poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Opponents of gay marriage rally to keep institution for straights
By: BRIAN MELLEY - Associated Press

SACRAMENTO -- With the nation's first legal gay nuptials nearly a week old, former presidential candidate Alan Keyes urged hundreds of gay marriage opponents at the state Capitol on Saturday to fight to limit the institution to straight couples only.

The purpose of marriage is to produce children, something homosexuals are physically incapable of, said Keyes, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000.

"To say it's between a man and a woman doesn't discriminate against same-sex couples anymore than it would be discrimination for the government to say I can't offer to fly people to the moon without benefit of a rocket ship," Keyes said. "And being as how I'm not physically equipped to fly to the moon, telling me I can't carry passengers there is not discrimination, it's common sense."


Marriage blocked for out-of-state gay couples
Massachusetts AG tells 4 clerks to stop lissuing licenses

The Massachusetts attorney general said yesterday that he has warned clerks in four communities to stop issuing marriage licenses to out-of-state gay couples.

"Let me make it very clear here: If there are violations of the law, the law will be enforced," Attorney General Thomas Reilly said

Officials in Provincetown, Somerville, Springfield and Worcester have openly defied Gov. Mitt Romney's order not to let nonresident same-sex couples marry.

Acting on a request from the governor, Reilly sent letters to the clerks, saying he shares Romney's interpretation of a 1913 Massachusetts law barring couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their union would not be recognized in their home state.


ICLU takes aim at state's gay marriage ban
VALPARAISO: Executive director tells Calumet chapter that same-sex marriage is a conservative cause
Times Correspondent

VALPARAISO -- The issue of same-sex marriage reached closer to home on Saturday as the Calumet chapter of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union discussed the topic at its annual spring conference at Valparaiso University's School of Law.

Fran Quigley, named Executive Director of the ICLU in March, spoke to members of the Calumet chapter about the organization's battle against Indiana's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

In Morrison vs. Sadler, the ICLU represent three same-sex couples seeking the right to have their relationships recognized by legal marriage. The case argues that the couples, joined by civil unions in Vermont, have had their rights to individual freedom and equal treatment violated.

The Indiana Court of Appeals has reviewed briefs and heard oral arguments in the case but a decision may be months away.

Decision to grant benefits to married same-sex couples upheld
Associated Press

A King County Superior Court judge has affirmed the city's right to determine employee benefits for married same-sex couples.

Judge Bruce Hilyer on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against Mayor Greg Nickels over his recognition of same-sex marriages from other states. Hilyer ruled that the executive order Nickels signed in March, directing city departments to extend benefits to employees in gay and lesbian marriages, isn't in conflict with state law and doesn't violate the city charter.

"The court's decision is a great contribution to equality and family values," Nickels said in a statement Friday.

The two out-of-state legal organizations that sued on behalf of 12 local residents said they will likely appeal.


No child support owed by lesbian
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

A state appellate court refused Thursday to hold members of estranged same-sex couples responsible for child support and other parental obligations on the same basis as heterosexual couples.

The decision by the Court of Appeal in Sacramento overturned a child- support order against a San Francisco woman who allegedly promised to support her partner's twins before the couple broke up. It was the latest in a series of California rulings that have rejected co-parent status for former same-sex couples and recognized only the biological or birth parent as the legal parent.

Like their judicial colleagues in past rulings, the justices said family status was strictly defined by state law and that any changes must come from the Legislature.

"Whether and in what circumstances a person in a same-sex relationship, who is not related to children born during the relationship, should have the rights or obligations of a parent are matters plainly within the realm of legislative policy,'' said Presiding Justice Arthur Scotland in the 3-0 ruling.

Lutherans face gay debate

RYE BROOK — The biblical and theological debate over homosexuality that has frustrated and divided United Methodists, Episcopalians and Presbyterians is coming to a Lutheran church near you.

And a clean resolution on the two questions roiling mainline Protestant America — whether to bless same-sex relationships and ordain gay clergy — may again be elusive, judging from a preliminary discussion yesterday at an assembly of the Greater New York region of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you — even if they disagree with you," was the bottom-line advice offered by the Rev. James Childs Jr., a theology professor from Columbus, Ohio, who is directing a closely watched, national ELCA study on sexuality.


Episcopal Diocese of Utah sanctions same-sex blessings
By Alexandria Sage
The Associated Press

    A church known for its colorful history in Utah is taking a stand as a progressive voice on one society's most divisive issues -- same-sex unions -- ruling that Episcopal priests will be allowed to bless those partnerships.
The Episcopal Diocese of Utah has a history of open-mindedness -- one former bishop was an avowed socialist, while another was an avowed pacifist -- and dedication to community. After the church became the first major Protestant denomination to organize in the state in 1867, it opened the first hospital and Utah's first private school.
And now, in a state known for its religious conservatism, the diocese has jumped into an issue that has threatened to fracture the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, with its 100 dioceses domestically and 10 abroad.

    "A priest said, 'Until death do us part,' and held us up to the congregation and to the community to say 'Look, we approve, this is all right, we love them and we're here to give them our support and to protect them,' " said Ron Richardson. Last month, the 64-year-old piano teacher and his partner, 50-something Rex Lynn Nilsen, held a blessing ceremony at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City to celebrate their 25th anniversary.


County commission OKs gay marriage
Recommendation moves forward to Board of Supervisors
By Justine DaCosta, STAFF WRITER

Alameda County residents Wednesday let their views be known at a community forum led by the Alameda County Human Resources Commission.

The commission voted 7 to 5 Wednesday in support of a resolution advocating gay marriage in the county.

The forum -- which was scheduled after last month's meeting on the same topic drew only nine constituents -- brought together more than 50 community members who spoke out against and in support of same-sex marriages.

With the passing of the resolution, the commission will now recommend its support of same-sex civil marriages to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. But whether same-sex marriage is an issue of civil rights and equality or a theological problem is undecided by county residents.


Pope Says Marriage Is Between Heterosexuals

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope John Paul on Saturday repeated the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to homosexual marriage after Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage.

"Family life is sanctified in the joining of man and woman in the sacramental institution of holy matrimony," he said in an address to visiting American bishops.

"The Church teaches that the love of man and woman made holy in the sacrament of marriage is a mirror of God's everlasting love for his creation," he said.  

They were believed to be the pope's first public comments on marriage since Massachusetts on Monday joined Belgium, the Netherlands and three Canadian provinces in legalizing gay marriage.


Hatch: Ban gay unions
Utahn tells Senate an amendment is needed — and soon
By Lee Davidson
Deseret Morning News

      WASHINGTON — After seeing more than 1,000 same-sex couples marry in Massachusetts this week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, urged the Senate on Friday to pass a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage and to do it soon.
  "It has become clear that we need a constitutional solution to this problem. There is simply no other means of reining in activist judges who seek to impose their will," Hatch said in a Senate speech. His committee is where action for such an amendment would begin.
  He added, "Without a constitutional amendment, we are headed for a resolution by the United States Supreme Court. We should not and cannot wait for this to happen. We must protect traditional marriage now by passing a constitutional amendment."
Hatch contended that a few activist judges in Massachusetts took away the role of the legislative branch to essentially enact homosexual marriage.
    "People have the right to govern themselves. When a court which forces a radical decision on the people — well before the people have the opportunity to oppose the change — it dramatically undermines democracy's vitality and legitimacy," Hatch said.


Feelings on health curriculum split
School board to vote May 25
By Alisha Jeter, Enterprise Staff Writer

Anne Dalmadge knows what it's like to be harassed at school for being gay — though she herself is heterosexual.

The 16-year-old Broomfield High School sophomore is a member of the school's Gay/Straight Alliance group, which advocates for and supports homosexual students.

"The PTA, and the teachers and the administration can try as hard as they want, but they don't really know what goes on in our halls, even as a straight ally I get bullied in school about my misconceived sexual orientation," Dalmadge said. "There are many misapprehensions that could be cleared up with this in our health curriculum."

Dalmadge hopes a new health curriculum for her schools and others in the Boulder Valley School District will help educate students and allay fears that often produce bullying.


Divorce Deemed a Benefit of Gay Marriages
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - It may not be on their minds as they walk down the aisle in Massachusetts, but along with gifts and toasts many gay couples are finally getting one of the biggest benefits of matrimony: the ability to obtain a clean divorce.

Because their unions were not legally binding, gay couples have had few protections when they split and have had to rely on the inconsistent mercy of judges to obtain alimony, parental rights or a stake in the couple's finances.

"The single most important thing you get with marriage is divorce, a predictable process by which property is divided, debt is apportioned and arrangements are made for custody and visitation of children," said Jo Ann Citron, a Boston lawyer researching a book on same-sex breakups called "The Gay Divorcee."


Gay Marriage a Quandary for Romney
Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) - As gay couples publicly displayed their wedded bliss last week, Gov. Mitt Romney suddenly wanted to change the subject.

After six months of trying to block their court-ordered marriage rights, Massachusetts' Republican governor had not only lost the battle, he had lost several points in the polls.

Long ago labeled a religious zealot by the left, the Mormon governor was also beginning to hear taunts from the right, with the National Review publishing an article Monday - entitled ``The Missing Governor'' - criticizing Romney for not taking more decisive actions against the impending nuptials.

For three days after the legalization of gay marriage on Monday, Romney remained in seclusion, quietly avoiding the international media that descended on the state.


New Virginia Law Causes Some Gays To Consider Leaving State

Richmond (AP) - Gay activists in Virginia are toying with a new motto for the state: "Virginia is for lovers. *Some restrictions apply."

Gays and lesbians are angry and even threatening to leave the state over a new law that will prohibit civil unions and could interfere with contracts between same-sex couples. Some legal experts call it the most restrictive anti-gay law in the nation.

"I won't buy a home in Virginia. I'm done," said Bo Shuff, a 30-year-old gay rights activist who has rented in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Arlington for the last two years.

Added Edna Johnston, a lesbian who has scuttled plans to move her historic preservation consulting business from Washington to northern Virginia: "It's not a signal, it's a message: 'You're not welcome."'

What Rainbow?
By Kai Wright, Out Magazine

Eric German and Arthur Thomas got hitched a year ago – sort of. They weren't making a political statement or even being terribly romantic, they just wanted to get Thomas out of the homeless shelter he was living in. "I was in the hospital, and he has no family and I have no family," recalls Thomas. "So he took care of me. We kind of bonded."

They're a black gay version of the odd couple. Thomas is a towering, gravely-voiced guy who's fond of football jerseys and won't hesitate to tell you to fuck off when he thinks you need to hear it; German cuts a slight, soft-spoken figure and carefully ponders each word he parcels out, as though he has a limited supply. Still, you get the feeling German's got Thomas's number. He can make Thomas take his HIV meds, even on those difficult mornings when he's rebelling against himself, and he helps his man stay sober. "If I didn't have this individual, there's no telling where I would be," Thomas admits, "because, you know, everywhere you go there's drugs. And I can say, 'Today I feel like getting high, so let's just stay home.'"

They're both enrolled in a government program that helps poor people living with HIV pay rent and buy food and other necessities. Last spring, when Thomas was released from the hospital, German didn't want him going back into the shelters. So he suggested they get a place in his building in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Once impolitely known as "Do or Die Bed-Stuy," the slowly gentrifying area is one of a shrinking few in New York City where a couple on a budget as tight as German and Thomas's can still find an affordable but comfortable one-bedroom.

But when the duo told their case workers in city government of their plans to shack up, they got surprising news: The only way they could live together was if they got on New York City's domestic partner registry. In the process, Thomas's case would have to be closed and folded into German's. "We didn't want to be domestic partners," German explains. They were in love, sure, but they hadn't planned on such formalities. "That's the only way he could stay with me. So we went and did that."

A night of celebration for gay youth
Young couples take pride in first Prizm Prom in Lehigh Valley.
By Joanna Poncavage
Of The Morning Call

While 90 couples in pastel gowns and tuxedos gathered in the main ballroom of the Hotel Bethlehem for Palmerton Area High School's prom, a smaller, less traditional group was making history in the hotel's Terrace Room.

With flowers, colorful decorations, linen tablecloths and music, the Prizm Prom, the first gay prom in the Lehigh Valley, was officially under way.

Sponsored by Haven, a youth group at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley, the Prizm Prom was open to all: homosexuals, bisexuals, transgender, intersex, questioning, allied and others — a group commonly labeled gay.

Most of the 60 or so young people there — who ranged in age from 14 to 21 — were from Lehigh Valley schools, but a group of young men from Harrisburg, some dressed to the nines in women's clothing, made it in time to enter the drag queen contest.


Bedford County Company fights gay marriages

Fiberglass-products maker has major role in lawsuit against two men
By Bill Toland, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The most recent spate of local and national stories on the issue of gay marriages has introduced us to the usual protagonists: elated newlyweds, laudatory social liberals, religious conservatives who vow to fight the unions and litigious lawmakers aplenty.

Oh, and a fiberglass company from Bedford County.

Creative Pultrusions Inc., based in tiny Alum Bank along Route 56, bills itself as "the world's most innovative leader in the fiber-reinforced polymer composites industry," making bridge decks, flooring, ladders and other items. To the surprise of many, including some employees, the company is now taking a leadership role as the sole corporate litigant in a politically charged lawsuit aimed at two gay men from Bucks County.

The men, partners for three decades, tried to get a marriage license in March, and had threatened a suit to appeal the denial of their license request.

Instead, a lawsuit was filed against the men last week. The suit bears the names of Creative Pultrusions as well as one Democratic and 11 Republican lawmakers, all of whom hope their complaint will persuade a judge to issue a statement in support of existing law, the state's 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and outflank any future suits from the couple in question, Robert Seneca and Stephen Stahl.


Doug Grow: Gay-marriage pioneers, again
Doug Grow,  Star Tribune

Long before gay marriage became a sizzling contemporary issue, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell were receiving a Minnesota marriage license and saying their vows before a Methodist minister.

In 1971, that license and marriage were invalidated by the state and, over time, the couple slipped -- or got pushed -- into the background of the gay rights movement.

But on Tuesday, the 34th anniversary of their first attempt to file for a marriage license,
Baker and McConnell were making news again. They filed suit in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, claiming that the Internal Revenue Service has violated their right to due process by refusing to allow them to file a joint tax return.

"Their suit is based on the fact they've had an enduring relationship after having a license granted by the state in a marriage solemnized by a clergyman," said attorney Larry Leventhal, who is assisting the couple in the suit.


All in a week's time, gentleman farmer Bourn's a selectman and a married man
By Meredith Goldstein, Globe Staff

Lane Bourn has had plenty of reasons to celebrate.

Last week, he won his race for a Rowley selectman seat by more than twice the votes of the second-place finisher. He became the first-ever fourth selectman in Rowley as the town, over time, expands its board to five members.

This past Monday, Bourn married his longtime partner, Stuart Wells, in front of family, friends, and a small contingent of media representatives. It's been several weeks of being in the spotlight, for personal and professional reasons.

"It's not a problem," he said, of the national attention focused on his marriage. He welcomed reporters from as far away as London to his home for the wedding. "I understand there's a certain level of role model-ness with this."

Bourn already had entered into a civil union with Wells. The two traveled to Vermont on July 1, 2000, the first day the couple was legally able to be recognized in that state, just as they did Monday in Newburyport when same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts.


Friday, May 21, 2004

Trans Lawyer Honored By New York Law School
by Newscenter Staff

(Flushing, New York) Shannon Minter one of the leading attorneys battling for LGBT families in American was awarded an  honorary degree Friday from the City University of New York School of Law. 

Minter is Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco. He is one of the attorneys representing same-sex couples who married in San Francisco fighting to have their unions recognized by the state of California.

He also is involved in same-sex marriage suits in Oregon and other parts of the country.

Earlier this month Minter represented Theron McGiff before the Supreme Court of Idaho.  McGiff, a gay man, had lost custody of his two children because sexuality and a lower court judge had denied him visitation rights as long as he lived with his same-sex partner. (

2nd Annual Trans/Genderqueer/Intersex/Drag & Buddies Picnic!
Sunday, May 23, 2004
Dolores Park at 19th Street

Please come out to the 2nd Annual Trans/Genderqueer/Intersex/Drag &
Buddies Picnic for our spring celebration! This event, which will take
place at Dolores Park at 19th Street during picnic time (noon or
after), is meant to bring together the entire trans, genderqueer &
intersex communities, including FTMs, MTFs, drag, bi and omnigender,
two spirit, non-gender, androgynous, freaks, queers, punks, those who
transcend the binary gender system, friends, family and allies. All
genders, ages, hormone levels and anatomies enthusiastically invited!

The picnic is a temporary autonomous space, belonging to and created
by those who come. This jamboree is whatever we make it, there is no
central organizing committee, it's a democratic shindig. You are
encouraged to take ownership by adding yourself, your creativity and
effort to the ruckus. So, please think of ways you can join in
planning, promoting, bring food, drinks & lollypops to share, get
together with your friends to organize outrageously fun things to do,
be your marvelous self, and above all – get the word

France's Roman Catholic Church objects to first gay marriage

The Roman Catholic Church joined the growing debate over gay marriage in France by voicing its objection in an article published Friday to a proposed summer wedding between two men.
"I must state my disagreement," Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard, president of the Conference of

Bishops of France, wrote in L'Aquitaine, a bimonthly regional journal of the Bordeaux diocese, and the national Catholic daily La Croix. "Our society could not put the union of a man and a woman, which can lead to the birth of new human beings, on the same plane as two like beings, which cannot."

Ricard said the church objects to gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples not only on religious grounds but also as a means "to support the founding principles of social life itself. It must be said [that] a child, born from the union of a man and a woman, needs a father and a mother."

Green Party lawmaker Noel Mamere plans to perform France's first same-sex wedding on June 5, which has prompted national debate and a government denunciation. The ceremony will take place in the southwestern French town of Begles, where Mamere is mayor.

Chamber urges town to change policy on center's same-sex family membership
The Associated Press

SKANEATELES, N.Y. -- Business leaders in this upscale Finger Lakes community are urging town officials to let gay and lesbian couples obtain family memberships at the local community center.

In a statement approved Thursday night, the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Skaneateles Merchants' Association said they didn't want their community branded as backward and bigoted.

"A Community Center is a place for the entire community to gather for programs and recreation, and should include all families," the statement read.

"It's the 20th century and values and standards have changed from what they were and we try to be progressive and up to date," said Joe Panzarella, president of the merchants' association.


Gay marriage opponents rally at Statehouse
By Mark Jewell
Associated Press
Gay marriage opponents invoked the Bible during a rally today that drew about 300 participants, pledging a stepped-up campaign to ensure Indiana does not follow Massachusetts' lead in allowing same-sex marriage.

"This is wrong," said Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, said at the steps of the Indiana Statehouse. "If marriage can mean anything, it ultimately means nothing."

Massachusetts' legalization this week of same-sex marriage falsely embraces the idea that marriage is "simply another living arrangement," Clark said.

Several speakers were from predominantly black Indianapolis churches. Rally participants sang Christian hymns, displayed the Indiana and U.S. flags and held signs reading "God gave us marriage -- obey God" and "We love gays but we oppose same-sex marriages."


Reilly says he'll enforce law against rebellious clerks
Associated Press Writer

BOSTON- Attorney General Thomas Reilly said Friday that his office has contacted four rebellious clerks and instructed them to stop issuing marriage licenses to out-of-state gay couples, agreeing to a request from Gov. Mitt Romney.

Officials in Provincetown, Somerville, Springfield, and Worcester have openly defied Romney's edict forbidding clerks from marrying out-of-state couples.

Reilly said he shares Romney's interpretation of the 1913 law barring couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their union would not be recognized in their home state, and he plans to enforce it.

"Let me make it very clear here, if there are violations of the law, the law will be enforced," Reilly said Friday, a day after Romney sent him 10 marriage applications filed by out-of-state couples.

Schools Examine Lessons of Gay Marriages
Associated Press Writer

May 21, 2004, 4:33 PM EDT
NEWTON, Mass. -- Kate Brodoff is just a freshman in high school, but lately she has found herself playing the teacher.

The 15-year-old girl's lesbian parents were plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to the legalization of gay marriage and were among the first couples to get married this week, so Kate has been explaining her insider's perspective to classmates at Newton South High School.

"Some make assumptions. They think that marriage and civil unions are the same," Kate said. "I try to tell them the actual facts of the case."

Across the state, as Massachusetts became the first to allow gay couples to wed, educators grappled with how to discuss the landmark development in the classroom. In many cases, students did not need much prompting.


Stop The Gay Bashing Stonewall Democrats Tell GOP
by Doreen Brandt Newscenter

(Washington)  National Stonewall Democrats Friday called on Republicans to stop a barrage of anti-gay attacks that they have unleashed this week.  

Late last night, the Republican National Committee released a research paper titled "Totally San Fran" which blasted Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi for being "extreme and out of touch on homosexual issues." 

Also last night, U.S. Representative Tom Reynolds (R-NY), chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, lobbed a thinly-veiled anti-gay taunt at Pelosi, saying that the
Democratic Leader " should just go back to her pastel-colored condo in San Francisco and keep her views to herself."  In response, Pelosi's office noted that her family lives in a red-brick house.

"These taunts aren't worthy of a schoolyard bully, let alone a national party," said Dave Noble, NSD Executive Director.  "The majority of Americans support equal employment protections, hate crime laws and open military service.  It is the Republican Party that is out of touch with mainstream America, and they are demonstrating that point with this extreme rhetoric. "

Empathy defense offered in Araujo case
Testimony to end next week, closing arguments tentatively scheduled for June 1
By Ivan Delventhal, STAFF WRITER

HAYWARD -- Instinctive empathy, rather than a guilty conscience, could have led one of three men charged with killing a transgender Newark teenager to help his friends bury the body, a psychiatrist called by the defense testified in court Thursday.

But under cross-examination, the psychiatrist also acknowledged that empathy could have led the man to participate in the slaying.

Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld, a Sausalito psychiatrist, was summoned Thursday as the final witness for defendant Jason Cazares as testimony in the murder trial neared its conclusion at the Hayward Hall of Justice.


State police won't investigate officers accused of lying
By: Kym Soper, Journal Inquirer
State police say they have no plans to reopen an investigation or to discipline two officers accused by a state panel of lying in a sexual-harassment complaint against a supervisor.

The state review board in January exonerated the supervisor, Lt. Wayne L. Rioux, of all charges.

Rioux, a former commander of Troop B in North Canaan, was relieved of his command and suspended for a month without pay following an internal affairs investigation that found he had sexually harassed subordinates in the summer of 2002.

Rioux, 50, was accused of making sexually explicit comments that included references to female anatomy and using language offensive to homosexuals.

Rioux vehemently denied the charges and appealed to the State Employee Review Board, which hears the personnel grievances of nonunion state managers

New Court Battle Brewing Over Mass. Gay Marriages
by Michael J. Meade Newscenter

(Boston, Massachusetts) The legality of issuing marriage licenses to out-of-state couples is expected to be tested in the courts following the intervention Friday of Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Riley.

Riley's office told clerks in four towns which refused to follow a directive by Gov. Mitt Romney that a 1913 law prevented licenses from being given to couples who reside in states where their marriages are not legal.

Provincetown, Somerville, Springfield, and Worcester all have granted marriage licenses to out-of-staters since same-sex marriage became legal in the Massachusetts on Monday.

Thursday, Romney sent copies of ten marriage application forms filled out couples from outside of Massachusetts to Riley and called on him to take action.

Romney wants licenses voided
Reilly asked to review marriage applications by out-of-state gays


BOSTON Gov. Mitt Romney said yesterday he is challenging the validity of 10 marriage licenses issued this week to gay couples who live outside Massachusetts, but he does not expect the clerks who issued the licenses to be punished.

In his first public comments since gay couples began to marry in Massachusetts on Monday, the Republican governor, who had threatened legal action against clerks who issued licenses to out-of-state couples, said he has referred the 10 applications to Attorney General Thomas Reilly.

The marriages will not be recorded with the state's Registry of Vital Statistics, Romney said, but he insisted his administration is not embarking on a witch hunt to nullify the unions of out-of-state couples.

Romney said he is merely upholding state law, specifically a 1913 statute that prohibits couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their union would not be lawful in their home states.


Judge rules against early gay marriage vote
By Matt Franck
Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau

A judge has sided with Missouri Secretary of State Matt Blunt in a dispute over when the state's voters will cast ballots on a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan ruled on Friday morning that Blunt cannot yet make preparations to place the issue on the Aug. 3 primary election ballot. Democrats had hoped to vote on the matter in August, rather than November, when the gay marriage issue could attract conservative voters to the polls. The large turnout could complicate Democrats election hopes, including for likely presidential nominee John Kerry.

On Thursday, Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon, a Democrat, sued Blunt to require him to follow Holden's request for an Aug. 3 vote.


Lawmakers criticize gay event

Two Republican legislative leaders labeled state Democrats closet liberals for lending their building for an event Thursday evening celebrating the first same-sex marriages in Massachusetts.

The event, sponsored by Central Oklahoma Stonewall Democrats, was held at state Democratic Party headquarters at 4100 Lincoln Blvd.

"By hosting a gay marriage celebration at their party headquarters, the Democrats are exposing just how liberal their party leadership really is, even in Oklahoma," Rep. Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, said in a news release.

His comments were echoed by Rep. Thad Balkman, R-Norman, who called the event "outrageous."

Both men are among the co-authors of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages that will be on the Oklahoma ballot in November.


Black gay activists rally for marriages
By Tara Deering
Tribune staff reporter

At 12 years old, Desiree Jones isn't afraid to stand up for her family.

The 6th-grader and her five younger siblings held up a banner reading "Our Moms R People Too! Gay Marriage Now!" on Thursday at a black gay rights activists rally in support of same-sex marriages held outside the Cook County building, 118 N. Clark St.

Desiree said she doesn't understand why some people want to keep her mothers, who have been together four years, from getting married.

"It makes me sad that they can't get married like they want to," Desiree said. "I just want people to know it's our life, and we should be able to live the way we want to."

The dozen or so black gay rights activists who showed up at the rally scolded black pastors who have spoken out against gays having the right to marry.


FMA backers begin new push in Congress
Group of Senate Dems vow to defeat measure

WASHINGTON .D.C — Politicians and pundits correctly predicted a flurry of activity on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage the same week same-sex couples wed in Massachusetts.

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, scheduled to hold its fourth hearing on the Federal Marriage Amendment, abruptly decided to postpone it until June 2, after Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney declined to testify due to a scheduling conflict. However, both sides have been actively mobilizing behind the scenes in preparation for a looming vote on the amendment, which the Republican leadership and some of the gay lobbying groups say will still occur, at least in the Senate.

“We are re-energizing the community with our battle call and paying attention like never before,” said Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques. “We have our allies who say they will ‘kick this FMA in the butt.’ But our allies are not in charge. Sen. [Majority Leader Bill] Frist and his team are in charge and they are saying they are confident this will come up for a vote.”


More Michigan newspapers run announcements for same-sex couples

DETROIT - More newspapers in Michigan will run announcements of same-sex commitment ceremonies than any other state in the country, putting Michigan media outlets ahead of the country in recognizing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families.

Out of 242 newspapers surveyed, ninety-eight said they would run announcements for same-sex couples if asked. At 40%, Michigan is the leading state in terms of number of newspapers willing to print announcements for same-sex couples.


Palo Alto PTA plans a new vote on gay vows resolution
By Dan Stober
Mercury News

Gay marriage is controversial, but mix it with the ``Palo Alto Process'' and things really get tricky.

A month ago, Kate Hill, the president of Palo Alto's citywide PTA Council, easily persuaded almost all of the 30 or so members at a council meeting to support a resolution opposing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages. National PTA officials said Palo Alto was the first council they knew of to do so.

But the vote caused such dismay among some parents that the council will debate the issue again and take another vote June 2.

Perhaps surprisingly, the grass-roots opposition parents are complaining less about gay rights than the process. The agenda for the council's 9 a.m. meeting on April 14 wasn't e-mailed to council members until 11:40 p.m. the night before, said Shirley Lin, the parent of a student at JLS Middle School. Neither she nor other PTA members knew about the vote until it was over, she said.

Romney wants licenses voided
Reilly asked to review marriage applications by out-of-state gays
By JULIE MEHEGAN, Sun Statehouse Bureau

BOSTON Gov. Mitt Romney said yesterday he is challenging the validity of 10 marriage licenses issued this week to gay couples who live outside Massachusetts, but he does not expect the clerks who issued the licenses to be punished.

In his first public comments since gay couples began to marry in Massachusetts on Monday, the Republican governor, who had threatened legal action against clerks who issued licenses to out-of-state couples, said he has referred the 10 applications to Attorney General Thomas Reilly.

The marriages will not be recorded with the state's Registry of Vital Statistics, Romney said, but he insisted his administration is not embarking on a witch hunt to nullify the unions of out-of-state couples.

Romney said he is merely upholding state law, specifically a 1913 statute that prohibits couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their union would not be lawful in their home states.

Initiative to ban gay marriage on its way
A proposal to change the Oregon Constitution is out of the courts, and signature gathering to get it on the ballot could begin today

Signature gathering for an initiative to ban same-sex marriage could begin as early as today after the Oregon Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday.

The ruling sets up a passionate battle. Supporters have six weeks to collect 100,840 valid signatures, and opponents vow they'll do all they can to stop it from reaching the November statewide ballot.

If the proposal makes the ballot, the campaign to sway voters -- for or against -- is expected to be one of the largest and most expensive in Oregon this year. Gay-rights activists already estimate they'll have to spend more than $2 million to defeat it.

The court rejected a Wednesday request to reconsider its approval of the initiative's ballot title. That means the only obstacle remaining for the initiative is authorization by state election officials, which is expected today.

"We're off and running," said Tim Nashif of the Defense of Marriage Coalition, the campaign promoting the initiative. "We think we'll be cleared sometime (Friday) to collect signatures."


Houstonians rally for marriage equality
Outdoor event celebrates Mass. marriage and calls for equality in all states

Marriage may not now be an option for gay couples in Houston, but a rally on Monday at City Hall celebrated the groundbreaking court ruling in Massachusetts that paved the way for the same-sex weddings that began in that state this week.

“Basic marriage equality is a right guaranteed to everyone of us under the Texas Constitution and under the Constitution of the United States of America,” said Bryan Chase, of Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund. “Hopefully, soon we will have judges with the courage and the vision to make it so everywhere, not just in


Congress that resists adding trans protections to workplace rights and hate crime bills. It’s the Human Rights Campaign
Gwen Smith
Friday, May 21, 2004

I HAD THE pleasure recently to walk up Rhode Island Avenue in Washington, D.C., and stand with several others in front of a large, glass-fronted building. In my hand was a sign that said, simply, “Ten Years of Exclusion.”

The building we were standing in front of had a large, burnished aluminum sign near the top — in the shape of an “equals” sign. Yes, the building is the office of the Human Rights Campaign.

We were proud to stand outside that building, attracting the attention of those behind the glass windows as well as many passers by. If anything, this was nothing more than yet another skirmish in a battle that has been brewing for a very long time; and a struggle that is heating up yet again.t

It will be of no surprise to many that there has been a long history of bad blood between the Human Rights Campaign and transgender rights activists. For the last decade — as transgendered people have fought to be included in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — HRC has stood firm to the belief that adding “transgender” to this bill would weaken its chances of passage.


Salt Lake Couples Rally for Gay Marriages

(Salt Lake City-AP) -- Massachusetts is getting a toast from hundreds of Utah couples for the state's leaglized same-sex unions.

About 300 gay and lesbian couples gathered last night to celebrate Massachusetts' stance on the controversial issue.

The party was put on by the Steering Committee of Utah Human Rights Campaign.

Organizers say Massachusetts' unions are a small step, but a first step. They hope to build from there.

The Utah Steering Committee works with a variety of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight organizations.


How Gay Characters Have Come of Age

ost Americans are repelled by the mere notion of homosexuality," Mike Wallace asserts on a news special.

From 1967. Today, repulsion at the mere notion of homosexuality — or that way of phrasing it, at least — is a thing of the past.

Or so we will be told on Sunday. The archaic CBS clip, in which Mr. Wallace interviews an anonymous Gay Man whose face is decorously obscured by the leaves of a potted plant, has a reprise on Bravo as part of a documentary about social progress that doubles as an hourlong promo for another Bravo show, "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." "TV Revolution: Out of the Closet" appears as the first installment in a harmless but self-congratulatory weekly series about how television has revolutionized everything in every possible way. (Next up: women.)

A bargain-basement history of TV is enlivened, a little, by a tender account of gay men and women in the media. Bedeviled by the usual "and lesbians" problem that tugs at every effort to talk about gay people as a coherent group, "TV Revolution" begins and ends with stories of homosexual men.


Blackmail charge not 1st for suspect
By Matt O'Connor
Tribune staff reporter

A Chicago man on probation for extortion was charged with threatening to expose a married man's homosexuality if he didn't meet blackmail demands, according to a criminal complaint made public Thursday.


Unitarian Universalists to present case for gay marriage
Staff Writer

While Mary Early-Zald believes her parents did a good job raising her, she thinks things may have been even better had her father been able to marry a man.

''My gay father raised very healthy children, although he was closeted for very many years,'' she said. ''Imagine how much healthier my parents' relationship would have been if my father had conceived of me with a surrogate mother and a male partner.''

Her parents eventually divorced, she said.

Gay marriage is a religious and spiritual issue for Early-Zald, who is a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Nashville.

Greens launch "gay pledges" for Euro elections
Ben Townley, UK

The Green Party has launched its campaign for the European elections, by detailing pledges it hopes will end discrimination towards LGBT people across the continent.

The campaign was opened yesterday by Dr Sarah Lucas, the Green Member of European Parliament for South East England, who said that if elected, the party will work to improve the lives of LGBT people throughout the UK, as well as Europe.

Lucas said that although the EU is a valuable source in backing LGBT rights, there is still work to be done in making sure all member states comply with pro-gay laws.

"The EU is a force for anti-discrimination and Greens have been at the forefront of spreading best practice in, for example, employment rights and policing across the EU," the MEP said at the event, which was held in Brighton.
The party will campaign:

- for all EU member states to comply with the EU directive on employment protection

- to ban homophobic and transphobic discrimination in access to goods and services such as insurance and mortgages

- for the recognition of same-sex marriages and registered partnerships across the EU

- to extend the EU definition of 'family' to include LGBT partnerships

- for all EU states to adopt best practice in policing LGBT communities


Rounds reiterates: No gay marriages
Argus Leader

Governors answer Massachusetts query
Just because scores of gay couples are rushing to get married in Massachusetts, it doesn't mean South Dakotans can make the trip out east to do the same thing.

Governors from South Dakota and other states have asked that marriage licenses not be issued to gay couples from their states.

Gov. Mike Rounds sent a letter to Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's Chief of Staff Beth Myers, requesting that Massachusetts not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples from South Dakota.

In that May 13 correspondence, Rounds was doing what governors and attorneys general from all the other states have done, according to Sarah D'Souza, a Romney spokesman.


Suit Filed Over Transsexual's Death

PHILADELPHIA (AP) The city and the mother of a slain transsexual drag show performer have settled a federal lawsuit that alleged that police and rescue workers contributed to her death.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed in the wrongful death lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in September by Roslyn Wilkins, the mother of Nizah Morris, 47, who was born a man but lived as a woman.

Wilkins' attorney, Lee Carpenter, said her client was pleased with the May 11 settlement but would not be satisfied until the killer is found.

"We think that the settlement will be constructive in improving the relationship between the city and the transgender community," Carpenter said Thursday. "But we haven't lost sight of the fact that we don't know what happened to Nizah and who ended her life."


Methodists face 'tension' on gays
By Janet I. Tu
Seattle Times staff reporter
A group of local evangelical United Methodists is organizing to make sure local church leaders follow newly tightened church laws and teachings on homosexuality and gay clergy.

The effort, led by a group of 12 pastors from across Washington, follows the recent church-trial acquittal of openly lesbian minister Karen Dammann, and the denomination's subsequent gathering in Pittsburgh, where the rules against gay clergy were tightened.

While evangelical Methodists were heartened by the Pittsburgh decisions, "we really felt the (local) conference was on a course of disobedience, in conflict with historic Christian teachings," said the Rev. Gary Starkey, pastor at Westpark United Methodist Church in Yakima.

The local conference — called the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference — encompasses Washington and northern Idaho. It is generally considered liberal and has tended to be in the minority within the larger denomination on issues regarding homosexuality


KCAVP Condemns Prosecution of Transsexual by Leavenworth

Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Anti-Violence Project (KCAVP), Kansas City’s only nonprofit organization solely dedicated to providing emergency and ongoing services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and bias crimes in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, condemns the arrest of Sandy Gast in Leavenworth County, Kansas. Ms. Gast is a transsexual. She was arrested in March and charged by the Leavenworth county attorney for swearing falsely in an application for marriage.

Ms. Gast produced a driver’s license, a Social Security card, and an amended birth certificate during the application process. Additionally, she provided a letter from a Kansas City psychotherapist showing treatment for transgender issues. Even though this is a misdemeanor, bond was set at five times the rate of the maximum fine, or $2500. Additionally, both the Leavenworth County sheriff’s office and County attorneys did not refer to Sandy using the correct gender identification of female. Finally, the need for an alleged strip search for a misdemeanor charge of falsely swearing for a marriage license is harassment.

“It is clear that law enforcement and the local courts are ignorant of transgender and transsexual issues,” said Doug Riley, executive director of KCAVP. “Clearly there was no interest to defraud Leavenworth County or the State of Kansas in regard to Sandy’s gender. It appears Leavenworth County is out to degrade a minority and hold them up to public ridicule. Considering the financial condition of the State of Kansas, it amazes me that taxpayer dollars are being spent to prosecute this case.” Riley adds, “In this heated environment, it is treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender folks like this that causes hate violence and murders to happen. It is in this spirit that we as an organization must work to stop harassing treatment of all LGBT people.”

Jamie Tyroler, KCAVP board member and friend of Sandy and Georgi, stated “Sandy Gast's case demonstrates one of the legal quandaries that transsexuals can be in - one gender for some legal documents, such as passports, driver's licenses, and birth certificates, but the opposite gender when it pertains to marriage.”


Conservative leader blames gays for Iraqi prison abuse
Knight decries ‘decadence’ of gay weddings

A conservative leader has pinned blame for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the subsequent beheading of businessman Nick Berg on gays getting married and serving in the military, among other acts of American “decadence.”

Writing for, a site for religious conservatives, Robert Knight of the Culture & Family Institute said the United States has arrived at the “perfect storm” of cultural depravity, which has come to a “deadly nexus in Iraq.”

He specifically targeted the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the recent enactment of gay marriage and the promotion of homosexuality in schools as policies that are putting Americans all over the world at risk for terrorism, along with the presence of women in combat roles in the military.

The comments by Knight, a longtime foe of gay rights, hearken back to the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, when Rev. Jerry Falwell ascribed the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center to “the pagans, the abortionists, and the feminists and the gays and lesbians.” Falwell also frequently contributes to


Newspaper regrets gay marriage photo

Spooked by reader complaints and canceled subscriptions, The [Lowell, Mass.] Sun apologized to its readers Thursday for publishing a photo of two men kissing at Cambridge Hall on Monday, the day same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts.

In an editorial, newspaper officials said the image represented shock value, something the paper tries to avoid. "To some readers, the photograph pushed the envelope too far," the Sun editorial said. "Those contacted by the Sun said it represented an unnecessary, in-your-face intrusion, especially for parents with young children."

The editorial also stated that if the staff had the opportunity again, it would most likely choose a different, less intrusive photograph that would fit the "go-slow approach we've endorsed for a better understanding of this sensitive issue."


Popular Taiwanese TV host comes out as transgendered

Famous Taiwanese auction host Liching, known to her fans as Queen of Auction, confessed Wednesday that 20 years ago she was a man, reports the China Post. Liching, who boasts that she sold $200 million worth of products in an hour, said she was a male for the first 20 years of her life.

Born Wu Chung-ming in Chingshui in 1962, Liching underwent surgery at the age of 22 and then had her domestic registration changed to reflect that she is female. She acquired a new identification card and registered her name with the government. The TV host did not release her registered name to the press.

Liching worked as a model after she lost her melodic voice in a traffic accident. It was her voice, which is now husky, that gave her the opportunity to become a star on the Eastern TV Auction Channel.

Little Dragon, her agent, said Liching's husky voice attracted thousands of buyers and made her the top seller for the Eastern TV group. The sales records Liching achieved, according to her agent, included 100,000 pairs of underwear in an hour, 700 notebook PCs in 85 minutes, 380 one-carat diamonds in 80 minutes, and 265 vanettes in 65 minutes.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Romney refers out-of-state cases to Attorney General's office
The Associated Press
3:15 p.m. press conference With BC-MA--
By JENNIFER PETER Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Mitt Romney took the first step toward blocking out-of-state gay marriages in Massachusetts, sending the Attorney General records from 10 cases in which clerks accepted marriage applications from non-residents.
He also said the Registry of Vital Statistics would not record the licenses of gay couples who don't live in Massachusetts and have no intention to move here - an action that a gay rights attorney said could trigger a lawsuit.]

"It is an aggressive move that denies the validity of a marriage," said attorney Mary Bonauto, who represented seven gay couples in the landmark lawsuit that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage Monday. "Litigation is something we're going to look at very seriously."

The Republican governor said he has asked Democrat Attorney General Thomas Reilly to "take whatever action he deems is appropriate" to remind clerks in the two localities where the applications were filed to abide by his interpretation of the law.

AG: Governor preparing legal case regarding out-of-staters
The Associated Press
By JENNIFER PETER Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) - Attorney General Tom Reilly said Thursday that he expects Gov. Mitt Romney to refer a "handful" of cases to his office involving marriage applications issued this week to gay couples from outside Massachusetts.

Earlier this week, Romney's office demanded copies of all applications issued by clerks in Worcester, Springfield, Somerville and Provincetown, four municipalities that openly defied the Republican governor's edict on denying licenses to out-of-state couples.

Reilly's comments came after administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the governor was contemplating seeking a court injunction barring clerks from continuing to issue marriages licenses to nonresidents.
Reilly declined to comment Thursday on whether he would take legal action against the clerks.


Attorney general sues secretary of state over gay marriage vote
Associated Press

Jefferson City — The dispute over when Missourians will vote on a gay marriage amendment to the state constitution is heading to court.

Attorney General Jay Nixon sued Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt today, seeking to force him to place the issue on the Aug. 3 ballot.

Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan quickly scheduled an initial hearing for later this afternoon. A Blunt spokesman declined to comment about the lawsuit.

Democratic Gov. Bob Holden on Wednesday called for an Aug. 3 election for the proposed amendment, which was passed last week by the Legislature. But Blunt, the state's chief election official, has refused to set an election date until he receives the actual amendment from legislators.


Birmingham Quakers speak out for LGBT marriage rights
By BTL staff

BIRMINGHAM - The Birmingham Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, which is the Quakers, has issued a strong statement in support of same-sex marriage rights for couples in Michigan. They join their fellow Quakers in Michigan and around the country in supporting full equal rights for LGBT people.

"We advocate a single standard of treatment for all couples who wish to marry," stated the group in a release of their meeting minutes May 2. "The State of Michigan offers legal recognition of opposite-gender marriage and extends significant privileges to couples who legally marry. We believe that a commitment to equality requires that same-gender couples have the same right to marry. Based upon our beliefs, we request that the state of Michigan permit gay and lesbian couples to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, privileges and responsibilities of marriage."

The American Friends Service Committee, founded by the Quakers in 1917 to carry out service, development, social justice, and peace programs, is hosting a national conference this weekend in Ypsilanti;"Together in Faith, Journey Into Inclusiveness." The conference will bring together dozens of spiritual leaders of many faiths to discuss LGBT rights, their faiths, and how to reconcile real and perceived differences between the rights of LGBT people and their religious doctrines. For more information about the conference, go to


Coalition for a Fair Michigan urges voters to 'decline to sign'
Group announces effort to defeat homophobic petition drive across the state
By Jason Michael

DETROIT - As the first same-sex couples were married in Massachusetts on Monday, May 17, activists in Michigan were rallying to defeat a petition drive aimed at adding language banning equal marriage rights to the state's constitution.

"Today Massachusetts issued its first marriage licenses for same-sex couples," said Beth Bashert, co-chair of the Coalition for a Fair Michigan, at a press conference outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building in downtown Detroit. "Here in Michigan, we are bracing for a backlash around this proposed amendment. Today in Massachusetts, more families than ever have access to many of the 1,000 or more rights and responsibilities that come with civil marriage. Here in Michigan, no same-sex couples are getting married, yet we're bracing for a backlash."

Fair-minded Michiganders thought the battle was over when the amendment, proposed by Sen. Cropsey (R - Dewitt), failed to win a two-thirds majority in the Michigan legislature earlier this year. But now, a group of right-wing radicals have launched a petition drive to get the issue put to a public vote. The CFM press conference was called to announce their campaign to defeat the petition drive, which they call Decline to Sign.

"Michigan has three laws already on the books, strong laws prohibiting marriage for same-sex couples," said Bashert. "So why, then, are people going door to door asking people to sign a petition to amend our state's constitution to further prohibit civil marriage rights for same-sex couples? Reasonable people do not support these efforts. Reasonable people know that this is a misuse of our constitution and reasonable people will refuse to sign these petitions. Tell your friends, tell your neighbors: do not sign. Decline to sign these cruel petitions."


Priest won’t remove name from letter on gays
By Lawn Griffiths, Tribune

A retired priest has informed Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted that he will not withdraw his name from the "No Longer Silent Phoenix Declaration," a letter signed by Arizona clergy calling for full inclusion of gays and lesbians in religious and community life.

The decision puts the Rev. Andre Boulanger of Phoenix at odds with church teachings and subject to discipline.

In April, Olmsted, leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, ordered nine diocesan priests to remove their names from the letter developed by No Longer Silent/Clergy for Justice in January 2003 and signed by 120 pastors.

To date, seven of the priests, five from the East Valley, have withdrawn their names in obedience to the bishop. A Peoria priest is the only other diocesan signer on the letter.


Presbyterian moderator predicts gay clergy in church’s future

TOLEDO, Ohio--The Rev. Susan Andrews, head of the Presbyterian Church (USA), told the Toledo Blade that she believes the denomination eventually will allow the ordination of homosexual clergy.


Brazilian Gay Activists and Political Leaders Meet to Strategize on UN Gay Rights Resolution

CURITIBA, BRAZIL, ( - From May 12 to 16, homosexual leaders and groups from all Brazilian states - and representatives from the government, NGOs and international funding agencies and the media - met together in Curitiba, Brazil, to debate major issues, Julia Severo a pro-family activist in Brazil reports to The major discussion involved the "Brazil Without Homophobia" government program, the Brazilian resolution against discrimination based on sexual orientation in the UN, the approval of laws sympathetic to homosexuality in the Brazilian Congress, the influence of "homophobic religious fundamentalists" and allocation of funding for AIDS programs among homosexuals.

Severo, author of O Movimento Homossexual - an expose on the militant homosexual activist movement in the country, notes that the final paper of the meeting called for a plan to accomplish the following goals:
- Pressure the Brazilian government to guarantee the introduction of its Resolution on Non-Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation in the 61st meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights in 2005.
- Support the Brazil Without Homophobia government program, so that it may be completely implemented by the government before the end of the Lula administration.
- Mobilize gay groups to confront religious intolerance before November 2006.
- Pressure cities and states to allocate funding and guarantee prevention actions and assistance for HIV/AIDS among gays.


Schools studying how to be safer for gay students
Location: Silver City
Source: AP

Schools around Silver City will be looking at ways to make themselves safer for gay students.

Members of a group called Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays have told the Silver school board that such students face harassment and other problems.

The board has voted (this week) to establish a task force to study ways to make schools safer for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

The panel will include representatives of the group as well as district personnel.

After three-day wait, dozens of gay couples exchange their vows
The Associated Press
By JENNIFER PETER Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) - The Rev. Kim Crawford Harvie had barely retreated down the aisle with her wife of five minutes when she donned her white robes and got back to work, helping to marry dozens of other gay couples during a full day of back-to-back weddings at the Arlington Street Church.

"OK, I'm ready for my next couple!" said Harvie, 46, senior minister at the Unitarian Universalist church since 1989, who married her partner of seven years, Kem Morehead, in a ceremony officiated by Rabbi Howard Berman.

So began a marathon day of weddings at the church in Boston's Back Bay - which planned to marry nearly 50 couples on Thursday - and at chapels, parks and on beaches across the state, as a mandatory three-day waiting period expired for couples who obtained the nation's first gay marriage license applications on Monday. Dozens of other couples that got a court waiver of the waiting period have already been married.

The new round of nuptials came as Gov. Mitt Romney took the first steps toward blocking city and town clerks from issuing marriage licenses to out-of-state gay couples, which the Republican governor says is prohibited by state law. Attorney General Tom Reilly said the governor's office was referring a "handful" of cases to him regarding out-of-state couples who received licenses, but Reilly would not say whether he planned to prosecute the couples or the clerks.


Unwelcome at School?
Homosexual students attending Fairfax County Public Schools say they face hurtful comments but little overt harassment.
by Brian McNeill

Every school day at 10 a.m. Brian Picone, an openly gay 16-year-old, rides a bus to Fairfax High School for dance class, knowing he will once again face slurs from students who pass him in the hallway.

"They call me faggot. There’s a lot of yelling and pointing," he said. "It’s scary. It’s really bad there."

Picone’s fellow students at his regular school, Falls Church High School, have mostly come to accept that Picone is gay. He still frequently overhears the words "fag" and "gay" used as synonyms for stupid, and the posters he makes for the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance club are often ripped off the wall, but he knows it could be worse.


California supreme court to weigh gay marriage vs. mayoral powers

In the debate over gay marriage, all eyes are shifting from Massachusetts to California. That state's supreme court will hear oral arguments on Tuesday, May 25, regarding whether San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom misused his power when he allowed the issuance of 4,000 marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples earlier this year.

The highly charged hearing will have everything and yet nothing to do with same-sex marriage, since the justices already declined to address the civil rights issues involved. Those battles will have to percolate up through the state courts.

Tuesday's arguments will be focused on how much leeway elected officials have to interpret the law--and on that question experts predict that Newsom will lose. The justices are virtually certain, experts say, to prevent the legal anarchy that could result if local officials are empowered to choose which laws to follow. "The prospect of local government officials unilaterally defying state laws with which they disagree is untenable and inconsistent with the precepts of our legal system," California attorney general Bill Lockyer said in a brief filed with the court.

California laws clearly defines marriage as a union between a man and woman. In 2000, voters also approved a statewide initiative requiring the state to recognize only opposite-sex marriages.

Same-sex spouses will get town benefits

If a town employee marries under the state's new same-sex marriage law, that employee is now eligible for benefits, just like any other employee's spouse.

While the town did not offer domestic partner benefits, it will recognize a same-sex marriage just as it would a more traditional marriage.

Town Manager George Howe said the town has no problem offering health insurance to same-sex spouses. "It's really a non-issue. The insurance carrier says it's not an issue, and for me it's not an issue."


Duke, YMCA dispute same-sex family policy
by Paul Crowley

It may be fun to stay at the YMCA, but the University will soon decide whether to stay with an agreement with the community group after a disagreement about the YMCA's policy for same-sex partners.

Officials representing the University and the YMCA of the Triangle Area will meet May 28 to discuss a conflict in the interpretation of a contract that provides discounted memberships to Duke employees and their dependents as part of the Duke Fitness Club. In return for this group discount, Duke promotes the YMCA to its employees.

The discrepancy stems from the billing status of same-sex partners, whom Duke contends should be charged at the family rate of $68 per month. The YMCA's policy calls for members of these couples to each pay the individual rate of $45 per month. The agreement itself uses language that is open to interpretation, stating that "employees or dependents" can qualify for the discounted memberships and that "the YMCA will be solely responsible for determining the means and methods for performing the described services set forth on the face of this contract."

"Essentially the [agreement] is that the Y would use our definition of family, which is broad and includes domestic partners and offspring," said John Burness, senior vice president for public affairs and government relations. He noted that the agreement was honored to Duke's satisfaction while the Downtown YMCA in Durham was under its previous management and that the problems arose when the Raleigh YMCA took over the management of the Durham branch. "The Raleigh Y is somewhat more dominant; they did not like that agreement, and they did not honor [it]," Burness added.

Gov may yet nix out-of-state vows
By Steve Marantz

Gov. Mitt Romney may ``end-run'' the Attorney General's Office and prosecute out-of-state gay married couples on his own, according to municipal officials.

     An obscure statute empowers the Registrar of Vital Statistics, under supervision of the Commissioner of Public Health, to prosecute violations in the marriage laws - including a 1913 law that prohibits couples from marrying here if their home states do not allow it.

     ``Our solicitor was told by the governor's office that the registrar could actually enforce the marriage laws,'' said Mark Horan, spokesman for Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone.

     The state Senate yesterday voted overwhelmingly to repeal the 1913 law, but the law is in effect unless the House also repeals it and overrides a certain veto by the governor.


Boulder won't challenge ban
By Berny Morson, Rocky Mountain News

BOULDER - A legal challenge to the state's ban on same-sex marriage won't come from the Boulder County commissioners.

A Boulder City Council resolution passed unanimously late Tuesday asks the commissioners to direct the county attorney to issue a ruling on whether the ban is constitutional. If it is unconstitutional, the resolution asks the commissioners to request that County Clerk Linda Salas issue licenses to same-sex couples.


Petition asks court to revisit marriage initiative decision
A ballot proponent of defining matrimony as between a man and a woman predicts a small setback in signature-gathering
Thursday, May 20, 2004

A leading gay-rights activist asked the Oregon Supreme Court on Wednesday to reconsider its order approving the ballot title for an initiative that would ban same-sex marriage.

The request, made on the last day allowed by the court, is expected to delay signature-gathering for the initiative, which will need 100,840 valid signatures by July 2 to qualify for the statewide general election in November.

Roey Thorpe, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon, asked the court to reconsider last week's rejection of an earlier challenge to the initiative's ballot title. The initiative would define marriage as only being valid if it is between one man and one woman.

Thorpe and other opponents say the title should specify that the proposed amendment would place limits on the Oregon Constitution's guarantee of equal treatment for all citizens.


Civil rights groups to defend gay couple
The two men who applied for and were denied a marriage license in Bucks are being sued.
By Walter F. Naedele
Inquirer Staff Writer

DOYLESTOWN - Three civil rights organizations say their lawyers will defend two gay New Hope men being sued because they want to marry.

An Arizona foundation fighting same-sex unions says it will pay Lancaster County lawyers to argue for 12 state legislators who sued the couple to prevent them from marrying.

A lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund in Scottsdale, Ariz., said the suit was the first of its kind in the nation.


Gay weddings push marriage issue into election-year spotlight
By Greg Barrett, Gannett News Service

WASHINGTON — Shine Cash is the kind of thoughtful teenager and future voter whose opinions and deliberate manner of speaking elicit quiet. Peers lean in and hang on his every soft-spoken word.

So when discussion at his Miami-area middle school turned recently to marriage education, two-parent homes, and the political debate over gay weddings, a half dozen students looked toward the head of the table where Shine, 13, had just cleared his throat.

"If you follow our history, you see that America is very nosy," he said, and heads nodded in agreement. "There are boundaries that our government oversteps and marriage is one of those boundaries. The government should stay out of it."

Whether it's President Bush's $1.5 billion plan to promote "healthy marriages" in poor communities or the Republicans' push to forever ban same-sex marriages, an institution older than the republic is center stage — and at a critical juncture.

RE classes can still "target" LGB pupils, gay groups say
Ben Townley, UK

Gay rights campaigners have hit out against proposals that could change how schools teach religious education, claiming they fail to outlaw anti-gay discrimination from teachers.

The framework proposals, issued by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority for consultation earlier this week, will see a shake up to how religion classes are dealt with in schools.

However, campaigners are angry that the framework fails to call for teachers to be aware of the issues surrounding sexuality when planning their lessons. This is despite it specifically calling for sensitivity towards the issues surrounding gender, race, disability and religious diversity when planning lessons for children.

The chair of Schools Out, a national group that pushes for LGBT equality in the classroom, told UK today that the group is angry about the absence of sexual diversity from the framework.


Tax rebellion over gay dean
By Aaron Bateman

THE row over the appointment of gay priest Jeffrey John as Dean of St Albans escalated this week with one church openly rebelling by refusing to pay its diocesan tax.

Holy Trinity Lyonsdown, an evangelical church in New Barnet, is withholding its yearly parish quota of around £33,600 in protest at the appointment of Dr John.

Each church pays a stipend to the diocese which then redistributes some of the money to enable churches to pay their clergy and costs. Anything above that is kept by the diocese.

Lyonsdown's decision means it will pay its own clergy and donate the extra funds believed to be around £5,500 to a charity that helps gay Christians live a celibate life.


Gay Jordanian now 'gloriously free' in Canada
Sent to Canada to 'straighten out,' he founded support group for Muslims
Thursday, May 20, 2004 - Page A3

When the family of Al-Hussein, son of a wealthy Jordanian politician, found out he was gay, they threw him down the stairs.

While he was recovering in hospital from a broken leg and smashed jaw, his younger brother shot him in the ankle.

A bureaucrat in the Jordanian government, his brother was never prosecuted for this act of public violence because it was considered a "family matter."

Mr. Hussein knew that under Islamic law, he had got off lightly: He could be stoned to death for committing homosexual acts, or murdered by his family in an honour killing.


State lawmakers promise to oppose same-sex marriage
Lundberg asks Coloradans to save 'core institution'
By Ryan Morgan, Camera Staff Writer
May 20, 2004

DENVER — Rep. Kevin Lundberg doesn't want Colorado to follow Massachusetts.

Lundberg, a Republican lawmaker from Berthoud, called a press conference Wednesday at the state Capitol to denounce the same-sex marriages that Massachusetts started recognizing this week.

"We will defend this core institution of civilization," he said. "I call on all Coloradans to join us in rising up in defending the true meaning of marriage."

The federal Defense of Marriage Act already allows states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, and Colorado is one of 38 states that has its own law that specifically refuses to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.


Family, community search for answers after man's slaying

Though once split by divorce, the Clewer family united in their support for youngest son Kevin when he confided 15 years ago that he was gay. Now Kevin's parents and brother are pulling together again to help Chicago police find a killer who stabbed the 31-year-old cost analyst 42 times.

Kevin, a 1990 graduate of Rochelle Township High School, lived and worked in Rockford most of his adult life. Three years ago, he moved to Chicago. Two months ago, he was killed in the bedroom of his apartment in Boys Town, a North Side neighborhood known for its large gay population.

This week, Kevin's family held a news conference on the street in front of his Boys Town walk-up and offered a $20,000 reward. They're also making a plea for assistance in tracking down the last person believed to have seen Kevin alive, a man he met at a nearby bar.

Chicago's gay press and activists in the Lakeview area that includes Boys Town speculate that Kevin's slaying might be related to the homicide last year of a gay theater director, found dead in his home after going out on North Halsted Street, the heart of Chicago's gay scene.


Anglicans seek gay bishop removal
By Julia Duin

Eighteen Anglican archbishops, most of them from Africa and Asia and representing more than 55 million Anglicans, have called on the Episcopal Church to "repent" its pro-homosexual policies within three months or face expulsion from the worldwide Anglican Communion.

    Specifically, the 2.3-million-member Episcopal Church was asked to revoke the Nov. 2 consecration of Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the world's first openly homosexual Episcopal bishop.


Trial judge wrong: Anwar lawyers
From correspondents in Putrajaya, Malaysia

LAWYERS for Anwar Ibrahim today stepped up attacks against the trial judge who jailed him on sodomy charges and urged Malaysia's highest court to free the former deputy prime minister.
In a final appeal hearing, attorney Christopher Fernando told Malaysia's Federal Court that High

Court Judge Affrin Jaka, who presided over Anwar's 1999-2000 trial, had been "patently and unmistakably wrong" to convict and sentence the politician to nine years in prison.

Anwar alleges he is the victim of a political and judicial conspiracy that resulted in his 1998 arrest.

He says the charges of sodomy were fabricated and used to crush anti-government protests and a leadership challenge he had mounted against then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.


Marching Forward
How the war affects gays in the military and a review of current policy by SLDN Director C. Dixon Osburn
Interview by Sean Bugg
Photography by Todd Franson

"I think SLDN has achieved more in ten years than anyone would have dared hope for," says C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. "We've been able to obtain 35 changes to federal policy and practice, which is extraordinary when you think this is an issue we lost big ten years ago."

Given the magnitude of the loss in 1993, the change in public and political attitudes towards gays and lesbians in the military is a major accomplishment. When the newly elected President Bill Clinton pledged to end discrimination against gay servicemembers, it set off a firestorm of opposition among both Democrats and Republicans and ended with the implementation of the notorious "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, a compromise that actually increased the number of gays and lesbians kicked our of the military and gave rise to a wave of anti-gay harassment.

It was in those days of political battle that Osburn, fresh from Georgetown law and business school, began working with the Campaign for Military Service (CMS), a coalition group formed to advocate for gay military service. And it was at CMS that he met Michelle Beneke, who with him would form SLDN to help gay and lesbian servicemembers who were "left out on a limb" by the federal policy, and prepare the community for an eventual victory on military service.


Ada Smith accused of firing aide for sexual orientation
By Courtney Dentch

A former top staffer for state Sen. Ada Smith (D-Jamaica) filed a human rights complaint with the state charging that the lawmaker called him a fat, gay bastard and fired him for his sexual orientation, officials said. Wayne Mahlke, 42, of Elmhurst, filed the complaint with the state Division of Human Rights, saying Smith, 59, often called him gay and racist names and put him on probation after he told her he was fed up with the alleged abuse, Mahlke said.

"The complaint details a series of incidents when the senator degraded me based on my sexual orientation and my being a white male," said Mahlke, who serves as the vice president for the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens. "She called me a 'fat, gay bastard,' and told me I was 'white trash.'"

Sith vehemently denied the allegations levied by Mahlke, who worked as Smith's chief of staff from April 2003 to December 2003.

"I can't even think of a word for it," she said. "I hired him knowing his sexual orientation. And in looking at me you can tell that I have family members that are Caucasian."

Smith contends that she had problems with Mahlke as a chief of staff because he was unproductive and disorganized. He also preferred to work in the Queens district office rather than in the Albany office, even though Smith told him that would be a requirement when he took the job, the lawmaker said.

Unions call to "Unite Against Facism" in upcoming elections
Ben Townley, UK

The Lesbian and Gay Committee of UNISON is to host a meeting prior to the upcoming local, London and European elections, in a bid to encourage more LGBT people to go to the polls on June 10th.

The meeting, scheduled for the 26th May and supported by Stonewall and the Coalition Against Racism, is a direct response to the growing popularity of far right extremist politicians from parties such as the British National Party (BNP).

In a statement promoting the event, the groups involved say the June 10th elections will see the biggest attempts to grab seats for such parties.


New Rules on Sperm Donations by Gays
New York Times

Men who acknowledge having had homosexual sex within the previous five years will not be allowed to make anonymous sperm donations under new rules that the Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce today.

New York State already bars gay men from donating sperm anonymously, and most of the nation's sperm banks have similar restrictions because of concerns over transmission of H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.

But a prominent gay rights group nonetheless denounced the new federal rules. Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said that the regulations were misplaced because H.I.V. tests were fast and very effective.


Mrs. Bush welcomes gay-issues debate
Won't endorse amendment effort
By Mary Leonard, Globe Staff

BURBANK, Calif. -- Laura Bush yesterday called gay marriage "an issue that a lot of people have a lot of trouble with," but she stopped short of endorsing a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions.

In an interview aboard an Air Force plane that carried her on a two-day, four-city campaign swing, the president's wife said she would welcome a national debate on the issue of gay marriage following the weddings that began Monday in Massachusetts. She said she agreed with the president that the American people, not a few judges, should have a voice in setting the important social policy.

"It's something people should talk about and debate," Mrs. Bush said. She said Congress could be an appropriate place for that debate to begin, but she refused to say that she supported passage of the proposed constitutional amendment that her husband endorsed earlier this year.

"I'm in favor of the debate," she said.


48 Catholic congressmen warn bishops on bigotry
By Alan Cooperman, Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- Forty-eight Roman Catholic members of Congress have warned in a letter to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C., that US bishops will revive anti-Catholic bigotry and severely harm the church if they deny Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

The letter's signers, all Democrats, include at least three House members with strong antiabortion voting records.

"For many years Catholics were denied public office by voters who feared that they would take direction from the pope," they wrote. "While that type of paranoid anti-Catholicism seems to be a thing of the past, attempts by church leaders today to influence votes by the threat of withholding a sacrament will revive latent anti-Catholic prejudice, which so many of us have worked so hard to overcome."

The three-page letter, dated May 10, was sent to McCarrick because he heads a task force of US bishops that is considering whether and how the church should take action against Catholic politicians whose public positions are at odds with Catholic doctrine.