Local, National, and international news stories from around the net.

Mozambique Decriminalizes Homosexuality

The Republic of Mozambique dropped a colonial era law from its penal code last week that banned gay and lesbian relationships. The African nation, home to an estimated 25 million people, removed a law that called for “security measures to be taken against anyone practicing vices against nature.” The move is viewed as a more liberal social stance taken by newly elected President Filipe Nyusi at a time when same-sex conduct is criminalized in many other African nations. Mozambique gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. The country, situated in southeastern Africa on the Indian Ocean, is slightly less than twice the size of California. Lambda, a gay rights group in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital city, issued a statement hailing the decision as “an important step to guarantee that society is free and equal.”

‘Sexual Orientation’ Added To Defense Department’s Employment Statement

The United States Defense Department added “sexual orientation” to its equal employment opportunity (EEO) statement in a move to protect gay, lesbian and bisexual service members. The policy change was announced last week at the Pentagon by Defense Secretary Ash Carter in a ceremony recognizing LGBT pride month. “We must start from a position of inclusivity, not exclusivity,” said Carter. “Anything less is just plain wrong; it’s bad defense policy, and puts our future strength at risk.” The new policy mirrors the DoD’s protections for gay and lesbian civilian employees and allows soldiers to seek relief if they feel discriminated against by a superior on grounds of sexual orientation.

Interfaith Service Celebrates Supreme Court Ruling

Members of several LGBT affirming churches gathered to worship at Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale Friday evening. Religious leaders representing Judaism, Catholicism, Unity and MCC Churches took part in the service in the wake of marriage equality becoming the law of the land. “We celebrate inclusion and equality for all God’s children,” said Rabbi Noah Kitty of Congregation Etz Chaim. Reverend Doctor Durrell Watkins said the Supreme Court’s decision made him finally feel fully human in his birth country. Watkins recently married his longtime partner, Reverend Doctor Robert Griffin. The couple are the first ministers to be married in a same-sex ceremony in the 40-year history of Sunshine Cathedral.