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News items affecting gays,
lesbians, bisexuals & transsexuals

2009-July, August & September

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

See also events in 2009-July, August and September that demonstrate a
culture shift towards acceptance of sexual minorities.

News during 2009-JUL:

bullet2009-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.
 
bullet2009-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. More info.

bullet2009-JUL-07: DC: Out-of state same-sex marriages became recognized in the District of Columbia. More info.
 
bullet2009-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.
 
bullet2009-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
 
bullet2009-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 organizations. 2
 
bullet2009-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 executed. 3

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News during 2009-AUG:

bullet2009-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. 4
 
bullet2009-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
 
bullet2009-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 by Congress."

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.
 

bullet2009-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 sin."

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:

bullet2009-SEP-01: VT: Same-sex marriages begin: As of midnight on the morning of SEP-01, same-sex marriages became available in Vermont. More details.
 
bullet2009-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

bullet2009-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 'marriage'." 9
 
bullet2009-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
 

bullet2009-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
 
bullet2009-SEP-19: Canada: 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:
bulletPierre 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."
 
bulletMark 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 terminated.
 
bulletted 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.
 
bulletJanine 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.
 
bulletRobert 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. 11

References used:

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

  1. Matt Cresswell, "ENGLAND: Traditionalists call for Greenbelt boycott," Church of "England Newspaper, 2009-JUL-23, at: http://www.virtueonline.org/
  2. Hilary White, "UN Approves Brazilian Homosexualist Group, Drops Christian Charity," LifeSiteNews, 2009-JUL-28, at: http://www.lifesitenews.com/
  3. "Albanian government presents draft law to legalize same-sex civil weddings," Associated Press, 2009-JUL-30, at:  http://www.startribune.com/
  4. "Australia votes to recognise same-sex unions" AFP, 3009-AUG-01, at: http://www.google.com/
  5. Dan Robson, "Tim Hortons withdraws donation to anti-gay event," Toronto Star, 2009-AUG-11, at: http://www.thestar.com/
  6. "Treatment of Alan Turing was 'appalling' - PM," Number10, 2009-SEP-10, at: http://www.number10.gov.uk/
  7. "California Legislature Passes 'Harvey Milk Day' Bill," Christian News Wire, 2009-SEP-08, at: http://www.christiannewswire.com/
  8. "SB 54 | Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act," Equality California, at: http://www.eqca.org
  9. "FACT SHEET: Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act (SB 54)," Equality California, at: http://www.eqca.org/
  10. "Joe My God," "Rep. Jerrold Nadler's DOMA Repeal Bill Filed in U.S. House With 91 Co-Sponsors," 2009-SEP-15, at: http://joemygod.blogspot.com
  11. Terri Theodore, "Trudeau, Tewksbury among first inductees of the Queer Hall of Fame," Google News, 2009-SEP-20, at: http://www.google.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 © 2009 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2009-JUL-07
Latest update and review: 2009-SEP-21
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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