Starvoice • 07.01.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Billy Campbell turns 52 on Thursday. Campbell has everyone swooning as Darren Richmond in The Killing. But his heartthrobby good looks set the boys’ hearts aflutter as he played gay character Dr. Jon Fielding in the landmark miniseries Tales of the City as well as  Stephen Carrington’s lover in Dynasty.

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THIS WEEK

Mercury in Leo, cranking up egos and voices, is at the end of a “yod” with Pluto and Chiron. The real challenge is to shut up, listen and adapt to difficult new realities. Venus making a T-square to Uranus and Pluto stresses relationships, forcing major adaptation. Your work is cut out!

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CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Venus in your sign makes you more attractive, but not necessarily to whom you want to attract. Stick to your standards. A philosophical sense of humor gets you through awkward advances.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
Clear the air and explore new ideas. Just be careful when and where. Once you have those ideas honed and polished your boss will probably love them.

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Whatever you’re worried about, face it directly. Discussing it with your partner could solve it. If words fail you, try round one in the bedroom.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
Worrying about family and relations holds back your career, but understanding them will strengthen you. It’s all in your attitude and knowing how empowering your roots really are.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
There is pleasure in getting to the truth of the matter, but doing so is disruptive to personal and work relationships. Conspire with your potential allies in your search for understanding.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Be challenged by new ideas. Consider them and see how they might be constructively applied. You love your theories, but practical experience is what proves truth and value.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Asserting yourself creates disaster at home. Pay attention and be ready to adapt. It may take sacrifice, probably of some aspect of your ego, but willingness to transform will save you.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
Pay close attention to what your partner has to say. You don’t have to agree; you do have to think about it. Affirming roots gives you the strength to make necessary changes.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Changes at work are a blessing in disguise. Friends’ advice that you don’t like will prove most helpful. It may need more discussion for you to fully understand. Keep an open mind.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
Brash overconfidence gets you into trouble. You have what it takes, but consider what your strongest virtues are.  A little humility will give you perspective and enhance your strengths.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
You get away with anything, but second-guessing yourself ruins this lucky streak. Don’t get trapped in dawdling. Stay clear on your ideals and they will pull you through.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
Your mouth gets you in trouble. Trust in your friends for appropriate guidelines. Meditative reflection is helpful, not just for verbal discipline, but for clarity in professional goals and partnership.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 1, 2011.

 

—  Michael Stephens

U.S. Labor Department redefines ‘family’

New definition could benefit 100,000 children including those with same-sex parents and whose parents are in the military

Hilda Solis Guest Columnist

It’s been 17 years since Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA — groundbreaking legislation that allows parents to take unpaid time off from work to care for their children.

Since then, thanks in large measure to technology, work has changed. And as a result, workers have changed, often at warp speed. But what many have been slow to recognize is the fact that “families” have been changing for a very long time. Well, the Obama administration took a major step in recognizing that change last month when the U.S. Department of Labor clarified the definition of “son and daughter” under the FMLA.

Our interpretation ensures that an employee who assumes the role of caring for a child receives parental rights to family leave regardless of the legal or biological relationship. We’ve done so because the realities of who is a “mother” and who is a “father” — and new, important and responsible concepts of “parenthood” — simply demand it, at home and at work.

It’s called in loco parentis, a Latin phrase and legal doctrine meaning in the place of a parent. When applied to the new realities of work and family, it means all employees who have assumed the responsibility for parenting a child, whether they have a biological or legal relationship with the child or not, may be entitled to FMLA leave.

Consider the case of Nazanin Meftah and her partner, Lydia Banuelos, a lesbian couple in Tucson, Ariz. Meftah developed medical complications after the birth of the couple’s children in 2007 and 2009.

Despite a clear need and obvious relationship to the children, Banuelos was denied unpaid leave both times by her employer. She wasn’t able to care for the kids because she was not a biological parent or legal guardian.

I had the chance to meet Ms. Meftah, and her story is sadly as common as it is compelling. The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates that more than 100,000 children growing up in same-sex families could benefit from this simple, but important action.
The Labor Department’s interpretation of the FMLA makes clear that children can get the support and care they need from the people who love them and are responsible for them.

This is certainly a win for LGBT families, and recognizes the importance of a partner who shares in the parenting of a child in a same sex relationship.

But it’s also a win for “Tia” (Spanish for aunt), who steps in to care for her young nephew when his mother has been called to active military duty, or a grandmother who takes responsibility for her grandchild.

We know that family-friendly policies and laws like the FMLA aren’t “niceties” but rather necessities that contribute to the well-being of all families and a better bottom line for employers. No further interpretation of that is required.

Hilda L. Solis is the U.S. Secretary of Labor.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 9, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens