David Kato murdered in Uganda

David Kato, a tireless LGBT advocate and spokesperson with Sexual Minorities Uganda, was murdered in his home. Kato’s name was published by a Ugandan newspaper decrying the "Top 100 Homosexuals In Uganda" with a call to "hang them."

Kato also worked Soulforce as part of the United Nations Faith Coalition. We are deeply saddened by this greivous crime and the loss of a great person. We will update you as more develops.

American Jewish World Service mourns the loss of David Kato

AJWS is deeply saddened and outraged by the brutal murder of David Kato, a Ugandan LGBTI activist. Kato was one of the most visible and vocal defenders of human rights for LGBTI Ugandans and served as the advocacy officer for the organization Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). He partnered closely with AJWS’s Ugandan grantees to voice opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill — a piece of proposed legislation that would strengthen existing penalties against homosexuality and make same-sex relations in Uganda punishable by prison. Among the bill’s many dangerous provisions, a person who fails to report within 24 hours the identity of anyone perceived to be LGBTI or who supports the human rights of LGBTI people, would be subject to up to three years’ imprisonment.

Read the full statement

SLDN Making History, Moving Forward Dinner

A message from our friends at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN),

We are honored to welcome Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and former Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA), as co-chairs of SLDN’s 19th Annual National Dinner – Making History, Moving Forward – on March 19 at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.

These tireless champions courageously led the fight last year in the Senate and House to pass "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" repeal legislation. And in less than eight weeks, we will salute their leadership in an evening of celebration and reflection. We hope you can be there.

Time is quickly running out to RSVP. Seating is limited and tickets will sell out very soon. Any day now invitations will hit your mailboxes, but you can beat the last-minute rush and register online.

RSVP today. www.sldn.org/dinner

Heroes of the repeal movement – veterans, legislative leaders and advocates, as well as supporters from coast to coast – will join as one to celebrate and recommit to achieving full equality for LGBT service members at this year’s National Dinner.

We hope you can experience this special time of inspiration with the SLDN family. Purchase your ticket now to ensure you have a seat at the table.

RSVP today. www.sldn.org/dinner

Your resilience through the years helped us pass the historic repeal bill in 2010, and your dedication will continue to change lives for LGBT patriots as we resolve to tackle new challenges this year.

We look forward to seeing you March 19.

Hospital Visitation Regulations Go Into Effect Today

From the White House blog
Posted by Brian Bond, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, on January 18, 2011 at 05:41 PM EST

"There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital.  In these hours of need and moments of pain and anxiety, all of us would hope to have a hand to hold, a shoulder on which to lean – a loved one to be there for us, as we would be there for them."

With those words on April 15, 2010 President Obama directed HHS Secretary Sebelius to initiate rulemaking to ensure that hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid respect the rights of patients to designate visitors.  The President further advised that the rule should ensure that participating hospitals may not deny visitation privileges based on factors including sexual orientation or gender identity.
Today the new Hospital Visitation Regulations go into effect.

This policy impacts millions of LGBT Americans and their families.  The President saw an injustice and felt very strongly about correcting this and has spoken about it often over the years.  I want to thank HHS Secretary Sebelius and her team for their resolve to see this rule implemented.  In fact, long before this rule was finalized, back in June, 2010 the Secretary laid the groundwork by reaching out to leaders of major hospital associations asking them to encourage their member hospitals to not wait for the formal rulemaking to run its course regarding patient-centered visitation rights suggested by the President.

This significant policy change is due in no small part to the journeys of two incredibly courageous and passionate women, Janice Langbehn and Charlene Strong.  Both lived through unimaginable experiences with the loss of their wives and life partners.   While I never had the opportunity to meet Janice’s wife Lisa Pond, or Charlene’s wife Kate Fleming, I have had the honor to meet and work with Janice and Charlene.  I want to thank them for bringing us all into their lives and for sharing themselves and their families with us, and for using their voices to make lives better for LGBT families.

Ex-Gay Survivor Caucus at Creating Change

My name is Philip Lowe, Jr.  I am an ex-gay survivor of the Catholic church’s ex-gay group Courage.  I am involved with Beyond Ex-Gay as well.

I want to inform you and ask you to help spread the word about the Ex-Gay Survivor’s Caucus meeting that will be held at Creating Change 2011 in Minneapolis, Feb 2-6th.   The Caucus meeting will be on Friday, February 4th at 6:30pm in Board Room 2.

At this meeting we are going to talk about how we use our Ex-Gay Survivor experiences to help create change toward LGBT equality in all aspects.  Our stories are very powerful and moving.  At the Caucus meeting we will be talking about how to use our stories and experiences to build movements towards change.

Philip Lowe, Jr.

Memorial Service for Paul Egertson at California Lutheran University

Paul Egertson smiling holding a rainbow umbrella and wearing a rainbow print stole around his neckA memorial service will be held for Paul W. Egertson in the Samuelson Chapel of California Lutheran University (CLU), 1-4 pm, Saturday, January 15, 2011.  The announcement from the Egertson family and the CLU community invites people to gather "for a time of laughter and tears, remembering the life a man of grace and faith. The service will be led by Pastors Scott and Melissa Maxwell Doherty, with Pastor Howie Wennes as preacher."

Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches Calls the Nation to Prayer and Recommitment to Valuing All Life

As many already know, this morning Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and several others were shot.  While stories are varying at this point, we know that Rep. Giffords was hosting her first "Congress on Your Corner" event at a local Safeway Store in northwest Tucson, offering constituents a chance to learn more about the workings of Congress. 

Details from this horrific incident will not be sorted for some time, but what we can and must focus on as a nation of many creeds, colors, and cultures is the fundamental truth that all of life is scared regardless of political views, social or religious affiliations. 

The present turmoil of our nation, as we repeatedly battle over issues of human equality like immigration reform, just and equal wages, and universal health care access — things Rep. Giffords was known to champion — must not become for any of us, no matter our ideological positions, justification for violence in any form.  Jesus’ counsel was clearly and simply, "Love your enemies."  

It is with that word in mind, that I call the members and friends of Metropolitan Community Churches and people of good will across this nation to prayer.  Join me in praying not only for Rep. Giffords and all who were shot, along with their families and friends, but also for the young man who committed this crime and his family.  
    
To paraphrase one of our great prophets and martyrs, we must learn to live together in peace, despite our differences, or we will simply be consigned to die together.

Rep. Giffords dedicated her life to the principles of justice and equality for all, things she really believed in.  Let us now follow her example and lift up the one thing all of us who call America home say we believe in:  the right to life and liberty for all God’s children.

 Join me in praying:  

 Source of all life,
We give you thanks this day for the lives of those who
daily use that gift of life in service to others.
We especially remember now all those who lives were taken too soon from us
in today’s shooting,
and pray for the miracle of recovery for all those still in surgery or under hospital care.
Be with the families and friends of those targeted,
and the family and friends of the aggressor,
and surround them all in the light of your comforting presence.
Bless the community that must now struggle with the trauma and terror of this day.
And help us all to recommit ourselves to living together in ways
that honor your plan for a diverse creation.

+ Amen

  

Grace and Peace,
Nancy

The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches

 

Advocate for Full Inclusion and Staunch Ally, Former Bishop & Former Soulforce Board Member Paul Egertson Died Today

From Lutherans Concerned North America:

Paul Egertson smiling holding a rainbow umbrella and wearing a rainbow print stole around his neckFormer Soulforce board member Paul Egertson died suddenly this afternoon, January 5, 2011, in his home in Thousand Oaks, California. Egertson, staunch ally and advocate for full inclusion of LGBT people in the life of the church, had championed the ordination of LGBT candidates for ministry and an end to the policies and practices of the church that relegated LGBT people to a second-class.

While bishop of the ELCA Southwest California Synod, he participated in the 2001 ordination of Pastor Anita C. Hill of St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minnesota. For this act, he subsequently resigned his position as bishop, and tirelessly advocated for the policy change that finally occurred as a result of the decisions of the 2009 Churchwide Assembly.

Egertson was awarded the Jim Siefkes Justice-Maker Award by Lutherans Concerned for his efforts on behalf of LGBT Lutherans.

Emily Eastwood, Executive Director, Lutherans Concerned, said, “Paul Egertson stood up for us and in opposition to the discrimination of the church against us when that was neither popular nor safe. His witness to Christ’s redemptive grace and his commitment to helping the church see the error of its position are a shining beacon of prophetic righteousness in the face of determined opposition – and he did it with grace and eloquence, as befits a follower of Christ. He was a friend and mentor — always available, with words of calming wisdom. He made a profound difference. He will be missed.”

“All of us at Soulforce grieve with Paul’s beloved family at his passing and we celebrate with them the memory of his world-changing prophetic witness to the worth and dignity of all people and to the Spirit that animates us. Paul was with us for our board meeting in the summer in Texas. We will cherish his counsel and his great smile, his abiding faith and conviction in a God who is big enough to include everyone,” said Rev Dr. Cindi Love

Paul Egertson, born in 1935, is survived by his wife, Shirley, also a Siefkes award recipient, and their 6 sons. Funeral arrangements will be communicated as soon as they are known.

Important Videos from MSNBC

MSNBC produced some wonderful, insightful, education videos. Watch these two below.

When bullying becomes a crime

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

My son likes to wear a dress. Big deal!

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