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Top Brazilian Bishop Endorses Civil Unions for Gay Couples

Leonardo_SteinerThe secretary general of the National Confederation of Brazilian Bishops has endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples, becoming the first national church leader to do so since Pope Francis suggested back in March that the Catholic Church might consider supporting such arrangements.

BuzzFeed reports:

“There needs to be a dialog on the rights of shared life between people of the same sex who decide to live together. They need legal support from society,” Bishop Leonardo Steiner said.

Steiner made clear the church still opposes marriage for same-sex couples, which Brazil’s National Council of Justice made legal last year. “The difficulty is in deciding that marriages of people of the same sex are equivalent to marriage or family,” Steiner said, adding that he believes the measure should have been voted on by congress instead of being enacted by the judiciary.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of gay relationships, but certainly a step in the right direction.  


Catholic School Sends Invites with Ellen DeGeneres's Photo, Recants, Promises to Destroy Them

EllenOscarInvite

A Catholic school principal in Bucks County, Pennsylvania has apologized to parents for sending a student-dance invitation featuring a photo of Ellen DeGeneres. 

Philly.com reports:

It was "completely wrong" to use DeGeneres' picture because the lesbian celebrity "lives her life outside the teachings of the Catholic Church," St. Andrew Elementary School principal Nancy Matteo wrote in an email to parents on Tuesday.

...

In the email, Matteo says she was "obviously NOT thinking" when she let the invitation to the June 8 dance be distributed with DeGeneres’ photo.

"Perhaps I was distracted by the Oscar," she wrote, calling the entertainer a "poor role model."

"A role model, as defined by Webster's Dictionary, is a person who is unusually effective or inspiring in some social role, job, position, etc.," the email says. "This does not describe her at all. We work so hard to be good role models and then I go and do something stupid!"

Matteo said that she wants all students to return their invites so that she can personally detroy them.

Read the full story at Philly.com.


Monday Speed Read: Utah, Arkansas, Porterville Mayor, Obama vs. Homophobia, Sacred Heart Tux

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

McshaneOREGON DECISION AT NOON TODAY:

U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane of Oregon said Friday he would issue his decision at noon PDT today in litigation challenging the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. Unless McShane puts a stay on his own decision, a ruling against the ban would likely go into effect immediately.  Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber supports the right of same-sex couples to marry, and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum refused to defend the ban in court, saying it was unconstitutional. Officials in several counties have already indicated they are prepared to issue licenses as soon as such a decision is announced.

ArkansasARKANSAS ROLLER COASTER:

Arkansas county circuit court Judge Chris Piazza issued an amended and final decision May 15 to make clear he intended to include, in his original May 9 ruling striking down two laws banning same-sex couples from marrying, a third law that prohibits county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The next day, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a one-sentence order, granting the state’s request for a stay on Piazza’s decision pending the state’s appeal before the state high court. And then, the Republican speaker of the Arkansas House voted against suspension of House rules to allow for a vote on a resolution to urge the state supreme court to overturn Piazza’s ruling. The Arkansas Times reported that House Speaker Davy Carter voted against suspending the rules to allow the resolution on the floor, saying “Judicial intimidation by the legislative branch is not appropriate in this instance or any other.”

MAYOR SAYS BULLIED KIDS SHOULD ‘GROW A PAIR’:

Porterville, California, is not an LGBT friendly place. Its city council last fall ousted a mayor who had declared June LGBT Pride Month and, in 2008, it supported Proposition 8. But it still startled some observers last week when the new mayor, Cameron Hamilton, said kids who are bullied should take care of the problem themselves. “I’m against bullying, but I’m getting damn tired of it being used as a mantra for everything….All most people have to do is grow a pair and stick up for them damn selves,” said Hamilton, recorded by ABC News. The former mayor, Virginia Gurrola, said “It’s hard to stand up and grow a pair when you’re a ten-year-old little girl.” The proposal before the council was a resolution by Gurrola to create “safe zones” for kids during after school hours. Gay Porterville spokeswoman Melissa McMurrey said she was “shocked” by Hamilton’s remarks. The council will take up the resolution Tuesday, May 20.

PRESIDENT SPEAKS AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA:

The White House issued a press release Friday, saying “no one should face violence or discrimination -- no matter who they are or whom they love.” The statement was released to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which was Saturday. The president’s statement also noted that next month marks the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

CATHOLIC STUDENTS RALLY BEHIND TUX:

Students at a Catholic high school in San Francisco wore ties to school Friday to express their support of a female student who wore a tuxedo for her senior portrait. Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory requires female students to wear dresses for their senior portraits and took Jessica Urbina’s photo out of the yearbook. But school officials told the San Francisco Chronicle Friday that the tie-day action “sparked a campus-wide dialogue which will result in a revision of policy."
© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Missouri Catholic Diocese Asks Food Pantry Worker To Resign After Discovering Her Wife

When an April 30 profile in a local news-magazine outed lesbian Colleen Simon (pictured left) by mentioning her lesbian wife (pictured right), the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph asked Simon to resign as their social ministries coordinator. But Simon has refused and continued her work in St. Francis Xavier Church’s food pantry.

SimonThe Kansas City Star reports:

Simon’s work as coordinator of social ministries was profiled April 30 in The Star’s 816 news-magazine. The article highlighted Troost Avenue — its history and the many interesting people dedicated to its vibrancy today.

Colleen Simon and her wife, the Rev. Donna Simon of St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church, were mentioned deep in the story, along with the fact that they are a married couple.

The freelance writer didn’t intend to out the couple. They bear no grudge to her, nor to the priest currently serving St. Francis. The Simons have never hidden their marriage (in Iowa on May 19, 2012).

Rather, Colleen Simon kept a don’t-ask, don’t-flaunt attitude. She said she told the pastor who hired her in July 2013 (he is no longer at the parish) of her marriage. But day to day, she avoided pronouns that would highlight it, substituting “my spouse” or “my beloved.”

“You don’t want your legacy to be one of division and ugliness,” she said. “It’s awful. But there are laws, and until that law gets changed in the church, it is what it is.”

The 58-year-old Simon has reportedly refused to resign and will not leave her position until the Diocese fires her. She maintains that her decision is pragmatic, since she is a three-year survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma with many unpaid medical bills. As an older adult, she worries she won’t be able to find a new job very quickly.


Catholic School Forbids Yearbook Picture Of Female Student In Tuxedo

The Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep school in San Francisco, California has removed the yearbook photo of senior student Jessica Urbina because she wore a tuxedo in her senior picture rather than the mandatory dress.

Tux_2Sacred Heart students and alumni have protested the decision using the Twitter hashtag #JessicasTux. The school’s statement to the incident says in part:

“As we prepare to pass out yearbooks it is always regretful when a student portrait is omitted for any reason. As a community we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that all students are included in the future.”

Urbina and her family are scheduled to discuss the matter with school administrators this coming Monday.

School drama over women in tuxedos is somewhat common. In 2011, the ACLU settled a case with a Mississippi school whose yearbook excluded a tuxedoed female student. Last November, a Texas school refused and then allowed a trans student to wear a tuxedo in his yearbook photo.

Think Progress notes that school dress codes are used more often against female students rather than male ones.


Cincinnati Teacher With Gay Son Resigns Over Local Archdiocese's New 'Morality Clause': VIDEO

Gayazz

Catholic first grade teacher Molly Shumate has taught for 14 years in the Cincinnati Archdiocese. But citing her support of her 22-year-old openly gay son Zach, this year will be her last, namely because she refuses to sign the archdiocese’s new contract forbidding teachers from the personal practice or public endorsement of the “homosexual lifestyle.”

In a video interview with Cincinnati.com, Shumate said:

“As soon as I heard the wording of the new contract, I knew it was something that I wouldn’t be a part of. It was really a no-brainer for me. The difficult part is I love teaching, I love the school I teach at, I love the children that I teach.

“However when Zach came out to me on that very difficult day for him, the world lifted off of his shoulders as well as lifting off of mine and God gave me a gift that day. He changed me as a person to be so much more accepting of so many other people and to see people’s differences.

“The fact that my life changed that day and I swore to Zach as well as our entire family that I would accept him and love him for whomever he is, it was at that moment that I said I will not go back on my word. The way that the contract is worded is telling my son that I don’t support him and I don’t stand behind him 100 percent. And to me, that’s just taking too many steps backward that I won’t do at this point in my life or in his.”

Cincinnati.com elaborates on the clashes over the new contract and the Church's refusal to re-negotiate its terms:

The "morality" clauses – though not unique among Catholic schools nationwide – were a first for the 19-county Archdiocese school system.

It ignited a raging public battle, including a protest march Downtown and online petitions signed by thousands. And this week, 12 billboards opposing the contract dot the area… The 12 billboards were paid for by the Cincinnati Voice of the Faithful, which for more than a decade has criticized the church's alleged lack of transparency and accountability regarding the sexual abuse of children... 

While Shumate is the first teacher to publicly resign in protest of the new contract, hundreds of Cincinnati students, teachers and parents have publicly protested it as well.

Watch the interview AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Cincinnati Teacher With Gay Son Resigns Over Local Archdiocese's New 'Morality Clause': VIDEO" »


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