Lambda Line: May-June 2004

L.I.D. Candidates Forum and Endorsement Meeting

Please join us for L.I.D.’s Congressional, State Legislature, District Leader, and Civil Court candidates forum and endorsement meeting on Thursday, June 3, 6:30-10pm at Old First Reformed Church, Seventh Avenue and Carroll Street, Park Slope. It’s your opportunity to find out where the candidates stand on the issues of importance to the LGBT community. Each candidate has been invited to speak and answer questions. All members who joined LID before April 3 (including those whose membership expired in the past year but who renew at the door) and who live in Brooklyn are eligible to vote. See the enclosed flyer for more details.

June 17, Kick Off Pride By Kicking Out George Bush

Kudos to L.I.D. executive board member Gary Parker, who is spearheading efforts to bring all the city’s LGBT Democratic clubs together for one fundraising event: “Kick Off Pride by Kicking Out George Bush.” Thanks to John Blair and Allen Roskoff, the event committee has secured Avalon (formerly Limelight), a magnificent, fully accessible space at 49 West 20th Street, for Thursday, June 17 from 6 to 9pm. The suggested donation is $20 towards the Kerry campaign, but guests are welcome to give more or less. Watch the mail for your postcard invitation.

In addition to L.I.D., cosponsors are the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats, Guillermo Vasquez Independent Democratic Club of Queens, Lambda Democrats of the Bronx, the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens, Pride Democrats, and the Stonewall Democratic Club.

According to Gary, “This will be the first time that all of the LGBT Democratic Clubs in New York City have united for one fundraising event and it will be something we can all be proud of. It will be a fun opportunity to meet likeminded LGBT political activists from around the City. Most importantly, this gathering will allow us to take pride, rally, and determine what we can to do to as a community to remove George Bush from office. With an ongoing and growing assault of our civil liberties – not to mention the proposed constitutional amendment to bar gay marriage! – we must do everything we can.”

On May 23, Cross the Brooklyn Bridge for Marriage Equality

L.I.D. has joined 2004 Brooklyn Lambda Award winner Marriage Equality/New York as a cosponsor of a demonstration entitled “The Wedding March.” The event, on Sunday, May 23, will kick off at 11am at Cadman Plaza. Demonstrators will march across the Brooklyn Bridge to Battery Park, where there will be a rally to demand the right for same-sex couples to marry. As the event’s website ( explains, “Marriage is the bridge to 1,138 federal rights and more than 700 New York State rights, ranging from access to Social Security benefits and the ability to make health care decisions to inheritance, immigration, and protections for children and families.” Take a banner, bring a sign, don your wedding outfits, and join L.I.D. in showing support and visibility for marriage equality.

Brooklynites Unite in Pride

On Saturday, June 12, Brooklyn’s LGBT community will celebrate its 8th Annual Brooklyn Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival. The festivities will begin at 10am with a 5K Fun Run at Bartel Pritchard Square on 15th Street and Prospect Park West. From 11am to 6pm, a street fair with stage performers will take place along Prospect Park West from 9th-15th Streets. Finally, the parade will begin at 9pm at Bartel Pritchard Square and run from 15th Street to Lincoln Place along 7th Avenue. As usual, L.I.D. will have a contingent in the Parade. To find out where we are meeting, please call Alan Fleishman at (718) 638-4404.

Proposed Revisions to L.I.D. Bylaws Available for Review

One of the goals of L.I.D.’s executive board this year has been updating the club’s bylaws. A subcommittee, headed by Gary Parker and Christopher Murray, has come up with a series of proposed revisions. The changes will be brought to the membership for a vote at a meeting later this year, at which time two-thirds of the membership present must approve them in order for them to become effective. In the meantime, the proposed changes are available for review on the L.I.D. website at

Equal Benefits Bill Passes

On May 5 the New York City Council overwhelmingly passed the Equal Benefits Bill, which requires that the City only do business with companies who provide the same benefits to their employees with domestic partners as they provide to employees with spouses. This historic legislation passed the Council with 43 yes votes, five no votes and two abstentions – a strong enough majority to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s promised veto.

A big thank-you to the 14 of 16 members of the Brooklyn delegation who voted in favor of the bill, including, in a pleasant surprise, Brooklyn Democrat Vincent Gentile (43rd District – Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Fort Hamilton). When he served in the State Senate, Gentile voted against the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, and he had previously indicated he would vote against the Equal Benefits Bill.

Only one member of the Brooklyn delegation of the Council voted against the bill, Democrat Simcha Felder (Midwood, Borough Park), the former chief of staff to arch-homophobe Assemblymember Dov Hikind. The one Brooklyn abstention was Democrat Michael Nelson (48th District – Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach, Midwood)

News From Connie and Ruthie

Ruth Berman and Connie Kurtz, longtime L.I.D.-members, 2001 Peter Vogel Award winners, successful litigants in the famous “Gay Teachers” case, which in 1993 forced New York City to extend domestic partner benefits to its workers, and stars of the documentary “Connie and Ruthie: Every Room in the House,” recently sent greetings from their new community in West Palm Beach, FL. Our last newsletter was forwarded to their new home and generated this marvelous reply:

Dear L.I.D. - Together we will Dump Bush. We no longer are members of L.I.D. We are now Florida residents – working with the Democratic party in our village to register residents and to organize for “Vote by Mail” – Absentee Ballots. Good luck to you all.

Lovingly, Ruthie Berman and Connie Kurtz

Connie and Ruthie may no longer live in Brooklyn but they will always be a part of L.I.D. We have added them to our permanent mailing list, so they will continue to get Lambda Line and other club mailings in sunny West Palm Beach, FL.

Long Leads Efforts Against Same-Sex Marriage

In the heat of the same-sex marriage battle Bay Ridge liquor store owner and New York State Conservative Party Chair Michael Long was exactly where we expected him to be. No friend of the LGBT community, Long responded to developments in Massachusetts and San Francisco by holding a press conference demanding action to prevent same-sex marriages from coming to New York. “It’s my hope legislators will feel some pressure from constituents at home to protect the institution of marriage,” Long said. “A failure to act by the legislature could lead this state into a lot of problems.” While efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in New York have stalled in the legislature and largely moved into the courts, the good news is that Long has been equally thwarted in his hostile approach.

Bay Ridge Cleric Favors Same-Sex Union

In a pleasant twist, Rev. John Farrell, a priest at the Episcopalian Christ Church of Bay Ridge, told the Park Slope Courier that he is seeking to perform same-sex unions at the parish. What led to the proactive announcement was a sensational and, frankly, incorrect story from the New York Post alleging that Farrell wanted to marry same-sex couples in the church.

Farrell explained to the Courier, “Last summer the National Episcopalian Church had a general convention and they decided to allow bishops of each diocese to decide if they would permit blessings of same-sex unions, but explicitly not marriages.” So Farrell requested that his church board allow such blessings. He has the support of Bishop Orris Walker, and is just waiting for the board’s ruling.“I regard this as a justice issue,” said Farrell. “The church has historically mistreated gays and lesbians and we need to change our policies and become more welcoming and inclusive. The Episcopal Church is doing that and I’m proud of that.” Amen.

New Lesbian Nightclub Opening on Fourth Avenue in the Slope

Meow Mix owner Brooke Webster is coming to Brooklyn. Her new 4,000 square foot, lesbianoriented nightclub, Cattyshack, is scheduled to open among the auto repair shops on Fourth Avenue in June. Fans of Ginger’s Pub on Fifth Avenue shouldn’t worry about the competition. Ginger’s owner Sheila Frayne told The Park Slope Paper, that she welcomes the new club. “It think it’s great – the more in the neighborhood the better. It will help keep people in Park Slope instead of going to the city.”

Lambda Honors Velásquez, Alexander and Marriage Equality

On Saturday, April 18, more than 100 L.I.D. members and supporters packed into Aunt Suzie’s restaurant on Fifth Avenue to honor Congressmember Nydia Velásquez, Reverend Liz Alexander and Marriage Equality at the 26th Anniversary Lunch with Lambda. Dozens of dignitaries, from the Borough President to members of the state legislature, city council, judges and Democratic party leaders attended. The event was covered by Gay City News in its April 22-28, 2004, issue. Editor Paul Schindler’s account can be read online at


Sunday May 23, 11am

The Wedding March 2004. Assemble at Cadman Plaza, then march across the Brooklyn Bridge to Battery Park in support of equal marriage rights. For more information:
Wednesday, June 2, 7-9pm

Friends of Harley Diamond (former L.I.D. treasurer) Civil Court Campaign Fundraiser at the home of Peter Fleming and Brain King, 633 President Street, Park Slope. RSVP: (718) 622-5043.
Thursday, June 3, 6:30-10pm

L.I.D. Candidates Forum and Endorsement Meeting, Old Reformed Church, 136 7th Avenue (at Carroll Street), Park Slope.
Thursday, June 10, 6-8:30pm

Same-Sex Civil Marriage panel sponsored by LeGaL and the Gay/Straight Alliance of the NYS Courts, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn Heights. Reception to celebrate LGBT Pride, hosted by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, to follow. For more information or to RSVP call (718) 802-3531.
Thursday, June 10, 6-10pm.

Comptroller Bill Thompson’s LGBT Pride Celebration, The Center, 208 West 13 Street, Manhattan. For more information or to RSVP call (212) 669-4382.
Sunday, June 12, 10-6pm

Brooklyn Pride Multicultural Festival, Prospect Park West from 9th Street to 15th Street, Park Slope. For more information call (718) 670-3337.
Sunday, June 12, 9pm

Brooklyn Pride Parade, Assemble at 15th Street and Prospect Park West, march down 7th Avenue to Lincoln Place. For more information call (718) 670-3337.
Monday, June 14, 6-8pm

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller and Councilmembers Lopez, Quinn and Reed’s LGBT Pride celebration, City Hall, Manhattan. For more information or to RSVP call (212) 788-9194.
Thursday, June 17, 6-9pm

Kick Off Pride by Kicking Out George Bush fundraiser at Avalon, 49 West 20th Street, Manhattan. $20 suggested donation.
Monday, June 21, 6-9pm

Garden Party 21, annual fundraiser for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Services Center. For more info: or (212) 620-7310.
Sunday, June 27, noon until march ends

The 35th Annual LGBT Pride March, from 5th Avenue and 52nd Street to Christopher and Greenwich Streets, Manhattan. For more info:

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