APRIL 28, 2000 • HOUSTON VOICE
\^_j ome companies merely say that they care about certain
communities but do very little to back it up. But when you choose
Chase, you choose a company that has a history of supporting
causes that are important to our customers and employees. What's
more, we are equally committed to programs that recognize
differences, like a nondiscrimination policy that protects
everyone. At Chase, respect for the individual is a principle that
influences many of our business decisions. We look forward to
earning your business.
A Proud Supporter
of Houston's 2000
Lesbian and Gay
o. Take Joy,,
THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP IS EVERYTHING*
Visit or call our Kirby branch or any of our
52 convenient branches in the Greater Houston area.
3201 Kirby Drive
Sales Manager, AVP
Banking Service Officer
Around the South
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Mississippi governor to sign newly-passed ban on gay adoptions
JACKSON (AP)—Mississippi lawmakers voted April 19 to ban gay couples from adopting,
becoming the second state this year to try to keep lesbians and gay men from becoming parents. The Senate passed the ban without debate and without opposition. The House had given
approval earlier, and Gov. Ronnie Musgrove has already said he will sign the bill. The proposal, which takes effect July 1, said "adoption by couples of the same gender is prohibited."
The Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association had led a phone call lobbying effort
over the past month to revive the bill, which looked dead when a committee chair said he was
reluctant to bring the divisive bill up for debate. Democratic Sen. Hillman Frazier said his colleagues were responding to political pressure. "This is a very hot topic around the nation. They
wanted to make a statement," he said. Two other states, Florida and Utah, also have bans on
gay adoption. Utah's was adopted earlier this year.
Judge permits ACLU
Once Gov. Ronnie Musgrove
signs a new law banning adoption by gay couples, Mississippi
will join Florida and Utah with
similar legal prohibitions.
challenge to Florida ban on gay adoptions
KEY WEST, Fla.—A federal judge ruled April 24 that the
ACLU's challenge to Florida's law banning gay adoption
can proceed, rejecting the state's request to dismiss the lawsuit. In court arguments to dismiss the case last month, the
state contended that the plaintiffs had not actually applied
to adopt, and therefore could not show that they were
impacted by the adoption ban. The state also defended the
adoption ban on "moral" grounds and claimed the gay families in the case were not entitled to legal protection. In
today's decision, U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King
did not address the state's morality claim, focusing only on
which plaintiffs had formally submitted adoption applications. Although the ACLU took the position that the adoption ban made the applications futile, the court said it wanted the applications submitted nonetheless and allowed 30
days for this to happen. "The plaintiffs began filling out the
necessary paperwork this morning, and it will be submitted
as soon as it is ready," said Michael Adams, Associate
Director of the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project.
Fired lesbian worker sues Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)—A social worker fired by Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children
after being outed as a lesbian sued her former employer on April 17, claiming her civil rights
were violated. The state ol Kentucky was also named as a defendant for providing more
than half the agency's $21 million budget. Baptist Homes fired Alicia Pedreira, a therapist
and supervisor, on Oct. 23,1998, on the grounds that her sexual orientation ran counter to
the organization's values. Her dismissal came after agency employees saw a picture of
Pedreira and her partner entered in a photo contest at the Kentucky State Fair without her
knowledge. Bill Smithwick, president and CEO of Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children,
defended the organization's hiring policy. "We place a lot of emphasis on role models, and
for us to have a staff person who is openly homosexual in some way could encourage
[youngsters) to be sexually confused and to enter the homosexual lifestyle," he said.
S.C. capital's police crack down on male prostitution at park
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP)—Police have conducted about a dozen undercover stings in
Columbia's Granby Park, which some say has become a haven for male prostitution. Four
men were arrested for allegedly soliciting sex in the park in December. It's unclear how
many arrests have been made since then. "The park is there for the use of all citizens for
recreational activities. It's for families," said Police Chief Charles Austin. "It's not intended
to be an outdoor motel, and we're not going to allow it to turn into one." Some area residents say police are being too heavy-handed in dealing with the situation. Daniel Hutchins,
who lives nearby and often walks his dog in the park, said police harassed one of his friends.
"They told a friend of mine to leave, and he wasn't doing anything dirty," Hutchins said.
Florida county adds protection for gays into local housing code
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—After more than three hours of debate, the Leon County
Commission voted 5-1 to add sexual orientation to the county's Fair Housing Code's antidiscrimination clause, the Tallahassee Democrat reported April 19. xhat action makes it illegal for homeowners to refuse to sell or rent property to someone because they are gay.
"This amendment is in reality nothing more than a technical amendment to bring the code
in line with existing community standards," said Commissioner Cliff Thaell, who introduced the amendment last month. "Prejudice is far outside the mainstream of thought in
this community." The mostly pro-amendment crowd, many wearing white ribbons,
applauded the vote. Throughout the public hearing, speakers said the measure didn't condone the homosexuality but put gays on the same footing as heterosexuals when it came to
looking for a home.
—From staff and wire reports