Friday, May 29, 2009

Diplomats’ Same-Sex Partners to Get Benefits - NYTimes.com

Diplomats’ Same-Sex Partners to Get Benefits - NYTimes.com

Fairfax High's prom queen is a guy - Los Angeles Times

Fairfax High's prom queen is a guy - Los Angeles Times

A Message about West Bend

A message from Cindy Crane of GSA For Safe Schools:

Dear All,

As those of you who have been keeping up with the West Bend Community
Library drama know, the heat over the library having books with LGBT
content in the youth section has not let up at all (it has intensified).
The library has been a target of hate with four library board members
ousted by the West Bend Common Council. One of the alder people from the
council referred to the library as being like "a porn shop."

On Tuesday, June 2nd at 6:00 p.m. the library board will meet at McLane
Elementary School in West Bend to listen to arguments for and against the
books. People can sign-up to speak to the board from 5:30 - 6 PM only.
Each person who registers will be given two minutes to address the board.

The four board members who have been denied by the City Council are still
on the board until replacements are appointed, so there is a good chance
that the Maziarka (the ring leader behind the book protest) will have her
complaint denied.

I've been told that rounding up folks to attend the meeting or calling or
writing board members ASAP would be much appreciated (please go to
www.west-bendlibrary.org for contact information). The more the merrier
on Tuesday!

I'm leaving early to get in line. The capcity in the gym will be limited
by the fire marshall. I'm leaving at 2:30 from the GSAFE office. If
you're interested in car pooling please let me know soon! I'll have room
to give rides, and if I hear from enough people I'll acquire a van.

Let's do it!

Cindy


Cindy Crane
Executive Director
GSA for Safe Schools
301 S. Bedford St., Ste. 1
Madison, WI 53703
Ph: 608-661-4141
Fax: 608-661-1360

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May 20 show: The Supreme Court and Perfect Harmony

We spoke with Paul Sousa of Equal Rep about Kathleen Sullivan, a constitutional law scholar that Equal Rep is pushing President Obama to appoint to the Supreme Court. In addition to being a highly respected expert in constitutional law, a Stanford law professor and former dean of Stanford Law School, Sullivan is also openly gay. Sousa talked about Sullivan's qualifications and why now is the time to get another woman -- and the first openly gay justice -- on the Supreme Court.

We then had some folks from Perfect Harmony Men's Chorus in our studio to talk about their upcoming concerts:
  • Monday, May 25, Memorial Day evening, at 7:00 p.m. At Capital Lakes Retirement Center.
  • Saturday, May 30 at 7:00 p.m. In Mills Concert Hall in the Humanities Building on the UW campus.

The show is called "Equal Rights, Not Special Rights" and will feature songs from civil rights movements throughout U.S. history, including abolition, women's suffrage, and gay liberation.


We're planning to do another ticket giveaway next week during Queery for the May 30 show, so listen and phone in!

Queery News – May 20, 2009

Marriage round up:

A proposed amendment to Pennsylvania’s state constitution banning same-sex marriage that failed twice before resurfaced Tuesday.

The state already has a so-called Defense of Marriage law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Democrats and LGBT rights groups plan to fight the amendment, saying the measure would enshrine discrimination into the constitution.

Last year, a poll found that although most Pennsylvanians oppose same-sex marriage, there was widespread support for civil unions.

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons is warning the legislature not to bother sending him a bill that would allow same and opposite-sex couples to register as domestic partners and receive many of same rights as married couples have in the state.

The bill is expected to pass later this week, but Gibbons has reiterated his threat to veto the measure when it reaches his desk.

The governor has said domestic partnerships are essentially the same as marriage and state law limits marriage to opposite-sex couples because of a 2002 voter- approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Supporters say the bill makes it clear that domestic partnerships does not equal marriage, but states that domestic partners would have the “same rights, protections, benefits, responsibilities, obligations and duties” as traditionally married couples. The bill also has been amended ensure public sector employers would not be required to provide health care benefits to employees’ partners.

The New Hampshire Senate has begun work on an amendment to marriage equality legislation to make it more acceptable to that state’s governer, John Lynch.

The original bill passed the legislature earlier this month, but last week, the governor said he would refuse to sign it unless there was clearer language protecting churches, church organizations and staff from lawsuits if they refused to permit same-sex marriages.

If the amendment satisfies the governor, New Hampshire would become the sixth state to allow gays and lesbians to marry.

And in Washington, Gov. Chris Gregoire on Monday signed legislation granting domestic partners almost all the state rights of married spouses.

The legislation makes domestic partnerships equal to marriage in areas of community property, guardianship and powers of attorney. It allows partners the right to refuse to testify against each other in court. And it provides the same remedies as married couples to end a relationship, including the division of property.

The legislation expands on previous domestic partnership laws by adding reference to partnerships alongside all remaining areas of state law where currently only married couples are mentioned.

Since July 2007 when the original domestic partner law went into effect, more than 5,000 couples have registered as domestic partners.

And right here in Wisconsin, a legal analysis prepared for lamakers says Gov. Jim Doyle's plan to give same-sex couples some legal protections likely does not violate Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage. The opinion boosts Doyle's bid to make Wisconsin the first state to create domestic partnerships for same-sex couples despite having a ban on gay marriage and "substantially similar" relationships.

Doyle's plan would provide gay and lesbian couples who register their partnerships with 43 rights, including the ability to visit each other in the hospital, make end-of-life decisions and inherit assets.

A memo by the nonpartisan Legislative Council concludes the plan should survive a challenge because it does not give "comprehensive, core aspects of the legal status of marriage to same-sex couples." Those include the ability to divorce and share marital property, the memo said. The plan also does not allow domestic partners to adopt children or jointly file taxes.

Speaking of Wisconsin’s ban on gay marriage, the state Supreme Court on Thursday said it will hear a challenge to the 2006 constitutional amendment.

The order added the case to the agenda for the court's next term, which begins this fall and ends in June 2010. No date for oral arguments was set.

The challenge to the constitutional change was filed in 2007 by Bill McConkey, a Door County resident who teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and has a lesbian daughter.

McConkey argued that the constitutional change was improperly put before voters in 2006, but a Dane County judge ruled against him. McConkey said voters should have been asked to vote on two separate amendments, instead of the one put before them.

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GOP Chairman Michael Steele has told Republicans they can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits.

Steele said that’s just one example of how the party can retool its message to appeal to young voters and minorities without sacrificing core conservative principles. Steele said he used the argument while chatting on a flight with a college student who described herself as fiscally conservative but socially liberal on issues like gay marriage.

Vermont and Iowa have legalized gay marriage in recent weeks, and a poll released in April found that 57 percent of people questioned support civil unions that provide marriage-like rights. Although 55 percent said they opposed gay marriage, the poll indicated a shift toward more acceptance.

The chief of the Republican National Committee has been criticized by some social conservatives in recent weeks after GQ magazine quoted him as saying he opposed gay marriage but wasn’t going to “beat people upside the head about it.”

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Business owners in Massachusetts might disagree with Steele, after a study found that same-sex marriage has resulted in a $111 million windfall for the state’s economy.

The study was one of two by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law showing the state has significantly gained as a result of the legalization of gay marriage five years ago.

One study looked at money spent by same-sex couples on their weddings. The other examined the impact of people moving to Massachusetts because of the law.

The survey of married same-sex couples shows that the typical gay or lesbian couple spent $7,400 on their weddings in Massachusetts, with one in ten couples spending more than $20,000. The study’s analysis hotel occupancy tax payments confirmed a boost from out-of-state guests at these weddings.

The second study found that Massachusetts gained a competitive edge in attracting young, highly educated professionals who are in same-sex relationships.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey show that same-sex couples in the ‘creative class’ were 2.5 times more likely to move to Massachusetts after 2004 than before. According to the study, this infusion of younger and highly educated same-sex couples could help improve the long-term economic prospects for Massachusetts.

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The gay community in tightly controlled Singapore held its first-ever rally Saturday, taking advantage of looser laws on public gatherings to call for equality.

About 2,500 participants wore pink clothing, played music and sang songs at a park known as Speaker’s Corner, according to the group Pink Dot, which represents Singapore’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.

Singapore’s government has become more tolerant toward gays and lesbians in recent years, but sodomy is still illegal.

The government eased a ban on public demonstrations last year, encouraging Singaporeans to air grievances at Speaker’s Corner as long as they don’t discuss race, language or religion. The government says public discussion of those subjects could inflame passions and create instability in the multi-ethnic city-state.

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The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Tennessee filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against two Tennessee school districts, charging the schools are unconstitutionally blocking students from accessing online information about LGBT issues.

Students at Knox County and Metro Nashville schools and others are being denied access to content that is protected speech under the First Amendment as well as the Tennessee state constitution, the lawsuit says.

When public schools only allow access to one side of an issue by blocking certain websites, they’re engaging in illegal viewpoint discrimination, the ACLU said.

While non-sexual websites advocating the fair treatment of LGBT people are blocked, websites that urge LGBT persons to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through so-called “reparative therapy” or “ex-gay” ministries can still be easily accessed by students, the ACLU said.

A 17-year-old senior at Central High School in Knoxville, was at the school library searching for scholarships for LGBT students when he discovered he couldn’t access websites for non-profit advocacy and educational organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

May 20 announcements

Tomorrow, A Room of One’s Own is hosting a reception for fans and authors attending WisCon. WisCon is the first and foremost feminist science fiction convention in the world. The event held May 22-25, 2009 at the concourse hotel in Madison, encourages discussion, debate and extrapolation of ideas relating to feminism, gender, race and class. WisCon honors writers, editors and artists whose work explores these themes and whose voices have opened new dimensions and territory in these issues. For more information on the reception call A Room of One’s Own at 608.257.7888, for more information about WisCon, go to www.wiscon.info

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Tomorrow, Proud Theater presents Full Circle, a fun and exciting evening of theater, music, poetry and dance written by and starring the talented youth of Proud Theater, Madison’s very own LGBTQ youth theater troupe. The show runs may 21, 22 and 23, 2009 - 7:30 pm and a special matinee on may 23, 2:30 pm in the Fredric March Play Circle inside the University of Wisconsin Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street in Madison, Wisconsin. Tickets can be purchased by phone at (608) 265-2787(arts), at www.uniontheater.wisc.edu.

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Also tomorrow, at 9pm several of your favorite Club 5 bar staff take the stage to perform in drag....this is certain to be a night of comedy and entertainment. Proceeds will benefit the Madison chapter of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, in memory of Club 5 founder Ed Grunewald.

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This weekend you can catch the Madison Minotaurs Gay Rugby Team as they take on the Nashville Grizzlies at the Crossroads Pitch this Saturday. To find them, take the Beltline east past the exits for the interstate and turn left on County AB. Park in the lot next to the pitch. Bring some sunscreen, a chair, some beverages and cheer on your local rugby team. Third half bash to follow at Woof's. A cover at the door for non-players but includes all the beer and pizza you can handle.

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And don’t miss Peaches Saturday night when she plays the Majestic Theater courtesy of Indie Queer. The show starts at 9:00 pm with special guests - Drums of Death. Tickets are still available. For more information go to indiequeer.com.

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It’s also the Memorial Day weekend, so if you looking for an excuse to get out of town. Chicago is hosting the 31st annual International Male Leather Contest and the 15th annual Bear Pride Weekend. There are several events happening at the gay resorts in Sagatuck Michigan this weekend, and the weather’s looking nice enough to even just make a trip out to Mazo beach. Whatever you decide have a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend.

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And don’t forget to plan now for the national Bash Back Convergence in Chicago next weekend, May 28th through May 31st of 2009! It will be a solid four days of workshops, discussions, performances, games, dancing and even a street action for all you Anarcha-Queers! Trannies! Fairies! Perverts! Sex-workers! Sex-radicals! And allies! If you want to carpool with other Madison queers you can call 262-9036 for rideshare information.

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You can find these and many other announcements with links to the events on on our blog - www.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……………and that’s all for tonight’s announcements…….

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Madison student receives national PFLAG scholarship

Dena Wessel, a student at West High School and an honoree at last Saturday's Gay-Straight Alliance for Safe Schools (GSAFE) banquet, has received a scholarship from the national organization of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). She helped start the Cherokee Middle School Gay-Straight Alliance when she was a student there and is Youth Artistic Director of Proud Theater, which has its annual production this Thursday through Saturday at the Frederic March Play Circle, UW-Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St.

PFLAG Announces 2009 Scholarship Winners

Recipients Include LGBT Students and Allies Who Have Made Significant Contributions to Equality in their Schools and Communities

WASHINGTON, May 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) announced today that it has awarded 16 scholarships. More than $30,000 will go to students across the country who have made significant contributions to equality in their schools and communities. This marks the sixth year that PFLAG has awarded the scholarships, which are funded by the Palmer B. Carson Trust and other private donors, including the Gay, Lesbian and Allies at Dow (GLAD) Employee Network, the Esera Tuaolo Scholarship fund, and the New York Gay Football League.

"Now, more than ever, PFLAG is extremely proud to honor these future community leaders and to honor their academic achievement, commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) progress, and community service," said Jody M. Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG. "LGBT students, and their allies, are overcoming unimaginable obstacles to succeed and prosper in their education. This year's awardees have not only fought those obstacles, but have become role models for their communities and fellow students."

Among the recipients of PFLAG's National Scholarship Program awards are:

Dena Wessel -PFLAG National Scholarship

Dena Wessel helped to organize a GSA in her middle school and was an active member of the GSA at her high school. She participated in the GSAFE (Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools) planning committee and is a member of Proud Theater, where she serves as the Youth Artistic Director. Dena plays on her school's Varsity Tennis Team, is a member of Top T.E.N, Teen Education Network, and has worked with her church youth group on various community service projects. A born activist with creative talent, Dena uses all different means to educate. Dena will graduate from Madison West High School in Madison, Wisconsin.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Scholarships for LGBT people in healthcare fields

The LGBT Health, Education and Research Trust (LGBT HEART) offers one-year scholarships to LGBT people pursuing advanced degrees in healthcare professions. You can find out more here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

WickedGayBlog.com: Mormon Marie Osmond Supports Gay Marriage!

WickedGayBlog.com: Mormon Marie Osmond Supports Gay Marriage!

Gay former archbisop of Milwaukee to release memoirs in June

The memoirs of Archbishop Rembert Weakland, former head of the Milwaukee archdiocese from 1977 to 2002, will hit bookstores in June. A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop will discuss Weakland's career and the sex scandal that led to his resignation in 2002. The archdiocese had secretly paid $450,000 to settle a sexual assault claim made by a man against Weakland in the 1980s. Weakland maintains that he did not assault anyone, but that he did write love letters to the man.

Weakland is accused of developing a habit of secrecy that also led him to concealing clerical child abuse within the archdiocese.

Gay-bashing in Madison

Two men were attacked by two white male perpetrators on the 500 block of University Avenue the morning of May 2. According to the police incident report:
Perpetrator #1 is described as a male, white, 6'3" - 6'5". short blonde hair, heavy build with a large gut, wearing a baby blue striped polo shirt.

Perpetrator #2 is described as a male white, 6'00 to 6'2", 180 lbs., 20-25 years old, wearing a green t-shirt, and blue jeans
The perpetrators called the victims "gay."

Individuals who have details about the crime are encouraged to call the Madison Police Department. You can read the police report here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wisconsin Library Challenge Heats Up

School Library Journal gives an overview of the complaint about certain young adult books in the West Bend Community Memorial Library and points out that the petition being circulated by Ginny Maziarka of West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries asks that the library increase the number of "faith-based and/or ex-gay books affirming traditional heterosexual perspectives be added to the library."

A West Bend Library catalog search for the term "ex-gay" doesn't turn up anything. Searching "homosexuality" as a key word produces 105 results and "homosexual" produces 13 results, most of which are novels. A subject search for "gay" got 147 hits (although not all of these were about gay people, since a glitch caused numerous books by authors with "Gay" as a first or last name to appear; a word search for "gay" produced even more of these false leads).

The titles found in these searches include many of the contested books, along with several books that either paint a negative picture of homosexuality or present both pro and con arguments for civil rights for homosexuals, LGBTQ identities, or religious inclusion of homosexuals, including:

  • Goodbye, good men : how liberals brought corruption into the Catholic Church by Michael S. Rose
  • The enemy at home : the cultural left and its responsibility for 9/11 by Dinesh D'Souza
  • Written on the heart : the case for natural law by J. Budziszewski
  • Religion and sexuality by Kevin Hillstrom, editor
  • Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Physical Anthropology by Mary Courtis, editor
  • The Catholic Church: opposing viewpoints by Mary Williams, editor
  • Homosexuality : opposing viewpoints by Auriana Ojeda, editor
  • Homosexuality: Debating the Issues by Robert M. Baird and M. Katherine Baird, editors
  • Gay marriage by Kate Burns
  • Gay and lesbian families by Kate Burns
  • Keep
  • The straight-up truth about the down-low: women share their stories of betrayal, pain and survival by Joy Marie
  • AIDS (Opposing Viewpoints)by Viqi Wagner, editor
The question remains: does the library carry enough books to meet the petitions demand for books that affirm heterosexuality? Only eight books are listed under the key word search term "heterosexual," none of which are fiction. But a search under the key word "romance" found 1,735; the key word "marriage" turned up 994 (a subject search for the same word turned up 469); and a subject search for "weddings" turned up 137. A review of titles and a scanning of book excerpts and summaries leaves the impression that the vast majority of the books listed under these key words and subjects depict and affirm heterosexual relationships. Twenty books are cross-listed under "Christianity" and "Family, Marriage, Women," including selections from James Dobson, an activist against the acceptance of homosexuality as a natural expression of human sexuality.

It doesn't answer the question, but perhaps it helps.

UW-Madison chancellor support domestic partnerships

University of Wisconsin-Madison Biddy Martin sent a letter on Tuesday to the Wisconsin legislature's Joint Committee on Finance in support of domestic partnership legislation. You can read it here.

Follow Fair Wisconsin

We've been following the Fair Wisconsin blog for a while and were glad to receive this information about additional ways to keep up with the Wisconsin LGBT rights organization. From Katie Belanger, Fair Wisconsin's legislative director:


With the Joint Finance Committee poised to take up domestic partnership protections in the coming weeks, there's going to be a lot going on around here. Don't miss out on the latest updates and ways to get involved.

From Iowa to Vermont, New York to Washington, D.C., and the passage in the House of the Matthew Shepard Act, a wave of equality is sweeping over our nation. And Wisconsin can be a leader in this movement by providing concrete protections to same-sex couples in our own state.

I'll be Facebooking, Twittering (or is it Tweeting??) and blogging our way through committee to the Assembly and Senate and onto the Governor's budget signing ceremony.

Make sure you're following Fair Wisconsin on one or all of these online tools today!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Maine envy: Governor okays marriage equality

Man, the legislature and governor move fast in Maine. The governor has okayed the same-sex marriage bill.

Marriage in Maine

Same-sex marriage may soon be recognized in Maine. The legislature has approved it, and the bill needs to go through both congressional houses once more before moving on to the governor for approval.

Not being familiar with Maine law, we don't know why a bill needs to be passed by the legislature twice and the governor only once. We do know, however, that Maine has a "people's veto," meaning that 55,000 voter signatures can put any law on hold until it is voted on in a referendum. Some are threatening to wield it if the governor signs the bill.

In the meantime, here's to our fellow cold states!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Marriage Equality Moving Forward in Nation's Capital

The DC City Council has passed a resolution to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions where they are legal. This would be similar to New York's current stance on same-sex marriages; the state only offers marriage licenses for opposite-sex couples, but recognizes same-sex marriages performed in Canada, Massachusetts, Iowa, etc.

But just because the council approved the change doesn't mean it will be enacted. Like all DC legislation, the marriage bill must receive the approval of Congress in order to be official.

Michael Crawford, chair of DC for Marriage, said, "We thank the DC City Council for voting to recognize the marriages performed in other jurisdictions as marriage in the District. This important legislation will help to strengthen families in D.C. and show that families headed by same-sex couples deserve equal treatment and respect under the law. We look forward to Mayor Adrian Fenty signing the legislation and hope that members of Congress will respect the choice by the D.C. City Council to provide recognition for legally married couples."

Friday, May 1, 2009

Marriage in New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Senate approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. The House approved a similar bill in March. The two bodies are expected to reconcile the differences in the bills and send the matter to the governor soon. New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch has not gone on the record saying whether he would sign or veto a same-sex marriage bill.

NC Congresswoman says Matthew Shepherd's murder not a hate crime

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) sure knows how to piss* people off. Watch it and read about it at The Washington Post.

*No, we wouldn't be allowed to say that on air. On the other hand, we would not be in violation of FCC regulations if we were to read from the books being challenged at the West Bend library – despite comments sent to us by blog readers that state the contrary.

Let's all be friends at UW-Whitewater

Members of Impact, a UW-Whitewater LGBT group, and Campus Crusade for Christ met on Wednesday to watch the movie For the Bible Tells Me So, which challenges interpretations of the Bible that condemn homosexuality. This doesn't mean that the UW-Whitewater chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ has rejected the national organization's insistence that homosexuality is a spiritual disease. "My goal … is to show with actions that Christians and homosexuals can be friends," said Derek Pratt, a member of Campus Crusade for Christ.

Read the full article from the Janesville Gazette.