Pope Francis Reiterates Church’s Opposition To Gay Marriage As Italy Debates Civil Unions

Carlos Santoscoy | On Top Magazine | January 23, 2016

Pope Francis on Friday reiterated the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage as Italian lawmakers debate a gay-inclusive civil unions bill.

The Italian Senate is expected next week to vote on a bill that would recognize the unions of gay couples. Opponents claim that civil partnerships will open the door to marriage and adoption for gay couples.

“There can be no confusion between the family God wants and any other type of union,” Pope Francis is quoted by Reuters as telling members of the Vatican court that rules on marriage annulments.

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Australian archbishop says he’s OK with gay couples attending Catholic school dances

Andrew Potts | Gay Star News | January 22, 2016
One of Australia’s leading Catholic figures has said he is happy for gay and lesbian teens to take same-sex partners to school dances after a Melbourne Catholic school stopped a female student from taking another girl to her school formal but then relented after 1250 people signed a petition in support of the student.

The anonymous student had complained that the decision seemed to go against the Academy of Mary Immaculate school’s stated ethos of fairness to all.

‘I see no logical, just reason for this ban,’ the student had written.

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Franklin Graham Calls On Christians To Take Over School Boards To Reverse Gay-Inclusive Programs

On Top Magazine | January 20, 2016

Evangelist Franklin Graham is calling on Christians to take over school boards to reverse gay-inclusive programs.

Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham and head of the Billy Graham Evangelist Association, made his comments last year at an event in Colorado hosted by James Dobson.

On Tuesday, Dobson played excerpts from their conversation on his radio program.

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There Are More LGBT People Of Faith Out There Than You Think

Editors | Queerty | January 18, 2016

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Photographer Eliel Cruz was looking to put a face to LGBT communities of faith and humanize them. Though you certainly wouldn’t know it by reading Queerty, the last pew religion report shows there are more LGBT people of faith than none believers.

His first batch of shots features Christians, mostly in the millennial range, drawing from across gender and race spectrums.

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Tennessee former Southern Baptist church members vote to marry gay couples in their church

Andrew Potts | Gay Star News | January 15, 2016

A progressive Baptist church in Tennessee has announced its intention to provide religious marriage services to same-sex couples in a further move away from the position of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention it once belonged to.

First Baptist Church Memphis members approved the change on Sunday and almost 70 percent of the congregation voted in favor of it.

‘As Christ’s church, First Baptist Memphis is called to minister equally to all persons, extending to them the privileges afforded to any follower of Christ, including, but not limited to, baptism, membership, leadership, ordination, and marriage, and will not discriminate based on race, gender, age, marital status, or sexual orientation,’ the motion passed by the church members reads.

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Anglicans sanction US Episcopal Church over gay marriage

Rachel Zoll | Associated Press |  Yahoo News | January 16, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) — Anglican leaders on Thursday temporarily restricted the role of the U.S. Episcopal Church in their global fellowship as a sanction over the American church’s acceptance of gay marriage.

Episcopalians have been barred for three years from any policy-setting positions in the Anglican Communion while a task force is formed that will try to reconcile conflicting views over sexuality in the 85-million-member family of churches. The Episcopal Church is the Anglican body in the United States.

The announcement came near the end of a weeklong meeting in Canterbury, England, called by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, to heal rifts over same-sex relationships and keep the Anglican Communion from splitting apart. Welby, the Anglican spiritual leader, does not have the authority to force a compromise. He set a news conference Friday in Canterbury to explain the leaders’ decision.

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Michele Bachmann: Hate crime protection for LGBT people is ‘tyranny’ in ‘God’s form of government’

 | Raw Story | January 13, 2016

Former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) argued recently that the government was guilty of “tyranny” because of a law that enables the prosecution of hate crimes against LGBT people.

Last week, the Trinity Broadcasting Network aired part of conservative historian David Barton’s “Foundations of Freedom” DVD series, which included Bachmann’s thoughts on a 2009 hate crimes law that added sexual orientation as a protected class.

“That’s what’s so brilliant about our form of government and God’s form of government, that we are equal before the law,” Bachmann explained in a video clip obtained by Right Wing Watch. “God’s says He’s not a respecter of persons, He’s not partial, so why should we, why should government be partial? … A creator God created us equal.”

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Leading Greek Orthodox bishop says gay people are God’s children so don’t reject them

Andrew Potts | Gay Star News | January 12, 2016

A leading voice in the Greek Orthodox church has urged tolerance for gays and lesbians in the church in the wake of Greece allowing civil unions for same-sex couples.

Chrysostomos Savvatos, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Messinia, gave an interview to Tharros News in which he reminded Christians that homosexuals were as much children of God as they are.

‘Homosexuals, like all humans, are a creation of God and they deserve the same respect and honor, and not violence and rejection,’ Metropolitan Chrysostomos said.

‘We shouldn’t forget the way Christ responded to the sinful woman, according to the Gospels, which became his word. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

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Pope Francis: ‘People Should Not Be Defined Only By Their Sexual Tendencies’

Carol Kuruvilla | Huffington Post | January 12, 2016

Pope Francis pushed open the great bronze doors of St. Peter’s Basilica on December 8 to launch his Holy Year of Mercy, declaring that mercy trumps moralizing in his Catholic Church.

Just a few months after his election, Pope Francis uttered a sentence that sent shockwaves through the global Catholic Church.

Who am I to judge?

During a routine press conference onboard the papal airplane in July 2013, a reporter asked for the pope’s thoughts on gay priests working at the Vatican.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis responded.

Those five words — “Who am I to judge?” — subsequently became one of Francis’ most powerful and hotly debated statements.

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For Some Gay Muslims, SCOTUS Marriage Decision Doesn’t Make Much Difference

Arooj Zahra | Pulitzer Center | Huffington Post | January 12, 2016

Photos courtesy of Iman and Dulce


Arooj Zahra is a journalist and a documentary filmmaker from Pakistan. She was 2015 Daniel Pearl Fellow in the U.S. As part of her fellowship, she worked with The Washington Post and The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

Sitting comfortably in their living room, heads covered with white scarves, Iman and Dulce, both 27, have agreed to talk with me via Skype. They live in Florida with their 9-year-old son and they are one of the few married gay Muslim couples in the United States. I wanted to ask them about the historic June 26, 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriages in all 50 states.

”The Supreme Court’s decision is a good thing, but a lot needs to be done before gay Muslims can fully enjoy this lifestyle,” said Iman. “So many are still afraid of revealing themselves as their families and friends do not accept them the way they are.”

In the gay community and in much of America, the Supreme Court decision was celebrated as a triumph of love over intolerance. But many of the largest U.S. religious institutions have remained firmly against allowing same-sex marriage, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Jewish movement, the Southern Baptist Convention and other evangelical Protestant denominations as well as the Mormon Church. A majority of the Muslim religious leaders in the U.S. also weighed in against same-sex marriages.

But for Iman, “the biggest opposition came from my own family.”

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