20th March 2003 (# 3) News Clippings Digest
- 20th March 2003 (# 3) News Clippings Digest
1. LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER (Kentucky) Teacher says she opposed
Boyd gay group; 'Narrow-minded' community cited in vote
2. ORLANDO SENTINEL Gay-rights protections in Lake town spur 3 to
3. SOUTH FLORIDA BUSINESS JOURNAL Gay film festival broadens its
4. CNN Movie Review: 'Boat Trip' s(t)inks to the bottom
5. THE STATE NEWS (Michigan State University) Supporters give
couple hand in move; Graduate student resigns job, claims 'U'
Lexington Herald-Leader, March 20, 2003
100 Midland Avenue, Lexington, KY, 40508
(Fax: 606-255-7236 ) (E-Mail: hleditorial@... )
( http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader )
Teacher says she opposed Boyd gay group
'Narrow-minded' community cited in vote
By Lee Mueller, Eastern Kentucky Bureau
ASHLAND - A teacher at Boyd County High School tearfully
yesterday that she voted against authorizing a support group for gay
students last year, but never wanted to hurt club members.
"I think the majority of the people in school and the
against the (Gay-Straight Alliance) in school," teacher Sandy
said. "I have been concerned for the kids because we live in a
that is narrow minded ... the more they have been on TV, the more I
Testimony from Thornbury came during the second day of a U.S.
District Court hearing in which seven club members, represented by
American Civil Liberties Union, have asked U.S. District Judge David
for a court order to force the Boyd County school district to allow
group to meet on campus until a federal lawsuit is resolved.
Bunning said yesterday he will rule later on the issue.
The students, ages 16 to 18, claimed in a January suit that
County school district violated students' rights under the First
and the federal Equal Access Act, which prohibits discriminating
club because of its subject matter.
Despite Thornbury's opposition, the school's site-based
to authorize the alliance at an Oct. 26 meeting, but backed away two
later in the face of local hostility and national attention.
School board chairwoman Sheri Bryan cited a student walkout
4, a church rally that drew 1,000 people and many phone calls, all
parents against the gay-support group.
Board member Teresa Cornett said she attended the October
council meeting at which the alliance was approved.
"I was appalled by the actions of the audience," she
was nothing but hatred in that room from parents. When I left, I
fear of what would happen the next few days."
But Cornett said that while a school can teach tolerance to
it is not the board's role to teach tolerance to parents.
Led by Superintendent Bill Capehart, the local school board
Dec. 20 to suspend all non-academic, or "non-curricular" club
the high school until July.
Capehart, who testified Tuesday, cited the disruption the
created at school, but the ACLU lawsuit contended the move was aimed
The lawsuit also charges that the school board violated the
Education Reform Act by usurping the authority of the site-based
that voted to recognize the alliance.
While examining witnesses, the ACLU also tried to show that
non-curricular clubs, including Bible, drama, cheerleading and
have continued to meet at the school.
A key test under the federal Equal Access Act is whether the
curriculum-related, the ACLU said. Capehart said Tuesday the board
meet in June to decide which clubs at the school fall under the
Boyd County High principal Jerry Johnson generally expressed
for alliance members, who he said are all good students.
All but one of the seven students testified Tuesday they had
taunted or harassed at school while trying to organize the Gay-
Orlando Sentinel, March 20, 2003
633 N. Orange Ave., Orlando, FL, 32801
(Fax: 407-420-5286 ) (E-Mail: insight@... )
( http://www.orlandosentinel.com )
Gay-rights protections in Lake town spur 3 to sue
By Sherri M. Owens, Sentinel Staff Writer
MONTVERDE - Three residents Wednesday sued this small Lake
town, saying voters last fall were duped into supporting a change to
charter that added sexual orientation as a protected category.
They say town officials did not properly disclose the details
proposed charter changes that now make it illegal for the town to
hire a job applicant based on his or her sexual orientation.
"We just wanted to make sure we weren't discriminating," said
Pearce, mayor of the tiny town of just less than 1,000
residents. "We did
it to protect the city."
But David and Nancy Leuschner and Bill Shepherd say they were
told that sexual orientation would be addressed by the charter
"They didn't have a chance to debate it," said their lawyer,
Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit civil-liberties
and legal-defense organization in Orlando that says it is dedicated
preserving religious freedom.
Liberty Counsel also fought against Orlando's effort last
protect gays from discrimination. The Orlando City Council voted in
of the measure, and it went into effect Jan. 1.
The Town Council of Montverde, southwest of Lake Apopka,
its Nov. 5 ballot the following question: "Should the town of
Florida, amend its charter to delete antiquated, outdated clauses
clauses superseded by state law adopted after the 1925 charter and
for the mayor to chair town council meetings in a nonvoting
About 222 voters, or 55 percent, voted yes. Another 182
45 percent, voted against the amendment.
"The question doesn't mention adding anything to the
said. "It only talks about deleting clauses."
He said the public was never properly notified that the
discussing changing the charter.
"The town deceived its citizens by confusing them as to the
the charter and in the midst of the confusion added sexual
orientation as a
protected category," Staver said.
Pearce denies the allegation.
"We sent letters out, we had six public meetings, we sent a
changes and the new charter to every registered voter," she said.
But Staver said the law requires that those changes be sent
residents, not just the registered voters.
"It wasn't until after the charter was approved that the
Montverde first became aware of the extensive revisions and
additions to the
charter, including the addition of sexual orientation," he said.
The lawsuit asks the court to force the town to rescind its
and to revert to its previous 1925 charter.
"Then, if the town wants to debate the issue, they can follow
proper procedure," Staver said. "We believe the town is operating
illegally. They are operating under an illegal charter, and they
authority to do so. We will be asking the court in the near future
to set a
hearing very quickly."
. Staff writer Jim Buynak contributed to this report. Sherri
can be reached at 352-742-5915 or sowens@....
South Florida Business Journal, March 20, 2003
1000 East Hillsboro Blvd., Suite 103, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441
(Fax: 954-949-7591) (E-Mail: southflorida@... )
( http://southflorida.bizjournals.com/southflorida )
Gay film festival broadens marketing
Despite its name, the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival plans
market itself to broader audiences this year - gays in Broward and
Beach counties and straight audiences throughout the region.
"We're not San Francisco or New York," said festival Executive
Director Phill Matthews. "As we continue to grow, we have to reach
embrace the whole community of South Florida."
Matthews said the 5-year-old festival drew about 13,000
year, a 20 percent increase from the year before, which was a 20
increase from the year before that. For this year's festival,
April 25-May 4, he estimated 15,000 attendees. If the trend mirrors
historical numbers, he said 5 percent to 10 percent, or 750 to 1,500
those people, will be straight.
While Matthews said the festival's mission will remain to
by or of interest to the gay and lesbian community, he credits
programming such as "Will & Grace" for normalizing homosexuality.
sort of acceptance, Matthews said he was empowered to call upon film
of any sexual orientation to attend the festival.
Matthews also said he will market films to non-gay niche
"For example, we're doing a film, 'Karmen Gei,' from
said. "It's basically the Carmen story told in Africa. We plan on
marketing that to the African-American community, and not just the
lesbian African-American community, but the African-American
community as a
The goal, Matthews said, is to be all-inclusive, which he
help the festival educate different people about the gay experience.
"With all the negative images and lack of information and
on what it means to be gay or lesbian, we show films that have us as
and lawyers. That shows the positive images of who we really are,"
"That changes people's idea of what it means to be a gay, lesbian,
or transgender person."
Going north to Broward
Another part of showing different audiences parts of the gay
lesbian experience, Matthews said, will be moving into new areas
geographically, starting with Broward County.
According to Census 2000 data, Broward has more same-sex
the film festival's home county, Miami-Dade. At 5,970 couples, or
percent of the county's total 343,383 couples, Broward is ranked No.
the Census' list of the 15 top counties nationally by same-sex
12 is Miami-Dade with 5,889 same-sex couples, or 1.42 percent of the
county's total population. Palm Beach County doesn't rank on the
had 3,069 couples describe themselves as "same sex" on the Census
1.15 percent of the county's 266,697 couples.
To help the festival reach these potential audiences to the
Matthews hired public relations firm Bitner.com.
Michael Goodman, partner at the Fort Lauderdale office of
said he and one other staff member at the 15-person PR agency will
media coverage in both gay and traditional outlets and plan events
both the festival in the gay community and to engage the entire South
Florida film-loving audience in the festival.
"There's no reason people in Boca [Raton] can't enjoy the
Broward or drive to South Beach to see the films they want to see,"
Part of the reason film lovers farther north will be able to
easily catch a few of the Miami festival's movies is because the
taking a baby step to Broward. The festival will present four films
nights, April 26 and 27, at the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival's
Paradiso. The 2-year-old, downtown Fort Lauderdale theater presents
Lauderdale Film Festival programming and independent films year-
Fort Lauderdale Film Festival President and CEO Gregory von
said he is thrilled about the alliance and said he has been trying
with the MG&L Film Festival for the past two years.
"We're always seeking to introduce ourselves to new audiences
hopefully they'll introduce themselves to us," von Hausch
we're both interested in bringing film to South Florida, it seems
natural to us."
Matthews agreed, calling the partnership with the Fort
festival the best way for his 10-day festival to grow.
"They have the audience, we have the films," he said. "It's a
Matthews said his festival's $700,000 budget is broken down
equal areas: ticket sales, memberships, corporate sponsorships and
government and foundation funding. He said the festival has nearly
members, but wants more.
"If we can get people in to buy tickets and they see the
being a member, then, as they see we have different levels of
and as they enjoy that and upgrade their memberships, we create a
relationship," Matthews said.
With his budget - minus about $250,000 a year in in-kind
leaving a cash budget of about $450,000 - Matthews suggested the
tickets sales that could lead to a few more members could push the
Festival into the big time.
"As we increase and get closer to going over half a million
in our cash budget, that puts us in a different category for getting
grants," he said. "As a nonprofit, we can put that money back into
producing a better festival."
On his wish list for spending potential grant money, Matthews
is adding to his four-person staff by hiring a development director
business director. He also said the festival would like to take up
offers of other cities in Florida, Puerto Rico and Latin America
asked him to take the MG&L Film Festival on the road. Matthews also
he'd like to add local programming outside the current, 10-day
The Fort Lauderdale Film Festival's von Hausch, voiced
the potential for the MG&L Film Festival. He said the festival, 13
younger than the Fort Lauderdale festival, has "exploded" on the film
"Their growth compared to any film festival I've ever known
first five years, including ourselves, is just tremendous," he said.
Despite Matthews' concerns on outgrowing his core audience,
Hausch said he attributed a lot of the MG&L Film Festival's growth
"That community, they'll go to a movie six nights a week -
it interests them. They'll go out, they'll discuss it. It's a
too. Gay people don't just like gay films. They'll see any film of
substance that is well made," von Hausch said.
At an 11-film gay mini-festival during his festival this past
and November, von Hausch said just fewer than 10,000 people
attended, or 15
percent of the entire 120-film festival audience of 66,000 people.
On the other side of the coin, MG&L Film Festival's Matthews
last year's family day programming - which featured a discussion led
filmmakers, some of whom were gay parents, after each movie - at his
festival was a success, as well.
"We had folks coming with their kids, both gay and straight,"
said. "We had some letters from people saying 'we love what you
enjoyed the films we were presenting and they liked seeing different
in different situations."
It wasn't part of the plan, Matthews said, but for the gay and
lesbian film festival to reach out to other audiences now seems
"It began as a byproduct of us reaching out to our known
market - to
attract other people as well," he said. "We're trying to bring
fun festival everyone can appreciate and feel comfortable at and
Both Bitner.com's Goodman and Matthews said von Hausch isn't
first CEO to notice the value of the gay and lesbian audience.
Goodman said many of his clients want a piece of the gay and
dollar. And that dollar is significant.
In a 1998 gay and lesbian market study by Simmons Market
Bureau, 28 percent of the nearly 4,000 respondents reported personal
over $50,000. Of respondents, 12 percent said their household income
surpassed $100,000 a year. About 3,560 people, or 89 percent of
surveyed, said they would go out of their way to buy products that
to gay consumers.
"There's a big event in Florida called PrideFest. It's a gay
festival and last year our client Tri-Rail spent $2,500 to sponsor
event," he said, adding Tri-Rail spent a total of about $5,000 of its
$450,000 marketing budget on reaching the gay audience last year and
to spend an equal amount this year.
Goodman said marketing to the gay audience is just good
"Based on the demographics of South Florida and how South
a very big 'gay-recognized' area, it does make sense to market to
audience segment," he said. "Just as you'd market to an African-
Hispanic or Caribbean audience, national research supports marketing
spending power of the gay audience. So you see more and more big
like Washington Mutual and Motorola at PrideFest."
On the sponsorship side of his budget, Matthews said his
also seeing the impact of large, mainstream companies interested in
marketing to gays and lesbians. He said the MG&L Film Festival is
to sign sponsorships with Avis Rental Car, Absolut, HBO and, for the
year, American Express.
"I think the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community is
probably the most brand-loyal community there is," Matthews
said. "For so
many years you hear people don't support who you are, that when a
company does something directly aimed at you, we understand that and
. E-mail Web Editor Robin Londner at rlondner@....
CNN, March 20, 2003
Review: 'Boat Trip' s(t)inks to the bottom
By Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly - I thought Cuba Gooding Jr. couldn't
Oscar cred more profligately than he did last year in the pandering
black-guy-lost-among-white-folks comedy "Snow Dogs."
I was wrong.
In the titanically bad straight-guy-lost-among-homosexual-
comedy "Boat Trip," Gooding plays Jerry, a glum galoot recently
his girlfriend (Vivica A. Fox) who realizes only after the boat has
that the recuperative cruise he's embarked on with his boorish,
skirt-chasing buddy Nick (Horatio Sanz) is for gay men. And had the
of Paul Lynde swanned by in a caftan-clad cameo, you couldn't find a
outdated, miscalculated collection of stale, queen-size stereotypes
those trotted out on this ship of fools.
At first the pair are afraid the proximity will, as Homer
might say, "give them gay." Then Jerry has to stay fake-gay when he
for the shipboard dance instructor (Roselyn Sanchez), in order to
her trust. (To even mention "Some Like It Hot" in the same sentence
desperate imitation is a violation.)
"Boat Trip" displays the hammering structure of a 30-minute TV
episode - and, indeed, it was cowritten and directed by Mort Nathan,
veteran sitcom writer and producer ("The Golden Girls"). But unless
names are Frasier and Niles Crane, no men can survive such a
. Grade: F
The State News, March 20, 2003
Michigan State University
343 Student Services Bldg., East Lansing, MI, 48824
(Fax: 517-353-2599 ) (E-Mail: opinion@... )
( http://www.statenews.com/ )
Supporters give couple hand in move
Graduate student resigns job, claims 'U' discriminates
By Amy Bartner, The State News
More than 70 people crowded into the Mason Hall lobby
show their support for graduate student domestic partners Rebecca
Carolyn O'Laughlin by helping them move out of their residence.
O'Laughlin, the former Mason Hall assistant hall director,
Monday after fighting for more than six months to change MSU's
does not allow domestic partners to live together in on-campus
Assistant hall directors are required to live in residence
"Having students here to support me is the biggest honor,"
said. "I've worked for students for two years and it's great to see
working for me."
Domestic partners also are ineligible to receive other
offered to heterosexual married couples and domestic partners of
O'Laughlin has been in a relationship with French graduate
Linz for more than a year, and the couple formalized their union
University officials notified O'Laughlin in November she
disciplinary action if her partner did not move out but Linz stayed.
"I could sleep at night knowing that I was breaking a rule,"
O'Laughlin said. "Rebecca still lived here and Mason Hall didn't
O'Laughlin and Linz will be staying with friends until their
graduation in May.
"It's become apparent that I'm not gong to win this fight
said. "I've lost a little respect for the administration, and
students' voice will be heard."
University officials declined to comment Wednesday.
Linz said she hopes their efforts aren't in vain, and that the
university recognizes students aren't going to back down on this
"It's not just for the two of us," Linz said. "It's for other
The student supporters came in droves from various groups on
hoping to show their support for O'Laughlin and Linz.
Theater sophomore Kirsten Keyt said the policy is
the purpose of the university.
"When you go to college, you're supposed to meet different
people," Keyt said. "But that's not what they're showing us here."
Natalie Furrow, chairperson of the Alliance of
Lesbian-Bi-Gay-Transgendered and Straight Ally Students, said only
demonstrations will make the university administration understand.
"Make sure the activism continues," she said. "Because this
only thing that's going to stop this."
But O'Laughlin said it wasn't difficult to choose between her
and her job.
"I woke up every morning thinking, 'Am I going to have a job
she said. "And Rebecca would say, 'It doesn't matter, because we
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