National News Briefs

By |2018-01-16T05:53:46-05:00October 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|

Compiled by Dawn Wolfe


PBS chief quits over gay cartoon
WASHINGTON – Pat Mitchell, the Public Broadcasting Service chief will step down when her contract expires in June 2006. Mitchell drew recent criticism from conservatives for an episode of the children’s show “Postcards From Buster,” in which an animated bunny named Buster, traveled to Vermont. Though the focus was on farm life and maple sugaring, the episode, entitled “Sugartime,” featured a lesbian couple.
Newly appointed Education Secretary Margaret Spellings contended that the episode did not fulfill the intent Congress had in mind for programming and said many parents would not want children exposed to “such lifestyles.”
The network decided not to distribute the episode to its 349 stations. But the Boston public television station, WGBH-TV, which produced the series, has made it available to other stations.
Christine Todd Whitman to address LCR convention
NEW ORLEANS – Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman has been added to the speaker’s list of the upcoming Log Cabin Republicans’ national convention in New Orleans March 31-April 3.
Convention topics will include issues of faith and sexual orientation, basic family protections, and effective lobbying strategies.
For more information about attending visit the Log Cabin Republicans’ web site at or call 202-347-5306.

Family Rights

Virginia senate panel rejects anti-gay adoption bill
RICHMOND, Va. – On an overwhelming voice vote a Senate committee rejected legislation Feb. 16 that would have required social workers in adoption cases to determine whether the applicants are homosexuals. to the Senate floor. The bill originally would have prohibited gays from adopting in Virginia but was amended in the House to require home studies to include whether the applicant “is known to engage in current voluntary homosexual activity or is unmarried and cohabiting with another adult to whom he is not related by blood or marriage.”
Trans woman told marriage license invalid
LEA COUNTY, New Mexico – A probate judge denied a marriage ceremony to a couple on Feb. 14 because one of them was a trans woman had not completed a sex-change procedure. Under state law, the 37-year-old is considered male.
Without having the procedure along with a doctor’s certificate verifying the gender change and a new birth certificate, the couple can’t get married in New Mexico.
Lesbian who split with partner must pay child support
INDIANAPOLIS – A lesbian who split with her partner after adopting the woman’s biological children must pay child support, the state court of appeals ruled Feb. 16.
The woman adopted her partner’s children in 1997. A few years after their breakup she tried to vacate the adoption. Around the same time, the children’s biological mother, who had remarried and divorced a man, filed for child support.

Civil Rights

Montana senate endorses bill outlawing bias toward gays, lesbians
HELENA – The state senate endorsed a bill to prohibit discrimination against gays and lesbians by including them in the state’s human rights laws Feb. 16. The measure by passed on a 27-23 vote, with several lawmakers breaking party lines.
The bill would ban discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation when it comes to employment, public accommodations, housing, financial transactions, education, job referrals, licensing, training programs, government services and funding and public contracts.


Charges against anti-gay activists dropped
PHILADELPHIA – On Feb. 17, a judge dismissed all charges against four members of conservative Christian group Repent America who were arrested last fall while picketing a gay pride festival.
After watching video footage of the event, the judge said that while the protesters’ message that homosexuality is a sin clearly enraged the crowd, the bullhorn-wielding demonstrators did not incite violence.
The demonstrators had faced a variety of charges, including riot, conspiracy and ethnic intimidation, Pennsylvania’s version of a hate crime. Prosecutors had said the activists, led by Repent America founder Michael Marcavage, were trying to incite the crowd.
Suit targets diversity training
ASHLAND, Ky. – Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative religious-liberty group, filed suit Feb. 15 in an attempt to stop the Boyd County school district from requiring students to attend diversity training calling it unconstitutional.
A spokesperson for the fund said all middle and high school students in Boyd County are required to attend the training and that parents are not permitted to opt their children out, even if it violates their personal beliefs.
The school district began offering the training in the wake of another lawsuit filed against the Boyd County Board of Education by the Boyd County High School Gay-Straight Alliance, which has since disbanded.
Transgender inmate released 11 years after Supreme Court ruling
BALTIMORE – A transgender inmate whose rape behind bars led to a new liability standard for prison officials has been sent home to die.
A Maryland judge on Feb. 15 signed the order freeing Deirdre “Dee” Farmer from prison saying the inmate – blind, bedridden and dying of AIDS – was no longer a threat to society.
Farmer sued federal prison officials over a 1989 rape that occurred about a week after the inmate arrived at a federal maximum-security prison for men in Indiana from another federal prison in Wisconsin.
The lawsuit claimed the government had violated Farmer’s constitutional right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment by ignoring the risk that a feminine-appearing inmate would be raped by other prisoners. The Supreme Court rejected Farmer’s argument that officials should have recognized the danger, and ruled that prison officials can be held liable for inmate-on-inmate assaults only if they knowingly disregarded an excessive risk of harm.
At the time, Farmer was serving a 20-year sentence for credit-card fraud. That was followed by a 30-year state sentence for offenses in Maryland.


Georgia confirms case of rare STD
ATLANTA – Georgia Division of Public Health officials said Feb. 18 that a rare form of chlamidiya called LGV, or Lymphogranuloma Venereum, was confirmed in a gay man who also had HIV and another sexually transmitted disease.
The Atlanta case is one of six identified in the United States. Health officials are concerned with the disease because it increases the risk of spreading HIV because LGV causes ulcers and bleeding.
Georgia has had 16 cases of the difficult-to-diagnose disease since 1992.
Link among meth, HIV, and Hepatitis to be examined at summer conference
SALT LAKE CITY – The Salt Lake Tribune reported Feb. 16 that, this summer, Salt Lake City will host the first national conference on methamphetamine, HIV, and Hepatitis. Participants will include scientists from Yale and Harvard medical schools, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and law enforcement and social workers from around the nation.
Organizers will discuss how to prevent methamphetamine’s use, as well as harm reduction approaches for those continuing to use the drug.
For more information about the Aug. 19-20 conference, call Salt Lake’s Harm Reduction Project at 801-355-0234.


Anglican leaders meet in dispute on gay bishop
NEWRY, Northern Ireland – Leaders of the global Anglican Communion are meeting in a Northern Ireland retreat this week to continue a painful debate on a homosexual bishop.
Conservative bishops, particularly in Africa, are furious with the Episcopal Church for consecrating an openly gay bishop – the first in the church’s history – and about the blessing of same-sex unions in parts of the United States and Canada.
Factions within the Episcopal Church also are divided over the issue, and leaders of the U.S. church are incensed with some bishops from other countries who have offered to act as shepherds for dissident American congregations.

In Other News

AMA feels heat over leader’s anti-gay remarks
CHICAGO – After being criticized by gay and lesbian groups, the president of the American Medical Association said Feb. 17 his views were misrepresented in a newspaper article that quotes him defending a Roman Catholic-affiliated medical school’s decision to ban a gay student group.
The Journal News of White Plains, N.Y., said Dr. John Nelson likened the ban at New York Medical College to Brigham Young University’s decision to suspend four former football players accused of rape, and with the Mormon school’s refusal to allow caffeinated soft drinks on campus.
“I apologize to anyone who may have been offended by what they read,” but the article “does not represent my views or the policies of the AMA,” Nelson said.
CynDee Royle, the newspaper’s senior managing editor, said the reporter taped the interview and that neither Nelson nor the AMA had requested a correction.
The AMA says it does not support the gay student group ban at the Valhalla, N.Y., medical college.
As quoted by reporter Keith Eddings, Nelson said gays should be treated with dignity and respect, but that gay students’ rights should be balanced against the private school’s right to set its own policies.
Nelson’s “apology” was not accepted by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.
Speak out!
Let the American Medical Association know how you feel about Dr. Nelson’s remarks:
American Medical Association
515 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60610

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.