Dayton--The Miami Valley kicked off LGBT Pride month in grand style on June 5, beginning with a parade of floats, bands, and a fabulous flag corps.
The parade wound its way through the streets of downtown Dayton. Masters of ceremonies Rob Austin and Matt Driggs led the crowd in cheers as marchers arrived at the Lesbian-Gay Bisexual and Transgender Pride Festival at Courthouse Square.
The vintage cars of Dayton�s Lambda Car Club led the way, followed by Cincinnati�s Queen City Rainbow Marching Band and the crowd-pleasing Flaggots Ohio.
A total of 33 groups and floats were entered into the parade. Trophies were awarded to the Dayton Gay Men�s Chorus, Up on Main bar and to a float honoring the struggle for equal marriage rights for LGBT people, keeping with this year�s theme, �Hometown Heroes.�
Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin read a proclamation recognizing the LGBT community as an integral part of the city. This was the first year that the city of Dayton contributed $1,500 to the event, as it does to other cultural events
. Over 50 vendors lined the walkways as the crowd shopped and watched the show.
Grand marshal for the event was Andrew Hyde, cast member of the Emmy Award winning show The Amazing Race 3. The openly gay Hyde spoke of his exploits on the show along with his Southern Baptist father, sharing how the show�s executives tried to use the tensions between an openly gay son and a very conservative father, only to find a father growing closer to his son.
While the late-night comics jeered the gay boy on The Amazing Race during its season, the crowd in Dayton extended Andrew a standing ovation as he spoke.
��Several hundred� marchers participated in the parade, said John Gantt of the Dayton Pride Partnership and the Dayton Gay and Lesbian Center, and roughly 1,100 people attended the festival.
This was also the first year that the Dayton Pride Fest was televised live over cable channels 20 and 23 by the local gay television show Queeries.
�It was great that Queeries was able to televise this for us,� said John Zimmerman of the DGLC. �I had an HIV shut-in tell me how great it was that he was able to sit at home and watch the festivities. Since becoming shut-in, he felt cut off from everything and by being able to watch it �live,� he felt like he was once again a part of things.�
Michael Copher, vice-chair of Pride 2004 and chair of Pride �05 said, �What a great day, this is a great example of the diversity we live and share in here in Dayton. And next year�s events will be bigger and better than ever!�
Pride �04 chair Scotty Didier added, �The parade and Pride festival brought out a record number of parade entries, vendors and GLBT revelers. The parade was the best yet.�
�But Pride is not over yet,� Didier continued, The Pride dinner is set for June 19 at the Shuster Center for the Performing Arts, beginning at 5 pm. Each dinner will include hors d�oeuvres during the business expo and cash bar, and the dinner after the expo is a three-course meal, topped off with a great show with comedienne Karen Williams, our featured entertainer.�
Tickets for the pride dinner are available at Q Gifts, Books and Company, the Stage Door, 464 on 5th, and through the Dayton Lesbian and Gay Center. For more information see www.gaydayton.org or call 937-2753059.
�Sex stereotyping� decision extends 1964 act to some gay cases
Cincinnati--In a landmark decision, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that transsexuals are protected from employment discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The court, which is just below the U.S. Supreme Court, found that Jimmie Smith, a pre-transition transsexual and firefighter, can sue the city of Salem, Ohio, and seven of its officials for discrimination under the 1964 law. He says they tried to force him out of his job over concerns that his behavior and appearance was becoming more feminine.
The case follows the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins that �sex discrimination� in Title VII includes bias resulting from sex stereotyping.
The unanimous June 1 decision was written by Judge R. Guy Cole, who heard oral arguments March 19 with Judges Ronald L. Gilman and William Schwarzer, who was visiting from the Northern District of California.
The three-judge panel reversed last year�s decision to dismiss the case by U.S. District Judge Peter Economus, who agreed with the city that Title VII does not protect transsexuals.
Economus wrote that Smith�s claim was disingenuous, stating that he merely �invokes the term-of-art created by Price Waterhouse, that is, �sex-stereotyping,�� as an end run around his �real� claim, which was �based on his transsexuality,� which Economus said was not covered by Title VII.
The appellate panel strongly disagreed, and interpreted Title VII protection to include both non-conforming conduct and, for the first time by a circuit court, identification as a transsexual.
�In so holding, we find that the district court erred in relying on a series of pre-Price Waterhouse cases from other federal appellate courts holding that transsexuals, as a class, are not entitled to Title VII protection because �Congress had a narrow view of sex in mind� and �never considered or intended that [Title VII] apply to anything other than the traditional concept of sex.�
The ruling renders the pre-Price cases irrelevant in the Sixth Circuit�s four states, and likely in the rest of the nation. They include the 1984 Seventh Circuit decision Ulane v. Eastern Airlines and the 1977 Ninth Circuit case Holloway v. Arthur Andersen & Co., which denied protection to transsexuals because it is based on �gender� rather than �sex.�
Cole wrote that the approach used by Economus and the other courts has been �eviscerated� by Price Waterhouse and now, this case.
Cole wrote that courts have incorrectly found gender non-conforming behavior by transsexuals �or in some instances, a homosexual or transvestite� to be a �different and somehow more permissible kind� than that of Ann Hopkins, who was not promoted by Price Waterhouse because she acted �macho.�
�In other words,� wrote Cole, �these courts superimpose classifications such as �transsexual� on a plaintiff, and then legitimize the discrimination based on the plaintiff�s gender non-conformity by formalizing the non-conformity into an ostensibly unprotected classification.�
�Such analyses cannot be reconciled with Price Waterhouse, which does not make Title VII protection against sex stereotyping conditional or provide any reason to exclude Title VII coverage for non-stereotypical behavior simply because the person is transsexual.�
The decision also settled some questions on what constitutes an adverse employment action, which is one of the grounds for a Title VII suit.
The city claimed that regardless what else Smith claimed, he could not sue because there was no adverse employment action.
Smith had been suspended for 24 hours for allegedly violating a policy that a judge later ruled nonexistent. Smith claims the suspension was part of a conspiracy to force him out of the fire department.
The city claimed that since the judge reversed the suspension and found that Smith did nothing wrong, it was the �ultimate employment decision� that no adverse action had been taken.
The Sixth Circuit disagreed, pointing out that the case law used by Economus to support that conclusion was overturned by the Sixth Circuit earlier this year.
�Accordingly,� wrote Cole, �Smith has stated an adverse employment action and, therefore, satisfied all of the elements necessary to allege a prima facie case of employment discrimination and retaliation pursuant to Title VII.�
Smith is represented by attorney Randi A. Barnabee of Northfield Center, who is also transsexual.
�The Sixth Circuit is the first to acknowledge that there is no reasonable way to exclude any person from Title VII merely by labeling them transsexual, transvestite, or gay or lesbian,� said Barnabee. �It�s the logical progression of Price Waterhouse and a great decision for anyone who has ever been discriminated against for violating some else�s notion of what they are supposed to act like.�
Barnabee said that discrimination cases brought by gays and lesbians under Price Waterhouse will have a better chance of succeeding because of this decision.
�It�s parallel logic,� said Barnabee, who has several similar Title VII cases pending in the Sixth Circuit, including a Lancaster hospital police officer who says he was harassed out of his job for being gay.
Barnabee said she will appeal a ruling against the officer based on this decision, and that the other cases should be settled favorably now, too.
The city of Salem�s attorney, Aretta Bernard said, �No comment, but thanks for asking.�
The ruling sends the case back to Economus� court for trial, unless Bernard asks for reconsideration en banc, by all of the Sixth Circuit judges, or appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. Either of those requests could be denied.
Weekend of events raises $270,000 for HRC
Cleveland--�This is our moment in time,� said Human Rights Campaign president and executive director Cheryl Jacques during her address to the 608 people gathered at Cleveland�s Playhouse Square for the 11th annual HRC fundraising dinner May 29.
The event raised $50,000 for the national political organization, according to dinner co-chair James Downing. Another $85,000 was raised at a Friday night private party.
Word Perfect co-founder and HRC board member Bruce Bastian of Salt Lake City matched the amounts raised, bringing the total to $270,000.
During opening remarks, Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell introduced her mother, Rev. Joan Campbell, who accompanied her to the event.
�From my mother, I learned about about justice and love,� said Campbell. �When people love, it�s a good thing, not something we should worry about.�
Campbell said she was proud of her daughter Katie, 14, a Heights Families for Equality volunteer who canvassed neighborhoods in support of the Cleveland Heights domestic partner registry.
Campbell said Cleveland will soon change its law to allow the city�s Community Relations Board to hear claims of discrimination by sexual orientation.
�People are ready to move into a community that values diversity,� said Campbell, pointing out that new houses being built in her city are selling quickly.
The organization presented its Leadership Award to Tim Downing.
Downing, an HRC board member, also heads Ohioans for Growth and Equality, which was formed to lobby the Ohio statehouse for LGBT friendly legislation. OGE is heading a campaign to defeat a proposed Ohio constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships.
Downing spoke about the recent marriage of U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown to Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz, who were both present.
�They were married by Rev. Kathryn Huey� of Pilgrim United Church of Christ, said Downing. �Rev. Huey can marry them, but she and her partner cannot have that right.�
�We have much work to do in 2004,� Downing concluded.
HRC�s highest award, the Equality Award, was presented jointly to Cleveland Heights City Council and Heights Families for Equality.
In 2002, Cleveland Heights became the first city in Ohio to offer domestic partner benefits to same-sex partners of its employees. The measure was approved by council 6-1.
Council members and benefits supporters Nancy Dietrich, Phyllis Evans, Dennis Wilcox, and Mayor Ed Kelley accepted the award. Bonnie Caplan and Vice Mayor Ken Montlack were unable to attend.
�We�re delighted to accept this award,� said Kelley, who also spoke about the city�s commitment to diversity and equality.
HFE organizers David Caldwell and Katie Alex accepted the award on behalf of their group, joking that HFE was the �nerdiest bunch ever to receive the Equality Award.�
Caldwell began by announcing to huge applause that a judge had declared the registry legal the previous day. The constitutionality of the registry had been challenged by the seventh member of city council, Jimmie Hicks, and former school board member Charles Byrne.
Caldwell poked fun at Byrne�s comments in the daily newspaper decrying the judge�s decision.
��We are certainly looking like the ill-fated Roman empire,� Byrne had said. �They were vastly homosexual.�
�I don�t know what �vastly homosexual� is,� said Caldwell, �But I look around, and I wish Charlie was here.�
Caldwell said the organizers of HFE were not political operatives. �But being nerds, we were good at math, so we understood that winning meant 50 percent plus one.�
�A lot of ordinary people have [organizing] skills,� said Caldwell, �and a big team of ordinary people can do extraordinary things.�
Jacques told the crowd that 2004 is �a perilous moment in the struggle for civil rights.�
She condemned President George W. Bush, who called a press conference to say that preventing same sex marriages was a national emergency that warranted changing the Constitution.
�This is our moment in time,� said Jacques. �It�s our marriage moment, and we shouldn�t be surprised that people want to take it away from us.�
�Bush wants to change the constitution because he doesn�t know how to change his poll numbers,� said Jacques. She noted that the arguments against LGBT equality are the same ones used to support segregation before the Brown v. Board of Education decision declaring that separate is not equal.
�As a country, we have been here before,� said Jacques, �and the road ahead is perilous. Imagine how different history would be if Rosa Parks would have settled for the middle of the bus.�
�The U.S. Constitution cannot be smeared with anti-gay graffiti,� said Jacques, �and this battleground state must work to stop that from happening.�
Ohio is at center of 2004 elections, Jacques says
Cleveland--The leader of the nation�s largest lesbian and gay political organization said Ohio is the focus of the 2004 campaign season.
�All eyes are on Ohio. You guys are the talk of the town,� said Human Rights Campaign president and executive director Cheryl Jacques in an interview before the group�s Cleveland dinner.
Jacques said that HRC has budgeted the most money in its history and made the most technical support available for state and local organizations for the 2004 campaign.
�Ohio will be a big part of that,� said Jacques, noting that $2 million will be spent in Ohio and six other swing states.
�The most immediate concern for Ohio is the threat of a ballot question [putting a prohibition of same-sex marriages in the state constitution],� Jacques said, adding that HRC is prepared to partner with local activists in support of a campaign asking voters not to sign the anti-marriage petitions.
Jacques said if the marriage amendment gets on Ohio�s ballot, HRC will assist the local campaign against it. That campaign is being organized by the political action committee Ohioans for Growth and Equality.
Jacques said HRC is also committed to supporting the campaign to repeal the anti-gay charter Article 12 in Cincinnati, which will also be on the November ballot.
She noted that support for the grassroots field campaigns will not cause HRC to abandon its federal legislative agenda, which includes endorsing and contributing to federal candidates favorable to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender concerns, passing a federal employment non-discrimination act, federal hate crime bill, LGBT affirming immigration laws, and defeat of the federal marriage amendment.
�Even though George W. Bush is not going to sign any of these bills,� said Jacques, �we have to try to stop more dangerous actions, grab victories where we can, and not abandon our friends.�
Jacques is �cautiously optimistic� that the federal marriage amendment will die in the U.S. Senate, but there are no guarantees.
Constitutional amendments require approval by two thirds of both houses of Congress before they are sent to the states for ratification.
The proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage is more likely to get two-thirds approval in the House, but is expected to be moved for a vote in the Senate first, where 34 senators can stop it.
�[Senate Republican leader] Bill Frist [of Tennessee] and [Majority Whip Pennsylvania Republican] Rick Santorum are obsessed with bringing it to a vote even if the votes for passage are not there,� said Jacques. �They are willing to fall on their sword for the religious right.�
�If the [Senate] vote was held today,� said Jacques, �there seems to be enough opposition to block passage, but the other side is using considerable resources to break the weakest links in the defense, and it�s not clear that we would prevail.�
Jacques said HRC�s main goals for the 2004 election are the defeat of George W. Bush and the defeat of anti-marriage ballot measures in the states that have them, including Ohio.
�After the election, HRC will move forward with whatever hand we�re dealt,� said Jacques. �We will work to see that the Massachusetts marriage ruling holds, and we will try to prevent the federal marriage amendment from moving, and unlock the privilege of marriage for other states like Ohio.�
Jacques said marriage has become the prominent issue for our movement because the principles of equality and equal protection under the law are all interconnected to marriage.
�If marriage holds, it is hard for employers to treat LGBT employees unequally,� said Jacques, �But if discrimination in marriage is legal, it will ripple through all other areas.�
The former Massachusetts state senator supports Sen. John Kerry�s presidential bid, even though Kerry supports amending the Massachusetts constitution to void the same-sex marriages there.
Kerry is on record supporting civil unions, not same-sex marriage, though he was one of only 14 senators who voted against the federal defense of marriage act in 1996. That year, Kerry was opposed in his senate bid by former Massachusetts governor William Weld, a moderate Republican who also opposed the DOMA bill.
Jacques said the LGBT community doesn�t have enough clout alone to choose a presidential nominee.
�If we did, Howard Dean would be the nominee,� she said.
Dean, who also opposes same-sex marriage in favor of civil unions, was the early favorite of the nine Democrats among LGBT voters.
But Jacques does not see Kerry as second best.
�Look at where he has been on LGBT issues,� said Jacques of Kerry�s 19 years as a U.S. senator. �He has the best record ever.�
Jacques said HRC did not support the three candidates who favor same-sex marriage, including Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, because �we look at viability. We have to be strategically smart.�
�And its not that Kerry was bad,� said Jacques, �but that he was surrounded by others who were just as good or better.�
�I�m looking at this as two or three Supreme Court nominees,� said Jacques, �and John Kerry nominees will be extraordinarily different from George W. Bush nominees. We can�t afford to lose the Supreme Court.�
�And a Kerry administration will be full of openly LGBT people,� said Jacques, �His heart and mind are open.
Lakewood, Ohio--City Council approved a resolution June 7 proclaiming this week to be �Dignity of Human Rights Pride Week.�
The declaration recognizes the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community �for its many and varied contributions that have enriched our civic life and aided in creating a more accepting society and community.�
The resolution, which was put forward by Ward 4 representative Mary Louise Madigan, follows last year�s action commemorating LGBT pride week. Last year a rainbow flag was flown at city hall, similar to the one flown at Cleveland city hall each year. In Lakewood, the move caused a controversy that may have contributed to the unseating of then-Mayor Madeline Cain.
Earlier this year, council voted to remove the �community� flagpole Cain had installed for the flag. The original resolution, written by Ward 2 member Ryan Demro, directed that the pole be moved to the city trash facility.
The current Pride resolution is not binding on any city law or agency and calls for no action to be taken.
Sixty six citizens, most supportive of the resolution and wearing rainbow peace stickers, attended the regular council meeting.
Six spoke to council about the resolution, four opposed, two in support.
Opposing the measure were Jerry Murphy, Mary Ann Zimmerman, Pete McGrew, and Orien Rigney, all leaders of last year�s anti-gay activity.
�Here we are again debating those same sad, sick issues,� said Murphy, �that violate religious values and glamorize a lifestyle repugnant to most religions and most people.�
�If you want the City of Homes to become the city of homos, then put it on the ballot,� Murphy said.
Brittney O�Connor, speaking for the measure, told members that she and her husband want to raise their family in a city that celebrates diversity. Nickie Antonio held up a magazine advertisement promoting the city�s latest development, which portrays Lakewood as a city where all people can live, work, play, and belong.
None of the council members spoke for or against the resolution and none responded to the four anti-gay comments.
Council president and Ward 3 representative Robert Seelie quickly called for a voice vote. The resolution passed 5-2. Demro and newly-appointed Ward 1 member Patrick Corrigan voted against it.
Corrigan�s appointment was held up in March over his record of opposing gay and lesbian issues.
Demro last week told the daily Plain Dealer that council should not honor people for "something they do in the bedroom."
"That statement is more than enough proof that social change and a lot of education need to take place at the local level,� said Tim Marshall of the Cleveland Lesbian-Gay Center. �Our community is about a movement toward equal rights and preserving our unique culture. LGBT people in Lakewood and everywhere else should be upset at a remark that serves only to trivialize our oppression."
According to the 2000 census, Lakewood is second only to Cleveland Heights in percentage of gay and lesbian couple households among Ohio cities with more than 10,000 people.
Petitions have been circulating since May 21 with amendment�s full text, which judge ruled they must have
Columbus--Backers of an Ohio constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages may now gather signatures for it, a judge has ruled. But their petitions must include the full text of the measure, not a summary they wrote which the attorney general approved.
Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Daniel Hogan issued his ruling May 28 in a case brought by a Cleveland area couple attempting to block the proposed amendment, which would also ban civil unions and domestic partnerships.
All parties said they were pleased with the outcome.
The suit was brought by Thomas Rankin and Raymond Zander on May 5, in an attempt to compel Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro to withdraw his certification of the summary, which the couple claimed is inaccurate, and stop petitioners from gathering signatures.
In two separate opinions, Hogan ruled that the summary is misleading, and that petitions can be circulated with the actual amendment text instead.
The Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage, part of the anti-gay Citizens for Community Values of Cincinnati, had already begun circulating petitions with the full amendment text a week earlier. Those petitions are valid under Hogan�s ruling. In order to put the amendment on the November 2 ballot, they must collect 322,899 signatures from 44 of Ohio�s 88 counties by August 4.
Hogan also ruled that Petro cannot decertify a summary once it is certified. Finally, he found that the validity of First Assistant Attorney General D. Michael Grodhaus�s bond is irrelevant. Grodhaus certified the summary while Petro was on vacation, and the plaintiffs claimed that he couldn�t do that because his bond form was improperly filled out.
�I give Judge Hogan the King Solomon award for this,� said Columbus attorney Donald McTigue, who represented the couple.
�The whole suit became moot anyway,� said OCPM attorney David Langdon of Cincinnati, when his group started circulating petitions with the full text on May 21.
Langdon said the group took a calculated risk to do that the day after a hearing where he argued that the Ohio law requiring a summary was unconstitutional.
Hogan did not declare it unconstitutional in all cases, but did in this case because the amendment itself is short.
�The question arises as to the constitutionality of the requirement that a petition have a summary certified by the attorney general in a case such as this where the proposed amendment is two sentences long,� wrote Hogan. �Such a requirement is unconstitutional in this case because it restricts rather than facilitates the petition process.�
Langdon said that because of the ruling, no one can challenge the petitions by claiming that they don�t contain a summary.
�I�m very pleased with the ruling,� said McTigue. �We scored a home run on the main issue, which was the technical issue at the core of the suit, that the summary was not truthful.�
While the amendment�s backers have until August 4 to gather the signatures, they have set an internal deadline of July 21. Downloadable petitions became available at their web site, www.ohiomarriage.com, on May 24.
Rankin said he will take his cue as to what to do next from the LGBT community.
None of the three parties indicated that they would appeal any part of Hogan�s ruling.
Langdon said he anticipates additional litigation over the petitions and will defend them.
Cleveland--A judge has upheld the Cleveland Heights domestic partner registry, saying the city did not exceed its powers when its voters enacted the measure last November.
The registry is thus constitutional and may continue, ruled Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Robert T. Glickman on May 28.
Registry opponents vowed to appeal.
The registry allows unmarried same-sex and opposite-sex couples to register their relationship with the city for a fee. It is open to residents and non-residents of Cleveland Heights. It confers no rights or benefits.
The registry, the first in the nation passed by a voter initiative, opened January 26. To date, 85 couples have registered.
The suit to stop it was filed as a taxpayer action by anti-gay Cleveland Heights city council member Jimmie Hicks, Jr. on February 19. Hicks is backed by the Alliance Defense Fund of Scottsdale, Arizona, a consortium of religious-right groups that often sues against domestic partner measures.
Hicks claimed that the registry is an abuse of the city�s power that attempts to accomplish �the defiant end of circumventing Ohio�s �strong public policy� in favor of marriages between one man and one woman, and against marriages between persons of the same sex.�
Hicks says his case is supported by the �defense of marriage act� signed into law by Governor Bob Taft 13 days before he sued. He is represented by Cincinnati attorney David Langdon, who initially authored the DOMA bill.
In April, former state school board member Charles Byrne was added to the case as a second plaintiff. Langdon said this was to get around what he called �collateral arguments� made by Cleveland Heights Law Director John Gibbon that Hicks as a city council member does not have �clean hands,� and should not be allowed to sue the same city where he sits on council. Hicks voted to put the registry on the ballot and to enact its fees.
Glickman did not address the �clean hands� issue in his May 28 opinion, instead, he upheld the constitutionality of the registry.
The judge denied the injunction Hicks and Byrne sought by saying that they had failed �to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, irreparable harm suffered due to the domestic partnership registry.�
Glickman wrote that even if Hicks and Byrne didn�t need to prove that the registry harmed them, it is still legal under the city�s �home rule� authority.
Declaring that the registry is an act of self-governance, Glickman wrote, �Foreign jurisdictions are not bound to acknowledge the registry or to confer any rights or obligations. Residents and nonresidents are free to recognize the declaration, but no other city is obligated to take notice. The registry does not create any result, either within the city or outside its territory, other than the mere existence of names on a list.�
The �Cleveland Heights domestic partnership registry is not beyond the scope of the municipalities� grant of power,� concluded Glickman.
Cleveland Heights Mayor Edward Kelley said Glickman �wrote a fair and accurate opinion� which he believes will �prevail all the way around� if it is appealed.
Kelley said Cleveland Heights was proud of the strong defense of the registry by Gibbon and was prepared to continue defending the registry �to the bitter end.�
Langdon said he will appeal the decision to the Eighth Ohio District Court of Appeals in Cleveland. He has until June 28 to file it.
Langdon said he is prepared to appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court if necessary to stop the registry.
An appeal that far could cost the city of Cleveland Heights $100,000. The city asked Glickman to require Hicks post that amount in a bond, calling Hick�s suit �frivolous.� Taxpayer actions require posting a bond to cover the costs if the party bringing the suit loses. The amount is set by the judge in each case.
Hicks said in February that the Alliance Defense Fund was paying his expenses in the suit.
Glickman set Hicks� bond at $1,000 in early May. He also ordered Hicks and Byrne to pay the costs of the action.
Hicks did not respond to calls for comment, but Byrne called the final ruling �Mickey Mouse.�
�I think [the registry] is the first chapter in the goal of full acceptance of gay marriage,� said Byrne, adding that he couldn�t understand how the judge �picked apart the language� and missed the �general picture.�
Columbus--The Columbus Comets are likely to be Ohio�s only professional team in any sport to make playoffs this year.
The Comets capped off their season with a decisive win against the Indiana Thunder this past weekend, defeating their nemeses 90-0. This important victory sealed the Comets� fifth seed wild card status in the playoffs.
The National Women�s Football Association�s Great Lakes Division also boasts the two-time champ Detroit Demolition, already assured a berth in the playoffs with seven wins.
�We had to get in Detroit�s head with this win,� said Shirley Miller, spokesperson for the Comets. �Detroit beat Toledo by 89. We beat them by 90.�
For the last week of regular season play, the Comets have a bye. The Northern Division Massachusetts Mutiny versus the Connecticut Crush will determine whether the Comets have home-field advantage in their first playoff game. Playoffs begin June 26.
On May 29, the Toledo Spitfire couldn�t cross the goal line against the Cleveland Fusion, who took the game 350. It was Toledo�s last home game for the season. The following game, June 5, was against the tough Southwest Michigan Jaguars. That too ended in a sputtering loss for Toledo, 740. Toledo, 33 for the season, needs a win to finish off the season. Against the undefeated Demolition, it seems unlikely.
The Fusion added another win against the Spits, but injuries are plaguing the team. This caught up to them, resulting in a June 5 loss to the Demolition 55-0.
Cleveland plays the Wisconsin Riveters next on June 12. It is a home game in Cleveland and since the Riveters are new to the league and scoreless for the season, the Fusion stands to end the season on a win. Cleveland is fifth in the division with a 2-5 record.
Both the Northern and the Southern Conferences have 17 teams. There will be three rounds in the playoffs with six teams represented from each conference. The championship game will be held in Louisville, Kentucky at the Papa John�s Cardinal Stadium on July 31. Tickets are $10-$25 and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com. For group rates call 615-8604084.
Cincinnati--After taking top prize for best booth at Taste of Cincinnati on Memorial Day weekend, Hamburger Mary�s team of sprinters on June 6 won the 16th annual Drag Races in the two blocks between the pair of bars that organized the hilarious center city event.
The popular bar and restaurant was awarded the coveted �Gold Pump Trophy� for its victory. Pipeline came in second, Shooters third and Simon Says won fourth prize. Proceeds from the event benefit Cincinnati Pride.
The race, which included four teams, drew about 150 spectators who sat on the ground at curbside to cheer on their favorites.
Ted Jackson of Citizens to Restore Fairness, the race�s announcer, opened the run by urging the crowd to support repeal of the city charter�s anti-gay Article 12, �which people have accepted for too long.� CRF volunteers circulated petitions and stickers about the drive to repeal the charter amendment, passed in 1993, which bars the city from extending civil rights protections to gay men and lesbians.
Twenty-five members of the Queen City Rainbow Band performed along the race course before the competition began.
Contestants started the races by dashing into Shooters bar on Race Street, which was bedecked with 12 bright new rainbow flags, for a quick shot of liquor.
�You better get in there,� race official Hurricane Summers of Louisville yelled at a bartender checking out the action. Racers donned hats, wigs, dresses, heels and handbags to run to the event�s other organizer, the Pipeline bar on Plum Street across from City Hall. Both bars were packed by people who knew the race would not start until about 4:15 pm.
This year�s race was designed as a streamlined event, without recent years� booths, a tent, and community groups� booths.
Food, drinks, and fun were plentiful at nearby Hamburger Mary�s, Spurs, Pipeline, and Shooters both before and after the racetrack action. After the race�s climax, special after-parties were held at Hamburger Mary�s and the popular dance hall, the Dock. At the latter a �Finish Line� drag show starring Summers and others entertained race enthusiasts.
In the ten years since the military�s �don�t ask, don�t tell� policy was created, discharges of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender soldiers have increased.
The United States military has invaded two countries, called up the reserves and is devoting all its resources to occupations that have divided the nation.
In the meantime, personnel with training in Arab languages have been ousted from service because of their sexual orientation.
Into this scenario comes Marc Wolf�s Another American: Asking and Telling, a dramatic comedy that won an Obie Award and a Helen Hayes Award among other laurels and nominations. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network honored Wolf for �giving voice to servicemembers who have faced witch-hunts, death threats, harassment, discharge, fear and enforced silence under the military�s anti-gay policies.�
And now, the Know Theater Tribe will be asking and telling through June 26 in honor of Lesbian-Gay Pride Month.
Directed by Jason Bruffy, Another American follows the lead of The Laramie Project and The Vagina Monologues, taking a collection of interviews and transcribing them into monologues performed, in this production, by Brian Anderson, Anthony Marquez, Burgess Bryd and Lindsay Caron.
Wolf interviewed an array of veterans and active military personnel, gay and straight, from World War II to the present, for his 1998 play. He also spoke with civil rights lawyers, professors, politicians and federal judges. Together, they present a moving, telling portrait of the treatment of queer Americans, willing to fight and die defending a country that treats them as second-class citizens.
Another American: Asking and Telling opened at Know on June 10 with a pay-what-you-can fundraiser for Cincinnati Gay and Lesbian Pride.
Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8 pm until June 26. All shows are at Gabriel�s Corner, 1425 Sycamore Street, in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati. Tickets are $15, $12 for students and seniors.
For more information about this or any Know Theater Tribe production, log onto www.knowtheatre.com or call 513-3005669.