poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Mich. Mayor Officiates at Mass Gay Wedding
Associated Press

FERNDALE, Mich. - The mayor of this Detroit suburb officiated at the mass wedding of nearly a dozen gay couples outside City Hall on Saturday in a symbolic demonstration of support for legalizing same-sex marriage in Michigan.

Although the ceremony carried no legal weight, the 11 couples who exchanged vows and rings left feeling married.

"I can't stop quivering," said Melvin Rodgers Berta, 41, clutching the ringed hand of his partner of three years, Leroy Berta, 46.

"It's just like the day we met," Leroy Berta said.


Bordeaux Union Prompts Discussion of Gay Marriage in France
Weekend Edition - Saturday audio
June 5, 2004

While the debate over gay marriage continues in the United States, a union today between two men near Bordeaux has begun a debate in France as well. Frank Browning reports.


Sex-change (sic) patient's file put on the net
By Danielle Teutsch
June 6, 2004

Page Tools

A sex-change recipient, whose highly sensitive medical records were published on the internet after a hospital error, was paid $1600 and offered free counselling by the Health Department to stop her taking legal action.

Sally Black's (not her real name) psychiatry case-management file from St Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst, contained information about her history of self-harm, and the fact she was taking hormonal medication to enable her to live as a female.

Ms Black, 25, spoke to The Sun-Herald because she was still angry about how she was treated by the management of St Vincent's and the NSW Health Department.

"It was the process. They screwed me over," the woman said. "What makes me most angry is that they couldn't say sorry."

By Nicola Jolly

CUMBRIA’S gay community will be urged to report any abuse they suffer in a new project to be launched by police next week.

From Tuesday, more than a dozen liaison officers with special training will be the points of contact for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Cumbria police say hate crimes against these groups are “grossly under-reported” and they want to get a truer picture of the situation.

Around 30 to 40 incidents are reported every year but the real figure could be five or six times higher.

Gay marriage advocates may take petitions to voting polls
By JOAN HAINES Chronicle Staff Writer

Voters may find advocates at the polls Tuesday asking them to sign -- or refrain from signing -- petitions to add language to the Montana Constitution defining marriage only as a union between a man and a woman.

Solicitations concerning Constitutional Initiative 96, which would ban same-sex marriage, are legal as long as voters are not prevented from casting their ballots, said Janice Doggett, chief legal counsel for the Montana secretary of state.

However, election officials can restrict where petition gatherers are located "as long as they're fair to everyone," Doggett said Friday

And when voters are approached at the polls, they can always say they're not interested in talking with advocates.


Visitation-rights case raises same-sex issue
Michael Kiefer
The Arizona Republic

When David and Brandy Jo Riepe divorced in 2000, they agreed to share custody of their 4-year-old son.

After the divorce the boy lived mostly with his father, spending one night a week and alternate weekends with his mother.

A year later, David remarried. His new wife, Janette Rae Smith Riepe, assumed a significant role in the young child's life, loving him, feeding him and even becoming involved in his classroom.
Then tragedy struck: That fall, David was killed in a traffic accident.

The child went to live with Brandy, his biological mother, who did not allow any contact with the stepmother, Janette.

What followed was an unorthodox legal battle over visitation rights. It bounced through the Coconino County Superior Court and eventually led the Arizona Court of Appeals to look at different ways to define "parenting" for the case.

there is a survey at this site, please take it...

"Marriage Amendment
A group of Maine residents affiliated with Families for America has started a petition drive aimed to direct the Legislature to consider joining a federal constitutional convention. The goal of the convention would be an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage. Should the U.S. Constitution be amended to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman?"

Same-sex marriage foes target Congress
By PAUL CARRIER, Portland Press Herald Writer

AUGUSTA — Maine opponents of same-sex marriage have joined a national effort to pressure Congress to introduce a constitutional amendment that prohibits the marriages or gives states the power to ban them. The effort involves referendum drives in participating states. The ballot questions, if approved, would require legislatures around the country to decide annually whether to call for a constitutional convention.

The Maine campaign, which is being led by Lewis Hassell of Winterport, is part of an effort to persuade 34 states - a two-thirds majority - to call a constitutional convention unless Congress votes on its own to submit a constitutional ban to the states for ratification.

If 34 states call a constitutional convention in the face of congressional inaction, the convention would have the same power Congress has to draft a constitutional amendment and submit it to the states. Either way, 38 states - a three-fourths majority - would have to ratify any change in the U.S. Constitution before the amendment takes effect.

The Secretary of State's Office has told Maine organizers that they can begin circulating petitions for the proposed referendum.


Brutal assault was gay-bashing, he says
By Joan Treadway
Staff writer

Paul Willis, a local writer, has a pleasant last memory of early morning Sunday, before darkness lifted. He and another writer, from out of town, had been chatting in a Bourbon Street bar, and he agreed to help the man find his way back to his accommodations, near the French Quarter.

Willis' next memory, from a few hours later, is more gruesome: "I found that I was at Charity Hospital, covered with blood."

Willis, 41, who is well-known in New Orleans as the acting executive director of the Tennessee Williams Festival, was released from the hospital Friday afternoon, the victim of what he and others believe was gay-bashing, a brutal attack that doctors told him probably will leave him blind in his right eye.

Officer Johnette Williams, a spokeswoman for the New Orleans Police Department, said that the incident, which occurred about 4:30 a.m. in the 1200 block of Royal Street, is being investigated and has not yet been classified, as a hate crime or anything else.

White urges protestors to do more for gay rights
San Jose Knight Ridder Newspapers

SAN JOSE, Calif. - (KRT) - As the limousine carrying them to a church in San Jose passed some gay protesters, Mel White remembers Jerry Falwell saying: "If they weren't here to give us attention, I'd have to invent them and pay for them myself."

That was in the 1980s, when White was ghost-writing the Moral Majority founder's biography. Like Falwell and other fundamentalist Christians, White, a former pastor raised in that faith, believed homosexuality was a sin. But he no longer believes as he once did. He came out in 1993 and has been countering anti-gay messages ever since.

As White returns to the region this weekend, as speaker and co-grand marshal at Gay Pride events in Santa Cruz, gays and the religious right are once again entwined in a public morality debate. With defense-of-marriage legislation pending in 38 states and President Bush supporting a constitutional ban on gay marriage, White says, those who support full rights for gays need to do more than just vote to keep religious conservatives from gaining political ground.

"Unless we do something, soon, we won't have the right to disagree," he said. "I'm talking about boycotts, strikes, protest. I'm calling for war, but a non-violent war."


Bishop Olmsted Suspends Priest for Refusing to Remove Name from Gay Document

PHOENIX, June 4, 2004 ( - Following Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted's April order that nine priests and one religious brother remove their names from a document by an activist organization for homosexual clergy, all have complied except for Fr. Andre Boulanger. Last week bishop Olmsted suspended Fr. Boulanger from priestly ministry.

The document, No Longer Silent: Clergy for Justice, stated "Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We affirm that GLBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God."

Within two weeks of bishop Olmsted's order, eight of the ten had removed their names; last week, the ninth, but Fr. Boulanger defiantly persisted in his stand.

A suspension means a priest may not celebrate Mass, preach or hear confessions. Olmsted told Fr. Boulanger his suspension stands "until such time as I have assurance from you that you do indeed believe and teach what the Church teaches about the call to holiness for homosexual persons," according to an Arizona Republic article.


Homophobia kills, literally
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Though President Bush rarely mentions it -- too many conservatives in Congress are uncomfortable with amending the Constitution to ban same-sex unions -- conservative preachers and right-wing activists can't let go of gay marriage. They're still using its "threat" to traditional families to rally their parishioners, lest they forget to be judgmental and unwittingly slip into love and mercy.

Nowhere are the front lines in the battle against gay marriage tended with more care than in conservative black churches, where ministers regularly denounce homosexuality as an abomination. It is a curious approach they would no doubt characterize as "tough love," as they pray for the gay members of their flocks to be delivered from their affliction.

It's too bad that some of that prayer time is not devoted to fervent supplication that black churchgoers be delivered from the affliction of homophobia. Bigotry fuels the scourge of AIDS in black America, and the plague is making its greatest inroads into the population from which come the worker bees of the black church: black women.

Black women accounted for 72 percent of the new cases of HIV among women from 1999 to 2002; studies have found that a black woman is 23 times more likely to be infected than a white woman.

French government moves to punish mayor for holding "illegal" gay wedding

A shopkeeper and a male nurse exchanged rings and kisses in France's first gay wedding, but the conservative government immediately moved to punish the mayor who presided over what it considered was an "illegal" ceremony.

Noel Mamere, mayor of the suburb of Begles in the southwestern city of Bordeaux and a leading figure in the opposition Greens party, celebrated the wedding of 31-year-old shopworker Bertrand Charpentier and 34-year-old nurse Stephane Chapin in a blaze of publicity at the municipal building where he works.

"I'm proud of this wedding.... I don't consider myself an outlaw," Mamere told the couple, who arrived at the building in a brown Rolls-Royce to applause from gay rights supporters, while dozens of opponents held a small protest nearby and 200 police kept watch.

"Our wedding is a first. I hope many more will follow," he said


Groups: Gay Marriage Issue Not Congress's
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - A grouping of Christian, Jewish and Sikh organizations is urging Congress to reject a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.

Twenty-six organizations, ranging from the 2.3-million-member Episcopal Church, USA, to the 60,000 represented by the Alliance of Baptists, said in a letter to Congress that it was not government's job to enshrine laws reflecting a specific religious view.

"We believe the federal marriage amendment reflects a fundamental disregard for individual civil rights and ignores differences among our nation's many religious traditions. It should be rejected," they wrote this week.

Spurred by the legalization of gay marriages in Massachusetts, a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage has the strong backing of some of the nation's larger religious groups, including the Roman Catholic Church's Conference of Catholic Bishops, the 16-million member Southern Baptist Convention and the 30-million member National Association of Evangelicals.


Missouri to host nation's first gay marriage vote since re-emergence of issue
Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Ever a bellwether state, Missouri will provide the nation's first ballot-box battle on gay marriage since the contentious issue flared up following the court-ordered allowance of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts.

Missouri is one of at least seven states this year where voters will decide on proposed amendments to state constitutions limiting marriage to one man and one woman. But Missourians will be voting in August, with most of the rest in November.

Consequently, supporters and opponents alike are looking to Missouri - a state that generally mirrors the nation demographically - as a test of whether similar amendments might succeed elsewhere.

Missouri "is going to be a sort of bellwether of how this is going to play out in November" and also could build momentum for an effort to amend a gay marriage ban into the U.S. Constitution, Kristie Rutherford, director of state affairs at the Washington-based Family Research Council, said Friday.


City Hall turns away gays
Staff Writer

Dozens of gay couples came to the city clerk's office Friday hoping to receive marriage licenses but were turned away after the clerk's office handed them each a 50-page packet outlining the limits to the rights of same-sex couples.

"He was cordial," said Sando Scherrod, 27, of the East Village, who came with his partner of eight years, Bert Ongkeo, 29. "But after reviewing our ID's, he apologized and said he could not give us an application and instead gave us this. It took, like, a minute."

About 75 couples began gathering on City Hall's steps around 7:30 a.m., an hour before City Clerk Victor Robles' office opened. By 8:50 a.m., dejected but not surprised, pairs began to emerge with the thick packets in hand.

The packet included an advisory opinion from the city Law Department explaining same-sex marriages are not lawful in the state, city rules that govern the application process at the City Clerk's office, a court decision and an informational handout explaining the benefits of the city's domestic-partnership program.


Log Cabin expands national ad campaign into Texas

The gay political group Log Cabin Republicans will begin airing its 30-second television commercial--which seeks to stop the Federal Marriage Amendment--in San Antonio this weekend during the Texas Republican Party state convention.

"The antifamily constitutional amendment tramples on the principles of freedom and equality that the U.S. Constitution is meant to protect," said Log Cabin Republicans executive director Patrick Guerriero. "Supporting this amendment is a violation of the GOP's conservative principles."

Log Cabin's commercial includes excerpts from statements made by then vice-presidential candidate Dick Cheney during his 2000 debate with Sen. Joe Lieberman. Referring to the legal recognition of same-sex relationships, Cheney said, "That matter is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that's appropriate. I don't think there should necessarily be a federal policy in this area." Log Cabin kicked off its ad campaign on March 10. The Cheney commercial has been airing in Washington, D.C., and 11 states.

"Leaders of the Texas GOP should understand that they can be good and loyal Republicans by opposing efforts to write discrimination into the Constitution," said Carla Halbrook, a Log Cabin national board member from Dallas.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Bloomberg Vetoes Gay Benefits  
by Doug Windsor Newscenter

(New York City) New York mayor Michael Bloomberg Friday vetoed legislation to require all city contractors to provide equal employment benefits to all employees, whether they are married or in domestic partner relationships. 

Bloomberg waited almost the full thirty-day time period he had to reject the legislation.

The measure passed city council last month on a 43-5 vote. It would require contractors that do more than $100,000 of business each year with NYC to offer the equal benefits.

The legislation would have made health coverage available to tens of thousands of additional people in the New York City region and hundreds of thousands across the country.

Call to limit gay presence on TV
Producers say they will comply with Culture Ministry's request

The Culture Ministry will next week ask all television stations to cut down on images portraying homosexual behaviour, a senior ministry official said yesterday.

Dr Kla Somtrakul, deputy permanent secretary for Culture, said some television programmes clearly showed homosexual behaviour and if unchecked some of them could cross the line to obscenity. Kla also dismissed as misquotes recent press accounts reporting him saying that no homosexuals would be hired at the ministry.

Next week, the ministry would send a letter requesting television stations not to air "sexually deviant" homosexual messages but leave the final decision to the stations' own judgement.

Television producers said they would cooperate, although they played down the ministry's concerns.


Top bishop's vision - a world without gays

The new head of the Anglican Church has a vision of a world without homosexuality.

Bishop Whakahuihui Vercoe, 75, is a controversial replacement for Archbishop John Paterson, who has headed New Zealand's largest church for seven years.

Bishop Vercoe is a staunch supporter of the Treaty of Waitangi and has been outspoken over the years on homosexuality, immigration and the place of women in the church.

In his first big interview since his appointment, he told the Weekend Herald he believed that homosexuality was unnatural and not morally right.

The Brazilian resolution and Beyond
Our struggle goes well beyond the Brazilian resolution. With or without the UN, we will give voice again and again until our existence and rights are recognized.

An interview with Rosanna Flamer-Caldera and Kursad Kahramanoglu, Co-Secretaries General of the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

After the text was first introduced in 2003, it is now the second time the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) postpones the debate over the Brazilian resolution… What happened in Geneva this year?

State of Homophobia world wide

Memorial Day push for FMA flops
Senators targeted by religious right hold firm against marriage ban

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) last week urged his fellow Republican senators to promote a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage as they traveled through their home states during the Memorial Day weekend.Santorum reportedly tried to portray same-sex marriage in Massachusetts as a “national crisis that requires a national response — a constitutional amendment.”

Santorum chairs the Senate Republican Conference, which sets the agenda for Senate Republicans. But newspaper and television news stories over the holiday weekend — and reports from a coalition of civil rights groups — indicates that little or no mention of a constitutional amendment (FMA) surfaced among GOP senators during the three-day holiday weekend.

What surfaced instead were emotional speeches by politicians and leaders of veterans groups paying tribute to U.S. military service members who died in action during World War II and in current U.S. military action in Iraq.


Pawlenty willing to take gay marriage ban off table
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS - Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he would take the divisive issue of a constitutional gay marriage ban off the table in order to reach a special session agreement.

The proposal by Pawlenty - who supports a gay marriage ban - would enable DFLers to adjourn without a vote on the issue if they choose.

The Legislature adjourned its regular session May 16 without reaching agreement on any of its major spending and borrowing bills.

Thursday, Pawlenty said he would propose to Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, that leaders of both parties agree in advance on the issues, such as sex offender bills and a state borrowing bill, they would hear, and in what order. If the Senate did not want to take up any other issues afterward - such as gay marriage - it could adjourn, Pawlenty said.

Gay rights advocates fear losing benefits
Marriage ban could have side effects
By Susan Finch

If the Louisiana Constitution is changed to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, gay rights advocates say, domestic partnership registries and health insurance benefits that some employers extend to same-sex partners could be in jeopardy, too.

They are concerned that the "defense of marriage" amendment, which is awaiting final passage by the Legislature, could have broader, unintended consequences. Lawmakers are divided on the question, and employers -- public and private -- that offer such benefits are watching the matter closely.

Representatives of the city of New Orleans, Lockheed Martin and Tulane University, all of which offer health insurance to same-sex domestic partners, said last week they don't think the proposed amendment will affect their programs.

Shell Oil, meanwhile, isn't sure what impact the amendment would have on its employee health plan, which also covers same-sex domestic partners, spokeswoman Mary Dokianos said.


Gay marriage divides France
By Alexandra Fouché
BBC News Online

Ever since a mayor in the south-west of France announced he would celebrate the country's first gay marriage in his town hall, a fierce debate has raged in the country over whether it was right.

The plan, condemned by the right-wing government, has opened rifts within political parties, sparked objection from Roman Catholic authorities and caused dissension within the town council in Begles, where the marriage is to be held on

Sociologists, psychologists and politicians have all been chipping in with their opinion as to whether it was appropriate to allow gay people to marry - and whether gay marriage opened the path to parenting rights.

A similarly heated debate occurred five years ago when gays were legally allowed to enter a civil union called the Pacs, which gave more rights to cohabiting couples, regardless of their sex.

A recent poll suggested that 64% of French people supported same-sex weddings.


‘Faith-based’ AIDS head
Grogan said to be administrator, not policy maker

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson has named an attorney in charge of one of President Bush’s faith-based initiative programs as the new executive director of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Joseph Grogan, an official with the Compassion Capital Fund, began work at his new job at the presidential AIDS panel last month, according to members of the panel. The Compassion Capital Fund is an HHS program that helps religious groups apply for federal funds to provide social services to low income people.

The executive director of the panel, known as PACHA, traditionally has served as an administrator, with the co-chairs of the panel acting as policy makers. But one of PACHA’s recent executive directors, Patricia Ware, emerged as a strong advocate for conservative causes, including abstinence-only programs for HIV prevention.

Sources familiar with PACHA said controversy surrounding Ware’s actions prompted the White House to instruct Thompson to transfer her to another job at HHS last year. Thompson replaced her with Josephine Robinson, who has been acting as the panel’s interim executive director.

HHS spokesperson Bill Pierce said Grogan expects to serve in an administrative support capacity at PACHA similar to his work on the HHS faith-based program

Pope Denounces Abortion, Same-Sex Unions
Associated Press

VATICAN CITY - In his latest blunt assessment of U.S. society, Pope John Paul II on Friday denounced the acceptance of abortion and same-sex unions as "self-centered demands" erroneously depicted as human rights.

The pontiff said that "in the face of such erroneous yet pervasive thinking," visiting U.S. bishops should stress to congregations "their special responsibility for evangelizing culture and promoting Christian values in society and public life."

"Rights are at times reduced to self-centered demands: the growth of prostitution and pornography in the name of adult choice, the acceptance of abortion in the name of women's rights, the approval of same sex unions in the name of homosexual rights," he said.


Stonewall’s police: present at the creation
Now, 35 years after ‘the gay Alamo,’ the cops are ready to tell their side of the story
By Cyd Zeigler Jr.

On June 18, 1969, at Stonewall, on Christopher Street just east of Seventh Avenue South, the modern gay-rights movement was born.

By now, that night and the two subsequent nights have passed from the stuff of legend to become an integral part of American history. According to the historical record, drag queens, lesbians and disenfranchised gay men, outraged at abuse from the police, locked some cops in the bar and tried to burn it down. Aided by the anti-Establishment types of all stripes who gravitated to the Village at that time, they continued their disturbances for three days.

But there’s another voice in the story that is now being heard — one that has been respectfully quiet for 35 years. The policemen (they were all men) who were present on that fateful June night have their own story to tell.


Cops watch flag raising at City Hall
By Staff

Police kept close watch over a gay pride event at City Hall yesterday after threats were made to a councillor who supported the celebration. A half-dozen uniformed officers -- including one on a rooftop using a video camera to scan partiers in the Main Street complex's courtyard -- took up positions as Winnipeg's annual Pride Week events were launched. But no violence transpired as several participants hoisted rainbow flags to celebrate the event.

Coun. Jenny Gerbasi was in a jubilant mood despite receiving several threatening anti-homosexual phone calls -- of which she didn't provide details -- during the days leading up to the gathering. She dismissed the threats, saying they were from "a small cast of usual suspects who don't accept diversity."

"It's unfortunate that they feel that way," said Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry). "It's unfortunate that they have to behave illegally by making threats of violence against people."


Cycling lesbian grannies ride for rights.
by Jamie Way

LONGMONT-To some, lesbian cross-country-cycling grandmas may sound like the punch line to a bad joke, but to a group of over 35 gay-rights supporters gathered in front of Marilyn Musgrave's Longmont office, these "Rainbow Riders" were defending a way of life.

Carrie Ross-Stone's tattered Nikes, having seen better days, had holes worn through the toes from the long trip behind her. Saturday morning, she stood proudly in front of her supporters with her wife (to whom she was married in Canada), Elisia Ross-Stone. The two spoke to the crowd, shielded from the cold rain by only an awning and raincoats.

Carrie and Elisia left San Francisco on May 2 and are currently en route to New York City, cycling to support freedom to marry for homosexuals. Supporters ride alongside for certain stretches of the route.

"We're making a huge sacrifice," Carrie said. "It's not a joke. We're not a family in the eyes of the law. It's not only infuriating, it's humiliating." Carrie and Elisia raised a daughter together (Carrie is the biological mother), and now they're proud grandparents.

Protests mar Jerusalem's Pride
Ben Townley, UK

The Israeli city of Jerusalem held its third Pride march yesterday for its lesbian, gay and bisexual population, although protests marred the day of celebrations.

Thousands of LGB people from across the city joined together to march in the early evening, but encountered hostility from some in the crowds.

Two men were arrested for throwing eggs at participants, while orthodox Jewish people had previously placed posters throughout the city denouncing the parade.

Additionally, local newspapers report that posters telling children to keep away from the "sinners" were also visible.


Northern Ireland former councillor fired over gay taunts
Ben Townley, UK

Arthur Templeton has been sacked from his position on Northern Ireland's District Policing Partnership, in the ongoing row over his homophobic taunting of a colleague.

Templeton, who was fined £250 last month for taunting fellow DPP worker John Blair over his sexuality, was said to be "unfit" to work on the partnership in the region.

The decision follows his suspension from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) over the same issue.

DPP chairman Desmond Rea said the decision was made with respect to all those involved, and also with the perception of the policing project in mind. The DPP works with communities across Northern Ireland to build relationships with the police and ensure safety across the province.


Scotland votes to adopt Civil Partnerships
Ben Townley, UK

Members of the Scottish Parliament have voted in favour of using the Sewel motion to adopt Civil Partnerships north of the border when the bill is passed in Westminster later this year.

Same-sex couples throughout Scotland will now have access to the same ceremonies as those in England and Wales, after 80 MSPs voted in favour of adopting the legislation.

Although the decision was broadly welcomed across the country's gay community, the issue of whether the devolved country should have drafted its own Scotland specific laws was still apparent.

This issue first emerged last September, when the Scottish Executive introduced the idea of adopting English and Welsh law on Civil Partnerships when passed.


Ferndale mayor to help at Motor City event

On Saturday, Ferndale Mayor Robert Porter will stand outside of City Hall on 9 Mile and co-officiate a wedding of at least a dozen gay and lesbian couples.

Sort of.

Because Oakland County does not issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples, the wedding will be symbolic. But the mayor's presence will mark the first time someone of his position has ever helped oversee a gay marriage ceremony during the Motor City Pride festival.

"I think if it's done properly, it will just call more attention to the needs and concerns of the gay community and their inability to marry," said Porter, who was asked by Motor City Pride organizers to co-officiate. "Maybe it will help people understand that these people care about each other and want to share their lives together and have the same advantages and disadvantages that everybody else does."


Police launch helpline for gays and bisexuals
By Lisa Frascarelli

POLICE have set up a new helpline in a bid to crack down on unreported hate crime against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Cumbria, reports Lisa Frascarelli.

The initiative, launched next week, will see 15 specially trained liaison officers provide information and advice to callers who have been affected by abuse about their sexuality.

Three liaison officers who are part of a 15-strong county team made up of police and civilian staff will man mobile phone lines in South Cumbria.

Sgt Chris Wickwar, who is heading the initiative, said he hoped the confidential system would see more people seek help.


Gay couple 'wed' in a county first
by Louise Hale

HAMPSHIRE'S first-ever gay commitment ceremony at a register office was set to take place in Basingstoke today.

Chris Jones, 28, and partner Brett Bird, 23, are to become the first couple to have a same-sex ceremony at Goldings Register Office.

Mr Jones, who is standing as a Tory candidate for South Ham in the local elections next week, said: "It will be a very special day for us both. I am very nervous but cannot wait.

"We have thought long and hard about it and this is what we want. We love each other very much. I really hope we will encourage other gay couples to do the same."

Due to the present law, same-sex couples cannot legally marry, so a commitment ceremony - which is a public declaration of life-long love and dedication - is the highest form of recognised commitment available for such couples in the UK.


For Coors Beer Is Thicker Than Blood 
by Newscenter Staff

(Denver, Colorado) Faced with the growing threat of a nationwide gay boycott, Coors Brewing Thursday distanced itself from family member and former chair Peter Coors the candidate for US Senate who supports a ban on same-sex marriage.

Calls for a new boycott of Coors began last week when the Republican Senate hopeful during a primary debate said he supported the proposed amendment to the US Constitution to ban gay marriage and praised its author, Colorado Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave.

The boycott has already begun in Chicago where a bar owners group has taken out ads in local gay papers.

In a statement issued Thursday by the company, Coors made it clear Peter Coors' views are his own and not those of the firm.

Thursday, June 03, 2004


Jerusalem gay parade draws thousands, and protests
By Jonathan Lis

Thousands of people attended the third annual Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem yesterday and two right-wing activists were arrested for throwing eggs at people taking part.

Two bodyguards were hired to protect Mayor Uri Lupolianski after warnings that ultra-Orthodox factions were planning to harm him. The parade began at 6:30 P.M. and moved from Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall toward Liberty Bell Park, where it ended with a happening and a party.

Lupolianski was elected last year as the first ultra-Orthodox mayor of the capital. Members of the ultra-Orthodox community were incensed he even allowed the Gay Pride parade to go ahead and held two demonstrations in the last week to protest.

Posters went up in the city denouncing the mayor and the parade. Rabbi David Basri, a prominent kabbalist, said homosexuals were "subhuman" and would be reincarnated as rabbits.


Complex divorce case centers around gender of transsexual
o.ABC13 Eyewitness News

(6/03/04 - HOUSTON) — A divorce trial in Harris County resumes for a transsexual one day after it was put on hold because she refused to be a he.

In other words, Linda Gail Carter, who legally changed her sex from male to female six years ago, refused to be certified as a man on Wednesday in the first day of the divorce trial. That leaves the judge presiding over a divorce trial between two women.

Carter married Constance Gonzalez just a few months after Carter changed gender. Wedding photos show Carter dressed as a man.

Texas Republicans Call For Jail Time For Supporters Of Gay Marriage
by Newscenter Staff

(Dallas, Texas)  The Texas GOP is calling for prison sentences for any clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  The platform committee of the state Republican Party said the plank will firmly establish the party's position on gay marriage.

The party already is on record as opposing gay marriage. But, the tougher wording is seen as an indication Republicans want to make gay marriage a key issue in the November election.

The plank says that government officials who perform same-sex weddings or issue marriage licenses to such couples should face felony penalties.

Kirk Overbey the platform committee chair said that a criminal penalty would be an important asset in fighting what he calls  "behavior that hurts society."

State Legislature is Ninth to Reject Attempts to Write Discrimination into Constitution

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Praises South Carolina Activists

June 3, 2004, Washington, D.C.- Despite feverish last-minute efforts, the South Carolina state legislature ended its regular session today without approving a proposed state constitutional amendment to prohibit the recognition of same sex marriage and any other form of partner recognition outside of marriage. The measure passed the state House of Representatives on March 17 by 93 to 7, but stalled in the Senate.

"This is a major victory for the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community," said Matt Foreman, the Task Forces Executive Director. "It shows that determined leaders can win against incredible odds. Every gay American is in debt to Linda Ketner and Warren Redman-Gress of the Alliance For Full Acceptance (AFFA), the South Carolina Equality Coalition and the South Carolina Gay & Lesbian Pride Movement for their courage and tenacity."

The South Carolina gay community united to thwart the proposed amendment, raising a warchest, hiring a well-regarded lobbyist, and mounting a sophisticated constituent pressure campaign focused on the State Senate.

In the closing hours of the session, the House of Representatives repeatedly attached the anti-marriage amendment to several unrelated pieces of legislation in the hopes of forcing a senate vote. These efforts failed for a number of reasons, including a filibuster by one senator objecting to a gubernatorial appointment.

Dolphins' Seau uses gay slur in banquet remarks
By Alex Marvez and Ethan J. Skolnick

DAVIE · Dolphins linebacker Junior Seau used a slur toward homosexuals during a speech Wednesday night at the team's kickoff banquet at the Signature Grand.

While accepting the team's leadership award, as voted by Dolphins players, Seau used the slur when describing the camaraderie between him and his teammates.

"This is a great group of guys we have on this team," Seau said. "You have to understand. In that locker room, there is no color barrier. We do not have a color barrier. We are a unit that cares. The reason I say cares is because it's so hard to let things go when you care.

"I would say love and everybody would say you're a faggot, but I'm not. We care in that locker room. My feminine side might come out once in a while, but I'm telling you, there is a lot of love in that locker room."


"Empty promises won't protect federal employees from discrimination," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign criticized the Office of Special Counsel for its failure to fully reinstate protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Following pressure from HRC, Federal GLOBE and several members of Congress, the agency issued a press release in April asserting that "[i]t is the policy of this Administration that discrimination in the federal workforce on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited." However, the non-discrimination directives have not yet been restored on the agency's website and several OSC actions since April have sparked concern among federal employees.

"Empty promises won't protect federal employees from discrimination," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "If Scott Bloch and the OSC are truly dedicated to restoring these protections, they should make them clear to the federal workforce. Gag orders and hidden policies don't protect employees from discrimination."

The OSC - the federal agency responsible for investigating workplace discrimination - has reportedly ordered all discrimination complaints to be assigned to political appointees, instead of career employees. The agency has also issued a "gag" order preventing OSC staff from discussing its non-discrimination policy.

Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., Barney Frank, D-Mass., George Miller, D-Calif., Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Tammy Baldwin, D- Wis., sent a letter to OSC Special Counsel Scott Bloch on June 1 about the lack of evidence that the OSC has genuinely reversed its policy of ignoring the rights of gay, lesbian and bisexual federal employees. The members of Congress requested a response from Mr. Bloch by close of business June 8, 2004.

Missouri court suggests August for gay marriage vote

Jefferson City, Missouri-AP -- The highest court in Missouri says a proposed constitutional amendment against gay marriage should go on the ballot in August -- not November.

That's a victory for Democrats -- who wanted to keep the controversial issue away from the general election.

The Missouri Supreme Court isn't specifically ordering Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt to put the issue on the August ballot -- but it says he should.

Amnesty International Launches Global Action to Combat Homophobic Violence in Jamaica

New York) – As people around the globe prepare to commemorate June Pride Month, Amnesty International (AI) continues to document serious human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) throughout the world. Today Amnesty International announced that it is mobilizing its global membership to take action and combat homophobic violence in Jamaica, where LGBT people are at risk of verbal abuse, torture and ill-treatment at the hands of individuals and police.

"We are encouraging members and concerned human rights activists to write to Prime Minister P.J. Patterson of Jamaica and let him know that as a first step toward changing the climate of violence and discrimination against LGBT people in his country, we are demanding that he make a public statement condemning such violence," stated Michael Heflin, Director of Amnesty International USA's OUTfront program on LGBT human rights. "We are also asking him to initiate a debate on repealing laws that criminalize sexual relations between consenting adults."

According to reports received by AI, gay men and women in Jamaica have been beaten, cut, burned, raped and shot because of their sexual orientation. Cases of violence against lesbians, including rape and other forms of sexual abuse, also have been reported to AI. Some women have fled the country to escape persecution.

Reports suggest that the police officers in Jamaica are often either directly involved or complicit in crimes committed against LGBT people by denying protection and tacitly or actively supporting torture and ill-treatment. Police have reportedlyfailed to investigate homophobic hate crimes and have arrested and detained men overnight whom they suspect of being gay. Because law enforcement officials have failed to protect victims of violence, the number of men and women who report abuse is assumed to be many times fewer than the number of actual incidents.

Anglicans affirm adult same-sex relationships

ST. CATHARINES - The Anglican Church of Canada approved a measure today to "affirm the integrity and sanctity of committed adult same-sex relationships."

The move stops short of authorizing dioceses to hold same-sex blessing ceremonies, but is still likely to complicate efforts aimed at unifying the 77 million-member Anglican Communion. The worldwide Anglican body is deeply divided over homosexuality.

Delegates to a national church meeting handed the victory to supporters of gays and lesbians as a consolation prize the morning after they voted to delay any national go-ahead on church blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples until 2007 and possibly 2010.

The "integrity and sanctity" measure was approved by a show of hands.

Ministers rally to push effort against lawmakers
Associated Press

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Nearly 100 Johnson County ministers rallied Thursday in support of an effort to get rid of Kansas lawmakers who voted against a proposed state constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.

"I don't hate gay people," said the Rev. Jerry Johnston, of the First Family Church in Overland Park. "I love all people. But this issue goes beyond homosexuality.

"This is a symptom of the moral corrosion of this country," he said. "MTV is getting a gay program. When is this going to stop?"

Johnston said Thursday's session was just the beginning of a statewide battle. Similar meetings to rally support for the drive have already been held in the Wichita area.

Domestic Violence Comes out of the closet
By Alexandra Cobus

Many myths and misconceptions regarding domestic violence permeate our society, to the detriment of victims everywhere. When it comes to lgbt victims and survivors of domestic violence, the additional component of homophobia can dangerously complicate matters.

Victims and survivors may be afraid to seek help for fear of rejection and stigmatization from the heterosexual community because of homophobia. They may not reach out to the gay community for fear of rejection and stigmatization because of the violence. It is this profound isolation that often keeps the victim in the abusive relationship.

The Anti-Violence Program at the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley will work to educate the lgbt and communities about the realities of domestic violence within lgbt relationships. Below are just a few of the many harmful myths about abusive lgbt relationships.

Myth: Only straight women get battered; gay, bisexual, and transgender men are never victims of domestic violence; lesbians, bisexual, and transgender women cannot batter. Battering is less common in lgbt relationships
Fact: Men can be victims, and women can batter. Numbers reflect this: an annual study of over 2,000 gay men reflects that one in four gay men have experienced domestic violence. These numbers are consistent with research done on battering among heterosexual couples, and lesbian couples. Stereotypes about gender and sexual orientation are repudiated by the fact that gay men are victims, and lesbians are batterers at roughly the same rate as heterosexuals are.

Myth: In lgbt relationships, the problem is just fighting or “mutual battering,” not domestic violence. Because both are the same gender, it’s a fair fight between equals.

Transgender House candidate faces unique ballot challenge
The Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Charles Staelens Jr. legally changed his name to Melissa Sue Robinson in 1998, a little more than year before he had a sex-change operation.

Since then, Robinson's ex-wife has moved in with Robinson's identical twin brother. The trio continues to spend time together.

Robinson may sound more like a candidate for the "The Jerry Springer Show" than a candidate for the Michigan House. But the Lansing resident — the first transgender person to run for the Legislature — not only is used to her story getting publicity, she sees it as a plus.

When she appeared in the pages of The National Enquirer early last year, "that helped me get my name out," she told The Associated Press in an interview.

Gay Marriage Fires Up Canadian Election
by Ben Thompson Newscenter

(Ottawa) Canada's opposition Conservatives are fueling divisions in the country over same-sex marriage by telling voters that if his party is elected it will consider using a constitutional override to prevent same-sex marriage.

The Constitution's notwithstanding clause allows provinces or the federal government to opt out of constitutional rulings with which they do not agree. It has been rarely used by the provinces and never by the federal government.

But, Stephen Harper said Wednesday that he is prepared to consider the option if courts continue to rule for gay and lesbian couples.

Gay rights advocates immediately attacked the Conservative leader, accusing him of having a hidden agenda.

Court halts judge's order to register gay marriage licenses
The appellate ruling comes days before a deadline for Oregon to start processing more than 3,000 licenses

The Oregon Court of Appeals has temporarily halted a judge's order requiring state officials to register the licenses of more than 3,000 same-sex couples who got married in Multnomah County in March and April.

The court made its decision days before the deadline for the state to begin processing same-sex marriage licenses, but before gay-rights advocates could respond.

A lawyer for the same-sex couples who sued the state over the right to marry said Wednesday that she would oppose the state's attempt to avoid registering same-sex marriage licenses while the case is on appeal.

In April, Multnomah County Circuit Judge Frank L. Bearden ruled that Oregon's marriage laws violated the state constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples.

Same-sex partners demand action
By Roger DuPuis II

ITHACA -- They're calling themselves "The Ithaca 50," and aided by four Ithaca attorneys, they're demanding that state courts acknowledge their constitutional right to get married.

Twenty-five same-sex couples on Wednesday hosted a press conference to announce that they had filed suit against the state health department, the City of Ithaca and City Clerk Julie Conley Holcomb for refusing to issue them marriage licenses.

"We are able to legally adopt each others' children, but we are not legally able to protect one another as a family," said plaintiff Lisa Bushlow. She and partner Nina Panzer have been together six years, and have a two-year-old son.

"The plaintiffs have not only been denied the right to make a legal commitment to one another, but they have been deprived the comprehensive legal structure that marriage provides," said Mariette Geldenhuys, an Ithaca lawyer who's representing about half of the plaintiffs. Attorneys Richard Stumbar and legal partner Elizabeth Bixler are representing the other couples.

MSPs to pass on partnership bill

MSPs are expected to hand a decision on whether to introduce civil partnerships in Scotland to Westminster.

The move is likely to come despite a report from the Scottish Parliament's justice committee finding a series of flaws in the Commons bill.

The legislation would enable same-sex partners to register their relationship and gain legal rights similar to those of married couples.

Critics warn that aspects of the UK legislation may be difficult to amend.

Some opponents have also accused ministers of cowardice, claiming they want to avoid a repeat of the epic Section 28 controversy - the row over the repeal of laws barring the promotion of homosexuality in schools.


Swiss Parliament Accepts Registration of Same-Sex Couples

June 3 (Bloomberg) -- The Swiss parliament accepted a government proposal, allowing same-sex couples to register their relationship and gain some of the rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples.

Under the law change, which was accepted by a majority of upper house lawmakers in Bern, Switzerland, registered partnership would be identical to marriage for tax, social security and inheritance purposes. The lower house had approved the measure in December 2003.

Denmark became the first European nation to introduce registration for gay and lesbian couples in 1989. The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, France and Finland are among countries that have since followed in removing hurdles to the recognition of same-sex couples.

``The law change gets rid of a lot of ugly discriminations,'' said Moel Volken, director of Switzerland's Pink Cross organization of gay people with about 2,300 members, after the debate in parliament. ``It's not yet equal rights as married couples but it's a solution to a lot of problems.''


Episcopal bishop caught amid split over gay marriages
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff

Episcopal Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, caught between his support for gay marriage and the clear prohibition against it in canon law, is facing scattered opposition from liberals and conservatives as he labors to keep both in the diocesan fold.

At least two local Episcopal priests, the Rev. I. Carter Heyward, a professor of theology at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, and the Rev. William Blaine-Wallace, the rector of Emmanuel Church in the Back Bay, have already officiated at three same-sex weddings, in defiance of instructions Shaw issued in the weeks before such unions became legal in Massachusetts.

In addition, two Episcopal parishes, Our Saviour in Arlington and Our Saviour in Milton, have decided to stop having clergy officiate at heterosexual marriages while homosexual marriages are prohibited, and Episcopal Divinity School, the only Episcopal seminary in New England, has decided to bar all Episcopal marriages in its chapel as a form of protest.

At the same time, a handful of parishes that oppose Shaw’s support for the ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire are affiliating with a new national network of conservative parishes and are considering ask ing Shaw to allow another, more conservative, bishop to minister to them.


Shin Bet guards Jerusalem mayor over Gay Parade threats

The Jerusalem Municipality has decided to assign a personal security guard to Mayor Uri Lupoliansky following threats to his life mainly by members of the ultra-Orthodox community, denouncing him for agreeing to hold the capital's annual Gay Parade Thursday night.

Lupoliansky, though an Orthodox Jew, did not object to the annual parade, which first took place in Jerusalem in 2001. At the time of last year's parade, Lupiolansky was interim mayor.

The ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Jerusalem were filled with posters condemning Lupoliansky. The streets were also filled with posters warning children to stay away from the homosexual "sinners" and not walk near the streets where the parade is to go through.

Jerusalem Police on Thursday detained right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir and two other Kahane Chai members who were found loitering near the Jerusalem Open House, the Gay Pride Parade headquarters. The right-wingers were released after questioning, Israel Radio reported.

Transexual's divorce stalls when she refuses to be he
Original suit sought annulment, citing laws on same-sex marriages
Houston Chronicle

A transsexual's attempt to get a regular divorce stalled Wednesday after she refused to be certified as a man, leaving a Harris County judge presiding over a divorce trial between two women.

The refusal by Linda Gail Carter, who legally changed her sex from male to female in May 1998, came during the first day of her trial for divorce from Constance D. Gonzalez.

Carter's refusal to certify that she is a man undercut an attempt by her attorney, Elsie Martin-Simon, to try the case as a regular divorce before State Family Court Judge Lisa Millard.

Millard has imposed a gag order on the participants because of publicity surrounding the case.


Araujo murder trial in jury's hands
Closing arguments completed in trial of three men accused of killing transgender teen
By Ivan Delventhal, STAFF WRITER

HAYWARD -- An eight-man, four-woman jury impaneled more than seven weeks ago is expected to begin deliberations today in the trial of three men charged in the slaying of a transgender teenager in Newark.

Defense attorneys wrapped up their closing arguments Wednesday, a day after the prosecutor delivered his argument.

Deputy District Attorney Chris Lamiero will have an opportunity to deliver a final summation this morning, after which Judge Harry Sheppard will instruct jurors on the law applicable to the case. The jury then will begin deliberations. If no verdict is reached today, jurors will resume deliberations Monday.

Michael Thorman, attorney for defendant Michael Magidson, argued Wednesday that his client, who had had sex with the transgender 17-year-old while believing the teen to be anatomically female, had been swept up in a heat of passion that stripped him of his reason on the day of the slaying.


Funding Lost for Gay-themed Anti-smoking Campaign

(Midvale-AP) -- A gay-themed anti-smoking campaign is losing its funding.

The Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Utah says they were informed yesterday they've lost a 100-thousand dollar renewable grant from the state Department of Health, but were not notified why.

The center says they believe the move is related to the t-shirts used in the campaign that say "Queers Kick Ash".

Several students at Hillcrest High School were suspended for wearing the shirts to school last month. School officials say the shirts violated the school dress code which prohibits negative or double meanings that promote sex or drugs.


Changes to anti-bias approved
By Eric Flowers
The Bulletin

City councilors Wednesday night endorsed a new version of the equal rights ordinance that would make it illegal to discriminate against gays, lesbians and bisexuals in Bend.

In relation to the anti-discrimination ordinance, councilors reviewed minor changes that were recommended by a recently appointed citizen-review panel and conducted a first reading of the proposed ordinance. The law would make it a crime to discriminate against anyone in Bend based on a person's sexual orientation and would protect gays from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations, such as seats at restaurants.

The controversial law was proposed in the wake of an assault on a gay man at a local night club, and as an effort to fight all forms of discrimination against gay men and women in Bend.

City councilors will consider whether to formally adopt the ordinance at their next meeting, June 16 at the Tower Theatre.


French PM speaks out on same-sex weddings
Ben Townley, UK

French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin has condemned one mayor's intention to marry a gay couple, claiming the ceremony would be an "illegal event".

Noel Mamere, the Mayor of Bordeaux suburb Begles and a member of the country's Green Party, had said he was happy to marry lesbian and gay couples, since there was nothing in French law to stop the weddings taking place.

The first ceremony is planned to take place this weekend, although opponents throughout the country's parliament and legal system have slammed the decision.

Raffarin has now gone one step further, telling the National Assembly the marriages will not be recognised under French law.


Court denies custody for lesbian mother
Ben Townley, UK

The Supreme Court in Chile has repealed a decision to grant a lesbian mother full custody of her children, claiming her sexuality would have a damaging impact on their lives.

Karen Atala had been awarded custody of her three children by a lower appeal court, before her former husband appealed again and pushed the case to the country's highest court.

In a decision of 3 votes to 2, the judges presiding over the case granted custody to the father, maintaining that Atala's lesbian relationships disqualified her from any custody rights.

The panel of judges opposed to the custody order said the children could be emotionally and sexually stunted by the "replacement [of a father figure] by another person of the female gender. They also claimed that the children would be subjected to rejection because their family unit was "significantly different" to the norm.


Canada delays action on gay blessings

Anglican Church of Canada delegates have voted to delay action for three years on whether to allow dioceses to bless gay couples.

But in a surprise move, liberal delegates asked the church to "affirm the integrity and sanctity of committed adult same sex relationships" whether or not formal blessing rituals occurred.

Action on that measure was delayed until today, but voting on the procedural motion indicated that it could pass - a result that will possibly spark a controversy.

World Anglicanism is already severely split over homosexuality, particularly the consecration of an openly gay bishop by the Episcopal Church in the United States.


Churches to fast, pray against gay marriage

Some Indianapolis churches are sponsoring three days of fasting and prayer today, Friday and Saturday in opposition to same-sex marriage.

The event starts at 8 a.m. today at the Abundant Life International Church, 5565 N. Moller Road, and will continue until 5 p.m. Saturday. Next week, an appeals court will hear arguments in the Massachusetts same-sex marriage case.
Other Indianapolis-area churches sponsoring the event include the New Beginning Ministries International and The Hope Church Ministries.


Band Trip To Orlando On Despite ŒGay Days'

KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) -- About 200 Kearney High School band members and parents were still planning to travel to Orlando, Fla. this week, despite the trip coinciding with a festival called ŒŒGay Days.''

The band members were expected to board buses early Thursday morning to travel to Walt Disney World for a Sunday performance.

The performance coincides with ŒŒGay Days'' an event that is expected to draw more than 100,000 gay and lesbian vacationers to the same theme park.

Some parents chose to pull their teenagers from the trip when hearing about Gay Days.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Lawmakers warn official on anti-gay bias
Christopher Lisotta, PlanetOut Network

Five House Democrats again warned a Bush administration official in writing that federal workers need to be protected against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., Barney Frank, D-Mass., George Miller, D-Calif., Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., sent a letter to Scott Bloch, director of the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), asking him to explain why he hasn't taken steps to protect federal employees who are victims of sexual orientation discrimination.

In February Bloch's removal of references regarding sexual orientation discrimination from the complaint form and educational pamphlet on the agency's Web site became public. He then made comments to The Washington Post saying he wasn't sure if federal employees were protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Within a month members of Congress were asking for Bloch's removal, accusing him of flouting an executive order signed by President Clinton and left untouched by Bush that provided protection based on sexual orientation for federal employees. Even the White House distanced itself from Bloch's comments, which forced him to reaffirm the protections in an April announcement.

By Annalee Newitz, AlterNet

I was intrigued to learn last week that one of the United Nation's leading candidates for Iraqi leadership is Dr. Hussain al-Shahristani, a nuclear chemist and former science adviser to Saddam Hussein. Al-Shahristani spent more than a decade in Abu Ghraib prison for refusing to participate in Hussein's weapons program and finally escaped during the Gulf War.

Despite President George W. Bush's virulently antiscience agenda at home, the president is touting al-Shahristani for the job because his status as a scientist makes him a religious and political nonpartisan. But this move also underscores the extent to which science is deeply bound up with a political agenda. Even ultra-groovy, science porn magazine Seed - which is usually about as political as an issue of Cosmopolitan - has a cover story this month on how readers can "vote science" in the coming election.

Of course, voting science, or even sticking to a science party line, isn't as easy as you might imagine. As Stanford University evolutionary biologist Joan Roughgarden points out in her new book, Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People (UC Press), the factions that divide the scientific community are practically religious in their dogmatic adherence to particular interpretations of nature. Roughgarden's book is a challenge to more than a century's worth of scientific inquiry into "sexual selection," a term Charles Darwin used to describe the way mate choices contribute to the evolution of a species. She explains that there are two camps in the debate over evolution, each with its own political agenda: One argues that the survival of a species is secured solely through sexual selection, while Roughgarden and others argue that survival is more properly understood as a result of social cooperation.

Strict sexual selectionists hold that females guide the evolution of their species by choosing the "fittest" mates to father their children. Richard Dawkins enshrined this idea in his influential book The Selfish Gene, which postulates that genes compete (selfishly) for their own preservation, fighting with other genes for the opportunity to survive through the offspring of the species' choosy ladies. From this point of view, the only players in evolution are heterosexual reproducers.

Houston Judge To Decide Same-Sex Divorce Case
Transgender Male Declared Female By Texas Court

HOUSTON -- A judge began hearing what could be considered one of Houston's most unique divorce cases Wednesday. The lawsuit seeks to end the marriage of two women, one of whom was once a man.

It began when a Texas court declared a transgender man to be woman, and she then legally married another woman in Nevada.

Linda Gail Carter, 60, is asking state Family Court Judge Lisa Millard to void her marriage to Constance Gonzales.

Carter said she first realized she was a female when she was 6 years old and known as James Murphy.

Few Signs Gays Are Protected In Civil Service
by Doreen Brandt Newscenter

(Washington) Two months after the Office of Special Counsel conceded that LGBT government workers are protected under a 1978 law there are few indications that those protections are being enforced.

In February the OSC began removing references to sexual orientation-based discrimination from its complaint form, the OSC basic brochure, training slides and a two-page flier entitled "Your Rights as a Federal Employee." A month later Scott Bloch, Director of the Office of Special Counsel said his reading of federal law indicated gays were not protected and that previous administrations had erred in offering protection from anti-gay discrimination.

Bloch said that gays, lesbians and bisexuals cannot be covered as a protected class because they are not protected under the nation’s civil rights laws.

The issue finally reached the White House March 31 when a group of Democratic lawmakers called on President Bush to overturn Bloch's decision.

By Nicole C. Wong
Mercury News

The Palo Alto Council of Parent Teacher Associations overwhelmingly voted Wednesday afternoon not to rescind its resolution in support of gay marriage, by a vote of 50 to 10.

The umbrella group for the Palo Alto Unified School District's 17 school PTAs in April became the first PTA board in the country to oppose any U.S. legislation that would define marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman.

The PTA council's April vote had drawn criticism from parents and other PTA members who felt they were left out of the decision-making process, and that the PTA council had overstepped its bounds.

Last week, opponents of the resolution collected hundreds of signatures on petitions that called for the resolution to be rescinded. In response to the outcry, the PTA council held a special meeting today to reconsider its stance. More than 100 people packed the school district board room for a 40-minute lunchtime debate.

Green Party politician warned on gay marriage

Paris Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin warned a Green Party politician on Wednesday that he risked punishment if he went ahead with plans to perform France's first gay marriage this weekend - a union that would not be recognized under France's current law.

.Noël Mamère, the politician, has said he intends to perform a marriage for two men Saturday in the southwestern town of Bègles, where he is mayor, despite pressure to abandon the plan. France's civil code "neither permits nor authorizes the marriage of two people of the same sex," Raffarin said.

Philadelphia ads to target gay travelers

A new TV ad campaign featuring a same-sex couple in colonial costume invites gay tourists to come to the City of Brotherly Love, and a gay media group said it's the first time a television commercial for a U.S. tourist destination has reached out to gay men and lesbians.

The 30-second spot, which was scheduled to air for the first time Wednesday night in Philadelphia and other parts of the country, ends with the tag line "Come to Philadelphia. Get your history straight and your nightlife gay."

The commercial will play on channels such as Bravo, MTV, VH1, and Style in Comcast Corp. cable markets nationwide. Comcast is the country's largest cable company, with 21.5 million subscribers. "This is an invitation, that you [gays] are welcome here, because of what Philadelphia is and what Philadelphia has to offer and because we have a strong gay community," said Meryl Levitz, president and chief executive of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp., which is sponsoring the ad campaign. "And we're not saying it's a gay destination; it's a gay-friendly destination."

The "I Do" Contest

To enter the GLAAD "I DO" Contest, just visit this page between March 27, 2004 and July 1, 2004. Read all the Guidelines and Official Rules of the Contest. Send your finished commercial spot along with your completed and signed submission form and the completed and signed Talent Release form(s) to:

I DO Contest
5455 Wilshire Blvd., #1500
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Submissions are due by July 1, 2004, 6:00 p.m. PST
Members of GLAAD's Media Awards voting body will rate the spots. The commercial spots that are rated the highest will become the finalists and will be judged on four criteria (see Guidelines and Official Rules) by our panel of celebrity judges

GOP Drives More Gay Advocates From Party

(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.

Clerk who granted same-sex marriage licenses in New Mexico loses bid for another office

The county clerk who issued marriage licenses to dozens of gay couples in February overwhelmingly lost her bid for a county commission seat.

With all ballots counted, unofficial results Wednesday showed Victoria Dunlap with 76 votes to 199 for Chris Espinosa, Sandoval County election officials said. The results will be not be official until state election officials certify the votes in about three weeks.

She did not immediately respond to calls to her home and office seeking comment Wednesday.

Dunlap granted 66 same-sex marriage licenses eight days after San Francisco began marrying hundreds of gay couples. Nearly 4,000 couples were married there between Feb. 12 and March 11, when California's Supreme Court halted the weddings.

Gay Parents Battle Virginia Adoption Rules

(Richmond, Virginia) Three same-sex couples denied birth certificates for their adoptive children are appealing to state Supreme Court.

The issue is co-adoption legal in some states but illegal in Virginia. Although it permits single gays and lesbians to adopt, Virginia does not recognize same-sex unions.

While the children were adopted in Virginia, they now live with their parents outside the state. When the parents attempted to get new birth certificates showing the names of the new same-sex parents the Virginia Department of Vital Records refused.

A Richmond judge upheld the Department's right to refuse to issue new birth certificates.

Circuit Judge Randall G. Johnson ruled 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.

Proposal to give Canada's Anglicans a go-ahead on same-sex unions is withdrawn
The Associated Press

that Anderson's comments made Wednesday, sted Tuesday. Debate and vote scheduled for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. EDT. Will be updated. AP Photo planned By RICHARD N. OSTLING AP Religion Writer

ST. CATHARINES, Ontario (AP) - The Anglican Church of Canada seemed ready to edge away from a showdown over homosexuality Wednesday, as the authors of a proposal that would let dioceses provide same-sex blessing ceremonies substituted that bill with one that called for more study.

Delegates expressed concern about the effect a green light for the blessing ceremonies would have on the Canadian church - and internationally in the 77 million-member Anglican Communion of which it is a part.

Spain grants man 'gay asylum'

Madrid - In the first case of its kind, the Spanish government has granted political asylum to a homosexual on the grounds of his sexual orientation, press reports said on Wednesday.

Colombian John Jairo Romero, 40, received constant threats and survived an assassination attempt after testifying against three police officers, who were imprisoned for killing homosexual prostitutes.

He had to change addresses constantly and employ bodyguards to protect him.

Romero fled the persecution to Ecuador, where his gay rights activism led to new threats against him.

Concentrate Campaign On Gay Marriage Amendment Bush Advised
by Paul Johnson Newscenter
Washington Bureau Chief

(Washington) The conservative base of the Republican Party is urging President Bush to stop campaigning on Iraq and concentrate on stopping gay marriage if he wants to win in November.

Bush met today with James Dobson, head of the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family in Colorado. Dobson is a leading supporter of the a proposed constitutional amendment to bar legal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Dobson reportedly told Bush that conservatives are divided about the US role in Iraq, but united in fighting same-sex marriage.

His position echoes that of another leading conservative, Paul M. Weyrich.

Colorado Springs bishop clears up remarks on voting
By The Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Sheridan used his latest column Wednesday to clarify what he said were misunderstandings that he would deny people communion over how they vote.

Sheridan, head of the Diocese of Colorado Springs, wrote last month that Catholic politicians "may not" receive communion if they disagree with the church's stands against abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage and stem-cell research.

Unlike other U.S. bishops, Sheridan went further by saying Catholics who vote for such candidates should be held to the same standards. He did not write that he would refuse the sacrament to anyone based on how they vote.

However, Sheridan said, the church teaches that those who sin seriously must refrain from communion until they repent and confess.


Gay school for tots row
By Liam Houlihan

PARENTS watching Play School with their infants were shocked to find there was much more than a bear in there this week.

In a move that has angered family groups, the home of Big Ted delved into the issue of lesbian parenthood without any warning.

The Monday episode told the story of a girl called Brenna going to a fair with her two mummies.

"I'm Brenna. That's me in the blue. My mums are taking me and my friend Meryn to an amusement park," the little girl says over images of her two mums smiling and waving while she and her friend played on a merry-go-round.


N.M. attorney general derails marriage petition

ALBUQUERQUE (BP)--New Mexico’s attorney general, in a reversal, has declared that the state’s “gay-rights law” cannot be challenged by voters during this year’s general election.

Attorney General Patricia Madrid, in an opinion on the petition drive to place the issue on the November ballot, cited language in the state constitution that, “The people reserve the power to disapprove, suspend and annul any law enacted by the Legislature” except “laws providing for the preservation of the public peace, health or safety.”

The law, approved last year by the legislature and signed by Gov. Bill Richardson, took effect July 1, 2003, and was slightly revised during the 2004 legislative session. It extends the state’s Human Rights Act to cover “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”


Judge who made gay marriage legal under fire
By Erik Arvidson,
Transcript Statehouse Bureau

State Rep. Phillip Travis, D-Rehoboth, has sponsored a bill that would only remove Marshall from the bench. Travis said that he didn't agree with Goguen's approach to remove all four justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage because it was Marshall who was chiefly responsible.

Travis, who is part of a group called the Article 8 Alliance, released a resolution that details the five counts of alleged judicial misconduct by Marshall, and which lays out the case for the "bill of address."

They accuse Marshall of attending two political events in 1999 and 2000 honoring gay and lesbian advocates, that Marshall "encouraged" lawyers for gay and lesbian couples to bring the lawsuit for the right to marry, and that Marshall "chased" media outlets to bring publicity to herself.

"Justice Marshall's decision was predetermined even before the case went to the SJC," Travis said, referring to the lawsuit brought by seven gay and lesbian couples. "The right thing for (Marshall) to have done when the case was kicked up to her court would be to have recused herself because of her past activity. I would have respected that."


Crimes more violent against gays and lesbians: report

REGINA   - Gay rights activists in Saskatchewan say a new Statistics Canada report on hate crimes is disturbing.The report includes data from a dozen police departments across the country, including the Regina Police Service.

Ten per cent of nearly 1,000 hate crimes committed in 2001 and 2002 were against gays and lesbians. The survey also found that people who were targeted because of sexual orientation were more likely than any other group to suffer violent crimes.

"I find that very upsetting and chilling," says Duncan Campbell, a Regina gay rights activist.

"I think there's a kind of permission to hate gays and lesbians in our culture. If you look in our high schools, the first insult that someone will hurl, they'll say 'you're queer, or you're a fag,' and not all schools will stand up and say that's wrong, and it just breeds a culture of intolerance."

The survey also reported that Jewish people are the main targets of hate crimes such as vandalism and uttering threats.


Church leads protest
By Sophie Kummer

Another parish church has followed the lead of Holy Trinity Lyonsdown in New Barnet, by terminating its yearly payments to the Church of England in protest at the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John as dean of St Albans.

The Rev Hugh Symes-Thompson, vicar of St Peter and St Paul Cranfield's Church near Bedford, said his church, which is also in St Albans diocese, had been encouraged by Holy Trinity Lyonsdown's action over the appointment of Canon John, who supports same-sex relationships.

Holy Trinity Lyonsdown, in Lyonsdown Road, caused ripples throughout the Anglican communion when it announced last month it would not be paying its annual quota of £33,600 to the C of E.

Mr Symes-Thompson vowed to withhold his church's £23,500 quota for 2004. "We are upset about the appointment for the same reasons at Lyonsdown and are taking a similar sort of action," he said. "I was thinking this might be a possible course of action and our PCC parochial church council took note of this after having read the story in the news, so we hope more parishes might do the same. We are encouraged, certainly, by Lyonsdown."


Transgender trial wraps
Accused men face life sentencing in grizzly murder.
By Michelle Locke | Associated Press

HAYWARD -- A prosecutor asked jurors to find three men guilty of murder in the death of a transgender teenager, saying they acted coldly and deliberately and were not, as a defense attorney claimed, panicked by the shock of sexual deception.

"Eddie Araujo was a real human being. He laughed and he cried. He had friends and family who loved him," prosecutor Chris Lamiero said in his closing argument Tuesday. "In a matter of a few hours ... Eddie was tried and convicted and executed. He was not afforded an opportunity to appeal. He was denied the due process that these still-living men now ask of you."

Araujo, who was born male but lived as a woman, was beaten and strangled, prosecutors say, after her biological identity was revealed at a late-night confrontation in in October 2002.

Three men are on trial for Araujo's death, which was charged as a hate crime -- Michael Magidson, Jose Merel and Jason Cazares, all 24. A fourth man, 21-year-old Jaron Nabors, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and testified against the others.

Rep. Goguen's attempt to oust SJC justices stalls in committee
By Erik Arvidson Sentinel & Enterprise Statehouse Bureau

BOSTON -- Rep. Emile J. Goguen's proposal to remove the four Supreme Judicial Court justices who voted to make gay marriage legal remains stalled in committee and seems unlikely to be released any time soon.

"We are fighting diligently to get the bill out of the Rules Committee. Once we get it out of Rules, I think the Legislature will turn its back toward this resolution and start to talk about it and support it," said Goguen, a Fitchburg Democrat.

Goguen's proposal calls for the removal of associate justices John M. Greaney, Roderick L. Ireland, and Judith A. Cowin -- who joined Marshall in supporting gay marriages. The resolution appears to have little support in the Legislature.

Gov. Mitt Romney, who sought to have the court's opinion overturned, has indicated he won't support a legislative attempt to remove the SJC justices. The governor can remove a justice if he has the support of the Governor's Council.


Gay Commitments, Weddings & Protest In WeHo  
by Matt Johns Newscenter

(West Hollywood, California) More than 100 gay and lesbian couples tied the knot in West Hollywood Tuesday night in a mass ceremony conducted by mayor John Duran and seen around the world.

But, Duran wasn't emulating San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom who began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples earlier this year. The California Supreme Court put a halt to the weddings and the issue is now being fought in the courts.

West Hollywood's foray into gay marriage was purely symbolic even though the city supports marriages for same-sex couples.

"Although we do not yet have equal protection under the law, no government can prevent us from loving whom we choose." law," Duran said.

Mecklenburg Commissioners Vote In Favor

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mecklenburg County commissioners voted against two highly controversial issues in a Tuesday night meeting.

The board voted four to three in favor of Republican Commissioner Bill James' resolution supporting a state bill that would amend the constitution to ban gay marriages in North Carolina.

Democratic commissioners argued it's an issue for state lawmakers, not county commissioners.


Journo jailed for defamation

Rabat - Moroccan journalist Anas Tadili, director of the weekly Akhbar Al Ousboue, was on Tuesday sentenced to six months in prison for defamation after accusing a government minister of homosexuality, judicial officials said.

Tadili's weekly reported in April that a government minister, whose name was not given but who could easily be identified within the context of the article, had been caught by the police in a sexual act with a man in a seaside resort in northern Morocco.

The Akhbar Al Ousboue chief was charged with "defaming and disparaging a government figure and spreading false information".

Ten days after the article was published, Morocco's biggest press union, SNPM, criticised Tadili for spreading false rumours in his article headlined: Homosexuality and Morocco's political class.


Gay community in Jerusalem shrugs off abuse
Hazel Ward | Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem's gay community was preparing on Wednesday for strong opposition to its annual Gay Pride march after provocative posters comparing homosexuals to child molesters were plastered all over the Holy City.

Sharp opposition to Jerusalem's third annual Gay Pride parade, set to take place on Thursday under the slogan "Love without Borders", was evident throughout the week with the appearance of an offensive poster campaign accusing the homosexual community of paedophilia.

"Mother, I heard that bad people who sexually assault and sodomise children are holding a parade ... Help me! I am afraid!" read the posters, which were put out by a group reportedly linked to the banned racist movement Kach.

Parade organisers appeared unruffled by the virulent campaign, which has made an annual appearance ever since the first Jerusalem Pride took place in 2001.


Gay rape exposes seamy side of touristy Nepal
Kathmandu, :

The alleged abuse of three homosexual male sex workers has created a furore in Nepal, exposing the sordid side of the glittering tourism industry in the picturesque tiny Himalayan kingdom.

The Blue Diamond Society, a social work group based in capital Kathmandu, has filed a police complaint accusing two men of raping one gay cross-dresser and abusing his two companions.

According to the complaint, the three sex workers were picked up by two men from a restaurant and promised a certain amount of money. The five then went to the White Lotus Guest House in the tourist hub of Thamel where the clients reportedly went on a drinking spree and abused the sex workers.

When the cross-dressers asked for money, the men beat them up and raped one of them. Eventually, the trio managed to escape and inform police, who arrested the two men from the guesthouse.


A Episcopal bishop presides over same-sex union
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - A bishop at the Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese blessed a same-sex union in what is believed to be the first such action by a sitting Episcopal bishop since the church gave its tacit approval to such unions last August.

The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the six-county diocese, confirmed Tuesday that he had blessed on May 16 the union of the Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd, 80, and his partner of 20 years, Mark Thompson, 51. Five other bishops were present.

Church officials in Los Angeles and New York said they believed Bruno was the first sitting bishop to preside over such a ceremony since the church's General Convention last summer. The General Convention also confirmed the election of an openly gay priest as Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire.

The ceremony does not mention the words marriage or wedding. The Episcopal Church does not sanction same-sex marriage.


Gay rights fray snares homestead bill
Proposal was meant to protect the elderly
By Jan Moller
Capital bureau

BATON ROUGE -- Supporters of a constitutional amendment designed to modify the state's homestead exemption backed away Tuesday from a provision that has become an unlikely flash point in the election-year battle about gay rights.

Sen. Reggie Dupre, D-Montegut, said Senate Bill 806 is meant only to preserve the lucrative tax break for widows and widowers with adult children who might otherwise face crippling property tax bills.

But a provision in the bill would bar unmarried couples from taking advantage of the law that exempts the first $75,000 of a home's value from property taxes, prompting opponents to charge that the amendment would discriminate against gay couples and unmarried people who own a home together.

The bill was approved 37-1 by the Senate in April with the controversial language included, but Rep. Shirley Bowler, R-Harahan, wants to repeal the provision when the bill is debated on the House floor.


Common-law rules about to change
Eliza Barlow

Common-law couples are being advised to contact their lawyers before the end of this month, when sweeping new laws subjecting them to the same property rights and obligations as married couples come in.

"It's going to cause people to reflect more seriously on whether or not they should choose to accept the responsibilities of a family unit," said Bernie Rodrigue, a Brandon lawyer.
"I think too little thought is given to that now."

As the law stands now, if a common-law relationship breaks up, each partner keeps only the property that's in his or her name.

And if one partner dies, there is currently no law entitling the surviving partner to a share of the estate.
But as of June 30, each common-law partner is entitled to half the value of all the property the couple acquired together during the relationship.