News Briefs

Dwan Prince, Gay Bashing Survivor, Goes Home

Dwan Prince, 26, who was brutally beaten by anti-gay attackers on June 9 outside the building in central Brooklyn where he lived and worked, was released from the hospital this week and returned home. He is partially paralyzed and does not remember or understand the attack, WNBC reported. He will be undergoing rehabilitation for at least a year.

“Why did you want to kill me? Why did you go through with what a friend wanted and you didn’t know me, you didn’t know I was gay besides being told I was gay,” he told the television station. “I did nothing wrong to nobody.”

Under arrest in the case is Steve Pomie, a reputed gang member. Police are seeking two other men involved in the assault.


Pride Agenda Makes November 8 Picks

The Empire State Pride Agenda has made its endorsements for the November 8 election. In addition to supporting Democrat Fernando Ferrer for mayor, the group has endorsed the re-elections of Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and Comptroller William Thompson, both Democrats. In borough president contests, ESPA likes Brooklyn’s Marty Markowitz and Manhattan’s Scott Stringer.

In contests for open City Council seats, the group went for Rosie Mendez (Lower East Side, Grammercy, and Murray Hill), Patrick Murphy (Midtown East, Murray Hill, Stuyvesant Town, and Upper East Side), Jessica Lapin for Speaker Gifford Miller’s Upper East Side seat, Inez Dickens (Harlem/Manhattan Valley), and Darlene Mealy (Ocean Hill and Brownsville in Brooklyn).

The group also gave its nod to incumbents Christine Quinn (Chelsea, Clinton, Midtown, West Village, and SoHo), Gale Brewer (Upper West Side), Oliver Koppell (Riverdale in the Bronx), Tony Avella (Bayside, Colllege Point, and Whitestone in Queens), Helen Sears (Corona, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights in Queens), Eric Gioia (Long Island City, Sunnyside, and Woodside in Queens), David Yassky (Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, and Park Slope) , and Bill de Blasio (Carroll Gardens, Kensington, Park Slope, and Windsor Terrace), all Democrats.

Murphy, in the Upper East Side race, a board member of the Log Cabin Club, is the lone Republican the group endorsed in city races.


Three-Time MVP in Women’s NBA Comes Out

Sheryl Swoopes of the Houston Comets basketball team, just named the Most Valuable Player in the league for the third time last month, told ESPN magazine she is a lesbian and “tired of having to hide my feelings about the person I care about.”

Jim Buzinski of OutSports .com wrote that this makes her “the highest profile team sport athlete to come out while playing” and “still at the top of her game.” She is also a three-time Olympic gold medalist in basketball.

Swoopes, 34, had been married and has an eight-year old son, but said that her divorce in 1999 was not due to her being lesbian.

“It’s not something that I want to throw in people’s faces,” she said. “I’m just at a point in life where I’m tired of having to pretend to be somebody I’m not.

Swoopes just signed a promotional contract with Olivia, the lesbian cruise line.


Maine Voters Back Gay Rights Law

Voters in Maine will decide for the third time on November 8 whether to have a law protecting LGBT citizens from discrimination and this time it looks as if the law will be retained. A Survey USA poll found 56 percent in favor of it. Maine Won’t Discriminate, the statewide LGBT lobby group, is taking nothing for granted, mounting a vote pulling operation and running broadcast ads to defeat the anti-gay referendum that would repeal the law.


Congressional Hearing on Federal Marriage Amendment

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s panel on the Constitution held a hearing on October 21 on a bill to amend the federal Constitution to ban same-sex marriage and benefits. With the amendment going nowhere, six of the nine members of the subcommittee did not attend, but its chair, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, looking to run for president in 2008, said, “The time to act is now.”

Louis Seidman, professor of law at Georgetown University, testified that the amendment was “sloppily” written and “reflects poor lawyering.”


New Jersey Marriage Case Brief Filed

Lambda Legal Defense submitted its brief to the New Jersey Supreme Court in its bid to open marriage to same-sex couples there last week. David Buckel, director of the group’s Marriage Project, noted the recent death of one of his plaintiffs, Marilyn Maneely. “With these life-changing events come difficult and painful challenges our clients shouldn’t have to face but do because they are not allowed to marry,” he said. Republican Doug Forrester and Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Corzine, who are competing in the November 8 election for governor, do not support same-sex marriage, but both oppose a state constitutional amendment barring it.


Texas May Ban All Marriages

Opponents of a referendum outlawing same-sex marriage in Texas say that the plain language of Proposition 2 bans marriages between a man and a woman as well.

The text reads: “The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage.” The latter part of the proposition seems to ban marriage for all.

“This sentence will certainly generate litigation,” Andrew Koppelman, a law professor at Northwestern University told the Dallas Morning News. “It is a drafting catastrophe. It is not even grammatical. And it’s meaning and coverage are extraordinarily obscure.”

Gay opponents of the referendum are also worried that the amendment will be used to wipe out domestic partner benefits offered by local governments and, possibly, private companies, though that is seen as less likely.

The vote has begun in Texas and will be finalized on November 8. The Ku Klux Klan plans a “pro-family” rally on November 5 in Austin to support the amendment.


Two Arrested in Murder of Gay Man in London

Jody Dobrowski, 24, was brutally killed in an anti-gay attack that left him unrecognizable on Clapham Common in London on October 13. This week, police arrested Thomas Pickford, 25, described as unemployed and homeless, and Scott Wade, 33, a decorator, for the murder. Authorities are still seeking more witnesses and suspects.


Polish Election Threatens Membership in European Union

The election of Lech Kaczynski of the right-wing Law and Justice Party as the new president of Poland could jeopardize the nation’s voting rights in the European Union, the Guardian reported, mainly because of his fierce opposition to gay rights and support for the death penalty. The EU requires member nation’s to “protect minorities and block the death penalty,” the newspaper said. As mayor of Warsaw, Kaczynski banned the LGBT pride parade and issued a permit for a “normality” parade, increasing violence against gay people, the International Lesbian and Gay Association reported.


Benefits for Gay Partners in the Military…

…in Australia, but that’s almost as surprising as if it happened here. The Australian Defense Force announced it will provide same-sex couples with the same benefits it gives those in spousal relationships. The move was made to help retain personnel. Conservative Prime Minister Michael Howard is not extending the same rights to veterans, not to mention the general civilian population. His government banned same-sex marriage several years ago.


Study: Bush Global AIDS Funds Tilted to Abstinence

President George W. Bush plays the AIDS card when he wants to demonstrate his commitment to compassionate conservatism, but a new study found that the bulk of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in 15 African and Caribbean countries goes to programs focused on abstinence until marriage. “The politics and ideology of the Bush administration are taking precedence over public health,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, which conducted the study. He called the programs “unproven and potentially harmful.”

Of more than $91 million made available to date for prevention, more than $50 million or 56 percent went to abstinence and “faithfulness” programs. Federal law requires that at least a third of the money go to such programs.


Maria Shriver Seeks Advice from Dr. Laura

California’s lapsed Democratic first lady, Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger, has announced that she will feature anti-gay extremist Dr. Laura Schlessinger at the 19th Annual Conference on Women and Families scheduled for Thursday, October 27, 2005 in Long Beach. The annual conference honors women and families for their leadership and activism.

“It is unconscionable that the first lady of the State of California is giving a platform to a woman who has made a career for herself condemning families headed by LGBT individuals, opposing hate-crime legislation, and promoting hate,” said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “ It is also disheartening that there is no representation of same-sex families at this conference. It is truly sad to watch as she allows her husband’s right-wing advisers to diminish her stature and degrade what was an important non-partisan, non-political event.”

Shriver’s husband, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, less than one month ago vetoed California’s historic same-sex marriage law, passed by the Legislature in early September.


Gay Mayor of Plattsburgh Stands Down

Dan Stewart, the out gay Republican mayor of upstate Plattsburgh said he will not run for a fourth term in 2007. There is a vote to repeal term limits on November 8, but Stewart told that “he didn’t want his constituents’ support to affect their decisions.” He credited a close relationship with Governor George Pataki for his success in office.


Gay Deprogramming Center Closed in Tennessee

“Love in Action,” a fundamentalist Christian facility devoted to preventing “promiscuity, pornography and homosexuality” has been shut down by a federal judge. Tennessee had ruled that the facility was illegally operating without a license and the group went to federal court seeking a dispensation. At the Refuge program the group ran in Memphis where gays and lesbians were “rehabilitated,” the rules included: “Clients may not wear Abercrombie & Fitch or Calvin Klein brand clothing, undergarments, or accessories.” The facility also banned “‘campy’ or gay/lesbian behavior or talk” and residents were forbidden to listen to “music that is not expressly Christian” including Beethoven and Bach, Harpers magazine reported.


Boy Cheerleader: “I’m Not Gay”

Cole Graves, 17, made the cheerleading squad at Platte Valley High School in Kersey, Colorado, but has quit because of anti-gay taunting, including the posting of his picture on the school’s Web site with the caption, “I’M GAY,” the Denver Post reported.

“Everybody called me a fag, but I’m not gay,” he told the newspaper, “I’m just a regular guy.” School administrators told his parents they will apologize to him and suspend the students who posted his picture.


One-Fifth of Russians Want Gays Dead

Perhaps it’s a good thing that this question is not included in the Gallup Poll, but a Levada poll found that 20 percent of Russians believe that gay people should be executed. Despite that frightening statistic, 51 percent said that they were in favor of equality for gay people. In 2006, plans the first Moscow Pride and Festival for May 27, but cannot apply for a permit until 15 days before the event. The mayor vowed this summer to ban the event, but organizers say they will go to court if he does.


SAGE Honors Edward Albee

The annual dinner for Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) will honor out gay playwright Edward Albee on November 13 at the Ritz-Carlton at Battery Park. Among those offering tributes to Albee will be his ex-lover Terrence McNally, a legendary playwright himself, Marian Seldes, and Elaine Stritch. Tickets are $350. Call Malcolm Smith at 212-741-0375 for more information.


Memorial for Al Carmines

The Rev. Al Carmines, the out gay composer and minister, will be remembered at a service in words and music at Union Theological Seminary at 121st St. and Broadway on Sunday, November 6 at 5 p.m. Carmines died at age 69 on August 9.


Mary Cheney Hired by AOL

America Online is laying off lots of staff these days but has made room for the vice president’s lesbian daughter. Mary Cheney has been hired to head the company’s Audience Business marketing division.


Gay King and Lesbian Queen at HS Homecoming

Students at Grove High School in Chicago elected Jen Wohlner, an out lesbian jock, and Ryan Cooperman, an out gay cheerleader, as homecoming queen and king respectively. “It’s really kind of uncool to be anti-gay,” school psychologist Jennifer Zacharski told NBC-4.


Fiennes to Play Doris Duke’s Gay Butler

Ralph Fiennes is set to portray Bernard Lafferty, the Irish gay butler to billionaire tobacco heiress Doris Duke, who will be played by Susan Sarandon, in the film “Doris and Bernard,” directed by Bob Balaban. Some are calling it the “Reversal of Fortune” of 2006. Duke left the bulk of her $1.2 billion estate to Lafferty who died three years later at 51.

Playwright Robert Patrick Celebrated Oct. 29

A one-hour video on the life and work of out gay playwright Robert Patrick will be shown on Saturday, October 29 at 3 p.m. at La MaMa, 74-A E. 4th Street. Admission is free and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Patrick’s first play at La MaMa, “Mirage” from 1965, will be performed.