Yakima Washington Catholic Bishop Joseph Tyson Says Legalized Same Sex Marriage “Endangers Religious Liberty"
|Bishop Joseph Tyson|
Tyson also wrote;
“Once marriage is redefined as a genderless contract, it will become legally discriminatory for public and private institutions such as schools to promote the unique meaning of marriage. [...] This law will challenge our right to educate about the unique value of children being raised by his or her own mother and father in a stable home.”
However, it was noted by pro same-sex marriage advocates that the prelate did not specify how these rights would be challenged by passage of the measure by Washington voters.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted that the pro-Referendum 74 group, Catholics for Marriage Equality, delivered a sharp rejoinder to Tyson and his fellow bishops in the Archdiocese of Seattle and the Diocese of Spokane, who have issued letters and videos opposing marriage equality.
“We are shocked when we read the language and examples used by our bishops to incite fear in our Catholic brothers and sisters if Referendum 74 passes: The message of Jesus is love and compassion, not fear,” said Kirby Brown spokesman for Catholics for Marriage Equality Washington.
The Yakima bishop has utilised language in his efforts to block Referendum 74 s passage that exceeds what the Seattle PI termed "the more restrained language of Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, for whom he once served as auxiliary bishop"
In statements regarding the issue, Tyson argued that "[Same sex marriage]is actually offensive to basic human rights and equality” and “a loss of civil rights and equality for the most vulnerable among us, children,” he said. “The terms ‘husband and wife’ and ‘father and mother’ will continue to recede as so-called gender-neutral terms overwhelm our public lexicon,” he warned.
Experts, political analysts and observers all agree that the debate over the issue of same-sex marriage has sharply divided the state's faith community. Episcopal Bishop Greg Rickel has endorsed Referendum 74 as a “conservative proposal” consistent with basic Christian teaching and the Christian life. Two prominent Methodist pastors in Seattle have endorsed marriage equality in campaign ads paid for by same-sex marriage advocates.
In his letter, Tyson not only rejects the notion that same-sex marriage has little or no impact on society, instead writing;
“Although our surrounding popular culture may define human identity by the terms ‘gay’ and ‘straight,’ our church has a deeper and more accurate understanding of human identity based on male and female — sexual difference,” he argues. “Marriage is founded on sexual difference and ordered toward the good of husband and wife and the procreation and rearing of children.”
The bishop warns that he sees the approval of Referendum 74 as endangering "our religious liberty and the right of conscience,” adding, “Recent attacks on churches, businesses and nonprofit organizations that express their conscientious objection to the redefinition of marriage underscore this danger.”
Catholics for Marriage Equality Washington spokesman Brown said that his organisation is asking its supporters to distribute a brochure that supports Referendum 74, entitled “Love Overcomes Fear” outside their churches even as bishops’ letters are read inside.
“Remember we, the laity, are the Catholic voice of support for marriage equality in our state: We are the Church, let’s use our voice,” he said.
Related to the bishop's letter condemning the efforts to legalise same-sex marriage in Washington, former Republican presidential candidate and ex-Senator Rick Santorum, who is devoutly Catholic and firmly committed to opposing same-sex marriage, is scheduled to address fundraisers for the Family Policy Institute of Washington in Spokane and Bellevue this week.
University Of Nebraska-Lincoln Student Criticized Over Decision To Veto Two Gay Rights Bills
By Chris Dyer | LINCOLN, NE -- Last week, the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska voted to override two vetoes by Eric Kamler, the university's student senate’s president. Kamler had vetoed a bill that expressed support for extending benefits to spouses of LGBT NU staff and faculty, as well another bill that supported Lincoln’s fairness ordinance.
Emily Schlichting, a former member of the student government and author of the initial pieces of student government legislation said she was happy to see a large majority of student senators override Kamler’s vetoes but said those vetoes sent the wrong message to many UNL students.
“The students and more importantly the faculty and staff who are going to be benefiting from this policy received a slap in the face,” she said.
The vetoes by Kamler were a reversal of positions he publicly advocated in June at a session of the university's Board of Regents as a student regent representing UNL's student body. Kamler had voted to support benefits for spouses of lesbian and gay NU staff and faculty.
Another student government member, Student Senator Mike Dunn noted that Kamler's reversal and veto ran against his [Kamler's] views expressed during his run for office as a candidate for ASUN president last winter.
Dunn said that Kamler's endorsement of benefits while addressing another campus organisation of LGBTQ students, "[...]really contradicted his own positions on it."
In a statement explaining his veto, Kamler said he vetoed the domestic partner benefits bill because the program would cost the university too much money at a time when it’s facing budget cuts;
“I don't feel that now is the right time to extend health benefits for anyone until we get a better picture of where we are going as a university in terms of growth and if we can meet our proposed growth goals,” he said.
According to a University of Nebraska spokesperson, the program will cost between $750,000 and $1.5 million based on an expected 100 to 200 new employee sign-ups. Kamler also declined to add further explanation for his vetoes Friday other than to comment that he vetoed the bill supporting the Lincoln fairness ordinance because he does not believe the student senate should interject itself into such a contentious debate.
Questions Remain Unanswered After 16-Year-Old Commits Suicide Allegedly After Being Bullied For Allegedly Being Gay
|Funeral Service for David Hernandez|
EAST HAMPTON, NY -- After the death of an East Hampton teenager of an apparent suicide last week, after rumours spread that he had been bullied at school for being gay, David Kilmnick head of the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth Network said that organization would fast-track its efforts to open a community center on the South Fork to provide support to gay students and their families and friends.
David H. Hernandez, 16, was found at his family’s house on Wooded Oak Lane and pronounced dead at the scene a little after 9 p.m. September 29 according to East Hampton Town Police Detective Lt. Christopher Anderson.
Questions about Hernandez's sexual orientation have remained unanswered by family members who declined to comment this week through a friend of the family acting as a spokesperson.
Students who attended the same school as Hernandez however confirmed that he had attended meetings of the Gay-Straight Alliance at the high school last year, and in a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, the alliance’s president, Joel Johnson, who helped to found a gay-straight alliance at the East Hampton Middle School as well as at East Hampton High School, said that Hernandez was present at another GSA meeting just a few days prior to his suicide.
The Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth Network's Kilmnick said that the group will hold a town meeting at East Hampton High School on October 22 at 6:00 p.m. In a statement released last Tuesday, East Hampton School Superintendent Richard Burns said;
“This has been a tragedy. We are grieving for David, his family and our community. We will continue our thorough evaluation of this sad and complex situation. Our thoughts and prayers go to the family.”
Superintendent Burns along with East Hampton High School principal Adam Fine refused to comment on allegations of bullying at the school.
LIGLYN's Kilmnick told the local media that [the] circumstances facing gay and lesbian youth can be even more inhospitable outside of school than in school, especially for some members of the Hispanic immigrant community.
“They don’t have the support system outside of school and with the East Hampton School District being 40 percent Latino, there is a great need for us to have a place for those students to come,” he said.
“We hear from many young people that there is a lack of support system for many Latino and African-American young people who are gay,” Kilmnick said.
“In churches, which are often an important part of the Latino culture and of their family life, there are not a lot of good things said about gay people and little or no standing on the side of equality.”
Kilmnick said the East Hampton School District is far more advanced in gay and lesbian tolerance and sensitivity issues than most other school districts.
"Unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to know definitively what exactly happened in David’s case,” he said, adding; “It gets to a point where sometimes kids can’t take it anymore and some find that taking their own life is the only way they can deal with that because they have nowhere to go. Regardless of whether David was gay or not, he should have had a place he could have seen as a lifesaver.”