On Wednesday, 22th several LGBT organisations and social movements, Base Lesbica (Lesbian Basis), Igualdad Venezuela (Equality Venezuela), Youth with Hugo Chavez and Union Afirmativa (Affirmative Union) presented before the Interior and Human Rights Commission at the Venezuela’s National Assembly a paper prepared by Union Afirmativa in order to include in the Civil Code same sex marriage.
The proposal was congratulated and welcomed by several official congressmen. Minutes after the proposal was presented, Elvis Amoroso, President of the Commission, through his Assistant, called Merentes and offered him to present the proposal before the Commission. Amoroso certainly wants to lead the proposal before the whole National Assembly.
The reform of the Civil Code in Venezuela was announced by Amoroso himself last year and is expected to start in 2014.
Could Venezuela be next?
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More Tennesseans now support recognition of relationships for gays and lesbians than oppose it, though that includes both supporters of civil unions and gay marriage. On Top Magazine reports:
According to a poll released this month for Vanderbilt University, 49 percent of respondents support either marriage or civil unions for gay couples, while 46 percent remain opposed to both. Sixty-two percent of respondents also believe that the spouses of domestic partners should receive health insurance and other employee benefits. Thirty-one percent disagreed.
It’s progress, though slow – it would be great to see Tennessee pass 50% on marriage equality support alone. But just 7 years ago, the state passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage by 81-19%.
First off, Tony Perkins tries to make the link between gays, DADT, and sexual assaults in the US military. Joe.My.God reports:
“President Obama is finally admitting that sexual assault is a serious problem in the military, but what he hasn’t conceded is that his policy on homosexuality helped create it. According to a new Pentagon survey, most of the victims were not female (12,000 incidents), but male (14,000), highlighting a growing trend of same-sex assault in our ranks. How could this happen? Well, for starters, the Obama administration ordered military leaders to embrace homosexuality–completely dismissing the concerns that it could be a problem to have people attracted to the same sex, living in close quarters. Groups like FRC were right to be concerned about the overturning of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”
Regular Elaine Donnelly picks up the same charge, with the headline at World Net Daily “Military Suffers Wave of “Gay” Sex Assaults, as Joe.My.God reports:
She told WND when factoring in civilians working for or around the military, the increase in that time is 98 percent. Women are identified as the attacker in just two percent of all assaults, meaning most men who suffer assault are targeted by other men. “So we’ve got a male-on-male problem here. The Department of Defense doesn’t want to comment on this. They know that the numbers are there. They say that they care, but all the attention is usually given to the female members of the military who are subjected to sexual assault,” Donnelly said.
As Joe notes:
WND fails to mention that the military recently launched a campaign that encourages the victims of sexual assault to come forward, hence the rise in reported incidents. And even their own article fails to live up to their bombastic headline.
Another regular, Scott Lively, who regularly travels to third world countries to rile them up against the gays, is complaining about being intimidated by the homofascists. O-blog-dee-o-blog-da reports:
“While traditional liberalism values the First Amendment freedoms of speech, thought and religion as the highest ideals of civilization, homo-fascists seek to criminalize any exercise of these ideals that are deemed to be a threat to “gay” culture. Present day examples of homo-fascist policies include speech codes in schools and colleges, anti-discrimination regulations in government agencies and private corporations, and de-facto anti-family censorship policies in the news media. Where pro-family speech and other activities are not yet constrained by law, homo-fascists employ bullying and other intimidation tactics to silence opponents and manipulate policy makers, all while posing as victims.”
He’s free to say what he wants. We’re free to criticize it. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean a free pass to speak without consequences.
And also at WND, “christian” Les Kinsolving came up with a truly offensive comparison of gays and bestiality. On Top Magazine reports:
“If lesbians, male homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals should have the right to marriage licenses – as a few states, including Maryland, now provide – why should the real animal lovers (whose orientation is bestiality) not be allowed to marry?” Kinsolving wrote. “The argument that animals are incapable of making a choice is surely invalid in that some animals choose to run away when fondled by humans, while others do not – which certainly indicates their ability to choose. Have there ever been any reports that apprehended practitioners of bestiality have as high a rate of AIDS and syphilis as do homosexuals?” he added.
Finally, maybe he’s an opponent, maybe not… we;ll let Donald Rumsfeld explain. On Top Magazine reports:
“You know, I’m, I guess, of a generation that I don’t … I listened to some of the Supreme Court justices. And one of them said, ‘Well what’s next after that? Is it two people, three people?’” he said.
“But you were a strong supporter of civil rights in Congress …”
“You bet I was,” Rumsfeld said. “And I was proud of the work that the Congress did in the 1964 legislation and the 1965 legislation.”
“I guess I just don’t equate the two. It’s not a subject I’m knowledgeable about. I guess the Rumsfeld rule here is: I don’t know.”
At least he admits it, instead of papering over his ignorance with bigotry.
A few new stories to being you on the transgender rights front.
First, in Texas, a bill that would have potentially restricted the rights of transgender citizens to marry there was defeated. Dot429 reports:
But the bill, led by Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), did not pass the House Judiciary or Civil Jurisprudence Committee, who struck it down before it could reach the higher chambers. In order to gain access to marry, a transgender individual has to submit an affidavit of change in sex. The proposed bill would have created another hurdle for the transgender community. If the bill had passed, the affidavit would no longer be accepted as valid ID.
Good riddance to this discriminatory measure.
In Nevada, there’s some positive progress for trans rights. LGBTQ Nation reports:
Crimes that target transgender person because of their sexual identity now carry an extra penalty in Nevada. Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval signed SB139 into law Tuesday. The new law adds a person’s “gender identity or expression” to the list of motivating factors interpreted as a hate crime. Defendants face the penalties for the actual crime committed, and up to an additional 20 years in prison because the motivation.
Wow, first the attempt to repeal Nevada’s ban on marriage equality, then this – who do they think they are? Minnesota?
Finally, Suzan Revah has a great column in the advocate about the “T” in LGBT:
Even though I’ve been screaming about equal rights for LGBT people since I was a tweenage fag hag, I never imagined my fight for tolerance and acceptance would one day include waving the trans flag as my own. I’m a grown San Fransexual woman proudly living in a gay man’s world, but I’ve routinely overcome skepticism at best and discrimination at worst. I’m still taken aback by just how long the road ahead is for true freedom of sexuality, gender, and identity.
Read the whole thing at the link above.
The Social Christian Party filed its appeal Tuesday with the Supreme Court arguing that the council’s ruling was unconstitutional because Congress has not approved it. One of the party’s leaders is Congressman Marco Feliciano, an evangelical pastor who is president of the Commission for Human Rights and Minorities. He has said on his Twitter page that AIDS is a “gay cancer.”
Hopefully the challenge is dealt with quickly so Brazil’s gay and lesbian couples can officially marry throughout the country.
The city of Bisbee, Arizona, last night passed the revised civil unions ordinance. The Arizona Daily Sun reports:
The council voted 5-2 Tuesday night to formally propose a scaled-back version of the ordinance. That sets the stage for a June 4 vote by the council on whether to approve the measure. Council members on April 2 approved an earlier version of the measure that sought to give people in civil unions the same benefits as those in marriages.
Under the new version, people entered into civil unions recognized only within the city of Bisbee could file contractual statements spelling out their agreed-upon “rights, obligations and expectations” in matters such as inheritances, property ownership and children. Some of those agreements “may require additional documentation and other formalities” to make them effective under state law, the revised ordinance states, adding that “the city of Bisbee makes no warranty or guarantee regarding the legality or enforceability of any agreements or nominations of the parties.”
Well, it’s a start. Other Arizona cities may follow suit.
First off, UK Prime Minister David Cameron appears to have spent quite a lot of political capital to get the bill passed. Queerty reports:
“It’s a perfect political storm. It couldn’t have come at a worse time for Cameron,” Iain Dale, a prominent gay radio presenter and conservative blogger, told Reuters. Cameron is attempting to moderate his party’s intolerant image, but as the marriage equality vote shows, a lot of his party is perfectly happy to be intolerant. The party’s right wingers are furious at reports that one of Cameron’s aides described them as “mad, swivel-eyed loons,” which proves once again that no one beats the British at political invective.
Meanwhile the UKIP, a right-wing political party that is part of the reason conservatives are so freaked out about marriage equality support, made their own news today on gays and marriage equality. Pink News reports:
UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage says he will not expel UKIP members for voicing “old-fashioned” views about homosexuality, including those who describe it as “disgusting”.
Mr Farage told BBC Radio 2′s Jeremy Vine Show: “That is an old-fashioned view that you would hear in private bridge clubs and golf clubs and probably British Legion clubs up and down the length and breadth of the country. “If you are suggesting that we should become so politically correct that we should kick out anyone who holds a slightly old-fashioned view, frankly that would be the death of debate in politics in Britain.”
So the UKIP is perfectly happy being the party of anti-gay bigotry.
First off, an entry from Down Under. The Australian Christian Lobby is making an offensive comparison between marriage equality and the country’s “Lost Generation”. Gay Star News explains:
Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has offended aboriginal rights groups and marriage equality advocates by saying gay marriage will create another ‘stolen generation’. In Australia, the ‘stolen generations’ were aboriginal children who were forcibly removed from their families to be brought-up under white ‘Christian’ values, where many were physically and sexually abused. ‘The Prime Minister who rightly gave an apology to the stolen generation has sadly not thought through the fact that his new position on redefining marriage will create another,’ said the ACL in a statement in response to former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd’s pro-gay-marriage announcement yesterday.
Here in the US, “historian” David Barton had his own lovely things to say about the gays. Joe.My.God reports:
“I’ve gone on record before, and I’ll say it again: I think Romans 1:27 is one of the reasons that we’ll never find a complete cure for AIDS; and if we do there will be another disease pop up like this bacterial meningitis because the Bible says this, Romans 1:27 says ‘men committed shameful acts with other men, sexual acts, and received in themselves the due penalty for the error.’ God says there is a penalty in your own body when you do this kind of sexual acts – the Bible calls them shameful sexual acts – and so we as Christians have to have that same position, regardless of what the culture says.”
In Iowa, Bob Vander Plaats is sounding like a broken record: KSFY reports:
Vander Plaats says he isn’t personally judging anyone…that he doesn’t hate gay people…but says there must be a standard clearly defining what marriage is. That without a clear definition…marriage loses its meaning. “If you take away the fences regarding marriage, you have undefined marriage. all of sudden in means anything to anybody.” In 2009, all seven Iowa Supreme Court justices ruled gay marriage legal. Three of those justices faced retention elections in 2010. All three…David Baker, Michael Streit and Marsha Ternus….were removed from office. Bob Vander Plaats led the effort to remove those justices from office and he tells me, he’s not done. “I believe the governor should issue an executive order …the executive order would be…call time out…and lets let the process play out the right way.”
Over in the UK, the newly elected UK Independence Party Councillor was caught making homophobic comments. Pink News reports:
Alan Jesson the UKIP County Councillor for Spalding South, made postings on his Facebook page, over several months, between November 2012 and March this year, reports Hope Not Hate. He wrote: “No Mosques should be entertained in this country. Islam is anti Gay [sic] and anti women [sic] . It can never be part of English culture.” Despite the appearance of concern for the gay community, in February, the newly elected Councillor also posted homophobic comments, saying that “most gays are indeed Heterophobic”, and that gay and lesbian people have no right to church marriages.
A couple updates out of Illinois today. First off, President Clinton is pushing for the passage of the marriage equality bill in Illinois. The Huffington Post reports:
Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday threw his support behind legislation that could soon legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. Clinton urged the Illinois House to approve the bill in a looming vote in a statement distributed by LGBT advocacy group Freedom to Marry. “Our nation’s permanent mission is to form a ‘more perfect union’ – deepening the meaning of freedom, broadening the reach of opportunity, strengthening the bonds of community,” Clinton said in a statement. “That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them. Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in Illinois, with marriage equality.”
President Obama also endorsed the bill. Joe.My.God reports:
President Obama would support Illinois’s same-sex marriage bill if he were still serving in the legislature there, the White House said Tuesday. “Were the president still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally,” spokesman Shin Inouye said in response to a question from POLITICO. “While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” Inouye said. “As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so.”
Only nine of twenty black House members have said they are likely to vote for the marriage equality bill. Seven are undecided. The Sun Times reports:
Less than half of Illinois House Black Caucus members say they back the push to legalize same-sex marriage or are likely to support it, a Chicago Sun-Times survey of the pivotal voting bloc has found. Four members of the 20-member caucus have told the Sun-Times they will vote for same-sex marriage while five others indicated they are leaning toward a ‘yes’ vote. Seven remain undecided, and four are opposed.
If you live in Illinois, keep up the calls to your legislators. Just ten more days in the session!
USA: Immigration Reform Bill to Move Out of Senate Committee Without Provision for Binational Same Sex Couples
As many suspected, the immigration reform bill will move ahead without provisions to allow american citizens to sponsor their same sex spouses. The Washington Blade reports:
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced on Tuesday that he’ll withhold amendments to include gay couples as part immigration reform after tearful speeches from Senate Democrats on the panel who said they couldn’t support the measures. After an extended speech on why he believes discrimination against gay couples is wrong — Leahy said “with a heavy heart” he wouldn’t introduce the amendments before the committee — which would make bi-national same-sex couples equal under the law to straight couples for immigration purposes.
Democrats on the panel ultimately torpedoed the amendment:
Democrats who are known for being LGBT rights supporters — Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) — said they were torn on the issue, but couldn’t support the amendments out of fear they would lose Republican support and it would kill the legislative package. Feinstein said the Supreme Court, which is currently considering the constitutionality of DOMA, may make the issue “moot” because a ruling against the anti-gay law in June would end discrimination against married bi-national couples.
As a practical matter, I almost understand this. But OTOH, this move may just embolden the GOP to push for even more concessions. I still say it should have been included in the bill from the get-go – make them take it out instead of try to get it added in. But the Democrats never were very good at negotiating.
Sick and sad. Edge Boston reports:
French right-wing historian Dominique Venner shot and killed himself on the altar of Paris’ famed Notre Dame Cathedral today at 4PM local time in front of throngs of tourists in protest of France’s recent legalization of same-sex marriage. As the Daily Mail reports, Dominique Venner, who had recently been campaigning against gay marriage in France, is said to have calmly walked past the crowds milling around the 850-year-old Cathedral, one of the most popular tourist sites in the world, before taking out a Herstal automatic pistol. The 78-year-old put the gun in his mouth and fired before collapsing on to the altar.
An amendment that would have reinstated marriages for transgender citizens who had them annulled to have reassignment surgery was withdrawn. Pink News reports:
Equality Minister Helen Grant asked for amendments on rights for trans people in same-sex couples to be withdrawn in today’s House of Commons debate on the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill. She stated that the Government could not support an amendment allowing restoration of marriage to trans people who had had their marriage annulled in order to undergo gender reassignment. The Government could not recognise an annulled marriage as continuously valid. However, she said it would be possible to backdate a marriage to the start of a civil partnership.
One of the minority party leaders, lesbian MP Angela Eagle, is proud of the bill. Pink News reports:
I’m proud to be Labour because equality runs through the heart of my Party. We’ve always fought discrimination, even when it wasn’t easy or popular. We’ll lead the fight to get the bill through the Lords, and we’ll keep leading the charge for LGBT rights. When I came out in September 1998 I was the first openly gay woman in Parliament and the first lesbian in a ministerial post. I was prepared to lose my seat if that was the price of being open but I needn’t have worried. I got nothing but support from John Prescott, my Secretary of State at the time, Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, and even more importantly my wonderful, understanding and supportive constituents in Wallasey.
Another, Bisexual MP Simon Hughes, not so much. Gay Star News reports:
Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, said during a discussion on humanist weddings that his religious beliefs influenced his decision on whether to vote for same-sex marriages. He has tabled an amendment that would separate church and faith-based marriage to the England and Wales equal marriage bill. He implied he would prefer to call civil marriages civil unions, but admitted as the debate has moved on he can no longer do that.
Another MP, David Burrowes, made a snarky response to a constituent’s letter. Pink News reports:
17-year-old, lesbian A-level student Victoria Munro, wrote to Tory MP David Burrowes, questioning his recent assertion that he is not “anti-gay”, and asking how it is possible to be “pro-marriage”, whilst voting to prevent people from being able to marry. Ms Munro questioned Mr Burrowes’ voting record on LGBT issues, and asserts that it suggests that he is anti-gay, and questions how he can say he is “pro-marriage”, whilst excluding a sector of society from the institution. In the response, Mr Burrowes plays on the famous Stonewall slogan “Some people are gay. Get over it!”, by saying: “I am a supporter of traditional marriage. Get over it!”.
The bill passed the House of Commons on a 366-161 vote. Pink News reports:
MPs have voted 366 – 161 overwhelmingly in favour of passing the Marriage (Same Sex Couples Bill) – in its third reading in the House of Commons – giving it a majority of 205. Shortly before the vote took place, Culture Secretary and Minister for Equalities, Maria Miller told MPs: “I accept that for some colleagues their beliefs mean that the principle of this issue is an insurmountable barrier to supporting this change. But to other colleagues I say, now is the time.”
Pink News has the list of MP’s who voted against marriage equality.
Now that the bill has passed the House of Commons, London Mayor Boris Johnson is urging the Tories to get together and finish the job. Pink News reports:
London Mayor Boris Johnson has called on the government to get the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill signed into law as soon as possible. ITV News reports the senior Conservative said: “Get it on the statute books and get on with it.” Mr Johnson has also called on fractious Tories to unite and target Labour.
Next, the bill goes to the House of Lords. Dot429 reports:
Support for marriage equality legislation is believed to be less certain in the Lords. Lord Geoffrey Dear, a prominent member of the chamber, stated last month that there was already “considerable opposition in the Lords” which could potentially derail the legislation. Lord Dear predicted there would be a “very close vote” on the Marriage Bill. “I am very concerned about the lack of process for legislation which is as cataclysmic and knee-jerk as this,” Lord Dear told 429Magazine. “To pretend the word [marriage] is the same for something with fundamental biological or physiological differences is muddling up sameness and equality,” he added.
Anyone hear when the House of Lords may take up the bill?
It seems that South Dakota legislators would prefer to talk gun control and continue disenfranchising the LGBT community’s civil rights to marriage.
SIOUX FALLS, SD – Tuesday marked a historic day for Minnesota and supporters of gay marriage. At 5 p.m., Governor Mark Dayton signed the same sex marriage bill, which passed through the Minnesota Senate and House within the past week.
When the law takes effect on August 1, Minnesota becomes the first in the Midwest to pass the same-sex marriage bill by legislative vote. Iowa, another state the borders South Dakota, has allowed gay couples to marry since 2009, but that was a Supreme Court order.
“You do begin to wonder, why does it stop at the border that’s seven miles east of here?” Rep. Marc Feinstein, (D) Sioux Falls, said.
That’s the big question – will South Dakota follow Minnesota and Iowa and allow same-sex marriage? Feinstein said South Dakota legislators may look at the issue, but probably not anytime soon. He said legalizing gay marriage would be tough because it would require changing the amendment passed in 2006.
“Eventually South Dakota will allow same-sex marriage. Whether it be by federal law, the U.S. Supreme Court, such as what happened in Iowa, that I don’t know,” Feinstein said.
Other lawmakers do not think Minnesota’s legislation will affect neighboring states.
“What’s good for Minnesota isn’t always good for South Dakota,” Rep. Christine Erickson, (R) Sioux Falls, said.
Erickson said lawmakers get hundreds of calls and emails per day when they are in session. Going by what her constituents tell her, Erickson said South Dakota voters’ biggest concerns are gun control and education. The topic of whether or not gay couples can get married did not come up.
“There are times where the conversation will continue, but I don’t know if anything will change here,” Erickson said.
Feinstein and Erickson believe voters will have to make it clear that they want gay and lesbian couples to have marriage rights for the issue to pass in the state.
Right now within South Dakota’s legislature, when it comes to same-sex marriage, there seems to be a difference of opinion.
“I do represent the people of the district, but I also have my traditional core values that I have to stick to as well. So, in that instance, I feel that marriage is left better between a man and a woman,” Erickson said.
“Marriage really is all about commitment. Working together, raising a family and bettering the community and growing older together. I believe everybody should have that right. Whether it’s a same sex couple or a heterosexual couple,” Feinstein said.
Just found this interesting tidbit about marriage equality in South Dakota tucked away in an article about marriage equality in Iowa. KSFY reports:
At the top of this report, we mentioned an effort here in South Dakota to change South Dakota’s constitution to allow for gay marriage. The woman behind the petition effort has suspended it. She says she was physically harassed outside a Sioux Falls bar because of it. And the lesbian couple she was working with….they’re now refusing to talk publicly about it, saying they plan to move to a state which allows gay marriage.
Has anyone here heard about this effort before? The last poll we have is for civil unions, from 2010, and it shows that only 36% supported them at that time.
The Defense of Marriage Act is under siege once again in California. A lesbian couple is challenging the law in District Court. Equality on Trial reports:
In the Cooper-Harris case, which was filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a written opinion is expected, since the judge did not issue one from the bench after the arguments. This hearing was on motions for summary judgment on the merits of the constitutionality of DOMA and the other military-related law at issue. Cooper-Harris is a veteran who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and the VA ruled that it was acquired likely as a result of her service. If she were in an opposite-sex marriage she would be entitled to seek spousal benefits, but she is in a legal same-sex marriage and Section 3 of DOMA bars the federal government from recognizing the marriage. Another federal statute related to military benefits is also challenged in the case: it defines marriage as opposite-sex only.
Not sure what will happen here if the Supreme Court invalidates section 3 of DOMA next month, but since this lawsuit does challenge another statute as well, it may continue.
The UN has congratulated Vietnam on the progress of the LGBT rights movement in the Southeast Asian nation. ‘This is vital in order to be better understood, to reduce social prejudice and stigma based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and to contribute to development of relevant legislation to ensure the rights of the community are protected,’ said Pratibha Mehta, the UN’s resident co-ordinator in Vietnam, Vietnamnet reports.
But Valentine Vu, a gay Vietnamese-Canadian fashion design lecturer who lives in Vietnam, cautions that the country is not yet ready for marriage equality. Gay Star News reports:
Legalizing gay marriage would not make Vietnam ‘”cool” when it has failed to acknowledge other gay rights issues’, Valentine Vu writes in an editorial for Tuoitre News. Vu said that Vietnamese society doesn’t have the ‘foundation’ for marriage equality. ‘Gay marriage should not be the first stance against introducing gay acceptance into a more or less homophobic culture,’ said Vu, who grew-up in Canada but has lived in Vietnam for five years.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice considering marriage equality, although it’s considered a longshot in the country at this time.
Pink News is liveblogging the event.
Marriage quality opponents are not happy, including Lord Tebbit, who said the Prime Minister had “fucked up” by pushing the marriage equality bill. Gay Star News reports:
Gays marrying will lead to a lesbian queen giving birth to a future monarch by artificial insemination, a former Tory chairman has warned. Lord Tebbit, 82, also told the Big Issue magazine the legislation in England and Wales could also allow him to marry his son to escape inheritance tax. The life peer, who said Downing Street has ‘fucked up’ by moving forward on the legislation, said he had challenged a minister about legalizing same-sex marriage at the same time as they ended the rule that a son has preference over a daughter when choosing the next monarch. ‘I said to a minister I know: have you thought this through? Because you’re doing the law of succession, too,’ Tebbit said.
A group of British church leaders has written a letter to the Telegraph forecasting negative effects on the country’s Christian youth. Christian Today reports:
“If the Bill passes into law without much clearer protections for freedom of speech and freedom of belief, teachers and public-sector workers will have to choose between their conscience and their career, as many will be deterred from a public-service career or from charity involvement. The Bill is supposed to be pro-marriage, pro-equality and pro-diversity, yet, as drafted, it is none of those things. There will be anger and sadness, and this Bill will cause pain for many, without tackling prejudice against the few. We, and many young people in our congregations, are concerned about the consequences if it is passed in its current state.”
I’m sure there will be much more to report later as the debate continues and the vote is taken.
Marriage equality advocates have predicted other MPs will come out in support of marriage equality in the wake of former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd’s change of heart on the issue.
Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Rodney Croome, said, “Kevin Rudd is an immensely influential figure who will inspire others to support marriage equality both in parliament and across the community.”
“As one of Australia’s most prominent Christians, Mr Rudd’s message to other people of faith is that they can support marriage equality not despite their faith but because of it.”
“Already former Labor minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, has said he is open to changing his mind on the issue and I expect other MPs will follow.” (Channel 7, Sunrise program, 21.5.13)
“If Mr Rudd can evolve on marriage equality so can Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott.”
Mr Croome went on to say that Mr Rudd’s decision to support marriage equality following the revelation that one of his former staffers is a gay Christian shows that those affected by reform telling their personal stories is the key to change.
“Mr Rudd’s change of heart is a reminder that marriage equality is a deeply personal issue about love, family and faith, and it is from this level that change will ultimately come.”
“I urge all supporters of marriage equality to keep telling their personal stories about why marriage equality matters.”
Green MP, Adam Bandt, has proposed a vote on his marriage equality bill on June 6th, providing Mr Rudd and others with an opportunity to vote for reform.
Minnesota passes a marriage bill, bringing the total to twelve states with the freedom to marry. Can we make it thirteen? Time’s running out for Illinois to pass its marriage bill this year. And even with public support for marriage soaring, numerous states may be stuck with marriage bans for years to come.