MAY 2006

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  •• Waskow: Exponent
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Rainbow symbol of the LGBT community 

Philadelphia Pride Mission to Israel

(JFGP) The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is hosting the Philadelphia Pride Mission to Israel from August 3-13, 2006, to coincide with Jerusalem World Pride 2006. The mission joins international efforts taking place in Israel to address issues and interests of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. 

Jerusalem World Pride 2006 is a week-long international event. It offers an international perspective of LGBT pride and demonstration for tolerance and human rights from the home of three of the world's great religions. There will be a march with 20,000 members of the world-wide LGBT community to make a global statement of pride and tolerance, proclaiming that love knows no borders.

Mission participants will spend three nights in Tel Aviv, one night in Tiberias and four nights in Jerusalem at quality hotels, delving into the diversity of Israel. They will explore the ancient heritage of Jerusalem, the modern Bauhaus architecture of Tel Aviv and the artists? galleries of Jaffa and Safed. The mission also features programs with Israeli activists, discussing human and civil rights affecting LGBT citizens of Israel. Imbued with a sense of purpose, the mission offers unique experiences and cultural discoveries along with insider access to residents, community leaders, area experts, and political personalities to create a heightened appreciation for and connection with Israel.

Gay Marriage

(JSPAN) The bill to amend the PA Constitution to ban gay marriage and same sex unions (HB 2381) has been voted out of committee on a narrow vote on almost partisan lines. As the bill heads to the House floor for debate and consideration, JSPAN continues to oppose this bill.

According to a recent Pew poll, opposition to gay marriage, same-sex adoption, and gays & lesbians openly serving in the military has declined significantly over the two past years. The poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center, found that only a slight majority, 51 percent, opposes same-sex marriage and 39 percent openly support it. In stark contrast, 63 percent of Americans opposed gay marriage in February 2004. Overall, the number of opponents to gay marriage is down as well as the number of "strong opponents." Strong opposition has dropped sharply among seniors and Republicans.

The poll also found the country was evenly divided on allowing gay couples to adopt. In 1999, only 38 percent supported the adoption of children by gay & lesbian couples.

Most surprising were the findings on the "don't-ask-don't-tell" policy enacted under the Clinton administration. A clear majority, 60 percent, expressed their support for gays & lesbians openly serving in the military.

"The poll confirms that if you give people the information and time they need to understand the harm discrimination in marriage causes real American families, the majority will continue to move toward fairness," said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry. "If anything the survey shows we've been under-optimistic."

Also, as we mentioned in a recent newsletter, the Conservative movement is about to reconsider its position on performing gay marriage and the ordination of gay clergy. Since then, the Conservative movement has changed its stance on the way in which these issues will be considered and the votes needed to revise its policies. For more information, please see "Conservative rabbis lower threshold on gay policy." 

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