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NEWS ITEMS AFFECTING GAYS AND LESBIANS

FOR 2002 - APRIL to JUNE

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News of 2002-APR:

bulletAPR-6: USA: LesGay "truth" days: On APR-10, groups and individuals working towards equal rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people will hold a "Day of Silence." It is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), in collaboration with the United States Student Association. Some gays, lesbians, bisexuals and heterosexuals will not speaking for most of the day. They will hand out "speaking cards" which say: "Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discrimination. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you going to do to end the silence?" More information.
bulletMAY-7: Canada: Gay-lesbian couples gain rights: The government of Alberta is considered one of the most socially conservative in Canada. However, they have allowed gays and lesbians to adopt. The government has introduced two bills:
bulletBill 29 would give same-sex couples the same inheritance rights as married couples if one dies without having prepared a will. The courts ordered the government to pass a bill with this content.
bulletBill 30 would recognize same-sex couples who have lived together for three years, or who have signed a relationship contract, or who have a child. Partners would be required to pay spousal support payments in the event that their relationship fails. The government is going to hold the bill over until the fall of 2002 in order to gauge public reaction. 2
bulletMAY-10: TX: Houston Vineyard church expels lesbian couple: The Houston Vineyard church -- a charismatic group -- has expelled a lesbian couple because they refused to break up their committed relationship. Donna and Marti Rickard had been permitted to attend services and take communion but were prohibited becoming members or serving in any official capacity. Pastor Dan Palandro said: "In order to bring more pressure on them to really take seriously what they are doing is sin, and for the integrity of our church -- what we believe, the life we believe we're called to live -- [we felt] we needed to withhold the ministry of the church from them and ask them to leave, as an act of discipline -- in line with Matthew 18 and I Corinthians 5....We do have some people who are wrestling with issues of homosexuality who [for example] are serving in our food pantry, and also serving tables in another ministry we have. So we are willing for them to be in a 'serving' capacity of that nature. But areas they wanted to be in [such as] on the worship team [or] our prayer ministry team -- we wouldn't allow them to do that." 3
bullet2002-MAY-17: Australia: Gays and lesbians refused refused communion: Groups of gays and lesbians who are promoting equal rights for homosexuals attempted to come forward for communion in various Roman Catholic cathedrals on Pentecost Sunday. Included were twenty individuals at St. Mary's in Sydney and twelve at St. Patrick's in Melbourne. They were refused communion. Similar groups in Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, and Rochester were given communion. In Melbourne, Archbishop Denis Hart blessed the group. Archbishop George Pell told the congregation at St. Mary's that "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law, they close the sexual act to the gift of life." The group returned to their pews and stood in silent protest. Spokesperson Michael Kelly said: "Refusal to give communion is the second most serious sanction in church life, after excommunication. So it's a very rare and very important sanction that's been imposed on us." Pell later read out a prepared statement regretting that "an ideological demonstration" was mounted during Mass. He said that any Catholic who who publicly defined himself as "supporting or practicing activities contrary to church teaching in a serious matter is not entitled to receive Holy Communion." He said that he would "continue to dialogue privately and publicly with those who think differently." Kelly said that the group had sent church leaders nine written appeals for dialogue over the past five years. All have been ignored. 4
bulletMAY-20: USA: Discovery.com program features birth to lesbian couple: The Learning Channel (TLC) features two episodes of a program called A Baby Story every weekday. Each episode follows a couple through the last stages of pregnancy and the actual birth. On the 2 PM ET program today, they featured Kim and Ali, a lesbian couple. They discussed how the couple met, and their developing relationship. Included was a brief movie of their union ceremony. A highlight of the program was Kim's description of a tour of the hospital delivery facilities by Ali and her daughter. The daughter seems to have become peeved when the staff referred to the "moms and dads." She piped up that she had a "Mom and a Mommy." The baby was born by C-section since it otherwise would have been a breech birth. Personnel at the Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center in California seem to have handled the two mommies in stride. If you want to send TLC a letter expressing your appreciation or condemnation, they can be reached at letters@discovery.com.
bulletJUN-01: USA: Compensation for gay partners of 9-11 victims: Vote.com conducted a poll of Internet users to determine public opinion on compensating gay and lesbian partners. After two days of polling, with 7,335 total votes cast, the results were:
bullet71% "Yes: Many of the 22 surviving partners of gay victims were in financially interdependent relationships; their needs must not be neglected.
bullet29% "No: Applying the same standards to gay partners and married couples would set a troubling precedent.
bulletJUN-04: Israel: First Gay Pride March to be held in Jerusalem: Hagai Elad, is the director of the Jerusalem Open House, an group that provides support for gays and lesbians in Jerusalem and in the West Bank. He announced that the march "...will take place on Friday [June 7] in coordination with the municipality and under heavy police protection. We are expecting thousands to participate in this unprecedented march, including groups from Italy, Sweden and Canada." It will be called "Love without Borders". In late May, Orthodox Jewish members of the city government held an emergency meeting to find ways of blocking the march. According to a Jerusalem weekly, the officials promised "riots never seen before in this city" and vowed not to "let this parade take place." Ultra-Orthodox Shas deputy Nissim Ze'ev said on Israel radio that it "would constitute an injury to the holy character of Jerusalem ... and to the morals and the sacred values of the people of Israel, which was based around the family". 5
bulletJUN-05: USA: Psychoanalytic Association endorses gay/lesbian parenting: The American Psychoanalytic Association is the smallest of the APA's which also include the American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association. According to Focus on the Family, they have "given unqualified endorsement to homosexual adoption and parenting. The group says sexual orientation shouldn't even be considered in legal decisions concerning parenting." Their statement says, in part: "Gay and lesbian individuals and couples are capable of meeting the best interest of the child....[They should be] afforded the same rights and....responsibilities as heterosexual parents." Chairperson Gary Grossman headed the committee which issued the statement. He commented that it should "help judges, who may have their own biases for whatever reasons, to look at the evidence and listen to the professionals..."Optimally, children do better with two parents, but the gender of the parents is really not so relevant." 6
bullet

2002-JUN-15: Canada: Anglican diocese decides to bless same-sex unions: The diocese of New Westminster consists of 80 parishes in southwestern British Columbia, at the western extreme of Canada. At their annual meeting, they passed a motion by a vote of 215 to 129 to bless same-sex unions in church rituals. The resolution contained:
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A conscience clause which allows priests to opt out of the performance of such blessings if they wished.

bullet

Provision whereby individual parishes can vote on whether or not they will endorse the decision.

bullet

Provision allowing parishes to request the help of a visiting bishop to tend to pastoral needs of parishes which are uncomfortable with the blessing of same-sex committed relationships.

A crowd of delegates walked out of the meeting after the results were announced. A group called the Anglican Communion in New Westminster, who represent members of nine churches, issued a "...dissent from the resolution..." Steve Schuh, president of Integrity Vancouver -- a gay-lesbian-transexual support group -- said: "At long last, the church as found a way to give us a space to recognize God's blessing in our life. It's been a long time coming...On the other hand, there is also sadness that some of our conservative friends don't feel like they can be in a church that welcomes gay and lesbian people in this way." This is the first diocese of the Anglican Church of Canada to endorse same-sex unions. They join the United Church of Canada, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, Unitarian Universalist congregations, and probably other liberal Canadian religious groups in providing this recognition and service. 7

bulletJUN-18: USA: Nickelodeon program to have episode on same-sex couples: The Nickelodeon channel is a U.S.-based children's TV channel which broadcasts on a number of satellites worldwide. It is owned by Viacom who also own Paramount and MTV. They have regular programs like Clarissa Explains it All, about a teenager who explains what is happening in her life and the motivations behind the events; and Rugrats, an animated show involving six young kids. They also have aired "Nick News Specials" such as "Terrorism and the American Spirit" and "Faces of hope: The kids of Afghanistan." They plan to air another special on JUN-18 called "My Family is Different." It deals with intolerance and prejudice faced by children who are raised in families headed by same-sex parents. Producer and Peabody Award winner Linda Ellerbee says the program "is about families, diversity, respect and tolerance." She added "It is never a wrong time to talk about hate. It's just not. That's all our show is about." She said that she decided to create the special after learning that the word "fag" had become the most common school-yard epithet in the U.S. The Fundamentalist Christian Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) was outraged. They sent out a news release on MAY-8 saying that this program "proves that this network has been co-opted by homosexual activists who are targeting children. Sodomy is not a family value. Nickelodeon has now lost the trust of parents." Later, TVC spokesperson Andrea Lafferty said, sight-unseen, that the program: "...is a cover for promoting homosexuality for kids." Famous Fundamentalist leader Jerry Falwell appears on the show. He said that Nickelodeon's intent is to "invade the minds and hearts of children who enjoy Nickelodeon..."It is unthinkable that Nick would open its airwaves for the promotion of a lifestyle that most people of faith do not approve of and certainly to take advantage of the minds of little children who trust Nickelodeon" and teach them that having a homosexual orientation is OK. In spite of Falwell's opposition to the program, -- he urged that it not be aired -- he seems to support its purpose. He also said that: "violence and hostility toward children who may be a member of a same-sex family is wrong....Little children are not responsible where they live and that they have two fathers or two mothers...[these children] "should be treated with respect and love like any other child."

Response of the public to the program:
bulletThe TVC set up a petition on their web site so that any visitor could demand that Nickelodeon cancel the special. TVC claims that over 100,000 have signed. According to Nickelodeon, they have only received a fraction of that number.
bulletCNN covered the story during the morning of JUN-18. Their E-mails were running ten to one in favor of the program.
bulletVote.com added a question to their web site: "Do You Support Nickelodeon's Decision To Air a Special For Children About Same-Sex Parents?" Actually, the program is not about same-sex parents; it is about the hatred, discrimination, and harassment that children of same-sex parents experience. 18,235 votes had been tabulated as of 2002-JUN-18 at 9:40 PM ET. Results were:
bullet74% Yes! "The program is about tolerance, not sex. Kids need to understand the destructiveness of hate."
bullet26% No! "It's a cover for promoting homosexuality to children. Nickelodeon has violated the trust of parents."  

It may be worth noting that none of the complaint or supportive letters or votes were by people who have actually viewed the program. 8,9

bullet2002-JUN-20: ME: Salvation Army to lose funding: Portland ME city council approved an ordinance in 2001-MAY that requires organizations to provide health benefits to the domestic partners of homosexual employees if the organization is to receive funding from the city. The local branch of the Salvation Army has been receiving $60,000 a year in funding for it s Meals on Wheels program and for a senior center. But they refuse to extend benefits to the spouses of gay and lesbian partners. City Councilman James Cloutier, said: "Portland has a well established element of non-discrimination ... and this is simply a requirement that we have that all organizations that receive public funds are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation."
bullet2002-JUN-27: USA: President Bush signs benefits bill: The President signed a bill into law that would allow death benefits to be paid to the survivors of firefighters, police officers and police chaplains who die in the line of duty. This includes heterosexual and bisexual workers who are married; heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual workers who live together in common-law living arrangements; and gay and lesbian workers who have have civil union status from the state of Vermont. Gay-rights organizations praised the fairness of the bill. Some homosexual partners of workers killed in the terrorist 9-11 attack were denied benefits after their companions died in the bombing, for the sole reason that they were of the wrong gender. Several complaints were voiced by Fundamentalist Christian groups to Bush's action. They oppose this recognition of gay and lesbian relationships as legitimate. Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, said that Homosexual groups: "see it as a foot in the door. They see it as an opportunity to take advantage of it and use it further in courts of law where they can say, 'You see, we were treated as if we were married.' " Gary Bauer, president of American Values, said "There's a collapse of the effort to defend traditional values here in Washington. This bill should have never gotten through Congress." 11

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References:

  1. "Day of silence project," at: http://www.dayofsilence.org/
  2. John Cotter, "Alberta to Give Same-Sex Couples Similar Rights as Married Couples," Canadian Press, 2002-MAY-7. Online at: http://www.hrc.org/familynet/
  3. Jim Brown and Bill Fancher, "Church Disciplines Lesbian Couple by Asking Them to Leave," Agape Press, at: http://headlines.agapepress.org/
  4. Patrick Goodenough, "Catholic Bishops Refuse Communion To Homosexual Activists," CNSNews.com, at: http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewForeignBureaus
  5. "Jerusalem To Hold Its First Gay Pride March," Agence France-Presse, 2002-JUN-4, at: http://www.arabia.com/afp/.
  6. Stuart Shepard, "Psychoanalytic Group Endorses Homosexual Parenting," Focus on the Family, at:  http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif/news/
  7. Emily Yearwood, "Anglican diocese blesses same-sex unions," Canadian Press, 2002-JUN-16. Published in the Toronto Star, 2002-JUN-16, Page A3.
  8. Lisa de Moraes, "Conservatives to Nickelodeon: Not in front of the children!," Washington Post, 2002-JUN-7, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com
  9. "U.S. kids' network to air same-sex special," Associated Press, 2002-JUN-17.
  10. Pubai Shanbandar, "Salvation Army to Lose Funding Over Domestic Partner Flap," CNSNews, at: http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCulture.asp?
  11. David Brody, "Bush signs questionable benefits bill," Focus on the Family, 2002-JUN-27, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif/news/A0021267.html

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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, 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.

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

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Copyright © 2002 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2002-JUN-29
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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