poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Marriage protest set for District
Couples to demand licenses; GLAA calls effort ‘misguided’

In a rebuke to two of D.C.’s more prominent gay rights groups, a small band of local gay activists is planning a protest in which same-sex couples will apply for marriage licenses at the D.C. Superior Courthouse on May 17, the day the nation’s first state-sanctioned gay marriages are set to begin being issued in Massachusetts.

The group, known as Don’t Amend-D.C., is organizing the protest, despite efforts by members of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club and the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance to persuade Mayor Anthony Williams and the City Council to avoid any same-sex marriage initiatives until after the November election.

“The No. 1 purpose of this rally is to raise the visibility of the issue, and to say without dispute that there are couples in D.C. ready for us to move forward on this issue,” said David Mariner, one of the group’s organizers. “We have a supportive City Council and a supportive mayor, so what are we waiting for?”

Williams and at least eight of the 13 City Council members have indicated they support extending marriage benefits to gay couples in the District. But members of GLAA and the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club have asked the city to delay addressing the issue because of fears that conservative members in Congress might retaliate against the city by banning gay marriage in the D.C. Charter and possibly rolling back pro-gay measures already on the books.


Backers of amendment forbidding gay marriages to collect signatures

COLUMBUS - Backers of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in Ohio will start collecting signatures this morning to put the issue on the Nov. 2 ballot.

"We believe the faith community will weigh in on this big time," said Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values. "Most people in the faith community see marriage as God-ordained."

A coalition called the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage faces an Aug. 4 deadline to collect at least 322,899 signatures of registered voters.

So far, 22 groups including members of the Christian Coalition of Ohio, the American Family Association, Focus on the Family, and the Family Research Council will take part in the petition drive, Mr. Burress said.


Gay Day, provoked by Tennessee county's gay ban, helps woman end her secrecy
BILL POOVEY, Associated Press Writer --

More than 400 people turned out Saturday for a Rhea County Gay Day celebration prompted by the county commission's vote to ban homosexuals and have them arrested for "crimes against nature."

That commission vote in March, although reversed two days later, changed Diana Cunningham's life.

"It enraged me. That meant they were going to ban me," Cunningham said at Saturday's celebration at a park.

Cunningham, of nearby Spring City, said the gay day gathering allowed her to "go one step further in admitting who I am," after knowing for more than 30 years that she is a lesbian.


Gay Germans settling into civil unions
3 years into law, debate still rages on how far rights should go
01:59 PM CDT on Saturday, May 8, 2004
By TOD ROBBERSON / The Dallas Morning News

BERLIN – The gnarly pair of deer antlers hanging over Lukas and Alexander's dining room conveys the clear message that this is an apartment where real men live.

The pink, orange and purple wallpaper covering an adjacent wall leaves little doubt that this is also a place where real gay men live, Alexander conceded with a laugh.

As lifetime partners who have exchanged vows in a civil union, Alexander and Lukas now get to share most of the advantages and responsibilities that married heterosexual couples have under German law. But, also like married couples, their shared lives involve some serious compromises when it comes to important decisions, such as the personal touches that make a dwelling a home.

"I'm more into the stylish things," Alexander said of his preference for the colorful wallpaper, although he insisted that "we chose it together."


Using the Courts to Wage a War on Gay Marriage
LONGWOOD, Fla. — The map that hangs above Liberty Counsel's weekly planning meeting measures the small firm's national reach, with color-coded tabs marking the status of 33 active cases in 13 states.

Their agenda: stop same-sex marriage by using the courts.

From an unmarked beige tin warehouse near a railway line at an address they insist on keeping secret, Liberty Counsel has employed a range of legal tactics to fight same-sex marriage across the country

"This is the central command center for the defense of traditional marriage against the same-sex marriage movement," said Mathew D. Staver, president, general counsel and founder of the firm. "We will use every means the law can provide."


Experts leery of new Va. anti-C.U. law
Ban on contracts between gay couples may be unconstitutional

RICHMOND, Va. — By adding the words “civil union” to its Defense of Marriage Act, Virginia joined the ranks of two other states officially and specifically banning the legal alternative to same-sex marriage.

But additional language in the Virginia legislation far surpassed even Texas and Nebraska — as well as the other 47 states — in the limitations it placed on legal recognition of same-sex couples, according to national advocacy groups.

The Marriage Affirmation Act, passed by the Virginia General Assembly late last month and set to become law in July, outlaws “any partnership contract or other arrangements that purport to provide the benefits of marriage,” in addition to prohibiting the state from recognizing civil unions.

Both gay rights advocates and independent legal scholars agreed the nation’s now most strongly worded anti-marriage statute could have considerable impact on the ability of same-sex couples to enter into legal agreements with each

Prom fears deter gay teens

For gay teens, prom -- the spring dance of a lifetime, or at least of young people's lives -- goes beyond the usual teen angst of not fitting in or getting a date.

"I know kids at this school who are gay and they are not open. They have to lie and miss out," said Kyrie, a Beyer junior and president of the school's Gay-Straight Alliance, whose mother knows about her bisexuality, but not her dad.

Although same-sex couples are legally allowed to attend prom together, some Modesto gay teens are afraid to go because their peers might whisper and stare and their parents might disapprove, a dozen students said.

Nationwide, a growing number of gay students are bringing a date to prom or would like to do so, said Josh Lamont, communications director with the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a national, New York-based education organization fighting against harassment and violence of lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender students.


Hundreds march for gay rights in Poland

Approximately 800 gay rights activists marched through the southern Polish city of Krakow on Friday, appealing for greater understanding in the predominantly Roman Catholic country. But the march was met by about 200 counterdemonstrators, many with shaven heads, who threw stones, eggs, and firecrackers at the demonstrators, chanting "Down with gays!" and "Let's kick the homosexuals out of Krakow."

Police officers with guns and dogs kept the two groups apart, firing tear gas and shooting rubber bullets into the air when they were pelted with stones. No injuries or arrests were reported. Opposition to the march, held in the picturesque city where Pope John Paul II once served as bishop, highlights the difficulties homosexuals face in finding acceptance in conservative Poland.

Marcher Ilona Salczynska said that although Poland joined the European Union last weekend, the country still has far to go in achieving Western standards of tolerance. "We are only partly in Europe," the 23-year-old student said. "But although so many people are protesting this march, we are here. We are a little bit scared, but we are marching, and there are a lot of us."

Uproar over the march began weeks ago when news surfaced that an activist group, Campaign Against Homophobia, planned to hold the demonstration for Sunday, the day of an annual procession through the city in honor of St. Stanislaw, Poland's patron saint. The organization rescheduled the march for Friday, but conservative political parties and church groups still appealed for its ban--a stance rejected by city officials.


Preachers stoke anti-gay sentiment
Staff Writer
DAYTON, Tenn. — Eight preachers, spurred by anti-gay rights organizer the Rev. Frank Raddish of Washington, D.C., heaped fire and brimstone on ''homosexuals and sodomites'' during a five-hour preaching marathon yesterday beneath the century oaks of the historic Rhea County Courthouse.

Before the ''Amen'' of the final prayer, a preacher in the audience took exception with his fellow pastors on the program, a local gay man quietly protested the meeting's ''hate message'' and passers-by pondered what today's Gay Day in Rhea will bring — when an estimated 3,500 people plus and unknown quantity of protesters converge in Dayton.

''This is going to be a mess,'' predicted Joe Cox as he stood on the sidewalk listening to the courthouse speeches.

''I'm telling you right now, I'll probably be in jail tomorrow, because if my nephew looks at me and he says, 'Uncle Joe, what are those men doing holding hands?' I shouldn't have to explain that to my nephew. There'll be trouble,'' the Rhea County man said.


GFH students, parents object to church fliers
Tribune Staff Writer

Dozens of Great Falls High Scholl students turned the table Thursday and Friday mornings on a conservative religious group that has been distributing fliers the students consider intolerant of gays, Muslims and other groups.

The Rev. Gary Koljonen, pastor of Triumph Lutheran Brethren Church, denied that his group was forcing fliers on students and maintained the information is "biblically based, not intolerant."

With permission from Principal Fred Anderson, the GFH students stood peacefully on the campus sidewalk across 20th Street from where 15 to 20 members of the church group was passing out pamphlets all week. Some members of the church group also picket against abortion regularly at the Planned Parenthood office on 9th Street South.

Anderson said about 250 GFH students participated in the counter-protest Thursday and 100 on Friday. They held signs with messages, such as "We believe in tolerance; Why don't you?" and "Public education teaches tolerance, not hate."

Westport's Unitarian Church Hosts Same-Sex Marriage Panel

Westport's Unitarian Church, whose five ministers have recently performed marriage ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples in New Paltz, N.Y., was the scene Friday night of a panel on same-sex marriage, according to today's The Advocate of Stamford/Norwalk.

The guests included New Haven attorney Maureen Murphy; Timothy Diehl, coordinator of the Fairfield County Chapter of Love Makes a Family; and Sue Bannay, a member of the Unitarian Church's Rainbow Task Force, the newspaper said.

Murphy told the group that, right now, because gay couples are not married in Connecticut, they are not covered by 588 Connecticut statutes and 1,038 federal statutes.

"This is a civil rights issue," Murphy said.


Judge rejects claims to sue Nickels over same-sex marriages
By Lornet Turnbull
Seattle Times staff reporter
A King County Superior Court judge yesterday rejected the claims of a group of Seattle area residents who sued Mayor Greg Nickels over his executive order recognizing same-sex marriages.

Judge Bruce Hilyer said the 12 plaintiffs — who filed two lawsuits that were later merged — failed to demonstrate that their case could succeed on its merits.

"Because of the nature of this controversy, the courts would have to be very circumspect in considering issuing (a ruling) against the chief executive of the City of Seattle," Hilyer said.

In March, Nickels issued an executive order recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere and ordered city departments to extend benefits to city employees in such marriages.


Proponents of gay marriage gather to voice support for rights
By Brian Lockhart

WESTPORT -- Moregan Zale has been in a relationship with the same person for 23 years, and the two were married in 1987.

Zale said their issues are the same as those of any typical married couple. Her spouse is a person of few words, a workaholic and will not stop for directions on road trips.

Her spouse is P.J. Schimmel, a woman. Their marriage in 1987 in Washington, D.C., was symbolic and not legal.

"When talking heads say gay couples aren't legitimate marriages, they don't know what they're talking about," Zale told the audience of 27 gathered at the Unitarian Church in Westport. "After 23 years with my wife, I can tell you anything you want about marriage."


Gay marriage lawsuit delayed

Gay couples who want the right to marry in New York state will have to wait at least another month for the next round in court.

Ten couples, including Nyack Mayor John Shields and his partner, filed a lawsuit March 12 against the state Department of Health and Orangetown Town Clerk Charlotte Madigan.

The suit was filed after the couples, who have dubbed themselves "The Nyack 10," were turned down when they went to Orangetown Town Hall to apply for marriage licenses.

The state and Madigan were to file a response to the lawsuit by Monday. The Health Department obtained an extension and must now file by May 24, a spokesman for the state Attorney General's Office, Paul Larrabee, said yesterday. The Attorney General's Office is representing the Health Department in the case.


Matthew Shepard Killer Seeks Lighter Sentence
by Newscenter Staff
(Cheyenne, Wyoming) One of the men convicted of murdering Matthew Shepard five years ago should not be given a chance to argue for a lighter sentence the Wyoming Attorney General has told a court.

In a bid to avoid the death penalty, Russell Henderson pleaded guilty murder and kidnapping in Shepard's death and received two consecutive life terms without parole.

Last month Henderson filed a petition alleging the state's appellate lawyers "failed even to consult with (Henderson) regarding any of his rights as provided by law following a guilty plea."

The petition also said Henderson should be allowed to argue that his sentence was disproportionate to others serving time for similar crimes.


For gays, adoption irony
Some countries may reject married couples' applications
NATICK—Lynette Sinclair and Michelle Cote started to build a family last November when they adopted a baby girl, Alana, from Eastern Europe. The next steps, they hoped, would be to marry in a small ceremony when same-sex marriage is legalized in Massachusetts and then to adopt a sibling for their daughter.

But now the Natick couple, like many gay couples across the state, have realized they could be forced to choose between formalizing their relationship and adopting a child from overseas. Many foreign countries forbid gay couples from adoption. If a gay couple declares married on the required adoption paperwork, specialists say, the couple’s application could be rejected.

‘‘It’s not right,’’ Cote said on a recent morning as she held 18-month-old Alana in her lap. ‘‘We finally get to do something we always wanted to do, that everyone else has the right to do, but yet again we have to wait.’’

Gay couples typically get around foreign countries’ prohibitions by designating one partner as the official parent. That partner truthfully registers as single, thus avoiding the likely scenario of having the bid rejected by a country unwilling to give a baby to an openly gay couple.


Maine Gay Marriage Ban Goes To Governor For Signing
by Newscenter Staff
(Augusta, Maine)  The Maine Senate has approved legislation barring the state from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples performed outside the state. The bill has already passed the House and now goes to Gov. Elias Baldacci.

The legislation was created after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled last year that gay couples may marry.  The ruling goes into effect May 17.

Maine already has legislation barring same-sex marriage, but supporters of the new bill say the existing law leaves open the possibility of gay couples crossing the state line and marrying in Massachusetts.

The new bill, however, raises the possibility of civil unions.  


Texas School Gives In, Allows Same-Sex Prom Dates
by Newscenter Staff
(Austin, Texas) A Texas high school has suspended its policy of refusing to allow students to bring same-sex dates to the prom.

Earlier this week Lago Vista High School was threatened with a suit after 16 year old Sherrell Ingram learned she would not be able to bring her best friend, another girl, to the prom. (story)

Civil rights group People for the American Way Foundation told the school that the rule is illegal under a federal law which bans any federally funded education program from discriminating on the basis of a person's sex and that it violates the constitutional rights of  the school's gay and lesbian students.

PFAWF gave the school until Friday to rescind the regulation.
Later Friday afternoon the school said it would suspend the policy.


Episcopal Bishop Sanctioned; Wed Gay Mate
Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO - The Episcopal Diocese of California has sanctioned a retired bishop for marrying his same-sex partner during a church ceremony in San Francisco, according to a published report. The diocese has revoked the Rev. Otis Charles' license to officiate and removed him as an assisting bishop, according to an article published Thursday in The Living Church, a magazine for Episcopalians.

Charles served as Episcopal bishop of Utah for 15 years. He came out as gay following his 1993 retirement at age 67 and now lives in San Francisco.

The decision to discipline Charles was made by Episcopal Bishop of California William Swing, who has been one of the faith's most outspoken proponents of allowing gay and lesbian Episcopalians to have their unions blessed.

Charles, 78, could not be reached for comment Friday, and the San Francisco-based diocesan office said both Swing and executive officer Rev. Canon Michael Hansen were unavailable.


Protest planned

    Gay and Lesbian Democrats and their supporters plan to protest during U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson's speech at the State Democratic Convention today.

    The Stonewall Democrats voted nearly unanimously in a caucus Friday night to stand up and turn their backs to Utah's lone Democrat in Congress because he says he will vote for the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

    The move was prompted by University of Utah Lesbian and Gay Student Union President Evan Done, who said Matheson had turned his back on gay supporters.
    Caucus Chairman Mike Picardi abstained from the vote because he questioned its purpose. "He knows we're pissed already," Picardi said.

    Matheson said Friday night that he has always believed marriage is between a man and a woman, but still respects the Stonewall Democrats viewpoint. "I respect the fact that we disagree on this," he said.

Friday, May 07, 2004

I just read these headlines:
"Hookey French policeman arrested in fishnets..."

it made international news... why?
because this is a homophobic, transphobic, gendercentric, fascist government / country.. that puts forth a constant flow of gender segregation and heteronomative thinking . . and it goes unquestioned . . .

... very few want to face the facts with the recent head lines, that the assaults on Iraqi's being held against their will by the invading amkian army; sexually assaulted and humiliated with rape simulating homosexual acts is another from of this phallocentric, heteronomatic segragation and violence...

these acts are continuously reiterated in this society with the gay jokes, the transgender joke and the splashy transphobic headlines...

would it make international headlines if a french cop was arrested for drunk driving..?

no... so you have question what makes the headlines and what doesn't....

you have to question how it is represented and why?

it makes perfect sense why someone like Gwen Araujo was murdered in this country .. hate is stuffed in the minds of amrkan's from birth....


Couples mark Cinco de Mayo with vows
Christopher Lisotta, PlanetOut Network
The granddaughter of labor rights activist Cesar Chavez presided over the commitment ceremonies of seven same-sex couples on Wednesday, all within shouting distance of the California Supreme Court building.

Christine Chavez, who is straight, agreed to perform the unofficial ceremonies as part of a strategy to make Latinos more aware of GLBT rights.

"I hope this will spur a debate," Chavez told the Los Angeles Times. "I hope people will stop me on the street to talk about this. I'm going to tell them this is about championing equality for everyone, not just Latinos. We're not asking the Catholic Church to change its views. It's about changing the law."

The ceremony took place on the steps of the state Treasury Building. Chavez performed a ceremony for Terry Ortega and Linda Fergurson, a couple who are both of Latino descent.


Many Rhea Co. residents unhappy with protests
Thousands of gay-rights activists are descending on Rhea County to protest a recent commission vote to ban homosexuals. But on Friday, anti-gay activists beat them to the punch.

They traveled from as far away as Washington, D.C., armed with signs and chants supporting an ordinance that was passed then rescinded last month by Rhea County's commission to make homosexuality a crime against nature. But as residents watched these outsiders rally, they said that they're trying to put the whole controversy behind them.

Dayton church pastor Kenneth LaDuke said, "We're going to simply endure it here. The town is not involved this whole controversy."

LaDuke told News 2 that his parishoners and many other Rhea County residents don't support the idea of banning homosexuality. He also says they're embarrassed their county is now the target of protests.


Massachusetts Court Rejects Gay Marriage Challenge
BOSTON (Reuters) - Massachusetts' highest court on Friday rejected an attempt by some state lawmakers to have it dismiss its landmark ruling allowing the state to begin marrying gay couples in 10 days' time.

In a three-page order, the Supreme Judicial Court said it would not intervene in a motion to vacate its own judgment from last year that declared a state ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional.

"The motion is untimely under Massachusetts law, the case having already been decided by this court," the Supreme Judicial Court said in the order.

Conservatives have launched several efforts aimed at blocking same-sex marriages from beginning on May 17 in Massachusetts, as the court has ordered. None of the efforts has been successful.


do they not have anything better to do?

IFI Condemns Sen. Durbin for Joining Hillary Clinton at Homosexual Fundraiser for Obama
To: Metro Desk

GLEN ELLYN, Ill., May 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Illinois Family Institute Executive Director Peter LaBarbera today condemned Sen. Dick Durbin's latest embrace of the homosexual activist agenda. Durbin is joining Sen. Hillary Clinton at a "gay" fundraiser for Barack Obama in Chicago this evening.

Chicago's first openly homosexual Alderman, Tom Tunney, is co- chairing the "GLBT" (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) fundraising event for State Senator Obama's bid for Illinois' open U.S. Senate seat. Durbin and Clinton are keynote speakers at the event, held at the chic Le Passage Restaurant in Chicago at 5 p.m.


Gay Mayor Quits To Run In Federal Election  
by Newscenter Staff
(Winnipeg, Manitoba) Glen Murray the 46 year old charismatic mayor of Winnipeg announced Friday he is stepping down to run for the Liberals in the upcoming election.

Murray is the only out mayor of a major Canadian city.  

"Today is the end of one chapter of my life and the beginning of a new one," he told a city hall news conference.

Murray was first elected mayor six years ago and has been popular with voters. mayor.  A member of the New Democratic Party he had been courted by both the NDP and the Liberals.

NIGERIA: Persecuted gay community cautiously seeks a voice

ABUJA, 7 May 2004 (IRIN) - Homosexuality is a criminal offence in Nigeria, but gay rights groups made their first ever appearance at the country's fourth national AIDS conference in the capital Abuja this week.

They called on their fellow countrymen to recognise and protect Nigeria's gay community, pointing out that it has been hit hard by the AIDS pandemic.

In Nigeria, homosexual practice can carry a 14-year jail sentence under federal law. In 12 northern states that have adopted Islamic Shari'ah law, adults who are found to have engaged in homosexual intercourse can be stoned to death.

However, most of the time, people deny the existence of "MSM’s" - men who have sex with men - as male homosexuals are generally known in Nigeria.


Gay woman named to review anti-discrimination proposal
The Associated Press  
BEND - An openly gay woman has been appointed to a Bend committee that's charged with reviewing the city's proposed anti-discrimination ordinance.

If adopted, the ordinance would make it illegal to deny a gay, lesbian or transgender person a job, housing or other accommodations, such as a seat at a restaurant.

``It wasn't so much that I wanted to serve, but I knew gay people had to be represented. If I didn't offer who was going to?'' Bend business owner Sara Wiener said during a break in the meeting.

Other committee members include another member of the Human Dignity Coalition, a Bend-based equal rights advocacy group that helped craft the ordinance, business owners, a Bend Chamber of Commerce board member, two attorneys and a college president.

US politicians decry Egypt's anti-gay abuses
Christopher Curtis, Network
The ongoing protests over Egypt's abuse of gay men has reached the USA, where leading politicians have spoken out against the country's human rights record against the gay community and those they perceive to be gay.

On Thursday US Rep. Steve Rothman, D-NJ, sent a letter urging Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to eliminate all abuses against gay men.

Rothman co-authored the letter with Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Tom Lantos, D-Calif., and 41 other members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats signed it.

"We regard the repression, entrapment and torture of individuals based on their real or perceived sexual orientation to be clear human rights violations," Rothman and his colleagues wrote.


Controversial Indian film comes to UK
Ben Townley, UK
A film banned in its native India received its UK premier last night at the Manchester Commonwealth Film Festival. Pink Mirror, which focuses on drag queens and gay relationships, was banned in India because of its gay storylines and the fact that the drag queens talk in Hindi rather than English.


Fast-Track Gay Marriage Case Groups Tell Judge
by Newscenter Staff
(Seattle, Washington) Telling a state court that same-sex couples in Washington need the protections and security that marriage provides, Lambda Legal and the Northwest Women's Law Center filed court papers Friday seeking a prompt ruling in the case without a trial.

Lambda Legal and the Northwest Women's Law Center filed a lawsuit two months ago on behalf of same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses in King County, arguing that denying marriage to same-sex couples violates the state Constitution's guarantees of equality, liberty and privacy for all Washingtonians.  

The case was the first of its kind to be filed in Washington since the Massachusetts high court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to full marriage under that state's Constitution.

"Today, we're telling the court that the legal issues in this case are clear.  Couples in Washington shouldn't have to wait through a long legal process to get the protections they need, and that only marriage can provide," said Jennifer C. Pizer, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Western Regional Office. 


School district considers adding to its anti-discrimination policies

Peninsula Clarion
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is unlikely to add sexual orientation to a list of characteristics protected under anti-discrimination and harassment policies, the board implied in a work session Monday. However, additional wording to cover a range of traits may be added.

The board took up the discussion after a member of Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) addressed the board in February.

David Brown noted that the KPBSD is the largest Alaska school district to omit the term "sexual orientation" from its student and employee anti-discrimination policies.

Oregon A.G. Wants Gay Licenses Trashed
by Newscenter Staff

(Salem, Oregon) Oregon's Attorney General has asked a Portland court judge to suspend his ruling that the state must recognize more than 3,000 same-sex marriages.

Circuit Judge Frank Bearden said in an April 20 ruling that the state was acting illegally in refusing to register the marriages. Bearden also ordered that no more marriage licenses be issued to gay couples until the courts and the legislature determine how to proceed. 

In a motion filed Thursday, Attorney General Hardy Myers said that while the courts and legislature decide the future of same-sex marriage in the state the licenses of those couples already married should remain sealed.

If the legislature moves to block same-sex marriage, or if the courts rule against gay and lesbian couples, by registering the 3,000 marriages already performed there would be inequity.


Judge asked to stay gay license order

SALEM, Ore. - The state asked a Multnomah County judge Thursday to suspend his order to recognize more than 3,000 same-sex marriages, Attorney General Hardy Myers said.

The order was part of Circuit Judge Frank Bearden's overall ruling on April 20 that the state's marriage law unconstitutionally deprives same-sex couples of equal rights.

Bearden barred Multnomah County from granting more marriage licenses to homosexual couples.

But he also directed the state's vital records office to accept as valid the 3,022 same-sex marriage licenses issued by Multnomah County after it started issuing licenses to gays and lesbians on March 3.


Senate Approves Changes To Gay Marriage Bill
Committee Will Examine Civil Unions

CONCORD, N.H. -- The Senate approved changes Thursday night to legislation that would block recognition of gay marriages performed out of state.

The bill now goes to the governor. The legislation, originally proposed by Sen. Russell Prescott, was a response to a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision giving gay couples the right to marry there starting May 17.

Prescott and others argued that state law included a loophole that could force it into honoring gay marriages performed in other states if couples then moved to New Hampshire. Gay marriages are already prohibited in New Hampshire.

The House version changed Prescott's legislation, removing his definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. It also added a committee to look at what state laws need to be changed to allow civil unions between gays and lesbians.

The Senate agreed to the changes Thursday night without discussion.

Prescott said afterward he was happy that the loophole had been closed even if the wording of the bill had changed.


Transgendered Attorney Makes Partner
New York Lawyer

Civil rights and transgender activist Phyllis Randolph Frye is the first transgender attorney in the country, and possibly the world, to be made a full partner of a law firm, The Triangle reports.

Frye is joining a Houston firm headed by partners John Nechman and Jerry Simoneaux. The firm has issued a mission statement vowing to be lawyers for Houston’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community.


Message of gay activists falls upon deaf ears in Lee County and Iowa
Gerry Baksys/Staff Writer

The issue of gay marriage might be causing a stir along the coasts, but the heartland of America is still sleeping on the issue.

Rick Johnson, the state coordinator of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) but based in Burlington, said that Iowa is so far behind the times that gay marriage is not even an issue.

"Right now gay marriage isn't even on our agenda," Johnson said, "Iowa is so far behind the curve we're trying to get basic civil rights. We're trying to lobby city council to end discrimination in housing and lending issues."


Most Americans ‘dissatisfied’ with acceptance of gays
Poll shows Republicans, Democrats split on gay issues

A Gallup poll released last week shows sharp contrasts in the way Democrats and Republicans view the acceptance of homosexuality in the United States.

The poll asked participants to voice their level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with about two dozen contemporary issues, including the quality of education and the environment. For the fourth year in a row, the annual poll included a question about homosexuality. Responses were also separated by the participants’ political parties.

“Please say whether you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied … [with] the acceptance of homosexuality in the nation,” the poll asked.


Hate crimes rise nationally, but down in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — Although hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people increased nationally last year, such incidents decreased in the Bay Area, a survey released last week by a San Francisco group shows, the Bay City News reported. Community United Against Violence, a 20-year-old project that battles anti-gay crimes, worked with the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs on the new survey, the newspaper reported. The study found that there were 2,051 anti-gay crimes reported in 2003, up 8 percent from the 1,903 such incidents nationally in 2002, the Bay City News stated. In the Bay Area, however, hate crimes against gays decreased 7 percent from 357 incidents in 2002 to 317 such reported crimes last year, the News reported. But some officials fear that the reporting of incidents, not the number of actual crimes, has decreased, San Francisco Deputy Police Chief Greg Suhr said. Suhr said he hopes that the inclusion of a transgendered woman, former Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club Co-Chair Theresa Sparks, on the new city Police Commission will help with the city’s anti-violence efforts, the News reported.


Marriage protest set for District
Couples to demand licenses; GLAA calls effort ‘misguided’

In a rebuke to two of D.C.’s more prominent gay rights groups, a small band of local gay activists is planning a protest in which same-sex couples will apply for marriage licenses at the D.C. Superior Courthouse on May 17, the day the nation’s first state-sanctioned gay marriages are set to begin being issued in Massachusetts.

The group, known as Don’t Amend-D.C., is organizing the protest, despite efforts by members of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club and the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance to persuade Mayor Anthony Williams and the City Council to avoid any same-sex marriage initiatives until after the November election.

“The No. 1 purpose of this rally is to raise the visibility of the issue, and to say without dispute that there are couples in D.C. ready for us to move forward on this issue,” said David Mariner, one of the group’s organizers. “We have a supportive City Council and a supportive mayor, so what are we waiting for?”

Williams and at least eight of the 13 City Council members have indicated they support extending marriage benefits to gay couples in the District. But members of GLAA and the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club have asked the city to delay addressing the issue because of fears that conservative members in Congress might retaliate against the city by banning gay marriage in the D.C. Charter and possibly rolling back pro-gay measures already on the books.


Site urges Va. boycott over C.U. law
Seattle couple angry over new anti-gay law

A gay Web site developer and his partner have launched, a site dedicated to urging a boycott of Virginia-based companies and their products and services, in response to a recently passed anti-gay law in the state.

The site’s name pokes fun at the longtime Virginia travel slogan, “Virginia is for lovers.”

Jay Porter and his partner David Smith, both residents of Seattle, were motivated to create the Web site after the Virginia General Assembly passed a measure in April that not only prohibits the state from recognizing civil unions but also bans “any partnership contract or other arrangements that purport to provide the benefits of marriage.”

The Human Rights Campaign called the measure, “one of the most discriminatory and restrictive bills in the country.”


Gays organize locally for political voice
Staff Writer

It's been a gradual process for Jennifer Nash to feel comfortable telling people she's a lesbian, but a year of debates over gay and lesbian rights — some taking place in her hometown — has made a big difference.

Nash, 35, a Nashville resident, wants to become a lobbyist on gay and lesbian issues.

Tomorrow, she will take part in a training to learn how to be a spokeswoman, influence legislation and identify and promote candidates for political office, among other things.

The ''Institute for Leadership Change,'' as the first-time event is called, was organized by the Nashville Association of Professional Persons, or NAPP.


Lacking legal license to adopt kids jointly
Karina Bland
The Arizona Republic
Whether gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt has been a part of the ongoing national debate over same-sex marriage. The reality is, the couples are forming their own families anyway.


Gay teachers cautious
By Dana Hull
Mercury News

Teri Gruenwald wanted to share the big news that she got married with the people she works with every day: her eighth-grade students. But what she had to tell them was no simple story.

Gruenwald and her partner, Karen Cohn, who have two sons, were among the first same-sex couples to marry in San Francisco, and she worried her students at Cesar Chavez Middle School in Union City would react badly to the revelation that she was a lesbian. Instead she got smiles -- and a flurry of questions.

Said one student: ``Yeah, but does your husband know?''

``She doesn't have a husband,'' another student shot back. ``She has a wife.''

As the national debate over same-sex marriage ricochets from California to Massachusetts, students, teachers, administrators and parents are scrambling to define how to discuss the issue on campus -- and whether to incorporate the subject into lesson plans.



Whose God does Bush serve?The president should stop worshipping the God of political expediency and take a look at the God of love.

WITH HIS ENDORSEMENT of an anti-gay constitutional amendment, President Bush fired the opening shot in a brand new culture war.

This new war — launched ironically by the president who promised to be a “uniter, not a divider” — has not only divided the larger culture, but has also created a divide between faith groups.

Fundamentalist and conservative religious groups have become the foot soldiers in this new culture war — a war in which LGBT families are the declared enemy.

How did this happen, after four decades of struggle, advancement and activism for our civil rights? It’s happened in part because the president has blurred the lines that separate church and state.

Perhaps the most worrisome part of this debate is the president’s repeated appeal to “protect the sanctity of marriage.” “Sanctity” is a word with a religious connotation; it means “holy or religiously sacred.” How in heaven did our government get involved in that?


Experts leery of new Va. anti-C.U. law
Ban on contracts between gay couples may be unconstitutional

RICHMOND, Va. — By adding the words “civil union” to its Defense of Marriage Act, Virginia joined the ranks of two other states officially and specifically banning the legal alternative to same-sex marriage.

But additional language in the Virginia legislation far surpassed even Texas and Nebraska — as well as the other 47 states — in the limitations it placed on legal recognition of same-sex couples, according to national advocacy groups.

The Marriage Affirmation Act, passed by the Virginia General Assembly late last month and set to become law in July, outlaws “any partnership contract or other arrangements that purport to provide the benefits of marriage,” in addition to prohibiting the state from recognizing civil unions.

Both gay rights advocates and independent legal scholars agreed the nation’s now most strongly worded anti-marriage statute could have considerable impact on the ability of same-sex couples to enter into legal agreements with each other.


Changing mores of China

Rural China becomes the unlikely stage for a transsexual’s wedding, writes PETER HARMSEN. 

WHEN Zhang Lin was carried in a bridal sedan chair down a 300m dirt road to her future husband’s home, she was no different from generations of Chinese women before her. Except that until a year ago, Zhang was a man. 

Thousands of farmers watched with a mixture of curiosity and disbelief as the 38-year-old bride and her groom Yang Qizheng, four years her junior, celebrated their wedding last weekend deep in China’s conservative countryside. 

“It’s a bit strange,” said Liu Guifa, a peasant woman who had come to the village of Fenghuang in south-western Sichuan province to witness the country’s first public wedding of a man turned woman through a sex-change operation. 


Unionist Councillor Accused over 'Anti-Gay' Remarks
By Ian Graham, PA News
Belfast’s Lord Mayor today requested an urgent investigation into alleged homophobic comments by a prominent unionist councillor during a meeting to discuss proposals to hold a civic reception for the city’s gay community.

SDLP Mayor Martin Morgan asked the chief executive of Belfast City Council to carry out an immediate investigation into remarks said to have been made by Democratic Unionist Sammy Wilson – himself a former Lord Mayor.

U.S. used gay sex to humiliate Iraqis, reports say
Prisoner says he preferred Saddam’s torture to America’s

WASHINGTON — Muslim and gay rights leaders this week blasted U.S. military and government officials after photos emerged showing coalition forces torturing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners of war by ordering them to strip naked and, in some instances, simulate gay sex.

The photos, which were broadcast during CBS’s “60 Minutes II” program last week, show American and British troops, smiling, laughing and giving thumbs up signs as they stand next to naked prisoners stacked into a human pyramid and other positions.

One photo showed two hooded, naked prisoners, one standing and the other kneeling in front of him, simulating oral sex. Another photo showed an American solider pointing to a hooded Iraqi man masturbating.

And according to New Yorker reporter Seymour M. Hersh, who obtained a copy of a confidential, 53-page report written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba detailing the alleged abuses, Taguba notes that male prisoners were threatened with rape and one was sodomized “with a chemical light and perhaps a broomstick.” One was also reportedly forced to wear women’s underwear.


Police face £100,000 bill over transsexual job blunder
William Green

WEST Yorkshire Police is facing a six-figure bill following a five-year battle over whether a transsexual could join up as a police constable.

The force yesterday failed to persuade the House of Lords to overturn a court ruling that it sexually discriminated against the woman – known only as Ms A – by rejecting her application because she was born a man.

It claimed Ms A would have been unable to fully carry out duties as regulations required a police officer conducting body searches to be of the same sex as the person being searched.

Ms A applied to the force in January 1997 and completed an assessment course – after gender reassignment surgery in May 1996 – but was ultimately rejected in 1998


Judge denies child custody to jailed lesbian’s girlfriend
Children’s grandmother wants permanent custody
A Cobb County judge settled a custody dispute last week by granting temporary guardianship of two children whose mother is in jail to the maternal grandmother instead of the mother’s female partner.

The custody fight between the lesbian couple and the grandmother is partially due to the grandmother’s anti-gay beliefs, said Joe Habachy, attorney for Kissa Roberson, the incarcerated mother, and her girlfriend, Latrecia Davis.

“There’s no doubt from day one that she wants to take those kids away from her daughter partly because she has a problem with her daughter’s homosexuality,” Habachy said.

Davis said Cobb Juvenile Court Judge Stephen Schuster’s decision was fair and she was relieved he did not grant permanent custody to Rosa Simon-Lydick, the grandmother.


Gov: Out-of-state gay couples out of luck
By Steve Marantz
Gov. Mitt Romney [related, bio] ripped two Democratic lawmakers yesterday for attempting to ``export'' their support of gay marriage to the other 49 states where it is not legal.

     The two lawmakers - Sen. Jarrett T. Barrios of Cambridge and Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg of Amherst - are sponsoring a bill to repeal a 1913 law prohibiting out-of-state couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their marriage is not legal in their own state.

     ``Now some senators want to impose our court's unique definition of marriage on other states and citizens,'' Romney said. ``Those are the very states that have taken action to make sure our definition is not imposed on them - that's wrong.''

     But Barrios said he opposes the 1913 statute because it is discriminatory, and accused Romney of using the issue to enhance his national political profile.

     ``The governor is trying to run for president, and he wants to galvanize Republicans in other states,'' said Barrios.


House gives gay marriage ban approval
By Skip Cauthorn,
The state House of Representatives Thursday passed a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Tennessee.

The resolution, which will now travel to the Senate, would amend the constitution to say that marriage would be defined as between "one man and one woman."


Thursday, May 06, 2004

Pride at Work Commneds the New York Times on its Adoption of a Gender Inclusive Non-Discrimination Policy
WASHINGTON - May 6 - Pride At Work applauds the New York Times for adding gender identity or expression to the nondiscrimination section of its corporate H.R. policy. This move by the company follows the adoption of the same language in the Times' union contract with the Newspaper Guild (CWA) last fall. Labor Unions have a long history of protecting workers, and the work of the Newspaper Guild to uphold the rights of transgender employees is included in this tradition. Protection of gender identity and expression in the union contract was a crucial catalyst, launching the company's initiative to add it to its own policy. Addition of gender identity or expression to the New York Times Company corporate H.R. policy will include the other NYT corporateproperties- The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram, both of which are union shops.

"It is energizing to see companies that are committed to maintaining a fair and safe work environment for all employees" said Nancy Wohlforth, Co-President of Pride At Work, AFL-CIO. "Transgender workers often face ignorance, discrimination, and harassment on the job. Gender identity and expression protection clauses in union contracts are one way to combat bias, but for a company to voluntarily incorporate protections in their own guidelines is proof that the union's work has been effective."

The New York Times has a solid reputation as one of the greatest newspapers in the world. Pride At Work hopes that other newspapers will follow their lead and add these essential non-discrimination protections to their corporate policies.


It's Not Too Late to Host an 'A Night to Create Change' Event in Your Hometown
WASHINGTON - May 6 - On May 16, 2004, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans and their allies will be celebrating.

This is the historic night before Massachusetts grants equal marriage rights to same-sex couples. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is sponsoring "A Night to Create Change" so supporters of marriage equality can turn their enthusiasm into activism. The Task Force will join all the parties together in a nationwide conference call as Task Force executive director Matt Foreman gives a "State of the Unions" address. Foreman will be joined by other special guests.

It's not too late to register as a host. Hosting is a fun and easy way to raise both awareness and funds in the fight for LGBT equality. We're asking hosts to set a fundraising goal of $500 or $1,000 for their events.

For more information, go to:


Family Lobby Day set for May 11
By D'Anne Witkowski
LANSING - Michigan families will take to the Capitol on Tues. May 11 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to lobby their legislators on behalf of LGBT families.

Bev Davidson of Coalition for Adoption Rights Equality said it is important for legislators to see gay families and put a face on this issue and she added that often in the debate about LGBT people having children or adopting, the point of view of the child gets lost.

"While this really does affect gay parents and gay people this is so about the kids. Because if I, as an adult, lose a child, I have more resources to deal with my grief because I'm a grownup," said Davidson, "but kids don't."

Family Lobby Day is intentionally scheduled to take place right after Mother's Day and comes at a time when there are a number of anti-gay bills facing the Michigan legislature, including HB 5690 and HB 5691. These two bills would make it more difficult for LGBT people to adopt in the state. Another bill that has yet to be introduced would ban second-parent adoption in Michigan altogether. The state House is expected to introduce this bill for a vote in the current session.


Asian Canadians advancing equal marriage
Support will reach out to a vulnerable community.

Anyone who remembers the protests that followed last summer's arrival of same-sex marriage in Ontario and British Columbia, will recall that a sizeable, disproportionate number of the bused-in protestors were Asian Canadians. Remember those red t-shirt-clad Christian fundamentalists and extremists that were on CBC-TV?

A coalition has been formed to to ensure Asian Canadians see a gay-positive, non-discriminatory representation of their true, tolerant community. Asian Canadians for Equal Marriage (ACFEM), a Toronto-based group that has the support of the Chinese Canadian National Council of Toronto, has been formed with that purpose in mind.

ACFEM describes iteself as a "coalition of non-partisan, multi-faith organizations and individuals from diverse Asian Canadian Communities." The group actively supports human rights, including gay marriage and they're seeking further participation and involvement of like-minded organizations and individuals who are interested in:

* media monitoring
* developing of position paper
* building a diverse and multi-faith network
* organizing a speakers bureau
* public education

9-11 Fund Relents In No Will Lesbian Survivor Case
by Newscenter Staff
(Washington, D.C.) For the first time the 9-11 Compensation Fund has recognized a same-sex partner who was not a legal heir.  

Like many couples Nancy Walsh and Carol Flyzik of New Hampshire never bothered to make wills.  The longer they were together the more they put it off.  There was always something more pressing. Both women were nurses with busy careers.  Over the years they raised three children, now adults.

But on Sept. 11, 2001 Flyzik, who worked for a pharmaceutical company, was aboard the Los Angeles-bound jet that was crashed into the World Trade Center.

When Walsh first applied to the Fund for compensation she was rejected because Flyzik left no will.  She appealed and this week the Fund recognized her as Flyzik's partner and heir.

Romney vows veto of any attempt to repeal 1913 law
The Associated Press
Gov. Mitt Romney said Thursday he would veto legislation to repeal a 1913 statute that will bar out-of-state gay couples from tying the knot in Massachusetts after same-sex marriage becomes legal on May 17.

The law prohibits out-of-state residents from marrying in Massachusetts if the union would not be allowed in their home state. Because no other state affirmatively allows gay marriage, Romney has said, this means that no out-of-state gay couples can marry here.

Two Democratic senators this week proposed a budget amendment that would eliminate the statute. Three other lawmakers drafted a similar proposal last month.


State of Oregon trying to block order to register same-sex wedding licenses

SALEM – The state of Oregon is attempting to block a circuit court judge’s order that the state register same-sex marriage licenses issued by Multnomah County.

If the state were to register same-sex marriage licenses, gay and lesbian couples would be able to claim immediately benefits that might be denied in the future by the Oregon Legislature, said a prepared statement from Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers on Thursday.

Myers’ announcement on Thursday was yet another legal twist thrown into the already complicated debate over whether the state’s current marriage statutes violate the Oregon Constitution. Myers, an advisory ruling issued in March, said state statutes currently do not allow same-sex marriages -- but the statute itself may be in violation of the state Constitution.

Myers’ challenge comes after Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Frank Bearden last month ordered the state registrar to register same-sex wedding licenses granted by the county. Multnomah County had been issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples beginning early March. But Bearden ordered the county to end the practice.

In just 10 days, same-sex couples will be issued marriage licenses for the first time in Massachusetts. As the newlyweds celebrate their marriages, we know that our ultra-conservative opponents will use this historic moment to viciously attack them and all GLBT families. We - all of us who support marriage equality - must demonstrate our strength and unity at this critical time. Here's one important way you can help: Right now, almost 450,000 people have signed the Million for Marriage petition. By May 17th, we'd like to get to 500,000 - a half-million people. Please, take a minute to think of one more person that you could persuade to stand up for equality. Click here to send them a message right now:

Tennessee Anti-Gay Bill Passes House
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: May 6, 2004 5:08 p.m. ET
(Nashville, Tennessee) A bill to amend the Tennessee Constitution to ban same-sex marriage has passed the state House of Representatives.

Tennessee already has legislation blocking gay marriage but supporters of the amendment say it could be overturned by judges.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Bill Dunn ( R-Knoxville) said he does not trust the state courts. Dunn said the Tennessee Supreme Court has a reputation for legislating from the bench.

Anti-bias committee is selected
By Eric Flowers
The Bulletin
At the urging of gay-rights advocates, Bend city councilors Wednesday night created an additional position for an openly gay woman on a committee charged with reviewing the city's proposed anti-discrimination ordinance.

Sara Wiener, a Bend business owner and lesbian, was the final person added to the list of people who will be asked to review the city's proposed law. If adopted, the ordinance would make it illegal to deny a gay, lesbian or transgender person a job, housing or other accommodations, such as a seat at a restaurant.

Wiener said she had sent a letter to Mayor Oran Teater and Councilor John Hummel, who sponsored the ordinance. However, her name did not appear on the list of people who had volunteered for the committee, which was provided to other councilors at the meeting. When the council was challenged at Wednesday night's meeting by a member of the audience about not having a gay person on the committee, Wiener again volunteered to serve.

"It wasn't so much that I wanted to serve, but I knew gay people had to be represented. If I didn't offer who was going to?" Wiener said during a break in the meeting.

FCPS Considers Anti-Hate Policy Change
By Brian McNeill

Two years ago, the Fairfax County School Board found itself in the midst of an emotional debate over whether or not "sexual orientation" should be included in the school system’s nondiscrimination policy.

After a decision by Attorney General Jerry Kilgore in November 2002, the initiative was effectively killed. The school board, Kilgore said, was legally prohibited from protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination without a legislative act by the General Assembly.


WASHINGTON D.C. -, one of the leading organizations working to prevent the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution, was the victim of a computer hacking attack on April 29, forcing the organization to temporarily shut down its huge email list of close to 20,000 people. The list was turned into an open posting system by the hacking, with literally 20,000 people being copied on routine administrative messages, causing a cascade of spam into subscribers' email boxes. has issued an apology to its subscribers and a plea for financial support so that they can get the now secured list up and running on a new server.

Hundreds stand up against Bush
By Sarah Mieras
KALAMAZOO - A tight line of more than one hundred state and local police cross Sprinkle Road on Kalamazoo's southeast side. Behind them police mounted on horseback move in creating a wall in front of the entrance to Wings Stadium. A voice rings out into a crowd of close to a thousand people carrying picket signs and coffins draped in American flags.

"Sprinkle road is now a police zone. If you step off the curb you will be forcefully arrested."

The air of silence over the city is broken for the first time all day as military helicopters circle overhead.

"This is now a police state, if you step off the curb you will be arrested."

Minister blocks France's first gay marriage
PARIS, May 5 (AFP) - French Justice Minister Dominique Perben called Wednesday on judicial authorities in the southwest city of Bordeaux to block a marriage between homosexuals planned for next month.

"If such a marriage is organised there are two possibilities," he told the National Assembly.

"Either the public prosecutor objects before it takes place and the parties concerned seek a decision from the courts. Or the prosecutor demands it (the marriage) be deemed null and void after it has taken place.

"I have already asked the prosecutor to object."


Governor Says Massachusetts Is No Gay Las Vegas

BOSTON (Reuters) - Massachusetts should not become the Las Vegas of gay marriage, Gov. Mitt Romney said on Thursday as he vowed to block efforts to repeal a law that bars the state from marrying homosexual couples from out of state.

Less than two weeks before gay marriage is set to become legal in Massachusetts, Romney drew an analogy between his state and the Nevada gambling capital known for quickie weddings.

"Massachusetts should not become the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage," Romney, a Republican who opposes homosexual marriage, told reporters.


Is Ghana Ready for Gay Rights?
Accra is asleep at 10 pm on a Saturday night, but in and around the suburb of Adabraka, men are gathering at Strawberry, a well-known gay (homosexual) friendly nightspot. The men mingle discreetly, aware that if they are discovered they could face discrimination, blackmail, imprisonment and torture.

Ghana's criminal code, in sexual offences article 105, states that "whoever is guilty of unnatural carnal knowledge - (a) of any person without his consent, is guilty of first degree felony; or (b) of any person with his consent, or of any animal, is guilty of a misdemeanor." This law, a relic of repressive British sodomy laws, groups homosexuality with bestiality, assault and rape, and brings a minimum misdemeanor charge for gay activity.

The Acting Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) , Mrs. Anna Bossman, said the government should look at decriminalizing homosexuality. "Engaging in these practices is not currently legal. It may be said that this is a form of discrimination. Why would you criminalize actions between two consenting adults?" she asked.

Judge Rules Gay Couple May Sue for Discrimination
Michael Christopher Bryan

In a decision issued yesterday, a California federal district court judge ruled a lawsuit filed against, accusing the company of discriminating against same-sex couples, can proceed to trial.

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled San Jose, Calif. residents Rich and Michael Butler could sue under a California law which prohibits discrimination by businesses based on sexual orientation. is the largest adoption-related Internet business in the U.S.
Among other for-profit services, permits prospective adoptive parents to post their personal profiles in hopes of connecting with potential birth mothers.


National Leaders to Address 'Gay Marriage' Battle in Chicago
Thursday May 6, 10:00 am ET
CHICAGO, May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- National leaders in the movement for equal marriage rights, Patricia Ireland, Mayor Jason West, Rev. Pat Bumgardner and Robin Tyler, will address "The Battle for Marriage Equality" at 7 PM on Friday, May 7, 2004, at the Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence Avenue, Chicago.

Will N.J. Be Next Gay Marriage State?
by Beth Shapiro Newscenter
(Trenton, New Jersey) A suit challenging a New Jersey law that prevents same-sex marriage will be heard by the state Court of Appeals.

The appeal brief was filed today by Lambda Legal on behalf of seven lesbian and gay couples seeking full marriage.

The suit began in 2002 and is based solely on the New Jersey Constitution. "New Jersey's Constitution requires the state to treat everyone equally, and gay couples aren't treated equally as long as they can't marry," said David Buckel, director of Lambda Legal's Marriage Project and lead attorney in this case.

The appeal follows a lower-court decision late last year in favor of the state, just as the lower court ruled in Massachusetts before that state's high court ruled that same-sex couples must receive marriage licenses starting May 17.

Bush prayer event on cable, satellite TV
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle News Services

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's participation in a
National Day of Prayer ceremony with evangelical
Christian leaders at the White House will be shown
Thursday night, for the first time in prime-time
viewing hours, on Christian cable and satellite TV
outlets nationwide. For the president, the broadcast
is an opportunity to address a sympathetic evangelical
audience without the risk of alienating secular or
non-Christian viewers, since it will not be carried in
full by any of the major television networks.
Wright, president of the National Association of
Religious Broadcasters, said more than a million
evangelicals are expected to see the broadcast.

this is not justice; justice will be when there are no more killings and all this hate stops...

120 Years In Prison For Killing Trans Teen & Friend
by Newscenter Staff

(Indianapolis, Indiana) An Indianapolis man was sentenced to 120 years in prison Wednesday for the killings of 17 year old trans teen Nireah Johnson and her friend, Brandie Coleman, 18.

Prior to sentencing Paul Moore, 21, told judge Robert Altice that he was innocent. But in delivering his ruling Altice said that the teenagers were gunned down execution style. 

"They were shot in the front of the head, so both victims were able to observe their last fleeting moments as Mr. Paul Moore pulled the trigger," Altice said. "The fact that (Johnson) was killed because he was different was the only reason."


Gay marriage lawsuit delayed

Gay couples who want the right to marry in New York state will have to wait at least another month for the next round in court.

Ten couples, including Nyack Mayor John Shields and his partner, filed a lawsuit March 12 against the state Department of Health and Orangetown Town Clerk Charlotte Madigan.

The suit was filed after the couples, who have dubbed themselves "The Nyack 10," were turned down when they went to Orangetown Town Hall to apply for marriage licenses.

The state and Madigan were to file a response to the lawsuit by Monday. The Health Department obtained an extension and must now file by May 24, a spokesman for the state Attorney General's Office, Paul Larrabee, said yesterday. The Attorney General's Office is representing the Health Department in the case.


Note to Senate: Gay rights bill isn't going away, so deal with it

Members of Delaware's General Assembly must have realized they wouldn't get through this year's session without more pressure to deal with House Bill 99, the measure that would include sexual orientation on the list of traits that can't be used to discriminate against individuals.


Omaha officers seek same-sex benefits

"It is heartbreaking," said Officer Anna Doyle, who is raising an 11-month-old son with her domestic partner. "I'm willing to take the risks that go with this job - that is my choice. But I am not willing to let anyone tell me that my partner and my child are not worthy of the same benefits that protect my fellow officers' families."

Tim Andersen, the police union president, told the council Tuesday that the union decided to drop the proposed funeral and family sick leave benefits recognizing same-sex domestic partners because of concerns about potential litigation. Some union members thought the benefits might also be discriminatory, Andersen said.



Homosexual Activist Berates Dems for Going 'Squishy' on Marriage Amendment
By Susan Jones Morning Editor
May 06, 2004
( - The head of a homosexual advocacy group says his fellow activists need to adopt the conservative strategy of getting something in exchange for their political support.

"The religious right knows how to play adult politics: they insist on getting something in exchange for their support. It's time we did the same," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

In an op-ed piece dated May 5, Foreman asks, "Where are Democrats on the Federal Marriage Amendment?"

"After all," wrote Foreman, "our people consistently and overwhelmingly vote Democratic."


GLBT backers rally against proposed amendment
OutFront Minnesota — an organization that supports GLBT rights — held a rally at the State Capitol rotunda.

By Emily Ayshford
wo days after Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a pledge supporting a state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, opponents had their say at the State Capitol on Wednesday.

OutFront Minnesota — one of the largest state organizations serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community — held a rally in the Capitol rotunda to show faith communities’ support for GLBT.

Under a banner that read, “To be lesbian/gay is a gift from God,” legislators and faith leaders in the community expressed their support to approximately 100 onlookers.


Despite Economy Companies Offering Partner Benefits Grow
by Doreen Brandt Newscenter
(Washington, D.C.)  U.S. businesses are continuing to extend domestic partner health insurance benefits to gay and lesbian workers, with an average of three employers per day adding such coverage in 2003, according to a new report.

The survey, released today by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation also shows a sharp increase in company policies prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity.

"Companies across America continue to recognize that a key to success is treating employees equally," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. 

"By adding benefits and protections during a stormy economy, the private sector continues to demonstrate that treating employees fairly is good for the bottom line."


Secaucus probes anti-gay bias claim
Drunken firefighters harass us, couple says
By Jason Finkand Maria Zingaro Conte
Journal staff writers

State and local authorities are investigating members of the volunteer Secaucus Fire Department who allegedly have harassed a gay couple who live next to a firehouse on Paterson Plank Road.

In two incidents, reported in the early morning hours on April 25 and this past Saturday, members of the volunteer department are accused of throwing rocks at the home of Timothy Carter and Peter De Vries and of making sexually explicit and harassing remarks to them.

Carter, 45, and De Vries, 55, said yesterday that the harassment has been going on for months and that members of Engine Company 2 have rung their doorbell and pounded on the side of their house at all hours of the night and have thrown used condoms over the fence separating the properties.


Scottish Christians push for Church inclusion to Partnership bill
Ben Townley, UK

Gay Christians in Scotland are urging the country's politicians to amend the Civil Partnership bill and allow ceremonies to take place in religious institutions.

The amendment could take place as part of the country's decision to adopt the bill, when passed, through a Sewel motion, which will allow the devolved government to implement the same laws as Westminster.

The Metropolitan Community Church says that the amendment would allow them to celebrate same-sex relationships in a religious environment, in keeping with their beliefs.

"We seek that a minister of religion should have the right (although not the obligation) to officiate at a civil partnership on behalf of the state in a similar way that he or she may currently do for mixed-sex marriage," the group said in a letter to the Scottish Parliament's justice committee.


Some parents upset over school field trip during Gay Days in Orlando
By Jamie Malernee
Some parents are upset over the timing of a school field trip that sends Broward County students to Orlando theme parks in the middle of Gay Days.

Gay Days, which is expected to bring about 140,000 people to the Orlando area in early June, is advertised as "creating a gay and lesbian atmosphere" throughout the region by organizing "theme park visits, over-the-top dance parties, and round-the-clock good times."

"If [students] were going to New Orleans, you wouldn't pick the week of Mardi Gras," complains Joanne Williams of Deerfield Beach, the parent of a seventh-grader.

The principal of Lyons Creek Middle in Coconut Creek is offering refunds for the June 4 trip, saying she was unaware of the timing when the trip was scheduled. But she maintains that parents should not be concerned in the first place.


Same-Sex Marriage Ban Draws Protest At Statehouse
Some Onlookers Not Moved By Protesters' Message

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- One of the country's strictest same-sex marriage bans takes effect in Ohio this week.

On Wednesday night, it drew a crowd of protesters to the Statehouse lawn.

The Ohio law, which was sponsored by Rep. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, puts into law that same-sex marriages would be "against the strong public policy of the state." The bill also prohibits state employees from getting marital benefits spelled out in state law for their unmarried partners, whether homosexual or heterosexual.

Protesters called the law legalized discrimination. They laid down a wreath, which they said marked the death of civil liberties for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Ohioans.


Senators would let gay outsiders wed
Amendment seeks repeal of 1913 law
By Yvonne Abraham and Scott S. Greenberger, Globe Staff  |  May 6, 2004

Senate Democrats are launching an effort to repeal a 1913 law that Governor Mitt Romney is using to block out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts, and the lawmakers hope to stage a floor debate next week, as the state prepares to legalize same-sex marriages.

Senators Jarrett T. Barrios of Cambridge and Stanley C. Rosenberg of Amherst are filing an amendment to the state budget that would effectively eliminate the residency requirement for same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses. It was unclear yesterday whether the bid would pass the Senate, but the effort would focus attention on the controversial law before same-sex couples can legally marry on May 17. "I believe that my colleagues in the Senate will agree that there is no place for race discrimination, or sexual-orientation discrimination, in our statutes, and the time has come to eliminate the 1913 discriminatory law," Barrios said.

The 1913 law, adopted in part to block interracial couples from other states marrying in Massachusetts, prohibits out-of-state couples from marrying if the marriages would be void in their home states. Romney has said that the law prohibits residents of all 49 other states from entering a same-sex marriage, since none of those states specifically allows gay marriage. His critics have said Romney's interpretation of the law is too broad, and that the law is archaic and unevenly applied.


Diane Linn to apologize over handling of gay marriages

Associated Press
A Multnomah County commissioner plans to apologize this morning for the way she has handled several decisions, including issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

In an interview with the Oregonian, Diane Linn said after much "soul searching," she believed she owed the community an apology.


Sherborn resident puts anti-gay message on postcard
By Michael Kunzelman / News Staff Writer
BOSTON -- A Sherborn resident who vehemently opposes gay marriage has mailed postcards to thousands of Massachusetts residents that describes homosexuality as "mutual masturbation" and accuses a lesbian couple of using their child as a "pawn" in their bid to earn the right to get married.
J. Edward Pawlick, who founded a monthly newspaper called Massachusetts News, said he is mailing the unsolicited postcards to tens of thousands of homes across the state.
   Pawlick's postcards lambaste the Supreme Judicial Court -- and the "evil" Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, in particular -- for its landmark ruling last year that same-sex couples are entitled to wed.
   "Isn't it good that (gay couples) love each other?" Pawlick's postcards ask. "Of course it is, but most other women are also very fond of special friends with no desire to practice sex games. Justice Marshall requires that happy, ordinary women must have sex with each other in order to receive state benefits."


Police did discriminate against transsexual worker, judges rule
Ben Townley, UK

West Yorkshire Police were wrong to reject a male to female transsexual job applicant, judges have ruled.
The decision is the outcome of a final appeal the force launched in the case, which involved a male to female transsexual that was rejected form being a police officer because she was legally considered a man.

The force had admitted to discriminating against the unnamed woman, but said it did so because she was unable to complete all the duties expected of her. This included conducting body searches of women in custody, which the force said she would be unable to do.

However, the five judges in the House of Lords ruled unanimously that West Yorkshire Police acted unlawfully by rejecting the applicant for the job. The ruling is expected to have knock on effects for other transsexuals rejected from jobs on the basis of duties involving physical contact.


Transsexual recruit a first for Victoria
By Sasha Shtargot
May 7, 2004

A transsexual recruit will begin training at the Victoria Police Academy later this month.

The recruit, who was born a man and is in the process of becoming a woman, is believed to be the first transsexual trainee accepted by Victoria Police.

Yesterday police would not comment on her personal details, saying she did not want to speak publicly and deserved privacy.

However, it is believed the recruit will speak at the academy and answer questions on sensitive issues such as the use of women's showers and toilets.

Assistant Commissioner (Education) Paul Evans said the force did not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexuality, ethnicity or religion.

"A person's gender or sexuality is a matter for the individual," he said. "Each and every recruit deserves privacy and consideration to focus on the challenges of training."


Groton Church Members Ready To Vote On Issue Of Gay Marriage
Groton — Last week they heard the cons, Wednesday night they heard the pros, and on May 12 they'll vote on whether or not to support the legalization of gay marriage.

Two sets of panelists have made impassioned pitches before members of Groton's First Church of Christ Congregational, a congregation belonging to the United Church of Christ. Next comes the vote, which will guide delegates to this fall's UCC national convention on an issue likened Wednesday to the historic fights for racial equality and women's rights.

The overriding message of Wednesday's pro same-sex marriage panelists was that time is on their side. Younger people tend to be for equal marriage rights, and the elderly tend to be against, West Hartford attorney John Currie told the mostly middle-aged and older audience.

“It's going to happen,” said Currie, whose wife concluded she was a lesbian after they had been married 15 years. “It's just a matter of how soon we deal with it.”


Politicians call for "true" hate crime report
Ben Townley, UK

The former Home Office minister Barbara Roche has called on the government to implement a strategy that could help reveal the true extent of hate crimes in the UK.

Speaking at the launch of policy seminars at the House of Commons earlier this week, Roche said that a broader view needed to be taken so as to assess the impact of homophobic, racist and religious crimes on minorities.
She argued that although some progress had been made since initial suggestions about hate crimes were made in 1994, more needed to be implemented to ensure people were protected better.

"Some things have been done but we now need to widen the whole thing out to include hate crimes generally. I don't want to be alarmist but we do need to know the full picture," The Guardian reports her as saying.


Anti-gay group to picket City graduation

Church protests Matthew Shepard Scholarship
By Mike McWilliams
Iowa City Press-Citizen
A Kansas-based church group plans to picket City High's commencement because one of its students is a recipient of a scholarship that memorializes a man beaten to death because he was gay.

The Westboro Baptist Church, of Topeka, Kan., plans to picket May 29 outside Carver-Hawkeye Arena during City High's graduation. Ilse Bendorf, 16, a City High senior, is a 2004 recipient of the Matthew Shepard Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to gay students in honor of Shepard, a University of Wyoming student who was killed in 1998.

City High Principal Mark Hanson shook his head and sighed as he read the church's news release Wednesday. In 2002, City High student Scott Spilger received a Matthew Shepard Scholarship. Hanson said the church did not picket commencement then. Besides, the scholarship is awarded in a separate ceremony prior to graduation day, he said.

"There's no excuse for this type of thing, and even though there's certainly freedom of speech in this country, people have to be responsible for what they do," Hanson said of the protest. "It just saddens me that this has happened."


Focus asks lawmakers for records

DENVER - Focus on the Family is demanding that lawmakers who opposed impeaching a judge involved in a same-sex child custody case turn over all of their notes, e-mails, memos and phone records on the matter.

The Colorado Springsbased ministry delivered an open-records request Wednesday to all members of the House Judiciary Committee who in April voted against impeaching Denver District Judge John Coughlin.

“I’m happy to comply, but they are harassing and threatening,” said Rep. Anne McGihon, D-Denver. “I don’t have any problem showing anyone my files, but to be threatened because I voted to uphold the law is really ugly.”


Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Judge Rejects Dropping Hate Charge In Araujo Trial
by Newscenter Staff

(Hayward, California) A judge has refused to drop hate crime charges in the trial of three men charged in the killing of trans teen Gwen Araujo.

Michael Thorman, the lawyer for Michael Magidson, asked Judge Harry Sheppard to throw out the charge saying there has been no evidence of bias against people of a different sexual orientation.

Thorman said Araujo's killing wasn't justified, but that it also was "not because of what Eddie Araujo was but what he did."

Sheppard rejected the motion.


New York City Passes Benefits Bill
by Doug Windsor Newscenter

(New York City) New York City council overwhelmingly approved legislation Wednesday to require all city contractors to provide equal employment benefits to all employees, whether they are married or in domestic partner relationships.

The legislation requires contractors that do more than $100,000 of business each year with NYC to offer the equal benefits. It is expected to make health coverage available to tens of thousands of additional people in the New York City region and hundreds of thousands across the country.

Council passed the measure on a 43-5 vote.

But despite the big victory, the bill must still overcome the opposition of Mayor Bloomberg before it can become law.


Second mom wins a second chance
By Christine Clarridge
Seattle Times staff reporter
A Seattle woman who was denied the chance to see a child she had helped raise, after breaking up with the child's mother, has been given a second chance to seek parental rights.

A state appeals court ruled Monday that Sue Ellen "Mian" Carvin could seek visitation rights from King County Superior Court under the state's common law regarding de facto parenting.

In an earlier ruling, Superior Court Judge Michael Trickey ruled that because Carvin and the child's mother were not married, and because Carvin was not the child's biological or adoptive parent, she had no legal right to custody or visitation rights.
The three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeals court, in a unanimous decision, agreed that Carvin did not have standing under the state's Uniform Parentage Act, but said Carvin could seek status as a "de facto or psychological parent" by presenting evidence of a parent-child relationship


Town hosts Scotland’s first gay wedding ceremony

IT wasn't exactly Elton John and partner, but the small town of Alloa can now boast Scotland's first gay wedding.

The superstar musician and his boyfriend, David Furnish, have yet to take up the town's invitation to pledge their troth at the local registry office. But, in the meantime, two women voiced their commitment to each other at a civil ceremony on Saturday.

It was all bit more low key than Elton John's nuptials are expected to be – wherever they are held – and the unnamed couple, said to live outwith the area, remained anonymous.


Group files lawsuit to stop petition drive

Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A legal rights advocacy group on Wednesday asked a judge to stop a petition drive to place a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages in Ohio on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Ohioans for Growth and Equality, a Cleveland-based group that claims 5,000 members, filed the lawsuit on behalf of a gay couple in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, said the group's chairman, Tim Downing. It was assigned to Judge Dan Hogan. The group asked Hogan to stop the petition drive while he decides the case.

"The summary of this amendment is both inaccurate and misleading as well as inflammatory," Downing said. "It would forever bar any legal status for unmarried couples, regardless of sex."


In the Bag
Religious group slips anti-gay literature into Gender PAC conference bags
By Sean Bugg
Volunteers and staffers at last weekend's Gender PAC conference got a surprise as they were preparing for the weekend. Inside each of the plastic bags that were to be stuffed with materials for the attendees was an anti-gay pamphlet, "Homosexuality: A Queer Turn of Events!"

Because the pamphlets were found early, conference attendees never saw them, according to Gender PAC executive director Riki Wilchins. But it was obvious that whoever pre-stuffed the bags with the pamphlet hoped to slip them by conference organizers

"They skipped the top two bags [in each box] so we wouldn't know," Wilchins said. "They were very clever."


GLSEN protests Bush's support for divisive National Day of Prayer on May 6

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network expressed outrage Wednesday over President George W. Bush's presidential proclamation in support of a privately organized National Day of Prayer, scheduled for Thursday, May 6. The official Web site for the event, GLSEN said, urges Americans to pray for the "traditional family" and attacks programs that ensure safe and effective schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered students, which are described as "homosexual propaganda to kindergartners."