Risks and rights

Two stories in the news bracket the spectrum of gay rights in America and the risks people take when taking a stand.

On Saint Paul’s East Side, Rev Oliver White, 69, is in danger of losing his church, the Pioneer Press reported this week, after taking a stand in favor of gay rights.

White needs to raise $200,000 by the end of June to pay off an April 2007 loan needed to stay open. But the paper reports two-thirds of his parishioners left the predominantly African-American church. The Star Tribune says the financial problems started when he voted at a national UCC convention in favor of a resolution supporting same-sex marriage.

“The membership evaporated right before my eyes,” he told the Strib. “Their fundamental belief was it’s wrong for a man and a man to marry or a woman and a woman to marry. A lot of them said if I change, they’d come back. But I told them, it is what it is. I am who I am. And this is what I fight for.”

Grace Community Church is affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Ironically, the United Church of Christ has been one of the most visible churches when it comes to embracing gay rights. You may recall this ad, which it couldn’t get placed on national TV networks. Too controversial.

Meanwhile, JC Penney has also been an outlier in the skittish world of retail when it comes to gay rights. You may recall last February it rejected calls from a conservative group to drop Ellen Degeneres as a spokesperson because she’s a lesbian.

Now, weeks before Father’s Day, a JC Penney ad features two dads


Earlier this month, JC Penney reported its first quarter sales fell 20 percent from a year ago.