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The surprising history of faith-based gay activism

The surprising history of faith-based gay activism

Jaweed Kaleem writes at the Huffington Post about the history of gay rights activism on the part of the faithful, noting that on New Year’s Day 1965, hundreds of gay San Franciscans gathered for a festive “Mardi Gras Ball” that was, in fact, a fundraiser for pro-gay clergy:

Today, although Americans for and against gay rights cite their religious beliefs, those who oppose same-sex marriage and other civil rights for LGBT individuals have been especially vocal in declaring that God is on their side. That’s not always been the expectation about the faithful. In the mid-1960s, LGBT activists often looked to men of the cloth as allies in their fight for justice and human rights, according to historians.

Just months before the ball, about two dozen Bay Area Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal and United Church of Christ clergy and gay activists had formed the Council on Religion and the Homosexual to promote the “need for a better understanding of human sexuality” and its “broad variations and manifestations.”

Read full story here.


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Geoffrey McLarney

Yes, I noticed that there are two headlines, depending on where you “click-through” from. The other one, “We forget clergy have always stood on the front line of gay rights,” rather immodestly overstates the case, but it was probably more honest about the scope of the article.

Paul Woodrum

Maybe it’s the headline, “history of faith based gay activism,” that suggests faith and activism isn’t limited to clergy. I always thought Integrity, for example, for the most part was far stronger and more effective when it was led by laity than by clergy.

Geoffrey McLarney

Erm, it’s “heavy on ordained types” because it’s a story on clergy in the LGBT rights movement innit, which is also why Louie Crew Clay would not come up. I wouldn’t disagree that the scope of the article could be broadened but it seems curious to criticize it for being what it is.

Paul Woodrum

Awfully heavy on ordained types. Certainly Louie (Crew) Clay, founder of Integrity should be included. Except for one statement, there is nothing that merits the inclusion of Pope Francis except his celebrity status.

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