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1st August, 2001 (# 3) News Clippings Digest.

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    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 21, 2001
      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
      Richmond, VA
      http://www1.richmond.com/printer.cfm?article=1539029
      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
      knew he
      had met the man he wanted to live with for the rest of his life.
      Fitzgerald
      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
      Richmond.
      Six months later, they took the plunge. "One day I said,
      'Will you
      marry me?'" Starnes says. "And he said yes."
      So in a ceremony this June at the Metropolitan Community
      Church,
      Starnes and Fitzgerald, wearing gray suits, exchanged rings and vows
      of
      commitment in front of family and friends.
      Starnes and Fitzgerald took part in a church service without
      the
      automatic legal bonds created by heterosexual marriages.
      Nonetheless, such
      ceremonies are increasingly popular. Since the Metropolitan Community
      Church opened its doors in 1968, its pastors have performed scores of
      holy
      union ceremonies.
      Those ceremonies are part of a push for legally recognized
      unions
      between gay partners - so-called civil unions.
      And in an election year, this most personal of subjects has
      been
      pulled into politics.
      During the Democratic Party's June debate for lieutenant-
      governor
      candidates, Richmond Mayor Tim Kaine stated his support for "civil
      benefits"
      for gay couples, which would allow gay couples to file joint tax
      returns,
      receive insurance benefits and make financial decisions for each
      other -
      just like married couples.
      That was widely viewed as support for gay legal unions.
      Kaine's
      running mate, Mark Warner, said he didn't agree with Kaine on the
      issue.
      Lately, however, Kaine seems to have taken a different
      position.
      "I think the institution of marriage is fine. I don't believe
      we
      need to create an alternative," Kaine tells Style. "Gays and lesbians
      should not be discriminated against in housing, or employment. When
      the
      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
      it's an
      issue that sells in a liberal primary, but doesn't sell in a broad-
      based
      general election," Sabato says. "But whatever you say later, you're
      stuck
      with your first position. .
      "There is not a mother lode of votes from people for gay
      unions,"
      Sabato continues. And in changing his position, Kaine "might end up
      alienating both sides."
      Should the issue even be in politics? Many gay couples
      believe it
      has to be. They argue that they don't receive the same benefits as
      married
      heterosexual couples. They point to issues such as insurance,
      handling the
      finances of an ill partner, and hospital visitation rights as
      evidence of
      inequality.
      While gay civil unions are high on the radar for gay
      activists, they
      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
      own bill
      blocking gay marriage in 1997.
      Are legally recognized gay marriages likely to be coming to
      Virginia?
      Sabato doesn't think so - the state is too conservative, he says.
      Republican lieutenant-governor candidate Jay Katzen agrees.
      "If
      California isn't ready for gay marriage," Katzen says, "then you know
      Virginia isn't."
      And Katzen gleefully tackles Kaine on the issue. "I have met
      Virginian after Virginian who is disturbed by his [Kaine's]
      positions,"
      Katzen says.
      Katzen also opposes lifting the law prohibiting sodomy from
      the books
      because he believes that it serves as a deterrent to dangerous
      behavior.
      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
      people
      have made," Katzen says. "We recognize that homosexuality is a
      choice. It'
      s a lifestyle with public-health consequences."
      Katzen calls tearing up the sodomy law a step towards gay
      marriage.
      "It's an effort is to begin the process of laying the framework for
      gay
      marriage," Katzen says.
      Kaine agrees the sodomy laws shouldn't be removed. But he
      says that'
      s because they're irrelevant and unenforced in private situations.
      "They're not a priority," Kaine says. "I don't know if
      they're being
      used."
      Some say creating a legally recognized gay marriage is
      unnecessary.
      Gay couples "can sign power of attorney, designate wills and sign
      hospital
      visitation rights," says Bob Knight, a specialist on domestic law
      with the
      Concerned Women for America, a conservative Christian women's group.
      "We
      did a survey and couldn't find a single hospital that turned away a
      partner.
      A civil union is not needed for legal protection."
      Perhaps. Nonetheless, many gays have made their way to
      Vermont to
      take part in civil unions. According to a report done by the Catholic
      University of America, 28 people have traveled to Vermont from
      Virginia to
      certify their unions.
      Lisa Belongia, who in 1997 held a holy-union ceremony with her
      partner, Tina Webb, at Metropolitan Community Church, strongly argues
      that
      gays should be allowed to have legal marriages just like
      heterosexuals. She
      understands, she says, that her marriage ceremony had political
      implications: She has publicly declared her intention to live openly
      with a
      woman.
      But Belongia says she won't be satisfied until the state
      recognizes
      her relationship: "Until we can do the same thing [marry], it won't be
      enough."
      Until that happens, Randy Starnes and Darrell Fitzgerald are
      relying
      on legal documents that they have signed giving each other the same
      rights
      and privileges of married heterosexuals. They keep legal papers in
      their
      cars stating each other's right to make critical decisions for the
      other.
      But they say they are concerned that those agreements could be
      thwarted.
      "I don't care what the government says," Starnes says. "I
      know that
      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 )
      Responsibility
      Letter: Denied civil rights
      Rose Fagerness is upset that gays are promiscuous and don't
      take
      personal responsibility (letter, July 22).
      But then she criticizes those gays who want to be responsible
      to one
      person who they love by legally marrying and taking on the financial
      and
      emotional responsibility marriage requires.
      If straight kids never saw stable heterosexual partnerships as
      they
      grew up, were denied the legal right to commit to another and learned
      about
      their sexual orientation from the Internet and magazines, how
      responsible
      sexually would they be?
      To paraphrase Ms. Fagerness, I never thought I'd see the day
      people
      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
      very good
      case for the American proclivity to pass blame off on somebody else,
      such as
      blaming the hot coffee server if the stupid customer spills coffee on
      herself. Then he claims that this is just like a promiscuous
      homosexual
      claiming the right to marry.
      This is simply base homophobia parading around in the clothing
      of
      twisted logic. Irresponsible promiscuous people of either sex and of
      all
      sexual orientations have been infecting each other since people
      appeared on
      this planet. These kinds of people, no matter if they are
      heterosexual or
      gay [or President], rarely change their behavior when they get
      married.
      However marriage is a wholesome foundation of civilized
      society and
      the majority of heterosexual and gay & lesbian couples share the same
      family
      values of fidelity, sacrifice, commitment and love. Even the latest
      census
      shows that gay & lesbian familes have more in common with heterosexual
      families than either have with their single counterparts. Marriage is
      not a
      reward for behavior. Marriage is an incorporation recognized by the
      state.
      Churches bless the ceremony, including many gay & lesbian weddings,
      but the
      state collects the taxes and issues the protections and benefits.
      Sexual behavior has nothing to do with it. And neither should
      bigotry.
      - Janice Van Cleve, Legal Marriage Alliance of Washington,
      www.lmaw.org


      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
      Saturdays.
      However, on July 21 I took exception to his logic. He says we should
      accept
      any union of two (or more?) people as a marriage simply because he
      knows
      some folks whose marriage has had some ups and downs.
      Then he describes anyone who would take exception to the "one
      man,
      one woman" idea of legal marriage as "religious zealots." I guess
      that's
      supposed to put those who believe the Bible in the category of
      "religious
      zealot." I suppose the pilgrims who fled "enlightened Europe" to the
      new
      world were just "religious zealots."
      Furthermore, in thousands of years of human history, the
      diversion of
      perversion has been tried many times and failed. Anatomically
      speaking, the
      human species was designed to procreate, male and female. The human
      anatomy
      was not designed to accommodate any union but male and female.
      To prevent this design causes anomalies that medical science
      calls
      disease, including AIDS and others. So, maybe there are valid
      reasons to
      pass laws which define marriage as one man, one woman -- in spite of
      the
      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 )
      (Online Mailer:
      http://www.bellinghamherald.com/contactus/frameset.htm )
      Letter: Boy Scout vandalism doesn't exemplify 'moral staightness'
      The Bellingham Herald reported an appalling act of wanton
      destruction
      by some Utah Boy Scouts. They ripped out and tossed into a reservoir
      rare
      dinosaur tracks that were almost 200 million years old. Rangers say
      that
      there are only a handful of dilophasouras "track ways" of that age in
      the
      entire world.
      Track ways are three or more tracks made by the same dinosaur.
      Since
      discovery in 1987, many visitors from around the world came to Utah to
      marvel at this priceless imprint of prehistoric creatures. 200
      million
      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
      Lake City
      Boy Scout Council. In Utah, councils have a person in charge of what
      they
      call "LDS Relations." It's well known that the Mormon church is a
      leading
      sponsor of Scout troops, with a powerful role in the governance of
      the Boy
      Scouts of America. They played a leading role in banishing gay
      scouts and
      counselors as not being "morally straight." Evidently the Salt Lake
      City
      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
      nation to
      end fund-raising support for the United Way, because of the Thurston
      County
      chapter's continued support of the Boy Scouts of America.
      With about 600 employees, the city's annual employee
      contribution of
      about $30,000 makes it one of the United Way chapter's top 10
      contributors.
      A June 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision upheld the Boy Scouts'
      ban on
      gay people serving as Scout leaders. The United Way of Thurston
      County's
      board in April chose not to alter its long-standing funding of the
      group.
      That sparked criticism from city employees that the continued
      city
      fund raising on behalf of the United Way violates the city's
      nondiscrimination policy, which prohibits discrimination in the
      delivery of
      city services.
      The city annually organizes a United Way capital campaign
      committee,
      composed of about 30 on-the-clock employees who voluntarily solicit
      donations from co-workers. If employees choose to donate, the
      contributions
      are deducted from their paychecks.
      "Sending a message is not important to me; stopping support
      is," said
      Councilman Curt Pavola, a gay rights activist. "I'm not interested in
      supporting the Boy Scouts or the United Way in whatever we do
      tonight."
      That sentiment struck a unanimous chord among all council
      members who
      were present. Mayor Pro Tem Mark Foutch was absent.
      Last week, the council's General Government Committee
      recommended
      continued United Way fund-raising activities, but by using customized
      forms
      that would not allow employee funds to go to either the Boy Scouts or
      the
      United Way's general funding pool.
      However, City Attorney Mark Erickson on Tuesday said that a
      decision
      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
      will end
      its decades-old relationship with the United Way, starting with its
      Sept. 12
      fund-raising campaign.
      Additionally, the General Government Committee will examine the
      city's overall use of taxpayer money and other resources to raise
      money for
      charities.
      "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.
      14. If
      the council stays its course, United Way Executive Director Pam Toal
      said
      the city would be the first in the nation to sever ties with the
      United Way
      because of the Scout issue.
      "I'm troubled with your decision, but I respect what you're
      going
      through with making that decision," said United Way of Thurston
      County board
      member John Maxwell, whose board labored six months on its Boy Scouts
      stance.
      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
      to
      contribute, then you've just sealed the fate of hundreds of your
      employees,"
      Maxwell added.
      . Michael Burnham covers Olympia for The Olympian. He can be
      reached
      at 360-704-6869.
      . 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 )
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-
      bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/08/01/MN179281.DTL
      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
      against
      gays and lesbians reintroduced their proposal yesterday.
      The coming battle over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act
      will
      mark the fifth time Congress has taken up the idea of adding sexual
      orientation to categories such as race, sex and religion already
      covered by
      employment rights protection.
      The measure, which covers employers' decisions about hiring,
      firing,
      pay and promotion, has never reached a a vote in the House, where the
      Republican leadership opposes the proposal. In the Senate, the
      legislation
      lost by one vote in 1996.
      But with Democrats now in control of the Senate, following
      Vermont
      Sen. James Jeffords' defection from the Republican Party two months
      ago,
      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
      at a
      Capitol Hill news conference where he was joined by a raft of the
      bill's 40
      co-sponsors, including Jeffords.
      "We have every expectation we'll vote on it," added Kennedy,
      who said
      Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., has promised to bring the
      bill
      up for a vote.
      In the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, backers have
      about
      180 co- sponsors, mostly Democrats, said Patricia [sic: Elizabeth]
      Birch,
      director of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and
      lesbian
      advocacy group. The House has 435 members.
      Republican supporters admitted that it wouldn't be easy to get
      the
      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
      Foley, R-
      Florida. "We'll hope. We'll advocate. We're making our case to the
      leadership."
      Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., said, "If the Senate brings
      it to
      the floor, we can get it to the House floor, and I think it passes."
      But
      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
      important
      piece of legislation the GOP leadership badly wants to pass. "We'll
      look
      for a vehicle that's absolutely non-negotiable for them," she said.
      Twelve states, including California, as well as hundreds of
      local
      governments ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.
      A growing number of big businesses have adopted similar
      policies.
      Gary Fazzino, a vice president of public affairs for Hewlett-Packard
      Co. and
      member of the Palo Alto City Council, was among those who appeared at
      the
      press conference yesterday to back the legislation.
      In response to objections raised about previous versions of
      the bill,
      which opponents said granted special rights to gays, the measure has
      been
      streamlined. It covers only businesses with more than 15 employees,
      exempts
      religious organizations and the armed forces, does not require quotas
      or
      affirmative action and does not require employers to provide domestic
      partner benefits.
      But the changes have failed to impress opponents, who vow to
      fight
      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
      rights," she
      said. "You can't tell someone's sexual proclivity by looking at
      them. But
      you can tell their race or sex."
      "Anyone who's gay already has employment protections under
      existing
      laws," Mackey added. "To have special laws for this group is
      unnecessary
      and something we don't support."
      With the conservative House leadership still in place, she
      said, "I
      don't think the House will ever pass it. With the Senate, one never
      knows."
      . E-mail Edward Epstein at eepstein@...
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