poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Rights group doubles reward in slaying
From Herald Staff

A gay rights organization doubled a reward Friday for information leading to an arrest in the murder of singer Henser Leiva, citing concerns the slaying may have been a hate crime.

Leiva's body was discovered Aug. 29, naked and bound at his home at 1661 NW 15th St. in Miami. Jewelry and electronic equipment were reported missing, according to the Unity Coalition, a gay and lesbian rights group.

The Coalition's director, Herb Sosa, expressed ''sadness and outrage'' over the death of Leiva, 31. He was a regular performer at the Jamboree Club and had worked as a researcher for Univisión Radio, the group stated.

The group, together with the Jamboree Club, has posted a $2,000 reward. Anyone with information about Leiva's death should call 305-579-6530 or 305-471-8477


ingnoance is certainly bliss.. or a bias or social control... or fascism

Initiative would limit sexually oriented discussion at school
By: DAVID FRIED - Staff Writer

An initiative being circulated by a conservative group would require parental consent before any public classroom discussion of homosexuality and more than a dozen sexual activities.
Authors of the "Civil Rights for Families Initiative" began circulating petitions to conservative and religious organizations last month in a bid to place the proposal on the 2006 primary ballot.

The proposal would require parents of students in grades seven through 12 to provide written approval at least 10 days before any classroom discussions on homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality and domestic partnerships as well as specific sex acts. Discussions of those topics would be forbidden in grades one through six.

Under the initiative, parents would have the right to sue a school district for up to $5,000 for each time one of its teachers violated the restrictions.


War of words on amendment
Foes of same-sex ban: Ballot misleading
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The battle over the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage might head to the courtroom over the wording of the Nov. 2 ballot question.

Both the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia and the regional division of Lambda Legal — a national organization that works in behalf of the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender community — are considering a legal challenge. Lawyers for the groups argue that the ballot question could be unconstitutional because it doesn't accurately reflect the entire proposed constitutional amendment.

On Election Day, Georgia voters will be asked if the state constitution should be changed to recognize as marriage only the union of a man and a woman. But the voters will not see the full text of the amendment, which would ban the state from granting the benefits of marriage to couples in same-sex unions and prohibit Georgia courts from considering or ruling on disputes arising from same-sex relationships.

Foes of the measure say gay couples could lose domestic partner benefits, hospital visitation rights, medical and financial powers of attorney, rights under wills, adoption rights, parental rights and survivor benefits.


Mafia Orders Hit On Gay Mayor
by Malcolm Thornberry Newscenter
European Bureau Chief

(London) A mafia plot has been uncovered to murder Rosario Crocetta the mayor of Gela, in southern Sicily.

Crocetta is a Communist and Italy's first openly gay mayor.

That police were on to the plot became public following a leak to the British newspaper The Independent. The paper says the leak came from within the public prosecutor's office.

The plot marks a return by the mafia to killing public figures who oppose the crime syndicate. But, now, the paper says, the mob is using foreign hitmen.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Louisiana marriage amendment faces easy passage, more challenges

If Louisiana voters approve a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, it will mark the end of a political campaign and the beginning of round 2 in what could be a long court battle. Proponents of the amendment predict easy victory in the September 18 vote, noting that similar amendments in other states have passed with as much as 70% voter approval. Gay rights advocates are not giving up, however. Forum for Equality, the civil rights group that fought unsuccessfully to keep the measure off the ballot, is in the middle of a grassroots campaign stressing its contention that the amendment does far more than outlaw same-sex marriage and that it could endanger numerous rights now enjoyed by unmarried gay and straight couples.


Justices Say They Will Hear Marriage Amendment Challenge
Committee Attorney Confident Judges Will Be Impartial

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Two Arkansas Supreme Court justices said Friday that they will remain on the bench to hear a challenge to a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages.

The Arkansas Marriage Amendment Committee, which backs the proposal, filed motions Tuesday alleging that Justices Robert L. Brown and Anabelle Clinton Imber have potential conflicts of interest in the case.

Without offering an explanation, the justices said Thursday that they would not step down from hearing arguments in the lawsuit, which seeks to knock the proposal off the Nov. 2 ballot.


Group Claims Enough Votes To Pass Gay Marriage Ban  
by Bob Johnson
The Associated Press

(Montgomery, Alabama) Supporters of a proposed amendment to the Alabama Constitution to ban gay marriages say a majority of legislators have promised to vote for the measure.

The president of the Alabama Christian Coalition, John Giles, said 63 members of the 105-member Alabama House and 20 members of the 35-member Senate have signed pledge cards promising to vote for the amendment.

some shameless self promotion

Fulcrum: an annual of poetry and aesthetics, Number Three,
2004, edited by Philip Nikolayev and Katia Kapovich.

510 pp., perfectbound.
Publication date: September 21

With contributions by Bill Berkson, David Baratier, Alison
Croggon, Fred D’Aguiar, Arjen Duinker, Michael Farrell, Annie
Finch, kari edwards, Edwin Frank, Peter Gizzi, Joe Green,
Jeffrey Harrison, John Hennessy, Bruce Holsapple, Joan
Houlihan, Coral Hull, Kabir, David Kennedy, John Kinsella,
Mark Lamoureux, Glyn Maxwell, Ben Mazer, Andrew McCord,
Richard McKane, Ange Mlinko, Richard Murphy, Vivek Narayanan,
Gregory O’Brien, Fan Ogilvie, Simon Perchik, Mai Van Phan,
Peter Richards, Michael Rothenberg, Tomaz Salamun, Don Share,
Chris Stroffolino, Jeet Thayil, Mark Weiss, Harriet Zinnes,
and many others.


An Anthology of the Berkeley Renaissance, edited by Ben
Mazer, featuring work by Mary Fabilli, Jack Spicer, Robin
Blaser, Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, Landis Everson, plus
artwork & photos

We Who Live in Darkness: Poems from New Zealand by 21 Leading
Poets, edited by Gregory O'Brien

Fulcrum Debate: Joan Houlihan and Chris Stroffolino

Artwork by Konstantin Simun

SUBSCRIPTION rates in the US are $15 per issue for
individuals, $30 for institutions. Overseas subscriptions are
$20 and $40 per issue, respectively. Send check or money
order drawn in US currency and payable to Fulcrum Annual to
Fulcrum, 334 Harvard Street, Suite D-2, Cambridge, MA 02139.

PREORDER Fulcrum 3 now! Fulcrum 2 sold out in 2 months and is
reviewed in Jacket at

Philip Nikolayev & Katia Kapovich, eds.
Fulcrum Annual
334 Harvard Street, Suite D-2
Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
phone 617-864-7874

No. 115     
President of Rosa Lëtzebuerg

On 12 May 2004 the Luxembourg Parliament finally voted on the draft bill on the legal effects of certain part-nerships. It will
probably  enter into force on 1 Septem-ber, depending on the timing of the publication in the Mémorial, the official bulletin.

In line with their coalition programme, the two coalition partners – the Christian Democrats (CSV) and the Liber-als (DP) – both voted in favour of the partnership bill. The two main opposition parties (the Greens and the So-cialists), however, abstained from the vote, considering the bill too restrictive. Both tabled alternative proposals on opening up marriage to same-sex couples. These, however, were rejected by the government. Inter-estingly, the Liberals support same-sex marriage in their election programme for national elections to be held on 13 June 2004.

Thus, the CSV remains the only major political party op-posed. The new partnership law is designed to propose an alternative to hetero-sexual couples who do not want to marry and a new possibility for homosexual couples who cannot marry. It has been largely inspired by the French PaCS, but with fewer formalities, a private agreement on
the patrimonial regime being an option. The law deter-mines a minimum set of rules of solidarity and responsi-bilities between the partners while allowing social protec-tion to the non-working partner and fiscal deduction pos-sibilities.

No rights concerning children are included in the new law, as are no regulations concerning recognition of for-eign partnerships or foreign same-sex marriages.


After months of negotiations, EU Heads of State and Governments reached a historic agreement on the EU's first ever Constitution on 18 June. The final text pre-serves the great majority of the draft text proposed by the Conven-tion but the price of the agreement was the en-trenchment of unanimity in some areas such as tax, for-eign and security policy and in any future review of the Constitution.

From an LGBT perspective the key elements are:


Ashok Row Kavi
The Humsafar Trust
Mumbai Metro

Dear All

The Government of India, especially the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has commissioned the Humsafar Trust to write a position paper on the status of gay men, MSM and other sexual minorities in India as a first step towards a comprehensive policy document that will help in health programs across the country with a special focus on STI control and HIV/AIDS.

Last year and early into this year the Humsafar Trust completed two major tasks set for it. It was asked to help write up a comprehensive counseling manual for sexual minorities in Voluntary Confidential Counseling Testing Centres (VCCTCs) across India, This task was completed after a panel of psychiatrists and academics helped polish the preliminary manual started/written up by the Humsafar Trust. This manual was then extended further to include help in counseling other
sexual minorities and marginalised groups like victims of sexual assault, prison populations and vulnerable youth. This too was completed early this year.

Anglican Commission on Gays Wraps Up

Associated Press

LONDON - A commission seeking to resolve the Anglican Communion's crisis over a homosexual U.S. bishop and other gay issues wrapped up its work Friday and said it would publish its report on Oct. 18.

The commission, chaired by Irish primate Robin Eames, issued a brief statement as it ended a weeklong meeting at Windsor Castle, west of London.

Before the meeting, Eames said the panel would probably "recommend radical changes in the ways Anglicanism relates to its different constituencies," but Friday's statement gave no further clues about the recommendations.


Foreign gay marriages not recognised in Germany

KARLSRUHE - A court in Germany Friday ruled that a gay marriage licence issued under foreign law does not constitute matrimony under German law.

The Karlsruhe Administrative Court rejected a complaint by a Taiwanese man who said his Dutch gay marriage to a Netherlands man entitled him to a residence permit to live in Germany under European Union immigration regulations.

Under those regulations, the foreign spouse of a citizen of an EU country is entitled to apply for a residency permit in an EU country.

However, in handing down its ruling, the court said that the EU regulations allowed each country to define what constituted a "spouse" in legal terms. In Germany, marriage licenses are issued only to male-female couples.


Low-Profile Marriage Law Pioneers
A Mission Viejo couple are at odds with foes of same-sex marriage and even top gay groups.
By Claire Luna, Times Staff Writer

An unassuming Mission Viejo couple, self-described homebodies in baggy jeans and bifocals, don't give the immediate impression of being at the forefront of the same-sex marriage movement.

And, being the first Californians to file a federal lawsuit challenging state and federal marriage laws, Christopher Hammer and Arthur Smelt have found themselves at odds not only with those who think same-sex marriage is unlawful but also with the nation's largest gay-rights organizations.


St. Anne’s won’t give benefits to same-sex couples
WILL RICHMOND , Herald News Staff Reporter

FALL RIVER -- Gay and lesbian employees at St. Anne’s Hospital who provide health care benefits for their spouses will no longer be able to provide those services to their loved ones.

Beginning Oct. 1, St. Anne’s is changing all of its health plans to self-funded plans. The move allows the hospital’s managing group, Caritas Christi Health Care, to stop extending insurance benefits to same-sex spouses of employees.

Under a self-funded plan, the employer pays funds for the plan based on its actual claims experience and hires a plan administrator to process the claims.

A letter to employees dated Sept. 3 explained the change. "Since same-sex marriage is in conflict with church teachings, all Caritas Christi Hospitals are changing to self-funded plans."
St. Anne’s Hospital is part of Caritas Christi’s Catholic Health Care System, which is associated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. The group operates six hospitals throughout eastern Massachusetts.


Justices decline to step aside in marriage amendment case
Arkansas News Bureau

LITTLE ROCK - Two Arkansas Supreme Court justices declined requests Thursday to step down from a case in which they will consider whether a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage should remain on the Nov. 2 ballot.

The Arkansas Marriage Amendment Committee filed motions earlier this week asking Justices Robert L. Brown and Annabelle Clinton Imber to recuse themselves from hearing oral arguments in the case. The oral arguments are set for Sept. 23.

The motions filed by the committee said Brown should step aside because he wrote an article praising a 2002 court opinion that decriminalized sodomy.

The committee said Imber should step aside because she once worked at the same law firm as one of the attorneys who filed the suit on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU last month filed the legal challenge asking the state Supreme Court to remove the proposed constitutional amendment from the ballot.


Not-guilty plea entered
in alleged hate crime
By Travis Gettys
Enquirer contributor

NEWPORT - A man accused of a hate crime pleaded not guilty Thursday to one count of first-degree assault after authorities said he seriously injured another man.

The attorney for Steven Ard, 38, of Newport, said his client acted in self defense when he struck Matthew Ashcraft, 19, in the back of the head with an aluminum baseball bat.

Ashcraft suffered a fractured skull, a blood clot, cranial bleeding and hearing damage in the June 26 incident, which police have called a hate crime.

Under Kentucky law, crimes motivated by bias - including race, gender, religion and sexual orientation - do not carry an additional penalty, but judges may remove the possibility of parole.


Man wanted for 1974 Baltimore homicide arrested in Boston
FOSTER KLUG , Associated Press Writer

BALTIMORE -- After 30 years, a man wanted for the Christmas Eve killing of a police motor pool worker outside a west Baltimore bar has been arrested in Boston.

But the family of Michael Hughes, now 58, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he was acting in self-defense when he shot 40-year-old McKinley Johnson Jr. at the New Fulton Tavern in 1974.

Hughes was arrested in Boston last weekend for allegedly stabbing a man he thought was gay. He had been arrested several times since the Baltimore killing but was only connected last weekend when a Boston transit police booking officer discovered Hughes was using several aliases and ran a fingerprint check.

Clash over Christian "anti-gay" march
Ben Townley, UK

Bournemouth could see a conflict between the gay community and local Christians next month, with religious groups planning a protest in the city.

Local gay groups believe that a march planned next month in memory of an anti-gay protestor is intended to inflame relations between the two groups, as well as stir up resentment in the city.

The march is to mark the death of Harry Hammond, a man who was criticised by local courts for his homophobic street preaching. He was fined £300 for his preaching, which the Christian group claims was a result of lobbying by gay groups.


Pro-gay blacks a ‘disgrace’ to civil rights movement?
Comparing two movements draws ire of some

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson remembers going to a movie theater in Alabama as a child and being forced to sit upstairs in the “colored” section.

“I was so hurt by that, I never went back,” said Peterson, founder of Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, a Los Angeles-based religious non-profit that focuses on personal development for urban males.

To be judged by the color of his skin shook Peterson to his core, prompting him to join protests in front of city halls throughout Alabama, raising his voice to demand equal rights.

But today Peterson, 55, considers some former leaders of the civil rights movement — including Congressman John Lewis of Atlanta and Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow — “a disgrace to blacks, whites and Jews who died [during that time].”


Why homophobic lyrics in reggae music are a health issue for black gay men

The issue of homophobic lyrics by certain reggae artists is being hotly debated in the media in the run-up to the MOBO awards in late September. Many in the black gay community support the MOBOs and the principles which underpin them, but are concerned that the debate around homophobic lyrics is ignoring some of the wider issues faced by black gay people.

Simon Nelson, Sector Development Officer for BME communities at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “Whilst homophobia is by no means exclusive to black communities, there is evidence to suggest that homophobic lyrics used by certain artists which incite violence towards gay people have a detrimental effect on the physical and mental wellbeing of black lesbian, gay and bisexual people, particularly gay men.


Discount chains don’t target gays
Wal-Mart says it’s not opposed to selling gay magazines one day

Retail giant Wal-Mart pitches “family-friendly” shopping with low prices on toys, electronics, clothes, books and magazines at its thousands of stores across the globe.

Typically located in suburban settings, Wal-Mart stores claim to reflect the communities they serve, which means no music with what it deems offensive lyrics and no racy men’s magazines with provocative covers, such as Maxim.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Paris suburb mayor refuses gay wedding

PARIS, Sept 8 (AFP) - The mayor of a Paris suburb on Wednesday refused to celebrate what would have been France's second gay marriage, accusing Greens party members of pressuring city officials to approve the union.  

Marc Everbecq, the Communist mayor of Bagnolet east of Paris, said in a statement that two men accompanied by Greens party faithful had "put strong pressure on civil servants" to accept their request for a marriage license. 


Prison Officials Can Be Sued In Gay Sex Slave Scandal Court Rules 
by Newscenter Staff

(Austin, Texas) In a legal first, a federal appeals court has ruled that seven ranking Texas prison officials can be sued for damages due to discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The unanimous ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals came in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of a gay man who was repeatedly raped by prison gangs and whose pleas for help were ignored by officials.


Proposed gay marriage ban is on Ohio ballot--for now

Ohio secretary of state Kenneth Blackwell has certified a November 2 ballot that includes a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Under Ohio election law, Blackwell was required to certify the ballot's form to 88 county boards of elections on Wednesday. However, Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo said the certification deadline was technical and that if the same-sex marriage amendment does not qualify, it will be removed from the ballot. "While candidates and issues can be removed from the ballot, they cannot be placed on the ballot after September 8," he said.

District court postpones military recruiting case
Decision goes against motion for summary judgment put forth by Penn students, profs
By jason schwartz

University Law School professors and students who are engaged in a lawsuit against the Department of Defense over the issue of on-campus military recruiting recently had their case move one step closer to trial.

An Eastern District of Pennsylvania U.S. district court judge ruled on Aug. 26 against the Penn coalition's motion for summary judgment -- which would have decided the outcome of the case without a trial -- and dismissed two counts from the suit.

Judge John Fullam said that it would have been premature to rule on the suit's remaining claims. He did, however, deny the DOD's motion asserting that the group of students and professors lacked the standing to bring suit.

The suit, known as Burbank v. Rumsfeld, was first brought in response to the Solomon Amendment of 1996 that requires universities to allow military recruiters on campus. The act states that universities must give military representatives the same access to students that private companies receive, in order to receive certain federal funding.


Gay-marriage fights force P'town to ask for funds

PROVINCETOWN - To help pay the town's mounting legal bills from two lawsuits related to the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts, the board of selectmen has established a "Same-Sex Marriage Defense Fund."

The town is a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits and a defendant in the other.

To date, legal services provided by special Town Counsel Gretchen Van Ness have cost the town around $20,000, but the "special gift fund" has raised only $220. Town officials hope to use the tax-deductible donations to cover expenses from the lawsuits, rather than solely tap the town's legal budget.


 Beyond the Democrats and Republicans...
Why is there no third party in the U.S.?
SHARON SMITH explains why the Democrats and Republicans have stranglehold over U.S. elections.

SINCE 1856, every U.S. president has been the candidate of either the Democratic or Republican Party. Despite their differences, these two parties share a fundamental stake in promoting the interests of big business and the economic, political and military dominance of the U.S. over the rest of the world.

Together, the Democrats and Republicans control both Houses of Congress and, since the end of the Second World War, have shared an average of 95 percent of the popular vote each election year.


Lesbian couple go public to fight proposed amendment
By Bruce Schreiner

LOUISVILLE - A lesbian couple said they went public with their relationship yesterday to "put a face" on the consequences of a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages.

Standing side by side, Kim Peurrung and Beth Bates said they worried that the proposal could deny them privileges enjoyed by heterosexual couples.

"We would like to have the same constitutional protections that any Kentuckians have to pursue a relationship and not have to worry about what you can and can't have," Bates said as more than two dozen gay-rights activists gathered to denounce the proposed amendment.

Among their concerns are joint access to health insurance and whether they could make life-saving medical decisions for each other.


Fliers On UOP Campus Called Discriminatory
Student: 'It was Repulsive That Someone Would Do Something Like This'

STOCKTON, Calif. -- Gay students at the University of the Pacific are mobilizing in response to defaced fliers that school officials call an act of discrimination.

The controversy started when a campus group made up of primarily homosexual, transgender and bisexual students posted fliers around campus. Fifty of those fliers were covered by another flier that featured a skull face and the message "Satan: the god of this world."


State backs school on flag dispute
By Denise Dub, Globe Correspondent

A decision this summer by the state Department of Education supporting the display of the rainbow flag at Bedford's John Glenn Middle School appears to have settled a controversy that has divided the town.

In a finding dated July 26, the Department of Education said the school did not violate any laws by flying the flag, which is seen as a symbol of gay rights, or by holding a school assembly that included references to homosexuality. The letter was sent to school administrators and parents who brought the issue to the department's attention, but was not made public


New Vietnam TV show tackles gay issues

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam - Vietnam's favorite TV show, "The Crime Police," opens its new season this month by tackling a taboo topic and offering a lesson about tolerance. The plot is groundbreaking for this communist country where sex is mentioned only in whispers, homosexuality is still largely considered a disease, and the state tightly controls publishing and broadcasting.

The 10-episode story line is adapted from an award-winning novel titled "Mot The Gioi Khong Co Dan Ba," or "A World Without Women," which took Vietnam by surprise in 2000 when it became the first book to address gay issues in a serious manner.

European HIV problem "worsening"
Ben Townley, UK

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is worsening across the European Union, according to a new report from the European Commission.

The report says that while new cases of the virus that causes AIDS can be mostly found in Eastern European states, Western Europe is failing to address the problem effectively enough.

New member states in the east of the region are now seeing some of the highest amount of new infections in the world it suggests, many due to intravenous drug use.


MPs call for gay pension equality
Ben Townley, UK

An MP has called on the government to ensure pension equality for lesbian and gay couples, in a motion that has received cross party support at the House of Commons.

The Early Day Motion, put down earlier this week when MPs returned from summer recess, comes as the Civil Partnership bill enters the chamber. A second reading, the first time the bill can be debated by the House, is scheduled for next week.

Tabled by Desmond Turner MP for Brighton Kemptown, the motion has received support from 50 MPs across the major parties.

"This House welcomes the introduction of the Civil Partnership Bill, believing it gives long-overdue recognition to committed same-sex couples," the motion reads,


Anti-gay group plans protest in Bay Minette

(BAY MINETTE, Ala.) - The horrible murder of a local teen is something worth celebrating: that is according to a group out of Kansas that plans to come here for that very purpose.

Several years ago, the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas made national headlines when it celebrated the murder of a gay man in Wyoming.

Scottie Weaver was beaten and burned in July. Prosecutors say in part Weaver was murdered because he was gay. The crime has sparked a call for a more inclusive hate-crime law in Alabama.


Soc Dems split over gay adoption rights
The right of homosexuals and single parents to adopt children is one of the leading topics up for debate at the Social Democratic party congress in Aalborg

Social Democrats will debate the ethics of allowing single people and gay couples to adopt children at their party congress in Aalborg over the next four days. Daily newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad reports that the issue has already sharply divided the party's base.

A proposed Social Democratic party platform, "Hand On Heart," would strengthen party efforts to guarantee the right of childless singles and gay couples to have children, either through artificial insemination or adoption.

Several local party chapters have angrily rejected the proposal, and the chairman of the Rødovre Social Democrats, Helge Møller, has threatened to quit the party if the proposal is passed at this weekend's congress. 


Gay Tory candidate survives vote

A gay Conservative candidate has survived a deselection vote within his local party after winning support from Tory leader Michael Howard.

The vote of no confidence in Ashley Crossley was overwhelmingly defeated in Falmouth and Camborne, Cornwall.

Mr Howard earlier stepped in after press reports that Ashley Crossley had been the victim of homophobia.


Bid To Ban Gay Marriage 'Social Engineering Court Told 
by Newscenter Staff

(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) A proposed amendment to the Oklahoma constitution to prevent gay marriage is an attempt at "far-reaching social engineering" an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union charged Wednesday.

Lawyer Mark Henricksen told a state Supreme Court referee the court should remove the referendum on same-sex marriage from the Nov. 2 ballot because the language is "vague, ambiguous and flawed" and would discriminate against gays and lesbians. In addition, it could also be used to ban civil unions and other kinds of domestic partnerships.

The Oklahoma House voted 92-to-4 in April to ask voters to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. The referendum also seeks to prohibit the state from recognizing unions performed in other states.


Labor Battles Oregon Gay Marriage Amendment
by Sarah Linn
Associated Press

(Portland Oregon) A proposed ban on same-sex marriage would mean unfair and unequal treatment for gay workers and their families, Oregon Labor Commissioner Dan Gardner said Wednesday.

Gardner joined about a dozen members of building and trade unions to oppose Measure 36, which would amend the Oregon Constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

If approved by voters on Nov. 2, the measure would eliminate health insurance and other benefits for the spouses and children of married gay and lesbian workers.

"It literally puts unequal treatment, unfairness, in the law," Gardner said of the measure, sponsored by the Defense of Marriage Coalition. "Is that what the constitution is about? I don't think so."


California Domestic Partner Law Ruled Valid
by Mark Worrall Newscenter
San Francisco Bureau

(Sacramento, California) A California law granting same-sex couples nearly identical legal rights and responsibilities as married spouses Wednesday was ruled valid.

The law, which is slated to go into effect  January 1, 2005 was passed by the Legislature last year and signed into law by then-Gov. Gray Davis last year.

Lawyers for two sets of plaintiffs opposed to marriage rights for gay couples sued to have the law thrown out, claiming it violates the spirit and intent of a 2000 ballot initiative approved by voters that holds California will only recognize unions between a man and a woman as valid.

One suit was filed by the late Senator Pete Knight and the other by Randy Thomasson of Campaign for California Families.


Biological mom found in contempt in child custody case

A family court judge in Vermont has found a woman in contempt for going to Virginia and disobeying a court order involving the breakup of her civil union and the custody of a child. Judge William Cohen's decision continues a legal dispute that pits the courts of Vermont against those in Virginia, where competing decisions have been issued. In the latest, Cohen granted a request by Janet Miller-Jenkins that he hold her former partner, Lisa Miller-Jenkins, in contempt for failing to abide by a temporary visitation order he handed down earlier this year. "Lisa chose to bring her action initially in Vermont because of the rights and benefits Vermont's law provides her," the judge wrote in an eight-page decision. "But when she realized that there were obligations and burdens to go along with those rights and benefits and decided that under the specific order issued by the Vermont court the benefits were outweighed by the burdens, she changed her mind and decided to go elsewhere."


Michael Savage: "radical homosexuals" and "radical Islamists" are "one and the same"; FOX is the "best we have"

On the September 3 broadcast of his radio show, Savage Nation, nationally syndicated right-wing host Michael Savage spewed homophobic vitriol, stating that "radical homosexuals" and "radical Islamists" are "one and the same, they're all terrorists." Minutes later, Savage praised FOX News Channel as "the best we have."

Savage is not alone in his praise of FOX News Channel. Vice President Dick Cheney is on the record plugging FOX News Channel; Media Matters for America has extensively documented the network's numerous distortions.


Same-sex listings OK'd for publication

When the Detroit Jewish News began including interfaith couples in its popular lifecycle pages some 15 years ago, reaction ranged from righteous outrage to gushing approval. So controversial was the move that even today, the paper hears from the occasional reader about the announcements.

The Southfield-based weekly recently decided to publish engagement, union, anniversary and birth announcements for same-sex couples. And at least one Orthodox rabbi says readers in the religious community might find it impossible to bring the paper into their living rooms.


Oregon Catholics to back same-sex marriage ban
The Associated Press  

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Catholic church has traditionally opposed or stayed neutral on anti-gay initiatives in Oregon.

 But the Oregon Catholic Conference, which represents the state's 425,000 Roman Catholics, will support a ban on same-sex marriage when its board meets Friday, said Robert Castagna, general counsel and executive director.

"The church is not telling people how to vote," Castagna told The Oregonian on Wednesday. "The church offers its moral teaching and better judgment not only to Catholics, but to all people of good will."

Leaders said neutrality is not an option on this issue because it deals with marriage, a holy sacrament for Roman Catholics.


Gay dads get daughters plus praise from judge
The state was trying to remove two girls, 6 and 7, from foster parents who had been awarded long-term custody.
By CURTIS KRUEGER, Times Staff Writer

LARGO - Two young girls from Florida's foster care system should be allowed to live permanently with the two gay men they call "Dad and Daddy," Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Irene Sullivan ruled Wednesday.

Denying a motion that could have moved the girls away, Sullivan said the state owes the two men "a debt of gratitude" for the way they took in two troubled foster children, now ages 6 and 7, and transformed their lives.

"I'm going to personally thank Dad and Daddy here, for in their way, stopping the cycle of abuse," Sullivan said. She even suggested the state use the men to train other foster parents.

"It's not just love, it's love, experience, background, intelligence. They seem to have it all," Sullivan said of Curtis Watson, 40, a licensed foster parent, and his life partner, who is in his 40s and works for a health facility.


Rural courts host battle over gay marriage vote

BRYAN - The battle over whether Ohioans will vote Nov. 2 on a proposed state constitutional amendment limiting marriage to a union between one man and one woman has moved to rural county courthouses.

Melanie J. Essig, a lesbian worried about protecting domestic partner insurance benefits, and her mother, Sandra K. Essig, both of Columbus, have filed protests in 37 county common pleas courts. They claim that some signatures counted by local election boards to put the issue on the ballot are invalid.

Yesterday morning, one of their lawyers was in Williams County Common Pleas Court opposing a lawyer representing three people who helped organize the drive to put the proposal on the ballot. By afternoon, the two sides had met for another trial in Mercer County Common Pleas Court in west-central Ohio.

In the next few weeks, the two sides - one backed by Ohioans Protecting the Constitution, which opposes the amendment, and the other by the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage, which favors it - are likely to meet in most of the state's county courthouses.

It isn't racist to target Beenie Man
But it is to remain indifferent to the persecution of Jamaican gays
Peter Tatchell
The Guardian

'I wake up in the morning not knowing whether today I will live or die," one gay Jamaican told me. Until three years ago, hardly anyone knew, or cared, about this reign of terror. Now the whole world knows about the suffering of Jamaican gays. At the request of gay Jamaicans, and working with black gay people in Britain, the gay rights group OutRage! has organised an international solidarity campaign that has spread across Europe and the US.

It is targeting eight Jamaican reggae singers whose songs incite listeners to shoot, burn, stab and drown gay people: Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Buju Banton, Capleton, Sizzla, TOK, Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel. Last week, we called on the organisers the Mobo awards to drop the nominations of the last two performers in the list. These artists have a right to criticise homosexuality, but free speech does not include the right to commit the criminal offence of incitement to murder.

Already, we have secured the cancellation of dozens of concerts. The huge financial losses incurred, together with the threat of prosecutions, have forced Jamaican music chiefs to consider abandoning murderous homophobic lyrics. These successes show our tactics were right.

We are now accused of racism by sections of the black community and the left. But I ask myself: how can it be racist to support black victims of homophobia and oppose violent homophobes in the music industry? The real racism is not our campaign against murder music, but most people's indifference to the persecution of gay Jamaicans. No one would tolerate such abuses against white people in Britain; it is racist to allow them to happen to black people in another country.

Vandals attack Turkish gay group

The Kaos GL Cultural Center in Ankara, Turkey, was attacked by antigay vandals in late July.

Two pieces of cement were thrown through the center's office windows and landed on the conference-room table. No other tenants of the building were vandalized.

"This is clearly an intrusion and threat to the visibility and rights of the Turkish LGBT community," the organization said in a press statement. "As we [have] experienced all over the world, the more visible the freedom of homosexuals, the [more] intensified [is the] homophobia and hatred towards us."

Kaos GL also publishes a bimonthly GLBT magazine.


Portuguese do not support gay marriage

The majority of Portuguese people do not support same-sex civil marriage, a poll has found.

The scientific telephone survey, conducted in late July by the Aximage company, found that 55 percent of the population opposes gay marriage, 35 percent supports it and 10 percent has no opinion.

The results were reported in the Aug. 8 issue of the daily newspaper Correio da Manhã.

Among those who favor same-sex marriage, 54 percent also approve of adoption by gay-male couples and 62 percent approve of adoption by lesbian couples -- if a child has been abandoned by its biological parents.

Support for same-sex marriage polled higher than average among city dwellers (41 percent), people under age 30 (68 percent), women (39 percent), college graduates (50 percent), wealthy people (46 percent) and people who have a job (44 percent).

Aximage said the poll had a "standard deviation value" of 0.02.

The new government in Spain, the only country with which Portugal shares a border, is planning to legalize same-sex marriage, following in the footsteps of Belgium, the Netherlands, three Canadian provinces and one Canadian territory, and the U.S. state of Massachusetts.


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

County rejects pledge to not discriminate against gays

Kalamazoo County leaders narrowly rejected a request to add a written pledge to county employment policies that rejects discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The proposal lost in an 8-9 vote during Tuesday's meeting of the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners.

It drew support from all the county board's Democrats -- David Buskirk, Eva Ozier, Robert Barnard, Brian Johnson, Frank Thompson, John Taylor and Daniel McGlinn -- and from one Republican, Joe Van Bruggen.


Gay-rights supporters speak out against ballot issue
Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A lesbian couple went public with their relationship Wednesday to "put a face" on the consequences of a proposed state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages.

Standing side by side, Kim Peurrung and Beth Bates told a group of gay-rights activists that the proposal could deny them joint health care coverage and other benefits enjoyed by Kentucky couples.

"We would like to have the same constitutional protections that any Kentuckians have to pursue a relationship and not have to worry about what you can and can't have," Bates said.

Gay-rights proponents promised a vigorous campaign this fall to try to defeat the proposed amendment on the Nov. 2 ballot. The proposal also would deny legal recognition of civil unions.

Gay Couples Prepare To Go to European Court 
by Malcolm Thornberry Newscenter
European Bureau Chief

(London)  At least two same-sex couples are preparing to go to the European Court to have gay marriage declared legal throughout the European Union.

One case is being planned by a French couple, the other an Austrian couple.

The Austrian case involves a German who married an American in the Netherlands.  When the German man decided to move to Austria, his American spouse was refused Austrian residence and working permits. 

"That's a clear violation of EU law", said Kurt Krickler, the General Secretary of Hosi, the Austrian gay rights organization.


Remove 'Pro Homosexual Judges' From Gay Marriage Case Arkansas Gov. Told 
by Newscenter Staff

(Little Rock, Arkansas) A conservative group backing a ban on same-sex marriage wants Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to remove two Supreme Court justices.

The state's high court is hearing a challenge to a ballot item that would place the ban in the Arkansas Constitution.  The Arkansas Marriage Amendment Committee claims the two justices are biased and should not be allowed to hear the case.


Log Cabin to Bush: No endorsement for you

After months of being shut out by the conservative faction of the Republican Party, national gay political group Log Cabin Republicans has decisively voted not to endorse President George W. Bush for reelection.

The 22-2 vote, a sweeping change in tradition, was decided by the group's 25-member national board on Tuesday night. Log Cabin will not endorse any candidate for president, as its bylaws allow the group only to endorse or withhold support for the Republican Party's choice.

In a written statement, Log Cabin's national leadership underscored the gay and lesbian group's continuing commitment to the Republican Party.


Canada dismisses Pope's marriage stance
Ben Townley, UK

Canada has said the issue of same-sex marriage will be resolved in the country's parliament, and away from the religious polemic offered by the Pope.

The comments come after the pontiff, who heads the Catholic Church, once again called for a block to marriage rights for lesbian and gay couples.

He said last weekend that marriage is intended to facilitate the bringing up of children, and that is why it is afforded specific rights and responsibilities.

He added that to give the same rights to lesbian and gay couples is a "misunderstanding" of the sacrament.


The Associated Press

A former police officer accused of killing a college student who had once been his lover pleaded not guilty Tuesday in the man's death.

Steven A. Rios, 27, is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the June 5 death of Jesse James Valencia, a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Police say Rios, who is married, acknowledged having a sexual relationship with Valencia. They said Rios killed Valencia after the student threatened to tell the police chief about the relationship.


ACLU helping fight amendment banning same-sex marriages
The Clarion-Ledger

Mississippi's American Civil Liberties Union is providing support to gay and lesbian groups and passing out literature regarding a proposed amendment to the state
constitution that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.

ACLU Executive Director Nsombi Lambright told The Clarion-Ledger Editorial Board on Tuesday that some people in the gay and lesbian community fear retaliation if they speak out against the amendment.

"We feel that the constitution should never be a tool to write discrimination into," said Lambright, who opposes the amendment. "It should, if changed, enhance constitutional freedoms and not limit them."

The amendment on the Nov. 2 ballot, also says a marriage between two people of the same gender that took place in another state or country, regardless of when it took place, will not be recognized in this state. Mississippi has banned same-sex marriages since 1997.


Spilka: Gay marriage vote sparked death threat
By Michael Kunzelman / News Staff Writer

Weeks before she voted against a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, state Rep. Karen Spilka received a death threat from a caller who apparently supported the ban, the Ashland Democrat disclosed yesterday.

     Spilka, who did not return repeated telephone calls from a MetroWest Daily News report in the weeks leading up to the Legislature's historic vote, said she decided to refrain from publicly commenting on the controversial issue because she feared for her family's safety.

     Spilka broke her silence in March, when she explained why she opposes the constitutional amendment during a speech on the House floor.

     "I don't think I was holding anything back from my constituents," she said. "If (constituents) called or e-mailed me, I let them know where I stood. I just didn't want anything in the paper right away."

Cost of war $131,532,000,000

Civilians reported killed by military intervention in Iraq
Min - 11793, Max - 13802

1,129 coalition deaths
6,916 U.S. troops have been wounded in action
However, there are other estimates that 12,000 soldiers have been treated for illness, non-combat injury and combat injury since March of 2002.

Forces:: U.S. & Coalition/Casualties

There have been 1,129 coalition deaths, 1,002 Americans, 65 Britons, six Bulgarians, one Dane, two Dutch, one Estonian, one Hungarian, 19 Italians, one Latvian, 10 Poles, one Salvadoran, three Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and eight Ukrainians, in the war in Iraq as of September 7, 2004 (Graphical breakdown of casualties). The list below is the names of the soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors and Coast Guardsmen whose families have been notified of their deaths by each country's government. At least 6,916 U.S. troops have been wounded in action, according to the Pentagon. The Pentagon does not report the number of non-hostile wounded. This list is updated regularly.


Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Gay Marriage Ban is Costing San Francisco $15 Mil
Paul Adam Haber

Gay marriage rights advocates and the city of San Francisco last week began opening arguments to persuade a California court that denying same-sex couples the ability to marry violates the state's constitution, and is costing San Francisco upwards of $15 million in lost revenue and social services payouts.

Last month, the Supreme Court voided the nearly 4,000 same-sex marriages that were sanctioned in the city before it intervened, ruling that local officials lacked the authority to contravene state law.

Now, proponents of marriage rights are seeking to have those laws overturned on constitutional grounds, a process that must begin in Superior Court and is expected to percolate back up to the California Supreme Court in about a year.

Arguing Thursday before a San Francisco Superior Court, lawyers representing 12 same-sex couples and the city said laws prohibiting same-sex marriages violate the Constitution's due process, privacy, free expression and equal-protection provisions. The city is also arguing that the marriage laws interfere with constitutional rights to liberty, privacy and equality.


by: Michael Wilhoit & Beth Maple-Bays, Out & About Newspaper

An East Tennessee church may have threatened its non-profit status by actively involving itself and its' members in the politics surrounding the debate over marriage.

As members of Manley Baptist Church of Morristown prepare to head to Washington for an October 15 rally for the Federal Marriage Amendment, concerns are being raised regarding church participation in the rally, potentially threatening their tax-exempt 501(c)3 status. As a nonprofit organization, the church must adhere to federal tax laws to retain that status.
IRS regulations prohibit churches from involvement in influencing legislation.

A posting on the church's website, which is labeled as "MayDay for Marriage", appears to be encouraging church members to actively try to influence pending legislation.

"Because of the recent legalization of homosexual marriages, our President has asked for a Constitutional amendment for marriage to be between a man and a woman," The site reads. "October 15 has been set aside for people to rally at the D.C. Mall. The purpose? To petition Congress to pass legislature for this to happen."

Washington Judge Rules on Gay Marriage
By Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Echoing the ruling of another local court, a Thurston County judge ruled Tuesday that Washington state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

A King County judge had ruled in favor of gay marriage rights in a separate case last month. Both cases will now go to the state Supreme Court, where they will likely be consolidated.

"For the government this is not a moral issue. It is a legal issue," wrote Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks in his ruling, posted Tuesday on the court's Web site.

Hicks acknowledged that the intent of the state's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act was very clear: Legislators wanted to limit marriage to a union between one man and one woman. But, Hicks said, that law directly conflicts with the state constitution.

Thursday, September 23 at 7 pm
The Best American Poetry 2004
The Best American Poetry 2004 showcases diverse talent including Lyn Hejinian, Jennifer Scappettone, Jane Hirshfield, kari edwards and Rae Armantrout.
A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books
601 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94102

Black Gay Pride ends on high note
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

With the wind from Tropical Storm Frances at their backs, about 100 marchers in the Black Gay Pride parade on Monday sang, chanted, waved banners and made their way from the Martin Luther King Jr. Center to the state Capitol.

Zandra Conway of Smyrna, who co-chairs the board of In the Life Atlanta, said the only protesters along the parade route were white Christians who said they disapproved of homosexuality. They also passed out roses.

Malika Hadley Freydberg leads marchers Monday at the Stand Up and Represent Black Gay Pride March and Rally, which capped a long weekend of education, activism and celebration.

The Black Gay Pride event, which began Wednesday, drew participants from around the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Canada who socialized but spent most of their time attending workshops, films and other sessions on such issues as HIV, the need for political activism and homophobia in the black church.


Suit Paints Same-Sex Marriage As Ordinary
By DANIELA ALTIMARI, Courant Staff Writer

Seven same-sex couples suing for the right to marry in Connecticut are basing their case on state constitutional provisions markedly similar to those used to validate gay marriage in Massachusetts.

At the lawsuit's core is the principle of equal protection, which holds that all citizens are entitled to the same rights.

But social change is about much more than legal arguments. Through what promises to become a landmark lawsuit, gay and lesbian activists are asserting that, like any other committed couples, they are entitled to the privileges and protections of marriage.


Bettendorf mayor wants input on policy
By Tory Brecht

Bettendorf Mayor Mike Freemire is turning to the people to ask whether they want protection from discrimination extended to gay men and women.

Last month, the Bettendorf Human Rights Commission voted 4-2 to ask the City Council to consider adding sexual orientation to the protected categories in the city’s civil rights ordinance.
Although the council is not obligated to act on that recommendation because the commission fell one vote short of a super-majority, Freemire said he senses a desire by aldermen to resolve the issue.
However, he believes a scientific poll or market study should be conducted before the council takes up the issue.

Calls for more security, after anti-gay attack
Ben Townley, UK

Police in Bournemouth have been accused of neglecting the city's gay community, after a group of revellers were attacked when leaving a club.

Around 15 young people hurled bottles and rocks at the group of men leaving the Opera House club last weekend. Although usually a straight club, the Opera House also has a gay night once a week.

One of the attacked said that because of the known animosity in the area, some police officers should already have been situated outside the club.

The unnamed victim told the Bournemouth Daily Echo that this foresight could have protected him and his friends from the abuse.


Local group to protest Banton concert
Ben Townley, UK

Gay groups in Milton Keynes are set to protest an appearance by Buju Banton later this month, as the campaign against homophobic lyrics continues to spread.

Banton is set to appear at the city's Empire nightclub on September 22 and, so far, the venue owners have refused to pull the plug on the gig.

Previous threats of protests have seen cancellations of concerts by the stars at the centre of the row across Europe and North America.


Cardinal challenged to gay debate

LESBIAN activist Monica Hingston has challenged her cousin, Catholic Cardinal George Pell, to a public debate on the church's attitude towards homosexuality.
Cardinal Pell is well known for his public sermons against homosexuality and sparked controversy when, as Archbishop of Melbourne, he refused gay activists holy communion.

In January, he refused to respond to a publicised letter from Ms Hingston calling on him to condone same-sex relationships, an action the Vatican has ruled out.

In her latest invitation, Ms Hingston, a former Catholic nun, urged her second cousin to debate the issue with gay Catholics at the closing of gay film festival QueerDOC.


NGO helps gay couples tie knot
Samrat Choudhury

For the deeply-in-love couple who are waiting for their wedding date — which has tentatively been set "a month from now" — there's trepidation. "We met four months ago at a party, and it was love at first sight," says B, a 21-year-old M Com student. His life partner-to-be is a 28-year-old engineer.

All of which is the way it is in most weddings, but this one is different: both the people getting married are male.

Lakshya, a Vadodara-based organisation that works for the rights of gay people, is planning to facilitate the marriage. “It's a way to prevent the spread of AIDS,” says Sylvester Merchant, the organisation's 25-year-old programme officer.

"In multi-partner relationships, the chances of HIV infection are more. In the MSM population -- men having sex with men — people often have multiple partners. Marriage would discourage this," says Merchant.


More companies providing benefits to gay couples

As the debate surrounding same-sex marriage plays out across the country, companies in increasing numbers have quietly decided to offer the same insurance benefits to gay couples as they do to married couples.

The Walt Disney Co., The Boeing Co., Parsons and Amgen Inc. are among several high-profile companies that provide insurance benefits for gay couples.

In all, about 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies offered health benefits to gay couples at the end of 2003, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. And of the top 50 firms, about 68 percent provided such coverage.

That's because about a decade ago a cluster of health plans introduced "domestic partner benefits" -- policies that target same-sex and opposite-sex partners who live together.


Gay Rights Group Lobbies BBC over Mobo Awards
By Tony Jones, Showbusiness Reporter, PA News

A gay rights group today called on the BBC to drop a planned broadcast of the MOBO awards if two singers they accuse of homophobia are not removed from the nominations.

OutRage! has written to the BBC’S director-general Mark Thompson and chairman of the board of governors, Michael Grade, outlining their concerns about the Jamaican artists Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel who are up for honours in the best reggae artist category.

Organisers of the Music of Black Origin (MOBO) awards, launched in 1996, have stated they do not condone homophobic lyrics and work closely with the Black Gay Men’s Advisory Group.

Controversial singer Beenie Man, who has also been accused of homophobia, did not make it onto the reggae artist shortlist this year after organisers emphasised on the public ballot forms they did not support music that clearly incited violence towards gay people.


Oklahoma Politicians Want Say In Court Decision On Anti-Gay Amendment
by Newscenter Staff

(Oklahoma City) Two Oklahoma Republican lawmakers who support a proposed amendment to the state constitution to ban gay marriage want to intervene in a lawsuit which seeks to disallow the issue from going to voters.

Senate Republican leader James Williamson of Tulsa and Representative Thad Balkman of Norman are asking the Supreme Court of Oklahoma to let them intervene in the case.

The Oklahoma Civil Liberties Union and a gay rights group filed suit in the state Supreme Court to have asks the justices to declare the question illegal and prevent it from going to voters in November.

The suit says that the wording of the ballot question is vague and violates the rights of gays and lesbians.


Maine Governor To Reintroduce Gay Rights Bill
by Newscenter Staff

(Augusta, Maine)  Maine Gov. John Baldacci on the weekend said that he will reintroduce gay rights legislation next year.

If passed the state-wide anti-discrimination law would combat bias based on sexuality in employment, housing, public accommodations and credit.

The Legislature has twice passed such a law in recent years, only to have it rejected by voters.

Lawmakers passed a gay-rights bill in 1997 and then-Gov. Angus King signed it into law. But opponents forced a so-called "people's veto" referendum in 1998, and voters killed the law. The Legislature embraced a gay-rights law once again in 2000. That time, lawmakers sent it to voters for final action, and it was defeated again.


Monday, September 06, 2004

Analysis: Proposed Amendment May Conflict with Constitution

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A new analysis of the proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages raises the possibility of a conflict with the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.

It said that it might be argued that the amendment "creates a classification of persons to whom the right to marry is not available."

It also raises a question about the amendment's second part, which prevents any other union from being given the same or substantially equal legal effect as a marriage.

"The scope of that prohibition may be more precisely defined by Utah courts as they interpret the provision in the context of lawsuits that may arise," said the analysis, which will be available Tuesday online at the state Elections Office,, and in printed form in October.

Our Common Cause: Equal rights for same-sex couples

Outgoing President George W. Bush is hoping to use the rights of same-sex couples as a battering ram in this year’s US presidential election campaign. It’s an old tactic of ruling elites to exploit religious bigotry.

But the Republicans and the religious right failed in their attempt to amend the US constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage. This is significant in a country where 40% of the population are regular churchgoers, and there is a large coalition of ultra-conservative religious groups.

Public opinion swung against Bush’s wedge politics. People said ``we don’t want you to spend days in the White House debating the outlawing of same-sex marriage when you should be talking about the health crisis, jobs, education, and the large numbers of our young people coming home from Iraq in body bags’‘.


Homophobic Attack In Bournemouth
A group of gay men had bottles and rocks thrown at them as they left a Bournemouth gay club in the early hours of Monday morning.

The attack by 15 youths took place outside McDonalds in Christchurch Road, Boscombe, as they left the Opera House from a gay club night at Bolt.

"Everyone knows Boscombe is a rough area but it is still a shame this incident happened. They are part of a growing homophobic group,” one of the victims told This Is Bournemouth.

"Dorset Police support the gay community and they are made aware of the event. But they didn't even have a presence outside the Opera House,” he added.

"We thought the police would be there. We don't want armed guards and escorts but Boscombe isn't that nice an area so we expected some form of protection for us.


New project focuses on media homophobia
Ben Townley, UK

A new project organised by Stonewall Cymru will focus on the levels of homophobia in the media, as well as increase awareness of LGB people in Wales.

Funded by Comic Relief, the Look Out project was launched earlier this week, and will also respond to homophobic and negative portrayals of LGB people in the media.

"The Look Out project is about working with the media in Wales to tackle homophobia and to improve the portrayal of lesbian, gay and bisexual people," Stonewall Cymru's Derek Walker said in a prepared statement yesterday.

"It's about changing the way gay issues are reported and the way LGB people are represented," he added.


Pastor: Anti-gay marriage referendum's success not certain

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- At least one poll shows solid support among Michigan residents for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, but a clergyman says that doesn’t guarantee voters will endorse the idea.

The state Court of Appeals ruled Friday that a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage in Michigan as a union between one man and one woman should appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.


Sunday, September 05, 2004

India News: Fourth accused in gay murders arrested in Nepal

New Delhi Sep 5 (IANS) The fourth suspect allegedly involved in the brutal murder of USAID official Pushkin Chandra and his gay partner has been arrested in Nepal, India :, who was one of the two men who allegedly murdered Chandra (38) and his male companion Kuldeep (19), was Sunday produced in a city court that remanded him in police custody.

A senior police officer said police in Nepal had helped a Delhi Police team that visited the Himalayan kingdom to arrest Moti. The team had visited Nepal after the external affairs ministry requested authorities there to help trace Moti.

Rajesh Kumar, the main accused in the murders that shocked the national capital, was arrested Aug 28 from his hometown in Madhya Pradesh. Two other men -- Parveen and his father Jai Kishore -- were arrested for aiding and sheltering the suspect.

Take Action! Take Action! Take Action! Take Action!

Tell Your Representatives to Protect All Students from Harassment and Bullying

On July 7, Representative Shimkus (R-19th IL) introduced H.R. 4776, a bill that would amend the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act to protect all students from harassment and bullying. Contact your Congress Member to help protect students from gender-based bullying and harassment. The bill would hold schools and districts accountable for:

* initiating policies to prevent harassment and bullying
* providing appropriate training, and complaint procedures when policies are violated

Harassment and bullying would include conduct that is threatening or offensive based on students' “actual or perceived identity with regard to race, color, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion,” or other characteristics.


On July 30, Ford Motor Company has added "Gender Identity" as a category that is protected against discrimination, to Corporate Policy Letters 2 and 6. Ford is the first of the Big 3 automotive companies to take this step. Official updates to the Policy Letters are in underway. (A link to the revised documents will be added in the near future)



The 19th Annual IFGE Convention will be held at the Red Lion Hotel in Austin, TX, April 26 through 30, 2005. Proposals for presentations are being sought at this time. New ideas, new topics and new faces are of particular interest.

The theme this year is "Sex, Gender and Politics: Exploring the Connections." We have a special need for presentations for cross-dressers (from still-in-the-closet to out-and-about), "Are you a CD, TV, TS?," Basic Hormones, Standards of Care discussions, and other social and medical programs for those considering going beyond being a crossdresser. We are expecting a large number of FtMs at this event, so if you have experience with this group, we welcome your input.

If you are interested in presenting, complete the Program Proposal Form and submit it before October 1, 2004. Although submissions after that date will be accepted on a space-available basis, you may not be included in our registration brochure and advanced advertising. If you will need some type of A/V equipment, please be sure to make that fact known on the enclosed form. A/V equipment is VERY expensive to rent, so use it sparingly.

No submissions by email, please. Send proposals by postal mail or fax to:
Alison Laing, P O Box 473, Portsmouth, RI 02871
fax: 401-624-8753
email for inquiries:


ISNA Outeach 2004

ISNA works hard to educate the world about intersex. Over the last 11 years of our work, we have reached millions of people through our outreach work! Here's a small sampling of what we've been up to in just the first half of this year.

Just since January 2004:

Time magazine did a feature on intersex including interviews with Debbie Hartman and Thea Hillman (ISNA board members).

The popular online newspaper Slate did a feature article on our founder and Executive Director, Cheryl Chase, and on the work of ISNA.

Our website continues to draw upwards of 1,600 visitors (and many more “hits”) each month; it provides them with basic information, news, access to videos, etc.

Don’t Just Sue the Bastards!
A Strategic Approach to Marriage
By Matthew A. Coles
Director, ACLU Lesbian & Gay Rights Project

A lot of people don’t understand why the ACLU and other groups working on equality for LGBT people haven’t just gone into court everywhere to get same-sex couples the ability to marry.  But there are good reasons not to do that.

1.  If we just sue in as many states as possible, we are likely to lose a lot of the cases.

To get the courts to strike down a law, you have to convince them that the law violates one of the specific rights in either the U.S. or the state Constitution.  There are two possible legal arguments we can use in marriage cases: the right to “equal protection,” and the “right to marry.”  

Equal protection: Over the years, the Courts have decided that government discrimination against some groups is “suspicious.” They said that because they found there was a long history of treating people in the group differently out of prejudice. Among the kinds of discrimination courts have said are “suspect” are race and sex discrimination. It is very difficult to get a court to strike down a law under equal protection unless the discrimination in the law is considered “suspect.”  But odd as it may seem, the U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t decided whether discrimination against gay people is suspicious, and neither have most state Supreme Courts. To make matters worse, most of the lower court cases have said discrimination against gay people is not suspicious.


Take Our Couples Survey!

The American Civil Liberties Union is looking for gay couples to help us in the fight for marriage equality. Stories of real couples are what put a face on the issue and help change public and legal opinion. Between now and November, your stories can compel voters to say no to discriminatory state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.  

By submitting your story here you give Freedom to Marry, the American Civil Liberties Union, and their coalition partners your authorization to use the information you provide. Your story will be shared anonymously unless you are contacted directly for permission to use your name/s.

Mugabe fuels 'Reformation' against gays

MORE than 30 million African Anglicans are set to form a breakaway church in the biggest schism since the Reformation prompted by a backlash against liberal attitudes to gays and lesbians in the west.

The church is taking its cue from the unlikeliest champion of family values, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who in 1993 flamboyantly but infamously branded gay people as "worse than dogs and pigs".

Nigerians clerics, who are led by the fearfully homophobic Archbishop Peter Akinola, say they are linking up with Evangelicals who not only support Mugabe, but also President George W Bush and the Republican Party in the US, Ben Mkapa in Tanzania and Sam Nujoma in Namibia, to wipe clean the "evil stain" of homosexuality from the face of Africa.

"This could be the biggest split since the Reformation," said Richard Kirker, General Secretary of the small but vocal Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. "Personally, I’d rather see a split within the ranks of the Anglican community than for people of principle to bow to the demands of homophobic Africans."


The campaign of hate set to oust gay Tory
Homophobia clouds deselection vote for Howard's candidate in Cornwall
Mark Townsend
The Observer

The caller stayed on Pat's line long enough to denounce her son as a 'queer who should be put in a dustbin and pissed on'.

When the phone rang she had hoped for another Tory well-wisher offering support for Ashley Crossley, the gay Conservative candidate seeking to secure a winnable seat in west Cornwall. She was half right: the voice did belong to a staunch Tory.

But it was one hellbent on destroying the political career of Crossley, hailed as the fresh-faced future of the Tories and one of Michael Howard's brightest prospects, before it has barely begun.

In three days, the Conservative Association of Falmouth and Camborne will vote on whether to deselect the 31-year-old barrister amid a backdrop of homophobic bullying. The Observer has uncovered a campaign of systematic anti-gay abuse, allegedly involving Conservative supporters, that has divided the fishing town of Falmouth.


Pope Attacks Canadian Gay Marriage 
by Canadian Press

(Vatican City) Pope John Paul II kept up his campaign against gay marriage Saturday, telling the ambassador from Canada -- where some provinces allow same-sex couples to wed -- that such unions create a "false understanding" of marriage.

In past months, the pope urged authorities to stop approving gay marriages, saying that they degrade the true sense of marriage.

The pope spoke Saturday to the new Canadian Ambassador to the Holy See, Donald Smith.

"The institution of marriage necessarily entails the complementarity of husbands and wives who participate in God's creative activity through the raising of children," said the pontiff, according to the text of the speech released by the Vatican.m


Indian activists to challenge anti-gay ruling

NEW DELHI: Gay activists in India on Saturday vowed to challenge a High Court decision to dismiss a petition seeking to legalise homosexuality.

The petition, filed in December 2001, sought to overturn laws which make homosexuality between consenting adults punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

“After three years of going back and forth the High Court has thrown out our petition on the flimsiest and most baffling grounds,” Shaleen Rakesh from the Naz Foundation told AFP.

“But we are not prepared to sit back and accept what the court is throwing at us. We are studying legal options in front of us and will file a review petition in the High Court or take the matter to the Supreme Court,” he said.


Would voter 'I do' ban gay marriage or undo gains?
By Ted Roelofs
The Grand Rapids Press

Conventional wisdom says the amendment to ban gay marriage in Michigan has a better-than-even chance of passing.

The Rev. Doug VanDoren believes that underestimates voters.

"People like to paint Michigan and particularly West Michigan as far more reactionary than it is," he said. "I think there is a good chance it will not pass."

The proposal, cleared Friday by the Michigan Court of Appeals to appear on the Nov. 2 ballot, would enshrine in the state constitution the definition of marriage as "the union of one man and one woman."