NEWS ITEMS AFFECTING GAYS AND LESBIANS
FOR THE YEAR 2001: JULY to SEPT.
News of 2001-JUL:
2001-JUL-6: USA: National Education Association
drops plan: The nation's largest teachers' union, dropped a proposal
Wednesday designed to make schools more hospitable toward gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender students and staff. Instead, officials said the
union would form a task force to further explore the issue.
2001-JUL-10: Canada: Gays can adopt in Nova Scotia: A lesbian couple petitioned the court in 2000-OCT because they were
discriminated against by the Nova Scotia government. The latter refused to
grant them the status of parent. According to the Toronto Star: "The
ruling means the children of unmarried common-law couples will now be able
to register their relationships with both parents, inherit under the
Intestate Succession Act and receive maintenance from both parents."
Justice Deborah Gass said in her ruling that families are an essential
part of the democratic society and can't be restricted based on sexual
orientation. "Prohibiting a joint adoption where all the evidence
indicates these adults are providing optimum care and loving...defeats the
very purpose of the legislation." This ruling means that Nova Scotia
joins Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta in allowing same-sex couples
to adopt. 1
||2001-JUL-12: USA: Constitutional amendment proposed to ban same-sex
marriage: The Alliance for Marriage is "dedicated to promoting marriage and reducing the epidemic of
fatherless families in America." They only recognize
heterosexual families as valid. They have proposed an amendment to the
U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. It reads: "Marriage in the
United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.
Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or
federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the
legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."
||2001-JUL-16: World: Roman Catholic Church once blessed gay
marriages: Social historian and Catholic academic Alan Bray, author of Homosexuality in Renaissance England will deliver a paper at Newman
House in Dublin on JUL-21. He believes that, from the 11th to
the 16th century, Catholic priests conducted a form of wedding
service for male couples, who were sworn or "wedded" brothers. The
couples received communion together and were often buried side-by-side. He
commented: "I'm sure this will create quite a stir both in the Catholic
Church and among gay people but what I'm presenting is a way for both
sides to come together... It's part of its history but the Church has
forgotten it. No-one will thank me for saying this but the Church could
avoid the mess it is getting into if it would listen to its past...Some of
these wedded brothers had platonic friendships and some had physical ones.
The Church was giving its blessing to the friendship, with all the
potential good there, rather than to anything else within the
relationship. But sexual potential wasn't a bar to the blessing." 2
||2001-JUL-16: UK: Fatwa allegedly calls for death for homosexuals: According to RainbowNetwork.com, the British Muslim group Al-Muhajiroun issued a fatwa (religious decree) against a Muslim homosexual rights group Al-Fatiha.
The alleged fatwa said:
"The very existence of Al-Fatiha is illegitimate and the members
of this organisation are apostates. Never will such an organisation be
tolerated in Islam and never will the disease that it calls for be
affiliated with a true Islamic society or individual. The Islamic ruling
for such acts is death. It is a duty of the Muslims to prevent such evil
conceptions being voiced in the public or private arena."
A spokesperson for Al-Fatiha said: "Al-Fatiha has concluded that the
statement from Al-Muhajiroun is only an alleged fatwa. We believe that it
was only sent to press in the United Kingdom in reaction to the Al-Fatiha
conference that was held in San Francisco, and Al-Fatiha’s participation
in the San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade. But whether it is an official
fatwa or not, the rhetoric used in the statement was extreme, and cause
for concern." 3
||2001-JUL-17: Germany: Same-sex quasi marriage approved: The
Federal government has passed a law which would allow gay and lesbian
couples to exchange vows at a local government office. They would need to
apply to a court for a divorce. They would receive some of the benefits
that are automatically given to heterosexual married couples --
inheritance rights and health insurance coverage are two. The law was
passed in the lower house of parliament in the year 2000. However, the
upper house, stripped the law of some tax privileges that are granted to
heterosexual married couples. The states of Bavaria and Saxony applied to
the Federal Constitutional Court for an injunction to prevent the law from
taking effect on 2001-AUG-1. They argued that the law breaks
constitutional provisions that protect heterosexual marriage and the
"family." The court turned down the application. 4
||2001-JUL-18: USA: U.S. Supreme Court accepts petition re gay
married status: Robert Mueller of Downers Grove, IL, received a ruling
by the IRS that he was not entitled to file his taxes using a "married"
status. He has appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, making three
arguments based on the constitutional principles of "Equal Protection,"
"Separation of Church and State" and "Cruel and Unusual
||2001-JUL-27: USA: Senate committee approves gay anti-hate crime
bill: The Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of enlarging the
existing hate crime law by adding sexual orientation, gender and ability
status as protected groups. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) is the main
sponsor. He said that "Hate crimes are modern-day lynchings, and they
have no place in modern-day America." All ten Democrats voted in favor
of the bill, as did senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Michael DeWine
(R-OH) Seven opposed it, led by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). He said that he
wanted to see "such atrocities" punished severely, but saw no
reason for making them federal crimes, except for a "further power grab
in criminal jurisdiction." The full Senate will probably take up the
bill in October. 51 of the 100 senators have currently signed up as
sponsors. Republican House leaders have no plans to initiate similar
News of 2001-AUG:
||2001-AUG-6: UK: Past attempt to "cure" homosexuality via torture:
During the 1950s and 1960s, researchers working for the National Health
Service in the UK conducted experiments in an attempt to convert
homosexuals to heterosexuality. They used electric shock treatments,
hallucinogenic drugs, nausea producing drugs, estrogen injections, etc. Dr
Glenn Smith, of the Royal Free and University College Medical School in
London, interviewed 26 gays who underwent these "cures" and 20 therapists
who carried out the experiments. Smith said: "Nobody has been cured,
which is only to be expected...At the time, homosexual practices were
illegal and gays risked ostracism, imprisonment, or blackmail...On the one
side you had the entrapment - either you got the treatment or you ended up
going to prison. On the other, there was family and social pressure.
People blamed their homosexuality for a lot of other problems in their
lives. A few desired the family they did not have. Sometimes, there was a
personal or social element - they sought out psychological help to change
themselves, rather than the supportive counseling you would hope for
||2001-AUG-9: USA: Poll on homosexuality: Barna Research, an
Evangelical Christian polling company, conducted a survey of 1,003
American adults, asking their opinion about abortion and homosexuality.
Results were remarkable:
||45% agree that homosexuality is "an acceptable lifestyle."
This, of course, is an extremely biased question for the pollsters to
ask. Many people consider homosexuality to be a sexual orientation and
not a lifestyle. Thus, some persons polled would answer that it is not
an acceptable lifestyle because it is not a lifestyle.
||46% say it is an unacceptable lifestyle.
||These results are a statistical dead-heat because the margin of
error is about 3%
||Among Born-again Christians:
||27% say called gay lifestyles acceptable
||66% said they were unacceptable.
||Among Fundamentalist and other Evangelical Christians:
||95% say that homosexuality is unacceptable.
||2% called it an acceptable lifestyle
||3% were undecided. 6
||2001-AUG-14: MA: State ballot questioned: Religious
conservatives are attempting to place a ballot question on the 2004-NOV
ballot that would define marriage as a legal union between one man and one
woman only. Bryan Rudnick, spokesperson for the Massachusetts Citizens
Alliance, said: ''Massachusetts issues marriage licenses and places
limits on who can marry. The only thing it doesn't do is define what a
marriage is.'' Some gay and lesbian groups oppose the question. Mary
Bonauto, a spokesperson for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders,
(GLAD) said that if the petition were passed, it would "forbid the
courts and the legislature and cities and towns from extending any
protections of the law which are deemed to be the sole province of married
couples to any other kinds of families.'' In the state, ballot
questions are not constitutional if they impede the jurisdiction of the
courts or an individual's access to the courts. Attorney General Thomas
Reilly has until SEP-5 to decide whether the question is unconstitutional
||2001-AUG-09: OR, MI: Anti-gay state ballots: An Oregon ballot
initiative would ban positive or neutral mention of homosexuality in
public schools. Voters in Traverse City, MI, would ban any municipal
legislation that would give equal civil rights to gays and lesbians.
||2001-AUG-17: USA: Black civil right worker criticized: The Rev. Walter Fauntroy is a civil rights leader who has campaigned for
decades to end discrimination against African-Americans. However, he promotes
discrimination against gays and lesbians. He has supported the proposal by
the Alliance for Marriage that an amendment be made to the U.S.
Constitution that would exclude gays and lesbians from marrying or from
gaining the 1,400 or so benefits that married people automatically
receive. Some person posted Fautroy's home phone number on the Internet.
Fautroy has since received many irate phone calls about his stance on
keepking marriage exclusive. Michael Johnston, spokesperson for Kerusso
Ministries, interpreted this response as meaning that: "The bottom line
is that the homosexual community, at least those who push a social and
political agenda, are far less interested in the issues that they promote
and far more interested in the promotion of the forced acceptance and
tolerance of homosexuality." 7
||2001-AUG-19: MD: Governor criticized by referendum: A law that
protects the rights of persons of all sexual orientations was to be
implemented on 2001-OCT. But it has been put on hold because of a
referendum drive to be voted upon in 2002-NOV. Governor Parris N.
Glendening said: "It is amazing to me that while virtually no one
criticizes our efforts to expand opportunity and inclusion for women,
minorities or working people, our efforts to extend civil rights -- basic
human rights -- to the gay and lesbian members of the family of Maryland
have met with a divisive referendum effort. This mean-spirited referendum
effort is nothing more than an attempt to force the state to condone
discrimination, prejudice and bigotry against men and women based only on
their sexual orientation. I ask for your support on this issue. We must
not turn our back on Maryland's proud history as a beacon of tolerance and
||2001-AUG-30: USA: Public opinion survey of high school seniors: Zogby International and Hamilton College in New York conducted a
nationwide opinion survey of high school seniors. Results indicate that
the students are far more accepting of homosexuality than their parents.
The poll results:
||85% believes that gays and lesbians should be accepted by society.
||About 67% feel that same-sex marriages should be legal.
||88% supported anti hate-crime legislation.
||88% said that the phrase, "That's so gay" is used to describe
something that is not liked.
The survey found that 30% of the students, mainly evangelical
Christians, could be characterized as "anti-homosexual." One professor who
conducted the survey said: "Their views are firmly rooted, and unlikely
to change real [sic] soon." However, even among the evangelical
Christians, 80% supported hate crime legislation and half said homosexuals
should be accepted by society. 9 More details.
News of 2001-SEP:
2001-SEP-20: USA: Converting hatred into
action for equality and health: The webmasters at Straight
Dope have decided to counter hate speech by Rev. Fred Phelps of Westboro
Baptist Church in Topeka, KS. He is responsible for the "GodHatesFags"
web site. Straight Dope is collecting pledges, so that every time
that Phelps updates his web site with more hatred against gays and
lesbians, they will donate money to gay rights and AIDS research. 10
2001-SEP-21: CA: Legislature passes many
AB 25: Domestic Partners: Governor Gray
Davis (D-CA) is expected to sign a new law that extends 13 rights,
previously enjoyed only by married couples, to same-sex couples.
Committed couples who register with the government would be
allowed to file disability insurance, adopt each other's children,
be considered as a spouse for state income tax, and to bring a
wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their spouse. It would allow a
person to collect unemployment benefits if their same-sex partner
moves to another job that it too far to commute. The law would
apply to all homosexual couples, and to some heterosexual couples
-- one partner in a heterosexual couple must be over 61. As
expected, votes split largely on party lines: Democrats favored it
and Republicans opposed it. Also as expected, the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family condemned the bill, saying that it threatens to undermine
marriage. Others praise the bill because it is expected to
motivate more couples to commit to their relationships by
registering them with the government. Also, it recognized
committed relationships among heterosexuals and homosexuals
SB 225: Hate crime policies would be
extended to interscholastic sports at public (and some private)
junior and senior high schools.
AB 79: This requires schools to adopt
policies for the prevention of bullying and the promotion of
AB1475: Religious organizations, like
Catholic hospitals, that are not directly engaged in religious
activities would have to meet discrimination and harassment laws.
SB 257: This augments the safe school
programs to include hate crimes.
2001-SEP-25: Canada: Gay TV channel
discriminated against: Headline Media Group, Inc, owns PrideVision (a gay-positive channel) and a number of other
digital specialty channels. They are among the 30 or so channels
that were recently added to cable TV in Canada. About three million
subscribers to the Shaw Communications cable TV system are being
given a free three-month preview on all channels, except for
PrideVision. For that channel alone, subscribers must go through a
two-stage, on-screen selection process and order the channel like a
pay-per-view movie. They pay a nominal, $0.01 charge plus taxes for
each viewing. Meanwhile, another Cable TV giant, Cogeco, is offering
PrideVision free. Headline Media Group has filed a complaint with
the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
The CRTC regulates broadcasting and cable TV in Canada. 13
2001-SEP-25: House passes gay-positive
spending bill: There appears to be an unusual mood of
cooperation in Congress since the SEP-11
terrorist attacks. Senators and Representatives are avoiding
divisive legislation. Supporting this mood, the House
Appropriations Committee did not include the usual ban on health
insurance for domestic partners. But Representative Dave Weldon,
(R-FL) was concerned that if the ban were lifted, it would "place
heterosexual and homosexual cohabiting relationships on an equal
footing with traditional marriage." He introduced an amendment
that would restore the ban. The amendment was defeated 226 to 194.
Representative Tom DeLay, (R-TX) commented: "We
are walking away from the traditions and virtues that we have
respected and honored since our country was founded."
Representative Barney Frank, (D-MA) said: "I
was deeply shocked that the Republican leadership had chosen to
use this bill to make an assault on millions of gay and lesbian
Americans in general and on those who live in the District of
Columbia in particular." Frank is openly gay.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA) simply said: "No
citizen should be denied the right to care for an ailing partner."
David Smith, spokesman for Human Rights
Campaign, a gay-positive group, said that his organization was
gratified by the vote. "It's just a shame that that has to be
2001-SEP-28: South Africa: Gays win
adoption battle: In the past, gays and lesbians were
only able to adopt children as individuals. However, a decision by
the Johannesburg High Court has ordered that the law be
changed so that gay and lesbian couples can now adopt children
- Alison Auld, "Gays praise N.S. ruling," Toronto Star, 2001-JUL-10.
- "Gay marriages 'were blessed' in past by Church," Irish
Independent, 2001-JUL-16, at: http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories
- "Gay Muslims denounce fatwa," 2001-JUL-16, at: http://www.rainbownetwork.com/content/
- "Germany's top court refuses to block same-sex couples law,"
Associated Press, 2001-JUL-18
- "Petition for writ of certiorari," at: http://gaylesissues.about.com/library/content/
- "Born-again Christian oppose abortion, homosexuality, poll shows,"
Associated Baptist Press, at: http://www.abpnews.com/abpnews/
- Mark Cowan, "Civil rights leader harassed," Focus on the Family, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif/news/a0017268.html
- Daniel LdDuc, "Governor decries repeal effort: MD gay rights law faces
vote in 2002," at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30558-2001Aug18.html
- Quoted in TVC Newsletter, Traditional Values Coalition, 2001-AUG-31
- See Phelps Watch at: http://www.ourdawson.com/phelps/
- CultureFacts, Volume 4, #32, Family Research Council, 2001-SEP-21.
- "California Lawmakers Assault Families," Focus on the Family,
- Barbara Shecter, "Shaw unfair to gay channel, CRTC hears,"
National Post, at: http://www.herald.ns.ca/cgi-bin/home/
- "House extends benefits to gay couples in Washington," Fox
News, at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/
- "South African gays win adoption battle," BBC News, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/
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Copyright © 2001 by the Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2001-NOV-9
Compiler: B.A. Robinson