Lesbian pastor, United Methodist Church agree to separation

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EDGERTON, KAN. (AP) – A lesbian pastor has agreed to go on involuntary leave from her United Methodist Church in Edgerton to avoid a church trial over her sexual orientation.

Cynthia Meyer and Methodist officials agreed in early August that her leave will begin Sept. 1. Her final sermon in Edgerton will be Aug. 28. No other United Methodist church will be able to appoint her as a pastor but churches could hire her to “perform functions equivalent to a lay staff person,” according to the agreement.

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Wikileaks exposes private lives including names of gay Saudis, teenage rape victims

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CAIRO (AP) – WikiLeaks’ global crusade to expose government secrets is causing collateral damage to the privacy of hundreds of innocent people, including survivors of sexual abuse, sick children and the mentally ill, The Associated Press has found.

In the past year alone, the radical transparency group has published medical files belonging to scores of ordinary citizens while many hundreds more have had sensitive family, financial or identity records posted to the web. In two particularly egregious cases, WikiLeaks named teenage rape victims. In a third case, the site published the name of a Saudi citizen arrested for being gay, an extraordinary move given that homosexuality is punishable by death in the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom.

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Suit alleging Catholic school same-sex marriage bias to proceed

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HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) – A judge is allowing a lawsuit alleging a Roman Catholic school in New Jersey fired an employee because she’s married to a woman to move forward.

The Record reports a judge issued the ruling late Aug. 22 denying a request by Paramus Catholic High School to dismiss the lawsuit.

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Frank Ocean debuts ‘Blonde,’ his 1st album in 4 years

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The wait for Frank Ocean’s latest album is finally over.

The singer’s 17-track album Blonde was released Aug. 20 on Apple Music, one day after the R&B singer released a 45-minute “visual album” on the streaming service.

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Justice Department considering response to judge’s order blocking LGBT directive

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Justice Department is considering its options, now that a federal judge in Texas has blocked an Obama administration order concerning transgender students in public schools.

The administration had said schools have to let those students use locker rooms and bathrooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. But a judge has put that order on hold — saying that a federal education law makes it clear that gender is defined by “biological and anatomical differences” at birth.

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Hundreds protest rape and murder of transgender activist in Istanbul

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ISTANBUL (AP) — Demonstrators gathered in central Istanbul to protest the rape and killing of a transgender woman and LGBT activist.

Hundreds attended the rally Aug. 21, holding signs and chanting slogans for 22-year-old Hande Kader, whose body was found last weekend. Media reports say the body was burned beyond recognition. Opposition MPs also attended the demonstration.

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Judge in Texas temporarily blocks Obama’s transgender rules

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – A federal judge in Texas is blocking for now the Obama administration’s directive to U.S. public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity.

Hundreds of school districts woke up Aug. 22 to news of the order by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor on the first day of class in Texas and elsewhere.

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Gay South Carolina police chief makes historic sheriff’s run

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LATTA, S.C. (AP) – A small town police chief in staunchly conservative South Carolina is trying to make history by becoming the first female sheriff in the state. And the first openly gay one, too.

Crystal Moore knows the November election will be tough, but she has beaten the odds before. Just two years ago, residents in Latta (population 1,400) rallied around Moore after the mayor fired her. He was later caught on a recording ranting that he would rather have a drunk watch a child than a lesbian.

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Gender-neutral restrooms now available at Southeast Missouri State University

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — Southeast Missouri State University has started offering gender-neutral bathrooms in what LGBT rights leaders are hoping is the first of several changes around campus.

The LGBT Advisory Board and the LGBT Advocacy Committee came up with a plan to create 35 of the restrooms for about $60 to $70 each, The Southeast Missourian reported.

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Transgender-inclusive benefits OK’d for Phoenix city employees

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PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Healthcare Task Force has approved transgender-inclusive benefits for city employees.

Mayor Greg Stanton says Phoenix will be the first city in Arizona taking such strong steps to support a diverse workforce.

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Lawsuit nixed against Kentucky clerk who fought same-sex marriage

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against a Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning issued orders Aug. 18 dismissing the lawsuit brought by two gay couples and two straight couples against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis.

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Federal judge rules in favor of transgender employment discrimination

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DETROIT (AP) — A judge dismissed a lawsuit Aug. 18 filed on behalf of a transgender embalmer who was fired by a Detroit-area funeral home after disclosing that she was transitioning from male to female and would dress as a woman.

U.S. District Judge Sean Cox ruled that R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home didn’t discriminate against Aimee Stephens. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the Garden City funeral home on behalf of Stephens, who was fired in 2013 after telling her employer she was transitioning.

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