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1st March 2003 (# 3) News Clippings Digest

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  • grahamu_1999 <grahamu_1999@yahoo.com>
    1st March 2003 (# 3) News Clippings Digest 1. DESERET NEWS (Utah) Gays finding a warm welcome; Area places of worship are open and affirming 2. INLAND
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2003
      1st March 2003 (# 3) News Clippings Digest

      1. DESERET NEWS (Utah) Gays finding a warm welcome; Area places of
      worship are 'open and affirming'
      2. INLAND VALLEY DAILY BULLETIN (California) Memorial proposed for
      gay veterans
      3. 365GAY.COM Top Boston Lawyers Support Gay Marriage
      4. 365GAY.COM Night Of Terror In Montreal Gay Club
      5. ABC NEWS (Australia) Mardi Gras numbers are down but organisers
      are happy
      6. NEWS24.COM (South Africa) Cabinet faces Sexual Status Bill

      Deseret News, March 1, 2003
      Box 1257, Salt Lake City, UT, 84110
      (Fax: 801-237-2121 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.desnews.com )
      http://www.deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,465029954,00.html
      Gays finding a warm welcome
      Area places of worship are 'open and affirming'
      By Susan Whitneym, Deseret News staff writer
      One Sunday last fall, after the early service, the Rev.
      Franklin
      Evans was approached by a woman with a stern expression. She said,
      in a
      clipped tone, "I need to talk to you."
      "Uh-oh," he thought, "somebody didn't like my sermon."
      The Rev. Evans was new at the church, Holladay United Church
      of
      Christ, in Salt Lake City. But he had already met most of the
      congregation,
      and he sensed that this was the woman's first time at Holladay UCC.
      He
      invited her to his office, where she demanded to know, "What is
      going on
      here?"
      The Rev. Evans laughs now as he remembers how suspicious she
      sounded.
      But underlying his laughter is sadness. The woman was suspicious
      because
      the church welcomes gays. She was suspicious - although she herself
      is gay.
      The skeptical woman kept attending and now loves Holladay UCC.
      Learning the church's history helped. She's learned this is a
      mainstream
      Protestant church, an outgrowth of Congregationalism, a descendent
      of the
      Pilgrims and the Puritans.
      Many Protestant denominations are in conflict about gay
      ordination
      and commitment ceremonies. But not the United Church of Christ.
      The UCC
      ordains gays, and its ministers bless same-sex unions. The church
      as a
      whole defines itself as "open and affirming." The Holladay
      congregation
      formalized the belief several years ago by holding classes on the
      biblical
      reasons for diversity and inclusion. The members then took an
      official vote
      to be open and affirming.
      Some people left Holladay UCC after the vote, longtime member
      Dina
      Blaes says. As for her, "I don't associate one's sexuality with the
      ability
      to be a good Christian."
      Blaes and her husband have one child, a preschooler, who has
      not yet
      noticed some children in her Sunday School class have parents of the
      same
      sex. When she does notice, Blaes says, "any opportunity to form
      tolerance
      at a tender age is a good opportunity."
      There are other Utah churches where gays are ordained and
      their
      unions are blessed. A quick glance at a phone directory for gays,
      called
      "The Little Lavender Book," shows ads for the various Unitarian
      churches;
      the Metropolitan church in Logan and in Salt Lake City; and the
      Glory to God
      Community Church in Ogden.
      And although there is no ad for the Temple Har Shalom in Park
      City,
      people who are gay and Jewish know that the majority of rabbis in
      Reform
      Judaism voted, in 2001, to affirm same-sex unions.
      Last Thanksgiving, Har Shalom held a diversity Shabbat. A
      member
      whose daughter is lesbian talked about how much she loves her child.
      "Homosexuals and lesbians are part of our community," Rabbi Joshua
      Aaronson
      says. "We know them. We know their parents. Our kids go to school
      with
      their kids." Gays deserve to be judged on their character, he
      says. "They
      deserve our love and respect."
      In Utah, as in other parts of the United States, it is not
      difficult
      for those who are openly gay to find a place to worship. However,
      what may
      be difficult for gay Utahns - what is impossible for some - is to
      leave
      their original faith.
      For gays who grew up Methodist or Baptist or Presbyterian it
      is only
      a small step, theologically speaking, to enter the United Church of
      Christ.
      Yet some Protestants find it impossible to leave their denomination,
      even
      for one so similar.
      It was not hard for a woman named Darla to leave the church
      of her
      childhood. She says she walked into the Metropolitan church and
      felt so
      comfortable that it was easy to keep going. And she's not alone.
      Sean
      McNeil, vice moderator of the Metropolitan Community Church in Salt
      Lake,
      says, "In the past six months our church has doubled in size and
      tripled in
      tithes."
      The Lavender Book ad for the MCC says, "Why would you want to
      attend
      a church that makes you feel bad, alone, rejected, defective,
      unworthy . . .
      " to which Darla merely adds a hearty "amen."
      Yet other homosexuals will say that even if their place of
      worship is
      sometimes a source of pain, it is also the place where they find God.
      Family therapist Julie Stout has counseled several homosexuals who
      have left
      their church, but she doesn't know any who joined another. Those
      who left
      still have spiritual needs, Stout adds.
      "Gay people who are religious often endure significant trials
      with
      shame and depression. A good therapist ought to help them accept
      the truth,
      that God loves them," she says.
      Within many denominations, of course, the question is not one
      of
      sexuality but one of celibacy.
      President Gordon B. Hinckley of The Church of Jesus Christ of
      Latter-day Saints has said church members should love gays and
      lesbians as
      children of God - but if gays and lesbians violate the church's moral
      standards, they will be subject to discipline.
      Orthodox Jews in New York and Miami and other East Coast
      cities have
      recently formed support groups. An Orthodox rabbi has responded,
      saying
      that to be a practicing gay Orthodox is like being a ham-eating
      Orthodox.
      In other words - impossible.
      And as for Islam, a Utah Muslim, Maysa Malas, puts it
      simply, "God
      sets the rules." According to the Quran, she says, homosexuality is
      a sin.
      A Muslim should not flaunt the sin, "should not publicly announce it
      or say
      it is OK." She adds that the Quran also promises God will forgive
      any sin,
      if one is sincere in not committing the sinful act again.
      The promise of forgiveness is present in all religions. As
      are
      religious texts condemning homosexuality. But the emphasis is
      different in
      churches such as the Metropolitan, where ministers like to say, "The
      most
      beautiful word in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is 'whosoever.'"
      The Episcopal Church welcomes gays. According to the Rev.
      Lee Shaw
      of St. James in Sandy, there is not an Episcopal church in Utah
      where a gay
      or lesbian would feel unwelcome. Nor is there a bar to ordination.
      Still, the Rev. Shaw says, he understands why some have left
      the
      Episcopal Church. "They did not feel like they wanted to sit there
      and be
      talked about and not be asked or listened to."
      Recently, the Rev. Shaw went to St. Louis to meet with other
      gays and
      lesbians in preparation for this summer's General Convention, where
      Episcopalians will debate the blessing of same-sex unions. The Rev.
      Shaw
      says no matter what happens at the convention, his group has
      decided, "We
      were baptized in this church and we love this church, and we are
      going to
      continue to work within this church."
      While some within the Episcopal church wish for more, some
      observers
      think things have gone too far already. In fact, All Saints
      Episcopal
      Church, in Salt Lake City, was picketed in 2001 by Baptists from
      Kansas
      because gays are welcome there.
      If the Baptists had gone inside All Saints, they would have
      seen a
      sanctuary full of nicely dressed people; a variety of worshippers -
      old and
      young, black and white, sitting in groups or alone. The worship
      service
      itself was formal, with robed priests and traditional hymns,
      scripture
      readings, a sermon, communion.
      If you were to attend this Episcopal service, you might find
      yourself
      thinking it is not so different from a Catholic Mass. You might
      wonder if
      gay Catholics often leave their church to become Episcopalians.
      But no. In fact, they don't, says a family counselor we'll
      call
      Jane. Jane has led a support group for gay and lesbian Catholics.
      Some
      were in the process of leaving Catholicism, she says. But not many.
      For the most part, Jane says, the people in her group were
      either
      gays who were investigating Catholicism or gays who were Catholic
      and who
      always would be.
      Jane talks of the rich symbolism of her church. She talks of
      how
      God's love becomes real for her there. She mentions a book called
      "Spiritual Directions for the Gay Person," written by a priest.
      This book,
      she says, is profound reading for anyone. "It deals with self-hate."
      Self-hate, she said, keeps you from opening yourself to God.
      And yes, one of the basic tenants [sic] of Catholicism says
      marriage
      may occur only between a man and a woman and sex must always offer
      the
      possibility of conception.
      But many Catholics feel conflict about some aspect of the
      church's
      teachings, Jane says. Divorced Catholics, for example. Women who
      would
      like to be priests. And 70 percent of American Catholics use birth
      control,
      she says. She thinks gays use the same reasoning other Catholics
      use in
      choosing to "stay within a church that is seemingly disapproving."
      Some Catholic religious orders are glad to ordain gay
      priests, Jane
      adds. (Celibacy is required of priests, in any case.)
      Jane points to a statement from the U.S. Conference of
      Catholic
      Bishops, titled "Always Our Children." To her, this is one of the
      most
      beautiful letters ever written. It tells parents of gays, "This
      child, who
      has always been God's gift to you, may now be the cause of another
      gift:
      your family becoming more honest, respectful and supportive. . . ."
      The statement tells priests some people are homosexual
      because of
      "innate instinct" and it is important to recognize the "stability"
      of the
      orientation. It also tells priests to "welcome homosexuals into the
      faith
      community and seek out those on the margins."
      The statement tells gays themselves, "Though at times you may
      feel
      discouraged, hurt or angry, do not walk away from your families,
      from the
      Christian community, from all those who love you. In you, God's
      love is
      revealed. You are always our children."
      Robert Jones of the Utah AIDS Foundation knows gays who want
      to stay
      within their church homes. He talks of a friend who is LDS, and
      celibate,
      and who has told his bishop and several others in his ward that he
      is gay.
      The friend was hoping that the word would get around, Jones says.
      He hoped,
      perhaps, that his fellow ward members would stop introducing him to
      their
      nieces.
      But the word is not getting around. His church friends seem
      protective of him - which he finds rather touching.
      So, it is not only doctrine that keeps him in his church.
      The people
      are one of the things he loves most about his faith.
      For Catholics, if there are times when the larger church
      doesn't feel
      like home, the neighborhood parish does, Jane explains. "Catholics
      really
      are connected with their faith." She is sure people of other faiths
      feel
      the same immutable connection. All humans want the opportunity to
      grow
      within faith, she says. They want to continue to discern God's plan
      for
      their lives.


      Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, March 1, 2003
      2041 East 4th St., Ontario, CA, 91764
      (Fax: 909-948-9038 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.dailybulletin.com/ )
      http://www.dailybulletin.com/Stories/0,1413,203~21481~1212898,00.html
      Memorial proposed for gay veterans
      SACRAMENTO - A San Diego assemblywoman is proposing
      legislation that
      would create a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans
      memorial in
      California.
      "I am privileged to author this historic legislation,"
      Assembly
      Speaker Pro Tem Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, said in a published
      statement.
      "Countless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans have
      given their
      lives to protect and serve the United States and the freedoms we all
      enjoy.
      It is important that we honor their sacrifices and contributions."
      Assembly Bill 1520 is scheduled for consideration in late
      March of
      this year.
      - David M. Drucker, (916) 442-5096.


      365Gay.com, March 1, 2003
      http://365gay.com/NewsContent/030103bosLawyers.htm
      Top Boston Lawyers Support Gay Marriage
      by Michael J. Meade, 365Gay.com Newscenter, Boston Bureau
      Boston, Massachusetts - Boston's top 10 law firms are
      supporting a
      suit against the state of Massachusetts by seven gay and lesbian
      couples who
      want to get married.
      The couples argue the right to marry is a choice protected by
      the
      Massachusetts constitution.
      The Supreme Judicial Court is scheduled to hear oral
      arguments March
      4 in the case. Attorneys for the firms have filed amicus briefs
      supporting
      the right of gays and lesbians to marry.
      The case is the first of several across the US, including one
      in New
      Jersey and will be closely watched by both sides in the marriage
      issue.
      That the most power law firms in New England are backing gay
      marriage
      is not going unnoticed. Their involvement is a far cry from cold
      shoulder
      gay activists got a decade earlier.
      At that time they could not get a single large law firm to
      assist
      them when they wanted to sue former Gov. Michael S. Dukakis over his
      policy
      that banned gays and lesbians from becoming foster parents.
      "We needed a big law firm, but we couldn't get anyone to help
      us,"
      said Gary Buseck, an attorney and executive director of Gay & Lesbian
      Advocate's & Defenders, whose attorneys brought the suit to be heard
      on
      Tuesday. "Now I look down the list of our amici in this case and
      there is
      Foley, Hoag and Ropes & Gray and Bingham McCutchen and the bar
      associations
      . . . I just thought well, well, how the world has changed."
      Buseck said that while he believes the presence of more gay
      and
      lesbian lawyers in positions of power at major firms is one reason
      for the
      support, the fear of scaring off conservative clients is less of a
      factor
      than it once was.
      "These are really the premier firms in town. I think 20
      years ago
      you might have had a partner thinking, 'Oh my God, what are our
      clients
      going to think having us out there on this "homosexual" issue?' But
      they
      don't seem to see this as a danger for them business-wise anymore.
      They
      aren't worrying that their clients are going to walk away from them
      because
      they are supporting this," Buseck said.
      Peter Supcofska, a Bingham partner who is a co-author of the
      firm's
      amicus brief, said that when a firm claims to support civil rights
      it means
      nothing if it isn't backed up.
      "People here at this firm came forward and said, 'Let's do
      this.'
      Certainly here at Bingham, civil rights issues are important,
      whether you
      are gay or Latino or African-American, and that support for those
      issues are
      intrinsic to what being a law firm is all about," he said.
      Added Buseck: "These firms say that diversity is important,
      and this
      is an example that some of them are willing to put their money where
      their
      mouth is."


      365Gay.com, March 1, 2003
      http://365gay.com/NewsContent/030103mtlTerror.htm
      Night Of Terror In Montreal Gay Club
      by Jean-Pierre O'Brien, 365Gay.com Newscenter, Montreal Bureau
      Montreal, Quebec - The crowd is young, the music loud, and Le
      Parking
      is Montreal's "in" bar but early Friday morning, the club in the
      city's gay
      village became a terror zone.
      The last of the trendy young gays had filed out the door and
      staff
      were beginning to clean up. As one of the employees went to the
      door about
      4 am to secure it two armed men burst in.
      Brandishing handguns they herded employees together and tied
      them up.
      One worker, who did not want to be identified said, "all I could
      think of
      was the massacre at the gay club in South Africa. I thought we were
      all
      about to be killed."
      As the robbers riffled the club for the night's receipts one
      terrified worker managed to free his hands enough to lift a phone
      off the
      receiver and dial 911.
      Unable to speak, he hoped someone at the emergency number
      could hear
      what was happening.
      "At the 911 central they knew where the call was coming
      from," said
      Constable Olivier Lapointe of Montreal police. "So even if they
      didn't know
      what was going on, a patroller was called to go to the bar to look
      into it."
      When police arrived, one of the robbers was leaving.
      "He was arrested right away and we found a second suspect
      inside the
      bar," Lapointe said.
      The two robbers, said to be in their early 20s, are charged
      with
      armed robbery and forcible confinement.
      The owner of Le Parking, Greg Thibault, was not in the club
      at the
      time. Thibault said he was relieved no one was injured and that
      security
      will be beefed up immediately.
      Shaken workers praised their fellow employee. "That took
      guts," said
      one. "If he had been discovered they could have shot him."


      ABC News (Australia), March 2, 2003
      http://www.abc.net.au/news/justin/nat/newsnat-2mar2003-19.htm
      Mardi Gras numbers down but organisers happy
      The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival has partied to
      a
      close, with the 25th annual parade drawing a 250,000 people last
      night.
      That is about half of the crowd claimed last year, but the
      organisers
      of this years festival were pleased by the turnout after a year of
      financial
      uncertainty.
      From the Dykes on Bikes to the Sydney Village People and
      beyond, the
      6,000 people on the 140 floats represented difference races, ages,
      sexualities and political persuasions.
      Anti-war and gay law reform were common themes, while the
      Sydney Gay
      nudists group actually wore clothes.
      Mardi Gras co-chair Michael Woodhouse says crowd estimates
      this year
      were based on official police counts.
      "This has been a resounding success for new Mardi Gras," he
      said.
      "People said it couldn't happen, we have proved tonight that
      it
      absolutely can."


      News24.com (South Africa), March 1, 2003
      http://www.news24.com/City_Press/City_Press_News/0,1885,186-
      187_1327323,00.h
      tml
      Cabinet faces Sexual Status Bill
      Mpumelelo Mkhabela
      Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi will present a
      draft
      legislation before cabinet in April that would allow individuals to
      change
      their sex status in the population register.
      If passed, it could arguably be Buthelezi's most daring
      legislation
      since becoming minister.
      According to a briefing document tabled by the Home Affairs
      Department before the national council of provinces's select
      committee on
      social development this week, the bill is considered urgent.
      The SA Law Commission gave the proposed legislation a nod way
      back in
      1995.
      "Sex change is a reality which should be accorded legal
      recognition",
      according to the department's document.
      Committee members were shocked when department acting
      director of
      legal services Sam Mogotsi said the Alteration of Sex Description
      and Sexual
      Status Bill needed to be processed.
      They could, however, not openly voice their opinion as the
      law has
      not been formally tabled.
      Mogotsi explained to MPs that the urgency of the legislation
      has
      resulted from the increasing number of court cases against the
      department by
      individuals who want to change their sex identities.
      He told City Press the department has lost almost 90 percent
      of those
      cases in court, as people use the constitution to advance their
      rights to be
      identified in the sex status of their choice.
      The bill, which is sure to find favour among gay and lesbian
      groups,
      will make provisions that those who change their sex status apply to
      the
      director general of the department.
      There are, however, fears that such a law may distort the
      national
      population register, resulting in the country not knowing how many
      men or
      women there are.
      If the law is passed, the census is likely to change in terms
      of the
      population of men and women.
      The bill would provide that once a person has undergone a sex
      change,
      all his or her identity particulars change completely to reflect the
      new
      identity of that individual, Mogotsi said.
      He said the department was awaiting the outcome of the
      Constitutional
      Court case involving two women who want to have their marriage
      registered in
      the marriage register.
      The women, one of whom gave birth to a child after securing
      sperm
      from a bank in Sandton, partially won her battle in the Durban High
      Court.
      The decision is to be validated by the Constitutional Court.
      The court this week withheld judgement on the matter.
      Should the constitutional court rule in favour of the
      universal
      recognition of gay and lesbian marriages, Buthelezi's ministry would
      have to
      draft legislation to accommodate them.
      In April, Buthelezi's ministry is also due to take to cabinet
      a bill
      which has been described as extremely urgent to curb the growing
      incidents
      of child pornography on the internet.
      Buthelezi recently complained about the proliferation of
      opera music
      films which contain seedy pictures of child pornography.
      The Film and Publication Amendment Bill seeks to prohibit
      child
      pornography through the use of the internet.
      It stipulates that production, publication and distribution
      of child
      pornography material is a punishable offence.
      Buthelezi has said that his former deputy minister, now the
      minister
      of safety and security, Charles Nqakula was going to demonstrate
      such films
      before the cabinet.
      Buthelezi's department will also have to submit a draft
      Marriage
      Amendment Bill aimed at putting in place measures to prevent the
      fraudulent
      marriages by foreigners seeking citizenship in SA.
      The legislation will also provide for the appointment of SA
      diplomats
      abroad as ex-officio marriage officers for the purposes of conducting
      marriages in foreign missions.
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