Gay News for Gays, Lesbians, Bi-sexuals and Transgender
Note: I originally had planned on reporting only "good" gay news, and the vast majority of the news here is indeed good. However there are a few articles which are not "good" but which I felt were important, so I have chosen to also include them.
Because I am a Canadian, much of the News here is from Canada, however, when I am informed of relevant news from other countries, I do post it as well.
UN Warns World They Are Breaking Law By Not Protecting Gays May 15, 2013
Countries must protect LGBT citizens from violence or discrimination or they are breaking international law - the United Nations has warned.
A new video released by the UN Human Rights Office puts particular pressure on the 76 countries that still make consensual gay sex illegal.
New Zealand Gay Marriage: Lawmakers Approve Marriage Equality Bill Apr 17, 2013
WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Hundreds of jubilant gay-rights advocates celebrated at New Zealand's Parliament on Wednesday as the country became the 13th in the world and the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage.
Lawmakers voted 77 to 44 in favor of the gay-marriage bill on its third and final reading.
Mormon Church Abandons Its Crusade Against Gay Marriage Apr 12, 2013
In the five years since the LDS church sent busloads of the faithful to California to canvass neighborhoods, and contributed more than $20 million via its members to support the initiative, it has all but dropped the rope in the public policy tug of war over marriage equality. The change stems from an even more remarkable if somewhat invisible transformation happening within the church, prompted by the ugly fight over Prop. 8 and the ensuing backlash from the flock.
Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in the Prop. 8 case, the church responsible for its passage has been permanently changed for the better. In Mayne's view, this all means that Prop. 8, with all its ugliness, happened for a reason: "I believe in our attempt to nail shut the Pandora's box of gay marriage, we essentially blew the lid off of it."
The House of Commons voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Britain, indicating that the bill is assured of The Queen will tomorrow back an historic pledge to promote gay rights and 'gender equality' in one of the most controversial acts of her reign.
In a live television broadcast, she will sign a new charter designed to stamp out discrimination against homosexual people and promote the 'empowerment' of women - a key part of a new drive to boost human rights and living standards across the Commonwealth.
British House of Commons Approves Gay Marriage Feb 5, 2013
The House of Commons voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Britain, indicating that the bill is assured of passage as it moves through further legislative stages.
But in a major setback for Prime Minister David Cameron, who championed the measure, it appeared that more than half of the lawmakers in his Conservative Party voted against it or abstained.
After a six-hour debate, the Commons vote was 400 to 175 for the bill. The legislation, which applies to England and Wales, would permit civil marriage between same-sex couples, but specifically exempt the Church of England and other faiths from an obligation to perform such ceremonies. Some faith groups, including the Quakers, have said they want the legal right to perform same-sex marriages.
Out4Immigration Applauds LGBT Inclusion in President's Immigration Reform Proposal Jan 29, 2013
President Barack Obama called on Congress today to support and pass immigration reform legislation that will specifically help same-sex binational couples.
Following a speech in Las Vegas, Obama issued a written document for reform that "treats same-sex families as families by giving U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner." This reflects language long a part of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) that has been circulating through Congress for more than a decade, but has never had enough support to come up for a vote.
Conservative Christian Goes Undercover As Gay Man Oct 17, 2012
When Timothy Kurek told his mother he was gay, she wrote in her diary that she would have rather heard she had terminal cancer.
Most of his Christian friends stopped speaking to him. "Jesus doesn't love you anymore," one said. As he sat outside a café in a gay neighbourhood, a stranger yelled "Faggot!" and threw a full two-litre bottle of cola at his head
National Study To Quiz Teachers On Homophobia Oct 12, 2012
The president of the Manitoba Teachers' Society -- along with the province's trustees and superintendents -- enthusiastically endorsed a national study Thursday led by University of Winnipeg Prof. Catherine Taylor on inclusive education for LGBT education.
Canadian teachers must do far more to deal with issues of sexual orientation, Olson said. "Canadian teachers are among the best-trained on the planet. Our obligations as teachers are to meet the needs of every student."
Olson said every English-speaking teachers' group in Canada -- the survey is not being conducted in French -- "jumped at the chance to be involved."
Paul Ryan promises Focus on the Family that he will fight gay equality Oct 3, 2012
During an interview with Focus on the Family president Jim Daly, Paul Ryan reassured the anti-gay group that a Romney-Ryan administration will fiercely oppose gay rights. Focus on the Family and its founder James Dobson have a long history of promoting anti-gay policies and ex-gay therapy, and earned a shout-out from Romney earlier this week while campaigning in Colorado, where it is headquartered.
While Romney has moved in his career from backing gay rights to becoming a vocal foe, Ryan has a solidly anti-gay voting record in Congress.
Toronto May Get Queer-Centric School Sept 25, 2012
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) wants to know whether it should create a high school that encourages queer teachers and students to be out and proud.
A former student of the TDSB is hosting a community forum on Sept 26, entitled Have Your Say: A Queer-centric Secondary School in Toronto, to solicit community feedback.
The idea was first proposed by Fan Wu, 20, a University of Toronto student who graduated from Douglas Collegiate in 2010, and has been gaining support from members of the board.
Wu is working with the TDSB to spearhead the project.
Read the full article and view the video at the Xtra! website.
Update: Results of the meeting can be found at the Toronto Sun website.
Conservatives In Canada - Warriors for Gay Rights Sept 24, 2012
A mere seven years ago, the Tories were famously the opponents of same sex marriage. Now, the Harper Conservatives freely push gay rights abroad and even host an annual gathering of gay Tories. While they remain the favourite punching bag for Canadian LGBT activists, have the Harper Tories become unlikely warriors for gay rights?
Boy Scouts of America Loses Largest Corporate Donor Sept 21, 2012
Intel Corporation, the Boy Scouts of America's largest corporate donor, which gave $700,000 to the organization in 2010, announced on September 21, 2012 that it will donate only to troops and councils that explicitly pledge not to discriminate against gay people. To receive funding from Intel henceforward, Boy Scout troops must denounce the national policy that bans gay scouts and leaders, which was reaffirmed in July.
Tim Cook: Apple's New CEO and the Most Powerful Gay Man in America Aug 24, 2012
Cook, who has not publicly discussed his sexuality, was named to the top of Out's list of powerful gays, yes, but he's also received greater recognition in the press for the incredible dividends Apple is reaping from its supply chain strategy, led by Cook, of using Apple's cash hoard to lock up crucial components for months or years, protecting products like the iPad from shortages, ensuring strong growth and margins for Apple and locking out would be rivals.
President Obama And The Fight For LGBT Rights May 23, 2012
'Gay Cure' Ban Heads For Vote In California Aug 20, 2012
When James Guay was 12, he went into a Christian bookstore to look for information on what was wrong with him. He found just one book on homosexuality -- "on how to change it," he recalled. When he brought it to the counter, the clerk asked if it was for him. "She said she would pray for me," he said.
A few years later Guay had a nervous breakdown and told his parents what was distressing him. His father, a pastor, helped him find a licensed "ex-gay" psychologist. The psychologist said he had been gay, but now was married to a woman. He told Guay that change was possible. "It was this newfound hope," Guay said. Within six months to a year, the therapist promised him, Guay could overcome his attraction to men and learn to be attracted to women.
United Church of Canada Elects First Openly Gay Leader Aug 17, 2012
He quotes Leonard Cohen from the pulpit, gives sermons on the links between best picture Oscar nominees and life's eternal questions, and now Vancouver's hippest minister is also the first openly gay leader of the United Church of Canada.
Rev. Gary Paterson, who heads St.Andrew's-Wesley United Church in Vancouver, will serve a three-year term as moderator of Canada's largest Protestant church until August 2015.
With One E-mail, Amazon.com Founder Changes Ballot Fight July 27, 2012
Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com, and his wife, MacKenzie, have agreed to donate $2.5-million (U.S.) to help pass a same-sex marriage referendum in Washington state, instantly becoming among the largest financial backers of gay marriage rights in the country.
With the gift, the couple has doubled the money available to the proponents of Referendum 74, which would legalize same-sex marriage in the state by affirming a law that passed the legislature this year. Courts or lawmakers have declared gay marriage legal in six other states, but backers of such measures have never succeeded at the ballot box.
Chick-fil-A Lover Who Just Can't Look The Other Way Over Antigay Stance Anymore July 26, 2012
Hate Group Attacks Office Depot And Lady Gaga July 23, 2012
Office Depot has partnered with Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation to offer a line of products with anti-bullying messages like "Be Brave," "Be Accepting," and "Be Yourself." Boasting, "We supply bravery," Office Depot will donate proceeds from the gift cards, bracelets, pens, and post-it notes back to the foundation. Claiming the paper supply store is "pushing the homosexual agenda in public schools," the anti-gay American Family Association is calling on Office Depot to "leave our kids alone":
Conservative Rabbis Approve Same-Sex Marriage June 28, 2012, 2012
WASHINGTON - The Rabbinical Assembly's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards - which sets halachic policy for the Conservative movement - has voted unanimously to provide the approximately 1,600 Conservative rabbis with guidelines on performing same-sex marriages.
The move is an official sanction of the ceremonies by the movement.
The CJLS approved the documents Thursday by a 13-0 vote with one abstaining ballot. For years, the Conservative movement has debated how to approach same-sex unions. Traditionalists often opposed such relationships while urging respect as progressives - particularly some rabbinical students - pushed for full equality.
New Teacher Resource Aims To Support Trans Students May 16, 2012
OTTAWA - On the eve of the International Day Against Homophobia, the Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) is proud to release its latest educational resource, Supporting Transgender and Transsexual students in K-12 Schools, the fifth publication in an educational series designed to assist teachers, administrators and counselors in understanding sexual and gender minority issues.
Authored by Dr. Kristopher Wells, Gayle Roberts and Carol Allan, the 57-page guidebook aims to demystify gender variance and provide evidence-based information for educators wishing to create caring, respectful and safe learning environments for all students.
Also, please don't forget that we have some wonderful downloadable resources for teachers and parents on the CG website on the Parent's Support page.
HealthCare.gov Helps U.S. Same-Sex Couples Find Coverage Feb 7, 2012
Americans are now able to use HealthCare.gov to search specifically for insurance plans that include coverage for domestic partners, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today.
The Health Plan Finder tool on HealthCare.gov allows consumers to compare the cost sharing and benefit choices of health plans and choose the best option to meet their needs. As a part of the plan finder update, domestic partners, including same-sex couples, can now filter plans that offer coverage for all members of their family.
"Think Before You Speak" TV Ads to Air at Super Bowl XLVI Feb 1, 2012
NEW YORK - The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and The Ad Council today announced the award-winning "Think Before You Speak" public service announcements (PSA) will appear at Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, Feb. 5. GLSEN will become the first LGBT organization in the country to share its PSA campaign targeting anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) language among teens with Super Bowl attendees at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.
"GLSEN is thrilled to share the Think Before You Speak campaign's message of respect with tens of thousands of football fans attending the Super Bowl this year," said GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. "The PSA campaign featuring Hilary Duff, Wanda Sykes and the NBA's Grant Hill has already reached millions of Americans across the country and we are truly grateful for this opportunity to increase awareness among a new kind of audience about the negative impact of anti-gay slurs."
US Presbyterian Church Ordains First Gay Minister Oct 9, 2011
MILWAUKEE (AP) - A man who left his Presbyterian ministry in California more than 20 years ago after telling his congregation that he is gay was welcomed back into the church leadership as its first openly gay ordained minister.
In a quavering voice ripe with emotion, 56-year-old Scott Anderson on Saturday told the hundreds of friends and backers who packed Covenant Presbyterian Church in Madison, Wisconsin for his ordination ceremony that he never thought the day would come.
"To the thousands of Presbyterians who have worked and prayed for almost 40 years for this day, I give thanks," Anderson said. "And I give thanks for those who disagree with what we're doing today yet who know that we are one in Jesus Christ."
When he was presented to the crowd, audience members gave him a thunderous standing ovation and began roaring with cheers.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Anderson chose the Rev. Mark Achtemeier of Dubuque, Iowa, to deliver the sermon Saturday. Achtemeier used to be one of the most vocal opponents of gay ordination, but he announced a complete turnaround after friendships with gay Christians prompted him to re-evaluate scriptural teachings about homosexuality.
UK Plans To Introduce Same-Sex Marriage Sept 17, 2011
Birmingham - The British government has drawn up plans to introduce same-sex civil marriages before the next election in 2015, Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said on Saturday.
"I am delighted to announce today that in March, this government will begin a formal consultation on how to implement equal civil marriage for same-sex couples," she told her Liberal Democrat party's annual conference in Birmingham, central England.
"And this would allow us to make any legislative changes necessary by the end of this parliament."
Civil partnerships for same-sex couples were introduced in Britain in December 2005, giving them similar rights to married heterosexual couples. However, the partnerships cannot legally be referred to as marriages.
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Nearly 70 years after expelling Melvin Dwork for being gay, the Navy is changing his discharge from "undesirable" to "honorable" - marking what is believed to be the first time the Pentagon has taken such a step on behalf of a World War II veteran since the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."
The Navy notified the 89-year-old former corpsman last month that he will now be eligible for the benefits he had long been denied, including medical care and a military burial.
Dwork spent decades fighting to remove the blot on his record.
No Surprise for Bisexual Men: Report Indicates They Exist Aug 22, 2011
In an unusual scientific about-face, researchers at Northwestern University have found evidence that at least some men who identify themselves as bisexual are, in fact, sexually aroused by both women and men.
The finding is not likely to surprise bisexuals, who have long asserted that attraction often is not limited to one sex. But for many years the question of bisexuality has bedeviled scientists. A widely publicized study published in 2005, also by researchers at Northwestern, reported that "with respect to sexual arousal and attraction, it remains to be shown that male bisexuality exists."
American Psychological Association Calls For Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage Aug 4, 2011
The American Psychological Association is calling on state and federal officials to stop anti-gay legal measures and to legalize same-sex marriage.
The scientific and professional organization's guiding body voted unanimously at its annual meeting this week in Washington to declare its support for "full marriage equality for same-sex couples."
Majority of Americans Favor Legal Gay Marriage May 20, 2011
For the first time in Gallup's tracking of the issue, a majority of Americans (53%) believe same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages. The increase since last year came exclusively among political independents and Democrats. Republicans' views did not change.
UCC Coalition Praises PCUSA's Vote to Allow Gay, Lesbian Pastors May 11, 2011
The vote by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) May 10 allowing the ordination of openly gay and lesbian ministers is being hailed by LGBT leaders in the United Church of Christ as another major milestone in the journey for justice.
"The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns welcomes the PCUSA to the growing family of churches that have removed barriers to the ordination of LGBT candidates for ministry," said Andy Lang, the Coalition's executive director. "We celebrate the years of hard work and courage that led our partner in the Reformed communion to this day - and especially the leadership of More Light Presbyterians.
Canada To Assist Persecuted Gay Refugees Mar 24, 2011
On the eve of a likely spring election, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced an unusual partnership with Canada's queer community Thursday: a pilot project to help refugees persecuted for their sexual orientation.
Through the project, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will work with the Rainbow Refugee Committee to share the cost of sponsoring gay, lesbian, transgender, transsexual and bisexual refugees overseas to Canada.
The department will provide $100,000 in assistance to cover three months of income support for the refugees upon their arrival here, while the Rainbow committee will offer orientation services, accommodation, food and other basic needs
U.S. to Demand Gay Rights Support at U.N. Body Mar 21, 2011
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration will introduce its first statement calling for the United Nations' top human rights body to combat discrimination against gays and lesbians around the world, completing a U.S. reversal from years of ambiguity on the subject during the presidency of George W. Bush.
The U.S. declaration will be made Tuesday at the Geneva-based Human Rights Council and has the support of more than 80 countries. Although it is not in the form of binding resolution, the American push for U.N. action has helped win over a handful of new countries to the cause. A resolution could be brought to a vote later this year.
Fact-checking Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" Mar 21, 2011
Lady Gaga's "Born this Way" isn't just a mega-hit. It's the latest answer to a long-asked question about sexual orientation: What makes someone gay -- nature or nurture? . . . . . . .
The real controversy has been around what determines sexual orientation. Freud, unlike Lady Gaga, took the position that it was environmental, the result of child-rearing. . . . . . . .
However, there is a major wild card in this entire discussion, one that puts to the test Ron Holt's assertion that sexual orientation is fixed: women. While most of the research has confirmed that men are "born this way," Bailey says, there is an emerging view about women that is very different from men. "Leading researchers are beginning to believe that female sexual orientation is a bit more flexible than that of men," he says. "Women have a higher rate of bisexual feelings than men. It's not uncommon for a woman who has been in a lifelong heterosexual relationship to become attached to and develop a physical relationship with another woman."
Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns reaches out to GLBT teens
with a personal story and message of hope. He tells Gay Teens "It Gets Better". (The volume is very low on this clip. Please turn up your volume to hear it.)
Oct 12, 2010
Ask America Votes Split 50-50 On Gay Marriage Oct 3, 2010
Although economic issues seem to be the highest priority for most people as we lead up to the midterm elections, the debate over gay marriage is nonetheless hitting a turning point. Two recent polls were the first to find majority support for same-sex couples having marriage rights.
Gay marriage is legal in five states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire) and in Washington, D.C. But each of those states allowed the practice only after courts or legislatures stepped in. A popular vote on gay marriage has never resulted in legalizing the unions.
For more information on Gay Marriage, please check the Gay Marriage page.
Argentina Legalizes Gay Marriage, Becomes Next Destination Wedding Hotspot July 15, 2010
Today, Argentina legalized same-sex marriage, making it the first South American country (and a very Catholic one, at that) to do so. Aside from this being excellent for locals who are ready to take their relationship to the final step, we immediately thought: destination weddings!
For more information on Gay Marriage, please check the Gay Marriage page.
Presbyterians Continue To Be Divided Over Gays YahooNews, July 9, 2010
MINNEAPOLIS - A split decision from Presbyterian leaders on two gay-friendly measures guarantees even more debate among the U.S. church's members on an issue they've been divided over for years.
Delegates to the Presbyterian church's convention in Minneapolis voted Thursday for a more liberal policy on gay clergy but decided not to redefine marriage in their church constitution to include same-sex couples. Approval of both measures could have made the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) one of the most gay-friendly major Christian churches in the U.S.
Federal Gay Marriage Ban is Ruled Unconstitutional YahooNews, July 9, 2010
BOSTON - The federal law banning gay marriage is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define the institution and therefore denies married gay couples some federal benefits, a federal judge ruled Thursday in Boston.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro ruled in favor of gay couples' rights in two separate challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, a 1996 law that the Obama administration has argued for repealing. The rulings apply to Massachusetts but could have broader implications if they're upheld on appeal.
Google to Pay Homosexual Staff More than Heterosexual Employees LifeSiteNews.com, July 5, 2010
A news release from Google says that the mega-search engine company will begin paying its homosexual employees more than their heterosexual counterparts.
Citing a tax law that says health insurance benefits paid to civil partners of homosexual employees are considered taxable income, while benefits provided to married spouses are not taxed, Google announced it will rectify the tax "discrimination" against homosexuals by paying them the difference.
On May 20, 2010, two men in Malawi were sentenced to a maximum prison term of 14 years of hard labour for announcing their engagement to each other. (Later news reports have identified Tiwonge as a transgender woman). A coalition of faith leaders who signed the "Uganda Declaration," condemned the prison sentences in Malawi and called on political and religious leaders to stop all state-sponsored attacks on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
A Presidential pardon was granted against the sentence for sodomy after their symbolic wedding, however they are still being penalized and have been separated from each other. Please sign the Uganda Declaration.
Malawi Actions Show the Need for Full Decriminalization posted on June 1, 2010 by uganda1declaration
The pardon and release of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza was celebrated across the world, but according to The Times of South Africa, Tiwonge, who identifies as a woman, and Steven were separated and sent to their respective family villages. This couple reminds the us all that decriminalizing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is an imperative.
"We applaud President Mutharika for this bold decision," said Gift Trapence, Executive Director of the Center for the Development of People. "As Chairperson of the African Union, his actions should set a precedent for African leaders to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of all Africans, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. We hope that the President now pardons all Malawians imprisoned on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, that the judiciary overturns all such convictions, and that the government ensures the constitutional rights to equality and non-discrimination for all.
JPANet: Repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell United Church of Christ, June 1, 2010
Your voice needs to be heard in support of the rights of gays and lesbians to serve openly in the Armed Forces by calling on Congress to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT).
DADT is legalized discrimination. No category of citizens of the United States should be regarded as second class and singled out for discrimination. All should be afforded equal opportunity and equal protection under the Constitution. More than 13,000 gays and lesbians have been discharged under DADT, and an uncounted number of others have left prior to completing full careers due to the pressures imposed by DADT.
Read the Article and take action on the UCC website.
Portugal Becomes Eighth Country to Allow Same-Sex Marriage May 17, 2010
Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva, a practicing Roman Catholic from Portugal's main opposition centre-right party, says he has put his personal convictions aside in deciding to approve the legislation.
The law, adopted in February by the centre-left dominated parliament, removes the reference in Portugal's statutes to marriage being between two people of different sexes.
However, the new law explicitly states married homosexual couples do not have the right to adopt children.
Pope Benedict XVI criticized gay marriage and abortion as "insidious and dangerous threats to the common good" during a visit to Portugal last week.
Portugal is the sixth European country to accept gay marriage, following Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway. Internationally they also follow Canada and South Africa.
Episcopal Church Ordains Its 2nd Openly Gay Bishop May 15, 2010, YahooNews
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Seven years after the Episcopal Church caused an uproar by consecrating its first openly gay bishop, it has done the same thing again - only this time with a woman.
The Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool, of Baltimore, was ordained and consecrated on Saturday, making her the second openly gay bishop in church history and one of the first two female bishops in the Diocese of Los Angeles' 114-year history.
Laura Bush For Gay Marriage And Pro-Choice May 11, 2010
The Lutheran Church Embraces the LGBTQ Community! Apr 19, 2010, Huffington Post
George Bernard Shaw once said, "Certainly all great truths begin as blasphemies." On April 11, 2010, those who identify as people of faith and as "non-heterosexual" were given particular cause to celebrate Shaw's wisdom: a most unlikely church has given a most unlikely people a gift of love and truth, and I cannot stop smiling.
After twenty-five years of deliberation, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Church Council has abolished its anti-gay policies, effective immediately..
Christian Singer Jennifer Knapp Comes "Out" Apr 18, 2010, USA Today
Move over Ricky Martin. The hunky Latin-pop singer who announced last month that he is gay has company: veteran Christian musician Jennifer Knapp. In interviews with Christianity Today and Advocate.com, Knapp, 33, a Dove Award-winning folk rock singer, acknowledges that the rumors are true: she's in a same-sex relationship.
Gay, lesbian couples must be allowed visitors, medical power of attorney
President Obama mandated Thursday that nearly all hospitals extend visitation rights to the partners of gay men and lesbians and respect patients' choices about who may make critical health-care decisions for them, perhaps the most significant step so far in his efforts to expand the rights of gay Americans.
Project 1138 Same-Sex Marriage Equality Video Mar 31, 2010
Wedding Bells Ring For DC Same Sex Couples Mar 6, 2010, msnbc
WASHINGTON - One bride wore a black suit, the other had on a white one with rhinestones. They walked down the aisle to Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are" and kissed after the pastor pronounced them "legally married."
The Rev. Darlene Garner, 61, and the Rev. Candy Holmes, 53, were among the first same-sex couples to marry in Washington on Tuesday, when the district became the sixth place in the country to conduct the unions.
Sex Scandal Rocks Vatican Papal Usher, Chorister Linked To Gay Prostitution Ring Mar 6, 2010, NY DailyNews.com
VATICAN CITY - One of Pope Benedict's ceremonial ushers and a member of an elite choir in St Peter's Basilica have been implicated in a gay prostitution ring, in the latest sexual scandal to taint the Vatican.
Gay Candidates Get Support That Causes May Not Dec 27, 2009, New York Times
HOUSTON - When an openly gay woman won the mayor's race here this month, it was the latest in a string of victories by gay candidates across the country, a trend that seems to contradict the bans on same-sex marriage that have been passed in most states in recent years.
New International Version Of The Bible (NIV) To Be Updated Sept 1, 2009 Press Release
The global board of Biblica today announced its intention to update the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, the first time it has been revised since 1984. The Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), the independent body of global biblical scholars solely responsible for the translation of the world's most popular Bible, is slated to finish its revision late next year, with publication in 2011. The announcement was made at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., the site of the historic first meeting of the CBT in 1965.
"We want to reach English speakers across the globe with a Bible that is accurate, accessible and that speaks to its readers in a language they can understand," said Keith Danby, Global President and CEO of Biblica. "This is why we are recommitting ourselves today to the original NIV charter, complete with its charge to monitor and reflect developments in English usage and Biblical scholarship by periodically updating the NIV Bible text.
"As time passes and English changes, the NIV we have at present is becoming increasingly dated. If we want a Bible that English speakers around the world can understand, we have to listen to, and respect, the vocabulary they are using today."
Note from Mary: Many of us are not happy with the way current Bible translations deal with the verses that would condemn homosexuals. We (YOU) have the opportunity to address this issue directly with the NIV translators. Please go to the Questions & Answers page of their official website to submit your comments.
I suggest you write it first in a document. Review it for spelling and grammar, then copy and paste into their form. Please do not express any negativity in your comments. Keep it strictly positive.
I had previously endorsed Colin Smith's "NIV Update" website regarding this issue, however I am not a Bible scholar and was subsequently corrected by Rick Brentlinger (Gay Christian 101), who I trust implicitly for accuracy. If you wish to read his response to Colin's website, please Click Here.
Meredith Baxter Comes "Out" Dec 2, 2009, The Advocate
Meredith Baxter's New Family Ties
Since her TV career heyday in the 1970s and '80s as a darling of the popular prime-time series Family and Family Ties, Meredith Baxter has mainly flown under the radar, with the exception of a few acclaimed turns in made-for-TV movies such as My Breast and A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story. That is until she boarded the Sweet Caribbean Cruise with thousands of other lesbians last month. If the woman who famously played Elyse Keaton, liberal mother to Michael J. Fox's conservative Alex on the long-running sitcom Family Ties, thought she would go unnoticed amid generations of gay women who idolized her for her blond-haired, blue-eyed, all-American good looks, she was wrong.
See the whole Article, including a video of Meredith with Matt Lauer on The Today Show.
Anglican Church of Canada Statement Nov 6, 2009
House of Bishops Issues Statement on Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill
The Anglican Church of Canada's House of Bishops has issued this statement regarding the proposed Private Member's Bill in Uganda called "The Anti-Homosexuality Bill":
The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, along with the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, express our dismay and concern over the draft proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently before the Parliament of Uganda.
The proposed Bill would severely restrict the human rights of Ugandan citizens both at home and abroad by infringing freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, freedom of organization, and legitimate advocacy of civil rights. It would impose excessive and cruel penalties on persons who experience same-sex attraction as well as those who counsel, support, and advise them, including family members and clergy.
We, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, affirm that our baptismal covenant requires us to "respect the dignity of every human being" and to "seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbour as ourselves." We further note that 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1:10 called upon all bishops to reject the irrational fear of homosexual persons and to create opportunities to listen to the voice and experience of homosexual Christians. We recall that the Primates Meeting in Dromantine, Ireland 2005 condemned all persecution and violence towards homosexual persons. Clearly, the proposed Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill fails to meet these standards.
We therefore call upon our colleagues in the House of Bishops of the Province of Uganda to oppose this Private Member's Bill. Together with our colleagues in the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, we call upon our own Government of Canada, through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to convey to the Government of Uganda a deep sense of alarm about this fundamental violation of human rights and, through diplomatic channels, to press for its withdrawal.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, Under Pressure As Christians Condemn Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill Nov 18, 2009
Global opposition is growing to the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" recently proposed in Uganda, which would introduce the death penalty for certain homosexual activity between consenting adults.
An increasing number of Christian organisations are condemning the Bill but the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is facing criticism for not speaking out on the issue.
Pres Obama Commemorates Enactment of Hate Crimes Prevention Act Oct 28, 2009
This is an 11 minute video of President Obama speaking about the importance of signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act that toughens penalties, and expands protections against crimes designed to intimidate as well as harm.
Church Of Sweden To Bless Gay Marriages Oct 23, 2009
Delegates of Sweden's largest church, the Lutheran Church of Sweden, approved a plan Thursday to bless gay marriages, the AFP reported.
Gay marriage became available in Sweden on May 1 after Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill in April, making it the seventh country to legalize gay marriage.
A large majority (70%) of the church's synod, or church board, agreed to allow gay couples to marry in its congregations from November 1. Pastors, however, have the discretion to refuse to bless a marriage.
Catholic Church Makes 'Stunning' Move by James Graff, World Editor, AOL News, Oct 20, 2009
The number of married Catholic priests could grow sharply as the result of the Vatican's epochal decision to welcome thousands of disaffected Anglicans and Episcopalians into the Catholic church.
At press conferences in Rome and London on Tuesday, Vatican officials announced that the church would set up a special canonical structure that will ease the conversion of members of the Anglican Communion without them having to give up what the Vatican called "the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony." That means not only a body of prayers and hymns, but also a tradition of married priests and bishops.
A Manifesto! The Time Has Come! by Bishop John Shelby Spong, Oct 15, 2009
I have made a decision. I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility. I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is "an abomination to God," about how homosexuality is a "chosen lifestyle," or about how through prayer and "spiritual counseling" homosexual persons can be "cured." Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy. I will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those who advocate "reparative therapy," as if homosexual persons are somehow broken and need to be repaired. I will no longer talk to those who believe that the unity of the church can or should be achieved by rejecting the presence of, or at least at the expense of, gay and lesbian people. I will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders who call homosexuality "deviant." I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that "we love the sinner but hate the sin." That statement is, I have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement.
Insufficient Evidence That Sexual Orientation Change Efforts Work, Says American Psychological Association"
Practitioners Should Avoid Telling Clients They Can Change from Gay to Straight
Aug 5, 2009
TORONTO-The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution Wednesday stating that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.
The "Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts" also advises that parents, guardians, young people and their families avoid sexual orientation treatments that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and instead seek psychotherapy, social support and educational services "that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth."
The approval, by APA's governing Council of Representatives, came at APA's annual convention, during which a task force presented a report that in part examined the efficacy of so-called "reparative therapy," or sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).
Call it a Christmas present for gay and lesbian couples. President Bush signed the Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act of 2008 (WRERA) two days before Christmas. The new law makes it mandatory for businesses to roll over retirement benefits to a same-sex partner in the event of the employee's death.
Previously, employers could decline and surviving same-sex partners would have to pay tax on the inheritance of the deceased partner's retirement savings. Legally married heterosexual couples automatically avoid that tax penalty.
National LGBT rights groups hailed the move. "This legislation secures much-needed protection for lesbian and gay couples," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Our community faces unique challenges in preparing for retirement because we are denied Social Security spousal and survivor benefits. Protecting our hard-earned retirement savings is even more crucial to us, and until now, the tax code made it that much harder."
UN: General Assembly Statement Affirms Rights for All Dec 18, 2008
In a powerful victory for the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 66 nations at the UN General Assembly today supported a groundbreaking statement confirming that international human rights protections include sexual orientation and gender identity. It is the first time that a statement condemning rights abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people has been presented in the General Assembly.
The statement drew unprecedented support from five continents, including six African nations. Argentina read the statement before the General Assembly. A cross-regional group of states coordinated the drafting of the statement, also including Brazil, Croatia, France, Gabon, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway. . . .
France Calls For Action On Women's and Gay Rights posted Dec 13, 2008
Paris plans to submit a draft declaration to the UN General Assembly in December aimed at combating homophobia and decriminalising homosexuality, which is punishable by prison in 90 countries and in theory by death in six of them.
Florida Judge Rules Against Gay Adoption Ban Dec 1, 2008
A Miami judge ruled Tuesday that there is no rational, scientific or moral reason that sexual orientation should be a barrier to adopting children, finalizing the adoption of two siblings by their gay foster father.
After 58 hearings, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman said she had no doubts about her decision, which sets the stage for a legal battle that could go to the state Supreme Court. "I know this family fairly well. These children are thriving," she said, declaring in a 53-page judgment that the 8- and 4-year-old brothers would be the legal children of Martin Gill, a gay man from North Miami.
Gill, 47, was elated. "Today, I've cried my first tears of joy in my life," he said after the ruling. "Our family just got a lot more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving."
In her ruling, Lederman said the ban against adoptions by gay people violated the state's equal protection guarantees by singling them out. She noted that the state of Florida permits gay people to serve as foster parents to its most fragile citizens - children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned.
Lederman said there is consensus among researchers that there is no reason to prohibit adoptions by gay people.
"Based on the evidence presented from experts from all over this country and abroad, it is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person's ability to parent," Lederman wrote in her order. "Sexual orientation no more leads to psychiatric disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, relationship instability, a lower life expectancy or sexual disorders than race, gender, socioeconomic class or any other demographic characteristic."
Soldiers March in Toronto Gay Pride Parade June 29, 2008
Lt. Steven Churm, one of 10 soldiers from across the country who marched in uniform, said their presence sends a message that the Canadian military is inclusive and an equal-opportunity employer.
"The message to the public is that the Canadian Forces is an employer of choice. We have employment opportunities that people can pursue, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation," he told CBC News.
"For our own members, they can be proud of what they're doing and also be proud of who they are."
A few days ago the American Psychiatric Association announced who would write the new revision of the DSM-V, the manual of mental disorders that controls the diagnosis and treatment of gender and sexual difference. The "expert" just named to chair the revisions on sexuality and gender is Kenneth Zucker. Zucker is the major remaining proponent of "reparative therapy" to "cure" kids they think are LGBT.
If the APA doesn't change the committee, the next edition of the DSMV will probably prescribe reparative therapies as recommended "treatment" for LGBT people.
Zucker's named Ray Blanchard to the work group that will rewrite Gender Identity Disorder. Blanchard is connected with ex-gay organizations; his core theory is that transpeople are "really" sex offenders or homosexuals, and homosexuals are mentally ill.
Zucker's stated purpose for reparative therapy is that, without it, gay kids will grow up into transsexuals. So any version of Gender Identity Disorder the two of them write will not only put transpeople out of medical help and into conversion therapy, but also redefine GID from an independent diagnosis to a kind of homosexuality.
In other words, their goal is to put homosexuality back in the DSMV as a mental illness. We'd be back where we were before 1973. We have to get the word out.
If the community protests loudly and fast, the APA will probably have to remove Zucker and Blanchard. Please help. Spread the word to everyone you know.
Any contacts you have with LGBT political advocacy and media organizations, please light a fire with them to pressure the APA to remove Zucker and Blanchard from the DSM-V committee. It matters for all of us.
Contact the American Psychiatric Association
1000 Wilson Boulevard Suite 1825
Arlington, VA 22209
Contact APA Answer Center Call Toll-Free: 1-888-35-PSYCH
From outside the U.S. and Canada call: 1-703-907-7300
OHIP To Cover Sex Changes May 16, 2008
The small number of Ontarians hoping for sex-change operations will soon see the surgery covered by provincial health insurance again.
The decision is expected to cost a total of $200,000 a year because just "eight to 10" people annually are expected to pass the "very rigorous" psychological evaluation required before sex reassignment surgery, Health Minister George Smitherman said yesterday.
"It's a very serious medical condition that affects a very small number of people," he told reporters, noting that other provinces including Alberta pay for the surgery.
Ellen Degeneres Discusses the Recent Tragic Death of 15 yo Larry Feb 29, 2008
Where Each Candidate for U.S. President Stands on Gay Marriage Jan 9, 2008
Hillary Clinton: Clinton opposes same-sex marriage and favors civil unions but said
she would not stand in the way if New York passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage.
In the U.S. Senate, she opposed amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage. While
she has solicited and received the support of gay and lesbian groups, many gay
activists were alarmed over her March 2007 comment that the morality of
homosexuality was up "to others to conclude." She later released a statement saying
that she does not believe homosexuality is immoral.
John Edwards: During his 2004 bid for the presidency, Edwards said that he
personally opposed gay marriage, but supported civil unions for homosexual couples
and said each state should determine its own policy. In 2006, Edwards called gay
marriage "the single hardest social issue for me personally," saying that while he
supports civil unions and partnership benefits, "it's a jump for me to get to gay
Rudolph Giuliani: Giuliani opposes gay marriage and has stated that "marriage
should be between a man and a woman." He does not, however, support a federal
amendment banning gay marriage. As mayor, he signed legislation recognizing
domestic partnerships, marched in gay pride parades, actively supported gay rights and
temporarily lived with a gay couple during his divorce.
FATHERHOOD DREAMS: Canadian documentary on gay fathers: Airing November 17th at 10 p.m. on Global Television
Come along on an intimate journey through the lives of four gay men devoted to being fathers and the challenges they face becoming dads.
How many gay fathers do you know? Have you ever met a child whose dad is gay? Do any families with same-sex parents live on your street? If so, do you let your kids play with their kids?
The new documentary Fatherhood Dreams, which airs as part of Global TV's Global Currents documentary series on Saturday, November 17, at 10 p.m., introduces audiences to four Vancouver-area family men who happen to be gay, and the challenges they have faced becoming and being parents. It is the first Canadian documentary letting people into the lives of gay men who are parents, and the first to give voice to their children.
MOMMY, MOMMY: Documentary on lesbian parenting: Tuesday November 20 at 10pm ET/PT and Saturday November 24 at 11pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld
Produced by Rezolution Pictures in association with CBC Newsworld, the documentary MOMMY, MOMMY follows Linda and Mona, a lesbian couple from Quebec, on their quest to
create the family they've always dreamed about. Linda and Mona embark upon a five year long emotional rollercoaster ride where they're confronted by the complications
of access to IVF, and bans against same-sex couples adopting from overseas. After finding a birth mother in the US who welcomes lesbian parents, Linda and Mona find a final, devastating roadblock thrown up by the Christian-based adoption agency and their own government. The same one that legalized same-sex adoptions! The couple refuse to give up, and Linda and Mona's dream finally comes true in the most unexpected way...
Mel White Interview With Anderson Cooper re Jerry Falwell's Passing
Mel White Interview With Larry King re Jerry Falwell's Passing
Don't Ask Don't Tell Human Rights Campaign, Mar 13, 2007
Yesterday, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told The Chicago Tribune that he supports the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays serving in the military because homosexual acts "are immoral," and compared it to an adulterous affair with the spouse of another service member.
It's this kind of blind prejudice against the estimated thousands of gay and lesbian military personnel that defend our nation each and every day that is truly immoral. In fact, Sen. John Warner, R-Va., ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee issued a statement today opposing Gen. Pace's comments. "I respectfully, but strongly disagree with the chairman's view that homosexuality is immoral," Warner said.
Earlier this month, I announced that I am a gay American as I stood with Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA) to introduce the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, legislation to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." It was one of my proudest moments when I told Americans across the country that my sacrifice as the first US military wounded in Iraq was for all Americans, including members of the GLBT community.
Please join me in sending a message to Gen. Pace and our nation's leaders that this type of discrimination is wrong.
I urge you to contact the Department of Defense and the White House today to demand that General Pace apologize for his bigoted remarks.
Minister Protests Same-Sex Union Ban With A Halt To All Weddings The Boston Globe, Mar 12, 2007
AMHERST, Mass. - An Episcopal minister will stop performing all wedding ceremonies to protest the denomination's prohibition of same-sex unions.
"We are called to join the fast that our homosexual brothers and sisters in Christ have had to observe all their lives," said the Rev. Robert Hirschfeld, rector of Grace Episcopal Church.
Several members of the congregation say they support Hirschfeld's move, which he announced in his Sunday sermon. Others said they were concerned that that the move might add to the polarization of an issue that has already divided Episcopals.
Erica Winter, of Northampton, said working for social justice often involves giving up something.
"I'm so proud to be a part of this," Nina Scott, a congregant from Amherst, said. "It's a step that needs to be taken."
Two priest associates at Grace Church, the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and the Rev. Burton Whiteside, also said they won't perform marriages.
"I am convinced that when gays and lesbians are baptized, they become full members of the body of Christ," said Bullitt-Jonas. "They are not partial members or conditional members or second-class members."
AIDS Vaccine Nearing Reality at Emory by Keith Whitney, Mar 8, 2007
The world could have a new vaccine designed to kill the AIDS virus in as little as three to four years according to an Atlanta-based group working on the vaccine.
It is a scientific advance that could save tens of millions of lives, and it is being developed on the campus of Emory University.
Human Rights Protection Urged For Transsexuals - Canada
by Kerry Gillespie, Queen's Park Bureau, Mar 6, 2007
Martine Stonehouse was lucky enough to keep her job when she changed from the man she was into the woman she always wanted to be.
A more common experience for transsexuals is to lose their jobs, be denied an apartment and even to face discrimination by doctors.
To make sure being treated fairly depends on more than luck, NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo announced yesterday she wants to have transsexual people afforded rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Right now, the code says people can't be discriminated against - such as being denied a job or a service - for numerous reasons including race, religion, sex, handicap or age.
During the spring sitting of the Legislature, which begins in two weeks, DiNovo (Parkdale-High Park) said she will introduce a private member's bill to add gender identity to the human rights code.
"We really applaud Cheri DiNovo's courage in bringing forward this legislation and we welcome politicians from all parties to support transsexual human rights protection. This is the next frontier of human rights protection," said Susan Gapka, chair of Trans Health Lobby Group.
To pass, DiNovo's bill will need Liberal government support.
Only the Northwest Territories has included gender identity in its human rights code.
If Ontario followed suit, it could make a difference across the country, Stonehouse said.
"It would send a strong message to other jurisdictions across Canada that transphobia and discrimination against transsexual people is wrong."
Military Death Gratuity Legislation Mar 4, 2007
Senator John McCain introduced a bill in the US Senate February 16th that would allow military men and women to choose who receives their Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance.
Under the current law, the death of a service men/women the insurance pays the spouse or the legal aged next of Kin. If a services person does not have a legal spouse and their next of kin (lets say their child) is under 18 the Insurance is not paid out to anyone.
The bill would allow single parents to leave money to their underage children's named guardian for their benefit. The bill, however, would also let LGBT service women and men leave their death benefits to their partners. Something that is currently prohibited.
Settlement Reached in Penn State Basketball Homophobia Case Feminist Daily News Wire, Feb 7, 2007
Jen Harris, a former basketball player for Pennsylvania State University, has reached an "amicable" settlement of a discrimination lawsuit filed against the university, its athletic director, and its women's basketball coach, Rene Portland.
Harris, who was represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), had charged that Portland repeatedly inquired about her sexual orientation, pressured her to appear more "feminine," told other players not to associate with her and abruptly dismissed her from the team in 2005. She also alleged discrimination based on race (she is African American), gender, sexual orientation, and invasion of privacy.
Some were disappointed by the careful, no-blame language of the settlement's announcement. Portland, who has allegedly discouraged lesbian players from joining the Penn State team, continued to dispute Harris' allegations and deny liability.
Also, despite Penn State's conclusion after an internal investigation that Portland had created a "hostile, intimidating and offensive climate," the coach received just a fine of $10,000 and was allowed to keep her position. Homophobia-in-sports expert Pat Griffin, however, has suggested that one read between the lines of the confidential agreement, and take note of NCLR lawyer Karen Doering's separate statement that Penn State is taking additional steps to "further protect all students who have experienced discriminatory treatment" at the university.
"What is important, I think, is that Jen Harris and her lawyers from the NCLR are happy with the settlement," wrote Griffin on the Women's Sports Foundation's website. "Did the university agree to a substantial financial settlement...? Probably. Did they agree to more careful oversight of Portland's practices, and regular [anti-homophobia] training for all staff? I think that is what Doering's quote is telling us."
Against Nature Feb 17, 2007
Local church groups in Oslo, Norway, are protesting a museum exhibit entitled "Against Nature," believed to be the first in the world to examine same-sex animal pairs. The exhibit at The National History Museum features a sign saying, "We may have opinions on a lot of things, but one thing is clear - homosexuality is found throughout the animal kingdom; it is not against nature." Homosexuality has been observed in more than 1,500 animal species. Conservative Christians are accusing the museum of displaying pornography.
The exhibit will run until August 19, 2007.
For more information on the exhibition, click Here.
"For The Bible Tells Me So" - Feature Length Documentary Coming in January 2007
FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO (working title) is a new feature-length documentary film that will look at this phenomenon and will directly confront the use of scripture by the religious right to deny gay and lesbian people basic human rights.
We will tell the story of V. Gene Robinson, a man from New Hampshire, whose consecration as the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion (indeed in Christendom) has sent shock waves throughout the world. We will also feature Chrissy Gephardt, the lesbian daughter of Congressman Dick Gephardt, as she and her family struggle to deal with her very public coming out. (In addition, an undecided third story of theological transformation on this issue will be featured.)
Throughout the unfolding of three very human journeys, clergy and major Biblical scholars will also weigh-in on what those oft-quoted scriptural verses, so often cited by religious conservatives, really mean. Among those voicing affirming interpretations of scripture are Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, openly gay orthodox rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech.
Listen as Daniel Karslake joins Joel Heller of Docs That Inspire for a cup of tea to talk about his first feature length documentary.
Circumcision Could Prevent 1.4 Million HIV Infections in South Africa Dec 21, 2006
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Widespread male circumcision could prevent some 1.4 million new HIV infections and 800,000 AIDS deaths in South Africa over the next 20 years, a South African research group said on Thursday.
James Dobson of "Focus on the Family" Distorts Research Dec 13 & 14, 2006
'I was mortified to learn that you had distorted my work,' NYU Professor Carol Gilligan Tells Focus on the Family Leader in Blistering Letter.
Miami Beach, FLA. - New York University educational psychologist Carol Gilligan, PhD, today slammed Focus on the Family leader, James C. Dobson, for "twisting" and "distorting" her research in a guest column he wrote in this week's issue of Time Magazine. Dobson misrepresented her work in an effort to smear gay families while discussing Mary Cheney's pregnancy. In a pointed letter to Dobson, Gilligan demanded that he apologize and "cease and desist" from quoting her work in the future.
"Dobson's group is a fib factory that should change its name to Focus on the Fallacies," said Truth Wins OUT Executive Director Wayne Besen. "This organization habitually lies and shamelessly mangles research to support its anti-gay agenda. Time Magazine should immediately withdrawal Dobson's column because it is so riddled with scientific errors that it is essentially fiction."
Canada - Same-Sex Marriage Issue Put To Rest Dec 8, 2006
Yesterday, the Conservative government of Canada introduced a motion
in the House of Commons "to introduce legislation to restore the
traditional definition of marriage without affecting civil unions and
while respecting existing same-sex marriages". The motion was easily
defeated today by a vote of 175-123, with 12 Conservative MPs breaking
ranks and voting against the motion.
The motion was to fulfill a Conservative promise that, if elected,
they would seek to overturn same-sex marriage. It was the last major
hurdle faced by supporters of equal marriage, and now the 12,000 same-
sex couples who have married since last June's law went into effect
can be assured that their marriages are not in jeopardy.
Definitely a cause for celebration!
South Africa Becomes First Country On Continent To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage Nov 30, 2006
With the deputy president's signature on a new law, South Africa on Thursday became the first country on the†African continent†to legalize same-sex marriages. The Civil Union Act entered into force on the eve of a December 1 deadline set by the Constitutional Court for the government to change its marriage legislation to ensure full equality for gays and lesbians.
The legislation made it through parliament despite opposition from many church groups and traditional leaders, who said it violated African culture.
Gay rights groups have welcomed the law, although they criticized provisions allowing marriage officers to turn away gay couples if their consciences prevent them from marrying them.
Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka signed the law in her capacity as acting president because President Thabo Mbeki is in Nigeria.
South Africa recognized the rights of gay people in the constitution adopted after apartheid ended in 1994, at a time when leaders were determined to bury all kinds of legal discrimination.
The constitution, the first in the world to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, provided a powerful legal tool for gay rights activists even though South Africa remains conservative on such issues. (AP)
New Jersey Recognizes Same-Sex Couples' Constitutional Rights Oct 25, 2006
WASHINGTON - Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese made the following statement regarding today's ruling in Lewis v. Harris - a court case in which the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to receive the same state benefits, protections and obligations as opposite-sex married couples. The court ruled that the Legislature must either amend its marriage law to include same-sex couples or provide these benefits, protections and obligations by some other means such as civil unions.
"Today, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples should have the same rights and obligations as heterosexual couples. This is, at its core, a pro-family, pro-equality decision. It is now in the hands of the Legislature to do the right thing, and recognize that all New Jersey families should have the protections that only marriage provides.
To read the entire Press Release, please click here.
Religious Leaders Say "No"
To Re-Opening Equal Marriage Oct 24, 2006
(OTTAWA - Oct 24, 2006) Religious leaders gathered on Parliament Hill today to let Canadians know that not all religions are opposed to marrying same-sex couples, and urged the Prime Minister to remove the cloud of uncertainty that now hangs over the heads of same-sex couples and all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Meanwhile, Defend Marriage and the Canada Family Action Coalition, both religious opponents of equal marriage, lobbied MPs to re-open the divisive equal marriage debate. They claim that with same-sex couples included in civil marriage, "religious institutions and facilities have no protection." See www.defendmarriage.ca for details.
"To reopen the debate and deny the right to equal marriage would be a violation of the religious freedom of faith communities, such as ours, who wish to recognize same-sex marriage as part of their religious practice," said The Right Rev. David Giuliano, Moderator of The United Church of Canada. "There are many pressing and significant moral issues facing Canadians - the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, growing poverty, climate change and healthcare benefits, to name a few. The issue of equal marriage has been nationally debated and resolved. To spend further precious time and the country's resources on the question in the House of Commons is morally inexcusable. We respectfully ask that Prime Minister Harper tell Canadians that he considers the matter settled."
To read the entire Press Release, please click here.
Drive To Raise Money for Victim Of Homophobic Attack July 13, 2006
WILKES BARRE, PA - The Archbishop of the Benedictine Order of St. John the Beloved announced today that the Order is launching a drive to raise money for one of the victims of the brutal attack on the island of St. Maarten. Ryan Smith is continuing a slow recovery due to injuries sustained in a homophobic attack suffered while he vacationed on the island with friends.
According to his family, Ryan has just undergone a third surgery to help close a hole left in his skull that was caused by a tire iron that was used on his head by the attackers. While his progress is slow but positive, Ryan suffers from another common ill when one becomes a victim of a violent attack: financial crises. With no income, his ability to cover living expenses has gone to zero. His family is helping as much as they can, but millionaires they are not.
If anyone would like to contribute to the full recovery of Ryan, please send whatever you can to:
c/o Patricia Smith
P.O. Box 94
If you desire the ability to take a tax write off at the end of the year, you may make out your checks to the Benedictine Order of St. John the Beloved, write Ryan Smith on the memo line of your check, and we will forward the money to Ryan. The Order's address is:
Benedictine Order of St. John the Beloved
264 East Main St.
Wilkes Barre, PA
It doesnít matter if you are gay or straight, crime effects us all and we are our brotherís keeper. Please support Ryan today with a generous donation. For further updates on Ryan's condition, please go to: http://sxmprivateeye.com/node/4297
Most Reverend Bruce J. Simpson, OSJB
(570) 824-5451 for further information
Gay Mounties To Wed in Nova Scotia Today June 30, 2006
HALIFAX -- On the eve of Canada Day, a young couple will wed today in a ceremony that puts one of the country's most iconic symbols in a whole new light.
Dressed in their distinctive scarlet coats, Jason Tree and David Connors will become the first male RCMP officers to wed. They will exchange vows before a justice of the peace and a troop of other Mounties in their red serge.
The couple has been deluged by interview requests. Tree, 27, said he has received about 60 supportive letters.
"We don't see our wedding as anything different or special," he said. "Our goal was to get married, not have an international media story.
"I fail to see the big deal."
He's heard jokes about Brokeback Mounties and headlines about how this Mountie has got his man.
Blogs, too, are full of opinions.
"What!!! Neither is wearing white? Who has the garter belt and bouquet? As long as they can catch the bad guys, I don't care who they snuggle down with at night," one blogger wrote recently.
Tree said the RCMP have been supportive of his relationship.
RCMP spokesman Sgt. Frank Skidmore said the organization is trying to reflect a broader spectrum of the Canadian community.
"It's the law in this country, so it's accepted by the RCMP," he said.
Website Launched for LGBT Catholics June 21, 2006
The Soho Masses Pastoral Council (SMPC), formed one year ago, to take responsibility for 1st and 3rd Sunday Masses celebrated for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered Catholics, their parents, families and friends, has just launched its own web-site at http://sohomasses.googlepages.com.
The Masses are celebrated, 5.00 pm, 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month, at St. Anne's Church, 55 Dean Street, Soho, London W1D 6AF.
Attracting an increasing and international congregation, this community of LGBT Catholics, their families and friends, average attendance ranges from 60 - 100 participants. The community is served by a number of Catholic priests from a variety of dioceses or religious communities.
The new web-site features a monthly news-bulletin of future events, recent homilies delivered at the Masses, and links to other relevant web-sites of interest to Catholics.
The Europride Mass, 5.00 pm on 2 July, will be a special multi-lingual Eucharist to mark Europride 2006. The SMPC will also have an information stall at the Europride Rally in Trafalgar Square on Saturday, 1 July, alongside other Catholic groups.
The SMPC, composed of 6 members of the community, also plans a series of home-based discussion/reflection sessions in September 2006 to enable the congregation to gather in smaller, faith-sharing groups.
Transgender Person Is Elected To Italian Parliament Media Release, April 12, 2006
Five lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people were elected as members of the Italian parliament. While Europe is more accustomed to the presence and visibility of LGB people in politics, the case of Vladimir Luxuria, a transgender person being elected as a parliamentarian, is probably the first of its kind in Europe.
This is a significant result not just for Italy but for the entire Europe and European politics as LGBT people are taking more prominent and visible places within the political arena.
The majority of the centre-left coalition Unione lead by the former President of the European Commission Romano Prodi is expected to introduce some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples as most coalition members supported the idea in their election manifestos. It is also likely that Italy will improve its anti-discrimination legislation and expand its hate legislation to include sexual orientation and gender identity, and possibly that the new government will improve the present gender reassignment legislation.
Riccardo Gottardi, Co-Chair of the ILGA-Europe Board, said:
"We are happy to see a transgender person being elected as Italian parliamentarian. This is a very important victory not just for Italy, but for all Europe. This is also a sign that the European electorate is becoming more open-minded and embracing the diversity of human kind."
We hope the newly elected Italian politicians will fulfil their pre-election promises and will introduce Italy into a family of European nations legally recognising same-sex families as well as introduce further legislation to guarantee equal rights for LGBT people.
For more information please contact
Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 2 609 54 16 / + 32 496 708 375
Fear Haunts Gay, Lesbian Seniors, Study Reveals by Dene Moore, The Canadian Press
March 15, 2006
MONTREAL - Gays and lesbians who grew up in the days when homosexuality was considered a mental illness are now seniors who face continued discrimination and self-imposed silence when it comes to accessing the health-care services they need, says a study released Tuesday.
"People were once forced into psychiatric institutions," said Bill Ryan, one of the lead researchers in the study by the McGill University School of Social Work. "Going to a doctor was a very fearful experience for many people."
Homosexual seniors are still afraid to reveal their sexual orientation to their doctor or other health care providers, said the study, which was done over four years.
France's Highest Court Grants Equal Parental Authority to Gay Couples February 25, 2006
Article taken from Advocate.com
France's top court on Friday granted gay couples joint parental rights, where previously only the biological parent had authority.
"The civil code is not opposed to a mother, as sole holder of the parental authority, delegating all or part of the duties to the woman with whom she lives in a stable and continuous union," the Cour de Cassation court wrote in its ruling. The decision of the court, which interprets French law but does not hear trials, also applies to gay male couples when one partner is a biological father.
Previously, French law granted parental responsibility to someone other than a biological parent only in unusual cases and did not cover gay couples in that regard.
The legal win is the latest victory for French gays and lesbians, who are allowed civil unions but are still fighting for marriage and adoption rights.
Canadian Priests Oppose Vatican Ban on Gay Clergy February 25, 2006
Article taken from Advocate.com
In the strongest internal opposition yet to the Catholic Church's official stance on homosexuality, 19 Canadian priests publicly criticized the Vatican's new ban on gay clergy. In an open letter published in the Montreal newspaper La Presse this weekend, the priests also condemned the church's view that being gay is a "disorder" and requested a new dialogue on the issue among clergy in Quebec, reports The Gazette of Montreal.
"There is no reason for the ban on homosexual men from entering the priesthood," Raymond Gravel, a priest from Joliette who signed the letter, told The Gazette. He said that the Vatican's invocation of "natural law" to support its antigay position is not legitimate because the church has been wrong on issues related to "the mysteries of life" before, as it is now.
The priest added that the church is contributing to homophobia with its views and that he and his fellow signatories could no longer stay silent about it.
The letter comes in response not only to the Vatican's recent directive that forbids gay men from serving as priests but also to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops's recently announced opposition to same-sex marriage. Neither the Vatican nor the conference has commented on the letter.
Illinois Catholic University to Offer Queer Studies Minor February 24, 2006
Sirius OutQ News
The nation's largest Catholic school has started offering a minor in gay studies. Starting last month, students at DePaul University in Illinois can now get a minor in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer studies.
The program's director says the move makes sense. He told The Chicago Tribune, "Institutions of higher learning, Catholic or not, are about open investigation and free inquiry."
A spokesperson for the higher education ministry at the archdiocese of Chicago says the archdiocese isn't necessarily against the program, adding, "I don't have any allergic reaction per se to the subject matter. There are ways it could be treated good and ways it could be treated bad."
But other Illinois Catholics don't see it the same way. The group Catholic Citizens of Illinois said it plans to send a letter to DePaul's president. Spokesman Karl Maurer said the program "validates people in a sinful lifestyle."
Students in the program so far disagree with that sentiment. According to one student, "They are not telling you how to be queer. They are teaching you the implications of an identity and a community."
POPE ACCEPTS RESIGNATION OF U.S. BISHOP February 5, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of an auxiliary bishop of Detroit, Thomas Gumbleton, a liberal voice in the U.S. church who recently revealed that a priest abused him 60 years ago.
The Vatican's brief announcement Thursday said the pope accepted the resignation for reasons of age. Gumbleton turned 76 last week, a year past the normal retirement age for bishops.
Gumbleton said in an interview published last month that he was abused in 1945 when he was a ninth grader at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. He is believed to be the first U.S. bishop to disclose that he was a victim of sexual abuse by clergy. He has spoken out in favor of extending the statute of limitations on lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests and has said he revealed his own abuse now because he thought it might help other victims.
Gumbleton has also written that gay men should be ordained putting him at odds with a recent Vatican document that said most gay men should not be admitted to the priesthood.
In a 2002 article in the Jesuit magazine America, Gumbleton denounced what he called the scapegoating of gay priests for the clergy sex abuse crisis battering the U.S. church, and said many gay priests he knew were carrying out their vocations admirably often offering a "depth of compassion not always shared in a comparable way by heterosexual priests."
Gumbleton also writes a regular column for the National Catholic Reporter, an independent newsweekly.
WASHINGTON HOUSE PASSES GAY CIVIL RIGHTS BILL Advocate.com
January 24, 2006
The Washington State house has passed a gay civil rights bill, sending the measure to the senate, where a Republican's change of heart may help it become law. The measure passed on a 60-37 vote Friday, with six Republicans joining 54 Democrats to pass it.
Under the bill, "sexual orientation" would be added to a state law that bans discrimination in housing, employment, and insurance. Businesses with fewer than eight employees would be exempt. Sixteen states have passed similar laws.
Gay Movies Win Awards by Johan Fernandez
January 19, 2006
NEW YORK: If it is gay there is a good chance it will be a hit. Brokeback Mountain, which swept the Golden Globe awards on Monday winning four awards, Capote and Transamerica all had gay themes.
Brokeback Mountain won best picture (drama), director (Ang Lee), song (A Love That Will Never Grow Old) and screenplay (by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana).
Felicity Huffman won for her role as a man preparing for sex-change surgery in Transamerica and Philip Seymour Hoffman as gay author Truman Capote in Capote.
Going by past awards, Brokeback Mountain and Capote stand a good chance of making it big in the Oscars.
Brokeback Mountain is about two homosexual sheep herders who hide their affair for decades.
The movie has garnered critical accolades with limited showings in selected theatres, while a massive public relations campaign paves the way for more mainstream success ≠ and, seemingly more important, spreading acceptance of homosexuality.
The issue of homosexuality is very much part of American society, and debates on gay marriages and civil unions have long divided the country along the lines of conservative religious right on one side and liberals on the other.
Following a near-sweep of year-end critics' awards for best picture, Brokeback Mountain has exceeded box-office expectations for a gay film.
Still in relatively limited release, it crossed over the US$30mil (RM113.5mil) mark in the United States this weekend, while pushing King Kong out of the No. 1 spot in Britain.
Despite being pulled from one Utah megaplex, it was a sell-out at a nearby Salt Lake City theatre.
The movie is expected to ignite the debate again.
While many accept the presence of homosexuals they are uncomfortable with Hollywood pushing gay movies into the mainstream.
Some see it as Hollywood trying to make the point that there is a huge gay community and they are to be accepted.
It could be very much a red state-blue state issue, much like the conservative Republican and liberal Democrat battle in this very partisan political atmosphere.
Thirty-six years ago, in a nation deeply divided by war and politics and the beginnings of the gay-rights movement, Midnight Cowboy won the Oscar for best picture.
SONY LAUNCHES NEW GAY RECORD LABEL January 11, 2006
Sony Music has announced the launch of a new label dedicated to nurturing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered artists.
The label "Music With A Twist" will be a joint venture between Sony Music which is part of the giant BMG corporation and Wilderness Media & Entertainment, the company behind MTV's new gay and lesbian channel LOGO.
The new label will feature a mix of gay artists who have mass appeal and hit potential across many musical genres.
"It's an idea whose time has come" said Matt Farber of LOGO. He added "Only now are media and entertainment brands being created for the gay and lesbian audiences following the success of brands for other minorities."
The announcement precedes the launch of Twist Radio, a new U.S. syndicated weekly gay radio show and another of Farber's ventures.
Music With A Twist will release a compilation CD in June to coincide with National Gay Pride celebrations.
South Africa To Legalize Gay Marriage
December 2, 2005
South Africa's Constitutional court has ruled that the Marriage Act was unconstitutional because the wording allowed only for marriages between men and women, ordering Parliament to change the law within 12 months to legalise same-sex marriage.
The government issued a statement after yesterday's ruling saying it would respect the judgement, and that "the department of home affairs will assess what practical steps will be needed to give effect to the change in the law and make appropriate recommendations to the minister".
Despite the victory however, the law still allows marriage officers to refuse to marry same-sex couples if it goes against their conscience.
Dec 1st is Worlds AIDS Day - Light To Unite
Did you know?
AIDS is the leading cause of death among African-American women ages 25 - 34
Nearly half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. occur in people under 25
Up to 20% of medicated HIVers who have a detectable viral load are resistant to three classes of antiretrovirals
AIDS diagnoses in women have increased from 8% in 1985 to about 30%
Crystal meth users are more than twice as likely to be HIV-positive than nonusers
Heterosexual transmission accounts for about 33% of all new HIV infections - up from 3% in 1985
About 25% of estimated HIVers do not know they carry the virus and 67% of seropositive black men do not know
African-American women are 67% of estimated new AIDS cases, Latinas are 16%
HIV prevalence in prisons is estimated to be five times the rate of the general public
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS estimates the world's total HIV-infected population has reached more than 40 million - with almost 5 million people newly infected in 2004!
When World AIDS Day observations began in 1988, the campaign began with a simple theme: Communication.
Today, we still have a great need to ensure that we are communicating - in our neighbourhoods, schools, workplaces; with our government officials; and around the globe - that HIV continues its devastating march and shows no signs of letting up.
No matter what your personal cause is (to end the stigmatization surrounding HIV that overwhelms people into silence and enables the virus's further spread, for example, or to educate youth that they are not immune to its effects, to advocate for widespread access to treatment and health care, to urge personal responsibility and stop this virus in its tracks), this year's theme, actually the theme that will continue through 2010, speaks to you
"Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise."
It is a reminder to everyone to hold their governments and fellow citizens everywhere to a commitment - stop the ravage and further spread of HIV.
The faces of HIVers have become increasingly diversified, but their voices have become ever more focused and unified on delivering their message.
Call For Papers - Queer Fertility Journeys Nov 22, 2005
"As my partner and I embarked upon our journey of trying to become parents, I devoured every last bit of information that examines and explores LGBT families, pregnancy and adoption. Although there are now some wonderful books on the market about these topics, I was left hungering for something different. I wanted to read about and find comfort and inspiration in others'experiences about the fertility journey itself - the time before we become queer families, when we are still making plans and dreaming our families into existence.
The time between deciding to grow our families and actually becoming parents is a time fraught with complicated emotions and experiences - it can be simultaneously exhilarating, sorrowful, anxiety-producing, isolating and enriching - it can shift our conceptualizations of who we are, how we think about ourselves and the world around us. Yet, in our haste become parents, I believe that we often ignore the significance of this very "fertile" time in our lives.
To this end, I am putting out a call for proposals for essays about people's experiences with the queer fertility journey. It is my hope that these submissions will eventually be compiled into an edited anthology for publication. Essays may be academic, personal stories and/or both, but all must be written for a general reading audience.
There is of course, no one "fertility journey" for lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgendered people. It is my hope that this anthology will create a pastiche of diverse queer experiences, and help to fill in the gaps for others in our communit(ies) who hunger for the same kinds of information that I have sought."
California Becomes First In Nation To Pass Marriage Equality Legislation
Sept 6, 2005
Governor Schwarzenegger Faces A Decision That Will Likely Become Key Part of
Sacramento, CA -- In a tremendous turn of events, the California Legislature
made history today by becoming the first state legislature in the nation to
pass equal marriage rights legislation for same-sex couples. Needing 41
Votes to pass the Assembly after last week's historic 21-15 vote in the
Senate, the final roll call was 41-35 in favor of Equality California-sponsored
Assembly Bill (AB) 849, The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act,
authored by Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-Francisco), Assembly Speaker Fabian
Núñez (D-Los Angeles), and 30 co-authors including the LGBT Legislative
Governor Schwarzenegger now has until October 6, 2005, to sign or veto the
Bill or he can let it go into effect without his signature.
Governor Schwarzenegger To Veto Equal Marriage Rights Legislation
"Not even twenty-four hours after our historic victory when our families went to sleep dreaming of equality, we are extremely heart-broken and disappointed that the Governor has chosen not to lift the burden of discrimination for hundreds of thousands of loving and committed families. The Governor has let us down, but nothing can take away our victory and the progress we have made to achieve equality for all."
In response to an initiative underway aimed against the spirit of National Coming Out Day, members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender community and their allies are encouraged to organize nationwide screenings of a new documentary film that shines light on some of the personal stories behind the "ex-gay" debate.
Author and activist Wayne Besen, filmmaker Tom Murray, former "ex-gay" participant Shawn O'Donnell and performance artist Peterson Toscano ask LGBT individuals and affirming groups to organize screenings of FISH CAN'T FLY throughout the month of October, 2005.
"We believe these ex-gay survivors' stories must be heard in order to stop the damage daily perpetuated against LGBT youth and adults, damage done by ministries who dishonestly persuade people that change is possible. FISH CAN'T FLY poignantly exposes the pain, confusion, loss and heartache endured by victims of 'ex-gay' programs and celebrates the power of coming out", the organizers said in a joint statement.
Every October 11th, and throughout the month of October, thousands of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people and allies celebrate National Coming Out Day. Workshops, speak-outs, rallies and other kinds of events are held that provide LGBT individuals a time to reflect on and share the coming out experience so as to reinforce the importance of psychological, physical and spiritual health in having all of us be true to ourselves.
In opposition to the positive nature of this event, this October, the anti-gay group, Truth Comes Out Project, is organizing screenings of their film, "I DO EXIST", which touts the success of "ex-gay" therapy. The people in the film boldly claim that through participation in ex-gay programs, same-gender loving people can change and become heterosexual and that such a lifestyle is the healthiest and most desirable spiritual choice.
"FISH CAN'T FLY gives those of us who participated in those 'ex-gay' programs and eventually overcame antigay oppression and self hatred, a chance to tell our stories. I feel grateful that Tom Murray with his insightful and tender eye, allowed us to transparently share the heartache and confusion we suffered. Amazingly he does so with dignity, hope and even humor," said Peterson Toscano, a former 'ex-gay' programs participant for more than 17 years.
Screenings of this 83-minute documentary can range from smaller gatherings with family and friends to more organized community efforts through national organizations, followed by discussion. For details about the effort, promotional material and information on how to organize an event, please visit the film's website www.fishcantfly.com and follow the link to Coming Out Project.
Saturday, May 28th at 5pm, Varsity 3 (Toronto)
INSIDE OUT Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival 2005
Same sex marriage has never been the same!
Filmmaker Cal Garingan looks beyond the headlines and introduces the
same-sex couples who fought for the choice to marry in a BC courtroom.
Why did they plunge into a controversial issue that meant their lives
would be publicly judged? What does it mean to exchange marriage vows?
Against the backdrop of poignant weddings and heated protests, the eight
couples ponder questions of love, family, religion and politics. The
film also includes provocative conversations with lesbian writer and
activist Jane Rule.
As controversy swirls around this issue worldwide, "Why Thee Wed?" offers
surprising and diverse perspectives on what it means for same-sex
couples to walk down the aisle.
Note from Mary: One of the couples in this film is part of our CG family. See a great wedding pic of Lloyd & Bob Peacock (bottom picture).
Judge Voids Same-Sex Marriage Ban in Nebraska May 12, 2005
LINCOLN, NB - A federal judge on Thursday struck down Nebraska's ban on same-sex marriage, saying the measure interfered not only with the rights of gay couples but also with those of foster parents, adopted children and people in a variety of other living arrangements.
New GLBTIQ Magazine For Young People April 12, 2005
YGA Magazine, the first all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, and "undefined" young persons' magazine introduces a new concept of spirituality for sexually-advanced individuals in the new millennium.
"It's time to stop hiding ourselves from God," says YGA Magazine Editor in Chief Mike Glatze, aiming to set a trend within the 'non-straight' (or "Gay") community. "I am ready to put my life on the line. I believe the rest of our so-called 'community' should do the same. It is the only way we can save this planet."
YGA Magazine - now on its third issue after an impressive "sold out" debut last December - is the voice for a new demographic, as well as a new way of looking at the world. It speaks to the growing movement afoot in teen culture of viewing sexuality as fluid, rather than Gay or Straight. YGA created the documentary film JIM IN BOLD (www.jiminbold.com) and various other projects on behalf of queer youth and YGA founders Mike Glatze and Benjie Nycum received the 2003 National Role Model Award from Equality Forum. 2002's Award went to MTV.
YGA's April/May Spirituality Issue combines a variety of faith backgrounds into one supreme message of faith. "Native Americans believed our sexuality was a beautiful thing," says Glatze, referring to an article about 'two-spirit' identity. "In fact, in a lot of cultures, being 'beyond heterosexual' meant you were closer to the Divine. We seem to have lost a bit of that in our modern day. I hope, perhaps, with this issue, to head a bit in that direction."
"Our spiritual heritage has been stolen from us by people like Trent Lott and Jerry Falwell," says contributor Nate Romano, student and Catholic. "Don't let them hijack your spirituality from you; they can't hijack it without your consent."
YGA (Young Gay America) Issue #3 hits stores April 15th. YGA is available at Borders Books and also by subscription and single-copy sales at the magazine's official website www.ygamag.com.
Vote On Equal Marriage Bill Now Expected Apr 19, 2005
Canadians believe opposition to bill fuels anti-gay discrimination
The first do-or-die vote on the equal marriage bill is expected in the House of Commons on April 19.
The second-reading vote determines whether the bill is approved in principle. If passed, the bill then goes to a legislative committee which will hold public hearings, discuss amendments to the legislation and then return it to the Commons for the final vote there. The same steps must then be repeated in the Senate before the bill becomes law.
A second-reading vote had originally been expected April 12. Instead, there will likely be a vote that day simply on Conservative leader Stephen Harper's unconstitutional proposal for "civil unions". Using procedural tactics, the Conservatives are then triggering a second debate on the issue, delaying the vote by one more week.
Debate resumes in the Commons on Monday. You can watch the debate live on CPAC or read the verbatim transcript at www.equal-marriage.ca
Equality opponents have a deliberate strategy of using their deep pockets to try to drag out the debate as long as possible. They hope the minority Liberal government will fall in the Commons before the legislation is passed. If you have not yet had a chance to contribute to Canadians For Equal Marriage, to help our grassroots campaign to match the efforts of our well-funded adversaries, please go to www.equal-marriage.ca/donate.php right now.
Meanwhile, CTV News reported earlier this month that vigorous opposition to the equal-marriage bill has led many Canadians to conclude that anti-gay discrimination is on the rise.
According to a the Ipsos-Reid survey, conducted for CTV News, 39 per cent of Canadians believe the recent debate has made the situation worse for gays and lesbians.
In contrast, fewer than one in 10 believe the discourse has decreased prejudice.
Comparing the findings from province to province, those living in the Prairies were more likely to believe the debate had increased discrimination. In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, for example, 58 per cent believe discrimination has increased as a result. In Alberta, the figure is 52 per cent.
Quebec is at the other end of the spectrum, with only 28 per cent agreeing that the debate has increased intolerance.
Calling All Canadians - We Need Help Please Mar 21, 2005
KINGSTON, ON, CANADA - Laurel and Diane Fleming are now legally married and have had a son. Laurel took the first 6 mo of parental leave, and now Diane is taking the remaining 6 mo parental leave.
They applied, as directed by EI (Employment Insurance) and did the usual two month wait, fully expecting to get the back-pay when the benefits kicked in, however, they have just been informed that Diane does not qualify for parental leave because she is not Caleb's biological or adoptive parent. They assumed that their legal marriage would also legalize Diane's position as Caleb's other parent, especially since she is receiving Caleb's baby bonus (Child Tax Credit) cheques.
Laurel has explored every avenue to get this changed. She has written to the Prime Minister's Office, to Libby Davies (a lesbian NDP MP), contacted the Candian Human Rights Commission, and they are in the process of an appeal with EI.
The irony in this is that if they were to separate, Laurel could sue Diane for Child Support, but Diane can't get Parental Benefits??? This needs to be changed! You can help Laurel and Diane, and all those who will follow, by writing to
The Honourable Lucienne Robillard (He is the Minister in charge of EI)
Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development
House of Commons
(snail mail to the House of Commons is postage free)
Please also consider writing to Libby Davies and your own MP, something to the effect of "since Caleb is the product of a legal marriage, it only follows logically that Diane is his other legal parent".
Thank you for taking action on this issue!
Gay Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional
SAN FRANCISCO - Mar 14, 2005 - San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer ruled Monday that California's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, saying the state could no longer justify limiting marriage to a man and a woman.
''It appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners. The state's protracted denial of equal protection cannot be justified simply because such constitutional violation has become traditional.''
New Course by Royal Navy: A Campaign to Recruit Gays
LONDON, Feb. 21, 2005 - Five years after Britain lifted its
ban on gays in the military, the Royal Navy has begun
actively encouraging them to enlist and has pledged to
make life easier when they do.
The navy announced Monday that it had asked Stonewall,
a group that lobbies for gay rights, to help it
develop better strategies for recruiting and retaining
gay men and lesbians. It said, too, that one strategy
may be to advertise for recruits in gay magazines and
SpongeBob Squarepants enters the UCC's Church House
Despite Cleveland's chilly temperatures, he knows he'll be greeted warmly inside.
Jan 24, 2005
CLEVELAND -- Joining the animated fray, the United Church of Christ today said that Jesus' message of extravagant welcome extends to all, including SpongeBob Squarepants - the cartoon character that has come under fire for allegedly holding hands with a starfish.
The UCC's welcome comes in the wake of laughable accusations by James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, that the popular SpongeBob and other well-known cartoon characters are crossing "a moral line" by stressing tolerance in a national We Are Family Foundation-sponsored video that will be distributed to U.S. schools on March 11, 2005
Research Participants Needed - "My Parents Are Gay"
My name is Susanne Coleman and I am an advocate of gay and lesbian families and a gay mother of three small children. I am a PhD. Candidate at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities. I am currently looking for research participants for the research portion of my doctoral dissertation - "My parents are gay": Adolescent and parental perceptions of living in same-sex families.
As many of us with gay families are aware, a significant portion of research thus far seeks to prove or disprove the effects parental orientation has on children. In contrast, my focus is to explore the opportunities, joys and surprises experienced by adolescent children and their gay or lesbian parents. Furthermore, a main component of my research is the significance of faith and spirituality in gay and lesbian families. This project will address the scarcity of research investigating the qualitative experiences of adolescents raised in same-sex families. My target population is adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 and their same-sex parents. I will be conducting interviews with adolescents and their parents. I will ask adolescents and their parents to describe their particular experiences of living in a same-sex household.
As an advocate and a gay mother, I want to create an atmosphere that documents the expertise of both adolescents and their parents. As a published author in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy, I intend to publish my research in several journals and disseminate it at several national conferences. Gay and lesbian families are currently being ignored in the Family Therapy field. Furthermore, our families represent less than 1% of professional journal publications and conference sessions. Any help you may provide in assisting me to locate participants would be greatly appreciated. My contact information is:
Newfoundland Court Allows Same-Sex Marriage Dec 21, 2004
ST. JOHN's, Newfoundland (AP) -- A Newfoundland court ruling Tuesday made the maritime province Canada's seventh to allow same-sex marriage.
The ruling comes after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled earlier this month that the federal government has sole authority to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.
Prime Minister Paul Martin said after the Supreme Court's ruling that because judges in six of Canada's 10 provinces and one of its territories already allow gay marriage, it should be approved nationwide. He said his government would introduce a bill in January.
The bill is expected to pass by about 25 votes in Ottawa's 308-seat Parliament with the backing of the leftist New Democrat Party and the regional Bloc Quebecois.
If approved by Parliament, Canada would become the third country -- along with Belgium and the Netherlands -- to embrace gay marriage.
Two Newfoundland couples -- Jacqueline Pottle and Noelle French, and Lisa Zigler and Theresa Walsh -- sought the right to marry legally. They had applied earlier for marriage licenses but were rejected. Newfoundland Justice Minister Tom Marshall said earlier this month that the provincial government would not oppose the court ruling.
Sixteen countries now allow citizens to sponsor their same-sex partners for immigration: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
A Step In The Right Direction December 9, 2004
TORONTO, Ontario (AP) -- Canada's highest court said Thursday the government can redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, but it added that religious officials cannot be forced to perform unions against their beliefs.
The ruling by the court in Ottawa brings to the final stages a long, bitter fight over whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry in Canada.
Judges in six provinces and one territory have already overturned the traditional definition, allowing thousands of same-sex weddings.
Canada would join Belgium and the Netherlands in allowing gay marriage if the government acts to make it legal nationwide.
To pass in the House of Commons, the legislation needs the approval of about 44 of the 95 Liberal backbench members of Parliament to obtain a 155-vote majority.
One top Liberal predicted the legislation should pass easily after its introduction, likely early next year. It already has the support of the 38-member Liberal cabinet and virtually all the 54 Bloc Quebecois and 19 New Democrat MPs.
God is Still Speaking - The UCC Welcomes You But CBS & NBC Don't Want You To Know About It.
December 1, 2004
ACTION ALERT - Big Media Clamps Down on Free Speech
CBS and NBC are refusing to air an ad produced by the United Church of Christ (UCC) because it advocates religious inclusion. The ad shows bouncers turning away a variety of people at the door of a church -- including ethnic minorities and two men who may be a homosexual couple. The announcer says, "Jesus doesn't turn people away. Neither do we. No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey you are welcome here."
In a letter to the UCC, CBS is refusing to air the advertisement because the commercial "touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations." Also, CBS found the ad "unacceptable" because "the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman."
NBC similarly declared the ad "too controversial." The ad has been accepted and will air on a number of networks, including ABC Family, AMC, BET, Discovery, Fox, Hallmark, History, Nick@Nite, TBS, TNT, Travel and TV Land.
Email CBS and
NBC and tell them to air the advertisement because everyone in this country -- not just the Bush administration -- should be able to freely express their opinions.
Addendum: My friend Rick has written the following letter and has given us addresses if you would like to send a postal letter.
As a member of the United Church of Christ, I find the hypocritical position taken by your network regarding the paid UCC 30 second ad untenable. With so much prime time programming unsuitable for children on your network, how do you justify censoring an ad that addresses the institutional exclusion of many in this nation, including gay and lesbian people of faith. You readily profit from the vast amounts of sex, violence, and gore on the programs you allow, yet find it difficult to air a message of welcome and hope to the aliented and disenfranchised. Shame on you.
Mr. Andrew Heyward, President
524 W. 57th Street
New York, NY† 10019
Robert Wright, President
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10112
Attention Canadians! - ANTI-Equal Marriage Bill Wounded But Not Yet Dead
Canadians For Equal Marriage
November 28, 2004
Last week we told you that Parliament may soon vote on legislation to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples. Private Members Bill C-268, introduced by Rob Moore, (Con) for Fundy, NB, would define marriage as "the lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all other persons".
If Parliament passes Bill C-268, it will be legal chaos, and our right to marry will be in jeopardy across the country.
Please read the whole article and contact your MP now by going to the Canadians For Equal Marriage website. They have made it a very easy process for our voices to be heard.
Gloriously Free - Omni Television Documentary Specials
Gloriously Free is the first documentary ever to explore the world of gay immigration and the desperate search of five young men to find welcoming arms outside their countries of birth, where persecution and hatred of alternative lifestyles may lead to torture or death.
What they find is Canada, a vast country that now leads the world as the safest haven for persecuted international gays and lesbians. In just three years, the country has issued over 3,000 immigration permits to international gays and lesbians seeking refugee status, more than any other market in the world.
Last Updated Tue, 02 Nov 2004 22:31:13 EST
CBC News Online
WASHINGTON - Voters in at least nine American states turned thumbs down on same-sex marriage Tuesday, casting ballots in favour of constitutional amendments banning the practice.
Same-sex Rights - The amendments passed easily in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Ohio and Utah. By 10:30 p.m. ET, results were not yet in from the two other states where bans are being voted on: North Dakota and Oregon.
Conservatives fought to get the amendments on the ballot in the 11 states, hoping to send a strong signal that Americans disapprove of gay marriage in the wake of a state court ruling in Massachusetts last year. That ruling found that it was discriminatory to prohibit gay men or lesbians from going through marriage ceremonies. None of the states voting on constitutional amendments Tuesday currently allow the practice. In eight of the states, the amendments would ban not only gay marriage, but even civil unions between two men or two women. Activists in Georgia, Ohio and Mississippi said they intended to challenge the newly approved amendments in court.
In Canada, most provinces now allow same-sex marriages in the wake of recent provincial Supreme Court rulings. The Supreme Court of Canada is currently reviewing the federal government's new same-sex marriage legislation to make sure it would survive future court challenges.
New Group For GLBT Health Care Professionals
For those of you in (or interested in entering) any of the health care
faculties, I'm writing to inform you that a new group for gay, lesbian,
bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) medical students in Canada had started this
year. We have a listserv going that connects GLBT med students and health
care professionals from across the country. It's a good way to network with
other like-minded individuals and to discuss any GLBT-related issues in
health care in a queer-friendly environment. Students from all over the
country have already joined our group, including a few from Queen's!
So, if you are interested in joining our group, you can contact us at
email@example.com. Please notify others who might be
interested as well. We also have a website.
GLBT people are traditionally underrepresented in medical faculties, and
thus our goal is to increase our visibility in the health care professions
and to adovcate for equitable health care for all GLBT people. We hope
many of you can join us in working towards this goal.
Spokesperson, GLBT Meds Canada
Year 2 Medical Student
University of Toronto
An Antigay Supreme Court: Four More Years Or 40? by Ralph G. Neas
Oct. 12, 2004
There's more than marriage at stake for GLBT people in this year's presidential election.
With President Bush and GOP congressional leaders pushing to enshrine discrimination in the U.S. Constitution in the name of "protecting" marriage, and antigay measures advancing in states under the same ridiculous rallying cry, it is understandable that political discussion has focused on progress toward marriage equality and the ferocious backlash engineered by equality's enemies.
But GLBT voters and people who support them should also be thinking and talking about another enormously important issuečthe future of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court plays a huge role in everyone's lives, because it interprets our laws and our Constitution. It has had the final wordčhistorically both bad and goodčon whether the promises of equal justice under the law include gay Americans.
Ottawa Confirms Support For Same-Sex Marriages by Kirk Makin
Wednesday, Oct 6, 2004
The federal government will bring a same-sex-marriage bill before Parliament the moment the Supreme Court of Canada gives it the go-ahead, Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said.
Speaking in an interview just hours before the Supreme Court is to commence a three-day hearing in a major reference case, Mr. Cotler said neither he nor his government have ever wavered in their desire to see same-sex marriage become law.
Manitoba legalizes same-sex marriage - Sept 16, 2004
Nova Scotia legalizes same-sex marriage - Sept 24, 2004
For lots of articles about same-sex marriage around the world, please click on the "Same-Sex Marriage" link in the navigation bar.
New Support Group "The Gender Tree"
Sept 8, 2004
Attention folks in the Kingston, ON, Canada area. There is a new local social/support group for transgender, transsexual, intersex, genderqueer, cross-dresser, two-spirited, transvestite folks just starting up.
Confidentiality is assured! This is a closed group, and only people who contact Julian will be given the meeting time and place. If enough people are interested, a meeting date will be set for Sept.
**Please circulate this notice widely.
Hurricane McGreevey by Wayne Besen
Aug. 19, 2004
The TV blared in my Florida home as breathless weather windbags warned that Hurricane Charley and Tropical Storm Bonnie were rapidly approaching with the ferocity of Bonnie and Clyde.
Suddenly, the deadly Category 4 windstorm was upstaged by a Category 5 political storm known as Hurricane McGreevey. With his stoic wife and shell-shocked parents by his side, New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey announced that he was a "gay American" and that he would resign. The press conference quickly cut a bizarre swath of confession, confusion, possible corruption and destruction like no one had ever seen before.
Another Victory! A Message From The Rev. Troy D. Perry, MCC Founder and Moderator
July 14, 2004
Today, LGBT people won another victory as the United States Senate dealt a stinging rebuke to President Bush's attempt to place anti-gay discrimination in the U.S. Constitution.
A coalition of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate effectively defeated the Bush proposal, with sponsors unable to muster even a majority vote. The procedural vote was 48-50.
We salute the senators who stood firm against bigotry and for justice -- and salute the hundreds of thousands of LGBT people, along with our enlightened allies, who made their voices heard by contacting their elected officials.
Sadly, today's vote only marks Phase One of a crude political strategy by right-wing extremists. This vote reveals another strategy by those who oppose the expansion of liberty and justice. The next predictable step will be a withering attack upon those senators who voted with us. Look for their votes to be twisted and misrepresented in an effort to unseat them in future elections.
Even more disturbing is the claim buy some regressive political leaders that they knew all along they would lose this vote -- but their strategy was to put senators on the record in order to use this vote as a wedge issue in upcoming elections. They presented their amendment as a high-minded attempt to protect "traditional" marriage, when in reality it was a cynical attempt to influence future elections and win power. To use the amendment process for the U.S. Constitution in a naked attempt to manipulate the election process is a sad reminder of the hostility and political oppression still faced by LGBT people.
Today, we celebrate another victory in history's march toward liberty, and renew our commitment to work for justice and equality under the laws, including the marriage laws.
Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census Your Assistance Is Needed
Would you like to be heard? Our strength is in our numbers. Please participate anonymously in the only study of its kind. This survey ends on August 23, 2004 so take it NOW, and tell your family, friends and coworkers to do the same. Use your voice to make a difference for the Gay and Lesbian Community.
This is an excerpt from a letter to my (gay) brother George from his friends in Germany.
June 24, 2004 - We were in Hamburg for the international Christopher Street
Day celebration (Europride on June 12th under the motto "Love Breaks
Barriers"), and will be celebrating the same here in Berlin this coming
Saturday. One of the political demands - of which is the long-overdue
implementation in Germany (and other nations in the European Community)
of Brussel's equal treatment laws in employment and occupation, whose
long-overdue deadline for all member states was December 2003.
The value of the Directive cannot be underestimated in that it makes it
clear that sexual-orientation discrimination is unacceptable throughout
Europe, and that this explicit ban of discrimination has to be
incorporated into the legislation of all member states. And the
prohibition of discrimination is not merely symbolic!! It obliges
members states to introduce not just laws against sexual orientation
discrimination; it obliges them to introduce effective regulations.
Sexual orientation discrimination must not only be prevented and
sanctioned theoretically on the books, but practically in every-day real
Now whenever you see or hear, "God Bless America", know that that
is true because he blesses every community, even Iraq with its present
hardships of occupation, but not nearly as well as he blesses the
member countries of the EU, in their collective generosity of spirit and
respect for their fellow men.
Canadians Please READ and then VOTE! STOP Steven Harper and the Conservatives!
June 18, 2004 - With a federal election fast approaching, this is a crucial time for LGBT equality in Canada!
Conservative leader Stephen Harper has dismissed sexual orientation as a "behaviour" and said he does not even recognize us as groups protected by the Charter. The Conservatives will not only override the Charter, they will appoint judges that ensure they'll never even have to. His candidates have described sexual orientation as "deviant", "unnatural", "repulsive" and as encompassing paedophilia. In two weeks, Stephen Harper could be Prime Minister of Canada.
Stockwell Day ("God, as a God of love, warns us about things that can be detrimental to us. One of those things is sodomy") is the Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic. In two weeks, Stockwell Day could be Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Myron Thompson ("I want the whole world to know that I do not condone homosexuals. ... I think it is unnatural and I think it is totally immoral") is the Conservative Assistant Justice Critic. In two weeks, he could be Canada's Minister of Justice.
Foes Confounded by Limited Outcry Against Gay Marriage
June 20, 2004 - He has preached for months that gay marriage could be the downfall of
Western civilization, but the Rev. Gary F. Smith is worried that the message
is not getting across to his flock at the Church of the Nazarene in
"There's quite a bit of lethargy in the pews," he said. "By and large, it's
a lay-down-and-roll-over-and-play-dead attitude."
Across the country, evangelical Christians are voicing frustration and
puzzlement that there has not been more of a political outcry since May 17,
when Massachusetts became the first state to issue same-sex marriage
Evangelical leaders had predicted that a chorus of righteous anger would
rise up out of churches from coast to coast and overwhelm Congress with
letters, e-mails and phone calls in support of a constitutional amendment
banning gay marriage.
Wine and Wafer as Weapons? - The Politics of Holy Communion
by Rev Troy Perry
June 14, 2004
Seems that every election cycle, there's an unholy alliance of politicians and fundamentalist religious leaders who unite to attack the LGBT community.
Well, here we go again.
In its latest incarnation, there's a movement - an epidemic, actually - of religious leaders who have lost sight of religion's most noble goals. This time they're using Holy Communion as a political and spiritual weapon against LGBT people.
In recent weeks, one can hardly pick up a newspaper without reading how another religious leader or religious group has turned Christianity's most sacred rite into a weapon against LGBT people.
- In Chicago, LGBT Roman Catholics wearing rainbow sashes were denied
Holy Communion as they knelt at the church altar.
- In Dallas, Bishop Charles Grahman has recommended that supporters
of same gender marriage not be given Communion.
- Arizona's Bishop Thomas Olmsted said, "Anyone living contrary" to
Catholic teaching "should not receive Communion."
- In Boston, Archbishop Sean O'Malley has suggested political leaders
who support gay rights or reproductive rights stop taking Communion.
- And taking it to its extreme, Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs
suggested that Catholics who so much as vote for political supporters
of same sex marriage not receive communion until they "recant and repent."
Compare these attitudes with those of the Metropolitan Community Churches. See the Full Story and decide for yourself who is more Christ-like!
Faith Communities Reject Federal Marriage Amendment June 11, 2004
This past week, Metropolitan Community Churches joined 25 faith communities in signing a joint interfaith letter to the members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Those who support us are:
Alliance of Baptists
American Friends Service Committee (Quaker)
American Jewish Committee
Central Conference of American Rabbis
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Christians for Justice Action
Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ)
Episcopal Church, USA
Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quaker)
Guru Gobind Singh Foundation (Sikh)
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
Loretto Women's Network (LWN) (Catholic Order)
Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America
National Conference for Community and Justice
National Council of Jewish Women
National Sikh Center
Metropolitan Community Churches
Presbyterian Church (USA), Washington Office
Protestant Justice Action
Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE)
The Interfaith Alliance
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries
Canadians - Know Where Your Politicians Stand on Same-Sex Marriage
The federal election is about to be called. This election will determine
whether lesbian and gay Canadians will be given equal access to the right to
marry across Canada. It is imperative that pro equal marriage MPs (from
whatever party) are elected to ensure the passage of equal marriage
Canadians for Equal Marriage wants to provide Lesbian and Gay voters, our
friends and our family with the information they need to help them Vote for
Equality in the upcoming election.
CEM has created an activist website www.equal-marriage.ca . The website is
easy to use and has lots of ways to help you take action in the fight
* Key-in your postal code (mp voting) and find out who is running in your
riding, and where the candidates stand on the issue of equal marriage rights for
lesbian and gay couples.
* Contact supportive candidates. Email them from our site or call
them - their campaign office numbers are listed.
* Download our voter-activist election kit to help you question your
candidates when they come to your door or when you attend all-candidates meetings.
* Connect your friends and family to the campaign and our website.
* Download fact sheets and educate friends and family on the issue of
Lesbian and Gay Canadians and our supporters must make our voices heard this
election. The gains we have made in BC, Ontario and Quebec could still be
turned back. We need to educate ourselves and our loved ones. We need to
take action! We need to vote!
Anglican Governing Body Elects Openly Gay Priest As Second-In-Command by Doug Todd, CanWest News Service
May 31, 2004
The Canadian Anglican Church's top governing body on the weekend elected an openly gay Vancouver priest as second-in-command for its historic General Synod, at which delegates will hold a contentious vote on whether to allow same-sex blessings.
Peter Elliott, dean of downtown Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral, was elected prolocutor; or chair, of the once-every-three-year convention by a vote of 161 to 116 over his nearest competitor. The prolocutor is, next to the primate, the senior officer of General Synod.
An essay by Elliott, in which he comes out publicly as a gay man living in a relationship, was published in the new book, Living Together In The Church; Including Our Differences, published by The Anglican Book Centre. In the autobiographical piece, Elliott says he felt compelled to shift "from secrecy to openness" to reach out to other homosexuals who are considering the ministry, but may fear rejection in the church.
Bishop James Cowan, of Vancouver Island, nominated Elliott for the influential role, saying the longtime dean of Christ Church Cathedral is "exceptionally well-organized" and has a "sense of humour that can defuse tense situations." Elliott had been serving as deputy prolocutor.
Vancouver School of Theology professor Richard Leggett, one of 310 delegates to General Synod, said the election of 50-year-old Elliott was a positive sign for those in the 700,000-member Anglican Church of Canada who support same-sex blessings.
"I think it's a good indication, at least, that the issue of same-sex blessings will get a fair hearing," said Leggett, noting the Vancouver-area Diocese of New Westminster in 2002 became the first in the country, and perhaps the world, to formally endorse the same-sex rites. . . . . . . .
Sex-Change Funding To Be Reinstated Kingston Whig-Standard, May 27, 2004
Ontario's Liberal government plans to reinstate funding for sex change operations, Osprey news has learned.
Health Minister George Smitherman has instructed ministry officials to begin preparatory work to restore OHIP funding for operations that alter the sex of individuals diagnosed with gender identity disorder.
. . . . . . . .
The surgery is covered in four other provinces including Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland.
. . . . . . . .
Laurie Arron, director of advocacy for Egale Canada's Trans Committee, said the Conservative government's decision to suspend OHIP funding for sex change surgery had terrible consequences for transsexual people in this province.
"It's important to recognize that these people are one of the most targeted groups for discrimination, harassment and violence," Arron said.
"Cutting off your penis and becoming a woman isn't something you do out of vanity," he said. "It's the only way to become who you are."
Congratulations To All The Couples Married In Massachusetts Today! May 17, 2004
Massachusetts joins Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, along with the Netherlands and Belgium, as the only places worldwide where homosexuals can marry.
Nigerian gay-rights groups made their "first ever" public appearance
during an AIDS conference in Abuja, the UN Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs reported May 7.
"For most of Nigerians, MSMs [men who have sex with men] are not human
beings -- they simply don't exist," said Oludare Odumuye, president of
the 8,000-member gay organization Alliance Rights Nigeria. "Recently,
some of us have been arrested by the police, thrown into jail and raped
in the cells."
Matters are worse in the Muslim-dominated north, Odumuye said. "Because of the application of the Shariah code, they kill men and even young secondary school boys," he said. "We know that it's still happening today."
Nigeria punishes gay sex with up to 14 years in jail. The 12 northern
states that have adopted Islamic Shariah law punish homosexuality with
death by stoning, the report said.
South Africa Seeks Gay Tourists May 6, 2004
South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province, where Durban is located, is
marketing itself to gay tourists, following Cape Town and Western Cape
province's successes in that undertaking, Business Day reported May 6.
Tourism KwaZulu-Natal unveiled its new Pink Map during the nation's main
tourism trade show this month.
"In six months the Zulu Kingdom will be an attractive destination to the
international gay and lesbian traveler," said Jayne Darkes, a
spokesperson for the new KwaZulu-Natal Gay and Lesbian Tourism
Association, which Tourism KwaZulu-Natal helped found.
Spanish Catholic Leader OK's Gay Unions May 3, 2004
The Vatican's apostolic nuncio (ambassador) to Spain, Archbishop Manuel
Monteiro de Castro, said May 3 that same-sex unions should be recognized
but same-sex marriage should remain banned.
"There are other forms of cohabitation and it is good that they be
recognized," he said. "They are not the same as marriage. We will leave
the term marriage for that which it has always referred to, and other
arrangements should be given other names."
Monteiro also said he supports extending spousal rights, such as
social-security payments, to gay couples.
The statements contradict official Catholic positions.
Butch Refugee Turned Down For Asylum By Canada May 3, 2004
A gay former police employee from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, was turned
down for asylum by Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board May 3 because
he is too butch.
The board said Fernando Enrique Rivera, 30, is not "visibly effeminate"
and likely could live unharassed in Mexico City, which the board claimed
is more gay-friendly than Puerto Vallarta, according to Toronto's Globe
and Mail newspaper.
"I know some gay refugees who put on lipstick and dressed effeminately
for their hearings because they thought it would help their case. But
that is not who I am," he told the paper.
Rivera left Mexico four years ago after local cops repeatedly
blackmailed him with threats of being outed, he said. He faces
deportation unless a final appeal on humanitarian and compassionate
New Zealander's Split On Gay Unions
New Zealanders are divided on the notion of creating civil unions to
extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.
According to the New Zealand Press Association, a One News-Colmar
Brunton poll of 1,000 people found that 46 percent of respondents
support the Civil Union Bill, 34 percent oppose it and 16 percent think
it should apply only to straight couples.
The bill is expected to be introduced into Parliament in a few weeks.
Britain Equalizes Sex Laws May 1, 2004
Britain's new Sexual Offenses Act, which took effect May 1, treats gays and straights the same when it comes to sex crimes, for the first time. "For years, outdated attitudes enshrined in law have fostered mistrust and made generations of gay men criminals," Home Office minister Paul Goggins told London's The Pink Paper. "The government has ended this unjust situation."
Gay Hate-Crimes Bill C-250 Clears Final Hurdle April 28, 2004
Ottawa/The Canadian Press (excerpts)
The Senate passed legislation yesterday to extend hate-crime protection to homosexuals. Senators voted 59 - 11 to pass the bill, as applause echoed through the ornate red chamber. It now requires only royal assent (which should happen within the next day, finally adding "sexual orientation" to the protected ground of Canada's hate propaganda law.)
It's a real test to (Svend Robinson's) commitment and hard work, Davies said, noting it's "nearly impossible" to pass a private member's bill. The bill cleared the House of Commons last September after raucous debate. . . . Opponents raised concerns that the bill could be used even against religious leaders who preach against homosexuality from the pulpit. They also attacked the logic of singling out certain groups for specific protection, arguing that violence against all people should be prosecuted equally.
Supporters dismissed such claims, citing the frequency with which gays and lesbians - particularly homosexual men - are targeted.
Police have so far been powerless to prosecute the likes of Rev. Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kan., who runs a Web site that declares God hates homosexuals. Supporters of Phelps have entered Canada twice in the last five years to hold anti-gay rallies.
"As a Canadian, I feel very proud that both of Parliament's chambers sent a powerful message: hatred is not accepted in Canada. Not only are differences tolerated, but they are given the protection of law." - Gilles Marchildon
Hacker's Attack Polish Gay Group April 19, 2004
Online hackers stole the membership list of leading Polish gay
organization Campaign Against Homophobia, The Gully reported April 19.
The list contained names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses
which the thieves quickly posted on the Internet resulting in a barrage
of hate mail to list members.
Some news reports linked the theft to a neo-Nazi skinhead organization,
which denied responsibility.
Methodist Pastor, a Lesbian, Is Cleared by a Church Jury
by Matthew Preusch & Laurie Goodstein
Published: March 21, 2004, NYTimes.com
Bothell, WA., March 20 - A jury of 13 Methodist clergy members said Saturday that a fellow minister did not violate church law by being in a lesbian relationship, concluding a proceeding that put on trial the church's stance on homosexuality as much as it did the minister's relationship.
Just Married - After 51 Years Together
Anne Hull, Washington Post Staff Writer
February 29, 2004
This is without a doubt the best news I have had the pleasure of posting on this website, bar none. After 51 years together, Phyllis Lyon (79) and Del Martin (83) are now legally wed. Please see The Article by Anne Hull, and an amazing picture of true love by SF Chronicle photographer Liz Mangelsdorf.
- by Alan Bray
- Published by University of Chicago Press
- Winner of History Today's "Book of the Year" Award for 2003
Bray was an Honorary Research Fellow in Birkbeck College, University of London, when he died in 2002. He wrote "Homosexuality in Renaissance England".
"In the chapel of Christ's College, Cambridge, some twenty years ago, historian Alan Bray made an astonishing discovery: a tomb shared by two men, John Finch and Thomas Baines. The monument featured eloquent imagery dedicated to their friendship: portraits of the two friends linked by a knotted cloth. And Bray would soon learn that Finch commonly described his friendship with Baines as a connubium or marriage.
There was a time, as made clear by this monument, when the English church not only revered such relations between men, but also blessed them. Taking this remarkable idea as its cue, "The Friend" explores the long and storied relationship between friendship and the traditional family of the church in England."
San Francisco Weddings Feb 12 - 20, 2004
- by Zak Szymanski
True Commitment: "I think all couples should have to do this before they get married," joked a rain-soaked woman at 3 a.m. on Feb 15th in line to marry her partner.
Zak Szymanski is a professional journalist and creative writer living in San Francisco.›Quite by luck he found himself in the middle of a revolution, with full access to all of the tears and laughter and strength behind each historic moment of San Francisco's legal same-sex marriages.
He is an Assistant Editor at the Bay Area Reporter -- one of the country's oldest lgbt newspapers -- which has been credited with pushing the city of SF to act on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Generally an anti-marriage radical queer, he has nonetheless been duty-bound and honored to capture the bravery behind this collective sigh of relief / defiance of the ignorant powers that be.
Massachusetts Gives New Push to Gay Marriage in Strong Ruling
By PAM BELLUCK
Published: February 5, 2004, NY Times
Full story at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/05/national/05GAYS.html
BOSTON, Feb. 4 - Massachusetts' highest court removed the state's last barrier to gay marriage on Wednesday, ruling that nothing short of full-fledged marriage would comply with the court's earlier ruling in November, and that civil unions would not pass muster.
The ruling means that starting on May 17 same-sex couples can get married in Massachusetts, making it the only state to permit gay marriage. Beyond that, the finding is certain to inflame a divisive debate in state legislatures nationwide and in this year's presidential race.
"The dissimilitude between the terms `civil marriage' and `civil union' is not innocuous," four of seven justices on the state's Supreme Judicial Court found. "It is a considered choice of language that reflects a demonstrable assigning of same-sex, largely homosexual, couples to second-class status."
The ruling came in response to a request by the Massachusetts Senate asking the court whether a bill giving same-sex couples the same rights and benefits of marriage, but calling their relationships civil unions, would comply with its November decision saying that gays had a constitutional right to marry.
The court said that such a bill "would have the effect of maintaining and fostering a stigma of exclusion that the Constitution prohibits. It would deny to same-sex `spouses' only a status that is specially recognized in society and has significant social and other advantages."
"The Massachusetts Constitution," the court said, "does not permit such invidious discrimination, no matter how well intentioned."
The ruling will probably give new impetus to a push by many conservatives for a constitutional amendment that would limit marriage to unions joining a man and a woman.
In a statement Wednesday, President Bush condemned the Massachusetts court's latest ruling but stopped short of explicitly endorsing a constitutional amendment. "Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman," he said. "If activist judges insist on redefining marriage by court order, the only alternative will be the constitutional process. We must do what is legally necessary to defend the sanctity of marriage."
Wednesday's decision caused an uproar in the Massachusetts Legislature, where lawmakers are scheduled on Wednesday to vote on an amendment to the state's Constitution banning same-sex marriage. Many lawmakers in the largely Democratic, largely Roman Catholic body had supported civil unions but not gay marriage and were hoping the court would not force them to make an all-or-nothing decision. . . . . . . . . .
Full story at New York Times
Boy, 7, Scolded for Mentioning Gay Mother
The Associated Press, NY Times, Dec 2, 2003
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) A 7-year-old boy was scolded and forced to write "I will never use the word 'gay' in school again" after he told a classmate about his lesbian mother, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged Monday.
Second-grader Marcus McLaurin was waiting for recess Nov. 11 at Ernest Gaullet Elementary School when a classmate asked about Marcus' mother and father, the ACLU said in a complaint.
Marcus responded he had two mothers because his mother is gay. When the other child asked for explanation, Marcus told him: "Gay is when a girl likes another girl," according to the complaint.
A teacher who heard the remark scolded Marcus, telling him "gay" was a "bad word" and sending him to the principal's office. The following week, Marcus had to come to school early and repeatedly write: "I will never use the word 'gay' in school again."
A phone message left for Lafayette Parish schools superintendent James Easton was not immediately returned.
The ACLU is demanding the case be removed from Marcus' file and that the school apologize to the boy and his mother, Sharon Huff.
"I was concerned when the assistant principal called and told me my son had said a word so bad that he didn't want to repeat it over the phone," Huff said. "But that was nothing compared to the shock I felt when my little boy came home and told me that his teacher had told him his family is a dirty word." .
Right-Wing Leaders Asked To Apologize for Ex-Gay Lie, Cover-Up
MCC LeaderLink for August 14, 2003
Wayne Besen, author of "Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth", has called on right-wing leaders, including Rev. Jerry Falwell, to apologize for concealing the downfall of 'ex-gay' poster boy Michael Johnston who allegedly engaged in unsafe sex with several Hampton Roads, Va., area men.
The complete breaking story is in this week's Washington Blade and will also appear in Atlanta's Southern Voice, New York Blade and Houston Voice - all Window Media newspapers.
"It is disgraceful how right wing groups loudly roared from the rooftops Michael Johnston's supposed 'cure', but built a silent wall›around his fall. The Rev. Jerry Falwell and others who exploited Johnston's lie should denounce the ex-gay myth and apologize for concealing the truth about Johnston's failure," said "Anything But Straight" author Wayne Besen.
Despite intimately knowing of Johnston's demise, right wing groups concealed the truth from the public and the media, says Besen.›
"We must remember that Johnston is a victim of the same hateful rhetoric that he preaches," continued Besen.›"Anything But Straight", is scheduled to be published by Harrington Park Press October 1, 2003 and can now be purchased on-line by visiting www.Anything But Straight.com
Besen previously worked at the Human Rights Campaign and has appeared as a guest on leading news and political talk shows. In 2001, the Advocate named Besen one of the nation's Most Innovative Activists for his work discrediting the ex-gay myth.
Gays Get Hit Twice
Tom Fox - NCR (National Catholic Reporter) Publisher - August 7, 2003
First, less-federal-government-the-better George W. Bush said he was taking steps to outlaw same sex marriages.
Then, one day later, the Vatican went into spins vigorously condemning same sex unions, saying they are the outgrowth
of "deviant behavior."
The thrust of the new 12-page Roman document did not surprise anyone. Close church observers knew the dye was cast back
in 1986 when the Vatican termed gays and lesbians to be "objectively disordered."
. . . . . . . .
We are told same sex unions are a grave threat to society. Along the lines of nuclear proliferation, AIDS,
suicide bombers and chemical warfare?
Meanwhile the vastly eroded credibility of the Catholic hierarchy in the wake of months of revelations
of sordid sexual abuses of children and episcopal complicity would make you think that this is the time to hold your tongue.
But no, someone is insisting Catholic bishops need to be dragged deeper into the mud.
The Vatican attack -- yes, it is seen as an attack -- on gays has quickly produced counter-attacks in the media.
. . . . . . . .
I received an email the other day from a reader, Mike Kirk-Duggan, who counted certain words in the recently released
Vatican pronouncement, "Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons.
" Here is what he found. Jesus, 0; love, 0; forgive, 0; compassion, 1; Christ, 2. Doctrin(e/al), 11, law, 24, legal, 31.
Canadian Court Affirms Gay Marriage Rights
A Message From Rev. Troy D. Perry - June 10, 2003
Troy Perry: "My partner and I intend to fly to Canada to be
legally married under Canadian law -- then we'll return to the U.S.
to carry on the fight for justice and equality in the United States."
In a court decision based on a challenge by Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, Canada has become the latest
nation to affirm full and equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians.
An Ontario appeals court today set aside the heterosexual-only definition of marriage and ordered the Toronto
city clerk to immediately issue marriage licenses to several gay couples who had applied for them.
"The existing common law definition of marriage violates the couple's equality rights on the basis of sexual
orientation under (constitutional law)," read the 61-page decision.
The court ruling ordered the legal definition of marriage be changed to "the voluntary union for life of
two persons to the exclusion of all others" and ruled that any delay in implementation would be a denial
of constitutional rights.
Friday's court challenge was brought by two Toronto couples -- Anne and Elaine Vautour and Kevin Bourassa
and Joe Varnell -- who had sued the government of Ontario for not accepting their marriages as legally valid.
Both couples were wed during a joint service at Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto in January 2001.
They had used an ancient Canadian law of reading banns -- formally asking the congregation if anyone objected
to the couple's marriage for three consecutive Sundays -- in order to get city-issued marriage licenses.
But when the couples tried to have their unions registered with the province, the minister of consumer
affairs refused, leading to the court challenge.
Today, I salute the Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes and the members of MCC Toronto who challenged the Canadian law and
won this victory. Dr. Hawkes has a long and distinguished record on behalf of social justice and human rights.
History will long honor him, along with Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, as the driving force
behind this landmark decision.
For more than three decades, the predominantly gay Metropolitan Community Churches have worked to
achieve equality under the marriage laws for gays and lesbians. Each year, MCC churches perform more
than 6200 same-sex weddings -- weddings that are blessed in the sight of God but not recognized by
the civil authorities in most countries around the world.
There is more good news in today's court decision: Canada has no citizenship requirement for marriage.
At this time, it appears that any same-sex couple from any country may be legally married under Canadian law.
I have often said that one of the great desires of my life is to be legally wed to my partner of 18 years,
Phillip Ray De Blieck, before I die. We intend to fly to Canada in the near future to be legally
married under Canadian law -- then we will return to the U.S. to carry on the fight for justice and
equality in the United States. The marriage ceremony will be performed by Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes at a
date to be announced later.
I am today encouraging gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people around the globe
to take heart in this decision. In my own country, I am renewing my call for GLBT people to
continue holding public demonstrations every Valentine's Day by applying for marriage licenses
at marriage bureaus, city halls, and court houses across the United States until we achieve victory
and equality under the law.
Gay Pride Rainbow Flag Reverts To Its Original Eight Colours
June 1, 2003
L.A. Vess - OutUK Correspondent
The Rainbow Flag will celebrate its 25th year as a symbol of gay and lesbian pride this year. To mark this anniversary, creator Gilbert Baker will be giving the familiar flag a wee bit of a makeover.
Baker is currently working at his studio on a giant, reworked flag to be revealed in Key West on June 15th, 2003. The flag will once again contain all eight rainbow colours as Baker originally intended. "We lost two of the original colours, pink and turquoise, because they could not be commercially produced back in 1978," Baker said in a press release. "It's time, however, to restore the original design. First of all, it's simply more beautiful, more authentic. Besides, when we lost the pink, we lost the symbol for sexual liberation. The missing turquoise honors Native Americans and the magic of life. Both colours are needed to embrace our history."
The flag will be so large that it will stretch across the entire main island from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. Unfurling the recording-breaking banner will be the finale of the PrideFest 2003 celebration, entitled "Sea-to-Sea Diversity."
Vancouver Parishes To Bless Gay Unions
Controversial bishop first to formally approve rite, says it is Christian 'duty'
Bob Harvey - The Ottawa Citizen - May 29, 2003
Vancouver's Anglican bishop, Michael Ingham, has given the go-ahead to six of his parishes
to perform ceremonies blessing same-sex relationships.
The announcement of that decision came yesterday,
just a day after the leaders of the world's national Anglican churches turned thumbs down on such blessings.
Neale Adams, spokesman for Bishop Ingham, said the timing was coincidental.
The announcement was actually sent out to the priests of the diocese on Friday so
they could be prepared when the public announcement was made.
He said the permission to perform the blessings was granted only to the six parishes
that voted by a majority to allow such ceremonies.
Bishop Ingham said yesterday that he was not surprised the primates who lead the 38
branches of the Anglican Communion could not agree on the matter.
In a written statement, the bishop said he and his diocese agreed with the primates that
there is a "duty of pastoral care that is laid upon all Christians to respond with love
and understanding to people of all sexual orientations."
The rite of blessing of homosexual couples prepared for the diocese "is the pastoral response
which the synod of the diocese of New Westminster had requested three times -- in 1998, 2001 and 2002," said
the statement from the diocese. Bishop Ingham turned down the request twice,
before agreeing to such blessings last year.
In a letter accompanying the text of the new rite, he wrote "this is not a marriage ceremony,
but a blessing of permanent and faithful commitments between persons of the same sex in order that they
may have the support and encouragement of the church in their lives together under God."
He said that couples who seek the blessing must receive preparation and instruction,
and be supported by their parish.
Bishop Ingham is believed to be the first Anglican bishop in the world to formally approve
such blessings, although some American bishops have informally allowed such ceremonies.
New Years Eve, 2002 with Bill Gaither
- by Marsha Stevens
Cindy and I went to the America West Arena in Phoenix to join 15,000 other people to hear the 5 1/2- hour Gaither Homecoming concert. All by itself, it was a wonderful evening. Funny, touching, entertaining, uplifting. There were over 30 different artists and groups and comedians, and they all stayed up by the stage singing back up for one another. I had emailed Bill Gaither, whose groups have recorded my music before, and asked for back stage passes. I was surprised that his office said they'd be waiting for us at will-call and even more surprised when they were actually there.
I told Cindy it still didn't mean we'd actually get "face time" but I was honored that they left them. The backstage time was during the intermission, so we looked for the crowd of people with passes. Turns out there were only 6 of us. The first person to come up to us was Mark Lowry. He sang with the Gaither Vocal Band for many years and retired recently after he wrote the song "Mary Did You Know", but he'd been singing with the group that night.
He said, "Hey, you're Marsha Stevens!" I thought, okay, there's only 6 of us here, they must have told them our names. But he went on to say that he loves the song "For Those Tears I Died" and that he's proud of what I'm doing now. I said, "You know what I'm doing now?" He answer, "I sure do and I wish the fundamentalist would find Jesus. They're going to have a lot to answer for, leaving out people that Jesus died for."
While I stammered (I am SO dumb around famous people), Bill and Gloria Gaither came over and Bill said how much he loved my song, and appreciated my ministry today, too. Gloria thanked me for it. I was not sure Bill knew what he was saying, but we got pictures and it was time to go back out for the rest of the concert.
At about 10 till midnight we thought they would be starting their big finale. But Bill said that he had lost a couple of people very close to him in the past couple of years - his brother and his Mom - and one song had been sung at both funerals . . . a song that has gotten more people than we will ever know through a "dark night of the soul." Then he handed the microphone to Kim Hopper and she sang the first verse of "For Those Tears." It was incredibly beautiful. Then the whole group sang the chorus and he invited the crowd to join in. I was crying. Cindy was finding an old napkin in her pocket to wipe my nose with.
While the piano continued to play my song, Gloria read a tribute her daughter had written to them on the occasion of their 40th wedding anniversary, then the whole crowd sang the chorus again. By now it was just seconds to midnight, so I was CERTAIN they were done. But we suddenly realized that he was continuing to talk.
"You know, the young (sic) woman who wrote that song is here with us tonight, and maybe you're like she was and you've heard about a god who would reject you for who you are or who might turn you away for something you've done or where you've come from. Well I want you to know that I don't know that god. The only God I know is the one in this song that she wrote. The one that says, 'I am right here for you.' The one who sent His son. The one who says, "You are my child, I love you, come stand by my side.' So sing with me again!" Okay, "Lost IT" does not begin to describe my reactions.
From left to right: Cindy Pino, Marsha Stevens, Bill Gaither, Mark Lowry
Note from Mary: Sadly, Bill Gaither received a lot of negativity for his support of Marsha and he recanted his endorsement of her. Click here to read his
Press Release on the matter.
Salvation Army Regional Division Extends Domestic Partner Health Benefits
Compiled By GayToday - Nov. 5, 2001
A regional division of the Salvation Army is being praised by the Human Rights Campaign for having extended health benefits to the domestic partners of
The decision by the Salvation Army's Western Corporation is a prudent move that reflects the diversity of America's families and moves the group toward
compliance with a San Francisco ordinance that bars companies from doing business with the city that do not provide equal benefits, says HRC.
"This is a welcome development in the evolving policies of the Salvation Army and a bold move to embrace the entire American family," said HRC Executive
Director Elizabeth Birch.
"We hope this decision serves as a model for other Salvation Army corporations so they can bring their polices in line with many of the leading companies
in corporate America."
In a November 1 news statement, the Salvation Army said changes in the American family dictated a change in policy. The Western Corporation will "extend
the scope of its employee benefits to include access to health care for other adults in employees' households," it said.
"This decision reflects our concern for the health of our employees and those closest to them, and is made on the basis of strong ethical and moral reasoning
that reflects the dramatic changes in family structure in recent years," said Colonel Phillip D. Needham, chief secretary for the Army's Western Corporation,
headquartered in Long Beach, California
The announcement made the Western Corporation the first Salvation Army division to make such policy modifications. The new policy moves it closer in line
with a 1997 San Francisco ordinance that said any corporation that does business with the city must offer equal benefits for all families.
It also brings it in line with much of corporate America. The number of employers that offer domestic partner benefits has increased by 50 percent since
August 1999 - from 2,856 to 4,337 today. And the number of Fortune 500 companies offering domestic partner benefits has more than doubled in the past three
years from 61 in 1998 to 151 today.
This change in policy is especially welcome following the recent clash with the Salvation Army over the group's policies, said HRC. In July, a controversy
erupted after the Washington Post reported on a leaked Salvation Army memo. It said that in exchange for the group's support on the Bush administration's
faith-based initiative, the administration had made a "firm commitment" to shield religious charities that receive federal funds from city and statewide
ordinances that protect gays and lesbians from discrimination.
Under intense pressure from civil rights groups and members of Congress who were outraged by the reported deal, the White House retreated and announced
it was no longer pursuing the discriminatory regulation championed by the Salvation Army.
Canada Launches New Marriage Challenges
L e a d e r L i n k July 27, 2001
Canadians are at the vanguard of the struggle for same-sex marriage rights.
Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, Ontario is in a legal challenge to
have same-sex marriages recognized. And this week, eight same-sex couples
began a long-awaited court fight in British Columbia which they hope will
change the federal marriage law.
"It's very exciting," explained Dawn Barbeau who with partner Elizabeth
Barbeau, became one of the couples to constitutionally challenge the law in
B.C. Supreme Court after they were denied a marriage license. Their lawyers
will argue the Marriage Act violates gays' and lesbians' Charter right to
equal treatment by denying them official marital status.
"We are treated less than full citizens and I want full citizenship," said
Murray Warren, one of the petitioners.
Earlier this year, MCC Toronto performed two same-sex marriages, relying on
an ancient law that involved publishing the banns of marriage without
applying for a license.
Nova Scotia Gives Gay Couples 'Partnership Rights'
WebPosted Mon Jun 4 14:13:47 2001 on CBC.Ca News
HALIFAX - Nova Scotia has become the first province to guarantee same-sex couples some of the rights now enjoyed by men and women who are married.
Lesbians and gay men now have the option to register as "domestic partners" « sending a fee and form to the Department of Vital Statistics. The title will protect them in disputes over property ownership and pension benefits. They will also be guaranteed spousal support, and have the right
to give consent for emergency medical treatment. But they still don't have equal rights in other areas. For instance, registered gay couples still can't adopt children or legally marry.
"It's not everything we're looking for," admits Kim Vance, the national president of Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE). "There's still a lot to change," she adds. "But certainly this is a step forward." The government of Nova Scotia was ordered to change the law by the province's Court of Appeal last year because of a case involving a lesbian couple who
BACKGROUNDER: The fight for gay rights in Canada: A timeline
The bill, which passed in the legislature on Friday, is also based on a Supreme Court of Canada decision in 1999 that gave same-sex couples the right to
pension benefits. It outlines three types of relationships: common-law, registered domestic partners, and married couples. Many gay couples say the government's
move is long overdue. "It's a pretty essential part of our lives," says Brian Mombourquette, who's been living with his partner, Russ Boutilier, for
eight years. They celebrated their union with a "commitment ceremony" in front of family and friends, but the province refused to acknowledge that they
had any legal rights. "To have the government just basically ignore it, and do nothing to support it (until now), is pretty disappointing," says Mombourquette.
The two men plan to keep fighting for complete equality with straight couples, with the hope that one day they will have the legal right to get married.
Written by CBC News Online staff
U.K. Ex-Gay Leader Claims Conversion Therapy Futile
by Barbara Dozetos
GAY.COM, January 29, 2001
The leader of a reparative therapy ministry in the United Kingdom has
come to the conclusion that the process doesn't work.
Jeremy Marks, director of Courage, United Kingdom, reached an
agreement with parent organization Exodus International giving Courage
"sabbatical leave" for at least two years, according to the Exodus site.
The break from Exodus -- an ex-gay Christian organization -- will give
Courage the chance "to explore its new direction and practice."
That direction, according to Marks, is away from the fundamental goal
upon which Exodus is based: freedom from homosexuality. "We are definitely
wanting to be separated from the 'ex-gay' label and be more focused on
supporting Christians who are gay," Marks said.
Marks' personal experiences as a gay man, as well as a minister who
has participated in conversion therapy for more than 14 years, led him
gradually to the realization that the process simply does not work. "None
of the people we've counseled have converted no matter how much effort and
prayer they've put into it. There is much more benefit to the more honest
view," he said.
The underlying assumption that being gay is an anathema to being
Christian is damaging to most people, he said. "They end up fighting
themselves in an internal war."
Marks said his wife of nine years is cautiously accepting of the
change in his ministry. In spite of his change of heart about
homosexuality, he said he has no intentions of pursuing a gay relationship.
"This is because I believe in keeping the vows I made before God, and my
wife deserves to be loved, not deserted," said Marks. "Having said that, in
truth my orientation has not changed." He said close, affectionate, but not
sexual relationships with male friends help him withstand temptation to be
unfaithful to his wife. Restraint is not the same thing as denial, he said.
The current plan is for Marks to report back to Exodus after his two
years of exploration. "It is possible that I am on to something important
to Exodus," he said. Thus, they agreed to handle the situation with a
sabbatical. "They are facing the possibility that we could have been
wrong," said Marks.
"The potential is a major paradigm shift after 25 years," he said,
adding that he holds out little hope that Exodus, as a whole, will change
its views based on any report he makes.
Marks says he isn't bitter about his experience. "Many of the people
I worked with in Exodus over the years are, in most cases, wonderful, caring
[Barbara Dozetos is online at BGDoze@aol.com.]
Archbishop Tutu Defends Gay Christians
The Christian Century; 3/20/1996
Copyright (c) 1996 Rex Wockner - used with permission
Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu has expressed his support for those who are attempting to do away with the ban on homosexuals holding positions in the Church of Norway. Archbishop Tutu has said that it is an injustice to exclude someone from the clergy because of sexual orientation.
Desmond Tutu, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, has spoken out in defense of gay Christians who are members of the Lutheran Church in Norway. Archbishop Tutu, one of the leading opponents of racial discrimination during South Africa's apartheid era, has drawn a link between apartheid and discrimination against lesbians and homosexual men.
South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, writing the
foreword to a new American book of "gay liturgies," says
rejecting homosexuals is "nearly the ultimate blasphemy."
Tutu, the famed anti-apartheid campaigner, writing in "We
Were Baptized Too: Claiming God's Grace for Lesbians and Gays,"
says: "We reject them [gays], treat them as pariahs, and push
them outside our church communities, and thereby we negate the
consequences of their baptism and ours. We make them doubt that
they are the children of God, and this must be nearly the
ultimate blasphemy. We blame them for something that is becoming
increasingly clear they can do little about.
"Someone has said," Tutu continues, "that if this sexual
orientation were indeed a matter of personal choice, the
homosexual persons must be the craziest coots around to choose a
way of life that exposes them to so much hostility,
discrimination, loss and suffering."
The book includes a "celebration of coming out" liturgy,
which states, "We are no longer a people of the closet but a
people of parades, rainbows and quilts, called to lead your
church in a march for liberation."
In February, Tutu became the highest-ranking Anglican to
call for the ordination of non-celibate gays, a move which
sparked controversy in England where the Anglican Church is
based. In the U.S., Anglicans are known as Episcopalians.
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