Gay Couple Denied Communion After 30 Years Together: Today In Gay

gay couple communion
A gay couple in Montana has been denied Communion after a new priest at their Catholic church learned they were married last year.

Paul Huff and Tom Wojtowick have been together for more than 30 years, and a part of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Lewistown for the past 11. But when Rev. Samuel Spiering learned they had a civil ceremony in 2013, he notified Huff, 66, and  Wojtowick, 73, that they could no longer receive the sacrament of Communion or sing in the church choir.

Last month, the couple agreed to write a “restoration statement,” underscoring marriage as a heterosexual institution.  “It was not our intent to challenge that [concept], but to have the rights of civic protections in our old age,” Wojtowick said.

But when Spiering told them they’d also have to include a timeline for their separation and divorce, they refused.

“This is not animus against someone who happens to be homosexual; this issue is the same-sex marriage,” said Bishop Michael Warfel, who plans to visit Lewistown this weekend.

A Swedish hockey team has suffered a financial hit after adopting rainbow-color uniforms in support of the LGBT community.

kiruna IF Kiruna IF announced the new designs this summer and members wore them at Stockholm Pride in June—earning praise from activists but costing them several sponsors.

The club was forced to lay off staff and launch an appeal online for new backers. Consequently, a new sponsor, a building contractor, has come on board and individual donations have risen since people have heard about the controversy.

“It is us taking up a stand, that LGBT people are not going to be shoved aside, made fun of and heckled,” said Kiruna IF’s chairman Johan Köhler, who revealed the club has garnered more than 150 new members since revealing the colorful new costumes.

You can get an official Kiruna IF jersey ($70) or t-shirt ($20) here. 

gay-panicThe state of California has become the first in the nation. to outlaw the so-called “gay panic” defense. Previously the defense has been used to lower criminal charges—including murder charges to manslaughter—because the defendant believed they were the focus of unwanted advances from an LGBT victim.

The new law, signed by Governor Jerry Brown, means a victim’s gender identity or sexual orientation can not be used as mitigating circumstances by defense counsel.

“The gay and transgender panic defenses did not appear until the late 1960s, and rely on outdated ideas that homosexuality and gender non-conformity are mental diseases,” said Jordan Blair Woods of the Williams Institute, a UCLA think tank dedicated to LGBT-related issues in law. “Since then, the defense has appeared in court opinions in approximately one-third of the states.”

serbia belgrade pride

Photo: Gordan Paunovic

This weekend, members of Serbia’s LGBT community and their allies held the first large-scale Pride event in Belgrade since 2010, when riot police faced off against neo-Nazis and members of the Serbian Orthodox Church in a violent confrontation. 

But on Sunday some 1,000 paradegoers were able to advance peacefully through deserted streets in the city center, Vice News reports, thanks to the efforts of thousands of riot police.

“This is just a start,” said Pride organizer Goran Miletic. “Next year, we will have less policemen, and less every year, until we will all walk free, with no need for such security.”

It’s widely believed Serbian officials consented to the parade because of pressure from the European Union, which the country is eager to join.

annie lennox

Annie Lennox believes the word “gay” should be irrelevant.

“During a human rights movement, it’s terribly important to have labels and to have platforms that are very identifiable, but ultimately we should just be fine with everybody no matter what our sexual orientation is,” The former Eurythmics singer told PrideSource. “It’s nobody’s effing business.”

Lennox’s new album, Nostalgia, drops on October 21.


Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.