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20th March 2003 (# 3) News Clippings Digest

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  • grahamu_1999
    20th March 2003 (# 3) News Clippings Digest 1. LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER (Kentucky) Teacher says she opposed Boyd gay group; Narrow-minded community cited in
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 21, 2003
      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
      sue
      3. SOUTH FLORIDA BUSINESS JOURNAL Gay film festival broadens its
      marketing
      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'
      discriminates

      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 )
      http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/news/local/5435027.htm
      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
      testified
      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
      community were
      against the (Gay-Straight Alliance) in school," teacher Sandy
      Thornbury
      said. "I have been concerned for the kids because we live in a
      community
      that is narrow minded ... the more they have been on TV, the more I
      feared
      for them."
      Testimony from Thornbury came during the second day of a U.S.
      District Court hearing in which seven club members, represented by
      the
      American Civil Liberties Union, have asked U.S. District Judge David
      Bunning
      for a court order to force the Boyd County school district to allow
      the
      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
      the Boyd
      County school district violated students' rights under the First
      Amendment
      and the federal Equal Access Act, which prohibits discriminating
      against a
      club because of its subject matter.
      Despite Thornbury's opposition, the school's site-based
      council voted
      to authorize the alliance at an Oct. 26 meeting, but backed away two
      months
      later in the face of local hostility and national attention.
      School board chairwoman Sheri Bryan cited a student walkout
      on Nov.
      4, a church rally that drew 1,000 people and many phone calls, all
      from
      parents against the gay-support group.
      Board member Teresa Cornett said she attended the October
      school
      council meeting at which the alliance was approved.
      "I was appalled by the actions of the audience," she
      said. "There
      was nothing but hatred in that room from parents. When I left, I
      was in
      fear of what would happen the next few days."
      But Cornett said that while a school can teach tolerance to
      students,
      it is not the board's role to teach tolerance to parents.
      Led by Superintendent Bill Capehart, the local school board
      voted
      Dec. 20 to suspend all non-academic, or "non-curricular" club
      meetings at
      the high school until July.
      Capehart, who testified Tuesday, cited the disruption the
      issue had
      created at school, but the ACLU lawsuit contended the move was aimed
      at
      their clients.
      The lawsuit also charges that the school board violated the
      Kentucky
      Education Reform Act by usurping the authority of the site-based
      council
      that voted to recognize the alliance.
      While examining witnesses, the ACLU also tried to show that
      other
      non-curricular clubs, including Bible, drama, cheerleading and
      sports teams,
      have continued to meet at the school.
      A key test under the federal Equal Access Act is whether the
      club is
      curriculum-related, the ACLU said. Capehart said Tuesday the board
      will
      meet in June to decide which clubs at the school fall under the
      definition
      of "curricular."
      Boyd County High principal Jerry Johnson generally expressed
      support
      for alliance members, who he said are all good students.
      All but one of the seven students testified Tuesday they had
      been
      taunted or harassed at school while trying to organize the Gay-
      Straight
      Alliance.


      Orlando Sentinel, March 20, 2003
      633 N. Orange Ave., Orlando, FL, 32801
      (Fax: 407-420-5286 ) (E-Mail: insight@... )
      ( http://www.orlandosentinel.com )
      http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/lake/orl-
      loccharter20032003mar20,0
      ,3819598.story
      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
      County
      town, saying voters last fall were duped into supporting a change to
      the
      charter that added sexual orientation as a protected category.
      They say town officials did not properly disclose the details
      of the
      proposed charter changes that now make it illegal for the town to
      refuse to
      hire a job applicant based on his or her sexual orientation.
      "We just wanted to make sure we weren't discriminating," said
      Helen
      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
      never
      told that sexual orientation would be addressed by the charter
      changes.
      "They didn't have a chance to debate it," said their lawyer,
      Mathew
      Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit civil-liberties
      education
      and legal-defense organization in Orlando that says it is dedicated
      to
      preserving religious freedom.
      Liberty Counsel also fought against Orlando's effort last
      year to
      protect gays from discrimination. The Orlando City Council voted in
      favor
      of the measure, and it went into effect Jan. 1.
      The Town Council of Montverde, southwest of Lake Apopka,
      placed on
      its Nov. 5 ballot the following question: "Should the town of
      Montverde,
      Florida, amend its charter to delete antiquated, outdated clauses
      and delete
      clauses superseded by state law adopted after the 1925 charter and
      provide
      for the mayor to chair town council meetings in a nonvoting
      capacity?"
      About 222 voters, or 55 percent, voted yes. Another 182
      voters, or
      45 percent, voted against the amendment.
      "The question doesn't mention adding anything to the
      charter," Staver
      said. "It only talks about deleting clauses."
      He said the public was never properly notified that the
      council was
      discussing changing the charter.
      "The town deceived its citizens by confusing them as to the
      nature of
      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
      copy of
      changes and the new charter to every registered voter," she said.
      But Staver said the law requires that those changes be sent
      to all
      residents, not just the registered voters.
      "It wasn't until after the charter was approved that the
      citizens of
      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
      charter
      and to revert to its previous 1925 charter.
      "Then, if the town wants to debate the issue, they can follow
      the
      proper procedure," Staver said. "We believe the town is operating
      illegally. They are operating under an illegal charter, and they
      have no
      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
      M. Owens
      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 )
      http://southflorida.bizjournals.com/southflorida/stories/2003/03/17/s
      tory4.h
      tml
      Gay film festival broadens marketing
      Robin Londner
      Despite its name, the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival plans
      to
      market itself to broader audiences this year - gays in Broward and
      Palm
      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
      out and
      embrace the whole community of South Florida."
      Matthews said the 5-year-old festival drew about 13,000
      people last
      year, a 20 percent increase from the year before, which was a 20
      percent
      increase from the year before that. For this year's festival,
      scheduled for
      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
      of
      those people, will be straight.
      While Matthews said the festival's mission will remain to
      show films
      by or of interest to the gay and lesbian community, he credits
      television
      programming such as "Will & Grace" for normalizing homosexuality.
      With that
      sort of acceptance, Matthews said he was empowered to call upon film
      lovers
      of any sexual orientation to attend the festival.
      Matthews also said he will market films to non-gay niche
      audiences,
      if applicable.
      "For example, we're doing a film, 'Karmen Gei,' from
      Senegal," he
      said. "It's basically the Carmen story told in Africa. We plan on
      marketing that to the African-American community, and not just the
      gay and
      lesbian African-American community, but the African-American
      community as a
      whole."
      The goal, Matthews said, is to be all-inclusive, which he
      said will
      help the festival educate different people about the gay experience.
      "With all the negative images and lack of information and
      education
      on what it means to be gay or lesbian, we show films that have us as
      doctors
      and lawyers. That shows the positive images of who we really are,"
      he said.
      "That changes people's idea of what it means to be a gay, lesbian,
      bisexual
      or transgender person."
      Going north to Broward
      Another part of showing different audiences parts of the gay
      and
      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
      couples than
      the film festival's home county, Miami-Dade. At 5,970 couples, or
      1.74
      percent of the county's total 343,383 couples, Broward is ranked No.
      11 on
      the Census' list of the 15 top counties nationally by same-sex
      couples. No.
      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
      list; it
      had 3,069 couples describe themselves as "same sex" on the Census
      form, or
      1.15 percent of the county's 266,697 couples.
      To help the festival reach these potential audiences to the
      north,
      Matthews hired public relations firm Bitner.com.
      Michael Goodman, partner at the Fort Lauderdale office of
      Bitner.com,
      said he and one other staff member at the 15-person PR agency will
      plan
      media coverage in both gay and traditional outlets and plan events
      to brand
      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
      films in
      Broward or drive to South Beach to see the films they want to see,"
      Goodman
      said.
      Part of the reason film lovers farther north will be able to
      more
      easily catch a few of the Miami festival's movies is because the
      festival is
      taking a baby step to Broward. The festival will present four films
      on two
      nights, April 26 and 27, at the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival's
      Cinema
      Paradiso. The 2-year-old, downtown Fort Lauderdale theater presents
      Fort
      Lauderdale Film Festival programming and independent films year-
      round.
      Fort Lauderdale Film Festival President and CEO Gregory von
      Hausch
      said he is thrilled about the alliance and said he has been trying
      to work
      with the MG&L Film Festival for the past two years.
      "We're always seeking to introduce ourselves to new audiences
      and
      hopefully they'll introduce themselves to us," von Hausch
      said. "Since
      we're both interested in bringing film to South Florida, it seems
      like a
      natural to us."
      Matthews agreed, calling the partnership with the Fort
      Lauderdale
      festival the best way for his 10-day festival to grow.
      "They have the audience, we have the films," he said. "It's a
      perfect relationship."
      Matthews said his festival's $700,000 budget is broken down
      into four
      equal areas: ticket sales, memberships, corporate sponsorships and
      government and foundation funding. He said the festival has nearly
      500
      members, but wants more.
      "If we can get people in to buy tickets and they see the
      benefit to
      being a member, then, as they see we have different levels of
      memberships
      and as they enjoy that and upgrade their memberships, we create a
      lasting
      relationship," Matthews said.
      Star potential
      With his budget - minus about $250,000 a year in in-kind
      donations,
      leaving a cash budget of about $450,000 - Matthews suggested the
      Broward
      tickets sales that could lead to a few more members could push the
      MG&L Film
      Festival into the big time.
      "As we increase and get closer to going over half a million
      dollars
      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
      said,
      is adding to his four-person staff by hiring a development director
      and a
      business director. He also said the festival would like to take up
      on the
      offers of other cities in Florida, Puerto Rico and Latin America
      that have
      asked him to take the MG&L Film Festival on the road. Matthews also
      said
      he'd like to add local programming outside the current, 10-day
      festival.
      The Fort Lauderdale Film Festival's von Hausch, voiced
      confidence in
      the potential for the MG&L Film Festival. He said the festival, 13
      years
      younger than the Fort Lauderdale festival, has "exploded" on the film
      festival scene.
      "Their growth compared to any film festival I've ever known
      in the
      first five years, including ourselves, is just tremendous," he said.
      Despite Matthews' concerns on outgrowing his core audience,
      von
      Hausch said he attributed a lot of the MG&L Film Festival's growth
      to the
      gay community.
      "That community, they'll go to a movie six nights a week -
      seven if
      it interests them. They'll go out, they'll discuss it. It's a
      crossover,
      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
      October
      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
      said
      last year's family day programming - which featured a discussion led
      by
      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,"
      he
      said. "We had some letters from people saying 'we love what you
      do.' They
      enjoyed the films we were presenting and they liked seeing different
      people
      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
      natural.
      "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
      together a
      fun festival everyone can appreciate and feel comfortable at and
      everyone
      will enjoy."
      Going corporate
      Both Bitner.com's Goodman and Matthews said von Hausch isn't
      the
      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
      lesbian
      dollar. And that dollar is significant.
      In a 1998 gay and lesbian market study by Simmons Market
      Research
      Bureau, 28 percent of the nearly 4,000 respondents reported personal
      income
      over $50,000. Of respondents, 12 percent said their household income
      surpassed $100,000 a year. About 3,560 people, or 89 percent of
      those
      surveyed, said they would go out of their way to buy products that
      advertise
      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
      that
      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
      expects
      to spend an equal amount this year.
      Goodman said marketing to the gay audience is just good
      business.
      "Based on the demographics of South Florida and how South
      Florida is
      a very big 'gay-recognized' area, it does make sense to market to
      that
      audience segment," he said. "Just as you'd market to an African-
      American or
      Hispanic or Caribbean audience, national research supports marketing
      to the
      spending power of the gay audience. So you see more and more big
      companies
      like Washington Mutual and Motorola at PrideFest."
      On the sponsorship side of his budget, Matthews said his
      festival is
      also seeing the impact of large, mainstream companies interested in
      marketing to gays and lesbians. He said the MG&L Film Festival is
      working
      to sign sponsorships with Avis Rental Car, Absolut, HBO and, for the
      second
      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
      large
      company does something directly aimed at you, we understand that and
      we
      repay it."
      . E-mail Web Editor Robin Londner at rlondner@....


      CNN, March 20, 2003
      http://www.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/Movies/03/20/ew.review.boat.trip/
      Review: 'Boat Trip' s(t)inks to the bottom
      By Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
      Entertainment Weekly - I thought Cuba Gooding Jr. couldn't
      blow his
      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-
      folks
      comedy "Boat Trip," Gooding plays Jerry, a glum galoot recently
      dumped by
      his girlfriend (Vivica A. Fox) who realizes only after the boat has
      sailed
      that the recuperative cruise he's embarked on with his boorish,
      skirt-chasing buddy Nick (Horatio Sanz) is for gay men. And had the
      ghost
      of Paul Lynde swanned by in a caftan-clad cameo, you couldn't find a
      more
      outdated, miscalculated collection of stale, queen-size stereotypes
      than
      those trotted out on this ship of fools.
      At first the pair are afraid the proximity will, as Homer
      Simpson
      might say, "give them gay." Then Jerry has to stay fake-gay when he
      falls
      for the shipboard dance instructor (Roselyn Sanchez), in order to
      maintain
      her trust. (To even mention "Some Like It Hot" in the same sentence
      as this
      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,
      a
      veteran sitcom writer and producer ("The Golden Girls"). But unless
      their
      names are Frasier and Niles Crane, no men can survive such a
      shipwreck as
      this one.
      . 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/ )
      http://www.statenews.com/article.phtml?pk=16461
      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
      Wednesday to
      show their support for graduate student domestic partners Rebecca
      Linz and
      Carolyn O'Laughlin by helping them move out of their residence.
      O'Laughlin, the former Mason Hall assistant hall director,
      resigned
      Monday after fighting for more than six months to change MSU's
      policy, which
      does not allow domestic partners to live together in on-campus
      housing.
      Assistant hall directors are required to live in residence
      halls.
      "Having students here to support me is the biggest honor,"
      O'Laughlin
      said. "I've worked for students for two years and it's great to see
      them
      working for me."
      Domestic partners also are ineligible to receive other
      benefits
      offered to heterosexual married couples and domestic partners of
      faculty.
      O'Laughlin has been in a relationship with French graduate
      student
      Linz for more than a year, and the couple formalized their union
      during
      winter break.
      University officials notified O'Laughlin in November she
      would face
      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
      burn
      down."
      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
      alone," she
      said. "I've lost a little respect for the administration, and
      hopefully the
      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
      issue.
      "It's not just for the two of us," Linz said. "It's for other
      students."
      The student supporters came in droves from various groups on
      campus
      hoping to show their support for O'Laughlin and Linz.
      Theater sophomore Kirsten Keyt said the policy is
      contradictory to
      the purpose of the university.
      "When you go to college, you're supposed to meet different
      kinds of
      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
      is the
      only thing that's going to stop this."
      But O'Laughlin said it wasn't difficult to choose between her
      partner
      and her job.
      "I woke up every morning thinking, 'Am I going to have a job
      today?'"
      she said. "And Rebecca would say, 'It doesn't matter, because we
      have each
      other.'"
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