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

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News of 2004-JAN:

bullet 2003-JAN-8: ID: U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds firing of employee: Rich Peterson had worked for Hewlett-Packard in Boise, ID for 21 years. The company conducted a diversity program supported by posters in the workplace which showed gays and lesbians at work. Peterson made some posters of his own which used Bible verses which, in most English translations of the Bible, appear to condemn all homosexual behavior. Peterson's attorney, Chris Troupis, said: "In response, he was confronted by a supervisor who told him he needed to take the Scripture down"  Peterson offered to remove his posters if the company removed theirs. He was fired. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the termination of his employment, calling his portrayal of the Scripture verses "demeaning and degrading." Troupis commented: "Either the (court is saying that) Scripture itself is offensive and hurtful and therefore can be prohibited, or (that it) can, if somebody puts up a Scripture, figure out what's in their head and...can be the thought police." [It seems obvious from the Court's comment that they consider the former to be the case, but only if the passages are displayed in the workplace. The court apparently considers certain verses in the Bible to be demeaning and degrading by today's ethical standards. These might include passages that treat women as property, advocate genocide, require the stoning of non-virgin brides to death, call Jews the children of Satan, etc.] Mat Staver, of the Fundamentalist Christian group Liberty Counsel, said that the ruling is an outrage. He said. "The law is that individual employees have the right to be free of religious discrimination in the workplace. You can't be fired simply because you put up a Bible verse." Peterson expects to appeal his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. 1 More details.

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bullet 2004-JAN-13: Gay couple wins complaint against an Atlanta golf club: Lawrie Demorest and Russell Tippins have each paid $40,000 to join the Druid Hills Country Club, and continue to pay $475 a month each to continue their memberships. They are a same-sex couple. Opposite-sex couples have full run of the club, including free green fees. But neither Lawrie nor Russell can join their spouses except as guests. After repeatedly asking the club to change its "family-only" policies, they filed a complaint Atlanta's Human Relations Committee. The committee ruled that the club is in violation of the city's anti-discrimination ordinance because they refuse to allow domestic partners the same rights as member spouses. Shirley Franklin, Atlanta's mayor, has 30 days in which to react to the ruling. She may pull the club's city licenses unless they comply with the law. This is believed to be the first ruling enforcing equal rights for gay couples in a country club.
bullet 2004-FEB-12: CA: In time for Valentine's Day, gays and lesbians are marrying in San Francisco: Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, CA, ordered that marriage licenses be issued to gay and lesbian couples. He reasoned that this was legal because the state constitution prohibits discrimination on personal matters. Many hundreds of gay and lesbian couples applied for and received the very first marriage licenses ever issued in the U.S. to same-sex couples. The license office was hopelessly overloaded. Some couples were assigned numbers and told to come back the next day. Eighty-seven couples were married on the first day alone. The county clerk had not expected to start issuing licenses until the week of FEB-22. However, the timetable was moved forward when the Campaign for California Families announced that they would file a lawsuit against the city. The Campaign opposes the recognition of same-sex marriages. The action by the city appears to be unconstitutional, because the citizens of California passed proposition 31 in 2000-MAR. It reads "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."  Randy Thomasson, the Campaign's executive director called the marriages a "sham." He said: "These unlawful certificates are not worth the paper they are printed on." More details.
bullet 2004-MAR-11: CA: Court suspends same-sex marriages: Mabel Teng, city assessor for San Francisco, ordered that the issuing of same-sex marriage licenses be stopped on 2004-MAR-11. This was in response to an interim stay by the California Supreme Court which ordered the city to temporarily stop performing such marriages. The stay will continue while several lawsuits on SSM are processed by the court -- probably until 2004-MAY or JUNE. More details.
bullet 2004-MAR-11: MA: Massachusetts legislators approve resolutions which may lead to SSM ban: Legislators from the Massachusetts House and Senate met in a constitutional convention during February to write a state constitutional amendment which would ban SSM. They were unable to reach an agreement on a path forward. They met again in March, and approved three resolutions which start the process towards a constitutional amendment which would single same-sex couples out as a group, and deny them the right to marry. The measure would be voted upon by the public in 2006. SSM would be prohibited, but civil unions would be created for same-sex couples that would give them the 400 or so benefits give by the state to married couples. However, they would receive none of the 1,000 or so federal benefits given automatically to married couples. 5 More details.
bullet 2004-MAR-20: WA: United Methodist Church pastor acquitted at trial: Karen Dammann was acquitted by a vote of 11 to 0, with two abstentions. She had been charged with living in a partnered, covenanted homosexual relationship. The denomination allows homosexuals to be ordained, but requires them to remain single and celibate. Karen married her long term partner, Meredith Savage, in mid March. More details.

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  1. Stuart Shepard, "Court Upholds Firing over Bible Verses," Family News in Focus, 2004-JAN-8, at:
  2. Ann Rostow, "Gays win bias complaint against golf club," PlanetOut News & Politics, 2004-JAN-13, at:
  3. Oliver Poole, "Gay couples marry as city defies law,", 2004-FEB-14, at:
  4. "California court halts same-sex marriages,", 2004-MAR-12, at:
  5. Gary Tuchman, et al', "Massachusetts advances same-sex marriage ban. Proposed amendment would provide for civil unions,", 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 © 2004 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-JAN-9
Latest update: 2004-JAN-22
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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