White House, LGBTQ groups clash over new religious freedom regs

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump, photo public domain.

Following the release of new regulations from the Trump administration with the stated intent of protecting the religious freedom of federal grantees, LGBTQ groups and the White House locked in a dispute over whether they enable anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

Although the White House is denouncing the criticism as partisan bias, the LGBTQ advocacy groups are able to point to specific language in the regulations that would inhibit LGBTQ people from obtaining social services from religious-affiliated grantees.

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Anti-LGBTQ attorney, ex-judicial candidate Donald McBath suspended

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Donald McBath, photo via McBath’s Facebook page.

TAMPA | The Florida Bar announced Dec. 27 that anti-LGBTQ Wesley Chapel attorney and former Pinellas-Pasco judicial candidate Donald McBath has been suspended from practicing law.

“The Florida Bar, the state’s guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 15 attorneys,” the organization shared. “As an official arm of the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct for the more than 107,000 members of The Florida Bar.”

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Supreme Court could deliver bad news for LGBTQ teachers at religious schools

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Advocates gather for LGBTQ rights. Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.

Cases the Supreme Court has recently agreed to take up on the right for religious non-profits to hire and fire employees consistent with their faith could have major implications for LGBTQ workers at those institutions, LGBTQ legal advocates are warning.

Last week, the Supreme Court announced it had a granted a writ of certiorari, or agreed to hear, the two cases now consolidated as one: Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, Agnes and St. James School v. Darryl Biel.

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Grand Rapids-area pastor denies Holy Communion to gay judge

By : wire report
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ABOVE: St. Stephen Church, photo via St. Stephen’s Facebook page.

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) | The Roman Catholic Church in western Michigan is defending a priest’s decision to deny Holy Communion to a popular judge in a same-sex marriage.

Judge Sara Smolenski said the Rev. Scott Nolan privately informed her on Nov. 23, about a week after last receiving Communion from him at St. Stephen Church in East Grand Rapids. It has been her lifelong parish – she gave $7,000 for a building project – although she said she hadn’t regularly attended the church for months.

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Dozens charged after Uganda police raid LGBTQ-friendly bar

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Authorities in Uganda have charged 67 people with “public nuisance” after police raided an LGBTQ-friendly bar in the country’s capital on Sunday.

Kuchu Times, a website that covers LGBTQ issues in Africa, reported 125 people were arrested when police raided the bar in Kampala. Kuchu Times said most of those who were arrested “are community members.”

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Central Florida and Tampa Bay survivors of conversion therapy tell their stories

By : Holly V. Kapherr
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It’s been 46 years since the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses, yet the pseudoscientific practice known as “conversion therapy,” as well as other socio-religious theories intended to change homosexuals into heterosexuals still exist.

The American Medical Association says plainly that the theories behind the ideas that sexual orientation and gender identity are malleable are “not based on medical and scientific evidence.” They go on to assert that conversion therapy and other similar practices can cause “significant psychological distress,” including increased rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

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German lawmaker introduces bill to ban conversion therapy for minors

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: German Health Minister Jens Spahn, photo via Spahn’s Facebook page.

A German lawmaker has introduced a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy for minors in his country.

Reuters on Monday reported the measure that German Health Minister Jens Spahn, who is openly gay, introduced would punish anyone who carry “out conversion therapy on under-18s, or coercing, deceiving or threatening anyone older into such treatment” with up to a year in prison. Anyone who advertises or offers the widely discredited practice would be fined 30,000 euros ($33,383.70) if the bill were to become law.

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Trump admin to allow adoption agencies to refuse placement in LGBTQ homes

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump, Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

The Trump administration is moving forward with a proposed regulation that will allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to refuse placement into LGBT families over religious objections.

The Department of Health & Human Services went public on Friday with the regulation, which will undo an Obama-era policy prohibiting discrimination discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation among federal grantees.

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Venice Pride returns for second annual celebration

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Pridegoers prepare for the inaugural Venice Pride’s pet blessing Nov. 3, 2018. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

Venice, Fla. | SunCoast Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) will hold the second annual Venice Pride on Nov. 2 to highlight Southern Sarasota’s growing LGBTQ community.

Suncoast MCC Senior Co-Pastors Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson and Rev. Vickie Miller will welcome attendees to the church’s five-acre campus from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The organization, which is described as a safe spiritual home for the LGBTQ community and its allies, hosted the inaugural Venice Pride in 2018.

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Mormon church opposes Utah LGBTQ ‘conversion therapy’ ban

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Russell M. Nelson speaks in Orlando June 9. Photo via Nelson’s Facebook page.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | A proposed ban on so-called conversion therapy in Utah is in danger of being derailed after the influential Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter-day Saints came out Tuesday night in opposition, just months after it said it wouldn’t stand in the way of a similar measure under consideration.

The church said in a statement that the regulatory rule prohibiting Utah psychologists from engaging in the discredited practice with LGBTQ minors would fail to safeguard religious beliefs and doesn’t account for “important realities of gender identity in the development of children.”

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Buttigieg rejects O’Rourke proposal to tax anti-LGBTQ churches

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In the aftermath of conservative backlash over Beto O’Rourke agreeing to lift the tax-exemption on churches that oppose same-sex marriage, Pete Buttigieg is distancing himself from the comments.

In an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper, Buttigieg said O’Rourke was wrong to respond in the affirmative when asked if as president he’d tax churches, schools and charities against same-sex marriage.

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Gay man in Rwanda notes ‘intense pressure’ after coming out

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Albert Nabonibo. Screenshot via YouTube.

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) | A Rwandan gospel singer who recently came out as gay says he has quit his day job as an accountant after “intense pressure” from colleagues.

Albert Nabonibo says he felt alienated and no longer a part of the beverages company that employed him in the capital, Kigali.

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