Esse Blog está no! Coloque o seu também! "GLBTI Weddings PLUS!": May 2007

"GLBTI Weddings PLUS!"

The Blog of the U.S.'s first GLBTI-specific Wedding and Events firm. Discussion spot for clients and visitors to interact with staff and experts, in an informal forum, regarding Gay Weddings or Same-Sex Marriage, LGBT weddings and Traditional weddings and other issues affecting the GLBTI.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The truth about Jamaica (follow up from Island of Hate)

By Cheril N. Clarke

I had more to say on the topic...

It is not a new revelation that the majority of the citizens of Jamaica are intolerant of members of the LGBTQ community. Not many people are surprised when something hateful is said, when the lyrics of dancehall and reggae music call for the death of gays or when someone is publicly humiliated or event brutally killed because of their sexual orientation. No, not many are surprised, but when is it enough to not only know, but do something about the hatred that runs rampant? How long will people have to hide in fear for their lives simply because they are not heterosexual? Just how many more people have to be stoned, raped, burned, stabbed, beaten with wooden planks, hospitalized or killed before something is done? It's not enough to say, "That's a shame," and keep on going with our lives while others are dying. Since Jamaica's Prime Minister refuses to repeal the anti-sodomy law something else has to be done to force his hand or remove him.

Recently, there has been a disheartening wave of violence against gays and lesbians, and it has washed up on the Internet for all to see. Among them are the photographs of a cross-dressing man has probably sparked the most talk about the subject. In addition to him, however, were gay youths who were pelted in Montego Bay, three suspected homosexual men who were assaulted by an angry mob and a group of mourners reportedly attacked by a mob armed with machetes, knives, bottles and stones. This is not new. This has been going on for years unstopped and is now spinning even more out of control. Countless men and women have been attacked because they were either gay or suspected of being gay. A wise person once said "you can measure how civilized a nation is by observing how they treat their minorities." By this measure, it is clear that Jamaica is far from civilized.

Forget about all of the beautiful images you see on your television inviting you to your "home away from home." Forget the nice weather and the pictures of "paradise" you see in advertisements. Though I recognize that not every citizen of Jamaica detests to gays, I still agree with a Time Magazine article that called Jamaica the "most homophobic place on earth." The fact that a mob of people with hate-filled eyes can beat a man or woman to death in the middle of the street in broad daylight says much about this country as a whole and their attitude towards killing—a universal crime.

Regressive groups of Jamaicans continue to condemn and attack gays and the country's leadership does nothing about it. In Jamaica if you're gay you're worse than a disease. You sicken the majority, you offend, you're a criminal, you deserve to die a violent death and have your grave danced upon by people who celebrate the end of your life. In 2004 and 2005 respectively, two of the island's leading gay rights advocates, Brian Williamson and Lenford "Steve" Harvey, were ruthlessly murdered. Since then homophobic violence continues to escalate unchecked and rather noted as a source of national pride.

Brian Williamson

Why do Jamaicans hate gays?

Like almost any anti-gay person you may ask why they feel will say it is because it is ungodly and against their beliefs of what is right and wrong. They will say it is disgusting and unnatural. Fine, they are entitled to their opinion, but they should not be able to dictate the lives of others. They should not force others to fear for their lives, seek asylum in other countries or live with suppressed desires so they, the anti-gays can live comfortably. Whether homosexuality is moral or immoral is not the right question because no one can pinpoint a single authority on morality. Your God may not be my god and your religion may not be my religion, thus the rules of your religion should not apply to me. What gives one the right to impose their views upon another? If a heterosexual is free to express him or herself in any manner they choose why should a homosexual be denied the same right? To answer that one must first acknowledge homosexuality as different, not necessarily unnatural. As old as homosexuality is and the documented evidence of it in nature among animals dispel arguments that is unnatural.

Because one is a minority does not mean they do not have rights. Does not the Jamaican constitution state, "no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of conscience, and for the purposes of this section the said freedom includes freedom of thought and of religion, freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and both in public and in private, to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance"? I won't spend too much time talking about religion because everyone is entitled to believe whatever he or she chooses. We will forever disagree on religion, but one thing that should be common for all is human rights.

There are certain things that should be respected as basic, fundamental rights. When the public defender advises LGBTQ people to "hold their corners," and states that gays and lesbians should be aware of the "repulsion that others feel" it confirms that their government is failing them on the most basic level of human rights. Yes, people should have discretion and be aware of their surroundings. People should not, however, be forced to live in situations that can be rectified.

Are heterosexual Jamaicans justified in their behavior?

No, they are absolutely not. Again, I don't want to spend too much time discussion religion because it is something that is between each individual and their god if they choose to have one. For the sake of having a foundation, however, I must at least bring it up again because many Jamaican citizens are deeply rooted in Christianity. Fine, they have a right to be, but where is the consistency in the following of the doctrine? You cannot get up, go to church, kill someone, go to sleep and go on as if everything is okay. You cannot harass someone because your holy book tells you their life is wrong, yet in your own life you have no problem indulging in the sex trade with young girls, stealing or raping. What kind of selective religious following and societal standards are those? I wonder what would happen if the many gays in Jamaica came out of hiding armed for a bloody revolution to at least start the process of being respected and accepted as a member of society.

In the 2004 case of the young man whose father encouraged a mob to beat up his son because of suspected gayness what would have happened if that young man had a gun of his own and began shooting them? What if gays got fed up with just trying to survive rather than having the right to live in peace? Will that time ever come or will we all be successfully "eradicated" by —those who dance to the slow beat of our hearts as they die whether physically or emotionally?

Is reggae and dancehall music contributing to the problem?

Yes, it can be stated with confidence that dancehall music encourages violent behavior. Many people are aware of Buju Banton's popular song "Bum Bye-Bye," that threatens gay men with a gunshot in the head and recommends pouring acid on them and setting them on fire. ACID and FIRE. Sizzla's lyrics call for the shooting of gay men, Elephant Man brags that gay men should die, "Please mark we word/Gimme da tech-nine/Shoot dem like bird" and "When you hear a lesbian getting raped/ It's not our fault ... Two women in bed/ That's two Sodomites who should be dead." Let's not forget Beanie Man's "I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays," Bounty Killer's suggestion to burn "Mister Fagoty" and make him "wince in agony," and then there is washed up Shabba ranks', "If Jamaica would a legalize gun / to kill battyboy would be the greatest fun." There are plenty more including "Chi-Chi Man." Strip the rhythmic beats and listen to the lyrics. Listen to what people are dancing to as if it's anything festive about murdering one who has done nothing the people who wish him death.

What's worse is that Jamaican politicians incorporate these types of songs in their political campaigns. Am I wrong to wonder if police blotters lie when they state that many crimes against gays are internal and are crimes of passion? Can I really believe the law is on the side of gays when their political leaders incorporate these songs in their campaigns? No, I don't believe that.

Jamaica and Crime in general

As mentioned early despite the beautiful images of Jamaica we may see in advertisements the small island has a staggering crime rate, perhaps more than one thousand murders a year. The Jamaican government is able to toot low crime rates for tourists because most tourists either arrives on cruise ships and are only on the island a few hours or spend their vacations on all-inclusive resorts. To read more about the racism, harassment, theft, road-blockages, stray bullets, rape and of course homophobia, visit Jamaica Crime Risk Advisory for Tourists.

Back to homophobia, it really saddened me (angered too) to receive the amount of responses to a MySpace bulletin I'd posted about some citizen's of Jamaica's "Gay Eradication Day." ERADICATION, which by definition means to remove or destroy utterly; I wonder what would happen if someone said all Jews must leave today, or all whites or all Chinese must leave today. How would people respond to that? The proclamation may as well have been a genocidal statement.


This is genocide, plain and simple. Despite the ugly truth about the "home away from home," Americans keep visiting the island. I'm sure many are unaware of what really goes on, particularly in reference to LGBT people. Right here right now I ask every person reading this whether they are gay or straight to think about it. Absorb this info and think, if you are straight, think about your gay sister, your brother, about your cousin, your aunt, etc. The truth is every family has at least one gay person in it. Whether they're out or not, every family has at least one! Think about them the next time you book your travel and decide where to spend your money. Tourism is one of Jamaica's main industries. One American dollar equals about Sixty-Nine Jamaican dollars. If you have $5000 allocated for a trip there that would be $347,500 Jamaican Dollars. Multiply that by the hundreds of Americans who visit every year and think about how crippling it would be to Jamaican tourism if not only gays, but every American who supports Human Rights refused to visit until they treated us all fairly. Keep your dollars in communities in which you and your family can feel safe.

It's not fair that my sister can go and be comfortable with her husband, but I can't go with my wife without having to look over my shoulder every five minutes. If this were any other minority would it go ignored for so long? I highly doubt it. I'm not saying that any country or anyone has to sound trumpets and roll out a rainbow carpet. All I'm saying is that I don't want to dodge bullets, machetes and have to duck to avoid being hit by bottles and stones. I'm not saying that I want to "flaunt" my relationship in front of anyone, I'm saying that if out of habit I touch my wife's knee that I don't have to worry about a mob gathering around us. Basic civility and respect toward a fellow human being is what I'm talking about. Human Rights. Do not lower my self-worth. Do not deem me as less than, and do not justify violence and ignorance with a holy book that I am FREE to believe or not believe in.

With all that I've stated I don't want to act as though Jamaica is the only place in the Caribbean or in the world, for that matter that is deeply homophobic and intolerant toward gays. Jamaica is just the worst, having the harshest anti-sodomy law (by the way, you'd be surprised how many states have this law on the books). Barbados, Bahamas and St. Martin are not welcoming either. We are being denied are fundamental, basic human rights. Those who live there cannot live in peace. They have to hide and suppress or flee and abandon their homeland because they are not welcomed.

One of the responses I got from someone who is from the islands but now lives here was,

"That's why I moved out of the Caribbean. The people are too judgmental and hypocritical. My baby and I are both from there. We went through enough with our families and so called friends. It's made us not even want 2 take a trip back home. I've had bottles thrown at me. One time an ignorant guy pulled a gun on us. They're not as accepting as in the US. That's why I call GA home now."

True there are places right here in the United States that can be dangerous for a homosexual, but the difference is the law. The difference between the US and these islands is organizations like HRC and Garden State Equality that will not allow vicious beatings to go unchecked.

I don't believe this is only a gay issue. It is a Human Rights issue and we all must join together to help those that are being oppressed. It ought to be freedom for everyone or freedom for no one. Every group of people have found themselves the minority and oppressed at one time or another throughout history (Jews, Irish, Blacks, Women, Poor, Native Americans, Christians, Pagans, etc). Right now it is the LGBTQ community, but who will be next? It is a vicious cycle and history tells us change only happens when caring, courageous people come together to make it happen. I urge everyone now…


Don't contribute to a society that allows fellow human beings to be treated as inferior.

To help LGBTQ people in Jamaica visit: JFLAG

Monday, May 21, 2007

Garden State Equality has received 102 cases of employers and insurers not respecting the New Jersey civil unions law

As just announced by New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, there have been 852 civil unions in New Jersey since the law took effect on February 19, 2007.
During the same 90 days, Garden State Equality has received 102 cases of employers and insurers not respecting the New Jersey civil unions law. That's nearly 1 in 8, a shocking 12 percent record of failure. And those are just the cases Garden State Equality has received.

Monday, May 21, 2007 -- Moments ago, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services announced that 852 couples have gotten civil-unioned in New Jersey in the first ninety days of the civil unions law. During the same 90 days, Garden State Equality received 102 complaints of a civil union not being recognized by an employer or insurer in New Jersey. Today, in fact, Garden State Equality received its 103rd complaint. The failure rate is nearly 1 in 8, or 12 percent.

Asked Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality: "What society would ever tolerate a law that fails 12 percent of the time? If New Jersey's civil unions law were a person, it would be arrested for committing fraud."

Among the cases that have come to Garden State Equality: When a woman told her employer she got civil-unioned, the company said, We're not going to provide benefits. We still need the word "marriage" and you two aren't married. The human resources department even said: "Nothing has changed."

The two women, together 16 years, have adopted three special needs children. New Jersey should be celebrating such couples. Instead, civil-unioned couples across New Jersey are still being denied equal protection of the law.

New Jersey is proving that the common definition of civil unions -- that they provide all the state rights of marriage simply without the word marriage -- is a ruse. In fact, everyday civil unions threaten gay couples with the risk of none of the rights of marriage.

"For those who ask, 'So long as same-sex couples get the rights, who cares what it's called?' the New Jersey experience has answered the question once and for all," Goldstein said. "Unless a couple's relationship is given the imprimatur of marriage, that couple may never see the rights. Marriage is the only admissions ticket to equality universally recognized in the real world. It's the only currency of commitment the real world always accepts."

If you're a same-sex couple whose New Jersey civil union is not being recognized, please contact Garden State Equality's hotline at (973) GSE-LGBT or email us at with your name and phone number.

If you'd like to support Garden State Equality's campaign for marriage equality, join us at SUMMERTIME: RIO 2007! on Monday, June 25 at 6:30 pm at Moonstruck in Asbury Park. Tickets are on sale now at

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

GAYS MUST LEAVE TODAY ---'Gay Eradication Day' in Jamaica

by Cheril N. Clarke

(photo by Jason Varney)

The photo above (uncredited) is of a cross-dresser who was beaten, stoned and whatever else you can imagine.

I'm quite surprised that he was even brave enough to walk the streets there, but disgusted over the situation. It's not a surprise. It's not a surprise at all, but it doesn't mean I'll ever get used to the thought that people think it's perfectly okay to STONE someone else. Is this 2007 or 2000 years ago? There are several other pictures of this person, but I don't have them anymore. Some of you may have seen how battered he was after the beating. I have to make some time to write something in depth on this and pass it on...more people need to know of Just How Bad it is there for LGBT people. I would not spend one dime in that country---will miss my own family reunion because I refuse to step foot or give even a penny to a country who allows this type of behavior to go unchecked.
More on the above story is here.

Below is a repost of my bulletin:

Folks...keep this in mind when you're planning your vacations. We all know that JA is probably the most homophobic place on earth...well, since Tourism is one of their main industries let's not help keep the barbaric attitudes alive by spending our money there.

Yep, I said it even though my family is Jamaican it's just out of control there...

(I don't have the date of this article, but it's fairly recent. I'll translate the Patois for those who might not know WTF they are saying, lol)
By Dwayne Mcleod, Staff Reporter

Today has been proclaimed 'Gay Eradication Day' by residents of the McGregor Gully community in East Kingston. Residents say that they will be taking action as a two-week notice given to all gays and lesbians to flee the community has now expired.

THE STAR learnt that about two weeks ago angry residents who declared that they were fed up with seeing the activities of several gay persons in their community, ordered that they leave by today or suffer the consequences.

Some residents who admitted to THE STAR that they are a part of the "gay clearing out" scheme said that it is being done to protect their families and the community on a whole.

"Yu nuh si seh dem waa mash up di place an gi wi bad name, me haffi protect my yute dem from dem type a influence deh," one resident said while pointing out that they will not sit back and watch while their community falls into disrepute. [Translation: You don't see them messing up the place and giving us a bad name? I have to protect my kids from this type of influence.]

When THE STAR visited the area, a small group of residents pointed out an old community centre which is said to be the main 'hang out' spot for the lesbians. According to the residents the lesbians gather there almost nightly and can be seen hugging, kissing and even "touching".

The residents say they are mostly worried about the lesbian group as they are most prevalent and influential. The number of persons in this group is said to be steadily increasing.

In terms of the suspected gay men, the residents claim they are not as bold as the lesbians and are fewer but they too are expected to comply with the two-week notice.

Good source

"Some yute deh bout di place whe wi hear seh gone di nex way. Wi neva actually ketch dem, but wi hear from good source who si dem out a road a par wid man weh known as 'fish'. Dem nuh nuff still eno, but dem affi lef to, wi nuh want none a dem in ya," another female resident added. [Translation: Some guys around the place where we heard went the next way. We never actually caught them, but we heard from good sources who saw them out on the road hanging with men we know as 'fish.' It's not a lot of them, but they have to leave too. We don't want them here.]

Another resident who was not afraid to point fingers at a specific group of youngsters said that the alleged gays are all friends and are well-known in the community. "Yu si dem bway deh weh a walk up an dung inna dem tight pants an ah bleach out dem face, a dem enuh, nuff a dem a f .... t an a talk bout dem a danca," he told THE STAR. [ Translation: You see those boys who are walking up and down in tight pants and are bleaching their face, it's enough. Enough of them talking about they are dancers.]

Since the notice was handed down, at least one person has already fled the community. "... a nuh joke ting eno, one a dem cut out since week, him not even wait pon di last day, him jus cut, nobady not even kno weh him gone," THE STAR was told by a resident. [Translation: It's not a joke, you know? One of them cut out this week. He didn't even wait for the last day he just left and no one knows where he went]

The residents say they will not stop until their community is "gay free" and are not afraid of resorting to extreme measures.

"Mi nuh know how dem come an a gwaan like seh dem tink a farin dem deh, dem tink seh dem can come inna gangsta town wid dem wrong up behaviour an nuttin nuh happen? Dem haffi leave, anyting a anyting," one obviously angry male said. [Translation:I don't know how they come and go on like they are abroad. They think that they can come in a gangster town with those wrong behaviors and nothing will happen? They have to leave!

Efforts by THE STAR to speak to at least two of the persons alleged to be lesbians were unsuccessful.

Incident photos courtesy of DEEZEE at Real Recognizes Real


Editor's Note: The following is a statement by CEO MW Savant in response to this story/post. While it is his opinion, has every intention in supporting his decision, listed therein.

"I pledge that will no longer book nor recommend any holidays, honeymoons or villa rentals in or to Jamaica for our clients from henceforth, effective immediately. Nor will we endorse any commercial support of any other kind until GLBTI people in that country are treated with dignity, tolerance and simple human respect.

Thank you for highlighting this horrible incident and for the great translation. The world is watching.

MW Savant, CEO"

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Mass. Judge Validates Over 170 New York Gay Marriages

By Anthony Cuesta

More than 170 New York same-sex couples who married in Massachusetts between 2004 and 2006 are legally wed, a high court judge ruled.

The Associated Press reports that Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Thomas Connolly ruled last week that since New York had not yet explicitly banned same-sex marriages before last July, those marriages are legally valid.

"Since 2004, it has been the position of the attorney general's office that New York law presumptively requires the recognition of marriages validly performed in other jurisdictions," said New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer in a media statement.

'The marriages are now legally valid in New York and they should expect to be treated as married couples,' said Carisa Cunningham, a spokeswoman for Gays and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) in Boston, to Reuters.

Couples are barred from marrying in Massachusetts if their marriages would be prohibited in their home states. The New York Court of Appeals ruled against same-sex marriages on July 6, 2006.

GLAD had asked for clarification of the status of New York couples who married in Massachusetts before that ruling. Massachusetts became the first state in the country to allow gay marriage in May 2004.

A spokesman for New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo indicated that his office considers the marriages at issue valid.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New Jersey premiere of Freeheld: The Laurel Hester Story on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 7:00 pm

via: Garden State Equality Action Center

Wednesday, May 30th at 7:00 pm
George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Street, New Brunswick
For further information, contact Garden State Equality
(973) GSE-LGBT or

To tell your friends, family, colleagues and members of your organization about the free New Jersey premiere of Freeheld: The Laurel Hester Story on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 7:00 pm, George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, click on the icon immediately below.

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for Garden State Equality Action Center.

Wednesday, May 30th at 7:00 pm
George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Street, New Brunswick
For further information, contact Garden State Equality
(973) GSE-LGBT or

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Sign the petition on line!

Towards an international recognition of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Trans People

"According to an opinion widely held, homosexuality is said to be freer today than ever before. It is present and visible everywhere: in the street, in the newspapers, on television, at the movies. It is even supposedly completely accepted, judging by the recent legislative advances made in many countries for the recognition of same sex couples. Certainly, some work remains necessary in order to eradicate the last vestiges of discrimination. But with changing public opinion, it will only be, according to some people, a matter of time, the time needed for a movement begun many decades earlier to achieve its goals."

Click here to SIGN:
Click here to VIEW: ILGA Commercial for IDAHO

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Some Gay New Yorkers Gain in Ruling on Marriages

The New York Times

BOSTON, May 15 — A little-noticed resolution to a case involving same-sex couples from New York will allow dozens of them to be considered legally married in Massachusetts, and apparently in their home state as well.

The matter, resolved in a Boston courtroom last week, had its roots in a 2004 decision by Mitt Romney, then the governor. Soon after Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage by court order in May of that year, Mr. Romney, invoking a 1913 law, proclaimed that same-sex couples from out of state could not marry here unless they intended to move to Massachusetts or their home state did not prohibit their marriage.

In an interview Tuesday, Attorney General Martha Coakley said, “We agreed that for the period between May 17, 2004, when same-sex marriage was legalized, to July 6, 2006, marriages of couples from New York are fully valid and did not and do not violate our general laws.”

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

ALERT: bi immigrants and bisexual bi-national families being doubly discriminated against by USA

from Bialogue

"Dear Bi/Bi-Inclusive Friends,

I just took action on an issue of real significance to a lot of families, and I hope you'll join me.

Nineteen (19) other countries recognize same-sex couples committed to spending their lives together as 'families' for immigration purposes - and the US, shamefully, does not. That means US citizens and legal residents can't sponsor their same-sex partners from other countries, a basic right other Americans enjoy.

Did you know that Bisexual people are being singled out for scrutiny?

A woman in New Jersey who obtained her green card when married to her husband may have her status revoked because immigration officials are claiming that since after her divorce she fell in love with a woman, the previous marriage was false and done only for green card purposes. They are trying to scuttle her application for citizenship and revoke her green card.

She is bisexual and perfectly capable of falling in love with someone from any gender. She is not allowed to sponsor her partner who is from her homeland of Brazil and the US won't even allow her partner into the country to visit.

Despite the fact that she has a good job and a home in NJ and her desire and application for American citizenship, they are considering emigrating to Canada where they hope they would be able to reunite.

If you are in/from the USA please write your lawmakers today, so we can stop this unequal policy once and for all. It's easy, just click this link and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) does everything for you -- you'll be in and out in 2 minutes!


X-Posted from Bialogue, BiNet USA's Discussion List on Yahoo Groups

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Clock in for Equality!!!

On May 15, 2007, thousands of people across the country will do something to support workplace fairness. By coordinating organizations and individuals to take action on the same day, we will:
  • Educate the public about the harassment and discrimination LGBT people and those living with HIV face at work
  • Increase support for efforts to win legal protections for LGBT employees
  • Activate people to fight for the rights of LGBT and HIV-affected workers

Sign up now to Clock In for Equality.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Transwoman Elected President Of SF Police Commission

by Newscenter Staff

(San Francisco, California) The San Francisco Police Commission has elected openly-transgender Commissioner Theresa Sparks as its new President.

Sparks, who joined the commission in 2004, has a long history of advocating for the transgender community, including working on a set of transgender-specific policy reforms adopted by the Police Commission in 2003.

Her election as President makes Sparks the city’s first openly transgender head of a major commission in San Francisco and likely the city’s highest ranking transgender official.

"I feel honored to have been selected for this position by my fellow commissioners," said Sparks in a statement.

"While I think it is important to recognize the historic step they've taken to make San Francisco a city in which everyone, regardless of our gender identity, can meaningfully contribute, I am thrilled for this opportunity to represent all of the people of San Francisco."

Sparks said that she wants to lead the Commission towards more fully realizing the police reforms endorsed by voters in 2003.

Prop H was a city initiative that passed in the fall 2003 election. It ushered in reforms to the Police Commission to improve citizen oversight of the San Francisco Police Department.

Among other things, it expanded the size of the commission, including expanding the number of Commissioners appointed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Sparks joined the larger commission in 2004 as an appointee of the Board of Supervisors.

Sparks election has not been without controversy. It led to the resignation of the current President, Louise Renne, who had backed Mayor Gavin Newsom's chosen candidate, Commissioner Joe Marshall.

© 2007

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Gay Anglican bishop plans civil union next year


New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson says, "We need to separate the civil rights from the religious rites."

By Brian Early


MANCHESTER, N.H., May 10 (Reuters) - The openly gay Episcopal bishop at the center of the Anglican Church's global battle over homosexuality said on Thursday he hopes to enter into a civil union with his partner next year.

But New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson added that he wants to hold separate religious and legal ceremonies to set a precedent for how marriages and civil unions are performed in the United States.

"It won't be full equality until it is equal," added that he wants to hold separate religious and legal ceremonies to set a precedent for how marriages and civil unions are performed in the United States.

Next week, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch is expected to sign a bill that allows civil unions for same-sex couples, making his state the fourth in the nation to do so. The law would go into effect on Jan 1.

"We need to separate the civil rights from the religious rites"
said Robinson, whose ordination in 2003 enraged conservative Anglicans and threatened to break up the church.

"It won't be full equality until it is equal"

He and his partner of more than 18 years, Mark Andrews, aim to hold two ceremonies around the middle of next year: a non-religious one where they become legal partners followed by a church service to give blessings to God for their relationship.

"Religious people and religious organizations who are not yet ready to offer the churches or the synagogues blessings on such unions, might be supportive of full civil rights for this country's gay and lesbian citizens," he told Reuters in an interview.

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Martina Navratilova receives the 12th annual International Role Model Award


Martina Navratilova received the 12th annual International Role Model Award on May 5, 2007, during the International Equality Dinner at the National Constitution Center. Click below to watch her acceptance remarks.

Watch the Moment!

Editor's Note: congratulates Ms. Navratilova on the award and thanks her for her countless contributions to the GLBTI family! Thank you!

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

N.Y. honors gay public employees' marriages

Planet Out

The state of New York is offering a special open enrollment period for state and local LGBT employees who were legally wed in Canada or anyplace else same-sex marriage is legal and want their partner to have benefits through the New York State Health Insurance Program.

The special enrollment period began May 1 and will conclude May 31, the Empire State Pride Agenda said in a written statement.

"This policy furthers Gov. Spitzer's recently announced intention to create civil marriage equality for all New Yorkers,"
said commissioner Nancy G. Groenwegen in a statement issued by the state Department of Civil Service.

"Health insurance benefits are an important part of the advantages and protections extended to married couples regardless of sex," Groenwegen said.

Based on an initiative that was announced alongside Gov. Eliot Spitzer's marriage bill, 800 local government entities across the state that participate in NYSHIP's Empire Plan are now required to offer spousal benefits to the partners of LGBT employees.

"We are glad New York is moving to provide state and local government employees who are married to same-sex spouses access to the same benefits all other married government workers receive," said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda.

"Having access to employer-based benefits for a spouse is fundamental to being able to take care of one's family. This decision by the makes families stronger in New York."(The Advocate)

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Governor signs gay rights bills into law

Gov. Ted Kulongoski is joined by former Gov. Barbara Roberts, and next to her is real estate broker Terry Bean and members of the House and Senate this morning on the west steps of the Capitol for the signing into law of Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 2007, which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and which establish legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

SALEM -- Noting that it capped more than 30 years of work, Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed legislation into law this morning that will recognize same-sex unions as domestic partnerships and ban discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Kulongoski called Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 2007 "bills that are actually transformational," and he said they declare that "Oregon is a land of equal opportunity for all our citizens." Both bills will take effect Jan. 1.

More than 100 people watched and applauded as the governor signed the bills on the west steps of the Capitol, including former governor Barbara Roberts, many legislators and dozens of gay rights activists.

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Win the World's Tallest Roses! No purchase Necessary!

It's just REALLY cool and RARE.
In time for Mother's Day! Today is the deadline to win the world's tallest roses AND the special vase to present them to MOM or the special someone in your life. Contest ENDS today!



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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

N.Y. Governor Says Gay Marriage Protects Families

by Kilian Melloy
EDGE Boston Contributor
Tuesday May 8, 2007

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who introduced legislation last month to extend full marriage equality to the state’s residents, has issued a memo to state lawmakers articulating the need to protect and acknowledge all families. Spitzer is the first governor in U.S. history to propose such a bill.
"Same-sex couples who wish to marry are not simply looking to obtain additional rights, they are seeking out substantial responsibilities as well: to undertake significant and binding obligations to one another, and to lives of ’shared intimacy and mutual financial and emotional support...
The New York Sun reported May 8 that Spitzer’s two-page memo, called a "statement in support," took on a central argument used by marriage equality opponents, who claim that allowing same-sex couples to marry would "erode" marriage as a civil and religious institution and endanger civilization as we know it.

"Same-sex couples who wish to marry are not simply looking to obtain additional rights, they are seeking out substantial responsibilities as well: to undertake significant and binding obligations to one another, and to lives of ’shared intimacy and mutual financial and emotional support," the memo reads, in part.

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