National Briefs

Posted on 08 Mar 2007 at 7:48pm
By Staff and Wire Reports

Faculty council endorses resolution supporting same-sex benefits at IU

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. The Bloomington Faculty Council has endorsed a resolution expressing support for Indiana University’s policy of offering health care benefits to its employees’ same-sex domestic partners.

The council’s leaders said they took the action because some faculty and staff worry that a proposed state constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage could bar partner benefits.

The resolution passed Tuesday, March 6 expresses the council’s “continuing support” for IU’s domestic-partner policy and its “confidence” that the policy will continue, regardless of the gay marriage amendment.

IU’s trustees adopted the policy in September 2001. Currently, 119 IU employees have registered their domestic partners with the university, and most take advantage of university benefits.

Alex Tanford, a law professor and council member, said the proposed gay marriage ban would have no impact on IU’s domestic-partner benefit policies if it becomes Indiana law.

The amendment says marriage can only be between one man and one woman. It also says state law and the constitution can’t be construed to confer marriage or “the legal incidents of marriage” on other couples or groups.

Supporters say the amendment is needed to prevent activist judges from ordering the state and its institutions to recognize gay marriage or provide gay couples with the same rights and benefits as married heterosexuals.

Tanford said it would change nothing with regard to IU’s ability to voluntarily provide benefits to unmarried couples.

The state Senate approved the marriage amendment last month. It’s now awaiting debate in the House. If approved by the Legislature, it would be on the ballot in November 2008 for ratification by Indiana voters.

New York’s gay City Council speaker headed to Ireland to march in parade

NEW YORK City Council Speaker Christine Quinn plans to march in Dublin, Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day parade this year, again snubbing the New York City parade because of its organizers’ refusal to allow gay and lesbian groups to march.

Quinn, an Irish-American who is the city’s first openly gay council speaker, is heading to the Dublin parade at the personal invitation of officials there. She’s expected to be joined by other members of the New York City Council, as well as the lord mayor of Dublin, the speaker of the Lower House of the Irish Parliament, and Dublin City Council members.

“My participation in Dublin’s parade is also an opportunity to march openly as a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community, something we have not been able to do in New York City,” Quinn said in a statement Saturday, March 3. “I hope my participation in the Dublin march will send a message about the importance of inclusion.”

The New York City parade is organized by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, who have denied permission to gays and lesbians to march under their own banner since 1991. The group has said it does not want to politicize the event.

Quinn tried to broker a deal with the group last year after taking office as speaker in January. But it didn’t work, so she boycotted the event as she had in her previous years as a council member.

During her upcoming trip, Quinn also expects to speak about the need for “a lasting peace in Northern Ireland,” her office said. The Conference for American Ireland Relations will be footing the bill for the New York council trip to Ireland, according to Quinn’s office.

Minister refiles complaint against pastor who presided over lesbian wedding

PITTSBURGH A Presbyterian minister has refiled a complaint against a Pittsburgh cleric who married a lesbian couple, a church charge stemming from the original complaint having been dismissed last year on a technicality.

The Rev. James Yearsley, 55, pastored a church in the Pittsburgh suburb of Penn Hills when he filed his original complaint in 2005 against the Rev. Janet Edwards. Yearsley, now a pastor of Village Presbyterian Church in Tampa, Fla., said he has been joined by 14 pastors and elders in the new complaint.

Edwards, 56, a parish associate at the Community of Reconciliation in Pittsburgh, had been scheduled for a church trial in November and faced discipline ranging from a rebuke to removal from ministry. But the church’s Permanent Judicial Commission found that a church investigative committee filed formal charges resulting from Yearsley’s original complaint four days too late.

Both complaints allege that Edwards defied her vows and broke the laws of the Presbyterian Church (USA), which bans same-sex marriages and does not permit pastors to perform them.

Edwards, a longtime activist for gay church members, said she does not believe she violated church laws or the vows she took at ordination when she married two West Virginia women in June 2005.

2 men charged with assault in connection with attack on members of singing group

SAN FRANCISCO One of two men accused of a New Year’s Eve attack on members of an all-male a capella group from Yale University surrendered Tuesday on assault charges.

Brian Dwyer, 19, turned himself in Tuesday, March 6, at the Millbrae Police Department and was released on bail, according to Eileen Hirst, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department. He arrived at the station about 1 p.m. and was released about a half-hour later on $80,000 bond, according to Millbrae Police Sgt. Jim Vangele.

Dwyer and Richard Aicardi were charged with assaulting two members of the Baker’s Dozen outside a party held in honor of the 16 student singers. Witnesses at the time said the trouble started after the vocalists, wearing sports jackets and ties, sang “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Aicardi, of San Francisco, was charged with two counts of felony assault by means of force and one count of battery, charges that carry a maximum penalty of eight years in prison.

Dwyer, of San Francisco, who was charged with one count of assault and one count of battery, faces a maximum prison sentence of seven years, if convicted, according to Harris.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 09, 2007

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments