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The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, July 10

Jim Burroway

July 10th, 2013

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Marriage Equality Bill Resumes Report Stage in House of Lords: Westminster, UK. The House of Lords will resume examining the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at the Report Stage, as it continues examining 136 proposed amendments. Several of those amendments have been considered “wrecking amendments,” some of which would draw legal distinctions between same-sex and opposite-sex unions (Amendments 1 and 2). Those amendments were voted down. Another amendment would have allowed registrars to opt-out of registering same-sex marriages due to religious objections. That, too, was voted down. Another amendment concerning teachers’ rights to object to same-sex marriage was defeated as well.

As a matter of fact, the Lords worked their way through quite a number of those proposed amendments on Monday, leaving the bill largely intact with only a few minor changes. Only 48 amendments are left for consideration today. Among some of the more contentious amendments remaining include those proposed by Baroness Ruth Deech (amendments 94 and 136), which would extend all tax and other benefits of civil partnerships to all care givers and family members who share a house. And two proposed amendments by Lord Indarjit Singh of Wimbledon (amendments 96 and 134) would require that the entire bill be put to voters in England and Wales in an October referendum before it can take effect.

Once the bill completes the Report Stage today, it will then go to House of Lords for a third and final reading on July 15. If it passes the third reading, it will then go back to the House of Commons due to changes which have been made to the bill by the Lords.

Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Bournemouth, UK; Bristol, UK; Green Bay, WI; Leipzig, Germany; Marseille, France (EuroPride 2013); Munich, Germany; San Diego, CA; San Luis Obispo, CA; Santa Barbara, CA; Tacoma, WA.

Other Events This Weekend: Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo, Golden, CO; Outfest Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA; QFest Film Festival, Philadelphia, PA; Bear Week, Provincetown, MA Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Tokyo, Japan.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
A Discovery of a Very Extraordinary Nature: 1766. The following story was reported in the July 10, 1766 issue of London’s Gentleman’s Magazine:

A discovery of a very extraordinary nature was made at Poplar, where two women had lived together for six and thirty years, as man and wife, and kept a public house, without ever being suspected; but the wife happening to fall sick, and die, a few years before she expired, revealed the secret to her relations, made her will, and left legacies to the amount of half what she thought they were worth. On application to the pretended, she at first endeavoured to support her assumed character, but being closely pressed, she at length owed the fact, accommodated all matters amicably, put off the male, and put on the female character, in which she appeared to be a sensible well-bred woman, though in her male character she had always affected the plain plodding alehouse-keeper. It is said they had acquired in business money to the amount of £3000. Both had been crossed in love when young, and had chosen this method to avoid further importunities.

[Source: Ian McCormick. Secret Sexualities: A Sourcebook of 17th and 18th Century Writings (London: Routledge, 1997): 234-235)]

Texas Editorial: “We’ll Take Gays Over the KKK”: 1985. It all began in 1984, when the Dallas/Ft. Worth suburb of Arlington was having a problem at Randol Mill Park. It seems that the popular park had become a well-known venue for men (often heterosexually married men) to solicit sex with other men. After a year’s worth of stepped up patrolling and enforcement by Arlington police, the Mid-Cities Daily News reported, “We have not heard nearly as much about the problem as last year.” But for whatever reason, the Klan was still excited over queers in the park. The Klan’s “exalted cyclops” announced that his group would be holding a picnic at the part — sans white sheets — to send a message that gays weren’t welcome. The Daily News responded, “Given the choice between sharing a park with homosexuals or a bunch of white-sheeted, racist, hate-peddling losers, we think we would prefer the homosexuals.”

Well sure, given the choice.

When the Klan held their picnic three days later, Scott Patrick, the exalted cyclops of the Garland klavern, sounded disappointed with what he found. ” I expected the situation to be a little more blatant. I’m sure all the publicity kept it out.” That left him with no choice but to complain about other groups. “Would you believe I actually had a Jew ask if a Jew could come to one of our meetings,” he told a reporter. “I said ‘no.’ A Jew would have about as much chance of attending as a nigger. You’ve got to admit they aren’t as intelligent as we are.”

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS:
Jerry Herman: 1931. The American composer and lyricists is best known for his scores for the Broadway hits Hello Dolly! (1964), Mame (1966) and La Cage aux Folles (1983). The latter earned Herman a Tony for best musical. His most famous song, “Hello Dolly!”, knocked the Beatles from #1 in 1964 when Louis Armstrong recorded it. “When they passed out talent,” Carol Channing said, “Jerry stood in line twice.”A 2008 PBS documentary about him reported that Herman was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1985 when that diagnosis was an automatic death sentence. He was lucky, and is among of the fortunate few to live to see the lifesaving “cocktail” become available in 1995. The AIDS epidemic wiped out half the original La Cage aux Folles chorus before the show’s final run, but the show’s signature anthem “I Am What I Am” can still bring audiences to their feet with its call for dignity and integrity in the face of bigotry and fear.

Neil Tennant: 1954. With bandmate Chris Lowe, he was one half of the electronic dance duo Pet Shop Boys. Their first single, “West End Girls,” was actually recorded twice. The first version was released in 1984 and became a club hit in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Go figure. After the duo signed with EMI, they re-recorded the song, and it became a 1986 number one hit in the U.S. and the U.K. Tennant was coy about rumors over his sexuality throughout the 1980s, but he finally came out in a 1994 interview with a UK gay magazine. Pet Shop Boys are still going strong. On March 14, 2011, they released a double CD of the complete three-act ballet score for The Most Incredible Thing with the Wrocław Score Orchestra. Their latest studio album, Electric, which features the single “Axis,” is due out next week.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

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