By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has grabbed headlines with his off-the-cuff homilies, crowd-pleasing one-liners and lengthy interviews during which he has pontificated on everything from the church’s “obsession” with rules to how he won’t judge gays. But his chattiness has gotten him into some trouble, and the Vatican has gone into damage-control mode to clarify, correct or put his comments into context. Read the full article here.

by ReligionLink

The U.S. Supreme Court has dealt two major setbacks to gay-marriage opponents and has given a further boost to those who support legal recognition of same-sex unions. The verdicts are drawing quick responses from religious voices on both sides and they have reignited the debate over morality and same-sex marriage.

In the June 26 rulings, a divided court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and said those who challenged a ruling overturning California’s gay marriage ban, known as Prop 8, had no standing to appeal. That effectively opened the door to allowing gay marriage in California, though it would have no immediate effect in states that have not legalized same-sex marriage.

At this point, same-sex marriage seems increasingly ascendant in the court of public opinion, with polls showing a rapid rise in acceptance and particularly strong support among younger generations. Indeed, in recent months, as the Supreme Court justices have been deliberating, three more states have legalized gay marriage.

The public is even more accepting of gays and lesbians beyond the issue of civil rights. In May, NBA player Jason Collinsbecame the first male athlete in a major professional sport to come out as gay and he was widely embraced for his openness. Similarly, the Boys Scouts of America in May changed their long-standing policy to allow boys who are gay to be Scouts, though the organization stopped short of allowing gay Scout leaders.

In another development, Lutherans in California in May elected the first openly gay bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

ReligionLink provides resources for reporters covering the court cases and their implications for both the civil and religious realms of society.

By Huffington Post

Exodus International, a large Christian ministry that claimed to offer a “cure” for homosexuality, plans to shut down.

In a press release posted on the ministry’s website Wednesday night, the board of directors announced the decision to close after nearly four decades.

“We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change — and they want to be heard,” Exodus board member Tony Moore said. Read the full article at