Spray it, dont say it
Sacramento, Calif.--The California Senate approved a bill on August 28 that would grant most of the privileges and responsibilities of marriage to couples who have registered as domestic partners, bringing the legislation one step closer to becoming law.
�This is a massive building block,� Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, one of the sponsors of the law, told the Los Angeles Times moments after the Senate passed the measure on a near-party-line vote. �It gets us to maybe 90% on the state level of what we might get.�
Goldberg is one of five openly gay or lesbian state lawmakers who have been taking the lead in introducing and pushing equal rights legislation this term.
The bill, AB 205, would take an existing statewide domestic partnership registry and add many more benefits and responsibilities to it, including medical powers of attorney, hospital visitation rights, responsibility for debts, worker�s compensation death benefits and others.
A provision to allow domestic partners to file joint state tax returns was removed.
The bill, which passed 23-14, now returns to the Assembly, where it is expected to pass a final vote on Senate changes. It then goes to the desk of Gov. Gray Davis, who has said that he will sign it.
Only one Senate Democrat voted against AB 205, and three senators were either absent or abstained from the vote. All Republicans present voted against it.
Debate in the Senate was far more civilized than was expected over the usually tempestuous subject. As Sen. Richard Alarcon discussed his daughter coming out as a lesbian, his colleagues listened respectfully.
�These are normal people,� Alarcon told his colleagues. �The deserve normal rights, normal dignity and normal respect.�
Opponents of the measure argue that it violates Proposition 22, a voter-approved measure that bans the state from granting or recognizing same-sex marriages.
Supporters of AB 205, though, argue that it does not affect Prop. 22, since the domestic partner registry is not marriage.
The bill could become law within the week. It would bring the nation�s most populous state almost to the forefront in recognizing same-sex couples, surpassed only by Vermont, whose civil unions grant all the state rights and duties of marriage.
Neither state�s measure affects federal marriage rights and duties, such as joint income tax and spousal Social Security.
�I believe every individual needs the love and comfort of another human being,� said Gov. Gray Davis. �I know how important my wife Sharon is, particularly during the difficult times that I am confronting.�
Davis is currently fighting an attempt to recall him from office. Conservative forces originally framed the recall attempt as a response to Davis� inability to reach a budget compromise with the state legislature, but have since begun pointing to his support for AB 205 and other pro-gay measures.
Palo Alto, Calif.--Ohio Splash placed fourth out of fifteen teams in the mid-sized team category at the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics championships, held August 21 to 24 at Stanford University.
The Columbus team came in behind Salt Lake City, Atlanta and Seattle, but beat Philadelphia, Denver, New York City, Sacramento, Paris, Boston, Vancouver and Detroit. The Medium Team division consists of teams with 12 to 35 swimmers, and Splash has 15 swimmers.
Julie Applegate placed first for the 200-meter breaststroke, while Hugo Caldas took first in 400-meter individual medley, Monic Cunningham won for 400-meter freestyle and Todd Radel won in both the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke.
Team members Sophie Dryer, Cindy Harris, Heidi Madsen and Grant Wilson also placed in the top three in several events. The Splash also won two silver medals for relays and took third in three other relays.
Splash was missing swimmer John Beetar, who is in England preparing to swim the English Channel.
Hugo Caldas, a swimmer and coach, recently won the United States Masters Swimming title for 200 meter breaststroke at the national championships in New Jersey.
The next IGLA championships will be in October 2004 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Splash holds coached practices three times a week. More information is available at www.ohiosplash.org or by calling 614-3536608.
Akron--A gay Cuyahoga Falls man is concerned that his rape is being treated differently by Akron police because he is male.
The 34-year-old University of Akron student says he was attacked, kidnapped and raped during the early morning hours of August 8 in his assailant�s apartment after leaving a bar near the university with the suspect and another man earlier.
But police have not yet filed charges or arrested his assailant, although the suspect�s name and address are known.
The victim says he met the two men at Thursday�s Night Club, which is not a gay bar, and was invited to a party at the apartment. But shortly after they arrived, the third man left and he was told there was no party.
The student said the man wanted him to stay, but he made it clear to the man that he came for a party, not for sex. He said he would leave after using the bathroom.
The victim said the perpetrator started to make him uncomfortable, including spying on him in the bathroom.
�He asked me if I had a boyfriend, and I told him I did,� the student said. �He said, �I don�t, and I want you to be my boyfriend�.�
After that, the victim, who is smaller, said the other man began forcing himself on him, pulling off his pants and attempting oral sex.
The student said the man wanted to "try some things" with him and told him, "If you don't at least try, I'm going to break every fucking bone in your body."
He said the perpetrator started grabbing his thighs and penetrated him with both his penis and fingers.
Then he was punched.
"He hit me so hard it knocked the sense out of me," the victim said. "I could feel warm, wet blood, and I started to cry."
Photos taken at St. Thomas Hospital show the victim�s face severely bruised.
"That's right, I hit you," the victim quoted his attacker, "and I'll hit you harder and harder until I get what I want."
The student said he yelled for help, but the man told him the walls were concrete and no one would be able to hear his yelling.
"He kept repeating, 'concrete walls.' He seemed to get off on that."
Then, the attacker said that it didn't matter to him if he had sex with the victim alive or dead, and if he cooperated, he would be �killed fast and easy,� but if he continued to fight, he would be tortured and killed slowly.
"He kept talking about finding a place to bury me where no one would find me," the victim said.
They fought some more and the victim was able to jam his right thumb into his assailant's left eye, causing him to scream. He also bit his attacker hard enough to get a mouth full of blood.
The victim said that gave him time to grab his jeans and attempt to get away.
After he got three locks and the door open, the student said his attacker slammed it on his finger, breaking it.
"You're not getting out of here alive, you know that," he says he was told. "I have to kill you because no one knows I'm gay and I know you'll go to the police."
The student took another opportunity and slipped out, running down the hall banging on doors and screaming for help.
Eric Moore, who lives at the other end of the building, opened his door for him.
Moore said the victim�s face was bloody.
"Someone beat him up," said Moore. "No doubt in my mind that something happened."
When the police arrived, they told the victim they could not enter the perpetrator�s apartment without a warrant, and the man did not answer police commands to open the door.
Police confirmed weeks later that they still have not entered the suspect�s apartment.
Moore says he sees the perpetrator on the elevator, and believes the other man who left early lives one floor below.
At press time September 3, no arrest has been made, and the victim has not been asked to sign charges against the suspect, causing him concern with how the case is being handled.
He has hired attorneys Tom McNerney and Randi Barnabee of Macedonia to see to it that his rights as a victim are protected.
The victim picked his assailant out of a photo lineup shortly after the attack.
Moore said detective Joe Urbank, who is handling the case, visited the apartment building a couple of times three weeks ago.
He said Urbank told him he would stop by �in two days� with photos for him to identify.
�He hasn't been here yet," said Moore on August 25.
Urbank cited a police chief directive preventing him from answering any questions about the case.
Detective Captain Elizabeth Daugherty said, �Suspect identification has never been an issue in this case, so Urbank may not have had need to go back [to Moore] with pictures.�
Akron Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas DiCaudo, who also provides legal counsel to the police department, said no charges have been filed because the case is under investigation.
"I'm sorry [the victim] feels he's being treated differently, but he's not," said DiCaudo, adding on August 25 and again on September 3 that he expected an arrest would be made "in a day or two."
The victim says he has documented five times when detectives reneged on promises to have charges prepared for him to sign, which would prompt an arrest.
Reasons given for the delays include a prosecutor with the flu and victim photos not being available.
Police officers can sign charges in place of victims.
Daugherty said September 3 that no one has signed charges yet.
�There is just one issue that needs checked out,� said Daugherty, �It has nothing to do with being a homosexual or heterosexual issue.�
The victim complains he has gotten different stories from Urbank and DiCaudo about the process involved with getting charges prepared.
A reporter also got completely different versions when the two were asked separately.
Urbank said rape arrests usually take one to two months, even when the perpetrator is known.
McNerney and Barnabee disagree.
�If this was a woman standing in the hallway bloody and half dressed, you can bet they would have gone in the apartment that night and made the arrest then,� said Barnabee.
The victim says his assailant is dangerous and he wants him arrested before he hurts someone else.
Cleveland--A group developing a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender retirement community was given preliminary city approval to go forward on a downtown site currently owned by the city on August 28.
The Cleveland Department of Community Development announced that it has approved the joint proposal of A Place For Us Development, Inc. and Richard L. Bowen and Associates for the northeast corner of East 13th Street and Chester Ave. near the Greyhound bus station. The site is across the street from the Chesterfield apartment building and Embassy Suites hotel.
A Place For Us and Bowen propose to construct a $24.4 million, 10 to 19-story, 172-unit building on the site, which is now a parking lot.
The development would be the first new-construction housing development for LGBT people in Ohio and one of only eleven LGBT retirement communities in the nation.
Most of those, like Akron�s Parkside male residential retirement hotel, are for fewer than 20 residents or scattered individual condominiums.
A Place for Us hopes to offer multiple levels of care including both independent and assisted living facilities.
LGBT seniors number 1 to 2.8 million, according to a 2000 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force report. That number is projected to grow by 14.6 percent by 2010, and double by 2020.
The relatively new national movement to create housing for LGBT seniors comes from studies showing that successful senior housing developments in general are based on affiliation.
A study by the Brookdale Center on Ageing at Hunter College in New York, reported by the Economist magazine in 2002, found that less than one in five elderly gays and lesbians have a life partner and only one in ten has children.
By contrast, nearly half the overall general senior population has a spouse and four in five have children who are potential caretakers.
LGBT seniors may also find discrimination when applying for affordable housing, as no federal or Ohio law forbids it.
A Place for Us began the process of creating a LGBT retirement community in the late 1990s and previously considered sites in Lakewood, Cleveland Heights and Cleveland�s Tremont neighborhood.
The downtown development was originally proposed for another city-owned site at East 12th and St. Clair Ave. That site was awarded to a larger project on August 28.
A Place for Us executive director Linda Krasienko did not want to comment until they had completed negotiations with the city.
Ward 13 city council member Joe Cimperman said the Place for Us project has his full support and the administration�s support.
�There is a uniqueness of A Place for Us,� said Cimperman, referring to the developers� mission of serving LGBT retirees. �It�s not blanket housing, and in some ways it is tougher in terms of marketing so it needs to be nurtured.�
Cimperman said before construction begins, four city council committees will be involved, including City Planning, which he chairs, Community and Economic Development, which he vice chairs, Public Parks, Recreation and Properties, which he is a member of, and Finance.
The next step will be for council to approve the land sale price.
Ottawa--As the Supreme Court of Canada prepares to examine draft legislation to grant full same-sex marriage nationwide, Justice Minister Martin Cauchon is gearing up for a three-province tour to educate the public on what same-sex marriage will, and will not, mean.
�We�ll be talking to Canadians,� Mike Murphy, an aide to Cauchon, told the Canadian Press. �We have to explain to people why the decision has been made.�
Cauchon will travel through Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.
Courts in Ontario and British Columbia both ruled this year that barring same-sex couples from full marriage was an unjustifiable violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian equivalent of the Bill of Rights.
Couples in those two provinces began marrying this summer, but the rest of the nation is waiting for Parliament to pass the bill now being reviewed by the high court.
The government of Alberta, a predominantly rural Rocky Mountain province, has said that it will invoke the �notwithstanding clause� of the Charter if the government tries to force it to recognize same-sex marriages.
The clause allows provinces to ignore legislation created by court decision for five years. It is unlikely that Alberta could successfully invoke the clause for a same-sex marriage law passed by Parliament.
Alberta, British Columbia and Qu�bec have all filed paperwork to consult the Supreme Court in their review of the proposed. Alberta is the only one of the three opposed to same-sex marriage, while Qu�bec officials have said that they wish to ensure that their civil union law remains intact.
The court is expected to begin work on the issue in April, after the next general election. Prime Minister Jean Chr�tien will step down in November, and the front-runner to replace him, Paul Martin, also supports same-sex marriage.
Martin, however, has suggested that Parliament vote on the issue earlier so that it won�t be used as a weapon against members in the election. Chr�tien stands by his plan to have the court first verify that the legislation is constitutionally sound.
Some opponents of the law argue that it could be used to force religious institutions to perform marriages that are against their beliefs. But language in the draft bill exempts churches and other institutions from performing weddings contrary to their tenets.
Two court cases in Alberta are seeking to force the province to allow same-sex marriage, while a case in Qu�bec is seeking to remove a four-year grace period before a ruling allowing same-sex marriage in that province takes effect.
With Ontario and British Columbia already performing same-sex weddings, 51% of the 30 million citizens of Canada live in provinces that allow same-sex marriage.
The two provinces will also marry non-residents, including U.S. gay and lesbian couples who cross the border. However, it is unclear if those marriages will be recognized when they return home.
Qu�bec and Nova Scotia both offer civil unions, bringing to 78% the number of Canadians living in provinces with established structures for same-sex couples.
The Quails make music for punks,
Good things happen when you least expect them.
Most music fans can remember many a time when they purchased a CD they had read great reviews about or attended a show that all of their friends were raving about just to come home a bit disappointed.
Rare are the times when one stumbles upon a band, perhaps an unknown one, and falls in love. Discovering a small treasure is a good description of finding the Quails, who are composed of Julianna Bright on drums, Jen Smith on guitar, and Seth Lorinczi on bass and hail from San Francisco.
Last year, they opened for Sleater-Kinney at Cleveland�s Beachland Ballroom. For those who had been looking forward to seeing Sleater-Kinney it was a bit annoying, the prospect of standing in a very crowded room through an opening band. But by the end of the Quails� set, the entire crowd was pumping their fists in the air and shouting along, not wanting them to stop playing just yet.
Now, almost a year later, the Quails continue to spread the love and leave a sea of dedicated fans in their wake. The question, of course, is whether or not their newest album would live up to expectations based on their earlier work.
The Song is Love is another very solid effort from the queer San Francisco trio. The Quails� music doesn�t fit neatly into any genres but could best be described as punk. They examine, as they put it, �issues of personal, sexual and gender politics in the context of a crowded and stressed urban landscape.�
With even less production and more emotional rawness than before, their third effort comments on everything from queer and feminist issues to war protest. This socially aware album makes the listener not only think more deeply about the issues it tackles, but also inspires the type of passion and feeling that create a much-needed symbiotic relationship between art and politics.
One particularly effective technique that they use again and again in this album is the direct question, sometimes addressed toward the listener and other times toward each other, which creates dialogue within the songs. This is a very ingenious way of showing, rather than simply telling, that keeping thinking and discussion alive is crucial to the survival of our freedom and basic rights.
The Quails have an unwavering commitment to this type of dialogue and involvement of the masses in political change even outside of their music. At their live shows, for example, listeners can buy one of the several very political �zines that they put out, as well as carry on conversations between sets with the three very friendly band members. They also contribute their time to such worthy causes as the �Rock n Roll Camp for Girls.�
While they have taken the summer off, they promise to return in the fall with a national tour that is sure to take them through Ohio, bringing new fans to worship at the altar that is their stage.
Since their inception in 1999, the Quails have remained faithful to their political ideals, as well as to their passion for making and spreading their music. WhileThe Song is Love reminds their fans of what they love so much about the Quails, it also shows musical progression and a fearless desire to experiment.
The Song is Love is due out in October on Mr. Lady Records. Find out more about the Quails at www.thequails.com.�����������
Monica Ionescu is the host of dreamboat, a weekly show on WRUW 91.1 FM in Cleveland on Mondays from 12 noon to 1:30 pm. For more information on her show, go to http://dreamboatradio.tripod.com.
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