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News of 2002-JUL:

bullet 2002-JUL-6: MA: Plebiscite restricting marriage being held up: About 130,000 voters in Massachusetts have signed a petition in favor of a state-wide referendum which would define marriage as "a union of one man and one woman." The Gay and Lesbian Advocates attempted to invalidate the petition on technical grounds, but lost their case in the state Supreme Court. However, before the measure can be placed on the ballot, 25% of the members of the House and Senate, meeting in joint session as a Constitutional Convention, must affirm it. Senate President Thomas Birmingham has twice blocked a vote. The next meeting of the Convention is scheduled for JUL-17. Time is of the essence. The latest polls indicate that about 60% of voters would approve such a plebiscite. This number is dropping fast. Thus, if the plebiscite is delayed too long, it might be rejected by the voters. 1
bullet 2002-JUL-12: ON: Ontario court declares marriage acts unconstitutional: The Ontario Superior Court ruled that the Ontario provincial marriage act and the Canadian federal marriage act are unconstitutional. Faced with a national constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which prohibits government discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, and two marriage acts which discriminate against gays and lesbians, the court appears to have had no choice but to declare the latter unconstitutional. They gave the governments 24 months in which to modify their legislation in order to allow same-sex marriage. Because of the political structure of Canada, marriage is defined by the federal government, and the details of administering marriages are handled by the individual provinces. So a change to the federal law has repercussions across the entire country. Surprisingly, there was very little reaction to this decision. There were only a few letters to the editors of large newspapers; they represented both sides of the issue.

After waiting until the last possible day, JUL-29, the federal government "asked leave to appeal the ruling" to the Ontario Court of Appeals. More details
bullet 2002-AUG-1: CA: Two gay-positive bills pass California House: The following bills are in the state Senate:
bullet Assembly Bill 2651 is sponsored by Assemblyperson Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park). 2 It relates to foster children in the state. Some children are now in their early teens when they realize that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. A substantial percentage get thrown out of their home when their parents learn of their status. Foster homes need to be found in which they can be lovingly supported until they are adults. The bill, if signed into law, would require the youth to be given "developmentally appropriate information and resources about sexuality and sexual health, including gay or lesbian issues." Their foster parents would have to attend sensitivity training classes. The state would attempt to find homosexual foster parents for them. There is a clause in the bill that is unrelated to the sexual orientation of the youth. It states that if a child is old enough to consider themselves affiliated with a particular religion, that every effort will be made to place the child in a foster home of the same faith. Youth would have access to a toll-free "hot" line to report abuse, discrimination, etc. A search on the search engine using the string: bill 2651 california homosexual foster turned up dozens of conservative Christian web sites who object to the bill. Some want it amended so that homosexual youth would be taught that they can change their sexual orientation through reparative therapy -- a counseling method that has been assessed as ineffective and dangerous by the major mental health professional organizations. James Dobson of Focus on the Family "expressed outrage" over the bill. He said: "These are children who have come from fractured families. Many of them have been abused, they have gone through horrible experiences. They have, in most cases, no role models and most importantly, no one to defend them. There are no parents out there to come to their defense and to try to protect them from this crazy legislation. But they are about to be subjected to the most outrageous training mandated by the law." He suggested that the bill would discourage many good foster parents who would refuse to undergo sensitivity training because of their religious views about homosexuality. Dobson concluded: "Can you imagine these Christian parents out there loving these kids having to go through a sensitivity training? Can you imagine them putting up with that?"  The Family Research Council also criticized the bill saying that it "would have transformed the state's foster care system into a pro-homosexual haven." 4 The Senate Appropriations committee held a hearing on AUG-5. The bill was passed by the legislature in mid AUG. Under intense pressure from Fundamentalist Christian groups, like Focus on the Family, Capitol Research Institute, and Family Research Council, Governor Davis vetoed the bill.
bullet House Bill AB 1080 was sponsored by Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego). 3 It would prohibit the State from signing any contract with a business which does not provide benefits to all its employees -- both heterosexuals and homosexuals. There would be no exception clause that would allow religious organizations to continue discriminating against their gay and lesbian employees. James Dobson commented: "The net effect will be less humanitarian effort in California. This has implications for the Salvation Army, it has implications for Catholic Charities, it has implications for every evangelical outreach in that state, because they are going to have to offer domestic partnership benefits in order to do business with the state, or reject it. And most, I think, will reject it."
bullet 2002; date uncerain: MI: Student suing school board: Betsy Hansen, a Roman Catholic graduate from Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor MI is suing her school because she allegedly was not allowed to deliver part of her speech containing her church's views on homosexuality at a school "2002 Diversity Week." The deleted section is only two short sentences. However, they included five important points:
bullet She defines a person's "sexuality" in terms of behavior rather than sexual orientation.
bullet The first sentence apparently refers to bisexuals, who are sexually attracted to both males and females.
bullet She wishes to reserve the right to be intolerant of people of different religions -- people who differ from Roman Catholicism.
bullet She reserves the right to be intolerant of people with minority sexual orientations.
bullet Same-sex behavior is "wrong."

The text read: "Sexuality implies an action, and there are people who have been straight, then gay, then straight again. I completely and wholeheartedly support racial diversity, but I can't accept religious and sexual ideas or actions that are wrong."

Her attorney, Rob Muise complained that "The 'thought police' were in full force" In favoring equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations the school favored a specific agenda that is being "pushed in public schools all over the country by certain special interest groups." He asked: "Why is this social engineering taking place? They usurped parental rights. They didn't even tell parents that this was happening." 5

bullet 2002-SEP-2: KS: Fred Phelps of fame pickets in St.Joseph KS: Members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka KS allegedly blocked traffic in St. Joseph. They carried signs that read "God Hates Fags," "God Hates America," and "Thank God for Sept. 11." They were distressed at the decision of the Royal Bank of Canada who closed the bank account of a group which is opposed to bringing the Gay Games to Montreal in 2006. Rather than go all the way to Canada, they went to an investment banker in St. Joseph which is affiliated with the Royal Bank. Joseph Phelps, 13, was one of the picketers. He didn't mind giving up his Labor Day holiday. He said: "I'm with the church. There’s nothing better than telling the truth." Local citizen Joanne Doolan protested the protest. She said "My kids were taught that God loves everyone." Another angry resident, Jason Rhodes, said: "It just makes me sick. Why would people do that? I think it’s stupid.6

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  1. "Defenders of Marriage and Democracy Press On in Massachusetts," CultureFacts  news release from Family Research Council, 2002-JUL-5.
  2. The text of Bill 2651 is at:
  3. The text of Bill 1080 is at:
  4. "Gay foster parents? Not in California -- partly thanks for FRC alert!," Washington Watch, 2002-NOV, Vol. 13, #11, Page 3.
  5. Brad Taylor, "School Censors Christian, Girl Sues," at:
  6. Alonzo Weston, "Anti-gay protesters appear on Belt," St. Jopseph News-Press Online, 2002-SEP-3, 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, 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. Our postal address is: PO Box 128, Watertown, NY, 13601, USA.

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

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Copyright © 2002 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2002-NOV-30
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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