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!!!!!!!! Search error!  If the URL ends something like .htm/  or .htm# delete the character(s) after .htm and hit return.

NEWS ITEMS AFFECTING GAYS AND LESBIANS

FOR THE YEAR 2001: JULY to SEPT.

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News of 2001-JUL:

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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.

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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

bullet2001-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."
bullet2001-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
bullet2001-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

bullet2001-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
bullet2001-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 Punishment." 5
bullet2001-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 legislation.

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News of 2001-AUG:

bullet2001-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 nowadays."
bullet2001-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:
bullet45% 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.
bullet46% say it is an unacceptable lifestyle.
bulletThese results are a statistical dead-heat because the margin of error is about 3%
bulletAmong Born-again Christians:
bullet27% say called gay lifestyles acceptable
bullet66% said they were unacceptable.
bulletAmong Fundamentalist and other Evangelical Christians:
bullet95% say that homosexuality is unacceptable.
bullet2% called it an acceptable lifestyle
bullet3% were undecided. 6
bullet2001-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
bullet2001-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.
bullet2001-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
bullet2001-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 inclusion." 8
bullet2001-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:
bullet85% believes that gays and lesbians should be accepted by society.
bulletAbout 67% feel that same-sex marriages should be legal.
bullet88% supported anti hate-crime legislation.
bullet88% 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.

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News of 2001-SEP:

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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

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2001-SEP-21: CA: Legislature passes many gay-positive bills:
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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 equally. 11,12

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SB 225: Hate crime policies would be extended to interscholastic sports at public (and some private) junior and senior high schools.

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AB 79: This requires schools to adopt policies for the prevention of bullying and the promotion of conflict resolution.

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AB1475: Religious organizations, like Catholic hospitals, that are not directly engaged in religious activities would have to meet discrimination and harassment laws.

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SB 257: This augments the safe school programs to include hate crimes.

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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

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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. Comments included:
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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."

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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.

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Rep. Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA) simply said: "No citizen should be denied the right to care for an ailing partner."

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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 controversial." 14

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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 together. 15

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Continue with media reports for 2001-OCT

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References:

  1. Alison Auld, "Gays praise N.S. ruling," Toronto Star, 2001-JUL-10.
  2. "Gay marriages 'were blessed' in past by Church," Irish Independent, 2001-JUL-16, at: http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories
  3. "Gay Muslims denounce fatwa," 2001-JUL-16, at: http://www.rainbownetwork.com/content/
  4. "Germany's top court refuses to block same-sex couples law," Associated Press, 2001-JUL-18
  5. "Petition for writ of certiorari," at: http://gaylesissues.about.com/library/content/
  6. "Born-again Christian oppose abortion, homosexuality, poll shows," Associated Baptist Press, at: http://www.abpnews.com/abpnews/
  7. Mark Cowan, "Civil rights leader harassed," Focus on the Family, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif/news/a0017268.html
  8. 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
  9. Quoted in TVC Newsletter, Traditional Values Coalition, 2001-AUG-31
  10. See Phelps Watch at: http://www.ourdawson.com/phelps/
  11. CultureFacts, Volume 4, #32, Family Research Council, 2001-SEP-21.
  12. "California Lawmakers Assault Families," Focus on the Family, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/state/
  13. Barbara Shecter, "Shaw unfair to gay channel, CRTC hears," National Post, at: http://www.herald.ns.ca/cgi-bin/home/
  14. "House extends benefits to gay couples in Washington," Fox News, at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/
  15. "South African gays win adoption battle," BBC News, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/

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Notice:

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. sec 107: The news items contained in the above hyperlinks are provided without profit by the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance,  PO Box 27026, Kingston ON Canada K7M 8W5, and are intended to be available to anyone interested in the topics included, for educational purposes only. Any editor, author, Webmaster, writer, publisher, news service, etc. that objects to being part of this listing may request that future works be excluded. We will also attempt to delete previous entries from the same source.

Copyright © 2001 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2001-NOV-9
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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