By Karen Ocamb, The Bilerico Project
EDITOR”S NOTE: Many visitors to this web site may never have lived through the American upheavals of the ’60s and ’70s. Karen Ocamb’s piece takes us back to that era and spotlights the important role that George McGovern played in giving gay people dignity and respect within U.S. politics.
George McGovern, a principled, outspoken opponent of the war in Vietnam and the 1972 Democratic candidate for president, died Oct. 21 in a Sioux Falls, South Dakota hospice where he had been admitted last week. He was 90.
Steve Hildebrand, the openly gay spokesman for the family, said in a statement:
“We are blessed to know that our father lived a long, successful and productive life advocating for the hungry, being a progressive voice for millions and fighting for peace.
“He continued giving speeches, writing and advising all the way up to and past his 90th birthday, which he celebrated this summer.”
As divided as America is today, it was perhaps even more deeply divided in the mid-late 1960s and early 1970s when 18 year olds were drafted to fight the war in Vietnam and the undeclared wars in Cambodia and Laos. The wars were so ugly and so far away, straight guys were pretending to be gay to escape the draft, despite the permanent mark on their record. At anti-war demonstrations, Republican “hard hats” would throw tomatoes and eggs at antiwar “hippie Communist” protesters (like me), yelling: “America: Love it or Leave it!” It was an intense time of heroes and villains with each side firmly believing they were on the side of the angels.
History built up to this great divide. Just like the film The Wizard of Oz
, America changed into color with the election in 1960 of President John F. Kennedy, besting black and white Republican Vice President Richard M. Nixon. But while the counter-culture was full of music, love, peace and hope, a dark shadow started creeping across the land with the assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers
in June 1963, followed in November by the unimaginable assassination of JFK. Hope popped up again when Lyndon B. Johnson took office, signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and launched the War on Poverty. But Johnson surrendered that war in favor of ostensibly stopping the Communist “dominos” from falling – first in Vietnam, and then throughout Southeast Asia.By 1968, a number of liberation movements had sprouted up in conjunction with the civil rights and antiwar movements with Sen. Eugene McCarthy and JKF’s brother Sen. Robert F. Kennedy their leading presidential candidates. Sen. McGovern had declined to run in 1967 but when RFK was assassinated in June 1968 after winning the California Primary, McGovern – who had spoken with RFK just minutes before his murder – entered the race, giving RFK’s convention delegates a place to go. Vice President Hubert Humphrey wound up winning the Democratic presidential nomination amidst violent chaos created by Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley
‘s, whose cops were cracking down with impunity on anyone – from national reporters like Dan Rather televising live on the convention floor to antiwar protesters in the streets. McGovern called the tactics “police brutality.”
The chaos at the 1968 Democratic Convention prompted a call for a resolution to create a Commission on Party Structure and Delegate Selection. McGovern was selected chair the following year. The commission was intent on reducing the role of party bosses who could make backroom deals in smoke-filled rooms to pre-determine the nominating process. The commission wanted more democracy and to open up the process to minorities, women and especially youth who demanded representation if they were going to be sent to war to die! That lead to the greater importance of primaries and years later, to the Inclusion Rule written by openly gay DNC Super Delegate Garry Shay to require LGBT delegate goals for each state Democratic party.
By an accident of fate, antiwar activist David Mixner, then a closeted gay man, was appointed to McGovern’s commission. Mixner had met McGovern during the convention when the senator spoke to McCarthy supporters. In his book Stranger Among Friends, Mixner says he felt a strong obligation to young people and all those who had been beaten and arrested by Daley’s goons. He told the commission that in order to heal from the 1968 convention, Daley had to be publicly confronted in a commission hearing.
“I intend to ask Mayor Daley to apologize foe the violence by the police at the convention and to support amnesty for all those arrested by his police, including The Chicago Seven,” Mixner said.
The commission panel freaked. UAW representative Bill Dodds pointed out that Daley might not hear what Mixner – and by extension, the antiwar youth of the nation – would be trying to say if Mixner asked the question. Perhaps someone else could.
(Chicago Mayor Richard Daley during the 1968 Democratic Convention)
McGovern turned to me. “If I ask the question for you, will you out of respect for Senator Stevenson [who wanted Mixner kicked off the commission] remain silent during the whole hearing?
Knowing that McGovern needed my cooperation now and that his presenting the question to Mayor Daley would be a thousand times more effective than my asking it, I said, “Senator, of course I will agree to that.”
Everyone was surprised when Mixner passed up the opportunity to talk. “Then McGovern kept his word and asked my question about the demonstrators and amnesty. Daley’s face turned purple. He erupted into a tirade against the demonstrators who had attempted to wreck the Democratic Party at his convention.”
That commission hearing, his interaction with McGovern, and his participation in the report that would forever change the way the Democratic Party operated made Mixner a political star. The following year, in October 1969, McGovern was a key speaker at the massive Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam, which Mixner helped organize, and an even larger protest organized by the Vietnam Moratorium in November at the Capitol.
In a 2008 book called Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America, author Rick Perlstein writes about the 1972 Democratic Convention that nominated McGovern to run an ill-fate campaign against President Richard M. Nixon. So many things went wrong. The “Yippies” were celebrated, for instance, and the convention ran so long to accommodate so many that McGovern gave his televised acceptance speech at 2:45am to an audience of around 3 million. Perlstein writes:
Plenty more had been watching hours earlier during the vice-presidential roll call, when two men wearing purple shirts reading gay power kissed in an aisle. Television cameramen have an eye for the peculiar. Though the vast majority of conventioneers looked utterly conventional, they dwelled on the likes of Beth Ann Labson, an eighteen-year-old California delegate, walking around without shoes. (“By 1976,” wrote Abbie [Hoffman] and Jerry [Rubin], “the convention will be held in a meadow.”) Larry O’Brien delivered a speech at the podium while, twenty feet below, Allen Ginsberg sat cross-legged, chanting mantras. Denim and tie-dyed T-shirts and peasant dresses; men carrying babies in papoose boards–and, the Post recorded in its article on the abortion floor debate, “girls in patched jeans and no bras.” A black man and a white woman kissing on camera. Interracial marriage had been illegal in some southern states until a Supreme Court decision only five years earlier.”
And then came the roll call, during which, Perlman writes, the McGovern side pulled some political parliamentary tricks that ended up “selling out were feminists” and creating wedge issues. The McGovern Commission’s requirement of “affirmative steps” toward “reasonable representation,” Perlman writes, led to resentment…
“as the “women’s libbers” came to be considered and came to consider themselves vanguardists in pushing the boundaries of liberal consciousness. Abortion politics was one catalyst; women were beginning to claim “abortion on demand” as a right. Gay rights was another cutting-edge issue. Some feminists still considered both outrageous; Betty Friedan labeled the lesbians organizing within the National Organization for Women the “lavender menace.” It came to a head at Democratic platform-committee meetings in March. Shirley MacLaine confronted Gloria Steinem at the elevators: “If you people had your way, you’d have George support everyone’s right to fuck goats.”
Here was another development to warm the cockles of Richard Nixon’s heart: wedge issues within the New Politics coalition itself.
After considerable machinations, Perlstein writes, “[t]he word shot across the convention hall that McGovern had clinched the nomination – and also that he had done it by selling out reform.”
The next day, the convention voted on the party platform. Perlstein writes:
McGovern operatives begged the women’s and gay liberationists to drop their demand for floor votes on their planks to moderate the Democrats’ image for TV. These operatives ruefully discovered that political purists could also act like ward bosses, extracting their own pounds of flesh. The gays reminded them of how McGovern would not have won the coveted spot at the top of the California primary ballot if it weren’t for a last-minute signature drive in the gay bars of the Castro by the Alice B. Toklas Memorial Democratic Club.
“We do not come to you pleading for your understanding or pleading for your tolerance,” San Francisco delegate Jim Foster pronounced during his ten minutes. “We come to you affirming our pride in our lifestyle, affirming validity to seek and maintain meaningful emotional relationships, and affirming our right to participate in the life of this country on an equal basis with every citizen.”
The TV lights made his light-colored linen jacket with its patchwork of thick lines look particularly garish. Then delegate Kathleen Wilch of Ohio went to the podium on behalf of McGovern. She asked delegates to vote against the gay rights plank: It would “commit the Democratic Party to seek repeal of all laws involving the protection of children from sexual approaches by adults” and force “repeal of all laws relating to prostitution, pandering, pimping”–and “commit this party to repeal many laws designed to protect the young, the innocent, and the weak.”
McGovern’s convention rejected gay rights in a landslide. Be that as it may, one week later, George Meany officially announced the AFL-CIO wouldn’t be endorsing a presidential candidate that year. At a steelworkers’ convention in September, he explained why: The “Democratic Party has been taken over by people named Jack who look like Jills and smell like johns.”
Not reported by Perlstein was that gays were so outraged by Wilch’s comments that McGovern issued a letter in response:
“Her views in no way reflect my views on the subject… I have long supported civil rights of all Americans and have in no way altered my commitment to these rights and I have no intention of doing so.”
In the remembrances of McGovern this Sunday, many might note that McGovern’s Democratic Convention featured the first ever gay speaker – Jim Foster – at the podium. They may not, however, note that his letter responding to Wilch was the first time a major political figure posited gay rights within the broader context of civil rights.
Most obits will also note that McGovern lost that 1972 election to Nixon in a landslide. Nixon subsequently announced the end of the draft in 1973 – though war dragged on until 1975. In 1974, Nixon became the first President in US history to resign from office – a result of illegal political dirty tricks at the Watergate during Nixon’s run against McGovern.
(David Mixner, left, with George McGovern and Mixner’s partner Peter Scott. Photo courtesy David Mixner)
Years later, in 1977, after Mixner had come out and was working on the antigay Briggs Initiative with a group called the New AGE (New Alliance for Gay Equality), Mixner asked his friend Bob Shrum, who had been a member of McGovern’s staff – to set up a meeting so they could ask the senator to keynote a fundraiser open to the press. Mixner writes:
“A United States senator had never attended an openly gay and lesbian fund-raiser before. Moreover, he was facing reelection in his rural home state of South Dakota in 1980, where conservative factions were strong. But Bob made a strong case for the importance of standing up against tyranny, especially when it is unpopular to do so, and with his usual courage, McGovern agreed to come…..
McGovern spoke movingly of the battle for human dignity and his wiliness to stand by our side. It ws a memorable evening, not only because we raised critical funds but because it was a big step toward the community’s being accepted by mainstream politicians.”
In his remembrance Mixner writes of McGovern: “Even among the great, he was a giant.”
PRINCETON, NJ — A new Gallup Poll — posed to more than 120,000 U.S. adults thus far — shows that 3.4% say “yes” when asked if they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
Another 4.4 percent either refused to give a preference or said they didn’t know. The remaining 92.2 percent said they were not gay, bi or tran.
These results are based on 121,290 Gallup interviews conducted between June 1 and Sept. 30, 2012.
This is the largest single study of the distribution of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population in the U.S. on record.
One obvious limitation of this study is that it measures only what people say they are. It does not attempt to document sexual or other behavior, either past or present.The following sections review the percentage identifying as LGBT across specific subgroups of the U.S. population. Overall, the results from this analysis run counter to some media stereotypes that portray the LGBT community as predominantly white, highly educated, and very wealthy.
Nonwhite Individuals More Likely to Identify as LGBT
Nonwhites are more likely than white segments of the U.S. population to identify as LGBT. The survey results show that 4.6% of African-Americans identify as LGBT, along with 4.0% of Hispanics and 4.3% of Asians. The disproportionately higher representation of LGBT status among nonwhite population segments corresponds to the slightly below-average 3.2% of white Americans who identified as LGBT.
Overall, a third of LGBT-identifiers are nonwhite (33%), compared with 27% of non-LGBT individuals.
Women Are More Likely to Identify as LGBT Than Are Men
Although the difference is not large, women are slightly more likely to identify as LGBT than are men (3.6% vs. 3.3%) — a finding that is consistent with other surveys. Put differently, more than 53% of LGBT individuals are women.
Younger Americans More Likely to Identify as LGBT
Adults aged 18 to 29 (6.4%) are more than three times as likely as seniors aged 65 and older (1.9%) to identify as LGBT. Among those aged 30 to 64, LGBT identity declines with age — at 3.2% for 30- to 49-year-olds and 2.6% for 50- to 64-year-olds.
Consistent with other recent studies and with the gender gap identified earlier in this report, younger women are more likely to identify as LGBT than are younger men. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 8.3% of women identify as LGBT, compared with 4.6% of men the same age.
It is possible that some of these age differences are due to a greater reluctance on the part of older Americans who may be LGBT to identify as such. In general, younger Americans are more accepting of equal rights and opportunities for gay men and lesbians.
LGBT Americans Tend to Have Lower Levels of Education and Income
Gallup’s analysis shows that identification as LGBT is highest among Americans with the lowest levels of education — contrary to what other, more limited, studies have shown. Among those with a high school education or less, 3.5% identify as LGBT, compared with 2.8% of those with a college degree and 3.2% of those with postgraduate education. LGBT identification is highest among those with some college education but not a college degree, at 4.0%.
A similar pattern is found across income groups. More than 5% of those with incomes of less than $24,000 a year identify as LGBT, a higher proportion than among those with higher incomes — including 2.8% of those making $60,000 a year or more.
Among those who report income, about 16% of LGBT-identified individuals have incomes above $90,000 per year, compared with 21% of the overall adult population. Additionally, 35% of those who identify as LGBT report incomes of less than $24,000 a year, significantly higher than the 24% for the population in general. These findings are consistent with research showing that LGBT people are at a higher risk of poverty.
East and West Regions Are Home to More LGBT Identifiers
LGBT identification is slightly higher in the East (3.7%) and the West (3.6%) than in the Midwest (3.4%) and the South (3.2%). This slightly higher incidence on both coasts could be a product of two factors. More accepting regions may attract LGBT people to move there. But it may also be the case that social acceptance in the East and West means that LGBT people are more willing to self-identify, because they feel less stigmatized by their identity.
This report marks the first step in analyzing the largest population-based survey of LGBT Americans ever conducted. Upcoming reports on Gallup.com will analyze LGBT political attitudes and perspectives, and review the impact of self-reported LGBT identity on health and wellbeing. Gallup will continue to include the LGBT question in its Daily tracking survey, which will provide the ability to analyze trends and correlates of LGBT status in the U.S. across a wide variety of social, cultural, economic, and political indicators.
This initial analysis reveals new insights into the composition of the LGBT community in the U.S. In particular, the findings challenge both media and cultural stereotypes to reveal that the LGBT population is in a number of ways not that different from the broader U.S. population.
Gary J. Gates is the Williams Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. A national expert in LGBT demographics, he holds a PhD in Public Policy from the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University.
Survey Methods Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup Daily tracking survey June 1-Sept. 30, 2012, with a random sample of 121,290 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.
For results based on the total sample of [national adults/registered voters], one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is <±1 percentage point.
For more details on Gallup’s polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.
NEW YORK – A divided federal appeals court on Oct. 18 struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. The judicial panel joined an appeals court in Boston in rejecting the law confines marriage to a man and a woman.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its 2-to-1 ruling only weeks after hearing arguments on a lower court judge’s findings that the 1996 law was unconstitutional.
The majority opinion written by Judge Dennis Jacobs rejected a section of the law that says “marriage” only means a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife and that the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. A federal appeals court in Boston earlier this year also found it unconstitutional.
The issue is expected to be decided by the Supreme Court next year.
James Esseks, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, called the ruling “a watershed moment in the legal movement for lesbian and gay rights.”
“It’s fabulous news for same-sex couples in New York and other states,” he said.
Esseks said the 2nd Circuit went farther than the appeals court in Boston by saying that when the government discriminates against gay people, the courts will presume that the discrimination is unconstitutional.
In striking down the law, the Jacobs wrote that the law’s “classification of same-sex spouses was not substantially related to an important government interest” and thus violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
He said the law was written so broadly that it touches more than a thousand federal laws. He said “homosexuals are not in a position to adequately protect themselves from the discriminatory wishes of the majoritarian public.”
He rejected arguments that the definition of marriage was traditional.
“Even if preserving tradition were in itself an important goal, DOMA is not a means to achieve it,” he said.
Judge Chester Straub dissented, saying that if the government was to change its understanding of marriage, “I believe it is for the American people to do so.”
“Courts should not intervene where there is a robust political debate because doing so poisons the political well, imposing a destructive anti-majoritarian constitutional ruling on a vigorous debate,” he said.
The ruling came in a case brought by Edith Windsor. She sued the government in November 2010 because she was told to pay $363,053 in federal estate tax after her partner of 44 years, Thea Spyer, died in 2009. They had married in Canada in 2007.
The law, which denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages and affirms the right of states to refuse to recognize such marriages, was passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton after it appeared in 1993 that Hawaii might legalize gay marriage. Since then, many states have banned gay marriage but several have approved it, including Massachusetts and New York.
Members of OneDaytona met Sunday (Oct. 14) to map plans for the coming year.
Among the goals approved by the gay advocacy group:
– Raise funds to continue the OneDaytona GLBT scholarship program
– Organize a Film Night and continue screenings periodically if interest is strong.
– Continue efforts to be a clearinghouse of GLBT information, using GayDaytona.com.
OneDaytona has awarded three $500 scholarships over the past three years, offering them to GLBT people enrolled at local campuses or vocational schools. However, the scholarship fund currently has a balance of only $70.
To raise funds, the group agreed to explore the idea of conducting a raffle at the Volusia Pride festival on Nov. 10. A party or dance in early 2013 is another idea being considered.
A Film Night series could take advantage of audiovisual equipment available in New Church Family’s new building on U.S. 92.
Treasurer Tom Brown reported OneDaytona has completed the transfer of $653 in Volusia Pride donations and vending fees to PFLAG of Volusia, the overseer of this year’s Pride Festival. Members agreed to share a festival information table with New Church Family and distribute materials about the organization and the scholarship program.
Members were encouraged to attend the Oct. 24 community mixer being organized by P.R.I.D.E., an Embry-Riddle gay straight alliance. The reception will be in the atrium of the College of Aviation building, starting 7 p.m.
Brown reminded members that annual dues of $10 for the 2012-2013 period should be paid as soon as possible to cover expenses such as corporate filing fees and postal box rentals. Payments can be sent to OneDaytona, PO Box 1936, Daytona Beach FL. 32115.
OneDaytona, formed in 2009, is a non-profit coalition that focuses on Y.E.S. — youth support, educational program and social events. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in gay solidarity and equality.
The next meeting will be Sunday, Nov. 18, at 11:45 a.m. at New Church Family, 3520 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach FL. To be place on the group’s e-mailing list, send your contact info to Tom Brown at email@example.com
Here is a summary of this fall’s state-ballot referenda on gay marriage:
Same-sex marriage has been on state ballots for nearly a decade— 30 out of 31 measures banning gay marriage have been approved by voters, including Californians. In contrast, same-sex marriage victories consistently have come from the courts or legislatures.
This fall, four states will vote on marriage-related propositions.
In Maine’s Question 1 and in Maryland’s Question 6 , both put on the ballot by petitions, voters will be asked to legalize same-sex marriage by repealing prior laws that banned it. In Washington, opponents are asking voters to approve or repeal a new law that legalized gay marriage. And Minnesota voters will vote on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. (This May, North Carolina voters passed such a ban.)
HISTORICAL FOOTNOTE: Florida voters inserted an anti-gay marriage amendment into the state constitution in the 2004 election after backers rounded up more than 60 percent of the vote.
By Tom Brown
NEW SMYRNA BEACH – Fourteen volunteers met Sept. 19 and pledged their best efforts to make sure a Volusia Pride Festival is held Nov. 10 as previously scheduled.
To reduce festival costs, the event will be moved from downtown Daytona’s Riverside Park to the United Church of Christ at 203 Washington St. in downtown New Smyrna Beach.
The volunteers agreed to donate $100 to the church to defray utility costs and other expenses. A permit for Riverside Park would have cost at least $265 and required additional spending on insurance, police and rentals of a stage and portable toilets.
Kathy Seibert, the new chairperson at the Pride Committee, said she was pleased by the volunteer turnout. She encouraged more people to attend future planning meetings, which will be held every Thursday at 7 p.m. at the church.
Volunteers represented UCC and PFLAG, New Church Family, OneDaytona, area colleges, Hub on Canal, and other groups.
A meeting summary prepared by James Roberts said the Pride Committee has about $225 in funds. So far, eight organizations and businesses have signed up as vendors.
Admission to the festival will be free. Volunteers talked about the possibility of staging a drag show in the form of a humorous beauty contest. They also are gathering ideas for family-friendly games to offer.
Vendor spaces are available at $25 for non-profit groups and $50 for for-profit businesses.
For more information, contact Kathy Seibert , Kathy@seibert.net.
By Tom Brown
Organizers of the 2012 Volusia Pride Festival announced Thursday the Nov. 10 event will take place on church property in downtown New Smyrna Beach instead of Daytona Beach’s Riverside Park.
The new location will be the United Church of Christ of New Smyrna Beach at 203 Washington St., two blocks north of New Smyrna’s Canal Street commercial district. Kathy Seibert, a volunteer with the church and the Volusia chapter of PFLAG, has replaced Lisa-Marie Mueller as Pride chairperson. Mueller, a Daytona State student, had to relocate to Fort Lauderdale because of a family health crisis.
The organizers plan to regroup Wednesday, Sept. 19, with a 7 p.m. planning meeting at the church. All area GLBT organizations and businesses are urged to send representatives to help make the festival a community-wide event.
Mueller said the change of venue was necessary partly because of the high cost of using Riverside Park. Park rental fees, security and clean-up costs, a stage rental, portable toilet requirements, and insurance would have required at least $1,000. After paying an application fee and setting up a festival web site, the Pride Committee’s treasury has only about $200 on hand. A plan for a pizza fundraiser last month fell through when the pizzeria went out of business.
“After nine months of preliminary planning, we have concluded we have too few volunteers and too little money to present a successful festival at Riverside,” Mueller said. She expressed gratitude the church has provided an alternative site to hold down expenses.
“It will be a much smaller event than originally intended, but with your help, Volusia Pride 2013 can be bigger and better,” Mueller said in an e-mail to her fellow student volunteers.
Seibert said the church’s council on Sept. 12 unanimously approved use of the church property for the Pride Festival. To keep the event family-friendly and to reduce security risks, no alcohol will be sold on the property.
The local chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays) also has offered volunteer help for the event.
Seibert urged all Pride supporters to attend the Sept. 19 planning session.
“Let’s stay focused and show that we can still make the festival a fun event for our larger community! Huge thanks to Lisa-Marie and the Pride committee for all the hard work they’ve done,” she said.
Financial sponsors and vendors for the Pride event include, so far, OneDaytona, PFLAG of Volusia, United Church of Christ of New Smyrna Beach, New Church Family, Sintral Florida Derby Demons, KingChamp Books and Jewelry by Lisa.
Vendor spaces are available at $25 each for non-profit organizations and $50 each for businesses. Vendor fees and other contributions should be sent to PFLAG New Smyrna Beach/Volusia, 93 Cumberland Ave, Ormond Beach FL 32174. Vendor registration forms are available at the festival web site, www.VolusiaPride.org
For more information, contact Kathy Seibert at 386.299.0698.
DAYTONA BEACH — New Church Family finished packing up its furniture and files on Tuesday (Aug. 28) and trucked them out to its new building at 3520 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach.
The move ended a four-year lease of space at the Copytronics Building on Beville Road. Services begin in the new location on Sunday, Sept. 2.
Church members and friends will gather at the new site on Saturday for an unpacking work bee, starting 10 a.m. Anyone is welcome to pitch in.
The new building gives the 42-member church a meeting hall of 1500 square feet, plus a large boardroom, 3 offices, kitchen, lobby and storage room. The previous owners, the Volusia Building Industry Association, are building a new office in Daytona Beach but will continue using a portion of their old headquarters for the next 2 or 3 months.
Over the past 25 years, the church, formerly known as Hope Metropolitan Community Church, has used several locations, including the Unitarian-Universalist Society in Ormond Beach, the Lambda Center on Harvey Avenue, and 500 S. Ridgewood Ave. in Daytona. The church, pastored by Revs. Beau and Susan McDaniels, is now affiliated with International Christian Community Churches in Asheville, N.C.
A worker from Bear Transport helps load furniture for New Church Family.
ST. AUGUSTINE — The St. Augustine City Commission has launched an effort to outlaw housing discrimination against the homosexual community.
The city commission voted Monday (Aug. 27) to begin the process of amending the city’s Fair Housing Act. The proposed amendment would change the city’s Fair Housing Act to make discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal.
Volusia County enacted a broader gay-rights measure last year with little debate. Volusia’s measure gives gay people the right to sue for damages if they experience bias in housing, the workplace or public accommodations, such as bars and restaurants. Orlando approved a similar ordinance earlier this year, but Jacksonville’s city council voted 17-2 in mid-August to kill a gay-rights bill for that city.
The St. Augustine city attorney will draft an ordinance based on the Aug. 27 The draft will likely be presented at the Sept. 10 city commission meeting. Then the draft will go to a second meeting where the public will be allowed to comment on the issue. A final vote is expected in October.
LONDON — Matthew Mitcham, the gay Australian diver who won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, was edged out of contention in London on Saturday when he botched his final dive in the 10-meter semifinals.
Mitcham was in 11th place in the competition for 12 spots in the final round, but was knocked back to 13th when Riley McCormick of Canada outperformed him. Mitcham scored only 70.20 after tipping over his back 2 1/2 somersault with 2 1/2 twist, while McCormick nailed his back 3 1/2 somersault pike to score a round-high 97.20. That put McCormick ahead of Mitcham.
Mitcham was in tears as he caught his breath on the pool deck, but regained his composure by the time he faced the media a few moments later. He blamed a torn abdominal muscle and spinal stress injuries for slowing down his training over the past two years.
‘‘All I can say is my performance was a product of my preparations, because that was so interrupted with injuries,’’ he told reporters. ‘‘I didn’t have enough time to get the dives consistent . . . I was always playing catch-up.’
Two Chinese divers, Qui Bo and Line Y, dominated the session. Lin led through rounds three and four, but then Qui landed the two highest-scoring dives of the final two rounds to boost his tally to 563.55, with Lin next with 541.80 and American David Boudia third with 531.15.
Later in the evening, Mitcham was tweeting his fans with his characteristic flip humor, observing he had missed out by just “the skin of a bee’s penis.”
The Australian newspaper reported Mitcham, 24, intends to try for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, possibly in the springboard or synchronized diving events.