Quest News Volume 12 No.
13 July 21, 2005
& written by Mike Fitzpatrick
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. “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
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
Concerns Spur People of Faith
To Oppose Wisconsin’s Civil
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 beginning
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
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
“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:
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
The measure by Assemblyman Mark Leno, one of six openly gay
members of the Legislature, would make the state’s marriage laws gender-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
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 sheriff’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
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
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
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.
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 good
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.
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 broke the
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
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.”
Central Wisconsin Pride 2005 Set For August
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 site 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
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
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: www.centralwisconsinpride.com.
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 information
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
“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
“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 cultural- 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
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
www.7riverslgbt.org 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 area 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
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: www.newharvestfoundation.org
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:
email@example.com. Gallagher is coordinating canoe reservations
for the Saturday trip.
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 constitutional
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
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.
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 contributions
to LGBT families during Family
Pride’s 10th annual Family Week being held in Provincetown, MA July
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
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
“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
www.familypride.org or by calling 202-331-5015.
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or or by phone at 608-441-0143,
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: email@example.com,
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
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
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:
www.lesbianalliance.org 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
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: www.harbor-room.com 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
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