U.S. Report

FRANKFORT (JTA) — A Kentucky judge dismissed accusations that a state-funded Baptist agency committed religious discrimination when it fired a woman because she is a lesbian.

But the judge said Monday the lawsuit could continue on the question of whether government money should go to religious institutions to provide social services — a decision that could affect President Bush's faith-based initiative.

Bush is making a strong push for legislation that would allow any religious group getting government money to consider religion in its hiring decisions, which in turn could result in job applicants being rejected because they are gay.

In a related development, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) said he is developing his own version of a measure the House of Representatives passed last week, which would expand federal funding for religious charities' social service programs.

Lieberman and other Democrats oppose the House bill because they say it would not prevent discrimination in hiring.

The senator told Fox News on Sunday that he would write his own initiative to encourage religious-based organizations to help solve society's problems "in a constitutionally appropriate way."

New health coalition to help elderly Jews

NEW YORK (JTA) — Twenty-three leading U.S. Jewish groups formed the Jewish Coalition for Long Term Care to improve the health and well-being of elderly Jews and other older Americans.

The coalition, which grew out of a national effort organized by the United Jewish Communities, will focus on issues such as ensuring federal funding for senior housing, creating a universal Medicare prescription drug benefit, advancing wellness programs and finding solutions to the chronic staffing shortages affecting health-care providers.

Gay Orthodox movie gets a Tinseltown nod

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — A portrait of gay Orthodox and Chassidic Jews,which has been featured in the current S.F. Jewish Film Festival, received the grand jury award for documentary feature at Outfest, the gay and lesbian film festival here Sunday night.

Sandi Simcha Dubowski's "Trembling Before G-d" was previously awarded two prizes at the 2001 Berlin Film Festival.

In related news, Dover Koshashvilli's "Belated Wedding" won the $40,000 Wolgin Prize for best full-length feature at the Jerusalem Film Festival.