ALBUM: Celine Dion – Courage

Es ist ihr bereits zwölftes, englischsprachiges Album, und das erste solche seit sechs Jahren… und in dieser Zeit ist enorm viel passiert in Celine Dions Leben: Ihr Ehemann und Manager René Angélil ist 2016 verstorben, und nur zwei Tage später verlor sie auch noch ihren Bruder, welcher ebenfalls an Krebs erkrankt ist. Nun, im November 2019 meldet sich die Sängerin mit neuen Songs zurück – und passend dazu tauft sie ihr Album Courage, Mut.

Entsprechend kraftvoll sind die neuen Songs: Sie setzt mehr auf Uptempo, auf Dance-Pop und auf Beats, und so bezeichnete das renommierte Rolling Stone das Album bereits als Dion’s Version von Cher’s Believe. Somit überrascht es auch kaum, dass die Sängerin das Album kurzerhand im New Yorker LIPS Drag Palace, umgeben von Drag Queens vorgestellt hat. Doch dies war längst nicht die einzige Botschaft an die LGBTI+ Community, denn auch ihre neue Tour mit dem Titel Courage kündigte sie mit einer Videobotschaft und mit zahlreichen Drag Queens an.

Courage gibt es als Deluxe Version mit insgesamt zwanzig neuen Tracks: Daran mitgemischt haben unter anderem Sam Smith bei „For The Lover That I Lost“, LP bei „Change My Mind“, Steve Aoki bei „Perfect Goodbye“, sowie Sia und David Guetta bei „Lying Down“.

Tracklist:1 – Flying On My Own2 – Lovers Never Die3 – Falling In Love Again4 – Lying Down5 – Courage6 – Imperfections7 – Change My Mind8 – Say Yes9 – Nobody’s Watching10 – The Chase11 – For The Lover That I Lost12 – Baby13 – I Will Be Stronger14 – How Did You Get Here15 – Look At Us Now16 – Perfect Goodbye17 – Best Of All18 – Heart Of Glass19 – Boundries20 – The Hard Way

Courage

“Courage is doing the work of God!”– Pope John Paul II

Courage is the Catholic version of Exodus International, minus the miracles and promises of “healing.” The organization is a support group for gay people who have been shamed into abandoning their natural sexuality for a lifetime of celibacy. Courage says that, “by developing an interior life of chastity, which is the universal call to all Christians, one can move beyond the confines of the homosexual identity to a more complete one in Christ…In chaste living, one finds the peace and grace to grow in Christian maturity.”

With referrals from the Catholic Church, the organization boasts “110 chapters and contact people world-wide, over 1500 persons participating in its ListServs, and hundreds of persons per week receiving assistance from the main office and website.” Courage’ presence is strongest in the New York metropolitan area and receives a portion of its funding, according to its website, from the Archdiocese of New York.

Courage endorses all official teachings of the Catholic Church that condemn homosexuality and urges gay Catholics to strictly conform to the edicts of the Vatican. Courage agrees with the Rome that:

“Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”

Statements such as this lead to intense feelings of shame and self-loathing. Indeed, this can be seen on many of the testimonials offered on Courage’ website. For example, one story, by a man identified as “John,” is typical of the turmoil caused by Courage.

“How could people understand that I had something inside of me that I hated?” asked John. “I despised being sexually attracted to men, especially my own peers.”

Compared to Exodus, Courage has a relatively low profile. Without holding out the possibility of a cure or heterosexual marriage, Courage has failed to capture the imagination of the public and has generated little media interest. The organization has also tended to focus more on ministry than politics, ceding the spotlight to ex-gay organizations with a greater desire for visibility and larger ambitions. Whereas Exodus promises “Freedom from homosexuality from Jesus Christ,” Courage urges client to “experience the freedom of interior chastity.”

Courage relies heavily on the theories of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality to explain the causation of homosexuality. They believe that a distant same-sex parent, combined with an overbearing opposite sex parent is a recipe for a child to turn out homosexual. Like other ex-gay ministries, Courage relies on outdated stereotypes and even has a sports camp (for $275) to help gay men become more masculine. According to the group’ website:

“Childhood memories of many men with same sex attractions are filled with embarrassment and trauma. We offer a safe and supportive environment for men to learn the rules, practice their skills and compete with their teammates in softball, flag football, and basketball…Saturday night after the Sports Camp championship…join us, as we celebrate with cigars and cognac.”

Courage believes that keeping its clients busy and productive will help them remain celibate. The group urges members to, “dedicate ones life to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading, prayer, meditation, individual spiritual direction, frequent attendance at Mass, and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist.

While more honest and realistic in their expectations than Exodus, Courage still stigmatizes GLBT Americans, forces people to choose between their faith and sexual orientation and perpetuates prejudice in society. For Catholics looking to come out and experience their sexuality in healthier ways, please visit Dignity USA. ()

Courage

Carolin Emcke erhält Rosa Courage-Preis 2021

Ihre Offenheit, ihre Klarheit und ihre Beständigkeit beim Einsatz für sexuelle und geschlechtliche Minderheiten sind es, die dem Rosa Courage-Kuratorium imponieren. „Sie macht Diskriminierungen deutlich, stellt Gewohnheiten in Frage und klärt Missstände auf!“, sagt Frank Mayer, 1. Vorsitzender des Gay in May e.V.

Darüber hinaus gelänge es ihr, Verbindungen zu anderen Diskriminierungsmechanismen wie Rassismus und Antisemitismus heraus- und den Bezug zu anderen Minderheiten herzustellen, so Mayer weiter.

Der Preis ,,Rosa Courage” wird seit 1992 im Rahmen der Osnabrücker „Gay in May Kulturtage der Vielfalt” verliehen. Mit dieser Auszeichnung soll herausragendes Engagement für die Belange von LSBTIQ* gewürdigt werden.

Bisherige Preisträger waren unter anderem die heutige Bundestags-Vizepräsidentin Claudia Roth, der Schriftsteller Lutz van Dijk, die Schauspielerin Maren Kroymann, der Comic-Autor Ralf König, die ehemalige Vizepräsidentin des Europaparlamentes, Ulrike Lunacek, der ehemalige Regierende Bürgermeister von Berlin, Klaus Wowereit oder im letzten Jahr der Aktivist Günter Dworek.

Gay in May ist das älteste Kulturfestival der LSBTIQ*-Vielfalt Deutschlands. 2021 führen wir die Kulturtage bereits zum 43. Mal aus. Der Osnabrücker Oberbürgermeister übernimmt erneut die Schirmherrschaft.

Die Preisverleihung erfolgt in Kooperation mit der Stadt Osnabrück am 11. Mai, 17.30 Uhr, im Friedenssaal des Osnabrücker Rathauses unter Beteiligung einer Vertretung der Stadt Osnabrück und einer Vertretung des Landes Niedersachsen.

Carolin Emcke erhält Rosa Courage-Preis 2021

Neuer Abschnitt

Der Verein „Gay in May“ würdige damit Emckes Einsatz für Lesben, Schwule, Bisexuelle, Transpersonen, Intersexuelle und queere Menschen. Emcke mache Diskriminierung deutlich, stelle Gewohnheiten infrage und kläre Missstände auf, hieß es in der Begründung des Vereinsvorsitzenden.

Der Rosa-Courage-Preis wird seit 1992 jährlich verliehen. Die Auszeichnung ist undotiert, die Preisträger erhalten aber ein Kunstwerk.

Neuer Abschnitt

Two:23 Network

Last year, Jeremy Marks (Courage) drew a number of individuals together, many of whom have been involved with Courage in the past, with the express purpose of talking and praying about a possible new ministry. This process has now led to the development of Two:23. This is a network of Christians connected by LGBT issues. Please go to the website for more information. We would love you to be involved, so please do register your interest on the website and e-mail your thoughts to .

The name Two:23 references a verse from the prophet Hosea, who uses his own life as an allegory for God’s promise to the outsider, the excluded, to those who don’t comfortably fit in … ‘I will say to those called ‘Not my people’, ‘You are my people’; and they will say ‘You are my God’.  Hosea 2:23

The launch meeting is in London on Saturday 24th November at St Mary Aldermary Church, Watling Street EC4M 9BW (near Mansion House tube); 2pm for a 2.23 start.

All are welcome, so please put this date in your diary.

Two:23 Network

Carolin Emcke erhält Rosa Courage-Preis 2021

Der Osnabrücker Gay in May e. V. würdigt Carolin Emcke für ihren Einsatz und ihre Arbeit als Schriftstellerin für Lesben, Schwule, Bisexuelle, Transpersonen, Intersexuelle und queere Menschen (LSBTIQ*) mit dem Rosa Courage-Preis 2021. Ihre Offenheit, ihre Klarheit und ihre Beständigkeit beim Einsatz für sexuelle und geschlechtliche Minderheiten sind es, die dem Rosa Courage-Kuratorium imponieren. „Sie macht Diskriminierungen deutlich, stellt Gewohnheiten in Frage und klärt Missstände auf!“ sagt Frank Mayer, 1. Vorsitzender des Gay in May e. V. Darüber hinaus gelänge es ihr, Verbindungen zu anderen Diskriminierungsmechanismen wie Rassismus und Antisemitismus heraus- und den Bezug zu anderen Minderheiten herzustellen, so Mayer weiter.

Der Preis ,,Rosa Courage” wird seit 1992 im Rahmen der Osnabrücker „Gay in May Kulturtage der Vielfalt” verliehen. Mit dieser Auszeichnung soll herausragendes Engagement für die Belange von LSBTIQ* gewürdigt werden. Schon ein Blick auf die Liste der bisherigen Preisträgerinnen und Preisträger genügt, um einen Eindruck von deren Vielfältigkeit zu bekommen – eine faszinierende Galerie von LSBTIQ*-Politik, Kunst und Kultur: Bisherige Preisträger*innen waren unter anderem die heutige Bundestags-Vizepräsidentin Claudia Roth, der Schriftsteller Lutz van Dijk, die Schauspielerin Maren Kroymann, der Comic-Autor Ralf König, die ehemalige Vizepräsidentin des Europaparlamentes, Ulrike Lunacek, der ehemalige Regierende Bürgermeister von Berlin, Klaus Wowereit oder im letzten Jahr der Aktivist Günter Dworek.

Gay in May ist das älteste Kulturfestival der LSBTIQ*-Vielfalt Deutschlands. 2021 führen wir die Kulturtage bereits zum 43. Mal aus. Der Osnabrücker Oberbürgermeister übernimmt erneut die Schirmherrschaft.

Die Preisverleihung erfolgt in Kooperation mit der Stadt Osnabrück am 11. Mai, 17.30 Uhr, im Friedenssaal des Osnabrücker Rathauses unter Beteiligung einer Vertretung der Stadt Osnabrück und einer Vertretung des Landes Niedersachsen.

Isolation: the Great Enemy

I believe it is vital that gay Christian married men have an opportunity to get together from time to time for mutual support. Married gay men often suffer profound loneliness. In such times of isolation, all the �demons� of rejection, low self-esteem, fear, loss, shame, etc., can visit us relentlessly and we don�t know what to do with ourselves or where to turn. This can be terribly destructive to one�s life overall, but especially one�s marriage and Christian faith. Fortunately, the history of the Christian church has proved that our faith can survive the severest hardships and even persecution when we have fellowship with others who are able to understand us and offer support in relationship and prayer. Courage provides a unique opportunity for us to find that support.

19 Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.� Matthew 18:19�20 (ANIV)

A wife�s tragedy

Whilst it is true that life can be extremely tough for the Christian married man who is gay, in fact the person who is often even worse off is his wife! The dynamics of her suffering are somewhat different to the husband�s. After the Fall, in Genesis,

A wife naturally tends single-mindedly to devote herself to her husband and family. to be with a man, her sense of desolation is very great indeed.

Some gay men do in fact experience �desire� for their wife as well as desire for another man. Known as bisexuality, this scenario requires another paper in itself! However, in Courage�s ministry experience, true bisexuality is relatively uncommon.

Here are three very common scenarios we find in Courage ministry experience:

love and God�s love would change him. But life does not seem to work out this way (certainly this is not our experience with Courage members over the last 17 years).

!� In other words, she has not understood the nature of her husband�s sexuality.

If she does not know that her husband is gay, what does her husband do? What are his responsibilities�before God, before his wife and for himself?

Wherever we may go in this discussion, my own conviction is that we have a very important responsibility as husbands to love and support our wives, reassuring them constantly that they are very special to us, especially as she struggles to understand the situation. We must not forget to show our appreciation for her as a person and acknowledge that her needs are every bit as important as ours. This is crucial if we are to find a Christ-like, dignified way through�that honours God and brings healing to all parties. �Laying down our lives� requires that we take every opportunity to show our love and affection to our wives.

Why did we marry?

whether or not we truly love our wives, having been told that any erotic feelings towards another man demonstrates that we are deviant and sinful!

As a result, many gay men have very mixed feelings when getting married; they are not quite sure in their heart of hearts whether they really love the woman they are to be married to, or whether they have

Perhaps, at the time, we were not sure (or could not face) the question �Am I gay?� Internalised homophobia may have prevented us considering in an honest way what we truly felt and what we really longed for.

Possibly marriage seemed the best way forward. Moreover, we probably thought that marriage would end our uncertainty in a respectable way.

Maybe we thought marriage would �cure� our homosexuality, or that by just �trusting in God� we could cope with a marriage�and be socially acceptable, rather than be gay and rejected!

Besides, for many of us, it was the normal social expectation that we should marry.

As Christians we probably believed that even to about being gay was sinful and therefore we were �following the right godly path� by getting married�self-discipline being the key!

Maybe we believed the �ex-gay� view�that God could change our homosexuality, or that we would grow out of it. Or maybe we persuaded ourselves that a gay relationship would never work anyway, so what would be the point? We might as well get married if we have the chance, and make the best of it!

So how do we cope with our (homo)sexual feelings/longings as married men?

Most Christian gay men, have felt wretched about being gay. The tendency towards self-pity and introspection is very great. Internalised homophobia is very common. We never wanted to disappoint God, or our wives (or our parents or our children). We were brought up to believe that homosexuality is deviant; that homosexual practice is an abomination; and that to divorce is also a great sin.

that we may easily become addicted to doing the very things we most despise and hate ourselves for. Maybe we�ve ended up doing what �wretched people� do. For example, we may opt for �safe sex�, looking at pornography on the internet and relieving ourselves with masturbation (extremely corrosive of the mind, though). Or we may go for more risky behaviour, seeking anonymous sexual encounters in saunas, massage rooms, public loos. Or pick up prostitutes or other gay men in gay pubs, clubs or from gay internet sites! These adventures bring acknowledgement of our need perhaps and some temporary relief, but the fact remains that none of these encounters give lasting satisfaction. Mostly they�ve made our situation much worse.

Many of us have secretly longed for, maybe dreamed about, living a new life shared with a man. But we know that huge obstacles block the fulfilment of those dreams:

We may fear losing our relationship with God and even losing our salvation.

We dread the discord with our wife that would surely come if we were to tell her of our longings.

We fear that our wives, who perhaps love us today, based on what they know of us, may hate us tomorrow when they know the true picture.

Besides, we don�t want to put our wives through such loss and sorrow.

We dread the thought that we might be hated by the wife we love and made a commitment to (in our own way), possibly for the rest of our lives!

We don�t want to initiate the financial hardship that will surely follow for her and us, if we leave our wife and have to provide for her and the children whilst also needing to find our own home, probably alone.

There is no guarantee that we will ever find Mr Right anyway, especially if we are getting older and �past our sell-by date� in the secular gay world.

We fear the loss of the respect of our parents and children.

We may jeopardise our career if we are open about being gay.

We know we will have to live with our consciences before God tomorrow if we�ve �sabotaged� our stable way of married life as it appears today.

In short, the cumulative losses resulting from sharing our hearts honestly seem too enormous to contemplate�so we tend to continue stumbling along, hoping that somehow things will one day change for the better. But the truth remains that rarely does anything change in life unless we make some definite clear decisions. And in the first chapter of his letter, James warns that, (James 1:8)

Maybe we try to opt for some kind of a compromise: for instance to seek a close same-sex friendship that accepts and supports the marriage, whilst recognising the gay husband�s needs and meeting them, at least on an emotional and affectional level. This scenario may be less threatening for a man�s wife if this friendship is with a �straight� man. But unfortunately, many gay men find that �safe� straight friends are so unaware of the gay man�s emotional and physical need for same-sex affirmation that the benefits are too limited and can lead to an unreality in the relationship. In practice, only a gay friend fully understands. But a non-sexual close friendship with a gay man, while appearing to offer a potential solution, is seldom workable for very long. Sooner or later, either the friendship breaks up, maybe because it fails to meet expectations, or the necessary boundaries frustrate the fulfilment of hopes and dreams, or the relationship becomes sexual�so that secrecy (from the wife, children, Church etc) results, with the consequent need to maintain a deception (gnawing away at the husband�s conscience). This just creates a pressure-cooker situation which is unsustainable.

ménage à trois has developed, where the husband�s lover is also an intimate friend of the wife. The true nature of the relationship is understood by all, and they share a very high level of mutual love, acceptance and understanding. This is entirely new and unknown territory for us. But we can see that the emotional pressure of sharing one another puts all parties under considerable strain.

Maybe we have read pro-gay theology and decided that we cannot help being gay, that there is nothing wrong with being gay, and if we act on our feelings we are only expressing our natural desires. So, we reason to ourselves, it is society and the Church that has forced us into an invidious position. But no marriage can survive for long if a Christian gay man adopts this kind of strident and self-orientated posture. For all the reasons listed above, such a view seriously threatens his marriage, his home, maybe his career or calling�in fact every stable area of life. Unless he can adopt a more humble approach then he will either go back to denying his needs for same-sex sexual intimacy for a time, or he will soon be walking out anyway, or if he prevaricates for too long, his wife may throw him out!

In facing a brick wall, when seeking some kind of solution to these multiple dilemmas, many of us have opted for compartmentalisation! We keep our married life, our Christian life and our gay life in separate compartments. In one compartment we love our wives, in another we serve our churches well and may be perceived as model Christians! In another compartment, when the pressure becomes too great we may seek clandestine means to fulfil our longings�through secret encounters with other men. The great problem with this is that spiritually, it is profoundly injurious to split our lives into separate compartments and of course there is the constant risk of being caught. Sometimes the danger in this�the spice of adventure with its addictive quality�is that it becomes a secret habitual lifestyle.

How do we live authentic lives that are truly Christian?

Whatever position we come to, be it conservative or liberal, whatever decision we make, we face manifold dilemmas and challenges. As Christians endeavouring to trust in God and act rightly, we can feel worse off than non-Christians who only have themselves to consider, as we try to think through the ethical issues and be true to the Spirit of Christ. Gay men who do not share our faith often seem to be in the enviable position where they can be more honest, straightforward and realistic about life. When the non-Christian married man begins to realise he is gay, he probably feels he is acting with greater honesty and integrity if he leaves his wife and finds another man to live with. Whereas the Christian, remembering his marriage vows made before God, tends to struggle on. Some men may become secretly unfaithful to their wives. They may feel very repentant in their hearts, but in fact they know they are living a life of hypocrisy. No wonder many feel they cannot be gay and Christian!

Some husbands endeavour to protect their wives from knowing the full truth, because

he does not know what to do for the best anyway, and

he fears alienating her, even traumatising her, if he fully reveals his situation. It is just easier to compartmentalise.

Some well-meaning Christian people raise a serious question as to how any man can live an honest life, being genuinely true to God and his wife, if he cannot face himself? They may protest, �God knows how He made us; and if you are gay, then it is surely more appropriate to live as a gay man than maintain a pretence, which is hypocrisy!�

At first sight, it may seem that total honesty is an upright, even noble stance to take. But any married man who is at all sensitive to the feelings of his wife, is keenly aware of what it will mean for her if he starts facing up to what he is truly feeling. His feelings are not the only consideration! And then to pursue a course of total honesty with the likely outcome being separation raises another question? Is he not actually being selfish and loving? Honesty can seem a great excuse for what is actually just the pursuit of one�s own self interest. Is this not pursuing the lust in one�s heart that Jesus condemned as adultery in Matthew 5:28? These questions continue to be the subject of fierce debate in the Christian community.

So what, as Christian (gay) husbands, should we do?

We don�t have any easy answers to prescribe! But first and foremost, as Christians, I believe that we must continually seek the mind of the Lord and encourage one another in what we understand to be God�s ways. Resolution is unlikely to follow any set pattern. Some may go the route of separation and divorce and start a new life; others of us may believe they are called to stay in their marriage and find alternative ways of managing their needs, rather than live their lives being dominated by them. Neither is better or worse than the other.

A biblical model for marriage?

When we last held a series of meetings for married gay men (1999), my approach was based on standard evangelical Christian thinking, starting with Ephesians 5:21�33:

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (A call for mutual accountability!)

This is a biblically-based model of marriage for Christians taken from Paul�s thinking and teaching in the early Church. It is normal for Christians today, especially evangelicals, to start with Scripture and work out our salvation and the answer to life�s problems from there. Many Christians would think there was nothing to add, nothing to debate: the challenge, indeed our , is to live our lives in accordance with these commands!

But while carrying out our duty may seem the last word, the fact is that when our circumstances do not fit the rules we are left guessing! Personally I believe that God wants us to see these challenges as an opportunity to develop a deeper life of faith in the Lord. So when we are trying to make sense of our sexuality, when we are wondering how to live, and be at peace in our hearts, when our marriage is on a knife-edge, as Christians we have no choice but to go on seeking God�and place our confidence in Him rather seeking social acceptance. I believe this is how God wants it to be �

The passage from Ephesians 5 provides several important points to note:

The There was enormous social pressure for a woman to be married and for a man to take a wife (or wives) and to maintain the sanctity of marriage.

No doubt Paul was concerned for , who were very under-valued in men�s thinking. In those days, a Jewish man could get rid of/dismiss/divorce his wife for the most trivial reasons�with dire social consequences for her! If a husband was violent, abusive, polygamous, unfaithful, irresponsible, whatever, she had no legal right to divorce her husband, however awful he might have been.

Underpinning this social pressure was the assumption that And unswerving devotion to God�s order was expected in upholding one�s marriage vows�likened to Christ�s commitment to the Church!

In the same way that a man was commanded to submit to God, . She had no say in the way her husband lived �e.g. how he managed his finances, business, leisure time, what friends he had, etc. Her husband was her Lord and Master! Any interference would have been gross insubordination! If her husband had pursued a gay relationship on the side, there was probably nothing she could have done about it, if she had known. If she had exposed him, she would have lost her husband�who was her security.

Besides, a sexual relationship with another man would never have had the status of a marriage relationship in biblical times, because marriage was always understood to be between a man and a woman. David and Jonathan could have a covenant between them but it was not marriage. A homosexual relationship would no doubt have been seen as deviant, but it could only have been seen as a same-sex friendship with a sexual dimension, not as a rival marriage. Technically, at any rate, it would not even have been classed as adultery. In fact it is still not adultery today, according to the law�merely �unreasonable behaviour�!

a man is accountable to God; the man is the head of his wife and children, and his wife respects/submits to her husband. If a man lived a godly life, then his whole household were saved on the basis of his priestly role.

In Paul�s day, a man�s basic responsibilities were�to honour God in all aspects of his life and to care for his wife (or wives) and children, the moral pressure being to take responsibility for all one�s commitments!

�she can have a career, own property, and do more or less anything a man can do. Moreover, a Christian woman regards herself as having the same responsibility for her life before God as a man does. She does not feel the need for a husband, or any other man for that matter, to take a priestly role on her behalf!

Rarely does a woman take a vow on her wedding day agreeing to �submit� to her husband. The very idea of such subservience is highly offensive to many women!

(with the exception of God of course�for Christians!).

Today, if she wants, as long as there are �grounds� for divorce�which can something as simple as �unreasonable behaviour� under the law today. Ironically, we are returning to the easy divorce situation of bible times� except that a woman now has the same rights to initiate divorce as a man.

The result is that than at any time in history! Perhaps this is why so many marriages end in divorce� because our high expectations quickly expose any shortcomings in our spouse!

What can Christian husbands and wives reasonably expect from one another?

Personally, I find that Proverbs 3:3�7 (ANIV) offers some very helpful guiding principles:

This passage reveals one of the Bible�s guiding values�at all times to make our aim to be loving and faithful to God and our spouses.

We have to accept that in society today, and increasingly in the Church too, men and women are considered to be equal. Therefore both husband and wife are equally responsible to one another in the decisions they make.

So the decision as to whether they stay together in a marriage where one member is gay (or lesbian) must therefore be a joint agreement. At their marriage service, they agreed to be committed to one another. By the same token, they must agree to remain together, working out their relationships in the knowledge of their partner�s orientation and needs, or mutually agree to separate, rather than one or other making a unilateral decision to part.

One vicar I know helped a couple in this situation by holding a special service where they released one another before God from their marriage vows so they could both be free to move on. In that instance, the wife re-married within a year and her former husband eventually found a same-sex partner (several years later). This surely is a more dignified, honourable and indeed godly way to proceed than acting hypocritically, suppressing smouldering anger and increasing acrimony�that will destroy a marriage in the long run anyway.

For the husband to have a �significant other� relationship is, for the majority of wives, an unacceptable proposition. Indeed, by today�s standards, it seems a totally immoral proposition. We are not living in the polygamous society of bible times, where women had no other choice than to put up with their husband openly pursuing other significant relationships.

, are the words of guidance we need, if we are to find an honourable Christian way forward.

In some cases, the husband and wife are able to reach the point where they can make an ongoing commitment to one another in full knowledge of the facts of his homosexuality. This is a decision that must surely be recognised and supported as a courageous and honourable one�not to be dismissed as second-rate, or the perpetuation of denial, as some cynics are prone to assert.

I no longer believe that a dogged adherence to marriage vows (however awful the marriage may have become) is the kind of �faithfulness� that God intended. Rather I believe that true faithfulness to God and one�s spouse is expressed by valuing one another highly and seeking the best for the other. To insist on upholding vows for their own sake creates distress rather than true unity and can all too easily be used as a tool for manipulation! Though undoubtedly divorce is contrary to God�s plan and a tragedy for the couple concerned, nevertheless to force two people to remain together, when to do so is destroying one another, is a travesty of marriage as God intended. We need to be honest and faithful to one another in recognising the truth, and be prepared to release one another when it is clear that this is the best way of honouring and caring for our spouse.

Set free in Christ

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, �If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.� John 8:31�32 (ANIV)

Jesus taught that we must trust in him and that we must follow him. �Follow me!� is his most oft-repeated commandment. And following Jesus so often meant going against the socially accepted norm. But to honestly face the truth is something many of us greatly fear, lest the truth devastates us! Often we skirt round the real issues; we may try to make life easier for our spouse by being �economical with the truth�. It may be that the husband and wife need to face the truth�together.

To decide on separation, just because our spouse/partner no longer pleases us, is self-serving�the way of the world today which is not acceptable for the Christian. However, the presence of homosexuality in a marriage poses the most challenging of hurdles! It may take years for the husband and wife to find a way through their difficulties. Where this proves impossible and where discord reigns, it may be that the only honest way forward, acting with integrity, is to realise that the marriage is not working and that spouses need to release one another. Then if at all possible, separation should be mutually agreed and the process carried out with dignity and respect for one another.

Sacrificial love

On the other hand it may be right to decide, out of love for our spouse, that the best way forward is to put her needs above our own and seek God�s grace to enable us to do so, just one day at a time. For this to work effectively, we need an understanding wife who appreciates that sacrifice is involved�though of course if she stays with her husband she is making big sacrifices too. Merely tolerating the fact of her husband�s homosexuality in a grudging way, or living in denial about it, will only result in the same issues and heartaches resurfacing again and again. This is where making the most of opportunities for friendship and fellowship with other gay Christians (e.g. at Courage) provides an essential support system. Otherwise isolation for the husband or the wife can become intolerable.

This is surely the difference between the Christian way of dealing with an unhappy marriage situation and a worldly way. The Christian way seeks the best for the other above consideration for one�s own happiness. In fact to love and care for another brings godly fulfilment. The worldly way seeks the best for oneself, regardless of our partner�s wishes.

Whichever path we choose, whether to stay together or separate, the only basis on which we can decide for our future in a Christian way is one of honesty and truthfulness, recognising our mutual responsibility towards one another as equals. And such a penalty can be profoundly emasculating, and therefore a self-defeating exercise.

Ein öffentliches Coming Out das Geschichte schrieb

Für den Preis qualifizierte sich Wowereit mit seiner Aussage „Ich bin schwul – und das ist auch gut so!“. Damit, so die Vertreter von Gay in May, habe er bereits bei seiner Kandidatur für das Amt des Regierenden Bürgermeisters Berlins Geschichte geschrieben.

Dieses spektakuläre Coming Out ist jedoch nicht der alleinige Grund für die Verleihung des Rosa Courage Preises an Wowereit. Während seiner Amtszeit als Regierender Bürgermeister wurde er zu einer „schwulen Ikone“, so das Schwule Museum Berlin. Denn er lebte nicht nur ganz selbstverständlich seine Homosexualität aus. Wowereit zeigte vielfältiges Engagement für die Gleichstellung von Lesben, Schwulen, Bisexuellen, Transgendern und Intersexuellen (LSBTI). Er marschierte bei Christopher Street Days voran, eröffnete unter anderem den Teddy Award auf der Berlinale und bemühte sich auch um die Rechte von LSBTI in Russland.

37 Jahre „Gay in May“

Der Rosa Courage Preis wurde zum 24. Mal verliehen, die schwul-lesbischen Kulturtage „Gay in May“ sind bereits seit 37 Jahren im Osnabrücker Kulturprogramm fest verankert.

[Update 10:20] Wir haben den Artikel um die Gründe für die Preisverleihung ergänzt.

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Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that fights the „ex-gay“ myth and antigay religious extremism.

TWO monitors anti-LGBT organizations, documents their lies and exposes wrongdoing. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for truth, integrity, and equality for sexual minorities.

Elfi Scho-Antwerpes

Elfi Scho-Antwerpes engagiert sich seit vielen Jahren für die Belange von Lesben, Schwulen und Transgender. Sie setzt sich für eine gesellschaftliche Vielfalt und für Toleranz ein und tritt Homophobie, Transphobie und Hassgewalt entschieden entgegen.