Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
Compiled by Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
Gay man can’t sue despite legal union
NEW YORK – A New York appeals court has ruled that a same-sex partner can’t sue a Manhattan hospital for malpractice in the death of his longtime partner.
The court’s decision overturns a 2003 ruling that had allowed John Langan to sue Saint Vincent’s Hospital for alleged malpractice. But the latest ruling held that Langan, who lives in Vermont, has no standing to sue the hospital despite the couple’s 2000 civil union in that state.
Indiana couple fights for custody of child
INDIANAPOLIS – A lesbian couple from Morgan County has gone to the Indiana Court of Appeals to win the adoption of a 1-year-old girl approved by a judge in one county but denied by a judge in another.
The Morgan County Office of Family and Children placed the child with Becki Hamilton and Kim Brennan two days after the child was born in 2004, and asked the couple to consider adoption. Hamilton and Brennan have lived together for more than a decade and were qualified by the state as foster parents.
Morgan Circuit Judge Matthew Hanson was conducting hearings to terminate parental rights of the girl’s birth mother when he learned that Hamilton and Brennan were living together and were not married. He ordered the Office of Family and Children last Nov. 19 to look for a married couple to adopt the baby instead.
The couple turned in January to adjacent Marion County in their bid to keep the girl, and Superior Court Judge Charles Dieter on April 21 granted the adoption.
When the couple petitioned to release the girl from her status as a ward of the Morgan County Office of Family and Children, Judge Hanson rejected it and ordered that she be moved to the custody of another couple.
Palm Beach County to offer DP benefits
WEST PALM BEACH, Fl. – The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously Oct. 18 to offer the same employee benefits to its current and retired employees with domestic partners as it offers to married employees and retirees. These family benefits include: sick leave, bereavement leave, long term disability, as well as health, dental vision, and life insurance. Dependent children on an employee’s domestic partner would also be eligible for insurance coverage. Insurance coverage will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2006.
Activists target GOP House speaker
TROUTDALE, Ore. – State and national gay rights groups are targeting GOP House Speaker Karen Minnis for defeat in 2006 as part of an effort to elect more gay-friendly legislators and defeat lawmakers who have opposed giving equal rights to gays and lesbians. Minnis refused to let the House vote on a civil unions bill that had been passed by the state Senate with the blessing of the Democratic governor.
A spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign said Oregon is one of several states where bills to provide more rights to gays and lesbians have faltered and where activists will be working to defeat lawmakers who stood in the way of those measures.
Spokane mayor visited sex Web sites on city trips
SPOKANE, Wash. – Spokane Mayor James E. West used his city computer to check out online profiles of gay men while traveling on official business, The Spokesman-Review reported Oct. 15.
The history of the embattled mayor’s computer use was found in files buried deep within a compact disc that City Hall attorneys released to the newspaper this past week. The paper said the information contradicted West’s repeated claims that he did not access gay Web sites during workdays.
West, a longtime Republican state Senate leader and opponent of rights for gays, has acknowledged making “errors” in his private life, but said he has been an effective leader for Spokane who should remain in office.
AFA targets popular doll maker
After their failed boycott attempts against Disney and Ford Motor Co., the American Family Association is asking followers to put pressure on American Girl, a company that puts out a magazine and sponsors clubs for teen and pre-teen girls.
American Girl is donating seventy cents toward every dollar spent on their “I Can” armband to Girls, Inc., an organization that “develops research-based informal education programs that encourage girls to take risks and master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges. Major programs address math and science education, pregnancy and drug abuse prevention, media literacy, economic literacy, adolescent health, violence prevention, and sports participation,” according to the organization’s Web site.
The AFA is upset because, as part of their program to help young girls become confident, healthy women, Girls, Inc. says that, “To make responsible decisions about sexuality, pregnancy and parenthood, girls need and have a right to sensitive, truthful sexuality education; convenient access to safe, effective methods of contraception and protection from disease; and referral to comprehensive information, counseling, clinical and other services that support their responsible decisions.”
Girls, Inc. also provides lesbian-positive resources for girls who are questioning their sexuality or who know themselves to be lesbians.
Contact American Girl and thank them for supporting Girls, Inc., a lesbian-positive organization that is working to help girls be free of gender and sexual orientation stereotypes. American Girl President Ellen Brothers can be reached at 608-836-4848.
To learn more about Girls, Inc., or to make a donation, visit http://www.girlsinc.org.
Right-wing group starts move to get converts, voters
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new coalition dedicated to converting thousands to its version of Christianity and getting thousands more on voter registration lists got its start Oct. 14 with a tightly scripted rally that resembled a revival meeting. More than 1,000 people gathered outside the Statehouse for the launch of Reformation Ohio. The group, founded by the Rev. Rod Parsley, a television evangelist and pastor of the World Harvest Church in suburban Columbus, vehemently opposes human rights for gays, and Parsley has written that the teachings of Islam were inspired by demons.
Speakers included U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican from Kansas who is considering a White House run in 2008; Rep. Walter Jones, R-North Carolina, and Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor next year.
NCLR claims Penn State coach forced player to transfer
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Penn State will look into claims by the National Center for Lesbian Rights that women’s basketball coach Rene Portland discriminated against players she believed to be lesbians.
School president Graham Spanier said he received a letter of complaint from NCLR regarding the case of Jennifer Harris, who transferred from Penn State last spring after two years on the team.
According to the center, Portland had repeatedly questioned Harris about her sexual orientation, threatened to kick her off the team if she was a lesbian, and told other players not to associate with players who Portland believed was gay.
Gay student’s case is sent to Florida high court
WEST PALM BEACH, FL.– A divided appeals court has asked the Florida Supreme Court to decide if a school chaplain should have protected the confidentiality of a gay student expelled in his senior year of high school.
Whether Jeffrey Woodard and his mother can seek damages from Jupiter Christian School depends on whether the chaplain in whom he confided can be sued for inflicting emotional distress.
Woodard said his Bible teacher asked him about his sexual orientation and promised to keep the answer secret.
AIDS drug maker to pay $700M settlement
WASHINGTON – The Swiss manufacturer of the AIDS treatment drug Serostim has agreed to pay more than $700 million to settle allegations that it offered kickbacks to doctors to write prescriptions to boost sagging sales, government and company officials said Oct. 17.
The settlement would be the second largest for prescription drug fraud, according to Patrick Burns, spokesman for Taxpayers Against Fraud.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Serostim, which contains the human growth hormone Somatropin, in 1996 to treat AIDS wasting, an often-fatal condition involving severe weight loss.
In Other News
Sen. Clinton to give DeGeneres NYC tour
BURBANK, Calif. – Ellen DeGeneres will get a fancy tour guide when the she takes her talk show to New York City next month. New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has agreed to show DeGeneres around town during the comedian’s Thanksgiving Week visit.
“We’ll go see some theater, and we’ll hang out and do some stuff there. We’ll go to clubs,” DeGeneres said during the Oct. 13 taping of the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
“You’ll go to the clubs,” Clinton replied.
Historical Society to document gays’ past in Ohio
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Historical Society has formed an initiative with a gay newspaper publisher to document the history of gays in the state.
Organizers will collect mementos and memorabilia and tap the memories of older individuals who experienced what it was like to be gay before society was more accepting of homosexuals.
“This is going to be a way to help people understand we have a history, a culture, and better understand what we are and, most importantly, what we are not,” said Malcolm Riggle, owner and publisher of Outlook Weekly.
Organizers also are attempting to raise funds to store and archive materials because the historical society, which receives some state funding, has a lean budget, Riggle said.