Friday, September 16 2011 11:36

International News, September 16 - September 29, 2011

By  Rachel Roth

Prominent Kenyan Priest Supports LGBTI Community

Rev. Jepthath Gathaka, executive director of The Ecumenical Centre for Justice and Peace in Kenya has spoken out in support of gays. Gathaka, a priest and known as Kenyan Anglican Archbishop’s “right hand man,” credits the Bible for his support of the LGBT community.

“My understanding of Jesus saying ‘there are other sheep’ convinces me that there are people who believe and are Jesus followers and may not necessarily those who confess the Christian religion,” Gathaka said in an interview with the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Association. “These people might also be of different sexual orientation and that gives me the mandate to minister and to love and to support to all.”

He goes on to state that religious leaders who vilify those who identify as LGBTI are guilty of misinterpreting
the Bible.

“Jesus loved ‘sinners’ but hated the sin,” he said. “That means that even if you regard LGBTI persons as sinners, you are still obliged to love them, like Jesus did—there are no two ways about this.”

OK for Gay Men to Donate Blood in U.K.

The United Kingdom has lifted the lifetime ban against gay men donating blood, however restrictions still apply. Beginning in November, gay and bisexual men will be permitted to donate blood, provided they have not engaged in any sexual contact with another male for 12 months. Peter Tatchell, director of the human rights advocacy organization, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, feels the 12-month ban is “excessive and unjustified.”

“I have been campaigning for 20 years for an evidence-based policy which protects the blood supply while not needlessly discriminating against men who’ve had sex with men,” Tatchell said in a press release.

Tachell argues that rather than exclude men who engage in safe sex, the focus should be on educating those who don’t.

“Reducing the exclusion period for blood donations from gay and bisexual men should go hand-in-hand with a ‘Safe Blood’ education campaign targeted at the gay community, to ensure that no one donates blood if they are at risk of HIV and other blood-borne infections due to unsafe sexual behavior,” he said.

Marriage Equality Likely in Scotland

The Scottish government is considering a consultation on marriage equality. While civil unions for same-sex couples is already
recognized law in Scotland, civil ceremonies are not permitted to include any religious elements. The Scottish National Party, which currently has the majority in Parliament, has spoken out in favor of marriage equality.

“We tend towards the view that religious ceremonies for civil partnerships should no longer be prohibited and that same sex marriage should be introduced so that same sex couples have the option of getting married if that is how they wish to demonstrate their commitment to each other,” said Nicola Sturgeon, deputy first minister, in a statement to Pink News.

If the consultation is passed, Scotland will be the first country in the United Kingdom to allow same-sex couples to marry.


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