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Religious Tolerance logo

NEWS ITEMS AFFECTING GAY, LESBIANS & BISEXUALS

2006 - October, November & December

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Sponsored link.

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In the following, "SSM" refers to "same-sex marriage."

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News during 2006-October:

bullet 2006-OCT-25: New Jersey: The state supreme court gave the legislature two options: to pass legislation that allows same-sex couples to marry, or create a system of domestic partnerships with the same state rights as marriage. Although generally ignored by the media, the magnitude of this court decision was immense. The seven justices voted unanimously that equal rights must be granted to same-sex couples. By a 7 to 0 vote, the court determined that the state could no longer grant special rights to committed opposite-sex couples while denying those same rights to committed same-sex couples.

The 4 to 3 split widely reported among the justices was on a different matter: whether it:

"was the Court's right or the responsibility of the legislature to define these equal partnerships as marriages. [The majority] ... decided that the Court had the responsibility to mandate equality, but that the legislature had the responsibility to name it." 1

More details.

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News during 2006-November:

bullet2006-NOV-01: USA: Male prostitute claims business relationship with Ted Haggard: Evangelical Right, who bill themselves as "the Internet home for sinners destined to be left behind" wrote:

"A gay man and admitted male escort claims he has had an ongoing sexual relationship with a well-known Evangelical pastor from Colorado Springs. Mike Jones told 9 Wants to Know Investigative Reporter Paula Woodward he has had a 'sexual business' relationship with Pastor Ted Haggard for the past three years. Haggard is married with five children and an outspoken critic of gay marriage."

"People may look at me and think what I've done is immoral, but I think I had to do the moral thing in my mind and that is expose someone who is preaching one thing and doing the opposite behind everybody's back," said Jones.

Ted Haggard is president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). He also heads the 14,000 member New Life Church in Colorado City, CO, and was named by Time Magazine as one of the 25 most influential Evangelicals in the U.S. 2,3

On the evening of NOV-01, Haggard denied the claims, and said that he is prepared for his own church to undertake an investigation. He allegedly said:

"I did not have a homosexual relationship with a man in Denver. I am steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife. I don't know if this is election year politics or if this has to do with the marriage amendment or what it is, but I'm not even the guy who will investigate it or question it. I don't know what the dynamics are, but this independent group will come in and do that."

bullet2006-NOV-02: USA: Ted Haggard denies allegations of same-sex behavior: CNN reported this evening that Ted Haggard as stepped down as president of the NEA and as head of the New Life Church. 3 Associated Press reported that:

"In a written statement, Haggard said: 'I am voluntarily stepping aside from leadership so that the overseer process can be allowed to proceed with integrity. I hope to be able to discuss this matter in more detail at a later date. In the interim, I will seek both spiritual advice and guidance.' ..."

"Jones said he has voice mail messages from Haggard, as well as an envelope he said Haggard used to mail him cash, though he declined to make any of it available to the AP. 'There's some stuff on there (the voice mails) that's pretty damning,' he said."

"Richard Cizik, vice president for government affairs for the evangelicals association, expressed shock. 'Is this something I can imagine of Ted Haggard? No,' he said." 4

Haggard went public on the evening of NOV-02 denying allegations of a same-sex affair. 5

bullet2006-NOV-02: USA: Ted Haggard admits some allegations of same-sex behavior are true: KTTV reported:

"After Pastor Ted Haggard went public Wednesday night denying allegations of a homosexual affair, senior church officials told KKTV 11 News Thursday evening, Pastor Ted Haggard has admitted to some of the claims made by a former male escort. The church's Acting Senior Pastor, Ross Parsley, tells KKTV 11 News that Pastor Haggard has admitted to some of the indiscretions claimed by Mike Jones, but not all of them." Thursday morning, Jones went on a Denver radio talk show and said Pastor Haggard paid him for sex over the past 3 years. Jones also claims Haggard used drugs with him. Right now, the situation is under investigation by an independent panel of leaders from four outside churches. The leaders are from Colorado Springs, Larkspur, Westminster and Louisiana. The panel's role is to decide if Haggard will be exonerated, released from his duties or restored to his pastorship. 5 More information.

bullet2006-NOV-07: USA: Amendments to state constitutions to ban SSM: Associated with the mid-term elections, there were constitutional amendments and/or initiatives on the ballot affecting same-sex couples in:
bulletArizona: For the first time in the U.S., a ban against SSM failed by a vote of 51% against and 49% for.
bulletColorado: A ban against SSM passed 56 to 44%; A domestic partnership initiative failed 53 to 47%.
bulletIdaho: A ban against SSM passed 63 to 37%
bulletSouth Carolina: A ban against SSM passed 78 to 22%.
bulletSouth Dakota: A ban against SSM passed narrowly, 52% to 48%.
bulletTennessee: A ban against SSM passed 81 to 19%.
bulletVirginia: A ban against SSM passed 57 to 43%.
bulletWisconsin: A ban against SSM passed 59 to 41%.

Percentages are reported as of the evening of 2006-NOV-08, typically with 98% of precincts reporting.

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said: "What we're seeing is that fear-mongering around same-sex marriage is fizzling out." 6

It is worth noting that in 1958, in a most ironically named case "Loving v. Virginia," an inter-racial married couple was convicted of a felony under Virginia's law in 1958 for the crime of being married to each other. They were exiled from their home state for 25 years, which was cut short when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ruling and allowed all loving, committed inter-racial couples to marry. At the time, about 70% of American adults favored a ban on inter-racial marriages -- not unlike today's ratio on same-sex couples. 7

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Sponsored link

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bullet2006-NOV-09: Gay men and gambling addiction: A small study may indicate that gay and bisexual males may be addicted to gambling at a higher rate than heterosexual men. Their conclusion was based on a study of 105 men who had sought treatment for gambling addiction. Twenty-two of the men -- 21% -- identified themselves as either gay or bisexual. That is a higher rate than one would expect. Religious conservatives generally believe that only 2% of men are homosexual; some gay groups claim 10%; various surveys by neutral observer indicate about 5% are homosexual and perhaps 2% bisexual. All of these figures are far removed from 21%.

There are many possible reasons for this observation:
bulletIt might have been just a fluke; a sample size of 105 is too small to tell much.
bulletGay and bisexual men may be more motivated to seek treatment.
bulletGay and bisexual men may be driven by various stressors -- anti-gay bigotry, homophobia, gay bashing, self-loathing taught by homophobic relatives, etc -- to become addicted to gambling. This conclusion would probably be promoted by many gay-positive groups.
bulletGay and bisexual men may simply be more prone to mental disorders including gambling addiction because of their sexual orientation. This conclusion would probably be preferred by many religious conservatives. 13
bullet2006-NOV-10: Israel: Riots in Jerusalem in protest against a gay pride parade: Jerusalem's first gay pride parade was scheduled for a weekend earlier in the year. However, it was delayed because of the warfare in Lebanon. It is scheduled for the weekend of NOV-11. In an almost unprecedented show of unity, conservative leaders of the three main religions in the area, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, jointly condemned the parade. Almost two weeks of rioting have disturbed Jerusalem's Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods. Police and motorists have been showered with stones; trash cans have been set on fire. Dozens of police have been injured. At least 60 Orthodox protestors have been arrested. According to the Jewish daily Forward:

 "Violent protests were also reported in Hadera, Bet Shemesh and the Tel Aviv suburb of Bínei Brak, where protesters burned tires and blocked a main highway. ... Israelís chief rabbinate issued a statement Monday calling Israelís homosexuals the 'lowest of people,' and urging the public to assemble for a countrywide prayer rally as gay rights marchers gathered in Jerusalem."

" 'We were horrified to hear of the threatening plot that an abominated minority of our brothers is planning, convening to carry out abominations that make them the lowest of people,' the countryís two chief rabbis wrote in a statement. 'Everyone from toddlers to the elderly will join in the streets and bitterly protest this awful abomination that is desecrating Israelís name throughout the nations. Of course they will do this in the appropriate way, without violence or harm to property'." 8

bullet2006-NOV-13: USA: Federal Hate Crimes and Employment Non-discrimination Act: The Family Research Council (FRC) reports its concern over a new bill to come before Congress. Unfortunately, there is no information on the Internet on this bill, according to Google. But it apparently has something to do with prohibiting companies who serve the general public from discriminating against persons because of their sexual orientation. It would apparently protect everyone, whether they be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual and perhaps transgender. The FRC cites a family owned landscaping firm in Texas called Guarden Guy Inc. Their motto is: "Treating you with respect and honesty are the cornerstones of our reputation." They had dealt with the general public, but who had announced that, because of their religiously-based moral convictions, they would no longer enter into contracts with known homosexuals. They experienced an increase in business profits of $40,000 within two weeks, an outpouring of support from across the country, and attack Emails for their decision to discriminate against a sexual minority. The Association of Professional Landscape Designers condemned the action of the Farbers, whose membership has lapsed, and instituted a requirement for members to abide by an anti-discrimination clause. 9,10
bullet2006-NOV-14: South Africa: Same-sex marriage legalized: South Africa became the fifth country to legalize same-sex marriage. Legislators overwhelmingly passed a bill creating marriage equality for persons of all sexual orientations by a vote of 230 to 41 with three abstentions. Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said:

"When we attained our democracy, we sought to distinguish ourselves from an unjust, painful past by declaring that never again shall it be that any South African will be discriminated against on the basis of color, creed, culture and sex."

More details. 11

bullet2006-NOV-21: USA: American Family Association calls off boycott of Wal-Mart: The American Family Association (AFA), a fundamentalist Christian group, and other religiously conservative groups had objected to Wal-Mart's joining the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. They committed to contributing at least $25,000 and to sponsoring some gay-positive events. Being unable to convince Wal-Mart to stop the contributions, the AFA scheduled a two-day boycott of Wal-Mart stores starting on Black Friday (2006-NOV-24), the day after Thanksgiving. This is often the day of the greatest retail sales each year. Wal-Mart issued a statement saying:

"Respect for the individual is one of the core values that have made us into the company we are today. We take pride in the fact that we treat every customer, every supplier and every member of our individual communities fairly and equally. Wal-Mart will not make corporate contributions to support or oppose highly controversial issues unless they directly relate to our ability to serve our customers."

bullet2006-NOV-26: USA: Seeds of Tolerance Contest: Joe Wilson, a former high school student from rural Pennsylvania, has produced a video called We Belong. It is a "short documentary video about two small town gay teens who had the courage to stand up to bigotry and discrimination in their schools, and the determination to tell their stories to the world." It is well worth watching. See the Seeds of Tolerance contest at: http://www.current.tv/ Wilson won a $10,000 cash prize as one of two finalists. The grand prize winner was Lucas Krost who produced "One Nation Under Guard." It deals with the prison culture of the U.S.

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News during 2006-December:

bullet2006-DEC-01: Canada: Same-sex marriage legislation to be reconsidered: LifeSiteNews reported that the Conservative Government will introduce a motion to Parliament during the week of DEC-03 to prevent future same-sex couples from marrying in Canada. The wording of the motion is:

"That this house call on the government to introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage without affecting civil unions, and while respecting existing same sex marriages." 12

This wording is curious for a couple of reasons:
bulletTo our knowledge, legislation creating civil unions as a state separate from marriage does not exist in Canada. That is, no Canadian couples have ever been civil unionized.
bulletThe Federal Marriage Act defines "for civil purposes, ... the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others" as the definition of marriage. [Emphasis ours] So a civil union is marriage for any two persons, whether of the same or opposite sex.
bulletIf the government wished to respect existing same-sex marriages, then they would allow other loving, committed same-sex couples to marry in the future.

More info.

bullet2006-DEC-06: USA: The Jewish Conservative tradition Judaism accepts gays and lesbians: The 25-member Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Jewish Law and Standards issued a series of advisory reports that both recommended acceptance and discouraged acceptance of gay and lesbian candidates for ordination as rabbis. They recommended that "committed gay relationships" should be recognized, but not blessed. They retain the interpretation of Leviticus 18:22 that prohibits anal intercourse between two men. The result is a type of local option for synagogues and rabbinical schools. Liberals and conservatives in the movement can each adopt conflicting policies. More details.
bullet2006-DEC-07: Canada: Government motion defeated: At 3:21 PM ET, a vote was concluded on the Conservative Party's motion to reopen same-sex marriage for debate. The motion was rejected 175 to 123. Various commentators had earlier predicted a spread of 30 to 40 votes. The actual spread was 52!

The matter is now at least temporarily settled for the over 12,000 same-sex couples who have married since same-sex marriage became available across the country. Of course, it may be dusted off by some future government, who may wish to force same-sex couples to go through the agony of not knowing if one of their most fundamental rights -- the right to marry the person that one loves and have made a commitment to -- will be again terminated by a extreme conservative government. More details.
bullet2006-DEC-14: NJ: New Jersey legislature approves bill to create civil unions: In an unprecedented move, the seven justices of the state supreme court had voted unanimously in 2006-OCT that equal rights must be granted to same-sex couples. By a 7 to 0 vote, the court determined that all citizens had the right to the protections of marriage regardless of sex, and that their children must enjoy equal rights whether their parents are of the same or opposite sexes. They left the decision whether to create same-sex marriage or same-sex unions up to the legislature. 7 On 2006-DEC-14, both chambers of the New Jersey legislature passed a bill to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples. More details.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. J.S. Spong, "Three cheers for the New Jersey Supreme Court," A new Christianity for a New World newsletter, 2006-NOV-01.
  2. "BREAKING ALLEGATIONS: Head of National Association of Evangelicals, Ted Haggard, Is Gay!," Evangelical Right, 2006-NOV-02, at: http://www.evangelicalright.com/
  3. Wolf Blitzer, Situation Room program, CNN, 2006-NOV-02.
  4. Catherine Tsai, "Key Evangelical quits amid gay sex claim," Associated Press, 2006-NOV-02, at: http://news.yahoo.com/
  5. "Church leader says Haggard admits to some indiscretions," KKTV, 2006-NOV-03, at: http://www.kktv.com/
  6. David Crary, "Rejected: Arizona gay marriage ban, South Dakota abortion ban," Cincinnati Post, 2006-NOV-08, at: http://www.romingerlegal.com/
  7. "America Votes 2006," CNN.com, 2006-NOV-08, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  8. "Riots Rock Jerusalem Before Gay Pride Parade," Forward, 2006-NOV-10, at: http://www.forward.com/
  9. "Preparing the political soil," Washington Update, FRC, 2006-NOV-13.
  10. Ralph Blumenthal, "Landscapers cause furor by shunning gay clients," New York Times, 2006-NOV-11, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
  11. Clare Nullis, "Amid criticism, South Africa passes same-sex marriage bill," Associated Press, Posted on The Toronto Star, 2006-NOV-15, Page A4.
  12. John-Henry Westen, "BREAKING - Conservative Party Marriage Motion Wording Revealed," LifeSiteNews.com, 2006-DEC-01, at: http://www.lifesite.net/
  13. "Gay men likelier to gamble addictively, study suggests,"

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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, Suite 128, 829 Norwest Rd., Kingston ON, Canada, K7P 2N3, 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.

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Site navigation: Home page > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > News > here

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Copyright © 2006 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2006-OCT-27
Latest update: 2006-DEC-18
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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