by Rex Wockner -
SGN Contributing Writer
Bill Clinton now supports same-sex marriage
Bill Clinton, who as president signed the anti-Gay Defense of Marriage Act into law, now supports same-sex marriage, thenation.com reported July 14.
'I'm basically in support,' Clinton reportedly said July 8 after speaking at the Campus Progress National Conference in Washington, D.C.
'I think all these states that do it should do it,' he said. 'I personally support people doing what they want to do. I think it's wrong for someone to stop someone else from doing that.'
DOMA prevents the federal government from recognizing married Gay couples as married and allows states to refuse to recognize other states' same-sex marriages.
President Barack Obama repeatedly has vowed to see that DOMA is repealed, but has taken no steps to launch the process.
Six states - Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine - have legalized same-sex marriage, while 30 states have amended their constitutions to ban it. In addition, New York and Washington, D.C., recognize the marriages of Gay couples who have married elsewhere.
The new same-sex marriage laws in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine have not yet come into force.
Same-sex marriage also is legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Sweden.
Episcopal Church OKs Gay clergy, bishops
The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops and House of Deputies declared in mid-July that open Gays and Lesbians - celibate or not - can serve as priests and bishops in the church.
At the church's triennial general convention, held in Anaheim, Calif., July 8-17, bishops voted for the policy 99-45 and deputies voted for it 155-40. Deputies who are clergy voted 77-19 and lay deputies voted 78-21.
The move may well lead to a full rupture between the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has been deeply mired in gay angst since the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire consecrated openly gay and partnered V. Gene Robinson as its bishop in 2003. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of Anglicanism.
The Anaheim move was seen as, in essence, a flip-off by the Americans of the Anglican hierarchy and Anglican provinces in Africa and South America that strongly opposed Robinson's consecration.
De facto international Anglican leader Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, England, had urged delegates to the U.S. convention not to make any "decisions in the coming days that could push us further apart." He later said he regretted that the convention had done just that with its Gay-clergy decision.
Delegates also voted to allow local dioceses to bless same-sex marriages and civil unions if they want to, and launched a project to create official liturgies for the blessings.
Senate approves hate-crimes measure
The U.S. Senate approved a bill July 16 to add sexual orientation, gender identity and other categories to federal hate-crimes protections.
The measure, which passed on a voice vote, was attached to a defense-spending bill. A move to remove it from that bill failed 63-28. A final vote on the new categories was expected to occur July 20.
The House of Representatives already has passed a similar bill.
"More than 60 senators support the Matthew Shepard Act, legislation that will provide police and sheriffs' departments with the tools and resources they need to ensure that entire communities are not terrorized by hate violence," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
TABC says Texas bar raid was a big mistake
The head of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission told the Gay newspaper Dallas Voice on July 16 that his officers committed multiple "clear violations" of agency policy when they and local police raided the Gay bar Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth on June 28, the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
The violent raid put patron Chad Gibson in a hospital intensive-care unit with bleeding on his brain. Two other patrons sustained lesser injuries and several patrons were arrested for the crime of having drunk too much.
"I don't think you have to dig very deep to figure out that TABC has violated some of their policies," Alan Steen said. "We know that and I apologize for that. ... It's real clear that however it is that we were doing business that night is not the typical TABC."
"You can read [our] policy and you can figure out really quickly, TABC shouldn't have even been there," he said. "If our guys would have followed the damn policy, we wouldn't even have been there. ... We don't participate in those kinds of inspections when there's not probable cause or reasonable suspicion or some public safety matter to be inspected."
With assistance from Bill Kelley
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