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Friday, 21 February 2014

When Satan's gay devils in Babylon USA infest church ministers : Gay Baptist minister sues for right to wed:U.S. Methodist pastor charged by church for presiding over his son’s same-sex wedding

Gay Baptist minister sues for right to wed

Bojangles Blanchard, an ordained Baptist minister in Louisville, Ky., says denying same-sex couples the benefits of marriage treats them as second-class citizens.

By Bob Allen
A Kentucky Baptist minister and gay-rights activist filed a lawsuit Feb. 14 claiming the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

bojangles blanchard
Bojangles Blanchard
Maurice “Bojangles” Blanchard — who with his partner, Dominique James, was fined 1 cent for trespassing in November for refusing to leave a county clerk’s office after being told they could not apply for a marriage license — asked U.S. District Judge John Heyburn to build on his finding two days earlier that Kentucky must recognize same-sex unions performed legally in other states.
 Blanchard leads the True Colors Ministry, founded in 2011 at Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., as an outreach ministry to members of the LGBTQ community.
He and James and another couple denied marriage licenses by the county clerk in Louisville claim denying them rights available to others violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says that no citizen can be denied equal protection under the law.

“The Commonwealth of Kentucky refused, and continued to refuse, to issue a marriage license to the Blanchard plaintiffs solely because they are a same-sex couple,” the lawsuit claims. By preventing same-sex couples from getting married, it says, state law “deprives them of numerous legal protections that are available to opposite-sex couples in Kentucky by virtue of their marriages.”

Judge Heyburn ruled Feb. 12 that the state’s ban on recognizing same-sex unions performed elsewhere violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law by treating gays and lesbians “differently in a way that demeans them.”

“Many Kentuckians believe in ‘traditional marriage,’” Heyburn said in the ruling. “Many believe what their ministers and scriptures tell them: that a marriage is a sacrament instituted between God and a man and a woman for society’s benefit. They may be confused — even angry — when a decision such as this one seems to call into question that view. These concerns are understandable and deserve an answer.”
Heyburn said religious beliefs and traditions “are vital to the fabric of society,” but once the government defines marriage and attaches benefits to that definition “it must do so constitutionally.”

“[The state] cannot impose a traditional or faith-based limitation upon a public right without a sufficient justification for it,” he said. “Assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons.”

“The beauty of our Constitution is that it accommodates our individual faith’s definition of marriage while preventing the government from unlawfully treating us differently,” he wrote. “This is hardly surprising since it was written by people who came to America to find both freedom of religion and freedom from it.”
The judge also addressed concerns including whether churches must now marry same-sex couples. “No court can require churches or other religious institutions to marry same-sex couples or any other couple, for that matter,” he said. “This is part of our constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion. That decision will always be based on religious doctrine.”

According to their lawsuit, Blanchard and James have been together as a couple for 10 years. They had a religious marriage ceremony in 2006.

On Martin Luther King Day in 2013, they sought a marriage license, defying a 2004 amendment to the state constitution limiting legal marriages to those “between one man and one woman.” Blanchard described the protest beforehand as an act of “nonviolent resistance to bring about social change,” and tweeted “Praise God for the opportunity to witness to inclusive love” from the Louisville Metro Jail House following their arrest on a trespassing charge.

Their trial was originally set for August but got postponed to November because lawyers could not agree on an impartial jury before the pool of those summoned for jury duty was depleted.

Blanchard and James rejected a plea bargain in which the charges would have been dismissed in return for both serving five hours of service at the charity of their choice, opting instead to face their charge of third-degree trespassing and a maximum fine of $250.

The jury found them guilty of trespassing, but set the fine at 1 cent. The presiding judge waived the 1 cent fine because of the brief time they spent in jail.

Blanchard called it “a great moral victory” that indicated the jurors understood what the couple was trying to say.

Previous stories:

Gay couple fined 1 cent for trespassing

Gay minister arrested in sit-in

Activist hopeful about gay marriage

Gay minister’s trespassing trial begins

Trial for gay Baptist minister postponed

U.S. Methodist pastor charged by church for presiding over his son’s same-sex wedding

The Associated Press January 17, 2014

U.S. Methodist pastor charged by church for presiding over his son’s same-sex wedding

Former Methodist pastor Frank Schaefer (right) was defrocked in December for officiating at his Tim’s same-sex marriage.

Photograph by: Uncredited , The Associated Press

NEW YORK — The United Methodist Church has formally charged another clergyman for presiding at the same-sex wedding of his son.

The Rev. Thomas Ogletree will be tried March 10 for violating church law against officiating at gay unions, his spokeswoman, Dorothee Benz, announced Friday. It's the second high-profile United Methodist trial in recent months over same-sex relationships. In December, pastor Frank Schaefer of central Pennsylvania was defrocked after he officiated at his son's gay wedding. The church considers homosexuality "incompatible with Christian teaching."

Ogletree is a theologian, a former Yale Divinity School dean and a retired elder in the church's New York district, or Annual Conference. Some clergy had filed a complaint after his son's 2012 wedding announcement appeared in The New York Times.
Ogletree, 80, said he could not refuse his son's request to preside at the wedding, which was held in New York, where gay marriage is legally recognized.

"It is a shame that the church is choosing to prosecute me for this act of love, which is entirely in keeping with my ordination vows to 'seek peace, justice, and freedom for all people' and with Methodism's historic commitment to inclusive ministry embodied in its slogan 'open hearts, open minds, open doors,"' Ogletree said in a statement. He received notice of the trial in the mail Thursday, Benz said.

The United Methodist Church is the second-largest Protestant group in the U.S. and claims 12.5 million members worldwide.

Bishop Martin McLee, who leads the New York Annual Conference, asked for prayers for all involved and noted church procedures allow for a negotiated settlement even after a trial starts. "It is my hope and prayer that a just resolution can be arrived at and a trial can be avoided," McLee said in a statement.
The Rev. Randall Paige of Christ Church UMC in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., who led the clergy who filed the complaint, said, "we take no joy" in the charges against Ogletree. Paige said they would have dropped the complaint if Ogletree had promised never to officiate at a same-gender wedding again.

"Had he agreed to this request, there would have been no need for a trial," Paige wrote in an email.
Separately, Schaefer had also been asked to make a similar pledge, which would have allowed him to keep his clergy credentials, but he refused to say he would never again officiate at a same-sex wedding.

Like other mainline Protestant groups, Methodists have been debating for decades over whether the Bible condemns or condones same-gender relationships. However, other mainline groups, such as the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, have in recent years taken key steps toward accepting same-sex couples. The top Methodist policy-making body, General Conference, has repeatedly rejected changing church law on homosexuality, including in their most recent vote at a 2012 meeting.

In the last few years, as gay marriage has gained legal recognition by U.S. states, Methodists advocating for gays and lesbians have intensified their protests, hosting gay weddings in Methodist churches or officiating the ceremonies elsewhere.

Two other similar cases are pending within the Methodist church. The Rev. Stephen Heiss of the Upper New York Annual Conference is expected to face a church trial for presiding at same-sex marriages, including officiating at his daughter's 2002 wedding. The Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy, of the New York Annual Conference, is facing a formal complaint that she is a "self-avowed practicing" lesbian, or lives openly with a same-sex partner, which is barred by church law.

Ogletree's trial will be held at First United Methodist Church in Stamford, Conn.