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Domestic Partnership News Archive
September 1 - September 06, 2001




This page contains news for the period September 01, 2001 through September 06, 2001.




<<   September 2001  >>

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Thursday, September 6, 2001

Vermont governor will not seek reelection

A story released today by the Associated Press reports that Gov. Howard Dean, a doctor who championed child healthcare and ushered in Vermont's pioneering law allowing same-sex unions, said Wednesday he will not seek reelection next year.

At a news conference on the Statehouse lawn, the Democratic governor said he had accomplished what he set out to do. "The baton has to be passed sometime," Dean said.

"What we have done is extraordinary," he added, and detailed what he saw as his accomplishments, placing at the top of the list his decade-long emphasis on children's issues, including healthcare and early education.

Last year, Dean signed the landmark civil-unions law that made Vermont the first state to extend the rights and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples. More than 20 legislators who had supported the law were defeated for reelection.

In an interview last month marking his 10th anniversary in office, Dean said he believes his governorship will leave a mark well beyond his longevity. He said his source of greatest personal pride was the work he's done for land conservation.

"A hundred years from now, we will have hunting, hiking, fishing, and snowmobile riding because of what we did in this decade," he said.

He's more widely known, though, for his work on children's issues and healthcare. After Vermont's prescription drug plan was thrown out by a federal appeals court in June, the governor urged Vermont residents to order discount drugs from Canada.

University of Colorado regents fail to pass domestic partner benefits

A story released today by GLB-News reports that the University of Colorado Board of Regents failed to pass a proposal that would have granted health benefits to unmarried domestic partners of CU employees. This morning vote ended up with a tie (4-4), with Maureen Ediger, board chairperson abstaining from the vote.

Regent Tom Lucero had orchestrated a campaign involving the Christian Coalition aiming to raise $35,000 to fight what Lucero termed "the extreme homosexual agenda".

Before the vote, Regents Martin, Seivers, Kirk, Lucero, Schwartz, and Ediger, each spoke about the issue.  Ediger gave no indication of her position, but stated she had received more input on this issue than any other since becoming Regent.  Regents Martin, Seivers, Kirk, and Schwartz voted for domestic partner benefits.  Regents Lucero, Steinhauer, Robb, and Rutledge voted against.

The benefits would have been paid from overhead the University charges on grants which researchers bring to the University.  Without the benefits, some scientists and professors may choose to bring their grant money to other research and academic institutions which provide domestic partner benefits.  This could require the University to raise tuition to compensate.

Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Same-sex blessing ban opposed by Presbyterian committee members

A story published today by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Committee on Ministry of Pittsburgh Presbytery last night voted to recommend against a ban on same-sex blessing ceremonies by its clergy or in its churches.

The vote was held in private among about 20 committee members after an open hearing attended by another 20 Presbyterians. The Rev. Don Ewing, chairman of the Committee on Ministry, declined to give a vote count, saying it would be released for the Sept. 13 meeting of Pittsburgh Presbytery, which will vote on the proposed ban. The proposal, from Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church in Mt. Lebanon, seeks a "binding policy" of Pittsburgh Presbytery that "church property shall not be used for, and church officers shall not take part in conducting ceremonies of blessing of same-sex unions."

Fewer than five of Pittsburgh Presbytery's 164 congregations are known to offer such ceremonies. The presbytery has consistently voted against both same-sex ceremonies and the ordination of sexually active gay people.

Last night, the presbytery's stated clerk, John Matta, explained that no presbytery policy can be binding unless it is clearly based on Scripture or the denomination's constitution. However, the church's high court has already said that neither Scripture nor the constitution forbid same-sex blessings. So, if adopted, the proposed ban can only be an advisory and cannot be used to bring disciplinary action against any member of Pittsburgh Presbytery, Matta said.

The Rev. Doug Pratt, pastor of Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in McCandless, countered that the ordination vow to follow the rules of the church should make such a ban binding. Matta replied that Pratt's argument would have to be tested in the church courts.

The Rev. Janet Edwards, a minister-at-large, opposed the ban.

She argued that the biblical commands for justice and mercy sometimes clash.

"I can accept that the right [wing of the church] stands for the truth of the law in Scripture. I would like for the right to acknowledge that I, on the left, stand for mercy. It is only God who brings these opposites together," she said.

The Rev. David Antonson, pastor of Northmont Presbyterian Church, McCandless, said that he would not conduct a same-sex ceremony, but opposed the ban.

"I don't think this helps the church. I'm concerned about inflammatory language," he said.



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