Tag Archives: Catholics for gay marriage

Mel White, Minister of Religion

b. July 26, 1940

“I’m perfectly happy going on TV now and saying I’m a gay man. I’m happy and proud to say that.”

Mel White is an ordained minister who left his career as an adviser to prominent Christian evangelists when he came out during the mid 1990’s. White has dedicated his life to gaining acceptance for GLBT Christians.

In 1962, White graduated from Warner Pacific College. He received a master’s degree in communications from the University of Portland and a Doctorate of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, where he was also a professor.

Early in his career, White served as a speechwriter for evangelical leaders Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. He married a woman with whom he had one son. When he realized he was attracted to men, he tried to “cure” his homosexuality with therapy and exorcism.  Acknowledging that nothing could alter his sexual orientation, White attempted suicide.

White ultimately accepted his sexuality and amicably divorced his wife. In 1993, he publicly acknowledged that he was gay when he was named dean of the Dallas Cathedral of Hope of the Universal Fellowship at Metropolitan Community Churches. Two years later, he published “Stranger at the Gate,” a book that chronicles his struggles as a gay Christian.

In the early 1990’s, White shifted his focus to GLBT advocacy, both within and outside of the church. In 1996, White led a two-week fast on the steps of Congress as the Senate considered and ultimately passed the Defense of Marriage Act. He moved the fast to the White House, where he was arrested. “How can we stand by in silent acceptance while the president and the Congress sacrifice lesbian and gay Americans for some ‘greater political good’?” he asked.

In 1998, White and his partner of more than 25 years, Gary Nixon, founded Soulforce, an organization whose mission is to “seek freedom from religious and political oppression” for GLBT people. Its name comes from “satyagraha,” a term meaning “soul force” used by Gandhi in to describe his civil rights struggle.

White is the author of nearly 20 books, including “Religion Gone Bad: Hidden Dangers from the Christian Right” (2009). His story is featured in “Friends of God” (2007), a documentary film about evangelical Christians.

In 2008, White and Nixon were legally married in California. In 2009, White and his son, Mike, were a team on the 14th season of “The Amazing Race.”

Bibliography

  • Alston, Joshua. “The Amazing Race’s Mike and Mel White.” Newsweek. 7 Feb. 2009.
  • Avery, Dan. “Grace Under Pressure.” Advocate. 10 Feb. 2009.
  • McDowell, Wendy. “White makes case for gay marriage.” Harvard Gazette. 22 Apr. 2004.
  • “Mel’s Bio.” Mel White. 28 May 2010.
  • Parsons, Dana. “Mel’s Miracle: a Falwell Who Tolerates Gays.” The Los Angeles Times. 10 Nov. 1999.
  • Schwartz, Deb. “The Odd Couple.” Salon.com. Oct. 1999.



Books by Mel White



Television



Films by Mel White



Videos of Mel White



Websites

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Sep 28: John Perez, State Legislator and Speaker

b. September 28, 1969

“Yes I’m gay, and I’m a politician. It’s a descriptor. I don’t think it’s a definer.”

John A. Pérez is the openly gay speaker of the California Assembly. He is the first GLBT person of color to hold such a position and only the third out leader of a legislative body in United States history. 
Pérez was born in working-class Los Angeles, the son of Felipe, a Mexican immigrant who was disabled from a workplace accident, and Vera, who directed a community clinic. At age 14, Pérez became politically active, motivated by government cuts in disability payments to his father and in government subsidies to his mother’s clinic.
After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, Pérez spent several years as a labor organizer in Southern California. He served as political director for the United Food and Commercial Workers in Orange County.
Before he held an elective office, Pérez was actively engaged in public service. He was integral in founding California’s statewide GLBT organization, now called Equality California. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush appointed him to the President’s Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS.  Pérez was a gubernatorial appointee to a panel charged with reforming California’s initiative system and a mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.
Pérez was elected to the California Assembly in 2008, winning 85 percent of the vote in his Los Angeles district. Two years later, he was selected as speaker by members of the Democratic Party and formally elected by the Assembly. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma said, “He’s someone who sends a signal to the nation that being gay is no longer a barrier to greatness.”
Pérez is a fan of classical music, art museums and the Los Angeles Dodgers.rs.

Bibliography
“3 Questions for Assemblyman John Pérez.” SFGate. 3 January 2010.
Bailey, Eric, and Shane Goldmacher. “Politics is part of John Pérez ‘s DNA.” The Los Angeles Times.17 December 2009.
Bajko, Matthew S. “Political Notes: Gay Latino labor activist set to make history.” The Bay Area Reporter Online. 10 April 2008.
Dolan, Jack. “John Pérez Sworn in as Assembly Speaker.” The Los Angeles Independent. 1 March 2010.
“John Pérez sworn in as Assembly speaker.” PolitiCal. 1 March 2010.
Zahniser, David. “Villaraigosa’s cousin enters Assembly race.” The Los Angeles Times. 23 February 2008.
Article about John A. Pérez
Videos of John A. Pérez
Websites

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John A. Pérez, State Legislator

b. September 28, 1969

“Yes I’m gay, and I’m a politician. It’s a descriptor. I don’t think it’s a definer.”

John A. Pérez is the openly gay speaker of the California Assembly. He is the first GLBT person of color to hold such a position and only the third out leader of a legislative body in United States history. 

Pérez was born in working-class Los Angeles, the son of Felipe, a Mexican immigrant who was disabled from a workplace accident, and Vera, who directed a community clinic. At age 14, Pérez became politically active, motivated by government cuts in disability payments to his father and in government subsidies to his mother’s clinic.

After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, Pérez spent several years as a labor organizer in Southern California. He served as political director for the United Food and Commercial Workers in Orange County.

Before he held an elective office, Pérez was actively engaged in public service. He was integral in founding California’s statewide GLBT organization, now called Equality California. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush appointed him to the President’s Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS.  Pérez was a gubernatorial appointee to a panel charged with reforming California’s initiative system and a mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.

Pérez was elected to the California Assembly in 2008, winning 85 percent of the vote in his Los Angeles district. Two years later, he was selected as speaker by members of the Democratic Party and formally elected by the Assembly. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma said, “He’s someone who sends a signal to the nation that being gay is no longer a barrier to greatness.”

Pérez is a fan of classical music, art museums and the Los Angeles Dodgers.rs.

Bibliography

  • “3 Questions for Assemblyman John Pérez.” SFGate. 3 January 2010.
  • Bailey, Eric, and Shane Goldmacher. “Politics is part of John Pérez ‘s DNA.” The Los Angeles Times.17 December 2009.
  • Bajko, Matthew S. “Political Notes: Gay Latino labor activist set to make history.” The Bay Area Reporter Online. 10 April 2008.
  • Dolan, Jack. “John Pérez Sworn in as Assembly Speaker.” The Los Angeles Independent. 1 March 2010.
  • “John Pérez sworn in as Assembly speaker.” PolitiCal. 1 March 2010.
  • Zahniser, David. “Villaraigosa’s cousin enters Assembly race.” The Los Angeles Times. 23 February 2008.
Article about John A. Pérez
Videos of John A. Pérez
Websites

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July 26: Mel White, Minister of Religion

b. July 26, 1940

“I’m perfectly happy going on TV now and saying I’m a gay man. I’m happy and proud to say that.”

Mel White is an ordained minister who left his career as an adviser to prominent Christian evangelists when he came out during the mid 1990’s. White has dedicated his life to gaining acceptance for GLBT Christians.
In 1962, White graduated from Warner Pacific College. He received a master’s degree in communications from the University of Portland and a Doctorate of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, where he was also a professor.
Early in his career, White served as a speechwriter for evangelical leaders Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. He married a woman with whom he had one son. When he realized he was attracted to men, he tried to “cure” his homosexuality with therapy and exorcism.  Acknowledging that nothing could alter his sexual orientation, White attempted suicide.
White ultimately accepted his sexuality and amicably divorced his wife. In 1993, he publicly acknowledged that he was gay when he was named dean of the Dallas Cathedral of Hope of the Universal Fellowship at Metropolitan Community Churches. Two years later, he published “Stranger at the Gate,” a book that chronicles his struggles as a gay Christian.
In the early 1990’s, White shifted his focus to GLBT advocacy, both within and outside of the church. In 1996, White led a two-week fast on the steps of Congress as the Senate considered and ultimately passed the Defense of Marriage Act. He moved the fast to the White House, where he was arrested. “How can we stand by in silent acceptance while the president and the Congress sacrifice lesbian and gay Americans for some ‘greater political good’?” he asked.
In 1998, White and his partner of more than 25 years, Gary Nixon, founded Soulforce, an organization whose mission is to “seek freedom from religious and political oppression” for GLBT people. Its name comes from “satyagraha,” a term meaning “soul force” used by Gandhi in to describe his civil rights struggle.
White is the author of nearly 20 books, including “Religion Gone Bad: Hidden Dangers from the Christian Right” (2009). His story is featured in “Friends of God” (2007), a documentary film about evangelical Christians.
In 2008, White and Nixon were legally married in California. In 2009, White and his son, Mike, were a team on the 14th season of “The Amazing Race.”

Bibliography

Alston, Joshua. “The Amazing Race’s Mike and Mel White.” Newsweek. 7 Feb. 2009.
Avery, Dan. “Grace Under Pressure.” Advocate. 10 Feb. 2009.
McDowell, Wendy. “White makes case for gay marriage.” Harvard Gazette. 22 Apr. 2004.
“Mel’s Bio.” Mel White. 28 May 2010.
Parsons, Dana. “Mel’s Miracle: a Falwell Who Tolerates Gays.” The Los Angeles Times. 10 Nov. 1999.
Schwartz, Deb. “The Odd Couple.” Salon.com. Oct. 1999.


Books by Mel White
Lust: The Other Side of Love (1978)
Deceived (1979)
Tested by Fire (1979)
Margaret of Molokai (1981)
Mike Douglas: When the Going Gets Tough (1983)
Aquino (1989)
Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America (1995)
Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right (2006)


Television
The Amazing Race


Films by Mel White
He Restoreth My Soul


Videos of Mel White
The Gift of Homosexuality – Mel White
Mel White Interview on “Anderson Cooper 360”


Websites
Mel White Official Website
Soulforce

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Oz State Premier Stands Up To Cardinal Pell, Secures Gay Adoption for NSW.

Breaking news today is that the New South Wales state assembly has narrowly approved a bill to put LGBT and heterosexual couples on an equal footing for adoption procedures. There are still a few hurdles to clear before this becomes final, but (as far as I can tell), with this one, the biggest has now been cleared. This is big news for queer Catholics. The formidable Cardinal Pell made clear his strong opposition – but the equally strong support of the Catholic NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally, appears to have been decisive in providing just enough resistance.
Kristina Kenneally, Catholic and Advocate for Adoption Equality

Perhaps it was the full-fledged backing given to the Bill by New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally, a devout Catholic, which took the wind out of the sails of opponents. “In forming my position on this Bill, I have considered my experiences as a mother, my responsibilities as a parliamentarian and my conscience as a Christian and member of the Catholic faith,” she told lawmakers. Instead of proving divisive, it served to unite New South Wales’s main political outfits with Opposition Liberal Party leader Barry O’Farrell also voting in its favor.

This is an important reminder to all of us that the “Catholic Church” is far more than the bishops and cardinals who claim to speak for us. They are fully entitled to speak on behalf of the Vatican and Vatican doctrine – but when they claim to speak on behalf of “the church”, research evidence consistently shows that they deceive. On numerous issues of sexual ethics, ministry, and papal authority, the evidence is that right across the globe, most Catholics simply do not agree with orthodox Vatican doctrine.

This decision is also important as another indicator of an Australian paradox. In the global march to family equality, Australia stands out as an oddity. Although surveys have shown that a strong majority of Australians support full marriage and adoption rights for same sex couples, there is still no national provision for either, and both of the major political parties opposed full equality during the recent election campaign. Below the surface, however, there have been increasing signs of a gathering groundswell of support that could soon force the issue. The election result, which produced a hung parliament with increased influence for independents and a stronger Green Party, may show the major parties how mistaken they were – and may pave the way for a major rethink. It is significant that the NSW result came after a “conscience” vote in the assembly (that is, members were permitted by their whips to take their own decisions, rather than following a party line). It is believed that a conscience vote on marriage in the national parliament could attract significant support.
Meanwhile, even as Canberra dithers, there are regular advances at state level, with the adoption decision in New South Wales just the latest of several.   Earlier this week the Tasmanian lower house voted to recognise same sex marriages conducted elsewhere, which means that Tasmanian couples will be able to secure secure legally recognised marriage easily enough – provided only that they are willing to travel abroad for the wedding. (Several countries which currently recognise marriage equality do not have residency requirements. Nepal could soon be another.)
Gay adoption is already recognised in Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, which is also the only state to conduct formal civil partnerships. (New South Wales and Victoria maintain less formal domestic partnership registers, which makes it easier for same sex couples to achieve the de facto recognition that in principle they are entitled to – but which in practice can be difficult without suitable documentary evidence of the relationship.)
Each separate move at state level inevitably leaves the population that much more accustomed to the idea of family equality, and queer families increasingly visible as ordinary members of society, deserving equal treatment before the law, just like everyone else. Each advance bring the next one closer, eroding still further the resistance. Even before the vote in last month’s election, the Greens were promising to introduce a bill to provide for national gay marriage. When they do, they and the newly influential independents in the hung parliament will aim to secure a conscience vote. I suspect that even if they get one, it is unlikely that gay marriage will pass just yet. However, it is clear that Labour at least lost votes as a result of their stand against equality. The coming vote on a Green bill for marriage equality will not be the last. Sooner or later (and probably the former), the politicians will realise they are on the wrong side of history, and stand up for justice.
Cardinal Pell will soon have a lot more to worry about than adoption equality in one more Australian state.

Gay Marriage Recognised Across Mexico (BREAKING)

The Mexican Supreme Court has ruled that same sex marriages contracted in Mexico City must be recognized across the rest of the country. (This does not mean that other states are obliged to allow such marriages within their own areas). It is not immediately clear if this includes marriages contracted in other countries, or precisely which aspects of the marriages must be honoured. (It is also not yet clear to me whether Mexico City has a residency requirement – if not, any Mexicans could secure marriage just be travelling there, then heading home and demanding recognition)

At present, Mexico City is the only jurisdiction that conduct same sex marriages. In recent years several states have attempted to introduce similar legislation, but have failed. I did see a statement last week that “several” stated currently have marriage legislation under consideration, but I have not been able to find corroboration or details. I would guess that this ruling by the court, which comes so quickly after the legislation in Argentina, will at least increase the political pressure on other states to follow.

(Last week the court rejected an attempt to have Mexico City’s marriage law declared unconstitutional. Yesterday’s decision was the second in a series of three related questions the court is considering. They have still to rule on a matter of gay adoption.)

From NYT:

>MEXICO CITY — The Mexican Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that each of the country’s 31 states must recognize same-sex marriagesregistered in Mexico City, potentially giving gay and lesbian couples full matrimonial rights nationwide.
The court had already ruled this month that Mexico City’s same-sex marriage law, which took effect in March and has resulted in hundreds of same-sex marriages, was constitutional.

But on Tuesday, the court went a step further, ruling 9 to 2 against a complaint from the attorney general’s office, which had said that other jurisdictions should not be required to honor marriages that were performed in Mexico City.
While the court made it clear that state governments were not obligated to enact same-sex marriage laws of their own, it did require them to recognize the legality of such marriages performed in Mexico City.