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International News Archive
June 01 - June 06, 2001


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



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Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Scottish Court overturns appeals court ruling on gay RAF officer's unfair dismissal

A story published today by the Scotsman reports that a former Scottish royal air force officer who won a landmark decision on an unfair dismissal case against the Ministry of Defense after being dismissed for having gay affairs has seen the decision overturned by the Court of Session.

Mr. Roderick MacDonald, of Glenallan Drive, Edinburgh, had risen to the rank of flight lieutenant before revealing, during a security check for a new post in 1997, that he was gay. At that time, the armed forces had a policy of banning gay people.

He had earlier claimed sexual discrimination and sexual harassment, but lost his case at the employment tribunal before winning an appeal at the tribunal that found the act covered discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation .

In his written judgment, Lord Kirkwood yesterday said Mr. MacDonald was "forced to resign solely because he was a man who was sexually attracted to other men."

Lord Kirkwood added: "In my opinion the respondent was discriminated against on the ground of his sexual orientation", but it was not a discrimination that was covered by the 1975 act.

While Mr. MacDonald, will still receive compensation for a breach of his human rights, the decision ruled that "sexual orientation" was not covered by the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act.

The ban on gays in the armed forces since then has been lifted.

Sunday, June 3, 2001

UK's Church of England remarriage plan criticized

A story released today by the Associated Press reports that nineteen of the 44 dioceses in the Church of England have objected to a proposal to standardize the policy for divorced persons remarrying in church.

The church teaches that marriage is for life and frowns on remarriage while the former spouse is alive, but local priests have been free to conduct such weddings, and many do so.

A bishops' panel last year recommended allowing remarriage if "a reasonable time" has passed, the divorced persons are honest about the previous marriage's failure, adequate child support is provided and the new relationship did not break up the previous marriage.

The church's bishops will discuss the reactions this month.

Australian gay and lesbian Catholics denied communion

A story released today by the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reports that gay and lesbian Catholics and their supporters have been refused holy communion at Melbourne's St Patrick's Church.

It is the first time the group has sought communion at St Patrick's Cathedral since Archbishop George Pell left for Sydney.

Archbishop Pell had previously denied communion to gays and lesbians for five years and the group was hopeful that things would change after his departure.

However, when the rainbow sash clad people approached Bishop Denis Hart, they were offered a blessing, but refused communion.

Michael Kelly of the Rainbow Sash Movement says it was disappointing.

"We were saddened, we were not surprised that we didn't receive communion," he said.

Bishop Hart says his stance does not indicate any ill towards anyone.

He says he is simply bound by the teachings of the Church.

"Sex is restricted to marriage, it's not about to change, I'm not able to change it," he said.


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