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National News

Iowa Senate Leader Vows to Block Gay-Marriage Debate

Newly-reelected Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal said in November he would block any debate on a state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as only between a man and a woman. He stated, “As long as I’m leader, I do not intend to take that up for debate.”

Senate Leader Vows Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Vote in December

US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced in late November he will bring the Defense Authorization Bill—complete with language that would begin a repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members—up for a vote in early December. It will come after a hearing about the recently-leaked Pentagon survey that shows the majority of service members and their families would be fine with openly gay people in the military. Reid said, “Our Defense Department supports repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as a way to build our all-volunteer armed forces. We need to repeal this discriminatory policy, so that any American who wants to defend our country can do so.”

GOProud Urges GOP To Avoid Social Issues

According to Politico, gay Republican group GOProud and some Tea Party leaders are urging Republicans in Congress not to add social issues to their legislative agenda. In a letter to House Speaker-elect John Boehner and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, they wrote, “This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue.” Ralph King, a Tea Party movement leader who was one of at least 17 people signing the letter, said, “When they were out in the Boston Harbor, they weren’t arguing about who was gay or who was having an abortion.”

World News

Finnish State Church Sanctions Prayer for Gay Marriages

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that Finland’s state church announced in November it would create a “prayer moment” for registered same-sex partnerships. In a statement, the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s highest administrative body in Finland, the General Synod, said, “The proposal offers a positive opportunity to minister to church members who are sexual minorities.” A synod spokesman told AFP that ministers will be able to perform the prayer with gay couples in a church, but it won’t constitute a church’s blessing of the union itself. The announcement is seen as a concession, because it follows a recent televised debate on gay marriage where church officials argued gay marriage was contrary to Biblical teaching. In the month following the debate, more than 40,000 registered Lutherans quit the church.

German Church Allows Gay Pastors To Live With Partners

According to Religion News Service, Lutheran ministers in the German state of Bavaria now will be allowed to live with their same-sex partners in parish parsonages if they enter into a state-sanctioned civil union. The Bavarian Church Council made the ruling. The church already allows openly gay ministers, and approves of same-sex civil unions.

German Funeral Directors Launch Gay Coffins

German funeral directors have a new option for their gay customers. Coffins covered with homoerotic art now are available, thanks to coffin-makers Mike Konigsfeld and Tom Brandl in Cologne. The designers, a couple themselves, say the muscular young men painted on the coffins are a perfect way to send off a loved one. The two related, “Naturally, there were some people who threw their hands up in horror when we had them on display in the window, but they are tasteful and beautiful—like our customers.”

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