Pastor defrocked for same-sex holy union rite
26 , 1999
Although the church’s high court ruled in August 1998 that the Social
Principals could be enforced, enough jurors in Creech’s first trial
were swayed by the controversy to acquit him.
One month later, in April 1998, Creech performed the ceremony that
resulted in the second trial. For the second trial, Creech chose to
refuse counsel, and not participate in jury selection or cross-examine
"To put on a defense will give credibility to the law and will
say the law is valid and just," Creech said. "I will not give
any credibility to the law."
Creech did testify in response to questions and gave a closing statement,
which he used to present evidence that the ban on same-sex unions harms
the church and conflicts with the teachings of Jesus.
When asked, Creech said that he considers the union between the two
men to be a marriage. In response to a juror’s question about whether
he will continue to perform unions for same-sex couples, Creech replied,
"There is nothing that will deter me from doing that."
"This is truly a sad day in the history of the United Methodist
Church," Creech told the jurors. "This trial is an act of
violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people."
The night before the trial was scheduled to begin, Creech co-officiated
a re-commitment ceremony for the two men he married in April, using
the same liturgy as the original ceremony.
After the ceremony, Soulforce members took turns to keep an all-night
vigil on the steps of the church hosting the trial.
entire Soulforce group gathered outside the church at 7:00 am on the
morning of the trial, and 74 locked arms momentarily when the jurors
arrived, blocking the entrance. Those 74 were arrested and charged with
second degree misdemeanor trespassing, and were released after paying
a fine and legal fees totaling $48.
Two children who locked arms with protesters blocking the church entrance
were not arrested because of their age, but stayed with the other protesters
during the arrest, singing "We Shall Overcome" as police wrote
tickets and assessed fines.
Protesters hoped to persuade church jury members to refuse to participate
in the trial, either by not entering the church where the trial was
held, or by rendering no verdict. Many were shocked when the jury returned
its guilty verdict at 1:35 pm on the first day of the trial, which
was scheduled to last two days.
When the jury announced its decision to remove Creech’s ministerial
credentials, several cried.
The Rev. Mel White, co-founder of Soulforce, said that it is very rare
for a United Methodist minister to be defrocked.
"If it’s ever done, it’s for impropriety, either financial or
sexual. Jimmy not only paid a penalty, but he was put into a special
class, like Jesus was." White said. "It was an excessive penalty.
They not only punished him, they punished him as a criminal."
"The penalty is a harsh one," Creech told reporters after
the sentence was announced. "I feel the loss severely. But that
doesn’t compare to what gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people
must feel. The church has said it will use its power, legal power, spiritual
power and financial power, to enforce bigotry. It’s a sad day. It’s
a scandalous day for the United Methodist Church."
A coalition of five United Methodist groups supporting Creech issued
a statement after the trial calling it "a travesty of justice and
a violation of the integrity of the ministry of the church."
The groups vowed to take action against the United Methodist ban on
same-sex unions during the church’s annual conference in May, which
will take place in Cleveland.
"I believe when we get to General Conference," Dell said,
"delegates will say that they will reclaim our heritage of grace
in the midst of differences."
Cruising man assaulted
in supermarket parking lot
by Denny Sampson
Gay People's Chronicle
November 26, 1999
Cleveland--Two young men robbed and physically assaulted a gay
man in a Cleveland grocery store parking lot early in the morning on
The attack occurred at 3 am in Giant Eagle’s (formerly Rini Rego’s)
parking lot at West 117th St. and Clifton Blvd.
was there cruising," said the victim, Edward Pugh of Lakewood. "Two
young guys drove up and acted like they wanted to talk, at first. Then
they pulled their car behind me so I couldn’t move my car. One had a
hammer, the other had a large flashlight They asked me for my wallet,
and busted my car window. Then one of them hit me in the head with the
hammer several times. I gave them my wallet."
The two assailants were reportedly Caucasian, between the ages of 20
"When they left, I ran over to the CVS [pharmacy] across the street
for help," Pugh said. "The ladies there were very helpful, and convinced
me to go to Lakewood Hospital for treatment. The nurse called the police
at the [First District] in Cleveland, and she asked them to send an
officer to the hospital."
Pugh described the policeman who came to the hospital to take his statement
as "very rude."
"He said it (the attack) was my fault for being there. He acted like
he didn’t want to take the report, and only took it because I insisted."
Pugh was also dissatisfied by his treatment from the emergency room
doctor. "He just gave me aspirin. I had been beaten in the head with
a hammer, and he never even took X-rays."
"I am making my story public so that maybe I can prevent someone else
from going through what I went through," said Pugh.
bans university same-sex benefits
by Denny Sampson
Gay People's Chronicle
November 26, 1999
Harrisburg, Pa.-Pennsylvania lawmakers quickly approved legislation
that bans domestic partnership health benefits for employees of state-financed
colleges and universities.
The measure also exempts colleges and universities from providing same-sex
benefits in cities where local ordinances require such benefits be provided.
In two unscheduled votes on an amendment to a completely unrelated
bill, both the Pennsylvania House and Senate passed the measure on Tuesday,
A spokesman for Gov. Tom Ridge's office said he intends to sign the
bill into law.
"The governor believes marriage is a heterosexual institution,"
said Tim Reeves, Ridge’s spokesman. "We see what’s happening in
Pittsburgh as an [intrusion] on the institution of marriage. State employees
don’t get same-sex benefits."
Reeves is referring to the University of Pittsburgh’s three-year-old
case involving the interpretation of Pittsburgh’s gay civil rights ordinance.
The battle began when former University of Pittsburgh instructor Deborah
Henson and six other current and former employees filed a complaint
against the university with the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations.
Henson argued that the university’s refusal of benefits to same-sex
partners violated the city's ordinance which bans discrimination based
on sexual orientation.
The city commission found that there was probable cause that the University
of Pittsburgh had discriminated against Henson. The university’s stance
had led to a hunger strike on campus, and mini-revolts by faculty and
"The university expects that this statute will put an end to the
case," said university spokesman Ken Service. "This action
by the legislature validates the legal position that the university
has been advancing all along, namely that the Pittsburgh ordinance could
not be used to compel the university to extend health insurance coverage
to same-sex domestic partners of employees."
Witold Walczak, director of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American
Civil Liberties Union, disagrees. He said that the city's gay civil
rights measure does not speak directly to the question of benefits-only
that an institution cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation.
He also said the university is allowed to decide for itself whether
it will provide benefits, but cannot then decide who gets them based
on sexual orientation.
The ACLU plans to continue its legal challenge to the university.
"Our lawsuit is a discrimination lawsuit. It is not a benefits
lawsuit," Walczak said.
"These guys trip over themselves to vote against gays and lesbians,"
said Larry Frankel, executive director of the Pennsylvania chapter of
Rep. Dan Frankel, D, said the actions of the state government were
an example of "stealth legislation" and sent an anti-gay-and-lesbian
"It really says Pennsylvania is behind the times and trying to
legislate us back to the Stone Age," he said.
CATF spearheads World
AIDS Day observation
by A.L. Wood
Gay People's Chronicle
November 26, 1999
Columbus--Organizations are planning special initiatives and
events around December 1, World AIDS Day.
For 12 years, World AIDS Day has marked the culmination of an international
effort to raise awareness and spread accurate information about the
worldwide AIDS pandemic. This year's theme is "Listen, Learn, Live:
World AIDS Campaign with Children and Young People."
The Columbus AIDS Task Force is spearheading efforts in Columbus. Kathryn
Bernish, director of the Ohio AIDS Hotline, which is operated by the
task force, says general public concern about AIDS appears to be softening
because of recent press about new and better treatments. Unfortunately,
says Bernish, this new apathy is misguided.
CATF says that in 1998, AIDS became the world's deadliest infectious
disease, killing more than 2.28 million people in that year alone. In
Ohio, it is estimated that there are at least 18,000 people who are
living with HIV and AIDS.
"It is crucial that we continue to do the awareness and prevention
education. Yes, we have had a decline in AIDS death, but that decline
has dropped off," says Bernish. "There is a growing population of people
living with HIV and AIDS. It is crucial that we remind folks that AIDS
is still here."
To forward that mission, CATF has partnered with several Central Ohio
organizations to commemorate World AIDS Day and the World AIDS Campaign.
CATF Speakers Bureau volunteers will be speaking at schools in Columbus
and surrounding areas and distributing bookmarks to students. The bookmarks
feature current AIDS information, a red ribbon, and suggestions for
young people about what they can do to fight AIDS.
Several high school organizations in the Columbus area have volunteered
to help by making red ribbons in preparation for CATF's school visits.
In addition, the Columbus Health Department has made additional HIV
testing available on World AIDS Day from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Africentric
Personal Development Shop at 1409 East Livingston Avenue. CATF reports
that African-Americans represent 34 percent of the diagnosed cases of
CATF has also worked together with student organizations at Ohio State
University, including Student Gender and Sexuality Services. Students
will tie large red ribbons around the trees on the University Oval and
distribute World AIDS Day bookmarks there from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. on December
Also that day, a vigil will be held at the Rhodes Center lobby in downtown
Columbus to honor the lives of the more than 6,500 Ohioans who have
died of AIDS. The vigil, coordinated by the United by Our Light Committee,
the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, Outlook newspaper, and
CATF, will feature a reading of the names dedicated by loved ones as
well as more than 120 panels from the Quilt.
To dedicate a name to read at the vigil, or to volunteer to read names,
please call 614-265-8111. The Quilt panels will be on display at the
Rhodes Center lobby throughout the week. Additional names reading, organized
by the Central Ohio Chapter of the Names Project, will occur during
the lunch hour every business day.
Since 1988, World AIDS Day has marked the end of an annual, year-long
World AIDS Campaign spearheaded by the Joint United Nations Programme
on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) as well as the World Health Assembly.
World AIDS Day organizers can be reached at the Ohio AIDS Hotline,
Crisp, writer and ‘mother superior,’ dies at 90
November 26, 1999
London--Quentin Crisp, the eccentric writer, performer and gay
bon vivant best-known for his autobiography The Naked Civil Servant,
died Sunday, November 21, after collapsing at a private residence in
Manchester, England. He was 90.
had been found unconscious and was transported to Manchester Royal Infirmary,
where he died, authorities said.
Crisp, who lived mainly in New York City for decades, was in his native
Britain to begin touring with a one-man show. He was scheduled to perform
at the Green Room Theater in Manchester the following night, according
the theater’s press manager, Christopher Hodgson.
In an interview published the day before his death in the Times
of London, Crisp outlined his wishes for a funeral.
"No flowers. No candles. No long faces standing around in the rain,
staring down into a hole in the ground while someone drones on about
how wonderful I was. I’d rather just be shuffled off. Just drop me into
one of those black plastic bags and leave me by the trash can," Crisp
told the newspaper.
A slight, dandified figure who wore makeup and high-heeled shoes and
piled his white hair in bouffant waves on top of his head, Crisp made
no secret of the fact that he was gay.
Born on Dec. 28, 1908, as Denis Pratt in Sutton, south of London, he
worked as a commercial artist, part-time prostitute and art school model
after leaving school. He came out in his 20s.
Crisp first stepped into the public arena with his 1968 autobiography,
The Naked Civil Servant, later adapted for television. It was
widely praised and sold well, but he began to receive anonymous threatening
These intensified when the book was made into a film in 1975 with John
Hurt as Crisp. His response was to offer the callers an appointment—would
Monday at eleven be good?
By now, he was a cult figure-what he called "the mother superior of
In January 1978, his first one-man show opened in London, to great
But he had always wanted to live in America and, three years later,
he moved to New York City.
There, he built up a new following, appearing on television, taking
his one-man show across the United States, lecturing on cruise ships
and appearing in advertisements for Calvin Klein perfume and Levi’s
He also played Elizabeth I in Sally Potter’s film of Virginia Woolf’s
Orlando, and wrote several other books, including How to Become
a Virgin and the best-selling New York Diaries.
"The reason I came to America," he said in a 1998 interview with the
Sunday Telegraph, "is that I need a constantly changing audience,
because I say the same thing over and over again."
He avoided the trappings of fame, living in a small room in Manhattan’s
His views remained unorthodox. He put off gays and lesbians, for instance,
by saying he regarded being gay as an illness.