Massachusetts legislators have voted to advance a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, a critical step toward putting the measure the 2008 ballot, according to TheBostonChannel.com. The supporters of the gay marriage ban amendment collected signatures from 170,000 people in an effort to get the question on the ballot.
The Justice Department said that domestic violence rates fell sharply between 1993 and 2004, according to an item on Advocate.com. The Bureau of Justice Statistics said that ''intimate partner—violence'' rates, including violence between same-sex partners, fell by more than 50 percent, reflecting a trend in other violent crimes. The research also determined that American Indian and native Alaskan women are far more likely to be victimized than whites and other minorities.
David Del Vecchio, the mayor of Lambertville, N.J., has promised to perform his first civil union ceremony as soon as the state's law takes effect in February, according to United Press International. Del Vecchio announced his plan as he was sworn in to his sixth term. He added that a gay couple has already reserved the first spot.
In a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., presidential candidate John Edwards called same-sex marriage the 'single hardest social issue for me,' according to an item on Towleroad.com. 'I have a lot of personal struggle with [ same-sex marriage ] ,' he said in response to a question. 'I think ...that men and women who want to live with their partner should be treated with dignity and respect and should have civil rights, as you refer to them. And the question becomes, 'Can you accomplish that through civil unions or partnership recognition and support of partnership benefits? ... Or do you have to cross the bridge into the issue of gay marriage?''
South Dakota Democratic senator Tim Johnson will not be present in the first days of the new Congress but he is continuing to improve two weeks after he had emergency surgery to repair a brain hemorrhage that has left him in critical condition, Advocate.com reported. The development still leaves Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate. If Johnson resigned and South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds replaced him with a GOP appointee, that would create a 50-50 tie and allow the GOP to retain Senate control because of Vice President Dick Cheney's tie-breaking vote.
In Florida, Okeechobee High School senior Yasmin Gonzalez has become a target since the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit on her behalf against the school principal and school board for refusing to let her establish a gay-straight alliance, according to The Washington Blade. ( Allegedly, one teacher even said that homosexuals should die. ) Gonzalez is suing under the 1984 federal Equal Access Act.Read more story below....
General John Shalikashviliwho served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 through 1997published an op-ed piece in The New York Times that called for the end of 'don't ask, don't tell.' However, in the article, Shalikashvili said that, while the military is ready for gays and lesbians to serve openly, political leaders should exercise caution regarding integration.
Joyce Tree, the co-founder of a Georgia campground for lesbians, died on Dec. 31 of emphysema and congestive heart failure, according to The Southern Voice. Tree, 79, started the Swiftwaters campground with her late partner, Dorothy Osbold, about 26 years ago.
In Washington, D.C., six gay clubs that had been operating for more than 25 years along an entertainment strip closed their doors in 2006 after the city forced them off the block to make way for a new baseball stadium, according to The Washington Blade. Three of the nightspotsSecrets, Heat and the Follies Theaterfeatured nude male dancers.
Five people have been indicted on 44 counts of illegally purchasing and distributing HIV drugs by the U.S. Attorney's office in New Hampshire, according to an item on Advocate.com. A New Hampshire woman and four men from California were able to acquire large quantities of Serostim, an injectable drug. The operation generated nearly $963,000 in illegal funds.
In Seattle, a man has been convicted of fatally beating and stabbing a business owner he met on a gay chat line, according to The Washington Blade. Michael Saga Maiava, 24, was convicted of first-degree murder following slightly more than a day of deliberations in King County Superior Courtalthough the jury could not decide on a motive. He faces as much as 34 years in prison for the attack on Kevin Shaw, 44, who ran an executive recruiting service, invested in a home-building business and had worked for several accounting firms.
Gay former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey returned for the first time in two years to his old Statehouse office to attend the hanging of his official portrait, according to 365Gay.com. McGreeveywho told the nation on Aug. 12, 2004, that he is gay and had been involved in an extramarital affair with a man and would resignwas joined in the private ceremony by his partner, Australian financial adviser Mark O'Donnell, and his parents.
Two men convicted of the 1991 murder of a gay Houston man are expected to be released from prison and the victim's mother says she is concerned for her safety, according to 365Gay.com. On July 4, 1991, Jaime Aguirre and his brother, Javier, were among 10 men who attacked Paul Broussard and two other gay clubgoers; Broussard suffered broken ribs, crushed testicles and two fatal stab wounds. A third killer is to be paroled in March.
An attorney for the Atlanta-based Names Project Foundation, which owns the AIDS Memorial Quilt, has said that Cleve Joneswho started the quilt in 1987has not met a key requirement to manage and exhibit a portion of the quilt in San Francisco, KaiserNetwork.org reported. Under an agreement, Jones will receive 35 blocks of the quilt after he creates a San Francisco-based organization to oversee them. The foundation claims that Jones has not fulfilled his end of the bargain.
Not in My Family: AIDS in the African-American Family was listed as one of the 10 best Black books of 2006, according to a press release from Third World Press, Inc. The tomeedited by Gil L. Robertson, IVfeatures contributions from entertainer Patti LaBelle, former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders and the Rev. Al Sharpton, among others. Incidentally, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope was listed as the worst book, saying that the politician 'has no problem putting the onus on Blacks to accommodate themselves to the mainstream culture.'
The Transgender Religious Summit will take place Jan. 19-21 at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., according to a press release. Programming will focus on denominational policy; outreach to the transgender communities; public policy; and transgender leadership. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 510-849-8206 for more info.
In New York, six janitors have filed suit against the Equinox gym chain in Manhattan's Supreme Court because they refuse to clean bathrooms and locker rooms after gay men have sex in them, according to an Advocate.com item. The former workers said that they complained to the management about witnessing and cleaning up after sexual encounters in showers, saunas and steam rooms. Equinox has called the charges 'frivolous.'
The Family Foundation of Virginiaa group that spearheaded a successful bid to amend that state's constitution to block same-sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partner benefitsis now focusing on making it more difficult for straight couples to break up, 365Gay.com reported. The group has now begun a drive to end no-fault divorce in the state; no-fault allows either partner in a marriage to get a divorce without specific grounds.