Media Update – July 3, 2003

1. A Gay Rights Landmark
2. Finally, Dignity and Respect – but at Such a Cost
3. Sex clubs — symptoms of deeper trouble
4. Judge orders release of state police records

1. A Gay Rights Landmark
2. Finally, Dignity and Respect – but at Such a Cost
3. Sex clubs — symptoms of deeper trouble
4. Judge orders release of state police records


Editorial: A Gay Rights Landmark

New York Times
June 27, 2003


Gay Americans won a historic victory yesterday when the Supreme Court struck down Texas' sodomy law. The sweeping 6-to-3 decision made a point of overturning a 17-year-old precedent that was curtly dismissive of gay rights. Yesterday's ruling has implications that reach beyond sodomy, and is an important step toward winning gay men and women full equality under the law.


The three dissenters accused the majority of advancing a "homosexual agenda." But their legal analysis relied on the same tired arguments conservatives have long used to deny minority rights. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the three, called the ruling "the invention of a brand-new 'constitutional right' by a Court that is impatient of democratic change." It is the same argument made in 1967 for upholding a Virginia law banning marriage between blacks and whites. The idea that minorities must wait for the majority to recognize their basic rights is as wrong today as it was then.


The majority opinion ended by noting the genius of our Constitution: that "persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom." [cont.]


To read the rest of this article go to: www.nytimes.com
To respond, write to: letters@nytimes.com


Commentary: Finally, Dignity and Respect – but at Such a Cost

By John Rechy
Los Angeles Times
June 29, 2003

In striking down a Texas law that made consensual sex in private between members of the same sex a criminal act, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that it "demeans the lives of homosexual persons entitled to respect for their private lives." By emphasizing the word "respect," Kennedy was not only upholding the right of privacy, he was asserting human dignity.


Thirty years ago, incidents of violence against gay men were common, and it was almost always the gay man who was deemed guilty. Into the '70s, people risked arrest by being in a gay bar. A scurrilous Hollywood newspaper of the time frequently ran stories headlining the number of "queers" arrested in a bar. At any moment a bar would be flooded with light from a squad car. A bullhorn ordered all "queers" to march out in a single line, ostensibly to be checked for ID. The men would be insulted, mauled, in some instances beaten. Chosen arbitrarily, as many men as fitted into a squad car or wagon were taken to "headquarters for questioning."


Without in any way belittling the decency of the justices in their brave opinion, some might view the decision as a vastly imperfect apology for the many lives devastated by cruel laws that made possible the myriad humiliations of gay people, the verbal assaults and screams of "faggot!" – the muggings, the suicides, the murders – all occurring even during this time of victory. The flagrant dissent by Justice Antonin Scalia and two of his colleagues – in an effort to uphold the Texas law – will help to keep fertile the atmosphere of hatred that allowed three men to mangle Trevor Broudy in West Hollywood and allowed Matthew Shepherd to be butchered in Wyoming. [cont.]


To read the rest of this article, go to:
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-oe-rechy29jun29,1,5657091.story
To respond, write to: letters@latimes.com


Editorial: Sex clubs — symptoms of deeper trouble

The Dispatch (Gilroy, CA)
June 30, 2003


News that yet another sex club has opened shop in South Valley is disturbing. Yet another neighborhood will follow the blueprint designed by former neighbors of The Forum swingers' club to try to convince The Arena not to bring its clients to a rural residential neighborhood just east of the Morgan Hill city limits.


This time, rather than expound upon the importance of zoning laws and their enforcement, we're asking bigger questions – such as why these types of clubs seem to have so many customers. One business is driven out of town and another one pops up. We think the swingers' clubs are symptomatic of a much bigger problem, one that starts with parents.


As a society, we're becoming inured to excess – whether it's obscene violence, gluttonous quantities of food and material goods or graphic sex. Our children are exposed to so much of these through music, television, movies and the Internet – and at such a young age – that it takes more and more of everything to satisfy them as they get older.


Is it any wonder that when they reach adulthood, some need to go beyond the boundaries of what is considered acceptable behavior with activities such as swingers' parties, for example?


Parents – take a close look at the music your children are listening to, the movies and television shows they are watching, the Web sites they're visiting on the Internet and the books, magazines and e-mail messages they're reading. Look at the clothes they're wearing – they're communicating with you with these choices. [cont.]


To read the rest of this article, go to:
http://gilroydispatch.com/opinion/opinionview.asp?c=64120
To respond, write to: http://gilroydispatch.com/maillink/editor.asp?c=64120


Judge orders release of state police records

By Chris Gray and Joseph A. Slobodzian
Philadelphia Inquirer
July 3, 2003


A federal judge has ordered the release of documents that would reveal the names of Pennsylvania State Police troopers who committed sexual indiscretions, but she gave the officers 24 hours to appeal.


Seven troopers who were among those named in 47 State Police investigation files have until today to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe ruled yesterday.


The privacy protection was not given to troopers who were disciplined by the State Police's Bureau of Professional Responsibility, however. Lawyers for the state notified the troopers identified in the files that their names would be made public and advised them to hire lawyers. Since Monday, seven troopers – each known to the court as Trooper Doe – filed motions with the judge to prevent their names from being released.


Unlike Evans, the troopers did not engage in criminal sexual misconduct, Durant said. Under the State Police code of personal conduct, any sexual impropriety, on duty or in off-hours – having an extramarital affair, patronizing a prostitute, or sexual practices involving bondage and discipline or sadomasochism – are grounds for discipline. [cont.]


To read the rest of this article, go to:
http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/6222979.htm
To respond, write to: inquirer.letters@phillynews.com


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