Lutherans'sit around table' to determine policy on gays
By Melissa Evans, STAFF WRITER
It's not easy to talk about sex in church, but that's exactly what members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are being asked to do.
The four Tri-City area churches that fall under the umbrella of the Lutheran charter have begun meeting to discuss gay marriage and ordination of gay clergy, subjects that are threatening division within many Christian denominations.
"How often does anybody sit around the table and talk about these issues?" asked the Rev. Tim Huff, pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Fremont. "We've had kind of awkward stillness. Some want to talk about it, and there are others who say 'No way.'
Gay-marriage fight heats up after ruling
By Lornet Turnbull and Sanjay Bhatt
Seattle Times staff reporters
When it takes up the question of gay marriage, the Washington state Supreme Court will be tackling one of the most significant social issues to come before it in a decade.
If the court upholds King County Superior Court Judge William Downing's ruling to legalize gay marriage, Washington could become the second state — after Massachusetts — to allow same-sex couples to wed.
The ruling last week, which is on hold pending appellate review, was the first successful challenge to a Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which 38 states have. But state Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, the key sponsor of Washington's 1998 law, hopes to block what some say is the inevitability of court-sanctioned gay marriage.
Stevens predicts Downing's decision will energize voters here to ratify a state constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman. She plans to introduce such an amendment in this state's next legislative session; it would require a two-thirds affirmative vote by both houses and then majority approval by voters.
Gay-marriage status report by state
By Seattle Times staff and news services
King County Superior Court Judge William Downing ruled last week that denying marriage to same-sex couples violates Washington state's constitutional guarantees of equality, but marriage licenses won't be issued unless the state Supreme Court sanctions gay marriage.
Here's a look at how the issue of gay marriage is playing out across the country:
Gay activists vow to be heard
By Joe Rogalsky, Delaware State News
REHOBOTH BEACH — Members of the Delaware Stonewall Democrats, a group of gay and lesbian political activists, served notice Saturday night they intend to figure prominently in the fall elections.
About 300 people attended the group's $35 per person annual fund-raiser, though some paid more for a private reception with Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the first openly gay member of Congress.
The three-hour event drummed up support for Democratic candidates and showed that the homosexual community's political clout is growing.
"The difference between the two parties on issues that are important to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people is enormous," Rep. Frank said.
Family First party not supporting gay marriage, adoption
Couples seeking recognition of gay marriages have won no ally in the nation's newest political party advocating the rights of the family.
Family First is today launching its 60 Lower House and 13 Senate candidates for the federal election in five states.
Queensland Senate candidate John Lewis says his party recognises that gay couples are a valid part of the community but he says Family First does not support gay marriage or adoption.
"At the moment our stand is the same as the Liberal and Labor Party on that issue that we do not recognise that gay marriages are a valid part of the Australian community," Mr Lewis said
Unconventional families collide with legal traditions
By Maura Dolan | Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO -- The petite woman in a pinstriped suit recalled her last visit with her 8-year-old twin daughters. It had been months since she had seen the girls, and a court had just ruled that she had no legal right ever to be with them again.
"I told my girls they needed to know that every moment of the day, every minute of every hour, they are in my mind and they are in my heart," said the 42-year-old woman, her face wet with tears.
Known in court papers only as K.M., the woman is the girls' genetic mother. She could not bear a child because of a diseased uterus; her partner, a woman known in court as E.G., was infertile. K.M. donated her eggs to her partner. Using a sperm donor, her partner conceived, and the women raised the twins together for five years.
Three years ago, the couple split up. K.M. says her former partner no longer allows her to visit or talk to the girls. Courts have ruled that K.M. has the legal status of an egg donor and no parental rights, in part because she signed a standard donor form at the fertility clinic.
The case, which K.M. has appealed to the California Supreme Court, is one of a growing number around the country in which new reproductive technologies and nontraditional families collide with old legal principles.
Asia's biggest gay party begins
A THREE-DAY gay and lesbian festival that organisers have claimed is the largest in Asia got off to a rousing start in Singapore – where homosexual acts are still illegal.
At least 6000 partygoers from across the region danced from last night into the early hours of this morning at the opening event of Nation.04, organiser and regional gay website Fridae.com said.
The second leg of the festival, to take place on the eve of Singapore's 39th independence day, takes place tonight on Sentosa island, with revellers urged to dress up in Singapore's national colours of red and white.
Half of the revellers at the opening party in the Suntec City Convention Centre were mainly from neighbouring countries including Thailand, Taiwan and Japan, the website said
Gays treated like 'second-class citizens,' couple say
By JENNY WEST
The Star Press.com
MUNCIE - Dan Stephenson feels it is his responsibility to let people know he's gay.
"I personally think it's important for members of the gay community to be open," he said. "I remember when it wasn't OK to be openly gay. The unknown is scary.
"If you don't know someone who is gay, stereotypes are what are thought of."
Stephenson, 49, has been with his partner, Bill Kimes, 38, for 17 years. They both work at Ball State University. Dan - a Cammack native - is the university's interior designer, and Kimes is a supervisor in the catering department.
Local lesbian couple find acceptance
By JENNY WEST
The Star Press.com
MUNCIE - Eleanor Trawick and Markie Oliver separate their personal relationship from their faculty positions at Ball State University.
Trawick, 38, is a professor of music composition and music theory, and Oliver, 46, is an instructor in the philosophy and religious studies department.
"Sometimes students make assumptions that I'm gay, but in the classroom it's not an issue," Oliver said. "Since I teach religious studies courses, the issue of homosexuality and how churches deal with it does come up.
"Some students know I'm gay, and so sometimes they'll want to get me to address it. Unless it's an issue - being a professor - it's not necessary to talk about my personal life. I rarely come out in class."