On To 2003

As Gay City News approaches the first year-end since we began publication, we look back on a period marked by both new challenges and fresh opportunities. The nation is experiencing one of its periodic conservative climates, distinguished this time by widespread anxiety and anger over the special threat posed by terrorism. Federal legislative advances on gay rights look like a long shot right now, and even on AIDS policy, where there traditionally is more of a bipartisan spirit in Congress, the influence of right wing groups on George W. Bush’s presidency is unmistakable. Despite these challenges, however, the gay rights movement shows encouraging signs of resilience, especially on the legal front. Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund has two particularly significant initiatives underway—one, a challenge to the Texas sodomy statute now before the U.S. Supreme Court which could end legal attacks on gay sexuality; and two, a drive in the New Jersey courts to win marriage rights in that state. Recognizing the tentative nature of advances on the marriage issue, Lambda chose a state with a friendly judiciary, and structured its challenge to be immune from federal oversight. Even as groups ranging from the Human Rights Campaign to the Log Cabin Republicans struggle to carve out more friendly turf for us in the federal legislative and executive branches, Lambda’s work with the judicial branch suggests that victories can be had when we pick our venues carefully. In similar fashion, the Empire State Pride Agenda, working with a Republican governor and a State Senate traditionally hostile to our interests, proved that even political dynamics that on the surface seem uninviting can be leveraged to our advantage. Hopefully, the Pride Agenda and other advocates can move forward together next year and beyond to build on the gay rights law to win victories on domestic partnership, gender rights, and marriage equality. As the community faces obstacles and opportunities, we are proud to play a role in telling the important stories that define our times. This past year has been a rewarding one for Gay City News, and we could not been there were it not for the vital contributions by our outstanding team of writers and photographers and the engagement and support of our readers.