—Hawaii on July 9 became the first state to offer health benefits and othersimilar support to homosexual couples. Under the domestic partnerslegislation, homosexuals (and cohabiting heterosexuals) are eligibleto be recognized by the state as reciprocal beneficiaries for benefits suchas health insurance, family leave, state pensions, inheritance rights, andjoint auto insurance. Those rights previously had been reserved for marriedheterosexuals. The law does not overturn a ban on same-sex marriage (CT,Feb. 3, 1997, p. 84).
—Messengers to the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches(GARBC) annual conference June 21-25 followed a precedentset by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) a week earlier(CT, July 14, 1997, p. 72) in condemningthe Disney Corporation for its support of homosexuality. But while theSBC approved a boycott of Disney, theGARBC, meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan, merely urged membersto "be informed and to respond appropriately." The GARBC also criticized the Promise Keepers (PK) movement(CT, June 16, 1997, p. 58). TheGARBC passed a resolution expressing "opposition tothe inclusive character of Promise Keepers, which minimizes doctrine anddenominational distinctions in an attempt to achieve unity and fellowship."
—The Virginia Beach-based American Center for Law and Justice(ACLJ) has filed suit asking the U.S. District Court in SanFrancisco to declare San Francisco's new domestic partners ordinance(CT, April 28, 1997, p. 79)unconstitutional. The ordinance requires any person or entity doing businesswith the city to provide health benefits to unmarried heterosexual and homosexualpartners of employees.
—Witness Lee, who worked with Watchman Nee in China before movingto the United States in 1962 and founding Living Stream Ministry in Anaheim,California, died June 9 at age 91. Several evangelical books and ministriesalleged that Lee and his "local church" movement were "cultic." Lee successfullysued Spiritual Counterfeits Project for libel in connection with publicationof The God-Men. In 1983, Lee settled out of court with ThomasNelson Publishers, which ceased distribution of The Mind Benders.
—Guy Hunt, a 63-year-old Primitive Baptist pastor and former Alabamagovernor, has been granted a pardon by the state parole board. Hunt was oustedas Alabama's governor in 1993 after being convicted of looting a $200,000tax-exempt inaugural fund to pay off personal debts (CT, May 17, 1993, p.86).
—Garry E. Hill, president and chief executive officer of the Odysseytelevision network, died June 23 in New York. Hill, 46, suffered a strokein May and had cancer treatment earlier this year. He had been with Odysseyfor a year after working at Z Music Television.
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