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Religious Tolerance logo


For 2004 - JULY to SEPTEMBER

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

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News of 2004-JULY to SEPTEMBER:

bullet 2004-JUL-14: FMA defeated: The Senate voted 48 in favor and 50 opposed to a cloture procedure which would have cut off debate and forced a vote on the FMA. The affirmative vote was 12 short of the 60 required. The FMA is now dead in the water. Debate can be resumed later, but a heavy Senate work load makes this unlikely in the near future.  More details.
bullet 2004-AUG-9: PA: Christian demonstrators ejected from Phillies game: The Philadelphia Phillies baseball team hosted their second "Gay Day" on AUG-9. A total of twelve ticket holders complained and had their money refunded.  During the fifth inning, five conservative Christians unfurled a home-made sign which stated: "HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN, CHRIST CAN SET YOU FREE." Within a few minutes, a security guard approached the Christians and asked that they remove the banner. Then two gay men and two lesbian women stood up in front of the banner and kissed. The crowed cheered the latter. Other guards approached. Three young men grabbed the banner and tried to remove it. The Christians responsible for the banner were ejected from the ballpark.  Security officials accused them of inciting a riot by the content of the banner. 1
bullet 2004-JUN: Sweden: Pentecostal pastor convicted of hate speech: Sweden passed a constitutional amendment in 2002 which included sexual orientation in a list of groups protected from "unfavorable speech." The law protects heterosexuals, bisexuals and homosexuals equally. Sometime in 2003, Pastor Ake Green delivered a sermon at his Pentecostal church in Borgholk, Sweden. He allegedly described homosexuality as "abnormal, a horrible cancerous tumor in the body of society." He described them as "perverts, whose sexual drive the Devil has used as his strongest weapon against God." He was charged with inciting hatred against a group of people on the basis of their sexual orientation. Green was found guilty and sentenced to one month in prison. Public prosecutor Kjell Yngvesson is reported as saying: "One may have whatever religion one wishes, but [the sermon] is an attack on all fronts against homosexuals. Collecting Bible [verses] on this topic as he does makes this hate speech." Christianity Today magazine reported: "In his defense, the pastor said he merely wanted to make clear the biblical view on homosexuality, not to express disrespect." Green's lawyer said that the law and conviction violated the pastor's religious freedom. Soren Andersson, president of a Swedish federation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights (RFSL), said that religious freedom never justifies offending people. He said: "Therefore, I cannot regard the sentence as an act of interference with freedom of religion."

A search on the search engine using the string "Ake Green" found 605 hits. Some relate to the "Ake Ake," a type of exotic shrub which comes in a green variety. But most seem to refer to the Swedish event. The conviction occurred a few months after Canada's similar hate propaganda bill -- C-250 -- became law. However, that law has a specific clause exempting hate propaganda speech if motivated by religion. Green could not have been prosecuted in Canada under C-250. 1
bullet 2004-JUL-28: USA APA supports same-sex marriage: The largest group of psychologists in the U.S., the American Psychological Association (APA), adopted a policy affirming the right of same-sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies. The policy states that if they have children, they deserve all of the legal rights of opposite-sex couples. Diane Halpern, president of APA, said: "We're going out on a limb. But we're doing what we should be doing....[Keeping gays from marrying] puts a particular stress on them just because of their sexual orientation. It's a health issue and a mental health issue." 5
bullet 2004-AUG: WA: Hon. William L. Dowling of King County Superior Court in Seattle, WA issued his decision on same-sex marriage. He ruled that "The denial to the plaintiffs of the right to marry constitutes a denial of substantive due process."  He declared that the state's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. This is the first time in history that a court in the U.S. has declared a DOMA act to be unconstitutional. More details.
bullet 2004-AUG: KS: Christian group sues Kansas City over domestic partner registry: A fundamentalist Christian group, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), has launched a lawsuit against Kansas City because it created a registry of unmarried domestic partners on 2003-SEP-11. Couples who register must "be jointly responsible for the basic necessities of life" and "each other's common welfare." They must "be each other's sole domestic partner" and intend to live together forever. ADF attorney Kevin Theriot said: "Hard-working people do not pay taxes to support social experiments. This registry is not only in conflict with state law, it undermines and cheapens marriage. Marriage is more than a welfare program." 2
bullet 2004-AUG: USA: ABA policy on judge's membership in anti-gay groups: A panel of the American Bar Association (ABA) held an all-day public hearing in Kansas City on AUG-6. They discussed the ethics of judges holding memberships in anti-gay organizations, like the Boy Scouts of America or certain veterans groups. Previous rulings by the ABA have prohibited judges from joining clubs that discriminate  on the basis of race or sex. The decision could effect thousands of judges, because state and federal courts generally adopt the ABA ethics policies, with some modifications. The ABA is not expected to vote on the decisions of the panel until 2004. Some reactions:
bullet Phoenix, AZ, lawyer Mark Harrison, said that the panel wants to "make sure that judges aren't viewed as bigots."
bullet Ethics expert Stephen Gillers at New York University said that gays and lesbians involved in court cases "should not be asked to trust the fairness of a judge" who belongs to a club which discriminates against homosexuals.
bullet Frederic Smalkin, a senior federal judge and professor at the University of Maryland said: "Judges are human beings too. They should be allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights of free association."
bullet Brian Fahling, an attorney with the American Family Association, said that judges with religious objections to homosexuality should be exempt from such a rule. He said: "Sexual preference is not like race. It's not like gender. To lift that up as something virtuous ... I find it deeply troubling." 3
bullet 2004-AUG-30: House rejects the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA): As expected, the House rejected the FMA. A majority voted in favor of the bill; the final vote was 227 to 186, with the Representatives largely split on party lines. But a simple majority is insufficient to pass a constitutional amendment. The vote fell 49 votes short. More details.
bullet 2004-SEP-3: WV: Court agrees to hear lesbian custody case: Tina Burch and Christina Smarr were a same-sex couple who had a son together. He is now four years old. Smarr got pregnant via donated sperm, but was killed in a car accident during 2002. Her brothers-in-law took the child and gave him to his grandparents to raise. Burch sued for custody but lost at trial. The West Virginia Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal and voted 3 to 2 to give Burch temporary custody. She believes that state law allows custody to be awarded to a child's psychological parent. The grandparents do not believe that Burch and Smarr were a lesbian couple. However, their relationship was acknowledged by the lower court judge. 4
bullet 2004-SEP-9: WA: Superior Court Judge for Thurston County, Richard Hicks, ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. He determined that gays and lesbians are part of a protected, minority class. He also ruled that the state's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denies them the right to marry is unconstitutional. In addition, two sections of the marriage laws which define marriage as between one man and one woman are also unconstitutional. More details.
bullet 2004-SEP-12: LA: Jimmy Swaggart alleged threat to kill gays: On his SEP-12 telecast, Fundamentalist televangelist Jimmie Swaggart was discussing his opposition to allowing same-sex couples to marry. He said: "I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry...And I'm going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died." His audience responded with extended laughter and applause. The program was broadcast on a Toronto station, and someone lodged a compalint with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. Swaggart Ministries also receive complaints from gay-positive groups. He apologized on SEP-22, saying that he was joking. He said that he has used the expression "killing someone and telling God he died" thousands of times. He didn't mean any harm. He said: "If it's an insult, I certainly don't think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology." 6

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  1. Lars Grip, "No Free Speech in Preaching," Christianity Today, 2004-AUG-9, at:
  2. "Christian Attorneys Sue Over Domestic Partners Registry," Iowa Family Policy Center, 2004-AUG-12 news release.
  3. Gina Holland, "ABA May Bar Judges From Anti-Gay Groups," Associated Press, 2004-AUG-06, The Kansas City Star, at:
  4. "W.V. Court to Hear Lesbian Custody Case," EarthLink, 2004-SEP-4, at:
  5. Marilyn Elias, "Psychologists to endorse gay marriage," USA TODAY, 2004-JUL-28, at:
  6. "Threat to kill gays just a joke: Swaggart," Ottawa Sun, 2004-SEP-23, Page 7.

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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 128, Watertown NY, 13601, USA, 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 © 2004 to 2015 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-APR-24
Latest update: 2015-DEC-02
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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