poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Lutherans face gay debate

RYE BROOK — The biblical and theological debate over homosexuality that has frustrated and divided United Methodists, Episcopalians and Presbyterians is coming to a Lutheran church near you.

And a clean resolution on the two questions roiling mainline Protestant America — whether to bless same-sex relationships and ordain gay clergy — may again be elusive, judging from a preliminary discussion yesterday at an assembly of the Greater New York region of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you — even if they disagree with you," was the bottom-line advice offered by the Rev. James Childs Jr., a theology professor from Columbus, Ohio, who is directing a closely watched, national ELCA study on sexuality.


Episcopal Diocese of Utah sanctions same-sex blessings
By Alexandria Sage
The Associated Press

    A church known for its colorful history in Utah is taking a stand as a progressive voice on one society's most divisive issues -- same-sex unions -- ruling that Episcopal priests will be allowed to bless those partnerships.
The Episcopal Diocese of Utah has a history of open-mindedness -- one former bishop was an avowed socialist, while another was an avowed pacifist -- and dedication to community. After the church became the first major Protestant denomination to organize in the state in 1867, it opened the first hospital and Utah's first private school.
And now, in a state known for its religious conservatism, the diocese has jumped into an issue that has threatened to fracture the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, with its 100 dioceses domestically and 10 abroad.

    "A priest said, 'Until death do us part,' and held us up to the congregation and to the community to say 'Look, we approve, this is all right, we love them and we're here to give them our support and to protect them,' " said Ron Richardson. Last month, the 64-year-old piano teacher and his partner, 50-something Rex Lynn Nilsen, held a blessing ceremony at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City to celebrate their 25th anniversary.


County commission OKs gay marriage
Recommendation moves forward to Board of Supervisors
By Justine DaCosta, STAFF WRITER

Alameda County residents Wednesday let their views be known at a community forum led by the Alameda County Human Resources Commission.

The commission voted 7 to 5 Wednesday in support of a resolution advocating gay marriage in the county.

The forum -- which was scheduled after last month's meeting on the same topic drew only nine constituents -- brought together more than 50 community members who spoke out against and in support of same-sex marriages.

With the passing of the resolution, the commission will now recommend its support of same-sex civil marriages to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. But whether same-sex marriage is an issue of civil rights and equality or a theological problem is undecided by county residents.


Pope Says Marriage Is Between Heterosexuals

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope John Paul on Saturday repeated the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to homosexual marriage after Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage.

"Family life is sanctified in the joining of man and woman in the sacramental institution of holy matrimony," he said in an address to visiting American bishops.

"The Church teaches that the love of man and woman made holy in the sacrament of marriage is a mirror of God's everlasting love for his creation," he said.  

They were believed to be the pope's first public comments on marriage since Massachusetts on Monday joined Belgium, the Netherlands and three Canadian provinces in legalizing gay marriage.


Hatch: Ban gay unions
Utahn tells Senate an amendment is needed — and soon
By Lee Davidson
Deseret Morning News

      WASHINGTON — After seeing more than 1,000 same-sex couples marry in Massachusetts this week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, urged the Senate on Friday to pass a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage and to do it soon.
  "It has become clear that we need a constitutional solution to this problem. There is simply no other means of reining in activist judges who seek to impose their will," Hatch said in a Senate speech. His committee is where action for such an amendment would begin.
  He added, "Without a constitutional amendment, we are headed for a resolution by the United States Supreme Court. We should not and cannot wait for this to happen. We must protect traditional marriage now by passing a constitutional amendment."
Hatch contended that a few activist judges in Massachusetts took away the role of the legislative branch to essentially enact homosexual marriage.
    "People have the right to govern themselves. When a court which forces a radical decision on the people — well before the people have the opportunity to oppose the change — it dramatically undermines democracy's vitality and legitimacy," Hatch said.


Feelings on health curriculum split
School board to vote May 25
By Alisha Jeter, Enterprise Staff Writer

Anne Dalmadge knows what it's like to be harassed at school for being gay — though she herself is heterosexual.

The 16-year-old Broomfield High School sophomore is a member of the school's Gay/Straight Alliance group, which advocates for and supports homosexual students.

"The PTA, and the teachers and the administration can try as hard as they want, but they don't really know what goes on in our halls, even as a straight ally I get bullied in school about my misconceived sexual orientation," Dalmadge said. "There are many misapprehensions that could be cleared up with this in our health curriculum."

Dalmadge hopes a new health curriculum for her schools and others in the Boulder Valley School District will help educate students and allay fears that often produce bullying.


Divorce Deemed a Benefit of Gay Marriages
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - It may not be on their minds as they walk down the aisle in Massachusetts, but along with gifts and toasts many gay couples are finally getting one of the biggest benefits of matrimony: the ability to obtain a clean divorce.

Because their unions were not legally binding, gay couples have had few protections when they split and have had to rely on the inconsistent mercy of judges to obtain alimony, parental rights or a stake in the couple's finances.

"The single most important thing you get with marriage is divorce, a predictable process by which property is divided, debt is apportioned and arrangements are made for custody and visitation of children," said Jo Ann Citron, a Boston lawyer researching a book on same-sex breakups called "The Gay Divorcee."


Gay Marriage a Quandary for Romney
Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) - As gay couples publicly displayed their wedded bliss last week, Gov. Mitt Romney suddenly wanted to change the subject.

After six months of trying to block their court-ordered marriage rights, Massachusetts' Republican governor had not only lost the battle, he had lost several points in the polls.

Long ago labeled a religious zealot by the left, the Mormon governor was also beginning to hear taunts from the right, with the National Review publishing an article Monday - entitled ``The Missing Governor'' - criticizing Romney for not taking more decisive actions against the impending nuptials.

For three days after the legalization of gay marriage on Monday, Romney remained in seclusion, quietly avoiding the international media that descended on the state.


New Virginia Law Causes Some Gays To Consider Leaving State

Richmond (AP) - Gay activists in Virginia are toying with a new motto for the state: "Virginia is for lovers. *Some restrictions apply."

Gays and lesbians are angry and even threatening to leave the state over a new law that will prohibit civil unions and could interfere with contracts between same-sex couples. Some legal experts call it the most restrictive anti-gay law in the nation.

"I won't buy a home in Virginia. I'm done," said Bo Shuff, a 30-year-old gay rights activist who has rented in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Arlington for the last two years.

Added Edna Johnston, a lesbian who has scuttled plans to move her historic preservation consulting business from Washington to northern Virginia: "It's not a signal, it's a message: 'You're not welcome."'


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