Sponsors admit difficulties for marriage amendment
Wire Services, Associated Press June 19, 2004
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate in mid-July will take up a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, forcing lawmakers to cast a tough political vote just weeks before the Democratic presidential convention in Massachusetts.
President Bush has urged Congress to move on the amendment, but sponsors acknowledge the difficulty of getting the two-thirds majority to approve it.
"We're not certain we'll be successful in this effort," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said at a news conference to announce that the amendment would be on the Senate floor the week of July 12.
Cornyn and the measure's chief sponsor, Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Col., denied they were stirring up a divisive political issue two weeks before Democrats gather in Massachusetts, the first state to recognize same-sex marriages.
"This was an issue that was thrust upon us by the Massachusetts Supreme Court," Cornyn said. "We didn't pick the battle, we didn't pick the timing."
Parents suing over teacher's remarks
The Associated Press
BARNSTEAD, N.H. (AP) - The parents of two seventh-grade boys are suing the school district after a teacher allegedly called the boys homosexual lovers.
The suit alleges teacher William Sheehan referred to the boys as homosexual lovers twice in class and told the girlfriend of one of the boys why he thought the boy was gay. Further, the parents allege the school principal, Stephen O'Neil, tried to get the girl to change her story about the conversation with the teacher.
The parents, Stephen and Dawn Call and Nathan and Julie Cheney, say O'Neil and school superintendent didn't do anything to the teacher after receiving complaints.
The teacher's lawyer says the school offered to have the teacher apologize in class, but the parents wanted a larger, multi-class assembly for the apology.
Indianapolis church caters to evangelical gay congregation
At 300 members, it's the largest of its type in Midwest.
By Tim Evans
of the Indianapolis Star
INDIANAPOLIS -- Standing in the pulpit at Jesus Metropolitan Community Church, Pastor Jeff Miner raised his voice in a challenge for the congregation to share the word of God.
"What Jesus is calling us to do, by our lives, by our actions, by our attitudes, by our behavior, is to be constantly painting a portrait of Christ so compelling that when people see us, they will feel drawn to the beauty of God," he said.
It's a scene common in evangelical churches throughout central Indiana every Sunday. But, in this church, it also is different.
Miner is gay -- as is most his congregation.
Lesbian researchers confront array of health problems
Accustomed to neglect from much of the medical establishment, the lesbian community is assigning itself the task of assessing -- often bluntly -- its members' distinctive array of health problems.
Even without a specific crisis as grave as the AIDS epidemic, the diagnosis is sobering: compared to heterosexual women, lesbians appear to have higher rates of smoking, obesity and alcohol use. Often lacking health insurance or wary of unsympathetic doctors, they also may be less likely to undergo routine medical exams that could identify cancer and other problems at early stages.
Complicating all these factors, researchers say, is a glaring shortage of comprehensive data, resulting from the fact that most health surveys -- as well as death certificates -- don't account for sexual orientation.
"We don't know the mortality rates, we don't know the suicide rates," said Dr. Patricia Robertson of the University of California, San Francisco. "Lesbians are invisible."