The June Almanac


June 1: Starting today, according to an ordinance passed last year, all businesses that contract their services to the city or county of San Francisco must offer health and other benefits to the unmarried domestic partners of their employees if those benefits are offered to employees' spouses. The regulation is the first of its kind in the nation, and is meant to bring contractors into line with the city's policy, adopted over the past several years, of extending benefits to domestic partners. It will affect more than 8,000 companies, social-service agencies, and municipalities. The new requirement has met with objections from a number of sources, including the Archdiocese of San Francisco, whose Catholic Charities receives city funding to provide services to AIDS patients and the homeless. The archbishop argues that it conflicts with Catholic teachings on homosexuality and on pre-marital cohabitation; accordingly, city and Church officials have agreed on vaguer wording, by which Catholic groups will extend benefits to any "legally domiciled member" of an employee's household.

The Skies

June 1: Saturn lies just above the waning crescent Moon an hour before sunrise. 13: Mars is close by the waxing Moon high in the southwest this evening. 20: Full Moon, also known this month as the Rose and Honey Moon and, among the Sioux, the Moon of Making Fat. 21: at 4:20 A.M. EDT, the Summer Solstice occurs, and summer begins. Most of the country has about five hours more of daylight now than it had in late December.


Bluefin-tuna season begins this month off the Atlantic coast. This year the western Atlantic stock of the northern bluefin appears on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources' "red list" of threatened animals. The IUCN, a nonprofit organization, does not have the authority to regulate catches; however, the designation could prompt tighter measures from the organization that does -- the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. Once considered a nuisance by fishermen, bluefin have become increasingly popular in Japan since the early 1970s, when the first one was caught off New England, fresh-frozen, and flown to Tokyo. The spawning populations of the western Atlantic bluefin have plummeted accordingly (by 1992 they had fallen to a tenth of their 1975 levels), and bluefin are now one of the most expensive fish in the ocean, selling in Japan for as much as $80 a pound.


Planets June 15: Father's Day. A question many fathers will be hearing is "Will you accept the charges?" Although Father's Day ranks only third for holiday calling, behind Mother's Day and Christmas, it generates more collect calls than any other day of the year, according to the nation's largest long-distance network, AT&T (which would not say how many calls this amounts to). The reasons may include logistic and geographic factors. Minor children of divorced parents are nearly five times as likely to live with their mothers as with their fathers; in addition, according to one report, adult children of divorced or separated parents live, on average, twice as close to their mothers as to their fathers -- and thus may be more likely to incur long-distance charges when calling their fathers. There may also be a tendency among grown children to persist in thinking of their fathers as the family providers. In any case, fathers aren't alone in being dunned in this way: AT&T's second busiest day for collect calls is Mother's Day, and Valentine's Day is third.

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