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COLAGE Net News * July 20th, 2006  meredith fenton
 Jul 20, 2006 17:26 PDT 

July 20th, 2006

In this issue of COLAGE Net News:

COLAGE Updates & Announcements:
1. COLAGE Offers Additional Grants to Gay Families Affected by Hurricane
2. COLAGE Applauds the Bipartisan Vote Keeping Discrimination of Gay
Families Out of the U.S. Constitution
3. Submit to COLAGE Just for Us
4. Family Week in Saugatuck a Huge Success

COLAGE Events:
6. COLAGE Northern New Jersey Pool party
7. Family Week in Provincetown
8. Act OUT: National LGBT Family Conference

Actions, Opportunities and News
9. Mountain Meadow Summer Camp
10. Research Opportunity for COLAGE Families
11. NEWS: Study says same-sex-marriage bans harm children
12. NEWS: Same-sex partners seek Alabama court's OK on baby's adoption
NEWS: Huckabee Optimistic of Gay Parents Ban

COLAGE Updates & Announcements:

1. COLAGE Offers Additional Grants to Gay Families Affected by Hurricane

One Year Later, Families Still Trying to Rebuild Homes and Lives/

COLAGE has extended its support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT)–headed families affected by Hurricane Katrina beyond
New Orleans. The organization, which dispersed more than $15,000 in
grants to Louisiana residents, is offering another $15,000 to those
affected in Mississippi and Alabama as well.

“While many grant recipients lost everything, it is inspiring to see how
strong the will to rebuild is among our families,” said Beth Teper,
Executive Director of COLAGE. “Clearly, additional help is needed, and
we are seeking to broaden our support outside of the New Orleans area.”

According to applications, one family lost the house they had shared for
11 years, along with all of their personal belongings, including their
car and have been living in Arkansas since August 2005 awaiting a FEMA
trailer. For others, finding employment has been the greatest challenge.

“It’s not easy finding a job,” wrote Embry’s fathers William and Kelton.
“We lost our livelihood as a result of the hurricane. Our house was
severely damaged and insurance did not cover much.”

In the wake of Katrina, COLAGE connected New Orleans families with other
LGBT families across the country for temporary housing and other
support. The New Orleans chapter also received a grant and has been
providing free programming and activities for gay families since October

“COLAGE New Orleans has enriched our lives,” expressed Shari and Mary,
mothers of twins Evan and Ayden. “In the aftermath of Katrina, it
brought many new supportive friendships to the lives of our children.”

A new grant application is available to individual families at
www.colage.org <http://www.colage.org/> or by calling (415) 861-KIDS
(5437). A COLAGE committee will review all of the applications after the
Wednesday, August 9, 2006 deadline. Grants of $500 each will be awarded
to the first 30 eligible families to submit complete applications.
Grants will be awarded on or before Katrina’s one-year anniversary.


2. COLAGE Applauds the Bipartisan Vote Keeping Discrimination of Gay
Families Out of the U.S. Constitution

Members worked to keep the focus on families

The U.S. House of Representative rejected the effort to write
discrimination into the U.S. Constitution, with a 236-to-187 vote
against Federal Marriage Amendment.

“Children with same-sex parents deserve the same protections as other
children,” stated COLAGE executive director, Beth Teper. “Our families
played an important role in the marriage debate and this vote shows
their voices were heard.”

COLAGE members worked with other national organizations to educate
policy makers and communities on why same-sex marriage is important to

“As the son of a lesbian mom, it is difficult for policy-makers to look
me in the face and say that I deserve fewer rights than my peers,”
stated COLAGE board co-chair Ryan LaLonde. LaLonde was one of a number
of COLAGE members that worked to make sure that the perspective of kids
with gay parents was not lost in the same-sex marriage discussion.

“Protecting children was a clear message sent by those who opposed
same-sex marriage,” retorted LaLonde. “My life, my family and our story
instantly showed that same-sex marriage is about protecting children.”

The Senate rejected the measure as well on July 7, 2006, with a 49-to-48


3. Submit to COLAGE Just for Us
Let your voice be heard! Contribute to COLAGE’s one-of-a-kind
publication, Just For Us!

JFU is the only publication dedicated to the words, thoughts, opinions,
and experiences of people with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or
transgender parents - and we want to hear from YOU.

Our next issue of Just For Us will be focused on school! We want to
hear about your hallways, classrooms, teachers, extra-curricular
activities, and more. Whether you’re still in school, already
graduated, getting home schooled, attending public or private school,
you have a story to tell the world about what it’s like for kids with
LGBTQ parents. Submissions will be accepted from folks of any age who
have/had one or more LGBT parent/s.

Some questions to consider for your piece:
Are you able to be open about your family in school?
Do you ever hear about LGBT families in the classroom? What gets said,
and what do you think about it?
What’s going on at your school to make it a welcoming place for
everyone? Why did you decide to get involved?
If you are already out of school, do you have any stories or memories
related to having LGBT parents?
How does your experience of school change as you grow? Do you think
there are differences between elementary, middle, high school, and
college when it comes to our families?

Submissions may take almost any format - share your personal stories,
essays, interviews, poems, artwork, reviews, or send us pictures of
yourself or your family. We will work with you to make sure your story
is told in your own words, the way you want it - you, the contributor,
have final approval of your piece before it goes to print.

To submit to Just For Us, contact us at jf-@colage.org. All submissions
are due by August 11th.


4. Family Week in Saugatuck a Huge Success

COLAGE is thrilled to announce that our 7th annual Family Week in
Saugatuck Michigan was a huge success. Held July 7th- 14th, the event
brought over 80 families together for a week of celebration, growth and
empowerment. COLAGE was pleased to partner once again with Rainbow
Families Great Lakes, a collective of volunteers from the Midwest who
sponsor Family Week Saugatuck.

Over the course of the week over 40 youth ages 9 – 17 participated in
COLAGE activities, workshops, social events and leadership training. The
COLAGE group included youth from MI, IL, MO, IN, MA, and CA. In addition
COLAGE partnered with RFGL on events for kids of all ages and all the
Family Week families.

COLAGE is indebted to the efforts of COLAGE Summer Intern, Jamon
Franklin and COLAGE Volunteer Christy Hubert who worked with COLAGE
Program Director, Meredith Fenton to provide outstanding COLAGE
programming throughout the week.

To learn more about Family Week or to plan to join us next summer, visit
www.rfgl.org and www.colage.org.


5. COLAGE (Children of Lesbian And Gays Everywhere) Northern new Jersey
Swim Party 2006!

Swimming, Hot dogs, Hamburgers, Snacks and Fun!
(A Lifeguard will be on hand.)
Sunday, July 23, 2006, 12:00pm to 4:00pm

Co-sponsored by Lambda Families of New Jersey.

Suggested donation of $5 per family
Please bring a drink and a side or dessert to share.

The Party will be held in Mine Hill, NJ
Located between Rt.s 10 and 46 in Morris County
(Directions provided upon RSVP)

RSVP by sending an email (with # of kids and ages)
To col-@rainbowfamiliesnj.org by Saturday, July 22, 2006 (ages 9 and


6. Family Week in Provincetown

COLAGE is excitedly anticipating another amazing Provincetown Family
Week. Already over 300 families are registered to join COLAGE and Family
Pride for a week of new connection, community building, exciting events,
and fabulous COLAGE programming for youth in 3rd grades and older. If
you have not already registered for the week, and to complete your
COLAGE paperwork you should come to Family Week Registration at Town
Hall in Provincetown from 2-5 pm on Saturday, July 29th.

Family Week Provincetown is July 29th – August 5th, 2006.

We look forward to seeing you in Provincetown! If you have any
questions, email mere-@colage.org by July 26th, 2006.


7. Act OUT: The National LGBT Family Conference- Don’t miss the event of
the year~

COLAGE is thrilled to announce our partnership with Family Pride on ACT
OUT: The National LGBT Family Conference. This fall, hundreds of youth
and adults with LGBT parents, LGBT parents and our allies will come
together in Dallas for a weekend of education, empowerment, and

COLAGE will offer two exciting tracks of programming during act OUT.
COLAGE Crew will be a series of activities and workshops for youth ages
9-13 with one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender parent
that will use art, games, discussions, movies, and lots of fun to allow
youth to share their experiences and family backgrounds while meeting
new friends. The COLAGE Leadership Track will be a full track of
workshops for young adult and adults with LGBT parents focusing on how
we can use our voices and our actions to make a difference, educate
communities, schools, politicians and the media about people with LGBT
parents, the diversity of issues and experiences of queerspawn, and how
we can strengthen our skills as activists and leaders.

Oct. 27-29, 2006
Fairmont Hotel
Dallas, Texas

Additionally we’ll be offering the first-ever national COLAGE Chapter
Institute on the morning of October 27th. Definitely contact us for more
information if you are involved in the leadership of a locally based
COLAGE group.

Registration is available at a special Early-Bird rate- go to
http://www.familypride.org/site/pp.asp?c=bhKPI7PFImE&b=992425 to reserve
your spot today!

Actions, Opportunities, and News
8. Mountain Meadow Summer Camp

Who we are:
Mountain Meadow is a non-profit organization that works with children
from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) and other
non-traditional, families.
Who our staff members are:
Our staff members come from a wide range of backgrounds and vary in age,
race, ethnicity, social economic status, education, family types, sexual
orientation, and gender identification. All of our staff have a
commitment to working with youth from LGBTQA families. Staff must be
committed to working in a positive, team-centered environment.

About Camp:
Mountain Meadow’s Summer Camp is a two-week long residential camp for
youth ages 9-17. This years camp dates will be August 13th - August
26th for campers and August 9th – August 27th for staff. Camp is
located in Southern New Jersey, about an hour from Philadelphia. Our
staff create a warm welcoming atmosphere where youth feel comfortable
and empowered to speak about their families and experiences.

Camp Tuition
Tuition is offered on a sliding scale basis.

Camp Staff Positions:
We are accepting applications for all summer positions on a rolling
basis, but are in particular need of art, kitchen, waterfront, and
medical staff. This is a volunteer position however; all of our
volunteer summer staff receives a $500 dollar stipend for travel and

Does Mountain Meadow sound like the right place for you?
If so, then please visit our web site at www.mountainmeadow.org for job
descriptions, applications, and additional information.
Questions? E-mail us at hir-@mountainmeadow.org or call 215-772-1107
Do you know a youth that might like to attend our camp?
Camper applications are available on our website at
Questions? E-mail us at regist-@mountainmeadow.org or call


9. Research Opportunity for COLAGE Families
Seeking Family Members of GLB or Same-Sex Identified Individuals for
Study on Marriage Rights

Researchers from PRISMresearch.org at the University of Memphis and
University of Kentucky are looking for Family Members of gay, lesbian,
bisexual (GLB), same-gender loving, and same-sex partnered persons for a
new online 15 minute survey about experiences related to the debate over
the recognition of civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.

This is a study of the attitudes and experiences of Family Members of
gay, lesbian, bisexual, same-gender loving, and same-sex partnered
persons regarding the debate over recognition of civil marriage for
same-sex couples. This research is being conducted by Sharon Horne,
Ph.D., at the University of Memphis, and Ellen D.B. Riggle, Ph.D., and
Sharon Scales Rostosky, Ph.D., at the University of Kentucky. The
purpose of this study is to document attitudes and experiences at
several points in time in all states.

If you are a family member of a GLB, same-gender loving, or same-sex
partnered individual, are 18 or older, and a U.S. citizen or living in
the U.S., please consider participating. The survey will take you
approximately 15 minutes to complete.

To participate in the survey, please click on this link


The deadline to complete the survey in order to enter a drawing for gift
certificates is June 15, 2006.

If you would like more information about the survey or the researchers
involved, please go to www.prismresearch.org or email:

Please forward this announcement appropriately. Thank you for your

10. NEWS: Study says same-sex-marriage bans harm children

A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics is confirming what
same-sex marriage advocates have been saying for years—that marriage
equality can only help the children of gay parents. The academy studied
all three variations on state-recognized same-sex unions and found that
"simply put, same-gender civil marriage harms no one, whereas
prohibiting civil marriage for gays and lesbians harms these couples and
their children."

Gay-rights advocates say that while the study probably won't silence the
harshest critics of same-sex marriage, it will still make a big
difference. "I think that opponents of marriage will continue to cite
bogus studies and unreliable experts, but I think what this report can
do is speak to people who have an open mind, and people who are in a
position to make a decision about legislation or cases," Carisa
Cunningham, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts group Gay and Lesbian
Advocates and Defenders, said.

In particular, Cunningham cited the case of seven Connecticut couples
who are suing for the right to marry, in which the conservative Family
Institute of Connecticut intervened in order to present evidence of how
same-sex marriage harms children. She said this study could dent the
institute's credibility.

The study appears in the July edition of the Academy's journal
Pediatrics. (Sirius OutQ News)
11. NEWS: Same-sex partners seek Alabama court's OK on baby's adoption
Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A Mobile woman raising a baby boy with the child's
mother wants to adopt him as a second parent, a legal step of
significance in a state that just passed a constitutional amendment
banning gay marriages.

Cari Searcy's partner, Kim McKeand, gave birth to the baby boy in
December with the aid of a donor. Searcy then sought to become the
adoptive parent of the child, who bears her last name. Adoption would
give Searcy rights to make medical decisions for the child as well as
securing the sense of family in their home.

But Searcy's application was denied in probate court May 3. McKeand said
the judge ruled against adoption because Alabama does not recognize
same-sex marriages. She said their case is now going to the Alabama
Court of Civil Appeals.
"We're going to do whatever we can to get it passed here," Searcy said.
"It is discouraging when we think about the current environment against
gays in our state, but I have to believe that somewhere in our court
system there are still fair-minded judges."

McKeand, 28, and Searcy, 30, who met at college in Texas and moved to
Mobile five years ago, have real concerns about the medical care of the
baby, Khaya Ray Searcy. The child was born with a hole in his heart and
the first weeks were difficult.
"He had to have open heart surgery in Atlanta and we ran into some
issues with my not being a legal parent," Searcy said. "It was really
McKeand said she had to learn how to insert a feeding tube in Khaya's
nose before they could bring him home from the hospital. Because she
didn't feel comfortable doing the procedure, Searcy volunteered to
learn. But the nurses would not teach her.

"They said, 'No, you're not the parent, Kim is,'" McKeand said. "Finally
it took our doctor - the cardiologist - to step in and say it was okay."

Khaya now has a clean bill of health, but the couple has not forgotten
the experience.

"That's what really pushed me to get this second parent adoption," said

The legal resolution of the court case might have a wide impact -
according to 2000 census data, there are gay families in every county in
the state. And the issue is not confined to Alabama.

"It's happening all over the country," said Adam Pertman, executive
director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. "It's happening
because the agencies responsible for those kids have decided that the
gay and lesbian population is one worth placing kids."

The New York-based institute, which is not affiliated with any gay
rights organizations, released a report in March that found there is no
child-centered reason to prevent gays and lesbians from becoming
adoptive parents.
"Research shows gay and lesbian parents provide good homes," Pertman

He said the community should support the children no matter what kind of
family they grow up in.

"Bringing our views or prejudices on the kids is not productive," he
said. "The community should support a system that places kids in
permanent, safe and loving homes. We have to support that for the sake
of the kids."

The American Academy of Pediatrics supports legislation and legal
efforts to provide second-parent adoptions by same-sex parents. The
Alabama chapter of the academy believes all children benefit from being
raised by caregivers who are constant, dependable, loving and dedicated
to children's safety.

According to an article in the July edition Pediatrics, in early 2006
efforts were underway in at least 16 states including Alabama to
introduce constitutional amendments prohibiting gay and lesbian
individuals and couples from adopting children or being foster parents.
"Same-sex parenting is a controversial issue in our country," Linda Lee,
executive director of the Alabama chapter, said. "Our main concern is
that children, regardless of the circumstances in which they live,
receive the best of care."

Jonathan Klein, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of
Rochester in New York, contributed to the July article and is the chair
of the AAP Committee on Adolescence.

"I think evidence on the developmental outcome of children shows that,
overall, two parents are probably better than one," Klein said.
He also said that parents with established legal custody have a variety
of benefits that isn't always available to same-sex couples even if
they're playing that role in a child's life.

"I think if parents are not able to be involved in all aspects of their
communities because of a community's attitudes, that potentially damages
families," Klein said.

Searcy and McKeand talked about being parents, but it wasn't until about
a year ago that they felt it was the right time.

"We found a donor who is a really good friend of ours and he signed over
all his rights," Searcy said.

They enjoy a measure of acceptance in Mobile. Searcy works for a video
production company and McKeand works for a broadcaster that provides
domestic partner health benefits covering them both.

"Our home is a normal one," said Searcy. "It's filled with love,
commitment and support. Our sexual orientation is just a small part of
who we are. Kim and I are dedicated to giving Khaya the best life
possible and we're going to do what it takes to do that."


12. NEWS: Huckabee Optimistic of Gay Parents Ban

Associated Press (AP) - Des Moines Bureau
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is optimistic the Legislature quickly will
reinstate a ban on same sex couples serving as foster parents in his

"What we are talking about is whether the state should place a child in
a relationship that is not recognized by the state as a marriage," the
Republican governor, a potential presidential candidate in 2008, told
The Associated Press on Saturday.

The Arkansas Supreme Court last month struck down regulations banning
the placement of foster children with same sex couples. The court said
state officials went too far in imposing the ban, but the court did not
rule on the merit of the ban.

Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister who is leaving office in 2007
because of term limits, has said there is little doubt the Legislature
will reinstate the ban and that the courts eventually will uphold it.

"Our attorneys read into that that if it was legislation it would likely
stand, that we could in fact say that only married couples could be
foster parents," Huckabee said. "We think that if we go back and codify
that into law that probably takes care of it."

Huckabee said the Arkansas dispute had nothing to do with the welfare of

"What I feared was going on was that the plaintiffs in this case were
not as interested in foster children as they were in making the
political point of homosexual activism," Huckabee said. "That's
troubling that we would use children as apolitical tool to enact
something that has nothing to do with the best interest of a foster

Huckabee spoke as he opened a three-day campaign swing in Iowa, where
precinct caucuses traditionally launch the presidential nominating

The governor is testing the waters for a possible White House run.
Religious conservatives are an important force in Iowa's Republican
politics and Huckabee's view would curry favor with that group.

He said his religious and moral views have shaped his approach to the
issue, a view he said is shared overwhelmingly in his home state.

"Marriage has historically never meant anything other than a man and a
woman. It has never meant two men, two women, a man and his pet, or a
man and a whole herd of pets," he said.

Huckabee said activists "want to change rules that have been in place
for thousands of years."
Thank you for subscribing to COLAGE NetNews!

COLAGE thrives on the involvement and support of all its members and
funders. We acknowledge the generous support of the Gill Foundation,
Haas Jr Fund, Open Society Institute, San Francisco Foundation, San
Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and Families, American and all
our members and donors.

COLAGE engages, connects, and supports people to make the world a better
place for children of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents.
Ensure COLAGE's future with your membership
contribution today. Join COLAGE at: http://www.colage.org/join.html
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