National News Briefs

By |2009-04-09T09:00:00-04:00April 9th, 2009|Uncategorized|

Compiled by Dawn Wolfe

Politics

Anti-gay Michigan pastor leads prayer at Republican convention
Bishop Keith Butler of Southfield gave the Sept. 2 prayer, just before George W. Bush accepted the nomination for President, at the Republican National Convention.
“Homosexuality is not a civil rights issue; it is a lifestyle choice, a decision, that is not natural or normal, and should not be depicted as such to our children,” Butler said during a recent event in Washington.

Circuit City donates money to anti-gay pols
According to the Washington Blade, Circuit City may not be the best place to shop this Christmas – or any other time. Why? Because the Circuit City Stores, Inc. Political Action Committee has a long record of donating money to anti-gay legislators.
The Blade reports that campaign contribution records on Congress.org show that, of the five U.S. House members who received donations from the Circuit City PAC in the 2003-2004 election cycle, only one – Calvin Dooley (D-Calif.) – voted against the Marriage Protection Act. That provision, which would strip federal courts of jurisdiction over cases involving the Defense of Marriage Act, was passed by the House in July by a vote of 233-194.
Likewise, all but one of the nine senators who has received money from the Circuit City PAC during this election cycle voted to bring the Federal Marriage Amendment up for a vote while it was being debated last month.
The PAC has made donations to both Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) and Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.), the lead sponsors of the Federal Marriage Amendment in the Senate and House.
For the complete article, visit www.washblade.com/2004/8-20/view/actionalert/bestbuy.cfm
To speak your mind directly to Circuit City, call their sales line at 800-843-2489.

LLEGO closes doors
The Washington Blade reported on Aug. 31 that officials with the National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Organization abruptly laid off all 14 of its employees Aug. 27. A $500,000 deficit was cited as the reason for the closure.
For the complete article, visit www.washblade.com/2004/8-27/news/national/llego.cfmÊ

Keyes displays Republican party unity in remark about Cheney’s daughter
NEW YORK – Illinois Republican Senate candidate Alan Keyes labeled homosexuality “selfish hedonism” and said Vice President Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter is a sinner.
The former talk show host, who has made two unsuccessful runs for the White House, made the comments Aug. 30 in an interview with Sirius OutQ, a satellite radio station that provides programming aimed at gays and lesbians.
After saying homosexuality is “selfish hedonism,” Keyes was asked if that made Mary Cheney “a selfish hedonist.”
“Of course she is,” Keyes replied. “That goes by definition.”

Leading aids organizations launch absentee ballot drive
NEW YORK – A coalition of leading AIDS organizations announced the launch of a major absentee ballot drive for the 2004 elections through POZ.com on Sept. 1.
Using a new interactive technology, visitors to POZ.com are now able to request absentee ballots, register to vote and change their registered address. Most states allow registered voters to request absentee ballots up until the week or day before the election. Five of the nation’s largest AIDS organizations – POZ magazine, the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA-US), Housing Works, Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP) and AIDSVote.org have teamed up for this effort.
The process is simple: POZ.com visitors answer a questionnaire customized for their state of residence. (In some states, users will be prompted to contact their local elections office directly.) A completed absentee ballot request form and customized envelope are then generated. The forms can then be printed and either be mailed or dropped off locally.
People who are not yet registered to vote, or who need to register at a new address can also do so through the website.

Law

Official justifies harsher penalties for gay sex
TOPEKA, Kansas – The state can punish illegal underage sex more harshly when it involves homosexual acts, even if the only goal is promoting traditional values, a state official told the Kansas Supreme Court on Aug. 31.
In a closely watched case, the Deputy Attorney General said legislators have such broad latitude in setting policy that “any conceivable, rational basis” would justify the different treatment.
The Deputy was arguing in favor of upholding a sentence of more than 17 years in prison for Matthew R. Limon, convicted of criminal sodomy for having sex at age 18 with a 14-year-old boy in 2000.
Had the victim been a girl, Limon could have been sentenced to one year and three months in prison under a 1999 “Romeo and Juliet” law that gives shorter sentences to heterosexuals if the partners’ ages are within four years and under 19.
Limon’s attorneys argued the different treatment represents discrimination against gays and lesbians and is unconstitutional.
The Kansas Court of Appeals rejected Limon’s appeal in 2002. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas law criminalizing gay sex and returned Limon’s case to the state courts.
But in a 2-1 decision in January, the Kansas Court of Appeals noted that the U.S. Supreme Court case involved consenting adults and sided with the state again. Limon then appealed the state Supreme Court, which could rule as early as October 15.

Equal employment

HRC condemns fortune companies’ ‘pets not partners’ insurance policies
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign has condemned Sprint, Ecolab and Waste Management – all Fortune 500 companies – for offering their employees pet insurance but not domestic partner health insurance.
The HRC Foundation’s WorkNet project uncovered the fact that these four companies all offer pet insurance but no domestic partner health insurance, despite having non-discrimination policies covering sexual orientation – and one covering gender identity.
Two of the three companies will receive failing grades when HRC WorkNet releases its annual Corporate Equality Index later this month. The index measures how equitably companies treat their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors. Waste Management will receive 43 percent, and Sprint, 71 percent. Ecolab will not be scored because the company has never replied to the HRC questionnaire.

Religion

Colorado’s Episcopal Diocese offers compromise on gay clergy
DENVER – To prevent a split in the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, a task force has recommended that liberal Episcopalians shouldn’t push for blessings of same-sex unions right now while traditionalists should end their financial boycott of the diocese.
In its report, the task force advises the bishop that the same-sex blessings debate should be placed on hold until Episcopalians from across the country discuss it at their next general convention in 2006. Until that larger debate, the group also advises that no new gay clergy from outside Colorado be appointed but that gay clergy already serving be allowed to remain.
Traditionalists are also asked to promise not to pursue “episcopal oversight”, a process in which parishes can be placed under the authority of another bishop.
It will be up to the Colorado bishop to decide whether to adopt the recommendations and to convince both sides to agree to any compromise. He supports gay rights but pledged no major changes to church policy involving same-sex couples after becoming the leader of Colorado’s 35,000 Episcopalians in January.
A pastor who leads one of the diocese’s largest churches was outraged by the task force’s recommendations and called them a “ploy” to restore donations from traditionalists. Pledges to the diocese dropped by about $500,000 this year, after Colorado’s delegation to last year’s national convention backed the election of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire.

In Other News

GLAF Announces Team DC as Host for 2005 Conference
CAMBRIDGE, MA – After submissions from several cities, and a lengthy review process, the Gay & Lesbian Athletics Foundation (GLAF) has chosen Washington D.C. as the site for its 2005 International Gay & Lesbian Athletics Conference.
Team DC is the umbrella group of GLBT sports clubs in the Washington, DC area, and submitted the proposal to host GLAF’s 2005 Conference slated for March 11-13, 2005.
The newly refined mission for GLAF states that GLAF “promotes acceptance and visibility of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered (GLBT) athletics community through education, support networks, positive role models and advocacy.”
Team DC will handle all the logistics of hosting the Conference, while GLAF will continue to organize the content and work with Team DC to bring renowned keynotes and panelists to speak.
GLAF’s last two conferences, had speakers including Olympic athletes, retired professional athletes, health practitioners, authors, and representatives of the US Olympic Committee.
For more information: www.GLAF.org, [email protected], or Team DC at www.teamdc2002.org.

About the Author:

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.