Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/18/05)

Bid seen weakening to ban gay marriage
By Frank Phillips, Globe Staff

The slim majority that supported the proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage last year has been thrown into doubt with the recent resignations of three legislators who oppose gay marriage and a net increase of two gay-marriage supporters in the crop of newly elected legislators.

With the start of the new legislative session, a Globe analysis indicates that supporters of gay marriage appear to be gaining ground in their effort to defeat the proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The Legislature voted 105 to 92 for the amendment in March, but it would have to pass one more roll call to reach the 2006 ballot for voter consideration.

One leading gay-marriage opponent said he sensed a shift against the constitutional ban.


Standing my gay ground

By Alec Mapa

I am not moving to Canada. Believe me, I thought about it. One of my best friends in Vancouver is a celebrated seven-foot drag queen named Joan-E. I could’ve easily taken up residence in one of her shoes, but now is not the time for cowardice. I’m needed here to gay up the red states. To get the ball rolling, I’m going to drive through the heartland in a Subaru wearing a pink tutu and eating a bratwurst while my loudspeakers blare “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”

The bad news is, Bush is still president. The good news is, I’m still gay. In four years Bush will be gone. I, however, will still be a great big homo. Want to feel empowered? Try thinking of the most powerful man on the planet as a temporary inconvenience. I am not disheartened by the election results because, to a gay man, this kind of bigotry is old news. I don’t scare easily.

Let’s face it, we’ve been through far worse. When I was in the eighth grade San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk, one of the nation’s first openly gay elected officials, was assassinated by Dan White. This was an act of terrorism designed to intimidate us into permanent silence. All it did was inspire countless LGBT individuals to pursue public office on behalf of our cause. Milk’s murder inaugurated what has become our nationwide presence in politics. This past election, at least 41 openly gay and lesbian candidates in 20 states were elected to public office, and not just in the latte-drinking, sushi-eating states.


Kiss and tell
By John Corvino

I started off as a pleasant evening. I was visiting Austin while working on some writing projects. One night I ran into a friend at a coffee shop and we walked to the nearby Texas capitol grounds, where a number of people were biking, jogging, and strolling. We sat on a bench; I put my arm around him. At one point I leaned over and kissed him, then looked up and noticed a state trooper walking by.

The trooper looked rather flustered by our display of affection. I wasn’t surprised. As an Italian-American New Yorker currently living in Detroit, I am often reminded that Mid-westerners and Southerners have rather different ideas about personal space and public affection than I do. Especially between men.

About 10 minutes later my friend and I noticed three troopers in the distance—including the one who had passed us previously. “You don’t think they’re coming after us?” I joked.


Gay Survivor Winner Guilty OF Tax Evasion

by Brooke Donald, Associated Press

(Providence, Rhode Island) Richard Hatch, who became a millionaire when he won the first-ever "Survivor" series, has agreed to plead guilty to two counts of tax evasion for failing to report income including the $1.01 million he won on the show.

Federal prosecutors charged that Hatch, 43, filed false 2000 and 2001 tax returns, omitting his income from the CBS show, as well as another $321,000 he was paid by a Boston radio station.

The penalty could be up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine for each charge. However, as part of the plea agreement filed in federal court on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's office said it would recommend a lesser sentence.


Mass Gay Marriage Amendment Unlikely To Pass Survey Shows

by Michael J. Meade 365Gay.com Boston Bureau

(Boston, Massachusetts) A survey of Massachusetts legislators shows that a proposed amendment to the state Constitution is likely to fail.

To amend the Constitution the proposal must pass two consecutive sessions of the legislature and then go to voters. Last March the amendment passed the first phase, following heated debate, by only a handful of votes. (story) The proposed amendment would bar same-sex couples from marrying but would allow civil unions and convert those marriages already performed to domestic partnerships.

An analysis of lawmakers by the Boston Globe shows that following last November's election the State House now has more moderates and the amendment is unlikely to get the 101 votes votes needed. In March it was approved with only four votes to spare.


Montana Considers Civil Unions & Civil Rights Protections

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Helena, Montana) Montana legislators considered two gay rights bills on Martin Luther King Day - one that would allow civil unions, and one to extend civil rights protections to gays and lesbians.

The legislation to create civil unions was held in House Judiciary Committee while the Senate Judiciary Committee considered a civil rights bill. Both measures met with stiff opposition during packed hearings.

The civil unions bill would extend to same-sex couples the same benefits, protections and responsibilities afforded spouses in a marriage. Some of those benefits are group insurance, power of attorney in health care instances, and public assistance benefits under state law.

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