NEWS ITEMS AFFECTING GAYS AND LESBIANS
FOR 2006 - APRIL, MAY & JUNE
In the following, "SSM" refers to "same-sex marriage."
News of 2006-APR:
||2006-APR-06: "Brokeback Mountain" movie
promoted by Wal-Mart: The American Family Association
(AFA), a Fundamentalist Christian group, asked Wal-Mart to boycott the sale
of the Brokeback Mountain movie, winner of three Academy awards. It
describes the problems faced by two bisexual sheepherders in a homophobic
socieity. Randy Sharp, director of special projects for the AFA, said:
"It wasn't even a blockbuster movie, so if Wal-Mart isn't trying to
push an agenda, why would they put it at the front door?"
Kevin Haff of the Washington Blade, a gay-positive group, said:
"Actually, Randy, 'Brokeback' has made more than $165 million
worldwide on a production budget of just $14 million. If that ainít a
blockbuster, I donít know what is. And that number doesnít include DVD
sales, which will no doubt be tremendous."
||2006-APR-10: USA: Gays, lesbians and bisexuals hold "Day of Silence:"
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network's (GLSEN) held a "Day of
Silence" in high school campuses across the U.S. During the day, gays,
lesbians, bisexuals and those who support these sexual minorities remain
silent to demonstrate the oppression that they feel in school because of
their sexual orientation.
||2006-APR-18: Same-sex couples and their children roll Easter eggs:
Every Easter since 1878, an Easter egg party has been held on the White
House lawn during which children push an egg with a large wooden spoon.
Tickets to the event are on a first-come-first-served basis. This year, some
same-sex couples and their children joined the queue for tickets and enjoyed
the party along with opposite-sex couples and children. Covenant News
described the event in their Abominations section under the heading "The
First Family Hosts Sodomite Easter Party." Covenant News, a
Fundamentalist Christian news outlet described the event as follows:
"...lewd and lascivious 'gay' groups joined the queue for tickets --
which were given out to families on a first-come, first served basis at
the White House on Saturday. Despite the opposition of conservative
religious groups, Bush and his wife Laura chose not to prevent the sex
offenders from attending. The gay groups said their gesture was meant to
make their presence felt in American society."
AFP noted that:
"The gay parents also chose a discreet approach without any explicit
protest, identifying themselves with rainbow-coloured
flowers....families who signed up to attend committed not to use slogans
or even wear t-shirts that could get them barred from the White House."
Jennifer Chrisler, executive director for the Family Pride Coalition,
a gay-positive group, said:
"Like other parents in this country, we want to give our children the
best opportunities, to shower them with love, to teach them respect and
a love for the rich and diverse traditions America has to offer them."
2006-APR-27: OR: Student barred from
wearing T-shirt on "Day of Truth:" The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a
Fundamentalist Christian legal defense group, sponsored the second annual
"Day of Truth" in high schools across the U.S. This is a response to the
"Day of Silence" sponsored earlier in the month by the Gay, Lesbian
and Straight Education Network's (GLSEN). The ADF sells kits containing a
t-shirt with a red "Day of Truth" insignia, a DVD and a pack of 25
information cards. The cards say:|
"I am speaking the Truth to break the silence.
Silence isnít freedom. Itís a constraint.
Truth tolerates open discussion, because the Truth emerges when healthy
discourse is allowed.
By proclaiming the Truth in love, hurts will be halted, hearts will be
healed, and lives will be saved." 9
with information opposed to equal rights for gays and lesbians.
7 A female sophomore at
Springfield High School in Springfield OR had a custom-made t-shirt printed
with the message: "I am a Christian, and I am against homosexuality,
abortion, pre-marital sex, and drugs." She participated in the Day of
Truth campaign along with several other students. The others were allowed to
wear their regular Day of Truth t-shirts, but the sophomore was asked to
replace her shirt.
Timothy Chandler, Litigation Counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund, sent a
letter to the school administrating advising them that they had violated the
student's First Amendment rights. He said: "The
First Amendment rights of students do not end at the schoolhouse gate. We
are pleased school officials recognized that this studentís constitutional
rights had been violated." The officials apologized for the error. 8
||2006-MAY-16: WA: U.S. Supreme Court refuses
to take up child custody case: The U.S. Supreme Court decided to not review a
Washington State child custody case. The state's highest court had determined that Sue
Ellen "Mian" Carvin could pursue ties with "L.B", now 11 years of age.
Carvin had lived with Page Britain for five years before they decided to
have a child together. Britain gave birth in 1995 to L.B. who they raised
together. The women separated six years later. Britain, claiming rights as
the biological mother, barred Carvin from seeing their daughter. Carvin sued
to gain access. This is the first case where the U.S. Supreme Court has
dealt with a case involving child custody disputes between gay parents. 3|
||2006-MAY-25: OK: State adoption law
overturned: Federal Judge Robin
Cauthron declared unconstitutional an Oklahoma law that banned recognition
of adoptions in other states by same-sex couples. Two lesbians had adopted
daughters while they lived in New Jersey. When they moved to Oklahoma, a
state law negated recognition of the adoptions. Judge Cauthron determined
that the law was unconstitutional. It violated the due process rights of the
parents because it called for the breaking up of the family without
considering the parent's fitness or the best interest of the children. State
Representative Thad Balkman complained: "Itís another case of an activist
judge trying to legislate from the bench. Itís unfortunate that a single
judge is trying to rewrite the law."
MN: Conference petitions concerning homosexuality:
The Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church passed
nine petitions related to homosexuality. Victoria Rebeck, communications
director for the Conference said: "The biggest news is that we had a
good, respectful discussion of these very emotional issues and people really
listened to each other." The closest vote was a real squeaker: 358 to
356. It involved a petition to change the definition of marriage from "a
man and a woman" to "two adult persons," and to delete a sentence
supporting laws that define marriage as between a man and woman. The
resolutions will be passed on to the 2008 General Conference for
consideration. 6More details.|
2006-JUN-07: Federal Marriage Amendment resurfaces: The Federal Marriage Amendment
has reappeared in the Senate.
This would have been the first step that leading to the U.S. Constitution being
modified to prevent same-sex couples from marrying. If implemented, it would
be the first time that a discrimination clause would appear in the
Even supporters of the FMA expected that it would fail to reach the required 67 positive votes.
The Senate voted in 2004 on an identical bill; results were 50 in favor and
48 opposed. The vote in the house was 227 for and 186 against. Both were
short of the two-thirds majority required for passage.
The vote this time was essentially the same. The amendment will not
progress to the states. More details.
||2006-JUN-10: Canada: This is the third anniversary of the 2003
decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal which legalized SSM in that
province. Since then, over 10,000 same-sex couples have been legally married
||2006-JUN-19: Canada: Poll shows remarkable change in SSM acceptance:
The Environics Research Group poll indicates that Canadians are
increasingly accepting of same-sex marriage. They area also overwhelmingly
opposed to reopening the matter in Parliament, as has been proposed by the
ruling Conservative government. Poll results indicate that:|
||62% of Canadian adults consider SSM to be a settled matter;
||27% want SSM reopened and debated once more in Parliament;
||Only 38% of Conservative Party voters favored reopening the issue; 52%
||59% agreed that same-sex couples should have the same right to civil
marriage as opposite-sex couples. 32% are opposed. That is close to a 2
to 1 ratio.
These are truly remarkably large and rapid changes since SSM became available
across Canada in 2005-OCT. 10,11More details.
||2006-JUN-20: WI: Mainline churches oppose stealth constitutional
amendment: In the previous two weeks, 700 religious congregations in
Wisconsin have publicly opposed the proposed amendment to the state
constitution to ban both civil marriages and same-sex marriages. The public
will vote on the amendment in November. Early in June, the Wisconsin
Conference of the United Church of Christ and the Wisconsin
United Methodist Conference opposed the amendment. Scherer, a board
member of Fair Wisconsin, a group working to defeat the ban, said:
"Literally hundreds of religious leaders have personally kind of
pledged to oppose the amendment, t doesn't only ban civil unions for
gay couples, but for anyone who's not married. For instance, two
elderly people who are living together but not married. This is
saying never will the government allow any type of legal
relationship to allow protections to those two people."
Julaine Appling, coordinator of the Wisconsin Coalition for
Traditional Marriage, said:
"The people of this state that have any idea about what the Bible
says about marriage, they believe marriage is one man and one woman.
And I think they'll go into the voting booth and say this is about
whether a man and a woman comprise the institute of marriage, and
they'll vote yes." 12
||2006-JUN-23:US: Episcopal church widens cracks in Anglican Communion:
At their 75th General Convention in Columbus OH, the Episcopal Church
took a number of actions that might be interpreted by much of the rest of
the worldwide Anglican Communion as promoting a schism. They elected a new
Presiding Bishop who is the first female primate in the Communion. Most
Anglical provinces do not even allow women to become bishops, let alone
primates. They ignored the Communion's request that the Episcopal Church
forbid same-sex union rituals. They passed a resolution recommending
restraint when nominating future bishops who are homosexuals. However, it is
not a binding requirement. Finally, the Diocese of Newark nominated four
candidates for their next bishop; one is gay. More
||2006-JUN-29: US: Presbyterian church cracks
open door for gay ordination: The Presbyterian Church, USA held
its General Assembly in Birmingham, AL. They discussed a report issued last
year by their Theological Task Force (TTF). The Assembly approved
resolutions stressing unity in the denomination, and giving -- for the first
time -- limited permission for local ordination authorities to ordain
sexually active homosexuals. More details.
Archbishop of Canterbury recommends two tiers: Apparently in response to
the Episcopal Church, USA's General Convention mentioned above, the
spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Rowan
Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, issued a six-page "reflection"
proposing what he regards as the "best way forward" for the Anglican
Communion. He suggests creation of a loyalty oath which apparently would be
both sexist and homophobic. It would include rejection of homosexuals as
priests, bishops and primates. It might even include rejection of women as
bishops and primates. Those provinces who agreed with the loyalty oath would
churches." Those who did not agree would become "churches in association."
That division arguably makes a lot of sense, because it does recognize the
current division within the Communion. However, he proposes that the
churches in association would be denied voting and decision making power in the Communion.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Kevin Haff, "Kudos to Wal-Mart. Mega-retailer
stands up to religious right, stocks 'Brokeback'," Washington Blade,
"Gay parents quietly crash White House Easter party," AFP, 2006-APR-17, at:
"Justices pass on gay custody dispute; Won't bar lesbian's quest for
rights," Associated Press, 2006-MAY-16, at:
"Heather Finstuen et al...." at:
"Oklahoma Federal Judge Overturns Ban On Homosexual
Adoptions," Traditional Values Coalition, 2006-MAY-25, at:
"United Methodists approve ordaining gay clergy, marriage,"
Associated Press, 2006-JUN-02, at:
"Order your Day of Truth materials now!," Alliance Defense Fund, at:
"Student barred from wearing T-shirt receives apology from school
officials," Alliance Defense Fund, 2006-JUN-08, at:
"Day of Truth - April 27, 2006," Alliance Defense Fund, at:
"Canadians for Equal Marriage June 2006," Press Release, Environics Research Group, at:
"Environics Poll: Opposition to equal marriage falls sharply; Canadians are more than 2 to 1 against
re-opening," Canadians for Equal Marriage, 2006-JUN-19, at:
Krista B. Ledbetter, "Churches line up against gay marriage ban," The
Northwestern, Oshkosh, WI. Online at:
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contained in the above hyperlinks are provided without profit by the
Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance, PO Box 128, Watertown, NY, 13601, USA, and are intended to be available to anyone
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Copyright © 2006 by the Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2006-APR-19
Latest update: 2006-JUN-21
Compiler: B.A. Robinson