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.
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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 |

 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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