Wednesday, March 21, 2007

GLBT DIGEST March 21, 2007

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The Washinton Post

God and His Gays

By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, March 21, 2007; A15

Science is stealing up on America's religious fundamentalists, causing muchalarm. Consider the dilemma of the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president ofthe Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville and a leading figurein the Southern Baptist firmament.

Writing in his blog this month, Mohler acknowledged that " the direction ofthe research" increasingly points to the possibility that a "biologicalbasis for sexual orientation exists." Should sexuality be determined inutero, Mohler continued, that still wouldn't justify abortion or geneticengineering.

Nonetheless, as Mohler noted in a later blog post, his admission that thedata suggest that homosexuality may be as genetically determined as haircolor produced a torrent of irate e-mail from his fellow evangelicalChristians. Up to now, the preferred theory among Christian conservativeshas been that homosexuality is behaviorally induced and thus can beunlearned. That gave added moral weight to the biblical proscriptions of gayand lesbian sex and to the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality as a sin --though for those who believe in biblical inerrancy, no added moral weightwas necessary.

But once you recognize homosexuality as a genetic reality, it does create atheological dilemma for the Mohlers among us, for it means that God ismaking people who, in the midst of what may otherwise be morally exemplarylives, have a special and inherent predisposition to sin. Mohler's responseis that since Adam's fall, sin is the condition of all humankind. Thatsidesteps, however, the conundrum that a gay person may follow the sameGod-given instincts as a straight person -- let's assume fidelity and thedesire for church sanctification in both cases -- and end up damned whilethe straight person ends up saved. Indeed, it means that a gay person's dutyis to suppress his God-given instincts while a straight person's duty is tofulfill his.

Mohler's deity, in short, is the God of Double Standards: a God who enforcesthe norms and fears of a world before science, a God profoundly ignorant ofor resistant to the arc of American history, which is the struggle to expandthe scope of the word "men" in our founding declaration that "all men arecreated equal." This is a God who in earlier times was invoked to defendsegregation and, before that, slavery.


Italian "Family Day" set for May 12

Rome, Mar. 20, 2007 ( - Italian organizers of a massive "FamilyDay" rally have announced that the event will take place in Rome on May 12.

The Family Day rally was organized as an affirmation of marriage and familylife, which has gained enthusiastic support as a response to proposals forlegal recognition of same-sex unions. The event has won the support ofpoliticians who oppose recognition of same-sex marriage, and the endorsementof the Italian Catholic bishops' conference. But gay-rights groups haveannounced that they, too, plan to take part in the event.

"Ours will be a non-denominational gathering to promote the family," saidGiovanni Giacobbe, the president of the Forum of Families. "Our position isa non-religious position, to support the constitution."

Archbishop Angelo Bagnasaco of Genoa, the new president of the Italianbishops' conference, noted that Family Day is "an initiative conceived bythe laity." The archbishop added that the event "naturally has the totalsupport of the bishops and pastors."

Justice minister Clemente Mastella, who has been prominent among theopponents of a proposal for legal recognition of civil unions, has alreadyannounced his plans to attend Family Day. "I will be there," he said; "Itwill be a beautiful day, tranquil and serene, with many people to defend aconstitutional right."

Another member of parliament, Enzo Carra of the Daisy Party-- who has beenclassified as a "teodem" because of his support for religious principles--has said that he will invite other members of the center-left parliamentarybloc to participate in the May 12 gathering.


The New York Times

March 20, 2007
No Rush to Get Civil Unions in New Jersey

New Jersey health department officials released the number of applicationsfor civil unions today, showing that 229 gay and lesbian couples haveapplied for civil union licenses since Feb. 19, when the unions became legalin the state.

So far, of towns and cities reporting license applications to the stateregistrar's Office of Vital Statistics, there have been 219 civil unions,plus 10 that were reaffirmations of civil unions done in other states. Thenumbers are very rough estimates, as municipal registrars have 30 days toreport their numbers, and the law is a month and a day old.

In October, the state Supreme Court ruled that the State Constitutionguarantees same-sex couples all the rights and benefits of marriage. Thecourt left to the State Legislature the question of whether the unions ofgay couples should be called marriages or something else. In December, Gov.Jon S. Corzine signed the state's new civil union law, making New Jersey thethird state in the country to offer civil unions. Vermont introduced them in2000, and Connecticut followed suit in 2005.

Steven Goldstein, head of Garden State Equality, a non-profit groupsupporting the rights of gay couples to marry, called the number of civilunions "extremely low."

"There's a huge sense in the gay community that we're going to win fullmarriage equality here soon," he said. "In the context of a civil rightsmovement, that means the next couple of years, given the momentum we have inthe State Legislature. Couples are saying to themselves, 'We're going to getmarriage anyway, why get civil unioned?' "


The Washinton Post

Texas is the unlikely home of biggest gay church

By Ed Stoddard
Tuesday, March 20, 2007; 1:27 PM

DALLAS (Reuters) - They say everything is bigger in Texas.

But the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas makes one Texas-sized claim that fewwould expect in the conservative Bible Belt state -- it says it is theworld's biggest gay church.

"I think this shows that God has a tremendously great sense of humor," saidsenior pastor and rector Jo Hudson.

On a more serious note, she says the church, affiliated with the UnitedChurch of Christ, is a spiritual refuge for gay people of faith in a regionassociated with more conservative brands of Christianity.

"Because we are in the Bible Belt we have a lot of people of tremendousfaith," she said in an interview.

"But a lot of them have been alienated and rejected by their faithcommunity, which is fundamentalist, so they hanker for a place where theycan encounter God," she said.


The Express Gay News

Group says Poland's planned gay 'propaganda' law threatens rights
Human Rights Watch issues warning on measure
WARSAW, Poland (AP) | Mar 20, 10:32 AM

A leading human rights group warned Poland on Monday that a proposed law toban what it calls "homosexual propaganda" in schools would promotediscrimination and deny children lifesaving information about AIDS.

The group, Human Rights Watch, made its warning in an open letter to PolishPrime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, saying also that the planned law wouldviolate freedom of speech.

Last week, Poland's Education Ministry proposed legislation that would allowteachers to be fired for promoting what it called "homosexual culture." Thebill does not clearly define what is meant by "homosexual culture," but itseems to include basic information about AIDS and lessons promotingtolerance toward homosexuals.

It is the latest clash in values between Poland and international rightsorganizations since a socially conservative government and president focusedon family values and what they dub "moral renewal" took office in the fallof 2005.

"Polish authorities claim to be protecting families, but in fact they aretrying to deny children free speech and lifesaving information on HIV/AIDS,"Scott Long, director of Human Rights Watch's gay rights program, said in astatement. "Schools should be training grounds for tolerance, not bastionsof repression and discrimination."



Gay-lesbian group makes last-ditch poll bid
03/20/2007 | 03:22 PM

Ang Ladlad, a party-list group representing gays and lesbians, on Tuedaymade a final appeal to the Commission on Elections to allow it to take partin the May 14 elections.

Ang Ladlad president Danton Remoto, a noted gay writer, said in an interviewthat he personally spoke with Comelec commissioners in a bid to persuadethem to accredit the party-list group.

"I felt that some of the commissioners could be sympathetic to our cause soI made a last minute verbal appeal, because we already filed our motion forreconsideration," Remoto said.

"I made a last minute appeal and if nothing happens, we would go to theSupreme Court next week," he added.

The Comelec second division, in a three-page resolution on February 27,denied for lack of merit Ang Ladlad's petition, questioned the group'sassertion it had members throughout the country.


Gay pastor gets job after all

The Bishop of Oslo, who's maintained a conservative stand against gaypastors in the state church, has backed down, and now will grant a ministryto a pastor who's living in a gay partnership.

Bishop Ole Christian Kvarme's decision earlier this month to deny a pastor'sposition to Svein G Josefsen sparked wide debate when it became known lastweek.

It even sparked what newspaper Aftenposten called "a royal dilemma" becauseboth Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit are activesupporters of gay rights. As bishop, Kvarme is the royal family's officialpastor, but royal protocol doesn't allow them to publicly criticize him.

A professor at the University of Oslo noted that the royals regularlypromote a society that includes all aspects of the population. "It'stherefore a dilemma when the royal family's official pastor has a completelyview than they do," said Professor Knut Lundby.

Kvarme was also a controversial choice to be bishop of Oslo, because of hisconservative views. Pressure has been building on him, though, and he'dpromised on Monday to take legal responsibility for Josefsen.

That opened the door for Josefsen, who'd applied for a job as acting pastorof Bryn Church in Bærum, just west of the city. Norwegian law forbidsemployment discrimination on the basis of sexual preference.

After a meeting of a state church council Monday night, both Kvarme and thecouncil itself apologized for the "unease and despair" that the issue hadcaused, and announced that Josefsen would get the job he'd earlier beendenied.

"I was very glad to hear that," Josefsen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK)."It's a great joy for me, and for my partner, and for the many others whohave expressed their support for me and for us."


Daily Herald

Mormon Church tells gay rights group to keeo off property

Tuesday, March 20, 2007
LDS Church tells gay rights group to keep off property | Print |
ALAN CHOATE - Daily Herald

A gay rights advocacy group has been told to stay off of all propertybelonging to the LDS Church -- including tourist sites like Temple Square --when the group visits Utah this week.

The Virginia-based Soulforce advocacy group has once again organized anEquality Ride in which 50 people tour the country on a bus to highlightanti-homosexual policies at Christian colleges and universities.

Last year, participants were arrested at Brigham Young University. The groupis scheduled to start their tour of Utah today and last week Soulforceleaders received a letter from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-daySaints.

The riders' itinerary originally included visits to Welfare Square Canneryand Temple Square, sites the church described as "sacred" and "places ofpeace and quiet contemplation."

"Regardless of the message, no outside person or group is permitted todemonstrate or engage in advocacy there," the letter from the church said."Groups or persons with a history of demonstrating or protesting are askednot to enter church properties.


Andrew Sullivan

It seems genuine to me:

I live in a small world - the world of entertainment, musicians, writers -in which gayness is as common as having brown eyes. Ever since I was incollege, gay men and women have been friends, associates, heroes,adversaries, and in that small world, we talk openly and we kid each otherand think nothing of it. But in the larger world, gayness is controversial.In almost every state, gay marriage would be voted down if put on a ballot.Gay men and women have been targeted by the right wing as a hot-buttonissue. And so gay people out in the larger world feel beseiged to somedegree.

In the small world I live in, they feel accepted and cherished asindividuals, but in the larger world they may feel like Types. My columnspoke as we would speak in my small world and it was read by people in thelarger world and thus the misunderstanding. And for that, I am sorry. Gaypeople who set out to be parents can be just as good parents as anybodyelse, and they know that, and so do I.

Maybe if Keillor had mentioned his own three marriages in a swipe at gaymarriage, the humor would have been more self-evident. By the way, this wasessentially Ann Coulter's defense as well - "some of my best closeted gayfriends use the word 'faggot' ironically." But she could not say it asKeillor has - because it would deeply alienate the people she needs to buyher books, and because she is an enthusiastic part of a movement that wantsto keep gay people marginalized and stigmatized. Keillor has an escapeclause. Coulter can't use hers.


The Advocate

Teacher suspended for running pro-gay editorial in school paper

A high school journalism teacher in Indiana has been suspended for twomonths after allowing an op-ed piece that advocated tolerance of gays to runin the school newspaper. The Associated Press reported Tuesday morning thatWoodlan Junior-Senior High School teacher Amy Sorrell was placed on paidleave Monday while her job is under review.

The editorial, which ran in the January 19 issue of the Woodlan Tomahawk,was written by a sophomore student. According to the article, Megan Chasewrote about her friend coming out to her as gay.

"I can only imagine how hard it would be to come out as homosexual intoday's society," she wrote. "I think it is so wrong to look down on thosepeople, or to make fun of them, just because they have a different sexualitythan you."

According to the article, after the editorial ran, principal Edwin Yodermandated that all writings were subject to his approval. After receivingadvice from the Student Press Law Center, Sorrell and the Tomahawk's staffrejected his decision. Last week, Yoder wrote Sorrell a written warning forinsubordination and failing to carry out her responsibilities as a teacherby exposing students to inappropriate material.

Ten students attended the county's school board meeting last Tuesday to getthe newspaper on the next meeting's agenda. They were then directed toassistant superintendent Andy Melin, who claimed that the opinion piece wasbiased.


Richardson Recalls NM Lawmakers To Deal With Gay Partner Bill
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: March 20, 2007 - 4:00 pm ET

(Santa Fe, New Mexico) New Mexico lawmakers returned to the Capitol onTuesday, recalled by Gov. Bill Richardson to deal with several billsincluding domestic partner legislation that died when the legislature'ssession ended.

In 2003, Governor Bill Richardson issued an executive order providing stateemployees, both gay and straight, with the option of providing theirpartners health insurance through domestic partner coverage. Under theorder, domestic partner coverage is not available to employees after theyretire, while spousal coverage is provided.

Late last year Richardson, who is eyeing the Democratic nomination forPresident, joined LGBT activists in calling for a statewide domestic partnerlaw that would provide the same benefits as marriage.

The measure passed the House but the Senate stripped out many of the bill'sprovisions, making it according to gay rights groups meaningless. When therevised bill returned the House the original language was restored but thesession ended before the Senate could vote again.

The special session that began Tuesday will also take up a roads bill andone to tighten ethics requirements.


EU Rebukes Nigeria Over Anti-Gay Legislation
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: March 20, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Brussels) The European Parliament is calling on Nigeria to abandonlegislation that would strip gays and lesbians of all civil rights.

The bill started out as a ban on same-sex marriage and has been revised tomake it a crime for more than two gay people to be in the same venue at thesame time.

It prohibits LGBT social or civil rights groups from forming. It would beillegal to sell or rent property to same-sex couples, watch a gay film orvideo, visit an LGBT web site, or express same-sex love in a letter to one'spartner.

The legislation goes so far as to make it a criminal offense to impartinformation of HIV/AIDS to gays or for non-gays to meet with any group ofgays for any purpose.

The penalty would be five years in prison with hard labor.


10 -

Baylor Is Next Stop Gay, Lesbian Equality Ride

(March 19, 2007)-Baylor University is the next scheduled top of across-country bus ride modeled on the freedom rides of the Civil Rights Erafocused on Christian colleges and universities with what organizers say arepolicies that ban the enrollment of openly gay, bisexual or transgenderstudents.

The riders are expected to be in Waco Monday and Tuesday.

The 50-day 2007 Soulforce Equality Ride involves more than 50 riders on twobuses with stops at 32 schools including Bob Jones University, Brigham YoungUniversity, Mississippi College and Samford University.

Baylor is the only Texas school on the itinerary.

The Equality Riders, according to organizers, "are determined to open aconversation about the devastating impacts of anti-gay policies."


The Sun-Sentinel,0,3048302,print.story


Pace, services are behind the curve now
By William Butte
March 20, 2007

From the moment our military deployed to the Middle East in the war onterrorism, Americans have been exhorted not to say anything that woulddemoralize the troops.

So it's with no small irony for the estimated 65,000 military personnel whoare gay or lesbian that the most demoralizing statement they could hearwould come from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. PeterPace.

When Pace was asked about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy during atelephone interview last week with the editorial staff of The ChicagoTribune, he opined that homosexuality is "immoral" and said, "I do notbelieve that the armed forces of the United States are well-served by sayingthrough our policies that it's OK to be immoral in any way."

Yet in no small irony to Pace's opinion, Defense Department records showthat in 2006 our military -- stretched thin to fight wars in Iraq andAfghanistan -- gave a record 8,129 "moral waivers" to those with criminalbackgrounds. This included an 11 percent increase for those with felonyconvictions.

Last year, while our military handed out thousands of moral waivers toconvicted felons, or to those with serious misdemeanor convictions such asaggravated assault, burglary, robbery and vehicular homicide, Pentagonrecords reveal 612 service members, including such essential personnel asArabic linguists, intelligence experts and medical personnel, weredischarged for being gay or lesbian.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Wed, Mar. 21, 2007
Greetings from Ellen DeGeneres

American Greetings Corp. will develop a line of 32 greeting cards with EllenDeGeneres that will feature illustrations of the comedian along with herquirky observations.

''I look at having a line of cards as another extension of being a host;helping you wish your loved ones well, piggybacking on your birthdaygreetings,'' DeGeneres, 49, said in a statement Tuesday. ``I like to be upin the middle of everything and doing it this way is much easier thancrashing parties.''

The cards are expected to be available in stores this summer.

DeGeneres has a syndicated talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and she wasthe host of this year's Oscars.



Weekly Column

Anything But Straight
By Wayne Besen
Tuesday, March 20, 2007


If it were discovered that homosexuality had a biological basis, it would bemorally acceptable for a mother to use a hormonal treatment patch to ensureher child was born heterosexual, Rev. Albert Mohler Jr., president of theSouthern Baptist Theological Seminary, suggested on his personal website.

"If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed,and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation toheterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we shouldunapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexualtemptation and the inevitable effects of sin," wrote Mohler.

His comments raised the ire of gay activists who accused him of promotingeugenics and abandoning moral principles on the sanctity of life. But, inMohler's desire to root out homosexuality, he fails to consider an equallycompelling question: If a biological or genetic basis for religious beliefis discovered, would it also be morally acceptable to create a hormonalpatch to eliminate fundamentalists, such as Mohler himself?

Before you dismiss this question as hypothetical or academic, consider thatresearch into the origins of spirituality is a robust field of inquiry.There are currently about a dozen studies that show shared personalitytraits among religious people, suggesting a genetic or biological basis.



Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Executive Director and founder of Truth Wins Out, Wayne Besen, appeared onJon Stewart's "The Daily Show" on Monday, March 19, 2007, in a segmenthighlighting the absurdity of "ex-gay" therapy.

In case you may have missed it, this segment may be viewed on the Truth WinsOut website:

Truth Wins Out is a non-profit think tank and educational organization thatcounters right wing disinformation campaigns, debunks the "ex-gay" myth, andprovides accurate information about the lives of GLBT people.

With your caring commitment and generous assistance, Truth Wins Out willhave an enormous affect on our culture and stop the right wing from gainingpolitical power on the backs of GLBT people. Support the work of Truth WinsOut, by clicking here:


Forwarded by Steve Krantz
PFLAG Los Angeles

Los Angeles Times

To: Straights From: Gays Subject: Hate
By: Larry Kramer


Why do you hate gay people so much?

Gays are hated. Prove me wrong. Your top general just called us immoral.Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is in charge of anestimated 65,000 gay and lesbian troops, some fighting for our country inIraq. A right-wing political commentator, Ann Coulter, gets away withcalling a straight presidential candidate a faggot. Even Garrison Keillor,of all people, is making really tacky jokes about gay parents in his column.

This, I guess, does not qualify as hate except that it is so distasteful anddumb, often a first step on the way to hate. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clintonand Barack Obama tried to duck the questions that Pace's bigotry raised,confirming what gay people know: that there is not one candidate running forpublic office anywhere who dares to come right out, unequivocally, and saydecent, supportive things about us.

Gays should not vote for any of them. There is not a candidate or majorpublic figure who would not sell gays down the river. We have seen this timeafter time, even from supposedly progressive politicians such as PresidentClinton with his "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military andhis support of the hideous Defense of Marriage Act. Of course, it's possiblethat being shunned by gays will make politicians more popular, but at leastwe will have our self-respect. To vote for them is to collude with them intheir utter disdain for us.

Don't any of you wonder why heterosexuals treat gays so brutally year afteryear after year, as your people take away our manhood, our womanhood, ourpersonhood? Why, even as we die you don't leave us alone. What we can leaveour surviving lovers is taxed far more punitively than what you leave your(legal) surviving spouses. Why do you do this? My lover will be unable toafford to live in the house we have made for each other over our lifetimetogether. This does not happen to you. Taxation without representation iswhat led to the Revolutionary War. Gay people have paid all the taxes youhave. But you have equality, and we don't.


A letter from Steve Krantz
President, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
Los Angeles Chapter

To: Straights, From: Gays, Subject: Hate by Larry Kramer

Mr. Kramer sees the glass of gay life as half-empty and hate-filled. While I can't disagree with his facts, my glass is filling with hope for the future of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. I see more gay people coming out early in life, instead of living lives of deception. I see more people recognizing that being gay is just another natural human difference and accepting them as equals. I see increasing awareness that same-sex couples can love each other just like opposite-sex couples, with laws changing (slowly) to recognize their families. My life is dedicated to achieving equal rights for my son, who happens to be gay. I encourage more fair-minded citizens to join me.

Steve Krantz, Ph.D.
3421 Castlewoods PL, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
818 625 2174 (cell) or 818 783-2113
President, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Los Angeles Chapter


Court censures Poland for denying abortion rights
Ian Traynor, Europe editor

The European court of human rights ruled yesterday that Poland was failingto guarantee access to lawful abortions in a test case hailed as a victoryfor women across Europe and a blow to the deeply conservative government inWarsaw.

The Strasbourg-based court awarded damages to Alicia Tysiac, 35, a singlemother of three from Warsaw who is nearly blind. She sued the Polishgovernment after being denied an abortion in 2000 despite medical testimonythat her pregnancy would seriously impair her failing eyesight.

In a ruling that obliges all 46 member states of the Council of Europe toensure abortions are available where they are legal, the court found that MsTysiac's privacy rights had been violated and her treatment had caused her"severe distress and anguish". She was awarded costs and ?25,000 (£17,000)in damages. After giving birth, Ms Tysiac suffered a retinal haemorrhage,making her eyesight so poor she needed daily medical treatment. She can seeno further than 1.5 metres and fears she will go completely blind.

Poland practises one of the most restrictive abortion regimes in Europe,banning and criminalising it except on medical grounds, risk to life, andwhere pregnancy results from sexual violence.

In the EU only Malta, where abortion is outlawed, and Ireland have moredraconian regimes. Illegal abortion, however, is thriving in Poland. PolishNGOs estimate some 200,000 women are having backstreet abortions every year.


Regarded by senior Roman Catholicsas bringing the Christian message to a wider audience

But: does it constitute a Vatican admissionthat the Bible is "intrinsically disordered"?

Jesus was no miracle worker: the gospel of Jeffrey ArcherRuth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

Jesus did not turn water into wine, nor did hecalm the storm on the Sea of Galilee or walk onwater, according to a "gospel" published withVatican approval and co-written by Jeffrey Archer.

The Gospel According to Judas, introducedyesterday at a press conference chaired by thehead of the Pontifical Biblical Institute inRome, also denies that Judas accepted 30 piecesof silver to betray Jesus. The book will belaunched in London today at Westminster Cathedral.

The reception given to the book represents aremarkable rehabilitation for Britain's mostcelebrated politician-turned-convict. Lord Archerof Weston-super-Mare, a convicted perjurer, wrotethe book with Francis Moloney, one of the Pope'stop theological advisers, who was a member of theVatican's International Theological Commission for 18 years.


A rightwing witch-hunt

Neither homosexuals nor former communist chiefs are safe in an ever morehardline Poland

Eve-Ann Prentice
Wednesday March 21, 2007

Twenty-five years after the Solidarity crisis that engulfed Poland andmarked the beginning of the end of eastern European communism, the country'sleader at the time, the octogenarian veteran of the second world war GeneralJaruzelski, is facing ruin. The hard-right government of the twin Kaczynskibrothers - Prime Minister Jaroslaw and President Lech - is determined tostrip him of his rank and pension, and may even evict him from his home, spunishment for the imposition of martial law in 1981 - even though in the1990s parliament cleared him of responsibility for deaths in the martial-lawperiod.

The move comes at a time of growing extreme-right influence acrosseastern Europe, a trend echoed in the west. Since the early 1990s, publicreaction to migration - especially from Muslim countries - has helpedfar-right parties, with their anti-semitic, homophobic, anti-abortionagendas, make gains in Bulgaria, Romania, Austria, France and Italy. Thisweek Poland has moved to ban discussion of homosexuality in schools; andSoviet memorials to the soldiers who died fighting fascism have been pulleddown, particularly in eastern Germany and Hungary.

This is the context for a bill in the Polish parliament this week thatseeks to demote all high-ranking military officials who were involved inimposing martial law after a series of Solidarity strikes came close toprovoking armed intervention by the Soviet Union. These men - among themPoland's first astronaut, Miroslaw Hermaszewski - may also lose pensions andthe right to keep their homes.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List,0,267051.story?coll=hc-headlines-commentary

OP-ED: 'Traditional Marriage' Isn't As Straightforward As All That

By Stephanie Coontz
Monday 03.19.07

When Americans say "that's history," notes historian Alan Dawley, theyusually mean that "you can forget about it." Unless, of course, they want tojustify something by claiming that history "proves" that "it's always beenthis way." Such is the case of those who rely on "the lessons of history" tooppose same-sex marriage.

Claims of historical fact about marriage can be proved true or false, andthree of the historical claims made by opponents of same-sex marriage inConnecticut are demonstrably untrue.

First is the claim that the definition of marriage as the union of one manand one woman goes back thousands of years. Second is the claim that theJudeo-Christian heritage has always seen marriage as a sacred relationshipthat must be defended above all others. Third is the claim that marriage hasendured for thousands of years without change.

The most commonly approved form of marriage in the past (and the onementioned most often in the first five books of the Old Testament) waspolygamy - one man, many women. Some societies also countenanced polyandry -one woman married to several men. In China and parts of the Sudan, when twofamilies wished to make an alliance but didn't have an eligible daughter orson still alive, marriages were often arranged between one child and theghost of another. And at least one society, the Na of China, existed forthousands of years without marriage.


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