News items affecting gays,
lesbians, bisexuals & transsexuals
2009-July, August & September
In the following, "SSM" refers to "same-sex marriage."
See also events in 2009-July,
and September that demonstrate a
shift towards acceptance of sexual minorities.
News during 2009-JUL:
2009-JUL-02: India: New Delhi High Court ruling on homosexuality:
The New Delhi High Court issued a 105 page
judgment, ruling stating that the 148-year-old law dating back to colonial
times that prohibited consensual same-sex sexual acts by adults was:
discriminatory, a "violation of fundamental rights," and thus
unconstitutional. Same-sex behavior carried a jail sentence of up to ten
years. More info.
2009-JUL-06: USA: Chairmen of
Joint Chiefs of Staff favors DADT change: Admiral Mike Mullen, the top
military office in the U.S., has advised President Obama to move "in a
measured way" to change the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.
2009-JUL-07: DC: Out-of state same-sex marriages became
recognized in the District of Columbia. More info.
2009-JUL-16: USA: Senate passes hate-crime
bill: The federal Senate passed bill S-909, the Matthew
Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (MSHCPA) by a vote of 63 to
28 (69% in favor). All of the NO votes were by Republicans. All of the
Democrats and five Republicans voted in favor. That is about as
bipartisan as the Senate is able to achieve under the present circumstances on
any bill. More info.
2009-JUL-23: UK: Conservative Anglicans call for festival boycott:
Matt Cresswell of the Church of England Newspaper reported that
Anglican Mainstream, a conservative Anglican organization, has recommended
that youth clubs and families boycott this year's Greenbelt Festival
because of its gay-positive content. The festival is partly sponsored by the
Church Mission Society. The Archbishop of Canterbury is its patron. The
Rev Sharon Fergusson, spokesperson for the Lesbian and Gay Christian
Movement (LGCM) who will attend the festival, said that Anglican
Mainstream?s remarks were not accurate and that Greenbelt would feature
organizations with traditional views on Christian sexuality. She said: ?Once
again they are making a big deal out of nothing. They are going down the
victimization road. They are trying to make out that Christians who follow a
traditional view on Christianity are being victimized and discriminated
against and it?s just not the case." 1
2009-JUL-28: UN: ECOSOC recognizes GLBT
group: For the third consecutive year, the United Nations
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has overruled a decision by a panel
of its member states to bar recognition of a Brazilian GLBT group called
the Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and
Transsexuals (ABGLT). Most of the opposition in the panel came from
predominately Muslim countries. The Brazilian group was founded in 1995 and is
an umbrella group for 141 GLBT-positive groups and 62 supporting
2009-JUL-29: Albania: The government website announced that the
governing party -- the Democrats -- will introduce a law creating a system of
civil weddings for loving, committed same-sex couples. The statement mentioned
that it "...may spark debate." However, the party believes that it is
necessary in order to stop discrimination against same-sex couples. The
Democrats have 74 of Parliament's 140 seats, so the bill is expected to pass.
This is an amazing development, because Albania is predominately Muslim and
has large Orthodox and Roman Catholic minorities. This would be the first
mainly Muslim country to officially recognize same-sex marriages. In about six
predominately Muslim countries, sexually active gays and lesbians are
News during 2009-AUG:
2009-AUG-01: Australia: Governing Labor Party to support civil unions:
The ruling Labor Party held a debate on same-sex marriages during their
National Labor Conference on AUG-01. They rejected the concept.
However, they voted in favor of developing a civil union scheme for the country. Delegate Anthony Albanese
told the conference that this was not his "ideal position." However, the
resolution that he proposed and was passed reflected shifting public attitudes.
2009-AUG -11: RI: Tim Horton's
co-sponsors ant-gay event: Tim Horton's, a fast-food restaurant and
Canadian icon that is as recognizable to Canadians as the national flag, was
listed as a sponsor for a "Marriage and Family Day" hosted by the
National Organization for Marriage (NOM). The sole function of NOM is to
fight equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in the U.S. The theme of the
event is "To take a stand for marriage as it was created to be." Rhode Island
is the only New England state that does not allow loving, committed same-sex
couples to marry. As the news spread of their sponsorship, and complaints came
flooding into their office, Tim Horton's withdrew their sponsorship. They had
planned to donate 250 cups of coffee. They cited a company policy of not
sponsoring events ""representing religious groups, political affiliates or
lobby groups." 5
2009-AUG-17: USA: Brief filed in opposition to federal Defense of
Marriage Act: Scott Simpson, a Justice Department lawyer, filed an anti-DOMA brief. It
states that the Obama administration: "...does not support DOMA as a matter of
policy... [and] believes that the Act is discriminatory and should be repealed
President Obama has issued a written statement saying that he has "... long
held that DOMA prevents LGBT couples from being granted equal rights and
benefits." More details.
2009-AUG-21: USA: Largest Lutheran denomination lifts ban on gay clergy:
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) voted 667 to 307 to
allow candidates for the ministry who are in loving, committed relationships
to be ordained. Many traditionalists in the denomination recommended that
those who oppose the decision of the majority terminate their financial
contributions to the church. In response, Lutheran CORE, a conservative
reform movement within the ELCA ended its relationship with the church.
Referring to the next logical step -- to support and
recognize loving committed same-sex relationships, the Rev. Steven Frock of
the Western Iowa Synod said:
"Brothers and sisters, I ask you to consider
before you dig yourselves deeper into this hole, if you are so absolutely
certain that these behaviors are not sinful, that you are willing to place
yourself and this church at the spiritual risk that comes from encouraging
Alan Wold of the Northern Illinois Synod responded that if he was making a
mistake by supporting the resolutions, "let me err on the side of mercy,
grace, justice and love of neighbor." More details.
News during 2009-SEP:
2009-SEP-01: VT: Same-sex marriages begin: As of midnight on the
morning of SEP-01, same-sex marriages became available in Vermont.
2009-SEP-08: CA: Harvey Milk Day bill passes legislature: The
California State Legislature sent Senate Bill 572 to Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger (R) for signature. It proclaims MAY-22 as the annual Harvey Milk
Day. Milk was the first openly gay politician in California. The bill also
encourages public schools to conduct commemorative exercises and programs that
discuss Milk's achievements. The vote passed on a strict party-line voting
with all Democrats in favor and all Republicans opposed. The governor vetoed a
similar bill in 2008.|
The California Family Council, is a conservative group that promotes
promotes fundamentalist and other evangelical "... Judeo-Christian
principles in California?s culture for the benefit of its families." They
issued the following statement:
"California Family Council is not surprised that the Legislature's majority
would once again approve a measure that encourages schools to sacrifice
students' class time in order to assuage special-interest groups. 'California
legislators continue to place the demands of special interests before the
interests of students,' stated Everett Rice, CFC's Legislative Director.
'While Harvey Milk has become an iconic figure in California's homosexual
community, it is not sound education policy to supplant classroom or learning
time with non-academic activities'." 7
2009-SEP-09: CA: "Marriage Recognition & Family Protection Act"
passes legislature: Bill SB 54 passed the full California Assembly on
SEP-03 with a vote of 44 to 27 (62%). It passed the state Senate with a vote
of 23 to 14 (62%) on SEP-09. It is now on Governor Schwarzenegger desk for
signature or veto. 8|
"This bill would clarify California family law to explicitly recognize
marriages of same-sex couples performed out-of-state prior to November 5,
2008. The bill would also explicitly recognize marriages of same-sex couples
performed out-of-state after that date as carrying all the same rights and
responsibilities that spouses receive although without the designation of
2009-SEP-10: UK: Government issues apology to Alan Turing: British
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has officially apologized to the late Alan Turing
for government persecution because of his sexual orientation. Mr Brown said:|
"Turing was a quite brilliant mathematician, most famous for his work on
breaking the German Enigma codes. It is no exaggeration to say that, without
his outstanding contribution, the history of World War II could well have been
very different. ...While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and
we can?t put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I
am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for
what happened to him. ... On behalf of the British Government, and all those
who live freely thanks to Alan?s work I am very proud to say: we?re sorry, you
deserved so much better."
In 1952, he was tried and convicted for committing same-sex acts. He
committed suicide two years later. 6
2009-SEP-15: USA: Bill introduced to repeal
federal DOMA: Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and
Jared Polis (D-CO), John Conyers (D-MI), John Lewis (D-GA.), Nydia Velazquez
(D-NY) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), filed a bill in the U.S. House to create the
Respect for Marriage Act. It initially has 91 co-sponsors, and would
repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
This would allow all loving committed married couples in the U.S.
access to the same 1,100 or so federal programs -- whether they be of the
opposite-sex or same-sex. 10|
Queer Hall of Fame founded: The Queer Hall of Fame has been
opened in Vancouver's Qmunity in British Columbia. Construction of a
stand-alone facility is being considered. Paul Therien is chairman.
The first Q Ball was held on SEP-19 to recognize
the first five inductees:|
||Pierre Trudeau (1919-2000), a former Liberal
Prime Minister of Canada who was a key political figure in the
legalization of homosexual behavior 40 years ago in 1969. (The U.S.
followed a third of a century later, in 2003). One of Trudeau's oft
repeated sayings is "There's no place for the state in the bedrooms
of the nation."
||Mark Tweksbury, a swimmer who won Olympic gold in 1992 in Spain. Six
years later he came out of the closet, and his sports career was
||ted northe (who has trademarked his name, spelled in lower case) is an
activist in the GLBT community who traveled throughout the West Coast of
the U.S. and Canada for five decades, organizing and giving speeches.
Janine Fuller, an author and manager of the Little Sisters Book
Store in Vancouver. The store wrestled the censorship activities of
Canada Customs to its knees and won the right to import gay erotic
materials into Canada.
Robert Kaiser (a.k.a. drag queen Joan-E) who is an entertainer and
activist. He was the first drag queen ever awarded the Queen Elizabeth
II Golden Jubilee Medal for his volunteering and fundraising efforts
in support of people with HIV and AIDS.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Matt Cresswell, "ENGLAND: Traditionalists call for Greenbelt boycott,"
Church of "England Newspaper, 2009-JUL-23, at:
Hilary White, "UN Approves Brazilian Homosexualist Group, Drops Christian
Charity," LifeSiteNews, 2009-JUL-28, at:
"Albanian government presents draft law to legalize same-sex civil
weddings," Associated Press, 2009-JUL-30, at:
"Australia votes to recognise same-sex unions" AFP, 3009-AUG-01, at:
"Treatment of Alan Turing was 'appalling' - PM,"
Number10, 2009-SEP-10, at:
"California Legislature Passes 'Harvey Milk Day' Bill," Christian News
Wire, 2009-SEP-08, at:
"SB 54 | Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act," Equality
"FACT SHEET: Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act (SB 54),"
Equality California, at:
"Joe My God," "Rep. Jerrold Nadler's DOMA Repeal Bill Filed in U.S. House
With 91 Co-Sponsors," 2009-SEP-15, at:
Terri Theodore, "Trudeau, Tewksbury among first inductees of the Queer
Hall of Fame," Google News, 2009-SEP-20, 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
interested in the topics included, for educational purposes only. Any
editor, author, Webmaster, writer, publisher, news service, etc. that
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excluded. We will also attempt to delete previous entries from the
Copyright © 2009 by the Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2009-JUL-07
Latest update and review: 2009-SEP-21
Compiler: B.A. Robinson