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Year 2002

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Year 2002 developments:


2002-JUN-15: Canada: Anglican diocese decides to bless same-sex unions: The diocese of New Westminster consists of 80 parishes in southwestern British Columbia, at the western extreme of Canada. At their annual meeting, they passed a motion by a vote of 215 to 129 to bless same-sex unions in church rituals. The resolution contained:

A conscience clause which allows priests to opt out of the performance of such blessings if they wished.


Provision whereby individual parishes can vote on whether or not they will endorse the decision.


Provision allowing parishes to request the help of a visiting bishop to tend to pastoral needs of parishes which are uncomfortable with the blessing of same-sex committed relationships.

A crowd of delegates walked out of the meeting after the results were announced. A group called the Anglican Communion in New Westminster, who represent members of nine churches, issued a "...dissent from the resolution..." Steve Schuh, president of Integrity Vancouver -- a gay-lesbian-transexual support group -- said: "At long last, the church as found a way to give us a space to recognize God's blessing in our life. It's been a long time coming...On the other hand, there is also sadness that some of our conservative friends don't feel like they can be in a church that welcomes gay and lesbian people in this way." This is the first diocese of the Anglican Church of Canada to endorse same-sex unions. They join the United Church of Canada, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, Unitarian Universalist congregations, and probably other liberal Canadian religious groups in providing this recognition and service. 1

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bullet JUN-18: USA: Nickelodeon program to have episode on same-sex couples: The Nickelodeon channel is a U.S.-based children's TV channel which broadcasts on a number of satellites worldwide. It is owned by Viacom who also own Paramount and MTV. They have regular programs like Clarissa Explains it All, about a teenager who explains what is happening in her life and the motivations behind the events; and Rugrats, an animated show involving six young kids. They also have "Nick News Specials" such as "Terrorism and the American Spirit" and "Faces of hope: The kids of Afghanistan." They plan to air another special on JUN-18 called "My Family is Different." It deals with intolerance and prejudice faced by children who are raised in families headed by same-sex parents. Producer Ellerbee says the program "is about families, diversity, respect and tolerance." The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) is outraged. They sent out a news release on MAY-8 saying that this program "proves that this network has been co-opted by homosexual activists who are targeting children. Sodomy is not a family value. Nickelodeon has now lost the trust of parents." In spite of Falwell's opposition to the program, he seems to support its purpose. He said that: "violence and hostility toward children who may be a member of a same-sex family is wrong....Little children are not responsible where they live and that they have two fathers or two mothers...[these children] "should be treated with respect and love like any other child."

The TVC set up a petition on their web site so that people could demand that Nickelodeon cancel the special. TVC claims that over 100,000 have signed. According to Nickelodeon, they have only received a fraction of that number. Jerry Falwell, who is on the show, says that Nickelodeon's intent is to "invade the minds and hearts of children who enjoy Nickelodeon..."It is unthinkable that Nick would open its airwaves for the promotion of a lifestyle that most people of faith do not approve of and certainly to take advantage of the minds of little children who trust Nickelodeon" and teach them that having a homosexual orientation is OK. CNN covered the story during the morning of JUN-18. Their E-mails were running ten to one in favor of the program. It may be worth noting that none of the complaint or supportive letters were by people who have actually viewed the program. 2

bullet 2002-JUL-6: MA: Plebiscite restricting marriage being held up: About 130,000 voters in Massachusetts have signed a petition in favor of a state-wide referendum which would define marriage as "a union of one man and one woman." The Gay and Lesbian Advocates attempted to invalidate the petition on technical grounds, but lost their case in the state Supreme Court. However, before the measure can be placed on the ballot, 25% of the members of the House and Senate, meeting in joint session as a Constitutional Convention, must affirm it. Senate President Thomas Birmingham has twice blocked a vote. The next meeting of the Convention is scheduled for JUL-17. Time is of the essence. The latest polls indicate that about 60% of voters would approve such a plebiscite. This number is dropping fast. Thus, if the plebiscite is delayed too long, it might be rejected by the voters. 3
bullet 2002-JUL-12: ON: Superior Court unanimously rules current marriage law is discriminatory: The Ontario Superior Court ruled that the Ontario government must change its marriage laws within two years, in order to allow gays and lesbians to marry. The existing law was ruled to be discriminatory because it prohibits gays and lesbians from marrying. The Ontario government announced that they would not appeal the decision. 4More details
bullet 2002-JUL-18: MA: DOMA constitutional amendment fails: Conservative Christian groups had obtained 120,000 signatures to place a "defense of marriage" constitutional amendment before the voters. This would restrict marriage to one woman and one man. However, in order to appear on the ballot, 25% of the legislators had to agree. The lawmakers voted 137 to 53 to adjourn. Governor Jane Swift (R) could have overridden the legislature. However she opposes the amendment.
bullet 2002-JUL-26: Catholic Cardinal says Catholics should boycott civil unions: Roman Catholic Cardinal Law of Boston MA addressed a group of pilgrims at a catechism session associated with World Youth Day. Cardinal Law, more than any other church official, is probably associated by the public with the priest sexual abuse scandals and church cover-ups. He answered a question about how Roman Catholics should follow the church's rule to love homosexuals while opposing their right to marry. Law replied that Catholics should boycott gay and lesbian union ceremonies because to attend them would lend support to unnatural relationships. He said: "For us to give public recognition of that in any way is to confirm a pattern of living that is not ordained by God....The general principle is we are called to love and accept every human being." He said that all persons, both married and single are expected to "live chaste lives." i.e. to restrict sexual activity to only between a husband and wife. Anything else, he said, "is not in accord with the teaching of Jesus and the church." 5
bullet 2002-JUL-29: ON: Canadian government appeals ruling on same-sex marriage: The Federal government waited until the last day to announce that it would ask leave to appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeals the JUL-12 decision of the Ontario Superior Court. All principals involved in the case agree that the future decision of the Ontario Court of Appeals will matter not one iota. The case will eventually be decided by the Supreme Court of Canada in a few years.
bullet 2002-SEP-1: NY: New York Times has decided to cover civil unions: The New York Times has decided to add reports of same-sex civil unions to its coverage of opposite-sex weddings. The first ceremony that the Times covered was between Daniel Gross, 32, and Steven Goldstein, 40. The "Weddings" feature is now titled "Weddings / Celebrations." Times Executive Editor Howell Raines said: "In making this change, we acknowledge the newsworthiness of a growing and visible trend in society toward public celebrations of commitment by gay and lesbian couples -- celebrations important to many of our readers, their families and their friends." 6 Media Monitor, a service of Accuracy in Media, is not amused. They complain that this development "shows the enormous influence the homosexuals now have at the Times...Now they control not only the news pages but even the page where marriages are reported, which they will now sully with 'celebrations' of men 'marrying' men and women 'marrying' women. They miss no opportunity to use their influence to win public acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle." 7
bullet 2002-SEP-4: USA: Bravo cable channel to feature four same-sex civil unions: The Bravo cable channel will shortly feature a new reality show: "Gay Weddings." It appears to be similar to The Learning Channel's "A Wedding Story." However, it will show four same-sex couples shopping for tuxedos or gowns, looking for a place to hold their ceremonies, etc. 8
bullet 2002-NOV-7: Canada: Federal government considering same-sex relationship law: Justice Minister Martin Cauchon released a discussion paper that will be used by the justice and human rights committee of the House of Commons to guide the consultations. It suggests three options, that:
bullet Marriage would remain an opposite-sex institution. Civil union or domestic partnership legislation would be codified in law for same-sex couples; it would be equivalent to marriage, except in name.
bullet Marriage would be expanded to include same-sex couples.
bullet Parliament would cancel its marriage laws, and create a single "registered partner" registry for same- and opposite-sex couples. Marriage would be left to religious groups only. It would be a religious ritual, like baptism in some churches, and would have no legal significance.

There are rumors that Cauchon favors the civil union option. 9,10  More details

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  1. Emily Yearwood, "Anglican diocese blesses same-sex unions," Canadian Press, 2002-JUN-16. Published in the Toronto Star, 2002-JUN-16, Page A3.
  2. Lisa de Moraes, "Conservatives to Nickelodeon: Not in front of the children!," Washington Post, 2002-JUN-7, at:
  3. "Defenders of Marriage and Democracy Press On in
    " CultureFacts news release from Family Research Council, 2002-JUL-5.
  4. Tracy Huffman, Ontario judges say federal law is discriminatory," Toronto Star, 2002-JUL-13, Pages A1 & A23.
  5. Eric Convey, "Law: Catholics should boycott gay unions," Boston Herald, 2002-JUL-27, at: http://www.metrowestdailynews
  6. "First Same-Sex Announcement Runs In New York Times. Featured Couples To Meet Same Criteria As Weddings,", 2002-SEP-2, at:
  7. Reed Irvine & Cliff Kincaid, "Homosexual Power in the Press," Media Monitor, 2002-SEP-2, at:
  8. Stuart Shepard, "Show to Feature Homosexual Weddings," Focus on the Family, 2002-SEP-4, at:
  9. Andrew Chung, "Gay marriage to get hearing; Ottawa could consider legislation as early as this spring," Toronto Star, 2002-NOV-8.
  10. "Marriage and Legal Recognition of Same-sex Unions: A Discussion Paper,"

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Copyright 1999 to 2002 incl., by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2002-NOV-8
Author: B.A. Robinson

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