NEWS ITEMS AFFECTING GAYS AND LESBIANS
FOR THE YEAR 2001: OCT. to DEC.
News of 2001-OCT:
||2001-OCT-4: BC: Eight same-sex couples in British Columbia
Canada lose petition to marry: The couples launched a petition
to overturn the federal Marriage Act because it allows
marriages only between a man and a woman. Justice Ian Pitfield of
the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled on 2001-OCT-3
||The government discriminates against Gay and lesbian couples
by not allowing them to marry.
||It is OK for the government to discriminate against a
||Courts can only make "incremental" changes to law.
Recognizing same-sex marriage would be a major change.
||Politicians, not judges, should settle the question of
The lawyer for three of the couples, "barbara findlay" said: "Our clients
knew, when they started, that this would be a case that would go on for five
years. But the anguish of being told that we recognize that you're being
discriminated against but that discrimination is acceptable is very difficult to
describe. The sense of being people who don't count in the Canadian community is
deeply sorrowing." An appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada is expected. 1 More details.
||2001-OCT-5: NY, DC: Aftermath of the terrorist attack on New York
City and the Pentagon: The American Red Cross announced
it would give benefits to gays and lesbians who lost partners in the
2001-SEP-11 terrorist attack on New York City and Washington. Stacey
Grissom, media relations associate for the Red Cross, said with
exquisite clarity and simplicity: "Red Cross is a neutral and
impartial organization and we help people who need help. So, we
don't help with regards to race, creed, color, religion and sexual
orientation. We help people who need to be helped." Grissom said
the Red Cross is working with employers to locate information on
victims' nearest living relatives. "So in those cases where the
next of kin is listed as a domestic partner, that would be a person
who would definitely get benefits," she said. 2,3
Matt Foreman, executive director of Empire
State Pride Agenda, a gay-positive organization, said his group had
received commitments from several relief organizations to assist
homosexuals who had lost their domestic partner in the attacks.
However, he said: "No matter what kind of work we do and no
matter how successful we are with the Red Cross, with United Way,
with these various relief funds, gay and lesbian survivors are still
going to face a huge inequity. No matter what work we do, we're not
going to be able to get them to tap into the key long-term
government supported programs." Such programs are for
heterosexual couples only. 2
Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values
Coalition, a Fundamentalist Christian organization, said money
should not be granted to homosexuals who lost partners in the
attack. He said that: "[Relief organizations] should be first
giving priority to those widows who were at home with their babies,
and those widowers who lost their wives. It should be given on the
basis and priority of one man and one woman in a marital
relationship. This is just another example of how the gay agenda is
seeking to overturn the one man-one woman relationship from center
stage in America, taking advantage of this tragedy."
||OCT-12: DC: Gay groups ask church to honor its statement: "The
Rainbow Sash Movement, an organization of Gay and Straight
Catholics, will be returning to the National Council of Catholic
Bishops opening Liturgy on November 12, 2001, at 6PM in the Basilica
of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. In a letter
sent to all the Catholic Bishops of the United States, the Bishops
were called to honor their own words in Always Our Children.
'Homosexual persons must be accepted with respect, compassion and
sensitivity.' We hope that this year the RSM delegation will not be
surrounded by Basilica security, nor that statements be read from
the pulpit stating that the RSM delegation are to be denied the
Eucharist because they wear the Rainbow Sash, an identification of
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago denied RSM members Holy Communion
on Pentecost Sunday, June 3, at Holy Name Cathedral. He has since
initiated a dialogue with RSM representatives. 4
OCT-15: CA: Governor signs bills into laws: Governor Davis signed some bills into law:
AB 25: Domestic Partners: "extends
numerous benefits of marriage to domestic partners and equates a
spouse with a same-sex partner in certain instances."
SB 225: Hate crime policies would be
extended to interscholastic sports at public (and some private)
junior and senior high schools. Some Christian schools might be
excluded from competitive sports if they maintain discriminatory
policies against gays and lesbians.
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.
Previous law allowed them to discriminate on the basis of gender,
race, sexual orientation, etc.
SB 257: This augments the safe school
programs to include hate crimes.
||SB 780: This provides additional civil liabilities for
demonstrators who disobey existing laws at abortion clinics.
Robert H. Knight, spokesperson for the Culture and Family
Institute at Concerned Women for America seems
particularly distressed at the signing of AB 25. He said: "By
signing this bill, Governor Davis has forced all California citizens
to promote and subsidize homosexuality. This is not an extension of
tolerance but a frontal assault on marriage." Homosexual rights
groups seem pleased, because the law now treats homosexual and
heterosexual couples similarly, and ends decades of forcing
homosexuals to promote and subsidize heterosexuality. 5
||2001-OCT-16: FL: Lawsuit over public transit authority ads: Focus on the Family will be holding an anti-homosexuality
conference dealing with sexual orientation in youths, and in rest of
the culture. They tried to have the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) post Focus ads
in bus shelters. The ads would have given the conference
theme as "Addressing, understanding, and preventing homosexuality
in our culture." But the ads have been banned two years in a
row. The PSTA has a contract with its advertising agency, Eller
Media, which prohibits of ads that are "socially embarrassing,"
"likely to hold up to scorn or ridicule any person or group of
persons," or that are "objectionable." Liberty Counsel,
a Fundamentalist Christian legal defense fund, is representing Focus on the Family. Counsel President Matthew Staver
said: "We believe that that vague and broad language is
unconstitutional because it doesn't set any guidelines, and it
allows someone to censor speech because he or she disagrees with the
message...It's a public entity that is controlling the content of
speech, and that is why it is unconstitutional."
||2001-OCT-18: USA: MTV airs tolerance ads: MTV is airing a series
of ten second ads which promote tolerance. The text of one of these
spot announcements is: "Gender, ability, religion, race,
ethnicity, sexuality. Own, educate, act. Fight for your rights. Take
a stand against discrimination." The Gay, Lesbian and
Straight Education Network has worked with MTV on the ads. The Network calls these ads the "largest ever"
series of announcements on the subject. The messages make the point
that equal rights for gays and lesbians are a "safety" issue.
The ads are linked to a Web page that promotes equal rights and
protections for gays and lesbians. It invites teens to become active
in working towards this goal. It includes an online petition which
promotes hate-crimes legislation to protect people who are
physically attacked on the basis of their gender, degree of ability
or disability, and sexual orientation.
News of 2001-NOV:
||2001-NOV-5: CA: Salvation Army offers Domestic Partner
Benefits: The Salvation Army's Western Corporation
is one of four divisions of the Army in the U.S. It has
decided to extend health-care benefits to domestic partners of its
employees. The Army will now comply with a San Francisco ordinance that
prohibits companies from doing business with the city if it
discriminates against the homosexual and common-law heterosexual
partners of its employees. At first, the Army had severed economic
ties with the city; they have since
reversed that decision. Col.
Phillip Needham, chief secretary of the Western Corporation said: "This decision reflects our concern for the health of our
employees and those closest to them, and is made on the basis of
strong ethical and moral reasoning that reflects the dramatic
changes in family structure in recent years." Dr. Dobson,
president of the Fundamentalist Christian group Focus on the
Family responded: "Needham's statement reveals that the
decision to accommodate homosexual employees is based on cultural
considerations, rather than on what is right and ethical — and of
course, on the impact of federal money. We are not talking about
hatred for individuals; we are talking about policies that will
affect generations to come. What is at stake here is an agenda that
involves the welfare of children, the definition of marriage, the
constitution of the family, and credentials for pastors and priests."
Some responses to their decision:
||The gay-positive Human Rights Campaign called it a "prudent
decision" and a "welcome development."
||Dr. James Dobson also said: "The Salvation Army is the
first evangelical church, that I am aware of, to cave in on this
contentious issue. This decision will have enormous influence on
other Christian organizations and entities that have tried to hold
the line on moral and family policies. The Salvation Army has
(also) confirmed that this policy will apply, not only to the 13
Western states as the media has reported, but also to the entire
||Ed Vitagliano is a spokesman for the American Family
Association, a Fundamentalist Christian group. He said: "I
think that all evangelical Christians who love God's Word and who
have trusted The Salvation Army to be faithful to the clear
indications ... and clear principles of God's Word about same-sex
relationships [are] very, very sad that this has happened."
||Scott Lively, spokesperson for the American Family
Association of California, said: "This is driven by the
gay-activist movement. It has no other purpose but to legitimize
homosexuality in American society."
||Karen Holgate, legislative director for the Capitol
Resource Institute in Sacramento, CA, said: "Every time
another Christian organization falls or bows to this kind of
pressure, it just applies that much more to others."
||Peter LaBarbera, associate director of the Culture and
Family Institute in Washington, D.C. said: "Homosexual
activists are keen on seeing everybody embrace homosexuality. If
they see that a major Christian organization with a Bible-based
mission is willing to swallow the gay agenda, then they will be
more encouraged to go after every other Christian organization in
this nation." 6,7
The Salvation Army later reversed its decision. See NOV-12
||2001-NOV-7: MI: Anti-gay bylaws blocked: A measure that
would have prevented the city of Kalamazoo, MI, from passing laws
protecting gays and lesbians was defeated by the voters, 6,085 to
5,211. Terry Kuseske, board president for the Gay and Lesbian
Resource Center, said: "It equals a giant step toward bridging
the gap between the straight and lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender community in Kalamazoo. We're putting a face on the LGBT
community. We're not this fictional character that can be
Jacob Van Giessen, president of Kalamazoo Citizens Voting Yes
for Equal Rights Not Special Rights said that they were
disappointed at the results, but were pleased to see the thousands
of voters who chose to "stand up for family values....At one time
this nation was more in tune to the biblical standards now anything
goes." The proposal was triggered by a policy of the City Manager which
allows health coverage of the partners of gay city employees.
Voter Thelma Fry said: "It's about same-sex marriages and
they're against the word of God. I believe it truly destroys basic
family values. It's not against gays, but they're asking for the
same things married men and women should be privy to." Voter
Carol Grant said: "I want to leave the door open for the city to
treat same-sex couples fairly. What are people afraid of?"
Other gay-related ballot proposals:
||Huntington Woods, MI: This is a suburb of Detrloit. The
vote was 69% in favor of maintaining a city human rights ordinance
that gives equal protection to persons of all sexual orientations.
||Traverse City, MI: The voters left standing an existing
city commission resolution that gives equal rights to persons of
all sexual orientations.
||Houston, TX: According to Focus on the Family's
CitizenLink news service: "...voters overwhelmingly approved an
amendment to the city charter that bans benefits for domestic
partners of city workers." This seems to be a misunderstanding
on their part. The actual vote was 52% to 48%.
||Palm Beach, FL: Voters "...overwhelmingly approved
domestic-partnership benefits for unmarried" couples of all
sexual orientations, by a vote of 66% to 34%. 8,9
||2001-NOV-7: CO: Colorado court rules on custody restrictions: The "...Colorado Court of Appeals said parenting time in custody
cases may not be restricted because of sexual orientation. The court
overturned a decision by Douglas County District Judge Thomas Curry,
who barred a bisexual father from taking his 9-year-old daughter to
a predominantly gay church and from having overnight guests."
Curry had ruled that the father should not take his daughter to the Metropolitan Community Church in Denver, CO, because she
might see "hugging, showing of affection one to the other...[of]
women with women, men with men." Curry banned all overnight
guests at the father's residence, regardless of the visitor's
gender, sexual orientation, or whether they were involved in a
relationship with the father. The judge made no restrictions on the
mother's overnight guests. Myron Quon, a lawyer with the
gay-positive group Lambda Legal, said: "One additional
barrier has been removed for gay and lesbian parents. They don't
have to be worried about being treated like second-class residents
of Colorado." 10
||2001-NOV-12: USA-West: Salvation Army reverses its decision: On NOV-5, the Western Division of the Salvation Army
decided to extend health-care benefits to domestic partners, and
dependents of domestic partners, of its
employees. They announced: "This decision reflects our concern for the health of our
employees and those closest to them, and is made on the basis of
strong ethical and moral reasoning that reflects the dramatic
changes in family structure in recent years." On NOV-12, the
Salvation Army's Commissioners' Conference, the ruling national
body, overruled the Western Division's decision. Their national policy "...will
not allow for any type of medical benefits for anyone who is not a
'husband, wife or dependent' of an employee." The Salvation
Army's national chief secretary, Col. Thomas Lewis, said that the
change was motivated as a result of "comment and opinion" from
members of the Salvation Army and others.
"We really believe that a lot of people (thought) that we
were not acknowledging the husband-wife-child as a
family, and (our position is) anything but that, because
the Army's moral and religious principles have always been that that
is the only family that we recognize. But it certainly was not perceived that way."
David Smith, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, said:
"It establishes the organization as anti-gay, and in a country
that's yearning to come together and heal, this was an extremely
divisive move that I don't think will be looked on kindly. We're
talking about health care, about providing health benefits, and what
the Salvation Army has decided to do is prevent certain families
from getting health care, and that's just mean."
A lot of children are going to be harmed by this decision as a
result of the decisions and sexual orientation of their parent(s). 11,12
||2001-NOV-15: Egypt: Egyptian court sentences people to jail for
homosexuality: Twenty-nine persons accused of engaging in
homosexual behavior were acquitted; twenty-two were found guilty and
given sentences ranging from two to five years in prison. Only a few
observers were allowed into the courtroom. Police had to drive back
a crowd of about 200 relatives, lawyers, journalists and passersby
who wanted to observe the sentencing.
Sherif Farahat and Mahmoud Ahmed Allam were found to be
ringleaders of the group. Farahat received five years for
debauchery, contempt of religion, falsely interpreting the Koran and
exploiting Islam to promote deviant ideas. Allam received three
years in prison on the religious charges, but was acquitted of
debauchery. Amnesty International condemned the trial; they accused
Egypt of persecuting people because of their sexual orientation.
They also criticized the court itself for not being independent of
the state. Scott Long, spokesperson for the U.S.-based
"International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission"
condemned the verdicts as "a travesty" of justice. Most
traditions within Islam consider homosexual behavior to be a serious sin. 13
||2001-NOV-26: CA: Oakland requires suppliers to grant domestic
partner benefits: The Oakland City Council passed an
ordinance unanimously that requires all suppliers doing more than
$25,000 business with the city per year to grant domestic partner
benefits to all employees -- married or not. 14
||2000-DEC-3: USA: AMA admits Lesgay group: The American
Medical Association (AMA) voted to include the Gay and
Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) in its Specialty and Service
Society. GLMA President Christopher E. Harris said: "...as
the first LGBT medical organization to be admitted to the AMA, we
are being recognized on a peer level with other professional medical
associations." Gay.com wrote: "GLMA was instrumental in the
AMA's adoption of a sexual orientation non-discrimination policy and
is actively supporting the Medical Students Section resolution on
domestic partner health benefits." 15
||2001-DEC-8: USA: Help to victims and families of victims of
9-11: In late 2001-SEP, Congress passed a bill to financially bailout the airline industry.
Attached to that bill was an amendment which established a fund to compensate
victims and victims' families for personal injury and death. It is administered
by the Justice Department. Unfortunately, the bill did not define what group of
a family. Some gay and lesbian groups are asking the Justice Department to
include the partners and children of homosexuals as potential recipients of
payments. Similar funds administered by the Red Cross and the state of New York
have decided to grant benefits to partners of gay and lesbian visitors. But
Virginia considered only married spouses and children as recipients. Kenneth Feinberg has been
appointed to be a Special Master; he is to decide how the funds are to be
distributed. Conservative Christians are concerned that partners of gay and
lesbian victims of the 9-11 terrorist attack might be given
financial benefits. As the Family Research Council stated in a news
release: "While it might seem harmless to give financial benefits to a
homosexual victim's partner, in reality it is one more step
toward equating homosexual behavior and relationships with the traditional,
married family." 16
||2001-DEC-20: USA: Compensation for partners of gay victims: The Federal government will offer families of people who were killed
in the terrorist attacks of SEP-11 payments of from $300,000 to more
than $4 million. The amount for each family will be a function of age, and estimates
of earnings that were lost due to early death. Subtracted from this will be
any life insurance and pension benefits that the victim had. Money
received from charities will not be deducted from the payment.
Kenneth R. Feinberg, special master of the compensation fund, said
that same-sex partners can apply for compensation.
The Lambda Legal Defense Fund, a group working for equal
rights for gays and lesbians, called
Feinberg's announcement "encouraging" because he
same-sex partners are eligible to receive compensation. [Comment: By any measure, this is an amazing development towards inclusiveness
and fairness.] 17
- Wendy Cox, "Same-sex discrimination justified, B.C. judge rules,"
Toronto Star, 2001-OCT-4, page A15.
- Matt Pyeatt, "Survivors of Terrorist Victims Granted Domestic
Partnership Benefits," CNSNews, at: http://www.cnsnews.com/
- "House extends benefits to gay couples in Washington," Fox
News, at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/
- "US Catholic Bishops Called to Honor Words Said to Gays," PR
Newswire, at: http://tscquote.thestreet.com/RTBBNews
- Pete Winn & Kristie Rutherford, "Anti-Family Agenda Becomes Law in
California," Focus on the Family, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/
- Fred Jackson and Jody Brown, "Salvation Army to Offer 'Domestic
Partner' Benefits: Decision Hailed by Pro-Homosexual HRC, Condemned by
Pro-Family Groups," Agape Press at: http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/
- Stuart Shepard, "Dobson Laments Salvation Army's Decision," Focus on the Family, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif/
- Bob Allison, "Gay rights advocates win victory for tolerance,"
Kalamazoo Gazette, 2001-NOV-7, at: http://kz.mlive.com/news/index.ssf?/
- Pete Winn, "Hope Amidst the Ruins," CitizenLink mailing list,
- Peggy Lowe, "Colorado Court Tosses Gay Dad's Custody Restrictions,"
Salt Lake Tribune, 2001-NOV-7, at: http://www.sltrib.com/11072001/
- Allie Martin and Jody Brown, "Salvation Army Overrides Policy
Change," AgapePress, 2001-NOV-12, at: http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/
- "Salvation Army Rescinds Domestic Partner Benefits,"
Associated Press, 2001-NOV-13, at: http://www.foxnews.com/
- "Court convicts 23 defendants in trial of alleged homosexuals,"
Jordan Times, at: http://www.jordantimes.com
- "Domestic partner plan to include contractors," San
Francisco Chronicle, 2001-NOV-29, at: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
- Mary Ellen Peterson, "AMA admits gay and lesbia medical group,"
Gay.com, at: http://www.gay.com/news/
- "Culture Facts 12/7/01," Family Research Council.
Lays Out Aid for Kin of Terror Attack: Compensation: Average of $1.6 million in tax-free assistance will be given to
families of those kill, Los Angeles times," at: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-122101fund.story
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Copyright © 2001 by the Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2001-DEC-21
Compiler: B.A. Robinson