On the 50th Anniversary of Metropolitan Community Church, founder Rev. Troy Perry reflects on how his personal crisis and the historic Patch Raid combined to inspire the first openly LGBTQ Christian movement.
Romania’s high court and upcoming marriage vote clash, top U.N. officials stand up for queer humanity, the Inter-American Commission challenges Chile on marriage equality, U.S. Senators block religious bias in fostering and adoption, Kenya bows to Oscar by briefly screening Rafiki, Queen Elizabeth’s queer cousin ties the knot, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of October 1, 2018
Queer Church Genesis!
Program #1,592 distributed 10/01/18
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Romania’s top court issues a landmark decision that same-gender couples are equal to
Feature: Decades before “welcoming and affirming” was a common phrase let alone a reality for any mainstream religious group, one excommunicated
Satisfying your weekly minimum requirement of queer news and culture for more than 30 years!
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBT communities for the week ending September 29th, 2018 Written by Greg Gordon, produced with Brian DeShazor, and reported this week by Monique Lukens and Wenzel Jones
In a landmark ruling this week, Romania’s Constitutional Court decided that same-gender couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples to privacy and a family life, and should “benefit from … legal … recognition of their rights and obligations.” The September 27th ruling comes just days before Romanians will vote in a national referendum to restrict civil marriage in the constitution to one man and one woman. The constitution currently says only that marriage is between “spouses.” Some three million Romanians signed a petition demanding the constitutional change to force the national vote.
Teodor Ion-Rotaru, a spokesperson for the country’s leading LGBTQ rights group ACCEPT, told the Associated Press that the ruling is “extremely important” because “the court says a same-sex family is worth as much as a heterosexual family.”
A number of human rights groups, including Amnesty International and the European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law have deplored the referendum, saying that it “panders to homophobia.”
Romanians will go to the polls on October 6th and 7th to decide whether or not to change their constitution to make civil marriage exclusively heterosexual. At least 30 percent of all registered voters must participate in order for the result to matter. Equality activists have called on all fair-minded Romanians to boycott the vote in an effort to keep the tally below the 30 percent threshold.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres celebrated this year’s 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to tell the world body’s LGBTI Core Group that the U.N. “stands up for the rights of the LGBTI community.” Guterres succeeded Ban Ki-moon last year, who was a valiant proponent of equality during his tenure.
These were Guterres’ first remarks to the Core Group – established in 2008 to promote international queer equality – since he became the U.N.’s most senior official. “Many … [LGBTI community] members are imprisoned, abused and even killed simply for who they are or whom they love,” he said in a video message during the annual meeting of world leaders in New York this week. “But so long as people face criminalization, bias and violence based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics, we must redouble our efforts to end these violations.”
Queer rights advocates generally praised his sentiments, but called for his words to be turned into concrete actions.
The new U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who assumed that post in August, was also praised for her remarks to the group. She served as President of Chilé for two non-consecutive terms that ended earlier this year, and tried but failed to get lawmakers to approve marriage equality legislation. “More than 70 countries criminalize consensual same sex relationships, and also criminalize transgender people based on their appearance,” she said. “These laws … also implicitly encourage prejudice, hatred and violence. But laws can change.”
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered Chilé’s executive branch this week to explain why Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick was quoted as saying that Chiléan President Sebastián Piñera “will exercise all the powers that the Constitution gives him … to impede” marriage equality, and why Undersecretary for Human Rights Lorena Recabarren said that “marriage equality … is not in the government program.”
Chilé is bound by the January 2018 Inter-American Court of Human Rights marriage equality ruling, which ordered 20 nations that have signed the American Convention on Human Rights to open civil marriage to same-gender couples. Those couples already enjoy marriage equality in four of the signatory nations.
The president of Chilé’s Supreme Court has said that consultative opinions issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, such as the marriage ruling, are indeed binding on the Piñera government.
The marriage equality bill proposed during Michelle Bachelet’s administration remains stalled in Congress, where it is now said to have majority support in both houses.
A U.S. Republican lawmaker lost his bid this week to attach an anti-queer rider to a must-pass funding bill that would have effectively allowed adoption and foster care agencies across the country to claim religious belief as a reason to reject applications from same-gender couples.
Alabama Congressman Robert Aderholt’s proposal was called a “license to discriminate” by opponents, but it passed in the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee, mostly along party lines. Queer activists feared the worst because the Senate is also under Republican control. But House members of a Conference Committee to resolve differences with the Senate’s version of the annual Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill agreed to the Senate version, which had no such “license to discriminate” rider. Forty Senators, led by Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon, had signed on to a letter to House Appropriations Committee leaders saying that the Aderholt amendment could never win approval in their chamber.
Human Rights Campaign spokesman David Stacy said that, “Congress should be focusing on ways to help children in the child welfare system find homes, rather than creating needless obstacles for [qualified] prospective parents.”
Denise Brogan-Kator of the LGBTQ-advocating Family Equality Council said in the same joint press release that, “The Aderholt amendment had broken the cardinal rule of child welfare – that the needs of children should come first.”
In other news, Kenya’s Film and Classifications Board was ordered by the country’s High Court to lift its ban on the lesbian romance Rafiki so that it can be considered for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. It tells the story of two women, each married to a man, who fall in love with each other and must ultimately choose between a safe life, or a happy one. Critics have praised the film, and it was the first Kenyan feature to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s also scheduled for festivals in the U.K. and Nigeria.
The Board had banned the film for “promoting homosexuality”, and its chairman still insisted that allowing it to be shown in his country was “toxic to Kenyan culture”. The east African nation punishes “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” with up to 14 years in prison.
The censors reluctantly allowed Kenyans over the age of 18 to see Rafiki – but only at afternoon screenings from September 23rd to 29th, in order to qualify the film for Oscar consideration. One of the Academy requirements is that the film must have been released in its country of origin for at least a week.
Virtually every seat was filled at movie houses showing the film during the week in major cities across the country. It was shown on an additional screen in Nairobi on the first afternoon of its release when more than 450 people showed up.
And finally, there were at least two notable queer weddings this week, one involving British royalty, and the other Olympic ice hockey royalty.
Queen Elizabeth’s cousin Lord Ivar Mountbatten became the first known member of the monarch’s extended family to marry a person of the same gender. He thanked his former wife and 3 daughters for their loving support during his wedding to airline cabin manager James Coyle. His ex-wife Penelope Thompson, whom he divorced in 2011, actually gave him away.
Mountbatten and Coyle, who met in 2014 at a Swiss ski resort, wore matching velvet smoking jackets. Bristol’s Teachers Rock Choir performed gospel music during the ceremony. Following toasts by two of the couple’s best men, guests savored Winston Churchill’s favorite champagne.
Mountbatten posted several wedding photos on Instagram, including one of his dog Rosie wearing Pride sunglasses and a rainbow-themed neck collar. He told reporters that, “Simply talking about it in public is a huge step for me. Up to this point, I have had a heterosexual lifestyle, so living with a man is really new. One step at a time.”
It was a small ceremony with only about 60 guests. No one from the royal family attended, though that was due in part to scheduling conflicts. Traditionalists might note that Mountbatten is not regarded as an “official” member of the royal family.
And in the second queer wedding of note this week, U.S. Olympic ice hockey forward Meghan Duggan married longtime Canadian rival Gillian Apps in an outdoor ceremony in Pownal, Maine, surrounded by family and friends.
“The most incredible day of my entire life,” Duggan wrote, posting several photos on Instagram. New wife Apps captioned her pictures with “Nothing but smiles after this amazing weekend.” Three U.S. Olympians were among the bridesmaids.
Apps is a three-time Olympic gold medalist. Duggan has won two silver medals and one gold. They played against each other at the games in Vancouver, Canada in 2010 and in Sochi, Russia four years later. It was only after Apps retired that Duggan was able to win gold, at the games this year in South Korea.
A congratulatory statement from Team Canada said, “From competitors on the ice to partners for life.”
“True love,” added Team USA, “overcomes even the largest of rivalries.”