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In the following, "SSM" refers to "same-sex marriage."

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News of 2006-JAN:

bullet 2006-JAN-23: Canada: New federal government elected: The Canadian public voted the Liberal Party out of office and elected a Conservative Party minority government. The Conservatives are opposed by three liberal-leaning parties: Liberal, Bloc Quebecois (a separationist party) and the New Democratic Party (a socialist party). The conservatives plan to increase military spending, increase the age of consent for sexual activities by two years, terminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, lower income tax rates for the wealthy, increase income tax rates for the poor, and extensively modify Canada's universal health care plan.
bullet 2006-FEB-07: Canada: Vote on SSM delayed: On the first day of the election campaign, Conservative leader Stephen Harper promised to start the process of stripping the right to marry from same-sex couples as the first order of business of the new session of Parliament. On 2006-JAN-27, before he was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Canada, he reneged on the promise and said : "I've simply said we'll be doing it [sometime] in the life of the Parliament. I would prefer to do it sooner rather than later, but not immediately." Vic Toews, the new Justice minister said on 2006-FEB-07 that he will try to build a consensus on SSM where possible. This appears to be an impossibility because a substantial minority of Canadian adults, and an even larger minority of Members of Parliament oppose SSM. He said that a motion outlawing SSM will almost certainly be shelved until 2006-Fall. The defeat of the government and a new federal election is expected before the end of 2008. 1
bullet 2006-FEB-07: USA: About the movie Brokeback Mountain: Although this movie is most frequently described as involving the romantic and sexual relationship of two homosexual cowboys, the characters are actually portrayed as bisexuals. They are married with children. Fr. Tom Condon, OP, student master for St. Martin de Porres Province of the Dominicans, a Roman Catholic order, describes the movie as portraying: "Two sheep-tending cowboys in 1960s Wyoming find themselves unexpectedly falling in love and suffering the heartbreaking consequences, keeping their relationship a secret for 20 years." 2,3 The movie received eight Academy Award nominations -- more than any other 2005 movie. It has been condemned by most religiously conservative commentators. More info.
bullet 2006-FEB-18: MO: Lesbian accepted as foster parent: Rominger Legal reports that:

"In the first such case in Missouri, a Jackson County judge ruled Friday that the state could not deny a lesbian a foster parent license. There was no dispute that Lisa Johnston was well qualified, but the state contended she lacked 'reputable character' because her sexual relationship with another woman broke state law. So the state denied the license." 4

The state law that criminalizes same-sex consensual behavior between adults is clearly unconstitutional because of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas. Lisa Johnson said: "I'm overwhelmed with joy. I feel like we were heard." She and her partner Dawn Rogniski issued a jpomt statement praising the judge for seeing that the ban in Missouri hurts children, It said: "This is a victory for all the children in the Missouri foster care system." The state plans to appeal and to ask that the court's decision be stayed until its appeal is heard. A Department of Social Services spokeswoman said that they were "disappointed by the decision ... and its implications for the state of Missouri." If this decision, and a similar one in Arkansas, are upheld on appeal, then there would be no states left which forbid gay and lesbian foster parents. 4

bullet 2006-FEB-21: MO: "Love Won Out" conference met with vandalism and protests: Focus on the Family, a Fundamentalist Christian group from Colorado Springs, CO, is holding a "Love Won Out" conference in St. Louis on FEB-25. They are expecting over 1,300 attendees from at least 23 states. The conference theme is "Change is possible." The conference teaches a belief system common among religious conservatives that homosexuality is chosen, abnormal, unnatural and changeable, and is caused by poor parenting or childhood molestation. These beliefs conflict with statements by all of the large mental health associations. The hosting church has been vandalized. Protests by gay-positive groups are planned. A billboard has been defaced with paint. Conference host, Mike Haley, said: "Offering people the freedom to change is not something that should be derided or attacked. While we often hear the homosexual community calling for 'tolerance,' there seems to be little tolerance left over for us." 5
bullet 2006-FEB-26: Canada: Priests issue letter against Catholic teaching: Nineteen priests from the dioceses of Montreal, Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Gatineau and Gaspe in Quebec, Canada, issued a letter denouncing the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on rejecting men with a homosexual orientation for seminary training, and opposing same-sex marriage. It was published in the French language newspaper La Press with the headline "Enough is enough." The letter criticizes the Church teaching that homosexual orientation is disordered; it suggests that this leads to homophobia and is grossly outdated.

LifeSiteNews, a Roman Catholic pro-life group that opposes equality in marriage, reported that:

"Canon Lawyer Peter Vere told that the situation is now beyond local bishops and that the faithful should contact the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to express their concerns.  Noting that the story on the dissent has made international news, Vere said, 'It's no longer just a scandal for a particular diocese.  It is a scandal for lay people who are legitimately confused by the antics of these priests, who will likely mistake silence (on the part of the bishops) for consent.' 'At this point I would encourage people to write the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) because it no longer concerns priests or bishops but concerns a direct attack on the faith and morals of the Catholic Church,' Vere added." 6
bullet 2006-MAR-03: USA: Conservative Jewish committee to vote on homosexuality: The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards consists of 25 U.S. rabbis and lay leaders from the Conservative tradition of Judaism. The three largest traditions are Reform, Conservative and Orthodox; the conservative wing is comparable to mainline denominations in Christianity. They have been under pressure from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, from some rabbis and from rabbinical students to revisit their 1992 anti-homosexual decision,

The committee convened in Maryland during the week of 2006-MAR-05. 7 They were unable to reach any kind of consensus, agreed to disagree, and to meet again in 2006-DEC. 7 More details.

bullet 2006-MAR-07: OH: Candidate for U.S. Senate wants to execute gays: Merril Keiser, Jr. is a truck driver with no previous political experience. He is running for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat. He is quoted as saying: "Just like we have laws against murder, we have laws against stealing, we have laws against taking drugs – we should have laws against immoral conduct." The immoral conduct to which he is referring is apparently homosexual behavior, which he would like to make a capital crime. He also is quoted as saying: "I believe that the United States has been moved in a Godless direction by the courts. To get good men on the court, we need good senators." He also favors support of Israel, prayer in the public schools, to make forced conversion of Muslims to Christianity part of the war on terror. He also opposes the United Nations and abortion on request. 8
bullet 2006-MAR-10: MA: Boston Catholic Charities terminating all adoptions: Boston Catholic Charities has provided adoption services since the mid 1980s in Boston and surrounding area. A recent state law would have required them to consider gays and lesbians on an equal basis with homosexual singles and couples. Since the Roman Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is a disordered state, they were faced with a dilemma. The 42 member board had voted unanimously during 2005-DEC to continue its policy of considering gay households for adoptions.

Earlier in March, Massachusetts' four Catholic bishops said that the state law threatens the church's religious freedom by forcing it to act immorally. In protest to the Bishops' statement, eight members of the board resigned.

Rather than treat all clients equally, or ask for a special exemption from the state, the organization decided -- presumably under pressure from the Bishops and against the will of its own board -- to terminate all future adoptions when its contract with the state ends. Rev. J. Bryan Hehir and trustees chairman Jeffrey Kaneb wrote in a joint statement:

"The world was very different when Charities began this ministry at the threshold of the twentieth-century. The world changed often and we adapted the ministry to meet changing times and needs. At all times we sought to place the welfare of children at the heart of our work. But now, we have encountered a dilemma we cannot resolve." 9

bullet 2006-MAR-21: Episcopal bishops issue anti-racism letter: The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, USA held their spring retreat starting on MAR-17 at the Kanuga Camp and Conference Center in North Carolina. It was a six day closed-door session. 10

The Rt. Rev. John L. Rabb, Bishop suffragan of Maryland, suggested that a pastoral letter be issued on a topic on which all of the bishops can agree: the sin of racism. The timing was certainly fitting, because the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination occurred on 2006-MAR-21 during their meeting.

The intent is that the letter be read to each Anglican congregation. It says in part:

"Racism is a radical affront to the good gift of God, both in the creation described in Genesis, and in the reality of the incarnation. If we judge one class or race or gender better than another, we violate that desire which God has made. And when our social and cultural systems exacerbate or codify such judgments, we do violence to that which God has made." 11

It uses important words and phrases like:

bullet Justice,
bullet All,
bullet Shalom,
bullet Diversity,
bullet "...strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being,"
bullet "Empower all members of God's human family."
bullet " the riches of God's diverse creation, especially in those who differ from us."
bullet "mission of justice, reconciliation, and unity."
bullet "our commitment to the fundamental covenant each of us entered into at the moment of our baptism."

However, when the letter refers to specific types of discrimination, they include race, gender, classism, and national origins. Discrimination based on sexual orientation became the 800 pound (360 kg) gorilla in the room: all the bishops were undoubtedly very much sensitized to its overwhelming presence, but it was ignored. Some Anglicans might find this quite offensive. Instead of being a unifying step, the letter may turn out to be divisive.

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  1. Sean Gordon: "Toews pledges speedy gun-crime clampdown," Toronto Star, 2006-FEB-08, Pages A1 & A6.
  2. Tom Condon, "Brokeback Mountain," Faith and Film, at:
  3. "Nominees: Brokeback Mountain," Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, at:
  4. Joe Lambe And John Shultz, "Judge OKs gay foster parent," The Kansas City Star, MO, 2006-FEB-18. Online at:
  5. "Conference on Homosexuality Met with Vandalism, Protests; Despite Controversy, Record Attendance Anticipated at Saturday Event," U.S. Newswire, 2006-FEB-21, at:
  6. John-Henry Westen, "Quebec Priests Bash Church on Homosexuality - Real Problem is the Bishops, LifeSiteNews Publishes All Names of Rebellious Priests," LifeSiteNews, 2006-FEB-27.
  7. Jennifer Siegel, "Conservative Rabbis To Vote On Gay Issues," The Forward weekly publication, 2006-MAR-03, at:
  8. "Democrat for Senate: Death penalty for practicing 'gays.' Candidate says incumbent Republican not advocating biblical values enough," World Net Daily, 2006-MAR-07, at:
  9. Steve LeBlanc, "Boston Catholic Charities Halt Adoptions," Associated Press, 2006-MAR-10, at:
  10. "Presiding Bishop Encouraged by Bishops' Meeting," The Living Church, 2006-MAR-29, at:
  11. Text of the pastoral letter, English version: "The Sin of Racism: A Call to Covenant. A Pastoral Letter from the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church," 2006-MAR, is online at the Episcopal News Service, at: It is also available in Spanish at:

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In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. sec 107: The news items contained in the above hyperlinks are provided without profit by the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance, PO Box 27026, Kingston ON Canada K7M 8W5, and are intended to be available to anyone interested in the topics included, for educational purposes only. Any editor, author, Webmaster, writer, publisher, news service, etc. that objects to being part of this listing may request that future works be excluded. We will also attempt to delete previous entries from the same source.

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Site navigation: Home page > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > News > here

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Copyright © 2006 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2006-FEB-08
Latest update: 2006-JUN-12
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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