News Briefs

News Briefs

LGBT Rally for Ferrer Thursday

LGBT supporters of Democrat Fernando Ferrer for mayor are gathering with him at City Hall at noon Thursday, October 6. Among those confirmed to appear at press time are most of the out gay and lesbian elected officials in New York, including City Councilwoman Christine Quinn and Senator Tom Duane, both of Chelsea, and Assemblymembers Deborah Glick of the West Village and Daniel O’Donnell of the Upper West Side.

Ferrer is making a strong pitch for LGBT votes and was scheduled speak at the Marriage Equality meeting at the LGBT Community Center on October 5, as Gay City News went to press. He will also likely stop by the annual fall dinner of the Empire State Pride Agenda on Thursday evening, October 6.

Ferrer has vowed to drop Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s appeal of Justice Doris Ling Cohan’s February 2005 order that the city clerk begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

No response from the Bloomberg campaign at press time about what LGBT events it has planned.


Affair May Cost Politician Brooklyn Leadership Post

Ever since the conviction of Brooklyn Democratic Leader Clarence Norman on corruption charges last week, Assemblyman Vito Lopez has been angling for his job. But the New York Post reported that his opponents among district leaders in the borough are looking to file a complain against Lopez with the King’s County district attorney’s office because he votes from a Brooklyn district where he does not live while “shacking up with his girlfriend in Queens.”


Outrage in Fresno

A man who brutally murdered a transgendered woman he had picked up in Fresno, California last year, was sentenced this week to only four years in prison. Estanislao Martinez never denied stabbing the victim, identified in court as Joel Robles, 20 times with a pair of scissors, but successfully used what he called a “gay panic” defense to avoid a more severe sentence, Fox News reported.

Martinez’s public defender, Roberto Dulce, “said the panic Martinez felt was a sort of temporary insanity brought on by the shock of realizing he had been duped by a transgender man,”(who likely in fact identified as a transgendered woman) during sex, Fox reported. Martinez jumped out a window after the murder and was found lying in the street covered in blood.


Former Clinton Aide Runs for Lieutenant Governor

Flanked by Congressman Charles Rangel and former Mayor David Dinkins, Leecia Eve declared her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor of New York on Monday at City Hall. A native of Buffalo where her father Arthur Eve was a powerful member of the Assembly, she served as counsel to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for four years

Asked if she supported the right of gay couples to marry, she said she supported Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s opinion that such marriages not allowed now, though legal out-of-state same-sex marriages should be recognized here.

“I believe the law [in New York] should be changed,” she said.



Canadian Pro-Gay Leader Can Still Take Communion

Prime Minister Paul Martin of Canada provoked the wrath of leaders of his Catholic faith when he pushed through a nationwide bill opening marriage to same-sex couples earlier this year. This week, Rev. John Walsh, a Catholic pastor in Martin’s “riding” or parliamentary district said, “We can’t use the Eucharist as a time… to judge a person’s conscience by refusing them Communion,” Canadian Press reported.

Catholic bishops met in Rome this past weekend to take up issues such as the denial of communion to politicians who support abortion rights or gay marriage. The working document the bishops discussed states that giving communion to elected officials “publicly supporting immoral choices in life” leads “to a crisis of meaning of belonging to the Church and in a clouding of the distinction between venal and mortal sin.”

Martin Rover of the pastoral studies program at St. Paul University in Ottawa told CTV, “The fight in the church is really between the right and the center. The left have all gone and if it keeps fighting to the right—more conservative and more fundamental—soon the center will have to leave too.”


Catholic Seminary Directors Fight Gay Purge

Responding to an impending Vatican order to rid their seminaries of gay and bisexual men, some U.S. seminary directors are headed to Rome to forestall the purge, The New York Times reported after obtaining a letter on the subject meant to remain private so as not to “inflame” the situation, as Rev. Paul Lininger, director of the Conference of the Major Superiors of Men, put it.

Rev. Gerald Chojnacki, Jesuit provincial in New York, reportedly wrote his men, “We know that God does not discriminate. We know that gay men who have responded to the call have served the church well as priests and religious—and so why would we be asked to discriminate based on orientation alone against those whom God has called and invited?”

Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, who is leading a “visitation” to all U.S. seminaries to see if they are orthodox, has said that it is uncharitable to put homosexually oriented men into an all-male environment that constitutes “a near occasion of sin.”

Melinda Henneberger, a commentator for MSNBC, wrote this week, “If all the gay men who uphold the church that upholds the teaching [that homosexuality is ‘disordered”] were to suddenly stop doing so, that would be quite a switch.”

She concluded, “Why would priests, gay or straight, who don’t believe church teaching want to perpetuate a way of life that some so obviously feel is wrong? Isn’t the greatest problem within the church really hypocrisy?”


Backlash in Michigan

In response to a Michigan judge’s ruling that universities and government can provide domestic partner benefits despite a 2004 state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and its incidents, the State Senate there is taking up two bills to stop state and local government from extending the benefits.

Michigan Republican Attorney General Mike Cox has appealed Judge Joyce Draganchuk’s September 27 ruling in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. She wrote, “Health care benefits are not among the statutory rights or benefits of marriage,” and called them “benefits of employment” instead.


Indiana Might Ban Gays, Singles from Alternative Insemination

A legislative committee in the Indiana state Legislature is taking up a measure to prohibit “gays, lesbians and single Hoosiers… from using medical science to have a child,” the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported. “The bill requires ‘intended parents’ to be married to each other and specifically says an unmarried person may not be an intended parent,” the story said. The legislation, which is likely unconstitutional, also requires a “lifestyle” assessment of the parents including church attendance.

“If we’re going to put Indiana on the map, I wouldn’t go this route,” Betty Conklin of Planned Parenthood told the newspaper. “It feels pretty chilling.”


Gore Vidal is 80

One of America’s greatest novelists, essayists and social commentators has reached his ninth decade. Gore Vidal turned 80 on October 3.

Vidal’s 1948 gay-themed “The City and the Pillar” caused a sensation and got him banned from being reviewed in The New York Times for six years.

While Vidal eschewed the label “gay” in favor of the more arcane “homosexualist,” he contributed to gay publications such as Christopher Street magazine and spoke up against Anita Bryant when she led her crusade against gay rights in 1977. He recently supported the thesis that Abraham Lincoln was homosexual.