Canada will take in gay refugees from Syria – Pink News

Nick Duffy 24th November 2015, 4:52 PM
Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau has pledged to open Canada’s doors to refugees in need.  Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau has pledged to open Canada’s doors to refugees in need.
Canada’s new government has made specific provisions to take in gay refugees – but single straight men won’t be allowed.
The news comes as the country’s new Liberal government sets out its commitments to resettlement amid the Syria crisis.

The party has pledged to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees – and confirmed today the majority of refugees will be women, children and families.
Amid security concerns, the country does not plan to accept unaccompanied males – but it will make an exception for gay people, who face persecution in Syria from both the government and the terrorist group known as Islamic State.
ISIS has staged hundreds of public executions for men accused of homosexuality, though they provide little proof the men are actually gay.
The Ottowa Citizen reports: “The government is aware that gays could be persecuted, and therefore plans to include them in the selection process aimed at rescuing some of the region’s most vulnerable refugees.”
The pledge to accept refugees was a cornerstone of the commitments by new PM Justin Trudeau. The keen LGBT ally also demonstrated his commitment to equality by naming a diverse, gender-balanced cabinet.
In the UK, Labour MP Mary Creagh has previously called for the government’s focus on resettling refugees from Syria to include LGBT people.
Writing for PinkNews, she said: “Countries like the UK should be doing more to assist LGBTI refugees in particular.
“In this country we pride ourselves on the progress we have made on sexual equality. We should be reaching out to assist those being persecuted for their sexuality or gender orientation abroad.

Modern Family’s Reid Ewing Comes Out as Gay After Plastic Surgery Addiction Essay: “I Was Never In”

November 23, 2015 @ 02:16 PM / By Rachel McRady

Credit: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
Bombshell No. 2 or NBD? Last week Modern Family actor Reid Ewing made a painfully honest confession during a blog for The Huffington Post. The sitcom star, who plays Sarah Hyland’s character’s ex-boyfriend Dylan on the series, opened up about his struggle with body dysmorphia and his addiction to plastic surgery. But over the weekend, fans also learned that Ewing, 27, is gay.

Gay Celebrities’ Coming Out Stories
“Saw Eugene Bata on @GMA in the Body Dysmorphia segment connected to my article and I just want to say he is hot af,” the actor tweeted, prompting a fan to write, “@media_reid Did you also just out yourself?”

Ewing replied, ”@MichaelJMapes I was never in.”

It’s clear that Ewing has no problem being honest about his private life. His candid essay shared his fears and insecurities; in one passage he wrote, “I genuinely believed if I had one procedure I would suddenly look like Brad Pitt… For the next couple of years, I would get several more procedures with two other doctors. Each procedure would cause a new problem that I would have to fix with another procedure.”

Reid Ewing in Modern Family.
Reid Ewing in Modern Family. Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images
For his part, Ewing was not pleased that fans were so shocked by his sexuality. On Monday, Nov. 23, he posted a GIF of an unimpressed Bea Arthur as Dorothy on Golden Girls, tweeting, “Writes a cosmetic surgery article, people care more that I’m gay..”

Sarah Hyland and Reid Ewing in Modern Family in 2011.
Sarah Hyland and Reid Ewing in Modern Family in 2011. Rick Rowell / ABC via Getty Images
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Jackie Biskupski Becomes First Openly Gay Mayor of Salt Lake City by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEWS NOV 18 2015, 6:35 AM ET

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah lawmaker Jackie Biskupski on Tuesday became the first openly gay mayor of Salt Lake City, the capital of the conservative state where the Mormon church and a small town judge delivered setbacks last week to the LGBT community.

The victory by Biskupski marked another milestone for LGBT people in Utah who have made major strides in recent years.

Former Utah lawmaker Jackie Biskupski poses for photograph after becoming mayor of Salt Lake City. Rick Bowmer / AP
“Today is not just about making history,” Biskupski said. “It is about people. It is about affecting change.”

Her supporters cheered when the results were read at an elections canvass meeting.

Two-term incumbent Ralph Becker showed no reaction and later congratulated Biskupski and vowed to work with her to ensure a smooth transition.

Official election results showed Biskupski won 52 percent of the votes to defeat Becker.

“Serving as mayor of Salt Lake City has been the richest working experience of my life,” Becker told reporters.

Salt Lake City voters also elected Derek Kitchen, who became the second gay member of the City Council.

He and his husband, Moudi Sbeity, were one of three couples who sued to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

Biskupski takes over after progress on gay rights was temporarily marred in recent weeks when a judge ordered a foster child to be removed from a lesbian couple and placed with a heterosexual couple. The judge cited the child’s well-being as the reason for his order.

The ruling set off a firestorm around the state and nation. The judge quickly reversed his decision and took himself off the case.

Days earlier, the Salt Lake City-based Mormon church issued new rules targeting gay members and their children, prompting widespread backlash. The new policy bans baptisms for children of gay parents until the kids turn 18 and disavow same-sex relationships.

Biskupski is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and said she hopes the faith reconsiders the policy. She said one of her goals as mayor is to meet with church leaders and discuss the new rules.

Image: Jackie Biskupski, Sen. Jim Dabakis
Former Utah lawmaker Jackie Biskupski receives a hug from Democratic state Sen. Jim Dabakis after she was elected Salt Lake City’s first openly gay mayor. Rick Bowmer / AP
Biskupski declined to discuss the church policy further Tuesday, saying she wanted to meet with Mormon officials first.

Earlier this year, the church endorsed a statewide anti-discrimination law that protected gay and transgender people from discrimination in housing and the workplace.

It’s a contrast from 1998, when Biskupski became Utah’s first openly gay lawmaker and some of her colleagues in the heavily Mormon and conservative Legislature wouldn’t shake her hand.

Asked about her win in light of the recent controversies, Biskupski said, “It’s 2015, and we’ve come a long way from, gosh, when I first got elected.”

Regarding the foster child case, Biskupski said she was proud of Utah’s Republican governor for criticizing the action by the judge. She called the ruling “so old and rhetorical.”

LGBT issues didn’t define the tight race between Biskupski and Becker.

Salt Lake City is a liberal island in the state where no Republican has been elected mayor in four decades. Gay rights group Equality Utah endorsed both Becker and Biskupski.

Becker, 63, has been called an ally of the LGBT community, helping pass a 2009 city anti-discrimination ordinance. He also officiated dozens of the first gay marriages in 2013 in the hours after a surprising ruling overturned Utah’s same sex marriage ban.

Mormon church issues rules aimed at gay members, their kids – Yahoo News


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mormon church officials have issued a rule change that says members in same-sex marriages can be kicked out and their children must wait until they’re 18 and disavow homosexual relationships to be baptized.

The revisions triggered a wave of anger, confusion and sadness for a growing faction of LGBT-supportive Mormons who were buoyed in recent years by church leaders’ calls for more compassion and understanding for LGBT members.

“It feels like they are extending an olive branch and hitting you with it,” said Wendy Montgomery, who is Mormon and has a 17-year-old gay son. “It’s like this emotional whiplash.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints disseminated the handbook changes this week to local church leaders around the world. The goal was to provide clarity to lay leaders who run congregations, church spokesman Eric Hawkins said. He noted the church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages.

“While it respects the law of the land, and acknowledges the right of others to think and act differently, it does not perform or accept same-sex marriage within its membership,” Hawkins said in a statement.

Montgomery said Friday the news left her son sobbing and forced her and her husband to consider leaving a religion they’ve belonged to for generations. The couple has been trying desperately to stay in the church despite a harsh reception to their son coming out.

FILE – In this Sept. 13, 2013, file photo, Wendy Montgomery poses for a photograph in Salt Lake City …

Montgomery also echoed a response shared by many on social media: She can somewhat understand the hard stance on same-sex marriage, but she can’t comprehend singling out gay couple’s children.

“We just put a scarlet letter on these kids,” Montgomery said. “This isn’t my church. I don’t see God in it. I don’t see divinity it. It just feels evil.”

Nathan Kitchen, a gay Mormon with five children, said the news left him devastated and angry about the quandary his children now face. The 47-year-old dentist was married to a woman for 18 years before a recent divorce.

“I am stunned right now at how I’m being labeled and how my children are being marked,” said Kitchen, of Gilbert, Arizona. “It’s almost like they now have to choose between a gay father and a church that they love.”

The changes come as other religious groups that oppose gay marriage struggle with how to approach the issue of same-sex spouses’ children.

FILE – In this Sept. 11, 2014, file photo, the angel Moroni statue sits atop the Salt Lake Temple, a …

The new rules stipulate that children of parents in gay or lesbian relationships — be it marriage or just living together — can no longer receive blessings as infants or be baptized around age 8. They can, however, be baptized and serve missions once they turn 18, but only if they disavow the practice of same-sex relationships; no longer live with gay parents; and get approval from their local leader and the highest leaders at church headquarters in Salt Lake City.

The church views these key milestones as acts that bind a person to the faith and as promises to follow its doctrine.

The changes align with the way the church addresses children in polygamous families, said Matthew Bowman, associate professor of history at Henderson State University.

That fact wasn’t lost on Mormons interpreting the new rules.

“I am no better now than an illegal polygamist,” Kitchen said.

Scott Gordon, president of FairMormon, a volunteer organization that supports the church, said: “It certainly makes a statement about how they feel about it.”

Gordon said he understands why some find the changes jarring and consider them mean-spirited toward children. But, he believes they’re intended to protect gay couples and their children by allowing the kids to mature and make the difficult decision at 18 about whether to become fully invested in a religion that holds as a root tenant that their parents’ lifestyle is a sin.

“The idea of family is not just a peripheral issue in the Mormon church. It’s core doctrine. It’s a central idea that we can be sealed together as a family and live together eternally,” Gordon said. “That only works with heterosexual couples.”

The handbook revisions also for the first time list being in a same-sex relationship as an offense that can lead to being ousted from the religion. This is a category known as apostasy, which until now has been reserved primarily for people who practice polygamy, teach inaccurate doctrine or publicly defy guidance to church leaders.

Last month, two high-ranking church leaders delivered speeches that gave LGBT advocates hope that the faith was moving toward greater acceptance. The leaders reiterated the religion’s commitment to promoting families led by married heterosexual couples but also urged people not to shun those with opposing views.

That message of “fairness of all” appeared to distance the faith from the blowback that came when it was a major backer of California’s gay marriage ban in 2008.

Mormons appear to be slowly growing more accepting of homosexuality, albeit at rates that still put them among the least accepting among major religions, a new survey from the Pew Research Center shows.

In a survey done last year, 36 percent of Mormons said homosexuality should be accepted by society. That’s up from 24 percent in 2007, the last time Pew conducted its U.S. Religious Landscape Study.

Support for gay marriage is lower, with just 25 percent of Latter-day Saints approving such unions.

Kitchen is currently single but hopes to one day marry again, this time to a man. More pressing is how he’ll tell his five children, ages 11 to 23, about the new rules. It is his weekend with the kids, and as of Friday afternoon, he hadn’t decided how to address it.

In the past two years, they have learned their father is gay and endured their parents’ divorce.

“This is very bad position to put children in,” Kitchen said. “It will be devastating to them when they find this out.”