VOLUME 3, ISSUE 324 | June 10 – 16, 2004
Advocates Say Federal Court Marriage Arguments Went Well
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), the legal group that won the right to marry for gay couples in Massachusetts, is happy with the way arguments went in the First Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals this week in a case brought by right wing groups and state legislators challenging last November’s Goodridge decision by the Bay State’s Supreme Judicial Court ruling that recognized those rights.
Progress in the Old Europe
Noel Mamère, mayor of Bègles, presided over France’s first same-sex wedding on June 5, despite warnings from the national government that he was acting illegally. Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin immediately initiated a sanctions procedure against the Green Party mayor, who is also a member of Parliament. Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said last week, “It cannot be considered a marriage.”
“I’m proud of this wedding,” Mamère told the couple, Bertrand Charpantier, 31, and Stéphane Chapin, 34. “I don’t consider myself an outlaw.”
The mayor faces a one-month suspension and a fine of $1,840.
A lawyer for the couple said he would bring their case to the European Court of Human Rights.
France has offered the Civil Solidarity Pact, a kind of marriage lite, to gay couples and cohabiting heterosexuals since 1999.
Germany, meanwhile, is moving toward creating same-sex couples rights nearly equal to those of married heterosexuals. Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries said she would try to get the measure approved in the Bundestag, the lower legislative house in Germany, before the summer recess in such a way that it will not have to be approved by the opposition-controlled upper house, the Bundesrat. The bill will not include adoption rights for gay couples, a sticking point for many European countries that have extended other broad rights to gay and lesbian couples.
About 5,000 gay and lesbian couples registered as partners under a German partnership law enacted three years ago.
The Swiss government is moving towards some domestic partnership rights for gay couples, including inheritance but excluding adoption. The Green Party in Britain is fighting for a European Union-wide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights (LGBT) manifesto, including the right to adopt and marry.
Religious Groups Oppose Bush’s Amendment
While most of the vocal support for amending the US constitution to ban same-sex marriage comes from religious groups, some of the more liberal denominations got together this week to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment endorsed by Pres. George W. Bush, calling it “a fundamental disregard for individual civil rights.”
Barry Lynn, director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, told The Times, “I am disturbed that even though I can perform a religious ritual to unite a same-gender couple, the state won’t recognize it because some different religious group thinks I am theologically wrong.”
Show Me State First This Year on Marriage Vote
While seven or eight states are moving toward referenda on amending their constitutions to ban same-sex marriage, Missouri will hold the first such vote this year, putting the issue on the ballot in August. Selection of that date is considered a victory of sorts for gay advocates in that a November vote was expected to pull out more right wingers eager to ensure the re-election of Pres. George W. Bush. November votes on similar measures are already set for Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Utah—“red” states that the Democrats have virtually no hope of winning. The legislature in Louisiana, a toss-up state, is debating whether to have their vote in September or November. _________________________
Next Year in Jerusalem in Jeopardy
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski blasted the LGBT pride parade in his city last week, calling it “ugly” and “a provocation,” according to Ha’aretz.
“If somebody has some sort of deviant trait, it doesn’t mean he has to raise its banner in public,” the mayor is quoted as saying.
Lupolianski also said he is working to get the World Pride celebration, scheduled for next year in Jerusalem, cancelled.
Pope Pops Off at Gays Again
Meeting with American Catholic bishops last week, Pope John Paul II derided “the approval of same-sex unions in the name of homosexual rights,” linking it with “the growth of prostitution and pornography.”
“False secularist forms of humanism, which exalt the individual in such a manner that they become a veritable idolatry, can be countered only by the rediscovery of the genuine inviolable dignity of every person,” the pontiff said.
John Paul followed his meeting with the bishops with an audience for Pres. George W. Bush, chiding the American leader for his war on Iraq but praising him for his fight against same-sex marriage.
No “Progress” in Charlottesville
Back in the 1970s, students at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville used to call the Daily Progress newspaper the “Daily Regress.” Nothing much has changed. Elizabeth Clopton and Mary Boudin wanted to announce their engagement in the newspaper, but were turned down.
“We’ll print the ad when it’s legal in this state for two women to get married,” an editor told them.
The couple will marry in April 2005 at the town’s Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, a Unitarian congregation, which is putting up a banner that reads, “This church supports marriage rights,” The Hook reported.
More Small-Town Gay Weddings
Mayor Robert Porter of Ferndale, Michigan (population of 22,000), a suburb of Detroit, presided over the weddings of 11 gay couples last Saturday.
“I believe this is my responsibility as a servant of government,” said Porter, who was not able to issue marriage licenses, because that is a county function.
Despite this week’s New York State ruling permanently enjoining New Paltz Mayor Jason West from performing same-sex weddings, 13 more gay couples got married there last weekend in ceremonies solemnized by ministers from nearby Unitarian and United Church of Christ congregations. A total to 147 couples have married there since West first performed weddings on February 28, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal.
The Ulster County district attorney has brought charges against West and two of the ministers who have conducted ceremonies.
Gay Sensitivity Training in Kentucky
The Boyd County School District settled a lawsuit from a Gay-Straight Alliance there by agreeing to let the group meet at the high school and train staff on LGBT issues. Developing the training program was called “a good learning experience” by assistant superintendent Dawn Tackett, WKYT reported. Some parents are objecting to the program, but school board members “have repeatedly said the training would not condone homosexuality,” the television report said.
Bush Shake-Up in the Offing?
An informed source has told Gay City News that U.S. Sen. John Warner (R-VA) believes that he will soon be tapped to replace the disgraced Donald Rumsfeld as U.S. secretary of defense. Meanwhile, another source said a leading Capitol Hill Democrat is predicting that Dick Cheney is on the way out as well. Rats leaving a sinking ship might be one way to interpret this news.
Bush Going Buggy
Embattled President George Bush is said to be losing it in the face of falling approval numbers. So reports CapitolHillBlue.com.
“It reminds me of the Nixon days,” one aide told the webzine. “Everybody is an enemy; everybody is out to get him.”
According to the Capitol Hill Blue story, Bush has stooped to calling staff members he perceives as disloyal “fucking assholes” in front of others. The president called CIA director George Tenet’s resignation, “God’s will.”
Gayest Tony Awards Ever
Virtually every show honored at the 2004 Tony Awards on June 6 had a gay or lesbian connection. Best Musical honors, in an upset, went to “Avenue Q,” with several gay characters and creators, and an out gay star, John Tartaglia, who won a Tony nomination himself. Hugh Jackman playing gay Peter Allen in “The Boy from Oz” was the Best Actor in a Musical. The Best Musical Revival was “Assassins” written by out gay Stephen Sondheim. The play’s out gay director, Joe Mantello, also won a Tony. The Best Play was “I Am My Own Wife,” the story of a German transvestite’s life, written by out gay Doug Wright. Jefferson Mays won the Best Actor Tony for the same play. “A Raisin in the Sun” written by lesbian Lorraine Hansberry, won two acting awards—Phylicia Rashad for Best Actress in a Play and Audra McDonald for Best Featured Actress. And out gay director Jack O’Brien won for “Henry IV.”
Macaulay and Johnny
Child star Macaulay Culkin, now making movies again, was asked by PlanetOut who he’d like to be his lover if he were cast as gay.
“Well, gosh. I am totally straight, but I would still sleep with Johnny Depp,” replied Culkin, who added that “most” of his fan letters are from gay men. “I have no idea why. But, you know, it’s flattering.”
The New York Post’s Page Six wants to know, “Which famous Florida lesbian is bragging she nailed a top Victoria Secret model?” Answers to email@example.com.
Andy Humm can be contacted at AndyHumm@aol.com