Compiled by Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
Governor promotes gay rights at luncheon
PORTLAND, Ore. – Gov. Ted Kulongoski spoke at the annual fund-raiser lunch for Basic Rights Oregon, a non-profit group that works for gay rights issues, on April 26. He said he’s prepared to fight to pass legislation that will provide and protect rights for gays and lesbians and criticized the legislature for not yet acting to ensure gay-rights legislation is passed this session.
Kulongoski wants lawmakers to pass a Senate Bill he introduced that would grant the rights of marriage to gay and lesbian couples through civil unions and would make discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal.
Many among the 500 people at the lunch represented Oregon businesses, including Nike, Powell’s Books and Portland General Electric.
Gates says Microsoft may reconsider its stance on gay rights bill
SEATTLE – Microsoft Corp. may rethink its decision to withdraw support for state legislation that would ban discrimination against gays and lesbians, Chairman Bill Gates said.
In an interview with The Seattle Times, Gates said he was surprised by the fierce criticism that followed the company’s decision to no longer back a state gay rights bill it had supported in previous years.
“Next time this one comes around, we’ll see,” Gates said in the story published April 26. “We certainly have a lot of employees who sent us mail. Next time it comes around that’ll be a major factor for us to take into consideration.”
School district plans to lift ban on gay-pride shirts
WEBB CITY, Mo. – A southwest Missouri school district that banned T-shirts with gay-friendly messages says it is prepared to change its policy.
The Webb City R-7 School District explained its intentions in a motion its lawyers filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City. In the motion, filed April 28, the district asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a high school student against the school’s principal and assistant principal and the district’s superintendent. The student filed the lawsuit after being told that homemade T-shirts she wore to school nearly five months ago were disruptive and thus breached the dress code. The student, who is heterosexual, is seeking an injunction that would let her wear shirts such as one that read: “I have a gay friend and I’m proud of him.”
Court rejects gay-lesbian group’s appeal
GRETNA, La. – The Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal rejected an attempt by the Louisiana Electorate of Gays and Lesbians, to throw out a law that says the state attorney general can investigate homosexual organizations.
In one of the two provisions LEGAL was trying to strike down, the state attorney general’s office is given the right to prosecute homosexual groups, as well as those promoting prostitution and narcotics. The categories are all lumped together in the statute.
NCR shareholders reject bid to drop DP benefits
DAYTON, Ohio – NCR Corp. shareholders on rejected a proposal that asked the company to consider dropping domestic-partner benefits for its highest-paid employees on April 27 by a vote of 115.3 million to 4.9 million.
NCR’s board of directors said employees should be free from discrimination based on sexual orientation and that the company’s policy, adopted in 1998, is designed to promote a diverse work force and attract and retain talented employees.
The company will not say how many executives are eligible for the benefit.
At least five other U.S. companies have been the targets of efforts to rescind similar domestic-partner benefit policies, but none have succeeded, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
NCR makes large computer systems, ATMs and electronic checkout scanners.
Soulforce meets with students at Falwell’s university
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Dozens of students at conservative Liberty University greeted members of a gay and lesbian organization with open arms on April 25 despite contempt from the school’s founder, the Reverend Jerry Falwell. Fifty-five members of Soulforce, a Lynchburg, Va.-based gay rights group, met with Liberty students to discuss academic freedom issues at the campus and the treatment of gays and lesbians.
Falwell, who founded the Christian school in 1971, sternly condemned homosexuality during a regular convocation attended by Liberty students, faculty, staff, and Soulforce members, and after the group left for an afternoon news conference, campus police refused to allow them back on campus.
Soulforce protests Focus on the Family
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – About 500 Soulforce protesters gathered in front of the Focus on the Family headquarters, holding rainbow flags, multicolored balloons and signs reading “God Loves Justice” and “Love Thy Neighbor” on May 1.
FOF’s founder James Dobson was not at the headquarters.
For more information visit Soulforce at www.soulforce.org.
Presiding bishop defends controversy in church
SALT LAKE CITY – Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold acknowledges that the ordination of a gay bishop in the U.S. Episcopal Church has been controversial.
But it is no more so than when the apostle Peter taught that uncircumcised Gentiles would be welcome in the early church, Griswold said April 26 at St. Mark’s Cathedral.
“Circumcision was an ordinance central to Jewish identity as a chosen people. To say the Holy Spirit could fall on those uncircumcised was cataclysmic,” he said. “You think we have problems? Go back to that era. And it was the Holy Spirit who did it.”