NEWSBRIEFS

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 334 | August 19 – 25, 2004

NEWS

News Briefs

EDWARDS: “I AM A GRAY AMERICAN”

LGBT Protests Scheduled at G.O.P. Convention

Folks who want to join Gays Against Bush, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender contingent, in the massive United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) march on Sunday, August 30 to protest the war and the Bush administration will meet at Sheridan Square at 11 a.m. that day and march up Seventh Avenue to join the main march at West 23rd Street.

Demonstrators are also invited to go directly from Sheridan Square that day to a special action against Mayor Michael Bloomberg at 1 p.m. in Bryant Park at West 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, where he is hosting the Log Cabin Republicans for their “Big Tent” event. Bloomberg recently vetoed the Equal Benefits Bill, which would have expanded domestic partner benefits to city contractors, and the Dignity in All Schools Act, an anti-bullying measure that covered LGBT students. He also criticized Comptroller William Thompson for bringing shareholder resolutions to compel corporations to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. These demonstrators will later join the big UFPJ march.

Gays Against Bush is also planning an action against the Missouri delegation on Tuesday August 31 to protest that state’s adoption of a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.

For more information, go to GaysAgainstBush.org.

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Big Gay Concert Cancelled Amid Recriminations

The Summer of Love ’04 Concert for Equality, scheduled for August 25 in the East Meadow of New York’s Central Park, was supposed to be the big LGBT event of convention week, attracting headline entertainers to celebrate gay family diversity. But despite the involvement of a cadre of media professionals and the securing of a permit from the city, organizers have cancelled the event due to lack of funds.

“From the beginning, many GLTB organizations, the usual suspects in the world of big gay money, and many concerned performers and citizens said, ‘We’re there, call us when you get the permits,’” wrote Scott Robbe, the lead organizer, in a statement posted on the group’s website. “We got the permits. We called. But sadly many of those promises were broken.” The complete statement is at www.summeroflove04.com

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HRC Trucks Bush at Convention

The Human Rights Campaign, not always known for its sense of humor, is raising funds to send four trucks around Manhattan during the Republican National Convention August 30 through September 2 with big lettering on them reading: “George Bush: YOU’RE FIRED.” HRC is especially exercised over Pres. George W. Bush’s support for the Federal Marriage Amendment.

“Let’s face it,” the LGBT lobby group says on its website, “This president needs to be fired. HRC is ready to make that happen.” For a $35 donation, HRC is offering a button with the same message. And those who donate $50 can have their names in newspaper ads using the slogan The Donald made famous.

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Gay and Pro-Choice Republicans Seek Plank

The Republican Party platform adopted in New York at the convention in less than two weeks is set to oppose abortion, civil rights protections for gay people and the right of same-sex couples to marry. But the Log Cabin Republicans, working with pro-choice delegates, are proposing a “unity” plank that reads: “We recognize and respect that Republicans of good faith may not agree with all the planks in the party’s platform. This is particularly the case with regard to those planks dealing with abortion, family planning and gay and lesbian issues. The Republican Party welcomes all people on all sides of these complex issues and encourages their active participation as we work together on those issues upon which we most agree.”

The plank has little chance of making it to the floor of the convention and no chance of passage, observers told the Los Angeles Times

The Log Cabin Republicans has not endorsed Pres. George W. Bush for re-election and has rebuked him for supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment. Ann E.W. Stone of Republicans for Choice told the Times, “Our constituents are ready to walk. Our message to the president is, ‘Stay out of the bedroom.’”

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Bush Twins Heading to Gay Wedding

Jenna and Barbara Bush, the nation’s first twins, are planning to attend a gay wedding in Laytonsville, Maryland in September, according to Erwin Gomez, who will unite with his partner James Packard at the event. Gomez, a Chevy Chase beautician who said he gives the young women eyebrow waxes, told the Daily News that they the Bush twins are enthusiastic about attending.

“I gave them the party invitation, and they said, ‘That sounds great, we’d love to come—it sounds like a lot of fun,’” Gomez said, according to the News.

The president’s daughters may have a change of heart, however, when they read Gomez’s comments about their father’s effort to amend the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

“I think it’s wrong—he has no right to touch that,” the News quoted Gomez as saying. “He’s trying to change the freedom of America. … History is repeating itself, just like blacks and Jews were discriminated against.”

Gomez and Packard married this past spring in San Francisco, in a union voided by the California Supreme Court last week.

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Canada Stops Fighting Gay Marriages

Most gay and lesbian Canadians can marry their same-sex partners due to court rulings in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and the Yukon Territory over the past 14 months. Now Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler says that the federal government will no longer oppose same-sex couples that sue to marry in their provinces, as it did in the four previous cases. “The last federal barrier to same-sex marriage and divorce collapsed in dramatic fashion,” the Toronto Star wrote.

The Supreme Court of Canada will hold a hearing in October on the constitutionality of federal legislation sanctioning the right of gay couples to marry, but a ruling “could take until next year,” the newspaper reported.

Cotler now says that the federal government now supports same-sex marriage, but wants the issue debated in the high court so that opponents cannot say that “in this country they never had the chance to debate the whole question.”

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ACLU Blasts CDC for “Partisan Politics” in HIV Prevention

James Esseks, litigation director of the ACLU AIDS Project, is denouncing the Centers for Disease Control for issuing revised guidelines to AIDS groups that get federal funding, requiring prevention materials to be reviewed by state and local health officials “who could be partisan, elected officials with no expertise in HIV issues and prevention,” a release said.

“The CDC has been operating under the same guidelines for 12 years,” Esseks said. “Now, just months shy of an election, it is suggesting changes in the guidelines that could give elected officials the right to veto prevention materials and shut down HIV prevention organizations. These changes are nothing more than dirty politics that put lives at risk.”

The longstanding guidelines required groups to submit materials to a Program Review Panel, “a group of individuals knowledgeable about diseases prevention,” the ACLU release said.

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Australia Bans Same-Sex Marriage

The Australian Senate has joined the House of Representatives in overwhelmingly voting to limit marriage to man-woman couples. The bill was introduced by the conservative government of Prime Minister John Howard, but supported by the opposition Labour Party as well—though Labour has pledged to seek partner rights for same-sex couples if returned to power. The bill that passed this week also bans recognition of legal same-sex marriages performed in other countries.

The gay Equal Rights Network “has engaged lawyers to examine a High Court challenge to the laws,” The Australian reported, but legal experts believe that will be difficult due to the fact that the country has no bill of rights as Canada does.

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

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