Mass. Senator comes out
After a conservative parents' group secretly taped sexual talk at a workshop for gay teens, Democratic Sen. Cheryl Jacques stood on the floor of the Massachusetts Senate and said the state must not end funding for similar programs, reports AP.
On June 1, Jacques, 38, came out on the op-ed page of The Boston Globe, when she wrote, "As a gay person, I understand the tremendous pressure these young people feel.''
Jacques decided to go public after conservatives tried to end funding for the Education Department's Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Students, AP said.
The Parents Rights Coalition recorded a March workshop for gay teens run by a national gay-rights group. The workshop included discussions about sexual positions. One Department of Education worker who attended the conference was fired, and another resigned, AP said.
Jacques said the statistics on the suicide rate of gay teens is what prompted her to come out, and during a Senate budget debate, she made an impassioned speech.
Shelter for gay youths opens in San Francisco
A temporary shelter for homeless gay youth that caused concern among its Noe Valley neighbors has moved to a Castro church, reports The San Francisco Examiner.
"Matt's Place," named after Matthew Shepard, began offering six beds, hot meals and professional counseling last week.
Rev. Jim Mitulski, a pastor in the Metropolitan Community Church, said the goal is to bring young gay people into relationships with adults who would not exploit them.
Gays 'evil' says Baltimore man chose gay victims
The Baltimore Sun reports that a local man admitted last week that he murdered a gay man and tried to kill another because, he told police, he thought gay men were "evil."
Gary William Mick, 25, pleaded guilty in Baltimore Circuit Court to first-degree murder, attempted murder and armed robbery in the two attacks last year.
New AIDS cases among
gay IV drug users
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of AIDS cases among gay men who use intravenous drugs has been decreasing since 1992, although many men in this group continue behaviors that spread the disease, reports AP.
The CDC estimated that 5 percent of men in that category had been diagnosed with AIDS in 1998, down from 8 percent in 1990. The decline is due in large part to increased use of antiretroviral therapies that delay disease progression, the CDC said.
A survey of 513 men showed that, in the past five years, 82 percent had used drugs, 34 percent had used IV drugs, and 15 percent had shared needles. It also showed 76 percent had sex with men and 43 percent had sex with women. Nearly half of those did not use condoms.
In New Jersey, two women have settled a child custody case before a state appellate court was to hear the case, reports AP.
The women both agreed to abide by an earlier ruling to share joint, equal custody of the 4-year-old boy.
The settlement comes after the state Supreme Court in April affirmed in a different case the right of a biological mother's former partner to visit the twins born before the women ended their relationship, AP reported.
Unlike that case, there was no acrimony between those involved.
Air Force doctor ordered to pay back tuition fees
In exchange for a four-year commitment to the Air Force, Dr. John Hensala got free medical training at Northwestern University and Yale, reports AP. Then, seven months before the psychiatrist was to report for full-time military duty, he announced to his superiors that he is gay.
He was promptly discharged and billed $70,000 for his education.
Hensala, who said he did know he was gay at the time, is challenging the demand for reimbursement in court, in what could be the first such lawsuit against the Pentagon, AP reported.
Hensala entered the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program in 1986, before the military's "don't ask, don't tell'' policy. He earned a medical degree at Northwestern University, followed by a three-year residency at Yale, and a two-year fellowship in child psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco.
In 1994, he was told his four years of active duty would have to begin the following year.
Days later, Hensala announced that he is gay. In 1997, Hensala received an honorable discharge and was ordered to reimburse $70,000, AP said.
Lee Brewster, gay activist and clothes designer, dies
Lee G. Brewster, 57, whose Greenwich Village boutique catered to transvestites, died of cancer May 19 in Manhattan, reports The New York Times.
Brewster was a longtime activist, who financed a successful legal challenge to overturn a New York ordinance that allowed people to be removed from public places for being gay. He was an early member of the Mattachine Society, and organized the society's drag balls and fundraising events. He started his clothing business for cross-dressers in 1969, and in the 1980s published Drag Magazine.
ExxonMobil shareholders vote for gay inclusion
According to the Equality Project, 8.2 percent of ExxonMobil shareholders have voted in favor of adding sexual orientation to the company's written non-discrimination policy, a 35 percent increase over last year. Proponents of the measure termed the vote a success, noting that it is sufficient to bring the issue before stockholders again next year.
Shareholders voted on the measure last week at ExxonMobil's annual stockholder meeting in Dallas. None of the several hundred attendees at the meeting spoke against the non-discrimination measure.
But Lee R. Raymond, ExxonMobil's chairman and chief executive officer, defended ExxonMobil's position, by saying legislative forums were the proper place for deciding which groups of workers should be protected from discrimination.
The Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force supported the non-discrimination measure this year. Because the Human Rights Campaign is a shareholder, an HRC representative attended the meeting.
Rev. Perry seeks
meeting with Pope
Rev. Troy D. Perry, Founder and Moderator of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches ( UFMCC ) , has been asked to speak at World Pride 2000 in Rome, on the topic of religion and homosexuality. Perry was invited by the World Pride committee. World Pride 2000, a demonstration of Gay, Lesbian and Transsexual pride, is scheduled for July 1-9.
Rev. Perry will be requesting a meeting with the Pope. The last time Rev. Perry met the Pope was in 1987, when, along with Rev. Nancy Wilson, Vice-Moderator of UFMCC and Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church, Los Angeles, were invited to join 300 other Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic clergy who processed in to the service with His Holiness at the Protestant service held in Columbus, SC.
Pink dollar backs Dems
Money from the nation's gay corporate power brokers is flowing into Democratic Party coffers, reports The Washington Times.
The Gay Financial Network's Power 25 "most influential out gay and lesbian executives in corporate America" and two leading pro-gay political action committees gave more than $1.2 million to Democrats through April 30.
Some Republicans, including George W. Bush and former presidential candidate John McCain, received just $34,000 from the gay activist leaders.
More than half the money, all but $2,000 to Democrats, was donated by three of the Gay Financial Network's Power 25 gay executives: Tim Gill, developer of QuarkXPress software; producer David Geffen of DreamWorks film studio; and Scott K.H. Bessent, chief investment strategist for the Soros Fund and $15 billion Quantum Group of Funds, the Times reported.
The Human Rights Campaign Fund, whose executive director, Elizabeth M. Birch, is one of GFN's Power 25, gave $308,976 to Democratic candidates and $24,000 to Republicans. Her partner, Hilary B. Rosen, president of the Recording Industry Association of America, gave $12,000 to Democratic congressional candidates and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Times said.
Same-sex marriage banned in Colorado
On May 26, Colorado became the 33rd state to ban same-sex marriages. Gov. Bill Owens signed into a law a bill that recognizes marriage only as a union between one man and one woman no matter what other states decide in ongoing battles over same-sex marriages, reports The Rocky Mountain News.
Conservative lawmakers have been fighting since 1996 to pass such a ban. Gov. Roy Romer twice vetoed measures, and last year a similar bill died in committee.
Florida Appeals Court reverses anti-gay
A Florida appellate court has rejected a custody decision because it allowed prejudice to keep a lesbian mother from her two young children, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund said May 31.
Ruling 2-1, the District Court of Appeal of Florida reversed a trial court ruling granting sole custody of the kids to their father, writing that the court had inappropriately "succumbed to the father's attacks on the mother's sexual orientation."
In 1998, the Pinellas County Circuit Court granted sole custody to Jacoby's ex-husband, agreeing with his argument that granting custody to Jacoby would have made the children vulnerable to teasing and harassment from classmates at their private, religious school. Jacoby filed for divorce in 1997, and later moved her two children, ages 7 and 10, into the home she shared with her female partner in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The appeals court said the decision to grant custody to the father "penalized the mother for her sexual orientation without evidence that it harmed the children."
Lambda's brief urged the appeals court to overturn the circuit court decision because it ignored the 16-year-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Palmore v. Sidoti, in which the High Court held that "private biases may be outside the reach of the law, but the law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect."
Americans back some gay rights in poll
According to an Associated Press poll, just over half of Americans say gay couples should not be allowed to marry, but just as many say gay partners should have some legal rights of a married couple ( inheritance, Social Security benefits and health insurance ) .
More women than men feel gay marriage is OK. So do more Democrats than Republicans, more young people than old, more people who feel gays are born with that sexual orientation. The poll found that 51 percent were opposed to allowing gay couples to marry, while 34 percent approved., AP said.
At least half of Americans support the rights of gays to receive health insurance ( 53 percent ) , Social Security benefits ( 50 percent ) and inheritance ( 56 percent ) from their partners.
The poll of 1,012 people was taken May 17-21.
New Yorkers protest Dr. Laura.
On June 5 at the Trump Building in New York City, lesbians and gay men planned to protest WCBS-TV's, which is set to air the Paramount-produced Dr. Laura television show this Fall. The demonstration was organized by New York State Senator Tom Duane; Empire State Pride Agenda; Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; Gay Men of African Descent; Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center of New York; New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project; National Organization for Women-New York City; New York City Councilmember Christine C. Quinn; People of Color in Crisis; the Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; StopDrLaura.com
Same-sex marriages performed online
Rev. Veronica Vinyl DJ hostess of "Veronica Vinyl's Den of Divine Decadence" at www.luxuriamusic.com will be performing online marriages of same-sex couples on her webcast in defiance of conservative politicians and Christian fundamentalists.
Veronica says that though individual states may not recognize gay marriages as legal, the World Wide Web does. "In cyberspace sweetie you are who and what you say you are, and nobody really debates that. A person has to be accepted at face value because on the net all of us are faceless. It is the last bastion of true freedom left in this world, I'm claiming this piece of it for my brethren."
Veronica Vinyl is a 6'-tall drag queen, a legally ordained minister of the Universal Life Church, and late CJ ( Cyber Jockey ) of her own Internet interactive music show.
Call ( 818 ) 764-6737, or femail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Men's Health Summit
The Gay Men's Health Summit 2000 takes place July 19-23 in Boulder, Colo. Those who wish to register, or need more information about scholarship, and housing, visit see: www.bcap.org or contact Mark Beyer or Matt Brown at email@example.com or 303.444.6121.
Ex-Puerto Rican Senator Sentenced
In San Juan, former Puerto Rican Sen. Edgardo Rosario Burgos has been sentenced to three years of probation for his role in a scam to to steal millions of dollars in federal funds meant for AIDS patients, reports Associated Press.
Burgos also was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and perform 500 hours of community service. A doctor, Burgos pleaded guilty in February 1999 to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the now-defunct San Juan AIDS Institute.He admitted that he received a $40,000 campaign donation from the company hired to administer the agency, when electoral laws limit donations to $1,000, AP said.
Burgos turned state's witness and testified against institute officials Yamil Kouri, Jorge Garib and Luis Dubon, who were convicted of stealing $2.2 million in federal AIDS funds.
ACLU joins national debate over religious Freedom and anti-gay discrimination laws
In a developing legal showdown that could affect laws banning anti-gay discrimination in 11 states and more than 100 communities nationwide, the American Civil Liberties Union has struck back against claims that a city ordinance in Henderson, Ky., violates some landlords' religious freedoms by prohibiting them from discriminating based on sexual orientation.
In legal papers filed May 31, the ACLU asked a state court to allow the broad civil-rights coalition that helped pass the ordinance, along with several local residents, to enter a Southern Baptist couple's lawsuit against the city. The couple claims that Henderson's prohibition on anti-gay housing discrimination violates their religious liberties, and they are asking the court to invalidate the ordinance.
Anti-gay groups have chosen Kentucky as "ground zero" in their attempts to establish legal precedent that individuals' religious beliefs can completely circumvent civil-rights laws nationwide, according to Michael Adams, associate director of the ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. While the ACLU views such legal challenges as "very thin, and bordering on frivolous," Adams said the organization becomes involved on behalf of local communities in part to send a message to other cities and counties that are considering passing nondiscrimination laws.