News Briefs

Jamaican AIDS Activist Murdered

Steve Harvey, a major gay and HIV/AIDS advocate in the Caribbean nation of Jamaica, was found murdered on November 30. Police believe at least four attackers abducted him from his rural home at 1 a.m. According to Kaiser Network, “he was found several miles away” with gunshot wounds to his back and head. Reports said that one of the perpetrators asked Harvey and two men with him if he were gay. The two friends denied it and were bound and gagged and left in the house. Harvey was abducted and killed.

The New York Times has done two editorials on the case, chiding Jamaica for its “well-earned reputation for homophobia and murderous violence against gay people” and urging the government to “pay attention to the gay rights issue” if it is ever to “defeat its AIDS epidemic.” Harvey was renowned for his “courage and capacity to reach out to and make a profound difference in the lives of Jamaicans with HIV/AIDS,” said Rebecca Schleifer of the HIV/AIDS and Human Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. He had served as his country’s representative to the Latin

American and Caribbean Council of AIDS Service Organizations.

Last year, Brian Williamson, Jamaica’s most profiled gay activist, was also brutally murdered.


Everybody Hates Alito

Lambda Legal Defense came out against President George W. Bush’s nomination of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. Kevin Cathcart, longtime executive director of the group, said that Alito “has a political agenda different from that required of members of the judiciary” and does not have “the necessary commitment to liberty and equality for all Americans.” Lambda waited until hearings for Chief Justice John Roberts had concluded before opposing his nomination. Alito, Cathcart said, “has an extensive track record of court decisions and other materials that lend insight to his philosophy.”

The Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays also joined the campaign to defeat the Alito nomination this week.


Fights Brew in Iowa over Same-Sex Marriage

Lambda Legal Defense is going to court in Iowa to secure the right to marry for same-sex couples. Republican legislators, who control the state House of Representatives, responded by resurrecting their push for a state constitutional amendment banning it. The Senate is evenly divided between the parties and, the Sioux City Journal reported, ”finding support [for the amendment] might be more difficult” in that chamber. The Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal would not tell the newspaper whether or not he would move to block it, but “questioned the wisdom of moving forward with a constitutional amendment simply because a lawsuit has been filed,” adding that legislators could do so down the road if the Lambda plaintiffs prevailed.


Ellner Goes to Work for Bloomberg

Brian Ellner and City Councilwoman Margarita Lopez, both out gay, hid their regard for Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg during their unsuccessful campaigns for the Democratic nomination for Manhattan borough president this year. Ellner repeatedly fed reporters the line that Lopez loved the mayor, though she promised supporters that she would not endorse him for re-election. Both came out for Bloomberg over Democrat Fernando Ferrer after their defeats. Word comes now from Crain’s Insider that Ellner is “taking a job in the Bloomberg administration” after having a job in the last weeks of the mayor’s campaign. Lopez has said there was no “quid pro quo” for her endorsement.


Bloomberg Agrees: No Lopez Quid Pro Quo

In an exclusive interview with Gay City News and its sister publications this week, Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg seconded City Councilwoman Margarita Lopez’s statement last week that there had been no deal between them at the time the Democrat endorsed his re-election. “I had never had a conversation ever with her, or as a matter of fact with anybody. There has never been a person who had the nerve to bring up the question of a quid pro quo with me or with any of my people as far as I know. I can just tell you that god as my witness with me nor would I ever have that conversation.” The mayor added, however, “I think Margarita is very smart. I’d love to find something in the administration for her. But I have not talked to her at all about it.” The mayor seemed unfazed by Lopez’s continuing problems in resolving outstanding questions from her 2001 City Council re-election campaign over the disbursement of public matching funds. “She’s got to work it out with the Campaign Finance Board,” Bloomberg said simply.


Coulter Uncouth

Right-wing loudmouth Anne Coulter was speaking a the University of Connecticut last week when she was asked what she would do if she had a kid who turned out to be gay. “I’d say, ‘Did I ever tell you you’re adopted,’” she said according to the Hartford Courant.


No “I Dos” in Latvia

The Latvian Parliament erupted in spontaneous cheers after passing a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage in its second reading, the Baltic Times reported, and cries of “shame” were heard in the hall when the votes of the only three members to vote against the amendment were announced.