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NEWS ITEMS AFFECTING GAYS AND LESBIANS

FOR THE YEAR 2001: APRIL to JUNE

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News of 2001-APR:

bullet2001-APR: Current status of anti-sodomy laws: AANEWS states that only four states (Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas) still have laws on the books which criminalize oral and anal sex by gays and lesbians. 1
bullet2001-APR: Reform Jewish wedding guide: Nancy H. Wiener, a Jewish Reform rabbi has written a book: "Beyond breaking the glass: A spiritual guide to your Jewish wedding," It was published by CCAR Press, (2001). It describes liberal Jewish wedding rituals and customs of the past and present. Included is material on inter-faith marriages, same-sex unions, and remarriage after divorce. You can safely order this book from Amazon.com
bullet2001-APR- 9: Gay nominated to head AIDS office: Scott Everetz, a gay man was nominated by the Bush Administration to head up the White House's Aids Office.
bullet2001-APR-28: GLAAD Media Awards: The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation sponsors a media awards night each year. Awards are granted to recognize films and TV programs that accurately portray gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. Winners were:
bulletComedy TV series: Will & Grace
bulletDrama TV series: Queer as Folk. This is based on a British series, and is filmed in Canada.
bulletWide release film: Billy Elliot
bulletLimited release film: The Broken Hearts Club

Eden Riegel received an award for her portrayal of Bianca Montgomery, a lesbian, on the TV soap All My Children. The role of Bianca is the first major, continuing lesbian role on the daytime soaps.

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News of 2001-MAY:

bullet2001-MAY-3: Gay event at Disney World: Disney World in Orlando Florida allowed the organization of the largest lesgay event in the U.S. It runs from MAY-3 to JUN-4.
bullet2001-MAY: Study on the effectiveness of reparative therapy: Dr. Robert Spitzer is a psychiatry professor at Columbia University. He conducted a study of 143 ex-gays and 57 ex-lesbians who report that they have become "straight" as a result of reparative therapy. He reported his findings at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association on 2001-MAY-9. He concluded, as a result of 45 minute interviews with each subject, that 66% of the males and 44% of the females had arrived at "good heterosexual functioning." Many news reports implied that many subjects in this study became heterosexual as a result of their therapy. In fact, almost all reported that they are currently bisexual. It is not known how many subjects were bisexual when they entered therapy, and thus experienced no change in their sexual orientation. Unfortunately, this study is seriously deficient, because the subjects appear to have been carefully selected by groups that promote reparative therapy from among their "success" stories. No attempt was made to select a random group of gays and lesbians who entered therapy. A meaningful evaluation of reparative therapy remains a future hope. More details on this study.
bullet2001-MAY-17: Australia: Archbishop favors blessing gay unions: Archbishop Peter Carnley, Anglican primate for Australia, recommended that the church consider blessing committed, monogaamous relationships. He prepared a paper for the General Synod, scheduled for later in July. He wrote that there is "no clear biblical teaching about behaviour that might be explicitly appropriate to homosexually oriented persons". He suggested that the church consider a compromise approach: to "bless a lifelong commitment simply as an acceptable form of human friendship, without inquiring into intimate private matters". Reaction was mixed:
bulletThe Right Rev Robert Forsyth, bishop of South Sydney, said: "any suggestion that the Anglican Church should bless a sexual relationship that is not fully marriage of a man and a woman is not possible if we are to remain faithful to Lord Jesus Christ and the scriptures. If it means the Christian faith has nothing to say about what you do in your bedroom - about sexual behaviour - he must be kidding. Sexual behaviour is a crucial part of human behaviour. The Christian faith has crucial things to say about work, how we earn money, how we treat other people, our sex lives."
bulletCanon Dr Peter Jensen, principal of Moore Theological College said that if Dr Carnley "is suggesting this is a good thing for us to do, he has gone beyond the border."
bulletRev Cathy Thomson, of South Australia commented: "It is clearly innovative, in asking the church whether it ought to be looking at people's intimate relationships, both heterosexual and homosexual, a little bit differently than we have in the past. It suggests the church shouldn't be asking details of how, or when, sexual expression takes place. To some extent the article is reflecting the real situation of pastoral practice, and it is testing the waters a little bit."
bulletthe Very Rev David Richardson, Dean of Melbourne, said: "In an era where so many marriages break up, any celebration of a relationship that leads to permanence is timely."
bullet2001-MAY-30: Committee recommends equal rights for gays in armed forces: The Cox Commission, headed by retired Federal Appeals Judge Walter T. Cox III, has passed its recommendations to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. They describe prosecutions of gay and lesbian service personnel to be "arbitrary and vindictive." They call for a repeal of Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
bullet2001-MAY-31: Concerned Women for America condemns white house activity: The Fundamentalist Christian group Concerned Women for America (CWA) issued a 14 page report titled, "The Bush Administration's Republican Homosexual Agenda: The First 100 Days."  It portrays President G.W. Bush as a type of stealth candidate. They describe him as promoting "family values" during his campaign. The CWA interprets this term as including the maintenance of special rights for heterosexuals. They complain that "in his first 100 days in the White House, Mr. Bush has not only failed to take any steps to overturn [homosexual policies of former president Clinton] but actually is supporting a 'gay Republican' agenda."

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News of 2001-JUN:

bullet2001-JUN-1: Gay appreciation month begins. President G.W. Bush refused to endorse it with a presidential proclamation. Taylor Gross, a White House spokesman, said: "The president believes every person should be treated with dignity and respect, but he does not believe in politicizing people's sexual orientation. He feels that's a personal matter." Gary Bauer, spokesperson for the Fundamentalist Christian organization American Values said: "I think the president did something here that will be applauded by most of those who voted for him." David Smith, spokesperson for the gay-positive Human Rights Campaign, said: "We're obviously disappointed that he has chosen not to reach out to our community. He did promise to be president of all the people when he took office."
bullet2001-JUN-4: Nova Scotia: Gay partnerships recognized: Nova Scotia is a maritime province on the east coast of Canada. The provincial government had been ordered by the courts to make provision for gay and lesbian relationships. On JUN-4, Nova Scotia became the first province in Canada to create legislation recognizing same-sex relationships. For $15 (CDN; about $10 in U.S. funds) a couple can "register a domestic partnership" at the Office of Vital Statistics. This will give them a number of rights under about 20 matrimonial laws which cover everything from pensions and wills to medical decisions, ownership of joint property, the right to request alimony, and child support. It does not give them the right to adopt children. Also, the province will not recognize union ceremonies performed in church. Couples will have to register with the government directly.
bullet2001-JUN-15: USA: Gay positive senate amendment: Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced a last-minute amendment to the Education Bill. It would deny federal funding to any school that bars access to a group, based on their views about sexual orientation. The vote was 52 to 47.
bullet2001-JUN-: USA: Gay-negative senate amendment: By a close 52 to 48 vote, the Senate added an amendment to the Education Bill that was introduced by Jesse Helms (R-NC). It is directed at public school districts which restrict the usage of their facilities by sexist, racist or homophobic groups from the community. Some such districts have withdrawn permission for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to use their facilities. The amendment would terminate federal funding to any school district that denies the use of their facilities because of the BSA's policy on homosexuals in the organization. Jesse Helms said that the amendment was intended to fight "the organized lesbians and homosexuals in this country of ours." Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) said that the amendment would necessitate that school districts make a difficult decision: "They could either disregard their own conscience or they could follow their conscience and lose millions of dollars that their schools and their children need. We believe in principled compromise, but we cannot compromise on the fundamental issues of civil rights."
bullet2001-JUN-16: UK: New, gay-positive catechism: The Most Rev David Hope, the Archbishop of York, gave his imprimatur to An Anglican Catechism, a new catechism that accepts homosexual orientation as a normal and natural minority sexual variant.  It states that homosexual orientation "may well not be a condition to be regretted but to have divinely ordered and positive qualities...Homosexual Christian believers should be encouraged to find in their sexual preferences such elements of moral beauty as may enhance their general understanding of Christ's calling." According to the Family Research Council, "Church of England spokesman Steve Jenkins disassociated the church from the catechism: 'It is a catechism produced by one person, it is not an authorized catechism of the Church of England, or anything like that.' "
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2001-JUN-25: CO: Archdiocese Pulls Funds over gay group: According to Religion Today: "The Colorado Council of Churches will lose more than $13,000 annually from the Denver Catholic Archdiocese because the council admitted a predominantly gay denomination into the organization. According to spokesman Greg Kail, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput said that continued financial support from the archdiocese would  'have a misleading effect on the church's teachings about marriage and family life.' ... The Catholic Church teaches that practicing homosexuality is a sin."

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2001-JUN-??: Canada: Evangelical Christian fined for anti-gay ad: Hugh Owens, from Saskatchewan, purchased space in a local newspaper to criticize Gay Pride Week. His ad cited four Biblical passages by chapter and verse, but did not include their actual text. Beside the citations was a circular "no" symbol with stick figures of two men holding hands. According to many conservative Christians, Leviticus 20:13 calls for the execution of anyone engaged in homosexual activity. According to many religious liberals, only persons who engage in ritual same-sex behavior in Pagan temples are condemned. The Saskatoon Human Rights Commission found that the ad had exposes gays and lesbians to "hatred, ridicule, and their dignity was affronted on the basis of their sexual orientation." [sic] Owens was fined $1,500 (about $1,000 in U.S. funds). He has appealed the ruling.

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Continue with media reports for 2001-JUL

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References:

  1. "TheistWatch short shots," AANEWS, 2001-MAR-24. 

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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.

Copyright © 2001 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2001-NOV-9
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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