This is a baby step:

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church says that, although the church views homosexuality as a sin, homosexuality is a personal choice.

Patriarch Kirill says gays and lesbians must not be persecuted or discriminated against in any way, though the church still opposes same-sex marriages.

But it’s a positive step, nonetheless. Russia has major problems with vile, violent homophobia*, so for the Patriarch of the largest and most important church in the nation to call for an end to persecution and discrimination (sort of) is a good message.

I take issue with the headline, though: “Russian Orthodox Church embraces gays.” Uhhhhh, no. That is not “embrace.” That’s the Church trying to split the difference between condemnation and outright hatred and violence.

Like I said, it’s progress of a sort, but I’d like to see more than a general perfunctory statement along the lines of “We believe ‘x’ is bad, so if you could possibly consider thinking about cutting it out, that would be helpful, but if that’s not amenable to you, I’m sure we can work something out.”

(h/t Pam)

*And wouldn’t you know it, one of the same characters sticking his nose in to help the cause of bigotry in Uganda has a history of inflaming ignorance and homophobia in Russia, too!