24th January 2003 (# 4) News Clippings Digest
- 24th January 2003 (# 4) News Clippings Digest
1. ARIZONA REPUBLIC 60 Valley clerics to affirm support for rights
2. HOUSTON CHRONICLE Klein High School's principal reversed
himself, says he'll allow school newspaper to publish an article and
commentary on efforts to form a Gay-Straight Alliance at the school
3. TORONTO GLOBE & MAIL Gay hopeful Scott Brison can win, party
leader says; Tories just want best candidate possible to fight next
4. ASSOCIATED PRESS California: New lawmaker sees 'sea change' in
public's attitude toward gay politicians
5. GAY.COM U.K. Japan: Court Throws Out Transsexual's Demand To
Alter Gender In Register
6. COLLEGIATE TIMES Anti-gay message is spread in Virginia Tech
Arizona Republic, January 24, 2003
Box 1950, Phoenix, AZ, 85001
(Fax: 602-271-8933 ) (E-Mail: opinions@... )
( http://www.arizonarepublic.com )
60 Valley clerics to affirm support for rights of gays
Michael Clancy, The Arizona Republic
A group of Valley clerics, arguing that the Christian right
dictated the direction of the debate for too long, plans to issue a
statement of support for gay rights on Monday. Scheduled to be
a clergy luncheon featuring Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong, a
theologian, the Phoenix Declaration calls for "full acceptance and
inclusion" of gay people.
"We are saying the Christian church is not a bigoted
said the Rev. Stephanie Bikel, pastor of Desert Surprise United
Christ in Surprise. Her denomination has been a leader in affirming
rights of homosexuals and ordained its first gay minister in 1973.
"We need to fight the hate and encourage the love," Bikel
Positions taken by several denominations have driven gay
of Christianity, said Joe Amico, who oversees new church development
United Church of Christ-Southwest division.
"This is a war on people's souls," he said, referring to anti-
positions taken by some denominations.
The declaration includes:
. A statement that gay people "are distinctive, holy and
gifts" to the church.
. A denial that the Bible dictates an anti-gay posture and
is "no rational biblical or theological basis" for condemnation.
. A plea to end anti-gay violence.
. A call for "an end to all religious and civil discrimination
against any person based on sexual orientation."
Those who drafted and signed the statement are members of an
organization called No Longer Silent. The group is made up largely
members of the United Church of Christ and United Methodist
two most liberal denominations on the issue. Of the 60 signers of
declaration, most represent those denominations.
Several Presbyterians and Catholics also signed.
No Longer Silent is made up exclusively of Christian
David Felten, pastor of Via de Cristo United Methodist Church in
because it was created as a way to counteract the Christian right.
Those who caused the most surprise by signing were the
priests. Catholic teaching condemns homosexual behavior.
One of the priests, the Rev. Vernon Meyer, said the
not conflict with Catholic belief, which he said affirms the dignity
individual even though it does not accept gay relationships.
"The declaration condemns discrimination and violence against
people," he said. "No church document condemns the gay person or
Other signers, including United Methodist Pastors Felten and
Proctor-Murphy of Asbury United Methodist Church in Phoenix, said
understanding of the document is that it affirms the gay individual
supporting gay marriages and ordination. But the declaration never
those points explicitly.
The Rev. Stephen Wayles of the First Congregational United
Christ in Phoenix said the document represents "what we can say in
in spite of differing doctrinal positions.
Amico said the issue is one of great importance. "When
denominations are on the verge of splitting up over this, you can
it has a great impact," he said.
The issue of homosexuality has been a divisive one throughout
Christianity for 30 years, ever since homosexuality began to be
accepted in American society. It stands at the forefront of a
liberal-conservative split not only between denominations but also
them, Felten said.
. Reach the reporter at mike. clancy@... or
Houston Chronicle, January 24, 2003
801 Texas Avenue, Houston, TX, 77002
(Fax: 713-220-6575 ) (E-Mail: viewpoints@... )
( http://www.chron.com/ )
Principal reverses stance on gay article
By Lucas Wall
Klein High School's principal reversed his censorship of the
newspaper Thursday, telling editors he will no longer prohibit the
Bearchat from publishing an article and commentary on efforts to
Gay-Straight Alliance at the school.
A lesbian student filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against
Independent School District for its failure to approve the alliance.
Editors of the Bearchat, a monthly newspaper, complained that
Huff had forbidden them from writing about the controversy in three
After the Houston Chronicle reported the censorship Thursday,
informed the Bearchat he would allow a story on the proposed GSA to
published in the Jan. 31 issue, said author Tina Macias. Huff also
to allow a commentary written by another Bearchat staff member in
of the lawsuit.
"He said since the veil has been lifted and since it's
talk of the school, then we can write about it," said Macias, the
The Bearchat may not run anything about the alliance on its
page, Macias said.
Macias is rewriting her story to reflect the lawsuit filing
she's pleased it will be published. But, she added, she would like
run on the front page and she's disappointed that the administration
suppressed it for months.
"Everyone already knows about it," she said. The
story "would have
had a bigger impact in November or October."
Liz Johnson, assistant superintendent for community
the district was unaware of Huff's censorship.
"The attorney has advised the articles run," Johnson
principal's feelings were that it would create a great deal of
but now I think, with all the media coverage, that reason has kind of
Huff could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
Dallas Freeman, editor in chief, said he's satisfied with the
decision but would like to see Huff's prior review of newspaper
curtailed. Several Bearchat articles have been censored this year,
including those on AIDS, street racing and restroom use, editors
Toronto Globe & Mail, January 24, 2003
444 Front St. W., Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2S9 Canada
(Fax: 416-585-5085) (E-Mail: letters@... )
( http://www.globeandmail.com )
Gay hopeful can win, Clark says
Tories just want best candidate possible to fight next election,
By Rod Mickleburgh
VANCOUVER - The Progressive Conservative Party is ready for a
leader, if he is the best candidate, federal Tory Leader Joe Clark
Following a kick-off leadership forum here that included MP
Brison, who is gay, Mr. Clark was asked by reporters whether his
ready for a gay leader.
"Yeah, I think it is," he replied. "We're in a very different
generation now and a very different age. I think people are
judge candidates on their merits . . . I don't think that [sexual
orientation] will be a determining factor one way or the other."
Mr. Brison, MP for the Nova Scotia riding of Kings-Hants, is
to announce his candidacy to replace Mr. Clark next week.
Mr. Brison made no mention at yesterday's forum of his sexual
orientation, which he confirmed in an interview with The Globe and
He called for the Tories to embrace bold new ideas, arguing
controversy is better than not being noticed at all. "Milquetoast,
mediocre, bland, pablum policies won't offend anyone, but they won't
anyone on, either."
Although British Columbia has been barren ground for the
1988, an enthusiastic crowd of about 150 people turned out to hear
There was recognition of just how far the party has to go for
revival, however, as candidates talked about attending meetings of
people in Timmins, Ont., and 60 in Dauphin, Man., as indicators of
interest in the party.
"But there were days when we couldn't put three . . .
in one room at the same time," said candidate Jim Prentice, a Calgary
lawyer. "Something is happening in this country."
All candidates rejected the idea of an election arrangement
Canadian Alliance, or a unite-the-right campaign, in order to topple
Liberals. They said moving to the centre is the only way to win
"Not unite the right, but unite Canadians to do what's
MP Peter MacKay, considered an early favourite in the coming
leadership contest, said the polls show that joining with the
fight the Liberals won't work.
"Not only would we jeopardize our own base of support, but we
forfeit the support of the broad spectrum of Canadians that we need
Mr. MacKay said.
The Alliance is out of step with Canadians on almost all major
issues, he said. He mentioned the Alliance Party's unquestioning
for the United States on many matters when polls indicate that 60
of voters want Canada to be more independent of the United States.
Candidate David Orchard also rejected narrowing differences
Alliance. "My goal is to reduce the distance between our party and
Quebec political veteran Heward Grafftey, 74, dismissed the
he's too old to run. "I'm a chicken compared to John A. Macdonald
ran his last campaign. He was 77."
Associated Press, January 24, 2003
New lawmaker sees 'sea change' in public's attitude toward gay
SACRAMENTO - John Laird says his election 20 years ago as one
nation's first openly gay mayors triggered more public reaction than
became one of the first two openly gay men to serve in the California
It's almost, Laird says, as if people shrugged and
didn't happen already?"
"There's been a sea change in public attitude (toward gay
in the last number of years," he says. "I don't think the stigma
existed even in the 1980s exists now."
Nevertheless, Laird, a community college trustee and former
Cruz mayor and councilman, and Mark Leno, a San Francisco
history last November when they won state Assembly seats.
Their victories gave the California Legislature five openly
members, the most in the nation. They joined three lesbians who won
previously: Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, and Assemblywomen
Kehoe, D-San Diego, and Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles.
Another lesbian, termed-out Assemblywoman Carole Migden, D-San
Francisco, was elected to the state Board of Equalization in
representing more than eight million Californians on the tax panel.
And a gay Republican, Bonnie Dumanis, was elected San Diego
district attorney, defeating a two-term incumbent who had just won a
publicized murder case.
"There are still plenty of places in California where a gay or
lesbian person would have a really difficult time being elected...,"
Kuehl, who became California's first openly gay legislator when she
elected to the Assembly in 1994.
"But I do know that in every election we've broken another
ceiling in one way or another."
The election of a number of gays to local offices and the
of more and more homosexuals to be open about their sexual
helped break down those barriers, says Laird.
"Polls traditionally have shown that you're almost twice as
support gay rights if you know somebody that's openly gay," he
fact that number has expanded so much (is a reason) public attitudes
He predicts the gains will continue. "There will probably be
elected to Congress or statewide office ... over the next 10 years
because of the change in attitude and all the ground work that has
Still, Leno says, it's "pretty amazing" that it has taken
for openly gay men to win legislative seats in California - 33 years
the birth of the modern gay rights movement and 26 years after an
man first ran for the Legislature.
Thirteen other states have already had openly gay male
according to Laird, who says the earlier political success of
California may be due to the fact some voters see them as being less
threatening than their male counterparts.
David Hanson, president of the Log Cabin Republicans of
gay group, suggests that gay candidates are winning office in
because they are "running on issues important to the people and most
those issues are also important to the gay community."
"It's just someone who happens to be gay...," he says.
Art Croney, executive director and lobbyist for the Committee
Moral Concerns, a conservative group, agrees that Californians are
"socially liberal" and receptive of gay candidates than they were
20, 30 or
40 years ago. But they haven't fully embraced gay rights, he says.
"If you look at the voting patterns of California as a state,
wasn't too long ago that California passed Proposition 22," he says,
referring to the 2000 ballot measure that strengthened the state's
"There are a number of things like that where Californians are
obviously reasonably conservative, pretty much generic American folks
The author of Proposition 22, state Sen. Pete Knight, R-
contends that the measure would pass by a wider margin today.
"Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have been
becoming more forceful in their agenda and I think that may begin to
off voters," he said.
Leno has introduced a bill that could be classified as a gay
measure, a proposal that would allow local governments to enact
anti-discrimination requirements than the state adopts.
He also plans to introduce a bill banning discrimination
based on a
person's gender identity, and Laird says he may introduce a civil
But the two lawmakers have a myriad of other legislative
ranging from environmental problems to parole and pension fund
issues to, at
least in Leno's case, removing prohibitions on growing industrial
The plant is a much less potent cousin of marijuana that can
with little water and used to make cloth, paper and building
"I guarantee you industrial hemp must be in our future," he
The two men have made fast starts since taking office in
Both have landed committee chairmanships, which is still a coup for a
freshman lawmaker even in the era of short term limits.
Laird heads the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials
which rules on legislation dealing with toxic materials, pesticide
regulation and drinking water protection.
Leno chairs the Public Safety Committee, which handles crime
They draw political inspiration from a couple of humble role
Gandhi in Leno's case, the lowly Chicago Cubs for Laird.
"Being a Cubs fan has prepared me for political life," Laird
"You never take anything for granted. It's always a pleasant
you win something, and you can always appear organized compared to
Both say their reception by other lawmakers, even conservative
Republicans, has been friendly.
"I can't tell you that everyone has given me a big hug and a
handshake," Leno says. "But the vast majority (has)."
Kuehl says that tone could change if a gay rights bill
"There is cordiality from everyone," she says. "However, as
debate begins on the floor of the Assembly that involves anything to
our community I think Mark and John will find what the rest of us
found, which is members who are homophobic will feel no compunction
speaking about it.
"Occasionally they will say, 'Nothing personal, Sheila' or, I
'Nothing personal, Mark, John, Jackie and Christine, but you are
the devil and that's all there is to it.'"
Crony suggests gay lawmakers who feel that's the message
getting are being overly sensitive.
"When someone comes along kind of tweaking the whole of human
they should be prepared to hear some things they may not want to
though there may be no offense intended," he says.
Leno says he and Laird may be able to break down any
other lawmakers have about gay men.
"It may be a novel experience to be conducting business with
gay men," he says. "Hopefully it does demystify who we are as
Guess what? It's not such a big deal and it's hardly dramatic."
. On The Net: The California Assembly:
Gay.com U.K., January 24, 2003
Japan: Court Throws Out Transsexual's Demand To Alter Gender In
The Tokyo Family Court has thrown out a request filed by a
transsexual in 2001 to allow him to alter his gender in the
The man, in his 40s, was born a woman, but had a sex-change
to become a man at Saitama Medical School, the first medical
Japan to offer the procedure.
The court said that the man was "biologically female at the
birth" and that therefore the original records could not be changed.
This is the third case in which a court has not allowed
to change genders in family registers, following two cases in August
December last year.
Collegiate Times, January 24, 2003
(E-Mail: opinions@... )
Anti-gay message spread in Virginia Tech bookstore
by Brian McNeill, Editor in Chief
A religious pamphlet intentionally left in the gay studies
Volume Two Bookstore is being criticized by gay Virginia Tech
implying that homosexuality is sinful.
The pamphlet, which was produced by Gospel Tracts Inc., an
evangelical Christian organization in Baltimore, Md., is
titled, "What will
you say when you stand before a holy God?" and is filled with quotes
Members of Tech's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender
the pamphlet is sending a clear message - it is immoral and
unnatural to be
"There's nothing overtly hateful in it," said Justin
member of LGBTA's executive board. "It's very subtle, the message is
implicit. Its very presence there evokes feelings of guilt and
Gay studies sections in bookstores are often perused by young
struggling with their sexuality, said Wienckowski, a senior computer
major. Seeing a pamphlet subtly condemning homosexuality does
than compound that confusion.
"If you're struggling with your sexuality and you see
says it's not okay to be gay, it could have very negative effects,"
"It's one of the worst forms of religious coercion."
Trey Church, another LGBTA officer and a sophomore psychology
said he finds the pamphlet disturbing because it attempts to
away from being comfortable with homosexuality.
"I think they're trying to scare people, and that doesn't
seem like a
healthy thing to do," Church said. "They're scaring people with
Anonymously distributing evangelical literature in gay
bookstores is more common than one might think, said Beth George, a
spokeswoman for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
"Does this happen? Yes," she said. "Is it their free speech
to do so? Yes."
Volume Two Bookstore does not permit distributing religious or
political literature in the store, said Fred Koziol, Volume Two's
"When my people come across something like this, they get rid
This isn't the first time members of Blacksburg's gay
been on the receiving end of judgmental proselytizing, said Alex
LGBTA officer and junior interdisciplinary studies major.
Napkins with bible verses written on them were dropped in
display cases last semester, Michael said.
Also last semester, the LGBTA door was vandalized with anti-
slurs, she said.
Gospel Tracts Inc. does not have a listed telephone number or
address, so they were unable to be reached for comment on this story.
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