Referendums hitting gay marriage
Conservatives hope issue will entice voters who will then go with Bush
By Mary M. Shaffrey
JOURNAL WASHINGTON BUREAU
Referendums are as much a part of American democracy as the one-man, one-vote philosophy. This year, voters in 12 states are going to have - or in the case of Missouri, already have had - referendums on amending their state constitutions to define marriage.
President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, which defines marriage as something between a man and a woman. Most states - including North Carolina - have similar laws, including many of those having referendums.
Still, activist groups are working hard to get the question on state ballots - and to see that it passes. Voters in the swing states of Michigan - and likely Ohio - will be asked to vote on the issue on the same day that they choose a president.
Half of gay 'marriages' are conducted in church
By Rajeev Syal
More than 500 homosexual couples took part in "gay marriage" ceremonies in Britain last year, according to new figures.
About 300 ceremonies, in which a priest blesses the couple, were conducted for members of the Anglican faith. The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, which has produced the figures for the first time, said that half of the ceremonies had taken place in a church.
Peace activism and GLBT rights
AS GAY MEN AND WOMEN have come out of the closet and achieved basic civil rights, many in the movement have focused most of their attention on gaining full equality, including the right to serve in the armed forces. But GLBT people have also played a vital role in peace and antiwar activism, speaking out against military conflicts from World War I to the current war in Iraq.
One of the earliest U.S. antiwar organizations, the War Resisters League (WRL), was formed in 1923 by activists opposed to World War I. Among its founders were Tracy Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon, two Bryn Mawr graduates who lived together in a romantic friendship for more than sixty years and devoted their lives to women's suffrage, peace, and social justice activism.
World War II was a massive coming-out experience for homosexual men and women, many of whom left their hometowns and found same-sex relationships and communities in the military. But others firmly opposed the war. Bayard Rustin, a gay African-American activist who would later organize Martin Luther King's 1963 March on Washington, defied a draft summons and served more than two years in prison. Arrested on a morals charge in 1953, Rustin was pressured to resign from the Christianpacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation and subsequently joined the WRL staff, a job he held for over a decade. Rustin helped launch the social justice magazine Liberation, which published works by queer pacifists such as Paul Goodman.
In the 1950's, some of the earliest recruitment for the Mattachine Society--one of the earliest U.S. homophile organizations--occurred when Harry Hay, a long-time Communist and labor organizer, and his comrades went to beaches and other gay cruising areas in Southern California asking people to sign a petition against the Korean War.