poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Gay-bashing ruling holds N.J. schools to rules of workplace
Star-Ledger Staff

In a ruling that gives students attending New Jersey schools greater protection against bias than their peers nationwide, the state Division on Civil Rights has awarded $50,000 to a boy who was slapped, punched and repeatedly taunted by classmates who perceived him as homosexual.

The Toms River Regional School District, which must pay the award, also was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $10,000 to the student's mother and to toughen its policies against gay-bashing.
State Civil Rights Director J. Frank Vespa-Papaleo, overruling an administrative law judge's decision, concluded the district's efforts to stop the bullying were "extremely limited" and allowed a "hostile school environment" to develop.

It was the first New Jersey case to determine how much school administrators must do to protect students from discrimination by other students. Vespa-Papaleo's ruling holds school officials to the same tough standards that employers must enforce in the workplace


Protest rally over attacks
March in city planned
By Brian Hutton

PLANS are afoot for a civil rights march in Londonderry to stamp out a growing campaign of homophobic and racist attacks in the city.

The Socialist Environmental Alliance (SEA) has approached representatives of the city's gay community and Derry Trades Council in a bid to organise a "broad-based group" to rally against the intimidation.

"This city has a proud tradition of standing up for civil rights," said SEA spokesperson Goretti Horgan.

"It is clear that we need to be on the streets again this time for the civil rights of gay and ethnic minority people."


Missouri first of several states to vote on gay marriage ban
Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - There's nothing unusual about national political groups focusing efforts on the bellwether state of Missouri. But the attention this year is not only on the presidential race, but also a ballot proposal to enshrine a ban on gay marriage in the state constitution.

Tuesday's election will mark the first vote in the nation on the subject since Massachusetts' highest court legalized gay marriages last year. At least nine other states, and perhaps as many as 12, will vote on a similar amendment this fall.

The proposed amendment has prompted national gay-rights groups to send more than $100,000 to the Missouri organization fighting the ban, and they expect to spend millions of dollars around the country before the general election. Supporters have raised just a few thousand dollars but think public sentiment in this Midwestern state is on their side.

National groups expect Missouri's vote to be a test of which campaign strategies work, and which don't, as the battle spreads to ballot boxes around the United States.


Gay couple from Bucks ask court to throw out suit

Attorneys for two gay men from New Hope asked Bucks County Court yesterday to dismiss a lawsuit that they say is intended to prevent the couple from marrying.

The filing was on behalf of Robert Seneca, 49, a salesman at a glass-art gallery, and Stephen Stahl, 55, a playwright and Republican committeeman in New Hope.

On March 15, the men were denied a marriage license application at Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown. On May 14, 12 state representatives and a Bedford County firm filed suit in Doylestown, asking the county court to affirm the state's Defense of Marriage Act and marriage law. In asking for dismissal yesterday, the brief for the couple argued that the legislators' suit "amounts to an act of governmental intimidation and threatens core First Amendment values."


Motions filed in Sandoval county gay-marriage case
The Associated Press

BERNALILLO -- The attorney for a county clerk who wants to issue same-sex marriage licenses has filed motions seeking to block the attorney general's attempts to stop her.

Two motions filed Wednesday ask the court to dismiss Attorney General Patricia Madrid's request for a permanent injunction against Sandoval County Clerk Victoria Dunlap's issuing same-sex licenses.

Dunlap issued 66 same-sex licenses Feb. 20 but stopped late in the day after an advisory letter from Madrid declared such licenses illegal.

One motion contends Madrid has not tried to act against the couples whose marriages she is challenging, and the other contends she failed to state a legal claim for her request for an injunction.


Partner registry, first day: No protesters, just cheers
By JOSIE HUANG, Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — The last time Sara Jane Elliot did something this radical, she says, was when she declared her love for another woman in a private ceremony 23 years ago.

This time around, the Scarborough woman handed a $35 check and a notarized form to state workers seated in a small, dimly lit office.

A minute later, Elliot and her partner, Rita Clifford, emerged from the room Friday as one of the first couples to join Maine's new domestic partner registry.

"For me, this represents a step closer to the kind of legal rights we're seeking," said Elliot, a 64-year-old financial planner who was greeted with cheers and applause by other couples waiting their turn in the lobby.

Bangkok, Thailand, 8-10 July 2005
First Conference Announcement

The Office of Human Rights Studies and Social Development,
Mahidol University, Bangkok
The AsiaPacifiQueer Network
8-10 July, 2005
Bangkok, Thailand

An international interdisciplinary conference on studies of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, bisexual, and queer (LGBTQ) cultures and communities in Asia will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from Thursday 8th to Saturday 10th July, 2005. The main aim of the conference is to develop linkages between research about Asian LGBTQ cultures and communities and promoting recognition and respect for sexual and gender diversity in the region. A parallel goal of the conference is to support and defend the academic legitimacy of research and teaching about LGBTQ peoples in Asia.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Araujo retrial set for May 9
By Yomi S. Wronge
Mercury News

Three men charged with killing a Newark transgender teenager will be retried beginning on May 9, but one of them will be released on bail until then.

Judge Harry R. Sheppard during a Friday court hearing set a $1 million bail for Newark resident Jason Cazares. His two co-defendants, Michael Magidson of Fremont and Jose Merel of Newark will remain incarcerated without bail at Santa Rita jail in Dublin.

The three friends are charged with the October 2002 bludgeoning and strangling of 17-year-old Gwen Araujo, who was born male but lived as a female. Prosecutors say the defendants attacked Gwen after discovering she was anatomically male. The men were also charged with a hate crime.

After a three-month trial, an Alameda County jury in June deadlocked on whether the three were guilty of first-degree murder. Because they could not reach consensus, the presiding judge declared a mistrial.


Bishop Requires Affirmation of Beliefs
Associated Press Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - As a lay liturgical minister and a cantor, Wilma Hens was a leader at for years at her Roman Catholic parish in the central Oregon city of Bend.

But then Bishop Robert F. Vasa issued a two-page ``affirmation of faith.'' It tells lay ministers and cantors that, if they want to continue in their roles on the altar, they must accept the church's teachings opposing abortion, contraception, gay relationships and other issues.

Hens couldn't agree, so she quit - publicly. She stood at a microphone at St. Francis of Assisi Church last month and told the congregation she was stepping down because she could not accept the bishop's requirement.

``I could no longer pretend that I could ascend to some of those articles of faith any more than others can,'' she said Thursday in a telephone interview.


Agency finds probable racial hostility at South Dallas office
EEOC sides with 5 black employees; Sneed says he’s target of whites who don’t want AIDS grants going to agencies operated by blacks
By David Webb

A black gay AIDS official who coordinated several recent racial-oriented protests against Dallas’ GLBT community has himself been accused of discriminating against five black employees, according to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report.

A determination report by the federal agency, issued on July 1, shows that five black men and women have accused Don Sneed, the executive director and owner of Renaissance III, of discriminating against them due to their race.

Sneed is also a Bush appointee to the Presiden-tial Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. The five complained that on several occasions Sneed made a “barrage of unwelcome remarks of a racial nature” at Renaissance III. They also claimed Sneed sexually harassed some employees.

The report said there is reasonable cause to believe a racially hostile work environment existed at the organization. But the agency issued a “no determination” finding on the sexual harassment complaints.


LGTB Challenge May Keep Amendment Off Ohio Ballot

COLUMBUS, OH—A legal strategy initiated by LGTB-rights advocates in Ohio may succeed in stalling a proposed state constitutional amendment banning marriage equality in legal limbo, thereby preventing voters from seeing the measure on November ballots, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Tuesday.

The LGTB group, a statewide consortium known as Ohioans Protecting the Constitution, could potentially file a separate legal challenge in each Ohio county in which petitions to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot were submitted. The result could be a legal snare tying the issue up in dozens of courts statewide until ballot deadlines have passed.

While critics assail the legal challenges as mere political machinations, marriage-amendment opponents contend the petitioners are the ones playing politics, referring to claims that signature gatherers may be misrepresenting the nature of the amendment to potential signers. “We are not opposed to them putting it on the ballot,” Alan Melamed, campaign managers for Ohioans Protecting the Constitution, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We just want them to follow the same rules as everybody else.”

From: Proyecto Agenda

Six couples got married during the first homosexual marriage The ceremony took place at the Metropolitan Church of Venezuela ANSA Agency, Caracas. – Four women couples, one male couple, and one heterosexual couple, were part of the religious event that took place recently.

Andreína Fuentes, the event coordinator explained that the unions only have symbolic value because Venezuelan law prohibits same sex weddings. “It is not a wedding, it is a universal blessing that the Metropolitan Church of Venezuela issues”, said Ms. Fuentes. However, Inés Álvarez was pleased by the idea of the wedding, “Throwing yourself in the water sounds so good”, she confessed as she toasted with her partner Yenitza Pérez. Rodrigo Navarrete, alongside his partner CésarGonzález, wanted to highlight the act they had participated in: “We have been together for almost 21 years, we got married 2 and a half years ago in the United States, but we came here a symbolic ceremony like this one is important and it sets a precedent, a guide and a need for openness in the country”.

The Metropolitan Church of Venezuela began its activities on September 2000 and it originates from the Metropolitan Communities Universal Fraternity of Churches, created on October 1968 in Los Angeles, California, and it is now in 29 countries. Despite the fact that it promotes Christian values, it distinguishes itself from the other religions by approving same sex unions.

César Núñez, who officiated the ceremony, is certain the event will generate controversy, but he trusts that it will help eliminate sexual discriminations. “We are making history”, he stated.

Come Join Our Rally!

Summer of Love 2004:
A Celebration of Same-Sex Marriage

Sunday, August 8, 2004
11:30 am to 1:30 pm
Larsen Park in San Francisco's Sunset district *
(19th Avenue between Ulloa and Wawona)
Brought to you by:

Asians & Allies for Marriage Equality
A Coalition to Support Same-Sex Marriage organized by
the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance,
the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center,
Equality California/Marriage Equality California and
Asian Pacific American Coalition for Equality

Gay lobby takes aim at Bush
By Michael S. Gerber and James Kirchick

Celebrities and lawmakers speaking to a raucous Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and
Transgender (GLBT) Caucus yesterday largely ignored Sen. John Kerry’s opposition to gay marriage, focusing instead on Republican efforts to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions.

From convention chairman Gov. Bill Richardson (N.M.) to Teresa Heinz Kerry, speakers told the crowd that the Democratic Party would fight for more rights for homosexuals.

“The gay and lesbian community is no longer put on the sidelines,” Richardson said. “You’re an essential part of the Democratic family.”

Several members of Congress, governors and celebrities also addressed the crowd, which included delegates from around the nation and many local and state elected officials.


Lutherans ordain a 3rd gay pastor
Tribune news services

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jay Wiesner has become the Twin Cities' third openly gay pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, defying a denominational policy that is under review.

The policy forbids ordination of candidates in same-sex relationships but allows gay clergy who are committed to celibacy. Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries said Wiesner and his partner of five years, Timothy Anthony, "were formally married" May 1 at Bethany Lutheran Church, where he will be installed on the staff next month.

Minneapolis Synod Bishop Craig Johnson did not attend Wiesner's ordination Sunday.

Bethany's pastor, Steven Benson, said Johnson could impose sanctions ranging from removing
Bethany from denominational rolls to ousting Benson, but he doesn't know what, if anything, the bishop might do


Sena stops 'Girlfriend' in Gujarat

Amreli (Gujarat): Shiv Sena activists today disrupted a show of 'Girlfriend' depicting lesbian relationship and tore and burnt posters of the film in the town's only cinema house, police said.

The activists barged into Gopi Cinema here and forced the owner to stop the show after tearing posters and burning the posterboard, they said.

However, the Shiv Sena activists dispersed after police arrived and "there is no more disturbance", police said adding no arrests have been made.

The Karan Razdan film had generated a lot of heat across the country with saffron outfits stalling the show at several cities recently.


City forms panel for gay, lesbian issues
Angela Cara Pancrazio
The Arizona Republic

Mayor Phil Gordon has created an advisory committee to address issues of concern to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The group's purpose is to "feel the pulse" of the LGBT community in Phoenix, said Gerardo Higginson, a senior assistant to the mayor who is coordinating the group.

"I have to give credit to the mayor of being aware of the gays and lesbians in the city and the incredible asset we bring to the city," said Patrick Kelley, director of governmental affairs for the Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.


Murder draws national interest
Advocacy groups call for tougher 'hate crimes' laws across the nation

BAY MINETTE -- The slaying of Scotty Joe Weaver -- which prosecutors say they believe was motivated, in part, because of his sexual orientation -- has drawn interest from gay-rights organizations and others across the country.

A representative of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays expressed concern that law enforcement investigators have zeroed in on robbery as the primary motive and have downplayed the "hate crime" angle.

Ron Schlittler, the Washington-based organization's executive director, said the brutality of the attack makes it unlikely that it was money that the attackers were interested in.

That is especially true considering the attackers got so little, he said. Investigators have said $65 to $80 was taken from the 18-year-old Pine Grove man.

NM delegate to have same-sex wedding before leaving Boston
By: Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) - One New Mexico delegate to the Democratic National Convention plans to take care of some personal business before leaving Massachusetts.

Gloria Nieto plans to marry her lesbian partner of 14 years, Jo Kenny.

Nieto is the executive director of the People of Color AIDS Foundation in Santa Fe. Nieto and Kenny plan to exchange vows before family and friends on Saturday at a bed-and-breakfast in Boston.

They’ve lined up an officiant, flowers, a cake and a restaurant for a celebratory lunch.


Vatican Document Criticizes Feminism, Gay Marriage

BERLIN -- An upcoming Vatican statement on the roles of men and women criticizes feminism for trying to ignore the biological differences between the sexes, German and Italian media reported Friday.

The 37-page document, expected to be released by the Vatican on Saturday, also calls on governments "to manage conditions so that women do not need to neglect their families if they want to pursue a job," according to the German daily Bild.

The Italian daily Corriere della Sera said the document attacks the "ideology of gender" and stresses that a woman "is not a copy of a man." It repeats the prohibition on women becoming priests, but suggests that women should have an important role in the church, the paper said.

The document also addresses homosexuality, Bild reported, saying that "God wanted a Christian marriage, a marriage between a man and a woman," and not between people of the same gender.


50-plus-one in 95 days
Our effort against the marriage amendment is unraveling, leaving us with a headless campaign unfit for the coming battle.

We need a strong leader and a clear message.

What we’ve got is a headless campaign, political infighting and bruised egos.

Our effort to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Georgia is in trouble. About two-thirds of the state’s 3.9 million registered voters will head to the polls on Nov. 2 — 95 days away — and answer the following question: Shall the Constitution be amended so as to provide that this state shall recognize as marriage only the union of man and woman?

We’ve yet to convince them that “no” is the correct answer.


Death is how Iran deals with gay men
While we debate gay marriage here at home, homosexuals in Iran just seek to live another day.

Iran is a country full of history and vitality, but following the Iranian revolution, many things changed, including rules of clothing, relationships and foreign policy.

One thing that hasn’t changed much if at all, is Iran’s treatment of homosexuals. The punishment for acts of homosexuality is harsh.

For two men caught engaged in sodomy, the punishment is death. For women convicted of being lesbian, it is 100 lashes.

The Iranian government articulates it this way: “Homosexuality in Iran, treated according to the Islamic law, is a sin in the eyes of God and a crime for society.”


Don’t forget about ENDA
With lawmakers focused on gay marriage, it’s important to remember that gays are still subjected to workplace discrimination and harassment. It happened to me.
By Kevin Naff

WITH THE NATION’S attention focused on the same-sex marriage debate, the long-suffering Employment Non-Discrimination Act remains all but forgotten as lawmakers adjourn for the summer and the Democrats wrap their national convention in Boston.

The Democrats, for all the support they receive from gay men and lesbians, claim in their platform that their commitment to civil rights is “ironclad.” But a closer look reveals mixed messages.

The official position on the question of gay marriage reads as follows:

“We support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits, and protections for these families. In our country, marriage has been defined at the state level for 200 years, and we believe it should continue to be defined there. We repudiate President Bush’s divisive effort to politicize the Constitution by pursuing a ‘Federal Marriage Amendment.’ Our goal is to bring Americans together, not drive them apart.”


Thirteen states may vote on gay marriage bans
First constitutional amendment goes to Mo. voters on Tuesday
Friday, July 30, 2004

Across the country, gay marriage opponents and proponents are gearing up for serious battle as voters in up to 13 states may weigh constitutional amendments this year.

The first state to take the marriage test will be Missouri on Tuesday. Louisiana follows in September, with the bulk of states, including Georgia, deciding on Nov. 2.

To date, other states where voters will decide whether to include a gay marriage ban in their constitutions are Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Ballot measures are also likely in Michigan and Ohio, though petition drives are still under review by state officials. A petition drive to put a marriage ban on the ballot in North Dakota is due Aug. 3.


Lawyer drops gay couple
Commitment to marriage questioned
 Published by

Miami attorney Ellis Rubin has dropped two Fort Myers men from his campaign to stop Florida from refusing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Rubin said Thursday he was upset that Fred A. Blumberg, 46, and Gerald T. “Pete” Costello, 50, gave the impression that they didn’t really want to get married but were seeking publicity for the gay rights issue.

“They said that they are doing this for the cause. That’s not good enough. I don’t represent people who are not sincere,” Rubin said.

Blumberg, owner of Cafe Roni in downtown Fort Myers, said he wants to get married but also understands that Rubin’s efforts call important attention to the issue.


Baptists reject gay marriages 
Decision delayed on women voting
By Peter Smith
The Courier-Journal

Members of a statewide body of African-American Baptists adopted a resolution opposing same-sex marriage, declaring that it is not a civil right that can be compared to the struggle for racial equality.

The General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, comprising more than 500 churches, unanimously approved the measure during its annual meeting at the Hyatt Regency Louisville yesterday.

On another issue, the group delayed a decision on whether to allow women to vote at meetings.


Baroness O’Cathain steps down from BA after gay protests
Ben Townley, UK

House of Lords peer Baroness O'Cathain has stepped down from the board of British Airways, after the company was threatened with a boycott for her reportedly anti-gay comments.

The Baroness, who tabled a movement that would extend the Civil Partnerships bill to carers and siblings, despite legal and care associations saying the move would negate the importance for same-sex relationships and confuse the issues surrounding those involved, had faced harsh criticism from gay lobby group Stonewall.

The organisations's chief executive Ben Summerskill had called for consumers to make "an ethical choice" about which airline to use for future flights.

Stonewall says that thousands of its supporters have already signed up to a Boycott BA campaign, because of her comments. Baroness O'Cathain is an executive director of the company.


European gay groups urged to "mobilise against" reggae stars
Ben Townley, UK

Gay rights groups across Europe are being urged to "monitor and mobilise against" the Jamaican musicians at the centre of a row over homophobic lyrics.

The call comes from UK activist group Outrage!, which has been at the centre of the campaign to stop reggae and dancehall artists such as Elephant Man, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer from appearing in Britain.

Group leader Peter Tatchell says the musicians should be constantly monitored so as to limit the amount of times they can appear on tour across the continent.

Already the campaign has seen concert delays and cancellations in Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Studies attempt to understand MSM behavior
by Gus Cairns
reporting from the Bangkok World AIDS Conference

Several studies presented at the World AIDS Conference documented gay life in India, China and other parts of the globe, and in many cases showed that gay men are missing out on HIV-prevention messages.

The first thing to sort out, however, appeared to be what to call men with same-sex attraction. The acronym "MSM," for Men who have Sex with Men, seemed to be the usual conference term, in deference to societies that don't view homosexuality through the lens of modern "gay" culture, or to men who only had sex with other men in certain situations, such as in prison.

But this abbreviation was criticized as dangerous and demeaning by HIV-prevention campaigners from the developed world, such as San Francsco's Frank Strona, who came to the conference to present his Web site, a riposte to sites like Strona had to fund Safesexcity with $10,000 of privately raised capital after U.S. funding for gay men's HIV information dried up.

"HIV funders and providers need to start looking at us as men who have sex with men who love men," he said. Sexual behavior always includes the emotions, and concentrating exclusively on sex would miss out on the psychological drivers of much unsafe sexual behavior, Strona argued.


Belfast Telegraph
Politicians 'are failing Protestant gays'
By Brian Hutton

Protestant homosexuals in Londonderry are less inclined to 'come out' than their Catholic counterparts, according to the city's leading gay rights group.

Sean Morrin, director of the Rainbow Project, said that a failure of some public unionist figures to fully represent Protestants in Derry was making the lives of many unbearable.

Indeed, some representatives were "promoting and applauding" homophobia in the city to suit their own "personal agenda and morals", said Mr Morrin.

"It is the case that many more gay people within the Protestant community in Derry want to stay 'in the closet', than is the case in the Catholic community.


Anti-gay motive plays into robbery-slaying of Alabama teen

BAY MINETTE, Ala. A Bay Minette teenager's gay lifestyle was described by a defense lawyer and a prosecutor today (Thursday) as a factor in his gruesome murder during a robbery in which three suspects have been charged with capital murder. 18-year-old Scotty Joe Weaver was strangled, beaten and stabbed July 18th with his body dumped in woods and burned beyond recognition.

Rusty Pigott, a lawyer for one of the suspects, says Weaver was killed "because of his sexual orientation." Baldwin County District Attorney David Whetstone said part of the motive was his "lifestyle" -- and that he was robbed of about 80-dollars in cash.

Whetstone said defense attorneys are "spinning their stories" about the case, trying to eliminate robbery as an aggravating circumstance because it could bring a death sentence upon conviction.

Alabama's hate crime statute does not cover sexual orientation, but it still may determine whether prosecutors seek the death penalty.

Zuna Institute Announces 3rd Annual National Black Lesbian Conference: 'Taking Charge: Health, Community and Family'

(Jul. 29, 2004) Sacramento, CA - The Zuna Institute board of directors has selected Dallas, Texas as the location for its 3rd Annual National Black Lesbian Conference (NBLC). Appropriately themed, "Taking Charge: Health, Community and Family," the conference will have workshops and forums that focus on education and advocacy within the Black lesbian Diaspora as well as provide a national voice on gay and lesbian issues.

The conference dates are April 7-10, 2005 in Dallas, Texas.

The Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre will serve as the host hotel and Women of Distinction, a Dallas based Black lesbian organization will serve as the official host. Proposals for workshops and presentations are currently being accepted. For more information or to register, please visit www.zunainstitu

"Our conference has multiple purposes, although convening Black lesbians nationally to create a platform for future advocacy is our primary purpose," stated Francine Ramsey, executive director of the Zuna Institute. "We realize the gathering of Black lesbians is a political statement in itself and we must use this time to share best practices to support the grassroots efforts to organize in rural and urban cities across the country. As a Black lesbian community, we must use our collective strength to combat the negative forces that say we are not equal and equality is not for everyone. Taking charge of our health, family and community means we no longer give the power of change to others. We must take charge and make change for ourselves."


Bid By Shepard Killer For Lighter Sentence Rejected 
by Newscenter Staff

(Cheyenne, Wyoming) The Wyoming Supreme Court Thursday rejected a final appeal by one of the killers of Matthew Shepard to have his sentence reduced. 

The court refused to hear Russell Henderson's claim that his state-appointed lawyers failed to discuss potential appeals with him.  

In a deal with prosecutors to void the death sentence Henderson pleaded guilty to murder and kidnapping the gay college student in 1998. He is currently serving two life sentences.

Last month District Judge Jeffrey A. Donnell rejected Henderson's argument. Today's decision by the Wyoming Supreme Court lets Donnell's decision stand.

Nix Trial - Decide On Gay Marriage Now N.Y. Court Asked
by Newscenter Staff

(New York City) Telling a New York state court that same-sex couples in New York need the protections and security that marriage provides, Lambda Legal served court papers today seeking a prompt ruling without a trial in its lawsuit seeking full marriage equality.

"Today, we're telling the court that this lawsuit focuses on clear questions of equality and fairness," said Susan Sommer, Supervising Attorney at Lambda Legal, which served a motion for summary judgment in the case today.

"Both sides in this case agree that a trial isn't necessary. Couples in New York shouldn't have to wait through a long legal process to get the protections they need -- protections that only marriage can provide."

Earlier this year, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of five same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses in New York, arguing that denying marriage to same-sex couples violates the state Constitution's guarantee of equality. The case was the first of its kind to be filed in New York since the Massachusetts high court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to full marriage under that state's Constitution.


Mothers in Eugene file suit against Catholic school over daughter's rejection
Associated Press

A lesbian couple in Eugene have filed a lawsuit against a Catholic school after officials there declined to admit their daughter.

Lee Inkmann, along with her partner, Trish Wilson, says the denial came because they are gay. They are seeking up to $550,000 in damages on behalf of their daughter.

The couple's attorney, Martha Walters, said she thinks the private school meets the definition of a place of public accommodation. That makes it subject to Eugene's city code, which forbids discrimination based on sex, marital status, domestic partnership status or sexual orientation, she argues.

The suit named O'Hara Catholic school, Principal Dianne Bert, St. Mary Catholic Church and the Rev. Mark Bachmeier.


Opponents of gay marriage ban running television ad
Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage have begun airing TV ads around the state suggesting the ballot measure would write discrimination into the Missouri Constitution.

The ads, which began Wednesday, are expected to run through Tuesday's election, said Doug Gray, campaign manager for the Constitution Defense League.

Missouri law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman and specifically does not recognize same-sex marriages, even if they are performed in a state where they are legal.

Still, supporters of the amendment say it's needed to keep a court from potentially tossing the law. They point to the Massachusetts court ruling last year that gay couples have the right to marry.

Charity bans trannies
By Tim Benzie

Mission Australia will refuse services to transgender women at three inner-city welfare centres after being granted an exemption under the Anti-Discrimination Act.

Elizabeth Riley (pictured), coordinator of the Gender Centre, told Sydney Star Observer the effect on the tranny community would be devastating.

“I find that it’s extremely un-Christian for a Christian organisation and it’s certainly counter to the principles of welfare,” Riley said.

Mission Australia asked for the exemption in the interests of women accessing services at A Woman’s Place in Potts Point and Lou’s Place in Darlinghurst who had experienced abuse by men and felt “particularly unsafe in their presence”.


2 Texas transsexuals among the delegates
By Jack Douglas Jr.
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

BOSTON - Texas delegates Christina Ocasio and Vanessa Edwards Foster mingle in the crowd, talk political strategy and don't reveal, unless asked, what distinguishes them from nearly everyone else at the Democratic National Convention.

They are transsexuals, two of the five delegates identifying themselves as transsexuals among the thousands of Democratic Party delegates who have come to nominate John Kerry as their candidate for president.

Foster, 47, of Houston, went by the first name of Marvin while growing up as a male.

"I used to play football in high school. I was a safety. I wasn't one of these sissy little kids who ran out of bounds," she said.


Are men the new women?

Why do New York's lesbian sheboys call themselves "he"? Stephanie Theobald reports.

The extent to which the gender boat is being rocked in New York became clear last week when a female friend took me to Moby's new vegan cafe, TeaNY, on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

This place is very hip, and my friend wanted me to meet her equally hip new girlfriend. Not only was she sporting the vintage pizza-delivery boy look fashionable among downtown lesbians, but she insisted on being referred to as "he", in spite of the fact that "he" resembled nothing so much as a cute, not even particularly androgynous, baby dyke.

I was just getting my head around referring to this 22-year-old girl as "he", when in came another girl with long, blonde hair stuffed up into a chimney-sweep cap, wearing a customised T-shirt that read, "Some fags fight back". Had  I noticed that "her" breasts were bound, asked my friend. I hadn't.

But over the weekend I was introduced to a variety of these no-hormones, no-surgery "boy poseurs". They were all fiercely intelligent, aged from 16 to 26 and identified variously as "boiz", "hes" "shes" and one "queer genderfreak transboygirl fagdyke". Their role models were people such as gender warrior academic and author of Female Masculinity (Duke University Press) Judith Halberstam, and Village Voice sex columnist Tristan Taormino (author of the cult classic The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women)


Court approves sex-change registration application

NAHA, Japan — The Naha Family Court on Wednesday approved an application by a transsexual to alter her officially registered sex from male to female under a new law, a support group said Thursday.

The approval is the first known case since legislation took effect July 16 enabling people with what is called gender identity disorder to change their sex in their family registry under certain conditions, according to a support group called ""


Latino gays to show pride in September
Club plans events
The Salinas Californian

A five-day series of Mexican gay-pride events are scheduled to take place at Franco's Norma Jean's, 10639 Merritt St., Castroville, on Sept. 10-19. Information: 633-2090.
When Hispanic Heritage Month arrives in September, the red, white and green flags won't be the only ones fluttering with pride in Monterey County: The rainbow flag that symbolizes gay solidarity also will fly.

Ernie Sanchez, owner of Franco's Norma Jean's Club in Castroville, will sponsor the first Mexican Gay Pride celebration, a weeklong series of events aimed at raising money to promote awareness of sexually transmitted diseases in the Latino gay community. Sanchez will use all proceeds to distribute free condoms and informational pamphlets about AIDS to his customers, he said.

"I'm trying to do something positive here," said Sanchez, who lives in Salinas. "There's nothing out there for the Mexican community."

The celebration will begin Sept. 10 with a Mr. Mexico contest, which will feature Mexican attire and swimsuit competitions and a $200 grand prize.


Gay teen settles suit against cops

LINCOLN -- What was originally a $1 million civil rights suit brought against the town's police department by a gay teen-ager has been settled for an undisclosed sum.

East Providence resident Jesse Ousley had claimed that, nearly four years ago, off-duty police officer Kevin Harty beat him bloody during a roadside confrontation, then conspired with other officers to cover up the evidence and trump up charges against Ousley.

Prior to settlement, the case had made its way through the pretrial process and was awaiting a slot on the ProvidenceU.S. District Court calendar.

In a July 17 letter to Police Chief Robert Kells, town attorney Michael DeSisto wrote, "Even though we agreed to the settlement, it does not mean we believe the officers were at fault.

"On the contrary, we believe that the officers did nothing wrong in this incident.However (Ousley's) settlement demand dropped so precipitously, and so low, that (a decision to accept) was the only responsible course."


Homophobia causes real emotional damage

Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, sites the work of the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality and psychiatrist Robert Spitzer to back her claim that gays can be changed to heterosexuals ("Homosexuality needs change, not marriage," July 22). Anyone who believes her claim should read Wayne Besen's new book, "Anything but Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth." Besen's four years of well-documented research expose unscientific research, false statistics, and unsuccessful results of "ex-gay ministries" to discredit NARTH and Dr. Spitzer.

Real people are being harmed by the "ex-gay ministries" and the false belief that gays can change their sexual orientation. The American Psychiatric Association says, "The potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior." The APA is joined by all the leading medical associations in condemning "ex-gay ministries" as harmful practices that can cause severe emotional damage. In despair some gays resort to suicide after unsuccessful attempts to change and adapt to an adverse society.


Signature solicitors are removed from fair
Petitioners for ban on gay marriage asked to leave
By Craig Webb
Beacon Journal staff writer

TALLMADGE - Solicitors seeking signatures Wednesday to help place a proposal on the November ballot to ban gay marriage in Ohio were bounced from the Summit County Fair.

Sheriff's deputies asked the petitioners to leave the fair's ticket entrance while a dispute ensued over the interpretation of Ohio law governing activities at fairgrounds.

Tom Shirer, who works for California-based Arnold Political Consultants, argued that an Ohio law that prohibits anyone from attempting to ``cry, hawk, sell, or expose'' anything on any public road or within 1,000 feet of an entrance or exit to any fairground doesn't apply to him because he isn't selling anything.

Shirer said he is only seeking signatures for a petition to amend the Ohio Constitution and offering fairgoers the opportunity to register to vote.


Jacques pushes for gay rights
By Michael Kunzelman / News Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Less than eight months removed from her seat in the Massachusetts Senate, Cheryl Jacques used her turn on the Democratic National Convention podium yesterday to call for granting equal marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples -- a thorny issue for John Kerry's presidential campaign.

     Jacques, now head of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay-rights political group, told convention delegates that "marriage equality" allows same-sex couples to "do what families do
best -- care for each other in sickness and in health."

     Even though Kerry has not expressed support for legalizing gay marriage, the former state senator from Needham offered a gushing endorsement of the Democratic presidential nominee and his running mate, John Edwards.

     "They know that the Constitution is a vessel of freedom, not a tool for discrimination," said Jacques. "Together we will send a message for all Americans to hear, that the light of inclusion will once again wipe away the darkness of division."


India HIV Children Suffer Discrimination
Associated Press Writer

NEW DELHI -- Sitting cross-legged on the cement floor of a home for abandoned children, 7-year-old Rupa -- one of at least 60,000 Indian children infected with the AIDS virus -- laughed excitedly, clicking the beads on an abacus.

"I've done it. I've won," she shouted, finishing her simple math problem ahead of a dozen other children crowding the sparsely furnished room. Rupa's bright eyes and high-spirited nature do not reflect her harrowing tale -- of being shunned by neighbors and turned away from the homes of relatives when they learned she had tested positive for HIV, contracted at birth from her mother.

Rupa's bright eyes and high-spirited nature do not reflect her harrowing tale -- of being shunned by neighbors and turned away from the homes of relatives when they learned she had tested positive for HIV, contracted at birth from her mother.

India and the United Nations have said 5.1 million adults are infected with the HIV virus here, the second-highest number in the world after South Africa. Child sufferers are not included in that figure, but the government's AIDS control agency said 60,000 Indian children have the virus, while independent organizations have said the number may be closer to 100,000.

City officials vote for DA action on alleged hate crimes
By EVE HIGHTOWER, Democrat staff writer

The Davis City Council wants the Yolo County District Attorney to take action.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of sending a letter to David Henderson requesting he take action on alleged hate crimes that occurred last October in Davis.

Henderson will be receiving a letter from the council this week, according to Davis Mayor Ruth Asmundson.

The letter asks that the alleged offender's restitution include a confession that his crime was motivated by hate toward gays and people of color. It also urges Henderson to demand that the 16-year-old reveal the identities of his accomplices. Finally, the council's letter requests the alleged offender be made to attend diversity training and counseling, speak with the victims and do community service.


German party leader comes out; pledges more gay rights
Ben Townley, UK

A German political party leader came out earlier this week, and has already pledged to fight on behalf of same-sex couples for more equality.

Guido Westerwelle, the leader of the Liberal Free Democrats, came out last weekend in an interview with the country's Der Spiegel (The Mirror) news magazine, after he began making more public appearances with his boyfriend.

Since then he has already called for more rights and responsibilities for lesbian and gay couples, including adoption rights and the same tax breaks offered to married couples.

Despite an attempt to downplay his sexuality, Westerwelle's coming out could have a major impact on the country's politics, since press reports suggest he is being lined up for a senior role in a potential coalition in Germany's future government.


BBC upholds "gay rugby slap" complaint
Ben Townley, UK

The BBC has upheld a compliant over a comment made by a rugby commentator, admitting it "reinforced stereotypical views" of gay people.

The comment was made by former rugby international player Brian Moore during the Six Nations Grandstand programme in February.

In it, Moore described a small fight between players as a "gay slap".

Ten viewers complained that the comment was offensive to gay men and should not have been included, a complaint the BBC agreed with today in its quarterly look at viewer responses.


Second Group Files Complaint Against Falwell For Politicking
by Justin Bergman
The Associated Press Writer

(Richmond, Virginia) The Rev. Jerry Falwell violated campaign finance laws by endorsing President Bush and soliciting funds for a conservative political action committee on his ministries' Web site, a watchdog group alleges in a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The Campaign Legal Center said in the complaint filed Monday that Jerry Falwell Ministries and a lobbying organization affiliated with Falwell engaged in politicking earlier this month by endorsing Bush, which they are barred from doing as nonprofit corporations.

The complaint follows a separate letter sent by a religious watchdog group to the Internal Revenue Service that accuses Falwell of violating his ministries' tax-exempt status by publicly endorsing a political candidate.

In an e-mail newsletter sent to followers on July 1, Falwell urged conservatives to vote for Bush and "flood Campaign for Working Families with financial help." The Campaign for Working Families is run by Gary Bauer, a conservative activist who opposes abortion and gay marriage.


L.A. Times gets heat for running antigay ad

About 200 readers have complained to the Los Angeles Times for running a full-page ad on July 23 from Exodus, an antigay group that claims to "cure" its members of being gay or lesbian, as reported by Times columnist Steve Lopez on Wednesday.

The ad featured an "ex-gay" man named Randy, who said he became gay because he had been abandoned by his father and "felt desperate for the physical touch only a father can give." When another male approached him for sex, he said, he was "putty in his hands." Randy now says, "Today I am an ex-gay. No, wait... I don't define myself anymore with a sexual identity. I'm just...Randy."

"Shame on you," wrote one reader to the Times. Another reader wondered how the newspaper could accept money to spread hatred, according to Lopez.

The Times advertising department responded to Lopez that "advocacy ads must meet our advertising standards and communicate their points of view legally and responsibly. This particular ad met those requirements." It provided no further explanation of those standards


Banned film to be screened by British Council in Mumbai
Nabanita Sircar

It has been revealed here that a controversial film about drag queens in India, which was premiered in the UK, but had been banned in India will now be screened in Mumbai.

The Pink Mirror, which has been shown at various world festivals and had been premiered at the Commonwealth Film Festival in Manchester earlier this year, is banned in India because of the film's gay content. Now, it is said here that British Council in Mumbai will screen the film in August. It will be the film's 100th screening.

Sridhar Rangayan, the director of the film had earlier said: "My film reflects reality of contemporary India, where homosexuals are accepted to a degree as long as there is a 'contract of silence'."

"Portrayal of drag is not new to Bollywood, but drag queens have always been caricatured and ridiculed. I want the audience to laugh


Local Court Says It Cannot Recognize Same-Sex Marriage

A local court has ruled for the first time in the country, that it does not recognize marriages between same sex couples.

The district court in the city of Incheon west of Seoul said a woman identified, as Lee has no obligation to pay her partner of some 20 years named Kim, who filed a suit demanding her share of assets and alimony.

When the couple's relationship soured three years ago after 21 years of living together, 45-year-old Kim asked for her fair share of assets based on restitution and marriage.

But the court said although they maintained a cohabitation relationship similar to a common law marriage, it cannot recognize the relationship since the Korean Constitution stipulates that marriage is the union of a man and a woman and that the term 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex.


Gay marriage amendment discouraged
Simpson advises lawmakers to drop idea of putting ban in state constitution
Associated Press

IDAHO FALLS – The political leader responsible for Idaho's law prohibiting gay marriage is advising state lawmakers to drop their attempt to put the ban in the state constitution.

"Passing a constitutional amendment in Idaho would do absolutely nothing," U.S. Rep. Michael Simpson said.

The Blackfoot Republican made his comments during a meeting Tuesday with the editorial board of the Post Register in Idaho Falls.

As the speaker of the Republican-dominated Idaho House in 1996, Simpson guided the state Defense of Marriage Act to overwhelming majorities in both houses of the Legislature


Miami Beach OKs partnership registry; law gives gay, heterosexual couples rights
By Eppie Vega
Miami Bureau

MIAMI BEACH · The Miami Beach City Commission on Wednesday created a domestic partnership registry and gave gays the legal right to participate in their partner's health care, child care and other decisions.

In a unanimous vote, city commissioners passed a law that allows Miami Beach residents and visitors to register as domestic partners with the city clerk's office; heterosexual couples also can register. Couples will be able to register in about 10 days.

The law gives domestic partners the same hospital visitation rights as a spouse, and allows them to make health care decisions for their partner and participate in the education of their partner's child.

That makes the city's legislation the most expansive of its kind in Florida, said Stratton Pollitzer, the South Florida director of Equality Florida.


Gays say "hate crimes" nothing new in Baldwin County
Posted By: Ron Reams

(BAY MINETTE, Ala.) July 28 - The gay community in Baldwin County is speaking out, saying hate crimes are nothing new for gays living in this area. Scottie Weaver, found murdered this past week, was sometimes seen hanging out at a gay friendly R-V park in Lillian. As NBC 15's Bruce Mildwurf reports, Weaver may not be the only person who has been victimized because of his sexual orientation.

David Librace and his partner run what they call a gay friendly R-V park in Lillian. “You get mothers and fathers, and you get… most of our clientele now, of course, is gays.”

The two gay men face more than just the daily challenges of running an R-V park. “We fear for our life.  We barricade our doors at night,” he says.

Dave insists his fear is well founded. He says he and his partner have been targeted. “We've been shot at not once, but three times.”


Gay, lesbian support quiet at convention
Party has concerns about how support could affect votes

BOSTON - Sweeping into a meeting of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus at the Democratic Convention yesterday, Teresa Heinz Kerry praised the activists for "pushing the envelope" to secure their rights.

"If nothing else, you will have a mom in the White House," the wife of Democratic nominee John Kerry said. "You can call your Mama T anytime."

The hundreds of delegates and supporters in the room leapt to their feet and chanted, "Mama T, Mama T, Mama T," as they waved their arms.

Democrats have embraced the gay community and made it part of their core constituency. But the party still is nervous about how far it can go toward endorsing such reforms as gay marriage without losing broad popular support.


Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Plea to gays in hunt for killer of Thai masseur
By Jonathan Brown

London's gay community is being asked to help solve the murder of a Thai masseur who was strangled and stabbed at his home in Chelsea on Friday.

Niphan Trikhana, known as Nikki, may have had high-profile or celebrity clients. The 32-year-old, who had lived in England since March, 2001, could have been offering sex along with traditional massage. Police have set up a confidential hotline for his clients, staffed by a gay officer.

Two weeks ago, the Bangkok-born masseur had rented a basement bedsit in the building. His fully clothed body was on the floor and police also discovered business cards advertising his massage services. There was no sign of a break-in and it is not thought he was sexually assaulted. Officers believe he probably knew his killer and had let him in, although they are keeping an open mind on the motive.

Oregon high court agrees to review question of gay marriage

SALEM – An appellate court won’t review an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit that would determine whether the state constitution permits same sex-marriage in Oregon.

The Oregon Supreme Court agreed this week to review the ACLU’s case, bypassing the court of appeals, said the Oregon Attorney General’s office on Wednesday.

“That doesn’t happen very often,” said Kevin Neely, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, of the Supreme Court’s decision.

With the decision, the question of whether same-sex couples can marry in Oregon edges ever closer to legal resolution. The ACLU filed the suit in March on behalf of same-sex couples in Multnomah County.

Psychologists to endorse gay marriage
By Marilyn Elias, USA TODAY

Gay couples should be able to marry in civil ceremonies and, if they are parents, they deserve all the legal rights of straight parents, says a policy the American Psychological Association was expected to adopt Wednesday at its Honolulu meeting.

"We're going out on a limb," says Diane Halpern, president of APA, the nation's largest group of psychologists. "But we're doing what we should be doing." Denying gays the right to marry "puts a particular stress on them just because of their sexual orientation. It's a health issue and a mental health issue," Halpern says.

President Bush favors a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. A Senate filibuster this month killed the federal amendment bill, but amendments to ban same-sex unions in state constitutions are on the ballot this summer and fall in seven states. Lawmakers in four more states are considering legislation to put the matter before voters.

Children raised by homosexuals are just as mentally healthy as those with heterosexual parents, Halpern says.

11th Circuit upholds Alabama sex toy ban
The Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- A federal appeals court Wednesday upheld a 1998 state law banning the sale of sex toys in Alabama, ruling the Constitution doesn't include a right to sexual privacy.

In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the state has a right to police the sale of devices including electronic vibrators and other products meant to stimulate the sex organs.

Overturning a lower court, the panel rejected arguments that the Constitution protects the sale of the toys, which are sometimes recommended by counselors for people who have difficulty attaining sexual gratification.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented merchants and users who sued to overturn the law, asked the 11th Circuit to rule that the Constitution included a right to sexual privacy. The court declined, indicating such a decision could lead down other paths.

HRC President Cheryl Jacques Addresses Democratic National Convention

WASHINGTON, July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl
Jacques today addressed the Democratic National Convention, focusing on equal
rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Americans. HRC was
honored to be the only GLBT organization addressing the convention.

A copy of her speech follows:

I'm Cheryl Jacques, and on behalf of my partner Jennifer, and our
beautiful twin boys Timmy and Tommy, I'd like to say how proud I am to be back
in my home state of Massachusetts -- where I had the privilege of serving in
the State Senate for more than a decade.
America has often been called a great experiment.
What began with a revolution against tyranny right here in Massachusetts
has transformed into an evolution of progress.
Progress is not a ceiling to reach. It is an infinite frontier.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans share the dream -- the
dream of a better, stronger and more united America.
We protect our country. We die for our country.
That's why we seek the right to serve openly and honestly in our armed
forces -- to defend our freedoms and the rights of all American families.

Smithfield Chicken CEO accused of sexual harassment
The Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A chicken and barbecue chain executive is accused in a lawsuit of sexually harassing a male employee by getting into a shower with him, making suggestive remarks and trying to sit on his lap in a steam room.

Jason C. Hallaman, 36, of Raleigh, sued Smithfield Chicken & Barbeque CEO Gregory Moore and Smithfield Management Corp. last week in Wake County Superior Court. The lawsuit contended that Moore "continuously preyed upon and harassed" Hallaman to engage in sexual acts.


Gay groups urge mayor to impose sanctions
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

National and state gay rights advocates say they think Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin is dragging her feet on punishing an eastside Atlanta golf club for discrimination.

After months of silence, the groups are publicly pressing Franklin about Druid Hills Golf Club, which a city commission found in violation of Atlanta's anti-discrimination ordinance on Jan. 12. The club was cited for not providing spousal benefits to partners of gay club members.

"Shirley Franklin is going to have to take a stand and make a decision," said Lee Kyser, the lesbian who, along with Randy New, a gay man, filed a complaint against the club. "And there are going to be consequences for that."

Gay rights groups such as the Human Rights Campaign, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation have sent letters urging the mayor to act. Georgia Equality, the state's largest gay rights organization, also has sent a letter.

Rift from Father's Sex Change Finally Heals
All Things Considered audio
July 27, 2004

Commentator Heather Dune Macadam's father became a woman 20 years ago. But only recently has Heather become used to calling her father "she."


Suffolk expands benefits
Bypassing legislators, panel offers health coverage to partners of county workers in committed gay or heterosexual relationships

Avoiding long-standing opposition from county lawmakers, a Suffolk labor-management committee has quietly approved a resolution extending health benefits to domestic partners of county employees.

The committee, made up of nine county union leaders and nine appointees of County Executive Steve Levy, agreed unanimously earlier this month to offer benefits to same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples who can demonstrate they are in long-term relationships. Children of eligible partners would also be covered.

Providing the coverage "would make sure that someone in a 10-year committed relationship would have a way to cover the cost of cancer treatment or dealing with diabetes," Levy said yesterday.

The change will take effect Sept. 1 and the committee, which oversees the county's health insurance program, will review the financial impact after 18 months. About 19,000 people - employees and retirees - belong to the Employee Medical Health Plan. County officials said it was difficult to predict how many members would take advantage of the new benefits, but estimated the cost would add $190,000 to the $190 million program.


Jury rejects discrimination claims

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- A Superior Court jury has rejected harassment claims filed by a prison guard who claims she was targeted for discrimination because she is a lesbian.

The jury of two women and four men deliberated for a little more than two hours before reaching its verdict Tuesday.

Bonnie L. Duart, 39, of Norwich, had claimed State Department of Correction officials discriminated against Duart and retaliated against her after she filed a complaint with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

Duart has been with the prison system since 1988 and now is a correction officer at the Bergin Correctional Institution at Storrs.


Germany registers 6,000 gay couples

BERLIN - Local authorities in Germany have registered some 6,000 gay unions under ground-breaking legislation that went into effect three years ago recognising gay partnerships, the government announced Wednesday.

The announcement came amid moves by the country's centre-left coalition government to expand gay rights to permit gay partners to adopt each other's children.

That legislation is expected to be enacted by the end of the year without having to be ratified by the Bundesrat upper house of parliament which is controlled by conservatives who oppose the bill.

The number of registered gay unions has declined in recent months pending passage of the new legislation, a spokesman said.


Gay-rights supporters file for repeal
Charter amendment faces fall vote

By Gregory Korte
Enquirer staff writer

Saying 11 years is plenty of time for Cincinnati voters to change their minds about gay rights, opponents of the city's controversial Article XII filed petitions Tuesday with the clerk of City Council to get the charter amendment repealed in November.

With more than enough signatures already counted, the move all but assures that Cincinnati voters will get a second chance to vote on the amendment, 11 years to the day after 62 percent of them approved it.

In fact, the Equal Rights Not Special Rights Campaign - the 1993 architects of Article XII who are organizing a campaign to defeat the repeal - won't contest the signatures.

Phil Burress, the social conservative activist from Loveland who's leading his own petition drive for a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, is also leading the campaign to keep Article XII.


"The City of Cincinnati and its various boards and commissions may not enact, adopt, enforce or administer any ordinance, regulation, rule or policy which provides that homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, status, conduct, or relationship constitutes, entitles, or otherwise provides a person with the basis to have any claim of minority or protected status, quota preference or other preferential treatment. This provision of the City Charter shall in all respects be self-executing.

"Any ordinance, regulation, rule or policy enacted before this amendment is adopted that violates the foregoing prohibition shall be null and void and of no force or effect."


Four sought in hate-motivated attack
By Shelton Green / KVUE News
Detectives say a man was assaulted by four men in what they are calling a hate crime.

The incident began before 2 a.m. Saturday July 17 at Oilcan Harry's. It's a popular bar near Fourth Street and Lavaca that has a mostly gay clientele.

The victim told detectives four men in their early 20's posing as gay men befriended him.

When the bar closed, the victim invited one of the four back to his place in the 2500 block of Wickersham in Southeast Austin.

The victim says the man insisted his three friends tag along.

Detectives say once the men reached the victim's apartment, they physically and sexually assaulted the him for at least two hours.


Breaking with dad, Vanessa comes out for gay nuptials

BOSTON - John Kerry's younger daughter stood her ground yesterday, supporting gay marriage even as the Democrats are trying to sidestep the lightning-rod issue on the convention floor.

"To be fair - I've been on the record about it - I personally believe in gay marriage," Vanessa Kerry volunteered at a reporters' breakfast, when asked if she has any political disagreements with her dad.

"And he believes in civil unions, which is still equal rights under the law," said Vanessa, who sat next to her sister, Alexandra. She added: "I respect his opinion enormously ... but if you want to get into the semantics of it, that's it."

And though off-message, she was quick to add: "I'm very, very proud of my father's politics.


Canada Holds First Gay Divorce Proceeding
All Things Considered audio

July 27, 2004
NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Canadian lawyers Martha McCarthy and Julie Hannaford. They represent opposing parties in a lesbian divorce case. It's the country's first homosexual divorce case. Gay marriage became legal in parts of Canada last year. Divorce law in Canada has yet to catch up with the new marriage laws. The current wording applies only to divorce between heterosexual couples.


U to offer GLBT minor
By Mehgan Lee (VT)

Starting this fall, the University will offer a minor in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender studies.
The College of Liberal Arts faculty proposed the minor during the 2002-03 academic year and administration accepted it the following year, said Arlene Carney, CLA associate dean.

The University is now one of 12 colleges and universities in the nation to offer a GLBT studies minor.

Death threat hits Northern Ireland gay couple
Ben Townley, UK

The spate of homophobic attacks in Northern Ireland took a sinister turn this week, when a gay couple woke to find a death threat daubed in graffiti on their house.

The couple woke to find their home covered in slogans, which included "get out gay bastards" and "2 weeks or bang bang".

The threat was also repeated in a letter left on the doorstep of the unnamed couple, who have been at the forefront of abuse before, according to the Rainbow Project support network.

They live in the Waterside area of Londonderry, which has seen a rise in the ferocity of gay attacks.


Scottish National Trust gives gay wedding support for first time
Ben Townley, UK

The National Trust for Scotland is to allow some of its buildings to be used for gay commitment ceremonies for the first time.

The Trust will work with gay wedding specialists Pink Weddings for the project, which will officially allow same-sex couples to conduct ceremonies in some of the organisation's listed buildings for the first time.

Pink Weddings founder Gino Merriano says the company did not encounter any negativity from the National Trust as the two organisations began working together.

"There wasn't even an issue," he told UK today, adding that there was "no difference" to the previous work done south of the border.


Nepal gay group threatened with closure
Ben Townley, UK

An international human rights body has called on Nepal's government to dismiss an attempt to shut down the country's leading gay rights groups.

Human Rights Watch says the threatened closure of the Blue Diamond Society (BDS) would go against the right to freedom of association and expression, and could harm LGBT people in Nepal who rely on the support network.

The BDS offers advice and information for LGBT people on HIV/AIDS and the right to the acceptance of a sexually diverse community.

It is also attempting to pressurise the government into decriminalising homosexuality. Although there is no law against homosexuality in the country, legislation banning "unnatural sex" is often used to arrest members of the LGBT community.


Va. Law Spurs Gays To Activism
Contract Prohibition Energizes Community
By Chris L. Jenkins
Washington Post Staff Writer

Kevin Adler, a gay man living with his partner in Arlington County, has never been one to organize rallies or raise a cry on behalf of gay causes.

"I tended to keep these things to myself and in private," said Adler, 36.

Then he took a look at the Old Dominion's new law that reaffirms the state's ban on same-sex marriages and prohibits all contractual rights between same-sex partners, and he got to wondering: What's the law's point? The state already had passed a law banning civil unions in 1997. It was obvious that gay men and lesbians had limited rights in the commonwealth. Something in this new law, he thought, went beyond the pale


Grass-roots efforts to shape battle over gay marriage
La. voters to take up amendment Sept. 18
By Ed Anderson
Capital bureau

BATON ROUGE -- The debate about a proposal to lock a ban on same-sex marriage into the state Constitution will be waged in low-budget media campaigns and heavy grass-roots efforts to inform voters before the Sept. 18 ballot, activists on both sides of the issue said Monday.

The Rev. Gene Mills, executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum, said he hopes to be able to raise "$250,000 . . . between now and the fall election" and tap into a network of at least 500 churches and faith-based organizations to encourage members to register and turn out to vote for the measure.

Chris Daigle, director of governmental and community affairs with Equality Louisiana, said opponents of the proposed constitutional amendments are still organizing and mapping strategy.

"We need to raise money to get the message out that the amendment should be voted down," he said. "I think we will be hard-pressed to get more than $50,000."



BOSTON — Speakers at the podium of the Democratic National Convention are being gagged when it comes to gay marriage.

Top party officials and campaign aides said yesterday that not only has gay marriage been yanked from the party's official platform, but speakers will be vetted to make sure they steer clear of pro-gay-marriage rhetoric.

"You don't have to have a platform that itemizes issue after issue like a New York telephone book," explained national party secretary Alice Germond.

The more than 200 homosexuals taking part in the gay, lesbian and transgender caucus here prior to the convention kickoff took the news in stride — acknowledging the risk fiery rhetoric on the topic could have in sending social moderates scurrying to President Bush's camp.


Anglican boycott threat for liberal bishops
Ben Townley, UK

A conservative Church of England group has drawn up plans to boycott senior members of the faith if they seem to back gay clergy, and plan to include the Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the worldwide faith, in the stand against sexual diversity.

Reform, which has already threatened to withhold funds from bishops that have backed clergy such as the newly installed Dean of St Albans Jeffrey John, will vote on the idea at its upcoming conference in the autumn.

According to an article in The Times, the evangelical group says the views on sexual diversity held by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, are "problematic".

The Crime of Our New Century

The Sudanese Government, using Arab "Janjaweed" militias, its air force, and organized starvation, is deliberately and systematically killing the black Sudanese of Darfur.

Idris's story (left) is the story of thousands in Sudan. Over a million people, driven from their homes, now face death from starvation and disease as the Government and militias attempt to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching them. The same forces have destroyed the people of Darfur's villages and crops, and poisoned their water supplies, and they continue to murder, rape and terrorise

''They came at 4 a.m. on horseback, on camels, in vehicles, with two helicopters overhead,'' recalls Idris Abu Moussa, a 26-year-old Sudanese farmer. ''They killed 50 people in my village. My father, grandmother, uncle and two brothers were all killed."

''They don't want any blacks left,'' he added.

"Janjaweed" militias, its air force, and organized starvation, is deliberately and systematically killing the black Sudanese of Darfur.

The situation in Darfur is dire. The choice we face simple. Act now to help save lives and stop the genocide, or watch as another chapter of injustice, cruelty and tragedy gets added to human history. Let’s learn the bloody lessons of Rwanda, the Holocaust, and Armenia. Lets make sure the summer of 2004 is not one that we remember and regret.


Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Gay unity cracks
Gay rights groups were supposed to get along during the Democratic National Convention. But on Monday night, found them drawn into disagreements over the party’s platform and comedian Margaret Cho. An exclusive report from the convention in Boston.
By Fred Kuhr
An exclusive

Outside Boston's Avalon nightclub on Monday night—where the largest event for GLBT Democratic convention delegates was being held—a small group of gay protesters formed a picket line and called Democratic nominee John Kerry and running mate John Edwards “anti-gay” for their stance against equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

So much for “Unity ‘04,” as the event was called. The gathering was supposed to show how this year’s GLBT Democrats were unified in support of their party and of removing George W. Bush from office.

The protesters, who numbed 18, were also angry over the decision of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign and other sponsors to disinvite comedian and headliner Margaret Cho from the party for fear she would say something inflammatory during her act. In light of the criticism that the Kerry campaign weathered after comedian Whoopi Goldberg's high-profile comments during a New York fundraiser, organizers of "Unity '04" decided that rather than censor Cho's act, it was better for her not to perform. The National Lesbian and Gay Task Force subsequently pulled its support of the event.

Although the protesters outside Avalon referred to the decision regarding Cho as “shameful,” their sharpest criticism was clearly aimed at Kerry, Edwards, and those community organizations, such as HRC, that endorsed the Democratic ticket without demanding more of the candidates. “As long as the community doesn't make demands of candidates, we are going to get squat,” said Andy Thayer, national action coordinator for, the organization that spearheaded the protest. “It is shameful that our national organizations would endorse anyone who is not for our simple legal equality.”

Transmissions 94
Ex-trans, repressed trans

There are some subjects that just seem taboo, hot potatoes that no one wants to peer at too closely. This may well be one of them.

I want to talk about “Ex-Trans” people. Those who have decided that being transgendered wasn’t right for them, and turned to religion as a way “out” of their trans selves.

When I spoke to friends about this topic, most visibly shuddered. For many transgendered people, exploring one’s trans feelings may have meant giving up close friends or family over issues of religion. For others, we may have once turned to religion as a way to somehow “cure” our transness.

I, too, tried that path at one time, turning to Christianity as a way to somehow remove my transgender feelings. Then again, I also recall praying every night as a young child, asking to wake up the next morning as the girl I knew I was. I suppose I’ve long been one for hedging my bets.

Authorities look into gay teen's murder as possible hate crime
The Associated Press

BAY MINETTE, Ala. (AP) -- An 18-year-old Bay Minette man who was robbed, beaten, cut and strangled at his trailer home and then set on fire along a dirt road may have been targeted because he was gay, a Baldwin County investigator said.

Capt. Huey "Hoss" Mack Jr. told the Mobile Register that Baldwin County sheriff's investigators still believe robbery was the primary motive in Scotty Joe Weaver's killing. But given that he was robbed of less than $100, they are looking at the death as a possible hate crime, Mack said.

"That's some of the information and rumor that's surrounding this case," said Mack, chief investigator for the Sheriff's Department.

Two of Weaver's roommates — Christopher Ryan Gaines, 20, and Nichole Kelsay, 18 — were charged Saturday with capital murder in Weaver's death. Gaines' friend, 18-year-old Robert Holly Lofton Porter, who spent time at the trailer home, was also charged with capital murder.


Couple vows to fight court's nullification of France's first homosexual marriage

BORDEAUX, France The first gay couple to be married in France vows to fight a court decision nullifying the marriage.

The men (Stephane Chapin and Bertrand Charpentier) exchanged vows on June fifth.

They promise to appeal the ruling to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. They also predict victory in the courts.

The local mayor who presided over the ceremony was stripped of his official duties for a month.


Court Clerk Wants Gay Marriage Suit Thrown Out

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Anne Arundel County's Clerk of the Court asked a Baltimore judge Tuesday to throw out the American Civil Liberties Union's suit for the right of same-sex couples to marry.

County Clerk Robert Duckworth claimed a courtroom victory for the ACLU would put him in an untenable position.
Duckworth, a Republican candidate for Congress who opposes gay marriage, argued in a motion that he would find it difficult to uphold state law if the courts side with the ACLU.

Earlier this month, the group sued claiming Maryland's law that marriage is only between a man and a woman is unconstitutional.

Gay marriage lawsuit argued in Seattle

SEATTLE - Last March, a half dozen same-sex couples applied for and were denied marriage licenses in King County.

Beth Reis and Barbara Steel were among the same sex couples denied a marriage license. Now, they are suing King County.

"There is an issue of dignity for us, for us and our children and our grandchildren, that our relationship doesn't count before the law," said Reis..


N.D. May Vote on Gay Marriage Amendment
Associated Press Writer

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Supporters of a North Dakota constitutional amendment to limit marriage to heterosexual couples say they have collected more than enough petition signatures for their campaign to put the issue to a November vote.

Only 25,688 signatures are needed to put the amendment on the statewide ballot this fall, but the North Dakota Family Alliance's Web site, which posts updated signature totals daily, said the petition had 38,457 signatures as of 5:40 p.m. Monday.

The petition may have more than 40,000 names by the time it is submitted to Secretary of State Al Jaeger's office on Aug. 3, said Christina Kindel, director of the alliance.

``I never had any anxiety in regards to collecting the signatures,'' Kindel said Monday. ``I have felt very confident since day one that we were going to easily surpass our goal.''

FBI rescinds health benefits for gay agent's partner
Associated Press Writer

HARTFORD, Conn. -- The FBI has rescinded health benefits that had been provided to the same-sex partner of a special agent since just after the couple wed in Massachusetts in May.

Katy Gossman, a special agent with the FBI in New Haven, received an e-mail from the bureau informing her that her wife, Kristin, would be removed from her health plan. The Connecticut couple were married in Worcester, Mass. on May 20 and had been receiving spousal benefits since May 30, Katy Gossman said.

The Gossmans were married just three days after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts, and are among eight couples who have filed a lawsuit challenging a 1913 law that was used to block other out-of-state couples from marrying in Massachusetts.

After their small marriage ceremony, the Gossmans returned to their Meriden home and Katy immediately filled out a health benefits seeking benefits for Kristin, whom she listed as her spouse. She sent the form and a copy of her marriage license to FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

This Isn't a Free Ride
By Kristen Lombardi, Boston Phoenix.
Gay-rights protesters at the Democractic convention are concerned that the party is taking them for granted.

Glenn Amoroso, a 42-year-old gay man from Chicago, has distributed fliers denouncing Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry's stance on gay marriage for 30 minutes – yet hasn't found many takers. It's 9 p.m. on Monday night, and he's standing outside Avalon, on Lansdowne Street, the scene of the much-ballyhooed Unity 2004 Celebration for the 255 gay delegates and gay-rights advocates attending the DNC. Several dozen people have already lined up on the red-velvet carpet leading into the dance club. But when Amoroso approaches the partygoers – most of them affiliated with such national gay-rights organizations as the Human Rights Campaign and the Stonewall Democrats – he receives a decidedly chilly reception. People hold up their hands to his fliers, as if to say 'Thanks, but no thanks.' Some take a flier, fold it up, and stash it away. No one engages Amoroso in debate.

"People aren't interested in human rights," Amoroso says, when asked about his attempts to hand out literature to fellow gay men and lesbians. Donning a blue T-shirt that offers the message EQUAL MARRIAGE RIGHTS NOW, he adds, "They want to back a candidate who doesn't back us."

Amoroso is talking about Kerry, of course, who has managed to put off many gay folks with his less-than-satisfactory stance on gay marriage. While Kerry has said he opposes changing the US Constitution to bar civil-marriage rights for same-sex couples, he also opposes gay marriage. Worse still, he's made it plain that he backs the proposed anti-gay amendment to the Massachusetts constitution, which would strip same-sex couples of marital rights in the one state where they're reality. Amoroso and his fellow protesters find it "utterly offensive" that a politician who claims to be pro-gay could say that separate but equal is good enough.

But if the protesters' colleagues in the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community are ignoring their message, they don't seem to be deterred. They yell themselves horse over the "hypocrisy" of the Democratic Party. They wave banners and posters ("MARRIAGE IS A HUMAN RIGHT NOT A HETEROSEXUAL PRIVILEGE" ) at casual passersby. They even move their staging area directly before the Avalon to get noticed by the crowd.

450 animal species gaily indulge in homosexual behaviour
By Deborah Smith, Science Editor

Koalas do it. Wallabies do it. Even penguins and dolphins in the sea do it. They all engage in homosexual activity.

Dr Geoff MacFarlane, a lecturer in biological sciences at the University of Newcastle, said it had been argued that sexual behaviour between members of the same sex was against the laws of nature, and unusual or deviant in wild animals. But recent scientific evidence "forcefully demolishes these assumptions ".

Dr MacFarlane, who will give a public lecture on the topic tomorrow in Sydney, said more than 450 species worldwide had been identified as exhibiting some homosexual behaviour. This included 25 mammal and 45 bird species from Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica.

The most frequent occurrence was in bonobos, or pygmy chimpanzees. About 50 per cent of their sexual encounters were between the same sex, he wrote in an article with a colleague, Dr Kevin Markwell, published in the journal Nature Australia.


[lgbt-india] International News #531 - 28 June 2004
Panamanian gays seek partner rights

The gay-rights group Association of New Men and Women of Panama is
collecting signatures to place a same-sex partnership bill before the
nation's Legislative Assembly.

The organization plans to collect four times the required 500 signatures
and will submit the proposal on Sept. 1, as the newly elected president
and legislators come into office.