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15th May 2004 (# 10) News Clippings Digest

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  • Graham Underhill
    15th May 2004 (# 10) News Clippings Digest 1. KANSAS CITY STAR Missouri to vote on gay marriage 2. REUTERS Gay Marriage Is in the Cards - the Greeting Cards
    Message 1 of 1 , May 26, 2004
      15th May 2004 (# 10) News Clippings Digest

      1.  KANSAS CITY STAR Missouri to vote on gay marriage

      2.  REUTERS  Gay Marriage Is in the Cards - the Greeting Cards

      3.  SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL  Gay men's chorus silenced on eve of show at Catholic school

      4.  SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL  Booga, Booga!  GOP candidate Ed Heeney sees gays and lesbians as a threat

      5.  WICHITA EAGLE  Several marriage letters

      Kansas City Star, May 15, 2004
      1729 Grand Avenue, Kansas City, MO, 64108
      (Fax: 816-234-4926 ) (E-Mail:  letters@... )
      ( http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascitystar )

      Missouri to vote on gay marriage (excerpt)
      Lawmakers on last day also overhaul child-welfare system
      By Kit Wagar, The Kansas City Star

              JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri lawmakers concluded an acrimonious legislative session Friday by approving a proposal to ban gay marriages and overhauling the foster-care system.
              The same-sex marriage proposal, which would be put to a statewide vote this year, would amend the state Constitution to say that the only marriage recognized under Missouri law is one between a man and a woman.  A proposal with a stricter definition died in the Senate.
              Conservatives in the House said they preferred the stricter definition, which explicitly prohibited the state from recognizing civil unions or other arrangements that might be legal in other states or foreign countries.  But they said they needed to put something on the ballot before Massachusetts or other states begin issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples.
              Rep. Brian Baker, a Belton Republican, said the proposal did not discriminate against gays.
              "This is not attacking anyone's lifestyle choices," Baker said.  "Marriage is a distinct institution between a man and a woman.  This is important for the future of children and families in Missouri."
              House Majority Leader Jason Crowell, a Cape Girardeau Republican, said the measure was needed to keep judges from violating the will of the people.
              "All Missourians should make that decision, not some activist judge somewhere who does it by judicial fiat like we've seen all across this nation," Crowell said. . . .
              � The Star's Tim Hoover and Kevin Murphy contributed to this report.
      Reuters, May 15, 2004

      Gay Marriage Is in the Cards - the Greeting Cards
      Greg Frost

              BOSTON (Reuters) - "Here come the brides."
              That's the message inside one of a new line of gay-themed greeting cards that are filling a small but growing niche as same-sex marriage becomes a reality.
              With hundreds of gay and lesbian couples set to legally wed beginning on Monday in Massachusetts, gay wedding cards are in demand.  So, too, are gay wedding invitations.  And here's a reminder for next year: gay anniversary cards.
              The titans of the $7 billion U.S. greeting card industry, Hallmark and American Greetings, offer hundreds of different cards for every holiday and occasion, but they have not specifically targeted gays and lesbians.
              It is the smaller players - gay-themed businesses like 10 percent.com, Pink Rainbow Galaxy and Heygirl - who are exploiting the market segment.
              The niche may actually be quite large, as gays make up between 6 and 7 percent of the consumer market.  Multiply $7 billion in U.S. greeting card sales by 6 percent, and the result is $420 million.
              "It's mind-blowing," said Jennifer Strickland, who co-founded Pink Rainbow Galaxy in Savannah, Georgia.
              Strickland said the idea for a homosexual greeting card business was born last summer on a trip with her lesbian partner to visit family members.
              "We realized we were often trying to find cards we ourselves could give to each other, as birthdays, thank yous, or whatever," she said.  "They just didn't exist."
              Where Giants Don't Tread ... For Now
              Among their products, which debut this week at the National Stationery Show in New York, is a card featuring a picture of a pink car with rainbow-colored cans and a sign reading "Justly Married."
              Another card has an image of two penguins holding flaps - a subtle reference to two tuxedo-clad men.  A third features a bride in a white wedding dress carrying another similarly clad woman through a doorway.
              Wesley Combs, a Washington consultant who helps companies market to homosexual consumers, said that kind of imagery will likely play over well in the gay community, whose purchasing power is estimated at $485 billion a year.
              "Many of the cards out there feature opposite-sex couples.  I would never send something like that to my partner because we're of the same sex," he said.
              Hallmark and American Greetings, which together control about 85 percent of the U.S. greeting card market, acknowledged that they do not focus specifically on gays but instead offer a selection for a variety of loving relationships.
              "It's important that we're not excluding any groups and we're addressing the needs of all the groups, but we don't want to make them too limiting, either," American Greetings spokeswoman Laurie Henrichsen said.
              But changing social values may herald change in the greeting card industry.  Just as Hallmark and American Greetings have added cards for ethnic holidays, they might one day tailor cards specifically to gays and lesbians.
              "Our only purpose in existing is to meet the customer need," Hallmark spokeswoman Rachel Bolton said.  "We have to not lead, not really follow, but accurately reflect.  That's what Hallmark has always tried to do."
      South Florida Sun-Sentinel, May 15, 2004
      200 E. Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33301
      (Fax: 954-356-4624 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.sun-sentinel.com )

      Gay men's chorus silenced on eve of show at Catholic school
      By Akilah Johnson, and Leon Fooksman Staff Writers

              West Palm Beach - Friday night was supposed to the be crowning achievement after nine months of twice weekly three-hour rehearsals by Voices of Pride, the Gay Men's Chorus of the Palm Beaches.
              But instead of giving its premiere performance at Rosarian Academy on Flagler Drive, the group called more than 500 ticket holders to say the show had been canceled.
              Officials at the school, where the chorus has rehearsed since October, told the director Thursday to remove several acts that were not in line with Roman Catholic principles and the school's philosophy or cancel.  He refused, denying there was anything wrong with the show and saying there was no time to change it.
              Voices of Pride now is scrambling to find a new venue for the two concerts, originally scheduled for Friday night and tonight.
              "They've known from Day One that we were an openly gay organization," Robert Beaulieu, president of the group's board of directors, said.  "That was the thing that was so fabulous, a Catholic facility warmly opening their doors to this gay organization."
              The school had a longstanding relationship with the chorus' artistic director, had seen it perform and figured everything would be OK when it agreed to let Voices of Pride use the auditorium, school spokeswoman Carey O'Donnell said.  That was until school officials saw the chorus rehearse six weeks ago and found some musical acts inappropriate for a Catholic-school setting, she said.  The chorus was told the acts had to be removed and it agreed, O'Donnell said.
              But at Wednesday's dress rehearsal, which was attended by parents and school board members, the same "adult acts" were in the show, she said.  The school required the chorus to remove the acts from the show or face the possibility of cancellation.  O'Donnell declined to describe the inappropriate acts or explain what was inappropriate about them.
              At issue, Beaulieu said, were several songs and sketches, including Unchained Melody, Real Good Man and a spoof of the Broadway standard Old Fashioned Wedding from Annie Get Your Gun.  For that, Beaulieu said, three of the 30 members wore wedding dresses.  He said the songs were part of a medley, making it impossible to edit out numbers the night before.
              "These little parodies and spoofs are things you would have seen on The Carol Barnett Show or Uncle Milty in the '50s," Beaulieu said.  "It's the fact that we're gay ... and it was perceived as men singing love songs to men.  It's men singing to an audience."
              That notion is wrong, O'Donnell said.  The school has no problem with the chorus, or gays and lesbians in the community.  It only objected to the "adult acts" in the show, she said.
              "We are all dismayed that the Voices of Pride would not modify the adult nature of some aspects of this performance, which are not sympathetic with the Catholic principles and philosophies of our school," Principal Corinne Sanders said in a statement.  "We are dismayed [it] chose the option of cancellation at the last minute rather than modify the performance."
              Parents such as Janice O'Hanlon supported the school's stance.
              "I can't say I blame them," said O' Hanlon, whose two children attend the school.  "It could reflect on the image of the school."
              Still, some people think that issuing an ultimatum the day before the performance tarnishes the school's image more.
              "What bothers me is that [the school] was not too opposed to take money from them when they had to," said Marlis Winter, a choral director from Boynton Beach.  "That, to me, is the salient point.  How can you tell these people they're good enough to take their money while they were rehearsing and now it's not good enough?"
              Cancellation of the shows will cost the chorus $12,000 in production costs, Beaulieu said.  The chorus would have recouped that money back in just one concert.  More than 500 tickets had been sold at $20 and $25.
              Voices of Pride performed one of the show's numbers Monday at the West Palm Beach City Commission meeting.
              "There was nothing controversial about what they sang for us," Mayor Lois Frankel said.
              The commission was so impressed that it declared Friday and today Voices of Pride days in the city.  Frankel bought tickets for Friday's show.
              "I can't fathom why it was canceled," Frankel said.
              Sanders, the school principal, made the decision to call off the show, but if she hadn't, Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito of the Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach would have canceled it, his spokesman, Jim Brosemer, said.
              "It is imperative that the concert of the Voices of Pride be canceled at the academy," Barbarito said in a written statement.  "While the church is open to any means that promotes the dignity of every human person which is bestowed by God himself, it cannot provide a forum that would contradict its moral teaching."
              �  Akilah Johnson can be reached at  akjohnson@... 
      or 561-243-6645.
      South Florida Sun-Sentinel, May 15, 2004
      200 E. Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33301
      (Fax: 954-356-4624 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.sun-sentinel.com )

      GOP candidate sees gays, lesbians as threat (excerpt)
      Anthony Man, Political Columnist

              It wasn't Florida House candidate Ed Heeney's call this week to abolish the Internal Revenue Service - over which the state Legislature has no say whatsoever - that was most unusual.
              It was Heeney's need to sound the clarion call about a threat he sees coming from Broward County to Palm Beach County: gays and lesbians.
              During time at the microphone granted to all candidates at the Palm Beach County Republican Party's monthly meeting, Heeney explained he's not homophobic, meaning someone who dislikes or fears gays and lesbians.
              Rather, he said, he's "homo-nausic," evidently meaning he's sick of them.
              "I've had enough of their influence on our culture and society," he explained later.  "I have no personal difficulty with them.  I just know they're not to be underestimated.  They're very, very militant."
              Heeney said he knows the subject because he used to live in Fort Lauderdale, which he said is "more gay than Key West."  He's even found it difficult to shoot pool because "you have a situation where the lesbian community" is buying restaurants and bars.
              "It's really impossible to be a straight white man in this society," he said.
              Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein said Heeney's views don't represent the majority of his party.
              "This is one gentleman who is running for office.  Parties encompass broad spectrums of thought.  It's not shared by me personally, and I don't think that it's shared widely."  He said Heeney's comments "are not something that I would have considered appropriate.  But I'm not in the censoring business."
              Even without making comments his party chairman immediately disavows, Heeney already had a difficult task.
              He's trying to unseat state Rep. Susan Bucher, D-Royal Palm Beach, who enjoyed a bonanza of publicity earlier this year when she stood up to attempts by Republican House leaders to mute her stream of criticism.
              And the district, which takes in parts of Royal Palm Beach, Greenacres and West Palm Beach, has 50 percent Democratic registration and just 28 percent Republican.
              �  Anthony Man can be reached at  aman@... 
      or 561-832-2905.
      Wichita Eagle, May 7, 2004
      South Kansas Avenue, Wichita, KS, 66603
      (Fax: 316-268-6627 ) (E-Mail: wenews@... )
      ( http://www.kansas.com/mld/eagle )

      Letter:  Dear legislators: You're fired!
              Kansas Senate and House members - you're fired!
              That's right, we are sick of it.  Why can't you just do your job?  How much time did you spend trying to decide whether gays should be married?  Why don't we talk about important issues?
              School funding ? why don't you try to agree on something so these schools don't have to cut their budgets again?  It is the state's responsibility to fund public schools.  That's why they are called "public schools."
              Casinos - can't you see the cash flow?  What is wrong with you people?  Get off your high horse and let the people of Kansas decide.
      - Carol Gassert, Wichita
      Letter:  Leading us astray
              Americans - with some exceptions, of course - seem to be obsessed with getting more and more things, more wealth, and indulging in more and more pleasure, be it sex, sports, overeating or whatever tickles their fancy.  What makes this more heinous is that church members across all denominational lines have bought into such a lifestyle and have ignored Jesus' claim that his followers need to deny themselves.
              But the ultimate evidence of moral decline is revealed when a group of clergy members support gay marriage and state that "the Judeo-Christian tradition does not present a static model for family...." ("Defining family," April 29 Reader Views).  That is sheer hogwash.  From when time began, male and female with the ability to procreate, and thus have children, have defined what constitutes a family.  Like genders cannot procreate, and thus no real marriage can occur.  So if Jesus' claim that his followers must practice self-denial is valid, then it applies to gays who profess to follow Christ, as well as to hedonists and gluttons.
      - James Faul, North Newton
              By reading the newspaper, it's plain to see where a lot of politicians, lawmakers, courts and judges stand.  Approving homosexuality, same-sex marriages, abortion, gambling - all those things are a sin, and those who sanction such things will stand accountable to God on the day of judgment.  So beware of the path you are allowing people to take.
      - Alta Mae Jones, Augusta
      May 6, 2004
              Regarding "Strange way to show love" (May 1 Reader Views):  I was startled by the advice Laura Shaneyfelt gave us - to get out from under the control of the Revs. Terry Fox and Joe Wright.
              I think she has overlooked the fact that the Bible is the road map God gave us on how to live our lives.  I only wish we had more men of God like pastors Fox and Wright who would take God's word and show us what God has to say about how we should live.
              There is a right way and a wrong way to live.  My Lord says that same sex-marriage is the wrong way.
      - Wilma Wine, Wichita
              How great it is to have someone write exactly what you feel.  It is even better when the writer does so in such a classy manner as Laura Shaneyfelt when she gently rebuked Wichita's self-righteous reverends of hatred, Terry Fox and Joe Wright.
              My comments to myself as I was reading the letter weren't nearly as charitable as hers.
      - Dennis Pearce, Wichita
              It used to be that the mantra of those who pushed for "homosexual rights" was tolerance.  They claimed they simply wanted their lifestyle to be tolerated.  Now, the real agenda has come forth - full societal acceptance, affirmation and celebration of the homosexual lifestyle.  If anyone speaks publicly of the need to preserve the sanctity of marriage, he is labeled a hate monger and bigot.  Wow!  What happened to tolerance of others' views?
              To want the government to grant special treatment for those who practice homosexuality by hijacking the immutable institution of marriage, ripping it from its historic meaning, and sanctioning it over something that has never met its definition for thousands of years smacks of being "hate-filled" and "bigoted" itself.
              To place yourself under the banner of "civil rights" means you are being discriminated against because of something you inherently are: black, Hispanic, a woman, etc. - not because of your behavior, such as with whom to have sex; that can change very quickly.   The previously mentioned qualities cannot.
              Those who promote the homosexual agenda would do well to drop the inaccurate name-calling of those who don't celebrate and affirm their choices, and also to practice the same tolerance for those with a differing viewpoint that they ask for from others.
      - Kelly Middleton, El Dorado
              I thought Jesus taught to accept, love and care for others.  Yet somehow people push that message aside or use the Bible to justify their fear that same-sex marriage is immoral, wrong, a threat to our society - and that our health care system is at risk.  Those sound like things the crowd wanting Jesus put to death might say.  Words full of anger, hate and fear.  Words told to them by someone, not words of their own.
      - Cody Patton, Wichita
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