Saturday, 18 May 2013

Gay couples in Portugal win limited adoption rights |

 Portugal's parliament on Friday handed same-sex couples the right to adopt the children or foster children of one partner, a partial victory for equality campaigners that fell short of their call for full adoption rights.


The co-adoption law scraped through with a majority of just five votes in the 230-seat Lisbon assembly, prompting long applause from the gallery. Nine deputies abstained and as many as 28 did not show up for the vote.

Activists hailed the biggest step forward for gay rights since Portugal became the eighth country to allow nationwide same-sex marriages in 2010, breaking with the Catholic nation's predominantly conservative image.

"It was a super-important, fundamental approval as it concerns the human rights of the children and not just the couples," said Paulo Corte-Real, head the country's gay, lesbian and transgender rights association, ILGA.


He said the law would benefit children raised by same-sex couples by giving the children additional protection if their original parent died or became seriously ill.
Catholic Church leaders have opposed moves by some European countries to allow same-sex unions and adoption by gay couples, saying heterosexual marriage has an indispensable role in society.
France, which is mainly Catholic, last month followed 13 countries including Canada, Denmark, Sweden and most recently Uruguay and New Zealand in allowing gay and lesbian couples to tie the knot. The French law also authorized adoption.
The Portuguese bill, presented on the International Day Against Homophobia, still needs to be signed into law by conservative President Anibal Cavaco Silva, who enacted the same-sex marriage bill in 2010 but expressed his disapproval.
Another bill introduced by two left-wing parties that would have extended full adoption rights to gay couples failed to pass on Friday.
The ILGA took the Portuguese state to court after the European Court for Human Rights ruled in February that Austria's adoption laws discriminated against gay people on the issue of co-adoption.
 Reuters:
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Thursday, 16 May 2013

Republicans / Conservatives in Denial on Marriage Realities.

 When Brian Brown of NOM is confronted with the mounting evidence of tide turning strongly in favour of marriage equality, his typical response is to insist that the recent victories have all been in “deep blue” states, so that there is little room for further states to approve same – sex marriage. He’s fooling himself – just like the rest of the political and social conservatives so conspicuously and vainly hold back the tide. Recent polling neatly illustrates how very out of touch with reality these people are.

Gallup’s latest release of its regular, biannual polling on gay marriage shows that for the fifth consecutive reading, support equals or beats opposition. Over the past five years, a net majority of 16% opposed has transformed into a net majority of 8% in favour, a turnaround of 24%. Numerous other polls, by a wide range of polling companies, have reported similar results, with all showing either majority or plurality support (one even showed support at nearly 60%), All the trend data similarly shows rapidly increasing support. Anybody reading the news should by now be completely familiar with.


Nor is this rising support restricted to the blue states. Minnesota, site of the latest victory for marriage, has voted blue in the most recent presidential elections, but featured on every list of battleground states that could conceivably flip, and indeed elected a Republican legislature in 2010 – the only reason that the proposal to entrench discrimination in the state constitution made it onto the ballot in 2012. Minnesota is a purple state, not “deep blue”. So is Michigan, which Mitt Romney deluded himself into believing was winnable, right into the final days of his campaign. But a poll just released shows that in Michigan too, there is now clear majority support for equal marriage at 57% – and rising: “up 12.5 percentage points from last year — movement fueled largely by shifting opinions from Republicans and independents”, reports theDetroit News
continue reading at Queering the Church:
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Zambia gay rights activist trial delayed - Africa | IOL News | IOL.co.za

 The high profile trial of prominent Zambian gay rights activist Paul Kasonkomona was delayed on Wednesday, after his lawyer argued the charges were vague and should be heard by the High Court.




Kasonkomona, 38, was arrested in April and charged with “soliciting for immoral purposes” after appearing on a live television programme where he argued for gay rights.

That was interpreted as promoting homosexuality.
Kasonkomona pleaded not guilty to the charge.
His lawyer, Sunday Nkonde, argued in court on Wednesday that there was no clear legal definition of what constitutes “immoral purposes”.
“We humbly pray that this is a fit and proper case for reference to the high court of Zambia to determine the constitutionality of the issues raised,” Nkonde said.
Magistrate Lameck Ngambi adjourned the matter to June 4 to allow the state to respond to the application by Kasonkomona's lawyers.
Kasonkomona's arrest outraged human rights groups, which had been calling for his immediate release and for the “spurious” charges against him to be dropped.
Homosexuality is outlawed in Zambia, as in most African countries, and discrimination against gays and lesbians is rife. - AFP

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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Brazilian judicial council: Notaries must recognize same-sex marriage

The Brazilian National Council of Justice, which oversees the nation's judiciary, passed a resolution Tuesday that denies notaries the right to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.


In Brazil, notaries officiate marriages and civil unions.

Recently, 12 Brazilian states began allowing same-sex couples to marry or convert their civil unions into marriages. However, since the Supreme Court does not carry legislative powers, it was up to each notary to officiate at their discretion, and many refused, citing the lack of law.

Joaquim Barbosa, president of the Council of Justice, said in the decision that notaries cannot continue to refuse to "perform a civil wedding or the conversion of a stable civil union into a marriage between persons of the same sex."

Barbosa, who also presides over the Supreme Court, says the resolution merely follows the transformation of society.

"Our society goes through many changes, and the National Council of Justice cannot be indifferent to them," he said.

Civil unions between same-sex couples have been recognized in Brazil since 2011, after the Supreme Court ruled that the same rights and rules that apply to "stable unions" of heterosexual couples would apply to same-sex couples, including the right to joint declaration of income tax, pension, inheritance and property sharing. People in same-sex unions are also allowed to extend health benefits to their partners, following the same rules applied to heterosexual couples.

Brazilian lawmakers have debated same-sex marriage, but in most cases, the bills introduced have not progressed through Congress.

Brazilian neighbors Uruguay and Argentina are the only other two countries in Latin America that have laws allowing same-sex couples to marry.





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Friday, 22 March 2013

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signs civil unions bill into law

Joins eight other states that have civil unions or similar laws

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper today signed into law a measure that legalizes same-sex civil unions in his state.


The new law provides gay and lesbian couples with such legal protections and responsibilities as the ability to take family leave to care for a partner, to make medical and end-of-life decisions for a partner, to live together in a nursing home, and to adopt children together.
During his annual State of the State address in January, Hickenlooper challenged the state legislature to move forward by saying: 'This year, let's do it. Let's pass civil unions!'
He had also publicly supported civil unions during his address a year earlier.
The law takes effect May 1.
It was just seven years ago that the state voted to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage. It will join eight states that have civil unions or similar laws. Nine states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage.
Among those present at the signing was Colorado House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, a gay Denver Democrat who backed the bill.
'With the Governor’s signature here today, the protection of Colorado’s laws will now extend equally to all,' Ferrandino said in a statement. Thousands of Colorado families will now be able to receive the recognition they deserve.'
He added: 'Ladies and gentlemen, the Colorado sun now warms all our people.
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Saturday, 16 March 2013

Charles Murray Urges the G.O.P. to Accept Gay Marriage : The New Yorker


Political scientist Charles Murray has never backed away from controversy, but usually his opponents have been liberals. Friday, however, he managed to upset conservatives at the annual conference known as CPAC, where thousands of bewildered Republicans gathered to figure out the way forward after their party’s 2012 electoral defeat. Murray ditched his prepared remarks on “America Coming Apart” in favor of an impromptu admonition to fellow conservatives to accept the legalization of both gay marriage and abortion.



Murray, who is currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is revered by many conservatives. (He considers himself a libertarian.) His 1984 book “Losing Ground,” which blamed social programs for worsening poverty, and his 1994 book, “The Bell Curve,” which ascribed lower I.Q. scores to some minorities, have been attacked by liberals but embraced as game-changers by many conservatives.

As he got warmed up, Murray explained that, while driving for more than an hour that morning to the conference, he had begun talking out loud to himself, which is how he usually practices his speeches. Upon realizing that he had more than an hour’s worth of fresh thoughts, he decided to simply drop the planned ones. The question on his mind was “How can conservatives make their case after the election?,” and the answer he wanted to share was drawn from his experience with his own four children. They range in age, he said, from twenty-three to forty-three. While they share many of his views on limiting the size of government, and supporting free enterprise, he said, “Not one of them thought of voting for a Republican President” in the last election. Their disenchantment with the Republican Party was not specifically because of Mitt Romney, he added, but because, “They consider the Party to be run by anti-abortion, anti-gay, religious nuts.”
“With gay marriage,” he went on, “I think the train has left the station.”

Certainly the locomotive power of the issue seemed hard to miss on a day when the top political news was Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman’s announcement that he, too, supports gay marriage. (Richard Socarides has more on that.) While Portman’s position shifted because of his family situation—he explained publicly for the first time that his son had come out as gay—Murray said his own views had been influenced heavily by friends. “I was dead-set against gay marriage when it was first broached,” Murray said; as a fan of Edmund Burke, he regarded marriage as an ancient and indispensable cultural institution that “we shouldn’t mess with.” He used to agree with his friend Irving Kristol, the late father of neo-conservatism, that gay people wouldn’t like marriage. “ ‘Let them have it,’ ” he recounted Kristol as saying, with a chuckle. “ ‘They wont like it.’ ” Murray said that he himself used to think that “All they want is the wedding, and the party, and the honeymoon—but not this long thing we call marriage.”

But since then, Murray said, “we have acquired a number of gay and lesbian friends,” and to what he jokingly called his “dismay” as a “confident” social scientist, he learned he’d been wrong. He’d been especially influenced by the pro-gay-marriage arguments made by Jonathan Rausch, an openly gay writer for the National Journal and the Atlantic. Further, Murray said, he had discovered that the gay couples he knew with children were not just responsible parents; they were “excruciatingly responsible parents.”


Read more: The New Yorker

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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Republicans for Gay Marriage? - Daniel Foster - National Review Online

Jan van Lohuizen, a former George W. Bush pollster with a Ph.D. from Rice, is on a mission to show that opposition to same-sex marriage is a political and demographic dead end, propped up by a shrinking core of the old, the undereducated, and the highly churched. Bitter clingers, if you will, to the idea of traditional marriage.




“I have any number of gay friends who are Republicans, but what makes me tick is that I have concerns that this is another issue that would limit the growth of the Republican party,” van Lohuizen told me in a phone interview.

“If you believe that the government is better off if it is governed by Republicans than Democrats, you have to worry about issues that impede the growth of the party. And this is one.”

Together with Joel Benenson, former lead pollster for President Obama’s first campaign, van Lohuizen has looked at decades of polling data on gay marriage and come to some interesting conclusions in a series of memos the pair has distributed to policymakers, think tanks, and political media"


These are the key factors they point to:
  • Most significant, support for gay marriage is accelerating - from about1 percent a year until 2009, and then an increase to 4 or 5 percent.
  • The coalition supporting gay marriage is more broad-based than the coalition opposing it. The opposition is really concentrated in a few really small groups, evangelical whites, tea-party Republicans, older voters, and whites that do not have a college degree.
  • Republican opposition to same-sex marriage is increasingly tenuous. Tea-party Republicans oppose gay marriage 84/13, while Republicans who describe themselves as opposed to the Tea Party oppose gay marriage by  52/47 splits. 
  • 51 percent of Republicans under 30 support gay marriage in their state.
If this datum alone holds, one might think, gay marriage is a fait accompli in the near to medium term. And indeed, the polls report just that feeling among the broader public: 83 percent of voters, supporters and opponents included, think that gay marriage will be legal nationally in the next five to ten years. 


Colorado approves civil unions for gay couples


In the US state which is the home of "Focus on the Family", and where voters banned same-sex marriage seven years ago. voters take an historic step towards marriage equality

Openly gay Colorado Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D)
Colorado legislators have taken a historic vote to approve civil unions for gay couples, delivering on a campaign promise from Democrats who have capitalised on the changing political landscape of a state where voters banned same-sex marriage not long ago.
The bill on its way to Democratic governor John Hickenlooper is expected to be signed into law within two weeks, capping a three-year fight over a proposal to grant gay couples rights similar to marriage.
Once the measure is signed Colorado will join eight US states that have civil unions or similar laws. Nine states and the District of Columbia allowgay marriage.
Civil unions for gay couples became a rallying cry for Democrats, who took control of the Colorado legislature in last year's elections. Democrats control both chambers and the party elected Colorado's first openly gay House speaker, Mark Ferrandino.
The vote marks a dramatic political shift in Colorado, a western state with deep conservative roots that has become more moderate over the past decade.
In 2006, voters approved a gay-marriage ban – meaning civil unions are the only option for gay couples in the state for now. That could change with a US supreme court ruling on gay marriage bans in the coming months.
Colorado's measure grants gay couples rights similar to marriage, including enhanced inheritance and parental rights. People in civil unions also would have the ability to make medical decisions for their partners.
Republicans opposed the bill, saying they would have liked to see religious exemptions to provide legal protections for those opposed to civil unions.
Democrats contend the Republican suggestions to amend the bill would have opened the door to discrimination. Under the bill churches are not required to perform civil unions but Republicans wanted broader protections to include businesses and adoption agencies.
Republicans also argued civil unions were too similar to marriage and that they would undermine the institution of marriage

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Gay Marriage Passes Minnesota Senate Committee

A bill that would authorize same-sex couples to legally marry in Minnesota has cleared a Senate committee and now awaits a vote on the floor, likely later this legislative session.

Senate hearing
Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis, introduces her bill allowing same-sex marriage to a packed hearing room during a meeting of the House Civil Law committee at the State Office Building in St. Paul on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. (Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin)
 
A House committee vote on whether to move the bill to the House floor is expected Tuesday evening, March 12.
The Senate Judiciary committee voted 5-3 in favor of the bill Tuesday afternoon, after about three hours of public testimony and members' comments.
All the 'yes' votes were from Democrats and all the 'no' votes from Republicans.
The Democrats control both the House and Senate, and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has said he'll sign a gay-marriage bill if one reaches his desk. Nine states and the District of Columbia currently allow gay marriage.
Tuesday morning, the House Civil Law committee heard an hour and a half of testimony on the House version of the bill and then broke to reconvene at 6 p.m.
"Committed same-sex couples should be treated fairly under the law," said Rep. Karen Clark, the sponsor of the House bill. "I believe it's time for us to do the right thing."
The bill would allow religious organizations to refuse to marry same-sex couples, and it would not affect the way they carry out adoptions, foster care placements or other social services unless they receive public money for those purposes.
But Gus Booth, pastor of Warroad Community Church, said he believes the religious exemptions offer limited protection. "Should a person's belief be confined
to the four walls of their church?" he said. He said the bill represents "overreaching" on the part of metro lawmakers to impose gay marriage on the rest of the state.
Both Clark and the bill's Senate sponsor, Scott Dibble, are gay Democrats from Minneapolis.
Eleven-year-old Grace Evans of Fridley told committee members that her mother and father have different, but complementary, strengths. "Which parent do I not need, my mom or my dad?" she asked.
Carlson Cos. Chairwoman Marilyn Carlson Nelson testified in support of the bill in part as a way to attract and retain talented workers. "We must fully live up to our Minnesota values," she said. Failing to recognize gay marriages amounts to "adult bullying," she said.















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UK Parliament to Vote on Equal Civil Partnerships

Straight couples could be allowed to enter civil partnerships, rather than get married, under proposals to be voted on by MPs.


MPs have tabled new amendments to gay marriage legislation currently going through Parliament to give straight couples the same rights as homosexual ones.
Campaigners said the amendment showed the changes risked weakening marriage by allowing straight couples to enter civil partnerships.
The measure, which is due to be voted on by MPs in the Commons at the end of May, would allow couples to be in civil partnerships rather than be married.
Tim Loughton, former Children’s minister, tabled the amendment to Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in the Commons on Tuesday.
He said it was likely there would be “widespread support” for it when the amendment was voted on by MPs on the floor of the Commons next month.
Colin Hart, director of the Coalition for Marriage, said: “This is yet another amendment that pushes the redefinition of marriage beyond the consultation the Government has shifted its position constantly and this will report a further weakening of the institution of marriage.
The amendment will be seen as a direct challenge to Prime Minister David Cameron who suggested last month that he was against extending civil partnership rights to straight couples after MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of gay marriage.
Asked by Christopher Chope MP if he will “ensure that civil partnerships are open to heterosexual couples on an equal basis with homosexual couples”, he replied: “I will obviously listen carefully to what he says.
“But frankly I am a marriage man, I am a great supporter of marriage. I want to promote marriage, defend marriage, encourage marriage.
“The great thing about last night's vote is that two gay people who love each other will now be able to get married. That is an important advance. I think we should be promoting marriage rather than looking at any other way of weakening it.”








Sunday, 10 March 2013

Queen to Sign Charter Against Discrimination


In the first time the Queen has voiced support for gay rights in her 61-year reign, she is set to sign a new charter which aims to tackle homophobic discrimination.


At what will be her first public appearance since leaving the hospital where she was treated for gastroenteritis, the Queen will sign a new Commonwealth Charter, and will make an address explaining her commitment to it.
During the live television broadcast, Queen Elizabeth II, will, in what is being described as a “watershed” moment, signal her support for gay rights, a well as gender equality, and the charter which aims to boost human rights across the Commonwealth.
The charter reads: “We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.”
The “other grounds” clause in the charter is intended to refer to sexuality, however specific references to gay and lesbian people were omitted due to some Commonwealth countries with anti-gay laws, reports the Daily Mail.
The Queen is expected to refer to rights which must “include everyone”, and insiders are noting the appearance as a nod to inclusivity.
A diplomatic source said: “The impact of this statement on gay and women’s rights should not be underestimated. Nothing this progressive has ever been approved by the United Nations. And it is most unusual for the Queen to request to sign documents in public, never mind call the cameras in.”
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace, said: “In this charter, the Queen is endorsing a decision taken by the Commonwealth.” But he added: “The Queen does not take a personal view on these issues. The Queen’s position is apolitical, as it is on all matters of this sort.”
Prior to tomorrow’s appearance, the Queen has been in talks with Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, who has led the initiative. Last month, he said: “We oppose discrimination or stigmatisation on any grounds.”
Royal aides have also been in discussion with Foreign Secretary William Hague, who has backed the drive for better gay rights, and gender equality.
Gay rights advocates have voiced strong opinions in the past, on the fact that the Queen is a patron of over 600 charities, however none of them are for gay rights. Queen Elizabeth II has never publicly voiced her support of equal rights for gay people.
Ben Summerskill of Stonewall, said the Queen had taken “an historic step forward” on gay rights, and said “The Palace has finally caught up with public opinion.”
He also said it was significant that the Queen was publicly acknowledging “the importance of the six per cent of her subjects who are gay. Some of the worst persecution of gay people in the world takes place in Commonwealth countries as a result of the British Empire.”

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Sunday, 3 March 2013

Children in gay adoptions at no disadvantage

Research confirms same-sex couples are just as good at parenting as heterosexuals


Fears that children adopted by gay and lesbian couples do less well in life are completely unfounded, according to the first study into how children and parents in non-traditional families fare compared with heterosexual households.

The findings, from the University of Cambridge's Centre for Family Research, will be published in a report by the British Association of Adoption and Fostering tomorrow. Researchers found that gay and lesbian parents are at least as good at coping with the demands of parenting. Children do not suffer any disadvantage, and the vast majority are not bullied at school, but the report warns: "Bullying and teasing are much more of a problem in secondary schools than primary schools; thus, only follow-up will reveal how things turn out in the future."

The experiences of 130 gay, lesbian and heterosexual adoptive families in Britain, with children aged four to eight, were examined – focusing on the quality of family relationships, how parents cope and how children adjust. The study concludes "there was no evidence" to support speculation that children's masculine or feminine tendencies are affected by having gay or lesbian parents. Family life and the quality of relationships are very similar for children regardless of their parents' sexual orientation, it says.

Professor Susan Golombok, director of the Cambridge centre and report co-author, said: "What I don't like is when people make assumptions that a certain type of family, such as gay fathers, will be bad for children. The anxieties about the potentially negative effects for children of being placed with gay fathers seem to be, from our study, unfounded."

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Nearly three quarters of Germans support same-sex marriage, according to a poll published on Wednesday, as Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives weigh up extending more rights to homosexual couples ahead of a September election.

Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit (first row 2nd R), U.S. Ambassador to Germany
Philip Murphy (first row 3rd R), Britain's ambassador to Germany Simon
McDonald (first row L) and the Green Party parliamentary faction co-leader
Renate Kuenast (first row 2nd L) open the Christopher Street Day (CSD)
parade in Berlin, June 23, 2012. The annual street parade parade is a celebration of
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lifestyles and
 denounces discrimination and exclusion.


Nearly three quarters of Germans support same-sex marriage, according to a poll published on Wednesday, as Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives weigh up extending more rights to homosexual couples ahead of a September election.

The survey for RTL television and Stern magazine suggested 74 percent of Germans were in favour of allowing homosexuals to marry and 23 percent against.

Support is strongest among people voting for the opposition Greens and centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) but even among those backing Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), almost two-thirds were in favour, the poll showed.

The CDU wants to boost its appeal among urban voters as it gears up for this year's vote.

Merkel's government is preparing to amend the law to grant same-sex couples greater adoption rights after Germany's constitutional court ruled last week that gay people should be allowed to adopt a child already adopted by their partner. Heterosexual couples already have the right.

The court has given the government until July 2014 to amend the law.

Last weekend, a close Merkel ally hinted that the party may also be ready to abandon its opposition to giving gay couples the same preferential tax treatment as married heterosexuals.

Homosexuals in Germany can form civil partnerships but cannot marry. Opposition parties accuse the CDU, staunch advocates of traditional family values, of dragging their feet on gay rights.

The CDU's more conservative Bavaria-based sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), has warned against rushing to change the law.

Earlier this month, the lower houses of parliament in both France and Britain voted in favour of gay marriage.

(Reporting by Gareth Jones; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

Illinois House committee advances gay marriage bill


The proposal, approved on a 6-5 vote in the House Executive Committee shortly before 10 p.m., is coming under increasingly heavy fire from church organizations who say same-sex marriage violates moral and religious principles. But advocates have ratcheted up calls for swift action.
Sponsoring Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, said the bill is needed “because we need to treat all Illinois families equally under the law” but the status of people in civil unions is often misunderstood.
Under the measure, marriage in Illinois would be allowed between two people rather than only a man and a woman. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has vowed to sign the legislation, a move that would make Illinois the 10th state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage. The Senate passed the legislation with only one Republican vote on Valentine’s Day.
Advocates said the proposal would allow ministers to refuse to perform same-sex marriages if it’s against their beliefs and would not require church officials to make their buildings or parish halls available if they don’t wish it. But opponents have questioned if the protections are strong enough.
The House has held close votes on same-sex issues over the years. The latest movement to support gay marriage in Illinois has evolved quickly. It’s been less than two years since the first civil union certificates were issued for gay and straight couples.
But with the Democrats increasing their majorities in both the House and the Senate during last fall’s elections, the gay marriage issue gained traction. Advocates tried to pass the measure in the brief, lame-duck legislative session in January, but they called off the bid and refocused on passing the bill in the newly seated General Assembly.
-continue reaing at Chicago Tribune

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Gay marriage bill unveiled in Minnesota

Governor Mark Dayton has indicated he will sign a marriage equality bill into law if it were to reach his desk
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has said he will sign a marriage equality law if it comes across his desk.
Marriage equality advocates are celebrating after Minnesota lawmakers have unveiled a new bill.
Sponsors of the same-sex marriage bill are aiming to repeal the outright 1997 ban prohibiting marriage for gay couples.
At a news conference today (27 February), co-author of the bill Scott Dibble spoke out in favor of marriage equality.
‘We are all human beings equal in the eyes of God,’ he said. ‘We’re affirming things that we all prize, love at the center of marriage.’
It is a bi-partisan bill, with Republican Senator Branden Peterson publicly supporting marriage equality in Minnesota

- See more at: Gay Star News 

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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Kansas supreme court rules in favor of gay adoption

After deliberating over a claim submitted by two women over parenting rights, the supreme court of Kansas passed a landmark ruling in favor of gay adoption
25 FEBRUARY 2013 | BY DAN LITTAUER
After deliberating over submitted by two women over parenting rights, the supreme court of Kansas passed a landmark ruling in favor of gay adoption
Kansas state supreme court made a landmark ruling that same-sex couples are to be allowed to adopt.
In addition it ruled that when a same-sex couple has a child together, both parents can be fully recognized as parents under Kansas state law.
The court explained that Kansas parentage laws apply equally to women and non-biological parents, and that courts must consider the reality of who a child’s parents are in order to protect the interests of children.
With this ruling, Kansas joins a number of other US states in ruling that when two people bring a child into the world and then raise that child as co-parents, the law should treat both of them as the child’s parents, regardless of gender or biology.
The ruling was delivered on Friday (22 February) over a case of two women, Marci Frazier and Kelly Goudschaal, who had been raising children together, but then faced a custody dispute after they separated.
The court ruled that the coparenting contract the couple had signed is valid and should be recognized, as their children are better off having two parents than just one:
'To summarize, the coparenting agreement before us cannot be construed as a prohibited sale of the children because the biological mother retains her parental duties and responsibilities.
'The agreement is not injurious to the public because it provides the children with the resources of two persons, rather than leaving them as the fatherless children of an artificially inseminated mother. No societal interest has been harmed; no mischief has been done.
'Like the contract in Shirk, the coparenting agreement here contains “no element of immorality or illegality and did not violate public policy,” but rather “the contract was for the advantage and welfare of the child[ren]'.
LGBT rights organizations welcomed the ruling across the state.












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Republicans Sign Brief in Support of Gay Marriage

WASHINGTON — Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election.

Jon M. Huntsman Jr., who opposed same-sex marriage
 during his 2012 presidential bid, signed the brief.
Meg Whitman supported Proposition 8
when she ran for California governor.

The document will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike downProposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans. The court will hear back-to-back arguments next month in that case and another pivotal gay rights case that challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.”

The Proposition 8 case already has a powerful conservative supporter: Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general under Mr. Bush and one of the suit’s two lead lawyers. The amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief is being filed with Mr. Olson’s blessing. It argues, as he does, that same-sex marriage promotes family values by allowing children of gay couples to grow up in two-parent homes, and that it advances conservative values of “limited government and maximizing individual freedom.”

Legal analysts said the brief had the potential to sway conservative justices as much for the prominent names attached to it as for its legal arguments. The list of signers includes a string of Republican officials and influential thinkers — 75 as of Monday evening — who are not ordinarily associated with gay rights advocacy, including some who are speaking out for the first time and others who have changed their previous positions.

Among them are Meg Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 when she ran for California governor; Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York; Stephen J. Hadley, a Bush national security adviser; Carlos Gutierrez, a commerce secretary to Mr. Bush; James B. Comey, a top Bush Justice Department official; David A. Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first budget director; and Deborah Pryce, a former member of the House Republican leadership from Ohio who is retired from Congress.

Experts say that amicus briefs generally do not change Supreme Court justices’ minds. But on Monday some said that the Republican brief, written by Seth P. Waxman, a former solicitor general in the administration of President Bill Clinton, and Reginald Brown, who served in the Bush White House Counsel’s Office, might be an exception..
-New York Times, February 25th 2013
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Monday, 25 February 2013

German government to consider expanding gay unions rights

Following a court ruling, Germany's ruling party considers equalising legislation for same-sex civil unions

German right wing lawmakers say the Reichstag will debate equalizing gay civil unions before its summer break

Leaders of the of the Germany's right wing Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party said they are prepared to bridge the gap between gay and straight couples. During an interview this weekend with the weekly news magazine Focus, finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble said the government was examining the effects of a ruling on Tuesday by a constitutional court, saying that gays in a civil partnership should be able to adopt their partners' adopted children. In 2001, Germany legalized same-sex registered partnerships with similar rights to married couples, excluding tax and adoption rights.
- See more at: Gay Star News