Backlash Vanquished in Massachusetts

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 346 | November 11 – 17, 2004

News Briefs

London Outpouring for Murdered Gay Man

More than 1,000 mourners packed St. Anne’s Church in the heart of London’s Soho on Friday in memory of David Morley, 37, the gay bartender who was brutally killed by a gang of marauding youths on the South Bank along the Thames on October 30. Police, who believe the crime was motivated by hatred of gay people, have arrested seven suspects, most of whom are 17 or under and whose names are being withheld. One, Barry Lee, 19, is a market trader from Kennington.

Morley was a survivor of the anti-gay bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho in 1999.

“This is the second time he was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said his friend, Sally Graham, at the memorial service, “but for all of us here today he will be in the right place at the right time, which is a very special place in our hearts,” the BBC reported.

The London Gay Men’s Chorus sang at the service. Mourners then proceeded to the Admiral Duncan and covered a memorial bench to the victims of that atrocity with flowers and candles. One hundred people then marched across the Hungerford Bridge to the place where Morley was slain at three o’clock in the morning while he sat chatting with a friend after getting off work. He suffered more than 40 bruises to his head and body and died of a ruptured spleen and fractured ribs.

A survey of U.K. police departments by the Independent newspaper found that anti-gay hate crimes have increased by an average of 23 percent in the country, including a 12.5 percent rise in London and a 210 percent increase in the Welsh region of Ghent, Gay.comUK reported. The Stonewall gay rights group is lobbying the government to make incitement to anti-gay hatred a crime in Britain.

Stonewall U.K. will be in New York this week for an Equality Walk fundraiser, with 80 walkers starting from the Ameritania Hotel at 230 W. 54th St. at 10 a.m. on Saturday and winding up at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher St. between 4 and 7 p.m.

Gay Flight to Canada

It will take some time to ascertain whether substantial numbers of Americans who fear and loath the right turn in U.S. government will act on their desire to emigrate. But the Toronto Globe and Mail reported that one immigration lawyer there, Michael Battista, is working on processing more than 100 applications for gay Americans seeking a new life in more tolerant Canada.

“These are highly skilled people with no dependents and substantial savings,” he said. “Canada is benefiting enormously.”

Out gay playwright Craig Lucas, whose “Reckless” is now on Broadway, is one of those seeking to leave.

“Our rights are slowly being eroded,” he told the newspaper. “It happened in Nazi Germany, the incredible brain drain of artists, scientists and writers who fled to the U.S. Now it’s happening here. The government wants gays to live outside the protection of the law.”

Phil Schwab, 36, an agricultural geneticist, e-mailed the newspaper that he moved to Ottawa from Washington just before the election.

“It’s clear the U.S. is becoming a place that is hostile to the long-term health of same-sex relationships,” he was quoted as saying.

Youth Protest Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

The vote in Oregon to put a ban on same-sex marriage into the state constitution was the closest of 11 in the country, passing 57 to 43 percent. But students at North Eugene High School were so offended by the result that they staged a walkout from their classes last Thursday.

“Everybody came to school and they were so depressed,” 16-year-old Kristin Shresta told the Advocate. “Our rights are going right down the drain, and there’s nothing we can do about it because we can’t even vote yet.”

By the end of the day, 200 students had joined the protest.

Gaybaiting Continues for Bush, Kerry Supporters

High School students in Apple Valley, Minnesota, just south of the Twin Cities, got into an argument over the presidential election last week and gay-baited each other into violence. Chad McKay, 17, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that during the altercation, “some people said only gay people voted for Bush.” Another student who ended up getting beat up retorted that “only gay people would vote for Kerry because he supports gay marriage,” a popular myth. The victims “called the other guys some names.” The Bush supporters were later attacked in a parking lot, getting kicked and hit with a baseball bat.

U.K. Parliament Rejects “Wrecking” Amendment

A last-ditch effort by some Conservatives to derail the Civil Partnership bill in the British Parliament was beaten back on Tuesday. The House of Commons voted 381 to 74 against an amendment that would have extended the definition of partnership beyond gay and lesbian couples to siblings and others who lived together.

Gay Tory MP Alan Duncan told Gay.comUK that the amendment would “wreck the bill by creating partnerships within an existing family which, in their confused and contradictory interrelationship, are utterly unworkable.” Jacqui Smith, Labour Minister for Equality and Women, told the Commons, “Civil partnership has not been designed as a legal relationship for people who are related to each other. It is a new legal relationship for same-sex couples so they can have legal recognition that they cannot currently get.”

Most of those supporting the amendment were against the bill entirely, because they believe homosexual acts are immoral. Tory leader Michael Howard, who supports the partnership bill, gave his members a free vote on it, meaning they could vote their consciences rather than toe the party line.

Same-Sex Marriage Push in California

While most of the rest of the states are busy banning same-sex marriage, legislators in California’s Assembly will take up a bill to legalize it as a top priority next year. Out Assemblyman Mark Leno told the San Francisco Chronicle that the bill has bipartisan support and that they are moving ahead. It passed two committees this year, but was tabled before a floor vote. Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said that he would not stand in the way of same-sex marriage if it were ordered by the courts or passed by the Legislature.

SAGE Gala on Sunday

Senior Action in a Gay Environment is having a star-studded dinner at the Waldorf Astoria on November 14. U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, a Long Island Democrat, will present the Ken Dawson Advocacy Award to Tom Kirdahy, leader of the East End Gay Organization, and Broadway composer John Kander will present the SAGE’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Kirdahy’s partner, playwright Terrence McNally. Broadway’s Boyd Gaines, now in “Twelve Angry Men,” will perform a monologue from McNally’s new play. Kander will accompany Chita Rivera in a song from “The Visit,” an upcoming show he wrote with his late collaborator Fred Ebb and for which McNally wrote the book.

Actress Marian Seldes will present a Lifetime Achievement Award to producer Liz McCann, who honchos the Tony Awards and is bringing Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” back to Broadway.

For more information, contact Malcolm Smith at 212-741-0396. Tickets begin at $350. Cocktails start at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7.

Nathan’s Retort

Nathan Lane is receiving rave reviews for his reprise of his starring role in “the Producers,” just opened at London’s Drury Lane Theatre. In an interview in the Guardian UK, Lane said that he came out to his mother when he was 21. “Her reply was, ‘I’d rather you were dead.’ Lane shot back, ‘I knew you’d understand.’”

Elton’s Marriage Plans

The Hollywood News reported that Elton John has no immediate plans to marry his longtime partner, David Furnish, “unless it ensures financial security for Furnish after he is gone.” John told the newspaper, “Getting married is not something I feel I have to do. The problem is same-sex partners don’t get the same rights as other people.”

John may get the opportunity to protect his partner soon if the Civil Partnership bill clears the British Parliament this month.

Italian Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage

A poll of Italians found that 61 percent oppose the right of gay couples to marry and 79 percent do not think gay people should be allowed to adopt children. Pre-marital sex and cohabitation by heterosexual couples was O.K. with them, with 75 percent saying it was “morally acceptable.”

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