Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 15, No. 39, Ed. 1 Friday, January 22, 1999 Page: 1 of 68
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The Community Newspaper For Gay Lesbian Dallas
Online thesaurus draws rebuke
Publisher, AOL temporarily delete thesaurus after activists
criticized references to ‘fag,’ ‘dyke,’ ‘sodomite,’ ‘pederast’
John D. Thomas, hailed by associ-
ates as Dallas’ greatest gay
leader, died of AIDS on Wednes-
day. STORY, Page 6.
By Chris Leeds
Last week, users looking up "homo-
sexual" on Merriam-Webster's on-line
thesaurus found a stark list appearing
onscreen: fag, faggot, dyke, sodomite
One week after angry activists
brought the matter to the publisher's
attention, however, web guests are now
greeted by the message, "Database
Mirriam Webster and America
Online — which linked its own users to
the publisher's thesaurus — learned of
the offensive entries last Thursday
when the GAYBC Radio Network broke
the news that gays were being called
fruits and compared to child molesters.
Merriam-Webster admitted it had
neglected to indicate on its web site that
such terms were considered derogatory.
According to Merriam-Webster offi-
cials, they pulled their on-line service
the next day and asked AOL to follow
"We were alerted when someone
within the media called us, asking for a
comment. That was the first we'd heard
of it," said Deborah Burns, marketing
director at Merriam-Webster. "It was
brought to our attention that these
offensive words were in the thesaurus,
having not ever been pulled out. That
was an error on our part."
Last Thursday, Mike Webb, a Seattle
radio talk-show host, discovered the
entries and contacted a friend at the
Internet-based audio news service,
GAYBC. Within 24 hours AOL and
Merriam-Webster took swift, decisive
See THESAURUS on page 19
The shot heard ’round Methodism
Jeanne Barnett, left, and Ellie Charlton receive a laying on of hands during
a holy union ceremony in Sacramento, Calif., last Saturday. The two les-
bians, who have been together for 15 years, exchanged promises in a cer-
emony blessed by more than 90 United Methodist ministers as a dramatic
mass defiance of a church law against same-sex union rites.
90 ministers defy church
law, participate at lesbian
couple’s union ceremony
By Jennifer Kerr
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With
tears and a kiss, two lesbians who have
been together for 15 years exchanged
promises last Saturday in a holy union
ceremony blessed by more than 90
„ United Methodist ministers as a dra-
[2 matic mass defiance of a church law
□ against celebrating same-sex relation-
o "I promise to love you the rest of my
< life," a tearful Ellie Charlton, 63, a
divorced great-grandmother, told
Jeanne Barnett, 68, a retired state
Behind them on the stage, the min-
isters lined up on risers chanted the
See CEREMONY on Page 18
January 22, 1999
job and discuss-
es his relation-
ship with Greg
rare footage of
the Boat pre-
sents a new
image for peo-
ple with AIDS.
Scoop, Stage, Books,
Calendar, Artsnotes, Q Puzzle,
Cartoon, Starvoice, Scene.
Here’s what’s next.
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 15, No. 39, Ed. 1 Friday, January 22, 1999, newspaper, January 22, 1999; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth616135/m1/1/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.