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National News
Section One
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National News

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

Gays picket Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral
Around 100 Gays and Lesbians picketed Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral on Valentine's Day.

Members of the Gay Liberation Network protested the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to same-sex marriage and its hostility to LGBT people in general.

They chanted, 'Holy Name, holy shame!'

'Most present-day Gay leaders ... have taken a pass on highlighting and demonstrating against religious leaders' opposition to our equality,' said GLN's Andy Thayer. 'In doing so, they ignore the lessons of how we have won LGBT victories in the past, and why we suffered critical defeats like California's Proposition 8 and Maine's Question 1.'

Thayer said past LGBT wins against people such as Anita Bryant and Dr. Laura Schlessinger involved "relentlessly pounding them for their anti-Gay bigotry, quoting their hateful statements, labeling them as vile bigots, and thus 'peeling off' their soft supporters."

"In contrast," he said, "when anti-Gay campaigners, including Catholic leaders, successfully promoted Proposition 8 and Question 1, they took the battle to us, relentlessly labeling us as child molesters in a manner very reminiscent of Anita Bryant. And we remained punching bags. Our 'leaders' didn't strike back, labeling the anti-Gay leaders as bigots and haters. And we lost."

The Catholic Church teaches its members that Gay sex is a mortal sin.

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said Chicago churchgoers have no ability to alter Vatican teaching.

Fresno Gays protest at county clerk's office
Same-sex couples protested at the county clerk's office in Fresno, Calif., on Valentine's Day, requesting marriage licenses, which were denied.

Same-sex marriage was legal in California for 4 1/2 months in 2008 until voters amended the state constitution to re-ban it.

"We're very much in love and we would like to make it legal for everybody to know," Jason Garrigus, who applied to marry David Zandt, told County Clerk Victor Salazar.

Salazar explained the constitutional amendment, Proposition 8, to the couple and said, "We are not able to assist you."

Dozens of opposite-sex couples got married on Valentine's Day at the Fresno office.

Gays arrested at NYC marriage license bureau
Four members of a new ACT UP-like group known as Queer Rising were arrested in Manhattan on February 12 after chaining themselves to the entrance of the New York City Marriage Bureau.

Alan Bounville, Jake Goodman, Justin Elzie and Gabriel Yuri Bollag sought equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Dozens of Gay marriage supporters cheered them on.

Twenty same-sex couples went inside and tried to obtain marriage licenses. They were rebuffed.

A Gay man and a Lesbian then presented themselves as a faux couple, asked for a license and were given one.

"New York City is home to the Stonewall Riots and in that tradition we are here to say that equality doesn't arrive through the ballot box," said Queer Rising spokesperson Spring Super.

"The bankrupt strategy of putting all efforts into electing so-called friendly officials has failed," Super said. "We must shift to building a grassroots, national movement that demands full equality by any means necessary."

The four activists were charged with obstructing government administration and disorderly conduct. On February 20, they agreed to "adjournment contemplating dismissal," which will occur in six months if they are not arrested again before then.

"As long as the state of New York maintains a policy which codifies that the love between two men or two women is inferior to the love between a man and a woman, these actions will continue," said the activists' lawyer, Ted Bohn.

"This was only the beginning," he said. "We are grateful, however, to [New York County District Attorney] Cy Vance for recognizing that those arrested in furtherance of civil rights should not be treated like criminals."

New York state recognizes same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions but does not allow them itself.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. It also is legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Sweden, and in Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province. It will become legal in Washington, D.C., in March and in Portugal later this year.

Same-sex couples were able to marry in California for 4 1/2 months in 2008 until voters amended the state constitution to put a stop to it.

Maine legalized same-sex marriage in 2009 but voters repealed the new law before it took effect.

With assistance from Bill Kelley

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picture top: New York City
bottom: Chicago Catholic protest
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