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    October 29, 2006

    Also in the news…

    Posted by: Chris

    Michaelpiazza *    The church that bills itself, probably correctly, as the world's largest gay church — Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, Texas — has joined the United Church of Christ, among the more left/progressive of mainstream Protestant denominations. The Dallas Cathedral, which claims 4,300 members, disaffiliated with the United Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in July 2003, three months after the gay Christian denomination began investigating longtime pastor Mike Piazza's expense account and management of church finances. Piazza denied wrongdoing but resigned his MCC credentials two days before the investigation concluded. He took a brief leave of absence from the Cathedral when the congregation voted to leave UFMCC, but he later returned remains "national pastor" and dean. The 1.2-million-member UCC voted in June 2005 to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples and support full civil marriage equality for them as well.

    Gaycruises *   An online auction site for domain names issued a press release today claiming that Gays.com sold recently for $500,000, to German (couple?) Julius and David Dreyer. "We are confident that we will be able to introduce an entertaining and informative website in the near future; one that will meet the needs of the gay community," the release quotes Julius Dreyer as saying. Is there a shortage of gay websites I was unaware of? No doubt unamused were the folks cover at Planet Out, Inc., who own Gay.com, and a dozen other gay media and leisure businesses. At least they got a phat write-up in the New York Times today for gay cruises that might help their RSVP brand, which hit hard times this year.


    *    Gay Americans aren't the only ones going north of the border, to Canada, to marry. Up to 100 Irish gay couples have trekked to Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., to enter into "civil partnerships" since the government began offering them last December.  Now, like their American counterparts, Irish gay couples are demanding similar rights back home.

    Britainmapclipart28_1 *    Meanwhile further north, in Scotland, Catholic bishops are confronting an embarrassing problem: a bishop who is a little too zealous about promoting the Vatican's opposition to a proposed ban in the U.K. on discrimination against gays by hotels, agencies and other public accommodations (including Catholic adoption groups). It seems Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell has accused the church of a policy of "appeasement" in its relationship with the "moral vandals" and "politically correct zealots" — e.g., Scottish Labor Party officials — who are supporting the measure.

    *    Back home in the USA, Christian conservatives are already fulfilling my prediction that they are not-so-secretly happy with the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling.  "Pro-traditional-marriage organizations ought to give a distinguished service award to the New Jersey Supreme Court," the Post quoted Rev. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, as saying.  No doubt they are disappointed that it didn't go even further, ordering the state to actually marry gay couples. 

    George_w_bush *    Still, President Bush and his allies on the Right are pushing the ruling for all it's worth.  "Activist judges try to define America by court order," Bush told an adoring crowd in Indiana, which responded with whoops of "USA! USA!"  I can almost hear former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who stood at the schoolhouse door to take his stand against "activist judges" who ordered schools integrated, joining in from his grave.

    *    Across the state, embattled Indiana Congressman John Hostettler (R) has taken his cue from the president and launched a new ad that warns, with an announcer impersonating Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry," that a vote for his Democratic challenger will allow Nancy Pelosi to "put in motion her radical plan to advance the homosexual agenda, led by Barney Frank, reprimanded by the House after paying for sex with a man who ran a gay brothel out of Congressman Frank's home." "I know what you're thinking," the narrator concludes. "Is this true? Well, do you feel lucky? Go ahead, vote for Brad Ellsworth. Make Nancy Pelosi's day."

    Rev_anthony_mercieca *   Recent updates in Foley-gate: The Catholic priest Mark Foley says abused him has a second accuser, and has been belatedly de-frocked by the Miami archdiocese while it conducts an investigation. And Jeff Trandahl, the gay former chief clerk of the House, has reportedly named Jim Kolbe, the gay Arizona Republican retiring his congressional seat, as another of a small number of "problem members" who spent too much social time with pages.  Kolbe, whose partner is young enough to be his grandson, is already under investigation by the U.S. attorney in Arizona that he was overly familiar with teenage pages on a 1996 Grand Canyon camping trip.



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