Quest New LogoQuest News     Volume 12 No. 13      July 21, 2005
Compiled & written by Mike Fitzpatrick
Top Stories:

Bush Consults Homophobe Falwell
On Judicial Nominations

Washington, DC - The New York Times revealed July 13 that White House officials have sought out advice on a Supreme Court nominee from Rev. Jerry Falwell, one of the most divisive far-right figures in America today.
  “Anti-gay extremists are trying to gain a stranglehold on government,” Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said. Falwell“Americans want their leaders to come together, not engage in divisive political fights over the next Supreme Court Justice.”
  Following the September 11 attacks on the United States, Falwell laid blame on gays and lesbians - along with feminists, civil rights advocates and others - for causing the tragedy. “I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen,’” he said.
  The news of Falwell’s consultation with the White House comes a day after Jay Sekulow, leader of Pat Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice urged the President to reject calls for consensus and nominate a hard-line conservative. ACLJ founder Robertson joined Falwell in his hateful comments after September 11.
  “The far-right is willing to abandon civility in order to get a nominee who satisfies their narrow interests,” said Solmonese. “The President is not filling a vacancy in a far-right political group but on our nation’s highest court. America deserves a nominee who believes in justice for all Americans, not someone beholden to a fringe ideological agenda.”
  Falwell has a long history of anti-LGBT rhetoric. He was quoted in Cox News Service last year saying, “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”

Social Justice Concerns Spur People of Faith
To Oppose Wisconsin’s Civil Union Ban

Madison - Mainstream religious organizations representing over 400,000 Wisconsin people of faith have gone on record opposing the proposed amendment to the state’s Constitution barring any legal recognition of unmarried couples, straight or gay. Since the Curtbeginning of 2005, organizations from both the Jewish and Christian traditions have adopted resolutions opposing the proposed ban. Most have been adopted at annual regional and statewide meetings held since the beginning of summer.
  Thus far the Greater Milwaukee, LaCrosse and South Central Synods of Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), the Wisconsin United Methodist Conference, the Milwaukee Presbytery, the Madison Jewish Community Council and the Wisconsin Jewish Conference have formally opposed the GOP-sponsored bill. Secular groups have declared their opposition to the amendment as well, among which are the Wisconsin Medical Society, the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, NARAL ProChoice Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood, and Wisconsin Citizen Action.
  Most of the groups cite “equal protection under the law” as a key factor motivating their decisions. “Our interpretation of scripture, our theology, and our understanding of justice lead us to champion civil rights for all people, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, physical or mental ability,” was the wording of one ELCA resolution.
  The broad language of the proposed amendment’s second sentence was cited specifically in the Milwaukee ELCA Synod’s resolution. “The language... may actually take away current civil rights of gay and lesbian people by prohibiting civil unions, domestic partnership registries (like those currently found in Madison and Milwaukee) and other present legal rights (right of visitation, for example) for gay and lesbian partners in Wisconsin,” the resolution stated.
  Also active in the fight against the ban is Christians For Equality in Wisconsin(CEW) , a statewide group that pledges “to educate the Wisconsin electorate about the fundamental equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons and to oppose the proposed amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution which would not only exclude Wisconsin’s LGBT citizens from civil marriage, but would also deny the possibility of civil unions and could take away hard-won existing rights, benefits and privileges.
  CEW believes that “this amendment would enshrine inequality and discrimination into the fundamental constitutional law of this state.” Since its inception the group has marshalled more than 200 people of faith for a day-long lobbying effort last February 22 at the State Capitol and organized several educational conferences on the amendment issue. CEW co-founder Rev. Curt Anderson, senior minister at First Congregational United Church of Christ, received Outreach’s “Ally of the Year” honor at the group’s 13th annual awards banquet July 15 at Monona Terrace.
  “Opponents of equality like to think they have God on their side, but major religious organizations in Wisconsin have made an unprecedented stand against the ban,” Action Wisconsin Executive Director told Quest. “Summer 2005 might seem like a strange time to think about the fall of 2006 - but that’s when Wisconsin could become the first state in the nation to defeat a constitutional ban on civil unions and marriage for gay couples.”

World & National News:

California Senate Revives Gay Marriage Bill
Sacramento - The quest to legalize gay marriage in California was revived by a Senate committee that approved the measure that was slipped into a fisheries research bill after it failed in the state Assembly. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-1 on July 12 in favor of the bill that mirrors one that fell four votes shy last month in the Assembly.
 The measure by Assemblyman Mark Leno, one of six openly gay members of the Legislature, would make the state’s marriage laws Lenogender-neutral as the issue is headed for the state’s highest court.
 Openly gay Senator Sheila Kuehl, who said she was speaking in support of the bill as a lesbian and not as a senator, said the bill reflects the civil rights issue of the day. “Our community’s in the middle of the griddle and I’m proud of it,” Kuehl said.
  Opponent Randy Thomasson, who has proposed a constitutional amendment for next year’s ballot that would outlaw gay marriage and remove most of the benefits of domestic partnerships, said the bill smacked of an abuse of process. “This is really a no-brainer,” Thomasson testified. “It’s sad when it was defeated in one house it was reincarnated here.”
  Leno was able to keep the issue alive by persuading another lawmaker to let him gut and amend a bill that passed the Assembly that aimed to collect information from fisherman. He replaced it with the language from his gay marriage bill. He defended the move by saying his bill had already passed Assembly committees and would now face public votes in the Senate. “I understand there is at times a nefarious reputation to the gut and amend process,” Leno said. “That is, rightfully, when it is used at the end of the session, sometimes in the dark of the night when public hearings are short circuited. Nothing could be further from the truth with this bill.”
  In a symbolic gesture July 11, the Los Angeles City Council voted to support the bill, though Councilmen Greig Smith and Bernard Parks, the former city police chief, left the chambers before their colleagues brought up the measure.
  Leno’s bill would amend the state family code to define marriage between “two persons” instead of between a man and a woman. It faces a vote in another Senate committee as soon as next month. If the full Senate passes the bill, it would be the first legislative body in the nation to approve a gay marriage bill.
  Leno said he still would need to round up three votes in the Assembly if it makes it through the Senate. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has not taken a stand on the bill, but has said voters or judges, not lawmakers, should make such social changes.
  Republican opponents have argued that the issue was decided five years ago by state voters who approved a ballot initiative prohibiting the state from recognizing same-sex marriages. However, a state judge in San Francisco ruled in March that state laws prohibiting gays from marrying are unconstitutional and the issue is likely to end up before the California Supreme Court in the next year.
  While representatives of several civil rights groups spoke in favor of the bill, hundreds of opponents crowded in a Capitol hallway waiting for their turn to speak against it. Scores of the bill’s foes, many from the Russian and Ukrainian communities in the Sacramento metropolitan area, added their voices in opposition, including one man who addressed the committee entirely in his native tongue.

Gay Porn Star Rape Suspect Hangs Self In Jail
Colorado - A former gay porn actor and real estate agent suspected in seven rapes in Colorado and Texas died July 13 after hanging himself in his jail cell.
  Bradford Wagner, 37, of Glenwood Springs was found unconscious, hanging by his neck from a sheet in his cell, Boulder County Tim Barnettsheriff’s spokesman Lt. Phil West said in a press release. He was pronounced dead at Boulder Community Hospital and coroner Thomas Faure ruled Wagner’s death a suicide.
  Wagner, who had been held in the jail since his arrest in June 2004, had not been considered a suicide risk, West said. A message left after hours for Wagner’s lawyer, Wilbur Smith, was not immediately returned.
  The real estate agent was arrested after police said they linked him to four rapes at a Boulder apartment complex during the 1990s by surreptitiously collecting DNA samples from him. An undercover officer posing as a home buyer collected DNA samples from Wagner, his car, his home and his bicycle.
  Wagner had been charged in a 1994 rape in Lakewood and police also said genetic evidence connected him to an unsolved sexual assault in Lakewood and a 1995 assault in Austin, Texas.
  Smith criticized the police department’s handling of the DNA evidence in the case. Former officer Michelle Direzza testified that the rape kit containing semen samples from the September 1993 attacker wasn’t refrigerated because there was no room in the evidence refrigerator.
  Wagner appeared as Tim Barnett in more than 20 adult gay films produced in the early 1990s. A West Hollywood, CA film producer confirmed Wagner’s participation.

Study: Bisexual Women “Pressured To Be Lesbians”

London - Women who are bisexual face an increasing amount of pressure to declare themselves as lesbians, according to a new study. And bisexuals continue to feel their sexuality is a stigma, the study claims, in comparison to gay men and lesbians.
  The findings, presented at the British Psychological Society’s Psychology of Women Section Conference July 12, point to the need for more women-specific health promotional projects. They also suggest the need for more inclusivity for bisexuals in the gay community.
  Conducted by Patricia Hudson, the study reveals through interviews with bisexual women that they find their sexuality - and its perception - “challenging”. They also believe that neither heterosexual or gay people are understanding of them and feel pressure from both groups to define their sexuality more precisely.
  Hudson said health workers need to recognize the diversity of sexual orientation, and encourage bisexual people to fight against the perceived stigma. “The onus is on professional and academic psychologists to recognize that enduring bisexual identities do exist, and to ensure that they challenge the stigma that so often renders bisexual identities invisible or portrays them in negative ways,” she said.
  She said that ongoing support for bisexual women often led to higher self-esteem. “Despite widespread experiences of prejudice and stigma, interviewees found that their bisexual identity offered the opportunity for enhanced self esteem and the possibility of engaging in enriching relationships,” she added.
  Bisexuality has recently been in the news, after North American scientists said the orientation did not exist. The Chicago and Toronto researchers studied gay, straight and bisexual men and found that those who described themselves as bisexual were not truly attracted to both men and women. “Regardless of whether the men were gay, straight or bisexual, they showed about four times more arousal to one sex or the other,” the lead researcher said.

Imprisoned Teen’s Father Admits He Sent Son To Ex-Gay Camp
Washington, DC - The father of a gay teenager who wrote in a web log that he was being sent against his will to a camp run by a group called “Love in Action International” to “cure” him of his homosexuality has defended his actions in an interview with televangelist Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network.
 Joe Stark claims he did the right thing when he sent his 16 year old son Zach to the camp near Memphis, Tennessee. “We felt very Zachgood about Zach coming here because… to let him see for himself the destructive lifestyle, what he has to face in the future, and to give him some options that society doesn’t give him today,” Stark told CBN. “Knowing that your son... statistics say that by the age of thirty he could either have AIDS or be dead.”
  Stark also believes that he did nothing wrong in sending the teen to the camp against his will. “But until he turns 18 and he’s an adult in the state of Tennessee, I’m responsible for him. And I’m going to see to it that he has all options available to him,” Stark said. Stark added that when Zack is an adult he can make his own life choices.
  The interview broadcast on the Disney-owned ABC Family cable network is the first proof offered that Zack actually exists.  His story first came to light last month when a Web logger going only by the name of “Zach” said his parents were sending him to the religious organization to try to convert him to heterosexuality.  The teen had identified himself as a 16-year-old from Bartlett, TN but did not give a last name, making it impossible to verify the story. 
  Zack wrote in his blog that his parents “tell me that there is something psychologically wrong with me.I’m a big screwup to them, who isn’t on the path God wants me to be on. So I’m sitting here in tears ... and I can’t help it.”
  The log has created a furor among LGBT activists and has led to two investigations by the state. A department investigator visited the camp and found there were no signs of abuse. The Department did not say whether it found “Zach” and until Stark came forward it remained unclear if the teen ever existed.
  John Smid, executive director of Love in Action, noted that the allegations were never described to him but he assumed they involved a complaint of psychological abuse. According to Schmid the camp program “is to help kids to grow in their relationship with Christ.” “We understand people don’t have control over what they feel, but we teach them they are able to control what they do,” Smid said. “We don’t have to act on those desires, even if we feel them.”
  The second probe of “Love In Action” was begun on July 11 by the state Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities Department -  because the group was offering counseling in drug and alcohol addiction. State officials say they can’t do that without a license.
  In an effort to head off the new examination of the camp, Love in Action executive director John Smid said the organization will change its website wording and direct clients to established, off-site drug and alcohol counseling services.

Stonewall Democrats Call For Rove’s Ouster
Washington, DC - The National Stonewall Democrats called on President Bush July 13 to fire White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. Rove, the chief architect of White House anti-gay policy, is under investigation by a federal grand jury to determine if he Karl Rovebroke the law during a series of conversations with at least one reporter and whether in those conversations the name of a CIA agent was revealed. It is also believed that the probe  is also examining other potential criminal actions by Rove.
  Stonewall Democrats say that the issue is bigger than a single case and representative of what it calls a larger ethical problem within the White House. “This situation is much larger than Karl Rove, and is dramatically symptomatic of the abuse of trust that has been repeatedly wielded by the Bush Administration,” NSD Executive Director Eric Stern said. “President Bush has continually promised to promote an inclusive agenda within an honest administration.  He has failed miserably on both accounts.
  Stern said that the President should keep his word that he would fire any individual who has lied to the American public. In October 2003, Bush promised to “take care of” the administration official who dangerously leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to the public. 
  At the time, the President characterized the leak as a “criminal action.”  Since then, notes from Time magazine reporter Mathew Cooper have revealed Karl Rove as a source of the leak.  For almost two years, Rove has denied any involvement in the matter. But, Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper talked in 2003 with Rove on “double super secret background” about Plame. Cooper testified before the grand jury the same day as the NSD call for Rove’s ouster.
  Rove, a longtime aide to President Bush, is reported to have first begun running anti-gay attacks for the Bush gubernatorial campaign in Texas during the mid-1990s. During the 2004 presidential campaign, it was Rove who closely coordinated White House meetings with two leading anti-gay advocates -  the Family Research Council and Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family on issues including a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
  In the summer of 2004, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican, told reporters that the White House was encouraging Republicans in the state to support an anti-marriage amendment to the Ohio state constitution. According to Blackwell, White House political aides, including Rove, argued that supporting such amendments would benefit turnout for the Republican ticket.
  Shortly after the 2004 elections, Rove appeared on the television program “Fox News Sunday” to discuss White House plans to push for a federal anti-marriage amendment. Appearing on the program on November 7, 2004, Rove enthusiastically backed the measure, promising that the President would “absolutely” push for it.  Rove also noted that President Bush was committed to nominating individuals to the federal judiciary that held similar views on the matter.
  Rove’s courtship of far right religious leaders has continued despite the investigation over was is being called CIA-gate. The New York Times recently reported that the White House had sought out evangelist Jerry Falwell for advice on a a Supreme Court nomination.
  “We might not be calling for this action if this was a single event limited to Karl Rove,” said Stern. “The Bush Administration is crippled by ethical and moral problems.  Just as it is unethical to lie to the American public, it is immoral to use the Constitution of the United States as a weapon against its citizens.  Firing Karl Rove would bring the White House closer to its initial promise of establishing an administration that the American people deserve.”
  At a July 13 White news conference Bush said he will withhold judgment about Rove’s involvement in leaking the identity of the CIA operative until the federal criminal investigation is complete. “This is a serious investigation,” Bush said at the end of a meeting with his Cabinet, with Rove sitting just behind him. “I will be more than happy to comment on this matter once this investigation is complete.”

State News:

Central Wisconsin Pride 2005 Set For August 6
Stevens Point - Local residents here won’t be able to miss this year’s Central Wisconsin Pride 2005 - its being held downtown in the city’s best-known festival site. Pfiffner Pioneer Park on the river front just one bloc west of downtown Stevens Point will be the CW Pridesite of the event on Saturday, August 6, from Noon to 10 PM. The event will feature local and regional entertainers, food and beer stands, and an array of booths featuring organizations and vendors.
  Scheduled to appear are the pop rock band 8th World Wonder from 2-4 PM, Milwaukee comedian Tanya Atkinson and lesbian poet Amy Walsh from 4:30-5:15 PM, and alternative all-girl band Alpha Dog from 5:15-6:00 PM.  Bryanna Banks will host a drag show from 7-8:30 PM and the Madison-based Wade Otis Band will cap the evening’s events from 8-10 PM.
  A pre-Pride event is also scheduled on Friday, July 29. A “Happy Hour With “Fruit,” an Australian band will be held at Clark Place in Stevens Point beginning at 5:30 PM.
 According to pride organizers the festival is as much about education as it is a celebration of tolerance and acceptance, and they expect to draw people from all walks of life, regardless of sexual orientation. “It’s not just celebrating being gay,” pride committee vice chair Jason Jaworski to the Stevens Point Journal, one of the event’s media sponsors. “It’s celebrating diversity in the community.”
  “Downtown Stevens Point is the right place,” committee chair Larry Steltenpohl added, noting the festival is a way for members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community to express their pride at who they are.
  “The central location is as much a part of that as anything,” he said. “There’ll be people in the community who may or may not come, but we’re excited about the opportunity to educate and show people we’re not weird, we’re not nasty, we’re just normal people.”
  Steltenpohl and Jaworski believe that the downtown location of the event reflects the larger acceptance of gays and lesbians within the community. “In the past, we were doing our fund raisers primarily at the gay bars,” Jaworski said. “We realized we don’t need to do that. There are plenty of businesses that are willing to help.”
  According to the Central Wisconsin Pride website, over two dozen sponsors have signed up to support the event. Sponsors range from gay-owned businesses such as Door County’s Chanticleer Guest House and Wausau’s Oz bar to local mainstream retailers such as Fazoli’s, the Road Star Inn and Slumberland. In addition to the local newspaper, radio stations WSPT-FM and WWSP FM90 have signed on as media sponsors.
 Steltenpohl told Journal reporter Carlos Gieseken a goal of the festival is to raise awareness that the gay and lesbian community isn’t restricted to major cities such as San Francisco, Chicago or Milwaukee. “I think the way to say it is that we are everywhere,” Steltenpohl said. “The only difference is that in some places we are more out than others.”
  Committee members hope for a turnout of between 500 and 1,000 people, but feel there’s always the chance for much more, given the event’s prime location. The committee also has arranged for special lodging rates for out of town visitors. The Road Star Inn and the Country Springs Hotel both are offering special Pride rates.
  Another local gay venue, Club Night Out, has also announced that they have canceled previously scheduled pride-type events for August 6 in support of the downtown event.
  Central Wisconsin Pride Committee describes itself as a nonprofit organization made up of a diverse group of people from central Wisconsin’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Formed in the fall of 2004, CWPC hopes to help fight the battle for civil rights in the LGBT community, promote diversity, raise awareness, and educate people in the central Wisconsin area. For  full information about the Central Wisconsin Pride event, visit the group’s website at:

Action Wisconsin, Center Advocates Receive Big Bucks
For Anti-Amendment Campaign

Madison - Action Wisconsin has announced the receipt major contributions from state and national organizations to the burgeoning campaign against the constitutional ban on civil unions and marriage for gay couples. The Milwaukee-based Brico Fund and the national Human Rights Campaign will contribute a total of $125,000 to Action Wisconsin and Milwaukee-based Center Advocates, two groups that are working in close partnership to defeat the proposed amendment.
  The groups will use the funds to jointly hire a campaign manager and a fund raiser, and build a data system to manage voter Action WIinformation and put together a robust field plan.
  “Brico is a longtime proponent of social justice. Through our grant making, we’re working to drive change that creates a more just and equitable society,” Brico Fund Executive Director Anne Summers said in announcing the grant.
  “Discrimination doesn’t belong in any Constitution and the Human Rights Campaign is committed to helping Wisconsin become one of the first states in the nation to reject a constitutional ban on legal protections for gay couples,” Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said in explaining HRC’s grant decision. “In offering this support, we hope to inspire Wisconsinites to get behind this critical campaign with their time and money early, when it will make a tremendous difference.” The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization, is leveraging Action Wisconsin’s campaign with a challenge gift of $50,000.
  Ross Draegert and Robert Starshak, a Milwaukee couple, have already stepped up to match the joint Human Rights Campaign/Brico grant with a $35,000 contribution to mark the 35 years that they have been together. Action Wisconsin has raised nearly $40,000 toward the match from other Wisconsin donors.
  Seventeen states have passed amendments banning legal protections for gay couples. In 2005 and 2006, several more states will consider similar bans. The Wisconsin amendment is likely to be on the November 2006 statewide ballot, but the Legislature must pass it again first.
  “This new level of support from such a strong state and national, gay and non-gay partnership allows us to formally assemble our campaign and exponentially increase our communication with Wisconsinites about the harms of discrimination against gay couples,” Action Wisconsin Executive Director Christopher Ott said.
  “The support from the Brico Fund will allow us to continue and strengthen the work of educating diverse voters throughout the Greater Milwaukee area,” Center Advocates Director Patrick Flaherty noted. “Already, the contributions have helped us increase gay and non-gay support for our efforts.”
  Action Wisconsin will lead the statewide campaign against the amendment with Center Advocates as a Milwaukee partner. The two groups will work together to assemble the formal campaign and hire a campaign manager. Over the past two years, both groups have been carrying out aggressive voter education programs around the constitutional amendment, including grassroots speakers trainings, door and phone canvassing, lobbying, outreach to faith communities, and building a coalition with non-gay organizations in Wisconsin.
LaCrosse LGBT Center To Co-Sponsor
“Reclaiming Moral Values” Conference

LaCrosse  -The 7 Rivers LGBT Resource Center will co-sponsor “Reclaiming Moral Values: Sexuality, Faith and Politics,” a three-day Philip N. Knutson conference September 23-25 at the Winona State University Tau Conference Center in Winona, MN. The conference will feature a variety of activities and workshops for those wanting to join other people of faith to critically assess 7 Riverscultural- and faith-based assumptions;  learn about the co-opting of value-based principles in the current political climate;  learn how to reframe issues of morality and sexuality toward social justice; learn about various resources and tools needed to work toward equality-based change; and network with other activists, continue the discussion and coordinate action efforts, locally and regionally.  The center is co-sponsoring the event with the Lutheran Campus Center in Winona.
   The conference will feature a series of informational workshops and action-based workshops conducted by, among others, the Rev. Sarah Campbell from Mayflower UCC in Minneapolis; La Crosse attorney Greg Bonney; the Rev. Anita Hill, pastor of the St. Paul Reformation Lutheran Church; Saad Akbar Khan from Action Wisconsin; the Rev. Rachel Mithelman from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Des Moines; the Rev. Jay Weisner from Bethany Lutheran Church in Minneapolis; Rebekah Skoor from the University of San Francisco; the Rev. Nancy Horvath-Zurn from the Healing Spirit Metropolitan Community Church in Rochester; and Minnesota State Rep. Karen Clark. The two leading statewide organizations serving the LGBT community in Minnesota and Wisconsin, OutFront Minnesota and Action Wisconsin, also will be participating.
  The conference will begin Friday, Sept. 23, with registration from 4-6:30 PM, followed by a reception and entertainment by The Buffalo Gals. Saturday’s schedule will get under way with breakfast and a welcome by WSU president-elect Dr. Judith Ramaley, followed by four informational workshops of which conferees can choose two. Lunch will be followed by a legislative panel discussion and then four action-based workshops, of which conferees can choose two. A banquet and special event will conclude Saturday’s events. After breakfast on Sunday, conferees will gather to discuss the “next step” followed by an Interfaith Healing Service. The event will conclude at noon on Sunday.
  The registration fee for adults participating in the conference is $125, which includes Friday night’s reception, entertainment, all meals and workshops. Students will pay $60 to attend the conference. Registrations must be received no later than Friday, September 2, and should be mailed to Tracy Rahim, Tau Conference Center, 511 Hilbert St. Winona, MN 55987. For more information, contact Cindy Killion at 608-687-8294 or visit the 7 Rivers Resource Center website at for a link to the Lutheran Campus Center of Winona’s website for registration forms and information about housing.
  Funding for the conference has been provided by the Philip N. Knutson Foundation, the Winona State University Foundation, the Elizabeth Callender King Foundation, The Lutheran Campus Center of Winona, the Christa Matter Memorial Fund and the LGBT Resource Center for the Seven Rivers Region.

Garden Tour To Benefit New Harvest Foundation
Madison - The New Harvest Foundation, serving the LGBT communities of south central Wisconsin, has announce its 2nd Benefit Garden Tour, to be held Sunday, July 31 from 10 AM to 4 PM. in here. Thirteen exceptional private gardens in the Madison metro New HarvestNHF Flowerarea are being exclusively opened to the public just for this event. The self-guided tour will provide opportunities to speak with the gardeners themselves as they explain their designs, methods, plant selections, materials and strategies. In addition, there will be door prize drawings for the expected 500 participants.
  Co-sponsors for this year’s tour include the Anderson-Thomas Company, The Flower Factory, Gatherings, Johannsen’s Greenhouses & Gifts, Keleny Top Soil, Klein’s Floral & Greenhouses, Solvang Tree Nursery, Stonewall Nursery, and Wild Bird’s Unlimited. Additional support has been provided by Alphagraphics.
  Advance tickets may be purchased for $10 per person at: Savoir Faire (Downtown and Westside), J. Kinney Florist (Downtown), Room of One’s Own (State St. area), Tomboy Girl (Atwood Ave.), and Gatherings (Regent St.). Tickets on the day of tour are $15 per person, available at each garden site. Additional ticket information may be obtained by calling Donna at 608-221-3997, Michael at 608-846-2860 or the New Harvest Foundation at 608-256-4204. Children under age 12 are admitted free of charge.
  For more information about the work of the New Harvest Foundation, visit their website at:

Women’s Canoe & Biking Trip Planned July 29-30

Tomah - Women in Nature(WIN),  a Madison area-based group that sponsors monthly outdoor activities has planned an outing in the Tomah-Sparta area for the weekend of July 29-30. The group plans to camp Friday and Saturday nights at Doe Farm near Tomah, hold a canoe trip on the  Kickapoo River on Saturday, and go biking on the Elroy-Sparta trail on Sunday. The canoe trip will last about 3 hours on  the upper Kickapoo starting in Ontario.
  For more information or to sign up for the weekend’s events, interested women should contact Kris Gallagher via email at: Gallagher is coordinating canoe reservations for the Saturday trip.

Congresswoman Gwen Moore Canvasses
With Milwaukee’s No On Amendment Coalition

Milwaukee - Congresswoman Gwen Moore joined more than fifty volunteers of the Milwaukee No on the Amendment Coalition to go door-to-door  Sunday, July 10, in Metro Milwaukee neighborhoods to educate voters about the harm of a proposed Gwen Mooreconstitutional ban on civil unions and gay marriage.
   The No on the Amendment Coalition volunteers met at Plymouth United Church of Christ at 1 PM. After a brief training and motivational comments from the Moore, volunteers went door to door in several neighborhoods, including Whitefish Bay, Shorewood, and Brewer’s Hill.
  The No on the Amendment Coalition, sponsored by Center Advocates, a Milwaukee equal rights organization, includes civic organizations and local businesses, as well as an active faith caucus with nearly three-dozen ministers and rabbis. The group is educating voters about how far the amendment goes to ban even civil unions and domestic partner health insurance for public employees. The amendment would also bar gay and lesbian couples from ever receiving legal protections like making emergency medical decisions for each other, sharing company health benefits, inheriting the family home, or even the right to be buried next to their partner.
   “No matter where we go, when our volunteers get to tell voters how far the amendment goes and how it hurts real people in our communities, support for the amendment falls away,” said Center Advocates Director Patrick Flaherty. “Wisconsites don’t support discrimination,” Flaherty said.

Madison’s Sol Kelley-Jones To Receive National Leadership Award
Washington, D.C. - Two D.C.-based national organizations have announced that Sol Kelley-Jones will be honored for her SolSol & COLAGEcontributions to LGBT families during Family Pride’s 10th annual Family Week being held in Provincetown, MA July 30-August 6.
  Kelley-Jones will receive the fifth annual Fisher Davenport Award for Outstanding Contributions to Our Families, named in honor of Family Week founders Tim Fisher and Scott Davenport and presented by Family Pride Coalition and Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE) groups.
  Kelley-Jones, an 18-year-old activist from Madison, is the daughter of lesbian moms. At the age of 10, she testified before the Wisconsin State Legislature on the issue of marriage equality. Since then, she has continued her work for equality by speaking before state legislators, city council members and the Madison Metropolitan School Board on a range of issues, from second-parent adoption to benefits for domestic partners. She became a charter member of the national board of COLAGE at 11, and founded the Madison chapter.
  “We are thrilled to be honoring Sol,” Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Pride Coalition said. “She exemplifies how one individual truly can fundamentally change the world for the better. Her voice and commitment shows how real families and real facts can sway public debate. Family Pride applauds Sol’s activism and hard work.”
  “COLAGE is very proud to join Family Pride Coalition in honoring Sol Kelley-Jones with the 2005 Fisher Davenport Award,” Beth Teper, executive director of COLAGE added. “Reflecting the energy and warmth of her name, Sol is an inspirational leader for the millions of us who have one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender parents, as well as for anyone seeking to bring about peace and justice. COLAGE celebrates Sol as she continues to blaze a trail for human rights with a torch of love, honesty and hope.”
  “I am deeply honored to be receiving the Fisher Davenport Award from Family Pride and COLAGE,” Kelley-Jones said. “I love the queer family community, our freedom from gender restrictions, our great passion for justice and equality for all, and our courage to live life honestly, even when it is scary. For millions of young people like me, queer culture is our home. We thank our parents for the gift of this beautiful and liberating world. As I’ve grown up, I’ve also seen LGBT families denied basic civil rights. Too often people in political power stand against the door of justice, trying as hard as they can to keep it shut,” she said. “In my life, I’ve committed to showing them who is behind that door. It’s nobody scary. It is young people like me and beautiful families like each of ours.”
  Kelley-Jones has also created numerous education programs, including a multicultural education program to teach students about LGBT people and families; a diversity and anti-harassment campaign and teacher in-service trainings. In 2000, she founded Proud Theater, an award-winning, queer-themed youth theater troupe. That same year, she also spoke from the main stage of the Millennium March on Washington, the fourth national LGBT civil rights march.
  For her work, Kelley-Jones has been honored by the Wisconsin ACLU, Pridefest Milwaukee, GLSEN, Teen People Magazine, Rainbow Families of Wisconsin, the Madison Metropolitan School District and the Rotary Club of Madison.
  Family Week activities include workshops and social activities for parents and their children. The Family Pride Coalition has again invited COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere) to offer social and educational programming for youth nine years and older. Some of the additional adventures include whale-watching tours, barbecues, beach parties, a family parade and a family dance. Advance registration for both events is $150 per family. On-site registration will be $175.  Registration forms are available online at or by calling 202-331-5015.

Action Wisconsin, Center Advocates Fill July With Voter Education Events
Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay - Talking to voters, person-to-person, on the phone or on their doorstep are  powerful tools in the campaign to defeat the constitutional ban on civil unions and marriage. Action Wisconsin and Center Advocates have filled their July calendars with such events
  In Madison, Action Wisconsin is conducting phone canvasses weekly on Sunday evenings from 5:30-9 PM Volunteers are needed to help AW identify allied voters and fill legislators’ voice mails with messages from constituents opposed to the ban. Pizza  and beverages are being provided as the phone banks are held over the dinner hour. Volunteers are asked to Justin via email at:at or or by phone at 608-441-0143,  Ext.306.
  In Milwaukee, in addition to the July 10 canvassing featuring Rep. Gwen Moore (see separate story), Center Advocates is conducting its Equality Knocks Phone Canvass every other Thursday from 5:30-8:30 PM at the SEIU Call Center. The next phone bank will be held Thursday, July 28. More volunteers are needed to identify voters who support equality and oppose the constitutional ban on civil unions and gay marriage. To get involved, please contact Pabitra Benjamin by phone  at 414-271-2656, Ext.119 or by email at:
  Green Bay  will see its first-ever door-to-door canvass on Saturday, July 30 from 8:30 AM-Noon. The Action Wisconsin and Green Bay Action Network cosponsored event will seek to make sure the strongest allies are on AW’s list. A pizza lunch will be provided. To join the canvass, contact Saad Akbar Khan by email at:, or by phone at 608-441-0143,Ext.307.

Project Q Sponsors Six Flag Gay Day Outing
Milwaukee -  Project Q, the Milwaukee LGBT Center’s youth group is sponsoring a bus trip to Six Flags Great America for the Gay Day planned there Wednesday, July 27.  Take the Project Q bus to Six Flags in Illinois for a fun filled gay day of rollercoasters, games and the park’s all-new water park. The trip is cosponsored by the MATC Rainbow group and other area college groups. 
  Reservations must be made with Project Q to guarantee seating and tickets for the event.  Youth tickets which include transportation are $25.  The Youth ticket is for those is 24 & Under.  Adult Tickets for this event are  $35. To register please contact Kurt Dyer by phone at 414-271-2656, Ext. 120 or by email at:

Lesbian Picnic And Dinner Cruise Set
Milwaukee - The Annual Lesbian Picnic will be held Sunday, July 24, from Noon-5 PM at the  Lake Park Area #3 here. The event, sponsored by the Lesbian Alliance of Metro Milwaukee is an opportunity to enjoy music, food, and a a game of softball or two. Picnic tradition is for attendees to bring their own edibles, while LAMM brings the grills.
On Friday, July 29, LAMM will sponsor 6:30 PM dinner cruise aboard the Princess Cruise Lines. This event is open to everyone. Join LAMM as they take on Lake Michigan and hang long enough for the fireworks.  There will be music and an awards presentation. Tickets are $75 each. Visit the LAMM website at: or call 414-272-9442 for more information.

“Geography Club” Author To Speak Twice In Northeast Wisconsin

Appleton, Green Bay - Brent Hartinger, author of the popular teen novel The Geography Club & his partner Michael Jensen will promote their books and talk about their lives as authors & as a gay couple in a long-term relationship at two programs to be held at Harmony Cafe in Appleton and at Positive Voice’s office in Green Bay July 23.
   Brent writes for a teen audience. The Geography Club has been a huge hit with the high school crowd and it has proven popular with both gay and straight kids. In addition to his Geography Club best seller, Hartinger has written several other books including Last Chance Texaco and the recently published Order of the Poison Oak.
  Michael Jensen, Brent’s partner of 13 years, is the author of two gay historical novels, Frontiers and Firelands.
Brent & Michael will appear in Appleton at Harmony Cafe, 124 N. Oneida St., from 2:30-3:30pm.  Their program will repeat in Green Bay at the Positive Voice office, 618 Stuart St., from 6-7 PM.  Copies of all of their books will be available for sale at both locations.
  Both programs are being cosponsored by The Lavender Salon, Harmony Cafe, Positive Voice, Fox Cities PFLAG, and The Reader’s Loft of DePere. Both sites will have free refreshments compliments of Fox Cities PFLAG. For more information contact Michael Nitz at:

Harbor Room Celebrates Fifth Anniversary July 22-23

Milwaukee - The Harbor Room, a leather community favorite, will celebrate its 5th anniversary here Friday and Saturday July 22-23. Highlighting the weekend’s events will be the selection of the new Mr. Harbor Room for 2005. The bar title show will begin at 11 PM on Saturday. Among the judges for the contest will be Quest publisher Mark Mariucci. Drink and other specials throughout the weekend will keep patrons and contest goers in a festive mood. For more information about the anniversary, visit the Harbor Room website at: or call 414-672-7988.

Correction: In the June 23 issue of Quest, it was reported that, according to Wisconsin Gay News, Neil Albrecht was appointed as Deputy Director of the Milwaukee Elections Commission. Albrecht informed Quest News Editor Mike Fitzpatrick in a July 11 email that he was hired for the position, not appointed, a difference which is “very significant within the walls of City Hall.”

Top of Page  Quest Home  QNU Home