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FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL APOLOGIZES TO GAYS
The vice president for policy at the Family Research Council, Peter Sprigg, apologized March 27 for having said he wants to export Gays from the U.S.

In a March 19 interview with Medill News Service, while speaking against a pending bill that grants immigration rights to gay Americans' foreign partners, Sprigg said, "I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe that homosexuality is destructive to society."

The Gay group Immigration Equality said it demanded an apology for the crack, and got one.

"I used language that trivialized the seriousness of the issue and did not communicate respect for the essential dignity of every human being as a person created in the image of God," Sprigg said. "I apologize for speaking in a way that did not reflect the standards which the Family Research Council and I embrace."

Immigration Equality Executive Director Rachel Tiven commented: "This is a welcome apology in response to a chilling statement that should have never been uttered. Still tonight, loving families ripped apart by discriminatory immigration laws will keep fighting for equal rights. We look forward to the day when everyone joins Peter Sprigg in his recognition of the essential dignity of every human being - regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."

MARRIED GAY MAN DENIED NEW PASSPORT
The U.S. government has declined to issue a passport to Jason Hair-Wynn of Attleboro, Mass., because his last name is the result of his having gotten married to his boyfriend. Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts.

If Hair-Wynn wants to renew his passport - he's an AIDS counselor who is scheduled to work in orphanages in Ghana in July - he will have to legally change his name back to what it was before he got married, the local Sun Chronicle newspaper reported.

In a letter to Hair-Wynn, the State Department said: "We are unable to comply with your request for a name change based on the documentation you sent because of the Defense of Marriage Act [which states:] 'In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administration bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.'"

"I can't even process this," Hair-Wynn told the newspaper. "It is weird to get discrimination in writing."

He said the Social Security Administration gave him a new Social Security card with his married name on it, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles reissued his documents as well.

But Hair-Wynn says working with kids in Ghana is important enough that he'll change his name again to be able to renew his passport.

GEORGE MICHAEL TO PERFORM IN U.S., CANADA
For the first time in 17 years, openly Gay pop singer George Michael will bring a concert tour to North America, starting June 17 in San Diego and ending August 3 in Fort Lauderdale.

The 20-city tour also will visit San Jose, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Toronto, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Atlanta and St. Petersburg.

Tickets for the "25 Live" tour go on sale April 6.

The tour dovetails with Michael's new double CD Twenty-Five, which features 29 songs, some of them new, including duets with Paul McCartney and Mary J. Blige. He also is releasing a two-disc DVD of 40 videos.

Michael has sold more than 85 million records. He has had seven U.S. No. 1 singles and won two Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, an MTV Video Music Award and two Ivor Novello Awards for songwriting, according to the press release announcing the tour.

He has had 11 British No. 1 singles and seven British No. 1 albums, and recently was declared the most-played artist on British radio in the past 20 years, the statement said.

VERMONTERS FAVOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
Fifty-four percent of Vermont voters support opening marriage to same-sex couples while 37 percent oppose it, WPTZ-TV reported March 26.

The figures come from opinion surveys filled out by 7,000 people who took part in Town Meeting Day and reflect an 8-percent jump in support for same-sex marriage over last year's findings. The survey is not scientific.

In 2000, Vermont became the first U.S. state to enact a civil-union law, granting same-sex couples "all the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under Vermont law, whether they derive from statute, policy, administrative or court rule, common law or any other source of civil law, as are granted to spouses in a marriage."

Nearly 1,300 Vermont couples and more than 8,000 couples from elsewhere have entered into a Vermont civil union, according to Secretary of State Deborah L. Markowitz.

OREGON MAN IS PREGNANT
A Bend, Ore., man is pregnant, he told The Advocate on March 26.

Thomas Beatie told the magazine he'd had a sex-change operation, become a man and married his wife but kept his female reproductive organs.

"Sterilization is not a requirement for sex reassignment, so I decided to have chest reconstruction and testosterone therapy but kept my reproductive rights," Beatie said. "I stopped taking my bimonthly testosterone injections. It had been roughly eight years since I had my last menstrual cycle, so this wasn't a decision that I took lightly. My body regulated itself after about four months, and I didn't have to take any ... drugs to aid my pregnancy."

Beatie's wife, Nancy, can't have children because she had to have a hysterectomy several years ago.

Beatie said he and his wife are having problems with people who are upset about his pregnancy, which came about via home insemination.

"Doctors have discriminated against us, turning us away due to their religious beliefs," he said. "Health care professionals have refused to call me by a male pronoun or recognize Nancy as my wife. Receptionists have laughed at us. Friends and family have been unsupportive; most of Nancy's family doesn't even know I'm Transgender."

The couple's baby girl is due July 3. The Advocate said it confirmed Beatie's pregnancy with his obstetrician-gynecologist.

With assistance from Bill Kelley
 

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