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Apple CEO Tim Cook Granted Restraining Order Against Stalker

awarded Tim Cook a restraining order against a Virginia woman accused of stalking the out Apple CEO, trespassing on his property, and threatening to burn down his Palo Alto home. In the restraining order application, filed last week to the Santa Clara County Superior Court of California, the 45-year-old woman is alleged to have demonstrated “erratic, threatening and bizarre” behavior, including threatening emails featuring images of loaded handguns she claimed to have purchased. Cook’s lawyers told the judge they believe the woman from McLean, Va. is armed and in the Bay Area with intentions of returning to Cook’s home or to “locate him otherwise shortly” in their filing. The court, which found the threat against Cook credible, prohibited the woman from possessing a firearm in addition to having any interaction with Apple employees, including its CEO.

Editorial: Biden still has much to do

President Joe Biden marked his first year in office last week and while he, Vice President Kamala Harris, and the administration have made progress on some LGBTQ-related issues, there is still much to do. Unfortunately, the continued polarization in Washington, D.C., especially in Congress, likely means that significant achievements for equality look uncertain. Biden only has until the November midterm elections to work with a Democratic-controlled Congress, and even that is largely in name only.

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Pope Francis Tells Parents Not to 'Condemn' Gay Children in Unexpected Remarks
Pope Francis told parents of gay children not to condemn them but to support them."Never condemn a child," the pope said in off-the-cuff remarks during his weekly general audience on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, which reported that the move was the latest outreach gesture from the Catholic church to the LGBTQ community."Parents who see that their children have different sexual orientations, how they manage that and accompany their children and not hide behind a condemning attitude," Pope Francis was quoted by the AP.The official teaching from the Catholic church calls for gay people to be respected and loved; however, it considers homosexual activity "intrinsically disordered," according to the AP.Francis has made moves during his papacy to welcome members of the LGBTQ community to the church. Recently, he congratulated an American nun, Sister Jeannine Gramick, on 50 years of her LGBTQ ministry, which was previously condemned by the Vatican, the AP added.In 2021, the Vatican's doctrinal office issued a document saying Catholic priests were not allowed to bless same-sex marriage unions; however, Francis said it can support civil union laws to give gay partners joint rights in terms of health care, inheritance issues and pensions, according to New Delhi Television (NDTV).Conservatives in the Catholic church, which counts 1.3 billion members in total, believe the pope is giving mixed messages on homosexuality and is confusing those who are faithful, NDTV added.In 2021, Pope Francis allowed publication of a Vatican document stating that the church would not bless same-sex unions because God "cannot bless sin," according to the AP.
Michigan Cites SCOTUS Ruling for Allowing Some Adoption Agencies to Deny Same-Sex Couples
Supreme Court that allowed a Catholic charity in Philadelphia to do the same thing.Michigan child welfare officials said they will continue to contract with adoption and foster care agencies that do not work with same-sex, LGBTQ or unmarried couples after the state settled a lawsuit with a Catholic charity that had sued in 2019 when the state stopped contracting with agencies that refused same-sex or LGBTQ individuals, The Detroit News reported."While this outcome is not what we hoped for, we are committed to providing support to the many members in the LGBTQ+ community who want to open their hearts and their homes," the Associated Press quoted a statement from Demetrius Starling, executive director of the Children's Services Agency.In 2021, the Supreme Court found that the city of Philadelphia had violated the First Amendment rights of a Catholic adoption and foster care agency when the city refused to work with the agency until it agreed to place children with same-sex couples.Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a majority opinion last year that the Catholic Social Services agency "seeks only an accommodation that will allow it to continue serving the children of Philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs; it does not seek to impose those beliefs on anyone else," according to the AP.The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services followed the SCOTUS ruling and settled the lawsuit Tuesday with Lansing-based St. Vincent Catholic charities, the agency that sued the state in 2019 after it refused to contract with adoption and foster care agencies that wouldn't place children with same-sex and unmarried couples, The Detroit News reported."We are relieved and overjoyed to know that St.
France Makes Trying to Convert LGBTQ Individuals to Heterosexuality a Criminal Offense
Euronews reported. Under the new law, anyone found guilty of practicing conversion therapy faces a 30,000 euro, or about $34,000, fine and up to two years in prison.If the offense involves children or vulnerable groups, the penalty increases to as much as three years in prison and a 45,000 euro, or about $50,000, fine, the European news site added.The law will also allow people to file civil lawsuits on behalf of victims of conversion therapy, which lawmakers said could help people who are unable to or have reservations about reporting the crime themselves, according to the Associated Press."No one will be able to pretend, under the threat of criminal sanctions, to be able to cure LGBT people," said Laurence Vanceunebrock, a member of French parliament who helped pass the legislation, The Local France reported.According to the AP, she told the National Assembly Tuesday "there is nothing to cure," a sentiment echoed among activists working to ban the practice around the world.In 2020, the United Nations Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (IESOGI) issued a report which said conversion therapy "may amount to torture depending on the circumstances, namely the severity of physical and mental pain and suffering inflicted," as it treats LGBTQ people "as lesser human beings."The IESOGI report called on "States, the medical community and civil society" to work to ban the practice globally.France is not the only country to ban conversion therapy this month.