January 6, 2014 |
WEST PHILA. A drama that drew the attention of the international United Methodist Church - a Lebanon, Pa., pastor who was defrocked after officiating at his gay son's wedding - could soon be told on a Philadelphia stage. West Philadelphia's Curio Theatre Company is writing a play about Frank Schaefer's church trial. Producers say it will give a neutral take on a case that highlights the divide over homosexual rights within the United Methodist Church. "It's a story that needs to be heard and should be out there," said the theater's managing director, Gay Carducci-Kuhn.
December 21, 2013 |
The Rev. Frank Schaefer was defrocked Thursday for refusing to abide by the United Methodist Church's policies on homosexuality, writing another chapter in a case that stirred a wider call for social change when he was put on trial for officiating at his son's gay wedding. Schaefer, of Lebanon, Pa., had hoped that the church's Board of Ordained Ministers would allow him to keep his credentials, effectively letting him stand as a voice for gay rights in a church deeply divided over its ban on same-sex weddings and gay clergy.
December 20, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - Within hours of word that Gov. Corbett would throw his weight behind a gay rights bill, reaction came swiftly, and battle lines on the left and the right were drawn again. Democrats welcomed news that Corbett - who had previously staked a position as a social conservative - would support a bill to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, while some conservatives assailed him for selling out on Republican principles. And others on both sides of the issue attributed the governor's abrupt pivot to politics and as a way to salvage his historically low approval ratings.
November 23, 2013 |
United Methodist Bishop Peggy Johnson said Thursday that she wanted to avoid putting the Rev. Frank Schaefer on trial for presiding over his gay son's wedding, but that her hands were tied by the Methodist Book of Discipline. "I tried very, very, very hard to avoid this trial. I used all of the means I had to try to solve this," she said. "I did not prevail. " Her comments, made outside the Norristown office of the church's Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, came as the bishop was presented with a petition signed by more than 25,000 people encouraging her to stop holding church trials.
November 9, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania on Thursday joined nine other Republicans in a bipartisan vote hailed as a historic victory for gay rights, helping the Senate pass a bill barring workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a priority for gay-rights advocates since its introduction in 1994, cleared the Senate on a 64-32 vote, the lopsided result illustrating the sea change in the politics around issues concerning gays, lesbians, and transgender people.
October 24, 2013 |
Another day, another map in which Pennsylvania sits within the Northeast as an emphatic rectangle of red surrounded by a sea of regional blue. The issue is same-sex marriage, but it hardly matters, nor does the hue, olive, brown, whatever. In the Northeast, Pennsylvania is the state of a different color, consistently and almost exclusively apart on vital issues: gay rights, access to reproductive health, Medicaid expansion, voter ID. The message tends to be anywhere but here. Looking at those maps, I am reminded of that great Sesame Street ditty: "One of these things is not like the others.
August 12, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania received three reminders last week of how far the state has moved toward changing its laws on gay rights and same-sex marriage - and of how strong opposition to such change remains. The tension between those poles in state politics played out at Montgomery County's offices, where the 103d marriage license to a same-sex couple was issued Friday, and in the Capitol, where, even as some legislators called for outlawing antigay bias in the workplace, a central Pennsylvania lawmaker laid out his case in strong language for preserving the ban on gay marriage.
August 1, 2013
WE THOUGHT it would be difficult for Pennsylvania - the least progressive state in the region, and one of the least in the union on gay rights - to look much worse. But this week, we managed to sink even lower. This week, Pennsylvania became less progressive on gay rights than the pope . The Catholic Church, of course, is not exactly renowned for its tolerance toward the LGBT community. The previous pope, Benedict XVI, approved an order calling homosexual acts "grave sins" that are "intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law. " Earlier this week, Pope Francis struck a much different tone, saying, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?"
July 28, 2013 |
NEW YORK - Amid a surge of antigay violence and repression in several countries, the United Nations' human-rights office on Friday launched its first global outreach campaign to promote tolerance and greater equality for lesbians, gays, transgender people, and bisexuals. Called Free and Equal, it's an unprecedented effort by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to change public attitudes around the world on issues that have bitterly divided the United Nations' own member states.
July 1, 2013 |
This year's Gay Pride Month was capped off with a present on marriage equality from the Supreme Court. For me, a marshal at the first gay pride march in New York 44 years ago, this was an amazing moment. Back then, we didn't know if the city would give us a permit for a march. We didn't know if we'd make it through the day without violence. Then, there were no openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) characters on TV. No politicians supported gay rights; no elected gay officials were out. Churches called us sinners; police harassed us. Showing affection in public might result in arrest, the loss of your job, or physical violence.