Thursday, April 30, 2009

West Bend council will be asked to reconsider library decision

After our show last night, we received a call from a West Bend Common Council member who is planning to make a motion at the next council meeting (Monday, May 4) to rescind last week's decision to reject the reappointment of four library board members.

Rescinding the decision would give the council another opportunity to discuss and vote on the reappointment of Tom Fitz, Mary Reilly-Kliss, James Pouros, and Nick Dobberstein to the West Bend Community Library Board.

Rumor has it that more members of the public than usual plan to attend Monday's meeting. It will be interesting to see how this affects the council's discussion.

By the way, Publisher's Weekly has picked up on the story, and the National Coalition Against Censorship, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, PEN American Center, and Association of American Publishers have expressed their concern over the situation to the West Bend Common Council.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tonight's Show: West Bend, Intellectual Freedom, and LGBT Rights

We hope you were able to join us for our show tonight. If not, please visit our archives.

For an extended excerpt from Kenyon Farrow's talk about the biological argument for LGBT rights, scroll down to the previous entry or click here: video

To keep up-to-date on West Bend Parents for Free Speech, you can visit its blog here.

One of our guests, Deborah A. Caldwell-Stone (acting director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom), sent a letter today to the West Bend Common Council about "the Council's vote to deny reappointment to the library board members resulting from their decision to adhere to library policies concerning challenges to books and materials in the library's collection" (quoted from a statement released by the ALA). Here's a copy:

April 29, 2009

To the Members of the West Bend Common Council:

I am writing to express our concerns about the West Bend Common Council’s recent decision to deny reappointment to four West Bend Community Memorial Library Board members. We understand that the Council voted on April 21, 2009 to remove these Library Board members, based on objections to their "ideology" and the four Library Board members' apparent decision to adhere to library policies concerning challenges to books and materials in the library's collection.

We encourage the Council to reconsider its decision to deny reappointment to the four Library Board members, who, we understand, are well-qualified volunteers with a long history of commendable public service.

Because the public library must serve all members of the community—not only the most powerful, the most vocal, or even the majority—Library Board members have an obligation to distinguish between their personal beliefs and the need to support the public library's mission. The library is a community resource that provides access to a full range of information and ideas for the community as a whole. The Library Board's decision to abide by and uphold the library's policies concerning challenges to library materials reflects their fulfillment of this obligation.

Such policies establish a framework for registering a complaint, provide for a hearing, and protect the principles of freedom of information, individuals’ First Amendment right to access library materials, and the professional responsibility and integrity of the library staff. Reliance on such policies prevents anyone from subjectively blocking all library users from access to materials simply because he or she does not like their content or has a particular moral or religious objection to materials that others in the community may value or need.

Similarly, as an elected body with the responsibility to serve all members of the community, the Common Council has an obligation to distinguish between personal beliefs and the preservation of the public library's duty to represent the diversity of people, opinions, and ideas found in West Bend, Wisconsin. First Amendment values are not open to popular vote, and library collections should not be governed by those with the loudest voices or even a simple majority. We respectfully urge you to reconsider the Council's decision, and vote to reappoint Tom Fitz, Mary Reilly-Kliss, James Pouros, and Nick Dobberstein to the West Bend Community Library Board.

We are also deeply concerned about the ongoing campaign that seeks to restrict access to books in the West Bend Community Library's young adult collection. We understand that a citizens’ group has claimed that many works in the young adult collection are "pornographic" and has expressed objections to certain materials in the library’s collection of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender fiction and nonfiction for young adult readers.

Though individuals and groups are entitled to their opinion about these books, none of the works identified by this organization are "pornographic" or legally obscene for youth or adults. Instead, they are works of literature and nonfiction that are well-reviewed and recommended for older youth and adolescent readers. While some of the topics they address may be sensitive or difficult for some families, other families find these books to be valuable resources. Any effort or policy that aims to restrict access to these books by removing them to the adult collection, labeling them as "harmful" books, or otherwise preventing youth from reading them because of a particular person's partisan or doctrinal disapproval is a form of censorship that may rise to a First Amendment violation.

The works in question, like many books, may not be right for every user of the West Bend Community Memorial Library. But the library has a responsibility to represent a broad range of views in its collection and to meet the information needs of everyone in the community it serves. Though a parent may feel that a particular book is inappropriate for their child, that title may be a treasured favorite or a needed resource for another family. We firmly support the right of library users to voice their concerns and select different materials for themselves and their children, but those objecting to particular books should not be given the power to restrict other users’ rights of access to the material.

We appreciate the outpouring of community involvement and engagement with the library that is represented by the efforts of several citizens and citizens’ groups to express their opinions on either side of this issue. We are concerned, however, that fear and misinformation are driving efforts to restrict access to the materials in question. Public libraries are not preschools, but community institutions that serve persons of all ages and of all political and religious persuasions. Library collections should reflect this diversity, rather than limiting everyone's reading to materials suitable for a five year old.

We applaud the librarians and the library board of the West Bend Community Memorial Library, who serve their community by selecting and making available a broad range of materials to meet user wants and needs, without shying away from potentially controversial subjects. In doing so, these committed professionals protect and defend intellectual freedom and the right of each user to choose the best material for themselves and their family.

The library is a symbol of our most cherished freedom as Americans—the freedom to speak our minds and to hear what others have to say. We urge you to reaffirm the importance and value of the freedom to read, by supporting the librarians and library board of the West Bend Community Library and standing by the members of your community, who have the right to choose for themselves what they will read, view, or hear.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Deborah A. Caldwell-Stone
Acting Director
Office for Intellectual Freedom


cc:

Mayor Kristine Deiss
West Bend Community Library Board
Michael Tyree, Director, West Bend Community Library
West Bend Daily News

Tonight's news

Marriage Roundup

County recorders across Iowa on Monday fielded nearly 400 marriage applications from gay and lesbian couples. The state waived its usual three-day wait for dozens of couples, who were able to get married on the spot. Marriage opponents, with petitions calling on clerks to delay issuing marriage licenses, picketed some of the county courthouses.

In Maine, an all-day hearing last week on a marriage-equality bill under consideration by the state legislature attracted about 3,000 people, with about 80 percent reportedly there to support the measure.

And in Connecticut, Republican governor M. Jodi Rell signed into law on Thursday a marriage-equality bill that was approved by wide margins in both houses of the Connecticut Legislature. The legislation was drafted to bring the state into compliance with October's landmark state Supreme Court decision that found the state's marriage laws to be unconstitutional.


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Iceland’s left-of-center coalition, led by out lesbian interim Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, has won a stunning victory, marking the first time an openly gay politician has been elected leader of the country.

The Social Democratic Alliance and the Left Green Movement won 34 of the 63 seats in Parliament in weekend voting. It was a crushing defeat for the pro-business Independence Party that many have blamed for the collapse of the country’s banking system.

Iceland was particularly hard hit by the global credit crunch, and Sigurdardottir and her coalition came to power with an interim government following the collapse of the Independence Party in February.

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Gays and lesbians in committed relationships will not be permitted to serve as clergy in the Presbyterian Church (USA), in a decision sealed by votes on Saturday.

While the final vote has yet to be counted, the margin of defeat is already guaranteed to be much closer than in previous years. That’s encouraging for gay clergy supporters and concerning to opponents, with both sides expecting the issue to be revisited in the future.

Last summer, the 2.3 million-member denomination’s General Assembly voted to drop a constitutional requirement that would-be ministers, deacons and elders live in “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between and a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.”

However, for any such change to be enacted, approval by a majority of the nation’s 173 regional church bodies is required. Those votes have been trickling in for months, and on Saturday enough “no” votes had been recorded to clinch the measure’s defeat.

Previous efforts to delete the “fidelity and chastity” provision failed at the presbytery level by votes of 57 to 115 in 1998 and 46 to 127 in 2002.

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Did two famous sex researchers fabricate gay “conversion” claims? In researching a book on the husband-and-wife sex-research team of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, author Thomas Maier could not find any evidence of the couple's controversial claims of successfully converting gays to heterosexuality. Masters and Johnson claimed to have converted 12 gays using therapy and publicized their findings in the book Homosexuality in Perspective.

However, one researcher who worked with the couple believes the conversion cases were either fabricated or, at best, represented composite case studies forged into single ideal narratives. Masters was unwilling to share files on the conversions with colleagues. Many of the researchers' coworkers said they were unaware the couple treated homosexuals and heard virtually nothing about conversion therapy. Virginia Johnson later expressed regret over the book, stating it should have undergone substantial revision.

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Allen Andrade was sentenced last Wednesday to life in prison with no chance of parole for killing Colorado transgender teenager Angie Zapata, after a jury found Andrade guilty of first-degree murder and a hate crime.

Andrade, 32, met Zapata through a social networking Web site, and they planned a meeting days later. Andrade proceeded to beat Zapata brutally with a fire extinguisher, and then again when Zapata awoke from the first beating.

The jury took just two hours to reach a verdict in the case. The judge, who passed the sentence said to Andrade, “I hope as you’re spending the remaining part of your natural life in the Colorado Department of Corrections ... that you every day think about the violence and brutality that you caused on this fellow human being and the pain you have caused not only on your family but the family of Angie Zapata.”

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After a month of careful deliberation, Outsports.com has named our own Madison Gay Hockey Association as the top gay sports group of the year. The group cited the Association's inclusion of straight players and incorporation of co-ed teams as top factors in their decision.

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From Lamdba Legal: The Social Security Administration has reversed a decision to deny benefits to the children of a disabled gay father following a three year battle waged on behalf of the family by Lambda Legal.

In February 2006, Gary Day completed the applications for Child Insurance Benefits for his children. He provided birth certificates and court documents that acknowledge him as a legal parent of the children. The SSA acknowledged that they received the application and promised to provide a response in 45 days.

After more than a year with no response, Lambda Legal sent a letter on Day’s behalf seeking action by the agency. The SSA still did not provide an initial determination of eligibility citing unspecified “legal questions and policy issues” involved with the application.

In May of 2008, Lambda Legal filed suit against the SSA compelling the agency to act on Day’s application and urging the SSA to recognize Day as a legal parent of the children.

The agency Friday finally sent a letter to Lambda recognizing the legal relationship between Day and his children without discrimination based on his sexual orientation or family status.

Kenyon Farrow's Queer Tour

We didn't have enough time tonight to play our entire excerpt from Kenyon Farrow's "Queer Tour" presentation at the UW-Madison campus, so here's a little more. Farrow, a policy institute fellow with the National Gay And Lesbian Task Force, was on the University of Wisconsin campus last week to discuss moving away from using biology as a central argument in the fight for LGBTQ equality.

Farrow argued that the biological argument is based in racism and classism, and hasn’t been successful in the fight for LGBT rights. The “Queer Tour” continues to UC Santa Cruz on May 7th. To follow the work of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, go to www.thetaskforce.org.

video

American Library Association issues statement about West Bend

The following is a statement issued by American Library Association President Jim Rettig regarding efforts to remove Library Board members and to restrict materials in the West Bend (Wisconsin) Community Memorial Library:

“Last week, the West Bend, Wisconsin Common Council voted to deny reappointment to four Library Board members, based on objections to these members’ ‘ideology’ and their adherence to library policy concerning challenges to materials in the library collection. This move appears to be motivated largely in response to an ongoing campaign that seeks to restrict access to books in the West Bend Community Memorial Library’s young adult collection of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender fiction and nonfiction.

“We are dismayed by and deeply concerned about these developments. Libraries connect people and ideas, by providing access to a diverse array of information to meet the needs of everyone in the community. Whatever their personal beliefs, library board members have an obligation to support this unique role of the public library. When individuals or groups attempt to block access to library materials in the name of their own particular beliefs, we must all oppose such efforts and we must preserve the intellectual freedom rights of the entire community.

“Fanning the flames of this controversy, opponents of open access in libraries have launched a campaign spreading fear and misinformation. Newspaper and radio ads call on the community to ‘protect our children,’ and have compared the removal of books from the library to buckling a child’s seat belt. A city Alderman has even gone so far as to compare the West Bend Community Memorial Library to a porn shop.

“The materials in question are not pornography. They include award-winning novels and acclaimed works of nonfiction. To advocate for the removal or restriction of these materials on the basis of partisan or doctrinal disapproval is censorship, pure and simple. Parents who believe a book is not appropriate for their own children are free to make that decision—for their children; they do not have the right nor the authority to make it for anyone else’s children.

"Because it supports intellectual freedom, the American Library Association (ALA) opposes book banning and censorship in any form, and supports librarians and library board members whenever they resist censorship in their libraries. Since our society is very diverse, libraries have a responsibility to provide materials that reflect the interests of all of their patrons.

“We stand in support of the librarians and Library Board members of the West Bend Community Memorial Library and the community members who defend intellectual freedom and open access to ideas. By resisting calls to censor potentially controversial materials, they promote and protect true education and learning, and uphold the cherished freedoms that we, as Americans, hold most dear.”

Opinion pieces from the West Bend paper

Enjoy these opinion pieces by Mark Peterson, UW-Washington County philosophy professor, about the library ruckus in West Bend. They appeared in West Bend's Daily News. Then join us for a great conversation on tonight's show.

West Bend Society for the Suppression of Vice Battles On, April 04, 2009

Library Web page complaints reveal fears, February 21, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tomorrow's show - Banning books and sacking library board members in West Bend

The southeast Wisconsin city of West Bend recently removed four of its library board members because the community library’s young adult section contains books that portray gay teenagers in a positive light, and the board should have responded to a complaint about them immediately by removing them or restricting access to them, some city council members said. One alderman compared the library to a porn shop.

Join Queery this Wednesday, April 29, at 7 PM CDT as we discuss the controversy with community and legal activists, including Maria Hanrahan, the founder of West Bend Parents for Free Speech, and Deborah Caldwell Stone, acting director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. That’s this Wednesday, 7 p.m., on WORT 89.89 FM (Madison, WI) or www.wort-fm.org.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

When Words Can Kill: 'That's So Gay' - ABC News

When Words Can Kill: 'That's So Gay' - ABC News

At vigil for Jaheem, mother weeps over his suicide | ajc.com

At vigil for Jaheem, mother weeps over his suicide | ajc.com

“Tango” tops challenged books list for third consecutive year

From the American Libray Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (ALA's OIF):

The Office for Intellectual Freedom has released our list of the Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2008. The list is available below and on the OIF website and you can find more information in the ALA press release about the 2008 list.

The children’s book, “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, remains at the top of the list for the third year in a row. “Tango” still faces frequent challenges for reasons that include religious viewpoint, homosexuality, and age appropriateness.

OIF received a total of 513 challenges in 2008, up from 420 total challenges in 2007. For every challenge reported to OIF, however, we estimate that there are 4 or 5 challenges that go unreported.

“Tango” tops challenged books list for third consecutive year

The ALA’s Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2008 reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:

And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, violence

TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, violence

Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, violence

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group

Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
Reasons: homosexuality, unsuited to age group

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

Queers United: Former NJ Governor Tells Republicans to Stop Fighting Gay Marriage

Queers United: Former NJ Governor Tells Republicans to Stop Fighting Gay Marriage

Queers United: Contact Maine Senate Judiciary Committee to Pass Marriage Bill LD 1020

Queers United: Contact Maine Senate Judiciary Committee to Pass Marriage Bill LD 1020

Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami blocks visits from same-sex partners

We received this alert from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond, together 18 years, were about to depart from Miami on a family cruise with their three children, when Lisa suddenly collapsed. From the moment Janice and the children arrived at Jackson Memorial Hospital, they encountered prejudice and apathy. The hospital refused to accept information from Janice regarding Lisa's medical history, informing her that she was in an antigay city and state and that she could expect to receive no information or acknowledgment as family. A doctor finally spoke with Janice, telling her that there was no chance of recovery. Despite the doctor's acknowledgment that no medical reason existed to prevent visitation -- and despite the fact that Janice held a durable healthcare power of attorney for Lisa -- no hospital employee would allow Janice or the couple’s children to see Lisa until nearly eight hours after their arrival.

Lambda Legal has filed a lawsuit against Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, on behalf of Janice Langbehn and her three children. In its response to the lawsuit, the hospital does not dispute Janice’s account of what happened that night. Instead, it claims it did nothing wrong.

The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) is appalled by the hospital’s positions and, with the support of other gay rights groups, we are establishing the Committee for Fair Visitation at Jackson Memorial Hospital to ensure that what happened to Lisa and her family doesn’t continue to happen to other patients at Jackson Memorial. ... More information about the Committee for Fair Visitation at Jackson Memorial Hospital is available at www.glma.org/ jacksonmemorial.

West Bend Common Council removes library board members

The West Bend common council has decided not to reappoint four West Bend library board members because of a controversy involving gay-positive books in the young adult section of the library. After a community member filed several conflicting complaints, the board decided not to remove the books or delist them from a resource list on its Web site unless the complainants resubmitted a single, consistent complaint. Instead, Ginny and Jim Maziarka gathered 443 signatures on a petition to remove books that feature "explicit straight acts or explicit gay acts." The petition stated, among other things, that "sexually explicit content should not be on the teen shelf in the West Bend Library. ... Books that meet the federal definition of ‘harmful to minors’ should not be promoted to minors." The petition also called for the library to highlight books by "ex-gay" authors or faith-based books promoting heterosexuality in its collection for young adults.

Representatives of the library have repeatedly stated that the books in the young adult section have been reviewed by respected national library and educational organizations such as the School Library Journal, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist of the American Library Association and Kirkus Reviews, and these bodies have rated them as appropriate for young adults.

For more background on this story, listen to our March 11, 2009 Queery episode and visit the following links. Note: Some of the articles characterize the books in question as sexually explicit, but this is a point of contention. The Maziarkas claim that the books are pornographic and sexually explicit, while the board has maintained that the books are neither pornographic nor do they give blow-by-blows* of sex acts, although a few are frank in their discussion of sexual issues.

*Pun intended.

April 22 show: Poverty among lesbians, gays and bisexuals

We spoke to Lee Badgett of the Williams Institute at UCLA about a recent study that showed that lesbian, gay and bisexual people are significantly more likely to live in poverty than their heterosexual peers. We weren't able to go into all the details, so you can get more info by reading the complete report here.

We're trying a new format that allows listeners to call in with questions during our longer live interviews. One of the questions we got last night was about poverty in the transgender community. Because the study we were discussing was based on the U.S. Census and the National Survey of Family Growth, the authors were unable to look into that question. The U.S. Census asks about the gender of cohabitating partners and the National Survey of Family Growth asks about sexual orientation, but neither gives participants the option of identifying themselves as transgender. She also noted that the U.S. Census does not ask about sexual orientation, so conclusions about single gays, lesbians and bisexuals could only be drawn from the National Survey of Family Growth. Badgett said this is a huge problem in research and that the agencies that carry out these large surveys need to be pushed to ask such questions.

You can read additional Williams Institute reports on sexual orientation and public policy here.

April 22 announcements

Queery announcements April 22, 2009


This weekend, the Madison Area Transgender Association and Outreach host the transgender awareness workshop. This three-day awareness workshop will be at the outreach LGBT community center. Friday’s events include a social at 6:00 pm followed by a presentation on HIV/AIDS and the transgender community. Saturday’s events start at 11:30 am and feature multiple topics including terms and definitions, gender attribution, myths and facts, stereotypes and reality, as well as gendered language. Sunday’s program also starts at 11:30 am and covers the American view of gender variance, transgender history, transphobia, and how to be an ally. All are welcome to attend. Call (608) 255-8582; ask for Josh or Michelle. Outreach is located at 600 Williamson Street, inside the Gateway Mall.

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Indie Queer is taking the Madison party scene to a whole new level with back to back April/May IQ parties featuring internationally renowned electronic artists - the bag raiders and peaches. The bag raiders come to Madison from Sydney Australia, where they rose to fame with their hit song "turbo love." they will headline the IQ Discotech this Friday, April 24th.

Next month at IQ, world renowned queer Electronicista peaches brings her high-energy, sexually charged live show to IQ just two weeks after the release of her new album "I Feel Cream." Advanced tickets are available at www.majesticmadison.com and all participating Majestic Theatre ticket outlets. For more information, contact liztymus@gmail.com or visit www.indiequeer.com

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This weekend, Queercamp, an unconference focused on LGBT issues: health, politics, social issues, the arts, and technology – takes place at Bucketworks at 1340 n 6th St., Milwaukee. The event is free and open to the public. For more information go to queercamp.org.


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On Sunday, A Room of One’s Own Feminist Bookstore celebrates its 34th anniversary. They’ll be celebrating with a dedication of the new "Madison feminists" photo gallery and will be inducting the first five feminists! You can enjoy cake and refreshments and 10% off everything in the store! A Room of One’s Own is located at 307 w. Johnson.

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Also on Saturday, the Madison Minotaurs host the Great Midwestern Three-Way Rugby Tournament with the Minneapolis Mayhem and the Chicago Dragons. The tournament features three games between the three international gay rugby association teams in the Midwest. Game play starts at 2:30 at the Crossroads Pitch. Check minotaursrugby.org for directions.

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Perfect Harmony Men’s Chorus presents the finale to their 12th season. “Equal, Not Special” is a concert retrospective of the civil rights movements of the United States that takes a musical journey through: the 19th century end of slavery, the 20th century struggle for full rights for women, the civil rights movement in the 1960’s and the LGBT movement of the last 40 years since the stonewall riots. The concert will be presented three times:
  • Sunday, May 17th at 3:00 p.m. At Rock Prairie Presbyterian Church.
  • Sunday, May 24, Memorial Day evening, at 7:00 p.m. At Capital Lakes Retirement Center.
  • And, Saturday, May 30 at 7:00 p.m. In Mills Concert Hall in the Humanities Building on the UW campus.


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You can find these and many other announcements with links to the events on our blog (queery-wort.blogspot.com) or on our Facebook page (Queery at WORT-FM). We’re reaching for 300 fans on our Queery Facebook page, so become a fan tonight and tell your friends about us.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 22 news roundup

Marriage round up

New York Gov. David A. Paterson introduced a bill Thursday to legalize same-sex marriage, and vowed to personally involve himself in the legislative debate at a level that is rare for a chief executive in New York.

In 2007, the New York State Assembly passed a same-sex marriage bill by a strong margin which is expected to widen further when the measure is reconsidered this spring. But the path in the Senate is less clear: 32 votes are needed, and Democrats say about 25 of their 32 members now support it. The outcome will most likely hinge on whether Mr. Paterson and other advocates can persuade Republican senators to back the bill.

In 2002, 13 Republicans joined 21 Democrats to pass a law that specifically banned discrimination based on sexual orientation.
And in Maine almost 4,000 supporters and opponents turned out today at the Augusta Civic Center for a hearing on a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry in that state.

And in New Hampshire last week, members of the Senate Judiciary committee heard testimony from supporters and opponents on a bill legalizing same-sex marriage that narrowly passed the House last month.

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch has said he opposes same-sex marriage but has not said whether he would veto a bill. If the bill were made law, New Hampshire would join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa as the states that recognize same-sex marriage.

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Gates cautious on changing 'don't ask, don't tell'


Changing the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gay troops is "very difficult," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday, indicating that doing so could take years — if it ever happens.

Gates said he had not yet taken a position about whether gay troops should be able to be open about their sexuality, which could lead to their discharge under current military rules.

He also noted it took five years for the U.S. military to racially integrate during the Truman administration.

President Obama committed during the 2008 presidential campaign to move toward ending the Clinton administration-era policy that was enacted as a compromise between openly gay people serving in the armed forces and those opposed to gays in uniform.

Jon Soltz, an Iraq War veteran and chairman of VoteVets.org, disputed claims that the change couldn’t happen quickly, saying: "It's not like integration, where we had to move African American troops into units. This would simply allow people to continue to serve where they're currently serving."

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Rainbow flags illegal?

A Casa Grande, Ariz., police officer is under investigation after allegedly threatening to arrest a group of gay demonstrators last week for carrying a rainbow flag within city limits.

The small group of demonstrators was protesting US tax law, which does not allow same-sex couples to file joint return.

The police officer was apparently called by a driver complaining that the 8 foot by 5 foot flag had obstructed his view of traffic.

Protest organizer Christopher Hall said he checked with city officials before holding the demonstration. The protesters were abiding by a requirement they be at least seven feet from the sidewalk.

Hall said the officer asked for their identification and the protesters complied. They were then told they could not fly the flag “anywhere” in the city limits or they would risk arrest.

Hall said the group has filed a complaint with police, and that he has a meeting with the city’s Police Chief.

A statement issued by the Police chief said the department will continue to work with this and any other citizen group to respect their right to assemble and demonstrate in a safe manner and apologized for any inconvenience or misunderstanding.

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Alaska attorney general nominee rejected

The Alaska Legislature on Thursday rejected Gov. Sarah Palin’s nominee for state attorney general, the latest of several clashes between lawmakers and the governor since she became a national figure as the GOP’s vice presidential nominee last year.
Nine Republicans and 26 Democrats rejected Anchorage attorney Wayne Anthony Ross in a 35-23 vote by a joint session of the House and Senate. Ross had been criticized for, among other things, refusing to disavow his past characterization of gays as “immoral” and “degenerate.”

In a statement, Palin said: “I believed I knew what Alaskans wanted when I selected an individual who is a strong backer of Second Amendment rights, a staunch supporter of the state Constitution and a defender of life.”

Ross, a former two-time candidate for governor, served as an honorary co-chair of Palin’s successful 2006 gubernatorial bid.

Ross refused to say at his confirmation hearings whether his earlier opinions about gays and lesbians have changed, telling the Senate Judiciary Committee: “My job is to represent all Alaskans. My personal opinions have no place.”

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Ideology, religion trump other factors when it comes to supporting gay marriage

According to a new study led by Dietram Scheufele, a professor of life sciences communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the two main factors shaping a person’s attitudes about gay marriage are ideology and religiosity, a duo that overpowers the influences of other important factors such as knowledge, tolerance and media consumption.

Scheufele explained: "In other words, religion matters beyond just influencing attitudes. It actually crowds out the influences of other democratic values when people are forming attitudes about gay marriage."

These findings, published in the current issue of International Journal of Press/Politics, come from a national survey conducted one year before the 2004 presidential election, a time when moral issues were being widely discussed.

Invite a friend to join Queery

Hey folks,
We've been hovering at 101 Facebook fans for several months now, and I'm wondering if you can do us a big favor. Introduce Queery to your queer friends and allies. It easy. Simply go to our fan page and click on the "Share" link. You can then post it to your profile, or even better.....send a message to your Facebook fans and personally invite them to become a fan. Let's see if Queery can achieve 300 fans by Memorial Day!

Your friends at Queery on WORT-FM

Tonight on Queery!

Tonight we’re joined by Lee Badgett, author of a new report that tracks poverty within the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual community.

If you believe the stereotype of the wealthy gay elite, you’ll be surprised at the findings which show that same sex couples are significantly more likely to live in poverty.

We'll also have the marriage roundup and all the queer news as well as a listing of all the exciting queer event happening in and around Madison, so tune in at 7:00pm CST to 89.9FM in Madison or listen online at www.wort-fm.org.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

UW-Stevens Point SGA will not get an LGBTQ director

The Student Government Association of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point will not have a director of LGBTQ issues added to its staff. In a recent vote of the student senate, only 10 of 16 representatives voted in favor of the position, which needed three-quarters of the vote to pass.

In response, one senator resigned and the SGA president has started a liquids-only hunger strike.

Some players are painting the opposition as anti-gay, but at least one opponent said he voted against the position because he felt it would take power away from the campus Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). According to the student newspaper The Pointer, that senator also resigned, saying he wanted to use his time to strengthen the GSA.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Another LGBT nightclub added to Madison's mix

Out, a new restaurant and bar catering to LGBT people and allies, is scheduled to open on Madison's far west side by May 1. According to an article in The Capital Times, Out will be in the former Houlihan's Restaurant, 1262 John Q. Hammons Drive, near the Marriott Hotel. Not the best location of bussers and cyclists, but with a full-service restaurant featuring local, seasonal foods, plus a huge dance floor and bar, it should offer a nice option for westsiders and people who are looking for something like the old Hotel Washington.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tonight's news

Marriage Roundup

On April 9, the Fourth District Wisconsin Court of Appeals in Madison asked the state Supreme Court to review the case of University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh professor William McConkey as to the legality of the 2006 so-called “Marriage Protection” amendment to the state's constitution. McConkey, a Wisconsin voter and taxpayer, argued that the two questions in the referendum should have been voted on separately under the single subject rule. An earlier ruling by a Dane County Circuit Court Judge said the two clauses in the referendum question were “two sides of the same coin” and properly decided with one vote.

And in Iowa, opponents of the Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriages said last week they would step up pressure on state lawmakers to block the marriages through a constitutional amendment and predicted political fallout for Democratic state leaders if they did not join the opposition.

Because the amendment process under Iowa law would take two legislative sessions, even opponents acknowledge that nothing now seems likely to prevent Iowa from beginning to allow same-sex marriages on April 27 after the ruling becomes final.

In a related story, police in Des Moines are investigating death threats against openly gay state lawmaker Sen. Matt McCoy, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and House Speaker Pat Murphy. All are Democrats.

In Colorado, Gov. Bill Ritter has signed a domestic partner bill making it easier for unmarried couples to make medical decisions for incapacitated partners and leave property to their partners. The measure, which takes effect July 1, applies to same- and opposite-sex unmarried couples. In 2006, voters passed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The same year, they rejected another ballot issue that would have given same-sex couples many of the rights of marriage, including property inheritance rights and the power to make medical and funeral arrangements.

And in the nation’s capital, Congressional Republicans are vowing to block the District of Columbia from recognizing same-sex marriages that have been performed in areas where they are legal.

In a preliminary vote, the D.C. Council unanimously approved the bill. It needs to pass a final time next month and then, like all D.C. laws, it must be reviewed by Congress.

“It’s high time we send a clear, unequivocal message to those persons of the same sex and married in another jurisdiction that their marriage is valid in D.C.,” said gay city council member Jim Graham. D.C. already has a domestic partner registry that was enacted in 2007 to the ire of Republicans.

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West Bend, Wis. - A petition with 443 signatures gathered by residents Ginny and Jim Maziarka and their newly formed West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries (WBCSL) has been presented to the West Bend library.

The petition asks that books with sexually explicit passages be removed from a teen-oriented list of materials and reassigned to the adult book section.

In a written statement, the Maziarkas describe the petition as "a formal request for policy changes at the West Bend Community Memorial Library, signed by 443 concerned citizens. The petitions request that the library board take a roll call vote to adopt 5 policies to make the library child-safe and family-friendly."

Sue Cantrell, assistant director at the West Bend library said they are still deliberating what to do with the Maziarkas’ petition. "We don’t know, to tell you the truth. As long as I’ve been here there’s never been a petition presented (to the library). I’ve been here nine years."

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Amazon.com claims that “an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloguing error” led to the removal of tens of thousands of gay and lesbian titles from its book charts by classifying the material as “adult.” Authors and readers bombarded Amazon.com with complaints over the weekend after many books dealing with gay and lesbian themes disappeared from its ranking system in what appeared to be a botched attempt to make its bestseller lists more family friendly.

The company had previously said the de-rankings were the result of a glitch in its systems.

Amazon said that the de-ranking was not limited to gay and lesbian titles. Patty Smith, director of corporate communications for Amazon, today issued a statement, writing: “This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloguing error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection.”

"Many books have now been fixed and we're in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future."

Not all authors have accepted Amazon's explanation.

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Bills that would protect the rights of transgendered people have advanced in New Hampshire and Washington.

In New Hampshire, the House approved by one vote a bill that would amend the state’s anti-discrimination law to include trans people. Last week’s vote came a month after the House turned down the same bill.

Republicans assailed the legislation, calling it the “bathroom bill.” House Speaker, democrat Terie Norelli, countered, “We’re not asking you to open bathrooms to sexual predators. We’re asking you to stand tall against discrimination.”

The bill now moves to the Senate.

In the state of Washington, the House has approved a Senate bill adding “gender expression or identity” to the state’s hate-crime law. Washington’s hate-crimes law already makes it illegal to threaten, damage the property of, or physically injure someone because of ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation.

The Senate has already approved the bill, which now heads to the governor’s desk for signing.

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The White House allocated tickets for the last Sunday’s Easter Egg Roll to gay and lesbian families as part of the Obama administration's outreach to diverse communities.

Families say the gesture shows that the new Democratic administration values them as equal to other families. And for many, being included in the annual tradition—dating back to 1878—renews hope that they will have more support in their quest for equal rights in matters such as marriage and adoption than under the previous administration.

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Jamaica’s largest LGBT civil rights group is asking American gays to reject a boycott of Jamaica and Jamaican products.

U.S. rights group Truth Wins Out has called for a boycott of the island and its products to protest several violent homophobic incidents and Jamaica’s refusal to repeal laws against sodomy.

But in Kingston, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays said the boycott could backfire and result in more violence. The group stressed that it did not want the LGBT community to be perceived as being responsible for worsening economic conditions in an already impoverished country, adding that they themselves could be disproportionately affected by the proposed boycott.

Jamaica has been described by human rights groups as having the worst record of any country in the New World in its treatment of gays and lesbians.

This week's announcements

Tonight at Mickey’s Tavern there is a free show featuring our favorite local band, the screaming Cyn Cyn and the Pons. The show is opened by traveling band all the way from Olympia, Romanteek who played with the Cyn Cyns at this year’s Gay – Bi – Gay – Gay, Austin’s counter party to the South-by-Southwest Festival. The show starts at 10:00 and you are all personally invited.

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Friday is the Day of Silence, organized by Gay-Straight Alliance organizations around the country – where LGBTQA participants take vow of silence to bring attention to the name-calling, bullying and harassment of the queer community. Madison has its share of events including the “Breaking the Silence Rally” at the University of Wisconsin at 3:30 Library Mall, and events at West High School and many other middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities. For more information go to gsaforsafeschools.org

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Later that evening a Room of One’s Own bookstore is hosting April’s Queer Open Mic Night. All queers and allies are welcome at Madison's own queer open mic. Bring your diatribes, your poems, the Facebook email you keep obsessively rewriting to the hottie you like, your skits -- if it's queer-focused, you can present it and queers will love it.

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This Saturday is the third Saturday dance at club 5 for the Dairyland cowboys and cowgirls, at 4:00 pm – basic review of some of the line dances taught over the past few weeks, then at 6:00 p.m. will be open dancing. There is a suggested donation, which includes pizza and lessons. All this takes place at Club 5, 5 Applegate Ct., Madison.

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After some line dancing you can put on your socks and come to WORT’s Thirty-Three-and-a-Third Birthday Party and Sock Hop featuring WORT’s very own Rockin’ John McDonald. The evening will also host live music from the Del Moroccos and Jimmy Sutton and his rock n’ roll guitar, and a record platter art auction, featuring works by many local artists. That’s this Saturday at the crystal corner bar, 1302 Williamson St.

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The Sun Prairie Rage women’s hockey team hosts its annual tournament this weekend April 18 and 19, 2009 at Sun Prairie Ice Arena, 655 Athletic Way, Sun Prairie. Some of the proceeds from the tournament defray ice costs for the rage hockey players. This year’s tournament also supports the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin with a food/fund drive held throughout the weekend. The Rage will accept monetary and canned food donations. There’s also hockey gear for players, and raffle prizes.

The Sun Prairie Rage is made up of women hockey players from Sun Prairie and the greater Madison area. There is a green level for those who are new to the game, and a blue team for more experienced players. For more information, web search “Rage Hockey Wisconsin.”

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On Sunday, it’s the 1st Annual Shamrock/Woof's 0.8 Kilometer Walk, a fundraiser for the 2009 ASANA Softball World Series. Yes, that’s right – an eight-tenths of a kilometer walk from the Shamrock to Woofs and back. There will be prizes awarded to the individuals and teams that raise the most money for the Softball World Series in Madison later this month. Registration forms to collect pledges can be picked up at either Shamrock Bar or Woof's – or you can just show up and pay the minimum entry fee.

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Next Tuesday, April 21, UW-Madison will host a groundbreaking panel exploring the origins of the biological argument for LGBTQ civil rights, and offering alternative arguments for equality beyond simply being “born gay.” These non-biological arguments were used in the recent successful marriage equality cases in Vermont and Iowa. The panel, “Big Ideas Conversation Series: New Arguments for Liberation” is part of a multi-campus “queer tour” co-sponsored by Campus Progress and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which seek to raise awareness of the complexity of LGBTQ social justice. The panel will feature Dr. Jaime Grant, director of the Policy Institute at the Task Force, and Kenyon Farrow, a Policy Institute fellow. The panel is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be served. The panel is from 7-8 p.m. in 1280 Grainger Hall on the University of Wisconsin Campus.

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You can find these and many other announcements with links to the events on our Facebook page (Queery at WORT-FM), and also on our blog - queery-wort.blogspot.com. And that’s all for tonight’s announcements.

Marriage in New York?

Rumor has it that New York Gov. David A. Paterson is planning to ask the state's legislature to allow same-sex couples to wed in the state. Currently, only opposite-sex couples can obtain a marriage certificate in New York, although the state recognizes the marriages of same-sex couples whose weddings were performed in other jurisdictions (such as Massachusetts).

California Court of Appeals Allows Transgender Woman Living Out of State to Change her California Birth Certificate

We received this positive news today from the Transgender Law Center:

San Francisco, April 13, 2009 - In a tremendous victory for transgender people born in California, the California Court of Appeal ruled on Friday that any person can amend their California birth certificate regardless of their current state of residence. Previously, only current California residents could amend their California birth certificates.

The case was brought by Transgender Law Center on behalf of Gigi Marie Somers. Ms. Somers, a sixty-seven year old transgender woman, was born in California and now lives in Kansas. Ms. Somers underwent sex reassignment surgery in 2005 and has lived as a transgender woman for a decade . When she sought to have a new California birth certificate issued reflecting her female gender, she learned that out of state residents were required to obtain a court order from the state in which they resided. Unfortunately, Ms. Somers was not able to obtain a court ordered gender change from her county of residence in Kansas. Left in legal limbo and unable to change her birth certificate, Ms. Somers contacted TLC for help. After the San Francisco Superior Court denied her petition due to the residency requirement, TLC Legal Director Kristina Wertz represented Ms. Somers before the Court of Appeal.

In a unanimous published decision, the California State Supreme Court held that all people born in California, regardless of where they currently reside, can petition a California court for a new birth certificate. The strongly-worded decision was authored by Presiding Judge James J. Marchiano, who stated that “We discern no compelling state interest in treating California-born transgender individuals who reside out of state differently from California-born transgender individuals who reside in California when either class seeks issuance of a new California birth certificate…”

“We are pleased that the Court of Appeals did the right thing for Ms. Somers and recognized her right to change her birth certificate,” said Ms. Wertz. “No one who is born in California should be denied the opportunity to change their birth certificate simply because they are transgender and have moved out of state. Ms. Somers can now rest assured that her birth record will always reflect who she truly is, a right that all people born in California enjoy. This is a victory for transgender people all over the country.”

“I brought this petition because I did not feel that my transition would be complete until my birth certificate showed who I am. Everybody in my life accepts me for who I am, and I wanted to make sure my officials records did too,” said Ms. Somers. “I am extremely happy about this victory and grateful for all the work that TLC has done on my behalf.”

The decision also represents a victory for older transgender people. “It is courageous for a person at any age to fight for their identity. But to have a woman at the age of 67 seek recognition in two states to have her gender identity acknowledged takes remarkable bravery,” said Karen Taylor, Director of Advocacy & Training at Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). “SAGE has many constituents who spent decades hiding who they were, living under terrible oppression and fear. We understand and celebrate the courage of all older adults who dare to step forward and demand to be acknowledged for who they are. Ms. Somers is an inspiration to all who seek justice and equal treatment, at any age.”

“We applaud the Transgender Law Center for winning this truly significant victory,” said Geoff Kors, Executive Director of Equality California (EQCA). EQCA is currently sponsoring the Equal ID Bill in the California legislature, which clarifies options for transgender people under the ruling. Kors continued, “Our bill can now stand on the shoulders of this week’s landmark decision. Together, we are moving toward full equality for transgender people in California and across the country.”

The decision, Somers v. Superior Court, is currently available on the court’s website www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/A123445.pdf.


The Transgender Law Center (TLC) is a civil rights organization advocating for transgender communities. TLC uses direct legal services, education, community organizing, and advocacy to transform California into a state that recognizes and supports the needs of transgender people and their families. www.transgenderlawcenter.org.

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All content copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Transgender Law Center
870 Market Street
Room 823
San Francisco, CA 94102

info@transgenderlawcenter.org

Tonight's show: Putting the B back in LGBT

Tonight we'll be interviewing organizers of the Bisexual Empowerment Conference:
A Uniting, Supportive Experience (BECAUSE)
, to be held this weekend in Minneapolis. The keynote speaker will be bisexual activist Robyn Ochs, co-editor of Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around The World and editor of the The Bisexual Resource Guide, both available through the Bisexual Resource Center.

And you can keep yourself busy the following weekend (April 25-26) by attending Milwaukee's Queercamp, discussed on last week's show. Queercamp is an "unconference" where queer people and allies can gather to learn from each other and make new friends. Planned workshops include estate planning for same-sex couples, a crash course in social media (like Facebook and Twitter), a discussion about polyamory, and a photo walk (what it sounds like - walking around to take pictures). You can request additional workshop topics or volunteer to lead a workshop yourself at the Queercamp website.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Supporting Iowa's marriage ruling

The Human Rights Campaign is asking people to send thank-you messages to Iowa'a state congressional leaders for standing behind the Iowa Supreme Court's decision in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples. You can find out more here on the HRC Web site.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban could go to State Supreme Court

A lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's voter-approved constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage may be sent to the State Supreme Court. The suit states that the amendment was made through incorrect procedures, because it combined two separate issues (marriage and "legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals"). Under Wisconsin law, each referendum can address only one issue.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More on marriage ...

... or morons on marriage.

As one of the guests on tonight's show mentioned, the National Organization "for" Marriage is trying to make a big splash with its commercial touting lies about same-sex marriage. If you've seen it, you may be interested in this post on Tips-Q.com that looks at some of the lies in the commercial and shows just how egregious they are. The Human Rights Campaign offers further background.

If you haven't seen the commercial, don't bother. It's disgusting. Unless, of course, you want to parody it or develop some good, truthful media to counter it.

If you see this commercial air on Madison TV stations, we'd love for you to tell us where and when. Post a comment below.

D.C. jumps on the bandwagon!

DC vote puts gay marriage in front of Congress - Associated Press

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

And back to visiting our neighbors in Iowa

Same-sex couples in Iowa can begin marrying at the end of April, thanks to a state supreme court ruling last week that the Iowa constitution's equal protection clause guarantees that right.

But opponents of marriage equality are fighting to amend the Iowa constitution so that the state only recognizes marriage contracts between opposite-sex couples. The process would take several years, with the earliest possible passage of such an amendment coming in 2012.

Not so soon, says Michael Gronstal, Iowa's senate majority leader. As in Wisconsin, a constitutional amendment must be approved by the state House and Senate in two consecutive terms, then approved by a majority of participating voters. Gronstal spoke on the senate floor yesterday, telling opponents of marriage equality that no marriage amendment would pass under his watch, and that future leaders are even less likely to consider an amendment. The younger generation, he said, just doesn't see what opponents of marriage equality are so upset about. You can watch the video of the discussion here.

By the way, we'll have an interview with Chuck Swaggerty, plaintiff in the case that led to the Iowa marriage ruling, on Queery tomorrow night. Swaggerty is originally from Manitowoc, Wis., and joined the case because of the difficulty he and his partner had in obtaining equal parental rights for their two children and his partner's ineligibility for health insurance under Swaggerty's employee plan. You can read more of the couple's story in this August 2008 article in the Sioux City Journal.

Same-sex civil marriage now recognized in four states

Vermont Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage - The New York Times

Vermont legalizes same-sex marriage with veto override - Associated Press

Vermont legalizes same-sex marriage - Burlington Free Press

And this from the Human Rights Campaign (with the editorial comment from Queery co-host Kathryn that the new law doesn't just benefit lesbian and gay couples, but all same-sex couples who want to marry, whether their respective parties identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or otherwise - hooray!):


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 7, 2009
Brad Luna | Phone: 202/216.1514 | Cell: 202/812.8140
Trevor Thomas | Phone: 202/216.1547 | Cell: 202/250.9758

BREAKING: Human Rights Campaign Applauds Vermont Legislature’s Historic Vote Recognizing Marriage for Lesbian and Gay Couples

Vote to override Governor’s veto makes Vermont first state to recognize marriage for lesbian and gay couples through legislative process

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, applauded the Vermont legislature for voting today to recognize marriage for lesbian and gay couples. The state Senate voted 23-5 and the House of Representatives voted 100-49 to override Gov. Jim Douglas’s veto, making Vermont the first state to recognize marriage for committed lesbian and gay couples through the legislative process. The Vermont legislation goes into effect September 1.

“This historic vote in the Vermont legislature reminds us of the incredible progress being made toward equality. Less than five years ago, lesbian and gay couples began marrying in Massachusetts. Now, with the Iowa court decision last Friday and today’s vote in Vermont, there will be four states recognizing the right to marry for loving, committed lesbian and gay couples,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “We congratulate Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, Speaker of the House Shap Smith, the other legislators who voted for marriage, the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, and MassEquality for ensuring that all couples will now enjoy the freedom to marry in Vermont. This is a law that will strengthen families and give meaning to the promise of equal rights for all.”

“The struggle for equal rights is never easy. I was proud to be President of the Senate nine years ago when Vermont created civil unions,” said Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Shumlin. “Today we have overridden the Governor's veto. I have never felt more proud of Vermont as we become the first state in the country to enact marriage equality not as the result of a court order, but because it is the right thing to do.”

The Human Rights Campaign mobilized its members in Vermont to support this legislation. National Field Director Marty Rouse, a former Vermont resident, was in Vermont since Monday working with legislators and activists to build support for the override votes.

Vermont becomes the first state to recognize marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples through legislation. California’s legislature has twice passed similar legislation that was vetoed and not enacted into law. Vermont is the fourth state, after Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa, to extend marriage equality to committed lesbian and gay couples. Iowa’s state supreme court unanimously ruled on April 3, 2009 that the state constitution guarantees lesbian and gay couples the equal right to marry.

New York recognizes marriages by lesbian and gay couples legally entered into in another jurisdiction. California recognized marriage by lesbian and gay couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved Proposition 8, which purports to amend the state constitution to prohibit marriage equality. The Proposition 8 vote has been challenged in court; a decision by the state supreme court is expected by June.

Lesbian and gay couples do not receive federal rights and responsibilities in any state. To learn more about state by state legislation, visit: www.hrc.org/ state_laws.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Racine opens LGBT community center

Racine's mayor cut the ribbon at the Racine LGBT Center's official opening on Saturday. You can read about it here in The Journal Times.

Beloit YMCA's definition of "family"

The Beloit YMCA told Genia Stevens that she and her female partner to join as a family. According to Stevens, the front desk clerk told her, "No, we only allow a husband, wife and children to use the family membership because that’s what a family is."

The answer is not quite true, since the Beloit Y allows single parents and their children to join as a family. In fact, Stevens has joined the Y with just such a membership, even though she's not truly single - although the government and, apparently, the Beloit Y, define her as such by default.

The Beloit YMCA is now looking at its policy to consider broadening its definition of "family" to include unmarried partners (same-sex or opposite sex) and extended families that live in the same household. But it's made no promises to change the policy.

You can read more in the article from The Wisconsin State Journal.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Job: News Director

PERMANENT POSITION AVAILABLE at WORT Community Radio


WORT-FM Community Radio (an AA/EOE employer) seeks a
News & Public Affairs Facilitator

This is a full-time position, responsible to the Board of Directors. The
salary for this position is $26,500/year, plus health, dental, &
disability insurance and a generous leave package.

This is primarily an off-air position to facilitate approximately 115
on-air volunteer news and public affairs programmers, working to develop a
multitude of strong, clear voices in alternative media. For a full list
of duties, download the full announcement from
http://www.wort-fm.org/jobs.php

The position requires knowledge and experience in writing and producing
news, a commitment to community radio, and strong computer skills.
Experience in a volunteer-based and/or collective environment is
preferred.

TO APPLY: Contact the station at 608-256-2001 during business hours to
have an application packet sent to you. Then return your completed
application by May 4, 2009 to: News Facilitator Hiring Committee | WORT-FM
| 118 S. Bedford Street | Madison, WI 53703. If you have any questions,
contact K.P. Whaley or any WORT Staff Member at the station at
608-256-2001.

Application materials must be received by 5:00pm May 4th, 2009 to ensure
consideration.