LGBT Religion News Updates for July 20, 2011

July 20, 2011
Lots of news from New York as the commencement of marriage equality draws even nearer! The invaluable role of LGBT-affirming clergy in the passage of marriage equality in New York was featured in several stories, helping to dispel the prevailing misconceptions that LGBT affirming people cannot be religious, and that all people of faith are anti-gay. A symbolic wedding ceremony was held at B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue on the Upper West Side to celebrate the passage of the bill, and Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the LGBT synagogue in NYC is hosting a discussion on the implications of marriage equality –including experts on adoption law, employment law, immigration and taxes. Episcopal bishops in some New York dioceses are allowing priests to perform civil marriages in addition to blessings. Some bishops, including Bishop Lawrence C. Provenzano of the Diocese of Long Island (pictured), are also giving their LGBT clergy timelines to marry their partners. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada has also voted to allow LGBT clergy and to bless marriages for all couples. David J. Dunn, Ph.D. in the Huffington post presents a theological argument in support of civil marriages for all couples, and writes that any religious group calling on the state to protect the “sanctity” of marriage misunderstands the function of religious marriage as a sacrament:
There will always be Christians who oppose "homosexuality" on moral grounds, but enlisting the state to protect "the sanctity of marriage" is a mistake. Such efforts demonstrate a fundamental - even idolatrous - misunderstanding of the meaning of "holy matrimony," effectively denying Christ by vesting the state with divine authority.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R- Minn) has been in the news this week for justifying her anti-gay positions with her evangelical Christian faith. An Illinois judge temporarily continued Catholic Charities adoption and foster care contracts. Catholic Sexual Diversity Conferences examine the strong support by lay Catholics for marriage equality. William Slavick for the Portland Press Herald reflects on the decline of Catholicism in Europe and connects it to many Catholics feeling unwanted, and an op-ed by a straight Catholic ally examines her path to reconciling her Catholic faith with her acceptance and welcoming of LGBT people. Thanks for your suggestions, and please continue to forward and subscribe to