in the news/7
Volume 19/Issue 8/2001

LA Bill Would Ban
Domestic Partner Benefits

According to a report written by Ed Anderson in the Times Picayune, a Livingston Parish lawmaker has filed legislation that would prevent the state from recognizing "domestic partnerships or similar relationships" between same-sex couples, a measure that a Gay-rights lawyer branded as an attack on the lifestyle of Lesbians and Gay men.

Sen. Heulette "Clo" Fontenot, R-Livingston, filed Senate Bill 232. It says that a domestic partnership between a Gay couple "violates a strong public policy of the state...because it extends the rights and privileges of marriage to these relationships." The bill says any such domestic partnership that is "contracted, created and regulated in another state shall not be recognized in this state for the purpose" of asserting the right or claim provided by state law to a heterosexual married couple.

Fontenot said he does not want to see state taxpayer money used to finance public employees' insurance programs that would cover Gay couples.

"It is more an issue of dollars and cents, and some moral groups are behind this" Fontenot said, declining to elaborate.

The state has already adopted a ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed and recognized in other states. Fontenot's bill would extend that to Gay and Lesbian couples who live together and are not married.

"This is a mean-spirited, anti-Gay measure," said New Orleans Gay-rights lawyer John Rawls.

"This slaps Gays and Lesbians in the face. It is nothing more than an attempt by a rural legislator to grab headlines at the expense of Gay and Lesbians."

Rawls hinted that if the bill becomes law, it will be challenged in court. "It is a violation of the federal compact among the states," he said. "It clearly violates the Louisiana Constitution on several grounds: discrimination against Lesbians and Gay men based on their sex, their physical condition, their birth and their culture."

The bill has been allotted to the Senate Judiciary A Committee, but no date has been set for a hearing.


Grace Ministries International
Announces a New Church in OK

Grace Ministries International announced recently that a new church has joined their umbrella of leadership. Diversity Christian Fellowship in Tulsa, OK signed on to be the sixth church on the roster, which currently includes Kingdom Seekers in Christ Jesus of Austin.

Diversity Christian Fellowship, pastored by Rev. Chuck Breckenridge, joined GMI in late Feb., 2001. "We are very excited about Diversity joining GMI. Diversity Christian Fellowship is purposed to reach out to all people to show the love of Jesus in a hurt, lonely and dying world. We are delighted to be a part of their work to reach even more people with the gospel," says Rev. Craig Franklin, President of GMI.

The most exciting part of Diversity joining GMI this early in the year is that their members can join over five hundred participants from around the country in the 13th Annual SpiritFest, scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend.

Now, when Texans travel, they don't have to go too far to find a church associated with Grace Ministries International. Diversity Christian Fellowship joins a roster of five current churches such as Grace Fellowship of Dallas, Kingdom Seekers in Christ Jesus in Austin, Abundant Grace in San Antonio, TX, Abundant Grace in Covington, and Grace Fellowship in New Orleans, LA.

Through Kingdom Seekers in Austin, GMI is very active in the Gay and Lesbian Community. During 2001, GMI plans to continue their involvement in the community through their support of the Austin Gay/Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Gay Pride Festivities, Coming Out Day and AIDS Walk Austin, and much more.

For more information on the activities of Grace Ministries International or to book the "Kingdom Seekers" for your next event, please call 512.322.0049, or send an e-mail to kingdom_seekers@hotmail.com.


Lavender Lounge
Brings Ruthie Foster & Christy Claxton
to Dallas & Houston

Lavender Lounge Productions, an organization dedicated to promoting women in entertainment, will present Ruthie Foster and Christy Claxton in a two city tour. On Apr. 19, Foster and Claxton will play Dallas' Sons of Hermann Hall. After a house concert date on Apr. 20, the pair will travel to Houston to perform at the River Cafe on Apr. 21. Promoter Lane Gosnay is touting this mini-tour as a vocal extravaganza. Both singers/songwriters are known for powerful vocals and lively performances that engage the audience and fill the room with incredible energy.

Ruthie Foster and partner, Cyd Cassone, are considered some of the top talent to tour the songwriters' circuit, with the duo making a big name for themselves through the Kerrville Folk Festival. Foster's debut appearance at the festival immediately placed her on the event's "A list." She has been known to bring the crowd to a frenzy similar to a gospel revival. While it is easy to categorize Foster as R&B, she quickly dispels the assumption through her mastery of folk and Texas music.

Christy Claxton has enjoyed a year of critical success with her debut solo album, Out of Nowhere, and has come from virtual obscurity into a short list of some of the most talented performers in the Texas songwriter's circuit. She is known for her big voice, that juxtaposes her small size, and her quick wit. She proudly calls her style "intelli-country" by rooting her music in traditional country and folk stylings while writing intelligent and engaging lyrics that lend themselves to her dramatic vocal abilities.

This is a tour that fans of female vocalists will not want to miss, and students of the singer/songwriter tradition will be exposed to some of the finest presentation in the genre today.

Both shows begin at 8pm with tickets available in advance for $12 and $15 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at christyclaxton.com/lavenderlounge.html. For questions or will call tickets contact Gosnay Entertainment at: 512.423.1770


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