Episcopal Church Makes Landmark Decision for Transgender Inclusion

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-susan-russell/episcopal-church-makes-landmark-decision-for-transgender-inclusion_b_1659928.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay%20Voices


07/09/2012

Today the Episcopal Church “put the T in equality” by explicitly including transgender people in the work and witness of the Episcopal Church and as candidates to the ordained ministry. In voting to concur with the earlier actions of our bishops, the House of Deputies officially added gender identity and gender expression to the non-discrimination canons — making today a very good day to be an Episcopalian.

And it is not just a good day for transgender Episcopalians and their friends, families and allies. It is a good day for all of us who are part of a church willing to the risk to continue to draw the circle wider as we work to live out our call to make God’s inclusive love known to the whole human family.

In her sermon Sunday morning, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori challenged all of us who gathered as the General Convention community — bishops, deputies, volunteers and visitors — to step over the fence between fear and possibility. And in today’s vote for inclusion, the Episcopal Church did precisely that. Just as we stepped over the fears surrounding the ordination of women in the 1970s and the fears of the ordination of gays and lesbians in the 1990s, today we stepped over the fear of our transgender brothers and sisters and into the possibility that at long last the end of the “inclusion wars” are in sight.

Now, before you jump to the comments to remind me we’re not done with sexism or homophobia in the church let me assure you I know that far too well. Yes, we still have plenty of work to do to make all the resolutions of our conventions realities in our communities. Nevertheless, today’s actions represent a significant step forward as we continue to live out our vocation as a church committed to respecting the dignity of every human being — and so there is much to rejoice and be glad in.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-susan-russell/episcopal-church-makes-landmark-decision-for-transgender-inclusion_b_1659928.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay%20Voices

See also The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/politics/religion/2012/07/09/episcopalians-provisionally-approve-marriage-rites-and-transgender

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Episcopalians set to be first big US church to bless gay marriage

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/10/episcopal-church-gay-marriage

Decision in December will make the Episcopal Church the biggest US church to allow a liturgy for same-sex marriages

Reuters in Indianapolis
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 10 July 2012

The US Episcopal Church is poised to become the first major religious denomination in the United States to approve a rite for blessing gay marriages after its bishops overwhelmingly approved such a liturgy on Monday.

The proposed blessing was agreed by the church’s Chamber of Bishops at a meeting in Indianapolis and is expected to receive final approval from its House of Deputies later this week, according to Ruth Meyers, a chair of the Episcopalians’ Subcommittee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music.

The decision would go into effect in December and make the Episcopal Church, an independent US-based institution affiliated with global Anglicanism, the biggest US church to allow a liturgy for same-sex marriages.

The Episcopal Church is the 14th-largest denomination in the United States with nearly 2 million adherents, according to the National Council of Churches.

The United Church of Christ, a mainstream Protestant denomination with about a million members, has gone further so far than any other US church, voting in 2005 to support same sex marriage.

The new Episcopal same-sex liturgy, called “the Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant,” would be a standard rite for same-sex marriage.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/10/episcopal-church-gay-marriage

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OPINION: Is John Corvino In Cahoots With NOM On Regnerus ‘Study’?

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/opinion-is-john-corvino-in-cahoots-with-nom-on-regnerus-study/politics/2012/07/08/43070

by Scott Rose
on July 8, 2012

Reposted with Permission

I never did like the smell of gay philosopher John Corvino collaborating with NOM’s Maggie Gallagher on a book, Debating Same-Sex Marriage, and book promotions during a presidential election year.

Because Corvino is beholden to the publisher to help with book promotions, he can go only so far in his criticisms of Gallagher and NOM.

Would the head of the NAACP co-author a book “debating” David Duke the white supremacist?

One does not debate such monsters, because accepting to debate them gives their monstrous bigotry an unwarranted imprimatur of respectability.

Certain attitudes, statements and actions just do cross over a line; Gallagher has said she is not “willing” to live in a country that gives anti-discrimination protections to gay people, she has knowingly sought to perpetuate conditions that increase youth suicide levels, her organization sponsors rallies where its speakers yell through megaphones that homosexuals are “worthy to death,” and one of its leaders, William Duncan, held a Liberty University symposium sessions titled “Homosexuals or Homo Sapiens; Who Deserves Protected Class Status?”

A recent hoax perpetrated thanks to NOM-connected funding by the University of Texas’s religious right-wing sociologist Mark Regnerus “found” that homosexual parents are dangerous to children.

NOM has been running with sadistic joy, spreading the “findings” of the Regnerus hoax its co-founder helped finance, exacerbating what the Southern Poverty Law Center long has noted as NOM’s propensity to tell known negative falsehoods about gay people.

Because Corvino and Gallagher were already in a business collaboration through their co-authored book with their publisher, and have long been seen engaging in inane banter with each other, as though knowingly perpetuating conditions that exacerbate youth suicide qualified somebody as a delightful tea party guest, when the Regnerus excrement hit the fan, Corvino and Gallagher brought their act to the pages of the right-wing National Review.

Corvino had stated that for the purposes of Regnerus’s study, Ted Haggard would have been classified as a gay father. Gallagher told him he was wrong about that. He responded by doubling down to insist that she was in error about his being wrong about the Haggard family vis-a-vis Regnerus’s study. It was all more fun than a barrel of anti-gay bigots.

The trouble is that Corvino is totally wrong. The Regnerus Survey Instrument first asked respondents their ages, to make sure that they were in the right age range, and then asked them if they lived together with their biological mother and father until they were 18. If they answered “Yes,” they got skipped ahead in the survey, and never asked whether one of their parents had ever had a “same sex romantic relationship.” A young adult child of the Haggard union would truthfully answer that their biological mother and father had them under a same roof until they were 18. That Haggard family survivor would then not be asked whether Ted, the gay-bashing, meth-abusing, gay hustler-hiring hypocrite, had ever had a “same-sex romantic relationship.” Their parent Ted Haggard would not get classified as “gay.”

Yet there is John Corvino, gay rights champion and NOM/Gallagher collaborator, insisting that a Ted Haggard would have been classified as a gay father in Regnerus’s study, even though that is verifiably false.

With Gallagher leading the promotions of the study, and Corvino playing dumb-guy sidekick to her,  he helps to cast her promotions of Regnerus is a “smart” light; Corvino is making Gallagher look good; pathetic for him as that might be.

Regnerus’s University of Texas is investing a lot of time and money into promoting the NOM-related-funded Regnerus hoax. NOM leaders evidently handpicked, and certainly approved of the religious right-wing Regnerus of the University of Texas carrying out their study on same-sex parenting, even though Regnerus has no credentials in that field.  And what an extraordinary coincidence it is, that John Corvino earned his Ph.D. from that very same University of Texas, Austin.

Is it really just coincidence, that 1) the University of Texas, Austin is using its economic resources to promote the NOM-Witherspoon-funded Regnerus-study; that 2) NOM’s Maggie Gallagher has a business collaboration with John Corvino, from which they both harvest advantages; that; 3) both Regnerus and Corvino have a connection with the University of Texas, Austin, and that; 4) all of those varied NOM-related connections to UT — from which UT is profiting — are occurring simultaneously in an election year?

Is the appearance that 1) NOM; 2) Maggie Gallagher; 3) the UT-and-NOM-connected John Corvino, and; 4) the UT-and-NOM-connected Mark Regnerus all got in on action centering on 5) the University of Texas, Austin in an election year only an appearance, or did some sort of planning go into this?

After all, Mark Regnerus had no prior experience in the field of same-sex parenting, and any number of appropriately-credentialed sociologists might have been called on to carry out a study on same-sex parenting instead. How very curious that a not-appropriately-credentialed, religious arch-social-regressive scholar at a university system overseen by religious right Regents appointed by the religious right Governor Rick Perry — who has endorsed Mitt Romney, who has signed the anti-gay-rights NOM pledge — should have been NOM-Witherspoon’s choice to carry out a study on same-sex parenting.

Let us not forget that the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform says that homosexuality tears at the fabric of society. And let us not ignore that Corvino’s public remarks on Regnerus have mainly involved his National Review back-and-forth with Gallagher, consistent with a book promotions plan, and that Corvino did not sign the letter from over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s condemning the study.

As a “public intellectual” with a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin, Corvino is in a position to demand that the school do the right thing and promptly denounce the NOM-Regnerus hoax as constituting sociological malpractice, because the “study” makes no valid sociological comparison between heterosexual and homosexual parents.

Corvino should be standing up and demanding that those Rick Perry-appointed Regents of the University of Texas respect academic integrity, distance themselves from the NOM-Regnerus hoax, and apologize to the nation’s gay community.

Corinvo’s reputation, after all, is tied at least somewhat to the university’s. If the school lowers its academic standards, the perceived worth of his doctorate declines.

Yet, as somebody tied to NOM’s Maggie Gallagher in the commercial enterprise that is their co-authored book, Corvino can be expected to remain more devoted to the NOM-linked commercial enterprise than to the well-being of the LGBT community nationwide.

New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising

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How Cities are Fighting back against the Banksters

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The Cowardly Lions of ‘Free Speech’

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/10-2

by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship
Published on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 by Common Dreams

In all the hullabaloo over the Supreme Court’s decision on health care, another of its rulings quickly fell off the public radar. Before deciding the fate of the Affordable Care Act, the Court announced it would not reconsider Citizens United, the odious 5-4 decision two years ago that opened our elections to unlimited contributions.

Within minutes of that announcement, right-wing partisans were crowing about the advantage they now own, an advantage not due to ideas or personalities but to the sheer force of money. They were remarkably candid and specific.

Here’s what Fred Barnes wrote in The Weekly Standard about the Senate race in Missouri:

For three weeks in May, Republican super-PACs took turns attacking Democratic senator Claire McCaskill in TV ads. Republicans hadn’t held their primary — it’s not until August 7 — but McCaskill wound up trailing all three of the GOP candidates in polls. Now McCaskill, unnerved, is struggling to recover… That’s what super-PACs can do. When they emerged in 2010 and worked in tandem, they were a critical force in the Republican landslide in the congressional elections. This year they’re playing an even bigger role. The size and reach of their efforts dwarf what they did two years ago.

Attaboy, Fred, for telling it like it is, for exposing the hoax that the Court’s original decision was about “free” speech. No, it’s about carpet bombing elections with all the tonnage your rich paymasters want to buy.

Try not to laugh when you hear one of its perpetrators, the noted lawyer Floyd Abrams, say, as he did not too long ago:

“I don’t think we should want as a matter of policy, to make decisions which are essentially, people can’t do all the speaking that they can in a political campaign. I don’t think we can ration speech.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/10-2

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Scientists attribute extreme weather to man-made climate change

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/10/extreme-weather-manmade-climate-change

Researchers have for the first time attributed recent floods, droughts and heatwaves, to human-induced climate change

, environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 10 July 2012

Climate change researchers have been able to attribute recent examples of extreme weather to the effects of human activity on the planet’s climate systems for the first time, marking a major step forward in climate research.

The findings make it much more likely that we will soon – within the next few years – be able to discern whether the extremely wet and cold summer and spring so far experienced in the UK this year are attributable to human causes rather than luck, according to the researchers.

Last year’s record warm November in the UK – the second hottest since records began in 1659 – was at least 60 times more likely to happen because of climate change than owing to natural variations in the earth’s weather systems, according to the peer-reviewed studies by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US, and the Met Office in the UK. The devastating heatwave that blighted farmers in Texas in the US last year, destroying crop yields in another record “extreme weather event”, was about 20 times more likely to have happened owing to climate change than to natural variation.

Attributing individual weather events, such as floods, droughts and heatwaves, to human-induced climate change – rather than natural variation in the planet’s complex weather systems – has long been a goal of climate change scientists. But the difficulty of separating the causation of events from the background “noise” of the variability in the earth’s climate systems has until now made such attribution an elusive goal.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/10/extreme-weather-manmade-climate-change

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Pat Robertson: Ignore what the Bible says about Slavery

From Right Wing Watch:  http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/pat-robertson-ignore-what-bible-says-about-slavery

by Brian Tashman on Mon
07/09/2012

Apparently, we can pick and choose parts of the Bible after all, says Pat Robertson. When asked on the 700 Club today why some believe “America was founded as a Christian nation” even though it allowed slavery, Robertson said, “like it or not, if you read the Bible in the Old Testament, slavery was permitted.” But Robertson concluded that despite what the Bible says, “We have moved in our conception of the value of human beings until we realized slavery was terribly wrong.” Of course, when Dan Savage made a similar point about the Bible (albeit with saltier language), the Religious Right was irate.

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