Media Watch

Same-Sex Unions and the City

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, Aug. 16 — Same-sex unions have not been faring all that well in America's courthouses and legislatures, but New York City may prove to be an exception. After a raucous debate that nearly led to a city councilman being hauled out of the council's chambers, the city's elected representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill recognizing homosexual “marriages” and “civil unions” from other jurisdictions, the New York daily reported.

Democratic Councilman Simcha Felder was almost ejected when he wouldn't stop arguing against the bill, declaring, “They'll have to carry me out!” after being ruled out of order. He finally stopped objecting after being surrounded by sergeants at arms.

The New York City bill extends legal benefits of domestic partnership laws to visitors to the city and newcomers whose homosexual relationships are legally recognized elsewhere. Currently, Vermont is the only U.S. state to recognize homosexual “civil unions.”

Christine Quinn, one of the bill's sponsors, declared before the debate, “The use of the word ‘marriage’ is done deliberately to make it clear that New York City is going as far as it can possibly go legislatively to recognize lesbian and gay relationships.”

It's unclear whether polygamous unions, slave contracts and other unconventional relationships will also be covered by the new bill.

‘Mother Angelica Live’ — On Tape

EWTN, Aug. 20 — The voice of Mother Angelica has been stilled by a major stroke on Christmas Eve that left her with speech impairment, and for seven months her place has been filled by Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa. But now the Eternal Word Television Network she founded has decided to fill her spot with old episodes from the archives.

“Mother Angelica Live Classic” will begin in September. Doug Keck, vice president of programming and production for the network, said, “EWTN wanted to bring Mother's programs back to her traditional 8 to 9 p.m. (EDT) prime time slot, so the idea of airing ‘classic’ Mother Angelica Live ‘Family Night’ programs in the Tuesday slot is a natural.”

Florida's Scarlet Letter Law Criticized

FLORIDA TODAY, Aug. 18 — Another well-intended piece of government regulation has created unintended consequences, according to Florida Today. A Florida state law designed to protect the rights of fathers of children put up for adoption may well be encouraging abortions because of the severe invasion of privacy it entails in the life of the mother.

The 2001 law requires birth mothers “to publish their names and sexual histories before their babies can be adopted,” Florida Today reported. The mothers must publish ads in local newspapers once a week for four weeks, listing recent sexual partners, in order to notify possible fathers of their children about the adoption.

“I personally think it's a real violation of confidentiality,” commented Betty Gibbens, an adoptions worker for Catholic Charities. “Some of that information is not really appropriate.”

The bill's author, 72-year-old Republican Rep. Evelyn Lynn, has said that she will seek certain modifications of the bill when the next legislative session opens.

One of the eight state senators who opposed the bill, Bill Posey, said, “I don't think a function of government is to issue scarlet letters to its citizens. That's lunacy.”