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U.S. cuts aid to Uganda over anti-gay law
Washington, D.C.--The federal government named over $10 million in aid cuts to Uganda over its draconian anti-gay law.
Two military events slated to take place in Uganda will be moved to other countries, while $3 million slated for tourism and biodiversity programs will go to non-government organizations, or NGOs, that are focused on the same subjects.
Another $6.4 million will be pulled from the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, which supported the Anti-Homosexuality Act. The group will still get $2.3 million for treatment of patients with HIV.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HIV study to be conducted through a Ugandan university to identify at-risk populations will be postponed because of concerns over the safety of study subjects and researchers.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian legislators are gearing up to pass legislation that would bar the president from pardoning people convicted of crimes related to homosexuality. Other crimes barred from pardons include corruption, rape, smuggling, terrorism and human trafficking.
World Vision flip-flops on marriage
Federal Way, Wash.--World Vision, a faith-based organization that provides relief in the developing world and runs �adopt a child� pledge programs, changed its policies twice in the last week of March regarding gay and lesbian employees.
On March 24, the board of World Vision said that they would allow gay and lesbian Christians in legal same-sex marriages to work for the relief organization. Two days later, after an outcry from religious conservatives, they switched the group�s position again, saying that it still requires sexual abstinence from single employees and �faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.�
While the group claims to be an equal opportunity employer, it is also a �faith-based religious organization.� Its antidiscrimination policy covers categories required under federal law, which does not include sexual orientation or gender identity.
However, the organization received $145 million in federal funding for its relief efforts in 2013.
Harvey Milk stamp due out this spring
Washington, D.C.--The United States Postal Service will release a Harvey Milk stamp this May, according to the Office of Stamps and Corporate Licensing.
�It will be May, not June, and we hope people will turn out to experience a very special release ceremony,� office director Susan McGowan told the Washington Blade LGBT newspaper.
Other media outlets, and the Postal Service website, indicated that the release was likely in June.
While some religious groups had opposed putting the slain gay San Francisco supervisor on a stamp, McGowan said that there was no major opposition on the Citizens Stamp Approval Committee.
Anti-marriage leader concedes defeat
Washington, D.C.--Maggie Gallagher, founder of the National Organization for Marriage and professional anti-gay harridan, conceded defeat in a March 20 email to the Huffington Post�s Lila Shapiro.
�As I said last summer, it was clear to me from reading Windsor, gay marriage advocates now have five votes for inserting a right to gay marriage in our Constitution,� she wrote. �We are now in the �gay marriage in all 50 states� phase whether we like it or not.�
�In my view, people who believe in the traditional understanding of marriage, and believe that it matters, have to become a creative minority, finding ways to both express these sexual views, culturally, artistically and intellectually and to engage with the newly dominant cultural view of marriage respectfully but not submissively,� she continued.
�Religious people do not exist in a vacuum and as opposition to gay marriage becomes defined in the public sphere as a bigoted and discriminatory impulse, many religious people want to get good with the newly dominant public morality,� she said.
�I went into this fight in good conscience, because I believed it mattered and that I had something to contribute. I did not promise myself I would win. I promised myself I would do everything I could see, to do this good, to fight for marriage as a universal human institution with certain goods and goals,� she concluded. �I feel a great deal of contentment about that. I can see some things I might have done differently, but basically I was at post. One cannot do anything better with one�s life than stand up for what you deeply believe in, i.e., to speak truth, whether in power or to power. I have a lot more freedom now to figure out what I want to do with the next 20 years of my life.�
�Religious freedom� bill on state ballot
Salem, Ore.--While Oregonian voters have a chance to pass full equality at the ballot box this November, they will also be faced with a religious discrimination law that could gut anti-bias legislation.
The proposed law would allow people with �sincerely held religious beliefs� to ignore civil rights laws. While it would likely fail a constitutional test if used against people based on race, there are no federal protections for sexual orientation or gender identity yet.
Similar bills have been introduced across the country, but this is the first time it will go to voters in a state instead of to legislators. Lawmakers in Arizona passed it, but it was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer. Some legislatures, including Ohio�s, then pulled their bills after the true motivation behind them was revealed.
School bars 8-year-old tomboy
Timberlake, Va.--Timberlake Christian School has barred an eight-year old girl from coming back to school because she is a tomboy.
Sunnie Kahle was told that if she didn�t start dressing like a girl, she would not be allowed to return in the fall. The school sent a letter to her grandparents, her legal guardians, saying that other students were confused as to whether she was a boy or a girl, and that if she did not understand that God made her a girl, the school was not appropriate for her.
Her grandparents are pulling her from the school and will send her to public school.
Kahle is supported by Wonder Woman. Lynda Carter, who played the superhero in the 1970s television show, posted a story about the Kahle on her Facebook page, saying, �Sending love to little Sunnie Kahle! Stay strong and love who you are . . . short hair, sneakers and all.�
Timberlake is a suburb of Lynchburg in central Virginia, home to Jerry Falwell�s Liberty University.
Obama: Accept DADT�s end or resign
Washington, D.C.--President Barack Obama, who is generally very diplomatic in public, in 2010 told the leaders of the five branches of the military that they could either get on board with the repeal of the �don�t ask, don�t tell� law or tender their resignations.
The Buzzfeed political news website obtained a video through a Freedom of Information Act request. In it, Admiral Robert Papp of the Coast Guard said, �We were called into the Oval Office and President Obama looked all five service chiefs in the eye and said, �This is what I want to do.� I cannot divulge everything he said to us, that�s private communications within the Oval Office, but if we didn�t agree with it--if any of us didn�t agree with it--we all had the opportunity to resign our commissions and go do other things.�
The Buzzfeed story didn�t say when in 2010 the meeting took place. The �don�t ask� law was not repealed until late December of that year, taking effect the following September.
The video was of Papp speaking at a question and answer session with Coast Guard Academy cadets last January. He was asked how officers should respond to policies they oppose but are required to enforce.
�If I disagree morally with [a policy], it�s my obligation to voice that, regardless of the risk it might give my career. I�ve been in those situations,� he said. �I�ve been fortunate to have good leaders that have appreciated that.�
He said, however, that repealing DADT was the right move.
Vicar offers to �cleanse� gay bar patrons
Canterbury, England--The first gay bar in the country�s spiritual capital faces opposition from the church and the local council.
The first Sunday the bar was open, according to owner Tony Butcher, a vicar came in and offered to spiritually cleanse the clientele if they came to his church.
Someone else threatened to burn the bar down, and now the city council is threatening to pull the bar�s license because of noise complaints.
Butcher said that they have tried to be good neighbors, but at this point he can only believe he is being targeted for being a gay bar.
Compiled by Brian DeWitt, Anthony Glassman and Patti Harris.