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04/19/2007


Cincinnati Archdiocese Requires Teachers to Sign New Contract Forbidding 'Homosexual Lifestyle,' Sex

For the 2014 - 2015 school year, more than 2,200 Catholic school teachers in the Cincinnati Archdiocese will be required to sign a nine-page contract explicitly forbidding the personal practice or public endorsement of the “homosexual lifestyle,” as well as living out of wedlock, pre-marital sex, abortion, surrogate mothers, in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination.

Dan_andriaccoThe contract says that these practices would "reflect discredit on or cause scandal to the school or be in contradiction to Catholic doctrine or morals,” and could be grounds for termination.

Presumably the Archdiocese revised the contract to avoid high-profile firings like that of Mike Moroskin, the Ohio administrator who was fired for publishing a pro-marriage equality blog post last year, and Carla Hale, the Ohio teacher who was also fired last year after her mother’s obituary listed the name of Carla’s female partner.

When asked about the expanded contractual restrictions, Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco (pictured) said:

"There aren't any new expectations of our teachers in the 2014-2015 contract. The revised wording is just more explicit in that it lists examples of behaviors that are unacceptable as contrary to church teaching. We think that's fairer to the teachers and a help to them.

"We regard all of our teachers – not just religion teachers – as ministerial employees, even if they are not Catholic. Our contract for many years has reflected that by including a moral conduct clause. Last year we made that clause more explicit by mentioning the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and this year we've added examples of unacceptable behaviors."

Despite the Church’s entrenched refusal to support marriage equality, a December 2012 poll found a growing number of male Catholics who have begun to support same-sex nuptials.


Support for Marriage Equality in Ohio Hits 50 Percent: Poll

OhioMuch has changed since Ohioans passed a 2004 ban on same-sex marriage, the WaPo reports:

When Ohioans passed the ban a decade ago, they did so by a wide margin. It passed with 62 percent support and majorities in all but one of the state’s 88 counties. But in the Monday poll from Quinnipiac University, support for same-sex marriage there hit 50 percent for the first time, compared with similarly worded questions over the past few years. Support for same-sex marriage now leads by wide margins among Democrats, Independents and women. Men narrowly oppose it, as the chart below shows, while Republicans and seniors oppose it by similarly wide margins.

Ohio


Gay Couple Files Federal Suit in Ohio After Being Denied Coverage Under Obamacare

Earlier this week a gay couple in Ohio filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. government and state of Ohio after being denied coverage under Obamacare, Reuters reports:

OhioThe plaintiffs, Alfred Cowger and Anthony Wesley of Gates Mills, Ohio, have been together since 1986 and were married in New York state in 2012, six years after adopting a daughter, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Ohio...

...After initially being unable to enroll in Obamacare because of glitches involving the troubled rollout of the healthcare.gov website, they said in the suit that they were assured by Anthem they could remain under its policy after December 2013, although premiums would increase by about 20 percent.

But in November, according to the suit, Cowger said he received a letter from Anthem stating their policy "was to be terminated because it was not in compliance with the ACA."

A new family policy with Anthem would cost about twice their existing one, or about half the family's joint income, and not be eligible for tax credits under Obamacare.

Full story here.


Kent State Wrestler Sam Wheeler Suspended Indefinitely for 'Fag' Tweet About Michael Sam

Sam_wheeler

Kent State wrestler Sam Wheeler has been suspended indefinitely for a series of tweets containing anti-gay slurs that began as a commentary about gay Missouri football player Michael Sam, CBS Cleveland reports:

“I can’t even watch Sports Center today cause all they are talking about is Marcus Smart or that fag from Mizzou…” Wheeler tweeted.

In addition to the initial tweet, Wheeler responded to 2 other users with a homophobic slur before tweeting, “O geez I got all these fag boys mad at me now.”

...The tweets were deleted and Wheeler’s twitter account is no longer active but the gay-oriented web site OutrageDC.com captured and published a screen grab the tweets and called for users to contact the university, the school’s athletic director, Wheeler’s wrestling coach as well as the Mid-American Conference in protest.

Kent State Director of Athletics released the following statement:

“We are aware of the insensitive tweets by one of our student athletes.  On behalf of Kent State University, we consider these comments to be ignorant and not indicative of the beliefs held by our university community as a whole.  This is an educational opportunity for all of our student-athletes.”

Kent State Head Wrestling Coach Jim Andrassy added:

“As an alum of Kent State University and as Sam’s head coach, I was surprised and offended by what I read on Twitter. I have spoken to Sam personally, and while he is remorseful, he will be suspended indefinitely while we determine the best course of action moving forward.”

Wheeler


Four Ohio Couples File Suit Against State To Have Same-Sex Marriages Recognized On Birth Certificates

After Judge Timothy Black's ruling in December, which ordered Ohio officials to recognize same-sex marriages on death certificates despite the state's 2004 ban on such unions, four couples have been inspired to fight for their, and their children's, rights.

OhioThe couples, all of whom were legally married in other states but have ties to Ohio through their children, or soon-to-be-born children, filed a lawsuit against the state to have their marriages recognized on birth certificates. They stated that being forced to list only one parent is a violation of their rights according to the U.S. Constitution. 

The AP reports:

"We want to be afforded the same benefits and rights as every other citizen of the United States," said one of the plaintiffs, Joe Vitale, 45, who lives in Manhattan with his husband and their adopted 10-month-old son, who was born in Ohio. The pair married in 2011 shortly after New York legalized gay marriage.

Rob Nichols, a spokesman for Republican Gov. John Kasich, said his office doesn't comment on pending litigation, "except to say that the governor believes marriage is between a man and a woman."

A spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, whose office will fight the lawsuit, declined to comment.

The other plaintiffs in Monday's lawsuit are three lesbian couples living in the Cincinnati area who married in states that have legalized gay marriage. One woman in each of those marriages is pregnant through artificial insemination, and their babies all are due to be born this summer in Cincinnati hospitals.

The couples fear that certain parental rights could be denied them later on should both names not be listed on the birth certificates. They are being represented by Al Gerhardstein, the attorney who sought the December court order regarding death certificates, which is now being appealed by the state. 

"At both ends of our lifespans, a marriage is a marriage. A family is a family," said the couples' lawyer, Cincinnati civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein. "A family is a loving, nurturing group of people and the identification document when the children come along is the birth certificate, and it ought to be right."

Best of luck to the four couples and their children. We will keep our fingers crossed.


Ohio Appeals Federal Ruling Ordering State to Recognize Gay Marriage on Death Certificates

Just before the holiday, Judge Timothy Black ordered Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages...on death certificates.

ObergfellThe ruling came in a well-known case brought by John Arthur and Jim Obergfell, who flew to Maryland from Ohio last year so they could marry on the airport tarmac before Arthur's ALS, a progressive neurological disease that robs patients of their ability to walk, talk and eventually breathe, became too difficult.

Arthur died in October.

Ohio has now appealed the federal ruling, the AP reports:

The attorney general’s office filed its notice of appeal in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. A brief containing its arguments will be filed later...

...Attorney General Mike DeWine previously said he would be appealing.

“Our job is to defend the Ohio Constitution and state statutes … and that’s what we intend to do,” he said.


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