National Briefs

Posted on 02 Mar 2006 at 10:50pm
By Staff and Wire Reports

Historical commission won’t allow church to hang gay rights banner
QUINCY, Mass. This city’s historical commission has denied a request by its “Church of the Presidents” to hang a large banner in support of gay marriage on the front of the edifice.

The Quincy Historic District Commission raised objections about the banner’s size and proposed location on the United First Parish Church, one of the city’s most important landmarks, The Patriot Ledger of Quincy reported.

The 34-foot-by-4-foot sign reads “People of Faith for Marriage Equality.”
Commission members stressed that their objections were related to the banner’s technical dimensions and possible aesthetic effects on the historic facade of the church, home to the crypts of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and their wives.

There was no discussion of the sign’s message or political content at Monday’s meeting.

Bill easing Florida’s gay adoption ban possible in state legislature
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. State Representa-tive Bill Galvano, said he would schedule a vote on a bill allowing gay foster parents to adopt children already in their care, but only if companion legislation resurfaces in the Senate, the Tallahassee Democrat reported on Tuesday.

Galvano chairs the House’s Future of Florida’s Families Committee.
Florida is the only state with an outright ban on gay adoption, while Mississippi and Utah have laws that restrict gay adoption. Mississippi bans gay couples, but not gay singles, from adopting, and Utah requires adopting parents to be married.

Senator Nan Rich, a Democrat, introduced a similar bill earlier this month, but postponed the legislation indefinitely hours later when it became clear it would not survive its first committee vote.

Rich is still working with the foster parents and children’s advocates who testified at that meeting to convince lawmakers to reconsider, she said.
Meanwhile, Galvano said he will not put similar legislation introduced in the House on his committee’s agenda until the Senate bill’s gets stronger.

“I think the Senate hearing helped flesh out the issue a bit, but it’s also an indication of how the bill is going to fare,” he said. “If the bill should come back and start moving in the Senate, then you’re looking at a bill that really has a life.”


Lily McBeth

School board upholds decision to let substitute teacher return
EAGLESWOOD TOWNSHIP, New Jersey Despite criticism from parents, the school board on Monday stood by its decision to let 71-year-old Lily McBeth to resume working as a substitute teacher after undergoing gender reassignment surgery last year.

McBeth was a substitute teacher at the school for five years.
The board took no action Monday on calls by several parents to bar McBeth from returning.

Several parents said children in the school were not old enough to understand the concept of changing one’s gender. But others spoke out in support of McBeth.

Several people spoke at the meeting in support of McBeth, saying that the fact that she is a good teacher was more important than whether she appears as a man or a woman in class.

Gay rights supporters protest Penn State coach at basketball game
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. About three dozen people protested against Penn State coach Rene Portland and the university during the Lady Lions’ game against No. 6 Ohio State on Feb. 26.

The protesters, who had tickets, then came inside the Bryce Jordan Center and watched the contest without causing a disturbance.

They laid out a rainbow flag on three rows of empty seats, then waved the large banner during halftime.

Former player Jennifer Harris has filed a federal lawsuit against Portland, accusing the coach of asking her to try to look more “feminine” and of maintaining a discriminatory policy against lesbians or those who she thought were lesbians.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, March 3, 2006.

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