The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that it will no longer use the terms "mother" and "father" when collecting information about a student's legal parents when those parents apply for federal student aid. Instead of using the words "mother" and "father," the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA) will use "Parent 1" and "Parent 2."
The announcement states that the changes to the 2014-2015 federal student aid form "more accurately and fairly assess students' need for aid" and that "Gender-specific terms fail to capture income and other information from one parent when a student's parents are in a same-sex marriage under state law but not federally recognized under the Defense of Marriage Act."
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "All students should be able to apply for federal student aid within a system that incorporates their unique family dynamics…. [that] provide[s] an inclusive form that reflects the diversity of American families." more >>
Libby Phelps-Alvarez, the granddaughter of the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, recently appeared on Anderson Cooper's "Anderson Live" program to talk about her experience growing up in the church and what it's been like since she left over four years ago. She also apologized for the hurt she had caused others.
The Topeka, Kan.-based church is known for its anti-homosexual stance and commitment to picketing social, cultural, educational, private, and public institutions with which it deems are violating its interpretation of scripture. Its Website, www.godhatesfags.com, quotes Lev. 20:23 "therefore I abhorred them" and states that in 1991 it began to conduct "peaceful demonstrations opposing the fag lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth."
Members picketed funerals of dead service men and women, holding signs that read, "Not Blessed, Just Cursed," and "God Hates Dead Soldiers." more >>
Tina Campbell, one half of the the Grammy Award-winning gospel music duo, is speaking up about her husband's past infidelities that made her think about becoming violent.
Campbell, 39, appears with her sister and fellow groupmate Erica as the June cover girls of Ebony magazine. Although the younger Campbell sister is used to revealing the details of her life on the WE tv reality show "Mary Mary," she is uncovering something that may be shocking to fans in the magazine-- her husband's past infidelity.
"Once I became aware [of the affair], I initially wanted to kill my husband …I was considering adjusting the will, the living trust and all that kind of stuff," Campbell said of her husband. "I did physically try to stab him. Several times … I never got to the point of physical harm, not really, but my words … My words hurt." more >>
Former megachurch pastor Rob Bell appeared in a recent radio discussion with Christian British minister Andrew Wilson to discuss his new book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, and grew frustrated when pressed by Wilson to explain his theological reasons for affirming homosexuality and same-sex relationships.
Bell and Wilson appeared on the U.K. faith debate program "Unbelievable?" hosted by Justin Brierley on Premier Christian Radio. Wilson is a published theologian and elder at Kings Church in Eastbourne, East Sussex. The men, moderated by Brierley, started the discussion by debating various issues during the hour-plus program, but it was during their discussion on homosexuality that Bell appeared to grow visibly upset.
"Do you believe that this is an area where actually God is ahead of the church, that affirming same-sex partnerships is actually a God thing and that we will eventually all get to see that in the course of time?" Brierley asked Bell of comments he made in March. more >>
The state of Rhode Island has become the tenth state in the United States and the last state in New England to legalize same-sex marriage after Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signed the bill Thursday.
Rick Jacobs, founder of the progressive advocacy group CourageCampaign.org, said in a statement that the Rhode Island bill represents one of many successes in recent months. "Across the country we are seeing rapid and historic shifts towards equality and freedom for all. With 10 states down, and 40 to go, Rhode Island is leading the way into the double-digits of states that support marriage equality," said Jacobs.
Rhode Island joins Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia in recognizing same-sex marriage. more >>
A group of Republican donors have launched an effort to get Republicans to support redefining marriage to include same-sex couples.
American Unity Fund was recently formed from the American Unity PAC, which spent money on pro-gay marriage advocacy in the 2012 election. American Unity Fund has already spent more than $250,000 to lobby Republicans in the Minnesota legislature, according to The Associated Press. The legislature may vote soon on whether to redefine marriage in that state to include same-sex couples.