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11th July 2003 (# 5) News Clippings Digest

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  • grahamu_1999
    11th July 2003 (# 5) News Clippings Digest 1. NEWSDAY A New Partnership: Nassau County puts benefits for unmarried partners in union pact 2. ROCKY MOUNTAIN
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 17, 2003
      11th July 2003 (# 5) News Clippings Digest

      1. NEWSDAY A New Partnership: Nassau County puts benefits for
      unmarried partners in union pact
      2. ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS (Denver) Calling Colorado's ban on gay
      marriage "discrimination at its worst," a newly formed coalition of
      clergy announces it will fight for equal marriage rights for same-
      sex couples in religion and law
      3. DENVER POST Church coalition pushes for gay marriage
      4. PLAYBILL Transfer to the Q: Musical Avenue Q, with Puppets and
      People, Moves to Broadway
      5. 365GAY.COM Charlotte, North Carolina: Gay Community Warned Of
      Extremist Group's Plans
      6. 365GAY.COM Britain's House of Lords finally repealed anti-gay
      Section 28, the law that banned the "promotion" of homosexuality in
      schools
      7. 365GAY.COM Japan's transgendered will be allowed to put their
      corrected sex and use their new names on official documents under a
      new law

      Newsday, July 11, 2003
      235 Pinelawn, Melville, NY, 11747-4250
      (Fax: 516-843-2986 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.newsday.com/ )
      http://www.newsday.com/news/printedition/longisland/ny-
      lidome113368126jul11,
      0,4071405.story
      A New Partnership
      Nassau puts benefits for unmarried partners in union pact
      By Michael Rothfeld, Staff Writer
      Nassau County has agreed to extend benefits to the domestic
      partners
      of its employees, including those in gay and lesbian relationships,
      under
      the tentative contract deal reached with its municipal workers union
      two
      weeks ago.
      The agreement between Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi
      and the
      Civil Service Employees Association would give heterosexual and
      homosexual
      domestic partners health insurance and other benefits enjoyed by
      married
      couples.
      A copy of the agreement obtained this week by Newsday shows
      that to
      qualify, the partners must be in a "committed relationship ... of
      lasting
      duration" and live together. They cannot have had a different
      domestic
      partner within six months or be married to anyone else. An employee
      and his
      or her partner would have to file a Domestic Partner Affidavit the
      county
      would design.
      The contract, which would run through 2007, has not yet been
      ratified
      by the union's 5,800 members or approved by county lawmakers. But it
      cheered advocates for gay and lesbian rights.
      "It's past time, actually, that the county recognized their
      employees
      who can't get married and can't obtain these benefits through the
      marriage
      ceremony," said Bill Borman, chairman of the Nassau County Lesbian &
      Gay
      Democrats and a member of Nassau's Human Rights Commission.
      But Roger Bogsted, Nassau's Conservative Party chairman and
      consumer
      affairs commissioner, objected to providing benefits to homosexual
      partners
      on fiscal and moral grounds.
      "I think we're whittling away at the moral fabric of the
      country,"
      Bogsted said. "I think the next step is going to be legalizing
      homosexual
      marriages and beyond that, it would be legalizing all types of
      activity
      [such as] sexual activity between children and adults. Where are
      you going
      to draw the line?"
      Nassau's move comes at a time of surging momentum for gay
      rights,
      following last month's Supreme Court ruling protecting the rights of
      gays
      and lesbians to sexual privacy, and Canada's legalization of gay
      marriage.
      Jane D'Amico, the CSEA president, said the partnership benefits and
      anti-discrimination training also in the deal reflect a desire by
      the union
      to recognize a diversified work force.
      Kenneth R. Dash Sr., a Nassau Board of Elections employee from
      Freeport, said he has lived for 30 years with his gay partner, whom
      he hopes
      to add to Nassau's health insurance soon.
      "It isn't so much gays - it's anybody that made a commitment
      and
      lived with someone for a period of years," said Dash, 67.
      The overall deal is under review by the Nassau Interim Finance
      Authority, Nassau Comptroller Howard Weitzman and the Legislative
      Office of
      Budget Review. According to Weitzman's office, 1,700 full-time CSEA
      employees have individual coverage. For each worker upgrading to
      family
      coverage to insure a domestic partner, it would cost an extra $5,200
      a year,
      the comptroller's office said.
      But Suozzi's aides said they expected few employees to
      utilize the
      opportunity, based on the potential stigma of identifying themselves
      as gay
      and the experiences of other municipalities. Aides said Suozzi was
      unavailable yesterday.
      D'Amico said the ratification vote is scheduled for July 24.
      She
      said some members expressed concerns the new clause had reduced other
      potential gains, but that it had not because the cost would be small.
      County lawmakers will likely call a special session to vote
      on the
      contract this summer, once the various reviews are finished.
      Republican
      Minority Leader Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) said he could not
      comment on
      the proposed new benefits without knowing the definition of domestic
      partnerships.
      Presiding Officer Judith Jacobs (D-Woodbury) said she
      supports the
      idea, but that terms such as "lasting duration" are too vague and
      could
      allow roommates to apply. Jacobs said the Democrats have discussed
      creating
      a registry, as East Hampton and Southampton have, to "substantiate
      the fact
      that there is a legitimate domestic partnership in place."


      Rocky Mountain News, July 11, 2003
      400 W. ColFax Ave., Denver, CO, 80204
      (Fax: 303-892-2568 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn )
      http://rockymountainnews.com/drmn/state/article/0,1299,DRMN_21_210192
      9,00.ht
      ml
      Clergy back gay marriage
      By Peggy Lowe, Rocky Mountain News
      Calling Colorado's ban on gay marriage "discrimination at its
      worst,"
      a newly formed coalition of clergy announced Thursday it will fight
      for
      equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in religion and law.
      Colorado Clergy for Equality in Marriage also will battle
      against a
      federal effort, led by U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., to place
      a gay
      marriage ban in the Constitution.
      The Rev. Gilbert Caldwell, a retired Methodist minister and
      one of
      the 45 Christian and Jewish clergy members in the new group, likened
      the
      marriage-rights effort to the struggle for civil rights. Quoting
      Coretta
      Scott King, Caldwell said it is part of the "continuing justice
      movement for
      which Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life."
      "History, I believe, will view legislation against same-sex
      marriage
      as being insensitive, invalid and illogical, as was the legislation
      that
      prohibited interracial marriage," Caldwell said.
      Colorado's gay marriage ban was signed into law in 2000 by
      Gov. Bill
      Owens.
      Musgrave, elected to Congress last year, has introduced a
      federal
      constitutional amendment that seeks to define marriage as solely
      between a
      man and a woman.
      In a statement, Musgrave said she felt she had to introduce
      the
      amendment "because homosexual activists are turning to unelected,
      unaccountable judges to create new laws."
      "It has been a tradition for over 200 years in the U.S., and
      a basic
      tenet of every major religion in the world, not just Judaism and
      Christianity," Musgrave said. "Today's meeting by the very liberal
      clergy
      only strengthens my resolve to protect marriage."
      The clergy coalition will meet in the next few weeks to
      further
      organize its priorities, said the Rev. Phil Campbell, the group's
      founder
      and pastor at Park Hill Congregational Church.
      Campbell said he's been married for 27 years and believes in
      the
      institution of marriage. Giving gays and lesbians the same rights as
      heterosexuals is a matter of faith, he said.
      "I believe that God has created all people in the divine
      image and
      this means that the love between two people of the same sex is as
      sacred as
      the love shared by two heterosexuals," he said.
      State Rep. Shawn Mitchell, a Broomfield Republican who has
      voted
      against gay civil union legislation, said the clergy group is wrong
      to
      equate interracial marriage with gay marriage.
      Gender differences are "much more profound and consequential
      than
      skin color," he said, and "it is cheap, facile and illegitimate to
      argue
      otherwise."
      "I think that it's unfortunate they think they have to
      redefine the
      basic definition of marriage to support the basic dignity and worth
      of all
      individuals," Mitchell said. "I can respect a person regardless of
      their
      sexual orientation without wanting to rewrite what marriage is."
      . lowep@... or (303)892-5482


      Denver Post, July 11, 2003
      1560 Broadway, Denver, CO, 80202
      (Fax: 303-820-1369 ) (E-Mail: Letters@... )
      ( http://www.denverpost.com )
      http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~53~1506238,00.html
      Church coalition pushes for gay marriage
      By Eric Gorski, Denver Post Religion Writer
      With a renewed national debate about gay marriage as a
      backdrop, a
      new coalition of liberal Protestant and Jewish leaders from Colorado
      announced plans Thursday to press for legalizing gay marriage and to
      fight a
      Colorado congresswoman's bill that would define marriage as strictly
      between
      a man and a woman.
      Colorado Clergy for Equality in Marriage, which includes 45
      clergy,
      was formed "to highlight the ongoing and unjust discrimination
      against gay
      and lesbian persons in state marriage laws."
      In 2000, the legislature passed and Gov. Bill Owens signed
      into law a
      measure barring gay marriage in Colorado. Same-sex unions could not
      legally
      be performed before then, but sponsors said they worried gays would
      travel
      to places where it's allowed and demand legal recognition as married
      couples.
      The Rev. Phil Campbell, the clergy group's founder and senior
      minister at Park Hill United Church of Christ in Denver, said the
      clergy is
      an important voice, considering its traditional role in presiding
      over
      marriage ceremonies.
      The group consists of clergy members who have long pressed
      for the
      full participation of gays and lesbians in church life and society.
      There
      is one Catholic nun, but no formal tie to the Archdiocese of
      Denver. The
      Jewish Reform and Reconstructionist branches are represented.
      A convergence of events helped bring the coalition together,
      including the Supreme Court's recent overturning of a Texas sodomy
      law,
      Canada's pending legalization of gay marriage and the "Defense of
      Marriage"
      act championed by U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo. The bill would
      amend
      the Constitution to bar gay marriage.
      "The public conversation is alive now," Campbell said. "Our
      commitment has remained steadfast. Right now there may be a cultural
      interest in hearing our message."
      The clergy's three goals:
      . To build support within their respective religious
      communities for
      equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Many of the
      denominations
      represented - including the United Methodist Church, Evangelical
      Lutheran
      Church in America and Episcopal Church - are divided over whether to
      allow
      same-sex marriage or holy unions and whether to ordain gays and
      lesbians as
      ministers and lay leaders.
      . To support and work for legislation that would establish
      marriage
      rights for gays and extend legal and civil protections to homosexual
      couples.
      Campbell allowed that prospects are dim now - the legislature
      and
      governor's mansion are controlled by Republicans, who take an
      opposite view.
      He said the group is committed no matter how long it takes.
      . To work against "all legislation that would codify
      discrimination
      in marriage," particularly the Musgrave bill, which Campbell
      said "is rooted
      in discrimination and fear."
      Musgrave, in a statement, said: "A large majority of American
      people,
      non-religious and religious, supports the idea of marriage being
      solely
      between a woman and a man. It has been a tradition for over 200
      years in
      the U.S., and a basic tenet of every major religion in the world,
      not just
      Judaism and Christianity. (Thursday's) meeting by the very liberal
      clergy
      only strengthens my resolve to protect marriage."
      The coalition drew criticism from evangelical Christians, who
      almost
      uniformly view homosexuality as a sin and gay marriage as a threat.
      "Essentially, what these religious leaders are proposing
      challenges
      the very core and tenets of their own faith traditions - that God
      created
      males and females as the two parts of humanity that are
      complementary and
      serve as the foundation of marriage and family life," said Glenn
      Stanton,
      senior analyst of marriage and sexuality issues at Focus on the
      Family, the
      Colorado Springs evangelical media ministry.
      The Rev. Michael Leite of First Congregational Church in
      Longmont
      disputed that allowing gay marriage undermines heterosexual ones.
      "The damage is in what it does to those individuals, children
      of God,
      who are in good, healthy relationships, and our culture damages
      them," he
      said.


      Playbill, July 11, 2003
      37-15 61st St., Woodside, NY 11377
      (E-Mail: rsimonson@... ) ( http://www.playbill.com )
      http://www.playbill.com/news/article/80599.html
      Transfer to the Q: Musical Avenue Q, with Puppets and People, Moves
      to
      Broadway
      By Ernio Hernandez
      Avenue Q, where New York City diversity branches out to
      include
      people, computer-savvy monsters, nefarious but cute bears and even
      harmonious boxes, begins at Broadway's Golden Theatre, July 11.
      The first new musical of the season comes straight from
      Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre - where it was lauded by audiences
      and
      critics alike, selling out its run and garnering the 2003 Lucille
      Lortel
      Award for Outstanding Musical.
      Avenue Q, which opens July 31, is set on a fictitious New
      York City
      street where characters like Princeton, Brian, Kate Monster,
      Christmas Eve
      and others attempt to find their way in the real world - while
      singing,
      dancing and being "a little bit racist."
      The comic show sends up popular children's television shows
      such as
      "Sesame Street" and "The Electric Company," while serving up a
      bounty of pop
      culture references and solving the whereabouts of former "Diff'rent
      Strokes"
      child star Gary Coleman. The show bears the warning: "Full puppet
      nudity,
      not suitable for children."
      Creators Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, 2000 Ed Kleban Award
      winners,
      provide the original concept as well as music and lyrics for the
      musical,
      while Jeff Whitty (The Plank Project) handles the book. The Crumple
      Zone
      director Jason Moore directs the Broadway run, which features the
      creations
      of puppeteer Rick Lyon (whose work has been seen in "Men in Black"
      and
      "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.")
      The musical employs three actors who portray human characters
      and
      four puppeteers who play more than a dozen puppet characters - in
      full view
      of the audience. The Avenue Q cast includes Ann Harada (as
      Christmas Eve),
      Jennifer Barnhart (Mrs. Thistletwat, Bad Idea Bear #2 and others),
      Natalie
      Venetia Belcon (as Gary Coleman), Jordan Gelber (as Brian), Stephanie
      D'Abruzzo (Kate Monster, Lucy T. Slut and others), John Tartaglia
      (Princeton
      and Rod) and Lyon (Nicky, Trekkie Monster, Bad Idea Bear #1 and
      others).
      Ken Roberson carves out choreography. Stephen Oremus serves
      as music
      supervisor. The design team features Anna Louizos (sets), Mirena
      Rada
      (costumes), Frances Aronson (lights) and Acme Sound Partners (sound).
      The production features the songs "Avenue Q
      Theme," "Opening," "If
      You Were Gay," "Purpose," "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," "The
      Internet Is
      for Porn," "A Mix Tape," "I'm Not Wearing Underwear
      Today," "Special," "You
      Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Making
      Love)," "Fantasies
      Come True," "My Girlfriend, Who Lives in Canada," "There's a Fine,
      Fine
      Line," "There Is Life Outside Your Apartment," "The More You Ruv
      Someone,"
      "Schadenfreude," "I Wish I Could Go Back to College," "The Money
      Song" And
      "For Now." A cast album is in the works but no label or release
      date have
      been announced.
      Broadway performances will play at 8 PM Monday-Saturday and
      at 2 PM
      Wednesday and Saturday. For tickets to Avenue Q, call (212) 239-
      6200.


      365Gay.com, July 11, 2003
      http://365gay.com/NewsContent/071103charlotteProtests.htm
      Gay Community Warned Of Extremist Group's Plans
      by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
      Charlotte, North Carolina - Police in Charlotte, North
      Carolina have
      issued warnings to the gay community, abortion clinics and Islamic
      centers
      about a religious extremist group that is planning eight days of
      protests in
      the city.
      The group, called Operation Save America says it expects
      hundreds of
      its members at the demonstrations. OSA has made block bookings for
      rooms at
      a local Days Inn, and even though the leader of the group says it is
      non
      violent, police say minority groups should be on the lookout for
      suspicious
      packages and should stay clear of the demonstrators.
      The protests are slated to begin on Saturday.
      Operation Save America began in Dallas, Texas but moved to
      Concord,
      North Carolina over the past year. Its leader, Philip "Flip" Benham
      says
      the protestors will demonstrate in front of abortion clinics on
      Monday, the
      Metropolitan Community Church on Tuesday and at area mosques later
      in the
      week.
      Benham says the July 18 protest at the MCC will feature nine
      caskets,
      one for each of the nine Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of
      overturning Texas sodomy law.
      Although Benham says he denounces violence his confrontational
      rhetoric has raised concerns he could incite a riot.
      In May, Benham attended Charlotte's Pride festival and
      screamed
      throughout a mass commitment ceremony for about a dozen gay couples.
      He was arrested Saturday for trespassing in front of a
      southwest
      Charlotte abortion clinic, when he stepped over a line that marked
      where
      protesters were allowed to stand. He had the option of posting $500
      bond
      but decided to stay in jail until his court date. He is expected to
      be out
      of jail in time for the protests.


      365Gay.com, July 11, 2003
      http://365gay.com/NewsContent/071103sectionScrapped.htm
      Section 28 Finally Dies
      by Peter Moore, 365Gay.com Newscenter, London Bureau
      London - Britain's House of Lords Thursday repealed the
      notorious
      anti-gay Section 28, the Thatcher era law that banned
      the "promotion" of
      homosexuality in schools.
      The Labor government of Tony Blair tried to scrap the law
      during its
      first term in office. It failed because the Lords would not accept
      its
      abolition.
      A fresh attempt was made when the Local Government Bill was
      going
      through the Commons earlier this year and the Bill, which originally
      had
      nothing to do with sex education, was amended to include the repeal
      of
      Section 28.
      But the new attempt to repeal the law again met emotional
      debate in
      the Tory dominated Lords. In what Tory Baroness Blatch called
      compromise,
      an amendment to replace Section 28 with a new law that would allow
      parental
      vetting of sex education was proposed.
      Lady Blatch said it would remove the term homosexuality while
      allowing for controls on what was taught in schools. Gay rights
      advocates
      termed the measure "Section 28 wrapped in a new coat". The plan was
      defeated by 180 to 130.
      Repeal of Section 28 was hailed Thursday night by LGBT
      advocates.
      "We're delighted that the House of Lords has demonstrated a
      willingness to listen to reason at last," said Ben Summerskill, the
      chief
      executive of gay rights group Stonewall.
      Summerskill said the Section was "deliberately framed in
      order to
      stigmatize a minority group".


      365Gay.com, July 11, 2003
      http://365gay.com/NewsContent/071103japanTG.htm
      Japan Recognizes Rights Of Transgendered
      by Peter Hacker, 365Gay.com Newscenter, Asia Bureau Chief
      Tokyo - Japan's transgendered will be allowed to put their
      corrected
      sex and use their new names on official documents under a new law
      passed
      with unanimous consent Thursday by the House of Representatives.
      Births in Japan are listed in official family registries.
      The new
      law allows for the first time those entries to be altered.
      The legislation was authored by a committee of the ruling
      coalition
      and approved by the Judicial Affairs Committee before heading to the
      House
      for a vote. The law is scheduled to take effect next year. But,
      altering
      official documents still will not be easy.
      In Japan the transgendered are referred to as people with "
      gender
      identity disorder". To change their documentation TGs will have to be
      diagnosed by at least two doctors as " having a different
      psychological
      makeup from their biological sex" and a desire to live as the
      opposite
      gender both physically and socially.
      Applicants must be at least 20 years old, unmarried, have no
      children, and no longer have functioning reproductive organs as a
      result of
      undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
      They must then go to family court for final approval.
      There is still a stigma attached to being transgendered in
      Japan, and
      many TGs encounter trouble gaining employment and voting because
      they appear
      to be one sex but their official papers indicate they are another.
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