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California Lesbian Teacher Vindicated
 

June 21, 2000:-  The California Department of Industrial Relations upheld an earlier administrative ruling Tuesday against Hemet Unified SchoolDistrict for granting a parent's request to remove a high school studentfrom a tenth grade English class because the teacher is a lesbian. The teacher, Alta Kavanaugh, is an award-winning instructor who has taughtat the District for 18-years.  Both rulings cited the California LaborCode that prohibits employment discrimination based on actual or perceivedsexual orientation.  They also instructed the school district to conductmandatory training with district administrators concerning the rights oflesbian and gay teachers, and to post a notice of the district's violationof the law throughout the school and district headquarters.  Saidattorney Myron Dean Quon, "This important victory for lesbian and gay teachersin the state of California is also a great relief for an exemplary teacherwho now can focus on teaching instead of the cloud of discrimination overher classroom."

Australian Psychologists Reject Conversion 'Therapies'
 

June 21, 2000:-  The Australian Council for Lesbian and Gay Rights reports that a statement has been issued by the Australian PsychologicalSociety against therapies which attempt to change sexual orientation. Rodney Croome of the Council expressed regret that it is not as strongas a similar statement issued by the American Psychiatric Association in1998, but conceded that it would be sufficient to convince "those withgood intentions but little knowledge" not to become involved in attemptsto convert homosexuals into heterosexuals.  "The threat posed by groupsadvocating for therapies to change sexuality is significantly magnifiedwhen they dupe mainstream church groups into supporting their damagingand fruitless programs," he said.

World's First Official Gay Scout Troop in Toronto
 

June 21, 2000:-  Two women and four men donning rainbow neckerchiefs and khaki shirts adorned with a Canadian flag proudly formed Rover Troop129 of Scouts Canada Sunday night.  "Officially we're the first inthe world.  We know there are many that are unofficial," troop leaderBonte Minnema said.  Added another Scout, "I came from a homophobicsmall town.  We knew we needed to organize an alternative.  Wedecided if we did everything by the book, there was no way they could say'no.'"  All scouting programs in Canada are co-ed.  The Scoutshave said they are considering another gay-friendly group in Toronto inthe Venturers age group for 14- to 17-year-olds.  The troop has stirredcontroversy in the United States, where scouts and leaders in several stateshave been thrown out of troops for being gay.  See previousstory.  (Globe and Mail)

Two Charged in Brutal Wisconsin Murder
 

June 21, 2000:-  Paul Foss, 27, and Daniel Chipman, 30, were charged Friday with being party to the crime of first-degree intentional homicidein the death of 45-year-old Jeff Wahlen whose body was found covered inblood in a Motel 6 room in Green Bay in June 1997.  He had been stabbedover 50 times in the back, chest, throat and groin.  Police say theysolved the case when Foss, presently serving an eight-year sentence foran unrelated armed-robbery attempt, sent a letter implicating both he andChipman in the slaying.  Police said Wahlen did not know the two menbefore meeting them outside an adult bookstore.  Chipman corroboratedthe story.  The district attorney said that the possibility of thehomicide being classified as a hate crime is pending determination of themotive.  (Green Bay Press-Gazette)

Base Commander where Pfc. Winchell Murdered Given Pentagon Post
 

June 8, 2000:-  The US Army announced on Tuesday that Maj. Gen. Robert T. Clark, the commanding general of Fort Campbell, Ky - where Pfc. BarryWinchell was bludgeoned to death by a fellow soldier last July for beinggay - will be reassigned to the position of Vice Director of Operationsfor the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon.  The following day30 US House members sent a letter to Defense Secretary William Cohen urginghim "to take action."  In the letter they accuse the Maj. Gen. of"doing little in the wake of the murder to stop this type of harassment"and say they are concerned Clark would be moved prior to the Army InspectorGeneral's office completing on July 1st an investigation of the 'commandclimate' at the base.  An Army spokesman said no action against Clarkis contemplated and that the timing of his move to the Joint Chiefs jobis unrelated to the completion of the Inspector General's report. See previous story.  (Associated Press)

Two Texas Men Arrested While in Bed Get Conviction Overturned
 

June 8, 2000:-  A Texas appellate court today declared the state's sodomy law unconstitutional and overturned a 1998 conviction of two Houstonmen who had been arrested while having consensual sex in a private residence. The state Constitution's Equal Rights Amendment provides that "Equalityunder the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color,creed, or national origin."  The appeals court ruled that the Texassodomy law, which applies only to same-sex partners, violated the amendmentby criminalizing conduct based solely on the participants' sex.
     In September 1998 sheriff's deputies, respondingto a false report of an armed intruder, entered a Houston apartment wherethey said they found John Lawrence and Tyron Garner having sex.  Policearrested both men and held them in jail for over 24 hours before releasingthem on $200 bond each.  The two men pleaded "no contest" to the chargesin criminal court.
     Upon hearing of the ruling John Lawrence said,"At least this nightmare brought some benefit for all of us in Texas. I am thankful and relieved that this horrible experience may finally beover."

London Nail Bomber Ordered Drink Before Blowing Up Bar
 

June 7, 2000:-  In day two yesterday of the trial of David Copeland, the man who nailed-bombed three London establishments in April 1999 - including a gay bar where three people were killed, including a pregnantwoman - the jury was told that Copeland felt nothing as he executed hisfatal plan.  A customer with whom he had been chatting at the AdmiralDuncan pub offered to mind his drink after Copeland told him that he neededto go get some money.  Copeland walked away, leaving the bomb behindin a sports bag.
     The prosecution told the court that Copelandhad been planning his bombing campaign since the explosions at the 1996Olympics in Atlanta with the aim of "causing murder, mayhem, chaos, damage- to get on the news as the top story, really.  The aim was to spreadfear, resentment and hatred through this country.  He thought thebombs would be the spark to set fire to this country, stirring up a racialwar which would cause whites to vote for the British National Party."
     Copeland told the police he wanted to be caughtso that he could become famous.  He has pleaded guilty to manslaughterbased on diminished responsibility but the Crown is going for three convictionsof causing an explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious injuryto property.

Puerto Ricans March for Decriminalization
 

June 5, 2000:-  Gays and lesbians in Puerto Rico celebrated the tenth anniversary of Pride yesterday by calling on lawmakers in that US territoryto repeal the law which makes gay sex a crime punishable by up to ten yearsin prison.  After marching through the streets of San Juan to a parkrally organizers decried the law.  "We demand peace for the lesbians,homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals and transgendered who are bombardedwith taunts, contaminated by homophobia, [and] abused by violence," AmparoFidalgo, spokeswoman of Rainbow Pride, said to a cheering crowd. Although never enforced, activists say the law encourages prejudice. (Associated Press)

Results of Scottish Business Tycoon Poll on Section 28 Come In
 

May 30, 2000:-  The results of wealthy Scottish businessman Brian Souter's public opinion poll on the possible repeal of the infamous lawSection 28, which prohibits the 'promotion' of homosexuality by local authorities,have been compiled.  Calling it a referendum, the 'Keep the Clause'campaign announced today that 87% of poll respondents were against repeal. Said Souter, "A denial of this result would be a denial of democracy." Rights activists called the survey one of the most "unbalanced, misinformedballots in Scottish history."  The Scottish government denounced it,saying 2 out of 3 voters ignored the poll.  See previous story. (BBC)

Presbyterian Church Opens Up - Some
 

May 30, 2000:-  The highest court of the Presbyterian Church ruled Sunday that its ministers may perform holy union ceremonies for gay andlesbian couples, and the denomination's Permanent Judicial Commission ruledthat the church may accept a young gay man in New Jersey as a candidatefor ordained ministry.  Pam Byers, executive director of CovenantNetwork of Presbyterians welcomed the two rulings but noted that althoughneither actually changes church law Presbyterians will have more latitudein ministering to gays and lesbians.
     In a similar move the Southeastern MichiganSynod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church also passed a resolution allowingpastors to bless holy unions, but earlier this month the United MethodistChurch overwhelmingly voted to retain its ban on them as well as gay and lesbianclergy.  The same issues are expected to spark lively debate at anational convention of Episcopalians to be held July 5-14 in Denver.

Israel Says Lesbian Partner Can be Parent
 

May 30, 2000:-  In a landmark decision, Israel's Supreme Court yesterday recognized the right of a lesbian spouse to be registered as the secondparent of her partner's biological son.  The court ordered American-bornNicole Berner-Kadish be registered as the mother of 4-year-old Matan Berner-Kadish,biological son of Ruti Berner-Kadish.  The Israeli-born Ruti was artificiallyinseminated and gave birth in the United States.  Partner Nicole adoptedthe boy there as well.  An legislator from the ultra-Orthodox UnitedTorah Judaism party compared the high court's ruling to the laws of BiblicalSodom.  (Associated Press)

Former Zimbabwe President Jailed for Sodomy
 

May 30, 2000:-  Canaan Banana lost an appeal yesterday to Zimbabwe's Supreme Court to reverse his 1999 conviction of 11 counts of sodomy andabuse of power in coercing male staff members into having sex.  Banana'sappeal was based on the convictions having invaded his privacy rights underthe constitution.  Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe, the Africancountry ruled by notorious homophobe and tyrant Robert Mugabe who has characterizedgays as "lower than pigs and dogs."  Banana insists the case againsthim was influenced by political opponents.  He  was ordered toserve a year in jail, with a second year suspended.  (AssociatedPress)

London Nail Bomber Goes to Trial June 5
 

May 25, 2000:-  David Copeland, the man charged with murdering three people in that nail bomb attack on a London gay bar in April of 1999,will go on trial at the Old Bailey criminal court on June 5, accordingto a government statement made today.  Copeland pleaded guilty inFebruary to the bombing - as well as to two others in the same month whichcaused many injuries - but entered a plea of guilty to manslaughter basedon diminished responsibility in the bar killings.  The bombs wereeach crude homemade ones the size of shoeboxes.  He is further chargedwith three counts of causing an explosion likely to endanger life or causeserious injury to property.  (Reuters)

Singapore Forum Outlawed
 

May 24, 2000:-  Authorities in Singapore today canceled an historic discussion forum planned by gays and lesbians in that conservative city-state. Community members had announced earlier that they would 'test the waters'by organizing a peaceful assembly in the interest of mutual support - eventhough gay sex is punishable by life imprisonment in their country. Police said in a statement that they "cannot allow the holding of thispublic forum, which will advance and legitimize the cause of homosexualsin Singapore."  Businessman Alex Au, who had requested governmentpermission for the forum, responded by saying:  "It seems that civilsociety can only operate within the narrow confines of what the authoritiesdeem to be the public interest."  (Associated Press)

Last Out, First Back
 

May 16, 2000:-  The last UK soldier to be sacked for being gay, just days before the historic European Court of Human Rights ruling in the fallof 1999, is the first to be re-enlisted.  Twenty-five-year-old RichardYoung, a former Navy chef, has been offered a new contract at the samebase with his pay, seniority and rank of able seaman fully restored. Young told the press he was "ecstatic" about continuing his career. The court had ordered the UK to dismiss its discriminatory policy insteadof its gay and lesbian personnel.  The Blair government introduceda new policy in January 2000.  (The Guardian)  See previousstory.

Twins of UK Couple Baptized in Historic Ceremony
 

May 15, 2000:-  In a church first the surrogate twins of a gay UK couple were baptized yesterday.  In performing the sacrament ceremonythe Rev. Michael Blyth said:  "The Church does not make any distinctionabout parents ... it is not for other people to penalise any child or shutthem out."  The parents, two wealthy businessmen in their 30s, madehistory last year when a California court allowed both their names to beinscribed on the babies' birth certificates as the parents.  The babieswere conceived with a donor woman and carried to term by a surrogate motherin California.  (The Electronic Telegraph)  See previousstory.

Glasgow Gay Groups' City Funding Frozen by Section 28 Court Action
 

May 15, 2000:-  In the first attempt to enforce the UK's Thatcher-era law which prevents the 'promotion of homosexuality' by local authorities,a citizen has launched legal action against the city of Glasgow for fundinggay groups to the tune of £90,000 per year.  The city's council hasvoluntarily suspended further payments pending a judicial review of thecase but defended its right to fund gay organizations, which include AIDSservice ones.  The rights group Stonewall was quoted as predictingthe court action will fail.  The Scottish repeal of Section 28 isexpected to succeed.  (The Scotsman)  See previous story.

UK's Outcast Finally Publishes
 

May 15, 2000:-  After a notorious month of press coverage, accusations, and the launch of litigation, the UK gay magazine Outcast finallypublished an article which had been the alleged cause of the publication'sweb site being shut down and a lawsuit against it threatened.  Thearticle claims to reveal questionable practices and a lack of accountabilityin charity operations by a gay media company which publishes the popularPink Paper and reportedly threatened the lawsuit should Outcast publishthe story.  The online version of it may be found at www.outcastmagazine.co.uk/08001.htm.  See previous story.

UK Repeal of Section 28 Not Looking Good
 

May 12, 2000:-  In the most downbeat assessment to-date of the chances for repeal of the infamous Section 28, the never-enforced Thatcher-eralaw which bans the 'promotion of homosexuality' in schools, the Local GovernmentMinister warned that a major fight continues to lie ahead.  "Evenif we are winning the arguments generally, winning them in there [Parliament]is of a different nature and I'm simply warning you of that," Hilary Armstrongtold a meeting of activists Wednesday night.  (Times of London)  See previous story.

Belgium Same Sex Couples Law:  A status nobody wants.
 

May 10, 2000:-  Only eight 'statutory cohabitation contracts' have been registered in Brussels since a new law providing the opportunity forsuch came into effect in Belgium in January 2000.  Considered "completelypointless" by gay organization Infor-Homo, the law addresses neither socialsecurity or inheritance rights of gay - or straight - common law partners. Federal Parliament Socialist MPs are currently drafting an amendment whichwill extend the law to recognize the cohabitants' rights to social securityand inheritance, and reinforce their duties to care for each other bothpractically and financially.  The existing statute, passed in 1998by the Christian Social party which is now the Opposition, is a 'watereddown' version of the 1995 comprehensive draft.  The MPs commentedby saying it "may provide symbolic satisfaction to those who are intellectuallyin favour of it."  (Le Soir, translated by Alan Reekie, ILGA)

Egyptian Men Charged for Drafting Gay 'Marriage Contract'
 

May 10, 2000:-  A thirty-eight-year-old Egyptian man has been charged with 'violation of honor by threat' for drafting a marriage-type contract- an 'urfi' - with an 18- or 19-year old man to celebrate their 1-1/2 yearrelationship.  The younger man was initially held on charges of 'practicingimmoral and indecent behavior' before being released on April 13th. The press reported that the youth at first denied that there had been anysexual contact between the two men, but later 'confessed.'  The statewas described by the press as 'rarely interfering in relations betweengay men.'  (Cairo Times)

French Army Says 'Rambos No,' 'Gays Yes'
 

May 4, 2000:-  The warrior image of the Foreign Legion may never be the same again after the release yesterday of a film on the homoeroticlife of legionnaires.  Beau Travail tells the story of twosoldiers competing for the attentions of their commanding officer in anisolated Legion detachment.  Although the Legion refused to cooperatein making the film, the Army's Director of Communications said the forcewas happy to recruit gays in contrast to what he depicted as the hostileattitude of British and American forces.  "The question was to decidewhether we wanted a very hard army by just recruiting Rambos ... or tocreate a less monolithic Army which is in real osmosis with the nation... We clearly took the second choice," said General Alain Raevel.  Gays in relationships are subject to the same treatment as heterosexuals bound by the PACS partnershipcontracts.  (London Times)

Austria's Haider Formally Steps Down
 

May 1, 2000:-  Joerg Haider formally stepped down today as leader of Austria's far-right Freedom Party, which recently formed half that country'scoalition government.  Haider's xenophobic statements have causedthe party embarrassment and its government to be shunned by state representativesof the European Community.  In recent days, Haider has stepped upattacks on those European leaders, describing them as more immoral andcorrupt than ancient Rome.  A recent poll found that fifty per centof Austrians agreed with him, however, that Austria should cut its contributionto the EU.  The Freedom Party's homophobic stance has been well documented. Haider was outed by the German gay press last month.  See previousstory.  (CBC)

Saudi Arabia Sentences Transvestites to Brutal Flogging
 

April 28, 2000:-  A Saudi Arabian court reportedly sentenced nine young men on April 15th to up to 2,600 lashes each and 4-6 years in prisonfor so-called 'deviant sexual behavior.'  The men were arrested bypolice after allegedly finding them dressing in women's clothing. A court in Qunfada found them guilty of transvestitism.  The InternationalGay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has condemned the reported courtdecision and is shocked as Saudi Arabia is a founding member of the UnitedNations and a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture.  Thelashes are to be carried out at 15-day intervals over the course of thenext two years.

Diaries of Beatles' First Manager Up for Auction
 

April 27, 2000:-  The diaries of Brian Epstein, the original manager of The Beatles, were to be part of a collection of private papers goingon the auction block in London today.  They are expected to detailthe man's desperate unhappiness as a 15-year-old schoolboy, his struggleto come to terms with being gay, and his bouts of depression.  Epsteindied of a drug overdose at the age of 32.  He had given the papersto his former chauffeur for safekeeping in 1967.  The chauffeur, BryanBarrett, was quoted in British newspapers as saying that he feels he cannow sell the material because the members of Epstein's immediate familyare all dead.

NY Non-Discrimination Bill Moves Through Senate
 

April 25, 2000:-  Last week a New York State Senate Committee examining the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) voted 9-2 (with 1abstaining) to return it to the Senate proper for third reading. Though occurring quietly and without fanfare, the bill's movement is beingheralded as good news and a victory for lesbian and gay New Yorkers. "It may be premature to be optimistic and think that this legislation,which has languished for 28 years without a full Senate floor vote, willget its democratic due and be voted on during this session.  Nonetheless,by all accounts, this is progress, movement forward, and most certainlya symbolic victory," said Ross Levi, Legislative Counsel for the EmpireState Pride Agenda.

UK Labour: Public Supports Non-Discrimination
 

April 25, 2000:-  The British Trade Union Congress announced on the 14th that a public poll conducted for it resulted in almost 75% of respondentsagreeing that gay and lesbian people should not be sacked or treated differentlythan their straight counterparts in the workplace.  The Congress wantsa new anti-discrimination law for situations of employment.  It isalso lobbying for pension and other benefits to be given to long term samesex partners as part of a larger package of non-discrimination legislation. The voluntary code of practice proposed by the government is insufficient,it says.  "Our poll shows the quiet majority backs these modest rights;it is only a noisy minority which is standing in the way of progress,"it concludes.

Blair Says 'Gay OK' for Adoption
 

April 25, 2000:-  British Prime Minister Tony Blair is planning a new national adoption scheme in order to do away with both the questionablecriteria for adoption in that country and its backlogged system. Included in the plan are gay and lesbian couples:  "This is aboutmaking adoption easier and it includes gay adoption," a Downing Streetsource said.  At present, nearly 1,300 would-be parents are waiting to adopt, althoughthere are 5,000 children who have been approved to join families. Over 50,000 children are in care homes.
     In British law there is nothing to stop agay man or woman from individually adopting a child.  In practice,however, very few applications have been granted.  Under the new nationaladoption plan, which will replace individual rules and criteria imposedby local councils, officials will have to treat gay would-be parents onthe same basis as anybody else, provided they fulfilled criteria such asgood health, parenting skills, regular income and a stable relationship. "There are not enough families coming forward for the children waitingto be adopted," said the chief executive of the British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering.  "We don't think you should exclude people in gayand lesbian relationships," she added.  The move is being criticizedby family advocates.  (London Sunday Times)

Nepali Youth Imprisoned for Being Lesbian
 

April 17, 2000:-  Two young women have been arrested in Katmandu forannouncing they got married.  "We will separate them and hand overto their respective families," said police of the high school students. They further described the youths' behaviour as illegal and against Hinduculture and religion.  "No one can break our nuptial chords nor makeus cease to love each other," the young women said in a statement to police. The MagnusHirschfeld Centre for Human Rights in New Jersey is claiming the actionsrepresent a grave breach not only of Nepal's domestic law but of Nepaliobligations under international law.  The Centre is calling for observersto respectfully ask the Nepali government to allow the youths to conducttheir intimate lives without interference from state authorities. (BBC, The Kathmandu Post)

California Assembly Committee Approves Domestic Partnership Bill
 

April 12, 2000:-  A California bill that would grant registered domestic partners the right to make medical decisions for each other cleared its second hurdle yesterday.  The Assembly Health Committee approved AB 1990 whichwould authorize a registered domestic partner to make medical treatmentdecisions on behalf of his or her partner if they are a patient in ahospital and incapable of giving informed consent.  All nine Democrats onthe committee supported the bill while all five Republicans opposed themeasure.  AB 1990 now goes to Assembly Appropriations Committee for fiscalconsideration.

Miami's Non-Discrimination Ordinance Safe - Insufficient Signatures Gathered
 

April 10, 2000:-  Opponents of the 1998 Miami-Dade County ordinance that banned discrimination against gay men and lesbians failed to gatherenough signatures by the April 7th deadline to force a ballot initiativein November's election.  Organizers gathered 27,000 signatures, about5600 shy of the number they needed.  Under county rules, the grouphad 60 days to collect signatures from 4 percent of the voters.  Members of therights group SAVE Dade celebrated at County Hall as the deadline passed. "Avoiding another ugly battle in this community is a welcome opportunity,"they said.  See previous story.  (Miami Herald)

German Soldier Reinstated
 

April 10, 2000:-  In preparation for a constitutional challenge Germany's Federal Constitutional Court issued a letter to the Ministry of Defenseasking how they intended to justify their position that gay officers workingas instructors would not be respected by other soldiers.  In response,and in accordance with the European Court of Human Rights ruling in 1999,the Minister of Defense reportedly became convinced that discriminatedgay army officer Winfried Stecher would win his landmark lawsuit at theGerman high court.  It is unknown whether the former instructor willbe reinstated in his previous army unit or assigned to a new one. (Tageszeitung, translated by Gerald Pilz)

Rio de Janeiro Imposes Penalties for Discrimination
 

April 10, 2000:-  Last week the State Assembly of Rio de Janeiro passed a bill which establishes monetary sanctions for establishments (like hotels,motels, restaurants and bars) that discriminate against persons based onsexual orientation.  The fines range from approx. US $3,000 to 7,000,and include the possibility of forcing the establishment to cease operationsfor 30-days.  Government employees who discriminate are subject todisciplinary review boards.
     The State of Rio de Janeiro's Constitution(and the City of Rio's charter) both prohibit discrimination based on sexualorientation, but protection has been moot until now, as there have beenno penalties prescribed.
     The International Gay and Lesbian Human RightsCommission has described the murder rate of gays in Brazil as one everysecond day on average.  See previousstory.  (Grupo Arco-Iris)

Who Offers Excursion Rates to Turkey
 

April 7, 2000:-  The Bears of Turkey are advertising on the Internet for a tour to watch Turkey's oil wrestlers - burly men who cover themselvesin olive oil and grapple with each other while wearing leather trousers. The wrestlers, their muscles rippling in olive oil under the hot sun, tryto pin each other to the ground.  Putting a hand down the opponent'strousers to get a better grip is a common tactic.  The wrestlers aretrying to stop the planned excursion.  (Reuters)

Swedish Advertising Campaign for Gay Men Wins Gold
 

April 7, 2000:-  At an annual award show for advertising in Stockholm the prize for best TV ad went to Swedish gay web magazine www.sylvester.nufor a film which shows a football game where the players hug just a littletoo long after scoring a goal.  The award, called the 'Golden Egg,'is Sweden's most prestigious for advertising and gains the the winner muchmedia attention.  The film can be seen at www.resume.se/artiklar/index.asp?articleId=3439.

New Gay Art Webring Launched
 

April 7, 2000:-  A new art based webring has been created for the Community.  Entitled the Gay Art Webring, it is sponsored by the GayToons Syndicate (www.gaytoons.com).  Sites related to cartoons/comics,painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, handicrafts, music, performanceart, or theater are invited to join.  Details are available at www.gaytoons.com/gayart/index.htm.

Controversial Canadian Film Abandoned
 

April 4, 2000:-  Toronto filmmaker Deepa Mehta has abandoned attemptsto complete the filming of Water, the third in her alternative trilogyof women in India, after being unable to secure a film permit in that country. Production was halted in February after significant protest and vandalismfrom Indians who believe Ms. Mehta's works are an attack on traditionalHindu values. (See previous brief.)  Water was to be a storyabout young women in the 1930s who were forced to become prostitutes aftertheir husbands' deaths.  (Globe & Mail)

Natives Oppose Equality Bill
 

April 4, 2000:-  The Naskapi Nation of northern Quebec are upset with Canada's equality bill proposing to amend the Cree-Naskapi Act.  Theysay that in their treaty right under the Constitution Act their consentis required prior to the Cree-Naskapi Act being amended.  The federalgovernment has defended its equality bill as being required becauseof the constitution's Charter of Rights, but the Naskapi interpretSection 25 of the Charter as subordinating the Charter to treaty rightsshould the two come in conflict.  The federal Minster of Indian Affairshas responded by stating that amendments will not be made without discussionfirst, but the Naskapi say it's wrong to amend first and discuss later.
     They say they are not opposed to the equalitybill per se, although admit that their nation is divided over it. (Montreal Gazette)