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22nd August 2002 (# 2) News Clippings Digest

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  • grahamu_1999
    22nd August 2002 (# 2) News Clippings Digest 1. SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL Anti-gay activist s Hispanic media award irks gay rights groups in Miami-Dade 2.
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 26, 2002
      22nd August 2002 (# 2) News Clippings Digest

      1. SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL Anti-gay activist's Hispanic media
      award irks gay rights groups in Miami-Dade
      2. DENVER ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS State Rep. Jennifer Veiga came out as
      a lesbian, awaits the inevitable smear attacks
      3. PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE Pennsylvania Supreme Court's adoption
      ruling benefits gays' children; Health coverage, inheritance, Social
      Security rights widened
      4. NEW ZEALAND HERALD The showpiece of Auckland's gay and lesbian
      community all but died last night when the Hero Incorporated Society
      was wound up
      5. INDIANAPOLIS STAR Same-sex marriage heading to court: ICLU and
      6 plaintiffs plan to sue to demand right to wed in Indiana, the first
      such suit in state

      South Florida Sun-Sentinel, August 22, 2002
      200 E. Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33301
      (Fax: 954-356-4624 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.sun-sentinel.com )
      http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/miami/sfl-dgay082202.story
      Activist's Hispanic media award irks gay rights groups in Miami-Dade
      By David Cázares, Miami Bureau
      With a critical vote on whether Miami-Dade County should keep
      its
      anti-discrimination protections for gay men and lesbians a few weeks
      away,
      the leader of an effort to repeal the law is the subject of a
      controversy
      involving Hispanic media figures and gay rights groups.
      Eladio Jose Armesto, the spokesman for Take Back Miami-Dade, a
      coalition of groups urging voters to repeal the law, is expected to be
      recognized next month by the Hispanic Media 100 Awards, an event
      created by
      a private company in Colorado to honor Spanish-language journalists
      and
      media owners. Now in its second year, the program, created in
      association
      with the public-relations unit PR Newswire, will take place in Miami
      on
      Sept. 20 - 10 days after Miami-Dade voters decide on Sept. 10 whether
      to
      keep legal protections for gays and lesbians on the books.
      That Armesto, the publisher of El Nuevo Patria, a small
      newspaper in
      Miami-Dade, is being honored so soon after leading the campaign to
      repeal
      the law has outraged gay advocates and their supporters. They cite
      his role
      as a crusader against the anti-discrimination amendment and his
      frequent
      statements against an alleged conspiracy of "homosexualists" who, they
      charge, want to deny people the right to vote on the issue.
      On Tuesday the national Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against
      Discrimination urged its members and gay rights advocates to insist
      that
      Chris Day, CEO of Event Concepts Inc., the company sponsoring the
      awards,
      withdraw the honor from Armesto.
      "He's called people homosexual extremists and pedophiles," Beth
      George, the alliance's Southeast spokeswoman, said of Armesto. "This
      was
      too big of an issue for us not to continue pursuing it. We reached
      out to
      the members of the Latino community in Miami and the national gay and
      lesbian community and started writing letters to sponsors and letting
      them
      know they were sponsoring an event that was honoring this man.
      "We felt it was very important for them to call Mr. Day and
      let him
      know that they were displeased and that it would not reflect nicely
      on their
      organizations to sponsor an event that nominated such an extreme
      figure."
      Day said Wednesday that his for-profit company would not
      rescind the
      award, which Armesto was nominated for by his peers in the Hispanic
      media
      business and then selected by a panel of judges. Day said he
      understands
      the controversy surrounding Armesto, but said the awards program
      takes a
      neutral stance on the battle over the amendment.
      "We remain completely apolitical and recognize people's
      ability to
      have divergent opinions," Day said. "Of course, we don't support any
      type
      of prejudice at all."
      Armesto was out of town and could not be reached for comment.
      Nathaniel Wilcox, co-chairman of Take Back Miami-Dade, said those who
      oppose
      Armesto's receiving the award are being intolerant.
      "They're the ones who are supposedly fighting against
      discrimination,
      and he can't speak his own mind because somebody disagrees with him?"
      Wilcox
      said. "That's un-American.
      "If somebody feels that he's done a good job in this community
      and he
      should receive an award, let him receive it."
      In recent interviews, Armesto has said Take Back Miami-Dade
      does not
      oppose the county's human-rights ordinance, which prohibits
      discrimination
      based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or gender.
      However, Armesto said, the group does oppose the 1998 amendment that
      prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
      That position has upset many in Miami-Dade County, where a
      coalition
      of business, civic and government leaders has joined forces to urge
      voters
      to retain the amendment. Spanish-language talk show host Cristina
      Saralegui, one of five co-chairpersons of a county anti-discrimination
      committee, is set to be the master of ceremonies for the Hispanic
      Media 100
      awards, and be honored herself.
      George said the talk show host is considering withdrawing from
      the
      program unless the award to Armesto is rescinded.
      Saralegui could not be reached on Wednesday. Day said
      Saralegui, who
      is active in gay causes, has "voiced concerns," but he said the show's
      organizers hope to resolve them with her soon.
      "There are 100 people getting these awards," Day said. "One
      of them
      is Eladio Jose Armesto, and one of them is Cristina Saralegui. We
      couldn't
      be more neutral than that."
      Day also said the Hispanic Media 100 awards have not heard
      from any
      sponsors who want to withdraw their support or from any journalists
      who wish
      to decline their awards because of Armesto.
      He may have spoken too soon.
      Already, one of the nation's most prominent Spanish-language
      journalists has decided to decline the award because of Armesto's
      participation.
      Angelo Figueroa, managing editor of People en español
      magazine, said
      he is concerned the opposition to Armesto's presence at the awards
      could be
      interpreted as an effort to infringe upon Armesto's free-speech
      rights.
      But Figueroa, who heads a diversity committee at Time Inc.,
      said he
      could not attend the awards show because of his support for gays and
      lesbians.
      "Many people on my staff are openly gay. And I have the utmost
      respect for them," Figueroa said. "Anything that is harmful and
      offensive
      and can cause a lot of pain, you want to be sure you're not
      associating
      with."
      Leaders of No To Discrimination/SAVE Dade, the gay rights group
      working to persuade voters to support the amendment, said they do not
      plan
      to make an issue of Armesto's award.
      "Those of us who live here in Miami-Dade County know who Eladio
      Armesto is, and we will be voting based on our conscience, not on his
      ability to receive an award," said Heddy Peña, co-chairwoman of SAVE
      Dade.
      . David Cázares can be reached at dcazares@... or
      305-810-5012.


      Denver Rocky Mountain News, August 22, 2002
      400 W. ColFax Ave., Denver, CO, 80204
      (Fax: 303-892-2568 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn )
      http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/election/article/0,1299,DRMN_36_
      134070
      4,00.html
      Veiga braces for smear attack
      Dem leader talks to media for first time about being a lesbian
      By Peggy Lowe, Rocky Mountain News
      State Rep. Jennifer Veiga said Wednesday she fears anti-gay
      attacks
      in her re-election bid.
      So the Denver Democrat is talking to the press for the first
      time
      about being a lesbian. Even though she has never hidden her sexual
      orientation, neither has she addressed it on such a wide stage.
      "I would never make an issue of my sexual orientation unless I
      knew
      the attacks were coming," Veiga said. "The truth is, it just
      shouldn't be
      an issue."
      Two Republican Party activists say a smear campaign aimed at
      voters
      in Veiga's district is taking shape.
      They believe it would be ochestrated by a few ultra-
      conservative
      members of the GOP and resemble similar attacks that surfaced two
      years ago.
      The sources said they can't go public for fear of political
      retribution. Neither they nor Veiga herself have specifics.
      Yet the prospect of a personal attack has angered GOP
      lawmakers who
      work alongside Veiga.
      "I think that's absolutely outrageous," said Rep. Nancy Spence,
      R-Centennial.
      "I can't imagine there's a Republican that has anything to do
      with
      that kind of action. That just frankly makes me mad as hell."
      Rep. Lola Spradley, who stands to be speaker if the GOP keeps
      its
      majority in the House, said she hadn't heard of the attack but would
      discourage anyone who tries it.
      "If anybody has those kind of latent thoughts, I hope they've
      disposed of them," said Spradley of Beulah.
      The battle over which party wins the majority in the House
      could be
      the reason she's a possible target, Veiga said.
      She heads up the Democrats' effort to win the House back for
      the
      first time since 1975-76.
      "I think you have to ask yourself, 'Why is this an issue now,
      since
      I've been in office six years?'" Veiga said.
      "The only answer I can come up with is I'm moving up in
      leadership in
      the House and I'm trying to elect Democrats across the state. And
      that's
      threatening."
      Veiga said she fears the same kind of attack mailings that
      were used
      during the 2000 election. Fliers sent to voters often distorted a
      candidate's record on issues ranging from taxes to gay rights. The
      mailings
      were aimed at Republicans and Democrats.
      Some campaigns were waged by anonymous groups while other
      groups
      claimed credit for mailings. For example, Colorado For Family Values
      targeted then-Rep. Gary McPherson, an Aurora Republican, as a "leader
      of the
      radical homosexual agenda."
      A number of Republicans were outraged, saying it was a blatant
      lie.
      Veiga has identified herself as gay at fund-raisers and many
      House
      colleagues are aware of her sexual orientation.
      Veiga represents District 3, which covers West Washington Park,
      University Hills, Platte Park and Englewood.
      The mostly Republican Cherry Hills Village was just added
      under the
      new redistricting plan.
      While Veiga has supported gay-friendly legislation, her
      priorities
      have been public education, transportation and public safety. She's
      sponsored bills on victims' rights, domestic violence prevention and
      expanding DNA testing to convicted offenders.
      . lowep@... or (303)892-5482


      Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 22, 2002
      Box 947, Pittsburgh, PA, 15230
      (Fax: 412-263-2014 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.post-gazette.com/ )
      http://www.post-gazette.com/nation/20020822adoption4.asp
      Ruling benefits gays' children
      Health coverage, inheritance, Social Security rights widened
      By Mackenzie Carpenter, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
      Stacey Sobel has heard the same story over and over again: An
      injured child is rushed to the hospital by her mother's lesbian
      partner, who
      is then told by medical personnel she can't make any decisions about
      the
      child's care because she is not a legal parent or guardian.
      But as a result of Tuesday's state Supreme Court decision
      allowing
      gay people to adopt the children of their partners, that scenario may
      no
      longer be played out in the state's emergency rooms, says Sobel,
      executive
      director of the Center for Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights in
      Philadelphia.
      In fact, the court's 6-0 ruling confers a whole panoply of
      legal
      rights on children of so-called "second-parent" adoptions, Sobel and
      other
      legal experts say.
      "Children are so much more protected under this decision," said
      Christine Biancheria, the Pittsburgh lawyer who argued the case
      before the
      court. "They have an established, legal relationship with two
      parents and
      as a result their security is immeasurably enhanced."
      Besides the right to make medical decisions, other rights and
      benefits for parents and children, once the second parent legally
      adopts the
      children, will include:
      . Children who were not eligible for health insurance coverage
      through the parent who had not been able to adopt them now will be.
      . Children will be eligible for Social Security benefits if
      either
      parent dies.
      . Children will have inheritance rights.
      . In the event the couple separates, the custodial parent will
      have
      the right to child support and both parents will have visitation and
      custody
      rights, just as any parent would.
      . Both parents will have rights to make schooling decisions
      for the
      children.
      In the area of health insurance, for example, a child's safety
      net
      expands dramatically, said David Cohen of the Women's Law Project in
      Philadelphia.
      "In the past, if the biological parent didn't have health
      insurance,
      but his partner did, the child couldn't always count on that
      insurance. Now
      they can," said Cohen.
      Children's rights will also be protected if a biological
      parent dies
      intestate, or without a will, since they are now entitled to inherit
      money
      from their adoptive parent.
      "It's particularly important to recognize that this case will
      ensure
      a child's right as their parents' intestate heir," said Frank Cervone,
      executive director of Support Center for Child Advocates and a leader
      of a
      group supporting the lawsuit. He noted that, under previous law, a
      child
      would only have been guaranteed inheritance from either the biological
      parent or the one who had been able to adopt.
      Also, when gay partnerships dissolved, many nonadoptive
      parents found
      themselves shut out of a child's life because they had no legal right
      to
      maintain a relationship with that child.
      "Now that adoptive parent can seek custody in court, they can
      have
      custody battles like everybody else," said Biancheria.
      Up until now, county courts in Pennsylvania took a patchwork
      approach
      to gay or "second-parent" adoptions. Some counties, such as Allegheny
      County, not only allowed homosexual couples to jointly adopt a
      nonbiological
      child, they also allowed second parent adoptions, in which one partner
      adopts the biological offspring of the other partner.
      Two years ago, those adoptions were suspended pending the
      appeal to
      the state Supreme Court of two cases, one from Erie and one from
      Lancaster
      County, where adoption petitions by two gay couples were rejected.
      Still, over the years, the state's high court has, in bits and
      pieces, granted nonadoptive gay parents more and more rights. In
      December,
      for example, the state Supreme Court ruled that nonadoptive parents
      could
      sue for custody, and more recently, a lower court ordered a
      nonadoptive
      parent to pay child support.
      "This court has been disinclined to make artificial
      distinctions when
      it comes to the care of children. It's looking at the practical
      aspect of
      what is best for this child," noted Cervone.
      In the eastern part of the state, the ruling will have another
      impact, added Sobel. Gay couples will no longer have to move to New
      Jersey,
      which allows second-parent adoptions by gay couples. That had been
      happening more and more frequently, she said.
      "We had a call from one such couple on Monday saying they had
      been
      waiting and waiting for a decision, but that the baby's due date was
      drawing
      near and they were just going to have to move. Well, yesterday, I
      called
      them and told them to cancel the moving truck," said Sobel.
      The most important benefit, however, is the security of
      knowing.
      "The irony of this case has long been that these families
      existed,
      but the law didn't recognize them. In schools, in banks, in
      hospitals, they
      didn't get recognized, and that disconnect was upsetting for all the
      parties. Now, they have the experience of being recognized as family
      and
      the world seeing it as such," said Cervone.
      . Mackenzie Carpenter can be reached at mcarpenter@post-
      gazette.com
      or 412-263-1949.


      New Zealand Herald, August 22, 2002
      PO Box 32, Auckland, New Zealand
      (Fax: +64-9-373-6421 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.nzherald.co.nz )
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/latestnewsstory.cfm?storyID=2350750
      Hero parade in further doubt after Society wound up
      The showpiece of Auckland's gay and lesbian community in
      February all
      but died last night when the Hero Incorporated Society was wound up.
      The society, which was debt-free, owned the intellectual
      property
      rights to the Hero Parade which would now revert to the Hero
      Charitable
      Trust, said society chairwoman Ann Speir.
      The trust debt is believed to be more than $140,000, and Ms
      Speir,
      who is also a trust member, said the trustees were still debating its
      future.
      She said she could not promise the Hero Parade in February
      would go
      ahead.
      "But I can't promise it won't either.
      "Hero has to get itself together, talk to its creditors and
      sort out
      where it will go from here. I think there will be some Hero events
      but
      exactly what form they take has yet to be decided."
      Financial problems curtailed the summer parade earlier this
      year to
      less than a quarter of its usual size. Instead the organisers ran
      the 2002
      Hero Pride March.
      About 10,000 onlookers watched the event, down from the
      estimated
      100,000 who lined the streets at the height of the Hero Parade
      popularity.
      Ms Speir said the organisers had faced huge burdens. Auckland
      City
      Council had made a financial contribution but had then taken more
      back in
      fees.
      "It is disappointing that the incorporated society did not
      work but
      that is not to say Hero is dead," she said.
      - NZPA


      Indianapolis Star, August 22, 2002
      P. O. Box 145, Indianapolis, IN, 46206-0145
      (Fax: 317-444-6800 ) ( http://www.indystar.com )
      (Online Mailer: http://www.indystar.com/help/contact/letters.html )
      http://www.indystar.com/article.php?marriage22.html
      Same-sex marriage heading to court
      ICLU, 6 plaintiffs plan to sue to demand right to wed in Indiana, the
      first
      such suit in state.
      By Matthew Tully, matthew.tully@...
      Three local homosexual couples are expected to file a lawsuit
      today
      demanding the right to marry here, making Indiana the latest
      battleground in
      the fight over same-sex marriages.
      "We just want to be treated like any other couple," said Teresa
      Stephens, 45, of Indianapolis. "We expect to spend the rest of our
      lives
      together."
      Stephens and Ruth Morrison, 42, are among the six plaintiffs
      filing
      the suit - which names Gov. Frank O'Bannon and the clerks of Marion
      and
      Hendricks counties as defendants. County clerks issue marriage
      licenses.
      The couples already have traveled to Vermont to enter into
      civil
      unions, which provide the same rights, benefits and responsibilities
      given
      to heterosexual couples there but don't carry any legal standing in
      Indiana
      or other states.
      Legal standing is exactly what is being sought with the
      lawsuit.
      It's about things like hospital visitation rights, legal standing
      when one
      partner dies and health care benefits for domestic partners.
      The legal fight, the first of its kind in Indiana, will be the
      most
      recent in a battle that has played out over the past decade. Leading
      Indiana conservatives criticized the lawsuit, and gay rights advocates
      acknowledge the effort is a long shot.
      "A family is a man and a woman, and that is a bedrock of
      society and
      of our culture. It should remain that way," said Eric Miller,
      founder of
      Advance America and a likely Republican gubernatorial candidate in
      2004.
      On Wednesday, after she and other plaintiffs involved in the
      suit met
      with their lawyers at the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, Stephens
      admitted
      the chances of winning the court case are slim.
      But, she said, it's worth the fight.
      It's an issue that doesn't draw nearly as many headlines as it
      did
      two years ago, after Vermont passed a same-sex civil unions law, or
      in the
      1990s, when Indiana joined more than 30 other states and Congress in
      passing
      "defense of marriage" laws.
      Indiana's 1997 law prohibits the state from recognizing same-
      sex
      marriages "solemnized" in other states. State law already had banned
      same-sex marriage.
      But the emotion connected to the issue has not died down.
      "Once you define marriage as something beyond a man and woman,
      there's no logical stopping point," said Micah Clark, executive
      director of
      the American Family Association. "What about three men? What about
      two men
      and a woman?"
      State Rep. Woody Burton, R-Greenwood, who authored Indiana's
      law,
      said he will seek further legislation if the lawsuit succeeds.
      "The relationship between a man and a woman as a man and wife
      has
      been the standard since this country was founded," he said.
      Gay rights advocates, pointing to a large number of domestic
      partner
      ordinances passed around the country, say the national mood is
      swinging
      their way. Recent polls, however, disagree. A 2001 poll sponsored
      by the
      Pew Center for People and the Press found that only 35 percent of
      Americans
      support the legalization of same-sex marriages.
      Brian Vargus, director of Indiana University's Public Opinion
      Laboratory, said the public is more evenly split when the question is
      whether same-sex couples should receive the same benefits as married
      couples. The word marriage, he said, inspires strong emotions.
      "When you're dealing with values, and in this case religious
      values,
      they are among the deepest and strongest commitments that people
      have," he
      said.
      Stephens and Morrison, who have been together more than four
      years,
      say they already have lives similar to many married couples. They
      built a
      home together and share the same bills. They have a joint bank
      account.
      They love each other.
      They want to be married.
      So lawyers will walk into Marion County Superior Court this
      morning
      and file the lawsuit on behalf of Stephens and Morrison and two other
      couples. With the filing, Indiana will join New Jersey and
      Massachusetts as
      states heading to court for refusing to bend from the age-old
      standard that
      marriage be limited to couples of the opposite sex.
      Sean Lemieux, an attorney at the ICLU, which is paying for the
      suit,
      said the case will take a long time to play out because one side or
      the
      other undoubtedly will appeal lower court decisions.
      "We're in it for the long haul," he said.
      The other couples filing the lawsuit are:
      . David Wene, 46, and David Squire, 36. The two Indianapolis
      men,
      who entered into a civil union in Vermont on Dec. 13, 2000, have been
      together for more than four years. They met at Jesus Metropolitan
      Community
      Church in Indianapolis, where both are active members.
      . Charlotte Egler, 30, and Dawn Egler, 27, of Hendricks
      County. They
      had a civil union ceremony July 5, 2000, in Vermont and have been
      together
      for more than five years. This May, their son, Drew, was born from
      Dawn's
      egg, fertilized with donated sperm that was then implanted in
      Charlotte's
      womb.
      The young boy is one of the main reasons the two women joined
      the
      case. Dawn has so far been unable to get her name on the birth
      certificate,
      and the couple had to go to court to make sure Dawn would have
      custody of
      their son if something happened to Charlotte.
      "What we would like to see is legal recognition of us, and
      others
      like us as being family and having the same protections and rights as
      anyone
      else," said Charlotte Egler.
      . Staff writer Celeste Williams contributed to this report.
      Call
      Matthew Tully at 1-317-327-4484.
      =====================================================
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