poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Pastors' political activity, group's response, draw AG into fray
Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. - The Rev. Jerry Johnston says building Overland Park's First Family Church kept him busy enough in recent years that he didn't feel he had time for Kansas politics.

But he says he and other pastors received a wake-up call this spring when the Kansas House rejected a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would have banned gay marriage and denied legal benefits associated with marriage to other domestic arrangements, such as civil unions.

He and dozens of other clergy are now part of a statewide effort to register 100,000 new voters and send them to the polls to protect what they call traditional values.

But their activities also attracted the notice of the Mainstream Coalition, a Johnson County group that says its biggest issue is keeping church and state separate. The coalition recently promised to send volunteers into churches to see that ministers do not violate federal laws governing the political activity of nonprofit groups.



A Harvey Milk HS student has filed a $4 million suit against the city, claiming she was wrongly arrested last year in a melee outside the nation's first gay high school.

Erica Simon, 18, says cops arrested her for no reason when she tried to file charges against her attacker — cuffing her to a door for 22 hours without food, water or access to a phone.

She claims cops treated her cruelly because she's gay.

"I felt like they treated me like I was dog doo-doo," the Coney Island native said of her reason for filing the federal suit.


Governor, Gay Advocates Celebrate New N.J. Partnership Law
Law Gives Some Legal Rights To Couples

Calling it a victory for social justice, New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey hosted a reception at the governor's mansion Friday to celebrate the state's new domestic partnership law.

Several communities plan to open municipal offices on Saturday to mark the first day gay partners and unmarried heterosexual couples age 62 and over may register. The law will give some legal rights to registered couples, including the ability to make medical decisions for the other.

Gay rights advocates joined the governor at the private celebration, which was not announced until it was over. McGreevey has championed the partnership law since the measure was first introduced.

"I am proud that the day is finally here when New Jersey will guarantee individuals who have entered into an enduring emotionally and financially committed relationship, the basic fundamental rights they deserve," McGreevey said in a statement.


Marketers come out of the closet to target gays.
Mainstream advertisers find that the once-neglected niche has nearly half a trillion dollars in spending power.
By Allyce Bess
Of the Post-Dispatch

For years, companies have tried to crack the often-misunderstood gay market. By placing ads in gay-specific media, including magazines such as Genre or The Advocate, corporate marketers have skirted controversies and high advertising rates.

For example, Anheuser-Busch Cos. has been marketing to gays for nearly 25 years, but you might not know if you're not gay. Most of its gay-focused advertising has been in gay publications or at gay events.

But with the success of cable-television shows such as "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "The L Word," to name a couple, observers say marketers can come out of the closet, too.

"The only thing (marketers) have left to fear is the right wing. No one wonders anymore what the middle thinks," said Michael Wilke, founder and executive director of the Web site, which tracks and rates gay representation in advertising.

Man changes sex to marry, faces social boycott :
Kolkata (IANS) :

A man who changed his sex to marry another man is facing social boycott and threats in a small West Bengal town where people are calling his sexuality "sinister".

Somnath Banerjee took a woman's name, Manabi, after he underwent an operation to change his sexual organs, but a section of the townspeople says he is corrupting young minds.

Banerjee, the head of the Bengali department of a college in Jhargram, a small conservative town about 150 km west of here, stunned his family and friends when he told them he was a transsexual and wanted to change to a woman.

Despite heavy odds, Banerjee, who prefers to be addressed in the feminine gender, underwent the sex change operation and became a woman.

Attack galvanizes gay community

When three men beat and slashed Micah Painter with a broken vodka bottle outside a gay bar last month, they left him seriously injured. They also wounded many others in the gay community who took the assault as a personal attack.

It was a kind of attack not seen in years in a city known for its acceptance of homosexual people.

"This type of viciousness is not something the community has seen," said Meighan Doherty, an activist in the gay community. "It's really hit home for a lot of people."

As Seattle police continue to investigate the brutal attack on Painter, a 23-year-old landscaper and personal trainer, many in the gay community are organizing to raise awareness of assaults on gays and other hate crimes


Police Say Assault Was "Hate Crime"

Northern Kentucky police now say an assault outside a gay bar in Newport was a hate crime.

Police say Steven Ard beat 19-year-old Matthew Ashcraft with an aluminum baseball bat.

Ard is charged with first degree assault. Investigators say Ard was yelling slurs at another man when Ashcraft stepped in to help. Ard says he was acting in self defense.

Ashcraft is still recovering. He suffered a fractured skull, a blood clot, cranial bleeding and hearing damage.


Gay couple's split months after vows adds fuel to debate
By Tracey Kaplan
Mercury News

They've lasted considerably longer than the 55 hours pop diva Britney Spears managed to stay married, but a same-sex couple who tied the knot in San Francisco three months ago already are seeking to dissolve their union.

The couple's breakup after more than 10 years together puts the spotlight for the first time on the flip side of same-sex marriage: divorce.

``I would love to think that gay people will do a better job with marriage than heterosexuals,'' said Frederick Hertz, an Oakland-based attorney and co-author of ``A Legal Guide for Gay and Lesbian Couples'' who represents one member of the couple. ``But chances are they'll make as many mistakes as straight couples.''

Opponents of gay marriage Friday seized on the breakup as a sign that same-sex marriage was doomed, while gay-rights activists pointed out that about half of all heterosexual marriages also eventually fail. The breakup also highlights a tricky legal situation that all 3,955 same-sex couples who got married in San Francisco will face in the event they decide to sever ties or one person dies.


Metro issue stirs statewide gay-rights group
Staff Writer

A new gay and lesbian group formed to fight for gay rights in the state legislature is instead turning its attention to a local fight brewing at the Metro Council.

Several dozen members of the new Tennessee Equality Project will meet next week to discuss the stalled reappointment of gay rights supporter Maria Salas to the Metro Human Relations Commission, the city agency charged with overseeing civil rights complaints.

Salas' appointment was deferred at the Metro Council meeting Tuesday on a vote of 27-10. The vote came amid speculation that some council members objected to her outspoken support for a Metro ordinance — since defeated — that would have guaranteed certain employment rights to gay and lesbian Metro employees.

Councilman Mike Kerstetter, who asked for the deferral, said the vote had nothing to do with gay rights.


Debate stirred on gay marriage
Tribune Reporter

WASHINGTON - New Mexico's senators are taking opposing sides in the debate on a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in all states.

Albuquerque Republican Pete Domenici said the amendment is needed to protect traditional marriage in New Mexico between a man and woman from "activist" judges, lawyers or clerks like Sandoval County's Victoria Dunlap.

Silver City Democrat Jeff Bingaman said New Mexico's courts already have stopped Dunlap, and the Senate debate "is a waste of our time."

Debate began Friday and continues Monday.

Bingaman said the amendment doesn't have the necessary two-thirds support in the Senate. He said most New Mexicans agree it is not a matter for the Constitution.


More Gay Couples Plan To Wed In New Paltz
State Health Dept.: Same-Sex Marriage Is Illegal
by The Associated Press

NEW PALTZ -- Another 17 same-sex couples plan to wed Saturday in the Hudson Valley, joined by a heterosexual couple to show support.

The village of New Paltz has become a focal point in efforts to legalize same-sex marriages in New York. Mayor Jason West presided over the first same-sex marriages in the state in February. Since then, dozens of couples exchanged marriage vows at public ceremonies.

The state Health Department has told municipal clerks not to give same-sex couples marriage licenses, saying it is illegal under state law. Court cases are pending over the constitutionality of that order.

Gay N.J. Couples Register for Partnerships
Associated Press Writer

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. - Hundreds of same-sex couples gathered to register domestic partnerships on Saturday, the first day of a new law in New Jersey that gives gay partners some of the same rights as married couples.

More than 200 people attended a morning ceremony marking the law going into effect. Many arrived hours early, sitting on the municipal building´s steps or on lawn chairs while filling out domestic partnership applications.

"This is a very great day in New Jersey´s civil rights history," said Mayor Fred Profeta. "The civil rights achieved today are very important _ don´t anyone doubt that."

Some 40 applications, which attest to the signers being domestic partners, had been handed out as of 9:30 a.m. After completing the paperwork, couples planned to draw numbers to determine their place in a line to receive notarization.


Indiana senators undecided on vote
Gannett News Service

WASHINGTON -- Indiana's senators, Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh, have not decided how they will vote next week on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, their offices said.

Both oppose marriage for gay men and lesbians, but both have also expressed hesitation about amending the Constitution to bar same-sex unions.

Lugar, a Republican, is reading court opinions to determine the implications of an amendment. He wants to hear the floor debate before making up his mind, said spokesman Andy Fisher.

Lugar voted for a 1996 federal law that denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages and allows states to ignore same-sex unions performed elsewhere.


Gay marriage debate following divergent trends

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Opposing trends emerging in the gay marriage debate following Ohio's enactment of a same-sex marriage ban may not be entirely at odds with each other.

Last month, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman arranged to make health insurance coverage available to the domestic partners of city employees. Two public universities also added same-sex partners to employees' health insurance.

At the same time, backers of a proposed state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage are continuing to circulate petitions for a possible November vote. And last week, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell called for a similar amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

These apparently conflicting movements are consistent with what many people feel about gay marriage, said Marc Spindelman, a professor of constitutional and family law at Ohio State University.

"Whatever feelings people might have about gay marriage, it seems unfair to them not to allow people with long-standing relationships with no possibility of marriage under law to be able to take care of each other," he said.


NY's Bloomberg to Entertain Gay, Pro-Choice Groups
By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York's Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg will throw three lavish parties during this summer's Republican National Convention, but two of his soirees are for groups whose positions President Bush opposes.

The billionaire-turned-politician will entertain a group in favor of a woman's right to choose abortion and a group of gay Republicans who have yet to endorse Bush for re-election.

Bloomberg, known for his extravagant affairs, will also host a party for Republican Hispanics at the mayor's official residence, Gracie Mansion.

In a year when same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts and became a hot issue across the country ahead of November's election, Bush supports a constitutional amendment to outlaw such unions.

Friday, July 09, 2004

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Alert; Federal Marriage Amendment Senate Debate Started Today
Task Force Communications Department
Sheri A. Lunn, Director of Communications
Task Force friends:

Over the coming days, the United States Senate is scheduled to debate the "Federal Marriage Amendment" that would, for the first time in history, amend the constitution of the United States to explicitly discriminate against a minority by forever prohibiting the recognition of same sex marriage (and, as it's now written, other forms of partner recognition as well).

With the Democratic minority holding firm to its pledge to kill the measure and a handful of the Senate's 51 Republicans expressing doubts about its need, even Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has been forced to admit the votes aren't there to pass the amendment as written - and probably not enough to end debate and force a vote on the amendment itself. (Just over two weeks ago, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he thought a majority of Senators would end up voting against the amendment.)

The media have accurately diagnosed the real purpose behind this particularly ugly and wasteful charade: to try to put John Kerry and the Democratic Party on the spot right before the Democratic National Convention.

In desperation, the right wing has gone into hyperdrive, hoping to generate thousands of telephone calls to Senators today and over the weekend. As described in the article below, the head of Focus on the Family, James Dobson, is asking supporters to "call until the switchboard smokes."

We need to do the same to be sure there's no wavering on our side. So, please, take a couple of minutes and contact your U.S. Senator. (In the article below, you'll find the names of those Senators who are either undecided or opposed to this discriminatory amendment.)

Don't know the contact info for your two Senators? Log on to to quickly find out. And then call. And remember, Equality Begins at Home so ask your friends and family to call as well.

Senate Opens Debate on Gay Marriage Ban
Senate Opens Debate on Constitutional Amendment That Would Ban Gay Marriage
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON July 9, 2004 — Senate Republicans opened debate Friday on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, highlighting their differences with Democrats on the emotionally charged matter.

The amendment aims to settle conflicts in state legislatures and courts over gay marriage by adding language to the Constitution that states, "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman."

President Bush planned to devote his Saturday radio address to the "sanctity of marriage," and the first hours of Senate debate hinted at the political pressure boiling under the issue.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., disparaged Republicans as using the Constitution as "a bulletin board for campaign sloganeering."

"Somehow we should find a way to restrain the impulse of some to politicize the Constitution," he said.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said it was a "phony argument" to accuse the GOP of bringing the issue to a vote to make an election-year statement. Hatch then accused Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry of holding inconsistent positions on marriage.

Stay denied on same-sex marriage registration in Oregon
Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. -- A state request to hold off on registering more than 3,000 same sex marriage licenses issued in Multnomah County was denied Friday by Oregon's Court of Appeals, setting the stage for a showdown in the state's highest court.

Kevin Neely, spokesman for Attorney General Hardy Myers, said the ruling could mean the state soon will have to begin officially registering the gay marriages licenses issued this spring in Oregon's largest county.

A Multnomah County judge had halted any future marriages while a lawsuit challenging their constitutionality is pending, but directed that the state officially register the licenses from ceremonies already performed.


Suit Challenges Virginia Sodomy Law
by Newscenter Staff

(Virginia Beach, Virginia)  A lawsuit to be filed Monday in Virginia challenges the last vestige of sodomy laws.  After the US Supreme Court ruled last year that laws against sodomy were unconstitutional, the state of Virginia dug in its heels.  The state maintains that sodomy in the privacy of one's home is now legal, but seeking it in a public place is not.

With court papers that will be filed Monday in the Virginia Court of Appeals, Lambda Legal will appeal the conviction of a man who was charged with solicitation of sodomy.

"This sodomy law is dead, and that means you can't convict someone for attempting to violate it or talking about violating it; there's no law left to violate," said Greg Nevins, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Southern Regional Office and Lambda Legal's lead attorney on the case.

"This was a rogue prosecution under a law that no longer exists."

Take Action!
I called my Senators to oppose the FMA!
CALL YOUR SENATOR: 1-877-762-8762! And then let us know that you called by quickly completing the information on this page so we can keep count.

What to say when youcall...Use your own words, or use ours: "My name is YOUR NAME from YOUR ADDRESS. I am calling to urge the Senator to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment when it comes to a vote next week. The proposed amendment to our founding document is unnecessary, discriminatory, and undermines the principles upon which our Constitution was written. As my elected official in Congress, I hope that you will concentrate on more important matters such as the struggling economy, the war in Iraq, and health care, rather than devoting time to a discriminatory, unnecessary amendment. Thank you."


U.S. Senate begins debate on constitutional marriage ban

The Senate waded into an election-year debate on Friday over whether to write into the Constitution that "marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman." Its strongest proponents say a constitutional amendment is the only way to prevent federal courts from hearing cases that challenge a federal law disallowing same-sex unions. With such an amendment, they say, a court wouldn't be able to rule that gay marriage is legal. "Some would define this as the ultimate culture battle," said Republican senator Sam Brownback. But many Democrats are describing the debate as a political diversion orchestrated for the weeks running up to the presidential nominating conventions this summer. "It's all about politics, folks. Let's face it," said Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat. "We're going to go on to gay marriage before the Democratic convention so some people can cast a vote that might hurt them in their election. Shame on us."

Senators fighting for the Federal Marriage Amendment, which is backed by President Bush, would have to secure a two-thirds vote--67 of the Senate's 100 members--to pass it. Some supporters questioned Thursday whether they had even the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural hurdles. "We're going to have to see how that vote comes out," said Sen. Wayne Allard, the Colorado Republican who drafted the proposed amendment. Senate majority leader Bill Frist urged senators to begin informal debate on the legislation Friday and said debate would continue Monday and Tuesday with a goal of voting Wednesday.

Republican Senate Leadership Trades Equality for Bigotry to Win Votes, Says PFLAG

WASHINGTON, July 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), our country's premier family grassroots organization, strongly opposes the Republican Senate's leadership attempts to trade people's lives for political partisanship by trying to force a ban on marriage equality through the Congress.

"This is clearly a ploy designed to play on bigotry and incite fear to win votes," said Ron Schlittler, executive director of PFLAG. "Many Senators, Republicans and Democrats, believe that our Constitution should not be used as a tool of government enforced discrimination; however, the Republican leadership that supports the Federal Marriage Amendment is not interested in a substantive debate of the issue. Their goal is to placate a radical right-wing faction by altering the Constitution to suit their own personal prejudice."

The families of gay and lesbian couples are also speaking out against the Amendment push. "I have come to expect that some people, including my representatives in Congress, will never look at my daughter as an equal citizen," says Perry Norton, PFLAG Dad and father of Heidi Norton, one of the litigants in the Massachusetts marriage case. "But it pains me to no end that they would go as far as forcing a vote on this shameful law. They don't have to do it, but they will because this is an election year. How can these people trade the lives of my daughter, her partner and my dear grandchildren to shore-up votes from the far-right? It is unconscionable."

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


Park event to celebrate gay pride
The Columbian

The event celebrates gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender pride, but organizers emphasize that everybody is welcome to Saturday in the Park, marking its 10th year at Vancouver's Esther Short Park.

    Opening activities will include a flag ceremony and invocation by a representative of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Gentle Shepherd in Vancouver. Speakers will include Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard, State Rep. Bill Fromhold, D-Vancouver, County Commissioner Craig Pridemore, State Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, and County Commissioner Betty Sue Morris.  

    This year's theme, "Our World is Your World: Freedom, Faith and Equality," is reflected in the musical entertainment planned for the afternoon. It begins at 12:30 p.m. with an appearance by the Rose City Swing Band; other performers are soloist Terry Smith, singer-songwriter Amy Wells, the band Colorfield, The Gay Washingtons, Chris Mix and Dezhon.

International: Reporting the global story of AIDS
Yesterday's News?
HIV and the media
It is widely acknowledged that the media has a crucial role to play in the battle against AIDS. But how exactly do we go about doing this? Panos Features editor Dipankar de Sarkar argues that journalists and editors must seize ownership of the 'AIDS story', and approach it with greater Professionalism by highlighting the voices of those who are affected.

There's a story told of a veteran Canadian newspaper editor, who, after putting the paper to bed, would gather his editors round in the newsroom. “All right, boys and girls,” he would say. “What really happened in the world today?”

This is not an apocryphal tale (it happens to be true). For what really happened out there – as opposed to what we are told happened or what we are conditioned to discard among the things that happened – has always been a key question for the media. It's one that all of us in the media should strive to answer every day of our lives.

Of course we don't know everything that happened – who could – but we do know of one story that broke in the last 24 hours. Just over 8,000 people died of AIDS, the overwhelming majority of them in the developing world.

Few of those who died would have had access to any of the exotic anti-retroviral drugs that have made HIV/AIDS such a manageable condition in the wealthy countries of the West. They would have died miserable deaths, many in countries where the majority live on incomes of less than a dollar a day – without a decent meal or clean water.


Bakersfield Fire Department Employees File Civil Suits Against City of Bakersfield and Bakersfield Fire Department Chief

BAKERSFIELD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 9, 2004--Robert Pratt and Rachelle Scudder filed individual complaints for damages yesterday in Bakersfield Superior Court against the City of Bakersfield for wrongful suspension, retaliation, harassment, conspiracy and defamation. Bakersfield Fire Department members were also named as defendants, including Chief Ron Fraze, Deputy Chief Gary Hutton, Captain Brian Perry, Human Resources Supervisor Anthony Gonzales, Investigator Edward Watts, and Captain John Webber.

Although the Plaintiffs provided overwhelming evidence that accusations that they had oral copulation at work were false, they were still reprimanded and demoted, denied promotion, and their wages decreased.

Gay Rights Site Runs 'Outing' Ad Aimed at the Hill
By Jose Antonio Vargas
Washington Post Staff Writer

It reads like an ominous threat: "For Years Our Silence Has Protected You. Today That Protection Ends."

The Washington Blade, the area's gay weekly newspaper, today is running a full-page ad, titled "Final Call to Conscience," that helps fuel anxiety on Capitol Hill involving what local gay rights activists call an "outing craze" over the past two weeks.

The $1,400 color ad -- paid for by the Web site (Mary as in Mary Cheney, Vice President Cheney's openly gay daughter) -- is similar to "Call to Conscience," an ad that ran in the Blade in 1996 when Congress was deliberating the Defense of Marriage Act. John Aravosis, national co-chairman of, said yesterday that as with the previous ad, this one seeks to highlight the "hyprocrisy within gays and lesbians on the Hill who work for anti-gay members of Congress."

This time, the legislation in question is the Federal Marriage Amendment, which President Bush endorsed in February, calling on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment "defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and woman as husband and wife."


Outed Hill staffer condemns campaign
Mikulski and Foley become newest congressional targets as FMA vote nears

The voicemail came on a Thursday afternoon, in between busy committee meetings and at the end of a hectic week for Senate staffer Jonathan Tolman. It was a confusing message — the demands vague, the voice unidentified and unrecognizable.

The call had asked for “some updates” for an article involving Tolman, the staffer recalled, and left a number. Tolman simply assumed the caller wanted a revised version of a report on environmental policies he authored while working for a downtown Washington thinktank. As it turned out, that wasn’t the article in question.

Tolman, a senior aide for the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, chaired by conservative Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, was about to become the first Capitol Hill staffer publicly outed through a campaign led by two activists.

The “article” was a profile of Tolman three years ago in Metro Weekly, a local gay and lesbian magazine, a story that Tolman said he had long forgotten about.


Anti gay cruise rally set for Sunday
By LaKEISHA McSWEENEY,Guardian Staff Reporter

With the first "family value" gay cruise scheduled to dock in Bahamian waters on July 16, a band of protesters are anticipating to again have numbers that will make politicians realise that citizens value morality over revenue.

"We have to determine what it is that we want," said Pastor Mario Moxey, chairman of The Save The Bahamas Campaign, Wednesday during a press conference at The Bahamas Harvest Church, Prince Charles Drive where he announced a massive rally against gay cruises for Sunday in Rawson Square.

"Are we going to go after a morally sound nation or are we going to go after our livestock? he asked. "Are we going to think our pocketbooks or are we going to think moral decency?

Pastor Moxey added that the numbers at the upcoming rally, the first of numerous scheduled in the coming weeks, would also force politicians to end their silence on homosexual cruises and same sex marriages.


Church to debate rules on weddings

The Church of England General Synod is expected to discuss whether to relax marriage regulations and broaden the range of places where couples can wed.

At present, Anglican church weddings can be only be held in a parish where either the bride or the groom live or worship, unless they apply for a special licence.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will be joined by bishops, clergy and lay members from all over Britain for the five-day meeting at York University.

Synod will also consider recent criminal justice developments and is expected to call on the Government to switch its focus from punishing to rehabilitating offenders.


Spanish gays quit the church

Spanish gay rights activists have handed in 1500 letters to the Catholic Church from people renouncing their faith in anger at its opposition to gay marriage, which the Socialist Government plans to legalise.

The mass apostasy on Thursday was a powerful gesture in a country where 95 per cent of people define themselves as Catholics and where the new government has outlined several measures that irk the church.

"I do not wish to belong to an institution that crushes gays, lesbians and transsexuals daily," said Pedro Zerolo, a member of the Socialist Party executive board and one of the 1500 who asked that their names be struck from church records.

The Socialist Government, which won power in April, quickly announced it would seek to legalise same-sex marriage and says a draft law will be presented in September - a radical move in a country where homosexuality was illegal until 1975.


death of an activist
by peter tatchell

brian williamsonjamaican gay rights activist brian williamson was brutally murdered in his kingston home on june 9th.

speaking at a memorial vigil for brian williamson outside the jamaican high commission in london on wednesday 23 june 2004, organised by the gay rights group outrage!. i made the following statement:

”jamaica’s prime minister pj patterson shares responsibility for the wave of homophobic violence, culminating in the murder of brian williamson. his government gives credibility to anti-gay prejudice by enforcing the ban on homosexuality and by doing nothing effective to tackle homophobic hate crimes. patterson is a coward. nelson mandela and archbishop desmond tutu say homophobia is as bad as racism. when will patterson show similar moral leadership?" 

i also asked “why won’t patterson speak out against the torrent of gay bashing attacks? why won’t he scrap jamaica’s colonial era anti-gay laws?”

the london vigil was attended by members of the black and gay communities, including gay jamaican asylum seekers who have fled to britain to escape murder in jamaica.


Homosexual Law Reform Comes of Age
Wellington (NZ)
Homosexual Law Reform Comes of Age

18 years ago this Friday, July 9th, Homosexual Law Reform passed into law in New Zealand. Some of the key players in ensuring the Bill's success will be celebrating that anniversary on Friday at Premier House, the Prime Minister's residence, along with 150 of Wellington's Gay and Lesbian community.

The event is being hosted by Hon Marian Hobbs, and organised by Rainbow Labour and GAP (Gay Association of Professionals). Key figures in the struggle for homosexual law reform who will speak include former MPs Hon Fran Wilde and Judy Keall, and activists Alison Laurie and Bill Logan. They will share memories of the campaign to decriminalise gay sex and discuss the wider symbolic importance of the victory in moving towards equality before the law for gay and lesbian people.

"We have come a long way since homosexual law reform in 1986 and then the passing 11 years ago of the Human Rights Act which banned discrimination based on sexuality," said Judie Alison, Co-Chair of Rainbow Labour Wellington. 
"Yet we still face significant homophobia from some extremist opponents, and this has been very evident as a result of the introduction of Civil Union legislation. It is an important time to get together and remember where we have come from in our fight for human rights and equality before the law," she said.


New license plates honor Boy Scouts
By Christina Bellantoni

Virginia residents will be able to buy a license plate honoring the Boy Scouts of America, along with 31 other plates the state Legislature approved this year.
 Delegate Clarence E. "Bud" Phillips, Castlewood Democrat, sponsored a bill to create the special license plates at the request of scoutmasters in Southwest Virginia.

    "The Boy Scouts is a strong organization for the building of strong young people in this country," Mr. Phillips said.
 But some homosexual rights activists said the license plate should not be made because the organization has banned homosexuals from joining.

Gay Leader to Fly to Florida to Support Ellis & Guy Rubin's Lawsuits for Marriage Equality

NORTH HILLS, Calif., July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- On Monday, July 12, the Executive Director of the Equality Campaign --, Robin Tyler and her partner, Diane Olson, will fly to Florida in support of two lawsuits, their 4th and 5th, filed by attorney's Ellis and Guy Rubin, seeking to overturn Florida's ban on Gay Marriage.

First, at 11 AM they will be at the main entrance of the Hillsborough County courthouse in Tampa, joining the attorney's who will be representing a lesbian couple.

At 3 PM, they will be at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, with the attorney's, who will be representing two gay male couples.

Robin Tyler, who produced the main stages for three gay Marches on Washington, is the cofounder of She and her partner were the first couple to file suit in California, for being denied a marriage license in Beverly Hills. Olson's grandfather, Culbert Levy Olson was the first Democratic Governor of California, who ran on a platform of 'separation of
church and state.'


Gays, lesbians launch court application to marry

Gay and lesbian organisations took the last legal step in their 10 year journey towards equal rights on Thursday when they filed a court application to have same-sex marriages recognised.

"Recognition of (same-sex) marriages will eradicate unfair legal restrictions against lesbian and gay people and assist in removing the stigma associated with the community," said Evert Knoesen, director of the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, on Friday.

The application was filed by the Equality Project and 18 other applicants in the Johannesburg High Court.

It argues that the Marriage Act of 1961, which expressly prohibits same-sex couples from entering into the institution of civil marriage, is unconstitutional.


Group to monitor pulpit politicking
Tribune news services

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A group that advocates separation of church and state plans to send volunteers to area church services to make sure there's no election-year campaigning from the pulpit.

The Mainstream Coalition, headed by Caroline McKnight, is sending letters to more than 400 churches in the Kansas City area reminding them of IRS rules, which forbid tax-exempt groups, including religious organizations, from participating in political campaigns for or against candidates.

Coalition volunteers will visit churches and report major violations to the IRS.

After the Kansas House voted in May against a referendum on a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, prominent Kansas ministers vowed to rally their congregations to defeat lawmakers who opposed the measure.


Rally to protest proposed ban on gay marriage
Tucson Citizen (AZ)

The youth project of Wingspan, a local advocacy group, is sponsoring an event Sunday to rally opponents of a proposed U.S. constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

A vote in the U.S. Senate on the Federal Marriage Amendment is set for Thursday.

The measure would require that marriage be between a man and a woman and in effect ban gay marriage in the United States.

On Sunday, Wingspan's Eon Youth Center and Wingspan's youth empowerment summer project will meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at 314 E. Sixth St., one block west of Fourth Avenue.


Gay Couples Queue for Same Sex Weddings
By Matt Adams, PA News

Gay couples queued for two hours today to sign the country’s first same-sex wedding waiting list book.

More than 100 couples entered their names in the pink suede-covered book in a bid to be among the first to marry legally under the Government’s proposed Civil Partnership Bill.

One couple arrived in a pink Cadillac to sign the book at Brighton Town Hall.

The city, often dubbed the country’s gay capital, is planning to become the UK’s flagship city for same-sex weddings when the Bill is passed, which it is expected to be in 2005.


Undecided senators FMA battle targets
Amendment supporters quietly remove sunset provision from bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With a vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment just days away, supporters and opponents of the gay marriage ban are embarking on last ditch lobbying efforts in an attempt to sway undecided senators to their side. Some senators locked in close re-election bids have said opponents of same-sex marriage have flooded their offices with calls, urging them to vote “yes” on the amendment that the Senate is scheduled to take up next week.

Social conservatives have targeted Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who is heading into a close primary contest on Aug. 24 with a more conservative opponent, state Sen. Mike Miller. An ad campaign sponsored by Focus on the Family has appeared in several Alaskan newspapers. Charles Kleeschulte, Murkowski’s communications director, said his boss supports an amendment that would ban gay marriage so long as it allows the state to determine who can receive marital benefits. Kleeschulte said Murkowski is waiting to see the final resolution before she casts her vote.

Using a similar ad, Focus on the Family has also targeted Ohio Sens. George Voinovich (R) and Mike DeWine (R) for failing to support the FMA. Marcie Ridgway, press secretary for Voinovich said her office receives hundreds of phone calls a day, mostly from individuals opposing gay marriage. Voinovich has said that the traditional institution of marriage must be protected but that the FMA is not necessary now.

This week, gay activists learned that the latest version of the FMA in the Senate omits the customary “drop dead” provision that stipulates that ratification of the measure by the states must occur within seven years of the date Congress passes it. The last amendment to pass Congress without such a provision was the 27th Amendment in 1789. It was finally ratified, 203 years later.


Smoltz compares gay marriage to bestiality
Braves players claim anti-gay quotes in AP article are ‘inaccurate’

Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz and catcher Eddie Perez reportedly made anti-gay comments last week during interviews with the Associated Press, including Smoltz comparing same-sex marriage to legalizing bestiality.

The AP article, published July 3, examined homophobia in professional sports and the prospects of a gay player coming out in baseball, basketball, football or hockey.

But Smoltz spoke specifically about the most dominant social issue in the gay rights movement, marriage equality, sparking one local activist to demand an apology.

“Smoltz, a devout Christian, criticized those who want to legalize gay marriage,” the AP reported. “‘What’s next? Marrying an animal?’ he asked derisively.”


PFLAG’s Tseng to advise Kerry on gay issues
Former PFLAG director had similar role under President Clinton

After two years on the job, David Tseng, the most recent executive director of Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays, decided to trade parents for politics.

Tseng, who stepped down from his post as the head of the national office of PFLAG in June, said this week he left the group to work on the John Kerry presidential campaign as a pension policy consultant and an adviser on gay issues.

“I hope that I can help our movement in this capacity as well,” Tseng said. “I think it’s one of the most important elections of our lifetime. The prospect of another four years of active intolerance by the executive branch should be unacceptable to any GLBT American.”

It’s not a new role for Tseng, who arrived at PFLAG in June 2002 after spending several years working in the Clinton White House as a pension policy consultant. He called Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, one of the most gay-friendly tickets ever, and said that a record 200-plus gay delegates will attend the Democratic National Convention this month in Boston.

Rhode Island senator opposes amendment barring same-sex marriage

(Washington-AP) -- The US Senate is set to debate today whether the Constitution should be amended to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Proponents say a constitutional amendment is the only way to prevent federal courts from hearing cases challenging a federal law that bars same-sex unions.

Many Democrats say the debate is a political diversion orchestrated for the weeks running up to the presidential nominating conventions.

And several Republican senators say they too are wary of amending the Constitution.


Hate crimes decrease in state -- especially against Hispanics
But Lockyer says 4 incidents a day still being reported
Jason B. Johnson, Chronicle Staff Writer

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer announced Thursday that the number of hate crimes reported in the state had dropped for the second consecutive year, with crimes against Hispanics seeing a significant 34 percent decline.

The annual Department of Justice report, "Hate Crime in California 2003," details statistics on hate crime incidents, victims, prosecutions and convictions that are reported by California law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. Lockyer, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris and Sonoma County District Attorney Stephen Passalacqua made the announcement during a news conference at the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center in San Francisco.

The report shows that overall, hate crime incidents dropped by about 10 percent in 2003 from the previous year. There was a spike in such crimes in 2001, mostly anti-Arab violence in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.


Residents Speak Out On Banning Lesbian From Adopting
Ellis Eskew
WDEF-TV News 12

Residents pack Gordon County's commission meeting Tuesday night after rumors that a lesbian couple wants to become foster parents. Pastors, church members, and families let their voices be heard.

 Jack DuPree/ Pastor, Tabernacle of Praise Church "It's just not a concept that is biblical that we feel is acceptable to rear our children."

A spokesperson for the people opposed to the adoption asks the commissioners to change the county codes and ordinances as well as the Department of Children Services.

 Janet Langille/ Opposes Lesbian Parents "We would like to request the DFACS board to draw up restrictions and guidelines that would not allow lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender adults to become foster parents.


Two More Denominations Call For Anti-Gay Amendment
by Mary Ellen Peterson Newscenter
San Francisco Bureau

(San Francisco, California) The Church of Latter Day Saints and African Methodist Episcopal Church this week announced their support for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

The Mormons, as the LDS is known, issued a statement saying, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints favors a constitutional amendment preserving marriage as the lawful union of a man and a woman."

It is the first official comment from the Church on proposed amendments to ban gay marriage. 

The statement came as the US Senate prepares to vote on a proposal to amend the US Constitution.  In November, Utah voters  will decide whether to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriages and prevent other domestic relationships from being given the same "legal effect" as marriage. 

Senate Takes Up Anti-Gay Amendment Today 
by Paul Johnson Newscenter
Washington Bureau Chief

(Washington) The Senate begins debate today on the Federal Marriage Amendment with a vote expected early next week.

The measure was to come to the floor Monday, but Republican supporters, anxious to squeeze Democrats in an election year quietly moved the bill up on Thursday.

Sources in the Republican Party told that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) wanted the debate to begin before the weekend to allow churches to drum up support and have their congregations begin a massive blitz Monday on senators to support the proposal. 

Also, by beginning the debate today the issue will blanket the media over the weekend and reduce the amount of air time that Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry would get. Since announcing John Edwards as his running mate earlier this week Kerry has monopolized much of the news coverage.


Thursday, July 08, 2004

NJ Towns To Register Gay Domestic Partners

The Rev. Bob Kriesat and Edward Mather plan to drive from their Morris Township home to Maplewood on Saturday morning to register as domestic partners under a new state law.

The two men have been in a relationship for 35 years and see the law as an important milestone.

It allows gay partners to make medical decisions for each other and to file joint state tax returns. It does not legalize gay marriage and offers far fewer rights than those given to heterosexual married couples.

"While we recognize this is not a marriage and does not come near to providing the protections of marriage, it's a step," said Kriest, a pastor at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Chatham.

Plan To Bomb Gay Bars Nets Prison Term 
by Fidel Ortega Newscenter
Miami Bureau

(Fort Lauderdale, Florida) A man charged with plotting to blow up gay bars, abortion clinics and "liberal" churches was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison.

Stephen John Jordi, described as a religious fundamentalist, was arrested last November after buying gasoline cans, flares, starter fluid and propane tanks with a government informant.

Jordi, a former Army Ranger also was charged with terrorism.

Police said that he had planned to bomb gay bars in the Fort Lauderdale area and was targeting abortion clinics and churches which he felt were soft on homosexuality.


Cross-country lesbian grandmothers reach Ulster County

After biking from San Francisco to the East Coast to promote equal marriage, Carrie and Elisia Ross-Stone will be riding into New Paltz later today.

The lesbian grandmothers and their hosts, the New Paltz Equality Initiative, will meet with Village Mayor Jason West and Rev. Kay Greenleaf, who solemnized same-sex marriages earlier this year.

The bicycling couple will complete their trip in New York City on July 11.

Plan To Bomb Gay Bars Nets Prison Term 
by Fidel Ortega Newscenter
Miami Bureau

(Fort Lauderdale, Florida) A man charged with plotting to blow up gay bars, abortion clinics and "liberal" churches was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison.

Stephen John Jordi, described as a religious fundamentalist, was arrested last November after buying gasoline cans, flares, starter fluid and propane tanks with a government informant.

Jordi, a former Army Ranger also was charged with terrorism.

Police said that he had planned to bomb gay bars in the Fort Lauderdale area and was targeting abortion clinics and churches which he felt were soft on homosexuality.


Cross-country lesbian grandmothers reach Ulster County

After biking from San Francisco to the East Coast to promote equal marriage, Carrie and Elisia Ross-Stone will be riding into New Paltz later today.

The lesbian grandmothers and their hosts, the New Paltz Equality Initiative, will meet with Village Mayor Jason West and Rev. Kay Greenleaf, who solemnized same-sex marriages earlier this year.

The bicycling couple will complete their trip in New York City on July 11.

Bi-Partisan Ohio Leaders Join Opposition to Federal Marriage Amendment

CLEVELAND, July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of Republican and Democratic leaders from across Ohio today announced their opposition to the unnecessary Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) and released a list of its supporters.
"This amendment is a distraction from the very real and pressing issues our communities and country as a whole are facing," said Rev. Kenneth Chalker, Pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Cleveland. "The time and energy lawmakers spend on this amendment is of little comfort to the many Ohioans dealing with unemployment, the emotional and financial hardship of having a loved one serving abroad and other serious challenges."
The group includes religious, political and business leaders from both parties that announced their opposition to the unnecessary amendment which would duplicate existing federal and state laws that govern marriage in the United States.


Yoko Ono takes gay marriage fight to clubs
Lennon widow's remix climbing
dance club music charts
Yoko Ono recently performed “Every Man Has a Man Who Loves Him” at a gay pride rally in New York.
The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Yoko Ono has joined the chorus in support of gay marriage by recording “Every Man Has a Man Who Loves Him,” a gay-friendly version of a song she wrote nearly a quarter-century ago.

The song “Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him,” included on her last album with John Lennon before he was killed in 1980, was also retooled into another version: “Every Woman Has a Woman Who Loves Her.”

It’s both a political statement and a tribute to an audience that has improbably made her a hit act in the dance clubs at age 71.

“I should think that people would be more interested in politics and all that is happening, rather than two lovebirds who are looking to wed,” she said. “I think it’s very nice that in an age when love is so scarce that people are willing to gamble on getting married.”


1,000 Rally for Gay Rights
Supporters protest new law they say is discriminatory.
By David Harrison

Before Dallas Miller moved to Fairfax City from South Carolina to live with his partner, he was more concerned about discrimination against gay men in the District — where he works as a psychologist and actor — than in Virginia. But he found he had more to fear in Virginia.

"I was dismayed once I realized," he said.

Three years later, Miller still lives in Fairfax and active in efforts to resist legislation designed to make Virginia less gay-friendly. Last Wednesday, he joined about 1,000 other demonstrators for an afternoon rally outside the Fairfax County Government Center protesting the implementation of a new law forbidding same-sex couples to enter into contractual agreements.

The new law is "of dubious constitutionality and morally bankrupt," said Del. Brian Moran (D-46), speaking for Northern Virginia lawmakers who opposed the law and joined him on the stage.


New Jersey News
Same-sex couples earn greater rights Saturday
Domestic partners can register under new law.
The Express-Times

TRENTON -- It provides more say in medical decisions. It gives the right to collect a deceased partner's pensions. In Michael Blake's words, it provides legal legitimacy.

New Jersey's Domestic Partnership Act, which takes effect Saturday, affords registered same-sex couples in New Jersey legal rights previously unavailable. Gov. James E. McGreevey signed the bill in January.

Under the legislation, gay and lesbian couples will have guaranteed hospital visitation rights, something now controlled by patients' families. Activists say before the law, families could deny access to long-term partners because of prejudices.


Mayor defends gay-vow decision
By Mary Anne Ostrom
Mercury News

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom told liberal activists Wednesday that his decision to allow same-sex marriages in February has not created the political backlash feared by some prominent Democrats.

Newsom spoke to more than 1,500 members of the American Civil Liberties Union as they gathered for their annual convention in San Francisco. He said that his decision took the spotlight off presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry and has advanced the debate from domestic partnerships to the full rights of marriage.

``Now we get beyond domestic partnerships. Now civil unions almost seem passe. And now we're having a real debate about discrimination,'' Newsom said. ``I think in a curious way, it's helped the Kerry campaign.''


A city pupil is changing school to escape the bullies who have made her life hell.

Young Blaize Trigg, 12, from White City, has been the subject of bullying every since she started at Beaufort Community School.

"They call me names, they push me, they shove me and they just torment me all the time,

"I now get scared every time I go to school," she said.

With her mother Claire in a gay relationship, young bullies have seen Blaize as a prime target.

As she approaches the end of Year Seven, it appears that nothing can stop the personal attacks so the family have decided to withdraw Blaize from the school.


Federal court rules in favor of removing antigay banners

A federal judge has ruled that police in Madison, Wis., did not violate a minister's free speech rights by ordering the removal of antigay banners from highway overpasses. U.S. district judge John Shabaz said Wednesday that police had ordered the banners, reading "Homosexuality Is a Sin," removed from the pedestrian overpasses along the city's Beltline not because of their message but because they caused potential traffic hazards to drivers. The Reverend Ralph Ovadal of Monroe, chairman of Wisconsin Christians United, had sued the Madison police department in May, alleging it violated his free speech rights by ordering him to remove the banners last year. Police ordered Ovadal on September 2 and October 11 to remove the banners from pedestrian overpasses near Verona Road and near Park Street.

Shabaz denied Wednesday a request for a temporary injunction that would have barred Madison police from ordering the removal of the banners. The judge said such a ban would have been overly broad and would have prevented police from acting to ensure public safety. In order to grant the injunction, Shabaz said he would have had to find that the lawsuit had a reasonable chance of success on its merits. But the judge said that without making a better case it has very little chance to succeed. Ovadal said the case will go forward. "We think that the pedestrian overpasses are a safe and effective way to conduct our message," the minister said. "We will prove that at trial," which was set for November 22.


New Mexico supreme court rejects same-sex marriage

The New Mexico supreme court on Thursday rejected a county clerk's request to issue more marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court, in a one-page order without comment, unanimously denied a request from Sandoval County clerk Victoria Dunlap to lift a temporary restraining order that prevents her from handing out more licenses to gay couples. Dunlap issued more than 60 same-sex marriage licenses on February 20 but stopped that same day when Attorney General Patricia Madrid declared that gay marriages were not legal under state law. Dunlap contends New Mexico laws support marriage for same-sex couples and that she should be allowed to resume issuing licenses to them. The attorney general says state law limits marriage in New Mexico to a man and a woman.

The supreme court, in a March 31 action, extended a restraining order that had been granted by a district court after Dunlap threatened to resume issuing same-sex marriage licenses. The same-sex marriage dispute remains pending in a case before state district judge Louis P. McDonald. Dunlap, whose term expires at the end of the year, had asked the court to dismiss the temporary restraining order, arguing that it had been in place longer than allowed under procedural rules. Madrid, in written arguments filed with the court earlier this week, said the supreme court's March 31 order was not subject to time limits governing district court procedures for restraining orders in civil cases.


House Republicans vow to vote on marriage ban before election

Leading Republican House of Representatives members who were once unenthusiastic about President George W. Bush's call for a constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples now say they plan to bring the idea to a vote just before next November's election. Senate Republicans have vowed to force a vote on their version of the Federal Marriage Amendment during the week of July 12, shortly before Democrats convene to nominate Massachusetts senator John Kerry as their candidate to unseat Bush. "We feel like marriage is under attack. Marriage is a spiritual bond between one man and one woman," House majority leader Tom DeLay, a Republican, said Wednesday. "I came to realize, in the end, we're going to have to do a constitutional amendment if we want to protect marriage." He said House Republican leaders expect to debate the constitutional amendment in September. Amendments to the Constitution require approval by two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate and ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures.

Kerry and his vice presidential candidate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, oppose same-sex marriage but support civil unions. Neither would support a constitutional amendment. It is unclear whether Kerry or Edwards would leave the campaign trail next week for a vote on the issue, reports the congressional newspaper Roll Call. Privately, Republicans acknowledge they are eager to get both men on the record opposing the amendment, because they believe such a vote would hurt them in the South and Midwest.

House Republicans also plan to debate a measure that would give state courts rather than certain federal ones jurisdiction in same-sex marriage cases. A bill dealing with jurisdiction would leave decisions about legalizing same-sex marriage in state courts and prevent federal judges from hearing cases that challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage in federal law as the union between a man and a woman. Republican representative John Hostettler has written the legislation to remove marriage matters from certain federal courts. In a May statement explaining the bill, he said, "Simply put, if federal courts don't have jurisdiction over marriage issues, they can't hear them. And if they can't hear cases regarding marriage policy, they can't redefine this sacred institution and establish a national precedent for homosexual marriage."


had a mild blog melt down be up in running in no time... in the mean time

please check out my new piece @ in the New Issue of
Suspect Thoughts

edited by Dodie Bellamy

Suspect Thoughts, Issue #13

July - December 2004
Body Language
Guest Editor:
Dodie Bellamy's Forward


The Cams Project by Elliot Anderson
featuring Dodie Bellamy, Doug Heise, Kevin Killian, and Yedda Morrison

Comix by Josh Bayer

Aaron Nielsen interviews author Dennis Cooper

Sheree Rose's Memories of Bob Flanagan

Casey McKinney interviews artist Matt Greene

Selections from Woods in the Watchers by Colter Jacobsen

Margaret Crane interviews artist Larry Sultan


Steve Abee
Neela Banerjee
Dodie Bellamy
Julia Bloch
Diana Cage
Dennis Cooper
Julia Croon
Sam D'Allesandro
Trinie Dalton
d.g. eng
Mark Ewert
Bob Flanagan
Lisa Freeman
Robert Glück
Aracely Gonzalez
Doug Heise
Joshua Hoobler
Kevin Killian
Derek McCormack
Yedda Morrison
Aaron Nielsen
Sam Ott
Lara Parker
Brian Pera
Camille Roy
Milly Sanders
Cedar Sigo
Eleni Stecopoulos
Eileen Tabios
Joel Barraquiel Tan
Matias Viegener
Shoshana von Blankensee
Stephanie Young

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Queers Question the Politics of Gay Marriage
Andrew Cornell

To read the Advocate or other mainstream gay and lesbian papers in recent months, one might easily believe every queer person on the planet had suddenly gone marriage crazy. Since November 2003, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that banning same-sex marriage was discriminatory, national LGBT rights organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom To Marry have been working at a feverish pace to make legal gay marriage a reality. The decision by the mayors of San Francisco, California and New Paltz, NewYork to perform same sex marriages — until legal injunctions ordered them to halt — drove the excitement level even higher. Now, with a constitutional amendment that would ban such marriages at the federal level looming darkly on the horizon, pressure is rising for queer activists and their allies to close ranks and make an all out push for "marriage equality."
Thousands of same-sex couples packed courthouses in a handful of cities earlier this year to marry. Yet a sizable contingent of queer folks aren’t feeling it.

Far from the cut-and-dried moral issue that it’s been portrayed as, many radical queers question who benefits from the campaign, whether it disregards and hides others’ needs, and what to make of its eerie tendency to echo conservative language and policies. As an effort to sort through the issues myself, I decided to ask a number of friends and acquaintances to share their thoughts on the politics of gay marriage.

Nava Etshalom, a recent graduate of Oberlin College who, like thousands of other young people, grew up in a queer family without any form of government recognition, reacted to the recent national debate about gay marriage with considerable ambivalence. "In some ways, just having some attention focused on the meaning of queer family has been exciting," she said. "But the way that that’s functioning to narrow, not expand, meanings of queer family in the U.S. is scary."

Showdown Over Same-Sex Marriage
By Bill Berkowitz, AlterNet..
The Religious Right is mobilizing a massive lobbying effort for the Federal Marriage Amendment.

If Karl Rove, the president's chief advisor, and Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, hadn't been searching for the mother of all wedge issues to galvanize their right wing base; if the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court hadn't ruled that the states constitution should apply to all of the state's citizens; if Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, a relatively unknown Republican congresswoman from Colorado hadn't got the ball rolling in Washington; if Texas sodomy law hadn't been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court; if newly elected Mayor Gavin Newsome hadn't opened San Francisco City Hall to thousands; and if the president hadn't endorsed it, it is unlikely the U.S. Senate would be on the brink of making history.

But all these things have happened, most during the past year, and now, sometime during the week of July 12, the Senate will be voting on a Federal Marriage Amendment, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Perhaps the key event in getting the Senate to take up the issue occurred in late February, when America's war president came out of the war-room closet just long enough to endorse a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. This was the imprimatur that GOP leaders and religious right organizations needed to take the gloves off: "The President was right on target when he said activist courts have left the American people no other recourse, said Tony Perkins, the president of the Washington, DC lobbying group, the Family Research Council. The American Center for Law and Justice, a right wing legal outfit founded by the Rev. Pat Robertson, issued a statement saying that Bush's endorsement "serves as a critical catalyst to energize and organize those who will work diligently to ensure that marriage remains an institution between one man and one woman."

While the decision of the Massachusetts Court, and the photos circulated world-wide of thousands lining up outside City Hall in San Francisco to receive marriage licenses may have aggravated some people, that irritation didn't swell into a national call to action as many on the right had predicted. And while polls showed that most Americans opposed gay couples getting hitched, the issue didn't gain much traction, even after the president's endorsement. For most Americans, it appeared that amending the constitution was not an issue to be taken lightly.

AME votes to bar ministers from performing same-sex unions
Knight Ridder Newspapers

COLUMBIA, S.C. - (KRT) - Delegates at the national convention of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church voted unanimously Wednesday not to allow any of the church's ministers to perform same-sex unions.

The 2.5 million-member, mostly black denomination is the most recent Christian group in the nation to address the hot-button issue of gay marriage.

Delegates at the AME convention in Indianapolis used a unanimous voice vote to pass the motion, which made it illegal within the denomination for any minister to perform a same-sex marriage or civil union.

The vote came without any debate, said the Rev. Joe Darby, pastor of Charleston's Morris Brown AME, who attended the conference. He said it went smoothly because members consider other issues, such as civil rights, education and the presidential election, more urgent.

Maine community recognizes 20 years of change following gay slaying

Twenty years after the killing of a gay man shocked the city, gays and lesbians feel safer in Bangor, Maine. Some say the tragedy marked the beginning of changing attitudes. Back then the movement for gay rights was making huge strides in places like San Francisco, but gays and lesbians in Bangor had little to protect them from discrimination, ridicule, and physical attacks. Today Bangor gays and lesbians acknowledge that much has changed since July 7, 1984, when an openly gay man, Charles O. Howard, was chased down, beaten, kicked, and thrown into the Kenduskeag Stream. "I think I'm safe 99% of the time," says Dan Williams, a gay man who lives in Bangor. But he remains cautious, despite all the changes. "Do I still look for an escape route when I'm about to walk through a group of people on the sidewalk? Of course."

Howard, who wore makeup and carried a purse, had recently moved to Bangor from Portsmouth, N.H. His death came after three teens chased him and a companion in downtown Bangor. Howard tripped on a curb, and the three boys, James Baines, 15, Shawn Mabry, 16, and Daniel Ness, 17, threw him off a bridge. Charged with murder, they eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to the Maine Youth Center in South Portland. The murder made headlines across the country. The city now has an antidiscrimination ordinance, the police department has a hate-crimes officer, the state has a hate-crimes law, and there's even a monument to Howard on the bridge he was thrown from.

Jamie Rogers, community education coordinator at the Eastern Maine AIDS Network, says Bangor is a tolerant city, but young gay, lesbian, and transgendered people still have a multitude of battles to fight: "It can be tough, and some of them have more issues than just their sexuality," she says. "It's very individual. Some have it easy at their high schools, and others have it tough, just like the heterosexual population, really."

Miami Beach moves to protect transgendered people and domestic partner rights

Miami Beach on Wednesday banned discrimination against transgendered people, a decision hailed by members of the gay, lesbian and transgender community as keeping the city at the forefront of protecting their rights.

The city commission also gave preliminary approval to an expansion of the ordinance that allows city employees to register their live-in domestic partners to receive many of the same rights given to a spouse.

The unanimous commission action on transgendered people modifies the city's human rights ordinance to prohibit discrimination against a category ranging from cross-dressers to those who have changed their sex through surgery.

It requires they be given equal rights in areas such as employment, housing, and public services.

Gay marriage on House agenda before presidential election
MARY DALRYMPLE, Associated Press Writer

House Republican leaders who were once unenthusiastic about President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment against recognizing gay marriages now say they plan to bring the idea to a vote just before next November's election.

Senate Republicans want to force votes on the amendment in the next two weeks, just before Democrats convene to nominate Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry as their candidate to unseat Bush.

Also in July, the House plans to debate a measure that would give state courts rather than certain federal ones jurisdiction of gay marriage cases.

"We feel like marriage is under attack. Marriage is a spiritual bond between one man and one woman," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said Wednesday.

Inconvenience stores

It may be the biggest unanswered question in the wake of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts: how will the state’s employers treat gay married couples when it comes to employee-benefits plans?

The answer is, at least for one major Bay State employer — Cumberland Farms, in Canton, which operates 900 or so gas stations and convenience stores throughout the Northeast — not very well.

Last month, Bay Windows broke the news that the retail chain will deny medical and dental coverage to legal spouses of its gay and lesbian employees, after an internal memo outlining the new policy was leaked to the paper. As reported in Bay Windows, a May 12 memo to employees justifies the company’s decision not to recognize same-sex marriages when determining employee benefits by explaining that it is permitted to do so under federal law. Because Cumberland Farms "self-insures" its employees and pays for the cost of their health-care coverage directly, it does not have to abide by any state laws, including the Supreme Judicial Court’s November 2003 ruling granting marital rights to same-sex couples. By contrast, companies with health plans such as Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Blue Cross Blue Shield do.

Unity Project Releases Needs Assessment Data

More than a year ago, the Unity Project asked members of the lgbt community in Vermont to answer a questionnaire on what the community needed most. The results have been compiled since last October, but had not been released before now, said Samara Foundation Executive Director Bill Lippert, because they were not yet in an easily presentable form.

Samara Foundation partnered with the Vermont Community Foundation to raise funds for the Unity Project to grant to the community. The needs assessment "informed" the priorities of the grant committee in deciding what kinds of projects would be welcomed for possible grants from the project.

The most interesting assessment survey results came from the community issues respondents ranked as most important: civil rights (89%), protection against violence and HIV/AIDS education and prevention (77% each), access to lgbtq-friendly physical and mental health care (76% each), support for lgbtq youth in school (75%), and community education to decrease homophobia (75%).

At the same time, some of those items were ranked among issues that were not being adequately addressed, topmost among them community education to decrease homophobia. Responses from outside Chittenden County said that reducing isolation was not being adequately addressed, while Chittenden County respondents tended to identify greater community cohesiveness as an inadequately addressed issue. Support for lgbt elderly (66%), teachers (67%), and youth (65%) was high on the list of issues needing more attention, followed by support for kids in lgbt families, affordable housing, and HIV/AIDS medical services (60% each).

Gay Rights Group Begins Massive Ad Campaign To Defeat Marriage Amendment
by Doreen Brandt Newscenter
Washington Bureau

(Washington) A multi-media ad campaign was launched today to defeat the Federal Marriage Amendment. A vote on the FMA is expected next week in the U.S. Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has announced his intention to bring up the Federal Marriage Amendment for a vote during the week of July 12th.

The ad campaign, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, will continue through next week's debate and vote, urging leaders not to write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution

"The Federal Marriage Amendment is unnecessary, discriminatory and undermines the Constitution," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

Camp Trans plans protest of festival policy
By Sarah Mieras

HART - Transgender activists from throughout the world will once again set up camp across the road from the world's largest women-only event to protest a long standing policy that excludes certain groups of women from attending.

Close to three decades old, the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival has a policy that excludes anyone who is not a born female from attending the weeklong event, held on more than 600 private acres in the Manistee National Forest. Transgender activists have long hailed the policy as discriminatory, since it bars pre- and post-operative male to female persons from attending the festival.

In response to the policy, Camp Trans was born as a protest outside the Women's Festival gates in 1991. In recent years Camp Trans has become a festival in its own right, including workshops, camping space and outreach to festival attendants. Despite its recent transition into its own event, organizers of Camp Trans maintain that the focus of the gathering still remains changing the Womyn's Festival policy to include a more inclusive definition of "woman."

"I think the women-born-only policy doesn't take into account the reality of transgender identity," said Carrie Tune-Copeland, secretary for TransGender Michigan. "If the Festival was to truly appreciate the richness of gender identity then more people would be let in and they wouldn't be acting like the gender police."


Couples sue for marriage rights in Maryland

The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday sued the city of Baltimore and four Maryland counties for the right of same-sex couples to marry. The suit was filed in Baltimore circuit court on behalf of nine couples and a man whose partner recently died. The couples had sought marriage licenses and were denied, said Ken Choe, staff attorney for the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, based in New York.

Maryland law specifically defines marriage as a union between a man and woman. In February, Attorney General Joseph Curran sent a memo to state legislators and the 24 clerks of the court reminding them that clerks are not authorized to issue licenses to gay couples. Curran's memo also said the law prohibits recognition of same-sex marriages from other states. A spokesman said Wednesday that the attorney general had not received a copy of the ACLU lawsuit.

The suit asks the court to declare that state law is unjustified discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. The suit asks the court to prohibit the 24 circuit court clerks from refusing to issue licenses to same-sex couples. "Maryland law excludes hundreds of gay couples the legal protection intended to help families at the time of their greatest need, such as in sickness and death," said Choe.

Transsexual charges Soopers bias
By Kelly Pate Dwyer
Denver Post Staff Writer

Kim Dower has worked as a pharmacist at King Soopers in Denver for the past nine years. But Dower, biologically a man, is undergoing gender transformation and wants to wear women's clothes at work.

King Soopers' management won't allow it, said Dower, who on Friday filed a discrimination complaint against the Denver-based grocery chain.

"I want to see King Soopers change their policy so other people like me can't be discriminated against," said Dower, 50, who is recently separated and has two kids from a previous marriage. "I have struggled with this most my life."

Dower hired a lawyer and filed a complaint Friday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


Gay + Lesbian Rowing Federation Helps Launch the NY Pride Rowing Association

The Gay + Lesbian Rowing Federation (GLRF) helped local organizers launch and promote the New York Pride Rowing Association at the annual New York Pride Festival in Lower Manhattan Sunday, June 27th. Working out of the GLRF booth at the Festival, local rowers handed out brochures, took email lists, and demonstrated the sport on a rowing machine to interest both current and former rowers as well as those new to the sport.

According to organizers, New York Pride Rowing Association will be a community rowing club serving New York's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community and their friends and supporters. Prior to its launch, the organization secured a berth as one of the first official affiliates for New York City's newly delivered Peter Jay Sharp floating boathouse. Learn to row classes are already underway and the first crews of the new club will hit the water on Tuesday evening, July 6th.

Located on the Harlem River in northeast Manhattan, the boathouse is sponsored by the New York Restoration Project, spearheaded by performer and community activist Bette Midler. The goal of the Project is to restore, develop and revitalize parks, community gardens and open space in some of New York City's most neglected neighborhoods. The boathouse will host both clubs and rowing programs, including juniors, collegiate, and masters (New York Pride Rowing, the Sharp Rowing Club, and Manhattan College are among the first affiliates). In return, their boathouse dues will help fund an outreach program targeting local community youth.

The idea for a gay rowing club came about through the efforts of Vincenzo Paparo, Chairman and Thomas P. Curry, Executive Director of the New York Rowing Association. Robert Bourguignon of the law firm Buchanan Ingersoll PC, acted as corporate counsel to New York Pride. The firm provides legal services to non-traditional families and unmarried couples. As part of its commitment to diversity and as a community service, the law firm decided to foster and support the creation of a New York City-based gay rowing club. Mr. Paparo, also a partner with the law firm Proskauer Rose, indicated that it was the public visibility of out gay and lesbian rowers, crews, and clubs around the nation that provided the inspiration for the endeavor.


LGBT History Month proposed by gay rights group
Ben Townley, UK

A campaign to launch a LGBT History Month to promote awareness and education about sexual diversity in the UK has received backing from mainstream groups and organisations.

The event, which would celebrate past, present and future LGBT experiences across the country, was originally suggested by the Schools Out group earlier this month, but has already received support from the government's Equalities Minister Jacqui Smith and international human rights group Amnesty International.

Schools Out said that the annual event would be based on the country's Black History Month, which acknowledged and celebrated a previously unseen history as well as the contribution made to modern society by Black people.

In a statement today, the group added that a celebratory month will be a chance for all sectors of the UK to discuss LGBT people, their impact on today's culture and the issues surrounding acceptance.


Second gay rights rally planned for 25 July
By Stacy Farrar

Following the success of the recent Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby rally at Sydney Town Hall, a second group has planned a rally on Sunday 25 July.

Community Action Against Homophobia group has called the Rally to encourage the Senate to consider the rights of same-sex couples.

A Senate inquiry into same-sex marriage and adoption is currently underway. Organizers hope the rally will raise awareness of the inquiry.

"The best submission for this Senate inquiry is another mass outing of the GLBIT community and its friends," organizer Kylie Moon said.

Opponents of marriage amendment start "decline to sign" campaign

Opponents of a proposed state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages have started a campaign against it.

The group called ``Equality North Dakota'' says the proposal would drive young people out of the state and promote discrimination. It's launching what it calls a ``decline to sign'' campaign.

The group hopes to stop the North Dakota Family Alliance from getting enough signatures by August Third to put the issue on the November general election ballot. The alliance needs 25,688 signatures by August Third.

Former Fargo mayor Jon Lindgren says the amendment would drive young people out of the state and promote discrimination.


Groups urge 'no' to petitions
By NATALIE STOREY, Bismarck Tribune

Like many teenagers in North Dakota, Sara Berger has a mom who is a good cook. She says dinners are fairly typical at her house, with one notable difference -- her other mom does the dishes.

Berger is a pretty 16-year-old who is a good student at Mandan High School. She has a boyfriend, friends, a job and two lesbian moms who she likes to play rummy with. She says she's living proof that children of same-sex unions can turn out just as normal as children with heterosexual parents.

"People in favor of the marriage amendment often argue that it is in "children's best interests" to have both a mom and a dad, and that if the marriage amendment wasn't passed, it would jeopardize children and the sanctity of marriage," Berger said. "I'm here to say that it wouldn't."

Berger, along with a half-dozen others, spoke out Tuesday against the proposal to place an amendment to the North Dakota constitution on the ballot that would define marriage in the state as between a man and a woman, exclusively.


Study: Northern Ireland needs better support for mothers of gay sons
Ben Townley, UK

Northern Ireland is suffering from an absence of support networks for mothers of gay sons, according to a study that is set to be published for wider reading across the province.

According to Cathy Falconer, mothers who are looking for guidance or answers after their sons come out are faced with a brick wall across Ulster, which has seen recent accusations of homophobia.

She said that personal experience when her own son came out led her to conduct the study as part of her MSc in Guidance and Counselling.

“My son, Barry, was 17 when he told me he was gay. That was four years ago. I was totally devastated. I was literally falling apart,” Falconer said recently.


Ex-officer charged with murder
Rios held without bond at Biggs center.
By MIKE WELLS of the Tribune’s staff

Trace DNA evidence found under the fingernails of murder victim Jesse Valencia prompted Special Prosecutor Morley Swingle to charge ex-Columbia police Officer Steven Rios today with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Rios remains in custody without bond at the Biggs Forensic Center in Fulton State Hospital. The charges were filed after a four-week investigation, in which police refused to call Rios a suspect.

Valencia, 23, a junior history major at the University of Missouri-Columbia, was found with his throat slashed June 5 in a yard near his East Campus neighborhood home. He was last seen about 3:45 a.m. that day walking home from a party. A neighbor overheard an argument sometime before 4:30 a.m. coming from Valencia’s apartment at 1414 Wilson Ave., police said.


First Court Hearing Date for 3 Pride Parade Arrestees (Halsted 3)

Arrestees face felony charges of aggravated battery in altercation with anti-queer fundamentalists who invaded the Parade.

[Chicago] On Tuesday July 6th at Branch Court 42 (Belmont and Western, Room 2) at 9 am, defendants Robert Bernstein, Jeremy Hammond, and Neal Rysdahl will attend their first pretrial hearing regarding the altercation that occurred at the Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade involving a confrontation between anti-gay protesters and the Queer and Trans Caucus of CAN, culminating in the arrest of the 3 anarchist pro-queer activists.

The incident stemmed from Republican “Family Values” Congressional candidate for the 4th District Anthony Lopez-Cisneros who fraudulently invaded the Pride Parade with a contingent of homophobic religious fundamentalists. We’re asking why the three defendants were arrested, rather than the bigots who violently ambushed Pride. In turn, why did Chicago police officers perpetuate the violence by assaulting the 3 defendants and other queers? Homophobic fundamentalists chanting anti-gay epithets in the Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade is the same incitement as Nazi infiltration of Holocaust Survivors’ events. Their banners even read “God Hates Fags” and “AIDS is a cure, not a disease.”

We want Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine to drop all the charges against the Halsted 3 immediately. Legal defense contributions can be made payable to the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network (CABN), with “Halsted 3 Defense” in the m


Homosexuals protest police ‘atrocity’
Kathmandu: Homosexuals or male having sex with male (MSMs) protesting against the police atrocity and human rights violation, in front of the Singha Durbar, were thrashed by the police.

The rally organised by the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), began from Bhadrakali at 4.30 and moved toward Singha Durbar to submit a memorandum to the prime minister but because the office time was already over they could not do so. And the police beat them up and ordered to leave the place saying staging protests around Singha Durbar was banned.

BDS in its statement has called for an "immediate end of sexual oppression and assault on sexual minorities from the police and society." Likewise, it has demanded a thorough investigation on violence against the sexual minorities by the police and other parties calling on the authorities to punish the perpetrators. It has further called for de-criminilisation of sexual minorities and secure their rights.


A SECURITY worker had sex with a man he had picked up at a gay bar and then beat him to death, a court heard.

The attack happened on February 13 at the victim's home at St John's Road, Balby, Doncaster, after he went home with Peter Sanderson Bennett (25), of Howard Street, off Pellon Lane, Halifax.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how Michael Petriw, aged 39, died 24 hours after the assault and had injuries consistent with being punched and kicked in the head six times.

He made a desperate 999 call when Bennett turned on him after the pair had sex.

Bennett denies murder and told police he attacked Mr Petriw in self-defence after he tried forcing sex on him


Gay ambassador assailed by Romanian newspaper
State Department, Romanian president praise Michael Guest

The State Department and the president of Romania have issued strong statements of support for the gay U.S. ambassador to Romania, Michael Guest, following a yearlong onslaught of articles in an English language newspaper in Bucharest accusing Guest of corruption and mismanagement.

A State Department spokesperson this week strongly denied a report in the newspaper, Bucharest Business Week, that the White House had “recalled” Guest from his ambassador’s post because of alleged improprieties.

The spokesperson, Margo Squire, said Guest completed a three-year assignment as Romanian ambassador and would be returning to Washington in July to begin a new assignment in the U.S. Foreign Service, where he has served with “distinction” for more than 20 years.

She said his three-year term had been set at the time Guest was named to his ambassador’s job by President Bush in 2001 and that the newspaper articles had played “absolutely no role” in the timing of his departure.


Gay rights opponents give up referendum effort
By: Associated Press

(Santa Fe-AP) -- Opponents of a gay rights provision in state law have given up trying to get a referendum on the November ballot to overturn it.

The opponents decided not to try to submit petitions for a referendum to the secretary of state by Friday’s deadline.

The attorney general had said in an opinion that the Human Rights Act is among those laws not able to be overturned by voters.  But the opponents could have tried to submit signatures anyway, then gone to court when the petitions were refused by the secretary of state.
Instead, state House member Earlene Roberts, a Republican from Lovington, says the opponents will focus their energy and resources on trying to a get a federal constitutional amendment passed banning gay marriage.


Gay couple to challenge local authority by getting married

SAN JUAN (AP) – Pedro Julio Serrano, president of the Puerto Rico For All organization, announced his intention to marry his partner Leo de Jesus in Massachusetts in order to challenge the ban of gay marriages in Puerto Rico.

The couple also announced their intention of adopting a black Puerto Rican girl.

"We are still working on the legal strategy. We want to get married because then we would be a legal couple to society and the state,” Serrano said in published reports.

The couple plans to go to Massachusetts in September.


Top Three Car Insurance Companies in New York Will Respect Gay Couples' Marriages

The three largest car insurance companies in New York -- which, together, provide insurance to a third of all drivers in the state -- will respect the marriages of same-sex couples, providing them with the same rates and coverage as married heterosexual couples, Lambda Legal said today. In recent months, Lambda Legal has been working with couples throughout the state who were married in Canada to ensure that their marriages are fully respected.

"New York law requires respect for marriages that were validly performed elsewhere. As more same-sex couples get married, it's critical that they receive rights and protections - from the government as well as the private sector," said Alphonso David, Lambda Legal Staff Attorney. "The insurance industry is making a strong statement for fairness, and we're working with other businesses and government agencies to secure similar results."

Allstate, State Farm and Geico auto insurance companies -- which are, in order, the top three providers in New York -- have agreed to comply with state law and respect all same-sex couples who are legally married, David said. Electric auto insurance also treats its legally married lesbian and gay clients equally.

Lambda Legal discovered that Geico had previously respected the marriages of only some same-sex couples while denying the same benefits to others. Two New York couples, who worked with Lambda Legal and pay for Geico auto insurance coverage, were treated unequally by the insurance giant. But Geico recently reversed its inconsistent practice and said it will respect all same-sex couples who are legally married.


Gay Verger Denied Job
A gay cathedral verger has had his offer of employment over turned after telling them that he had a male live-in partner.

Lee Taylor, one of four vergers at Southwark Cathedral in South London, claims that he was offered the job at St Davids cathedral in Pembrokeshire, Wales, but that the offer was withdrawn by the Dean, the Very Rev Wyn Evans, when he said he was bringing his live-in partner.

“I went from feeling successful when they offered me the job to feeling very unworthy. They gave me something and then took it away again. That’s what makes me angry,” Taylor told The Times.

According to the newspaper Taylor was so keen to work at St David’s that he was willing to take a cut in salary, from the £12,000 he earns at Southwark to little more than £9,000 in Wales.

Taylor claims that after his interview he was told that he was “the right person for the job” but when he said that he would be bringing his male live-in partner he had a call from the Dean who told him he would not be offered the job.