By Robyn Ochs and Katrina Chaves
In the last issue of Bi Women, we reported on a record number of out bisexual elected officials, as well as the first out pansexual representative. Turns out, there is one more: Representative Joanna Cole (D-Chittenden-6-1).
Calling it “immoral and unnecessary,” Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas J. Tobin is urging state lawmakers to reject the latest proposal to legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island. Now that the bill has passed the House of Representatives, activists are working to ensure that the bill passes in the Senate. A coalition of progressive, political and religious leaders have announced the formation of Rhode Islanders United for Marriage. “In the coming months, Rhode Islanders United for Marriage will run a campaign unlike any our state has seen before,” said Ray Sullivan, executive director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island. For more info, go to: www.riunitedformarriage.org.
As the nation works its way through the debate over vouchers and other alternatives to traditional public education funding, another battle over homosexuality, religious education and school tax funds has been controversial in Georgia. The debate exists over a popular tax credit program that transforms state money into private school scholarships, some of them used at religious-based schools that prohibit gay, lesbian or bisexual students from attending. The policies at more than 100 such schools are explicit. Public money is being spent by private educational institutions that “punish, denounce and even demonize students in the name of religion solely because they are gay, state that they are homosexual, happen to have same-sex parents or guardians, or express support or tolerance for gay students at school, away from school or at home.”
For the first time, leaders from local, regional, and national bi organizations held a Bisexual Leadership Retreat at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change conference in Atlanta to discuss issues important to the bi rights movement. BLR attendees set out plans for quarterly conference calls and an annual face-to-face meeting at which representatives from national, regional, and local organizations can convene to continue the work. Working groups were established in fundraising strategies, political outreach, people of color and trans community networking, social media skill-building, media and public education, BLR governance, and a national needs assessment project. (See also Faith Cheltenham’s article on page 13.)