News items affecting gays, lesbians, bisexuals &
February & March
In the following, "SSM" refers to "same-sex marriage."
News during 2008-FEB:
- 2008-FEB-01: Same-sex
marriages recognized in New York state, sort of:
An appellate court in New York state ruled that
SSMs legally solemnized elsewhere must be recognized as valid marriages in
New York state. 1 More details.
- 2008-FEB-07: California Supreme
Court sets date for hearing: The City of San Francisco, Equality
California, and several same-sex couples initiated lawsuits challenging the
state's refusal to allow same-sex couples to marry. In 2005-MAR, San
Francisco Superior Court judge Richard Kramer ruled that laws preventing
same-sex couples from marrying were unconstitutional. The appellate court
overturned this ruling in 2006-OCT. The lawsuit was then appealed to the
state Supreme Court.
The six cases have been consolidated into one lawsuit that will be heard by
the California Supreme Court on 2008-MAR-04. The hearing comes about four
years after San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the city clerk to issue
marriage licenses to same-sex couples. About four thousand couples
responded. Later, the court forcibly divorced all of the couples, until
challenges to the state law could travel through the courts, and land at the
California Supreme Court for a final decision. 2
- 2008-FEB-22: Canada: Gay civil rights
worker receives Order of Canada: Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes, pastor of the
Toronto Metropolitan Community Church for over three decades, has been a
leading promoter of equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations and
identities. He has received Canada's highest civilian honor: the Order of
Canada. His main achievement was his contribution to the same-sex marriage
fight. In early 2001, he read the "bans" for two same-sex couples: one gay
and the other lesbian. He later married them, but the city refused to
register the marriages. This led to Hawkes launching a court battle that
eventually led to legalization of same-sex marriage in Ontario in 2003. That
was instrumental in prodding the federal government to pass legislation to
make same-sex marriage available across Canada. He said during a phone
interview: "About 27 years ago, I was fasting to protest the police
actions around the bathhouse raids. And to see how far we've come, that
Canada is the first country in the world to give its highest award to a gay
- 2008-FEB-28: Judge rules divorce action may proceed: "Beth R" married "Donna M" in Canada. The marriage was unsuccessful, and Beth launched a divorce action against
her spouse in a New York court -- the first such action in the history of the state. Donna M's lawyer believes that a divorce is impossible because the state does
not allow same-sex marriages.
Supreme Court Justice Laura Drager ruled that the state can recognize the same-sex marriage that took place outside of the state. She wrote that New York
would recognize any out-of-state marriage that is not specifically prohibited by state law, and is not "abhorrent to New York public policy." She listed
polygamy and incest as "abhorrent" practices. Donna M.'s lawyer argues that the decision "...sets aside 200 years of decisional and statutory law in
Donna M said that she plans to appeal the decision. 4
- 2009-FEB-29: Log Cabin Republicans take on
Texas GOP anti-gay platform: The Log Cabin Republicans are a
gay group supporting the Republican party. Rob Schlein, president of the
Dallas Log Cabin Republicans considers the Texas Republican Party
platform to be homophobic, and counter-productive. He wants to change it. As
passed in 2006, it states:
"Homosexuality: We believe that the practice of sodomy tears at the
fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and
leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases."
"Homosexual behavior is contrary to the
fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God,
recognized by our country's founders, and shared by the majority of
Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable
'alternative' lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should
'family' be redefined to include homosexual 'couples.' .... no
homosexual or any individual convicted of child abuse or molestation
should have the right to custody or adoption of a minor child."
"We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements,
recognition, or privileges including, but not limited to, marriage
between persons of the same sex, custody of children by homosexuals,
homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits."
"We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose
homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional
Mike Walz, executive director of the Dallas County Republican Party,
predicts that the wording will continue unchanged. He said:
"This is a party where there are a lot of [heterosexual family] value
voters and a lot of Christian conservatives. It would be extremely hard
for anyone to try to change the platform of the Republican Party of
Texas as it pertains to homosexuality. We certainly welcome different
opinion. But there is a strong feeling this language reflects where the
party is." 5
- 2007-MAR-11: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
announces awards: The IGLHRC has announced two human rights awards:
- To Archbishop Tutu. Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC's Executive Director,
"There is really only one name in the world that immediately
conjures up moral leadership in pursuit of dignity for all
people on earth, and that is Desmond Tutu. Archbishop Tutu's
vision of a world in which human rights are respected has always
explicitly included LGBT people, despite the fierce opposition
he has faced from his peers and colleagues. He has challenged
political apartheid in South Africa and continues to challenge
spiritual apartheid within his religious community. ..."
"Archbishop Tutu has vocally challenged discrimination on the
basis of sexual orientation. In a 2004 article in The Times
(London), he condemned persecution on the basis of sexual
orientation, comparing it to apartheid. 'We struggled against
apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over,
because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for
something we could do nothing about-our very skins,' he wrote.
'It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given. I could
not have fought against the discrimination of apartheid and not
also fight against the discrimination that homosexuals endure,
even in our churches and faith groups'."
- To Congressman Tom Lantos who died on 2008-FEB-11. Their news
"Congressman Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to serve in
the United States Congress, was a life-long champion of human
rights and a steadfast voice against injustices committed
against LGBTI people not only in the United States, but abroad."
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Hilary White, "New York Court Rules State Must Validate Canadian Homosexual
'Marriages'," LifeSiteNews.com 2008-FEB-04, at:
- "Court sets hearing date for marriage case. Justices will have 90 days after
hearing arguments to issue ruling," Dallas Voice, 2008-FEB-07, at:
- Jenny Yuen, "Gay activist receives Order of Canada: T.O. cleric fought to
legalize same-sex marriage," CNews, 2008-FEB-23, at:
- "New York Judge Permits Lesbian Divorce Despite State's Non-Recognition of Same-sex 'Marriage',"
Life Site News, 2008-FEB-28.
- Dave Levinthal, "Log Cabin Republicans to take on Texas GOP's platform on gays,"
Dallas Morning News, 2008-FEB-29, at:
- IGLHRC press release, dated 2008-MAR-11, from
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Copyright © 2008 to 2015 by the Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-FEB-06
Compiler: B.A. Robinson