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Singapore Court Of Appeal Upholds Anti-Gay Sodomy Law - VIDEO

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Singapore’s highest court ruled yesterday that the country’s sodomy law is constitutional, reports The Straits Times.

The law, known as Section 377a, has been in place since Singapore was a British colony. It carries up to a two-year jail term for men who commit acts of "gross indecency" with other men, whether in public or in private.

SingaporeYesterday’s ruling came in response to lawsuits by couple of 16 years Gary Lim [above right] and Kenneth Chee [above left], and by Tan Eng Hong, who was charged under the anti-sodomy law after being arrested while having sex in a public restroom in 2010.

Both lawsuits argued that Section 377a infringes their constitutional right to equal protection under Article 12 of the Constitution, and violates their right to life and liberty, as guaranteed by Article 9.

The Court of Appeal found that Section 377a did not violate Article 9 as the phrase "life and liberty" referred only to the personal liberty of a person from unlawful incarceration, not to the right of privacy and personal autonomy. The court also found that Section 377a fell outside the scope of Article 12, which forbids discrimination of citizens on grounds including religion, race and place of birth but does not contain the words "gender", "sex" and "sexual orientation.”

Mr Tan’s lawyer M. Ravi said that the decision a "huge step backwards for human rights in Singapore".

Earlier this year, Singapore libraries withdrew two books with gay characters, citing "pro-family" standards. 

Watch Gareth Lim and Kenneth Chee discuss their relationship and the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Nebraska University To Offer Same-Sex Spouse Health Benefits Despite Catholic Church Objections - VIDEO

President Rev. Timothy Lannon

Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, has announced that it will soon offer health benefits to employee’s same-sex spouses despite the objections of Catholic archbishop George J. Lucas, reports KETV7 ABC.

Creighton UniversityOutlining the decision in a letter sent Monday to trustees, President Rev. Timothy Lannon, said that although Creighton continues to support the Catholic Church's teaching about marriage, the university is taking this step to meet the needs of its employees and remain competitive with other universities that already offer similar benefits.

Lannon added that 21 of the 28 Jesuit universities in the U.S. already offer similar benefits.

The letter to trustees reads in part:

"Dear Trustees,

"This is to inform you that I have decided that Creighton University will extend healthcare benefits in 2015 to the same-sex spouses of our colleagues who have been legally wed in other states.

"I have notified Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha of my decision, acknowledging his disagreement and disapproval of such a decision based upon a previous conversation he and I had.

"I asked the University Benefits Committee to consider benefits coverage for legally married same-sex couples. They were unanimous in supporting this change. The extension of benefits is not a statement of approval of same-sex marriages but rather an acknowledgement of our responsibility to serve the needs of faculty and staff who faithfully serve our students and patients every day.

"This decision not only reflects a commitment to our colleagues, but our ongoing commitment to health and wellness.

"I anticipate that we may receive some negative media attention for this decision. Nevertheless, I believe it was the right thing to do."

However, in a statement made on the same day, Lucas expressed his disappointment with the decision, arguing that it is in fact an approval of same-sex marriage.  He added:

“I am dismayed that the recommendation of the University Benefits Committee is thought to supersede divine law regarding marriage. There is no tension between Catholic teaching and social justice; both are grounded in the same truths about the nature of the human person, the complementarity of man and woman and the meaning of human life and love.

"When we experience tension in ensuring respect and just treatment for all persons, including those with same-sex attraction, we have a right to expect a Catholic university to help us see a just path forward, rooted in faith and founded on the rich Catholic intellectual tradition. Creighton has failed to fulfill this expectation in this expansion of benefits."

Last year, a ticket giveaway for Creighton University students to see Macklemore & Ryan Lewis was postponed following protests from the Omaha school's Catholic Student Organization over the rap duo's vocal support for marriage equality.

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Surrogacy Bill Passes First Reading In Israel's Knesset

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Israel’s surrogacy bill, which aims to grant same-sex couples the right to have children via surrogates, passed its first reading through the Knesset yesterday, reports Pink News.

Although first submitted by Health Minister Yael German, the bill stalled in March following an appeal by housing minister Uri Ariel who argued that the proposed legislation creates “moral and ethical” questions.

However, the bill has now passed its first reading with a majority vote.

German said that the bill “is about the principle of equality, regardless of one’s sexual orientation or the composition of the family unit.”

However, Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism said that the bill is “meant to destroy the nature of family as we know it.”

Nissim Ze'ev of ultra-orthodox party Shas added:

“This is a corrupt bill and only corrupt [politicians] can support it. We are treating the import and export of babies as if we were dealing with frozen meat. This bill is morally depraved.”

In 2008, Ze'ev suggested that gay people belong in rehab along with alcoholics and drug addicts.


Alliance Defending Freedom Claims Anti-gay Idaho Wedding Chapel Never Sought Non-Profit Status - VIDEO

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Anti-gay Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has posted a response to a letter from the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho relating to the litigation group's discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a local wedding chapel, reports Joe My God.

Donald and Evelyn Knapp, the owners of Hitching Post, a wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, claim in the lawsuit that the city's ordinance prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians is unconstitutionally forcing them to violate their religious beliefs by performing same-sex marriages.

Back in May, the Knapps said that they would rather close their doors than perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.

The letter sent by the city to ADF on October 20th makes it clear that, although the Knapps registered their business as a religious corporation early this month, “based on the facts and their corporate status at the time [the couple refused to perform a same-sex wedding],” Hitching Post comes under the city’s non-discrimination order.

However, ADF has posted a response on its website backtracking on claims that Hitching Post has in fact been registered as a non-profit religious organization.  ADF has attacked the city’s “disingenuous waffling” and is now arguing that the Coeur d’Alene intends to “prosecute a for-profit business.”

Knapps“The city has said explicitly, repeatedly, and publicly that it would prosecute a for-profit business. That’s what the Hitching Post is, and it has never claimed to be anything other than that.

"While the Knapps do operate a ministry, they charge a fee for the ceremonies in order to be able to make a modest living. Therefore, the city, in its letter and elsewhere, is admitting that it would prosecute these pastors, who are clearly under a present threat of being sent to jail, fined, or both.

"The city has had months to figure out its own ordinance, and our clients have years of incarceration and devastating fines hanging over their heads. The city’s disingenuous waffling is indefensible.”

Earlier this month, the ADF began lobbying Slovakia's constitutional court to allow activists to place a referendum on the country's ballot that would reinforce the current bans on gay marriage, adoption, and domestic partner protections. The ADF's efforts in promoting bigotry abroad were profiled in Human Rights Campaign's "Export of Hate" report last month.

Watch an ABC report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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New York Times Columnist Apologizes For Taking Part In Anti-Gay Fundraiser - VIDEO

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New York Times columnist Ross Douthat [top left] has apologized for appearing at a fundraising event for anti-gay litigation group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), reports Media Matters America.

ADF was recently profiled by Human Rights Campaign for its attempts to criminalize homosexuality abroad, most recently in Slovakia and is currently litigating on behalf of a wedding venue in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, that refused to perform a same-sex marriage.

On October 16th, Douthat spoke at the ADF event that aimed to draw attention to a number of popular right-wing horror stories about the threat LGBT equality poses to religious liberty. Douthat spoke alongside the homophobic Benham brothers who recently compared themselves to the victims of ISIS' beheadings because their reality TV show was cancelled due to their extremist statements and views.

Apologizing, Douthat said that he did not know ADF's event was a fundraiser and plans to decline the honorarium he received from the event.

"I was not aware in advance that this event was a fundraiser and had I known, I would not have agreed to participate. I was invited by an events organizing group, not by ADF directly. I understood this to be a public conversation about religious liberty. This is my fault for not doing my due diligence, and I will be declining the honorarium."

Richard Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., said that Douthat’s decision to take part in the ADF event is disturbing because of the group’s extreme activism and relentless “attacks on equal protection of gay people and families.”  Rosendall added that Douthat’s participation “says unfortunate things about” the journalist.

Watch a video from the event where David Benham discusses the "sexual anarchy agenda," AFTER THE JUMP...

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North Carolina Magistrate Resigns Over Gay Marriage: VIDEO

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A North Carolina magistrate yesterday took the decision to resign rather than perform same-sex marriages, reports WITN.

A memo to state magistrates on Wednesday said officials would be violating their oaths of office if they refuse to marry gay or lesbian couples.

Rockingham County Magistrate John Kallam Jr. said performing same-sex marriages would violate his religious beliefs and "would desecrate a holy Institution established by God Himself."

Kallam Jr. sent a letter to Chief District Court Judge Fred Wilkins saying when he took his oath of office, he didn't take it with the understanding that he would be required to marry gay couples.

On Monday, a magistrate in Pasquotank County refused to marry two men, citing religious objections.

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "North Carolina Magistrate Resigns Over Gay Marriage: VIDEO" »


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