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P al6 s
Chile: El grupo politico gay
consigue el endoso de DDDH
Audiopihle: Whafs all the hubbub
about Janet Jackson?
VOLUME 18 . ISSUE 20
FEBRUARY 14- . 2004-
Mass, court says state must allow gay marriages
Same-sex couples gain at state,
by David Stout
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a clarification
of its own landmark ruling, on Feb. 4 the
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
declared that the state could not offer civil
unions in lieu of full marriage rights for
“The history of our nation has demon
strated that separate is seldom, if ever,
equal,” the justices wrote in response to a
draft bill submitted by the Senate that would
create civil unions with many of the rights
and responsibilities of marriage.
“The bill that would allow for civil unions,
but falls short of marriage, makes for ‘uncon
stitutional, inferior, and discriminatory status
for same-sex couples,’” the justices said.
“For no rational reason the marriage laws
of the Commonwealth discriminate against a
defined class; no amount of tinkering with
language will eradicate that stain. The bill
would have the effect of maintaining and fos
tering a stigma of exclusion that the
Constitution prohibits,” they added.
The debate over same-sex marriage and
gay civil unions is already boiling in the
nation’s political cauldron and conserva
tives at the federal level will now be even
more determined to keep the heat
In fact President George W. Bush
has stirred the pot twice in recent
weeks. During his State of the Union
address he again denounced same-
sex marriages and, depending on
how you interpret his remarks, may
have subtly endorsed the anti-gay
Federal Marriage Amendment. One
week earlier he rankled some gay
leaders with the announcement of a
new $ 1.5 billion initiative to promote
Barring an administration change
in November, it’s clear that support
for same-sex unions won’t come
from the top but from progressive
leaders at the state and municipal
levels where gains continue to be made.
Here’s a sampling of same-sex marriage
and domestic partner legislation across the
California — Last year former Gov. Gray
Davis signed the Domestic Partner Rights &
Responsibilities Act, a bill that extends hun
dreds of rights to same-sex couples.
California joins Hawaii. Massachusetts, New
Jersey and Vermont in offering some form of
statewide benefits, but Assemblyman Mark
Leno (D-San Francisco) believes it’s not
The decision heard 'round the world: AAaryland
Supreme Court Justices (seated, left to right) Francis X.
Spina, Roderick L Ireland, Chief Justice Atargaret H.
Marshall, John M. Greaney; (standing) Jud'ith A.
Cowin, Robert J. Cordy and Martha B. Sosman.
Leno, the head of the California
Legislature’s gay caucus, announced on Jan.
13 plans to introduce a bill that would allow
same-sex couples to marry in California.
“My bill will affirm the civil rights of gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender adults
who wish to take on the responsibility of
marriage and ensure that children being
raised by these couples receive the same
protections as children raised by married
see GAYon 6
Jamaica: Queer in a culture of violence
Cops are deadly, politicians corrupt, the
people poor, but musicians sing, “Kill
the fags, bum the sissies."
by Kelly Cogswell
with contributions by Richard Stem
Don’t let Bob Marley’s peace and love
lyrics fool you. In Jamaica, violence is an
endemic problem that erodes everyone’s
basic civil liberties and threatens gay lives.,
More than 740 murders have taken place so
far this year on
island, many of
them due to
In 2002, the
Face of the anti-gay police them-
Jamaican 'taliban': selves were
Recording artist Capleton responsible for
the deaths of at least 133 people, “many in
disputed circumstances suggesting extrajudi
cial executions,” according to Amnesty
International. The elections that year saw the
deaths of at least 60 people in politically moti
Lesbians, gay men, and transgender
people are on the front lines, targeted for
repression and violence from the dance-
halls to the pulpits, and police stations.
Against God and Jamaica
In the 1980s, AIDS brought the issue of
homosexuality out of the closet in Jamaica,
but the violent backlash drove the small les
bian and gay community underground.
Queer issues are once again in the hot seat,
this time with the first confirmation of an
openly gay priest as an Anglican bishop
almost two thousand miles away.
Jamaica’s Christian pastors are united
against it. Just prior to last week’s ceremony
for now Bishop of New Hampshire Gene
Robinson, Kingston’s Anglican priests gath
ered to reaffirm their opposition, voting 40-0
to reject his elevation.
Blood out ah chi chi
The denunciations from the pulpits have a
far-reaching effect. Most Jamaicans are
Christian Protestants, heavily slanted towards
an anti-gay, anti-woman fundamentalism, with
the Church of God capturing 21 percent.
Baptists nine percent, Seventh-Day Adventists
nine percent, and Pentecostals just over seven
percent. Anglicans claim slightly less than six
The Rastafarian religion, which empha
sizes traditional gender roles, is also no
haven for lesbians or gay men. Though it is
only practiced strictly by about five percent
of Jamaicans, it has a much broader
impact. Critically acclaimed musician
Capleton has popularized a radical strain of
Rastafarianism called Bobo Dread. One of
his songs says, “Blood out ah chi chi/ Bun
out ah sissy.” Kill the fags, burn the sissies.
Some detractors refer to Bobo Dread fans
as “the Jamaican Taliban.”
Police nurture violence
Most victims of homophobic violence in
Jamaica find it’s a miracle if anyone inter
venes, especially the police. J-FLAG
(Jamaican Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
has been documenting cases for the last
In one case during the summer of 2003,
a group of gay men were assaulted by their
neighbors. It was a family affair. Both par-
see JAMAICA on 16