aroundtheregion

Wisconsin

*The Baraboo, Wis. school district voted last week to approve a transgender inclusive athletics policy in the district, The Advocate reports:

School districts with membership in the WIAA agree to “ensure that all students have access and opportunities to participate in athletics without discrimination” based on numerous identifies, including “gender,” “gender identity,” and “gender expression.” Members of the Baraboo High School Gay-Straight Alliance, joined by supportive faculty and local clergy members, argued that this policy clearly indicates that trans students should be able to be a part of sports teams and use the locker rooms and bathrooms that accord with their gender identity, notes WTAQ.

*A fracas is brewing at Marquette University. After a conservative student challenged marriage equality in a classroom discussion, a member of the faculty (a religious conservative) took to blogging to attack an instructor that challenged the conservative students views opposing same-sex marriage. Last week, John McAdams, a Marquette University associate professor, was suspended with pay for his blog, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

John McAdams, a Marquette University associate professor, says he is being “treated like a potential terrorist” after being suspended with pay and banned from campus while the university investigates his conduct, presumably because he publicly criticized a teaching assistant for not allowing discussion of gay marriage in an ethics class.
A student had objected to the teaching assistant’s handling of the class discussion weeks ago and, after class, recorded his conversation with her. The teaching assistant told the student that “some opinions are not appropriate, such as racist opinions, sexist opinions.” She suggested if someone in the class were homosexual, they could be offended if another student challenged gay marriage.

Iowa

*A United Methodist minister in Des Moines is in trouble with the church after he married same-sex couples, USA Today reports. After Rev. Larry Sonner married a lesbian couple in October, he called the bishop to let him know what he had done.

“I know several Methodist ministers have performed these ceremonies and kept it quiet, but I told the bishop I didn’t want him to hear about it secondhand,” Sonner told USA Today. “I wanted this to begin a discussion.”

*The Des Moines Register penned an editorial stating that it’s a decision the church will have to wrestle with on its own:

The charge by the United Methodist Church against one of its ministers reflects a deep division within the church over whether to celebrate the wedding of two men, or two women. It is a debate that is happening within other mainline American Protestant churches and within other religious sects. In some cases the religious leaders may be of one mind and the members of their flocks another.
This religious debate over same-sex marriage is separate and distinct from the legal debate that is happening in state and federal courts, however. In fact, the debate in the religious realm will continue even if all states were to eventually strike down laws banning same-sex marriage…
Some will change with the times, as the United Presbyterian Church USA did in June when it voted to define marriage as a union of two people of any gender. Others will take longer, perhaps moving incrementally to reflect the evolving sentiments of their membership. Yet other religious sects may never accept the change.
That is their right, and it should be respected — just as respect is due to those courts that have recognized that denying equal legal rights to same-sex couples cannot be reconciled with the notion of equal protection of the law.

*Rep. Dave Loebsack says he will continue to work toward LGBT nondiscrimination in the new year:

We must continue to stand up for those who have been harassed or discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. I welcome any suggestions or concerns regarding LGBT issues that you may have.

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