National and World News.

Organizations Urge Couples: “Make Change, Not Lawsuits”

Four GLBT legal organizations and five other leading national GLBT groups issued a statement entitled “Make Change, Not Lawsuits.” It explains that while couples who go to California to marry should ask friends, neighbors, and institutions to honor their marriages, they generally shouldn’t file lawsuits to have their marriages recognized. The statement says that ill-timed lawsuits risk creating additional barriers to marriage for gay couples.

Same-Sex Marriage Ban Gains California Ballot

Gay marriage supporters state they’re ready to wage a campaign to defeat a California ballot initiative meant to outlaw the practice. It will ask Californians to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriages in the wake of a California Supreme Court ruling allowing the civil unions to proceed. The new measure would trump the high court’s ruling, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Gay rights supporters say they will work hard to defeat the measure, which officially was placed on the November 4 ballot by California Secretary of State Debra Brown. But the initiative will have significant support as well. The petition to put the constitutional measure on the ballot had 1.1 million signatures. Proposition 22, a referendum opposing same-sex marriage that was struck down by the high court, passed with 61 percent of the vote.

Gender-Neutral Restrooms Increasing in Wisconsin

Wisconsin activists advocating gender-neutral restrooms say numerous college campuses and department stores have installed gender-neutral facilities. According to Quinn Bennett, a University of Wisconsin (UW)-Milwaukee student who was born female but lives as a male, school administrators were receptive to his argument that the gender-neutral facilities are easier for transgender and crossdressing people to use, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. “It’s very unfortunate when you have to defend your decision to use a restroom,” Bennett stated. The Milwaukee location was one of several UW campuses to install gender-neutral bathrooms, which are typically single-occupancy facilities with locking doors. However, Julaine Appling, Chief Executive Officer of the Wisconsin Family Council, criticized the move toward more gender-neutral restrooms, which her organization believes increases the risk of sexual assaults.

World News

Catholic Agency To Defy Gay Rights Law

A Roman Catholic adoption agency says it will not comply with the British government’s controversial gay equality laws. The Westminster Catholic Children’s Society, headed by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, will ignore new rules that require it to place children with same-sex couples, The Daily Mail reported. The organization states it will continue its policy of placing children only with married heterosexuals and single people. The adoption agency’s advisers claim they have found a legal loophole that could allow the agency to remain open, but adhere to church beliefs against homosexuality. The society has been advised by lawyers that if it amended its bylaws to refer directly to married heterosexual couples, it could comply with the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which take effect next year. The new rules are intended to end discrimination against gays by businesses.

“Lesbian” Affronts Lesbos, Some Say

Using the term “lesbian” to refer to gay women is an affront to the Greek island of Lesbos’s identity, three islanders told a court in Athens, Greece. The plaintiffs asked the court to ban a Greek gay rights organization from including the word “lesbian” in its name, reported. A major holiday destination for gay women, Lesbos in ancient times was home to Sappho, an advocate of love between women. “If something has been used for many centuries…does that automatically make it right? It is still wrong, regardless,” one of the plaintiffs told the court. A spokeswoman accused the plaintiffs of being homophobic: “We believe this term can be used both for someone from Lesbos and as a sexual connotation. There is nothing wrong about either. To us, [the plaintiffs’] behavior amounts to an infringement of human rights.” The court is expected to rule within six months.

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