News Briefs - July 2006

Clerks II Stars at Screenland Monday
Convenience and video store denizens Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) will make an appearance in Kansas City on Monday June 26 from 3 to 5 PM at Screenland Theatre, 1656 Washington St. (one block west of Broadway on 17th) in KCMO. Stop by to see the two stars of Kevin Smith's upcoming sequel Clerks II, if you're in the neighborhood.
Saint Louis PrideFest this Weekend
From 11 AM to 8 PM Saturday and Sunday, Pride St. Louis presents Pride, not Prejudice: PrideFest '06 in Tower Grove Park. The 27th annual LGBTA celebration features Flo, Dieta Pepsi, ABC, comedian Bruce Daniels, Jen Foster, and DJ Scotty. Morgan Fairchild and Howard Campbell will serve as grand marshals for the parade on S. Grand Blvd., Sunday at noon. Festival dates are June 24 and 25.
Chicago Mayor's Annual Pride Reception - Andy Bell to perform at Gay Games
Erasure's Andy Bell is set to perform at the July 15 Opening Ceremony of Gay Games VII at Soldier Field in Chicago. The announcement came during the Mayor's annual Pride Reception at the Chicago Cultural Center on June 20.
Episcopal Church Ambiguous on Gay Bishops
After electing the denomination's first female presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, delegates to the Episcopal General Convention took up a proposed temporary ban on the consecration of openly gay bishops in the American wing of the worldwide Anglican Communion. On June 20, one of two legislative policy-making bodies of the church rejected a moratorium on gay bishops, making it less likely that the church will impose such a restriction.
The following day (June 21), in a move to meant to stave off expulsion from the Communion, Episcopal leaders recommended to its diocesan leadership to “exercise restraint” when considering the consecration of openly gay bishops.
Presiding bishop-elect, Jefferts Schori, a former oceanographer, supports the blessing of same-sex unions, and when asked if homosexuality is a sin during a CNN interview, she responded, ""I don't believe so."" Her convictions complicate the future relationship between Episcopalians and other members of the Anglican Communion. Other Anglican groups had asked for the ban in the American church due to the 2003 consecration of V. Gene Robinson as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire.
Gwen Araujo Biopic on Lifetime
JD Pardo stars as Gwen Araujo in Lifetime's new film A Girl Like Me. Gwen Araujo (née Edward Araujo, Jr) was a transgender teenager from Newark, California, who was murdered in 2002. Mercedes Ruehl portrays Gwen's mother, Sylvia Guerrero, in A Girl Like Me, which premieres June 19 at 8 PM CDT on Lifetime.
Arkansas Supreme Court hears challenge to Gay Foster Parent Ban
The ACLU presented arguments in an Arkansas case that questions the legitimacy of the state's ban on lesbian and gay foster parents. The regulation also bars anyone living in the same household with a gay or lesbian person from serving as a foster parent. The Child Welfare Agency Review Board of Arkansas adopted the rule in 1999. A Pulaski County judge struck down the regulation in 2004, but the state appealed Howard v. Arkansas to the State Supreme Court.
EU Acts on Homophobia
A rise in violence associated with homophobia in member states has led the European Parliament to pass a June 15 resolution to counter this behavior. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights prohibits any discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
Kansas Sex-Ed Guidelines ignore LGBT Students
On June 14, the Kansas State Board of Education adopted new, regressive ---yet, thankfully non-binding--sex education standards that call for an ""abstinence only"" curriculum ""until marriage."" Rebecca Fox of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) noted that the policy excludes gay and lesbian students, saying, ""if you're telling them to be abstinent until marriage, and they can't marry, then what options are you giving them?""

Rice calls Gays ""Real Human Beings""
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addressed the annual meeting of Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) delegates in Greensboro, North Carolina June 14. When asked about the national debate over same-sex marriage, Rice said, ""...the only thing that I ask is that Americans do it with a kind of sensitivity that real individuals and real human beings are involved here."" She also stressed the need for respect in the discussion on the topic.

Yes, we are real human beings. Thanks, Condi. Now, as to why a member of the Bush Administration was addressing a group of representatives of an ultra-conservative religious denomination, in a country where there is a constitutional barrier between organized faith and government, remains a poser.

Know Thy Neighbor Site lists Marriage Foes
Knowhyneighbor.org, a project undertaken to counter deceit by marriage ban petitioners in Massachusetts, has expanded to Florida. The website lists all signatories of the anti-gay amendment petitions in each state, in an effort to expose fraud, promote online access to the workings of government, and encourage a meaningful discussion of marriage equality.
Georgia School continues to illegally Bar GSA
The ACLU has asked a federal court for a permanent injunction against the White County School Board in Georgia. The school refuses to recognize a student gay-straight alliance (GSA) club at the district high school, but the board has allowed other extracurricular groups to meet. This behavior violates the federal Equal Access Act, which requires public schools to treat all non-curricular student clubs equally. After several rounds of negotiating, the school board has not honored its agreement to allow the club, so the GSA, known specifically as PRIDE (Peers Rising in Diverse Education), sued the White County board. PRIDE is represented by lawyers from the ACLU's National Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project, as well two Atlanta attorneys.
DSS Displeased with Suit Dismissal
As intimated in the brief below, officials of Missouri's Department of Social Services are none too pleased with Attorney General Jay Nixon's decision to withdraw the appeal in the Johnston case, the result of which allows an open lesbian to become a foster parent. In a letter sent to Nixon regarding the appeal, DSS Director K. Gary Sherman displays his ignorance regarding the health of households headed by gay and lesbian parents by asking the following:
""Is it in the best interest of a child's emotional, psychological development to be placed by the state with a family engaged in alternative lifestyles? Does this add to the confusion of minor children already traumatized by abuse, neglect and displacement? Are the children unnecessarily being put at risk of experiencing the taunting and teasing of others?""
Sherman plans to invoke an emergency rule to subvert the ruling of the Jackson County Court, so that the state can continue to discriminate against lesbian and gay parents, and deprive foster children of loving, safe homes.

Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Southern Baptist Conventions
Three Christian denominations convene in mid-June, and LGBT issues will be on their agenda. Presbyterians will take up the ordination of openly gay clergy, the Episcopal Church will address issues arising from the ordination of Gene Robinson in New Hampshire, and Southern Baptists may entertain motions aimed at withdrawing children from gay-friendly public schools. June 14: SBC resolutions committee voted not to boycott gay-affirming schools, but rather to exert ""godly influence"" on in public education.

AIDS/Lifecycle raises $8 Million+ to fight AIDS
Over the second week in June, more than 2200 cyclists biked the 585-miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles, California. The 7-day AIDS/Lifecycle ride raised more than $8 million for the LA Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
Singer, Drag Performer Attacked in East Village
In the early morning of June 10, dance recording artist Kevin Aviance left the Phoenix (gay) bar on East 13th in Manhattan. A short while afterward, a group of several young men began yelling homophobic slurs at him. They kicked the drag star repeatedly, leaving him passed out in the street with a broken jaw. Aviance (né Eric Snead) was to have participated in next week's Gay Pride events, but will not be able to do so, as his mandible is wired shut. Four of the attackers were later arrested by NYPD, and charged with hate crimes. June 13: Aviance now says he will make an appearance at New York Pride in spite of his injuries.
Mid Missouri PrideFest June 10
Live entertainment, educational forums, food, games, and resource booths come to Stephens Lake, Columbia, from 11 AM to 7 PM this Saturday, when Mid Missouri Pride takes over Gordon Shelter. This year's theme is Pride, not Prejudice. An Atomic Fusion dance party follows at The Blue Note from 8 PM to 1 AM.
Adam & Steve Opens at the Tivoli
The makers of Latter Days have made a new romantic comedy about a gay male couple called Adam & Steve. In addition to the romantic leads, the film stars one of our favorite players, Parker Posey, as well as SNL alumnus Chris Kattan. Adam & Steve starts Friday June 9 at Tivoli Cinemas in Westport.
Westchester County, New York to Recognize Valid Marriages
On June 7, Westchester County (NY) Executive Andrew Spano read an executive order that he issued that directs the county to recognize valid marriages performed in other jurisdictions-such as Massachusetts, Canada, Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands. Several other New York municipalities now recognize these marriage, including Nyack, Buffalo, Albany, Rochester
and New York. Westchester is the first county to make such a declaration.
Missouri to Drop Foster Care Appeal
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon said the recent decriminalization of same-gender, adult, consensual sodomy in the state (done to comply with 2003 case law - Lawrence v. Texas) renders moot the appeal by the Department of Social Services (DSS) of a Jackson County Court's decision to overturn a departmental ban on gay and lesbian foster parents.
Nixon's decision is based on the claim by DSS that potential foster parent Lisa Johnston was in violation of this (unconstitutional) law. But even after the announcement of Nixon's decision to drop the appeal--which will allow Johnston and her partner, Dawn Roginksi, to resume the foster parent licensing process--spokespersons for both the DSS and Governor Matt Blunt said the appeal process should continue.
FMA Fails in Senate - Daily Show Clip
On June 7, after two days of debate, the Senate moved on the Federal Marriage Amendment proposal. The vote was 49-48 in favor of ending debate, and moving to a vote that would have referred the matter to the states for ratification, but that simple majority fell short of the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture. A final vote of two-thirds would have been required for referral. (House leaders now plan a similar exercise in futility to placate their homophobic base as campaign season nears.)
Watch Jon Stewart crush Bill Bennett's pro-amendment argument on The Daily Show.
All four Senators from Kansas and Missouri voted to make gays and lesbians second-class citizens by saying ""yea"" to the FMA. Call, or email your Senators to let them know what you think about that.
Missouri
Christopher ""Kit"" Bond DC phone: 202-224-5721
Jim Talent DC phone: 202-224-6154
Kansas
Sam Brownback DC phone: 202-224-6521
Pat Roberts DC phone: 202-224-4774

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