Thursday, January 20, 2005

Daily News Round Up (1/20/05)

Louisiana Revives Anti-Gay Ban

The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled on January 19 that the enactment of the Marriage Amendment approved overwhelmingly by the voters on September 18, 2004, does not violate Louisiana’s constitution, so the amendment will go into effect.

Under the terms of the amendment, which went to the voters after resolutions were approved by both houses of the Legislature, Louisiana will neither sanction same-sex marriages nor recognize any enacted in other jurisdictions.

The amendment also provides: “A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized,” a critical element that shaped the arguments made by its opponents in court.

Conservative group targets 'pro-homosexual' SpongeBob video


WASHINGTON -- On the heels of electoral victories to bar same-sex marriage, some influential conservative Christian groups are turning their attention to a new target: SpongeBob SquarePants.

"Does anybody here know SpongeBob?" James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, asked the guests Tuesday night at a black-tie dinner for members of Congress and political allies to celebrate the election results.

In many circles, SpongeBob needs no introduction. He is popular among children and grownups as well who watch him cavorting under the sea on the Nickelodeon cartoon program that bears his name. In addition, he has become a camp figure among adult gay men, perhaps because he holds hands with his animated sidekick Patrick.

Pro-family group slams new GOP co-chair


A pro-family group is criticizing the Republican National Committee for nominating as its new co-chair an Ohio Republican who the organization says is not only in favor of abortion rights but also has failed to oppose the homosexual agenda.

Joann Davidson was speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives for four years and, according to RNC spokesman Brian Jones, "one of the top grass-roots activists and leaders in the entire country."

The Pro-Family Network of Ohio, however, says Davidson "does not represent the values of the rank and file of the GOP."

Louisiana Supreme Court OK's Gay Marriage Amendment

by The Associated Press

(New Orleans, Louisiana) The Louisiana Supreme Court yesterday unanimously reinstated the anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in September.

The high court reversed a state district judge's ruling in October striking down the amendment on the grounds that it violated a provision of the state constitution requiring that an amendment cover only one subject.

"Each provision of the amendment is germane to the single object of defense of marriage and constitutes an element of the plan advanced to achieve this object," the high court said.

Gay Cop Seeks $10M In Harassment Suit

by Doug Windsor New York Bureau

(New York City) A former Suffolk County police officer says that once it was discovered he is gay his whole world changed. For a decade, John Weeks says, he was a respected and decorated officer on the Long Island force.

In federal court this week Weeks testified that he had a long term relationship with another officer. When the relationship soured the man filed a complaint with Internal Affairs. The nature of the complaint was not revealed and the other officer has not been named.

But, whatever the complaint was it led to a raid on Weeks home. He told the court that one day in December 1999, Internal Affairs officers searched his home computer and found he had visited various gay Web sites.

SF Gay Group Fights Handgun Ban

by Mark Worrall San Francisco Bureau

(San Francisco, California) A plan to ask voters to approve a ban on handguns in San Francisco has angered a gay firearms club.

In the past year San Francisco has seen a 28 percent increase in homicides during the past year. In response, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has proposed putting a question on this year's ballot that would bar residents from keeping handguns in their homes or businesses.

If passed it also would prohibit the sale, manufacture and distribution of any firearms or ammunition in San Francisco.

Second Term Begins Amid Anti-Gay Amendment Concerns

by Paul Johnson Washington Bureau Chief

(Washington) George W. Bush took the oath of office for a second term Thursday as hundreds of anti-war protestors and gay rights advocates demonstrated nearby.

In a speech devoted almost entirely to foreign policy Bush “All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know [that] the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors,” he declared.

He also said, 'No human rights without human liberty", a line not missed by gay rights supporters.

Indiana Gay Marriage Ban Upheld

by Newscenter Staff

(Indianapolis, Indiana) The Indiana Court of Appeals on Thursday ruled that the state's so-called defense of marriage act is legal.

"What we decide today is that the Indiana Constitution does not require the governmental recognition of same-sex marriage," the court said in a written ruling, noting that "the Legislature is certainly free to grant such recognition or create a parallel institution under that document.''

Three same-sex couples asked the court to set aside a lower court ruling that also upheld the statute.

Company To Pay $3.5M To Settle AIDS Scam Charge

by Ed Welch Los Angeles Bureau

(Los Angeles, California) An Orange County company has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle charges that it deceptively marketed a supplement to prevent or cure HIV/AIDS, cancer, and asthma.

Body Wise International sold the supplement under the brand name “AG-Immune”. The Federal Trade Commission, the Orange County District Attorney, and the California State Attorney General filed suit alleging the drug was useless in treating or preventing any of the diseases and violated a 1995 FTC order.

Under the settlement, Body Wise has agreed to pay a $2 million civil penalty to the FTC. California’s proposed settlement would require Body Wise to pay the State of California an additional $1.58 million in penalties and costs for allegedly violating the State’s Business and Professions and Health and Safety Codes.

Prison For 9-11Gay Conman

by Fidel Ortega Miami Bureau

(Fort Lauderdale, Florida) A conman who claimed that his partner had been killed in the 9-11 terrorist attack in New York and got $68,000 in emergency aid from the Red Cross was sentenced to prison on Wednesday.

Patric Ian Henn, of Fort Lauderdale, pled guilty last week to grand theft.

Henn, 29, admitted in court that he concocted the heartbreaking story to get money from aid groups helping the survivors' families following the attacks.

NY Gov. Budget Slashes Medicaid For People With AIDS Group Warns

by Doug Windsor New York Bureau

(New York City) The Gay Men’s Health Crisis had harsh criticism Wednesday for Governor Pataki’s proposed $1 billion in Medicaid cuts.

The cuts were announced Tuesday in Pataki's Executive Budget for the 2005-06 fiscal year.

GMHC said that the cuts will severely limit healthcare options for New York’s low-income individuals and families, including thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Disney World Accused Of Segregating Transsexual Intern

by Newscenter Staff

(Orono, Maine) A transsexual student from the University of Maine says she is being segregated in a student intern program at Orlando's Disney World.

The woman, who wants to be identified only by her first name, Claire, was accepted last fall to the Walt Disney World College Program for a seven-month internship.

The 23 year old tells the Bangor Maine News that when she told Disney officials she is transsexual they said they offer only single-sex housing and gave her two options: Cut her hair and go back to living as a male, or live alone in a two-person apartment and pay double the amount of rent.

Federal Anti-Gay Marriage Law Upheld

by Newscenter Staff

(Tampa, Florida) A federal judge Wednesday upheld the federal Defense of Marriage Act dismissing a suit brought by a Tampa lesbian couple who were married in Massachusetts.

Rev. Nancy Wilson, a Metropolitan Community Church minister, and Paula Schoenwether, a family marriage counselor were married July 2 in Massachusetts, the only state where same-sex marriages are recognized..

The two have been together for 27 years.

Suitcase Gay Murder Trial Begins

by Newscenter Staff

(Louisville, Kentucky) Opening arguments began Wednesday in a case dubbed the Suitcase Murder. The body of Guinn "Richie" Phillips was found in a suitcase floating in Rough River Lake last June.

Prosecutor Susan Streible told the court Wednesday that 22-year-old Josh Cottrell killed Phillips because he was gay.

Phillips had been beaten and strangled with a belt . His corpse was then stuffed into a suitcase and dumped into the Lake. It was found eight days later.


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