National Briefs

Posted on 25 Jan 2007 at 5:39pm
By Staff and Wire Reports

Gay marriage opponent acquitted of assault charge in Massachusetts
WORCESTER, Mass. A gay marriage opponent has been cleared of charges he assaulted a counter-demonstrator during a rally in Worcester.

After deliberating for about seven hours, a district court jury acquitted 51-year-old Larry Cirignano of Arlington, Va. The former head of the group Catholic Citizenship was accused of pushing gay marriage supporter Sarah Loy to the ground last December during the rally against same-sex marriage. Loy said she bruised her elbow and shoulder when she fell.

Two prosecution witnesses including a reporter for the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester testified that they saw Cirignano push Loy. But Cirignano said he gently guided Loy away from the speaker’s podium because he feared her presence might lead to an altercation, and did not see her fall.

Democrat in N.C. Senate race against Dole acknowledges he is gay
Jim Neal, the Democrat who plans to challenge Sen. Elizabeth Dole in North Caroline, is gay, a camapign spokesman confirmed Monday, Oct. 22.

Neal spoke publicly of his sexual orientation over the weekend during an online discussion organized by a liberal blog, spokesman Thomas Mills said.

In response to a message on BlueNC.com asking whether he was gay, Neal is quoted a saying: “I am indeed. No secret and no big deal to me I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think otherwise.”

He continued: “I’m not running this race to make some social statement. I’m running to lead in the Senate for the voters in N.C. something Sen. Dole has not done.”
Neal was a fundraiser for 2004 presidential candidates who has never run for public office. He is the only Democrat who has announced he will run next year against Dole.

California Episcopal Diocese approves blessing for same-sex unions
Elected representatives of the Episcopal Diocese of California on Sunday, Oct. 21, approved use of rites for the blessing of same-sex couples by an overwhelming margin.

The action opens the way for Diocesan Bishop Marc Andrus to allow these services to be used on a trial basis by Episcopal churches across the Bay Area.

Clergy and lay delegates also approved by a broad majority a resolution countering recent opinions voiced by the Episcopal House of Bishops in New Orleans.

Drafted by the Rev. John Kirkley, the resolution both affirmed “the unanimous decision of the [Diocesan] Standing Committee to refuse to discriminate against partnered gay and lesbian bishops-elect” and deplored “the lack of access to adequate pastoral and ritual care for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in large parts of the Episcopal Church and the refusal of the majority of our bishops to make provision for it.”

In his address to the 158th Convention of our Diocese, Bishop Andrus welcomed the resolution.

“I think the resolution properly augments my pastoral goal of caring alike for all of the people of the diocese, not reinforcing damaging distinctions,” Andrus said. “I also think, at the same time, that the resolution writers have honored the spirit of the Windsor Report and subsequent requests from the Primates of the Communion not to develop “‘public rites.’”

Florida lawmakers considering bill overturning ban on adoption by gays
A new bill has been introduced in the Florida State Senate that would overturn the state law banning gays and lesbians from adopting.

Senate Bill 200 would allow gays and lesbians to adopt under certain circumstances, including but not limited to scenarios in which the child has resided with the person, the child’s parents are deceased, and the person proposing to adopt the child is the guardian.

The Florida Senate Committee on Children, Family and Elder Affairs heard opinions on the bill from prospective parents during a meeting on Monday night, Oct. 22. Not everyone at the meeting, however, supported the measure, according to a report published online at BayNews9.com.

Bob McMillain told Bay News 9, “It’s just not good for our society to see children abused like this. It’s not a hate thing, it’s a biblical thing. They need to be with a man and a woman and not two people from the same sex.”

Florida’s 30-year-old ban on adoptions by gays dates back to 1977 when Anita Bryant, leading an effort to overturn Dade County’s gay rights laws, convinced state senators to enact the ban in part by declaring that gays and lesbians were child molesters.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 26, 2007.

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