1st March 2003 (# 3) News Clippings Digest
- 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
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
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 )
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.
Evans was approached by a woman with a stern expression. She said,
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
Christ, in Salt Lake City. But he had already met most of the
and he sensed that this was the woman's first time at Holladay UCC.
invited her to his office, where she demanded to know, "What is
The Rev. Evans laughs now as he remembers how suspicious she
But underlying his laughter is sadness. The woman was suspicious
the church welcomes gays. She was suspicious - although she herself
The skeptical woman kept attending and now loves Holladay UCC.
Learning the church's history helped. She's learned this is a
Protestant church, an outgrowth of Congregationalism, a descendent
Pilgrims and the Puritans.
Many Protestant denominations are in conflict about gay
and commitment ceremonies. But not the United Church of Christ.
ordains gays, and its ministers bless same-sex unions. The church
whole defines itself as "open and affirming." The Holladay
formalized the belief several years ago by holding classes on the
reasons for diversity and inclusion. The members then took an
to be open and affirming.
Some people left Holladay UCC after the vote, longtime member
Blaes says. As for her, "I don't associate one's sexuality with the
to be a good Christian."
Blaes and her husband have one child, a preschooler, who has
noticed some children in her Sunday School class have parents of the
sex. When she does notice, Blaes says, "any opportunity to form
at a tender age is a good opportunity."
There are other Utah churches where gays are ordained and
unions are blessed. A quick glance at a phone directory for gays,
"The Little Lavender Book," shows ads for the various Unitarian
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
people who are gay and Jewish know that the majority of rabbis in
Judaism voted, in 2001, to affirm same-sex unions.
Last Thanksgiving, Har Shalom held a diversity Shabbat. A
whose daughter is lesbian talked about how much she loves her child.
"Homosexuals and lesbians are part of our community," Rabbi Joshua
says. "We know them. We know their parents. Our kids go to school
their kids." Gays deserve to be judged on their character, he
deserve our love and respect."
In Utah, as in other parts of the United States, it is not
for those who are openly gay to find a place to worship. However,
be difficult for gay Utahns - what is impossible for some - is to
their original faith.
For gays who grew up Methodist or Baptist or Presbyterian it
a small step, theologically speaking, to enter the United Church of
Yet some Protestants find it impossible to leave their denomination,
for one so similar.
It was not hard for a woman named Darla to leave the church
childhood. She says she walked into the Metropolitan church and
comfortable that it was easy to keep going. And she's not alone.
McNeil, vice moderator of the Metropolitan Community Church in Salt
says, "In the past six months our church has doubled in size and
The Lavender Book ad for the MCC says, "Why would you want to
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
sometimes a source of pain, it is also the place where they find God.
Family therapist Julie Stout has counseled several homosexuals who
their church, but she doesn't know any who joined another. Those
still have spiritual needs, Stout adds.
"Gay people who are religious often endure significant trials
shame and depression. A good therapist ought to help them accept
that God loves them," she says.
Within many denominations, of course, the question is not one
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
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
recently formed support groups. An Orthodox rabbi has responded,
that to be a practicing gay Orthodox is like being a ham-eating
In other words - impossible.
And as for Islam, a Utah Muslim, Maysa Malas, puts it
sets the rules." According to the Quran, she says, homosexuality is
A Muslim should not flaunt the sin, "should not publicly announce it
it is OK." She adds that the Quran also promises God will forgive
if one is sincere in not committing the sinful act again.
The promise of forgiveness is present in all religions. As
religious texts condemning homosexuality. But the emphasis is
churches such as the Metropolitan, where ministers like to say, "The
beautiful word in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is 'whosoever.'"
The Episcopal Church welcomes gays. According to the Rev.
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
Episcopal Church. "They did not feel like they wanted to sit there
talked about and not be asked or listened to."
Recently, the Rev. Shaw went to St. Louis to meet with other
lesbians in preparation for this summer's General Convention, where
Episcopalians will debate the blessing of same-sex unions. The Rev.
says no matter what happens at the convention, his group has
were baptized in this church and we love this church, and we are
continue to work within this church."
While some within the Episcopal church wish for more, some
think things have gone too far already. In fact, All Saints
Church, in Salt Lake City, was picketed in 2001 by Baptists from
because gays are welcome there.
If the Baptists had gone inside All Saints, they would have
sanctuary full of nicely dressed people; a variety of worshippers -
young, black and white, sitting in groups or alone. The worship
itself was formal, with robed priests and traditional hymns,
readings, a sermon, communion.
If you were to attend this Episcopal service, you might find
thinking it is not so different from a Catholic Mass. You might
gay Catholics often leave their church to become Episcopalians.
But no. In fact, they don't, says a family counselor we'll
Jane. Jane has led a support group for gay and lesbian Catholics.
were in the process of leaving Catholicism, she says. But not many.
For the most part, Jane says, the people in her group were
gays who were investigating Catholicism or gays who were Catholic
always would be.
Jane talks of the rich symbolism of her church. She talks of
God's love becomes real for her there. She mentions a book called
"Spiritual Directions for the Gay Person," written by a priest.
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
may occur only between a man and a woman and sex must always offer
possibility of conception.
But many Catholics feel conflict about some aspect of the
teachings, Jane says. Divorced Catholics, for example. Women who
like to be priests. And 70 percent of American Catholics use birth
she says. She thinks gays use the same reasoning other Catholics
choosing to "stay within a church that is seemingly disapproving."
Some Catholic religious orders are glad to ordain gay
adds. (Celibacy is required of priests, in any case.)
Jane points to a statement from the U.S. Conference of
Bishops, titled "Always Our Children." To her, this is one of the
beautiful letters ever written. It tells parents of gays, "This
has always been God's gift to you, may now be the cause of another
your family becoming more honest, respectful and supportive. . . ."
The statement tells priests some people are homosexual
"innate instinct" and it is important to recognize the "stability"
orientation. It also tells priests to "welcome homosexuals into the
community and seek out those on the margins."
The statement tells gays themselves, "Though at times you may
discouraged, hurt or angry, do not walk away from your families,
Christian community, from all those who love you. In you, God's
revealed. You are always our children."
Robert Jones of the Utah AIDS Foundation knows gays who want
within their church homes. He talks of a friend who is LDS, and
and who has told his bishop and several others in his ward that he
The friend was hoping that the word would get around, Jones says.
perhaps, that his fellow ward members would stop introducing him to
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.
are one of the things he loves most about his faith.
For Catholics, if there are times when the larger church
like home, the neighborhood parish does, Jane explains. "Catholics
are connected with their faith." She is sure people of other faiths
the same immutable connection. All humans want the opportunity to
within faith, she says. They want to continue to discern God's plan
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/ )
Memorial proposed for gay veterans
SACRAMENTO - A San Diego assemblywoman is proposing
would create a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans
"I am privileged to author this historic legislation,"
Speaker Pro Tem Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, said in a published
"Countless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans have
lives to protect and serve the United States and the freedoms we all
It is important that we honor their sacrifices and contributions."
Assembly Bill 1520 is scheduled for consideration in late
- David M. Drucker, (916) 442-5096.
365Gay.com, March 1, 2003
Top Boston Lawyers Support Gay Marriage
by Michael J. Meade, 365Gay.com Newscenter, Boston Bureau
Boston, Massachusetts - Boston's top 10 law firms are
suit against the state of Massachusetts by seven gay and lesbian
want to get married.
The couples argue the right to marry is a choice protected by
The Supreme Judicial Court is scheduled to hear oral
4 in the case. Attorneys for the firms have filed amicus briefs
the right of gays and lesbians to marry.
The case is the first of several across the US, including one
Jersey and will be closely watched by both sides in the marriage
That the most power law firms in New England are backing gay
is not going unnoticed. Their involvement is a far cry from cold
gay activists got a decade earlier.
At that time they could not get a single large law firm to
them when they wanted to sue former Gov. Michael S. Dukakis over his
that banned gays and lesbians from becoming foster parents.
"We needed a big law firm, but we couldn't get anyone to help
said Gary Buseck, an attorney and executive director of Gay & Lesbian
Advocate's & Defenders, whose attorneys brought the suit to be heard
Tuesday. "Now I look down the list of our amici in this case and
Foley, Hoag and Ropes & Gray and Bingham McCutchen and the bar
. . . I just thought well, well, how the world has changed."
Buseck said that while he believes the presence of more gay
lesbian lawyers in positions of power at major firms is one reason
support, the fear of scaring off conservative clients is less of a
than it once was.
"These are really the premier firms in town. I think 20
you might have had a partner thinking, 'Oh my God, what are our
going to think having us out there on this "homosexual" issue?' But
don't seem to see this as a danger for them business-wise anymore.
aren't worrying that their clients are going to walk away from them
they are supporting this," Buseck said.
Peter Supcofska, a Bingham partner who is a co-author of the
amicus brief, said that when a firm claims to support civil rights
nothing if it isn't backed up.
"People here at this firm came forward and said, 'Let's do
Certainly here at Bingham, civil rights issues are important,
are gay or Latino or African-American, and that support for those
intrinsic to what being a law firm is all about," he said.
Added Buseck: "These firms say that diversity is important,
is an example that some of them are willing to put their money where
365Gay.com, March 1, 2003
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
is Montreal's "in" bar but early Friday morning, the club in the
village became a terror zone.
The last of the trendy young gays had filed out the door and
were beginning to clean up. As one of the employees went to the
4 am to secure it two armed men burst in.
Brandishing handguns they herded employees together and tied
One worker, who did not want to be identified said, "all I could
was the massacre at the gay club in South Africa. I thought we were
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
receiver and dial 911.
Unable to speak, he hoped someone at the emergency number
what was happening.
"At the 911 central they knew where the call was coming
Constable Olivier Lapointe of Montreal police. "So even if they
what was going on, a patroller was called to go to the bar to look
When police arrived, one of the robbers was leaving.
"He was arrested right away and we found a second suspect
bar," Lapointe said.
The two robbers, said to be in their early 20s, are charged
armed robbery and forcible confinement.
The owner of Le Parking, Greg Thibault, was not in the club
time. Thibault said he was relieved no one was injured and that
will be beefed up immediately.
Shaken workers praised their fellow employee. "That took
one. "If he had been discovered they could have shot him."
ABC News (Australia), March 2, 2003
Mardi Gras numbers down but organisers happy
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival has partied to
close, with the 25th annual parade drawing a 250,000 people last
That is about half of the crowd claimed last year, but the
of this years festival were pleased by the turnout after a year of
From the Dykes on Bikes to the Sydney Village People and
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
nudists group actually wore clothes.
Mardi Gras co-chair Michael Woodhouse says crowd estimates
were based on official police counts.
"This has been a resounding success for new Mardi Gras," he
"People said it couldn't happen, we have proved tonight that
News24.com (South Africa), March 1, 2003
Cabinet faces Sexual Status Bill
Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi will present a
legislation before cabinet in April that would allow individuals to
their sex status in the population register.
If passed, it could arguably be Buthelezi's most daring
since becoming minister.
According to a briefing document tabled by the Home Affairs
Department before the national council of provinces's select
social development this week, the bill is considered urgent.
The SA Law Commission gave the proposed legislation a nod way
"Sex change is a reality which should be accorded legal
according to the department's document.
Committee members were shocked when department acting
legal services Sam Mogotsi said the Alteration of Sex Description
Status Bill needed to be processed.
They could, however, not openly voice their opinion as the
not been formally tabled.
Mogotsi explained to MPs that the urgency of the legislation
resulted from the increasing number of court cases against the
individuals who want to change their sex identities.
He told City Press the department has lost almost 90 percent
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
will make provisions that those who change their sex status apply to
director general of the department.
There are, however, fears that such a law may distort the
population register, resulting in the country not knowing how many
women there are.
If the law is passed, the census is likely to change in terms
population of men and women.
The bill would provide that once a person has undergone a sex
all his or her identity particulars change completely to reflect the
identity of that individual, Mogotsi said.
He said the department was awaiting the outcome of the
Court case involving two women who want to have their marriage
the marriage register.
The women, one of whom gave birth to a child after securing
from a bank in Sandton, partially won her battle in the Durban High
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
recognition of gay and lesbian marriages, Buthelezi's ministry would
draft legislation to accommodate them.
In April, Buthelezi's ministry is also due to take to cabinet
which has been described as extremely urgent to curb the growing
of child pornography on the internet.
Buthelezi recently complained about the proliferation of
films which contain seedy pictures of child pornography.
The Film and Publication Amendment Bill seeks to prohibit
pornography through the use of the internet.
It stipulates that production, publication and distribution
pornography material is a punishable offence.
Buthelezi has said that his former deputy minister, now the
of safety and security, Charles Nqakula was going to demonstrate
before the cabinet.
Buthelezi's department will also have to submit a draft
Amendment Bill aimed at putting in place measures to prevent the
marriages by foreigners seeking citizenship in SA.
The legislation will also provide for the appointment of SA
abroad as ex-officio marriage officers for the purposes of conducting
marriages in foreign missions.
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