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6th August 2003 (# 2) News Clippings Digest

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  • grahamu_1999
    6th August 2003 (# 2) News Clippings Digest 1. SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE (Florida) City OKs ordinance prohibiting antigay bias; It applies to issues of work,
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 9, 2003
      6th August 2003 (# 2) News Clippings Digest

      1. SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE (Florida) City OKs ordinance prohibiting
      antigay bias; It applies to issues of work, housing and public
      accommodations.
      2. ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS Homophobic Minnesota State Rep. promises
      to Holocaust Museum travelling exhibit about gays, Nazis
      3. EDMONTON SUN MP against same-sex 'marriage'; In a free vote,
      Dave Kilgour says institution should remain man and woman
      4. DENVER POST Editorial: Don't marry church, state
      5. HARTFORD COURANT Helen Ubiñas: Leave Gay Parents Alone

      Sarasota Herald-Tribune, August 5, 2003
      P. O. Box 1719, Sarasota, FL, 33578
      (Fax: 941-957-5276 ) (E-Mail: letters.editor@... )
      ( http://www.heraldtribune.com )
      http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?
      AID=/20030805/NEWS/308050
      333/1060
      City OKs ordinance prohibiting antigay bias
      It applies to issues of work, housing and public accommodations.
      By Lisa Rab, lisa.rab@...
      SARASOTA - The City Commission passed an ordinance prohibiting
      discrimination based on sexual orientation unanimously Monday night,
      despite
      the objections of some who said it would infringe on their religious
      beliefs.
      Beginning Oct. 1, people alleging discrimination will be able
      to
      lodge complaints with a city Human Relations Board.
      The ordinance outlaws discrimination based on age, disability,
      gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual
      orientation
      and military veteran status. If the dispute cannot be resolved
      through
      mediation, the board can grant the right to sue in circuit court.
      "I'm just proud to count Sarasota as just one in a host of
      cities
      across this country that are recognizing how important diversity is,"
      Commissioner Mary Anne Servian said.
      Federal and state laws don't ban discrimination based on
      sexual
      orientation, but a dozen cities and counties in Florida - including
      Tampa
      and St. Petersburg - do. Sarasota's ordinance applies only to
      incidents
      that occur after Oct. 1 and involve employment, housing and public
      accommodations in the city.
      Members of the audience applauded as the commissioners voted
      for the
      measure. Outside the chambers, the Rev. Jim Merritt, who helped
      draft the
      ordinance, cried with happiness.
      "It is such a blessing for me to see the leaders of our
      community
      endorse the idea of equality and justice," Merritt said.
      But not everyone was celebrating. Esther Rachwal, who spoke
      against
      the ordinance on behalf of the Florida Family Association, said the
      measure
      discriminated against Christians. People who don't "believe in the
      homosexual lifestyle" should be allowed to refuse to hire people who
      are
      gay, she said.
      "I think people have a right to follow their own religious
      values,"
      Rachwal said.
      Darwin Blix, a local landlord, expressed a similar
      sentiment. "I am
      not in favor of the government trying to legislate its understanding
      of
      morality," he told the commissioners.
      The other three people who spoke at the public hearing Monday
      were in
      favor of the ordinance, which was drafted after an anti-
      discrimination
      amendment to the city's charter passed last November with 73 percent
      of the
      vote.
      The new ordinance outlines how the amendment will be
      enforced. For
      example, it outlines exemptions for religious organizations and
      specifies
      the size of businesses that will be affected by the ordinance.
      Unlike federal and state laws, which apply only to businesses
      with 15
      or more employees, Sarasota's ordinance applies to businesses with
      five or
      more unrelated employees.
      Rick Martin, an insurance agent, told the commission he would
      like
      that provision changed, because employer insurance protection against
      discrimination suits would be costly for small businesses.
      Merritt, who chaired the ad hoc committee of citizens that
      wrote the
      ordinance, said they had discussed the issue extensively and felt
      strongly
      that the number should not be changed. The ordinance also caps
      compensatory
      damages for discrimination in businesses with fewer than 15
      employees at
      $100,000.


      St. Paul Pioneer-Press, August 5, 2003
      345 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN, 55101
      (Fax: 612-228-5500 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities )
      http://www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress/6458469.htm
      Minneapolis: Lawmaker promises to visit exhibit about gays, Nazis
      By David Hawley, Pioneer Press
      The man who inspired efforts to bring a traveling exhibit on
      the Nazi
      persecution of homosexuals to the Twin Cities was not present when
      it opened
      Monday in Minneapolis.
      But state Rep. Arlon Lindner said he plans to see the U.S.
      Holocaust
      Memorial Museum's "Nazi Persecutions of Homosexuals 1933-1945,"
      which is on
      display at the Downtown YWCA on Nicollet Mall through Sept. 26.
      "I'm looking forward to it," said Lindner, R-Corcoran, who
      ignited a
      political firestorm last March with remarks he made during debate on
      his
      efforts to repeal state human rights protections for people based on
      their
      sexual orientation.
      Lindner's legislation went nowhere, but critics accused him of
      questioning whether the Nazis persecuted gays.
      "It's just recently that anyone's come out with this idea that
      homosexuals were persecuted to this extent - there's been a lot of
      rewriting
      of history," Lindner was quoted as saying, though he now says his
      remarks
      were misunderstood.
      "I said I didn't believe that homosexuals were persecuted to
      the same
      extent that Jewish people were," Lindner said when contacted last
      week. "I
      was thinking more number-wise."
      The local sponsors of the exhibition hope it will educate
      Lindner and
      others.
      "Aside from Rep. Lindner's statements, a lot of people of good
      conscience don't know about this history," said Linnea Stenson,
      program
      director at the Steven J. Schochet Center for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual
      and
      Transgender Studies at the University of Minnesota. Her
      organization is
      co-sponsoring the exhibit with three others, including OutFront
      Minnesota,
      Jewish Community Action and the Minneapolis YWCA.
      The organizers also have invited elected officials -
      including the
      entire Minnesota Legislature and representatives of city and county
      governments - to attend a ceremony and reception Thursday. But as of
      Monday, only a small number of officials had promised to attend,
      said Ann
      DeGroot, executive director of OutFront Minnesota.
      "To be frank, we're somewhat disappointed," DeGroot said.
      Small in size, the exhibit consists of 28 panels that display
      reproductions of hundreds of photographs and documents arranged in a
      loose
      chronological order. It describes a purposeful effort by the Nazis
      that
      resulted in about 100,000 arrests, 50,000 imprisonments, an untold
      number of
      deaths in concentration camps and such things as forced castrations.
      The exhibit, which came to the Twin Cities from Los Angeles,
      also
      includes poignant personal stories, many sketched in a few
      sentences. Here,
      for example, is the story of Friedrich-Paul von Grosheim, a German
      who was
      first arrested in 1937 during a mass arrest of 230 suspected
      homosexuals:
      "He was tortured and given the choice between castration or a
      concentration camp. He submitted to the operation. Friedrich-Paul
      survived
      the war, but it took him 50 years to talk about his
      experiences. 'I'm
      living proof that Hitler didn't win . if I don't tell my story, who
      will
      know the truth?'"
      Lindner said he accepted an invitation to tour the exhibition
      with
      Stephen Silberfarb, executive director of the Jewish Community
      Relations
      Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. The two plan to see the
      exhibition
      together next Tuesday.
      "We look upon this as a learning experience for everybody,
      and we'll
      see what happens," said Silberfarb, who added that he is pleased that
      Lindner is willing to tour the exhibit with him.
      "I think this is a step in the right direction," Silberfarb
      said.
      "Does this resolve the issues about the legislation he was trying to
      enact?
      No. But it's a step."
      . David Hawley can be reached at dhawley@... or
      612-338-6516.

      . If You Go:
      What: "Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945," a
      traveling
      exhibit by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
      Where: Downtown YWCA, 1130 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
      When: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to
      4 p.m.
      Saturdays through Sept. 26
      Cost: Free
      To learn more: 612-626-8387; visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial
      Museum's Web site at www.ushmm.org


      Edmonton Sun, August 5, 2003
      #250, 4990-92 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T6B 3A1 Canada
      (E-Mail: sun.letters@... )
      ( http://www.canoe.ca/EdmontonSun/home.html )
      http://www.canoe.ca/EdmontonNews/es.es-08-05-0010.html
      MP against same-sex 'marriage'
      In a free vote, Dave Kilgour says institution should remain man and
      woman
      By Ajay Bhardwaj, Edmonton Sun
      Given a free vote on same-sex marriages, Edmonton Southeast
      MP David
      Kilgour says he would opt to keep marriage exclusively heterosexual.
      "I would vote to keep marriage as one man and one woman but I
      would
      also vote, if I could, for a partnership agreement or union for same-
      sex
      couples," said Kilgour yesterday.
      "I think there should be two categories."
      Last month the federal government handed its draft
      legislation to
      allow gays and lesbians to marry in civic ceremonies to the Supreme
      Court to
      ensure it is constitutional.
      Kilgour said he doesn't think the House will actually get to
      vote on
      the bill, because the Supreme Court could take awhile to go over the
      bill.
      He said marriage as an institution between man and woman has
      existed
      for "eons or centuries."
      "Many people have told me they don't mind having the
      registered
      partnerships or unions, but they don't want to see the
      term 'marriage'
      applied to that," said Kilgour. He said that at a recent barbecue,
      just
      three of 125 constituents said they favoured using the
      term "marriage" for a
      same-sex union.
      City Coun. Michael Phair, who is openly gay, said there
      doesn't need
      to be any distinction between gay and heterosexual "marriages."
      "What the federal government is proposing is to change the
      legislation which deals with the civic ceremony, and it doesn't make
      any
      difference what the sex of the couple is," said Phair. He said same-
      sex
      marriage is not seen as a major issue by most Canadians.
      "It in no way interferes with any person who wishes to get
      married.
      A man and a woman can still get married."
      Kilgour spoke at a citizenship ceremony at the Heritage
      Festival
      yesterday in which 53 people became Canadians. He later said
      Canada's
      strength lies in its ability to include everybody.
      "I'm afraid you can be absolutely inclusive in my mind and
      should
      be," he said after the ceremony. "But some things, I don't think the
      residents of my constituency are ready for.
      "I'm all for being inclusive on everything else, but that's
      not
      something that at least my constituency can accept."
      Pope John Paul and top Vatican officials have been speaking
      out for
      months against proposals to legalize same-sex marriages in Europe,
      Canada
      and elsewhere.
      In a 12-page document released last week, the Vatican urged
      Catholics
      and non-Catholics alike to unite in campaigning against gay
      marriages and
      gay adoptions, seeking to stem the widening legal recognition of
      same-sex
      unions and the increasing acceptance of homosexual lifestyles.


      Denver Post, August 5, 2003
      1560 Broadway, Denver, CO, 80202
      (Fax: 303-820-1369 ) (E-Mail: Letters@... )
      ( http://www.denverpost.com )
      http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~417~1551682,00.html
      Editorial: Don't marry church, state
      Several Colorado political leaders, including Gov. Bill
      Owens, were
      right to eschew a Vatican directive for Catholic lawmakers to
      actively
      oppose same-sex marriages.
      Pope John Paul II once again condemned gay marriage and issued
      instructions on Thursday urging lawmakers worldwide to fight the
      legalization of same-sex unions. The 12-page document instructs
      Catholic
      politicians to vote against bills that would recognize gay marriage
      and to
      repeal laws already in existence. Supporting such laws would
      be "gravely
      immoral," the instructions say.
      Even though Owens, too, believes that "the formal institution
      of
      marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman," he also says he
      agrees
      "with John Kennedy that the Vatican should not be attempting to
      direct
      politicians on how to vote on any issue."
      Everybody - including the pope - is entitled to express his
      or her
      opinion. But the pontiff's views should carry no more weight in the
      political arena than that of any other individual.
      The pope's instructions come at a time when more and more
      countries
      are expanding civil liberties to accord to gays and lesbians many of
      the
      rights that married heterosexuals have enjoyed for millennia. In
      several
      countries, gay marriages have been recognized. Recently, two
      Canadian
      provinces legalized homosexual partnerships, and the U.S. Supreme
      Court
      struck down Texas' sodomy law.
      The Roman Catholic Church isn't alone in opposing gay
      marriage -
      several other Christian communions and Orthodox Jewish denominations
      also
      believe same-sex marriages are wrong. But some more liberal
      religious sects
      do not. And therein is the problem: There is no constitutional way
      to
      impose the religious beliefs of one denomination - or even several -
      on the
      entire population of the United States.
      It is not The Denver's Post's function - nor the the function
      of the
      government - to tell the Roman Catholic Church to solemnize gay
      marriages.
      But since 1996, The Post has supported what we then called "domestic
      partnerships in lieu of marriage," a term that foreshadowed the
      current
      "civil unions." While stopping short of conferring the sacramental
      status
      of marriage - a role that should be left to the various religions -
      civil
      unions could and should clarify the status of homosexual couples in
      regard
      to civil issues such as joint property, medical power of attorney,
      inheritance and division of property after the dissolution of such a
      partnership.
      Nationally, Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., is pushing for an
      amendment to the U.S. Constitution to say that marriage shall
      consist only
      of the union of a man and a woman. Musgrave applauded the pope's
      action,
      although she is not Catholic.
      We vigorously oppose Rep. Musgrave's amendment: The U.S
      Constitution
      is too fine a political charter to be junked up with nuts-and-bolts
      issues
      susceptible to changes in public attitudes over time. Special
      interests
      have turned Colorado's state constitution into a sorry joke with a
      host of
      ill-conceived amendments. We'd hate to see that happen to the
      Founders'
      marvelous document.


      Hartford Courant, August 5, 2003
      285 Broad St., Hartford, CT, 06115
      (Fax: 860-241-3865 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.courant.com/ )
      http://www.ctnow.com/news/local/hc-
      ubinas0805.artaug05,0,3136581.column
      Leave Gay Parents Alone
      Helen Ubiñas
      The Barton-Zuckerman family is spending the week in
      Provincetown,
      Mass. There are some workshops during the day. Most of the time,
      though,
      is for fun: parades, ice cream and movies.
      "The other night we took the girls to a Tigger movie," Penny
      Barton-Zuckerman, of Mansfield, said.
      Not exactly the violent atmosphere the Vatican forecast in the
      proclamation against same sex couples who adopt children. But then,
      I don't
      suppose any of the lesbian and gay families who crowded into
      Provincetown
      this week for the eighth annual Family Week would fit the horrendous
      picture
      the Vatican painted of gay couples raising children.
      Much of what the church said in the recently released
      document meant
      to direct Catholic lawmakers preparing to deal with same-sex
      legislation was
      pretty typical of the church's homophobic spiel. Same sex
      marriages "go
      against natural moral law." For a Catholic politician to support gay
      marriage would be "gravely immoral."
      But in between pages that cited human biology, the Bible, and
      centuries of Catholic teaching as justification for its position,
      was this
      especially troubling line: "Allowing children to be adopted by
      persons
      living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these
      children...."
      Forget the obvious chutzpah of the church chiming in on
      issues of
      sexuality and violence, given the priest scandals. The point here
      is not
      that the church lacks the moral authority to lift its voice on
      issues of
      sexuality and violence - which it does - but that it is just plain
      wrong.
      According to many studies, kids who are raised in same sex
      households
      are no better or worse for it than if they were raised by a
      traditional
      family - and increasingly, fewer and fewer children are being raised
      in
      those Utopian conditions.
      Opponents always bring up two things when speaking against
      same-sex
      marriages and families: That kids will be teased because of their
      parents'
      homosexuality and that the children will "learn" to be gay from their
      parents.
      The fact is that kids will tease kids about anything, from a
      lame
      backpack to biracial parents. Having gay parents makes them no more
      or less
      susceptible to adolescent teasing.
      And the argument that children being raised by a same-sex
      couple
      means they too will be gay just isn't true. Kids don't learn their
      sexual
      identity from their parents. What they learn is how to work out
      differences, how to accept differences - or not.
      A recent study by two University of Southern California
      sociologists
      said children with lesbian or gay parents show more empathy for
      social
      diversity and are less confined by gender stereotypes. The more
      controversial part of the study went on to say that the children
      probably
      are more likely to explore homosexual activity themselves. But it
      does not
      say the kids will be gay because their parents are gay.
      The real problems will come from those who buy into the
      church's
      stance and believe a union between a man and woman somehow equals
      more
      parental success. It doesn't. A report by the American
      Psychological
      Association found that not a single survey out of nearly 50 has found
      children of gay or lesbian parents to be disadvantaged in any
      significant
      respect compared to children of heterosexual parents. In fact, if
      the
      Barton-Zuckermans are any indication, life for their two adopted
      girls is
      better than anyone should have expected.
      The Barton-Zuckermans, who met 28 years ago when they were
      Penny
      Zuckerman and Becky Barton, were together for 20 years before
      deciding to
      have a family. Their first adopted child, 7-year-old Emma, is from
      China.
      She was left outside a medical center as an infant. Their second
      child,
      5-year-old Maya, came from Vietnam, a little girl whose teenage
      mother lived
      in a poor, rural area and couldn't care for her.
      No one can say for sure what the little girls' lives would
      have been
      like had they not been adopted by the couple, but it's safe to say
      that
      these children's lives were improved by being adopted by two women
      who could
      care for them and were ready and willing to love them.
      But then, you don't have to go overseas to see that adopting
      children
      into loving homes, regardless of the parents' sexuality, has the
      exact
      opposite consequences from those the church asserts.
      "It's crazy," says Sam Cruz, a single gay father who lives in
      Windsor. "There are so many gay and lesbians willing to take in
      children."
      And so many children waiting for a chance at a family.
      Cruz's son was in state Department of Children and Families
      custody
      when Cruz became his foster father. The little boy, just 5 then,
      had been
      bounced around 11 homes. He had to repeat kindergarten because he
      was
      shuffled between three elementary schools and was placed in special
      education classes. He was past prime adoption age when Cruz adopted
      him a
      few years later.
      But last year, his son, who is now 10, was placed into
      mainstream
      classes.
      "He's bright," Cruz says proudly. Father and son celebrated
      big
      time. "We went out to dinner; we went to Golf Land, to play
      miniature golf
      and arcade games. We did lots of things."
      . Helen Ubiñas column runs every Tuesday and Friday. She can
      be
      reached at Ubinas@...
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