EXCLUSIVE: Undercover At NOM’s Anti-Gay Student Conference | Blog | Media Matters for America

Every summer for the past four years, the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) Ruth Institute has invited college students from across the country to participate in its weekend-long “It Takes A Family To Raise A Village” (ITAF) conference in San Diego, CA. According to NOM, the conference is meant to prepare college students to defend “natural marriage” on their campuses by introducing them to a number of prominent anti-gay speakers and activists.

This year, NOM expanded its ITAF conference to include recent college graduates in their early twenties. Being a 24-year-old gay blogger who has spent the better part of the past two years tracking NOM’s anti-gay extremism, I wasn’t expecting much when I applied to ITAF’s “Emerging Leaders” program in mid-June. I’d spent most of the month publishing blog post after blog post about ITAF’s anti-gay “suggested reading” list, its roster of extreme anti-gay speakers, and its ties to a megachurch linked to the “ex-gay” movement. The application didn’t require me to disclose my place of employment, but a quick Google search of my name would plainly reveal that I was no friend of NOM. Jennifer Morse, the president of NOM’s Ruth Institute, had even specifically responded to a post I’d published about her. I saw my application as more of a joke than anything else.

So when I got a “Congratulations” email at the end of July informing me that I’d been accepted into ITAF, I wasn’t sure how to react.

Honestly, part of me was terrified at the idea of having to spend a whole weekend stuck at a NOM event with a group of anti-gay student activists. What if I was discovered? What if someone from NOM recognized me? If I attended, I ran the risk of being exposed – all alone – as an undercover “homosexualist” in a room full of the very people I’d been writing about for months

via EXCLUSIVE: Undercover At NOM’s Anti-Gay Student Conference | Blog | Media Matters for America.

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Rev. Chuck Currie: Will You Marry Me? The Bible and Marriage Equality

small but growing number of clergy have decided in recent years not to sign marriage licenses because of the reality that in doing so we participate in a system that actively discriminates against gays and lesbians. This weekend I shared with my congregations in a sermon that I would join the ranks of these clergy because no where can I find a Biblical justification for this discrimination.

A generation ago interracial marriage was outlawed. This was justified by the use of Scripture. Genesis 28:1 reads: “Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, ‘You shall not marry one of the Canaanite women.” In the past, this piece of Scripture was interpreted by some Christians to mean that Hebrews and Canaanites were of different races and therefore no races should inter-marry. We may think this silly today but when Barack Obama was born his father — a black man — and his mother — a white woman — were barred from being legally married in many states and the justification was often biblical. We have discerned over time, led by the power of the Holy Spirit, to understand not only our own error in interpretation but also the reality that some of what is written in Scripture has no moral authority over us today. Or should I quote from 1 Timothy 2:11-12?

“Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent.”

I’m willing to make the faith claim that God has no problems with interracial marriages, wants women to speak boldly with the voice of Sophia (the embodiment of God’s wisdom), and that those who use Scripture to justify discrimination against gays and lesbians are making the same mistake in interpretation that we have made as a people over and over again.

via Rev. Chuck Currie: Will You Marry Me? The Bible and Marriage Equality.

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Same-sex marriage: Scotland urged to resist Catholic church campaign | Society | guardian.co.uk

The Scottish government has been urged to stand firm over its plans to legalise same-sex marriage and not be derailed by an “anti-gay agenda” as the Catholic church in Scotland launched a campaign to maintain “the universally accepted definition of marriage” as a union between a man and a woman.

In a letter read out in all 500 of the church’s parishes, Scotland’s Catholic bishops expressed their “deep disappointment” that Alex Salmond’s administration has vowed to pass legislation that could see the first gay marriage ceremonies by 2015. The letter called on worshippers to pray for their political leaders so that they may preserve the traditional nature of marriage “for the good of Scotland and of our society”.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the country’s Catholic church who last weekend broke off direct talks with the Scottish government on gay marriage, said: “The church’s teaching on marriage is unequivocal, it is uniquely, the union of a man and a woman and it is wrong that governments, politicians or parliaments should seek to alter or destroy that reality.”

He added: “While we pray that our elected leaders will sustain rather than subvert marriage, we promise to continue to do everything we can to convince them that redefining marriage would be wrong for society.”

Gay rights activists condemned the move. “It is increasingly clear that the church has an anti-gay agenda that it wants to impose on the rest of society,” said Tom French, policy co-ordinator of the Equality Network. “We urge the Scottish government to stand firm on plans to introduce equal marriage and not give in to demands that would discriminate against LGBT people.”

via Same-sex marriage: Scotland urged to resist Catholic church campaign | Society | guardian.co.uk.

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Maryland gay marriage ballot referendum – baltimoresun.com

The campaign to affirm Maryland’s marriage equality law at the ballot box began in earnest last week when the secretary of state released the official language that voters will see when they go to the polls in November. It lays out in straightforward terms what the law does and what it doesn’t do. It allows Marylanders to vote for permitting gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license but does not compel any religious figure to perform or recognize gay marriages or to provide goods or services for a gay wedding. Quite simply, it says that Maryland recognizes the need to treat everyone with fairness and equality while maintaining the respect for religious liberty that was a bedrock of this state’s founding.

 

But it didn’t take long for opponents to drag out the same specious attacks they have used to great effect in other states where gay marriage has been on the ballot. Within hours of the release of the ballot language, Derek McCoy, the executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, the group that spearheaded the petition drive to put the law on the ballot, had telegraphed the arguments that we are likely to hear much more of in the months ahead. “Maryland parents who send their children to public schools are immediately asking how does this affect what is taught in schools,” he said in a statement. “Business owners have a right to know if their personal opinions about same-sex marriage will find them in violation of the law.”

 

Neither question has anything to do with the matter at hand, but since he asked, here are the answers: “Not at all” and “No.”

via Maryland gay marriage ballot referendum – baltimoresun.com.

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Marriage equality activist takes cause to Duluth’s Depot | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota

NOH8 Campaign photo shoot at the Duluth Depot

Celebrity photographer and NOH8 co-founder Adam Bouska was at the Duluth Depot on Sunday to support marriage equality.

Bouska and partner Jeff Parshaley created NOH8 as a photographic silent protest after California voters passed Proposition 8 in 2008, amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

The campaign’s subjects have their pictures taken with duct tape over their mouths to symbolize their voices being silenced by Proposition 8 and similar legislation elsewhere. The campaign charges subjects to have their pictures taken, with the money going to promote marriage equality and anti-discrimination.

The campaign will have a photo shoot Sept. 20 in St. Paul, but the Delligers wanted to take part before Amber gives birth to the couple’s second child.

via Marriage equality activist takes cause to Duluth’s Depot | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota.

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