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Cleric endorses gay marriage

A senior Scottish cleric has said that gays should be able to get married in church.

The Rev. Kelvin Holdsworth, the openly gay provost of St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow, said he believed civil partnerships were not equal to marriage and that gay couples should be able to walk down the aisle together.

“Civil partnerships contain many of the same rights and privileges as marriage, but they are not the same,” he said. “You can’t celebrate a civil partnership in a church and if I tried to I’d be breaking the law. 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. I want to alert [members of Scottish Parliament] to this, so parliament can bring in this relatively small, but very important, change.”

He admitted he had not always been in favor of gay marriage, but said he changed his mind when a male couple asked him to perform a blessing. He also said the words of the Archbishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, were hurtful.

Nazir-Ali said earlier this month that gays should “repent and be changed.”

“I wish he wasn’t making the comments he makes and the only thing I can do is wish him a blessing of peace,” Holdsworth said.

On the possibility of gay clergy being able to marry, Holdsworth said: “I don’t know how long it will take before clergy can have a same-sex marriage ceremony that is acknowledged by the whole church, but I do believe it is far more likely to happen in Scotland rather than England. I think in some ways Scotland is a more grown-up society than England.”

Swedes to open LGBT nursing home

Elderly gays and lesbians in Stockholm may soon be able to live in a special gay-friendly nursing home.

A recent city decision to privatize nursing-home care may help the planned Regnbågen (“Rainbow”) nursing home along.

“What we want to avoid is the situation which sometimes occurs today where a guy doesn’t dare to tell nursing-home staff that it’s his boyfriend of however many years who is coming for a visit,” said project leader Christer Fällman.

He said the idea had support from the city but had so far been unable to progress due to the economic downturn.

“The privatization of nursing homes actually made it easier to move things forward because you have a profit-driven company involved which sees the market potential,” he said.

Fällman stressed that while the nursing home would be gay-friendly, it would be open to anyone.

“We don’t want this to be seen as a move back into the closet,” he said. “There are already nursing homes for Finnish speakers, and soon we will also have them for Turkish, Greek and Spanish speakers. We’re looking to create a nursing home where LGBT people can ‘speak their own language’ and feel secure in who they are.”

Fällman is currently working with nursing-home companies to determine the level of interest among elderly LGBT people and hopes the home will open within two years.

Academic: Islam, homosexuality compatible

A leading Muslim academic has said there is evidence in the Koran that homosexuality can be compatible with Islam.

Dr. Amanullah De Sondy, 29, who teaches at the School of Divinity in Glasgow University, said: “Homosexuality is not incompatible with Islam. The two can and have coexisted. The important thing is to link it with living a good life and creating a good society.”

He added that despite the evidence, conservative Muslims will not accept homosexuality.

“If you ask them privately, the vast majority of my generation of Muslims are deeply homophobic. I think it is particularly entrenched because so many Muslim societies are rooted in traditional ideas of the family and patriarchy.”

On the story of the destruction of Sodom, which appears in both the Koran and the Bible, he said: “It is often said to illustrate God’s disapproval of homosexuality. But on closer inspection it is about his disapproval of the rape of young boys. There is a big difference.”

Female shortage equals gay penguins

A number of male king penguins at Edinburgh Zoo are forming gay relationships, and zookeepers believe a shortage of female birds is making them lonely, causing them to pair off.

The zoo has 10 king penguins but only two are female, leaving the other six males without a female mate. Some of them are now forming partnerships.

“They have sometimes tried to physically mate with each other, not very successfully,” head penguin keeper Roslin Talbot said. “But mainly, they sit together in pairs and display to one another. If we had four male king penguins and four female king penguins, this wouldn’t be happening. But this year we have just two females, because older females have died.”

In other gay-penguin news, a male couple at the San Francisco Zoo has split up after one had an affair with a female.

Magellan penguins Harry and Pepper have been a couple since 2003 and even incubated an egg together in 2008.

However, Pepper became violent after a female bird, Linda, lost her mate and befriended Harry. Since the fight, the three have been separated.

Pride funding draws ire

After granting financial support to Calgary’s annual Pride Week, a tourism minister has been stripped of her responsibility for a major funding program.

Critics asserted the move was punishment for funding the event, while the government denied the accusation, saying it had always been expected she would hand over control of the fund to industry minister Tony Clement.

Conservative MP Brad Trost, who has criticized Pride, suggested in an interview that federal tourism minister Diane Ablonczy was stripped of her responsibility for the $100-million tourism fund as a punishment.

“The pro-life and the pro-family community should know and understand that the tourism funding money that went to the gay pride parade in Toronto was not government policy,” he added. “Canadian taxpayers, even non-social conservative ones, don’t want their tax dollars to go to events that are polarizing, or events that are more political than touristy in nature.”

Yoga guru: Gays can be ‘cured’

The leading television yoga expert in India filed a petition challenging a ruling by the Delhi high court that decriminalized gay sex, claiming that homosexuality is a “disease” that can be cured by yoga.

Swami Baba Ramdev filed the petition in India’s supreme court, charging that the lower court erred in legalizing “unnatural sex acts.” He said the “congenital defect” of homosexuality could be treated through yoga, breathing exercises and meditation techniques.

Recently the Delhi high court overturned the British colonial-era ban on gay sex, but under the Indian legal system, anyone can challenge a court decision in a higher court.

Suresh Kaushal, an astrologer, later filed a petition to challenge the overturning of the 148-year-old ban. He claimed the traditions of India do not permit homosexuality, and said the court decision would contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The Indian government and pro-gay groups will have an opportunity to respond to the petitions.

Larry Nichols can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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