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29 November 2006 @ 04:31 pm
Hey all! There's a lot of important STARS news as we approach the end of the semester, but since there's so much to say I think I'll break it up into a few smaller posts.

~First, since the "Nervous But Excited" concert was an effort to promote the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention (SARP) program, I wanted to make an effort to keep you updated the news from that front. Currently, candidates are being selected for the position of SARP coordinator, and Counseling Services is bringing two of them to campus soon. Please consider coming to meet them and discuss the program with them. The email, which you all should have recieved as well, is reprinted below in case you didn't look at it. It's under the lj cut for convenience.

Email on SARP Coordinator Meet and Greet hereCollapse )

~Also: anyone trying out for "The Vagina Monologues"? There are still auditions going on tonight if you'd like to fit it in. I saw this performed here last year and it is really an awesome opportunity. All the STARS ladies should certainly think about participating.

More in a little bit. I hope all is well with everybody.

Sarah
STARS secretary
 
 
I feel like being: crazycrazy
 
 
15 November 2006 @ 01:46 am
I just sent out an all-STARS email about this, but figured I'd celebrate it here on our forum as well. South Africa is taking steps to legalize same-sex marriage! This is BIG NEWS in our community, whether we are gay or just gay-friendly. Let's give a shout out to them! :)

Sarah Bastien
STARS secretary

~*~*~*~*~

From The New York Times


South African Parliament Approves Gay Marriages


By SHARON LaFRANIERE
Published: November 14, 2006


JOHANNESBURG, Nov. 14 — South Africa’s Parliament overwhelmingly voted today to legalize same-sex marriages, making the nation the first in Africa and the fifth in the world to remove legal barriers to gay and lesbian unions, according to activists.


The legislature voted after the nation’s highest court ruled that South Africa’s marriages statutes violated the constitution’s guarantee of equal rights. The court gave the government a year to amend the legal definition of marriage. That deadline expires in two weeks.


Melanie Judge, program manager for OUT, a gay rights advocacy group, noted that the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Canada were the only other countries to allow same-sex marriages nationwide. In most African nations, she said, homosexuality is still treated as a crime. Some penalties are stiffer than those for rape or murder..


Ms. Judge credited South Africa’s liberal constitution with forcing change.


“This has been a litmus test of our constitutional values,” she said in a telephone interview. “What does equality really mean? What does it look like? Equality does not exist on a sliding scale.”


Religious groups and traditional leaders strenuously opposed the measure, arguing that if necessary the constitution should be amended to outlaw same-sex unions. But the ruling African National Congress virtually demanded that lawmakers support the bill.


Despite deep divisions within the party, the measure passed 230 to 41. It must now be approved by the Council of Provinces, a quasi-federal chamber, and be signed the president to become law.


Vytjie Mentor, the party’s caucus chairman, told the South African newspaper The Sunday Independent earlier this month that he expected legislators belonging to the African National Congress to vote for the measure, regardless of their personal views.


There is “no such thing as a free vote or a vote of conscience,” he said. “How do you give someone permission to discriminate in the name of the A.N.C.? How do you allow for someone to vote against the constitution and the policies of the A.N.C., which is antidiscrimination?”


The new law allows both heterosexual and same-sex couples to register their unions either as marriages or civil partnerships. But in a concession to critics, it also allows civil officers to refuse to marry same-sex couples on the basis on conscience. Ms. Judge, the gay rights advocate, predicted that provision will be challenged in court.


“We can’t be in the situation where civil officers can decide who they want to marry and who they don’t want to marry,” she said. “They aren’t able to refuse to marry a black person and a white person. This is unconstitutional.”

~*~*~*~*~

Oh and P.S.: Thanks to all who came to the concert on Monday night. I hear it went very well.
 
 
I feel like being: proud
I'm dancing to: Nervous But Excited
 
 
30 October 2006 @ 12:24 am
Hey STARS-

Just a friendly reminder that there won't be a meeting tomorrow night. It's the Masquerade Ball, see, so you all should come to that instead. I went last year and it's a great time (a bit more mellow and much more sober than Hallowgreens!), plus it's hosted jointly by the Tolkien Society and the Jane Austen Society. And you should all know that the two of them throwing a party together...well, life just doesn't get any better than that. :) See you all there!

Your secretary,

Sarah

P.S. Happy Halloween!!!!!!
 
 
I feel like being: okayokay
I'm dancing to: soundtrack to "Lady in the Water"
 
 
26 October 2006 @ 01:00 am
New development in the gay marriage area:

New Jersey court backs gay rights

The US state of New Jersey's Supreme Court has ruled that gay couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples.
But the court says it is for the legislature to decide whether the state will honor gay marriage or some other form of civil union.

Lawmakers have been given six months to decide whether to change marriage laws.

It follows a case brought by seven gay couples, who claimed that the state's constitution entitled them to marry.

"Times and attitudes have changed," the New Jersey State Supreme Court said in its 90-page ruling.

But it concluded that it "cannot find that the right to same-sex marriage is a fundamental right under our constitution".


A longer article on this subject can be found here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/26/nyregion/26marriage.html?hp&ex=1161835200&en=827b7e4424fcb748&ei=5094&partner=homepage

It's not the exact same one I read earlier, but it's got most of the same information. We'll see how this pans out.

Also, my second item of updating business was that at the (sparsely attended) meeting last Monday, Shawn McDonald gave to us some really interesting information about allies and how to be an effective ally. See me if you weren't at the meeting and want to take a look at this info. The other officers also have copies, and we'll be hanging on to them for future reference.

Have a good week,

Sarah (swbastien@smcm.edu)
 
 
I feel like being: draineddrained
I'm dancing to: "The Tower", Vienna Teng
 
 
23 October 2006 @ 01:52 am
And now, a post about next week's meeting, before I head off to bed. Perhaps I should consider minimizing the late-night STARS community posts in favor of, I don't know, sleep. :)

This weeks's meeting will be on Monday the 23rd (technically that's today), at 8:00 p.m. It makes me happy to think about, because we're going to have Shawn McDonald, from counseling services, speaking with us. Shawn knows quite a bit about GLBT issues (some from her education, some firsthand), and has agreed to come and present to us about the role of allies in our club community and how they can deal with situations like a person coming out to them. Considering how many allies we have involved in STARS (and how many of them come to meetings on a regular basis), this could be a very informative presentation.

Also, we'd like more than seven people this time. So bring friends!!

And my final piece of news for tonight pertains to a comment recently left on the previous entry. A club member left an anonymous post earlier tonight expressing some issues with the climate of the club. While the opinions were sad for me to hear, they were also understandable at the same time. I will reiterate what I said there, for the benefit of the entire community. Some of our members, and particularly some of our current and/or former exec board, are much more opinionated and outspoken than others. I see this as a good thing. Activism needs people who are unafraid to speak their mind, regardless of the consequences. I am not one of those people, however, and sometimes find it hard to relate to those who can do that. Despite this, the fact that I've been in the club on a regular basis for over a year means I've become somewhat immunized to their personalities.

I understand completely if some people are not. For those of us who are more supporters than vocal activists, and who are not accustomed to such behavior, this can be off-putting. I want to apologize if anyone feels excluded or has had their feelings hurt because they disagreed with someone in the club. However, the situation cannot be resolved unless I know more about it. If people would rather let it go and not do anything about it, that's fine. But let it be known that if anyone wants to talk about something (related or unrelated), and would rather speak with someone a bit less vocal, I can always be reached at swbastien@smcm.edu. Any issues I hear about will be brought up to the exec board as a whole, but ALWAYS in complete confidentiality. Don't be afraid to get in touch with me if problems develop.

I hope you all have a great week, and drop by the meeting tomorrow! See you around...

Sarah
 
 
I feel like being: concerned
I'm dancing to: various Within Temptation songs
 
 
 
16 October 2006 @ 12:49 am
I decided it might be nice if I were to come on here every once in a while and give you, the STARS lj community, updates on what's going on with the club. You all get the emails we send out, I'm sure, but this is a club area and so I hope to keep it updated with club news. So here's what's going on with the lovely STARS folks this week:

As usual, meeting this Monday (technically today, it's 12:50 a.m.) at 8:00 in Blackistone. We'll be talking about gay marriages and all the many issues relating to it. Come out (no pun intended) and share your opinions. We love hearing from all of you. Also, Em (vice president, in case you weren't aware)and Jake Child (last year's 2nd semester club president and one of our awesome members) will be speaking to you all about the living wage campaign and how it pertains to domestic partner benefits. I was going to put up a bit of information about it here, but they'll explain it a lot better tomorrow night than I ever could with my limited knowledge, on livejournal, at almost 1:00 in the morning. These are very important issues that are relevant to our club and what we support. Come, share whatever knowledge you have, and get something to think about this week (besides midterms and papers).

Also, I'm sure you all know that our lovely webmistress Gina, as well as two of her friends, were involved in a car accident about a week ago. They're all doing fine, and I'm sure you've seen Gina about campus on her crutches, "hobbling about" as she and I like to call it. But seriously, please keep Gina, Sean, and Alexandra in your thoughts and/or your prayers. While the other students may not be members of the club (and may not even be sure if they support gay rights), they are part of the club family, regardless. Keep them in your thoughts.

I suppose that's all the STARS news for now. Hope to see you all at the meeting tomorrow! Don't be afraid to bring new friends, and bug other members who haven't been coming regularly to meetings! We'd like to see as many of you as possible...

Your secretary,

Sarah
 
 
I feel like being: busy
I'm dancing to: the sounds of my roommate typing an essay (eek!)
 
 
08 September 2006 @ 01:57 pm
Well, I'm afraid my announcement isn't quite as enthusiastic or...hyper as the one Emily (our VP) just sent out to your email inboxes, but I do want to get the info out there:

FIRST STARS MEETING OF THE YEAR!!!!!!!!

When: Monday, September 11, 2006
Where: The Blackistone Room, Anne Arundel Hall (it's on the first floor, down the hall from the registrar, across from the computer lab...I don't know how else to describe its location. Email me if you think you'll have trouble finding it and we'll go together)
What: Introductions and fun icebreakers, of course!
What to bring: Your own cup. We're cheap, plus we're going to use them for an icebreaker. Just trust us. (I don't even trust us sometimes.)

It's going to be great! By the way, guys, the email list makes me happy. I was thrilled to see so many new names as well as familiar returning ones. The support you showed at the club fair automatically makes you awesome. :D

See you Monday! Have a great weekend!

Sarah Bastien
STARS secretary
 
 
I feel like being: impressedimpressed
I'm dancing to: "Macho Man" (don't ask)
 
 
08 September 2006 @ 10:34 am
Hello all.

I'm a transfer student and I signed up at the club fair, but due to my abnormally illegible chicken scratch, I was worried my email address wouldn't be readable. If anyone can tell me when the first meeting is, and where, that would be great. Thanks a lot.

-John

(jmmarth@smcm.edu)
 
 
11 August 2006 @ 04:54 pm
Hey everyone-

As you all probably know from the all-campus email that went out this afternoon, SMCM has hired a new Assistant Director of Counseling Services. Shawn MacDonald (the woman who was chosen) gave a talk a couple weeks back entitled "Heart and Soul in Conflict: Reconciling Conflicts between Sexual Orientation and Religious Beliefs." I didn't see it (and I don't know if any other STARS people were able to) but judging by the content of the talk, I thought we might want to look into having her come and talk with us at a meeting sometime. It wouldn't necessarily have to be related to the above-mentioned presentation; we could meet with her beforehand and discuss what she might be interested in sharing with us. Just a thought for us to consider before the first meeting. See you in 2 weeks! :)

Sarah
 
 
I feel like being: interested
I'm dancing to: the television
 
 
25 April 2006 @ 09:18 pm
Just thought I'd take this opportunity to announce who the exec board is for next year...surprised no one beat me to it!

PRESIDENT- Joanna Suder
VICE PRESIDENT- Emily Nelson
SECRETARY- Sarah Bastien
TREASURER- Jon Brolund
WEBMASTER (WEBMISTRESS?)- Gina White

Congratulations all! I know I'm looking forward to being an officer. :D See you at National Day of Silence...

Sarah
 
 
I feel like being: calmcalm
I'm dancing to: "Supernatural" playing in my room