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NYC Cardinal Timothy Dolan Discusses The Scrapped Pro-Gay Language from Vatican's Family Synod Report: VIDEO

Dolan

NYC Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan spoke to George Stephanopoulos today about the Vatican's watered down final document for its synod on the family - a report that scrapped language that seemed to indicate a dramatic new tone in the church's response to homosexuality, divorce, and contraception. 

Dolan, ever the bigoted firebrand, praised the African church leaders in attendance who were vocal about their opposition to any doctrine revisions that could be interpreted as pro-gay.

"There was a pretty good, vivid conversation especially with the African bishops, who I love more than ever, who obviously come from cultures and societies that I admire that have a very strong definition of marriage as man and woman with children and are kind of afraid of attempts to water that down. One of the fears that they would have would be what we would call same-sex marraige. So they were pastorally sensitive about a document giving any indication that the Church might be open to any change at all in the definition of marriage. So there was a good debate, a good conversation that went on."

Pope francisDolan also reiterated his belief that Pope Francis is trying to take the "middle road" on issues facing the church: 

"Once again, you got overwhelming agreement on things - first of all on the definition of marriage given to us by God and faithfully handed on by the church: one man, one woman, lifelong, life-giving, faithful, bringing about new life and children. Enthusiastic response to that. And then the other side was how can we embrace and never alienate those who are unable to live up to that noble ideal. And as usual, Pope Francis is saying we've got to keep both those values in mind. "

Dolan has a lot of work to do to live up to the call to embrace and not alienate gays, however. Despite his claim that he's not "anti-anybody," Dolan has equated same-sex marriage to incestdenied LGBT Catholics entry to mass, and insisted LGBT individuals are entitled to friendship, not marriage - among a laundry list of other incendiary remarks.  

Watch Dolan's interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "NYC Cardinal Timothy Dolan Discusses The Scrapped Pro-Gay Language from Vatican's Family Synod Report: VIDEO" »


Executive Producer Of Film About LGBT Kenyans Arrested: VIDEO

GeorgeGachara

"Stuff can go wrong, but we love our country. I am not afraid to go back home...I want to go back home." When George Gachara said these words, he was convinced that he was doing the right thing by documenting the lives of LGBT Kenyans in the film Stories Of Our Lives. The movie, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, is banned in Kenya based on the Films and Stage Plays Act, which Gachara was arrested for violating. Surely we can agree that the film tells an important story of an underrepresented group in the east African nation; the governing body apparently disagrees.

Daily Xtra reports:

Gachara was in Toronto recently for the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. He and others involved in its making and promotion, who until then had been anonymous, made the daring decision to reveal their names at TIFF, in a show of solidarity with the Kenyan LGBT community...

On Oct 14, Daily Xtra talked via Skype to Jim Chuchu, the director of Stories of our Lives and a co-founder of NEST, about the ban on the film. Hours later, Gachara was arrested.

According to Nest’s Facebook site, Gachara has been released on bail pending a hearing on Oct 17.

Gachara, and the filmmakers' brave actions, are in our thoughts. Most recently, the Kenyan Republican Liberty Party drafted a "stone the gays" bill in connection with "aggravated homosexuality," a continuation of anti-gay legislation already in effect there. Hopefully Gachara and the other filmmakers will not face condemnation for the movie, which was critically-acclaimed by news outlets like Indiewire:

Thankfully, this isn’t a movie about “Africa’s homophobia problem” that we’ve seen before. This is a beautiful little film about love, about humanity, about one of the many facets of what it means to be African.

Watch an interview with Gachara, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Executive Producer Of Film About LGBT Kenyans Arrested: VIDEO" »


Evan Wolfson and Brian Brown Face Off On Gay Marriage and the Growing Public Support for Equality: VIDEO

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During an hour-long call-in on CSPAN this weekend, Freedom to Marry president Evan Wolfson faced off against NOM's Brian Brown in a discussion about the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision earlier this month, the growing public support for LGBT equality, and Brown's anti-gay activism abroad (which was detailed in HRC's new "Export of Hate" report).

Watch the debate, AFTER THE JUMP...

[h/t joe.my.god]

Continue reading "Evan Wolfson and Brian Brown Face Off On Gay Marriage and the Growing Public Support for Equality: VIDEO" »


Activists Plan 'Big Consensual Kiss-In' At UK Supermarket Following Harassment Of Kissing Lesbian Couple

Sainsburys_lewes_road1_sAnnabelle Paige, a university student in Brighton, UK, was told to stop kissing her girlfriend by a security guard at a Sainsbury's supermarket recently. Though the supermarket has since issued an apology, activists are incensed about the threatening "stop-or-leave" words of the guard. They are now planning a "Big Consensual Kiss-In" to support the couple, to be held this Wednesday at 6pm.

Pink News reports:

University of Sussex student Annabelle Paige said she gave her girlfriend a light kiss while in a Brighton branch of the superstore recently when a security guard approached and told them to either stop kissing or leave.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson has since apologised, saying: “This should never have happened – it is clear that Miss Paige and her partner were not behaving inappropriately and we are very sorry that they were treated in this way.”

Sainsbury's is also donating £100 to charity, but the kiss-in planners think this a meager sum given the store's earnings and a less-than-great history with LGBT issues. In April the store was criticized for covering up Attitude and GT magazines while leaving the bared skin on the cover of FHM exposed. The kiss-in Facebook event notes:

“Their profits for the year to March 15 were £898m. Doesn’t sound like they are serious about tackling homophobia, does it?

"[We want ]to show Sainsbury’s we won’t accept homophobia in our society, and that we demand they do more!”

“If you have nobody to kiss we’ll find you someone or something,” the group notes.

Sounds fun (and for a good cause); best of luck to the 1,200 confirmed Brighton kissers on a successful and fruitful kiss-in!


Gay North Carolina Couple Weds After First Being Denied Based On Magistrate's Religious Beliefs

NCMarriage

On Monday, Randy Jackson and Eddie Locklear of Elizabeth City, North Carolina attempted to make their partnership official after thirty-one years. The state's same-sex marriage ban, Amendment One, had been struck down and their request should have been respected. However, once at the courthouse they were turned away by a magistrate who claimed he could (or would) not marry them based on his religious beliefs. It was a disheartening turn of events, to be sure, and one that will likely have to be negotiated a great deal in certain states. Jackson and Locklear's story, at least, has a happy ending.

The Virginian Pilot reports:

Today, the couple finally tied the knot at the Pasquotank County courthouse.

A different magistrate, Lee Custis, presided over their civil wedding today, saying he was religious, but he had to follow the law.

He improvised slightly when he asked them if they would take each other's hand in marriage.

"Do you take this man to be your partner?" Custis asked.

After the short ceremony, both men were left emotional and amazed.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Jackson said. “It’s hard to put it in words. I didn’t think I’d live to see this.”

Congratulations to Randy and Eddie!

In related news, Joe Jervis over at Joe. My. God. has called out the Virginian Pilot on a shoddy poll asking, "Should magistrates be allowed to refuse to perform same-sex marriages based on religious grounds?" The poll, according to Joe, was up, then deleted, then back again with the "no" votes erased; the current standings are 94% yes, 6% no, and the paper tweeted at Joe saying that "All votes were deleted" when the poll malfunctioned. Poorly designed polling system, or a purposeful skew of data? What do you think?

Photo credit: Jeff Hampton of The Virginian Pilot.


Vatican Backtracks On Positive Comments About Gays Following Conservative Backlash

It appears there have been some aftershocks to yesterday's pastoral earthquake. Despite a groundbreaking report issued yesterday from the Vatican which declared unheard-of support for gay persons, saying gay people have unique “gifts and qualities” to offer their parishes, the Catholic Church is today backtracking on the report as a result of the ire expressed by more conservative members of the clergy. CNN reports: 

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511d5bb66970c-250wiIn response to such reactions, the Vatican backtracked a bit Tuesday. In a statement, it said the report on gays and lesbians was a "working document," not the final word from Rome.

The Vatican also said that it wanted to welcome gays and lesbians in the church, but not create "the impression of a positive evaluation" of same-sex relationships, or, for that matter, of unmarried couples who live together.

But gay rights groups say that's precisely the impression the Vatican gave Monday when it said:

"Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?"

Such statements seem to be in line with the more merciful approach the church has taken toward gays and lesbians under Pope Francis. In 2013, Francis famously said, "Who am I to judge" gay people?

On Monday morning, just before the Vatican released its positive report on gays, Francis preached that laws that do not lead people to Jesus are "dead," and that Christ did "strange things" such as hanging out with sinners and tax collectors.

Monday’s report also said of same-sex relationships, “it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners” and said bishops must grasp the "positive reality of civil weddings" where heterosexual co-habitation (i.e. “living in sin”) is concerned. 

Despite the backtrack, some gay rights advocates still herald Monday’s report and believe today’s retread isn’t a devastating a setback:

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fd263b67970b-250wi"I actually don't think this is as much of a backtrack as we usually see!" said Marianne Duddy-Burke, head of the gay rights group Dignity USA.

"I think that response to this report was swift and intense, and I'm sure many bishops want to be sure people aren't reading more into it than is there," she continued. "However, it is undeniable that there has never been any Vatican document that made positive, respectful statements about same-sex relationships, so that is an undeniable breakthrough."

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, echoed that sentiment.

"Regardless of the fact that this is a working document, it is still significant in that it reveals a strong current of affirmative attitudes at high levels in the church towards lesbians and gay people," he said.


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