Sunday, September 30, 2007
A Documentary History of America’s First Legal Same-Sex Marriages
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2007
Jpegs available of Gozemba, Yengo-Kahn and Griffith, McLaughlin and Maynard, and the cover of Courting Equality.
At a ceremony on Monday, September 24, authors of Courting Equality: A
Documentary History of America's First Legal Same-Sex Marriages officially commenced plans to donate a copy of their book to every public high school in Massachusetts. Greater Boston Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) presented the first of these books to Lexington High School. The town of Lexington began receiving national attention when parent David Parker filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the school system after his son was shown a book that mentioned the existence of families headed by gay couples. Brian Camenker of the anti-gay activist group Mass Resistance appeared at the book donation ceremony to stage a protest.
PFLAG chose the Lexington school system to receive the first copy of the book because of the town’s commitment to diverse, safe, and welcoming schools for children of all families. This commitment to education inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues has put the town under legal attack from Mass Resistance.
PFLAG president Stan Griffith, a Lexington resident, said that “Courting Equality captures one of the defining moments in the struggle for equality and dignity for all. The message of marriage equality has resonated around the world. We want students to know about this.”
Carla Yengo-Kahn, a sophomore at Lexington High, accepted the book on behalf of the school’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). Yengo-Kahn, noted, “It is appropriate that my high school should get the first book. We are from Lexington, the birthplace of the American Revolution, which was fought for the very principles of freedom central to our democracy, and appropriately our educational system.” She added, “In our curriculum everyone is a part of ‘we the people.’”
Lexington High GSA advisor, Melissa Buttaro, welcomed Courting Equality. "The book is gorgeous. Thank you for such a generous and moving gift. It will have an important place in our GSA library."
The legal battles over inclusive education continue for Lexington. Despite a victory in February 2007, when Federal Judge Mark Wolf dismissed Parker’s lawsuit, the town will be back in court. Parker and Mass Resistance have now turned to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Greater Boston PFLAG is in the process of filing a Friend of the Court brief supporting the Lexington town officials.
PFLAG’s donation was made possible by a generous gift from Chip McLaughlin and Keith Maynard, the married same-sex couple on the cover of Courting Equality. McLaughlin commented, “It is wonderful to know that this generation of school age kids in Massachusetts can have the same sweet dreams as their friends and potentially healthier relationships with a celebration of marriage.”
Courting Equality: A Documentary History of America’s first Legal Same-Sex Marriages was released by Beacon Press on May 16, 2007
Through engaging storytelling and more than 100 powerful photographs Courting Equality provides a front-row seat to this successful battle for gay marriage in Massachusetts. From early efforts by LGBT activists for family and parenting rights, to the instant celebrations and protests in the months following the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s decision in Goodridge vs. the Department of Public Health, Patricia A. Gozemba, Karen Kahn and photographer Marilyn Humphries take readers inside the landmark fight for equal marriage rights.
Congressman Barney Frank on Courting Equality
"Courting Equality is a very important book on several levels. First, it chronicles the events that led up to same sex marriage in Massachusetts, a historic event in our country’s move towards making the wonderful principles of the Constitution applicable to all of our citizens. Second, it shows how political support in the elected Legislature grew rapidly as the reality of allowing same-sex couples to love each other demolished the prejudices that prevented same-sex marriage previously. Finally, it reinforces the point—which was no surprise to those of us fighting for equal treatment for all people—that same-sex marriage has been an entirely positive thing for thousands of men and women in Massachusetts, and has had zero negative consequences at all. Too often, political literature focuses on the bad news, Courting Equality tells some very good news very well."
Friday, September 28, 2007
"The poster by organizers of the Folsom Street Fair, sponsored in part by Miller Brewing, replaces the bread and wine representing Christ's blood and body with sadomasochistic sex toys."
[For the full article, see here]
This picture says it all:
For countless generations, Gays have been called all sorts of vile names, from outright "hedonists," to "Godless people," to "immoral," to "degenerates." And these terms uttered with regularity have helped retard the acquisition of civil rights for LGBT people.
Now, this display serves to play into the hands of our enemies who can garner not only more publicity for their cause in fighting against the acquisition of full and equal civil and sacramental rights for LGBT people, but makes the work to acquire those rights that much more difficult, as it serves to confirm in the minds of many that all the negative things they have been hearing about Gay people might well be true.
If I were asked how best to sabotage the possibility of LGBT people acquiring full and equal civil rights, I couldn't come up with anything better than a public display of this type that both confirms all the negative stereotypes placed on LGBT people by homophobes, but says, in effect, to all those who are Christians (and all other religious people), "up yours!"
It is a needless slap in the face to so many decent people who are both Straight, as well as Gay, who seek to live lives of dignity and enjoy the rights that accrue to all citizens in this country!
What I am writing has nothing to do with the Leather community! It has to do with the openly hostile display of licentiousness and "otherness" that undoubtedly has the effect of providing some cheap, childish thrills to the participants, all the while serving to distance the perception of Gay people from mainstream society whose good will is certainly needed in the fight for equal rights.
As I've written before regarding so many professing Christian leaders who are homophobic and proud of it, if I were the very devil himself, I could think of no better way of seeking to discredit Christianity than by putting haters front and center claiming to speak for God, for the Bible, for Christianity, and for the Church. Similarly, if I were asked to portray the Gay community, and I wanted to sabotage its getting all the rights that befit all citizens, I would advocate disgusting and hateful displays like that depicted in the above picture.
Make no mistake: Leather, Drag, BDSM, and all other subgroups within the LGBT (and other) communities are not at issue here, as they are valid and viable parts of the community! What is at issue is the public display of those very behaviors that only serve to confirm the stereotypes that have helped retard the acquisition of civil rights for Gay people for far too long; its stereotypes that we can not afford to confirm and reinforce, if we're truly serious about acquiring dignity and full and equal civil rights!
If sex clubs among Straights were so depicted, that wouldn't serve to deny full and equal civil rights for all Straight people, as Straight people are not a demonized minority group! However, when Gay people are in the cross hairs of a host of bigots who get a lot of material, psychological, social, and political mileage out of depicting Gay people as "Godless," and "immoral," to then have such displays, as depicted by and in that Fair, only serves to place the participants, as unforgetably depicted in that picture, in the very same camp as those who demonize all Gay people, as they serve to confirm in the minds of many people who have been sitting on the fence regarding equality for LGBT people that what the homophobes have been saying all along is correct!
People who engage in such public behavior that depicts an "in your face," attitude, along with their confirming the negative stereotypes that have long helped consign LGBT people to an underclass, self-loathing, subterranean underground within society, show me that they really don't want to be integrated as mature and fully participating citizens in society with all the rights that accrue to non-LGBT people!
With friends like these, we certainly don't need enemies!
[Also posted on my blog, A Christian Voice For Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, And Transgender Rights.]
Thursday, September 27, 2007
QueerToday.com - September 26, 2007 - Boston -
Amy Contrada, author of the vehemently anti-gay MassResistance blog and tireless crusader against the Laramie Project play, failed to report that her own daughter will star in Acton High School's production of the play this November. Despite the fact that her daughter will play a TV Reporter and serve as a Moderator for the play, which sensitively chronicles the death of Mathew Shepard, Contrada remains committed to organizing an anti-gay forum at the same High School in October.
Friends of Contrada's daughter first posted messages on QueerToday.com on the evening of September 25. "When you meet her (The daughter of Amy Contrada), it's hard to believe that her mom is like that - she's such her opposite," wrote one classmate. Another drama club friend showed their support by posting "Go C****!"
See the full article on Mark Snyder's QueerToday.com blog.
The only way to fight hate is through information. Hate is based on fear, and sometimes fears are unfounded like those perceived against the GLBT community. It is through vessels like the "Laramie Project" that information brings the healing we need. Love conquers all, and it will be acts of love that heal the wounds of past, allowing us all to sit at the same table as one big "family". Amy, make your daughter proud of you and go see her in this play.
For those who are interested in seeing this performance, The Acton High School production of the Laramie Project will begin November 2nd. Tickets can be purchased at abdrama.org.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
It was a narrow window of opportunity.
Thursday afternoon, Polk County Judge Robert Hanson temporarily cleared the way for same-sex couples across the state to apply for marriage licenses in Polk County.
He ruled that Iowa's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed marriage only between a man and a woman, violated the constitutional rights of due process and equal protection of six gay couples who had sued.
County attorney John Sarcone promised a quick appeal, and he asked Hanson to stay his ruling until the appeal was resolved.
A dozen gay and lesbian couples were waiting at the county recorder's office when it opened Friday morning.
By late morning, 20 had applied for marriage licenses when Recorder Julie Haggerty announced that she had been instructed to stop accepting the applications. Hanson later said the judge had formally stayed his ruling.
The judge's stay means the recorder's office is not permitted to accept any more marriage applications from gay couples until the Iowa Supreme Court rules on the county's appeal.
Sean Fritz and Tim McQuillan were among the lucky few to get their application through.
The marriage license approval process normally takes three business days, but Fritz and McQuillan took advantage of a loophole that allows couples to skip the waiting period if they pay a $5 fee and get a judge to sign a waiver.
Friday morning, the Rev. Mark Stringer declared the two Iowa State University students legally married in a wedding on the Unitarian minister's front lawn in Des Moines.
"This is it. We're married. I love you," Fritz told McQuillan after the ceremony.
Fritz explained their hurry: "We're both in our undergrad programs and we thought maybe we'd put it off until applying at graduate school, but when this opportunity came up, we thought maybe we wouldn't get the opportunity again."
Republican House Minority Leader Christopher Rants said the ruling illustrates the need for a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
"I can't believe this is happening in Iowa," Rants said. "I guarantee you there will be a vote on this issue come January," when the Legislature convenes.
Gov. Chet Culver left open the possibility of state action.
"While some Iowans may disagree on this issue, I personally believe marriage is between a man and a woman," the governor said.
Gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts, and nine other states have approved spousal rights in some form for same-sex couples. Nearly all states have defined marriage as being solely between a man and a woman, and 27 states have such wording in their constitutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Dennis Johnson, a lawyer for the six gay couples who sued after being denied marriage licenses in 2005, said Iowa has a long history of aggressively protecting civil rights in cases of race and gender. The Defense of Marriage Act contradicts previous rulings regarding civil rights and is simply "mean spirited," he said.
Roger J. Kuhle, an assistant Polk County attorney, argued that the issue was not for a judge to decide.
Hanson ruled that the state law banning same-sex marriage must be nullified, severed and stricken from the books, and the marriage laws "must be read and applied in a gender neutral manner so as to permit same-sex couples to enter into a civil marriage ..."
"This is kind of the American Dream," said plaintiff Jen BarbouRoske, of Iowa City. "I'm still feeling kind of shaky. It's pure elation. I just cannot believe it."
Kate Varnum of Cedar Rapids, another plaintiff, said she was elated but expected more legal battles: "I don't expect this to be the last one."
I see signs that this is finally coming to fruition.
On October 7-13, 2007, straight people across the nation will "come out" as supporters of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans.
From Santa Rosa, California, to Montgomery, Alabama, to Augusta, Maine, overnight vigils will light up American cities, providing unprecedented visibility to heterosexual men and women with the conviction to stand up for their gay and lesbian friends and neighbors.
This grassroots groundswell, dubbed Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights, was initiated by Soulforce and Atticus Circle, two Texas-based organizations with members across the nation. With their support, straight community leaders are organizing vigils in towns like Greenville, South Carolina, Shreveport, Louisiana, Duluth, Minnesota, and Salem, Oregon.
These courageous community leaders are showing their elected officials that equality is not a gay issue, not an urban elite issue, not an east coast or a west coast issue -- it's an American issue, and Seven Straight Nights is making Americans' support for lesbian and gay equality visible as never before.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Unfortunately, some clergy across the nation have joined together to oppose this bill in an aggressive and divisive manner. For instance, conservative African-American leaders - most notably Bishop Harry Jackson of Maryland's Hope Christian Church - have been inundating the media and faith communities with the message that this legislation will allow police to storm into worship services and arrest clergy if they speak against being gay. They make the incendiary allegation that the bill will create "thought crimes" by punishing people for thinking ill of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
The truth is that the Matthew Shepard Act protects all First Amendment rights. And, although that is a given, this bill goes out of its way to protect the free speech of ministers. Those pastors who wish to continue condemning and dehumanizing the gay community will be free to do so.
The hate crimes bill provides resources for the investigation of violent actions - not beliefs, thoughts, or words. The proposed federal statute does not punish nor prohibit free expression of one's religious beliefs. As University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey R. Stone recently concluded, "The argument of the pastors that the proposed legislation in any way threatens their right to preach their version of the Gospel is, to be frank, ridiculous."
Despite the ridiculousness of their claims, the powerful and cash-rich antigay lobby continues to mold opinion against this legislation with fear and falsehoods. Leaders like Jackson have used provocative "thought crime" arguments to obscure the truth that, according to the FBI, 1,017 people were the targets of violent crimes in 2005 because of their sexual orientation.
Their rhetoric steals attention away from the stories of gay couples being viciously beaten for holding each other's hand in public or a flight attendant sought out to be heinously murdered simply because he was gay.
These preachers don't care to hear the thousands of stories of lives and communities scarred by antigay violence. And, conveniently, those who bring up the reality that the Matthew Shepard Act is a constitutional and important means to prevent antigay violence are labeled by these clergy as "anti-Christian." The good intentions of this legislation have been greeted by malice by these manipulators of fact.
The efforts of antigay preachers and their supporters is not the way to create the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of a "Beloved Community" - where we all strive to treat each other with respect and compassion.
The way to start building such a community is to listen to the words of Gordon Smith, the Republican senator from Oregon who is cosponsoring the Matthew Shepard Act. Before his fellow senators, Smith declared, "I believe that the moral imperative that underpins hate crimes legislation is simply this, and it comes from sacred writ: that when people are being stoned in the public square, we ought to come to their rescue."
In supporting the noble imperatives of the Matthew Shepard Act, we all have the chance to work toward a community that protects and respects the lives and dignity of all citizens instead of bows to falsehoods and bigotry.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Boston, MA (September 23, 2007) – Governor Patrick today released a new State Homeland Security Strategy (SHSS) for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which outlines current and planned homeland security initiatives and stresses cooperation between all levels of government, the private sector, and Massachusetts residents.
“We have created, with the advice and help of our many federal, state and local partners, a comprehensive strategy for homeland security in Massachusetts,” said Governor Patrick. “The strategy is aimed at preparing the state to effectively prevent or respond to disasters – both natural and manmade.”
The new State Homeland Security Strategy emphasizes cooperation with other public safety stakeholders in order to prevent, protect, respond to, and recover from any and all critical incidents. The strategy focuses on three goals: creating a common operating picture among all public safety stakeholders, strengthening and expanding partnerships, and focusing on private sector and public participation in prevention and preparedness.
The plan highlights strategic state planning which will:
Enhance first responder communication statewide
Consolidate Boston evacuation plan with those in other cities and towns
Modernize government preparation for and management of crises
“In support of the strategy’s three goals, we are working on a number of large-scale projects which will significantly improve homeland security in the Commonwealth. One project of paramount importance is to enhance interoperability capacity across the state, so that first responders can easily and quickly contact each other during an emergency, regardless of their location or affiliation. We are also focusing our resources on addressing potential gaps in strategic planning in conjunction with our homeland security partners. This includes updating the statewide mass evacuation and sheltering plans and revising the Commonwealth’s Continuity of Government efforts,” said Secretary of Public Safety Kevin Burke.
“Since taking office in January 2007, the Patrick-Murray Administration has worked hard to create a strategy that is transparent to the public and instills confidence in the citizens of the Commonwealth. As state homeland security funds from the federal government decline, the state’s obligation to its citizens requires a developed and comprehensive approach to homeland security that also addresses the needs of citizens who may need extra assistance in an emergency, such as those with disabilities,” said Undersecretary for Homeland Security Juliette Kayyem.
Consistent with these efforts, earlier this month the Administration launched its new campaign for Preparedness Month entitled “HELP US HELP YOU: SECURITY IS IN YOUR HANDS TOO.” This campaign seeks to educate and empower the citizens of the Commonwealth, without fear, to take simple steps to prepare themselves for an emergency, so that limited public resources can be reserved for first responders and communities who may need more assistance.
Copies of the Homeland Security Strategy are available for media review and can be found online at www.mass.gov/helpushelpyou and www.mass.gov/eops. State Undersecretary for Homeland Security Juliette Kayyem is available for comment by appointment.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
PROVINCETOWN — Local police are investigating three incidents this summer as possible hate crimes aimed at gay men.
Off-Cape resident Richard Hall, a gay man, was allegedly assaulted at around 12:45 a.m. on Sept. 10 near Court and Commercial streets after being called a "faggot."
A second gay man, Daniel Coburn, 42, of East Hartford, Conn., has told police he and others were called "faggots" by a young man on June 30, also near Court and Commercial streets. The alleged perpetrator also pushed other people, threatened Coburn and threw rocks at others, according to Coburn.
In the third incident under police scrutiny, two gay men were allegedly hit with bikes in late August by a group of local youths, Provincetown police Sgt. Carrie Lopes said. Click on the link above for the full story.
I think it is high time the Provincetown Police team up with the GLBT community, and start having some transparency in their actions. It is my understanding the acting Chief Tobias was not knowledged on some of the things discussed with him when talking to GLBT leaders regarding the hate crime committed against Mr. Hall on Sept. 10th. That would not have been true if he chose to work with us instead of keeping us in the dark. I openly call for a police liaison to the GLBT community, and I call for information sharing so that we have more understanding of what the police are doing to solve this and other issues. I don't think we should have to wait until someone is killed before we have swift and decisive action. The viciousness of the attack on Mr. Hall is a clear indication that things are escalating.
GLBT community be advised that there is a Travel Advisory Issued for Provincetown. If you must travel here before these crimes have been satisfactorily resolved, please make sure you travel in groups, and are aware of your surroundings. Provincetown is no place for
September 22, 2007
To the editor of the Cape Codder:
The Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project calls on the Cape Codder to retract the following statement which appears in the article “Assault Probed As Hate Crime” by reporter Steve Desrouches: “The last reported hate crime in Provincetown was in June 2004, and it was determined to be of an anti-gay nature.” The story in today’s Cape Cod Times, available at:
reveals that police are investigating two other likely hate crimes more recent than 2004. In our view, there are almost certainly more cases that have slipped through the cracks, because Provincetown Police are unfamiliar with what bias indicators are except for the most obvious—epithets. Less readily-detectable cases of hate-motivated violence, even where reported, have undoubtedly escaped their notice. Moreover, the pattern evidence that has come to light puts the violence against Barry Scott in a new light under the relevant bias indicator analysis.
I am not certain whether the factual error in the Cape Codder story, written at the same time as the Cape Cod Times story, is the result of sloppy journalism on Mr. Desrouche’s part or whether he was deliberately misled by Provincetown Police. Since the story reported the erroneous statements of the Provincetown Acting Police Chief as fact, the culpability rests with the Cape Codder as well.
It is clear that Mr. Desrouches put attack journalism ahead of getting his facts straight. The Anti-Violence Project is prepared to take hits from the press if that is the cost of bringing hate crimes to light. But the readers of the Cape Codder deserve better. One is reminded of the Venetian press, in league with the Chamber of Commerce, which covered up the cholera epidemic which dispatched Professor Aschenbach in Thomas Mann’s Death In Venice.
The Anti-Violence Project implores the Cape Codder to retract the erroneous statement about the incidence of hate crimes in Provincetown which made it into print in the Cape Codder. The truth matters.
Don Gorton, Chairperson
The Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project
A Travel Advisory for Provincetown has been issued. All GLBT people should be very cautious while traveling to Provincetown, and if you are going there, please make sure you are in the company of friends at all times, especially late at night.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Greater Boston Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) will hold its annual meeting Sept. 24 at the Congregational Church of Needham. During the meeting PFLAG will kick off a campaign to place the book Courting Equality, which documents the marriage equality movement in Massachusetts through text by Pat Gozemba and Karen Kahn and photos by Bay Windows photographer Marilyn Humphries, into the hands of every gay/straight alliance (GSA) in the state. Gozemba said the program was made possible through a donation by Keith Maynard and Chip McLaughlin of Cambridge, the couple who are pictured on the cover of the book exiting Cambridge City Hall on May 17 after receiving their marriage license.
“They have a real commitment to getting the word out to young people about the struggle for marriage equality and thanking young people for all of the work they did to help bring about marriage equality,” said Gozemba.
PFLAG will distribute a copy of the book to every public high school GSA in the state. For those high schools without a GSA, PFLAG will offer to donate the book to that school’s library. During the annual PFLAG meeting Gozemba will present the first book to the Lexington High School GSA.
The meeting will also include a panel discussion focusing on issues in the LGBT community following the defeat of the amendment last June to ban civil marriage rights for same-sex couples. Panelists will include state Sen. Robert Antonioni (D-Leominster), chair of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education, who will talk about recent and pending legislation related to LGBT youth and education; Kim Westheimer, an educational consultant who helped develop the Massachusetts Safe Schools program, who will talk about the state’s annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey and what data it provides about LGBT youth in the schools; and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) attorney Nima Eshghi, who will talk about legal issues affecting the LGBT community and about efforts by anti-gay activists to attack LGBT-related programming in schools.
The Greater Boston PFLAG annual meeting is open to the public and begins at 7 p.m. For more information visit www.gbpflag.org or call 781.891.5966.
— Ethan Jacobs
With me this afternoon is my wife, Rana
I am here this afternoon to announce that I will sign the resolution that the City Council passed yesterday directing the City Attorney to file a brief in support of gay marriage.
My plan, as has been reported publicly, was to veto that resolution, so I feel like I owe all San Diegans an explanation for this change of heart. · During the campaign two years ago, I announced that I did not support gay marriage and instead supported civil unions and domestic partnerships.
I have personally wrestled with that position ever since. My opinion on this issue has evolved significantly -- as I think have the opinions of millions of Americans from all walks of life. · In order to be consistent with the position I took during the mayoral election, I intended to veto the Council resolution. As late as yesterday afternoon, that was my position. · The arrival of the resolution -- to sign or veto -- in my office late last night forced me to reflect and search my soul for the right thing to do.
I have decided to lead with my heart -- to do what I think is right --and to take a stand on behalf of equality and social justice. The right thing for me to do is to sign this resolution.For three decades, I have worked to bring enlightenment, justice and equality to all parts of our community.
As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night, I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community that they were less important, less worthy and less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage -- than anyone else -- simply because of their sexual orientation.
A decision to veto this resolution would have been inconsistent with the values I have embraced over the past 30 years.
I do believe that times have changed. And with changing time, and new life experiences, come different opinions. I think that's natural, and certainly it is true in my case.
Two years ago, I believed that civil unions were a fair alternative. Those beliefs, in my case, have since changed.
The concept of a "separate but equal" institution is not something that I can support.
I acknowledge that not all members of our community will agree or perhaps even understand my decision today.
All I can offer them is that I am trying to do what I believe is right.
I have close family members and friends who are members of the gay and lesbian community. These folks include my daughter Lisa and her partner, as well as members of my personal staff.
I want for them the same thing that we all want for our loved ones --for each of them to find a mate whom they love deeply and who loves them back; someone with whom they can grow old together and share life's wondrous adventures.
And I want their relationships to be protected equally under the law. In the end, I could not look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships -- their very lives -- were any less meaningful than the marriage that I share with my wife Rana.
Little by little, the times they are a-changing.
Hat tip to Pam's House Blend, which is on top of this and just about every other important story.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Although Mr. Scott is 5’4” and weighs 130lbs, police claim he resisted arrest and they needed to use force to restrain him, resulting in facial injuries and excessive bleeding. Witnesses have a very different story for those who will listen. For the full story, please visit http://knowthyneighbor.blogs.com/home/2007/07/provincetown---.html
The second attack on a GLBT community member occurred September 10, when the victim walked past three men in front of Spiritus Pizza on Commercial street. One of the men called the victim a “faggot” and he in kind said something derogatory back as he was walking away. The victim was hit without warning so powerfully that he was knocked unconscious, and then was dragged onto the beach where he was found beaten and bloodied hours later by police. For unknown reasons police responding did not call for emergency care, and sent this man on his way in such a disoriented state that he does not recall the conversation he had with them. When emergency room specialists saw the victim’s condition hours later they immediately put him in a wheelchair, neck brace, and called for scans of his internals.
The victim spoke to the police since, and has been told by police that they will not be investigating the issue since he cannot identify his attackers. For the full story and pictures of the victim both before and after this attack, please visit http://knowthyneighbor.blogs.com/home/2007/09/is-provincetown.html
Rather than respond appropriately to these crimes the town authorities seem to have decided to try to sweep these issues under the rug. Mr. Scott seemingly with trumped up charges of disturbing the peace, and now with this new crime by telling the victim there is nothing they can do. It is clear to many that these officials are not taking these situations seriously, and this puts everyone’s safety at risk that vacations in Provincetown. If you decide to go and spend your money there (which you are encouraged not to do until this is resolved to everyone’s satisfaction), please make sure you are not alone, and that you are mindful of your surroundings at all times. These criminals are still on the loose, and may be emboldened by the lack of police response. We will keep you updated as new information becomes available.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
The Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project
Contact Don Gorton (617)285-8965
Felony Gaybashing in Provincetown
At approximately 12:30 AM on Monday, September 10th, a New Bedford resident was the victim of a violent assault and battery near Spiritus Pizza in Provincetown. The victim was discovered unconscious at around 3 AM, lying on the beach covered in bruises, dried blood, and lacerations. He had suffered serious head and facial trauma, but the responding officer failed to arrange for medical care. The last thing the victim recalls hearing before he was struck in the head with a blunt object and blacked out was the word “faggot.” The perpetrators remain at large, but it is unclear whether Provincetown Police are conducting an active investigation.
Given the serious bodily injury the victim suffered, and the clear bias indicator evidence, the assault and battery qualifies as a felony hate crime under G.L. c. 265, § 39 and felony interference with civil rights by force under G.L. c. 265, § 37. The penalties for these two crimes alone are a maximum 15 years in state prison; coupled with the penalties for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, the perpetrators face a possible sentence of 25 years in state prison.
This horrific assault comes at a time when the Provincetown Police Department is under fire over the violent arrest of Boston DJ Barry Scott at a backyard birthday party on July 14th. Mr. Scott was left bloodied and bruised by the arresting officers, although he had complied with their demand to stop the music, and announced that he was not resisting them. Mr. Scott, 44, stands 5’ 4” and weighs 130 lbs. The arresting officers, summer cops who had received little training, were both strapping six footers of college age. Mr. Scott is currently facing charges of disorderly conduct and disturbing the police for allegedly uttering the words “The Provincetown Police are here to ruin our night. We hate them.” after the music was turned off.
The Anti-Violence Project has mounting concerns about the safety of LGBT visitors to Provincetown given these two cases of serious violence in a short time period. According to Chairperson Don Gorton, “We lack confidence that the Provincetown Police Department, under its current interim leadership, is willing or able to adequately protect LGBT visitors. The Department is incapably led, seriously understaffed, under trained, and under supervised”. Gorton announced that the Anti-Violence Project would continue and step up its advocacy efforts until confidence is restored in the Provincetown Police Department: “The Provincetown Police Department desperately needs to be reformed.”
Please join Don Gorton and I in personally contacting the Provincetown authorities and voicing your concerns:
email@example.com (Asst. Town Manager) 508.487.7087
firstname.lastname@example.org (Acting Police Chief) 508.487.1212
email@example.com (Town Manager) 508.487.7002
firstname.lastname@example.org (Selectmen Chair) 508.487.7003
Only through our collective voice will policy be changed and justice prevail. Please consider changing any plans you have on vacationing in Provincetown until we have a satifactory resolution to these two matters.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Brian Rainey makes an excellent contribution to QueerToday.com with his article "What About the Children?" Here's an excerpt:
I, for one, am amused by a hypocritical society that shrieks and howls in the name of "protecting our children" when it comes to sexual abuse, but nonetheless allows millions of its children to live in poverty, to go to substandard schools, or to not have health insurance. So when someone blubbers, "What about the children?" I say, "What about the children?"
On MassMarrier.blogspot.com we find a great article exposing the radical right's attempt to deny a spouse her pension benefits. Exactly how does this action help our society? beats me, but read the article and see for yourself how their actions backfire.
Since their are so many blogs out there, and there is so little time to read them all I have been toying with the idea of creating a weekly summary of the ones I keep my eye on. Your input as to what we should read is welcome and may be used in the next edition. Until then, be happy and gay! ;)
Sunday, September 09, 2007
When I go to a restaurant, if infuriates and confuses me to even see another type of "pizza" on my menu, other than what I see as traditional pizza. If I see other "pizzas" on the menu, it makes my pizza less enjoyable, and I feel it is an insult and threat to my pizza.
In fact, it bothers me so much that there is variety that I feel the need to demand the owner to change this. I don't care what other people want, I want there to be only one choice on the menu, and that is my idea of what traditional pizza is. I know some people might have allergies to what is on traditional pizza and therefore unable to enjoy it, but if that's true they shouldn't order pizza. Their corruption of pizza is part of what's wrong with America today.
Sure there are many toppings to put on a "pizza", but my way is the only right way. I can't enjoy my life or my pizza knowing that other people may be enjoying their abomination of "pizza" equally. I also wish to protect children from learning about this "pizza" and having their minds perverted with the idea that they can have whatever they want on their "pizza". If children grow up thinking there are choices, this most certainly will lead to chaos and the end of the world as our society embraces "pizza" diversity and equality.
There are arguments out there that since pizza has been around for hundreds of years that it has evolved over time, and there really is no true traditional pizza. Nothing could be further from the truth. Traditional pizza was handed down to us from God, and even though people have had the ability to have their "pizzas" whatever way they want up to now, it is time to take a stand and protect the sanctity of traditional pizza by banning any other form of "pizza". Let's make sure that we ban the mere talk of other "pizza" in public schools, and let's make a constitutional amendment that bans people from having "pizza" their way. Then and only then will traditional pizza be safe, and I will finally be able to enjoy my pizza to it's fullest extent.
This is a one pizza country where choices are not considered natural, and not in God's divine plan for us, so we should not create a social experiment by letting others try things we do not care for ourselves. Imagine what the world would be like if everybody could enjoy their "pizza" just the way they wanted?! Indeed I say that if it is not traditional pizza, it is not pizza, and it deserves to be called another name if we are to tolerate it at all. If we go down this road, who knows where the slippery slope may end? We may one day have a complete social breakdown as a result of "tolerance" to this "pizza".
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Karynn Fish, Interim Communications Director
(503) 222.6151 (office)
(503) 917.9067 (mobile)
Bryan Boyd, Communications Coordinator
(503) 222.6151 (office)
(503) 528.6160 (mobile)
Elections Complaint Alleges Illegal Activity Among Opponents of Anti-Discrimination Laws
(Portland, Oregon) A complaint was filed with the Oregon Secretary of State's Elections Division against groups gathering signatures to oppose Oregon's new family fairness and anti-discrimination laws. The complaint, filed by longtime clean elections activist Ellen Lowe, says the groups are breaking the law by misrepresenting themselves to voters and using false information to solicit campaign contributions.
According to the complaint, an organization called "Concerned Oregonians" and another group are misleading voters by claiming that contributions to their efforts are eligible for a "dollar-for-dollar" political tax credit of up to $100.
In fact, only contributions made to legitimate ballot measure and candidate campaigns are eligible for Oregon's Political Tax Credit. According to the complaint, Concerned Oregonians, which has been soliciting support and donations from individuals and churches, is not a political action committee at all. The other group is not a campaign or ballot measure committee and donations to its efforts are not eligible for the credit.
The complaint also notes that Concerned Oregonians claims to be a co-sponsor of the referenda, and is collecting donations based upon that assertion, when it is not.�
"We are very concerned that these groups are misleading donors and failing to comply with the law," said John Hummel, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon. "These groups are advising churches and voters on election law, but they aren't following the laws themselves."
Oregon's campaign finance laws require the registration of political committees and the disclosure of campaign contributions to ensure clean and transparent elections. By failing to comply with the laws, Concerned Oregonians is able to conceal its financial donors from public scrutiny.
"Just like Oregon's family fairness and anti-discrimination laws, our election laws are here to guarantee fairness and a level playing field to all Oregonians," Hummel said. "What if their supporters follow their advice and falsely claim the tax credit? These groups have to follow rules just like everyone else."
Basic Rights Oregon has a copy of the complaint that has been filed available for download. Please go here to download the complaint.
About Basic Rights Oregon
Basic Rights Oregon is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Oregon. For more information, please visit our website at www.basicrights.org.
email@example.com • Basic Rights Oregon
Oregonians seem difficult to talk to in my attempts to let them know what may be coming their way, but perhaps they need no help in uncovering their own petition fraud. Jeannie Berg was a fraud expert who came to Massachusetts and gave her testimony during our election committee hearing in 2005, and I am very thankful for her help.
I have to smile while I write this because of the virulent bigotry I encountered while talking to Oregonians about what happened here in Massachusetts. The bigotry was not from the opposition to GLBT equality, but rather from the GLBT Oregonians themselves. It seems they DO NOT like outsiders, even one's trying to help. My most benign comments were somehow painted as looking down at them, and intrusive. Bearing that in mind I have decided to pull back and post comments where I can be of more help, but I will keep an eye out for lies, and when I catch them I will not hesitate to say so. Keyjo, keep up the good work on statesmanjournal.com.
BTW, it seems Oregon has it's own Kris Mineau:
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
On August 12, 2007, we got married. All of our family and friends came out, not only to share in the celebration, but to let us know that they lovingly approve of our marriage. Allow me to share with you some pictures of this joyous moment, and consider if you will the fact that all people are deserving of such happiness, no matter their creed.
The fireworks that Tom Lang and Alex Westerhoff had at their home for us could have easily been used in a city display they were so grand. I'll try to find better pictures and submit them.
Dick Walsh and Dana Lothrop are our friends who lived on the first floor of the house that burned down. They have been together for over twenty years, and Dana got the Governor's permission to marry us. Dick was my best man, and they are both better friends than I could ever ask for!
Mother and son. I think it is important to note that most people ask me how our parents felt about us getting married. My mother actually bought us our wedding rings. She is someone who understands that discrimination is wrong, no matter the form.
My grandmother is now 86 years old, and she told me she is proud of me for standing up for myself, and all the work I do to try and right the wrongs I see. Don't let people tell you that the elder generation can't see things the same way, she was not the only one of her generation at our wedding for sure!
Dr. Susan Wadia-Ells is a friend of mine who works with me to try and get attention for Ben LaGuer, an innocent man who has served 24 years of a life sentence. She delivered a sobering reminder of how inadequate our justice system is while also delivering a champaign toast from Ben himself.
My Uncle Paul is the patriarch of the Krafton family now. He delivered a champaign toast that was so heart felt and warm, it got a standing ovation! He is an avid hunter and lives in rural New Hampshire, and enjoyed playing serious football in his college days. He's a man's man, yet can still look me in the eye and say he loves me, and is happy I have found the right person. He shows that when a man is truly a man, he combines strength with gentleness, and fortitude with compassion. All these qualities are enhanced by having the wisdom to let people be themselves.
Back at home, just about to take our tuxes off, we pose one more time with our cat, who wears a tux every day! Thank you to Tom Lang and Alex Westerhoff for their extrodinary generousity. Thank you to all those people that came to celebrate, and in their own way make a stand for equality by simply accepting us for who we are. The world is a better place when people like you are in it.