Massachusetts gay senator announces plan to resign from legislature
BOSTON Sen. Jarrett Barrios, an ambitious lawmaker who’s championed public safety issues and vigorously defended the high court ruling that allowed him and other gays and lesbians to marry, said Tuesday, May 22, he’s resigning to lead a foundation that promotes health coverage statewide.
The Cambridge Democrat, who plans to resign in early July, told The Associated Press that he accepted an offer Tuesday to become president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, whose 3 million members make it the state’s largest health insurance company, started the separately run foundation in 2001. Philip W. Johnston, the former head of the state’s Democratic Party, is the board chairman at the foundation.
Barrios, who has sat on the foundation’s board since its inception, would succeed Nancy Turnbull, who resigned to return to Harvard University’s School of Public Health. Barrios would not comment on his salary, which he said is still being negotiated.
Controversial Episcopal bishops not invited to attend 2008 global conference
LONDON Two of the most divisive figures in the U.S. Episcopal Church gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson and breakaway Bishop Martyn Minns were excluded from the invitation list for the Anglican Communion’s global conference next year, the archbishop of Canterbury’s office said Tuesday, May 22.
Robinson’ s consecration in 2003 outraged conservatives in the 77-million-member communion, and Minns’ recent consecration to head the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, led by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, reflects the profound divisions tearing at the communion.
Neither was among more 850 Anglican prelates who were sent e-mail invitations Tuesday morning, said Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary-general of the Anglican Communion.
Robinson said the decision was a “great disappointment.”
“At a time when the Anglican Communion is calling for a “‘listening process’ on the issue of homosexuality, how does it make sense to exclude gay and lesbian people from the discussion?” Robinson said in a statement released by his office.
Rhode Island high court agrees to hear case of lesbian couple seeking divorce
PROVIDENCE, R.I. The state’s highest court has agreed to hear arguments on whether a lower court judge can decide if a gay couple married in Massachusetts can get divorced in Rhode Island.
Cassandra Ormiston and Margaret Chambers wed in Massachusetts in 2004 after same-sex marriage became legal in that state. The couple last year filed for divorce in Rhode Island, where they live, citing irreconcilable differences.
Rhode Island law is silent on the validity on same-sex marriages.
Lawyers for both parties say the divorce case won’t decide whether gay couples can get married in Rhode Island, but it affects whether the state will recognize same-sex couples wed in Massachusetts.
Earlier this year, Attorney General Patrick Lynch issued a nonbinding opinion urging the state to recognize those marriages.
In December, Chief Family Court Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah Jr. asked the Rhode Island Supreme Court to weigh in on whether he had jurisdiction to handle the couple’s divorce case, which is believed to be the state’s first. But the court returned the case to him the following month, saying it needed more information about the couple’s marriage before it could go further.
In an order dated Monday, May 21, the high court agreed to take up the question and said it would accept written briefs on or before Aug. 1.
Man arrested for murder after punching gay man, using anti-gay language
Sheriff’s deputies in Greenville County, S.C., have arrested Stephen Andrew Moller, 18, of Taylors, in connection with the death of 20-year-old Sean William Kennedy.
Officials said that Kennedy, 20, was walking from a bar to his vehicle early Wednesday morning, May 16, when Moller got out of another car and approached Kennedy. Investigators said that Moller made a comment about Kennedy’s sexual orientation, and then struck him in the face.
The sheriff’s department has provided information to the FBI, which will make the decision on whether to pursue the case as a hate crime.
Gay flamingo couple in England adopts egg after years of wanting a family
LONDON A pair of gay flamingos have adopted an abandoned chick, becoming parents after being together for six years, a British conservation organization said Monday, May 21.
The two, named Carlos and Fernando, had long wanted a family of their own, even going so far as chasing other flamingos from their nests to take over their eggs at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge near Bristol, according to a report published by AFP news service.
But it was their egg-sitting prowess that made them first pick for taking an unhatched egg under their wings when one of the Greater Flamingo nests was abandoned.
Carlos and Fernando, together for six years, can feed chicks by producing milk in their throats.
WWT spokeswoman Jane Waghorn said gay flamingos are not uncommon.
Regional Presbyterian court upholds denomination’s ban on gay ceremonies
PITTSBURGH A regional Presbyterian court on May 17 upheld a ban on gay marriage ceremonies and reiterated the national church’s position that ordination requires chastity or heterosexual marriage.
The resolution said it was essential to follow the ordination standards of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and that clergy cannot conduct same-sex marriages within the presbytery’s jurisdiction.
The court ruled 8-3 that the presbytery could not call the ordination standards “an essential of Reformed polity,” but while candidates could disagree with them, they still must adhere to them.
The court also voted 11-0 that presbytery could prevent clergy from conducting same-sex marriages as long as they were able to bless same-sex unions, which the church’s high court has upheld.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 25, 2007.