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Pride Film Fest Co-Director on Upcoming Scheduled Pride Events

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The 11th Annual Bloomington Pride Film Festival takes place tonight, Saturday, and Sunday at the Buskirk Chumley Theater. Its films will explore a wide variety of issues and situations involving gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities. The weekend-long festival also includes live performances, a dance party, and a mass LGBTQ wedding. Correspondent Lauren Glapa spoke with co-director Sarah Perfetti about the festival for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

HJR-3 Advances Through The Indiana House

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This morning the Indiana House of Representatives adopted the committee report from yesterday’s Elections and Apportionment Committee meeting, during which House Joint Resolution 3 passed, 9 to 3.

The proposed amendment to the Indiana constitution, which explicitly states that same sex couples do not have the right to get married, may now continue through the legislative process, and is expected to have a second reading before the House on Monday.

District 61 Representative Matt Pierce spoke on the floor today during the adoption, warning that the unprecedented process in which the bill came to the house floor would set a precedent for future speakers of the house to rearrange the legislative process to get the outcome they are looking for, just as House Speaker Brian Bosma reassigned HJR-3 once it fell short in the Judiciary committee.

“I made the argument that what the speaker had done was unprecedented,” Pierce said, “It was like a golfer taking a mulligan when they get their resolution stuck in the sand trap. It created a system where you can just have a do-over until you get the result you want. What the speaker did that was so unique is that he actually had a bill in a judiciary committee, the public testimony was taken, the committee had been educated on the issue, they were at the point where a vote could be taken and they obviously delayed it because they knew it wasn’t going to come out the way they wanted it to. For the speaker to then take the bill away from the judiciary committee and put it into elections, where clearly he had counted his votes to know he’d get a good reaction, is what is unprecedented. I ask for the members in the house to reject the committee report to essentially say we don’t want to set the precedent of having these mulligans going on every time we have a controversial bill. It did not work.”

House Representative and Elections and Apportionment committee member Woody Burton, District 58 is quoted in the Indianapolis Star acknowledging that there is a divide between the younger and older Republican members of the house and their views towards marriage equality, but a sister bill introduced this month may be a way of modifying the original bill to retain the vote of the more tolerant Republicans.

House Bill 1153 explains away a sentence regarding civil unions in the original resolution without actually making changes that would force the process back to square one, because the amendment can only be sent to a referendum if it is passed twice with the exact same language by two different assemblies.

Pierce says the companion bill brought additional challenges, rather than solutions.

“That bill actually catalogued all the potential unintentional consequences of that amendment,” Pierce said, “I think they thought that by listing them, that would be kind of like a lifeboat that a lot of republicans could put themselves in and feel safe enough to go ahead and vote for the amendment as is. What I think what happened instead is that after they heard from some legal experts explaining how it was unprecedented, that backfired and caused some members of the judiciary committee to decide they wouldn’t vote for it.”

Similar bills in nearby states have been ruled unconstitutional–most recently a federal judge in Ohio ruled their gay marriage ban as such.

Pierce says that when issues of discrimination and legality come up, proponents of HJR-3 claim that the decision is not theirs to make.

“Oftentimes issues come up asking is this bill constitutional?” Pierce said, “The truth of the matter is that since it’s a joint resolution amending the constitution, it automatically becomes constitutional once it becomes part of the constitution. The real issue is whether or not it’s unconstitutional under the federal constitution. The attitude of most members when that comes up is that they can come up with their own ideas of what’s constitutional or not, and that I will decide what’s the best policy and it’s the job of the court to decide whether the ruling is unconstitutional.”

When HJR-3 is brought to the House Floor, most likely on Monday, any Representative can offer amendments to the bill.  Amendments must have a majority of favorable votes to become adopted but with Republicans holding a super majority it is unlikely that any amendment offered by a democratic representative would pass.

Additionally, if HJR-3 is made too dissimilar to 2011’s HJR-6, it would not qualify for referendum this year. Pierce says the democrats are working on their strategy over the weekend, and have until two hours prior to the House Chamber meeting to offer amendments to be read on the house floor on Monday.

Bloomington City Council Passes Resolution Supporting Same-Sex Marriage in Response to HJR6

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The Bloomington City Council passed a resolution in support of same-sex marriage yesterday. The four-page resolution was a response to House Joint Resolution 6, which seeks to add a same-sex marriage ban to the Indiana Constitution. One of the resolution’s sponsors, Council Member Susan Sandberg, defended the council’s choice to take a position on the issue.

“This is the right thing to do at the right time in our history,” Sandberg said, “I stand up proudly for it and I will take any criticism from the media. We have plenty of time to take care of the ‘traditional’ city business but when it comes to resolutions, this council has always taken stands that people say are not in our jurisdiction, we take these opportunities to allow these to serve as public forums.”

11 members of the public spoke in favor of the resolution.

Faith Hawkins, a citizen, said she married her partner in 1996, but the marriage is not legally recognized. Hawkins declared that her reason for support is that she doesn’t want to be at the hospital not being able to find out her partner’s medical status because her next of kin relationship with her is not recognized.

Another member of the public, Glorianne Leck, said she and her partner traveled to New York to get married earlier this year. She said there were financial reasons for the marriage. She wants for her partner to be able to collect her social security but that the cost of the trip should have gone to regular wedding costs.

“I have long said that being queer is what I’m most proud of because I’m not conforming for anybody,” Leck said, “But now I’ve been hogtied into marriage because of the financial need we have as elders.”

Charlotte Zietlow also addressed the council. Zietlow is a member of the city’s Board of Public Works, and she served on the City Council in 1975, when the council voted to include sexual orientation in the city’s Human Rights Ordinance. She said the provision came up for discussion again during the 1990’s.

“I’m touched because those meetings were very conentious and hate-filled,” Zietlow said, “Tonight we have a group speaking from the heart without fear of being yelled at by other members of the community. That is such an incredible sign of progress we should be proud of.”

No one spoke against the resolution, and the council approved it unanimously.

IU Cinema Hosts Free Film Program Dedicated to Queer Media Artists of Color

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To celebrate National Coming Out Day October 11, the Black Film Center Archive of Indiana University, several IU departments, and Bloomington PRIDE will co-sponsor a free film program at the IU Cinema.

Brian Graney, archivist at the Black Film Center, talks about the program, called “Exploding Lineage! Queer of Color Histories in Experimental Media.”

“The film is a curated program of 14 experimental short films,” Graney says, “It was curated by through the organization Queer Rebels Productions, which was established to showcase the works of queer artists of color.”

National Coming Out Day is an international celebration and observance of individuals who publicly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. Tomorrow’s film program curators, KB Boyce and Celeste Chan, will attend to introduce the program, and follow it with a question and answer session.

“Exploding Lineage!” starts October 11 at 6:30 pm.

City Council Members Sponsor Resolution To Provide A Local Response On Statewide Marriage Equality

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Tuesday, local residents will be given an opportunity to participate in a debate on marriage equality.

Bloomington City Council Member Susan Sandberg is sponsoring a resolution, along with Council Members Darryl Neher and Tim Mayer as co-sponsors, supporting marriage equality.

This motion is designed to provide a local response to state legislators’ efforts to include a clause in the state constitution to limit marriage to be between one man and one woman.

Supporters of this effort, which will be presented to state voters during the next voting cycle, say the intent is to outlaw same-sex marriage.

The sponsors of the local resolution have invited the public, along with LBGT leaders and community and business organizations, to discuss how the codification of discrimination in our State Constitution will impact the state economically.

The council meeting will begin at 6 pm in the City Council Chambers in the Showers Building on Morton Street in downtown Bloomington.

The final vote on the local resolution is expected to be presented to the full Bloomington Council by the end of the year.

IU GLBT Alumni Association Launches Groundbreaking Scholarship Campaign Helping The LGBT Student Community

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The Indiana University Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Alumni Association has launched the nation’s first-ever scholarship campaign devoted to assisting GLBT students and promoting leadership on GLBT concerns.

According to Doug Bauder, coordinator at the IU GLBT Student Support Services Office, the GLBT Alumni Association organized this dual scholarship.

One of the scholarships aims to help GLBT students who are cut off financially after coming out about their sexual orientation.

“If they choose to share that with their parents, and on occasion, these folks have lost support, financially,” Bauder says, “I became aware of that when students would share that with me and as I met with people in the alumni association, we came up with ways to provide them some scholarship money.”

Bauder says the campaign has been under development for over a decade, and that IU leading the way is no surprise.

“There’s been an appreciation of issues of sexual diversity since the days of Alfred Kinsey,” Bauder says, “There’s a tradition and a history of this community and this campus of understanding that not everyone is heterosexual. There are unique problems gay students face and this office opened 20 years ago to offer information and support to gay students. From the very first year our office was open, we’ve had alumni say they wish it had been open when they were in school in the 50’s or 60’s or 70’s.”

Full or part-time students enrolled at any IU campus may apply for the scholarships, which are awarded based on involvement in activities promoting diversity and raising awareness of GLBT issues.

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