This is why your Activist doesn’t trust religious leaders

A West Auckland pastor has delivered a sermon calling for gay people to be shot.

Westcity Bible Baptist Church pastor Logan Robertson agrees his comments are hate speech but is unapologetic.

Footage posted online at the end of July shows Robertson making highly offensive comments against homosexuals.

Unrepentant when contacted by a newspaper, Robertson said he did not deny his words were hate speech. “Of course it is. Does it sound like hate speech to
you? If the world thinks that’s hate speech then that’s fine.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11904818

Ryan’s out

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Ryan Atkin | Sky News | 17150

Gay Activist congratulates Ryan Atkin, England’s first openly gay professional official. The Football Association welcomed his revelation of his sexuality as a landmark sign of progress.

“Ryan’s declaration marks an important moment in the game and reinforces the fact that refereeing really is open to everyone,” said Neale Barry of the FA. “He believes people who are happy in their own skin perform better and I couldn’t agree more. Our role is to support all referees, aid their development, maximise their potential and, above all, help ensure their experiences are positive.”

“I myself have never been a victim of homophobic abuse but I am aware others have been. The biggest challenge I might face in the future as an openly gay referee would potentially be dealing with homophobia that could come from players, spectators and possibly even refereeing colleagues, though so far I have found officials within football to be very open-minded. It’s something the game can be proud of,” said Ryan.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/10/ryan-atkin-first-openly-gay-professional-official-english-football-referee

Leo likes Belfast!

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Mr Varadkar (centre, in jeans) | Peter Morrison/Press Association  | 17146

Attending Belfast Pride yesterday, Republic of Ireland Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it is “only a matter of time” until same sex marriage is legalised in Northern Ireland. Earlier, he attended a Gay Pride breakfast meeting at the Northern Whig bar in Belfast where he met gay members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, pictured, and others.

The DUP did not oppose Mr Varadkar’s attendence at the event, but a small group of Free Presbyterians staged a protest across the road.

Asked if he believed gay marriage would be introduced in the North, Mr Varadkar – who is openly gay – replied: “I do, I think it’s only a matter of time. Of course, the decision is for the Northern Ireland Assembly. But I am confident that like other western European countries they will make that decision in due course.”

http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/gay-marriage-varadkar-northern-ireland-10936013

Normal for Norfolk?

National Trust members have reportedly quit over the charity’s decision to require volunteers at one property to wear LGBT lanyards.

Volunteers at Norfolk’s Felbrigg Hall were asked to wear the rainbow flag neckwear to celebrate the last lord of the manor, Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, who was gay. The decision provoked a furious backlash from volunteers who accused the trust of “outing” the late owner and infringing on their political freedoms.

More than 240 members have since contacted the National Trust to revoke their membership over the issue.

Mr Wyndham Ketton-Cremer died in 1969, aged 63, just two years after homosexuality was decriminalised, and was featured in a short film last month narrated by Stephen Fry called The Unfinished Portrait, made for the National Trust as part of it’s Prejudice and Pride season, to mark 50 years since homosexuality was partially decriminalised.

Perhaps the National Trust should have run some gay awareness courses for its volunteers.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hundreds-of-national-trust-members-quit-in-protest-over-gay-pride-campaign-a7878131.html

New York Court appoints openly gay judge for the first time

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Paul Feinman | New York Law Journal/Rick Kopstein | 17114

Mid-level appeals court judge Paul Feinman, an openly gay judge, has been appointed to New York’s state Court of Appeals. The state Senate unanimously confirmed him less than a week after Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated him for the post.

Feinman previously served in the Appellate Division in Manhattan and will fill the lone vacancy on the seven-member Court of Appeals.

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/politics/albany/2017/06/21/new-yorks-top-court-gets-first-openly-gay-judge/103079984/

Serbia strides ahead

Congratulations to Ana Brnabić, a graduate of the University of Hull, who is Serbia’s first gay Prime Minister and first female Prime Minister.

Brnabić will take up her role as Serbia navigates a crucial few years: the country is preparing for EU membership while retaining its traditionally close relationship with Russia, and nurturing a growing friendship with Beijing.

That’s quite a job description.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/15/serbia-gains-its-first-female-and-gay-prime-minister-ana-brnabic

Ireland’s glass ceiling smashed

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Leo Varadkar | Cyril Byrne | 17103

Congratulations to Leo Varadkar who has been elected the new leader of the Republic of Ireland’s Fine Gael party and will consequently become the youngest and first openly gay taoiseach, ten years after entering politics.

In 2015, Mr. Varadkar was widely praised for bravery and honesty when he became the first Irish government minister to come out. His stand is credited with bolstering the successful gay marriage “yes” referendum campaign, making Ireland the first country to legalize gay marriage by popular vote.

Mr. Varadkar was born in Dublin in 1979, and is the son of an Irish Catholic nurse from County Waterford and a Hindu doctor from Mumbai, India. His parents met in England in the 1960s and lived in India for a time before moving to Ireland.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/is-having-a-gay-taoiseach-a-big-deal-for-ireland-1.3105955

First at NATO

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Isopix/REX/Shutterstock | 17098

Gauthier Destenay, the husband of Luxembourg’s gay prime minister Xavier Bettel posed alongside the other wives and partners of Nato leaders at their summit this week for a group photo.

He looks as if he is enjoying the occasion. He stood behind a grinning Mrs Trump and Emine Erdogan, the wife of Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey.

http://metro.co.uk/2017/05/26/husband-of-luxembourgs-gay-prime-minister-joins-nato-leaders-wives-in-photo-6664770/

Five a day the Belfast way

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Julian Simmons | UTV | 17085

The Belfast Telegraph has been speaking to long time Northern Ireland television personality Julian Simmons about being gay.

He remembers one occasion when he was the victim of a homophobic attack in Belfast.

“On one particular day I went down Bedford Street to cross at the back of City Hall into Donegall Place and I was standing at the traffic lights and a red courier van comes along and as it came along a window went down and this fella shouted out ‘Ye big fruit ye’ and spat. As he spat me the wind caught it and the spit landed on a woman six feet down the road, and of course everyone was looking, and I said ‘I’m so sorry about that’.”

Nobody, anywhere, should ever be subjected to homophobia. Not even people who work on television.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/utvs-julian-on-antigay-abuse-being-spat-at-in-street-and-why-his-search-for-mr-right-is-on-hold-35694230.html

Good for Angela

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Undated file photo | Copyright control | 17081

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to help protect gay rights at her first visit to Russia since 2015. She held talks with Mr Putin at his summer residence in Sochi.

At a joint news conference, Mrs Merkel said she had received “negative reports on the way that homosexuals are dealt with, particularly in Chechnya. … I asked President Putin to use his influence to ease the way that homosexuals… are dealt with in the country.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39779491