poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Protesters target Toronto MP over gay marriage News Staff

About 50 to 60 protesters who support same-sex marriage picketed the office of a prominent backbench MP in Toronto on Saturday.

The protesters want Liberal Dennis Mills defeated in the June 28 election.

Mills, who has represented Toronto-Danforth since 1988, has said he supports the traditional definition of marriage.

Mills is being challenged for the riding by NDP Leader Jack Layton. Toronto-Danforth has a sizable gay population.

all these folkz need to just get over it, and stop holding something made-up so tight... you would think the world was going to end//-..

Episcopal civil union liturgy draws anger

BOSTON, MA, Jun. 19 (UPI) -- Conservative church members are denouncing new guidelines from the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont for performing civil union ceremonies for same-sex couples.

The diocese unveiled the new guidelines for civil union ceremonies Friday, drawing swift denunciation from conservatives in the 70 million-member Anglican Communion, the Washington Post reported.

Episcopal priests in Vermont have performed civil union ceremonies since 2000, when the state became the first in the nation to allow civil unions, giving gay couples most of the legal protections of marriage. But conservatives in the church say they are upset the new guidelines allow a liturgy closely resembling that of a wedding.

"My understanding is that what Vermont has done comes awfully close to matrimony, and to put a same-sex blessing in that category is horrifying," Cynthia P. Brust, a spokeswoman for the American Anglican Council, told the Post. "We have had the fabric of Anglican Communion torn to pieces, and I do not understand bishops that have not shown more restraint."


Archbishop of Canterbury breaks silence on same-sex marriage
 By Ivan H. Golden
Staff Writer

GREENWICH -- In his first public comments on the same-sex marriage controversy that has divided the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams expressed solidarity last night with the American Episcopal Church. But he stopped short of taking sides in the divisive issue.

"I'm well aware of the crossroads at which we stand," Williams said to an audience of more than 400 people during a fund-raiser at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich.

Williams said he wanted to make two points about the controversy: First, he said, "the present difficulties would feel a lot more difficult were it not for the immense love and generosity shown to me by (the American Episcopal Church)."

Second, Williams said his experience on Sept. 11, 2001 -- when he was caught in lower Manhattan only blocks from the World Trade Center -- had "made it difficult to feel estranged from the struggles of the Episcopal Church in the United States."

Village conducts 19 unions
By: Capital News 9 web staff

Nineteen more gay couples walked the aisle Saturday in another round of same-sex weddings in New Paltz.

The Hudson Valley village became a focal point of the national
gay marriage debate when Mayor Jason West wed more than two dozen same-sex couples in February. Since then, a series of ministers have married more than 160 gay couples.

A pink Victorian bed and breakfast has become a sort of same-sex marriage mill on alternating Saturdays. Charles Clement, co-owner of the B & B, said they won't stop until everyone's equal
protection under the law is recognized.

B'rak Asher of Ulster Park, who wed Doreen Dunn, said the weddings are a statement that times are changing and they are no longer willing to hide who they are.

Opponents say they are considering further civil legal action to try to stop same-sex weddings.


Gathering protests Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Parade
By: News 10 Now Staff

Saturday was a special day in Syracuse.

The Common Council unanimously agreed to declare the day Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Day. A big crowd turned out for a parade, followed by a festival.

People marched through downtown, some carrying flags, others signs. They celebrated the day with the idea that the events are for the entire city of Syracuse.

When the Common Council unanimously agreed to declare today Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Day, protestors gathered outside City Hall to voice their displeasure.


Bangkok Hotel Segregates Guests With HIV
by The Associated Press

(Bangkok, Thailand)  Activists are up in arms after a Bangkok hotel hosting an AIDS workshop moved all the participants - half of them HIV positive - to one floor, asked them to eat in a separate area, and told cleaning staff to take precautions.

The incident, which took place earlier in the week, happened just a month before the Thai capital is to host the 15th International AIDS Conference that is expected to be attended by more than 10,000 participants.

Some 70 Thai government officials, voluntary agency workers and people with HIV/AIDS in the workshop were initially given rooms on various floors when they checked into the Prince Palace Hotel, said Nimit Tienudom, head of AIDS Access, an advocacy group.

But when hotel officials realized that some of the people had AIDS because of skin lesions, they moved everybody to one floor the next day, he told The Associated Press.

Sponsors admit difficulties for marriage amendment
Wire Services, Associated Press June 19, 2004
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate in mid-July will take up a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, forcing lawmakers to cast a tough political vote just weeks before the Democratic presidential convention in Massachusetts.

President Bush has urged Congress to move on the amendment, but sponsors acknowledge the difficulty of getting the two-thirds majority to approve it.

"We're not certain we'll be successful in this effort," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said at a news conference to announce that the amendment would be on the Senate floor the week of July 12.

Cornyn and the measure's chief sponsor, Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Col., denied they were stirring up a divisive political issue two weeks before Democrats gather in Massachusetts, the first state to recognize same-sex marriages.

"This was an issue that was thrust upon us by the Massachusetts Supreme Court," Cornyn said. "We didn't pick the battle, we didn't pick the timing."


Parents suing over teacher's remarks
The Associated Press

BARNSTEAD, N.H. (AP) - The parents of two seventh-grade boys are suing the school district after a teacher allegedly called the boys homosexual lovers.

The suit alleges teacher William Sheehan referred to the boys as homosexual lovers twice in class and told the girlfriend of one of the boys why he thought the boy was gay. Further, the parents allege the school principal, Stephen O'Neil, tried to get the girl to change her story about the conversation with the teacher.

The parents, Stephen and Dawn Call and Nathan and Julie Cheney, say O'Neil and school superintendent didn't do anything to the teacher after receiving complaints.

The teacher's lawyer says the school offered to have the teacher apologize in class, but the parents wanted a larger, multi-class assembly for the apology.


Indianapolis church caters to evangelical gay congregation
At 300 members, it's the largest of its type in Midwest.
By Tim Evans
of the Indianapolis Star

INDIANAPOLIS -- Standing in the pulpit at Jesus Metropolitan Community Church, Pastor Jeff Miner raised his voice in a challenge for the congregation to share the word of God.

"What Jesus is calling us to do, by our lives, by our actions, by our attitudes, by our behavior, is to be constantly painting a portrait of Christ so compelling that when people see us, they will feel drawn to the beauty of God," he said.

It's a scene common in evangelical churches throughout central Indiana every Sunday. But, in this church, it also is different.

Miner is gay -- as is most his congregation.


Lesbian researchers confront array of health problems
David Crary
Associated Press

Accustomed to neglect from much of the medical establishment, the lesbian community is assigning itself the task of assessing -- often bluntly -- its members' distinctive array of health problems.

Even without a specific crisis as grave as the AIDS epidemic, the diagnosis is sobering: compared to heterosexual women, lesbians appear to have higher rates of smoking, obesity and alcohol use. Often lacking health insurance or wary of unsympathetic doctors, they also may be less likely to undergo routine medical exams that could identify cancer and other problems at early stages.

Complicating all these factors, researchers say, is a glaring shortage of comprehensive data, resulting from the fact that most health surveys -- as well as death certificates -- don't account for sexual orientation.

"We don't know the mortality rates, we don't know the suicide rates," said Dr. Patricia Robertson of the University of California, San Francisco. "Lesbians are invisible."

Deputy mayor, trustee step in to marry gays
By Jesse J. Smith , Freeman staff

NEW PALTZ - For the first time since Mayor Jason West was barred from performing same-sex weddings, village officials here have presided over gay nuptials.

Deputy Mayor Rebecca Rotzler and village Trustee Julia Walsh, recently appointed "marriage officers" by the Village Board, married four same-sex couples Thursday evening in a ceremony sponsored by the marriage rights group New Paltz Equality Initiative.

The ceremony was at the LeFevre House, a bed-and-breakfast on Southside Avenue that serves as the New Paltz Equality Initiative's headquarters and has hosted dozens of same-sex weddings since March.

Another 20 same-sex couples are to wed at noon today at the LeFevre House,

Nyack 10 claim bias in gay marriage suit

By denying same-sex couples the right to marry, the state makes them second-class citizens, argued the attorneys yesterday for 10 couples who filed a lawsuit against the state and Orangetown.

The 49-page response to earlier responses by the town and the state Attorney General's Office, which was filed yesterday in state Supreme Court in New City, reiterated the 10 same-sex couples' stance when they filed a lawsuit in March against Town Clerk Charlotte Madigan and the state Department of Health.

"There is no escaping the effects of denying ... same-sex couples access to the institution of marriage," the response reads. "It deprives them of the tangible rights and benefits that accrue to married couples; it stigmatizes their relationships by deeming them unworthy of the label our society attaches to a couple's deepest expression of commitment and love; and it thereby relegates (them) to a form of second-class citizenship."

The couples, including Nyack Mayor John Shields and his partner, filed the lawsuit March 12 after being turned down when they went to Orangetown Town Hall for marriage licenses.

"Their responses were factually and legally flawed," said Norman Siegel, the attorney representing the 10 couples. "The court should allow Madigan to issue marriage licenses."


Gay activist takes key post
Reuters in Vitoria
The Guardian

A gay rights activist became Spain's first openly gay person in a high-profile political post yesterday when he was named ombudsman for Spain's Basque region.

Inigo Lamarka, head of the Basque Association of Gays and Lesbians, hailed his appointment as a breakthrough.

He said he was pleased his sexuality had not been a "handicap" to his appointment.

"After an excessively long historical period, the historic moment has now come for homosexual people in the Basque Country and in democratic countries to put an end to exclusion, to almost flagrant discrimination," Mr Lamarka added.


Police: Vt. Man Attacked For Being Gay

WILMINGTON, Vt. -- A Wilmington man is facing charges after officials said he attacked a man and made discriminatory comments about his sexual orientation. Police are calling it a hate crime. Police said Jamison Wise beat up Jeffrey McDurfee and made comments about McDurfee's sexual orientation. Brattleboro police said Wise also threatened to burn a witness's house down.

According to Vermont state statute, hate crimes are directed toward another based on race, religion or sexual orientation, and punishments can range from a $2,000 fine or up to one year in jail.

Two parents? Too perplexing
Member of Springs school board drops plan due to 'heat'
By Dick Foster, Rocky Mountain News

COLORADO SPRINGS - An El Paso School District 11 board member on Friday withdrew his proposed resolution calling for the district to promote "stable, heterosexual, two-parent families" after it stirred a storm of controversy.

"I'm withdrawing it. It's drawing too much heat," board member Willie Breazell said of the resolution he proposed at Wednesday night's board meeting.


Allentown to appeal ruling on gender law
Decision raises stakes in case that could have effect across the state.
By Scott Kraus
Of The Morning Call

Allentown will appeal the Lehigh County Court ruling that struck down its ordinance protecting citizens against housing and employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Philadelphia attorney Daniel J. Anders, who has represented the city in the case at no charge, said Friday the city solicitor authorized him to take the case to Commonwealth Court.

The appeal must be filed by late July, and once it is, the ordinance will remain in effect until a decision is rendered, Anders said.

Judge Alan M. Black ruled Monday that under the state Home Rule Charter Act, which governs Allentown, the city can't require businesses, occupations and employers not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.


'Lesbians want space, not publicity'

Let us call her Anamika. She does not want us to reveal her identity, and hers is "the love that dares not speak its name". Still. She is 40, middle-class, intensely political about gender, and articulate to match. But, no, she does not sport a moustache or biceps.

She doesn't eat men for breakfast, or proposition the nearest woman. All that's different about Anamika is her sexual orientation. Different, not "abnormal" or "perverted", and definitely not "un-Indian".

Her advocacy group, "Prism", speaks for the rights of all categories of marginalised sexuality. On Friday, it issued a press release against the controversial "Girlfriend" and the goons who vandalised the cinema-halls.

"Both are equally homophobic. Razdan pathologises lesbianism, tracing it to child sex abuse, instead of simply accepting it. In this he is no different from those who, threatened by anything outside the mainstream, demonise it."


Grants available for LGBT community projects

The Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County, through its Diversity Partnership, is offering grants to local nonprofit organizations and community groups serving the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community.

All organizations proposing to serve the needs of the LGBT community in greater Santa Cruz County are encouraged to apply. Proposals must be received by the Community Foundation by 5 p.m. on Sept. 3.

The grants, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, may be used to support projects that promote awareness of the respect for LGBT individuals, improve access to services or enhance or sustain services.

Interested applicants are encouraged to attend one of two free information sessions to learn more about the application process. Sessions will be held at the Community Foundation on June 29 and July 7, from 6-7:30 p.m. on both days. To confirm a space, call 477-0800, ext. 217.


Hundreds set for rainbow parade

Hundreds of gay men and women are set to take to the streets of Glasgow for the city's 10th annual Pride parade.

The parade - first staged in June 1995 - will start in Blythswood Square and rally through the city centre.

Participants will carry banners in support of unity, inclusion and awareness of sexual and gender diversity.

Politicians and community activists are among those due to take part in the Pride Scotia event.


Inquiry into sex change specialist
David Batty
The Guardian

Britain's best-known expert on transsexualism is to face a serious professional misconduct hearing after claims that he has repeatedly put his patients' health at risk, the Guardian has learned.

Consultant psychiatrist Russell Reid, a specialist in gender identity disorders, allegedly breached standards of care by inappropriately prescribing sex-changing hormones to patients and referring them for genital surgery without adequate assessment.

The General Medical Council has confirmed Dr Reid will face a charge of serious professional misconduct over the allegations, which were brought by four doctors at Charing Cross hospital in west London and some of his former patients.

The doctors include three of the UK's most senior psychiatrists in the field - Donald Montgomery, James Barrett, and Richard Green. Dr Barrett yesterday called for Dr Reid to resign from the Royal College of Psychiatrists working party on gender identity disorders: "It would seem sensible for him to resign until the inquiry is concluded, because if he is found to be deficient in his own standards of practice it might invalidate whatever conclusions the college arrives at."


 Church’s anti-gay unions banner stolen, vandalized
TRACY KENNEDY , Register Citizen Staff

NORFOLK - When a banner promoting heterosexual marriage was cut up after 15 days of hanging outside the Immaculate Conception Church in Norfolk last month, Father John Ahern said he wasn’t upset, just a little annoyed.

He ordered an identical banner to replace the one that read "Defend Marriage Now" in black lettering on a white background. He hung it up on Wednesday.

On Friday he found the banner in tatters and spray-painted. The words "Defend" and "Marriage" were cut out.

"I really don’t understand it," he said. "It makes me really angry and frustrated that someone has done this."

The priest filed a complaint with the State Police Troop L barracks, he said. The banner is also under attack from town officials.

Hearing for Fired Nurse to Last Through Fall

A hearing for a former Carle Hospital worker, Lynn Sprout, who claims she was fired for being gay, could last through the end of the summer.

Sprout was fired two years ago and says it was because she took too much time off to care for her ailing same-sex partner. The hospital says it was because of poor job performance.

Sprout told WCIA 3 News, "My hopes were by tonight [Friday} it would have been over, so I`m very disappointed we still have a long way to go."

Kathy Howell of Carle Foundation Hospital, "It`s an important effort we have here, and an important issue before the City of Urbana, and we`re committed to following it through until the end."


British queer rights group comes out against Beenie Man
Olivia Leigh Campbell, Observer staff reporter
The British queer rights group OutRage! has called on the London Metropolitan Police to investigate and if necessary take action to prevent Jamaican dancehall deejay Beenie Man from performing in London next week.

Beenie Man is scheduled to perform at the Ocean nightclub in Hackney next Thursday June 24, but OutRage! is seeking to have the artiste arrested on charges of solicitation to murder, incitement to murder and words likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. The calls were based primarily on the blatant anti-homosexual content of his songs, which the group quoted in a letter to the Diversity Directorate at Scotland Yard, but OutRage! also cited the recent murder of the president of Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) Brian Williamson as part of the motivation behind the calls.

"Beenie Man's UK concert will take place just two weeks after the horrific murder of Jamaican Gay Activist Brian Williamson, who was hacked to death in Kingston. His murder occurred in an atmosphere of homophobic hatred stirred up by the anti-gay dancehall lyrics of singers like Beenie Man," said the letter, addressed to Scotland Yard's Carl Wonfor.


Gay Marriage Amendment Likely To Reach Montana Voters In November
by Newscenter Staff

(Helena , Montana) A conservative Christian group collecting signatures to have a proposed amendment banning gay marriage placed on the ballot in Montana this November said Friday that it had almost double the number of names it needs.

The Montana Family Foundation says it has just over 70,000 petition signatures. The group needed to collect 41,020 signatures, including signatures from 10 percent of registered voters in 28 of the state's 56 counties   to get its Constitutional Initiative placed on the November ballot. 

Election officials now must verify the authenticity of the signatures and forward the totals to the secretary of state's office for a final tally.

If the measure is certified it would only need a simple majority of voters to amend the state Constitution.


Czech parliament to discuss legislation on same-sex partnerships

The Czech parliament on Friday gave gays a boost by agreeing to discuss a draft law to grant certain legal rights to same-sex partners, officials said. Having turned down similar legislation proposed for debate several times in the past, deputies voted 72-49 to allow the draft to go into a second reading. Out of 139 deputies present in the 200-member lower chamber, 18 abstained.

If enacted, the legislation would allow couples who register their union with authorities to enjoy rights in areas such as inheritance and health care that are similar to those granted now to straight married couples. The draft does not allow marriage or adoption of children by same-sex partners.

"The draft is a compromise," said Jiri Hromada, a leading gay activist. "It grants basic rights. In that sense we're satisfied." Hromada said he planned to participate in the debate on the draft in a parliamentary committee, scheduled to begin in September. The final vote could come by the end of October, he said. A number of other European countries already have recognized same-sex unions.


Homosexuals Hold Festival in Seoul

SEOUL, June 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's homosexuals on Saturday held an annual festival in downtown Seoul.

The "Korea Queer Culture Festival," which was held for the fourth time since 2000, was attended by 150 gays and lesbians of the country, despite rainy weather.


Friday, June 18, 2004

Civil partnerships get Parliament's approval

GENEVA Switzerland's Parliament on Friday approved new legislation setting up a form of civil partnership that gives homosexual couples many of the same social and taxation rights as married partners. The legislation might still face a referendum if a small right-wing party, the Federal Democratic Union, succeeds in gathering 50,000 signatures to petition for a national vote.

Although narrower than France's civil solidarity pact by only applying to homosexuals and not unmarried heterosexual couples, Switzerland's "recorded partnership" provides mainly civil and administrative rights and is meant to be distinct from marriage. It explicitly rules out adoption and any form of artificial insemination or medically-assisted procreation.

Cherokee Nation Same Sex Marriage Hearing Delayed

An Oklahoma lesbian couple will have to wait a little longer to find out if the Cherokee Nation will allow their marriage application.

At a short tribal hearing Friday, an agreement reached Thursday night between Dawn McKinley and Kathy Reynolds’ attorney and the tribal attorney was confirmed. Both parties agreed to keep a temporary injunction of the marriage license in place until the judge holds another hearing.


In Maplewood, Saturday hours for registering domestic partners
Associated Press writer

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. -- Approval of a domestic partnership bill was hardly unanimous in the state Legislature last winter: 37 lawmakers dissented from the measure that was signed into law Jan. 12.

But among the teens, moms, athletes and same-sex picnickers at Maplewood Memorial Park on Friday's muggy afternoon, support seemed undivided.

"I'm for it," said Van Betta, 22, a recent college graduate who was working out with other Ultimate Frisbee players at the park.

Maplewood's Democratic mayor and township committee, in a strong show of support, this week agreed to open Town Hall the day the law becomes effective. A party is also planned.


Gay, wedded church workers may be fired
by Tom Musbach
PlanetOut Network

Gay employees of the Catholic Church in Massachusetts could be fired if they marry same-sex partners, according to a proposal the state's bishops are considering.

The Boston Herald reported on Thursday that the proposal is one of several under consideration in Massachusetts, the only U.S. state that allows same-sex couples to marry. A more lenient policy, which would allow church employees to follow their consciences, has also been proposed.

The Rev. Christopher Coyne, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston, confirmed the possible firings have been discussed among the bishops, adding, "It's obviously a very volatile issue."

"The church has long had a position that the people working on its behalf need to display conduct consistent with the beliefs of the church," Daniel Avila, associated director for policy and research at the Massachusetts Catholic Conference,

Gay Rights Group's  Ad Campaign Targets Bush Visit  
by Doreen Brandt Newscenter
Washington Bureau

(Washington)  The nation's largest gay civil rights group is placing ads in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Monday to coincide with President Bush's visit to the city. 

The ad, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign  says: "Did you know marriages between same-sex couples are already illegal under Ohio law and not recognized under federal law? So why is President Bush spending time trying to change the Constitution to discriminate against families for the first time in American history?  Focus on Americans' real priorities, Mr. President."

A second ad reads: "Ohioans without health insurance: 1.3 million, Gay marriages in Ohio: 0. The Federal Marriage Amendment is discriminatory, unnecessary and undermines the Constitution. Focus on Americans' real priorities, Mr. President."

The Enquirer is the most read morning paper in the state.  


Bishops Unable To Reach Agreement On Gays & Communion
by Newscenter Staff

(Denver, Colorado) A meeting of America's Roman Catholic bishops that wrapped up late Friday afternoon was unable to reach a national consensus on what penalties should be meted out to politicians who oppose the Church's stand on gay marriage.

The bishops have been meeting for the past week in Englewood, Colorado.

While some bishops have called for Roman Catholic politicians who support same-sex marriage to be denied the sacraments of the Church, others prefer a less confrontational approach.

In the end, despite heavy lobbying from both sides, the bishops decided to leave it up to individual dioceses. A closing statement, approved by a 183 - 6 vote said each decision about denying communion to some Catholics in public life should rest with the individual bishop "in accord with established canonical and pastoral principles." The statement also said bishops can legitimately make different judgments on the "most prudent" course of action.

-National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Launches a Second Night of Marriage Equality Parties Across Country
-Hosts needed for 'Night to create Change' to be held on Sunday, September 12

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and our allies have been celebrating the historic court decision in Massachusetts granting equal marriage rights to same-sex couples. However, the fight for marriage equality is far from over. Currently, there are more than two dozen states that are considering anti-same sex marriage legislation. Building on the momentum of our first national house party event held in May which raised more than $30,000 and featured a nationwide conference call with Matt Foreman, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is sponsoring a second "A Night to Create Change" on Sunday, September 12.

Internet ads go after Cheney's daughter

WASHINGTON -- A campaign to compel the vice president's lesbian daughter to oppose a proposed ban on gay marriage is launching its first Internet ad on Monday.

A series of simply animated cartoon panels features stick figures of Mary Cheney and Vice President Dick Cheney. One image reads, "Dick's daughter sold out to help Dick run again."

The story line refers to Mary Cheney's job as director of vice presidential operations for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. She held a public role as her father's assistant in the 2000 campaign and helped the GOP recruit homosexual voters during the 2002 midterm elections. She has been less visible this year while traveling with the vice president or working at campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va.

President Bush, meanwhile, has disturbed many gays, Republicans included, by asking Congress to move on a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in the United States.


Lawmaker pre-files amendment to outlaw gay marriages
Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The first bill pre-filed in the Alabama House for the 2005 regular session deals with an issue that was discussed, but not decided, in this year's session - banning gay marriages.

Rep. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, on Friday pre-filed a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman and ban gay marriages. The amendment would have to be approved in a statewide vote.

A similar amendment was considered by the Legislature this year. It passed the Senate, but died in the House when it did not come up for debate on the final day of the session.

"God intended for a man and a woman to be united together as man and wife. You can't have a marriage any other way," Allen said, when asked why he was sponsoring the amendment.

No room to haggle at inn
By Patrick Cronin

HAMPTON - Rebecca Tanguay and her friend Michaela Anthony want a Hampton Beach motel to pay them $50,000 each for allegedly discriminating against them by not letting them rent a room in 2002.

But the motel owners, who said they will give the women $250, say they could be forced out of business if they have to pay up.

And now the matter is headed to court.

Tanguay and Anthony went before a representative from the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission (HRC) Thursday to see if they could reach a compromise with the owners of the Hampton Harbor Hotel, Valerie Kelley and her husband Raymond.

The Rhode Island natives filed a complaint with the state’s HRC in 2002 claiming the owners of the hotel discriminated against them on the basis of age, sex and sexual orientation


Bar owner convicted of threatening lesbian couple

GANDER, Nfld. -- The owner of a bar on Newfoundland's Baie Verte Peninsula has been convicted of uttering threats against a lesbian woman and her partner.

Paul Toms of La Scie was convicted yesterday of threatening Amelia Welshman and her partner Barbara Dawes in the Cape Lounge.

During the trial, Welshman testified the couple feared for their lives last September while Toms shouted obscenities at them.

In court, Judge Donald Luther agreed Toms had been provoked the evening of the incident.


Study: Gays over 50 involved in family caregiving

NEW YORK (AP) _ Like the baby-boom population at large, gay New Yorkers over 50 years old are heavily involved in the care of sick or frail family members _ and are often expected to shoulder more of the work, a new study says.

It concludes that such caregivers are handicapped by policies that discriminate against same-sex relationships.

"Despite the fact that they are taking care of parents, children, partners and siblings in need, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) caregivers are not provided with the same social, emotional or financial support afforded to other caregivers," the study said.

The report, called "Caregiving Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender New Yorkers," was released Friday by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. It was based on a survey of 341 New Yorkers over 50 from those categories. The research was done by the institute, the Pride Senior Network and the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University.


Lawmakers to consider Federal Marriage Amendment next month

The U.S. Senate in mid July will take up a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, forcing lawmakers to cast a tough political vote just weeks before the Democratic presidential convention in Massachusetts. President Bush has urged Congress to move on the amendment, but sponsors acknowledge the difficulty of getting the two-thirds majority to approve it.

"We're not certain we'll be successful in this effort," Sen. John Cornyn said at a news conference to announce that the measure, known as the Federal Marriage Amendment, would be debated on the Senate floor the week of July 12. Cornyn and the measure's chief sponsor, Sen. Wayne Allard, denied that they were stirring up a divisive political issue two weeks before Democrats gather in Massachusetts, the first state to recognize same-sex marriages. "This was an issue that was thrust upon us by the Massachusetts supreme court," Cornyn said. "We didn't pick the battle; we didn't pick the timing."

Allard said there were at least 11 pending court cases on the issue around the country. "We must not stand still when the courts are being used to challenge and distort civilization's oldest, most venerable social institution," he said.

Steven Fisher, spokesman for the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, said the July vote is "an attempt to inject politics into a debate that affects real Americans' lives." Congress, he said, "should focus on the real priorities of the American people: jobs, the economy, and the war in Iraq."

Local Gay Activists, Church Speak Out Against State Law
Yolanda  Reyes

Jun 18, 2004 -- Equality Loudoun and Unitarian Universalists of Sterling Church have partnered for an evening of poetry in order to provide concerned gays and lesbians in Loudoun County a forum to speak out against what they believe is an unjust law.

The two groups have invited gays, lesbians, bisexuals, the transgendered community and their friends to share their thoughts about life and love during the “Virginia Is For Lovers” poetry slam June 29 in order to fight against HB 751, better known as the Marriage Affirmation Act. The act was passed by the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year and will take effect July 1.

As enacted, the new state code, section 20-45.3, reads:

“A civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage is prohibited. Any such civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created thereby shall be void and unenforceable.”


School Board May Add 'Promoting Heterosexual Families' To Educational Goals
Others Say Gay Marriage Has Nothing To Do With Student Achievement

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The debate over gay marriage has reached the Colorado Springs school board, which will discuss whether one of its goals should be promoting "stable, heterosexual, two-parent families."

Board member Willie Breazell got the resolution on Wednesday's agenda despite the skepticism of at least one other board member.

"How does this relate to our goal of student achievement?" board member Karen Teja asked.

"I think it's part of the problem we have in this district," Breazell replied.

Two other school trustees agreed to put the resolution on the agenda, giving Breazell the three informal votes needed.

The proposed resolution asks Colorado Springs' delegation to the Legislature to promote state policy "which defines, defends, maintains and nourishes stable, heterosexual, two-parent families."

Noosa hotel bans gay dance night
Pub manager tight-lipped and forgetful over row

A GAY couple who had a private dance party function banned from the Villa Noosa Hotel want to know if Woolworths was homophobic or just the manager of its business partner, MGW Hotels.

The Villa Noosa, run by Woolworth's jointly-owned liquor business MGW Hotels, hosted a gayfriendly dance party organised by Bronwyn and Michaela Noffke on May 29.

The couple's next event, advertised for August 28, was cancelled this week by MGW hotels representative Ron Boyd.

'They tell us we can't get married.

They tell us we can't have kids.

Now they tell us we can't dance,'' Bronwyn Noffke said.

The Noffkes, who run the monthly gay-friendly dances at Maroochydore's Sands Tavern, claim homophobia killed the Noosa function.

'We were told there was one complaint and that it was a family hotel.


Gay Swiss leaders vow to protect newly won rights

BERNE, Switzerland — A new Swiss law that recognizes same-sex partners as next-of-kin is insufficient because it does not allow for marriage or adoption, according to gay activists, Swiss Info reported. Still, gay rights advocates say a fight for more equality will have to be put on hold until a referendum regarding the new law is held. The country’s parliament last week voted for a new law to allow gay couples to register as partners and inherit each other’s property without tax consequences, the news outlet reported. The law, however, does not give gay couples the right to marry, to adopt children or undergo invitro fertilization. Some religious conservatives already plan to challenge the new law and want to force a nationwide referendum on the issue, according to media reports. Claude Janiak, a member of parliament with the center-left Social Democrats party, said he is content with the changes in favor of gay rights so far. “It eliminates the most important areas of discrimination,” Janiak told Swiss Info.

Law to boost same-sex partnerships
By: David Pescatore
Same-sex unions will be recognized in New Jersey when state Domestic Partnership Act goes into effect on July 10.

   HIGHTSTOWN — New Jersey officially will recognize same-sex unions beginning next month when the state Domestic Partnership Act goes into effect July 10.

   On that date, The Garden State will join California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Vermont in granting rights to gay and lesbian couples through domestic partnerships. Twelve other states, including Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania, grant limited rights to state government employees.

   "This is a good step. It recognizes our rights and our relationships, but it is limited," said Ellen Gilio, executive director of the Pride Center, a nonprofit gay and lesbian community center in New Brunswick.

   According to the act, participants in a domestic partnership gain protections from "employment, housing and credit discrimination." Members also gain the right to visit a hospitalized domestic partner and the right to make medical or legal decisions for an incapacitated partner. In an emergency medical situation, couples who have not filed for domestic partnership, but have met all of the other criteria, must be treated as partners for the purposes of hospital visitation and decision making.


AFSCME deal would cover gay partners

Republican legislators mad that state would offer such health benefits to union
of Copley News Service

SPRINGFIELD - If members of the state's largest union ratify a new contract, Illinois will join seven other states in extending health insurance benefits to state employees' gay and lesbian partners.

However, the state would still not provide benefits to unmarried heterosexual couples living together.

As more members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees voted on the contract Thursday, those issues were front and center in the minds of many. And the provision in the proposed contract ignited fresh protests over gay rights in Illinois among union members, lawmakers and activists.

"What about the couple, man and woman, who are living together not married?" asked AFSCME member Eric Wiant. "I say you've got discrimination on your hands."


Gay protestors take to streets
By Myles Wearring

A gay and lesbian rights group protested on the streets of Sydney today against the federal government’s decision to outlaw same-sex marriage.

The protest took place outside the NSW Registry Of Births, Deaths and Marriages on Regent Street in Chippendale and attracted 15 people. Some were holding placards with the slogan "Equal Rights For Same Sex Couples", while others spoke to the crowd and passers-by on a portable PA system.

The rally was organised by the newly formed group Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH), which is made up of university students, The Greens, the Socialist Alliance and trade unionists.

When the group attempted to enter the building they were stopped by security and asked to leave. The protesters then staged a mock wedding outside on the footpath between a lesbian couple, Brianna Pike and Kylie Moon.


Gay couple seeks denial of suit
By Walter F. Naedele
Inquirer Staff Writer

Lawyers for two gay New Hope men yesterday asked Bucks County Court to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to deny the couple a marriage license.

On May 14, 12 state representatives and a Bedford County firm asked Bucks County Court for a declaratory judgment stating that Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act and the state's marriage law are "constitutional under both the federal and state constitutions even though they do not allow same-sex couples to marry."

Yesterday, the couple's "preliminary objections" argued that the May 14 complaint fails because the plaintiffs "seek an advisory opinion."

The plaintiffs, the couple's lawyers argued, "have therefore as a matter of law failed to state a claim that is ripe for adjudication, is justiciable, or presents an actual case of controversy."

Homeland Security worker calls for bias complaints
Federal employee upset over refusal to recognize Pride events

A gay contracting officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is calling on fellow gay employees to file discrimination complaints against more than a dozen federal departments and agencies over their refusal to recognize Gay Pride events.

George Carlton, who works at the Arlington, Va., office of the Transportation Security Administration, an arm of the DHS, said he filed a sexual orientation discrimination complaint with his agency’s Office of Civil Rights last month after officials declined to recognize Pride events there.

“Other groups are recognized through [Equal Employment Opportunity] Office of Diversity Programs based on sex, ethnicity, age or disability,” Carlton states in his complaint. “Gays, lesbians and transgendered employees are not provided the same recognition,” he said, even though the department claims it doesn’t discriminate based on sexual orientation.

The Department of Homeland Security joined most of the other federal agencies this year by releasing a statement saying it would only recognize employee events or causes that are recognized by the White House. The Bush administration has refused to recognize June as Gay Pride Month, ending a practice of recognizing Pride events started by the White House under the Clinton administration.


'Third sex' students get pink lotus restroom
by AFP

(Bangkok, June 18) Transvestites and transsexuals at a private Thai college have been given their own restroom after being humiliated by classmates, a school administrator says.

Chiang Mai Technology College has designated a "pink lotus" bathroom for use by about 15 of its 1 500 students after the group encountered difficulties using male and female bathrooms.

"We are not supporting them to become transvestites or gay, we merely wanted to solve their problems and make them happy when they are at college," Thodsaporn Promprakai,
the assistant director for students' affairs, told AFP on Friday.

Several female co-eds had complained when the transgender students were found using the girls' room to escape the teasing and bullying of men in the boys' room, Thodsaporn said.


Mayor to issue marriage ruling by July 4
Spagnoletti named D.C. attorney general

D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams told gay activists at a private luncheon meeting this month that he plans to announce shortly before the July 4 weekend whether the city will legally recognize same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts.

News of the mayor’s intention on the marriage recognition issue comes at a time when Republican members of Congress are considering introducing legislation to prohibit gays from marrying in the District.

Williams disclosed his plans to announce his marriage decision at a closed meeting with members of his Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Advisory Committee.

Tony Bullock, the mayor’s press secretary, confirmed the mayor’s comments at the meeting, saying Williams would likely issue a directive informing city agencies on how they should respond if same-sex couples who marry in Massachusetts come to D.C.


TG Community in Austin Gets One Step Closer to Equal Rights
By Steven Morris

Last week, Austin joined the ranks of Dallas and El Paso and became only the third city in Texas to add gender identity as a protected class to its human rights ordinance. Only 71 cities in the entire country have similar legislation. Transgendered residents of the Capital City will now be a protected class in employment, housing and public accommodation. Houston added gender identity to its nondiscrimination policy in public employment in 2001, but has yet to adopt a citywide policy.

Austin Dullnig, Vice-chair of the Austin Human Rights Commission and pivotal advocate of the ordinance said, “This is a significant milestone in Austin’s journey towards full recognition and realization of basic civil and human rights for all citizens. I am extremely proud to have been so heavily involved in the effort, and proud that our City has passed such a decent initiative.”

Transgendered people have long been one of the most marginalized groups in the country, and they have endured years of discrimination based on their perceived gender identity. Many transgendered people lose their jobs, homes and most importantly, their dignity, simply because of their gender identity. Supporters believe this ordinance will help these people keep their jobs, homes and dignity by allowing them to continue to be productive members of Austin society.

“We’ve worked long and hard to achieve this victory. This is one small step for our community; we have a long way to go to gain equality across the board, “ said Lisa Cameron of Transgender Advocates of Central Texas (TACT). “We are absolutely thrilled with the City of Austin for taking this first step.”


Time for ENDA to be changed
Transgender rights should be included in workplace protection legislation even if it means losing a handful of sponsors.

IT IS AN unfortunate fact of life that there are those in Washington who oppose civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, and we need to educate them or advocate around them.

Regrettably, it is also true that instead of focusing on winning over those who oppose us outright, the National Center for Transgender Equality, like other transgender groups and our progressive allies, has had to spend far too much energy fighting, negotiating, cajoling and even begging our friends — some in Congress and even some in the LGBT movement —to let transgendered people into the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

As currently written, ENDA would protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation but not on gender identity or expression.

We have too often heard from our friends that they support us, and that if it were up to them, we’d be in ENDA. But they always point to someone else who doesn’t want us in: Congress, the lead sponsors, moderate Republicans, moderate Democrats, the Human Rights Campaign, the Log Cabin Republicans.


Forum on antigay crime draws criticism of police
By Frederick Cusick
Inquirer Staff Writer

Although antigay incidents are reportedly up in the city, only about 40 people turned up last night to discuss the issue with a police liaison committee set up to deal with the concerns of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Many of the complaints aired at the meeting at the William Way Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center last night dealt with accusations of police incompetence and indifference rather than with antigay hate crimes.

Theo Haines, an employee at the Spruce Street Video Store at 12th and Spruce Streets in the center of the city's gay neighborhood, told the committee he regularly watches 15 to 20 drug dealers and more than 50 prostitutes operating near the store. He said he also regularly sees underage drinkers stagger out of bars and fall on the sidewalk. Haines said that in several months he had seen no police presence.

Wave of outings hits Congress
Angry activists target closeted members, staffers with anti-gay records

The proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage has revived a debate over the ethics of outing those closeted gay men and lesbians in a position to affect public policy.

On the day after Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) reportedly told Christian leaders that the Senate will vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment in July, well-known D.C. activist John Aravosis issued a call for the names of gay congressional members, staffers and their associates to publicly out them.

“If you’re gay and you support making sexual orientation a political weapon, then your sexual orientation is fair game, and you will be outed to the rafters,” Aravosis said.

It’s a campaign predicted months ago by Steve Gunderson, the former Republican Congressman who came out a decade ago after facing outing threats, and one that other former members of the Austin 12 — the group of gay Republicans who met with President Bush during the 2000 campaign — tried to prevent.


GEICO corrects gay gaffe
Insurance provider softens stance on married gay couples

After complaints from a gay legal group, insurance provider GEICO Direct said this week it would reverse a decision made earlier this month to deny a married gay couple in New York the same joint coverage offered to married straight couples.

GEICO, the Government Employees Insurance Company recognizable by its green gecko mascot, will extend spousal automobile coverage to the husband of Thomas Hronrich, according to Christine Tasher, a spokesperson for GEICO.

“We are processing the change,” Tasher said in a written statement issued June 16. “The papers are going out in the mail in the morning, and we spoke to the policyholder this afternoon.”

Lambda Legal, the gay legal organization that approached GEICO on June 14 to represent Hronrich and his partner and to pursue spousal rights for all gay couples at GEICO, had not received notification from GEICO concerning the policy change at press time Wednesday.


New Paltz Resumes Same Sex Marriages

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. -- New Paltz Deputy Mayor Rebecca Rotzler and Village Trustee Julia Walsh presided over the marriages of four same-sex couples in New Paltz Thursday night.

The ceremonies began just a week after a judge dismissed criminal charges against Mayor Jason West.

West had faced the possibility of fines or up to a year in jail for 19 misdemeanor counts, stemming from the weddings of more than two dozen same-sex couples. The weddings drew the Hudson Valley village of New Paltz into the growing national debate over gay marriage.

West is still barred from performing the marriages, but New Paltz Town Court Justice Jonathan Katz ruled that prosecutors failed to prove the law that he was charged with violating was constitutional.


Liturgy for Gay Marriages Developed in Vt.
Associated Press Writer

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Vermont's Episcopal Diocese has become the first in the country to develop a liturgy -- a script for a religious service -- in response to a state law making same-sex unions legal.

"We have been living with the legal reality of same-sex unions for over three years," Bishop Thomas Ely said in a statement made public Friday. "It is appropriate and timely for the Diocese of Vermont to prepare and use these services for members of our congregations."

In 2000, Vermont became the first state to offer legal recognition to same-sex unions. The state did not legalize same-sex marriage, but established a parallel system of civil unions to offer gay and lesbian couples most of the same benefits and responsibilities that married couples have.

Some Episcopal dioceses have already sanctioned same-sex unions. But Vermont's is the first to do so in a jurisdiction that offers legal recognition to such unions.


Strip Gay Bishop Of Office Church Commission Told

Gene Robinson must be removed as Bishop of New Hampshire if there is to be peace in the worldwide Anglican Church a commission appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury has been told.

The Eames Commission was created to seek unity between conservatives and modernists in the faith following the uproar over Robinson's election last year. This week it met in South Carolina where a position paper was presented by Archbishop Drexel Gomez, of the West Indies calling for Robinson's removal.

Gomez told the commission, headed by the Most Reverend Robin Eames, the Archbishop of Armagh in Northern Ireland, that as long as Robinson is allowed to remain as a bishop in the Episcopal Church the threat of a schism will grow.

Gomez, one of the leading conservatives in the Church said that the best remedy would be to annul Robinson's consecration, in effect declaring that it never occurred.


Ban on gay marriage heading to ballot
By Allison Farrell of The Standard State Bureau 4

HELENA — The Montana Family Foundation says it has collected a record number of signatures in its effort to place on the November ballot a constitutional initiative to ban gay marriage in Montana. The foundation reported Thursday that it secured just over 70,000 petition signatures from registered voters looking to write language into the Montana constitution limiting marriages to heterosexual unions.


Public Inquiry Ordered Into Police Conduct At Lesbian Bath Raid
By Jan Prout

(Toronto, Ontario) A public inquiry has been called to examine the way Toronto police officers behaved during a raid four years ago at a lesbian night in a gay bathhouse.

Police entered the Club Toronto in the early hours of Sept. 15, 2000 during a lesbian event known as the "Pussy Palace." More than 100 women, many naked, were in the building at the time. The officers, all male, spent 90 minutes walking through the facility in Toronto's gay village, opening doors to private cubicles and questioning the women.

At the time police insisted the raid was a routine liquor license inspection and claimed they gave the women an opportunity to dress.

Two women who had obtained a special occasion permit under the Ontario Liquor License Act were charged with several offences, including permitting disorderly conduct and serving alcohol after hours.


Same-sex couples in Albany, N.Y., sue over denial of marriage licenses

Two same-sex couples in Albany, N.Y., married by a Unitarian Universalist minister earlier this year have sued the city and state for denying them marriage licenses. Filed in state supreme court, the suit claims the Albany city clerk's office violated the couples' constitutional rights to equal protection when it refused to grant them marriage licenses. The action is the latest in a string of lawsuits aimed at forcing the courts to rule on the legality of gay marriage in the state.

Unitarian Universalist pastor Samuel Trumbore in March married two same-sex couples in Albany. The couples filled out marriage contracts and Trumbore signed an affidavit of marriage, all of which were notarized. But the couples were turned away when they tried to get a license. "These folks are entitled to the same legal recognition of their marriage as any heterosexual couple, and that's what we're asking for here, plain and simple," the couples' lawyer, Terry Kindlon, said Thursday in announcing the suit.

One of the couples, Elissa Kane, 41, and Lynne Lekakis, 43, have been living together since 1998 and are raising Kane's 7-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. They want their marriage recognized so they can qualify for family health insurance and file joint tax returns. "To us, it's an equality thing," Lekakis said. "We're just as responsible as any other married couple."

New York State became drawn into the national debate of same-sex marriage after New Paltz mayor Jason West performed weddings for 25 gay couples in February. A judge earlier this month barred West from performing future gay weddings, but the ruling sidestepped the issue regarding the constitutionality of gay marriage, effectively leaving it up to the legislature or the courts.


Slain cop's marriage to lesbian stands, judge says

A judge has rejected a family's request to annul their slain son's six-week marriage to a topless dancer.

Detroit Police Officer Matthew Bowens, 21, had filed for a divorce a few weeks before he and his partner, Jennifer Fettig, were gunned down Feb. 16 during a traffic stop. Because the divorce was never completed, Anya Bowens stands to receive a $350,000 death benefit.

In a suit filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, Matthew Bowens' father, James Bowens said Anya Bowens pretended not to be a lesbian when she wed his son. She has denied concealing her sexual orientation.

"James Bowens . . . has no standing to bring an action to annul the marriage," Judge Lita Popke ruled Monday.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Gay Marriage Ban Passes Australian Lower House
by Peter Hacker Newscenter
Sydney, Australia Bureau

(Canberra) Government legislation to prevent same-sex couples from marrying or from adopting overseas children passed the lower house of parliament on Thursday.

The Liberal government wants the bill proclaimed into law before the country heads into an election. It was announced last month by Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

The opposition Labor party, which also opposes gay marriage, disagrees with the government on the issue of adoption.

"This is not a question of suitability of people to adopt," Attorney-General Philip Ruddock told parliament.

Suit to Challenge 1913 Mass. Marriage Law
Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) - Eight same-sex couples and at least 13 municipalities said Thursday they will mount a legal challenge to the 1913 law used to block out-of-state same-sex couples from marrying in Massachusetts.

The groups said they would file two lawsuits Friday claiming the state law is unconstitutional and that it's discriminatory to enforce it against same-sex couples.

After the state's Supreme Judicial Court ruled in November that same-sex couples had a right to marry, Gov. Mitt Romney used the 1913 law to block out-of-state couples from exchanging vows in Massachusetts.

The law says marriages by nonresidents will not be recognized if their union is not legal in their home state. Several city and town clerks openly defied the order to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Lutherans Oppose Anti-Gay Amendment

(Chicago, Illinois) The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has joined a growing number of religious groups opposing a constitutional amendment to bar same-sex marriage.

Some 25 churches and religious organizations are now opposed to the proposed amendment that has been introduced in Congress.

In an open letter to members of Congress the groups said that they are concerned that the proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution "would, for the first time, restrict the civil rights of millions of Americans."

"That concern alone merits rejection of the Federal Marriage Amendment," the letter said.


Suits to Fight Ban on Some Gay Marriages

BOSTON, June 16 - In the first legal challenges since the start of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts, two lawsuits are expected to be filed this week challenging Gov. Mitt Romney's decision to ban out-of-state gay and lesbian couples from marrying here.

A dozen Massachusetts cities and towns - including Cambridge, Somerville and Plymouth - will be filing one of the lawsuits, claiming that it is discriminatory not to allow them to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples from other states. The other lawsuit will be filed by out-of-state same-sex couples, claiming that denying them the right to marry in Massachusetts is unconstitutional.

"We don't discriminate in Somerville City Hall, and we're not about to start now," said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. "This goes beyond the issue of whether or not you agree with same-sex marriage or not. It's a question of fairness and equity."

The lawsuits, to be publicly announced Thursday and filed in state court on Friday, concern Mr. Romney's decision to invoke a 1913 statute, which was adopted in part to block interracial marriages and says that Massachusetts cannot marry any couple if their marriage would be void in their home state.


Signers seek to block homosexual 'marriage'
By Cheryl Wetzstein

The first of six petition drives to block same-sex "marriage" with state constitutional amendments ends this week in Montana.

    If at least 41,020 valid signatures are turned in tomorrow, Montana voters will have a chance to decide in November whether to define marriage as "the union of one man and one woman" in their state's constitution.

    The amendment, if passed, will prohibit courts from finding a "right to marry" for homosexuals, as has happened in Massachusetts.
   "In Montana, we think [marriage] should be decided by folks who wear blue jeans, not folks who wear black robes," said Montana state Rep. Jeff Laszloffy, author of the amendment.


Gay marriage challenges loom in Mass.
Opponents target Legislature, supporters work to overturn 1913 law
The Associated Press

BOSTON - For a month now, hundreds of gay couples have gotten married in Massachusetts with remarkably little fanfare or protest. But the honeymoon is about to end.

Gay-marriage opponents are targeting the Legislature this fall, when all 200 seats are up for election. They want to see passage of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

“The people who are in favor of marriage, the traditional definition of it, we still haven’t given up,” said Michael Carl, president of a political action committee to support candidates who oppose gay marriage and civil unions.

On the other side of the issue, gay-marriage supporters plan to mount a legal challenge later this week to the 1913 law that Gov. Mitt Romney has used to block out-of-state couples from exchanging vows in Massachusetts..

African leaders target gays as cause of continent's ills
Chicago Tribune

WINDHOEK, Namibia - (KRT) - As a boy, Telwin Owoseb wanted to wear lime green. His mother told him blue was for boys and pushed him out the door to play ball, over his protests.

At the end of high school, he told his family he was gay. While his mother accepted the news, his brothers and family friends were horrified.

"A man should be a man and marry and have kids," he remembers them saying.

Since then he has been called a "moffie" - an Afrikaans slur for homosexuals - on the streets of Namibia's capital, and he has faced trouble finding work and a partner in this nation where being gay is considered unnatural, un-Christian and un-African.


Gender correction for Saudi girls
Sebastian Usher
BBC world's media reporter
Five sisters in Saudi Arabia are having operations to become men.

The doctor carrying out the surgery stresses that he is performing what he calls "gender correction" rather than sex change operations.

As a conservative Islamic state, Saudi Arabia does not allow surgery for transsexuals, but permits operations on people with an intersex condition.

Three of the five sisters have already been operated on. The remaining two are to have surgery next week.

The sisters' ages range from 19 to 38.


First gay radio program to air next month
Jerome Tabar

Hawaii's first gay radio program on Kauai has plans to expand across the state as gay businesses snapped up sponsorship and advertising on the show before news of its launch reached the media.

Lambda Aloha, a lesbian-gay-bisexual-transsexual education, advocacy and research organization announced Tuesday the launch of "The Gay Agenda" on KQNG AM 570 on July 2. .


Senate sets mid-July vote on marriage
By Stephen Dinan

Senate Republican leaders have scheduled the Senate vote on a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman for the week of July 12, just two weeks before Democrats convene in Boston for their presidential nominating convention.
  "There's always an argument you should wait for just one more court decision — at some point you've just got to move forward," said Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican.

    "They want to get it done, and it's the last chance to get it done," said one Senate Republican aide involved in the process, who said setting the vote for that week should leave Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry without any excuses for missing the vote.
 "They were probably trying to make it convenient for a certain senator to get back and vote," the aide said.


Counseling can help patients' transition
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Clinical psychologist Jeffrey C. Fracher has spent more than 25 years working with people who feel like their anatomy and internal sense of gender do not match.

He works with clients who want to undergo gender-reassignment surgery. Accepted medical protocols require that those clients first go through a year of counseling during which time they live and dress as the gender they want to become.

"Virtually everyone I have worked with who has turned out to be legitimately transgender will tell you from the earliest memory they felt like they were in the wrong body," said Fracher, who is in private practice in Charlottesville and who is also a clinical assistant professor at the University of Virginia.

"You hear enough of that, and it can be pretty compelling."


Antigay acts on the rise, experts say
As the controversy around same-sex marriage grows, they say, so does violence against gay people.
By Linda K. Harris
Inquirer Staff Writer

What began as a controversy over same-sex marriage in Canada has spread like a hurricane across the United States from Massachusetts to California and catalyzed a surge in antigay sentiment not seen since Ellen DeGeneres came out on national TV in 1997.

Experts say that when gay-oriented issues land on the public agenda, incidents of verbal and physical harassment spike.

The level of gay-bashing is "unprecedented in our movement's history," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the Washington-based National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Across the nation, communities are dealing with the issue, and on Tuesday the U.S. Senate voted to give gays and lesbians protection under the federal hate-crimes law.


Phila. looking to stop bias against gays
By Linda K. Harris
Inquirer Staff Writer

What began as a controversy over same-sex marriage in Canada has spread like a hurricane across the United States and catalyzed a surge in antigay sentiment not seen since Ellen DeGeneres came out on national TV in 1997.

Experts say that when gay-oriented issues land on the public agenda, incidents of verbal and physical harassment spike.

The level of gay-bashing is "unprecedented in our movement's history," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the Washington-based National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Across the nation, communities are dealing with the issue, and on Tuesday the U.S. Senate voted to give gays and lesbians protection under the federal hate-crimes law.


Area gays plan march to beat of changing times
By Mark Pothier, Globe Staff

Deborah Rudolf says she refused to become "invisible" when she moved from Boston to Plymouth nine years ago.

She found herself drawn to the flourishing town's open space and geared-down pace. But as a "very out" lesbian, Rudolf said, she also felt disconnected.

Gays and lesbians "are isolated on the South Shore," she said. "The population density is higher in the city and to the degree that [gay] people can find each other more easily, there's a certain safety in numbers. It's changing here, but some people still feel they need to be careful."

That caution may be giving way to a sense of confidence. Since same-sex marriage was ruled legal in Massachusetts, the South Shore's "burgeoning gay community" has started to become more of a presence, Rudolf said. On Sunday, it will take what she called a "huge step." A parade sponsored by South Shore Pride, a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender group, will bring marchers past the granite slab that marks where the Pilgrims came ashore almost four centuries ago.


City Council adds protection for 'gender identity' to policy
Transgender people receive protection from discrimination
By Rotimi Agbabiaka

Members of Austin's transgender community can count the city as an ally following an Austin City Council decision last week to pass an ordinance adding "gender identity" to the classifications protected against discrimination in housing, public accommodation and employment.

"It's one of the biggest issues in the transgendered community nationwide," said Lisa Scheps, chair of Transgender Advocates of Central Texas, a group formed about a year-and-a-half ago with the objective of helping push through this ordinance.

Scheps said the lack of protection really hit hard due to the inability of transgender people to hide their status.

"You can't really stay in the closet," she said. "Before this, you could lose your job or your housing based on your status as a transgender person."


Gay unions celebrated on campus
Wedding reception start of statewide campaign
by Manuelita Beck
Daily Lobo

It was pretty easy for guests to catch a bouquet at the wedding reception held for the 64 same-sex couples married in Sandoval County.

The Coalition for Equality in New Mexico used the event in the SUB ballroom as an opening for its Protect Our Families campaign, a series of events designed to promote same-sex marriage rights in New Mexico.

"For not only must we win the right to marry in the courts of New Mexico, we'd like to win the hearts of those New Mexicans," said Jonathan Kennedy, a Coalition for Equality in New Mexico board member.

Dair Obenshain, who married her partner Mary Ramos on Feb. 20, said events such as the reception bring more attention to the issue of same-sex marriage. She says educating people is key.


Araujo jury can't reach verdict
Jurors ask to hear testimony, see videotaped interviews, get judge's instructions again
By Ivan Delventhal, STAFF WRITER

HAYWARD -- Members of the jury in the trial of three men charged with killing a transgender Newark teenager told a judge Wednesday that they are having trouble reaching a verdict.

Jurors filed into the courtroom of Judge Harry Sheppard at the Hayward Hall of Justice on Wednesday afternoon after sending him a note earlier in the day indicating their difficulties.

The jury foreman, under questioning by the judge, said the panel potentially could be helped along in its deliberations by listening again to testimony given at trial, by taking a second look at several videotaped police interviews and by receiving further guidance from the court.

Michael Magidson of Fremont and his friends Jose Merel and Jason Cazares, both of Newark, are charged with murder and a hate-crime enhancement in the killing of the teen -- born Eddie Araujo but living as a young woman named Gwen at the time of the slaying.

Girl attacked for 'lesbian' T-shirt
Ben Townley, UK

A girl was brutally attacked after being challenged over a T-shirt bearing a lesbian slogan, a court has heard.

Simone Gibson says she was beaten up in Teeside after being approached by Mark Smorthwaite, who apparently took offence to the shirt bearing the motto "Nobody Knows I'm A Lesbian".

She says that the 32-year-old man, who has admitted being drunk at the time, asked her about her sexuality then hit her in the face. After she fell to the floor, he kicked her, Ms Gibson claims. Whether she is actually a lesbian has not been confirmed.

Mr Smorthwaite says he does not remember the incident, which took place on December 6th last year. He told police officers at the scene that he was "very drunk" and must have been provoked by Ms Gibson and her friend Stephen Holmes to have attacked her.


Catholic Church may dump gay employees who marry
By Eric Convey

Catholic church leaders across the state are considering rewriting employment policies in the wake of legalized gay marriage and may go so far as to call for the firing of church workers who tie the knot with same-sex partners.
  The proposed new policies - which also include a more lenient proposal to let employees follow their own consciences - are articulated in memos circulating among the state's four bishops and their staffs. No decision on which policy to embrace is imminent, said several people who have seen the documents.
   The Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston, said there have been ``discussions about it. It's obviously a very volatile issue.''

     Another church official speaking on condition he not be identified said church officials believe the issue deserves debate because getting married ``falls in the category of employees' public behavior.''


Gay marriage furor expected to rekindle
By KAREN TESTA, Associate Press writer

BOSTON -- For a month now, hundreds of gay couples have gotten married in Massachusetts with remarkably little fanfare or protest. But the honeymoon is about to end.

Gay-marriage opponents are targeting the Legislature this fall, when all 200 seats are up for election. They want to see passage of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

"The people who are in favor of marriage, the traditional definition of it, we still haven't given up," said Michael Carl, president of a political action committee to support candidates who oppose gay marriage and civil unions.

On the other side of the issue, gay-marriage supporters plan to mount a legal challenge any day now to the 1913 law that Gov. Mitt Romney has used to block out-of-state couples from exchanging vows in Massachusetts.


Critics: GOP not hands-off on gay marriage
5th District race illustrates party's conflict with its normal position on states' rights
By Theo Helm

Many Republicans have traditionally said they would rather leave more decisions to the states, not the federal government.

But not when it comes to gay marriage.

That change is clear in the 5th Congressional District, where all the Republican candidates support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

That comes even though most of them - including Ed Broyhill, state Sen. Virginia Foxx, Jay Helvey, Winston-Salem City Council Member Vernon Robinson and Nathan Tabor - consider themselves pro-states' rights./a>


Gay marriage bans clear lower house

The federal government's controversial plans to ban gay couples from marrying and adopting children from overseas were passed by parliament's lower house.

After a heated debate, the government used its numbers to defeat a series of amendments proposed by Labor and get the legislation passed.

The legislation will now be debated in the Senate.

Labor had strongly opposed the ban on gay couples adopting children from overseas in the Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill 2004.


1913 law center of gay marriage battle

BOSTON -- A 1913 law that went virtually unnoticed for almost a century may take center stage in the battle over gay marriage in Massachusetts.

The law prohibits clerks from issuing licenses to couples if the marriage would not be legal in their home state.

After the state's Supreme Judicial Court ruled in November that same-sex couples had a right to marry, Gov. Mitt Romney used the 1913 law to block out-of-state couples from exchanging vows in Massachusetts.

Gay rights advocates contend the law is unconstitutional. They also said it's discriminatory to enforce it against gay couples when heterosexual couples from out-of-state were rarely, if ever, challenged over the past several decades.


Lover Cop Now Prime Suspect In College Student's Murder 
by Newscenter Staff

(Columbia, Missouri) A married Columbia police officer who was having a secret affair with a gay college student is now the prime in his murder.

The body of 23 year old Jesse Valencia was discovered June 6 on the lawn of a home about a block from his apartment near the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia.  An autopsy showed that his throat had been slashed.

The last time anyone saw him was about 3:30 the previous morning as he left a party off campus.

Shortly after the investigation into the killing began friends of Valencia said he was having a secret affair with a police officer. The friends told homicide investigators that the officer had arrested Valencia on April 18 for interfering with officers responding to a peace disturbance in the area. The friends said the officer then started visiting Valencia’s apartment.


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

American Cancer Society partners with Mautner on lesbian cancer issues

The American Cancer Society has begun collaborating with the Mautner Project, the national lesbian health organization, to learn how to better meet the cancer education and support needs of the lesbian community. Studies suggest that lesbians are at greater risk for developing breast cancer and some gynecological cancers. This elevated risk is partially because lesbians are less likely to undergo regular gynecological exams, have fewer mammograms, and are less likely to perform regular breast self-examinations compared to heterosexual women. Lesbians also have higher rates of risk factors for these cancers, including obesity, alcohol and tobacco use, and the fact that they generally have not borne children.

With the assistance of the Mautner Project, the American Cancer Society conducted focus groups in Washington, D.C., with lesbian cancer survivors, their partners, and caregivers attending a nationwide conference to determine how to better reach lesbians. The society is currently acting on key recommendations from the surveys to develop a more meaningful relationship with lesbians who may not be aware of their risk factors. Activities already in place include: the creation of publications titled Cancer Facts for Lesbians and Bisexual Women and Tobacco and the GLBT Community; the inclusion of lesbians in the society's advocacy efforts; sending speakers to local meetings of lesbian organizations; and inviting lesbians to speak at society events. The society also has posted stories on the relationship between cancer and sexual orientation on its Web site at A discussion board for lesbians also was added to the Web site.

Gay Pride: Activists hold rights vigil
Napans gather to protest President Bush's proposal for gay marriage ban
Register Staff Writer

Stephani Durden and Jeannette Cassayre spent two cold nights in the rain waiting to tie the knot. On Feb. 16, the Napa women were married, along with hundreds of other gay couples, at San Francisco City Hall.

On Tuesday, Durden, 35, Cassayre, their three children and 11-month-old grandson made a point to participate at the Candlelight Vigil for the Preservation of the U.S. Constitution.

The event, held at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Napa, was part of the eight days of festivities observing the second annual Napa Valley Pride Week. The celebrations to bring recognition and support for Napa County's gay community is sponsored by the North Bay Unity League.

Thugs attack teenager ‘for being homosexual’
By Amy Terceira

A 15 -year-old Sandys youth was remanded in custody yesterday after admitting he beat up another boy because he thought he was a homosexual. The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged indictably with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to another youth. However, due to his age he will be spared from going to Supreme Court.

Crown counsel Juan Wolffe told the court that the Crown would be seeking the maximum sentence that Magistrates’ Court could “deal out”. Mr. Wolffe read out a summary of the offence, which happened on Friday.

The defendant and three other people – all wearing black masks or covering their faces with white t-shirts – were driving in a car and saw the complainant and another boy walking down Reid Street. They shouted, “Batty Boys” – using the Jamaican slang for homosexual. The four boys got out of the car and chased the complainant and his friend down the street.Mr. Wolffe told the court that the complainant slipped on the pavement and one of the boys punched him on the shoulder, he then fell to the ground and another boy jumped on him.

Gay Episcopal bishop to meet with antigay parishoners

Members of a church in Rochester, N.H., who rebelled against the election of openly gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson will meet with him next week. Several parishioners at the Church of the Redeemer left in protest after Robinson was consecrated as bishop of New Hampshire last year. Others have pushed to have the church removed from his administration. "We don't want to leave the Episcopal Church; we just want to be under the care of different bishop," said Kathy Lewis, treasurer of the church's vestry.

Robinson has said he is willing to allow visiting bishops to provide pastoral care to the congregation, but he said they must accept his leadership of the diocese. He agreed to provide church members with a list of conservative bishops from which they could choose whom he would accept as a visitor to his diocese. But the opposing parishioners want to be clear of Robinson entirely and install another bishop.

Jurors indicate they're not progressing
Associated Press

HAYWARD, Calif. - Jurors deliberating the case of three men accused of killing a transgender teen indicated Wednesday they are having trouble reaching a decision.

Jurors, who are in their eighth full day of deliberations told Alameda County Superior Court Judge Harry Sheppard they need more explanation of some of his instructions on how to reach a verdict, and would like to take another look at some tape-recorded and videotaped evidence.

Sheppard said he would try to answer the panel's questions and would provide the evidence Thursday morning. Meanwhile, they continued deliberating.

Prosecutor Chris Lamiero had asked the jury to find Michael Magidson, Jose Merel and Jason Cazares, all 24, guilty of first-degree murder, calling the killing a cold-blooded execution.

The panel had the option of returning verdicts of first-degree murder, punishable by 25 years-to-life in prison; second-degree murder, 15-to-life; or manslaughter, which carries a maximum term of 11 years.