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Court: Adoption agency can’t reject same-sex couples

 A federal court says New York officials weren’t infringing on a Christian adoption agency’s religious freedom by requiring it to serve same-sex couples, reports the New Jersey Herald.

Mexican Consulates to perform same-sex marriages

 Mexico’s foreign affairs secretary has instructed the country’s consulates throughout the world to allow all citizens — regardless of gender — to marry in their offices.

Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said a democratic country can’t be built by excluding part of society.

More than 12 Mexican states and the capital allow same-sex marriage and courts have allowed it in individual cases in other states when petitioned.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry said the change was announced in anticipation of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia held May 17.

 Taiwan approves same-sex marriage, a first for Asia

Taiwan’s legislature passed a law allowing same-sex marriage — the first Asian country to do so.

The May 17 vote allows same-sex couples full legal marriage rights, including in areas such as taxes, insurance and child custody.

Taiwan’s Constitutional Court said in May 2017 the constitution would allow same-sex marriages and gave parliament two years to adjust laws accordingly.

Taiwan’s acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships began in the 1990s when leaders of today’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party championed the cause to help Taiwan stand out in Asia as an open society. Although claimed by China as its own territory, Taiwan is a self-governing democracy with a vibrant civil society.

Australian political leaders agree gays don’t go to hell 

The leaders of both of Australia’s major political parties agreed that gay people  don’t go to hell because of their sexual orientation, as Christian beliefs have risen to extraordinary prominence in the final days of an election campaign.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison opposed gay marriage while opposition leader Bill Shorten argued for marriage equality ahead of a national vote in 2017 that led to Australia legally recognizing same-sex unions.

Morrison accused Shorten on May 14 of a “desperate, cheap shot” ahead of elections on May 18 by challenging the prime minister to say whether he believes gays went to hell.

Morrison said he did not believe gays went to hell, after failing to directly answer the same question from a journalist the day before.

 Dutee Chand becomes first openly gay Indian athlete 

Indian sprinter Dutee Chand has revealed she is in a same-sex relationship, becoming the first openly gay athlete in the socially conservative country.

Chand, 23, said May 19 she was in a relationship with a woman from her village in eastern Odisha state, explaining she got the courage to come out after India’s top court scrapped a colonial-era ban on gay sex last year.

“I have found someone who is my soul mate. I believe everyone should have the freedom to be with whoever they decide they want to be with,” said Chand, the fastest woman in the country. “I’ve always supported the rights of those who want to be in a same-sex relationship. It is an individual person’s choice.”

Chand, who won two silver medals at the 2018 Asian Games, said about her partner that while her focus was on upcoming international competitions, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, “in the future I would like to settle down with her.”

Chand said nobody had the right to judge her as an athlete because of her sexual orientation.

Folau fired by Rugby Australia for contentious online posts

 Israel Folau’s status as unrivaled star of Australian rugby wasn’t enough to save his job in the wake of a social media post that condemned gay people and other so-called sinners to eternal damnation.

Rugby Australia on Friday terminated Folau’s four-year contract, 10 days after an independent panel found the 30-year-old fullback guilty of a high-level breach of the players’ code of conduct for his contentious post in mid-April.

Folau can appeal the decision, but it appears, at least for now, that his career has gone down in flames. The whole saga has thrown Australia’s preparations for the Rugby World Cup into turmoil.

A self-described devout Christian, Folau said he was merely posting a passage from the bible, and he refused to take down the online post.

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said during a news conference in Sydney, broadcast live on TV, that Folau had left them with no choice but to terminate his contract.

“We want to stress that this outcome is a painful situation for the game,” Castle said. “Rugby Australia did not choose to be in this situation but Rugby Australia’s position remains that Israel, through his actions, left us with no choice but to pursue a course of action resulting in today’s outcome.”

The code of conduct charge sparked debate in Australia about freedom of speech and the right of players to express their beliefs. It also followed a warning Folau received from Rugby Australia last year over a social media post that drew criticism from some rugby followers, as well as a major sponsor of the game. 

 

Sr. Simone Campbell, a Catholic nun, says she disagrees with three high-ranking Catholic leaders who recently sent a letter to Congress in opposition to the Equality Act. The bill would add gender identity and sexual orientation to existing federal nondiscrimination laws. It passed the House of Representatives in a 236 - 173 vote last week but faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

After hundreds of anti-abortion activists held a rally against him outside the Planned Parenthood clinic at 11th and Locust Street on May 10, pressure has been put on Rep. Brian Sims to issue an apology for the actions that spurred the protests.

In a fundraising letter May 18, Sims issued his first apology since the furor began May 1. But the letter has only fueled more outrage from his critics.

 

“I now commend the bill to the House and the House to history.”

So ended the four-hour debate on the House floor on the most important civil rights legislation since the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. Rep. Jerry Nadler, who had chaired the debate called the vote for HR5, also known as the Equality Act.

 

Barbara Gittings is one of the single most important figures in American LGBTQ history.

Before Stonewall, Gittings was performing groundbreaking work for lesbian and gay people throughout the U.S. In one iconic photo of her, a 33-year-old Gittings pickets Independence Hall on July 4, 1966. She’s holding a sign that reads, “Homosexuals should be judged as individuals.”

A bill that would greatly enhance the rights of and the resources for LGBTQ elders passed its first major hurdle.

The bill, S3484, the Bill of Rights for LGBT Older Adults, was voted out of the state’s Senate Health Committee last week.

In a new attack on the transgender community, the Trump administration has announced a plan to deny trans people equal access to the homeless shelter system. The plan would put vulnerable transpersons experiencing violence and/or homelessness under continued threat.

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