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 20, 2013 |
A jury of Methodist pastors ruled Monday that a Lebanon County, Pa., minister violated church doctrine when he presided over his son's marriage to a man - a decision that the Rev. Frank Schaefer said was made out of love, not as an act of rebellion. The verdict was not unexpected; Schaefer, pastor of Zion United Methodist Church of Iona, admitted that he knew he was going against church doctrine by ministering to his son, Tim, at his wedding. A red-eyed Tim Schaefer left the building after the verdict was read, and was greeted by applause from supporters in the chilly night air. "I'm obviously very saddened, so what we're hoping for tomorrow is a light sentence," he said.
November 17, 2013 |
HARRISBURG A federal judge on Friday denied the Corbett administration's motion to dismiss a lawsuit over the constitutionality of the state's same-sex marriage ban, clearing the way for a trial next year. District Judge John E. Jones III rejected the commonwealth's argument that a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court case determined that marriage rights are a state issue, not a federal one. Jones wrote that while he agreed that Baker v. Nelson set a precedent at the time, he had to consider "significant doctrinal developments in the four decades" since, among them the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act. "The jurisprudence of equal protection and substantive due process has undergone what can only be characterized as a sea change since 1972," Jones wrote.
November 12, 2013 |
Do you like your biographies historically accurate, or delivered with artistic license? Your preference - and judgment - will matter much in how you respond to Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife , now receiving a sharply performed, thought-provoking production at Theatre Horizon. Wright's one-person play centers on interviews he conducted in 1992-93 with Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (Charlie DelMarcelle), an East German transvestite and antiquarian who ran the Gründerzeit Museum and provided a haven for gays and lesbians under East German repression.
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.
November 7, 2013 |
Beth Stroud, a Methodist pastor, said she knew what to expect when she told her Philadelphia congregation in 2003 that she was a lesbian. A church trial. A guilty verdict. And a vote to strip her minister credentials. All three happened. What shocked Stroud was the jury vote on her punishment: 7-6. One shy of being able to serve as an openly homosexual pastor in the United Methodist Church. A decade has passed since Stroud challenged the church, drawing intense national attention and supporters and protesters to her trial.
November 4, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Another week brings another tricky vote in the Senate for Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey. This time, it's on a top priority for gay-rights groups: a bill to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA. A key procedural vote was scheduled for Monday evening after the bill gained support last week from moderate Democrats. It has backing from at least four Republicans, but still needs one more vote to clear procedural hurdles.
November 3, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA Since more than 30 United Methodist Church pastors announced last month that they would jointly officiate a same-sex wedding ceremony in defiance of church law, organizers say, more clergy have signed on, including some from other denominations. The Rev. David Brown of Philadelphia's Arch Street United Methodist Church said he anticipates between 40 and 50 members of the clergy could preside over the wedding next Saturday. But with all that is on the line - including the possible loss of their credentials for the Methodist participants - Brown said the number could fluctuate until the day of the wedding.
October 25, 2013 |
TRENTON Supporters of same-sex marriage declared victory when Gov. Christie on Monday dropped his appeal of a trial court decision that allowed gay couples to begin marrying that day. Though they say the battle is won, New Jersey lawmakers who back gay marriage are now trying to decide what steps they should take to pass a law reinforcing the trial court's decision, and to address civil unions and religious exemptions - two issues not resolved...
October 25, 2013 |
NEW HOPE The candidates insist it's not a defining issue in their election, and voters say it won't necessarily sway them at the polls. But it's tough to talk about politics in New Hope, historically one of the gay-friendliest towns in the region, without veering into Mayor Larry Keller's decision in August to turn down a same-sex couple who asked him to officiate their wedding. "When I walk around and I start to talk to people, that's what comes up," said Council President Claire Shaw.