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From civil unions in Vermont to march on Washington to Normal, Ohio, gay news in 2000 was all over the map


Supreme Court accepts Boy Scouts case: The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear an appeal of a New Jersey court ruling requiring the Boy Scouts of America to comply with a state law banning antigay discrimination.

Guilty plea in soldier's death: Spc. Justin Fisher pleads guilty to lying to officials and obstructing an inquiry into the beating death of Pfc. Barry Winchell the previous year. Winchell had been harassed by other soldiers who believed he was gay. Pvt. Calvin Glover was found guilty of the murder in December. A Pentagon report issued in July clears military officials of any blame in Winchell's death.

Spencer-Devlin arrested: Pro golfer Muffin Spencer-Devlin is arrested when she tries to enter the U.S. Mission to the United Nations to talk about 6-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez. Spencer-Devlin later says that she was suffering from a mood disorder.

Same-sex unions debated: The Vermont state legislature begins debate over how to fulfill the mandate from the state supreme court to grant gay and lesbian couples the same rights as married couples.

Gore, Bradley vow to end "don't ask": Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore and Bill Bradley both promise during a debate in New Hampshire that if elected they will overturn the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and allow gays to serve openly in the armed forces.

United Kingdom lifts military ban: U.K. defense minister Geoff Hoon says that he is lifting the ban on gays in the military, effective immediately. The move comes after the European Court of Human Rights rules that the ban violates the rights of gay and lesbian service members.

McCain's gaydar: Sen. John McCain, a Republican presidential hopeful, says that he can spot gays "by behavior and by attitudes. I think that it's clear to some of us when some people have that lifestyle."

Rocker suspended: Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker is suspended until May for comments he made to Sports Illustrated. Besides making racist remarks, Rocker complained in the interview that he wouldn't want to play in New York City because he would have to ride the subway "next to some queer with AIDS." The suspension is eventually reduced to six weeks.


Gay club meets at El Modena: A gay-straight student alliance meets for the first time at El Modena High School in Orange, Calif. The meeting follows a ruling from a federal judge who issued a preliminary injunction against a school board prohibition on such clubs. In early September the school board repeals the ban when the injunction is made permanent.

Utah adoption ban: The Utah legislature passes a bill that bans adoption by gay or unmarried couples.

House of Lords upholds antigay law: The U.K. House of Lords votes to keep Section 28, a law that prohibits "promotion" of homosexuality in school. The law had been targeted for repeal by the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

New military training: The Pentagon announces training programs to instruct military personnel in how to carry out its "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Out Publishing acquired: Liberation Publications, publisher of The Advocate, announces plans to acquire the assets of Out Publishing, which include Out magazine.

Drudge reported: MSNBC correspondent Jeannette Walls reports in a new book, Dish, that Internet gossip Matt Drudge used to date men while in his early 20s.


Knight initiative succeeds: By 61%-39%, voters in California approve a measure that bans recognition of same-sex marriages. The measure, known as the Knight initiative after sponsor Pete Knight, a state senator, had had strong backing from the Mormon Church and Roman Catholic hierarchy in the state.

Supreme Court Upholds student fees: The Supreme Court votes unanimously that the University of Wisconsin's student fee system is fair, despite a lawsuit from conservative students who object to some of their fees being distributed to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center.

Dr. Laura protest held: Hundreds of demonstrators march outside Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles to protest against the studio's plans to produce Laura Schlessinger's television show. Schlessinger had become a target of gay anger for calling homosexuality a "biological error" on her radio show.

Syphilis cases rise: Health officials in Los Angeles report a rise in syphilis infections among gay men, spurring concern about unsafe sex practices.

Swank wins Oscar: Hilary Swank wins the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in Boys Don't Cry, the story of Brandon Teena, a woman who lived as a man. Winning Best Picture is the gay-themed American Beauty, produced by the out team of Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen and written by Alan Ball, also openly gay, who takes home the award for Best Original Screenplay.

Antigay abuse in military rises: The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network reports that antigay abuse in the U.S. military has more than doubled since "don't ask, don't tell" was instituted. The watchdog group reports 968 incidents in 1999 and a record percentage of women being discharged for being gay.

Civil unions bill Passes Vermont house: The Vermont house of representatives votes 76-69 to send a civil unions bill to the state senate.

Reform Jews back same-sex ceremonies: At their annual conference, Reform rabbis vote overwhelmingly to approve a measure sanctioning same-sex commitment ceremonies. Orthodox rabbis denounce the move as contrary to scripture.


Bush meets with gay Republicans: After flip-flopping several times on whether he will meet with gay Republicans, presidential candidate George W. Bush meets with 12 of them in Austin, Tex. After the meeting, Bush declares himself a "better man" for it but does not change his position on gay rights.

Galindo discloses he has HIV: Onetime national figure-skating champion Rudy Galindo reveals that he is HIV-positive, having been diagnosed with the AIDS virus after contracting pneumonia earlier in the year.

Millenium March: Several hundred thousand people travel to Washington, D.C., for the Millennium March on Washington and the Equality Rocks concert. The event, which had been criticized by some activists as unnecessary, is marred afterward by the revelation that up to $750,000 was found missing from a festival affiliated with the march.

AIDS reporting wins Pulitzer: Mark Schoofs, a reporter for The Village Voice, is awarded a Pulitzer Prize for international coverage for his reporting on AIDS in Africa.

The Mississippi bans gay adoption: The Mississippi legislature passes a bill that bars gays and lesbians from adopting or becoming foster parents.

Toledo appointed: Elizabeth Toledo, a vice president of the National Organization for Women, is named executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Vermont governor signs civil unions bill: After the Vermont legislature gives final approval to a civil unions bill, Gov. Howard Dean signs the measure into law. The bill makes Vermont the first state in the union to give gay and lesbian couples the same rights as married couples. Although the direct benefits of the bill are restricted to state residents, hundreds of out-of-state couples flock to Vermont once the law takes effect July 1 to take advantage of it.


Lesbian given parental status by court: A Maryland court rules that a lesbian who helped raise a child with her former partner is a "de facto" parent even though she is not the biological mother. Similar rulings are subsequently made by courts in New Jersey and New York.

Procter & Gamble refuses to advertise on Dr. Laura: In a blow to Dr. Laura Schlessinger's upcoming television show, Procter & Gamble says that it won't run ads on the program because of Schlessinger's controversial antigay stance.

Arrest at Methodist conference: Nearly 200 protesters are arrested outside the Cleveland conference hall where delegates to the United Methodist Church's conference are meeting. The protesters are demonstrating against the church's stance on gay issues. Despite the protests, the delegates vote to uphold church policies against homosexuality and noncelibate gay clergy.

Rome pulls funding for World Pride: Following complaints from Vatican officials, authorities in Rome pull funding for World Pride Rome 2000 and move the July event from the city center because the festival is scheduled to take place at the same time as the Vatican's Holy Year Jubilee. Despite the setback, the festival attracts hundreds of thousands of gays and lesbians to Rome in July.

Presbyterian court approves gay unions: The highest court in the Presbyterian Church rules that local congregations have the right to conduct religious ceremonies for same-sex unions, provided they are not marriage ceremonies.

Former midshipman told to repay tuition: Tommie Lee Watkins, a former midshipman who left the U.S. Naval Academy after being accused of sodomy, is ordered to repay $66,717 for the cost of his education. Although Watkins had a sterling record at the academy, he says he was pressured to resign after a classmate questioned his orientation. In November, Watkins wins a reversal of the repayment order.


Hillary a hit at gay pride: U.S. Senate candidate and first lady Hillary Clinton receives a tremendous outpouring of support at the gay pride march in

New York City. Her Republican opponent, Rick Lazio, decides to skip the parade to campaign at a dairy farm in upstate New York.

Supreme Court sides with Boy Scouts: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court rules that the Boy Scouts of America has the right to bar gays from its ranks. The ruling, in a case brought by former Eagle scout James Dale, supports the Scouts' rights to free speech and free association. In a stinging dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens says the majority's reasoning is "tantamount to a constitutionally prescribed symbol of inferiority" for gays. The ruling leads to a backlash against the Scouts as United Way chapters, businesses, and school districts decide to sever their ties to the group because of the antigay policy.

Texas sodomy law overturned: he Texas court of appeals overturns the state's sodomy law, reversing the convictions of two Houston men arrested for having sex in the bedroom of one man's home.

Big three automakers offer DP benefits: General Motors, Ford Motor Co., and Daimler Chrysler AG announce that they will extend health care benefits to the partners of gay employees.

New York hate-crimes bill passes: The New York state legislature passes a hate-crimes measure increasing penalties for antigay bias crimes. Similar measures had failed for the previous 11 years. The bill, which is signed into law by Gov. George Pataki, is the first successful measure in New York to address antigay bias.

Iowa Republicans sue governor: Republican leaders in Iowa announce that they are suing Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Democrat, for overstepping his authority by issuing an executive order barring state agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.


Gay man murdered in West Virginia: Arthur "J.R." Warren Jr., a gay African-American man, is found murdered in Grant Town, W.Va. Teenagers David Allen Parker and Jared Wilson are charged in the crime. Investigators say the pair killed Warren by beating him and then running him over to make his death look like a hit-and-run accident, because Warren had allegedly boasted of a sexual relationship with Parker.

Study links gayness and left-handedness: A study by Canadian researchers concludes that gay men and lesbians are more likely to be left-handed than heterosexuals. The research follows a study published earlier in the year that found differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals in the size of their index fingers relative to their ring fingers.

Navratilova inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame: Martina Navratilova, winner of 18 career Grand Slam tournaments and a record 233 tournament titles, is inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

Bush's vice president choice has lesbian daughter: George W. Bush picks former Defense secretary Dick Cheney to be his vice presidential running mate. Cheney's daughter Mary is a lesbian who formerly worked as Coors Brewing Co.'s corporate relations manager for gays and lesbians. She serves as an aide to her father throughout the presidential campaign.

Oregon initiative makes ballot: A measure that would bar schools from "promoting" homosexuality qualifies for the ballot in Oregon in November's election. The measure is backed by Lon Mabon, who sponsored unsuccessful statewide antigay initiatives in 1992 and 1994. Qualifying for the ballot in Nevada and Nebraska are measures that would ban recognition of same-sex marriages.


Kolbe speaks at G0P convention: Openly gay congressman Jim Kolbe of Arizona has a prime-time speaking slot at the Republican presidential convention in Philadelphia. Kolbe never mentions his sexual orientation during his address, which is on free trade, but some members of the Texas delegation bow their heads in prayer to protest his role at the convention.

Dick Armey uses slur against Barney Frank: At a GOP convention party, House majority leader Dick Armey is asked by humorist Dave Barry, "Are you really Dick Armey?" Armey replies, "Yes, I am Dick Armey. And if there is a dick army, Barney Frank would want to join up." Armey, who called the openly gay Frank "Barney Fag" during a 1995 interview, refuses to apologize for the remark.

Gore taps Lieberman: Al Gore chooses U.S. senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut to be his running mate. Lieberman is a sponsor of a federal bill to prohibit antigay discrimination in the workplace and favors an end to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gay troops. However, Lieberman has also earned a reputation in the Senate as a leading moralist and has joined forces with William Bennett, a Republican conservative and foe of gay rights, to attack television talk shows.

Buchanan names antigay running mate: Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan names Ezola Foster, a schoolteacher from Los Angeles, as his running mate. Foster has a long history of condemning homosexuality and opposing gay fights. Although Buchanan makes attacks on gay rights a key focus of his campaign, he wins little attention and earns less than 1% of the vote in the November presidential election.

Shepards and Birch speak at Democratic convention: Judy and Dennis Shepard, the parents of slain gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, speak at the Democratic national convention in Los Angeles, as does Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign.

Migden questions Nader's sexuality: California assemblywoman Carole Migden wonders in an interview if Ralph Nader is gay. "All I'm saying is that we believe he has strong ties to the community--and has for years--and hasn't been forthright about it," says Migden, who is lesbian. Migden is roundly criticized for her remarks, and Nader, who has strong gay support as the Green Party candidate for president, denies the allegation.

Ellen and Anne break up: Comedian Ellen DeGeneres and actress Anne Heche announce that they are splitting up. "Unfortunately, we have decided to end our relationship," the couple say in a prepared statement. "It is an amicable parting, and we greatly value the 3 1/2 years we have spent together." The day the announcement is made, Heche wanders into a home in Fresno County, Calif., making incoherent statements. Unnamed law enforcement sources tell local media that Heche appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Heche subsequently begins dating a man.

Custody fight over trans child: The parents of a 6-year-old son lose custody of him after social workers remove the child from the home because the couple lets him dress as a girl. The parents contend that the child, known as Aurora Lipscomb, suffers from gender identity disorder, but authorities argue that the child is a victim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, in which parents harm their children in order to gain attention for themselves.


Lesbian couple marry in Texas: A lesbian couple are able to marry in Texas because one of the partners is a male-to-female transsexual and as such is still considered male under Texas law. Jessica Wicks and Robin Manhart Wicks take advantage of a state supreme court decision that voided the marriage of Christie Lee Littleton, a transsexual widow, on the grounds that the state of Texas does not recognize same-sex relationships.

Gay student murdered at Gallaudet University: Eric Plunkett, a 19-year-old freshman, is found beaten to death inside his dorm room at Gallaudet University, a Washington, D.C., school for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Police arrest Thomas Minch, 18, a fellow student, but release him the next day and drop all charges against him.

Shooting in Roanoke bar: A man enters a gay bar in Roanoke, Va., and starts shooting people, killing one man and injuring six others. Ronald Edward Gay is charged with the crime; police say that Gay, who has a history of mental problems, was angry with gay people because of the teasing he endured because of his name.

Dr. Laura debuts on television: After much anticipation and controversy, Dr. Laura Schlessinger's television talk show premieres to negative reviews and low ratings. The show is put on hiatus within a month and returns with no discernable improvement in ratings. By November, rumors spread that the show, which is moved from its afternoon slot to 2 A.M. in several major markets, is on its last leg.

"Ex-gay" leader spotted in gay bar: John Paulk, chairman of the North American board of "ex-gay" group Exodus International, is spotted by two employees of the Human Rights Campaign inside Mr. P's, a gay bar in Washington, D.C. Initially Paulk says he went to the bar to use the rest room without knowing about the gay clientele, but he later admits that he went to the bar knowing it is gay. As punishment, he is removed from his chairmanship and placed on probation as a board member.

Army recommends discharge for May: A panel of three colonels recommends that Arizona state representative Steve May be honorably discharged from the Army Reserve for violating the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The military undertook an investigation in 1999 when he spoke about his sexual orientation on the floor of the state legislature.

Boy Scouts lose funding in Florida: The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., commission votes to deny a grant to the local council of the Boy Scouts of America because of the group's antigay policies.

Flanagan wins Vermont primary: Ed Flanagan, the Vermont state auditor, wins the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in the state primary, making him the first openly gay Senate candidate from a major party. Flanagan faces incumbent Republican James Jeffords, who has a strong record of support for gay rights. Flanagan loses in November, receiving 26% of the vote.

Civil unions supporters lose races: Five Republicans who voted for Vermont's civil unions law lose their races in the state primary to challengers opposed to the pro-gay measure.

Dutch approve gay marriage: The Dutch Parliament enacts a bill that converts the country's registered domestic partnerships into marriages, making it the first country to grant gay and lesbian couples the same legal recognition of their relationships that heterosexual couples have.


Federal hate-crimes bill dies: Under pressure from the Republican leadership in Congress, members of a House-Senate conference delete the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, a bill that would add sexual orientation to the list of categories covered under hate-crimes law, from a defense spending authorization bill. The bill passed the Senate 57-42 in June. The House had voted 232-192 in September to urge the conferees to keep the measure, but the vote had no binding effect.

Clinton's Advocate interview: In his first ever face-to-face interview with the gay press, President Clinton tells The Advocate that he was "honored to have" the support he got from gays during his impeachment because "the people who've been targeted, who've been publicly humiliated and abused, I think identified with what was going on."

Vice presidential candidates discuss gay rights in debate: Joseph Lieberman and Dick Cheney talk about gay relationships in response to a question from moderator Bernard Shaw during the vice presidential debate. Lieberman says he is "open to taking some action that will address those elements of unfairness" such as lack of inheritance rights or hospital visitation rights. Without referring in his response to his daughter, Cheney says, "I think we ought to do everything we can to tolerate and accommodate whatever kind of relationships people want to enter into." Cheney's remarks cause controversy among religious conservatives, but their fears are allayed a week later when Bush says during a presidential debate that he doesn't think gays "ought to have special rights."

Lesbian centenarian dies: Ruth Ellis dies at the age of 101. Ellis, who was profiled in the documentary Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100, received numerous honors, including the celebration of Ruth Ellis Day in Detroit during Black History Month.


Normal, Ohio debuts: Normal, Ohio, a television comedy starring John Goodman as a formerly married man who has come out and returned to his hometown, debuts on Fox.

Anti--gay-marriage initiatives succeed: Voters in Nebraska and Nevada overwhelmingly pass initiatives to ban recognition of same-sex marriage. The Nebraska measure also prohibits recognition of same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. Activists suffer another defeat in Maine, where voters reject a bill to ban antigay bias. However, voters in Oregon reject that state's antigay ballot measure.

Cambridge, Mass., ordinance struck down: A Massachusetts court strikes down an ordinance in Cambridge, Mass., that grants health benefits to the gay partners of city workers, saying that it went beyond the limits of state law.

Baldwin reelected, Schipske loses: U.S. representative Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, wins her first reelection bid. She returns to Congress as the only openly lesbian representative when Gerrie Schipske, a nurse-practitioner in Long Beach, Calif., loses to GOP incumbent Steve Horn.

Protests at Catholic bishop's conference: About 100 protesters are arrested outside the annual meeting of U.S. Catholic bishops after demonstrating against church policy toward gays. At the conference, religious leaders from several denominations issue a "Christian Declaration of Marriage," which proclaims marriage as "a holy union of one man and one woman."

Gore gets gay vote: Exit polls put Al Gore's support among gay and lesbian voters at 70%. Although George W. Bush gets only 25% in polls, Log Cabin Republicans maintain that it gave Bush the edge he needed to take the White House.


Queer as Folk debuts: The U.S. version of Queer as Folk, the British series about the lives of gay men, debuts on Showtime.

World AIDS Day: World AIDS Day commemorations take place, including the MTV premiere of a documentary about HIV/AIDS hosted by singer Ricky Martin.

Germany grants recognition to gay couples: The German parliament grants gay couples legal status but refuses them the tax benefits or adoption rights that married couples enjoy.
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Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 16, 2001
Previous Article:Calling all parents.
Next Article:This boy's life.

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