A Papal Surprise: Humility
source: The New Yorker
posted: 7/30/13
When I was a kid and someone said anything judgmental, my Brooklyn Italian relatives would retort: “Oh, yeah? Who died and made you pope?”

So I was astonished to learn that Pope Francis, during his flight back to Rome from Brazil on Monday, told reporters: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

“Um, you’re the pope!” is the expected refrain from traditionalist Catholics, who have recently complained about everything from the new pope’s fash

Mr. Putin’s War on Gays
source: The New York Times
posted: 7/27/13
To the long list of Russians whom President Vladimir Putin is persecuting, add gay people and those who support gay rights. Along with political dissidents, journalists and billionaire businessmen, they are increasingly the focus of repellent laws and repressive practices that could send them, and anyone who dares defend them, to jail.

For some time, antigay sentiment has been spreading in Russia’s conservative society, encouraged by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church. But Mr. Putin

Will gays be safe at Russia's Winter Olympics?
source: Los Angeles Times
posted: 7/26/13
If you are gay, Russia is probably not the safest place to be right now. A slew of recent legislation has targeted people based on their sexual orientation.

There’s no doubt that Russia is cracking down. Much of this was brought to light in an opinion piece that LGBT advocate and actor Harvey Fierstein penned for the New York Times. His op-ed chronicles some of the recent legislation:

A law that recognizes “homosexual propaganda” as pornography.

A law permitting the arrest and detention

Why have there been so few openly gay ambassadors?
source: The Washington Post
posted: 7/26/13
Thomas Bayard, a former senator and secretary of state, became the first American diplomat to be given the title “ambassador” when he was sent to London in 1893. Since then a few thousand people have had that honor. But only three of them have been openly gay.

That is about to change. Last month, President Obama put forward the names of five openly gay nominees for ambassadorial posts. It’s a remarkable step, though possibly less revolutionary than it appears. For while the nominations reflec

A gay-marriage ban with limits
source: The Washington Post
posted: 7/25/13
For those couples living in the 36 states that prohibit same-sex marriages, history provides a small glimmer of hope: States have never imposed a blanket non-recognition rule on marriages that violate their laws. Even in the highly charged anti-miscegenation era, when statutes went so far as to criminalize interracial unions, several states that prohibited such marriages were willing to recognize them in certain circumstances. Given this, neither the federal government nor same-sex couples resid

Equal marriages — and now equal benefits
source: The Washington Post
posted: 7/21/13
THE SUPREME Court’s decision to overturn a key aspect of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was a watershed moment in the struggle for gay and lesbian equality in this country. Now the federal government faces the complex task of implementing the court’s ruling as quickly as possible.

The justices were clear in their requirements, at least for all “lawful marriages”: Couples in same-sex marriages must be treated the same as their heterosexual counterparts in terms of federal benefits,

Housing and gay rights
source: Los Angeles Times
posted: 7/18/13
The federal Fair Housing Act was passed 45 years ago, just one week after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Initially the law prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin or religion. Over the decades, it has been amended to include protection from discrimination on the basis of gender or disability or whether there are children in the household. Now it's time to amend the law again to prohibit bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity.


Demand legal protection: It’s okay to be gay at work
source: The Washington Post
posted: 7/15/13
You can still be fired for being gay in 29 states, and for being transgender in 33 states.

It should be a national priority to end such discrimination, yet most people don’t even realize such legal discrimination exists. This week, the Senate took a momentous step towards rectifying this situation, sending the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) out of committee to the Senate floor – with a strong bipartisan vote of 15-7.
ENDA, which has been introduced in nearly every Congress since 19

The Future of Same-Sex Marriage
source: The New York Times
posted: 7/14/13
As historic and welcome as we found the Supreme Court’s two recent decisions on same-sex marriage, they served to emphasize the lingering inequality for millions of gay and lesbian Americans who do not live in the 13 states that enforce the right of all adult Americans to marry the person of their choosing.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, is standing by his 2012 veto of a measure to allow gay couples to marry and is refusing to free Republican legislators to follow their co

Catholic bishops cry wolf
source: Chicago Tribune
posted: 7/8/13
When the Supreme Court struck down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said it was a "tragic day for marriage and our nation." But the bishops go further, arguing that when the state legalizes same-sex civil marriage, "conflict results on a massive scale between the law and religious institutions and families.... Religious liberty is then threatened."

The bishops are equally alarmist about what they see as the threat to religious