Ireland : It’s Yes For Love – Same-Sex Marriage Becomes Legal
Ireland’s new same-sex marriage law comes into force from Monday, six months after the country voted to allow gay unions in a historic referendum.
Existing same-sex marriages registered abroad will be immediately recognised in Ireland, while other couples can now submit their intention to marry.
“I felt I didn’t have permission to say we were married but from now we will say it at every opportunity,” said Vivian Cummins, 57, from Dublin who married his partner Erney in South Africa in 2009.
“I would never really admit by choice to being married because I didn’t feel married in this country,” he told AFP.
In May, Ireland voted 62.1 percent in favour of allowing marriage between two people “without distinction as to their sex”, the first time anywhere that gay marriage has been legalised in a referendum.
It was a long journey for LGBT campaigners in the traditionally Catholic country that only decriminalised homosexual acts in 1993.
“After years of waiting for this day, it’s just an extraordinary moment for us,” said Senator Katherine Zappone, who lost a High Court case in 2006 to have her Canadian marriage to her wife recognised in Ireland.
The couple plan to bring their “marriage home” in a ceremony in January after Zappone proposed to her wife Ann Louise Gilligan live on national television after the referendum result was announced.
A total of 2,054 couples have entered a civil partnership since Ireland introduced the legal unions in 2011 but a further ceremony will be required to convert these into marriage, with just a few days notice.
March 31, 2016
Iain Lee, BBC Radio Host, Leaves Show After Calling Guest’s Anti-Gay Views ‘Bigoted’
Iain Lee will no longer present his BBC Three Counties radio show following an interview in which he called a member of Christian Concern a ‘bigot’.
The interview was aired last week and involved Libby Powell of Christian Concern, who was defending a prison gardener who said he was being persecuted for telling prisoners to ‘repent’ for their homosexuality.
In the interview Iain asked her if she supported bigotry. When she attempted to refute him, he responded with: “Homophobia is bigotry. Do you support bigotry?”
He later said: “You’ve chosen not to question it, because you’re a bigot” when she defended anti-gay church teachings.
The BBC and Mr Lee have issued an apology but when asked on Twitter this morning if he was returning to the show, he simply replied ‘No.’
A spokeswoman for the BBC said: “In interviews with the Reverend Barry Trayhorn and a solicitor, Libby Powell about their understanding of biblical teaching on homosexuality, Iain Lee described comments by Rev Trayhorn as ‘obnoxious’ and ‘poisonous’ and called Ms Powell ‘bigoted.’
“While the programme is well-known for its combative style, the BBC fully accepts that the language the presenter used, and the tone in which he conducted these interviews, was at several points inappropriate.
“The BBC – and Iain Lee himself – wish to apologise for any offence that may have been caused.
“”Iain Lee will no longer be presenting his shows on the station but we want to take this opportunity to thank him and wish him well for the future.”
March 30, 2016
Ukraine Getting Closer to Visa-Free EU Travel as Gay Rights Bill Passes
Ukraine’s parliament failed for the second time to adopt a ban on anti-gay discrimination in the workplace, though it did vote in five other laws needed to secure visa-free travel to most EU nations.
The European Union in 2010 demanded that Ukraine clearly define the rights of gay people, who were viewed by the country’s former Soviet rulers as criminals who should either be sent to prisons or mental wards, at work.
Though Ukraine is now run by a pro-EU administration, it remains a deeply religious and conservative country.
Kiev decriminalised gay relationships a year after the Soviet Union’s 1991 breakup but it still takes a grim view of same-sex couples.
A gay pride parade held near Kiev in June lasted just minutes before a far-right group attacked it without any apparent intervention from the police.
Brussels wants Ukraine, which overthrew its former Moscow-backed leadership last year, to adopt a raft of legislation that takes a tougher approach on corruption and ensures broader basic rights.
Time is running out because an EU commission will review in mid-December whether Kiev has done enough to merit visa-free travel by the middle of next year.
Western-backed President Petro Poroshenko has made joining the Schengen zone, a club of EU countries that allows visa and passport-free travel to more than 400 million people, one of his priorities since his election last year.
March 29, 2016
Hundreds of Mormons Leaving Church Because of The Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
New Mormon church rules targeting gay members and their children have triggered a firestorm of backlash from church members of all political backgrounds.
Mormon scholar Patrick Mason said the symbolism of targeting children has riled up even conservative, orthodox Latter-day Saints.
Under rules issued last week, children living with gay parents are barred from being baptized until age 18. After that, they can be baptized only if they disavow same-sex relationships. The policy also makes gay marriages a sin worthy of expulsion. It marked a dramatic detour from the religion’s recent push to carve out a more compassionate stance.
‘‘The surprising impact has been the amount of people who are confused and troubled and disturbed and, frankly, repulsed,’’ said Mason, associate professor of religion at Claremont Graduate University in California.
He said the furious blowback is leading to speculation church leaders are working on revisions to the policy. Because the rules are in the church handbook and not considered doctrinal changes, Mormon leaders have wiggle room to revise them.
A spokesman for the church did not immediately have any comment.
March 28, 2016
Salt Lake City Gets Its First Openly Gay Mayor
“There were several legislators who wouldn’t even look me in the eye – certainly wouldn’t shake my hand,” Jackie Biskupski told the Associated Press.
When she was first elected to the state legislature in the late 1990s, conservative activists encouraged the house speaker to refuse to swear her in, claiming that she would violate state sodomy laws.
But those laws have changed as has the culture of Salt Lake City, a city some are calling a bastion for Utah’s gay community in a state heavily influenced by the Mormon Church.
Salt Lake City has long stood apart from its conservative state, with a four-decade history of electing Democrats and a sizable gay population.
That became even clearer last week when Utah’s capital city elected its first openly gay mayor in a close contest – so close, in fact, that incumbent two-term Mayor Ralph Becker, a fellow Democrat, says he will not concede the race until final tallies come in next week.
“It is extremely significant to have a lesbian mayor in Salt Lake City,” said Troy Williams, Equality Utah executive director, to the Huffington Post. “The election of Ms. Biskupski sends a clear signal to Utahans that the LGBT community is ready to give back with public service.”
March 27, 2016
Child Removed From Foster Parents Because They Are Gay
April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce of Carbon County said the baby they’ve loved and raised for the last three months will be removed from their home and sent to heterosexual foster parents because a judge said the baby would be better-off.
“We are shattered,” said April. Judge Scott Johansen ordered the baby removed from their house in seven days.
The women, who are legally married and were approved as foster parents in Utah earlier this year after passing home inspections, background checks and interviews from DCFS, said the judge told them there was a lot of research that indicated children who are raised in same-sex parent homes do not do as well as children who are raised by heterosexual parents.
“It hurts me really badly because I haven’t done anything wrong,” said April. The women say the baby has thrived in their home since she arrived three months ago. They want to adopt her and grow their family. They are already raising Beckie’s children who are 12 and 14.
They say the foster child’s state-appointed attorney supports them as does the biological mother of the baby – she wants her child to stay with her foster mothers.
Attorney Mandie Torgerson, who represents the baby’s biological mother, said Johansen did not cite the research he referenced in court saying only that there are “a myriad” of studies that support his order.
March 26, 2016
Mormon Church Punishing Children of Gay Marriage
The Mormon church’s latest dogmatic twist calls into question the faith’s family-friendly front. (“New Mormon policy bans acceptance of children of same-sex couples,” Nov. 6)
Now children of same-sex parents can’t be blessed or baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until they turn 18. Thus, they can’t be entered into church records or work toward fulfillment of a covenant with their faith’s God.
So, if a Mormon mother of previously blessed and baptized minors is widowed or divorced and then weds a woman, the children are barred from pursuing their religious goals until age 18.
In effect, Mormon policy now visits the (purported) sins of same-sex parents upon their children. So much for a family-friendly theology.
Sheridan West, Sherman Oaks stated:
“I can think of no more hypocritical a position. It is completely abusive, inconsistent and certainly does not conform to any concept of the greater God. It reeks of men’s pettiness.
I can only encourage Mormons to leave their church.”
March 25, 2016
Johnny Depp: “All My Characters Are Gay”
Johnny Depp has revealed that he once told a bemused Disney executive that “all my characters are gay”.
Famously, the actor was almost fired from the original Pirates Of The Caribbean film because Disney bosses were unhappy with his flamboyant performance as Captain Jack Sparrow, which he partly based on The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards.
Recalling the reaction from Disney at the time, Depp told an audience at an LA promotional event for his latest film Black Mass. “It trickled back to me somehow that, ‘Goddammit, Johnny Depp’s ruining the film! What is that thing? Is it drunk, is it gay?'”
The actor then recalled a meeting with a Disney executive from “the upper echelon of the studio” who asked him: “What the fuck are you doing?”
“When they asked if it was gay, I said: ‘Didn’t you know all my characters are gay?'” Depp told the audience.
Released in 2003, Pirates Of The Caribbean became a huge box office hit for Disney and earned Depp an Oscar nomination. He will return as Captain Jack Sparrow in the franchise’s fifth instalment, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which is set for release on July 7, 2017.
March 23, 2016
Hornet Gay Dating App Mounts Billboard Across From GOP Debate
Hornet, a gay dating app, managed to mount a billboard directly across the street from the venue where the fourth Republican presidential primary debate took place Tuesday evening.
Founded in 2010 by gay rights activists that include Chief executive Sean Howell, Hornet—a competitor to apps like Tinder and Grindr—says it has 7 million users worldwide. The company’s billboard features a cartoon elephant chatting with a unicorn who is draped in an American flag. “Open to debate?,” the elephant asks the unicorn.
“We wanted to inject some humor and poke fun at the race,” says a Hornet spokesman. “For most gay men around the world, they don’t enjoy full equality, so it is important that at a debate like this we interject ourselves into politics even if the candidates aren’t talking about our issues.”
Hornet’s creators thought the billboard’s placement would draw attention to the lack of discussion around gay rights issues at the debates, while also poking a bit of fun at the GOP. The company’s spokesman said the billboard was inspired in part by the Religious Liberty Conference, attended by Republican presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal.
March 22, 2016
GOP Candidates Joining Anti-Gay Rally
GOP candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal were among the bold-faced names present at the two-day event, held last weekend in Des Moines, Iowa. Still, most headlines focused on Pastor Kevin Swanson, the conference’s chief organizer, who linked a same-sex kiss to devastating wildfires in his home state of Colorado and condemned Harry Potter because author J.K. Rowling specified that a principal character was a gay man.
“This is a political event. This is a Republican presidential candidates’ event,” Maddow emphasized. “It really was a ‘kill-the-gays’ call to arms. This was a conference about the necessity of the death penalty as a punishment for homosexuality.”
The event, dubbed the National Religious Liberties Conference, was hosted by pastor Kevin Swanson, who delivered a fiery speech in which he said Biblical law calls for “homosexuals” to be executed.
“Yes, Leviticus 20:13 calls for the death penalty for homosexuals,” he said. Swanson said he was “willing to go to jail for standing on the truth of the word of God.”
When the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law of the land in June, Cruz urged states to ignore the legislation in an interview with NPR. “[On] a great many issues, others have largely acquiesced, even if they were not parties to the case”
March 21, 2016