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Same sex Marriage

How have opinions about same-sex marriage developed and changed from the 1970s through
the early part of the twenty-first century?
While many attempts to earn societal recognition of same-sex unions through the 1970s
were not successful, some local communities and private companies began recognizing such
"domestic partnerships" through the 1980s. While some members of the gay and lesbian
community continued to press for recognition of their unions as legal marriages, others in
the community felt that marriage itself was a patriarchal and sexist institution with which
they did not want to identify. Regardless of the divide, many people fighting for the cause
believe that all members of the gay and lesbian culture should support same-sex marriage
initiatives to present a united front on the issue.
In 2000 the Vermont legislature, in response to the 1999 state Supreme Court decision
Baker v. State, established a set of guidelines to honor same-sex partners with privileges
usually reserved for married couples. Several specific family laws, rights of inheritance, and
state tax privileges became applicable to Vermont residents in same-sex partnerships.
Further federal privileges were not, however, extended to Vermont same-sex couples.
Subsequently, legislatures in California, Hawaii, and New Jersey passed similar provisions to
honor same-sex unions. While the U.S. Constitution provides for "full faith and credit" to
extend the laws of one state into others, the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act
specifically prevented this extension to be granted in the case of same-sex partnerships.
In 2004, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom required city clerks to validate same-sex
marriages with licenses. His decision prompted other communities to do the same. The state
of Massachusetts, in its Goodridge v. Department of Public Health ruling, cleared the way
for state recognition of same-sex marriages in the same year.
Various groups have proposed challenges to such local and state rulings that would fortify
the Defense of Marriage Act or put into place a marriage amendment. These movements
intend to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman and invalidate the legal
standing of same-sex partnerships. Such efforts have resulted in a diversity of opinion with
some in the middle arguing that such decisions of family law should remain at the local and
state level. Others have also challenged what they feel are motivations by religious groups
with a vested interest in the marriage debate to blur the line between religion and politics.
Within the gay and lesbian culture, people continue to debate whether the community should
press for federally sanctioned marriage. In Canada, where same-sex marriage was made
legal in 2003, Kyle Rae, the city councilor in Toronto on the occasion of his same-sex
wedding, stated, "For most of my activist life, marriage was seen as a ritual or relationship
that had been denied to us. It was constructed as heterosexual and denied to my
community. As the straight community held onto it, it became `Why would you want to
[marry]?…' Now, my feeling is we have an opportunity to redefine marriage."

Resources:http://socialissues.wiseto.com/Articles/FO3020630117/
Homosexuality

The subject of homosexuality has often been surrounded by controversy. Much of the
dispute centers on whether homosexuality and bisexuality should be treated as morally,
socially, and legally equivalent to heterosexuality.
Theories on the Cause of Homosexuality
No single theory exists to explain the development of sexual orientation. The childhood
trauma theory maintains that homosexuality is the result of an emotional shock during
childhood. Another theory claims that homosexuality is a learned behavior. Still other
explanations favor biological factors such as hormones and genes as the cause of
homosexuality. Many scientists argue that a combination of biological factors and events at
critical points in childhood cause a person to become homosexual or bisexual. Until 1973, the
American Psychiatric Association (APA) classified homosexuality as a mental illness, but
scientific evidence led the APA to drop this classification.
Some people with homosexual feelings are uncomfortable with their sexual orientation and
seek professional counseling to try to change it. The evidence on the success of such
programs is mixed. In 2001 a study of 200 people who claimed to have changed their sexual
orientation suggested that more than half of them had developed satisfying heterosexual
relationships. However, another study of 202 people who had tried to change their sexual
orientation found that almost none had succeeded, and most of them were psychologically
damaged by the experience.
Homosexuality and the Law
For many years, homosexual behavior was illegal throughout the United States, and
discrimination against homosexuals was both legal and socially acceptable. But the modern
gay rights movement in the United States supposedly started in June 1969 with a rebellion
in New York City.
Since that time, both legislation and judicial decisions have moved toward removing laws and
ordinances against homosexual conduct and accepting gays and lesbians as parents,
professionals, and public employees.
Recognition of Homosexual Relationships
Several European countries have passed legislation that recognizes homosexual unions. Such
laws generally refer to registered partnerships rather than to marriage, and homosexual
unions generally do not enjoy all the rights granted to partners in heterosexual marriages.
However, in 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex
marriages. A new law that eliminated references to a person's gender in the legal definition
of marriage gave married same-sex couples the same rights as married heterosexual
couples. The law also allows same-sex couples to adopt Dutch children, but not children from
other countries.
Same-sex marriages are not legally recognized in the United States. As a result, partners in
homosexual relationships often lack privileges, such as the right to inherit property and to
medical, tax, and retirement benefits, that partners in traditional marriages enjoy.
Social Views of Homosexuality
Surveys suggest that Americans still hold varied and conflicting attitudes about
homosexuality. In a 2001 Gallup Poll, 52 percent of those surveyed accepted homosexuality
as a valid alternate lifestyle, compared with a 38 percent rate of acceptance in 1992. More
than 80 percent said gays and lesbians should have equal rights in the workplace. However,
40 percent were opposed to allowing homosexuals to serve as ministers or elementary school
teachers.

Resources: http://socialissues.wiseto.com/Articles/FO3020640086/?

"Normalizing" premarital sex.


A new study conducted by Lawrence Finer, research director at the Guttmacher Institute,
claims that 95 percent of Americans have had premarital sex, and that this rate extends
even to women born in the 1940s.
The report, entitled Trends in Premarital Sex in the United States, 1954-2003, has
received media attention that rivals the publication in 1948 of Alfred Kinsey's Sexual
Behavior in the Human Male. There is, in fact, a common link to both reports. Kinsey's work
was funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. And the Guttmacher Institute is a
special affiliate of the
Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which has been funded lavishly by members of
the Rockefeller family and the Rockefeller Foundation since its founding (under its original
name, the Birth Control League of America) in 1916.
From Planned Parenthood's point of view, a study helping to create the public perception,
especially among impressionable young people, that almost everyone has engaged in
premarital sex, and that there's really nothing wrong with doing it, is actually good for
business.
The new Guttmacher report frankly admits that its purpose is to discredit sexual
abstinence programs (e.g., "Due in part to government support, private advocacy efforts to
promote abstinence until marriage are also gaining prominence and political clout.") and
substitute its own agenda in their place ("The results of the analysis indicate that
premarital sex is highly normative behavior.").
Although there is little doubt that the rate of premarital sex has increased since the onset
of the "sexual revolution" in the late 1960s, many individuals find the report's findings
incredible. Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America expressed skepticism: "Any
time I see numbers that high, I'm a little suspicious. The numbers are too pat."
Especially questionable is the report's statement: "Among those turning 15 between 1954
and 1963, 82% had had premarital sex by age 30, and 88% had done so by age 44." Anyone
familiar with American culture of the 1950s and even the first half of the 1960s recalls the
social ostracism that awaited young ladies who did not wait for marriage. In the 1957 hit
song, "Wake Up Little Susie," the Everly Brothers sang about a couple who had missed their
curfew after falling asleep in a movie theater. They lament: "We fell asleep, our goose is
cooked, our reputation is shot."
Moreover, in the days before the FDA approved "the pill" in 1961, premarital sexual activity,
if it was as widespread as the Finer report suggests, would have unquestionably resulted in a
very high rate of out-of-wedlock births and/or pregnant brides at the altar. Yet, there
were relatively few out-of-wedlock births or pregnant brides during those days--as any of
us, this writer included, old enough to remember the pre-1960s would recall. In fact, single-
parent families were also relatively uncommon.
If high-school and college girls in the days of Father Knows Best were as promiscuous as
those of recent

years, why did the annual birthrate per 1,000 unmarried girls aged 15-19 triple between
1960 and 1994, even as abortion went from being illegal almost everywhere to being
available everywhere?
Why did the survey extend to age 44, since the median age of a first marriage for women in
the United States in both 1950 and 1960 was 20.3? It is likely that these results included
many women born as early as 1939 that married as virgins at around age 20 in the 1950s,
but later became either divorced or widowed. This pattern is suggested by the statement:
"Even among those who abstained until at least age 20, 81% had had premarital sex by age
44."
The folks at Guttmacher would have us believe that the virginal brides of the era
popularized by Doris Day were a myth. But the study's erroneous view of America prior to
the sexual revolution of the 1960s should cause us to question what the study says about
America today. I don't doubt that there's more promiscuity than there used to be. But is it
really as commonplace as the study claims?
The Guttmacher report concludes: "Almost all Americans have sex before marrying. These
findings argue for education and interventions that provide the skills and information people
need to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
once they become sexually active, regardless of marital status."
Which reminds us of the wise old maxim: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and
statistics."
resources: http://socialissues.wiseto.com/Articles/158387731/

Teenage sex on the rise in Kenya


11 February 2007 - PANA. Only two months after United Nations findings signposted Kenya
as a growing hub of sex tourism in Africa, new research findings unveiled here Friday show
that underage sex is rife in the country, with 56 percent of girls losing virginity before the
age of 16 years.
The new report on girlchild sex exploitation titled; "SexTrak", was jointly conducted by
Infotrak Research and Consulting and a teenage girl magazine Eve, published in Nairobi.

The survey conducted in November last year and commissioned by an international


reproductive health firm Oak Medical Services, found that nearly half of teenagers who
become pregnant opted for abortion to rid themselves of the burden of social stigma
associated with loose moral behaviour.
The startling statistics are likely to bear pressure on the Kenyan government to institute
legal instruments to protect children against sex following concerns that paedophiles are on
the loose in the lucrative tourism industry.

This follows a UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) report unveiled in Nairobi last November,
which showed that over 15,000 children along the Kenyan coast are hired daily for
commercial sex during tourism peak season between the months of October and March.
The high teenage prostitution, the Unicef report said, accounted for the high school drop-
out rate and HIV/AIDS infections among children aged between 10 and 19 years in the
prime tourism regions of the country.

SexTrak data showed that the number of lesbians in the once conservative African
communities is on the rise, with 12 percent of the respondents saying they had "thought of
fellow women sexually" while eight percent admitted to having had lesbian intercourse.
The SexTrak data tallies with recent University of Nairobi's Institute of African Studies
findings, which estimate the ratio of lesbians in the country to be one in every five women.

Sixteen percent of the respondents aged between 18 and 25 said they prefer toys for
sexual pleasure, which they "found to be more satisfying than sex with normal sexual
partners".
However, it is this age group that has the highest number of virgins� 30 percent of the
2,400 young women polled in the 18-25 age band, according to the findings.
Speaking during the launch of the report in the Kenyan capital, Infotrak managing director
Angela Ambitho said termination of unwanted pregnancies was 46 percent of the sample
population.

"Given that the spread of sexually transmitted infections, teenage pregnancies and other
forms of societal deviances are entirely contingent upon human behaviour, it is imperative
for all stakeholders to understand the behaviour and attitudes of young women towards
sex," Ambitho said.
On the positive side, however, the pollsters said consumption of contraceptives� condoms
and pills� to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections was high, pegged at 86
percent.

The report noted that the girls tended to lose their guard on subsequent sexual encounters,
resulting in 33 percent of them contracting STIs, including HIV or conceiving.
The report said 88 percent of the girls opposed to lesbianism did because of their
(Christian and Muslim) faith and termed it immoral, culturally un-African, less satisfying or
simply lacked inclination to same-sex encounters.
Ambitho said the research revealed that despite civic education and the challenges posed
by HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country, the girls exhibited reserved tendencies to their sex
life.
Resources: http://www.africanews.com/site/list_messages/2761

STDs - Invisible, undetectable. Which of your friends has an STD?


STD, sexually transmitted diseases have been called the 21st century plague.
Sexually transmitted disease includes well known diseases like gonnorrhea and syphilis, but
also genital warts, genital herpes and chlamydia.The stigma of what used to be called
Venereal Diseases has largely gone, partly because everyone knows someone who has had to
visit the STD clinic. Nice girls catch STDs, too.
STDs are transmitted by sexual contact. The more people you have sexual contact with, the
greater your chance of having sex with someone who has an STD and the greater the chance
that you will be infected too. You can catch an STD if the first person you have sexual
intercourse with is infected, so it is not necessarily a sign of sexual licence.
Most Sexually Transmitted Diseases respond to treatment if caught in the early stages.
Some, like syphilis and gonorrhoea respond to antibiotics. Genital warts may need to be
frozen off with liquid nitrogen. Not all hepatitis infections are treatable.
Many of these diseases have no symptoms. Gonorrhea may cause painful urination in males,
but no immediate symotoms in females. Chlamydia has no immediate symptoms in males or
females, yet if left untreeated will cause infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease in
females.
Because of the lack of symptoms it is advisable for any adult who is sexually active to be
tested for STDs. The consequences of a night of passion could be life-long and result in
insanity or death at an early age if STDs are not detected and treated.
Diagnosis is simple, a swab is taken and sent for analysis. If the laboratory finds a positive
result you will be asked back for treatment. If the result is positive you may be asked for a
list of sexual contacts, or be asked to contact anyone you have had sexual relations with, so
those people can also be treated.
AIDS/HIV is the Sexually Transmitted Disease that everyone is aware of, but many people
forget older and more common diseases that also kill. Condoms help reduce the risk of STD
transmission, they do not remove the risk entirely.
Resources: http://www.gestbiz.com/articles/Article/STDs---Invisible--undetectable--
Which-of-your-friends-has-an-STD-/513

Ohio AG's stance on negotiating sexual harassment claims unclear


COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) -- The Columbus lawyer representing the two women who
filed sexual harassment charges against disgraced former Ohio AG Marc Dann and their
immediate supervisor, Anthony Gutierrez, last February says the state's new AG is not
being responsive to his request to mediate the dispute.

"I'm having a heckuva time understanding what is taking so long for them to give me an
answer," says Rex Elliot, the lawyer representing Cindy Stankoski and Vanessa Stout.

Elliott says about two weeks ago, he sent a letter to Ohio AG Nancy Hardin Rogers, inquiring
about her stance on mediating the dispute. Rogers was named AG by Ohio Gov. Ted
Strickland last month following Dann's resignation May 14. She'll remain in office until a
special election for the job can be held this November

Elliott says the AG's office responded that while they "might agree," they preferred that
Elliott provide them with an opening demand. However, Elliott says he is not willing to put a
formal demand in writing, but did, instead, summarize his clients' position in a letter to
Rogers.

"The state is liable," Elliott says emphatically, adding Ohio is culpable on three fronts. First,
the two women continue to be employed on the "15th floor," referring to the location of
their jobs in the general services division of the AG's office in the James Rhodes State
Office tower in downtown Columbus. While that alone is not an issue, the women are "still
being subjected to retaliatory conduct, threats and a fair amount of hostile conduct by
colleagues," says Elliott.

Secondly, the women are seeking financial compensation for the "horrific ordeal" they
experienced since this past February, when they notified supervisors of their hostile work
environment. They also want their attorney fees paid. "An enormous amount of time has
been put into this case since early February," says Elliott.

It's not surprising that Elliott views the state as liable, but his stance is supported by the
findings of Ben Espy, who was Dann's Executive Attorney General and the lead investigator
of an inner-office investigation into the women's allegations. Espy's report, released May 2,
concluded that the sexual harassment allegations were true, the women worked in a hostile
work environment and that when supervisors were notified of the women's contentions, they
did nothing. Dann had placed Gutierrez on paid administrative leave April 7 and then
Gutierrez was fired immediately following the release of that report.

"The state is on the hook for the unlawful actions of Marc Dann and Anthony Gutierrez,"
says Elliott.

In communicating with the AG's office via letter, "the only response I hoped for was 'do
you want to mediate?'" says Elliott. He says if he doesn't receive a response soon, he will
file suit on behalf of his clients. If he does, he estimates the attorney fees alone will be
astronomical, noting they could reach the millions. Not only that, depositions and discovery
will occur throughout the fall and the election season, and Elliott says he wonders how that
publicity might impact various elections.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Rogers says she "will be responding to" Elliott. However, Ted
Hart declined to provide further details, saying it would inappropriate to discuss the matter
further. Hart did confirm, however, that Elliott had sent letters to the Attorney General.
"They sent us a letter asking if you'd be open [to negotiations] and we said, 'Let's talk.'
They sent us another letter asking us to respond by today, but it isn't going to be today,"
says Hart.

For the record, the 'today' Hart referred to was Friday the 13th.
Resources: http://www.legalnewsline.com/news/213466-ohio-ags-stance-on-negotiating-
sexual-harassment-claims-unclear