Law - Gay, LGBT Hub

Five North Carolina Church Members Indicted In Kidnapping, Assault Of Gay Church Goer: VIDEO

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A Rutherford County grand jury indicted five members of a controversial North Carolina church on Tuesday for kidnapping and assaulting a fellow church member because they believed he was possessed by "homosexual demons," reports Raw StorySarah Covington Anderson, Adam Christopher Bartley, Robert Louis Walker Jr., Brooke McFadden Covington and Justin Brock Covington were indicted on charges of second degree kidnapping and simple assault of 21-year-old gay man Matthew Fenner; Anderson also was charged with assault by strangulation.

Fenner told WSPA News that he has been a member of The Word of Faith Fellowship Church since the age of 16. Fenner says he was threatened with confinement for two days, slapped, strangled and verbally assaulted on Jan. 29, 2013 in what the group deemed as an attempt to "free him of his homosexual demons," with Sarah Covington Anderson questioning Fenner about his "sin." Fenner documented his harrowing assault in a court affidavit.

Said Fenner:

"By this point, Sarah began to tell me how much she couldn’t stand to be around me and that I was disgusting because of my sexual orientation. I told her that I was sorry that I didn’t know what she wanted me to tell her and to which she then slapped me with a great amount of force across my left cheek. At this point I was really starting to get scared.

"I had at least 15-20 college age men around me, screaming, shaking me, punching me, hitting my chest, grabbing my head, telling me to repeat different phrases, all of which caused (and have resulted in much) mental distress to high levels."

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 6.00.58 AMWSPA drove to the Word of Faith Fellowship building on Tuesday to interview members of the group about indictment, however they were met with "No Trespassing," signs and barred entry. The church's attorney, Josh Farmer, answered WSPA's inquiries through email.

Said Farmer:

"They are innocent of the charges leveled against them and we look forward to proving their innocence and to their complete vindication before a trial court. We are adamant that no one ever physically harmed Mr. Fenner ... The church does NOT target members who are gay."

Fenner's mother and brother, who are currently still members of the church, testified against him in court. Patrick Covington, a gay man and brother of one of the accused, said he left the church with Fenner, but he denies that any abuse ever took place.

Faith in America, an organization geared toward ending harm against LGBT youth and families from misguided religious teachings, investigated the church in the past and found Farmer's statements about the church contradictory reports Qnotes. FIA says the church compares homosexuals to the “demon-possessed," and notes that the church’s website stated, "Those who were once drug addicts, alcoholics, homosexuals, etc. are now delivered by the power of God and are living normal lives, serving God and doing his will," in 2012; the statement was later updated and dropped the mention of homosexuals from the statement. Fenner remains vigilant and hopes his case sheds light on the church and others like it that perpetuate violence.

Said Fenner:

"This is the only way that I can get my voice out there to say look, this kind of stuff is happening. It happened to me and it just kind of sheds some light onto the things that are going on in there and that people do know, but can't really have the facts to go with it."

Watch a news report on the disturbing story, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Egyptian Police Arrest Large Group Of Men At Bathhouse 'Group Sex Party'


Egyptian police raided a bathhouse in Cairo on Sunday night and arrested a large group of men on charges of “perversion,” reports Buzzfeed.

Egyptian television reporter Mona Iraqi posted images of the raid on Facebook revealing “the biggest den of perversions in the heart of Cairo.”

According to Iraqi, her team had notified police “about what is happening in the baths” on December 3rd but Al-Qahira wal Nas television waited to broadcast their report “to give security institutions a chance to close down the baths.” She added that the group of men were “caught in the act during a group sex party” and “immediately transported to the prosecution with no clothes.”

She has promised to reveal “the whole story of the dens spreading AIDS in Egypt” tomorrow.

The arrests come as part the crackdown on LGBT rights under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

In September, Grindr sent a message to all Egyptian users warning that police officers may be “posing as LGBT on social media to entrap you.”

On November 1st, eight men were sentenced to three years in prison after taking part in an alleged same-sex wedding which was recorded and posted to YouTube.

Same-Sex Marriage Rights Bill Introduced In Chile

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Chilean lawmakers and a LGBT advocacy group, The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, introduced a bill on Saturday that will extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in Chile reports the Washington BladeThe proposal that was introduced with the help of Congressman Gabriel Silber Romo of the Christian Democratic Party would change the wording of "a man and a woman," to "two people," in Chile’s marriage law. The proposal will also change "husband and wife," to "spouse," and amend the concept of procreation to "raise children." The Liberation advocacy group is hoping to eliminate discrimination and establish equality with the bill.

Said Liberation:

"With this bill we are looking to eradicate the historic discrimination that affects people simply for loving and living with someone of the same sex. Respect for family diversity is at the heart of this bill that we celebrate with backing throughout the political world and also with the broad support of citizen organizations."

The bill comes after the Chilean Senate voted in favor of legalizing same sex unions in October throughout the country, but members of the Chilean House of Deputies have yet to vote on the proposal.

The origin of the gay marriage bill began in 2012 when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of lesbian Judge Karen Atala who lost custody of her three daughters to her ex-husband seven years earlier because of her sexual orientation. The Chilean government apologized to Atala, paid her $70,000 and provided medical and psychological care. The Liberation group then filed a lawsuit with the Court of Human Rights on behalf of three gay couples seeking marriage rights, although then-President Sebastián Piñera's government argued against the redefinition of marriage in a brief filed with the lawsuit in November 2013. 

However, current President Michelle Bachelet publicly supports the new bill, and members of the Liberation group and representatives of Bachelet's Cabinet discussed the marriage lawsuit in a meeting held in Santiago on Nov. 25. However, the outcome of the meeting, and what was discussed within it, have not been disclosed in full to the public. Rolando Jiménez, President of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, discussed Liberation's collaboration with members of Bachelet's Cabinet.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 1.28.11 PMSaid Jiménez:

"We want to contribute significantly to the government’s interest in amplifying the debate about these issues and thus advance the approval of this norm. The marriage equality law is part of a presidential agenda for the first time, and it therefore provides the best conditions for the advancement of equality. The current marriage law is homophobic because it excludes people based on their sexual orientation. Today we are moving forward toward the end of this unjust reality."

New Minnesota Policy Allows Trans Students To Compete On Sports Teams 

Minnesota has become the 33rd state to adopt a formal transgender student policy after the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) last week voted to accept a policy that will allow transgender students to join sports teams that correspond with their gender identity, reports the Guardian.

The new policy creates a protocol to determine if someone who identifies as female but was born male can compete on female school sports teams.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c7152718970b-800wiIn opposition to the policy, anti-gay Minnesota Child Protection League published a transphobic ad in several newspapers which read:

"THE END OF GIRLS' SPORTS? Her dreams of a scholarship shattered, your 14-year-old daughter just lost her position on an all-girl team to a male ... and now she may have to shower with him. Are you willing to let that happen?"

The same group sponsored another ad in October which asked "A male wants to shower beside your 14-year-old daughter. Are YOU ok with that?"

Anti-gay activist group the Minnesota Family Council had proposed a bylaw change stipulating that a student’s sex at birth be used to determine eligibility. However, the proposal wasn’t considered.

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb07ba2ec6970d-800wiWhile MSHLS executive director Dave Stead acknowledged that support for the policy wasn’t unanimous among the league’s member schools, he added:

“I’ve heard from a limited number of schools that say, ‘I don’t like the idea,’ and then once we’ve talked about it they said, ‘I still don’t like the idea, but I’m supportive of the initiative of trying to give us direction.’

“There was nothing that was done today that would prevent a school from being a member of the High School League. Not one scintilla.”

Elliot Kunerth, a 17-year-old transgender male, said:

“The passing of this will change the lives of so many transgender people who are going through hell. With the passing of this, I hope it will erase the ignorance and help people understand that trans kids are just looking for equal opportunities."

In a statement, Democratic Representative Keith Ellison rebuked those in opposition to the law:

“Too often when trans kids speak out, they’re told that they’re sick, or joking, or just plain wrong. Many of the people who opposed the MSHSL’s policy suggested that trans students might threaten other students’ safety. These depictions are bigoted and do not protect our students.”

To establish eligibility under the new ruling, students will have to produce written statements from their parents or guardians and health professionals affirming their gender identity. School activities directors will make the final decision on each application. Private schools with religious affiliations are exempt from the policy, which will take effect in the 2015-2016 school year.

Vladimir Putin Denies Persecution Of Gays In Russia - VIDEO

PutinVladimir Putin has said his support for “traditional family values” will not lead to the persecution of gay people in Russia, reports ZeeNews.

In January, Putin said that Russia should cleanse itself of homosexuality.

In a state-of-the-nation address last Thursday, the Russian president said "healthy family" and traditional values were among the country’s top priorities.

However, he added that although “traditional family” is preferable, “this should not look as if we intend to persecute people of some non-traditional orientation."

Despite introducing a controversial anti-gay law last year which bans the “promotion” of homosexuality and has been seen as an excuse to crackdown on LGBT people, Putin added that criticism from other countries is merely "a label."

Watch Putin defend Russia's anti-gay laws, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Music Director Files Discrimination Complaint Against Illinois Catholic Church - VIDEO

Colin Collette

Colin Collette, a music director who served at the Holy Family Catholic Community church in Inverness, Illinois for 17 years, has filed a federal discrimination complaint after he was fired by pastor Terry Keehan in July for posting photos on Facebook of his proposal to his partner Will Nifong, reports the Chicago Tribune.

At the time, Keehan told Collette that his relationship violated the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church.

6a00d8341c730253ef01a73df9750e970d-800wiIn August, hundreds of people attended a meeting at which most people voiced support for Collette and a church cantor announced his resignation because of his dismissal.

Collette filed the complaint against Keehan and the parish's manager on Thursday alleging discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and marital status.

At a press conference, Collette said:

"It is with deep regret that I have had to pursue this course of action. I have chosen to enter into a marriage, as is my right under Illinois law, and perhaps I can open the door to other men and women who the church has chosen to exclude from the community."

In a written statement, Susan Burritt, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Chicago, said:

"The Archdiocese of Chicago has not seen the complaints that Mr. Collette has filed with the civil authorities and so we are unable to comment on them. We will respond to the complaints in the forums in which they are filed at the appropriate time."

A successful claim of discrimination will likely turn on the "ministerial exception" to anti-discrimination law. In 2012, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that religious institutions have broad latitude in hiring and firing people whose jobs include religious roles.

Collette's lawyer, Kerry Lavelle said her client has reached out to Chicago's new archbishop Blase Cupich but has received no response:

"The archbishop will not take his calls. [Collette] wants his job back. That's what this is about."

Same-sex marriage became legal in Illinois on June 1.

Check out a Chicago NBC 5 report on Collette's September meeting with Cardinal Francis George, AFTER THE JUMP...


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