Monday, January 10, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/10/05)

Justices reject gay adoption appeal
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday by four men who challenged Florida’s ban on adoption by gay couples, avoiding another contentious fight over gay rights.

Florida is the only state with a blanket law prohibiting homosexuals from adopting children, but the high court was told that other states could now feel free to copy the ban.

Opponents argued that the 1977 law, passed at the height of Anita Bryant’s anti-homosexual campaign, was irrational because it excluded potential parents for thousands of abandoned children.

Christians face hearing in felonies at gay rights event
By Joyce Howard Price

Four Christian activists face arraignment tomorrow in Philadelphia on felony charges in what they describe as their "peaceful protest" of a homosexual rights event last fall.

The defendants, all members of an evangelical Christian group called Repent America, "exercised their First Amendment rights by preaching the Gospel, and they did it peacefully," said Brian Fahling, an attorney for the American Family Association, who is representing them.

Each has been charged with three felonies — criminal conspiracy, inciting to riot and ethnic intimidation — charges that Mr. Fahling called "the most profound abuse of power I've ever seen."

Sex mores trapped in closet of fear
By Henry M. Bowles III

Is there any fear more entrenched in collective American psyche (particularly among young men) and more reflective of our sexual mores than the dread of homosexuality? Consider our vernacular: "Faggot" remains in common parlance, while "gay" is routinely used as a casual pejorative. Appallingly hateful language continues to be tolerated because most children are raised terrified of "being gay." In this sense, homophobes are the products of effective socialization.

It may be unmentionable, but modern sexology leaves no doubt that virtually all of us are attracted to members of the same sex. What prevents us from treating this attraction in the same way we would treat an attraction to the opposite sex? What causes the visceral repugnance to same-sex activity that would inspire someone to say, "Dude! I would never do that with another guy?"

Stigma. While we certainly want to stigmatize certain behaviors, like murder, stigma occasionally develops around innocuous behavior (think the Victorian obsession with masturbation). An intelligent society must therefore leave no social or sexual norm unjustified, no taboo or fear unexplained.

More Anti-Gay Amendments Coming
by Doreen Brandt Washington Bureau

A second wave of states considering amendments to their constitutions to bar same-sex marriage has begun.

Steve Morris, the president-elect of the Kansas Senate said Monday that he plans to seek Senate approval of a constitutional ban on gay marriage by the end of this week.

If approved by a two-thirds vote, that would give the House about three weeks to consider the proposal and make a Feb. 11 deadline needed to get the proposal before Kansas voters on an April 5 ballot, he said.

Lutherans To Release Gay Study
by The Associated Press

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America this week is expected to announce results from a three-year study on sexuality, including recommendations on whether the church should change its policies on the blessing of same-sex unions and ordination of gay ministers.

Leaders from the 5 million-member denomination will announce on Thursday the recommendations from a 14-member task force. Church members will act on the proposals at their Churchwide Assembly in August.

The Chicago-based church now has no official policy on blessing same-sex relationships. It allows members who identify themselves as gay or lesbian to be ordained but expects them to remain celibate.

Pope Sets Anti-Gay 2005 Agenda

by Francis D'Emilio Associated Press

Pope John Paul II put lobbying against gay marriage at the top of the Vatican's agenda for 2005 and also urged politicians in prosperous nations Monday to do more for the millions of hungry people around the globe.

In a speech to the diplomats accredited to the Vatican, the ailing, 84-year-old pontiff laid out the Roman Catholic Church's priorities for the new year, making clear he intended to use his energies to tackle what he called "challenges of life" issues — abortion, cloning, gay marriage, assisted procreation and embryonic stem cell use.

He noted the anguishing news of 2004, from natural disasters — including the Indian Ocean tsunami and locust plagues in northern Africa — to "barbarous terrorism which caused bloodshed in Iraq and other countries," and the suffering in Darfur, Sudan.

Sharpton Admonishes Blacks Who Voted For Bush Over Gay Marriage Fears

by Newscenter Staff

African Americans were taken in by a "con" game by Republicans last November former presidential candidate Al Sharpton said.

Speaking to parishioners at Atlanta's Butler Street Christian Methodist Episcopal on Sunday, Sharpton said Bush manipulated the gay marriage debate to draw attention away from the Iraq war and his domestic problems.

"I think George Bush manipulated a lot of religious feelings about marriage when the president has little or nothing to do with marriage," Sharpton said.

Conservatives Drop Gay Marriage Suit

by Newscenter Staff

A lawsuit by a group of Christian conservatives against a lesbian couple seeking to marry in Lee County, Florida has been dropped.

The group, made up of a county clerk in Florida's Panhandle, more than a dozen notaries public, wedding chapels and churches, are still battling same-sex couples in other parts of the state.

The were represented by Liberty Counsel, a Christian law firm that is fighting gay marriage throughout the country. Liberty Counsel has filed notice that it is abandoning the Lee County case.

Illinois Senate votes to add gays to anti-discrimination law
By Kate Thayer

The Illinois Senate narrowly approved a sweeping gay-rights bill late Monday, setting up a House battle today that could settle 30 years of political debate in Springfield.

The measure would add a "sexual orientation" category to the Illinois Human Rights Act, which already bars discrimination based on race, gender or disability. The change approved by the Senate would make it illegal to discriminate in hiring, housing and other areas based on an applicant's sexual preference.

The measure passed the Senate 30-27 and could get final approval in the House today.


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