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August 6, 2004

Signatures are in for state marriage ban

Petitioners may get ten-day extension
if number falls short

Columbus--Backers of an amendment to the Ohio Constitution prohibiting same-sex marriages, civil unions, and all rights of non-married couples filed their petition signatures with the Ohio Secretary of State August 3.

The group, which is called the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage, turned in 391,928 signatures from all 88 counties in Ohio. Earlier, the group predicted it would file 500,000 signatures.

A total of 322,899 valid signatures of registered voters from at least 44 counties is required.

�They don�t have enough,� said Alan Melamed, who manages the campaign to defeat the measure, saying that many of the signatures will not be ruled valid by the county boards of election, even before his group, Ohioans Protecting the Constitution, challenges them in court.

OCPM�s own web site says, �It is possible that supplementary signatures could be required.�

OCPM head Phil Burress told the Gay People�s Chronicle July 23 that he expects 20 to 40 percent of the signatures will be rejected.

�That�s normal for a petition campaign,� said Burress. �Forty percent is the worst case scenario.�

A 20 percent rejection of the signatures would reduce the filing to 313,542, which is 9,357 short of the required number.

�Based on my experience, I would be surprised if their game isn�t trying to position themselves for the ten days to collect more signatures,� said Melamed.

Ohio law allows petition filers ten days to gather additional signatures to make up for those the counties reject, as long as the number filed is above the state minimum.

The law also requires that signatures represent at least 44 counties according to a formula based on voter turnout in the 2002 statewide election. This is another area where the number of signatures may fall short.

It takes two to three weeks for the counties to verify the signatures. The secretary of state then issues a letter of certification or denial of the petitions. If they are denied, the additional signatures cannot be collected until the day of the secretary of state�s notification.

If, after the ten day extension, the secretary of state determines that OCPM has collected enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot, opponents say they will mount a legal challenge to the petitions in each county.

Proponents will talk about gays

Both campaigns held press conferences the day of the filing that laid out the messages each will take to the voters.

Burress held his conference at the Potters House Church of God on Columbus� west side. It is a non-denominational fundamentalist church.

Burress was surrounded on stage by stacks of boxes containing the petitions and about two dozen supporters, including campaign organizers Lori Viars and Rev. K.Z. Smith, Ohio Christian Coalition director Chris Long, and Gregory Quinlan, who heads an �ex-gay� ministry called Pro-Family Network, who spoke.

Burress made it clear that churches were an important part of the campaign and that 60 percent of the signatures were gathered by volunteers in churches, and that the campaign registered 30,000 new voters.

It was apparent from the presentation that their campaign will be about homosexuality, the belief that civil rights do not extend to people based on sexual orientation, and promotion of the petitioners� religious beliefs.

Burress fielded, but attempted to dodge all questions from reporters concerning the second sentence of the amendment which eliminates the state�s ability to �recognize legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals� that resemble marriage. That would include same-sex and opposite sex couples, equally.

Burress said that nationally, discussions about constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage have been going on since 1996, and that Ohio�s was prompted by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court�s decision, not presidential politics.

When asked by a reporter to explain why OCPM�s web site links to a Weekly Standard article saying that the marriage amendments are needed in states like Ohio to turn out George W. Bush�s base, an irritated Burress said, �That was just an opinion piece,� before turning the microphone over to another speaker.

Burress also refused to answer reporters� repeated questions about the use of professional signature gatherers and what they cost. He said they were paid for by CCV Action, a political action committee affiliated with Burress� Citizens for Community Values.

Burress said no further information would be given until the committee files its financial disclosure with the state on October 21.

Opponents to focus on constitution

Ohioans to Protect the Constitution held their press conference at the Ohio Historical Society, where the Ohio Constitution is housed.

Melamed repealted Burress�s statement about the number of signatures OCPM needed.

�I agree with Phil Burress on that one. They need 500,000, but they didn�t get them.�

�What it really says,� said Melamed, �is that people were not interested, not excited, and don�t care� about this constitutional amendment.

Melamed made it clear that his campaign will focus on the importance of leaving the state constitution as it is.

�We don�t need discriminatory provisions in Ohio�s constitution,� said Melamed, adding that such an amendment would create a direct conflict with current constitutional provisions separating church and state.

�This amendment would be a direct threat to the Ohio Bill of Rights,� Melamed said.

Rev. Grayson Atha of Columbus� King Avenue United Methodist Church also spoke.

Atha said the amendment proponents are �well meaning� but �their beliefs are taking a toll on a whole section of human beings.�

Atha said creating such divisions �is detrimental to the country and the whole of society.� He said struggles of gays and lesbians are equivalent to those whose rights are denied based on race, and countered the religious message of the proponents by saying, �Whenever the church stands for the dignity of human beings, it is doing what the church is supposed to be doing.�

 

 


Ohio delegates mostly pleased
with convention

Keeping LGBT issues quiet was okay with them

Boston--Ohio�s gay and lesbian delegates to last week�s Democratic Convention say they don�t care that the Kerry campaign kept GLBT issues out of the convention as long as he wins.

�The bigger issue is George W. Bush,� said Glorianne Leck of Youngstown, �and this was not the year to be controversial. This is politics, not ideology, and it is about getting Democrats back to power.�

Leck said that it was harder for her, as a longtime peace activist, to hear the messages in favor of more military power than to not hear favorable messages on GLBT matters.

�I feel terrible that transgender issues were left out of the platform,� Leck said, but she added that gay issues, including marriage rights, are �killing us with the electorate.�

Toledo city council president Louis Escobar agreed that transgender inclusion should have been in the platform, adding, �We may not have gotten everything we wanted, but that means we have a lot of work to do.�

Escobar, a Latino, said the convention did not address Latino issues specifically or completely, either. He was also a delegate in 2000, a convention that did address individual groups� concerns, including GLBT ones.

Other typically Democratic constituencies, including African Americans, Jews, and Asians, are making similar observations in their publications.

�At least we�re at the table,� said Escobar. �We�re in the party and part of the process. There�s a sense of unity and urgency, and an energy that wasn�t there the last time.�

Of issues, Escobar said, �There�s no need to wear everything on your sleeve. I was satisfied with the platform�s commitment to equality and non-discrimination.�

Escobar also said that caucus meetings, which are out of the sight of the television cameras, were used to address GLBT concerns.

Hollywood luminaries including Ben Affleck, Rob Reiner, Steve Buscemi, Carole King and Robert Gant addressed the gay and lesbian caucus, as did party opinion shapers and members of Congress.

Delegate Joe Lacey of Dayton, who was running for state representative four years ago and has little recollection of that convention, said, �I thought [this convention] was pretty gay.�

Lacey spent time networking with other Ohio politicians, speaking to them about the importance of GLBT equality and trying to strengthen their positions on the issues.

�The platform is not important,� said Lacey. �I would like it to be better, but that�s not what�s being elected.�

Lacey also downplayed the importance of the celebrities addressing the caucus. �It�s of no consequence. It�s just part of the party aspect of the week.�

Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of candidate John Kerry, praised GLBT activists for "pushing the envelope" to secure rights.

She told the caucus that GLBT issues were really about mothers. Heinz Kerry said that as an immigrant, she has seen many get marginalized and left behind by their families, and said GLBT issues were similar.

Heinz Kerry said, "If nothing else, you will have a mom in the White House. You can call me Mama T anytime.�

Tristan Hand of Warren, who is a Vietnam veteran, was most impressed that Kerry is also one.

�Finally, the Vietnam era vet has come home,� said Hand.

Mary Jo Hudson of Columbus said the unity message will benefit the party in the long run. Hudson and Kate Anderson of Powell were guests on stage representing the GLBT community during Kerry�s July 29 acceptance speech. Anderson stressed that she was there as an individual, not for Stonewall Columbus, which she directs.

�The Democratic Party has been sliced and diced by the policies and politics of Bush,� said Hudson, �and GLBT issues are part of that division.�

Hudson said until the division is removed, there will be no progress for the GLBT community anyway, and that the messages of the convention were helpful in doing that.

�The convention provided everyone in the party with tools to talk about working together,� said Hudson.

Hudson said, �[Kerry] doesn�t have to say �gay� to recognize us� referring to the part of Kerry�s speech that told Bush to lay off amending the Constitution.

�Let�s build unity in the American family, not angry division,� said Kerry. �Let�s honor this nation�s diversity; let�s respect one another; and let�s never misuse for political purposes the most precious document in American history, the Constitution of the United States.�

Hudson said she and other GLBT delegates spent time during Ohio caucus meetings gathering support for the defeat of the proposed marriage ban amendment to the Ohio constitution.

�The Wednesday morning meeting was all about defeating the amendment,� said Hudson.

Alan Melamed, who manages the campaign to defeat the amendment, spoke to the Ohio delegates that day and spent two days at the convention talking to people about the proposed amendment.

Melamed said his message was well received among labor leaders, business leaders, and party leaders.

�A volunteer with the Kerry campaign came up to me and said he didn�t have much to give but handed me five dollars toward the cause,� said Melamed.

Openly gay Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts addressed the convention Thursday, before Kerry�s acceptance speech.

Frank, who is the founder of the Stonewall Democrats, like former presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton the night before, did not limit his remarks to those approved by the Kerry campaign.

He spoke about GLBT issues, including the subject of same-sex marriage that others avoided.

�I guess I want to try to calm them down,� said Frank, �so I�m going to come clean.�

�You hear them talk about the gay agenda, and I�m going to be honest with you now,� he said. �The fact is, we who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, we do have an agenda, and here it is.�

Frank went on to talk about equality in military service, health care benefit equality, employment non- discrimination, and marriage equality.

�We go so far as to believe that a 15year-old who is different in a lot of way sexually from others ought to be able to go to high school without getting beaten up,� Frank added.

Frank also countered independent candidate Ralph Nader, whose message is that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats.

�When Ralph Nader tells us that there is no significant difference between the parties, he trivializes our lives,� said Frank.

Three polls released August 1 suggest that keeping the convention free of constituent issues, including GLBT ones, may not have helped Kerry.

A CBS News poll showed no convention gain for Kerry, as did an ABC News/Washington Post poll.

A USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll showed that Kerry�s support actually declined two percentage points from a pre-convention poll.

Those polls measured respondents� reaction to a question about which candidate �shares your values,� which showed no statistical change resulting from the convention.

USA Today opined: �There wasn�t enough red meat on the menu.�

 


The best in a blue moon

Garden Party fundraiser sees increased returns

Cleveland--The fifteenth anniversary of the Cleveland Lesbian-Gay Center�s Garden Party fundraiser on July 30 saw an increase in attendance and revenue, as well as a record-high number of auction items.

Themed �Blue Moon Over the Garden of Good and Evil,� the event featured performances by interim executive director and chanteuse Kathy Harvey with accompanist George Foley during the benefactor reception, which began at 6:30 pm, and the David Loy Band and Verb Ballet during the main part of the evening, which began at 7:30 pm.

In addition, actors from Cleveland Public Theater were living statues, mimicking those in the Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia, immortalized in the John Berendt book, �Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.�

The nonfiction novel and movie gave the event its name, along with that night�s second full moon of the month.

Held at Signature of Solon, it was the first time the event featured a sit-down dinner instead of a buffet-style meal. Five hundred fifty people turned out for the Garden Party, 150 of whom attended the benefactor reception beforehand.

The auctions also saw a record number of items, increasing their financial draw 21% since last year, when the event was held at the Holden Arboretum. Overall net income increased 24%, in good part due to the main raffle in which a trip to Provence, France, was won by Stephan Pepper of Cleveland Heights. Almost $9,000 in tickets were sold, and online sales allowed people across the country to purchase tickets.

�Attendance was up over last year and they spent more, so you can�t argue with that,� said Harvey. �Qualitatively, we thought it was a rave. We got a lot of nice compliments on it.�

A separate contest was held to create original martinis for the event, with the winner getting free admission to the Garden Party. Two creations tied for first place, however: Tammy Johnson of Strongsville�s Diversi-tini and Ann Chapman of Cleveland�s Midnight Voodoo.

A game of �Secrets� was held by Cleveland Public Theater executive director Randy Rollison, with questions like, �Who are your secret parents?� and �What is your secret fantasy?�

Each winner got a four-pack of tickets to Cleveland Public Theater for its 2004-2005 season.

�It�s amazing how many people�s secret parents were Sonny and Cher,� Rollison told Cleveland Lesbian-Gay Center development director Mary Zaller.

Zaller was thrilled with the success of the event, especially since she was at the center of the planning.

�People were raving from the minute they got there,� she said. �Hernando Cortez [artistic director of Verb Ballet] told me, �It�s the best party I�ve been to all year.� �

�Signature was wonderful to work with,� she continued. �They really wanted our business.�

Zaller said that Signature�s events director Mark Kroner was integral in making sure the event went off without a hitch.

 


Missouri marriage ban amendment passes by 71%

Lopsided vote is first on issue since Massachusetts ruling

Kansas City, Mo.--Missouri voters on August 3 approved a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage with a vote of 71 percent in favor.

The ballot issue was part of the state�s primaries, which saw state auditor Claire McCaskill defeating incumbent Gov. Bob Holden for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Like Ohio, Missouri is a swing state, a pivotal point in the upcoming presidential elections. The two states are politically similar otherwise.

Eleven more states will have the measures on the ballot this year, and signatures have been presented to make Ohio the twelfth.

�We�re already reaching out to these other states, sharing with them what we learned, what worked, what didn�t, and we�ll move on,� said Doug Gray, campaign manager of the Constitution Defense League, the organization formed to fight against the constitutional amendment. �Ultimately we�re right and they�re simply wrong.�

Missouri�s amendment was the first voted on by citizens since the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts last year ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in that state. That decision started a flood of attempts to alter state constitutions to bar same-sex marriages.

The next state to vote on a constitutional amendment barring gay and lesbian unions is Louisiana on September 18. The sponsors of the Louisiana amendment faced criticisms that the measure was a political ploy to bring conservative voters to the polls to support President Bush�s re-election effort, since it had originally been set for the November 2 general election.

In Missouri, Secretary of State Matt Blunt, the GOP candidate for governor, had originally scheduled the amendment to be decided in the November election. Gov. Holden fought the attempt, seen as a partisan maneuver to increase voter turnout for the Republicans, and won when Blunt bowed to pressure from the Missouri Supreme Court to move up the date.

�The opponents of marriage equality have targeted what are generally seen as more conservative states,� said Michael Adams, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund�s director of education and public affairs. �If we should win any of those battles . . . it certainly is a sign that we�re in good shape.

 


Volunteers walk Kentucky to oppose ban amendment

Covington, Ky.--A field program is underway for a 100-day mission to defeat the anti-gay effort to amend the Kentucky constitution to bar same-sex marriage and civil unions.

This spring, Kentucky�s legislature overwhelmingly passed the amendment and placed it on the November 2 ballot. Activists across the state began a �No on Amendment One� campaign to block passage.

With voter identification walks July 24 at the Newport Arts and Music Festival and July 25 in Covington neighborhoods, volunteers spoke openly and honestly with registered voters.

�We�ve succeeded in defining this issue as discrimination,� said Kentucky Fairness Alliance�s Charles King. �We are on a path to win, with �No on Amendment One� as our motto. The opponents message is �Yes for marriage.� �

Other actions were held July 23-25 in Bowling Green, Owensboro, and Henderson.

The message statewide is how the discriminatory amendment would hurt gay and lesbian Kentuckians and their families.

�We�re hoping to talk with voters in a clear and honest way about how this amendment will forever deny GLBT families the same basic legal protections straight families depend on everyday when making important medical decisions, accessing basic health insurance, and protecting each other in old age,� campaign volunteer Dean Forster told the Greater Cincinnati GLBT News. �If passed, it will effectively write discrimination of one group of people into the language of our state�s Constitution. We think that�s wrong. We know Kentuckians are fair-minded and don�t believe in discrimination.�

�The bottom line is this,� said campaign field director Rachel Hurst. �Volunteer campaigners found far more supporters than opponents everywhere.�

On July 25, 16 volunteers identified five times more supporters than opponents. �I was pleasantly surprised by how many people really are on our side, when we take the time to talk with them one on one,� said Carl Fox of Covington, who walked with his partner Terry Bond. �I will definitely be talking to my friends about walking with me in the future.�

The day before in Owensboro, seven volunteers--including three who had never canvassed door-to-door before--also identified more supporters than opponents.

�This gave them a sense of how much work we have to do, and people were so excited that everyone signed up to come back and help us reach our goal,� said Melinda Overstreet, a veteran Davies County campaigner.

Twenty-two volunteers knocked on doors in Bowling Green. Jennifer Hundley Batts says she found supporters in the most unlikely places.

�When I walked for the first time this weekend, I strongly encouraged everyone to get involved. You come away from the experience with such a great feeling!�

In Henderson, among the 12 volunteers who knocked on doors was one who identified perhaps the campaign�s oldest supporter. Julia, who started out very nervous about door-to-door campaigning, had a front-door chat with a 98-year-old woman named Mattie, who said she only votes by absentee ballot. Julia has promised to deliver Mattie�s absentee ballot, and Mattie has promised to vote no on the amendment.

Walks were set to be held July 30 to August 1 in Louisville and Lexington. More volunteers are needed, said Hurst, and one need not be a Kentucky resident to canvass. To help in Louisville, email kathleen@noamendmentky.com or call 502-8077373. In Lexington, call 859-3965251 or email netta@noamendmentky.com.

All walks begin with a training session to prepare canvassers for talking with voters.

�We are off and running toward our goal of building the biggest team of volunteers we possibly can,� said Hurst. �We know from people who have defeated anti-gay ballot measures in other states that the best way to win in Kentucky is to talk to people openly and honestly on their front porches, at nightclubs and festivals, at churches and coffeehouses anywhere we can.�

�When we put a face on the issue and talk to people about how this discriminatory anti-gay measure would hurt real Kentuckians, we can win. If we build a large enough team of people to do that, we will win,� she concluded.

More events are set for August 7, 8, 21, 22, 28 and 29. Volunteers are needed to join these block walks or staffing phone banks every Monday and Thursday night from 6 to 9 pm at the campaign�s office at 1526 Scott St. in Covington. Contact 859-4918683 or see www.kentuckyfairness.org or info@noamendmentky.com.

 


Go to Discussion Forum Top of Page

Couples line up to register as Maine partner law begins

 

Augusta, Maine--Forty-six couples registered their partnerships with the state on July 30, the day Maine�s domestic partner registry took effect. The law, passed earlier this year, offers same-sex and opposite-sex couples some of the benefits of marriage.

Under the measure, domestic partners are considered next of kin in making funeral decisions and are granted inheritance rights, should one partner die without a will. Couples are also granted conservator status for property should one member be incapacitated, and partners are allowed to make medical decisions for each other.

The law is being hailed as a symbolic victory for gay and lesbian civil rights, but it also provides security for opposite-sex couples in a state that has no common-law marriage.

Predictably, the Christian Civic League of Maine immediately called the law a step towards same-sex marriage, arguing that it runs contrary to the religious basis of the nation.

�When we remove religious beliefs, then we can talk about equal rights,� said Equality Maine�s Betsy Smith. �Their belief that marriage is always one man and one woman is not always true.�

�Many women used to be married to one man and many wives were considered as property,� she told the Portland Press Herald. �Marriage has been redefined several times and has evolved. It�s evolving a little more today.�

Sixty couples turned out to celebrate the first day of the registry in the Hall of Flags in the state capitol.

To become registered domestic partners, couples must live together in Maine for at least 12 months, then fill out a registration form, have it notarized and pay the $35 fee.

�It the next legal step we can take in having the right to deal with other�s personal issues at a atime when it might be needed,� Ralph Cusack told The Advocate, an LGBT news magazine. �I see it as very practical, but it certainly has a strong symbolism to it.�

Maine joins five other states that recognize same-sex couples: Massachusetts, the only state to allow same-sex marriage; Vermont with civil unions; California with a domestic partner law that will expand next January to resemble civil unions; Hawaii, where a 1998 law was limited by a court but is still in effect; and New Jersey, whose new partner law took effect July 10.

 

 

 

 


 

Three charged in Alabama teens hate-crime murder

Bay Minette, Ala.--Three people were charged on July 24 with the brutal murder of an 18-year-old gay man, two of whom lived with him in a trailer.

Scotty Joe Weaver�s mutilated body was found on July 22, four days after he was last seen alive.

Prosecutors and police are calling the murder a hate crime, although Alabama�s hate crime law does not cover sexual orientation. According to authorities, the manner of Weaver�s death and mutilation of the corpse constitute a case of overkill, a hallmark of hate crimes.

Weaver was beaten, strangled, stabbed and cut, and the coroner�s report revealed injuries to �some other parts of the body that I won�t describe, but I will say they were curious,� according to the Southern Voice gay weekly. His body was then set on fire.

�It�s obvious that either before death there was great pain and torture, or else there was abuse of the corpse,� District Attorney David Whetstone said. �It is suggestive of overkill, which is not something you see in a regular robbery and murder.�

Weaver was last seen July 18, when he stopped at his mother�s house on the way home from picking up his paycheck at Waffle House. He repaid a loan she had given him.

His mother was the first to bring up Weaver�s sexual orientation to the press, noting that his roommates had known him for years. She doubted that his sexual orientation had suddenly become an issue for his roommates Christopher Ryan Gaines, 20, and Gaines� girlfriend Nichole Kelsay, 18. The third person charged, Robert Holly Lofton Porter, 18, may have had issues with Weaver�s sexual orientation, though.

Police believe that Porter poisoned Gaines and Kelsay against Weaver, inciting discord between the roommates over the financial situation in the trailer. Gaines and Kelsay are both unemployed, and Weaver was paying the bills.

Investigators surmise that robbery may have been one of the motives behind the attack. Since Weaver had repaid his mother, the suspects would only have gotten about $80, far less than the hundreds of dollars they were expecting.

The three suspects are being charged with capital murder. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.

Over 100 people came out in Mobile on August 1 in a vigil for Weaver.

Tony Thompson, a vigil organizer and one of the founders of the state�s only LGBT community center, said he felt that the center�s attempts to curb anti-gay hate crimes had failed.

�But when I come out here and see all these people who came to remember someone most of us probably never even met, I feel like we�ve succeeded,� he said.


 

Rabbi says Kent State forced him out of his job

Kent, Ohio--An openly gay professor is fighting Kent State University over his firing, which he says is due to his sexual orientation and his religion.

Rabbi David Powers, Ph.D. of Solon has filed an affirmative action complaint against the university seeking reinstatement, monetary damages, and sensitivity training for his department head and a colleague, among other remedies.

Powers was not offered a new contract to teach after the communications school�s 2004 summer session. He has been employed by the university in that non-tenure track capacity for seven years. He also completed his education there.

Powers , who also leads Temple B�Nai Abraham in Elyria, filed an affirmative action complaint with his department upon learning of his termination in March. This is the first step in such complaints.

In the 17-count complaint, Powers alleges that School of Communication Studies Director Alan Rubin and his wife, professor Rebecca Rubin, who also coordinates graduate studies, �made negative decisions about [his] employment and subjected [him] to employment harassment, employment termination, discriminatory treatment and a hostile work environment with humiliating treatment because of [his] sexual orientation as a gay man and [his] religious leadership position as a rabbi.�

Powers said that the harassment and hostile work environment have gone on about a year and a half. He said he did not file complaints sooner because he didn�t think he had to.

�I sat back and swallowed,� said Powers. �I did not know I was being set up to be run out.�

The complaint says Rebecca Rubin sent him a research article �intended to defend homophobia� after a staff meeting in 2002 where she publicly told Powers, �Students feel greater competence from straight teachers than from identified gay teachers.�

Powers complained that when he brought his partner Jeffrey Koppel to school events where spouses were welcome, Alan Rubin �treated him as if he did not exist, or with disdain, when he acknowledged his presence.� Powers also said Alan Rubin singles him out in staff meetings for disparate treatment, and omitted condolences on the death of his mother and notice of a teaching award he received from a departmental newsletter that routinely carries such announcements.

Powers said Alan Rubin has never seen him teach, but requested junior colleages evaluate his teaching in response to student comments Rubin would not share with him.

Powers says the Rubins� deliberate hostility and disdain are attributed to homophobia and his position as a Jewish religious leader.

�I believe [Alan Rubin�s] failure to acknowledge my work is another indication of special discrimination,� said Powers, �a refusal to grant credit or acknowledge the accomplishments of someone for whom he bears special disdain, so as to remove later arguments for retention, so as to create a hostile work environment, and to harass with malignant neglect.�

Powers said the way they got rid of him was to terminate two teaching positions in the school. These were his position and one held by Assistant Professor Bruce Riddle.

Two new positions with identical duties, including teaching the same classes, were then created. Riddle got the new position equivalent to his old one. Powers was told he could not have the new position identical to his old one.

According to the contract controlling non-tenure track faculty, there are only three reasons a contract cannot be renewed once the faculty member has passed three years of review. Those are lack of student interest in the class, poor teaching or lack of resources.

Tracy Laux, who heads the American Association of University Professors at Kent told the Kent Stater campus newspaper that unless there are substantial differences between the old and new positions, the current faculty should be offered the new position.

The first level complaint was investigated on behalf of James Gaudino, the dean of the College of Communication and Information by interim assistant dean LuEtt Hanson and Michelle McCoy, a member of the Affirmative Action Coordinating Council.

Gaudino said he did not investigate the complaint himself because he teaches in addition to his administrative duties, and he thought a conflict of interest would surface.

Hanson interviewed Powers, Koppel, Riddle, and both Rubins.

Gaudino issued a May 27 report finding that Powers was terminated because the funding for his position had been withdrawn.

Gaudino wrote that no evidence was found to support Powers� claims of discrimination �against protected categories.�

Kent State personnel policies protect on the basis of both religion and sexual orientation.

Asked to clarify that, Gaudino said, �We�re not saying there was no discrimination. We�re saying there was no discrimination based on sexual orientation or religion as the complaint says. We just found no collaborative evidence.�

Gaudino said the investigation was �limited to specify sexual orientation and religion.�

Gaudino said the standard of evidence they were looking for was not high, and that they just didn�t find any.

Alan Rubin did not return calls for comment.

Rebecca Rubin said, �I�m not in a position to comment� before hanging up the phone.

Both Rubins are retiring July 30.

Powers appealed the decision to the Affirmative Action Committee June 24. Their investigation is pending.

 

 


Marriage scorecard

Amendments on the ballot: State constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage will be on the ballot in 11 states. Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah will vote on the measures November 2; Louisiana on September 18.

Measures in Arkansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota and Oregon were put on the ballot by initiative petition; the others put there by state legislatures. Some of these measures also ban civil unions and domestic partnerships.

Petition drives: All state petition drives have turned in their signatures, including Ohio on August 3.

State constitutions already amended: Hawaii, Alaska, Nebraska, Nevada. Missouri passed an amendment August 3 by a 71% vote.

Amendments passed by legislatures that must be passed again next session before they go on the ballot: Massachusetts, Tennessee, Wisconsin.

Amendments being considered by legislatures: Illinois, Vermont, Alabama (for 2005), Maine (for 2005).

Amendments failed in legislatures this year: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington and in Michigan, where a petition drive put it on the ballot anyway.

States with domestic partner laws: Vermont, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, California (expands in January 2005).

States with no DOMA: Thirty-five states and the federal government have passed so-called �defense of marriage acts� refusing recognition of same-sex marriages. Some also deny it to civil unions and domestic partnerships.

Eight more states have other laws limiting marriage to a man and a woman. This includes the ones above that have already amended their constitutions, and also the Vermont measure that created civil unions.

However, seven states have marriage laws that are silent on gender: Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island, plus Massachusetts, which now allows same-sex marriage.

Lawsuits seek same-sex marriage in California, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Washington, Florida, Indiana and West Virginia. (An Arizona case ended May 25 when the state�s top court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling against a gay male couple. A North Carolina couple decided not to appeal on June 23 after a judge dismissed theirs in May.)

Bills to grant same-sex marriage have been introduced in legislatures in California, New York and Vermont.

States with same-sex marriage: Massachusetts.

Other countries with marriage: Canada (British Columbia, Ontario, Qu�bec, Yukon), Belgium, The Netherlands.

Countries with domestic partner laws: South Africa, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, Germany, Hungary, France, New Zealand and Portugal. Also, most of Australia, half the provinces of Spain, two Argentine states, one Brazilian state and the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

 

 

 


 

Love makes a family

Romantic triangle spans 20 years of tangled lives

A Home at the End of the World, by gay Ohio native Michael Cunningham, was published to glowing reviews in 1990. The novel, about a boy growing into manhood who falls in love with his best friend, examines what makes a family in contemporary America.

Now made into a film, it tells the story of Bobby (Colin Farrell) and Jonathan (relative newcomer Dallas Roberts). Friends from early childhood, they meet later as students in a suburban Cleveland school and soon become inseparable. Jonathan, who is more conventional, sees in Bobby a world larger than he is accustomed to. For Bobby, Jonathan and his family allow him a stability he is unaccustomed to. A tragedy with his brother shapes Bobby�s life from an early age.

As they mature into adolescence and beyond, they drift apart. But as fate and circumstance would have it, they reunite in New York. Here, together with the free-spirited character of Clare (Robin Wright Penn), they invent a new kind of family.

The characters, particularly Bobby, are always searching for happiness and a sense of home and family. In this quest, they force the audience to contemplate the very definitions of these things in American political and cultural life.

The film is well made and well adapted. Farrell first came to the attention of U.S. filmgoers in queer director Joel Schumacher�s Tigerland, about American soldiers training for the Vietnam War in the backwoods of Louisiana. That highly charged and homoerotic film made the Irish-born Farrell a star on the rise. He will next be seen in the title role of Oliver Stone�s epic feature Alexander, already raising controversy about what aspects of Alexander the Great�s homosexuality will be revealed--or hidden--in the film.

Farrell is good in Home but at times seems a bit older than the part demands. There is no doubt that he is an actor of substance, but because he has been trying to bridge commercial fare (like the dud Daredevil) with more serious fare (like the amazing Phone Booth) Farrell sometimes tries too hard to prove his mettle as a performer.

A Julliard graduate, Dallas Roberts makes his debut in a leading role as the gay Jonathan. He has the perfect look for the role and proves that he is a young talent to watch for. His chemistry in the film with Farrell and Robin Wright Penn is intense and intimate.

Penn is an actress of great range and accomplishments. She received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Forrest Gump, where she played a free-spirited woman in search of her piece of the American dream. Here she is equally subtle and graceful in her performance.

Sissy Spacek, who has earned six Academy Award nominations, is solid here as Jonathan�s mother and Bobby�s surrogate parent. She is having a revival of sorts in the last few years and she proves over and over again, why she is one of the best of her generation.

Out director Michael Mayer most recently directed the Tony Award-winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, and also directed the national tour of Tony Kushner�s Angels in America.

His feature film debut with Home is solid and measured. Mayer garners some great performances from his actors and he is faithful to Cunningham�s vision.

Author Michael Cunningham, born in Cincinnati in 1952, adapts his own novel here for the screen.

Cunningham received the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for The Hours, later made into a film. His writing is detailed in its character creations and both The Hours and Home prove that he knows how to write people who are complex, flawed and seeking the betterment of their own humanity.

A Home at the End of the World is produced by Killer Films, headed by lesbian producer Christine Vachon.

Home is a film that defies the loud, brash summer films replete with super heroes. Yet Home is about heroes of a different kind. It is a good harbinger for the fall, when the more serious and artful films will begin to emerge.

 

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