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Los Angeles Couple Reach Plea Deal In Torture, Murder Of 'Gay Acting' Eight-Year-Old Son - VIDEO

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Pearl Fernandez has reached a plea deal in the murder and torture of her “gay acting” eight-year-old son Gabriel, reports NBC. Fernandez, along with former boyfriend Isauro Aguirre, will also plead guity to the charges and avoid the death penalty. 

Fernandez_aguirreThe two will be be sentenced to life in prison without parole in exchange for their guilty pleas to first degree murder and torture with special circumstances. Both have waived their right to appeal. 

Fernandez and Aguirre had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Gabriel, who died in May 2013, was allegedly beaten, doused with pepper spray, forced to eat his own vomit and locked in a cabinet with a sock in his mouth to muffle his screams.

Two of the boy’s siblings confirmed that Gabriel was forced to eat cat feces, rotten spinach and vomit; that he slept in a locked cabinet and wasn't let out to go to the bathroom; and that Fernandez and Aguirre called him gay, punished him when he played with dolls and forced him to wear girls' clothes to school.

Fernandez allegedly once jabbed Gabriel in the mouth with a bat and knocked out several teeth.

One of Gabriel’s siblings said that on the day of the fatal beating, Fernandez began hitting her son because he didn't want to pick up his toys. She then dragged him into a bedroom, where Aguirre joined her, and the siblings heard screaming, banging and then silence.

The incident has prompted calls for reforms to the Los Angeles County foster-care system because child welfare workers failed to remove Fernandez from his home. Moves have since been taken to fire two social workers and two supervisors, while others involved in the case have received letters of warning or reprimand.

Watch an NBC report on 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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News Anchor Slams Florida Gov. Rick Scott for 'Appalling' Refusal To Take Responsibility For Preventing Same-Sex Marriages: VIDEO

PUTNEY

ABC News Anchor Micahel Putney recently slammed Florida Governor Rick Scott for his refusal to own up to the fact that same-sex marriage is illegal in Florida in no small part because of his actions. While the state's ban on same-sex marriage has been fought in the courts, Attorney General Pam Bondi has continued to defend it. Scott meanwhile has claimed, 'he doesn't have a thing to do with it', a claim Putney is quick to refute:

"That is just nonsense. Governor Scott is the top elected official in the state. If he didn't want Attorney General Bondi to file those appeals he can simply call her up and say, "hey stop it." Or he can order her to stop it. That's what Governor Scott Walker did in Wisconsin, what the governor of Virginia did, they did it in Arizona...The fact that Gov. Scott refuses to take responsibility [for preventing same-sex marriage] is appalling. But it's not the first time."

Watch Putney's spot-on take down of Scott, AFTER THE JUMP...

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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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Gay People, Pope Francis Will Win By Losing Catholic Church Battle For LGBT Inclusion - VIDEO

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6f551d6970b-250wiWriting for the Washington Post, Jonathan Capehart has argued that although conservative bishops may have won a battle last week when they voted against language that spoke of “welcoming homosexual persons” into the Catholic church, they have not won the bigger battle with Pope Francis.

Following protests from conservative bishops, the Vatican last week backtracked on reports that it had planned to be “welcoming to homosexual persons.”

However, according to Capehart, although headlines called it a “setback,” “the pope let the genie out of the bottle. And, as we all know, it’s difficult to put him back in once released.”

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb079d3a5e970d-800wiHe continues:

“What the synod did at the outset on paper, Pope Francis has been doing since ascending to the papacy. He’s been talking about gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church with an unheard-of humanity and care.

“I found it interesting that Francis insisted not only on publicizing the vote tallies for each paragraph, but also which paragraphs failed to pass. The pope said he was doing it for transparency. And that’s great. The added benefit to such openness is the signal it sends the entire church. If the pope and the bishops can engage in a rational and respectful discussion about same-sex relationships, so can the rest of the flock. That’s the genie that is out of the bottle.

“As Francis said [on October 19th] during his homily, ‘God is not afraid of new things! That is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways.’ By the time the bishops reconvene next October to finalize the synod document, we might be looking at a very different outcome.

“I’m not saying the church or the pope will become a champion of LGBT rights. And I’m definitely not saying they are going to support marriage equality. What I am saying is that by talking about the humanity of gay and lesbian Catholics and worrying about their place in the church, Pope Francis is openly recognizing them as children of God. After centuries of demonization, that’s a revolutionary act that can’t be undone.”

Watch a CBS report on the failure of the synod to adopt pro-gay language, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Las Vegas Chapels Refuse To Marry Same-Sex Couples - VIDEO

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A number of wedding chapels in Las Vegas, including the Elvis Chapel, are refusing to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies, reports The Washington Post.

After a federal appeals court ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage in Nevada was unconstitutional, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority produced a full-page same-sex marriage ad with the tagline “Now you can say ‘I do’ to one more thing here.”

Despite a state public accommodations law prohibiting venues from discriminating based on sexual orientation, a local television channel found that several chapels are nonetheless refusing to marry same-sex couples.

Dolly Deleon, owner of the 24-hour Vegas Wed Chapel, said that her Christian faith would not allow her to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies:

“I would be a hypocrite if I said I’m a Bible-believing person and yet I would perform marriage that I believe is solely against God’s law.”

However, according to Tod Story of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, wedding chapels - as opposed to churches and places of worship - are not covered under the Public Accommodation Law of Nevada. For-profit wedding venues that turn away same-sex couples can be charged with a misdemeanor. 

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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