16th June, 2001 (# 1) News Clippings Digest.
- 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
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
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
He's the first mayor in the history of the United States to order the
removal of information about asthma, immunization and gardening from
Well, we already know Wuerch has it in for flowers. So you
why he'd want all that nasty stuff about potting and planting
what does he have against asthmatics and public health? Did he think
handout "Can Children with Asthma Go to Gym Class?" would make kids
become asthmatics? Or that the pamphlet "Where to Get Immunizations
Anchorage" would lead people who are confused about their immunology
become members of the vaccinated community?
No, the information on asthma and immunization was simply a
of Wuerch's frantic efforts to cover his fundament, which he left
in the breeze by ordering the removal of an exhibit extolling
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
wasn't going to work, he started rattling off excuses like a kid
hitting his sister: Uh, the exhibit advocated a viewpoint. Er, it
have been disruptive. No, it violates the separation of church and
That's it, church and state. No, no, it was promotional.
None of these excuses is supported by the facts or the
written policies. Take the excuse that the exhibit was promotional.
policies say that "permission may be denied to, or revoked for any
whose purpose is personal, commercial, promotional ..."
this context means promoting a product. I haven't seen the exhibit
the mayor ordered it whisked down, but I've seen photographs, and the
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
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
trying to cover his tracks by banning information from outside the
about asthma treatment, immunization and gardening. That's just part
new policy he invented after he banned the exhibit.
That dog won't hunt. The Alaska Civil Liberties Union has
suit. There are no close questions or judgment calls here. George
violated the constitutional rights of the exhibit's sponsors, and
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
it expressed a viewpoint or violated the separation of church and
banned it because part of its message was that homosexuality is OK.
Is Wuerch's problem with that personal? Or is it political?
trying to keep his core constituents, the old and the religiously
His lack of candor invites speculation, which is fun but not
So he should come clean. Quit hiding behind excuses and half-
legal stratagems, George. Tell us what your real problem was with
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
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
the church's constitution was approved 317-208 on Friday by the
Assembly of the nation's sixth-largest Protestant denomination.
The measure still must be ratified by a majority of the
presbyteries, its regional legislatures, over the next year.
Opponents of the ban celebrated the vote, which followed hours
debate on an issue the church leadership has been silent on for two
"This is a breath of hope for those of us who are fighting so
fulfill our calling,'' said Katie Morrison, a seminary graduate from
Oakland, Calif., who was denied a ministership because she is a
Conservatives who defended the ban as a reflection of
intent said the vote would deepen divisions within the denomination
might lead people to leave the church.
"This is a very, very sad time for our church,'' said Nancy
an assembly member from Colorado Springs, Colo.
The Rev. Jack Rogers, the denomination's top-elected official,
not predict whether presbyteries would ratify the repeal. But he
the possibility of a split in the church.
"Those are loyal Presbyterians,'' said Rogers, referring to
on both sides of the debate. "They really want to stay in this
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
The ordination standard was inserted into the church's Book of
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
Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the Anglican church, approved a
years ago opposing homosexual behavior, but in practice it allows
ordain gay clergy.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) does not exclude homosexuals
the church, but the ban's foes said it unfairly bar gays and lesbians
the upper echelons of local church leadership.
"Sex and sin is not up to us to judge or to condemn others.
our own personal struggle with our lord,'' said Cathy Haley, an
member from Whitewater Valley Presbytery in central Indiana.
The measure would not require ordination of homosexuals, but
leave those decisions up to local governing bodies, its supporters
The ban's backers said they feared that putting the issue
presbyteries might set off a backlash.
"It will explode and do much damage to this church I love,''
Paul Nelson, a minister from the San Diego Presbytery.
Russ Ritchel Jr., a minister from Winston-Salem, N.C., said
congregations might view the assembly's action as a sign that
no longer the authority for the denomination.
"I will go home to members of my congregation who will be so
The ban's defenders vowed to continue the fight when the debate
shifts to the presbyteries. They said those regional bodies tend to
conservative than the General Assembly.
In other action . . . [abortion, etc.]
. On the Net: http://www.pcusa.org
Washington Blade (glbt), June 8, 2001
(E-Mail: Bladeforum@... ) ( http://www.washblade.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
's largest advocacy group for seniors as the organization puts in
new executive director this week.
William Novelli, the AARP's former associate executive for
affairs, started Monday as the group's new executive director. He
the organization's 12th executive director in its 43-year history.
With his appointment, some gay senior activists said it's time
AARP to step up its outreach to gay elders.
"AARP's profile of GLBT elders is pretty much nonexistent,"
South, who co-wrote Outing Age and is also director of the National
Lesbian Task Force's aging initiative. "[But] AARP has made some
that have been impressive. We're pleased."
There are an estimated 2.8 million gay seniors in the country;
rolls include 35 million members.
One of those "baby steps," according to South, is the AARP
instructional seminars for people who work with gay seniors on how to
issues affecting that population.
The AARP said Novelli was not available for interviews by
He is the co-founder and former president of Porter Novelli, a
communications firm. He also served as executive vice president of
international relief organization, and president of the Campaign for
The AARP released a letter Novelli wrote last November to a
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
their experience of aging and to provide the information and
need to make their own choices
and make the most of their life after 50."
In the letter, Novelli also outlined collaborative projects
in the process of launching with two groups for older gays, Senior
a Gay Environment and Pride Senior Network. AARP also observes gay
month and works with
NGLTF's Aging Institute.
But some gay senior activists said participation in programs
enough. Vera Martin, who started the national lesbian advocacy group
Lesbians Organizing for Change 11 years ago, said she wants to see
exposure of elderly gay men and lesbians in AARP's publications and
"It gives us a face and with that brings some acceptance," she
Both Martin and South said silence is one reason elderly gay
lesbians have a difficult time gaining exposure, acceptance, and
in the fight for seniors' rights.
"[The] majority of older gay people are still very discreet,"
said. "They lived through the Depression, World War II and
They learned how to survive by being quiet."
South said he attended a recent conference with more than 250
older than 65 who complained about AARP and its outreach to gay
South said the men were all members of AARP, but only a handful had
ever communicated by letter or e-mail to express their concerns.
Martin said this silence is based in fear and affects how she
OLOC deal with their more than 1,000 members.
"The vast majority of people age in place," said Stephen
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,
provides services. That's largely the mainstream community,
We have to sensitize them, because they have their hands on more
gay seniors than I'll see in a lifetime."
Martin said he wants AARP to get involved in improving health
for gay seniors. Something as simple as changes made to forms filled
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
Martin said. "Some of [the forms] just say 'husband' or'wife.' Why
that for granted? There are many people in the heterosexual world
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
He was close friends with crime boss John Gotti, hanging out every
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
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
recently told the FBI, according to sources. And his sexual
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
husband's alleged homosexuality, and she said the FBI never informed
what it knew about the circumstances of his death.
"They never told me, and I don't want to know about it," she
"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
gangster with the usual mob resume: a 1963 arrest on gambling
1971 burglary conviction and a 1984 forgery conviction.
D'Amato was one of three DeCavalcante members present at the
reception of Gotti's son John A. (Junior) Gotti on April 21, 1990, at
Helmsley Palace hotel.
Later that year, when DeCavalcante boss John Riggi was
jailed, D'Amato, then 60, was made acting boss of that family because
ties to Gotti, law enforcement sources said.
Capo told the FBI that he'd learned from a "girlfriend" of
that the mob boss frequented gay clubs and picked up male prostitutes
Manhattan's Meatpacking District.
The "girlfriend" said D'Amato carefully hid his behavior from
members of the Mafia, Capo said.
When Capo told his mob supervisor, a meeting of DeCavalcante
was convened. It was decided that D'Amato had to be killed, Capo
He told the FBI he was given a gun with a silencer and told to
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
the front seat. He shot him twice. D'Amato moaned, "Oh, no," and
him twice more, killing him, he told the FBI.
The body was driven to a nearby safehouse, where others joined
wrapping it in plastic. Capo said he did not know what happened to
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
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
The "obsession," as one legislator called it, with regulating how
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)
a piece of legislation (H.502) that makes no sense when you try to
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.
repeal of the existing civil union law failed by a large margin.
H.502 continues to give rights to gay and lesbian couples and
marriage benefits to any family members who want them. Supporters of
bill, at best, made the whole section of law dealing with marital
confusing and marriage meaningless. At worst, they have passed a
may sanction incest.
Groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the Department of
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
insurance coverage. The Ways and Means Committee reported out the
an unfavorable vote (9 to 2), because it did not reflect responsible
. . .The House priorities this session are far from the central
Republican values of tolerance and less government intrusion. Sadly,
of the R's have gone along with this right wing agenda, and Speaker
has turned out to be its biggest promoter.
Anyone who reads or hears the news is aware that we have a
heroin problem ravaging our young people. Our high school drop out
alarming. Pressing concerns such as prescription drug prices, health
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
silent. I'm confused.
- K.C. Whiteley, Montpelier
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