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Religious Tolerance logo

News items affecting gays, lesbians, bisexuals & transsexuals

2008-October, November, December

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

News during 2008-OCT:

bullet2008-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 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 have 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/

bullet2008-OCT-10: CT: Court introduces SSM in Connecticut: The state Supreme Court ruled that the state's provision for civil unions did not give same-sex couples rights equal to opposite-sex married couples. Since the state constitution requires all citizens to be given equal protection under law, the majority of judges voted in favor of same-sex marriage. All loving, committed couples in Connecticut will be able to obtain marriage licenses as of 2008-OCT-28. 1 More details

A newspaper online poll shows over 70% support among their readers for SSM. 2
 
bullet2008-OCT-10: USA: McDonald's Corporation abandons support for sexual equality: Earlier this year, Richard Ellis, a former McDonald's vice-president, joined the board of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). McDonald's had earlier donated $20,000 to the NGLCC. Unable to convince McDonald's to back off their recognition of diversity and equality, the fundamentalist Christian American Family Association resorted to an economic boycott in MAY. After five months McDonalds caved in and announced that they were adopting a position of neutrality in the drive for equality.

bullet2008-OCT-20: USA: Joe Biden comments about SSM on the "Ellen" show: Ellen Degeneres asked Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), Democratic candidate for vice-president, about his position on Prop. 8. First, he congratulated her on her recent marriage to Portia de Rossi. After the audience applause settled down, he said:

"If I lived in California, I'd clearly vote against Prop 8. Barack [Obama} and I both opposed a similar attempt nationally. There was an attempt to talk about a constitutional amendment which I think is regressive; I think it is unfair." 3

bullet2008-OCT-26: Australia: Researchers identify transsexual gene link: Researchers in Australia announced the result of a DNA study in the journal Biological Psychiatry. They analyzed the DNA volunteered by 112 MTF (male to female) transsexuals. MTF transsexuals are sometimes described as having a male body and a female brain. Researchers found that the subjects were more likely to have a longer version of the androgen receptor gene in their DNA. This may cause weaker testosterone signals which may cause the individual to develop an atypical gender identity. More details.

bullet2008-NOV-03: USA: Barak Obama comments about Prop 8 on MTV: Senator Obama was asked about California's Prop 8 during an MTV interview aired on 2008-NOV-3. He responded:

"I think it's unnecessary."

"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that's not what America's about." 4

On other occasions, Senator Obama has indicated his support for civil unions for same-sex couples with rights and obligations equal to those of marriage.... but without the word "marriage."

bullet2008-NOV-04: CA: Initial voting data indicates Prop 8 narrowly passed: As of 2008-NOV-04 at 10:30 ET, the day after voting day, with 94.6% of the precincts reporting:
bullet52.1% of voters approved Prop 8
bullet47.9% were opposed.

If passed, and if the proposition is upheld by the courts, it would end marriage equality in the state. For the first time in history, a political jurisdiction has first allowed, then terminated the right of loving, committed same-sex couples to marry.

Chip White, the press secretary for the Yes on 8 campaign, said: "The momentum has really been with us."

Jose Ronni Pahl, with her wife Hannah, were one of the first same-sex couples married in Santa Clara County. She said:

"It's bittersweet right now because we just watched the first African-American president elected. We were watching it with our African-America son, there were tears coming out of our eyes, and we went to look at what's happening at 8. We're speechless right now."

Some commentators attribute the win on Prop 8 to fear tactics used by its promoters. They invested over 30 million dollars in advertising campaigns and ran TV ads claiming that if SSM were allowed to continue, churches that refused to marry same-sex couples would lose their tax exempt status and that students in grade 3 would be taught about SSM.

A court challenge to Prop 8 is expected.

Meanwhile, state constitutional bans were passed in Arizona and Florida. 5 An Arkansas measure that would prevent unmarried couples from adopting children or being foster parents also passed. This measure mainly targets same-sex couples. 5,6,7,8 More info.

bullet2008-NOV-06: Sweden: SSM expected to be approved by their parliament" A "gender-neutral marriage" act is being presented to the Swedish parliament. It would extend to same-sex couples all of the same rights and obligations that opposite-sex couples have always enjoyed, including church weddings, adoption and artificial insemination. More info.
bullet2008-NOV-25: FL: Ban on adoption by same-sex couples found unconstitutional: A child welfare judge in Florida declared the state's 31 year-old ban on adoption by homosexuals unconstitutional after a lengthy four day hearing in which decades of psychological and sociological studies were studied. Miami-Date Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman approved the adoption of two half brothers, aged 4 and 8 by Frank Gill, a gay man who had raised them as foster children for the past four years. She wrote:

"John and James left a world of chronic neglect, emotional impoverishment and deprivation to enter a new world, foreign to them, that was nurturing, safe, structured and stimulating, They are a family, a good family, in every way except the eyes of the law." 9

bullet2008-DEC-02: USA: Evangelical leader, Richard Cizik, supports same-sex civil unions: Rev. Cizik was the vice-president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). When interviewed t PBS' program Fresh Air on 2008-DEC-02, he said that he supported civil unions for same-sex couples. This contradicts the NAE's position which is to have governments recognize such couples only as roommates. Nine days later, Cizik resigned from the NAE. 10  More details
bullet2008-DEC-22: UK: Catholic adoption agency defunded: In 2007, the government of the UK passed a set of  Sexual Orientation Regulations (SOR).  It prohibits most groups or individuals who provide goods and services to the public from discriminating against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation. The law has been widely misrepresented by religious conservatives. It does not apply to religious rituals and services. It does not create special rights for homosexuals; it applies to persons of all sexual orientations.

Catholic Caring Services (CCS) of Lancaster UK was caught between a rock and a hard place. One of their sponsors, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lancaster requires the CCS to discriminate against homosexuals when selecting adopting parents. They also require the agency to follow Catholic teaching on marriage, abortion, human sexuality, the morining after pill, etc. The SOR requires agencies to be free of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. However, the regulations do contain an exemption to cover agencies that are committed to operate according to the beliefs of their religious sponsor; they can continue to discriminate. The CCS elected to follow the spirit of the law. As a result, the Diocese eliminated the CCS funding and now regards them as a non-Catholic agency. The CCS' trustees voted 9 to 1 to remove the word "Catholic" from their agency name. 12

References:

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

  1. Mark Spencer, et al., "High court grants marriage rights for same-sex couples," Hartford Courant, 2008-OCT-10, at: http://www.courant.com/
  2. "Same-sex Marriage in Connecticut?," Hartford Courant, 2008-OCT-13, at: http://www.courant.com/
  3. Biden on 'Ellen' to talk about gay marriage, not wanting to be VP," Women on the Web, 2008-OCT-21, at: http://www.wowowow.com/ (Includes video)
  4. Jennifer Mesko, "With Obama, the Writing is on the Wall," CitizenLink.com, 2008-NOV-03, at: http://www.citizenlink.org/content/A000008596.cfm
  5. Mike Swift, "Early returns show voters favoring Prop 8," Mercury News, 2008-NOV-04 @ 8:00 PM PST, at: http://www.mercurynews.com/
  6. David Crary, "Massachusetts voters reject income tax repeal," Associated Press, 2008-NOV-04.
  7. Tamara Audi et al., "California votes for Prop 8," Wall Street Journal, 2008-NOV-05, at: http://online.wsj.com/
  8. "Election Night Results," CA Secretary of State, at: http://vote.sos.ca.gov/ 
  9. Carol Marbin Miller, "Judge strikes down Florida ban on adoption by gay parents," McClatchy Newspapers, 2008-NOV-26, at:  http://news.bostonherald.com/
  10. "Top evangelical leader resigns over gay unions remarks," ReligionNewsBlog, 2008-DEC-12, at: http://www.religionnewsblog.com/
  11. Hilary White, "Lancaster Bishop Pulls Funding from Ex-Catholic Adoption Agency," LifeSiteNews.com, 2008-DEC-22, at: http://www.lifesitenews.com/
  12. Kathleen Gilbert, "Boycott Successful: McDonald's Abandons Homosexual Activism," LifeSiteNews.com, 2008-OCT-10, at:  http://www.lifesitenews.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, 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.

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

Copyright © 2015 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-OCT-13
Latest update and review: 2015-DEC-02
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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