Monday, 31 May 2010

Modern Gay Mayors

Ian Campbell, an openly gay man, has just become Britain's youngest mayor. In their report of his achievement, Edge Miami offers some useful background information on the rise of gay mayors in other cities around the world (but with a distinct US bias):

Openly gay and lesbian political leaders have become more commonplace in recent years. The mayor of France, Bertrand Delanoë, came out in 1998--but that didn’t stop him from being elected to the office of mayor in 2001. That same year, Klaus Wowereit, the openly gay mayor of Berlin, assumed office. 
Last fall, Annise Parker made headlines as the first openly lesbian mayor of Houston, Texas. Parker joined the ranks of openly gay American mayors, includingSam Adams, the mayor of Portland, Oregon, Mark Kleinschmidt of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and David Cicilline, the openly gay mayor of Providence, Rhode Island. 
Cambridge, Massachusetts, was an early leader in having a gay mayor, with the 1993 election of Kenneth Reeves, who went on to serve three terms. Earlier this month, Joe Mosca also joined those ranks upon being elected mayor of Sierra Madre, California; in March, openly gay Craig Lowe won the mayor’s office in Gainesville, Florida, despite repeated anti-gay leafleting campaigns that targeted him with various homophobic smears.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Bertrand Delanoë, First Openly Gay Mayor of Paris

b. May 30, 1950

“Any time there are Parisians fighting for more freedom ... I’m with them.”

In 2001 when Bertrand Delanoë was elected mayor of Paris, the city became the world’s largest to have an openly gay mayor. In March 2008, he won reelection.

Delanoë grew up in Tunisia, a French colony at the time. His first political interest came during the Battle of Bizerte. Watching as French soldiers opened fire on Arab citizens, he felt that “an Arab should be equal to a Frenchman.” Delanoë claims it is because of colonialism that he began to identify with the left.
During his days at the Université de Toulouse, where he graduated with a degree in economics, Delanoë became involved in politics and joined the Socialist Party. At the age of 23, he was elected deputy secretary of the Aveyron Socialist Federation. Between 1973 and 2001, Delanoë held various political positions, including national secretary of the Socialist Party and member of the Paris City Council.

As mayor of Paris, Delanoë pushed an agenda for change. In an effort to reduce city traffic and pollution, Delanoë started a low-cost program that encourages Parisians to rent bikes. He worked to provide more affordable housing to encourage economically disadvantaged people to stay in the city.
In October 2002, Delanoë was stabbed. His assailant told police he targeted Delanoë because of his homosexuality.

Despite France’s political tradition of keeping one’s personal life out of the public, Delanoë came out in a French television interview in 1998. In his book, “La vie, passionnément” (“Life, Passionately”) (2004), Delanoë says he made that decision because he thought it could help, even if in a small way, “lighten the burden of secrecy borne by so many people.” On the topic of gay marriage Delanoë writes, “In the name of what can one reject this demand for equality?”

“Gay Paris Mayor Hits Out at French Homophobia.” Expatica. September 20, 2004
Rapp, Linda. “Delanoë, Bertrand.” GLBTQ: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, & Queer Culture. 2007
Stevens, Andrew and James Monaghan. “Bertrand Delanoë: Mayor of Paris.” City Mayors. May 29, 2008
Bennhold, Katrin. “A New French Revolution’s Creed: Let Them Ride Bikes.” The New York Times. July 16, 2007.
Lichfield, John. “Politics on Course for a Left Turn in Gay Paree.” The Independent. December 17, 2000.;col1
Pour l’honneur de Paris (For the Honor of Paris) (1999)
La vie, passionnément (Life, Passionately) (2004)
De l’audace! (Audacity!) (2008)
Bertrand Delanoë Website

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Bishop Gene Robiinson

b. May 29, 1947 
“It’s not so much a dream as a calling from God.”

In 2003, The Rt. Rev.V. Gene Robinson was elected bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire, making him the first openly gay Episcopal bishop. His ordination caused a global rift within the Episcopal Church and led to international debate about the inclusion of gay clergy in church hierarchy. In the weeks leading up to his consecration, Robinson received hate mail and death threats, triggering the FBI to place him under 24-hour protection.

Gene Robinson grew up outside Lexington, Kentucky. The son of poor tobacco sharecroppers, he was raised without running water or indoor plumbing. He recalls his childhood as rustic and religious, with Sunday school and services at a small Disciples of Christ congregation.

Robinson earned his bachelor’s degree in American studies from the University of the South and his Master of Divinity from the Episcopal General Theological Seminary in New York. He was ordained a priest in 1973. 

Despite doubts about his sexual orientation, Robinson married in 1972. He and his wife moved to New Hampshire where they raised two daughters. Robinson worked as youth ministries coordinator for the seven dioceses of New England and cofounded the national Episcopal Youth Event. Robinson divorced his wife and came out in the mid-1980’s.

Robinson is the coauthor of three AIDS education curricula. In Uganda, he helped set up a national peer counseling program for AIDS educators working with religious institutions. 

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force honored Robinson with a Leadership Award in 2004.  In 2007, he received the Flag Bearer Award from Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) for leadership and inclusion in faith communities.

In 2008, Bishop Robinson and Mark Andrew, partners for more than 19 years, exchanged vows in a civil union ceremony in New Hampshire.

“Episcopalians Approve Gay Bishop.” CNN. August 6, 2003

“Gene Robinson Biography.” Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. June 20, 2008

Monroe, Rev. Irene. “Perspective: Gene Robinson.”  Windy City Times. June 11, 2008

Steele, Bruce C. “Robinson Redux.” The Advocate. July 17, 2007

Burns, John F. “Cast Out, but at the Center of the Storm.”  The New York Times. August 3, 2008

Costello, Andrew. “Let God Love Gene Robinson.” GQ. June, 2008

Goodstein, Laurie.  “Episcopalians are Reaching Point of Revolt.”  The New York Times.  December 17, 2006

Goodstein, Laurie. “Gay Bishop Plans His Civil Union Rite.”  The New York Times.  April 25, 2008

Keizer, Garret. “Turning away from Jesus: Gay Rights and the War for the Episcopal Church.” Harper’s Magazine. June, 2008

Lawton, Kim. “Interview: Bishop Gene Robinson.”  PBS. May 2, 2008

Millard, Rosie. “Interview: The Rev. Gene Robinson.” The Sunday Times. July 27, 2008

In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God (2008)

For the Bible Tells Me So (2007)

Other Resources
Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire Website

Melissa Etheridge, Singer and songwriter

b. May 29, 1961
“What do they know about this love anyway?”

Melissa Etheridge is a Grammy and Academy Award-winning singer and songwriter. She came out at the 1993 Triangle Ball, the Clinton administration’s inaugural gala for gays and lesbians, when she exclaimed, “Gee, I’m really excited to be here, and I’m really proud to have been a lesbian all my life!” 
She was born in Leavenworth, Kansas, and studied at The Berklee School of Music in Boston. Etheridge moved to Los Angeles and evolved from a bluesy sound to her renowned rock/alternative style.

Etheridge shot to stardom with her trademark blues-rock hit “Come to My Window,” for which she received a Grammy Award in 1994 for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. With its powerful lyrics, the song became an anthem for gay rights. 

In 2004, Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, she gave one of her most memorable performances with Janis Joplin’s hit, “Piece of My Heart.” She exposed her head, left bald from chemotherapy. 

Etheridge’s songs have not only entertained, but have helped heal in times of tragedy. Her songbook includes “Scarecrow,” a tribute to Matthew Shepard; “Tuesday Morning,” dedicated to the memory of Mark Bingham, a hero of 9/11; “Four Days,” about those devastated by Hurricane Katrina; and “I Run for Life,” an anthem for breast cancer survivors. 

Julie Cypher, Etheridge’s long-term ex-partner, gave birth to their two children. After their breakup, Etheridge exchanged vows with actress Tammy Lynn Michaels. In 2006, Michaels had twins.

In 2006, Etheridge received the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which honors openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for the community. “I Need to Wake Up,” featured in the film “An Inconvenient Truth,” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song (2007).

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Peter Gomes, Theologian

b. May 22, 1942
There can be no light without the darkness out of which it shines.

Peter Gomes offers a look at religion from a distinctive perspective. Gomes, a Reverend and Professor at Harvard University, argues that the Bible is neither anti-Semitic, anti-feminist nor anti-gay.
In 1991, Peninsula, a conservative Harvard magazine, published a 56-page issue largely critical of homosexuality. Gomes denounced the magazine and came out publicly at Harvard's Memorial Church. A small group called Concerned Christians at Harvard immediately called for his resignation, but Gomes received support from the Harvard administration.
Renowned for both his teaching and his preaching, Reverend Gomes is the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard and the Pusey Minister at Harvard's Memorial Church. A graduate of Bates College in 1965 and Harvard Divinity School in 1968, he also studied at the University of Cambridge, where he is an Honorary Fellow and where the Gomes Lectureship was established in his honor. Gomes holds thirty-three honorary degrees. Religion and American Life named him Clergy of the Year in 1998, and he won the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award from Harvard in 2001. Gomes offered prayers at the inaugurations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Gomes is a widely published author. Of the ten volumes of sermons and numerous articles and papers he has written, two of his works - "The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart" (1996) and Sermons: "Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living" (1998) - were New York Times and national bestsellers.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Gay Popes: Julius II

Julius 11 (1443-1513) positioned himself for high office during the reign of his uncle Sixtus IV. A lover of art, he patronized both Michelangelo and Raphael, and in 1506 he laid the foundation stone for the magnificent church of New St. Peters. However, Julius' military conquests caused friction with the king of France and the German emperor. At their behest a council met in Pisa in 151 1 to consider his deposition. Arraigned as "this sodomite, covered with shameful ulcers, who has infected the church with his corruption," Julius nonetheless managed to prevail by calling his own council, which was still in session when he died in May 1513

 Rumors that Pope Julius II (Giuliano Della Rovere, 1443-1513; reigned 1503-13) was involved in numerous homosexual liaisons are reported both in Protestant polemical tracts and in official reports submitted by ambassadors from friendly Catholic powers. Although the Protestant sources must be regarded as inherently biased, the frequency of these accounts suggests that they may be accurate. Julius's enthusiastic patronage of Michelangelo's homoerotic depictions of the male figure also indicates that he may have fully appreciated the physical beauties of men.
Appointed Cardinal in 1471 by his uncle, Sixtus IV, Della Rovere revealed great diplomatic skill in his negotiations with various European powers. As Pope, Julius acted as a very effective general for the papal armies, and, by 1508, he recaptured the Italian region of Romagna for the Papal States. Through his patronage of various artistic projects, Julius hoped that Catholic Rome would regain and even surpass the splendor of the city at the height of the Roman Empire.
As part of his renovation of the fabric of the city, Julius ordered in 1506 that the Early Christian Basilica of Saint Peter's be demolished and replaced by a new structure, designed by Donato Bramante (1444-1516), who was the first Renaissance architect to create structures with the sense of weight and strong physical presence of ancient Roman monuments. Bramante's Tempietto (1502, Rome) had been the first Renaissance structure to employ ancient architectural orders in a correct fashion. For Saint Peter's, Bramante envisioned an immense centralized structure with a Greek cross plan. Among the elements based on ancient prototypes was the saucer dome, inspired by the Pantheon, Rome (118-25).
When he undertook the construction of the New Saint Peter's, Julius resolved that his tomb would be placed directly underneath the central dome. Michelangelo (1475-1564) envisioned a monumental funerary structure with three stories, decorated with forty-seven life-size statues. Constant changes in plans, required first by Julius and subsequently by his heirs as well as by successive popes who did not want his monument to detract from theirs, were among the many factors that inhibited the realization of the original plans. However, Michelangelo had begun by 1513 the heroic, muscular figure of Moses, which was incorporated into the truncated version of the monument assembled in San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome, in 1545. Of uncertain meaning, sensuous nude figures, the Rebellious Captive and Dying Captive (1513-19, both Louvre, Paris), also were created for the tomb.

By the end of 1506, Julius compelled Michelangelo to undertake the Sistine Ceiling, even though the artist did not believe that he had sufficient talent to complete this project. Over the next two years, the final program for the ceiling was developed through often heated negotiations between the Pope and the artist. The nine narrative scenes down the center of the ceiling narrate the history of creation, the fall of the human race through original sin, and the establishment of a Covenant between God and the Chosen People, led by Noah. These panels are displayed in a fictive stone framework, which seems to have the weight of Bramante's actual structures. The figures became increasingly large in size, heroic in musculature, and dynamic in movement as work progressed from the chronologically later scenes of Noah toward the initial stages of Creation. Located approximately in the middle of the ceiling, the Creation of Adam visualizes a balance between human potential and divine power.
The program also includes enthroned figures of sibyls and prophets to the sides of the narrative panels. Sensual nude male figures are seated at the corners of the five smaller narrative panels. The meaning of these nudes is uncertain, but their homoerotic qualities cannot be denied. Insignia of the Pope's family, including oak leaves and acorns, are displayed throughout the ceiling.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Carolyn Bertozzi, Scientist

b. May 19, 1966
Hopefully people can look at me and realize that it's okay to be open in their lives and be themselves and do great work and make contributions to the world as scientist.
Carolyn Bertozzi is the youngest scientist to receive the MacArthur "genius" award. A Professor of Chemistry and Molecular Biology at Berkeley, she oversees a cutting edge research lab. She has a reputation as an outstanding professor and mentor.
The daughter of a physics professor, Bertozzi worked summer jobs at MIT. Her early interests included sports and music.
Bertozzi found her niche in organic chemistry during her sophomore year at Harvard University. She graduated summa cum laude and received an award for best senior thesis. She completed her graduate studies at University of California, Berkeley, receiving her Ph.D. in 1993.
In 1996, Bertozzi joined the UC Berkeley faculty. Her research focuses on the glycobiology underlying diseases such as cancer and inflammatory disorders. Believing she can link sugar molecules' structures with the presence or absence of disease, Bertozzi developed a unique system to track cell development. Her research team has published over 98 articles. Nature and Angewandte Chemie, an influential chemistry journal, have praised Bertozzi's work.
Co-editor of "Glycochemistry: Principles, Synthesis, and Applications," Bertozzi is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. In 2001, UC Berkeley honored her with its prestigious Distinguished Teaching Award.


“Body Stuff: Carolyn Bertozzi.” Chemical Heritage Foundation: Women in Chemistry. June 30, 2007
Carlson, Brian. “Bertozzi Research Group.” University of California, Berkeley. June 30, 2007
Gardiner, Mary Beth. “The Right Chemistry.” HHMI Bulletin. Vol. 17, Winter 2005. June 30, 2007
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Argentina Leads the Way on Queer Families

'Open Door' spells freedom for gay senior citizens

Buenos Aires, Argentina (CNN) -- Despite what has traditionally been regarded as a macho culture, Argentina has been viewed in recent years as a leader on gay rights issues in Latin America.

In 2002, Buenos Aires was the first Latin American city to grant civil unions to gay couples, and the capital is consistently ranked as one of the world's most gay-friendly tourist destinations.

During the last six months, five gay couples have been married in Argentina, which is a predominately Catholic country.

The upper house of Congress is set to begin debating Tuesday the legalization of same-sex marriage in the entire country. The initiative passed the lower house May 6.

During the past year Argentina has also taken steps to assist an often overlooked sector of the world's gay population: senior citizens.

Situated behind the tall, wooden doors of a century-old building in Buenos Aires, the Puerta Abierta ("Open Door") center is Latin America's first community center for gay senior citizens.

Since opening its doors in September 2009, some 120 gay seniors have participated in the center's activities, from movie outings and beach trips to therapy sessions.

On a recent Monday afternoon, 64-year-old political consultant Mercedes Sanchez was there to attend a group counseling session.

Sanchez says she had two serious relationships with men before acknowledging her true sexual identity. She has been living her life openly as a lesbian for more than three decades, but admits she never told her parents before they died.

"Back in that era, Argentine society was much different," Sanchez says. "My parents thought differently. It was hard for me to admit that I was different. But coming here and being with other people like me has helped me tremendously."

Despite the support that the center offers them, Argentina's gay retirees still say they face many obstacles and experience discrimination. Some of the Open Door center members say they lived much of their lives in conventional, heterosexual marriages, and only came out of the closest later in life. Many have struggled during the transition period.

"What we hear most from gay seniors is how they feel lonely and isolated," says Alejandro Viedma, a psychologist who counsels Open Door's members. "For young gay people, there are lots of possibilities for meeting people, like bars, saunas and cafés. But for older people, it is really more difficult."

Norma Castillo,68, and her longtime partner, Ramona Arevalo, 68, became Argentina's first legally-married lesbian couple on April 9. However, a week after the wedding, a judge annulled their marriage. Now the courts need to decide if their union is legally binding. Castillo is convinced it is.

"We didn't fight for this in vain," Castillo says. "This was like a calling. Since we started, we've always had the rights of gay senior citizens in mind.

Aside from Castillo's and Arevalo's marriage, judges have allowed four other same-sex marriages since December, although at least two of them also face legal challenges and are tied up in the courts.

Regardless, gay activists are optimistic that momentum will continue in their favor. They are lobbying lawmakers to pass the historic gay marriage legislation, and also plan to fight for additional rights, like adoption.

"We are slowly achieving change here, and this is inevitable, because the world is changing," says Open Door co-founder Graciela Balestra.

"Fortunately, we get to be the protagonists in these historic changes."

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Support For Full Marriage Growing in Scotland

Scotsman (letter):

The Scottish Government commissions a regular social attitudes survey, which every four years asks about attitudes towards discrimination

Each survey is conducted by the Scottish Centre for Social Research, and involves arepresentative sample of around 1,600 people across Scotland.

One question asks whether people agree or disagree that "gay or lesbian couples should have the right to marry one another if they want to".

In the 2002 survey, 41 per cent agreed, and 29 per cent disagreed; the remainder said they neither agreed nor disagreed.

By 2006, 54 per cent agreed and 21 per cent disagreed – that's an overall majority in favour. The 2010 survey will take place later this year.

Meanwhile, a national survey of a representative sample of 1,000 people across Scotland, conducted in April 2010 by Angus Reid Public Opinion, asked an identical question. In that survey, 58 per cent agreed with same-sex marriage and only 19 per cent disagreed, with the rest saying they neither agreed nor disagreed.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Marriage Equality Gaining Support in Maryland

When Maryland AG announced guidelines approving state recognition for out-of-state same sex marriages, he encountered a howl of outrage, and political attempts to counter his guidelines. New research shows that politically, he was right. A clear majority of Marylanders agree that marriages legally contracted elsewhere deserve recognition.  There is also now a small plurality supportive of gay marriage in Maryland, representing an increase in support since the last poll.

As the number of legally married gay or lesbian couples in Maryland increases, so support will continue to increase, just as it has done elsewhere. Political approval for marriage equality in Maryland is only a matter of time.

From the Washington Post, Maryland Politics: 

Poll finds gains for same-sex marriage in Maryland
Maryland residents are shifting toward a more positive opinion of same-sex marriage, with registered voters now narrowly supporting a law to allow it, a Washington Post poll has found.
A clear majority of people responding to the poll -- 55 percent -- also say that if gays get married in another state, those unions should be considered legal in Maryland; 38 percent say the state should not recognize them. Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) in February told state agencies to begin granting married same-sex couples from elsewhere the same rights as Maryland's heterosexual couples.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Kevin Jennings

b. May 8, 1963
"We know that students learn best in a school where they feel truly safe. I am here to make that happen for more kids."
A monumental leader and crusader, Kevin Jennings has dedicated his career to ensuring safe schools for all students. In 1990, he founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the nation's first organization combating discrimination against GLBT students. Jennings currently serves as the assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the U.S. Department of Education.
The youngest of five children, Jennings experienced a childhood deeply rooted in conservative ideology. Poor and in a continual state of transition, his family moved so often that Jennings attended 11 schools in four states. While he displayed impressive academic aptitude, he suffered daily from mental and physical abuse by classmates. “School was a place I both loved and hated,” recalls Jennings. “I loved it because I loved learning. I hated it because I was targeted at a pretty young age for bullying and harassment.”
In 1985, Jennings earned a bachelor's degree magna cum laude from Harvard University, becoming the first member of his family to graduate from college. Later, he earned master's degrees from both Columbia University and New York University.
Following his graduation from Harvard, Jennings pursued a career in education. In 1988, while he was a history teacher at a Massachusetts high school, Jennings spearheaded the country's first Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), a coalition of students fighting against harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Two years later, Jennings expanded the movement to encompass parents, teachers and community members, creating GLSEN.  Beginning as a grassroots volunteers group, GLSEN has developed into a national organization with more than 40 chapters and over 4,500 schools nationwide.
As co-chair of the Education Committee of the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, Jennings challenged the Massachusetts State Board of Education to adopt new policies protecting GLBT students. In 1993, his efforts led to the country's first state law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in public schools.
Named by Newsweek one of the top 100 people likely to make a difference in the 21st century, Jennings has authored six books and received a Lambda Literary Award for "Telling Tales Out of School." He co-wrote and produced the documentary "Out of the Past," which won the 1998 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary.
"The process of change is like a relay race," says Jennings. "My job is to ensure that we're further ahead in the race and, like a good relay team member, ready to pass that baton to the next person with a lead toward the end goal of a safe school for every child.”
Archibold, Randal C. "Public Lives: A Gay Crusader Sees History on His Side. The New York Times.6 July 2010.
"Kevin Jennings, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools.” U.S. Department of Education. 6 July 2010.
"Kevin Jennings.” 19 May 2010.
"Kevin Jenning’s Biography.” GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. 9 June 2005.
Thomas, Katie. "When Tradition and Taunts Collide: Gay Hockey Fans Criticize Garden.” New York Times. 6 July 2010.
Books by Kevin Jennings
Becoming Visible: A Reader in Gay and Lesbian History for High School and College Students(1994)
Telling Tales Out of School (2000)
Always My Child: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Your Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered or Questioning Son or Daughter (2002)
One Teacher in 10 (2005)
Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son (2007)
Department of Education
Kevin Jennings Social Network
Support Kevin Jennings Fan Page
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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Argentina Lower House Approves Equality Bill.

The LGBT equality bill which was postponed last week, has now been passed by the Lower House. It must still go through the Senate. If it passes there, Argentina will become the first South American country to introduce same -sex marriage, country-wide. (Marriage is also possible in Mexico, but only in Mexico City.) Also included in the bill is approval for adoption by same sex couples.

If passed, it will put an end to the current legal ping-pong, whereby  several couples have secured approval for licences, married, and then have had the marriages invalidated after legal challenges initiated by the Catholic Church. Last week in quick succession two marriages were ruled invalid by judges. This week, a fifth couple were married. Without passage of this bill, there is no doubt that this too would meet a challenge in the courts - and if overturned, would then wind through a lengthy appeals process, just like the others. ( After Alex Freyre and Jose Maria De Bello, the first male couple married in Argentina, have promised to pursue the appeals process right up to international courts if necessary.)

From Reuters India:

 Argentina's lower house passes gay marriage bill
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's lower house passed on Wednesday a gay marriage bill that, if also approved by senators, will put the South American country among a handful in the world that allow homosexual couples to marry.
"Love isn't owned by heterosexuals," said Deputy Felipe Sola, who backed the bill. "If we're all equal before the law, why do we want to give a different name to unions between same-sex couples?"
The bill permits gay couples to adopt children for the first time, one of its most controversial provisions.
If the law is passed in the upper house, Argentina would be the first country in predominantly Roman Catholic Latin America to allow same-sex marriages. Neighbouring Uruguay grants extensive rights, including adoptions, to gay couples in civil unions but does not allow them to marry.
Mexico City is the only other place in Latin America where gays have the same marriage and adoption rights as heterosexual couples.

(Read the full report)

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Argentina Marriage Decision Postponed.

Monitoring the progress of marriage equality in Argentina is like watching a tennis match, with the initiative going alternately with supporters and opponents. The parliament was due this week to debate a proposal to approve both marriage and adoption for same sex couples, but this was unexpectedly delayed. There's nothing sinister in this though - they simply ran out of time, with a tax bill squeezing it out.  The debate has now been rescheduled for next week Wednesday..

From On Top magazine:

Argentine Lawmakers Postpone Gay Marriage Debate

Gay rights proponents in Argentina's Chamber of Deputies (la Camara de Diputados) failed to gain sufficient support to open debate on a gay marriage bill Wednesday, but lawmakers say they'll hold a special session next Wednesday.
“It's very painful,” Cesar Cigliuti, president of Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (Homosexual Community Argentina), told EL COMERCIO. “We had every confidence it would move forward. We felt we were going to live a historic moment. But we hope that next Wednesday we will make the initial approval.”
A polarizing tax debate elbowed out discussion of the gay marriage bill, which received the approval of a key committee two weeks ago.
In an interview with Ultimo Minuto, National Deputy Vilma Ibarra confirmed that the majority party had agreed to hear the bill next week.
(Read the full report)