Uruguay Lower House Approves Gay Marriage

Uruguay has moved closer to legalising gay marriage after the lower house of Congress approved a law making all marriages equal.

The measure, which was passed by a wide margin, now goes to the Senate where it is expected to be approved. After a long debate, Uruguayan deputies voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday night to approve the Marriage Equality Law.
“This is not a homosexual or gay marriage law. It is a measure to equalise the institution independent of the sex of the couple,” said Julio Bango, one of the bill’s authors.
The bill now goes to the Senate where President Jose Mujica’s governing coalition has a majority.
In recent years, Uruguay has moved to allow same-sex civil unions, adoption by gay couples, and to allow gay members of the armed forces.
It would make Uruguay the second Latin American country after Argentina to allow gay marriages.
Uruguay’s neighbour Argentina legalised gay marriage in 2010. Same-sex marriages have been legal in Mexico City since 2009. 
Same-sex marriages are legal in Mexico City, while civil unions are recognised in several countries in the region. In a recent decision Mexico’s Supreme Court overturned a law in the state of Oaxaca that banned gay marriage. The ruling could pave the way to legalisation across Mexico, according to legal experts.

In May, Brazil’s Supreme Court voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights as married heterosexuals.

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Gay Popes: Leo X (r. 1513-1521)

b. 11 December 1475
d. 1 December 1521

Accounts about the homosexual liaisons of Julius’s successor, Leo X (Giovanni de’ Medici, 1474-1521; reigned 1513-21), are recorded in a variety of different types of contemporary sources, and they were repeated in historical accounts of the papacy published in the later sixteenth century. Having received an outstanding humanistic education, he was appointed Cardinal in 1492 by Innocent VIII. Beginning in 1508, he served Julius II as papal legate; in that capacity, he arranged for papal troops to invade Florence in order to secure the return of the Medici, who had been exiled from the city in 1497.

Unanimously elected Pope, Leo focused his energies upon the patronage of the arts and sciences. He established Greek colleges in Rome and Florence, promoted the study of Hebrew and Arabic writings, and gave strong support to printing. He funded extensive archaeological excavations, which uncovered the monumental antique statue of the river-god Nile (Vatican Museums) and other significant works, and he ordered the restoration of several important Early Christian churches, including Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome.

To give the city of Rome a more dignified appearance, Leo widened the streets and restored several public squares, including the Piazza del Popolo. In Florence, he commissioned Michelangelo to design a new façade for San Lorenzo (project design, 1516-19; never realized) and to undertake one of his most significant projects–the building and decoration of the New Sacristy of San Lorenzo, including Medici family tombs (1519-34).

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Poll: Gay Marriage Gaining Support, Especially Among Catholics

Roman Catholic voters are more accepting of gay marriage than other Americans, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

While same sex unions are approved by 48 percent to 46 percent overall, Catholics give them the thumbs-up by 49 percent to 43 percent, the survey from Quinnipiac University found.

“It seems pretty clear that attitudes toward same-sex marriage in American society are changing rapidly,” said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Connecitcut university’s polling institute.

“While the country remains split on the issue, supporters have come pretty far in the last four years.”

The poll found that men in particular have shifted their position. Four years ago they opposed gay marriage by 61 percent to 31 percent. That figure is now down to 50 percent opposition and 43 percent support. Women now back gay marriage by 52 percent to 42 percent.

The biggest opposition among any group is with white Protestants who oppose it 63 percent to 32 percent.

-more at  NewsMax.

Bishop Otis Charles

b. April 24, 1926

Bishop Charles was the first openly gay bishop in any Chrisitian denomination.

From LGBT Religious Archives:

Since 1979 he has been among a growing number of bishops who have spoken out for full and complete inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church without restriction, recognizing their calling to ministry and rejecting the notion that a baptized homosexual must live a celibate life. In 1980, he was the recipient of the national Integrity Award. He is represented in Out in the Workplace: Gay and Lesbian Professionals Tell Their Stories.
Upon his retirement in 1993, Charles publicly announced his homosexuality, becoming the first openly gay bishop of any Christian denomination. That September he sent an epistle to his colleagues in the House of Bishops that said, in part: “I have promised myself that I will not remain silent, invisible, unknown. After all is said and done, the choice for me is not whether or not I am a gay, but whether or not I am honest about who I am with myself and others. It is a choice to take down the wall of silence I have built around an important and vital part of my life, to end the separation and isolation I have imposed on myself all these years.”
John McNeil, former Jesuit and author of Freedom, Glorious Freedom speaks of Bishop Charles’ coming out as “an extraordinary example (of the) public exposure… required… to… provide an image… of what it is to be mature as Christian and as gay” (pp.82-83). In Last Watch of the Night, Paul Monette wrote of Bishop Charles’ coming out as “an important moment in gay and lesbian history, and a ringing challenge to the status quo of invisibility” (p. 304).
The Sunday edition of the New York Times (October 10, 1993) as well as both gay and straight press around the country reported the bishop’s action. Boston’s Bay Windows editorialized: “the news of a 67 year old bishop coming out of the closet is something at which to marvel. Charles puts it less grandly, however, saying simply that it was a matter of integrity.”
After making his public witness Bishop Charles, who appreciates being addressed by his baptismal name, Otis, has welcomed the opportunity to share his story. Whether in an informal gathering or the pulpit, he characteristically begins, “I am a gay man, an Episcopal (Anglican) bishop, a queer who only just mustered the courage to publicly acknowledge the truth of my life.”
Charles has continued as an active and voting member of the Episcopal House of Bishops taking many stands on behalf of his community. In 1995, Charles co-founded Oasis/California, the Bay Area Episcopal Lesbian and Gay ministry. In 1998, Charles was appointed Interim Dean of the School for Deacons serving northern California. During this time he also served as  Bishop-in-residence at the Church of St. John-the-Evangelist in San Francisco and a founding editor of Millennium3, an on-line and print publication distributed to all 13,600 Episcopal clergy. He was an Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of California until 2004.
Charles is currently working on his memoirs and editing a collection of personal reflections on the contribution of entheogens as an opening to mystical experience. Since 1993 he has been a resident of San Francisco where he lives with his partner, Felipe Sanchez Paris.

Cardinal Francis Joseph Spellman

b. May 4, 1889
d. December 2, 1967

Born at Whitman, Massachusetts, he became priest in 1916 in the North American College of Rome. He was parish priest in Roxbury then in Boston. He edited the magazine The Pilot. He worked at the State Secretary of the Vatican (11925-32), then was nominated bishop of Boston and later Archbishop of New York. In 1946 he was nominated Cardinal.

He was a major figure in American politics during the first half of the Cold War, and a kingmaker in New York City politics; subject of the 1984 by John Cooney, The American Pope: The Life and Times of Francis Cardinal Spellman.

The details of Spellman’s personal life are elusive. The Cardinal was known as “Telma” or “Franny” Spellman in some circles and was rumored to enjoy an active sexual and social life in New York City, with a particular fondness for Broadway musicals and their chorus boys. It was widely rumoured, for instance, that he attended a party with that other well-known closet case, J Edgar Hoover – in drag.