better than Sunday's
on Washington to
celebrate the victory won in Vermont,
Garcia. The Texas
What do you call
a woman who is
an actress, stand-
novelist, recording artist, feminist, gay and a
single mom? We
call her Sandra
she's coming to
ALL THE NEWS FOR YOUR LIFE. AND YOUR STYLE.
APRIL 28, 2000
The Boy Scouts of America
says it has the right to pick the
'moral leaders' for its troops,
even if that means banning
gay Scouts like James Dale,
whose case reached the U.S.
Supreme Court on Wednesday.
More than two-dozen gay
Grammys were doled out to gay
artists Monday—including lesbian singer Meshell Ndgeocello—
during ceremonies that called
attention to the growing
influence of queer-tinged music.
In what could possibly be his
last opera, composer Carlisle
Floyd and his 'Cold Sassy Tree'
continue at the Houston Grand
Opera in what our reviewer says
is a melody that's lost its way.
Vermont legislature approves historic 'civil unions'
bill and state's governor quickly signs it into law
by LAURA BROWN
A bill to recognize same-sex "civil unions"
won final passage in the Vermont legislature
Tuesday and received Gov. Howard Dean's
signature a day later, bringing with it the creation of a new verb: "to C.U."
"We're going to get C.U.'ed," said a
beaming Stacy Jolles moments after the
House gave its final approval to the measure. "I've already asked Nina to C.U. me."
Jolles was referring to her partner of
nearly a decade, Nina Beck, who cradled
the couple's 5-month-old son Seth as the
two women hugged friends and posed for
pictures following the vote.
The partners were one of the three same-
sex couples who filed suit in July 1997 seeking the right to marry. That suit led to the
Vermont Supreme Court's December ruling
that called on the Legislature to find a way
to extend all the rights and privileges of
marriage to same-sex couples.
While the term "C.U." doesn't roll off the
tongue quite as easily as the word "marriage," Jolles' comments left little doubt as
to what she meant.
They and other gay and lesbian couples
are already planning their visit to their
respective town clerk's office after the bill
goes into effect July 1.
"I think we were actually quite disappointed in December that the Supreme
Court didn't go for full marriage, but I
think since then we have come to really
respect the civil union thing and what it
represents - what a huge step forward it is
for all of us," said Stan Baker.
Dean's signature on the bill
Wednesday—making Vermont the first
state to offer gay couples almost all of the
same benefits as married heterosexuals
under state law—came less than two hours
after it reached his desk.
By the time of a 2 p.m. news conference,
he already had signed it far out of view of
television cameras, photographers and
reporters. Dean signed the bill privately
because he did not want the ceremony to be
a triumphal party by supporters of the law.
Instead, he said, it was time for the state to
"This is history. This is thrilling. This is
the dawn of a new era of support and protection for the families of lesbian and gay
couples and their children," said Gary
Buseck, executive director of Gay & Lesbian
Advocates & Defenders.
During the Vermont House debate this
week, a Republican representative made
one last attempt to kill the bill by proposing to delay the vote until after the
Bobbi Whitacre (left) is hogged by partner
Sondi Cote alter the Vermont House gave final
passage to the civil unions bill on Tuesday.
Gov. Howard Dean signed the measure into
law a day later.
But the effort failed, and on Tuesday, the
Vermont House passed the Senate version
of the bill by a margin of 79-68, three votes
more than it earned on first passage.
*- Continued on Page 10
Organizing gay educators
A veteran Houston teacher wants other gay and gay-friendly educators to help
start a local chapter of a national gay educators group to better conditions for
gay employees, students
by KAY DAYUS
A Houston chapter of a national group is
in the process of organizing to help stem
harassment and violence against gay and
lesbian students and educators in metro
The new chapter of the New York-based
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education
Network (GLSEN) will help to bring together educators, parents and students to assure
that "that each member of every school
community is valued and respected, regardless of sexual orientation," organizers said.
Kathleen Murray, a veteran teacher in the
Houston Independent School District, is
spearheading the effort to bring a GLSEN
chapter to Houston. While researching a
book last year in the Internet, Murray was
surprised by what she found about hate
crimes, something that propelled her to take
"It was a wakeup call for me," said
Murray, a teacher for 11 years. "The exclusion of protection is an injustice against the
Murray also discovered information
"I checked it out and found there was no
chapter in Houston and the closest one was
in Dallas. I thought, "There's something
wrong with this picture.' There is a critical
need for GLSEN. So many of our children
are falling into the cracks," she said.
Murray hopes the new chapter will be the
impetus for change in metro school systems, including HISD, which has a spotty
history when it comes to gay and lesbian
"We need counseling and intervention
and the focus needs to be on the student.
How much learning can go on if you don't
feel safe where you are?" Murray said.
A 10-year-old group, GLSEN began fighting anti-gay discrimination in Boston
schools in 1990 and evolved into a national
>* Continued on Page 12