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UN Human Rights Group Pushes "Sexual Orientation" Rights

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Politics and GovernmentAt the annual United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) session in Geneva, Switzerland, proponents of an attempt to classify "sexual orientation" as a universal, UN-protected human right were frustrated when Brazil, which had sponsored the resolution, dropped it for lack of sufficient international support. Dissent against the resolution was especially strong from Islamic and Christian countries, although it was nearly unanimously supported by Canada and most European Union members. The measure was postponed from last year's session after strong opposition from Islamic countries.

Michael Cashman, a homosexual activist from Britain who is a member of the European Parliament and who represents the Labor Party there, said both the Catholic Vatican and the Muslim Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) had engaged in "aggressive lobbying" to defeat the resolution. He added, "It's depressing when religions can succeed in denying ordinary men and women their universal human rights. . . [the Vatican and the OIC should] hang their heads in shame for having reduced their beliefs to the gutter of bigotry and discrimination."

Opponents noted that passage of the resolution would have effectively constituted interference in countries' sovereign affairs. Rais Yatim, a minister in Malaysia, one of the largest Muslim countries world wide, noted, "There are countries, including Malaysia, that do not recognize sexual relations between males and such a law is sovereign and basic to us." The Catholic Catechism, which identifies homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered" and "contrary to the natural law" is in direct opposition to the resolution.

Other opponents noted that the resolution did not define "sexual orientation" or restrict it to same-sex relations among adults, opening the way for condoning pedophelia (at least with children considered at the age of consent -- 12 in many countries), bestiality, or other forms of sexual behavior classified as abnormal or illegal in many countries.

For the full story: UN "Sexual Orientation" Bid in Trouble after Sponsor Bails Out.


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Abortion Group Endorses Kerry

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Politics and GovernmentThe United States' most vocal (and some say largest) abortion rights group, NARAL Pro-Choice America (founded as the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) Tuesday, March 30 announced its endorsement of Democrat Senator John Kerry for President. NARAL Pro-Choice America promises a vigorous criticism of President George Bush.

NARAL Pro-Choice America president Kate Michelman said in a statement, "The choice for pro-choice voters is clear -- and the stakes could not be higher. If George Bush is re-elected, the future of reproductive freedom is in the hands of someone who has violated women's privacy, criminalized women's medical choices, and pledged to do everything in his power to restrict safe and legal abortion." Recently Bush signed into law legislation passed by the Congress outlawing a particular form of late term abortion commonly referred to as "partial birth abortion" and is set to sign legislation that just passed Congress making violent crime against a pregnant woman crime against two victims, the mother and her unborn child.

Contrasting Bush with Kerry, Michelman continued, "John Kerry will be a President pro-choice Americans can rely on. He understands that our private lives are private, and will make sure that Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land. Throughout his public life, Senator Kerry has been a leader on women's issues such as protecting the right to choose and preventing domestic violence." Michelman did not say how opposing the Violent Crimes Against the Unborn is preventing domestic violence.

Other political leaders supporting a fundraising campaign to finance NARAL Pro-Choice America's support of Kerry and criticism of Bush include Gov. Bill Richardson (NM), Gov. Ed Rendell (PA), Gov. Tom Vilsack (IA), Gov. Jim Doyle (WI), Gov. Rod Blagojevich (IL), Gov. Gary Locke (WA), and Gov. Ted Kulongoski (OR).

For the full story: Pro-Abortion Group Endorses Kerry, Plans to Attack Bush Campaign.


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Most Recent Post: 12/31 07:00PM by

Sen. Kerry Tells MTV His Views on Homosexuality and Same Sex Unions

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Politics and GovernmentAn interview with Democratic front-running presidential candidate Senator John Kerry will be broadcast on Tuesday, March 30 on MTV in a program titled, "Choose or Lose: 20 Million Questions for John Kerry." In the interview Kerry will say that he believes homosexuality is determined by genetics and that he is in favor of legal same sex unions.

Kerry will say, "I think it's entirely who you are from birth, personally," continuing, "Some people might choose, but I think that it's who you are. I think people need to be able to be who they are. . . . It's in your system. It's in your genes. . . . We are all God's children, and that is my view."

Concerning same sex unions, Kerry declares that he is in favor of "equal rights for gay couples as well as straights," but stops short of saying he endorses same sex marriages. Kerry explains, "My feeling is that what is important is equal protection under the law." He continues, "An equal-protection clause, I think, pertains to the rights you give to people, not to the name you give to something, so I'm for civil unions. That gives people the rights . . . .I think there is a distinction between what we have traditionally called 'marriage' between a man and a woman and those rights. . . I believe very strongly that we can advance the cause of equality by moving toward civil unions. But that's where my position is at this point in time. . . . It's the rights that are important, not the name of the institution."

According to MTV News, among 18 to 24 year old voters, the majority support giving gay couples the right to marry.

For the full story: John Kerry Tells MTV News: Sexual Orientation Matter of Genetics, Not Choice.


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Unborn Victims of Violence Act Advances

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UPDATED FRIDAY, MARCH 26.

UPDATED AGAIN MONDAY, MARCH 29.

Thursday, March 25, the Senate concluded its debate on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act and passed it 61-38. The bill now goes to President Bush for signature into law. The White House statement said that it "strongly supports protection for unborn children." Senate majority leader Bill Frist said about the bill that it ws "powerful because this act is about simple humanity, about simple reality." The measure refers to criminal legal consequences in crimes where the wanted unborn child is criminally harmed or killed. Specifically exempted are the mothers themselves seeking termination of their pregnancies and medical personnel who perform the abortions. The measure would consider the unborn child a "second victim" of such acts as criminal assault and murder, increasing the charges against a criminal defendant in such cases.

The Senate advanced progress of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act by defeating (50-49) an amendment that would have increased penalties but qualified that any attack on a pregnant victim was a "single-victim crime." Two other amendments (unpaid leave and state unemployment benefits to women if they or their families are victims of domestic or sexual violence) remain to be debated before the legislation goes to President Bush, who strongly supports the bill, to sign into law. The House approved the bill last month.

UPDATE: Dr. James Dobson and his Focus on the Family organization issued a statement on March 25 applauding Congress for passing this legislation. "Today's vote affirms in law what is common sense to more than 80 percent of Americans -- there are two victims in violent crimes committed against pregnant women and their preborn children. We applaud those 61 senators who voted in defense of the most innocent victims in our society."

For the full story, see the Los Angeles Times article, Senate OKs Penalizing Harm to Fetus During Crime.


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Irish Predict Higher Taxes for Married Under Same Sex Union Acceptance

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Politics and GovernmentAccording to Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell, married couples could end up paying more tax if gay and co-habiting couples get legal recognition. Although the minister supports the Progressive Democrat movement to give official status to non-conventional couples, he said that the tax consequences could necessitate changes in tax law.

According to the Irish Examiner, the change could affect income tax, inheritance, gift tax, property rights, next-of-kin designation, and pension and travel rights. The newspaper quoted the minister as saying "The very, very generous tax regime for married people would have to be reudced to bring in equality." This would be because an extension of tax breaks to a significantly higher number of people would greatly reduce the tax revenues overall.

For the full story: Legal Status for Gay Couples "Could Raise Taxes".


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Poll Says Americans Worried about Election

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Politics and GovernmentAs reported in the Friday, March 26 Washington Times, the Associated Press reported poll results showing that "many Americans say that the stakes in the 2004 presidential campaign are high and that their current level of interest compares with . . . the 2000 election."

The poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, was conducted between March 17 and 21, included 1,306 registered voters, and its margin of error is plus or minus 3%. The poll is significant especially because registered voters, as opposed to the general public or unregistered voters are far more likely to participate in the actual election. According to the poll, 63% of those surveyed said it "really matters who wins the election," compared to 45% at the same time before the 2000 election between current President George W. Bush and former Vice President Al Gore.

Pew Center director Andrew Kohut said, "The September 11 attacks have put more emphasis on Washington and the president." He added, "President Bush has raised the debate about how to handle the war on terrorism. These are issues that generate a lot of interest with voters."

Nearly 2/3 of those polled said they have thought "quite a lot" about the presidential campaign. While 47% said Democrat Senator John Kerry has been too critical of Bush, 33% said Bush has been too critical of Kerry. Nearly half said the campaign was already too negative and that it was also too long. For the full story, see Americans Tuning in to Campaign Early, Poll Says.


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ACLU Challenges Oregon on Same Sex Marriages

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Politics and GovernmentThe American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of gay couples whose marriages have not been recognized by the Oregon state office of Vital Statistics. The case could be heard by the Oregon State Supreme Court as early as next month (April).

In an interesting bi-partisan move, both gay marriage opponents and supporters consolidated their issues into the ACLU case because they all agreed, according to the Los Angeles Times, "that the ACLU's suit most directly addressed the constitutional issues arising from gay marriage." The suit arose subsequent to the decision by the Multnomah County commissioners to grant gay marriage licenses at the beginning of the month (March). The full story is at: Issue of Gay Marriage Headed for Oregon Courts


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Most Recent Post: 12/31 07:00PM by

FCC Fines Howard Stern More than All

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Politics and GovernmentAccording to the Center for Public Integrity, the Federal Communications Commission has levied $3.95 million in fines for broadcast decency since 1990, with fines against shock jock Howard Stern accounting for more than half of the total. Five radio shows accounted for $3.44 million since 1990, 87% of the total. The shows were Howard Stern ($1.97 million), Bubba the Love Sponge ($753,000), the Opie and Anthony Show ($378,500), Elliot in the Morning ($302,500), and Mancow's Morning Madhouse ($42,000). Only 3 fines were levied against television broadcasters since 1990, or 4% of the total. Read the full story at Townhall.com, Reort Calls Howard Stern "King of All Fines".


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FCC Says F-Word Indecent & Profane

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Politics and GovernmentThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ruled that the "f-word" is both indecent and profane, contradicting a staff opinion issued earlier. This is evidently the first time the FCC has declared a swear word "profane." The review by the FCC came after various media gaffs during recent months, from U2 band leader Bono's spontaneous "This is [the word] great" on the occasion of his band receiving a Golden Globe, through the explictive peppered broadcasts of radio shock jock Howard Stern. For more information, see FCC Now Considers 'F-Word' Both Indecent and Profane from Cybercast News Service.


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Most Recent Post: 03/25 03:29PM by Anonymous

Supreme Court Hears Pledge Case

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Politics and GovernmentUPDATED THURSDAY, MARCH 24. SEE "READ MORE" BELOW.

Atheist Michael Newdow, an emergency room doctor with a law degree and license, and an activist atheist, is arguing today before the United States Supreme Court that the phrase "under God" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegience as an unconstitutional intrusion of religion into government. For an introductory story, see MSNBC's Will Court Purge 'God' in Pledge?. TAKE OUR EXCLUSIVE ANSWERS IN ACTION POLL (SEE LEFT COLUMN)!

Dr. Newdow argued for 30 minutes before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 23. He argued that he had standing in the case because his daughter was reciting the Pledge in her public school, which Newdow argued meant that every time she said the phrase "under God," she was being "told" by the "government" that her father, an avowed atheist, was wrong. Representing the Elk Grove school district was attorney Terence J. Cassidy, and representing the federal government was US Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson. For further information about Wednesday's testimony, see Atheist Presents Case for Taking God from Pledge from the New York Times.


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The Lord's Servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will give them a change of heart leading to a knowledge of the truth
II Timothy 2:24-26