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September 3, 2004

Article 12 repeal will stay on ballot

Last-minute deal for cryptic wording ends suit to stop the vote

Cincinnati--A lawsuit over ballot wording that threatened to stop a vote on repealing Article 12 appears to be settled. The city, county and repeal opponents reached an eleventh-hour agreement on August 30, a half hour before the matter could be decided by a judge.

Barring further action, the question will appear on the November 2 ballot, but with little explanation of what it is about.

It will now read, �Be it resolved by the people of Cincinnati that Article XII be repealed. This amendment to the City Charter shall in all respects be self executing. Article XII shall be null and void and of no force and effect.�

Voters are then asked: �Shall Article XII be repealed?�

Cincinnati city council, in a special Monday afternoon meeting, removed the title portion of the ballot text they had approved on August 4. That part said the article �prohibits the City from protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation.�

Unless repeal opponents object, the Hamilton County Board of Elections is expected to approve the new wording when it meets next Wednesday.

The suit was brought August 12 against the city and the elections board by Equal Rights No Special Rights Political Action Committee, which will campaign against the repeal. ERNSR was the group behind Issue 3, which became Article 12 when voters passed it eleven years ago.

The measure, the only one of its kind in the nation, was intended to repeal a 1992 gay and lesbian equal rights ordinance and prohibit any future ones.

ERNSR claimed the repeal ballot wording was inaccurate and unfair, taking the �form of an argument,� and omitting �crucial information about the operation of Article 12.�

The language they objected to came from the petitions circulated by Citizens to Restore Fairness to repeal the measure.

CRF presented over 14,000 signatures for the repeal on July 27. They were not originally involved in the suit, but joined it to represent petition signers. Common Pleas Judge Mark R. Schweikert granted their motion to intervene on August 30.

The city had avoided a temporary restraining order at an August 17 hearing by saying that council erred when it create the ballot language by simply turning CRF�s petition text into a question. It offered to pass new text written as a statement, not a question.

That pleased ERNSR but they continued their suit hoping that Schweikert, a Republican, would order ballot text they liked. If his order had been appealed, the issue would have missed the deadline for the November election.

Schweikert showed he was willing to enter the language debate when he set the August 30 hearing and asked for witnesses to come forward to dispute ERNSR�s claims.

CRF said ERNSR�s real agenda is to keep the repeal vote off the ballot.

ERNSR said that it wanted the judge to order language they suggested in advance so council would know what was acceptable. ERNSR said that would ensure the election would be held because council wouldn�t approve anything else.

CRF, through its attorneys Jennifer Branch and Scott Greenwood, urged council to approve the wording that ERNSR suggested.

�This changes nothing about the facts of Article 12,� said CRF co-chair Gary Wright. �No change to the fact that protection for gay people cannot be enacted as long as Article 12 is there.�

ERNSR said in their suit that Article 12 does not prevent the city from protecting people on the basis of sexual orientation, which is why it objected to the ballot wording. However, in earlier lawsuits against the city, including one to stop a gay-inclusive 2002 hate crime ordinance, the group has argued that it does.

The new ballot text was passed 7-1 by council, with only ERNSR member Sam Malone voting against it. The other member regarded as anti-gay, Pat DeWine, was not present.

�They tried to keep this off the ballot any way they could,� said Branch, �but they have no argument now.�

During the August 30 hearing, Schweikert asked ERNSR attorney David Langdon, �Does this [new ordinance] alter the concerns raised on your part?�

�It changes the scope,� said Langdon, who did not agree to dismiss the suit entirely. �It depends on what the Board of Elections does.�

The board, which has the final say on ballot content, will vote on the new wording September 8. It usually approves text passed by a city council.

�If the board rubber stamps the language, we will most likely do nothing� more, Langdon said.

Schweikert set the matter for another hearing September 20 to address anything further. The text cannot be changed after September 28, when absentee ballots are printed.

 


Log Cabin speaks out during GOP conclave

Guerriero says right has �hijacked� party; platform is �outrageous and insulting�

New York City--The gay Log Cabin Republicans are mad as hell and they�re not going to take it any more.

Speaking outside the Republican National Convention August 30, Log Cabin executive director Patrick Guerriero said the �radical right� has �hijacked� the Republican Party and that simple integrity requires gay Republicans to fight back.

The group unveiled a new TV ad featuring former President Ronald Reagan saying, �Whatever else history may say about me, when I�m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears.�

�The Republican Party has to make a choice,� Guerriero said. �We can be the party of Giuliani, McCain and Schwarzenegger or we can be the party of Falwell, Santorum and Buchanan. We can unite on those things that bring us together or we can continue the politics of intolerance and fear that only lead to hate.

�The Republican Party can�t have it both ways,� Guerriero said. �We cannot have the voices of exclusion crafting a vicious and mean-spirited platform, while at the same time putting the voices of inclusion in prime time [at the convention].�

Guerriero said President George Bush�s desire to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage--combined with the party platform�s rejection of civil unions and even domestic-partner benefits--has launched a �fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party.�

�For too long we have watched while the radical right hijacked our party,� he said. �For too long we have been asked to be loyal foot soldiers on election day, and asked to remain silent as the far right hijacked our platform and our policy agenda . . . This party platform is so outrageous and insulting to some of us, that some of us have to call our own party on it.

�If we don�t do it, nobody will. And if we don�t do it now, we�ll be back in four years at a convention with language that�s even worse.�

The day before the convention started, Log Cabin hosted a �Big Tent Event� that was attended by Republican politicians who sometimes support GLBT causes.

The gathering was addressed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Gov. George Pataki, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld.

�We believe in a Republican Party true to its origins, devoted to achieving liberty and justice for all Americans,� Bloomberg said. �I have stood up every time I�ve had the opportunity, no matter what the setting was, to say the same thing. I am a believer that what makes America and New York great is its inclusiveness and its willingness to let everybody be who they are, and I will always stand for that regardless of whether it happens to be politically correct or not.�

Bloomberg denounced the Federal Marriage Amendment.

�I don�t think we should ever use the Constitution to drive wedges between us,� he said. �Quite the contrary, the Constitution is there to pull us together.�

Specter said Republicans will see the light on gay equality sooner or later.

�There are so many prominent Republicans [here today],� he said. �The governor, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. There�s a lot of muscle and a lot of prestige and a lot of prominence behind the gay and lesbian community--and that�s the way it ought to be . . . In the long sweep of history, or maybe even the short sweep of history, those who favor gay rights and those who favor equality are on the right side of the issue.�

Weld said he favors full marriage rights for same-sex couples.

�The recognition of gay marriage, as the Massachusetts Supreme Court has done, is the conservative point of view,� the former governor said. �It�s making the same demands on gays and lesbians as are made on everyone else when they want to commit to each other for a lifetime. I�m surprised that that is not a more broadly held point of view.�

�The fact that some people have gay/lesbian preferences is not something that�s going to be changed based on what somebody in the legislature says,� Weld noted. �I don�t know whether the percentage of the population is 10 percent or 5 percent or 15 percent or 1 percent. It doesn�t matter. You�re not going to repeal biology in the United States Senate or the House.�

Log Cabin will not decide whether or not to endorse Bush until after the convention. But all indications are that the group will advise the approximately 1 million GLBT Americans who voted for the president in 2000 not to do so again.

�Log Cabin�s endorsement is in great jeopardy as a result of the FMA endorsement by the president and the decision to let this platform attack gay and lesbian families so directly,� Guerriero said. �There was no need for the Republican Party to let this platform get hijacked by the radical right.�

Log Cabin�s Big Tent Event was picketed by a small group of left-leaning gay activists.

�We�re protesting the mayor at a gay event and protesting the fact that he gets credit for being pro-gay when in fact he isn�t,� said Ann Northrop. �He has done a lot of things: vetoing pro-gay legislation, criticizing his commissioners for doing progay stuff, joining the Boy Scouts, marching in the St. Patrick�s Day parade. He just talks out of both sides of his mouth. He thinks he�s pro-gay; he�s deluded. And they [Log Cabin] think he�s pro-gay, and they�re deluded.�

In addition to calling for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, the Republican Party platform also states: �We believe that neither federal nor state judges and bureaucrats should force states to recognize other living arrangements as equivalent to marriage. We believe, and the social science confirms, that the well being of children is best accomplished in the environment of the home, nurtured by their mother and father anchored by the bonds of marriage. We further believe that the legal recognition and accompanying benefits should be preserved for the unique and special union of one man and one woman which has historically been called marriage.�


Marriage ban petitions disputed in 18 counties

Columbus--Petitions for an Ohio constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions have been challenged in 18 counties in the last two weeks. More counties are being added almost daily, and the growing number of faulty signatures and other defects could delay a vote on the measure.

Columbus election attorney Don McTigue believes that there is a good chance that the challenges and appeals could delay certification and keep it off the November ballot. He represents Ohioans to Protect the Constitution, which is campaigning against the measure.

The amendment�s backers, the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage, submitted 380,621 signatures from all 88 counties on August 3. To go on the ballot, 322,899 from at least 44 counties must be valid.

If the measure fails to make this year�s ballot, it might still appear on one next year. OCPM will also have a chance to replace any rejected signatures.

So far, election boards in Crawford, Delaware, Erie, Madison, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Pike, Portage, Scioto, Van Wert, Wayne, and Williams counties have been served with letters of protest by McTigue. They join Fulton, Logan, Marion, Morrow and Sandusky counties, where last week�s complaints have become lawsuits.

Volunteers in Columbus and Cleveland, recruited by Ohioans to Protect the Constitution and McTigue�s staff, are reviewing each petition form after the local election boards strike signatures of people not registered to vote.

The volunteers are looking for defects such as names printed instead of signed and P.O. boxes instead of voting addresses. In the circulator�s information, they check for the wrong count given of signatures on each form, incorrect or illegible statements from the circulators and misstatements of how much the circulators were paid.

Defects in the circulator�s information voids the entire petition form and all of its signatures.

The letters of protest list the disputed forms and the alleged violations each contains. Within three days of the protest, the boards are required to file a lawsuit against the petitions in the common pleas court of that county.

At press time, 57 of the 88 county election boards have processed their petition forms and returned them to the secretary of state, who issued a status report August 30.

The report shows that for all 88 counties, the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage submitted a total of 25,594 petition forms containing 380,621 signatures.

This figure differs from the 391,198 released by OCPM head Phil Burress at a Columbus press conference the day they were turned in.

The 57 reporting counties have invalidated 33,477 signatures, including 190 complete forms, dropping the total valid signatures from those counties to 118,217. McTigue will try to further reduce this count.

The partial total reflects a 22 percent rate of rejection. A sample of these includes Franklin County (Columbus) with 43 percent rejected, Mahoning (Youngstown) with 40 percent, Warren with 27 percent and Jackson with 15 percent.

Among the 31 counties that have not yet been processed are the large counties of Cuyahoga (Cleveland) and Hamilton (Cincinnati) and the small counties of Defiance and Guernsey.

Once all the county election boards have finished checking the forms, the secretary of state will issue a letter certifying the number of valid signatures that were collected, before any of the lawsuits.

If that number exceeds 322,899, the measure will be certified for the ballot.

If it doesn�t, OCPM has ten days from the issue of the letter to submit additional signatures.

OCPM volunteer and paid petition circulators began collecting the additional signatures immediately after the first set was turned in August 3.

McTigue says this is acceptable.

Burress has widely said that the group will turn in an additional 100,000 signatures, which will also require examination by the counties and face McTigue�s legal challenges. Before the first set was turned in, Burress had said it would contain 500,000 signatures.

Cincinnati attorney David Langdon represents OCPM and said he is prepared to defend the signatures questioned in the lawsuits.

Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell can join the suits and consolidate them into one, most likely to be heard in Franklin County. He has not yet indicated his intentions.


Ohioans support marriage ban amendment 56-40

Cincinnati--A University of Cincinnati poll released on August 25 indicates that 56% of likely voters support a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and benefits for unmarried couples.

The University of Cincinnati Institute for Policy Research�s Ohio Poll, conducted by telephone from August 11 to 17, surveyed 763 likely voters in the November 2 general election from across the state.

Forty percent of those polled indicated that they would vote against the amendment, and four percent were undecided. The poll has a margin of error of 3.4 percent.

Phil Burress of the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage, the organization behind the attempt to amend the state constitution, had earlier said that he believed 70% of Ohio voters would support the amendment. In comments to the Cincinnati Enquirer, however, Burress said that the lower-than-expected support did not faze him.

�Once we get done with the media and people understand we are talking about homosexual and lesbian marriages, I think that will go back up to 70%,� he said.

However, a Columbus Dispatch poll released in April on the Federal Marriage Amendment, which was defeated in the Senate in July, only showed 60% of Ohioans in favor of the national measure.

Poll results often do not fully indicate support for anti-gay measures, though. In Missouri, a state constitutional amendment similar to Ohio�s passed with 71% of the vote on August 3, the first such vote since the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ordered same-sex marriage legalized in that state. Polls before the vote showed only 62% support for the measure.

Alan Melamed, chair of Ohioans Protecting the Constitution which opposes the amendment, had a different take on the poll results than Burress.

�For them to only have a 56-40 lead when we have only just begun to get our message out,� he said, �shows this is already resonating with people that this is not about gay marriage. It�s about taking away protections and benefits of all unmarried couples.�

Supporters of the Ohio amendment argue that it is necessary to ensure that state courts do not force recognition of same-sex marriage in the state.

The amendment, however, goes beyond simply defining marriage in the state constitution. While the first sentence does that, a second one reads, �This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage.�

Opponents of the amendment argue that the second sentence would eliminate domestic partner benefits currently offered by four state universities, and could nullify contracts and court agreements between unmarried couples, both same-sex and opposite-sex.

While the state Board of Elections has approved the amendment language as Issue 1 on the November ballot, the certification process is still under way. Legal challenges were filed August 24 in five counties by Ohioans Protecting the Constitution�s attorney Don McTigue.

McTigue�s challenges in Fulton, Logan, Marion, Morrow and Sandusky counties point to violations in the petitions and other paperwork submitted to the boards of elections, including altered forms, names printed instead of signed, duplicated signatures, incorrect signature counts, incomplete addresses and improperly completed forms indicating how much money paid signature gatherers received.

McTigue, who is also representing a group opposed to an initiative repealing one cent of the state sales tax, believes that challenges will ultimately be filed in at least 60 of Ohio�s 88 counties.

The entire poll can be viewed at www.ipr.uc.edu .


Does DOMA weaken Ohios domestic violence law?

Outcome of lesbian couple�s case could void its protection for all unmarried couples

Delaware, Ohio--The first court test of Ohio�s �defense of marriage act� could remove domestic violence protection from unmarried couples, both same and opposite sex.

The measure, passed last winter and often called DOMA, makes recognition of �statutory benefits of legal marriage� against the strong public policy of the state for all unmarried couples.

A Delaware court has been asked if the law allows such couples to be considered �family or household members� under laws against neglect, abandonment and domestic violence.

Both sides have indicated that they will appeal the court�s decision in order to force higher courts to clarify DOMA.

The question occurs in a move to dismiss a civil protection order brought by Debra Luebbe of Westerville against her former partner Lorraine Ferret, also of Westerville. The motion was filed August 13 in Delaware County Common Pleas Court.

The order was requested in May by Luebbe at the same that she filed domestic violence charges against Ferret. It was granted by Judge Everett Krueger May 27.

Ferret was acquitted July 22 by Judge Thomas Clark in Delaware Municipal Court.

Her attorney, Brian Forbes of Columbus, says that since Ferret is not guilty, the protection order should be removed.

Luebbe�s attorney, Lee Ann Massucci of Columbus, disagrees with the not guilty verdict, and hopes she can make the protection order hold up in the civil court where the burden of proof is easier to meet.

Massucci, who is openly lesbian, said, �It�s disturbing that they would use DOMA to attack, and we will argue that it is not a valid legal argument.�

Lambda Legal Defense, a national gay and lesbian group, is concerned that the case could set legal precedent that could leave gays, lesbians, and unmarried heterosexual couples without domestic violence protection in Ohio. It has tried to dissuade Forbes from raising the argument.

�I find it disappointing that someone in a same-sex relationship is actually arguing for something that could hurt same-sex couples,� said Lambda supervising attorney Heather Sawyer. �This is usually the kind of thing used by those opposed to same-sex couples to deny rights.�

If Forbes and Ferret prevail on the argument, the matter will be �of concern [to Lambda] and we will be taking a look at it� to become more involved, according to Sawyer.

Forbes said his motion represents a �novel and appropriate argument� that he chose to use after discussions about it with other attorneys.

�I don�t represent the [LGBT] community,� said Forbes, �I represent my client.�

Forbes told the court that because Ferret is the same sex as Luebbe, she is shut out of Ohio�s marriage law and with it, court resolution of their breakup. This is unequal treatment since Luebbe has access to the court through the domestic violence law.

�They can�t have this both ways,� said Forbes.

He added that this case will serve to �highlight the inequities� same-sex couples encounter, especially with DOMA laws in place.

�Unfortunately, Ohio has made a clear public policy statement [with DOMA],� said Forbes. �It�s pretty strong language that was chosen for a reason.�

Issue was foreseen by gay group

Members of the Ohio Human Rights Bar Association, a gay legal advocacy group, testified that DOMA could be used in this way during Statehouse hearings on the measure last winter.

Attorney Tim Downing testified that DOMA is �ambiguous and statutorily undefined� and could lead to �many harmful consequences for Ohio families,� including cases like this one.

Susan Bader of Ohio Women, Inc. told an Ohio House committee that her organization is concerned about the how DOMA�s language could affect survivors of domestic violence who are not married to their batterer.

DOMA�s sponsor, Rep. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati, also an attorney, testified that DOMA affects Ohio law wherever the word �spouse� appears.

Seitz said DOMA means that �spouse� can only mean one man and one woman married to each other and nothing else.

Forbes said because of the new definition of �spouse,� the protection order cannot be used against Ferret, and Luebbe lacks standing to bring it.

Judge Krueger will hear the matter September 21.

 


Go to Discussion Forum Top of Page

Wedding bells finally ring for heterosexual couple

Denied an Ohio license because the groom is transsexual, pair marries in New Hampshire

Holderness, N.H.--A heterosexual couple forbidden to marry by the state of Ohio because the groom is transsexual were legally married in New Hampshire on August 13.

The couple, Jacob Nash and Erin (Barr) Nash of Warren, have been trying to marry in Ohio since August 2002.

Their court battle here for a marriage license has received international notice. Ohio is one of three states that does not correct transsexuals� birth certificates or allow them to marry someone of the opposite sex.

County and state appeals courts have gone to sometimes extreme lengths to deny the couple a marriage license here.

Trumbull County Probate Judge Thomas A. Swift first denied the couple a license. When they appealed his ruling, he attempted to join the case as though his court was being sued itself instead of appealed. The Eleventh District Court of Appeals later rejected Swift�s unprecedented move as inappropriate.

One of Swift�s employees also attempted to block the couple�s attorney, Randi A. Barnabee, from being admitted to the Ohio bar by filing an �unauthorized practice of law� complaint against her. Barnabee, a transgender activist and advocate, had recently moved to Ohio from Maryland, and had passed the Ohio bar exam at the time.

The complaint was quickly dismissed as frivolous, but it delayed Barnabee�s Ohio bar admission and cost her financially.

The Eleventh District court eventually upheld Swift�s denial of the license. To do so, it cited an advisory opinion, which higher courts generally cannot do, plus dissenting U.S. Supreme Court opinions and Ohio�s �defense of marriage act� while it was still a bill awaiting Senate approval. Neither of the latter two had any force of law, although the DOMA passed and took effect last spring.

Barnabee said the couple can now challenge DOMA and other anti-LGBT laws if Ohio tries to deny full faith and credit to the New Hampshire marriage license, which she has promised to defend.

The Nashes were married by Justice of the Peace Linda Columbine in the town of Holderness, surrounded by members of Jacob�s family and friends.

The ceremony took place five years to the day after Erin Nash boarded a plane to New Hampshire and brought her future husband back to Ohio in a rented truck.

According to the couple, when presented with all of the necessary documents, including Jacob�s Trumbull County name change, corrected Massachusetts birth certificate and previous divorce as a woman, New Hampshire officials made calls to verify the documents and told them to pick up their marriage license the next day.

The couple was asked in 2002 following the initial marriage license rejection why they didn�t just go to another state that would allow it instead of fighting.

�We live in Ohio,� said Erin Nash. �It�s our home, and we shouldn�t have to.�

The couple continues to reside in Ohio.

 

 


 

House member wont seek re-election after being outed

Washington, D.C.--A Republican member of the U.S. House announced August 30 that he will not seek re-election, following reports on a web site alleging that he is gay.

Rep. Ed Schrock of Virginia is a conservative who favors a blanket ban on gay servicemembers in the military and is a major supporter of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would define marriage as an opposite-sex institution in the United States Constitution. He also voted in favor of a bill to remove federal courts� jurisdiction to hear cases involving same-sex marriage.

Schrock, a retired Navy officer, said that the August 19 post on www.blogactive.com �called into question my ability to represent the citizens of Virginia�s Second Congressional District.�

The conservative district is in the eastern part of the state, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, nine military bases and Pat Robertson�s Regent University.

While he will serve out the remainder of his term, Schrock skipped the Republican National Convention this week in New York City. His sudden withdrawal from the congressional race left Republican leaders in Virginia rushing to fill his slot on the ticket, since candidates must be submitted by September 3 to make it onto the November ballot.

On August 31, they selected Virginia Del. Thelma Drake, a Norfolk real estate agent. She signed a pledge last year, with 62 other delegates and state senators, that her office would not discriminate by sexual orientation, according to the gay weekly Washington Blade.

Drake�s Democratic opponent is attorney David B. Ashe.

Both Drake and Schrock are originally from Ohio; Drake from Elyria, Schrock from Middletown.

Blogactive, operated by gay activist Michael Rogers of Washington, D.C., proclaims that its purpose is to expose �hypocrites� in Congress and the religious right. Rogers has also outed several gay and lesbian staff members of politicians who support anti-gay measures.

According to the site, the married Schrock sought gay sex through a telephone personal ad on the MegaPhone system, which is aimed at gay men. The representative, who had a 92% voting record with the Christian Coalition and a zero with the Human Rights Campaign, allegedly left this message:

�Uh, hi, I weigh 200 pounds, six foot four, hazel eyes, blond hair, very muscular, very buffed up, uh, very tanned, uh, just wanting to get together with a guy from time to time just to play. I�d like him to be in very good shape, flat stomach, good chest, good arms, well hung, cut, uh, just get naked, play, see what happens, nothing real heavy duty, it�s just fun time, go down on him, he�d go down on me, just take it from there. Hope to hear from you. Good bye.�

The recording, posted on the site, has been offered to Virginia news outlets and Schrock�s political opponents for several years. Until now, none have done anything with it, partly because it is hard to prove the voice is Schrock�s.

In announcing his departure from the House, Schrock refused to comment on the allegations.

He was first elected with 52 percent of the vote in 2000. In the last election, he did not have a strong opponent.

Schrock is the second conservative House member to be identified as gay without his consent, joining Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., who was outed last year by an alternative weekly. Foley held a news conference to denounce the story, but refused to deny or confirm its central point.

There are three openly gay members of the House. Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., came out in 1996 after he heard rumors that he was going to be outed. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., came out in 1987 during his fourth term. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, DWis., was the first openly lesbian or gay non-incumbent to be elected to a House seat in 1998.

 

 


 

Cipel says he wont sue McGreevey for harassment

Rishon Lezion, Israel--The man at the center of New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey�s resignation announced on August 30 that he would not sue the exiting governor for sexual harassment.

�Despite my strong desire to prove my case in a court of law, I have decided not to proceed with my suit,� said a statement, issued in Hebrew, from Golan Cipel, McGreevey�s former homeland security advisor. �The main reason is the governor�s resignation and his admission of his acts.�

�It�s clear to all that McGreevey resigned because he sexually harassed me and that a man of his standing would not have resigned because of sexual orientation or having had an extramarital affair,� the statement continues.

Cipel released his decision through an Israeli public relations firm, having returned to his native land following McGreevey�s announcement on August 12 that he would leave office in mid-November.

McGreevey, 47, said he had an affair with a man, and he was resigning not because he was a �gay American,� but because of the adulterous nature of the relationship. McGreevey is married and often mentions his Catholicism in speeches.

Cipel, 35, was identified in news reports as the man McGreevey spoke of. He had reportedly said he would sue McGreevey for sexual harassment unless he was paid $50 million in damages. The figure later fell to $5 million.

In statements through his lawyers and to the Israeli press, Cipel said he was not gay, had not had an affair with McGreevey and the homeland security position was only a governor�s liaison to the actual department head. He said the governor had sexually harassed him until he resigned in August 2002.

However, the �liaison� job paid $110,000 a year. After his resignation, Cipel worked in other lucrative jobs provided by McGreevey�s supporters.

August 30 was the deadline for Cipel�s attorneys to file suit under New Jersey�s two-year statute of limitations on sexual harassment claims.

Supporters of the embattled governor said that it was not surprising that Cipel did not follow through on the threatened suit.

�They never made any factual basis for any claim,� said State Sen. Raymond Lesniak. �All they did was demand money and say they would charge the governor with sexual assault and harassment.�

Republican demands that the Democratic governor resign by September 3 continued, however. That is the cut-off date for a special election to be called to choose McGreevey�s successor. After that, state senate president Richard J. Codey, also a Democrat, will serve out the remainder of McGreevey�s term, which ends in 2006.

 


 

Insanity runs in my familyit practically gallops

Cary Grant�s spirit guides Alim through both his
Indian and gay families

�I�m not tense. I�m just terribly, terribly alert,� says Alim�s aunt Dolly to him at her son Khaled�s wedding.

The line beautifully sums up Ian Iqbal Rashid�s Touch of Pink.

It seems as though Alim (Jimi Mistry of The Guru) spends the entire film on the verge of needing sedation, as one thing after another goes awry in the perfect little life he�s constructed for himself in London.

Alim left his native Toronto and the arms of his South Asian Muslim family and jetted off to England. There he works as a photographer on movie shoots, capturing the moments that the press will later use in their reviews.

His boyfriend Giles (Kristen Holden-Ried of K-19: The Widowmaker), an economist with the United Nations, is devoted and caring. Their home is lovely. Everything seems to have fallen into place for Alim until, in a fit of maternal aggression, his mother Nuru (Canadian actress Suleka Mathew) decides to come for a visit and try to bring her prodigal son home.

Therein lies the problem, for there are a number of things Nuru doesn�t know about her only child. Most obviously, she has no idea that he�s gay, or that he�s turned his back on his Muslim upbringing.

Of course, she would probably be almost as shocked to find out that Cary Grant (Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks) has been guiding her son throughout his life, despite Grant�s death in 1986.

With a throaty �My little samosa,� Grant tries to steer Alim through his problems, providing a sounding board for his plans and an outlet for his feelings of betrayal.

Nuru had left Canada when Alim was a small child, pursuing a career as a secretary in London. When she returned, her young son, who had been taken in by her sister and brother-in-law, refused to speak to her.

The wounds from that abandonment stay with him, manifesting in Cary Grant�s attitude toward her. Nuru, of course, can�t see him.

�She still keeps plastic on the furniture,� Alim says at his mother�s apartment later in the film.

�It keeps the evil fresh,� Cary retorts.

In the course of the story, Alim�s relationship with Giles becomes strained, his relationship with his mother goes from nonexistent to worse and he even starts to become impatient with his imaginary friend as revelations about himself and his family fly fast and furious during his cousin�s wedding.

While all the actors turn in capable performances, the true champions of the movie are Suleka Mathew, who looks far too young to be Jimi Mistry�s mother, Kyle MacLachlan, who is Cary Grant in this film, and Mistry�s eyebrows, which are far more energetic than even their owner, who careens from one crisis to another in the film.

Rashid, who both directed and wrote the film, has apparently put more than a little of himself into it. He was born in Tanzania, raised in Toronto and moved to London in 1990, where he lives with his boyfriend.

Unlike Alim and Giles, however, Ian and Peter have two cats.

It�s always interesting to see a film dealing with the intersection of different forms of oppression. In this case they are homophobia and anti-Indian sentiment, which also cross in the queer classic My Beautiful Laundrette.

This film might be more accessible to American audiences, since the Toronto connection is far easier to relate to than Laundrette�s completely British setting.

Thankfully, despite the constant presence of wedding preparations and ceremonies in the movie, nobody has yet referred to it as My Big Gay Indian Wedding, since that would definitely engender what the courts would later call �justifiable homicide.� This film should not be compared to other independent and foreign films, but simply enjoyed on its own considerable merits.

Of course, it has its flaws, but those are relatively minor. As mentioned before, Suleka Mathew doesn�t seem old enough to have a 20-something son, and Jimi Mistry, while immensely entertaining, never really seems to grasp the emotional intricacies of his role. Part of it might be his character�s constant state of confusion, and part of it is the fact that it�s a fairly light-hearted comedy, which doesn�t lend itself to deep, heartfelt emotion.

Completely overriding any flaws in the film is its view of an often-overlooked community combined with MacLachlan�s spot-on Cary Grant impression. It�s a film that is sure to please.

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