Boston, MA- Trans activists pick up the pace
Bay Windows - Local News
By Ethan Jacobs
The Mass. Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) held its inaugural statewide meeting Sept. 18. Despite torrential rains, about 30 people turned up at Emmanuel Church, where the group outlined its current campaigns, including an effort to pass a transgender nondiscrimination ordinance in Northampton.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Transgender Center for Equality (NCTE), also addressed the gathering, telling attendees that adding trans-inclusive language to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is the "centerpiece" of that group's current agenda.
The effort to pass a Northampton ordinance springs out of MTPC's first major campaign, a successful effort to expand the city of Boston's nondiscrimination laws to include transgender people in 2002. Cole Thaler, who founded MTPC in the summer of 2001 and who now works in the group's satellite office in Western Mass., said that MTPC hopes to pass similar ordinances in cities and towns around the state.
"It was the thought of MTPC that if we get several local ordinances passed across the state, that will form a nice base for eventually trying to get a statewide ordinance passed," said Thaler.
Social Security halts plan to remove protections for gays
The Social Security Administration has halted its attempts to strike protections based on sexual orientation from their contract with union workers. The change would have made it legal for gay and lesbian employees in the Bush administration to be discriminated against, or even fired, by their employers. The contract language at issue was added in 2000 in response to an executive order by President Clinton establishing a uniform policy protecting federal employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. The head of the SSA abruptly halted the Administration's proposed discrimination within one day of Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe's public statement condemning the move. "This is a victory for the Democratic Party, but more important, a victory for gay and lesbian Americans against discrimination," McAuliffe said Friday. "George Bush has consistently tried to take away hard-won rights and move our country in the wrong direction."
Nova Scotia OKs same-sex marriages
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia became the sixth province or territory to allow same-sex marriages when the province's Supreme Court ruled Friday that banning such unions is unconstitutional.
In August, three couples asked Justice Heather Robertson to rule on the contentious subject, and whether or not same-sex couples who have married outside Nova Scotia should have their status recognized in the province.
Georgia Gays Battle To Keep Marriage Amendment Off Ballot
by The Associated Press
(Atlanta, Georgia) A lawsuit aimed at keeping a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriages off the Nov. 2 election ballot went before a judge on Friday who postponed a ruling until next week but expressed skepticism the court could intervene.
Superior Court Judge Constance Russell ended an hour-long hearing by referring the attorneys to a case neither side had cited in their arguments, an 84-year-old ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court which held that the courts cannot intervene to block legislation or constitutional amendments until after they had passed.
She said she was troubled by the ruling and instructed the lawyers: "Tell me why I'm not bound by it or whether I am." They were given until Monday to reply.
Sen. Mike Crotts, R-Conyers, who sponsored the proposed amendment in this year's legislative session, said after the hearing he hadn't expected a ruling Friday but praised the judge's conduct of the proceeding. "I think she handled it fairly," he said.
Antigay Aryan leader arrested on federal threat charges
The self-proclaimed leader of the Aryan Nations of Reno [Nev.] has been arrested on federal charges for making violent threats to gays and others. Steven Holten, 40, a "one-man Aryan nation" who has been recruiting members for his white supremacist group in the area, is accused of e-mailing the threats to Jewish communities in Nevada and California, law officers, and members of the media, according to Reno police. Holten appeared in federal court in Reno on Thursday and was being held without bail Friday in Washoe County Jail.
Police said Holten allegedly sent a mass e-mail Monday that said the "Aryan Nations of Reno, Nevada" will carry out "terrorist actions that will be gruesome and something that has never been seen in Reno and San Francisco." He detailed violent acts that would be carried out on people and groups on its "most wanted list," including gays, Jews, members of the media, and anyone against white supremacy, police said. Holten, who has neo-Nazi SS lightning bolts tattooed on his neck, is the first suspect in Reno accused of sending violent hate threats, which authorities intercepted by tracing an e-mail, acting police chief Jim Weston told the Reno Gazette-Journal.