Scotland Hub

Church of Scotland to Allow Gay Clergy in Historic Shift

The Church of Scotland today narrowly approved a rule which would allow gay and lesbian ministers, reports The Guardian:

Church of Scotland crestThe church's ruling general assembly voted to allow congregations to admit gay ministers but only if they specifically elect to do so, in a radical departure from more than 450 years of orthodoxy set in train by the protestant reformer John Knox.

Despite the new regulations, the general assembly voted down a proposal that would have made acceptance of gay and lesbian clergy the church's default position by a vote of 340 to 282.  The new rule will effectively decentralize the decision-making process, leaving it to individual congregations to choose whether or not to ordain gay ministers in a system known as a "mixed economy."

According to The Guardian, the new rule will likely not take effect until 2015, and must first be written into church law and approved by next year's general assembly.

The BBC adds that the push for consideration of gay clergy began when the first gay minister was appointed by the church four years ago:

The dilemma faced by the Church of Scotland goes back to 2009, when the openly gay minister Scott Rennie (below) was appointed to the Queen's Cross parish in Aberdeen.

He was backed by most of his congregation and by the General Assembly, but the decision resulted in protest and the break-away of a small number of congregations and ministers.

RennieIn 2011, the Church of Scotland's general assembly voted to allow gay and lesbian clergy to remain in their posts, as long as they were either celibate or in civil partnerships.

The church's new rule comes at a time when the debate over marriage equality is in full swing in the UK and the issue of allowing gays to marry in religious ceremonies has caused significant division.  

The UK House of Commons is scheduled to debate the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill today--which would establish marriage equality in England and Wales but not Scotland--although advocates are wary of a last minute push by opponents of marriage equality to include a provision that would extend civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples.  The proposed legislation would allow same-sex couples access to civil marriage ceremonies only, and would bar them from marrying in the Church of England or the Church of Wales.

In December of last year, the Scottish government announced its own draft legislation to legalize marriage equality in the region, and is currently seeking public feedback on the measure.  Under the Scottish proposal, religious institutions would be allowed to "opt in" to wedding gay and lesbian couples.  Up until this point, the Church of Scotland has opposed the marriage equality bill, and while it seems unlikely that will change any time soon, the inclusion of gay clergy is certainly a step towards greater acceptance of the Scottish LGBT community. 

Priests Allege 'Inappropriate Behavior' By Britain's Top Catholic

Three priests and a former priest in the United Kingdom have accused anti-gay Cardinal Keith O'Brien of what The Observer reports as "inappropriate behaviour" involving the men. The newspaper lists the claims by the four (referred to as Priests A, B, C & D) which go back 33 years:

ObrienIt is understood that the first allegation against the cardinal dates back to 1980. The complainant, who is now married, was then a 20-year-old seminarian at St Andrew's College, Drygrange, where O'Brien was his "spiritual director". The Observer understands that the statement claims O'Brien made an inappropriate approach after night prayers.

In a second statement, "Priest A" describes being happily settled in a parish when he claims he was visited by O'Brien and inappropriate contact between the two took place.

In a third statement, "Priest B" claims that he was starting his ministry in the 1980s when he was invited to spend a week "getting to know" O'Brien at the archbishop's residence. His statement alleges that he found himself dealing with what he describes as unwanted behaviour by the cardinal after a late-night drinking session.

"Priest C" was a young priest the cardinal was counselling over personal problems. Priest C's statement claims that O'Brien used night prayers as an excuse for inappropriate contact.

Through a spokesperson, the Cardinal has already responded to the charges: "Cardinal O'Brien contests these claims and is taking legal advice."

The Pope might even weigh in with his thoughts.

O'Brien has in the past referred to marriage equality as "harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of those involved." 

O'Brien, who is expected to be one of 117 Cardinals who select the new Pope once Benedict steps down on Thursday, had himself been set to retire next month. 

Cirque du Soleil's New Hot Scot: VIDEO


Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil production Zumanity sent us a note that they've spiced up their 2013 show with the addition of a new "Scottish Fantasy" character with wardrobe by Thierry Mugler. More photos here.

Watch the hot Scot's final costume and make-up fitting, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Cirque du Soleil's New Hot Scot: VIDEO" »

News: Sean Avery, 'Family Guy,' Retirement, Jenni Rivera

1NewsIcon Maureen Dowd: "Instead of smallpox, plagues, drought and Conquistadors, the Republican decline will be traced to a stubborn refusal to adapt to a world where poor people and sick people and black people and brown people and female people and gay people count."

MorsiGraf1NewsIcon Egyptian President Hosni Morsi has rescinded an earlier order granting himself pharaoh-like powers, but protesters remain displeased. "Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi withdrew part of a controversial declaration that awarded him near absolute power, a limited concession to protesters whose two-week-long campaign had gridlocked Egyptian politics. But the new declaration preserves next Saturday as the date of a referendum on a divisive proposed constitution, skirting a key demand of Mr. Morsi's opponents."

1NewsIcon On tonight's Family Guy: "When Meg finally gathers the courage to ask out her crush, Kent, she is devastated to learn he’s gay. But when Meg discovers that Kent has feelings for Chris, she uses her brother in the worst way to get closer to Kent..."

1NewsIcon Potentially retired hockey player Sean Avery's fight against homophobia continues. "Maybe it’s because when I was such a bully when I had my uniform on, that when I took it off I felt the need to stand up against the bully," he said at a Bank of America-sponsored panel on sports and bullying this week.

1NewsIcon From a CNN article called "Retirement getting less scary for gay boomers": "Several organizations, such as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and SAGE, have made training the staffs of senior centers, nursing homes and assisted living facilities a priority. They want those workers to become more sensitive in their work with gay people, particularly because members of the baby boomer generation are more likely to be open about their sexuality than previous generations."

JackmanFeature1NewsIcon A behind-the-scenes look at the hair and makeup that went into the big screen adaptation of Les Miserables. Even as a struggling prisoner, Hugh Jackman still managed to look pretty fine.

1NewsIcon And here is a behind-the-scenes look at Downton Abbey.

1NewsIcon LeAnn Rimes still gets pretty choked up talking about how her affair with now-husband Eddie Cibrian ruined her married to then-husband Dean Sheremet.

1NewsIcon Prince William on wife Kate's morning sickness: "I don’t know why they call it morning sickness – they should call it all day and all night sickness... It’s a long old process but she is getting there. She feels like it is going to go on forever."

1NewsIcon Another compelling story: "Bizarre Creature Found in 200-Million-Year-Old Cocoon": "About 200 million years ago, a leech released a slimy mucous cocoon that unwittingly encased and trapped a bizarre animal with a springy tail, preserving it until researchers discovered the teardrop-shaped creature in Antarctica recently."

1NewsIcon And then there's this, "Anti-nudity law an example of gay mainstream": "The rise of same-sex households isn't making society queer; it's making gay people bourgeois."

1NewsIcon Oh, and here's transcript from today's ABC News' This Week, on which George Will said the anti-gay voting bloc is kicking the bucket. Columnist Paul Krugman was also present and said this: "...Gay marriage was a losing thing for Democrats in 2004, and it's now a winning thing. That's amazing. Eight years, this country has changed dramatically."

1NewsIcon Dr. Declan Fahie discusses what it's like for LGB school teachers to work in Ireland's Catholic-dominated school system. (See pages 54-55.)

1NewsIcon St George's Tron Church in Glasgow has left the Church of Scotland over the Church's decision to ordain gay and lesbian ministers.

1NewsIcon A plane carrying singer Jenni Rivera went missing this morning while flying over Mexico.

YoungIan1NewsIcon Sir Ian McKellen says the world is a far better place than when he was born 73-years ago, in part because of gay acceptance: "[The world is] entirely better, personally. At least in the country we live in, there's an acceptance and a generosity and inclusiveness which has allowed us to accept alien cultures and learn from them. And attitudes to gay culture, and then disability, I hope more than momentarily. In so many ways better, and I am so glad."

1NewsIcon Robert Randolph, the gay author who sued John Travolta for allegedly smearing his name after Randolph published a book claiming the actor frequented gay bathhouses, has been ordered to pay Travolta's legal fees in the case.

News: Pipsqueak, NFL, Sandy's Full Moon, Scotland

1NewsIcon You'll be happy to hear that Pipsqueak the adorable goat has been adopted.

RichardTisei1NewsIcon Massachusetts Congressional candidate Richard Tisei again says that more voters have an issue with his GOP status than his being gay. "Being gay in Massachusetts isn't a problem," he told CBS News. "Being Republican is much more of a hurdle."

1NewsIcon Female members of the Israel Gay Youth are lobbying for the group's senior leadership to appoint more women. "In recent days we find ourselves in a familiar state of agitation, after another woman is fired in order to make way for a ‘more suitable’ man," the women wrote. "This is even more outrageous than in other cases, since this is taking place in a relatively small gay organization, where most activists are volunteers; unfortunately, the move reflects an all-too-familiar alignment of the social power hierarchy."

1NewsIcon LGBT activists in South Florida are mourning the death of Richard Cimoch: "A politically active Dolphin Democrat, who won their Volunteer of the Year Award in 2001, Cimoch had served for many years as the enthusiastic and energetic co-chair of Pride South Florida."

1NewsIcon Take a listen to Lenny Kravitz and Aerosmith's new song for the NFL, written as a replacement for the one sung by homophobe Hank Williams Jr. That was dropped after Williams compared President Obama to Hitler.

Daley1NewsIcon Let it be known that Olympic diver Tom Daley has a Keek account.

1NewsIcon Two New Zealand parliamentarian's, the National Party's Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and Labour's Su'a William Sio, attended a protest against gay marriage this weekend. Bakshi is on the committee that considers civil rights legislation.

1NewsIcon The Boston Globe covers the thawing relationship between evangelical and LGBT communities: "Another hopeful sign is that some evangelical leaders understand that they have a problem, too. 'We, the church, had utterly failed to reflect Jesus to gay people,' says Bill Henson, founder of the Acton-based Lead Them Home Ministries, which trains evangelical leaders to minister to gay, lesbian, and transgender people."

1NewsIcon A new poll puts Obama three points ahead in Minnesota, where a question on defining marriage as one man, one woman will also be decidd.

1NewsIcon Alex McQuillan on the secular nature of France's anti-gay movement: "The French Republic was founded on the ideas of equality and a French concept called laïcité—the complete absence of religion in governmental affairs. This means political discourse in France must be entirely free of religious rhetoric. So what you have in France is a large group of old people battling civil rights, not with religious ideals, but with science, sociology, and cold, reductive rationality."

Hurricane-sandy-space-station1NewsIcon The full moon may enhance Hurricane's Sandy impact. "When the moon waxes to its full phase Monday afternoon, high tides along the Eastern Seaboard will rise about 20 percent higher than normal, even without the help of Sandy's storm surge..." Stay safe out there!

1NewsIcon Lady Gaga has a slew of great Halloween costumes to choose from.

1NewsIcon John Deighan, the Catholic Church's Parliamentary Officer in Scotland, wrote a letter accusing LGBT activists of "intolerance". "Cultivating victim status has effectively put Stonewall beyond reproach in the public square. An attempt to counter their antagonistic ‘some people are gay, get over it’ bus advertising campaign was halted before it could even get off the ground by London Mayor, Boris Johnson," he wrote. "The constant promotion by the media and entertainment industry that anything gay is good has caused informed public debate to be dropped. In its place we have intolerance and intimidation."

News: Million Muppet March, Atlanta Pride, Colbert, Mitt Myth

1NewsIcon Scottish politician Gordon Wilson says that passing marriage equality would be a "step toward state fascism."

Colbertmtp1NewsIcon Stephen Colbert appeared on Meet the Press today and said he can't tell Barack Obama and Mitt Romney apart. "I'm not Ralph Nader. I don't think there's no difference... There is a difference. I don't know what the difference is, though." Video is here.

1NewsIcon Singer Marsha Ambrosius has taken to Facebook to deny rumors that she is a lesbian, but still admits to having sexy dreams about the ladies: "I am not a lesbian! I am straight! I will never say I haven't fantasized or had sexually explicit dreams about women before! That would make me liar!"

1NewsIcon The New York Times on the "moderate Mitt myth": "There isn’t really a Moderate Mitt; what is on display now is better described as Convenient Mitt. Anyone willing to advocate extremism to raise money and win primaries is likely to do the same to stay in office."

1NewsIcon Kim and Khloe can't keep their hands to themselves.

Rogermoore1NewsIcon A happy birthday to Roger Moore.

1NewsIcon A stagehand is suing Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network after the company allegedly fired him following complaints that he pricked himself while injecting an actor's penis with TriMix, a prescription drug that induces an erection.

1NewsIcon Useful information for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

1NewsIcon Los Angeles-based animation executive Michael Bellavia and Idaho college student Chris Mecham are organizing the Million Muppet March on November 3, three days before the election, to rally support for Big Bird and the other people and characters who would suffer should Romney and other Republicans get their wish: the end of federal funding to PBS.

1NewsIcon Actor Stephen Amell looked attractive, of course, during a press appearance in Canada on Friday.

1NewsIcon "At 0-32, gay-marriage forces seek 1st win at polls"

1NewsIcon New bra designed to detect breast cancer.

AFAHate1NewsIcon The anti-gay American Family Association is now claiming that the 11-year old Mix It Up Day, a day when students are encouraged to eat lunch with people they typically don't hang out with, is an attempt by the organizers at the Southern Poverty Law Center to "promote a homosexual lifestyle." AFA leader Bryan Fischer claimed, "[This is] just another thinly veiled attempt to promote the homosexual agenda. No one is in favor of anyone getting bullied for any reason, but these anti-bullying policies become a mechanism for punishing Christian students who believe that homosexual behavior is not something that should be normalized.”

1NewsIcon An estimated 200,000 people attended Atlanta Pride today.

1NewsIcon Republicans used the Sunday talk shows to continue hammering Obama's Libya policies. Rep. Darrell Issa called the administration's response the recent attack on our embassy there Obama's "mission accomplished moment," while Sen. Lindsey Graham claims the White House has been "misleading" the American people with their various explanations of the attak.


Towleroad - Blogged