Kinky Boots Opens In North Carolina, Supports Faith In America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:
eliel@faithinamerica.org

New York, NY, August 31, 2016 – Kinky Boots, the smash-hit musical that brings together four-time Tony® Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (Book) and Grammy® Award-winning rock icon Cyndi Lauper (Tony Award-winner for Best Score for Kinky Boots), will return to DPAC September 13-18 as part of the Encore Broadway at DPAC series.

Kinky Boots is proud to support the North Carolina LGBT community during its return engagement, with the opening night performance supporting Faith in America, an organization whose mission is to end religious discrimination against LGBT persons.

North Carolinian's can purchase tickets benefiting Faith In America using the CODE: KINKYFUND on Ticketmaster. Tickets benefiting Faith In America include entry to an after party with Kinky Boots cast and producers, Faith In America's Executive Director Eliel Cruz, and gay businessman Mitchell Gold. 

“It’s absolutely fabulous that Kinky Boots will be stomping down to North Carolina,” Eliel Cruz, Executive Director of Faith In America said. “The state of North Carolina has lost an estimated $87 million in funding due to their prejudiced HB2, with another 481.2 million potentially lost in the future, which severely limits the civil liberties of LGBT North Carolinians. Through this legislation, Governor Pat McCrory and the legislators would like to eliminate LGBT people from the public sphere. Kinky Boots’ heart-warming message of tolerance and inspiration combats that notion and is the perfect message for our state at this crucial time.”

Hal Luftig, producer of Kinky Boots said, “We felt the story was a must-see in North Carolina this year more than ever.  All of us were disappointed in the passing of HB2.  It is our pleasure to make opening night a benefit for Faith in America. We believe our show’s message of being true to yourself and accepting others for who they are is exactly in line with Faith In America’s mission to end discrimination against LGBT people in our country.”

Mitchell Gold added, “I saw Kinky Boots shortly after it opened and immediately recognized what an important story it was. You have to know people on a personal level to better understand their differences. One of my greatest pleasures was bringing a young, gay 13-year-old North Carolina boy and his mother to see the show last year. It gave me such joy to watch his excitement at seeing a major Broadway show about a subject that he was so emotionally torn about only the year before. I’m thrilled to be involved in the benefit on the opening night of the play coming to North Carolina during this pivotal year. We’ve invited Governor McCrory and the leaders of the legislation as our guests in the hopes they too can learn the important lessons of acceptance.”

For more information go to faithinamerica.org and follow on Twitter.

About Faith In America: Established in 2006, Faith In America is a non-profit organization whose ultimate goal is to end decades and centuries of using religious teachings to justify marginalizing and discriminating against others.  We are dedicated to influencing media and faith community narratives on religion and sexuality. Our goal is to move the needle forward on LGBTQ equality in the pews and in our legislation. Our Mission is to educate the public about the ongoing harm caused to LGBTQ persons, especially youth, by religious-based prejudice. Our dream is to change the hearts and minds of religious communities on the “sinful” nature of homosexuality. To remove it permanently from “the sin list.”

About Kinky BootsKinky Boots is Broadway’s huge-hearted, high-heeled hit! With songs by Grammy® and Tony® winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, this joyous musical celebration is about the friendships we discover, and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind. Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes you from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos. With direction and choreography by two-time Tony® Award-winner Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde, Hairspray) and a book by Broadway legend and four-time Tony® Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles), Kinky Boots is the winner of 6 Broadway Tony® Awards including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Choreography. Take a step in the right direction and discover that sometimes the best way to fit in is to stand out.


 

“Religious Freedom” Argument Against Transgender Rights Lacks Theological Backing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: eliel@faithinamerica.org


“Religious Freedom” Argument Against Transgender Rights Lacks Theological Backing


New York, NY, August 26, 2016 – Last week a Michigan federal judge ruled that a funeral home has a defense against the federal nondiscrimination protection Title VII, effectively allowing the firing of a trans employee, simply for being trans, due to their sincerely held religious beliefs. Similarly, a law suit in Texas aims to overturn the nondiscrimination clause in Obama’s Affordable Care Act, including the trans inclusive health provision, citing that employers have a religious opposition to trans identities. What none of these objections to trans identities cite is any actual theological backing to their sincerely held religious beliefs. 

“There are Christians operating in the public arena attempting to disguise their anti-trans beliefs with religion,” Eliel Cruz, executive director of Faith In America said. “There is not a single verse in scripture that discusses trans identities. Instead, Christians have decided that trans identities are bad and that the bible is condemns them. It is their own transphobia that they’re basing their theology off of instead of scripture.”

The ruling has far reaching consequences as the decision in Michigan relies on the sex-stereotyping aspect of Title VII. This precedent could affect not just the trans community but anyone who doesn’t adhere to strict binary gender norms. 

Roberta Kaplan, attorney and Faith In America board member, notes the ramifications of this decision while also pointing to the conservative group behind it.

“As the dissenters warned in Hobby Lobby, RFRA is now being used to deny the fundamental dignity of LGBT people,” Kaplan said. “And it's no surprise that it is the same repeat player, Alliance Defending Freedom, that drafted the bigoted religious exemption law HB 1523 in Mississippi, that represents the employer in this case. The implications of this decision are truly disturbing since presumably, just as there are religions with anti-LGBT views, there are also people with the "sincerely-held" religious belief that the races shouldn't mix or that women should not be able to work outside the home."


For more information go to faithinamerica.org and follow on Twitter.

About Faith In America: Established in 2006, Faith In America is a non-profit organization whose ultimate goal is to end decades and centuries of using religious teachings to justify marginalizing and discriminating against others.  We are dedicated to influencing media and faith community narratives on religion and sexuality. Our goal is to move the needle forward on LGBTQ equality in the pews and in our legislation. Our Mission is to educate the public about the ongoing harm caused to LGBTQ persons, especially youth, by religious-based prejudice. Our dream is to change the hearts and minds of religious communities on the “sinful” nature of homosexuality. To remove it permanently from “the sin list.”


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Illinois’ Pastors Sue For Right To Perform Conversion Therapy, Harm LGBT Youth


Media Contact: Eliel@faithinamerica.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


New York, New York, August 15, 2016 – Earlier this year, Illinois became the fifth state to ban conversion therapy for minors. Now, a group of pastors in Illinois are attempting to overturn a historic conversion therapy ban ruling by claiming it infringes on their religious freedom.

"Conversion therapy is an act of violence against LGBT persons, especially LGBT youth,” Eliel Cruz, executive director of Faith In America said. “Any pastor willing to promote conversion therapy, which has been debunked by all leading medical professionals, is actively promoting harm against the LGBT community. This is not about religious freedom. Sexual orientation is natural and as scripture says we are 'fearfully and wonderfully made.' These pastors are trying to fit their outdated theology into the narratives of LGBT people. It hasn't worked in the decade’s past, it doesn't work now."

The lawsuit filed aims to exclude clergy from the ban on conversion therapy. Of course, the majority, if not all, conversion therapy comes from religious communities. It is only through a religious lens that sees homosexuality as something to be fixed that conversion therapy is performed. An exclusion of clergy from the conversion therapy ban would make the ban completely useless.

“Pastoral advice and support is one thing; conversion therapy is another. As a pastor, same-gender attracted man, and former president of the world’s largest ex-gay ministry, I have never seen one instance where sexual orientation has changed,” Alan Chambers, former president of Exodus International, the now defunct ex-gay group. “Over the course of 25 years, I have seen countless lives and families damaged by simply telling someone they can “change” from gay to straight. This is not about religious liberty, it is about ensuring teenagers aren’t subjected to a faulty and archaic opinion that God’s love and acceptance is conditional. Sexual Orientation Change Efforts promote shame, fear, and a culture of death.”

All leading medical professional organization have condemned these practices. Anyone that offers counseling – licensed or not, religiously affiliated or not – should not be able to cause harm to their patients. Conversion therapy, in all of its forms, is harmful to the recipient.

“The key issue here--that clergy members also be held responsible for conversion therapy damages--is an important milestone in legislation aimed at banning this practice,” Garrard Conley, conversion therapy survivor and author of Boy Erased: A Memoir On Conversion Therapy said. “The most extensive damage I suffered as a victim of conversion therapy was at the hands of pastors, in private offices, and within a methodology that often felt more clinical and loveless than that of my 'ex-gay' counsellors’. All states should adopt bans that also prevent churches from inflicting harm against LGBTQ youth.”

Faith In America supports a nationwide ban on conversion therapy for minors.

For more information go to faithinamerica.org and follow on Twitter.

About Faith In America: Established in 2006, Faith In America is a non-profit organization whose ultimate goal is to end decades and centuries of using religious teachings to justify marginalizing and discriminating against others.  We are dedicated to influencing media and faith community narratives on religion and sexuality. Our goal is to move the needle forward on LGBTQ equality in the pews and in our legislation. Our Mission is to educate the public about the ongoing harm caused to LGBTQ persons, especially youth, by religious-based prejudice. Our dream is to change the hearts and minds of religious communities on the “sinful” nature of homosexuality. To remove it permanently from “the sin list.”


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Roberta Kaplan Joins Faith In America Board

Press Contacteliel@faithinamerica.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Roberta Kaplan Joins Faith In America Board

New York, NY, April 12, 2016 – On the heels of winning the historic case in Mississippi ending the ban on same-sex couples right to adopt, Faith In America is proud to announce Roberta Kaplan will be joining our board. “Roberta Kaplan is the real deal. She cuts through all the noise and understands what’s at stake for the LGBT community,” Eliel Cruz, Executive Director of Faith In America. “Now, more than ever before, we need to respond to anti-LGBT religious based bigotry without skirting around religion. Our movement needs to meet anti-LGBT religious narratives head on. Kaplan has already done so much for our community with her landmark marriage equality case and the recent Mississippi adoption case. Her drive to do even more is inspiring. It is an honor that she accepted the invitation to serve on our board.” Kaplan joins Faith In America board just a month after Executive Director, Eliel Cruz was brought on to guide Faith In America into its next chapter. “As we enter our second decade, I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Roberta Kaplan to our board. When I co-founded Faith In America ten years ago, I spoke about the need to combat religious based bigotry because that’s what’s hurting our LGBT youth the most,” Mitchell Gold, Board Chair and co-founder of Faith In America said. “It’s the message that says you’re sinful for loving who you love or for being comfortable in your own body that sends kids to suicide. The face of our movement can’t just be well moisturized white gay couple, they should be about the LGBT youth who have internalized these anti-LGBT religious messages.” A few of the next battles for the LGBT movement are combating anti-LGBT RFRAs, securing a ban on conversion therapy, and working on LGBT homelessness. All of these hurdles are based on using anti-LGBT religious dogma. “I have long believed that our community needs to engage with anti-LGBT religious messages directly," Roberta Kaplan, noted civil rights Lawyer and LGBT activist said. “Religious people are not only on one side of this issue. Many religions, including my own, believe that every human being was created in the divine image and that means that everyone has equal dignity under the law. Too many Americans employ their religious beliefs as weapons to justify discrimination against and hatred of others.  That is not only wrong, but inconsistent with the values on which our great nation was founded.  I’m honored to join the Board of Faith In America to support their important work." For more information go to faithinamerica.org and follow on Twitter.

About Faith In America:  Established in 2006, Faith In America is a non-profit organization whose ultimate goal is to end decades and centuries of using religious teachings to justify marginalizing and discriminating against others. We are dedicated to influencing media and faith community narratives on religion and sexuality. Our goal is to move the needle forward on LGBTQ equality in the pews and in our legislation. Our Mission is to educate the public about the ongoing harm caused to LGBTQ persons, especially youth, by religious-based prejudice. Our dream is to change the hearts and minds of religious communities on the “sinful” nature of homosexuality. To remove it permanently from “the sin list.”

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"Lance Bass Speaks Out Against Mississippi 'Anti-LGBT' Bill"

Lance Bass, the former NSYNC pop star, joined Faith In America to speak out against Mississippi's anti-LGBT bill (HB 1523), which would allow individuals to deny LGBT persons services, housing, and even employment. Our statement was recently featured on Billboard (magazine).

“I’m disappointed in my home state of Mississippi for allowing this awful piece of legislation to hit the Senate floor. This is nothing more than religious homophobia as legislation,” Bass wrote in a press release for Faith in America. “Earlier this year, Mississippi lost Mercedes Williams, a 17-year-old trans girl murdered because she was trans. What is Mississippi’s Senate doing to protect the trans community? Instead of serving all of their constituents, Mississippi is prioritizing the sensitivities of the religious 'wrong' over the lives of LGBT people. I know Mississippi’s community is better than this. It is imperative that Governor Phil Bryant vetoes this bill immediately.”

Read the full story here: Lance Bass Speaks Out Against Mississippi 'Anti-LGBT' Bill

Lance Bass: “Mississippi Anti-LGBT Bill Is Religious Homophobia As Legislation”

Press Contacteliel@faithinamerica.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mississippi, April 4, 2016 – While all eyes have been on North Carolina’s draconian anti-LGBT legislation, the Mississippi House introduced House Bill 1523 (HB 1523), which would allow individuals to deny LGBT persons services, housing, and even employment.

HB 1523 is a response to the gains in LGBT equality across the country, including last summer’s historic marriage equality win at the Supreme Court. Really, this legislation is fueled by misguided religious narratives that say offering services for LGBT people somehow goes against their religious beliefs.

“The theology doesn’t add up,” said Eliel Cruz, Executive Director of Faith in America. “We’ve seen many times -- a florist, photographer, or baker claim ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’ to deny LGBT people services. Yet, what exactly are those sincerely held religious beliefs? Where is the scriptural backing to equate a picture or a cake to a sexual act? These individuals are masking their homophobia and transphobia as ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’ with absolutely no theological foundation that holds any water. All the while giving themselves, and unrightfully so, spiritual authority to ‘condone’ another person’s life. The only being that can condone anything is God and as I argued in Religion News Service last year –Jesus would bake the cake.

Mississippi Senate is prioritizing so called religious beliefs against serving LGBT people at the cost of LGBT people. This isn’t about a cake, it’s about equality. LGBT people shouldn’t have to be inconvenienced and humiliated because of someone’s outdated and misguided religious teachings.

“I’m disappointed in my home state of Mississippi for allowing this awful piece of legislation to hit the senate floor. This is nothing more than religious homophobia as legislation,” said Lance Bass, actor and musician. “Earlier this year, Mississippi lost Mercedes Williams, a 17 year old trans girl murdered because she was trans. What is Mississippi’s Senate doing to protect the trans community? Instead of serving all of their constituents, Mississippi is prioritizing the sensitivities of the religious “wrong” over the lives of LGBT people. I know Mississippi’s community is better than this. It is imperative that Governor Phil Bryant vetoes this bill immediately.”

Board Chair and co-founder of Faith In America, Mitchell Gold, expresses his outrage over HB 1523. “Does Mississippi really want to go down the same path as Indiana, Georgia, and soon, North Carolina? Indiana and Georgia faced extreme backlash over their anti-LGBT legislation that cost them millions,” Mitchell Gold said. “North Carolina is currently facing this same backlash and I’m certain Governor McCrory will soon come to his senses, veto HB2, and apologize to the LGBT community. As a North Carolina gay business man with stores across the country -- including Mississippi -- this is not the southern hospitality we are known for. Mississippi needs to not go do down a dangerous path that will take the state back to the dark ages.”

The bill was expected to go to the governor today. Faith In America joins other local and national LGBT equality advocates in calling on the governor to veto this bill.

For more information go to faithinamerica.org and follow on Twitter.

About Faith In America: Established in 2006, Faith In America is a non-profit organization whose ultimate goal is to end decades and centuries of using religious teachings to justify marginalizing and discriminating against others. We are dedicated to influencing media and faith community narratives on religion and sexuality. Our goal is to move the needle forward on LGBTQ equality in the pews and in our legislation. Our Mission is to educate the public about the ongoing harm caused to LGBTQ persons, especially youth, by religious-based prejudice. Our dream is to change the hearts and minds of religious communities on the “sinful” nature of homosexuality. To remove it permanently from “the sin list.”

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"North Carolina 'Religious Freedom' Law Makes Some Reconsider Moving There"

Faith In America Founder and Board Chair Mitchell Gold was a guest on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday and discussed the recently passed anti-LGBT law in North Carolina, which restricts cities from passing nondiscrimination laws and prevents trans people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity.

"I'm concerned about a 15- or 16-year-old kid. When I was 15, 16 years old, I was scared. I was tortured. I cried myself to sleep every night because I thought I was broken. I thought God didn't love me. And that's - that's who I'm worried about..."

Read or listen to the full interview here: North Carolina 'Religious Freedom' Law Makes Some Reconsider Moving There 

"Does human rights campaign open letter impact business?"

Faith In America Founder and Board Chair Mitchell Gold was a guest on CNBC's Closing Bell and discussed the recently passed anti-LGBT law in North Carolina, which restricts cities from passing nondiscrimination laws and prevents trans people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity. Watch the full interview here: Does human rights campaign open letter impact business?

"I’m a transgender Christian in North Carolina. My faith should not stop at the bathroom door."

Faith In America worked to place an Op-ed in the Washington Post by Adam Plant, about his experiences as a transgender Christian in North Carolina.

"In my journey, the voices of support have been mixed with a few powerful voices of condemnation. Early on in my transition, a pastor told me that his heart was breaking for me because of the apparent step I had taken away from God’s plan for my life.

As he was talking, all I could think was, “I’m sorry that your heart is breaking for me, but my heart is just beginning to heal.”

Those fragile pieces of my heart which I feared had crumbled to dust, leaving me as empty as I felt, were being brought to life again by a God I had never felt was this real or this close until She breathed life into a body that I never thought was mine."

Read the full Op-ed here: I’m a transgender Christian in North Carolina. My faith should not stop at the bathroom door. 

"It Takes Faith to Challenge Religious Bigotry"

Faith In America Founder and Board Chair Mitchell Gold authored a guest post in The Advocate about religious-based bigotry in North Carolina.

“Some fundamentalist Christians just can’t accept the idea that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are good and decent folks.

They call our community “sinners,” which causes serious spiritual and emotional harm, particularly to LGBT youth, who hear this and start feeling like they are broken. Some conservative faith leaders, like Pastor Kevin Swanson, have even been so reckless as to suggest that LGBT people are “worthy of death.” This violent rhetoric is disgusting and has no place in or outside of our faith communities. The LGBT community is entitled to full legal and spiritual rights, which is something my nonprofit, Faith in America, works to advance."

Read the full Op-ed here: It Takes Faith to Challenge Religious Bigotry

"Bathroom Bills Aren’t About Religious Freedom"

Faith In America Executive Director Eliel Cruz wrote an Op-ed in The Huffington Post about the so-called religious freedom bill and law passed in North Carolina.

"North Carolina passed the most dangerous piece of anti-LGBT legislation in the country that might provoke violence towards transgender people, all in the name of so-called “religious freedom.” How exactly will binary gendered bathrooms threaten the religious freedom of others? I’m not certain. Neither are the folks who are claiming transgender individuals using the bathroom infringes on their religious freedom....

These bathroom bills aren’t about religious freedom. These bills are actually ignorance manifesting itself in transphobia. It’s clear North Carolina legislators not only don’t understand what it means to be transgender but they also aren’t aware on how to back their anti-trans stance in scripture."

Read the full Op-ed here: Bathroom Bills Aren’t About Religious Freedom

Watch this very moving film at the petition "Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is not a sin!"

I believe the time has come to end the harmful teachings by some religious denominations that being gay (LGBT) is a sin, or whatever words they use to demean, call evil, and cause enormous pain to LGBT people, especially our youth. More and more people are changing their minds….from evangelicals to Presbyterians to Catholics to Conservative Jews. Our understanding of human sexuality, and the natural place of same-sex love in it, has evolved!

History has proven that using religious teachings to cause enormous harm to innocent people is wrong. I have faith in America to be better to all its citizens – but especially innocent, vulnerable youth.

Please join us in asking religious leaders to end the harm. Make your voices heard by signing Faith in America’s petition on change.org, asking faith leaders and those who teach that same-sex orientation is a sin to stop.

Get a more personal understanding of the stakes involved by watching our short film, "Not a Sin," presented by Faith in America with the Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youth, and share it with both those you love and those who can learn from its powerful message.

And learn more and offer your support by visiting www.FaithinAmerica.org and www.AliForneyCenter.org.

Julian Bond will be missed as a leader in LGBT Civil Rights Movement

"Marriage is a civil ceremony that apportions some rights and responsibilities to both parties. I ought not be denied that simply because of someone else's religious bigotry. If for some reason you don't want me to marry in your church, that's okay, it's your church. But don't bring your religious bigotry into city hall."

Julian Bond

Faith In America's June 11, 2007 Freedom To Marry Celebration, Washington, D.C.

Video produced by Faith In America and National Black Justice Coalition

N.C. 'Christian leader' compares LGBT individuals to excrement

Welcome to the "Christian" group lobbying

for N.C.'s bigotry-filled RFRA measure

Tuesday, April 6, 2015

Faith In America News Release

In a 2008 article posted at the socially conservative web site, RenewAmerica, Rev. Mark Creech said that putting gay civil rights on the same plane as religious liberty would be like giving fecal matter the same importance as food.

"To contend homosexuality or other sexually alternative practices are as worthy of special protections as religion is like saying feculence is as important to one's person or the culture as food."

 "Rev. Mark Creech is a very familiar face in the halls of the North Carolina Legislature and the Christian Action League is one of the primary supporters of North Carolina's proposed anti-gay RFRA measure," said Brent Childers, executive director of the pro-gay Faith In America organization.

"Based on Creech's other anti-gay tirades, I believe Rev. Creech was saying what he really believes – gay people are about as worthy of nondiscrimination laws as shit.

"One thing we didn't see in Indiana and Arkansas over the previous weeks was a good, honest look at the groups behind these incredible expressions of religion-based bigotry that we are seeing in these so-called 'religious conscience' or 'religious liberty' bills.

"I hope the Christian Action League, which is an affiliate of the notoriously anti-gay American Family Association, doesn't escape that scrutiny as we expose this measure in North Carolina for what it is.

"The animus toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in North Carolina's legislative environment is palpable.

Childers said North Carolinians, its businesses and society at large should be repulsed at such overt and abominable expressions of hostility toward a minority segment of its citizenry.

 

Childers said Rev. Creech in an article at the RenewAmerica website just this week compared anti-gay legislation to the "beautiful head" of Christ.

"Yet the leftist mob of gay activists and their cohorts and the media shouted in one loud and concerted voice, 'Crucify it! Crucify it!' They placed a crown of damnable thorny lies around its beautiful head and scourged it with every dreaded accusation of homophobia until it was hardly recognizable any more."

GLAAD has several more quotes from the Creech: 

"In fact, let me go on record with Tim Mertes in saying I also believe homosexuality is 'impure,' 'dirty,' and 'disgusting.'"

"Few sins have done more of late to wreak havoc among God's people as homosexuality." 

Childers said there should be a greater outcry for decency and fairness in North Carolina than seen in Arkansas and Indiana combined.

When misguided religious teaching gives way to truth

Monday, April 25, 2015

By BRENT CHILDERS

Faith In America executive director

As the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to hear marriage equality arguments today, we'd like to look beyond today's formality hearing to that day when the majority of the court decides the matter.

For all of our supporters who have been with the organization for some time, you know we have not focused that much on just the legal recognition of two gay individuals but rather the societal recognition.

We know this morning what each and every U.S. Supreme Court Justice knows – American society today is ready to embrace gay marriage. But it is not gay marriage that society is ready to embrace but rather lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

For many years, society has withheld that embrace because Americans have been taught that homosexuality is sin and those living the mythical "gay lifestyle" are a threat to our children, our families and our society.

We already have reached a point at which it is somewhat unbelievable to think we have mistreated gay people so badly – our citizens, our neighbors and our family members. For a younger generation, it is even more unbelievable.

We have seen times in this country's past when a societal consciousness awoke to bigotry and hostility being disguised as religious truth. Civil Rights Icon Mildred Loving knew much about religious truth being disguised as bigotry. Sitting in her home in 2007, she said a Bible used to sanction bigotry and discrimination was not the Bible she had sitting by her side.

A majority of U.S. Supreme Court Justices in 1967 knew that it was time that American society embrace interracial marriage. With all the gains being made in African American civil rights at that time, how could states continue to tell African-Americans children that they somehow were undeserving of marriage's sanctity – it's societal worth and its dignity.

That time has come again in America. As a majority of justices will soon acknowledge this truth can no longer be thwarted by religion-based bigotry.

And they will speak that truth – that young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals are indeed as deserving of marriage's sanctity and dignity as any other citizen.

Considering their mistreatment and suffering, perhaps they are very much more deserving.

Supreme Court justices must not fear ending debate and closing minds

…to prejudice, misunderstanding and fear.

Tuesday, April 26, 2015

By BRENT CHILDERS

Faith In America executive director

Listening to the U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments today for marriage equality, it is worth noting that attorney Mary Bonauto began her comments by talking about a stain of unworthiness that is placed on gay people by state constitutions that ban their marriages. 

"The intimate and committed relationships of same-sex couples, just like those of heterosexual couples, provide mutual support and are the foundation of life in our society," Bonauto stated.

Marriage is not a term to be defined or redefined. It is not some state-controlled contract that can be summarily dismissed by some states as not following that particular state's traditional definition of marriage, as the attorney presenting the opposing argument implied on several occasions.

Marriage is about life. It possesses life – and the lives of two individuals who seek to journey together as one. Just as heterosexual people, gay people join in marriage as a commitment to make life's journey together – from the beginning of that covenant until the death of one or the other spouse.

There is dignity bestowed to such unions and the marriage between two gay individuals is utterly deserving of such dignity. And again, it is not as much about the dignity of the union itself but the dignity of the life that two people choose – a life together.

While there was no outright mention of religion-derived derogation as the basis of denying gay individuals that dignity, it was clear from  the comments of conservative-leaning justices that they had read the amicus briefs from the anti-gay religious industry: Will it lead to states endorsing polygamy or incestuous marriages; and is the court being asked to decide something that social science for which social science hasn't yet cleared the way? No, no and no, argued Bonauto and fellow attorneys Donald Verrilli and Douglas Hallward-Driemeier.

Chief Justice Roberts in the first half of the arguments today made a comment that was most intriguing as it relates to religion-based bigotry as the foundation of animus toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Roberts stated "I mean, closing of debate can close minds, and it will have a consequence on how this new institution is accepted."

An humble correction is in order for the Chief Justice: Gay marriage is not a new institution  – marriage is a covenant between two people. Whether the covenant is between two gay people or two heterosexual people – the covenant is unchanged.

That is unless of course you hold the traditional religious persecutive that the marriage covenant was ordained by God as only a covenant between two heterosexual people.

Is that the debate that Chief Justice Roberts, a person of Catholic faith, perhaps was alluding with his comment on ending debate and closing minds?

There really isn't that much debate these days about gay marriage other than within faith communities – Catholic and evangelical churches being two places in society where anti-gay bias is still very much promoted and justified by traditional church teaching.

Traditional marriage is defined as one man uniting with one woman – which happens to be the religious definition of marriage held by a significant but ever-retreating number of Catholics and evangelicals.

We hope Chief Justice Roberts doesn't want to continue that debate – where anti-gay attitudes are placed in peoples' minds by one particular and specific outdated, ill-informed and misapplied church teaching.

But knowing Roberts' conservative leanings and his faith tradition, he very well may conclude that we should allow religion-derived derogation to wreak just a little more havoc on the lives of gay youth and families – in the name of traditional marriage as defined by some in his faith tradition.

More than 40 young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have taken their own lives since 2007 and those are only the ones reported. Surely it is time we end this debate and close our minds to the religion-derived derogation that brings such horrific consequence upon the lives of LGBT youth and families.

We are confident and hopeful that a majority of U.S. Supreme justices will conclude it is time we close our minds to the prejudice, misunderstanding and fear that has held anti-gay attitudes in place for such very long time. 

Nothing could affect acceptance of marriage equality in America more profoundly. The consequence for countless individuals and society as a whole will be an uplifting through unification – like marriage indeed has the capacity to do.

News Release

March 31, 2015


Heritage Foundation says American Muslims should
be free to discriminate based on Islamic teaching

Heritage needs history lesson: America
doesn't sanction religion-based bigotry 

Faith In America, a nonprofit organization working to end religion-derived derogation toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, is demanding the Heritage Foundation explain its position that Muslim business owners should be free to discriminate based on their religious belief.

That position was outlined Monday evening on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes" by Heritage Foundation spokesperson Ryan Anderson as he was defending Indiana's new religion-based bigotry bill in a discussion with Dan Savage, a staunch advocate for LGBT civil rights.

The host of the show asked Anderson what would happen if a Muslim business owner refused to serve women or employ women unless they applied to the fundamental dress code of wearing a head covering. 

Anderson stated: "I think in a free society if a Muslim citizen wants to run a business accordance to their Islamic values, that as Americans we let Muslims be Muslims."

Faith In America points out to the Heritage Foundation that social conservatives were appalled to learn after the murderous attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in France that Muslims in that country were free to operate their separate communities under Sharia Law in what are referred too as free zones.

"It is beyond consternation that the Heritage Foundation would announce that its vision of America is one in which fundamental religious communities exist as separate societies governed by religious teaching instead of the American constitution," said Brent Childers, executive director of Faith In America. "The honesty behind Anderson expressing that vision is what is most astounding."

"It is true that Muslims can be Muslims in America, Jews can be Jews, Christians can be Christians and Atheists can be Atheists because our forefathers long ago decided that our nation would not be premised on certain religious belief trumping civil governance."

Childers said every American should stand against the Heritage Foundation dangerous view of a society divided along the lines of differing religious belief and a nation where its citizens can be targeted by misguided religious teaching. He said Indiana's measure  without question places a moral and religious stamp of approval on discrimination and hostility toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

"As Anderson's comment clearly shows, it may be evangelical Christians discriminating against married gay couples today but easily could be other minorities targeted in the future," Childers said. "Every American who cherishes the premises of equality and religious liberty should denounce the Heritage Foundation for promoting religion-based bigotry as an American value," Childers added.

Faith In America has worked since 2005 to raise awareness and understanding about the harm caused to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, especially youth and families, when misguided religious teaching is used to justify discrimination and hostility. It has started a petition at Change.org asking the public to turn off the NCAA Final Four Tournament to show its disapproval of Indiana's gay persecution measure.


Schools should never sanction or embrace religion-derived derogation toward minorities

Faith In America hopes members of the Catawba County School Board attended one of the performances of "Almost Maine" that was presented Thursday through Saturday at the Salt Block Theater in Hickory, N.C. The school board should also make a public statement about the school system's support for inclusion and diversity as worthwhile educational objectives. The performances by these students were fabulous. Read more about the effort at http://wfae.org/post/almost-maine-goes-without-school-support..

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The reason the play was performed at the local community theater instead of at a local high school – where it had originally been scheduled to be produced – is a far cry from fabulous.

It rather is somewhat disgusting and certainly troubling that such an innocuous play could be canceled because it was deemed by a local conservative evangelical pastor to somehow be unfitting for community standards – as the school's principal said in a public statement.

After watching the play, it was very obvious that it was not filled with "sexual overtones and innuendo" as the local pastor, who lobbied for its cancellation, had alleged. The same pastor last week was quoted in a National Public Radio interview saying the play contained a scene in which two male gay characters kiss.

The play contains no such scene and never did, according to the playwright who created it and who traveled from New York this week to attend the opening night performance.

The Maiden High School drama class had planned to produce the play "Almost Maine" in the fall last year but the production was canceled in October after it was reported that an unnamed church group complained about one of the play's narratives about two young gay men falling in love.

School officials issued a statement, with Principal Bob Bliss saying that the play "contained sexually-explicit overtones and multiple sexual innuendos that are not aligned with our mission and educational objectives."

"Almost Maine" is a popular production for high schools and is recognized as the most produced play in North America high schools.

Students had reported the play was canceled because one the play's nine short stories involved two gay teenagers. After viewing the play and seeing that there was no sexual innuendo, it is painfully obvious that the gay scene is what prompted the principal's fateful decision.

The pastor who has publicly lauded the cancellation of the play is Rev. Mark Ivey, pastor of Christ Alive Church in nearby Newton. Ivey published a letter-to-the-editor in the local paper praising school officials for canceling the play.

In an Oct. 14 Facebook post, Ivey called on the community to support the decision to cancel the play. In an Oct. 15 post, Ivey paraphrased a biblical verse that says Satan has been let loose in the streets of America because of prophets and preachers who have "defiled the nation by approving the shedding of innocent blood through abortion, by applauding same sex marriage relationships and failing to stand up for God and His Word."

In December, Ivey posted an article about gender equality and above the article he wrote "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…" His post came just weeks before a transgender student in Ohio committed suicide. The student left a suicide note that cited how painful it was to live with her parent's religion-derived derogation.

Ivey on Nov. 26 posted one section of a controversial Facebook by NFL Player Benjamin Watson that said the issues surrounding recent racial turmoil in Ferguson and New York were not "a skin problem" but a "sin problem." Ivey's post didn't include the entire essay by Watson, who in his post said he knows he may perceived as a threat because of his skin color.

In addition, Ivey on Dec. 17 posted a comment "To those who riot on American streets." In the post, he quotes a Bible verse that reads "Wisdom calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of city (hall) gates: How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded."

The pastor has also publicly derided the Islam religion. In one Facebook post, he urged parents to "check up on your kids classwork" and posted a segment from what he characterizes as a section from the Common Core educational curriculum. In another post, he compares Islam to Nazism. In a September 2014 sermon, he warns his congregation that Islam "undercover" is coming to Catawba County. He goes on in that sermon to say: "I believe in God to enter the businesses, and the schools and the hospitals and up and down the streets of Catawba County."

Catawba County citizens should be alarmed – but not about the local community of Islam believers.

What they should be concerned about is a younger generation being taught that bigotry is worthwhile educational objective when it is disguised as religious truth.

It is critically important that Catawba County Schools let students and parents know that it does not sanction derogation of any minority citizen or group of citizens in our community.

Promoting prejudice and hostility toward minorities, whether on the basis of their religion, race, gender or sexual orientation, should never be sanctioned under the banner of community standards, especially when such derogation is presented as having some form of religious value.

Educational institutions must not sanction hostility toward minorities

Immediate Release
January 17, 2015
Duke University and Maiden High School
have bowed to different forms of bigotry

Faith In America today expresses its deep disappointment in Duke University's decision not to allow a Muslim prayer to be broadcast from its campus tower and stands with students who would like the prayer call broadcast weekly at the school.

The university had planned to sound the Muslim call to prayer, or adman, from the Duke University Chapel’s 210-foot bell tower for the first time yesterday. It was called off Thursday in the face of criticism from some powerful Christian voices – Rev. Franklin Graham in particular, who opposed the move because of violence associated with Muslim extremists.

Instead, the call to prayer, or adhan, was sounded in Arabic and English on Friday from a small portable speaker set up on the chapel steps. Students who gathered there reportedly condemned the university's bow to pressure and asked for religious inclusiveness.

"Faith In America joins those students who understand American democracy and religious freedom far better than Franklin Graham," said Brent Childers, executive director of Faith In America. "When it comes to criticizing religious extremists, I hope Franklin Graham will pause and take a look in the mirror. I can promise you that there are many in the LGBT community, as well as many of their family members and friends, who view him as a religious extremist because of the harm, derogation and other forms of hostility that he has justified and promoted in the past toward them."

Childers said that Muslim individuals living across America awake each Sunday morning to the sound of Christian church bells ringing and no American Muslim organization apparently has tried to oppose such acts designed to bring positive public awareness to the Christian faith. In fact, church bells ring on the Duke University each Sunday morning, according to reports.

"If bells can ring out from Christian churches on Sunday morning, then no one should expect that in America other religious groups would be prevented from producing acts designed to bring positive public awareness to their religion," Childers said.

Childers said conservative Christian leaders who seek to diminish the Muslim faith also have been the ones who often have sought to diminish the lives of gay and lesbian people.

"There is a difference between Franklin Graham's religious bigotry and the religion-based bigotry toward gay people that he has promoted in the past," Childers said. "Religious bigotry targets a person with hostility because of that person's religious belief while religion-based bigotry targets the individual because of the person's skin color, gender or sexual orientation.

"Franklin Graham should be ashamed, both as a Christian and as someone who should know a little something about religious freedom in America, for his display of religious bigotry toward Muslims. He should fall on his knees and repent for the violence and death his religion-based bigotry has fostered in the lives of countless gay and lesbian individuals."

Childers said religious bigotry and religion-based bigotry toward minorities often appear parallel in socially conservative Christian faith communities.

He said a local Christian pastor in western North Carolina recently lobbied for the cancellation of a high school play, "Almost Maine", that had a gay scene in it. The pastor, Rev. Mark Ivey of Christ Alive Church in Newton, N.C., has publicly promoted homosexuality as sinful behavior and the notion that those who support gay marriage are defiling the nation.

Ivey has also compared Islam to Nazism. In one recent sermon, he recounted a trip to a community where the Muslim call to prayer is broadcast and in that sermon warned his congregation that Islam was coming to their community in Catawba County.

"So here we have Rev. Franklin Graham on the national stage espousing religious bigotry toward Muslims and we are all familiar with his condemnation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," Childers stated. "Then we have small-town America pastor Mark Ivey promoting religious bigotry toward Muslims in his community and his religion-based bigotry as evidenced by his condemnation of gay people.

"Pastor Mark Ivey was successful in getting the play Almost Maine canceled at Maiden High School and Rev. Franklin Graham was successful in getting the Muslim call to prayer quashed at Duke university.

"It's truly a terrible day in America when this nation's educational institutions sanction any form of bigotry – whether religious bigotry toward Muslims or religion-based bigotry toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans."

Faith In America is a nonprofit organization that educates the public about the harm to LGBT youth and families when religious teaching is misused to justify and promote stigma and hostility. Brent Childers, who once aligned himself with the anti-gay religious industry, serves as executive director.

More about high school play cancelation here: wfae.org/post/almost-maine-goes-without-school-support
More about Duke University decision here: www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-duke-muslim-prayer-controversy-20150116-story

END HARM TO LGBT YOUTH

UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 2014, 6AM ET

ON PALM SUNDAY, LETTER IN THE NEW YORK TIMES CALLS FOR POPE FRANCIS TO END HARM TO LGBT YOUTH

 

Roman Catholic Executive Director of NYC’s Ali Forney Center Invites Pope Francis to See Real Impact of Teachings and Meet Homeless LGBT Youth 

PalmSunday-14

New York, NY, April 13, 2014 – Faith in America, an organization that educates the public about the immense harm caused by religion-based stigma and hostility, and Carl Siciliano, the Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, an organization serving homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth in New York City, today delivered a letter to Pope Francis and published the content of the letter in a full page ad in The New York Times.

The letter asks Pope Francis to stop church teaching labeling being gay as “intrinsically disordered” and categorizing “homosexual conduct” as a sin, citing statistics and numerous stories about LGBT young people who have faced violence, parental rejection, homelessness and other devastating losses because of the teachings. The letter, published on Palm Sunday, comes before Pope Francis holds a global meeting of bishops in October 2014 to focus on “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization.”

The full letter is available here: www.faithinamerica.org/2014/04/10/a-plea-to-pope-francis/

Faith In America launched a Change.org petition where supporters can also send a message to Pope Francis.

Siciliano, a Roman Catholic who lived in two Benedictine monasteries and has spent over 30 years serving the homeless, also invited Pope Francis to the Ali Forney Center to meet LGBT young people who were abandoned and had their lives devastated because of their parent’s religious beliefs influenced by the Church’s harsh stands and teachings against being gay. In 2012, Siciliano invited Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, to meet LGBT youth at the Ali Forney Center. Dolan, however, replied to the letter and did not accept the invitation to meet some of his young constituents.

In today’s letter, Siciliano writes:

I write to you on behalf of the homeless LGBT youths I serve. I ask you to take urgent action to protect them from the devastating consequences of religious rejection, which is the most common reason LGBT youths are driven from their homes. At the heart of the problem is that the church still teaches that homosexuality is a sin.  My hope is that if you come to understand how this teaching tears families apart and causes the suffering of innocent youths, you will end this cruel teaching and prevent your bishops from fighting against the acceptance of LGBT people as equal members of society.

I hope that you will open your eyes and heart to the suffering of our youths. As LGBT youths are finding the courage to speak the truths of their hearts at younger ages, epidemic numbers are being rejected by their families, and driven to homelessness. The number of youths enduring this cruel fate is staggering; last year at least 200,000 LGBT youths experienced homelessness in the United States. LGBT youths make up 40% of the homeless youth population in this country, despite comprising only about 5% of the overall youth population.

Siciliano also lists examples of devastating consequences by such teachings:

A teaching’s wisdom and efficacy must be judged in part by its outcome. The teaching that homosexual conduct is a sin has a poisonous outcome, bearing fruit in many Christian parents who abandon their LGBT children to homelessness and destitution. How could a good seed yield such a bitter harvest?

For me this tragedy has many human faces. I think of Justin, whose mother summoned her priest who held him to the ground and tried to drive the devil out of the 16 year old boy. Or Terry, who was sent to a catholic religion class where the instructor set him aside as someone “possessed by demons”. I think of Maria, whose family drove her to a forest far from her home and tossed her from the car, because being a lesbian made her “evil”. I think of the boy whose name I never learned whose father was so disgusted by homosexuality that he threw his son out of his home and said he would kill him and bury him in the backyard if he tried to return.

“When we see young people being harmed we have a moral obligation to respond,” said Siciliano. “As a Catholic, I feel that I need to let my faith leaders know the harm I see my young people suffering because of the damaging influence of the Church’s teachings. I hope that youth who were born LGBT and are now struggling with religious rejection will see adults from every faith tradition taking a stand to protect them.”

The ad in The New York Times was paid for by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Home Furnishings. Mr. Gold has been an outspoken advocate for vulnerable youth for over a decade and has published a book, Youth In Crisis, about growing up gay in America.

Critics might wrongfully assume that we are attacking religion when in fact we are merely appealing to religious values of universal human dignity and asking Pope Francis to extend a hand and an embrace to all of his followers, including LGBT youth,” said Brent Childers, Executive Director of Faith in America. “Pope Francis has the opportunity to lead faith communities around the world in gifting parents of LGBT youth with an unconditional spiritual embrace, a gift which most surely will bring peace to these lives and these families.

According to a 2010 study by Dr. Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project of the State University of San Francisco:

Family accepting behaviors towards LGBT youth during adolescence protect against suicide, depression and substance abuse.

LGBT young adults who reported high levels of family acceptance during adolescence had significantly higher levels of self-esteem, social support and general health, compared to peers with low levels of family acceptance.

LGBT young adults who reported low levels of family acceptance during adolescence were over three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and to report suicide attempts, compared to those with high levels of family acceptance.

High religious involvement in families was strongly associated with low acceptance of LGBT children.

###

 

FACT SHEET Anti-LGBT Teachings of the Catholic Church and LGBT Youth

PREVALENCE OF HOMELESS LGBT YOUTH: 

Recent studies indicate that up to 40% of the homeless youths in the USA identify as LGBTQ. Estimates of how many homeless LGBT youth experience homelessness each year vary from approximately 200,000 to 500,000.

More info: http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/headlines/lgbt-homeless-youth/

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/report/2012/07/12/11954/gay-and-transgender-homeless-youth-face-huge-obstacles/ 

http://www.thetaskforce.org/press/releases/prHY_013007 

TEACHINGS ARE OUT OF TOUCH WITH WHERE MOST CATHOLICS ARE TODAY:

A majority of Catholics no longer view homosexuality as sinful. A 2013 poll showed 53 percent of Catholics do not believe it is sinful compared to 33 percent who do. More info: http://www.people-press.org/2013/06/06/section-3-religious-belief-and-views-of-homosexuality/ 

A 2014 Public Religion Research Institute poll found that a majority of Catholics (58 percent of White Catholics) support legal marriage for gay and lesbian couples. A similar majority of Americans (58 percent) view the Catholic Church as unfriendly to LGBT people: http://publicreligion.org/research/2014/02/2014-lgbt-survey/

HIGH RELIGIOUS INVOLVEMENT IS ASSOCIATED WITH LOW ACCEPTANCE RATES OF LGBT YOUTH: 

High religious involvement in families is strongly associated with low acceptance of LGBT children. LGBT young adults who reported low levels of family acceptance during adolescence are over three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and to report suicide attempts, compared to those with high levels of family acceptance. LGBT young adults who reported high levels of family acceptance during adolescence had significantly higher levels of self-esteem, social support and general health, compared to peers with low levels of family acceptance.

http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/files/FAP%20Acceptance%20Press%20Release_n.pdf 

PARENTAL REJECTION LEADS TO INCREASE IN SUICIDE ATTEMPTS AMONG LGBT YOUTH:

According to a 2009 Pediatrics study, gay youth who reported higher levels of family rejection in adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to have attempted suicide than their gay peers who did not experience family rejection. They were also 5.9 times as likely to have experienced depression and 3.4 times as likely to have used illicit drugs.

The American Psychological Association recognizes the unique emotional and psychological harm that religious teaching can cause LGBT individuals. Psychologists are urged to consider the rejecting and hurtful religious experiences that their lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients may have had. More info: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/guidelines.aspx?item=5 

 

ANTI-GAY RELIGIOUS TEACHINGS OFTEN NEGATIVELY INFLUENCE THE TREATMENT OF LGBT YOUTH BY PARENTS AND HEALTH PROFESSIONALS:

Anti-gay religious teaching can cause mental health professionals to have prejudice and negative feelings toward LGBT youth who are seeking their help. More info: http://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/18/LGBTFieldGuide_WEB_LINKED_VER.pdf

Religious teaching that suggests LGBT individuals are separated from God, or sinful, is detrimental these individuals and their families.

Source: “Family Members’ Uses of Religion in Post–Coming-Out Conflicts With Their Gay Relative”, American Psychological Association; Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 2014, Vol. 6, No. 1, 33–43

CURRENT TEACHINGS CREATE CONFLICT FOR LGBT YOUTH:

Traditional church teaching on homosexuality creates conflict within the lives of LGBT youth, turns them away from religious affiliation and makes them feel unwelcomed by religious institutions. A recent PEW poll showed almost half of LGBT Americans describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or having no religious affiliation, compared to only about 20 percent of the general population. More info: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2013/06/SDT_LGBT-Americans_06-2013.pdf

A GROWING NUMBER OF CHURCHES AND CHURCH NETWORKS ARE AFFIRMING OF LGBT PEOPLE: 

They include The Episcopal Church, The Evangelical Anglican Church In America (EACA), The Presbyterian Church USA, Integrity Canada, Changing Attitude, Proud Anglicans of Canada, Alliance of Baptists, Baptists Peace Fellowship, Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, United Ecumenical Catholic Church Australia, Christ Catholic Church, American Catholic Church, Catholic Apostolic Church in North America, Dignity USA, Ecumenical Catholic Communion, Evangelical Catholic Church, Independent Catholic Christian Church, Liberal Catholic Church, The National Catholic Church of America, Reformed Catholic Church, United Catholic Church, Orthodox-Catholic Church, Welcoming Roman Catholic Churches, The Evangelical Network (TEN), International Christian Community Churches, Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian and Gay Concerns, GALA: Gay and Lesbian Acceptance, Welcoming Community Network, GLAD Alliance, Integrity, Independent Greek Orthodox Church of the United States, Lutherans Concerned/North America, Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian and Gay Concerns, Metropolitan Community Churches, Global Alliance of Apostolic Pentecostals, Affirming Pentecostal International, Reconciling Pentecostals International, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, More Light Presbyterian, Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns, Unitarian Universalist Association, Room for All, Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble, United Church of Christ, UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns, Institute for Welcoming Resources, Conservative Judaism , Reform Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism, Jewish Renewal, Humanistic Judaism, Welcoming Synagogues

More info: http://www.gaychurch.org/affirming-denominations/, http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/faith-positions