Faygele benMiriam, 55, a cross-dressing civil service...

Deaths Elsewhere

June 09, 2000

Faygele benMiriam, 55, a cross-dressing civil service worker who won a Supreme Court ruling in a gay rights case, died Monday in Seattle of lung cancer.

He helped found the city's Gay Community Social Services in 1971 and produced the gay country music album "Lavendar Country."

In 1971, he and his partner at the time became the first couple to apply for a same-sex marriage license.

Mr. BenMiriam lost that case and, the next year, was fired from his job as a clerk-typist at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, largely because he was gay and wore capes and dresses to work.

The American Civil Liberties Union took his case, and in 1978 the Supreme Court ordered the commission to reconsider his firing in light of new regulations, enacted in 1975, that specified no one could be disqualified from federal employment solely on the basis of sexual orientation. Mr. BenMiriam received back pay but chose to work for the U.S. Department of Labor.

Blair Clark, 82, a former CBS news executive who managed Eugene McCarthy's presidential campaign, died Tuesday in New York of complications from colon surgery.

Mr. Clark, heir to the Clark Thread fortune, worked in print and broadcast journalism. He joined CBS News as a foreign correspondent in Paris in 1953 and later anchored the "The World Tonight" for CBS Radio Network.

He became vice president and general manager of CBS News in 1961.

Walter Poenisch, 86, the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida, died Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, after a long illness.

He made a 128.8-mile swim across the Florida Straits in 1978, when he was 64.

Using flippers on his feet, he took 34 hours and 15 minutes for the crossing from Havana, where Cuban President Fidel Castro gave him a send-off.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.