LGBT Religious News

Is gay marriage coming to Germany? It certainly sweems to be so, with the formal withdrawal by the Bavarian government of its earlier opposition.  It is not clear from this report (by “The Local” English language German paper) what is likely to happen next, or how many obstacles remain.  When (not if) it does come though, it will place strong pressures on the country’s Catholic and Lutheran churches, both of which are dependent on state funding.

“High Court Case Against Gay Marriage Withdrawn

The southern German state of Bavaria has withdrawn a lawsuit with the country’s high court to resist the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday. Sources within the state government, led by the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), told the paper that the state government had withdrawn their case, thus bringing the country a step closer to recognising gay marriage.

The January 2005 law they were opposing attempts to change the recognised “life partnership” for same-sex partners to marriage. The CSU, the southern sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, alleged that this recognition was incompatible with the country’s constitution and their suit hinged on the law’s acceptance of adoption for gay couples.

According to the CSU, a gay couple raising children goes against “nature,” and the Article 6 child custody laws only allow parenting couples to consist of a man and a woman.”

The paper reported that the case before the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe had been withdrawn via letter on July 8, 2009 and would be dismissed soon. The Bavarian government did not make a statement regarding the case.


In quick succession, two US Episcoplian dioceses have followed the synod decision on gay bishops by naming between them three lesbians and one gay man, out of a total of nine nominations, for three  episcopal vacancies.

(The L.A. decision came a day after that from Minnesota, but may be more significant, as the process appears to be further advanced.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Gay, lesbian priests among bishop nominees by L.A.

Episcopal diocese

“Episcopal Church leaders in Los Angeles on Sunday nominated two openly gay priests as bishops, becoming one of the first dioceses in the national church to test a controversial new policy that lifted a de facto ban on homosexuals in the ordained hierarchy.

The nominations of the Rev. John L. Kirkley of San Francisco and the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool of Baltimore are likely to further inflame theological conservatives in the U.S. church and their global partners in the Anglican Communion, who have repeatedly warned about the repercussions of such action.

They are among six nominees who will face election in December for two suffragan bishop positions at the Los Angeles diocese’s annual convention. Suffragan bishops assist a diocese’s primary bishop.

Home to 70,000 Episcopalians across six counties, the diocese is widely regarded as one of the most liberal in the U.S. church of 2.1 million members. Its bishop, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, is an outspoken advocate for the rights of gays in the church.

“I affirm each and every one of these candidates, and I am pleased with the wide diversity they offer this diocese,” Bruno said in a statement Sunday”.

Full report from the LA Times here:

And in Minnesota:

From Gay News Blog

MINNESOTA: Diocese announces three candidates for bishop (one is an out Lesbian)

“The Diocese of Minnesota on August 1 announced three candidates for the position of the ninth diocesan bishop: the Rev. Mariann Budde, the Rev. Bonnie Perry and the Rev. Brian Prior.

Perry is rector of All Saints’ Church in Chicago, Budde is rector of St. John the Baptist Church in Minneapolis, and Prior is rector of Church of the Resurrection in Spokane, Washington. Biographies of the candidates are available here.

Perry is the first openly gay episcopal candidate since the church’s General Convention in July affirmed the openness of its ordination process to all the baptized. In her biographical information on the diocesan website, she noted that the Rev. Susan Harlow has been her partner for 22 years.”

Report from Gay News Blog is here:

Fish with net

Quakers ‘to allow gay marriages’

One of the UK‘s oldest Christian denominations – the Quakers – looks set to extend marriage services to same-sex couples at their yearly meeting later.

The society has already held religious blessings for same-sex couples who have had a civil partnership ceremony.

But agreeing to perform gay marriages, which are currently not allowed under civil law, could bring the Quakers into conflict with the government.

…BBC’s religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said the Quakers had been more prepared than other groups to reinterpret the Bible in the light of contemporary life.

Religious commitment

The Quakers – also known as The Religious Society of Friends – are likely to reach consensus on the issue of gay marriage without a vote at their annual gathering in York on Friday.

They will also formally ask the government to change the law to allow gay people to marry.

Fish with netspan style=”font-family:Arial;line-height:normal;font-size:12px;”>

LGBT Religious News
<span style=”font-family:Arial;line-height:normal;font-size:12px;”> </span> <span style=”font-family:verdana;font-size:16px;line-height:16px;color:#222222;”> </span> Here in the UK, there has not been a big push for same sex marraige, as the civl partnership regulations provide virtually the same benefits as full marriage  This includes national benefits (unlike Washington’s proposal),and really is “marriage in all but name” (an important qualification”).  There have recently been some mutterings about pushing towards full marriage recognition, but this is the first time I have seen a church g <h1></h1> <h2 style=”text-align:center;”>Quakers ‘to allow gay marriages'</h2> <strong>One of the </strong><strong>UK</strong><strong>’s oldest Christian denominations – the Quakers – looks set to extend marriage services to same-sex couples at their yearly meeting later.</strong> The society has already held religious blessings for same-sex couples who have had a civil partnership ceremony. But agreeing to perform gay marriages, which are currently not allowed under civil law, could bring the Quakers into conflict with the government. …BBC’s religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said the Quakers had been more prepared than other groups to reinterpret the Bible in the light of contemporary life. <strong>Religious commitment</strong> The Quakers – also known as The Religious Society of Friends – are likely to reach consensus on the issue of gay marriage without a vote at their annual gathering in York on Friday. <strong>They will also formally ask the government to change the law to allow gay people to marry</strong>. <img class=”aligncenter size-thumbnail wp-image-2140″ title=”Fish with net” src=”; alt=”Fish with net” width=”150″ height=”118″ />

I missed this earlier, so it is now a little out of date – but still worth noting.

From ON TOP magazine, July 02, 2009

Uruguay Bishop Steps Down Amid Gay Sex Scandal

“Uruguayan Bishop Francisco Domingo Barbosa Da Silveira has stepped down from his ministry amid a gay sex scandal, reports the AFP.

Barbosa is alleged to have engaged in gay sex with two men whom he hired late last year. Using a cell phone camera, the two men filmed at least one of the encounters and attempted to extort money from the bishop.

The allegations surfaced as the men stood trial in an Uruguay courtroom after Barbosa sought relief from the authorities, and pressed charges against the two men.”

Activists Work to Show Gays

Are Not Anti-Religious

News from the Episcopalians this week has distracted from the progress also being made in other denominations.  This article from US News and World Report, (July 2nd 2009),  is now a couple of weeks out of date, but still worth a look:

“A Barna Group survey out last week shows that most gay Americans lead pretty robust faith lives….more and more gay rights organizations are joining HRC in stepping up efforts to highlight the faith beliefs of many gay Americans, largely through religious outreach programs. And some religious traditions and denominations are taking steps to welcome gay and lesbian members.

While enlisting religious leaders in political fights, gay rights activists are also working to make churches …. more gay friendly. Many mainline Protestant denominations have made changes. The United Church of Christ now ordains gay ministers, and the Presbyterian Church (USA) is considering following suit. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will vote on the issue this summer.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Voelkel says she is working with all five movements of American Judaism to help them become what she calls “welcoming and affirming” toward gays.

(The Task Force’s)  list of welcoming and affirming Christian congregations has swelled to 3,400, up from 1,300 four years ago.

(Karslake) says that gay Christians like him tend to take their faith especially seriously because they’ve had to wrestle with it so much. “When you’re clearly condemned by Christianity,” he says, “it forces you to startquestioning and thinking about what you really believe.” And yet the Barna survey suggests that most gays and lesbians, like Karslake, end up sticking with those beliefs.”

This  survey is restricted to US churches:  but it is safe to assume that the direction of change is the same elsewhere.

Fish with net

Catholic church-funded marriage agency backs

gay and unmaried parents

From the Daily Telegraph, 17th July, 2009

Homosexuals and unmarried couples could be just as good parents as husbands and wives, according to the head of a marriage support agency that is partly funded by the Roman Catholic Church.

Terry Prendergast, the chief executive of Marriage Care, claimed there is “no evidence” that children do better if they are brought up in a traditional two-parent family.  He claimed that those who live together out of wedlock are trying to lead good lives but find themselves “consigned to the dustbin” by the church.

We’re not yet seeing it on marriage, but even in the cathoic church, important sections arae seeing sense and recognising the evidence on same sex parents.

Fish with net

From the Salt Lake City Christian Examiner (!!),  16th July 2009

Jesus and Gay Marriage

At one time there were a group of men about to stone to death a promiscuous woman, they talked to Jesus and He said to them: “he who is without sin cast the first stone.” As everyone knows, everybody stepped away; Jesus walked over to embrace the adulterous woman and told her to go and sin no more. Now, Jesus can tell people not to sin because He’s… Jesus. Christians aren’t meant to tell people they are sinning, they are meant to tell people about God through love, there is a difference, you know.

That’s all this whole Prop 8 debacle has been– A bunch of people stoning and nobody embracing. The teachings of God are meant to be spread with love, peace and understanding. …….

The reality of the situation is that gay marriage is inevitable, one by one every state will legalize it and those millions will have gone for nothing but to hinder any Christian church’s progress.

Can I repeat?  This is the SALT LAKE CITY CHRISTIAN EXAMINER endorsing gay marriage!  Apart from the stated assumption that there can be ‘no doubt’ that homosexuality is a sin, I could almost have written these sentiments myself.

‘Nuff said.


From the New York Times, 16th July 2009

This is very much a compromise:  not yet marriage, not yet an official rite – but still, it is inching forward:

Episcopal Bishops Give Ground on Gay Marriage

“The bishops of the Episcopal Church agreed Wednesday to a compromise measure that stops short of developing an official rite for same-sex unions, but gives latitude to bishops who wish to go ahead and bless such unions, particularly in states that have legalized such marriages.”

UPDATE: But wait, there’s more!  From the Episcopal Cafe:

“On Saturday afternoon, the Very Rev. Rowan Smith, dean of Cape Town and St. George’s Cathedral in South Africa, described his congregation’s early work toward inclusion of gay people. They began three years ago at a retreat on reconciliation, when congregational leaders decided that they needed to heal relationships with gay and lesbian people in the same way that South Africa had healed racial strife after apartheid.

Since then, the leaders of St. George’s have held conversations about inclusion of gay people with other parishes in the diocese, and also met with the archbishop. And next month, Cathedral leaders will bring to their diocesan synod a resolution to permit blessing of existing same sex unions.

It’s a small step, but notable because it indicates that other parts of the Anglican Communion beyond the usual North American suspects are grappling with human sexuality. But here’s what struck me most in Dean Smith’s story: The congregation’s reconciliation retreat was held at Robben Island, the site of the prison where Nelson Mandela and other South African political prisoners were held during the apartheid era”.

I am delighted to see Cape Town – one of my two home towns – showing the way.

It also seems that although there is not yet any formal rite for blessing these unions, the conference has in fact resolved to work towards one:

“Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop theological resources and design liturgies, and report to the 77th General Convention for further action.”

I have said it before, and I repeat it now:

Same-sex marriage – coming (in time) to a church near you.

Fish with net

From the BBC,  14th July


Bishops of the Anglican Church in the United States have voted to overturn a three-year moratorium on the election of gay bishops.

The decision seems likely to lead to the Episcopal Church’s eventual exit from the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Communion has been fighting to avoid disintegration since the Episcopal Church consecrated the openly gay bishop Gene Robinson in 2003.

The decision is expected to be confirmed in the next few days.

There cannot any longer be any doubt: increasingly, important sectors of the Christian church are moving to accept ‘homosexuals’ into full communion in their churches,  in keeping with the Gospels &  natural justice.  There will be uproar in some circles, but this will die down eventually, just as did opposition to slavery, to civil rights progress, and other earlier misguided church doctrines.

The Catholic Church will be slow to follow, but in time they will too.

Fish with net

From the Catholic Register, Canada (9th July, 2009)


Peterborough Bishop Nicola De Angelis and 12 parishioners at st Michael’s parish in Cobourg, Ontario, face an ontario Human Rights tribunal complint that could cost the parishioners $20 000 each and the diocese of Peterborough $25 000 in legal fees.

Jim corcoran brought the complaint after he was asked to give up his position as an altar server at Sunday mass. Corcoran was dimissed from all duties on the altar after 12 parishioners wrote a letter to De angelis questioning the presence of a gay man serving at the altar of St Michael’s.

“There are laws in Ontario,”  Corcoran told The Catholic Register.  “Those laws say that it is unlawful to discriminate against people for a number of reasons, one of which is sexual orientation.”

It is not just a matter of secular law.  Both the Gospel and canon law are clear that nobody is in a position to judge the interior moral state of another person from appearances alone.


(From Scotland, more on Marriage Equality & the Church)

Senior cleric comes out for gay weddings in church

By Marc Horne, Scotland on Sunday, 12 July 2009

A SENIOR Scottish clergyman has “come out” and launched a campaign for gay couples to be given the right to get married in church.

The Very Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth has spoken publicly about his sexuality and called for Holyrood to change the law to allow same-sex partners to tie the knot in the same way as straight couples.

In a frank and outspoken interview, the Provost of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow said that gay clergy would eventually be able to get married in their own churches and offered a “blessing of peace” to an Anglican bishop who called on homosexuals to “repent”.

He also claimed he was aware of “numerous” gay and lesbian priests employed by his church and insisted that Scotland was “more grown up” than England in dealing with issues of sexuality.

His intervention comes shortly after the Church of Scotland came close to splitting over the appointment of an openly homosexual minister.

The priest, who was initially against gay marriage, but changed his mind after being approached by a male couple who asked him to bless their partnership, now says that :

“I want every gay couple to be able to walk down the street holding hands if they wish to do so.
“I also want every gay couple to be able to walk down the aisle holding hands if they want to too.”

Full report at Scotland on Sunday.

Fish with net

Standing on the Side of Love

From Queers United: (8th July 2009)

“Standing on the Side of Love is a new campaign by the Unitarian Universalist Church which respects the dignity and self worth of every human being regardless of their creed. The campaign aims to lift religious voices in the public square to proclaim love and inclusion of all of God’s children.

Check out the UU website to learn more, receive updates and participate in this progressive religious campaign for inclusion and human dignity:

Fish with net

Legalise gay sex to clean up monasteries, says nun

From the website  “DNAIndia”, a call by a former nun:  (8th July 2009)

Sr Jesme, who exposed the underbelly of the convents and other church institutions in her bestselling autobiography, hopes the legalisation of homosexuality would help monasteries to maintain their sacredness.

“If lesbians could seek partners legally, they would not have to take refuge in a convent. They would not have to languish in the sacred atmosphere of a convent,” Jesme writes in an article in a Malayalam weekly. In her autobiography, ‘Amen’, Jesme tells her own experience with a lesbian nun, who forcibly slept with her inside her convent room. The Christian institutions built on celibacy are full of homosexual and heterosexual tendencies, the book says. (Full report here)

The analysis is flawed:  celibacy is not the only cause of clerical sexual abuse (see Bishop Robinson, “Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church”), nor is it the only reason why religious life is particularly attactive to the gay sensibility (see Mark Jordan, “The Silence of Sodom”).  I am also uncomfortable with the quoted language, referring to people being born “that way”.  Still, I think the story is notable because it highlights that clerical sexual abuse:

  • affects adults as well as children;
  • affectes women as well as men;
  • affects ‘developing’ countries as well as the ‘developed’ ones.

The problem of clerical abuse is far wider, and more complex, than usually recognised.

Fish with net

Irish Gay Catholics Call for Dialogue

There  are many different ways of making our statements, of looking for dialogue.  With your help, I do it on-line.  Many do it on the streets once a year at Gay Pride around the world; many more, I hope, are doing it on the pews in local parishes.  Some, like this group, do it outside the churches.  All are valid.  Which is your personal approach to changing the church?

Fr. Dan McCarthy and Brendan Fay at the recent Dignity NY prayer and protest witness in New York.

Fr. Dan McCarthy and Brendan Fay at the recent Dignity NY prayer and protest witness in New York.

From “The Irish Emigrant”, July 2009:

“Irish gay catholic leaders have called for reform of church teaching on the subject of homosexuality at a recent prayer and protest witness outside the closed doors of St Patrick’s Cathedral.

The twenty-five priests, theologians and parishioners from Ireland, Indonesia and the United States sang hymns, prayed and unfurled a rainbow flag – the international symbol of LGBT pride. The prayer witness has been held outside the cathedral each gay pride Sunday morning for over 20 years and organizer Brendan Fay is confident that eventually their efforts will ensure change.”

Read more here

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Minneapolis to host Lutheran debate on gay clergy, same-sex ceremonies

(From the Minnesota Independent, 6th July 2009)

“After years of study and debate, thousands of leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will gather in Minneapolis this August for a vote on whether to become more welcoming to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Lutherans. LGBT Lutherans are anxiously awaiting the outcome, which could pave the way for gay and lesbian pastors, bring same-sex commitment ceremonies to local congregations and impact policy in a state with a large number of Lutheran elected officials.

Minnesota’s Lutherans have already weighed in on the issue by way of “synod assemblies,” regional meetings around the state. The synods have come to different conclusions, reflecting the intense debate the issue raises. But LGBT advocates are hopeful that a mostly positive response from Minnesota’s synods will translate to success at the church-wide assembly in Minneapolis.”  (Read more here)

I think this is important, even if the resolutions don’t pass.  The simple fact that decisions in regional synods have been close, is significant:  20 years, even 10 years ago, there would have been no debate, so this represents real movement.  If these resolutions are not carried yet, they will be in time. Similar debates are coccurring among Anglicans /Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians and others.  The more that the churches even discuss the matter, the harder it is for the religious wingnuts to argue that the Church is necessarily opposed to same sex relationships.

(See my post  “Marriage Equality & the Church” )

Fish with net

“A revolution in attitudes towards gay men and lesbians;  Church out of Touch”.
June 27th

In this month celebrating 40 years since Stonewall, the Times reports this weekend on an important opinion poll showing strong support for further advancing legal protections for LGBT equality.

On marriage, the current situation provides for “Civil Partnerships”, which in practice and in legal status are almost identical  to marriage, except in name.    Even so,

“61 per cent of the public want gay couples to be able to marry just like the rest of the population, not just have civil partnerships.”

On adoption, the law currently insists on the right of  gay adoption, and directs that adoption agencies should treat all potential parents equally.  This has brought the Catholic Bishops into disputes with the law over the church agencies, but

Half (49 per cent) believe that gay couples should have equal adoption rights, eight years after it became legal for them to adopt in a highly controversial move by Tony Blair.
Some Roman Catholic adoption agencies are fighting to retain the right to turn away gay couples, which they are now specifically prohibited from doing.
Archive blog: Hanged for being gay, John Attwood Eglerton, 1816
Sizeable minority against gay relationships
Long process of adopting for gay couples
Graphic: tolerance towards gays
But perhaps the most surprising discovery is that 51 per cent of the public want children to be taught in school that gay relationships are of equal value to marriage.
“Half (49 per cent) believe that gay couples should have equal adoption rights, eight years after it became legal for them to adopt in a highly controversial move by Tony Blair. Some Roman Catholic adoption agencies are fighting to retain the right to turn away gay couples, which they are now specifically prohibited from doing. “
On education:
“But perhaps the most surprising discovery is that 51 per cent of the public want children to be taught in school that gay relationships are of equal value to marriage.”

Read the full report at Times Online
(London celebrates Pride on Saturday.   Several faith based groups are expected to participate.  I will be joining them).

Hope in a new diocesan appointment?
Feb 5th

I have no idea of the history behind this, nor of the significance of an appointment as temporary administrator, but superficially at least this looks encouraging. With the former Bishop of Oakland, California, now promoted to Archbishop of Detroit,  the new diocesan ‘administrator’ is a man of decidedly progressive views. It is reported in the California Catholic Daily that he once  ” allowed homosexual marriages at his parish”.  Sadly, this is unlikely to be permanent.  This appointment was made by  ‘election’ by diocesan consulters.  Unfortunately, permanent episcopal appoinments are not done by election.


Benedict Completes The Turnaround
Feb 5th

In extraordinary contrstast with the discouraging messages implied in the early announcements, Benedict has now stated that further reconciliation with the Society of Saint Pius X will not proceed without “full recognition of the Second Vatican Council”.  This is impressive – not only are we reconciling (perhaps) those who were excommunicated, but also Vatican II itself, which seemed unlikely just a week ago.  Is this a sign of the Holy Spirit at work moving (as always) in mysterious ways, to take control of the situation and turning it to its own purposes?


Good News From Benedict?
Feb 4th.

In what appears at first glance to be a dramatic turn around by Benedict, he has now gone beyond merely distancing himself from Williamson’s views, and has demanded a full recantation before further progress can be made on re-admission to the Catholic church.  Apart from the obvious stupidity and mishandling of the whole thing, I find one of the more interesting and encouraging aspects the fiasco has been the public dissent by so many prominent figures in the hierarchy (see the Daily Telegraph, “Cardinal Condemns Pope…”), and the obvious anxiety of the Vatican to recognise and try to calm the storm they have so stupidly created.  I see this as another of the emerging signs of a ‘Kairos Moment’, a theme to which I will constantly return.


Women Respond to Excommunication
Feb 2nd

With the continuing fuss over lifting the excommunication of SSPX ‘bishops’, the recent excommmunication of  Fr Roy Bourgeois, for assisting in an ordination by the WomenPriests movement, has been largely ignored.  But a letter in the New Catholic Times sensus fidelium caught my eye.  These women have found a creative way to respond, with a ‘Liturgy of ‘Lament‘.  Bravo!


If You’re Gay, GoMaltese Bishop
Feb 2nd, Malta.

“Malta Today” reports that if we LGBT people are not ‘happy’ with official church teaching, we should just pack up and leave.  I don’t know about you, but if a bigoted bishop so badly wants me out, I am all the more determined to stay in.  The Bishop has completely lost sight of the key Gospel message (of inclusion of all), let alone lost sight of comon sense, scientific reality, and the traditional Catholic emphasis on the importance of the ‘sensus fidelium’ to complement the authority of the hierarchy. He says that “Whoever does not accept Christ’s teachings should be honest with themselves and excommunicate themselves from the Church.”

By his own logic, therfore, he is the one who should be leaving – for he is the one, not us,who is flouting Christ’s teaching.  The Gospels say absolutely nothing about homosexuality, but they do have a lot to say about pharisees and about inclusion, and demonstrate substantial queer values, as I showed in an earlier post. (“The Gospel’s Queer Values”)


Portuguese Bishops SUPPORT Civil Partnerships.
1st February.

With a political battle looming in Portugal over gay marriage, the Catholic Bishops have taken a surprising stance.  In contrast to teh UK Bishops’ oppositions to Civil Partnerships, the Portugeuse Church appears to have endorsed the UK compromise.   From Edge Boston : “The Catholic cleric and leader even advocated that gay unions be legalized as they are in Britain, but without the name “marriage” attached to them.”

Another Nutcase Bishop?
1 Feb

In Austria, another of Benedict’s decisions is causing an uproar (The Times).  But if one can attribute natural disasters to events immediately preceding, should we not also blame the horrific brush fires which ravaged California in early November, on the success at teh polls of Proposition H8? (In sending me the PinkNews version of this story, Rob suggested that this might give “Hope for Bishop Devine and his strategy for promotion!”)


Scottish Bishops Oppose Adoption Decision
28th Jan

The headline in Pink News is a misleading distraction The point here is not the bizarre allegation that a ‘gay life style’ leads to early death, but that the hierarchy is using poor science to oppose a legitimate decision by the adoption authorities to place a child with a gay couple, and not with the child’s ageing grandparents.  (There have been suggestions elsewhere that the real motive of the grandparents is to place the child, by the back door, back with the heroin addicted mother, from whom the courts removed the child in the first place.)

The church spokesman Peter Keaqrney argues that the social work authorities have ‘ignored evidence’ that homosexual relationships are inherently unstable, without qouting the evidence or distinguishing between cause and effect.  However, he inturn ignores the extensive scientific evidence that stable same sex couples make as good parents as the conventional variety.

Gay Bishop at Inauguration! A notable fatures of Obama’s transition process haas been the care he has taken to balance competing interest groups.  For a long time, the one group that did seemed to be left out was the LGBT community, with no high profile appointments to the cabinet or White House staff, and the offensive choice of Rick Warren to officiate in the inauguration ceremony.  This has changed over the past few days, with the naming of two significant LGBT staff appointments, and this dramatic news today:    Bishop Gene Robinson, high-profile and controversial out gay Bishop of New hampshire, is to participate in the inauguration.  For more, see The Independent

DIY excommunication?

In protest at the Vatican’s hostility to ‘homosexuals’, a Maltese gay politician has left the Catholic Church – a notable step in heavily Catholic Malta.  See Pink News


Vatican Emissary on the Carpet
In another sign of the Vatican’s difficulty with the politicians, the Netherlands has called in the Vatican ambassador to protest at the Holy See’s refusal to support the UN declaration on decriminalisation of homosexuality. Also from Pink News


Sex Education in the Seminaries: Room for Improvement?
According to a new survery, sex education for seminarians in CAtholic, Protestant and Jewish training institutions is woefully inadeqaute – ranging from non-existent to sparse.  No wonder so mnay pastors are quite incapable of dealing with sexually troubled mebers of their flocks. See  Sex and the seminary, or, for a more specifically LGBT take on the same story, see  GayReligious News


Gay Adoption: What Will Catholic Agencies Do?
Jan 06, 2009

According to a BBC report, three Catholic adoption agencies are still deciding whether they will comply with new equality laws or close down. Listen to the discussion.


Oregon Church Takes Stand on Gay Marriage: Against Discrimination.
Jan 06, 2009

An Oregon church has taken a stand in the spirit of a ‘radical Jesus’:

“At First Congregational United Church of Christ we will no longer sign marriage licenses for anyone until we are able to sign marriage licenses for everyone.”


Most Holy Redeemer Vandalised.
From  the San Francisco Chronicle.
Jan 05, 2009

In an apparent reaction to the passing of California’s Proposition 8, and as part of ongoing protests and a backlash against Mormon and Catholic churches as having supported the proposition, vandals have desecrated the Catholic Church of the Most Holy Redeemer in San Francisco’s Castro.

The irony is that this church has long been a beacon for gay pride, with a world wide reputation for its outstanding LGBT ministry.


Openly transgender pastor ordained.
Jan 01, 2009

From Bay Area Reporter:

First United Lutheran Church in San Francisco, the first Lutheran church to ordain an openly LGBT pastor in the 1990s, recently welcomed a new queer member of the ministry. Jay Wilson, now one of the few openly transgender pastors in San Francisco, was ordained by Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and installed as a pastor at First United last month.

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