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Religion and marriage equality


25K Rally in Support of Jamaica Anti-Gay Law

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Jamaica - Google Maps25,000 people attended a rally in support of the Jamaica anti-gay law.

Pink News reports:

Jamaican LGBT rights lawyer Maurice Tomlinson says last weekend’s rally in support of Jamaica’s buggery law was a “very frightening” moment. Mr Tomlinson, a legal advisor of marginalised groups at AIDS-Free World, referred to Sunday’s event by saying: “They really poured a lot of money into this, which to me is of great concern”. Participants and church leaders called on Jamaicans to stand up for “strong and healthy families” and “to resist the homosexual agenda”. The Jamaican Observer reports that police say an estimated 25,000 people took to the streets of Kingston for the protest organised by Churches Action Uniting Society for Emancipation (CAUSE).

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Image via Google Maps

The Great Religious Secession

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Church…I am someone who believes that religious liberty is the country’s founding freedom, the idea that made America possible. I am also a homosexual atheist, so religious conservatives may not want my advice. I’ll give it to them anyway. Culturally conservative Christians are taking a pronounced turn toward social secession: asserting both the right and the intent to sequester themselves from secular culture and norms, including the norm of nondiscrimination. This is not a good idea. When religion isolates itself from secular society, both sides lose, but religion loses more.

Over the decades, religious traditionalists’ engagement with American secular life has waxed and waned. After the public-relations disaster of the Scopes evolution trial in the 1920s, many conservative Christians recoiled from politics, only to come out swinging in the 1970s, when the Moral Majority and other elements of what came to be called the religious right burst onto the scene. If you believe in cultural cycles, perhaps we’re due for another withdrawal. Certainly, the breakthrough of gay marriage has fed disillusionment and bewilderment. “I suspect the initial reaction among evangelicals is going to be retreat and hope to be left alone,” Maggie Gallagher, a prominent gay-marriage opponent, recently told The Huffington Post.

Still, the desire to be left alone takes on a pretty aggressive cast when it involves slamming the door of a commercial enterprise on people you don’t approve of. The idea that serving as a vendor for, say, a gay commitment ceremony is tantamount to “endorsing” homosexuality, as the new religious-liberty advocates now assert, is a far-reaching proposition, one with few apparent outer boundaries in a densely interwoven mercantile society. It suggests a hair-trigger defensiveness about religious identity that would have seemed odd just a few years ago. As far as I know, during the divorce revolution it never occurred to, say, Catholic bakers to tell remarrying customers, “Your so-called second marriage is a lie, so take your business elsewhere.” That would have seemed not so much principled as bizarre.

Authored By Jonathan Rauch – See the Full Story at The Atlantic

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NOM Hate March Flops

Friday, June 20th, 2014

NOM Hate March

photo credit: Zach Ford

The NOM hate march in Washington DC drew only about 2,000 people, most of those bused in for free.

The Washington Blade reports:

Many of the estimated 2,000 people from across the country held NOM signs that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Others carried posters reading “each child deserves a father and a mother” in Spanish. “When we hear time and time again from some in the media that the fight to protect marriage is over, we are here today to say no,” said NOM President Brian Brown. “We are here to say that no matter the circumstances, no matter how difficult it may be, we will stand in and out of season for the truth of marriage.”

Metro Weekly reports on some familiar faces who attended the rally:

Rep. Tim Huelskamp was the only current member of Congress to speak at the rally, mere yards from the House Chamber. “There are those intent on destroying marriage who claim history is on their side,” declared the Kansas Republican, who proposed amending the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman mere days after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark marriage-equality rulings last June… The most recognizable names at the rally were former Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. Santorum, who paused between sentences of his speech to allow a translator to repeat his words in Spanish, insisted that the institution of marriage must be reclaimed.

Think Progress interviewed folks at the rally:

Both on the dais and in the crowd, religious beliefs were the driving force behind attendees’s opposition to same-sex marriage. ThinkProgress spoke with several members of the crowd to get a sense of why they were participating, and most cited their religious beliefs as their primary motivation. In particular, many were religious leaders themselves or specifically came to the march with a church group. Watch a compilation of ThinkProgress’ interviews from the March for Marriage:

And remember how Archbishop Cordileone swore the whole rally had nothing to do with the gays?

SF Gate report:

“Kneeling on the sidewalk across from the U.S. Supreme Court, San Francisco’s Roman Catholic archbishop led several thousand protesters Thursday in prayer against same-sex marriage. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone was the star attraction of a rally in Washington organized by National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown, the nation’s leading opponent of same-sex marriage. Brown tapped Cordileone as the first speaker at the event and had him lead the group in prayer after a march from the west front of the U.S. Capitol to the Supreme Court steps.”

Oops. Will he be called on it?

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Presbyterian Marriage Equality Passed in Lopsided Vote

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Presbyterian Church USA LogoThe US Presbyterian Church became the latest denomination to accept marriage equality this afternoon.

RNS reports:

By a 76-24 percent vote, the General Assembly of the 1.8 million-member PCUSA voted to allow pastors to perform gay marriages in states where they are legal. Delegates, meeting in Detroit this week, also approved new language about marriage in the church’s Book of Order, or constitution, altering references to “a man and woman” to “two persons.” This change will not become church law until a majority of the 172 regional presbyteries vote to ratify the new language. But given the lopsided 3-1 ratio of the vote, approval is expected. Gay rights activists within the church rejoiced at their victory, which was remarkable for its margin of victory after multiple years of razor-thin defeats.

I still remember vividly when all the churches were against us. Amazing.

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Where Do Religions Stand on Marriage Equality

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Marriage Equality and Religion

The Pew Research Center has a great chart on where the major religions are these days on marriage equality.

Pew reports:

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) plans to hold a historic vote on same-sex marriage this week that could reverberate beyond the church’s nearly 2 million members. Church leaders gathering in Detroit are expected to decide as early as today whether to allow gay marriage or to continue to prohibit it, a move some Christian leaders believe could influence other centrist and liberal mainline Protestant churches as they also grapple with the issue. In the last two decades, several religious groups have moved to allow same-sex couples to marry within their traditions. This includes the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements, Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ.

Will the Presbyterians come around tomorrow?

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USA, California: Southern Baptist Minister Embraces Gay Son, Marriage Equality

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Pastor Danny CortezA Southern Baptist Minister has embraced marriage equality and his gay son.

Think Progress reports:

The pastor of a Southern Baptist church in Los Angeles, California announced last month that he is now “gay affirming” and has accepted his son’s homosexuality, a declaration that is causing a rift in his local congregation and sparking controversy within the Southern Baptist Convention.

In an hour-long sermon released on YouTube and a letter submitted to John Shore’s Patheos blog, Danny Cortez, pastor of New Heart Community Church, told his congregants that after a “15-year journey,” he has shifted away from his negative stance on homosexuality and is now accepting of LGBT people.

“In August of 2013, on a sunny day at the beach, I realized I no longer believed in the traditional [church] teachings regarding homosexuality,” Cortez said in his letter. “And it was especially the testimony of my gay friends that helped me to see how they have been marginalized that my eyes became open to the injustice that the church has wrought.”

His church congregation is supportive of his new position on the issue, but the SBC could expel his church from the denomination.

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Pastors Ask Governor to Appeal Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Decision

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Pennsylvania Governor Tom CorbettTaking a page from NOM’s playbook, a group of anti-gay pastors is asking Governor Tom Corbett to reconsider his decision to not appeal the Pennsylvania marriage equality case.

Pink News reports:

A group of pastors in the US state of Pennsylvania has urged its Governor to reconsider a decision not to appeal a ruling made by a judge to strike down a ban on same-sex marriage… Now the president of the Pensylvania Pastors Network and the American Pastors Network Sam Rohrer, has criticised Judge Jones, and urged Governor Corbett to reconsider his decision not to appeal. Rohrer said: “Let’s be clear, this ruling was made by one man – a federal district judge unelected and unaccountable. Politically appointed, never facing the voters and never answering to the press, many people in this position when unrestrained by moral truth, perceive themselves to be above the law… Indeed, their arrogance makes them appear as if they think they are God.”

A week ago, I’d have said their chances were slim-to-none, but now that Kennedy has taken NOM’s request in Oregon seriously, I’m not so sure.

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Bishop Supports Ireland Marriage Equality

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Dr. Paul Colton - i=Ireland Marriage EqualityA Church of Ireland Bishop has come out in support of Ireland marriage equality, at least under the law.

Gay Star News reports:

Dr Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, was speaking to BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence programme about his views on gay marriage. ‘The events in society are moving very rapidly and the church is not at all up to pace with the debate’ he said. ‘I certainly support civil same sex marriage. ‘I also recognise that the church of Ireland’s definition of marriage is for itself and I adhere to that discipline… but that is not to say that everyone must be required to take the church of Ireland’s view of marriage.

Ireland is expected to vote on a marriage equality initiative next year, and support there polls at an astonishing 76%.

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Italy: Catholic Bishop Says Church Should Be More Accepting of Gays

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Florence ChurchAn Italian Bishop, Nunzio Galantino, the secretary-general of the Italian bishops’ conference, wants the church to be more welcoming to gays.

Think Progress reports:

Nunzio Galantino, the secretary-general of the Italian bishops’ conference (CEI) and bishop of the southern diocese of Cassano all’Jonio, reportedly told a Florence-based newspaper on Tuesday that Italian church leaders should embrace the more liberal path paved by Pope Francis and pay closer attention to progressive religious arguments. “With Pope Francis the Italian Church has an extraordinary opportunity to reposition itself on spiritual moral and cultural beliefs,” Galantino said. “My wish for the Italian Church is that it is able to listen without any taboo to the arguments in favor of married priests, the Eucharist for the divorced, and homosexuality.” The Italian bishop, who Pope Francis permanently appointed as secretary-general of the CEI last month, echoed the pontiff’s belief that the Catholic church is too “obsessed” with debates over abortion and same-sex marriage.

Is the Catholic Church finally softening its stance on LGBT issues?

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USA, Oklahoma: Faith Leaders Support Marriage Equality

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

Oklahoma Marriage Equality Case in Legal LimboA new coalition of Oklahoma faith leaders is standing up to support marriage equality in the state.

News OK reports:

More than 50 Oklahoma faith leaders have formed a coalition in support of marriage rights for all couples, whether gay or straight. The Oklahoma Faith Leaders for Marriage group includes leaders of congregations of Mennonites, United Methodists, Unitarians, Episcopalians, United Church of Christ and at least one Baptist minister and two rabbis. The United Methodist and United Church of Christ denominations have the most coalition representation, with at least eight United Methodist clergy and at least eight United Church of Christ ministers among the faith network’s members. “Expanding marriage equality will finally remove a long-standing obstacle to our pastoral care — and allow us to minister equally to all families in our community,” the coalition said in a statement released after its April launch.

More and more, people of faith are standing with the LGBT community to support equality. It’s an amazing and beautiful thing.

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