Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Methodist minister could be defrocked for Menominee same-sex wedding - and other news

On Friday, the United Nations' Human Rights Council approved a resolution that expresses "grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity." 23 members voted in favor of the human rights resolution;19 voted against it.

A U.N. commission will document discriminatory laws, practices, and violence against individuals based on perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The commission has also been charged with making recommendations for "how international human rights law can be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity."

The recommendations are expected in December.

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Jarrett Barrios has resigned as president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination. The resignation came amid allegations that GLAAD was involved in a pay-to-play deal with AT&T. Six of 29 GLAAD's board members have also resigned.

On May 31, GLAAD sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission supporting AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile. AT&T had previously donated $50,000 to GLAAD.

GLAAD's support of AT&T led to widespread criticism from progressive bloggers. Critics said that the endorsement was outside the scope of GLAAD's mission, which is to ensure fair portrayal of LGBT people in the media. Critics also say the telecom merger could give AT&T too much control over the information that people can access over the internet.

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Today, a United Methodist Church panel found a northern Wisconsin minister guilty of violating church law. The minister, Amy DeLong, performed a wedding for a lesbian couple in Menominee in September 2009. She could be defrocked as a minister or face other sanctions.

However, the panel acquitted DeLong on a charge of being a "self-avowed practicing homosexual." DeLong is out as a lesbian and registered in a domestic partnership in November 2009, but the panel had no evidence that she was sexually active. Church doctrine allows gays and lesbians to serve as ministers if they are celibate.

DeLong is nationally known within the United Methodist Church as an advocate for LGBT inclusion.

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Gabe Javier is the new director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Campus Center at UW-Madison. Javier is currently the senior assistant director of the Spectrum Center at the University of Michigan. He will begin on Aug. 1, 2011.

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And last but not least, a Dane County circuit judge ruled on Monday that Wisconsin's domestic partnership registry does not violate the state's constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages. You can hear the full story at the beginning of Monday's In Our Backyard.

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