poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Topeka Narrowly Outlaws Anti-Gay Bias
Associated Press Writer

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas is as conservative as any state, but its capital city has taken a small step toward protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination.

The Topeka City Council last week narrowly approved an ordinance prohibiting bias in city hiring or employment based on sexual orientation.

Many activists were disappointed, hoping the council would enact a broader ordinance against discrimination in housing, lending and private employment. Yet a few took some comfort in the small progress they did perceive.

Part of it was timing. The vote on Nov. 16 came two weeks after President Bush carried Kansas with 62 percent of the vote and during an election when 11 states approved constitutional bans on gay marriage.


SA withdraws same-sex bill

South Australia Government has withdrawn a Bill that would give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, except in the areas of adoption, access to reproductive technology and marriage, from the Lower House.

Attorney-General Michael Atkinson says the Bill would have a better chance of passing through Parliament this year if it is first debated in the Upper House.

"It became clear from the agenda in this place that this Bill could make no progress this year, indeed it would have difficulty making progress early next year," he said.


Homophobic incidents at Lafayette College
The Express-Times

EASTON -- A gay student at Lafayette College was reportedly harassed over the weekend by a person claiming to offer discount cell phone service to homosexuals.

The incident marked the second time in the past week that a gay student has been targeted for harassment.

In the latest incident, the unidentified student was in his Ramer Hall dorm room at 7 p.m. Saturday when he received a call on his cell phone from a person claiming to be a representative of his wireless phone carrier.

The caller told the student during the call that the carrier was offering discounts to gay people, said Hugh Harris, the school's director of public safety.


Controversial Equality Commission in Queen's Speech
Ben Townley, UK

Proposals for the first equality commission to offer support for victims of anti-gay discrimination were included in today's Queen's Speech, as the government pushes ahead with its plans for the single Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR).

If backed by parliament, the CEHR will be the first time that discrimination and prejudice based on sexual orientation will be included in the remit of an equality body.


Asylum for Isalam

Two of Isalam's gay friends were murdered by the Islamic fundamentalists of the GIA (Group Islamic Arme) in 1994 and 1996. He grew up in a district that was a stronghold of the GIA, where gay people live in fear of beatings, torture and murder.

Islam witnessed the stoning of two gay men in the street in 2001.

In 2002, he was found having sex with a man and reported to the GIA who sent members to his house. Isalam was beaten and threatened with death. At around the same time he was due to be called up for military service, and feared that he would suffer the same fate as many other gay conscripts: rape, torture and beatings.

Because Islam avoided military service, his return to Algeria would result in two years imprisonment in a military prison, where brutality is universal and gay inmates suffer routine queer-bashings and sexual assaults.


Denomination Apologises To Gays

(Pretoria) South Africa's Dutch Reformed Church has issued a formal apology to the nation's gay community for years of religiously fuelled homophobia.

For decades the church has condemned homosexuality, fought laws extending rights to gays and lesbians, and battled against the recognition of same-sex relationships.

At its general synod in October The Dutch Reformed Church agreed that its anti-gay attitude was rooted in the past and voted to make peace with the gay community.

The apology was made at a special service at the Reforming Church in Muckleneuk by the new leader of the denomination, Dr Kobus Gerber.  


Gay parents denied right to baptise children

Any priest who may have issues with baptizing a child with homosexual parents should reconsider their line of work, believes the Archbishop's Chaplain Michael Persson.

According to DN on Monday, Persson has said that a priest should never rule out baptism of a child even if he or she disputes the status of the child’s parents.

"All children should be welcome in church," he said. "Baptism is a fundamental right. Anyone who is in legal care of a child should be able to have his or her baby blessed."


Tory councillors resign over "homophobic" claims
Ben Townley, UK

Two Conservative councillors have resigned in Falmouth, after they were accused of being anti-gay .

The councillors quit following an ongoing row involving accusations of UKIP sympathies and homophobia.

They have now warned that other local party activists and members may well leave the party in the wake of the fall out, which began when some members were accused of showing a pro-UKIP video earlier this year.


City seeks 'anti-gay' album ban
By Tom Bishop
BBC News entertainment reporter

The first city-wide boycott of reggae and rap albums with "anti-gay" lyrics is being considered in Brighton.

Councillors want music retailers HMV, Virgin Megastore and MVC to stop selling albums with homophobic lyrics in its Brighton and Hove branches.

While the council does not have the power to ban their sale, it can urge retailers to act on their objections.

"We do not condone such lyrics, but customers should be able to make their own choices," an HMV spokesman said.


ACLU to announce if lawsuit to be filed
By Derek Spellman
Globe Staff Writer

WEBB CITY, Mo. - The American Civil Liberties Union is expected to announce today whether a lawsuit will be filed against the Webb City School District on behalf of a student who wore gay-pride T-shirts to school.

The ACLU has said it might pursue legal action after Brad Mathewson, 16, a Webb City High School junior, was told Oct. 20 he could not wear a shirt identifying the FHS Gay-Straight Alliance, a group at his former school in Fayetteville, Ark. The back of the shirt displayed a pink triangle, symbols representing gay and straight couples, and the words "Make a Difference."

Mathewson also wore a homemade shirt that said "I'm gay and I'm proud" on Oct. 27, but was told the shirt also violated the school dress code.


High hate crime statistics deceiving
By LOLITA HARPER, Staff Writer

SAN BERNARDINO - The number of hate crimes reported in San Bernardino County increased in 2003, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Of the 16 law enforcement agencies that chose to report hate crime statistics to the FBI for its annual report, six showed an increase in incidences from 2002 to 2003. Percentages are difficult to calculate, however, because three of these agencies Hesperia, Victorville and San Bernardino Unified School District police did not report any 2002 incidents.

The fact that more agencies are tabulating their hate crimes and identifying the motivations behind certain incidents reflects a positive trend, officials said


Minister faces gay marriage 'charges'
By Gary Klien, IJ reporter

Rev. Janie Spahr presided over ceremony of two men; Church is investigating

A Presbyterian minister in Marin County is facing an internal church trial for presiding over the marriage of two gay men earlier this year in Canada.


Majority Of Canadians Now Support Gay Marriage
by Jan Prout Toronto Bureau

(Toronto, Ontario)  As the number of Canadian provinces that allow same-sex couples to wed grows a new poll shows that for the first time a majority of Canadians support gay marriage.

The Pollara survey, taken for Rogers Media, shows that if a direct vote by all Canadians were held regarding same-sex marriage, 52% would allow gay couples to officially marry and to register their marriage with their province like other couples.  Four-in-ten (41%) would vote no to such a proposition, while seven percent are undecided.

The highest level of support for same-sex marriage is found among residents of Quebec (61%), followed by those in British Columbia (56%) and Ontario (50%). All three provinces allow gay marriage.

People in Atlantic Canada are divided equally ( yes 45% vs. no 45%).  Only one of the 3 Maritime provinces, Nova Scotia allows gay marriage. 


Revision Marches to Social Agenda
Conservative State Board of Education Leans on Publishers to Tweak Marriage and Sexuality References in Public School Health Textbooks
by Scott Gold

SPRING, Texas -- Outside the Spring Church of Christ, a large roadside sign says a lot about the prevailing sensibility in this cordial town. It reads: "Support New Testament Morality."

This is the home and powerbase of Terri Leo, a state Board of Education member representing 2.5 million people in East Texas.

At the urging of Leo and several other members — who describe themselves as Christian conservatives — the board this month approved new health textbooks for high school and middle school students after publishers said they would tweak references to marriage and sexuality.

One agreed to define marriage as a "lifelong union between a husband and a wife." Another deleted words that were attacked by conservatives as "stealth" references to gay relationships; "partners," for example, was changed to "husbands and wives." A passage explaining that adolescence brings the onset of "attraction to others" became "attraction to the opposite sex."


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