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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
September 29 , 2000

 

Virginia gay bar is sprayed with bullets

One dead, six wounded by man who said
he wanted to shoot gay people

by Eric Resnick

Roanoke, Va.--A man who said he wanted to shoot gay people asked the way to a gay bar, went in and opened fire, killing one and wounding six others shortly before midnight Friday, September 22. The shooting came one week after Roanoke’s first gay pride festival.

The suspect, 53-year-old Ronald Gay, a transient resident of Roanoke, is being held without bail in the city jail on one count of murder following a peaceful surrender.

Gay, a Viet Nam veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, apparently was avenging the torment he felt due to his last name and the hazing he took for it in the Marines.

Prosecutors are preparing the case for presentation to the grand jury October 2. Gay currently faces one count of murder for the death of Danny Lee Overstreet, 43, of Roanoke.

More charges will be added as the other six victims’ medical status is determined. Future charges will range from aggravated malicious wounding to capital murder if another victim dies.

A conviction on the murder charge would mean life in prison. A capital murder conviction could mean the death penalty.

Although police are investigating it as a hate crime, no hate crime enhancements can be added because Virginia’s hate crime law does not protect on the basis of sexual orientation.

Gay’s actions leading to the crime were bizarre. A drifter who spent the last year at various Roanoke addresses, Gay checked into a motel that afternoon. Then, witnesses said, he gave away money, tapes, whiskey, his glasses, and his room key.

An acquaintance, Virgil Glover of Roanoke, told the Roanoke Times that Gay was like a man preparing for suicide.

Glover said Gay told him if he wasn’t back by morning, turn on the 8 am news. He told another acquaintance he could have everything left in his motel room.

Laura Ramsey, Gay’s fifth ex-wife, reported a history of drunkenness and violence and that he always had a gun. She got a restraining order against Gay after he broke into her home and assaulting her new husband.

The evening of the shooting, Gay’s gun was a 9mm autoloader that held ten rounds. He had the year-old receipt for it in his pocket when he was arrested.

After drinking for much of the evening and then giving away the bottle of whiskey, Gay left the motel between 11:00 and 11:30 pm. He walked down an alley outside Corned Beef and Co., where he talked to an employee.

Gay asked the worker where the nearest gay bar was.

The employee directed Gay to the Park, a gay bar about six blocks away on Salem Ave. Corned Beef is on Jefferson Ave., near the corner of Salem.

Gay then showed the employee the gun, said he wanted to "go waste some faggots," and walked away. The employee called police, who responded to Corned Beef at 11:39. Police broadcast Gay’s description at 11:46 and headed toward the Park.

But Gay had gone into the Backstreet Café, another gay bar on Salem, three blocks closer to Corned Beef.

Five minutes later, the call of the shooting came from the Backstreet.

There were about 25 people in the Backstreet when Gay entered. He walked up to the bar and ordered a beer.

Nearby, John W. Collins, 39, gave a hug to Overstreet as he stood up from Overstreet’s table. Seeing this, Gay pulled out his gun and shot Collins, then Overstreet, and then fired six more shots into the crowd.

Overstreet died within minutes. Collins was listed in critical condition Monday at Roanoke Memorial Hospital with a bullet wound in his abdomen.

Iris Page Webb, 39, was listed in very serious condition with a bullet wound in the neck.

Also wounded were Susan S. Smith, 45, shot in the right leg; Linda R. Conyers, 41, shot in the right arm; Joel I. Tucker, 40, shot in the small of the back; and Kathy S. Caldwell, 36, shot through the left hand and right shoulder.

Gay left the bar, wrapped the gun in his coat and threw it in a trash can near the Virginia Museum of Transportation. He said later that he didn’t want to hurt any policemen.

Police arrested him moments later with his hands in the air a few blocks from the bar. Gay has confessed to the crime.

"This latest hate crime is tragic, abominable and infuriating," said National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive director Elizabeth Toledo, adding that this was one of the worst episodes of anti-gay violence in recent years.

On Sunday evening, crowds gathered along Salem Ave. holding vigil in memory of Overstreet.

"I’m shocked and saddened by this terrible, terrible crime," said Roanoke Mayor Ralph Smith at a press conference. "Any time one member of our community is hurt, we all suffer by that same hand."

As Roanoke mourns, gay activists are again calling attention to the lack of hate crime protection in most states. Like Ohio, Virginia’s hate crime law gives protection on the basis of race, religion, color, and national origin, but not sexual orientation. Also like Ohio, a bill to add sexual orientation was introduced in the Virginia state legislature, but never voted out of committee.

Shirley Lesser, spokesperson for Virginians for Justice, a gay advocacy agency affiliated with the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, said the lack of strong hate crime laws at both the federal and state level "sends the message that violence directed against gay people is not as serious as violence committed against other Virginians."

Others point to the fact that Roanoke’s first Pride celebration was held a week earlier, saying that backlash violence against gays is a natural reaction by hateful people to increased visibility.

People around the nation are planning to hold vigils coinciding with one planned in Roanoke September 28.

 

Head of ‘ex-gay’ group Exodus is caught in a gay bar

by Anthony Glassman

Washington, D.C.--The facade of the "ex-gay" ministries headed by umbrella organization Exodus International revealed another crack September 19, when the group’s chairman was caught in a gay bar by two Human Rights Campaign employees.

John Paulk leaving
Mr. P's bar.
(photo: Wayne Besen)

 

John Paulk spent 40 minutes in the bar, leaving only when one of the HRC staffers tried to photograph him. He has appeared in ads touting "conversion" to heterosexuality, an idea widely discredited in medical and psychological circles.

Daryl Herrschaft, one of the HRC staffers, was sitting in Mr. P’s bar in DuPont Circle, Washington’s gay mecca, when he noticed a familiar face walk in. He didn’t really think about it much until a quarter of an hour later, when he turned around to discover Paulk standing behind him.

The two struck up a conversation, in which Paulk claimed his name was John Clint, said he lived in Colorado Springs (where Paulk works for Focus on the Family, an anti-gay group), and answered yes when Herrschaft asked if he was gay. Paulk reportedly offered to buy him a drink, and the two talked until Herrschaft excused himself and went to the phone.

He called HRC deputy press secretary Wayne Besen, who arrived 40 minutes after Herrschaft first saw Paulk.

Besen, who has debated Paulk publicly, immediately recognized the "ex-gay" poster boy, who has appeared on the cover of Newsweek with his wife, an "ex-lesbian."

Paulk, apparently recognizing Besen, tried to hide, and Besen began snapping photographs of Paulk. A bouncer ejected Besen for violating the club’s no-photos policy. When Paulk left the bar with his head down, Besen followed him for a couple of blocks.

Paulk called Besen the next day, claiming he had just gone into the bar to use the restroom, unaware that it was a gay bar.

In the following days, Paulk’s story to the press wavered between the bathroom excuse, and a claim that he went in to see what gay bars are like these days, since he speaks about them so frequently but hasn’t been in one since his "cure."

Mr. P’s is across P Street from a well-lit coffee shop with a public restroom, as well as next door to the brightly lit Barcelo Hotel, which also has a public restroom. The bar, on the other hand, has a dark facade and a small window with a neon sign. It is also a half-block away from a park cruising area known as the P Street Beach.

"John’s actions represent a serious lapse in judgement," Exodus said in a statement to the press. "His decision to enter a gay establishment for any reason opens him up to all kinds of speculation and questions by both other Exodus leaders and also the gay community."

Paulk told the Exodus board of his need to use the restroom, and the curiosity that caused him to stay longer, and they have thus far decided to take no actions against him.

Two of Exodus International’s founders left the organization in 1979 and divorced their wives for each other, remaining together until one died a few years ago. A number of chapters of Exodus and other "ex-gay" organizations have closed shop when leaders returned to their "homosexual lifestyles."

"I predict that John Paulk will yet recreate himself again when this ["ex-gay"] folly, like the ones before, runs its course," Stuart Koblentz wrote in 1998, wrapping up a memoir of his days as Paulk’s neighbor in Columbus when they went to Ohio State University 14 years earlier. During that time, Paulk went from being a successful college student to being a prostitute.

"During the time that I knew John, the truth was always something that was treated as an afterthought," Koblentz wrote.


Party twice: Two cities’ Prides won’t be on the same day next year

by Eric Resnick

Cleveland—Organizers of the city’s Pride parade and festival have decided to move the event up one week next June, so it will not fall on the same day as the Columbus Pride festivities.

The date change, from Saturday, June 23, 2001 to Saturday, June 16, 2001, awaits final approval from the city of Cleveland.

With this change, people and organizations wanting to attend both the Cleveland and Columbus events will be able to do so.

According to Cleveland Pride volunteer and former parade chair Brook Willis, Pride organizers in both cities had been working to solve a scheduling conflict that occurred for the first time this year, when the Columbus events were expanded to cover two days.

Both festivals use city facilities and are subject to the scheduling needs of their cities. The Columbus festival had to schedule its events five years in advance in order to get the fourth Saturday and Sunday in June.

Since 1982, the Columbus march has been on the last Sunday in June; this year it was moved to Saturday to avoid conflict with the Bat ’n’ Rouge drag softball game, also on Sunday.

In Cleveland, the Port Authority controls the schedule for Voinovich Park, which is the festival site. Cleveland organizers have always tried to schedule the event for the Saturday nearest the anniversary date of the Stonewall riots on June 28, 1969. Since 1990, this has often been the third Saturday in June because of other downtown events.

The Cleveland Special Events Committee oversees the scheduling of all events such as Pride, the Labor Day air show and the Grand Prix auto race in order to avoid conflicts with city services.

Pride is not a large purchaser of city services, so the large events that spend over $100,000 per year for services are the city’s priority. Those large events can move the dates and venues of the smaller ones.

Originally, the Cleveland Pride Committee selected Saturday, June 23, also the 2001 Columbus date, to collaborate with a Unitarian Universalist conference to be held in Cleveland that week. Organizers decided to move the event to June 16 to avoid the conflict with Columbus.

"The Port Authority has approved the June 16 date," said Willis. "That makes it about 95 percent certain."

According to Willis, the Special Events Committee will make their final decision "in a couple of weeks."

 


Gay and lesbian voters are key to Ohio, says Hochberg

by Kaizaad Kotwal

Columbus—Five percent of voters are gay or lesbian, says an openly gay Clinton administration official, and they can be key to swinging Ohio in the presidential election.

 

 

 

Fred Hochberg
(photo: Kaizaad Kotwal)

 

Small Business Administration deputy director Fred Hochberg spoke to a group of gay and lesbian leaders in Columbus September 22. He has been in the SBA post since May 1998, and is also a past co-chair of the Human Rights Campaign.

Hochberg’s visit was sponsored by the Democratic Party, to get out the vote for Vice President Al Gore and other Democratic candidates on November 7.

Among the other candidates is Maryellen O’Shaughnessy, who is seeking John Kasich’s U.S. House District 12 seat.

A recent Ohio Poll done by the University of Cincinnati showed Bush leading Gore by 4 points in Ohio, with a 4.6 margin of error. Hochberg pointed out a Voters News Service survey showing that 5 percent of voters in the 1996 election self-identified as gay.

"That doesn’t even include those who aren’t out, those who are married or those who simply don’t want to tell a perfect stranger about their sexual orientation," he said.

"This means that the gay and lesbian constituents have a real opportunity to help Gore win this state," Hochberg observed. "The gay community is uniquely positioned in a handful of states to turn out in full and significantly influence the outcome."

Hochberg believes that along with Ohio, gay and lesbian voters can change the results in other states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Missouri.

While Hochberg believes that the next president’s appointment of up to four Supreme Court justices is a very significant issue in the presidential race, he also believes that focusing on this is a little esoteric for the ordinary citizen.

"The people who believe that the Supreme Court is a significant issue have already decided which way they are going to vote," noted Hochberg. "But we really need to talk to the undecided, or those who have decided not to vote this year, and for them issues like health care, Social Security, education, children, adoption and ENDA are very important." ENDA is the gay and lesbian Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Hochberg said that the strong economy has given the current administration "the wherewithal to address other critical issues such as crime, education and health care, which are harder to deal with when running a 300 billion dollar deficit."

Hochberg emphasized the importance of "an administration that values us."

"Bush only met with the Log Cabin Republicans well after he had all his other bases firmly locked in," Hochberg concluded.

The meeting was attended by a handful of gay and lesbian community leaders, including activist and publisher Lynn Greer, Stonewall Democrats president Brian Shinn, attorney Elliot Fishman, Stonewall Democrats treasurer Bill Hedrick, Mary Jo Hudson, Terry Penrod and Stampp Corbin, all from the HRC board of governors.

Shinn started the meeting by saying the its purpose was to "figure out what we should be doing to make sure Al Gore wins in November."

Hochberg said that the road to victory in the election ahead was going to be "brutal, but the dividends to help this community to be seen as a political force to be reckoned with are immense. It will have a huge impact." He said that he was there to ask "each of you to help. Gays and lesbians have always been accused of recruiting. So good! Now is the time to recruit."

Shinn said that even though Clinton had won Ohio in 1992 and 1996, "when Democrats win here they win by small margins."

"If we turn out the gay and lesbian vote we can win Ohio," Shinn argued.

Other events are planned to rally GLBT voters for Gore. White House gay and lesbian liason Julian Potter, will be making an appearance on October 10 at Stonewall Columbus’s annual Night Out.

The Gill Foundation and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force have non-partisan events planned, and openly gay Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank will campaign in Ohio for Maryellen O’Shaughnessy.

Hochberg added that while women may have a voice in a Bush administration, "African-American’s certainly won’t."

Greer added that, "We won’t even be on the radar." She said that it was important to inform the gay and lesbian constituents about what they stood to lose in a Bush administration.

"It is easy to figure out what we will lose," said Fishman, "from adoption to job security to ENDA."

But, Corbin asked, "How do we get the voters to leave home and vote when they don’t feel engaged?"

Hochberg emphasized that a grass-roots approach would be most effective as more and more people were brought into the circle of spreading the message. He and the others agreed that "networking" the "get out the vote message would be the most effective way."

Greer also said that it wasn’t simply enough for people to go out and vote.

Rather, she argued, "voters must advocate to others about what the issues are and who to vote for."

Some of the ideas floated included "get out the vote" bar napkins which have had success in the past. Led by Terry Penrod, the group plans to increase the voter registration events around Columbus and the state by the October 10 registration deadline. Debate-watching parties are also being planned.


 

Study: Australian military is not changed by allowing gays

Santa Barbara, California—Despite earlier warnings from service chiefs in the Australian Defense Force, integration of gay and lesbian servicemembers has had no ill effects on the military, a study released September 19 shows.

The report, compiled by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California-Santa Barbara, used a variety of sources, military and civilian, in assessing the effects of including openly gay and lesbian officers and enlisted personnel.

Among the findings of the study are figures showing that recruitment and retention rates have not noticeably changed since the policy banning gay soldiers was lifted.

"There was no great peak . . . where people walked out, and there was no great dip in recruiting," the report quotes Royal Australian Navy Commodore R. W. Gates as saying. "It really was a non-event."

Further, the paper notes that, out of 1,400 calls to an anonymous advice line operated by the military, only 1.2% have been related to sexual orientation issues.

The study follows similar reports by the Santa Barbara center on the Canadian and Israeli militaries, which also seem to have integrated openly gay soldiers with little or no difficulty.

It comes on the heels of a statement from the British Royal Navy in which one admiral said that the Navy had more difficulty accepting women on ships 20 years ago than accepting gays.

The British military was opened to gays last year.


No end near for transgender child’s stay in foster home

by Eric Resnick

Columbus--A six year old transgender girl will remain in the custody of Franklin County Children Services, living as a boy, while her parents’ separation delays court action and a final resolution of the case.

Children Services took custody of the child August 23, and her parents, Paul and Sherry Lipscomb, have sought in court to have her returned.

A motion to vacate a magistrate’s order for county custody was to be heard September 26, but Judge Kay Lias dismissed the entire case because both the family’s attorneys withdrew when the parents’ separation came to light.

Legal ethics dictate that attorneys cannot represent parties whose interests in a case could become different, such as a separated couple. Lias released the attorneys from the case on September 20.

Children Services alleges "dependency" and neglect as the reason for seeking custody.

Although the agency was involved with the family from February until July, those concerns were not raised until the Lipscombs filed court papers in August to have the child’s name legally changed from Zachary to Aurora. The child chose Aurora in honor of the princess in Sleeping Beauty.

At the same time, the Lipscombs attempted to enroll her in the Westerville schools as a girl. She attended kindergarten last year as Zachary.

The case has drawn national attention to issues of transgender youth and gender identity disorder, which Aurora has been diagnosed with. GID is recognized by the medical community as a diagnosis for adult transsexuals requesting hormones and sex reassignment surgery. It can appear in children as early as the toddler years.

The Lipscombs hired openly gay Columbus attorney Mark Narens and Cleveland area attorney Randi Barnabee, who is transgender, and were prepared to fight Children Services and the Westerville schools for the right to keep their child. In the process, they could set a legal precedent that could help other transgender children and their families.

Both sides braced for a legal battle that the family would likely have won, until a Time magazine interview revealed new information.

Paul Lipscomb told Time that he believes he also has gender identity disorder, and although he had never told anyone about it, he intends to make the transition from male to female.

Both Paul and Sherry Lipscomb have diagnoses of bipolar disorder and have admitted to fighting violently with each other, which is the reason Children Services had an open case with the family from February to July of this year. It is believed that Sherry has stopped taking her medication.

But the two have separated since the custody battle began and Sherry now says she would never allow Aurora and her father to be left home alone at night.

"They are both too hotheaded," she told Time.

Narens and Barnabee had to withdraw from the case because, with the parents separated, Aurora’s custody after Children Services returns her may become an issue between them.

Lias also ruled September 20 that cameras and reporters would be allowed in the courtroom, but the family and attorneys cannot discuss the case. This decision could also be appealed, creating further delay.

Paul Lipscomb is indigent, and the court has appointed Columbus attorney Kara Morgan to represent him. Sherry Lipscomb has no attorney of record, as of September 26.

The child remains in foster care. No new motions have been filed with the court from either side.


Over 20 candidates will be at Stonewall Akron forum

by Eric Resnick

Akron--More than 20 candidates seeking offices in Summit, Stark, Medina and Portage counties, and statewide, have confirmed that they will participate in one of the largest candidate forums in the area and the only one held by a gay activist organization.

Stonewall Akron’s fourth bi-annual Candidates’ Night Out will be held at the Martin Center at the University of Akron on Tuesday, October 3 with a reception to meet the candidates beginning at 7:00 and the candidate forum going forward at 8:00.

The event is known as one of the largest gatherings of candidates around the Akron area. Stonewall Akron also surveys candidates and distributes a voter guide to be released that evening. All candidates will take questions from the audience.

Candidates attending will include State Senator Democrat Leigh Herington, Democrat Rep. Tom Sawyer and his opponent Republican Rick Wood. Democrat Rep. Sherrod Brown and his Republican opponent Rick Jeric will also attend.

Tim Black, Democrat for Ohio Supreme Court will attend as well as three candidates for Summit County Common Pleas Judge, Summit County Sheriff Richard Warren, and both candidates for Stark County Commissioner.

"The response has been tremendous," said event chair Shelley McConnell, who is especially proud of the broad range of candidates attracted to the event.

"Since 1994, this event has served to educate hundreds of voters in the area as to which are the best candidates and give candidates an opportunity to meet their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender constituents," McConnell added.

Following the program, televisions will be available to watch the first presidential debate between Democrat Vice President Al Gore and Republican Texas Governor George W. Bush, also set for October 3.


Rhode Island high court gives nod to ‘de facto’ parents

Providence--The Rhode Island Supreme Court on September 25 recognized new rights for gay and lesbian couples raising children, ruling that a woman can petition Family Court for the right to visit the son she and her former partner raised together.

The 3-2 decision gives de facto--"in fact"--parents, including gay couples, the same rights to petition for visitation as biological and adoptive parents.

In the case, Concetta DiCenzo was trying to prevent her former partner Maureen Rubano from petitioning the family court for the right to visit the son DiCenzo gave birth to in 1991 after undergoing artificial insemination. She and Rubano sent out birth announcements identifying them both as the child’s parents, and the last name of Rubano-DiCenzo was listed on the birth certificate.

"The fact that DiCenzo not only gave birth to this child but also nurtured him from infancy does not mean that she can arbitrarily terminate Rubano’s de facto parental relationship with the boy, a relationship that DiCenzo agreed to and fostered for many years," Justice Robert Flanders wrote in the majority opinion.

The ruling was based on state law allowing any interested party to "bring an action to determine the existence or nonexistence of a mother and child relationship."

The justices also noted the Family Court has jurisdiction over cases involving the paternity of children born out of wedlock.

Attorney Cherrie Perkins, a professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts who represented Rubano, said her client cried when she heard of the ruling.

"She’s now not on thin ice any more. She’s on pretty solid ground," Perkins said.

DiCenzo’s attorney, Rosina Hunt, said the case has drained her client emotionally and financially.

"The big thing for her is she wants to keep her son in a stable home and she doesn’t want to go through this," Hunt said.

Similar cases began surfacing in courts around the country in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and claims by "co-parents" generally were rejected, said attorney Mary Bonauto of Gay and Lesbians Advocates and Defenders of Boston, which filed a brief in support of Rubano.

Recently, however, courts in a handful of states, including Massachusetts and New Jersey, have decided to recognize the legal status of non-biological parents.

"This decision puts Rhode Island in line with the majority of recent decisions on the topic, although this is an issue that is still hotly contested among the states," Bonauto said.

DiCenzo and Rubano split up in 1996, and in 1997 they signed a Family Court consent order granting Rubano permanent visitation rights. In exchange Rubano waived "any claim or cause of action she has or may have to recognition as a parent of the minor child."

DiCenzo said she ended the visitations because she believed Rubano’s visits were "disruptive and confusing" to the boy.

Rubano appealed to Family Court, which DiCenzo argued lacked jurisdiction to enter the order in the first place. The court requested that the Supreme Court issue a ruling.

Hunt, DiCenzo’s attorney, expressed concern that the finding may pave the way for third party parent claims from grandparents, ex-boyfriends and others. The General Assembly may want to consider changing the law, she said.

But Perkins, Rubano’s attorney, said she sees the ruling as a boon to both gays and heterosexuals.

"You could be somebody’s second wife or husband and essentially raise their children and if you got divorced, you could have no rights," Perkins said. "We think that the court was actually looking for a way to redress a lot of holes in the law because families are changing over time and this was maybe the case to do it."|

Associated Press

 


News Briefs

A second lesbian couple gets a Texas marriage license

San Antonio, Texas--Two former Ohio residents have become the second lesbian couple to get marriage licenses as a result of a Texas appellate court ruling that gender at birth is gender for life.

The couple, now living in New Mexico, walked into the Bexar County clerk’s office on September 20 and presented Clerk Gerry Rickhoff with their drivers’ licenses. Lori Killough and her partner Cynthia Young then gave him Killough’s birth certificate, showing she had been born male.

According to the Texas Fouth District Court of Appeals ruling in the case of a malpractice suit brought by a transsexual woman over the death of her husband, the two women are officially of the opposite sexes.

The court ruled that Christine Littleton, having been born a man, could not have been legally married to her husband, and therefore had no legal right to sue because of his death.

Two weeks earlier, Robin and Jessica Wicks became the first lesbian couple to receive a marriage license under the ruling. They were married in a September 16 ceremony, surrounded by their friends and the press.

 

Most young voters favor civil unions

Washington, D.C.--A survey sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation and MTV found that young adults are interested in political issues, but not in voting.

Among the results on young voters’ beliefs, the study found that 75% favored expanding hate crime legislation to include gays and lesbians, and 61% favored civil unions.

Just over half of those polled were pro-choice, with 44% saying abortion should only be allowed in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the mother’s health.

The respondents also included civil rights, crime and violence among their top five issues more often than older voters, but 70% said that the upcoming presidential election would have little or no effect on them personally.

Forty-six percent of adults under 25 said they are "absolutely" going to vote, and the actual number of people who vote compared to those who say they will vote is quite a bit lower.

The survey of 813 adults age 18-24 was taken August 9 to 27, and has a margin of error of 4%.

 

More employers give partner benefits

Washington, D.C.—A report released September 25 by the Human Rights Campaign revealed that 25% more companies across the nation are giving their employees domestic partner benefits than one year ago.

The report, available on the group’s web site at http://www.hrc.org, notes that as of August, over 3,500 companies offer partner benefits, compared to under 2,900 one year before.

Over 100 of the Fortune 500 companies offered or plan to offer the benefits, the report reveals.

In June, Ford, General Motors and Daimler-Chrysler jointly announced with the United Auto Workers union that they would add domestic partner benefits. Subaru became the first automaker to extend the benefits in May.

Other additions in the past year include Coca-Cola, Pillsbury, and General Mills in the food industry. Boeing became the second aerospace contractor, after Honeywell.

Only one major company has rescinded the benefits. ExxonMobil, the oil giant formed when Mobil and Exxon merged last year, discontinued Mobil’s sexual orientation employment protection, and limited partner benefits to those already in place.

Compiled from wire reports by Anthony Glassman, Brian DeWitt and Patti Harris.


 

 

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