Overheard in Tampa Bay: Tampa Pride’s celebrity

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Tampa Pride snags its celebrity
With about a month to go, details for Tampa Pride are starting to come in and get finalized. After last year’s huge success when 40,000+ attendees filled the streets in Ybor the pressure is on to try and be bigger and better. Tampa Pride held there Miss Tampa Pride pageant and selected their queen. The grand marshals have been plunked from the community – Fox 13 News morning anchor Russell Rhodes and CEO of Metro Wellness & Community Centers Lorraine Langlois – and now we have our celebrity grand marshal, photographer and designer Mike Ruiz. You might remember Ruiz from Logo’s reality series The A-List, or his appearances on Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, America’s Next Top Model and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Ruiz has also been recognized and praised for working to help LGBT homeless youth.

There be Mormons outside this theater
One of Broadway’s biggest hits, the Book of Mormon, paid a visit to the bay area and had a sold out run Feb. 16-21 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. If you were lucky enough to get a chance to see the show, you probably noticed something charming occurring right outside the theater. A group of well mannered, clean cut, real life Mormons! That’s right, the light hearted Latter Day Saints were parked outside saying “Hello!” to guests as they entered the show. Unlike many conservative, religious groups who would set up camp with picket signs and yell out ignorant chants, these young lads hung out Two by Two with a sign that read, “have your picture taken with the real thing.” They smiled, they shook hands and they talked with anyone about anything without pushing any agenda, only talking about the All-American Prophet and handing out the Bible Part 3, if you so wanted to. They even hung out after the show, asked theater goers if they had a good time and enjoyed themselves and never once condemned anyone to a Spooky Mormon Hell Dream. Well done boys.

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U.S. Christians think they should be more protected than other religions

By : Wire Report
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Washington (AP) – Americans place a higher priority on preserving the religious freedom of Christians than for other faith groups, ranking Muslims as the least deserving of the protections, according to a new survey.

Solid majorities said it was extremely or very important for the U.S. to uphold religious freedom in general. However, the percentages varied dramatically when respondents were asked about specific faith traditions, according to a poll by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

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“Mass resignation” of Mormons over anti-gay policies

By : Wire Report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Several hundred people with roots in the Mormon faith gathered in Salt Lake City to renounce the church’s new policies targeting gays and their children in an event that marked the latest illustration of the fervor the rule changes have caused.

Billed as a mass resignation by Mormons, people filled out paperwork and dropped off the resignation letters at a church building Nov. 14. The large majority had stopped attending church years ago. But they said the new policy that bans baptisms for children of gay parents until the kids turn 18 and disavow same-sex relationships spurred them to come and formally cut ties and have their names removed from the faith’s membership rolls.

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New Mormon rules push children to disown gay parents

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Salt Lake City (AP) – In the past two years, Nathan Kitchen has revealed to his five children that he’s gay, gone through a divorce with his wife and grappled with how to stay in a religion that doesn’t condone his lifestyle.

Now comes the toughest task: Telling his children he could be kicked out of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints if he someday marries a man, and warning his two youngest, 11 and 15, that they might be barred from serving a mission under new church rules.

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Boy Scouts deemed too gay to attend conservative summit

By : Jeremy Williams
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Family Research Council Action held the Values Voter Summit, the premier political conference for evangelical Christians, in D.C. Sept. 25- 27, and while many conservative icons and Republican presidential candidates were invited to partake in the festivities, the Boy Scouts of America were deemed too liberal to be asked back, according to Mother Jones.

The Boy Scouts, who for many years were asked to present the American flag as part of the color guard, were replaced by Trail Life USA. This “outdoor adventure and character development group” was created last year as a Christian alternative because of the Boy Scouts inclusion of gay scouts and scoutmasters. Trail Life USA is run by John Stemberger, head of the anti-gay hate group Florida Family Policy Council (part of Focus on the Family).

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Mormon church will continue to work with Boy Scouts

By : Wire Report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Mormon church announced Oct. 26 it will maintain its longtime affiliation with the Boy Scouts despite the organization’s decision to allow gay troop leaders — preventing what would have been a thundering blow to the national association.

The decision from senior leaders of the Mormon church — the nation’s largest sponsor of Boy Scout units — came as somewhat of a surprise. The church said it was deeply troubled and considering other options when the Boy Scouts announced on July 28 that it would lift its ban on gay adult leaders, while allowing church-sponsored Scout units to continue excluding gay adults.

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Idaho’s gay marriage ban remains in state constitution

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states, but nestled in the Idaho Constitution remains the provision that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.

The Supreme Court struck down all gay marriage bans nationwide last week, making Idaho’s constitutional marriage definition unenforceable.

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US Anglicans to allow gay marriage in churches

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly July 1 to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples, solidifying the church’s embrace of gay rights that began more than a decade ago with the pioneering election of the first openly gay bishop.

The vote came in Salt Lake City at the Episcopal General Convention, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide. It passed in the House of Deputies, the voting body of clergy and lay participants at the meeting. The House of Bishops had approved the resolution Tuesday by 129-26 with five abstaining.

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Mama Dragons lead the fight for their gay Mormon kids

By : Wire Report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — For these Mormon moms, their “coming-out” — as activists — often follows the same storyline.

They are fairly traditional Latter-day Saints. Their sons or daughters announce they are gay. They search high and low for LDS advice about how best to love their children. They find their church’s mormonsandgays.org website and plenty of counsel for rearing straight kids, but hear little from their religious leaders about how to help their gay loved ones navigate the path to adulthood. Their offspring mostly stop attending church. In desperation, the Mormon mothers turn again to the Internet.

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Mormon leaders call for measures protecting gay rights… and religious freedom

By : Wire Report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Mormon church announced a campaign Jan. 27 for new laws that protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination while somehow also protecting people who assert their religious beliefs.

“We must find ways to show respect for others whose beliefs, values and behaviors differ from ours while never being forced to deny or abandon our own beliefs, values and behaviors in the process,” a church elder, Jeffrey R. Holland, said in announcing the church’s position.

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TLC to air ‘My Husband’s Not Gay’ show about Mormons

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Gay Mormons… is that even possible? That is what one TLC program will be looking into.

A special program titled “My Husband’s Not Gay” will air on Jan. 10, and it will follow the lives of four men in Salt Lake City, Utah who are attracted to the same sex despite being married to women. The men, though, say they don’t identify themselves as being gay.

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Not all Mormons are against marriage equality

By : Wire Report
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Salt Lake City (AP) – Court decisions paving the way for same-sex marriage to become legal in dozens of states, including Mormon strongholds like Utah, Idaho and Nevada, are embolding a growing group of Latter-day Saints who are pushing the conservative church to become more accepting of gay members.

The church’s stance toward gays has softened considerably since it was one of the leading forces behind California’s ban on gay marriage in 2008, but high-ranking leaders have reiterated time and again the faith’s opposition to same-sex unions.

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