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This Way Out Radio Episode #1878: Fulfilling Methodist Prophecy & Rosie for Equality

The United Methodist Church is preparing for its first General Conference following the departure of congregations unable to accept LGBTQ equality, and an impassioned 2019 speech by now-Rev. J.J. Warren helped set the agenda for the future.

Comedian and television talk-star Rosie O”Donnell eloped to the city of San Francisco 20 years ago this month, when gay and lesbian couples were getting married under a directive from Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Plus: Ireland’s out Prime Minister Leo Varadkar unexpectedly resigns!

And in NewsWrap: Israeli lesbian co-mothers can now be listed on their children’s birth certificates, Italian lesbian moms beat the effort by Prime Minister Georgia Meloni’s government to erase them from their children’s birth certificates, two staff members of a queer Russian nightspot are facing charges of “extremism” for hosting a drag show, Alabama bans diversity/equity/inclusion programs and trans people’s access to appropriate bathrooms in public schools and universities, New South Wales bans conversion therapy for both minors and adults, Australian Senator Penny Wong weds her long-time partner Sophie Allouache and footballer Josh Cavallo proposes to his boyfriend on the pitch, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Elena Botkin-Levy and Michael LeBeau (produced by Brian DeShazor).

All this on the March 25, 2024 edition of This Way Out!

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Complete Program Summary
for the week of March 25, 2024

Fulfilling Methodist Prophecy & Rosie for Equality

Produced and hosted this week Lucia Chappelle and Greg Gordon

NewsWrap (full transcript below): Israel’s High Court of Justice orders the government to list both the biological and non-biological moms as parents on the birth certificates of the children they are raising together, and a Tel Aviv District Court hands a similar victory to a gay male couple … a regional court in Veneto sides with lesbian moms who are fighting the order of Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni’s far-right federal government to remove non-biological moms from the couple’s children’s birth certificates … two workers at a drag show-hosting nightspot in the Russian city of Orenburg arrested during a “gay propaganda” raid are the first to be charged with “extremist support of the international LGBT movement” — a figment of the imagination of Vladimir Putin and his puppet judiciary … Alabama Republicans enact legislation to prohibit diversity, equity and inclusion programs at state public schools and universities, and for good measure add a ban on trans students and staff using campus bathrooms that match their gender identity … the Australian state of New South Wales becomes the latest jurisdiction Down Under to criminalize so-called “conversion therapy” for all ages … trailblazing Australian politician Penny Wong, the nation’s first proudly out lesbian federal lawmaker and current Labor government Foreign Minister, weds her spouse of almost 20 years, Sophie Allouache, in a “beautiful ceremony” in Adelaide with their two young daughters serving as flower girls … out gay Australian football star Josh Cavallo will soon also be wedding his boyfriend Leighton Morrell after surprising Morrell with a proposal on the pitch at Coopers Stadium with the help of his A-League Adelaide United teammates (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported by ELENA BOTKIN-LEVY and DANIEL HUECIAS, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).


Feature: Ireland and its friends around the world are in shock over the unexpected resignation of Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. When he first became Taoiseach in 2017 Varadkar was the youngest to ever hold the office, the first out gay man and the first biracial person. His center-right Fine Gael Party lost the majority three years later, but he resumed office when it formed a coalition government with the  Fianna Fáil Party in 2022. Abortion became legal and gender identity was added to hate speech prohibitions during his premiership, and at one time right-wing death threats forced him and his husband to move to a secure location. Four days after voters declined to change language in the Constitution that defines a woman’s place as in the home and families as based on marriage, he announced his sudden departure. Economic pressures and low polling likely contributed to Varadkar’s decision that a new leader would have a better chance in upcoming elections. At his March 20 press conference, he also provided the personal side of the story (with intro/outro music from Ireland’s National Anthem).

Feature: A group of delegates to the upcoming United Methodist Church General Conference are circulating three legislative proposals under the rubric “the three R’s.” In their letter to all conference participants this week, the three R’s stand for a plan for a more regionalized structure, a revision of the denomination’s social principles, and the removal of all anti-LGBTQ policies. Their agenda should get a positive response this time — it will be the first Conference since 2019, when churches that objected to homosexuality were offered the opportunity to leave the denomination. LUCIA CHAPPELLE introduced one of the most passionate voices from that 2019 Conference, the now-Rev. J.J. Warren (with segment intro music by DAVE MASON and feature intro/outro music by REV. DOLORES BERRY).

Feature: Twenty years ago this month, gay and lesbian couples were getting married in the city of San Francisco under a directive from Mayor Gavin Newsom.  Republican Governor and movie action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger was predicting scenes of Californian carnage in response to the weddings, but GREG GORDON reported a much different atmosphere, including coverage of the city’s first “queer celebrity wedding” (with comments by Rosie O’Donnell and remarks from the 2004 State of the Union Address by President George W. Bush, and intro music by MEGHAN TRAINOR and outro music by TINY TIM & THE HITS).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending March 23rd, 2024 on
reported this week by Elena Botkin-Levy and Daniel Huecias,
produced by Brian DeShazor

   Israeli lesbian couples can now be listed as co-mothers on the birth certificates of their children by anonymous sperm donors. A three-judge panel of the High Court of Justice unanimously overruled the Population and Immigration Authority on March 21st. Acting Supreme Court President Uzi Fogelman with Judges Ruth Ronen and Alex Stein rejected the Population Authority’s claim that birth certificates should reflect only biological parentage.

The judges declared that both the biological and non-biological mothers should enjoy equal parental rights and obligations, and that the non-biological partner’s legal status as a parent is established through adoption.

Fogelman wrote for the Court that drawing a distinction between biological and non-biological mothers sends “a harmful message … that while biological parentage is ‘real’ parentage, non-biological parentage is inferior and suspicious parenting, a sort of ‘conditional’ parentage.”

Daniela Ya’akobi, Hagai Kalai and Achinoam Orbach were the attorneys for the nine plaintiff lesbian couples. They first filed their challenge to the Authority’s rejection in 2017. The legal team celebrated the decision for “putting an end to ugly and unnecessary discrimination, which has no purpose and never had … The time has come for the state, on its own initiative, to allow full equality of rights for all its citizens, including LGBT people.”

Two gay male couples also won a battle against the Population and Immigration Authority this week. The Tel Aviv District Court ordered the Authority to register the co-dads as fathers of their children born to surrogate mothers abroad. In their case the Authority claimed that the children’s required genetic testing had not been received.

    In related news from Italy, lesbian moms are not letting the right-wing government of Prime Minister Georgia Meloni erase them from their children’s birth certificates.

Hundreds protested in the streets after local governments received letters from the Interior Ministry last March. The Ministry demanded that they stop listing “parents” on birth certificates rather than “mother” and “father.”  It ordered the removal of all non-biological mothers’ names.

A regional court in Veneto sided with the plaintiff parents this week, according to a report in “LGBTQ Nation.”  An appeal is expected.

Meloni has deep neo-fascist roots and has said, “I do not believe in a state that places the legitimate desire of a homosexual to adopt a child before the right of that child to have a father and a mother.”

    Two staff members of a queer nightspot in eastern Russia are facing charges of “extremism” – the first since the Supreme Court outlawed the imagined “international LGBT movement” in November.

Manager Diana Kamilyanova and Art Director Alexander Klimov of the club Pose in Orenburg were arrested this week for hosting a drag show. Police “forced patrons and guests to lie face down on the floor,” according to Amnesty International, and “Performing drag queens were kept half-naked as their outfits and wigs were confiscated.” Members of the pro-Putin ultra-nationalist group Russian Community of Orenburg reportedly tipped off authorities and joined the police in the raid.

The specific charges against Kamilyanova and Klimov as cited by The Guardian are “promoting non-traditional sexual relations among the visitors of the bar” and “acting in premeditation with a group of people … who also support the views and activities of the international public association of LGBT.” After a closed-door hearing they were remanded in custody until at least May 18th, according to the BBC.  They each face up to 10 years in prison.

    Diversity, equity and inclusion programs are being banned in Alabama’s public schools and universities. The same bill excludes transgender students and staff from the bathrooms and other sex-segregated campus facilities that match their gender identity. Republican Governor Kay Ivey signed it on March 20th.

The Republican-controlled state legislature wants to stamp out what it calls “divisive concepts.” That means, in part, any suggestion that “by virtue of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin, the individual is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously” or that they “are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin.”

This “divisive concept” tactic comes right out of the playbook being followed in Republican-controlled U.S. states against what they call “woke” culture.  Obviously the same strategy fits neatly with attacks on transgender people, especially trans young people.

Alabama’s new anti-DEI bill is set to become law on October 1st – but watch for a constitutional challenge to delay its enforcement.

    Conversion therapy will soon be a thing of the past in New South Wales.  The bill passed in the Upper House in the wee hours of March 22nd by a vote of 22-to-4 after hours of impassioned debate.  It had already been approved in the lower chamber. When it takes effect in 12 months, the measure will also make it a crime to take someone out of the state to undergo such bogus “therapy.”

Unlike similar legislation elsewhere, the ban applies to both minors and adult victims.  There are some specific religious exemptions that allow preachers to sermonize against same-gender relationships or pray with someone experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction.

New South Wales joins the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and Victoria in banning the medically-discredited claim that sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed through counseling and prayer. Bans are being considered in Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia.

  Finally, trailblazing Australian lawmaker Penny Wong and her partner Sophie Allouache are “honest women” at last. They were married at a winery in the South Australia city of Adelaide on March 16th.  The couple has been together for almost 20 years, but became officially engaged in late 2023. Their daughters 8-year-old Hannah and 11-year-old Alexandra were the flower girls at what’s been described as a “beautiful” ceremony.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese joined several MPs and former government officials among the well-wishers.

South Australian Senator and Foreign Minister Wong sported a bright red suit, and Allouache wore a white satin gown with lace sleeves. The couple posted for their official wedding picture holding bouquets of flowers in a garden setting on Instagram with the caption, “We are delighted that so many of our family and friends could share this special day with us.”

Wong was once criticized for siding with her Labor Party before it supported marriage equality. She later became a fierce campaigner for a “Yes” vote in the country’s 2017 marriage equality referendum and famously wept when lawmakers officially made it legal.

   Another Australian celebrity will soon join Wong and Allouache in wedded bliss. Football player Josh Cavallo

took a knee on the pitch earlier this year to propose to his partner Leighton Morrell. Cavallo thanked his A-League Adelaide United teammates for helping arrange the surprise at Coopers Stadium. Posting on X/Twitter that he wanted to share the special moment “on the pitch, where it all started,” he wrote, “You have provided a safe space in football, one that I never in my dreams thought could ever be possible.”

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