Monday, July 21, 2014
Thursday, July 10, 2014
|Colorado State Flag|
July 9, 2014
DENVER (AP) — A judge in Colorado has struck down the state's gay marriage ban.
District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree on Wednesday ruled the 2006 voter-approved ban violates the state and federal constitutions. He immediately put his ruling on hold pending an appeal.
Crabtree is the 16th judge to void a state's gay marriage ban since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the federal government has to recognize gay marriages in the states.
"Fear Eats the Soul"
Friday, July 4, 2014
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
“The state’s attempts to connect the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage to its interest in economic stability and in ‘ensuring humanity’s continued existence’ are at best illogical and even bewildering."
“These arguments fail for the precise reasons that Defendant’s procreation argument fails. Numerous courts have repeatedly debunked all other reasons for enacting such laws. The Court can think of no other conceivable legitimate reason for Kentucky’s laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage.”
- US District Judge John Heyburn
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
"Fear Eats the Soul"
Sunday, June 29, 2014
| The Rev. Frank Schaefer at a news conference on Tuesday. He had been defrocked for |
officiating at the wedding of his gay son.
Credit Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times
June 24, 2014
A Methodist pastor who was defrocked because he presided at the wedding of his gay son is being reinstated in a startling reversal by a large Protestant denomination that, like many, is riven by disagreements over same-sex relationships.
A United Methodist Church appeals committee — a nine-member panel made up of laypeople and clergy members — said Tuesday that it had decided to overturn the ouster of the Rev. Frank Schaefer, who with three gay children and a determination to celebrate their relationships has become an unexpected champion of gay men and lesbians in church life.
The panel deemed the defrocking to be an illegitimate effort to punish Mr. Schaefer for his refusal to promise not to preside at another same-sex wedding.
Mr. Schaefer, 52, described himself as “totally elated” by the appeals panel decision, and he said he would celebrate in part by taking his son Tim, at whose same-sex wedding he officiated, to a White House gay pride event on Monday. Mr. Schaefer, who until his defrocking in December had been the pastor of Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, Pa., will resume his pastoral work next month in Santa Barbara, Calif., where Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño has offered him a position ministering to college students.
“Today there was a very clear and strong signal from the church, and that message is, ‘Change is on the way,’ ” Mr. Schaefer said in a telephone interview. “One day we will celebrate the fact that we have moved beyond this horrible chapter in our church’s life.”
But conservative Methodists were unhappy with the decision, and they said that talks about a schism in the denomination would now intensify. The United Methodist Church has about seven million members in the United States and four million more in other countries; it is theologically diverse, with prominent members including George W. Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“This will be confirmation for traditionalists that we are deeply divided and may not be able to live together,” said the Rev. Rob Renfroe, the president of Good News, a United Methodist organization that opposes same-sex marriage. “When we have people who are not only disobedient, but who find a way to not have to keep the covenant they have made with the rest of the church, it helps us see that maybe we are so different that we’ve come to the end of the road together.”
The appeals panel’s decision comes as public opinion, the legal landscape and religious doctrines toward gay rights are rapidly changing, often with considerable conflict. Polls suggest that a majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage, and it is now legal in 19 states and Washington, D.C.
The religious world is deeply divided over whether and how to recognize same-sex relationships, and whether to ordain non celibate gay men and lesbians as clergy members. Liberal Christian and Jewish denominations have become increasingly supportive of gay men and lesbians and their relationships, while more conservative denominations have held to traditional teachings about sexuality and marriage.
The United Methodist Church’s official positions on same-sex relationships are clear: The denomination’s Book of Discipline defines marriage as between a man and a woman, declares homosexual practice to be “incompatible with Christian teaching” and forbids clergy members to perform same-sex weddings. The denomination also says it will not ordain “self-avowed practicing homosexuals.”
But there is significant resistance to those policies within the denomination. Hundreds of Methodist ministers have signed a statement saying they are willing to officiate at same-sex marriages, and some have done so; there are also clergy members who have declared themselves to be gay.
Other Methodist clergy members have faced sanctions for breaking the denomination’s rules — in 1999, the Rev. Jimmy Creech was defrocked for officiating at the marriage of two men — and Mr. Schaefer said that, when his son asked him in 2006 to preside at his wedding the next year, he knew he was risking his ministry.
“I really didn’t do this to make a rebellious statement — I did this as an act of love,” Mr. Schaefer said. “He had been harmed and hurt by the message of the church that said you can’t be homosexual and go to heaven — it threw him into such a spin that he was considering suicide — and had I said no to his request, it would have negated all the affirmations my wife and I had given him.”
|From left, Brigitte Schaefer, her son Tim, and Tim’s husband, John Duncan, |
at a ceremony for Mr. Schaefer this month.
Credit Josh Reynolds/Associated Press
Tim Schaefer, 30, who lives in Hull, Mass., said that he, too, had known the risks, but that “I had to ask him — he was my dad.”
“When the complaint came about, I really blamed myself, because I had put him in this position, but now I’ve grown to realize the problem is with the policies of the church,” the younger Mr. Schaefer said. He said he remained a United Methodist and was active in his local church, St. Nicholas, which welcomes gay worshipers.
As Mr. Schaefer’s case proceeded through the church’s appellate process, other disciplinary proceedings stalled. In New York, a Methodist bishop this year vowed to stop holding church trials in his region for ministers who perform same sex-marriages, and in Washington State, two ministers who had officiated at same-sex weddings were given relatively minor 24-hour suspensions.
The appeals panel that ordered Mr. Schaefer reinstated, called the Committee on Appeals for the Northeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church, issued its ruling four days after holding a nearly three-hour hearing on the case at a hotel near Baltimore.
At the hearing, the Rev. Christopher Fisher, an advocate for the church’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, argued that church courts had an obligation to uphold church law. But Mr. Schaefer’s advocate, the Rev. Scott Campbell, argued that the church’s trial court had erroneously sought to punish him for possible future misconduct.
The appeals panel did not question Mr. Schaefer’s guilt, and left in place a 30-day suspension, which it said Mr. Schaefer had served last fall, as punishment for violations of church law. But it said the defrocking — removing Mr. Schaefer’s clerical credentials — was wrong.
The decision by the appeals panel can be appealed to the church’s Judicial Council; it was not immediately clear whether church officials would choose to pursue that course.
The ruling is unlikely to end charges against Methodist ministers who officiate at same-sex weddings, according to the Rev. Ted A. Campbell, an associate professor of church history at Southern Methodist University.
“It still stands that performing a union of gay persons is a chargeable offense, and others could and probably will be removed for doing that,” Mr. Campbell said. But he also said the ruling would probably hasten talk of a split within the denomination.
Advocates for gay rights in the United Methodist Church said that in 2016, when its next general conference takes place, they would push for the church to remove the provisions of its law that ban same-sex weddings and the ordination of non celibate gay men and lesbians.
And there is some discussion within the church of a possible compromise, under which every congregation could decide whether to allow same-sex weddings, and every region could decide whether to ordain non celibate gay clergy members.
Emmarie Huetteman contributed reporting.
|Singapore’s Speakers Corner – a government designated protest zone and where|
the rally has been held since 2009 – turned a sea of glittering pink with a bright
outline of a heart within the dot formation, at about 8pm.
A record number of 26,000 people turned up at Singapore's sixth Pink Dot rally on Saturday night to celebrate the 'freedom to love', according to organizers
June 28, 2014
The rally this year received the most media coverage in the lead up to it as religious leaders from the Muslim and Christian communities as well as the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, National Council of Churches of Singapore and Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore separately issued press statements after a Muslim religious teacher launched a 'Wear White' campaign on Facebook to denounce the event and remind Muslims not to attend the rally.
Well-known anti-gay pastor Lawrence Khong of Faith Baptist Community Church publicly endorsed the campaign initiated by the Muslim religious teacher to protest the rally and encouraged his congregation to wear white for church services this weekend.
Organizers for the first time in six years hired almost 20 private security personnel in the event that there would be protesters but none came.
Pink Dot organizers said in a statement that the rally this year marks a coming of age for the movement that has championed inclusivity and diversity amid an increasingly volatile social landscape.
'It is very heartening to see the dot growing year on year,’ said spokesperson Paerin Choa referring to the attendance this year being more than ten times the number of the inaugural 2009 event and an increase from an estimated 21,000 people last year.
'We believe that this sends a strong message of love and acceptance, affirming that Singapore is a home for one and all, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. We are, at the end of the day, one big national Family, and it is especially humbling this year, to see the sheer support we have received from Singaporeans from all walks of life.'
Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code makes sex between two men illegal although the law is not actively enforced.
The event kicked off with the inaugural Community Voices segment, where invited speakers from the LGBT community, and straight allies, shared stories on their personal challenges and touched on their hopes and dreams for a better and more compassionate Singapore.
Speakers included blogger and social commentator, Mr Miyagi; urban artist, Samantha Lo, known to many as SKLO; Leow Yangfa, Deputy Director of LGBT support group Oogachaga; lawyer and notable human rights advocate, M Ravi; outspoken university student and social volunteer, Melissa Tsang; Fanny Ler, a transgender woman, and her husband, Zack Ling.
Pink Dot corporate contributors also made a strong showing at the event, with contingents from giants Google, Barclays, J P Morgan, Goldman Sachs and BP.
Sylvia Tan is a reporter for Gay Star News and member of the Pink Dot Sg organizing committee.
These are the first steps to freedom and equality
"Fear Eats the Soul"
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Thursday, June 26, 2014
| Craig Bowen and Jake Miller were the first couple to get |
their marriage license in downtown Indianapolis
June 25, 2014
As the judge did not stay his ruling, couples were able to immediately apply for marriage licenses.
Same-sex couple Craig Bowen and Jake Miller were the first couple to get their marriage license in downtown Indianapolis.
The couple, who have been together for 8 years, say they immediately ran to the clerk’s office, after hearing the ban had been struck down.
Marion County Clerk Beth White will continue to marry couples in downtown Indianapolis this afternoon.
She said: “Chief Judge Richard Young’s decision on marriage equality sets forth a clear course of action for this office to follow regarding same-sex marriage licenses. It is my responsibility to uphold court rulings that impact this office and that is what I will do.
“The clerk’s office will be open until at least 4:30p.m. this evening to issue licenses. I will also conduct short, civil ceremonies on a first-come, first-serve basis for a voluntary $50 contribution to the Indiana Youth Group.”
In his ruling, Judge Young wrote: The court has never witnessed a phenomenon throughout the federal court system as is presented with this issue.
“In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions – laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional.
“It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love.
“In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage – not a same-sex marriage.
“These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.”
|Craig Bowen and Jake Miller kiss after they are married|
by Marion County, Indiana Clerk Beth White on June 25, 2014
"Love And Marriage Is Beautiful... Live Fearlessly"
When I say it reminds me of space flight, I'm talking about how our victories have become so commonplace. I remember as a boy when manned space flight was new, everything and everyone paused for a moment whenever there was a launch. But then, after the first few moon missions and when the Space Shuttle successfully entered service, sometimes you didn't even realize there had been a launch until you saw it on the evening news.
Our tide of victories in court after court across the country reminds me that equality is becoming the norm just like space flight. But unlike space flight, with our every victory, I still get just as happy and excited as I remember being for the moon landings, the launch of Skylab and those first Shuttle flights. That we have come so far, so quickly makes me proud to be an American.
Although it took us a great long while to get here, I believe the day is almost at hand when marriage equality will become the law of the land everywhere. For me, to have gone from being in the closet of fear, lies and deception, to being a married, out and proud same-gender-loving person has been an incredible journey. For me, every victory on the road to equality and freedom feels just like the moment I first heard Neil Armstrong say, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
"Fear Eats the Soul"
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
This is the headquarters of the Starbucks Coffee Company in Seattle, Washington.
Yesterday, the company hoisted a giant pride flag above its headquarters for Pride this week.
On the left is Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz watching the flag being raised for the very first time.
Last year, he staunchly defended his support of Washington State’s referendum
legalizing same-sex marriage.
Responding to a question by an angered shareholder at the company’s annual meeting, Schultz said:
"The lens we use to make decisions is the lens of our people. We want to embrace diversity…If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much."
Thank You Starbucks!
Who knew? I guess coffee really can change the world...
"Fear Eats the Soul"
Sunday, June 22, 2014
June 19, 2014
With a significant majority vote at its General Assembly today, the Presbyterian Church (known as PC(USA)) made marriage equality available to loving, committed couples of the same-sex by changing the language in the church's Book of Order from "a man and a woman" to "two persons."
If a majority vote of more than 172 Presbyteries passes in coming months, marriage equality will be made church law nationwide, though couples will need permission from their individual houses of worship. Additionally, commissioners approved an Authoritative Interpretation to go into immediate effect. The Authoritative Interpretation permits ministers in states with government-sanctioned marriage equality to marry same-sex couples while the constitutional amendment works its way through the presbyteries.
Nearly half of all PC(USA) clergy members serve in one of the 19 states or in Washington DC in which marriage equality is acknowledged by the government.
These historic rulings mean that clergy members are no longer required to deny LGBT couples who hope to be married in a religious ceremony.
“The Church affirmed all its faithful members today. This vote is an answer to many prayers for the Church to recognize love between committed same-sex couples,” said Alex McNeill, Executive Director of More Light Presbyterians, a national network of Presbyterians working for the full inclusion of the LGBT community within the church. “We will keep praying that the majority of our 172 presbyteries will confirm that all loving couples can turn to their churches when they are ready to be married.”
“The theme of this General Assembly is “Abound in Hope.” For more than thirty years, LGBTQ people have lived in the hope that the church that baptized us would also bless our marriages,” said the Rev. Robin White, Co-Moderator of More Light Presbyterians. “Today, the Presbyterian Church (USA) took a bold step to fully include same-sex couples in the life of the church.”
Co-Moderator, and Ruling Elder Nathan Sobers said, “As a gay man in a committed relationship for 27 years, I celebrate with Presbyterians and fair-minded people everywhere. Today the Presbyterian Church (USA) has taken the next step toward affirming same-sex couples who want to covenant together in marriage.”
The General Assembly of PC (USA) is taking place this week from June 14 – 21 in Detroit, Michigan. At the last General Assembly two years ago, marriage equality was not upheld, though a policy had been amended around that time to allow gay and lesbian Presbyterians to be ordained as clergy.
"Fear Eats the Soul"
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Friday, June 20, 2014
Thursday, June 19, 2014
June 18, 2014
Luxembourg’s parliament has overwhelmingly passed a same-sex marriage bill, by a vote of 56-4.
The bill introduces equal marriage, in addition to granting adoption rights to same-sex couples.
Luxembourg’s parliament has only one chamber, and so the vote by the Chamber of Deputies has secured the passage of the bill as a whole.
According to the Chamber of Deputies, the law is expected to be in force by early 2015.
Green MP Viviane Loschetter said: “Gay people should have the same rights as heterosexuals.
“With this law, we do not throw overboard all the values of our society.
“All we have done is give equal rights to gay people. We formally recognize a form of relationship that has always existed.”
The only MPs to vote against the bill were Gaston Gibéryen, Fernand Kartheiser and Roy Reding, all of the right-wing Alternative Democratic Reform Party, and Aly Kaes, rebelling against the Christian Social People’s Party.
Reding said: “The most important institution of our society, marriage, is ruined.”
A group had previously attempted to stall the marriage bill by triggering a referendum, but they failed to gather enough signatures.
Last year, Luxembourg made history as the first country to have an openly gay Prime Minister and an openly gay Deputy Prime Minister at the same time.
Ty Cobb of the Human Rights Campaign said: “We commend the leaders of Luxembourg for granting the nation’s LGBT citizens the rights they deserve, and we congratulate the LGBT activists and advocates who made this historic day possible.”
Luxembourg will be the 9th EU country to introduce same-sex marriage, following the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, Denmark, France and England and Wales in the UK.
"Fear Eats the Soul"
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
|Darrin Gayles, Newly Confirmed U.S. District Judge|
|Staci Yandle, Newly Confirmed U.S. District Judge|
New York, June 17, 2014
Today, the U.S. Senate made judicial history by confirming Darrin Gayles to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and Staci Yandle to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, marking the first time that two openly gay judicial nominees have been confirmed to the federal bench on the same day.
Lambda Legal released the following statement from Fair Courts Project Manager Eric Lesh:
"President Obama has already nominated more African-American judges and openly gay and lesbian judges than any of his predecessors. With this historic confirmation, Darrin Gayles will become the nation's first openly gay African-American man to serve on the federal bench, while Staci Yandle becomes the second openly lesbian African-American woman to be confirmed in the 20 years since President Clinton nominated Deborah Batts to the Southern District of New York."
"Today, it is more important than ever that our courts reflect the growing diversity of our country, but we have a long way to go. There are nearly 900 federal judges in the U.S., and most are white men. Federal courts are charged with providing everyone with equal access to justice, and yet justice has not always been a reality for some. A diverse judiciary serves not only to improve the quality of justice, but to boost public confidence in the courts."
Congratulations Judges Gayles and Yandle!
"Fear Eats the Soul"
Saturday, June 14, 2014
"Fear Eats the Soul"
Monday, June 9, 2014
There are lawsuits pending in every other state and we've already won court decisions in our favor in most. Soon, marriage equality will be the law of the land.
"Fear Eats the Soul"