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