National Briefs

Posted on 20 Jul 2006 at 5:45pm
By Staff and Wire Reports

Lesbian wins Democratic primary for seat in Alabama legislature, faces no opponent

A lesbian candidate, Patricia Todd, on Tuesday became the first gay person in Alabama to win a seat in the state Legislature. Todd won the Democratic primary race in the 54th legislative district and faces no Republican opponent in the November general election. “The road to equality in Alabama is a mile shorter today,” Chuck Wolfe, president of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, said.

In neighboring Georgia, a lesbian, Rep. Karla Drenner, won the Democratic primary to advance to the general election. Drenner is the only gay person serving in the Georgia Legislature. In the same election, Allen Thomell advanced to a Democratic primary runoff in his quest for a seat in the Georgia statehouse.

Provincetown leaders hold meeting on increasing use of slurs, intolerant behavior

Town leaders in Provincetown, Mass., held a public meeting Monday about the growing problem of slurs and bigoted behavior. Target of the leaders’ wrath: gays, who are becoming more open about displaying their intolerance of straights. Police said they logged many complaints of straight people being called “breeders” by gays over Fourth of July weekend. Jamaican workers said they were targets of racial slurs. And one woman was verbally attacked after she signed a petition opposing same-sex marriage. Town Manager Keith Bergman said Provincetown takes seriously its reputation for tolerance and openness. “We try to nip it in the bud,” he told the Boston Globe. Residents of the 3,400-person town which swells to 30,000 over the summer say tensions are rising in part because of the debate over same-sex marriage.

Black gay bloggers declare victory after LIFEbeat concert canceled due to protests

Black lesbian and gay bloggers said their 48-hour protest against LIFEbeat, the music industry’s AIDS organization, and its decision to schedule anti-gay Reggae artists Beenie Man and TOK at its upcoming concert, led to the event’s cancellation. “While we support the mission of LIFEbeat to educate our youth about the dangers of HIV and AIDS, we cannot support the use of blatantly homophobic recording artists to achieve that mission.” But LIFEbeat leaders had a different take. They issued a statement that said in part: “It is unfortunate that the intended good that could result from bringing this community together around this potentially ground-breaking event will not be realized.”

Soulforce marches to Colorado Springs to take on Focus on the Family

Soulforce on Monday kicked off a 65-mile march from Denver to Colorado Springs to confront misinformation it said the organization’s founder, James Dobson, is spreading.

Dr. Judith Stacey, a professor of sociology at New York University, appeared at a press conference held before the start of the march.

Stacey said her research on the children of same-sex parents had been misquoted by Focus on the Family.

“The sexual orientation or gender combination of the parents raising children does not have much impact on children’s development,” Stacey said. She also said the research cited by Dobson compared children raised in a family with a mother and father with those raised by a single parent. “The studies they are talking about do not cite research on families headed by gay and lesbian couples,” Stacey said, adding that there is no research-based reason to deny rights to same-sex couples and their children.

University of Louisville becomes first school in Kentucky to offer partner benefits

The University of Louisville’s trustees, voting 4-to-1, passed a plan that would offer health insurance to the domestic partners of university employees. The plan affects more than 4,800 employees.

“It is a moral issue from the standpoint of the university doing the right thing and being able to provide equity in their compensation packages,” said engineering professor Gina Bertocci, who worked with trustees on the plan.

State Sen. Richard Roeding, a Republican, said he will consider introducing legislation in the General Assembly that would cancel the program. “I find this very repulsive,” Roeding said. “I don’t want to entice any of those people into our state.” After he was criticized by Log Cabin Republicans of Kentucky, Roeding called the group “a bunch of queers,” according to the Kentucky Post.

As negative press attention mounted, Roeding apologized to Senate President David Williams, a fellow Republican. Williams called Roeding on Friday to complain about the senator’s language. Williams said Roeding agreed the language he used was inappropriate.

But a gay group said Roeding’s response was inadequate and continued to insist that he resign.

Anti-gay graffiti is cleaned from columns of Kentucky’s Capitol building

The columns of the Kentucky Capitol were clean Monday, three days after someone painted derogatory graffiti on the building.

Someone used blue spray paint to depict a penis, an anarchy symbol and a derogatory term for gay people on the building. State workers covered the graffiti until it could be removed by professional cleaners at a cost of $4,500.

“We were very sad, obviously, that someone would damage a structure as historical and significant as the Capitol building,” said Jill Midkiff, communications director for the Finance and Administration Cabinet, which manages state buildings.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 21, 2006.

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