NATIONAL BRIEFS

Posted on 19 Jan 2006 at 11:47pm
By Staff and Wire Reports

Virginia lawmakers approve ballot measure on same-sex marriage
A bill setting a November referendum on adding Virginia’s gay marriage ban to the state constitution was approved without debate Monday in the House of Delegates.

The vote was 76-20.
The constitutional amendment itself won General Assembly approval last year and was passed again by the House on Friday. Constitutional amendments must pass in consecutive General Assembly session, with an intervening House of Delegates election, to be placed on the ballot.

The Senate has not yet passed the measure a second time.
The bill passed by the House on Monday specifies how the ballot question will be worded. Opponents have argued that the ballot question, which summarizes the effect of the amendment, is too vague.

Virginia law already defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Supporters of the constitutional amendment say it is needed to make clear that Virginia does not have to recognize gay marriages or civil unions performed in other states.

Critics, including the gay rights group Equality Virginia, say the measure could be interpreted as barring all legal recognition of unmarried family or household members, which would have broad unintended consequences.

Couples National Network to hold annual meeting during 3-night cruise
Couples National Network is holding its annual meeting during a four day, three night cruise leaving Long Beach, Calif., on June 16 and traveling to Ensenada, Mexico. The event is open to committed same-sex couples who are not members of Couples National Network, a spokesman said.

Deposits of $150 per person are due by Feb. 9, and final payment is due April 10. For complete details contact Diane R. Berube with Gay Days Travel by phone at 888-942-9329 or by e-mail at diane@gaydaystravel.com. Information is also available online at www.gaydaystravel.com or at www.couples-national.org.

“‘Brokeback Mountain’ breaks into top 10 list of national ticket sales
“Brokeback Mountain” director Ang Lee’s story of two rugged Western family men concealing their homosexual affair is enoying top ticket sales, as well as critical acclaim.

The movie had the highest per-location average of any movie in the top 10 at $10,300 per location. It was ranked number nine in ticket sales over the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

In spite of or perhaps because of the controversy over its gay theme, the movie has done well in every market where it has played.

“The film has everything going for it: the critical acclaim, the word of mouth and, of course, the seven Golden Globe nominations never hurt,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Exhibition Relations.

The film’s distributor, Focus Features, is deliberately releasing “Brokeback Mountain” slowly in selected markets, causing some to speculate that is at least partly responsible for its financial success.

The movie received four Golden Globes on Monday night, including best picture. It is expected to be a strong Academy Award contender as well.

African Anglican archbishops speak against acceptance of homosexuality
Seven Anglican archbishops from Africa came to the United States supporting a burgeoning movement that began with Episcoplians disenchanted over liberal theology, including the acceptance of homosexuality.

About 800 people attended a meeting of the Anglican Mission in America in Birmingham, Ala., on Jan. 13 to hear the archbishops. It was founded five years ago and has gained steam since the church’s decision to ordain an openly gay man.

The Rev. Terrell Glenn, a former Episcopal priest now affiliated with the mission, said members were encouraged to see the Africans.

“Their presence here is a statement that says, “‘What you are doing is good,’” Glenn said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of January 20, 2006.

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