Marriage Equality

Religious Groups in Taiwan Move To Appeal Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Late last year, Bermuda became the first country to take away gay marriage after only just legalizing it in the country. That has now set a terrible precedent where a country has taken back the right for same-sex couples to get married.

Now, it seems that Taiwan is in a battle of its own to maintain its gay marriage rights.

Several religious groups have banned together to start an appeal of the court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the country.

Taiwan became the first Asian country to legalize marriage equality after the Constitutional Court ruled that it was discriminatory to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. It then ordered Taiwan’s parliament to change the law to support marriage equality by 2019.

Unfortunately, the law hasn’t been changed yet, and now religious groups are fighting to keep it that way.

According to the Taipei Times, the Alliance of Taiwan Religious Groups for the Protection of the Family submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court yesterday (February 14) while protestors stood outside.

Chang Shou-yi, the leader of the Alliance, said the petition was being submitted because they believe the original ruling was unlawful.

“The interpretation and the reasons given by the Council of Grand Justices in its ruling contravene articles of the Constitution,” he told the Taipei Times.

“Therefore, we ask the High Administrative Court judges to have the conscience and moral integrity to rule on our appeal through their own independent stance, and not to cave in to political influence and forces of intimidation, and to reach a decision conforming to the freedoms and values of our democratic society.”

On top of all that, the Alliance has also submitted a petition to the Central Election Commission to hold a referendum on the topic.

Do you agree that the government should keep the current definition of marriage as between a man and a woman and pass a separate law to protect the right of a same-sex couple to live together,’” The referendum petition asks.

The Alliance was able to get 3,549 signatures when they only needed 1,879.

If the Election Commission approves the proposal, the Alliance will need an additional 281,745 signatures to become a formal referendum.

Unfortunately, they may just get those signatures.

As we reported last year, the public opinion on the ruling was almost split down the middle right before the Constitutional Court decided. As such, there are still many people displeased with the decision that was made.

We'll keep you updated as the situation in Taiwan progresses.

h/t: GayStarNews

Panama’s Legalizing Gay Marriage!

Last week, we shared the news with you that a historic court ruling in Costa Rica could bring gay marriage to 20 different nations.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights decided in favor of marriage equality while ruling over a petition from two years ago.

Cosa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis told one source:

“The Western Hemisphere is rejoicing over the ruling in a marriage equality case out of Costa Rica. Not only is the ruling binding for the Central American country, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling also sets precedent for 19 other countries who have agreed to abide by the court’s decisions.

The ruling is legally binding in Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay.”

That said, the compliance of those other countries isn’t necessarily guaranteed. Luckily, however, Panama has announced their decision to work with the ruling.

Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo announced on Tuesday to all sections of the government that they would be following the ruling.

“We are sure that with it we will be able to advance an agenda of equity and nondiscrimination even further,” added Saint Malo, according to TVN, a Panamanian television station.

“She is complying with the opinion itself that calls upon member states to adjust national law and practices to implement the full human rights protections for LGBTI people,” Iván Chanis Barahona, president of Fundación Iguales, a Panamanian advocacy group, told the Washington Blade on Wednesday from Panama City. “This decision of the Panamanian government is consistent with a long tradition of international support and respect of the inter-American human rights system, and Panama’s recognition of the binding, ipso facto jurisdiction of the court on all matters relating to the interpretation or application of the American Convention on Human Rights.”

Country With The World’s Oldest Tortoise, That’s Also Gay, Legalized Gay Marriage

Back in October, we shared the news with you that the oldest living animal in the world, a 186-year-old tortoise named Johnathon might be gay.

After years of wondering why he and his mate Frederica didn’t reproduce, one veterinarian discovered that Frederica was actually a male.

Since then, Johnathon and Fredrick have been enjoying their time out in the open and it seems the island country of St. Helena is ready to support them in the best of ways.

St. Helena’s legislative council just voted in favor of same-sex marriage with nine votes for and two votes against.

This vote arrived after a gay couple applied to marry earlier this year. But due to the island’s unclear law towards same-sex marriage, a call for public opinion was summoned by the Legislative Council to decide what to do.

Cruyff Bucley, a member of the council said to St Helena Online, “This bill ushers in a new level of respect for minority groups.”

Hon. Chrstine Scipio-o’Nean added, “We cannot discriminate. We must not, and we must strive to ensure equality.”

Now, gay couples within the 4,500 people on the island will be able to marry in only a matter of weeks.

Bermuda Abolished Gay Marriage (After 6 Months Of Legalizing It)

Last month, we reported to you that Bermuda's government was considering banning gay marriage despite only legalizing it earlier this year.

Gay marriage came to the island in May after gay couple Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche (shown above) fought several court battles to gain its legalization.

That said, the government wasn't ready to stop and the Minister of Home Affairs, named Walton Brown, introduced the “Domestic Partnership Bill.”

That bill, though unable to affect already married couples, now makes it so that any new couples can only get “domestic partnerships” and not an actual marriage. (Plus, straight couples can opt for these partnerships instead of marriage too).

The government supports the bill by saying domestic partners will supposedly keep all the legal rights that married couples do, and the government gets to keep its definition of marriage.

The bill was officially approved this past weekend by the Bermuda House with 24 votes for the bill and 10 against it.

The passed bill, now called the "Domestic Partnerships Act 2017" has been a divisive topic since its introduction.

Though Walton Brown was open to hearing citizens and politicians share their thoughts on the topic, the many differing views (like the five hours of debate on the day of the House voting) did not stop the bill's passing.

Progressive Labour Party backbencher Lawrence Scott said the bill gives “the LGBTQ community the benefits it has been asking for”, but maintains “the traditional definition of marriage”.

Adding: “As it stands now, they can have the name marriage but without the benefits. But after this Bill passes, they have the benefits and just not the name marriage. The benefits are what they really want.”

Shadow home affairs minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin spoke against the bill. She says that its wrong for the government to take away a right that was only given a couple months ago.

“I don’t like to accept that it is OK for us to treat our sisters and brothers differently, whether fair or unfair, to treat them differently under similar circumstances.”

In addition, this doesn't just affect Bermuda's citizens, but its frequent traveler base as well.

Several cruises set for Bermuda have booked weddings with same-sex couples that will now need to be canceled.

Austria's Supreme Court Legalized Gay Marriage

Same-sex couples will be able to marry in Austria in just a little over a year.

The Austrian Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality yesterday by lifting legal limitations that blocked gay couple from getting married.

The limitations in question were that the previous definition of marriage allowed it only to be between “different sex” partners.

The Court decided to take out the phrase “different sex,” which now gives same-sex couples the option to marry instead of getting a civil partnership.

After making the decision, the Court said:

“The distinction between marriage and registered partnership can not be maintained today without discriminating against same-sex couples.”

They continued: “Because the separation into two legal institutions expresses that people with same-sex sexual orientation are not the same people with different sexual orientation.”

The “different sex” regulation will officially end on December 31, 2018, so gay couples in Austria will be able to marry at the start of 2019.

Australia Votes YES for Marriage Equality!

After an eight-week postal survey polling Australian residents on whether or not same-sex marriage should be lawful throughout Australia, the results are in!

At 10 a.m. on November 15th, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced that the final vote is a YES!

The Aussies have spoken and the results are:

  • 7,817,247 – YES 61.6%
  • 4,873,987 – NO 38.4%

12,727,920 total voters 79.5% total electorate

Here is footage of the gathering in Sydney for the announcement (video from DNA Magazine's Facebook Page). Skip ahead to the 21 minute mark for THE moment.

 

 


Over 12.6 million people participated in the voluntary postal survey, that’s about ¾ of the entire Australian electorate.

This has been one of the most pivotal moments in Australia’s history, creating massive dialogue between campaigns for and against the proposed law.

According to a press release issued by the Human Rights Watch:

The postal survey in effect submitted the human rights of the LGBT population to a popularity contest, putting gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in a vulnerable position. For two months, their lives and identities were open to public debate, scrutiny, evaluation, and sometimes abuse.

During this period, some groups opposing marriage equality used scare tactics to lure voters to their side. Opponents stoked fears that a “yes” victory would pose a threat to religious freedom. The opponents circulated posters and advertising campaigns with misleading information and sometimes outright lies.

Upon news of the historic results, Alex Greenwich from the Equality Campaign shared:

This happened because millions of Australians reached out to our own families, neighbourhoods, organisations – to stand up for equality, stand by our loved ones and share why YES was so important

You’ve done it. It’s YES.

Now, because of you, ours will be the last generation in which LGBTI relationships are not equal under the law. For the young person growing up in a small town, for the couple who have been together 40 years, and the person who’s been longing to propose: you belong here, your love is celebrated and honoured here, and never again will you be made to feel otherwise by our country’s laws.

So pick up the phone right now. Call your son or daughter. Text your best friend. Hug your grandma. High-five the coffee guy. Pump the music in your office. Put a shiny new badge on your profile pic. Give your child a great big cuddle. Because today in Australia, fairness and equality triumphed, and we can all be proud.

Congratulations, Australia! The survey is only the beginning on a path to parliament adoption which would make Australia the 25th country with marriage equality. Let's get ready for some fabulous weddings in the land down under!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bermuda's Government Is Trying To Re-Ban Same-Sex Marriage

Bermuda is trying to become the first country to re-ban same-sex marriage.

The first gay couples to get married in Bermuda did so only in May of this year. This was after the island’s Supreme Court ruled the ban on same-sex marriage to be discriminatory.

Bermuda’s legislative branch however has introduced a bill that would take away same sex-marriage (which was only legalized a few months ago).

The bill, titled “Domestic Partnership Bill,” was introduced by the Minister of Home Affairs named Walton Brown.

This bill, if passed into law, would not be able to affect already married couples, but it would make it so that any new couples could only be given “domestic partnerships” and not marriage. (Plus, straight couples could opt for partnerships instead of marriage too).

As Brown stated, “This topic has been a prolonged matter of great division in our country.

“The purpose of this public consultation period is to gain feedback from the public on the current draft Bill regarding domestic partnerships and answer any questions that anyone might have.

“Stakeholder groups have already been informed as we seek to move forward in a collaborative way.”

In addition, Brown is looking for members of the public to share their thoughts on his new bill in order to see if the general populace supports the idea of replacing same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships.

“Members of the public are invited to send comments and questions to the following email address: domesticpartnership@gov.bm.

“There will be a two week public consultation period which will begin today and conclude on Wednesday November 15.”

Study Predicts The Australia's "Yes" Vote Will Have A Narrow Loss

An academic study is using Twitter opinions to gauge the results of the public vote for or against same-sex marriage in Australian.

While many opinion polls say that the yes vote will win and be around 60 percent of the vote, this Twitter opinion study says the opposite.

The study, by Academics David Tuffley and Bela Stantic, looked at over 458,565 tweets through the month of October.

At face value, the two found that there was an overwhelming amount of support for marriage equality. Specifically, they found that there was 72 percent support for the yes vote.

That said, they also found that only 15% of the yeses came from people over the age of 55. With that in mind, they adjusted the numbers and ended up with 57 percent support.

But that’s not all, they then adjusted the numbers again to make up for the low amount of tweets coming from people older than 55 (a voter pool that will show up in the actual vote). This ended up with a 49 percent yes rate for the vote.

Tuffley and Stantic are known for being surprisingly accurate when it comes to tough call votes and polls. For instance, they predicted the Trump win for the 2016 US presidential election.

And as they told Australian News Agency 9 News:

“It is likely to be a close-run result, much closer than the earlier polls suggested, and leaning in the direction of 'no.”

That said, the two do note that predications can have complications that get in the way of coming up with a true and fair answer.

"One of the problems with predicting poll outcomes is that people are often reluctant to say out loud what they really think about issues.”

"What people say online can often be more accurate than what they say to each other in this age of political correctness."

The First Gay Marriages In Germany Are Being Held This Sunday

Image via Youtube

The first gay couples in Germany will begin marrying this weekend, reports say.

Back on June 30th, lawmakers voted on whether the country should legalize marriage equality and same-sex couples were happy to see the vote pass in favor of it.

The law now reads "marriage binds two people of different sexes or the same sex for life,” and that change allowed an estimated 94,000 couples the right to marry each other.

As you can imagine, several of those couples have been waiting for some time now and are ready to join the marriage bandwagon any moment. But of course, these things take time and it has taken till this Sunday for the first few couples to finally be able to do it.

Couples will either be converting their civil partnerships or outright getting legally bonded for the first time come this Sunday in many places like Berlin, Hanover, and other cities.

But, the right to get married isn’t just about getting a wedding of course. It’s about the marital rights that come with it.

Now, these same-sex couples are being given the same rights that straight couples get concerning tax advantages, adoption rights, and much more.

 

 

But, of course, this is a government after all, so things will take some time to go fully through. Government software has still not officially been updated to acknowledge same-sex couples so online paperwork will continue to say “husband” and “wife” until sometime next year.

That said, people don’t mind the minor setbacks as long as they can finally get married.

"Finally, our country is joining the rest of Europe!" said Jörg Steinert, whose the head of a gay rights advocacy group called LSVD.

"We won't be a second-class couple any longer," noted Bode Mende to Neues Deutschland, who will be the first to marry in Berlin along with his partner Karl Kreil.

But as happy as this occasion may be, German citizens shouldn’t become complacent and stop forward motion for LGBTQ rights.

There are still several tasks to be done concerning policies affecting LGBTQ life like reproductive medicine, blood donation, and more.

That said, its good to celebrate the victories, so enjoy your day German people and congratulations.

Try Not To Cry To The Marriage Equality Ad That Floored "Bachelor" Viewers

Screenshot via Youtube @AustralianMarriageEquality

As we are now in the thick of the public vote over Marriage Equality in Australia, there are many MANY campaigns and commercials airing for and against same-sex marriage.

But, there are very few that are able to touch people in the special way that the one below did.

This pro-Marriage Equality ad played during last night’s Bachelor finale and caused several people to tear up.

Think you can watch it with a dry eye? Check out the video below. And, after that check out some tweets of people who are voting yes for Marriage Equality in Australia TODAY!

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