VOLUME 3, ISSUE 337 | September 9 -15, 2004
House Amendment Vote
In July, the U.S. Senate defeated an amendment to the Constitution banning same-sex marriage, but that’s not stopping Republican congressional leaders from putting the Federal Marriage Amendment up for a vote in the House of Representatives as well. The move is seen as a ploy to pin down Democratic lawmakers on the controversial issue before November’s general election, and remind voters of the difference between Pres. George W. Bush and his challenger, Sen. John Kerry, on the issue of a federal constitutional amendment.
Ohio Amendment Up 56-40
A University of Cincinnati poll says 56 percent of Ohio voters support a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and “legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effect of marriage.” Forty percent of respondents oppose the measure.
The latter clause, which would end domestic partner benefits at state universities and in municipalities, probably accounts for the narrow margin of support in Ohio among the 12 states that will vote on such amendment proposals between now and November.
The Ohio poll also found that 70 percent of Bush supporters want the ban versus 40 percent of Kerry voters.
Gay Leaders Target Oregon
Despite the recent polling in Ohio, indicating wavering support, 11 state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage seem likely to pass in November. The one shot gay leaders see for beating an amendment is in Oregon where anti-gay ballot initiatives have failed before.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has invested $500,000 into the Oregon campaign, half of the million raised so far toward a goal of $2.5 to 3 million. Supporters of the amendment, Measure 36, hope to raise $2 million, though they claim that Missouri’s right-wing campaign for an amendment last month was outspent 40-1 and prevailed by 71-29 percent.
A July poll found 49 percent of Oregonians in favor of the amendment and 46 percent opposed. Oregon law already prohibits same-sex marriage.
San Fran Sues for Gay Marriage
In August, the state’s high court ordered San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, not to perform any more same-sex marriages, nullifying the roughly 4,000 that the city sanctioned last winter. Now the city has joined several gay couples in suing the state for their right to marry. The city is arguing that current law “legitimizes bigotry” against gays and lesbians, the News Standard reported.
Connecticut: “We’re Just as Boring as Anyone Else”
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, the legal group that won the right for gay couples to marry in Massachusetts, is serious about winning that access in the Nutmeg State as well. That said, they filed a chatty brief, with a “breezy narrative style,” according to the Hartford Courant, “evocative of People magazine to paint a portrait of seven ordinary families, complete with soccer practices, baby showers, and other humdrum details of everyday life.”
One of the plaintiffs, John Anderson of Woodbridge, told the newspaper, “We’re just as boring as anyone else.”
The case could take three years to wind its way through the state’s legal system.
Home Depot Concedes Benefits
Home Depot got in hot water when it was announced that the company extended pet insurance to its employees while refusing it for their domestic partners. Now the Atlanta-based company, which opens up a mega-store on West 23rd Street in Chelsea this week, will cover same-sex domestic partners of their employees. The company opted not to cover employees’ heterosexual partners since they are legally entitled to get married.
McGreevey Ready for Prime Time
Whether it will be with Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer or Mike Wallace, sources say New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, who recently declared himself a “gay American,” is negotiating to do some high-profile television interviews before he leaves office on November 15, his resignation date. An adviser told NJ.com that this is a way for McGreevey “to educate the public on the dilemma he has faced and are faced by thousands of gay men.” The aide also said, “People have to understand how a man can discover that he is gay and still love his wife and family.”
Any interviewer is likely to ask the governor about the nature of his supposedly sexual relationship with Golan Cipel and his decision to install the Israeli national in a state post that included advising McGreevey about state counter-terrorism measures.
McGreevey might also address his stated opposition to same-sex marriage, a position that became clear when the state instituted domestic partnership benefits.
This week, Peter Harvey, appointed attorney general by McGreevey, defended the state’s marriage law in an appellate court considering the appeal of seven same-sex couples that a lower court refused to allow to marry. Gary Buseck, the legal director of Lambda Legal Defense that brought the suit, told Newsday, “Our position continues to be that the courts have a traditional role to play to assess whether lines the Legislature draws—in this case to exclude a group of citizens—are constitutional or not.”
Duane Introduces State ERA
Anti-Gay Minnesota Truck Impounded
While anti-Republican demonstrators were subjected to arrest in New York—sometimes for just voicing their opposition in the convention hall—Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage have been having trouble keeping their campaign truck rolling throughout the state. The billboard truck has eight-foot tall images of gay men kissing with the slogan, “Want Gay Marriage? Vote Democrat this November.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the truck “has been in the middle of two arrests and one general fracas,” including the arrest of the driver for refusing a police order to leave the scene. The truck was impounded.
“It’s unbelievable to me that this could happen in our country,” said Jeff Davis, president of the group hoping to introduce a state constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage. He said a crowd attacked their driver when he was told to leave by the cops.
Trans Golfer in Women’s Tournie
Ann Bannon’s Back in Town
Ann Bannon, whose 1950s novels of lesbian life in New York broke new ground, is making an appearance here on Sunday, October 3 as part of the 16th Annual New York City Paperback and Pulp Fiction Expo at the Holiday Inn, 440 W. 57th St.
Austrian Couple Seeks Recognition
A German man and an American man living in Austria, and married in Holland, plan to seek justice in the European Court after Austria refused to recognize their marriage. The American was denied a working permit and permanent residence., general secretary of the Austrian gay group Hosi, said, “That’s a clear violation of [European Union] law.” The spouses of European Union citizens are allowed to emigrate to EU countries. The EU Charter also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The couple might start their case at the Austrian Constitutional Court and appeal to the European Union Court in Luxembourg or the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Lesbian Cousin Challenges Bishop
Andy Humm is a co-host of “Gay USA” seen Thursdays at 11 p.m. on Time-Warner 34 and RCN 107, simulcast at mnn.org channel 34, and on Directv nationwide._
Andy Humm can be contacted at AndyHumm@aol.com