part2 of the gay rights campagin


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gay rights issues being pushed for same sex marriage!

i ll be making two to three posting continuing the story line...

Gays Celebrate, and Plan Campaign for Broader Rights

AN FRANCISCO, June 26 — Gay men and lesbians poured into the streets today to celebrate a Supreme Court decision striking down or strictly limiting the country's last remaining sodomy laws in 13 states.

From Florida to Alaska, thousands of revelers vowed to push for more legal rights, including same-sex marriages.


Gay activists, many in tears, called the ruling the most significant legal victory in the gay rights movement, likening the decision to the seminal civil rights case, Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kan. They predicted it would embolden the movement and, as in the segregation era, encourage more people to step forward and demand an end to prejudice.

"I feel like I have been walking six inches off the ground," said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, one of many gay and lesbian groups based here in San Francisco, where revelers gathered in the Castro District. "The arsenal used against us, with sodomy laws being the foremost weapon, has been neutralized."

But the authorities in some states with sodomy laws warned against interpreting today's ruling too broadly. The Virginia attorney general, Jerry W. Kilgore, said the court had not created "any new rights for any particular group of people or the general population."

Mr. Kilgore, in a statement, also said the ruling did not prevent states "from recognizing that marriage is fundamentally between a man and a woman."

Even so, several legal scholars and gay and lesbian activists said the decision would probably have far-reaching implications for the popular discussion about gay rights.

Activists and scholars said that by essentially acknowledging gay relationships as legitimate, the Supreme Court justices gave the gay rights movement a new credibility in debates about marriage, partner benefits, adoption and parental rights.

"The court has put gay people in the mainstream of society for the first time," said Paula Ettelbrick, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. "The court understands gay sexuality is not just about sex, it is about intimacy and relationships. Now there is a real respect for our relationships, as us almost as families, that is not seedy or marginal but very much a part of society."

Some critics of the ruling said they feared it for the same reasons.

Henry McMaster, the South Carolina attorney general, described the possible ramifications as "complex and troubling." While acknowledging that the ruling rendered his state's sodomy law ineffective, Mr. McMaster, a Republican, insisted that the state had a fundamental right to bar behavior considered "inappropriate and detrimental."

In Virginia, Mr. Kilgore, a Republican, accused the court of undermining "Virginia's right to pass legislation that reflects the views and values of our citizens."

In Texas, whose sodomy law was the basis of the case — Lawrence and Garner v. Texas — decided today, celebrations took place in the streets of Austin, Dallas and Houston.

"The decision is a clear indication that our Texas politicians in 2003 are out of sync with the rest of America," said Randall K. Ellis, executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas. "Yesterday the relationship that I had with my boyfriend was illegal. Today it is legal, and this is one step in full equality for all Texans and for all Americans."

The authorities in Harris County, Tex., where John Lawrence and Tyron Garner were arrested in 1998 for having sex in Mr. Lawrence's apartment, said they had mixed feelings about the ruling.

"Obviously I am a little bit disappointed in the outcome because of the amount of work we put into it," said Bill Delmore, an assistant district attorney in Harris County, who was involved in the appeals of the case.

"But I have a lot more serious criminal offenses in files on my desk than this," Mr. Delmore said. "It is going to be something of a relief to leave the social implications and philosophy and all that behind, and just focus on putting the bad guys in prison."

Mr. Delmore, like the authorities in other states with sodomy laws, said today's ruling would have little impact on day-to-day law enforcement because the statutes had been rarely enforced.

In his 22 years with the Harris County district attorney's office, Mr. Delmore said, the only prosecution under the statute was that involving Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Garner.


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June 27, 2003

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Gays Celebrate, and Plan Campaign for Broader Rights
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More typically, he said, prosecutions of homosexual acts are brought under the state's public lewdness statute, which prohibits sexual acts — heterosexual as well as homosexual — in public places. Mr. Delmore said there was nothing in the today's decision that would prevent the au pursuit of those cases.

Similarly, in Idaho, an 1864 state law that forbids "crimes against nature" will still be applied to public sexual acts involving gays, said Michael Henderson, deputy attorney general. He added that the law would also still apply to acts with animals.

"The Supreme Court's decision applies to sodomy laws in certain cases," Mr. Henderson said. "We can't enforce our law of crimes against nature as it applies to private consenting adults now."

Speculation was already rife in several states about how today's decision might be leveraged by gay rights groups to attack other laws deemed antihomosexual.

In Texas, State Representative Warren Chisum said he expected a legal challenge to a law he wrote this year — called the Defense of Marriage Act — that bars Texas officials from recognizing same-sex unions performed in other states.

Mr. Chisum, a Pampa Republican, said today's ruling was nothing less than an assault on the ability of state legislators to uphold moral values. He said he had already assembled a group of lawyers to review how the marriage act might withstand a court challenge.

"It is kind of scary stuff," Mr. Chisum said. "I think the court really opened the Pandora's box here that legislatures are going to deal with for many years in the future if they are concerned about the moral values of this country."

Gay groups across the country said that Mr. Chisum's concern about new legal challenges was warranted. They said they intended to use today's victory to push for more legal rights and to ensure that the ruling on sodomy is not ignored.

"I am confident that never again will there be a serious claim made that a lesbian or gay person is a criminal based on the existence of a sodomy law and thereby fair game for being a victim of all sorts of other discriminatory state action," said Ms. Kendell of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Robin Tyler, a comic and producer in Los Angeles who helped organize some of the celebrations today, said many people were mindful of how difficult it had been for some civil rights decisions to become a reality in everyday life.

"This is just the beginning of the race for full equality," Ms. Tyler said. "There is going to be an enormous backlash from the radical right. It is not like everybody is going to suddenly say that now that we aren't criminals anymore, therefore we are entitled to housing, not getting beaten up and marriage."

Jane L. Dolkart, an associate professor of law at Southern Methodist University who specializes in sexuality and gender issues, said that today's decision did open a legal window for gay rights advocates, but that the court was in essence following the nation, not leading it.

Antihomosexual laws were already being removed from the books in most states, Professor Dolkart said, most notably in Georgia, the origin of the last major sodomy case to be heard by the Supreme Court, Bowers v. Hardwick in 1986. Today's ruling reverses that decision, which had upheld the Georgia statute.

"This ruling may have an effect that isn't strictly legal," Professor Dolkart said. "It may have an effect on the beliefs of people in this country."

Some gay groups, fearing the worst, had been preparing protests had the court ruled the other way. This morning they quickly printed up posters declaring "Terrific!" and "Victory!" and sent out e-mail messages with "talking points" for interviews with the news media.

As word of the ruling spread in San Francisco, a group gathered at the corner of Castro and Market Streets, where a rainbow flag — a symbol of the gay movement for the last 25 years — had regularly flown.

A small chorus of gay military veterans sang the national anthem as the rainbow flag was gently lowered, replaced with an American one.



Gay-marriage drive heats up in N.J.
By Deb Price

One of New Jersey's claims to fame is that it's where Thomas Edison found an ingenious way to harness electricity. Now, 124 years after the invention of the first practical electric light bulb, energy is again being harnessed in creative ways in New Jersey.

Steven Goldstein feels electricity crackling through the crowd every time he convenes a town meeting to discuss why seven of the state's gay couples are suing for the right to marry.

``I haven't seen such passion in New Jersey since Bruce Springsteen last played here,'' says Goldstein, who is helping organize the town halls for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. ``You feel like you are in a rock concert. People are screaming with joy at the historic opportunity to achieve justice.''

Having excitedly seized that marriage lawsuit, which soon goes to trial, as an opportunity to educate and energize New Jersey, Lambda and 99 other groups have sponsored 10 town hall meetings, holding them everywhere from inner-city Newark to commuter suburbs to the beach town of Cape May. More than 3,000 people have turned out to listen and ask questions about the harm done when gay couples are excluded from the legal, financial and social safety net of marriage.

``We are going to start seeing victories soon in the freedom-to-marry movement,'' Goldstein predicts. ``You can feel it and sense it.''

He feels it in the power of the standing ovations that the seven couples receive at the town halls, which will continue. He feels it in the energy of the more than 500 people who recently packed into a Presbyterian church to learn more about opening up the institution of marriage to those of us who are gay.

``Our side is now equalizing the right-wing in terms of intensity,'' Goldstein says. ``A maxim in politics has been that the anger of the right-wing minority often drowns out the quiet justice of the majority. That is no longer the case.''

One measure of the enormous positive energy in New Jersey is the list of town hall sponsors, which includes the New Jersey State Federation of Teachers and a great many churches and synagogues.

The growing power of the fight for fairness is also evident in a new poll, conducted by New Jersey City University, of residents of Hudson County, a blue-collar, predominantly Roman Catholic area.

A local paper declared the results ``shocking'': 56 percent of adults favor allowing gay couples to marry; only 34 percent don't. Among the county's Catholics, 60 percent say yes to gay marriage.

The good news doesn't stop at New Jersey's borders. Statewide polls in May found that New Hampshire and Massachusetts residents favor gay marriage. New Hampshire favors it by 54 percent to 42 percent, a University of New Hampshire survey showed. A Boston Globe poll found that, by 50 percent to 44 percent, residents support it in Massachusetts, where the state's highest court is expected to rule on the issue any day now.

Goldstein offers tips for marriage advocates in other states:

• Get personal. ``We live in an age of Oprah! People respond to life stories.''

• Knock on every door. Don't write off anyone -- regardless of age, party or faith -- as unreachable.

• Build coalitions with public-spirited non-gay groups.

``The right-wing's goal has been to shut down the discussion,'' says Evan Wolfson, director of the Freedom to Marry Collaborative. ``The only way we can lose is by running away from the discussion.''

The idea that gay couples need marriage to fully protect our families is gathering energy: A light bulb is turning on in the mind of the nation.


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LET's KEEP it PRIDE WAYS! This is GREAT more and more now starting to truly stand up and have a major FIGHT abt this rights to be a married couple! THATS wonderful news keep the rainbow flag waving poeple !

Fly Free

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*waving the pride flag*



NOW we can go FORWARD in our battle for equality!!!!!

Fly Free

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this is an article abt the laws in Nevada! HomeNewsArticle

Nevada silently approves gay rights law

by Steve Friess / Network


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In a state where 67 percent of the electorate voted to ban same-sex marriage just seven months ago, Nevada legislators silently but unanimously passed a law this session that extends hospital visitation rights to partners of gays and other unmarried people.

The measure, effective on Tuesday, coasted through the legislative process this spring so quietly that even now that it has passed no one in the local media has written about it.

Under the new law, any Nevada adult can designate who can visit them in a medical facility regardless of legal family status. The law also permits individuals to decide who can take possession and decide the fate of their remains, catapulting the designee to the top of the priority list ahead of any blood relatives.

The measure emerged out of last fall's overwhelming approval of Question 2, which constitutionally defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. The religious conservatives who pushed the amendment insisted they weren't attacking gay people but merely hoping to protect heterosexual marriage, so two of the state's most influential political insiders put them to a test. Democratic strategist Billy Vassiliadis and Sig Rogich, a Republican former aide to President George H. W. Bush, challenged conservatives to support a bill providing hospital visitation and funeral rights for unmarried couples.

Vassiliadis directed a chief lieutenant, Dale Erquiaga, to draft the measure. Erquiaga, who is gay, enlisted the state's only openly gay legislator, Assemblyman David Parks, D-Las Vegas, to introduce it and worked with conservatives to settle on agreeable language. He also kept gay activists from testifying to keep from inflaming the process and attracting media attention.

"Everybody understood that this had to be about the very limited rights we wanted to gain," said Erquiaga, a vice president at Vassiliadis' advertising and public relations firm, R&R Partners. "We weren't trying to make political points and didn't want this to become a big political debate. We were just trying to do something for everyday folks."

Nonetheless, gay everyday folks like partners Stephanie Washington and Kerry Woods are thrilled. Woods was barred from being with Washington when Washington was in the emergency room with kidney stones in 1999, and Washington was kept out of the examination room in 2001 when Woods broke her ankle.

"I knew that there had to be another way to (get marital rights after Question 2), even if we had to take this apart and go after it piece by piece," said Washington, 40, who is on the board of the pro-gay Equal Rights Nevada. "It's only the right thing to do."

Erquiaga and Parks were surprised the bill passed unanimously but credited their efforts to not make it gay-specific. Indeed, conservatives now explain their support as being intended to assist heterosexuals.

"I have constituents in (the elderly community of) Sun City who cohabitate without marriage because one or both would see their retirement income decrease if they married," explained GOP Assemblyman Bob Beers of Las Vegas via e-mail.

Few states offer such rights to same-sex or unmarried heterosexual partners, and those that do typically include it as part of a domestic partnership. Yet the fact that Nevada legislators approved this so soon after Question 2 passed shows the debate was effective even though gays lost in November, said Evan Wolfson, executive director of the national Freedom to Marry Coalition.

"This is further evidence that the debate over the freedom to marry moves the center in our direction even when we suffer a momentary loss," Wolfson said. "Talking about marriage claims for gay people the powerful and resonant vocabulary of love, family, commitment and care. We get non-gay people to understand the needs of our real-life families. It's why the right wing is so scared to death."

Posted June 27, 2003
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gay teen rights has been put back to the appealate courts

On Friday, one day after striking down sodomy laws in the Lawrence v. Texas case, the U.S. Supreme Court instructed the Kansas Court of Appeals to revisit an earlier case that raises the issue of discriminatory treatment of a gay man.

The high court vacated the decision in the case of Matthew Limon, a teenager who received a 17-year prison sentence for having consensual oral sex with a younger teen in the residential boarding school they both attended. The Kansas court upheld the sentence, and the Kansas Supreme Court declined to intervene.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to accept the case for review, but the justices had not responded one way or another to the ACLU's request. Although the high court did not accept review, the message they sent to the Kansas court one day after the Lawrence decision was clear: Reduce the sentence.

Under a Kansas statute, the "Romeo and Juliet Law," heterosexual teens who are caught having consensual sex are treated as an exceptional case under the laws that govern underage sexual activity. Provided the miscreants are under 19, and provided the younger participant is between 14 and 16 and no more than four years separate their ages, the teens are subject to a maximum sentence of one year.

Homosexual teens involved in the same activity, however, are given no leeway, and prosecuted as adults. Matthew Limon received an even harsher sentence than usual, due to a previous incident of this sort on his juvenile record. As such, the youth was facing nearly two decades behind bars for the "crime" of having consensual oral sex with another boy. Limon had just turned 18 at the time of the encounter, while the other boy was about to turn 15.

The case had one constitutional claim in common with the challenge to the Texas sodomy law, namely that the statute punished same-sex couples more severely than heterosexual couples for no apparent logical reason. The ACLU did not argue that Kansas's treatment of underage partners violated their right to privacy.

Although Thursday's majority opinion was based on the right to privacy, and not the right to equal protection at issue here, the court made clear that gay men and women stand on an equal constitutional footing with heterosexuals, and that morality alone cannot justify discriminatory laws.

In a press release Friday, ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project Litigation Director James Esseks said the Lawrence ruling means that "states can no longer get away with ... unequal treatment. We hope that this is the first of many wrongs that yesterday's ruling will correct."

Posted June 27, 2003


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Gay Pride Parades Celebrate Court Ruling

.c The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets Sunday for Gay Pride parades, energized by the Supreme Court's ruling that struck down laws against sodomy and a decision by Canada to allow gay marriage.

In New York, Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco and other cities, revelers marched, danced and carried banners congratulating the Supreme Court for its landmark decision as rainbow flag-waving crowds lined the streets.

``There's such a resonance, such a sense of movement,'' said Marty Downs, a community organizer with the New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center. ``This year, it feels really political.''

In recent years Gay Pride marches have sometimes been as much about partying as politics, but participants said this year's celebrations were different because of Thursday's ruling that struck down a Texas law banning sodomy.

The 6-3 decision apparently swept away laws in a dozen states that ban oral and anal sex for everyone, or for homosexuals in particular. Both supporters and critics of the decision were quick to suggest it could lead to other legal advances for gays and lesbians - including the right to gay marriage - and organizers said a feeling of hope would carry over to the marches and celebrations this weekend.

Organizers of the Atlanta Pride Festival, now in its 33rd year, said they expected a crowd of 300,000, the largest in the parade's history. The ruling was cited as a factor in the big turnout.

``You couldn't ask for a better reason to come out and celebrate,'' said Philip Rafshoon, owner of Outwrite Bookstore in Atlanta's traditionally gay Midtown neighborhood. ``A lot of people think (gay sex is) immoral. And, unfortunately for them, it's not illegal anymore.''

On June 10, an Ontario appeals court ruled as unconstitutional Canada's definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman - paving the way for legalized gay unions there.

Even before the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling, the committee that puts on San Francisco's massive parade, one of the best-attended events in the state, had decided to infuse this year's festivities with a more activist bent.

The parade's theme was ``You Gotta Give Them Hope,'' a campaign slogan that belonged to San Francisco's first openly gay city supervisor, Harvey Milk, who was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone 25 years ago this November. The SF Pride Committee also used the occasion to encourage people to lobby the state Senate to vote for pending legislation that would grant gay couples most of the same legal and financial benefits as married heterosexuals.

``We got a couple of breaks in the last few weeks, with Canada legalizing gay marriage and now the Supreme Court,'' said Supervisor Tom Ammiano, one of two candidates vying to become the city's first gay mayor this year. ``It looks like Sandra Day O'Connor watching `Will & Grace' really paid off.''

Speaking through a megaphone at the New York parade, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, took note of how much the political landscape for gays and lesbians had changed with a few short days.

``Let's hear it for gay pride,'' Schumer shouted. ``Let's even hear it for the Supreme Court - who ever thought we'd say that!''

As they basked in the recent victory, many participants said they looked forward to a new era of equality and respect.

``We're all together, one family,'' said Armando Gonzalez, 21, of Issaquah, Wash., who took part in Seattle's parade as a member of youth choir made up of both gay and straight singers. ``There are no barriers.''

06/29/03 17:22 EDT