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US Episcopal leaders vote to allow same-sex weddings inside their churches

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The U.S. Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to let gay couples wed in the denomination’s religious ceremonies, reinforcing its support for same-sex nuptials days after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.

The Church, part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, became in 2012 the largest U.S. religious denomination to approve a liturgy for clergy to use in blessing same-sex unions, including gay marriages in states where they were already legal.

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While some clergy and lay members disagreed with the proposal put before the Church’s triennial convention, held in Salt Lake City, the faith’s House of Deputies concurred with the House of Bishops, which overwhelmingly approved the measure in a separate vote on Tuesday.

“In 1976, the Church promised full and equal claim to LGBT members, and we’ve spent those years making that resolution a reality,” said the Rev. Susan Russell of the Diocese of Los Angeles.

“Today’s action is a huge step … toward a promised land of a Church that fully includes all its members,” she said.

But the Rev. Neal Michell, dean of St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Dallas, said he opposed such unions because “the teaching of scriptures says marriage itself is between a man and a woman. That’s the teaching of the (Book of Common Prayer) and our catechism.”

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Under the new rules, clergy can opt out of performing gay marriage ceremonies.

The Episcopal Church is the 14th largest U.S. religious denomination, with about 2 million members, according to the National Council of Churches.

In 2003, its members elected Gene Robinson, who lived with his male partner, as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire, leading to fractious relations with conservative Episcopal dioceses in the United States and some members of the global Anglican Communion, especially in Africa.

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(Reporting by Peg McEntee; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney)


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UK travel giant Thomas Cook set to collapse: report

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Thomas Cook's 178-year existence was reported to be coming to an end on Monday after the British travel firm struggled to find private investment to keep it afloat, potentially affecting thousands of holidaymakers.

The operator has said it needs £200 million ($250 million) or else it will face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain's largest peacetime repatriation.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator's longer-term viability, the Times reported, leaving it on the brink.

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‘We are the people’: Watch Billy Porter get a standing ovation for his passionate speech at the Emmys

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In a powerful and passionate speech accepting his Emmy, "Pose" actor Billy Porter showered the audience with love and proudly reminded all of their right to belong and be loved.

"Oh, my God. God bless you all! The category is love, y'all, love!" Porter exclaimed.

The epic FX show "Pose" depicts Black and Latinos in the LGBTQ ballroom culture of New York City.

"I am so overwhelmed and so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day," he said. "James Baldwin wrote, 'It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.' I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right."

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Paris show of King Tutankhamun artifacts set new record with 1.42 million visitors

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A blockbuster Tutankhamun show set a new all-time French record Sunday, with 1.42 million visitors flocking to see the exhibition in Paris, the organisers said.

The turnout beat the previous record set by another Tutankhamun show billed as the "exhibition of the century" in 1967, when 1.24 million queued to see "Tutankhamun and His Times" at the Petit Palais.

"Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" -- which has been described as a "once in a generation" show -- will open in London in November.

The last time a show of comparable size about the boy king opened there in 1972 it sparked "Tutmania", with 1.6 million people thronging the British Museum.

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