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6th November 2002 (# 2) News Clippings Digest

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  • grahamu_1999
    6th November 2002 (# 2) News Clippings Digest 1. ANN ARBOR NEWS Amendment to remove gay protection from law defeated; Ypsilanti ordinance to stay intact as
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 8 5:03 AM
      6th November 2002 (# 2) News Clippings Digest

      1. ANN ARBOR NEWS Amendment to remove gay protection from law
      defeated; Ypsilanti ordinance to stay intact as 63% vote to deny
      change
      2. ASSOCIATED PRESS Daniel O'Donnell wins seat in New York State
      Assembly
      3. ASSOCIATED PRESS Two openly gay men are elected to the
      California Legislature
      4. LINCOLN (NE) JOURNAL STAR Brandon Teena's mother is back before
      the state Nebraska Supreme Court, still looking for a repectable
      settlement
      5. LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR Charles Laux (the sheriff who bullied
      Brandon Teena) receives less than 3% of the vote for Johnson County
      Sheriff
      6. ASSOCIATED PRESS Aside from Nevada, gay causes fare well in
      election
      7. STOCKTON (CA) RECORD Letter: Davis policies harm our kids
      8. VANCOUVER (WA) COLUMBIAN Letter writer says "homosexual lobby
      hijacked" the CARE Act

      Ann Arbor News, November 6, 2002
      340 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor, MI, 48106
      (Fax: 313-994-6879 ) (E-Mail: LetterNews@... )
      ( http://aa.mlive.com )
      http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standar
      d.xsl?/base/news-0/1036597223181560.xml

      Amendment to remove gay protection from law defeated
      Ypsilanti ordinance to stay intact as 63% vote to deny change
      By Khalil E. Hachem, News Staff Reporter
      Ypsilanti residents rejected an amendment seeking to remove
      gays from
      protection under the city's Human Rights Ordinance. The amendment was
      defeated by 63 percent of the vote Tuesday in what opponents called a
      rebuff
      to discrimination.
      "Ypsilanti made the right decision defeating the amendment
      again,"
      said Lisa Zuber, spokeswoman for the Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality,
      a
      group organized to oppose amendment. "We are very happy."
      Unofficial results showed 3,023 people voted against the
      amendment
      and 1,779 voted for it. The amendment was rejected in all 10 of the
      city's
      precincts.
      "It means that the citizens of Ypsilanti are against
      discrimination,"
      said Zuber.
      A group called Ypsilanti Citizens Voting Yes for Equal Rights
      not
      Special Rights asked voters to approve the amendment that would have
      removed
      sexual orientation as one of the protected characteristics in the
      city's
      Human Rights Ordinance. The City Council adopted the ordinance in
      1997,
      barring discrimination based on 14 characteristics, including race,
      age and
      sexual orientation.
      "We're disappointed," said the Rev. Levon Yuille, spokesman
      for the
      amendment group. "We will continue to stand for what we believe is a
      correct and proper value system that should be demonstrated in our
      society."
      Yuille had said he was confident that his group was going to do
      better with this second challenge. The group challenged the entire
      ordinance in 1998 and was turned down by 56 percent of the votes. The
      margin, however, grew this time.
      He said the opposition raised more money and did a better job
      of
      explaining the issue to voters. "We didn't have the type of funding
      we
      would have liked to have," Yuille said.
      Zuber said her group had ample support from more than 300
      volunteers
      and about 800 donors. The group went door-to-door and worked with
      individual voters, explaining the issue. "We stuck to our message to
      say no
      to discrimination," she said.
      Yuille and about 20 supporters gathered at the Bible Church on
      East
      Cross Street for prayers after learning the results. He told them to
      continue marching on with their message. "It was a good fight," he
      said.
      "This will not be the last time."
      Garry Glenn, president of the American Family Association of
      Michigan, who has supported similar efforts in other Michigan cities,
      urged
      Yuille's group to continue to fight. "We're standing for what is
      right," he
      said.
      A mile away, the mood was more festive. About 100 people
      gathered at
      Frenchie's in Depot Town to celebrate the amendment's defeat.
      Mayor Cheryl Farmer, who was also celebrating her victory
      Tuesday
      night for a third term in office, said the vote showed people were
      unhappy
      about having to vote on the issue for a second time.
      That sentiment was expressed by some voters interviewed at the
      polls.
      "That was obscene, that that was even on the ballot," said
      resident
      Jan Katz.
      "It's discrimination plain and simple," said Mary Wingard, a
      UAW
      worker, who voted against the proposal.
      . News staff reporter Emma Jackson contributed to this report.
      Khalil
      E. Hachem can be reached at (734) 482-3225 or at
      mailto:khachem@...


      Associated Press, November 6, 2002
      Rosie's Brother Wins Assembly Seat
      NEW YORK (AP) - Daniel O'Donnell, brother of talk-show host
      Rosie
      O'Donnell, easily won a seat in the Legislature, becoming the
      Assembly's
      first openly gay male and the state's third openly gay lawmaker.
      O'Donnell, 41, said winning the Manhattan seat fulfills a 33-
      year-old
      goal. The tenant rights lawyer said he decided at age 8, when the
      assassination of Robert F. Kennedy canceled his morning cartoons and
      made
      his mother cry, that he wanted to be a politician.
      O'Donnell, a Democrat, said he prefers to separate himself
      from his
      famous younger sister, who also has acknowledged her homosexuality.
      "To have a famous member of the family both helps and hurts,"
      he
      said. "There are a lot of things I do that tend to get lost in her
      celebrity status. The media finds it a lot more interesting than I
      do."


      Associated Press, November 6, 2002
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
      file=/news/archive/2002/11/06/politics1322EST0381.DTL

      First openly gay men elected to California Legislature
      Margie Mason, Associated Press Writer
      SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Two Assembly candidates made history by
      becoming
      the first openly gay men elected to the California Legislature, and
      they
      hope their victories will help advance gay rights.
      Democrats Mark Leno, a San Francisco supervisor, and John
      Laird, a
      former Santa Cruz mayor, won their seats by large margins Tuesday.
      They join lesbians Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, and
      Christine
      Kehoe, D-San Diego, both re-elected, and Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa
      Monica.
      Leno replaces Democrat Assemblywoman Carole Migden, also a lesbian,
      who was
      pushed out by term limits. She will now serve on the Board of
      Equalization,
      a state tax panel.
      "It's been a topic of much joking in our community in
      California and
      in the nation that the lesbians got elected and no gay men were in
      the mix,"
      said Lorri L. Jean, executive director of the National Gay and
      Lesbian Task
      Force. "We have an opportunity to have the lid blown off the
      stereotypes of
      gay men. It will change the debate and result in a different level of
      consciousness that is only good news for our community."
      Laird will serve the 27th District, which covers Santa Cruz and
      Monterey counties and a portion of southern Santa Clara County. Leno
      will
      represent the 13th District, stretching across most of the eastern
      portion
      of San Francisco.
      "Nineteen years ago, I was in the first class of openly gay
      mayors in
      the country and so I had a moment of making history once before, and
      it was
      very exhilarating," Laird said. "My experience is always that if
      somebody
      from the gay and lesbian community has a seat at the table, more
      significant
      reforms happen."
      Kuehl was the first openly gay person elected to the
      Legislature in
      1994. Leno and Laird said men were slow to follow because lesbians
      are
      often viewed as less threatening than gay men, and many aspiring male
      politicians were wiped out by the AIDS epidemic.
      The women say they're thrilled to welcome the men, and they're
      optimistic the new assemblymen will help promote more awareness and a
      richer
      dialogue.
      "We've talked about lesbian culture and what kind of
      discrimination
      gay men face. We always have to say 'they,"' Goldberg said. "They
      will be
      able to say 'I' and 'we."'
      Both new assemblymen said they plan to fight for gay rights and
      domestic partner protections. Same-sex marriage and adoptions are on
      their
      list, as well as more laws to crack down on discrimination against
      gays and
      transgender people.
      "The point needs to be made that we are still second-class
      citizens
      in this country," Leno said. "There's no compromising when it comes
      to
      civil rights."
      . On the Net:
      www.johnlaird.org/
      www.markleno.com/


      Lincoln Journal Star, November 6, 2002
      P. O. Box 81609, Lincoln, NE, 68501
      (Fax: 402-473-7291 ) (E-Mail: oped@... )
      (http://www.journalstar.com )
      http://www.journalstar.com/nebraska.php?story_id=2206
      Brandon's mother seeks more money
      By Joe Duggan, Lincoln Journal Star
      An attorney for the mother of murder victim Teena Brandon made
      an
      "off-the-wall" request of the Nebraska Supreme Court on Tuesday:
      award a
      respectable financial payment and end the appeals.
      Lincoln attorney Herbert Friedman appeared before the high
      court to
      appeal JoAnn Brandon's lawsuit against Richardson County and its
      former
      sheriff, Charles Laux, who badly mishandled the investigation. The
      justices
      wanted to know what relief Friedman was seeking.
      "This is off the wall," he responded. "It seems to me this
      court
      could easily pick a figure and be done with this."
      After the roughly 20-minute hearing, Friedman said there was
      no legal
      precedent for the state Supreme Court to award damages in a civil
      case.
      "But they do have the power to do what they think is inherently
      just," he said.
      At trial, JoAnn Brandon sought $500,000 in damages against the
      county. A year ago, District Court Judge Orville Coady ordered
      Richardson
      County to pay a total of $98,223.
      Tuesday's appeal centered on two portions of the award:
      $7,000 for
      emotional distress Teena Brandon suffered at the hands of the
      sheriff, and
      $5,000 for her "intrinsic value" to her mother.
      Lincoln attorney Richard Boucher argued the high court should
      allow
      the judge's decision to stand because it was made after a thoughtful
      review
      of the evidence. "The evidence in this case is that the reward is
      reasonable," Boucher said.
      The case involves the Dec. 31, 1993, stabbing and shooting of
      Teena
      Brandon, 21, in a rented farmhouse south of Humboldt. Her killers
      also shot
      and killed Lisa Lambert, 23, of Humboldt, and Phillip DeVine, 22, of
      Fairfield, Iowa, because they were in the house at the time.
      The case attracted national attention when it was learned that
      Brandon had been living as a man and dating women in Falls City,
      Humboldt
      and Lincoln. It later inspired the film "Boys Don't Cry," in which
      actress
      Hilary Swank won an Oscar for her portrayal of a character based on
      Teena
      Brandon.
      On Christmas Eve 1993, John Lotter and Marvin Thomas Nissen
      beat and
      raped Brandon because they were angry she had fooled them into
      believing she
      was a man.
      Juries later convicted the men of rape and three counts of
      first-degree murder. Lotter is on death row, while Nissen earned
      himself a
      life sentence by testifying against his former friend.
      In the wake of the criminal trials, JoAnn Brandon has won court
      decisions that held the sheriff and county failed to protect her
      daughter
      after she reported the rape.
      Authorities allowed Nissen and Lotter to remain free even
      though
      Brandon told the sheriff they had threatened her life if she reported
      them.
      In addition, Laux pursued a crude and demeaning line of questioning of
      Brandon in the hours after she was raped.
      In late 1999, Judge Coady ruled in JoAnn Brandon's favor but
      awarded
      her only $17,000.
      On appeal, the Supreme Court found Laux's behavior toward
      Brandon was
      "beyond all possible bounds of decency, and is to be regarded as
      atrocious
      and utterly intolerable in a civilized community." The court ordered
      Coady
      to increase the base award to $86,000 and review the additional claims
      against the county.
      In October 2001, Coady found little evidence to support JoAnn
      Brandon's claim of loss of companionship. In part, he based his
      decision on
      the fact that JoAnn Brandon did not pick up her daughter after she
      was raped
      to bring her to the safety of Lincoln.
      As a result, he set the "intrinsic value" of Teena Brandon's
      life at
      $5,000.
      In addition, the judge found the sheriff intentionally
      inflicted
      extreme emotional distress upon Teena Brandon. But he said there was
      no
      medical evidence to award more than $7,000 - $1,000 for each day
      between her
      rape and murder.
      On Tuesday, Friedman said that while the Brandon family wasn't
      the
      Brady Bunch, JoAnn and Teena had a close relationship. In the several
      months she lived in Richardson County, Teena called her mother
      frequently
      and visited once or twice a week.
      After the rape, they decided it was not safe for her to return
      to
      Lincoln because the rapists knew JoAnn Brandon's address. So the
      mother
      made arrangements for the daughter to stay with Lisa Lambert in
      Humboldt.
      Regarding a lack of medical evidence that Teena Brandon
      suffered
      distress from the sheriff's questions, Friedman said the judge set an
      impossible standard under the circumstances.
      "She didn't live long enough for a psychiatrist to look at her
      and
      say there was post-traumatic stress disorder," he said.
      Short of setting their own award in the case, the Supreme Court
      justices should send the matter to a district judge for a new verdict,
      Friedman argued. And the judge should be anyone but Coady, he added.
      In defense of the judge's ruling, Boucher argued there was a
      limit to
      the county's responsibility for the inappropriate actions of its
      former
      sheriff. He also said it was reasonable for the judge to conclude
      that
      mother and daughter had, at best, a tenuous relationship.
      When Brandon told her mother that she had been sexually
      assaulted,
      "no one came to Richardson County to retrieve her. No effort was
      made to
      get to Richardson County to help and comfort her in her time of need,"
      Boucher said.
      The high court's ruling in the appeal could take as long as
      several
      months.
      . Reach Joe Duggan at 473-7239 or
      mailto:jduggan@...


      Lincoln Journal Star, November 6, 2002
      P. O. Box 81609, Lincoln, NE, 68501
      (Fax: 402-473-7291 ) (E-Mail: oped@... )
      (http://www.journalstar.com )
      http://www.journalstar.com/decision2002.php?story_id=2186
      Southeast Nebraska issues, candidates poised for wins (excerpt)
      By Larry Peirce
      The contest between two-term Johnson County Sheriff Stan
      Osterhoudt
      and petition write-in candidate James Wenzl of Sterling was too close
      to
      call late Tuesday night with six of the county's eight precincts
      reporting.
      Wenzl had 643 votes, Osterhoudt 640 and Democrat Charles Laux
      30.
      The uncounted precincts were in Sterling and Tecumseh.
      "I don't know how to figure it," Wenzl said earlier in the
      evening.
      "It's hard to tell."
      Osterhoudt was not available for comment. Nor was Laux, the
      former
      Richardson County sheriff criticized for his handling of rape
      allegations
      made by Teena Brandon, a woman who lived in Falls City as a man.
      Brandon
      was killed in 1993 by the men she had claimed raped her.


      Associated Press, November 6, 2002
      http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/20021106-1446-nv-gays-
      election.html

      Aside from Nevada, gay causes fare well in election
      By David Crary
      Aside from an expected rebuff of gay marriage in Nevada, the
      election
      was a coast-to-coast success for gay activists and candidates.
      The three openly gay members of Congress won re-election by
      landslide
      margins; Providence, R.I., became the largest city with an openly gay
      mayor;
      and activists prevailed in three referendums on municipal
      nondiscrimination
      codes.
      Gay-rights activists were particularly heartened by the
      success of an
      anti-discrimination amendment in Sarasota, Fla., extending
      protections to
      gays and lesbians. It was backed by 73 percent of the voters.
      In two other communities - Westbrook, Maine, and Ypsilanti,
      Mich. -
      voters rejected proposals to strip gay-rights provisions from local
      anti-discrimination ordinances. Partial returns suggested a similar
      outcome
      in Tacoma, Wash., but absentee ballots remained to be counted.
      In Westbrook, gay-rights supporters prevailed by only 2
      percentage
      points, but in Ypsilanti a similar provision survived by a margin of
      3,023
      to 1,779.
      "That's something beyond a victory, that's a definite
      message," said
      Beth Bashert, co-chair of the Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality.
      Seth Kilbourne, national field director for the Human Rights
      Campaign
      in Washington, D.C., hoped the results would deter foes of gay rights
      from
      pushing ballot measures in the future.
      "We're getting smarter and better at winning these things,"
      said
      Kilbourne. "My hope is that our opposition will realize they're
      going to
      lose."
      The only major setback for gay-rights activists was scarcely a
      surprise. By a margin of 337,183 to 164,555, Nevadans gave final
      approval
      to a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage that received
      initial
      approval two years ago.
      State law already limits marriage to heterosexual couples, but
      some
      conservative groups sought the amendment to ensure that same-sex
      couples
      from other states could not gain legal recognition in Nevada.
      Openly gay candidates fared well in races for federal and state
      offices, led by the three incumbent members of Congress. Rep. Barney
      Frank,
      D-Mass., was unopposed, while Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., and Tammy Baldwin,
      D-Wis.,
      each won more than 60 percent of the votes.
      An even bigger landslide occurred in Providence, where
      Democrat David
      Cicilline won 84 percent of the votes. The Rhode Island capital,
      with a
      population of 174,000, will surpass Tempe, Ariz., as the largest city
      with
      an openly gay mayor, according to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.
      "Obviously, there will be some interest nationally because I'm
      gay,"
      Cicilline said. "But I'll continue to talk about the things that
      will make
      Providence a better place to live for all kinds of people."
      Precedents were set in several legislative elections,
      according to
      the Victory Fund. Among them:
      . Democrat Jack Jackson Jr., a Navajo, became the nation's
      first
      openly gay American Indian to win a legislative seat. He was elected
      without opposition to Arizona's House of Representatives.
      . Democrat Daniel O'Donnell, brother of talk-show host Rosie
      O'Donnell, became the New York's first openly gay male assemblyman.
      . Democrat Rich Madaleno became the first openly gay man
      elected to
      Maryland's General Assembly.
      . Massachusetts Democrat Jarrett Barrios became the first
      openly gay
      Latino elected to any state Senate.
      . Democrats Mark Leno and John Laird became California's first
      openly
      gay male legislators. One of the state's four lesbian lawmakers,
      Assemblywoman Carole Migden of San Francisco, won a seat on the state
      Board
      of Equalization representing 8 million constituents - more than any
      other
      gay or lesbian official in the country, according to the Victory Fund.


      Stockton Record, November 6, 2002
      530 E. Market St., Stockton, CA, 95202
      (Fax: 209-546-8288 ) (E-Mail: editor@... )
      ( http://www.recordnet.com/ )
      Letter: Davis policies harm our kids
      Two years ago, Gov. Gray Davis signed AB1785, a law that makes
      it
      possible to teach the sexual practices of homosexual lifestyle to
      children
      in our public schools. Statistics show that homosexual sex and drug
      use
      cause the highest percentage of the deadly disease AIDS. Davis'
      encouragement of this teaching will cause some children to try these
      alternatives. Is there anything more important in our lives than the
      safety
      of our little ones?
      - Elena Romero, Stockton


      The Columbian, November 6, 2002
      P. O. Box 180, Vancouver, WA, 98666
      (Fax: 360-699-6033 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.columbian.com )
      Letter: Lobbying hijacks bill
      The Family Research Council reports that in February, U.S.
      Sen. Tom
      Daschle, D-S.D., praised the CARE Act, President Bush's faith-based
      initiative, as "what we can accomplish in Washington when we put
      partisanship and politics aside and focus on what matters."
      Eight Democrats co-sponsored the bill, which passed the House
      in July
      with an overwhelming bipartisan vote. Swift Senate passage appeared
      certain. Then, as The Wall Street Journal noted, the homosexual lobby
      hijacked the bill.
      The lobby demanded provisions that would have forced churches
      and
      other faith-based organizations to hire homosexuals even if that
      violated
      deeply held moral principles.
      Suddenly the Democrat co-sponsors, some of whom faced tough
      election
      campaigns, had to choose between popular bipartisan legislation and
      the
      demands of the politically powerful homosexual lobby. Despite his
      earlier
      support, Daschle capitulated to the homosexual lobby and blocked the
      bill
      from coming to a vote.
      As The Wall Street Journal quipped, it's plain to see what
      matters to
      Tom Daschle and the Democrats.
      - Lee Hemen, Vancouver
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