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24th January 2003 (# 4) News Clippings Digest

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  • grahamu_1999 <grahamu_1999@yahoo.com>
    24th January 2003 (# 4) News Clippings Digest 1. ARIZONA REPUBLIC 60 Valley clerics to affirm support for rights of gays 2. HOUSTON CHRONICLE Klein High
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 26 8:27 PM
      24th January 2003 (# 4) News Clippings Digest

      1. ARIZONA REPUBLIC 60 Valley clerics to affirm support for rights
      of gays
      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
      election
      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
      bookstore

      Arizona Republic, January 24, 2003
      Box 1950, Phoenix, AZ, 85001
      (Fax: 602-271-8933 ) (E-Mail: opinions@... )
      ( http://www.arizonarepublic.com )
      http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0124declaration24.html
      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
      has
      dictated the direction of the debate for too long, plans to issue a
      strong
      statement of support for gay rights on Monday. Scheduled to be
      unveiled at
      a clergy luncheon featuring Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong, a
      liberal
      theologian, the Phoenix Declaration calls for "full acceptance and
      inclusion" of gay people.
      "We are saying the Christian church is not a bigoted
      institution,"
      said the Rev. Stephanie Bikel, pastor of Desert Surprise United
      Church of
      Christ in Surprise. Her denomination has been a leader in affirming
      the
      rights of homosexuals and ordained its first gay minister in 1973.
      "We need to fight the hate and encourage the love," Bikel
      said.
      Positions taken by several denominations have driven gay
      members out
      of Christianity, said Joe Amico, who oversees new church development
      for the
      United Church of Christ-Southwest division.
      "This is a war on people's souls," he said, referring to anti-
      gay
      positions taken by some denominations.
      The declaration includes:
      . A statement that gay people "are distinctive, holy and
      precious
      gifts" to the church.
      . A denial that the Bible dictates an anti-gay posture and
      that there
      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
      of
      members of the United Church of Christ and United Methodist
      churches, the
      two most liberal denominations on the issue. Of the 60 signers of
      the
      declaration, most represent those denominations.
      Several Presbyterians and Catholics also signed.
      No Longer Silent is made up exclusively of Christian
      ministers, said
      David Felten, pastor of Via de Cristo United Methodist Church in
      Scottsdale,
      because it was created as a way to counteract the Christian right.
      Those who caused the most surprise by signing were the
      Catholic
      priests. Catholic teaching condemns homosexual behavior.
      One of the priests, the Rev. Vernon Meyer, said the
      declaration does
      not conflict with Catholic belief, which he said affirms the dignity
      of the
      individual even though it does not accept gay relationships.
      "The declaration condemns discrimination and violence against
      gay
      people," he said. "No church document condemns the gay person or
      even the
      orientation."
      Other signers, including United Methodist Pastors Felten and
      Jeff
      Proctor-Murphy of Asbury United Methodist Church in Phoenix, said
      their
      understanding of the document is that it affirms the gay individual
      fully,
      supporting gay marriages and ordination. But the declaration never
      makes
      those points explicitly.
      The Rev. Stephen Wayles of the First Congregational United
      Church of
      Christ in Phoenix said the document represents "what we can say in
      common"
      in spite of differing doctrinal positions.
      Amico said the issue is one of great importance. "When
      mainline
      denominations are on the verge of splitting up over this, you can
      see that
      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
      openly
      accepted in American society. It stands at the forefront of a
      liberal-conservative split not only between denominations but also
      within
      them, Felten said.
      . Reach the reporter at mike. clancy@... or
      at (602)
      444-8550.


      Houston Chronicle, January 24, 2003
      801 Texas Avenue, Houston, TX, 77002
      (Fax: 713-220-6575 ) (E-Mail: viewpoints@... )
      ( http://www.chron.com/ )
      http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/metropolitan/1749161
      Principal reverses stance on gay article
      By Lucas Wall
      Klein High School's principal reversed his censorship of the
      student
      newspaper Thursday, telling editors he will no longer prohibit the
      Klein
      Bearchat from publishing an article and commentary on efforts to
      form a
      Gay-Straight Alliance at the school.
      A lesbian student filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against
      the Klein
      Independent School District for its failure to approve the alliance.
      Editors of the Bearchat, a monthly newspaper, complained that
      Principal Pat
      Huff had forbidden them from writing about the controversy in three
      previous
      issues.
      After the Houston Chronicle reported the censorship Thursday,
      Huff
      informed the Bearchat he would allow a story on the proposed GSA to
      be
      published in the Jan. 31 issue, said author Tina Macias. Huff also
      decided
      to allow a commentary written by another Bearchat staff member in
      opposition
      of the lawsuit.
      "He said since the veil has been lifted and since it's
      already the
      talk of the school, then we can write about it," said Macias, the
      features
      editor.
      The Bearchat may not run anything about the alliance on its
      front
      page, Macias said.
      Macias is rewriting her story to reflect the lawsuit filing
      and said
      she's pleased it will be published. But, she added, she would like
      it to
      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
      relations, said
      the district was unaware of Huff's censorship.
      "The attorney has advised the articles run," Johnson
      said. "The
      principal's feelings were that it would create a great deal of
      controversy,
      but now I think, with all the media coverage, that reason has kind of
      evaporated."
      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
      stories
      curtailed. Several Bearchat articles have been censored this year,
      including those on AIDS, street racing and restroom use, editors
      said.


      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 )
      http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/PEstory/TGAM/20030124
      /UTORYM
      /national/national/national_temp/6/6/29/
      Gay hopeful can win, Clark says
      Tories just want best candidate possible to fight next election,
      leader
      argues
      By Rod Mickleburgh
      VANCOUVER - The Progressive Conservative Party is ready for a
      gay
      leader, if he is the best candidate, federal Tory Leader Joe Clark
      said
      yesterday.
      Following a kick-off leadership forum here that included MP
      Scott
      Brison, who is gay, Mr. Clark was asked by reporters whether his
      party is
      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
      prepared to
      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
      expected
      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
      Mail last
      month.
      He called for the Tories to embrace bold new ideas, arguing
      that
      controversy is better than not being noticed at all. "Milquetoast,
      mediocre, bland, pablum policies won't offend anyone, but they won't
      turn
      anyone on, either."
      Although British Columbia has been barren ground for the
      Tories since
      1988, an enthusiastic crowd of about 150 people turned out to hear
      the five
      candidates.
      There was recognition of just how far the party has to go for
      a
      revival, however, as candidates talked about attending meetings of
      100
      people in Timmins, Ont., and 60 in Dauphin, Man., as indicators of
      renewed
      interest in the party.
      "But there were days when we couldn't put three . . .
      Conservatives
      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
      with the
      Canadian Alliance, or a unite-the-right campaign, in order to topple
      the
      Liberals. They said moving to the centre is the only way to win
      elections
      in Canada.
      "Not unite the right, but unite Canadians to do what's
      right," Mr.
      Brison declared.
      MP Peter MacKay, considered an early favourite in the coming
      leadership contest, said the polls show that joining with the
      Alliance to
      fight the Liberals won't work.
      "Not only would we jeopardize our own base of support, but we
      would
      forfeit the support of the broad spectrum of Canadians that we need
      to win,"
      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
      support
      for the United States on many matters when polls indicate that 60
      per cent
      of voters want Canada to be more independent of the United States.
      Candidate David Orchard also rejected narrowing differences
      with the
      Alliance. "My goal is to reduce the distance between our party and
      the
      Canadian people."
      Quebec political veteran Heward Grafftey, 74, dismissed the
      idea that
      he's too old to run. "I'm a chicken compared to John A. Macdonald
      when he
      ran his last campaign. He was 77."


      Associated Press, January 24, 2003
      http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/5025058.htm
      New lawmaker sees 'sea change' in public's attitude toward gay
      politicians
      Steve Lawrence
      SACRAMENTO - John Laird says his election 20 years ago as one
      of the
      nation's first openly gay mayors triggered more public reaction than
      when he
      became one of the first two openly gay men to serve in the California
      Legislature.
      It's almost, Laird says, as if people shrugged and
      asked, "This
      didn't happen already?"
      "There's been a sea change in public attitude (toward gay
      candidates)
      in the last number of years," he says. "I don't think the stigma
      that
      existed even in the 1980s exists now."
      Nevertheless, Laird, a community college trustee and former
      Santa
      Cruz mayor and councilman, and Mark Leno, a San Francisco
      supervisor, made
      history last November when they won state Assembly seats.
      Their victories gave the California Legislature five openly
      gay
      members, the most in the nation. They joined three lesbians who won
      seats
      previously: Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, and Assemblywomen
      Christine
      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
      November,
      representing more than eight million Californians on the tax panel.
      And a gay Republican, Bonnie Dumanis, was elected San Diego
      County
      district attorney, defeating a two-term incumbent who had just won a
      highly
      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...,"
      says
      Kuehl, who became California's first openly gay legislator when she
      was
      elected to the Assembly in 1994.
      "But I do know that in every election we've broken another
      glass
      ceiling in one way or another."
      The election of a number of gays to local offices and the
      willingness
      of more and more homosexuals to be open about their sexual
      orientation have
      helped break down those barriers, says Laird.
      "Polls traditionally have shown that you're almost twice as
      likely to
      support gay rights if you know somebody that's openly gay," he
      says. "The
      fact that number has expanded so much (is a reason) public attitudes
      have
      changed."
      He predicts the gains will continue. "There will probably be
      people
      elected to Congress or statewide office ... over the next 10 years
      just
      because of the change in attitude and all the ground work that has
      been
      done."
      Still, Leno says, it's "pretty amazing" that it has taken
      this long
      for openly gay men to win legislative seats in California - 33 years
      after
      the birth of the modern gay rights movement and 26 years after an
      openly gay
      man first ran for the Legislature.
      Thirteen other states have already had openly gay male
      legislators,
      according to Laird, who says the earlier political success of
      lesbians in
      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
      California, a
      gay group, suggests that gay candidates are winning office in
      California
      because they are "running on issues important to the people and most
      of
      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
      on
      Moral Concerns, a conservative group, agrees that Californians are
      more
      "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,
      it
      wasn't too long ago that California passed Proposition 22," he says,
      referring to the 2000 ballot measure that strengthened the state's
      ban on
      gay marriages.
      "There are a number of things like that where Californians are
      obviously reasonably conservative, pretty much generic American folks
      politically."
      The author of Proposition 22, state Sen. Pete Knight, R-
      Palmdale,
      contends that the measure would pass by a wider margin today.
      "Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have been
      pushing and
      becoming more forceful in their agenda and I think that may begin to
      turn
      off voters," he said.
      Leno has introduced a bill that could be classified as a gay
      rights
      measure, a proposal that would allow local governments to enact
      tougher
      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
      rights
      bill, too.
      But the two lawmakers have a myriad of other legislative
      interests,
      ranging from environmental problems to parole and pension fund
      issues to, at
      least in Leno's case, removing prohibitions on growing industrial
      hemp.
      The plant is a much less potent cousin of marijuana that can
      be grown
      with little water and used to make cloth, paper and building
      materials, Leno
      says.
      "I guarantee you industrial hemp must be in our future," he
      adds.
      The two men have made fast starts since taking office in
      December.
      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
      Committee,
      which rules on legislation dealing with toxic materials, pesticide
      regulation and drinking water protection.
      Leno chairs the Public Safety Committee, which handles crime
      legislation.
      They draw political inspiration from a couple of humble role
      models:
      Gandhi in Leno's case, the lowly Chicago Cubs for Laird.
      "Being a Cubs fan has prepared me for political life," Laird
      says.
      "You never take anything for granted. It's always a pleasant
      surprise if
      you win something, and you can always appear organized compared to
      the
      Cubs."
      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
      warm
      handshake," Leno says. "But the vast majority (has)."
      Kuehl says that tone could change if a gay rights bill
      reaches the
      Assembly floor.
      "There is cordiality from everyone," she says. "However, as
      soon as
      debate begins on the floor of the Assembly that involves anything to
      do with
      our community I think Mark and John will find what the rest of us
      have
      found, which is members who are homophobic will feel no compunction
      in
      speaking about it.
      "Occasionally they will say, 'Nothing personal, Sheila' or, I
      assume,
      'Nothing personal, Mark, John, Jackie and Christine, but you are
      spawn of
      the devil and that's all there is to it.'"
      Crony suggests gay lawmakers who feel that's the message
      they're
      getting are being overly sensitive.
      "When someone comes along kind of tweaking the whole of human
      history
      they should be prepared to hear some things they may not want to
      hear, even
      though there may be no offense intended," he says.
      Leno says he and Laird may be able to break down any
      stereotypes that
      other lawmakers have about gay men.
      "It may be a novel experience to be conducting business with
      openly
      gay men," he says. "Hopefully it does demystify who we are as
      people.
      Guess what? It's not such a big deal and it's hardly dramatic."
      . On The Net: The California Assembly:
      http://www.assembly.ca.gov


      Gay.com U.K., January 24, 2003
      http://uk.gay.com/headlines/3548
      Japan: Court Throws Out Transsexual's Demand To Alter Gender In
      Register
      The Tokyo Family Court has thrown out a request filed by a
      transsexual in 2001 to allow him to alter his gender in the
      country's family
      register.
      The man, in his 40s, was born a woman, but had a sex-change
      operation
      to become a man at Saitama Medical School, the first medical
      facility in
      Japan to offer the procedure.
      The court said that the man was "biologically female at the
      time of
      birth" and that therefore the original records could not be changed.
      This is the third case in which a court has not allowed
      transsexuals
      to change genders in family registers, following two cases in August
      and
      December last year.


      Collegiate Times, January 24, 2003
      (E-Mail: opinions@... )
      http://www.collegiatetimes.com/index.php?ID=343
      Anti-gay message spread in Virginia Tech bookstore
      by Brian McNeill, Editor in Chief
      A religious pamphlet intentionally left in the gay studies
      section of
      Volume Two Bookstore is being criticized by gay Virginia Tech
      students for
      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
      from
      the Bible.
      Members of Tech's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender
      Alliance said
      the pamphlet is sending a clear message - it is immoral and
      unnatural to be
      gay.
      "There's nothing overtly hateful in it," said Justin
      Wienckowski, a
      member of LGBTA's executive board. "It's very subtle, the message is
      implicit. Its very presence there evokes feelings of guilt and
      shame."
      Gay studies sections in bookstores are often perused by young
      people
      struggling with their sexuality, said Wienckowski, a senior computer
      science
      major. Seeing a pamphlet subtly condemning homosexuality does
      little more
      than compound that confusion.
      "If you're struggling with your sexuality and you see
      something that
      says it's not okay to be gay, it could have very negative effects,"
      he said.
      "It's one of the worst forms of religious coercion."
      Trey Church, another LGBTA officer and a sophomore psychology
      major,
      said he finds the pamphlet disturbing because it attempts to
      frighten people
      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
      their
      ignorance."
      Anonymously distributing evangelical literature in gay
      sections of
      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
      right
      to do so? Yes."
      Volume Two Bookstore does not permit distributing religious or
      political literature in the store, said Fred Koziol, Volume Two's
      manager.
      "When my people come across something like this, they get rid
      of it,"
      he said.
      This isn't the first time members of Blacksburg's gay
      community have
      been on the receiving end of judgmental proselytizing, said Alex
      Michael, an
      LGBTA officer and junior interdisciplinary studies major.
      Napkins with bible verses written on them were dropped in
      LGBTA
      display cases last semester, Michael said.
      Also last semester, the LGBTA door was vandalized with anti-
      gay
      slurs, she said.
      Gospel Tracts Inc. does not have a listed telephone number or
      e-mail
      address, so they were unable to be reached for comment on this story.
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