This page contains news for the period November 07, 2001 through November 13,
November 2001 >>
November 13, 2001
Salvation Army back tracks on
domestic partner benefits issue
A story released today by the U.S. Newswire reports that the Salvation Army announced
Monday, that it has rescinded its policy with regards to implementing a domestic
partner policy. "We applaud the Salvation Army for changing what would have been a
disastrous course once they realized they had made a wrong decision." said Sany Rios,
president of Concerned Women for America (CWA).
In a "Commissioners Conference Statement," Commissioner Lawrence R. Moretz
wrote: "We deeply regret the perception that the Commissioners Conference surrendered
any Biblical principles in making the original decision. ... I assure you, again, that the
Salvation Army has not changed its position on marriage and the family, homosexuality or
other position statements, nor have we changed any of our basic doctrines or moral
positions. ...We will not sign any government contract or any other funding contracts that
contain domestic partner benefit requirements."
Concerned Women for America and other pro-family groups had run radio programs and done
numerous interviews urging constituents to contact the Salvation Army with their concern.
"Our understanding is that the Salvation Army will pay a heavy price, both
financial and psychological, as liberals begin to assail them for their Biblical stand in
favor of marriage and family," Rios said. "We must rally to their support."
In turn, the reversal has shocked gay-rights groups who favor benefits for domestic
"It establishes the organization as anti-gay, and in a country that's yearning to
come together and heal, this was an extremely divisive move that I don't think will be
looked on kindly," said David Smith, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign.
"We're talking about health care, about providing health benefits, and what the
Salvation Army has decided to do is prevent certain families from getting health care, and
that's just mean."
Study shows attitudes towards gays
and lesbians are changing
A story published today by the San Jose Mercury News reports that according to
a study initiated by the J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Americans still remain
deeply conflicted over how to treat their lesbian and gay friends, family members and
co-workers. But there are signs they've acknowledged that acceptance is growing.
A majority of the 2,283 adults surveyed by the Menlo Park-based foundation said
they knew someone who is lesbian, gay or bisexual; half said they believe homosexual
behavior is morally wrong.
Of the English and Spanish-speakers from the larger, general sample, about
three-quarters said they support anti-discrimination measures related to housing,
employment, domestic partner benefits and hate crimes.
But more than half said they oppose the legally sanctioned marriage of gay and lesbian
couples. Less than half support adoption rights for gay and lesbian couples. But that's up
from 1994, when a survey found that less than a third of Americans supported gay and
Mollyann Brodie, the Kaiser Foundation's vice president for public opinion and media
research, said there are signs that greater acceptance is emerging, as more gays and
lesbians reveal their sexual identity.
"The public's views are complex and they're evolving," she said.
For example, Kaiser reports that 61 percent of respondents wouldn't mind if their
child's elementary school teacher were openly gay or lesbian. Acceptance at the high
school level is 71 percent.
Maureen O'Leary, executive director of the San Francisco-based national Gay and Lesbian
Medical Association, said she was surprised at the number of respondents willing to accept
their physician's sexual identity. Sixty percent said they would see a gay or lesbian
"This indicates that there is a change in perception, and a lot of that has to do
with people coming out -- people like me who are visible," she said. "Getting to
know someone shows how much alike we are and takes away people's fears."
The Kaiser Foundation's survey of self-identified lesbian, gay and bisexual people
showed more willingness to be open about their sexuality. But they reported a stubbornly
high level of discrimination, including physical and verbal attacks.
Half said they were out to their family, friends and co-workers, but one-third said
they were rejected for coming out.
Monday, November 12, 2001
Canadian province introduces gay
marriage registry legislation
Sunday, November 11, 2001
Oakland councilmember wants
city contractors to offer domestic partner benefits plan
A story released today by 365Gay.com reports that in a surprise announcement Friday, the
government of Quebec said it hopes to have the legislation introduced by the end of the
year that would allow non married couples including gay couples to sign in a marriage
registry. The province already has some limited rights for gay and lesbian families.
The announcement is seen as an attempt to draw attention from a Constitutional challenge
to Quebec and Canadian definitions of marriage. Quebec is the only area of Canada with
laws which define marriage, part of its unique legal system, the Civil Code.
Michael Hendricks and René Leboeuf are in Superior Court in Montreal arguing the case for
gay marriage. Neither Hendricks nor Leboeuf were impressed the government's registry
Their lawyer, Anne-France Goldwater, said "The government is trying to throw a stop
to the gay and lesbian community, and at a certain point that's offensive." Goldwater
says: "When I throw Fido a bone because he's my dog, I love my dog but it doesn't
mean I think he's a human like me."
Goldwater said her clients want the respect and dignity that would come only with
"Marriage is a complete partnership," Goldwater told Justice Louise Lemelin.
"My clients are not imposing their homosexuality on anyone else. They just want to be
married. ... They want the rights and protections to which they have no access, despite 28
years of marriage."
The governments of Quebec and Canada will present their arguments next week.
A story published today by the Oakland Tribune reports that the city of Oakland could
start requiring contractors who offer benefits to their employees' spouses to do the same
for domestic partners, if Councilmember Danny Wan (Grand Lake-Chinatown) wins his
Wan is proposing that the city of Oakland follow San Francisco, Berkeley and Los Angeles,
which have adopted Equal Benefits Ordinances.
The rationale behind such laws is to eliminate unequal practices by employers who pay for
benefits to their workers' spouses but not domestic partners whether they be
same-sex or heterosexual couples.
"The city has a policy of nondiscrimination for its contractors and for itself, so
the logical next step is to offer equal benefits for all contractors' employees and their
partners," Wan said.
According to a report from Oakland's contract compliance division, the cost to contractors
is expected to be nominal because the measure only would apply to businesses already
offering family benefits.
Lupe Valdez, legislative analyst to the City Council, said about 80 percent of city
contractors offer some benefits to their employees, but it is unknown how many of them pay
for spousal benefits.
"What I found was that most of the professional service providers already offer
domestic partner benefits," she said. "If you want to provide a good work
environment and be competitive, you have to. It's really a matter of equity."
Still, the proposed ordinance would be another hurdle for contractors, who must already
comply with the city's living-wage policy and meet a myriad of other requirements. Wan
said he also wants to look at streamlining the contract compliance process overall.
The city at first tried to offer benefits only to same-sex couples, who cannot enter into
a legal marriage here. That policy was challenged, and now the benefits apply to unmarried
heterosexual couples as well.
Wan's proposal would apply to all new city contracts exceeding $25,000 and those being
renewed. It also would cover leases, franchises and concessions and include waivers for
certain situations, such as when a contractor is a sole-source provider.
The proposed ordinance will be discussed for the first time at the City Council's
Community and Economic Development Committee meeting at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 13 in City Hall.
Friday, November 9, 2001
Alabama church votes to keep
ban on gay clergy
A story released today by the Associated Press reports that the Alabama
Presbyterians have voted to keep a ban on ordaining homosexuals, joining nine other
presbyteries across the country that have chosen to oppose a change.
The national general assembly of the 2.5-million-member Presbyterian Church (USA)
proposed in June that its Book of Order be amended to remove a requirement that all
ordained deacons, elders and ministers uphold the standard of fidelity in marriage or
chastity in singleness. The standard also bans the ordination of openly practicing
In a special meeting at Independent Presbyterian Church, Alabama's regional governing
body, the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley, voted 109 to 59 against amending the Book
The proposed amendment would allow regional governing bodies to have the option of
ordaining openly homosexual candidates for ministry.
More than half of the 173 presbyteries in the denomination would have to approve the
change for it to go into effect. Voting on the issue will continue into next year.
Canadian couple fights for
recognition of their relationship
A story released today by the Canadian Press reports that Canadian couple
petitioned the Quebec Superior Court yesterday to recognize their same-sex marriage, the
third such challenge considered by Canadian courts in recent months.
Michael Hendricks, 60, and Rene LeBoeuf, 46, have been together since meeting at a 1973
New Year's Eve party. They want the same rights as heterosexual couples.
"The basis of our argument is that the people of Quebec and Canada have already
accepted marriages between gays and lesbians," lawyer Anne-France Goldwater said
after the opening session.
"It's just the government and the courts which have not had the courage so far to
recognize it. We want the court to do its job and we think it will."
Lawyers for the federal and provincial governments and religious groups will challenge
the petition, arguing that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
It's the first court challenge of laws that prohibit same-sex marriage in Quebec,
although similar cases have been brought in Ontario and B.C.
Quebec does not recognize common-law marriages between same-sex couples and has not
enacted legislation making it easier for gays and lesbians to give medical consent, obtain
guardianship of children or receive inheritances upon their spouse's death.
Australian group protests
against proposed anti-discrimination laws
A story published today by the West Australian reports that more than 2000
Australians turned out to a pro-marriage and children rally at Parliament House yesterday
to protest against the State Government's proposed anti-discrimination laws.
Under the plans, the homosexual consent age will drop from 21 to 16 and de facto and
same-sex couples will have the same legal rights as married couples.
Victory Life Church pastor Margaret Court said Australia and its laws had been built on
biblical principles and the changes threatened to plunge the nation into darkness and
Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey said all people were children of God and equal but it
was a mistake to put de facto and gay relationships on an equal footing with marriage. He
said the Government's proposed changes would undermine marriage and create confusion for
Thursday, November 8, 2001
Senate approves D.C.
A story published today by the Washington Post reports that the Senate voted yesterday
to allow the District for the first time to implement a domestic-partners law, ending a
nine-year congressional logjam and handing a victory to city home rule advocates.
In passing the District's $5.3 billion fiscal 2002 budget by a vote of 75 to 24, the
Senate joined the House in letting the city use local funds to implement a 1992 local
measure that allows government workers to buy health insurance for unmarried or same-sex
"Sometimes, I think our District has been treated as a national guinea pig instead
of the nation's capital," said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), the new Democratic
chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on the District, who championed the measure.
"I hope . . . we can use new words to describe this partnership -- instead of
partisanship, partnership -- words such as 'trust' and 'respect,' respect for local
Several senior Republican appropriators and Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.)
have opposed the domestic-partners provision, but the centrist direction of the chamber
became clear during the day, and no senator rose to object to it.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) hailed the breakthroughs. "This is a win in
three ways: for human rights, for home rule and in both houses of Congress," she
said. A spokesman for Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) praised Landrieu but said the city
needs expanded authority to spend $72 million to plug a school system deficit and cover
post-Sept. 11 emergency overtime costs.
Winnie Stachelberg, political director of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights
group, said, "The Senate upheld the value of family by removing unnecessary barriers
and making it easier for families to acquire health coverage."
The domestic-partners benefit was approved with the overall budget, which also included
$408 million in direct federal funding for District initiatives and $1.7 billion in
federal grants that are available to states and cities across the country. All four
Virginia and Maryland senators voted for the District budget.
The District domestic-partners measure allows couples to register with the city, the
only cost to the government. The law also grants family and medical leave privileges to
city employees and lets all qualifying resident couples claim familial rights at
hospitals, nursing homes and adoption agencies.
About 3,678 city households were same-sex couples, according to the 2000 Census. The
law includes heterosexual couples, adult siblings and caregivers in a familial
relationship of mutual caring.
California appellate court
rules second-parent adoptions not legal
A story published today by the Sacramento Bee reports that a recent California
appellate court decision has cast doubts on the legal validity of thousands of adoptions
by lesbian couples and panicked families throughout the state.
The adoptions were finalized under the state's so-called "second-parent"
adoption practice, which allows children of lesbian couples throughout the state to have
two legal parents. Although state law does not expressly allow second-parent adoptions,
they have been used routinely since 1985.
But a decision late last month by the 4th Appellate District Court in San Diego found
that such adoptions are not legal.
Second-parent adoptions have been used primarily by lesbian families in which one
partner has carried the child, usually with the help of an anonymous sperm donor. In those
cases, the nonbiological partner has no legal right to the child.
Without legal standing, second parents cannot sign school papers, authorize medical
treatment, travel abroad with the children or perform countless other official parental
Heterosexual couples have little need for second-parent adoptions because they can
marry and use existing stepparent-adoption laws.
Responding to the needs of what was an increasing number of lesbian couples who were
becoming pregnant, the state Department of Social Services counseled counties for years to
essentially jury-rig the independent- adoption statute to allow a biological mother's
partner to become a legal parent, even though they are unmarried.
And for years, that's what thousands of lesbian couples did, including a San Diego
couple identified only in court documents as Sharon S. and Annette F.
Sharon gave birth to a son, Zachary. Annette became his adoptive second parent. But in
1999, after Sharon gave birth to their second child, Joshua, the couple split.
Annette petitioned to become Joshua's second parent, but this time Sharon opposed the
adoption and argued that existing state law made no provision for Annette to become an
adoptive parent. A Superior Court judge disagreed, but the state's 4th Appellate District
Court issued a ruling Oct. 25 upholding Sharon's argument.
Canadian gay marriages would
destroy the institute of marriage
A story published today the National Post (Canada) reports that according to the
lawyers for the Canadian federal government who argued at a court hearing in Toronto, the
institution of marriage will be essentially destroyed if it is extended to same-sex
Three Ontario Superior Court judges are hearing a motion by eight gay and lesbian
couples that the ban on same-sex marriages violates the Charter of Rights.
Their lawyers argued this week that the prohibition contravenes the equality provisions
of the Charter and asked the court to order the City of Toronto to grant the couples
But Roslyn Levine, a lawyer for the federal government, said that by its very
definition, marriage applies only to the union of a man and a woman.
She added the definition is "Charter proof" because it is not intended to
exclude any group but to outline the "goods and goals" of a heterosexual union.
Ms. Levine was quizzed a number of times by the judges about her insistence that
"procreation" is an essential element of marriage.
Ms. Levine said it is a "red herring" to argue whether heterosexual couples
who will not have children should still be permitted to marry.
When Mr. Justice Robert Blair noted same-sex couples can have children through adoption
or advances in reproductive technology, Ms. Levine suggested it is the potential for
procreation that is relevant.
"Procreation is a metaphor for the concept" of a heterosexual union, she
Mr. Justice Harry LaForme rejected the argument and said that procreation is the result
of a physical act.
Ms. Levine then reminded the judges "the Charter does not operate in a
vacuum," and changes to social policy should be left to Parliament. She said while
Canadians support spousal benefits for same-sex partners, a large majority also believe
the only definition of marriage is the union of a man and woman.
If the court changes any of the purposes for which marriage was designed, "you
would be saying we can make marriage whatever we want," Ms. Levine said.
Judge LaForme again disagreed, saying "the goods and goals as you define marriage
remain," even if applied to a committed same-sex couple.
The Ontario court hearing is scheduled to continue the rest of the week. A ruling is
not expected for several weeks.
Wednesday, November 7, 2001
Michigan cities show
tolerance on gay issues
A story published today by the Kalamazoo Gazette reports that gay-rights battles
in Kalamazoo and two other Michigan cities failed to produce victories for the religious
conservatives showing a positive sign of growing tolerance among voting communities.
The clear defeat of a measure in Kalamazoo that would have blocked the city from
passing laws protecting gays is the first step toward opening up the community, activists
"It equals a giant step toward bridging the gap between the straight and lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender community in Kalamazoo," said Terry Kuseske, board
president for the Gay and Lesbian Resource Center. "We're putting a face on the LGBT
community. We're not this fictional character that can be villainized anymore."
The proposed city charter amendment helped fuel larger-than-normal turnout at the
polls, where it was rejected by 54 percent of the voters.
Traverse city voters also refused a similar ballot proposal by almost the same margin,
and a pro-gay ordinance in Huntington Woods won overwhelming approval.
In all three Michigan cities, religious conservatives assisted by the American Family
Association of Michigan had lobbied for voters to end what they called "preferential
treatment" of gays.
Kalamazoo Citizens Voting Yes for Equal Rights Not Special Rights said they were
disappointed at the result but encouraged by thousands who turned out to "stand up
for family values."
"At one time this nation was more in tune to the biblical standards now anything
goes," said Jacob Van Giessen, the group's president.
The proposal was sparked by a controversial policy enacted by City Manager Pat
DiGiovanni last year that allowed gay city employees to cover their partners under health
In the end, the vote largely challenged Kalamazoo's reputation as a liberal enclave in
a county of mostly conservative western Michigan Republicans.
"It's a very evenly balanced issue for Kalamazoo," Mayor Robert Jones said.
"On one hand, we're very deeply religious and on the other side, we're very
progressive. So it running close didn't surprise me."
Houston voters reject
A story published today by the Houston Chronicle reports that in the latest mix
of Houston politics and gay issues, voters Tuesday installed a ban on benefits such as
health insurance for unmarried domestic partners of municipal workers.
With the vote counted in all precincts, 52 percent of ballots said "yes" on
Proposition 2, which essentially said city workers can share job perks only with spouses
and children -- not with unmarried partners of the opposite sex or the same sex.
"We are very pleased at the outcome," said Dave Wilson, a conservative
activist who forced the city charter change proposal onto the ballot by gathering
signatures from more than 20,000 voters. "There are some things that need to happen
to continue with the effort for family values and marriage in this community."
Wilson, outspent by his campaign opposition, said he would have piled up a more
impressive victory if "the Christian community" had joined his cause publicly.
"Questions need to be asked" about the reluctance of conservatives to
campaign for his proposition, he said.
Wilson said he spent about $100,000 of his own money on the campaign through his
organization called Houstonians for Family Values, and raised about $30,000 more. His
opposition, People for a Fair Houston, spent roughly three times more and was steered by
Grant Martin, re-election campaign manager for Annise Parker, City Council's only openly
Martin said Tuesday night that a victory for Wilson meant that advocates of equal
rights for gays need to do a better job of educating voters about such issues.
"This amendment is writing discrimination into our charter," Martin said
One victory and one loss as voters
review domestic partner benefits
A story released today by the Associated Press reports that voters in two cities came to
opposite results as they reviewed domestic partner benefits for municipal employees.
The loss came in Houston, where voters approved amending the city charter to prohibit the
nation's fourth-largest city from offering benefits to domestic partners.
In Miami Beach, Fla., voters said the city should provide employee benefits to domestic
Measure 102 which passed by a margin of 65.7 to 34.3 percent and will extend health care
benefits to the domestic partners of all Miami Beach city workers. The other measure,
Measure 115 which passed by a margin of 68.5 to 31.5 percent will extend pension benefits
to the domestic partners of fire and police workers
Both proposals define domestic partners as two people in a committed relationship that is
registered with the city.
In Houston, however, 51.5 percent of voters favored prohibiting the city from becoming the
first in Texas to offer health benefits to partners of gay and lesbian municipal employees
with 48.5 percent of the voters opposing it.