NEWS NOTES: San Marino Bans Discrimination; Episcopal Priests Mourn Catholic Lesbian’s Death; And More

Here are a few items you might find of interest:

1) By a popular referendum, the tiny nation of San Marino, which is 97% Catholic, banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. The ban was inserted into the country’s constitution in a section on equality before the law, following the passage of civil unions for same-gender couples two years ago. This progress is significant given homosexuality was criminalized until 2004, reported Euro News.

2) Episcopal priests in Boulder County, Colorado published an op-ed in The Boulder Daily Camera to express their sadness over the apparent suicide of Alana Chen, a 24-year-old lesbian Catholic whose parents claim Catholic ministers encouraged their daughter to undergo conversion therapy and contributed to her death. The Episcopal priests wrote, in part: “One of the texts we use in the Episcopal Church on Ash Wednesday is a prayer that begins ‘Almighty God, you hate nothing you have made.’ We believe that in its fullness — that no person in their gender identity is hated by God.” Chen had her funeral held in an Episcopal church, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

3) The Virginia Catholic Conference expressed its opposition to a state bill that would ban health insurance companies from discriminating based on gender identity. Jeff Caruso, the Conference’s director, noted that the state’s two dioceses do not allow gender transition-related surgeries in their health plans, and called for a religious exemption to allow them to do so if the bill becomes law. The bill, introduced by Danica Roem, the state’s first openly trans legislator who was also raised Catholic, passed the House and will likely be approved by the state’s Senate, reported Virginia Mercury.

4) The Jesuit Institute South Africa’s podcast, Expanding Horizons, has featured several interviewees who spoke about LGBTQ Catholic issues, either from their personal experience and/or from theological reflection. These include Fr. Bryan Massingale and J. Patrick Hornbeck, theologians at Fordham University, and Michele de Klerk, a gay church worker who shared about her journey towards accepting her sexuality while loving Catholicism. To listen to these episodes and others, click here.

Robert Shine, March 28, 2020

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