Stories are still emerging around the "It Gets Better campaign." Pastors in Pennsylvania are speaking out, and Georgia mega-church Pastor Jim Swilley came out as a gay man to save the lives of young people. Young people in Minnesota incorporated their stories of being bullied into a show staged in Minnesota schools and churches, while a small-town transgender woman tells of finding a welcome home in a Minnesota United Church of Christ. An ecumenical Faith Project launched in Chicago with the LGBT community with pastors creating their own videos. This reflects growing support for LGBT people such as a Ugandan minister who is speaking out as a Unitarian and an Evangelical mega-church minister in Denver who garnered CNN coverage for preaching a message of inclusion and equality.
It was sad to hear Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, announce his retirement. Even in the face of death threats, he challenged anti-gay forces in the church. Others are stepping up as Canada’s presiding Anglican bishop spoke out in support of marriage for same-sex couples.
Lutheran Presiding Bishop Hanson’s ‘It Gets Better’ video is still getting media attention. He also garnered a Washington Post op-ed calling for civility on many issues—including LGBT issues—and called on citizens to change the climate of harassment in which we live. Meanwhile, a Lutheran Child and Family Services out of the Missouri Synod Lutheran tradition denied an adoption to a gay couple.
The Pope was in Spain and faced protests. In the US, a woman in a Benedictine school who was out to her colleagues was fired after she and her wife published their wedding announcement. This, despite the fact the school has a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation.
Faith leaders are key in Hawaii where civil unions may soon pass. But backlash is real, as seen in Iowa’s removal of three judges who voted for the constitutionality of marriage for gay and lesbian couples. And, in California, people of faith were up front with amicus briefs in support of marriage equality as Prop 8 continues to wind its way through the courts.
In the United Methodist high court, fallout from a previous decision is still on the table as they decided to leave it as is—pastors can block gay people from membership. United Methodist bishops and local ministers serve in states where unions for same sex couples are legal, but prohibitions inside the church force ministers to serve only some of their parishioners. United Methodists still hold that gay people are outside of Christian teaching.
One Jewish writer made the connection between tradition that supports prejudice and violence. Days later, international violence came close when a synagogue serving LGBT people was a possible target in a bombing attempt. In Uganda, another round of publishing the names of gay advocates with death threats in a new tabloid was banned by a judge in Uganda. The Anglican Church lost several priests who defected to the Catholic Church; although how popular married priests will be remains to be seen. Asia is seeing some support from faith leaders for LGBT Pride Parade, and in Argentina, 500 marriages for gay and lesbian couples were celebrated at the Pride Parade. In Scotland, a lesbian couple is challenging the ban on marriage equality in the UK, highlighting the inequality between civil unions and marriage.