News Briefs

News Briefs

Gay Editor Beaten in Amsterdam

Anti-Gay Measure Vetoed by Navajo Leader

On April 22, the 63-member of the Tribal Council of the Navajo Nation voted unanimously to ban same-sex marriage. On May 2, Joe Shirley, Jr., the president of the nation, vetoed the measure, saying, “Same-sex marriage is a non-issue in Navajoland, so why waste time and resources on it?” He also said it goes against tribal traditions of tolerance.

Massachusetts Democrats to Endorse Same-Sex Marriage

The Democratic Party is expected to support the right of gay people to marry in its platform next week, the Boston Globe reported. State Democratic parties in New York, Iowa, and Colorado have already taken such a stand.

While same-sex marriage has been legal in the Bay State for almost a year now, the state’s legislature has approved a constitutional amendment that would ban it and mandate civil unions for gay couples already married. That amendment must pass another joint session of the Legislature this fall before it can go before the voters in November 2006.

A Globe poll in March found that 71 percent of Democrats and 35 percent of Republicans supported same-sex marriage. Republican Gov. Mitt Romney is adamantly opposed and wants a federal constitutional amendment to ban it nationwide.


No Joint Taxes for D.C. Gays

The chief financial officer of Washington, D.C. has ruled that gay couples legally married elsewhere may not file joint taxes in the city. Natwar Gandhi cited the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex marriages, and noted “the couple cannot file a joint or combined-separate return under the District’s laws either,” the Washington Post reported.

The city’s attorney general, Robert Spagnoletti, had earlier advised a gay couple that they could file a joint return, attracting the ire of right-wing Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) who oversees the district’s affairs in Congress and who vehemently opposes same-sex marriage.

Spagnoletti gave Mayor Anthony Williams his legal opinion on whether the city must recognize same-sex marriages for all purposes a year ago, but Williams refuses to release the opinion. Out-gay Democratic Council Member Jim Graham demanded to know the opinion, telling the Post, “People don’t like the fact that the genie is out of the bottle. But the genie is out of the bottle. This issue will not go away. And people need an answer to the question, ‘Is my marriage valid here?’”  ________________________

New Jerseyans Polled

A new poll puts support for same-sex marriage at 55 percent with 40 percent opposed, virtually the same as the results of a 2003 poll. By a 2-to-1 margin, residents of the Garden State do not want the Legislature to ban same-sex marriage. New Jersey has offered limited domestic partner benefits to gay and lesbian couples since July and has a suit pending that argues for the right to marriage.

The Garden State Equality-Zogby poll also found that 49 percent of voters would consider voting for former Gov. Jim McGreevey, a gay Democrat, for the Congress or Legislature if he chose to run. He resigned last year in the midst of a series of scandals, including hiring his male lover for a state job.

Six percent of those surveyed said they would never vote for McGreevey because he is gay. Another 43 percent said they would never vote for him for other reasons.

Canada’s Catholic Pols Support Gay Marriage

 Catholic Insight magazine said that their analysis shows that 72 percent of Catholics in Canada’s Parliament intend to vote for the government’s bill legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. Court orders have already enabled gay people to marry in 90 percent of Canada. Support among the Catholic MPs is especially high in Quebec, where 93 percent favor the bill.

The Liberal Party-led ruling coalition is in deep trouble due to a financial scandal that dates to the previous prime minister, Jean Chrétien. While the gay marriage bill was on track to be voted on in June, it is unclear whether the government can survive that long. 

Online Help for LGBT Parents

The American Civil Liberties Union just started an “online tool kit” for LGBT parents, providing them with “the information they need to protect their relationships with their children,” the group said in a release. It is available at

Among the topics on the site are second-parent adoptions and foster parenting, “tips on how to avoid mistakes in custody and visitation when going through a heterosexual divorce,” and links to state-specific information.

Holy Family Arrested

 Randi Reitan, her husband Phil, and their gay son Jake were arrested on May 2 on “suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing” at the right-wing Focus on the Family Colorado Springs headquarters where James Dobson rules. They were part of a SoulForce demonstration, trying to deliver a letter to Dobson on how his anti-gay rhetoric hurts families like theirs.

“As parents and Christians, we felt called to work for justice for all in the gay community,” the Reitans said. The three were handcuffed by police and led away into a van as 125 SoulForce members sang “Amazing Grace.”

More than a thousand SoulForce supporters, including young children, demonstrated against Dobson the day before. 


N.Y. Anti-Gay Incumbent Defeated

New Paltz Village Board Trustee Robert Hebel, a 12-year incumbent, got skunked in the elections on Tuesday, following a year in which he brought in lawyers from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Counsel to fight Mayor Jason West’s authorization of same-sex weddings. For the two seats at stake, voters gave incumbent Michael Zierler 374 votes and first-time candidate Terry Dungan 323, the Kingston Daily Freeman reported. Hebel got 97 votes.


Microsoft Gays Want Action

Gay and Lesbian Employees at Microsoft (GLEAM) is demanding that their company get out of neutral and once again support a Washington State bill that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The legislation failed by one vote on April 21 after Microsoft dropped its support at the behest of right-wing minister, Ken Hutcherson.

Bill Gates, the founder and chairman of Microsoft, told the Seattle Times he was reconsidering the company’s position.

GLEAM said in a statement that the reversal “shook our trust in executive management, and has left us feeling abandoned, depressed, and embarrassed for Microsoft.” They also want mandatory training on LGBT issues for executive staff.


Texas Taliban

The Texas House of Representatives voted 65-66 to ban cheerleading that is “overtly sexually suggestive.” Rep. Al Edwards, Democratic sponsor of the bill, told the AP that such performances lead to sexually transmitted infections, pregnancies, and dropping out of school.

The ACLU said that public lewdness is already against the law and that the bill was totally unnecessary.


American Taliban

Brazil is turning back $40 million is AIDS money from the United States because this country requires them to “sign a pledge condemning prostitution,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

“We can’t control [the disease] with principles that are manichean, theological, fundamentalist and Shiite,” Pedro Chequer, director of Brazil’s AIDS program told the paper. Brazilian officials say that their “open way with prostitutes, homosexual men, intravenous-drug users,” and others is essential in their fight against AIDS, which is regarded as a successful model.

Right-wing Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) told the Journal that he hoped the money would be redirected to countries willing to toe the U.S. line. “We’re talking about the promotion of prostitution, which the majority of both the House and the Senate believe is harmful to women.”

Prostitution is not illegal in Brazil.


Cleaning out the “Fifth”

When he was known as Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI said that the pedophilia scandal in the church was due in part to the “filth” that has been allowed to persist in Catholic seminaries. Church officials are about to launch formal “visitations” of American seminaries, coordinated by Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, a former aide to New York’s cardinal, who was active in the archdiocese’s campaign against a city lesbian and gay rights bill, to investigate the culture in seminaries.

The Baltimore Sun reported that among the guidelines being considered is the expulsion of gays, even if they are not sexually active. Sam Sinett, president of Dignity/USA, an LGBT Catholic group, told the paper the review could result in a “witch hunt” against gay men.


Brooklyn Leader: “Love is Love”

Marty Markowitz, the Democratic borough president of Brooklyn, came out for same-sex marriage this past week, after previously supporting civil unions. “If legal marriage is what you want, then legal marriage it should be,” he told Lambda Independent Democrats. “Love is love.”

“We’re thrilled,” club president Gary Parker told the Daily News. “It’s the rights thing to do. Most Americans do not believe in discrimination.”