Priest Leads Opposition to Queensland’s “Gay Panic” Defense | Bondings 2.0

A Catholic priest in Australia has been leading efforts to eliminate the “gay panic” defense in his state.  The “gay panic” defense, which allows defendants to claim that a victim’s sexual advances motivated a criminal violence, is responsible for letting two men escape murder charges in a 2008 killing.

Fr. Paul Kelly launched an online petition in2012 to repeal the “gay panic” defense law, which is still allowed in the states of Queensland and South Australia. In that petition, which now has nearly 248,000 signatures, Kelly explained his powerful reason for being involved:

“I’m a Catholic Priest and 8 years ago a man called Wayne Ruks was bashed to death in my Brisbane churchyard. Unbelievably, his killer’s convictions were downgraded to manslaughter, using ‘gay panic’ as a defence. . .

“I’ve made it my mission to see this revolting law abolished – it belongs in the dark ages. I have no words to describe how offensive, harmful and dangerous it is that two of our governments uphold that a person can be panicked enough by gay people to justify murder.”

Source:  Bondings 2.0

Denmark will become first country to no longer define being transgender as a mental illness |  The Independent

Denmark is set to become the first country to no longer define being transgender as a mental illness.

Government officials said classifying transgender people as mentally ill was “stigmatising” and they had “run out of patience” with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) work on the definition.

Being transgender is officially considered a mental or behavioural disorder by the WHO, although the organisation is currently assessing its guidance.

Changes by the WHO are characteristically slow, and the Danishgovernment will now aim to push ahead with the move on 1 January 2017.

Source:  The Independent

Strongly Catholic Philippines Elects Its First Transgender Lawmaker | Bondings 2.0

The heavily Catholic nation of the Philippines this week elected their first transgender person to the House of Representatives, while at the same time electing to the Senate a boxing star who made a vicious anti-gay comment during his campaign.

Geraldine Roman

The Tablet reported that the transgender woman won the congressional seat by a wide margin of votes:

“Liberal Party candidate Geraldine Roman, who has been living as a woman for more than two decades, trounced her closest rival in the congressional district of Bataan, winning 62 per cent of the unofficial vote.”

“If Jesus Christ was alive today, he would not approve of discrimination. I firmly believe that.”During the campaign, Roman, a Catholic, answered critics who said she should not be running for office.  She told the AFP:

Roman, who succeeds her mother as representative of their home district of Bataan, campaigned saying that her first loyalty was to the people of her district.  But she also did not downplay LGBT issues, making them an integral part of her platform. On the campaign trail, AFP reported:


See more at- Bondings 2.0

New Ways Ministry Thanks Sisters of Mercy and Mercy H.S. for Continuing Employment of Transgender Man  

New Ways Ministry congratulates and thanks the Sisters of Mercy and the administrators of Mercy H.S., San Francisco, for their Gospel-based decision to continue employment of one of their teachers who identifies as a transgender man. This decision stands as a beacon of hope in the midst of the terrible darkness of the recent trend of firing LGBT employees from Catholic institutions.

The decision was announced in a letter to parents of students, which, after describing the teacher’s situation, stated:“This afternoon, we informed students, faculty and staff about our resolve to support the dignity of each person—regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identification.”


We applaud, too, the courage of English Department chair and teacher Gabriel Stein-Bodenheimer for honoring his gender identity, as well to his commitment to educate students in the Mercy tradition. His personal example will be a most powerful lesson to all in the school’s community, especially because his decision involved a large degree of risk.

Source: Bondings 2.0

Transgender politician wins seat in Philippines parliament 

Geraldine Roman vows to campaign against restrictions stopping Filipinos from changing their name and gender after historic victory

Geraldine Roman has celebrated overcoming “bigotry, hatred and discrimination” after becoming the first transgender politician to win a congressional seat in the predominantly Catholic Philippines.

After her victory in Monday’s election, Roman is being hailed by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community as a source of hope in a country where Church influence means divorce, abortion and same-sex marriage are banned.

“The politics of bigotry, hatred and discrimination did not triumph. What triumphed was the politics of love, acceptance and respect,” Roman said after her victory for a seat in Congress representing the farming province of Bataan, just northwest of Manila.

Source: The Guardian

Telstra withdraws from (Australian) marriage equality debate allegedly due to church pressure

Allegedly under pressure from the Catholic Church, Australia’s largest telecommunications provider will not be participating in the public campaign in support of same-sex marriage, a new report suggests.

According to The Australian, Archdiocese of Sydney business manager Michael Digges approached a number of companies who had given permission for their logo to be used in a newspaper advertisement in support of marriage equality in May 2015.

Source: Mashable

Norway’s Lutheran church votes in favor of same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriages may now be conducted, in Church, across Scandinavia (at least, in the region’s national churches, the Lutherans).

Norway’s Lutheran Church voted on Monday in favor of allowing same-sex marriage, becoming the latest of a small but growing number of churches worldwide to do so.

Last year the French Protestant Church allowed gay marriage blessings, while the U.S. Presbyterian Church approved a change in the wording of its constitution to include same-sex marriage.

In a vote at the annual conference of the Norwegian Lutheran Church on Monday 88 delegates out of 115 in total backed same-sex marriage.

“Finally we can celebrate love independently of whom one falls in love with,” said Gard Sandaker-Nilsen, leader of the Open Public Church, a religious movement within the church that had campaigned to change the rules.

Source: Reuters

France ends standoff with Vatican by withdrawing gay envoy nominee

Laurent Stefanini’s nomination as ambassador to the Holy See was stonewalled by RomeFrance ended a year-long standoff with the Vatican on Wednesday by announcing that Laurent Stefanini, a gay diplomat whose nomination as ambassador to the Holy See was stonewalled by Rome, had been named the new French representative to UNESCO.

The decision, a serious loss of face for the increasingly beleaguered President François Hollande, was made public in a terse sentence at the end of a communiqué listing decisions taken at the weekly cabinet meeting. It made no mention of the drama that has surrounded the case.It was also a personal defeat for Stefanini, 55, a practising Catholic and deputy head of the French mission to the Vatican who is a respected diplomat and was reported to have the personal support of France’s top Curia cardinal, Jean-Louis Tauran, and Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris.

Source: France ends standoff with Vatican by withdrawing gay envoy nominee

Catholic College Supports Gay Basketball Coach and Her Wife

The main thrust of this story is that Azzi is notable as the first major basketball coach to come out as gay.

Gay marriage: Supporters laud Jennifer Azzi for her bravery

Jennifer Azzi built a reputation for taking charge on the basketball court while becoming the greatest point guard in Stanford history.Now she’s leading in a new arena by becoming the only openly gay coach of a Division I men’s or women’s basketball program.

Azzi, 47, announced Thursday night that she is married to Blair Hardiek, her assistant coach at the University of San Francisco.

Hidden in the detail, however, is something else of interest to LGBT Catholics. She and her wife are coaching at a Catholic college – and has the support of the school.
USF athletic director Scott Sidwell said Friday the school supports Azzi, who led the Dons (21-12) to the NCAA tournament last month for the first time since 1997.

“We have a commitment to Jennifer,” he said, referring to a five-year contract extension signed in July. “We’re going to respect the dignity of each person.”

But Sidwell, who took over after Azzi was hired in 2010, declined to answer specific questions about the announcement and about a coach being married to one of her employees. He described the Jesuit school as an inclusive campus “committed to the workplace.”

Source: San Jose Mercury News

Vatican’s new anti-abuse expert says pope ‘not wavering’

A former colonel in the Illinois state police and former official of the U.S. bishops’ conference, recently tapped by the Vatican to help develop anti-sex abuse policies around the Catholic world, says she has “no doubt at all” that Pope Francis is personally committed to the cause.

“If the pope was wavering, I don’t think he’d give the commission the support he’s been giving it,” said Teresa Kettelkamp, referring to the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, established by Francis in 2014 to advise him on anti-abuse measures.

Kettelkamp, a veteran law enforcement professional who headed the U.S. Bishops’ Child Protection Office from 2005 to 2011, was hired in January by the commission to develop a template for anti-abuse guidelines and a set of “best practices” for use by bishops’ conferences around the world, especially in places such as Africa, Asia and Latin America that have not yet developed strong policies

Source: Crux now