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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: OCT. to DEC.

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News of 2001-OCT:

bullet2001-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 that:
bulletThe government discriminates against Gay and lesbian couples by not allowing them to marry.
bulletIt is OK for the government to discriminate against a minority.
bulletCourts can only make "incremental" changes to law. Recognizing same-sex marriage would be a major change.
bulletPoliticians, not judges, should settle the question of homosexual marriage.

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.

bullet2001-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."

bulletOCT-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 sexual orientation."

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
bullet

OCT-15: CA: Governor signs bills into laws: Governor Davis signed some bills into law:
bullet

AB 25: Domestic Partners: "extends numerous benefits of marriage to domestic partners and equates a spouse with a same-sex partner in certain instances."

bullet

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.

bullet

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

bullet

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.

bullet

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

bulletSB 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

bullet2001-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."
bullet2001-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.

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News of 2001-NOV:

bullet2001-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:
bulletThe gay-positive Human Rights Campaign called it a "prudent decision" and a "welcome development."
bulletDr. 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 organization."
bulletEd 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."
bulletScott 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."
bulletKaren 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."
bulletPeter 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

bullet2001-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 villainized anymore."

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:
bulletHuntington 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.
bulletTraverse City, MI: The voters left standing an existing city commission resolution that gives equal rights to persons of all sexual orientations.
bulletHouston, 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%.
bulletPalm Beach, FL: Voters "...overwhelmingly approved domestic-partnership benefits for unmarried" couples of all sexual orientations, by a vote of 66% to 34%.  8,9

bullet2001-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
bullet2001-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
bullet2001-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

bullet2001-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
bullet2000-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
bullet2001-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 individuals constitutes 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
bullet2001-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

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References:

  1. Wendy Cox, "Same-sex discrimination justified, B.C. judge rules," Toronto Star, 2001-OCT-4, page A15.
  2. Matt Pyeatt, "Survivors of Terrorist Victims Granted Domestic Partnership Benefits," CNSNews, at: http://www.cnsnews.com/
  3. "House extends benefits to gay couples in Washington," Fox News, at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/
  4. "US Catholic Bishops Called to Honor Words Said to Gays," PR Newswire, at: http://tscquote.thestreet.com/RTBBNews
  5. Pete Winn & Kristie Rutherford, "Anti-Family Agenda Becomes Law in California," Focus on the Family, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/
  6. 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/
  7. Stuart Shepard, "Dobson Laments Salvation Army's Decision," Focus on the Family, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif/
  8. Bob Allison, "Gay rights advocates win victory for tolerance," Kalamazoo Gazette, 2001-NOV-7, at: http://kz.mlive.com/news/index.ssf?/
  9. Pete Winn, "Hope Amidst the Ruins," CitizenLink mailing list, 2001-NOV-7
  10. Peggy Lowe, "Colorado Court Tosses Gay Dad's Custody Restrictions," Salt Lake Tribune, 2001-NOV-7, at: http://www.sltrib.com/11072001/
  11. Allie Martin and Jody Brown, "Salvation Army Overrides Policy Change," AgapePress, 2001-NOV-12, at: http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/
  12. "Salvation Army Rescinds Domestic Partner Benefits," Associated Press, 2001-NOV-13, at: http://www.foxnews.com/
  13. "Court convicts 23 defendants in trial of alleged homosexuals," Jordan Times, at: http://www.jordantimes.com
  14. "Domestic partner plan to include contractors," San Francisco Chronicle, 2001-NOV-29, at: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
  15. Mary Ellen Peterson, "AMA admits gay and lesbia medical group," Gay.com, at: http://www.gay.com/news/
  16. "Culture Facts 12/7/01," Family Research Council.
  17. David Savage, "U.S. 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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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-DEC-21
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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