Gay and Lesbian Update

This monthly column features news and issues affecting gays and lesbians in Canada and around the world. Look for it on the second week of each month, only in The Voice.

On June 1, 2005, Lynn Warren and Alex Ali of The Amazing Race 7 fame were married in Ottawa. They were invited to the Capital by local radio station HOT 89.9 FM. Following the announcement, local sponsors such as Ottawa Tourism and the Hudson’s Bay Company jumped on board to sponsor the event. Warren and Ali were appreciative of the Capital’s celebration of their love, and highly recommended it as a wedding destination. Tourism officials hailed it as advertising you couldn’t buy.

Pat O’Brien, MP for London-Fanshawe, has left the Liberal Party over his opposition to same-sex marriage. reported that Prime Minister Paul Martin met with several dissident MPs over the issue so that they would vote for bill C-38. However, many wanted further strengthening of protection for those who do not wish to perform same-sex marriages, and no deal was reached. O’Brien plans to do everything he can to oppose bill C-38.

Jason Perrino and Colin Snow wish to be married in the Northwest Territories, so they have filed a law suit to gain this right. None of the governments are opposing the suit against the government, however, it has been delayed to allow Ruby and Laurin Trudel of Yellowknife to intervene in the case. The couple wishes to oppose same-sex marriage and feel this is their moment to speak up.

A conservative Christian group has ended its 9-year boycott against Disney. The boycott by the American Family Association had limited to no impact, and the group feels they need to devote more resources to it if it’s to continue. They feel the situation will be better resolved with Disney President Michael Eisner’s retirement.

Microsoft has severed ties with Ralph Reed, a conservative Republican lobbyist and former head of a notable Christian organization. He served as a political consultant to Microsoft, and was a vocal opponent of LGBT rights. He’s now running for lieutenant governor of Georgia, but Microsoft had a public relations nightmare after it withdrew its support for a Washington civil rights bill. The bill lost by a single vote thanks to Microsoft’s anti-gay views. Microsoft later reversed itself to say it did support civil rights.

Gay weddings have come to TV. Last week Global TV launched My Fabulous Gay Wedding, hosted by Scott Thompson, former star of The Kids in the Hall. In the series, the team Thompson puts together has two weeks to arrange a wedding, with food, location, decor and the whole nine yards. Producers expect controversy over the show, but for now, couples can happily celebrate their nuptials on national TV… in Canada.

New Paltz, New York Mayor, Jason West, is going to trial. He faces 24 misdemeanour counts for violating the state’s law on domestic relations by marrying couples without a marriage license last February 2004. The state’s highest court ruled Friday, May 27 that the village mayor will go to trial. His actions came after San Francisco started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite the fact that it is not legal in California. Mayor West will be leading the upcoming Gay Pride parade, New Paltz’s first, this weekend.

Colorado’s Governor Bill Owens vetoed a bill to outlaw workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians, but he allowed a protection under the state’s hate crimes law to protect gays and lesbians. Many groups are confused by this contradictory decision.

Quote of the Month

“A straight man knows that if he knocks a woman up, he’s on the hook for child support payments for 18 years. [I propose that if you] infect someone with HIV out of malice or negligence … the state [should] come after you for half the cost of the meds the person you infected is going to need. (The man you infected is 50 percent responsible for his own infection.) Once a few dozen men in New York City, San Francisco, Toronto, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Vancouver are having their wages docked for drug support payments, other gay men will be a lot more careful about not spreading HIV. Trojan won’t be able to make condoms fast enough.”

— Syndicated gay columnist Dan Savage, Feb. 24.