Students from a strict Mormon college that prohibits “homosexual behavior” have launched a Web video aimed at reassuring other gay and lesbian youth struggling with their faith and sexual orientation.
The video recently posted to YouTube by 22 Brigham Young University students is the first of its kind with ties to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which forbids gay sex and marriage. By posting the video, the students could face excommunication from the church and expulsion at BYU, where gay students are prohibited from touching or kissing.
On April 4, Brigham Young University’s Provo campus held a one and a half hour forum titled “Everything you wanted to know about homosexuality but were too afraid to ask,” sponsored by BYU’s sociology department in coordination with a few sociology and psychology classes. Openly lesbian and devout Latter-day Saint Bridey Jensen, a student at BYU, was part of the panel. She said, “Both of these things are just a fundamental part of me that I never chose […] Just because I accept [that I am gay] doesn’t mean I believe in the gospel any less."
Last fall, Muslims for Progressive Values, an American reformist organization, gathered from around the country to celebrate the growth of membership. In less than five years, the group had grown from a few friends to a thousand members and spawned a string of small mosques and spiritual groups that stretched from Atlanta to Los Angeles.
In light of Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan's comments directed at the LGBT community, Joseph Amodeo resigned from the Executive Committee of the Junior Board of Catholic Charities today. He wrote: "By this action, I seek not to disparage the work of Catholic Charities, but to voluntarily remove myself as a leader with an organization under the pastoral leadership of Dolan."
When DeLaSalle senior Matt Bliss heard rumors that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis planned to hold a mandatory school assembly to talk about marriage, and potentially gay marriage, he remembers thinking, "This is not going to end well." He was right.
"Hi, my name is Brad Carmack, calling on behalf of Protect Marriage Maine. Will you vote to maintain the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman?" This was my phone pitch in October of 2009. Calling from Provo, I was a volunteer in the effort to persuade Maine voters to oppose same-sex marriage. The following month the Maine referendum prevailed by 53 percent to 47 percent. Victory! Now it’s coming up on 2 1/2 years since my anti-same-sex marriage activism and I find myself on the opposite side of the fence.
Jolene Capozzi remembers the first time she received Holy Communion at Open Door Metropolitan Community Church in Boyds, 17 years ago. After the wafer was placed on her tongue, tears began to stream down her face. “I cried my eyes out,” she said. “I was like, this feels really good.” A lifelong, devoted Catholic, Capozzi said she had never before felt welcome at church. Constrained by her own religious beliefs, Capozzi hid her sexuality until she was 44, was married and had two children. At Open Door, Capozzi, 61, said she can be a lesbian and still feel loved by God.
An openly gay Ohio teen has filed a lawsuit against his high school for refusing to allow him to wear a t-shirt featuring a rainbow-colored fish and the words “Jesus is Not a Homophobe.” Maverick Couch first wore the t-shirt, and was told to remove it, during last year’s Day of Silence, a campaign organized by GLSEN to bring awareness to the silencing of LGBT students through bullying and harassment.
One pro-LGBT religious group in Grand Rapids, Michigan is using a billboard to send an affirming Christian message. Gays In Faith Together (GIFT) has started a campaign with a local billboard that states simply, “Gay Christian? YES!”