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Oregon Civil Unions: Status Update

Thursday, June 30, 2005
For recently updated information, click here.

Anyone else wondering what the situation is in Salem with SB1000? I know I am. It seems as though there has been yet another delay on the SB1000 vote. The bill has been sent back to a committee for minor adjustments, but is expected to be ready to go very soon.

When is the floor vote?
The floor vote should happen on Wednesday or before. It's truly anyone's guess at this point (looking at the delays we've already had). I am basing this off of what I have been told by a staffer today.

If this does not happen
If the floor vote does not happen by Wednesday, then we need to stop being the passive, nice gays and lesbians and voice our opinions LOUD. I mean REALLY LOUD. I want you all to prepare to rally hard. WE WILL NOT GO DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT. We have been trampled over too many times and we WILL NOT let it happen again without making it clear that we will never stand for this again.

IT IS JUST COMMON SENSE
No person, regardless of their sexual orientation should be fired from their job, turned away from housing, refused service, etc just because they are gay, lesbian or transgendered. It's simply bullshit. It's discrimination. It's something that Oregon should not and will not stand for.

Posted by Bryan Harding

Spain OK's Gay Marriage

Spain OKs gay marriage, defying opponents

MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Parliament legalized gay marriage Thursday, defying conservatives and clergy who opposed making traditionally Roman Catholic Spain the third country to allow same-sex unions nationwide. Jubilant gay activists blew kisses to lawmakers after the vote.

The measure passed the 350-seat Congress of Deputies by a vote of 187-147. The bill, part of the ruling Socialists' aggressive agenda for social reform, also lets gay couples adopt children and inherit each others' property.

The bill is now law. The Senate, where conservatives hold the largest number of seats, rejected the bill last week. But it is an advisory body and final say on legislation rests with the Congress of Deputies.

Opposition conservatives said they will consider challenging the law before Spain's highest tribunal, the Constitutional Court.

The Spanish Bishops Conference criticized the new law and urged resistance to it. The group said the bill, along with another passed Wednesday making it easier for Spaniards to divorce, mean that "marriage, understood as the union of a man and a woman, is no longer provided for in our laws."

"It is necessary to oppose these unfair laws through all legitimate means," the bishops said, apparently alluding to a previous call for town hall officials who oppose gay marriage to refuse to preside at such ceremonies.

After the final tally was announced, gay and lesbian activists watching from the spectator section of the ornate chamber cried, cheered, hugged, waved to lawmakers and blew them kisses.

Several members of the conservative opposition Popular Party, which was vehemently opposed to the bill, shouted: "This is a disgrace." Those in favor stood and clapped.

The Netherlands and Belgium are the only other two countries that allow gay marriage nationwide. Canada's House of Commons passed legislation Tuesday that would legalize gay marriage; its Senate is expected to pass the bill into law by the end of July.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero noted this in debate before the vote.

"We were not the first, but I am sure we will not be the last. After us will come many other countries, driven, ladies and gentlemen, by two unstoppable forces: freedom and equality," he told the chamber.

Zapatero said the reform of Spanish legal code simply adds one dry paragraph of legalese but means much more.

He called it "a small change in wording that means an immense change in the lives of thousands of citizens. We are not legislating, ladies and gentlemen, for remote unknown people. We are expanding opportunities for the happiness of our neighbors, our work colleagues, our friends, our relatives."

Zapatero lacks a majority in the chamber but got help from small regional-based parties that tend to be his allies.

Spanish gay couples can get married as soon as the law is published in the official government registry. This could come as early as Friday, or within two weeks at the latest, parliament's press office said.

Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy said after the vote that Zapatero has deeply divided Spain and should have sought a consensus in parliament that recognized same-sex unions but didn't call them marriage. Rajoy said that if the vast majority of countries in the world don't accept gay marriage, including some run by Socialists, there must be a reason.

"I think the prime minister has committed a grave act of irresponsibility," Rajoy told reporters.

Beatriz Gimeno, a longtime leader of the gay rights movement in Spain, held back tears as she hugged her partner Boti after the vote.

"It is a historic day for the world's homosexuals. We have been fighting for many years," Gimeno said. "Now comes the hardest part, which is changing society's mentality."

The gay marriage bill was the boldest and most divisive initiative of the liberal social agenda Zapatero has embarked on since taking office in April 2004. Parliament overhauled Spain's 25-year-old divorce law Wednesday by letting couples end their marriage without a mandatory separation or having to state a reason, as required under the old law.

He has also pushed through legislation allowing stem-cell research and wants to loosen Spain's restrictive abortion law.

The Roman Catholic Church, which held much sway over the government just a generation ago when Gen. Francisco Franco was in power, had adamantly opposed gay marriage. In its first display of anti-government activism in 20 years, it endorsed a June 18 rally in which hundreds of thousands marched through Madrid in opposition to the bill. Some 20 bishops took part in the June 18 rally.

On Wednesday, a Catholic lay group called the Spanish Family Forum presented lawmakers with a petition bearing 600,000 signatures as a last-minute protest.

Late last year, the spokesman for the Spanish Bishops Conference, Antonio Martinez Camino said that allowing gay marriage was like "imposing a virus on society - something false that will have negative consequences for social life."

Despite the street protests in Madrid and elsewhere and the petition drive, polls suggest Spaniards supported gay marriage.

A survey released in May by pollster Instituto Opina said 62 percent of Spaniards support the government's action on this issue, and 30 percent oppose it. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points. But surveys show Spaniards about evenly split over whether gay couples should be allowed to adopt children.

via AP

Maine - what are you thinking?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Ok - so not all of Maine. Maine was on the right track. Although they were the only state in New England that did not have an anti-discrimination policy for its GLBT citizens. Today, after a petition drive to collect 50,000 signatures to repeal the new legislation, passed in March and amends the Maine Human Rights Act making discrimination in employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and education based on sexual orientation or gender identity illegal. Common sense right? Well not to the Christian Conservative League... go figure.

The Christian Civic League which organized the petition accused the legislature and Gov. John Baldacci of attempting to subvert the will of the people.

“The very same gay rights bill that has two times been rejected by the voters,” will be on the ballot again, said Michael Heath of the Christian Civic League, predicting a fourth victory.

“We knew this day was inevitable,” said Jesse Connolly, campaign manager for Maine Won’t Discriminate, a group formed to fight the repeal attempt. “We are ready and eager for the campaign to begin.”

Baldacci, who proposed the legislation said Tuesday afternoon that his administration would fight to keep the law on the books.

“There are some in this state who want to move us backward,” Baldacci said. “Maine is the only New England state that does not offer these civil rights protections. We need to show that our doors are open to all people.”

Following the announcement today that the Christian Civic League will submit over 50,519 signatures to force a state-wide referendum on a recently passed bill to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, Speaker of the House John Richardson issued the following statement:
"Three months ago men and women from all parts of Maine and all political parties stood together to pass landmark legislation to protect people of all sexual identities from discrimination in the workplace, in housing, lending and education. That was a proud day for Maine.

"I am not surprised by today’s announcement that Michael Health and the Christian Civic League have submitted signatures to the Secretary of State for verification that would force a referendum on that issue.

"I am also not disappointed by today’s announcement. I welcome the chance to go before the people of Maine and defend this policy. I think that this is an opportunity for Maine to join the rest of New England in saying that it is wrong to let the majority of society dictate to the minority the rights they should have.

"I hope that in the coming months we can have an open and honest debate about why the people of Maine should stand behind eliminating discrimination and support this policy."

House Majority Leader Glenn Cummings and Assistant Majority Leader Bob Duplessie issued the following statement:

“When we passed the bill, we were working to move Maine forward along with our neighboring states in New England, who have already passed laws to require equal protection regardless of sexual orientation. It was our effort to make Maine no longer unique in our state’s acceptance of bigotry.

It is disappointing that the Christian Civic League would dedicate so much time and energy toward curtailing the basic rights of others.

It is now the responsibility of the people of Maine to decide whether they support equal protection for all."


Posted by Bryan Harding

Canada: Gay Marriage Now Law

Canada has become the third country to legalise gay marriage, as parliament passed landmark legislation allowing same-sex civil unions, despite strong opposition from conservatives and religious leaders.

Although gay marriage is already legal in seven provinces, the bill now grants all same-sex couples in Canada the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples.

Go Canada!

The legislation, drafted by Prime Minister Paul Martin's minority Liberal Party Government, was expected to pass easily through the Liberal-dominated Senate and become federal law by the end of July

"We are a nation of minorities," Mr Martin said. "And in a nation of minorities, it is important that you don't cherry-pick rights. A right is a right and that is what this vote tonight is all about."

"This is a victory for Canadian values," said Alex Munter, national co-ordinator of Canadians for Equal Marriage, a group that has led the debate for the legislation.

Mr Martin, a Catholic, has said that despite anyone's personal beliefs, all Canadians should be granted the same rights to marriage.

Posted by Bryan Harding

Canada Poised To Become Third Country To Legalize Gay Marriage

Tuesday, June 28, 2005
AP: TORONTO -- Canada is set to become the third country to legalize gay marriage, with Parliament likely to pass landmark legislation Tuesday despite strong opposition from Conservatives and religious leaders.

Although gay marriage already is legal in seven provinces, the bill would grant all same-sex couples in Canada the same legal rights as those in traditional heterosexual unions. The Netherlands and Belgium already allow gay marriage.

The legislation, drafted by Prime Minister Paul Martin's minority government, needs at least 155 members of the House of Commons to gain a majority of the 308-seat House. While some of his Liberal lawmakers have said they will not back the legislation, enough allies in other parties have indicated they would support the bill when it comes to a vote.

There are an estimated 34,000 gay and lesbian couples in Canada, according to government statistics.

"I think this is going to be a proud and exciting day to be a Canadian because we are, once again, affirming to the world that we are a country that is open, inclusive and welcoming," said Alex Munter, national coordinator of Canadians for Equal Marriage, a group that has led the debate for the legislation.

"This is a victory for Canadian values." Martin, a Roman Catholic, has said that despite anyone's personal beliefs, all Canadians should be granted the same rights to marriage.

"I rise in support of a Canada in which liberties are safeguarded, rights are protected and the people of this land are treated as equals under the law," Martin told the House of Commons.

Churches have expressed concern that their clergy would be compelled by law to perform same-sex ceremonies, with couples taking them to court or human rights tribunals if refused.

The legislation, however, states that the bill only covers civil unions, not religious ones, and no clergy would be forced to perform same-sex ceremonies unless they choose to do so.

"The facts are plain: Religious leaders who preside over marriage ceremonies must and will be guided by what they believe," Martin said. "If they do not wish to celebrate marriages for same-sex couples, that is their right."

The Roman Catholic Church, the predominant Christian denomination in Canada, has vigorously opposed the legislation. "The most overlooked and disenfranchised group in the current debate about marriage is that of children," Calgary Bishop Frederick Henry said in a recent statement.

"The issue is not whether traditional marriage, as it stands, is a perfect institution, but whether society and especially children are better off with it than without. Families with both mothers and fathers are generally better for children than those with only mothers or only fathers. Biological parents usually protect and provide for their children more effectively than non-biological ones."

The debate in Canada began in December, when the Supreme Court ruled that passage of same-sex legislation would not violate the constitution.

A roster of right-wing groups under the banner Defend Marriage Canada headed to Parliament Hill on Tuesday to lobby legislators against the bill.

"I fear radical social change thrust upon a nation that is not asking for it," Charles McVety, a spokesman for Defend Marriage Canada and president of Canada Christian College, told Canadian Press.

According to most polls, a majority of Canadians supports the right for gays and lesbians to marry. In the United States, gay marriage is opposed by a majority of Americans, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll taken in November, shortly after constitutional amendments in 11 states to ban same-sex marriage were approved.

Massachusetts is the only state that allows gay marriages, although Vermont and Connecticut have approved same-sex civil unions.

Hillary trims Bush, as Condi takes Dick in hand.


Click image to view the full size version.

I got this email today from a company who did storyboards for an interactive flash animation my company did just recently. Take notice of the crown of thorns on Bush's head. Funny stuff. The people on the ground are supposed to be prisoners from the whole Abu Gharib scandal I assume. Hillary looks damn good...

To visit StoryBoards Online click here

Posted by Bryan Harding

If Civil Unions pass the Oregon Legislature...

Monday, June 27, 2005
What would/could happen as a result? Would there be a backlash from the religious right? Of course.

The question is would they dare bringing it to the ballot for the voters to decide - as they did with Measure 36? I strongly believe that they would. The only problem that they would face is that a very large majority of Oregonians support civil unions, even those Oregonians who are adamantly against same-sex marriage and voted yes on Measure 36 this past November.

I have been talking to people recently about this issue. The two people that surprised me the most are the ones that I will talk about.

First, my neighbor. A 45 year-old straight male who is a born again Christian.
We have known each other for about two years now. We get along great, though of course happen to disagree about certain issues. During the Measure 36 campaign we had many discussions. He was stuck in his ways, as was I. In the end I'm not sure if he even ended up voting for that issue at all.

One day about two weeks ago I went over there to stop by and say hello to him. I happened to be wearing my "Support SB 1000" t-shirt. He asked, "What is that?". So I went into a short explanation of both the civil unions aspect of it, as well as the Anti-discrimination part. He quickly followed by saying that he would support it... both parts of it. For some reason I was blown away. For someone who was so staunchly against gay marriage, he was so quick to support all aspects of SB1000. We have since discussed it further over dinner at their house. The word marriage was the problem for him. He whole heartedly believes that gay couples should have every right that he has.

So a week ago I was out in the backyard power washing my deck. He happened to be in his backyard planting a tree when he randomly asked me, "So what can I do to help pass SB1000?".

Next, a 50-something widow, from West Linn, whom I just met Saturday evening at a dinner party.
Surprisingly, she was very much the same as my neighbor. A born again Christian, against gay marriage and voted yes on Measure 36.

After we had all been enjoying a couple glasses of wine, my ex who was with us for dinner as well, brought up the subject of civil unions and the fact that Oregon is coming close to passing them via the state legislature. She too felt that the word marriage was too much for her. She said it's the 'civil' part of civil unions that makes her feel comfortable with that. She also brought up a story she had read about a lesbian couple that had been together for over 30 years. One of them had to be rushed to the hospital for a cancer related illness. The hospital denied her parter any sort of visitation. Her partner died soon after in the hospital - alone. She felt this was a huge injustice. She stated that she would fully support both civil unions and the statewide anti-discrimination policy.

A Possibility of another anti-gay ballot measure
If the Oregon State Legislature does in fact pass SB1000, the Oregon Family Council, 'The Defense of Marriage Coalition' and other anti-gay groups will likely attempt to bring a repeal of SB1000 to the voters in 2006. Looking at the polling data (even from the conservative Riley Research Associates) shows that Oregonians would not repeal it.

For More Information visit:
The Basic Rights Oregon Blog

Posted by Bryan Harding

Gentlemen: Dress up with 'Dickorations'

Sunday, June 26, 2005


So it's Sunday. I am posting off topic - again. "Dickorations" - a new ad campaign from Durex. Let's say it's more of a 'hands on' ad campaign. With five different outfits for your penis, you will be able to make it through the whole week without having to wear the same thing! Here are some examples...

Heading out to somewhere fancy? Try on the tux!


Be the superhero!


Be a contender. Put on your champ belt!


How about a six pack?


Maybe your penis is the king?


Visit http://www.durexdickorations.com/ for more information. Quite entertaining.

Posted by Bryan Harding

'Love in Action' Investigated Over Forced Straight Conversion' Claims

Friday, June 24, 2005
by Bryan Harding

Thank God! Just to follow up on 16 year old Zach from Tennessee sent to 'Love in Action' by his parents to 'turn him straight'. See the bottom of this post for past postings regarding Zach. This is very good news below. Hopefully something comes from it. Poor kid.

via gay.com:

Tennessee is investigating an abuse complaint against a therapy group in Memphis that claims to turn gay teens into heterosexuals.

The Department of Children's Services says it received a complaint about Love in Action, which runs an outpatient therapy program. The complaint was screened and enough substance was found to open an investigation, state officials said.

All other details are confidential and the state can't specify the nature of the complaint or investigation, K. Danielle Edwards, a DCS spokeswoman, said yesterday.

Love in Action, which runs a program for children and teens called Refuge, said the investigation is without merit and was filed anonymously by someone with little knowledge of the program.

"The Internet accusations on holding kids without their permission ... and the other crazy allegations are ridiculous," said John Smid, the group's executive director.

The group's work has been the focus of protest by gay advocacy groups, who say it is dangerous and irresponsible to engage in so-called ex-gay therapy.

Earlier this month, a Web logger going by the name of "Zach" said his parents were sending him to a religious organization that would try to convert him to heterosexuality.

The teen identified himself as a 16-year-old from Bartlett, Tenn., and said his parents "tell me that there is something psychologically wrong with me. ... I'm a big screwup to them, who isn't on the path God wants me to be on. So I'm sitting here in tears ... and I can't help it."

Edwards said DCS can't say if its investigation is related to that boy's situation, or even specify when the complaint was filed.

But Smid says it is connected. He said the accusation was probably filed by someone who read the blog and used it "as a foundation to stir up a bunch of stuff."

"The doors are not locked down and the kids are not required to be here, and they come here with their parents," Smid said.

The Web site for Refuge states it offers programs ranging from two to six weeks. The group says it "is a ministry designed to be a safe place for young people and their families to find true freedom from addictions through the power of Jesus Christ."

It says it can fix "addictive behaviors" such as pornography, drugs, sexual promiscuity and homosexuality.

The cost runs from $1,500 to $4,000, the Web site says.


Gay Rights Watch past postings RE: Zach in order oldest to newest.
Warning: Very Disturbing.
An update on Zach: 16 year old held agsinst his will to 'turn straight'
Zach: Another 6 weeks of psychological torture and pure hell
Recap: Poor Zach & Love In Action 'Refuge'

Call me off message... BUT...

Thursday, June 23, 2005
So every once in a while I have the need to post something off topic. I need to rant about something. Well first off let me just tell you that I am totally ADD. You should see me try and paint a room. I go from one wall to another (without finishing the first one).

See I am already getting off topic. The point of this that I cannot stand the Flash banner ads that are games. Like you have to use your mouse to do something in the ad... the one I just did was a fish jumping out of water and you had to snap a picture of it real quick. The thing is I can't stop playing. The worst ones were these popup flash ad games that were for Orbitz.com. It was miniature golf. Way too much fun. Addictive. Bad news bears.

That's my rant for the day. Thanks for listening :)

by Bryan Harding

BREAKING NEWS: Senate Bill 1000 to be voted out of Senate Rules Committee Today

Rumor has it the Oregon State Senate Rules Committee will vote SB1000 (Civil Union/Anti-Discrimination) out of committee. This is all the information I have at this point, although I assume it will happen here in the next hour or two. If this does happen, I expect that we will have a full floor vote early next week.

For more visit: Basic Rights Oregon Blog

by Bryan Harding

Howard Dean declares Democratic support for gay rights

Empty Closet reports:

Washington, D.C. - In honor of the 2005 Pride month Celebration, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Howard Dean will attend an event on Thursday, June 23 in New York City with the LGBT community and issued the following statement:

“It has been 36 years since Pride month established its roots during a turbulent weekend in New York City. Since the Stonewall Rebellion, our country has taken tremendous strides towards securing equal rights for all Americans. Democrats across the country are proud to celebrate the accomplishments of the LGBT community, and are honored to join the millions of Americans who will celebrate this month. Alongside you we renew our commitment to facing the challenges still ahead.

“The Democratic Party has a long and proud history in the fight for civil rights. We are the party that has always believed in equal rights under the law for all people, and we will continue to fight until every American, including our family and friends in the LGBT community, is treated with the respect and equality they deserve.

“There’s no place in civil discourse for hate and discrimination. America deserves better. Democrats support full and total inclusion of LGBT persons and their families into the life of our nation. We believe in equality for all families. We support the right of gay and lesbian Americans to serve openly in our military. We support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to allow all Americans to work without fear of being fired because of their sexual orientation. We support further LGBT health research. Our nation’s most sacred document, the United States Constitution, is intended to expand liberties, not limit them; and we will fight any attempt to use our Constitution to discriminate for political gain.

“The Democratic Party is proud to stand with the LGBT community, not just during Pride Month, but every month, of every year.”

Oregon's SB 1000 IS BACK! Civil Unions and Anti-Discrimination!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005
After splitting Senate Bill 1000 (Civil Unions and Statewide Anti-Discrimination) the Oregon State Senate has brought them BACK TOGETHER! SB 1073 (Civil Unions on their own after being split) is gone. It had been voted out of the Senate Rules Committee, which was a huge landmark. But this? THIS IS HUGE NEWS.

I have been wearing my "Support SB1000" T-Shirt once a week or so, knowing that it had been split and no longer a bill - but now... it means everything! This is it Oregon. Senate Bill 1000 should be voted out of committee in the next few days and then should pass the full senate next week.

SUPPORT SB 1000: Fairness and equality for ALL Oregonians.

Damn, I am so happy right now.

by Bryan Harding

Nike endorses Oregon Civil Unions (SB 1073)

More large companies are expected to follow in the footsteps of Nike.

"When it comes to doing the right thing, Nike follows their own mantra: Just do it," said HRC President Joe Solmonese.

HRC, in their press release also said:

"When it comes to doing the right thing, Nike follows their own mantra:
Just do it. Equality is more than the right thing, it's also sound business practice. By ensuring that employees can do their work without worrying about protecting their families, companies help their bottom line. It's good for business and it's good for the community."

Nike also is endorsing the anti-discrimination legislation that 2-3 weeks ago split from the civil unions part of the former SB 1000.

Thank you Nike.

Read a statement from Basic Rights Oregon, as well as Nike's statement here.

California brings back pro gay marriage bill

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in California that died three weeks ago in the state Assembly has been reborn.

Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said Monday night that he intends to bring the measure back in the current session - this time as an attachment to a bill already before the Senate.

Back on June 2nd the California Assembly just barely defeated Leno's first bill that would have legalized gay marriage for the state. The measure lost by just four votes in the 80 seat Assembly after a quarter of the Democrats voted with Republicans to reject it.

Using a "gut and amend" legislative maneuver he will attempt to bring the bill back. Leno is one of six openly gay members of the Legislature.

The new measure will be the same as the first. The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act would require local clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples but allow people opposed to gay marriage to refuse to conduct weddings.

Leno wants a legislative victory this session. Him and millions of others in California. Geoffrey Kors, executive director of Equality California stated, "If one house, be it the Assembly or Senate of the California Legislature votes in favor of marriage equality, it totally undercuts President Bush and the extreme right-wing argument that this is simply a few judges who are ruling on the issue."

Recap: Poor Zach & Love In Action 'Refuge'

Monday, June 20, 2005
I've noticed a lot of buzz on the net the past 3 days about Zach (the 16 year old boy shipped off to 'Love in Action' to 'turn him straight') and a lot of people have been coming to this blog using search terms related to him. So I wanted to give links to additional resources/coverage of what's going on...

The Republic of T.: Another Zach Update
Margaret Cho: A Letter to Zach
Gay.com: Youth's blog stirs uproar over 'ex-gay' camp
Cherry Blossom Special: Congratulations, Zach. You've Been Lied To. Again.
The Flypaper Theory: Love in Action: a losing battle?

This group is right in the middle of the Zach story. It seems as though they are the ones organizing the protests etc.: Queer Action Coalition

Previous Posts on Gay Rights Watch:

6/12/05
Love in Action: Brainwashing camp for gay kids

06/14/05
Warning: Very Disturbing

06/19/05
Zach: Another 6 weeks of psychological torture and pure hell

OSU: Gay sheep point to sexual orientation being biological

Sunday, June 19, 2005
The Seattle Times reports: As the culture wars rage over gay rights, a flock of sheep at Oregon State University may help answer a key question behind the controversy: Is homosexuality a matter of choice or biology?

The Corvallis herd includes a group of rams that scientists delicately refer to as "male-oriented." These animals consistently ignore females and bestow all their amorous attentions on members of their own sex.

Researcher Charles Roselli says a decade of study suggests sexual orientation is largely hard-wired into the sheep's brains before birth. Now, he's trying to figure out how that happens, zeroing in on genes and hormones. In a bold test of his ideas, he hopes to engineer the birth of gay rams by altering conditions in the womb.

Sheep aren't people, but the Oregon work adds to a growing body of research that bolsters biological explanations for sexual orientation across species — including humans.

Despite those scientific findings, some religious groups say homosexuality is a lifestyle that can be treated, if not prevented. One such group, the conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family, is sponsoring a one-day conference in Bothell Saturday.

The social and political implications of the research are impossible to ignore, leading to unease on both sides of the gay-rights debate. If science proves homosexuality is innate, is there any basis to deny gays equal treatment — including the right to marry? But if scientists unravel the roots of sexual orientation, will it some day be possible to "fix" people who don't fit the norms or abort fetuses likely to be born gay?

Much of the cutting-edge research is being conducted in other countries, because the political pressure cooker in the United States makes it difficult for scientists to get money, said Brian Mustanski, who juggles studies of the genetics of homosexuality with his main work on HIV prevention at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

But controversy can't obscure the facts, he said.

"It's pretty definitive that biological factors play a role in determining a person's sexual orientation."

Austrian scientists reported this month that switching a single gene was enough to make female fruit flies rebuff males and attempt to mate with other females. Swedish researchers recently found the sexual center of gay men's brains lit up when they sniffed a pheromone-like chemical from men's sweat, but didn't respond to a chemical from women.

And last fall, Italian scientists offered a possible explanation for the persistence of gay genes — even though evolution tends to weed out traits that discourage reproduction. The team from the University of Padua found that mothers and aunts of gay men had more offspring than female relatives of heterosexuals, suggesting genes that influence homosexuality in men may increase fertility in females.

That the evidence comes from such disparate directions leads scientists to suspect several different biological pathways may lead to homosexuality. Both genes and hormones appear to be important. Nor do researchers discount the possibility that social factors may play a role.

"I tend not to be a nature-versus-nurture kind of dichotomist," said Roselli, of the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine in Portland. "I think there's probably a very complex interaction that's going on between both biology and the environment that is involved in determining these types of behaviors."

Read the rest of the article - very interesting... click here.

Zach: Another 6 weeks of psychological torture and pure hell



For those of you who read this blog - Zach, the 16 year old boy who has been sent to a Chirstian brainwashing camp that attempts to turn people straight was supposed to get out today. Instead his parents have added another 6 weeks of prison for him. One of his friends said:

For everyone who reads Zach's page, here's an update on Zach. He has to do an extension for 6 weeks. So he wont be able to get online or anything. But he thanks everyone for their love and support. And he's doing okay. He's probably changed slightly because of being in that kind of environment for so long but he is still the awesome zach that we know him as. There has been a phony on Myspace pretending to be zach. This is the only page that's the real zach's myspace. (www.myspace.com/specialkid)


Gay.com has also picked up the story:

Youth's blog stirs uproar over 'ex-gay' camp
Sixteen-year-old "Zach" is apparently enduring a rite of passage still too common for gay youth: His parents say he must change. When they enrolled him last month in a Christian camp-like program to turn him straight, he documented his fears in his online diary, or blog.

The PlanetOut Network could not confirm Zach's identity or his story, but the blog has sparked a firestorm of protest against the program, known as Refuge, and renewed scrutiny of similar "ministries."

A residential program run by Memphis, Tenn.-based Love in Action (LIA), Refuge "ministers to adolescents struggling with broken and addictive behaviors, such as promiscuity, alcohol and drug addiction and homosexuality," according to its Web site.

An estimated total of 150 people -- including parents, children, psychiatrists and other concerned Memphis residents carrying signs that have slogans such as "This is Child Abuse" -- have gathered over eight consecutive days outside LIA headquarters. On Thursday LIA held a press conference in response to the protests.

For LIA, homosexuality is not an orientation but a set of behaviors that lies at the root of all dysfunction. And homosexual desires can supposedly be reprogrammed, through Refuge, at a cost of $2,000 for two weeks, or $4,000 for six weeks.

Patterned after teen drug and alcohol programs, Refuge minimizes contact with familiar things that it claims encourage homosexual behavior: no secular music, no more than 15 minutes per day behind a closed bathroom door, no contact with any practicing homosexuals, no masturbation, no secular music, and -- for reasons not explained -- no Calvin Klein underwear.
The rules above were posted on Zach's blog, which has been inactive since June 3. The policies were confirmed by Alex Polotsky, a spokesman for Queer Action Coalition, a Memphis group formed to provide alternative information for struggling youth.

"Nobody can be straight enough in the program," said Polotsky, whose group staged the protests outside LIA. "We're outraged at the treatment youths receive [in Refuge]."

Exodus International, an umbrella organization for nearly all regional "ex-gay" ministries, provides funding and marketing support for groups such as LIA, Lifeguard Ministries, New Hope Ministries and others. Although "reparative therapy" for homosexuality has been denounced by the mainstream psychological community as tantamount to abuse, "ex-gay" ministries offer hope to conflicted parents (usually devoutly religious and conservative) who are unwilling or unable to accept their kids' sexuality or seek traditional counseling.

Youth (and adults) who enter "ex-gay" programs may suffer from genuine self-destructive behaviors that go far beyond their struggle with same-sex attraction, said Wayne Besen, who wrote the book "Anything But Straight" about the "ex-gay" movement.

"To get help they have to swallow the lie that it's because they are gay that they're having these problems. It works by confusing people. It doesn't matter to them that they don't get results. They get a lot of money from people who really believe this stuff."

"Love in Action seems to be the worst of these reckless religious activities," said Craig Bowman, executive director of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition. "These programs are dangerous because they systematically work on a young person's psyche using junk science as a foundation."

Jack Drescher, M.D., a New York-based psychiatrist and chair of the American Psychiatric Association Committee on LGBT Issues, told the PlanetOut Network that such programs do far more harm than good for impressionable teens. "They may delay the child's coming out for many years, but by the time they are ready to come out, there's been a lot of psychological damage."

Shawn O'Donnell spent eight years in and out of therapy to change his sexual orientation. As a depressed and suicidal 18-year-old, O'Donnell was referred by his pastor to a three-year residential program, New Hope Ministry, located 10 miles from San Francisco. O'Donnell said it only made his issues worse.

"It was hell, very controlling. We couldn't be alone. We were always told to pray harder, and it made us feel ashamed that we weren't using the program correctly," he recalled.

Peterson Toscano spent 17 years and $30,000 to get straight as an adult, but nothing worked. Now a "performance activist" in Connecticut, Toscano has toured the United States and Europe with a satirical theater piece about his two years in LIA.
"'Ex-gay' programs use the term 'gay lifestyle,' which to them includes unsafe sex [and] emotionally dependent relationships," Toscano said. "They know they can't really turn anyone straight, but they can make them not live the 'gay lifestyle.' They are purposely deceiving people."

Though relatively few people participate in 'ex-gay' programs, Drescher believes their influence goes far beyond changing individuals. "They are a pawn in the culture war," he said. "They support the idea that homosexuality can be changed, therefore it is a lifestyle and not worthy of civil rights legislation."

Drescher pointed to an 'ex-gay' convention called Love Won Out, organized by the anti-gay Focus on the Family and held in Texas to coincide with the state legislature's biennial sessions.

"The timing is not a coincidence," he said. "Their purpose is to shape public policy."

An update on Zach: 16 year old held agsinst his will to 'turn straight'

Thursday, June 16, 2005
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

This is an image of a protest in front of 'Love in Action'.

It is pure and simple child abuse for his parents to have him locked up there. If you want more background on the story of Zach please visit one of these past postings:

Love in Action: Brainwashing camp for gay kids
or
Warning: Very Disturbing

I came across this blog that is on the front lines trying to help Zach get out of this sick and twisted brainwashing camp.

Maine attempt to repeal gay rights off to slow start

Wednesday, June 15, 2005
With just two weeks remaining, the campaign to repeal a new state law that bans discrimination against gays has received fewer than half the signatures it needs, its leader said Tuesday.

Still, Michael Heath, executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, is "cautiously optimistic" about getting on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The 'campaign' has gathered roughly 20,000 signatures, only about 5,000 of which have been verified by town clerks, Heath said.

More than 50,000 valid signatures are needed to put the law's repeal before statewide voters.

"It's a low number compared to what we need," Heath said, "and the reason is almost all the petitions are in the field with circulators." I do not see it being a problem for them to gather them when it is all said and done - be it legal or illegal methods.

Heath, whose hateful comments about gays and lesbians have made him a polarizing figure in Maine, expects many more signed petitions to arrive in the next two weeks, as campaign workers wrap up their efforts.

Already there's been a surge in activity. Just last week, Heath said the campaign had only 10,000 signatures.

There is historical precedent for a late flurry of signatures from Heath's supporters.

In 1997, the last time Heath organized efforts to repeal a law that banned discrimination against gays and lesbians, only 33,000 signatures were collected before the campaign's last five days, he said at the time.

But in a decisive final push, supporters produced another 25,000 signatures.

Again this year, conservative religious activists, including Heath, are hoping to overturn a recently passed Maine law that protects gays and lesbians from bias in housing, employment, education and other areas.

The law's repeal is being fought by another group, Maine Won't Discriminate, which is assuming that opponents will gather enough signatures by the June 28 deadline.

"You can't wait until June 29 and just wake up and find they have the signatures," spokesman Ted O'Meara explained. "You have to be laying the groundwork for a very vigorous four-month campaign."

Heath claimed at least 1,500 people are seeking signatures at churches, supermarkets, and various other locations around the state. Now - why in the hell are churches always the best place to find people to sign these anti-gay measures, proposals, etc? It's not that these certain Christians are simply anti-gay marriage, they are plain and simple anti-gay. Anything that they can do to hold back any sort of rights for gays, lesbians and their families. Be it even a fair workplace environment. How about the right to not be fired SIMPLY because you are gay. That's all it takes a lot of places. And so many christians think that it is ok. So much for the compassion...

The campaign has raised somewhere between $60,000 and $100,000, Heath said. Some of the people collecting signatures are being paid, he added, but paid workers make up a small part of the overall effort.

Heath's comments came at the end of a two day, six stop tour around the state, the "Wake Up Maine Tour." Which is a little confusing. Wake up to what? Wake up to taking basic human rights away from gays and lesbians? What a great idea!?

Twice in the past, Maine voters have repealed laws banning discrimination against lesbians and gays. In February 1998, voters overturned a law passed by the Legislature; the margin was 52 percent to 48 percent. In November 2000, a similar gay rights measure was defeated by a single percentage point. Maybe now that we are in 2005 and people are 'Waking Up' - this will not be repealed.

Warning: Very Disturbing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

So in an earlier posting I talked about this 16 year old kid named Zach. When you read his profile on Myspace.com - he seems like your everyday teenager, because that's exactly what he is. Although his parents have sent him against his will to a brainwashing camp called "Love in Action". They did this in response to him coming out of the closet. I was looking at his blog today which hasn't been updated since he left for this 'camp'. These are the postings after he told his parents he was gay:

May 29, 2005 - The World Coming To An Abrupt - Stop.
Somewhat recently, as many of you know, I told my parents I was gay. This didn't go over very well, and it ended with my dad crying, my mom tearing, and me not knowing what I'd done - or what to do. It kind of.. went away for about a week or two I think. They claim it's beause they didn't want to interfere with my last week or two of school.

Yesterday they told me that I couldn't go anywhere until I got a job. Out of the blue. Because I'm the most irresponsible child my dad knows - as he told me - mainly because I forget to unload the dishwasher sometimes... it doesn't matter that I have to clean up after my sisters and myself everyday. It just doesn't.

Well today, my mother, father, and I had a very long "talk" in my room where they let me know I am to apply for a fundamentalist christian program for gays. They tell me that there is something psychologically wrong with me, and they "raised me wrong." I'm a big screw up to them, who isn't on the path God wants me to be on. So I'm sitting here in tears, joing the rest of those kids who complain about their parents on blogs - and I can't help it.

I wish I had never told them. I wish I just fought the urge two more years... I had done it for three before then, right? If I could take it all back.. I would, to where I never told my parents things and they always were mad at me-- It's better than them crying and depressed cause they will have no granchildren from me. It's better than them telling me that there's something wrong with me. It's better than them explaining to me that they "raised me wrong."

May 30th, 2005 - After The World Stopped, It Gave Me A Lot Of Rules.
Yeah, I was upset yesterday.. however I found an email about the rules and regulations of the program. My parents lied to me.. they told me (29th of May) that they didn't know what the rules were exactly, however, this email wasnt sent on the 26th of May. I see now why they "didn't know what the rules were." It's horrible.. they're posted below.. and I so worried. It's like boot camp... but worse. I obviously was not supposed to see this.. Seeing the bottom say "Parental Rules (not to be given to client)"

What is with these people...? Honestly.. how could you support a program like this? If I do come out straight I'll be so mentally unstable and depressed it wont matter.. I'll be back in therapy again. This is not good--

Refuge Program Rules
Exceptions to program rules will be granted by C.O.C. (Chain of Command) only.

Sobriety
One of the core functions of the Refuge is the common pursuit of corporate sobriety from sin. The program strives to perpetuate a safe environment that is ripe for growth and for hearing from God. The sobriety of each individual is a key focus.

Galatians 5:19 - 21: 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envying, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:12-15: 12 "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are expedient. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be brought under the power of anything. 13 "Foods for the belly, and the belly for foods," but God will bring to nothing both it and them. But the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. 14 Now God raised up the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Don't you know that your bodies are members of Christ? Will I then take away the members of Christ, and make them members of a prostitute? Certainly not!

1 Corinthians 6:18: 18 Flee sexual immorality. "Every sin that a man does is outside the body," but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

1 Thessalonians 4:2-5: 2 For you know what charge we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God: your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality, 4 that each one of you know how to possess himself of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust...

1. No smoking, alcohol, drugs, or inappropriate use of over-the-counter medications. All prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications must be left in the care of a parent or guardian, who will administer them when necessary. Refuge clients may not have prescription or over-the-counter drugs in their possession at any time, exceptions by C.O.C. approval only.

2. No sexual/emotional misconduct. Any temptations, fantasies, or dreams are to be presented to one¹s staff worker only. Sexual misconduct includes viewing pornography, visiting an adult bookstore, emotional dependency, voyeurism, stalking, masturbation, mutual masturbation, or any form of genital or sexual contact with another person. Sexual temptation, as well as the above, is not to be discussed between clients. This includes MI's (Moral Inventories) written on current sexual struggles or temptations).

3. No hugging or physical touch between clients. Brief handshakes or a brief affirmative hand on a shoulder is allowed (exception is when observed by therapeutic accountability).

4. Clients are to remain within the ³safe zone² while in the program. This "zone" is illustrated on a map of the Memphis area in the office. An exception is for clients who reside or are staying outside the safe zone, and commuting to the Love in Action campus.


Hygiene
Small unhealthy habits can either reflect or lead to dysfunctional, life-controlling habits. Attention to the details of daily lifestyle is a pivotal aspect of residential recovery.

Luke 10:27: 27 He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."

Luke 16:10: 10 He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. He who is unrighteous in a very little is also unrighteous in much.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20: 19 Or don't you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

Psalm 139:13-14: 13 For you formed my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I will give thanks to you, For I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well.

1. All clients must maintain appropriate hygiene, including daily showering, use of deodorant, and brushing teeth twice daily.
Men: Men must remove all facial hair seven days weekly, and sideburns must not fall below the top of the ear (the top
of the ear is defined as where the ear meets the face below the temple). Clean business-like haircuts must be worn at all
times. Hair must be long enough to be pinched between two fingers.
Women: Women must shave legs and underarms at least twice weekly.
All: Only natural hair color is allowed. Hair that is colored, highlighted or streaked, mut be dyed back to its original color, or the color must be cut out before entrance into the Refuge program.

2. Attire: General
Modesty is expected. No tight, provocative, or suggestive clothing or spandex may be worn. No provocative or
suggestive mannerisms are permitted. Fresh undergarments are to be worn at all times. Boxer shorts of any kind are
considered underwear and are not to be worn as outer clothing. All clients must be dressed appropriately in clean,
unwrinkled clothes when leaving the house for the day. Men may not wear any jewelry (other than a watch and a wedding band) unless approved through a C.O.C. In addition to a watch and wedding band, women may also wear a pair of simple earrings (one earring per ear.) The clients may not wear Abercrombie and Fitch or Calvin Klein brand clothing, undergarments, or accessories.
Men: Shirts are to be worn at all times, even while sleeping. T-shirts without sleeves are not permitted at any time,
whether worn as an outer garment or an undergarment. This includes ³muscle shirts² or other tank-tops. Bikini-style underwear is prohibited.
Women: Bras must be worn at all times, except while sleeping. Thong-style underwear is prohibited.

Attire: LIA Campus
In addition to the General Attire above, the following items apply. No torn, ragged, or stained clothing is to be worn at
any time while on campus. Monday through Thursday, clients must wear pants, a clean shirt, and shoes or sandals with
socks. Jeans and a nice t-shirt are acceptable. On Friday, clients may wear clean, knee-length khaki or denim-style shorts.
No athletic or excessively baggy shorts may be worn on campus at any time. No hats, jackets, or overcoats are to be
worn on campus
Women: In addition to these guidelines, women may also wear skirts which fall at or below the knee. Women may wear
tank-tops only if they are worn with an over-blouse. Women may wear open-toed shoes or women¹s dress sandals
without socks. Bras must be worn at all times, except while sleeping. Sports bras may only be worn while working out.
No sleeveless blouses may be worn. All blouses and t-shirts must fit modestly (not extremely tight).

3. No cologne, perfume, or use of other highly scented hygiene products.

Therapeutic & Staff Issues
A goal of the Source is to be purposeful and strategic in order to help clients pursue growth and transformation. The principles below are common elements of this plan.

Romans 13:1-5: 1 Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who be are ordained by God. 2 Therefore he who resists the authority, withstands theordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same, 4 for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn't bear the sword in vain; for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil. 5 Therefore you need to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience¹s sake.

Hebrews 13:17: 17 Obey those who have the rule over you, and submit to them, for they watch on behalf of your souls, as those who will give account, that they may do this with joy, and not with groaning, for that would be unprofitable for you.


1. HONESTY AT ALL TIMES.

2. IF IN DOUBT, DON¹T. ASK FIRST.

3. All clients are expected to memorize the Program Expectations as they summarize the spirit and heart of the rules of Love in Action.

4. All Refuge program members must complete four MI's (Moral Inventories) per week unless otherwise instructed. Detailed instruction on writing MI¹s will be provided within the first few days of beginning the program.

5. Refuge clients will be prepared to give an Introduction (³Intro²) at every Intro Rap. Detailed instruction on giving an intro will be provided within the first few days of the program.

6. To make special requests of the staff or inform the staff of something (e.g. asking permission to leave the safe zone for some reason, informing the staff of a breach in program rules, etc.), Refuge clients must communicate appropriately. This means filling out a Chain of Command (C.O.C.) form. All C.O.C.¹s must be signed by the Refuge client¹s parent or guardian before being submitted to a staff member, or the C.O.C. will be returned with no answer. All C.O.C.¹s must be concise and not ³story tell² or ³whine.² Such will be returned with no reply.

7. No continuing education while in the program. Home-school Refuge clients may be allowed to continue their studies during the program, pending approval by LIA staff.

6. Refuge clients and their parents/guardians are required to attend Love in Action¹s host church, Germantown Baptist Church, on Sunday mornings. More information about GBC can be found online at www.gbconline.net.

7. Parents and guardians are expected to attend the Friends and Family support group on Thursday nights from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., held at the Love in Action campus. Refuge clients will be supervised during this time by a Love in Action staff member.

8. Refuge clients and their parents/guardians are expected to attend Love in Action¹s Open Meetings whenever they occur, held on the first Tuesday of every month at Kirby Woods Baptist Church at 7:30 p.m.

9. Refuge clients are expected to maintain a committed pursuit of a positive and thankful attitude.

10. Absolutely no journaling or keeping a diary outside of the MI process unless directed or approved by staff.

11. Absolutely no calling staff outside business hours unless it is an emotional, therapeutic, or physical emergency, or unless prior permission from staff has been obtained.

12. Additional (i.e. beyond one per week) one-on-one counseling sessions will be granted by C.O.C. appointment only.
False Image (FI) Concerns

Through the Source, God renews clients¹ minds and lives, helping them to put off the old self and put on the new. False images are items or behaviors that are of the old self.

Proverbs 8:6-8: 6 Hear, for I will speak excellent things. The opening of my lips is for right things. 7 For my mouth speaks truth. Wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness. There is nothing crooked or perverse in them.

Ephesians 4:17-25: 17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their hearts; 19 who having become callous gave themselves up to lust, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ that way; 21 if indeed you heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put away, as concerning your former way of life, the old man, that grows corrupt after the lusts of deceit; 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new man, that like God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth. 25 Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak truth each one with his neighbor. For we are members one of another.

1. LIA wants to encourage each client, male and female, by affirming his/her gender identity. LIA also wants each client to pursue integrity in all of his/her actions and appearances. Therefore, any belongings, appearances, clothing, actions, or humor that might connect a client to an inappropriate past are excluded from the program. These hindrances are called False Images (FI¹s). FI behavior may include hyper-masculinity, seductive clothing, mannish/boyish attire (on women), excessive jewelry (on men), mascoting, and "campy" or gay/lesbian behavior and talk.

2. As non-residential clients, Refuge participants must submit to an F.I. search every morning. With the exception of the very first program day, when they may arrive no later than 9:00 a.m., Refuge clients will arrive daily at the Love in Action campus no later than 8:50 a.m., waiting in a designated area until a staff member meets them to perform the F.I. search and check them in. Refuge clients may not enter any of the client spaces on campus before submitting to an F.I. search. All belongings brought to campus will be searched, including book bags, notebooks, wallets, handbags, purses, etc. Items that violate the F.I. policy or the dress code will be held for the client, to be returned no later than the client¹s last day in program. Clients may request to have their F.I. items returned by filling out a C.O.C.

3. All photographs will be taken for the purpose of sobering re-evaluation. Clients may request to have pictures returned to them via C.O.C.

4. Refuge clients will not be allowed to use personally owned computers during the program, whether on campus or at home/in temporary lodging. Computer stations are normally available on campus when clients need to type something.

5. Clients should report all FI's (with discretion), whether their own or another's, to staff.


Campus Rules
LIA honors clients¹ confidentiality and time. A campus structure has been established that will ensure a fair and balanced approach to every client.

1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

1. No visiting or entering staff offices unless prior permission is given.

2. While on the LIA campus, Refuge clients must be in phase at all times, whether indoors or out of doors. A client is ³in phase² when he or she is with two or more other clients (whether Refuge or residential,) one of whom must have been in the program for at least eight weeks. Exceptions to phase rules will be granted by C.O.C. request only.

3. Further campus rules which are still being developed and revised will be communicated to Refuge clients on their arrival.


Relationship Issues
Emotional dependency and inappropriate sexual behaviors have their roots in unresolved relationship issues as well as poor personal or relational boundaries. As a key part to his/her recovery, each client¹s program will focus significant attention on resolving relationship concerns and cultivating healthy relationships, both within and outside of the program.

Psalm 133:1-3: 1 See how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to live together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil on the head, That ran down on the beard, Even Aaron's beard; That came down on the edge of his robes; 3 Like the dew of Hermon, That comes down on the hills of Zion: For there Yahweh gives the blessing, Even life forevermore.

Romans 15:5-6: 5 Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of the same mind one with another according to Christ Jesus, 6 that with one accord you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

John 17:22 The glory which you have given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, even as we are one.

Ephesians 4:1-3: 1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and humility, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love; 3 being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

1. No physical violence or physically threatening dialogue. Violation of this rule warrants immediate dismissal from the program.

2. No breaching another person's confidentiality to anyone outside the program.

3. No talking behind another person's back (TBB).

4. The 24-hour rule is to be used after challenging another client who is in breach of the program rules. If one notices that another client¹s inappropriate behavior continues, the client should be challenged to report to staff. If in 24 hours he/she has not done so, one is required to report the breach to staff via C.O.C. or verbal communication.

5. Due to the nature of many gender identity struggles, issues of enmeshment and emotional dependency can develop not only with same sex, but sometimes even more easily with the opposite sex. Because healthy and appropriate same and opposite-sex relationships are encouraged, dating and exclusive relationships of any kind are prohibited while in the program.

6. Clients may have no contact with anyone who has left the program prior to graduating without the blessing of the staff to do so. Clients may address off-limit persons they inadvertently encounter with a polite "hello" only.

7. While in the program, clients may have no contact with anyone involved in unrepentant emotional dependencies, inappropriate sexual behaviors, or chemical dependencies. This includes any contact with friends struggling with dependency issues or inappropriate sexual behavior that was known about prior to entering the program. If such a person is encountered, the client must make his/her staff worker aware of this.

8. Refuge clients and their parents/guardians will be participating in off-campus events and meetings where non-program strugglers are in attendance. To encourage the safety of all involved, clients are required to be in phase when communicating with non-program strugglers at these meetings, and will be prohibited from establishing contact with them outside of the these meetings.

Safekeeping Rules
1. All new Refuge clients will be placed into Safekeeping for the initial two to three days of their program. A client on safekeeping may not communicate verbally, or by using hand gestures or eye contact, with any other clients, staff members, or his/her parents or guardians. In case of a practical need, Safekeeping clients may write down their question or request and show it to another client, staff member, or their parent or guardian. Writing may only be used when absolutely necessary. Parents and guardians must enforce their child¹s safekeeping status at home or in their temporary lodging.

2. Refuge clients may C.O.C. to be removed from Safekeeping status. Safekeeping clients will be removed from Safekeeping at their staffworker¹s discretion.

3. Any client may be placed into Safekeeping at any time, at a staffworker¹s discretion.

4. Safekeeping clients are permitted to say ³hello² and to communicate enough information to be courteous in public interaction (mostly in the clients¹ church setting).

5. Safekeeping clients are required to spend a minimum of two hours (in one sitting) a day alone in their room (note: by ³alone² it is understood that parents or guardians can be in the room but are not to interact or disrupt the alone time of the safekeeping client). During the alone time Safekeeping clients may work on their treatment plans, read program materials or the Bible, pray, or work on other assignments from their staffworkers.

6. In the evenings, all Refuge Safekeeping clients must remain at home or at their temporary lodging with their parent or guardian (i.e. no going out to eat, to the store, etc. during Safekeeping.)

7. Non-Safekeeping clients are responsible to protect and uphold the Safekeeping parameters of the Safekeeping clients.

Rules for the Home/Temporary Lodging
Hebrews 6:11-12: 11 We desire that each one of you may show the same diligence to the fullness of hope even to the end, 12 that you won't be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherited the promises.

Ephesians 4:22-24: 22 that you put away, as concerning your former way of life, the old man, that grows corrupt after the lusts of deceit; 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new man, that like God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Refuge encourages all clients to first focus internally. Why is the client here? What is broken? What is the core motivation of the client¹s unhealthy behavior? Staff members will work with clients as they learn what is wrong and as they take the steps to articulate it. Second, staff emphasize the need for each client to seek the truth of God. What does He have to say about each client and his/her pain? The rules that follow are designed to both protect the client and facilitate his/her wrestling with God.

Colossians 3:9-10: 9 Don't lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his doings, 10 and have put on the new man, that is being renewed in knowledge after the image of his Creator...

1 Kings 9:4: 4 As for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep my statutes and my ordinances...

Psalm 7:8-9: 8 Yahweh administers judgment to the peoples. Judge me, Yahweh, according to my righteousness, And to my integrity that is in me.9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, But establish the righteous; Their minds and hearts are searched by the righteous God.

Proverbs 10:9: 9 He who walks blamelessly walks surely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out.

Proverbs 11:2-3: 2 When pride comes, then comes shame, But with humility comes wisdom. 3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them, But the perverseness of the treacherous shall destroy them.

Proverbs 13:13: 13 Whoever despises instruction will pay for it, But he who respects a command will be rewarded.

Proverbs 20:7: 7 A righteous man who walks in his integrity, Blessed are his children after him.

Genesis 32:24-28: 24 Jacob was left alone, and wrestled with a man there until the breaking of the day. 25 When he saw that he didn't prevail against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was strained, as he wrestled. 26 The man said, "Let me go, for the day breaks." Jacob said, "I won't let you go, unless you bless me." 27 He said to him, "What is your name?" He said, "Jacob." 28 He said, "Your name will no longer be called 'Jacob,' but, 'Israel,' for you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed."

1 Chronicles 29:18: 18 Yahweh, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of your people, and prepare their heart to you...

Isaiah 49:13-15: 13 Sing, heavens; and be joyful, earth; and break forth into singing, mountains: for Yahweh has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his afflicted. 14 But Zion said, Yahweh has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me. 15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, these may forget, yet I will not forget you.

Matthew 9:36: 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, as sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 14:14: 14 Jesus went out, and he saw a great multitude. He had compassion on them, and healed their sick.

Matthew 20:34: 34 Jesus, being moved with compassion, touched their eyes; and immediately their eyes received their sight, and they followed him.

Luke 10:40-42: 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came up to him, and said, "Lord, don't you care that my sister left me to serve alone? Ask her therefore to help me." 41 Jesus answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her."

Luke 10:29-30: 29 Jesus said, "Most assuredly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the gospel's sake, 30 but he will receive one hundred times now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life.

Exodus 20:12: 12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.

Malachi 4:6: 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."

1. No discussing therapeutic issues at home. Keep conversations positive.

2. Clients must gain permission through C.O.C. to make or receive phone calls from friends and family members outside the program.

3. No cell phones, beepers, computers, or e-mail/internet access at. Exceptions by C.O.C. approval only.

4. No visitors from out of town without permission via C.O.C.

5. Refuge clients may only read materials approved by staff.

6. No television viewing, going to movies, or reading/watching/listening to secular media of any kind, anywhere within the client¹s and the parent¹s/guardian¹s control. This includes listening to classical or instrumental music that is not expressly Christian (Beethoven, Bach, etc. are not considered Christian). The only exception to the media policy is the weekly movie.

7. Refuge clients may watch one video/DVD per week that has been approved by staff via C.O.C. Movies submitted for approval must be rated G or PG. The parents/guardians are responsible for securing the video/DVD.

8. Weekend curfew (Friday and Saturday) is 10:00pm. Weekday curfew (Sunday through Thursday) is 9:30pm.

9. Refuge clients must be with at least one parent or guardian at all times when off-campus.

10. On certain occasions Refuge clients have the opportunity, with the C.O.C. approval and their parent/guardian¹s permission, to visit the residential houses of the Source program clients. On these occasions Refuge clients must be in phase at all times, and must abide by all the house rules and follow instructions given by Source program house managers. House rules will be communicated to Refuge clients as the need arises. Refuge clients are encouraged to ask for clarification if they are unsure about a particular house rule.

11. Refuge clients may not enter any restuarants with bars, even when accompanied by a parent or guardian.

12. Refuge clients must be accompanied by a parent during any trip to a public restroom.

13. No access to malls of any kind.

14. Clients are not allowed to visit any video, music or media stores that are not expressly Christian, even if accompanied by a parent or guardian. Clients may visit LifeWay Christian stores with a parent or guardian.

15. Refuge clients must report off-casmpus emergencies, illnesses, or injuries to their parents/guardians as soon as possible. Parents/guardians are required to inform LIA staff members of such situations by phone as soon as possible.

16. Total silence time at home begins at 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Refuge clients may use this time for resting, but are encouraged to make a habit of using it for a nightly quiet time with God.

17. Lights-out time will begin each night at 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

18. Refuge clients are allowed a one-time 15-minute maximum closed bathroom door time for shower/grooming purposes. The only other closed-door alone time allowed is for using the restroom.

19. Refuge clients must keep their bedroom doors open at all times, day or night.

20. Proper bedclothes must be worn during nighttime sleeping hours. Appropriate bedclothes include full pajamas (tops and bottoms) or a pair of non-underwear-type shorts and a T-shirt. Nightgowns are not allowed.

21. Refuge clients are expected to eat dinner with their parents/guardians/other family members (if any) at least four times per week.

22. Refuge clients are expected to cook dinner one time per week.

On-Level Rules
³On-Level² is a protective and therapeutic measure that is sometimes implemented between clients who are having relational difficulties.

1. On-level clients may not speak to each other unless there is a potentially life-threatening emergency.

2. On-level clients are to spend no time alone with each other.

3. On-level clients are not allowed to ride in the same car unless C.O.C. permission has been granted, in which case, one must sit in the front of the car, and one must sit in the back of the car.

4. On-level clients, whenever in the same room, must always have exactly one person between them, whether sitting or standing. Planned activities such as church, Open Meetings, and socials are no exception.

5. On-level status can be initiated by any staff member or house manager.

6. On-level status can be removed only by Executive Staff.

Group Norms
1. Be honest, authentic, and real.

2. Active participation is expected. This includes body language and eye contact. No slouching in chairs, sitting back on chairs hind legs, sitting with arms crossed, rolling eyes, or making disgusting faces.

3. No attacking or demeaning another person¹s character.

4. Raise hand to speak. Speak one at a time as called on by the facilitator.

5. Maintain strict confidentiality of everything discussed in group. "What is seen here, what is heard here, remains here!"

6. Clients are to sit in such a way as to not cause another to stumble.

7. No food or drink during rap. This includes chewing gum and toothpicks.

8. Appropriate attire is required. No hats, athletic or baggy shorts (for men), or extremely short skirts (for women) are allowed.

9. Say "I love you _____" after each person is finished relating.

10. Be on time!

11. Do not talk at, preach to, or teach one another. Each person should keep the focus on him/herself and how he/she feels.

12. Do not be defensive. While being spoken to, one may not respond to defend him/herself or return confrontation to the person speaking.

13. If one needs to leave the group for any reason, he/she must ask permission from the staff in charge of the group session.

14. Stand when speaking, relating, or being related to. During general raps, one must stand while relating. One must also stand when someone is being given feedback or being related to. Standing is not necessary during teaching raps.


Men/Women Dynamics
The following common courtesies apply to relational dynamics between men and women. While these are not rules and may initially feel a little awkward, they are strongly encouraged as practical guidelines to promote mutual respect and honor. It is LIA¹s hope that these suggestions will become common practices and help to nurture a value of self and an appreciation for others.

Places of Honor for Women:

Respect for women may be shown by offering them first priority in a number of ways:

1. Please invite women (not just LIA clients) to be the first in line to eat.

2. Encourage women to accept the more comfortable seats in a room. Men should consider offering a woman their chair when there are none left in the room.

3. Men should think about opening doors for women, both when entering a building and when entering a car. This simply adds a level of respect, consideration, and value.

Honoring Both Genders:

Be mindful of the types of humor and communication used around one another. Jesting about bodily functions, discussing gender-specific issues when not in rap sessions (at the LIA office), and other conversation which could potentially be inappropriate to the opposite sex should be avoided.



Program Expectations

Therapeutic & Interpersonal Expectations

1. Clients are expected to affirm one another and edify their personal and corporate pursuit of growth and transformation. This includes a commitment to courageous honesty with respect, a commitment to sobriety in all manners of talk, action, and dress, the exercise of prudence, and honoring confidentiality and accountability.

2. Clients are expected to take responsibility for their environment and to inform appropriate authorities of program breaches. This is to be done using the 24-hour rule.

3. Clients are expected to give back. This includes watching out for one¹s brothers and sisters. It also includes the initiative of upper-phasers to provide accountability for lower-phasers.

4. Clients are expected to maintain a committed pursuit of a positive and thankful attitude.

5. Clients are expected to avoid peer-to-peer physical touch. Brief handshakes or a brief affirmative hand on a shoulder is allowed.

6. Clients are expected to actively identify and subsequently remove all personal and corporate FI¹s.

7. Clients are expected to avoid therapeutic topics of discussion with House Managers.

8. Clients are expected to make their homework a priority. Phase 1 clients must complete four MI¹s per week unless otherwise instructed. Phase 2 & Training clients must complete two MI¹s per week unless otherwise instructed. Phase 1 clients will be prepared to do an Introduction at every Introduction Rap. All clients will be assigned a personalized treatment plan.

9. Clients are expected to plan ahead and communicate appropriately, following Chain of Command (C.O.C.) for any information or communication with staff.

Practical Expectations
1. All clients must maintain integrity in their personal presentation. This includes daily grooming and hygiene maintenance, bed-making, as well as regular bedroom and bathroom cleaning and maintenance.

2. Clients are expected to work either therapeutically or professionally Monday through Friday unless prior permission is granted through C.O.C. Clients who are not working are expected to be in the office.

3. Clients are expected to actively re-evaluate the influences of secular media. Phase 1 clients are restricted from television-viewing, internet access, secular media, or reading of any kind without specific permission. Clients may not enter any non-Christian bookstores. Phase 2 clients may use email and the internet at work for work purposes. Training program clients may listen to secular music. However, they may not listen to secular radio for the first 30 days. No secular music is allowed in residences or when around Phase 1 clients.

4. Clients are expected to honor their home environment by being on-time with cooking responsibilities, attending all weekly house meetings, dinner attendance, curfew, total silence, lights out, and by working cooperatively to complete all stewardships with a positive attitude.

5. Clients are expected to remain accountable with all relationships. No cell phones, phone calls, or contact with anyone
outside the program without prior permission. Phase 2 and Training Program clients may make approved relational phone calls.

Refuge Program Parental Rules (not to be given to client)
1. No discussing therapeutic issues at home. Keep conversations positive.

2. Clients are to be picked up from the LIA office no later than 5:00pm each weekday.

3. Respect all Love In Action and Refuge rules. If you do not understand them, support the program in front of client at all times and gain clarification from LIA staff. Do not sabotage or defocus your client.

4. Don¹t allow client to split your family. Unite to present stability and unity.

5. Your client is not allowed to talk to anyone outside of your home including friends or family. Do not tell client who has called for them or who is asking about them. Keep the thoughts of the client focused on his/her treatment.

6. The family needs interactive time together. It is very important that togetherness is the priority during this time. The client does not need extended time alone or with only one family member. The only exception is for Refuge clients who are from out-of-town and staying with a significant guardian while here.

7. Family dinner is encouraged to occur at least four times weekly.

8. The client is expected to cook dinner at least one time weekly.

9. The client is expected to complete a weekly cleaning regimen to your satisfaction.

10. Parents/guardians are asked to make themselves available for any special meetings deemed necessary for the successful treatment of their loved ones.

11. If there is an ³Open Meeting² during Refuge Program, parents/guardians are asked to attend to enhance their involvement with Refuge. Open meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30pm at Kirby Woods Baptist Church (on the corner of Poplar Ave. and Massey; entrance is located at the ground floor on the east side of building entrance).

Consequences for Rule Violation:
1. Constructive criticism from the group.
2. Ten to thirty-page written paper on rule violation.
3. Program dismissal. This does not need to be addressed with the client (The client may sabotage his/her own program due to purposeful dismissal consequences).
4. Isolation from the group.
June 3, 2005 - Thanks.. by the way.
Thanks. Thank you for all of the comments and messages, they mean a lot. really. I was shocked to see all of this... of course I haven't been on a computer, phone, nor have I seen any friends in a week almost-- Soon. Soon, this will be all over. My mother has said the worst things to me for three days straight... three days. I went numb. That's the only way I can get through this. I agree, if you're thinking that these posts might be dramatized.. but the proof of the programs ideas are sitting in the rules. I pray this blows over. I can't take this... noone can... not really, this kind of thing tears you apart emotionally. To introduce THIS subject... I'm not a suicidal person... really I'm not.. I think it's stupid - really. But.. I can't help it, no im not going to commit suicide, all I can think about is killing my mother and myself. It's so horrible. This is what it's doing to me... I have this horrible feeling all of the time... I wish this on no person... I'm so satisfied--happy's too strong of a word the state I'm in-- that everyone's taking the time to email and write letters in complaint to these people. I dont know if it will do anything, but if something did happen it would be -- awesome.

This kid is helpless against this brainwashing camp. He seems like a very strong kid though, so all we can do if hope for the best. I cannot imagine the psychological damage they are doing to him. He is locked up. Basically kidnapped. I know that there are groups in the area mobilizing and holding daily protests. I believe another large organization is also getting involved.

Zach - we are all pulling for you!

Efforts of ‘anti-gay industry’ chronicled in new report

Sunday, June 12, 2005
Civil rights group targets religious conservatives...

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2003 that the remaining sodomy laws in 13 states were unconstitutional, gay rights advocates celebrated one of their largest victories to date in the quest for equality.

But that decision, Lawrence vs. Texas, also fueled a large and growing conservative religious movement dubbed “the anti-gay industry” by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, according to Jason Cianciotto, research director for the Policy Institute at the Task Force.

The Lawrence decision, coupled with the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, prompted the religious right to point to the “homosexual agenda” and prompt more virulent anti-gay attacks, said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Montgomery, Ala.-based organization’s recent edition of its quarterly magazine, the Intelligence Report, chronicled the history of anti-gay messages from religious conservatives in a cover story titled, “Holy War: The Religious Right’s Crusade Against Gays Heats Up.”

“Their tone [against homosexuality] has become quite amazing after the Lawrence decision,” said Potok, editor of the Intelligence Report. “What was really striking was while the Klan and neo-Nazis spoke out against the Lawrence decision, the really vicious statements came from well-known leaders of the Christian right.”

After sodomy laws were thrown out and gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts, religious right organizations, including the Alliance Defense Fund, ratcheted up fund-raising efforts and poured millions of dollars into TV, newspaper and radio ads as part of last year’s successful campaigns to ban same-sex marriage in 13 states, including Georgia.

“They profit from homophobia,” Cianciotto said. “They are using anti-gay rhetoric to line their own pockets. They are the modern-day snake oil salesmen.”

Brandon Vallorani, a spokesperson for American Vision, a group dedicated to Christian Reconstructionism that includes supporting the death penalty for homosexuals, declined to be interviewed. But he added that the Southern Poverty Law Center was “sadly mistaken” for listing American Vision as a hate group
‘Bailiwick is extremism’

Gay rights organizations such as the Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal have long been tracking anti-gay groups, including Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council. But now the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization known for monitoring hate groups including the Ku Klux Klan, labels them as extremist groups.

Attorneys Morris Dees and Joe Levin founded the center as a small civil rights firm in 1971 in Montgomery, Ala. The organization continues to monitor white supremacist groups as well as the rise of anti-immigration sentiment and other extremist activity. The center never in its 34-year history took aim at the religious right before now, but the rising volume of the national debate over gay marriage puts such groups in the limelight, Potok said.

“Our bailiwick is extremism,” he said. “We’ve avoided the Christian right in the past, and we don’t feel we’ve expanded to include the Christian right — we feel very strongly they have entered our world [of extremism].

“They have gone absolutely wild. The level of personal demonization was really quite remarkable. We felt we had to say, ‘Thus far, no further,’” Potok added.

The magazine devotes 23 pages in its current Intelligence Report to a 30-year history of the religious right’s anti-gay efforts. The report chronicles events from Anita Bryant’s statement in the 1970s that, “Homosexuals cannot reproduce, so they must recruit. And to freshen their ranks they must recruit the youth of America,” to a recent direct mail campaign from Lou Sheldon, founder of the Traditional Values Coalition. The mailing states, “They [gays] want our preschool children. … They want our kindergarten children. … They want our middle school and high school children.”

“At one time, they rallied around the fear of communism, the fear of mixed-marriage and now the GLBT community. Fear is a great motivator,” said Laura Montgomery Rutt, a former spokesperson for Soulforce, a national gay interfaith organization, who is now chief executive of Envision Marketing & Community Consulting.

She said it is important that the center’s report points out that fear is the impetus for religious right groups when it comes to galvanizing its base against gay men and lesbians.

“It is awesome the SPLC has taken the step to put the religious right in the same category as hate groups,” she said.

‘We are not anti-gay’
The SPLC also reports that on Oct. 22, 2004, a short time before Election Day, James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, told a crowd of supporters of same-sex marriage bans, “Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage. It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth.”

Melissa Fryear, gender issues analyst for Focus on the Family and a self-described former lesbian, said it was unfair to label the organization as anti-gay.

“We are not anti-gay,” Fryear said. “We stand for traditional marriage between a man and a woman and believe children benefit with a mother and father. We are what we are for and we believe in defending and nurturing our ideals. If people could see us in a larger scope, they would see the face of Focus on the Family is actually compassionate and understanding.”

The organization supports anti-gay policies, she added, in keeping with its core belief system. Fryear is also a former employee of Exodus International, a program for “ex-gays” that is also labeled anti-gay in the Intelligence Report.

In 1998, Focus on the Family introduced its “Love Won Out” program, a conference in which participants listen to speakers including Fryear; Joe Dallas, a former president of Exodus International; and even Nancy Heche, mother of Anne Heche, the ex-girlfriend of Ellen DeGeneres.

“We think there is a crucial difference between a man and woman living as homosexuals versus a national homosexual movement,” Fryear said. “Every person has incomprehensible value, but at times we oppose efforts to legalize or normalize homosexual behavior.”

Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center said the personal vilification and the false science used against gay men and lesbians issued by institutions of the religious right are not only hateful, but dangerous.

“It is quite remarkable how they claim to hate the sin but love the sinner. That’s an absurd claim. We have reports that clearly show this kind of rhetoric paves the way to violence,” he said. “Without question, gay men and lesbians are the most attacked group — and the hate crimes toward them are more violent.”

The typical hate crime offender is a white man between the ages of 14 and 21, and offenders often say they are simply acting out the wishes of the larger community, Potok said.

So when Christian leaders spout anti-gay messages and preachers sermonize on the “moral intrinsic evil” of homosexuals, as Catholic Church officials have stated, there is little doubt the language leads to violence, Potok added.

“These leaders are acting in a sense as permission-givers for violence,” he said.

Jay Smith Brown, communication strategies director for the Human Rights Campaign, agreed.

“The rhetoric that hate groups are spewing fuels hate, and that hate can all too easily turn into violence. It’s a dangerous cycle that must be countered with serious education efforts,” Brown said.

‘Sick and sinful’
Rev. Mel White knows first-hand the hatred steeped in religious right organizations. White struggled with his sexual orientation and remained closeted for much of his adult life. From the 1960s to the early 1990s, he worked among evangelical Christians and ghostwrote books for such notable leaders as Revs. Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy and Pat Robertson.

White tried for years to overcome his sexual orientation, even submitting to exorcism and electroshock treatment because, he said, “I thought I was sick and sinful. I thought they [evangelicals] were right.”

After 35 years, White said he realized his former cohorts were wrong and came to accept himself as a gay man. In 1998, he founded Soulforce, a national gay rights interfaith group known for holding non-violent demonstrations at anti-gay religious sites, including Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado.

At one such demonstration, White recalled he and others were fasting in a small trailer outside Focus on the Family’s property. A person called a local radio station and said, “Someone should go up there and shoot them.”

The threat led White and his group to move to a local motel with police protection.

“I have no doubts in my mind these organizations lead to suffering and death of gay people,” White said. “Without meaning to, [the religious right] inspire people to do evil against their own children — and what is more evil than that?”

Fundamentalist Christian organizations and leaders, including Falwell and Robertson, are the primary source for hatred and discrimination toward gay men and lesbians, White added.

“They want to deny the connection, but they no longer can,” he said.

Via: WashingtonBlade.com

Love in Action: Brainwashing camp for gay kids

A Tennessee-based religious organization euphemistically called "Love in Action" is running a brainwashing camp for gay kids.

Among the camp's practices, posted on the blog of a youth whose parents are forcing him to attend:
  • Kids in the program are not allowed to speak to anyone, not even their parents, for at least the first two days.
  • Kids are not allowed to go anywhere unless they are accompanied by at least two other participants, one of which has to have at least 8 weeks of prior indoctrination.
  • Kids are not allowed to keep a journal or a diary
  • Kids are not allowed to discuss what goes on in the program with anyone, not even their parents
  • Kids are not allowed to have contact with any family members other than parents, who also go through the program
  • Kids are not allowed to have any physical contact with any human being other than a hand shake or a pat on the shoulder, and only when authorized.
  • Kids are not allowed outside of a small geographic area within Memphis, even if accompanied by parents, without prior written authorization
  • Kids are not allowed to listen to any music that is not explicitly Christian (Bach and Beethoven are specifically forbidden as being non-Christian)
  • Kids are not permitted to enter restaurants that serve alcohol
  • Kids are not allowed to speak after 9:00 p.m. under any circumstance
  • Kids may be placed in a state of isolation where they are not allowed to communicate with one another
Ex-gay programs, however misguided, are fine for consenting adults who for whatever reason think they want to change their sexual orientation (despite zero proof that it is even possible). This program is administered to minors against their will. It is forced indoctrination, including dehumanizing, degrading treatment. I really hope some civil liberties types will get clued into this and put a stop to it.

In the mean time, a local group of gays and lesbians (largely kids themselves) is orchestrating a protest outside of this cult-like establishment every day for the next two weeks. Kudos to them. If I were within a reasonable distance I would be right there with them. The protest has garnered some local media coverage, and the story is heating up in the blogosphere. Let’s put an end to this outrageous treatment of innocent kids.

In the latest post on the Queer Action Coalition blog, they posted a precis of an interview that they did with a former participant in the program, who outlined activities such as:

[…] “shaming sessions”, where the clients have to, once a day, describe in emotional detail “sinful activities” they’d partaken in…these sessions were then extended to having to describe these things in front of 50 or 60 people on “friends and family” nights, where the family was encouraged to shame them, not be supportive.
This is “love” in action???

Note: The blog from the youth whose parents are forcing him to go to this camp hasn’t been updated since before the camp started. Reading the comments, however, you will find updates from his friends who are sort of spying on him and showing up “accidentally” here and there so that he knows he is being supported from the outside.

_____________
MoreCoverage from ExGay Watch.

16 year old named Zach in Bartlett, Tennessee recently came out to his parents who reacted by announcing they are sending him to an ex-gay live-in program called Love In Action, the same cult like program Peterson Toscano survived. How do we know all this? Zach has been writing about it on his blog found here on MySpace.com. To view Zach's main profile click here.

On his blog Zach posts program rules given to parents that aren't supposed to be seen by patients. There are of course several comical rules forbidding any clothing from Abercrombie and Fitch and dining at places like TGI Fridays (because there is a bar attached to the restaurant). Program rules of genuine concern to me is a clear double standard when it came to encouraging honesty, self-examination and reflection in patients. Several selected rules read:

Be honest, authentic, and real.

Absolutely no journaling or keeping a diary outside of the MI* process unless directed or approved by staff.

No discussing therapeutic issues at home. Keep conversations positive.

*[Moral Inventories, where one must keep records of sexual struggles and temptations.]
This troubles me. A participant is to be honest, authentic and real but... family visits are to be glossed over and superficial? Many people use journaling as a method of self reflection and thought. However it appears journals can only to be used to keep a "moral inventory" of sexual temptations. For a program that pretends to stress honesty and authenticity they sure discourage independent thought and discussion both with one's self and family. Frankly don't see how this kind of suppression of genuinely productive thought can lead to positive healing no matter what your goal.

In conclusion, Zach was scheduled to be shipped off on June 6th. His MySpace profile indicates he last logged in on the 5th.

Addendum:

A blog has been set up here by a group calling itself the Queer Action Coalition and features day by day accounts of protests at Love Won Out's headquarters.

A local news broadcast (windows media) can be found here.

Link to story on Ex-Gay Watch - Click Here.

The Family Research Council and the Ku Klux Klan

Thursday, June 09, 2005
Americablog.com reported...

The Family Research Council's executive director, Tony Perkins, reportedly paid former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke over $80,000 for his who's-who-of-racist-America mailing list in 1996. This should be the death of the Family Research Council, one of the religoius right's lead organizations, and the end of Tony Perkins career.

Who on the left is smart enough to plunk down some money to organize the campaign destroying the FRC and their executive director because of his dealings with the Ku Klux Klan?

This was 1996, people. That is well beyond, years beyond, the date that the entire nation knew Duke to be a rabid KKK-loving racist. But our pinnacle of family values, Tony Perkins, had no problem enriching black-hater David Duke to the tune of $82,000. And what's more, Tony Perkins had no problem trying to woo David Duke's avowed racist following.

With the religious right trying to reach out to black folk, and more generally trying to lecture the rest of us on morality, I want to know why Tony Perkins hasn't been forced to resign, or, why the Family Research Council hasn't been ostracized from the entire religious right community.

Bob Knight and the rest of the Concerned Women for America, and the American Family Association and Lou Sheldon and all the rest of you supposed Christians, are you concerned that your good buddy Tony Perkins appears peppered with racism?

From the Nation (I'd reported on this Nation piece before, but this is big. This is the end of the Family Research Council and the religious right's efforts to woo the black community, if only some smart well-funded liberal had the sense to do something with this.):

"Four years ago, Perkins addressed the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), America's premier white supremacist organization, the successor to the White Citizens Councils, which battled integration in the South. In 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,500 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a right-wing Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana. The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke."

What would I do in response? How about make sure the entire audience knows about Perkins' support for Duke and affinity for racists at EVERY event he attends. How about informing the black media and black churches about this tie between racists and the religious right. How about asking supposed religious right "black" leaders why they don't speak out against the FRC and its executive director's affinity for white supremacists. How about demanding that the other religious right groups speak out against Tony Perkins and his enabling of black-hating racists.

This is a campaign begging to happen.

Coverage: Oregon Senate Rules Pass civil unions

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

AP Photo: Mary Oberst, as Oregon first lady, gives testimony in favor of the civil union bill (SB 1073) in Salem.

An Oregon Senate panel passed a bill to create civil unions Tuesday afternoon, the latest step in the Oregon Legislature's battle over whether gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to have legally recognized relationships.

The bill to extend the benefits and rights of marriage to gay couples passed on a partisan 3-2 vote, with Democrats in favor.

It will now head to the full Senate, where it is expected to pass, setting up a tug-of-war with the Republican-controlled House, which is currently considering its own bill. That legislation would provide a more limited set of "reciprocal rights" to any two people over 18, including relatives.

During Tuesday's often tense hearing, state Sen. Charlie Ringo, D-Beaverton, pressed Tootie Smith of the Defense of Marriage Coalition and other civil union opponents about what rights and benefits of marriage they would deny gay couples. [Evidentally both Sen. Charlie Ringo and Sen. Kate Brown ripped Tootie Smith of the DOMC a new a$$hole]

"This is a list of 100," Ringo said, holding up a list of the benefits of traditional marriage that gay couples currently are not guaranteed under state law. They range from inheritance to hospital visitation rights.

He repeatedly asked that civil union opponents point out which of the benefits on the list they were opposed to granting gay couples.

"There are a lot more, and I think that's what this bill is about," he said.

But state Sen. Charles Starr, R-Hillsboro, argued that the bill goes against the will of the voters, who passed a ban on gay marriage last year. [This is the same Senator that told the Senate Rules committee today that "Neither the mouth nor the anus were intended for sexual intercourse." - YES he said this to 5 high ranking senators at a public Senate hearing. I'm sorry... this has to do with legal protections for gay couples and their families how?]

"(This bill) is simply 'gay marriage' by another name," Starr said.

Starr said homosexuality is a choice that should not be supported in state law.

The Senate Rules Committee heard approximately two hours of testimony — relatively short compared to the initial hearing, where hundreds of people showed up to testify.

The civil unions bill is half of the bill Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski introduced earlier in the session. The full bill would have provided civil unions and banned discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The discrimination portion of the bill has not been voted on yet, and may be shelved for the session.

While a bipartisan group of Senators support the civil unions bill, House Republicans have introduced what they consider a replacement for civil unions — called reciprocal benefits — that would extend about a dozen rights to any two people, including relatives.

Supporters of that bill said it's a way to provide benefits — mainly [basically only] concerning end-of-life issues and property rights — to nontraditional families without addressing sexual orientation in state law.

But opponents said the bill is not enough to provide protections for gay Oregonians and their families.

(AP)

OREGON CIVIL UNIONS OUT OF COMMITTEE - ON TO FLOOR VOTE

The Oregon State Senate Rules Committee just voted on Oregons Civil Unions Bill - SB 1073 - and has voted it out of committee. This means that it is going to a floor vote... There shouldn't be a problem passing it in the Senate. It's the House that concerns me, although I think it will happen.

Roey Thorpe, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon said:
"For Oregon same-sex couples, and we don't even know which ones will be hit hardest, each day that goes by without civil unions is a day that families are vulnerable to tragedy and two more years is too long to wait for another try in another legislative session," said Thorpe. "Oregon lawmakers now have it within their power to prevent these tragedies and we are counting on them to side with decency and fairness and pass SB 1073 immediately."

For more coverage visit:
Basic Rights Oregon Blog

As we speak, In the Oregon Senate...

...The Senate Rules Committee is having a public hearing (started @ 3pm) on Oregons Civil Unions Bill (SB 1073). There is a very high probability that it will be voted out of committee today. More coverage this evening as I learn more.

Oregon Civil Unions - a vote tomorrow?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Basic Rights Oregon reports that the Oregon State Senate Rules Committee could vote SB 1073 out of committee as early as tomorrow. Click here to read more and to take action to help move this bill for a floor vote!

Absolutely vile. Are these people serious?

This is recent testimony from Oregon's SB 1000 hearing. These are the type of people that we are fighting against. Living in the dark ages... their complete ignorance is revolting. I would love to know where they find the facts to back up their quotes.

Oregon State Senator Charles Starr said:

"We long recognized homosexual behavior as a mental disorder... people are not born homosexual...Many people leave the homosexual lifestyle, marry and have families, thus showing it is not a permanent characteristic..."
Testimony against SB 1000 from State Senator Charles Starr, 5/4/05


Concerned Women of America of Oregon said:
"...the characteristically unstable and often violent relationships of same-sex adults can result in an environment in which children are more likely to be victims of incest..."
Testimony against SB 1000 from Concerned Women of America of Oregon, 5/2/05


Lea Williams said:
If we follow God's plan, one man and one woman for life, it does not create diseases... (homosexual) practices are contaminating our blood supply."
Testimony against SB 1000 from Lea Williams, 5/4/05


These people are serious. These are some of the MOST bigoted and offensive comments I have heard in a while.

As some of you know SB 1000, the bill that would create civil unions, as well as a statewide anti-discrimination policy has officially been split into two bills. The civil union portion is now called SB 1073 and will hopefully pass the Senate in the next two weeks or so.

Texas Governor Draws Criticism for anti-gay (anti-family) Bill-Signing Event at Evangelical School

Making good on a Republican campaign call to celebrate with "Christian friends," Texas Gov. Rick Perry traveled to an evangelical school here on Sunday to put his signature on a measure prohibit same-sex marriage.

::: So let's not only stifle civil rights - let's celebrate not allowing gay families to have legal protections for their children and partner. There is something very scary about this. :::

About 100 protesters lined the street outside the school, Calvary Christian Academy, denouncing the unusual signing as breaching the constitutional separation between church and state.

He said he was putting his signature - although it was not required - on a measure that places a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages before Texas voters on Nov. 8. "Activist judges have used the bench to advance a narrow agenda," the governor said, adding that the measure defining marriage as a sacred bond between a man and a woman "places it beyond the reach of activist judges."

::: Those damn 'activist' judges! Without these 'activist' judges our country would still be back in the turn of the century as far as civil rights go. :::

The event caused a stir last week after The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on plans for it. The Perry campaign later released the text of an e-mail message sent to religious groups. It said in part, "We want to completely fill this location with pro-family Christian friends who can celebrate with us."

The ever important makeover.

Did a bit of a redesign last night. Still have some work to do...

You can also now access this blog by going right to http://www.gayrightswatch.com

PENIS CLOSES ROAD - CAUSES TERROR ALERT!

Saturday, June 04, 2005
A large fake penis has caused a major terror alert in America. Ok so this post is totally off topic. TOTALLY. It's Saturday though - and sometimes you just need to talk about other things... My friend sent it to me and I felt that I had to post it.

A key highway though Florida was closed after a driver spotted what looked like a pipe bomb under an overpass.

Fearing terrorists were trying to blow up the structure, police closed Interstate 75 for an hour.

But on closer inspection police found that the 'device' was actually a foot-long plastic penis.

"Someone took construction-grade plastic, moulded it into a penis and wrapped it with duct tape," said Lee County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Charles Ferrante.

The bomb squad was brought in to handle the situation and a remote-controlled robot used to make the fake penis safe.

Who knew! The Baptists seem to know the "real motive behind gay marriage.

Friday, June 03, 2005
BP News (Baptist Press News) reports that they know "The real motive behind gay marriage."

Well - I am glad they have answered the eternal question! What a load off of my mind - and what a joke. My comments are in red.

Here we go with their 'holy insight':

If you can’t beat ‘em at the ballot box, then snooker ‘em in the courts or slip it past ‘em in the legislature. This has become the preferred strategy of homosexual activists from sea to shining sea.

In spite of the fact that voters across the United States continue to reject the concept of “gay marriage,” activists persist in pitching their appeals to sympathetic jurists and left-leaning legislators.
OK, so because a group of people is denied a basic human right they should stop fighting to achieve their goal? Persistence is key - look at them. They are VERY persistent in fighting gay marriage/civil unions. What's the difference? There is none. Two sides. One oppressed - the other is 'holier than thou' and seems to 'know better'.

Second - let's look at this 'left leaning legislators' issue that they bring up. Here in Oregon we have two Senators that are cosponsoring the current civil unions/anti-discrimination legislation. Both are Christian men. Both very republican. So where is the 'left leaning' aspect of this? In fact, Senator Frank Morse is led to this cause by his faith. A true Christian in my eyes.

There is only one answer to the strategy of the homosexual activists and those sympathetic to their cause –- a federal marriage amendment. Unless traditional marriage is defined constitutionally, activists are going to continue to seek out sympathetic judges and lobby left-leaning legislatures until they get their way.
Guess what. A Federal Marriage Amendment will not happen. They have already tried this session - twice I believe. Each time it failed miserably. And YES - we will continue to fight until we have equal benefits across the board. We will win some and we will lose some. Although even a loss is actually a step in the right direction most of the time. It's three steps forward and one step back. Civil unions will happen. Marriage - that will take a bit longer. People are afraid of gays and lesbians using that word. Ok - and sympathetic judges? Those would be called fair judges. Judges that remember there is a separation of church and state.

What homosexual activists are really pushing for is legal recognition of their lifestyle. In so doing, they believe they will gain -– or force -– societal acceptance.
False. Legal recognition of our 'lifestyle'? In some ways this is true. I despise the word 'lifestyle' when describing sexual orientation. Lifestyle would be a religion. Legal recognition of our committed and loving relationships is what we are striving for. Forcing social acceptance is not the goal in this movement. It is for true equal rights. We want to have the legal protections for our children - for our families. REAL families just like every other family.

In closing - I guess they didn't do a great job in finding 'the real motive behind gay marriage'.

For Fruit Flies, Gene Shift Tilts Sex Orientation

Gay fruit flies. Interesting.

When the genetically altered fruit fly was released into the observation chamber, it did what these breeders par excellence tend to do. It pursued a waiting virgin female. It gently tapped the girl with its leg, played her a song (using wings as instruments) and, only then, dared to lick her - all part of standard fruit fly seduction.

The observing scientist looked with disbelief at the show, for the suitor in this case was not a male, but a female that researchers had artificially endowed with a single male-type gene.

That one gene, the researchers are announcing today in the journal Cell, is apparently by itself enough to create patterns of sexual behavior - a kind of master sexual gene that normally exists in two distinct male and female variants.

In a series of experiments, the researchers found that females given the male variant of the gene acted exactly like males in courtship, madly pursuing other females. Males that were artificially given the female version of the gene became more passive and turned their sexual attention to other males.

"We have shown that a single gene in the fruit fly is sufficient to determine all aspects of the flies' sexual orientation and behavior," said the paper's lead author, Dr. Barry Dickson, senior scientist at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. "It's very surprising.

"What it tells us is that instinctive behaviors can be specified by genetic programs, just like the morphologic development of an organ or a nose."

The results are certain to prove influential in debates about whether genes or environment determine who we are, how we act and, especially, our sexual orientation, although it is not clear now if there is a similar master sexual gene for humans.

Still, experts said they were both awed and shocked by the findings. "The results are so clean and compelling, the whole field of the genetic roots of behavior is moved forward tremendously by this work," said Dr. Michael Weiss, chairman of the department of biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University. "Hopefully this will take the discussion about sexual preferences out of the realm of morality and put it in the realm of science."

He added: "I never chose to be heterosexual; it just happened. But humans are complicated. With the flies we can see in a simple and elegant way how a gene can influence and determine behavior."

The finding supports scientific evidence accumulating over the past decade that sexual orientation may be innately programmed into the brains of men and women. Equally intriguing, the researchers say, is the possibility that a number of behaviors - hitting back when feeling threatened, fleeing when scared or laughing when amused - may also be programmed into human brains, a product of genetic heritage.

"This is a first - a superb demonstration that a single gene can serve as a switch for complex behaviors," said Dr. Gero Miesenboeck, a professor of cell biology at Yale.

Dr. Dickson, the lead author, said he ran into the laboratory when an assistant called him on a Sunday night with the results. "This really makes you think about how much of our behavior, perhaps especially sexual behaviors, has a strong genetic component," he said.

All the researchers cautioned that any of these wired behaviors set by master genes will probably be modified by experience. Though male fruit flies are programmed to pursue females, Dr. Dickson said, those that are frequently rejected over time become less aggressive in their mating behavior.

When a normal male fruit fly is introduced to a virgin female, they almost immediately begin foreplay and then copulate for 20 minutes. In fact, Dr. Dickson and his co-author, Dr. Ebru Demir of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, specifically chose to look for the genetic basis of fly sexual behavior precisely because it seemed so strong and instinctive and, therefore, predictable.

Scientists have known for several years that the master sexual gene, known as fru, was central to mating, coordinating a network of neurons that were involved in the male fly's courtship ritual. Last year, Dr. Bruce Baker of Stanford University discovered that the mating circuit controlled by the gene involved 60 nerve cells and that if any of these were damaged or destroyed by the scientists, the animal could not mate properly. Both male and female flies have the same genetic material as well as the neural circuitry required for the mating ritual, but different parts of the genes are turned on in the two sexes. But no one dreamed that simply activating the normally dormant male portion of the gene in a female fly could cause a genetic female to display the whole elaborate panoply of male fruit fly foreplay.

New York Times
By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL

California's AB 19 didn't pass - YET. Is there hope?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Although it appeared destined for defeat Wednesday, state Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, isn't giving up on his gender-neutral marriage bill.

Assembly Bill 19, introduced by Leno, would redefine California marriage law to include same-sex couples.

The bill failed to pass the state Assembly Wednesday in a 35-37 vote against the proposal, with 10 Assembly members abstaining. Leno, using a parliamentary tactic, motioned for the bill to be reconsidered, thus putting its demise on hold for at least a day.

Leno is trying to convince some Democrats, who abstained, to reconsider and support the bill. He plans to bring the bill up for a vote again today, according to his press secretary Shannan Velayas.

Friday is the last day for the state Assembly to pass bills and send them to the state Senate.

If passed by the California Legislature, AB 19 would change the state family code, defining marriage as a civil contract between two persons instead of a civil contract between a man and a woman, according to Leno. The bill would also affirm the right of churches and other religious institutions to refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Opponents of the bill claim that AB 19 is unconstitutional because it violates Proposition 22, which California voters passed in 2000 and prevents the state from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples.

Leno claims that AB 19 does not violate Proposition 22 because the law did not change the criteria for issuing marriage licenses in California.

On April 14, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer ruled that Proposition 22 was unconstitutional because "no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners.''

Attorney General Bill Lockyer's office filed a notice of appeal in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday.

Almost one year is expected to pass before the appellate court issues a written opinion. Regardless of that ruling, all parties in the case agree the dispute seems sure to wind up in the state Supreme Court.

AB 19 passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee April 27 on a 6-3 vote and passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee May 25 on a 13-5 vote.

Sen. Frank Morse - A Good Christian and Great Leader

Wednesday, June 01, 2005
State Sen. Frank Morse said today that if the Legislature does not authorize civil unions (SB 1000), the courts very likely will.

In an interview from his office at the Capitol, the Albany Republican pointed to the so-called Tanner decision in 1998, in which the Court of Appeals ruled that under the Oregon Constitution same-sex domestic partners were entitled to the same employment benefits as married spouses.

"If this issue is not resolved in the Legislature, it will be resolved in the courts," Morse said.

As announced earlier, Morse will sponsor a public meeting at 7 tonight in the Student Center at South Albany High School to have a discussion about Senate Bill 1000, which he cosponsored.

The bill would authorize same-sex civil unions with the same rights and duties as marriages.

"My first objective is an open dialogue," Morse said of tonight's meeting. "I want to listen. There are quite a number of people taking issue with me on this."

Because it has been cast as a faith issue, especially by the Oregon Family Council, Morse plans to address that point.

He has invited Patty Evans, pastor at First Christian Church of Albany, as well as Anthony Terndrup, director of the Pastoral Counseling Center in Corvallis, to speak from their perspectives.

As introduced, SB 1000 would also outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations.

The committee expects to hold a second hearing on the civil-unions part of the bill. The hearing has not been scheduled but may be held next week, according to a committee spokeswoman.

Morse said opposition won't make him change his mind about civil unions.

"I have taken so many arrows on this," he said, "you get somewhat desensitized after a while. But the bill is the right thing to do."

Main story: