One day after the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against Lake County schools, the school district announced that a Gay-Straight Alliance club will be allowed to form at a Leesburg middle school.
The district said that the club can form and meet at Carver Middle School “until the end of the school year,” the Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday (May 2.)
In a statement, the district said it is working to resolve the federal suit filed by the ACLU. The decision to allow the GSA immediately results from a consent order agreed to by both the school district and the ACLU.
The ACLU filed the suit in federal court on behalf of a 14-year-old girl who had been rebuffed in her effort to start the club. The suit accused school leaders of violating federal law prohibiting schools from discriminating against student clubs.
“I’m just so happy that our club is finally going to be allowed to meet,” said student organizer Bayli Silberstein. “There’s only about a month left of school, but that’s still a month we can use to start doing the work to make this school a safer and more welcoming place.”
She had been working since the 2011-12 school year to establish a club whose goal is to fight bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Superintendent Susan Moxley said the “discussion on this issue has been complex and longer than anticipated.” She added that the policy discussion will continue but that “this specific school and student request is being resolved within current laws and guidelines.”
Board members will talk at 3:30 p.m. Monday about how to revise the policy governing clubs. The meeting is set for the Lake Minneola High auditorium, 101 N. Hancock Road.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rescinding Bradley Manning’s invitation to be the grand marshal of San Francisco’s big gay celebration is not what pride is all about, says reporter Victoria Brownworth. Whether you think Manning is a hero or a traitor for leaking classified U.S. cables to its embassies, her essay raises questions about whether gay leaders go too far to be politically correct.
Ask anyone, queer or straight, what they think the queerest city in America is and most will say San Francisco. The City by the Bay has been the locus of all things queer since before Stonewall.
It made perfect sense, then, that San Francisco Pride would choose as its 2013 grand marshal Bradley Manning, the former Army intelligence specialist who is currently being prosecuted by the Obama administration and the Army for leaking thousands of classified documents via WikiLeaks. Many of those documents have been published and discussed extensively by top-level newspapers, including TheNew York Times,The Washington Post, and The Guardian.
Manning has been deemed a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International and other human rights groups. In March, Manning was short-listed for the Nobel Peace Prize with support from people as diverse as Republican congressman Ron Paul of Texas and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg. The Guardian, a U.K. newspaper, chose Manning as its Person of the Year 2012. His case has been a cause célèbre throughout Europe.
But within hours of the announcement Friday that Manning would be the grand marshal, and subsequent notification of Manning himself through Courage to Resist, which raises money to support his defense, Lisa L. Williams, San Francisco Pride board president, issued a disturbing press release. Williams stated emphatically that Manning’s nomination was “a mistake and never should have been allowed to happen.” Williams also blamed a rogue member of the committee that chooses the marshals and said he “had been disciplined.”
Disciplined — perhaps like Manning himself has been by the Obama administration, which has invoked the nearly century-old Espionage Act to prosecute Manning (but not any of the news outlets that have repeatedly published the documents he released) and other whistle-blowers.
The S.F. Pride board allegedly received numerous complaints from gay and lesbian service members about the choice of Manning and so withdrew it, blaming an unnamed board member.continue page 2
A weekly newsletter from NEW CHURCH FAMILY, a member of International Christian Community Churches
3520 W. International Speedway Blvd. (US 92)
Daytona Beach, FL 32124
Rev. Susan McDaniels, interim pastor
THIS SUNDAY – MAY 5 –10 a.m. Worship & Holy Communion, Rev. Susan B. McDaniels preaching. Topic: “From Servant to Friend.”
Reminder:Monthly Benevolence Fund collection –bring your spare change and dollars. A potluck lunch will beheld in the lobby after service.
SCRIPTURE for Sunday:
Lectionary Readings (Revised Common Lectionary, Year C):
Acts 16:9–15; Psalm 67; Revelation 21:10, 22–22:5; John 14:23–29 or 5:1–9
nContinued prayers for Lila, the child with cancer
nThanksgiving for our member Bridget who celebrated a birthday on Saturday
nPrayers for earthquake victims in China
nComfort for Mary S, whose long term partner Scotty C.passed away recently. They attended our services at Hope.
nHealing for Larry G., very ill with pancreatitis at Shands Hospital. Strength for his partner Carlos.
nHealing for Linda N.’s balance problems
nContinued healing for Jennifer at Coquina Rehab
nGuidance for our Pastor Nominating Committee and our pastoral applicants.
nSafety for the young woman who came to our door Sunday asking the way to Ocean Walk. She saw our sign and figured New Church Family was a safe place to ask directions.
nThanksgiving Clarence is back at church after recovering from pneumonia
SUNDAY SERMON Recap –(April 28) – We heard a funny “hot iron” anecdote that reminded us how we humans love to do payback when someone plays a prank on us. Some of the stories in the Old Testament, if we believe them literally, suggest that God at times does payback, too. But the New Testament shows us God is much more about love and mercy than about payback. The parable of the Good Samaritan shows how we should let the Holy Spirit flow into our being and do acts of kindness without worrying about getting glory or a church recruit or even a thank-you. Our visiting preacher told us a storyabout revelers on Seabreeze Boulevard recently getting blasted with a PA system by some church group testifying about sin. Handing out bottles of water to the inebriated would have been the kinder thing to do
This has been a good year for gay rights advocates — with public opinion shifting in their favor and same-sex marriage advancing in the states — but not when it comes to immigration.
An 844-page bill introduced in the Senate in mid-April by a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers includes measures to make legal immigration easier for highly skilled immigrants, migrant farmworkers and those living here illegally. It has no provisions that would help foreigners who are same-sex partners of American citizens to become legal permanent residents.
Gay advocates were sharply disappointed to find that same-sex couples were excluded from the legislation, since the Democrats who wrote it included two of their most consistent champions, Sens. Charles E. Schumer of New York and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the second highest-ranking Senate Democrat. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the Democrat who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, where the bill is under consideration, has offered, since as far back as 2003, a separate measure that would allow immigrants in long-term same-sex relationships to obtain residency with a green card.
But in the lengthy closed-door negotiations that produced the overhaul proposal, the four Republicans in the bipartisan group made it clear early on that they did not want to include such a hot-button issue in a bill that would be a challenge to sell to their party even without it, according to Senate staff members. The Republicans are Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona, and Marco Rubio of Florida.
Many Republicans in both houses of Congress oppose any recognition of same-sex unions.
Now, with the immigration bill scheduled to advance next week toward a vote in the Judiciary Committee, Democrats are in a quandary about whether to offer an amendment that would give green cards to same-sex partners.
Republican sponsors of the overhaul warned that such an amendment would sink the entire measure.
“There’s a reason this language wasn’t included in the Gang of Eight’s bill: It’s a deal-breaker for most Republicans, ” Sen. Flake said. “Finding consensus on immigration legislation is tough enough without opening the bill up to social issues.”
Under existing immigration law, it is generally a quick and straightforward process when an American citizen seeks a green card for a foreign-born spouse in a traditional marriage.
But under a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, Americans cannot apply for green cards for foreign spouses of the same sex. In addition, the immigration code does not recognize same-sex partners.
Last Wednesday, about 40 gay and lesbian families from 27 states fanned out across Capitol Hill in a lobbying blitz, hoping to show lawmakers why they cared about the issue.
“I was troubled to hear hesitation from Senate Democrats,” said Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality, a gay rights group that organized the Washington visits. “When Democrats are falling over one another to say how they support marriage equality, why are they abandoning gay families when actual legislation is on the table?”
Sen. Leahy’s bill does not seek to legalize gay marriage. Instead, it would allow an American citizen to petition for a green card for a “permanent partner.” Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican, is a co-sponsor of that bill. “Our legislation would simply update our nation’s immigration laws to treat binational, same-sex permanent partners fairly,” she said on Tuesday.
She and Senate Democrats are looking to Leahy to decide whether to attach that measure as an amendment to the larger bill. He has not yet tipped his hand.
But in an interview Tuesday with the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Senator Rubio was blunt in his assessment of the impact of any same-sex amendment.
“This immigration bill is difficult enough as it is,” he said. “If that issue is injected into this bill, this bill will fail. It will not have the support. It will not have my support.”
May the people injured in the Boston Marathon bombing heal quickly. Prayers also for the persons responsible
Jerry asks strength for Dean and other frail elderly friends.
Teresa asksfor strength for her and Rick as they care for their German shepherd with cancer.
Margaret asks continued healing for her brother Pat, recovering from a car crash.
Healing for Lila, the 6-year-old withadvanced cancer.
Protection for a homeless man sleeps who sleeps nightly on a bus bench at Beville & Nova.
Safe travel for Russ on his cross country RV trip.
More healing for Jennifer, who is in Coquina Rehab in Ormond with a broken leg.
Healing for Mike C., experiencing chronic dizziness
Thanksgiving for our 3 first-time visitors
For the families injured by the Texas factory explosion
For Rev. Rick Warren
For the local Doctor who lost family in a car crash
SUNDAY SERMON RECAP – (April 21, Trust) – When events like the Boston Marathon bombing occur, it is hard not to feel deserted by God.Throughout history, Jews and Christians have been wracked by those feelings when wars, floods, famines and earthquakes have taken their toll. And in our individual lives, when we go through a crisis, we often feel we are entirely alone. Many of the psalms speak of such feelings of desolation. Yet it is precisely at those times, we should trust that God is our refuge, Rev. Susan reminded us. Many of us, like the disciple Thomas, will want tangible proof before we can believe that God is in our midst. Yet Jesus told us so many times, he did not desert us when he left Earth. He is still here in the form of the Holy Spirit, invisible but very much touching us.It may be that hug you receive from a friend or loved one at just the right time. Yes, Jesus is helping us cope here and now, and preparing a better dwelling place for us in the afterlife. Did you notice in the TV newscasts from Boston how often church bells were tolling in the background? A reminder that the Spirit is here with us, motivating so many people to reach out and comfort the afflicted.“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”
A five-month dispute over whether the Lake County school system will permit a middle school to have a gay-straight alliance remains unresolved.
While 350 spectators watched, the school board voted 4-1 Monday (April 22) to postpone the issue and send it to a workshop — an informal meeting of the board. The maneuver effectively killed the chances for a GSA to get the school system’s approval for this academic year.
Bayli Silberstein, an eighth-grader who led the campaign for a GSA, left the meeting in tears but vowed to press on.
The issue got bogged down in a debate over whether Carver Middle School should be classified as a secondary school. Secondary status would mean it would be governed by federal anti-discrimination rulings that have the effect of upholding GSA clubs. Recently enacted Senate Bill 1076 was amended to leave the status question unanswered. Two opponents of Lake County’s proposed GSA favored the amendment.
Board members Tod Howard and Bill Mathias proposed the tabling action, contending that middle-school children were too young to be discussing gay-straight issues. Supporting the tabling were Chairwoman Kyleen Fischer and fellow board member Debbie Stivender. The ACLU contends that middle schoolers have a right to form a GSA both by the fedral secondary-school regulations, and, more basically, by the First Amendment. (With information from the Orlando Sentinel.)
John Paulk, a former board chair at Exodus International and lead spokesperson for Focus On the Family on promoting the ex-gay movement, has renounced his ex-gay past in an interview with Portland’s PQ Monthly:
Paulk’s emailed response to PQ’s interview questions suggest that he might, in fact, be moving toward accepting who he is.
“Until recently, I have struggled all my life in feeling unloved and unaccepted,” Paulk said. “I have been on a journey during the last few years in trying to understand God, myself, and how I can best relate to others. During this journey I have made many mistakes and I have hurt many people including people who are close to me. I have also found a large number of people who accept me for who I am regardless of my past, any labels, or what I do.”
Paulk continued, “I no longer support the ex-gay movement or efforts to attempt to change individuals — especially teens who already feel insecure and alienated. I feel great sorrow over the pain that has been caused when my words were misconstrued. I have worked at giving generously to the gay community in Portland where I work and live. I am working hard to be authentic and genuine in all of my relationships.”
Misconstrued? Which words were misconstrued? Were they the messages he promoted when in 1995 he was first elected to the chairmanship of Exodus International? Or when, as an employee of Focus On the Family, he launched a traveling series of conferences called “Love Won Out” in 1998, which travelled to a half a dozen cities per year for the next decade and a half, convincing parents and teens that he and his cohorts knew how to make them straight? Was it in 1998, when Paulk and his wife, “ex-lesbian” Anne Paulk, appeared as a happy cover in a major newspaper and billboard advertising campaign to promote the ex-gay community, a campaign which culminated in them landing on the cover of Newsweek?
Or was it in 2000 when the Love Won Out was making a stop in Washington, D.C., and LGBT activist Wayne Besen took Paulk’s photo as Paulk fled a gay bar near Dupont Circle, after Paulk was spotted flirting with patrons for more than an hour?
Paulk lost his chairmanship at Exodus International, but remained on its board of directors. He also, after a probationary period, continued working as head of Focus On the Family’s Homosexuality and Gender division, and he remained the coordinator and a speaking for its ove Won Out conferences until 2003. Paulk left Focus On the Family and the couple moved to Portland, where John Paulk started a catering business, Mezzaluna, in 2005.
Paulk has more or less dropped off the map since then, although his wife continues to publish books and remain active in the ex-gay movement. In 2012, after Exodus International began acknowledging to that change in sexual orientation was not possible, Anne Paulk helped to form a break-away group comprised of former Exodus ministries. She now serves on the board of directors of that dissident group, Restored Hope Network. The Paulks are reportedly separated, and former employees of Paulk’s catering service alleged that Paulk had engaged in inappropriate conduct with his employees. Others however defend him:
“Chef John is an amazing person to work for,” said Jeremy Neel, Mezzaluna’s openly gay catering captain. “He is very compassionate, friendly, caring, encouraging, and supportive…. I love my job. It is sad that some people in the LGBT community are saying negative things about him yet have not given him a chance. One’s past should not define who they are.”
Kurt Granzow, aka “Sister Krissy Fiction” of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, has a background similar to Paulk’s. “I was in the ex-gay movement and a conservative Christian minister for over a decade before I moved to Portland and came out,” Granzow said. “I’ve been trying to support John in his process of leaving that stuff behind. I remember what it was like to look in the mirror with shame and self-loathing. The process of learning to be who you are is tough. I’ve just tried to be a compassionate friend.”
Paulk still has his detractors. Besen has issued a list of demands, including that Paulk denounces the Portland Fellowship, an former Exodus International ex-gay ministry that is now affiliated with Restored Hope Network; embark on a speaking tour with LGBT advocates, and supporting an Oregon bill that would ban Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) for minors. Roey Thorpe, former director of Basic Rights Oregon, told PQ Monthly:
John Paulk isn’t just a conflicted man who hasn’t been able to reconcile his sexuality with his faith — we are all sympathetic to that and many of us have had that struggle. This is different,” Thorpe said. “Thousands of young people have been forced into religious conversion programs, shamed into believing they are sinners. Families have been encouraged to reject their children, and queer kids end up on the streets or committing suicide. Others live silently, filled with shame. This is how the Paulk family has made their living. I have dear friends who have been through hell and are still exiled from their families because of John Paulk. It’s important for people to know who they are doing business with.”
Hundreds of jubilant gay-rights advocates celebrated at New Zealand’s Parliament on Wednesday (April 17) as the country become the 13th in the world and the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage.
Lawmakers voted 77 to 44 in favor of the gay-marriage bill on its third and final reading.
People watching from the public gallery and some lawmakers immediately broke into song after the result was announced, singing the New Zealand love song “Pokarekare Ana” in the indigenous Maori language.
Lawmakers from most political parties were encouraged by their leaders to vote as their conscience dictated rather than along party lines. Although the main sponsor is from the opposition Labour Party, the bill also was supported by center-right Prime Minister John Key.
Since 2005, New Zealand has allowed civil unions, which confer many legal rights to gay couples. The new law will allow gay couples to jointly adopt children for the first time and will also allow their marriages to be recognized in other countries. The law will take effect in late August.
The change in New Zealand could put pressure on some of its neighbors to consider changing their laws. In Australia, there has been little political momentum for a change at a federal level and Prime Minister Julia Gillard has expressed her opposition to same-sex marriage. Some Australian states, however, are considering gay-marriage legislation.
Many people in New Zealand remain vehemently opposed to gay marriage. The lobbying group Family First last year presented a petition to Parliament signed by 50,000 people who opposed the bill. Another 25,000 people have since added their signatures to that petition.
“Historically and culturally, marriage is about man and a woman, and it shouldn’t be touched,” said Family First founder Bob McCoskrie. “It doesn’t need to be.”
McCoskrie said same-sex marriage should have been put to a public referendum rather than a parliamentary vote. That might not have changed the outcome, however: Surveys indicate that about two-thirds of New Zealanders favor gay marriage.
The change was given impetus last May when U.S. President Barack Obama declared his support for gay marriage. That prompted Prime Minister Key to break his silence on the issue by saying he was “not personally opposed” to the idea. Wall then put forward the bill, which she had previously drafted.
Same-sex marriage is recognized in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Denmark. Lawmakers in Uruguay approved a law last week that President Jose Mujica is expected to sign. France is getting close to final approval of its own gay-marriage law.
Nine states in the U.S. also recognize such marriages, but the federal government does not.
A weekly newsletter from New Church Family, a member of International Christian Community Churches
3520 W. International Speedway Blvd. (US 92)
Daytona Beach, FL 32124
THIS SUNDAY – APRIL 21 – Worship & Holy Communion 10 a.m., Rev. Susan McDaniels, interim pastor, preaching on “Trust.”
TONIGHT – Wed. 6:30 p.m. – Join us for an informal chat about the concept of “worship.”(see below)
SCRIPTURE FOR SUNDAY
Lectionary Readings (Revised Common Lectionary, Year C) — Acts 9:36–43; Psalm 23; Revelation 7:9–17; John 10:22–30
nThanksgiving that Loretta’s daughter-in-law, competing in the Boston Marathon, escaped injury on Monday. May all the hospitalized recover quickly.
nContinued healing for Clarence. He is home from the hospital but still fighting pneumonia, plus back pain.
nLeela, dealing with gall bladder cancer
nFrank asks prayers for Bill P., a former member now in S. Florida, getting ready for prostate surgery. Prayers also for Edward, his partner, suffering dementia.
nDan, coping with kidney stones
nPat asks protection for Jen, threatened by punks at her workplace.
nMargaret asks continued prayers for brother Pat, recovering from a car crash
nPrayers for Aunt Chris
nSafety for our church property as brush fires continue burning about 2 miles west despite rain.
nThe coffee group prays for Lila Rose, a 6-year-old with cancer.
nHealing for Jay S., getting another cervical injection at Halifax on Friday, plus more tests
nPat asks comfort for a friend who lost a mother
nRev. Susan asks prayers for Jennifer at Coquina Rehab in Ormond with a broken leg. Her computer failed so now she is off-line.
nContinued safe travel for Russ as he continues his solo RV trek to San Diego
– Healing for Linda N., who had another bad fall
SUNDAY SERMON RECAP – Rabbi Howard Schwartz taught us a few more words of Hebrew as he quoted Jesus on the Two Greatest Commandments.“Love your neighbor” was not a new idea to Judaism in 30 C.E. It went back to ancient times, and Jesus had probably heard that same instruction preached by Pharisees and famous rabbis of his day, such as Rabbi Yeshiva. The “love” that is part of the commandment is not the same type of love you would feel toward a spouse or a parent. It is more like “respect” – honoring other people because they, too, are part of the creation of God, and “God doesn’t make junk.”
A MESSAGE FROM Rev. Carlene Wood, presiding minister, International Christian Community Churches (our denomination)”
Just wanted to let you know that the (ICCC) Governing Board met this evening and unanimously affirms NCF’s call of Susan to be your interim pastor.The Board doesn’t need to vote on your decision, but we wanted the congregation to know that we support you and Susan in your decision. Please let us know how we can help.
A new Sports Illustrated cover features a photo that is among the most circulated after the Boston Marathon bombings. It shows 78-year-old Bill Iffrig of Lake Stevens, Wash., who was knocked off his feet by the bomb blast, along with three Boston police officers taking action after the attack.
The police officer on the right is the Boston Police Gay Liaison to the community Javier Pagan, Boston Pride reports.
Officer Pagan’s husband, Pedro, is a retired sergeant from the New York Police Department who rescued many people when the Twin Towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2011, according to a recent profile of Pagan by a Boston CrossFit site. Pagan also escorted LGBT civil rights attorney Mary Bonauto to City Hall Plaza on May 17, 2004, when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of marriage equality.
Pagan, a native of Puerto Rico who came out at 26 a year after joining the force, was profiled by the Bay Windows LGBT newspaper when he was named to the position in 2002.
While we’re identifying Pagan because this site deals with many LGBT issues, we should take a moment to thank ALL first responders and everyone who stepped up in this time of crisis.
Incidentally, Iffrig, the elderly runner, was okay. ESPN spoke with him yesterday.