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WORLD NEWS
ANGLICAN CAMPAIGN IN BRITAIN, NEW ZEALAND UNIONS, ISLAND MARCH, PERRY MARRIES
by REX WOCKNER
2003-07-23

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High-profile British gay activist Peter Tatchell continued his campaign against the Anglican Archbishop of York, David Hope, July 11 by affixing a declaration to the door of York Minster cathedral during the Church of England's General Synod. It said: 'Archbishop David Hope, Tell the Truth! Come Out!'

'I urge the Archbishop of York to follow Canon Jeffrey John's shining example of honesty and integrity by coming out and bearing true witness to the contribution made by gay people to the church and society,' Tatchell said. 'Given the current homophobic witchhunt within the Anglican Communion, David Hope's candor and courage would be a powerful challenge to the voices of prejudice and intolerance. ... I have been told by people who know David Hope that he has had gay relationships in the past.'

Jeffrey John recently was appointed bishop of the Church of England's Reading diocese but was forced to withdraw before he was installed following a huge outcry from church conservatives in England and the developing world. They were horrified that John is openly gay and lives with a partner, although he has said they no longer have sex.

The conservatives threatened that the Anglican Communion would break apart if John was allowed to take the job. Archbishop Hope previously has described his sexuality as 'a gray area' and said he seeks to lead a 'single, celibate life.'

On July 12, Tatchell and other members of the gay direct-action group OutRage! invaded and halted the General Synod. The synod chair ordered speakers and delegates to leave the hall and turned off the microphones and lights. Half of the delegates walked out, but the remainder stayed and listened to the activists speak for 30 minutes. Among those who remained were Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who is the head of the Anglican Communion; Archbishop Hope; and five other bishops.

'We are here because this synod is refusing to discuss the persecution of Canon Jeffrey John and the broader issue of homosexual human rights,' Tatchell said. 'When you slam the door in our face, we have no alternative but to protest against a church that is blind to reason and deaf to compassion.

'The Anglican Communion is the moral equivalent of the Dutch Reform Church in South Africa during the apartheid era,' Tatchell charged. 'It uses theology to justify prejudice and discrimination.'

NEW ZEALAND PLANS CIVIL UNIONS

New Zealand's government is preparing a civil-union bill under which gay and straight couples will be able to register their relationships and obtain matrimonial rights.

Some gay activists have welcomed the bill while others have denounced it as a half-measure that deprives gays of equal access to marriage.

Additional bills will rework more than 100 laws that discriminate against same-sex couples, officials said.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND GAYS MARCH

Several hundred people marched in the fourth gay pride parade in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, July 12, The Journal-Pioneer reported.

'Spectators witnessed a sea of rainbow flags ... a fire breather, drag queens, and a participant wearing a wedding gown,' the paper said.

Politicians from Canada's three major parties spoke at a post-parade rally at Confederation Landing.

'By respecting the diversity of our communities and our people we create a stronger and healthier society for all of us to enjoy,' said P.E.I. Attorney General Jeff Lantz of the Progressive Conservative party.

'I want to say how proud I am that the government of Canada is a sponsor of this event,' said Liberal MP Shawn Murphy. 'I'd like to see it repeated next year.'

P.E.I New Democrats Leader Gary Robichaud said, 'Recently, with the Ontario court decision to uphold same-sex marriage, we have taken a large step in the constant struggle to have our relationships recognized as equal to heterosexual Canadians.'

MARRIED GAYS MARCH IN OTTAWA

The gay-pride parade in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, had a new twist July 13—legally married same-sex couples.

Ten thousand spectators cheered the newlyweds.

Ontario's highest court forced legalization of same-sex marriage on June 10. British Columbia's highest court followed suit on July 8. The federal government has thrown in the towel and is in the process of legalizing full same-sex marriage nationwide. The City of Ottawa's float was one of the parade's largest. It displayed a huge banner that read, 'Sex in the City, Don't forget to wrap it up.' City workers distributed condoms to spectators as the float moved along.

TROY PERRY GETS MARRIED

The founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, Troy Perry, married his longtime partner, Phillip De Blieck, July 16 in Toronto. Ontario's highest court forced legalization of same-sex marriage on June 10. British Columbia's highest court followed suit on July 8. The federal government is in the process of passing legislation to open up marriage in the rest of the provinces and territories.

'I thank God for Canada, for the progressive judges who did this,' Perry said. 'You beat us [Americans] all the way around.' Toronto City Hall has handed out 56 marriage licenses to American couples, according to the Canadian Press wire service. American gays also have been getting married elsewhere in the province.


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