Monday, July 6, 2009

The New York Times' Front Page News On My Birthday

A while back, I purchased "The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages 1851-2008" to be prominently displayed on my coffee table for my house guests to peruse and discuss. I don't own a coffee table, and I almost never have any guests. But that's neither here nor there. The point is that with the book comes three DVD discs containing all 54,267 Front Pages and links to the articles. I thought it would be interesting to see what was "front page news" on the day I was born: September 6, 1984.

Little did I know that a controversial judicial ruling was handed down regarding then-New York City Mayor Ed Koch's order
"forbidding discrimination against homosexuals by private companies and other groups that do business with New York City."
The rest of the article (by David W. Dunlap), as printed on the front page, is as follows:
"The judge, Alvin F. Klein, ruled that the Mayor "has usurped the power of the City Council and has impermissibly invaded the legislative domain" by extending employment protection to homosexuals.

Mr. Koch said the city would appeal the decision. But until that appeal is
filed, the contested parts of the order effectively "do not exist," according to the city's Corporation Counsel.

The Mayor said he would also seek legislation from the City Council to protect homosexuals' job rights in concerns and groups that sell goods and services under contract to the city. "Time will tell," Mr. Koch said, whether such a bill will fare any better than a broader measure that the Council has consistently rejected.

Leaders and lawyers in the religious organizations that brought the challenge in State Supreme Court in Manhattan — the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, the Salvation Army and Agudath Israel of America — said they were pleased.

Together, the organizations had service contracts with the city worth millions of dollars. They refused on religious grounds to sign agreements to comply with the Mayor's order, jeopardizing the extension of the contracts.

Top city officials, leaders of homosexual rights groups and the New York Civil Liberties Union expressed dismay but vowed to continue their fight in both the City Council and the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court. The Appellate Division is the next judicial step after the State Supreme Court, which is the initial trial court in the New York State system.

The Corporation Counsel, Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr., said the decision would affect all concerns doing business with the city, not just the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

At issue is Executive Order No. 50, which took effect in April 1980. It forbids job discrimination by concerns under contract with the city for a number of reasons, including "sexual orientation or affectional preference."

In a six-page decision, Judge Klein noted that New York City's administrative code "has not been amended to include 'sexual orientation' or 'affectional preference' as protected classifications." "Nor," he said, "are these classes protected under any existing Federal or New York State statute."

I don't have access to the full article, unless I pay for it; and money is tight right now. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about all the involved parties regarding this matter. I simply do not know enough about the situation to render any assertive verdict. Some other things that happened (or were reported) on the day I was born into this crazy world are:
  1. The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada won a majority of (I'm presuming to be) seats in parliament, "...almost certainly [making] the conservatives the majority party for the rest of [this] century."
  2. The F.A.A. suggested fewer takeoffs from Newark and more from Kennedy and La Guardia.
  3. The space shuttle Discovery returned safely to earth.
  4. President Ronald Reagan sought for Congress to ratify the 1948 United Nations Genocide Pact.
  5. Walter F. Mondale (Reagan's Democratic opponent in the 1984 presidential election) pledged an immediate effort for arms freeze, if elected. [To recap the 1984 U.S. Presidential election (in terms of electoral votes): Reagan - 525; Mondale - 13. Ouch.]

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