Monday, November 30, 2009

Puerto Rican activist maintains murdered teenager identified as gay

As Jorge Steven López Mercado's family continues to mourn the teenager's death, activist Pedro Julio Serrano continues to insist the 19-year-old identified himself as a gay man.

"He was very comfortable in his own skin, he loved to cross gender boundaries and he was accepted as such by his friends, his partner and his own parents," Serrano, who remains in Puerto Rico and continues to counsel López's family, wrote on a blog he posted on Nov. 27. "His mom, Myriam Mercado, knowing that his son used hair extensions as part of his look, even told the press in Puerto Rico, "Behind that wig and those boots, there was a human being, a very much loved son, a brother and a friend."

Serrano further alluded to activists, bloggers and others who suggested Juan A. Martínez Matos murdered López and subsequently decapitated, dismembered and partially burned his body near Cayey earlier this month in an act of anti-transgender violence.

"I understand the politics behind identifying a hate crime victim as trans when part of his or her expression does not conform to his or her sex, but sometimes we must bend the rules to accommodate the cultural and societal differences," he wrote. "I would like to ask for respect of our cultural and societal differences from our friends in the U.S. In our Puerto Rican culture, people who are gender nonconforming, gender variant or gender queer are not considered trans. We only consider as transgender or transsexual, people who identify as such. And we respect that."

Puerto Rican law enforcement officials announced last week they would investigate López's murder as a hate crime, but Serrano once again stressed acceptance and unity among LGBTs during an impromptu late night speech at Krash in Santurce over the weekend in which he criticizes the crowd for anti-trans comments some made in the wake of López's gruesome death.

"Let's respect everyone, let's open spaces for everyone and let's achieve a Puerto Rico for all," he said.

Massachusetts Episcopal bishop allows priests to officiate same-sex weddings

More than five years after gays and lesbians began to legally marry in the Bay State, the bishop who oversees Episcopalian priests in Eastern Massachusetts officially granted them permission to officiate nuptials for same-sex couples.

Bishop M. Thomas Shaw III's decision comes a month after local clergy and parishioners endorsed a resolution that expressed hope he would allow priests within the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts to officiate these weddings. He further discussed his decision in an interview with the Boston Globe.

"The time has come," Shaw said. "It’s time for us to offer to gay and lesbian people the same sacrament of fidelity that we offer to the heterosexual world."

Shaw's decision comes more than six years after New Hampshire Episcopalians consecrated openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson. And it is sure to further stoke the internal debate within both the American Episcopal Church and the broader Anglican Communion over the role gays and lesbians will continue to play and whether priests should allow same-sex couples to marry.

The Rev. Anne C. Fowler of Jamaica Plain was among those who applauded Shaw's decision to the Globe.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thousands march against hate crimes in Puerto Rico

More than a thousand people marched through the streets of San Juan last night to pay tribute to Jorge Steven López Mercado and to demand an end to hate crimes.

"Today a new Puerto Rico that is not goint to tolerate any anti-gay hate crimes is born," Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force said as Nuevo Dia reported. "The voices of intolerance are realizing their hateful discourse does not resonate with the public."

López's family, friends and religious leaders were among those who took part.

Photos courtesy of Pedro Julio Serrano.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Puerto Rican authorities agree to investigate Jorge Steven López Mercado's murder as a hate crime

Puerto Rican authorities have agreed to investigate Jorge Steven López Mercado's murder as a hate crime after they met with local representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Nuevo Dia reported William Ramírez, executive director of the ACLU and of the University of Puerto Rico's Legal Clinic, pointed out to Puerto Rico Department of Justice Secretary Antonio Sagardía the Commonwealth has a history of "not investigating hate crimes cases" like the one he said to which Juan A. Martínez Matos reportedly has confessed.

"The ACLU has tried to get the government to accept its responsibility to investigate cases... that are hate crimes, particularly that of young Jorge Steven López Mercado," Ramírez said in a statement. "We should not be satisfied with the possibility the federal government will do what our government is not interested in doing; which is to protect every citizen."

Activists on Puerto Rico and around the country have repeatedly called upon local authorities to charge Matos under Puerto Rico's hate crimes law, which includes sexual orientation. They have also blasted investigator Ángel Rodríguez Colón's assertion López somehow contributed to his own death. The Federal Bureau of Investigation in San Juan has not ruled out the possibility of additional federal charges in the case.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jorge Steven López Mercado's family and friends lay him to rest

Jorge Steven López Mercado's friends and family laid him to rest earlier today in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico.

"The support we have received from the public and Steven's friends has given us the strength to bear this moment of such horrible pain," Lopez's aunt Rubi Mercado told el Nuevo Dia between tears (as translated from Spanish into English.) "I asked Steven with his wings from heaven to help us carry on without having him by our side."

El Nuevo Dia further reported López's aunt and his ex-boyfriend, Luis Rivera, opened the urn that contained the murdered teen's ashes and placed a necklace and a white rose inside it at the end of the funeral Mass. The newspaper further reported López's parents hugged their son's friends and cried.

"We definitely hope people and society wake up and demand justice," López's friend José Alicea told el Nuevo Dia (as translated from Spanish into English.)

López's friends carried balloons and white roses as they walked to the cemetery. Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" played during the procession.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hundreds attend New York vigil for Jorge Steven Lopez and Jason Mattison, Jr.

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, City Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito, City Councilmember-elect Danny Dromm, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation president Jarrett T. Barrios and fashion designer Malan Breton were among the hundreds who attended a vigil on the Christopher Street Pier earlier tonight in honor of Jorge Steven López and Jason Mattison, Jr., on the Christopher Street Pier earlier tonight.

This gathering was one of 20 that took place across the country.

Jorge Steven López's mother breaks her silence

As people around the country prepare to hold memorials and vigils to remember Jorge Steven López and Jason Mattison, Jr., an openly gay 15-year-old who was raped and killed in Baltimore earlier this month, López's mother has begun to break her silence.

"When my son told me he was gay, I told him, 'Now, I love you more,'" Miriam Mercado said in a statement. "I want to tell the world that hatred is not born with human beings, it is a seed that is planted by adults and is fostered creating a climate of intolerance and violence. We must change our ways and understand that anyone... could have been my son. And I want everybody to know that Jorge Steven was a very much loved son."

López's funeral begins later this morning in Toa Alta. And his family and friends will lay him to rest tomorrow.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Jorge Steven López to be laid to rest Monday

Puerto Rico Para Tod@s and Jorge Steven López's family have announced the murdered gay teenager's funeral will begin tomorrow in Toa Alta.

In addition, the LGBT advocacy organization has announced it plans to hold a vigil against hate crimes in San Juan on Wednesday, Nov. 25. A march will begin at 6 p.m. in front of the Department of Justice, and it will end at Parque Luis Muñoz Rivera.

Local authorities have yet to decide whether to charge Juan A. Martinez Matos under the territory's hate crimes statute. The 26-year-old has confessed to investigators and local media he killed López after he discovered he was actually a man after he said he solicited him for sex on a Caguas street. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has maintained it could bring federal hate crimes charges against Matos if Puerto Rican authorities fail to do so.

Meanwhile, Pedro Julio Serrano posted to his Facebook page pictures of his meeting with López's parents, Miriam Mercado and Jorge López, Sr., earlier today. Primera Hora also posted two videos of tributes that took place at Krash in Santurce.

Miriam Mercado flashes her late son's trademark gesture with Pedro Julio Serrano earlier today.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Activists plan massive Puerto Rico vigil in honor of Jorge Steven López

As vigils and other memorials for Jorge Steven López continue to pop up around the country, Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force tells Boy in Bushwick he expects the murdered teen's family and thousands of others to march through the streets of San Juan ahead of a vigil on Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Hundreds of people took part in a march through the Puerto Rican capital last night to demand an end to homophobia. Serrano stressed López family, with whom he said he remains in constant contact, fully accepted the openly gay teenager--López's ex-boyfriend continues to speak publicly on the family's behalf.

"It has been devastating for the family, but they are comforted... in part by the overwhelming support they've received not only for the LGBT community and Puerto Rico," Serrano said.

Serrano further pointed out what he described as a "deafening silence" from the island's political and religious leaders over López's death. New York Congressmembers José Serrano and Nydia Velázquez have both condemned the gruesome murder. And New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's office has co-sponsored a vigil scheduled to take place this Sunday, Nov. 22, on the Christopher Street Pier.

Boy in Bushwick continues to try and reach out to López's friends and family, but Serrano stressed he wants people to know who the teen was and how he said he affected those who knew him well.

"He was very proud of who he was and he was very comfortable in his own skin," he said as he once again pointed out López identified as a gay man and he volunteered for a number of LGBT organizations on Puerto Rico. "He was a free man; a free human being who had no limits to what he wanted. It only took a minute to fall in love with him. He was so genuine, so authentic."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Details of Jorge Steven López memorial in New York emerge

From the Latino Commission on AIDS.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Puerto Rican authorities to charge suspect in connection with gay teenager's murder

Puerto Rican authorities have announced they will charge a local man with first-degree murder and four other counts in connection with Jorge Steven López’s gruesome death near Cayey late last week.

Police maintain Juan A. Martínez Matos killed López after he discovered the teenager, whom he had thought was a female prostitute he had solicited on a Caguas street, was actually a man. Investigators further allege Matos decapitated and dismembered López before he burned his body and left it in a wooded area near his parents' apartment.

Matos has reportedly confessed to the murder, and he plans to use a "gay panic" defense. A judge will arraign Matos in a Caguas court in the morning, but Puerto Rican investigators have not decided whether to apply the Commonwealth's hate crime statute, which includes sexual orientation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has indicated Matos may face federal hate crimes charges if local authorities fail to indict him under the Puerto Rican law.

New Yorkers to hold vigil for Jorge Steven López Mercado

The details of Jorge Steven López Mercado's brutal murder continue to send shockwaves across Puerto Rico and beyond, but a group of New Yorkers plan to hold a vigil in his memory this Sunday, Nov. 22, on the Christopher Street Piers. I've cut and pasted details of the gathering from Facebook.




"19 year old aspiring fashion artist Jorge Steven López Mercado was found on Friday night decapitated, dismembered and partially burned. According to authorities, the investigation has shown that it is indeed a hate crime." (source: Current)

"The police investigator suggested that he deserved what he got because of the 'type of lifestyle' he was leading." (source: Towleroad)
Please, please invite all of your friends to a vigil honoring Mercado, specifically, and all others who have been murdered, beaten, and otherwise terrorized for their sexuality or semblance thereof.


The queer community in Puerto Rico needs to know we support them.


We must show the government, the media, and the oppressors that to systemically target one group for its appearance or mannerisms--and then subject them to violence explicitly for those criteria--is INTOLERABLE.
For more info on the murder, check out and

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

GLAD challenges Department of Justice's motion to dismiss DOMA lawsuit

The Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders announced earlier this afternoon it has filed motions in a federal court in Boston to challenge the Department of Justice's move to dismiss a lawsuit that challenges a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Attorneys Gary Buseck and Mary Bonauto discussed Gill vs. Office of Personnel Management on an earlier call with journalists.

"While the government has rightly abandoned the reasons Congress relied on in passing DOMA in 1996, it now seeks to dismiss ou case by arguing that DOMA "maintains the status quo," Bonauto said. "The reality is that DOMA itself radically changed the status quo by which the federal government recognized and accepted state determinations of who is married. There is no valid excuse for the federal discrimination imposed by DOMA and this can be resolved now and without a trial.”

GLAD, which filed suit in March, also sought a final decision in the case.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a second complaint in July. And New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler introduced a bill in late September that seeks to repeal the law former President Bill Clinton signed in 1996.

The Department of Justice has until Dec. 4 to respond to GLAD's motion.

Gay man's gruesome murder sends shockwaves across Puerto Rico

I honestly feel as though I have reported on far too many hate crimes in recent weeks, but Jorge Steven López’s gruesome murder near Cayey, Puerto Rico, late last week provides an all too vivid reminder anti-LGBT hate and violence remains a serious problem all of us must address.

For those of you who remain unaware of this case, local residents found López’s decapitated, dismembered and partially burned body in a wooded area near Cayay on Friday. His friends became concerned after he failed to meet them at a popular gay club in San Juan's Santurce neighborhood. Puerto Rican police took a 28-year-old man into custody earlier this morning in connection with López’s death.

Puerto Rican activists plan to protest outside the territorial capital on Thursday. And they will also hold a vigil later this week.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Spanish region includes masturbation in sex education curriculum

With all the news about the struggle for marriage for same-sex couples, anti-LGBT hate crimes, the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the continued effects of the recession, the Spanish region of Extremadura's plan to teach "self-exploration and self-pleasure" in its sexual education curriculum certainly provided this all too skeptical cynic a few very hearty laughs late yesterday afternoon.

The BBC further reported Extremaduran officials based their campaign around the masturbation-inspired slogan "pleasure is in your own hands." A local youth council reportedly proposed the idea as part of a broader curriculum, but Spain's Roman Catholic establishment and conservative media have rather predictably blasted the mere mention of masturbation in Extremadura's public schools. And the group's president has even complained about the attention the proposal has received.

I'm sure more than a few readers would have almost certainly liked to have experienced a hands-on sex education curriculum in school, but I will let them use their more than capable imaginations to come to a conclusion about how they feel about this Spanish row.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Brooklyn's oldest gay bar could close

Published reports indicate Brooklyn's oldest gay bar may close.

Gothamist reported earlier this week Starlite Lounge on the corner of Bergen Street and Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights may close its doors after its old landlord sold the building in which it is located.

Fellow blogger Rod McCollum, who lived in nearby Fort Greene for several years, reflected upon many nights he spent at the landmark bar, which has been a gay fixture in the borough since the 1960s. Rod also has a link to a petition that seeks to designate Starlite as a historical landmark to preserve it.

New York activists, politicians scoff at marriage threats

As activists and politicians prepare for a possible marriage vote in the New York State Senate by the end of the year, they continue to scoff at the primary challenge threats the National Organization for Marriage has made against any Republican Senator who supports the bill.

Attached is a link to the article I posted to EDGE earlier this morning that contains an interview with state Sen. Tom Duane [D-Manhattan] and others. Maine's successful marriage referendum has certainly energized and even emboldened NOM and other like-minded groups. The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington further disclosed yesterday it could not continue to fund the various social programs if the District's lawmakers do not change a proposed law that would allow marriage for gays and lesbians.

These are obviously only threats until they are actually put into practice, but these claims certainly prove anti-marriage groups continue to try to go on the offensive in the wake of Maine.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New York State Senate adjourns without marriage vote

After more than seven hours, the New York State Senate adjourned its special session without a vote on a bill that would extend marriage to same-sex couples.

It remains unclear as to whether lawmakers will even allow proposed legislation to go to the Senate floor for a vote. Governor David Paterson has said he plans to call for another special legislative session early next week. Legislators could potentially debate marriage on Tuesday, but as with anything in Albany these days, stay tuned...

Marriage vote in NYS Senate appears increasingly unlikely

It appears as though a possible vote in Albany this afternoon on a bill that would extend marriage to same-sex couples continues to grow less likely.

Elizabeth Benjamin of the Daily News reported a source who is involved with negotiations over whether to bring the bill to the floor told her it is unlikely based, in part, because a handful of GOP senators who could have potentially supported the proposed legislation could not face potentially angry constituents.

The National Organization for Marriage evoked former Congressional candidate Dede Scozzafava's failed campaign in a press release yesterday that announced the organization would fund primary challenges--with a $500,000 war chest--against any Republican senator who voted for the bill.

The obvious question remains whether the fallout from the 23rd Congressional District has put the state's GOP lawmakers on notice, but it continues to appear increasingly likely politics could once again derail marriage for same-sex couples in New York State.

Monday, November 9, 2009

New York activists, politicians gear up for possible marriage vote

As the prospects of a marriage vote in the New York State Senate continue to grow more possible, activists and even local politicians continue to urge lawmakers to pass the bill during tomorrow's special legislative session.

City Councilmember Christine Quinn joined hundreds of others who attended a candlelight vigil in Union Square earlier tonight. She later told those gathered at the Anti-Violence Project's Courage Awards at a Midtown hotel she had received assurances from state Sen. Tom Duane the bill's prospects continue to improve.

Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Bloomberg also urged legislators to vote on (and pass) the bill.

"The time has come for the State Senate to have an open debate on this issue--and to hold an up-or-down vote," he wrote in a letter to state Sen. Eric Adams [D-Brooklyn.] "That's democracy. And the citizens of New York deserve to know where our representatives stand on this important issue."

Opponents of marriage for same-sex couples also continue to urge lawmakers to oppose the bill. Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, evoked former Congressional candidate Dede Scozzafava's failed campaign in his announcement his organization would build what he described as a $500,000 war chest to "fund a primary challenge to any Republican senator who votes for gay marriage."

"There is no Republican Senate district in New York where the majority of people support gay marriage. Maine has made that very clear,” Brown continued. "The GOP should learn from Dede Scozzafava's experience: voting for gay marriage does not pay."

It appears as though the bill does not have enough support to pass if the state Senate actually vote on it, but activists remain adamant and even (publicly) hopeful.

"All eyes are on Albany," Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, said. "With a true vote of conscience, senators can rectify inequality and injustice with a vote tomorrow."

Marriage activists hold vigil in Queens

As the state Senate prepares for a possible vote on a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry, a group of activists held a vigil outside state Sen. George Onorato's office in Astoria last night to urge him to support the proposed legislation.

It remains to be seen whether lawmakers will actually debate the marriage bill during tomorrow's special legislative session, but one Albany insider told Boy in Bushwick late last week a vote is possible. Elizabeth Benjamin of the Daily News further reported over the weekend Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr., who supports marriage for same-sex couples, told her he plans to link the bill to farm workers' rights. A vote would certainly be a significant step forward for activists, but it remains somewhat doubtful the marriage bill has enough support in the state Senate to pass. Stay tuned...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Maine, marriage and moving forward

As activists here in New York State prepare for the possible vote on marriage next Tuesday in the state Senate, the movement for LGBT rights is hopefully taking a second look at its strategy to secure nuptials for gays and lesbians in the wake of the crushing defeat it experienced earlier this week in Maine.

Slightly more than 53 percent of Maine voters backed a referendum that overturned their state's law that allowed same-sex couples to marry. Forty-seven percent of voters opposed the measure, but the arguably larger than expected margin of victory unfortunately suggests marriage for same-sex couples remains a highly controversial issue the majority of voters in this country are not ready to support.

A handful of states--Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont and soon-to-be New Hampshire--allow gays and lesbians to marry. More than 30 others, however, explicitly ban nuptials for gays and lesbians. This stark reality begs the question:
Has the marriage movement been effective?

Activists will almost certainly point out the five states that either allow gays and lesbians to tie the knot (or will soon allow them to do so) and conclude yes, but other questions remain in the wake of Maine, Proposition 8 in California and other referenda. These include whether activists should look to Washington to extend nuptials to gays and lesbians, whether marriage is actually an effective means to ensure equality for same-sex couples and whether the socio-economic demographic of those who lead the movement dictate the marriage agenda and its direction.

Maine was a sobering wake-up call for both marriage activisits and the broader movement. And they must continue to ask these difficult questions as it tries to move forward from this gut-wrenching defeat.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Paterson calls for marriage vote

Governor David Paterson has issued a proclamation that calls for the state Senate to hold a special legislative session on Tuesday to tackle marriage for same-sex couples, the growing budget deficit and other issues.

"There is never a wrong time or inconvenient time to debate human rights legislation because it's always the right time," Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, said in a statement. "As long as a group of New Yorkers are being denied equal rights, addressing issues like marriage equality must always be a priority. Support for providing equal rights to LGBT New Yorkers has always been bipartisan, and we expect that this bill will be no different."

Cathy Marino-Thomas of Marriage Equality New York was more blunt in remarks she delivered at a rally last night in Union Square.

"We need to insist that Albany get off its ass and pass legislation that will protect the families of New York State," she said.

The obvious question remains whether lawmakers will actually vote on the marriage bill--or anything else for that matter. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Roughly 200 attend marriage rally in Union Square

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, state Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Cathy Marino-Thomas of Marriage Equality New York were among the roughly 200 who rallied in support of marriage for same-sex couples in Union Square earlier tonight.

Those who spoke were quick to condemn the successful referendum that overturned Maine's law that allowed gays and lesbians to tie the knot.

"Maine was a terrible loss," co-organizer Corey Johnson said.

Glick was more blunt as she blasted the idea voters should decide whether gays and lesbians should have the right to marry.

"That is bull shit," she proclaimed as rally attendees erupted into applause. "We got our rights the way we were supposed to and we're not going back."

Others spoke about the possibility the New York State Senate will vote on a marriage bill next Tuesday if lawmakers actually return to Albany to attend a special legislative session.

"We want a vote on Tuesday, Nov 10; not Wednesday; not next month or next session," Marino-Thomas said. "We vote for them. They work for us."

Orlando native Alan Bounville, 33, was among those who said he felt compelled to attend the rally. A student at New York University, he said the Maine marriage referendum has only compelled him to fight harder for LGBT equality.

"I don't want my kids to not have what my sister's kids have," Bounville said.

Garden State Equality launches marriage ad campaign

Less than 24 hours after former federal prosecutor Chris Christie defeated incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine, Garden State Equality's ads in support of marriage for same-sex couples have begun to air across New Jersey.

The advocacy has rolled out two television ads in support of nuptials for gays and lesbians.

Backers of Maine marriage referendum claim victory

With 87 percent of precincts reporting, a referendum that seeks to repeal Maine's law that allows gays and lesbians to marry seems poised to pass.

The New York Times has reported 52.8 percent of Maine voters supported the referendum. Slightly more than 47 percent of those who cast ballots voted against it. No on 1 campaign manager Jesse Connolly formally conceded in a brief statement he issued earlier this morning.

"Tonight, hundreds of thousands of Maine voters stood for equality, but in the end, it wasn't enough," he said.

Connolly further praised those who worked against the referendum.

"I am proud of the thousands of Mainers who knocked on doors, made phone calls and talked to their family, friends and neighbors about the basic premise of treating all Maine families equally," he said.

Lee Swislow, executive director of the Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, released an equally terse statement.

"Today, Maine’s same-sex couples and all their supporters are experiencing a world of hurt and pain," she said. "Same-sex couples have been denied full equality and full citizenship in their state. They have been told to remain outside. They must explain this vote to their children. At some point soon, we will all have to pick ourselves up and fight again."


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bloomberg wins, Corzine loses, Maine too close to call

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press has declared Mayor Michael Bloomberg the winner of the city's mayoral campaign with 51 percent of the vote. City Comptroller William Thompson, Jr., has garnered 46 percent.

Across the Hudson River, former federal prosecutor Chris Christie upset incumbent New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine. Christie garnered 50 percent of the vote. Corzine received 44 percent. And independent candidate Chris Daggett garnered 5 percent.

Christie's election could have major implications on the future of marriage for same-sex couples in the Garden State, but it remains unclear as to whether the referendum that seeks to repeal nuptials for gays and lesbians in Maine has succeeded. The Portland Press Herald reports 50.12 percent of Maine voters cast their ballots against the referendum versus 49.88 of those who supported it.

Stay tuned for more updates...

Hofstra University hosts marriage debate

Cathy Marino-Thomas of Marriage Equality New York debated Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage at Hofstra University on Long Island on Oct. 28. This exchange came less than two weeks before the New York State Senate is slated to potentially hold a special session at which a vote on a bill that would extend marriage to same-sex couples is possible.

Election Day in Bushwick

I just voted at IS 347 on Starr Street. And aside from a malfunctioning voting machine and a huge wad of chewing gum into which I stepped, the process went smoothly.

Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr., signs hung on street lights and along buildings leading up to the school. A number of businesses along Knickerbocker and Wilson Avenues also displayed posters in support of Working Families Parties candidate Maritza Davila in their windows.

Recent polls indicate Mayor Michael Bloomberg is poised to win a third term in office. Obviously nothing is final until the results come in, but I will continue to post updates as they trickle in.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Man arrested in connection with Key West stabbing

The Key West Police Department has arrested a Broward County man in connection with the fatal stabbing of Marques Butler early yesterday morning.

Nicholas Ferro, 23, of Hollywood, faces a second degree murder charge. He allegedly stabbed Butler near Caroline and Simonton Streets (and not Duval Street as a police spokesperson originally said) around 4 a.m. on Oct. 31. Butler died a short time later at a local hospital.

The incident took place during Fantasy Fest, a week-long celebration in which up to 70,000 revelers descend upon Key West.

Ferro remains in custody at the Monroe County Detention Center.