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6/11/1997 - Randy Tate Named as Christian Coalition Director

Former U.S. Congressional Representative Randy Tate (R-WA) has been chosen to replace Ralph Reed as the Director of the Christian Coalition. Tate lost re-election in 1996 after having served only one term in the House. Tate was recently tagged by Washington state's Democratic Chair as the "poster boy of the radical right." Tate was also known as one of House Speaker Newt Gingrich's closest allies in the Class of 1994. Tate will have a lot to deal with as the Christian Coalition is in the process of answering a federal suit filed in July of 1996 by the Federal Election Commission. The suit alleges that the Coalition violated its tax exempt status by spending thousands of dollars to promote Republican candidates.


6/10/1997 - Supreme Court Refuses to Hear F.A.C.E. Challenge

In a decisive victory for pro-choice supporters, the United States Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. The court, without comment, refused to hear an appeal by leading abortion opponents. In 1994 when President Bill Clinton signed the law, which prohibits the use of force, threats or blockades that interfere with access to reproductive health, Randall Terry and Reverend Patrick Mahoney filed a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. They claimed that the law prohibited the expression of their beliefs and assembly. A federal judge and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia disagreed, finding that the law "prohibited conduct, and not speech." The appeal also claimed that Congress did not have the authority to enact the law because the anti-abortion activities were not related to interstate commerce. Again, the courts disagreed with the abortion opponents and sided with the government. The government had argued that, "The evidence before Congress demonstrated that the campaign to eliminate abortion services through violence and obstruction was succeeding and had forced many clinics to close…Interference with abortion services is a problem of national scope."


6/10/1997 - FBI Releases Sketches of Possible Atlanta Bombing Suspects

Leaders of the task force investigating the bombings of Atlanta Northside Family Planning Services clinic and the Otherside Lounge, a lesbian and gay night-club, held a press conference on June 9th to ask for the public’s help in locating possible suspects. The multi-agency task force released photographs of two men who were spotted at the abortion clinic the night before and the morning of the bombing. The agency also released parts of a letter, in which a group called The Army of God claimed responsibility for the bombings and promised that they would bomb more places. The investigators are certain that the people who wrote the letter committed the bombings because of details contained in the letter but not publicly available. They called special attention to phrases in the letter, which includes many grammatical and spelling mistakes, such as the reference to the Otherside Lounge as the "sodomite bar" and a statement that the abortion clinic bomb was "aimed at agents of the so-called Federal government, i.e. A.T.F. F.B.I. Marshall’s etc." The letter also threatened to "wage total war on the ungodly communist regime in New York and your legislative bureaucratic lackey’s in Washington."

If anyone has any information which could help the agency, or recognizes phrases in the letter or the men in the photographs, they should call 1-800-ATF-BOMB.


6/10/1997 - Ralston Withdraws From Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Consideration

Air Force General Joseph Ralston has withdrawn his name for consideration as the next Chair of the Joint Chief of Staff, the highest non-civilian military post. U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen’s decision to consider him for the post came under heavy criticism after the Pentagon revealed that Ralston had had an extra-marital affair. Members of Congress and the military saw a double-standard applied to Ralston because of his rank and gender. Recently, First Lt. Kelly Flinn faced a possible court-martial and was forced into a general discharge, because she, who is single, had an affair with a married civilian man. Ralston had a prolonged extra-marital affair thirteen years ago while he was married and trying to reconcile with his wife. Ralston eventually divorced, and court records show that his inability to end the affair was a prime reason.

Representative Nita Lowey (NY-D), who led the Congressional outrage at the military’s double-standard, commented on Ralston’s decision, "Gen. Ralston did the right thing and now we can focus on the policy rather than just on this case, and hopefully the panels will come up with recommendations that make sense. The Pentagon has two options – either change the rules or apply them consistently."


6/10/1997 - Some U.N. Officials Hiding Behind International Law to Avoid Paying Child Support and Alimony

U.S. Congress Representative Rick Lazio (R-NY) has charged that some United Nations Officials are refusing to pay alimony and child support to families they abandon in the United States, and he charges that the officials are hiding behind international law and U.N. personnel policies to avoid the payments. Diana Boernstein of the U.N. Family Rights Committee has reported that her group has received over 40 letters from ex-wives of U.N. employees complaining that their husbands are not paying U.S. court-ordered support. The husbands either claim diplomatic immunity, which protects them from civil and criminal prosecution, or they rely on international agreements that protect their salaries from garnishments. Representative Lazio has sponsored legislation which would block $10 million in back payments to the United Nations, by the United States, until the organization addresses the problem.


6/9/1997 - FBI Releases Army of God Atlanta Bombings Letter

At a press conference held in Atlanta, Georgia, investigators of the Atlanta abortion clinic and lesbian and gay bar bombings have released an Army of God letter claiming responsibility for the bombings. The Federal Bureau of Investigation hopes that someone will recognize the writing style or wording of the letter and provide clues as to who committed the bombings. The letter was sent they day after the attack on the lesbian and gay bar in February. Members of the self-proclaimed Army of God took responsibility for the bombings in the letter and claimed that more bombings would occur. On January 16th, a family planning clinic in Atlanta was bombed, and, on February 21st, a lesbian and gay clubbed named the Otherside Lounge was bombed. At both sites, a second bomb was planted, it was designed to explode after law enforcement personnel arrived on the scene.


6/9/1997 - New Hampshire Governor Signs Lesbian and Gay Rights Law

New Hampshire's first female Governor, Jeanne Shaheen, has signed a bill which offers lesbians and gay men protection against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation. At the bill-signing ceremony, Shaheen commented, "If we are to be true to our belief that all people are created equal, we must ensure that all of our people enjoy the same basic rights under the law." May Bonauto, an attorney for the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders commented, "This locks up New England as a region which condemns discriminatory treatment on the job. It is also a step forward for the business community, which recognizes that discriminatory business practices don't pay." New Hampshire becomes the eleventh state to offer lesbians and gay men protection against discrimination. The law takes effect on January 1, 1998.


6/9/1997 - New Hampshire Governor Signs Lesbian and Gay Rights Law

New Hampshire's first female Governor, Jeanne Shaheen, has signed a bill which offers lesbians and gay men protection against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation. At the bill-signing ceremony, Shaheen commented, "If we are to be true to our belief that all people are created equal, we must ensure that all of our people enjoy the same basic rights under the law." May Bonauto, an attorney for the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders commented, "This locks up New England as a region which condemns discriminatory treatment on the job. It is also a step forward for the business community, which recognizes that discriminatory business practices don't pay." New Hampshire becomes the eleventh state to offer lesbians and gay men protection against discrimination. The law takes effect on January 1, 1998.


6/9/1997 - Female Citadel Cadet Hazed Because She Did Not Know Particulars of the KKK

A female cadet of The Citadel, who left the military college because of excessive hazing, says she was starved for weeks because she failed to answer questions about the Knights of the Golden Circle, a faction of the Ku Klux Klan. Jeannie Mentavlos claims there was an "obsession" with the Klan at the school. She told the news magazine 60 Minutes that "I could not come up with the answer. So for two weeks straight, I sat there in front of a full plate of food and I was not allowed to eat [by higher-ranked students] because I didn't know who they were. There was a certain degree of obsession with the KKK." CBS plans to air photographs and video of Nazi paraphernalia during the spring. The network claims that the KKK and the Nazi have been glorified at the Citadel for decades. Citadel interim President Clifton Poole has ordered an investigation of the school's mottos and symbols to be completed by September 1, 1997.


6/9/1997 - 2nd U.S. Army Sgt. in Germany Tried for Rape and Sexual Harassment

Sergeant Paul Fuller has become the second sergeant at the Darmstadt, Germany training center accused of rape or sexual harassment. Fuller is charged with 17 counts, including rape and attempted rape. The trial opened with prosecutor Captain Christopher Hellmich telling the court of he will prove "the devastating impact that one out-of-control noncommissioned officer can have." He also said that one of the rape victims would describe "a night of horrors that none of us can imagine."


6/5/1997 - Candidate for Chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff Had Affair

In what same are decrying as proof that a double-standard for women and men exists in the military, U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen has told key lawmakers that one of his candidates to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff had an adulterous affair. Air Force General Joseph Ralston, now the vice-chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had an affair thirteen years ago, but was never charged or reprimanded for the affair. Cohen claims the affair was outside of military law; Ralston was separated at the time of the affair and later divorced. Yet, earlier this week, an Army two-star general has announced his retirement in light of the revelation that he had an affair with a civilian woman while separated from his wife. Recently, the Air Force had threatened to court-martial Lt. Kelly Flinn, who is not married, for her affair with a civilian married man. Flinn was drummed out of the military with a general discharge late last month. Cohen has not yet decided who he will pick as his candidate to serve as the chair of the Joint Chiefs; two other men are being considered in addition to Gen. Ralston.


6/5/1997 - Woman Graduates Number One At Harvard Law With Straight A's

Lisa Grow, 23, of Sandy, Utah, has become the first person in fifteen years to maintain a straight-A average during her entire stay at Harvard Law School, one of America's most prestigious law schools. She is also the first woman to graduate number one in her class at the law school. Harvard Law, the oldest law school in the nation, began accepting women in 1950. Today, women compose 40 percent of the school's 1,646-member student body. Grow served on the school's law review and plans to work for a judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia. Next year, she plans to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.


6/5/1997 - Authorities Claim Atlanta Bombings Linked

Lab work conducted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms show that the bombings of an abortion clinic and lesbian and gay night-club in Atlanta are most likely linked. Authorities are trying to confirm whether or not the bombings are also linked to the Atlanta Olympic bombing in July. Dynamite was used in both the abortion clinic and night-club bombings in January and February, and the bomber left secondary bombs to maim or kill incoming rescue workers at both sites. The key components and tool markings from bomb fragments at both sites were also similar.


6/5/1997 - Clinton's Lawyer Decides Not to Explore Jones' Sex Life

U.S. President Bill Clinton's attorney has retracted his earlier plans to make Paula Jones' sexual history an issue in her sexual harassment case against the President. Lawyer Robert Bennett faced intense pressure to not pursue that type of case. U.S. Press Secretary Mike McCurry himself pointed out that President Clinton had signed a law making it harder to explore the sexual histories of alleged victims of sexual harassment. Patricia Ireland, President of the National Organization for Women, was pleased with the change in tactics and commented, "The result is the President's going to show leadership by not mounting this kind of attack against Paula Jones. I'm very pleased."


6/5/1997 - Sergeant Convicted of Indecent Assault, Cleared of Rape

A military jury has acquitted U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Julius Davis of rape but has charged him with multiple counts of indecent assault. Davis, stationed in the U.S. military base in Darmstadt, Germany, had been charged with six counts of rape. The indecent assault convictions carry a maximum penalty of 31 years in prison, reduction of grade, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge. Two other Army sergeants charged with sexual misconduct at the overseas base are being charged separately.


6/5/1997 - Feminist Majority Condemns Push To Resegregate Military Training As Giant Step Backwards For Women

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Feminist Majority condemns recent calls for the resegregation of military basic training. The Feminist Majority, joining with a dozen other national women's rights organizations, has signed on to testimony submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services by Kathryn Rodgers, Executive Director, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, opposing sex-segregated basic military training.

"Resegregation would represent a giant step backwards for women and for the military," said Jennifer Jackman, Ph.D., Feminist Majority Director of Policy and Research. "When men have done wrong the answer is not to punish women. If military officers cannot relate with women in the military how are they going to relate with women civilians in the U.S. and worldwide. Criminal behavior must be treated as such and not accommodated as normal boys-will-be-boys behavior."

"Current attempts to resegregate basic military training are nothing more than the latest in a long line of strategies to keep women out of the military and to preserve military-related entitlements for men," stated Jackman.

Jackman continued, "First, we were told women were not qualified to be in the military or to serve in combat. How could we forget the fear-mongering about sending our daughters into foxholes? With the technology of modern day warfare and the significant contributions of women military personnel in the Persian Gulf War, arguments about women's inferiority increasingly rang hollow.

"As barriers to women in the military finally began to fall, sexual harassment became the next strategy to keep women out. Let there be no mistake about it: sexual harassment is first and foremost a boundary-setting strategy, the goal of which is to marginalize women.

"Ironically, women's rights opponents are now using the aberrant behavior of men and the abuse of power by some men in the military to cloak the latest strategy to keep women out -- the resegregation of basic training. Legislation, introduced in the House by Representative Bartlett, not only penalizes women recruits, but also limits the opportunities of women drill instructors who would be allowed to train only the smaller number of female units.

"Resegregation would be detrimental to both women and national security," Jackman concluded.


6/4/1997 - Wisconsin Recall Fails; Abortion Ban Supporters Delay Reconsideration of Bill in U.S. Congress

A recall vote against Wisconsin’s two Democratic U.S. senators who voted against a controversial late-term abortion ban has failed. Anti-abortion activists in Wisconsin fell some 50,000 votes short of the necessary 391,000 votes needed to force a recall against each senator, Sen. Russell Feingold and Sen. Herb Kohl. Both senators opposed a measure dubbed “the partial-birth abortion ban” by its supporters which would ban the D&X abortion procedure in all cases except to save the life of the woman but not her health. The ban passed the House by a wide veto-proof margin but fell three votes short of the two-thirds necessary to override an expected presidential veto.

Rep. Charles Canady (R-FL), the sponsor of the bill in the House, has said he favors delaying a second House vote until the Senate gains the needed 3 votes. The House must approve the amended version passed 64-36 by the Senate before the bill can be sent to President Clinton. However, Senate sponsor of the bill Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) said he did not favor an intentional delay but that budget, tax, and spending issues may force a delay.


6/4/1997 - Complaint Filed Against Schools for Athletic Scholarship Discrimination

The National Women’s Law Center has filed a complaint with the Education Department against 25 colleges and universities which the Center accuses of discriminating against female athletes in scholarship funding. The Education Department has 135 days to respond to the complaints which come under Title IX, the federal law banning discrimination in education based on sex. The law, passed in 1972, celebrates its 25th anniversary on June 23.

According to Marcia Greenberger of the National Women’s Law Center, “If the 25 schools...awarded female athletes their fair share, young women at these schools would receive a total of $5,076,615 more per year in scholarship.” The average disparity in scholarship money awarded to men and women athletes was $1,000 per year, but women at Vanderbilt in Tennessee receive $6,765 less each year than men. Two months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court concurred with previous rulings that Brown University discriminated against female athletes and ordered the school to increase the number of varsity team positions open to women.


6/4/1997 - New French Cabinet Could Be One-Third Female

Newly-appointed French Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin is expected to include seven women in his list of 17 ministers. The French Cabinet also will hold two Communist ministers and one representative each of the ecologist Greens Party and the anti-Maastricht Citizens Movement. Former European affairs minister Elisabeth Guigou, 50, was elected to the National Assembly for the first time in the June 1 elections. She may be named France’s first woman foreign minister. Socialist sources said it was likely that former industry minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn would be finance minister.

In 1995, Prime Minister Alain Juppe appointed a record 12 women ministers to his Cabinet but eliminated eight of the women within six months. During their short tenure, the women were relegated to being called "the Juppettes" by the French media.


6/4/1997 - Army Men Retire, Move, Get Discharged

The commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground has announced his retirement from the Army after the discovery of an affair he had with a civilian woman five years ago during a separation from his wife. Secretary of Defense William Cohen said Maj. Gen. John Longhouser was in a “compromising position” because it was he would decided when others should face military trials for sex-related offenses. The early retirement announced June 3 will cost Longhouser some $10,000 a year in retirement pay since he failed to serve the required three years in his current post as two-star brigadier general and will instead retire at the one-star rank.

Last week Air Force pilot Lt. Kelly Flinn was to face a court-martial on charges of adultery, lying and disobeying an order. Flinn avoided the court-martial by agreeing to accept a general discharge which makes her ineligible to fly for the Reserves or to receive most benefits. Flinn also has to reimburse the Air Force for $18,000 of the education.

Aberdeen’s Army Ordnance Center commander Maj. Gen. Robert D. Shadley is moving into a new job as director of logistics at Forces Command at Fort McPherson, Georgia. An Army spokesman said the lateral move is a standard reassignment after Shadley completed the normal two-year tour of duty as the commander of the base where allegations of sexual misconduct spurred a service-wide probe.

The Army is currently deciding whether or not to court-martial Gene McKinney, the Army’s top enlisted soldier who has been accused of adultery and assault involving four military women.

On June 4, an Air Force recruiter was sentenced to seven months in prison and given a bad-conduct discharge after pleading guilty to adultery and making sexual advances while he worked in Menasha, Wisconsin in 1996. Technical Sgt. Robert Dean Hayden, who is married, admitted that he had sex with an assistant, one of his recruits, in the recruiting office and that he made advances to another female recruit at a party. The court-martial took place at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.


6/4/1997 - Army’s Drill Instructor Screening Process Needs Improvement

In a report requested by Army Secretary Togo West of the Army’s sexual misconduct problems, military officials state that the Army does not adequately screen its drill instructors and may need to use psychological tests to determine who should be allowed to oversee recruits. According to a senior military official familiar with the proposals, officers also report that background checks should be extended from three years to five years for potential drill instructors and that there needs to be more training on sexual harassment. The report will be delivered as early as next week to West who ordered the review and recommendations in response to the sexual misconduct scandals at Aberdeen Proving Ground.


6/4/1997 - Army’s Drill Instructor Screening Process Needs Improvement

In a report requested by Army Secretary Togo West of the Army’s sexual misconduct problems, military officials state that the Army does not adequately screen its drill instructors and may need to use psychological tests to determine who should be allowed to oversee recruits. According to a senior military official familiar with the proposals, officers also report that background checks should be extended from three years to five years for potential drill instructors and that there needs to be more training on sexual harassment. The report will be delivered as early as next week to West who ordered the review and recommendations in response to the sexual misconduct scandals at Aberdeen Proving Ground.


6/3/1997 - Freedom Summer/Fall ‘96 Staff and Intern Receive Gloria Steinem Women of Vision Awards

The Ms. Foundation awarded Justine Andronici, Nohelia Canales and Dee Martin of Freedom Summer/Fall ‘96, a project of the Feminist Majority Foundation, the Gloria Steinem Women of Vision Award at the 9th annual Ms. Foundation awards held in New York City. The Ms. Foundation chose these three women for their advocacy work in promoting voter education, organizing young people and for the example they set as leaders. Gloria Steinem commented, "Since women are the one group that tends to get more activist with age, these three young women are especially important and courageous. Anyone who wants to know young feminist leaders should interview these three." When asked about the Gloria Awards, Andronici said, "It is an inspiration for the thousands of young people who worked on the campaign to be recognized by our predecessors in the movement." Canales continued, "I believe these Awards recognize the vision of young feminists to continue to struggle and establish their own legacy in the fight of women’s and civil rights." Martin concluded, "For many of us, this campaign was a first, not a last. The Gloria Awards reinforce the dedication of today’s feminist leaders to teaching the next generation that we can make a difference."


6/3/1997 - Southern Women Politicians Meet in Kentucky for Three-Day Conference

Hundreds of Southern women politicians met in Lexington, Kentucky for a three-day conference to discuss women constituents and women in politics. The conference featured proven leaders sharing their experiences in public service. Former Kentucky Governor Martha Layne Collins commented, "These are women leaders who demonstrated a strong commitment to public service in their respective states. They are outstanding examples and role models." Tennessee state Rep. Lois DeBerry commented, "If we are going to come together, we must learn to tolerate each other and stick together. Men work to win the next election. But, women work for the next generation." The conference ended with a panel of Kentucky girls, ages 12 to 16, and Nancy Gruver, founder and publisher of New Moon: The Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams, encouraging women to serve as mentors for the younger generation. Johanna Thomas, 15, of Lexington, who is set on becoming the first African-American woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice, commented, "Don’t put down your daughters’ dreams just because you think they’re unachievable."


6/3/1997 - Women’s Army Corp Members Angry at Army’s Plan to Destroy Women’s Museum

The Women Army Corps was started in 1942 as an auxiliary to the all-male Army and was disbanded 19 years ago to integrate women in the military. WAC members often had to deal with many forms of discrimination. They were not provided life insurance and could not get veterans health benefits; they were also limited at first to jobs such as clerks, typists and cooks. In the 1970s, former members raised over $500,000 and contributed over 5,000 artifacts to start a museum in Fort McClellan, Alabama dedicated to the women’s service in the Army. Now, former members and women throughout the nation are enraged with the Army’s plan to destroy the museum. The Army claims it will reassemble the museum elsewhere, but the women are not satisfied. The last director of the Women’s Army Corps, Brigadier General Mary Clarke commented, "We never dreamed this would happen. The Army has not treated us right on this." Karen Chambliss, began a 33-year Army career as a training member of the WAC Training Battalion, commented, "How dare they take it and destroy it! They’re going to bury our history. I get angry thinking about it."