This page contains news for the period January 01, 2002 through January 06,
January 2002 >>
January 6, 2002
Activists to fight state VHDA bid
to extend home loan eligibility to domestic partners
A story released today by the Associated Press reports that Virginia conservative
activists plan to fight a proposal being considered by the Virginia Housing Development
Authority that would allow unmarried and same-sex couples to be eligible for low-interest
"If you are trying to help preserve family stability, embarking on a program like
this undermines that," said Delegate Robert G. Marshall, Prince William Republican.
"We don't have any obligation to accommodate every and any personal behavior.
"There will be a budget amendment to prohibit it," Mr. Marshall said.
"If I were to bet on it, I would bet we would preserve the status quo."
Virginia is the only state with such a restriction on loan applicants, VHDA officials
said. The current rule, initially adopted in 1980 and reinstated in 1996 after a two-year
lapse, limits loan eligibility to borrowers who are related by blood, marriage or
adoption. The new proposal would make no distinction for loans to multiple borrowers under
the program, and would extend state loans to nontraditional families, including homosexual
couples and single parents, allowing them to pool their resources to purchase a home.
The housing authority's 10-member board, which will consider the proposal at its Jan.
23 meeting, received input from the public at a hearing Thursday in Richmond.
"I think that generally, and particularly during an economic downturn, the state
should do all it can to appropriately increase homeownership throughout the
commonwealth," said Albert C. Eisenberg, a former member of both the housing
authority board and the Arlington County Board. He was among the 10 persons who spoke at
Late last year, the authority undertook a major study of housing needs statewide in the
last decade. Officials said the findings, coupled with input from real estate agents,
developers, lenders, nonprofit groups and others, prompted the proposal to eliminate the
"We're really approaching this from a business point of view. It simply makes good
business sense," said Arthur Bowen, VHDA's managing director of public policy.
"We've heard loud and clear that if we make this change, we'll be in a better
position to serve the people we were created to serve."
Friday, January 4, 2002
Unmarried partners can register in
London on Valentines Day
A story released today by the RainbowNetwork.com reports that London Mayor Ken
Livingstone has announced that unmarried couples will be able to register their
partnerships on Valentines Day.
Couples are normally only able to sign the London Partnerships Register on Wednesdays
and Saturdays. With Valentine`s Day falling on a Thursday this year the Mayor wanted
London couples to have the chance to register their partnerships on what many consider to
be the most romantic day of the year.
The Greater London Authority is the first public body in the country to offer official
recognition to same-sex as well as heterosexual couples.
The news comes as Brighton and Hove City Council are a step closer to establishing
their own partnership register for unmarried couples, including lesbians and gay men. The
city will now join Manchester, which has already approved a register.
Thursday, January 3, 2002
Vermont High Court rejects civil
A story released today by the Associated Press reports that Vermont's Supreme Court has
rejected a challenge to the civil unions law granting gay couples many of the rights and
benefits of marriage.
In a Dec. 26 order signed by all five justices and released Thursday, the court turned
aside claims brought by taxpayers, legislators and town clerks.
They had made two main claims: One asserted that the civil unions law is invalid
because 14 House members who supported it bet on the outcome of a preliminary House vote.
In the other, town clerks argued that the law is unconstitutional because it forces them
to violate their religious beliefs that homosexuality is wrong by issuing civil union
licenses to couples.
The high court said it was up to the House to decide whether the legislators who placed
the $1 bets should have been disqualified. It said the dispute involved ``matters
constitutionally entrusted to the sound and exclusive judgment of the House, not to this
The civil unions law, passed in 2000, gives gay couples the closest thing in America to
marriage. No other state has such a law.
Erik Stanley, a lawyer for the groups that sued said they have no other legal recourse.
``Really, I guess, the next option would be for the people of Vermont to go back to the
Legislature and get the Legislature to deal with the problem by repealing the law or by
enacting more stringent laws prohibiting gambling on the House floor,'' said Stanley.
Wednesday, January 2, 2002
British Civil Partnership Bill gets first hearing
A story released today by the RainbowNetwork.com reports that a Civil
Partnerships Bill is to be introduced later this month in Great Britain. The Bill will
give legal recognition for cohabiting opposite-sex and same-sex couples.
Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC, the Liberal Democrat peer, will bring his Private
Members Bill on Civil Partnerships to the House of Lords on 9 January. The Bill will
then be published the following day and will have its second reading debate on the last
week of January.
For the first time it will enable unmarried domestic partners living in a mutually
supportive relationship to make legal provision for their joint protection.
Lord Lester issued a statement which said: "The recent case of Anna Homsi, the
long-term cohabiting partner of an SAS member killed in Sierra Leone who was held not to
be entitled to a war pension due to her unmarried status, is a well-publicized example of
the difficulties faced by many vulnerable cohabiting couples.
"Under existing law, cohabiting couples have no automatic next-of-kin rights,
property or pension rights. They remain subject to inheritance tax on the death of their
partner and have no recourse to the law on the breakdown of their relationship."
The statement concluded by saying: "Similar measures have been enacted elsewhere
in Europe and the Commonwealth. It is core Liberal Democrat policy to introduce a similar
and much-needed law reform in this country."
Concerned New Hampshire citizens
hold group prayer to support gay students
A story released today by Fosters Daily Democrat reports that a small group of
concerned New Hampshire citizens gathered at First Parish Church on Wednesday morning in
support of two high school students who have been thrust into controversy.
The Rev. Abby Campbell led the group in prayer, countering an anti-gay demonstration at
Dover High School by the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. who is protesting against
the school administrations decision to allow two female students to be listed in the
high school yearbook as best couple.
Campbell stressed a message of tolerance in reaction to the Westboro church protest.
"Today, were praying for everyone, for students, faculty, staff and
also the visitors who are with them," Campbell said during a 15-minute service this
morning. "We are asked to be deliberately peaceful in our prayers today."
The two students were cast into the spotlight last month when students were asked to
vote for the best couple. Principal Robert Pedersen had directed the yearbook staff to
reject the ballots because they were designed to select a male and female as best couple.
Superintendent Armand LaSelva reversed the decision after students drafted a petition
in support of the same-sex couple.
During the brief service, Campbell urged the group to be "prayer warriors" to
counter evil and hatred that may be spread today, telling them to put on the armor of God.
"We need to support each other," she said. "We even pray for those who