NEWS ITEMS AFFECTING GAYS AND LESBIANS
FOR 2003 - JAN. to MARCH
News of 2003-JAN:
||2003-JAN-16: USA: Brief filed in U.S. "Sodomy" law case: Lambda Legal, a gay positive civil rights group, filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court asking
them to overturn the Texas sodomy law. Ruth Harlow, the lead
attorney on the case and legal director at Lambda Legal said: "Some
of the most diverse and respected voices in this country are
lining up to tell the Supreme Court that these laws are contrary
to American values. This is a tremendously important case for gay
people and for everyone who believes in basic freedoms." 1
||2003-JAN-26: CA: Domestic partner bill to be introduced in
legislature: Jackie Goldberg (D-Los
Angeles) is expected to introduce a bill that would give domestic
partners essentially all of the legal rights and responsibilities
of married couples Three years ago, in Proposition 22, California
voters turned down the idea of gay marriages. But there is
considerable support for giving gays and lesbians rights,
privileges and obligations equal to those given to married
||Geoff Kors, executive director of
the gay-positive group California Alliance for Pride and
Equality, said: "This law would be truly historic for the
nation. If California passes this, it sends a message to the
rest of the nation."
||Randy Thomasson, executive director of the conservative
group Campaign for California Families, criticized the
supporters of the bill. He said: "I wish they'd be honest and
call it gay marriage. If marital rights go to nonmarried
couples, then you've really thrown mud in the face of marriage
as an institution. If Gray Davis wants to go for president or
vice president, he won't go for this."
||Lou Sheldon, of the conservative group Traditional Values
Coalition said: "Homosexuality is a gender-identity
disorder, and it's a gender-identity confusion, and you should
not reward those behaviors with special rights." There is no
record in the media accounts as to what "special rights"
gays and lesbians are requesting. All the reports have them
asking for equal rights. 2
News of 2003-FEB:
||2003-FEB-11: USA: Conoco Philips abandons nondiscrimination policy: Conoco prohibited internal discrimination against persons of all sexual
orientations; i.e. heterosexuals, homosexuals and bisexuals. Phillips did not.
When Conoco and Phillips merged to produce ConocoPhilips, they decided to
follow Philips' approach and allow discrimination based on sexual orientation
within the company. In practice, this inevitably means discrimination against
gays, lesbians and bisexuals. Kelly Shackelford, spokesperson for the
Fundamentalist Christian Freedom Foundation urges that those who
are opposed to equal rights for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals should show
their appreciation by buying ConocoPhilips products. Shackelford said: "Just
as a lot of conservatives and pro-family people complain when people go the
wrong direction, ConocoPhillips needs to be congratulated and, in fact, more
business done with them."
The decision by ConocoPhilips follows a similar move by ExxonMobil made previously.
If you wish to
congratulate or ConocoPhilips or send a note of criticism, you can contact
them via E-mail on their Web site.
||2003-FEB: USA: Holocaust museum adds homosexual exhibit: The U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, added an exhibit which shows
the imprisonment of gays during the Nazi Holocaust. The exhibit makes it
clear that gays were treated differently from Jews and other victims: gays
were imprisoned whereas other groups -- considered sub-human by the Nazis
-- were exterminated. Ted Phillips, who created the exhibit for the
museum, said: "We are not attempting to equate the persecution of
homosexuals with the murder of the Jews. It's a very carefully presented
line of distinction because the two tragedies while having some
similarities clearly are very different in scope as well." Rabbi
Yehuda Levin, head of the Jewish Union is displeased with the
exhibit. He said: "Even the homosexual revisionists have been forced to
indicate that most of the homosexuals who were in the concentration camps
-- it numbered only several thousand ... 5000 according to some estimates
-- were there because of criminal misbehavior. To make them into heroes
and to try to rewrite history and to try and use this as a way of
'koshering' the homosexual lifestyle is an absolute sacrilege." The "criminal
misbehavior" referred to by Rabbi Levin refers to the victims' sexual
behavior, which was considered a crime by the Nazis. 3
||2003-FEB-18: MA: Unitarian minister refuses to sign marriage
Fred Small of the First Church Unitarian in Boston, announced on FEB-2 to
his congregation that he would not sign marriage licenses "unless and
until the Commonwealth of Massachusetts extends to same-sex couples the
benefits, protections and responsibilities of marriage. If heterosexual
couples wish to legalize their bond, I will direct them to a justice of
the peace. Also in Massachusetts, Citizens for Marriage and other
groups are working to preserve the current ban on same-sex marriage. Gov.
According to the Boston Globe, Governor Mitt Romney personally opposes
same-sex marriage and would not sign legislation to legalize it. Phyllis
Terrey, a lesbian member of the congregation commented: ''We're not
going to read next week or next month or even next year that this has all
been solved, but it still feels good to have somebody stand up for us.''
Jill-Beth Sweeney, a heterosexual member who plans to get married in the
Fall said: ''We never dreamt that our wedding would be an opportunity
to take a stand on an issue that's very important to us. I sort of feel
like the accidental activist. I actually feel really blessed by this.''
Small will still marry opposite-sex couples; however they will have to go
to a justice of the peace to have their license signed. 4
||2003-FEB-19: USA: Proposed immigration law for gays and lesbians: Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) has introduced a bill: The Permanent Partners
Immigration Act. 5 It would allow same-sex committed
partners of U.S. citizens (or of lawful permanent residents) to sponsor
their partners as immigrants. Unlike Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark,
Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand,
Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom, the United States
does not recognize same-sex relationships for purposes of immigration.
According to the Human Rights Campaign -- a gay-positive agency: "Once
the measure is enacted, binational, same-sex couples will have to meet the
same requirements as binational, married couples. Some requirements
include providing proof of the relationship —- including affidavits from
friends and family or evidence of financial support." 6 Nadler calls the current requirement of marriage in immigration law
"gratuitous cruelty," presumably because it keeps loving, committed
couples from being together. Bob Knight, director of the Culture and
Family Institute, a Fundamentalist Christian agency, said that the law
would violate "the spirit of the Defense of Marriage Act, in which
Congress made it clear that it preferred marriage as the fundamental
institution that should be recognized in the law." 7
- "Supreme Court urged to kill Texas' sodomy law,"
Associated Press, 2003-JAN-16, at: http://www.chron.com/cs/
- Michael Bazeley, "Bill gives same-sex couples legal rights,"
San Jose Mercury News, 2003-JAN-26, at: http://www.bayarea.com/
- David Brody, "Homosexuals Included in Holocaust Museum,"
CitizenLink update, Focus on the Family, 2003-FEB-13.
- "Pastor won't sign marriage licenses; protest in effect until
state OKs homosexual unions," WorldNetDaily, 2003-FEB-18, at: http://wnd.com/news/
- To see the bill's text and status, go to http://thomas.loc.gov and
type HR 690 in the bill number box.
- "Quick Facts: Permanent Partners Immigration Act, H.R. 690,"
Human Rights Campaign, at: http://www.hrc.org/issues/
- Stuart Shepard, "Immigration Proposal Would Harm Marriage," Focus on the Family, 2003-FEB-19, at: http://www.family.org/
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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
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Copyright © 2003 by the Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-JAN-17
Latest update: 2003-FEB-20
Compiler: B.A. Robinson