Minnesota: Senate Passes Marriage Equality Bill 37-30
The Minnesota Senate will begin debate on its marriage equality bill at noon local time (1pm Eastern). The bill is expected to pass and Gov. Mark Dayton is likely to sign it in a ceremony presently scheduled to take place tomorrow. You can watch today’s proceedings live on the website of theStar-Tribuneand on the Senate’s official page. You’ll probably want to save both links as high traffic often makes these streams crash. Zoom, zoom, zoom, y’all.
America finally has its first openly gay and still-playing male major professional sports athlete. Jason Collins writes today for Sports Illustrated:
I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.
I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.
My journey of self-discovery and self-acknowledgement began in my hometown of Los Angeles and has taken me through two state high school championships, the NCAA Final Four and the Elite Eight, and nine playoffs in 12 NBA seasons.
I’ve played for six pro teams and have appeared in two NBA Finals. Ever heard of a parlor game called Three Degrees of Jason Collins? If you’re in the league, and I haven’t been your teammate, I surely have been one of your teammates’ teammates. Or one of your teammates’ teammates’ teammates.
Now I’m a free agent, literally and figuratively. I’ve reached that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want. And what I want is to continue to play basketball. I still love the game, and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and truthful.
He says he wears the #98 on his uniform as a tribute to Matthew Shepard:
The parents of Matthew Shepard say they are floored at the news that Jason Collins secretly chose 98 as his uniform number as a tribute to Matthew Shepard and the Trevor Project, which was founded in August 1998 two months before Shepard was murdered.
“It made me cry,” Judy Shepard told FOXSports.com during an interview Monday afternoon. “It was really quite a tribute, and I was very honored. And I know Matt would be thrilled.” And the Shepards hope, someday, to be able to thank Collins personally for his bravery in opening himself up to the world and honoring their son’s name in the process. “I would really love to speak to him, because I know Judy and I would just like to thank him,” Dennis Shepard said. “Because, No. 1, he had the courage to come out, period, and No. 2 that he wore 98 in honor of Matt, the year that he died. “(Collins) couldn’t have been that old (when it happened), so it must have had a tremendous impact on him, the story behind Matt, for him to want to do that. And then to wear it all this time without telling people why until today, that’s incredible.”
The head of the Trevor Project says they plan to reach out to Collins about working together.
SAN FRANCISCO: Voters May Consider Renaming Airport For Harvey Milk
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering a ballot measure which would rename the airport for slain LGBT rights icon Harvey Milk.
A charter amendment sponsored by Supervisor David Campos would put the question of creating Harvey Milk-San Francisco International Airport on San Francisco’s November ballot. If five of Campos’ colleagues agree to submit the proposed name change to voters and the amendment goes through in the fall, the city would become home to the world’s first airport honoring an openly gay person, said Milk’s nephew, Stuart Milk. Milk, who runs an international gay rights foundation in his uncle’s memory, said that adding an airport to the list of public venues named for Harvey Milk would mark a milestone since flights to and from San Francisco International serve 68 countries where homosexuality is illegal.
The wingnuts are gonna love this one. (Image via Harvey Milk Foundation)
Maryland’s first same-sex marriages will take place tonight shortly after the first stroke of the new year. The mayor of Baltimore has ordered the opening of City Hall for the ceremonies.
“New Years Day will have a new meaning for the hundreds - if not thousands - of couples who will finally have the right to marry the person they love,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.“It is a remarkable achievement for Maryland, and we are excited to open City Hall to host some of the first wedding ceremonies in our great state. Newly married couples will stand before their friends and family to profess their love and commitment to each other. This is what we worked for, and I am looking forward to take part in this historic and jubilant day.” Brennan says Rawlings-Blake will act as an official witness, but will not preside over any ceremonies.
The first couple to marry will be the mayor’s aide and his partner of 35 years.
Mexico: Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban On Gay Marriage
After Marriage reports:
The Supreme Court of Mexico issued a unanimous ruling Wednesday afternoon that paves the way to universal marriage rights in the country. The actual ruling won’t be published for a little while, but the gay rights advocates who brought the case are proclaiming that today’s ruling “opens the door to equal marriage in the whole country.” The court ruled on behalf of three same-sex couple seeking to marry in the southern state of Oaxaca. The court had already ruled in 2010 that gay marriages performed under a Mexico City ordinance had to be recognized nationwide. With this precedent, the remaining bans on gay marriage in most Mexican states could quickly fall. This ruling does not immediately eliminate marriage statutes limiting unions to a man and a woman—the Mexican Supreme Court doesn’t have the power to strike down state laws like that en mass as the United States Supreme Court does. But the lawyer who brought the case, Alex Alí Méndez Díaz, said before the ruling that victory would mean the beginning of the end for bans on same-sex marriage. (More about Méndez here—he started the case as a law student.) The court’s ruling that the ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutionally discriminatory is partly based on a February ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that governments can’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, Karen Atala Riffo y Niñas v. Chile. This case could have repercussions outside of Mexico—by expanding this precedent to include the right to marry, courts in other Latin American countries that recognize the Inter-American Accord on Human Rights could follow this precedent and determine that marriage rights are also protected in their countries. And the Inter-American Court itself could be more likely to recognize a right to marry—a case brought by three couples trying to strike down Chile’s ban on gay marriage has already begun making its way through the international judicial system.
Baldwin is a progressive solid enough to have voted against authorizing the Iraq War and against apro-Patriot Act resolution masquerading as pro-veteran. She wrote the part of the Affordable Care Act that lets adults stay on their parents’ health care coverage until they’re 26. Her sexual orientationwasn’t an issueduring the campaign, but Baldwin isn’t averse to talking about it. “If you are not in the room, the conversation is about you,” she toldThe Guardianthis week. “If you are in the room, the conversation is with you. We never had an openly LGBT member of the U.S. Senate, and even though there are strong pro-equality allies who serve there, it has always been a conversation about a group of people. So this changes everything.”
Pioneering British LGBT rights activist Allan Horsfall has died at the age of 84.
Horsfall became a local councilor in Nelson, north-west England, in the 1950s but started to discover inconsistencies in the way the law against homosexuality in Britain was applied. One public lavatory used by men meeting to have sex was well known to police and magistrates but there hadn’t been a conviction there in 30 years. But at other times, police would arrest a suspected gay or bisexual person, go through their address book and round up many of their contacts. They would then appear in court accused of being a ‘homosexual ring’, even though many of them didn’t know each other.
This inspired Horsfall to set up the Homosexual Law Reform Society. It’s first offices were donated by the Bishop of Middleton in Salford, Manchester in north-west England. This later became the Campaign for Homosexual Equality which at one point had thousands of members across the UK.Even after homosexuality was decriminalized in Britain in 1967, with an age of consent set at 21 for gay men in private, Horsfall continued his campaigning work which spanned 50 years. In 1998 he worked on the case of the Bolton Seven – a group of men who had sex with each other and got prosecuted because, although homosexuality was legal, group sex between men was not.
Noted British activist Peter Tatchell: “Allan was arguably the grandfather of the modern gay rights movement in Britain. We all walk in Allan’s shadow. He was active in LGBT campaigning until a few months before his death. Allan deserves a Queer State Funeral.”
Well known Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence member, one-time San Francisco mayoral candidate, and early AIDS activist Jack “Sister Boom Boom” Fertig passed away Sunday night at age of 57. The Sisters send us this remembrance:
On August 5, 2012 at 9:30 PM, Sister Boom Boom aka Jack Fertig succumbed to liver cancer in the loving presence of his partner Elias Trevino and dogs, Chloe and Perry. Jack was also known to many as teacher, astrologer, artist, and a devout and faithful scholar of Islam. Sister Boom Boom was a key Queer pioneer who took Queer Consciousness to the mainstream. In 1982, Sister Boom Boom nearly won a Board of Supervisors seat by running a uniquely San Francisco campaign of radical politics and nun drag. She won 23,124 votes with her occupation listed as “Nun of the Above.”
A year later, Boom Boom ran for the 1983 mayoral race against incumbent Dianne Feinstein and, as a result, San Francisco passed a law that requires candidates to only use their legal names on the ballot. This law is often referred to as the “Sister Boom Boom” law. Due to internal disputes, Jack Fertig broke from the Sisters in 1985. Jack Fertig went on to pursue his Divine calling and became an award-winning astrologer and respected Queer Muslim activist. He was also an avid organizer in the leather and sober communities. Cleve Jones, AIDS activist and creator of the NAMES Project AIDS Quilt remembers Sister Boom Boom as a “dear friend” and a “fierce advocate for the poor and immigrant communities.”
Fertig eventually reconciled with the Sisters, who will announce a public memorial for Sister Boom Boom shortly.
The final design seems to lack the appropriate solemnity, but at least it looks like an inviting place to sit and reflect.
The design for the future New York City AIDS Memorial at St. Vincent’s Hospital Park was approved by Manhattan Community Board 2. The coalition will now work to seek approvals from the Department of City Planning and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. We will continue to develop the design as we also manage the capital campaign to raise the funds to build the memorial and ensure that it is beautifully and well-maintained into the future.
Asteroid Named For Mattachine Society Cofounder Frank Kameny
The International Astronomical Union and Minor Planet Center has named an asteroid after late Mattachine Society cofounder Frank Kameny.
A Canadian amateur astronomer has named an asteroid he discovered after U.S. gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny, who died last year in Washington. Kameny, who earned a doctorate in astronomy at Harvard University, was an astronomer with the U.S. Army Map Service in the 1950s but was fired from his job for being gay. He contested the firing all the way to the Supreme Court and later organized the first gay rights protests outside the White House, the Pentagon and in Philadelphia in the 1960s.
Minor Planet 40463, which is in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is now known as Frankkamney. Before he died, Kameny received an official apology from President Obama for his firing by the federal government more than 50 years ago.
United Kingdom: Rainbow Flag Flies Over Government Building For First Time By Request Of Deputy PM Nick Clegg
As Pride London collapses in a morass of infighting and financial problems, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has ordered that the rainbow flag be flown over a government building for the first time.
“There has to be a first time for everything,” said Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrat party. “Flying this iconic flag in the heart of Whitehall is a small but important emblem that the government and this country are behind equal rights,” added Clegg, whose centrist party is junior partner in a coalition led by the centre-right Conservatives. The striped rainbow flag was raised over the Cabinet Office, the ministry responsible for coordinating central government.
Andrew Belonsky notes that Pride London is beseeching the city government to prepare for the expected large crowds despite the cancellation of most events.
To create a safe and incident-free event for revelers in Soho, Westminster Council will need to close key roads and uphold parking suspensions in the area. Because we couldn’t provide the assurances required to pay the council for these closures, the application did not progress. As a result we cannot guarantee a safe and secure event for the community in Soho and we’re forced to cancel all official Pride London events for this reason. The partying will no doubt still carry on and bars and clubs [will be] extremely busy. However, normal licensing rules apply. We urge that revelers enjoying post-Pride in Soho keep their wits about them and stay safe.
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