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News items affecting gays, lesbians, bisexuals & transsexuals

2008-July, August, September


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


News during 2008-JUL:

  • 2008-JUL-03: American Family Association (AFA) advocated boycotting McDonalds:  The AFA is advocating that Americans boycott McDonald's restaurants because McDonalds supports equal rights and marriage equality for homosexuals and bisexuals. The OneNewsNow information source, which is run by the AFA, says that the AFA's main concern is "... McDonald's refusal to remain neutral in the culture war." It appears that the APA believes that religious groups can take a stand in favor of discrimination against minorities, but companies -- at least fast food companies -- cannot take a stand opposing discrimination.

    APA president,Tim Wildmon, said:
    "We're saying that there are people who support AFA who don't appreciate their dollars from the hamburgers they bought being put into an organization that's going to fight against the values they believe in."
    McDonald's USA spokesman Bill Whitman said:
    "Hatred has no place in our culture. That includes McDonald's, and we stand by and support our people to live and work in a society free of discrimination and harassment." 1,2
    The AFA has created a website "Boycott McDonald's" The home page appears to violate copyright law by displaying McDonald's golden arches. 3

    You can make your views known to McDonalds by going to http://www.mcdonalds.com/

  • 2008-JUL: Proposal to repeal racist law: To date, about 11,000 same-sex couples have married in Massachusetts.

    The state has had a type of anti-miscegenation law on the books since 1913. It prohibits couples from out of state from marrying in Massachusetts if they are unable to marry in their home state. The original intent of the law was racist: to prevent interracial couples from outside Massachusetts from coming to the state, and getting married. However, when same-sex marriages (SSM) came to Massachusetts, the previous governor, Mitt Romney (R), insisted that the law be obeyed for same-sex couples. He warned that repealing the law would make Massachusetts the "Las Vegas of gay marriage."

    With the election of Deval Patrick (D) as governor, and with the support of Democrat leaders in the state House and Senate, support is gathering momentum to repeal the law. 4
  • 2008-JUL-27: TN: Homophobic unemployed truck driver shoots nine people shot at Unitarian Universalist church: A lone gunman shot nine people at about 10:15 AM ET in the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, TN. Two died.

    Police found a note that indicated he targeted the Unitarian Universalist congregation out of hatred for its liberal policies, including its acceptance of homosexuals. More info. 5,6
  • 2008-JUL-29: MA: Bill to repeal racist law passes Legislature: The Massachusetts house voted 118 to 35 to repeal a 1913 racist law that was originally created in order to prevent interracial marriage to out of state couples. It has since been used to prevent out of state same-sex couples from marrying in Massachusetts.
  • 2008-JUL-31: MA: Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill into law: Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill repealing the racist 1913 law. Same-sex couples who do not live in Massachusetts can now go to that state and marry. This is of particular interest to residents of New York state, whose state will recognize same-sex marriages contracted outside of New York. More info.
  • 2008-AUG-01: USA: One News Now breaks with tradition: A near-universal convention by religious and social conservatives when they refer to same-sex marriage is to enclose the word "marriage" in quotation marks. The drop the quotation marks when referring to marriage by a man and a woman.

    In their report titled "Pondering the impact of MA's same-sex 'marriage' decision" they preserved the tradition of denigrating same-sex marriage in the article title by enclosing the word "marriage" in quotation marks. But at the end of the second paragraph, they wrote:
    The Bay State now joins California in legalizing same-sex marriage" without restrictions.

Note the missing quotation mark ahead of the word marriage. We are unsure whether this is a simple typo, or whether they are attempting to gradually wean their readers to a new convention of regarding all legal marriages as marriages. We Emailed them to find out. As expected, we did not receive a response.

  • 2008-AUG-16: CA: Ellen DeGeneres marries: On her TV show, Ellen DeGeneres, 50, announced her engagement to Australian actress Portia de Rossi, 35, during her TV show on JUN-20. She had given her partner a pink diamond engagement ring. She said:
    "It's something that we've wanted to do, and we want it to be legal, and we are very, very excited. ... I can't wait to be married. I feel like it is long overdue. And I think someday people will look back on this like women not having the right to vote and segregation, and anything else that seems ridiculous that we don't all have the same rights."
    They were married on AUG-16 in a small ceremony at their home, attended by 19 guests. They had been dating for four years. 11,12,13
  • 2008-AUG-19: Argentina: The government has passed legislation giving same-sex couples the right to inherit their partner's pension if they are widowed. The surviving spouse will have to prove that they lived together for at least five years and show proof of joint finances.
  • 2008-SEP-02: NY: Court upholds SSM: The fundamentalist Christian legal group, Alliance Defense Fund, challenged the governor's decision to have the state recognize legal out-of-state same-sex marriages. They had the support of several state senators -- all Republicans. State Supreme Court Judge Lucy Billings issued a statement on SEP-02 rejecting the suit. She wrote that a decision by homosexual couples to wed represents:

    "... a personal expression of emotional devotion, support and interdependence and a public commitment. With that validity, they expect equal treatment with other married couples."
    She referred to the policy of recognizing SSM as a:
    "... permissible, if not mandated, step toward the objective of equality for a group for whom legal as well as practical barriers to equality persist."

    In addition, she wrote that not recognizing SSMs legally performed elsewhere is "antithetical to family stability." 8 More details

  • 2008-SEP-09: MD: Referendum cancelled by court: On 2007-NOV-13, the Montgomery County Council in Maryland unanimously passed an act that added gender identity to the county's civil rights law. This extended existing prohibitions in the county against discrimination on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. to include transgender persons.

    Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG) attempted to collect signatures on a petition to prevent the law from taking effect.

    The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that a referendum petition would not be included on the November ballot. Apparently, the regulatons governing such petitions were not followed. The referendum would have prevented the law from going into effect.

    Natalie Chin, Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal, said:

    "The bottom line is that the court said a petition sponsor shouldn't be allowed to cut corners and circumvent legal requirements to get a referendum attacking minority protections on the ballot. We are very happy that this duly enacted law can take effect and protect a vulnerable group of Montgomery County residents."
    Dan Furmansky, Executive Director of Equality Maryland, said:
    "This long overdue, crucial law is all about assuring that unchecked bias is not allowed to inhibit our neighbors' abilities to make a living or rent a home, and as a Montgomery County resident, I breathe a sigh of relief that this campaign to roll back anti-discrimination protections is now over. While we were ready to make our case to the voters of Montgomery County, it is far better that our transgender brothers and sisters be spared the rhetoric that the referendum proponents have subjected them to over the past year.  Equality Maryland thanks Lambda Legal, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the law firm of Arnold and Porter, and the many volunteers who came together to assure that our laws in Montgomery County are on par with the 100 other jurisdictions nationally that protect residents from discrimination on the basis of gender identity." 9
  • 2008-SEP-14: CA: "Sulu" of Star Trek fame marries: George Takei, 71, who played the role of Mr. Sulu in the initial Star Trek series and on later movies married Brad Altman, 71. They had lived together over 21 years and were among the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license as soon as they became available in June. Nearly 200 people attended the Buddhist ceremony at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, CA. As a child, Takei and his family of origin were among 120,000 other Japanese-Americans who were interned during World War II.
  • 2008-OCT-02: USA: Tenth anniversary of the crucifixion of Matthew Shepard: The assassination of Matthew Shepard had some of the same effects on the gay rights movement as the assassination of four girls about 35 years earlier girls at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL on 1963-SEP-15 by a white supremacist bomber. Both were acts of such viciousness that they galvanized public support in favor of equality for minorities. None of the five died in vain. In the years since Shepard's assassination, his parents had founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation and had many achievements "at the forefront of the fight to replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance." See:  http://www.matthewshepard.org/

References:

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

  1. Frank Ahrens, "Gay-marriage opponents to boycott McDonald's," The Washington Post, 2008-JUL-04, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  2. Diverse responses to the above article are well worth reading. They totaled 90 when further comments were closed some time before JUL-13. See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  3. The APA website encouraging a boycott of McDonald's is at: http://www.boycottmcdonalds.com/
  4. "Mass. lawmakers revisit out-of-state nuptial ban ," Associated Press, 2008-JUL-14, at: http://www.gay.com/
  5. "1 killed, 8 others wounded in Tennessee church shooting," CNN.com, 2008-JU-27, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  6. "Church's liberal views led to shooting, note says," The Globe and Mail, Toronto, 2008-JUL-29, Page A9.
  7. Glen Johnson, "Mass. repeals 1913 law that had blocked out-of-state gay couples from marrying there," Associated Press, 2008-JUL-31, at: http://www.startribune.com/
  8. Jennifer Peltz, "NY judge rejects bid to halt same-sex marriage recognition," One News Now, 2008-SEP-03, at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/
  9. "Maryland high court throws out referendum petition that attempted to overturn a transgender anti-discrimination law," Press release by Equality Maryland, 2008-SEP-09.
  10. " 'Star Trek' actor Takei marries boyfriend in L.A.," Reuters, 2008-SEP-15, at: http://news.yahoo.com/
  11. "Ellen, Portia set wedding date," News26, 2008-JUN-23, at: http://www.news24.com/
  12. "Ellen and Portia's big day," News24, 2008-AUG-16, at: http://www.news24.com/
  13. "Ellen DeGeneres gets married," News24, 2008-AUG-17. at: http://www.news24.com/

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.


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


Copyright © 2008 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-JUL-13
Latest update: 2008-SEP-22
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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