Friday, December 19, 2014
MPs on Wednesday (17 December) voted down the bill proposed by the Your Movement party by 235 ballots to 185, with 18 abstentions.
This is the third time parliament has rejected the legislation, which was first introduced in 2012. In January 2013, a draft bill for same-sex civil partnerships was thrown out by just 17 votes.
The bill includes a range of benefits which currently are only granted to married heterosexual couples, including protections and responsibilities, inheritance, pension funds, notary, and medical rights. Joint tax benefits and adoption rights are not included in the bill. Currently there is no legal recognition of same-sex couples in Poland. Article 18 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland (1997) defines ‘marriage’ as a union of a man and a woman.
The First United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Indiana, sacked music director Adam Fraley in January after nearly six years with the church.
Mr Fraley – who has a male partner – said his sexual orientation had not been an issue before, but after a new pastor took over, he was pressured to resign and was eventually sacked.
Less than a year later, the church has taken the decision to close – citing financial problems and falling attendance, after the congregation walked out en masse in protest at the sacking.
Pastor David Mantor blamed a “downward spiral” at the publisher, saying: “This is a problem that’s going on everywhere, and that’s why we’re closing.”
Of the mass walkout – which reportedly lost as much as 80 percent of the congregation – Mr Mantor claimed: “This closure is not due to that situation whatsoever.”
“My wife and I have been involved in ministry for years and years. We will follow where the Lord leads us.”
The Church will close on December 31.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Gay pornography was also later found inside the pastor's car. Williams told police it was not his porn, that he was taking it back to someone else. Williams has been charged with battery and made an appearance at Jackson County Superior Court this week and is currently free on a $355 bond. The Praise Cathedral Church of God states of homosexuality:
'We will engage in those activities which glorify God in our body and which avoid the fulfillment of the lust of the flesh.' The church is also against same-sex marriage.
A report published Thursday accuses The Salvation Army of discriminating against its LGBT officers.
The Salvation Army in recent months launched a campaign in which it denies allegations of discrimination against the LGBT community.
“The Christian charity discriminates against LGBT people, but it doesn't want anyone to know about it,” wrote Graham Gremore in publishing two internal documents that appear to contradict the organization's public message.
Last month, the Salvation Army posted a video in which it denied that it discriminates based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“For the past few years during the holiday season, a lot of chatter on social media was saying the Salvation Army was anti-gay and discriminates against people in the LGBT community. I felt we needed to be proactive on this,” Lt. Colonel Ron Busroe, the group's national spokesman, said of the campaign.
The organization, however, has a long history of opposing LGBT rights and even supporting therapies that seek to turn gay people straight. In 2004, the group threatened to close operations in New York City unless it was exempted from offering benefits to the partners of its gay employees. In various countries, the Salvation Army has opposed repeal of laws which criminalized gay sex (New Zealand) or prohibited the discussion and/or “promotion” of homosexuality (Britain).
In 2001, The Washington Post reported the “Bush administration is working with the nation's largest charity, the Salvation Army, to make it easier for government-funded religious groups to engage in hiring discrimination against homosexuals, according to an internal Salvation Army document.”
The document “defines the charity's objectives as making sure states and localities can't 'impose the category of sexual orientation to the list of anti-discrimination protections' or mandate 'equal benefits to domestic partnerships' unless religious non-profits are exempt from such provisions.”
Appearing in 2012 on Talking Liberally, Army Major George Hood told host Stephanie Miller that discriminating against gay men and lesbians would violate the organization's mission. Less than a week later, Hood, the group's chief spokesman at the time, told the Chicago Tribune that being gay was a “personal choice” that goes “against the will of God.” Miller, who is openly gay, later issued an apology for not challenging Hood's statements on her show.
One of the documents published Thursday is a 4-page memo from midwest Commissioner Paul Seiler dated February 21, 2014 and emailed to officers in the Salvation Army's Central Territory, which serves Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana.
In his “not for public use” memo, Seiler reiterates the group's opposition to marriage equality and expectations that unmarried officers “be celibate in their expression of their sexuality.”
“Leadership roles in denominational activities such as teaching or holding local officer roles require certain adherence to consistently held spiritual beliefs,” the letter states. “This would apply to any conduct inconsistent with Salvation Army beliefs and would include same-sex sexual relationships.”
Siler also states that Salvation Army officers cannot marry gay couples or attend the wedding of a same-sex couple in uniform, and that doing so may result in “termination.”
Jennifer Byrd, director of communications for the Salvation Army, told Gremore in an email that the organization “serves 30 million people a year without discrimination” and “our non-discriminatory employment practices have been overlooked, misconstrued or misunderstood in recent years.”
“We are not trying to argue with the Salvation Army's theological views,”Gremore wrote. “It can believe what it wants to believe. The problem is, these beliefs, which are shared privately among SA insiders, are at direct odds with the organization's public message, which states, in blanket terms, that it does not discriminate based on sexual orientation.”
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Two men and the daughter of a local sheriff were ordered to stand trial Tuesday (16 December) in connection with the September beating of a gay couple in Philadelphia.
Kevin Harrigan, 26, Philip Williams, 24, and Kathryn Knott, 24, are to be tried for aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy and other charges.
The trio cannot be charged with a hate crime, however, because sexual orientation is not covered in the state of Pennsylvania's current hate crime law. One of the victims of the highly-publicized attack testified before a Philadelphia judge about the 11 September attack. He said Harrigan used anti-gay slurs to ask the man if he and his partner were gay.
Hesse said that when the pair encountered the group at 16th and Chancellor, Harrigan asked, "Is that your fucking boyfriend?" "I said, 'Yeah, that is my fucking boyfriend," he testified. "'Do you have a problem with that?'" Then he testified that Harrigan said, "'So you're a dirty fucking faggot?' So I approached him and said, 'Maybe I am a dirty fucking faggot.' He pushed me, I pushed him."
Then Hesse says that he was surrounded by the group. "I was terrified," he testified. "It's scary to have people surround you, and your arms are being held."They then got into a heated verbal exchange that turned physical. The man told the judge that he was hit in the face by Harrigan then Knott pointed at him and held her hand in his face. 'She was clawing at my face,' the man testified. He said he pushed Knott away then Williams approached, struck him in the face and also assaulted the boyfriend who fell to the ground.
The victims were taken to a hospital after they were attacked. Knott is the daughter of Chalfont police Chief Karl Knott. She has gained notoriety since her arrest because it was discovered that she had posted photos of patient X-rays on Twitter that she had access to through her job at a hospital. She has since been fired from the Lansdale Hospital where she worked as an emergency room technician. A month after the attack, the couple issued a statement about what happened to them.
'We feel sorry for our attackers - people who believed it was OK, cool, maybe even funny, to use two innocent individuals as their punching bags and not even have the decency to apologize,' they stated. They added: 'You butchered my boyfriend’s beautiful face. You violated our rights. You jeopardized our health and safety in a city that we love and during a time where so much progress around human rights has been made. 'We are also determined to do everything in our power to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else again.'