legalize same-sex marriages. Since April 1, 2001, when the legislation went into effect, more than 6,000 gay couples in the Netherlands have wed.
The dire consequences predicted by many religious conservatives have not come to pass — "God did not flood the Netherlands," joked Carr — and the idea of same-sex marriages seems to be gaining momentum across Europe.
MSP BACKS ANTI-GAY B&B BOSS
By Elaine Robson
ANTI-GAY guesthouse boss Tom Forrest has been backed by an MSP.
VisitScotland took Mr Forrest off their list for refusing to give a double room to a gay couple. He said he did not want them doing 'unnatural acts' at his B&B in Kinlochewe, Wester Ross.
Now Tory MSP Phil Gallie has branded VisitScotland's reaction as 'ludicrous' and plans to raise it in parliament.
In a letter to the tourist body he wrote: 'People should be allowed to decide for themselves what they think is acceptable behaviour.
Germany Mulls Adoption for Gay Couples
While some politicians in the US want to clamp down on rights for homosexuals, Germany is considering expanding them. A new law including changes on the adoption right for homosexuals has been proposed for 2005.
In 2001, Germany passed a law giving gay and lesbian couples some of the rights heterosexual couples have. The law included such things as inheritance and tenants' rights and foreign partners of a German gained the right to take on German citizenship. However, the registered partnership law didn't satisfy everyone since it didn't give homosexual couples the tax benefits married people enjoy, nor did it address the controversial issue of adoption.
Now the German government has announced it will expand the registered partnership law. The plans include allowing stepchild adoptions, where gay men or lesbians co-adopt the child of their partner. The idea is testing the limits of societal acceptance of gays and lesbians in Germany.
Starting on January 1, 2005, gay and lesbian couples, who have entered into a registrierte Lebenspartnerschaft, or registered life-partnership, will have new pension rights, can get officially engaged, and can be required to pay alimony to a partner if the relationship breaks up.