NEWS ITEMS AFFECTING GAYS AND LESBIANS
FOR THE YEAR 2001: APRIL to JUNE
News of 2001-APR:
Current status of anti-sodomy laws: AANEWS states that
only four states (Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas) still have laws on
the books which criminalize oral and anal sex by gays and lesbians. 1
However, none of them are in effect. That is because, in 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Texas law to be unconstitutional. The high court ruling was broad enough to make all the other 16 anti-sodomy laws that were active at the time across the U.S. to be unconstitutional as well.
||2001-APR: Reform Jewish wedding guide: Nancy H. Wiener, a
Jewish Reform rabbi has written a book: "Beyond breaking the
glass: A spiritual guide to your Jewish wedding," It was
published by CCAR Press, (2001). It describes liberal Jewish wedding
rituals and customs of the past and present. Included is material on
inter-faith marriages, same-sex unions, and remarriage after
can safely order this book from Amazon.com
||2001-APR- 9: Gay nominated to head AIDS office: Scott
Everetz, a gay man was nominated by the Bush Administration to head up
the White House's Aids Office.
||2001-APR-28: GLAAD Media Awards: The Gay & Lesbian
Alliance Against Defamation sponsors a media awards night each
year. Awards are granted to recognize films and TV programs that
accurately portray gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
individuals. Winners were:
||Comedy TV series: Will & Grace.
||Drama TV series: Queer as Folk. This is based on a
British series, and is filmed in Canada.
||Wide release film: Billy Elliot
||Limited release film: The Broken Hearts Club
Eden Riegel received an award for her portrayal of Bianca
Montgomery, a lesbian, on the TV soap All My Children. The
role of Bianca is the first major, continuing lesbian role on the
News of 2001-MAY:
||2001-MAY-3: Gay event at Disney World: Disney World in
Orlando Florida allowed the organization of the largest lesgay event
in the U.S. It runs from MAY-3 to JUN-4.
||2001-MAY: Study on the effectiveness of reparative therapy: Dr.
Robert Spitzer is a psychiatry professor at Columbia University. He
conducted a study of 143 ex-gays and 57
ex-lesbians who report that they have become "straight" as a
result of reparative therapy. He reported his findings at a meeting of
the American Psychiatric Association on 2001-MAY-9. He
concluded, as a result of 45 minute interviews with each subject, that
66% of the males and 44% of the females had arrived at "good
heterosexual functioning." Many news reports implied that
many subjects in this study became heterosexual as a result of their
therapy. In fact, almost all reported that they are currently
bisexual. It is not known how many subjects were bisexual when they
entered therapy, and thus experienced no change in their sexual
orientation. Unfortunately, this study is seriously deficient,
because the subjects appear to have been carefully selected by groups
that promote reparative therapy from among their "success" stories. No
attempt was made to select a random group of gays and lesbians who entered
therapy. A meaningful evaluation of reparative
therapy remains a future hope. More details on this study.
||2001-MAY-17: Australia: Archbishop favors blessing gay unions: Archbishop Peter Carnley, Anglican primate for Australia,
recommended that the church consider blessing committed, monogaamous
relationships. He prepared a
paper for the General Synod, scheduled for later in July. He wrote that there is "no clear biblical teaching about
behaviour that might be explicitly appropriate to homosexually oriented
persons". He suggested that the church consider a compromise
approach: to "bless a lifelong commitment simply as an
acceptable form of human friendship, without inquiring into intimate
private matters". Reaction was mixed:
||The Right Rev Robert Forsyth, bishop of South Sydney, said: "any
suggestion that the Anglican Church should bless a sexual relationship
that is not fully marriage of a man and a woman is not possible if we are
to remain faithful to Lord Jesus Christ and the scriptures. If it means the Christian faith has nothing to say about what you do
in your bedroom - about sexual behaviour - he must be kidding. Sexual
behaviour is a crucial part of human behaviour. The Christian faith has
crucial things to say about work, how we earn money, how we treat other
people, our sex lives."
||Canon Dr Peter Jensen, principal of Moore Theological College said that if Dr Carnley "is suggesting
this is a good thing for us to do,
he has gone beyond the border."
||Rev Cathy Thomson, of South Australia commented: "It is clearly
innovative, in asking the church whether it ought to be looking at
people's intimate relationships, both heterosexual and homosexual, a
little bit differently than we have in the past. It suggests the church
shouldn't be asking details of how, or when, sexual expression takes
place. To some extent the article is reflecting the real situation of
pastoral practice, and it is testing the waters a little bit."
||the Very Rev David Richardson, Dean of Melbourne, said: "In an era where so many
marriages break up, any celebration of a relationship that leads to
permanence is timely."
||2001-MAY-30: Committee recommends equal rights for gays in
armed forces: The Cox Commission, headed by retired Federal
Appeals Judge Walter T. Cox III, has passed its recommendations to
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. They describe prosecutions of gay
and lesbian service personnel to be "arbitrary and vindictive."
They call for a repeal of Article 125 of the Uniform Code of
Military Justice (UCMJ).
||2001-MAY-31: Concerned Women for America condemns white house
activity: The Fundamentalist Christian group Concerned Women
for America (CWA) issued a 14 page report titled, "The Bush
Administration's Republican Homosexual Agenda: The First 100 Days." It portrays President G.W. Bush as a type of
stealth candidate. They describe him as promoting "family values"
during his campaign. The CWA interprets this term as including the
maintenance of special rights for heterosexuals. They complain that "in
his first 100 days in the White House, Mr. Bush has not only failed to
take any steps to overturn [homosexual policies of former president
Clinton] but actually is supporting a 'gay Republican' agenda."
News of 2001-JUN:
||2001-JUN-1: Gay appreciation month begins. President G.W.
Bush refused to endorse it with a presidential proclamation. Taylor
Gross, a White House spokesman, said: "The president believes every
person should be treated with dignity and respect, but he does not
believe in politicizing people's sexual orientation. He feels that's a
personal matter." Gary Bauer, spokesperson for the Fundamentalist
Christian organization American Values said: "I think the
president did something here that will be applauded by most of those
who voted for him." David Smith, spokesperson for the gay-positive Human Rights Campaign, said: "We're obviously disappointed
that he has chosen not to reach out to our community. He did promise
to be president of all the people when he took office."
||2001-JUN-4: Nova Scotia: Gay partnerships recognized: Nova
Scotia is a maritime province on the east coast of Canada. The
provincial government had been ordered by the courts to make
provision for gay and lesbian relationships. On JUN-4, Nova Scotia
became the first province in Canada to create legislation
recognizing same-sex relationships. For $15 (CDN; about $10 in U.S.
funds) a couple can "register a domestic partnership"
at the Office of Vital Statistics. This will give them a
number of rights under about 20 matrimonial laws which cover
everything from pensions and wills to medical decisions, ownership of
joint property, the right to request alimony, and child support. It
does not give them the right to adopt children. Also, the province
will not recognize union ceremonies performed in church. Couples will
have to register with the government directly.
||2001-JUN-15: USA: Gay positive senate amendment: Barbara
Boxer (D-CA) introduced a last-minute amendment to the Education Bill.
It would deny federal funding to any school that bars access to a
group, based on their views about sexual orientation. The vote was 52
||2001-JUN-: USA: Gay-negative senate amendment: By a close
52 to 48 vote, the Senate added an amendment to the Education Bill that
was introduced by Jesse Helms (R-NC). It is directed at public school
districts which restrict the usage of their facilities by sexist, racist
or homophobic groups from the community. Some such districts have
withdrawn permission for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to use their facilities. The amendment
would terminate federal funding to any school district that denies the
use of their facilities because of the BSA's policy on homosexuals in
the organization. Jesse Helms said that the amendment was intended to
fight "the organized lesbians and homosexuals in this country of
ours." Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) said that the
amendment would necessitate that school districts make a difficult
decision: "They could either disregard their own conscience or they
could follow their conscience and lose millions of dollars that their
schools and their children need. We believe in principled compromise,
but we cannot compromise on the fundamental issues of civil rights."
||2001-JUN-16: UK: New, gay-positive catechism: The Most Rev
David Hope, the Archbishop of York, gave his imprimatur to An
Anglican Catechism, a new catechism that accepts homosexual
orientation as a normal and natural minority sexual variant. It
states that homosexual orientation "may well not be a condition to
be regretted but to have divinely ordered and positive
qualities...Homosexual Christian believers should be encouraged to
find in their sexual preferences such elements of moral beauty as may
enhance their general understanding of Christ's calling."
According to the Family Research Council, "Church of England
spokesman Steve Jenkins disassociated the church from the catechism:
'It is a catechism produced by one person, it is not an authorized
catechism of the Church of England, or anything like that.' "
2001-JUN-25: CO: Archdiocese Pulls Funds over gay
group: According to Religion Today: "The Colorado Council of
Churches will lose more than $13,000 annually from the Denver Catholic
Archdiocese because the council admitted a predominantly gay
denomination into the organization. According to spokesman Greg Kail,
Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput said that continued financial support
from the archdiocese would 'have a misleading effect on the church's
teachings about marriage and family life.' ... The Catholic Church
teaches that practicing homosexuality is a sin."
2001-JUN-??: Canada: Evangelical Christian
fined for anti-gay ad: Hugh Owens, from Saskatchewan, purchased
space in a local newspaper to criticize Gay Pride Week. His ad
cited four Biblical passages by chapter and
verse, but did not include their actual text. Beside the citations was
a circular "no" symbol with stick figures of two men holding hands.
According to many conservative Christians, Leviticus 20:13 calls for
the execution of anyone engaged in homosexual activity. According to
many religious liberals, only persons who engage in ritual same-sex
behavior in Pagan temples are condemned. The Saskatoon Human Rights
Commission found that the ad had exposes gays and lesbians to "hatred,
ridicule, and their dignity was affronted on the basis of their sexual
orientation." [sic] Owens was fined $1,500 (about $1,000 in U.S.
funds). He has appealed the ruling.
- "TheistWatch short shots," AANEWS, 2001-MAR-24.
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Copyright © 2001 by the Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2001-NOV-9
Compiler: B.A. Robinson