National News Briefs

By |2005-10-13T09:00:00-04:00October 13th, 2005|News|

Compiled by Dawn Wolfe Gutterman

Religion

Vatican official: Document does not ban gay priests

VATICAN CITY – A Vatican document expected to be made public soon stops short of a sweeping ban on homosexuals entering the priesthood, allowing those who have lived chastely for three years to be candidates for the clergy, a senior Vatican official said Oct. 7.

The document, in the works for at least three years, updates Vatican policy, which had held that gays or men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained, regardless of whether they can remain celibate.

The official confirmed a report in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Oct. 7 listing the reasons for not admitting gay candidates, which include men who publicly show their homosexuality and those who reveal an attraction to what the document described as the “gay lifestyle.”

A homosexual priest, speaking on condition of anonymity because he feared reprisal from church leaders, said if the latest reports are true “it will be the first time that the church will have formally said that gay men have been and can be accepted by seminaries.”

Archbishop: priest’s removal not related to his views

LYNN, Mass. – Boston Archbishop Sean O’Malley denied Oct. 5 that the recent forced resignation of a Newton priest was related to his outspoken views that sometimes clashed with the church’s positions.

The archdiocese said last week that the Rev. Walter Cuenin was being asked to step down as pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians for improperly accepting financial benefits from his parish that violated archdiocesan policies.

Cuenin’s supporters have claimed he was being punished for criticizing former Archbishop Cardinal Bernard Law’s handling of the clergy sex abuse crisis, and for questioning some church teachings on gays and the ordination of women.

Politics

Bill to limit reproduction procedures dropped

INDIANAPOLIS – A proposed bill that would prohibit gays, lesbians and single people in Indiana from using medical science to assist them in having a child has been dropped by its legislative sponsor.

State Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, said earlier this week that state law does not have regulations on assisted reproduction and should have similar requirements to adoption.

Miller is chairperson of a panel of lawmakers that was to vote Oct. 20 on whether to recommend the legislation to the full General Assembly.

The bill defined assisted reproduction as causing pregnancy by means other than sexual intercourse, including intrauterine insemination, donation of an egg, donation of an embryo, in vitro fertilization and transfer of an embryo, and sperm injection.

It then required “intended parents” to be married to each other and says an unmarried person may not be an intended parent.

West fights release of files from city-owned computer

SPOKANE, Wash. – Spokane Mayor Jim West’s city-owned computer contains 1,800 files, at least half of them photos, that he doesn’t want the public to see, according to new court filings.

In September, an assistant city attorney said the city would release three CDs containing files copied from West’s computer disc in response to a May public-records request from The Spokesman-Review.

West’s attorneys went to court to prevent the city from releasing the CD files or a copy of his City Hall computer hard drive. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Oct. 12.

A half-dozen young gay men were offered perks, trips or City Hall jobs and appointments by West, who has said he did nothing illegal. The FBI is investigating whether those offers and appointments constituted an abuse of public office.

West will face a recall election in December after opponents gathered enough signatures to put his fate on the ballot. The elections supervisor said on Oct. 7 that sufficient signatures have been collected to put the recall on the ballot.

Civil unions backers drop plans for ballot measure

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon’s leading gay rights group has decided not to pursue a ballot measure next year to allow civil unions for same-sex couples, saying it will work instead on longer-term efforts to secure more rights for gays and lesbians.

Those will include grass-roots campaigning to help elect legislative candidates sympathetic to gay rights and to defeat House Speaker Karen Minnis and other civil union opponents in the 2006 election, Basic Rights Oregon said Oct. 7.

Basic Rights and other activists had been discussing a possible ballot measure since the Oregon Legislature adjourned in August without approving a civil unions bill that would have allowed same-sex couples to gain most of the benefits of marriage.

N.H. panel recommends anti-gay marriage amendment

CONCORD, N.H. – A state commission studying the issue of equal marriage rights voted Oct. 5 to recommend a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The vote of 7-4, with two abstentions and two members absent, upset some commissioners who wanted to discuss versions of civil unions that have been adopted in other states.

Any move to change the New Hampshire constitution would need to pass in both the House and Senate by a three-fifths majority and then receive voter approval by a two-thirds majority.

Civil Rights

ACLU asks court to stop to prison harassment

HONOLULU – The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a motion asking a federal court to promptly halt the alleged harassment and abuse of gay prisoners at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility, citing immediate dangers to those inmates at the state’s youth prison.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of three detainees at the facility that said they were harassed and abused either because they were gay, lesbian or transgender or because people believed they were gay.

But the legal director for the ACLU in Hawaii said allowing the state to act only until after the lawsuit made its way through the court would “leave these youth in danger.”

The ACLU said male inmates repeatedly harassed another male inmate they believed was gay and threatened to rape him.

In another case, youth correctional officers allegedly told a lesbian inmate and her girlfriend that their relationship was “bad” and they “were going to hell.”

Miscellaneous

American wins Mr. Gay International contest

PALM SPRINGS – A California man won the first Mr. Gay International title, beating out contestants that came from as far away as Austria, Norway and Bosnia-Herzegovina, in a pageant that included rock-climbing, poetry reading, gymnastics and a swimsuit competition.

Jesse Bashem, a 21-year-old gymnastics teacher and surfer, was awarded the title on Oct. 8. The international title came down to a tiebreaker between Bashem and Mr. Austria, Aaron Michael Jackson, 32. Other contestants included the reigning Mr. Gay Europe 2005, David Thorkildsen of Norway and a contestant from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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