W.V. Court to Hear Lesbian Custody Case
By Associated Press
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether state law recognizes the parental rights of same-sex partners.
Tina Burch is appealing for custody of the 4-year-old son of her lesbian partner, Christina D. Smarr, who died in a 2002 car accident. Within hours of Smarr's death, Smarr's brothers-in-law took the child from Burch and handed him over to his grandparents.
A lower court ruled in December that state law does not give a homosexual the right to win legal guardianship of a former partner's child; Burch appealed.
On Thursday, the state high court agreed to hear the case, and voted 3-2 to grant Burch temporary custody.
Homophobe Preacher Banned From Big Easy Gay Fest
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
(New Orleans) A fundamentalist pastor who led a protest march through last year's Southern Decadence has been banned from going near this year's festival. Southern Decadence is the largest gay event in the South and runs until September 6.
Reverend Grant Storms led a group of church members down Bourbon Street attempting to disrupt crowds. When he was refused entry into a gay bar where he wanted to protest Storms charged the doorman with assault. The charge was later thrown out of court.
Today, Civil District Judge Michael Bagneris granted an area business group a restraining order against Storms to prevent him from disrupting this year's party.
Storms and his followers will be allowed to hold signs denouncing homosexuality but are barred from using megaphones, bullhorns or other noisemakers.
Bishop seeks harmony over gay rights
With release of report, O'Neill asks Episcopalians to try to 'work together'
By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News
Colorado Episcopal Bishop Rob O'Neill called on fellow Episcopalians to seek common ground Tuesday, as he formally released a diocesan study on how to mend rifts over same-sex policies and other controversies.
"That we disagree is evident; the consequences of disagreement are not," O'Neill said in an interview.
Indeed, in the report he insisted that it's still possible "to establish policies that will facilitate our living together in disagreement."
The bishop endorsed the 23-page report, which he commissioned, and its recommendations drawn up by 10 clergy and lay members, including a gay representative. However, O'Neill noted the report will take time and the help of further committees to implement.
Attorney General's Office defends state's gay marriage ban
By ANGELA DELLI SANTI
Associated Press Writer
TRENTON, N.J. -- The Attorney General's Office defended the state's ban on same-sex marriage in legal papers filed late Thursday, reiterating its position that New Jersey's Constitution does not permit gay unions and that the power to change the definition of marriage rests with the Legislature, not the courts.
The state's 60-page brief, filed with the Appellate Division of Superior Court, challenges a a civil lawsuit by seven same-sex couples and supported by the national civil rights organization Lambda Legal seeking the right for gay and lesbian couples to wed.
Both sides have said they will appeal the case to the state Supreme Court.
"Our response continues to be that the courts have a traditional role to play to assess whether lines that the Legislature draws _ in this case to exclude a class of citizens _ are constitutional or not," said Gary Buseck, legal director at Lambda Legal in New York. "The courts are to answer these questions no matter how controversial they are."