Tag Archives: daughter

Mother charged with using crucifix to kill daughter

A 49-year-old Oklahoma woman has been charged with first-degree murder on suspicion of killing her daughter whom she thought was possessed by the devil by jamming a crucifix down her throat and beating her, court records released this week showed.

Juanita Gomez was booked last week in the death of Geneva Gomez, whose body was found in an Oklahoma City home with a large cross on her chest, a probable cause affidavit said.

Local media said the daughter was 33 years old.

No lawyer was listed for Gomez in online jail records.

Police said Gomez confessed to the crime, telling officers she forced a crucifix and religious medallion down her daughter’s throat until blood came out.

“Juanita saw her daughter die and then placed her body in the shape of a cross,” the affidavit said.

Gomez was being held without bond at the Oklahoma County jail.

Melissa Rivers is funny and affectionate in ‘Book of Joan’

Melissa Rivers wanted to laugh — and she wants her readers to do the same.

Consider it mission accomplished on both counts, thanks to her best-selling memoir, “The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief and Manipulation” (Crown Archetype). It’s a touching, revealing and above all funny paean to her mother, Joan Rivers, who died last September at 81 after complications from minor throat surgery.

The book is free of a daughter’s grief, or her undeniable anger. (Rivers has filed a malpractice lawsuit against the Manhattan clinic where her mother suffered what she has called “shocking and, frankly, almost incomprehensible” incompetence.) Instead, the approach is light-hearted, affectionate — and funny.

“Writing it gave me permission to laugh and joke, and a safe place to do so,” says Rivers, who, still reeling from her loss last fall, set to work with her writing partner, Larry Amoros, a long-time family friend and writer for Joan who could add his own rich store of recollections.

“We wanted to call the book ‘Cheaper Than Therapy,’” says Rivers, “but we were afraid it would get mixed up in the Self-Help Therapy section of the bookstore.”

In the first pages, Rivers attempts to summarize this pint-sized, outspoken force of nature: “My mother was a comedian, actress, writer, producer, jewelry monger, tchotchke maker, spokesperson, hand model, ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ winner and a self-appointed somewhat-goodwill-ambassador to 27 Third World countries that were unaware they had a goodwill ambassador.”

The book nods at an early concept offered the publisher: a collection of Lessons I Learned From My Mother. It was an idea Rivers balked at. “I don’t know if people would want to take THAT advice,” she laughs.

Yes, there was a method to Joan’s madness, but it formed the logical underpinnings of someone who didn’t always cater to logic.

Joan on marriage: “Your father didn’t care if I went to bed mad. He cared if I went to Bergdorf mad.”

Joan on cosmetic surgery: “Better to have a new you coming out of an old car than an old you coming out of a new car.”

Rivers, now 47, grew up close to both her parents.

“People always said I was much more like my father (film and TV producer Edgar Rosenberg) than her, and they had a successful marriage. Maybe that’s why she and I were so bonded.”

One thing that tied them together: “Our love of the ironic and the absurd. Nothing was better than looking at each other when we were out somewhere” with a wordless exchange conveying, “Oh, have we got something to talk about when we get in the car! Can you BELIEVE what just happened?!”

No wonder Joan and Melissa were also bonded professionally. Together they blazed a new frontier of style and snark on the glitziest red carpets, while Joan became a connoisseur of couture catastrophes as host of “Fashion Police,” which Melissa produced.

That show, minus queen bee Joan, returned on E! in January and promptly suffered a meltdown with cast strife and the abrupt departures of panelist Kelly Osbourne and new host Kathy Griffin. It is off the air again until fall.

“We came back too fast. None of us was ready,” says Rivers. “It was extremely painful. I spent way too much time crying about the show and what it represents to me. But we learned. No, I don’t know who is going to be in the cast. But now I’m actually excited to figure it out.”

The pain of loss is ever-present in Rivers’ life. Her mother’s death is all too recent while, even after three decades, she says she still misses her father, who committed suicide in 1987.

But in her book, death rears its head in wryly humorous terms.

“I don’t know, or pretend to know, what happens to us after we die,” writes Rivers as she builds to one of her many laugh-lines. “Nobody really does, except the dead, and they’re not talking (at least not to me, but I have AT&T: I can barely get living people on the phone).”

Whistling past the graveyard? Joan Rivers wasn’t afraid of death, her daughter insists.

“It was an obsession: ‘This is gonna happen.’ But we would discuss it as calmly as you’d ask for a glass of water. She was very much at peace with the idea.”

Maybe so, but she held her own at bay for 81 unbridled years. And as readers of “The Book of Joan” will surely realize between the laughs, it still came too soon.

Glen Campbell’s daughter carries on his legacy

Glen Campbell’s daughter says that although she can’t have a typical conversation with her father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, she’s able to speak to him through music.

“When you sit there and play a guitar right in front of him, it really seems to reach him,” Ashley Campbell said in a recent interview. “So I try to do that as often as I can.”

The 28-year-old daughter of the country music icon says it is tough watching her father suffer, but she’s hoping to carry on his legacy with her own music career.

She sings an original song called “Remembering” and a cover of “Home Again” on the soundtrack for the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me. The soundtrack also features “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” the track that earned Glen Campbell a nomination for best original song at this year’s Academy Awards.

“It’s just so amazing that my dad’s song is getting so much recognition, especially now that he really can’t speak for himself,” said Ashley Campbell, who attended the Oscars with her mother and brothers to hear Tim McGraw perform “I’m Not Gonna Miss You.”

Her 78-year-old father’s song recently won the Grammy for best country song. It appears on the documentary’s five-song soundtrack, released in September 2014; a 10-track version of the soundtrack, featuring “Remembering,” also was released.

“I had to get it off my chest,” she said of writing the heartfelt “Remembering,” which features the lyrics, “We can talk until you can’t remember my name, Daddy don’t worry, I’ll do the remembering.”

“I wanted to write about the relationship between me and my dad and how it’s changed so drastically,” she said. “About how your parents take care of you when you’re little, but as they get older, it’s your job to take care of them.”

She says her father, whose hits include “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights,” is currently receiving care at a facility close to their Nashville home.

“We’re holding up,” she said. “We see him every day. He’s really doing well there. He’s happy and he gets lots of hugs and he’s enjoying his life in whatever way he can.”

Ashley Campbell appears in the documentary and she performed on his final tour, which wrapped in 2012.

“The main thing that I take away from the tour is not the stage time, but it’s the time I got to spend with him on the bus and hotel rooms, especially knowing it was not going to last,” she said. “It was such precious time.”

She said she is signing a record deal and will record an album this year.

She also plans to keep her dad close to her with a recent tattoo of a small knife she got in honor of him. He has the same tattoo.

“He gave it to himself when he was like 9 years old with a needle and ink,” she said. “When I did it, it reminded me to love everyone and to put out my dad’s energy into the world. That hard working, believing in the truth, be kind to everyone energy. That’s what it reminds me of every day.”

Suit over sperm bank error sets off extraordinary discussion

An unusual lawsuit prompted by an insemination gone wrong has set off an extraordinary discussion touching on sensitive issues of race, motherhood, sexuality and justice, though the debate begins with one basic premise: You should get what you pay for.

Jennifer Cramblett and her wife, Amanda Zinkon, wanted a white baby. They went to the Midwest Sperm Bank near Chicago and chose blond, blue-eyed donor No. 380, who looked like he could have been related to Zinkon. When Cramblett was five months pregnant, they found out that she her donor was No. 330, a black man.

“The couple did not get what they asked for, which was a particular donor. The company made a mistake, and it should have to pay for that,” says Jessica Barrow, an information technology professional in suburban Detroit.

Barrow is black and lesbian, with a white partner. They considered insemination of the white partner before choosing to adopt. When looking at donors, they wanted sperm from a black donor, to create a biracial baby that would have shared some physical characteristics with both of them.

“They’re not saying anything racist, they’re not saying, `We don’t want a black baby,'” Barrow said of Cramblett and Zinkon, who profess their love for their now 2-year-old daughter. “They’re saying, `We asked for something, you gave us something different, and now we have to adjust to that.’”

That “adjustment” is a major justification for Cramblett’s lawsuit. It cites the stress and anxiety of raising a brown girl in predominantly white Uniontown, Ohio, which Cramblett describes as intolerant. Some of her own family members have unconscious racial biases, the lawsuit says.

That leads some to believe that Cramblett is asking to be paid for the difficulties that many black folks — and white parents of adopted black children — deal with without compensation.

“I don’t think I deserve anything more being the white parent of a black child than any parent of a black child does,” says Rory Mullen, who adopted her daughter.

Strangers have asked Mullen why she didn’t adopt a white baby. One remarked in front of her white then-husband that Mullen must have cheated with a black man. Too many white people to count have pawed her daughter’s hair.

“It’s hard, but being a parent is hard,” says Mullen, who lives in Southern California.

“Being a parent is going to throw things at you that you never expected, and we make a decision that we’re going to roll with it, because we love our kids and they deserve it,” she says.

Mullen agrees that a company should be held liable for promising one thing and doing another. But she thinks the fact Cramblett waited more than two years to sue indicates that the experience of raising a black child is her real problem.

“When you say this is too hard, I didn’t deserve this, this is too much for me to handle, then the child internalizes it and it affects their self-esteem,” she says. “It’s my job to pour self-esteem into my daughter, not tear it down.”

From the days of American slavery through the 1960s, white men fathering children with black women was commonplace and tacitly accepted — yet there were few things as scandalous as a white woman with a brown baby.

That history makes Denene Millner, author of the MyBrownBaby.com blog, say that the lawsuit is “rooted in fear … stuck in the muck and mire of racism and the purity of white lineage.”

“She simply cannot fathom dealing with what it means to, in essence, be a Black mom, having to navigate and negotiate a racist world on behalf of a human she bore, in an environment of which she is a product,” Millner wrote.

Darron Smith, co-author of “White Parents, Black Children: Experiencing Transracial Adoption,” says that the lawsuit reflects America’s unexamined racist attitudes and Cramblett’s angst over having a biracial child.

He notes that due to supply and demand, it costs about half as much to adopt a black child as a white one, and many black boys in foster care are never adopted.

“This lawsuit demonstrates quite nicely the value of skin color,” says Smith, a professor at Wichita State University.

Yet Cramblett’s defenders say she should not be held responsible for being unprepared.

“White people who aren’t affiliated with black people don’t necessarily understand the challenges that black people face in all facets of their life. This couple wasn’t expecting that, and now they have to deal with it,” says Rachel Dube, who owns a youth sports business in New York.

“She didn’t ask for a biracial baby. She was given one, she loves it, she adores it, now she’s facing challenges and admits it. That doesn’t make her a racist,” Dube says.

“You can’t fault her for what she was not exposed to,” she says. “Her only obligation is to love and raise her child in the best environment possible. And if the money will help her do that, then good for her.”

Prop 8 defense lawyer helping to plan daughter’s same-sex wedding

Part-way through the trial on California’s now defunct Proposition 8, the stepdaughter of the attorney defending the anti-gay ban came out as a lesbian.

Today the attorney, Charles J. Cooper, is helping daughter Ashley plan her same-sex marriage with her partner of several years.

This twist in the Prop 8 story was disclosed on April 17, coinciding with promotions for the upcoming publication of “Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality” by journalist Jo Becker.

In the book, Becker writes about Cooper’s defense of Prop 8, the voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and about the Cooper family. Debbie Cooper talks about how the plaintiffs in the case, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, were potential role models for her daughter.

Stier and Perry, in a statement released through the Human Rights Campaign, said today, “We were so moved to hear of the Cooper family’s constant love and support of their own daughter, even as the Perry case was in full swing and Mr. Cooper was spending his days planning Prop 8’s defense. Some may find this contrast between public and private jarring, but in our opinion, loving an LGBT child unequivocally is the single most important thing any parent can do. We are overjoyed for Ashley and her fiancée, and we wish them the very best.”

Charles Cooper, who served in the Reagan Justice Department, is considered a top civil litigator for conservative causes. He agreed to defend Prop 8 in 2009, before his daughter came out to him.

Cooper continued his defense of Prop 8, but, according to HRC, he said he “rejoiced in their happiness” when he watched on the television as Perry and Stier marry at San Francisco City Hall last summer.

His stepdaughter is to marry in June.

“I spent the better part of five years sitting across courtroom aisles from Mr. Cooper, disagreeing with just about every word that came out of his mouth, but I have profound respect for his decision to love and celebrate his daughter and her fiancée because his story reflects the experience of so many of the 90 percent of Americans who personally know someone who is LGBT,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.

Agreement for gay sperm donor, lesbian moms

When Massimiliano Gerina donated his sperm to a lesbian couple nearly three years ago, the gay hair dresser wanted to be a father, not just a donor. Several months into his friend’s pregnancy, though, he claims the couple tried to force him out, leading to a lengthy court battle.

After years of heartbreak and distrust and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, the couple approached Gerina with an agreement last week. Three names would appear on Emma’s birth certificate, and Maria Italiano and her partner, Cher Filippazzo, were given sole parental responsibility, which means they get to make decisions about Emma’s health and well-being, according to their attorneys.

Gerina missed Emma’s birth and her first words, but now he gets weekly visits with his daughter, who is almost 2. 

“We created this family that is very unusual,” Gerina said. “Love doesn’t have sex or color. If you have love to give to a child, please just do it.”

Gerina, a 35-year-old stylist who cuts hair at a trendy salon, moved to Miami in 2005 from Italy. He said he always wanted to be a father, but worried it wouldn’t happen because he was gay. And he said he didn’t have a relationship with his own father.

He became friends with the couple after a few years of styling Italiano’s hair.  When she and Filippazzo approached him in 2010 about donating sperm and being a father, it seemed ideal, Gerina said.

“We went in always with the intention that Emma is going to know who her dad is … we wanted him to have a role in her life but not as a parent,” Filippazzo, 38, said.

The women, who were married in Connecticut, had spent thousands of dollars trying to get pregnant through in-vitro fertilization, but it never took. So the trio worked out the arrangement at a pizzeria and a few weeks later Italiano, 43, was pregnant.

“I never took this lightly. I knew that there was going to be money involved, time, emotions … and I was ready for it,” Gerina said, sitting in an outdoor cafe in front of the salon where he works.

Gerina was on the phone with the couple almost daily. He went to the ultrasound and friends threw him a baby shower. Everything seemed fine.

But seven months into the pregnancy, Gerina said the couple asked him to sign legal documents that essentially gave away his rights.

“Of course, I was hurt,” he said.

He hired a lawyer, who drew up legal papers describing the situation he thought had agreed to, but he said the women refused to sign it. In the meantime, he sued the couple and got a tattoo in honor of Emma on his arm.

Then, a few weeks before the trial, he said Filippazzo called him and said she only cared about doing what was right for her daughter.

“Emma needs you and you need Emma,” he recalled Filippazzo saying. “I want her to know that we came out between us with an agreement. I don’t want a judge, a stranger, to decide.”

A judge signed off on the arrangement on Jan. 31. In two years, the couple will consider letting Gerina have overnight visits with Emma.

Steve Majors, spokesman for the Family Equality Council in Massachusetts, said there weren’t any national statistics on couples who decide to co-parent, but he said the Florida case was significant.

“The fact that we have a dad who is playing a role in the upbringing of a child and being recognized on a birth certificate is very important because it speaks to the larger problem of many couples out there who do not have legal ties to their own children,” said Majors, whose group advocates on behalf of same-sex families.

Gerina’s attorney, Karyn Begin, said the three will navigate their future on their own terms.

“What’s important right now is that we have conditions that exist for this family to be together and only time will tell how it plays out for them,” Begin said.

For now, the three are busy planning Emma’s second birthday. They need to find a bounce house and decide whether to have an Elmo or Dora the Explorer cake, Gerina said.

“I love Massimo,” Filippazzo said tearfully, referring to Gerina. “I think he needed to feel that I love and appreciate him and that we could forgive and go forward.”

Pastor to be sentenced for kidnapping in custody dispute

A Mennonite pastor is scheduled to be sentenced in March for his conviction on a charge he helped a Virginia woman and her daughter flee the country three years ago rather than allow the girl to have regular visits with the woman’s former lesbian partner.

Kenneth Miller of Stuarts Draft, Va., faces up to three years in prison when he is sentenced in federal court in Burlington, Vt., on March 4.

His attorney, Brooks McArthur of Burlington, wouldn’t say last week what sentence he would seek for Miller. He plans to file a sentencing memo ahead of the hearing.

Kenneth Miller was convicted last summer for helping Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella flee the country in 2009, several days before the girl was scheduled for a weekend visit with Lisa Miller’s former partner, Janet Jenkins of Fair Haven. It was also two months ahead of an anticipated order from a Vermont judge transferring custody of the girl from Lisa Miller to Jenkins. The Millers are not related.

A civil lawsuit by Jenkins at the conclusion of Kenneth Miller’s criminal trial is also pending. A number of the defendants, including Kenneth Miller, Liberty University and the Thomas Road Baptist Church, both in Lynchburg, Va., filed documents in court late Friday asking a judge to dismiss the civil case filed by Jenkins. They argued, in part, that the case should not have been brought in Vermont.

And Miller’s attorneys continued to fight a subpoena from federal prosecutors that he testify before a grand jury, presumably about other people involved in helping the Lisa Miller and her daughter travel from Virginia to Canada and then on to Nicaragua where they are still believed to be living.

Kenneth Miller had been scheduled to testify last week before the grand jury, but a federal appeals court in New York pushed that back.

“We do not want to put him in the position where if he testifies in front of the grand jury, he may make a statement that may be adverse to him at his sentencing,” said McArthur. “We’re looking forward to litigating the issue down in New York before the 2nd circuit.”

Prosecutors have guaranteed Miller immunity for his grand jury testimony, court documents showed. The U.S. attorney’s office refuses to discuss the grand jury proceedings.

Jenkins and Lisa Miller were joined in a Vermont civil union in 2000 and Isabella was born to Lisa in 2002. The couple split in 2003. A Vermont family court awarded custody of Isabella to Lisa Miller but gave Jenkins regular visitation. 

Lisa Miller returned to Virginia, became a conservative Christian, renounced homosexuality and sought full custody of the girl. The two fought a yearslong legal battle that reached the supreme courts of Vermont and Virginia. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Ultimately, the courts agreed the case should be treated the same as any custody dispute between heterosexual parents.

During Kenneth Miller’s August trial, prosecutors used cellphone records and sometimes-reluctant witnesses to lay out a broad network he oversaw that helped Lisa Miller and Isabella travel first to Canada and then Nicaragua.

At Jenkins’ lawsuit, she maintains Miller and the others conspired to kidnap Isabella, thwarting the family court orders that Isabella spend time with Jenkins and, after the change of custody was ordered, that Jenkins was to become the legal parent.

Lesbian mom accuses Christian right activists of racketeering, kidnaping

A Vermont woman says the ex-partner who took their daughter and fled to Nicaragua and the Christian-right activists who aided her are guilty of racketeering and kidnapping.

Janet Jenkins’ lawsuit, filed in August in the U.S. District Court for Vermont, alleges civil rights abuses, conspiracy, money-laundering, kidnapping, mail fraud and violations under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The act, commonly known as RICO, has been used to go after mobsters, motorcycle gangs, business magnates, anti-abortion activists and, most recently, a Texas health care provider.

The defendants in the suit include Jenkins’ ex, Lisa Miller, as well as pastor Kenneth Miller, Nicaragua resident and pastor Timothy Miller, Virginia pastor Doug Wright, Ohio resident Andrew Yoder, Virginia residents Philip Zodhiates, Victory Hyden Zodhiates and Linda Wall, Christian AID Ministries, Response Unlimited, Liberty University School of Law and Thomas Road Baptist Church.

In a criminal trial in August, a Vermont jury found Kenneth Miller guilty of aiding an international parental kidnapping in the Jenkins-Miller case. The government proved that Kenneth Miller helped Lisa Miller, no relation, take Isabella Ruth Miller-Jenkins, now 10, from the United States to Nicaragua, where the United States has no extradition treaty. The mother and daughter are believed to be living in that country, sheltered by the Nicaragua Beachy Amish-Mennonite Christian Brethren.

The same day the jury convicted Kenneth Miller, Janet Jenkins of Fair Haven, Vt., filed her civil complaint.

Isabella Miller-Jenkins was born in 2002, when Jenkins and Miller were in a civil union in Vermont. When the child was 17-months-old, Miller took her to Virginia and filed a petition in Rutland, Vt., family court to dissolve the civil union.

Jenkins’ suit says courts in both Virginia and Vermont still recognize that Rutland family court has “exclusive jurisdiction over custody determinations regarding Isabella Miller-Jenkins, that she has a right to a relationship with both of her parents, and that it is in her best interests to have contact with both of her parents on a schedule ordered by the Court.”

Miller, at the time she was dissolving the union, was getting involved in Christian fundamentalism and joined the Keystone Baptist Church in Winchester, Va. She became friends with Wright and began to deny the court-ordered contact between Jenkins and Isabella.

As early as 2004, Miller was being cited for contempt in Vermont courts for violating the custody arrangement.

The refusal to allow Jenkins visitation with their daughter intensified when Miller moved to Lynchburg, Va., joined the Thomas Road Baptist Church, began working for the Liberty Christian Academy elementary school and was associating with anti-gay activists in the Liberty community fostered by the late evangelist Jerry Farwell Sr., an architect of the anti-gay rights movement.

In 2009, a Vermont court awarded Jenkins full custody, but she says she’s only seen her daughter twice since 2008. And Isabella Miller-Jenkins has been listed as missing by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children since Jan. 1, 2010.

Jenkins, in the civil suit, says that’s because a network of anti-gay, Christian right activists helped Miller flee the United States with her daughter and the organized network continues to shield Miller in Nicaragua.

Jenkins says Lisa Miller fled the United States in September 2009, carrying out a plan concocted with Christian right activists throughout the summer of 2009 and possibly discussed as early as June 2008. That’s when allies associated with Liberty and Thomas Road Baptist Church helped establish The Protect Isabella Coalition. Jerry Falwell Jr., who succeeded his father as chancellor of Liberty University, donated substantial sums to the coalition, according to Jenkins’ suit.

The flight from the U.S. took place on Sept. 22, 2009, when “Lisa Miller and Isabella were transported, in disguise as Amish-Mennonites, to the Canadian border by Philip Zodhiates and at least one other Response Unlimited, Inc. employee. Lisa Miller and Isabella crossed the border at the Rainbow Bridge in a taxi in the early morning hours of September 22, 2009.” From there, aided by Zodhiates and Kenneth Miller, the two flew to Mexico, then El Salvador and then met Timothy Miller, no relation, in Nicaragua.

Lisa Miller’s attorneys at Liberty Counsel have maintained they were unaware of her plans to flee the country, but phone records show calls from Zodhiates to Liberty Counsel numbers on Sept. 22, 2009.

Two months later, in November 2009, according to Jenkins’ suit, elders of the Thomas Road Baptist Church packed up the personal belongings of Lisa Miller in two bags. These bags were picked up from Lynchburg, Va., by Philip Zodhiates, who arranged to have the bags transported to Nicaragua and delivered at the airport to Timothy Miller.

On Nov. 20, 2009, with Lisa Miller and Isabella in Nicaragua, the Rutland, Vt., Family Court issued its order that “legal and physical parental rights and responsibilities for Isabella are to be transferred to plaintiff Janet Jenkins.”

Lisa Miller’s allies at Liberty described the defiance of the court order as Christian civil disobedience and have continued to collect money for her through the Friends of Lisa Miller campaign.

Former lesbian partners both given parental rights

A Florida appellate court says two former lesbian partners both have parental rights to a daughter who was born with one mother donating the egg and the other mother giving birth to the baby.

The Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach in late December overturned a lower court decision that had been made in favor of the birth mother, according to the AP.

The appellate court says the biological mother’s constitutional rights to equal protection and privacy were violated with the lower court decision. The Brevard County judge said in his ruling he had felt constrained by Florida law and was hoping the appellate court reversed his decision.

The appellate court has asked that the Florida Supreme Court weigh in, given the importance of the matter.

Neither parent was identified in the case.

Source: AP

Bush loves marriage equality

Barbara Bush, daughter of George W. and Laura Bush, endorsed the Human Rights Campaign’s New Yorkers for Marriage Equality effort, taping a video to be circulated as activists ramp up their push for legislation this year. Laura Bush already is on the record as a proponent of marriage rights for gays, as is – in his own way – former Vice President Dick Cheney. Barbara Bush’s pro-equality video can be seen at www.hrc.org/NY4marriage, as can videos featuring Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Kyra Sedgwick, Fran Drescher, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Julianne Moore and Kenneth Cole.