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Notre Dame signals welcome to gay athletes in new campaign

(RNS) The Catholic Church has taken a lot of heat over its stance against gay rights and for policies that often bar openly gay people from participating in church life. But the University of Notre Dame, an icon of American Catholicism, is going against the flow by supporting student athletes who come out as gay.

Rev. Steve Heiss, pastor at Tabernacle United Methodist Church in Binghamton, N.Y., officiates at the July 2, 2002 commitment ceremony of his daughter, Nancy Heiss (blue dress) and Kim Willow (pink and white dress) in a field in Norwich, N.Y. Photo courtesy Steve Heiss

Ranks of defiant United Methodist clergy rise

(RNS) Almost daily, evidence mounts of defiant United Methodist clergy breaking church law on behalf of gays and lesbians as the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination struggles with what may be its most vexing rebellion in decades.

RNS photo by Steve Bott via Flickr (

Democrats add support for gay marriage to convention platform

CHARLOTTE (RNS) On the night the Democrats became the first major U.S. political party to endorse gay marriage, some convention delegates remembered how it used to be — back in high school, back in the closet, back in the days when, as one said, “you're scared because it's not OK to be who you are.” By Rick Hampson.