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PA.- Justice Dept. Resolves Discrimination Lawsuit
Legal Career News | 2006/11/15 19:17

WASHINGTON – (USDOJ) The Justice Department today announced the filing of a settlement order to resolve a lawsuit filed against the city of Philadelphia under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In September 2004, the Justice Department intervened in a lawsuit filed by John Gill Smith, which alleged that paramedics employed by the city refused to provide him with appropriate medical care upon learning of his HIV status.

Under the terms of today’s agreement, which still must be approved by a federal court, Philadelphia will provide paramedics employed by the city with ongoing training on appropriate and nondiscriminatory treatment of patients with infectious diseases, specifically HIV/AIDS. The city will also pay Mr. Smith $50,000 in damages. “Vital emergency medical services must be provided in a non-discriminatory manner to all persons who need them,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to ensuring that cities carry out this important function responsibly and in accordance with federal law.”

“This agreement protects both the patient and, by requiring proper training, the emergency responders,” said Pat Meehan, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. “Emergency response is a key link in the continuum of care and this agreement ensures the highest quality of care to those in great need.”

Title II of the ADA prohibits public entities, such as the city of Philadelphia, from discriminating against any individual on the basis of disability with respect to the services, programs or activities of the public entity. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act includes a parallel prohibition covering programs or activities which receive federal financial assistance.

Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/. Those interested in finding out more about federal disability rights statutes can call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD) or access the ADA Web site at http://www.ada.gov.



Catholic Church Reaches Out to Gay Parishioners
Legal Career News | 2006/11/14 19:58

Roman Catholic bishops approved new guidelines in an effort to reach out to the gay Catholic Community by overwhelmingly approving a new document entitled "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination." Gay Catholic activists immediately judged the document a failure that will push gay and lesbians away from the church. The statement, represents the church's stance as trying to support gay parishioners while strictly affirming the church stance that same-sex relationships are "disordered." The document says it's not a sin to be attracted to someone of the same gender - only to act on those feelings. The bishops also state that children of gay Catholics can undergo baptism and receive other sacraments in most cases if they are being raised in the faith.

Sam Sinnett, president of DignityUSA, an advocacy group for gay Catholics, said the new guidelines reflect the bishops' ignorance about sexuality. He said the document would alienate gays. "This document recommends the most unhealthy thing to do which is to stay emotionally and spiritually in the closet,"

Said Bishop Kevin Boland of Savannah, Ga, "For the person with the inclination, they find that very very difficult to accept, personally. They feel that the church is saying to them that as a person they are disordered. I recognize that it is crucially important to say this, but to apply it pastorally it can be difficult." Several bishops said Monday that Catholics who persist in ignoring church teaching, including gays who are sexually active, should not take the sacrament.

The 194-37 vote, with one abstention, came at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. On another matter Tuesday, bishops overwhelmingly adopted a statement encouraging Catholics to obey the church's ban on artificial contraception.

Breaking Legal News.com
Robin Sheen
Staff Writer



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