National Briefs

Posted on 07 Dec 2006 at 7:56pm
By Staff and Wire Reports

California lawmaker reintroduces bill to legalize same-sex marriage

SACRAMENTO California’s newly sworn Legislature on Monday picked up where the old one left off, introducing an emotional bill to legalize gay marriage.

Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, reintroduced legislation that would allow gay couples to marry in the state of California. And Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, introduced a bill that would let unmarried, heterosexual couples register as domestic partners.

Leno said he hoped the Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who vetoed a nearly identical gay marriage bill in 2005, would change his position on the new bill. Schwarzen-egger has said it is up to voters or the courts, not lawmakers, to settle the contentious issue of gay marriage. California law does not permit gay marriage, but gay couples who register as domestic partners are given most of the same rights as married couples.

A Superior Court in San Francisco ruled last year that having separate rules for gay and straight couples was unconstitutional. But an appeals court reversed that decision in October, saying it was up to the Legislature, not the courts, to decide whether to change the traditional definition of marriage.

Man former governor describes as his lover says McGreevey is bisexual, not gay

The man former New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey identified as his gay lover said Nov. 30 he believes McGreevey is not gay.

Appearing on “Larry King Live,” Golan Cipel, an Israeli citizen hired by McGreevey first as a campaign aide and later as his homeland security adviser, said that McGreevey’s 2004 resignation speech admission that he is “a gay American” was “part of the spin.”

“I think McGreevey had no choice. There was a sexual harassment lawsuit against him. And he didn’t know what to do, and his advisers told him, “‘come out first,’ and he would be perceived as the victim” and thereby gain control of the story,” Cipel said. While he said McGreevey did make sexual advances toward him on several occasions, Cipel said the former governor also frequently spoke about heterosexual encounters, including sex with prostitutes on trips to Germany and the Dominican Republic.

“I believe that Jim McGreevey is bisexual,” Cipel said.

Episcopal Church leadership responds to California diocese’s move to separate

FRESNO, Calif. Members of a conservative Episcopal diocese who voted to distance themselves from the faith’s national denomination received a letter Monday from church leaders lamenting their decision.

The Fresno-based Diocese of San Joaquin voted Dec. 2 to affirm its membership in the worldwide Anglican Communion, in what diocese leaders called a first step toward a formal break with the national church over the ordination of gays and women. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. wing of the 77 million-member Anglican family.

“I lament the actions of the Bishop and Convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin to repudiate their membership in the Episcopal Church,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in a prepared statement Monday.

“Our task as the Episcopal Church is God’s mission of reconciling the world, and actions such as this distract and detract from that mission,” she said.

While San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield has said he remains open to proposals that would allow the diocese “theological respect and freedom,” the diocese had no official response to the letter, the Rev. Canon Bill Gandenberger said.

The resolution approved by a majority of clergy and lay delegates last weekend won’t become final unless it receives a two-thirds majority vote at a diocesan convention next year.

Vermont gay newspaper closes doors after 21 years

BURLINGTON, Vt. Out in the Mountains, the state’s only gay newspaper, has ceased publication after 21 years. The board of directors of the monthly paper, which served a LGBT audience, decided last month that the publication was no longer financially viable. The last edition was published last week. The paper has faced competition from the Internet and other newspapers.

“Part of the success of Out in the Mountains over the last 21 years has been a voice for the community. But today there are other newspapers that are willing to cover our community and stories about our community that they would never have covered 10 years ago,” the board president, Brian Cote, said.

Times have changed since the state passed the first civil union law in the country, he said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, December 8, 2006.

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