In the Bible Belt, acceptance is hard-won
Gay teen struggles to find a path
By Anne Hull
Michael Shackelford slides under his 1988 Chevy Cheyenne. Ratchet in hand, he peers into the truck's dark cavern, tapping his boot to Merle Haggard's "Silver Wings" drifting from the garage.
Flat on his back, staring into the cylinders and bearings, Michael fixes his truck like he wishes he could fix himself.
"I wake up and I try so hard to look at a girl," he says. "I tell myself I'm gonna be different. It doesn't work."
Michael is 17 and gay, though his mother still cries and asks, "Are you sure?" He's pretty sure. It's just that he doesn't exactly know how to be gay in rural Oklahoma. He bought some Cher CDs. He tried a body spray from Wal-Mart called Bod. He drove 22 miles to the Barnes & Noble in Tulsa, where the gay books are discreetly kept in the back of the store on a shelf labeled "Sociology."
A rift on gay unions fuels a coup at polls
How Somerville activist ousted a fixture
By Raphael Lewis, Globe Staff
Shortly after the Supreme Judicial Court handed down its ruling legalizing same-sex marriage on Nov. 18, state Representative Vincent P. Ciampa was visited by a 26-year-old constituent named Carl Sciortino, who wanted to know if the Somerville legislator favored a constitutional ban on same-sex matrimony.
Ciampa said he would support such a ban, as well as one on Vermont-style civil unions. Sciortino, a political neophyte who is gay, decided that someone should run against the veteran.
That someone ended up being Carl Sciortino.
On Sept. 14, Sciortino beat Ciampa in a tight Democratic primary for the 34th Middlesex district. It was a stunning upset; Ciampa, a lieutenant to House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran, had held the seat for 16 years and had enjoyed the endorsement of Somerville's mayor, Joseph A. Curtatone, and its establishment.
Minneapolis church sanctioned for gay ordination
MINNEAPOLIS - Two months after Bethany Lutheran Church ordained an openly gay man as a minister, the church is being sanctioned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Associate pastor Jay Wiesner, who was ordained July 25 and installed as Bethany's associate pastor Aug. 1, said he anticipated the sanction.
"It saddens me that the church is being censured, but I think we expected it because we broke the guidelines," Wiesner, 31, told the Star Tribune Friday. "I'm sad they had to do something, but we understand why this is taking place."
Under the policy of the Chicago-based ELCA, anyone in a same-sex relationship cannot be ordained unless they remain celibate.
Republicans Admit Mailing Campaign Literature Saying Liberals Will Ban the Bible
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
he Republican Party acknowledged yesterday sending mass mailings to residents of two states warning that "liberals" seek to ban the Bible. It said the mailings were part of its effort to mobilize religious voters for President Bush.
The mailings include images of the Bible labeled "banned" and of a gay marriage proposal labeled "allowed." A mailing to Arkansas residents warns: "This will be Arkansas if you don't vote." A similar mailing was sent to West Virginians.
A liberal religious group, the Interfaith Alliance, circulated a copy of the Arkansas mailing to reporters yesterday to publicize it. "What they are doing is despicable,'' said Don Parker, a spokesman for the alliance. "They are playing on people's fears and emotions."
In an e-mail message, Christine Iverson, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, confirmed that the party had sent the mailings.
Thousands Celebrate Gay Pride In S. Africa
Thousands of gay and lesbian South Africans marched noisily through the streets of Johannesburg Saturday, in the 15th annual Gay Pride celebration.
Police watched as the flamboyant crowd made its way through the city, but did not follow through on threats to arrest draq queens dressed in colorful costumes.
A 1993 law stipulates that people taking part in public marches or protests may not obscure their faces. But police backed off their threat following a meeting with march organizers.
South Africa's decade old post-apartheid constitution recognizes the rights of gays and lesbians and same sex couples.