1st August, 2001 (# 3) News Clippings Digest.
- 1st August, 2001 (# 3) News Clippings Digest.
1. RICHMOND.COM STYLE WEEKLY (VA) With This Ring: Virginia
politicians face off over the legal rights of gay partners
2. BREMERTON (WA) SUN Two letters from Clippings readers
3. TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE Letter from a drooler
4. BELLINGHAM (WA) HERALD Letter: Vandalism by Mormon Boy Scouts
doesn't exemplify 'moral staightness'
5. THE OLYMPIAN (WA) Olympia may drop United Way; Boy Scouts'
policy on gays at heart of dispute
6. SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE Congress urged to ban job bias against
gays (ENDA is re-introduced)
Richmond.com Style Weekly, July 31, 2001
With This Ring
Virginia politicians face off over the legal rights of gay partners.
John Toivonen, Style Weekly
When Randy Starnes met Darrell Fitzgerald in January 2001, he
had met the man he wanted to live with for the rest of his life.
felt the same way.
"Randy was the first man I could see as an old man sitting
next to me
on the porch in a rocking chair," Fitzgerald says.
"The fact that his faith is strong attracted me to him," says
Starnes, who is an organist at Metropolitan Community Church of
Six months later, they took the plunge. "One day I said,
marry me?'" Starnes says. "And he said yes."
So in a ceremony this June at the Metropolitan Community
Starnes and Fitzgerald, wearing gray suits, exchanged rings and vows
commitment in front of family and friends.
Starnes and Fitzgerald took part in a church service without
automatic legal bonds created by heterosexual marriages.
ceremonies are increasingly popular. Since the Metropolitan Community
Church opened its doors in 1968, its pastors have performed scores of
Those ceremonies are part of a push for legally recognized
between gay partners - so-called civil unions.
And in an election year, this most personal of subjects has
pulled into politics.
During the Democratic Party's June debate for lieutenant-
candidates, Richmond Mayor Tim Kaine stated his support for "civil
for gay couples, which would allow gay couples to file joint tax
receive insurance benefits and make financial decisions for each
just like married couples.
That was widely viewed as support for gay legal unions.
running mate, Mark Warner, said he didn't agree with Kaine on the
Lately, however, Kaine seems to have taken a different
"I think the institution of marriage is fine. I don't believe
need to create an alternative," Kaine tells Style. "Gays and lesbians
should not be discriminated against in housing, or employment. When
question came up in the debate I said I support changing the state
discrimination laws to [include gays]."
Larry Sabato, a political pundit at the University of Virginia,
describes that as a politically motivated change. "He's realized
issue that sells in a liberal primary, but doesn't sell in a broad-
general election," Sabato says. "But whatever you say later, you're
with your first position. .
"There is not a mother lode of votes from people for gay
Sabato continues. And in changing his position, Kaine "might end up
alienating both sides."
Should the issue even be in politics? Many gay couples
has to be. They argue that they don't receive the same benefits as
heterosexual couples. They point to issues such as insurance,
finances of an ill partner, and hospital visitation rights as
While gay civil unions are high on the radar for gay
haven't gotten much traction politically. Last year, left-leaning
California passed - with 61 percent of the vote - a ballot initiative
blocking gay marriage. In 1996 Congress easily passed the Defense of
Marriage Act, a law that allows states to not recognize gay marriages
created in other states. The Virginia General Assembly passed its
blocking gay marriage in 1997.
Are legally recognized gay marriages likely to be coming to
Sabato doesn't think so - the state is too conservative, he says.
Republican lieutenant-governor candidate Jay Katzen agrees.
California isn't ready for gay marriage," Katzen says, "then you know
And Katzen gleefully tackles Kaine on the issue. "I have met
Virginian after Virginian who is disturbed by his [Kaine's]
Katzen also opposes lifting the law prohibiting sodomy from
because he believes that it serves as a deterrent to dangerous
Virginia is one of 17 states that still have laws prohibiting sodomy.
Arizona repealed its law this year.
"AIDS is the product, sadly, in most cases of a choice that
have made," Katzen says. "We recognize that homosexuality is a
s a lifestyle with public-health consequences."
Katzen calls tearing up the sodomy law a step towards gay
"It's an effort is to begin the process of laying the framework for
marriage," Katzen says.
Kaine agrees the sodomy laws shouldn't be removed. But he
s because they're irrelevant and unenforced in private situations.
"They're not a priority," Kaine says. "I don't know if
Some say creating a legally recognized gay marriage is
Gay couples "can sign power of attorney, designate wills and sign
visitation rights," says Bob Knight, a specialist on domestic law
Concerned Women for America, a conservative Christian women's group.
did a survey and couldn't find a single hospital that turned away a
A civil union is not needed for legal protection."
Perhaps. Nonetheless, many gays have made their way to
take part in civil unions. According to a report done by the Catholic
University of America, 28 people have traveled to Vermont from
certify their unions.
Lisa Belongia, who in 1997 held a holy-union ceremony with her
partner, Tina Webb, at Metropolitan Community Church, strongly argues
gays should be allowed to have legal marriages just like
understands, she says, that her marriage ceremony had political
implications: She has publicly declared her intention to live openly
But Belongia says she won't be satisfied until the state
her relationship: "Until we can do the same thing [marry], it won't be
Until that happens, Randy Starnes and Darrell Fitzgerald are
on legal documents that they have signed giving each other the same
and privileges of married heterosexuals. They keep legal papers in
cars stating each other's right to make critical decisions for the
But they say they are concerned that those agreements could be
"I don't care what the government says," Starnes says. "I
he and I are married."
Bremerton Sun, August 1, 2001
P. O. Box 259, Bremerton, WA, 98310
(Fax: 360-479-7681) ( http://www.thesunlink.com )
(Online Mailer: http://www.thesunlink.com/letters/index.html )
Letter: Denied civil rights
Rose Fagerness is upset that gays are promiscuous and don't
personal responsibility (letter, July 22).
But then she criticizes those gays who want to be responsible
person who they love by legally marrying and taking on the financial
emotional responsibility marriage requires.
If straight kids never saw stable heterosexual partnerships as
grew up, were denied the legal right to commit to another and learned
their sexual orientation from the Internet and magazines, how
sexually would they be?
To paraphrase Ms. Fagerness, I never thought I'd see the day
would be denied civil rights based on sexual desire.
I'm a proud mom of four, one of whom is gay.
- Wendy Wartes, Woodinville [Kheeta2@...]
In a letter to the Sun on July 23, a Poulsbo writer makes a
case for the American proclivity to pass blame off on somebody else,
blaming the hot coffee server if the stupid customer spills coffee on
herself. Then he claims that this is just like a promiscuous
claiming the right to marry.
This is simply base homophobia parading around in the clothing
twisted logic. Irresponsible promiscuous people of either sex and of
sexual orientations have been infecting each other since people
this planet. These kinds of people, no matter if they are
gay [or President], rarely change their behavior when they get
However marriage is a wholesome foundation of civilized
the majority of heterosexual and gay & lesbian couples share the same
values of fidelity, sacrifice, commitment and love. Even the latest
shows that gay & lesbian familes have more in common with heterosexual
families than either have with their single counterparts. Marriage is
reward for behavior. Marriage is an incorporation recognized by the
Churches bless the ceremony, including many gay & lesbian weddings,
state collects the taxes and issues the protections and benefits.
Sexual behavior has nothing to do with it. And neither should
- Janice Van Cleve, Legal Marriage Alliance of Washington,
Tacoma News Tribune, August 1, 2001
Box 11000, Tacoma, WA, 98411
(Fax: 253-597-8451 ) (E-Mail: leted@... )
( http://www.tribnet.com/ )
Letter: Columnist Hall's logic on marriage a little faulty
I usually enjoy reading comments from our Bill Hall on
However, on July 21 I took exception to his logic. He says we should
any union of two (or more?) people as a marriage simply because he
some folks whose marriage has had some ups and downs.
Then he describes anyone who would take exception to the "one
one woman" idea of legal marriage as "religious zealots." I guess
supposed to put those who believe the Bible in the category of
zealot." I suppose the pilgrims who fled "enlightened Europe" to the
world were just "religious zealots."
Furthermore, in thousands of years of human history, the
perversion has been tried many times and failed. Anatomically
human species was designed to procreate, male and female. The human
was not designed to accommodate any union but male and female.
To prevent this design causes anomalies that medical science
disease, including AIDS and others. So, maybe there are valid
pass laws which define marriage as one man, one woman -- in spite of
notion that some married folks don't meet Lewiston, Idaho, standards.
- LARRY GERINGER, Lakewood
Bellingham Herald, August 1, 2001
P. O. Box 1277, Bellingham, WA, 98225
(Fax: 360-647-9260 )
Letter: Boy Scout vandalism doesn't exemplify 'moral staightness'
The Bellingham Herald reported an appalling act of wanton
by some Utah Boy Scouts. They ripped out and tossed into a reservoir
dinosaur tracks that were almost 200 million years old. Rangers say
there are only a handful of dilophasouras "track ways" of that age in
Track ways are three or more tracks made by the same dinosaur.
discovery in 1987, many visitors from around the world came to Utah to
marvel at this priceless imprint of prehistoric creatures. 200
years of wonder were destroyed by the thoughtless alleged act of a
15-year-old and his companions, a felony under federal law.
These Boy Scouts were part of a troop belonging to the Salt
Boy Scout Council. In Utah, councils have a person in charge of what
call "LDS Relations." It's well known that the Mormon church is a
sponsor of Scout troops, with a powerful role in the governance of
Scouts of America. They played a leading role in banishing gay
counselors as not being "morally straight." Evidently the Salt Lake
Scouts were given a narrow definition of "moral straightness" by those
troops influenced by the LDS Relations folks.
- Robert Schultz, Sudden Valley
The Olympian, August 1, 2001
P. O. Box 407, Olympia, WA, 98507
(Fax: 206-754-5408 ) ( http://news.theolympian.com )
(Online Mailer: http://www.theolympian.com/forms/lettrfrm.shtml )
Olympia may drop United Way
Boy Scouts' policy on gays at heart of dispute
MICHAEL BURNHAM, THE OLYMPIAN
OLYMPIA -- Olympia will likely become the first city in the
end fund-raising support for the United Way, because of the Thurston
chapter's continued support of the Boy Scouts of America.
With about 600 employees, the city's annual employee
about $30,000 makes it one of the United Way chapter's top 10
A June 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision upheld the Boy Scouts'
gay people serving as Scout leaders. The United Way of Thurston
board in April chose not to alter its long-standing funding of the
That sparked criticism from city employees that the continued
fund raising on behalf of the United Way violates the city's
nondiscrimination policy, which prohibits discrimination in the
The city annually organizes a United Way capital campaign
composed of about 30 on-the-clock employees who voluntarily solicit
donations from co-workers. If employees choose to donate, the
are deducted from their paychecks.
"Sending a message is not important to me; stopping support
Councilman Curt Pavola, a gay rights activist. "I'm not interested in
supporting the Boy Scouts or the United Way in whatever we do
That sentiment struck a unanimous chord among all council
were present. Mayor Pro Tem Mark Foutch was absent.
Last week, the council's General Government Committee
continued United Way fund-raising activities, but by using customized
that would not allow employee funds to go to either the Boy Scouts or
United Way's general funding pool.
However, City Attorney Mark Erickson on Tuesday said that a
to selectively ban employees from contributing to charities through an
umbrella organization would stand on shaky legal ground. Instead, the
council directed staff to write a resolution stating that the city
its decades-old relationship with the United Way, starting with its
Additionally, the General Government Committee will examine the
city's overall use of taxpayer money and other resources to raise
"This is bigger than the Boy Scouts," Mayor Stan Biles said.
"There's religious discrimination with some organizations, and there's
gender discrimination with other organizations."
The council will vote on the United Way policy change Aug.
the council stays its course, United Way Executive Director Pam Toal
the city would be the first in the nation to sever ties with the
because of the Scout issue.
"I'm troubled with your decision, but I respect what you're
through with making that decision," said United Way of Thurston
member John Maxwell, whose board labored six months on its Boy Scouts
Two United Way board members and one staff member resigned as a
result of the Scout decision.
"If we can't get an envelope in the mailboxes asking employees
contribute, then you've just sealed the fate of hundreds of your
. Michael Burnham covers Olympia for The Olympian. He can be
. On the Web:
United Way of Thurston County (www.unitedway-thurston.org)
City of Olympia (www.ci.olympia.wa.us)
San Francisco Chronicle, August 1, 2001
901 Mission St., San Francisco, CA, 94103
(Fax: 415-896-1107 ) (E-Mail: chronletters@... )
( http://www.sfgate.com )
Congress urged to ban job bias against gays
Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Washington -- Sensing momentum may finally be on their side,
advocates of federal legislation that would ban job discrimination
gays and lesbians reintroduced their proposal yesterday.
The coming battle over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act
mark the fifth time Congress has taken up the idea of adding sexual
orientation to categories such as race, sex and religion already
employment rights protection.
The measure, which covers employers' decisions about hiring,
pay and promotion, has never reached a a vote in the House, where the
Republican leadership opposes the proposal. In the Senate, the
lost by one vote in 1996.
But with Democrats now in control of the Senate, following
Sen. James Jeffords' defection from the Republican Party two months
backers say the bill could finally pass, perhaps this autumn.
"With the change of leadership in the Senate, the people didn't
change, but the priorities did," Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said
Capitol Hill news conference where he was joined by a raft of the
co-sponsors, including Jeffords.
"We have every expectation we'll vote on it," added Kennedy,
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., has promised to bring the
up for a vote.
In the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, backers have
180 co- sponsors, mostly Democrats, said Patricia [sic: Elizabeth]
director of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and
advocacy group. The House has 435 members.
Republican supporters admitted that it wouldn't be easy to get
GOP leadership to allow the bill to reach the House floor for a vote.
"I'm not certain it will come up this year," said Rep. Mark
Florida. "We'll hope. We'll advocate. We're making our case to the
Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., said, "If the Senate brings
the floor, we can get it to the House floor, and I think it passes."
that's the same thing Shays said in 1999, the last time the bill was
introduced in Congress.
Birch said proponents might try to tack the measure onto an
piece of legislation the GOP leadership badly wants to pass. "We'll
for a vehicle that's absolutely non-negotiable for them," she said.
Twelve states, including California, as well as hundreds of
governments ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.
A growing number of big businesses have adopted similar
Gary Fazzino, a vice president of public affairs for Hewlett-Packard
member of the Palo Alto City Council, was among those who appeared at
press conference yesterday to back the legislation.
In response to objections raised about previous versions of
which opponents said granted special rights to gays, the measure has
streamlined. It covers only businesses with more than 15 employees,
religious organizations and the armed forces, does not require quotas
affirmative action and does not require employers to provide domestic
But the changes have failed to impress opponents, who vow to
the bill for a fifth time.
Connie Mackey, vice president of government affairs for the
conservative Family Research Council, argued that the bill still would
provide special protections to gays.
"We are strong supporters of civil rights, but not gay
said. "You can't tell someone's sexual proclivity by looking at
you can tell their race or sex."
"Anyone who's gay already has employment protections under
laws," Mackey added. "To have special laws for this group is
and something we don't support."
With the conservative House leadership still in place, she
don't think the House will ever pass it. With the Senate, one never
. E-mail Edward Epstein at eepstein@...
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