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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
Photo of Mozart's widow found
A print of the only photograph of Mozart's widow, Constanze Weber, has been found in Germany.
The photograph was taken in 1840 in the Bavarian town of Altoetting when she was 78. She died two years later.
The local authorities say detailed examination has proved the authenticity of the image, which is a copy of the original daguerreotype.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died at the age of 36 in 1791, when Constanze was 29. She later married a Danish diplomat.
The print is one of the earliest examples of photography in Bavaria. It was found in the town archives.
The daguerreotype was taken at the home of the Swiss composer Max Keller, whom Constanze used to visit regularly.
Mozart and Constanze had six children in their nine-year marriage. Only two of them survived past childhood.
The Times July 07, 2006
Print of Constanze Mozart found
A print of the only photograph taken of Constanze, the widow of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, has been found in the archives of the southern German town of Altötting, local authorities said yesterday.
The photograph was taken in October 1840 at the home of Max Keller, the Swiss composer, when the former Constanze Weber was 78 years old.
Constanze was 28 when Mozart died in 1791. She died in Salzburg in 1842. (AFP)
JULY 08, 2006 03:00 東亞日報・日本語版
The New York Times
N.Y. / Region
N.Y. Court Upholds Gay Marriage Ban
By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS
Published: July 6, 2006
New York's highest court today turned back a broad attempt by gay and lesbian couples across the state to win the right to marry and raise children under New York State's marriage law, saying that denying marriage to same-sex couples does not violate the state constitution.
In a 4-2 decision, the Court of Appeals found that the state's definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, enacted more than a century ago, could have a rational basis, and that it was up to the State Legislature, not the courts, to decide whether it should be changed.
The majority decision, written by Judge Robert S. Smith, who was appointed by Gov. George Pataki, found that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples could be based on rational social goals, primarily the protection and welfare of children.
"Plaintiffs have not persuaded us that this long-accepted restriction is a wholly irrational one, based solely on ignorance and prejudice against homosexuals," Judge Smith wrote in his 22-page opinion. For example, he wrote, it could be argued that children benefit from being raised by two natural parents, a mother and a father, rather than by gay or lesbian couples.
Chief Judge Judith Kaye wrote a dissenting opinion and was joined by Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, both appointed by Gov. Mario Cuomo, a Democrat. Judge Kaye warned that future generations would look back at yesterday's decision as "an unfortunate misstep," and would consider the barring of gay marriage as an injustice akin to the laws that once barred interracial marriage, an analogy the majority on the court rejected.
Gay and lesbian groups viewed the decision as a major setback, even though the court's ruling was not altogether unexpected.
"Today is a sad day for all New Yorkers who believe in the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under law," said Roberta A. Kaplan, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in Samuels v. Department of Health, one of four cases consolidated in the same ruling. "Chief Judge Kaye's dissent got it exactly right in saying that future generations will come to see today's decision as a terrible mistake."
Advocates for recognizing same-sex marriage acknowledged that getting any major change in the law through New York's divided legislature would be a difficult challenge.
New York lawmakers have not appeared in any rush to act on the issue, although the leading Democratic candidate for governor, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, has promised gay rights groups that he will seek to legalize gay marriage if he is elected in November. Mr. Spitzer's Democratic rival in the race, Thomas R. Suozzi, and the Republican nominee, John Faso, oppose legalizing gay marriage.
Today's court decision comes at a critical juncture, when the country seems deeply divided, both politically and legally, on the issue of gay marriage.
So far the highest court in Massachusetts is the only appellate court in the country to have ruled that recognition of same-sex marriage is required by the state's constitution.
By contrast, the Georgia Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to that state's laws against same-sex marriage today, overruling a lower court, just as the New York court did.
In an earlier ruling, Vermont's high court came down in between, finding that the benefits of marriage should be provided to same-sex couples but deferring to the legislature on the means. Vermont and Connecticut have enacted laws recognizing civil unions between gay couples, rather than marriages.
Cases like New York's are pending in the courts of New Jersey and the state of Washington.
Many states and the federal government have enacted "defense of marriage" laws, restricting the rights and benefits of same-sex couples. Yet President Bush's push for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was rejected by the Senate in June.
In an unusual split for the New York Court of Appeals, two separate opinions were issued supporting the decision. The one written by Judge Smith was signed by two other judges — George Bundy Smith, a Cuomo appointee and the only black member of the panel, and Susan Phillips Read, a Pataki appointee.
The second opinion, written by Judge Victoria A. Graffeo, a Pataki appointee, upheld the majority, saying their decision was rational. But she seemed to be distancing herself from the sociological arguments that the purpose of the marriage law was to promote families with children.
"Marriage can and does serve individual interests that extend well beyond creating an environment conducive to procreation and child-rearing," Judge Graffeo wrote in a 22-page concurrence.
The judge exhorted the Legislature to take up the issue: "It may well be that the time has come for the Legislature to address the needs of same-sex couples and their families, and to consider granting these individuals additional benefits through marriage or whatever status the Legislature deems appropriate."
In the majority opinion, Judge Smith said that because same-sex marriage was not deeply rooted in history and tradition, barring it was not a violation of fundamental rights and liberties.
The majority decision argued that any comparison with anti-miscegenation laws was flawed because discrimination against homosexuals has been recognized only recently, while "racism has been recognized for centuries — at first by a few people, and later by many more — as a revolting moral evil."
On the issue of child-rearing, the majority wrote: "Despite the advances of science, it remains true that the vast majority of children are born as a result of a sexual relationship between a man and a woman. Intuition and experience suggest that a child benefits from having before his or her eyes, every day, living models of what both a man and a woman are like."
Judge Kaye, however, argued that the historic and cultural understanding of marriage did not justify discrimination.
"Simply put, a history or tradition of discrimination — no matter how entrenched — does not make the discrimination constitutional," Judge Kaye wrote in her 27-page dissent. "As history has well taught us, separate is inherently unequal."
"The claim that marriage has always had a single and unalterable meaning is a plain distortion of history," she wrote. Until well into the 19th century, for instance, she said, wives were considered the property of their husbands and married women could not own property or enter into contracts.
"Only since the mid-twentieth century has the institution of marriage come to be understood as a relationship between two equal partners, founded upon shared intimacy and mutual financial and emotional support."
She said that while encouraging opposite-sex couples to marry could be good for the welfare of children, denying marriage to same-sex couples did not serve that interest in any way.
"The state's interest in a stable society is rationally advanced when families are established and remain intact, irrespective of the gender of the spouses," Judge Kaye wrote.
"The ability or desire to procreate is not a prerequisite for marriage," she said. "The elderly are permitted to marry, and many same-sex couples do indeed have children."
She noted that the United States Supreme Court has held that even prison inmates have a fundamental right to marry, despite the limits of prison life that may make it impossible to conceive children.
And she said there were other legitimate ways to encourage people to raise children, such as subsidizing child care or requiring employers to provide family leave for parents.
"Marriage is about much more than producing children, yet same-sex couples are excluded from the entire spectrum of protections that come with civil marriage — purportedly to encourage other people to procreate," she wrote.
Judge Kaye's dissent was a departure from the dry legal language of the main decision. She noted that the plaintiffs in the cases before the court represented a cross-section of ordinary New Yorkers, including a police officer, a doctor, a teacher and an artist, who wanted "only to live full lives, raise their children, better their communities and be good neighbors."
Most people, she noted, look forward to a wedding "as among the most significant events of their lives," and she said it was wrong for gays and lesbians to be denied marriage "because of who they love."
The court's ruling combined four different lawsuits filed by 44 gay and lesbian couples throughout the state, who argued that they had a constitutionally protected right to marry the way heterosexual couples do, and that current law denies them due process and equal protection of the law, violating the state constitution.
Only one of the four cases, Hernandez v. Robles, won a victory in the lower courts, in February 2005. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was facing a primary campaign for re-election at the time, appealed the decision.
Mayor Bloomberg insisted that he supported allowing same-sex couples to marry, and that he appealed the case only to clarify the parameters of the law and the constitution. However, the court's decision closely tracked the arguments raised by the city's corporation counsel.
The other cases before the Court of Appeals, which were consolidated under the same ruling, are Samuels v. New York State Department of Health and Kane v. Marsolais, both brought in Albany County, and Seymour v. Holcomb, in Tompkins County.
Last Updated: Thursday, 6 July 2006, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
Same-sex marriage dealt setbacks
Advocates of gay marriage have lost court battles in two of the largest US states, New York and Georgia.
New York's Court of Appeals ruled the state constitution does not grant a right to gay marriage, but left open the option for a change in the law.
In Georgia, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that the state ban on gay marriage had been improperly passed.
American proponents of gay marriage have had success with court battles only in the state of Massachusetts.
The New York case combined four different suits brought by more than 40 same-sex couples who had spent two years fighting their case through the New York courts.
Three judges ruled that the state constitution did not require New York to recognise same-sex marriages.
A fourth judge concurred, though she added that it may be time "for the Legislature to address the needs of same-sex couples and their families".
Two judges wrote a heartfelt dissent, and one declined to participate in the case because his daughter has lobbied for gay marriage in California.
The ruling is the end of the line for this particular case, which the gay marriage advocates fought only on state law, not federal law.
Gov George Pataki and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer - a leading candidate to be the next governor - had argued that lawmakers could reasonably believe marriage should be limited to one man and one woman.
Kathy Burke, one of the plaintiffs, said it was "a sad day for New York families", the Associated Press reported.
Another plaintiff, Regina Cicchetti, said she and Susan Zimmer, her partner of 36 years, had not given up.
"We're in this for the long haul. If we can't get it done for us, we'll get it done for the people behind us," AP quoted her as saying.
Georgia's Supreme Court decided its case on narrower grounds than New York's - where the plaintiffs claimed the ban on gay marriage was discriminatory.
The Georgia case concerned whether the state ban on gay marriage was imposed properly when it was approved by more than three in four voters state-wide in 2004.
A lower court ruled the ballot was improper, but the Supreme Court disagreed, thus reinstating the ban.
Ga. top court reinstates gay marriage ban
By SHANNON McCAFFREY, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jul 6, 12:00 PM ET
ATLANTA - The state Supreme Court reinstated Georgia's constitutional ban on gay marriage Thursday, just hours after New York's highest court upheld that state's gay-marriage ban.
The Georgia Supreme Court, reversing a lower court judge's ruling, decided unanimously that the ban did not violate the state's single-subject rule for ballot measures. Superior Court Judge Constance Russell of Fulton County had ruled that it did.
Seventy-six percent of Georgia voters approved the ban when it was on the ballot in 2004.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case had argued that the ballot language was misleading. The ballot measure asked voters to decide on allowing both same-sex marriage and civil unions, which Russell determined were separate issues about which many people have different opinions.
State officials argued that Georgians knew what they were voting on when they overwhelmingly approved the ballot measure.
2 top courts rule against gay marriage
By MARK JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jul 6, 3:16 PM ET
The highest courts in two states dealt gay rights advocates dual setbacks Thursday, rejecting same-sex couples' bid to win marriage rights in New York and reinstating a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Georgia.
Activists had hoped to widen marriage rights for gays and lesbians beyond Massachusetts with a legal victory in liberal New York, but the Court of Appeals ruled 4-2 that the state's law allowing marriage only between a man and a woman was constitutional.
The decision comes two years after gay and lesbian couples, supported by gay-rights groups who saw a chance for a major court win in a populous state, sued for the right to wed.
"Clearly, in bringing the case and pushing it as hard as they did, it's pretty good evidence that they thought they had a substantial chance of victory," said Ohio State University law professor Marc Spindelman, who tracks lesbian and gay legal issues. "It's hard to read the decision as anything other than a rebuff of gay and lesbian couples."
In Georgia, where three-quarters of voters approved a ban on gay marriage when it was on the ballot in 2004, the top court reinstated the ban Thursday, ruling unanimously that it did not violate the state's single-subject rule for ballot measures. Lawyers for the plaintiffs had argued that the ballot language was misleading, asking voters to decide on same-sex marriage and civil unions, separate issues about which many people had different opinions.
The twin rulings, which came less than two hours apart, become part of the nationwide debate that has continued to evolve since a Massachusetts court ruling in late 2003 ushered in a spate of gay marriage controversies from Boston to San Francisco.
High courts in Washington state and New Jersey are deliberating cases in which same-sex couples argue they have the right to marry. A handful of other states have cases moving through lower courts.
Forty-five states have specifically barred same-sex marriage through statutes or constitutional amendments. Massachusetts is the only state that allows gay marriage, although Vermont and Connecticut allow same-sex civil unions that confer the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples.
"It's a sad day for New York families," said plaintiff Kathy Burke of Schenectady, N.Y., who is raising an 11-year-old son with her partner of seven years, Tonja Alvis. "My family deserves the same protections as my next door neighbors."
The New York court said any change in the state's law should come from the state Legislature, Judge Robert Smith wrote. The decision said lawmakers have a legitimate interest in protecting children by limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. It went on to say the law does not deny homosexual couples any "fundamental right" since same-sex marriages are not "deeply rooted in the nation's history and tradition."
Advocates from the ACLU, Lambda Legal and other advocacy groups marshaled forces for the New York court fight and sued two years ago. Forty-four couples acted as plaintiffs, including the brother of comedian Rosie O'Donnell — Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell — and his longtime partner.
"There's no question they looked to New York as a place where they could win," said Mathew Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, a conservative legal group based in Florida. "It would have been a major victory for them. Instead it's a stunning defeat for the same-sex marriage movement."
Matt Foreman, executive director of the Washington-based National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in Washington, acknowledged the sting of the New York decision but said the fight will continue.
"This is something that is going to work itself out over the next 10 or 15 years, ultimately through the U.S. Supreme Court or an act of Congress," he said.
Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the gay rights group Empire State Pride Agenda, said his organization would immediately launch a campaign to press the legislature to pass a gay marriage bill in 2007.
"New York is looked at as a place where marriage equality is possible and inevitable," he said. "This ruling doesn't change that. Those in the Legislature who have said they are our friends, it's now time for them to step up. We're going to hold their feet to the fire and hold them accountable."
New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat leading in polls in the governor's race, has said he favors legalizing gay marriage and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would personally campaign to change the law. Spitzer's office argued in court in support of outgoing Gov. George Pataki's contention that state law prohibits issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In her dissent, Chief Judge Judith Kaye said the court failed to uphold its responsibility to correct inequalities when it decided to simply leave the issue to lawmakers.
"This state has a proud tradition of affording equal rights to all New Yorkers. Sadly, the court today retreats from that proud tradition," she wrote. "I am confident that future generations will look back on today's decision as an unfortunate misstep."
Judge Albert Rosenblatt, whose daughter has advocated for same-sex couples in California, did not take part in the decision.
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