McGreevey and Cipel Call Truce
Golan Cipel now says he will not file a sexual harassment suit against New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, who cited the pair’s consensual sexual relatonship as his reason for stepping down in November. Rachel Yosevitz, Cipel’s attorney, said her client “has no desire to have the taxpayers of New Jersey pay for Mr. McGreevey’s reprehensible conduct.” August 30 was the statute of limitations deadline for a harassment lawsuit, two years after Cipel resigned as an advisor to McGreevey. In a statement, Cipel said, “It is clear to all that McGreevey resigned because he sexually harassed me and that a man of his standing would not have resigned because of sexual orientation or an extramarital affair.”
A spokesperson for McGreevey called Cipel’s allegations “nonsense.”
Meanwhile the Atlantic City Surf, a minor league baseball team, rehired Greg Maiuro, after the stadium announcer apologized for his on-air dedication to McGreevey of the gay-themed Village People song, “YMCA” during a seventh inning stretch on August 17. McGreevey intervened with the team on Maiuro’s behalf.
GOP’s Keyes: Gays are Hedonistic
Alan Keyes, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois described Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of the vice president, as a “selfish hedonist.” Keyes’ comments came Tuesday night on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Madison Square Garden in an interview with Michelangelo Signorile and Corey Johnson, of Sirius Radio’s Out-Q gay satellite channel.
After describing homosexuality as “selfish hedonism,” Keyes was asked by the hosts if that characterization was true of Dick Cheney’s daughter.
“Of course she is,” Keyes replied. “That goes by definition. Of course she is.”
Signorile then told Keyes, “I don’t think Dick Cheney would like to hear that about his daughter.” And Keyes replied, “Dick Cheney may or may not like to hear the truth, but it can be spoken.”
Rick Garcia of Equality Illinois, the gay lobby group, told the Chicago Tribune, “Selfish hedonism? Has anyone seen Dr. Keyes look at a microphone or a television camera? That’s hedonism.”
Both the Cheney campaign and Sen. John McCain told the newspaper that Keyes’s remarks were “inappropriate.” McCain added, “He made a remark the other day that people who perform abortions are the same as terrorists.”
Earlier in the week, Illinois Republican state chairperson, Judy Baar Topinka, asked about Keyes’ anti-gay zealotry at a Log Cabin Club reception, said, “He runs his own shop.”
Keyes, a Maryland resident, entered the Illinois race to fill the ballot vacancy left when Jack Ryan, the original Republican candidate, dropped out after it was revealed that his former wife’s divorce suit charged that he pressed her to have public sex. Keyes, who will face state Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic Party’s convention keynote speaker, harshly criticized Hillary Rodham Clinton when she ran for the Senate in 2000, calling her a carpetbagger. Keyes has never before lived in Illinois.
Schlafly Son Opposes Gay Marriage
John Schlafly, a gay man whose mother, Phyllis, of the Eagle Forum, has been instrumental for years in codifying anti-gay language into Republican Party platforms, works as his mother’s assistant and said he does not resent being denied the right to marry another man. “I think the traditional definition of marriage has served our society well, and it shouldn’t be changed,” Schlafly told the Los Angeles Times. “That was the law in every state, and still is except for certain court decisions. I don’t see why there’s anything wrong with it.”
The Bloomberg Corner
Mayor Michael Bloomberg dropped in on NY 1 TV reporter Andrew Kirtzman’s party last Friday night and was confronted by Sirius Radio’s Corey Johnson about his refusal to take a stand on the right of gay couples to marry. The mayor made his usual protestation that it was a matter for the Legislature to decide, but Johnson repeatedly pressed him for his personal view and why he would not stand with the gay community on the issue. Bloomberg ended the exchange by saying, “I have to go talk to my girlfriend now.”
Home Depot Gives Pet, Not Gay Benefits
Controversy has erupted over the opening of a Home Depot on West 23rd Street in the largely gay neighborhood of Chelsea. The company recently added health insurance for pets to their employee benefits program, but they don’t offer health benefits to the domestic partners of employees, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. In 2001, the company adopted a policy banning sexual orientation discrimination in its hiring practices. “You’ve got to keep in mind the cost of covering a human being is higher than covering a pot-bellied pig,” Ken McDonnell, an analyst for Employee Benefit Research Institute told the newspaper. “You can argue the fairness point, which makes sense, but they’re going to make their decisions based on cost.” (The policy was changed as Gay City News was being distributed, but it’s hateful enough, no?)
A recent survey of 459 U.S. companies found 34 percent offering benefits for same-sex partners and three percent providing pet benefits.
Week’s Hero and Heroine
Jared Michael DeBrito, a gay high school student in Manteca, California, reported that during club sign-up days, 300 of Sierra High School’s 2,100 students joined his gay-straight alliance. “Not only is the club about gay and straight people coming together regardless of their differences,” he said, “it was also to support other minorities who have encountered racial slurs.” DeBrito said students were attracted to his club because “I let them know what I had experienced in the past as far as discrimination goes” and the fact that the media “is doing great at representing gays in a positive way.”
Deanna Makinen, age 11, has just formed a local chapter of the group COLAGE, or Children of Gays and Lesbians Everywhere. Her mom, Debora Masterson, told Seacoast Online, “As a child of lesbian parents, she wanted to provide an opportunity for other children like herself to get together and be supportive of each other and be advocates for themselves.”
“It’s hard for [gay] families in New Hampshire,” Deanna said, citing legislators who “are making this law where same-sex couples are not allowed to be married. My point of view is that it’s not really fair. They’re not treating everyone as equal as we learned in kindergarten.” Deanna is planning a Portsmouth art exhibit for September 25 called “That’s So Gay: Art by Youth with GLBT Parents.”
National Ballot Update
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed suit for the courts to throw out the “Amendment Concerning Marriage,” a ballot question Arkansas voters are scheduled to face in November, claiming it is misleading to voters. Rather than just addressing a ban on same-sex marriage, the measure also seeks to prohibit domestic partner benefits and civil unions and would likely raise questions about the validity of common law marriages.
The ACLU is also asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to invalidate a referendum on an anti-gay marriage amendment for November, citing a violation of rights and constitutionally vague language.
Alabama has not passed a constitutional amendment on gay marriage, so state Sen. Hilton Mitchem, a Democrat of Albertville, wants Gov. Bob Riley to call a special session of the Legislature so that it can be voted on in November. The governor was undecided on whether to call the session, the Sand Mountain Reporter said.
In Louisiana, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage appears headed for the September 18 ballot, with proponents of the measure winning a state appeals court ruling Monday overturning a lower court ruling that stopped the measure. More court decisions are expected before voters will decide on the amendment.
A Michigan amendment was again stopped from going on the ballot by a party line 2-2 vote by a state canvassers’ board. The issue now goes to court, but must be decided by a Friday, September 3 deadline.
In Ohio, a poll found that by a margin of 56 to 40 percent, with four percent undecided, voters support a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The measure’s opponents said the margin offers them encouragement that they might be able to build a margin to defeat the amendment during the next two months.
Connecticut’s new Republican Gov. Jodi Rell said this week that she opposes Pres. George W. Bush’s attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, despite believing “strongly” that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, the Connecticut Post reported. “Our Constitution should be reserved for other matters,” she said.
How to Be a “Good Catholic”
Catholic Answers, a conservative group, took out a full-page ad in USA Today on Tuesday listing five issues they feel should be taken into consideration by Catholic voters—abortion, same-sex unions, stem-cell research, cloning, and euthanasia, Catholic World News reported. “It’s a serious sin to vote for moral evils,” the ad said, “especially those that are so completely opposed to church teachings.”
The group publishes a voter guide at Catholic.com without mentioning the party affiliations of the candidates whose stands on these issues they give. “These are non-negotiable issues,” said Karl Keating, president of Catholic Answers. “In the past, most Catholics have not voted according to the Church’s moral teachings. They checked their faith at the door when they stepped into the polling place. That needs to change.”
Earlier this year, Pres. Bush made an unprecedented direct appeal to the Vatican to get American Catholic bishops to support him, given his stands against abortion and the right of gay people to marry.
Pro-Gay Justices for Canada Supremes
In most of Canada now, same-sex couples can marry due to provincial court decisions. In anticipation of a federal Supreme Court decision on the issue, Prime Minister Paul Martin has appointed Rosalie Abelia and Louise Charron to serve on the high court. Both issued decisions in favor of the rights of gay couples on the Ontario Court of Appeals. The right wing is accusing Martin of “courtpacking.”
Manitoba’s government announced this week that it will not oppose the court bids of three gay couples to marry. Gay marriage is already taking place in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and the Yukon.
Same-Sex Marriage Poll
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found support for same-sex marriage declining among American voters. In January, 41 percent said it should be legal, but by late August, that figure had dropped to 32 percent. The same August survey found 44 percent supporting an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, with 51 percent favoring letting the states make their own laws about it. Back in January, 38 percent supported the amendment.
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