HOUSTON VOICE • DECEMBER 31,1999
OUT ON THE BAYOU
New Jersey Supreme Court rules
against Boy Scouts
The Boy Scouts ban on gays is illegal
under state law, the New Jersey Supreme
Court ruled Aug. 4 in the case of James Dale,
an assistant scout master who was kicked
out nine years ago after leaders learned he is
gay. In May, the Boy Scouts formed a committee to study the causes of homosexuality.
Democratic candidates come
out on gay rights
Vice President Al Gore and former Sen.
Bill Bradley, the two candidates vying for
the Democratic presidential nomination in
2000, came out as strong proponents of gay
rights in dueling interviews with the gay
news magazine, the Advocate. First, Gore
told the magazine he favored a more "compassionate" implementation of the "Don't
Ask, Don't Tell" ban on open gays in the military. Then, Bradley told the Advocate he
would overturn the military ban completely.
Both men opposed gay marriage, but
Bradley said he supported domestic partnership and would oppose the Knight
Initiative, a California ballot measure to
limit marriage to "one man and one
woman." Gore later said he too would
oppose the Knight Initiative.
Drug-resistant HIV on the rise
Highly drug-resistant strains of the AIDS
virus are on the rise, showing up in as many
as 4.5 percent of newly infected patients,
according to two studies in the journal of the
American Medical Association. While powerful "drug cocktails" including protease
inhibitors have helped many with HIV, the
complicated drug regimen has proved difficult to adhere to.
Anti-gay harassment 'the rule'
A first-ever national survey conducted
by the Gay Lesbian Straight Education
Network found that 69 percent of gay students surveyed around the country said
they had experienced verbal, physical and
sexual harassment and assault at school.
Results show 61 percent reported verbal
harassment, 47 percent sexual harassment,
28 percent physical harassment, and 14 percent had been physically assaulted.
Calif, governor signs landmark
gay rights bills
California Gov. Gray Davis signed into
law three landmark gay rights measures
passed by the state legislature, including a
measure to outlaw the harassment of gay
students and teachers in public schools and
colleges, a law creating a statewide domestic partners registry for couples who are
gay or over age 62, and legislation to ban
job and housing discrimination on the basis
of sexual orientation.
Falwell meets with gay Christians
Rev. Jerry Falwell, the Moral Majority
founder long known for his condemnation
of homosexuality, held a weekend meeting
with 200 gays from 30 states organized by
Rev. Mel White's non-violent "Soul Force"
movement. White, a former ghostwriter for
Falwell and other religious right figures
before coming out himself, organized the
meeting with his former boss and his
church members to try and reduce violence
against gays and Christians and lower the
rhetoric between both groups.
Gay S.F. supervisor forces
mayor into run-off
On the strength of only a write-in campaign launched just 20 days before the election, Tom Ammiano, the openly gay president of San Francisco's Board of
Supervisors, shocked many by qualifying
for a run-off in the city's mayoral election
against incumbent Mayor Willie Brown.
The contest, between the openly gay
Ammiano and strong gay rights ally Brown,
divided some in San Francisco's huge gay
community, but Brown beat Ammiano decisively in the December run-off vote.
Ammiano would have become the first
openly gay mayor of a major American city.
James Hormel finally
became the United
States' first openly
gay ambassador in
June, three years
after he was first
Bradley, Gore, Clintons oppose
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
Politicians continued lining up against the
military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on
openly gay service members, prompted in
part by the July murder of a gay soldier at
the Army base in Fort Campbell, Ky. Former
Sen. Bill Bradley, running for the Democratic
presidential nomination, led the pack in
September. In December, First Lady Hillary
Clinton—planning a run for U.S. Senate
from New York—joined him in declaring
DADT a failure that ought to be scrapped.
President Clinton was next. Finally, Gore
said he, too, would overturn DADT.
Hawaii court rules against gay marriage
Hawaii's Supreme Court upheld a 1998
constitutional amendment against gay marriage, closing the door on three gay couples
who had sued the state for the right to
marry. But gay rights activists said the ruling
does not reverse the high court's 1993 that
failure to recognize same-sex marriage
amounts to gender discrimination.
Gay couples win 'equal'
rights in Vermont
In a first of its kind decision, the Vermont
Supreme Court ruled that gay couples must
be given "equal" rights and benefits. The
court stopped short of calling for the state
to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, holding that the state legislature
should decide whether to grant the benefits
through marriage or a separate system of
domestic partnership. Vermont officials,
including Gov. Howard Dean, predicted
the state would adopt a DP system
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