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Center Column Archives
The legendary poet, essayist and feminist Adrienne Rich died on March 27, 2012, at the age of 82 in her Santa Cruz, California home. Rich was one of the most celebrated poets of the last half-century and a lifelong advocate for women, gay and lesbian rights, peace and racial justice. She was a key figure in the women’s movement and an uncompromising critic of the powerful.
California's Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional by a three member panel of judges from the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Judge Smith dissented. The panel majority stated that California voters violated the 14th Amendment of the Federal Constitution when voting for Prop 8. San Francisco's City Attorney stated that officials are getting ready and changing marriage forms, but that until the stay is lifted same sex couples in California still cannot marry.
A Bradley Manning Pride Contingent joined the SF Pride parade on Sunday, June 26th. Dedicated to equal human rights, Army Private Bradley Manning stood openly against Don't Ask Don't Tell, and now is imprisoned as the alleged WikiLeaks whistle-blower. Bradley faces life in prison, and even the death penalty, for sharing the "Collateral Murder" video and files pertaining to the Iraq War, Afghanistan War, and Guantánamo.
On June 17th, about 75 LGBT activists protested outside the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, which accepted Israeli government sponsorship and financing for the second year in a row. The Brass Liberation Orchestra was on hand to provide a spirited soundtrack. QUIT! launched the campaign to get Frameline to divorce the Israeli Consulate in 2007. In 2008 and 2009, the festival did not accept Israeli sponsorship, after having done so for years. But last year, under pressure from the consulate, the new festival director and executive director renewed their partnership with the Israeli government.
While many people were out buying Valentine's Day gifts or flowers, same-sex couples in San Francisco were asking for the right to marry on February 14th. Every year since 2005 same-sex couples go to the City and County Clerks' office in San Francisco's City Hall on Valentine's Day and request to get married. And each year they are denied, so they a hold sit-in until they are arrested.
New Leaf, a 35-year-old San Francisco center that offered mental health and substance abuse services for low-income, queer, and trans folks, has closed. Gay Shame organized a protest in front of the Department of Public Health and dramatized their frustration with the department's lack of support for New Leaf with street theater.
On September 9th, a protest took place in San Francisco demanding the US government pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). If passed, ENDA would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination in the workplace for civilian, non-religious companies with over 15 employees, as well as federal, state and local governments, unions and employment agencies. Several protesters were arrested for blocking traffic at the corner of Market and Castro Streets.