March 27, 2009

GLBT News & Political Roundup 3/27/09

Same-sex couples in Vermont shouldn't make their wedding plans quite yet. Gov. Jim Douglas has taken the unusual step of announcing his plans to veto it if it reaches his desk.

Pam's House Blend has an extensive update on the status of pro-LGBT bills around the nation.

The HRC took a LOT of grief for supporting an ENDA bill that excluded protection for transgender people. They aren't making that mistake again.

Rep. Barney Frank likely won't be breaking bread with "homophobe" Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia anytime soon. He explained why in this essay for The Huffington Post.

Lisa Larges, an openly lesbian candidate for ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), had her certification set aside by a church commission. More Light Presbyterians continue to support her ordination quest.
Larges herself weighs in at the

Overseas, Japan OK's foreign marriages for gay citizens and Serbia passed an anti-discrimination law including sexual orientation and gender.

March 26, 2009

High Level Support for Same-Sex Marriage in New York

Two of the most powerful politicians in the state of New York, U. S. Senator Charles Schumer and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have recently stated very strong support for legalizing same-sex marriage in that state.

First, Senator Schumer:

Sen. Charles Schumer reached out to gay leaders earlier this month and convened a meeting at an upscale Manhattan restaurant to make an important announcement: He was supporting gay marriage after years of opposing it.

The reversal marked a significant shift for the Democratic senator and gave further momentum to gay marriage in New York, where every other statewide Democratic official supports such unions.

Schumer's change, some political observers suggested, stemmed from pressure to bring his position on gay marriage in line with the other officials, while coming at a time when support for same-sex unions is strong in New York. Also, it's likely New York's gay rights interest groups, which played a role in Democrats retaking control of the state Senate last November, were pressing Schumer to change his position.

"At this point we have a fair amount of knowledge that supporting gay marriage in the Northeast is not the kiss of death politically" that it could be as recently as a decade ago, said Lee Badgett, director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and research director at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA.

If anything, Schumer's support for gay marriage is likely to bolster momentum for legalizing gay marriage in New York, where a gay marriage bill passed the Assembly in 2007.

Although not a change of position for him, Mayor Bloomberg restated his support yesterday:

Mayor Bloomberg said Wednesday night he stands ready to ask the Legislature to allow gay marriage in New York State, but doesn't know when the time will be right.

"We see that the tide is turning, that support is mounting," Bloomberg told the annual dinner of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. "Make no mistake, the time will come ... and we will pass this bill."

Bloomberg has made similar pledges to testify in Albany for almost three years, but the GOP-run state Senate blocked any such bill.

Democrats now run the Senate but have not been able to round up votes to pass the measure - increasing pressure on Bloomberg to follow through.

"I don't know whether it's more likely or not" this year, Bloomberg said before his speech. "If they consider a bill, I think they should pass it, and I would be happy to testify for it."

Let's hope that day comes soon.

March 25, 2009

Pioneers in GLBT Faith; Michael Kelly

From the LGBT Religious Archives Network:

Michael Bernard Kelly is known internationally for his work in integrating Christian spirituality and gay experience. Born in Australia in 1954 into a devout Catholic family, he joined the Franciscans after finishing high school, and his spirituality has continued to be nourished by the spirit, vision and example of Francis of Assisi, though outside formal religious structures. Michael is an educator, writer, activist, and retreat leader who has worked in the U.S. the U.K. and Australia. He holds professional qualifications in theology, spirituality, creative media and education, and is currently working on a doctorate in the field of Christian mysticism and gay experience.

For 17 years Michael was a religious education specialist and campus minister in Catholic schools and universities, in both Australia and the U.S. In 1993, he came out publicly and let go of his career in the church. Since then he has committed himself to developing new forms of creative ministry with gay and lesbian people. In 1995, Joseph Kramer of Erospirit Institute published Michael's eight-hour video lecture series, "The Erotic Contemplative: the spiritual journey of the gay Christian," which John J. McNeill hailed as "The most powerful and insightful study of gay spirituality that I know of." Michael has created communities of ritual and challenge on the fringes of the church and has offered spiritual direction to gay men from many Christian communities. In 1998, he co-founded the Rainbow Sash Movement in Australia, which publicly challenges the Catholic Church's treatment of gay and lesbian people. In this role, he became a prominent media spokesperson for gay Catholics in Australia, and he is frequently sought after for commentary on current religious issues.

Click here to read more about Michael Day.

March 24, 2009

Advocacy Group: Vermont Freedom to Marry

Vermont could very well become the next state to legalize full-rights same-sex marriage. One of the groups at the forefront of that effort is Vermont Freedom to Marry. From their website:

The Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force (VFMTF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to gaining civil marriage equality for same-sex couples in Vermont. VFMTF formed in 1996 as a coalition of individuals and associations in Vermont who support the freedom for same-sex couples to enter into civil marriages. We work throughout the state to educate Vermonters about the importance of civil marriage equality for same-sex couples and their families. In doing so, we do the following:

Below is a snapshot of our work:

o Tabling: Supporters volunteer at our informational table at county fairs and community events.
o Public speaking: We train volunteers to speak at churches and synagogues, Rotary Clubs and other local associations.
o Hosting house parties: Our supporters host house parties for equality to provide one-on-one education to their fellow community members.
o Collecting signatures of support: Volunteers work at community events to provide supporters of equality the opportunity to sign our Marriage Resolution.
o Other activities include: Organizing supportive businesses, clergy and parents of gay and lesbian individuals, grassroots lobbying and media relations.

If you live in Vermont or are just a supporter of equality, check them out and see what you can do to help.

March 22, 2009

Welcome to Sunday Worship 3/22/09

If you don't have a welcoming church near you, or you just can't make yourself step into one, we're bringing worship to you. Here are links to some worship music and services from open and affirming ministries (all times eastern). I hope you are blessed and take time out of your busy schedule to enter into the Lord's day.

Don't forget to click on the tab on the upper right of this blog and leave your prayer requests in the comment section so we can petition the Lord for your needs.

We appreicate all of the positive feedback we've received for our Sunday Worship series. If you know of a service we should add to our list, please send an e-mail and share it with me.

Worship Music--sing along with Hillsong and make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Live Worship Services--all times Eastern

Living Water Fellowship, Kenmore, WA 1:30 PM Eastern (also archives of pervious services)

Recent Recorded Worship Services

Rainbow Community Church of Vancouver, BC

Church of the Holy SpiritSong, Fort Lauderdale, FL