Sarah Padbury/WORLD News Service

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Gender battles in WA, NYC put bathrooms in spotlight

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BP) -- At the end of 2015, two human rights commissions -- in New York City and Washington state -- enacted new rules that could be precedent-setting for the gender battle across the nation, including giving people the right to use whichever locker rooms and bathrooms they choose. The New York City Commission on Human Rights issued guidelines Dec. 21 to clarify what "constitutes gender identity and gender-expression discrimination" under the city's 2002 Human Rights Law. The new policy addresses discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodation and housing.

Swedish court rules midwives must perform abortions

JÖNKÖPING COUNTY, Sweden (BP) -- A district court in Sweden recently ruled against midwife Ellinor Grimmark, who was denied employment at four hospitals because she refuses to participate in abortions. In November 2013, Höglandssjukhuset Women's Clinic in Jönköping County rescinded its job offer to Grimmark after she said she could not perform abortions because of her conscientious objection and her Christian faith.

Penalized cake bakers garner faith-based funding

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BP) -- Christians looking to raise funds for religious liberty causes have a crowdfunding option -- Continue to Give (CTG) -- that won't kick them off the site for defending their faith. In April, the crowdfunding site GoFundMe halted a campaign raising money for Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Ore. Oregon's labor commissioner found the couple guilty of violating state anti-discrimination laws when they refused to bake a cake for a same-sex commitment ceremony and ordered them to pay $135,000 in damages to the lesbian couple. For the Kleins, their next legal step is the state Court of Appeals.

Drop in international adoptions addressed

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BP) -- International adoptions plummeted to a 30-year low for U.S. citizens last year, with further declines expected. But some see the trend as an opportunity to help children remain in their home countries.

Atheist group’s victory could help churches

ASHEVILLE, N.C.(BP) -- An atheist group reached a settlement last month with the Internal Revenue Service over stronger enforcement of policies against "church politicking," and at least one religious freedom group voiced optimism, claiming the IRS investigation could be "a good thing" in the long run.

Satanists, Hindus eye Okla. Commandments

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP) -- A satanic group from New York wants to place a shrine to Satan next to a Ten Commandments monument on the state capitol grounds in Oklahoma City.