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North Carolina Catholic School Fires Gay Teacher: VIDEO

Lonnie Billard

In yet another case of anti-gay discrimination in Catholic schools, Charlotte Roman Catholic diocese, North Carolina fired teacher Lonnie Billard (above left, with his partner Rich) after he announced his engagement on Facebook, reports the Advocate.

Before his dismissal, retired Billard had continued to work as a regular substitute teacher in Charlotte Catholic High School.

Although the diocese has claimed that the school made the decision, Billard has challenged this version of events:

“This was not a decision by Charlotte Catholic High School. I had talked with one of the administration officials. He knew [about the engagement announcement]. He didn’t care. He said he knew me to be a good teacher and a good person.

“Apparently there were a couple teachers there who are super-conservative Catholic. They are not friends of mine on Facebook, but they found out about it and escalated it so it got to the diocese.

I knew the Catholic Church is behind the times when it comes to understanding and acceptance of gay people, but I thought with the current pope saying, ‘Who am I to judge?’ that maybe things would be better, but apparently that’s not the case.”

According to diocese spokesman David Hains, Billard was not fired for being gay but for violating an employment contract that prohibited him from opposing church teaching.

However, responding to objections from the diocese on the facts as presented by Qnotes, the Charlotte-based LGBT community newspaper stated:

“The violation of Billard’s contract was his statement on his intention to marry. Without this statement, Billard wouldn’t have been fired. Therefore, it is factual and accurate to report that Billard was fired because he is a gay man who announced his intention to marry his same-gender partner — an act the church calls ‘disobedience,’ but which is also a fundamental human and civil right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, as recently upheld by North Carolina’s U.S. District Courts and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

In March of last year, an assistant theology professor at Charlotte Catholic caused a furore - and a backlash from parents and students - when she claimed in a speech that homosexuality occurs mainly as a result of pornography and parents' shortcomings.

Watch a report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP... 

 

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Anti-Gay Cardinal Raymond Burke Blames Catholic Church's Woes On Womankind: VIDEO

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Grumpy Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the most outspoken anti-gay Catholic activists, has blamed women for the problems the church is facing today, reports the Irish Times.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d07fe14f970c-150wiIn an interview with The New Emangelization -  a website that aims to address the “man crisis” in the church - Burke suggests that Catholicism has become too feminized and argues that the use of altar girls and the women’s rights movement may be the crux of the problem:

“Apart from the priest, the sanctuary has become full of women...the activities in the parish and even the liturgy have been influenced by women and become so feminine in many places that men do not want to get involved. Men are often reluctant to become active in the church. The feminised environment and the lack of the church’s effort to engage men has led many men to simply opt out.”

Burke was in Rome last week to meet Pope Francis following the pontiff’s decision to demote the cardinal from his role in the powerful Apostolic Signatura to a largely ceremonial one with the Knights of Malta.

The cardinal was one of the most vociferous opponents of an attempt last October to introduce language aiming to be more inclusive of gay people and conciliatory on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Speaking at a conference on "the Catholic family" in Ireland last November, Burke said he would refuse holy communion to any politician who has been supportive of same-sex marriage. 

Watch Burke explain why it's "perfectly good and just" to discriminate against gay people, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Happy Ending for Binational Gay Couple Kept Apart By DOMA: WATCH

Jamie and Tim

Just when you needed a break from the relentless bad news, we've received word of a happy outcome for binational couple Tim and Jamie who back in 2013 were prevented from being together in the United States because of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.

Tim and Scottish native Jamie have been together since August 2006 and married in Canada in June 2012. However, Jamie was detained in SeaTac Airport, Seattle in June 2009 due to visa problems and the couple had been prevented from being together ever since.

Last week Jamie had an interview at the US Embassy in London, England and was approved for a green card.

Together for eight years and five months, the couple hopes that Jamie will be in the US before Valentine’s Day “and soon we will finally be able to spend the rest of our lives together.”

Watch a heartbreaking video about the couple’s struggle and an update following Jamie’s green card application, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Tony Perkins Equates Firing Of Anti-Gay Atlanta Fire Chief To Charlie Hebdo Attack: VIDEO

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(photo by Patrick Saunders)

Another conservative is coming to the defense of fired Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council comparing the chief's firing to the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris that left 12 dead reports On Top Magazine. Right-wing media, including Perkins and radio host Erick Erickson, have an odd fixation with capitalizing on the Charlie Hebdo tragedy and using it in comparison with former Chief Cochran's firing. Although Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has clarified that Cochran's firing was a result of the chief not following protocol, Perkins is saying Cochran's case is a matter of "free speech under attack."

Said Perkins:

"Make no mistake about it. Last week's violent assault was designed to intimidate and silence others who would dare exercise that fundamental human right of the freedom of speech, but whether a journalist in France satirically writing about religion or a fire chief in Atlanta, Georgia writing about the sacred teachings of his faith, the silencing of either is a threat to the freedoms of all."

The Georgia Baptist Convention organized and held a rally at the Georgia State Capitol on Tuesday to get Cochran reinstated. Around 200 people showed up to the rally including the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., Alveeda King, and Tony Perkins in support of Cochran and "religious liberty." King cited several Bible passages and bemoaned “this seemingly never-ending debate over sexuality,” while Dr. J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, held a Bible up in the air and called for a stronger stand on religious liberty. Cochran spoke last to his crowd of supporters.

Said Cochran:

"Indeed a strong statement has been made. All people groups are welcomed and embraced in the city of Atlanta, except the groups that believe the scripture regarding God’s purpose for sex."

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 6.16.30 PMCochran stated he's considering a lawsuit against the city of Atlanta, but he declined to answer questions about any legal groups he may have talked to. Mayor Reed fired Cochran on Jan. 6, announcing his decision at a City Hall press conference surrounded by his entire cabinet and local LGBT leaders. At the conference, Reed reiterated the city’s nondiscrimination policy that prohibits prejudice based upon sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as race, color, religion, and sex. Reed said Cochran was given the option of resigning but refused to do so resulting in his termination. However, Reed says the true reason behind Cochran's firing was his judgment and ability to manage the department, and not because of his book's virulent, religious anti-gay rhetoric in a statement on his Facebook page.

Said Reed:

"I believe [Cochran's] actions, decisions, and lack of judgment undermined his ability to effectively manage a large, diverse workforce. Every single City of Atlanta employee deserves the certainty that he or she is a valued member of the team and that fairness and respect guide our employment decisions.

"His actions and his statements during the investigation and his suspension eroded my confidence in his ability to serve as a member of my senior leadership team."

However, Republican politicians are still attempting to pass "Religious Freedom" bills in the state. R-Rep. Sam Teasley filed HB 29 on Dec. 30, which would amend Title 50 and "preserve religious freedom," and State Sen. Josh McKoon vowed to file a bill on the matter as well. Teasley and McKoon's proposed versions of the bill last year but both failed. 

You can watch Cochran's statement to supporters at the State Capitol building, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Tony Perkins Equates Firing Of Anti-Gay Atlanta Fire Chief To Charlie Hebdo Attack: VIDEO" »


WATCH: Twins Come Out To Their Dad In Emotional YouTube Video

Rhodes

Popular YouTube vloggers the Rhodes Bros. (Austin and Aaron respectively) decided to start 2015 by kicking down the closet door and coming out. Said the brothers on their YouTube page, "we think it is time to finally just be ourselves. We hope by our actions today you can finish watching this video feeling encouraged and inspired."

The brothers' video shows them sharing the news with their nearly 56,000 subscribers and then calling their Dad to tell him. The confession takes an emotional turn that will no doubt remind many of their own experiences coming out and hopefully inspire others to do so as well.

Watch for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP...

You can also check out the coming out video of another set of twins, the Monastero brothers, HERE.

Bros

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Irish Sports Star Donal Óg Cusack Explores Homophobia Worldwide In New Documentary: VIDEO

Donal Óg Cusack

In a documentary to be screened next week on Irish broadcaster RTE, the first openly gay GAA sports star Donal Óg Cusack looks at the attitudes and opinions towards homosexuality in Ireland and around the world, reports the Independent.

The legendary goalkeeper for Cork’s hurling team caused a stir when he came out in 2009.

In Coming Out of the Curve, Cusack argues that homophobia is "the last great prejudice of our time.”

0He speaks with politician Vitaly Milinov, one of the main forces behind Russia's extreme anti-gay law. Cusack also travels to the United States where he meets gay people who are happy to share their stories.

One of those stories is from rugby player Brian 'Bru' Amerlynck (right) who battled for years with his homosexuality before deciding to come out last year.

Back in Ireland, Cusack speaks with Cork footballer Valerie Mulcahy who says she found it difficult during her formative years to deal with her sexuality. Mulcahy is the first female GAA player to come out publicly.

Towards the end of the documentary, Cusack says:

"I hope that humans will evolve to a stage where this will not matter anymore. I believe that time will come but it would be naïve to think that we are at that stage right now.”

Watch an interview with Cusack just after he came out, along with a powerful speech he gave at the Foyle Pride Festival, County Derry in 2012, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Irish Sports Star Donal Óg Cusack Explores Homophobia Worldwide In New Documentary: VIDEO" »


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