poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Massachusetts city drops domestic partner benefits

SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts (AP) -- Springfield will soon no longer offer health benefits to unmarried domestic partners of city employees now that same-sex couples are legally allowed to marry in Massachusetts.

Mayor Charles Ryan notified the city clerk on Thursday that he has rescinded all prior executive orders allowing unmarried domestic partners to participate in the city's group health insurance program.

Unmarried domestic partners will not be cut off from access to health insurance immediately. Ryan offered a 90-day grace period to become legally married and retain insurance coverage.

Ryan's predecessor, Michael Albano, had issued an executive order giving unmarried same-sex partners and their dependents insurance coverage, the mayor said.


Bishop punishes priest for signing gay-rights letter
Michael Clancy
The Arizona Republic

The only Catholic priest to decline to remove his name from a statement affirming the rights of homosexuals has been suspended from priestly ministry.

The Rev. Andre Boulanger, who is retired, said Friday he got word of the suspension Thursday in a letter from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted. Mary Jo West, Olmsted's public information officer, confirmed the letter was sent, "but concerning a statement, it would be better to wait until the bishop returns from Rome," where he is on a weeklong visit.

Boulanger was one of nine Phoenix Diocese priests to sign the Phoenix Declaration, a statement issued in January 2003 by the No Longer Silent - Clergy for Justice organization. The organization is made up of clergy from several Protestant denominations as well as some Catholic priests.

Seven of the nine priests pulled their names off the declaration within two weeks of receiving a late-April letter from Olmsted asking that they do so. An eighth, the Rev. Hugo Gonzalez, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo in Peoria, removed his name this week.


Gay rights activist gets national nod

San Mateo County's own teenage gay rights crusader, Marina Gatto, continues to receive national recognition for her activism.

Gatto, 16, has been spokeswoman for children of gay couples since she was 9 years old and last year was honored by being appointed the youngest grand marshal of the San Francisco gay pride parade. A Mercy High School student, Gatto lives in San Carlos with her two mothers who were married at San Francisco City Hall on Feb. 13.

Last week, Gatto was honored with a GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Respect Award at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City. The event was hosted by actors BD Wong, from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," and "Sex and the City's" Cynthia Nixon. The other recipients were best-selling author Andrew Tobias and MTV.

"It's such an honor," Gatto said. "Even though it's enough to break down stereotypes that people have about children of gays and lesbians, it's great to get an award."


Gay veterans wage new battle at home
Forced to keep silent in the military, the former GIs have now found their voice, and they seek recognition for their wartime sacrifices

By Bonnie Miller Rubin
Tribune staff reporter

When Jeff Cleghorn was in the Army, he lived in fear that someone would find out he was gay. He led a double life, never talking about what he did on weekends or with whom.

As a veteran, however, the retired major's actions have been anything but secretive. He lobbies Congress and writes editorials in support of gay veterans, and last weekend he participated in a convention of retired gay soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines--a gathering that included a military ball, with uniforms encouraged.

As the nation prepares to observe its third consecutive Memorial Day at war, Cleghorn and other gay and lesbian veterans are determined that their sacrifices be recognized.

"We have found our voice," said Cleghorn of Atlanta, who proudly served on three continents in 12 years before retiring. "We have had an incredible growth spurt and there's no turning back. We are demanding our seat at the table."


Welcome to Canada's gay high school
Despite this country's reputation for tolerance, young people still face discrimination for being gay, writes ALANNA MITCHELL. When school life becomes so hostile they can't face it any more, Toronto's Triangle program offers an educational refuge

The classroom is makeshift, constructed by members of the congregation of this Toronto church in a building bee one weekend.

And it's cramped. About a dozen high-school students, ranging across all grades, bundle their legs underneath tables that have been pushed together in two facing rows.

A bookshelf beside them holds the Concise Oxford Dictionary, Webster's New World Thesaurus and The Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Film and Video. The clock at the front of the room wears a feather boa in four colours.

This is the only high school in Canada for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual students. It's an outpost of the city's public school system called the Triangle program, a nod to the pink triangle badges gays were forced to wear during Hitler's rule in Germany.

While lots of gay students do fine in schools across Canada, the kids who have enrolled in the Triangle program don't. They have found their way here from all over Ontario -- and even from other provinces -- because they felt alienated by school environments they say didn't allow them to thrive and also acknowledge being gay.


Churchgoers wear sashes to back GLBT
By Sarah Colburn

This Sunday, Catholics who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender will partner with their friends and families in communities worldwide to wear rainbow-colored sashes to Pentecost Mass.

"The sash is a statement saying that we are gay Catholics and part of the Catholic family taking our place at the table at Eucharist," said Brian McNeill, organizer of the Minnesota rainbow sash events.

He expects about 25 people to wear the sashes to the 10:30 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary. The sashes will be available at the church for anyone who wants to take part.

The sash is also a sign of a call to dialogue with leaders of the Catholic Church about issues of sexuality.

Newark strives to prove heart
Council adopts policies that deter discrimination and encourage affordable housing

NEWARK -- In a spirit of inclusiveness and making people feel that they belong in the community, the City Council has unanimously passed an anti-discrimination ordinance and an affordable-housing program.

The first prohibits discrimination based on an individual's sex or sexual orientation, while the second provides more opportunities for teachers, public safety personnel and others who work in the community to afford living in Newark.

The anti-discrimination ordinance is the product of eight months of collaboration between the city and Not in Newark, a group of parents, students and community leaders that formed after the 2002 slaying of a local transgender teen.


'Queers overboard' sparks backlash
By Suzanne Carbone

"Last time it was children overboard, this time it's queers overboard."

David McCarthy, a gay activist who has been approached by the two major parties to stand for Federal Parliament, is horrified at John Howard's move to ban same-sex marriages.

Mr McCarthy, the co-convener of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, said the rights of gays and lesbians would now be a major election issue for homosexuals.

Victoria's gay lobby group, the ALSO Foundation, is already heading a national campaign for federal legislative reform, known as the Equal Rights Network. ALSO's executive officer, Adam Pickvance, said it was the first time gay and lesbian groups had joined to push for national reform, namely the recognition of de facto relationships in areas such as taxation, Medicare, social security law and defence force entitlements.


Canada synod mulls gay blessings
By Jane Little
BBC religious affairs correspondent

The governing body of Canada's Anglican church is meeting to discuss the highly divisive issue of same-sex blessings.

The church synod in Niagara brings together bishops, priests and lay people for its three-yearly meeting.

It will debate giving local dioceses the option to permit same-sex blessings exactly a year after New Westminster diocese gave its first such blessing.

That move, with the American church's election of a gay bishop, has starkly divided the Anglican church worldwide.

A brittle and embattled Anglican Communion is watching the synod in Canada with keen interest and concern.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Gay marriage amendment inches forward
Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Legislative leaders formally signed off Friday on a proposed state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, completing another step in the process toward putting it before voters later this year.

But it's still unclear exactly when voters will decide the amendment's fate.

The state constitution requires amendments to be on November ballots unless the governor calls a special election earlier. On May 19, Gov. Bob Holden called for the amendment to be put before voters on the Aug. 2 primary election ballot.

The state's top elections official, Secretary of State Matt Blunt, refused to follow Holden's wishes, saying that the actual resolution that lawmakers previously voted to approve had not been officially sent to him. No matter when the House and Senate vote to approve legislation, each chamber's top-ranking member has to sign it - typically just a formality.


Judge rules against wording of gay marriage ban
Associated Press

A Franklin County judge on Friday ruled that the summary of an amendment to the Ohio Constitution banning gay marriage was misleading. The proposed amendment and the summary:


"Only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this state and its political subdivisions. This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage."


"The amendment denies the validity and prohibits the legal recognition as marriage in Ohio of same-sex relationships and relationships comprised of three or more persons, and forbids according non-marital relationships a legal status intended to approximate marriage in certain respects."


Episcopal Bishop To Perform Blessing Service for Gays

College Park, Md. (AP) - The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington will perform a blessing service for a gay couple at a Glenn Dale church in June.

It will be the first time a bishop has conducted the service in the diocese.

A diocese spokesman says Bishop John Crane will perform the ritual June 12th at Saint George's Episcopal Church for the parish's pastor and his partner.

While not a marriage ceremony, the blessing is a recognition by the diocese of the gay couple's partnership.


Torquay woman slams `absurd' ban
Geelong Advertiser

A TORQUAY woman in a 21-year same-sex relationship yesterday asked what Prime Minister John Howard was afraid of in trying to ban gay marriages.

``It seems quite absurd that John Howard would go to such lengths,'' Monica Hingston said yesterday.

Ms Hingston, who has been with her partner Peg Moran for more than two decades, said the Federal Government's views perpetuated myths and stereotypes about same-sex relationships.

``It just keeps saying your relationships are unacceptable,'' she said.

Mr Howard has moved to tighten Australia's marriage laws to make it clear there can be no recognition of same-sex marriage, while allowing equal rights to a partner's superannuation death benefits.


Appeal filed in Oregon gay marriage ruling
Eric Johnston, PlanetOut Network

The legal battle over marriage rights for same-sex couples in Oregon is headed to the state Court of Appeals.

On Thursday lawyers for the state filed an appeal seeking to delay an order by Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Frank Bearden that required the state to recognize more than 3,000 marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples.

Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers had previously stated that registering the marriages licenses before the constitutional issues are settled might create a privileged group of same-sex couples.

Multnomah County officials issued 3,022 marriage licenses to same-sex couples between March 3 and April 20, after making a legal interpretation that it was unconstitutional to ban applications.


Gay-rights rally organizer strikes plea bargain with Baylor
By Robert Marus
Associated Baptist Press

WACO (ABP)--A recent Baylor University graduate says he signed, under protest, a statement admitting he violated the school's conduct code by organizing a gay-rights rally because he feared he wouldn't be allowed to graduate if he refused to sign.

Pawnee, Okla., native Darrin Adams graduated from the school May 15. In late April, school officials informed him he was being prosecuted under Baylor's student conduct code for his role in organizing the off-campus rally.

In a letter informing Adams of the charges, a school official said his involvement in planning the event made Adams "part of an advocacy group that promotes understandings of sexuality that are contrary" to traditional Christian beliefs.

The charge was a reference to a Baylor policy that reads: "The university affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God. Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm. ... It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching."

Judge upholds same-sex registry in Cleveland Heights

CLEVELAND A judge ruled Friday that the nation's first voter-approved domestic partner registry is constitutional.

The ruling by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Robert T. Glickman threw out the challenge to the Cleveland Heights registry filed by Rev. Jimmie Hicks Jr., a Cleveland Heights councilman.

Hicks had sued in February to stop the Cleveland suburb from continuing to register gay and straight unmarried couples.

The initiative creating the registry passed with 55 percent of the vote last November in the community of 50,000.


Bush campaign mum on any openly gay staffers

When George W. Bush ran for president in 2000, he refused to meet with the Log Cabin Republicans.

But eventually — after he clinched GOP the nomination and was eager to brandish his image as a “compassionate conservative” — he met with the so-called “Austin 12,” a group of gay party activists who supported his candidacy.

In early April of that year, the dozen handpicked supporters, including D.C. Council member David Catania, flew to Austin, Texas, for what turned out to be an emotional meeting with the candidate at campaign headquarters.

Those present said at the time that Bush listened carefully to the Austin 12, declared himself a “better man” for having heard their concerns, and pledged to keep in place gay-friendly executive orders. In turn, his gay supporters helped Bush reap an estimated 25 percent of the gay vote.

Four years later, Bush has formally called for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and alienated not only members of the Austin 12, but also any openly gay Republican previously willing to work on his campaign, according to Catania.


GOP Drives More Gay Advocates From Party  
by Newscenter Staff

(Washington) As the Republican Party continues its move to the far right the number of gays and their supporters who are leaving the party grows.  

In Washington, D.C., Friday, Councilman David Catania quit the party after he was told he could not longer be a delegate at the national convention. Party chair Betsy Werronen says Catania lost the seat because he opposes President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

The openly gay Catania has publicly voiced his opposition to the proposed amendment.

Within hours of Catania's withdrawal from the party, the only other Republican on the 13-member District council resigned as a delegate to the convention in protest of Catania's dismissal.  

Members of First Church attend rally at State Capitol
By:Charlene McMahon

He said that when members of his church heard that there was going to be a rally at the state Capitol in support of same sex marriage, a group from his church decided to go as a group to the rally.

He said that approximately 20 members of the church attended the "Love Makes a Family" Rally at the State Capitol and stood together holding a church banner as they listened to a series of speakers.

"People (at the rally) were glad to see the church groups there. They found that hopeful and encouraging. I am proud of our church for being there," said Huleatt.

Huleatt said that First Church, considered the oldest church in the state of Connecticut, voted ten years ago to become an "open and affirming" congregation.


Oklahoma gay couple says ban violates separation of church and state
The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY- Trey Watts and Darin Moore returned from Massachusetts with a valid marriage license and a video camera full of well-wishers.

The Oklahoma City men married May 20 in Somerville, Mass. Watts and Moore are believed to be the only Oklahoma gay couple so far to have wed in Massachusetts, which last week became the first state to legalize same-sex marriages.

Now they're planning a party, complete with video footage of people they encountered while traveling.

The video clips include interviews with strangers they met - people at the airport, on the plane and on the streets of Boston. Those interviewed were asked what they thought of same-sex marriage.


Durham church leaves NC convention over handling of homosexuality issue
By Steve DeVane

DURHAM, N.C. (ABP) -- A Durham, N.C., church has voted to pull out of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina over the convention's treatment of another congregation that admitted gay members.

The members of Watts Street Baptist Church voted May 16 to end their financial support of the state convention. The decision was mainly in response to the convention's removal of McGill Baptist Church in Concord from its rolls, said pastor Mel Williams.

"We really thought it was a violation of local autonomy," he said. In 1992 Watts Street broke ties with the Southern Baptist Convention.

McGill was removed from the state convention last year for baptizing two men believed to be gay. Officials cited a 1992 convention policy that prohibits accepting funds from "any church which knowingly takes, or has taken, any official action which manifests public approval, promotion or blessing of homosexuality."


National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Woodhull Freedom Foundation Announce Joint Effort Study of U.S. Sex Laws

May 28, 2004, Washington, D.C. - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (the Task Force) and the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and Federation (WFF) today announced the launch of a joint project to analyze sex laws throughout the U.S. The project will serve a dual purpose - to educate Americans about the prevalence and abuse of antiquated and unjust sex laws in the nation, and to give grassroots activists policy and organizing tools to work to change these laws.

"This project will be a significant step toward eliminating unjust laws that are used almost exclusively for the purpose of persecuting minorities," said Dr. Mary Frances Berry, Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and WFF board member. "Most Americans are unaware of the sex laws in this country and how those laws are used to selectively persecute individuals simply for their private and consensual sexual expression. We believe that once people are educated on these issues, they will demand change."

The laws which the project will address range from the archaic - like Michigan's law prohibiting unmarried people from having sex and living together - to the grossly unjust - like Kansas' differing age of consent laws based on the gender of the persons involved - to those addressing facially valid public policy concerns - like laws against public lewdness, but which are routinely misused to persecute and prosecute people who participate in non-traditional forms of sexual expression.

Catania Quits D.C. GOP Governing Committee

Washington -  D.C. Councilman David Catania has resigned his leadership in the local Republican Party.

The Common Denominator newspaper tells ABC 7 News Catania left the organization after its chair decided he could no longer be a delegate at the national convention. Party chair Betsy Werronen says Catania lost the seat because he opposes President Bush's re-election.

Catania - who's openly gay - started speaking out against Bush after the president called for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

The only other Republican on the 13-member council resigned as a delegate to the convention in protest of Catania's dismissal.

Catania says he hasn't decided whether to change his party registration to Independent.


No let-up on gay-wed violators
By Steve Marantz

Gov. Mitt Romney is moving to crack down on out-of-state gay couples seeking marriage licenses in Attleboro and Fall River.

     Administration officials have obtained documents from both municipalities indicating that licenses were illegally issued to nonresident gay couples since May 17.

     Romney said yesterday the documents will be forwarded to the Attorney General's Office, which already has stopped Somerville, Worcester, Provincetown and Springfield from issuing licenses to nonresident gay couples in violation of a 1913 law.

     ``Any time we hear of elected officials not following the law, we will gather the information necessary . . . and forward it to the attorney general for whatever action he feels is appropriate,'' Romney said


Gay marriage old news in the Netherlands
Knight Ridder Newspapers

AMSTERDAM - (KRT) - Like a lot of politicians, the mayor of Leeuwarden, a small town about 60 miles north of the Dutch capital, is married.

It's just that his spouse happens to be a man.

Same-sex marriage may be making headlines in America, but here in the land of tulips and canals - not to mention state-sanctioned marijuana cafes, brothels and euthanasia - it's yesterday's news.

In 2000, the Netherlands became the first country to legalize gay nuptials. These days they have become so unremarkable that the city council of Leeuwarden felt no compunction in nominating Geert Dales, a former Amsterdam alderman who married his longtime partner in 2002, to lead their midsized borough.

Activists Urge Congress to Repeal Military's 'Gay Ban'
By Susan Jones Morning Editor

( - A group that lobbies against the ban on homosexuals in the military says this week's campaign to change minds in Washington was a success.

More than 60 veterans and activists from 22 states "stormed" Capitol Hill on Tuesday, urging lawmakers to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said in a press release.

The group called its second annual lobby day "the largest organized effort" relating to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" since the military adopted the policy in 1993, at the behest of President Bill Clinton.

In all, twenty-two state delegations met with over ninety Congressional offices, Republican and Democratic, from both the House and Senate, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said. "Last year, fourteen state delegations met with fifty congressional offices.


100 arrested in AIDS protest at U.S. Capitol
Nearly 1,000 march past RNC, DNC headquarters

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In front of the U.S. Capitol on May 20, 100 AIDS protesters were arrested for blocking traffic as part of a demonstration that called on Congress, President Bush and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to do more to fight AIDS.

Those arrested were part of a contingent of nearly 1,000 people who marched through the streets of Capitol Hill past the headquarters of the Republican and Democratic National Committee offices chanting “Fight AIDS Now” and other slogans before arriving at the Capitol.

Organizers called the event the largest civil disobedience action for AIDS in Washington, D.C., in the past 10 years. “It was the right balance between anger and hope,” said Suzy Subway, a protest organizer from Act Up Philadelphia. “Hopefully, our message was heard.”

With Republican and Democratic officials watching from windows and balconies, protesters spoke briefly in front of the two party headquarters before participants marched to the west front of the Capitol Building, which faces the National Mall. Those who chose to get arrested then sat or lay prone in a traffic circle in front of the Capitol grounds.

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

WASHINGTON — A conservative leader pinned blame for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the subsequent beheading of an American businessman 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 U.S. has arrived at the “perfect storm” of cultural depravity, which came to a “deadly nexus in Iraq.”

He specifically targeted the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts and the promotion of homosexuality in schools as policies that are putting Americans at risk for terrorism. He also blamed the presence of women in combat roles in the military.

The comments by Knight, a longtime foe of gay rights, hearken back to the 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 contributes to


Bishop threatens to withhold donations

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs has threatened to withhold donations from a nonprofit group if it does not state that it supports church teachings.

The anti-war Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission has accepted donations ranging from $3,500 to $6,000 from the diocese since the group was founded 26 years ago, director Sister

Dorothy Schlaeger said. The commission's total 2003 annual budget was $89,000.
In an April 12 letter, Bishop Michael Sheridan, head of the diocese, asked group leaders to change their mission statement to explicitly support church teachings -- including those that oppose abortion and homosexual behavior -- or lose funding.

"I am asking that the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission explicitly acknowledge its commitment to defend life at every moment from conception to natural death ... as well as its position on upholding the objective morals and values of the Catholic Church, in its mission statement and on its Web site," Sheridan wrote.


Police didn't care, says 'attacked' gay man

Police in Belfast today faced accusations of homophobia from a gay man beaten up in the city.

Kristian Markus, 26, claimed he faced a wall of resistance from station officers after being battered outside a nightclub.

The advertising executive alleged anti-gay attitudes also stretched to his friend being wrongly arrested for assaulting a policeman.

Mr Markus vowed to take legal action and is preparing a detailed complaint for Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan’s office.

He said: “It’s no good devising new strategies for homophobic crime if there are undercurrents within the force itself.


Australia Moves Quickly to Outlaw Same-Sex 'Marriage'

Pacific Rim Bureau ( - Pre-empting moves by homosexuals to have their foreign "marriages" recognized under Australian law, Prime Minister John Howard has introduced legislation banning same-sex marriage as well as preventing same-sex couples from adopting children abroad.

The marriage ban is likely to pass easily and quickly into law, as the opposition Labor Party said it would support the legislation in the federal parliament. Labor was still considering its position on the adoption measure.

Howard told a commercial radio station Friday that the move was not intended to offend anyone, "but I equally don't apologize for wanting to put into the law the simple proposition that a marriage is a union between a man and a woman - hopefully for life." 

Homosexual advocacy groups called the decision "homophobic," and some government lawmakers warned a backlash could cost

Gays in Brazilian state quietly tie the knot as controversy rages over gay marriages in United States
Associated Press Writer

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) To the cheers of a delighted crowd, Joazinho Moraes and Alcindo Sandini exchanged gold rings and cut their white wedding cake inside their beauty salon across the street from the city's Roman Catholic cathedral.

A day earlier, the two men sealed their commitment by signing papers before a justice of the peace, becoming the latest gay couple to get hitched in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil's first state to permit civil unions between same-sex couples.

Now it was time to party with champagne and hors d'oeuvres, a celebration that symbolizes one of the biggest gains for gay rights in Latin America.

Unlike the controversy raging in the United States over gay marriages, a landmark judicial decision two months ago allowing civil unions in Brazil's southernmost state has generated little tension in Porto Alegre. It's such a non-issue in South America's largest country that many people don't even know about it.


JUVENILE CRIME: Boy held, another hurt in fight over who's gay

A 12-year-old River Rouge boy was in juvenile detention Thursday after allegedly attacking another 12-year-old at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Ecorse during an argument in which each boy accused the other of being gay.

The incident happened shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday, according to reports filed in Wayne County Family Court.

Ecorse Police Officer Jerod Fedea said he was sent to the school on a report of an injured juvenile and was led to a boy lying in a pool of blood on the floor of a classroom.

The teacher, William Watt Jr., told Fedea the boys were arguing about each other being gay, and he told them to stop "because neither one of them understood what being gay meant."


Judge rules police OK to raid gay bathhouse

Cops did nothing wrong when they raided a gay bathhouse, a judge ruled yesterday in admitting evidence police found at the scene. Provincial court Judge Terry Semenuk agreed with Crown prosecutor Dave Torske that police had a reasonable suspicion to conduct their investigation.

Defence lawyer John Bascom had sought to have evidence gathered by police during a December 2002, raid of Goliath's excluded.

Bascom said police acted on anonymous tips and had no credible information any criminal activity was taking place at the 17 Ave. S.W. business.

"Members of the public have a right to be left alone," Bascom said during his submissions last month.


Trans protection compromised?
Two years after law was passed, commission still has no guidelines
By Cyd Zeigler Jr.

A growing restlessness among transgender activists and the City Council has turned attention to the city’s Commission on Human Rights. Activists claim the commission is failing to adequately implement changes to the New York City Human Rights Law that will protect transgender New Yorkers.

The city’s Human Rights Law was amended in April 2002 to broaden the scope of protection from gender discrimination by defining “gender” to include actual or perceived sex, as well as a “person’s gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the legal sex assigned to that person at birth.”

The Equal Employment Practices Commission, which aims to eliminate discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodation and housing, held a hearing on the subject on May 20 in Downtown Manhattan.

Avery Mehlman, deputy commissioner of the New York City Human Rights Commission, testified that the commission has enforced the law since its inception and has, to date, filed eight cases alleging violations of the law. The Commission, however, has come under heavy fire not because of what they have done but because of what they have not done.


Council OKs Gay Pride Day in Los Altos
By Julie Patel
Mercury News

Two weeks after the Los Altos City Council rejected a proclamation to declare June 7 Gay Pride Day, instead declaring it the less-divisive Tolerance Day, a group of gay-rights activists persuaded council members to change their minds.

About 10 activists, students and political representatives decried the decision during Tuesday night's council meeting.

They didn't have to wait long for results. At the top of the meeting, Councilman King Lear made an unusual request to add an emergency item to the agenda. The council later voted 4-1 to declare June 7 Gay Pride Day as well.

Lear suggested that ``we keep the Tolerance Day proclamation for those of us who are straight and add Pride Day for those who are gay, so that they can take pride.''


Gay Marriage Heads To Oregon Appeals Court
by Newscenter Staff

(Portland, Oregon)  Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers is appealing a ruling that ordered the state to recognize the 3,022 marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in the Portland area.

The notice of appeal was filed Thursday with the Oregon Court of Appeals.  It seeks to overturn the ruling last month by Multnomah County judge Frank Bearden that also gave the state 90 days to provide gay and lesbian couples with either marriage or the legal equivalent.

In his ruling Bearden also ordered the county to stop issuing more marriage licenses to gay couples until the courts and the legislature made a final decision on same-sex marriage. 

Bearden's ruling said that if the legislature failed to act he would allow the licensing to resume.


Bill would bar gays, unmarried couples from claiming homestead exemption
The Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A proposed constitutional amendment that would deny homestead exemptions to gay or unmarried couples is on its way to the state House of Representatives.

The bill was originally designed to clarify the law and add consistency to its application. It was later amended to prevent people who may own a home together but who aren't related or married from getting the tax break from Louisiana's $75,000 homestead exemption.

"Our original bill would have simply said if you own and occupy your dwelling, you could get homestead exemption, regardless of your relationship," said Jefferson Parish Tax Assessor Lawrence Chehardy. "I think it should be that way."

But in the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee, Sen. Robert Adley, D-Benton, pushed the change to grant homestead exemptions only to married couples or people related by blood and adoption. Adley said he didn't want to extend homestead exemption to same-sex couples


Organisation looks to tackle homophobia in schools
Ben Townley, UK

Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH), a UK wide group that fights homophobia in schools, has outlined new strategies to cut harassment and bullying of lesbian and gay school children and teachers.

The group will hold a seminar next month for teachers, who it claims have been overlooked in strategies to tackle homophobia in schools.

A spokesman for the group told UK today that the seminar, which is being supported by the NUT will focus on explaining the impact of the new laws to protect workers from homophobic discrimination, which were introduced last December; as well as the positive changes to school life that the repeal of Section 28 should bring.

A separate session will also discuss how teachers can respond to homophobic harassment.


Ont. won't pay for sex-change surgery: report
Canadian Press

TORONTO — Ontario's health minister appeared to run afoul of his political masters Thursday when an apparent bid by George Smitherman to reinstate provincial funding for sex-change procedures was abruptly shot down by his own government.

Smitherman had reportedly been working for months to restore Ontario Health Insurance Plan coverage for sex changes in cases where an individual has been diagnosed with a gender identity disorder.

But news of the plan had barely seen the light of day Thursday before senior Liberal insiders were saying it wouldn't happen.

"Reinstating sex-change operations was not in the provincial budget introduced last week," said one Liberal insider.

"It is not one of our health-care priorities, and therefore there is no plan to reinstate funding for those procedures at this time.


Out from under the radar
By Lisa Sorg
Five gay clubs no longer off-limits to military

For more than a decade, you could enter the Saint or the Silver Dollar, two popular gay clubs on Main Street, and rarely, if ever, see a soldier.

Until earlier this month, Randolph and Lackland Air Force bases prohibited its enlisted men and women and officers from patronizing five gay clubs in San Antonio [see box, this page]. The new policy, which came down from the Base Commander at Randolph AFB, allows Air Force personnel to go to the clubs without being investigated for suspected homosexual activity.

This new policy doesn't extend to Army personnel at Fort Sam Houston.

Steve Ralls, spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which advocates for gays and lesbians in the military, said that these clubs should have been removed from the "off-limits list" in 1993, when Don't Ask, Don't Tell went into effect.


Thursday, May 27, 2004

Gay marriage recognition ban nearly passes Senate

(Columbia-AP) May 27, 2004 -- For a while Thursday, the Senate gave final approval to a bill that would ban recognition of gay marriages in South Carolina. It turned out to be a procedural error, but it still took about 30 minutes for Senate Democrats to get Republicans to agree to reconsider the successful voice vote.

Charleston Senator Robert Ford had handed a note to the Senate's clerk's staff that would have held up the vote. But the note didn't reach the clerk before the bill was amended to include the gay marriage ban by Spartanburg Senator Jim Ritchie.

Ritchie apologized to Ford later, saying he was not trying to mislead the body. Ford said that type of thing is one of the reasons it's important to pay attention in the waning hours of the legislative session, which ends next week.


Gays Rights 'Leads To Obesity' 
by Peter Moore Newscenter 

(London) A high ranking Conservative member of the House of Lords says that the push for civil rights by gays is leading to a nation of obese people.  Lord Tebbit then compared same-sex marriage to the promotion of buggery.

Tebbit, the former chair of the Tory party and its current Whip in the Lords, was debating the growing problem of obesity with a member of the governing Labor party on a British radio program.

He suggested Labor's ''promotion of buggery'' was ''intimately connected'' to the increasing number of overweight people.

''Families now so seldom eat together. They don't prepare meals properly. Wives are pressurized into thinking they ought to go out to work instead of looking after their children. And it is the breakdown of family that is at the root of it.''


Romney Seeks To Block Gay Marriages In 2 More Towns
by Associated Press

(Boston, Massachusetts) Gov. Mitt Romney's office has requested marriage documents from Attleboro and Fall River after clerks there acknowledged issuing licenses to out-of-state gay couples in defiance of the governor's residency requirement, the clerks said Thursday.

Romney press secretary Shawn Feddeman would not comment on the request, but said, ''Anytime we find reason to believe there are blatant violations of the law, we will refer them to the attorney general's office.''

The Republican governor warned clerks that the state would not recognize marriages by nonresident gay couples.

Soon after gay marriage became legal on May 17, Romney's office requested records from four other municipalities Provincetown, Somerville, Springfield and Worcester which had openly defied the residency law.


Tune in on Tuesday Night and Support Human Rights, Says CAW's Hargrove

TORONTO, May 27 /CNW/ - In response to the trashing of Tapestry Pictures
offices earlier this week, Canadian Auto Workers union president Buzz Hargrove
is urging Canadians to tune into "Prom Queen" airing on Tuesday, June 1, at
9 p.m. EST, on CTV.

The made-for-TV movie that Tapestry produced is about former Oshawa
Catholic high school student Marc Hall who, in 2002, stood up to his high
school, his school board, and the Catholic Church in asserting his basic human
right to take his same-sex date to his prom.

Given the reported heightened anti-gay activity on the internet in recent
weeks aimed at denouncing "Prom Queen," says Hargrove, it seems clear the
trashing of Tapestry Pictures is a hate crime against gays.



Vandals again hit Poly "P" as it is painted for Pride week
Jeff Ballinger
The Tribune

For the third straight year, the Cal Poly "P" on the hillside above campus has been painted rainbow colors to honor a gay pride week on campus, only to be defaced during the night.

Members of the Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals United club last week painted the "P" in rainbow colors -- a symbol of gay pride -- after obtaining permission from the campus group that maintains the giant letter.

The gesture was part of CommUNITY Pride Week to celebrate diversity and foster unity on campus and in the surrounding community.

Sometime late May 19 or early May 20, the "P" was painted white. On May 21, club members repainted the rainbow colors.

Intersex person accuses Howard of discrimination
John HowardABC Tv

A Perth person with no fixed gender says new legislation which would ban all but traditional marriages is unlawful and undemocratic.

Prime Minister John Howard says the Government will only recognise marriages between a man and woman.

Alexander MacFarlane has both male and female physiology and says the legislation will prevent all intersex people from marrying.

Dr MacFarlane has vowed to take the matter to the High Court.

"According to the Australian democracy, every citizen has equal right for employment, for education and for respect," Dr MacFarlane said.

"John Howard's comments don't reflect that."


Murder Victim's Brother Looks for Answers
by Lisa Whitlow

A Rockford man is still searching for answers more than two months after his brother was brutally murdered.

Ron Clewer describes the moment his brother Kevin's body was discovered by their father.

"He actually broke in the door, he pushed the door in. When he got in, he found my brother in his bedroom on the floor," says Clewer. "He had apparently been there for a while, not a great while, but at that point he was dead."

Ron's dad broke down the door after no one could get a hold of Kevin, even though his car was outside his apartment. Kevin had been stabbed more than 30 times in his Chicago apartment. Kevin was Ron's only brother.

Ron struggles with wanting to know everything and wishing he didn't know anything at all.


Roma women claim forced sterilisations 
 Declan McVeigh

A disturbing history of forced sterilisations carried out on Roma women in the new European Union member state of Slovakia is resurfacing as three alleged victims take their Government to Europe’s highest court.

The three Roma women have filed a case in the European Court of Human Rights against the Slovakian Government, whose earlier investigation into hundreds of alleged illegal operations was condemned by human rights groups.

Two of the women taking the legal action were minors at the time of the procedures.

Allegations of forced sterilisation against Roma, a policy under Slovakia’s past Nazi and communist regimes, have continued


French mayor "forbidden" to marry gay couples
Ben Townley, UK

Noel Mamere, the French mayor who wanted to marry same-sex couples in his Bordeaux town, has been ordered to stop offering his services by the local authorities.

Mamere had promised to marry any same-sex couples who came to him in the town of Begles. The first ceremony was due to take place on June 5th, despite government opposition to the plans.

But the couple who were due to marry may now have to postpone their wedding, after public prosecutor for Bordeaux, Bertrand de Loze, sent Mamere a fax banning him from conducting the ceremony.

The BBC reports that de Loze said Mamere was "forbidden" from marrying same-sex couples, claiming his intentions would "undermine the application of the law".


Counter Cultural Programming
By Michael Atkinson, In These Times

The November firefight approaches and here we are, awash in a media flashflood of press secretary prevarication, corporate indictment dodging and in-your-face presidential lies. Gay marriage is the year's burning flag used to incite the ignorant, while the pundits lend credence to flat-out absurdisms just by debating them – that Antonin Scalia's outrageous conflicts of interest may not give the "appearance" of conflicts of interest, that Halliburton may not be "profiting" from a war launched for its benefit, that The Passion of the Christ may in fact have been divinely inspired. (Certainly, the millions of tax dollars poured into "faith-based" institutions and used to buy ticket blocs can be seen as a gift from God to Mel Gibson.) And, of course, the nine-figure White House marketing launch is pure skullduggery, grinning with Christian manifest destiny and transparent jingoism.

What do we do for counter-programming? Don't rely on present-day Hollywood, that brothel of military celebration and half-measure liberalism. Instead, rent some of these firecrackers, the best left movies ever made, and keep the flags of discontent flying.


What’s Holding Back Antiwar Activism?
by Sharon Smith
May 27, 2004
First Published in Socialist Worker

When right-wing pundit Thomas Friedman starts clamoring for "regime change here at home," as he did on May 14, you know that conservatives are deserting the Bush administration’s sinking ship. Growing factions of the military and political establishment are now scrambling to find an "exit strategy" from Iraq, while their entire project to reshape the Middle East is in peril.

This is the moment we on the left have been waiting for. Where, then, is the sense of euphoria? The crisis at the top of society has not been matched by a surge in confidence from the antiwar movement below.

Weeks into the prison torture scandal, there have been no mass protests to demonstrate Americans’ outrage at the torture of Iraqi prisoners--and to demand that U.S. troops be brought home now--despite opinion polls showing that roughly half of the U.S. population shares these sentiments.

Ironically, the U.S. left finds itself falling behind the times. Having adopted "regime change at home" as its undiluted priority, the left is ill equipped to advance the movement now that the likes of Friedman have begun to repeat this same slogan.

Governor's office seeks records from two additional cities
The Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Mitt Romney's legal office has requested marriage documents from Attleboro and Fall River after clerks there acknowledged issuing licenses to out-of-state gay couples in defiance of the governor's residency requirement, the clerks said Thursday.

Romney press secretary Shawn Feddeman would not comment on the request, but said, "Anytime we find have reason to believe there are blatant violations of the law, we will refer them to the attorney general's office."

The Republican governor warned clerks that the state would not recognize marriages by nonresident gay couples.

Soon after gay marriage became legal on May 17, Romney's office requested records from four other municipalities - Provincetown, Somerville, Springfield and Worcester - which had openly defied the residency law.


Kansas Supreme Court to Hear ACLU Appeal of 17-Year Prison Sentence for Gay Teenager

TOPEKA, KS - The Kansas Supreme Court has agreed to consider the American Civil Liberties Union's appeal on behalf of a gay teenager who was sentenced to 17 years in prison for consensual oral sex, the ACLU said today. Matthew Limon has already been in prison for four years and three months - three and a half times longer than the maximum sentence he would have received if he were heterosexual.

"The only reason Matthew Limon is still in prison today is because he's gay," said Tamara Lange, a staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, which represents Limon. She added, "The Kansas Supreme Court has an opportunity to correct the grave injustice that has been done to this young man and the mockery that his sentence makes of the equal protection guarantees in the Constitution."

In February of 2000, Limon and another male teenager were both students at the same co-ed residential school for developmentally disabled youth in Miami County, Kansas. A week after Limon's 18th birthday, he performed consensual oral sex on the other teenager, who was nearly 15 years old - three years, one month and a few days younger than Limon. Limon was convicted under Kansas's "Romeo and Juliet" law, which gives much lighter sentences to heterosexual teenagers who have sex with younger teens, but specifically excludes gay teenagers.

"Because he had sex with another male, Matthew Limon will be in prison until he's 35 years old," said Dick Kurtenbach, Executive Director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri. "For Kansas to sentence a gay person 13 times more harshly than it would a heterosexual for the same offense is clearly unconstitutional, and we're pleased the Court is willing to reconsider this young man's sentence."


Mediation with Atlanta Country Club and Lesbian Members Breaks Down
May 27, 2004 News

ATLANTA - A dispute over the lesbian members of a private country club seeking spousal benefits for their domestic partners is back in the hands of Mayor Shirley Franklin after mediation efforts fell apart Wednesday.

Atlanta's gay community has been a fiscal and public support of Franklin, supporting her when she ran for mayor in 2001.

The dispute between the Druid Hills Golf Club board and club members, Lee Kyser and Randy New, became public in January. That was when the Atlanta Human Relations Commission ruled that the club was violating the city's anti-discrimination ordinance by refusing spousal privileges to the lesbian members.

Franklin requested the mediation. The first and only meeting between the two sides took place Wednesday and got nowhere.


Same-Sex Marriage Ad Contest Begins

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Borrowing a page from the playbook of online political organization, a national gay rights group is sponsoring an advertising contest that it hopes will lead to television audiences seeing positive images of same-sex marriage.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which monitors how gays and lesbians are portrayed in the media, plans to air the winning entry or entries in its "I Do" competition in markets where political opposition to marriage rights for gay couples is fiercest, said Joan Garry, the New York-based group's executive director.

"My hope is that we come up with a winning spot and an inventory of other spots that speak to people in America who may not be quite clear about where they stand on the issue of marriage rights, and it's my hope these spots will move them, literally and emotionally," Garry said.

The contest begins Thursday with the launch of a new Web site where viewers will be able to vote for their favorite 30-second ads after the July 1 submission deadline. A seven-member panel of entertainment industry judges will choose the winner from a group of finalists selected by GLAAD's staff.

Church backs gay marriage ban

CHURCH and family groups have backed Federal Government plans to ban gay marriages.
The Australian Families Association and the Catholic church both support the move, which Labor has also said it would back.

The Government has rushed legislation into parliament to ban gay marriages amid concerns gay couples could marry overseas and then seek court rulings in Australia on the status of the union.

Prime Minister John Howard has denied the changes discriminate against gay people.

"It does not discriminate against gay people," he told the Nine Network's A Current Affair program.

"It is discriminating in favour of an institution which is basic to the cohesion of our society."

Jackson Heights landlord fights discrimination claim
By James DeWeese 05/27/2004

The lawyer for a Jackson Heights landlord who gave a Latino AIDS clinic the boot after transgendered clients turned up in the womens restrooms argued last week that the group is not a protected minority under state law and its case should be thrown out.
Emmanuel Gold, a lawyer for the estate of Joseph Bruno, told a panel of appellate court judges in Manhattan May 19 that under state law transsexual citizens are not specifically protected.

Gold said he asked the judges from the State Supreme Court Appellate Division to overturn the rulings by several lower courts that extended state protection for the first time to transgendered individuals.

The court is expected to issue a decision within the next couple of months.

With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Hispanic AIDS Forum sued the estate of Joseph Bruno in June 2001, seeking unspecified monetary damages after it lost the lease on the Jackson Heights location it had occupied for 10 years. Bruno owned the building.


Family of slain teen seeks posthumous name change

I lost Eddie a long time ago, and I had to say goodbye to Eddie. ...Unfortunately, to Gwen, too.
-- Sylvia Guerrero, Araujo's mother
FREMONT, California (AP) -- The name on the birth certificate was Edward Araujo Jr., but the teenager preferred the first name Gwen.

At age 17, before getting a chance to make the name change official, Araujo was beaten and strangled after the people she thought were her friends found out she was biologically male.

This week, Araujo's family asked a court for a posthumous name change to Gwen Amber Rose Araujo.

"She's Gwen to me, and I'm her mother," Sylvia Guerrero said outside the courthouse. "This is who she was. She's transgender and she's Gwen."

Superior Court Commissioner Thomas Surh called the request "a novel situation" and said he would let Guerrero know his decision in about a month.


Protester plans to prevent gays from receiving Communion
The Associated Press - Thursday, May 27, 2004

Gay Roman Catholics and their supporters will have to get past David Pence on Sunday if they want to take Holy Communion on Pentecost at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

The former 1960s peace activist turned orthodox church layman intends to block the path of people wearing the sashes associated with a gay Catholics group. Pence said he hopes 10 to 20 Twin Cities men will join him.

He calls his protest an "extraordinary measure" to "defend the Eucharist from being publicly attacked." He said he is committed to nonviolence and does not plan on "tackling anyone."

Members of the Rainbow Sash Alliance in the Twin Cities plan to wear sashes to Mass on Sunday. Members of the worldwide movement want "a conversion of the heart" toward the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics.


Gay Haledon, NJ Cop Files Bias Suit

(Haledon, NJ) A police sergeant has sued the borough and several officials, claiming he was passed over for promotion because he is gay.

Sgt. James Len filed suit Wednesday in state Superior Court against the borough, Mayor Ken Pengitore, Councilman Ayman Mamkej and Police Chief Harold Engold Jr. All three defendants said they had not seen the suit and declined to comment when reached by the Herald News of West Paterson.

Len is seeking punitive and compensatory damages, claiming he was subjected to a hostile work environment because of his sexual orientation.

He claims officers rigged the evaluation process to prevent him from being promoted to lieutenant. He also says fellow officers harassed him and made anti-gay comments.


Gay Prom Film Sparks Fears For Safety Of Teen
by Jan Prout Newscenter

(Toronto, Ontario)  A teenager who won a legal battle to bring his boyfriend to a high school prom is under tight security amid concerns for his safety.

Marc Hall was told in 2002 by his principal that same-sex dates were not allowed at the prom being held by his Toronto area Catholic high school.

Hall went to court winning an injunction against the school board. The teen's courage and the vocal reaction by conservative religious groups across Canada resulted in the film Prom Queen scheduled for airing on national television across Canada June 1.

Publicity surrounding the telecast has resulted in an outpouring of hate messages, mainly on message boards of conservative religious groups.  

Ferndale mayor, minister plan mass gay wedding

FERNDALE, Mich. (AP) -- Mayor Robert Porter and a minister plan to officiate at the mass wedding of up to a dozen gay couples outside City Hall next week to demonstrate support for legalizing same-sex marriage in Michigan.

Porter said he is taking part in the ceremony Wednesday afternoon at the request of the Rev. Mark Bidwell of the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit, located in Ferndale.

The mayor said he hopes his presence sends a message that gay people should be allowed to marry legally.

"A strong commitment or marriage strengthens all communities," Porter told The Daily Tribune of Royal Oak. "I think it is discriminatory that gay couples are not allowed to marry."


City defies ban

ATTLEBORO -- Attleboro is believed to be one of just three communities still issuing marriage licenses to out-of-state gay couples, even as three other cities stopped this practice temporarily under pressure from the governor and attorney general.

Attleboro City Clerk Susan Flood said this morning she is continuing to issue licenses to gay couples from 11 states that have not adopted Defense of Marriage Acts that bar same-sex weddings.

Flood said is basing her decision to continue issuing the licenses based on legal advice from the city's lawyer, Robert Mangiaratti. To date, the city has issued licenses to about eight couples, Flood said, most of them from Rhode Island.


Flynn sues to halt gay out-of-staters as towns bow to AG
By Steve Marantz

Former Boston Mayor Raymond L. Flynn sued yesterday to stop Somerville, Worcester and Provincetown from issuing marriage licenses to out-of-state gay couples, even though they already had stopped.

     Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal group, filed suit on behalf of Flynn and businessman Thomas Shields.

     ``These town clerks have taken the law into their own hands,'' said attorney Glen Levy. ``If elected officials aren't required to be law keepers, society has opened Pandora's box to chaos and lawlessness.''

     But Provincetown selectmen had voted Tuesday to stop issuing licenses to out-of-state gay couples, following similar decisions by Somerville and Worcester.


French mayor vows to perform banned gay marriage
BORDEAUX, France, (AFP) -

The row over France's first gay marriage intensified Thursday after the state prosecutor in the southwestern city of Bordeaux said the ceremony which is due on June 5 will be illegal.

Bertrand de Loze gave formal notice that the marriage will be declared null and void a day after the bans for the wedding of shopworker Jean-Luc Charpentier and nurse Stephane Chapin were posted at the townhall of the suburb of Begles.

The mayor of Begles, Green party deputy and former television presenter Noel Mamere, stirred up nationwide debate last month when he declared his intention to celebrate the country's first homosexual marriage - forcing politicians and religious leaders to formulate a response.

Loze sent a fax to Mamere warning that "as a functionary of the civil state, you are forbidden to celebrate the marriage which has been announced.... It is important that as a person in whom public authority is vested you abstain from any initiative that will lead to a breach of the law."


Same-sex wedding prohibition backed

Congress should outlaw gay marriage with a constitutional amendment, Hamilton County commissioners opined on a 2-1 vote Wednesday. "(Gay marriage) is going to cost us money," Commissioner John Dowlin said. "I would imagine there's going to be more divorces, more child-support claims, more things of that nature. Plus, there's the issue of what do you do about medical insurance." Dowlin authored the resolution calling on Congress to pass an amendment that's been introduced defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Fellow Republican Phil Heimlich voted with him. Democrat Todd Portune voted against it. Gay marriage is not a matter the commissioners need weigh in on, Portune said*


NORTH DAKOTA: Group wants marriage defined in constitution
By Dale Wetzel
Associated Press

BISMARCK - A group plans to wage a petition campaign for a North Dakota constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of a man and woman.

Supporters of the move turned in a proposed amendment to Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Wednesday. He has until June 7 to review the ballot measure and approve it for circulation.

Massachusetts began licensing same-sex marriages earlier this month. Opponents of homosexual marriage have expressed fears that states which have not sanctioned the practice will be legally forced to accept marriages performed elsewhere.

Melissa Sue Robinson announces candidacy for State Representative

LANSING - Transgender candidate Melissa Sue Robinson will appear on the Aug. 3 Democratic Primary ballot for Rep. of Lansing's 68th District.

Running on a platform of civil and human rights, Robinson said she will introduce or aggressively pursue legislation that introduces a Universal Health Insurance plan which is designed to cover all uninsured citizens of Michigan; eliminates the Michigan Single Business Tax; and discourages disparity between the sexes in wages, with emphasis on penalizing businesses that pay the male sex more for equal work done by both sexes.

In a press release Robinson said, "I promise that if elected, my whole term or terms in office will be focused on 'you' the voters, and I will do everything to earn your trust and my salary as your State Representative. As the entire 68th District is in Lansing, I will take a special interest in our City and insure that you 'the voters' are properly represented."

Robinson also encouraged voters to keep an open mind and see her gender change as a strength. She said, "Please don't let the idea that I am a person that changed my gender interfere with your choice at the polls in August and November. If anything, that fact will insure that I'll fight for your rights."

For more information on Robinson's campaign contact The Committee to Elect Melissa Sue Robinson For State Representative 68th District at 517-371-1103 or email


House puts off taking action on same-sex unions
By a two-vote margin Wednesday, the state House of Representatives put off a vote on a pair of amendments designed to more narrowly define marriage as a heterosexual institution.

"I think those of us who oppose the legislation and don't want these conservative prohibitions were happy to vote 'no' and maintain the status quo," said Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Haverford. "There is a feeling among a lot people that this did not need to be dealt with right away."

The measures, if passed, would prevent recognition of "spousal-equivalent relationships" entered into in other jurisdictions and prohibit the commonwealth from providing life insurance, health insurance, medical leave and pension survivorship benefits to partners of state employees.

"A lot of Democrats who favor same-sex marriage and extending benefits to same-sex couples saw this as a tough vote they didn't want to take," said Rep. Stephen Barrar, R-160, of Upper Chichester, who favors the amendments. "Pennsylvania is still a very conservative state and Democrats running in conservative areas knew they would have a tough time defending their vote."

Millersville University political analyst and pollster G. Terry Madonna was not surprised to see House members take a pass, the second time they have done so.

"A tax vote becomes ripe when the state has a deficit and a gambling vote becomes ripe when revenue is needed for a particular purpose," Madonna said. "This legislation is more of a diversion whose time has not come, especially with property-tax reform, gaming and the budget still out there."


Group starts contest to get America to say 'I Do' to gay marriage
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - Borrowing a page from the playbook of online political organization, a national gay rights group is sponsoring an advertising contest that it hopes will lead to television audiences seeing positive images of same-sex marriage.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which monitors how gays and lesbians are portrayed in the media, plans to air the winning entry or entries in its "I Do" competition in markets where political opposition to marriage rights for gay couples is fiercest, said Joan Garry, the New York-based group's executive director.

"My hope is that we come up with a winning spot and an inventory of other spots that speak to people in America who may not be quite clear about where they stand on the issue of marriage rights, and it's my hope these spots will move them, literally and emotionally," Garry said.

The contest begins Thursday with the launch of a new Web site where viewers will be able to vote for their favorite 30-second ads after the July 1 submission deadline. A seven-member panel of entertainment industry judges will choose the winner from a group of finalists selected by GLAAD's staff.


Rainbow tassel not shown on brochure
By alex dubilet
May 27, 2004

When friends of 2003 College alumnus Arshad Hasan notified him that he was pictured on the cover of this year's commencement brochure, he was initially flattered.

But upon closer examination, Hasan and his friends realized that one detail from his costume was missing -- the rainbow tassel that had hung beside the standard black tassel from his cap.

Hasan distinctly remembered having the rainbow tassel -- distributed by the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center to be worn during graduation ceremonies -- as part of his academic regalia. He also knew that it was distinct enough that it could not simply be covered up due to the angle of the photograph.

But while University officials in charge of commencement materials have admitted since then that the photograph was edited, they have also said that slight alteration to published images is standard procedure.


Prom Queen offices trashed
Producers at Tapestry Pictures fear the vandalism is linked to its TV movie about a gay teenager who won the right to bring his partner to a Catholic school dance

The offices of Toronto-based Tapestry Pictures were trashed earlier this week, and the producers fear the vandalism is linked to its coming, controversial film, Prom Queen.

In recent weeks, pro-family and anti-gay support groups have been using the Internet to denounce the made-for-TV movie, slated to air on CTV on June 1, about the so-called "Cinderfella," the media nickname for Marc Hall, a teen from Oshawa, Ont., who won the right in 2002 to bring his partner to a Catholic school dance.

One chat site, TalkAboutNetwork, posted a disturbing rant recently against the movie that began with the headline: Anti-Catholic Film Star a Homosexual Child Molester.

It went on to accuse one of the film's young actors (not the movie's star, B.C. actor Aaron Ashmore, who portrays Hall) of being a pedophile. It added that the dramatization of Hall's story -- and his controversial court case has "caused probl


Gay rights group: Church broke law
Gazette State Bureau
HELENA - Gay rights advocates filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Political Practices against the Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church Wednesday, saying the church inappropriately held an event to support a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Montanans for Families and Fairness, a coalition that includes InterMountain Planned Parenthood, PRIDE and the Montana Human Rights Network, said in the complaint that the church failed to report to the state commissioner it used its "in-kind" resources to support the proposed constitutional ban.

Petitions supporting the proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage in Montana were circulated at a church event Sunday night. The initiative will be placed on the November ballot if 41,000 voters sign a petition in favor of the measure.

"They made an expense on behalf of this thing," said Rob Hill, campaign director for the coalition that filed the complaint. "We believe they have to file with the commissioner's office. They haven't done that."


Homosexuals Meet in Kampala
Charles Ariko

UGANDA is hosting the first-ever conference to discuss the rights of homosexuals.

The conference at Muyenga International Hotel, organised by the Uganda Humanist Association and the International Humanist and Ethical Union, has attracted a cross section of participants, mostly lesbians and gays.

Jim Herrick, a founder member of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association of Britain,said the 25-year-old association had about 400 registered members.

"Our organisation has supporters from across the world. Being gay is about love and deep feelings. I have been gay since I was 17 years old. Some people say homosexuality is sickness. It is not. It is about feelings," he said.


Group of lawmakers is jumping the gun on Pa. marriage law
First, a valid suit is needed to declare it constitutional.
By Mitchell Sommers

Readers might be too focused on the same-sex marriage issue to appreciate the sideshow recently staged by 12 state legislators seeking to validate the Pennsylvania Defense of Marriage Act.

Under the guise of protecting this law, these lawmakers are trying to use the courts in a preemptive way that violates their purpose.

Courts are supposed to resolve disputes. What has happened here is that even before the Defense of Marriage Act has been challenged in court, the legislators want the courts to say it's constitutional. And that's not the way the process works.

Here are the facts: In March, a gay couple from New Hope sought and failed to receive a marriage license from Bucks County. The state Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, says unambiguously that "marriage shall be between one man and one woman." So Stephen Stahl and Robert Seneca came back from Doylestown empty-handed.


Sex change birth certificate legislation approved

A Birmingham MP has celebrated victory in a ten-year campaign to win new rights for people who have a sex change.

Transsexuals will now be able to demand new birth certificates - with their correct gender, thanks to a change in the law.

Lynne Jones (Lab Selly Oak), a long-time supporter of the change, described the introduction of the legislation as "a wonderful moment", in a House of Commons debate.

But the measures in the Gender Recognition Bill were condemned by Midland MP Sir Patrick Cormack (Con Staffordshire South).


Gay group slams PM's ban

A gay rights group lashed Prime Minister John Howard's plan to ban same-sex marriages, saying he was using homophobia as a re-election tool.

Australia's Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby said the move to change the Marriage Act, which includes redefining marriage as the "voluntarily entered-into union of a man and a woman to exclusion of all others", was backward.

Under the changes, gay couples also will be banned from adopting children overseas, but will have access to each other's superannuation funds.

"It's a gross overreaction," lobby co-convener Somali Cerise said.


Senator quits leadership post over gay marriage vote

A state senator resigned from her Republican leadership position Wednesday over Senate President Ken Bennett's decision to let the chamber vote on a gay marriage proposal.

Republican Carolyn Allen of Scottsdale said she quit as the Senate's president pro tem because Bennett reneged on a promise not to bring the measure to a vote.

The proposal cleared the state House easily but stalled in the Senate, where supporters said they were one vote short of getting it through the Legislature.

The measure is a symbolic piece of legislation that would to urge Congress to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions.

Even though it's unlikely to pass the Senate, gay marriage opponents are trying to use the vote to target moderate Republicans who are up for election, Allen said.


French mayor "forbidden" to marry gay couples
Ben Townley, UK

Noel Mamere, the French mayor who wanted to marry same-sex couples in his Bordeaux town, has been ordered to stop offering his services by the local authorities.

Mamere had promised to marry any same-sex couples who came to him in the town of Begles. The first ceremony was due to take place on June 5th, despite government opposition to the plans.

But the couple who were due to marry may now have to postpone their wedding, after public prosecutor for Bordeaux, Bertrand de Loze, sent Mamere a fax banning him from conducting the ceremony.

The BBC reports that de Loze said Mamere was "forbidden" from marrying same-sex couples, claiming his intentions would "undermine the application of the law".


Same-sex pairs due benefits in Howard
County policy change is to take effect July 1
By Larry Carson
Sun Staff

Howard County employees in same-sex domestic partnerships will be eligible for full health benefits, starting July 1, the Robey administration announced yesterday after months of internal deliberation.

Raquel Sanudo, the county's chief administrative officer, said the administration took the action, which will not require County Council scrutiny, as a matter of fairness.

"As an organization, we believe in equity across our work force, when and wherever possible," she said. "This change will afford those employees whose union is not currently, legally recognizable the same health insurance benefits as others currently employed by the county."

Howard County joins Baltimore, Montgomery County, the District of Columbia, Takoma Park and Greenbelt in extending the benefits. Several major universities and large companies, such as the Rouse Co., Lockheed Martin and Marriott International, also offer them.


Day of Silence tried to illustrate oppression in new way
By Abigail Moses

Columbia News Service
NEW YORK - Kris Aleman knows the word "faggot" in half a dozen languages. He learned it from classmates, who yell it in the hallways when he walks by. He picks it out of customers' conversations when he's working. In the multicultural, but conservative community of Linden, N.J., Aleman has responded by streaking his hair purple, dyeing his sideburns blue and lining his eyes with black pencil and mascara.

On a Wednesday in late April, Aleman, who is 17, also responded by saying nothing at all for a full school day. He was one of nearly 300,000 students, faculty and school staff members who participated in the Day of Silence, a student-led protest now in its ninth year, that is coordinated by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the United States Student Association (USSA). By making silence a symbol, organizers hope to draw attention to the prevalence of homophobia in schools.

There are roughly 2 million gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender school-age children in the United States, the organizations say, most of whom are silenced in some way by harassment and discrimination.

The Day's founders envisioned using silence as an instrument of protest rather than oppression. "Instead of trying to do something very loud, like having a rally or a protest or a speaker, we try to do the inverse of that," said Maria Pulzetti, now 26, who conceived the idea as a freshman in college.


Students stand up on diversity issues
Leaders say attitudes and comments about sexual orientation, gender and race show a need for awareness

TIGARD -- The skit at Tigard High School's prom assembly was supposed to amuse. But the announcers' ad-libbed jokes about homosexuality weren't funny to several audience members, and, for at least one student, downright uncomfortable.

Senior Nicole Hartfield, 18, was a prom princess and front and center at the assembly. But Hartfield is also the president of the Tigard Awareness Coalition, a school group promotes tolerance and acceptance.

For group members, the comments were another example of why the school needs a tolerance-building club. Promoting awareness in the school not only helps combat such activities, but leads to a better environment for the whole student body, even those at the margins, members of the group said.

"I just feel that our school is really close-minded," said Angie Doerr, 17, a senior and Tigard Awareness Coalition member.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Pa. lawmakers should stop attacking private citizens
Knight Ridder Newspapers

(KRT) - You might recall my past references to the Neanderthal Caucus, that group of Pennsylvania legislators focused on fighting gay marriage, gay-partner benefits, gay anything.

This not-quite-fully-evolved clan tried in March to move 50-some bills to keep gays as legally far apart and isolated as possible.

For political reasons, including a pending primary election, legislative leaders held them at bay. Not everyone approves of violating civil rights.

Well, they're grunting and growling again - on two fronts.

A group of 12 lawmakers (the apostles?) is suing a same-sex Bucks County couple for seeking a marriage license.

Govt to outlaw gay, lesbian marriage

The Federal Government will move to ban gay and lesbian marriages in Australia by defining "marriage" as an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman.

The Government will also not recognise overseas gay unions and ban same sex couples from adopting overseas children.

However, it appears they have won the right to nominate their partner as the beneficiary of any superannuation payouts.

Liberal backbencher Bronwyn Bishop says the Government has also decided not to overturn controversial laws in the ACT allowing same sex couples to adopt Australian children.

"By using federal power to enact federal legislation is the better way to proceed because of the difficulties that could flow from trying to overturn state or territory legislation, [it] does have consequences which would be very difficult to deal with," she said.

Gay couples ask Virginia Supreme Court to hear case
Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. - Three same-sex couples who were denied new birth certificates for their four adoptive children have asked the Virginia Supreme Court to review their case.

The request comes in the wake of a decision from a Richmond judge upholding the right of the Virginia Department of Vital Records to refuse to issue the birth certificates, according to a press release issued Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.

In January, Richmond Circuit Judge Randall G. Johnson ruled that the state is not required to issue new birth certificates for children born in Virginia, but adopted by gay couples in other states.

Johnson said then that requiring the state to issue new birth certificates with the names of the children's adoptive parents instead of their birth parents conflicts with Virginia's policy prohibiting joint adoption by unmarried couples.

France joins gay marriage debate
A mayor challenges France to consider gay marriage by offering the nation its first same-sex 'wedding' next week.
By Peter Ford | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

PARIS – Noel Mamère, a radical leader of France's small Green Party, is no stranger to controversy. But his latest stunt has not only sparked a fierce national debate, it has earned him a police escort to ensure his safety in the face of death threats.
His outrage? To officiate - in his capacity as a town mayor - at the country's first gay marriage next week, following in the footsteps of San Francisco's mayor, who challenged California law by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples earlier this year.

He also pushes France in the direction of the Netherlands and Belgium, which have already legalized same-sex marriage, and Sweden and Spain, which are in the process of doing so, as Europe moves in fits and starts toward allowing homosexual couples to share the rights and duties of married life.

France, for now, has legalized only limited civil unions between gay couples, which puts Mr. Mamère's plans to join a shop assistant and a health care worker in marriage on June 5 almost certainly outside the law. The marriage will be "purely and simply null," Justice Minister Dominique Perben told the conservative daily "Le Figaro," because France's civil code requires husband and wife to be man and woman.

Group wants definition of marriage in ND constitution
Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. - A group plans to wage a campaign for a North Dakota constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of a man and woman.

Supporters of the proposal turned in a proposed constitutional amendment to Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Wednesday. He has until June 7 to review the proposal and approve it for circulation.

Massachusetts began licensing same-sex marriages earlier this month, and opponents of homosexual marriage have expressed fears that states which have not previously sanctioned the marriages will be legally forced to accept them.

Christina Kindel, director of the North Dakota Family Alliance, is chairwoman of the initiative campaign. The alliance supports tax cuts for families and opposes abortion and gambling, according to policy statements posted on its Web site.

Mayor's Position on Gay Marriage to be Announced

WASHINGTON -- D.C.'s mayor says he'll have an announcement "shortly" on a gay marriage policy.
Mayor Anthony Williams says the city's corporation counsel has given him a draft opinion on the issue.

Back in February, Williams said he was satisfied with the way the District's domestic partners registration program is working out. The city's health department has been issuing domestic partner registration certificates since July of 2002.

At the time, the mayor also said that he is "on record as far back as the 1998 campaign in recognizing that marriage ought to apply to everybody."

House puts off gay marriage debate until after election
Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The state House of Representatives began Wednesday to wade into the national debate over gay marriage, considering a measure that supporters say would bolster a state law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

But after a little more than an hour of floor debate, the House postponed action and voted 96-94 to table the proposal until Nov. 8, nearly a week after the Nov. 2 general election.

Rep. Jerry Birmelin, a conservative Republican from Wayne County, sponsored the measure, which would prohibit gay couples from obtaining marriage licenses and bar Pennsylvania from recognizing same-sex marriages sanctioned by other states.

It would also prohibit the state from recognizing "spousal equivalent relationships" among unmarried couples who live together, regardless of their sexual orientation.