Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 10:25:09 -0800 (PST)

Shepard Case Death Penalty Opponent on Subversity today

Irvine -- This evening's edition of Subversity, a KUCI public affairs program, features an interview with Bill Dobbs, a member of Queer Watch, which has come out opposing the death penalty in the case of those on trial for the death of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming.

Dobbs is a long-time gay and AIDS activist who has been at the forefront of the struggle to put "sex" back into the gay movement. He is also also a civil libertarian who has defended free speech and pornography. He opposes the death penalty not only in the Shepard case but also across-the-board. He is a part of the Ad Hoc Committee to Open the Process that is pressing to involve grass roots in organizing the Millennium March on Washington. and a member of SexPanic!, of New York City.

Subversity airs this evening from 5-6 p.m. PST, this evening, Tuesday, January 12, 1999, on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County, California, with simultaneous Web-casting on Dobbs will be interviewed by show host Dan Tsang. Listeners can call (949) 824-5824 during the show, or send e-mail to: Dobbs was last on Subversity discussing the passing of Allen Ginsberg.

 (incl. RealAudio archive of selected shows)
Host Tsang: (949) 824-4978  

The news release from Queer Watch follows:


For Immediate Release                                           
January 5, 1999 


San Francisco, CA - Gay activists are condemning a Wyoming prosecutor's
announcement last week to seek the death penalty against two men charged
in the tragic death of gay student Matthew Shepard.  The activists also
denounced the continuing silence of prominent gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgendered organizations about capital punishment as this highly
charged murder case unfolds.

  Shepard was killed last October in Laramie, Wyoming.  His brutal death
drew worldwide attention and provoked thousands of memorial candlelight
vigils, rallies and marches to protest anti-gay violence.  Members of
Queer Watch, a gay grassroots group, fear the heated emotions surrounding
Shepard's killing have driven some gay people to seek revenge, rather than

 Wyoming has a death penalty law on the books.
"Putting anyone to death for the murder of Shepard is just as barbaric as 
tying the victim to a fence post and leaving him to die in sub-zero 
temperatures," said Queer Watch member Michael Petrelis in San Francisco. 

 "The defendants deserve a fair trial. And if convicted of this heinous
crime, they must be punished." Not one mainstream g/l/b/t organization has
deplored the actions of prosecutor Cal Rerucha since he filed notices to
seek the death penalty.  Defendants Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney
face possible execution if they are convicted of murdering Shepard.  So
far, silence has been the only response from the Human Rights Campaign,
Lambda Legal Defense Fund, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and a
host of gay anti-violence groups who have used the Shepard killing for
political and fundraising purposes. "The silence of these gay groups may
equal death for the alleged killers.

 If they are convicted and sentenced to die, that will not bring Matthew 
Shepard back to life," said Bill Dobbs, a Queer Watch member in New York. 

 "Executions cannot cure hatred of homosexuals in America.  Capital
punishment only accomplishes revenge." Queer Watch member Jim Eigo said,
"Capital punishment is internationally recognized as a violation of human
rights.  When the state disregards human rights, it is the rights of
marginal groups, like gay people, that are most often violated.  The
failure of mainstream gay rights groups to publicly oppose capital
punishment is ultimately a failure to fight for the protection of the
rights of gay people as well." Queer Watch demands all g/l/b/t advocacy
organizations quickly and publicly oppose the prosecutor's call for the
death penalty in the Shepard case.

 These groups must stand with the broader, progressive coalition in the 
struggle to end capital punishment.  "Anything less," said Bill Dobbs, "is 
tantamount to killing in the name of the gay community."