News Briefs - June 2006

Roeland Park Parish Dismisses Nadeau over Gay Chorus Job
To many readers, Joseph Nadeau is the artistic director of the Heartland Men's Chorus (HMC). To parishioners of St. Agnes Catholic Church, Nadeau was their gifted organist and music director. May 21 was Nadeau's last Sunday with St. Agnes. Due to his position with HMC and his refusal to acquiesce to a compulsory vow of celibacy and a repudiation of homosexuality, Joseph Nadeau was passively let go from his post at the suburban KC parish when his contract lapsed in June. Nadeau has accepted an offer to serve as music director at First Lutheran Church in Mission Hills, which has an official welcome policy that includes gays and lesbians.
UPDATE: Missouri Legislation
In the 2006 Pride Edition of Camp, News Briefs reported ("Missouri Lawmakers Thumb Noses at Supreme Court") that the Missouri General Assembly was set to pass legislation that would reaffirm the unconstitutional wording in the state sodomy statute. However, the final version of the bill passed without the outdated language. An effort led by PROMO was successful in stripping out the language that ran afoul of current case law (Lawrence v. Texas).
PROMO reports that two other anti-LGBT bills never made it out of committee. One would have removed all of the protected classes from Missouri's Hate Crimes Law, including sexual orientation and gender identity. The other was a resolution sponsored by Rep. Jane Cunningham that would have urged Congress to pass the federal Marriage Protection Amendment. For more on PROMO's legislative successes and its 2007 agenda, go to PROMOonline.org.

Flint Hills Equality Coalition Awards Action
The Kansas Equality Coalition of the Flint Hills (KECFH) has given its 2006 Praxis Award to Cora Holt, a Wamego, KS resident and PhD candidate at Kansas State University. The Praxis Award honors individuals who are examples of "reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it." At a March meeting of the Manhattan, Kansas, Human Rights and Services Board meeting, Ms. Holt spoke in favor of adding "sexual orientation" to the city antidiscrimination ordinance. As a result of her action, Manhattan Christian College (MCC) placed her on administrative leave. See kansasequalitycoalition.org/flinthills for more information.
Ozarks Gay and Lesbian Center Sponsors Gay Prom
LGBT and allied high school students and young adults from Springfield, Buffalo, Nixa, Lebanon, Cassville, and other southwest Missouri towns attended a their own prom on May 20. The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of the Ozarks (GLO) and the center's youth group, GALAGXY, sponsored the dance. Local businesses, adult volunteers, and PFLAG helped with donations and money for the Paris-themed event, which was held in a refurbished Commercial Street building in Springfield.

Federal Judge Overturns Oklahoma Adoption Law
US District Judge Robin Cauthron ruled as unconstitutional a two-year-old Oklahoma statute barring that state's officials from recognizing out-of-state and international adoptions by gay and lesbian couples. Cauthron determined that the measure violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Judge Sets Aside Georgia Marriage Ban
On May 16, Constance C. Russell, a judge from the Fulton County, Georgia Superior Court, set aside the Peach State's voter-approved (2004) ban on gay marriage and civil unions, ruling that it violated the single-subject rules on ballot questions in the Georgia state constitution. Georgia plans to appeal the decision. See georgiacourts.org for more information.
Most Indianans Support Gay Rights
A 2005 Indiana University Center for Survey Research poll showed that 79 percent of Indiana residents polled supported civil rights protections for gays and lesbians, while 74 percent supported hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples. Additionally, a majority of respondents were in favor of including sexual orientation in hate crimes legislation. Indiana Equality commissioned the poll. See indianaequality.org for more information.
New York High Court Hears Marriage Cases
On May 31, the New York Court of Appeals heard arguments in four cases involving marriage equality; the lawsuits challenge the Empire State's discriminatory marriage law that limits the institution to opposite sex couples. It is not known when the court will issue its opinions in the cases.
Utah court: SLC Partner Benefits Constitutional
In mid-May, Utah Third District Court Judge Stephen L. Roth ruled that the state's anti-gay relationship constitutional amendment does not prohibit Salt Lake City from providing health insurance to the domestic partners of city employees.

Federal Marriage Amendment Fails in Senate
The Federal Marriage Amendment proposal, which would have limited marriage to one man and one woman nationally (after ratification), failed to receive a two-thirds majority in the Senate, even after President Bush used both his June 3 weekly radio address and a June 5 speech to endorse the discriminatory measure. At this point in his presidency, Bush's political clout is nearly worthless, and his pandering to theocratic extremists is transparent to all but the fools who gobble up his trite "activist judges" hyperbole.
Minnesota Methodists OK Gay Clergy & Marriage
On June 1, delegates to the United Methodist Church state convention in Minnesota approved the ordination of openly gay clergy and the performance of same-sex marriage ceremonies. The vote was 496-223 for equal treatment of members regardless of sexual orientation, and constitutes a recommendation to the larger national convention set for 2008.
ExxonMobil Shareholders vote down Pro-gay Policy
ExxonMobil shareholders once again voted against a proposal to add "sexual orientation" to the corporate equal employment opportunity policy. Nearly thirty-five percent of the votes cast favored the policy at the May 31 meeting. British Petroleum, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Sunoco, Valero, and Marathon all include "sexual orientation" in their nondiscrimination statements.

Fraternity to Welcome Transgender Members
Sigma Phi Beta national fraternity will accept transgender members as per a May 14 policy change. Individuals who self-identify as male will now be allowed to pledge for membership. The new policy will also let full members retain their membership if they decide to change their gender to female. For more information, go to sigmaphibeta.org.

Phelps's God Still Hates Us
On the day meant for honoring our war dead and others who have passed on, President Bush signed a bill banning protests at government-run cemeteries. Undaunted, the Westboro gang was outside Arlington National Cemetery with placards of hate. One read "Thank God for IEDs." IEDs are improvised explosive devices, which Rev. Fred Phelps says are a "gift from God," sent to kill US soldiers because America harbors gays and lesbians.

DC Comics' Batwoman is a Lesbian
According to a New York Times interview, the latest incarnation of the DC Comics Batwoman character will soon debut as a "lipstick lesbian." The alter ego of the crime fighter, Kathy Kane, is set to be romantically involved with Detective Renee Montoya.
EuroPride London
Sir Elton John will serve as a Patron of EuroPride 2006 (pridelondon.org), which runs from June 17th through June 30th. "I am delighted to be a Patron of EuroPride--especially as it will be focusing on the issue of homophobia through its 'Pride Against Prejudice' initiative," said John.
Moscow Gay Parade Thwarted
Even after Mayor Yuri Luzhkov arbitrarily banned the 2006 Moscow Gay Pride Parade, and a court upheld his decision, gay activists were intent on holding the march on the afternoon of May 27. Around a thousand police were deployed to the capital streets before the event; they, along with neo-fascist skinheads and reactionary Orthodox Christians, ganged up on the marchers, dispersing them. Volker Beck, a member of the German Parliament taking part in the parade, was punched in the face on national television. European and international rights groups have called for investigations and prosecutions of those who perpetrated the violence.
For the print edition of the Pride 2006 News Briefs, go to News Briefs - Pride 2006."

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