Marriage was a big news item last week as Argentina legalized marriage for gay couples and gay Mormons condemn the LDS Church’s role in opposing the successful legislation. In California, two polls show growing support for marriage equality. Meanwhile, marriage equality in Washington D.C. was upheld by the Court of Appeals.
In the Evangelical world, Peggy and Tony Campolo, an Evangelical Christian couple who famously disagree on gay issues, coordinated a dialogue with the Baptist Peace Fellowship in upstate New York. Janet Edwards asked whether gay rights are an “evangelical thing.” John Blake asked whether the religious right has lost its children. A megachurch in Las Vegas was dropped from HIV work because of its link to Martin Ssempa, the virulently anti-gay Ugandan pastor, and the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, elected a conservative leader.
In mainline Protestant denominations, responses to the Presbyterian decision on gay clergy range from the Rev. Peter M. Wallace saying God’s spirit was at work, to an Orthodox priest who said the opposite. A Michigan-based gay rights group has donated $400,000 to the Episcopal Church for its use in developing marriage liturgies for gay couples and a Methodist minister and his boyfriend were attacked in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park.
Internationally, the UK government responded to the petition opposing the Pope’s planned visit. A meeting of faith groups in Vienna, held in advance of the 18th International AIDS Conference, was told by Netherlands AIDS ambassador Marijke Wijnroks that faith leaders can play a key role in combating HIV/AIDS. Tel Aviv encouraged LGBT tourism with a new ‘Gay Vibe’ campaign, while the Jewish Journal highlighted Orthodox lesbians at the Jerusalem Post. Serbian gay rights groups asked for the Orthodox Church’s help in curbing anti-gay violence. Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe refused to include gay rights in a draft of the country’s new constitution, and the new primate of the Anglican Church in Nigeria followed his predecessor in condemning homosexuality.
Also in the mix, Daniel Burke compared the use of the Bible during the church dispute over slavery in the 19th century to the debates surrounding LGBT issues today. Soldiers’ rights hotlines are being asked if soldiers could qualify for conscientious objector status for opposing the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ but the groups say no. An ‘ex-gay’ coach has been accused of molesting male clients, while so-called ‘ex-gay’ Donnie McClurkin is set to attend Boston’s GospelFest. Mike Ghouse argued that religious people should stand up for gays, Jews and Mexicans. Finally, Lady Gaga and her “little monsters” take on Westboro Baptist Church.
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