Friday, April 22, 2005

Some Good News in Virgina (For a Change) 

The Virginia Supreme Court today ordered the Virginia Department of Vital Records to issue birth certificates to same sex parents of children born in Virginia. The commonwealth allows single gay men and lesbians to adopt, and in some cases those adoptive parents have then moved to states that permit co-adoption.


Friday, April 15, 2005

"I killed them so that we could be together." 

Girls Get Life for Murdering Grandparents

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. - A 15-year-old girl and her ex-girlfriend pleaded guilty Thursday to stabbing her grandparents to death last summer so the young couple could be together. Holly Harvey told the judge that while she was knifing her 73-year-old grandmother, "my eyes were closed the whole time."

Harvey pleaded guilty to two counts of malice murder and was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. She will not be eligible for parole for 20 years. Sandy Ketchum, 16, was sentenced to three life terms for murder and armed robbery, to be served concurrently. She could be eligible for parole in 10 years.

As part of her plea, Harvey detailed how she killed the couple.

She said she and Ketchum had stayed out all night, then spent the morning of the killings listening to music in her basement bedroom. That was when Ketchum suggested stealing the grandparents' truck "to get something to calm us down," Harvey said.
"'We'll have to kill them to do that,'" Harvey said she responded.
"But I didn't mean nothing by that," she told Judge Pascal English.
Ketchum first suggested hitting them in the head with a lamp, then suggested getting a knife, Harvey said. "I got the biggest knife I could find out of the kitchen," she said, adding that they practiced stabbing a mattress to see if the knife was sharp enough.

When the grandparents came downstairs to get a suitcase, Harvey said she stabbed her grandmother. Harvey said her grandfather pinned her down, and she stabbed him in the chest. She chased him as he ran upstairs and tried to call for help, pulling the phone out of the wall, Harvey said.

"He grabbed the knife and I thought he was going to stab me," Harvey said. She said she took the knife from him and started attacking him.

When the judge asked Harvey why she did it, the teen said, "For Sandy," and added, "So that we could be together."

The girls were arrested the day after the killings at a beach house on Tybee Island, about four hours away. Police say they found a to-do list of sorts scrawled in ink on Harvey's arm: "kill, keys, money, jewelry."

Does anyone see a problem with this? Is this what the world has come down to?!?!


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

"We are the face of gay marriage. We are a family." 

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the Judiciary Committee hearing on same-sex marriage at the State House. I arrived at 2PM and promptly donned an “I DO: support Mass. equality” sticker before I wedged myself into a small and stuffy courtroom. For three hours I stood stock still while listening to testimony on three proposed bills; one which would define marriage as between one man and one woman (DOMA), one which would nullify gay marriages that have occurred since May 2005, and one that would have Margaret Marshall (who decided the Goodridge case) removed from the bench.

In front of the room sat the panel, which consisted of senators, representatives, and other legislators. The panel heard a variety of witnesses, who could sign up to speak for three minutes each. I’ve never seen such an array of people in my life, and I’ve never felt such concentrated hatred in my life. The first man I had the pleasure of hearing started off with how Mass. let “4 black folks run rampant on the Constitution.” Needless to say, my blood began to boil almost immediately. During my three-hour stay, I heard everything from how legalized gay marriage made a comedienne’s job harder to how we had to act quickly to stop “renegade” judges from making Mass. a “lawless” state to a song-and-dance from a “former homosexual.” Luckily, I also got to hear testimony from the other side. A group of lesbian mothers brought their children into the court and told their stories, standing behind their motto of “We are the face of gay marriage. We are a family.” The waterworks started soon after, when a clean-cut man in a business suit got on one knee in front of the panel and re-enacted proposing to his now-husband. He turned to Senator Creedon, the chairman, and with tears choking his voice said, “This was the first time I had ever legally been able to do this. This is my life; don’t take it away from me.”

Clearly, the emotional level was quite high. But, I also learned a lot from being at the hearing. For one, did anyone know that there are 10,000 children in MA alone being raised by gay and lesbian parents? And has anyone considered the effect on these children if their recently-married gay parents lose their marriage license? I was up in arms for most of the meeting, but one thing that the pro-amendment side said sliced through me like ice and sobered me up – Margaret Marshall engaged in judicial activism. She spoke at a MGLBA dinner prior to deciding this case, and although we don’t remove our judges from the bench because we don’t like their decisions, some are claiming that Marshall was not an impartial judge. They put aside their hate for a minute to attack the legality of the trial, and I was afraid. I don’t think a lot of people understood this, but I did, and I felt sick to my stomach. I don’t think that her conduct justifies removal from the bench, but then again who am I?

The bottom line is, this fight is not over. It may never be over. When Goodridge was decided, we rejoiced and moved on with our lives. We must not forget that we need to protect our recently-acquired equality. We are just normal people looking for some permanence and security in our normal lives. Like in the past, Massachusetts is ahead of the rest of the nation in ending discrimination and we need to do everything we can to help make sure these bills are not passed. As one man shouted in his testimony, we need to “Defend, not Amend, the Constitution!” We need to remind those who don’t agree that our founding fathers meant what they said – they created the Constitution to protect the people, and they meant that “all men are created equal,” and this includes the homosexual population. We cannot stop this fight.


Monday, April 11, 2005

State House Judiciary Committee Meeting April 12 

MassEquality has sent out an alert that the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary will be having a hearing tomorrow (4/12/05) at 1:00 pm in Room B-2 of the State House. The committee will be addressing a number of bills relating to marriage equality, some in favor, some not. MassEquality is requesting that supporters of marriage equality show up if they can to counter the anti-equality people that are also expected.

One of our executive board members may be able to attend. Perhaps she'll post a report from the front lines later on tomorrow!!!


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Event - Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition 

Forwarded from GLBT folk at Harvard Law School:
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is organizing a meeting to share information and coordinate strategies for ending discrimination against transgender people on college campuses in Massachusetts.

Who: Anyone associated with a college--students, staff, faculty, and alumni.

What: We will discuss current and future organizing around issues such as adding "gender identity and expression" to non-discrimination policies, trans-friendly housing and health care, gender-neutral bathrooms, trans 101 trainings, and more.

Why: We want to create a college activist network so that everyone can share strategies, tools, and success stories.

When: Wednesday, April 13, 7-8 p.m.

Where: Harvard College, Sever Hall 209, NOTE THE ROOM CHANGE!

Directions: From the Harvard Square T main exit, make a u-turn and head down Mass Ave. Cross Mass Ave. at the light opposite Au Bon Pain. Do not enter the gate, but walk down Mass Ave. away from the T stop. Turn left into the next gate (opposite Holyoke St.). Walk straight ahead and bear right once you walk past the beige Boylston Hall. Head diagonally past Widener Library and keep heading diagonally across the quad until you run into Sever.

For questions about the meeting, email Noah Lewis or call MTPC at 617-983-0219.

To learn more about MTPC, visit the MTPC website.


Thursday, April 07, 2005

Seminar On Same Sex Divorce 

The BBA and the MLGBA Family Law Section will be holding a family law seminar on same-sex divorce on April 12, 2005 at the BBA from 5-7PM. Featured speakers are: Joyce Kauffman, Esq.; Betsy Zeldin, Esq.; Probate and Family Court Judges Angela Ordonez, Edward Donnelly, Jr. and Benjamin Kaplan; and Appeals COurt Judge Barbara Lenk.

For those of you who are not already members of the MLGBA, I encourage you to join. Membership is only $15 per year for students. For more information, visit www.mlgba.org


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