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Detroit Area Catholic High School Administrators to Review Policies After Firing Pregnant Gay Teacher

Webb

Administrators at a Detroit-area Catholic high school have announced they will review policies and procedures following the controversial firing of a gay teacher who claimed she was sacked last month because of her pregnancy, The Detroit News reports:

Mary Jane Herb, president of the Monroe-based Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in a letter to supporters this week referred to "the recent employment matter" and "a complexity of issues" facing the Catholic church and its schools. She did not specifically name Barbara Webb, the teacher who was terminated last month from the private, all-girls Bloomfield Hills school.

"Consequently, we need to have ongoing education and a new lens through which to view issues and situations that are emerging," Herb wrote in the letter dated Monday. "Pope Francis has brought a sense of hope to our lives and encourages us to look at our Church with new eyes. No, it is not likely that doctrine will change, however the Pope emphasizes that the values of mercy, inclusion and compassion need to be included in our response to complex situations."

Earlier this month, Webb revealed that her termination letter didn't give any reasons for the firing, but that previous conversations with school officials pointed to her violating a morality clause allowing for firing over public conduct of "lifestyle or action directly contradictory to the Catholic faith."

The Detroit News adds that a change.org petition asking the high school to end its discriminatory anti-LGBT policies has gathered nearly 70,000 signatures.


Black Pastors Invoke Martin Luther King, Form Alliance Against Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO

Stacy swimp
(Pastor Stacy Swimp)

A coalition of black pastors and supporters has said it will file legal briefs in more than 80 court cases involving lawsuits to legalize same-sex marriage, reports The Detroit News.

Flint, Michigan Pastor Stacy Swimp said at a press conference yesterday that he also wants to see a boycott against black-owned media and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for supporting marriage equality.

The press conference was organized by the coalition and right wing legal groups Thomas More Law Center which is filing the briefs on the pastors’ behalf.

Swimp announced that the coalition’s members will speak out against judges who have ruled in favor of lifting voter-approved bans on gay marriage.

Claiming that marriage was defined by god, Swimp argued that the Constitution does not indicate “that equal justice under the law is relative to marriage redefinition."

Invoking Martin Luther King and with a massive lack of insight that prejudice exists outside the vacuum of his own little world, Swimp also announced on Facebook that he is "compelled to fight against the injustice of redefining marriage and against any and all false comparisons of sexual orientation to being Black- anywhere and everywhere that this hijacking of civil rights is taking place."

However, Benjamin Todd Jealous, the president and CEO of the NAACP said:

“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people.”

Watch Swimp launch his defense of "traditional marriage," AFTER THE JUMP...

(Photo by Stacy Swimp.)

Continue reading "Black Pastors Invoke Martin Luther King, Form Alliance Against Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO" »


Gay Teacher at Detroit Area Catholic High School Says Pregnancy Cost Her Job: VIDEO

Webb

A gay former chemistry teacher at a Catholic, all-girls high school in suburban Detroit said she was fired because of her "nontraditional" pregnancy, the Detroit Free Press reports:

Barbara Webb, 33, of Madison Heights said she’d worked for Marian High School for nine years, also coaching volleyball and softball and serving as student-government moderator. She is gay but said she believes the public, visible nature of a pregnancy led to her firing.

She learned she was pregnant in June, told her employer in July and was fired in mid-August, Webb said. On Aug. 27 she posted on Facebook announcing the firing and encouraging people to “speak out against hate wherever you see it,” according to the post shared more than 1,000 times by Monday.

Today, Webb told the Free Press that her termination letter didn’t give a reason. But her previous conversation with administrators made clear the concerns had to do with a morality clause allowing for firing over public conduct of “lifestyle or actions directly contradictory to the Catholic faith,” she said.

“That you can’t hide a pregnancy from the public is why I was terminated,” she said

Watch a myFoxDetroit report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

School administrators have declined to comment, saying that the situation remains "confidential." Meanwhile, numerous students and alumni have spoken out in support of Webb and a Facebook page "I Stand With Barb Webb" has already gained over 2,000 members.

Continue reading "Gay Teacher at Detroit Area Catholic High School Says Pregnancy Cost Her Job: VIDEO" »


Married Michigan Gay Couples Ask State to Recognize Their Marriages

MichiganThe state of Michigan is being asked to recognize hundreds of gay marriages that were performed in the state during a brief window in March when licenses were issued to same-sex couples following a ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. 

Shortly after the nuptials took place, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced that the state, unlike the federal government,  would not be recognizing the marriages. 

The AP reports:

"The state cannot mandatorily divorce you," University of Michigan law professor Julian Mortenson said during a 90-minute hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down the state's gay marriage ban on March 21, and more than 300 same-sex couples in four counties got hitched the next day, Saturday, before an appeals court suspended the decision and blocked additional marriages.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati recently heard arguments about whether to overturn or affirm Friedman's decision. In the meantime, the American Civil Liberties Union is fighting to force the state to recognize the marriages that did happen for the purpose of benefits and other issues.

The lawyer argued that even if a higher court eventually reinstates Michigan's ban on gay marriages, the unions should still be considered valid.


Mennonite Pastor Under Review For Presiding Over Same-Sex Wedding - VIDEO

Assembly Mennonite Church Pastor Karl Shelly

The Mennonite church is set to review the credentials of Pastor Karl Shelly who in May presided over a same-sex wedding in violation of the church’s rules, reports The Michigan City News-Dispatch.

Mennonite church guidelines state that pastors may not perform a same-sex covenant ceremony. Because the church has a strong focus on social justice issues, many members view its non-recognition of same-sex marriage as incompatible with its identity as a whole. 

Shelly wrote in a statement submitted to the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite conference that he performed the service after determining that "being born with a same-sex sexual orientation and entering into a life-long covenant of fidelity and love with another human being is not sin.”

Mennonite Central District Conference minister Lois Johns Kauffmann said that although the body once before reviewed a pastor who performed a same-sex marriage ceremony, the credentials were not revoked.

According to Nancy Kauffman, denominational minister for Mennonite Church USA, a debate on whether the church should allow same-sex covenant ceremonies is likely to arise at the national assembly next year.

Back in June, Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia said that it would defer its decision on hiring gay faculty while the Eastern Mennonite University community continued its “discernment of human sexuality."

Watch Pastor Shelly speak about Assembly Mennonite Church's journey to becoming a member of the LGBT-affirming Supportive Communities Network, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Mennonite Pastor Under Review For Presiding Over Same-Sex Wedding - VIDEO" »


Gay Marriage Could Bring Over $53 Million To Michigan, Study Finds

MichiganA new study out of UCLA Law School's Williams Institute indicates that Michigan could stand to generate over $53 million in revenue from same-sex marriage ceremonies over three years. The study also found that nearly 7,300 couples could be married in those three years alone.

The data is based on census and experiential statistics from states that have already legalized same-sex marriages, and though there is indication that same-sex couples filing jointly would reduce the state's income tax haul, the boon to business would more than make up for the loss. 

Edge Boston reports:

Researchers say the couples and their loved ones would spend about $34.1 million on wedding paramagnets and Michigan tourism in the first year alone. Another $19.2 million would be spent over the following two years. According to the study, that spending could support between 152 and 457 full-time and part-time jobs and generate about $3.2 million in sales tax and revenue for Michigan and the local government...

"What we've seen, over and over again, is that the tides are shifting on marriage equality," Gina Calcagno, coalition manager for Michigan for Marriage, told [MLive.com]. "Aside from the heartfelt belief this is the right thing to do, we're seeing this is the economically correct thing to do as well. $53.2 million coming into a state like Michigan is nothing to scoff at."

After a district court judge ruled Michigan's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional in March, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals placed an indefinite stay on the decision. Only time will tell if the appeals court upholds the lower court ruling, though the track record for appeals thus far is a positive indicator. 

Fingers crossed for the thousands of same-sex couples and businesses who would benefit from marriage equality in Michigan.


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