National Briefs

Posted on 21 Sep 2006 at 4:49pm

Episcopal priest in Arkansas blesses union for gay male couple

LITTLE ROCK An Episcopal priest who was the first to bless a gay couple in Arkansas says it was not his intent to be the first at anything, but rather to recognize two men who “discovered God’s presence in a redeeming life-giving way” over the last 15 years.

The Rev. Ed Wills, the pastor at St. Michael’s in west Little Rock, blessed the relationship of Ted Holder and Joe van den Heuvel on Sept. 16 in a service before about 200 people.

The Rt. Rev. Larry Maze, bishop of the 55 congregations in the Diocese of Arkansas, in July authorized blessings for same-sex couples. Seven other dioceses have written policies for the practice while others haven’t formalized the process.

Former BYU professor who voiced support for gay marriage finds new jobs

A former Brigham Young University professor who was not rehired after criticizing the Mormon church’s stand against gay marriage has found work at two colleges.

Jeffrey Nielsen said he is teaching critical thinking, philosophy and ethics at Westminster College in Salt Lake City and Utah Valley State College in Orem.

Nielsen’s June 4 opinion piece in The Salt Lake Tribune opposed the church’s call for a constitutional ban on gay marriage. In response, BYU, which is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said it would not renew his contract.

Teenager pleads guilty to assault in attacks at San Diego Pride festival

A teenager who admitted taking part in attacks on several men as they left a gay Pride festival in San Diego in July pleaded guilty in Juvenile Court Monday to three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and hate crime charges. He also admitted causing great bodily injury to one victim.

He faces a possible sentence of up to 13 years in the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Division of Juvenile Justice, formerly known as the California Youth Authority.

By pleading guilty, the boy avoided possible prosecution as an adult. Under those terms, he faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors are expected to present evidence against three other suspects this week.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 22, 2006.

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