poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Experts: Suits follow gay-wed procession
By Elisabeth J. Beardsley
A tidal wave of gay-marriage litigation will drop on courthouses across the nation once gay couples start marrying in Massachusetts in two weeks, experts say.
     Most observers expect the controversy to immediately spread beyond the Bay State's borders, as gay couples move to other states and file lawsuits to force recognition of their marriages.

     ``The litigation is going to be sweeping and probably endless, at least until every state is on the same page,'' said Lawyers Weekly USA editor Paul Martinek.

     The federal ``defense of marriage act,'' which limits marriage to one man and one woman, has never been challenged in the courts.

Mass. UUs defend right to wed
by Jane Greer
Donna Ruvolo, a member of the First Church in Belmont, Massachusetts, seldom had reason to call her elected officials. But with the issue of same-sex marriage being debated by the state legislature, the lesbian mother, who would like to legally wed her partner of fourteen years, decided it was time to change that and set up a meeting with her state senator, Steve Tolman.

“I told him that I was as surprised as anyone by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision in November and how empowering that moment was for me,” Ruvolo says. “He really listened.” Tolman, a Catholic, was moved by the story, telling the Boston Globe, “It practically brought tears to my eyes when she said that.” Tolman is opposing amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

The same-sex marriage issue has stimulated new activity in congregations across the country. However, with the Massachusetts ruling that same-sex marriage will be legal in May and with political opposition mobilizing against it, Massachusetts Unitarian Universalists have stepped up their lobbying efforts. While few churches have acted as a unit, individual congregants have taken the lead in organizing educational and lobbying events.

One of the most widespread activities is e-mailing, writing, and phoning elected representatives. The First Parish of Sudbury set aside a room supplied with stationery, envelopes, stamps, addresses, and fact sheets during the Sunday morning coffee hour. The First Church Unitarian Universalist in Jamaica Plain organized a phone bank one night to call friends and relatives urging them to contact their representatives.


Gay Methodists Rejected 
by Newscenter Staff
(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) The highest ecclesiastical court in the Methodist Church has reaffirmed the denomination's position that "homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching".

The United Methodist Judicial Council had been asked to revisit church teaching following the acquittal of Rev. Karen Dammann, a minister in Washington state who came out to her bishop.

In March a church jury found her not guilty of breaking church rules after Dammann told the bishop she was a lesbian and in a committed relationship. The jury found that church law was unclear on the subject.

Had she been found guilty she could have been removed from the clergy.  The church under some circumstances will allow gay ministers as long as they are "non practicing homosexuals".

Opponents Of Gay Marriage Rally At Safeco Field
By KOMO Staff & News Services
SEATTLE - Thousands of people arriving for a rally against gay marriage faced chanting, sign-carrying protesters as they made their way into the city's baseball stadium Saturday.

The "Mayday for Marriage" worship service and rally drew people from conservative Christian churches around the state, who arrived by busloads at Safeco Field. Organizers were hoping for 35,000 people.

"We believe marriage was designed for a man and a woman," said Bill Hanford, 46, of Redmond. "We think the biblical concept of marriage is important and people should take a stand on that side of the argument as well as the one that's in the media right now."

About 1,500 gay rights protesters waved signs and chanted, "Bigots go home!" as they marched back and forth in front of the stadium. A 60-piece marching band performed and passing cars honked in support.


By Sean Kosofsky  
Washington D.C. -  In an unprecedented move, leaders of statewide gay rights organizations gathered in the nation's capitol to draft the plan to fight for marriage equality in every U.S. state and territory. The meeting was called by the Federation of Statewide Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Advocacy Organizations in Washington D.C. and took place April 22-26.

The Federation called an emergency "Marriage Summit" that brought together some of the top GLBT leaders working on marriage related civil rights work in over 30 states and territories. Also at the meeting were experts in the areas of polling research, political campaigns, law, internet activism and more. The leaders returned to their respective states with a clear picture of what challenges to face and community resources to win marriage equality in every state. This strategy will be integrated with the existing strategies used by national GLBT organizations.

"I have returned home with renewed hope and stronger resolve than ever that we will win," said Michael Mitchell, Executive Director of Equality Utah and an Executive Committee member of the Federation. "I am certain that in Utah, incredible things will happen for the GLBT community in terms of education, voter mobilization and new volunteers coming into our movement because we are under attack. The Federation Summit was exactly what I needed to connect with other seasoned activists around the country who have run and won campaigns."

"In our courtrooms and legislatures state organizers are winning battles every day," said Andrea Hildebran, Executive Director of Kentucky Fairness Alliance and an Executive Committee member of the Federation. "We are better positioned than every before to make dramatic strides toward marriage equality in the South. Our stories need to be told and the real fight for marriage equality is on the ground in the states. Our work in Kentucky will only improve because of the planning, analysis and networking we have done with other Federation members in Massachusetts, Hawaii, and other states."


Marchers anticipate upcoming gay marriage date
Associated Press Writer
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.- Throngs of people lined the downtown streets of this western Massachusetts city on Saturday as hundreds of same-sex couples - some of whom plan to marry - marched in the city's annual gay and lesbian pride march.

Led by two all-women motorcycle groups from Boston and New York City, marchers - most of them women, and many with children in tow - carried balloons, rainbow flags and signs celebrating the upcoming legality of gay marriage in Massachusetts.

Thousands of observers along the two-mile parade route, and the rally that followed, chatted about the upcoming day - May 17 - when same-sex couples will be first able to apply for marriage licenses in the state. It's the 23rd year for the march.

During the march, the Freedom Trail Band of Boston broke into a rendition of the Dixie Cups song "Chapel of Love" as the parade proceeded down Main Street.


State bill reaffirms stance on adoptions by gays
By Judy Gibbs Robinson
The Oklahoman
After being passed between various relatives for years, 18- year-old Brittney Collins is thriving in a home with two grownups who really take care of her.

They check to see that her homework is done. They make sure she's home by curfew. And they talk to her about school, politics and life in general.

The fact they are gay means nothing to the Norman High School senior, who has become an A student with college ambitions since moving in with her uncle, Tim Miller, and his partner, David Ray.

"I've learned more living with them than living with any of the straight couples in my family," she said.

Although thousands of Oklahoma gays are raising their own and other people's children, the Oklahoma Legislature reaffirmed its position Monday that gay couples should not be allowed to adopt.


Reverend marries two gay women
Minister joins protest against states that forbid same-sex nuptials
By Kim Kozlowski / The Detroit News
PONTIAC — With her white robe flowing behind her, the Rev. Deb Dysert walked through the Oakland County Courthouse with no intention of letting a clerk’s denial of a marriage license stop her from marrying a lesbian couple.

She stood outside the court and called on God to bless the union of Clarkston residents Heidi Barnette and Angela Kurtz. It’s a ceremony that is becoming more common and high profile as the debate around gay marriage intensifies.

Dysert, pastor of the predominantly gay Divine Peace Metropolitan Community Church in Clarkston, joined other ministers across the country Thursday to highlight International Day of Clergy Support for Same Sex Marriage.

The church is part of Metropolitan Community Churches, a worldwide fellowship of Christian churches that reaches out to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.


Gay union ban inches ahead
The Wichita Eagle
TOPEKA - House and Senate conferees will try today to break an impasse over a proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships.

Representatives and senators on a six-member conference committee have reached a tentative agreement over the language of the amendment itself, but are hung up over how it will be explained to voters on the ballot.

Senate negotiators want the explanatory ballot note to include an explicit statement that Kansas law already defines marriage only as a union between one man and one woman.

House members proposed adding a statement that, without a constitutional change, the law could be changed by the Legislature or modified by a court decision.


New Jersey will become the fourth state in the nation to legalize domestic...
Associated Press
New Jersey will become the fourth state in the nation to legalize domestic partnerships when the law takes effect on July 1. California and Hawaii have partnership laws and Vermont has legalized civil unions for gay couples.

The Garden State's domestic partnership act is similar to the California law, which was recently expanded to give gay partners more legal rights. The changes in California will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2005.

Partnership laws give gay couples access to some of the legal rights that married couples already get. Civil unions allow homosexual couples to have a ceremony and be legally united but not married.

Gay marriage remains illegal in all 50 states but in the past year, local officials from California to New Jersey have defied laws to marry gay and lesbian couples. In Asbury Park, two men were married in March by the town's deputy mayor. The marriage license was later deemed invalid by New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey.

Covington stands alone for gay rights
By Mike Rutledge

A year after Covington's human rights ordinance extending anti-discrimination protections to gays and others was approved, Covington can become a lone beacon on the Ohio River, the chairman of the city's Human Rights Commission said this week.

"I think this new ordinance gives us a little bit more leeway to make Covington a really great place to live, to be a beacon on the Ohio River, when there is so much darkness surrounding us," said the Rev. Don Smith, who leads the Human Rights Commission and is pastor of Community of Faith Presbyterian Church.

The anniversary of Covington's ordinance is being celebrated against a backdrop of a national and regional debate over gay rights and same-sex marriage.

Supporters of Covington's ordinance, which was approved unanimously a year ago this week, often grimly note the contrast between their legislation and Cincinnati's controversial Article XII, which bars the Ohio city from adding gays to groups that are protected from discrimination.


Poll finds lawmakers divided on gay marriage
Oregon legislators tend to favor considering the extension of civil-union rights to same-sex couples

SALEM -- Oregon lawmakers are sharply divided over banning same-sex marriages, but are more open to offering civil-union rights to gay and lesbian couples.

Responding to a survey by The Oregonian, most Republicans in the Legislature said they favor a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman, while only one Democrat said she might support such an amendment.

One-third of lawmakers favor civil unions for same-sex couples. A small number support either no recognition or full marriage rights for same-sex couples. And roughly one-third of those who responded were undecided or declined to answer.

The survey, which reached 83 of the Legislature's 30 senators and 60 representatives, shows deep partisan splits that threaten another round of political gridlock the next time lawmakers convene.


Library gay-pride exhibit draws complaints
PUBLICITY: Posters at schools didn't provoke phone calls until spotlight fell on Loussac.

Anchorage Daily News

An exhibit about gay and lesbian public officials that leaves Loussac Library today has drawn relatively little ire compared to a gay pride exhibit in the library three years ago.

But some parents didn't like finding out only after the fact that the exhibit, "Out & Elected in the U.S.A.," also had been displayed in local high schools.

The exhibit was created by R.S. Lee -- the pen name of former Anchorage resident Ron Schlittler, who is now the policy director at Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays in Washington, D.C.

In 1974, while attending East High School, Schlittler has said, he realized he might not always have to hide his sexual orientation when he learned that an openly lesbian woman had been elected to the Massachusetts Legislature.


Forum targets bias against gay students
By Leonel Sanchez
SANTEE – Seventeen-year-old Katie Smith is tired of hearing mean comments about gays and lesbians at West Hills High School.

The high school junior yesterday saw that she's not alone in feeling that way.

Katie was among more than 30 students who participated in a lively discussion about tolerance at the campus, which has 2,300 students.

She told the group that words do hurt.

"Physical abuse is painful, but verbal abuse hurts more because it tears at your heart," she said.


Parents demand rights for gay children
by Ashley Harrell

The only people more concerned that gays and lesbians be granted the privilege of saying “I do” are their parents, according to several Boca Raton moms who say they want to see their children awarded the same rights as everyone else.

Mother and PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) representative Carol Benowitz spoke Wednesday night to the Democratic Club of Greater Boca Raton Wednesday about the dreams she has for her son.

Although Neil Benowitz has been with his boyfriend Paul for more than 13 years and the couple has even celebrated their union with a commitment ceremony, the two do not have the right to get married in the state of Florida.

Along with marriage comes more than 1,000 rights, said Benowitz, who is disgusted by the denial of those privileges her son and his partner, and even more so by the potential of President Bush’s endorsed amendment to the constitution to ban gay marriage.


Gay advocates want protection in the workplace
Gazette Columbus Bureau

COLUMBUS -- Two months after failing to convince state lawmakers not to pass a bill denying marriage rights and survivor benefits to gay couples, advocates have set their sights on new workplace protections.

Timothy Downing, an employment law attorney from Cleveland and president of Ohioans for Growth and Equality, a gay-rights group, said he usually gets one call a month from someone who believes he or she was fired based on sexual orientation.

"I repeatedly have to tell these employees, 'Sorry, there's nothing I can do,'" he recently told a Senate committee. "Under Ohio law, there is no statute that provides them a legal remedy."

A bill prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation got its first hearing in a Senate committee this week -- a year after the bill was first introduced by Sen. Dan Brady, D-Cleveland.


Group creates Araujo memorial fund
Family, Bay Area foundation

The family of a transgender teenager slain in Newark has joined forces with a San Francisco philanthropic group to create a memorial fund to support school programs focusing on transgender issues.

The teenager -- who was born Eddie Araujo but lived and identified as a young woman named Gwen -- was beaten and strangled after four men learned that the 17-year-old was biologically male, authorities contend.

Three men are standing trial for murder in Araujo's death.

A fourth man pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the case last year and now is testifying for the prosecution.


Germany Expands Gay Partner Rights 
by Newscenter Staff
(Berlin)  A German court has ruled that the civil service and all government agencies must pay benefits to the partners of same-sex couples equal to those they pay to the married spouses of heterosexuals.

The decision by the federal labor court in effect expands the country's domestic partner laws without parliamentary approval.   

In their ruling, the judges said that there is no difference between a registered life partnership and marriage when it came to remuneration in the public service, with the court accepting that a Eingetragenelebensgemeinschaft, the German term for a registered domestic partnership, also meant family status.

A leading member of the parliamentary Green Party, Volker Beck hailed the judgment as a "big break-through".


Friday, April 30, 2004

California has long history of progressive marriage laws
Ventura County Star
As California's Supreme Court justices move toward the day when they will be forced to confront the most unsettling civil rights issue of the day _ gay marriage _ they will find themselves on a path their predecessors have trod before.

One thing they will find along that path is an eloquent expression of the prevailing justification for a ban on gay marriages, written by former California Supreme Court Justice John W. Shenk.

In an opinion written in a landmark case, Shenk declared: "The right of the state to exercise extensive control over the marriage contract has always been recognized. The institution of matrimony is the foundation of society, and the community at large has an interest in the maintenance of its integrity and purity."

Shenk wrote that on Oct. 1, 1948, in defense of a California marriage law that stated "no license may be issued authorizing the marriage of a white person to a Negro, mulatto, Mongolian or member of the Malay race."


LGCM warns of "coup" over gay clergy
Ben Townley, UK
The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) has warned that the Anglican Church is suffering from a "power vacuum" that could result in it splitting over the issue of gay clergy.

Speaking as a new challenge to the appointment of gay canon Dr Jeffrey John as Dean of St Albans was launched by evangelical clergy, LGCM's Revd Richard Kirker warned that the Church is on the brink of a "coup" that could see liberal members excluded in favour of the more right wing believers.

He warned that because Anglican Mainstream have demanded to see the Prime Minister, the question of where the power lies in the Church of England must be raised.

“Those who have gathered together under the banner of Anglican Mainstream have tasted blood, and they want more,” he said today.


Kansas wants more than just a marriage ban

Legislative negotiators have agreed that a proposed amendment to the Kansas constitution banning same-sex marriage should also deny legal recognition to other same-sex arrangements such as civil unions. The language, drafted Thursday, is similar to a proposed amendment adopted in March by the house. The senate last month rejected a narrower version that addressed only gay marriage. Two thirds of both chambers must approve the same language for a proposed amendment to the constitution to be placed before voters in November. Negotiators were also drafting an explanation of their proposal for voters, to appear on the ballot with the proposition. The task required additional talks.

Senate negotiators said they do not know whether the compromise language would win approval in their chamber, which would consider the measure first. House adoption is considered likely. But senate president Dave Kerr (R-Hutchinson) said, after negotiators met Thursday, "I think that it has a good chance." Supporters of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions said they were satisfied with the new language. "It sounds like they're coming out with a strong amendment to put before the people," the Reverend Terry Fox, senior pastor at Wichita's Immanuel Southern Baptist Church, said Thursday. "Frankly, we will not compromise on anything less than a strong amendment." The Reverend Joe Wright, senior pastor at Wichita's Central Christian Church, said a ban would be meaningless if same-sex couples still could receive the benefits normally associated with marriage through a civil union or domestic partnership. Wright and others have argued that preserving a special legal status for traditional marriages is important because they form the strongest families--the foundation of American society. "Government didn't establish holy matrimony--God did," Wright said after Thursday's meeting. "That's the healthiest relationship for a child to grow up with."

Tiffany Muller, chairwoman of Topeka's Equal Justice Coalition, said supporters of gay rights are "opposed to any language that is discriminatory being put in the constitution and on the public ballot." "Trying to preclude any future granting of any rights or equality is reprehensible," Muller said. Some critics, including Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, have questioned whether a constitutional amendment is necessary. Kansas is among 39 states that have laws on their books asserting that they recognize marriage as existing only between one man and one woman. Four states have "defense of marriage" provisions in their constitutions: Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Nevada.


Gay ceremony draws protesters
By: Emily Nantz, News 14 Carolina
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Four homosexual couples made commitments to each other Friday night as part of this weekend's Charlotte Pride event.

Bridget Neal and Nova Pedro drove three hours to be a part of the ceremony. They said they would not have been able to do this where they are from.

“This isn’t afforded to us in our hometown,” Neal said. “It’s not nearly as open as this area.”

Richard Rinehardt, the marketing director for Charlotte Pride, said the commitments are not legally binding. But he thinks legal gay marriages will happen sooner or later.


Black, Christian and gay: Couple fight religious bias, legal hurdles
Knight Ridder Newspapers
(KRT) - Michael Belcher and Walter Houston stand in the cold outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in Detroit. Surrounded by strangers, they're in the midst of a gay marriage rally.

For months, Belcher, 33, and Houston, 43, have watched similar rallies on television. They've seen the crowds of mostly white men and women holding picket signs, shouting for equal rights, lining up for marriage licenses.

That's fine for San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, they say.

But they live in Detroit - a city that's more than 80 percent African American, heavily soaked in a Christian tradition and chilly toward the gay community.

"We're gay and we're black and we're Christian," Houston says, back at the couple's first floor flat in northwest Detroit. "God wants us to do this. This is something we prayed for."


Her Beautiful Mind
by Joyce Marcel
What could be behind the Bush Administration's decision to censor the photographs of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq? Could it really be, as the government says, to respect "the privacy of the families?" Or is it to hide the realities of war for political reasons? Or is it to protect the delicate sensitivities of the ruling class as Americans die to build them an empire?

As the argument over this censorship continues, I hope people remember a widely-quoted remark made by the president's mother, Barbara Bush, last year during the build-up of the war - the lying time.

"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths," Barbara Bush said on ABC's "Good Morning America" on March 18, 2003. "Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"


Last night our email list was apparently hacked by some person(s) unknown to us. Our list has NEVER been open to posting by recipients, but the hacker apparently tried to destroy our work by allowing spamming. We sincerely regret that you have been on the receiving end of this.

This morning we have taken precautions to ensure that this does not happen again, and people will not be able to spam you using our list. We ask that you please do not unsubscribe (although we will respect all requests to do so). If you have already unsubscribed, this will be the last email you receive from us (if you wish to resubscribe, please go to the website). Please do not allow our opponents to destroy this very important work of winning full equality for our community.

Yours sincerely,

Robin Tyler
National Chairperson,

Andy Thayer
National Action Coordinator,

Lesbian, other slain students to be remembered
Associated Press Writer
NEWARK -- Newark schools will observe a moment of silence in memory of student victims of violence on the anniversary of the death of lesbian student Sakia Gunn.
"No Name Calling Day" will be observed on May 11, one year after Sakia, 15, was stabbed to death while waiting for a bus after a night out in New York. Prosecutors said it was a bias crime.


Blumenthal Will Respond To Romney On Marriage Law
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he would determine by the middle of May whether the state's laws recognize same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts.

Blumenthal said his decision would be in response to a letter from Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney questioning if laws in any state permitted gay couples to marry.

Romney said in a letter to leaders in 49 states that out-of-state gay couples will be prohibited from marrying when same-sex marriage becomes legal in Massachusetts on May 17 unless the laws in their home state permit the marriages.

"We'll seek to provide an opinion as promptly as possible, but this legal territory is certainly new and uncharted," Blumenthal said Friday.


sometimes its so hard to remain humane in the face of hate...

Right Wing Group Embraces Display Of Gays Kissing 
by Newscenter Staff
(Tallahassee, Florida) It wasn't the usual outdoor display of pictures people associate with a fundamentalist Christian group, but the ultra right wing Christian Action Network says the public needs to be shocked into seeing what really goes on at Gay Days at Disney World.

The Network, which has protested at Gay Days for the past few years and last year attempted a flyover with a plane carrying a banner denouncing homosexuality, set up a show and tell display in the courtyard of the Florida Capitol Friday demanding the legislature step in and stop the annual event.

The exhibit featured posters allegedly taken inside the park during last year's Gay Days showing shirtless gay men holding hands and kissing. The group also produced a video called “Gay Days at Disney Gone Wild”.  In some scenes it appeared men were naked and engaging in sex. 

The group has been filming the annual event since 1999 and at least one portion of the video was several years old although Christian Action Network claimed it was taken last year.

Licenses Refused, Lesbian Couples Marry Anyway
by Fidel Ortega Newscenter

(Miami, Florida) Wendy LaChaunce and Bonnie Alberti were not hopeful, but they still thought it was worth a try getting a marriage license at the Sarasota County Courthouse.

When the couple, who have been together for 25 years, went to the counter at the County Clerk's office they were read the Florida law that bars same-sex marriage. They were then given copies of a booklet on family law in the state.
But, that didn't stop LaChaunce and Alberti. They were married on the courtyard of the courthouse anyway.

"I didn't expect the wondrous, joyous feeling I have now," LaChaunce told the Bradenton Herald following the ceremony that was performed by Rev. Rick Sosbe of Church of the Trinity.


Bill to Ban Gay Marriages Picking Up Speed in Legislature

According to the 2000 census, there are households in every county in Alabama that call themselves same sex couples. Gay rights activists like Felicia Fontaine and Barb Collins are counting on that to stop the constitutional ban on same sex marriages if and when it comes up for a vote.

According to Fontaine, there are a number of organizations in the gay community, to work against this, in the fall. Fontaine and Collins will celebrate their 25th anniversary this October, but according to state officials, their civil union ceremony in Vermont five years ago isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Health insurance is one big reason this couple plans to fight the proposed amendment. Despite Collins' government health insurance, she can't use it to cover her partner, who is undergoing cancer treatments. All they want is a normal life, just like everyone else. If the Alabama House of Representatives passes the constitutional ban on gay marriages, that isn't likely to happen.

SB 1234 by Senator Sheila Kuehl, Sponsored by Equality California, Heads to Senate Appropriations Committee

SACRAMENTO – Tuesday, the Senate Public Safety Committee voted 4-0 in favor of SB 1234 by Senator Sheila Kuehl (D- Santa Monica) and sponsored by Equality California. SB 1234, the Omnibus Hate Crimes Act of 2004, will create a uniform definition of a hate crime, clarify the law, and provide tools designed to reduce such crimes. The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for a hearing in May.

“California has always led the nation in enacting effective protection for people who are victims of hate motivated crime,” said Senator Kuehl. “Tuesday, we took a first step to make hate crimes laws even more coherent and comprehensive by instituting uniform definitions of a hate crime across all our statutes and by strengthening training for our law enforcement personnel.”

SB 1234 reflects the recommendations of several high profile commissions and studies of hate crimes in California. The bill is supported by a coalition of prominent organizations, like the Anti-Defamation League, Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and various other labor and LGBT organizations.


Bishop: Gov. McGreevey cannot receive communion
The Associated Press
CAMDEN, N.J. - On the eve of his installation as bishop, the incoming leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden declared that he would not serve Holy Communion to Gov. James E. McGreevey.


Prom to welcome gay, lesbian students
Bethlehem group giving chance to dance to teens of various sexual orientations.
By BETH BRAVERMANThe Express-Times
BETHLEHEM -- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning teens have long expressed to organizers of HAVEN Youth Group that they sometimes feel uncomfortable attending proms at their high schools.

So this year, HAVEN has organized the Prizm Prom, specifically for LGBT and questioning youth and their allies, in a bid to provide its members with a chance to experience the traditional high school rite of passage in their own way.


Europe Leaves the U.S. Behind
by Steven Hill
Spain's new left-leaning government attracted the ire of the Bush administration recently when it withdrew its troops from Iraq. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero fulfilled a campaign pledge when he announced the withdrawal, aligning the Spanish government with the overwhelming sentiment of the Spanish people, as well as with most governments and peoples of Europe.

Receiving less attention than the troop withdrawal, in his speech Zapatero announced other priorities that further separated his government from the White House. Zapatero pledged greater spending on education and affordable housing for low- and middle-income families. He also pledged a crackdown on violence against women -- a scourge he called Spain's "greatest national disgrace" -- and recognition of gay marriage. The last one no doubt will be dismaying to religious fundamentalists in both the Bush administration and the Taliban.

‘Sen. Weathervane’ defends Md. votes
Giannetti says he wanted trans protections in hate crimes bill
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Prince George’s County senator who cast the deciding vote last year killing a measure that would have added sexual orientation to the state’s hate crimes law was also instrumental in watering down this year’s hate crimes bill, which was pulled from the Senate floor just before the Assembly adjourned for the year.

Sen. John A. Giannetti (D-Prince George’s County) had said he supports a hate crimes bill that includes protections based on gender identity and expression. But he nonetheless voted in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to postpone consideration of a trans-inclusive hate crimes bill introduced by Sen. Sharon M. Grosfeld (D-Montgomery County), after fellow committee member Robert J. Garagiola (D-Montgomery County) voiced concerns that Grosfeld’s bill lacked the votes to get out of committee.

“I thought it was an absolute mistake [to postpone] because I wanted the bill to have transgender protections in there, but Garagiola decided to postpone the vote because he believed we were going to lose two of the votes in the committee if the bill was debated further,” Gianetti said.

“We even talked to the folks at Equality Maryland and had significant conversations with Rob Garagiola and we all said the bill would not pass on the floor if you included transgender individuals.”


Gay, trans Dems elected to national convention
Three from Atlanta area to serve as Kerry delegates
Friday, April 30, 2004
Among the delegates representing Georgia at the Democratic National Convention this summer will be two gay men and the first transgendered person ever to be elected as a delegate from the South.

Delegates were announced April 17 after voting was tallied at caucuses of the 5th and 11th congressional districts.

Monica Helms, a transgendered war veteran who serves as executive director of Trans=Action, an Atlanta-based transgender advocacy group, was elected to represent the 11th Congressional District, which includes parts of 17 counties west of Atlanta. Helms said she was inspired to run for the position by Jane Fee, who in 2000 became the first known transgendered delegate to be named to a national convention.


Same-sex wedding ceremony set for Sunday
Sentinel staff writer
SANTA CRUZ — The flowers are on their way and a triple-layered lavender cake has been ordered for a much-anticipated wedding reception Sunday in Santa Cruz.

An estimated 30 to 40 same-sex couples will celebrate their relationships at a ceremony and reception at First Congregational Church.

Among those expected to attend are couples married in San Francisco in February, when the mayor there directed the county clerk to issue marriage licenses in defiance of state law.

"This is a time of blessing, celebration and joy," said Sandy Hulse, associate pastor at First Congregational Church. "We’re celebrating the joy of commitment."


Gay couples vow City Hall isn't last stop in bid to wed
Albany city clerk says he will again deny marriage licenses, but weddings continue
By ERIN DUGGAN, Capitol bureau
ALBANY -- The firestorm over same-sex marriage might have died down in recent weeks, but couples are still getting hitched in New Paltz and looking for marriage licenses in Albany.

Today, same-sex couples from the Capital Region and beyond will head to Albany City Hall to ask City Clerk John Marsolais for marriage licenses. Marsolais, like other city clerks around the country, said he's going to turn them down.

For same-sex couples already planning to wed, it will be a big roadblock in their quest for a legal marriage but not the end of their journey. With state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer already advising that New York law does not allow marriages between same-sex partners, couples said they're prepared for disappointment today.

"We're expecting that," said Nora Yates, 26, of Albany, who plans to wed her girlfriend of five years, Erika Lewis, in September. "We have the support of our friends and family and the support of our workplace colleagues and everybody locally, so this is the last part. But it won't change the ceremony."


Déjà vu all over again for Mass. gay activist
Isaacson once embraced civil unions, now fights for marriage
Gay men and lesbians in Massachusetts would be hard pressed to find a more tireless advocate for gay rights than Arline Isaacson, co-chair of the Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus.

Emerging this year as one of the leading voices opposing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, Isaacson has actually been lobbying on behalf of gay rights in the Bay State for nearly 25 years and shows no signs of quitting anytime soon.

Josh Friedes, political director for the Massachusetts Freedom to Marry Coalition, calls her “the most brilliant tactician” he has ever worked with in his nearly 20 years of public advocacy.

“Arline has an intimate knowledge of every legislator and is therefore able to craft persuasive arguments for each individual legislator,” Friedes said. “One doesn’t develop this kind of knowledge overnight, and Arline’s power in the legislature and the respect that people have for her outside the building is based in part on her historical knowledge not only of legislators but of past legislative battles.”


Activists say focus amendment fight on Constitution, not gays
Panelists say public debate should not focus on gay marriage itself
Activists at a Human Rights Campaign Houston forum on gay marriage argued that the best way to fight a federal amendment banning gay marriage was to focus on the Constitution and not on the more controversial issue of gay marriage itself.

While the discussion, last Tuesday at Stages Repertory Theatre, served as an introductory dialogue into the issue of the proposed Constitutional amendment, some lesser known, underlying issues gave attendees more to consider.


Former pastor wants conviction reversed
By Denise Smith Amos
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MAUMEE, Ohio: - A panel of Presbyterian Church (USA) leaders is expected to deliberate today in the case of a minister found guilty of marrying same-sex couples in his former church.

The Rev. Stephen Van Kuiken, 45, former pastor of Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, argued before a 10-member judicial commission Thursday that his conviction should be overturned. He has said that ministers have a right to call union ceremonies of gay couples "marriages."


Refused license, 2 women wed by minister outside courthouse
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) -- Minutes after a clerk refused them a marriage license, two women recited their vows and were wed by a minister just outside the Oakland County courthouse.

Heidi Barnette, 30, and Angela Kurtz, 24, of Clarkston also tried to get a marriage license in February.

"You didn't think it was going to be different, did you?" Barnette asked onlookers at Thursday's ceremony.

The ceremony, performed by the Rev. Deb Dysert of Clarkston's Divine Peace Metropolitan Community Church, was held to highlight "International Day of Clergy Support For Same-Sex Marriage."


Parents demand rights for gay children
 The only people more concerned that gays and lesbians be granted the privilege of saying “I do” are their parents, according to several Boca Raton moms who say they want to see their children awarded the same rights as everyone else.

Mother and PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) representative Carol Benowitz spoke Wednesday night to the Democratic Club of Greater Boca Raton Wednesday about the dreams she has for her son.

Although Neil Benowitz has been with his boyfriend Paul for more than 13 years and the couple has even celebrated their union with a commitment ceremony, the two do not have the right to get married in the state of Florida.

Along with marriage comes more than 1,000 rights, said Benowitz, who is disgusted by the denial of those privileges her son and his partner, and even more so by the potential of President Bush’s endorsed amendment to the constitution to ban gay marriage.

Church lawyers mull benefits for same-sex spouses
By Eric Convey
Lawyers who represent the state's four Catholic dioceses are exploring whether the church could or should offer health care coverage to same-sex spouses of employees who obtain civil marriages after a court ruling scheduled to take effect May 17.

     ``We're still looking at it. . . . We don't have a legal response yet,'' said Gerald D'Avolio, an attorney who is executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the church's lobbying arm.

     Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley told reporters yesterday he was waiting to hear what the conference lawyers conclude.

     Because the archdiocese is self-insured - the church pays claims from its own resources - it will not be bound by state regulations requiring that companies offer similar benefits to all spouses, a spokesman for the state Division of Insurance said.


Across U.S., gay couples exchange vows
SARASOTA -- Wearing rose corsages, Bonnie Alberti and Wendy LaChaunce stepped into the court clerk's office Thursday morning and asked for the one document they knew they couldn't get: a marriage license.

The 50-year-old health-care professionals and another lesbian couple exchanged vows a few minutes later in a courtyard outside the clerk's office.

Hundreds of same-sex couples took part in similar ceremonies across the country Thursday in celebration of the International Day of Clergy Support for Same-Sex Marriages.

The event is sponsored by the Metropolitan Community Church, a California-based denomination that claims more than 43,000 members in 22 countries. Its clergy perform more than 6,000 same-sex marriages annually.


great a hate rally.. its so retro.. I wonder if hitler or bush will be there?

Gay-marriage foes to rally at Safeco
By Lornet Turnbull
Seattle Times staff reporter
Perhaps it's fitting that the biggest showdown over Washington's escalating battle on gay marriage should play out at a 47,000-seat ballpark.

The lines are being drawn in what could be a lengthy social, legal and political fight between the state's proponents of same-sex marriage and their adversaries.

A contingent of multifaith clergy members will lob a key pitch tomorrow, hoping to fill Safeco Field from noon to 2 p.m. for what they've termed a Mayday for Marriage rally.

The organizers, a group of area pastors using TV ads and a public-relations firm, have booked national pro-family speaker James Dobson, who has called the consequences of losing the gay-marriage fight "dire."


Homosexual themes unaltered in student play
By Ryan M. Melton
Daily Staff Writer
A play involving homosexual themes and expletive language will go on in a modified form, after negotiations settled concerns between students and the administration of Ames High School.

"Pillow Talk," a play written by Peter Tolan, was selected as a one-act play directed by Ames High senior William Woods, 17. It will be performed along with several other one-act plays.

The play revolves around a field trip two heterosexual male characters go on that results in the two having to share one bed. While laying in the bed, the two characters discuss homosexuality, before hugging and going to sleep.

Carol Kenealy, spokeswoman for the Ames Community School District, said the play will be allowed to take place May 11, 13 and 14, with the questionable language excised from the performance. However, she said any scenes involving homosexual themes were not modified.


First, Treat No Homos
Hypocritic Oath
by Richard Goldstein
Should a physician be allowed to turn you away if you're gay? Sounds like a no-brainer—but not if you live in Michigan.

Michigan's House of Representatives passed a bill last week that permits doctors and other health care providers to walk away from a procedure, treatment, or prescription that violates their religious beliefs. The Conscientious Objector Policy Act, which was pushed by the state's Catholic Conference—and opposed by Michigan's Medical Society—clearly applies to abortions and morning-after pills. But its broad wording could cover other medical situations, such as stem-cell research. The bill bar physicians from denying patients access to contraception, and it forbids discrimination against groups mentioned in the state civil rights law.

Guess which group is excluded from that statute?

"I believe there's a loophole big enough to drive a Mack truck through," said Chris Kolb, Michigan's only openly gay representative. Supporters of the bill are quick to deny this contention—but also loath to add sexual orientation to the bill's protected categories. "I don't think this legislation is the way to address that," Scott Hummel, a Republican lawmaker, told CNN. The Michigan statehouse is dominated by Republicans, which is why Kolb thinks the bill will pass the state senate as well. But the governor, Jennifer Granholm, is a Democrat. She's regarded as gay friendly, but Kolb says he can't be sure she will veto the legislation. Granholm's office released a statement declaring the bill "too broad" as it stands, but adding, "We are sympathetic to this issue and will work with the legislature to develop a version . . . that we all support."


Delray may give $15,000 to Boy Scouts despite group's anti-gay stand
By Leon Fooksman
While some cities, schools and private agencies have criticized or withdrawn support for the Boy Scouts over its anti-gay policy, Delray Beach is considering giving the organization money to hire organizers to create scouting activities for children in the city's poorest neighborhoods.

Gulf Stream Council of the Boy Scouts of America has requested up to $15,000 from Delray Beach to start programs for at least 150 boys attending Village Academy, which offers small classes, after-school and social services for families in the southwest section. The group tried to run activities there about two years ago but couldn't find enough parents and residents willing to volunteer.
The Scouts has been in the spotlight since 2000 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the group has the right to exclude gays. Nationwide and locally, some government agencies have refused to give the Scouts money, citing rules preventing the use of tax dollars for groups that discriminate.



and if HRC.. can not include everyone.. they do not deserve to be around and they are just like like the fascist in power...

Transgender group to protest outside HRC headquarters

A transgender advocacy group unhappy with what it claims is the routine exclusion of transgendered people from pro-gay legislation proposed to Congress will picket outside the national headquarters of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C., on April 30. "For over a decade HRC has continued to view the transgendered as too costly for them to deal with," said an unnamed spokesperson for the Transexual Menace. "It's long past time for this to change." Despite adding the phrase gender expression and identity into its mission statement back in March 2001 as characteristics that deserve equality, HRC has consistently supported only a transgender-excluded version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a Menace statement read. HRC also still supports the exclusion of transgendered people from federal hate-crimes legislation, it said.

Steven Fisher, communications director for HRC, told that his group has consistently supported transgender-inclusive legislation. "We have ongoing dialogues with transgender leaders," he said. "We want an open and honest dialogue. We want to meet with everyone. We're in an environment where Congress is generally hostile to a lot of our concerns. So we have to work together to fight for equality."


Gay marriage ban resurfaces
Newly proposed amendment also would outlaw civil unions
By John Hanna - Associated Press Writer
TOPEKA — House and Senate negotiators agreed Thursday that a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution banning gay marriage also should deny legal recognition to other same-sex arrangements such as civil unions.

The language in the amendment is backed by religious conservatives who were angered by the Senate's defeat last month of a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriages only.

"It sounds like they're coming out with a strong amendment to put before the people," said the Rev. Terry Fox, senior pastor at Wichita's Immanuel Southern Baptist Church. "Frankly, we will not compromise on anything less than a strong amendment."

The new legislation is similar to a proposed amendment adopted in March by the House. Two-thirds of both chambers must approve the same language for the proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution to be placed before voters in November.


this is a evol little man...who needs to be voted out of office..

Mass Gov Sends Gay Marriage Letters
by Margo Williams Newscenter
(Boston, Massachusetts)  Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney Thursday sent out letters to to the governors and attorneys general of all other states telling them that unless they say otherwise he will block same-sex couples from their states from marrying in Massachusetts. 

Gay and lesbian couples will be able to marry in Massachusetts as of May 17, but Romney announced earlier this week that he would invoke a 1913 law which says that the state cannot marry an out-of-state couple if that marriage would be "void" in the couple's home state.  

The law had been created to prevent mixed race marriages and has not been used since the Supreme Court ruled that banning interracial marriage was unconstitutional in 1967.

"It is our view that same-sex marriage is not permitted under the laws of any other state in the nation," the Republican governor's letter says. 


its time to walk up.. this is a fascist country .... its time to seek asylum in other countries before its to late..

Anti-Gay Medical Bills Spread To Other States
by Paul Johnson Newscenter
(Washington, D.C.) Legislation that could be used by doctors and nurses who object to homosexuality to deny gays treatment or prescription drugs is now being considered in six states.

The Michigan house last week passed the Conscientious Objector Policy Act.  The legislation would allow health care providers to assert their objection within 24 hours of when they receive notice of a patient or procedure with which they don't agree. However, it would prohibit emergency treatment to be refused.

The bill is now before the Senate Committee on Health Policy

Similar legislation is being considered in Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.


New Hampshire House Passes Gay Marriage Ban
by Newscenter Staff(
Concord, New Hampshire)  The New Hampshire House Thursday passed legislation that would bar the state from recognizing same-sex marriages.  A similar bill was passed by the Senate last month.  

The two bills must be merged into a single piece of legislation to overcome differences in the wording and then receive approval by the two houses before going to the governor for signing. The House version would allow for the possibility of civil unions. 

New Hampshire already defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, but makes no reference to other marriages performed outside of the state.

Supporters say the legislation is needed to prevent gay couples crossing the state line, marrying in Massachusetts and then going to court in New Hampshire to have their marriages declared legal at home. 


Virginia Is Not for GLBT Lovers
Virginia’s antigay legislature recently passed a law to keep gay and lesbian couples from sharing any of the benefits that should come with long-term partnership. Now the state’s only openly gay lawmaker speaks out against the move.
By Adam Ebbin
An exclusive
The Virginia house of delegates passed the nation’s most restrictive law against same-sex partnerships last week. It was a painful end to my first session as an openly gay member of the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere. 

People back home keep asking me how I’m treated in the capitol, expecting me to say that I have been marginalized, harassed, and ridiculed by colleagues. But I haven’t personally been treated poorly at all. I serve on three important committees and am the only freshman legislator with a capitol view from my office window. I had three bills pass the house this year—not a bad start. I even landed an excellent seat on the house floor, while most of my fellow freshmen are stuck in the chamber’s far corners. 

Now for the bad news: In spite of my state’s “Virginia Is for Lovers” marketing slogan, it is not welcoming toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. The northern part of the state may be home to progressive local governments and vibrant hi-tech businesses, but our state government is slow to face reality and acknowledge that our residents are not just a bunch Ozzies and Harriets. Virginians have a long history of blocking important civil rights gains. After the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954, which outlawed segregated schools, some areas engaged in “massive resistance” and closed public schools for two years rather than admit blacks. In the 1960s it took a Supreme Court ruling to strike down Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage. We were also the last of the 50 states to allow state-backed mortgages for people who are not related by marriage or blood. Republican delegate Dick Black led an effort this year to repeal the statute, calling its beneficiaries “irregular households.” 

And there’s more. Virginia remains the only state that does not allow insurance companies to sell health insurance to private companies for coverage of employees’ non-blood-relatives, such as domestic partners. The general assembly passed a resolution calling on Congress to amend the Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage. The house sought to deny undocumented immigrant children the ability to enroll in colleges and universities, resisted the idea of providing factual information on emergency contraception to young rape victims, and showed support for assorted regressive measures that run contrary to enlightened thinking. 


Equality Forum hosts rally for same-sex couples

There are 1,138 federal protections and benefits denied to same-sex couples because of a lack of marriage rights. As a result, same-sex couples who have been together for at least one year are invited to join Equality Forum, a global gay rights organization, in Philadelphia on May 2 for a special celebration and rally for same-sex couples. The event will coincide with SundayOUT, the Philadelphia region's largest annual GLBT street festival. The first 1,138 couples to register will be given a rainbow balloon and asked to wear a heart on their shirts with the number of years they have been together. After a 20-minute ceremony the couples will release their balloons as stars for marriage equality.

Equality Forum 2004 is taking place in Philadelphia now through May 2. Eighty regional, national, and international organizations are participating in 57 events, with over 40 programs that are free and open to the public. Eight national organizations, including the Freedom to Marry Project and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, will be in Philadelphia to discuss marriage equality for gays and lesbians. This year's featured nation is Canada.


Dollywood’s request angers gay organizers
The Dollywood theme park has asked a gay and lesbian group to immediately stop advertising ''Gay Day at Dollywood'' for an upcoming event that attracted about 1,000 gays and lesbians, mainly from Tennessee, last year.

The Dollywood attorney's letter, paraphrased and forwarded by activists to fellow gays and lesbians via e-mail around the state and nationwide, has sparked anger.

''What are we supposed to say, 'I'm going to the theme park run by the woman with the big breasts?' '' asked Belle Meade resident Michael Romanello, 56. Romanello says he sent out about 200 e-mails to friends on the East Coast yesterday urging them to head to Pigeon Forge for the May 22 event in a gesture of defiance.

Dollywood spokesman Pete Owens said the park was not trying to stop anyone from attending. He said the request was a standard one sent out to anyone in regard to trademark violations. Similar requests have gone out to about two dozen groups, such as tour operators and hotels, who have used the Dollywood name or logo without permission, he said.


Attorney for New Mexico clerk launches gay marriage Web site

An attorney for Sandoval County, N.M., clerk Victoria Dunlap has launched a new Web site detailing the controversy the clerk stirred up by issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. The site includes discussion about same-sex marriage and the law in New Mexico, in addition to other parts of the country where the debate continues. The site also includes Dunlap's reply to the latest attempt by Atty. Gen. Patricia Madrid to maintain a temporary restraining order prohibiting the clerk from issuing any more same-sex marriage licenses. Dunlap alleges in the reply that the order was improperly obtained and continues to be improperly maintained. "They just can't leave a restraining order blocking us that way," said Paul Livingston, Dunlap's attorney. "The use of a restraining order isn't to stop the rights of the people, especially in a state where, it is my contention, same-sex unions are favored and not prohibited."

A status conference is scheduled for May 7 before state district judge Louis McDonald. McDonald has said the conference will help him get up to speed on the controversial case. He's expected to decide whether to make permanent or rescind the temporary restraining order. Dunlap issued 66 marriage licenses to same-sex couples on February 20, saying state law didn't appear to define any gender constraints. Dunlap stopped later that day when Madrid issued a letter saying the licenses were invalid. When Dunlap announced in March that she would once again issue the licenses, Madrid sought the temporary restraining order.


Thursday, April 29, 2004

Gay adoption law to stay

Federal cabinet has backed away from intervening to overturn the ACT's new law that allows gay couples to adopt children - despite John Howard's strong condemnation of it.

Mr Howard signalled last month that the law might be overruled, saying: "I am against gay adoption, just as I'm against gay marriage."

But when the matter was considered again the week before last, intervention was rejected. The more ministers delved into what had at first seemed to some to be a relatively simple issue, the more complications arose. Intervention would have put the ACT at odds with Western Australia, which allows gays to adopt. Critics also pointed out that a ban might jeopardise the interests of a child in certain circumstances, such as when the child's parents died and a ban prevented adoption by a relative in a gay relationship.


Gay police 'angry at earring ban'
A police force has defended itself against charges of discriminating against gay officers after banning men from wearing earrings.

Hampshire Constabulary has introduced a new dress code that allows women to wear studs but bans male officers from sporting ear jewellery.

Gay officers are said to be angry at the change they see as discrimination.
Force bosses claim that the public does not approve of male police officers wearing earrings

Maureen Adamson, the force's director of personnel, said: "Many men who wear earrings are not gay and the policy was certainly not designed to discriminate against gay men.


Same-gender marriages planned in Sarasota, Fla.
Gay couples seek equal rights

Bradenton (Fla.) Herald
After being together for 25 years, a local lesbian couple have decided to request a marriage license.
Wendy LaChaunce and Bonnie Alberti of Sarasota expect to join three other gay or lesbian couples from East Manatee's Church of The Trinity in applying for marriage licenses this morning at the Sarasota County Courthouse.
Although the requests are expected to be denied, the church plans to perform its first-ever public marriage ceremonies in the courthouse courtyard.
"We have made peace with who we are and our God, and we believe anything less than marriage is unacceptable for us," LaChaunce said.


Bill to ban gay marriages approved by committee

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages in Alabama moved Thursday to within one step of going to Alabama residents for a vote.

The amendment that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman was approved by the House Constitution and Elections Committee on a voice vote. The measure has already passed the Senate and now goes to the House floor for possible final passage.

"The issue is to recognize how important it is to protect the institution of marriage as it has been known for 1,000 years," said Rep. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, a proponent of the measure.

The bill calls for Alabama residents to vote on the proposed amendment when they go to the polls for the Nov. 2 presidential election.


House votes to block recognition for gay marriage
Associated Press Writer
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - After an emotional and often personal debate, New Hampshire's House voted Thursday to block recognition of gay marriages.
The key 213-140 vote for the change comes in response to a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision giving gay couples the right to marry there starting May 17. Many lawmakers fear New Hampshire would be forced to honor those marriages.

The bill now goes back to the Senate for review. The Senate passed a similar version of the bill last month.

The House version also would establish a committee to look at what laws would need to be changed to make civil unions legal in the state. An attempt to change the bill strictly to a study failed by a vote of 210-143.


Anti-Gay Marriage Group Gets Petition Go-Ahead
Reported by: AP

Petitioners may begin collecting signatures to place a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 2 ballot that would require Ohio and local governments to recognize marriage as only a union between a man and a woman, the secretary of state's office said Thursday.

Attorney General Jim Petro said the proposed ballot language "is a fair and truthful statement of the measure" and the Franklin County Board of Elections certified the petitioners had collected more than 100 valid signatures of registered voters needed to begin the petition drive.

The push to add an amendment atop a state law outlawing gay marriages was prompted by this year's 4-3 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court making gay marriage legal in that state as of May 17, backers said. Gay-rights groups oppose the amendment.

The petitioners must submit 322,899 valid signatures of registered voters -- 10 percent of the total vote in the 2002 election for governor -- to Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell by Aug. 4 to qualify for the November ballot, Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo said.

City To Offer Same-Sex Marriage Blood Tests
Health Officials To Offer Service
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Cambridge will begin offering premarital blood tests on May 5 to gay couples who plan to wed after the May 17 court-ordered legalization of same-sex marriages.

The city public health department will schedule tests for any residents statewide from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 5 and 6, May 12 and 13, and May 19 and 20.

"It is our obligation to make these services available to gay and lesbian couples so they don't experience additional obstacles in exercising their right to marry," Harold Cox, the city's chief public health officer, said in a statement.


Council to weigh in on gay marriage
Gays want members to oppose constitutional amendment
By Greg Avery, Camera Staff Writer
Boulder gays and lesbians are urging the City Council to oppose a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and to encourage the county to allow same-sex couples to marry.

At a hearing last week, Boulder's Human Relations Commission members unanimously condemned a ban on same-sex marriage as clear discrimination against homosexuals.

It requested that the City Council do the same and also formally ask the county to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples.

The council is expected to take up the commission's request in late May or early June.


Anti-violence group sees more targeting of gays
By Kirk Mitchell
Violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Colorado spiked last year to 151 incidents following national news about sodomy laws and gay marriage issues, an anti-violence group reports.

The Colorado Anti-Violence Program reported Wednesday that most of the increase in bias-motivated violence happened in the second half of 2003 in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas sodomy law and the Massachusetts Supreme Court decisions concerning the legality of same-sex marriage.

"Visibility equals targeting," said Denise de Percin, executive director of the Colorado Anti-Violence Program.

But the group counts 52 arrests of people in Adams County parks in November who were charged with indecent exposure and unlawful sexual contact following sting operations.


Romney looks to Senate to delay gay marriages
By Thor Jourgensen
LYNN -- Gov. Mitt Romney on Wednesday said questions remain over preparations by city and town clerks to issue marriage licenses to gay couples beginning May 17.

     Romney told The Daily Item there is little chance he will be able to delay licenses unless the state Senate supports a delay.

     "This is my remaining best option. I can't just issue an order against clerks issuing licenses," he said.
     State officials have told justices of the peace they must marry gay couples or they will be asked to resign. They have told clerks they must not marry out-of-state gay couples who are not permitted to marry in their home states.


Maneuver allows revisiting of same-sex marriage
By JOHN L. PETTERSON The Kansas City Star
TOPEKA — After soundly rejecting a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages last month, the Senate on Wednesday set the stage for another attempt at putting the issue on the ballot.

Today, a House-Senate negotiating committee will meet to consider proposing a new constitutional amendment that would be sent to the Senate floor for another vote.

Also today, the Senate has scheduled a debate on legislation to allow casino-style gambling in Kansas. The bill would allow a handful of destination casinos. Electronic video machines, similar to slot machines, would be permitted at state-licensed racetracks and clubs operated by fraternal and veterans organizations.

Senate President Dave Kerr, a Hutchinson Republican, predicted that the traditional Senate opposition to expanded gambling was unchanged and that the bill would be rejected.


Members Of Congress Get Mother's Day Visits From Gay Families
by Paul Johnson Newscenter

(Washington, D.C.)  Members of Congress today will be reminded that Mother's Day and Father's Day includes gay families. Hundreds of PFLAG members will lobby Capitol Hill and congressional offices in districts across the country.

The key message they want to give their representatives in Washington to hear is that a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage hurts everyone -- especially children.

But, the group also will press for passage of the Local Law Enforce Enhancement Act, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Permanent Partners Immigration Act and the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act.

In addition to vigorously campaigning on these issues, the parents will share photos of their GLBT loved ones to put a human face on the issues that are often argued in abstractions in the hallowed halls of Congress. 

Robin Tyler, Executive Director

(The Equality Campaign)                                                                    

Notes from "The Front" - in the war against bigotry

If you go to the website we are beginning to list the many actions that are happening in May.  As you know, Massachusetts must begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples May 17, which is also the anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education.  However, the Governor of Massachusetts has restricted it to Massachusetts residents only.  He uses a 1913 archaic law that was meant to prevent interracial marriages from other states. 

There are many actions and rallies and protests happening in May, especially the weekend before and on May 17.  Go to

to see what is coming up in May.  If we have not listed your city yet (we are just beginning to list what is happening), let us know.  This is an historic day in the history of our movement, and we need to show our support of Massachusetts, and our outrage not just against the attempt at a Federal Constitutional Amendment, but also, the States attempting amendments as well!

The post office protests against unfair taxation of Gay Couples took place in 38 cities and were very successful!  They received a lot of press, and educated the public as to how unfair the tax system is to LGBT couples.  Thanks to the many of you who organized and participated. There are pictures and press stories of the April 15 protests on our website

Now, here is a list of the Senators who support, are thinking about supporting, or do not support the Federal Marriage Amendment...

Take Action!

Contact your senators and encourage those of them who support a constitutional amendment (the Federal Marriage Amendment) which limits marriage to a man and a woman, to NOT SUPPORT this amendment.  Please pass this on to everyone you know who believes in not using the constitution to promote bigotry.  This is not just about same-sex marriage, but about destroying the check and balance system between the courts and the politicians.  It is not about 'radical judges' but about stopping the 'radical right.' 

-Robin Tyler,


Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-4124
He supports Federal Marriage Amendment.
Co-sponsor of SJ 30

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL)
(202) 224-5744
He supports Federal Marriage Amendment.
Co-sponsor of SJ 30


Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
(202) 224-6665
The Alaska Constitution already defines marriage between one man and one woman. As a result, she believes that Alaska would not benefit from the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK)
(202) 224-3004
He has not released an official position.


Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-4521
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
(202) 224-2235
He has not taken an official position, but he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman.


Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
(202) 224-4843
She opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR)
(202) 224-2353
He currently opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment, but he has also stated that he might support it if “the need for a constitutional amendment should be clearly and convincingly demonstrated.”


Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
(202) 224-3553
She opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-3841
She opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO)
(202) 224-5941
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Sponsor of SJ 30

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO)
(202) 224-5852
Though he has not taken an official position on this issue, he has expressed some reluctance to provide support for this amendment.


Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
(202) 224-2823
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)
(202) 224-4041
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-5042
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE)
(202) 224-2441
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Senator Bob Graham (D-FL)
(202) 224-3041
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)
202) 224-5274
He has not taken an official position.


Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-3521
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Zell Miller (D-GA)
(202) 224-3643
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Co-sponsor of SJ 30


Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
(202) 224-6361
His office refused to offer a statement.

Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
(202) 224-3934
He is opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Senator Larry Craig (R-ID)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-2752
He has not taken an official position.

Senator Michael Crapo (R-ID)
(202) 224-6142
His staff stated that he would like to see the issue resolved at the state level, but he would potentially support a marriage amendment if necessary.


Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-2152
He opposes a constitutional amendment unless an “adequate case” can be made.

Senator Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL)
(202) 224-2854
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Co-sponsor of SJ 30


Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN)
(202) 224-5623
He has not taken an official position.

Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)
(202) 224-4814
He has not taken an official position.


Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-3744
He would support the Federal Marriage Amendment if necessary.

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
(202) 224-3254
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS)
(202) 224-6521
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Co-sponsor of SJ 30

Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS)
(202) 224-4774
He expressed tentative support for the Federal Marriage Amendment


Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)
(202) 224-4343
He supports a constitutional amendment, but he would like stronger language which would also prohibit civil unions.

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
(202) 224-2541
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Co-sponsor of SJ 30


Senator John Breaux (D-LA)
(202) 224-4623
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
(202) 224-5824
She opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
(202) 224-2523
She believes the Federal Marriage Amendment is premature while the Defense of Marriage Act is in effect.

Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
(202) 224-5344
She believes the Federal Marriage Amendment is premature while the Defense of Marriage Act is in effect.


Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
(202) 224-4654
She is opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)
(202) 224-4524
He has not taken an official position on the issue.


Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-4543
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator John Kerry (D-MA)
(202) 224-2742
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Senator Carl Levin (D-MI)
(202) 224-6221
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
(202) 224-4822
She has not taken an official position.


Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN)
(202) 224-5641
He would support a constitutional marriage amendment but has not publicly endorsed the current proposals.

Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN)
(202) 224-3244
He is opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS)
(202) 224-5054
He would support a marriage amendment, but he wants the language to approve of civil unions.

Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)
(202) 224-6253
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Co-sponsor of SJ 30


Senator Christopher Bond (R-MO)
(202) 224-5721
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator James Talent (R-MO)
(202) 224-6154
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Co-sponsor of SJ 30


Senator Max Baucus (D-MT)
(202) 224-2651
He has stated that his support is unlikely.

Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT)
(202) 224-2644
Senator Burns claims a 90% likelihood of support.


Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
(202) 224-4224
His office was still taking comments and suggestions and seemed to indicate that he had not developed an official position. However, when asked by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews if he would support the Federal Marriage Amendment, he replied, “No. I think the Constitution of the United States is not for those reasons.”

Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE)
(202) 224-6551
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment, claiming that a marriage amendment would infringe on states’ rights.


Senator John Ensign (R-NV)
(202) 224-6244
He is on the fence — “duly considering” the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)
(202) 224-3542
He stated that the Federal Marriage Amendment is “neither appropriate nor necessary.”

New Hampshire

Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH)
(202) 224-3324
He has not developed an official position.

Senator John Sununu (R-NH)
(202) 224-2841
He is opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment.

New Jersey

Senator John Corzine (D-NJ)
(202) 224-4744
He is opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
(202) 224-3224
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment, and supports a state’s right to allow same-sex marriage.

New Mexico

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
(202) 224-5521
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM)
(202) 224-6621
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.

New York

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-6542
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
(202) 224-4451
She opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

North Carolina

Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)
(202) 224-6342
She supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator John Edwards (D-NC)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-3154
He is opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment.

North Dakota

Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND)
(202) 224-2043
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
(202) 224-2551
He supports the existing laws (DOMA), but he would be reluctant to support the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-2315
He has not developed an official position.

Senator George Voinovich (R-OH)
(202) 224-3353
He has not developed an official position.


Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)
(202) 224-4721
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Co-sponsor of SJ 30

Senator Don Nickles (R-OK)
(202) 224-5754
He has not developed an official position.


Senator Gordon Smith (D-OR)
(202) 224-3753
He has stated that he would support the Federal Marriage Amendment if it allowed for civil unions.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)
(202) 224-5244
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)
(202) 224-6324
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Co-sponsor of SJ 30

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-4254
He has not developed an official position.

Rhode Island

Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)
(202) 224-2921
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)
(202) 224-4642
He has not developed an official position.

South Carolina

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-5972
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC)
(202) 224-6121
He has not developed an official position.

South Dakota

Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD)
(202) 224-2321
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD)
(202) 224-5842
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment, but he claims to support traditional marriage.


Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
(202) 224-4944
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Bill Frist (R-TN)
(202) 224-3344
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Co-sponsor of SJ 30


Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-2934
He supports a constitutional amendment to protect marriage.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
(202) 224-5922
She supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT)
(202) 224-5444
He stated that he would only support a constitutional amendment as a last resort.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman
(202) 224-5251
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Co-sponsor of SJ 30


Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT)
(202) 224-5141
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member
(202) 224-4242
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Senator George Allen (R-VA)
(202) 224-4024
He would support a constitutional amendment as a last resort to defend marriage.

Senator John Warner (R-VA)
(202) 224-2023
He has not developed an official position.


Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
(202) 224-3441
She opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
(202) 224-2621
She opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment and vocally supports same-sex “marriages.”

West Virginia

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)
(202) 224-3954
He has not developed an official position.

Senator John Rockefeller IV (D-WV)
(202) 224-6472
He has not developed an official position, but he would not rule out the possibility of supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-5323
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member
(202) 224-5653
He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY)
(202) 224-3424
He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Co-sponsor of SJ 30

Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY)
(202) 224-6441
He has not developed an official position.


Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The struggles that lie ahead
Turn up the heat for gay marriage
By Elizabeth Schulte

A COMMITTEE of the California State Assembly voted 8 to 3 April 20 to approve legislation that would amend the state family code to define marriage as between "two persons" instead of between a man and woman.

This is the first time that a state legislative body has voted in favor of a law that would legalize marriage for gays and lesbians. Nearly 14 years ago, a gay marriage bill introduced in the California legislature died without so much as a vote. But a wave of gay and lesbian marriages in San Francisco, New York and Oregon--in defiance of state laws--and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision overturning a ban on same-sex marriage have forced the issuing into the national spotlight. More than 4,000 same-sex couples got married in San Francisco beginning February 12 before state officials forced an end in early March.

The committee vote on the new legislation is a victory for gay rights activists, but the bill has a long way to go before it becomes law.

Meanwhile, an Oregon judge has ordered Multnomah County officials to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. But at the same time, the judge ordered authorities to recognize 3,000 licenses that had already been issued.

Police chiefs have a diverse strategy to iron out prejudices
LUCY ADAMS, Home Affairs Correspondent
SCOTTISH police forces are to try to combat the scourge of prejudice by recording all crimes of hatred for the first time. The police diversity strategy – to be launched tomorrow – also will encourage forces to recruit more officers from under-represented groups including lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) and disabled people.


Study: Murder Rate for Gays and Lesbians Triples Staff
Bay Area murders of gay, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people tripled in 2003, according to a new report.

The Community United Against Violence says the rate went from just two murders in 2002 to up to six in 2003. But the overall rate of other hate-related violence against gays actually dropped, the study said. There were 357 reported incidents in 2002, but in 2003 there were 317.
The study did not find any increase in hate crimes linked to the growing legal and political debate over gay marriages.