poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Another gay marriage question may go to court

ALBANY, N.Y. -- With municipal clerks in neighboring Massachusetts set to start issuing same-sex marriage license applications Monday, the status of any New York couples who cross the state line to wed appears likely to be decided in the courts.

In a letter to Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney this week, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said his office does not provide legal opinions to other states. However, he enclosed a copy of the 28-page opinion he issued in early March that says while New York law doesn't authorize same-sex marriages, it generally recognizes valid out-of-state marriages.

On Monday, city and town clerks in Massachusetts will be allowed to begin accepting "Notice of Intention of Marriage" forms from gay couples. Those eligible include state residents and those who have an immediate intention to live in Massachusetts.

Romney has battled to prevent gays from marrying since his state's highest court ruled in November that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to wed.

Area Catholics sign letter urging tolerance for same-sex couples
By Lisa Guerriero

Some area leaders and about 100 Catholics from across the state urged residents Friday to act respectfully toward same-sex couples.

Fitchburg Police Chief Edward Cronin, FSC President Robert V. Antonucci, Rev. Richard Lewandowski and Deacon Benjamin A. Nogueira of Fitchburg's St. Camillus Parish and Rev. Robert D. Bruso of Fitchburg's Saint Anthony di Padua Church are some of the area Catholics who signed a letter asking for compassion in light of same-sex couples gaining marriage rights Monday.

"It's a very sensitive time," Lewandowski said. "For us to not be proactive would be to lessen our responsibility as leaders in the Commonwealth."

The letter asks residents to treat same sex-couples and their families with respect and defend the "fundamental human rights of homosexuals" despite the heated debate over marriage rights.

NEWSWEEK POLL: Bush Job Approval Rating Hits Record Newsweek Poll Low (42%); For the First Time a Majority (52%) Disapproves

Forty-One Percent of Registered Voters Want to See Bush Re-Elected, a New Low;Approval Rating On Iraq Slips to 35 Percent Majority (51%) Now Supports Gay Marriage (28%) Or Civil Unions (23%); 43 Percent Oppose All Legal Recognition


Backers of Gay Marriage Ban Find Tepid Response in Pews

Just four months after an alliance of conservative Christians was threatening a churchgoer revolt unless President Bush championed an amendment banning same-sex marriage, members say they have been surprised and disappointed by what they call a tepid response from the pews.

Most of the groups supporting the proposed federal constitutional amendment concede that it appears all but dead in Congress for this election year.

As Massachusetts prepares to become the first state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage on Monday, several high-profile conservatives say they are now pinning their hopes mainly on reaction to events there, betting that scenes of gay weddings in Provincetown may set off a public outcry.

In a last effort to publicize their cause before the impending wave of same-sex marriages, conservative Christian groups are organizing an emergency telecast to churches around the country, bringing African-American clergy members to Washington to lobby the Congressional Black Caucus, and sending members of a group for people who say they are formerly gay to make the rounds of Capitol Hill as well.


With more battles looming, gay weddings take on political flavor
Associated Press Writer

The celebration of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts has taken on a political flavor, as gay couples and their advocates keep one eye focused on the political battles that loom ahead to ensure that the rights won do not evaporate.

Couples are being asked to publicly declare their union, to breathe life into a once abstract political debate, to raise money and awareness.

"It's important to be joyful, but to also be mindful of this other reality," said Shoshanna Ehrlich, of Brookline, a gay-rights advocate who will soon celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary with her husband. "This is a celebration, but there is a shadow hanging over us."

The Legislature has approved a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban gay marriages but legalize Vermont-style civil unions. But the earliest the measure could be put before the voters is November 2006. President Bush is also championing a federal constitutional ban on gay marriage.

A minority report: Not living on the straight and narrow

Andi Bahagia, Contributor, Jakarta

Merry was upset. "I'd kill Taufik if he turns out to be that way," she blustered.

She was probably mentally listing all the potential future problems that lay ahead for her son if he became the dreaded you-know-what: a life on his lonesome save for a perky Pomeranian, the whispers of the neighbors gradually building into a cacophony, all those huge cosmetics, clothing and phone bills as he entered adolescence.

Heaven forbid little Taufik, not even in double digits, would turn out to be light in his loafers, as queer as a concrete parachute, a switch hitter, a latter-day descendant of Socrates, etc.

I heard the story secondhand, and, of course, could not help but take it to heart. These were comments from someone I regarded as a friend, but who was saying that if I were in her son's place, she would take a knife to me.

Of course, her point was probably that while it may be OK for the lady down the road to have a son or daughter who is "that way" -- OK, gay -- it just would not do for her family.

Gay-issues group not granted full club status at Rose-Hulman
Associated Press
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- A group that focuses on homosexual and alternative lifestyle issues has not been granted full club status from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's Student Government Association.

Full club status would allow the group to petition student government for funding through student activity fees, the Tribune-Star reported in a story today.

The student senate has turned down the group called Unity six times, the latest being Tuesday, said Rose-Hulman junior Odessa Goedert, a Unity member and former president.

Unity's constitution describes it as "the official Rose-Hulman gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender and straight alliance" and has about 20 voting members, Goedert said.

Conservative Legislators Sue Gay Couple Who Sought Marriage License
by Newscenter Staff

(Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)  A gay couple who were turned down for a marriage license in Bucks County are now being sued by a group of conservative lawmakers.

Robert Seneca and Stephen Stahl were rejected when they applied for the license at the Bucks County Courthouse in New Hope last March. The couple is preparing a lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's so-called Defense of Marriage law which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The suit filed Friday by 11 Republican and one Democratic member of the state legislature seeks to make a preemptive strike by getting a court to affirm the gay marriage ban.

''We want to establish the constitutionality of the law so that the register of wills does not have to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple,'' Leonard G. Brown III, the attorney who represents the lawmakers, told the Allentown Morning Call.

Gay activists cheer same-sex marriage in Massachusetts but want it here
Associated Press Writer

TRENTON, N.J. -- Instead of gathering to fete New Jersey's domestic partnership law, people planning to attend a rally Monday say it will be tinged with envy as gay marriage becomes legal in Massachusetts.

Members of New Jersey's gay and lesbian community said they are pleased counterparts in Massachusetts can marry starting Monday, but are disappointed the new law here falls far short of same-sex marriage.

"It's a wistful thing knowing that gay and lesbian couples are getting married and we can't," said Steven Goldstein, an organizer of the event. "I am jealous. I am downright envious that my friends in Massachusetts can be married."


Governor will Attend Mass. Gay Weddings
BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney says he'll attend the weddings of gay couples if he's invited.

Romney says he's already been invited to one marriage of gay friends, but won't be in town at the time. He says he anticipates more invitations, and that he'll accept some and will be unable to accept others.


Minnis drops gay marriage bill
The House speaker wants a June special session on tax reform, but some Democrats are reluctant

House Speaker Karen Minnis, R-Wood Village, said Friday she will drop plans to introduce legislation against same-sex marriage in a June special session, removing one of the stumbling blocks some Democrats cited as a reason not to convene.

Minnis, who has called the House into session June 1, said she would stay away from the contentious topic after the Oregon Supreme Court this week cleared the way for supporters of a same-sex marriage ban to gather signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot.

"Now that this issue is off the table for a special session, I hope the Democrats, and particularly the Senate Democrats, will join us in June as we fulfill our duty to work on tax reform," Minnis said in a statement.

Senate Democratic Leader Kate Brown of Portland said Friday there is no reason for a special session because there is no consensus on a tax reform plan.

Gay employees form lobby group: GLOBE

Gay employees of local governments have formed a new group to lobby for their interests. Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual Employees of Charlotte Mecklenburg -- or GLOBE -- stemmed from City Manager Pam Syfert's recommendation against giving benefits to employees' same-sex partners.

One of the reasons Syfert cited was the lack of interest from employees.

"I'm hoping this is to kind of organize us and show them there are a lot of us out here and we do care about these issues and we do want these things," said Sgt. Lee Ann Oehler, a 14-year veteran of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Oehler said many employees are afraid to push their bosses for change because the city does not include sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination policy. City leaders say they won't tolerate discrimination, but that doesn't always convince employees.


Same-sex couples try for marriage licenses
Michael Kiefer
The Arizona Republic

Sixty same-sex couples waited in line at the Clerk of the Superior Court customer service center to apply for Arizona marriage licenses Friday afternoon.

They stood two by two, holding hands or with arms around waists and shoulders, their IDs and filing fees in hand. And as they expected, the clerks behind the counter politely said no.

It was the first day of a self-described Three Point Action Plan for Marriage Equality, led by Pastor Brad Wishon of Gentle Shepherd Metropolitan Community Church in Phoenix.


Rights of Gays Planning to Wed in Massachusetts
All Things Considered audio

NPR'S Tovia Smith reports the gay weddings that begin next week in Massachusetts will be joyful occasions for those tying the know, but that couples shouldn't expect all the benefits granted to heterosexual couples. Some employers will still be able to deny health insurance to gay spouses, and there are other wrinkles in the legal landscape as well.


Mom 'n' Dad ad broke no rules

That was one eye-catching advocacy ad in the paper last Saturday, promoting "traditional marriage" as a virtue in need of societal protection.

"We Believe in Mom and Dad," readers were told in large type. "We Believe in Marriage."

Prominently displayed was a young, heterosexual couple — dad holding a blond-haired boy in his arms — in a crowd of toothy smiles.

"The family is a schoolroom for life, and lasting lessons come from a man and a woman — a father and a mother," the ad copy said.

The ad was paid for by a group called the Focus on The Family (Canada) Association, a self-described charitable group built on Christian principles.

Founded in the U.S. by psychologist James Dobson, the Canadian operation started in 1983. It's based in Langley, B.C.

Lutheran leader urges delay on gay issue
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS - A local leader in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is trying to convince denominational leaders to delay a potentially divisive final vote on homosexuality next year.

Bishop Peter Rogness of the St. Paul Area Synod sent an e-mail to his 425 pastors asking if it would be better to pray about the issue than vote on it. The St. Paul synod is the third-largest in the 5 million-member denomination.

"Can we agree that living with these differing perspectives for a time might be less harmful for the church?" Rogness wrote. "Can we agree that it is more important for us to be a church that prays about these matters than a church that votes about them?"

The ELCA is scheduled to vote at its August 2005 assembly on whether to ordain sexually active gays and authorize an official rite to bless same-sex unions.

Former policeman sues Walnutport for alleged retaliation
He says officials tried to ruin his career after he was investigated.
By Elliot Grossman
Of The Morning Call

A former Walnutport police detective is suing the borough for allegedly retaliating against him after he opposed an investigation that may have focused on his sexual preference and off-duty conduct.

Troy Keenhold said the Police Department, mayor and council members violated his civil rights, including his First Amendment rights. First Amendment protections include free speech.

Borough officials acted with ''personal animosity'' against Keenhold with an intent to destroy his career as a police officer, according to his lawsuit.

In legal papers, the borough asked that the First Amendment claim be dismissed. Neither a judge nor a jury could find the borough retaliated against Keenhold because it did not discipline him after the investigation, according to the borough's lawyers.


Black clergy gathering to fight gay matrimony
Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer

Conservative evangelical groups -- including the Christian men's movement, Promise Keepers -- are mobilizing African American church leaders for a renewed campaign against same-sex marriage.

Some of the nation's best-known black clergymen will come together in Washington, D.C., on Monday to denounce homosexual unions -- the same day judges in Massachusetts begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. The Supreme Court refused Friday to intervene and block clerks from issuing these marriage licenses.

The gathering on Capitol Hill will be followed next weekend with a large rally in Texas called "Not on My Watch."

Organizers of both events challenge comparisons many gay rights leaders have made between the campaign for same-sex marriage and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

Massachusetts Tells Gay New Yorkers To Stay Home
by Michael J. Meade Newscenter

(Boston, Massachusetts)  Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney Friday night said that same-sex couples from New York will not be allowed to marry in his state.

Earlier today New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer (D) notified Romney about an opinion issued by Spitzer in March saying that although gay marriage is illegal in the New York, the state would recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The letter was in response to one sent by Romney to all governors and attorneys general advising them that unless they notify him gay marriage is legal in their states same-sex couples would not be allowed to tie the knot.

Romney is relying on a 1913 law that says marriage licenses cannot be issued to out-of-state couples if their marriages would be "void" in the couples' home states.  The law dates back to a period when interracial marriage was legal in Massachusetts but illegal in most other states.


New Hampshire Gay Marriage Ban Becomes Law
by Newscenter Staff

(Concord, New Hampshire) New Hampshire Gov. Craig Benson Friday signed legislation that prevents the state from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The new law takes effect immediately, just three days before gay marriage becomes legal in neighboring Massachusetts.

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

Legislators said they had to act quickly to stop same-sex couples from getting married in Massachusetts and then returning home to demand benefits.

Fox Takes Gay-Themed Reality Show One Step Further
By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two straight men will do their best to pass themselves off as gay as they compete for $50,000 in an upcoming Fox television special, "Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay," the network said on Thursday.

The two-hour show, set to air June 7, marks the latest in the burgeoning TV sub-genre of gay-themed reality shows, such as "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and the previous Fox offering "Playing It Straight."

"Queer Eye," in which five gay men teach a heterosexual slob how to dress, dine and design, caught on quickly with gay and straight audiences alike, first on the Bravo cable channel and then on its sister broadcast network NBC.

But "Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay" has raised the eyebrows of at least one gay activist group, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which questioned the show's premise as potentially offensive and the "inflammatory" tone of the original press release announcing it.


TV told queer dressing and phony tones are out
TV personalities have been asked to abandon "queer" dressing and "colorful" hairdos and mind their language.

A rule issued by the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV also said "crime-related" overseas productions should not be imported in principle.

Many of Shanghai's TV producers and personalities were asked to sit in meetings to study the rule yesterday.

"The rule intends to reduce the negative impact of queer dressing and behavior on youngsters," said Xu Caihua, an official at the Shanghai Administration of Culture, Radio, Film and Television. "The state administration published similar regulations before, but they were not followed closely. Now the administration is exercising great efforts to get the new rule implemented. "Shanghai will strictly follow the rule."


Gay, Jewish - and proud of it
By Jay Michaelson

Imagine learning that, because of how you were born, God hates you. Imagine being raised in a traditional religious world, where obeying God is the primary value, and then, just as you were becoming a bar or bat mitzvah, coming to realize that you are incapable of doing so. Over the next several years, you try your hardest: You fight against the urge, repress it, deny it, even try to change it with aversion therapy. You can't tell anyone, because even to reveal the truth would cast you out of the community. But, in private, you try, and try and try - and fail. What would you do?

Until recently, the only alternatives in the traditional Jewish world were to lie, to die or to leave. As they have throughout history, many gay Jews conceal their identities and marry people of the opposite sex. Today, they fill chatrooms and listservs with their private struggles. Many others cannot cope, and choose to end their lives. Although statistics for the Jewish community are not available, studies show that 30 percent of gay youth attempt suicide by the age of 16. About 276,000 American teenagers try to kill themselves every year, and it is estimated that a third of these attempts are related to homosexuality.

Many gay Jews leave behind the Orthodox world, or Judaism entirely, after experiencing what's sometimes called a "Huck Finn moment." In Mark Twain's novel, a turning point occurs when Huck decides he'd rather help Jim, the runaway slave, even though he's been taught he'll go to hell as a consequence. "Well, I guess I'll go to hell then," Huck says, and follows his conscience instead of his religion.

Gay Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg is unsatisfied with these alternatives. His new book, "Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition" refuses to lie, die or leave. The book was born of Greenberg's own years-long struggle as an Orthodox rabbi with a secret. When he did finally admit to himself and others that he was gay, he said, "I realized I would have to leave the rabbinate or make sense of it."


Gov eyed out-of-state gay tax
By Elisabeth J. Beardsley
Saturday, May 15, 2004

Gov. Mitt Romney is retreating from a plan to slap a tax bill on out-of-state gay couples who get married here - a move activists feared would allow Romney to ferret out and nullify some gay marriages.

     The short-lived plan would have had the Department of Revenue insist on ``enforcement of income tax obligations'' on out-of-state gay couples who claim Massachusetts residency, as they must in order to obtain a marriage license starting Monday.

     Activists protested that a DOR dragnet would allow Romney to track down out-of-state gays who lied about their residency - and then declare their nuptials void.


'Homosexual' Hindi film moves to UK
Saturday, 15 May , 2004, 16:57

A Hindi movie about drag queens or eunuchs is all set to premiere in the UK next Thursday. 'The Pink Mirror' starring Ramesh Menon and Edwin Fernandes has been denied a certificate in India because of its homosexual content.

"The Censor Board has refused to give it a certificate - not even an adult certificate - because they consider it full of obscenity and vulgarity," director Sridhar Rangayan was quoted by BBC, as saying.

The 40-minute long movie explores the gay landscape and tells the story of two drag queens - Shabbo (Edwin Fernandes) and Bibbo (Ramesh Memon).

The movie revolves around the two drag queens who battle it out with a gay teenager to win afftections of a handsome young man.


School Skit Raises Eyebrows

Lyons school officials will start screening entertainment for the high school's annual pre-prom dinner.
They made the decision after a couple of juniors hit a sour note with school board members with a racy skit about Adam and Eve.

The students prepared the skit "The Apple Bit'' for class. They were asked by prom sponsors to present it during the pre-prom dinner last month.

Included among complaints by board members is that the skit contained sexual innuendo that Adam might be homosexual.

Next week the school board plans to discuss the skit and a new procedure for reviewing student material.

Lyons School Superintendent Edwin Church says the students are
"top-notch,'' and didn't mean to offend anyone.


this is a somewhat incomplete list.. but usable.. it misses then entire "trans" population.. but what is new.

Some notable events

1566: The Spanish military executed a Frenchman for homosexuality in St. Augustine, Fla. in the earliest known case of punishment of homosexual activity in America.

1610: First law passed against sodomy. Punishment was death.

1870: Urnings, first gay periodical, published by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs.

1895: "America the Beautiful" written by Katherine Lee Bates (who had a 25-year relationship with Katharine Colman). (more...)


You May Now Kiss [Label Here]

he law is one thing. Language is another.

Tomorrow, the day same-sex marriage is to become legal in Massachusetts, may be the beginning of a new social era. But the prospect of same-sex weddings also has some couples, their families, their friends and the officials who will marry them struggling with the terminology of marriage.

Once they have said, "I do," how should they be referred to? Husbands? Wives? Spouses?

"Undoubtedly different people will use different terms," said Arnold M. Zwicky, a visiting professor of linguistics at Stanford. "Everybody will make their own decision. I'm betting that `partner' is the one that's used most often. It's the one that my gay friends in Massachusetts are using now for themselves and have already told me they're going to continue to use."


Rosarian cancels gay choral shows amid content flap
By Mary McLachlin, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

WEST PALM BEACH -- An experimental bridge of cooperation between a Catholic school and a gay choral group collapsed Thursday when Rosarian Academy canceled two concerts scheduled for this weekend by the Voices of Pride Gay Men's Chorus of the Palm Beaches.

The academy had allowed the 30-man chorus, formed last year, to use the school's music room since October for rehearsals. Members had sold more than 500 tickets for their debut performances Friday night and tonight in the Machlin Memorial Theatre on Rosarian's North Flagler Drive campus.

Each side claimed Friday that the other had violated their contract and was responsible for the cancellation.

School spokesmen said the chorus director, Tom Pilecki -- who also directs productions for Rosarian -- chose to cancel the concerts rather than comply with the principal's demand to change or drop unspecified "adult" content from the show.


Friday, May 14, 2004

Supreme Court refuses to block gay marriages in Massachusetts

The Supreme Court refused Friday to block the nation's first state-sanctioned gay marriages from taking place next week.

The justices declined without comment to intervene and block clerks from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples in Massachusetts. That state's highest court had ruled in November that the state Constitution allows gay couples to marry, and declared that the process would begin on Monday.

The Supreme Court's decision, in an emergency appeal filed Friday by gay marriage opponents, does not address the merits of the claim that the state Supreme Judicial Court overstepped its bounds with the landmark decision.

A stay had been sought by a coalition of state lawmakers and conservative activists.


Colorado Bishop Warns Catholics

DENVER (AP) Catholics who vote for politicians in favor of abortion rights, stem-cell research, euthanasia or gay marriage may not receive Communion until they recant and repent in the confessional, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Colorado Springs said.

Bishop Michael Sheridan's pronouncement was the strongest yet from a U.S. bishop in the debate over how faith should influence Catholics in this election year.

The discussion of withholding Holy Communion had previously been limited to politicians themselves.

Sheridan made his remarks in a May 1 pastoral letter published in the diocese's newspaper. He said he singled out abortion, stem-cell research, euthanasia and gay marriage for criticism because they are "intrinsically evil."


Alabama House Agenda Set for Monday; Quote from Christian Coalition of Alabama President John Giles

MONTGOMERY, Ala., May 14 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following is a quote from Christian Coalition of Alabama president John Giles on the Alabama House agenda:

"We have all worked hard to keep gambling off the calendar Monday and delighted that our commitments remain solid. It is distressing, however, to discover that the Black Caucus threatened to shut down the House Monday if the Same-Sex Marriage Ban Amendment was on the Calendar even though a member of the Black Caucus sponsored the legislation. We need more involvement of Black ministers in this state, the Black Caucus always votes for gambling, against pro-life legislation and now they have added protecting the gay agenda to their platform. It is puzzling why the Black Caucus wants to stand in the way of preventing gay marriages in Alabama. Early in the session the AP surveyed legislators who overwhelmingly would vote for this legislation."


there is a SURVEY at this site... :(fill it out now!!)

"Missouri legislators have proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would effectively ban gay marriage. How would you vote on the issue?"

Missouri Voters To Decide Gay Marriage Issue

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri voters will decide whether a ban on same-sex marriage should be enshrined in the state constitution. In the last hour of the last day of legislative session, the state House voted Friday to put the measure before statewide voters. It passed on a 124-25 vote, after having previously cleared the Senate by a 26-6 vote.

Missouri already has a so-called defense of marriage law, but legislators are concerned that a judge could overturn the law and allow same-sex marriages.

Voters will be asked to add just one sentence to the constitution: "That to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman."

The question would be put to voters on the November ballot unless Gov. Bob Holden decides to place it on the ballot for August's political primary elections.


Sheri A. Lunn – Director of Communications – 323.857.8751
Roberta Sklar – Press Secretrary – 917.704.6358


-Senate Democrats Reaffirm Commitment to Killing Anti-Marriage Constitutional Amendment

May 14, 2004 Washington, DC. Yesterday, leaders of the Democratic minority in the U.S. Senate pledged they would block any proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriage. The commitment was made at a meeting in the Capitol between the Senate Leadership Council and leaders of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

"We are gratified that our allies in the Democratic minority have committed to killing any attempt to enshrine anti-gay discrimination into our nation's most sacred document," said Matt Foreman, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "This display of leadership stands in stark contrast to President Bush's calculated campaign to use our lives and our relationships as a wedge issue in the elections."

At yesterday's meeting, three senators -- Chuck Schumer (NY), Barbara Boxer (CA), and Debbie Stabenow (MI) -- reaffirmed the solidity of support against an amendment, regardless of any potential changes in its language.

At a similar meeting last July 17, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle said Democrats would ensure that the Federal Marriage Amendment would never get the 67 votes needed in the Senate to be passed on to the states for ratification. Since then, however, the religious and political right has mounted a furious campaign in support of the amendment, President Bush has called upon Congress to pass it, and different wordings of the amendment have been floated to potentially soften its impact on domestic partnerships and civil unions. As a result, many LGBT leaders and organizations have become concerned about a softening of the commitment to oppose an amendment. To shore that up that support, LGBT groups have launched urgent fundraising and advocacy appeals.

"While the Right will continue to press Congress to move the amendment - and we still must be vigilant - our community can now start shifting focus and more of our resources to fighting the ugly tide of anti-gay initiatives we face in multiple states this November," Foreman said.

As of today, anti-marriage constitutional amendments will be on the November ballot in five states (Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Utah). That number could easily double over the next 8-10 weeks. Other imperiled states include the key 2004 battleground states of Michigan, Ohio and Oregon.

For more information on the struggle for marriage equality, log on to the Task Force Marriage Information Resource Center at

Attorney general says gay rights law not subject to referendum
By: Associated Press

(Santa Fe-AP) -- New Mexico’s gay rights law is not subject to a referendum to overturn or repeal it.
That’s the legal opinion of Attorney General Patricia Madrid.

There’s a petition drive under way to try to force a vote to annul the law.

The attorney general’s legal opinion likely derails that effort, however.

There’s a July 2 deadline for submitting petitions to get a referendum on the November ballot.


Gay spouses will face legal maze to get new benefits
BOSTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) -- Next week's start of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts will give newly betrothed gay couples the right to more employee benefits from health care to retirement. Getting them, however, may be an administrative maze.

On Monday, Massachusetts is expected to become the first U.S. state to sanction full marriage for gays and lesbians and human resource executives and lawyers are bracing for a slew of questions from happy same-sex newlyweds about their rights.

Hundreds of same-sex couples are expected to marry in the state next week. Many of them may discover they will owe more taxes than heterosexual couples and that it could take weeks or even months to obtain benefits others receive much more quickly.

The biggest thorn, say lawyers, will be that same-sex couples, unlike heterosexual ones, will have to pay federal taxes on the value of their spouses' health care coverage, which can be up to $800 per month.


Gay marriage opponents protest at Capitol

(St. Paul-AP) -- Gay marriage opponents are lining the steps leading up to the Senate chamber, trying to prompt a vote on a proposal to amend the constitution.

Specifically, the bill would put a question on the November election ballot, asking voters whether the state constitution should define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The bill's sponsor tried unsuccessfully to bring the issue to a floor vote yesterday. Supporters of the provision say they just want an up-or-down vote.

Martha Curtis of Anoka was outside the Senate chamber, holding a ``Let the People Vote'' sign. The 67-year-old retired teacher says she knows state statutes already provide that definition of marriage.

Judge clarifies marriage ruling
The Associated Press  

PORTLAND -In a letter sent to attorneys in the case, Bearden clarified on Wednesday that registering the marriages would not require the state to recognize them as ``valid,'' said Kevin Neely, a spokesman for the attorney general's office.

That means the state will not have to provide benefits to same-sex partners as the case moves through the appeals process, Neely said.

``In short, the Supreme Court will ultimately decide the validity or lack thereof of the already issued licenses,'' Bearden wrote in the letter.

Neely said state attorneys are still reviewing the letter, and had not decided whether to drop their request for a stay.


Mult. Co. commissioners who allowed gay marriage may face recall

By JOSEPH B. FRAZIER, Associated Press Writer
Four county commissioners who unilaterally decided earlier this year to let gay couples get married in the Portland area are facing a backlash that could cost them their jobs.

Two of the Multnomah County commissioners -- Lisa Naito and Maria Rojo de Steffy -- are up for re-election on Tuesday. If they win, they could still face a recall effort by opponents of gay marriage -- as could the two other commissioners. A recall vote could take place this summer.

On March 3, the four commissioners met privately and decided among themselves, with no public hearings, that the county would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That infuriated many, including the Christian right, a major force in Oregon's Republican Party.

John Belgarde, state director for the Christian Coalition of Oregon, which heads the recall effort, said the problem is not what was done, but how.


Blumenthal preparing opinion on same-sex marriage
 Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. -- State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal plans to issue his opinion on the legality of same-sex marriage in Connecticut on Monday, the same day Massachusetts is expected to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples to comply with a court order.

"The issues are really historic and profoundly significant," Blumenthal said Friday. "It was enormously challenging, but we are bound by the law as the legislature and courts have established it. We're doing our very best to articulate the current state of the law."

His ruling comes in response to requests from local officials and 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 Monday unless the laws in their home state permit the marriages. Blumenthal said he has been in touch with attorneys generals in several states and indicated that some of them will opt not to respond.


Catholics, Protestants, Jews Join on the Eve of History to Bless Gay and Lesbian Couples Preparing to be Wed
News Advisory:

WHAT: On the eve of history - as committed, loving gay and lesbian couples are able to receive the critical rights and protections that come only through civil marriage - leaders of Massachusetts' many communities of faith join in an interfaith prayer service to celebrate the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to bless couples who are planning to legally marry.

WHY: Because civil marriage is a civil right. Civil marriage is not the same as religious marriage. We rejoice that same-sex couples and their children will now be able to receive the legal protections that they have been denied. We also remind people that the issuance of civil marriage licenses does not affect the ability of each faith tradition to decide for itself which religious marriages to perform and which marriages to religiously recognize.


Some Baptists concerned over gay cruise
Associated Press

DALLAS -- The Southern Baptist Convention Annuity Board is drawing criticism from some within the denomination because it owns about $14 million worth of stock in Carnival Cruise Lines, which is hosting a "Gay Days" cruise.

The annuity board administers the medical and retirement plans for the denomination's pastors. Its investment in Carnival already had brought disapproval from Baptists opposed to the casinos and alcohol sales offered on the company's "fun ships."

Boston May 17 Solidarity Rally and March for Equal Marriage Rights and Against All Forms of Discrimination, Bigotry and Racism.
By Action Notice

May 17, 2004 at 4:00 P.M.

Rally at JFK Building

6pm March to the State House

Celebrate Equal Marriage Rights in Massachusetts!

On the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, Say No to Boston School Resegregation! Defend Affirmative Action and Voting Rights!

Join with City Councillors Chuck Turner and Felix Arroyo and community and labor leaders and activists! Local endorsers and participants include Somos Latinos, Boston Area Gay and Lesbian Youth, Stonewall Warriors, Lesbian Avengers, Mass Transgender Political Coalition, Dyke March Organizing Committee, Gary Daffin, Mass Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus*, Gay and Lesbian Labor Activist Network AFL-CIO, Sen Dianne Wilkerson, Sen Jarrett Barrios, Janice Loux, President, ocal 26, Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees*, Steven Gillis, President, USWA Local 8751 Boston School Bus Drivers' Union, Boston A.N.S.W.E.R., and many more.

Massachusetts Gay Marriage Appeal Goes To US Supreme Court
by Denise Lavoie
the Associated Press

(Boston, Massachusetts) A federal appeals court on Friday denied a last-minute bid to block legal gay marriages from beginning on Monday, and conservative groups pledged to continue pressing it before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro, but said it would hear arguments on the request to bar same-sex unions in June, after several weeks of legal gay marriages.

Tauro ruled Thursday that the state's high court acted within its authority by ruling in November that the Massachusetts Constitution allows same-sex couples to marry.

The request for an emergency injunction worked its way through the federal court system just days before the May 17 deadline established in the Supreme Judicial Court's landmark decision. Under the ruling, city and town clerks may begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples on Monday.

MAY 17, 2004:

San Francisco Action:
Monday, May 17th 5:00 pm
Rally at Powell and Market, March to City Hall
Join Margaret Cho and others!

For information call (415) 821-6545 or visit

Catholic Voters Told To Support Anti-Gay Candidates Or Lose Communion
by the Associated Press

(Denver, Colorado)  Catholics who vote for politicians who do not oppose same-sex marriage, abortion rights, stem-cell research, or euthanasia may not receive Communion until they recant and repent in the confessional, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Colorado Springs said.

Bishop Michael Sheridan's pronouncement was the strongest yet from a U.S. bishop in the debate over how faith should influence Catholics in this election year.

The discussion of withholding Holy Communion had previously been limited to politicians themselves.

Sheridan made his remarks in a pastoral letter published in the diocese's newspaper. He said he singled out abortion, stem-cell research, euthanasia and gay marriage for criticism because they are "intrinsically evil." 

The letter was sent to each parish in the diocese, including 125,000 Catholics in 10 counties.


HRC WorkNet Unveils Two Resources To Help Employers Navigate Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual And Transgender Workplace Issues

(CSRwire) WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s workplace project, HRC WorkNet, today unveiled two new online resources to assist employers in navigating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in the workplace. One resource centers on how marriage for same-sex couples and the proposed state and federal constitutional amendments will affect employers and the other, a CD-ROM tutorial, focuses on LGBT issues in the workplace.

“These tools offer solid information to employers on how marriage equality might have an impact on their workplaces,” said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. “Meanwhile, as Congress and many states debate anti-marriage constitutional amendments, employers should know that these laws are anti-business.”

A new “Marriage and Your Workplace” section – – provides the most current research on the impact of marriage for same-sex couples. It addresses what employers might expect from an employee who marries their same-sex spouse. Also, it explains why the Federal Marriage Amendment is bad for business and it provides tools for employers who want to take a position against the proposal.


Despite a spate of cool flicks, MFA's gay and lesbian film fest drops the ball
By R.J. Grubb

The comedy "Touch of Pink" opens the festival on May 12.Every May, the city's annual Museum of Fine Arts Gay and Lesbian Film/Video Festival provides a generous refuge into homo cinema. But while this year's festival gathered a number of provocative works, it also curiously botches the job.

The festival begins May 12 with the romantic, culture-clash comedy "Touch of Pink" by writer/director Ian Iqbal Rashid. Poet turned filmmaker, Rashid is best known for his award-winning writing on the BBC TV series, "This Life." But after his debut feature screened at Sundance, Sony snatched up the rights. Ever since, they've kept a tight lid on distribution - even pulling the film from the Berlin International Film Festival. With few critics seeing it, there's quite a mysterious buzz surrounding the movie. And, indeed, it's one of the highlights at the MFA.


Urdu and Hindi support for families of LGBs published
Ben Townley, UK

Support material for the parents, friends and families of LGB people has been published in Urdu and Hindi for the first time.

Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLAG) made the decision to publish its core material in a bid to reach out to those in minority ethnic communities who are experiencing difficulties with the issue of sexuality.

The organisation says that in the past, Hindi and Urdu speakers had been overlooked by support groups and networks. They say that the provision of material in the languages is the first stage towards promoting discussion and debate around the issues within the family.


GOP argues gay marriage could cost U.S. billions
Dems say same-sex couples pay taxes, deserve benefits
Zachary Coile, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Washington -- House Republicans, appearing at a hearing Thursday to promote a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, voiced a new argument against granting gay and lesbian couples full marriage rights: the costs to the federal government.

Rep. Spencer Bachus, an Alabama Republican, cited past government studies that found that giving gay and lesbian couples the same benefits as married heterosexual couples -- such as the ability to collect spousal Social Security and Medicare -- could cost the federal Treasury billions of dollars.

But Democrats denounced the comments, arguing that gay and lesbian couples also pay federal taxes and deserve the same legal protections and federal benefits as other couples.

"You don't save money by denying people rights in America," said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

 San Jose Sued For Recognizing Gay Marriages
by Mary Ellen Peterson Newscenter

(San Francisco, California)  A conservative group at the forefront of legal challenges to same-sex marriage across the country is suing the mayor and the city council of San Jose, California, over the decision to provide benefits to the married partners of city workers.

The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund filed the suit Thursday on behalf of the Values Advocacy Council of San Jose and the Proposition 22 Legal Defense Fund claiming the benefits violate Proposition 22 which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

In March San Jose became the first city in California to recognize same-sex marriages performed in San Francisco and outside the state, including those performed in Canada.  It only applies to city workers and covers benefits such as pensions and health care.

The motion which passed on an 8 - 1 vote was drafted by San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales and openly gay council member Ken Yeager.

Gay marriage appeal moves through federal courts
Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) - Since the state's highest court legalized gay marriage nearly six months ago, every legal maneuver to clarify, delay or block same-sex weddings has been rejected.

But both sides are watching carefully as the federal appeals process continues just days leading up to the court-ordered May 17 start to same-sex marriages. Conservative activists are pledging to pursue their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.

U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro on Thursday rejected a bid by several conservative groups and 11 state legislators to put a halt to the marriages, saying the state Supreme Judicial Court acted within its authority in interpreting the Massachusetts Constitution.

The plaintiffs immediately announced they would take their case to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which agreed to review the case on an expedited basis.


PFLAG sends marriage message Hutchison
Republican PFLAG parents say many in GOP are supportive on gay civil rights

A group of PFLAG parents is sending a message to Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison: a Federal Marriage Amendment is bad law for any number of reasons.

Among the parents are Bill and Violet Taylor, Republicans who say they want the senator to know that the marriage issue is especially troubling for Republicans like themselves, politically conservative but socially middle of the road to liberal.

“There are quite a few Republicans who are in support of gay issues,” Bill Taylor said.


Mediation set in Druid Hills benefits clash
Concerns of Emory president eased after talks with golf club

Druid Hills Golf Club will sit down at the mediation table with two gay members May 26, marking another round in a five-year struggle over whether the club will treat gay couples the same as heterosexual spouses.

The meeting comes four months after Atlanta’s Human Relations Commission ruled the golf club violated the city’s non-discrimination ordinance, which prohibits bias based on sexual orientation and domestic relationship status, among other categories.

Survey: Gay marriages to be sought in 133 communities
By Raphael Lewis, Globe Staff  |  May 14, 2004

Bay State gay and lesbian couples will seek marriage licenses in at least 133 Massachusetts cities and towns in the weeks and months after same-gender matrimony becomes legal on Monday, according to an informal survey released yesterday by two gay rights groups.

Lesbian couples made up two-thirds of the survey respondents, whose names were culled from the mailing lists of the Freedom to Marry Coalition and MassEquality.

In all, 493 couples responded to the survey, which determined that same-sex couples will get married in virtually every region of the state. Sixty-six couples said they plan to marry in Boston, 39 in Cambridge, 19 in Somerville, 14 in Brookline, 12 in Newton, 11 in Arlington, and nine in Watertown, the survey indicated.


Gay-marriage foes win ruling
Petitioners are poised to seek signatures after Oregon justices approve the ballot title for a bid to ban same-sex marriage

The ballot title for an initiative to ban same-sex marriage was approved Thursday by the Oregon Supreme Court, meaning the authors might be able to start gathering signatures next week.

While that only leaves about six weeks until the July 2 deadline, supporters say that's enough time to collect the 100,840 valid signatures they need. They're trying to place the constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot in November.

But first, the court must allow five business days for opponents to request reconsideration. Charles F. Hinkle, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon attorney who filed the challenge, said the group has not discussed whether to ask the court to reconsider its ruling on the initiative's ballot title.


Same-sex couples seek equal rights
Michael Kiefer
The Arizona Republic

As the nation prepares for the first legal same-sex marriages in Massachusetts, four Arizona church ministers and a busload of same-sex couples will challenge Arizona's marriage laws by attempting to get marriage licenses today.

They want to break those laws, or at least bend them, just as activists have done in San Francisco, New York state and Portland, Ore. They want to see how the government and communities here and across the country respond, even as one Phoenix gay couple's quest to marry works its way toward the Arizona Supreme Court.

Borrowing a page from the civil rights movement, they will ride a bus from court to court today, expecting to be denied, because state law defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. Additionally, it is a misdemeanor for a minister or government employee to marry any couple without a marriage license issued by the government.


Man pleads guilty to hate crime assault

SAN FRANCISCO — A Walnut Creek man pled guilty Thursday for the beating of two women outside a gay poetry event two years ago in what authorities described as a hate-crime based assault.

Jack Broughton, 36, was sentenced to one year in jail to be served on home detention, three years probation and a 40-week period of anger-management counseling. He also was ordered to pay restitution to the victims and $500 to Community United Against Violence.

On Aug. 22, 2002, Broughton’s female companion, Jean Earl, began punching people while shouting anti-gay slurs at, according to police. After getting kicked out of the club, the pair allegedly beat a 34-year-old Oakland woman outside, sending her to the hospital with minor injuries. When the victim’s companion joined in, Broughton punched her also.


Was a Dutch man deported because he is gay?
By Christopher Curtis

It had been over a week since they last saw each other and Christopher Robinette was doing his best to idle away the time while he waited for his lover, Edwin van den Bosch, who was being processed through immigration. Christopher had no idea things would go so wrong.

Christopher had driven in from Austin on May 7 to pick Edwin up from Bush Intercontinental in Houston. After the woman from immigration called and explained it would take a few hours to process his lover,

Christopher headed to the nearby Marriott, sipped a Foster’s and played pool. Working as an immigration consultant, Christopher understood how certain glitches in the system could delay these things.


Diocese to bar same-sex 'marriage'
By Julia Duin

One of the largest and most liberal Episcopal dioceses in the country is banning its clergy from solemnizing same-sex "marriages" in anticipation of Monday, when the Massachusetts Judicial Supreme Court has said homosexual couples will have the right to "marry."

    The decision was announced in a May 6 letter by Massachusetts Episcopal Bishop Thomas Shaw to clergy in the 79,000-member diocese, the country's third largest after Virginia (89,000) and Texas (86,000).

    "I have ... advocated for the full civil rights of gay and lesbian people and their families," Bishop Shaw wrote. However, "there is a contradiction between what our civil laws will allow and what our canons and the Book of Common Prayer state, which is that marriage in the Episcopal Church is between a man and a woman."

    This was a surprise decision because Bishop Shaw and his two assistant bishops openly support homosexual "marriage," as do a majority of Episcopal delegates who voted at a March 13 diocesan convention to approve the state Supreme Court's ruling.


Lawmakers table Delaware gay rights bill again
Opponents claim bill would expose businesses to lawsuits

DOVER, Del. — A long-suffering gay rights bill remains bottled up in a committee here and will not be put to a vote this year, according to a Senate committee leader.

Delaware House Bill 99 would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment, public works contracting, public accommodations and insurance. Sexual orientation, according to the bill’s definition, includes “heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual individuals.”

Sen. James Vaughn (D-Clayton), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he has no plans to put HB-99 up for a vote, claiming that the measure will “open up small businesses to lawsuits.”

“Jurors in a Superior Court would have jurisdiction over these small businesses,” Vaughn told the


Legal Eagles Mount Religious Freedom Defense for Students
Jim Brown & Jenni Parker

A pro-family law firm is threatening to sue a New Hampshire school board if it refuses to recognize a Christian student club at a high school.

Officials at Spaulding High School in Rochester, New Hampshire, have barred sophomore Jessica Meserve from forming a Christian student club. Meserve was told that her club would violate the alleged "separation of Church and State." Meanwhile, the school allowed another student group, the Straight and Gay Alliance (SAGA) , to use school facilities for meetings and other events.


Transsexual(sic) loses discrimination battle
A transsexual(sic) banned from using a pub’s ladies’ has lost her legal fight to prove she was the victim of sex discrimination.

Megan Alexander, who completed a full sex-change operation(sic) six years ago was thrown out of Scaramouche in Perth, Scotland, in January 2000 after demanding the right to use the ladies' toilet.

Then owners Scottish & Newcastle said it had received complaints from other drinkers when Ms Alexander used the ladies' toilet and on the night in question manager Alan Doyle and other staff were forced to remove her after she became abusive.

Ms Alexander, formerly known as Malcolm, sued Scottish and Newcastle for £10,000, saying she had been "distressed and humiliated" by the incident.

But Sheriff Lindsay Foulis found in favour of Scottish & Newcastle and ruled that she had not changed sex in the eyes of the law as it stands.


Gay marriage foes fear social and legal 'chaos'
By M.E. Sprengelmeyer, Rocky Mountain News

Gay marriage opponents are about to find out if their worst nightmares will come true.

Just four days before Massachusetts begins implementing a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, critics used a congressional hearing Thursday to predict widespread social and legal upheaval ahead.

U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., told a House Judiciary subcommittee if her proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is not adopted, there would be a "social revolution unsought and unwanted by the American people."

But openly gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., Musgrave's most outspoken critic on Capitol Hill, scoffed, saying similar predictions about "social chaos" never materialized after Vermont gave same-sex couples civil union rights.


Conservatives To Screen Out Gay Positive Judicial Candidates
by Newscenter Staff

(Atlanta, Georgia) A conservative action group is screening all candidates running for judicial offices in Georgia demanding to know their positions on gay rights, abortion issues, and school prayer.

The Christian Coalition of Georgia announced Thursday it is sending out a survey to all candidates for state judicial offices.

One question, titled "Homosexual Conduct," asks whether candidates agree with the 2003 US Supreme Court decision striking down the Texas sodomy law.

The answers to the lengthy questionnaire will be compiled and sent to 250,000 homes, with 500,000 additional copies going to churches.


Unity Club 
  - Stephanie Miller  
When is a club not really a club?  That's the question on the minds of many on the Rose Hulman campus.

Earlier this spring, a group calling itself the Unity Club asked to be officially recognized by the Rose Hulman Student Government Association.  The SGA turned down the group's request for the sixth time.
Their mission seems noble, to promote the acceptance of diversity.  And they just want to be recognized by the SGA.
RHIT Junior Odessa Goedert and Unity member says, "Unity is a group of students who have come together with the common interest of promoting tolerence on our campus and a place where individuals can be thenselves without fear of bigotry or hatered."

But some at Rose Hulman see it differently.  The argument against Unity, at least on the surface, doesn't seem to be about their connection to homosexuality and alternative lifestyles, but rather that they are more of a support group than a club with a defined purpose.


Grand jury indicts duo on murder, other charges

A Knox County grand jury has indicted a pair of alleged would-be robbers on charges they lured two men to a home for a promised sexual encounter and instead fatally shot one and tried to kill the other.

Joshua Eugene Anderson, 21, and Timothy Chad Canady, 24, are named in indictments issued Wednesday charging the pair with a slew of offenses, including first-degree murder, felony murder, attempted especially aggravated robbery and attempted first-degree murder.

Anderson and Canady are accused in the December 2003 slaying of Sampson Jonathan McGhee, 32, at Anderson's East Fifth Avenue home. The pair also is charged with trying to kill George England, who has testified he ran from the two and hid on a stranger's front porch until police arrived.

According to testimony at a preliminary hearing in January in Knox County General Sessions Court, Anderson and Canady met McGhee and England in what England termed the "gay block," an area around the West Knox News adult bookstore on Kingston Pike where homosexual men go to meet other men.


Kid's sex change(sic) at six
in Los Angeles

LITTLE Hallie Baker told her parents she would kill herself if she didn't get her way – but this was no childish tantrum.

For the six-year-old was begging her mum and dad to let her transform herself into a BOY.

And for the three years since then, Hallie has had her way, answering to the name Hal, while being treated as a lad at home and school.

Now "he" plans to start taking hormones at the onset of puberty to stop him growing breasts.


House Committee Told Anti-Gay Amendment is 'Moderate'
by Paul Johnson Newscenter

(Washington) Calling a proposed amendment to the US Constitution to ban same-sex marriage a "measured and moderate response" its author Thursday said  it was aimed at curbing "activist judges" not homosexuality.

Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colorado) told the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution that it is a "biological fact that men and women are designed to complement one another." 

"In a very real sense it is impossible for a man to “marry” a man or a woman to “marry” a woman, and the very meaning of the word “marriage” necessarily contemplates a relationship between a man and a woman," Musgrave said.

Robert Bork, whose nomination as a Supreme Court justice was rejected by the Senate because of his radical viewpoints also testified before the committee today.


Transsexual's(sic) story of assault attacked at trial
Defense says victim's statements don't match
By Michaelangelo Conte

The trial of a Jersey City man charged with sexually assaulting a transsexual (sic) in Bayonne continued yesterday with the attorney for the defense attacking her credibility by producing a marriage license on which she is listed as female.

"I'm not asking you what you consider yourself," defense attorney Jeff Mandel said during questioning. "When all is said and done, you know you are not a female."
Information from Our Advertisers

The 25-year old Bayonne resident, who has accused Travis Palmer, 40, of Cator Avenue, of sexually assaulting her and stabbing her in the face with a screwdriver in an alley last June 20, disputed Mandel's assertion.

"To me, I'm a female," she said.

"You've never taken the steps to legally change your sex," Mandel pushed on.

"That's nobody's business," the victim snapped back.

Report may say D.C. must OK Mass. marriages
Mayor weighs response as May 17 nears

A legal opinion by the city’s corporation counsel, which D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams says he is not ready to release, states that District law requires the city to recognize legally sanctioned same-sex marriages issued by Massachusetts and other states, according to a District government source.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said news of the opinion prepared by Corporation Counsel Robert Spagnoletti has been circulating among the mayor’s top aides and other District government officials. Spagnoletti, who is gay, serves as the city’s top lawyer.

Washington Post columnist Marc Fischer reported on May 11 that a “government official” who has reviewed the contents of Spagnoletti’s opinion disclosed to the Post that the opinion holds that the city “must” recognize same-sex marriages performed by other states.

Reports of the contents of Spagnoletti’s opinion came as Williams was deliberating how to respond to a letter from Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, which asks the mayor whether he would grant Massachusetts permission to marry same-sex couples who live in D.C.


Lesbian Rabbi Finally Gets Turn As Bride
By ADAM GORLICK Associated Press Writer

As a rabbi, Lisa Freitag-Keshet has joined countless couples in marriage, sanctifying those unions before God and the government.
Throughout it all, she found herself doling out legal rights to which she and her lesbian partner were never entitled.
Until now.
The nation's first state-sanctioned gay marriages are scheduled to begin in Massachusetts on Monday. And on May 30 the rabbi and her partner of eight years will be married by a justice of the peace in a short, private ceremony that will finally give them the legal recognition that was absent from the religious ceremony they had almost five years ago.


Bisexuality topic at panel discussion

Gazette-Times reporter

It's not easy being gray.

Humans have a strong dislike of ideas that don't fit in boxes. Black and white, dichotomous notions are much easier to wrap our brains around. You're either a girl or a boy. You're either straight or gay. And once you choose, that's what you're stuck with forever.

So when you don't easily fit into the either/or view of the world, it makes people uncomfortable. It's confusing to not be able to easily classify the person standing in front of you, or sitting down the aisle from you on the bus, or smiling at you from across the bar. It's a world that makes it especially difficult for those identifying themselves as bisexual.

"We all have some misconceptions to work out," said Oregon State University student Tony Robbins, who spoke Thursday on a panel about understanding bisexuality as part of Pride Week at OSU.
The panel attempted to address some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding bisexuality, and its tenuous role as a sexuality that is viewed with suspicion on both the gay and straight sides of the "fence."


Students join project to bring gay issues to the forefront
Dana Voloshen
Timberline High School

In recent years, our society has taken steps to minimize the oppression of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. On April 21, Timberline High School students participated in the Day of Silence Project, a national movement to end such violence and discrimination.

The annual event requires its participants not to speak for the day to mirror the silence faced by homosexual or bisexual people. It's recommended to stop speaking in a group, then break the silence together at a prearranged time.

Participating Timberline students found out about the event at the last minute and did not get a chance to recruit more people, they said. Senior Laura Fuller said eight THS students were involved in the project.

"My friend Amber stumbled across the official Web site. Apparently, she heard about it from a friend online," Fuller said.

In 1996, University of Virginia students organized the first Day of Silence. The idea quickly gained nationwide recognition. It is now run through the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network.


Rights ordinance reviewers focus on wordsmithing
By Barney Lerten

May 13 - Any lingering trepidation about having a panel of citizens review the city of Bend’s proposed anti-discrimination ordinance likely was erased by the constructive tone of its first meeting, with proposals to clarify and strengthen the wording, legally – and even to change its name to the “Equal Rights Ordinance.”

“I just think it (the name) is much more positive,” said the person who suggested it, Garth Jackson, CEO of the Orthopaedic and Neurological Center of the Cascades – and, by the way, a member of the Bend Chamber of Commerce board of directors, which had been sharply critical of the proposal to extend protections to the areas of sexual orientation and gender identity.


Va. boy with 2 dads harassed in school
Gay family featured in Equality Va. ad campaign

When Matthew Boyer and Michael Sebastiani agreed to appear in an advertisement for Equality Virginia denouncing the recent passage of an anti-gay law in Virginia, they wanted to show that their entire family would be impacted. To get that message across, their two sons appeared in the ad with them.

But in the weeks before the ad was set to appear, they were faced with every gay parent’s nightmare: they discovered that their older son was being harassed at school for having two gay dads.

“It made me really upset. It made me feel guilty because my son was being caused pain because of the person who I love,” said Boyer, the 10-year-old boy’s biological father, who shares joint custody with the boy’s mother. He asked that his son’s name not be used in this article.

“I was obviously upset. I had hoped that it would be a little further down the road before we would have to deal with this. I immediately talked to him and tried to find out exactly what the situation was.”


Homosexuality vote delay asked
Tribune news services

MINNEAPOLIS -- A local leader in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is trying to persuade denominational leaders to delay a divisive final vote on homosexuality next year.

Bishop Peter Rogness of the St. Paul Area Synod sent an e-mail to his 425 pastors asking if it would be better to pray about the issue than vote on it. The St. Paul synod is the third-largest in the 5 million-member church.

"Can we agree that living with these differing perspectives for a time might be less harmful for the church?" Rogness wrote. "Can we agree that it is more important for us to be a church that prays about these matters than a church that votes about them?"

The ELCA is scheduled to vote at its August 2005 assembly on whether to ordain sexually active gays and authorize an official rite to bless same-sex unions.


Thursday, May 13, 2004

Courting Gay Marriage
By David Morris, AlterNet

Minnesota Republicans are pulling out all the stops in their effort to have a constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall forbidding same-sex marriage. As of this writing similar efforts are going on in 19 other states. Before Minnesotans endorse this effort, they need to answer two questions.

The first was posed earlier this year by U.S. Representative Barney Frank. "When I go home from today's work and I choose because of my nature to associate with another man, how is that a problem for you?" he asked his congressional colleagues. "How does that hurt you?"

President Bush and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty would undoubtedly tell Rep. Frank that his behavior hurts because it involves a distasteful, unhealthy and immoral activity and threatens their sense of what marriage should be. That's a fair answer.

The next question is harder. Are these personal objections sufficient to outlaw homosexuality or same-sex marriage? The President and Governor might respond that if a majority of voters agrees with them, the answer is yes. That's not exactly true. The actions of the majority are answerable to the Constitution. The founding fathers created an independent judiciary and a Bill of Rights in part to protect minorities from discriminatory action by majorities. This is not to say the majority can never discriminate against a minority but it must justify its discrimination before a court of law.

Judge Denies Bid to Stop Gay Marriages

BOSTON - A federal judge Thursday rejected a last-minute bid by conservative groups to block the nation's first state-sanctioned gay marriages from taking place in Massachusetts next week.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro said Massachusetts' high court acted within its authority in interpreting the Massachusetts Constitution.

The plaintiffs immediately announced they would take their case to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Tauro heard arguments Wednesday on a petition spearheaded by the Florida-based Liberty Counsel and joined by the Catholic Action League, 11 state lawmakers and conservative legal groups in Boston, Michigan and Mississippi.

Mathew Staver, president and general counsel of the Liberty Counsel, had argued that the state's high court overstepped its bounds when it ruled in November that gay marriage should be legal in Massachusetts. He pleaded with the federal judge to "prevent this constitutional train wreck."

Lynn Cothren: In the shadow of a civil rights icon
A BTL exclusive interview with the openly-gay special assistant to Coretta Scott King
By Jason Michael

When Lynn Cothren started working at the King Center 22 years ago, it was just a job. He had just relocated to Atlanta from his home in Fayetteville, Tenn. and to support himself while he studied at the Atlanta Art Institute it was either take a part time job at the Center or use his transfer letter to get a guaranteed job at Sears.

Cothren worked with the Center's library and archives for three months before being transferred to the office of the executive vice president of government and international affairs. Three months later he was tapped by the Center's founder, Mrs. Coretta Scott King herself, to work on the files in her office.

But still, it was just a job, and Cothren had plenty of time to volunteer for other causes. The AIDS crisis in full bloom, one of the first efforts he became involved in was the buddy program of AID Atlanta.

"I was a buddy captain and I had five or six buddies that I helped make the transition," Cothren recalled. "I was with them through their transition. Each time it took a toll on me personally, and it also gave me a tremendous amount of growth personally and I wanted to continue to do the work but as many who worked at this time in HIV and AIDS, you get tired. And I wanted to do something that wasn't so draining and so I started working more in the gay and lesbian community on issues. I've never seen myself as just as a gay activist. I try to see myself as a human rights activist that specializes, maybe, in queer issues. But I work on all the progressive issues because I believe very strongly that everything is interconnected. Where you see racism and sexism, you'll see homophobia."

Marriage amendment could be on ballot
News Observer staff While marriage is nearly as old as mankind, events recently have brought the previously-understood definition of marital union into question. A group of Arkansans is lobbying to settle the matter in this state through a change in the state constitution.

The Arkansas Marriage Amendment Committee is seeking to place an amendment on the November ballot defining marriage. Charles R. Noble and Greg and Bobette Callahan of Crossett are the Ashley County coordinators for the committee.

"The issues of gay and lesbian lifestyles are in the forefront of our concern," Noble said. "What is happening across the nation will effect what happens here in Crossett."

The committee is working to obtain the number of petition signatures legally-required to place the item on the general election ballot. Its stance is that there are judicial and legal as well as social and moral issues at stake.

Gay couple asks attorney general for legal advice on gay marriage
Associated Press Writer

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island's attorney general expects to issue an interpretation of the state's marriage law on Monday, in part because a gay couple planning to wed in neighboring Massachusetts asked him if their union would be recognized here.

Officials in the Bay State are expecting a flood of out-of-state gay couples to apply for marriage licenses Monday, the first day same-sex unions will be legal.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has said state law prohibits couples from marrying there if the marriage would be illegal in their home state, and no other state recognizes same-sex marriages.

A small number of cities in Massachusetts have said they will grant licenses to out-of-state couple, despite Romney's instructions.

HRC looking to get 500,000 signatures by May 17

The Human Rights Campaign is seeking to get 500,000 names on its Million For Marriage petition by May 17. The petition currently has 450,000 names.

In a letter to HRC supporters, HRC's Cheryl Jacques wrote, "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."

Jacques urged everyone who supports marriage equality to not only sign the petition, but to urge other supporters to sign as well.

"Our voices - 500,000 loud and strong - will help counter the right-wing extremists' wave of fear and lies, and will give hope and support to the couples about to marry in Massachusetts," wrote Jacques.

Anti-gay marriage web site claims to have 1,288,493 signatures on their petition opposing marriage equality.

To sign the petition visit In addition, sign the petition at stating your opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Same-sex marriage becomes an election issue in France

France's same-sex marriage debate gathered steam on Wednesday as opposition plans to seek a law allowing same-sex matrimony turned the question into a campaign issue for next month's European Parliament elections. Socialist and Greens party leaders competed with each other over whether to introduce the bill next month or in September, while members of the governing conservative UMP party expressed reservations or outright rejection. France approved civil unions for all couples in 2000, but these arrangements do not come with the usual rights of marriage such as adoption rights, and the tax advantages are still less than that for married heterosexual couples.

Greens leader Noel Mamere launched the debate last month when he said he would marry two gay men in June in his capacity as mayor of a town near Bordeaux. President Jacques Chirac has predicted that parliament would not approve any such reform. A recent survey by Elle magazine indicated 64% of the French are in favor of same-sex marriages, while 49% said they would also approve of gay couples adopting children. And Mariette Sineau, political scientist at the Sciences Po Institute in Paris, said the gay marriage debate could push the ruling right-wing party further into the "old-fashioned" camp in the eyes of many young voters. She said it could also help far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen in the European elections: "He could claim that he is the only one defending traditional French values."

Analysts said the initiative could prove useful for the Socialists, who are keen to repeat the success they scored in regional elections in March, routing the government of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin as voters protested against economic reforms and high unemployment. But it also revealed divisions within their party. Two prominent women Socialists expressed reservations about allowing gays to adopt children. "We see a bit of an Americanization of French politics, with this new focus on minority groups," said Paul Bacot, political scientist at the Lyon Sciences Po Institute. "It can benefit the Socialists to win over the gay minority. Participation in the European elections is set to be much less than in national or regional elections, and minority groups tend to be more mobilized to actually cast their vote."

Anti-Gay Marriage Push Fails In Colorado County

(AP) Republicans in the home county of GOP Rep. Marilyn Musgrave have balked at supporting her proposal to outlaw gay marriage.

At their assembly earlier this month, Morgan County Republicans fell one vote short of approving a resolution to support the proposed constitutional amendment backed by Musgrave and other Republicans, including President Bush and Sen. Wayne Allard of Colorado.

Among those who didn't vote for the resolution were Musgrave and her husband, who left the assembly early. Her chief of staff, Guy Short, said the resolution would have passed had she and her husband voted or if three unmarked ballots weren't counted.

"The congresswoman has more important things to do than fiddle with spoiled ballots in Morgan County," Short said.

Battle Over Gay Marriage Ban in Georgia
Michael Christopher Bryan

Conservatives and gay-rights activists say they are preparing for the next fight over a Georgia amendment designed to ban same-sex marriage in the state when the issue comes before voters in November.

Although Georgia already bans gay marriage, supporters of a constitutional ban say they fear judges could overturn the current prohibition, so the law needs constitutional protection. Gay rights supporters say the proposed amendment is an attempt by antigay groups to make discrimination constitutional.

The first series of arguments ended March 31 when the legislature gave final approval to put the proposed ban on the Nov. 2 ballot, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

But both sides say they believe a lot can happen to change voters minds between now and November, so energies and monies are being strategically placed to get voters out and sway people already registered to vote.

Justices peaceful over new vows
By David Ertischek / Staff Writer

If you're a justice of the peace in Massachusetts, you now have to marry same-sex couples - and that's exactly what two West Roxbury justices of the peace will be do after Monday.

"I've been married for over 36 years," said Rosemarie Kerwin, a justice of the peace for three years. "I believe in the institution of marriage. My parents have been married for 57 years. I enjoy bringing together two individuals into a committed life together."

In the coming weeks, Kerwin will bring two same-sex couples together in matrimony.

Kerwin will perform the wedding of Roslindale's Chet Smith and Bob Mason next week. Smith and Mason have been together for more than 27 years and describe Kerwin as "the 'nice' Irish Catholic woman from West Roxbury."

Churches ready for gay marriage
By Chris Cassidy / Staff Writer

With three days before gay marriage becomes legal in Massachusetts, several religious leaders in Concord said they will perform same-sex marriages in their churches and centers of worship.

In many cases, marriage procedures and wedding ceremonies for gay couples will differ only slightly, mainly in the wording of their vows. Many religious leaders said they would offer the same pre-marital counseling sessions to gay couples as they do to heterosexuals.

At their annual meeting in February, members of the Trinitarian Congregational Church on Walden Street adopted a statement of welcome designed to make the congregation all-inclusive, regardless of age, gender, race, class, or sexual orientation, according to Senior Minister John Lombard.

"Part of that is that all people are entitled to receive the benefits of being married in the church," Lombard said.

O'Malley says sadness over gay marriage should not translate to anger
By Associated Press

Archbishop Sean O'Malley says the start of gay marriage in Massachusetts should be marked with sadness, but not anger.

The leader of Boston's Roman Catholic archdiocese says the church remains committed to the idea that marriage is the bond between a man and a woman and should have special protections and benefits under the law.

In a statement released today, O'Malley urged Catholics not to villify any group of people, especially ``our homosexual brothers and sisters.''

He said Catholics should not be led into anger even if they do not agree with everyone's opinion or accept everyone's behavior.

House Committee 'Recklessly Exploits' Gays and Lesbians; PFLAG Tells Musgrave to Ask the Right Questions

WASHINGTON, May 13 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Today the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold a hearing on the Musgrave Federal Marriage Amendment and again our elected representatives will attempt to stamp our American heritage with their own prejudice and politics. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) calls on Representative Marilyn Musgrave and all members of the House to stop answering questions about marriage equality with personal religious views, misinterpretations of science and alterations to history and start asking the right questions.

"It is particularly frustrating that the Congressional committee hearings on this issue refuse to take up the most pertinent question of all -- how would extending marriage rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples either harm or help our families, communities and the nation?" said Ron Schlittler, PFLAG's director of policy. "There are facts to be presented and stories to be told that address this question, but the committee, it seems, has no interest in the answer. What is actually going on is clear: the lives and families of our loved ones are being recklessly exploited for political purposes and that is heartbreaking."

Rep. Musgrave says that marriage equality is "unsought and unwanted by the American people." Nothing could be further from the truth -- all over our nation today thousands of couples are seeking the right to marry, the right to raise a family, the right to protect their most important unions. Hundreds of thousands more moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandparents, friends and supporters will not stand by while Representative Musgrave and her fellow legislators stamp out our loved ones' desire for equality and our nation's commitment to justice.

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is the nation's foremost family-based organization committed to the civil rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender persons. Founded in 1973 by mothers and fathers, PFLAG has over 250,000 members and supporters in more than 500 chapters throughout the United States.