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16th June, 2001 (# 1) News Clippings Digest.

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    16th June, 2001 (# 1) News Clippings Digest. 1. ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS Column: Mayor is still in the closet about why he banned library exhibit 2. ASSOCIATED
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      16th June, 2001 (# 1) News Clippings Digest.

      1. ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS Column: Mayor is still in the closet about
      why he banned library exhibit
      2. ASSOCIATED PRESS Presbyterian measure to remove a ban on
      ordaining gay and lesbian clergy from the church's constitution was
      approved 317-208
      3. WASHINGTON BLADE (glbt) AARP takes some 'baby steps'; National
      group for seniors urged to reach out to gay community
      4. NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Mob informant describes murder of organized
      crime boss when it was discovered that he had a secret gay life
      5. BARRE (VT) WORLD Letter about Republican obsession with
      controlling people's personal lives (attempted repeal of civil union
      law)

      Anchorage Daily News, June 15, 2001
      P. O. Box 149001, Anchorage, AK, 99514-9001
      (Fax: 907-258-2157 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.adn.com/ )
      Mayor is still in the closet about why he banned library exhibit
      By Mike Doogan, Daily News Columnist
      It's not every day you see history made. But George Wuerch
      did it.
      He's the first mayor in the history of the United States to order the
      removal of information about asthma, immunization and gardening from
      a city
      library.
      Well, we already know Wuerch has it in for flowers. So you
      can see
      why he'd want all that nasty stuff about potting and planting
      removed. But
      what does he have against asthmatics and public health? Did he think
      the
      handout "Can Children with Asthma Go to Gym Class?" would make kids
      want to
      become asthmatics? Or that the pamphlet "Where to Get Immunizations
      in
      Anchorage" would lead people who are confused about their immunology
      to
      become members of the vaccinated community?
      No, the information on asthma and immunization was simply a
      casualty
      of Wuerch's frantic efforts to cover his fundament, which he left
      flapping
      in the breeze by ordering the removal of an exhibit extolling
      diversity and
      gay pride.
      Why did Wuerch order the removal? "I just said no," he said at
      first, as if someone had died and left him king. When he realized
      that
      wasn't going to work, he started rattling off excuses like a kid
      caught
      hitting his sister: Uh, the exhibit advocated a viewpoint. Er, it
      might
      have been disruptive. No, it violates the separation of church and
      state.
      That's it, church and state. No, no, it was promotional.
      None of these excuses is supported by the facts or the
      library's
      written policies. Take the excuse that the exhibit was promotional.
      The
      policies say that "permission may be denied to, or revoked for any
      exhibit
      whose purpose is personal, commercial, promotional ..."
      "Promotional" in
      this context means promoting a product. I haven't seen the exhibit
      because
      the mayor ordered it whisked down, but I've seen photographs, and the
      mayor
      is going to have a hard time pointing to the part of it that promotes
      anything but self-esteem, tolerance and equal treatment. Is that
      what the
      library's policies are designed to prevent?
      Wuerch, or somebody who works for the city, is going to have to
      answer that and other tough questions in court. That's why the mayor
      is
      trying to cover his tracks by banning information from outside the
      library
      about asthma treatment, immunization and gardening. That's just part
      of the
      new policy he invented after he banned the exhibit.
      That dog won't hunt. The Alaska Civil Liberties Union has
      filed
      suit. There are no close questions or judgment calls here. George
      Wuerch
      violated the constitutional rights of the exhibit's sponsors, and
      he's going
      to lose. As a matter of law, he should.
      As a matter of morality, he should, too. Because Wuerch is not
      telling the truth about why he banned the exhibit. He didn't ban it
      because
      it expressed a viewpoint or violated the separation of church and
      state. He
      banned it because part of its message was that homosexuality is OK.
      Is Wuerch's problem with that personal? Or is it political?
      Is he
      trying to keep his core constituents, the old and the religiously
      zealous,
      happy?
      His lack of candor invites speculation, which is fun but not
      useful.
      So he should come clean. Quit hiding behind excuses and half-
      baked
      legal stratagems, George. Tell us what your real problem was with
      that
      exhibit. Tell the truth. Be a man.
      . Mike Doogan's opinion column appears each Tuesday, Friday and
      Sunday. His telephone number is 907-257-4350, and his e-mail address
      is
      mdoogan@....


      Associated Press, June 16, 2001
      Presbyterians May Lift Gay Ban
      By BRUCE SCHREINER
      LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Homosexuals aspiring to preach in the
      Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) inched closer toward the pulpit with the
      blessing of the denomination's chief policy-making body.
      A measure to remove a ban on ordaining gay and lesbian clergy
      from
      the church's constitution was approved 317-208 on Friday by the
      General
      Assembly of the nation's sixth-largest Protestant denomination.
      The measure still must be ratified by a majority of the
      church's 173
      presbyteries, its regional legislatures, over the next year.
      Opponents of the ban celebrated the vote, which followed hours
      of
      debate on an issue the church leadership has been silent on for two
      years.
      "This is a breath of hope for those of us who are fighting so
      hard to
      fulfill our calling,'' said Katie Morrison, a seminary graduate from
      Oakland, Calif., who was denied a ministership because she is a
      lesbian.
      Conservatives who defended the ban as a reflection of
      Scriptural
      intent said the vote would deepen divisions within the denomination
      and
      might lead people to leave the church.
      "This is a very, very sad time for our church,'' said Nancy
      Maffett,
      an assembly member from Colorado Springs, Colo.
      The Rev. Jack Rogers, the denomination's top-elected official,
      would
      not predict whether presbyteries would ratify the repeal. But he
      downplayed
      the possibility of a split in the church.
      "Those are loyal Presbyterians,'' said Rogers, referring to
      advocates
      on both sides of the debate. "They really want to stay in this
      church.''
      Presbyterians' sexual-conduct standard for ordination requires
      ministers, deacons and elders to "live either in fidelity within the
      covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in
      singleness.''
      The ordination standard was inserted into the church's Book of
      Order
      in 1997 and withstood a repeal attempt the next year.
      Ordination of gays is opposed by most of the nation's largest
      Protestant groups, including Southern Baptists and United
      Methodists. The
      Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the Anglican church, approved a
      paper
      years ago opposing homosexual behavior, but in practice it allows
      bishops to
      ordain gay clergy.
      The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) does not exclude homosexuals
      from
      the church, but the ban's foes said it unfairly bar gays and lesbians
      from
      the upper echelons of local church leadership.
      "Sex and sin is not up to us to judge or to condemn others.
      This is
      our own personal struggle with our lord,'' said Cathy Haley, an
      assembly
      member from Whitewater Valley Presbytery in central Indiana.
      The measure would not require ordination of homosexuals, but
      would
      leave those decisions up to local governing bodies, its supporters
      said.
      The ban's backers said they feared that putting the issue
      before
      presbyteries might set off a backlash.
      "It will explode and do much damage to this church I love,''
      said
      Paul Nelson, a minister from the San Diego Presbytery.
      Russ Ritchel Jr., a minister from Winston-Salem, N.C., said
      some
      congregations might view the assembly's action as a sign that
      Scripture is
      no longer the authority for the denomination.
      "I will go home to members of my congregation who will be so
      upset,''
      he said.
      The ban's defenders vowed to continue the fight when the debate
      shifts to the presbyteries. They said those regional bodies tend to
      be more
      conservative than the General Assembly.
      In other action . . . [abortion, etc.]
      . On the Net: http://www.pcusa.org


      Washington Blade (glbt), June 8, 2001
      Washington, DC
      (E-Mail: Bladeforum@... ) ( http://www.washblade.com )
      http://www.washingtonblade.com
      AARP takes some 'baby steps'
      National group for seniors urged to reach out to gay community
      by Eric Erickson
      Older gay men and lesbians called for greater inclusion in the
      nation
      's largest advocacy group for seniors as the organization puts in
      place a
      new executive director this week.
      William Novelli, the AARP's former associate executive for
      public
      affairs, started Monday as the group's new executive director. He
      became
      the organization's 12th executive director in its 43-year history.
      With his appointment, some gay senior activists said it's time
      for
      AARP to step up its outreach to gay elders.
      "AARP's profile of GLBT elders is pretty much nonexistent,"
      said Ken
      South, who co-wrote Outing Age and is also director of the National
      Gay and
      Lesbian Task Force's aging initiative. "[But] AARP has made some
      baby steps
      that have been impressive. We're pleased."
      There are an estimated 2.8 million gay seniors in the country;
      AARP's
      rolls include 35 million members.
      One of those "baby steps," according to South, is the AARP
      holding
      instructional seminars for people who work with gay seniors on how to
      handle
      issues affecting that population.
      The AARP said Novelli was not available for interviews by
      press time.
      He is the co-founder and former president of Porter Novelli, a
      marketing
      communications firm. He also served as executive vice president of
      CARE, an
      international relief organization, and president of the Campaign for
      Tobacco-Free Kids.
      The AARP released a letter Novelli wrote last November to a
      gay man
      who expressed interest in joining.
      "At AARP, we view diversity as a strength," Novelli said in the
      letter. "We are committed to serving all of our members to shape and
      enrich
      their experience of aging and to provide the information and
      resources they
      need to make their own choices
      and make the most of their life after 50."
      In the letter, Novelli also outlined collaborative projects
      AARP is
      in the process of launching with two groups for older gays, Senior
      Action in
      a Gay Environment and Pride Senior Network. AARP also observes gay
      pride
      month and works with
      NGLTF's Aging Institute.
      But some gay senior activists said participation in programs
      isn't
      enough. Vera Martin, who started the national lesbian advocacy group
      Old
      Lesbians Organizing for Change 11 years ago, said she wants to see
      more
      exposure of elderly gay men and lesbians in AARP's publications and
      newsletters.
      "It gives us a face and with that brings some acceptance," she
      said.
      Both Martin and South said silence is one reason elderly gay
      men and
      lesbians have a difficult time gaining exposure, acceptance, and
      inclusion
      in the fight for seniors' rights.
      "[The] majority of older gay people are still very discreet,"
      South
      said. "They lived through the Depression, World War II and
      McCarthyism.
      They learned how to survive by being quiet."
      South said he attended a recent conference with more than 250
      gay men
      older than 65 who complained about AARP and its outreach to gay
      seniors.
      South said the men were all members of AARP, but only a handful had
      actually
      ever communicated by letter or e-mail to express their concerns.
      Martin said this silence is based in fear and affects how she
      and
      OLOC deal with their more than 1,000 members.
      "The vast majority of people age in place," said Stephen
      Karpiak,
      executive director of the Senior Pride Network. "They don't age
      under a gay
      flag. They age in their doctor's office, in their financial banks,
      whoever
      provides services. That's largely the mainstream community,
      including AARP.
      We have to sensitize them, because they have their hands on more
      lesbian and
      gay seniors than I'll see in a lifetime."
      Martin said he wants AARP to get involved in improving health
      care
      for gay seniors. Something as simple as changes made to forms filled
      out in
      the doctor's office can make a difference in gay seniors' experiences
      visiting their doctor, she said.
      "They don't need to take for granted that everybody has a
      spouse,"
      Martin said. "Some of [the forms] just say 'husband' or'wife.' Why
      take
      that for granted? There are many people in the heterosexual world
      who didn'
      t have them either. I'd like to see
      a campaign to get them to change those forms."


      New York Daily News, June 16, 2001
      450 West 33rd Street, New York, NY 10001
      (Fax: 212-682-4953 ) (E-Mail: voicers@... )
      ( http://www.nydailynews.com )
      Mobster Killed for Being Gay
      Crime boss' double life
      By GREG B. SMITH, Daily News Staff Writer
      In the macho world of the mob, John D'Amato appeared to fit
      right in.
      He was close friends with crime boss John Gotti, hanging out every
      Tuesday
      in the all-male world of the Ravenite Social Club on Mulberry St.
      He rose to the top echelon of New Jersey's DeCavalcante crime
      family,
      becoming the acting boss and overseeing all the tough-guy rackets:
      extortion, loansharking, the works.
      The married mob boss also had a secret gay life, a new mob
      informant
      recently told the FBI, according to sources. And his sexual
      preference
      apparently cost him his life.
      The informant, Anthony Capo, has told the FBI that when the
      DeCavalcante family learned of D'Amato's double life, they ordered him
      murdered. Capo told the FBI he personally did the job.
      Theresa D'Amato told the Daily News she knew nothing of her
      late
      husband's alleged homosexuality, and she said the FBI never informed
      her of
      what it knew about the circumstances of his death.
      "They never told me, and I don't want to know about it," she
      said.
      "That was a different life I lived back then."
      The revelation was made when the FBI began interviewing Capo, a
      DeCavalcante soldier who turned informant last year.
      In 1990, Capo told the bureau, he was a protege of D'Amato, a
      veteran
      gangster with the usual mob resume: a 1963 arrest on gambling
      charges, a
      1971 burglary conviction and a 1984 forgery conviction.
      D'Amato was one of three DeCavalcante members present at the
      wedding
      reception of Gotti's son John A. (Junior) Gotti on April 21, 1990, at
      the
      Helmsley Palace hotel.
      Later that year, when DeCavalcante boss John Riggi was
      convicted and
      jailed, D'Amato, then 60, was made acting boss of that family because
      of his
      ties to Gotti, law enforcement sources said.
      Capo told the FBI that he'd learned from a "girlfriend" of
      D'Amato's
      that the mob boss frequented gay clubs and picked up male prostitutes
      in
      Manhattan's Meatpacking District.
      The "girlfriend" said D'Amato carefully hid his behavior from
      other
      members of the Mafia, Capo said.
      When Capo told his mob supervisor, a meeting of DeCavalcante
      leaders
      was convened. It was decided that D'Amato had to be killed, Capo
      said.
      He told the FBI he was given a gun with a silencer and told to
      do the
      job. On an afternoon in 1992, he and another mob associate picked up
      D'Amato near the home of the "girlfriend."
      D'Amato got in the backseat of the car, and Capo turned around
      from
      the front seat. He shot him twice. D'Amato moaned, "Oh, no," and
      Capo shot
      him twice more, killing him, he told the FBI.
      The body was driven to a nearby safehouse, where others joined
      in
      wrapping it in plastic. Capo said he did not know what happened to
      the
      body.
      Law enforcement sources said D'Amato has not been found.


      The World, June 13, 2001
      82 Barre-Montpelier Rd., Barre, VT 05641
      (Fax: 802-479-7916) (E-Mail: editor@... )
      ( http://www.vt-world.com )
      Letter: Republican Obsession (relevant excerpts only)
      I'm confused. I thought Republicans stood for a general live
      and let
      live tolerance of others, less government regulation of property and
      citizens' lives, and reduction of taxes and spending.
      As an extraordinarily long and non-productive session ends, the
      Republican controlled House appears to have gone in the opposite
      direction.
      The "obsession," as one legislator called it, with regulating how
      others
      should live, and imposing government into people's private lives has
      dominated this session in the House. . . .
      "Fixing" the civil union legislation (i.e., repealing it)
      resulted in
      a piece of legislation (H.502) that makes no sense when you try to
      align it
      with the Republican's "individual freedom" rhetoric. H-502 is the
      culmination of a year-long campaign to repeal last year's civil union
      legislation granting rights and benefits to same sex couples.
      Straight
      repeal of the existing civil union law failed by a large margin.
      H.502 continues to give rights to gay and lesbian couples and
      adds
      marriage benefits to any family members who want them. Supporters of
      the
      bill, at best, made the whole section of law dealing with marital
      benefits
      confusing and marriage meaningless. At worst, they have passed a
      bill that
      may sanction incest.
      Groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the Department of
      Banking and
      Insurance cautioned the Judiciary Committee against the costs and
      liabilities this bill might produce since anyone could enter into a
      "marriage" with an ill child, parent or other relative simply to get
      health
      insurance coverage. The Ways and Means Committee reported out the
      bill with
      an unfavorable vote (9 to 2), because it did not reflect responsible
      spending practices.
      . . .The House priorities this session are far from the central
      Republican values of tolerance and less government intrusion. Sadly,
      most
      of the R's have gone along with this right wing agenda, and Speaker
      Freed
      has turned out to be its biggest promoter.
      Anyone who reads or hears the news is aware that we have a
      serious
      heroin problem ravaging our young people. Our high school drop out
      rate is
      alarming. Pressing concerns such as prescription drug prices, health
      care
      costs and coverage, farm supports, substance abuse and a mushrooming
      corrections population have not even been given committee time by
      Republicans in the House. On these critical matters the Vermont
      House is
      silent. I'm confused.
      - K.C. Whiteley, Montpelier
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