National & World News
Michigan High Court Rules Against Gay Benefit
The Michigan Supreme Court ruled recently that gay public employees are not entitled to health care and other benefits for their partners. The state’s highest court, in a 5-2 decision, said the denial of benefits to same-sex partners of public employees was covered by a 2004 amendment to the state constitution that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman, the Detroit Free Press reported. The court stated that language in the amendment prohibiting recognition of other unions “for any purpose” includes providing benefits to gay and lesbian partners of those who work for public employers. Ave Maria Law School Professor Patrick Gillen, who cowrote the amendment, called the decision “a vindication of the will of people in enacting the marriage amendment.” However, Jessie Olson, an attorney for those seeking the benefits extension, called it a setback for civil rights: “We are the worst of the worst of the worst when it comes to civil rights for same sex couples.” He warned that appealing to federal court carried the risk of affecting all states if proponents lose. “The only alternative may be just leaving,” he told the Free Press, “joining the exodus of people who are just getting out of Michigan.”
Gay Couple Named Yale Dorm Masters
An openly gay faculty couple has been named dormitory masters at Yale University, a first for the Ivy League school, school officials say. Richard Lalli, an Adjunct Music Professor, is set to become the Residential Master of Yale’s Jonathan Edwards College, while his partner, Yale University Health Services Medical Director Michael Rigsby, was named the college’s Assistant Residential Master. It is the first time in the university’s history that an openly gay faculty member has been named a residential master. Yale is made up of 12 residential colleges. The Residential Master’s job is to coordinate the college’s social events, meet with parents, organize intramural sports teams, and provide counseling to students. Yale follows Harvard University in having an openly gay couple in a high-profile dorm master role, according to The Hartford Courant.
Gay Students Claim Principal Outed Them
Students at a Memphis high school stated that their principal outed several gay students when she compiled a list of couples at the school, and posted it publicly. The students claim Principal Daphne Beasley of Hollis F. Price Middle College High School made a list of all couples at the school, homosexual and heterosexual alike, after receiving complaints about public displays of affection in school hallways, ABC News reported. “I really feel that my personal privacy was invaded,” a student who gave his first name as Nicholas said. He held that his sexual orientation was exposed when the principal’s list revealed him to be in a relationship with another male student. He insisted that Beasley invaded his privacy. “I mean, Principal Beasley called my mother, and outed me to my mother!” he remarked. The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened legal action against the school. “I really couldn’t believe that a principal would have done something like this,” according to Christine Sun, an ACLU attorney handling the case. “The Constitution provides all of us with the right to privacy, and the right to associate with whomever we want to associate with. And by creating this list, and intruding upon these students’ privacy without any reason to, she violated their constitutional rights.”
Guilty Verdict in Royal Blackmail Case
Two men were sentenced to five years in prison for attempting to blackmail a member of the British royal family with a videotape that alleged he is gay. Ian Strachan and Sean McGuigan were convicted of demanding money with menaces, the BBC reported. Prosecutors said the defendants demanded 50,000 pounds ($100,000) from their unnamed victim after trying to sell the videotape to tabloid newspapers. The judge, who described the victim as “particularly susceptible,” said the crime demanded a prison term. “Although they claimed to be acting in the interests of the victim, the jury rejected this story, and agreed with the prosecution that they were simply interested in the money,” Mark Carroll of the Crown Prosecution Service stated after the verdict. Strachan and McGuigan were arrested after meeting with a police officer posing as a representative of the victim.
© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.