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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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North Carolina Magistrate Resigns Over Gay Marriage: VIDEO

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A North Carolina magistrate yesterday took the decision to resign rather than perform same-sex marriages, reports WITN.

A memo to state magistrates on Wednesday said officials would be violating their oaths of office if they refuse to marry gay or lesbian couples.

Rockingham County Magistrate John Kallam Jr. said performing same-sex marriages would violate his religious beliefs and "would desecrate a holy Institution established by God Himself."

Kallam Jr. sent a letter to Chief District Court Judge Fred Wilkins saying when he took his oath of office, he didn't take it with the understanding that he would be required to marry gay couples.

On Monday, a magistrate in Pasquotank County refused to marry two men, citing religious objections.

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Vatican Caves To Conservative Bishops, Backtracks On 'Welcoming' Gay People - VIDEO

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Following protests from conservative bishops, the Vatican has backtracked on reports earlier this week that it had planned to be “welcoming to homosexual persons,” according to the Huffington Post.

The Relatio post disceptationem report from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family faced a severe backlash from conservatives, some of whom accused the leadership of the conference of misrepresenting the proceedings to advance its agenda. The section on homosexuality was especially divisive because it was the first Vatican document that reflected Pope Francis’ earlier announcement that he would take a  nonjudgmental approach to homosexuality.

Homophobic American Cardinal Raymond Burke [pictured below] who chairs the Vatican’s highest court of canon law - and in 2010 said that discrimination against LGBT people is “perfectly just and good” - has been one of the most outspoken critics of the report. He said “the document lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium” and accused the bishops leading the meeting of advancing “positions which many Synod Fathers do not accept.”

BurkeFollowing the conservative backlash, Vatican leaders stressed that “welcoming homosexual persons” is not an official declaration of the synod. The less inclusive phrase “providing for homosexual persons” has now been substituted.

Notably, the revision is in English translation only - the published Italian, Spanish and French translations have not been changed and still use language meaning "welcoming homosexual persons."

Watch Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi discuss the new translation, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

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Executive Producer Of Film About LGBT Kenyans Arrested: VIDEO

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"Stuff can go wrong, but we love our country. I am not afraid to go back home...I want to go back home." When George Gachara said these words, he was convinced that he was doing the right thing by documenting the lives of LGBT Kenyans in the film Stories Of Our Lives. The movie, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, is banned in Kenya based on the Films and Stage Plays Act, which Gachara was arrested for violating. Surely we can agree that the film tells an important story of an underrepresented group in the east African nation; the governing body apparently disagrees.

Daily Xtra reports:

Gachara was in Toronto recently for the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. He and others involved in its making and promotion, who until then had been anonymous, made the daring decision to reveal their names at TIFF, in a show of solidarity with the Kenyan LGBT community...

On Oct 14, Daily Xtra talked via Skype to Jim Chuchu, the director of Stories of our Lives and a co-founder of NEST, about the ban on the film. Hours later, Gachara was arrested.

According to Nest’s Facebook site, Gachara has been released on bail pending a hearing on Oct 17.

Gachara, and the filmmakers' brave actions, are in our thoughts. Most recently, the Kenyan Republican Liberty Party drafted a "stone the gays" bill in connection with "aggravated homosexuality," a continuation of anti-gay legislation already in effect there. Hopefully Gachara and the other filmmakers will not face condemnation for the movie, which was critically-acclaimed by news outlets like Indiewire:

Thankfully, this isn’t a movie about “Africa’s homophobia problem” that we’ve seen before. This is a beautiful little film about love, about humanity, about one of the many facets of what it means to be African.

Watch an interview with Gachara, AFTER THE JUMP...

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U.S. Marine Probed In Murder Of Filippino Transgender Woman - VIDEO

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Police in the Philippines preparing to file murder charges against a U.S. marine suspected of killing a transgender woman will ask American officials to arrange the marine's surrender, reports Bloomberg.

An October 12th police report identified the victim as Jeffrey Laude - also known as Jennifer - who was found dead in a motel bathroom in Olongapo City. Laude had been strangled.

Witness Elias Gallamos said Laude entered Celzone Lodge on the evening of Saturday, October 11th with an “unidentified male white foreigner” aged between 25 and 30 with a marine “style of haircut.”

A friend of Laude said that after she met the foreign man in a nightclub, Laude became uneasy because the man hadn’t realized they were transgender. The friend also identified the marine in a photo lineup.

Vowing to investigate the allegations, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement:

“We are aware of the situation and express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. We are also aware that there are allegations that a foreigner, including possibly a US national, was involved in the incident. We are currently looking into these allegations and working closely with the Philippine National Police to take all necessary steps to help identify the suspects.”

A report in May showed that 102 transgender people across 14 countries had been murdered up in the first five months of the year.

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Irish LGBT Activists Protest Gay Group In New York St. Patrick's Day Parade - VIDEO

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Irish LGBT activists are protesting against the decision to allow OUT@NBCUniversal to take part in next year’s New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade because the event continues to exclude other gay groups, reports Newsweek.

OUT@NBCUniversal, Universal’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Straight Ally Employee Alliance, will be the first LGBT group to participate in the parade.

This year, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio boycotted the parade because of its anti-gay policy. The City Council, many Irish politicians and Guinness followed suit. Despite this, Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny made the decision to take part last March.

In a letter to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, activists from groups including Irish Queers argued:

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb0798ec48970d-800wi“Instead of that pressure leading to Irish LGBTQ groups taking their rightful place in the community’s parade, OUT@NBCUniversal has jumped into the space it created.

"OUT@NBCUniversal is the gay employee/marketing group of the parade’s sponsor. The Irish LGBTQ community is still excluded from the parade. The ‘lifting of the ban’ is a sham.”

The letter also reiterates recent demands that OUT@NBCUniversal “withdraw from the parade until Irish LGBTQ groups are part of the parade” and calls for de Blasio and Mark-Viverito to boycott next year’s event.

Irish Queers was denied a request to take part in 2015 because organizers say the parade is full. It is thought that two other Irish LGBT groups’ applications were also denied.

De Blasio and Mark-Viverito have both indicated that they have yet to make a decision regarding next March 17th.

Watch a report on the fight for LGBT inclusion in the New York parade, AFTER THE JUMP...

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