NH Senate committee takesup gay marriage bill
CONCORD, N.H. — At least 500 people crowded into New Hampshire’s Statehouse on Wednesday, April 15 for an emotional and sometimes boisterous Senate committee hearing over whether allowing gay marriage would weaken or strengthen the institution of marriage.
Supporters argued gay marriage is a civil rights issue and that excluding gays would be discriminatory.
"This is not a time to tiptoe. Be bold," urged Beth Campbell, of Concord.
Opponents countered that marriage is a sacred religious institution that would be cheapened by allowing gays to marry. They also said gay marriage defies nature and could harm children.
Ronald Goodwin, of Alexandria, called the legislation "morally corrupt."
"Some of the women have been wearing their pants so long that some of the men have forgotten their identity. It’s time the men put their pants back on," he said.
The New Hampshire Legislature is weighing a bill that would make it the fifth state to allow gay marriage.
The state House has approved it, and it is now before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The governor hasn’t said whether he would sign or veto it.
In New Jersey, Gov. Jon Corzine has pledged to sign a gay marriage bill that has been introduced. In New York, Gov. David Paterson is making another push to legalize gay marriage.
NYC’s next archbishop, Timothy Dolan, will challenge gay marriage
NEW YORK — New York Archbishop-designate Timothy Dolan said he will use the prominence of his new job to challenge gay marriage legislation in New York state, an effort that has gained momentum thanks in part to Gov. David Paterson.
Hours before his installation Wednesday, April 15, Dolan said he will work with the state’s other Roman Catholic bishops to defeat legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage. Paterson, who is expected to attend Dolan’s installation Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, was set to introduce a gay marriage bill Thursday, April 16.
"You’ll find I don’t shy away from those things. I wouldn’t sidestep them," said Dolan, in a news conference. "You could expect me to articulate that with all the clarity … I can muster."
Dolan, 59, the former Milwaukee archbishop, is known for defending Catholic orthodoxy with a friendly face.
ACLU asks schools to stop blocking gay Web sites
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The American Civil Liberties Union has asked public school officials in Tennessee to stop blocking students’ access to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Web sites on school computers.
The organization said in a release Wednesday, April 15 that as many as 80 percent of public school districts, including Knox County and Metro Nashville schools, may be restricting access to non-porn sites that offer educational and political information about issues such as gay marriage or groups such as the Human Rights Campaign.
The letter asks the districts and schools who use filtering software provided by Education Networks of America to stop blocking sites designated as "LGBT" or the ACLU will file a lawsuit.
Tennessee state law only requires schools to use filtering software to restrict information that is obscene or harmful to minors. The ACLU isn’t challenging that law.
ACLU is representing two students and a librarian in Tennessee who say the software blocks access to important information like scholarships for gay students or viewpoints on current events for schoolwork.
The letter also notes that the software does not restrict Web sites that counsel gays to change their sexual orientation.
Nevada governor says he would veto domestic partner bill
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Gov. Jim Gibbons wants Nevada lawmakers to send him more than the handful of bills he’s received so far — except for a pending proposal to give same-sex domestic partners the rights and benefits that Nevada offers to married couples.
Responding to reporters’ questions, the Republican governor said Tuesday, April 14 that he will veto SB283, the domestic partner measure now under consideration in the state Senate, if it reaches his desk because "I just don’t believe in it."
SB283 was authored by Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, an openly gay state lawmaker who says there’s no fiscal impact because public employers wouldn’t be required to provide health care benefits to a staffer’s partner. However, a public or private employer could voluntarily provide such benefits.
Gibbons said he hasn’t read another bill by Parks to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation, and wants to review it before commenting. SB207 already has won approval in the state Senate and now is in the state Assembly for final legislative action.
Iowa Democratic lawmakers again block marriage debate
DES MOINES, Iowa — The Legislature has again blocked debate over issues linked to gay marriage, which was legalized earlier this month by the Iowa Supreme Court.
The Senate was debating a routine measure dealing with county recorders on Tuesday, April 14 when Sen. Merlin Bartz, R-Grafton, offered an amendment allowing county recorders to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The "conscience clause" would have allowed recorders to refuse to issue the licenses if they object to gay marriage.
Senate leaders ruled the issue out of order and there was no debate.
Earlier, Senate Democrats rejected Republican requests to join in a bill to oppose gay marriage and a resolution in the House calling for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage also failed.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 17, 2009.