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Christian bakers lose in Oregon appeals court

WASHINGTON (BP) -- Christian wedding vendors who decline to provide services for same-sex ceremonies have suffered another legal setback. The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 28 that the state did not violate the First Amendment rights of Aaron and Melissa Klein in a 2015 order that included a $135,000 fine. The three-judge panel upheld a decision by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) that found the Kleins' refusal to design and bake a cake for a lesbian couple's commitment ceremony was based on unlawful discrimination against homosexuals.

Individual rights & sexuality aired at NOBTS forum

NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- Advocates from several perspectives on same-sex marriage and LGBT rights discussed the emotionally and politically charged issues, which often pit the church against the prevailing culture, during a forum at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. The "Rights and Sexuality: Where Individual Freedoms and Civil Rights Meet" event was sponsored by the seminary's Institute for Faith and the Public Square.

Couple fights to limit videos to biblical marriage

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (BP) -- Christian filmmakers Carl and Angel Larsen are asking a district court to reinstate their challenge to a Minnesota law that could force them to produce media supporting same-sex marriage. The U.S. District Court in Minnesota dismissed the couple's lawsuit on Sept. 20 against the state over portions of the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), which bans sexual orientation discrimination in public accommodations and contracting.

Pew: Gay marriage gains favor of younger white evangelicals

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Young white evangelicals -- both Millennials and Gen-Xers -- born after 1964 are among societal groups increasingly approving of same-sex marriage, according to new Pew Research Center figures. Homosexual marriage is supported by 47 percent of younger white evangelicals today, compared to only 29 percent in March of 2016, Pew said in a study conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults. Older white evangelicals, including Silents born before 1946 and Baby Boomers, overwhelmingly remain opposed. Only 26 percent of evangelicals in the older groups approve of the practice, comparable to the 25 percent in the 2016 study.

Study: Few pastors asked to perform same-sex weddings

NASHVILLE (BP) -- More than 100,000 same-sex couples have tied the knot since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages nationwide last year. But for preachers, being asked to do a same-sex wedding remains rare, a new study shows. A new survey by LifeWay Research found 11 percent of Protestant senior pastors have been asked to perform a same-sex wedding. Baptist pastors (1 percent) are the least likely to say they were asked to perform a same-sex wedding. Presbyterian/Reformed pastors (26 percent) are most likely.

Florist who refused gay wedding gets appeal

OLYMPIA, Wash. (BP) -- The highest court in Washington state has agreed to hear the appeal of florist Barronelle Stutzman found guilty of violating state laws and the constitutional rights of a gay couple when she refused to arrange flowers for their wedding, citing religious beliefs. The Washington Supreme Court will hear the appeal of Stutzman, a 70-year-old Southern Baptist grandmother who owns Arlene's Flowers in Richmond, possibly as early as its spring 2016 session beginning in May, according to the court's official website.

Iorg hears heartbreak over same-sex marriage

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP) -- "I'm a deacon," the man told Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. "I've followed Jesus all my life, and so have my children. Now my granddaughter has come home and announced she is a lesbian and is going to marry another woman. What do I do?" The church deacon is among the many brokenhearted individuals Iorg has encountered at state and associational meetings across the nation in speaking about the book "Ministry in the New Marriage Culture."

Moore: Court ruling sets Christian ‘distinctiveness’

[QUOTE@left@90=Christians "can be Americans best when we're not Americans first." -- Russell Moore]WASHINGTON (BP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage has given clarity to Christians of their "distinctiveness" in American life, Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore told an audience in the country's capital. As a guest for the July 1 edition of Politico's Playbook Breakfast, Moore told interviewer Mike Allen he believes Christians "can be Americans best when we're not Americans first, when we have a sense of understanding of who we are in terms of our distinctiveness. Now that time is here."

FIRST-PERSON: A country in chaos: What Southern Baptists should do

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) -- Never in my lifetime have I seen our nation in such turmoil," SBC President Ronnie Floyd declares in conveying five key suggestions for what Southern Baptists should do. "We need God and one another more than ever before," he writes.

Fla. presidents affirm nat’l marriage statement

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, Fla. (BP) -- The current president and 18 former presidents of the Florida Baptist State Convention have affirmed a statement on biblical marriage and the national implications of same-sex marriage released June 17 by the Southern Baptist Convention's current president, Ronnie Floyd, and 16 of the SBC's presidents since 1980.