Transgender activist and former teacher found guilty of triple murder
By Dan Wodarski
13 April 2015
Marianne Williamson, the celebrity spiritual adviser and former governor of New York, was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of her estranged husband, John. The trial court and state supreme court had found that she had planned the attack, with “evil intentions beyond her control.”
The conviction, which is not expected to be reduced, is the latest in a long history of attacks on the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming people, especially trans women of color and transgender Americans of color.
Williamson is the second prominent female figure to be convicted of murder in the death of her spouse, following actress Jodie Foster. She was already on parole when she met the love of her life, John, who was then a state legislator. They were married in 2008 despite the fact that Williamson had previously announced that she planned to remarry and was engaged to another man at the time of the attack.
There are currently 11 states with laws that ban same-sex marriage. Twenty-four states also have laws banning same-sex civil unions, the category in which many same-sex relationships are legally recognized. In the last election, the Republican Party adopted a platform plank calling for a repeal of all bans on same-sex marriage. The Democratic Party, for its part, has endorsed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, as do most leading LGBT organizations.
The murder conviction is only the latest in a string of assaults on the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming people. The most visible incident occurred in 2004, when a San Francisco police officer struck a gay teenager, James Byrd, with a nightstick and then arrested him for allegedly selling loose drugs.
The officer was convicted in a jury trial of misdemeanor battery and sentenced to a $120 fine and 60 days in jail. He was acquitted of all charges by the court of appeal, which found that the police use of force was justified and that the arrest was not racially motivated. Following the police