VOLUME 3, ISSUE 332 | August 05 – 11, 2004


News Briefs

New Vatican Attack on Women and Gays

Norwegian Leader Nixes Gay Adoption

While the government of Norway has proposed opening adoption to gay and lesbian couples, Reidat Hjermann, the country’s ombudsman for children, said, “Homosexuals are fighting a rather legitimate battle for liberation, but it is important that children do not become weapons in that battle. The time is not right for adoption, maybe in 10 or 20 years, or 100 years, but not now.” He said that gay couples should wait for more societal acceptance before they are allowed to adopt.

Hjermann’s comments have provoked anger in the nation’s LGBT community, not least because he did not even consider the fact that some children are homosexual. “We want the same right to be evaluated as adoptive parents in the same way as others, regardless of sexual orientation,” said Jon Reidar Oyan, leader of Norway’s leading LGBT rights group.

Adoption by gay people is banned in several U.S. jurisdictions, notably the state of Florida. Gay adoptions have been fairly routine in New York for decades, though only in recent years have both members of a gay couple been allowed to co-adopt. While many European nations are largely ahead of the U.S. in recognition of same-sex partners, many have resisted allowing gay adoptions.

Maine Partner Registry Begins

Forty-six couples registered their domestic partnerships in Maine on August 3. Maine is the sixth state to extend some sort of recognition to gay and lesbian couples. The new law, open to non-gay couples as well, provides the pairs with inheritance rights and next-of-kin status as well as the right to make medical decisions for each other.

Mass. Group Supports Amendment Foes

N.J. Gay Student Gets Help

New Jersey Civil Rights Director J. Frank Vespa-Papaleo has awarded $50,000 to a seventh-grade student in Toms Rivers who repeatedly suffered anti-gay harassment. The school district is appealing the ruling, which also mandated that the student handbook explicitly ban bullying based on sexual orientation and that staff be trained on the policies for at least the next six years.

Stop the Music

Dennis Adam Ray, the gay organist at the First Christian Church in Highlands, Fla., was fired for writing an article supporting same-sex marriage in which he claimed at least half of his congregation supported his point of view—even though he did not name the parish. The pastor said he had the right to his viewpoint, but that speaking on behalf of the church violated its bylaws and the public could tell which church Ray was referring to because the organist’s name had appeared in ads for the church.

Ray, the choir director for the past two years, told the AP that he was surprised at the dismissal from his $100 per-week gig.

Don’t Crap on Our Parade

Just before the Conway, Arkansas, LGBT pride parade in June, someone dumped 6,000 pounds of cow manure on the route. It was cleaned up before the parade got underway. Now Wesley Bono, 35, has come forward to take responsibility for the incident, but he is pleading not guilty because “he was trying to make a point and express his right to protest,” WMC-TV Memphis reported. He insisted it was not a hate crime. He faces community service and paying the costs of cleaning up the mess if found guilty.

German Politico Leaves Closet

Guido Westerwelle, 42, the head of Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP), is now living openly with his partner Michael Mronz, the head of an equestrian society. While refusing to comment on his relationship, the politician regularly takes his partner to public receptions. He hopes to be foreign minister in a coalition government with the Christian Democrats (CDU) if they unseat the center-left coalition led by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in 2006, Agence France-Presse reported.

The German government said this week that 6,000 gay couples had registered under the 2001 law recognizing some of their partner rights. The government now proposes expanding those rights to include the ability to adopt each other’s children.

Catholic Group Punishes Hospitality

The Knights of Columbus disciplined Gerald Salvatori, deputy grand knight of the Canton, Massachusetts, chapter for bringing two Democratic legislators, Rep. William Galvin of Canton and Sen. Brian Joyce of Milton, who support same-sex marriage, to a meeting, the Telegram News reported. Knights’ policy forbids invitations to politicians who support abortion, same-sex marriage, stem-cell research, or euthanasia, but the rule is often waived if the politician doesn’t talk about those issues at a Knights’ event. But the state deputy of the Massachusetts council of the Knights, Thomas Ledbetter, imposed the suspension over the objections of the Canton chapter leaders.

Though Salvatori had permission from the local knights to bring the politicians, he said that prior to the event Ledbetter “berated me, told me I was a bad Catholic” and “at least five times, said I supported baby killers.” Joyce did not come to the meeting, but Galvin did. When Galvin read a proclamation, Ledbetter walked out in protest.

The Canton Knights leaders are appealing Salvatori’s suspension.

Andy Humm is a co-host of “Gay USA” seen Thursdays at 11 p.m. on Time-Warner 34 and RCN 107, simulcast at channel 34, and on Directv nationwide._

Andy Humm can be contacted at

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