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FREE VOLUME THIRTEEN, ISSUE EIGHT APRIL 16 - 29, 2014

Is ENDA Necessary? 10 François Ozon on Being Young & Beautiful 23 Churches Staying in Schools 06 US Marriage Drive Amps Way Up 09

© GAY CITY NEWS 2013 • NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com


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April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

DISCRIMINATION

City Might Be Ready to Settle With Robert Pinter Denied another appeal, Law Department in talks with gay man falsely arrested at adult video store who filed suit BY PAUL SCHINDLER

BRENDAN FAY

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ith a trial date set for a gay man’s lawsuit against New York City stemming from his 2008 arrest outside an adult video store on prostitution charges, there are signs the city might be prepared to settle the case. The arrest of Robert Pinter, who was then 52, and those of other gay men on prostitution charges in adult video stores in 2008 and early 2009 — reported in detail at the time in Gay City News — are widely viewed as illegitimate by the LGBT community and many elected officials. Pinter’s conviction, after he was advised to plead guilty to lesser charges, was later vacated and his case dismissed, and the Manhattan district attorney also dropped prosecutions of some other gay defendants. In an April 10 hearing before US District Judge Shira Scheindlin, Pinter, represented by attorneys Jeffrey A. Rothman and James I. Meyerson, and Dara Olds, a senior counsel at the city’s Law Department, agreed to a trial beginning on July 28, with the possibility it could start as early as July 7. Meyerson told Scheindlin he expects a trial would last about seven days. Meyerson, however, also informed the court that he and Rothman had engaged in preliminary discussions with the Law Department about a possible settlement in the case. Those discussions,

Robert Pinter (center) with his attorneys James I. Meyerson and Jeffrey A. Rothman.

which had previously yielded no progress, became more serious, Meyerson explained, once the city dropped its “nopay” policy, under which it had ruled out any financial settlement with Pinter. The hearing and the change in the Law Department’s position came in the wake of a decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to deny the city’s appeal of an October 2013 ruling by Scheindlin that Pinter could proceed with his lawsuit against the city. The Second Circuit had earlier dismissed his claims against individual officials, including former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, based on their “qualified immunity” from liability in such cases. Scheindlin, on April 10, authorized the two parties to schedule a settlement

conference with Magistrate Judge James Francis, but also worked to establish a schedule for a trial should talks break down. The conference with Francis will take place beginning April 16. In an October 2008 incident at the Blue Door in the East Village, Pinter was approached by a young undercover police officer, with whom he agreed to leave the store to have sex. According to Pinter, as they approached the exit, the other man turned to him and said, “I want to pay you $50 to suck your dick.” Pinter said he was caught off guard by this and did not respond, but quickly decided there was no possibility he would in fact have sex with this man. Instead, he said, he started walking toward his apartment, keeping up “playful banter” with the officer. At no time

did he indicate he would accept money for sex, he said, and the undercover made no further mention of that. Suddenly, other police of ficers appeared, pushed Pinter against a fence, and arrested him. According to his account, he was tightly handcuffed and placed in a police van, which drove around for several hours until depositing him at a police station. Although he complained about the tightness of the cuffs, the officers refused to loosen them. Pinter subsequently required medical treatment for injuries sustained from this experience. He initially pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, but when he found out that other men were being arrested under similar circumstances he filed a motion to vacate his conviction, which was not opposed by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. An assistant DA submitted a statement to the court stating it was unlikely Pinter went to the Blue Door intending to solicit money for sex. Pinter’s lawsuit, which included claims against city officials as well as the city itself, led the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss all claims against individuals. In October, however, Scheindlin ruled the city could still be held liable for many — but not all — of his claims. She concluded, for example, that his allegations did not support the claim he was targeted because of his

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On-Duty Military Units Also Marched in St. Pat’s Parade Governor, who heads the New York National Guard, Defense Department offer no comment on discriminatory event

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BY ANDY HUMM

rotests this year against New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which for decades has banned identifiable Irish LGBT groups from participating, targeted the city’s decision to continue allowing municipal personnel — police, fire, corrections, and more — to march in their uniforms. This despite the fact that Mayor Bill de Blasio and other leading elected officials boycotted the discriminatory parade and major sponsors are now abandoning it. Mostly ignored — only a few years after gays and lesbians were first allowed to serve openly in the military — was the fact that most of the uniformed

military in the parade were on duty and marching on the government’s dime. “It’s an outrageous misuse of taxpayer dollars,” said Bill Dobbs, a veteran peace and gay activist, “and more evidence that the parade is toxic to human rights.” The 69th Infantry Regiment, part of the New York National Guard and more than 700 strong, led the parade for the 163rd year on March 17. Also in the line of march were color, honor, and ceremonial guards from the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, and Air Force out of Washington, DC, and elsewhere, the 88th Brigade of the New York Guard, and military bands and pipe-and-drum units from all over. Eric Durr of the New York Division

of Military and Naval Affairs Office of Public Affairs would not respond to questions about the appropriateness of National Guard personnel participating on duty in a parade that discriminates, but told Gay City News that all guard units are entitled to participate in one local parade while on duty and that St. Patrick’s Day is the 69th’s “traditional unit day.” Others participate in Memorial Day and Flag Day parades, he said. “The 69th’s decision to march predates anything” related to the controversy over the parade’s exclusionary policy, Durr said. “They also go to Mass, whether Jewish, Protestant, or Catholic,” though he insisted that no guardsman or woman is obligated to participate and could opt to participate in an alternate drill.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who does not participate in the Fifth Avenue parade, is the civilian head of the New York National Guard. His office did not respond to an inquiry about the appropriateness of guard unit participation, nor did the US Department of Defense. Emmaia Gelman, a leader of the group Irish Queers which led the LGBT protest against the parade this year after picking up the mantle years ago from the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization, said just as they are pressing the case for getting uniformed city personnel out of the parade, they want uniformed, onduty servicemembers out as well. “We’re not pretending that the military is going to suddenly stop being violent

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LEGAL

US Court Says Ohio Recognition Ban Unconstitutional on its Face Federal district judge

COME CHECK US OUT AT THE NEW

broadens ruling in birth certificate case to all couples married out of state BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

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aving ruled in December that Ohio’s ban on recognizing samesex marriages from other states was unconstitutional in the narrow context of recording marital status and surviving spouses on death certificates, a federal district court judge has expanded his ruling in response to a second lawsuit brought by married same-sex couples seeking recognition for purposes of their children’s birth certificates. In an April 14 ruling, however, Judge Timothy S. Black didn’t restrict his ruling to that issue alone, instead finding that Ohio’s recognition ban was unconstitutional in all its applications. Black temporarily stayed his ruling to give the four plaintiff couples time to file a response to the state’s request that his ruling be stayed through the duration of its appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. He promised to rule expeditiously on this question and stated his “inclination” to require his ruling to go into effect for the four plaintiff couples even while Ohio appeals. The plaintiffs, four same-sex couples represented by Alphonse Gerhardstein, Jacklyn Gonzales Martin, and Jennifer L ynn Branch of the Gerhardstein & Branch law firm, were all married in other states. Three lesbian couples are Ohio residents, and each is expecting a child in the next few months, conceived through donor insemination. The couples want these births to be treated the same way Ohio treats other births to married couples where the wife becomes pregnant through donor insemination. In such cases, the state issues a birth certificate identifying the mother’s spouse as the child’s other legal parent. The state Health Department, however, refuses equal treatment for same-sex spouses, claiming the state’s Marriage Amendment and its marriage recognition laws prevent it. Joseph Vitale and Robert Talmas, the fourth couple, who live in Manhattan, are married, and adopted an Ohioborn infant boy, want Ohio to follow its statutory procedure for issuing new birth certificates for children adopted in other states, which requires recording the names of both parents on the birth certificate. In this case, the men jointly adopted the child in a New York proceeding and are asking that Ohio recognize that adoption and their parental status on the boy’s birth certificate.

Black pointed out that Ohio used to follow the procedure requested by Vitale and Talmas. However, when the current Republican administration took office in January 2011, Governor Bill Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine ordered the Health Department to stop recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages for this purpose, even though such couples and their children reside out of state and Ohio was merely being asked to issue substitute birth certificates. Unsurprisingly, Black found that nothing has happened since his December decision to change his legal analysis. In fact, he noted that “ten out of ten federal rulings” since last summer’s Supreme Court Defense of Marriage Act decision have struck down similar bans. For Black, the conclusion was clear and sweeping and his opinion was written in emphatic terms: “This court’s analysis in [its December ruling] controls here, and compels not only the conclusion that the marriage recognition ban is unenforceable in the birth certificate context, but that it is facially unconstitutional and unenforceable in any context whatsoever.” At times, Black’s opinion seemed to be responding as much to arguments raised by marriage equality opponents in lawsuits from other states as to the those made by Ohio’s attorneys. Quoting from a 1990 Supreme Court ruling on abortion, he wrote, “The regulation of constitutionally protected decisions, such as where a person shall reside or whom he or she shall marry, must be predicated on legitimate state concerns other than disagreement with the choice the individual has made.” And, referring to several other Supreme Court decisions, he wrote, “The fundamental right to marry is available even to those who have not traditionally been eligible to exercise that right.” He concluded that “the right to marriage is a fundamental right that is denied to same-sex couples in Ohio by the marriage recognition bans.” He found that denial of this right also affected another fundamental right, the right to parental authority. “US Supreme Court rulings, reflected in state laws, make clear that these parental rights are fundamental and may be curtailed only under exceptional circumstances,” he wrote. Cases involving state abridgement of fundamental rights are typically analyzed using a “strict scrutiny” test — the

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RELIGION

City Triumphs on Churches in Schools Case, But de Blasio Not Cheering Mayor’s posture contradicts testimony his new chancellor made in long-running court battle he US Second Circuit Court of Appeals once again upheld the constitutionality of a New York City policy barring religious organizations from using public school space for regular Sunday worship services. The April 3 ruling overturned Judge Loretta Preska, the Southern District of New York’s chief judge, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, for the second time in litigation that has dragged on for well over a decade. On repeated occasions, Preska has issued injunctions that have kept church services in the public schools. In a 2-1 decision in Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education, the appeals court “rejects the District Court’s conclusion that the policy violates the Free Exercise and Establishment Religion Clauses of the First Amendment.” The fundamentalist Bronx Household was represented by the right-wing Alliance Defense Fund, a group that frequently clashes in court with LGBT advocacy groups. While Carmen Fariña, now schools chancellor, was the Department of Education’s (DOE) chief witness in support of the ban in 2005, Mayor Bill de Blasio has always opposed barring the churches from the schools, and, in the wake of the decision, said, “I stand by my belief that a faith organization playing by the same rules as any community nonprofit deserves access. They have to go through the same application process, wait their turn for space, pay the same rent. But I think they deserve access.” De Blasio then made an argument unrelated to the case decided by the Second Circuit, saying, “They play a very, very important role in terms of providing social services and other important community services.” The DOE policy only bars space rental for religious worship, not for non-religious charitable or social service activities by churches. According to a Department of Education (DOE) spokeswoman, the chancellor now “agrees with what the mayor has said on this issue.” In her 2005 testimony, however, Fariña said, “Permitting worship services in DOE’s public schools violates the separation of church and state,” adding, “In this wonderfully diverse city, DOE seeks to avoid being perceived as endorsing or sponsoring any particular religion or congregation. Second, because of the school schedule, schools are not equally available for the main worship services

GAY CITY NEWS

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BY ANDY HUMM

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña at the time of her appointment by Mayor Bill de Blasio in December.

Despite her previous testimony, the chancelor now “agrees with what the mayor has said on this issue.” for all religions — thus, DOE or school officials may be perceived as favor ing one religion over another. Finally, DOE is concerned about school officials becoming involved in religious matters, such as may occur when enforcing rules of general applicability which pertain to how permit-holders use school facilities, or in other circumstances relating to a congregation’s use of a school as its primary place of worship.” The issue, the chancellor explained at that time, impacts the way students may view their school. “DOE is concerned that some children or their families may feel less welcome at their school if they identify the school with a particular religion or congregation,” she said. Fariña also said, “Young children who see that a church or other religious institution is using the school as the place for its regular worship services, or who themselves attend the services, could easily and understandably conclude that the religious institution is supported by the school.” De Blasio said, “I want to just emphasize that any organization of any faith can apply for space and I think that’s important to understand.” In her affidavit, however, Fariña noted that opening school space to regular worship favors Christian congrega-

tions over others because they worship on Sunday mornings when auditoriums are most likely to be empty. School space is heavily used for academic and extracurricular activities on Saturday mornings, when Jews observe the Sabbath, and schools are in session midday on Friday, when Muslims worship. Fariña said, “At least one school has actually been in the position of granting a permit for regular Christian worship services on Sundays; and rejecting a request to use the school for Jewish worship services on Saturday, because of the school’s Saturday academic programs.” Fariña argued there is no way of avoiding the appearance of favoritism toward a particular religion. “No disclaimer can dispel the notion in the community that the school building has taken on the attributes of a church, or that DOE is subsidizing religion,” she said. Fariña also noted the inherent conflicts between a school’s public obligation for educating the city’s youth and its use as a sectarian place of worship. “Again, this concern is not theoretical,” she said. “For example, I have been advised of a situation at M.S. 51 in Brooklyn, where a church gave free refreshments to children during

the school day and invited them to the church’s services at the school; and an incident at P.S. 89, where a church unexpectedly brought proselytizing materials to a Parent-Teacher Association event.” The mayor is not heeding Fariña’s concerns. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion,” he said. “The previous administration had a different opinion, I put out my view very clearly over the last year, and we’re going to take this court decision, work with it, update the rules, but continue to give opportunities to faith organizations.” Bronx City Councilman Fernando Cabrera, a fundamentalist pastor who has led the fight to keep churches in schools, told the Daily News he is “very confident” de Blasio will devise a policy that will keep church services in the schools. The city’s Law Department, which normally sends out detailed press releases hailing its legal victories, did not do so following its Second Circuit win, instead referring reporters to “remarks made by the mayor.” However, at an April 11 breakfast forum hosted by New York Law School, Zachary Carter, the city’s new corporation counsel, said the task before his office is ensuring that the change in policy the mayor has advocated is carried out in line with constitutional bounds. DOE similarly ducked questions in the immediate wake of the court ruling, saying through a spokesperson, “The mayor is commenting on the city’s behalf.” On April 9, the Wall Street Journal quoted the DOE as saying the chancellor “agrees with what the mayor has said on this issue, and we are reviewing our options on how to give opportunities to faith organizations.” When Gay City News then asked how Fariña’s support for the mayor now squares with her 2005 position, spokeswoman Marge Feinberg, in an email statement, merely elaborated on the comment made to the Journal, saying, “Faith organizations playing by the same rules as any community non-profit deserve access, however these organizations have to go through the same application process, wait their turn for space, and pay the same permit charges. These are important groups in our community and they deserve a right to space.” Art Eisenberg of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) said that if the city did change the policy, “the court would be compelled to decide whether

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RELIGION

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How the US Second Circuit Decided Churches in Schools Case Court found city can rationally bar worship services, but did not rule on whether it has to BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

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uling in a long-running case that may not yet be at an end, a federal appeals panel has found that a New York City policy barring the rental of public school space for “religious worship services” does not violate the First Amendment. The April 3 decision from the Manhattan-based Second Circuit Court of Appeals involved a policy most recently promulgated in 2007 by the city’s Board of Education (since reorganized as the Department of Education). The suit was filed by the Bronx Household of Faith, a religious congregation whose application to hold worship services at a public school in that borough was denied after this policy was adopted. The congregation, by that time, had already been in court for a decade in response to prior Board of Education efforts to prevent religious services from taking place in city public schools. Judge Pierre Leval’s opinion cites four prior opinions by the Second Circuit, all titled Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education, dating back as far as 1997. The 2007 policy provided that outside organizations and individuals may receive permits for use of school buildings outside of school hours but not if their purpose is to hold “religious worship services.” In the litigation involving the 2007 policy, District Judge Loretta Preska originally ruled the policy violated the church’s First Amendment free speech rights. A content-based regulation or

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CITY WIN, from p.6

permitting worship gives the appearance of endorsement of religion and violates the Establishment Clause.” As it is, “the court has said it is reasonable for the city to fear” that it is such an endorsement. Donna Lieberman, the NYCLU’s executive director, said in a written release, “This case is about a group of about 160 religious congregations that were dominating public schools across New York City Sunday after Sunday, year after year. When a school is converted to a church in this way, it sends a powerful message to students and the community at large that the government favors that particular church. Children who are not part of the favored congregation feel diminished, and both the church members and the community stop seeing the distinction between the church

prohibition of speech can only be upheld if the government has a compelling interest in limiting the speech, usually to avoid serious public disorder, and Preska held that this standard had not been met. That ruling did not turn on the religious nature of the case. The Second Circuit disagreed with Preska and sent the case back to her for further consideration. In her more recent ruling, she accepted the congregation’s argument that excluding religious worship services violated its First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. Essentially, the congregation argues that in opening up the schools to use by private, non-government groups outside of school hours, the city created a public forum in which it may not discriminate against religious uses. But, the appeals panel majority pointed out that the schools’ exclusionary policy is rather narrow and does not bar all religious uses. For example, the church could receive a permit to hold a Bible-study group or a religious discussion group in a school building — not to mention to carry out social service work. The only limitation, quite narrowly, is to deny use of premises for an actual worship service. Many small congregations argue they cannot afford to rent facilities large enough for worship services. They have, for years, sought to use school auditoriums, some of them attracting hundreds of people to such services on a regular basis, hanging banners and other material that, in effect, convert the space into a religious sanctuary during the service. In her most recent ruling, Preska

accepted the church’s argument that the ban violated the Free Exercise Clause because the schools are “the only location in which [Bronx Household's congregation] can afford to gather as a full congregation [for Sunday worship services] without having to curtail other of their religion’s practices.” The appeals court rejected this rationale. “The Free Exercise Clause has never been understood to require government to finance a subject’s exercise of religion,” Judge Leval wrote, citing Supreme Court and lower court decisions reinforcing the point. The panel majority viewed the provision of school facilities for religious worship services at little or no charge a subsidy for the church, especially in light of the cost of renting large spaces in New York City. In dissent, Judge John Walker pointed to a 1993 Supreme Court decision that struck down a Hialeah, Florida, ordinance prohibiting a ritual chicken slaughter practice of a Christian sect, finding that it was a form of discrimination against religion. Walker argued that singling out religious worship services for prohibition on school grounds was, similarly, a form of discrimination against religion. The majority rejected this contention, finding that Preska’s ruling was “based on a misunderstanding of” the 1993 decision and that “a reasonable government decision not to subsidize a category of activity is not a suspect discrimination among religions merely because some religions do and others do not engage in that activity.” In the 1993 case, the city of Hialeah

outlawed a specific religious practice. By contrast, the New York schools were not outlawing anything. The churches are free to carry on their religious worship services, just not in school buildings paid for by the taxpayers. According to the court, the Board of Education had expressed fear that allowing the services to be held in school buildings might violate the Establishment Clause, which forbids the government from endorsing or preferring a particular religion. The court noted it was not deciding the question of whether allowing religious services on school property violates the Establishment Clause, but rather that the Board of Education could reasonably have feared such a violation and wanted to avoid the possibility. Some opponents of allowing church services on school property were disappointed the court didn’t draw its own conclusions regarding the constitutionality of the underlying issue, but courts typically avoid taking on constitutional questions if deciding a case does not require it. The court majority relied heavily on a 2004 Supreme Court decision that rejected a free exercise challenge to the State of Washington’s graduate scholarship policy barring such support from being used to fund education for religious ministry. A scholarship recipient could use scholarship money to pursue graduate study in the history of religion but not to pursue a theology degree. The state was not banning education in theology, certainly, but was taking the position that it shouldn’t pay to educate

and the school.” Out gay City Councilman Daniel Dromm, chair of the Council’s Education Committee, said, “I believe the chancellor should stand by her sworn testimony and that the court has made a correct decision. The city’s policy is constitutional and upholds the separation of church and state. The mayor should back down from further pressing the case. Enough has been said by the courts. Leave it be.” While Dromm has been fighting to uphold the ban for years, his Council colleagues voted overwhelmingly last year to support a resolution by Cabrera, the Bronx councilman, to call upon the state to enact a law to “afford houses of worship equal access to school property.” Only 11 out of 51 members objected to the resolution, including the gay and lesbian caucus of Dromm, Speaker Christine Quinn, Jimmy Van Bramer,

now the majority leader, and Rosie Mendez. Melissa Mark-Viverito, the new Council speaker, and Gale Brewer, the new Manhattan borough president, were also among those who objected. The state has not, to date, enacted any law of the type Cabrera’s resolution called for. On April 8, Brewer said, “I am going to write a letter complaining to the mayor. On the Upper West Side, we found alternatives for schools that had religious institutions” worshipping in their buildings at rates comparable to what they were paying in the schools. The mayor characterized the money church groups pay the schools as “rent,” while Fariña testified they in fact only pay nominal custodial charges. One of Bronx Household’s arguments was that it couldn’t afford space elsewhere, but the appeals court noted, “The Free Exercise Clause, however, has

never been understood to require government to finance a subject’s exercise of religion.” Brewer noted that some of the church groups were leaving religious “paraphernalia” in classroom closets dur ing the week, further giving students the impression that their schools were favoring particular religions. Katherine Stewart’s 2012 book “The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children” documented the massive “church planting” movement of right-wing churches aiming to claim space in public schools as a way “to convert children to fundamentalist Christianity and encourage them to proselytize to their ‘unchurched’ peers.” Some of these right-wing, fundamentalist anti-gay churches have planted themselves in public schools in Greenwich Village and Chelsea.

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MARRIAGE

Judges Hint at Disagreements, Procedural Hurdles in Utah Marriage Appeal At 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, surprising questions about “standing,” need for a trial on disputed facts BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

TWITTER.COM

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s is typically the case, oral arguments in Utah’s appeal of a December US district court decision or dering the state to allow same-sex couples to marry offered no clear indication of the three-judge panel’s views on the merits. Perhaps the most surprising outcome of the session, however, was the possibility the panel might not rule on the merits at all. On more than one occasion during the April 10 arguments, which ran to just over an hour, the three judges from the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals raised questions about the standing of Utah’s governor and attorney general to appeal District Judge Robert Shelby’s order. And one judge suggested that perhaps Shelby should not have decided the case on a summary judgment motion but rather held a trial to resolve disputed facts (see sidebar, this page). Shelby issued his order on December 20 and refused to stay his decision pending appeal, something the 10th Circuit also declined to do. By the time the Supreme Court issued a stay on January 6, more than 1,300 same-sex couples had married. It will likely be months before the

St. Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker officiates at the wedding of Natalie Dicou and Nicole Christensen in December.

appeals panel issues its ruling, and this week, on April 17, the same three judges will hear oral arguments in Oklahoma’s appeal of a similar district court ruling. The panel could choose to combine the two cases into one opinion. Despite much that is unknowable regarding the views of the panel’s three judges, their questions and the dia-

logue between them and the attorneys for both sides provide some insight into their thinking. On the merits of the case, review of an audiotape of the arguments suggests it is unlikely a unanimous decision is in the offing. Judge Carlos Lucero, appointed to the court by President Bill Clinton, indicated in his question-

ing and comments that he likely supports the plaintiffs’ position, while Judge Paul J. Kelly, Jr., who was appointed by President George W. Bush, seemed more disposed toward the state’s position, though he posed many fewer questions, making it harder to discern his views. The tiebreaker may end up being another Bush appointee, Judge Jerome A. Holmes, who questioned both sides quite sharply, making it difficult to predict where he will come out. The judges seemed to agree the threshold question is what level of judicial scrutiny is appropriate to deciding the case. In a 2008 decision involving a lesbian’s claim that a law enforcement official discriminated against her in refusing to enforce an order of protection, the 10th Circuit established a precedent that sexual orientation is not a “protected class” under the Equal Protection Clause. Since federal appellate courts follow precedent already established in their circuit, the panel hearing the Utah marriage case would — all things being equal —be bound to subject the gay marriage ban to the least demanding level of scrutiny: the rational basis test, under which the plaintiffs must show the state has no conceivably rational justification for its policy. The

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WILL JUDGES’ CONCERNS BLOCK RULING ON THE MERITS IN UTAH? In the April 10 arguments in Utah’s appeal of a December marriage equality order, the three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals raised two potential pitfalls in the route to a ruling on the merits of the case — legal standing and the question of whether District Judge Robert Shelby should have held a trial instead of issuing a summary judgment. The issue of standing, though not widely understood outside the legal community, occupied center stage last June when the Supreme Court ruled in the challenge to California’s Proposition 8. In that case, the governor and attorney general did not defend the 2008 voter referendum, and the high court found that the group that had appealed the district court decision striking down Prop 8 — composed of the measure’s official proponents — lacked standing to do so. Standing is a principle in federal constitutional law that requires that a party filing a lawsuit or seeking an appeal have a personal stake in the outcome of the case, not merely a theoretical or generalized interest. In marriage equality cases, plaintiff couples seeking to marry clearly have standing to file suit against a public official, such as a county clerk, who refuses to issue them a license. Courts are divided, however, on whether they can file suit against a state governor or attorney general, since neither plays a direct role in issuing licenses or administering the state’s marriage laws. This issue can then turn into a question of standing if the governor or attorney general appeals a ruling against the state. In the Utah case, the Salt Lake County clerk, who denied licenses to the plaintiffs, was a defendant in the trial but she did not join in the appeal. Gene Schaerr, who argued the appeal, presented himself as representing Republican Governor Gary Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes, the governor’s appointee.

It was the appellate panel — and not the two parties in the case — who raised the question of standing. Peggy Tomsic, who represented the plaintiffs, agreed with Schaerr in arguing there was no problem with standing. The governor and the attorney general, she pointed out, have ultimate supervisory authority over the county clerks and also over those agencies that face the question of recognizing same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. Despite the discussion about this issue — and the fact that courts have dismissed marriage equality cases when plaintiffs have sued only the governor and attorney general, but not the official with direct authority for issuing licenses — it seems unlikely the appeals panel would shy away from a ruling on the merits based solely on “standing.” The question whether Herbert and Reyes have standing is a closer one than in the Prop 8 litigation, since in California it was a private party who was appealing. Surely, a state’s chief executive and chief law enforcement officer have a direct interest in appealing a trial court’s ruling that state constitutional and statutory provisions violate the US Constitution. Standing was also an issue in the Supreme Court’s consideration of Edie Windsor’s successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on federal recognition of her marriage to her late spouse, Thea Spyer. There, the high court asked whether the US solicitor general had standing to appeal Windsor’s win in the lower court, a ruling the Justice Department agreed with. Ultimately, the court found that the government does have a real interest in getting a binding Supreme Court ruling when a lower court declares a federal statute unconstitutional. The same logic should hold in the Utah case. The other issue that came up during argument that could prompt the

panel to defer a ruling on the merits was the question of whether there were disputed facts that should have been resolved in a trial prior to Judge Shelby’s ruling. Since the DOMA ruling came down, only one federal judge among the many who have ruled in favor of marriage equality — District Judge Bernard Friedman in the suit against Michigan’s gay marriage ban — held a trial rather than ruling on constitutional grounds in response to a summary judgment motion. In Michigan, the trial centered on expert testimony from both sides about the potential impact same-sex marriage has on child-rearing outcomes. Friedman, in his opinion, concluded that the state’s witnesses on this issue were “unbelievable.” If the 10th Circuit panel, however, finds disputed issues need to be resolved, it could send the case back to Judge Shelby with directions to hold a trial. As in Utah, the other federal judges who have ruled in marriage equality cases since last summer —in Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois, Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky — have taken the position that the issue can be decided as a question of law based on undisputed facts or, perhaps more accurately, based on a finding that even if the state is correct in its factual assertions, they do not justify denying same-sex couples the right to marry. Significantly, Schaerr sent a letter to the appellate panel several days before the arguments stating that though the findings of a child-rearing study by University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus — discounted as “unbelievable” by Judge Friedman in his Michigan decision — were cited in Utah’s brief, they were not critical to the state’s case. — Arthur S. Leonard


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| April 16, 2014

MARRIAGE

This Month Marriage Equality Litigation Amps Up to Full Throttle

A Baedeker to what’s up in the nation’s appellate courts BY AUTHUR S. LEONARD

Tu r n i n g t o V i r g i n i a f i r s t , where marriage equality

lawsuits were filed in both the Eastern and Wester n District Courts. The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal, in the wake of last summer’s DOMA ruling, put out a call to identify suitable plaintiffs to challenge Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban, filing their suit in the Western District. As the litigation groups were carefully assembling their case, two couples living in the Eastern District — two men seeking to marry and two women wanting Virginia to recognize

US DISTRICT COURT, EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA

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ven as a three-panel judge panel heard the first federal appellate arguments on marriage equality since last June’s Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of M a r r ia g e Ac t ’ s ba n o n f e de r a l recognition of legal same-sex marriages, new developments in litigation efforts across the nation continued to pile up. On April 10, a panel of three judges of the Denver-based US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard the State of Utah’s appeal of last December’s district court order requiring the state to allow same-sex couples to marry and to recognize same-sex marriages from out of state (see story on page 8). That order was stayed by the Supreme Court on January 6 after a 10th Circuit panel refused to issue a stay — and after more than a thousand same-sex couples had married. This week, on April 17, the same three-judge panel will hear the State of Oklahoma’s appeal from a narrower order by the federal court there that required the state to allow same-sex couples to marry but avoided the related question of recognizing out-of-state marriages. Finally, on May 13, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, will hear oral arguments in an appeal by two county court clerks of another federal district court ruling that ordered the State of Virginia to allow same-sex couples to marry and to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Arguments have yet to be scheduled for similar appeals in the Fifth, Sixth, and Ninth Circuits (that last being the only one where the appeal is coming from the plaintiffs, who lost at the district court), but there have been developments in some of those cases as well.

US Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the Eastern District of Virginia issued her marriage equality ruling on February 13.

their California marriage — went ahead with their own lawsuit. The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) — which was formed in 2009 to challenge the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and recruited star appellate attorneys Ted Olson, a former US solicitor general, and David Boies — took an interest in the Eastern District case. Olson and Boies prevailed over Prop 8 in the district court, but fell short of their goal of establishing a federal right for same-sex couples to marry when the Supreme Court declined to give standing to the only party appealing their victory — its official proponents. The district court ruling stood, but the Prop 8 victory secured marriage rights only in California. Looking for a new opportunity to get the issue before the Supreme Court, AFER offered its help to the Eastern District plaintiffs, an offer quickly accepted. Olson and Boies moved their case more quickly than the ACLULambda team did theirs. On February 13, Eastern District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen granted summary judgment in that case. With newly elected Governor Terry McAuliffe and the new attorney general, Mark Herring, both Democrats, declining to defend the state’s marriage ban, the appeal in the case is left to two county court clerks. In the Western District, where the

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APPEALS, continued on p.12

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April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

EMPLOYMENT

Is ENDA Necessary? One federal judge suggests sex discrimination provision in 1964 Civil Rights Act may suffice BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

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ven with the marriage equality movement appearing to gain unstoppable momentum, the LGBT community has not yet won simple employment nondiscrimination protections at the federal level. The Employment NonDiscrimination Act (ENDA), a measure barring bias in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity — which has been kicking around for two decades, after the abandonment of earlier efforts to push a broader non-discrimination measure — won bipartisan support in the Senate last year, but Republican Speaker John Boehner has made clear he opposes any action in the House this year. And advocates for ENDA remain divided by what legal experts see as an overly broad religious exemption in the version adopted by the Senate. But what if ENDA is not needed? What if Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans employment discrimination because of sex, were construed as protecting LGBT people? One federal judge is now suggesting that might in fact be possible. For a long time, both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the federal courts have ruled that discrimination against LGBT people is not prohibited because Congress had no such intention when it enacted the 1964 law. In effect, Title VII was for decades limited rather narrowly to cases where people were suffering discrimination strictly because they were a man or a woman. However, as early as 1989, the Supreme Court came to view “sex discrimination” more broadly, ruling in a case involving a woman denied a partnership at the accounting giant Price Waterhouse that she suffered sex discrimination because she failed to conform to feminine gender stereotypes. Nine years later, the high court ruled that that a man employed on an oil rig owned by Sundowner Offshore Service who encountered a hostile environment in an all-male workplace — making claims he was sodomized with a bar of soap and threatened with rape — could also pursue a claim under Title VII. More recently, the EEOC and some lower federal courts have taken the next step, holding that discrimination because of gender identity is a form of sex discrimination, because it is inspired by discomfort or disapproval with people defying conventional gender roles. In 2012, the EEOC, in a

case involving a transgender woman denied a job at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, formally stated that discrimination based on gender identity is sex discrimination. But what about lesbians, gay men, or bisexuals who are not gender-nonconforming in their appearance or conduct but encounter discrimination simply because their employer, co-workers, or customers are biased against gay people? Before March 31, there were no court opinions suggesting that such a person might be protected under Title VII. DC District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, however, made history that day by issuing her opinion in Peter J. TerVeer’s lawsuit against the

One day in June 2010, the complaint alleges, Mech subjected him to more than an hour of “‘educating’ TerVeer on Hell and that it is a sin to be a homosexual, that homosexuality was wrong, and that TerVeer would be going to Hell.” Mech recited Bible verses to TerVeer and told him, “I hope you repent because the Bible is very clear about what God does to homosexuals.” A few days later, TerVeer received an annual review from Mech that did not reflect the quality of his work, the plaintiff claims — one he said “was motivated by Mech’s religious beliefs and sexual stereotyping.” When TerVeer confronted Mech about his treatment, the supervisor angrily accused him of trying to “bring down the library.”

A federal court has said a gay man who is not gender non-conforming except for his sexual orientation can assert a sex discrimination claim. Library of Congress, holding that a man who suffered adverse treatment from an anti-gay supervisor could bring a claim under Title VII, even though his only gender non-conforming characteristic is his sexual orientation. TerVeer began working as a management analyst in the Library of Congress’ auditing division in early 2008, and his supervisor, John Mech, is described in the court’s opinion as “a religious man who was accustomed to making his faith known in the workplace.” TerVeer became close to Mech and his family, and in August 2009, Mech’s daughter learned he was gay. “Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff received an email from Mech mentioning his daughter and containing photographs of assault weapons along with the tagline ‘Diversity: Let’s Celebrate It,’” Judge Kollar-Kotelly wrote. Things went downhill from there. TerVeer alleges Mech subjected him to “work-related conversation to the point where it became clear that Mech was targeting TerVeer by imposing his conservative Catholic beliefs on TerVeer throughout the workday.” TerVeer also claimed his supervisor stopped giving him detailed instructions for increasingly difficult assignments, effectively setting TerVeer up to fail. One huge assignment he was given, TerVeer alleges, would normally require the attention of half a dozen employees.

When TerVeer appealed to Mech’s supervisor, Nicholas Christopher, he was allegedly told, “Employees do not have rights,” and offered no help or advice. According to TerVeer, Mech then put him under “heightened scrutiny” supervision and gave him an “extremely negative” review on a project he had not yet finished. According to TerVeer, when he threatened to lodge a wrongful discrimination and harassment claim, Mech launched into a tirade that ended with him saying, “You do not have rights, this is a dictatorship.” By 2011, TerVeer was “on track to be terminated within six months,” according to the court’s opinion, and, in November, he filed a formal complaint with the EEOC alleging discrimination because of religion and sex, sexual harassment, and reprisal. After taking leave time due to emotional stress, TerVeer claims, he was “constructively terminated’ in April 2012 because he was unable to return to work to confront Mech and Christopher. The Library then fired him, and his internal grievance appeal was unsuccessful. TerVeer filed suit claiming violations of Title VII, the US Constitution, and the Library of Congress’ internal regulations. In her ruling, Judge Kollar-Kotelly saw Title VII’s protection as broader than simply prohibiting discrimination

based on the type of gender stereotyping previously found illegal. She wrote, “Plaintiff has alleged that he is ‘a homosexual male whose sexual orientation is not consistent with the Defendant’s perception of acceptable gender roles,’ and that his ‘status as a homosexual male did not conform to the Defendant’s gender stereotypes associated with men under Mech’s supervision or at the (Library of Congress),’ and that ‘his orientation as homosexual had removed him from Mech’s preconceived definition of male.’” This, Kollar-Kotelly found, was sufficient to meet TerVeer’s burden of setting forth “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Since TerVeer alleged the Library denied him promotions and created a hostile work environment because of his “nonconformity with male sex stereotypes,” TerVeer could proceed with his claim. The judge noted the limits of TerVeer’s victory so far, emphasizing that the plaintiff’s burden in rebutting the Library of Congress’ motion to dismiss the case is “relatively low.” There has not yet been any factual discovery in the case. Kollar-Kotelly also found that TerVeer could sustain a Title VII claim based on the religiously-motivated bias of his supervisor. “The Court sees no reason to create an exception to these cases for employees who are targeted for religious harassment due to their status as a homosexual individual,” she wrote. The judge also found that TerVeer’s factual allegations would be sufficient grounding for a claim of a “retaliatory hostile work environment.” Since the Supreme Court has made clear that Title VII is the exclusive remedy for federal employees with discrimination claims that come within its scope, Kollar -Kotelly dismissed TerVeer’s constitutional claims. So, for the first time, a federal court has said a gay man who is not gender non-conforming except for his sexual orientation can assert a sex discrimination claim when a supervisor’s own religiously-inspired stereotyped notions of proper sex roles motivated adverse treatment against him. Still, it’s premature to predict that ENDA is not needed. This is only one pre-trial ruling from a single federal judge that has established no precedent. It does reflect, however, a steady broadening in the definition of sex discrimination under Title VII. Where Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling is a harbinger or a one-off remains to be seen.


| April 16, 2014

FAMILY

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Judge Says Surrogacy Ban No Bar to Second-Parent Adoption BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

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uuling on a previouslyundecided question under New York parenting law, a Queens County Family Court judge has decided the state’s ban on surrogacy contracts poses no impediment to considering an adoption petition from the same-sex spouse of a man whose twins were conceived and borne through a gestational surrogacy contract with a woman in India. Judge Barbara Salinitro’s April 3 ruling, in Matter of J.J., notes the failure of New York law to keep up with social change. As is often the case in family law matters involving children, all of the parties are identified solely by their initials. The fathers in this case are identified as J.H.-W. and M.H.-W., legally married New York residents. M.H.-W. entered into a gestational surrogacy contract with Y.M.A.K. in India. M.H.-W. provided the sperm used to fertilize an anonymous donor’s egg in vitro, and Y.M.A.K. carried the twins, to whom she is not biologically related. When the twins were born on May 12, 2013, she immediately turned them over to M.H.-W., who traveled to India together with J.H.-W. for their birth. Last May 28, the twins were granted US citizenship and permitted to enter this country. They have lived with their two fathers since then, and a home study provided to the court reported they “are thriving in their care.” Though New York State has a controversial statutory ban on surrogacy contracts, the facts on the ground have developed away from that in significant ways. The ban dates back to the late 1980s, when the Legislature moved in response to an infamous case involving a New Jersey infant, dubbed Baby M, who was conceived under a contract between a surrogate, who herself was married, and a married couple in which the husband donated his sperm. The surrogate mother changed her mind after Baby M’s birth and fled New Jersey with her husband and the child, leading to nationwide headlines. After the child was found and returned to New Jer sey, a court there held that as a matter of public policy the contract was unenforceable, even though the state had no statutory ban as New York does now. However, the court awarded primary custody to the sperm donor father, with visitation rights for the surrogate, who was both the biological and gestational mother. In Albany, legislators moved to avoid what was seen as unseemly legal wrangling between competing would-be par-

ents with New York’s statutory ban, making such contracts unenforceable and illegal. Although New York’s ban remains in place, unaltered, state law has changed in other ways, including the 1995 ruling by the state’s highest bench, the Court of Appeals, approving second-parent adoptions. And, given the 2011 marriage equality law in New York, J.H.-W. is the husband of the twins’ father and so already, in essence, their step-father with whom they have been living since birth. The adoption of children by a step-father with the approval of the biological father is a routine occurrence in family courts. This is the context that faced Judge Salinitro as she considered whether twins conceived and borne through an unenforceable, illegal contract can be adopted by their biological father’s spouse. After pointing out that surrogate parents “become parties to what New York considers an ‘illegal contract,’” she observed, “It is troublesome that when using a surrogate, a birth parent who provides his or her genetic material is a legal parent to the child, yet their partner may not be able to achieve legal parentage through adoption, even though both planned on raising that child together in a family setting. Worse yet, in cases where neither partner has furnished their genetic material for a baby carried by a surrogate, neither parent could be deemed the legal parent of a child through adoption.” While those outcomes are “consistent with statutes dictating that no person may give or accept any type of compensation in exchange for placement of a child for the purpose of adoption,” they are, Salinitro found, “inconsistent with the Legislature’s intent that ‘each adoption should be judged upon the best interests of the child based upon a totality of the circumstances.’”

DONA ACETO

In first New York ruling of its kind, court allows gay husband’s petition to proceed

State Senator Brad Hoylman (at the microphone), with his husband David Sigal and their daughter Silvia borne by a surrogate mother in California, is the sponsor of legislation allowing for surragacy contracts.

The “best interest of the child,” which is the central doctrine of family law in the United States, should overcome any doubts created by New York’s surrogacy statute, the judge ruled. “The Court finds where a surrogacy contract exists and an adoption has been filed to establish legal parentage, such surrogacy contract does not foreclose an adoption from proceeding,” Salinitro concluded. Whatever the court decides, she noted, the twins will live with the two men as their fathers, and the adoption petition in no way asks the court to enforce the surrogacy contract, which the surrogate willingly complied with. Since J.H.-W. “is prepared to assume the rights and responsibilities that accompany legal parentage,” the judge wrote, “In keeping with the Legislature’s intent to encourage loving, happy families for children with parents who wish to accept that role… the Court finds that the surrogacy contract’s legality is of no

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consequence to the matter.” Since the surrogacy contract is no bar to adoption, Salinitro will now proceed with the remaining formalities in the adoption proceedings. She was careful to note that her decision “should in no way be read to condone any violation of any New York State law,” but the clear tone of her opinion sounds a call to the Legislature to get moving on revising the surrogacy statute to accommodate couples unable to have children who are biologically related to at least one of them without the assistance of a surrogate. Out gay Manhattan State Senator Brad Hoylman, who with his husband is a co-father of a girl born with the participation of a gestational surrogate in California, and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin of Westchester, both Democrats, are sponsors of legislation to allow surrogacy contracts under New York law. J.H.-W.’s adoption petition was filed by attorney Clifford Greenberg.


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April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

RELIGION, from p.7

people to be ministers (something commonly done in Britain at the time the new American nation adopted the First Amendment). The Washington State policy, the high court concluded, “imposes neither criminal nor civil sanctions on any type of religious service or rite. It does not deny to ministers the right to participate in the political affairs of the community. And it does not require students to choose between their religious beliefs and receiving a government benefit. The State has merely chosen not to fund a distinct category of instruction.” The Second Circuit panel similarly saw the New York schools case as one essentially about funding. Can the schools decide that they do not want to provide financial assistance by allowing their property to be converted to religious worship

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UTAH, from p.8

panel could apply a more stringent standard only if legal developments since 2008 mandate it or if the case involves something other than just a sexual orientation discrimination claim. A central issue during argument was whether last year’s DOMA ruling established a higher standard of review. The resolution of this question may prove critical, since at least one of the three judges — Kelly — suggested the Utah ban could survive rational basis review. But, as the arguments made clear, it is not easy to predict how debate over the appropriate standard of review will be resolved. That, in good measure, is due to the way in which Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy crafted his majority opinion in the DOMA case. Eschewing the typical categories used in distinguishing between rational basis and heightened scrutiny cases, Kennedy did not state whether the DOMA case involved a fundamental right to marry or if sexual orientation is a suspect classification — either of which would demand a heightened standard of judicial review. Rather, he treated it as a case in which Congress discriminated against same-sex couples by excluding them from the recognition of their state-law marriages in a way that deprived them of numerous federal rights and benefits. DOMA was not just a sexual orienta-

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service use? In light of the 2004 decision in the Washington State case, the Second Circuit panel majority did not see this as a difficult question. Both cases reflect the “historical and constitutional aversion to the use of public funds to support the practice of religion,” the panel found. The city’s interest “in respecting the principle of the Establishment Clause that disfavors public funding of religion is substantial, and the burden, if it can properly be called a burden, that falls on Bronx Household in needing to find a location that is not subsidized by the City for the conduct of its religious worship services, is minor from a constitutional point of view.” Still, the burden on Bronx Household of Faith, from a real estate perspective, is not minor, which may help explain Judge Walker’s dissent. He argued that allowing the congregation to use public school

tion discrimination case, the Supreme Court found, but also one of intentional unequal treatment of a defined portion of the population, having direct and wide-ranging adverse effects. None of the arguments made to justify the policy choice Congress made in 1996 were sufficient to justify the magnitude of what same-sex couples were denied, according to the high court. Instead of drawing from the language the court uses in racial and sex discrimination cases, Kennedy’s analysis of DOMA was tailored to the particular issues the case raised. The lower courts, accustomed to long established doctrinal categories, have struggled with applying the precedents established by Kennedy, not only in the DOMA case but in two other big gay rights rulings — on sodomy in 2003 and in 1996 regarding Colorado’s anti-gay Amendment 2. Still, the DOMA ruling clearly suggests something like heightened scrutiny. Kennedy referred disparagingly to “second tier marriages” robbed of their “dignity” because they enjoyed state but not federal recognition, and wrote about the specific stigma and burdens imposed upon children whose parents’ marriages were not recognized. As in his 1996 Colorado opinion, Kennedy argued that any state policy that, on its face, discriminates against a distinct group of people must have a legitimate policy justification and must be shown to be

APPEALS, from p.9

litigation is still in the pre-trial stage, District Court Judge Michael F. Urbanski certified the case as a class action on behalf of all same-sex couples wishing to marry. This prompted the ACLU and Lambda to petition the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to be allowed to participate in the county court clerks’ appeal of the East District marriage equality ruling. Urbanski, meanwhile, issued a March 31 ruling that he would stay the Western District case before him pending the Fourth Circuit’s ruling on the Eastern District appeal.

The Sixth Circuit, meanwhile, has marriage equality appeals pending in all four of the

space available generally to community groups “is hardly financing of that entity” and that “shutting the door to religious worship services in such a setting when every other activity is permitted strikes at the [Free Exercise] Clause’s core.” He argued that the policy “plainly discriminates against religious belief and cannot be justified by a compelling government interest.” Walker suggested the underlying issues are “ripe for Supreme Court review.” As Mayor Bill de Blasio moves to reverse the policy about which the city just won an appellate victory, the Establishment Clause question will remain. Taxpayers objecting to the use of buildings paid for with public funds for religious worship services might set off new litigation, requiring an answer to the question the Second Circuit panel dodged answering in the case just decided.

necessary to achieving that legitimate goal. Under such an approach, if the state argues that families headed by a husband and a wife provide the “best’ setting for raising children, it must show not only that this policy concern is legitimate and well-founded, but also that barring same-sex couples from mar rying contributes to that goal. Schaerr was reduced to arguing that allowing same-sex couples to marry sends subtle messages to boys that undermine their masculinity and discourage them from marrying women, speculation that is, at best, a hypothesis. On behalf of the plaintiffs, Tomsic argued that if there is a constitutional right to marry, no amount of unproven speculation can trump that right. The state should have to show that allowing same-sex couples to marry would have some sort of deleterious social effect, something not evident in the decade since marriage equality took effect in Massachusetts. The justification Utah put forward, Tomsic pointed out, is the same sort of rationale rejected by the Supreme Court last year in the DOMA case. In fact, Justice Antonin Scalia, in his DOMA dissent, saw Kennedy’s approach as leading ineluctably to a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. Every federal trial judge who has ruled on marriage equality since then has agreed, a number of

states in the circuit — Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. On April 4, Michigan’s attorney general, Republican Bill Schuette, filed a petition asking that the state’s appeal of the marriage equality victory there bypass the customary three-judge appellate panel stage and go directly to what is called en banc review, which would involve all 15 of the circuit’s active judges. The Sixth Circuit had already issued an expedited briefing schedule in appeals of marriage equality rulings in Kentucky and Tennessee, as well as in an Ohio case where the district court ordered that an out-ofstate marriage by two men be recognized for purposes of one of the men’s death certificate. Schuette, noting that all four cases are “proceeding

them quoting Scalia. If the 10th Circuit ends up being divided on this question, it will be the first time since last June that any federal judge has not reached that conclusion. However the 10th Circuit comes down in the Utah case, there is a good chance it will not be the last word. Should the governor and attorney general’s standing be denied and Governor Herbert prove unable to have the full 10th Circuit or the Supreme Court reconsider that ruling, Judge Shelby’s decision would stand as unappealed and same-sex marriage would resume in Utah. If the case is sent back to Shelby for trial, this litigation could become moot as another circuit ruling gets to the Supreme Court and the question of marriage equality nationwide is settled in that way (see story, page 9). And if the panel rules on the merits, the losing side will undoubtedly seek either rehearing by the full circuit or Supreme Court review. If Utah prevails, the case could end there, with the high court denying an appeal by the plaintiffs. Should the plaintiffs win at the 10th Circuit and their case go to the Supreme Court, their victory, momentous in the short term, would, like Edie Windsor’s victory at the Second Circuit in October of 2012, be merely a prelude — and an historical footnote — to how the Supreme Court settles the underlying question.

swiftly in parallel,” pointed to federal appellate procedures that recognize that some cases are “so significant that they warrant initial hearing en banc.” “This is such a case,” Schuette argued and then referred to Michigan’s 2004 voter referendum that banned same-sex marriage. “It presents the question whether one of our most fundamental rights — the right to vote — matters, or whether a judge can take an important social issue out of the hands of the voters by concluding it is not something about which reasonable citizens can disagree.” Schuette may be playing a numbers game here. The Sixth Circuit now has 10 active judges appointed

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APPEALS, continued on p.13


13

| April 16, 2014

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APPEALS, from p.12

by George W. Bush or his father, three judges appointed by Bill Clinton, and two by Barack Obama, with one vacancy. The en banc court, then, has a 10-5 majority of judges appointed by GOP presidents. A three-judge panel chosen randomly, on the other hand, could conceivably yield a majority of Democratic appointees. If that is the calculation, Schuette might consider that several of the recent marriage equality decisions in federal court were issued by Republican appointees, suggesting that political affiliations are not a salient factor in how this issue is playing out. And, of course, the issue ultimately will not be decided by any circuit court of appeals, but rather by the Supreme Court. Should the Sixth Circuit move to consolidate all of the pending appeals in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, its ruling would be something special, no matter how it turned out. One additional factor in the Sixth Circuit involves Ohio, where, on April 14, District Judge T imothy Black struck down the state’s ban on recognizing legal same-sex marriages from other states (see page 5). Black last year issued the ruling finding that Ohio had to recognize an outof-state marriage of two men, John Arthur and Jim Obergefell, when filling out Arthur’s death certificate.

T h e re a re a l s o interesting developments in the Ninth Circuit, where

Lambda Legal is appealing a defeat — which predated the DOMA ruling — at the district court in its suit against Nevada’s ban on equal marriage rights. The State of Nevada was defending the case on appeal, but its Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, abruptly changed course in January after a Ninth Circuit ruling in a case involving a sexual orientation discrimination claim regarding jury selection. The issue arose out of antitrust litigation between SmithKline Beecham and Abbott Laboratories over HIV drugs, and the appeals court found that Abbott’s use of a peremptory challenge to keep a gay man off the jury should — in light of the DOMA ruling — be subjected to “heightened scrutiny.” Sandoval and Cortez Masto said that if Nevada’s gay marriage ban were subjected to heightened scrutiny — which places a higher burden than is typical on the state in justifying its policy — it could not be defended in court. Parties that had filed amicus briefs will now defend the Nevada ban, though the state has not for mally withdrawn its appeal, perhaps to pre-

serve its right to appeal a Ninth Cir cuit ruling that strikes down the marriage ban. At the Supreme Court, Sandoval could argue that the demanding heightened scrutiny standard applied by the Ninth Circuit is not appropriate in weighing sexual orientation discrimination claims. Oral arguments in the Nevada case had been planned for April 9, but were mysteriously cancelled. Since that cancellation, news has surfaced that there is sentiment in the circuit to review en banc the heightened scrutiny ruling in the juror exclusion case. If that ruling were overturned, the state of play in the marriage case would shift back to where it was when the state initially planned to defend its ban. To further complicate the picture, there is marriage equality litigation playing out in three other states in the circuit — Arizona, Idaho, and Oregon.

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The marriage equality issue, then, is quickly coming to a

boil at the appellate level, even as new cases have been filed in recent weeks in other states. We are very close to the point where equal marriage claims are being litigated in every state that does not alr eady allow same-sex couples to marry. As of now, same-sex couples can marry in 17 states and the District of Columbia, and a majority of those states, as well as DC, achieved marriage equality legislatively, not through judicial action. A decision is expected soon in Oregon, where the state has indicated it would not appeal a marriage equality victory and no county clerk has stepped forward to say they would. And in Indiana, on April 10, US District Judge Richard Young granted an emergency motion from Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, a Munster couple, seeking immediate recognition of their Massachusetts marriage due to Quasney’s terminal ovarian cancer. Young, who is hearing five separate challenges to Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage, indicated the couple was likely to win on the merits when their case is heard. In addition, of course, the federal government now recognizes same-sex marriages contracted in states where they are legal — and even if those couples in fact reside in states that don’t recognize their marriage, their unions are treated as valid by the US government to the maximum degree possible. The tide toward marriage equality appears irresistible, as public opinion polls show majority support in the electorate —even in many non-marriage equality states and among Republicans under 45. With all the litigation stirring, the issue will likely end up in the Supreme Court next term, so spring 2015 may be when the marriage equality issue is resolved in the United States.

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April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

REAL ESTATE

A Neighborhood Full of History Where So Much is New

A penthouse at Related’s One MiMA Tower, 460 West 42nd Street.

BY LAUREN PRICE

Go West: Not so many years ago, it might have been unimaginable for someone to suggest living in Hell’s Kitchen. Today, the gentrification of what was once a rough and tumble swath of tenements, factories, warehouses, and parking structures into a white-hot neighborhood — from Eighth Avenue west to the Hudson River, between 30th and 57th Streets — is the talk of the town. Driving forces behind the transformation include the evolution of Hudson River Park, the nation’s second largest waterside urban open space, the development of the High Line and Chelsea Piers, and, most dramatically, the sale of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s storage yards to make way for the creation of the mixed-use Hudson Yards community on what is Manhattan’s largest undeveloped parcel of land. Some Hell's Kitchen neighborhood

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Riverfront renewal, a repurposed elevated industrial artery, and a rail yard rising transform Hell’s Kitchen

A duplex at Halstead Property Development Marketing’s 540West, on 49th Street.

favorites, of course, have been around for decades. Officially christened as Restaurant Row in 1973, the block of 46th Street between Eight and Ninth Avenues offers diners the choice of some 35 eateries. Established in 2000, Theater Row, on and around 42nd Street mostly between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, is a beloved complex of renovated historic theaters, including the Acorn, the Beckett, the Clurman, and the Lion. The weekend-long Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, since 2003, has turned the block of 39th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues into a value-hunter’s paradise. There, vendors hawk everything from greenmarket goods to vintage clothing, antique jewelry, collectibles, furniture, books, and toys. The Hudson Yards property, however, is an historic, even unprecedented gamechanger. “When there is an opportunity to develop a very large area of land, build-

ers have the freedom to create projects that cannot be accomplished elsewhere in Manhattan,” said Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats. “As our city continuously evolves, Hell’s Kitchen has steadily grown into a booming neighborhood where everyone wants to live.” Take the no-fee rentals at Gotham West — a new building at 550 West 45th Street with LEED-certification, a green construction seal of approval — as an example of how the neighborhood is changing at lightning speed. In-home amenities include floor-to-ceiling windows, wideplank quarter sawn oak floors, washers and dryers, and kitchens outfitted with KitchenAid appliances and granite worktops. Some have walk-in closets and separate kitchen pantries. This full-service building boasts complimentary weekday breakfasts, curated art works, a business center, a demo kitchen used by invited professional chefs, a billiards room, a fitness cen-

ter, three outdoor spaces — including the Sky Terrace with an outdoor movie screen — a bike porter for last minute tune-ups, complimentary shuttles to Sixth Avenue for weekday morning and evening commutes, and on-site parking. The block-long Gotham West Market features artisan vendors and excellent dining choices. Rents begin at $2,975 per month. (gothamwestnyc.com) No-fee rentals are also on tap at the brand new LEED Gold-registered Abington House at 500 West 30th Street. Leasing studios to two-bedroom units with open plans, the building offers some units with private outdoor space. All homes feature large windows, oak floors, and washer/ dryers, with some also affording breathtaking views of the High Line, the Hudson River, and the skyline. There are three communal terraces, one of them dedicated to barbequing, along with party

c

HELL'S KITCHEN, continued on p.16

BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT TAKES SHAPE As a neighborhood rises from the ground up, the Hudson Yards/ Hell’s Kitchen Business Improvement District (HYHK BID), in mid-March, announced an interim board of directors, a significant step toward becoming fully operational. The BID, created under legislation signed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg in December, covers more than 450 businesses between West 30th Street and West 42nd Street, from Ninth Avenue to the east side of 11th Avenue. The 29-member interim board has elected Kevin P. Singleton, executive vice president of TF Cornerstone, as chair, and Oskar Brecher, executive vice president of development at the Moinian Group, and Andrew Cantor, vice president of development at Related Companies, as vice chairs. The HYHK BID’s designation came in the wake of more than a year

of advocacy from a broad swath of constituencies on the Far West Side. Commercial property owners and tenants, residential owners, neighborhood association leaders, Community Board 4 members, and government representatives — all of whom recognized the area’s emergence as one of the fastest growing and most desirable locations for new development — came together in a BID planning committee in May 2012. That group worked with the New York City Department of Small Business Services to craft the enabling legislation. The BID’s immediate priorities include: • Overseeing development of Hudson Park & Boulevard, a roughly four-acre area of parkland and open space that will run between 10th and 11th Avenues from West 33rd to West 39th Streets. Phase

one of the Park & Boulevard, extending from West 33rd to West 36th Streets in the mid-blocks between 10th and 11th Avenues, is nearing completion and the entire project is expected to be complete by 2015. • Implementing district-wide services and improvements, involving open space and greening, increased pedestrian and traffic safety, sanitation services in targeted areas, and access to capital and technical assistance. • Advocating for Hudson Yards / Hell’s Kitchen area constituents by working with Community Board 4, neighborhood groups, city agencies, and government representatives. — Lauren Price


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| April 16, 2014

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April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

Coop and Condo Avg. Price / ft2

Coop and Condo Count of Closed Deals

$1,400

70

$1,200

60

$1,000

50

For the Area from 30th Street to 57th Street West of 9th Ave

PRICE / FT 2

$800

$600

40

30

$400

20

$200

10

11Q1

KEY: CONDO

11Q2

11Q3

11Q4

12Q1

12Q2

12Q3

12Q4

13Q1

13Q2

13Q3

13Q4

14Q1

11Q1

COOP

KEY: CONDO

NOTE: Closed Deals registered with the NYC Acris system through April 4, 2014.

11Q2

11Q3

11Q4

12Q1

12Q2

12Q3

12Q4

13Q1

13Q2

13Q3

13Q4

14Q1

COOP

NOTE: Closed Deals registered with the NYC Acris system through April 4, 2014.

CityRealty’s tally of condo and coop sales closings and average price per square-foot from the first quarter of 2011 through the first quarter of 2014.

c

HELL'S KITCHEN, from p.14

rooms, indoor/ outdoor screening rooms, lounge areas, and the exclusive grooming, walking, training, and play date services offered by Dog City. Rents start at $3,000 per month. (related.com) The Ohm at 312 Eleventh Avenue at 30th Street was built with no-fee rental units ranging from about 560 to 1,020 square feet, 20 percent of them in the affordable housing category. They all showcase floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood floors, open kitchens, washer/ dryers, and safes. Communal amenities include a lounge, a sky deck, a fitness center, complimentary shuttles to and from Penn Station for weekday morning and evening commutes, and onsite parking. Rents start at $2,695 per month. (ohmny.com) For no-frill renters willing to pay a broker’s fee — especially those who don’t mind living in a building without an ele-

vator — the Oxford Property Group has dozens of listings in Hell’s Kitchen from as low as $1,600 per month for a renovated studio with new Thermopane windows, high ceilings, hardwood floors, a walk-in closet, and granite worktops in the kitchen. For $2,100 a month, this brokerage also offers a number of onebedroom homes. (opgny.com) For buyers who prefer mid-rise dwellings, 540West, on 49th Street, is made up of two seven-story interconnected buildings. With a unit mix that runs from studios to two-bedrooms, including duplexes and penthouses, square footage ranges from 501 to 1,625 square feet. As expected in a newer building, this one offers residences with floor-to-ceiling windows, white oak floors, and washer/ dryers. Resident-only amenities include a fitness center, two roof decks, a lounge, a courtyard with reflecting pool, an open-air movie theater, and a pet spa. This building is sold exclusively through Halstead Property

Development Marketing and priced from $725,000. Owners can expect to move in by the end of the year. (540west.com)

A Rail Yard Awakens: What was once an isolated area of rail yards, empty factories, warehouses, parking lots, and even strip clubs, Related Companies’ 28-acre Hudson Yards, between 30th and 34th Streets west of 10th Avenue, will include 17 million square feet of commercial and residential space, including 100-plus stores (with negotiations reportedly underway with Neiman Marcus), 20 restaurants, a luxury hotel, park areas, and a 750desk public school. An extension of the number 7 subway line from Times Square to 34th Street and 11th Avenue is set to open in late 2014. The LEED Gold-registered 10 Hudson Yards commercial tower, with a direct link to the High Line, has inked deals to lease commercial space to world-class

RECREATION ROCKS ON THE RIVER Restored and reimagined piers, dazzling water views, lush grassy expanses, and a 32-mile bikeway — the nation’s most heavily used — are among the highlights at Hudson River Park, which has become the elegant front lawn for Manhattan’s West Side neighborhoods Comprised of multiple ball fields, tennis and basketball courts, skating venues, and myriad aquatic pleasures, the park is also home to an 18-hole miniature golf course with sand traps, foot bridges, a pond, and a waterfall, a children’s carousel with hand-carved wood figures of Hudson River Valley animals, a Trapeze School that had Carrie Bradshaw flying through the air on HBO a decade ago, and a seasonal sand area for beachfront volleyball. Annual summertime events for all ages are neighborhood favorites, too. Starting July 12, kids can enjoy movies at Pier 46 at Charles Street in the West Village, while adult fare is screened at Riverflicks at Pier 63 at 23rd Street in Chelsea. Pack a picnic dinner for concerts at RiverRocks beginning July 11 at Pier 84 at 44th Street, and, from July 14 on at this same pier, the city’s largest, you can dance the night away to some of the best bands around at MoonDance. Pier 84 also offers the annual Blues BBQ Festival on August 24, an interactive

outdoor water play area, and bicycle rentals. Hudson River Park hosts youth enrichment programs throughout the year, ranging from Riverside Rangers, where kids explore the river’s ecosystem through discovery-based science experiments and nature-inspired crafts, to big city fishing — all led by experts. “Our educational programs are a vital resource for thousands of families and students,” said Nicolette Witcher, the park’s vice president of environment and education. “This summer, our line-up is better than ever. And we’re thrilled to be partnering with New York Hall of Science this fall to present SUBMERGE!, a free, day-long marine science festival devoted to New York City’s coastal waters that will feature noted marine scientists, interactive demonstrations, and hands-on activities for all ages.” (hudsonriverpark.org) Summertime is a particularly active time for youth at Chelsea Piers, with 16 specialty sports camps for children and teens, ages 3 to 17. Programs include golf, gymnastics, soccer, ice-skating, bowling, and basketball. Camps run from June 16 to August 29, and enrollments range from one week to 11 weeks. Sign up before May 23 and early bird pricing will apply. (chelseapiers.com/camps) — Lauren Price

names including Coach, L’Oreal, and German software powerhouse SAP. An enormous Fairway Market will be developed under the High Line. The first residential tower, LEED Goldregistered 15 Hudson Yards will open in 2017. Made up largely of condominiums, the building will have a 20 percent setaside for affordable rentals. Adjacent to that, the Culture Shed, the much talked-about multi-purpose venue offering seven levels of flexible performance and gallery space to host a dizzying range of art, design, and special events, including New York City’s Fashion Week, is also slated to open in 2017. LEED Gold-registered 30 Hudson Yards, a commercial tower with the city’s highest outdoor observation deck, will be ready by 2018. Time Warner has already acquired more than one million square feet of office space in this building for about 5,000 employees from corporate operations, including HBO, Turner Broadcasting, and Warner Bros. Condominiums, a hotel, and both retail and entertainment spaces at LEED Goldregistered 35 Hudson, with direct access to the High Line, Hudson River Park, and Hudson Boulevard & Park, a planned ribbon of parkland that will wind it way between 10th and 11th Avenues, is also expected to open in 2018. (relatated.com/ hudson-yards)

View from the Top: In 1925, when the George Fuller Construction Company wanted to develop a new residential building on Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, they had to convince cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post Hutton to give up her townhouse that stood on the site. She agreed, but only if Fuller created a 54-room penthouse for her on the top three floors. Interest in living at the pinnacle hasn’t flagged since. c

HELL'S KITCHEN, continued on p.17

COURTESY OF CITYREALTY

COUNT OF CLOSED DEALS

For the Area from 30th Street to 57th Street West of 9th Ave


17

| April 16, 2014

PLAY DINE UNWIND

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Over 5,000 Games. Minutes Away!

A view of the High Line from Related’s Abington House at 500 West 30th Street.

c

HELL'S KITCHEN, from p.16

Penthouses with considerably fewer than 54 rooms remain a hot commodity, particularly when they offer the best views and outdoor living space. With new builds and conversions proliferating on the Far West Side, there are a number of available posh aeries facing the Hudson River, for both rental and purchase. Penthouse seekers might check out the 959-square-foot two-bedroom with river views in the Atelier’s 35th floor at 635 West 42nd Street. The asking price is $1.9 million, and there’s a tax abatement through 2018. Communal amenities include a resident-only lounge with complimentary weekday breakfasts, a basketball court and gym, a swimming pool, two roof decks with grill areas, complimentary shuttles across 42nd Street for weekday morning and evening commutes, and onsite parking. (halstead.com) A sprawling triplex co-op on floors 13 through 15 is on the market at 347 West 39th Street, priced at $2.75 million and marketed through Douglas Elliman. The building has no flip tax. A loft-like, three-

bedroom penthouse in a 2010 converted garment factory, it’s outfitted with high ceilings, huge windows, an open chef’s kitchen overlooking the dining/ living spaces, and a private corner terrace accessed from the 15th floor. Two other standout features are the pair of woodburning fireplaces and the private wraparound planting terrace on the triplex’s second level. (elliman.com) No-fee renters willing to pay skyhigh to live sky-high will find the 2,200-square-foot, convertible four bedroom penthouse (including two master suites) on the 61st floor of the LEED Gold One MiMA Tower, at 460 West 42nd Street, just the ticket. Building extras include an Equinox and indoor lap pool, full-size basketball and volleyball courts, three landscaped terraces with private dining pods and BBQ areas, party rooms/ catering kitchens, outdoor/ indoor screening rooms, an Internet café and business center, a game room, and on-site training, grooming, walking, and scheduled play date services from Dog City. This home will set you back $19,000 a month. (related.com)

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April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

What is STRIBILD? STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. It combines 4 medicines into 1 pill to be taken once a day with food. STRIBILD is a complete single-tablet regimen and should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines. STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses you must keep taking STRIBILD. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD? STRIBILD can cause serious side effects: • Build-up of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual (not normal) muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold especially in your arms and legs, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat. • Serious liver problems. The liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and fatty (steatosis). Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice), dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored bowel movements (stools), loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach pain. • You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking STRIBILD for a long time. In some cases, these serious conditions have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions.

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• Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you also have HBV and stop taking STRIBILD, your hepatitis may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking STRIBILD without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health. STRIBILD is not approved for the treatment of HBV.

Who should not take STRIBILD? Do not take STRIBILD if you: • Take a medicine that contains: alfuzosin, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, cisapride, lovastatin, simvastatin, pimozide, sildenafil when used for lung problems (Revatio®), triazolam, oral midazolam, rifampin or the herb St. John’s wort. • For a list of brand names for these medicines, please see the Brief Summary on the following pages. • Take any other medicines to treat HIV-1 infection, or the medicine adefovir (Hepsera®).

What are the other possible side effects of STRIBILD? Serious side effects of STRIBILD may also include: • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do regular blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before and during treatment with STRIBILD. If you develop kidney problems, your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking STRIBILD. • Bone problems, including bone pain or bones getting soft or thin, which may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people taking HIV-1 medicines. • Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking STRIBILD. The most common side effects of STRIBILD include nausea and diarrhea. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or don’t go away.

19

| April 16, 2014

STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used as a complete single-tablet regimen to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking STRIBILD? • All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection. • All the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. STRIBILD may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how STRIBILD works. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. Do not start any new medicines while taking STRIBILD without first talking with your healthcare provider. • If you take hormone-based birth control (pills, patches, rings, shots, etc). • If you take antacids. Take antacids at least 2 hours before or after you take STRIBILD. • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if STRIBILD can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking STRIBILD. • If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk. Also, some medicines in STRIBILD can pass into breast milk, and it is not known if this can harm the baby.

I started my personal revolution Talk to your healthcare provider about starting treatment. STRIBILD is a complete HIV-1 treatment in 1 pill, once a day. Ask if it’s right for you.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Please see Brief Summary of full Prescribing Information with important warnings on the following pages.

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April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

Patient Information STRIBILD® (STRY-bild) (elvitegravir 150 mg/cobicistat 150 mg/emtricitabine 200 mg/ tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300 mg) tablets Brief summary of full Prescribing Information. For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information. What is STRIBILD? • STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. STRIBILD is a complete regimen and should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines. • STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. You must stay on continuous HIV-1 therapy to control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses. • Ask your healthcare provider about how to prevent passing HIV-1 to others. Do not share or reuse needles, injection equipment, or personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them. Do not have sex without protection. Always practice safer sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD? STRIBILD can cause serious side effects, including: 1. Build-up of lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis can happen in some people who take STRIBILD or similar (nucleoside analogs) medicines. Lactic acidosis is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Lactic acidosis can be hard to identify early, because the symptoms could seem like symptoms of other health problems. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms which could be signs of lactic acidosis: • feel very weak or tired • have unusual (not normal) muscle pain • have trouble breathing • have stomach pain with nausea or vomiting • feel cold, especially in your arms and legs • feel dizzy or lightheaded • have a fast or irregular heartbeat 2. Severe liver problems. Severe liver problems can happen in people who take STRIBILD. In some cases, these liver problems can lead to death. Your liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and you may develop fat in your liver (steatosis). Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms of liver problems: • your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice) • dark “tea-colored” urine • light-colored bowel movements (stools) • loss of appetite for several days or longer • nausea • stomach pain You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking STRIBILD for a long time. 3. Worsening of Hepatitis B infection. If you have hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and take STRIBILD, your HBV may get worse (flare-up) if you stop taking STRIBILD. A “flare-up” is when your HBV infection suddenly returns in a worse way than before. • Do not run out of STRIBILD. Refill your prescription or talk to your healthcare provider before your STRIBILD is all gone

• Do not stop taking STRIBILD without first talking to your healthcare provider • If you stop taking STRIBILD, your healthcare provider will need to check your health often and do blood tests regularly for several months to check your HBV infection. Tell your healthcare provider about any new or unusual symptoms you may have after you stop taking STRIBILD Who should not take STRIBILD? Do not take STRIBILD if you also take a medicine that contains: • adefovir (Hepsera®) • alfuzosin hydrochloride (Uroxatral®) • cisapride (Propulsid®, Propulsid Quicksolv®) • ergot-containing medicines, including: dihydroergotamine mesylate (D.H.E. 45®, Migranal®), ergotamine tartrate (Cafergot®, Migergot®, Ergostat®, Medihaler Ergotamine®, Wigraine®, Wigrettes®), and methylergonovine maleate (Ergotrate®, Methergine®) • lovastatin (Advicor®, Altoprev®, Mevacor®) • oral midazolam • pimozide (Orap®) • rifampin (Rifadin®, Rifamate®, Rifater®, Rimactane®) • sildenafil (Revatio®), when used for treating lung problems • simvastatin (Simcor®, Vytorin®, Zocor®) • triazolam (Halcion®) • the herb St. John’s wort Do not take STRIBILD if you also take any other HIV-1 medicines, including: • Other medicines that contain tenofovir (Atripla®, Complera®, Viread®, Truvada®) • Other medicines that contain emtricitabine, lamivudine, or ritonavir (Atripla®, Combivir®, Complera®, Emtriva®, Epivir® or Epivir-HBV®, Epzicom®, Kaletra®, Norvir®, Trizivir®, Truvada®) STRIBILD is not for use in people who are less than 18 years old. What are the possible side effects of STRIBILD? STRIBILD may cause the following serious side effects: • See “What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD?” • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before you start and while you are taking STRIBILD. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking STRIBILD if you develop new or worse kidney problems. • Bone problems can happen in some people who take STRIBILD. Bone problems include bone pain, softening or thinning (which may lead to fractures). Your healthcare provider may need to do tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people who take HIV-1 medicine. These changes may include increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck (“buffalo hump”), breast, and around the middle of your body (trunk). Loss of fat from the legs, arms and face may also happen. The exact cause and long-term health effects of these conditions are not known. • Changes in your immune system (Immune Reconstitution Syndrome) can happen when you start taking HIV-1 medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you start having any new symptoms after starting your HIV-1 medicine.


21

| April 16, 2014

The most common side effects of STRIBILD include: • Nausea • Diarrhea Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. • These are not all the possible side effects of STRIBILD. For more information, ask your healthcare provider. • Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking STRIBILD? Tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including: • If you have or had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis B infection • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if STRIBILD can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking STRIBILD. - There is a pregnancy registry for women who take antiviral medicines during pregnancy. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the health of you and your baby. Talk with your healthcare provider about how you can take part in this registry. • If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take STRIBILD. - You should not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. - Two of the medicines in STRIBILD can pass to your baby in your breast milk. It is not known if the other medicines in STRIBILD can pass into your breast milk. - Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements: • STRIBILD may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how STRIBILD works. • Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you take any of the following medicines: - Hormone-based birth control (pills, patches, rings, shots, etc) - Antacid medicines that contain aluminum, magnesium hydroxide, or calcium carbonate. Take antacids at least 2 hours before or after you take STRIBILD - Medicines to treat depression, organ transplant rejection, or high blood pressure - amiodarone (Cordarone®, Pacerone®) - atorvastatin (Lipitor®, Caduet®) - bepridil hydrochloride (Vascor®, Bepadin®) - bosentan (Tracleer®) - buspirone - carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Epitol®, Equetro®, Tegretol®) - clarithromycin (Biaxin®, Prevpac®) - clonazepam (Klonopin®) - clorazepate (Gen-xene®, Tranxene®) - colchicine (Colcrys®) - medicines that contain dexamethasone - diazepam (Valium®)

- digoxin (Lanoxin®) - disopyramide (Norpace®) - estazolam - ethosuximide (Zarontin®) - flecainide (Tambocor®) - flurazepam - fluticasone (Flovent®, Flonase®, Flovent® Diskus®, Flovent® HFA, Veramyst®) - itraconazole (Sporanox®) - ketoconazole (Nizoral®) - lidocaine (Xylocaine®) - mexiletine - oxcarbazepine (Trileptal®) - perphenazine - phenobarbital (Luminal®) - phenytoin (Dilantin®, Phenytek®) - propafenone (Rythmol®) - quinidine (Neudexta®) - rifabutin (Mycobutin®) - rifapentine (Priftin®) - risperidone (Risperdal®, Risperdal Consta®) - salmeterol (Serevent®) or salmeterol when taken in combination with fluticasone (Advair Diskus®, Advair HFA®) - sildenafil (Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®) or vardenafil (Levitra®, Staxyn®), for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). If you get dizzy or faint (low blood pressure), have vision changes or have an erection that last longer than 4 hours, call your healthcare provider or get medical help right away. - tadalafil (Adcirca®), for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension - telithromycin (Ketek®) - thioridazine - voriconazole (Vfend®) - warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®) - zolpidem (Ambien®, Edlular®, Intermezzo®, Zolpimist®) Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. Do not start any new medicines while you are taking STRIBILD without first talking with your healthcare provider. Keep STRIBILD and all medicines out of reach of children. This Brief Summary summarizes the most important information about STRIBILD. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can also ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about STRIBILD that is written for health professionals, or call 1-800-445-3235 or go to www.STRIBILD.com. Issued: October 2013

COMPLERA, EMTRIVA, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, GSI, HEPSERA, STRIBILD, the STRIBILD Logo, TRUVADA, and VIREAD are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. ATRIPLA is a trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb & Gilead Sciences, LLC. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. © 2014 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. STBC0077 03/14


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JOAN MARCUS

April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

Terrence McNally with the cast of “Mothers and Sons”: Bobby Steggert, Grayson Taylor, Frederick Weller, and Tyne Daly.

T

BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE

errence McNally is keenly aware of how change happens — slowly, one person or event at a time. Yet it also happens in a moment. Rosa Parks, he observed, didn’t wake up one day and say she was going to change the world. Gandhi stood firm on the fact that he had bought a first-class train ticket. Edie Windsor wasn’t going to quietly pay an unfair tax bill that said her decades-old and, in its final years, legally recognized relationship did not exist.

MOTHERS AND SONS John Golden Theatre 252 W. 45th St. Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m.; Fri.- Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $59-$137; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 95 minutes, with no intermission

These actions, small as they were, were taken by individuals without the intention of touching off revolutions, but these actions became revolutionary as others, emboldened by them, refused to be treated as second-class citizens. As the song “Naughty” in Roald Dahl’s “Matilda” puts it: “In the slip of a bolt, there’s a tiny revolt.” Changing one’s own story is in one’s own hands, and what makes a hero is not just the initial action, but more the consequences of that action in bringing about a world-altering resolution. “Edie Windsor,” McNally said, “is a hero because a lot of people would have said, ‘This is more than I bargained for.’ They would have found it was not worth doing.” Yet she did, and the nation has irrevocably changed. That changed world for same-sex marriage is the backdrop for McNally’s latest Broadway play, “Mothers

and Sons,” a powerful and poetic play that, like everything McNally writes, is infused with humor and heart (see David Kennerley’s review at gaycitynews. com/family-reconfigured-2/). It concerns Cal and Will, two married men who are raising a son, Bud. The quotidian nature of their life is what is revolutionary, certainly within the context of none too distant history. Yet their life in a comfortable Upper West Side apartment is rattled when Katharine Gerard shows up. She is the mother of Andre, Cal’s first lover who died of AIDS 20 years previously. She ostensibly comes to return Andre’s journal, which Cal had sent her. But it soon becomes clear she is seeking something larger — closure, understanding, comfort in her grief, a chance to express her anger, anything to give her soul the rest it can’t find. At the same time, she causes upheaval in Cal and Will’s home. Will is 15 years younger than Cal and knows of the AIDS crisis only from hearing about it. Their son, Bud, is seven, and is growing up in a world where having two dads is unremarkable, at least in New York City. Will and Bud were not around to be touched by the AIDS crisis in the way that Katharine and Cal were, and so the older man and his dead lover’s mother share a painful, visceral bond with both Andre and AIDS that is merely part of history for the young husband and the child. McNally leaves it unclear if Katharine ever gets what she came for even as he explores things about Cal that are separate from his life with his husband and son. What is abundantly clear is that in tiny steps we all move forward, scars and all, making it through each day the best we can. That is its own form of heroism. McNally has enjoyed a remarkable career, both in terms of critical acclaim and in his exploration of gay themes. He is a four-time Tony winner — for “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!,” “Master Class,” and “Ragtime.” In 1975, he wrote “The Ritz,” a farce set in a Manhattan bathhouse; 1989’s “Lisbon Traviata” has two opera queens gushing over Maria Callas; the Fire Island Pines is the setting for 1991’s “Lips Together, Teeth Apart”; and in 1998, McNally outraged conservative Christians with “Corpus Christi,” a retelling of the story of Jesus and his apostles as gay men living in Texas. In “Mothers and Sons,” McNally retur ns for inspiration to two pieces he wrote previously. The first, a short play, “Andre’s Mother,” had Cal and Katharine at a memorial in Central Park for Andre. It was later turned into a 1990 movie for PBS, which won McNally a screenwriting Emmy. McNally explained his new play

came about serendipitously. He was contacted by the Buck’s County Playhouse, which had an opening in its season and needed something. McNally said that the theater thought the 24-year-old screenplay was so complete, “you could practically just retype it.” McNally had a different idea. “So much has happened since I wrote that play,” he said. “And I thought, why go back to that bleak epoch of despair? I couldn’t have written this play 25 years ago. AIDS was a crisis and a death threat. This play represents me having lived long enough to look back on where we are.” Many young LGBT people don’t understand the devastating impact the epidemic had on a community that was already marginalized, McNally argued. “AIDS is still with us,” he said. “If AIDS had happened to heterosexual men or women, the government would have intervened within a week. Our relationships didn’t exist, and we were more second-class citizens than we realized.” McNally appreciates the changes that have happened as a result of Windsor’s DOMA case and many other broad cultural shifts, and noted how astonishing the change has been within his lifetime. He vividly recalled the furtive nature of gay clubs in the 1960s and how, even after Stonewall, early pride marches drew crowds only in the hundreds. “Mothers and Sons” encompasses this history in a subtle way, reflected in the lives of the characters. It is not polemical like the work of Larry Kramer; it is intimate and moving. McNally said he doesn’t think too much about themes or symbols as he is writing. “I improvise,” he said. “ I have my own antennae and try not to over-think plays.” Still, when pressed about his intentions in his work, he said, “I do think there is a theme in my work: homophobia as the opposite of unconditional love. I don’t understand it. Is the worst thing a person could do is love someone of their own sex?” And, he added, “Homophobia didn’t end last June.” The responses to the play have been diverse. McNally said older gay people have a hard time understanding Will, Cal’s younger husband. He suggested many are uncomfortable with Will’s confidence, his freedom from the internalized homophobia of Cal’s (and their) contemporaries. Others are grateful to McNally for finding a way to dramatize LGBT history, something he did more

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MCNALLY, continued on p.27


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| April 16, 2014

FILM

At 17

François Ozon explores a young woman’s stark strike for independence

IFC

CELEBRATE CELEBRATE

Director François Ozon and his young starring actress, Marine Vacth.

BY GARY M. KRAMER

Y

oung & Beautiful,” the latest film from prolific gay writer/ director François Ozon, is an exquisitely made drama that chronicles a year in the life of 17-yearold Isabelle (Marine Vacth). After losing her virginity at the beach during the summer, she returns to Paris and secretly works as a prostitute after school.

YOUNG & BEAUTIFUL Directed by François Ozon IFC Films Opens Apr. 25 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com

When one of her clients dies, Isabelle’s activities are brought to the attention of her mother, Sylvie (Géraldine Pailhas), who is shocked and saddened by her daughter’s behavior. Ozon met with Gay City News to talk about “Young & Beautiful” during the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema Festival in March. The filmmaker explained it was important for him to show “the mystery of who was behind the girl — her motivations. I wanted to film without easy explanations — to be a voyeur.” His detached approach has Isabelle spied on through binoculars while sunbathing on the beach in the opening scene — and often through car

windows and hotel room mirrors. The scene where Isabelle first has sex has the teenager literally stepping outside the situation — she “watches herself.” “She is changing,” Ozon said of Isabelle. “She has new desires. She is no longer a child, but not yet an adult. It’s a transformation. She has a different costume for each character. Adolescence is finding a place and taking freedom from your parents. It’s having a double life. I think adolescents need to separate from family — hide a part of their life — to find intimacy.” A teenage girl keeping her sexual activity a secret from her parents certainly parallels the experience of many gay youth keeping their samesex desires to themselves. Ozon said he initially conceived the film as a teenage boy discovering his sexuality. “But if he was a prostitute we would have gay themes, and I felt that was too heavy,” he explained. “I wanted to make something light, sweet, and girly.” He added, “My last film, ‘In the House’ was about a boy and I wanted a change. It is no problem for me to identify with a female character. For me, it’s clearer. It was not a direct reflection of me.” Ozon was candid in talking about his own self-discovery at 17. “I knew I had the power to seduce,” he admitted. “I used that, but not in the same way as Isabelle — I didn’t become a prostitute — but adults were looking at me differently. I felt the sexuality of adult women and men. It was real power — they were older and because I was young and beautiful, I

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YOUNG, continued on p.25

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24

April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

THEATER

Disenchanted Evenings When three shows fall flat BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE

to Bob Fosse’s urban movement in “Sweet Charity,” in fact it’s largely inorganic and pretentious. Most egregious, though, is the inherent sexism of the premise — that Elizabeth’s choices are limited to stereotypes for what women can be. She can be either the loving and longsuffering mom or the hard-bitten career gal. Oh/ Please.

I

t’s probably battle fatigue. “Les Misérables” is easily the most over -exposed musical of the past three decades. Long run on Broadway, two revivals, concert versions, major motion picture, tours, high school productions, and so forth. That could be one reason the current revival at the Imperial Theatre is so undistinguished.

Imperial Theatre 249 W. 45th St. Tue., Thu. at 7 p.m. Wed., Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $57-$139; telecharge.com Or 800-432-7250 3 hrs., with intermission

It does have a new look, with sets by Matt Kinley based on the paintings of Victor Hugo and lots of projections to make it more cinematic, but the show just seems tired. Laurence Connor and James Powell’s direction lacks urgency, and the effect is more of a staged concert as the show moves from set piece to set piece. Ultimately, it’s a flat and passionless affair. For what is essentially a concert, the sound is so processed the effect is like listening to a recording, and so many effects are added to the voices that it doesn’t feel real. We really don’t need an echo added to the beginning of the iconic “I Dreamed a Dream.” Actually, what’s needed in the case of Caissie Levy, who sang the role, is an AutoTune, as she was consistently flat, singing as though she couldn’t hear the musicians. Similarly, Nikki M. James, who has been so wonderful in shows like “The Book of Mormon,” is out of her depth vocally with this score. She is virtually inaudible in the quartet in the first act, and her voice is reedy and unsupported in “A Little Fall of Rain,” her should-be heart-stopping death number. The leading men do better. Ramin Karimloo sings Jean Valjean with power and nuance. His acting is fairly flat, but Valjean isn’t an overly demanding role. Best of the company is Will Swenson as Javert. He shows a surprising range, including low notes we haven’t heard from him before, and though the part is anything but subtle and understated, his actually the only believable character in this production. As the evil Thérnadiers, Cliff

MICHAEL LE POER TRENCH

LES MISÉRABLES

If high school murders and songs like “I Love My Dead Gay Son” are your idea of comedy, then by all means nip over to New World Stages and catch “Heathers: The Musical.” The sloppy satire based on the 1988 movie of the same name is mean-spirited, ineptly written, and abjectly cynical.

Will Swenson and Ramin Karimloo in “Les Misérables.”

Saunders and Keala Settle are far too cartoonish and broad for the rest of the production. It’s understandable that the directors would want to lighten the overarching gloom of the show, but lost is their delicious wickedness. Instead, they are merely grotesques. This production is clearly pitched at people who loved the movie and now want to see it live on stage — like “Muppet Babies on Ice” or “The Wiggles in Concert.” As a dynamic piece of theater, however, “Les Misérables” is nowhere to be found here.

The new musical “If/ Then” fails on almost every level

except one — the chance for newly minted superstar Idina Menzel (prior to “Let it Go” from “Frozen,” she was just a regular star based on her role as Elphaba in “Wicked.”) to shake the back wall of the Richard Rodgers Theater with her trademark adenoidal belt. Brian Yorkey who wrote the book and lyrics and Tom Kitt who wrote the music have given themselves an almost impossible task — to run two simultaneous story tracks and make the characters something more than sketches. The plots follow the potential outcomes of choices in front of Elizabeth (Menzel) — following a budding career in urban planning and aborting an unplanned pregnancy, and alternatively having the child and putting her career on hold to be a wife and mother. Leaving aside the fact that urban planning hardly rates as an engaging romantic theme, the intermixed plots are so vaguely sketched it’s impossible to make an emotional connection with

HEATHERS: THE MUSICAL IF/THEN Richard Rodgers Theatre 226 W. 46th St. Tue.-Wed. at 7 p.m.; Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $67-$142; ticketmaster.com Or 800-745-3000 2 hrs., 45 min., with intermission

either Elizabeth. Worse, the creators surround Elizabeth with the most generic group of besties ever — the gay ones, the black ones, the Asian ones, who, despite earnest efforts by charming actors, seem as labored and contrived as the whole undertaking. T hi s i s m usi ca l writ ing by t he numbers. We have the song that shows us that the fairly conservative Elizabeth can be vulgar and the climactic “Always Starting Over,” which wants to be an 11 o’clock number, but comes at about 9:45. The latter is loud, self-important, obvious, and banal. It’s a shame to see Menzel’s unique and idiosyncratic talent so egregiously wasted. The rest of the cast does what they can. LaChanze is the best of the bunch as the feisty lesbian kindergarten teacher. Anthony Rapp plays Lucas, Elizabeth’s sexually confused best friend from grad school, as well-meaning, but it’s always confusing where he is in the storyline. Jason Tam, as Lucas’ boyfriend, and James Snyder, the army surgeon who’s Elizabeth’s baby daddy, are pleasant but bland. D i r ector M i cha el Gr e if do e s n’t do much but move the cast around Mark Wendland’s nice sets. And while Larry Keigwin’s choreography could charitably been interpreted as homage

New World Stages 340 W. 50th St. Mon., Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat. at 2:30 p.m.; Sun. at 3 & 7:30 p.m. $50-$75; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 2 hrs., 20 min., with intermission

The story concerns a clique of mean girls, all named Heather, who control the social life of their high school. When climber Veronica joins their ranks, her psychopath boyfriend J.D. starts bumping people off to get even for the slights inflicted on the less popular. I never saw the movie, so perhaps in the days before Columbine and cyberbullying this kind of revenge fantasy had an outsized appeal. Today, it’s chilling to watch the claque of teens at the performance I saw scream with delight when the two football stars were murdered and the killers frame it as a joint suicide because they couldn’t deal with being gay. There are those who will say “lighten up” while comparing this to “Grease,” but that’s a false comparison. “Grease” was a better show, and it was more clearly satirizing identifiable types. The most dangerous outcome there was an unintended pregnancy. Perhaps if the book, music, and lyrics by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe appr oached the level of satire of “Grease,” “Heathers” wouldn’t fall so flat or seem so mean-spirited. The enthusiastic performers do their best, but to no avail. The comedy is clumsy, the singing and choreography mostly generic belting, and the whole undertaking simply tone deaf to the realities of today’s culture.


| April 16, 2014

THEATER

25

Best Laid Schemes James Franco makes his Broadway debut in a sturdy Steinbeck classic BY DAVID KENNERLEY

theater credits whatsoever (though the back cover features a debonair Franco in a Gucci men’s fragrance ad). For the most part, the superbly muscular and resonant production is a success. After a shaky first scene, which establishes the symbiotic bond between the two lonely drifters camping out in the Salinas Valley of California before their next ranch gig, Franco hits his stride and delivers a solid, sensitive performance. Even a Broadway veteran would find this drama demanding — it’s a lean character-driven, Depression-era period piece with heavy cowboy-esque accents and dialogue that requires uncommon skill and dexterity. Franco is at his best in the lighter moments, like when he tells the emphatic, childlike Lennie the story about getting their own little farm on a couple of acres, with a cow and some pigs and plenty of rabbits, where they can “live off the fat of the land,” answering to nobody.

Lennie knows the story by heart, but insists George tell it over and over. “It ain’t the same if I tell it,” Lennie says. Lead producer David Binder, who is having a boffo season with “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” opening April 22, actually handpicked Franco for the role. Franco has a track record of interpreting American classics — he directed and starred in William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying,” for example — and has said in interviews he has an affinity for the material, growing up in Palo Alto not far from where the action takes place. He also identifies with the fiercely independent characters. As the gentle giant Lennie, O’Dowd has the tougher role, mastering the tics and mannerisms of a mentally impaired person. Yet he is quite convincing, articulating Lenny’s child-like wonder in petting fragile, furry creatures and his violent temper tantrums with fluidity. Leighton Meester (“Gossip Girl”), another Broadway neophyte, is spot-

on as the wife of the ranch owner’s son, Curley (she’s not given a name). The sole female character in the 10-person drama, she’s a flirty, bored “tart” who upsets the men-only balance of the bunkhouse. With just the right mix of pushiness and vulnerability, Meester elicits our sympathy for Curley’s wife being stuck with a jealous husband (an excellent Alex Morf) in the middle of nowhere. This “Of Mice and Men” owes much of its quiet intensity to director Anna D. Shapiro, who won the best director Tony for “August: Osage County.” It’s a pure, gimmick-free production that respects the text and time period, aided by Todd Rosenthal’s detailed set of a grimy, dilapidated bunkhouse. And if you’re hoping to see Franco shirtless, you’ll need to look elsewhere (try Instagram). Even though most of us know the inevitable, doubly tragic climax from reading the novella in high school, it still lands brutally hard, like a sucker punch to the gut. Refreshingly, Shapiro adds a soft touch to a nor mally testosteronedrenched story, bringing out the tender side of George and Lennie’s partnership. While there is no trace of the homoerotic, there is a strong homocentric streak. The idea of two guys who “string along together” is almost unheard of and raises eyebrows among the ranch hands. The rootless duo’s dream of shucking convention and going off to create a life together — no woman is mentioned in this fantasy — where they can take care of each other is not unlike LGBT folk who have been forging their own nontraditional families for decades. “I ain’t got no people,” George explains. “Him and me… got kinda used to each other after a little while.”

handles the discovery of her daughter’s sex work is what makes the film so compelling in its second act. Ozon researched the character of Isabelle by meeting with psychoanalysts and policemen who work with teen prostitutes. “Young & Beautiful” makes it clear that Isabelle’s prostitution is a form of control — she is not doing it for the money. In that way, the director explained, it is a feminist film. “There is a disconnect between her sexuality and her feeling, especially when she confronts death,” he said. Isabelle losing her virginity is not a key to her behavior, in Ozon’s eyes. “Isabelle just wants to tur n the page,” he explained. “I don’t think it was an important moment. It’s really amazing; I don’t know anyone for

whom losing their virginity is such a great moment. It’s a disaster. You choose someone and you have to do it. There’s too much pressure.” Ozon worked closely with Vacth, who was 21 when “Young & Beautiful” was shot. The young actress gives an incredibly assured performance, and her body language is particularly impressive. Of their collaboration Ozon said, “I’m honest with actors. I do not manipulate them. I tell them everything — what I want, what I don’t. I explain what to do before the sex and nude scenes.” He also counseled Vacth about the importance of her role to her career, telling her, “This is a film that will follow you all your life. People will confuse the character and the actress.” Ozon created a trust with Vacth

and likened Isabelle to Catherine Deneuve’s prostitute in “Belle de Jour” or Charlotte Rampling’s role in “The Night Porter.” Rampling has an important cameo in “Young & Beautiful” and Ozon acknowledged he deliberately gave her the role because “Isabelle is mysterious and [Vacth] is the same kind of actress as Rampling. I wanted to create a transmission from the old woman to the young girl. A mature actress and a new actress at the beginning of her career, so what you feel is a passing of the baton.” This critical scene between the two actresses provides a climax of sorts for an hypnotic film. “Young & Beautiful” confirms Ozon’s mastery at penetrating the mysteries of human sexuality and identity.

S

RICHARD PHIBBS

urely James Franco has a lavish walk-in closet to store his many hats. A hyperactive, red-hot celebrity mostly known for his film and television roles, he is also a cutting-edge director, screenwriter, producer, book author, poet, grad student, teacher, visual artist, Academy Award co-host, sex symbol, and shameless selfie model. Just last week, his show of photographs opened at the prestigious Pace Gallery in West Chelsea, plus he had a surprise cameo on “SNL.” James Franco and Chris O’Dowd in the revival of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.”

OF MICE AND MEN Longacre Theatre 220 W. 48th St. Through Jul. 27 Tue.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m. Sun. at 3 p.m. $35-$147; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200

In recent years, critics have accused the 35-year-old overachiever of spreading himself too thin, often sacrificing quality for quantity. So it was with no small amount of trepidation that I entered the Longacre Theatre where John Steinbeck’s 1937 drama based on his iconic novella “Of Mice and Men” is being revived after a 40-year absence. Franco plays George, the bossy itinerant farmhand teamed with the sweet, slow-witted Lennie, portrayed by Chris O’Dowd (best known for the hit film comedy “Bridesmaids”). This marks the Broadway debut for both leads and much of the supporting cast. In fact, Franco’s Playbill bio lists no

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YOUNG, from p.23

could use that.” The director, who is an older brother to two sisters, often explores family dynamics in his films. In “Young & Beautiful” he treats the family with tenderness. “I wanted to understand each point of view, from the complaining mother to the macho stepfather (Frédéric Pierrot),” Ozon said. “There is a violence for parents — the mother feels guilty. She educates and loves her daughter, and she feels Isabelle’s actions are because of her.” Parents, he noted, regularly have to deal with revelations that might make them uncomfortable, such as their son being gay or their daughter having sex with a family friend. How Sylvia


26

April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

IN THE NOH

Oh, Diana!

Most exciting soprano of the day, lady vets bloom, Liza’s act revived BY DAVID NOH

JOSEF GALLAUER/ DIANA-DAMRAU.COM

U

ndoubtedly one of the most exciting opera singers today, Diana Damrau just wrapped an ecstatically received run of performances of Bellini’s “La Sonnambula” at the Met — and made her triumphant cabaret debut at Le Poisson Rouge, celebrating her solo album, “Forever,” which she calls “the soundtrack of my life.” Opera singers are probably my favorite performers for interviewing. Movie and TV stars think it’s cool to give you 10 minutes, and Broadway actors deem half an hour more than sufficient. But opera folk are often just as generous with their time as they are onstage, and Damrau, un-chaperoned by press agent, met me for a delightful, completely relaxed conversation in the deserted Met Opera press room. When I called her a definitive Sonnambula, after catching her Saturday matinee performance, she tinkled her charming laugh: “Thank you! You know, I was supposed to make my debut in this role, not here, but in Barcelona. After working on it hard for a whole year, I got sick in January with bad bronchitis and everything you could imagine, so I had to cancel that production. But I ended up doing it here, and it was not bad.” Not bad, indeed! I mentioned to her that, since seeing her Met debut in “Barber of Seville” in 2006, her voice seems to have really developed with a ravishing, silvery quality that pierces — quite beautifully — both the ears and heart, and she responded, “I feel my voice has grown probably due to two pregnancies and the hormonal change in my body. My teachers always said, ‘Your voice is going to develop, and you could even get into dramatic coloratura in stronger repertoire,’ but I prefer to stick now with the roles I can do with my voice, without going too far to the edge. Bel canto is at the moment my favorite kind of singing because you have to have the whole voice, from top to bottom, and be really in your fittest moment, and also artistically, because it’s all about singing and what you can express with it. And I really feel these roles.” Her marvelously clarion “Sonnambula” tenor, Javier Camarena, was the perfect, thrilling partner for her: “He’s so warm as a person and also his voice, the brightness and the power he has in the high register. He’s a smart guy and an artist who comes from the heart and feels his roles. It was really nice to act and sing with him, and we really tried to find this loving couple. It was constantly growing until that last performance. Sometimes you have a partner who is going to sing this phrase just like this, always, and we’ll meet at the end or whatever. With him, it was like breathing together and being so connected, and waiting for: What is he or she going to do next? When something slightly changes, you adapt and then the thing is growing like a tree — look, there’s a new flower and another! It worked out well, and now I will try more Mozart, and Strauss is coming and I’m ready for the next step.” Damrau seems like the Betty Hutton of opera for the all-out way she throws herself into a role, like the cartwheel she performed at the end of “La Sonnambula.” I told her, “You really love to act, don’t you?” “I try,” she replied. “I’m bad at just listening when I go to a performance and see the artist is not really into

Diana Damrau is fresh off her triumph in the title role of “La Sonnambula” and has a new CD she previewed at Le Poisson Rouge.

it and doesn’t touch me or is not really heartfelt. You have to use everything. We’re not just instruments who play just the melody. We have words and a story to tell and that’s what I really want to see. “That cartwheel! Ohmigod, they originally wanted to lift me even higher than the previous two lifts they did and carry me to the side holding only my ankles. I was too scared and said, ‘I’ll do anything else, cartwheels, splits!’ I was screaming, so they said, ‘Okay, show us what you can do,’ and I did the cartwheel, and they bought it!” About her cabaret debut, Damrau said, “I was again so scared, not used to performing in a space like this, a jazz club, really dark with red lights. We did a different repertoire, and you also have to be charming and say something. Don’t be stupid, sing well, be the entertainer, and there I was! It was also being live-streamed on the Internet, so no pressure at all — ha ha! But I had such a great connection with my accompanist, Craig Rutenberg, and we really had fun! “My dress was actually a skirt which I pulled up to make a bandeau top with a belt for a neck halter, high-heeled shoes, which hurt a lot and were sparkly, because you must go for that. I bought the dress during my pregnancy when I had concerts, nice to hide the belly underneath and also looks good.” That “different repertoire” is what appears on her CD: “They originally wanted it to be all operetta, but there are already so many of those — Schwarzkopf and Gruberova, everybody did one. I’m a child of my time — I love operetta, but I first sang musicals, like my first opera house role, Eliza Doolittle, onstage more than operettas. So why not put this together? Let’s do some

songs which have touched all our lives, so we start with operetta and musicals and then film songs. I wrapped them with two vocalises in order to show how melodies touch our hearts. It was really great fun to record this.” Damrau is married to French bass-baritone Nicolas Teste: “In Geneva, he was Masetto and my first Donna Anna in ‘Don Giovanni.’ I always say Mozart was our connection: Donna Anna needs her Masetto! “We have two boys, aged three and one and a half. At night, I’m nursing because he doesn’t want to stop and let Mama go. We are based in Zurich, but always take them with us, have the same manager, and try to organize it so we are in the same town or not far from each other. Next year, we will do ‘Manon’ at the Met together. Damrau, who always sang and had a family filled with church and chamber orchestra musicians, grew up in a small town 100 miles outside of Munich. She became enamored of opera when, at 12, she watched the Teresa Stratas-Zeffirelli “La Traviata” on TV: “She was a great actress, and her beauty, which you need for Violetta, doesn’t work in a traditional production unless you look like a fragile ballerina. I want to grow back into a consumption Violetta, but I have to wait until [my son] Colin has finished drinking [laughs]. Stratas was the Violetta of my childhood, but when I listen to it now, with my knowledge, it’s so hard to be touched because I can see here she has technical difficulties, okay, yeah that does not work, the note is coming and I can hear it won’t work and it doesn’t. When you sit in an audience, people are crying because they just enjoy it. And oh! I want to cry, too, but when you know so much …” In 2007, Damrau received the title of Bayerische Kammersangerin, the honorific name for prestigious Bavarian opera singers, and I always wanted to hear about the ceremony surrounding this special recognition: “Somebody from the Bavarian State gives you this honor with a little speech and that’s it. You don’t have to sing to prove that you’re worthy, just a normal ceremony — no pressure — and after, you get little canapes to eat and a glass of champagne!” Damrau’s dream roles include “Juliette, which I must do one day, I love it. Maybe some more Strauss — I’d love to do ‘Daphne’ — but my real dream roles are Renato in ‘Ballo in Maschera’ and the Grand Inquisitor in ‘Don Carlo,’ perhaps in my next incarnation!” When I told Damrau that she is a top diva favorite of gay opera lovers, she said, “Oh, that’s great! I’m Queen of the Night. Probably I’m gay, too! That makes me happy.”

Gay playwright John Van Druten

continues to live on, enthralling audiences with the singular, salutary revival of “I Remember Mama” by the Transport Group (The Gym at Judson, 243 Thompson St. at Washington Sq. S., through Apr. 20; tranportgroup.org). His heartwarming Norwegian family saga is played by a cast of 10 lady veterans, whose combined years of professional experience, Barbara Andres, at the opening night party, told me — with perhaps a touch of exaggeration — exceeds 500 years. The entire cast did every role from beneficent

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IN THE NOH, continued on p.27


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IN THE NOH, from p.26

Mama (played by Andres) to various aunts, husbands, drunken uncles, and little boys and girls to glowing perfection. And the party was the coziest affair, with all these terrific broads kicking the hell back, like my beloved Lynn Cohen (Mags in “Hunger Games”), Barbara Barrie, Rita Gardner, and others who, as a young attendee observed, “You may not know their names but you’ve definitely seen them. A lot.”

Another veteran, Judy Kaye, delivered a solidly professional

cabaret act at 54 Below on March 29, singing a wide range of material with an emphasis on Sondheim, from her challenging opening of “Another Hundred People” to a perfectly rendered “I Never Do Anything Twice.” On April 4, Liza Minnelli’s 1977 vehicle “The Act” was dusted off for a concert revival there, in the very space where the star once spent many a 9 a.m. morning being spun around the dance floor by Sterling St. Jacques, as the knowing watched and commented, “Looks like somebody’s gonna miss their Sunday matinee!” Standouts: Cady Huffman sizzling on “Arthur in the Afternoon” (although

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MCNALLY, from p.22

explicitly in his 2006 play “Some Men,” which was more historical in its structure. McNally acknowledged the effects of history’s changes in his own life, and one of them made it into “Mothers and Sons.” When he married his partner Tom Kirdahy, he said, the first time he tried to say “husband,” the word was hard to get out. Today, he said with a laugh, “My favorite words are, ‘the reservations are in my husband’s name.’” McNally is an ardent believer in the power of theater to keep conversations going and enlighten people. “Theater is still a wonderful medium to get people together,” he said. “It’s fine

some day I’d like to see that sexy number performed with a straight guy, if one could be found) and Carole J. Buford, whose effervescent “City Lights” rather matched its original interpreter’s for sheer — as Liza’s godmother Kay Thompson was wont to say — “bazzaz.”

After a successful run, Jim Brochu’s wonderful, reminiscent show “Character Man” has sadly closed, but it went out with a bang at a fabulous party at a great new spot you all must check out. Moscow 57 (68 ½ Delancey St. at Clinton St.; moscow57.com) is owned by Seth Goldman and Ellen Kaye, whose parents had the Russian Tea Room in its glory days, and this absolute jewel box of a boîte is a tribute to that storied venue, with its red, Russian art-covered walls. Flavored vodkas, caviar, blini, and all manner of national deliciousness are on the bill of fare, making you realize that Vladimir Putrid can’t singlehandedly ruin an entire country’s heritage. Kaye, who’s a terrific singer herself, is all about live music, and this place rocks nightly with an exquisitely curated selection of music makers. Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@aol. com, follow him on Twitter @in_the_noh, and check out his blog at http://nohway. wordpress.com/.

if they disagree with the things I say, if they listen in a thoughtful way.” Certainly, there is a lot to think about in “Mothers and Sons.” Among it’s many virtues is the fact that all the characters are sympathetic. We understand them in the context of their unique lives and their times. Through them we see the evolution of a culture, how change sometimes comes hard — and that there’s always hope for something better. It is this loving worldview that makes this latest play so moving. “The trick,” McNally concluded, “is getting people into the theater. They don’t think it will speak to them.” With “Mothers and Sons,” if you’re breathing and feeling, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

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April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

OPERA

California Dreaming

Opera in San Diego and Los Angeles BY DAVID SHENGOLD

holler under pressure. But the voice softened as he went along. It’s clear that the ardent young Albanian has a fine instrument, and he achieved some nuance and distinction in the love duet and in Donizetti’s wonderful final scene. Remember City Opera’s 2003 “pregnant Lucia” staging, in which only Stephen Powell’s Enrico did the music full justice? Happened again here, due to his combination of oakish resonance, flexibility, and fine diction. James Creswell voiced Raimondo with clarity and point. Despite one overdriven note, Vladimir Dmitruk’s Arturo served notice of leading tenor quality.

A

Francesca Zambello’s “Billy Budd” production, directed

ROBERT MILLARD

s snow hung tough into March, I visited San Diego and Los Angeles, both cities with notable LGBT scenes as well as first-class theaters. San Diego’s beautiful park-girt Old Globe Theater was playing “Winter’s Tale,” directed with variable success by its new head, Barry Edelstein. The show often looked ravishing, with superb 1980s glam costumes (Judith Dolan) and wonderfully calibrated lighting (Russell H. Champa). On March 13, the play’s power eventually came through, but was undermined by Edelstein’s scattershot comic lunges (much goo-goo talk at baby Perdita) and hapless direction of rustic scenes; by Michael Torke’s new piano score, often punctuating monologues or played cocktail-style under dialog, wreaking havoc with meter and intelligibility; and by three weak central performances: TV star Billy Campbell, handsome as a Greek statue and about as credible in emotion and speech, flailing as Leontes (granted, a wickedly tough part); Natacha Roi’s singsong, ineloquent Hermione; and a self-enchanted turn by Paul Kandel, doubling Autolycus and Archidamus as a multi-style cabaret act. Some fine work in support, notably by Angel Desai’s elegant, magisterial Paulina, Cornell Womack’s commanding Camillo, Paul Michael Valley’s wellmodulated Polixenes, and A. Z. Kelsey’s vocally compelling, metrically alert Florizel. Perdita was Maya Kazan, sometimes verbally mannered but with definite and pleasing theatrical presence. Old Globe produces much fine work, but this mixed offering made verbal clarity a disturbingly low priority from Shakespearean veteran Edelstein.

Greer Grimsley (top) and Keith Jameson in “Billy Budd” at the Los Angeles Opera.

variety thereafter. Krassimira Stoyanova gave a master class in how a lirico-spinto can successfully present a dramatic soprano role; both arias, especially “Morrò,” had beauty and meaning. Stephanie Blythe (Ulrica) and Kathleen Kim (Oscar) improved on their alr eady fine Met showings, the mezzo more nuanced and the coloratura less chirpy and pert. Aris Argiris (Anckarström), often flat and unsteady, proved disappointing — another Figaro evidently courting vocal deterioration in grasping at the Verdi baritone mantle.

Los Angeles Opera Shakespeare’s themes boasts a fine music director in of jealousy’s perils and a James Conlon, who helmed both “Lucia

monarch’s whims comingled well with San Diego Opera’s “Un ballo in maschera” March 14, a traditional staging by Leslie Koenig most distinguished by John Conklin’s resplendent period costumes and by apt star casting in four roles. Debuting conductor Massimo Zanetti dawdled, but gauged his principal duo’s vocal abilities sensitively and left them room to phrase. Piotr Beczala’s Gustavo took Nicolai Gedda as model. Slightly brassy and effortful in Act One, he discovered more charm, tonal warmth, and dynamic

di Lammermoor” (March 15) and “Billy Budd” the next afternoon. “Lucia” suffered from some opening night jitters in pit and onstage, causing some evident wrong notes, but Conlon and director Elkhanah Pulitzer gave us the complete score, even the post-Mad Scene recit. Hearing a glass harmonica was also a rare treat. Pulitzer, pr esenting “Lucia” in patriarchal Victorian Industrial society, stylized the chorus but relied too heavily on sometimes striking, sometimes painfully over-literal video effects (mention blood and the scrim or stage would

redden). When left abstract, Carolina Angulo’s designs (principally geometric forms lit by genius Duane Schuler) were quite beautiful. The major music-dramatic lapse: the chorus met the news of Lucia’s murdering her bridegroom with absolute indifference — no horror registered in their even vocalizing. To my tastes the other music-dramatic lapse was the lack of a convincing Lucia. Albina Shagimuratova, an excellent Queen of the Night, started rather coldvoiced but soon showed her remarkable clear, limpid upper register. She made some gorgeous individual sounds, yet sang with little intensity and no sense of internalized textual connection. Her sole expressive device was skillful diminuendi. Hers is no mere tweety–bird voice — it’s rounder and fuller, rather like Luba Organosova’s, and pleasant to hear, but in verbal and dramatic terms (three completely unconvincing faints in one scene), it was as if Callas, Scotto, Sills, and Dessay never brought their insights to this part. The audience loved her. I find this was my 26th “Lucia”; every Mad Scene has reaped wild ovations, fully deserved or not — it’s a feat to get through it, and high E flats (which Shagimuratova dispenses well) are Pavlovian triggers. Saimir Pirgu’s Edgardo started rather pushed, and he tended to a hard-shelled

here by Julia Pevsner, has a typically ambitious scale and — in Act Two’s opening out of the ship into two decks — some visual coups de théâtre. Pevsner’s leads — save for Richard Cr oft’s beautifully sung and uttered Vere, a terrific performance New York should hear — didn’t always fully react to the libretto’s many subtleties. Croft, rather than Liam Bonner’s pedestrian Billy, anchored the show. Tall and affably handsome, Bonner lacked both the vocal quality (a tremolo pertains at all but full tilt) and moral stature for this potentially devastating iconic role. Greer Grimsley made a James Morris-like growling Claggart, reasonably effective but not “dark bass” enough in timbre and not yet commanding all the text’s nuances. Daniel Sumegi (Flint) and Anthony Michaels-Moore (Redburn) sounded rather fatigued, but gained in stature in the trial scene. Best of Vere’s officers vocally was Patrick Blackwell’s resonant Ratcliffe. B e s i d e s C r o f t — u n f o rg e t t a b l y expressive and dulcet in this role debut — three tenors shone: Greg Fedderly (Red Whiskers), Dmitruk, again (Maintop), and especially Keith Jameson (Novice). Creswell did well by Dansker. Here Conlon excelled, and the company’s male chorus really earned their ovations. One caveat to travelers, for whom both cities offer many enticements — taxis, more or less indispensable unless friends are driving, proved piratically expensive, making me proud of New York’s public transit, which rich and poor alike take to performances. David Shengold (shengold@yahoo. com) writes about opera for many venues.


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April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Recognized for the Right Things PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN

Jennifer@communitymediallc.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER & CO-FOUNDER TROY MASTERS

troy@gaycitynews.com EDITOR IN-CHIEF & CO-FOUNDER PAUL SCHINDLER

editor@gaycitynews.com ASSOCIATE EDITOR Duncan Osborne

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Christopher Byrne (Theater), Susie Day (Perspective), Doug Ireland (International), Brian McCormick (Dance)

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Seth J. Bookey, Anthony M.Brown, Kelly Jean Cogswell, Andres Duque, Michael Ehrhardt, Steve Erickson, Andy Humm, Eli Jacobson, David Kennerley, Gary M. Kramer, Arthur S. Leonard, Michael T. Luongo, Lawrence D. Mass, Winnie McCroy, Eileen McDermott, Mick Meenan, Tim Miller, Gregory Montreuil, Christopher Murray, David Noh, Nathan Riley, David Shengold, Yoav Sivan, Gus Solomons Jr., Tim Teeman, Kathleen Warnock, B enjamin Weinthal, Dean P. Wrzeszcz

ART DIRECTOR MICHAEL SHIREY

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS ANDREW GOOSS CHRIS ORTIZ

SENIOR VP OF ADVERTISING / MARKETING FRANCESCO REGINI

BY PAUL SCHINDLER It was certainly gratifying that, at the recent New York Press Association (NYPA) Better Newspaper Contest Awards in Saratoga, Gay City News earned recognition in eight categories. What was even sweete r, t h o u g h , was that the wins came in areas where the newspaper challenged conventional media narratives. One of our first-place awards was for coverage of religion, where a team of writers that included Andy Humm, Duncan Osborne, and Arthur S. Leonard provided in-depth stories about the impact of Pope Francis’ election and about controversies here in the US over religious exemptions that threaten to undermine progress on LGBT nondiscrimination protections. Even as Francis was widely hailed as a breath of fresh air on gay rights — and named per-

Against Religion — Again

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Gay City News, The Newspaper Serving Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender NYC, is published by NYC Community Media, LLC. Send all inquiries to: Gay City News, 515 Canal Street, Unit 1C, NYC 10013 Phone: 212.229.1890 Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this paper, in part or whole, can be reproduced or redistributed. All contents (c) 2014 Gay City News. Gay City News is a registered trademark of NYC Community Media, LLC. Jennifer Goodstein, CEO Fax: 212.229.2790; E-mail: Jennifer@communitymediallc.com

© 2014 Gay City News. All rights reserved.

FOUNDING MEMBER

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ning and moderating political debates last year in the races for mayor, public advocate, Manhattan borough president, and the City Council seat now held by Corey Johnson earned a third place award in community service. For the first time in NYPA history, LGBT Pride was recognized as qualifying as a holiday — and Gay City News won second place in that broad category. The newspaper also placed second in the reporting of politics and elections. Gay City News won a first place award for special magazine editions for the Wedding Pride quarterly that we publish in conjunction with Brooklyn’s Community Newspaper Group. The newspaper was recognized with a third place award for coverage of crime and an honorable mention for our editorial pages. We also want to congratulate our sister publications for their showing in Saratoga. The Villager won two first place awards — for a picture story created by Milo Hess and for the newspaper’s redesign on

the occasion of its 80th anniversary, a project helmed by Michael Shirey, who also serves as Gay City News’ art director and whose work on our Gay Pride issue was critical to our holiday issue award. Villager editor Lincoln Anderson snagged a second-place finish for his headline writing, and the newspaper placed third in editorial pages, for an editorial cartoon by Ira Blutreich, and for an art photo by Bob Krasner. The Downtown Express, edited by Josh Rogers, took home the third place award in the obituaries category. Winning recognition for editorial and design excellence reminds me of all the people who make it possible for us to produce Gay City News with the standards we always strive to achieve. Though I’ve mentioned just a few contributors here, my greatest reward is the dedication the newspaper receives from every single writer and photographer with whom we work. To all of them, I owe a debt of gratitude I am unable to express adequately in words.

PERSPECTIVE

francesco@gaycitynews.com

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES

son of the year by one top LGBT media source — our reporting dug deeper to discern where the new pope is willing to lead and where he is not. Regarding religious exemptions, Gay City News reporting documented the dangers the issue poses even to legislation like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, championed by some of our leading advocacy groups, who have so far turned a deaf ear to important — even if nuanced — concerns about the way carve-outs for bigotry compromise the protections we think we’re getting. Gay City News also won first prize in feature writing for a beautiful remembrance written by Sam Oglesby (tinyurl.com/ o4c94mh) about how anti-gay bias doomed his career in the Foreign Service, the impact that had on his life, and the Kafkaesque way in which State Department guidelines about expunging personnel records now make rectifying that past injustice impossible. The newspaper’s role in plan-

BY KELLY COGSWELL

I

noticed nobody in the queer community is rushing to chastise Brandeis University for caving in to pressure from religious groups and right-leaning academics in deciding not to give A yaan Hirsi Ali the honorary degree it had promised. Apparently all our high-mindedness about fr ee speech and academic independence doesn’t apply when we’re dealing with a Somali-Dutch woman with a decidedly un-PC stance on Islam, once calling the religion “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death.” We’re much more comfortable dealing with rage against them inbred hillbilly Southern Baptists or the Catholic Church. We lionize our own queer prophets like David

Wo j n a r o w i c z , w h o r a i l e d against our whole Christian country, especially that “fat cannibal” Cardinal John O’Connor, who sent queers to their deaths with his anti-gay, anti-condom policies. Plenty of us queer folks were thrilled when ACT UP went into the belly of the beast for a demo at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. If Wojnarowicz were alive today and up for some honorary award that got rescinded, you can bet we’d be out in force. But apparently you have more street cred dying of AIDS thanks to the Church than getting your genitals chopped up by local Muslims as Hirsi Ali did. Or being forced to flee your country and live in hiding after writing the script for a modest film against Islam’s treatment of women. Her collaborator, Theo van Gogh, was actually killed for his work on “Submission.” And it’s still not

over. Hirsi Ali is still at risk, and every day she has to read about more murders done in the name of Allah, wars waged, girls just like her killed, raped, or burned with acid for daring to uncover their faces or learning to read. I don’t see a huge difference. Except Wojnarowicz is white, like his most visible Christian targets, and Hirsi Ali and her targets are mostly not. And even progressive people of color shy away from condemning Islam for anything at all because so far we refuse to distinguish between justified fury and a race-based Islamophobia the West indulges in at great length. An exception is when Christian bigots get worked up at the UN and make unsavory alliances with the likes of Iran to keep women and queers in their respective places. Another factor in our silence is the growing visibility of LGBT

people of all faiths who keep telling us how benign their religions are. And while I admire their work — and bravery — and agree we need to create change on all fronts, I have a problem with most religions, especially Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Censor what you like, speak of love, but the Bible simmers with disdain for women and erupts occasionally into pure hatred. It encourages people to stone women practically every time we open our mouths, and creates a terminal hatred for two men lying together. Yes, I could describe all those religions born of the Book as a variety of “destructive, nihilistic cults of hetero-male supremacy.” I’ll even put that into quotes so you can conveniently extract it. The problem is that even if you could contact the typesetters and eliminate those verses demanding death for people like me, hate will remain

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| April 16, 2014

YOUTH

31

On Point Foundation honors the voices of future LGBT generations

MICHAEL SHIREY MICHAEL SHIREY

Lena Dunham with Point Foundation scholars.

Point Foundation executive director Jorge Valencia with Telly Leung.

Uzo Aduba with her “Orange is the New Black” co-star Yael Stone.

MICHAEL SHIREY

“Under the Dome” actress Rachelle Lefevre, Dr. Neal Baer, and B.D. Wong.

MICHAEL SHIREY

T

he Point Foundation, the largest scholarship organization working to support talented LGBT students, held its annual Point Honors Gala April 7 at the New York Public Library. Founded in 2001, the foundation provides financial support, comprehensive mentorship programs, leadership training, and community service opportunities. This year’s gala honored Dr. Neal Baer, executive producer and showrunner of “ER,” “Law and Order: SVU,” and “Under the Dome,” along with Lena Dunham, producer and star of HBO’s critically acclaimed “Girls.” More than 400 guests came out in support of the foundation’s scholars and alumni, raising over $600,000. Mariska Hargitay and her former “Law and Order: SVU” co-star B.D. Wong expressed their love for Baer, whom they described as a joy to work with. Presenting Baer with the Point Leadership Award, Hargitay praised her producer for his ability to entertain audiences, while shedding light on the darker side of humanity, including challenges and struggles facing LGBT people Baer joked that it only took five decades for him to come out, but that now he could not be happier. Speaking of his gradual journey, he said, “I’m glad I’m gay, that I love being gay. I love being who I am.” Baer has been praised throughout his career for his well-rounded, honest depictions of LGBT characters, including television’s first HIV-positive character on “ER." Expressing gratitude for being honored by the Point Foundation, he urged the scholars and alumni to “tell your stories and you will change the world.” Andrew Rannells, who starred in “The New Normal,” presented Dunham with the foundation’s Point Horizon Award, but not before taking a couple of digs at his “Girls” co-star’s relentless drive, which he referred to as “so friggin’ annoying.” But he also enthusiastically praised her ability to break female and LGBT stereotypes, describing Dunham as authentic and generous, someone who inspires others to tell their stories. The “Girls” star spoke fondly of her connection to the LGBT community, recalling her sister Grace’s coming out into a family where she was not simply accepted but adored. Dunham thanked the Point Foundation for its efforts in providing educational support for LGBT youth, who, she noted, have a much higher dropout rate than heterosexual

youth. She saluted the scholars and alumni and also thanked HBO for the opportunity it’s given her to create her show. The night’s real stars were the Point Foundation’s scholars and alumni, several of whom were honored during the gala. Among them was Noah Lupica, a Liberal Medical Education student at Brown University studying to become a plastic surgeon, with an emphasis on trans and gender non-conforming patient care. Point alumna Alexia Koritz is a Yale Law School graduate and was one of the lawyers who represented Edie Windsor in her successful case against the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. She thanked the foundation not only for its financial support, but also for the always supportive community it helped her find. She credited Point for her early successes, including her service initiatives that guaranteed web access to LGBT resources, such as those of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Human Rights Campaign, on college campuses across the country. The night featured musical performances by Broadway and television star Telly Leung and Uzo Aduba, who currently stars in “Orange is the New Black.” Leung sang “I Am What I Am” from “La Cage aux Folles,” while Aduba belted a rendition of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from “Funny Girl.” Other celebrities in attendance included Billy Porter (“Kinky Boots”), Michael Urie (“Buyer and Cellar”), Murray Bartlett (“Looking”), and Judith Light (“The Assembled Parties,” “Wit”). For more information on the Point Foundation, visit pointfoundation.org.

MICHAEL SHIREY

BY MICHAEL SHIREY

Lena Dunham with “Girls” co-star Andrew Rannells.


32

April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

FILM

So Many Movies, So Few Tickets

A genre guide to highlights of the Tribeca Film Festival BY SCOTT STIFFLER

W

JEONG PARK/ TRIBECAFILM.COM

ith the annual Tribeca Film Festival running through April 27, it’s worth remembering that you’re better off arriving at a screening just in time and with a ticket, rather than terribly early but with nothing more than cash in hand and good intentions. Advance purchase will get you a seat.

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL Through Apr. 27 Various venues Tickets, schedule at tribecafilm.com/festival Or 646-502-5296 Alfred Molina and John Lithgow in Ira Sachs’ “Love is Strange.”

As for your enjoyment of the films, there are no guarantees. But the ones that made this by-genre list, filled with world premieres, famous actors, and post-screening talks, seem more than promising.

LGBT

Everyone who’s ever pined for something — or someone — they’re just not meant to have will appreciate the growing dilemma at the core of “Life Partners” (Apr. 18, 6 p.m.; Apr. 20, 5:30 p.m.; Apr. 24, 3:30 p.m.). This world premiere, the feature directorial debut of co-writer Susanna Fogel, has its main characters staring down the barrel of 30 and wondering if their friendship is more than the sum of its co-dependent history. After breezing through the last 10 years largely on the strength of their complementary temperaments, straight Paige (Gillian Jacobs) and lesbian Sasha (Leighton Meester) have an intense friendship that seems more like a happy marriage. Their bond begins to shift, though, when Paige meets Tim (Adam Brody). A sea change in the life of one partner also threatens the couple at the center of Ester Martin Bergsmark’s “Something Must Break” (Apr. 17, 5:30 p.m.; Apr. 18, 10:30 p.m.; Apr. 19, 4 p.m.; Apr. 23, 9:45 p.m.). Set in the back streets and forgotten parks of Stockholm, Andreas (Iggy Malmborg ) has an intoxicating connection to Sebastian (Saga Becker) that owes more to their rooftop tangos than the beer they stole from that 7-Eleven — but soon, Sebastian’s androgynous fluidity becomes as much a threat to their deepening romance as the questions straight-identifying Andreas is

already facing. Ira Sachs’ follow-up to his acclaimed “Keep the Lights On” is a different kind of emotionally intense look at longterm gay relationships being tested by outside forces. “Love is Strange” (Apr. 23, 6 p.m.; Apr. 26, noon) benefits from the star power and dramatic chops of Alfred Molina and John Lithgow as a Manhattan couple who face unexpected discrimination after making their union official. Set in the housing projects of Caracas, Venezuelan screenwriter Mariana Rondon directs newcomer Samuel Lange in “Bad Hair” (Apr. 20, 9 p.m.; Apr. 22, noon; Apr. 25, noon; Apr. 26, 6:45 p.m.). When nine-yearold Junior decides he’ll be sporting straight hair instead of tight curls for an upcoming yearbook photo, it triggers a fit of homophobic panic from his stressed mother. Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini celebrate Puerto Rico’s transgender community in the documentary “Mala Mala” (Apr. 19, 8 p.m.; Apr. 21, 9 p.m.; Apr. 23, 3:30 p.m.; Apr. 26, 7 p.m.). The highs and lows of fighting for acceptance — personal and communal — are captured through candy-colored cinematography as well as interviews with advocates, activists, business owners, sex workers, and entertainers, including the drag troupe Doll House. The directors, along with subjects Ivana Fred, Denise Rivera, Alberic Prados, April Carrión, Queen Bee Ho, Sophia Voines, and Paxx Moll, will be on hand to take questions from the audience after the April 19 screening at Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea, 260 W. 23rd St. One of the nation’s first openly

gay members of Congress — and its longest serving — gets quizzed by none other than Alec Baldwin, who’s had his share of trouble with the LGBT community of late, following the sole screening (on April 27 at 2:30 p.m. at SVA Theater, 333 W. 23rd St.) of Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler’s “Compared to What: The Improbable Jour ney of Bar ney Frank.” The documentary, which promises insights as unvarnished as its subject’s last name, questions how Frank’s life as a gay man propelled him into his many campaigns for social justice during 40 years in state and federal office.

NEW YORK STORIES

In “Ballet 422,” (Apr. 19, 9:30 p.m.; Apr. 22, 7 p.m.; Apr. 23, 6:30 p.m.; Apr. 27, 11:30 a.m.), cinematographer and documentarian Jody Lee Lipes takes a quiet but unflinching fly-on-thewall look at 25-year-old choreographer Justin Peck, as he pools the collective resources of New York City Ballet’s musicians, designers, and dancers in order to create the company’s 422nd original piece. Based on the Tony Award-winning play, writer/ director Stephen Belber’s “Match” (Apr. 18, 9:30 p.m.; Apr. 20, 2:30 p.m.; Apr. 24, 6 p.m.) lands a Seattle couple (played by Matthew Lillard and Carla Gugino) in New York to conduct research for a dissertation on the 1960s dance scene. Their subject is Toby (Patrick Stewart), a for mer hoofer tur ned her metic ballet instructor, who regales them with colorful anecdotes — but drops the social niceties when their line of questioning becomes uncomfortably

personal. Before arriving on Broadway, John Carney’s Dublin busker tale “Once” clicked with moviegoers and scored the 2007 Best Original Song Oscar for “Falling Slowly.” The Irish writer/ director is back, this time using the soundtrack of a New York summer to connect the dots between damaged souls and music as a bonding agent. “Begin Again” (Apr. 26, 6 p.m.) has romantically involved songwriters Gretta (Keira Knightley) and Dave (Adam Levine) moving to the big city after Dave scores a major label deal. When his infidelity forces Gretta to become a personal and professional solo act, her raw performance on an East Village stage catches the attention of a disgraced record exec (Mark Ruffalo), who’s also in need of reinvention. TV writer Amy Berg (“Person of Interest” and “Leverage”), whose Catholic priest sex abuse documentary “Deliver Us From Evil” was nominated for a 2006 Academy Award, makes her fiction feature debut. “Every Secret Thing” (Apr. 20, 6 p.m.; Apr. 23, 3 p.m.; Apr. 24, 7 p.m.), an adaptation of Laura Lippman’s novel, takes place in a New York suburb. Seven years after a baby goes missing from her front porch, a pair of young girls blamed for the crime are released from prison — and face the scrutiny of two detectives when another child disappears. Diane Lane and Dakota Fanning are among the cast. Brooklyn writer-director Onur Tukel stars in “Summer of Blood” (Apr. 17, 6 p.m.; Apr. 18, 11:30 p.m.; Apr. 24, 9:45 p.m.; Apr. 26, 10 p.m.), his dark comedy about relationships, attraction, and commitment. After r ejecting his successful girlfriend’s proposal, misanthropic Eric, stuck in a dead end job, has an alleyway encounter with a vampire that leaves him with newfound confidence, an insatiable liquid diet, and an ironic perspective on what it means to be human.

DOCUMENTARIES

Those of us old enough to remember the punkish pixie who fronted The Sugarcubes can appreciate the decadeslong creative arc of Björk, a seriously avant-garde performer and video artist to whom the current pop vanguard owes an enormous debt. “Björk: Biophilia Live” (Apr. 26, 8:30 p.m.) blends concert footage of songs from her eighth studio album with animation as well as science and nature footage.

c

TRIBECA, continued on p.35


33

| April 16, 2014

This is God’s House. All Are Welcome. And we mean all. Come worship with us.

Maundy Thursday • 7 pm • 12-3 pmLutheran Church St. John’s Good Friday in association with • 9:30 & 11:15 am Easter SundayBelieve Out Loud

DONNA ACETO

presents an exhibition of

FROM DEBUTANTE TO DEFENDANT

Stations of the Cross: The Struggle for LGBT Equality

Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church Fifth & 55th in Midtown • fapc.org

Veteran LGBT rights and AIDS activist Ann Northrop, a Vassar graduate whose work as a journalist included reporting on the Washington scene for the National Journal and producing responsibilities on “The CBS Morning News,” delivered the 2014 Irving H. Jurow Lecture at NYU’s College of Arts and Science. The April 10 address, titled “From Debutante to Defendant: The Making of a Lesbian Activist,” in part, examined the role of a liberal arts education in social activism. In addition to her career in journalism, a field in which she currently co-produces and co-hosts (with Gay City News’ Andy Humm) the weekly “Gay USA” cable news program, Northrop also taught New York LGBT teenagers about AIDS and civil rights at the Hetrick-Martin Institute. An activist with ACT UP dating back to the 1980s, Northrop has in recent years helped organize protests against state-sanctioned homophobia in the US, Russia, Uganda, Nigeria, and elsewhere. — Donna Aceto

“In the sacrifices of martyrs of the LGBT movement, we can come to a new understanding of the cross…”

Mary Button, artist St. John’s Lutheran Church in association with St. John’s Lutheran Church Exhibited throughout Holy Week April 13 - 20 in association with Believe Out Loud Opening Reception Sunday, April 13 5 - 8 PM exhibition of Believe presents Out an Loud

See website for further open times. presents an exhibition Stations of the of Cross

Stations of the Cross : Palm Sunday Mass - April 13 - 11 AM The Struggle for for LGBT Equality The Struggle Easter Sunday Mass - April 20 - 11 AM LGBT Equality See website for complete worship schedule. “In the sacrifices Easter Sunday Mass of of the “Inmartyrs the sacrifices of martyrs81 of the LGBT 20 - 11 AM Christopher Street, West Village April LGBT movement, movement, we can come to a new stjohnsnyc.org See website for complete worship schedule. we can come to a understanding of the cross…” new understandThe Rev. Mark E. Erson, Pastor ing of the cross...” Mary Button, artistpastor@stjohnsnyc.org 212-242-5735 Mary Button, artist The Rev. Mark E. Erson, Pastor pastor@stjohnsnyc.org St. John’s is a diverse community 212-242-5735

Exhibited throughout Holy Week April 13 - 20 Opening Reception - Sunday, April 13 5 - 8 PM

Exhibited throughout Holy Week - April 20

of faith welcoming all who seek God’s love through Jesus Christ

St John’s is a diverse community of faith welcoming all who seek God’s love through Jesus Christ

See website for further open times.

81 Christopher Street, West Village stjohnsnyc.org Palm Sunday Mass - April 13 - 11 |AM Easter Sunday Mass - April 20 - 11 AM

GAY CITY NEWS

See website for complete worship schedule.

OUR FIRST MARRIED TAX DAY East Side Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney led a press conference outside the offices of the Internal Revenue Service on April 14 to take note of the first Tax Day in which married same-sex couples in the US are required to file that way on their federal tax returns. Until Edie Windsor won her landmark victory against the Defense of Marriage Act last June, same-sex couples legally married in states or foreign countries that allowed it were barred from identifying themselves in that fashion with any federal agency. Maloney — pictured with Eunic Ortiz, president of the Stonewall Democrats of New York City, Randy Jones (in the cowboy hat), a member of the iconic Village People who with his husband filed for the first time as a married couple after 30 years together, East Side State Assemblyman Dan Quart, and Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club — called federal recognition of same-sex marriages “historic and very important.” She cited a study by the Human Rights Campaign and the Center for American Progress that noted 179 places in the federal tax code where marital status is mentioned and estimated that the average same-sex couple would save roughly $2,900 on their tax bill from being able to file as married. — Paul Schindler

81 Christopher Street, West Village stjohnsnyc.org The Rev. Mark E. Erson, Pastor pastor@stjohnsnyc.org 212-242-5735 St. John’s is a diverse community of faith welcoming all who seek God’s love through Jesus Christ


34 c

PINTER, from p.4

sexual orientation. However, Scheindlin found that a reasonable jury could conclude, based on Pinter’s allegations, that there was no actual probable cause for his arrest, making it wrongful; that under the circumstances the district attorney’s decision to prosecute him could also be wrongful; and, that if he proved the scheme he was alleging — that the city was using spurious prostitution arrests to support nuisance claims against adult businesses — he would have shown abuse of process in trumping up an arrest for ulterior purposes. The judge also ruled that Pinter’s alle-

c

April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com gations were sufficient to support claims for excessive force and detention arising from his treatment in the police van. Evidence provided by city officials themselves, she noted, demonstrate that the NYPD failed to train officers about their obligations concerning treatment of arrestees. The city, therefore, may be subject to significant liability in Pinter’s case. Now that the Law Department has been turned back in its effort to appeal the October ruling, it is not surprising that it is weighing a financial settlement with him. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who came to office with a long record of supporting LGBT political goals, is facing pressure

ST. PAT'S, from p.4

and repressive if we get soldiers out of the parade,” Gelman said. “But it actually is important to stop the military from normalizing anti-queer, religious-right bigotry. And in this case, there’s a legal constraint that says they have to stop.” In order to justify keeping Irish LGBT groups out, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee has redefined itself as a “private, Catholic religious procession” rather than simply a celebration of Irish heritage. In Boston, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is run by the

c

OHIO, from p.5

most searching form of review under which a challenged statute is presumed unconstitutional and the state has the burden of showing it is necessary to achieve a legitimate and compelling state interest. Black, however, employed a less stringent form of review — more favorable to Ohio’s case — using heightened scrutiny, which balances the interests of the plaintiffs and the state. He found that the high court’s DOMA ruling directly addresses the many burdens that denying marriage recognition places on same-sex couples — and particularly those raising children. In the DOMA majority opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy described samesex marriages denied federal recognition as “second-tier” marriages, and wrote, “The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects,” finding also that “it humiliates tens of thousands of

c

Allied War Veterans, which also has a policy that identifiable LGBT groups are not welcome. “It is not a sexuality parade,” said Philip J. Wuschke, Jr., the parade organizer. He said there are some onduty guard units marching in his parade, “but most of them are active reservists on their own time.” His parade, too, has lost sponsors over the exclusion of Irish gay groups. In the Wikipedia entry for the 69th, its roots in the Revolutionary War are noted as are the tensions that arose in 1855 between Protestant regiments and Catholic ones like the 69th. When the native-born American

children now being raised by same-sex couples,” a point Black emphasized with underscored bold print. By contrast, he found that the interests identified by Ohio’s attorneys simply did not measure up. He was particularly dismissive of the notion that Ohio’s marriage ban was sacrosanct because voters enacted it in a constitutional referendum. “The Court notes that given that all practicing attorneys, as well as the vast majority of all citizens in this country, are fully aware that unconstitutional laws cannot stand, even when passed by popular vote, Defendants’ repeated appeal to the purportedly sacred nature of the will of Ohio voters is particularly specious,” he wrote. And, in response to Ohio’s argument that the Supreme Court DOMA ruling recognized that regulation of domestic relations in the US has traditionally been an exclusive function of the states, he noted that such state regulation is “subject to constitutional guarantees.”

COGSWELL, from p.30

behind in the blank spaces. And there will always be Christians, always Muslims and Jews who will seize on those verses and, like queers of faith, claim that their version of their religion is the true one. And like queer Muslims, Christians, Jews, discounting inconvenient passages inciting either love or hate. Religions can go either way, creating a food bank for the starving or a fund for anti-gay campaigns abroad from Russia to Uganda. You’re married to your entire faith, for better or worse. And all the people of the Book are stuck with

from the community, as well. In a March 13 letter to the head of the Law Department, Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter, which was written before the Second Circuit denied the city’s appeal, the six gay and lesbian members of the City Council urged him to drop the appeal. “As LGBT New Yorkers and representatives of sizeable LGBT populations, we are deeply troubled by what our city has forced Mr. Pinter to endure,” the caucus wrote. “His lawsuit involves insidious entrapment of a gay man. Such policing tactics, especially when a gay man is involved, bring up very painful memories of an oppressive time in this country when such actions were even more widespread.”

“Gangs of New York” leader Bill the Butcher Poole was killed and two Irishmen were arrested for the murder, Know Nothings retaliated against Catholics. The 69th and 9th (also Catholic and known for its Irish revolutionary sympathies) were dispatched to restore order. “It was decided that military units would not march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade because of the tensions,” the entry says, but once released from its duties battling Know Nothings that day, the 69th “marched with fixed bayonets down Broadway.” The controversy over military participation in the parade is nothing new.

Ohio’s refusal to recognize legal samesex marriages, he concluded, “violates the substantive due process rights of the parties to those marriages because it deprives them of their rights to marry, to remain married, and to effectively parent their children, absent a sufficient articulated state interest for doing so.” Black also found an equal protection violation. Noting that the ban on recognition “most directly affects the children of same-sex couples, subjecting these children to harms spared the children of opposite-sex married parents,” he pointed to Supreme Court precedent that “disparate treatment of children based on disapproval of their parents’ status or conduct violates the Equal Protection Clause.” The state, Black found, could not even provide a rational basis for this discrimination, much less meet the heightened scrutiny standard he concluded is appropriate to apply in the wake of last year’s DOMA decision. In a footnote, Black noted that

dead queers. Queer refugees. All the frightened LGBT people trapped where they are. Some of them fighting, most hiding in fear for their lives. Plus all the dead and ravaged women. These days, much of that is due to Christian America, now celebrating Holy Week and remembering the suffering of the Christ. I have my own, more modest wounds. A mother who said she wouldn’t accept me until I was the girl God wanted me to be. My sense of precariousness every time I step into the street, because some days I’m not up to insults and I’ve had so many friends beaten for being queer. Then there’s the invisibility. Watching a movie, reading a book, and never seeing myself. Which

The letter urged Carter “to sit down with Mr. Pinter’s lawyer to work out a settlement rather than perpetuating the injustice done to Mr. Pinter by prolonging litigation. It is time to move beyond the policing policies of the previous administration that raised serious concerns about the civil liberties of people of color, youth, and the LGBT community.” Similar arguments were made in a February 21 letter to Carter signed by seven community leaders and organizations, including the New York City AntiViolence Project, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, who leads Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, and the Reverend Pat Bumgardner, senior pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church.

because an adoption procedure results in a judicial order subject to the Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause (unlike a marriage), denying the relief New Yorkers Vitale and Talmas sought could also be held to violate that constitutional guarantee. The State of Ohio is already appealing Black’s December ruling in the death certificate case to the Sixth Circuit, and Kasich and DeWine immediately announced they will appeal this decision as well. Noting that the Supreme Court ordered a stay on the December Utah marriage equality ruling after the district court and the 10th Circuit declined to do so, Black indicated he was “inclined” to stay his ruling on the facial unconstitutionality of the recognition ban as broadly applied. However, given the “imminent births of their children and other time-sensitive concerns” facing the four plaintiff couples, he was not “inclined” to stay his ruling as it applies to specifically them.

means queer kids, coming up in their hetero-households, are all newborn. Without role models. Without histories. Blank, terrified slates each faith writes on, scribbling self-loathing and hate. I’m even sick of the big religious conventions in which “progressive” religious folks assert that, yes, I am human enough to be saved, to participate in their rites. To speak to God. Thanks ever so much. Yeah, I try to be tolerant around my religious friends, but I’ve never seen a church I’m not tempted to burn. Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” from the University of Minnesota Press.


35

| April 16, 2014

THE QUESTION:

Who is the new voice in morning radio that everyone is talking about? ERIK LANG/ TRIBECAFILM.COM

THE ANSWER:

JOE PISCOPO!

Leighton Meester and Gillian Jacobs in Susanna Fogel’s “Life Partners.”

TRIBECA, from p.32

Director Lloyd Handwerker brings an insider’s edge to “Famous Nathan,” (Apr. 17, 7 p.m.; Apr. 21, 7:30 p.m.; Apr. 25, 8:30 p.m.; Apr. 26, 3:30 p.m.), his documentary about the humble origins and lasting legacy of Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters. Drawing from home movies and rare archival footage, Handwerker uses interviews with colorful family members and Coney Island characters to show how his immigrant grandfather’s American dream became a culinary reality — and a cultural touchstone. Cultural preservation is the theme of “Tomorrow We Disappear” (Apr. 19, 7 p.m.; Apr. 20, 10 p.m.; Apr. 22, 6:30 p.m.; Apr. 25, 9:30 p.m.). When high-rise developers purchase the land occupied by New Delhi’s Kathputli colony of puppeteers, performers, and magicians, an already vanishing form of Indian folk art is threatened with extinction. “We are the flying birds,” they tell the filmmakers, “here today and gone tomorrow.” “The Overnighters” (Apr. 22, 9 p.m.; Apr. 23, 8:30 p.m.) finds a small conservative North Dakota town overwhelmed by the influx of desperate men in search of employment, when hydraulic fracturing uncovers a rich oil field. The compassion shown to them by a local pastor soon puts him at odds with those who don’t embrace the church’s far -reaching “love thy neighbor” policy. James “The Amazing” Randi gets some long-overdue love in “An Honest Liar” (Apr. 18, 9 p.m.; Apr. 20, 3 p.m.; Apr. 23, 5:30 p.m.; Apr. 25, 5:30 p.m.). For the better part of his 50-year career, Randi has been exposing con artists who use the professional magician’s bag of tricks to hoodwink and swindle the gullible masses. Hated by faith healers, fortune-tellers, and gurus (including self-professed spoon-bender Uri Geller),

Randi’s masterful debunking of these phonies has earned the admiration of Penn Jillette, Bill “The Science Guy” Nye, and “Mythbuster” Adam Savage — all of whom appear in the film to back up the assertion that every one of us is vulnerable to deception.

FOREIGN

Lingering shots of Northern China’s wintry industrial landscape give atmospheric depth to director Diao Yinan’s “Black Coal, Thin Ice” (Apr. 19, 6:45 p.m.; Apr. 22, 10 p.m.; Apr. 24, 4 p.m.; Apr. 26, 5:30 p.m.). The Best Film winner at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival injects social realism into its familiar cop redemption plot. Five years after being suspended from the force, the only work Zhang Zili can find is as a security guard at a coal factory. When new crimes fit the pattern of his old botched serial murder case, Zhang follows a trail leading to an enigmatic laundromat proprietor, whose possible connection to the deaths gives them a noirish edge. Opening on a classic dark and snowy night in northern Italy, “Human Capital” (Apr. 18, 5:30 p.m.; Apr. 21, 10 p.m.; Apr. 22, 6 p.m.; Apr. 27, 2:30 p.m.) is director Paolo Virzi’s adaptation of Stephen Amidon’s bestselling novel — about how two loosely linked families become intertwined by conflicting perspectives on love, class, and ambition. Revenge is a dish best served in the cold and with a pitch-black sense of humor. Hans Petter Moland’s “In Order of Disappearance” (Apr. 17, 9:30 p.m.; Apr. 20, 6 p.m.; Apr. 23, 9 p.m.) is a stylish action-thriller set in the dead of a frozen Norwegian winter, as Nils comes undone after his son’s heroin overdose. Upon discovering a connection to Serbian drug dealers and a local criminal mastermind, the grieving father goes from a one-note vigilante to the centerpiece of an escalating gang war.

PHOTO BY DANNY SANCHEZ

c

• He’s Funny • He’s Smart • He’s Informative – and a great way to start your day!

MORNINGS: 6-9AM


36

April 16, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

New York CitY’s teaCher exodus 516 Orange/

Former New York City Teachers

1,442

1,444

730 In addition to one of the highest percentages of needy children, New York City has the largest class sizes and the lowest teacher salaries in the region.

Westchester

Rockland

Suffolk Nassau

N

ew York City is in the midst of a teacher exodus. More than 32,000 teachers walked away from jobs in New York City classrooms in the last eleven years, with more than one in eight leaving for jobs in nearby suburban systems that have higher pay, lower class sizes and better teaching conditions. The previous mayor claimed poverty while rolling up multi-billion-dollar surpluses. His Department of Education raised class sizes, focused instruction on test prep rather than real learning, and forced teachers to generate reams of unnecessary paperwork. Tens of thousands left, and more than 25 percent of all city teachers are now contemplating leaving within three years. For me as an educator, the most troubling part of this teacher exodus is that the number of resignations among mid-career teachers (6-15 years of experience) nearly doubled between 2008 and 2013, even

Poverty Index

District

Grade 3

Teacher

Mid-Career Salary

Teacher

Top Salary

NYC

78%

26

$78,885

$100,049

East Ramapo

78%

21

$93,429

$125,173

New Rochelle

48%

23

$88,040

$124,603

Great Neck

10%

19

$100,455

$128,924

Hempstead

84%

24

$88,601

$114,469

Half Hollow Hills

11%

24

$87,344

$125,594

in the teeth of the recession. These are teachers who have honed their craft, know how to reach struggling students, and are invaluable as mentors for their newer colleagues. But under the circumstances it’s hard to blame the thousands of teachers who left our classrooms for the suburbs – or the

Attrition of Mid-Career Teachers is Growing ---------------------- vs. ---------------------In 2008, mid-career resignations were 15% of the total. In 2013 they were 43%. 1000

900

800

2013

700

teachers who say they are now planning on leaving. Or the thousands of highly qualified graduates who will choose one of these districts rather than New York City for their first teaching job unless conditions improve. Obviously teachers have a personal stake in this. But so does every public school parent. If New York City is serious about having a first-class school system, it has got to find a way to slow the loss of teachers, particularly to the suburban areas where pay and working conditions are so much better. The city’s economy is steadily improving, and honest budgeting will show that new resources are available from the city and the state.

C

ritics keep saying that New York City cannot afford to treat its teachers and students fairly. But the real question is this — can we afford not to? — Michael Mulgrew

600

500

400

300

Class Size

2008

200

100

0

Resignations ons off teachers h with h 6 to 15 years’’ exper experience. Source: NYC DOE payroll

United Federation of Teachers A Union of Professionals

• 52 Broadway, New York, NY 10004 • www.uft.org

Officers: Michael Mulgrew President, Emil Pietromonaco Secretary, Mel Aaronson Treasurer, LeRoy Barr Assistant Secretary, Mona Romain Assistant Treasurer Vice Presidents: Karen Alford, Carmen Alvarez, Catalina Fortino, Anne Goldman, Janella Hinds, Richard Mantell, Sterling Roberson

APRIL 16, 2014 GAY CITY NEWS  

APRIL 16, 2014 GAY CITY NEWS

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