U.S. President Barack Obama is placing pressure on Uganda President Yoweri Museveni not to sign a controversial anti-gay bill that could make "aggravated homosexuality" punishable by life imprisonment, warning that such a law could strain relationships between the two countries.
Obama said in a statement on Sunday that as a people, the U.S. stands for the protection of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights, and that is why he is so "deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality."
"The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda. It will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda's commitment to protecting the human rights of its people," Obama warned. "It also will mark a serious setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice and equal rights." more >>
A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, despite its own ban on the practice, arguing that discriminating against a class of people for religious or traditional reasons is unconstitutional. Conservative groups have called the decision a "deep betrayal."
"In the end, the Court concludes that Kentucky's denial of recognition for valid same-sex marriages violates the United States Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law, even under the most deferential standard of review," said U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II in his 23-page ruling.
"Once the government defines marriage and attaches benefits to that definition, it must do so constitutionally. It cannot impose a traditional or faith-based limitation upon a public right without a sufficient justification for it." more >>
The archbishop of Jos and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria has accused the Western world of forcing secular values on homosexuality and condom use "down the throats" of Africans. He called on believers to stay faithful to their religious heritage.
"In Africa, whether it is about population control, use of condoms, homosexuality, etc sometimes, the views of the West are forced down the throats of Africans through financial inducement. Africans must not be copy cats, believing that whatever comes from the West is ideal," His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama said at a seminar in Jos on health care and Catholic social teachings, Agenzia Fides reported on Wednesday.
"We must not be swallowed up by the tyrannical imposition of some governments or international non-governmental organizations who wish to dictate the moral trend of the world based on their secular values" he added. more >>
A far-reaching poll of Roman Catholics around the world commissioned by Univision has found that a large number of adherents disagree with church teachings on controversial subjects like contraception, abortion and gay marriage.
The poll was conducted on 12,048 self-identified Roman Catholics in nine languages across five continents and 12 countries, with an overall margin of error of 0.9 percent at the 95 percent confidence interval. It found that believers disagree especially with the Roman Catholic Church's teachings against using contraceptives.
Seventy-eight percent of respondents support the use of contraceptives. Support was highest in Latin America, at 91 percent, and the lowest in the Philippines, where only 31 percent support this method of birth control. more >>
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that he will not be participating in the city's historic St. Patrick's Day parade in March because of its policy prohibiting LGBT groups from carrying pro-gay banners. His decision has struck the ire of some public figures in the city who argue the politician is opting out of an important and historical tradition.
De Blasio, who was elected to his post in November 2013, is the first NYC mayor in 20 years to not participate in the famous march down Fifth Avenue that is considered to be the largest St. Patrick's Day celebration in the nation. When de Blasio served as public advocate for the city, he participated in an alternative St. Patrick's Day parade in Queens that allowed LGBT participants to carry signs.
"I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city," de Blasio said at a press conference earlier this week, adding, "But I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade." more >>
Scotland's parliament voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to legalize same-sex marriage in the country in a 105 to 18 vote, despite objections from Scotland's main churches and Christian representatives in the government.
Scotland Health Secretary Alex Neil praised the vote and said that it was "right that same-sex couples should be able to freely express their love and commitment to each other through getting married," Reuters reported. "Marriage is about love, and that has always been at the heart of this issue."
Both the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and the Scottish Roman Catholic Church have opposed the legal change of the definition of marriage, according to The Guardian. Over 50 ministers and church officials had written to the government expressing "deep concern" before the vote took place. more >>