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Cape Coral, FL Mayor is First in SW Florida to Support Marriage Equality: VIDEO

Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki

Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki is the first mayor in Southwest Florida to publicly announce her support for same-sex marriage, reports ABC-7 News.

Marni sawicki twitterSawicki has also added her name to a list of more than 500 mayors around the United States who support marriage equality.  Yesterday, we featured a video by Tallahassee Mayor John Marks in which he explains his reasons for supporting same-sex marriage.

Announcing her decision, Sawicki said she added her name to the Mayors for the Freedom To Marry campaign because “it's about human rights and freedom of choice. I believe it's the right thing to do."

However, although Sawicki has received support, some Cape Coral residents are less than happy with her decision.  One resident Dennis Adana told ABC-7 News that “as a Christian I am appalled that she would come out and publicly be okay with that.”

Watch Tallahassee Mayor John Marks explain why he supports same-sex marriage, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Salem Mayor Writes Awesome Defense Of City's Decision To End Contract With Anti-Gay College - VIDEO

Kim driscoll mayor salem

On Wednesday we reported the decision by the City of Salem, Massachusetts, to kill a contract with anti-gay Gordon College.

Under the contract, the college operated the city’s Old Town Hall.  College president Michael Lindsay was one of more than 140 signees of a letter to Barack Obama seeking exemptions from a pending executive order which aims to prevent work discrimination by federally funded organizations. Letter by Kimberly Driscoll

Speaking to The Christian Post, Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll said that Gordon College's "behavioral standards" policy, which specifically forbids "homosexual behavior," "is in violation of the LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance that was unanimously adopted by the Salem City Council earlier this year.”

Driscoll has since published an awesome letter defending Salem’s inclusive policies and calling out attacks made by right wing blogs and websites.  Specifically citing wingnut Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, Driscoll writes that “this has resulted in a number of phones calls being place to my office from people outside of Massachusetts who have expressed some patently offensive views regarding LGBT individuals.”

In response to the barrage of phone calls, Driscoll goes on to say “we are keeping a tally of these phone calls and for each one we receive I will be making a donation of $5 to nAGLY [North Shore Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth], in support of your good work to create, sustain, and advocate for the policies and services that support youth here on the North Shore.”

Driscoll also asks that individuals make contributions to nAGLy as a response to “the persistence of those who would deny LGBT citizens their equal rights.” 

Watch a video introducing nAGLY, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

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Dallas Methodist Pastor Commits Suicide To Make Statement About Homophobia, Racism, Social Injustice

A retired Methodist pastor committed suicide in Dallas on June 23rd to make a statement about racial injustice, homophobia and the death penalty, reports The Dallas Morning News.

Rev-charles-moore-327x388-1Reverend Charles Moore left a number of notes that cited as reasons for his suicide the Methodist Church’s refusal to marry same-sex couples, the death penalty and cuts to social programs.

Moore died in a strip-mall parking lot in Grand Saline, Texas, by self-immolation.  One suicide note suggests that the 75-year-old chose Grand Saline because he was troubled by his hometown’s history of prejudice he witnessed there as a boy.

In one of the notes, he wrote:

“I would much prefer to go on living and enjoy my beloved wife and grandchildren and others, but I have come to believe that only my self-immolation will get the attention of anybody and perhaps inspire some to higher service.”

Moore had a history of supporting equal rights. In the 1950s and 1960s he supported the civil rights movement. In 1995, he went on a hunger strike to protest the Methodist Church’s treatment of gays and lesbians.

However, although Moore had intended his act to be a grand gesture in the manner of Buddhist monks, his suicide drew little notice, notes The Dallas News:

“A report in the Grand Saline Sun described him as an elderly man who seemed troubled. An article in the Tyler Morning Telegraph asked if he was a ‘madman or a martyr.’”


Six Men Convicted Of Homosexual Acts in Morocco

Morocco

On July 2nd, a Moroccan court of appeals upheld the convictions of at least four of six men accused of homosexual acts, reports Human Rights Watch.

The country’s constitution states that Morocco “commits to banning and combatting all discrimination toward anyone, because of gender, color, beliefs, culture, social or regional origin, language, handicap, or whatever personal circumstance.”

The men were convicted on charges that included “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex.”

On May 12th, the court of first instance convicted the men of homosexual acts. At that time, sentences included one of three years in prison, one of two and a half years in prison, and four shorter periods in prison. The court is thought to also have banished possibly all six defendants from Fqih Bensalah, the city in which the offences took place.

According to defense lawyer Hadda Maidar, the convictions were upheld on the basis of statements made in police custody. All six men have since repudiated their statements which they say were made under duress.

In its July 2 ruling, the appeals court shortened the two prison terms for two defendants, converted the others to suspended sentences, and cancelled the banishment orders. 


Clerk Files Petition with Supreme Court to Halt Same-Sex Marriages In Pennsylvania

Theresa Santai-Gaffney, the Schuylkill County clerk, has petitioned the Supreme Court to put a stop to same-sex marriages in Pennsylvania, reports SCOTUS Blog.

Theresa Santai-GaffneyIn May, U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones struck down Pennsylvania's ban on gay marriage. Last month, Jones refused to allow the clerk to intervene so that she could appeal his decision.  On Thursday, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals barred Santai-Gaffney from the case and dismissed her appeal.

Santai-Gaffney's Supreme Court application is based on the argument that the court’s January order putting on hold temporarily a federal judge’s decision striking down the ban on same-sex marriage in Utah "signaled to all lower federal courts" that they must act "to preserve the enforcement of man-woman marriage laws" until the Court rules on the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage.

Santai-Gaffney’s petition can only continue if Justice Samuel A. Alito or a Supreme Court majority allows her to intervene . Alito can also seek a response from challengers of the Pennsylvania ban before acting on the clerk’s application.

Read the Third Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling on Santai-Gaffney's petition to appeal the decision striking down Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban, AFTER THE JUMP...

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60 Arrested In Raid On Gay Bar In Nairobi, Kenya

  Nairobi kenya

More than 60 people were arrested over the weekend during a raid on a gay bar in Nairobi, Kenya, reports Africa New Post.

Although there have been no moves to increase penalties for homosexuals in Kenya, the country’s penal code prescribes up to 14 years in prison for men who commit “acts of gross indecency” with other men or for any person who acts “against the order of nature.” A man was stoned to death in Nairobi in 2012 after he was discovered having sex with a co-worker.

According to Ghafla.co.ke, the arrests at Club Envy were made because of the bar patrons’ sexuality and not under Kenya’s Mututho law which restricts drinking hours and regulates the consumption of alcohol.

Speaking to Ghafla, Joji Baro, a well-known performer in the city, said:

“The arrests at Envy had nothing to do with Mututho law but just trying to suppress the visibility of gays and lesbians. So finally someone just realized gays and lesbians have money and they know where to spend it... Just a reminder of the little rights we enjoy."

The website reports that the arrests came after the government “sent their security apparatus to harass innocent homosexuals who were not even taking part in any buggery but rather enjoying their hard earned money.”

No information has been released regarding the charges faced by the detainees.


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