News Briefs

Global Justice Fundraiser Features Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist of “The Hours,” which was made into a film starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Ed Harris, will headline a May 24 fundraiser for the non-profit group Global Justice.

Global Justice is the parent organization to the Student Global AIDS Campaign, an umbrella organization founded in 2001 with chapters in 85 college and high school campuses across the U.S., including Columbia, NYU, and Fordham University and the Fieldston High School in the Bronx. Each chapter has its own focus—education, teach-ins, film screenings, lobbying, local advocacy—while the national effort focuses on overarching themes, particularly regarding international prevention and treatment.

Through both public pressure and private lobbying, the group works to encourage pharmaceutical companies and major world institutions, especially the U.S. government, to enable greater access to drug therapies worldwide. In addition to advocating for generic production of otherwise high-priced brand name drugs, the group also presses the U.S. to step up and take on a greater share of global AIDS spending, opposes the Bush administration insistence on favoring prevention efforts that emphasize abstinence only rather than condom education and needle exchange, and presses groups such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to ease the debt burdens faced by developing nations ravaged by HIV.

“If we believe in making global change and ending AIDS we need to resource this group of young activists,” said Eric Sawyer, an ACT UP founder and Global Justice board member.

The fundraiser will be held at the Chocolat Michel Cluizel boutique at ABC Carpet & Home, 888 Broadway at 19th Street, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $75 at

On May 31, Global Justice will participate in a rally and march targeting the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Global AIDS to press demands for greater international efforts on the virus. The gathering will start at 12:30 p.m. at Dag Hammerskjold Plaza, 47th Street between First and Second Avenues.


Massachusetts Vote on Gay Marriage in July

The Massachusetts Legislature will meet jointly in constitutional convention on July 12 to take up an amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in the only state where gay and lesbian couples can marry. The measure, initiated by a citizen petition, needs only 50 out of 200 votes to advance to the next step. If passed by two successive legislative sessions, it could be on the ballot in 2008. The state’s high court has yet to rule on whether the amendment can validly be brought to the ballot.

An earlier effort to hold a 2006 referendum on replacing gay marriage with civil unions collapsed last year.

More than 8,000 same-sex couples have married in the Bay State.


Abe Rosenthal, Who Buried AIDS Coverage, Buried Himself at 86

The death of former New York Times managing editor Abe Rosenthal this week occasioned many remembrances about how tough he was but none about how brutally anti-gay he was. Rosenthal was editor from 1977 through 1986, during the rise of the gay movement and the AIDS epidemic, two huge stories that he ignored because of his bigotry. Gay employees felt terrorized according to many accounts and reporters knew to shy away from these subjects. The failure of The Times under him to cover the burgeoning AIDS epidemic as it began led many in other media outlets to assume it was no big deal. William Safire, an anti-gay conservative columnist at the paper for many years, told his mourners that Rosenthal wanted his epitaph to be: “He kept the paper straight.” Indeed.


Weld Hires Anti-Gay Activist

William Weld, the once moderate Republican governor of Massachusetts and favorite of the Log Cabin Republicans, is running for governor of New York and has hired Reverend Michael Faulkner, one of the city’s leading anti-gay rights activists, to do outreach to African-American and faith groups. Once a supporter of gay marriage in the first state where he was governor, he opposes the same here in New York.


Sir Ian: Bible Should Be Labeled “Fiction”

Fed up with calls by Christians for a warning label on “The Da Vinci Code” in which he stars, Ian McKellen told Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” show, “I’ve often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction. I mean, walking on water. It takes an act of faith. And I have faith in this movie. Not that it’s true, not that it’s factual, but that it’s a jolly good story. And I think audiences are clever enough and bright enough to separate out fact and fiction.”


Musto to Anderson Cooper: Get Over It

Michael Musto, columnist for the Village Voice, wrote this week, “Does anyone think it’s bizarre that Anderson Cooper will talk about his mom, his dead brother, and his hair products but not about you know what? If he’s stayed publicly closeted because he doesn’t want to become the story or detract from his objectivity, blah blah blah, then why write a memoir and pose for “Vanity Fair?”

Gay City News called Cooper’s publisher months ago to ask if his memoir would deal with his being gay and received no reply.