Three fundamental concerns are driving the formation of the new citizens organization:
I. The negative impact of special rights initiatives on all businesses and property owners, with a particularly negative impact on faith- based and faith-inspired businesses and property owners.
II. The negative impact of special rights initiatives on every citizen's constitutionally protected rights to freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly.
III. The negative impact of the practice of homosexuality on the individuals who practice it and on the rest of the society.
The main multifaceted emphasis of the group is to defend Traditional Marriage as 'between one man and one woman', to respond to the controversy at the University of Notre Dame regarding homosexual activism at several levels, to respond to 'special rights for homosexuals' ordinances as they come forward in the Region and to facilitate help and ministry for those suffering from the ill effects of the homosexual lifestyle.
GLBT rights hearing draws crowdBoth supporters and foes make case before council panel.
May 11, 2006
By JAMIE LOO
SOUTH BEND -- It was standing room only in council chambers as the Common Council Personnel and Finance Committee held its second public hearing on the amendments to the human rights ordinance Wednesday.
No Special Rights -- which is against the amendment to add language specifically protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals -- and South Bend Equality, which is pro-amendment, were each given an hour to make a presentation.
No Special Rights showed a video, "It's Not Gay" which explained the medical risks of the homosexual lifestyle and had testimony from gay men who became straight. The medical experts in the film said the media glorifies the gay lifestyle without discussing consequences such as depression, substance abuse, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
One of the men in the video, Michael Johnston, said he was introduced to the homosexual lifestyle and stayed with it because it was accepting of him. As time went on Johnston said he didn't find lasting relationships with other men and sadly, had to attend numerous funerals of friends who died as a result of the gay lifestyle. Johnston later found out that he was HIV positive.
Jan Torma, a registered nurse and professor, said there are many medical problems associated with the gay lifestyle. Along with costs to the community, Torma said according to a recent article in a health psychology magazine the risk of getting anal cancer rose 4,000 percent for gay men.
Gail Bederman, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, who spoke as a private citizen and historian, said the arguments used against GLBT rights follow the same logic as those against suffragists and the women's rights movement. Predictions that women legislators would nurse infants during meetings and didn't have the mental capacity to discuss government issues never happened.
Bederman said an executive order by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 mandated the firing of all federal employees who were homosexual. The mandate was used in cities and states across the country.
Although federal, state and local governments have repealed those laws, Bederman said the effects of that "government mandated discrimination" still linger, which is why clear language protecting GLBT individuals is needed.
Indianapolis City Councilor Jackie Nytes, D-9th, came to the meeting to talk about the City-County Council's decision to pass a similar ordinance in 2005. Indianapolis officials were also concerned about enforcing the law, and Nytes said the city's Human Rights Commission sent a letter ensuring councilors that the commission could handle GLBT discrimination cases. Nytes said she commends the Common Council for taking on the issue and said she hopes South Bend can experience the same "positive outcome."
Staff writer Jamie Loo:
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