News in Brief

Gay Marriage Victory in Hawaii Put On Hold
Gay and lesbian couples will have to wait a little longer to walk
down the aisle in Hawaii. A judge who ruled the state must recognize same-sex
marriage put the order on hold to give the state time to appeal the ruling
to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Joseph Melillo, who sued along with his partner, Pat Lagon, and two lesbian
couples told the Associated Press, “We kind of expected it, but we’re
not happy with it.”

The ruling has revived the battle over same sex marriage that led President
Clinton to sign the Defense of Marriage Act which says the U.S. government
will not recognize gay marriages, and allows states the right to outlaw
them. Sixteen states have already passed laws denying recognition of same-sex
marriages.

Dutch Offer Limited Recognition to Same-Sex Partners
The Dutch government plans to give same-sex couples almost identical
rights as married people.

The Dutch Justice Ministry says a proposed new law will allow gay and
lesbian couples to register their relationship with their local municipality.

The registration is legally binding.

But, gay couples will still not be allowed to adopt children. Activists
say they’ll fight for that right as well.

PA Episcopal Diocese Will Bless Gay Unions
Pennsylvania’s Episcopal Diocese has voted to create a blessing for
same-sex unions.

At a recent diocesan convention in Philadelphia, clergy and lay leaders
voted to create rites for blessing committed gay and lesbian relationships.

The blessing would have no legal standing after the state legislature
voted earlier this year to ban same-sex marriages.

West Virginia Gets New Gay Church
Gays and lesbians in Charleston, West Virginia now have a new church
to call home. The Appalachian Metropolitan Community Church is one of 300
congregations worldwide affiliated with the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan
Community Churches.

It is believed to be the first anywhere in West Virginia.

Mercer University Trustees Vote to Back Controversial President
The 39 trustees of Macon, Georgia’s Mercer University voted unanimously
to stand behind their controversial president, Kirby Godsey.

Godsey has been harshly criticized by the Georgia Baptist Convention
for his new book “When We Talk About God … Let’s Be Honest.”
In November, the convention called on Godsey to recant his theological convictions
expressed in the book.

In the book, Godsey says the Bible is not infallible and that eventually
everyone will get to heaven.

Godsey told the Associated Press, “I fully support what I wrote.
This is a confession of faith. It is not written to impose my faith on anybody.”

The convention has set up a committee to discuss the book’s passages
with Godsey.

Mercer is a primarily Baptist college with 7,000 students. The school
receives $2.5 million from the convention.

All stories from The Associated Press