Grinnell College Names Openly Gay President
Iowa’s Grinnell College announced February 17 that it has named an openly gay man, Dr. Raynard Kington, to be its next President. He presently serves as Deputy Director of the National Institutes of Health. David White, Chair of the Grinnell College Board of Trustees, said in a statement, “We are thrilled that Dr. Kington, an extraordinarily accomplished scientist, administrator, and physician, will lead Grinnell College into the future.” He and his partner, Dr. Peter Daniolos, along with their two children, will move to Grinnell this summer.
Illinois GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Says He’d Ban Gay Marriage
According to the Chicago Sun Times, Senator Bill Brady, leading Republican candidate in the Illinois gubernatorial race, proposed amending the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions. The proposal was part of a package of priorities he would pursue if elected. Brady said, “I’m trying to give the government back to the people.”
Rhode Island House Elects First Openly Gay Speaker
The Boston Globe reports Democratic State Representative Gordon Fox is the first openly gay lawmaker to be elected Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. Fox received the votes of 51 of the 75 lawmakers. In a statement, Fox said, “It is my top priority to make sure that Rhode Island can attract high-quality jobs, and train its workers so they have the skills to succeed.’’ In addition to being the first openly gay speaker, Fox also is the first nonwhite person to take on the role. He now will preside over a veto-proof Democratic majority.
Support for Gays in the Military Depends on the Question
According to CBS, a new poll shows the wording of a question about whether to allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the US military is key in determining who supports the idea. When respondents were asked if they support allowing “homosexuals” to serve openly, only 59 percent said they did. When the word was changed to “gay men and lesbians,” the number supporting the measure increased to 70 percent. Despite the term used, support has increased overall since 1993, the year the ban was put in place, when only 42 percent supported allowing openly gay service members.
Oklahoma Denies Man “IM GAY” License Plate
KSLA TV reports that 28-year-old Keith Kimmel is suing the Oklahoma Tax Commission after it declined his request for a vanity license plate that says “IM GAY.” The commission stated it turned down his request last year because of an internal rule against vanity plates that “may be offensive to the general public.” Kimmel is a prelaw student at Oklahoma City Community College.
Anglicans Extend Pensions to Gay Partners
According to United Press International, the Church of England has voted to extend pension rights to the partners of gay clergy. Simon Baynes, a newly elected member of the pension board, said, “This is not a debate about gay clergy. It is a debate about pensions and the unfairness we have allowed to be built into our system.” The Times of London noted that the decision by the church synod went beyond the requirements of England’s law legalizing civil partnerships.
Swedish Lawmaker Blames Trip on His Drag Personality
According to UPI, Swedish Member of Parliament Frederick Federley blamed his drag-queen alter ego for an all-expense-paid trip to Gran Canaria. He went against his normal policy of refusing to accept offers from the airline industry because he wasn’t acting in his role as a member of parliament. He told the Swedish newspaper The Local, “This was pretty much tied to my drag personality, Ursula. It’s not me as a member of parliament doing this. It’s more a case of me traveling as my drag personality.” He said the purpose of the trip was to prepare tips for people traveling to the islands for the annual drag queen carnival.