Regents quiet on change to policy
Published, October 31, 2005, 06:00:01 AM EDT
The Red & Black, The University of Georgia

The proposal to add sexual orientation to the University’s anti-discrimination policy is at a standstill, with both the University and the regents balking at approving the proposal.

The Board of Regents has refused to give the University administration legal advice on whether to add “sexual orientation” to the policy, and the University is refusing to move forward until it has a response from the regents.

“No action has been taken. No action is currently planned,” regents spokeswoman Arlethia Perry-Johnson said Friday.

Perry-Johnson did not comment on why the regents will not give University administrators the advice it asked for a year and a half ago.

University Provost Arnett Mace said Sunday he had not received any letters from the regents refusing to take action on the proposal.

University spokesman Tom Jackson said the University would not move forward without a response from the regents.

Jackson said the University needs guidance from state leadership on such a “politically sensitive” topic, even though other Georgia universities have long had “sexual orientation” in their anti-discrimination policies.

But while the University sought advice on the proposal, universities such as Georgia State, Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern already have “sexual orientation” in their policies.

“The political profile of the University is much higher than other schools in the state,” he said.

Patrick Miller, the director of information for Lambda Alliance, said he thinks the regents are waiting for a more gay-friendly political environment before making a recommendation on the proposal.

He said he thinks Adams and the regents have not taken action on the proposal because neither wants the “blame” for adding “sexual orientation” to the policy.

Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students suspect the University administration does not really accept them, he added.

The University does have a policy that applies to sexual orientation, but it is separate from the main anti-discrimination policy.

In April of 2004, the University Council voted to add sexual orientation to the main policy.

Adams asked the regents and state attorney general for advice before passing or vetoing the proposal.

The administration and the regents corresponded about the proposal, but no progress was made, according letters obtained by The Red & Black through an Open Records Request.

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Bush’s new Supreme Court pick struck down gay protection
Alito ruled for Christian conservatives suing Pa. school district
By CHRIS CRAIN | Oct 31, 10:12 AM

President Bush’s new pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, announced this morning, wrote an opinion on behalf of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 2000 striking down the “anti-harassment” policy adopted by a school district in State College, Pa., home to Penn State University.

The policy banned harassment on the basis of “actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability or other personal characteristics.” Harassment on the basis of sexual orientation extended to “negative name-calling and degrading behavior.”

It was challenged by a member of the school board, whose two children attended schools there, who said their Christian faith would subject them to punishment under the policy.

“They believe, and their religion teaches, that homosexuality is a sin,” the plaintiffs alleged in the lawsuit. “[They] further believe that they have a right to speak out about the sinful nature and harmful effects of homosexuality.”

A federal judge ruled against the lawsuit, deciding that the school district’s harassment policy went no further than federal laws against harassment, which is not protected free speech under the First Amendment.

A three-judge panel of the Third Circuit disagreed, and Alito wrote on their behalf that the schools’ policy went much further than federal law, both in the categories that were protected and the type of conduct was prohibited. Bush’s Supreme Court pick acknowledged that preventing discrimination in schools is a legitimate and compelling government interest, but concluded that the anti-harassment policy was too broad, blocking even pure speech that happens to “offend” another student.

“Insofar as the policy attempt to prevent students from making negative comments about each others’ ‘appearance,’ ‘clothing,’ and ‘social skills,’ it may be brave, futile or merely silly,” Alito wrote, quoting the harassment policy. “But attempting to proscribe negative comments about ‘values,’ as that term is commonly used today, is something else altogether.”

Alito never touched on the plaintiffs’ particular desire to discuss in school their religious teachings against homosexuality, but he did note that the policy specifically listed as harassment several types of speech that he considered “core” speech protected by the First Amendment, including: “‘negative’ or ‘derogatory’ speech about such contentious issues as ‘racial customs,’ ‘religious tradition,’ ‘language,’ ‘sexual orientation,’ and ‘values.’ Such speech,” he wrote, “when it does not pose a realistic threat of substantial disruption, is within a student’s First Amendment rights.”

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Iowa pastors to protest school forum on bullying and gays
Pastors meet to discuss how to fight ‘gay agenda’
BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) | Oct 31, 8:33 AM

A group of southeast Iowa pastors plan to launch an organized protest of a school-sponsored forum planned for Tuesday focusing on bullying and its affect on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

The Burlington School Board will help host and participate in the GLBT Youth in Iowa Schools Task Force meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at James Madison Middle School.

The group of pastors said they are opposed to focusing the attention on school safety for that specific group of students.

“We’re just strongly against it,” said the Rev. Steve Perkins of St. John AME Church, who attended a meeting of pastors Thursday to discuss strategy for opposing what some among them described as the gay agenda.

Perkins and his fellow ministers do not want to see GLBT students singled out as a specially protected class of student. If that happens, the ministers fear that proponents of the homosexual lifestyle will gain access to the hearts and minds of Burlington youth.

“We do want safety for all kids,” Perkins said, “and for them to have an opportunity to learn on an even playing field.”

The pastors intend to fill the school board room at the administration building for a scheduled 8 p.m. School Board work session Monday.

A new harassment, bullying and hazing policy adopted by the board in August prohibits acts of intolerance, harassment, bullying or hazing based on race, color, creed, gender, religion, marital status, ethnic background, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, physical appearance or socio-economic background.

The policy defines harassment, bullying and hazing and outlines punishments for students or staff found to have engaged in any of those behaviors. The policy also calls on the district to educate students about cultural diversity and promote tolerance of individual differences.

Board President Frosty Krummel, pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Burlington, would not elaborate on his own opinion about the other ministers’ misgivings about the Burlington schools becoming involved in GLBT issues. He did point out, however, that there are other Burlington churches listed among the forum’s sponsors, and noted the existence of a “wide diversity of legitimate Christian opinion.”

Within his own faith, Krummel said one could speak with five ministers and get five different opinions on the subject of homosexuality.

Krummel didn’t seem to oppose the forum or the district’s participation in it.

“It’s an educational forum,” he said. “If you can’t have an educational forum within the educational system, where can you have them?”

The school district is sponsoring the event with the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa State Education Association, Iowa Association of School Boards, Southeastern Community College, the Burlington Human Rights Commission, the Burlington Public Library, Zion United Church of Christ, Trinity Lutheran Church and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Assistant superintendent Jane Evans is on the schedule of speakers. She plans to give an overview of the district’s recently adopted Olweus Bullying Prevention System.

Superintendent Mike Book is scheduled to make some introductory remarks.

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Conservative Anglicans warn liberal churches in West
Mon Oct 31, 2005 7:38 AM ET, Reuters
By Edmund Blair

CAIRO (Reuters) – Traditionalist Anglican clerics warned the U.S. and Canadian churches on Monday that their liberal actions over gay rights were tearing apart the 450-year-old church and told them to change their ways urgently.

In some of the strongest language they have used so far in an already acrimonious dispute, churches from Africa, Asia and Latin America said they saw no evidence yet that U.S. and Canadian Anglicans were responding to calls for “repentance”.

The 77 million-strong Anglican church has been divided since 2003 when the U.S. Episcopal Church (ECUSA) ordained a gay bishop and Canadian Anglicans began blessing same-sex marriages.

The move outraged traditionalists who dominate southern hemisphere churches, the so-called Global South. They say the Bible condemns homosexuality and that liberals in the West have introduced unacceptable “innovations” into biblical teaching.

“We recognize with regret the growing evidence that the provinces, which have taken action creating the current crisis in the (Anglican) communion, continue moving in a direction that will result in their walking apart,” the group said in a communique issued on Monday after a six-day meeting in Egypt.

“We call for urgent and serious implementation of the recommendations of the Windsor Report,” the group of 20 church provinces said, referring to an Anglican report which laid down steps to be taken in bid to resolve the dispute.

The Windsor Report included calls for the U.S. and Canadian churches to express regret for their actions.

Archbishop Robin Eames, who led the Windsor task force, has said he believes the report’s demands have now been broadly met. But conservatives say the U.S. and Canadian churches have only said sorry for causing hurt, but have not admitted their actions were wrong.

“We see no evidence that both ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada are willing to accept the generally accepted teaching, nor is there evidence that they are willing to turn back from their innovations,” the Global South communique said.

Officials say the final position of both churches will only emerge from U.S. and Canadian conventions in 2006 and 2007.

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From the Salt Lake Tribune

By Kevin Eckstrom
Religion News Service
October 28, 2005

Liberal Episcopalians, concerned that a split over homosexuality may be inevitable next year, have begun laying the groundwork for seizing control of church property and replacing bishops who leave the church.

Leaders of Via Media, a loosely knit alliance
of liberal groups in 12 conservative dioceses that does not include the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, sketched out the plan in a Sept. 29 meeting in Dallas. Draft minutes from the meeting were leaked to the news media this week.

The ”Day After” blueprint – combined with conservative plans for ”faithful disobedience” and bishops who are already mulling ways to divide property – is the latest indication that all sides are preparing for a battle royal when the church meets next summer in Columbus, Ohio.

”We want to do everything that might be necessary and appropriate to make sure that every Episcopalian who wants an Episcopal church has one,” said Christopher Wilkins, the national facilitator for Via Media.

The 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church has weathered deep divisions at home and with other Anglican churches abroad since 2003, when it approved an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire and inched toward blessing same-sex unions.

Conservatives have looked to allies in the Third World for guidance, and have predicted a ”realignment” of Anglicanism in North America unless the U.S. and Canadian churches repent of their actions.

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From the Daily Pennsylvanian
The University of Pennsylvania

‘Law and Order’ star discusses race, sexuality
By katelyn foley
October 28, 2005

Best known for his role as George Huang on Law and Order: SVU, actor B.D. Wong now rejects roles stereotypically given to Asian-American actors after years of conforming to a “caucasian box.”
As part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Week, Wong spoke candidly about his identity as both an Asian-American and a homosexual.

After struggling with his race and sexual orientation during most of his life, Wong has gradually come have confidence in himself.

“Ironically, the two things that I loathed about myself were the things that were rich about myself,” he said.

Wong conveyed the confusion of his childhood in San Francisco when he interrupted an anecdote about his struggles as a young Asian-American with, “Oh, I forgot to tell you that I was a homo,” eliciting peals of laughter from the audience.

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From the Washington Blade:

Catholic colleges discuss making school a good place for gays
Conference draws about 150 people
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) | Oct 30, 7:00 PM

More than 40 Catholic colleges were represented on Saturday at a conference that was billed as the nation’s first on how gays and lesbians fit in at universities guided by a faith that says their sexual orientation is wrong.

But rather than lamenting the Catholic Church’s stand on homosexuality, the two-day “Out There” conference at Santa Clara University showed that plenty of gay-related scholarship and student affairs planning is going on in Catholic higher education, said co-organizer Linda Garber.

“It’s important and interesting to know there are Catholic universities that have offices and staff people specifically geared toward LGBT concerns,” said Garber, director of the women’s and gender studies program at Santa Clara. “There are a lot of people out there who are teaching (LGBT) studies without a national professional organization, a newsletter or anything.”

The conference drew about 150 people, most of them faculty and administrators who deal with gay subject matter or students. Topics included “Curriculum and Same-Sex Marriage in a Jesuit University” and “Can I Be Gay and Catholic?”

The continuing tension was demonstrated into the oft-repeated anecdote that Notre Dame University has had an active gay and lesbian student group for years, but the college does not recognize or provide financial support to the organization.

One sign of how far the universities have come in openly addressing gay issues is that the dean’s office and campus ministry at Jesuit-run Santa Clara provided money for the event, while the school’s president sent a welcome letter to participants, said Lisa Millora, assistant dean for student life.

“There are a lot of people who subscribe to Catholic values as they relate to academic work, but don’t necessarily agree with how the Catholic Church carries out its work,” Millora said.

Among the universities represented at the conference were Georgetown, Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga, Fordham, DePaul, Boston College, College of the Holy Cross, La Salle, Marquette and Emory.

Original Source:

From the Chicago SUn-Times:

‘This is a church where you can bring your whole self’
October 30, 2005

Tucked away in a cul de sac on the western edge of Chicago’s Austin neighborhood sits the Episcopal parish of St. Martin, an unlikely urban oasis that has become a thriving refuge for African-American gay and lesbian Christians and their soul mates — an eclectic mix of believers dedicated to spiritual and social justice.

Fifteen years ago, St. Martin’s, like so many urban mainline Protestant and Anglican congregations, was in decline. The neighborhood that had given birth to the parish more than a century earlier had changed dramatically. Weekly attendance had dropped to about 60 people, most of them older white folks who had moved out of predominantly black Austin to Oak Park or other western suburbs.

And then the Rev. Juan Reed, an openly gay, African-American, Roman-Catholic-Benedictine-monk-turned-Episcopal-priest, arrived on the scene.

A larger-than-life presence — at a hulking 6 foot 7 with a bald pate, dimpled beard, enormous smile and fiercely gentle demeanor — Reed, 58, resembles what one might imagine the biblical prophets Jeremiah or Ezekiel to have been like: Commanding, wise and full of dangerous ideas about how to subvert the dominant spiritual paradigm.

Turning on the lights, as it were, in the parish at 5710 W. Midway Park, was the first thing on Reed’s agenda. He began with parishioner’s hearts, gradually pushing them to face difficult issues of racism and homophobia, and after a few years moved on to the dank sanctuary blighted by an undesirable patina.

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From News:

Gay Denomination Installs New Leader Amid Threat By Christian Conservatives
by Doreen Brandt Washington Bureau
Posted: October 30, 2005 12:01 am ET

(Washington) In a ceremony marked by tears of joy, a Florida minister was installed Saturday as the new Presiding Bishop of the Metropolitan Community Churches, but the just hours before the service began a Conservative Christian group threatened to take the Church to court.

Washington’s National Cathedral was filled with worshipers as the Reverend Nancy L. Wilson was installed in her new role as leader of the world’s largest predominantly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christian denomination. Wilson succeeds veteran human rights activist, the Reverend Dr. Troy D. Perry.

The Washington National Cathedral is a unique institution. It is not a parish nor does it have a congregation. It is also where the nation has come to mourn tragedies, the loss of national leaders and also to celebrate great national moments.

Wilson said Saturday’s ceremony was the start of a new era of growth for the church, which includes 250 congregations in 23 countries.

Church officials said holding the ceremony at the cathedral is especially symbolic of the increasing acceptance of gay and lesbian people of faith. Dr. Perry had been kept out of a ceremony at the National Cathedral 30 years ago.

During the ceremony Wilson unveiled a 10-year international program of social and spiritual transformation for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered.

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From the New York Times

A City Council Candidate in Manhattan Is Reaching for Bloomberg’s Coattails
Published: October 29, 2005

While campaigning in front of a supermarket this week, Patrick M. Murphy, a Republican seeking a Council seat on the East Side of Manhattan, repeatedly introduced himself to voters and told them, “I’m running with Mike Bloomberg.”

In fact, when passers-by would ask his party affiliation, he would consistently respond, “I’m a Bloomberg Republican.”

In a district that once reliably sent Republicans to City Hall, Mr. Murphy, is hoping that the mayor’s popularity will help him become the first Republican council member from the district since 1999, when Andrew S. Eristoff quit the Council to become commissioner of finance to Mr. Bloomberg’s predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani.

The Democratic candidate is Daniel R. Garodnick, a lawyer with the firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison who has been active in civic and community affairs. The winner will succeed Eva S. Moskowitz, who ran unsuccessfully this year for the Democratic nomination for Manhattan borough president.

Mr. Murphy, 38, a former executive with a direct marketing company, has been especially active as a leader in New York Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group. He led a rally during the Republican National Convention a year ago to “send the message that our party needs to be more open and inclusive,” he said.

He portrays himself as a liberal on social issues but also as someone who is a “fiscally responsible” candidate.

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