The former pastor of a northwest Indiana megachurch is scheduled for sentencing today for persuading a 16-year-old girl to engage in a sexual affair with him by telling her that Jesus desired it.

Jack Schaap, 55, who became leader of the 15,000-member First Baptist Church of Hammond, Ind., in 2001, pleaded guilty to transporting a minor across state lines with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. Yesterday, federal prosecutors filed letters Schaap sent the girl in U.S. District Court as part of the government’s sentencing memorandum, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.

Pro-gay Argentine president wishes pope well despite clashes

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 14 March 2013 04:02

President Cristina Fernandez will travel to the Vatican to attend her fellow Argentine Jorge Bergoglio's first Mass as Pope Francis on March 19, and she sent him a warm congratulations letter despite their profound differences over politics.

Bergoglio and Fernandez clashed so often that his official biographer, Sergio Rubin, compared them to "oil and water."

New Zealand close to approving same-sex marriage

Written by The AP Wednesday, 13 March 2013 05:30

New Zealand lawmakers for a second time have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill allowing same-sex marriage, virtually assuring its passage into law in the coming weeks.

Lawmakers supported the bill 77 to 44 on March 13 in the second of three votes that must be taken before a bill can become law.

Illinois governor urges citizen calls for marriage bill

Written by WiG Tuesday, 12 March 2013 14:58

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn urged citizens to call on their representatives to pass – soon – legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

The Democratic governor has been eager to sign the bill since the start of the new year.

Three-day conservative tea party begins in D.C.

Written by WiG Thursday, 14 March 2013 12:13

The three-day right-wing tea party known as CPAC began today in Washington, D.C.

The schedule of speakers includes: Kelly Ayotte, John Barrasso, Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor, Al Cardenas, Ben Carson, Francesca Chambers, Steven Crowder, Ted Cruz, Ken Cuccinelli, Artur Davis, Carly Fiorina, Tom Fitton, Jeff Frazee, Newt Gingrich, Louie Gohmert, Kristan Hawkins, Chelsi Henry, Bobby Jindal, Ron Johnson, Sonnie Johnson, David Keene, Katie Kieffer, Wayne LaPierre, Mike Lee, Art Linares, Dana Loesch, Jenny Beth Martin, Alexander McCobin, Mitch McConnell, Kate Obenshain, Sarah Palin, rand Paul, Katie Pavlich, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Wayne Allyn Root, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, Tim Scott, T.W. Shannon, Pat Toomey, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Allen West and Crystal Wright.

Progressive leaders respond to election of new pope

Written by WiG Wednesday, 13 March 2013 16:04

The cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church ended their conclave earlier today and announced that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the new pope. The leader of the 1.2 billion church has taken the name of Francis.

Francis, according to various reports, is a humble man who cares about the poor.

Marriage bills pass Minnesota committees

Written by WiG Wednesday, 13 March 2013 04:41

Legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota passed two key legislative committees on March 12.

Late on March 12, the Minnesota House Civil Law Committee approved an equality bill with a 10-7 vote.

Nun among 3 charged with illegal voting in Ohio

Written by AP,
WiG reports
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 10:08

A nun in southwest Ohio who voted on behalf of another nun who died before the 2012 presidential election has been charged with illegal voting.

The Hamilton County prosecutor in Cincinnati said on March 11 that Sister Marguerite Kloos was among three people charged with voting illegally.

ACLU defends student quest for gay-straight club in Pennsylvania

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 14 March 2013 10:53

The American Civil Liberties Union is threatening legal action against a central Pennsylvania school board that denied students' request to form a Gay-Straight Alliance club at their high school.

The ACLU of Pennsylvania contends the Chambersburg Area School Board's vote is a violation of the federal Equal Access Act. Congress originally passed the law in 1984 to address what lawmakers had called
"perceived widespread discrimination" against religious speech in public schools but has since been applied to organizations including Gay-Straight Alliance clubs.

Boy Scouts of America surveying adult members on gay ban

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 13 March 2013 06:34

The Boy Scouts of America, with a May decision expected on their policy banning gay scouts and leaders, is surveying its adult membership on the issue.

A questionnaire sent to 1.1 million adult Scouts uses fictional situations to discern where Scouting's membership falls on questions of homosexuality, gays camping with children and gays in church leadership. It allows adult Scouts to indicate a range of feelings, from strong support to strong opposition to the ban on gays.

Colorado OKs civil unions bill

Written by AP,
WiG reports
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 15:53

Colorado lawmakers took a historic vote to approve civil unions for gay couples Tuesday. The bill on its way to the desk of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to be signed into law soon.

Applause erupted in the Capitol as the bill won final passage on a 39-26 House vote, with two Republicans joining all Democrats to approve the measure. Several dozen people watching from the House gallery left smiling and hugging, and some wiped away tears of joy.

As cardinals from around the world gather to select the next pope, the Vatican faces yet another public relations debacle with the revelation that it owns a $32-million share in a Roman apartment block whose tenants include Europe’s largest gay bathhouse.

The U.K. newspaper The Independent reported that 19 Vatican officials and priests live in the apartment complex, including Cardinal Ivan Dias, the head of the Congregation for Evangelisation of Peoples. He is among those scheduled to participate in tomorrow’s papal conclave at the Sistine Chapel.