poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Rep. Jay Inslee's prepared floor statement on the Marriage Protection Act

Mr. Speaker, I thought I heard everything here, but citing the Dred Scott decision in support of this amendment is like citing the Ku Klux Klan in support of civil rights legislation. This amendment is a Soviet style attack on American freedom, and the reason requires a little look at history.

The former Soviet Union had a Constitution, like we do. The former Soviet Union had a Bill of Rights, like we do; very similar to our Bill of Rights. But, the former Soviet Union had another little trick. Their little trick was that the executive and legislative branches prohibited the judicial system of the former Soviet Union from reinforcing their Bill of Rights, and what did they get? Tyranny.

The intrusive lesson of the Soviet Union is that we should not go down the path of getting rid of, yes, frustrating, non-understandable courts that sometimes do not agree with Congress. But, I guess the authors of this amendment feel that they are smarter than Thomas Jefferson and smarter than any court that ever lived.

This is not the only right that is going to be on the chopping block. Once we do away with the independence of the American judicial system, which has never been done in American history, ever; this Chamber has never, ever cut the knees out of the American Bill of Rights in American history, and this is not like the first time we have a controversial issue that may end up in the courts. Civil rights were controversial. Gun rights are controversial. It may be controversial if this Congress passes a gun rights bill like the Brady Bill and then it goes to the U.S. judicial system to see if it is constitutional, that is controversial. But, where will this stop?

GPAC Denounces Sexual Assault Hazing at Top Prep School

(Washington, DC 21 Jul 2004) The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC) today denounced a series of male-on-male sexual assaults at one of the nation's top prep schools that has apparently metastasized from early hazing rituals. The incidents at Groton, generally regarded as one of the nation's top prep schools, have become the focus of a five-year investigation by Massachusetts state authorities.

Said GenderPAC Executive Director, Riki Wilchins, "These incidents show that male-on-male violence and sexual harassment remain central to the rituals of school-yard masculinity, even among nation's most elite youth. We need for students, parents, and teachers to stop dismissing male-on-male assault as �boys will be boys;� we need for these out-dated, brutish attitudes to change.�

Aggressive male-on-male bullying has been shown to be a major factor in school shootings assaults. For instance, a recent study by masculinity expert Michael Kimmel found that 27 assailants in 28 recent school shootings were boys who had been mercilessly attacked in schools where violent bullying was tolerated.

Since 2003, student leaders in GPAC's 28-chapter GenderYOUTH Network have worked to combat such attitudes on campus and in local communities.


Gay slur: Now you see it, now you don't

COMMUNITY outrage has forced artists to cover up part of an artwork labelling Ian Thorpe gay.
The superstar has instead been labelled "icon" in the controversial Not Only But Also collage at Federation Square.

The collage caused a stir when it appeared in the Sunday Herald Sun last week, outraging family groups and sparking an investigation by Thorpe's management.

It featured a photo of Thorpe and the word GAY with an arrow pointing to his head.

German politician calls for more gay rights
BERLIN (Reuters) - Gay rights could become an election issue in Germany after an opposition leader acknowledged his homosexuality for the first time and urged greater equality for same sex couples. In an interview with Der Spiegel magazine, liberal Free Democrats leader Guido Westerwelle said on Saturday that gay couples should have the right to adopt any child and not, as in a law proposed by the government, only the legal child of one partner. They should also be entitled to the same tax breaks as married couples, he said. Westerwelle has attended a number of public engagements in recent weeks with his partner and clearly implied he was gay in the interview.


Gay couple: General Mills discriminated
By Cheryl Miller
Record Staff Writer

LODI -- A former General Mills supervisor will join her partner next week in suing the Lodi cereal maker for discrimination based on their same-sex relationship, the worker's attorney said Friday.

Galt resident Lorie Wiler left her job Wednesday as team leader at the Turner Road plan. San Francisco attorney Pamela Pitt said plant employees hassled Wiler after her partner, Debra Feigh, accused General Mills in federal court of denying her a job because she is gay.

Efforts to reach a spokeswoman at the company's office in Minnesota and a Lodi plant supervisor were unsuccessful Friday.

Wiler and Feigh moved from Ohio to Galt in 2002 after General Mills transferred Wiler to the Lodi facility. Feigh found work at the plant on a temporary basis, and after a three-month stint the personnel department asked her to apply for a full-time job, according to Feigh's lawsuit.

Florida Court of Appeal Invalidates Marriage But Rejects Mother's Request to Deprive Transgender Father of Parental Rights

Florida, July 23, 2004 - The Florida Court of Appeal issued a decision today in a marriage and custody case involving Michael Kantaras, a transsexual man who married a woman in Florida and had two children with her. When Michael petitioned for divorce, his wife asked the court to invalidate their marriage and to strip Michael of any parental rights, based solely on his transgender status. After a three week trial in 2002, which was televised on Court TV, the trial court held that Michael is legally male, the marriage was valid, and awarded primary custody to Michael. The trial court's decision - which surveyed all of the existing legal and medical literature on transsexualism, and which ultimately exceeded 800 pages in length -- received national attention.

In a decision issued today, the Florida Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's ruling on the validity of the marriage, on the ground that "whether postoperative transsexual is authorized to marry a member of their birth sex is a matter for the Florida legislature and not the Florida courts to decide." However, the court of appeal rejected the mother's request to strip Michael of his parental rights. Instead, the court remanded the case back to the trial court "to determine the legal status of the children and the parties' property rights."

"We are relieved that the court did not separate Michael from his children," said Karen Doering, staff attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights' Florida office, who represented Michael in the case. "Protecting the children has always been Michael's foremost concern. We are confident that on remand, the trial court will find that Michael continues to be a legal parent, based on well-settled Florida law that even if a marriage is found to be void, that finding does not affect the legitimacy or parentage of the children. "

"Although we are disappointed in the court's ruling regarding the marriage, we believe that the Florida Supreme Court will correct that part of the holding on appeal," Shannon Minter, legal director for NCLR. "It is cruel and senseless for Florida to permit a transsexual person such as Michael to go through sex-reassignment and then refuse to recognize his male gender."

A Radical Assault on the Constitution

Majorities that are frustrated when courts stand up for minority rights have occasionally tried to strip them of the power to do so. This week, the House voted to deny the federal courts the ability to decide a key constitutional issue involving gay marriage. Such a law would upset the system of checks and balances and threaten all minority groups. It is critical that the Senate reject it.

The Marriage Protection Act, which was passed by the House, 233-to-194, would bar federal courts from hearing challenges to parts of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. That law says states do not need to recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states. Gay marriage opponents fear that the courts will hold that this violates the constitutional requirement that states recognize the legal actions of other states.

The House's solution, stripping the federal courts of power, is one that opponents of civil rights and civil liberties have been drawn to in the past. Opponents of court-ordered busing and supporters of school prayer tried it. But even at the height of the backlash against the civil rights movement, Congress never passed a law that completely insulated a federal law from Supreme Court review.


Gay men kiss in front of G-G

Two gay men kissed in front of Governor-General Michael Jeffery while he addressed a conference on families.

The men say the stunt was designed to show that family does not necessarily mean a man and a woman.

The protest happened as Major-General Jeffery addressed a Family Expo conference in Brisbane.

The marriage and family conference was organised by the Family Council of Queensland and involved about 800 parents.


Proposed marriage amendment has ramifications for court challenges
Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri voters will determine Aug. 3 whether to add a ban on gay marriage to the state constitution, a move that would change to opponents' options for fighting the policy in court.

Missouri already has a law defining marriage as a union only between a man and a woman. But supporters of the amendment believe they would be on firmer legal ground should a challenge arise if the ban is also spelled out in the state constitution.

"A state statute simply does not command the same level of respect by state or federal courts as does the respect granted a constitutional provision," said Thor Hearne, a St. Louis attorney who supports the amendment.

Because of the existing state law, a gay couple already faces an uphill legal battle trying to get a marriage performed elsewhere - such as in Massachusetts - legally recognized in Missouri.


Stamp Honors Gay Writer James Baldwin
by Todd Richmond

(Los Angeles, California) The US Postal Service has unveiled a new stamp honoring gay Africa American writer James Baldwin, considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century.

The 37-cent commemorative is part of the Post Office's Literary Arts Series and went on sale Friday.

Baldwin was born in 1924 in Harlem. His experiences as an African American and as a gay American are inextricable interwoven. 

In his writings Baldwin trenchantly demonstrates the necessity of recognizing our sins: not just racism and homophobia, but our refusal to really know other humans, to accept differences, and to love. The point is not guilt, but taking up responsibility.


Hearing held on gay minister

An investigating committee of the United Methodist Church's Eastern Pennsylvania Conference heard testimony yesterday to determine whether there was enough evidence to send to a church trial the case of the Rev. Beth Stroud, an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church of Germantown, who revealed she was a lesbian in an April 2003 sermon to the congregation.

Such a trial could result in Stroud's losing her ministerial credentials.

The Rev. Michele Wright Bartlow, a spokeswoman for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, said yesterday that the outcome of the hearing was not yet known and not necessarily expected to be known "for several days at a minimum."

It was possible, Wright Bartlow said, that the committee could call for another hearing before reporting its decision to Bishop Peter Weaver, former head of the conference, who brought the complaint against Stroud.

Radical Queer Convergence Space
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Saturday July 24, 2004    Special Event
City & State   Boston, Massachusetts
Topic / Issue   Sexuality, Gender, & GLBT
Location   Lucy Parsons Center, 549 Columbus Ave
Sponsor   Radical Queers
The Radical Queers

Visit and spread the word about our daily convergence space during the DNC week:
Sat, July 24th, Thurs, July 29th from 5-7pm
at the Lucy Parsons Center, 549 Columbus Ave, in the South End.


Join the Radical Queer Contingent throughout the week!

Look for the Radical Queer patches or pink articles of clothing to find and join the contingent at these events:

Sunday, July 25, March at 12pm starting from the Boston Common to bring the troops home now!
Sunday, July 25, Jamaica Plain People's Party from 4-10pm across from the Stony Brook T Station (Orange Line).

Monday, July 26, Rally against the occupation of Palestine from 5-7pm at the Designated Protest Zone?.

Tuesday, July 27, Vigil from 7:30-9pm at Copley Square.

Wednesday, July 28,“ Rally and march against the proposed bio-terror lab in the South End/Roxbury from 3-8pm. Start at Blackstone Park in the South End (Washington & Brookline St).

Thursday, July 29, Critical Mass bike ride, starts at 8am at Copley Square.
Thursday, July 29, Rally from 5-8pm near the Fleet Center.


Friday, July 23, 2004

nothing like living in a police state that tell us what gender and sex we are and do.. I mean .. where would we be without big brother intervening in our idenity and on our body!!!!!

Florida Court Rules Transsexual Marriage Invalid
By Jim Loney

MIAMI (Reuters) - Florida's ban on same-sex marriages bars a woman who became a man through surgery from marrying a woman, a state appellate court ruled in a complex divorce case.

The ruling, issued by the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Lakeland, determined that for legal purposes, male and female refer to "immutable traits determined at birth" and cannot be changed through gender-reassignment surgery.

The decision came in a divorce case involving Michael and Linda Kantaras of Holiday, a town just north of Tampa. Michael Kantaras is a transsexual who married Linda two years after his 1987 sex-change operation and divorced her a decade later.

The appellate ruling, which overturned a lower-court ruling granting the two a divorce, said there could be no divorce because there was never a legal marriage.


Feminist Daily News Wire
House Tramples Constitutional Separation of Powers

The US House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday that would strip the federal courts, including the US Supreme Court, of its jurisdiction over same-sex marriage cases. The so-called Marriage Protection Act (H.R. 3313) was passed by a vote of 233-194. The bill’s aim is to block the federal courts from deciding the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that allows states to not recognize same-sex marriages bestowed in another state. Many constitutional scholars have long argued that the DOMA law is unconstitutional because it contradicts the full faith and credit clause that requires states to give full faith and credit to the laws of other states.

Opponents argue that the bill sets a dangerous precedent where Congress could limit the jurisdiction of the courts over other controversial issues such as reproductive rights. House Majority Leader Tom Delay said that he plans to continue the use of "jurisdiction stripping" laws to achieve other social policy objectives, The Hill reports.

"Today it’s the rights of lesbians and gay men. Tomorrow women’s rights, workers’ rights, and civil rights cases will be blocked from being heard,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “This federal ‘jurisdiction stripping’ strategy is just a way to promulgate racist and sexist laws without providing recourse in our nation’s courts. Without federal courts there would be no recourse for African Americans and women in case upon case where they are fighting for education, employment, voting, and pay equity.”

“Does the Delay Republican Party really want to, once again, stand in the doorway against women’s and civil rights?” Smeal asked.


Equality Florida launches voter mobilization effort
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. - Claiming the potential to tap as many as 350,000 voters, Equality Florida is starting a mobilization effort aimed at getting gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals to the polls this fall.

The Tampa-based human rights group is joining with 30 other groups in taping the pool of potential voters, hoping a strong turnout among those communities could make the difference in tight elections ranging from the presidential race to local offices.

Groups such as the Florida Consumer Action Network, the Human Rights Campaign and People for the American Way are joining the effort.

"Obviously Florida is a battleground state," Nadine Smith, executive director for Equality Florida, said Friday. "We will be a deciding factor in November."


Fort Myers couple will challenge Florida's ban on gay marriage
 Published by

Two Fort Myers men have joined well known Miami attorney Ellis Rubin and 40 other gay couples in Florida to challenge the state’s refusal to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Their stand has two ironic twists. First, Rubin worked against gay rights in his first legal brush with the issue. Second, Fred A. Blumberg, the Fort Myers club owner who will sue the state for denying him a license, has long discounted marriage as a “straight institution.”

The times, they are a’changing, however, and Rubin, Blumberg and his 10-year partner, Gerald T. “Pete” Costello, will go to the Lee County marriage license office Aug. 9 to officially be refused.

Rubin will then immediately file a lawsuit in Circuit Court in Lee County to challenge the constitutionality of Florida’s law.


Marriage Protection Act condemned on both sides of aisle

Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the only openly lesbian member of Congress, on Thursday derided a GOP-backed measure stripping federal courts of jurisdiction over same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. "With this bill, we face no less than the specter of a sign posted on the federal courthouse door which reads, 'You may not defend your constitutional rights in this court,'" Baldwin (D-Wis.) said shortly before the House passed the bill on a mostly party-line vote. "'You may not seek equal protection here. You may not petition your government for redress here.' Today, the 'you' is gay and lesbian American citizens, but who will be next?"

Baldwin was later joined by former Georgia Republican congressman Bob Barr, who criticized his former colleagues Thursday for passing the antigay legislation, saying it was unnecessary and possibly unconstitutional. Barr, who has expressed opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, said the House bill was "just as dangerous." Barr has been a fierce opponent of gun control and abortion rights and also opposes gay marriage. However, he said the constitutional amendment and the Marriage Protection Act would take away from states the power to define marriage. "They raise an awful lot of red flags," Barr said of the proposals. The politician perhaps best remembered for leading the charge to impeach President Clinton spoke on a panel about same-sex marriage at the National Conference of State Legislatures. He served four terms in Congress before losing a primary campaign in 2002.

Barr was the primary sponsor of the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which defines marriage federally as a heterosexual union and allows individual states to deny recognizing marriages performed in other states. However, the 1996 law applies only to federal marriage benefits embedded in things like tax law and survivor payments and leaves states the choice of how to define marriage.

Baldwin, who made the closing argument for Democrats in their unsuccessful attempt to defeat Thursday's bill, spoke loudly, pointing her finger at times. But she made no mention of her own sexual orientation. The bill, which faces an uphill battle in the Senate, would strip the Supreme Court and other federal courts of their jurisdiction to rule on challenges to state bans on gay marriages under a provision of DOMA. Baldwin said the legislation "would do grave damage to the republic.... Enacting court-stripping legislation would seriously undermine the faith of the American people in this Congress, in the courts, and in the principles of separation of powers."

The sexual wave that's crashing down on me
Is she or isn't he?
SEXPLOITS is a continuing series of adventures through Boston’s sexier side.

LATELY, A WORD has been creeping into my vocabulary, and I haven’t the slightest idea how it happened. I suddenly find myself saying things like, "There were some trannies doing spoken word." Or, "No. I hear she only dates trannies." Or, my favorite yet, "Yeah, it was just a bunch of hipsters and trannies."

When I sit back and think about it, I don’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about. Substitute the words "ice fishing" for "tranny," and I’d probably be able to speak as eloquently about sitting on a bucket in the middle of a lake as I can about transsexuals. I can’t even discern the nuances among the transgendered, transvestites, and transsexuals, and they could all quite possibly be the same as far as I know. Despite that, I throw the term around loosely because it adds an air of . . . je ne sais quoi to my conversations, much like the terms GOP or truffle oil seem appropriate in conversations about politics or food.

My ignorance became sadly apparent a few weeks ago at a family cookout when my aunt’s girlfriend broached the subject of transsexuals. She’s fascinated with the trans community, she told me, so much so that she’s looking into volunteer opportunities at trans-support centers. She was spouting book and film titles, all the while looking at my blank face for a glimmer of recognition. It wasn’t there.

"I don’t really know that much about it," I admitted sheepishly.

After a moment of nodding with her chin in her hand, and some exaggerated brow furrowing, she said only, "I’m surprised at that." Get your socially unaware head out of your bloated, drunken ass, you excuse for a sexual being, is what I think she meant.

International anti-gay violence on the rise: reports
Some worry hate attacks becoming an ‘epidemic’

While gay activists in the United States fight for the right to marry, one global gay rights group issued a reminder this week that in many countries, gay people are fighting just to be treated humanely.

There has been a recent rash of international anti-gay violence including incidents in Jamaica, India and Nepal, according to the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Officials from the group say the violence has increased as a result of more individuals and organizations lobbying for gay rights.

“Increasingly, gay people are unwilling to be the subject of abuse,” said IGLHRC Executive Director Paula Ettelbrick, adding that the violence in recent months is most likely a “backlash” resulting from gays becoming more vocal.


Nepal: Sexual Rights Group at Risk of Closure

(New York, July 23, 2004) -- The Nepalese government should respond to a threatened judicial ban on an organization that defends lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’s rights by affirming the freedoms of association and expression, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the Nepalese authorities.

On June 18, a private lawyer petitioned the Nepalese Supreme Court to shut down the Blue Diamond Society, a nongovernmental organization working in the areas of sexual health and human rights. The petition accused the group of trying to “make homosexual activities legal,” and demanded it be banned because homosexual conduct is criminalized in Nepal.

In response to the petition, the Supreme Court gave the Ministry of Home Affairs until July 27 to show why “open homosexual activities” should not be banned in Nepal. Pointing to recent allegations of police abuse in Nepal based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Human Rights Watch urged the ministry to confirm its commitment to protecting human rights without discrimination.

“In trying to stifle the voices of sexual minorities, Nepal demonstrates its indifference to basic rights of expression and assembly,” said Scott Long, Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “In trying to silence those who document police abuse, the Nepalese government shows its


Sex education group meets gay activists
'Homophobic' site tops talks agenda
By Sarah Brett, Belfast Telegraph

A controversial sex education group accused of promoting homophobia on its website, has met gay rights campaigners in Londonderry, it emerged today.

Love for Life, an abstinence-based sex education group, sat down with members of the Rainbow Project to discuss the content of the site and the group's overall approach to homosexuality.

Development co-ordinator for the Rainbow Project, David McCartney, said the meeting with the group's chief executive, Dr Richard Barr, was satisfactory, but produced no guarantees that perceived homophobic references would be removed from the site.

Mr McCartney was informed this morning that Love for Life will not meet them again until September.


Anti-gay Senate candidate has two gay advisers
Martinez advisor led Florida’s Christian Coalition; finance director is gay

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — On a humid day in Tampa last month, John Dowless could be seen passing out cards at Landry’s Seafood House to a group of about 40 of Florida’s most conservative religious leaders, including members of Family First of Tampa and the Pinellas Crisis Pregnancy Center, an anti-abortion group.

Dowless arranged the lunch on behalf of Mel Martinez, the former housing secretary who is now one of eight Republican candidates trying to get his party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate race this fall.

As Martinez railed against the threat of same-sex marriages to the traditional family, Dowless handed out cards to the religious leaders imploring them to “pray for Mel Martinez” and to get involved in his campaign.

Dowless was just doing his job. Formerly the executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, Dowless is now a private political consultant in Orlando.


Shepard: colleges should welcome diversity
Star-Tribune staff writer

No child can learn in an atmosphere of fear, Judy Shepard told college administrators on Wednesday morning, so colleges need to train staff and faculty to welcome diverse student populations.

"This isn't just a gay thing, we're still facing hate in our country," said Shepard. "For example, let's add to the list the Muslim population -- it's becoming a bigger issue."

Shepard is the mother of slain University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard and the founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which focuses on the prevention of hate crimes.

She addressed the conference of the Rocky Mountain Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers, hosted by Casper College.


House votes to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over gay marriage
MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer

Gay marriage opponents wanted more, but House Republicans gave them at least a symbolic election-year victory.

Republicans passed legislation in the House on Thursday, 233-194, to prevent federal courts from ordering states to recognize same-sex unions that took place in other states. Democrats objected to the bill as an unconstitutional attack on gays and the federal judiciary to satisfy the GOP's political base.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said the legislation is a welcome interim step. "It provides us the opportunity to isolate some of these judicial rewrites of marriage. Until we can get an amendment to the Constitution, this will keep it from spreading," Perkins said.

Supporters said the House legislation would protect the institution of marriage by reining in federal judges who might otherwise impose gay marriage on states that have banned it. "Marriage is under attack," said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., referring to the Massachusetts state court decision allowing same-sex marriages



CARBONDALE -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale officials say they are looking at how they could extend their benefits policies to people with same-sex partners, but it is essentially up to the university system leadership to make the final decision.

While discussions are just getting started, university officials expect to tackle the matter this fall. Duane Stucky, SIU vice president for financial and administrative affairs, said officials at both the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses are reviewing the options available to individuals should the university extend medical benefits to gay and lesbian employees' partners.

"It'd be too early to describe what the outcome will be at both campuses," Stucky said.

Stucky said the idea for the change came from SIU President James Walker and the board of trustees, and SIUC Chancellor Walter Wendler said that is where he'll get his orders.

Baldwin speaks out against 
anti-gay marriage legislation

WASHINGTON - Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the only openly lesbian member of Congress, said GOP-backed legislation stripping federal courts of jurisdiction over gay marriage would deny constitutional rights to gays and lesbians.

''With this bill, we face no less than the specter of a sign posted on the federal courthouse door which reads you may not defend your constitutional rights in this court,'' Baldwin, D-Wis., said shortly before the House passed the bill Thursday on a mostly party-line vote.

''You may not seek equal protection here. You may not petition your government for redress here. Today, the 'you' is gay and lesbian American citizens, but who will be next?''

Baldwin, who made the closing argument for Democrats in their unsuccessful attempt to defeat the bill, spoke loudly, pointing her finger at times. But she made no mention of her own sexual orientation


Advocacy groups avoid ‘gay’ in recent ad campaigns
Critic says avoiding marriage issue makes ads look ‘foolish’

WASHINGTON — As the U.S. Senate geared up for a vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment, both the Human Rights Campaign and Log Cabin Republicans spent millions of dollars on advertisements aimed at defeating the constitutional ban on gay marriage.

The FMA stalled last week in the Senate on a procedural vote.

The HRC and LCR ad campaigns did not use the word “gay” or make clear in the messages that the amendment dealt with banning same-sex marriage.

Instead, the advertisements focused on opposing amending the U.S. Constitution to address controversial social issues and urged President Bush and other FMA supporters to focus on issues like the war in Iraq and the economy.


Keep Your Mouth Closed On Gay Marriage GOP Tells Lynne Cheney
by Newscenter Staff

(Salem, Oregon) The wife of Vice President Dick Cheney will address the state Republican convention this week and participate in at least one fundraiser for the party, but some members of the GOP are telling her not to ring up her views on gay marriage.

Lynne Cheney caused a maelstrom within the far right of the party last week when she voiced her disapproval of the Federal Marriage Amendment.  Cheney, the mother of Mary, an out lesbian, told CNN's Late Edition Sunday that marriage should be left up to the states.


While the U.S. contemplates hate in its Constitution…
Europe Strives for Equality Across its Continent
By Jesse Garcia

Bulgarian activists Nedret Recep (left), Genko Genkov, Tzvetomir Deliyski, Aksinia Gencheva and Desislava Petrova welcome the EU expansion and the GLBT liberties associated with it.

Civil unions. Gay marriages. Terms mainstream America has come to know and vilify in 2004, thanks to political baiting and the media frenzy regarding institutions which have quietly thrived in Europe for more than a decade.

While the U.S. House and the president ponders a Federal Marriage Amendment, Europe is hard at work trying to equalize its GLBT citizens’ standing in the work place, in society and at the altar, throughout the continent.
In 1989, Denmark became the first nation to legalize same-sex unions. Norway followed in 1993 and Sweden in 1994. France became the largest European nation to legalize same-sex unions in 1999, then the larger nation of Germany allowed them in 2001. Also that year, The Netherlands became the first country to legally recognize gay marriages, and Belgium followed suit in 2003.

Malta’s first gay parade
Mark Micallef

It was a relatively small parade, especially when compared with the sort of demonstrations seen in larger European countries. Nevertheless, Malta’s first gay parade, held yesterday in Republic Street, Valletta, delivered a political message. “We are here... we are visible now and we have a right to ourselves just like any other tax-paying citizen,” co-organiser Sandro Mangion told The Malta Independent as he marched along the street.

A number of personalities and other political bodies supported the event. These included Education Minister Louis Galea, MLP MPs Evarist Bartolo and Helena Dalli and representatives from Alternattiva Demokratika, the Alpha Party and Moviment Graffiti.

Asked how his presence at the parade fitted in with Nationalist Demo-Christian values, Minister Galea said that although his party was aligned with Christian principles, it also believed that the Church and the State are two separate entities and that government should not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

Mr Bartolo and Mrs Dalli both praised the march. “I am here because the parade is lobbying for a fundamental human right,” Mr Bartolo said. “The small attendance was expected, given the level of prejudice still present in Malta, but the statement made is nonetheless significant.”


Gay couple are first to get blessing by minister

A FORMER soldier and his partner became the first same-sex couple to be blessed by a Church of Scotland minister, in a ceremony at a pub yesterday.

Robert Wicksted, 43, who is suffering from terminal leukaemia, and Alex Valentine, 37, exchanged rings in a 15-minute ceremony at the Phoenix bar in Broughton Street, Edinburgh.

The minister, the Rev Iain Whyte, from the Edinburgh Community Mental Health Chaplaincy, began the casual ceremony. About 50 people gathered in the basement of the pub to watch the couple exchange vows and gold rings.

But Mr Whyte was keen to point out the ceremony did not mean the couple were married


Univisión execs and gay group tackle issues
TV network executives agree to undergo sensitivity training in hopes of improving the often stereotypical depiction of gay people in the Spanish-language TV network's programming.

A team of Univisión Network executives will undergo training conducted by gay-rights activists in an effort to improve the portrayal of gay and lesbian people on Spanish-language television.

''We're actually very, very excited,'' said Mónica Taher,

people-of-color media director for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which has long deplored the stereotyping of gay people on Spanish-language TV.

''This is definitely the start of a long-standing relationship'' between Univisión and the gay community.


Defeat of gay marriage ban would have dire consequences, backers claim
Associated Press Writer

HELENA (AP) -- If Montanans don't approve a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages, supporters say schools will be required to teach children that homosexuality is normal and churches will be pressured to perform same-sex weddings.

Rejecting Constitutional Initiative 96 in November would be tantamount to society saying children do not need a mother and a father and that "one gender or the other is unnecessary," the measure's backers said in arguments submitted for the Voter Information Pamphlet.

Opponents of CI-96 countered it will not strengthen traditional marriage in Montana and will damage society by targeting gays and lesbians.

"What CI-96 does do is diminish the freedom to be let alone what Montanans have historically treasured," critics wrote. "CI-96 would alter the constitution to set up one vulnerable minority group for alienation, discrimination and harassment."


Cop accused of assaulting gay officer
Rosario charged in '02 with threats to gay officer

A D.C. police officer charged with threatening to assault a gay officer in 2002 is under investigation for allegedly assaulting and seeking to humiliate a second gay officer in a July 13 incident at the Third District police station.

Third District Inspector Dianne Grooms said the department last week temporarily reassigned Officer Hiram Rosario to the Seventh District while conducting an investigation into allegations that he shoved Officer Robert Schoonover and then dragged him across a room crowded with fellow officers while Schoonover was seated in a chair. The incident occurred while Schoonover and his fellow officers had assembled for a roll call meeting.

“The department is taking this very seriously,” Grooms said.

She said police officials arranged for both the Office of Professional Responsibility, which was formerly known as the police Internal Affairs unit, and the department’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office to investigate the incident. Grooms said police officials also referred the matter to the United States Attorney’s office to determine whether Rosario should be charged with criminal assault.


Thursday, July 22, 2004

Pelosi: 'Marriage Protection Act Undermines Supreme Court and Our System of Checks and Balances'

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke this afternoon on the House floor in opposition to H.R. 3313, the so-called Marriage Protection Act of 2004, which would strip jurisdiction from federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, preventing them from ruling on challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The bill was later approved by a vote of 233 to 194. Below are Pelosi's remarks:

On Marriage Protection Act:

"This bill will impact the very foundation of our government -- it impedes the uniformity of federal law, it sets a dangerous precedent, and it does grave damage to the separation of powers."

"Mr. Speaker, I have been married for over 40 years. And I cannot, for the life of me, think how this legislation that is on the floor today, the so called Marriage Protection Act, is any protection for my marriage. In fact, I think it is not a protection of the rights of Americans.

"Every Member of this body has taken a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. That is our oath of office.

"All Members should consider that this bill has far-reaching consequences for the separation of powers that has been the hallmark of our Constitution,our government, and our rights as American citizens. We must today honor our oath of office and oppose this legislation.

"This court stripping bill is not about reaffirming the Defense of Marriage Act, or even about gay marriage. The fundamental issue in this bill is whether we want to undermine the Supreme Court, the federal judiciary and our system of checks and balances.


Griffith apology
By Nick Redmond

NATIONAL Party Candidate for Calare Robert Griffith has posted an apology on his website to the gay community but maintains same sex marriages should be banned.

In response to growing criticism and a complaint lodged with the Anti Discrimination Board, Mr Griffith has removed a web page about the Marriage Act of 1961. 

The page said the society of the day would have found the idea that "same-sex partners could masquerade as real parents and be responsible for raising children as abhorrent to most people."


Nepalese Supreme Court’s Proposed Ban
Letter to the Minister of Home Affairs

The Hon. Purna Bahadur Khadka  
Minister of Home Affairs  
Ministry of Home Affairs,  
Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal  
Dear Minister:  
We are writing to express grave concern over the Nepalese Supreme Court’s proposed ban on activities, including advocacy, by or on behalf of lesbians, gay men, transgender people, and men who have sex with men. The threatened ban comes in the wake of repeated recent allegations of police misconduct against these communities. We urge your Ministry to respond to the Court’s recent writ by affirming that the basic freedoms of association, expression, and assembly must be enjoyed by all without discrimination. To do otherwise would be to endorse a flagrant violation of fundamental human rights. It would also silence those who document and defend against human rights abuses, and would send a dangerous message to those who perpetrate such abuses that they can do so with impunity.
As you are aware, on July 12, 2004, Nepal’s Supreme Court issued a writ demanding that the Ministry of Home Affairs show cause within fifteen days why “open homosexual activities” should not be banned. The writ came in response to a petition by a private attorney, dated June 18, requesting a ban on the activities of the Blue Diamond Society, a non-governmental organization working in the areas of sexual health and human rights. The petition accused the group of trying to “make homosexual activities legal.” The petition demanded the organization be barred on the grounds that homosexual conduct is prohibited by law in Nepal.  
The Blue Diamond Society has engaged in outreach around issues of HIV/AIDS and other health concerns to communities of men who have sex with men and metis (transgender persons). It has also documented instances of police violence against these communities, called for official investigations, and raised public awareness about these abuses. These activities have frequently subjected the Blue Diamond Society and its constituencies to retaliation. Most recently, a demonstration organized by the Society on July 5 to protest recent alleged police abuses against metis was disrupted by police while marching peacefully from the Bhadrakhali Temple toward Singha Durbar to present a petition to the Prime Minister. Police reportedly dispersed the group violently, beating several of the protesters.  

'Marriage Protection Act' Passes House; Task Force Calls Vote 'Disgusting'
Statement from Matt Foreman, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director:

"This is a sad day for all Americans, not just because the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that seeks to deprive gay and lesbian Americans access to federal courts to challenge the ugly Defense of Marriage Act. It is particularly sad because 233 members of Congress ignored their oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States by voting in favor of a measure that is blatantly unconstitutional.

On the positive side, 194 Members of Congress rejected this mean-spirited, divisive, disgusting and clearly unlawful bill. And, it is now clear that - as in the U.S. Senate - the "Federal Marriage Amendment" is far short of the two-thirds majority (290 votes) it would need to pass."


The Marriage Protection Act (MPA) is the House of Representative's way of continuing the anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) right's stab at the LGBT community. This act, if passed, would strip power from all federal courts - including the U.S. Supreme Court - from ruling on cases involving the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The MPA would disbar such courts from hearing and ruling on any cases arguing against DOMA. This act is unconstitutional and illegal for myriad reasons


U.S. appeals court narrowly upholds only blanket gay adoption ban
Associated Press Writer

MIAMI -- Florida's gay adoptions statute has narrowly withstood another legal challenge, but with some dissenting federal judges seizing the chance to condemn the nation's only blanket ban of adoptions by homosexuals.

In a 6-6 vote, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta declined Wednesday to reconsider the case of four gay men who already lost to a three-judge panel of the court.

But one dissenting judge said the law was "irrational" under the equal protection clause of the Constitution because it singles out gays and no other groups. Another said he would move to change the law if he were a Florida legislator.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the request for the full appeals court to hear the case after the three-judge panel in January ruled against the men, foster parents seeking to adopt children in their care.


Come learn the 'T' at the Transgender Institute
By Imani Williams

DETROIT - The theme of this year's Transgender Institute is 'Dishing T: Commercial Sex Workers vs. Mainstream Employment.' Demetris Taylor, organizer of this year's Institute, is making sure that bases are covered in getting the word out about the area's T- community. In past years, the Institute has only been open to people who self-identified as trans. This year, if you admit you need education and are willing to learn, you're invited.

The event hopes to, "Challenge the images seen in what I see as the Jerry Springer era, as well as people who constantly refuse to see our trans sisters as human beings and are always negative and dehumanizing," says Taylor.

He hopes honest dialogue addressing the beliefs that many people hold about the Trans community will help bring about some solutions. Taylor wants to shatter the myth that everyone in the T community wants to be a "show girl" or that they all have an insatiable desire to "work the stroll."

"When a trans person cannot utilize resources to maintain a healthy living, like being able to pay the rent, buy food, clothes, and other necessities, a trans woman or man will resort to whatever is necessary to secure their livelihood. The T community is often criticized and ridiculed resulting in some people becoming belligerent, hostile, and not taken seriously, creating a catch 22 within the LGBT community," says Taylor.


Ahmadis Warn Against Gay Marriages
Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)

An appeal has gone to elders of religions in Ghana to see the solemnization of homosexual marriages in America as a challenge, to preach against this phenomenon from taking root in the country.

Mr. Khalid Ahmad, Greater Accra Regional President of the Majlis Ansarullah (Ahmadiyya Muslim Elders' Association) made the appeal at the 16th Annual Regional rally of the association in Accra.

He said homosexual marriages that started in two states in the United States of America recently, were likely to be promoted in Ghana in the coming years in the name of human rights.

When that happened, Mr. Ahmad said, the Ghanaian government would be helpless as it may not be able to resist it in the name of human rights and for fear of angering western countries who regard it as a right.


Judges delay two Davis hate crime cases

Two recent Davis hate crime cases in Yolo County may not be prosecuted with hate crime enhancements by the district attorney's office.

Hate crime enhancements to the theft and vandalism charges can increase both punitive fines and sentences.

On July 14, a Yolo County judge continued the preliminary examination for Jowad Younis, who was arrested on Apr. 29 for stealing an Israeli flag from Hillel House and tagging the house with his graffiti name.

The delay until Sept. 1 gives both the defense and prosecution time to determine whether the Hillel House qualifies as a person under the protection of the hate crimes enhancement.


Groundbreaking pro-trans decision
By Jay Kaplan

With the media focusing on the proposed federal and Michigan constitutional amendments that would ban all forms of legal recognition of same-sex relationships, it ’s not surprising that a groundbreaking legal decision for the transgender community has not received all the attention it deserves.

On June 1, 2004, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit (which covers Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio) issued a unanimous decision holding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment both prohibit employment discrimination against transsexuals.

Before I overwhelm you with too much legalese, let's provide a little background about this case. First, the federal circuit courts of appeals are the second highest federal courts in the United States. After the United States Supreme Court, they are the highest legal authority on a federal legal issue. Second, federal and Michigan civil rights laws do not cover discrimination based on gender identity or expression, which would pertain to the transgender community. Third, Title VII is a federal law covering sex discrimination in employment, and applies to both public and private employers. Lastly, the Equal Protection clause of the United States Constitution is used to challenge discrimination against a particular group of people by the government.

Jimmie Smith, born male, had a successful employment history with the Salem Fire Department in Ohio. Diagnosed with gender dysphoria, he began transitioning from male to female. After Smith informed immediate supervisors about this transition, they met with city officials to devise a plan to have Smith terminated. Salem's safety director, who was part of this meeting, informed Smith about this plan. Smith then contacted an attorney, who telephoned the mayor to warn about legal ramifications if the City went ahead with the plan. Four days later, the fire chief suspended Smith based on an alleged infraction of a City or Fire Department policy, a charge that was later found to be without merit.

House Votes on Federal Gay Marriage Bill
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Republican-led House voted Thursday to prevent federal courts from ordering states to recognize gay marriages sanctioned by other states.

The Marriage Protection Act was adopted by a 233-194 vote, buoyed by backing from the Bush administration. Last week, the Senate dealt gay marriage opponents a setback by failing to advance a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions.

Federal judges, unelected and given lifetime appointments, ``must not be allowed to rewrite marriage policy for the states,'' Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., said.

Democrats said the bill was an election-year distraction, calling it an unconstitutional attack on gays in America and the federal judiciary. They said it would set a precedent that Congress could use to shield any future legislation from federal judicial review.

``They couldn't amend the Constitution last week so they're trying to desecrate and circumvent the Constitution this week,'' Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said.


GOP leader urges pastors to use same-sex marriage as election issue

Pastors need to use hot-button issues like same-sex marriage to get out the vote among evangelical Christians, a Republican National Committee-sponsored lecturer told more than 100 ministers gathered in Eugene, Ore. David Barton, the second-highest ranking GOP official in President Bush's home state of Texas, also urged the pastors at the Tuesday lunchtime event to become more politically active and push their parishioners to register to vote, according to pastors who attended the event. Barton, of Ennis, Tex., heads a national group called WallBuilders, dedicated to restoring "the constitutional, moral, and religious foundation on which America was built." Critics say he's encroaching on the separation between church and state and risking churches' tax-exempt status in the process.

About a half-dozen protesters picketed his talk at Willamette Christian Center, which was closed to the media. Barton said a majority of evangelical Christians didn't vote in 2000. "We really do need people of faith to be involved in the civil arena, to vote and to care about the issues," he said. "They don't need to sit home and do nothing." During the address, Barton said, he recounted the Christian beliefs of the nation's Founding Fathers and tried to clarify what pastors can and can't do in the political arena. According to IRS guidelines, churches and other tax-exempt religious organizations cannot endorse individual candidates, but their pastors can preach on issues. Joan Pierson, a retired Presbyterian minister from Eugene, said Barton "talked a lot about the marriage stuff as an issue in Oregon that can help get out the vote." Barton also discussed issues such as school prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, saying that congressional votes on such matters have been intensely partisan, Pierson said. She noted that Barton made no mention of Bush or Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and said the word "Iraq" only once.

Arkansas Marriage Amendment Headed To Ballot
Secretary Of State Certifies Petition Signatures

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages is headed to the Nov. 2 general election ballot in Arkansas.

The secretary of state's office certified Thursday that the measure secured the necessary number of voter signatures to be placed on the ballot.

Deputy Secretary of State Janet Miller said the office counted 95,736 valid signatures of registered voters. The measure needed 80,570 to be put before voters.


Namibia's Human Rights Record Under Scrutiny
The Namibian (Windhoek)
July 22, 2004
Christof Maletsky

THE United Nations Human Rights Committee has expressed concern about women and children's rights, domestic violence, pre-trial detention andlegal aid, cases of disappearances, anti-discrimination measures, homosexuality and HIV-AIDS in Namibia.

The Human Rights Committee is currently meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, to consider a report on how Namibia implements the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Uutoni Nujoma, Namibia's Co-ordinator of Human Rights, accompanied by a representative of the Ministry of Justice and the Permanent Representative of Namibia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, presented the report.

He said the report gave the country the opportunity to contribute to the international community's efforts to institutionalise a culture of respect for human rights internationally while also providing a "yardstick" against which Namibia could measure its own efforts to promote such a culture.


Outing of icons stirs up gay row

TASMANIA'S trailblazing gay activist, Rodney Croome, has come under fire for publicly naming four of Tasmania's leading cultural exports as being gay.

But his decision to name the four has not only attracted criticism - he even included one who is not homosexual.

Mr Croome wrote that Peter Conrad, Peter Sculthorpe, Nigel Triffitt and Graeme Murphy were gay.

But the publicist for choreographer Graeme Murphy says Murphy is not gay and has been with his partner, Janet Vernon, for 30 years.


Tyler Rothmeyer appeared to have had a miserable high school experience.
By: Laura Pieper

He claimed he was harassed by students who thought he was gay. He said he was called "queer," "faggot," "homo" and other anti-gay epithets. He confided in Perry's School Resource Officer Pat Jans and was told to stand up to his bullies. He ended up getting into a physical confrontation and was suspended and charged for his courage.

He kept a written record of all of this and sued Superintendent Randy McCaulley, High School Principal Dan Marburger, Associate High School Principal Bob Gittins, Officer Jans and the City of Perry in March, submitting a 52-page lawsuit.

Despite the District's insistence that its administrators acted appropriately and did not ignore Rothmeyer's pleas for help, its insurance company settled last week.

A federal court awarded Rothmeyer $27,500; $20,000 of that will come from the Perry Community School District and $7,500 from the City of Perry. The School District insisted that the settlement was requested by its insurance company.


Religion Today
Associated Press

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - A recent Sunday found Tina Kolm changing her morning routine. Instead of attending a Unitarian Universalist service, she was at the Lenexa Christian Center, paying close attention to a conservative minister's sermon about the importance of amending the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage.

Kolm is one of about 100 volunteers for the Mainstream Coalition, a group monitoring the political activities of local pastors and churches. The coalition, based in suburban Kansas City, says it wants to make sure clergy adhere to federal tax guidelines restricting political activity by nonprofit groups, and it's taking such efforts to a new level.

The 47-year-old Kolm, from Prairie Village, said keeping church and state separate is important to her. She doesn't want a few religious denominations defining marriage - or setting other social policy - for everyone.

"What it's all about to me is denying some people's rights," she said

House debates stripping federal courts of jurisdiction over gay marriage
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal judges should keep their hands off marriage, House Republicans said Thursday, pressing for passage of legislation to give states final say over recognizing same-sex unions sanctioned elsewhere.

Federal judges, unelected and given lifetime appointments, "must not be allowed to rewrite marriage policy for the states," Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., said at the start of a debate tinged by election-year politics.

Republican leaders predicted easy passage for the Marriage Protection Act, a week after the Senate dealt gay marriage opponents a setback by failing to advance a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions.

The legislation would strip the Supreme Court and other federal courts of their jurisdiction to rule on challenges to state bans on gay marriages under a provision of a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman


Letter To IRS Says Pastor Crossed Line
By Doug Thompson
Arkansas News Bureau

SPRINGDALE — Ronnie Floyd, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Springdale, is accused of crossing the line between church and state in a complaint to the IRS that challenges the church’s tax-exempt status as a religious organization.

The complaint about a July 4 sermon was sent Tuesday to the Internal Revenue Service by the Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State, according to Barry Lynn, its executive director.

“No church in U.S. history has ever lost its tax-exempt status for being too political,” Alan Damron, the church’s associate pastor for community impact, said Wednesday.  

The church has provided transcripts of the sermon in the complaint to an attorney and been advised that it “in no way” violates IRS rules, he said


European Commission Enforces Equality Directive UK

The European Commission has announced that it is taking legal action against six member states that have failed to transpose two anti-discrimination Directives. Austria, Germany, Finland, Greece and Luxembourg will be referred to the European Court of Justice for failing to implement Directives, which prohibit discrimination on racial or ethnic origin, age, disability, religion and sexual orientation. The Directives should have been incorporated into national law last year.

The deadline for transposing the Racial Equality Directive into national law was July 19 whilst the deadline for the Employment Framework Directive passed in December of last year. The Council adopted these Directives in 2000, requiring legislative changes in all 25 EU Member States, and they are intended to widen the scope of protection.
The Employment Framework Directive prohibits discrimination against people on the grounds of age, disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation and vocational training. The five member states mentioned above along with Belgium have failed to fully transpose this Directive and the Commission’s decision means that the Member States in question have two months to reply to a ‘Reasoned Opinion’ from the Commission.

For those Member States which have already adopted legislation transposing the Directives (including the United Kingdom) the Commission is now examining the national laws of each State to make sure that they conform in full with the provisions of EU law.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Withdraws from LGBT
Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director:

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Withdraws from LGBT "Unity 2004" Event at Democratic National Convention

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director

"We are dismayed that Margaret Cho has been disinvited to perform at the LGBT Unity 2004 event scheduled for Monday, July 26 in Boston. We had been a co-sponsor of this event.

Throughout her career, Ms. Cho has been a staunch supporter of equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, has contributed her time and talent to dozens of LGBT fundraising events, and is much loved by our community. We were proud to give her a Task Force Leadership Award last year. Ms. Cho has said, 'I'm more than bi(sexual).' She is, indeed, one of us.

Under these circumstances, we must regretfully withdraw our support for this event."

Take Action!
Urge your Representative to Oppose the Marriage Protection Act

Congress should not restrict the decisions of the Supreme Court! The marriage Protection Act would tie the hands of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Congress should not be able to strong arm the judiciary branch and limit its role as protector of our constitutional rights. Most importantly, Congress should never pass legislation that would block one group of Americans from having access to an essential branch of government.

Contact your Representative and ask them to oppose HR 3313 - the Marriage Protection Act - today!

Republicans target federal courts in fight over gay marriage
  By MARK SHERMAN | Associated Press

WASHINGTON - No federal court has ruled on state bans on gay marriage, and House Republicans want to make sure none does.

The House of Representatives was considering legislation Thursday to keep the Supreme Court and other federal courts from ordering states to recognize same-sex unions sanctioned elsewhere.

Continuing their election-year focus on gay marriage, Republican leaders expect the measure to pass easily. Last week, the Senate dealt gay marriage opponents a setback by failing to advance a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions.

Supporters said Wednesday the House legislation is needed to protect state bans on gay marriage from federal judges who might rule that a gay marriage that took place in Massachusetts, the only state where it is legal, must be recognized by other states.


Spaniards back gay marriage law

MADRID (Reuters) - Nearly 70 percent of Spaniards are in favour of a planned law to legalise gay unions, despite strong opposition from the church in the traditionally Catholic country, a poll shows.

Three quarters of respondents to the nationwide poll, released on Thursday by the Centre for Sociological Investigations also said they thought the law should give homosexual couples exactly the same rights and obligations as heterosexual partners.

Spain, where 95 percent of the population is registered as Catholic, is increasingly liberal and its recently elected Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has made the gay marriage law a high-profile issue during his first months in office.

Only 11.6 percent of the 2,479 people questioned for the poll, which has a 2.0 percent margin of error, said they were very or quite opposed to the law.


Unions want changes to paid parental leave legislation

Trade unions have appealed for wider paid parental leave eligibility, saying the scheme unfairly excludes women who work less than 10 hours a week in part-time jobs.

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) put its case to Parliament's social services committee today when it opened hearings on legislation that extends paid parental leave from the current 12 weeks to 14 weeks.

CTU secretary Carol Beaumont said unions welcomed the bill but would like the extension to be implemented immediately rather than introduced progressively over two years.

She said that in 2002 the Department of Labour estimated that 11 per cent of women employees would be ineligible for paid parental leave because they did not work at least 10 hours a week for one employer.

Ms Beaumont cited an International Labour Organisation convention which stated that paid parental leave should apply to "all employed women" and for this reason the CTU sought removal of the minimum weekly hours threshold.


Council reappoints activist in close vote
Staff Writers

Advocates for gay rights received a small but jubilant victory last night as the Metro Council narrowly reappointed a lesbian activist to the Metro Human Relations Commission.

The debate over Maria Salas' reappointment had become a pitched battle with echoes from last year's gay rights debate that bitterly divided the council and some members of the community.

Her reappointment hung in the balance up to the moment when the council agreed 22-13 to confirm Mayor Bill Purcell's nomination of her to the volunteer job. She needed a majority 21 votes on the 40-member council, so the two members who abstained were in effect voting ''no.'' Three council members were absent.

Salas, 41, a local attorney, said afterward that she had been uncertain beforehand how the vote would turn out. Purcell's staff was prodding and counting votes right up to the start of the meeting.

Triple murderer fails in make-up bid

TRIPLE murderer Paul Denyer has failed in his attempt to be allowed to wear make-up in jail.
In a closed-door mediation between Denyer and Corrections Victoria at Barwon Prison on Tuesday, the prisoner, who refers to himself as Paula, was told he could no longer wear make-up in prison.

Details of the mediation were confidential, the Corrections Victoria Commissioner Kelvin Anderson said in a statement today, and neither party could disclose the terms of the agreement.

"Corrections Victoria is satisfied with the outcome because it reinforces current policy," Mr Anderson said.


Taiwanese film banned for portraying ‘homosexual utopia'

SINGAPORE (dpa) - The Taiwanese box office hit, "Formula 17", will not been shown under any rating in Singapore because the film "creates an illusion of a homosexual utopia", censors said on Wednesday.

Following an initial ban by the Board of Film Censors earlier this month, the distributor, Festive Films, urged the Films Appeal Committee to allow the movie.

The distributor proposed a "M18" rating for the movie about a romance between two teenage boys, meaning only those 18 or over would would be allowed to see it.

The film "creates an illusion of a homosexual utopia, where everyone, including passers-by, are homosexual, and no ills or problems are reflected", the FAC said in a statement.


Gay couple coping with rejections
Longmont men turned away from prospective wedding site
By Aimee Heckel, Camera Staff Writer

The rejection letter Lou Bardach, 34, and his fiance Mikey Higginbotham, 20, received last week was a painful disappointment. But it wasn't anything new.

While chasing their dream of marriage, the homosexual Longmont couple had been turned down before.

In May, the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder's Office denied them a marriage license. They planned a trip to Massachusetts, the first state to recognize gay marriages. But they learned the state wouldn't marry residents from states that prohibit same-sex marriage.

On July 13, Bardach and Higginbotham received an e-mail from Boulder County-based Peaceful Valley Ranch thanking them for their interest in holding a wedding ceremony there but politely turning them away.


Cho no-go in Boston - no joke!

Margaret has been Whoopi'd.

The potty-mouthed comedian has been cut from a gay political bash coinciding with the Democratic convention.

Apparently, its John Kerry-friendly organizers are worried that her racy routine will become more fodder for Republicans who have been trying to label the Massachusetts senator the candidate of Hollywood values instead of family values.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights group, insists it is not censoring Cho, whose anti-Bush diatribes are well known in the gay and lesbian community.


Canadian Gov't Accepts Gay Divorce
By Jan Prout

(Toronto, Ontario) The Canadian government announced late Wednesday afternoon that it would not oppose same-sex couples who seek to divorce.

Same-sex marriage is legal in four Canadian jurisdictions but when a relationship ends severing the ties that bound is uncharted territory as two Toronto women discovered.

Judges in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and the Yukon have struck down the federal definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, but, Canadian divorce laws remain unchanged.

Two Toronto women are now before Ontario's Superior Court of Justice in what is believed to be Canada's first gay divorce petition.

Sex worker commits suicide

A 24-year-old hijra committed suicide by hanging at her house in Lingarajapuram in Banaswadi police limits on Friday morning. The deceased, Famila, a sex worker and hijra rights activist, ended her life in an inebriated state over a trivial reason, according to the police.

Famila was also the board member of Sangama, an NGO working for the rights of hijras. She had come second in the “Miss Koovagam,” an annual hijra meet in Koovagam in Tamil Nadu, beauty contest in 2003.


Human Rights Violations against the Transgender Community

A study of kothi and hijra sex workers in Bangalore, India
- September 2003Reflections on the PUCL Report
by Lynn Conway
Dear friends,
In September 2003, the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties, Karnataka (PUCL-K) published a truly remarkable report on human rights violations against the transgender community in India.  In the spring of 2004, I was fortunate to obtain a hardcopy of the report, and I wish to alert you to it via this webpage.
The 117 page PUCL report begins by providing background on the social, cultural and political context of the Kothis and Hijras. It then documents violence and abuse against these peoples via testimonies of many who have been directly affected, and goes on to discuss the institutional basis of all this violence. The report then documents efforts by the Kothi and Hijra to organize and protest the violence and discrimination that they face. It also documents many useful recommendations on how to improve the plight of transgender people in India. The report concludes with many useful appendices of valuable information, including contact information for Kothi and Hijra support organizations.
Th PUCL report provides valuable insights into Hijra life. Many of you may not realize that the Hijra traditions and community go back 4000 years in India. Hijra practices include a tradition innovated thousands of years ago for surgically intervening in cases of transsexualism so as to effect a "sex change" from male towards female.  You will learn in this report that the practice of a "one-year real-life test", which we think of as part of the "modern HBIGDA tradition", may itself have originated in ancient Hijra traditions. This time-test is practiced there to this day, in this case under Hijra gurus instead of psychiatric "gatekeepers". (For more background on the Hijra, see Lynn's pages on Transsexualism and Sex Reassignment Surgery, and links you'll find there).


India's eunuchs demand rights
By Habib Beary
BBC correspondent in Bangalore
Eunuchs came to celebrate - and demand better treatment
She is tall, bold and - many think - sexy!

At a carnival for eunuchs in the high-tech southern Indian city of Bangalore, purple sari-clad Famila invites curious stares from the crowd.

Eunuchs are known in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as hijras or "impotent ones".

Born as boys, they have strong female feelings - some become cross-dressers, others opt for often crude surgery.

In her mid-20s, Famila is unabashedly candid - she makes a living out of sex.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Few laws help gays in cases of domestic violence
Kathleen Kingsbury
Columbia News Service

NEW YORK - After coming home for work, Marianne makes dinner for her family. She watches TV with her children and tucks them into bed. She surfs the Internet for cheap plane tickets to take the kids to DisneyWorld for Easter.

For Marianne, who asked that her last name not be used, such everyday tasks were impossible less than a year ago. Her husband, Jordan, who abused her regularly throughout their 12-year marriage, controlled her life with violence.

Finally, a police officer suggested to Marianne that she go to family court for help. She filed a restraining order against her husband, keeping him away from her home, work and children's school. It isn't perfect, but Marianne can at least live without fear.

However, a majority of states don't guarantee this protection to Lorena Adams. Razor cuts crisscross Adams' arms, scars of the nearly daily abuse she suffered at the hands of her partner, Miranda, for almost five years. Only Hawaii's domestic-violence law explicitly gives gays and lesbians the right to restraining orders against abusive partners, and courts in only three other states - Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky - have consistently interpreted their states' laws to include same-sex relationships

House takes up gay marriage issue again

WASHINGTON -- Continuing Republicans' election-year focus on gay marriage, the House is considering legislation to keep federal courts from ordering states to recognize same-sex unions sanctioned outside their borders.

Supporters said Wednesday it is needed to protect state bans on gay marriage from federal judges who might rule that a gay marriage that took place in Massachusetts, the only state where it is legal, must be recognized by other states.

"This bill is really a reaffirmation of states' rights," said Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., chairman of the House Rules Committee.

The Marriage Protection Act would strip the Supreme Court and other federal courts of their jurisdiction to rule on challenges to state bans on gay marriages under a provision of a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.


The Doctor Is Out
Trinidad's transgendered sex-change(sic)surgeon knows what her patients are going through.

Folks in Trinidad were relieved to learn last year that the town's only hospital had obtained the services of Dr. Marci Bowers, an obstetrician and gynecologic surgeon with a distinguished resumé. The community had lacked a board-certified OB/GYN for years, and physicians of Bowers's caliber -- former chair of her department at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, named one of "America's Best Doctors" by the American Research Council in 2002-2003 -- don't usually choose places like Trinidad to practice.

Yet Bowers had strong professional reasons for making the move. She'd been trained by Dr. Stanley Biber to take over his thriving work in sex-reassignment surgery (SRS). Over the past 34 years, Biber has performed more than 6,000 of these operations, primarily male-to-female, earning Trinidad the title of Sex-Change Capital of the World. But the eighty-year-old Biber was forced to end his pioneering efforts when he could no longer obtain affordable malpractice insurance ("Sex Change," November 27, 2003).

Bowers has other qualifications for the job that extend beyond her surgical skills. She hadn't been in Colorado long before the news began to spread that Bowers herself is a member of the transgender community; she "transitioned" from male to female in 1997 while working at a clinic in downtown Seattle. "There's a New Doc in Town, and She's One of Us!" proclaims a recent article in the Transgender Tapestry, a national quarterly magazine.

As the only SRS practitioner who's taken her own medicine, so to speak, Bowers has a special empathy for her patients' plight of feeling trapped in the wrong body. "You find out that people have these feelings at a very early age -- three, four, five years old," she says. "I don't care if you were a starting lineman for the Nebraska Cornhuskers -- whatever it is, it's probably something in the brains or the genes. It's an important journey for a certain segment of the population to take."


Many South Dakota delegates favor gay marriage
Associated Press

PIERRE, S.D. - About half of South Dakota's delegates to the Democratic National Convention support the idea of gay marriage, according to a survey by The Associated Press.

The survey of 21 of the 22 South Dakota delegates found that nine favor gay marriage while six oppose it. Another six did not answer the question or said their views do not equate to favoring or opposing gay marriage.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, both oppose gay marriage. But they also both oppose a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage, saying they want to let states decide the issue.

Many South Dakota delegates said they see the issue much as Kerry does. He backs civil unions, which would give same-sex couples the same rights as married couples without being formally married.


Demand Equal Marriage Rights
- Regardless of Party –

Protest for Equal Marriage Rights during the Democratic Convention
8:30 PM: Monday
July 26 Outside the Avalon
15 Lansdowne St, Boston

After its July 14th defeat in the Senate, the threat of an anti-gay Constitutional amendment at the federal level has receded for the time being.

Unfortunately, other threats are beginning to loom larger. Chief among them is the threat to equal marriage rights in Massachusetts, the one state where we've won it.

John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, says that while he opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment, he also OPPOSES gay marriage and says he SUPPORTS a proposed anti-gay amendment to the Massachusetts State Constitution.

In other words, he calls for destroying equal marriage rights in the only state where we have it!!


Majority of Kansas' Democratic delegates favor gay marriage
Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. - A majority of Kansas delegates to the Democratic National Convention favor allowing gay couples to marry, making the state's delegation more open to the idea than the convention as a whole - and the party's presidential nominee-in-waiting.

The Associated Press surveyed 39 of Kansas' 41 delegates, and 22 of them said they favor allowing gay marriage. Eleven said they oppose gay marriage, and the remaining declined to say if they favored or opposed the idea.

That means at least 54 percent of the Kansas delegation favors gay marriage. Nationally, the AP surveyed about three-quarters of the more than 4,300 delegates attending the convention next week in Boston, and 41 percent of those questioned said they favored gay marriage.

For the Kansas delegates, support for gay marriage came from all four generational groups, even the oldest.

House Anti-Gay Bill Unconstitutional Groups Warn
by Paul Johnson Newscenter
Washington Bureau Chief

(Washington) Two leading LGBT civil rights groups warned Wednesday that The Marriage Protection Act is unconstitutional and if it is passed Thursday they will fight it to Supreme Court.

The bill would block federal courts, including the Supreme Court, from hearing cases challenging federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The legislation passed the House Judiciary Committee July 14 by a vote of 21-13 the same day that the Federal Marriage Amendment lost in the Senate. Its sponsor, Tom DeLay (R-Texas), says Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to remove issues from federal courts' jurisdiction.

But, Lambda Legal said that it was never intended to be used to prevent an identifiable group from being blocked from the judicial system.

"In attacking both gay people and the historic role of courts, this bill clearly violates our Constitution and will never be allowed to stand," said Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director of Lambda Legal.


Lesbian congressional candidate loses bid for Georgia seat

Democratic congressional candidate Cathy Woolard was hoping to become the South's first openly lesbian candidate elected to federal office. But with all precincts reporting after Tuesday's Democratic primary, Woolard's leading opponent, former representative Cynthia McKinney, had 51% of the vote, eliminating a runoff and giving McKinney the nomination in the fourth district, a heavily Democratic section east of Atlanta. McKinney, a firebrand legislator who spent eight years in the House, was upset two years ago by Denise Majette, a little-known state court judge, in the Democratic primary after McKinney made incendiary comments about President Bush, in which she accused the presidnet of ignoring warnings about the 9/11 terrorist attacks becuase his cronies could profit from war. Woolard, a former Atlanta city council president who raised the most money in the campaign, was expected to force a runoff in the primary, which in the absence of any strong Republican contenders in the fall would have basically decided the election.


Democrats seen more open to gay marriage

WASHINGTON -- Democratic convention delegates generally are more open to the prospect of gay marriage than are John Kerry and John Edwards, their presumed nominees for the presidential ticket.

An Associated Press survey of Democratic National Convention delegates found that roughly 41 percent said they favored marriage for same-sex couples, while about 21 percent opposed it. Most of the remaining delegates said their position didn't fit into a "favor" or "oppose" response, or refused to answer the question.

Kerry and Edwards oppose gay marriage itself but also are against a constitutional ban on same-sex nuptials, wanting to allow states to decide the issue. Kerry backs civil unions, which would give same-sex partners the same rights as married couples without wedding.

President Bush, like Kerry, opposes gay marriage. Unlike the Massachusetts senator, the incumbent Republican supported the proposed constitutional amendment forbidding gay marriage that failed in the Senate last week.

The Dangers of Pumping
by Andrew Davis

It’s certainly a different type of get-together.

Across the United States—but primarily in the South—people are hosting “pumping parties,” which offer silicone injections. Although people may think that a party to erase wrinkles or inflate lips may be perfectly harmless, there are several hidden dangers. Additionally, these festivities ensnare members of the GLBT community as male-to-female transsexuals try to add curves and people suffering from AIDS attempt to combat gaunt looks.

These parties have, unfortunately, even resulted in death:

— In Georgia, 23-year-old Andre D. Jeter, a transsexual, suffered convulsions and fell unconscious last December after receiving injections in the hips and buttocks during a pumping party. She died this past January.

— In 2003, transgendered pumper Donnie Hendrix and an accomplice received prison terms after a woman they were injecting with silicone intended for furniture use died of silicone in her lungs.

— In 2003, Guadalupe Camarena was charged with aggravated assault and serious bodily injury after Delfino Gonzales died what was described as an “agonizing” death



Write Congress: Stop the "Marriage Protection Act"

Right-wing House members are trying to whip up a backlash against last week's Senate defeat for the Federal Marriage Amendment. So they're promising a vote this week on the so-called "Marriage Protection Act," which attacks the right of gay men, lesbians, and every other American to challenge the discriminatory 1996 "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) in federal court.

This bill should be called the Discrimination Protection Act, since its malicious and unconstitutional intent is to defend Congress' past discrimination by discriminating yet again.

In technical terms, the Marriage Protection Act would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction to consider citizens' legal challenges to DOMA's "full faith and credit" provision. That provision tries to "protect" each state from having to recognize the marriage of same-sex couples lawfully performed in other states despite the Full Faith and Credit clause of the U.S. Constitution.

In practical terms, this legislation would, for the first time in U.S. history, bar an entire class of citizens from the federal courts, which would violate the 14th Amendment equal protection rights of gay and lesbian Americans. It would also severely undermine the constitutional separation of powers that is fundamental to our democracy.


O'Reilly scolds guest who outed gays, then calls judge a lesbian
By John Cook
Tribune staff reporter

Fox News Channel's star talk-show personality, Bill O'Reilly, says he is uncomfortable with the practice of outing gay political figures--except, it seems, when he is doing the outing.

On his show Monday night, O'Reilly chastised guest Michael Rogers for maintaining a Web site publicizing the names of gay staffers working for politicians who oppose gay marriage.

"We're uneasy with this kind of exposition," O'Reilly said. "Somebody's personal sex life should have nothing to do with any kind of a policy."

But on the same show--and for at least the third time in the last year--O'Reilly described one of the justices on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court as a lesbian, a claim that the justice herself, through a spokeswoman, denies.

On shows in November, last week, and again on Monday, O'Reilly has referred to "the lesbian judge on the Supreme Court who dissented" in the court's landmark ruling in favor of gay marriage


Ombudsman warns against gay adoption
Carin Pettersson

There may be a majority at the Norwegian parliament this fall for giving homosexual couples the same rights as other couples to adopt children, however, the ombudsman for children strong warn against it.

«The homosexuals are fighting a rather legitimate battle for liberation, but it is important that children do not become weapons in that battle,» said Reidar Hjermann, ombudsman, to TV 2 Nyhetene. «The time is not right for adoption, maybe in 10 or 20 years, or 100 years, but not now.»

Not a human right
Hjermann stated that it is not a human right to have children. Hjermann is positive to homosexuals’ right to adopt stepchildren which is allowed today. He states that only when homosexual couples are equal to heterosexual couples in all areas of society, can general adoption for all become an option.


Wisconsin priest forms splinter group in protest of gay bishop

A Milwaukee priest has formed a splinter congregation of the Episcopal Church to oppose the church's ordination of an openly gay bishop. The Reverend Tere Wilson is renting a meeting room at the Pettit National Ice Center to hold services for "Light of Christ Church, an emerging Anglican mission." Wilson, who had been filling in for Milwaukee-area parish priests, said he wanted to offer an alternative until opponents of the church's positions on homosexuality have a permanent alternative. "There was a group of people who have felt abandoned by the Episcopal Church, as I do," said Wilson. "The Episcopal Church seems to have kept the trappings, the package, but they've thrown out Jesus and the Bible, as far as what I can see."

About 30 people are in the breakaway congregation, and average Sunday attendance is about 18 adults and children, mostly from Trinity Episcopal Church in Wauwatosa. That church was the scene of heated disputes last year over the national church's actions. About 30 parishioners left. Episcopal diocese bishop Steven A. Miller called the splinter congregation "a very small group of people who have chosen to worship together." Miller has appointed a task force on human sexuality to find common ground in the diocese, which covers the southern third of the state. But the splinter congregation--believed to be the first in Wisconsin--highlights the continuing challenges for the Episcopal Church, which represents the worldwide Anglican Communion in the United States. Some wonder whether more of the church's 2.3 million members might leave or be ejected.


Rights panel seeks advice
Commission wants city attorney's aid to determine which ordinance to propose.

Before it begins writing a revised version of a proposed gay rights ordinance, the Burlington Human Rights Commission wants City Attorney Scott Power to determine which of the five ordinances already enacted in five other state cities would be the best one to mimic.

After listening to residents in opposition to and in favor of a proposed ordinance that would make sexual orientation a protected class in the city, commission members Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of asking the City Council for Power's assistance in determining which of the five existing ordinances would work the best for Burlington.

The cities of Davenport, Iowa City, Ames, Des Moines and Cedar Rapids have ordinances in place that include sexual orientation as a protected class.

Commission member John Carroll said he was "frustrated" by the council's decision to turn the ordinance back over to the commission for revisions.


Twenty-four Groups Launch Ad Campaign Exposing Extremist Judicial Nominees
By staff

Civil rights, environmental, women's, health, religious, gay and lesbian, and other organizations with more than 5 million members and supporters simultaneously launched an Internet and TV ad campaign today to expose the extremist views and records of the Bush administration's judicial nominees.

The groups will concurrently feature on their websites and air on television a new ad that explains, in the nominees' own words, why they are unqualified to be federal judges.

The ad, which more than 20 groups will be airing on their websites, focuses on nine judicial nominees selected for lifetime seats on the federal courts, including several now pending in the Senate. In an effort to send a message to Congress, the ad encourages Americans to call on the Senate to reject nominees who are out of step with the values and views of most Americans.

"The White House and some senators are grandstanding about 'obstructionism' of the Administration's judicial nominees," said Nancy Zirkin, deputy director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. "But, the record is unmistakable -- the vast majority of this administration's judicial nominees have been approved by the Senate. As this ad makes clear, American democracy requires fair and independent jurists, not ideologues who ride roughshod over our freedoms and rights." 



POLICE detectives are to examine the killing of a homeless man in a Limehouse churchyard as part of a review of gay killings.

David Ridlagh, 35, died in hospital after being beaten in the grounds of St Anne's church, in Three Colt Street, in February 2002.

Teenager Fergus Tracey was jailed for life for the murder in October last year after he told his brother in a phone call: "I battered him silly mate".

The case is one of six being examined for anti-gay prejudice. Review leader, Det Ch Supt Adrian Maybanks, said he hoped the move would improve the confidence London's gay community had in the Met