Sunday, October 17, 2004

Voters, churches and lawyers weigh in on debate on rights



GAY, HERE AND NOW
This Enquirer special report is the first of four parts:

Today: Coming to terms with gay issues
Survey: What's gay-friendly, what's not?
Covington's legal protections 'reassuring'
Voters, churches and lawyers weigh in on debate on rights
Words and phrases to know
Calls refer to homosexual rights
Bronson: Straight, gay: disagreeing without hate
Monday: Same-sex couples and raising kids
Tuesday: Revealing the secret
Wednesday: Daily workplace drama

Online special:
Complete results of WCPO/Enquirer poll
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Gay in Cincinnati: What do you think?
Debate over gay rights touches nearly everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

Flash points:

• Gay rights have become a presidential campaign issue. President Bush, a Republican, and Democrat John Kerry both believe that marriage should be between a man and woman. But Bush wants to amend the U.S. Constitution to say that; Kerry doesn't. The House and Senate rejected the proposed constitutional amendment this year.

• Voters in Ohio, Kentucky and nine other states will decide Nov. 2 whether to amend state constitutions to ban gay marriage. Missouri voted overwhelmingly for such a ban on Aug. 3. Louisiana also has approved a ban, but a judge ruled it violated state law because it also prohibited legal civil unions.

• Voters in the city of Cincinnati will decide Nov. 2 whether to repeal Article XII of the city charter. Approved by voters in 1993, it prohibits City Council from adopting ordinances that would offer protections based on sexual orientation. Supporters of Article XII say laws should not be written to give gays special protection; opponents say Article XII discriminates against gays and is bad for business.

• The American Bar Association is debating whether to prohibit judges from belonging to organizations that discriminate against gays, such as the Boy Scouts. The association, which has 405,000 members, might vote on the matter next year.

• In January, a federal appeals court in Atlanta upheld a Florida law that bans adoption of children by any gay person. Florida remains the only state with such a law.

• At a national assembly last November, Roman Catholic bishops approved a statement urging states to withhold recognition for same-sex marriages. Other denominations are weighing the issue, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church USA.

• In July, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) legislative assembly voted 259-255 to reject a measure that would have allowed regional governing bodies to ordain gay clergy and lay officers. Had ordination of gay clergy been approved, some members said, it would have caused the largest split in the church since the Civil War.

John Johnston




SPECIAL REPORT: GAY, HERE & NOW
Coming to terms with gay issues
Survey: What's gay-friendly, what's not?
Covington's legal protections 'reassuring'
Voters, churches and lawyers weigh in on debate on rights
Words and phrases to know
• Online special: Complete results of WCPO/Enquirer poll

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