State certifies petition to place same-sex marriage law on ballot – Baltimore Sun

Maryland’s Board of Elections certified a petition Tuesday to put the state’s new same-sex marriage law on the November ballot, the final procedural step needed for voters to challenge the controversial law.

“We’re excited, we’re on the ballot,” said Dereck McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, a church-led group pushing to repeal the law. “We’re glad that we were able to have a loud say

via State certifies petition to place same-sex marriage law on ballot – Baltimore Sun.

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Roman Catholic Church of Scotland declares ‘war on gay marriage’ – LGBTQ Nation

EDINBURGH, Scotland — The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland and the most senior Catholic in the United Kingdom has declared “war on gay marriage,” pledging to spend another £100,000 in its campaign against equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in Scotland.

Speaking in today’s Sunday Times, Cardinal Keith O’Brien warned the Scottish Government that it will face an “unprecedented backlash” from the Catholic Church in Scotland if it goes ahead with plans to legalize same-sex marriage, claiming “marriage is under threat and politicians need to know the Catholic Church will bear any burden and meet any cost in its defense.”

via Roman Catholic Church of Scotland declares ‘war on gay marriage’ – LGBTQ Nation.

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Maiden gay cruise to Muslim land hits Morocco snag | Reuters


RABAT (Reuters) – Organisers of an all-gay cruise on Saturday blamed Moroccan officials for the cancellation of what would have been the first visit of its kind to a Muslim country, but the tourism minister denied the ship was banned and said its passengers were welcome.

Cruise liner Holland America Line and trip organiser RSVP Vacations told the 2,100 holiday-makers aboard the MS Nieuw Amsterdam ship that the July 1 visit to Casablanca had been cancelled.

“Our port agent in Casablanca has advised us that authorities in Morocco have — despite previous confirmations — now denied our scheduled visit,” the two companies said in a letter tweeted to news organizations by passengers of the ship.

“For all of us, this is a very disappointing development,” they added. “It was ultimately the decision by local authorities in Morocco that has necessitated us to adjust our plans.”

The Casablanca visit was supposed to be the first and the only non-European leg of a week-long journey for the cruise liner, which sailed from Barcelona on Friday with mostly American and European passengers.

Morocco’s Tourism Minister Lahcen Haddad said no official decision had been made to prevent the ship from stopping in Morocco.

“We don’t ban cruise ships here and we never ask our visitors about their sexual preferences,” he told Reuters. Asked if the MS Nieuw Amsterdam could still visit Morocco, he said: “They can if the organisers want to”.

Haddad is from the secular Popular Movement Party, a junior partner in Morocco’s ruling coalition led by moderate Islamists of the Justice and Development Party PJD.L.

PJD came to power in December, riding a regional wave of support for Islamist movements amid Arab revolts but saying it would not impose a strict moral code. The tourism sector accounts for 10 percent of Morocco’s GDP and 450,000 jobs.

The cruise ship’s visit had caught the attention of local media in this generally conservative society where the law deems same-gender sexual relationships “lewd or unnatural” and punishes them with six months to three years in jail. No political parties call for ending laws against homosexuality.

Morocco has an Islamic-inspired penal code that bans sex outside marriage and Moroccans buying alcohol, but authorities favour a tolerant brand of Islam in which young urban couples display affection in the street and locals often outnumber tourists in bars and night clubs.

That has partly helped Morocco to attract large numbers of tourists, especially from western Europe, providing much-needed foreign currency and jobs to an economy that lacks the oil riches of neighbouring states. (Reporting By Souhail Karam; Editing by Roger Atwood)

via Maiden gay cruise to Muslim land hits Morocco snag | Reuters.

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Southern Baptists: Gay rights not same as civil rights – The Washington Post

The nation’s largest Protestant denomination is attempting to broaden its appeal beyond its traditional white Southern base. At the same time, leaders said they feel it is important to take a public stand on their opposition to same-sex marriage.The resolution acknowledges that gays and lesbians sometimes experience “unique struggles” but declares that they lack the “distinguishing features of classes entitled to special protections.”

via Southern Baptists: Gay rights not same as civil rights – The Washington Post.

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Fundraising for campaign against gay marriage kicks off on Father’s Day — State — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

Ken Graves, senior pastor, urged people to contribute because “the family is under attack.”

Between 150 and 200 churches were expected to participate in the Father’s Day event.

We have intentionally chosen Father’s Day to emphasize the stark differences between those who support Biblical marriage and those who are attempting to redefine marriage,” Pastor Bob Emrich, chairman of Protect Marriage Maine, said last week in a letter to fellow members of the clergy. “We believe God designed and utilizes the differences between men and women to establish the ideal environment to raise a family. The other side believes moms and dads are replaceable by generic adults.

“They have raised over $500,000 in nearly a year,” he continued. “We have no illusions of matching that amount, but I believe it is critical for the state of Maine to see our Christian community and its churches enthusiastically support Protect Marriage Maine.”

As of June 1, Mainers United for Marriage, supporters of same-sex marriage, had raised about $359,000 compared with the nearly $10,000 raised by Protect Marriage Maine, according to documents filed with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. Since then, same-sex marriage supporters raised more than $120,000 to match a $100,000 contribution from a co-founder of Facebook.

Supporters of same-sex marriage in Maine said earlier this year that they expect to raise $5 million or more for their campaign. Opponents have said they expect to raise far less, but collection plate offerings will go a long way toward helping fund the campaign, Carroll Conley, director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, said last month.

via Fundraising for campaign against gay marriage kicks off on Father’s Day — State — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine.

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Growing Up LGBT In America: HRC Survey Polls 10,000 Gay Youth On Bullying And Education Issues

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth are twice as likely to say they have been physically assaulted, kicked or shoved at school. Ninety-two percent say they hear negative messages about being LGBT through school, the Internet and peers, while 42 percent say the community they live in is not accepting of LGBT people.

Those are just three of the more disturbing statistics unveiled by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as part of its “Growing Up LGBT In America” survey, released to coincide with the start of the advocacy group’s incoming president Chad Griffin’s tenure.

HRC officials have deemed the survey — which polled more than 10,000 LGBT youth between the ages of 13 and 17 years old around the country — “groundbreaking,” though acknowledging that it “provides a stark picture of the difficulties they face — the impact on their well-being is profound.”

On a more optimistic note, however, officials also note that “these youth are quite resilient. They find safe havens among their peers, online and in their schools.”

In a statement cited by MetroWeekly among other publications, Griffin noted, “We have a responsibility to change that, because we know all too well that there are real life consequences to inaction.”

You can view the full report here.

Growing Up LGBT In America: HRC Survey Polls 10,000 Gay Youth On Bullying And Education Issues.

Caiden Cowger, Conservative Teen Radio Host, Slams President Obama For ‘Making Kids Gay’

A West Virginia-based teen radio host is making waves after proclaiming that President Obama “is making kids gay” in a recent episode.

Fourteen-year-old Caiden Cowger, who hosts the twice-weekly “Caiden Cowger Show,” made his anti-gay proclamations in a recent broadcast, video of which was uploaded to his YouTube channel on May 26. “Homosexuality is a belief,” Cowger, who has previously interviewed former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, declares. “The person is not born that way, no matter what Lady Gaga says…it is a decision.”

After confessing that he was once friends with some kids who have since come out as gay, he notes, “They were not homosexuals [then]…they just decided all of a sudden, ‘I think I’m going to be gay,'” before he eventually concludes, “I’m going to tell you this, guys: President Obama…Vice President Biden…is making kids gay!”

Cowger, who is identified by The New Civil Rights Movement as a Pentecostal Christian, slams homosexuality as “a perverted belief, it’s immoral and not natural” before noting, “I’m not for bullying homosexuals, I believe that it’s wrong. But when you’re trying to teach them the word of God and they consider that bullying…I find that a big problem, not being allowed to convert other people to my religion.”

via Caiden Cowger, Conservative Teen Radio Host, Slams President Obama For ‘Making Kids Gay’.

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Maryland gay marriage foes have signatures for referendum | Reuters

Tue May 29, 2012 7:42pm EDT

(Reuters) – Opponents of same-sex marriage in Maryland announced on Tuesday they have submitted more than twice the number of signatures needed to put the state’s new law allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry before voters in a referendum.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance, a coalition of groups working to preserve the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, said it has collected more than 113,000 voter signatures.

That figure far exceeded the 56,000 signatures needed to bring the law to a referendum. A third of those had to be submitted by Thursday.

“There are people that are just impassioned about this issue around the state,” said the organization’s executive director, Derek McCoy, speaking after a press conference announcing the success of the petition drive. “I think what you’re seeing is, people don’t want a radical redefinition of marriage just on a whim.”

McCoy said more than 4,000 people trained to collect signatures campaigned in churches and other venues, and held gatherings in their homes within the last couple of months.

He said support for the referendum grew after President Barack Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, as Maryland voters unhappy with this announcement “came off the fence” and decided to sign the petition.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign manager Josh Levin said in a statement that the opponents’ announcement comes as no surprise, but added that “it’s clear those opposed to marriage equality are losing ground.”

A poll conducted recently by the organization found 57 percent of Maryland residents would vote to uphold the law legalizing same-sex unions, and 37 percent would vote against it if the election were held today.

In March, Maryland became the eighth U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage, joining the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York. when Governor Martin O’Malley signed the measure into law.

In Washington state, where Governor Christine Gregoire signed a law legalizing same-sex marriage in February, opponents are trying to bring the issue to a voter referendum in November. In New Jersey, similar legislation passed both houses before it was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.

via Maryland gay marriage foes have signatures for referendum | Reuters.

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Residents upset after county bends rules for pastor protestors |

CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. — Residents are in a fury with Catawba County leaders for making an exception to an existing rule. Protestors were allowed to demonstrate Sunday against a pastor who made anti-gay comments during a sermon on Mother’s Day. County ordinance requires groups to submit a request for a permit to use public grounds. Groups are required to submit the request 14 days in advance.

via Residents upset after county bends rules for pastor protestors |

Pastor Worley preaches to joyful, supportive congregation at Maiden church | Hickory Daily Record

MAIDEN, N.C. – It was an emotional service on Sunday morning at Providence Road Baptist Church as the congregation rallied around Pastor Charles Worley, one week after his controversial remarks regarding homosexuals became public.

Church members and about 100 visitors from in and outside the area gave Worley a standing ovation when he approached the pulpit. A few members stood up from the pews and spoke out in favor of Worley as officers watched and intervened when one particularly longwinded member spoke.

The atmosphere was a vocal and jubilant one. The sanctuary was mostly full, with the vast majority of the crowd singing and crying out in joy. Many threw their hands up in praising the Lord and in support of the pastor.

via Pastor Worley preaches to joyful, supportive congregation at Maiden church | Hickory Daily Record.