Ain't-a that good news!

Maybe it’s nothing more than delight at spring’s imminent return, but I’ve been noticing articles for several days now that—for a change—talk about good things that are happening in the arena of LGBTQ rights. I felt like celebrating them with you.

Gay Conversion Therapy Group Targeted In Historic Consumer Fraud Complaint
A group of civil rights organizations are filing a historic consumer fraud complaint with the federal government on Wednesday, charging that a group purporting to change people's sexual orientation or gender identity is engaging in deceptive business practices.

HMCS Winnipeg returns home following eight-and-a-half month deployment with historic first kiss

There is a time-honored tradition at Navy homecomings after a long deployment at sea. For the first time in history, that kiss took place between two men. And the crowd cheered!

Puerto Rico's Senate makes history by confirming lesbian as chief justice of Supreme Court
Maite Oronoz Rodríguez has become the first openly gay person to become chief justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. Rodriguez, who joined the commonwealth’s high court as associate justice in 2014, was confirmed by the Puerto Rico Senate on Monday (22 February). Lambda Legal hailed the confirmation, saying it “breaks barriers, and marks a momentous step towards achieving a judiciary that reflects full and rich diversity of our country.”

Company Says 'It's Time To Relocate' After Georgia Backs Religious Freedom Bill
There is a legal provision called RFRA, or Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The history and application in the U.S. of this provision is long and complicated; you can search details on the Internet, or check out this Wikipedia page. It's been used in a variety of ways to prevent the government from overrunning individual citizens' right to practice the religion of their choice. And it's been misused in a variety of ways, as well, in particular to allow individuals and businesses to discriminate against LGBT individuals.

Georgia-based telecom startup Decatur-based 373k had a clear, pointed response after the state's senate approved a measure that will allow business owners to cite their religious beliefs in denying services to same-sex couples: They’re shaking the dust from their sandals and moving to another state.

After more than three hours of impassioned public comment Monday night, in a 7-4 vote Charlotte City Council approved new legal protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people. The changes mean businesses in Charlotte can’t discriminate against gay, lesbian or transgender customers, in addition to long-standing protections based on race, age, religion and gender. The ordinance applies to places of public accommodation, such as bars, restaurants and stores. It also applies to taxis. The decision elicited cheers and hugs from supporters, many carrying signs that read “Facts Not Fear.” While the General Assembly could nullify this vote, it’s a historic step in the right direction—especially from a city in the conservative South.

Italian Senate Adopts Civil Union Bill
The Italian Senate signed off on legislation on Thursday creating a civil union status for same-sex couples after a bitter debate that dominated Italian politics for months. The vote was 173 in favor and 71 against, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported. The bill must now must be approved by the Parliament’s lower house, but it is expected to encounter much less resistance there than it did in the Senate. Though LGBT activists say the bill made too many compromises, it’s a historic step in the right direction.

Charting the New Reformation: The Twelve Theses
In this essay, Christian Bishop John Shelby Spong lays it all out for us: From our perceptions of epilepsy to sunrise to homosexuality, our understandings of the facts of life have evolved through the centuries. We no longer say an epileptic fit is an example of demon possession, and we no longer see the sun as circling Earth. He says, “The explosion of knowledge over the last five hundred years in the West has rendered most of the biblical and creedal presuppositions to be unbelievable. They rise out of a world that no longer exists. Yet churches continue to operate as if eternal truth can be placed into these earthen vessels, proclaiming that in both the Bible and the creeds ultimate truth has been captured forever.” Now it’s time to examine sexual orientation in the same way.